Empty Your “Someday” Bucket

There are so many times where you cross paths with a decision and you think, “I’ll do that someday…” or “maybe another time.”

I think today is a great day for whatever that is…

Just a little birdie over here cheering for you to grab today with both hands and live it fully.

Today is a great day for you. Go get it!

bucket

 

I Am the Highway

Hearing the news about Chris Cornell’s passing today took my breath away. I lived my teen years in the ’90s as thoroughly as possible. Chris Cornell’s raw, gripping and unique voice was part of the many great experiences I had throughout my high school years, along with other alt greats of the time, including Pearl Jam.

His voice was youth, passion, energy, love, and hate: all those things you feel so deeply in high school as you’re trying to navigate yourself around the idea of living in the moment and becoming an adult.

When I heard that Chris had passed, my heart ached and I immediately wanted to reach out and hug my high school best friends. Because his voice was all of us, with the promise of tomorrow with each other by our sides.

It made me sad to realize that many of the bands that took over the radio in Chicago while growing up have lost their lead singers due to death: Alice in Chains, Nirvana, STP, Sublime, and Blind Melon.

I leave you with one of my favorite songs from Chris from Audioslave. It feels fitting.

“I Am The Highway”
Audioslave

Pearls and swine bereft of me.
Long and weary my road has been.
I was lost in the cities, alone in the hills.
No sorrow or pity for leaving, I feel.

I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky.

Friends and liars don’t wait for me,
‘Cause I’ll get on all by myself.
I put millions of miles under my heels;
And still too close to you I feel.

I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky.
I am not your blowing wind, I am the lightning.
I am not your autumn moon, I am the night… night.

I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky.
I am not your blowing wind, I am the lightning.
I am not your autumn moon, I am night… night… night.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lyrics per AZLyrics

 

highway-wallpapers

How do you measure happiness?

In – five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

How about love?

Seasons of Love – Rent

I saw Rent last night. The last time I saw the musical was nearly two decades ago in London. About halfway through, the tears started falling and they basically didn’t stop. It was cathartic. Aside from the actors’ beautiful voices, for me, it was so moving because the message seemed to pertinent with the world today.

It was such a great reminder that it’s the people that you love and surround yourself with that make each day more special and worthwhile than the next. Sometimes we get so distracted by the noise that it limits our ability to enjoy what we have. I’m guilty of that.

But not last night.

rent

Just Make it Happen Already

There are so many things that we say throughout our lives, “Oh, I’d love to do that…” and eye someone with envy when they’ve given themselves the permission to do something out of the box.

I think women are particularly hard on themselves for these sort of things. When I think of something I want to do, it has to make it past my list of priorities: husband and kids, writing, work, friends, and more.

I’d love to do that…but I’ll just be bringing the kids back from gymnastics and the timing is really tight.

I’d love to do that…but work just started to pick up.

I’d love to do that…but that’s like two months straight that I’ll need to find some backup to watch the kids.

Recently, a friend passed away from cancer and everything around me has seemed like a missed opportunity. My heart has been broken since her passing. She used to say every day counts.

We don’t get a second chance at our lives.

So this is a note to ask you what you’ve been wanting to do lately. And I give you permission to do it for yourself!

On Monday, I start ukulele lessons…get ready world!

ukulele

 

Pitch Wars Setting Workshop

Writing novels has its highs and its lows. For anyone that has queiried an agent, they now understand what “tough skin” really means. But it’s all part of the process.

I’m working on my second book, CURTAIN RISING, and was so lucky to be selected into the Pitch Wars Setting Workshop and have my first 500 words reviewed.

I’m so thankful to have some great critique partners; everyone adds value in a different way. For the Pitch Wars Setting Workshop, mentor and fabulous author Kelly Siskind provided some great feedback. Having someone who has gone through the process and has written some great books, is pretty great.

So here is a sneak peek into the amazingly tough, yet wonderful, yet painful, yet amazing process of writing. This is my exerpt of CURTAIN RISING, with Kelly’s feedback.

http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/06/day-2-june-setting-workshop-pitch-wars-mentor/

For those who don’t know Kelly’s work, check her out!

Kelly is the author of CHASING CRAZY and MY PERFECT MISTAKE, the latter being the first of her Over the Top series, all published through Grand Central’s Forever Yours. A small-town girl at heart, she moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning. http://www.kellysiskind.com

 

books

Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago via http://bookshelfporn.com

Query Kombat Today

A few years ago I started connecting with other authors on Twitter and it changed my life. I’m so glad that I’ve met so many great people that are in the same shoes, writing, editing, and supporting each other.

