Tag Archive | relationships

Miss You, Love

Our talk turns to crushes. “I just miss that feeling, you know?” I say. “Like when you’re just so alive that even when it hurts you’re just glad you can feel. I miss the excitement.”

Jillian says, “My friend Emily calls it the ketchup phase.”

“Catching up with what?” I ask, uncertain.

“Well, because it’s like, when you first fall for someone, they’re all you think about. No matter what the subject, it reminds you of them. Someone could say, ‘pass the ketchup,’ and your first thought is, oh wow, my guy likes ketchup too.”

I sigh. “Yes, that’s what I miss, the ketchup phase. I hope I’m not too old or numb.”

~~~

A tiny little conversational snippet from Moonchild. It took place almost fifteen (!!!) years ago, this talk, but the funny thing is that I feel a little bit of that at the current moment, too. And wow, the topic of passion, in so many different forms, keeps coming up in the manuscript. It may be more of an underlying theme in Moonchild than I realized.

Check out other Samples, Published and Early Work!

~EJ

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Did She Really Just Say That?!

So, I love Anne Lamott. It’s been awhile since I read it, but Bird by Bird was one of my favorite writing advice books. I’ve taken several writing classes with two wonderful women – Janet Thomas and Susan Reese – and both have read her “shitty first drafts” excerpt to encourage the class to write. I find her funny and wise and kind-hearted. There is a section of Bird by Bird that I can open to naturally, even taking the book off the shelf after years without touching it. I’ll excerpt it here:

  index     “Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the light on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.”
      “Try to write in a directly emotional way, instead of being too subtle or oblique. Don’t be afraid of your material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.
     “If something inside you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Don’t worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act–truth is always subversive.”

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Writing as Time Travel – Blue Alchemy 1

Writing about your own past is surreal. You’re reliving it. You’re at Fox Cabin at blind camp with the blue vinyl couches in the living room and the orange, white and yellow checked curtains in the bedrooms. You’re eight years old, unable to sleep because you’re terrified of your parents because Mom was getting hysterical again today and maybe this time she’ll really lose it or Dad’s smoldering rage will erupt, so you’re reading Nancy Drew by the night of your night light. You’re riding King County Metro after being rejected from both blood plasma donation for cash (your temperature was too low) and staying at the Green Tortoise Hostel for work-trade, knowing you only have three days until you and your roommates get evicted. You stare out the window watching as the bus passes through the hilly streets of downtown Seattle, thinking dark thoughts like maybe homelessness would suit you because you’ve always felt like an orphan anyway. You’re skulking by a payphone outside 7-11 in the outskirts of Seattle while your roommate is across the parking lot buying pot. You’re swimming in Puget Sound, not long after sunset, and the water is so cold that you’ve never felt more alive, and it suddenly, truly, deeply feels like all you’ve been through was somehow worth it to be here now, in the water, your limbs feeling heavier as you get closer to shore, and you’re unable to stop looking back at the cerulean dusk and the fading pink on the western horizon.

You’re all of these places but you’re also sitting on your bed writing in your little room with your books and notebooks stacked in milk crates, your window slightly open to let in the sounds of the Orcas ocean and the slow creak of cedar trees swaying in the wind, trying not to think about the boy who lives down the hall from you or the girl in his room. Or you’re writing in the fluffy brown chair in your apartment, wondering if you should get rid of it because your ex-boyfriend left it when he went to jail and do you really need any more reminders of him? But on the other hand it really fits the color scheme of your room and is really comfortable to write in.

In the story you are writing it might be fall while in reality when you are writing it, it’s summer solstice. And yet, the more you write, the more you swear that the light coming in through your windows is so distinctly autumnnal. You can almost smell the foliage.

There is something haunting about being in more than one experience at once. It’s like how it felt when I first came home from college after months of being away. Walking into the living room with its dark blue patterned furniture and light blue pleated blinds felt almost like an out-of-body experience. Everything was always slightly off from what I remembered, like all the colors or the feelings I associated with them had all made the slightest of wavelength shifts on the electromagnetic spectrum, just a few angstroms, nothing you could quite articulate or measure but sense nonetheless. Writing memoir is like that, I’m in two places in time, two times at once, memory and present tense, and they are so distinct and yet so muddled that it’s hard to tell which one I’m living in more.

~~~

For more samples, look here.

This is an excerpt from my most recent piece of writing, a personal essay called “Blue Alchemy,” about writing memoir, and the slipperiness of writing and memory.

~Emilia J

Josie – Sunshower Chapter One

Josie 1images “Josie, I’m sorry,” he said for the thousandth time. “Things just aren’t working out.”

My heart was being broken and I was reading a book. While he rattled off all the reasons why we couldn’t be together, I sat there with one ear on the phone, and my eyes on the pages of a book I had found in the basement of my house.

It was actually more like a diary than a novel. It was written by Janet Andrioli, who had apparently lived in my house almost two hundred years before I was born, way back near the turn of the 21st century. I was reading about her teenage years. Things were so different back then. Humanity had not traveled past the moon. Computers had required laborious typing to function; that seems so mediocre compared to the ones we have today, where you can give them voice commands. And people couldn’t interact with their televisions; I couldn’t live like that!

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"All in the Cold Midwinter and at the Midnight Hour"

IMGP7064eFIRST_CABIN_ORKILA_OOr, what I did over my winter vacation.

I’ve actually been dying to blog about this but wanted to get some other things out of the way first. Like revamping it and updating it, for instance.

A few years ago, I wrote this post about my favorite winter memory, the second winter I spent living in the dispensary, a perfect cabin at Camp Orkila and how blissful that winter was, reveling in my connectedness to the natural world. I sometimes feel there aren’t words for how satisfying in a soul way living there was to me. And it wasn’t just the proximity to the ocean, the way I heard the owls and the creaking of cedar trees at night, or the thick woods I could walk through or even the months I lived there while having very little work, or all the great books I read, or the great company I had in my friend Tracy, or the walks by the coast.

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Coming Out of the Closet about College

emersonimagesI am nervous making this post, might as well get that out of the way from the very beginning.

As I’ve talked about in previous blogs, I’m planning on returning to school next fall to finish my undergrad degree. I’m looking at some WA state schools, and also, as described in I Can’t Seem to Stop Stretching, widening my circles of where I’m looking. I’m not sure I want to stay in WA. I am sure it would be easier, especially financially, and that if I go somewhere else, everything will depend on financial aid. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from looking. I dream big, always. And I’m determined as shit, so if I want to make something happen that’s more of a stretch, I’ll find a way. Of that, I have no doubt.

*

On a different note, up until April, I was living with this guy. He doesn’t want to be written about (and almost definitely hasn’t seen my blog), and I want to respect that, but also be able to give bare bones background stuff when necessary, so I’m going to call him…Adrian (lol it doesn’t fit him at all but I have my reasons). You can pretty much assume that any names I use in this blog for people in my real life (aside from other writers who I want to link you to and such) are changed.

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