Friday, December 31, 2010
We both have our own strengths that bring a lot to the story. Our ideas build off of each other until something great is formed. In order to keep the voice consistent, I'm pushed to write in a way I'm not entirely comfortable with but that is helping me grow. This will be a fun project, and I'm so excited to see where it goes. More updates to come!
Somewhere in the midst of all that, I started a new job and said goodbye to the people who had helped me begin my career. It was a great move but by no means an easy one. Soon after that, I gave up Goldie (my trusty old Cavalier) and became a Volkswagen owner. For the first time in my life, I experienced power locks. :)
I did have some breakdowns. I won’t lie about that. Anxiety gets the best of me and with car crashes, financial worries and more, I broke down more than once this year. But, I’ve been lucky enough to have friends, family members, and a husband that are always there to bring me back to sanity.
The biggest and best part of this year: I GOT MARRIED. Sometimes that fact still hits me like a ton of bricks. I have devoted my life to one person and sometimes the magnitude of that makes my heart feel that it might explode. That 100 degree day in July was the very best day of my life, and I’ll never forget the moments (and mess ups) that made it what it was. I still am amazed at the way people came together to make sure that we had a great wedding, as well as giving me a great bridal shower and bachelorette party.
We honeymooned in Denver, and everyone laughed a little when we told them that we were spending our honeymoon white water rafting. But, I’d never change what we did. Pushing our limits together like that - all the excitement, nervousness, and awe - was the most romantic thing I’ve ever experienced. I will always remember that week as the first and only time I felt completely and incredibly happy. Not a worry in the world.
I’ve grown new friendships, re-cultivated others, and forgiven those who can’t take back things they’ve done. I’ve also had to forgive myself. I’ve made new friends - great ones. Ones that inspire me in ways I’ve never been inspired before.
I wrote a novel in a month. I wrote a short story. I wrote poems. In short, I wrote... and not for work. My hobbies and my interests are more important to me now than they ever were before, and I plan to keep it that way. A very smart and ambitious friend & I now have a business plan and, not only a dream for next year, but dreams for the rest of our lives. That’s a good feeling. I’ve made the conscious decision that the only way to dream is big.
We moved to Noblesville. We’re making ourselves at home our new environment (although, I still feel as though nothing will feel as much like home as Bloomington). We’re closer to some of our very best friends and work.
I saw Washington DC for the first time. We made many wonderful memories with the family I’ve gained, there and elsewhere this year. I’m lucky and honored to be a Hansell.
At the start of the new year, Steve will start a new and challenging job. I’ll continue to write and work, and we’ll keep considering settling down and growing a family.
I don’t know what 2011 holds for us. I doubt it could be as packed with events as 2010 was, but you never know...
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I'm lucky to have such a love of words and hope I can perfect my style sooner than later.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I’ve been working on a short story in preparation for NaNoWriMo, and I’ve hit a dark spot that I’ve never encountered before. I’ve read that in the beginning stages of writing a story, you’re excited and love your characters, plot, setting, etc. But, unfortunately, that excitement dies down and so does your will to write. This isn’t something that has only happened to me. It’s something I think most writers encounter.
I’m at a point in my story writing where I hate my characters. I despise the landscape that I see every time I open the document to further the story. I’m finding holes in my plot that I don’t know how to fix, and my urge to delete the whole story grows every time I look at it.
I think this is what separates wannabe writers from real writers: the will to get over this hurdle.
This story was obviously exciting to me at one point and it can be again. I just have to reacquaint myself with the characters, fix those pesky plot holes, and tweak the setting so I can be happy envisioning it. And, that takes willpower. Sometimes, it feels more like homework than a craft I love, and it probably will feel that way until I get the story back on track. But, when I emerge with a completed piece, something tells me that I’ll be much happier than I would be if I highlighted the entire story and hit the delete button.
Wish me luck!
Monday, October 4, 2010
One thing that has returned in full force since our move is my motivation. I spend a lot of time with people who inspire me in every way. In turn, I WANT to work on my writing projects as opposed to putting them off. I've joined NaNoWriMo and can't wait for it to start. 50,000 words in one month sounds ridiculous, but it will help me with the "vomit draft" that I struggle with so much. Between now and November 1 (when NaNoWriMo begins), I'm working on a short story. It's a horror fiction piece. I'll admit that I'm finding so many weaknesses in my writing, but I'm working very hard to correct them (with the help of my amazing husband). I struggle quite a bit with description. Much of my writing is very concise (the result of being a marketing copywriter for so long, I'm sure). Sometimes, more in-depth writing is needed. That's truly what I need to work on.
