changes: both subtle and honest

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

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Last weekend the fiancé and I drove up to his aunt’s cottage in Lindsay. As he searched for old music to sing along with (think Ja Rule featuring J.Lo), I put my feet up on the dashboard and exhaled loudly. I had a lot on my mind and a long drive was exactly what I needed. 

Did I tell you that I’ve been working on turning my blog into a books? Well I am. When I look back and read old blog posts my memories fade to black-and-white; showing with subtle honesty how much I’ve changed, how much life has changed. I’ve grown immensely as a writer and a person in the last five years. Many of my relationships have either tarnished or strengthened. I’ve experienced love and pain in many different forms. I’ve failed, tried, and dreamt without limitation. I’ve welcomed change for the most part and when I wasn’t too fond of it, I wrote it out. 

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In mere weeks my living arrangements are going to alter slightly, by September I will have another little niece or nephew running around, in year-and-a-half I’ll be married, in two years I’ll be living with my husband in our condo, and who knows what else! So much to document! Here’s to looking bright, bold, and colourful future. Here’s to accepting new challenges with determination and passion. Here’s to growth and change. 

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Let it ride

Lifestyle/Personal

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There are moments in your life that are challenging; they put you to the test and leave you tired and broken. These moments are the ones that make you. You can give up or you can push through. If you’re lucky you’ll have people in your life that motivate you, that believe in you. People who lift you up and keep you stable. If you’re smart you’ll believe them when they say that it gets better, that everything will be okay, that you’ll be fine. All you have to do is let it ride.

“And yet, anything real, anything strong, was never easy. She’d been taught from an early age that the things that mattered most were the hardest to obtain.” ― Nora Roberts

After weeks of agonizing anxiety and paralyzing self-doubt I finally feel like I’m back to my old self. Words are finally flowing; slowly but with intention. My mind is churning over new ideas for this blog, for a few side projects, and even for some new short stories. My heart is full of joy and excitement for everything that’s coming this year. Wedding plans are in full swing and I’m thinking about documenting the journey on here. I hope you’ll stay tuned. 

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo 

 

 

The Perfect Word [Thoughts on #Writing]

Lifestyle/Personal

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As a writer, using the correct wording isn’t enough, you have to use the ONLY word in the entire English language (or whichever language you write in) that will make the sentence perfect. And there is only ONE word — not a jumble of words listed in a thesaurus to choose from.

Days are longest when that word won’t come out from behind the bushes, when I’m lost in a labyrinth of possibilities and none of them stick out at me. There are days that turn into weeks when nothing sounds right. It is all crap. It’s those days or weeks that I question my abilities as a writer. Those days when I rush through a post or an email and scream at my reflection in the computer screen FRAUD!

Then there are days when all of the words are perfect; they exist one by one in perfect harmony. Together. Separate. They are my salvation.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Whiplash: the film, the writing, the life you’re living

film, Lifestyle/Personal

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Last weekend, Alex and I watched Whiplash. He’d seen it before and said to me, “when you watch this, think about your writing”, so I kept that in mind as the opening credits rolled out. There’s no denying that Whiplash is a time-bomb of emotion, a story that depicts what it really takes to be one of the greats. There’s a part in the film where the band teacher (Fletcher) says to his student (Andrew), “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job”.  Why? because it promotes mediocrity. It promotes that just because you’re good, you don’t have to push yourself beyond the capabilities that you don’t even know are there.

I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity

If you’ve watched Whiplash, you’ll know that Fletcher is a little insane in the way he pushes his students – especially Andrew. But it kinda worked, didn’t it?

Andrew: But isn’t there a line? You know, maybe you go too far, and you discourage he next Charlie Parker from ever becoming Charlie Parker?

Fletcher: No, man, no. Because Charlie Parker would never be discouraged.

