Wordy Wednesday: Rainstorm

Hey there! As I mentioned in last week’s Wordy Wednesday, this is a pre-written post because, at the time of its posting, I will be (am?) out of town. However, I hope you’re having a great week and I’ll tell you all about what I was up to when I get back.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem.

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The sleepy drip of
sunlit rain against
windows and held-out palms,
the paradox of feeling as if
everything is happening at once
when really nothing is happening
at all,
and I love this, the way a rainstorm
can feel like silence
and sunlight
can be a blanket
and summer can be a
feeling, rooted deep in your restless heels
and your dancing fingertips
and the tug of your lips, reaching for
a smile–
I am so tired but
I am so awake
**********

Thanks for reading, and see you when I get back!

~Julia

Welcome to New York

Hey! Sorry for the silent blog all week. Things got a little crazy my last few days in Michigan.

HOWEVER. I AM NOW IN NEW YORK CITY.

My mom and I flew here Sunday afternoon, I moved into my apartment yesterday, and I start work tomorrow. Everything is busy and big and just slightly different from what I’m used to (like the grocery store doesn’t have my favorite kind of cheese, but it has five thousand others I’ve never heard of? I don’t understand?).

Since we’ve had a couple free days before I start adulting, we’ve been touristing it to the max. Sunday night we hung out in Times Square, ate at John’s Pizza (because always), and saw Inside Out at the massive AMC over that way. (Btw: It made me cry. So bittersweet and funny and wonderful.)  Monday we mostly spent moving me in, but in the evening we took the bus to Manhattan, walked around a bit, and ate dinner in Rockefeller Plaza. (The statue was lit up rainbow! Whoohoooo.)   

Today we took the subway way out to Coney Island. We walked along the beach, splashed in the waves, rode lots of rides, and ate so much unhealthy food I don’t know if we’ll ever recover.   

  

 All in all it’s been a really great few days. Fingers crossed my first day at the office goes well!

~Julia

Spring Break 2015

So, as mentioned in last week’s Wordy Wednesday, I spent my spring break in the Chicago area putting up flyers for Ch1Con 2015 and doing research for a novel.

It wasn’t exactly the most relaxing spring break ever, but it was awesome getting to meet so many librarians and bookshop owners, and Chicago’s always gorgeous.

We put up flyers for the conference in over fifty locations over the course of three days. Which was basically insane.

IMG_8031One of the days, I spotted Oscar Mayer’s Wiener Mobile in a mall parking lot and made my mom drive over so I could get pictures. It was completely surrounded by people taking selfies.

IMG_8048Thursday we took a break from flyering for a few hours to visit the John Hancock Observatory, which is currently under renovations to become 360 Chicago. The John Hancock Center’s my favorite building in Chicago and I know a weird amount of stuff about it, so it was cool to get to go in and see the updates they’re making to the observation deck.

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Here’s the shadow of the John Hancock Center over North Avenue Beach and Lake Michigan.

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Sears Tower on the horizon.

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The updated observatory includes mirrors coating the ceiling, which leads to fun optical illusions.

The biggest update to the observation deck is the new attraction “Tilt,” in which participants lean against the windows in the picture below and they slowly tilt outward until the participants are facing the street below, ninety-four stories up.

IMG_8096And of course I had to take an awkward observation deck selfie as documentation of my visit.

IMG_8113Friday we had the special treat of Ch1Con team member Emma going around with us to put up flyers. I don’t get to see the rest of the team in person very often and I absolutely freaking adore Emma, so getting to spend the afternoon with her wasn’t just a highlight of the trip, but the year.

Also: while my mom was awesome and drove us around to all of our various drop points, Emma and I wrote a joint post for the March Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain and posted it on the Chapter One Young Writers Conference Tumblr, which you can check out here. The prompt for the month asks about your thoughts on reading and writing in non-novel formats, so since we’re both huge theatre nerds we wrote about how theatre has affected our writing.

IMG_8144 And finally, after a few long, long days away, there’s nothing like coming home to the worst best selfie partner in the world.

IMG_8153Have you had your spring break? Did you do anything fun? Let me know in the comments!

(Especially if you went somewhere warm, because dude, please let me live vicariously through your not-freezing adventures.)

(On the upside: It hit forty degrees today, which means at least for now* we’re past coat weather! Yay!)

~Julia

*It’s totally going to snow again tomorrow, just because I said that.

Wordy Wednesday: Interview with Kira Budge

I’m now in Europe (or, you know, will be at the time this post goes up)–which means this week’s Wordy Wednesday is our first of many wonderful interviews and guests posts for the summer!

Please welcome my fabulous critique partner and friend, Kira Budge!

