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

Realizations – Revelations – Growth

Lifestyle/Personal
From Pinterest

From Pinterest

The slogan for this season of Girls is nowhere to grow but up and my heart is beating in tandem with its sentiment. It’s time. My dreams don’t have to die in order for me to grow up, but they need a red marker and a heavy edit (and that’s okay). Although I’ve never been one to give up on my dreams or tell others to, I’ve realized something insanely beautiful: the moment I began making decisions based on things that were actually happening in my life (and not what I hoped would happen), my world began to change. Once I decided that it’s OKAY to not work in publishing or live downtown, my life chose a different course, one that excites me, one that I’m happy about. Writing will always be waiting for me, this blog will always be mine, but maybe, just maybe they aren’t meant to be on the top of my priority list. Maybe my heart and my head are finally ready for something new to take top-shelf.

I feel like my head is on straight since I turned twenty. All those years of questioning myself, doubting myself, and being afraid have suddenly morphed into something more welcoming. Understanding is it? I’m not sure but I am seeing my priorities clearly and they’re lined up in a way that suits my life, my goals, and my relationship not the way that society or tradition dictates.

Mid-twenties have never felt so good.

 

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

 

Hello February

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal
From the Reiss Blog

From the Reiss Blog

Not that I like to wish my time away but I am so happy that January is over! Good-bye to the January Blues, hello to almost Springtime, melted snow, and sunshine. In spite of the recent loss of my MacBook Air (as well as all of my photos on it), I’m feeling positive about this month and promise to sprint out of my comfort zone and create positive changes in my life.

This week I’m going to my local library to chat with the Manager of Youth Services about speaking at one of their Teen Writer’s Workshops. This is awesome for a number of reasons – firstly, I’ve never spoken to anyone about my writing in that kind of setting. I’ve always wanted to talk to teens and help them find their voice, although given that this is a Writer’s Workshop, they all have probably developed their own voice and are working on getting it heard. Also, I haven’t spoken to a group of people since… well since I had to give presentations in University. I’m excited to chat with the Manager and find out exactly what I’ll be doing/saying to these young writers. Stay tuned for more on that!

What else am I going to do this month to sprint out of my bubble? Well, I’m thinking about creative ways to present my resume online. You all know that I’m looking fiendishly for a career in publishing, the trouble is that many people are. I have to figure out a way to stand out from the crowd and I hope that this will be the month where something clicks.

I’m also going to write with the same persistence and ferocity that I did during NaNoWriMo. I’m currently working on a sequel to My Pen, My Voice and in spite of the fact that it will take me four more years to complete (you’ll understand once it’s finished), I have a lot of work to do. I also want to complete my novella entitled Demons and begin a YA novel that’s been floating around my mind for YEARS.

Finally, this month I want to connect more with people. I want to make the time to see my friends or talk to them on the phone. I want to get together with my cousins and really talk to them. I want to become a better listener, a less selfish friend, and a better human being. I think I forget how important these kinds of connections are in life and I’ve been longing for some human interaction, the kind that doesn’t involve emoticons or filters.

Welcome to February!

The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within. – William C. Bryant

Love always,

Vanessa Xo

* Quote from BrainyQuote.com

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy [Book Review]

Book Reviews

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I chose to review The Long Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy from Random House Canada on a whim. I’d never read anything by Rachel Joyce before, but I was feeling romantic — my best friend is marrying my cousin in a few weeks and I’ll be celebrating six years with Alex next month, so why not.

When you meet Queenie, she has just sent a letter to the love of her life, Harold Fry. She tells him that she is in a hospice, that she has terminal cancer and the end is near. She is remembering her past and thanking him for his friendship. She claims to be at peace but thoughts of him prove otherwise. Harold writes back, telling her to wait for him. He will walk the length of England to see her. She thinks it’s impossible to wait, she fears that she’ll never get the chance to tell him the truth. When a new volunteer suggests that she writes Harold a letter explaining everything Queenie reluctantly agrees.

Queenie didn’t win me over right away, it happened slowly, growing with each memory she wrote down. Her love and passion for a married man bugged me at first, and then just made me sad. Imagine loving someone for twenty years and never letting them know. Imagine holding onto secrets and guilt, letting it eat way at you while you become a recluse. Imagine having to run away to save a life in order to diminish your own.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy is not what I expected. Yes, love played a huge role in this novel but so did change. Personal growth, honesty, acceptance, and letting go of things that you can’t control overshadowed the love that Queenie had for Harold at some points. During those moments the characters came alive in an unbelievable way. The characters who shared the hospice with Queenie became prominent, funny, and beautiful — from the blind to the deaf to the old and cranky. Queenie herself become more flawed and extremely loveable.

“We write ourselves certain parts and then keep playing them as if we have no choice. But a tardy person can become a punctual one, if she chooses. You don’t have to keep being the thing you have become. It’s never too late. (Page 89)

I didn’t know that a novel could open up a new place in my heart, a place where change and growth are no longer daunting but part and parcel of loving myself. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy is an absolutely stunning journey that will keep you waiting and reaching for tissues until the year last page.

Vanessa xo

change the way you look at things

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

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At a family dinner the other night I noticed something, I’ve changed. My relationship has changed. My goals have changed. My need to impress people has changed. What I spend my money on has changed. What I want for my future has changed. The way that I think about things has changed. The way I share things has changed.

