Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Liebster Award

It's been a while since I've done one of these! Thanks so much to Jessica Schley, who found my little corner of the Internet and somehow decided it was worth it to stick around. I have to say that unfortunately, I'm going to cheat on this and not actually nominate 11 people as the rules say, because to be perfectly honest, I do not follow 11 people with readerships of fewer than 200 people and I barely follow people in general since law school started. However, if you feel like you want to participate, I fully welcome you to self-nominate and then comment so I can read your facts like the stalker I am. I do enjoy reading about other people. Sorry. I know this is a huge cop-out, but really and truly: I do not regularly read 11 blogs. I read maybe 4 or 5. And most of them have 200+ followers.

So these are the rules (that I am partially breaking):

1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)

4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.

I'll try my best.


1. What's your favorite part about writing?
I have two answers. My nuts-and-bolts answer is drafting. I vastly prefer drafting to editing. I've never liked editing anything, including academic writing, so it applies here to. But also, drafting is just much more fun. You get to see a story come to life. The best part is when you write something that you hadn't planned, but you're on a roll, and then stuff starts coming from your fingertips that surprises even you. You know what I'm talking about. I like it when the plot takes me for a spin instead of the other way around. That only happens during drafting. My existential answer is that writing satisfies my soul. What? Cheesy? Yes. I don't know how to explain it, but I am not happy if writing stories is not a part of my life. I don't mean it has to be happening every day. I go months without writing sometimes. But I notice that those are months where I'm not incredibly happy. I like creating stories. I like the way words fit together on the page in new and unexpected ways. I like working through my real problems in an abstract fictional way. I like how "real" truths are illuminated the most beautifully in the guise of fiction. So it all adds up to this: writing brings me joy.

2. Who is your favorite character?
Let me premise my answer by saying: this is a totally impossible question to answer. There are so many amazing characters out there and I cannot in any way begin to rank them in which I like the best. But I will give an answer anyway and I'll explain why I picked this person. My "favorite" character is Percy Jackson. This does not mean I think he's a better character than any of my other favorites. I love Percy because he is one of the clearest examples in my head of a character who is larger than life. More than Harry (who is carried, in my opinion, by the world J.K. Rowling created), more than Katniss (who is strong, but the premise, again, is the highlight), etc. Whatever, Greek myths are obviously awesome, but I've thought long and hard about this, and I'm pretty damn sure Percy is far and away the most important part of those books. He stands alone. And not to be lame and sentimental or whatever, but I started writing original fiction again after I read the Percy Jackson series in January of 2009. Haven't stopped since then. I guess some books just speak to you. It so happens that the one that spoke to me the loudest was a children's series about Greek monsters. So sue me.

3. What do you absolutely have to do before writing/to get settled in to write?
I have to have at least several hours on hand. I am not one of those people who can seize 30 minutes of free time and use it to write. I have to know I have an entire afternoon before me. This does not happen very often anymore, hence why I do not write a lot currently. Also, coffee helps.

4. What are the books on your nightstand?
I have a list of books on my metaphorical nightstand listed on the right sidebar. It's more of a to-be-read list, but I update it regularly. If we're talking actual nightstand, I'll just mention the books I brought to law school. It's a limited number because I live in a dorm room, and I'm not including the numerous titles on my Kindle. This is physical copies only: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Paper Towns by John Green, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr. I also bought and now own: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King, The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson, Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss, and My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger.

5. Laptop or desktop? Mac or PC?
Laptop. Definitely, definitely Mac.

6. Do you have a playlist for your writing?
If you mean, do I listen to music while I write, the answer is yes. It's usually whatever I'm feeling. Could be pure pop. Could be indie. Basically one of those two categories. If you mean, do I make a playlist that expresses what I'm writing, the answer is sometimes. It's usually short, like 3-5 songs that I feel define the theme. Or express perfectly a particularly scene. But one thing I definitely do is associate books with music. Some songs just remind me of certain books and every time I hear that song, I'll think of the book. (Percy Jackson's got a whole lot of trigger songs.)

7. What's your favorite genre to read, besides the one you write?
I write YA contemporary, so my favorite genre to read is just that. I don't know if it's cheating to say my other favorite genre is fantasy? Because I used to write fantasy before I switched a few years ago. Historical is also good. Historical was my favorite all through junior high and partly high school ... because I wrote historical back then. Ehh, starting to realize I'm not creative with my reading tastes ... I'll also say that I enjoy reading YA literary. That's a big one for me.

8. Tell us about your WIP/recent release/upcoming release.
Not published, not close to being published. Current WIP is titled The Earth Between Us, and it's about a girl whose father has a nervous breakdown, so the family moves to where they used to live in rural Blueberry Bay (Door County, WI), and she studies cemeteries for the summer. She's not good at making friends, so spending time with dead people is kind of her outlet for avoiding the drama of real life. Also, there's a boy. I'm on chapter six, man, that's as far as I've gotten. I'm assuming character development will happen and Things will be resolved.