This line moved me beyond belief. It inspired me to sit down every morning and evening this week; to write all of the words I could let out of my head. It inspired me to start trying again, to believe in myself, and to push myself harder when the words won’t flow as well as I hoped they would. Because, the next Dorothy Parker would never get discouraged.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

*Quotes from Imdb*

Into the Fire, No Burns to Report [A Narrative]

Fiction
From Beautiful Decay .com

From BeautifulDecay.com

He woke, his chest made of flames, burning into his heart. Smoke swam up his throat, choking him until he let it out. He was a dragon made up of fear. Nerves. Fear. Anxiety. They caused this paralyzing fire that interrupted his dreams, his sleep, his every waking hour. It hadn’t always been this way, when youth and innocence were on his side, Sylvester was feared nothing. Before the heartaches and senseless blunders, before his girlfriend’s abortion, and epic failures, Sylvester LIVED. He allowed and even enjoyed getting thrown into the fire, flames of all kinds. He tried anything he could and never looked back. His answer was always YES. Before, he jumped into the fire with both feet and came out with no burns to report. He relished in the notion that he was a survivor and that the fire could fuel him.

That was before, before his parents’ divorce, before his professor tried to touch him, before he saw the effects of chemotherapy, before school became difficult and failure a constant. Before he got fired for the first time, before his effort began to yield no results of success. Before it all seemed pointless.

Now, he’s burning on the inside, in a senseless, restless sedation.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Signs and All the Jazz

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

I believe in all kinds of magic, in dreams coming true, in luck, and hard work. BUT I’ve very rarely looked for or believed in signs. I’ve had trust my gut when making decisions but I’ve never sought out signs from the universe to lend some help. On Friday, for the first time in a very long time I felt as though the universe was trying to tell me something. On the way to and from work, a giant white plastic bag flew into my windshield, getting stuck momentarily before I regained sight of the road in front of me. Also on the way to work I nearly got hit by a transport truck who was making a left hand turn (thank goodness I sped up at the last moment).

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That was the moment I realized that life was trying to tell me something. It was literally trying to hit me in the face. Telling me to wake up and see the good in life. Telling me to stop letting nerves dictate my life and to go with the flow. Telling me to pay attention and make time for what I love to do. Telling me that life is so so short and it doesn’t make sense to spend a single moment dreading failure or even making plans.

Life is life and I have the capacity to handle anything that comes my way. I have a dream big enough to give me courage, a brain smart enough to give me strength, and a heart full enough to not only guide me, but to ensure that I have just the right amount of love and laughter in my life.

I’ll take that as a really great sign…

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

When Yesterday Disappears

Book Reviews, Lifestyle/Personal

…My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment…
Lisa Genova, Still Alice

I recently finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova, and while I gave the novel five stars I must admit that it left me feeling uneasy. I have very forgetful days, I am not good with remembering names or recalling memories on the drop of a dime. Sometimes I even forget what I’ve written in blog posts or key moments in stories I’ve written. I’ve spent days looking at my Timehop app while thinking I tweeted that? I wrote that? I do not remember taking that photo. I’m sure this is normal, we all forget things and with our dependence on technology, it’s no wonder we can’t retain information in the same way that we (or I ) used to.

I’ve mentioned numerous times that I write to forget. I write to let moments slip away, bad and good. I let the words, memories, dreams, and fears pour onto the page without giving them a second thought, and rarely looking back on them. Maybe I’ve been doing it all wrong. Maybe I should be writing to help me remember how I’ve felt, what I’ve done, who I’ve hurt, who I’ve been hurt by. Life goes by too quickly for everything to leave a mark but that doesn’t mean that I should brush them off or forget purposely.

What if my tomorrows were distinctly numbered or I couldn’t control the loss of my memories? Yesterday is gone but not forgotten. Today is being lived, honored, and recorded the best way I know how. Tomorrow is an unknown constant that I’ve taken for granted. It’s time to remember yesterday and take back tomorrow, and what better time to start than a new month?

