Lakefly Writer’s Conference

Measure Life in Bookmarks at the Lakefly Writer's Conference

Measure Life in Bookmarks attended the 2017 Lakefly Writer’s Conference in Oshkosh. I’m having a lot more fun than it looks.

Last weekend I attended the Lakefly Writer’s Conference in Oshkosh. It was exactly what I needed to recharge after a long, busy winter churning out copy for work without having time to sit back and reflect on the beauty of the process.

 

 

 

 

measure life in bookmarks at lakefly writer's conference

Photo courtesy of Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

It reminded me that every few months, creatives must put themselves in front of other like-minded artists to revive their inspiration. I was grateful to have attended all the presentations I could, conversate with other hardworking writers and touch all the published book displays.

 

 

 

Some of the more memorable moments at the conference included:

Lakefly Writer's Conference Kristin Adams

Photo of Kristin Adams. Courtesy of Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

Kristine D. Adams talked about her experiences in writing memoir and recommended techniques to tell your story. I spoke with her afterward, as writing memoir has always been an interest of mine, and we discussed capturing family history. One of my goals is to interview and record my grandmothers’ stories and turn them into biographies to remember where I’ve come from. But also to remind them how far they’ve com. Plus, it’s always a nice excuse to have coffee or tea with your grandma.

Lakefly Writer's Conference Jill Swenson

Photo of Jill Swenson. Courtesy of Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

Jill Swenson of Swenson Book Development presented a novel’s worth of information on how to know when you need to hire an agent, how to get one and what to do once you start working together. She shared her knowledge of the publishing industry while inspiring everyone in the room how simple it could be if you could just find your spirit agent. Someone who believes in your story as much as you. She taught me that a writer should never have to beg for an agent’s unconditional love. NOTED!

 

Orange Hat Publishing

Orange Hat Publishing staff at the Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

And, finally, Orange Hat Publishing. It is a small, indie publishing company in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Kristen Bratonja, editor and head of marketing at Orange Hat, presented on the evolving publishing world, including how to avoid scams, the rise in indie publishers, and the pros and cons of each type of book publishing.

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this great conference! Looking forward to next year.

The Wuthering Heights Edition

A few years ago, I began collecting editions of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights. Some were gifts from family and friends and others seemed to find me on their own.

My co-worker Kayla brought me this special treat that she found at Barnes & Noble!

Ain’t she a beauty?

Wuthering Heights

 

Here are some of my other favorite editions:

Reading Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

 

Wuthering Heights Editions

 

More Wuthering Heights Editions

 

What books do you collect?

 

 

 

Life’s Illusions From Both Sides Now

Image via RollingStone.com

Image via RollingStone.com

The older I get, the more I listen to Joni Mitchell.

The more I listen to Joni Mitchell, the more I realize don’t know what I thought I knew.

* * *

Here are two different versions of Both Sides Now to fit whatever type of mood you’re in today.

 

“Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
and feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it’s cloud illusions I recall.
I really don’t know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way that you feel
as every fairy tale comes real; I’ve looked at love that way.
But now it’s just another show. You leave ’em laughing when you go
and if you care, don’t let them know, don’t give yourself away.

I’ve looked at love from both sides now,
from give and take, and still somehow
it’s love’s illusions that I recall.
I really don’t know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud, to say “I love you” right out loud,
dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I’ve looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they say
I’ve changed.
Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
from win and lose, and still somehow
it’s life’s illusions I recall.
I really don’t know life at all.”

– Joni Mitchell

My Language of Quiet

Me not impressed with Las Vegas.

Me not impressed with Las Vegas.

My co-worker and I are the same age and always joke about being the “old farts” in the office as we will both be turning 30 within a month of each other in 2017. It was suggested by another co-worker that we go on vacation somewhere to celebrate. I love to travel and explore new places, so I considered it, until my two extroverted co-workers shouted “Las Vegas!”

This was just another moment where I had to question myself: “Why am I such an outcast?” I prefer silence over chatter at work. My nerves are on overdrive when my boss assigns me a speaking role in a meeting without any details of what to say while my other co-workers can “wing it” without any preparation or practice. Now I couldn’t even agree on Las Vegas. Everyone is supposed to love that place.

Here I was, preferring a place of seclusion, such as my parents land up north that they recently purchased, or the solitary Yorkshire moors in England, or the breathtakingly beautiful Alaska. Las Vegas was the last place in the world I wanted to visit again. My one-night stay in 2010 was enough for me to know it wasn’t my kind of city. I couldn’t justify sitting in a casino to just watch others gamble away their money. There was no way I’d gamble even a dollar to lose on bad luck.

Photo courtesy of QuietRev.com.

Photo courtesy of QuietRev.com.

There is this cultural ideal in America (and in most of the world) that extroversion is what people should strive for: at our jobs, in the classroom, with our friends and romantic partners. Extroverts are known as the more “likeable fellow,” as author Susan Cain puts it in her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” But what’s so wrong with the introverts? The answer, you will find, is nothing. We are just programmed a little differently, and you need to learn to respect us, too.

“Quiet” covers every aspect of introverts vs. extroverts from biological to cultural. Susan Cain has written a section for everyone: parents, teachers, children, lovers, scientists, psychologists and anthropologists.

quiet people

Photo courtesy of PlayBuzz.com.

