Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Being home all day with a baby leads to a lot of time for introspection and thought. Far more than is probably good for me, but hey, that's how it goes. A while ago I got lost scrolling through my Facebook timeline. Looking back through the years at all the things I've done and the stupid things I've said. If you want some major nostalgia that's where to go.

When I got to the point Before Matt, about 5 years ago, things started getting weird. I was a very different person 6 years ago, and further back from there, I was a teenager. Yikes. I am not always proud of who I was back then. I made a lot of bad decisions, and ran away from a lot of my problems. When things were hard, too grown up, or just unpleasant, I would hole up and hide.

I could have blamed a lot of it on my depression and anxiety. I only really was starting to regularly take medication for it in 2010. When I was a young teenager, and until I was at least twenty, I kept on seeing my depression as a phase, something that I could grow out of or something that would go away after taking meds for 6 months. I wanted to wake up one day and say "Look, the depression I've had since I was eight is cured! Hurray!" I blamed a lot of things on my depression, and it wasn't until later that I slapped myself in the face and told myself to stop running away from something that I was going to have to learn to live with for my whole life. I was finally in a good place emotionally so I could do that, and I was finally starting to gain some self esteem. I stopped using my depression as a crutch, and started enjoying my life. My brain chemistry just needs a little help to be balanced, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I may not be proud of a lot of the things I did or who I was back then, but I don't really regret any of it. I am who I am today because of the choices I made, and I wouldn't change a thing about my life. I learn from making mistakes, and all the mistakes I made helped me to become the person that was able to fall in love with Matt, and to be the kind of person that he could love in return. Its crazy what can happen in a year, and even crazier what's happened in the last 5 years. Seriously, I met Matt almost five years ago. I graduated from high school almost 8 years ago. I keep thinking that Matt and I are still newlyweds, and then I remember that we have a baby, and a house, and three cats, and none of that happened overnight.

I'm glad for all the people who have stuck with me through the years. I know I'm not the same person who I was when we met, but I've been growing into a better version of that person. I'm like a Pokemon. I started off as a Charmander, and now I'm a Charizard, ready to do battle with the elite 4. Okay, maybe I'm not that cool yet, but I'm at the very least a pretty spiffy Charmelon. Or a Vaporeon. Or a Dragonair. Okay, I don't know what kind of Pokemon I want to be. One of the original 150, at least.

But seriously, thank you to all the people in my life who are growing and experiencing life with me.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Roller Coaster Ride of a Year

When I was a kid I really enjoyed a video game called Roller Coaster Tycoon, a simulation game where you designed and managed your own theme park. My favorite part was designing the roller coasters to be as exciting and intense as I could. The more loops and corckscrews, the better, though I never understood why the guests in my park would jump in fright and say ‘This ride looks too intense for me!’.

After the last year, especially the past three months, I think I understand now, and I wouldn't mind a gentler ride.

Matt and I were thrilled and somewhat terrified to find out we would be having a child, but I really wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to hate being pregnant. Seriously, I knew it was going to be rough, but I was not prepared for three months of heartburn at the end there. So, despite all the horror stories about labor I had heard, I was pretty excited when my contractions started. Thirty-three hours later when Owen was finally born, Matt and I were exhausted, but happy to greet our son. 5 lbs, 7 oz, 18 inches long.

Only a few hours later when the pediatrician came in to check on Owen, we were told that it looked like he had Down Syndrome, and were going to run some blood tests as well as take him down to check his heart. This felt like being hit by a truck onto some train tracks where we were promptly run over by a freight train. We had not even considered the possibility that anything like this could happen. Every ultrasound I had during the pregnancy told us how healthy the baby looked.

We had barely had time to recover from this when my parents arrived to meet Owen, then the nurses came to take him for his heart tests. Matt went with Owen, and we only expected them to be gone for an hour or so.
The nurses taking Owen away

During the test, Owen’s oxygen levels kept dropping, and they admitted him into the NICU, where he spent the next six days.

