Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Harry Potter Blogfest!

My fellow Italian Taurus, Michael Di Gesu, is hosting a blogfest I couldn't resist, even though I must seem like a blogfest-aholic by now.  Maybe I am.  Whatev.

Anyhow, if you haven't already, run over to Michael's blog and sign up for the Harry Potter Blogfest!

The object is simple- name the two people from Hogwarts you would most like to be your friends, and explain why.

View ImageBefore I do that, let me explain which Hogwartsian I would like to be, and why. 

 The "who" is Cho Chang. 

The why is purely hormonal.  See, our girl Cho had the good fortune to lip-lock with Harry, who, though a bit scrawny for my taste, apparently ain't so shabby beneath those wizard robes:
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But before Harry, Cho's main squeeze was Cedric Diggory.  And we all know who played Cedric Diggory in the movie, don't we....
So he wasn't nearly as pastey or brooding in Harry Potter world, but Rob pulls off hot whether he's rocking a wand or some deathly pale makeup.

And no, the life-sized Edward does not belong to me, it belongs to my cousin.  My much younger cousin.  So please retain any respect you might have for me.

Anyhow, once I'd inhabited Cho Chang's body, I would waste no time befriending these two young ladies:  Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood.
Hermione poster detail.jpgView Image

Why?  Let's start with Hermione.  Sure, she's a bit of a know-it-all, but it's not without merit.  The girl is SMART.  If you're going to travel in the same circle as Harry Potter, you're going to be in constant danger.  So who better to have on your side than a girl so focused on honing her spells, she turned back time just to fit more classes into her schedule?  Now that's dedication.

And speaking of dedication, Hermione is no slouch in the friend department, either.  She's been turned into a cat via polyjuice-potion-gone-wrong, petrified by a basilisk, and thrown in harm's way more than once, but she never waivers in her determination to help Harry defeat Voldemort and his Death Eaters.  That's the kind of girl I want on my team.  Without her, Harry would have been toast on more than one occasion.

I also love the fact that she's Muggle-born, and can still show up the best of the wizarding "purebloods."  I have a special place in my heart for girls (people in general, but especially girls) who start off at a disadvantage, but don't let it stop them from kicking some ass.  Hermione does it with pinache, right down to the constant trading of barbs with Ron. 

As for Luna, I just find her highly entertaining.  Yes, she's a space cadet, but there's more going on beneath that roaring lion hat than anyone gives her credit for.  She may seem to be off in another world, but it's all part of Luna's charm.

And who else would think to answer the question, "What came first, the phoenix or the flame" with, "I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning."  The best part is, the gargoyle to whom she gave the answer responded with, "Well reasoned," and let her pass.

My theory?  The gargoyle gave her points for the simple WTF factor of her answer.

Luna may be different, even by wizarding standards, but she and Hermione share the trait of being a loyal friend.  Even after being kidnapped for her father's controversial Quibbler articles, Luna remained a steadfast member of Team Harry.  'Atta girl.

Besides, it couldn't hurt to have protection from all those Nargles and Crumple-Horned Snorkack's - especially since no one else can see them.

We'd make one awesome trio, Luna, Hermione, and me :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Double The Awesome Giveaway!

I wasn't going to post anything today, because I was VERY frustrated with Blogger.  I had three posts in my drafts, all ready to go and just waiting for me to hit the post button.  But lo and behold, when I went to edit them yesterday, I found all the pictures I'd painstakingly inserted had turned into tiny blue squares.  AARGH!

So what did I do?  I went back online, found more pictures, did more inserting and then a few hours later... the same thing happened.

I cursed Blogger up and down and swore to give it the cold shoulder.  But today, I came across this contest on Diana Paz's blog, and couldn't resist passing on the chance to win some awesome prizes!  If you've been dying to read Wake and Fade by Lisa McMann or Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, head over and enter!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Clark Kent vs. Superman

I was at a doctor's appointment Wednesday morning when I spotted an issue of Entertainment Weekly on their magazine rack.  The cover showed off the newest Superman, someone I hadn't really heard of before: Henry Cavill. 

I thought to myself, that's the new Superman?  He's not even that cute.

Um... and THEN I got up off my butt.  And when I got up close, I almost turned into a big puddle of Gina right on that hideous, regulation doctor's office carpet.  Behold, the newest Superman:


I've made no secret of my weakness for light-eyed, dark-haired handsomeness, but this guy... HOLY SWOOOON!

