I think the most important thing is just to write. It sounds so simple, but sometimes it's not. You can get so distracted - -by having to work other jobs, or what other people have to say about your writing - -but the one thing that really matters is that you just keep going, especially when you're working on a novel. It's so easy to get discouraged and give up.
When I was in high school, I was always really envious of those girls who seemed to have everything: the perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect boyfriend, perfect life. It wasn't until I was older that I realized that nobody's life is perfect, and that those girls probably had a lot of the same problems I did.
Everyone laughed, and just like that, the conversation shifted, jumping to another topic. It was fast and furious, the talking, the emotions, the back-and-forth and forth-and-back. I realized that if I tried to focus on it too much, I got overwhelmed. So I just decided to relax into it, bumpy and crazy as it might be, and try for once to just go along for the ride.
If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful, before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don't work out the way you want, hold your head up high and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!
Well, it's New Year's now but I don't feel that way anymore. I wonder if you do either. Something's happening to me. It's like I'm shrinking smaller and smaller and I can't stp it. There's just os much wrong that I can't imagine the shame in admitting even the tiniest part of it. When you left it was like there was this huge gap to fill, but instead of spreading wide enough to do it I just fell right in, and I'm still falling. Like I'm half-asleep, and I can't wake up, can't wake up....
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But she wouldn't. I knew that already. My mother and I had an understanding: we worked together to be as much in control of our shared world as possible. I was suposed to be her other half, carrying my share of the weight. In the last few weeks, I'd tried to shed it, and doing so sent everything off kilter. So of course she would pull me tighter, keeping me in my place, because doing so meant she would always be sure, somehow, of her own.
I am the middle sister. The one in between. Not oldest, not youngest, not boldest, not nicest. I am the shade of gray, the glass half empty or full, depending on your view. In my life, there has been little that I have done first or better than the one preceding or following me. Of all of us, though, I am the only one who has been broken.
But what he didn't understand was that this dreamland was preferable,walking through this life half-sleeping,everything at arm's length or farther away. I understood those mermaids.I didn't care if they sang to me.All I wanted was to block out all the human voices as they called me name again and again,pulling me upward into light,to drown.
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I was actually pretty miserable in high school. I couldn't wait for it to be over. And when it finally was, I remember sitting at graduation with all these classmates getting nostalgic and emotional already and all I could think was, "Get me out of here. I never want to see you people again." So it's ironic that I spend half my day putting myself back there by choice [while writing].
I just can't ever be a free spirit and just relax. When it comes to work, this is good. I'm very disciplined, which with writing is often half the battle, or more. But it also means that if I want to, say, play hooky and chocolate and watch Bravo all afternoon, I feel horribly guilty. I wish I could find a nice balance.
Look. We both know life is short, Macy. Too short to waste a single second with anyone who doesn't appreciate and value you." You said the other day life was long," I shot back. "Which is it?" It's both," she said, shrugging. "It all depends on how you choose to live it. It's like forever, always changing." Nothing can be two opposite things at once," I said. "It's impossible." No," she replied, squeezing my hand, "what's impossible is that we actually think it could be anything OTHER than that.
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As I stepped out to face myself in the mirror, reaching a hand to smooth away the steam, I saw myself differently. It was as if I had grown again as I slept, but this time just to fit my own size. As if my soul had expanded, filling out the gaps of the height that had burdened me all these months. Like a balloon filling slowly with air, becoming all smooth and buoyant, I felt like I finally fit within myself, edge to edge, every crevice filled.
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Some people, they can't just move on, you know, mourn and cry and be done with it. Or at least seem to be. But for me... I don't know. I didn't want to fix it, to forget. It wasn't something that was broken. It's just... something that happened. And like that hole, I'm just finding ways, every day, of working around it. Respecting and remembering and getting on at the same time.
We'd start slow, the way we always did, because the run, and the game, could go on for awhile. Maybe even forever. That was the thing. You just never knew. Forever was so many different things. It was always changing, it was what everything was really all about. It was twenty minutes, or a hundred years, or just this instant, or any instant I wished would last and last. But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered, and that was this: it was happening. Right then, as I ran with Wes into that bright sun, and every moment afterwards. Look, there. Now. Now. Now.
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Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.