I've also discovered a new dream. I'd love to open a used bookstore. Me and my friend have looked into it and even started some lite networking/planning. We realize it's no way to make a fortune, and we won't be financially ready for the commitment for quite a while, but dreams are dreams... and they keep you going. I feel like the dream of the used bookstore will be a goal I'll hold near my heart for a long time. That is, until I can see it come to life.
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Good has come out of this personal struggle that has been both internal and external (when I can no longer keep my big mouth shut). I’ve encountered tolerant people, people with strong beliefs who are able to stand by those beliefs and still be empathetic. That gives me hope. I’ve seen friends put their neck on the line for a culture they don’t pretend to understand for no other reason than that we’re all human and we’re all deserving of love. No matter what religion you practice, I believe that’s the greatest demonstration of mirroring God’s love that I’ve ever seen.
So, keep it up, strong and understanding people out there! We need more like you. And for those opposed to how I feel on certain issues: I’m done fighting. I’m done debating. Because, unfortunately, I’ve learned that some people have walked down the path of ignorance for too long to turn back.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
My mom taught me that it's practically a sin to throw a book away. Someone's words and someone's story is never trash. More importantly, throwing away a piece of literature is keeping someone else from enjoying and learning from it. Just today, I let a friend borrow one of my favorite books (The Stand). I felt slightly embarrassed by the fact that the book (one I've read so many times) no longer had a cover - then, I became proud that the book was used and enjoyed so thoroughly and thrilled that someone else was going to be (hopefully) touched by the words inside. That book has traveled across country with me, from home to home, and gotten me through lonely times (as sad as that may sound).
Then, tonight, I did some packing for our September move, and I got to the part I always dread - boxing up books. It's an easy process, but one of the things I love most about our apartment is the plethora of wonderful books we display. When I look at each, I remember what it taught me and how I felt when I read it for the first time. I packed away my favorites from childhood to adulthood, some that changed who I was fundamentally by the very power of the words inside. Then, I got to one that really fostered my love of horror fiction (The Gunslinger) and was horrified to find that our pug had ruined it. When I held the destroyed book in my hands, I remembered how it made me feel to turn each page, how I'd stayed up all night reading, and couldn't wait to move to the next book in series. I recited lines in my mind that I feel are so beautiful and powerful that anyone who reads them is lucky. I felt again the intense yearning to write something so deserving of readers. And, when I realized that the book would have to find it's resting place in the trash can, tears filled my eyes. Pathetic? Maybe.
For me, books are a vacation, a learning experience... but most importantly, they're friends. I form a unique relationship with each book I read and when we (the book and I) reach the end of our journey together, I'm forever different. My relationship with books is special and deep inside of me. My love for them is a truth that makes me who I am.
My mom was right to teach me to never throw a book in the trash, and I hope I don't have to do it again soon.
"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."
Monday, August 23, 2010
Then, I thought of my future child and his or her identity, and the possibility of Steve never getting to have joy of his wife taking his name... and I "gave in."
But, what I never could have predicted is the immense joy I feel every time I see my married name on a document. I realize now that I didn't lose who I was; I added to it. This name is a symbol of the love we share and the commitment we made to each other. We're not just two people in love now; we're a family - our own family. And, I had to give up some symbolism of the family I came from to really make that a reality. *Please note that I'm not implying that women who choose to keep their maiden names haven't formed a family. This is simply what it meant for me.
Did anyone else struggle with their name change? Did your maiden name mean a lot to you?
Friday, August 20, 2010
Conventional wisdom is that you should find a job that matches your passion. I think this is backwards. ~ Seth Godin
Seth Godin, a (in my opinion) marketing genius, suggests that it’s easier to bring passion to your work than it is to find work that matches your passion. Recently, I’ve realized that if you ask me what I’m truly passionate about, I have a hard time articulating it. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m passionate about so many things that it’s hard for me to narrow it down to one true, can’t live without passion. For example, if you want to get me talking non-stop, you could ask me about any of the following things: my husband, my dogs, my family, writing, horror fiction, human rights, marketing… the list goes on.
What makes jobs easier for me is that I’m also passionate about working. I like contributing to a team. I like bringing home a paycheck. I like having somewhere that I’m needed every day. But, most importantly, I like to know that what I’m doing is making a difference somewhere for someone.
Luckily for me, at work, I’ve been put in charge of customer testimonials. This gives me the opportunity to really bring one of my passions (making a difference) to work every day. Talking to happy customers constantly reinforces the work I’m doing. I talk to customers who say their life is greatly improved by our services, and I go home feeling wonderful. Unfortunately, sometimes there’s a customer who isn’t as happy as they could be for various reasons that have nothing to do with any of my work. When that happens, I take it very hard.