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Kira Budge

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a sophomore at BYU-Idaho studying English: Creative Writing and a novelist, primarily of YA fantasy. Additionally, I’m the Associate Online Administrator of Ch1Con, a writing conference for teens. I play cello, foster kittens, and obsess over British TV in my spare time.

What kind of writing do you do?
Mostly YA fantasy novels, though they tend to straddle the line towards sci-fi. I write other stuff too, but nothing as seriously as that.

What project(s) are you currently working on?
I’m finishing up edits on What It Takes to Deal, a YA contemp, to prepare it to be sent out to agents.

What are you studying at college?
As seen le above, I’m an English: Creative Writing major! Because useful.

Any fun summer plans?
I WENT TO CH1CON HECK YESSES.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Britain. All of the Britain.

What’s your favorite kind of book?
I have lots of kinds of favorite books, but I tend to have a thing for YA sci-fi in particular, or at least I have recently.

Favorite food?
The food kind.

Favorite drink?
HOT CHOCOLATE.

Favorite dessert?
More chocolate. (Sorry Jules.)

Favorite season?
Summer.

Favorite activity outside of reading and writing?
Ummmmm… watching TV? Being generally useless?

Favorite movie?
Snow White and the Huntsman.

Favorite TV show?
Doctor Who!!!!

Favorite band/singer?
Linkin Park.

Favorite Youtube channel?
Pemberley Digital, but I love so so many more!

Favorite book?
This question is an unfair one, at any and all times. It’s a tie between Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. It always is.

Favorite website?
I don’t know about favorite, but the one I apparently go to the most is Goodreads.

Favorite board game?
Ew. Board games.

Favorite videogame?
Ew. Videogames.

Favorite language (other than your native one)?
Spanish? Latin? One of those.

Favorite sport?
No.

Favorite candy?
Chocolate.

Favorite pie?
Apple. Or cherry. Or blueberry. Or chocolate.

Favorite instrument?
CELLO. YES. I PLAY CELLO.

Coffee or tea?
Neither. I’m Mormon. *smiles cheesily*

Ice cream or froyo?
BOTH. (Probably froyo, though, for real.)

Movie or TV show?
TV show.

Morning or night?
Night.

City or country?
Small town. Those other places are icky.

Cat or dog?
CATTTTTTTTTTTTTT.

Rain or shine?
Rain. Sun hurts my eyes.

Camp or hotel?
Hotel, baby.

Stay in or go out?
Stay in all of the times.

Casual or fancy?
…. either. Depending on the situation. I like to do both of them.

Edward or Jacob? (Kidding.)
I see your kidding and raise you a TEAM EDWARD for the books and TEAM WHY DO THESE MOVIES EXIST LAUTNER IS SO MUCH HOTTER for the movies.

Hot or cold?
Hot. I am allergic to cold.

Handwrite or type?
No one in potato can read my handwriting, not even me. Type.

Paperback or hardcover?
I think paperback. But I’ve never actually thought about this question before. Hmm! Good one, Jules!

**********

Why thank you, Kira! And thanks for letting me interview you!

You can find Kira at the following links:

Twitter: @KiraBudge
Thanks for reading!
~Julia

Story Time: Florida Trip Recap

So, over winter break, my family went to Florida. We left the day after Christmas and were down there for a little over a week, and it was basically both the best and worst decision my parents have ever made, considering how lousy the weather in Michigan was at the time (the last day of the trip, we drove home for 19 hours straight in order to beat one of the many Polar Vortex snow storms–not fun).

The trip consisted of two parts (not including all the days spent driving, because, you know, Florida and Michigan aren’t exactly neighbors). The first part we spent in the Everglades–the second in the Florida Keys.

The Everglades are not AT ALL like I was expecting–they’re almost all water, with most of the plants growing directly out of it. Interspersed with all the water are “islands,” which are actually just a couple feet higher in elevation, but it’s just enough to allow them to rise above the water, giving way to mini forests full of all sorts of trees and plants. Birds abound. While we were there, we saw more alligators in a single day than I’ve seen probably in my entire life (including television). (Note: all pictures courtesy mi madre, dad, and brother.)

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While in the Everglades, my parents made the mistake of taking me to a gift shop.

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Amongst all the Everglades-ing, we also spent quite a bit of time searching for manatees during this part of the trip. Unfortunately, we only got a decent picture of one.

photo 1You’re welcome.

(Okay, make that two.)

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(Also, this happened.)

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Post-Everglades, we drove down into the Florida Keys.

The weather for most of the trip wasn’t as good as we were hoping (cool weather, plus lots of rain and wind), but honestly, it was still better than what people were dealing with back in Michigan, so considering that, we didn’t mind.