And it only got better with the photo spread inside, because as perfectly as he pulls off the brooding, I'm-too-sexy-for-my-smile pose, guess what - he's ten times as cute when he smiles.  I couldn't find a picture I liked to prove it, but take my word for it.

Is it pathetic that I'm giggling like a teenager with a crush as I write this post?  Totally.

But this isn't even the first time I've gone gaga for someone who's donned the red cape.  I've mentioned several times that I have a long-standing crush on Tom Welling, who's been making me drool as Clark Kent on Smallville for the past eight years.  Well, five years.  I ranted at length in this post about the decline of Smallville after season five (the theme song still rocks, though.  See video below).
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So what is it about this superdude that makes me crazy?  'Cause I gotta tell you, it certainly ain't the blue spandex suit.  Worst. Superhero costume.  Ever. 

As it turns out, I'm not like Lois Lane, who is only in love with the Superman persona.  Nope.  After thinking long and hard about it, I am officially all about Clark Kent.

It makes perfect sense.   He's a journalist.  He likes writing.  I like writing.  See where this is going? 

Maybe it's because everyone and their mother claims to have a weakness for the confident boy, the "bad boy."  But I've never been a follow-the-crowd type girl, and I think smart is sexy.  I like guys who can rock glasses.  I like guys who are shy, and maybe even a little awkward, but still able to step up when you need them.  Add to the mix a business suit with abs of steel underneath, and for me, it's the epitome of hot.

Granted, Henry's and Tom's amazing eyes, adorable smiles, perfect bone structure and killer bods aren't hurting the situation any.  Even the thickest, blackest glasses can't hide those puppies. 

But ultimately, I'm a dork, and I love me a cute, dorky member of the opposite sex.  The only problem is, I can't tear my clothes apart and reveal my suddenly sexy, super-coordinated alter ego.  It's still just dorky, accident-prone me under there.

You can bet I won't be complaining, though, when Henry and Tom whip off their glasses to reveal those baby blues, or rip their shirts opent to reveal.... blech.  The blue spandex.  On second thought, keep the business suit on.  Or even Henry's "S" t-shirt. 

That neon blue unitard has GOT to go.  

Somebody Save Me indeed!  So who sets you swooning?  Superman, Clark Kent, Tom, or Henry? : )

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In Which I Conquer the Query Letter

Between all the blogfests I've entered lately, and getting totally psyched about my new work in progress, I've almost forgotten about something hanging over my head: my query letter.

It's so easy to forget about that pesky little thing when you're neck-deep in revisions.  It's even easier when you let someone read those revisions, and they tell you they love the story so much that they will die if you don't get it published (you are utterly adorable, Aleeza, and your enthusiasm is a huge boost to my confidence!).

But alas, if I ever AM going to get published, I have to nail that S-O-B.

And this is where I'm stuck.

Trying to shrink 84,000+ words into a 250-word, mind-blowing summary is literally making me feel like my head is going to explode.

They say "be honest" when writing your query.  They say "be concise."  They say it should be "grabbing." Well, I can do that.  I'm brilliant at being brutally honest.  In that case, I should be able to write the perfect query letter.  I'll try it.  Here goes:

Dear Agent,
Just read the damn manuscript!

Thank you for your time and consideration,

How's that for honest?  And how about "grabbing?"  Could it get any more concise? 

I did it!  I did it!  I've written the perfect query letter! 

I'll be published in no time!

If only I were really that delusional, and if only it were really that easy.  Happy Wednesday, all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck O' the Irish Blogfest!

So I'm not even a little Irish, but I had the perfect scene from my YA work-in-progress to contribute to the Luck O' the Irish Blogfest

I know it's more excerpt than flash fiction, but the theme and the length both fit, so I hope Colene and Alexia won't mind that I still wanted to participate!

In this scene, two of the main characters, Kelsey and David, are at a Saint Patrick's Day party thrown by Kelsey's boyfriend, Ryan.  I hope you like it!  If you don't... not sure I want to know!

David's hands were perfectly steady as he placed them on either side of my face, his thumbs stroking my jaw bone. If he hadn't been exhaling pure alcohol instead of carbon dioxide, I would have wondered if he wasn't as drunk as he looked.

“Stop pretending you don’t miss me,” he said.

I blanched. "Jesus Dave, have another Car Bomb."