It didn't make you noble to step away from something that wasn't working, even if you thought you were the reason for the malfunction. Especially then. It just made you a quitter. Because if you were the problem, chances were you could also be the solution. The only way to find out was to take another shot.
As for me, I was just trying to get it right, whatever that means. But now I finally felt I was on my way. Everyone had a forever, but given a choice, this would be mine. The one that began in this moment, with Wes, in a kiss that took my breath away, then gave it back - leaving meastounded, amazed and most of all, alive.
It seemed like this day could go in so many directions, like a spiderweb shooting out toward endless possibilities. Whenever you made a choice, especially one you'd been resisting, it always affected everything else, some in big ways, like a tremor beneath your feet, others in so tiny a shift you hardly noticed a change at all. But it was happening.
Maybe the truth was, it shouldn't be so easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It's the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something's difficult to come by, you'll do that much more to make sure it's even harder-if not impossible-to lose.
Yes,' he said, 'a list. That way, I figure, we'll have a written record of what we've agreed upon as our goals for our relationship. So if problems arise, we'll be able to consult the lists, see which issue it corresponds to, and work out a solution from there.' I could still hear my sister talking, but her voice was fading as she led her group around the house. I said, 'But what if that doesn't work?' Jason blinked at me. Then he said, 'Why wouldn't it?' 'Because,' I said. He just looked at me. 'Because... ' 'Because,' I repeated, as a breeze blew over us,' sometimes things just happen. That aren't expected. Or on the list.' 'Such as?' he asked. 'I don't know,' I said, frustrated. 'That's the point. It would be out of the blue, taking us by surprise. Something we might not be prepared for.' 'But we will be prepared,' he said, confused. 'We'll have the list.' I rolled my eyes. 'Jason,' I said. 'Macy, I'm sorry.' He stepped back, looking at me. 'I just don't understand what you're trying to say.' And then it hit me: he didn't. He had no idea. And this thought was so ludicrous, so completely unreal, that I knew it just had to be true. For Jason, there was no unexpected, no surprises. His whole life was outlined carefully, in lists and sublists, just like the ones I'd helped him go through all those weeks ago. 'It's just... ' I said and stopped, shaking my head. 'It's just what?' He was waiting, genuinely wanting to know. 'Explain it to me.' But I couldn't. I'd had to learn it my own way, and so had my mother. Jason would eventually, as well. No one could tell you: you just had to go through it on your own. If you were lucky, you came out on the other side and understood. If you didn't, you kept getting thrust back, retracing those steps, until you finally got it right.
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Jennifer Anne had prepared some complicated-looking recipe involving chicken breasts stuffed with sweet potatoes topped with a vegetable glaze. They looked perfect, but it was the kind of dish where you just knew someone had to have been pawing at your food for a long while to get it just right, their fingers all in what now you were having to stick in your mouth.
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I can still see Boo sitting there on the floor, cross-legged, holding my Ken and watching my face as she tried to make me see that between my mother'sPTA and Boo's strange ways there was a middle ground that began here with my Barbie, Sab-rina, and led right to me. "She can be anything, " Boo told me, and this is what I remember most, her freckled face so solemn, as if she knew she was the first to tell me. "And so can you.
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Outside, the ocean was crashing, waves hitting sand, then pulling back to sea. I thought of everything being washed away, again and again. We make such messes in this life, both accidentally and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn't really make anything neater. It just masks what is below. It's only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are.
It was so quiet, I could hear my own breathing, loud in my ears. Outside, the ocean was crashing, waves hitting sand, then pulling back to sea. I thought of everything being washed away, again and again. We make such messes in this life, both accidentally and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn't really make anything any neater. It just masks what is below. It's only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are.
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It's funny how one summer can change everything. It must be something about the heat and the smell of chlorine, fresh-cut grass and honeysuckle, asphalt sizzling after late-day thunderstorms, the steam rising while everything drips around it. Something about long, lazy days and whirring air conditioners and bright plastic flip-flops from the drugstore thwacking down the street. Something about fall being so close, another year, another Christmas, another beginning. So much in one summer, stirring up like the storms that crest at the end of each day, blowing out all the heat and dirt to leave everything gasping and cool. Everyone can reach back to one summer and lay a finger to it, finding the exact point when everything changed. That summer was mine.
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