Monday, December 13, 2010

Action, Action, We want Action, A-C-T-I-O-N. . .

I currently feel like I am in a sort of limbo as far as my ideas are concerned. I have finished a novella, of which I am basically tired of. In fact, I stopped liking the story I was telling about 3/4 of the way through and now that it has been completed for about two weeks, I have no desire to ever see it again. With that being said, I do intend to edit it, rewrite and then attempt to market it.

More exciting, I have begun a new novel, which I keep much closer to my heart than my previous work. I am eighteen pages in, and although I haven't written for the novel in about a week, I already know where I am going and how I am going to get there. I very much so think this will be my best piece of writing yet, and all I need to do is work at the novel every day.

Since all I have been doing lately is churning out pieces of writing that are (apparently) unworthy of being published or larger works which take more time and effort to be perfected, I need to get myself a day job. Or decide if I want to go back to school. My next course of action as far as this area of my life is concerned is to weigh my options and make a decision.

A large part of me would like to go back to school for any number of things- a Masters in Creative Writing or in Women's and Gender Studies, or Comparative Literature. . . I could apply at The New School or UPenn or the University of Miami. . .The possibilities are endless! Just thinking about being back in a classroom has me excited- perhaps that makes me a bit masochistic, but truly, I love learning and so a natural next step for me would be to continue with my education.

The more practical side of me knows it would be best to get a steady job, so I have more security. I could attempt to get a job as a journalist, or as a paid online blogger, both as attempts to stay in the field I was educated for. I could always take a job at a coffee shop or as a store clerk, so I would always have time for my writing. The possibility has also crossed my mind that I could very easily train to be a personal trainer. Waking up early and getting all my training done would be ideal for me to continue to write, and as an added bonus, I will be outdoors, working with people toward a goal we share: health and well-being.

I need to get my priorities in order, make some decisions, and stick with them and take some action in order to turn some of my internal thoughts, hopes, and dreams into reality.

For those of you just tuning in to Lost Discoverer, during the month of December I have been participating in #Reverb10; an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Today's prompt came from author Scott Belsky: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 Things My Life Doesn't Need in 2011

In no particular order:
1.) LAZINESS. It has become so easy for me to hit the snooze button or turn off the alarm and not get out of bed. I don't have a nine to five (or, to be more accurate a 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.) schedule anymore, so there is very little which I "need" to wake up for, but really I am not doing myself any favors by starting out my day with an unintended extra hour of sleep. In fact, I feel like by snoozing I set myself up for a lazy and unproductive day. How do I get past the ever-beckoning snooze button? By scheduling my day so there is no room for being lazy: Writing in the morning and sequestering myself from all distractions.

2.)PROCRASTINATION. Okay, this goes hand-in-hand with laziness, but really, in order to eliminate one I feel like I need to eliminate the other. If I want to stop using the snooze button I need to stop telling myself I can get it all done later. "I have all the time in the world," I say, as I flip through the Morning Shows after sleeping in an extra hour-- then somehow it is 4 p.m. and I am supposed to be meeting my friends for dinner at 6 in King of Prussia and I haven't worked out, had a shower or written a thing because I have been watching a documentary on Dying Stars. Well, NO MORE.

3.)MAKING EXCUSES. The boy knows I am famous for making excuses. "I didn't write today because I woke up too late and needed to get my workout done." "I had the piece of cake because it was for the Holiday Party, I figured it would be rude not to, everyone else was having some." "I can't find my other one so I had to buy this one, which is nicer." I have an excuse for everything. But really, an excuse is something you hide behind when you have done something wrong. You know it. The other person knows it. The only solution is to stop making excuses and start making changes.

4.)DOUBT. Obviously there will always be uncertainty in my life, but there is no reason for me to have a lack of faith in myself or what my future holds. I need to be more positive and confident in myself.