That time was a blur of poor sleep and intense stress. Owen wasn’t breastfeeding well, Matt had stopped eating unless reminded, while I wanted to eat everything in sight. The hospital let us stay in an extra room for free while Owen was in the NICU, and my mom provisioned us up, and every three hours we were going down to see our baby, after which I would pump and we would try to catch a nap between visitors. It was during this time, of course, that we got confirmation of Owen’s diagnosis, and had to start coming to terms with the fact that our son has Down Syndrome.

We both of course made the mistake of google, and became instantly overwhelmed with everything. I can say with a certainty that those 6 days were the worst, most insane, most intensely difficult days of my life. Luckily, Owen is a champ, and wanted out of the hospital as much as we did, and we were able to bring him home healthy and adorable.

He’s continued to do amazing, and is growing and learning new things every day. I love my son so much; watching him and Matt make faces at each other is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. I am extremely lucky to have Matt by my side through all of this. He’s been there for me to cry on his shoulder when I’m overwhelmed or depressed, just like I’ve been there for him. It’s going to be an interesting journey raising Owen. The only thing I know for certain is the future is going to be different than what I imagined it would be like when I was pregnant, but it will be its own kind of awesome. I try to keep it at that thought. If I think too far ahead, I start imagining all of the maybes and possibilities that could happen, and I lose track of what’s important. Owen may have Down syndrome, but like any other child on the planet he is going to grow and develop at his own pace, and my job is to help him to do just that. I don't think the ride will get any less crazy, but I hope that I can learn to enjoy it better.

Photo taken by my sister, Sarah Hatch

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

It probably seems a little silly that I'm getting all psyched and stuff for November and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated) when we're not even a third of the way through October. I have a few good reasons to be doing so.
Last year I started off pretty strong, and only made it to about 20 K out of the 50 K goal. Granted I was in school and working and life was pretty mad. Heck, I'm having a hard time really even remembering if that was indeed last year. Life is a blur, my friends. I never picked that manuscript up and finished it, though. And I find that most unacceptable.
I am trying to follow the advice listed in the Writing Excuses podcast of 'Just Write', and the example of Brandon Sanderson who wrote around a dozen books before he was actually published. I'm really hoping it doesn't take me writing another 10 stories before one finally gets picked up, but if it does, so be it. I'll be better off for it because I'll have written that much.
So this years NaNo, I'm really wanting to get another story of at least 50K words by the end of the month. I'm not actually gearing to have my story necessarily only be 50K words long, I'm probably going to shoot for the finished Manuscript to be 80K. But I don't think that can be done in one month without me failing my classes and losing my mind.
NaNoWriMo does not really match my preferred writing style. I'm a Discovery Writer who likes to pretend to write the occasional outline, whilst jumping from project to project as I get an idea. I'm trying to allow my natural writing process to evolve with that, but if I want to meet my NaNo goal I need to do something different. Which is why I'm going to do a Structure Outline.
Most of the books I've read about Outlining a story delve mostly into the story, building characters and settings, and working out when and where things need to happen. I don't really like doing that, as I find it dull. So I want to try something different, by working out what the structure and plot of the story is going to be in the form of Acts and Scenes, and work out approximately how many words for each of these I need to write. While this is a lot more outlining than I normally do, I'm hoping it will still give me the freedom I like in Discovery Writing where I can get a feel for the characters as they progress through the story.
If you've gotten to this point in the blog post, you're almost definitely wondering why in the world I'm telling you this, and why in the world you should care. I'm actually just trying to sort out my ideas, and the best way for me to do that is to write.
I'll maybe post more about my NaNo preparations as the month progresses, in which case you'll now know better, and wont feel the need to read it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Need to Post more. D:

I am sitting at a coffee shop with my dearest Matt and Kame, and I said that I need to post more on here, so I decided to go ahead and post. HA.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Trying to get back into some painting. there's most definitely room for improvement

