This year has been one of the craziest, most fucked-up beautiful years of my life, and the more I look back on it, the more I smile, and laugh, and cry. I’ve had quite the adventure this year, making more memories, taking more chances, and breaking more rules than I ever thought I could (or would!), and because I finally decided to step out of my comfort zone, I’ve become one happy girl these days.
Let’s take a look at things:
· In January, I graduated from Seton Hill University with my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction with a concentration in Horror.
· I made the final Stoker Award Ballot for HYSTERIA: A COLLECTION OF MADNESS.
· By April, everything that I trusted in my life fell apart and I had to completely rebuild and reevaluate who I was and what I wanted.
· I ended up writing an unplanned poetry collection in three weeks, An Exorcism of Angels, to which I sold to Raw Dog Screaming Press.
· By then, it was May and I needed a serious break. I released my second poetry collection, Mourning Jewelry and then I left the state, traveled to Portland, OR and spent a few days running around the city with some of my best friends and most treasured colleagues.
· When I came back home, everything shattered again, and because of that, so did I. So I left. I packed my bags, bought a plane ticket, and off I went.
o I went a little Jack Kerouac this summer and spent about three months in a bohemian tirade.
· I went to NECON and spent the night in the Lizzie Borden House.
· I sold my thesis novel, The Eighth, to Dark Regions Press.
· I moved out and left the place I called home for the past 25 years.
· I bought my own place.
· I got a full-time job that I’m in love with.
· By October, I had become a steady guest at the reading series that happens at Riley’s Pour House once a month (hosted my Lawrence C. Connolly).
· Arnzen and I battled Nosferatu poems at a Halloween reading in Dormont. Then we hosted a twitter contest for 4 hours called #HAIKUWEEN which was a bloody, wonderful time.
· I ran around the states some more.
· Another unplanned poetry collection started to evolve, and I took a step back from the MADHOUSE and opened the BROTHEL instead.
· I joined the HWA as an active member.
· I planned out my travel schedule for next year—which includes 2 weeks in Ireland.
· I attended the first RDSP Writing Retreat. I made new friends, lovely memories, drank more mead than I should have, and sat in a 16 person hot tub after I won Cards Against Humanity and was titled the “worst-person-alive.” Cheers, you silly people. That’s a compliment.
· I have a #topsecret project cooking with one of my writer gal pals.
· I read 65 books.
· I wrote over 300 poems.
· I got a seriously badass tattoo.
· And now…I’m writing a memoir.
So some things happened (insert Joker laugh here).
But if I learned anything this year—as both a woman and a writer—it’s that life is too short to be anything but happy. If you don’t like something, change it. If you want to do something, stop being afraid, and just do it.
Life is about taking chances.
Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
But that’s when we find ourselves, and I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to look back on my life and say “I wonder…” or “What if….”
So buy the ticket.Take the ride.
The journey is the best part after all.
With Love and Madness,