5.)COMPULSIVE SHOPPING & BROWSING. I feel like everyone does it (or maybe that is just an excuse): I walk into a store, try something on, talk to the shopkeeper and then I feel as though I HAVE to buy something, to make all my time and effort and chatter feel more worthwhile. Or maybe there is such a good sale I need to browse- I wouldn't be doing myself or my friends justice if I just walked on by without seeing if there was anything perfect for someone (and a deal!). I can sit for an hour and browse an online store, but I can't sit for an hour and force myself to stare at a screen, forcing myself to write. Why the mindless browsing? I don't have time to psycho-analyze myself so I am going to chalk it up to a love of nice things and good deals. Regardless, it needs to be altered if not stopped. Maybe I can save online shopping/browsing for an end-of-day hobby as opposed to an all-day event.

6.)CLUTTER. It is all over my desk, in my closet and hiding in my still-to-be-unpacked moving boxes in the garage and various closets. I just need to eliminate all unwanted and unused goods, donate what I can, and only then will l be free.

7.)DRAMA. I'm not saying I expect 2011 to be without set-backs, heartaches or arguments, I am just saying I don't need any created drama- the type of drama which is caused simply to achieve drama, make a stir and shake things up. How will I get rid of it? See numbers eight and nine.

8.)PASSING JUDGEMENT. I hate that I internally and outwardly express my approval of people, it makes me feel terrible about myself and I am sure if others knew what I was doing they would dislike me. I am very strongly against racism, sexism, homophobia and ageism, so why would I speak negatively about others? It is horribly wrong of others to treat people with less respect just because they are not the same as them; so why would I snigger at someone who is wearing something a size too small or talk about someone who I think is not doing what they should? To take a line from Mahatma Gandhi, I "must be the change (I) wish to see in the world". I will stop rating people and imposing my standards on them, in hopes the rest of my little world will follow my lead.

9.)GOSSIP. Stop spreading it and stop listening to it.

10.)FAILURE TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE. I love writing thank you cards, and although I have made an attempt to write Thank You's to those who have helped me pull off a party or brought over a housewarming gift, I feel like I need write them more often. Even more than that, I think just saying the words "Thank You" and meaning them is something I have somehow gone through my adult life without doing. Maybe it is because I don't like having others do things for me, so I try not to acknowledge when someone has gone out of their way for me, because I am in some way embarrassed? Regardless, I am going to be better at being thankful and expressing my appreciation.

11.)SELF DEPRECATION. Often, when talking with my friends or family or even when I am alone and browsing through a magazine or watching a movie, I compare myself with the model/actress/person walking by and pick myself apart-- saying things like "I wish I had her body", "If only I could drop a few more pounds," or "I will never be that skinny again." Why all the self-hatred? I made it a priority in my life last year to become more healthy, and I have more than stuck to my goals- so I should be happy with what I have accomplished- not striving for some unattainable and largely unhealthy ideal. I will never be 5'8" and rail thin. My hair and makeup cannot be professionally styled every day. But I can continue to be my 5'3", healthy, and radiant self. All I can do is be the best version of myself, whatever that may entail. So, I am saying so-long to that age-old game of comparisons and focusing on what is right for me.

What are eleven things you don't need in your life in 2011? How will you eliminate them?

Friday, December 10, 2010


Today's Reverb prompt is in regards to the best decision I made all year and how it has effected me.

This is hard. I run through a multitude of big decisions I have made- moving in with the boy, relocating to Florida for the winters so I can be with him, quitting my day job and starting to write, beginning this blog-- and I realized these were all great decisions which I mostly made at the end of 2009, not 2010. Now I panic, I can't think of a single decision I made this year!

Of course there have been decisions I have had to make which go beyond the every-day sort of scuffle you have with yourself over the chocolate chip mocha fudge or the handful of nuts as dessert; not that those conclusions have no effect on me-- but I digress. Jamie and I decided to buy our new house, we decided to live closer to nature and we plan on making steps to become more self-sufficient (agriculturally) come next spring. . . But really that whole thing got started by our decision to look for a new house in Pennsylvania. Actually, I suppose the best decision we made was to stay in Pennsylvania.

We were considering making a move to a city and state where we could be active year-round, or at least where we had more nature and a wider variety of activities more available to us-- we loved Asheville, North Carolina, and all of Colorado and California seemed vibrant and progressive. In the end, we decided to give Pennsylvania another chance because it was where a majority of both our families still reside.

