Category Archives: Jobs

Submit, Submit, Submit!

This is what I look like when I'm scraping for a good idea.

While strolling through the aisles of Barnes & Noble yesterday afternoon (I could spend hours in that store), I picked up a copy of Writer’s Journal and the latest issue of Poetry Magazine.

Picking up magazines and reading the poetry and short stories that get published always gives me the imaginary kick in the butt I need to get back into gear and continue submitting everything I possibly can to every literary magazine and website there possibly is.

So after flipping through the pages of Writer’s Journal, I found information on an annual contest, in which you are provided with half of a sentence to begin your story. I love writing prompts, and am definitely excited to get creative with one of these lines:

Inside the envelope…

Struggling to her feet…

Whatever you do, don’t…

I’m pretty keen on that last one, and already have a few ideas swirling inside my little head.

The possibilities are endless. So please, wish me luck!

I submitted a few poems to Poetry, which is published by the Poetry Foundation. I have all fingers and toes crossed on that one.

I’m praying that something will stick, and I’ll be able to start a platform for my future as a creative writer. In other news, the job market is still quiet. So to keep myself somewhat immersed in the literary world, I am working to get a job at the bookstore. Anything to surround me with what I love (but so bad for my wallet).

I continue the uphill struggle, sometimes bursting with inspiration and sometimes wanting to wave my white flag. So it goes for every writer; we must keep our chins up high!

                                                                                                                                                                                                       “All these words for love (for you), all these ways to say believe in symphily, to say let us live near each other.”

Reginald Dwayne Betts

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Going nowhere fast; What makes me happy.

This pretty much sums it up.

I’d hate for this post to be depressing or too focused on “self-hating” as I recently read about in another blogger’s post, but I have spent the past week or so moping around, lying in bed for an extra hour, going back for seconds, crying at the drop of a dime, things that aren’t normal (or too becoming) of me.

It seems I’ve hit some sort of obstacle and I can’t figure out how to get around it, without having to jump through the ring of fire or swim through the lake of piranhas. I’m stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck.

I’ve tried to focus all of that negative energy into something worthwhile, like my writing, but every time I flop into a chair and stare into my 45 pages of writing, I’m clueless. This is no good.

So – more for myself, I suppose, but hopefully to encourage a few others that are feeling rather “blah” lately, too – here are a few things that always manage to make me feel better. I’ll be referring to this list later, I’m sure.

1.)

The best $8 bottle of red around.

The delicousness speaks for itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two things never disappoint. Nothing cures a bout of depression like a large glass of dry red wine and some fresh mozzarella topped with balsamic and a Jersey tomato. (At least Jersey is good for something, right?)

I enjoyed a pick-me-up late Wednesday night with drink, mozzarella, a best friend, and…. another…. friend:

E.T. wanted a piece of the action!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.) Reading. When I read, I can forget about my crappy day for a moment and focus on the crappy day of someone else. Or else I can delve directly into an exciting moment, a love story, a murder, a scene of violence or sex or adventure. It takes my mind off of what is going on around me or in my crazy head.

Current read:

Exciting. Depressing. Compelling. You know the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Working out! This used to be something that made me even more depressed; who wants to sweat and hurt for an hour when there’s a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in the freezer? (Still sounds tempting.) BUT – nowadays (most of the time) I’d rather grind out my frustrations on a bag or a treadmill. FYI: A pulled muscle is sexier than an ice-cream gut.

4.) Anything on ID. This is my favorite channel; plenty of blood, guts and…more blood and guts. Murder, murder, murder. Hey, I am a writer of horror. I’m sure if Poe was here, he’d be making the popcorn before another episode of 48 Hours…

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.)

So inviting.

So this queen may look a little more inviting than ours, but ours is still a big comfy mess. When I’m being a negative nancy, just shove one of these under me and I’m good to go. Sometimes hiding under the covers for an extended period of time truly does the trick.

 

 

6.) Pretty much any movie from the 1980’s can cheer me up. Doesn’t the same go for everyone else?

Who doesn't enjoy the story of an awkward teenage girl, forgotten by everyone but the hottest guy in school on her birthday?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.)