Friday, October 26, 2012

The best and worst in High Fantasy

High Fantasy is a genre with a lot of good, and a whole lot more bad, and it seems like no one can really agree on what exactly it is that makes the genre good or bad. And it's such a wide genre that it's really not surprising.
I've been reading a lot of high fantasy lately, a kick started by the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I hadn't given the genre a lot of attention lately, because everything I had read was... blah. Mistborn, then subsequently everything else Sanderson has written completely wowed me and renewed my interest in the genre. There are three things that set his novels above the rest in it's genre. Strong Female Characters. Detailed Magic Systems. An Extraordinary Plot.
High fantasy isn't known for it's strong female characters. The Hobbit didn't have any women at all. Game of Thrones... er, well, I'll get more into that later. Sanderson actually creates real and vivid female characters. I'd almost say he's better at writing women than men. As a lady, it's refreshing to see that not all male authors see women the same way, as flat, predictable characters that do exactly what men seem to want them to do.
Sanderson's magic systems are, in a word, daunting. I try to think of creating something so intricate and involved, and I get a stomach ache. And each of his series has a different one. I would say he fleshes out his magic systems far more than any other writer that I've read, and that's okay. Fantasy doesn't necessarily need magic to be fantastical, and really, you don't need to understand how it works. Lord of the Rings has very little 'magic' in the traditional sense, yet it is a paragon of the genre. Harry Potter has a whole lot of magic, but Rowling doesn't need to explain it in great detail. But wow, is it impressive what Sanderson has done with his novels. His attention to the minutiae and rules of magic give a very structured frame to the world, giving characters clear cut boundaries that they cannot cross over, no matter how high their power level is. Even if it's over 9000.
He gives the same attention to detail to his plots as he does his magic system. Really, the plot and the characters showcase this, as is shown in the Mistborn novels. A theme from those books is showcased in the rest of his stories, "There's always another secret." He shows that reversals can be surprising and awesome, even if you're expecting it. The only book I predicted the reversal in was Elantris, and even then I only guessed about half of it. If I tried harder, I think I could have guessed the endings of the other books, but I was having such a good time reading, following the characters, learning the magic system, exploring the vivid worlds created, that I really didn't care to try. That is something great.
Oncce I'd read everything Sanderson had to offer, I decided to move on to another popular High Fantasy series, one that has it's very own HBO series. Game of Thrones was... disappointing. I finished Game of Thrones and even checked the second book out from the library. I then proceeded to not read it, playing Skyrim and Harvest Moon instead. I was intrigued at first, the world seemed interesting. Summer and Winter weren't yearly, instead lasting for years. The storyline with the exiled children of the dethroned king piqued my interest. The northern wall, and the threat that lies beyond it sounds awesome. The rest though? Eh. Too much sex, WAY too much incest, flat boring female characters, and male characters that are almost as bad. The only parts I enjoyed were barely touched on and not fleshed out, I assume for later books, but I don't care enough to read further. George R.R. Martin failed to deliver a satisfying enough story that I would be content with so many unanswered questions and incomplete plot lines. Spoiler here: And the 'big reversal' of the King's children actually being the children of his sister and her twin brother. Sooo not surprising and a little gross. End of spoiler.
So, I'm starting Sword of Shanara, as I never got around to reading it in high school. I've heard good things, so here's to hoping!  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Writing, Writing, Writing Away

Over the last three days I've put down over 10,000 words on a new project I'm working on, and I'm pretty sure I'm only about half-way, three quarters through the first act. It's really encouraging to me that I've been doing this, because it's what I really want to be doing with my life. It makes having to go to work that much harder. So, my goal is to really push through writing this manuscript and by November or December really start working on getting it edited up. 2013 is the year I want to publish. Granted, 2012 was the year I wanted to publish as well, but I see now that Aether might just need to be put on the backburner a little.

When I get to that point with this manuscript that I'm looking for agents again, I could really use any and all support, good thoughts and fairy godmothers I can get. I could use those right now too. I'm pursuing my dream, giving it my all, and I believe that my hard work can pay off.

Back to writing now~