The agreement to remain in Pennsylvania has been one of the greatest decisions we could have made- thankfully both of us have been able to spend plenty of time with our families, which became especially important to me when my grandfather fell ill in August and continued to take turns for the worse before passing away in October. I was able to visit my grandfather almost every day, and it was easy for me to spend time with other family while we came to grips with my grandfather's situation. I am forever thankful for all of the stories I was able to hear from my grandfather and grandmother, and all the support we were able to give each other. If I had moved to another state I would never have been able to share those special and intimate moments with my family.

Now that my grandfather is gone, my grandmother is obviously having a hard time adjusting. I cannot imagine what it would be like to loose your best friend, lover, and confidant after over 60 years of being together. I visit my grandmother every week, and try to help her through everything she is going through. I have talked to my grandmother more these last three months than I had in my past 26 years of being her granddaughter. My grandmother has shared stories of her childhood, of motherhood, and gone through all of her memories via her large collection of photo albums. I feel so much more connected to my grandmother, and even though he is gone, my grandfather- just because I was able to spend the time to talk to each of them. Again, I know the only reason we have become so close and I have learned so much is because of my decision to remain in Pennsylvania.

While a large part of me wishes I was off exploring a new town or a new adventure, I will be forever thankful that I made the decision to remain nearby my family- without them I would not be the person I am today, and hopefully they feel my gratitude every time I see them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I would have to say our Black and White Party 2010 was my favorite party this year.

Black and White Party is a tradition the boy and I started way back in our first year of dating as a way for our friends and families to get together and have a good time. The premise for the party is friends from every stage in our lives get invited to come imbibe, our only request is they come dressed in black and white semi-formal attire.

We send out the invitations a month ahead of time, and the rest is left up to chance (at least as far as who comes), so we always have a great mix of people- my high school friends get to meet my college friends, people I met at work go play night golf with my friend from high school cross-country, friends and family from two hours away to two states away, or even California come to celebrate our friendship and meet new people. Many a friendship and even a few romances have blossomed out of Black and White Parties over the years, and the stories we have from the parties past are as plentiful as they are hilarious.

This year was special because Jamie and I were able to hold it at our new house, our own house, for the first time. So this year Black and White Party somehow felt much more personal.

As we were welcoming our friends and family into our home for the first time I felt pure joy- my friends finally were getting to see a part of my life they hadn't really had a window on yet. Being able to open up your home is a lot like letting people in on your inner thoughts; I truly feel your home is a reflection of yourself and your relationship with whomever you are sharing yourself with.

I think it was a lot of the little things which made Black and White party 2010 special: cooking a large meal for all of my friends in my own kitchen; my sister cooking the dessert for me, delicious cakes; not being able to get my friends out of the kitchen; giving house tours for the first time; cleaning up spills; making up beds; enjoying our deck and listening to the music as it changed from jazz to alternative to rap throughout the night and into the morning. . . Life feels so real on nights you are enjoying with friends. Though my day was rushed with preparation, and even the night went at warp speed it was nice to slow down after dinner was done and all there was left to do was sip my champagne and talk. Nights like that just feel-- timeless.

It was great to see people's reactions to our decor, it was interesting explaining to people how to find our little house in the woods, and it was gratifying to host our first party in our new house with such success. Most importantly, the Black and White Party will be one of our first memories made in the new house, and I love that one of our first memories will be shared with so many great friends.

Here are a few photos from prior years:

What was your favorite party/social event this year? Why?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Letting Go

This year, I let go of my emotions. What I mean to say is that I tried to, when provoked, let go of any anger or jealousy and work past my emotions in an effort to be more rational and open.

I realized acting out, screaming, or (worse) internalizing everything I felt was actually making me stressed, and was harming my relationships with others. When I raised my voice to my boyfriend he would shut down, but if I talked out my emotions rationally, he could understand why I was upset, and we could both work out a solution. My boyfriend actually talks to me more readily and is no longer afraid to come to me with complaints, questions or concerns. I am not saying I am perfect and never become agitated or upset, but I have learned to talk about my anger, thoughts, and feelings as soon as they arise in a balanced and calm manner.