Love.

This man right here. But especially the image of this man right here, in all his ’90s, grungy, long-haired hotness. So his hair is short and spiky now, but I couldn’t resist posting a picture of his former look. Either way, he’s hot. And he takes good care of me. And looking at this picture makes me laugh. And smile. (And I’ll probably get in trouble once he notices I posted it. Oops.)

Ending on #7 – it’s supposedly good luck, so let’s just stick with that. These things help pull me out of my ruts (although once in a while, only time can pull me out completely).

What makes you happy when you’re feeling convinced that the world is about to end?

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Pretty little Liars (and a fantastic pair of earrings).

My little hand and my fading Liar's stamp!

The rain left us alone longer than expected (but very much appreciated) Saturday, while Nicole (another one, not me) sold her tye-dyes, purses and accessories in the heart of the Piazza and I lounged about, taking in the free show, enjoying an adult beverage or two, and spending too much money on this fabulous pair of earrings:

 

Gah! Aren't they the coolest?

I’ll just have to punish myself in some other way for buying them. But I’m so glad I did.

The Philadelphia Liars’ Club event was a huge success; being one of the first events I have ever attended with the intention of getting my name out to other writers, I handed out many cards and received an extremely warm welcome before I had both feet in the door. Before I could take in my surroundings a beer was slammed down in front of me and information was being jammed into my brain, of publishing companies and blogs and suggestions of what I should do with my life. I felt very much at home.

I’ve just created a Twitter account (with the advice of one of the writers I recently met) and while hesitant at first (I have had, for a long time, some indescribable hatred for Twitter), I quickly discovered why it is a great idea for me. Like any artist – musician, writer, whatever – it is a wonderful tool for networking. After clicking on the “Books” section I was immediately greeted by hundreds of publishing companies, authors, etc. Good stuff.

Today I will write, kick-box, and probably pay some bills. Tonight I will post an update with any progress I’ve made!

 

 

 

 

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Rooftops and writing events.

Drinks and a refreshing breeze.

Yesterday, I spent a wonderful morning and afternoon with some wonderful ladies, being fabulous and spending my chump change on $10 rum and cokes. $30.00 later, I have no buzz but I’m feeling fly like one of the Real Housewives. Atop the Chelsea, we soaked up the rays (myself while covered in plenty of sunblock) and tapped our toes to bubbly elevator music. Rejuvenating.

Meanwhile, I have butchered my hairs, resulting in a very convenient, very low-maintenance cut. After a day of sun, sweat and sand, they had barely changed in their appearance at all – so easy.

Rockin' the pixie.

This coming Saturday – August 6th – I will be attending The Writers’ Bash, put together by the Philadelphia Liars’ Club (which I have just recently discovered), a group of writers in the area that support libraries, publishers, and literature. While the Bash was originally intended as a benefit for one of the club’s writers, L.A. Banks, who was battling a rare form of cancer, a recent update of their blog has revealed that Banks passed away last night. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and fellow writers, and I will be attending the event not only to network but to donate a few dollars to help Banks’ family with the medical expenses of her treatments.

The time has come to rub elbows with as many writers as I can, hand out a few cards, and build some type of support system. Whether you are a writer, a lover of literature, or would just like to show your support for the family, I suggest you check out the Writers’ Bash this Saturday, too.

http://liarsclubphilly.com/?p=1958 

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Do I look like a professional?

Maybe not. But I DEFINITELY look like an anime character. Sailor Moon?

I have a portfolio (resume, writing samples, the works). I have business cards ready for pick-up. I’M READY TO GET A JOB!

I have recently been promoted to bartender at work. On my last day of training, I waited on Phillies player Roy Oswalt and didn’t even know it. (On television, you only ever see them from the nose down. How should I know what the man looks like?) I heard he came in the next day, too; I bet he was only looking forward to finding me and my ability to make a mean Arnold Palmer, but alas, I was not there. As bartender I get to crack open root-beers and real beers and gluten-free beers and make dozens of margaritas (and Arnold Palmers). So far, I dig it.