What I’ve realized is no matter whether your work is your passion or you bring your passion to work, mixing work and passion has the potential to be hurtful. But, everything worth having comes with risk so I’d rather hear a hundred happy customers’ stories and a few unhappy customers’ complaints than work without passion.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Then, tonight, we took our dogs on a walk. And, as I watched our two furry children walking with the man I married, I realized that those moments are what it's all about. Many many people will come and go in my life, but Steve will be a constant. He'll be my source of strength and my best friend for many years. It's not about the legal paperwork or anything like that. It's about the promise we made and the fact that we'll hopefully have many nights like tonight. When I recognize that love is the important part (and we have lots of it), everything else seems so petty. So, here's to wonderful moments and being Jessie Hansell, even though it's not official yet!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
As many of you know, I recently bought a new car. I saved for the car, I made the down payment, and my name is the only name on the paperwork. Yet, when the thank you note came from our salesman, it was addressed to Steve, thanking him for his business. Yes, he was there asking questions and did a lot of the corresponding with the dealership, but it shouldn't be assumed that when we went back to talk to finance that he was the one paying. Afterall, I was there too, and I wasn't playing the dumb fiancée role.
I imagine this will only get worse with the marriage, as I've seen many organizations call my parents' house, ask for my dad, only have him tell them that his wife handles the finances and hand the phone back to her. Even when we bought our wedding rings, the jeweler smirked when I said we were splitting the cost.
Steve and I are a couple who try to divide all obligations evenly. Housework, finances, etc. are both of our responsibilities. We're a team, a couple, and equals. Of course, sometimes he can afford to put more time or money toward things than I can and sometimes it's the other way around. I believe that's what the partnership of marriage is all about.
I know this is probably a fight I won't win, especially since I've decided to enter into a marriage - an institution that is built on traditional gender roles (unfortunately). But, I'll continue to fight it and am thrilled that I've found a man who respects my independence and pride.
Monday, June 28, 2010
For those looking for expensive centerpieces, a huge cake, and the same vows they've heard at every wedding before, you won't find that at our wedding. Steve and I have known from the beginning that we wanted our wedding to be untraditional.
- Steve won't be wearing a tux and I won't be wearing a veil.
- We don't have wedding parties.
- We wrote our own vows.
- Our guests will stand to make the moment more intimate (don't worry, the ceremony's very short).
- We're having a cupcake cake!
- No garter or bouquet toss will take place.
- There might be some yard games involved.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
I have to find a way to get over my fear of fiction writing and let my stories find life on paper.
Friday, April 16, 2010
"The trend in tech terminology is ALWAYS toward lowercase and no spaces or hyphens. 'E-mail' is rapidly giving way to 'email.' 'Inter-office memo' became 'interoffice memo.' (Actually, that's the trend in all English: 'extra-marital' becomes 'extramarital,' 'pigeon-hole' became 'pigeonhole,' etc.)," New York Times technology columnist David Pogue said via e-mail. "On the other hand, if enough publications all start using the lower case and the no-hyphen (sorry, 'nohyphen') term exclusively, then eventually, the public will stop tripping over them, and we can all move ahead in sync!"
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Our engagement photo session was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I know it sounds silly, but it was amazing to be able to slowly become comfortable opening up the intimate side of who we are. We were very nervous going into it but quickly found that if we were just us, that's all it took. We don't get to see ourselves together from an outsider's view. These photos capture who we are.
Anyone needing photography should contact Brie & Steph at Milestone Photography. Amazing work that we will surely cherish forever.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Tomorrow, my puppy reaches his one year birthday. It's been a heck of a year with lots of trials but more happiness than I ever imagined the little guy could bring into my life.
- sleeping under the covers
- taking long walks
- playing fetch
- visiting grandma and grandpa
I'm understanding why people run to Vegas to elope. When did a wedding stop being about the two people pledging their lives to each other and start being about everyone else? We had a clear vision for what we wanted, but we're quickly understanding that won't happen.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I've stumbled across two horror fiction writing contests that I'm desperate to enter. The problem is, I'm having trouble finding the motivation to write. When I get home from a day of writing for pay, it's hard to put on my creative hat and develop a short story (much less parts of a novel). I have so many ideas floating around in my head that I need to harness and bring to life. Luckily, Steve is holding me to some goals that I've set for myself.
I find a lot of my inspiration from Stephen King. If you're a writer (fiction or not) and haven't read his book On Writing, I highly recommend that you do.