Prior to this year I would get angry when I found out people were talking behind my back or if they would say something underhanded, and I would let my feelings marinate until my feelings towards them would sour. Thankfully, this year I learned to just let go- obviously they have lost sight of their emotions, or their relationship with me, perhaps they no longer see me fore who I am, or cannot accept the changes in me-- but is that a reason for me to be angry? My new learned response to that question is a firm No. I have learned to accept myself for who I am, and more recently I have learned to accept the fact that not everyone will accept me one hundred percent of the time, and that is no reason for me to be upset. Obviously I would rather someone come to me when they feel I am acting badly, or whatever their gripe might be, but I have taken the adage "Treat others as you wish to be treated" and run with it.

I guess my main theme is I no longer hold any grudges, and it has set me free.

What do you need to Let go of?

(((images courtesy of OMGLOG)))

Friday, December 3, 2010


This year I felt most alive with the wind whipping through my hair, 3,899 feet in the air.

For Seven miles we walked through various terrain, up small hils, scrambling around large rocks, over and through rushing creeks. All the while we breathed easier- the air was fresh, the day was ours for the taking. Out in the wild I feel as though I am living more fully than I ever could indoors- there is something about hiking that brings the truth out of life, the beauty. When I am hiking I feel in tune with nature and with myself, I feel the strength of my legs, I marvel at my mind solving problems and making decisions.

The last half mile is the best simply because it is the most challenging- our jaunt through the woods takes a steep turn and you have to climb most of your way. My boyfriend made it up easily, and asked if I needed assistance, which I resisted- I needed to do this on my own. I stared at the sheer rock-face in front of me and then pressed my body against it, it was wet with runoff, and cool to touch. The trickling water was clear and beautiful, but also dangerous for my climb. The rough notches carved with the hands of time and the smell of earth filled me with respect. I needed to know this rock before I could climb it, or was it climbing it which would teach me the rock's inner secrets? The hoots of my boyfriend's joy at making it to the top snapped me back into reality: I backed away and thought ahead a few footholds before beginning.

"You can do it," I told myself, and began up. I stayed close to the rock, and worked hard to pull myself up, my muscles were burning but my adrenaline was through the roof. . .

As I pulled myself to the summit I was greeted with the view of a lifetime: untouched, natural beauty as far as the eye could see- pines trees, lakes, mountains, and blue skies went on forever. We had conquered the mountain and our reward was the great unbroken wilderness set before us. I sat myself at the edge of a small cliff, overlooking it all and basked in the sunlight. The pristine beauty of our surroundings made me giddy with excitement and awe- my boyfriend and I felt as though we could be the last humans on this beautiful planet.

Life was good.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb 10- Writing

First of all, I would like to thank Kristi for showing me Reverb 10, a project which is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. Here on Lost Discoverer, I plan on posting my thoughts and feelings according to Reverb 10's daily prompts.


Are these people reading my mind/thoughts? I feel like I am being watched! The Boy and I actually just had this conversation- we delved into the reasons why I am sometimes so driven, and more often just not. For some reason, I can be very disciplined when immediate consequences face me- a deadline of some sort. Or when I am excited about something- when I have a new project or idea. Otherwise, my writing will get pushed to the back burner, and any excuse not to write will feel valid: "Oh I can't write right now, because I need to do all my Holiday Shopping" or "Well, I really want to work-out, and if I don't work-out now I won't ever do it"

If I don't have pressure then I just don't do it- a great example would be this blog- I was so excited when I first began that I wrote almost every day, I had plans for new pieces, and I would be angry with myself if I didn't get to work on the blog. Now, I let the rest of life get in the way of my blog and all other writing I set out to do. Family, friends, social events, exercise, grocery shopping, shopping lists, emails, I allow anything and everything to get in my way.

How can I change? What do I need to do differently? I just need to be more disciplined. I need more structure. Hemingway would wake up at the same time every morning, no matter how late he had been out before, and wrote 500 words, without fail. Stephen King, by contrast, writes 10 pages a day, even on holidays. The difference between myself and these two prolific writers is that I have not held myself to anything. In order to be great I need to do that. It is not that I need to eliminate anything from my life in order to accommodate writing, I simply need to commit to writing as part of my routine life, to prioritize it to the point of it's being as integral and natural as my 3 daily meals.

What do you need to make room for in your life? How can you be more dedicated to your passion?