He grinned and leaned in closer. "Wanna taste?"

Don’t.” My voice was razor sharp.

His bleary eyes searched mine. Seeing that I wasn’t playing around, the corners of his mouth turned down and he pulled back a fraction of an inch. “Fine.”

Then, before I could stop him, he leaned in and softly kissed the shamrock painted on my cheek instead.  My knees buckled. How dare he? We’d done nothing but fight since he’d breezed back into my life. Now, here he was, in his stupid, ancient, Kiss Me, I’m Irish t-shirt, acting like the last year had never happened.  Making it impossible to concentrate on anything but the warmth of his lips, so close to mine.  Touching me so that I couldn’t even remember why I wasn’t supposed to want this.

“Am I interrupting something?” Ryan.

That was why.

The screen door slammed before I could answer. David’s hands slipped from my face as Ryan stormed off into the house, and I literally felt my heart rip in two, like they’d been using it in a game of tug-of-war.

I couldn’t think about how I was going to fix this. The only thing going through my head was the dumbest thought possible.

Where's the luck of the frigging Irish when I need it?  Happy effing Saint Patrick’s Day.

And now, the musical stylings of my favorite angel-voiced Irish lass, Mary from Waking Elliot!  (Sorry, but I have to post this every chance I get because I just love her voice, and this song, and because my cousin is in the video!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Delusional Gloom Blogfest!

I'm catching wind of this at the last minute, but I totally wanted to join the Delusional Gloom Blogfest!  I chose what is probably the most morbid option, which is to write my own obituary.  Here's what I was able to come up with on the fly:

Gina M. Ciocca, age 30, was found dead in her home on Tuesday, March 15th.  Cause of death is undetermined, but Mrs. Ciocca was face-down in her keyboard, igniting suspicion that her last attempt at querying her unpublished novel may have done her in.

Gina is predeceased by her two grandfathers, Antonio, and Gino, for whom she is named.  They are currently getting on her case in Heaven for being an Italian who doesn't speak Italian, or drink coffee, who rarely drinks wine, and has never been to Italy.  Eternity is going to feel very long for this young woman. 

She is survived by her loving parents, one sister, several siblings-in-law, and eleven first cousins, all of whom were taller and better looking than the deceased.  To quote Gina: "WTF is up with that?"  She is also survived by her beloved husband, the only person of those mentioned above to possess knowledge of Gina's secret attempts at authorhood.  Mr. Ciocca says, "I knew she hated querying, but I never thought it would lead to this.  What am I supposed to do now?  I don't know how to cook!"

While cooking was not one of Gina's favorite past times, she enjoyed shopping, spending time with her loud and loving family, shopping, jogging, and of course, reading and writing.  Gina was always in advanced reading classes in school, and forever had her nose in a book.  She was famous for bringing books to parties and picnics, ignoring her mother's accusations of being anti-social.  Though Gina later dropped her habit of bringing her own entertainment to parties, she adopted the motto, "I own my anti-socialness!"  Sadly, she passed before realizing her dream of publication, and also before realizing her slightly more piddly dream of hosting a contest on her blog.

Ironically, the title of Gina's unpublished novel is Life Before Death.  Currently, it is being burned, page by page, by her husband as he screams, "You're the reason she never wanted to watch TV with me!"  Gina's friends and family take comfort in knowing she'll watch over them in Life After Death.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amazing Book Alert: Flash Burnout By L.K. Madigan

I was kind of taken aback by how sad I was at the end of this book.  I didn't expect it, especially not with such a likable, funny narrator such as Blake.

It's his personal goal to make people laugh each day, and he's devised a point system for the number of times he succeeds.  He succeeded with me several times (I'm totally making crap on toast! a regular part of my vocabulary), especially when he's floundering to understand his girlfriend Shannon's mood swings and temper triggers.  When she winds up in tears after Blake confesses he's worried about his friend Marissa, this is how Blake describes the turn of events:

These were my exact words: "I'm worried about Marissa.  She was getting hammered at the game.  Again!  I hope she's not turning into an alky."
A slow but steady undertow of misunderstanding proceeded to drag my ass out to sea.
Shannon analyzed each word out of my mouth, then deconstructed the meaning behind my words, searching for hidden code in those innocent little sentences.  By the time we go to Juke's she was sniffling.  All our friends fled to safety, leaving us alone on our raft of tragedy.