My book, AMERICAN HONEY, got selected to compete in Query Kombat today! It is very exciting and yet, I’m so nervous. The winner will go on to compete in the next round, and so on. My competitor has got the goods too!

Thanks for , our team of authors selected to compete these next few weeks.

Please come visit, leave feedback, and cheer us on (we’ll leave the voting for the judges though)! Today, my book is on this site: http://www.michelle4laughs.com/2016/06/qk-round-1-ivy-league-sex-scandal-vs.html#comment-form

Very exciting!

giphy

What does honesty look like?

There are so many faces of honesty. I’ve always been so interested in this topic, especially researching the life of an unreliable narrator for my new book. And then I happened upon a New York Post article, and that kind of brutal honesty has to make you smile…(story below).

DEFINITION: An unreliable narrator is a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised. The reader/viewer often does not realize the unreliability until a contrast of the truth is shown by another character or event.

The dishonesty that seems to hurt the most is when you are not honest to yourself.

It’s amazing what we’ll do to protect ourselves sometimes, persevere, and move on. You see it all the time from fights between non-working women to working women, jobs, economy, even things like sleep. We try to convince ourselves that we don’t need it: we’re better off without it.

When people are so honest to the point that it puts them in a bad light, and their actions clearly were incorrect but they still choose to put it out there, whether to help others or just help themselves…I find that so refreshing.

Here is the New York Post article that made me smile. Obviously, I don’t condone his behavior, but it is hilarious.

http://nypost.com/2016/02/16/i-needed-weed-man-who-found-wallet-returns-license-not-cash/

NYPOst

 

Living in the Today

It feels like every other day there is an awful shooting or act of terrorism. But sadly, I heard a stat that there have been more mass shootings than actual calendar days of the year so far.

I think it makes all of us feel helpless as we sit watching the news, hugging our family, not knowing how to protect them. My daughters are five and three years old, so they haven’t had to hear about all of this. But soon they will, and I worry they will fear for the future, like I sometimes do. And more than anything, it makes me sad that they will lose that sense of innocence.

San Bernardino two days ago, Paris the other day, Beirut, etc. It feels sad to even write “ETC.” but it goes on and on. I can’t help but wonder what the solution is, how do we handle this sadness, scariness, and evil that is everywhere today?

Last night I realized I needed to stop watching and start living.

  • We need to live in the today.
  • We need to stand tall for our beliefs.
  • We need to love our family and friends more.
  • We need to believe and act as though every day counts. 

And when these tragedies happen, we need to urge everyone around us to support each other and find a solution. All of our neighbors, family members, state and national government should be held accountable for keeping each other safe. There’s a grave disconnect with mental illness and the constant threat of terrorism, and we need to figure out how to identify these issues and stop them before they happen. How can we live in such a progressive country, yet be afraid to send our kids to school?

I hope that you will find strength in something in your life, and hold onto that the next time tragedy hits.

In the meantime, live and love deeply.

Free_hugs

Let’s Fly

I have a quote on my desk that makes me smile. I originally printed it, to give it to my girls, but it hasn’t made it off my desk.

(I do plan to get a better print and frame it for them.)

But the sentiment is so important. It’s just that daily reminder that we need to get out there and give it a shot.

“What if I fall?

Oh, my darling, what if you fly?”

So today, I say…go for it! And don’t forget to remind your friends and family too!

 

 

#777 Challenge Accepted – “American Honey”

Christi R. Suzanne tagged me for the #777challenge. We met through an eye-opening author class at the Attic Institute with Whitney Otto in Portland. Since then, a few of us have stuck together to become great writing, critiquing, and commiserating friends.

Check out her stuff and her novel MORT ADDENDUM…you’ll never look at Kool-Aid ever the same! Follow her at @christirsuzanne.

The goal of the 777 challenge is to share seven lines from page seven of your manuscript, then tag seven more writers.

This excerpt comes from my finished novel, AMERICAN HONEY (currently looking for representation).

AMERICAN HONEY is women’s fiction weaving together a journey in two timelines about coming-of-age, leaving your past behind, and then recapturing it.

American Honey

So on to the next, I challenge friends from The Writer’s Voice, Pitch to Pub and Query Kombat!