Since high school, I have forced myself into being more extroverted over fear I’d never succeed in life without an outgoing personality. Over the last 15 years now (man, I’m getting old), I’ve worked myself on overdrive to be the best extrovert I could be for the sake of my career, friendships, romantic partners, and good grades.

I’d beaten myself up for worrying too much about EVERYTHING: nervous shakes before interviewing a source for an article, stomach flips when a professor puts me in the spotlight, unsure how to respond properly to a compliment, etc. Why couldn’t I play it off as though these things were easy for me to adapt to like everyone else? Because I am different.

I am an introvert.

By the end of my college career, I’d gotten used to lying to myself about who I was. I started drinking alcohol to enjoy an overabundance of conversation with a group of people in a small area, I took dance lessons to get over my fear of looking like a fool at parties, I convinced myself I preferred the bar scene with all of my friends over the stay-at-home-and-read-a-book time. While I genuinely did learn to love all of these activities, a part of me always felt a little lost. Sometimes I really did just want to stay at home and read, or binge watch TV, or lock myself in my bedroom and crank my music for hours and hours.

So why did I work so hard to convince myself there was something better I could be doing with my time?

I had forgotten my language of quiet, and the importance of it for my health.

Photo courtesy of HoboNinja.com.

Cain explains that introverts are the majority in Asian countries, while Europe and North America are overrun by mostly extroverts. In our society, we believe that being in the spotlight is the only way to get noticed and get ahead in life. But some of us are getting burnt out with this ideal, and we’re lying to ourselves.

This year I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but I promised myself I would go back to doing the things I wanted to do, like take it easy on the weekends, enjoy my solitude with my cat and novels or go on thoughtful walks/jogs. I didn’t realize until after I’d read “Quiet” that I was taking back control of my true self.

I have always mentally divided my life into two parts:

1. Before high school

2. After high school

Quiet shyness susan cain

Photo courtesy of MacGenesis.net.

Sometimes I find myself saying, “Hm, I’ve been more of my high school self lately.” I never really knew what I meant by that, but I always considered my high school self as “the better me.” The kinder, careful, more relaxed and self aware version of myself. In college there were days I had to work extra hard to calm myself and avoid a full on panic attack. Now I realize I had been forcing myself into a social situation overload for so long that the stress of it all was finally catching up with me. I had stopped considering who I was and what my needs were. I was just doing what I had to do to succeed and survive in this world.

There were nights I would come home from an eight-hour day of classes (I was required to participate in, of course), followed by attending a presentation I had to write about for the campus newspaper, followed by meetings for student organizations I ran, and finally back home where I would collapse on my bed for a solid minute, only to get a friend’s text message to join them out at the bar (which I always did). Cheers to doing it all over again the next day!

Susan Cain’s book has given me pride in the introvert I am:

  • I get my energy by being alone, not in large social settings.
  • As much as I love the occasional party, it will leave me exhausted and I will need to take the entire next day to recover (sorry).
  • I will always prefer gardening over hosting my friends at home or reading a novel over answering your phone call or returning your text message (but you’re still important to me).
  • While I will never turn down a live music concert to support my friends (it’s an extrovert hobby I could never give up), I will only stay out passed my bedtime on the weekends.
  • I will always want to choose my novel over your invitation, but I’m very happy to make an appearance for a few hours (I will leave when I’ve maxed out).

I have learned how to speak my language of quiet again, and I hope every introvert can find their way back, too.

alone

My Silver Lining

In this very moment in life, this song is mine.

 

My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit

I don’t want to wait anymore I’m tired of looking for answers
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road
Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on
Yeah I just keep on keeping on

I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free
Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road

I’ve woken up in a hotel room, my worries as big as the moon
Having no idea who or what or where I am
Something good comes with the bad
A song’s never just sad
There’s hope, there’s a silver lining
Show me my silver lining
Show me my silver lining

I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free
Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road

I won’t take the easy road
The easy road, the easy road

I won’t take the easy road
The easy road, the easy road

Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on
Show me my silver lining, I try to keep on keeping on

Pursuing the Next Page

Dear English Major is a website dedicated to showing English majors all that is possible with an English degree. My interview is being featured this month. Visit DearEnglishMajor.com to read the rest of my interview and learn more about where I started and how far I’ve come! Also, please check out the other language connoisseurs‘ stories!

Dear English Major

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo!

Madison Writing Spot

NaNoWriMo is a 30-day contest to try and write a 50,000-word novel, starting Nov. 1. You can also find writing tools and chat with other writers from around the world or in your region to help you reach your goal. I signed up three years ago, but barely started the contest before I quit. I found my old username and password to pick it back up again this year with a different story that I’ve been working on for several years now. You can learn more about it on my NaNoWriMo WritingFlea page.

Will you be participating this year? If you have more questions, visit their FAQ and How It Works pages.

Happy Writing!

Decal Decor

Thought I’d get some new inspiration for my electronic notebook (i.e., Macbook). If this isn’t a Felicia laptop, I don’t know what is.Decals courtesy of Yadda-Yadda Design Co.

Decals courtesy of Yadda-Yadda Design Co.

Decals courtesy of Yadda-Yadda Design Co.

Decals courtesy of Yadda-Yadda Design Co.