I think everyone needs to see this.

Shannon A Thompson

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Rejection is everywhere: we break up, we get fired, we lose friends—and we survive them all—yet, when our art is rejected, many feel completely defeated, and they never get out there again. This saddens me. This is how art dies.

Rejection happens to everyone, and, if it hasn’t already, it will happen to you—but you cannot let criticism get you down.

In terms of the writing industry, many writers, professional or not, already know about the long-hated query letter. My favorite metaphor for writing one is the ballerina having to explain why she can…

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The Power of Pets

Last week, I had to take my cat Raven in for her vaccines. This is a no-muss, no-fuss process for the most part, she is good about being at the vet. She just doesn’t like being confined in her crate in the car. Normally, when she comes home from the vet, or the other cat, Ember comes home, there is a couple-hour or so adjustment period.



Not for Raven. Raven is 100% a-okay the moment she walks in the door. Ember, on the other hand, gets offended because her sister smells funny (or Ember smells funny). Ember will bluster for a little while, Raven will ignore her, and by the end of the night everyone is friends again.

Well, this last go around there were changes. Raven was given a new variety of rabies vaccine, which she had a slight reaction to, making her groggy and grouchy. Ember blustered as usual, and then Raven fought right back.

It was all hair, teeth and eyeballs for a few minutes. I separated them and went to sleep. The next morning, Ember was very sick with some kind of bladder issue, and she had to be taken to the vet. She was prescribed some medicine and will be fine, but oh my goodness. So much stress.

And to top it all off, the cats are still not friends. We’re experiencing a prolonged adjustment period and it is stressing. Me. Out.



My cats are my stress relief. They purr and snuggle and play. The cuddle up with me at night, one on either side. But because they are not currently friends this is not happening and I’m totally thrown off.

Can’t sleep well. Constantly worried. Tense.

I know that some people think this might be silly. They are just cats. For those of you that think I’m the crazy cat lady, that’s fine. I am nutty. Mock me if you must. For the cat–or pet–lovers out there, do me a favor? Cross your fingers these two start getting along again, like, soon. With the quickness.

Thanks in advance.

Riddle me this, Batman

I have a love-hate relationship with riddles. As a writer, I love the ones that make sense. You know, the ones that have a logical outcome or are an unusual description for something mundane. Like in The Hobbit. For example:

“What has roots as nobody sees,

Is taller than trees

Up, up it goes

And yet never grows?”


“It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,

Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.

It lies behind stars and under hills,

And empty holes it fills.

It comes first and follows after,

Ends life, kills laughter.”

These I get. Even if I don’t guess the answer right away, when the answer is revealed to me, it makes sense.

What I don’t understand are the riddles that involve a play on words for the solution, thus making the answer physically or logically impossible in the real world. Which is odd—you’d think, as a writer, I would enjoy the play on words. Especially as a fantasy writer. But, I also love science, and presumably these riddles don’t take place in a fantasy world. They take place in my world.

Here’s the specific riddle I’m talking about:

There is a man in a room with no windows, doors, or holes. The only thing in the room is a table and mirror. The room was built around him. How does he get out?

Answer: Look in the mirror to see what you saw. Use the saw to cut the table in half. Realize two halves make a whole. He gets out of the room through the hole.

What in the actual fuck, man. I was watching NCIS with a friend the other day and this riddle was on the show. I paused the DVD and went off about this stupid riddle.

Me: “That doesn’t make any sense.”

Friend: “Yes, it does.”

Me: “No, it doesn’t. You know what my answer would be? He climbed over the walls. No one ever said anything about a ceiling.”

Friend: “Well, if there is a room, you assume there is a ceiling.”

Me: “Nope! You have to quantify everything in a riddle. If they didn’t say ceiling, there is no ceiling. The room was built around him, not over him. He stood on the table and climbed out.”

Friend: (she laughs)

Me: “I mean, seriously, what is this shit about halves and holes. That’s not physically possible, he couldn’t get out of the room that way. The answer might as well have been ‘Ooh, magic!’” (jazz hands!)

Am I right, my loves? Who’s with me on this one?

Seriously. What the shit, people. Two halves make a “hole.” A hole. You know what else they make? A-holes, which is what you are if you tell me a riddle like this and expect me not to hit you.


(Hobbit riddle answers: 1) Mountains, 2) Darkness)

I hope to be old soon

I hope to be old soon.

Youth is fraught with pitfalls,

littered with discarded dreams.

It’s stupid—bitter.

Broken hearts and broken bones,

one poor choice after the next.