On July 17th I’ll be getting “down and dirty” with some co-workers in the Merrell Mud Run in Fairmount Park. I’m excited, nervous, considering the early preparation of my will…but above all, excited. If I make it through the 6 miles of obstacles and mud pits alive, I plan on rewarding myself with the largest peanut-butter milkshake money can buy.

At the moment, I am shifting between this blog entry and an attempt at banging out a few paragraphs. So while I contemplate my next move, I’ll compile a short list of things to avoid while attempting to write a novel; or short-story, or memoir, or whatever.

Things all writers should avoid if they have any fighting chance of writing more than one paragraph of solid work a week:

1) While writing, log out of Facebook. Do not tweet (or whatever they call it). Turn your phone off. Log out of your email. Avoid everything that I am doing at this exact moment.

2) While a glass of wine or a beer is sometimes helpful, don’t get sloshed. Sure, I’ve had a lot of good ideas swirl around in my head while under the influence…but I almost always chose a shot over a keyboard.

3) Even if you’re not sure about it, write it. Get it down. Get it all out. Go back later and edit. Don’t stare at the screen or the paper waiting for something brilliant to present itself. It doesn’t work that way. I’m sure even Hemingway threw away a few drafts.

4) Don’t get distracted with trying to choose a title, when you could be spending that time writing any type of piece that will actually be worth giving a title to. (I really, really wish I could find a title.)

5) Write every single day. Even if for a few minutes at a time. Don’t let sleep, work, alcohol, family, your dog, or that favor you were supposed to do for your best friend get in the way.

Now if only I could follow my own rules a little more strictly.

Eat, sleep, write. Let’s do this.

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Thank you, alma mater, for the BA….oh, and the TICKET.

YEAH!

Thanks for not giving me the speeding ticket. Thanks for not issuing those other 8 tickets you were apparently going to give me. (At least you didn’t force me to ride my bike home, after you spotted it in the back seat.) But I’m sorry my front license plate got ripped off in a car wash and had to be temporarily stuffed between my dashboard and windshield. And I’m glad the frame celebrating me as an “alumni” of my university on the back license plate is illegal. It’s Tuesday and this week already blows.

My phone has been blowing up daily with emails from banks suggesting I would make a great financial adviser based off my resume that shows no previous experience in the profession, and shady-sounding companies asking me to “work from home” and deliver packages that are guaranteed to be “drug and weapon free”. Right. I shouldn’t be handling the finances of others with five bucks in my wallet,and shipping what is probably someone’s stolen kidneys to another country isn’t where I saw myself in ten years. Back to the drawing board, and much more suffering to be done over my attempt at writing this book.

In other news:

This deer ALMOST ate out of my hand. Not that I’m sure I really wanted him to. But it would have been pretty awesome. (Check the sports bra and running shoes, post bike ride to feed the gnarly-looking kitties on Peace Pipe Way. I am the official cat lady of the Poconos.)

He was a big fatty. Saved none for the rest of them.

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Work, work, beer, work, write.

The order of those things should probably be a little different. Write, work…beer?…work. Something like that. Sometimes “write” and “beer” can join forces.

While I am completely aware that my parents are proud of my accomplishments thus far – proud enough to post my next handful of missions in life on Facebook – any talk of my plan terrifies me. I feel it’s going to jinx me in some way; if everyone keeps quiet, ten years from now I could be be nursing a cramping hand after signing the 100th copy of my latest novel, chai tea by my side, posted by a hardback display of my head shot in a Barnes & Noble. Oh, and I’d be wearing glasses and a scarf. The accessories of an intelligent novelist, of course.

BUT!

If friends and family continue to receive a play-by-play of the career I don’t even have yet….I’m doomed. I’m hopeless. I’ll still be waiting tables and paying to put my own shitty book on the shelves. Now I realize how stupid this sounds, but I am superstitious about these things. Hmph.
For a writer with serious A.D.D., short stories have always been my preference. However, after taking a course called Writing the Novel in my last semester, I tested the waters of writing something a tad more lengthy. Seven chapters and about 40 pages later, I’m pretty damn proud of how far I’ve come. Of course since graduating and not having a professor and five of my peers breathing down my neck to get the latest chapter completed, my progress has slowed a bit. I’m hoping to take a writing workshop this summer that will keep my level of motivation high.