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Love Always,
Vanessa Xo

When Petals Fall

Lifestyle/Personal

From Flowers For website

Can you recall the exact moment you saw a flower petal fall? I do. I was sitting at the dining room table, writing away as the sun spilled onto my page. I heard it before I saw it, a tiny crack that demanded my peripheries to pay attention. It fell with a slow determined grace, as if it chose that moment to fall. By the time I turned my head, it was already bathing beautifully in the sunlight. As I looked at it I was thankful for the gentle reminder that there is a certain elegance to falling (or failing). For it creates vast opportunities for growth, change, and thoughts anew.

“What is so marvelous about living today is that it is possible to extend, like a flower, spreading petals in all directions.”
Carolyn Kizer

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

 

Eating Alone

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

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On Saturday after work I had a hankering for a Big Mac, and a hankering fuelled by hunger is one that must be taken care of. So, on the way to my boyfriend’s house I stopped at the McDonald’s and ordered myself a Big Mac. I paid the $8.00, which I made in tips the night prior, grabbed my tray and sat down alone to eat my meal. As I slowly savoured my french fries, allowing the tremendous amount of salt to cut my tongue, I wondered why I don’t go out by myself more often. As I gorged on my meal I people-watched and made up my own conversations based on their hand movements and facial expressions. I let my eyes wander and my mind create (that is my business after all). I even thought about what other people might think about me — Wow she looks hungry – is she even breathing between bites? She looks sad, maybe she just got dumped. Maybe she got stood up. Maybe she’s in rush. 

It’s an interesting feeling when you’re able to put your phone away and be left alone with your thoughts. To watch the world go on around you as you sit perfectly still. To marinate in your own thoughts, fears, and worries and really connect with them. As of late I feel like everyone is walking around in a frozen cloud of thoughts, unable to forget them, to control them, or really sift through them and figure things out. After lunch I felt a new air of confidence about the future, the present, and taking chances.

From Pinterest

From Pinterest

 HAVE A CHALLENGING, CREATIVE, AND WONDERFUL MONDAY!

Love always,
Vanessa XX

 

A Book Review(ish) & January Blues

Book Reviews, Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

“If you live through defeat, you’re not defeated. If you are beaten but acquire wisdom, you have won. Lose yourself to improve yourself. Only when we shed all self-definition do we find who we really are.” The Tao of Wu

January always starts off a little slowly for me. I let the previous year linger in the air instead of focusing on the year ahead. I give myself a much-needed break from the blog, reading, and even writing stories. And then suddenly it hits me, I want to do everything all at once. I start tweeting again, my fingers itch to write the perfect sentence, my brain longs to learn something new, and I’ve morphed into that version of myself that I like best: the passionate go-getter ready to take a chance. The woman who is willing to lose all other versions of herself, especially the ones that do anything but empower her.

From Amazon.uk

From Amazon.uk

Usually a conversation with my best friend or my parents is all I need to get out of my funky version of January Blues but this time it was actually a book that kicked my butt into gear. A Man Called Ove is the loveliest book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s about an old man called Ove who is stuck in his ways and just wants to die. He misses his wife desperately and wants nothing more than to take his own life to be with her, the trouble is that the entire world is so incompetent that they won’t let it happen. Neighbours and stray cats meander their way into Ove’s life and he begins to feel responsible for them. How can he go off to be with his wife when men can’t reverse trailers or bleed radiators, when women don’t know how to drive, or when teenagers can’t fix their own bikes? Ove doesn’t stand for this, he believes that people should be able to do the most basic things in life, no gadgets or technology should be doing it for them. Ove’s view on how the world should be is contagious and quite hilarious if I may say so, but the most endearing part of the entire novel is how he and his useless neighbours depend on one another. This novel is about relationships, about love, and about doing the right thing no matter what. Ove’s love, determination, and selflessness inspired me, as did all of the chapters about his late wife Sonja.

“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if’.” 
― Fredrik BackmanA Man Called Ove

In A Man Called Ove, and my own life, time is of the essence. And even though I’m not quite sure where 2015 will lead me, I vow to rock the crap out of it, to say yes, and to simply live.

Love always, 
Vanessa XX