Hee hee hee.  As a girl, who isn't guilty of the sentence deconstruction game?  I had to laugh because I felt for poor Blake.  He may not be prone to lying, but let's face it: if that were true for the majority of the male species, the deconstruction game wouldn't exist.  Us gals are always assuming the worst.

Although in this case, if I'd been assuming the worst, I might not have felt so unprepared for the way the story unfolded.  It was the opposite of what I'm used to.  Normally I go for the stories that start out conflicted, and wrap everything in a nice, neat bow at the end.  Here, not so much.

In fact, for a long time, it doesn't seem like much is happening.  Blake's life is fairly normal, despite the fact that his father cuts up dead bodies for a living, and has a bad habit of leaving photos or tools from his work lying around on the kitchen table.  I loved that his parents are quirky and happily married, that he has a love/hate relationship with his brother, like so many siblings.  I loved how smitten Blake was with Shannon, and actually said awww when I read this passage:

Shannon is everything I want.  I thought she would be like the starter kit girlfriend for me, you know?  After I figured out where things go and how they work, I would take my skills with me when I moved on to the next level.
But right now I can't imagine ever meeting anyone more perfect for me than this girl.

See?  Awww!  But somehow, in between the humor and the warm fuzzies, everything unraveled right under my nose.  Blake's friend Marissa is living a troubled life, and Blake's attempts to help her wind up turning his own life upside down.  I won't give anything away, but the scene where Shannon finds his camera absolutely broke my heart.

Photograpy is used as a metaphor throughout the book, and the word chiaroscuro crops up more than once.  It's Italian, literally meaning "lightdark" (YES!  Italian vocabulary now up to 5 words!), and in photography it means using both elements in one composition.  Blake finally magages to find the "heart" in his normally "gritty" photography by using the light and dark moments of Marissa's life in a photo montage.  L.K. Madigan did exactly the same thing in this book: slowly eclipses light with dark until you're thinking crap on toast!  What just happened here? 

BUT, there's definitely a ray of hope in the end.  We know Blake bounces back, sense of humor intact.  It's not said in great detail, but we know he'll move on.  It's obvious in his comment on the song "The Animals were Gone": This is the perfect sad song.  Big wall-of-sound sorrow, with strings and shit. 

LOL.  Deep, Blake.  Very deep.

I would definitely recommend this book, and in the wake of L.K. Madigan's recent passing, I am saddened that she won't be around to put out more great stories like this one.  Unfortunately, life really is a mix of light and dark.  The fact that she managed to capture her characters and her story so beautifully and have them immortalized in publication is an enormous bright spot.  But the death of someone who could create a character like this one is an undoubted darkness.  

I can't end on somber note, though.  Speaking of immortalization and tragedy, let's talk about this tragedy: the immortalization of the unibrow of the dude on the cover, the one who's supposed to be Blake.  That poor boy will be forever wondering why no one introduced him to tweezers before his big photo shoot. A definite score on Blake's laugh-o-meter, but a definite deduction of points from me! 

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Bucket List Blogfest!

Although I've never seen the movie, I actually do have a running Bucket List.  So it only made sense to participate in Swim-Write-Run's Bucket List Blogfest!

Some of these will probably seem very boring to the more worldy sorts, but it doesn't take a lot to make me happy.  In no particular order, here goes:

1) Write a novel worth publishing, if I haven't already
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2) Find an agent to represent said novel and help it reach maximum potential

3) Sell lots and lots of copies of said novel!

4) Rinse, lather, repeat steps one and three

5) See Bon Jovi in concert.  Yes, seriously.

6) Go to Italy.  My grandparents are straight off the boat, and I've never visited the motherland.  Pathetic and must be remedied! 

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Villa le Balze Gardens.  A scene in my novel takes place here ; )

7) Have a healthy baby and raise him/her to be a good, hardworking, honest person.  I've blogged about my struggles with infertility and can't wait to blog about the day I overcome them.

8) Find the means (and the courage) to stop "working for the man".  Almost ten years of living under someone else's thumb is quite enough, thank you.

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What do you mean only six vacations this season?! 
The show is Kate plus EIGHT!
Oh wait, you were talking about my kids?
  9) Figure out what makes Kate Gosselin such a beyotch and present her with a cure.

10) No, seriously.  I'd rather find a cure for cancer and sincerely hope I live to see that day.  I have several walking miracles in my family, and I long for the day we no longer have to hold our breath in fear of bad news coming back.  As for Kate... there's no cure for that.

11) Learn to speak Italian.  My Italian vocabulary consists of approximately four words: formaggio (cheese) Ciao (hello/goodbye), bella (beautiful) and mangia (eat).  Again, pathetic.

12) Conquer my fear of driving long distances.  To date, the furthest I've ever driven is from Monroe, CT to Storrs, CT which is a little over an hour.  Yep, that's pathetic too.

13) Write a song.  I love music so much, it only makes sense.

13-1/2) Be the subject of a song.  A really great, profound one, like Matt Nathanson's Come on Get Higher, or an utterly sweet one like John Mayer's Your Body is a Wonderland.  Not an unfortunate but fitting one like Baby Got Back.

14) Run a marathon.  I'm so out of shape I almost got winded typing the word marathon.

Gina... Come oooooon down!
 15) Play Plinko on the Price is Right

16) Take voice lessons.  I'm pretty good at carrying a tune and always wondered what kind of potential I'd have with the right training.

17) Build the house of my dreams and live there, happily ever after, with my husband and the family we worked so hard to create : ) 

17-1/2) Hire housekeeper to clean said house, because cleaning your own house sucks!

18) Get enough followers on my blog to host a contest and feel like people will actually participate!  I'm dying to host a contest!  (No pun intended)  So follow my blog, and tell your friends to follow too, and you'll be helping me cross an item off my Bucket List!

Looking forward to reading yours!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Manuscripts and Hideous Pink Bathrooms Have in Common

I like to think of revisions as renovations.

To illustrate my point, I'd like to share a some photos of the disaster that was my house when we bought it in 2005.  First up, my upstairs bathroom:

What are you talking about?!  Pepto Bismol pink is all the rage!
Let me backtrack and say that my house was unlived in for ten years at the time when we purchased it - and boy, did it show.  The whole interior looked like someone had sprayed it down with Pepto, right down to thick, pink carpeting in the dining room, and of course, the mess you see above, complete with pink shell-shaped toilet seat.

Most people would have walked into this house and walked right back out.  Especially if they'd spotted the mouse poop under the baseboards in the dining room, or known about the squirrel skelton hiding in the bathroom wall.

But my husband and I saw potential.  We knew the house was structurally sound, and with a little TLC and elbow grease, there was no reason this house couldn't reach that potential fully.

It took nearly a year, a LOT of TLC, a LOT of elbow grease, and way more money than we'd budgeted, but I think we proved ourselves right.  I give you, Upstairs Bathroom, The Sequel:

The kitchen wasn't quite as heinous, but there was still plenty of room for improvement.  Including steaming off the 1980's wallpaper, ripping up two layers of flooring, and replacing the fugly appliances:

Blue Walls, Harvest Gold Appliances.  Perfection.

In a way, renovating a home and perfecting a manuscript are parallel endeavors.  In both cases, you have to start with a solid foundation. 

It won't matter how many coats of paint you slap on a house that isn't structurally sound, nor will it matter how many fancy words you throw into a story if the material just isn't there.

Just as I spent a year getting rid of ugly crap to bring out the potential in my home, I've spent the past year trying to get rid of all the ugly crap mucking up the potential in my manuscript.  I have to tell you, when I finished the first draft - all 96,000 words of it - it was as hideous as that Explosion of Pink Bathroom. 

Unfortunately, it was a lot easier to look at that bathroom and figure out how to fix the problem (that would be gutting it, thank you), than it was to figure out a plan of attack on my story.  There is still work to be done, but after a year of ripping out unnecessary junk like it was pink carpet, and polishing my prose like a paint-stained hardwood floor, something is finally starting to emerge that I think I can be proud of.

I do believe my manuscript has good bones, just as I knew my house did.  The only difference is, I knew the work on my house would pay off, while the work I put in to my writing is anybody's guess.  It's possible that even if I think I'm submitting my best work, an agent will look at it and see the equivalent of that gross, decaying, in-desperate-need-of-work pink bathroom.  And that's a job no one wants to tackle if they don't have to. 
I did manage to turn my house into a home, though.  I'm hoping with the same dedication and hard work, I can take my manuscript from a mess of words in a Word document to a novel.  A real novel, inside a cover so beautiful you can't bear to stop looking at it.  Now that's what I call reaching full potential.