I have not yet come up with any sort of title, something that was always one of my favorite parts of writing a new piece. But somehow, I feel that makes me more serious about this one. Hm. It’s sort of a horror-crime-murder-mystery (horror is my strong point), taking place in 1985. I thought writing in the 80s would be a good challenge for me, and I love the clothing and music of the era, of course. Who doesn’t enjoy big hair and acid-wash jeans? Anyway….

The time is 1985. Summer. Queens. Angel Vasco lives in the usually quiet neighborhood of Southside with her sister, Sarah Vasco. Angel dances at Half Moon Nightclub, located in the noisier Northside. Angel is strong, fairly intelligent, and uses her sexuality to get what she wants. Sarah is the weaker of the two sisters: quiet, very much a push-over, goes through a string of abusive relationships that worries Angel. After Angel is raped by a man that confronts her in her dressing room after a show, she gives in to anger and revenge that gives birth to a rather bloody series of events.

Publish-worthy? I sure hope so.

There is a bit more to the story that I hope to execute well: the relationship Angel had with her late mother, the strains on the relationship between Angel and Sarah, how their father abandoned them after their mother passed away. Aside from a story about murder, it is a story about self-discovery and family.

Sneak-peak:

Before the ground had settled around a small headstone that read “Mary Ann Vasco 1930 – 1965”, our father was already miles away from us, drowning in vodka and reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Over the next thirteen years, our conversations were scattered, as he sank into the dip in his armchair and I was forced to teach Sarah (and myself) how to do homework and tie shoelaces, our father only providing us with the necessities of food and shelter. We were suffocated with small mumbles and goodbyes until on my 18th birthday, he left. That’s the day my skin hardened and I shoved the card and whatever bullshit explanation he had left into the trash without ever opening it.

Now, as I stood before my broken sister, I blamed myself for shielding her during those years instead of throwing her straight into the storm. I had developed a protective shell – she lay exposed and constantly defenseless.

I let out a long breath and went back to my room, once again digging through the pile of delicates in the corner, finally pulling out a thin elastic band covered in a mesh of black lace. I pulled on a pair of Levis and a blue sweater that hung off one shoulder, Sarah silent now in the next room. I stuffed the garters into a leather u-shaped pocketbook embellished with stringy fringe and grabbed another bag filled with makeup and perfumes; I mumbled a goodbye as I made my way down the hall, grabbing a bottle of Evian before loudly making my way out the front door and down three flights of hot stairs to the street.

I knew Sarah would never tell me who gave her the bruise; she would wear sunglasses in the market and call out of work, tell people she slipped climbing out of the tub. After our father left Sarah and I were forced out of our small home in a somewhat clean suburb of New York. We moved into a smaller apartment in Queens and she crumbled.
Comments? Anything? Is this thing on?

If you’re stuck in New Jersey as I am, be careful in the heat. You  know it’s bad when the weather application on your phone shows a little cactus next to Wednesday and Thursday. Ugh.

Angel Vasco’s theme song.

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I figured this was a good idea.

It’s been 24 days since my college graduation and I’m already tired of sleeping until noon and having no homework to complete an hour before class. What a life.

I received my Bachelor’s in Writing Arts, and have been aimlessly searching the internet for “interesting” editing jobs for the past few weeks. Just one week after leaving college I had sent my resume to about 3 places, didn’t hear anything back right away, and proceeded to hide under my covers until five in the afternoon contemplating my future; of course, I was already convinced that I didn’t have one.

And so begins my journey to finding what I lovingly refer to as a “big girl” job, all while working in a corporate restaurant, having some sort of social life, attempting my first novel, and trying not to bang my head against a wall or swan dive into one of the fryers at work.

Oh…and I thought a blog would be a good way of keeping my creative juices flowing (those juices that consist mostly of Belgian Ales and margaritas).

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