9. What book are you reading today?
Um. I started My Most Excellent Year, but then The Madness Underneath came out. So probably, I'll read that instead because it's higher on the Urgency list. I also watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower and totally adored it, so I feel really compelled to read the book and be hipster about it. To be totally accurate, though, the book I'm actually reading today (and every day in the foreseeable future) is Gellhorn and Byse's Administrative Law. Womp womp.

10. Where do you stand on the Oxford comma?
I worked at a student newspaper for 3+ years, and AP Style dictates that Oxford commas should not be used. I'm here to say that AP STYLE IS WRONG. I ALWAYS use the Oxford comma except for in a journalistic setting. Because it's right. Grammatically. Logically. Morally.

11. Give one piece of writing to your blog readers—could be writing related, or totally not.
I have a post of writing advice to young writers on the right sidebar under popular posts. So read it, if you're so inclined. I wrote it some time ago. At this particular moment in my life, I feel exceptionally unqualified to give anyone advice about anything. But here goes.

I am really stressed out and worried about my future and uncertain about my life right now. I have an existential crisis almost every week. I go through staggering highs and steep lows regularly. Maybe it's hormonal. Maybe it's part of being in your early twenties. Maybe it's the dramatic life shift that is the transition between college and law school. Maybe it is finally being in a place where I'm no longer the big fish in a small pond. Maybe it is very frequently being told, you are not good enough anymore. Be better. It might be a massive fear of failure. Or fear, at least, that I don't know how to handle failure when it happens. This has easily been the craziest, hardest, and most emotional year for me so far. It feels like the start of something and the end of something, but I can't tell which is which.

But today, I had a dessert outing with a friend at night after hours and hours of straight studying during spring break. I went home. Stepped out of the car onto the driveway. I looked up, probably out of a subconscious surrender to a greater force than myself. And there were a million stars out. The kind of sight you'd never see in Boston, but you might on an especially clear night in the rural Midwest. I remembered all the summers in high school when my friends and I drove out into the cornfields and looked up at those stars and thought our futures stretched infinite before us—undefined, but magnificent in our imaginations. How I never would have dreamed to be where I was today, and if I did, I would've thought that I had no reason not to be eternally happy. But that was a long time ago, and I was so different. It was sad. I was sad.

I stood outside, just looking up, for a few minutes. After a while, I realized that maybe it wasn't what I thought. I could see Orion's Belt, a winter constellation, and I knew six months from now, it would be below the horizon again. Because everything moves in cycles. Even the sky. Even you and me. The biggest and smallest of things. We are the same. And in another six months, we will all be completely changed.

So. Be patient. Because nothing is forever. Not even the bad stuff.


1. I can recite all of the presidents. This is probably not an impressive thing, but I like to pretend it is.
2. I'm functionally dependent on coffee. Not caffeine, because caffeine pills are gross. Coffee.
3. I am really obsessed with Lord of the Rings (the movies). Actually. As in, once, someone told me on a date that he couldn't see why they were so awesome, and it was kind of a dealbreaker. I'm not kidding. I laughed and said it wasn't (but I was lying).
4. Team Unicorns or Team Zombies? I'm Team Unicorns. I don't get why zombies are fascinating to people. That's probably someone's dealbreaker out there, but whatever, that's how I feel.
5. I strongly believe Helvetica is a superior font to Arial. Arial is ass-ugly, don't try to convince me otherwise.
6. I spend a tragically huge amount of time watching videos and reading blogs about fashion.
7. I prefer Dunkin Donuts coffee to Starbucks.
8. I am a huge nerd. I mean, this is obviously true, but I recently came to the conclusion that my nerdiness has surpassed all levels of social acceptability and sometimes, all I want to do is talk to people about my fascination with administrative law. Is that a problem? Probably.
9. It is an undeniable part of my personality that I live to please authority figures. Always the teacher's pet. Rarely contradict my parents' wishes. It gets boring.
10. I swear by the truth of the Myers-Briggs test. I am an ESFJ. Scary accurate.
11. I will be in DC this summer working for an awesome federal agency, so if you're there, hit me up/let me know, and let's be friends. Unless you're a stalker or a criminal. Please do not contact me, in that case.

Questions for YOU (if you choose to answer them, since I failed at nominating)

1. What's your favorite book-to-movie conversion?
2. Describe your favorite thing you've ever written.
3. What's the worst part about writing?
4. If you could meet any author, who would it be? (It doesn't have to be your favorite author; maybe your favorite author has a terrible personality.)
5. If you want to be an author, would you rather be a full-time author or have it as a side-job? (Always curious about the answers to this one.)
6. Best setting for a book?
7. Which fictional friend group would you want to join? (e.g. Harry-Hermione-Ron)
8. Okay, I'm sorry, I have to ask: Harry/Hermione or Ron/Hermione?
9. Which genres do you prefer to read or write?
10. What's your favorite book from when you were a child?
11. What the book do you re-read the most?

Okay, I think that's it. Thanks again, Jessica, and hope some random lurkers enjoyed my answers if they made it this far.

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