In the Keys, my parents kept us busy with visits to both the Dolphin Research Center (where they shot the original Flipper) and The Turtle Hospital (turns out sea turtles get injured/sick a lot, thanks to boats and cold weather and other nasty stuff).

I’d never touched or interacted with a dolphin before, so it was super cool getting to pet one.

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At the Turtle Hospital, we toured the facilities and got to feed some of the patients.

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Sea turtles are adorable, but also MASSIVE–like way bigger than me. This one’s just a baby, and it’s already almost the size of my dog (and despite Sammy’s miniature tank status, the turtle surely weighs a lot more).

Outside of those visits, we spent some time at a variety of beautiful beaches and parks.

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Those last few shots are at the Old Seven Mile Bridge. When you think of the super long bridges out in the water that kind of define the Florida Keys, chances are you’re thinking of the current Seven Mile Bridge–but before that was Old Seven, which now serves as a pedestrian bridge for fishing, hanging out, and reaching a smaller key that lands right in the middle of the seven mile stretch over the ocean.

As you can see below, Old Seven is positively COATED in locks people have left behind. Some are pretty new; others look like they’re old as the bridge itself. It’s a cool tradition.

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New Year’s Day, we ventured all the way out to Key West. Key West is the southernmost point of the continental United States, and at the southernmost point of it, you’re only about ninety miles from Cuba.

This picture of my brother and me is at what claims to be the southernmost beach in the continental US. Which means that in this picture, we’re closer to Cuba than we are to another state. (I say “claims,” because we saw several different hotels claiming to be the southernmost hotel, so who knows what’s true.)

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On Key West, we explored an old military base, toured downtown (yes, chickens do roam free all over the island), stopped by the Hemingway House (yes, all the cats truly do have extra toes), and–finally–ate dinner at Sunset Pier (yes, when I picture paradise, this is what comes to mind).

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IMG_0235They have these “coconut disposal” bins all over the island, because rather than throwing hotdogs in your face like most places, the street vendors there sell fresh coconuts with straws in them. Everywhere you look is someone else drinking out of a coconut.

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IMG_0325Hemingway’s office.

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We started for home on Friday, after spending our last evening in the Keys on a glass-bottom boat observing a coral reef.

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We stopped at another old fort Saturday morning: the Castillo de San Marcos. This place was really cool, because it’s the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States and although it regularly changed hands during its time as an active military fort, no one ever took it by force. And they built it out of a naturally occurring stone made from compressed sea shells. Which rocks (no pun intended).

IMG_0791I also really enjoyed the Castillo de San Marcos because a lot of its signs were in Spanish along with English, and as much as that year and a half of Spanish classes kicked my butt, it was secretly kind of super awesome being able to read the Spanish sides of the signs just almost as easily as the English. (On the other hand, it was not kind of super awesome when my mom tried to get me to order at a Spanish-only restaurant in Miami because hola, no sé nada vocabulari0–I could just as easily order you a side of eggs as a side of dishwater).

On the way home, before the Castillo de San Marcos, we also stopped by a couple more beaches, including Fort Lauderdale, which is where this doozy of a video occurred:

Madre thought she was funny taking a picture of me while I was vlogging, but I think we can see who the real winner is, here.

IMG_0729She never saw that hideous expression coming.

We ate dinner at a Disney resort that night (Friday), then hit the Castillo de San Marcos Saturday morning, and then it was a long, nineteen hour drive straight home to beat the storm.

The good side of doing that drive? Getting to see Sammy sooner than we’d planned. (And who can resist this face?)

… And there you have it. My family’s winter break Florida trip.

Now will someone take me back, seeing as Hell (Michigan) has frozen over?

~Julia

Want to Guest Post?

Hey there! I’m going to be going out of town for a couple of weeks in June, and since I won’t have internet access during the trip, I’m going to need to get a nice queue of blog posts put together before I leave. And because I don’t have time to write a thousand and one posts myself before my departure date, I figured I’d see if anyone wants to write a guest post instead.

Your post should be between three hundred and a thousand words, and it can be about pretty much anything you want, minus porn or Twilight (unless you’re bashing S’meyer’s writing, in which case be my guest). Want to talk about a book or movie or author you really love? Want to share a short story you’ve written? Want to gush about a fashion trend you’re obsessed with, or how to dress like a certain book or movie character? Anything goes. Send your ideas in.

If you’re interested, email me with your idea and a sample of your writing (or just send me your proposed post) at: jbyerswriting@aol.com. I can’t wait to read all your awesome ideas! (Watch them be so great nobody even wants me to come back from vacation.)

Thanks for the help!

 

~Julia