Sometimes changes come hard and fast, other times they trickle in. From now until THE END you’ll notice a few differences on My Pen, My Voice. For starters the theme is completely different, I don’t love it or hate it, I’m just trying something new. I’m trying to arrange it so that I can keep the blog portion and still have an area to share new projects and exciting articles that I write for other websites. And for right now, this works.

I hope you’ll stick with me for the next few months and enjoy all of the changes as they occur. Let me know what you like and what you don’t, what works and what doesn’t.

Vanessa xo

The Closet Purge of 2014

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

I feel different lately, like everything inside of my head has jumbled together, broken a part, and ended up in a different place. My heart feels the same and yet just as different as the thoughts in my head. I still love who I love but some kinds of love have come to an end. I’m still me but with a different style and interests and likes. For example, my bedroom is no longer ME. I walk into it and stare at the deep purple walls realizing that they belong to a quiet, angry, and confused young girl. I sit at my desk and the sad purple walls stare right back, asking me Who are you? These walls don’t belong to the confident and happy dreamer I’ve become and so they must go.

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A few other things have to go too. After years of nagging from my mother and a little inspiration from my best friend, I completely purged my closet on Sunday. Sometimes you grow out of clothes physically, sometimes emotionally. I looked at the clothes hanging in my closet and the a lime green chiffon shirt, two pairs of shorts that don’t fit, a dress that I wore to my nineteenth birthday, etc. no longer appeal to me. I am not the same person who wore those items so I got rid of them. I kept anything that I wear often and will only add items to my closet that represent me.

photo 2It seems like the more I get rid of the more I’m able to see who I really am. The more I change, the more I can discover what really matters to me. It’s the most refreshing feeling in the entire world. My last day at the pizza place is Friday and I think that’s the spark for all of these little changes. I outgrew that job, I outgrew my clothes, and I’ve certainly outgrown some of my thoughts. I’m welcoming the new with open arms and a waving flag that reads COME GET ME! I’M READY!

Love Always (if not forever)

Vanessa

i saw the sign

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

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Sometimes things happen that you can’t explain. Moments occur that leave you curious, shocked, and with a perpetual look of confusion on your face. At work the other day I said something to a customer (an older George Clooney kind of man) about how women usually listen to their friend’s orders and follow their lead, not men. He replied with big eyes and lifted brows, “It’s 2014 — don’t get stuck thinking like that. This is Bolton, those people patterns don’t stick anywhere else. You need to get to the city, then maybe to London, see other places. Don’t get stuck in this kind of thinking — it’s just Bolton.”

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Am I THAT transparent? I served this man his pizza feeling utterly naked, completely stripped to the core with nowhere to run or hide. I have never felt so naive or narrow-minded in my life. Maybe I’m reading too much into this but when a first-time customer drops a mind-blowing bomb like that, you can’t help but take notice. Could this be a sign? A BIG RED STOP SIGN APPEARING OUT OF THIN AIR (OR AIR THAT SMELLS LIKE A COOKED PIZZA)? I THINK IT IS!

“You are doing all right. You are a good little soldier. You are feeling sad now because it is wartime. You are engaged in the greatest battle of them all: the battle to be yourself. It is the ugliest battle.”

— THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

i've forgotten how to dream

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

QUoteI had an awfully sad thought the other day and I’ve placed it on a photo that I took during my mid-week staycation. 

Could this deep rooted sadness just be a phase? A side-effect of that disturbing mix of boredom and fear that has overcome me as of late? I despise the word bored. I detest feeling afraid. Afraid of what? Bored how? I don’t feel challenged or excited anymore. I don’t feel like I’m living so much as existing and I’ve created this cocoon of safety that makes me not want to try new things. That gives me a kind of anxiety that eats away at my heart, at my dreams,

Could it be all of the rejection I’ve received lately? Could it be that my insecurities are taking over? Could I just grow a pair already and make a change? Insanity is, after all, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

How to become sane (again):

WHEN IN DOUBT, OR BEING REJECTED, REMEMBER WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO.(you love to write and you do it for you)

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

MAKE A SCARY LEAP OF FAITH.

DON’T TURN BACK.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Dear Spring

Lifestyle/Personal

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Dear Spring,

I’ve been waiting impatiently for you, you great big tease. I’ve missed the sunshine, the warm rain hitting my window as I sleep, the birds singing, the grass turning green, the trees filled with luscious leaves, flowers poking their heads out of the damp dark ground, I’ve missed it all. Most of all I’ve missed feeling alive. This dark world filled with snow and ice has been such a drag and I’ve been miserably sad! But now that you’re back I can smile again. Along with great weather and beautiful flowers you bring a hopeful feeling that something great is on the way. Change is coming and life is about to begin. So, here’s to YOU and here’s to warm days filled with sweet sunshine, to reading outside, to long walks in the city and picnics in the park, to growth and change, and everything we’ve been missing.

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“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
― A.A. MilneWhen We Were Very Young

Goodbye Winter, you’ve been a beautiful annoying bitch season indeed.

I can’t say that I’ll miss you, so good luck, good bye, AND good DAY!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo