|I'm in trouble now.|
Plus, I was busy with other things.
You may scoff, You're a substitute, you don't work over the summer, how could you possibly be busy?
Let me reassure you, I find ways.
What I've Been Doing This SummerLaunch Party
You have no idea how stressed I was about this party.
School had pretty much ended the week before the launch, but I spent every single day either rehearsing my speech or figuring logistics or trying to get people to come. I was so nervous. Speaking in public isn't frightening to me (I'm a sub, I talk to strangers everyday), but I don't like having to talk about myself. Worse still, I was going to read a chapter of my book, which made me feel insanely vulnerable.
|Reading doesn't usually terrify me, but in this case...|
A light, funny trivia game helped break the ice and then I gave a speech about why I had chosen to write this book and some of the obstacles I faced while writing it. Then, it was time to read. My heart pounded, but my voice--which had practiced reading for the last few days--came out smooth. I could hear everyone listening and that gave me confidence.
|They applauded after I finished. That means they liked it, right?|
How funny. You'd think I'd be more prepared for that moment.
Thanks to Helen McCarthy and Kaleo Welborn, who helped plan and set up the event, Rita Haney and Ned Rodriguez for manning the sales tables, Sean Krinik for taking pictures, my cousin Kevin Ishizu for mc-ing, and the many, many people who chipped in for snacks and refreshments and who helped set up and clean up. Thanks, too, to Brea Library, for graciously agreeing to host my event. I really could not have done it without you!
|Thanks to Sean Krinik's awesome photos, I look like a real writer.|
I already have, not one but two, critique groups: The Brea Library Writer's Club and the OC Inklings. But I wanted to try something new, just for the summer. Instead of having a large group, I wanted to work more intensely with a few individuals and get a deeper level of feedback. So I teamed up with Rita and Carmen from the Brea Library Writer's Club, and we began to meet every Sunday at Panera.
|What critique partners turned into|
When you get bitten by the bookworm, there's no stopping you. And when your library offers a raffle for reading 10 books by August 1st, well that's practically daring you to drop everything and read.
Here's my list:
- The Underland Chronicles, Books 1-5 by Suzanne Collins
- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
- The Red Bikini and Ten Good Reasons by Lauren Christopher
- The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas
- The Five Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman
- I Thought We'd Never Speak Again by Laura Davis
- Mom Still Likes You Best by Jane Isay
- What Money Can't Buy by Michael J Sandel
- Knowing Where the Fountains Are by Kevin Cwayna
- The Faith Club by Suzanne Oliver, Ranya Idliby, and Priscilla Warner
|Believe it or not, I finished 4 of these books in a single day.|
Some of the books I bought, some I found lying on my bookshelf, some I borrowed from the library on a whim, some I found on my dad's bookshelf and read them to avoid actually doing work. It's an eclectic bunch of books, but I enjoyed most of them. They are now going to the compost heap that is my brain.
You want to know the saddest thing. This isn't even half the books on my reading list.
Gah! This was tedious and boring!
|It took this many folders to contain my work.|
So, unfortunately, no summer vacation for me. Boo hoo. But to make up for it, I went to various plays over the summer, and since they were free, it gave my wallet a feeling of relief.
One of my two favorite plays was the Phantom of the Opera, which took place at the Pantages Theater in LA. It was free only due to a technicality: my aunt got tickets for her birthday and brought me along. I shudder to think how much it actually cost.
|Special effects like this cost money!|
After the play, I promptly purchased a soundtrack and began bursting into song at random intervals. My aunt probably regrets taking me.
My other favorite play was Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, put on by the Independent Shakespeare Co at Griffith Park, and this really was free, although they do ask for donations. My cousins and I spread out a blanket to save a spot, wasted an hour exploring the graffiti-painted ruins of the old LA zoo, and then dove into our picnic baskets of spam musubi, cold KFC, mandarin oranges, pretzels, and popcorn.
|Unlike the traditional version, this is set at the end of WWII|
I also saw the musical play of Mary Poppins presented by the Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival, which was great, except that we came late and got really, really bad seats, and The Tempest put on by Shakespeare by the Sea, which was more traditional Shakespeare. The Tempest was good, but I saw it right after Much Ado About Nothing, and the Griffith Park play emerged victorious.
But again, free plays, summer outdoor fun, cultural experience. Have a picnic, get entertained, feel smarter. How can you lose?
Of course, writing.
I didn't want to work on the tale I'm currently calling Isra and the Grim Fish, a story about a girl forced into a cave for a crime she didn't commit, where the only source of water is a pool full of skeletal grim fish, which will snatch her into the depths if she so much as touches her--or would, if Isra weren't prepared with magic of her own.
|In my imagination, the cave looks something like this.|
I didn't want to work on it, and I didn't want it to be so long--some 30,000 words, at this point, almost the size of a novel. But the story wanted to be told and my critique partners yelled at me to bring them more, so I write, and hopefully, I'll be finished with it soon.
I did want to work on Three Floating Coffins, the fairy-tale-like story of three princess caught in a web of family secrets, magic, and betrayal. It took a little while to get going, but I have the prologue done and I've been working on revising 6 middle chapters, so it's a good start.
|The graffiti represents the inner workings of my brain.|