Of course, if I'm just trying to live a pipe dream, then there will be one very important use for my manuscript in association with bathrooms.  Using it to line the toilet seat if I ever come across another one like this:

So which would you rather tackle?  A Pink Bathroom Explosion, or a Manuscript Word Vomit Explosion?  What do you liken your revisions to?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm an Auntie!!

Meet my brand new nephew, Luke!

Born 3/3/11, 6 lbs 12 ounces, 19.5 inches, and looks just like his mom!  I'm so proud : )

Hmm... not having such a great hair day there, are you Auntie G?
And no, my ear is not normally that red.  I was literally having palpitations from having walked through the emergency room, which we had to enter through because we arrived after visiting hours.  I HATE hospitals, and I especially hate emergency rooms, because the two times I've ever had to walk through one, there was always someone vomiting.  I would literally rather die than see, hear, or smell vomit. 

So sure enough, as we were waiting for our instructions on where to go, I spotted a woman in the ER with a bucket on the floor next to her.  Between getting myself all worked up thinking she was going to blow (she didn't, thank God), and the fact that it was a BILLION degrees in my sister-in-law's room, I ended up with the lobster ear you see above. 

Alright, I'll stop babbling now.  Anyway, if I'm ever published and you happen to notice one of my mc's is named Luke, now you'll know why! 

Luke and his Nonni, Rosemary.  Those little thighs were just too cute for me not to post this picture!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Defying Writing Stage Fright

In the midst of doing major revisions to my firstborn manuscript, I came to a realization:  I'm terrified to write anything else.

I actually have three other WIP's at the moment, 2 "new adult" (I HATE that term) and one young adult.  But I'm hitting that brick wall again, the one where I realize I've spent a year writing and editing and editing and editing and - ahem, sorry - and polishing my first ms, only to be exactly nowhere.  I am no closer to scoring an agent or a publishing deal than I was nearly a year ago, when I woke up from the freaky dream that inspired me to sit down and write for the first time in eons.

I keep asking myself, why should I bother?  What if this never amounts to anything more than a silly hobby?  Though, truthfully, it's more like a silly obsession.  I think about my characters all the time.  I hear their conversations in my head constantly.  I can write a kissing scene on command.  But does that make me dedicated, or just crazy?

I've  mentioned before that I write in my downtime at work, and today I had a nice chunk of it between four and five.  But- I froze.  Since the major part of my revisions are behind me on WIP # 1, I made a plan to work on WIP #3 today, should the opportunity arise.  Well arise it did, and I totally squandered it.  I just couldn't make myself start typing.  The click of the keys sounded strangely like wasteoftimeyousuckandsodoesthisstory.  I totally clammed up.

Now, I could kick myself.  I wasn't worried about any of these things when I wrote my first story.  All I thought about was getting it down on paper before it left my head for good. I was in total Defying Gravity mode, and I shouldn't let anything stop me from being there again.  Easier said than done, unfortunately. 

Lucky for me, I have the Glee version of Defying Gravity on my Ipod.  It came on as I was cooking dinner tonight, and the moment I heard those first lines, Something has changed within me/Something is not the same/I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game, my determination came back with a vengeance.

How could I have been so foolish?  I can't give up now!  I've only just begun!  So what if I spent a year writing something that might suck to high Heaven?  Take what you've learned and DO BETTER NEXT TIME!

Because the truth is, I have learned so much already, and I have changed.  I used to wake up in a terrible mood every morning because I hated being stuck in a corporate job, hated feeling like my life had no purpose and I had no outlet except journals filled with whiny, self-pitying entries.  Since I've started writing again, I feel like I'm back in my element.  I've started tapping into creative parts of me that I'd let run dry for far too long.  I look forward to blogging and reading other people's blogs and interacting with all these great people who love the same things I love: reading and writing.  I can honestly say I'm a happier person.  My husband notices that I wake up smiling some mornings.  (Some, not all.  I've never been a morning person, so let's not get carried away.)  A year ago, it wouldn't have happened at all.  Nor would I have dared to let someone read my work, which now I've actually done.

So tomorrow, if I find myself facing a brick wall again, I'm going to get on top of it, close my eyes, and leap, just like the song says.  Just in case anyone else needs it, here it is.  You will never be told to go for it in a more eloquent or inspiring manner than this!

But I'd love to know- what do you do when you find yourself facing a brick wall?