Youth is serious,

spending all its time trying to prove itself.

The herculean Sisyphus,

the rolling, moss-less stone:

wayward, raging, ricocheting.

It’s not for me.


I’d rather collect a little moss;

builds character.

They say youth is wasted on the young.

I disagree.

Youth is wasted either way—

only the old are free.

My totem animal is a platypus

I’ve been really stressed out lately. There are many contributing factors to my stress, from external things that I can’t control to my lack of stress management techniques.

It’s become such a chronic issue that I’ve had a low-grade migraine for the past three days, spawned from too much tension (and possibly triggered by the crazy weather we’ve been having). I’m anxious, irritated, emotionally over-wrought.

Did I do the cover letter right? Did I remember to spell check? What if I'm actually terrible? Please love me. Oh, God. Please.

I have been researching stress management techniques for the past week or so to get things under control. My research revealed two things  I do that I shouldn’t. Two giant, clanging, flashing alarms that make me more stressed out than needed:

1) I over-commit.

2) I am not myself.

I wanted to share this with you all because I have a feeling we’re all guilty of doing this once in a while, and some of us (ahem, like me) are making these mistakes so consistently it is literally affecting our health.

Over committing

This one is easy to solve. Simply practice the art of saying “no.” Don’t do anything unless you are truly enthusiastic about doing it—if there is a hesitation in your decision, politely decline.

Now, we can’t do this at work. We have to accept our work assignments, whether we like them or not, and get them done. We need the money, yes? Yes. But socially—socially is where we can make some changes.

If you fee like you need practice, start with the little stuff. Don’t go with your friends to that movie you don’t want to see if you’d rather, you know, make art or whatever. Don’t eat the asparagus if you don’t want to eat it. Work your way up to the bigger stuff. Decline, politely, an invitation to a party.

You don’t need an excuse, just say you are unavailable or can’t make it.  If your friends are the kind of people who ask “why not,” you can a) tell them the truth, that you’ve over-committed yourself and need some down time, or b) fib a little. You have another engagement. You have to work. You have to perform emergency gastrointestinal surgery on a rainbow-bloated unicorn.

Your friends will forgive you. It’s better for you to say no upfront than to flake out later because your stress levels are too high. If you’re like me, this is a hard concept to wrap your brain around. If you say no, that somehow means you are unreliable, or mean, or neglectful. This is untrue. We are none of those things for saying no.  Selecting your social activities carefully will leave you with more time, and energy, to attend those things that you really want to attend. Which isn’t to say that you don’t want to attend everything. Of course you do, you like your friends. But the reality is, sometimes you have to say no now to say yes later.

Right? Right.

Being Yourself

Okay, before I lose you all in this giant cliché I need to tell you something. I don’t mean, like, “be yourself at the party/on the date/in school/at work.”

I’m talking something deeper, more fundamental.

I’m talking about being true to you.

Find the shining core of your being and polish the glass around it so you can let the light out.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go on a spirit quest. Your totem animal doesn’t need to guide your through this transformation. Most of it will be simple, external change. You’ll have to start with a bit of introspection to figure out what those changes are, but I promise, this won’t hurt.

Some of the stress management techniques I came across included: following your intuition; valuing what you believe in, “walk your talk;” feel your feelings and allow yourself to express them; and make changes if you are unhappy with your current situation.

For example, a small part of my stress was not having a private, dedicated space to write. My desk was out in a den, near a big window, vulnerable to feline attack and ambient television noise. So, I decided to move my desk into my bedroom, where I can close the door and the windows are curtained. Apparently, I like to feel cocooned. It’s amazing the difference that one change made. I am more willing to sit at my desk and actually write.

I used to believe that if I championed one cause, I would have to champion them all, as I am a closet tree-hugging hippie. But that’s not true either. I can pick one or two things to really champion and concentrate on supporting monetarily, vocally, or however. I can “walk my talk” without screaming my voice hoarse or breaking a hip.

I know we all have different masks, or personalities, that we put on in certain public places. Just don’t forget to take them off when you get home. Remember to find a sanctuary were you don’t have to worry about what other people think, or feel subject to scrutiny, even if you don’t care what the other people are thinking.

Find your hidey-hole, set it up the way you want, and guard it jealousy. Spend time there. I mean, don’t hermit yourself away for indefinite periods of time, but spend some time just being you in a place that is for you and nobody else.

Maybe get in touch with your totem animal.  Make the changes you want to make (within the scope of law and financial ability) as much as you can.

Shine your light. The rest will come.

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.” – S. Kierkegaard