Fundraising Efforts

Over ten years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Many of you may know of this disease because it’s what Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with. Although he was diagnosed years ago, we just started recently signing up for Parkinson’s walks to help raise funds for research. On April 19, me and my family will be participating in our second walk at the Philadelphia Zoo. With the event almost a month away, several family members voiced concerns that, instead of raising money for research, we should be raising money for my dad’s medical expenses.

I personally believe that neither raising money for research or raising money for my dad is more important than the other. I think they are equally important things that need to be done. My dad no longer works and has no health insurance so his medications started to become pricey. Currently, there is one medication he can no longer afford so he has to stop taking it (which is no good). On the other hand, Parkinson’s research is also important because it’s how they will be able to find a cure or at least better ways to prevent and handle the disease.

So, my sister and I decided to try to raise money for both causes, keeping in mind that a lot of people are tight on money and may not be able to donate at all. So I’m working on at least sharing our fundraising pages as much as possible and I ask that you share it as well. There is no telling who may be able to help so spreading the word is better than nothing at all.

Please share: Help John Pay Medical Expenses

The “Right Voice”

As writers we all have our own “voice”. It’s what we use to draw in our readers and keep them hooked for the entirety of our work, whether it be 500 words or 500 pages. But I was thinking today: what makes a good voice? I feel there are some writers who have better voices than other writers and that may just be my general opinion on what types of writing I like or it may be a valid observation. Is there a type of voice that everyone in the whole world likes above everything else?

Now, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to answer that question. It’d take a pretty big survey and years of research to truly find the answer to it. It’s really just a musing to get my brain (and yours) working.

For instance, I’ve always been quite a fan of writing that’s a little more abstract. Not in a ‘hey I’m going to make this story vague as hell and make everyone guess what I’m talking about’ type of writing, but a writing that kind of rambles on. Not in a bad, annoying way, but in a way that still flows. If that makes sense. I guess I’m kind of thinking of a JD Salinger, Catcher in the Rye kind of writing. Hopefully you have an idea of what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to write in this kind of flowing rambling, but I feel like I’ve only really accomplished it once in my short story The Dream Where Jason Segel is my Boyfriend. The entire story is based off a dream I had so it has to have the rambling, jumpiness that a dream has. Sometimes I feel like people can accomplish that type of writing all the time and it comes out so beautiful. I get kind of jealous of those people. I wish I could be more abstract with my work and have this voice that sounds like an artist wrote it. But not in a pretentious way.

Now, I know there are people who like my writing, because if no one liked my writing I’m sure I wouldn’t have anything published (or in a ‘Best Of’ issue). However, sometimes I’m reading through a magazine or journal that I’m thinking of submitting something to and as I read through the stories I’m just sitting there like: Wow, this is really great stuff. How can I write like this?

But the only way to write like that would be to practice, which I haven’t been able to do in such a long time. Now I’m trying to work on another jumpy, dream like story so I’m trying to get just the right voice for it. Most of the time I like the voice in my writing and out of all the stories I have published, I really like about 80% of them. I’ve heard that writers aren’t really supposed to like what they write, that they need to rely on other’s for that ‘gratification’, but I think that’s kind of silly, really. Why would I write if I didn’t like anything I produced? Although I write to entertain others, I also write to entertain myself. I write because I love what I write and if I really didn’t love it I would probably stop writing altogether (which I did for a time).

I just wonder if there are other writers out there who read my work and think: Wow, this stuff is great. How can I be like this writer?

That’d be pretty awesome.

My Fear of Writer’s Block

For about two years I’ve been on medication for my anxiety, and I’ve been experiencing writer’s block for almost a year. I never thought that the two were connected until I started to wean myself off the medication and found that I was able to come up with ideas for stories and write again without feeling that every story I put down on paper or typed up was terrible. The first few times I was able to write again I was very excited. I missed writing so much and hated when I couldn’t write a simple short story without thinking about how terrible it was, giving up before I was even passed the first two sentences.

But now I’ve come across a new problem: although I’ve found that I can write again, I’m afraid to write. I’m afraid that I’m going to start writing and hate what I put down and have the vicious cycle start all over again. If you’re a writer you already know this: it is one of the worst feelings in the world to want to be able to write but not being able to. Writing provides such a release for me as an artist and I’ve worked on so many forms of writing (short stories, novels, flash fiction, micro fiction, plays, creative non-fiction, journalism) that I find it frightening that I can’t even work on a story or essay without the fear of failing standing over my shoulder.

What I need to remind myself is that everything I write will not come out perfect. That’s what editing is for. If I don’t like what I’m writing, instead of giving up I should keep going. I have found in the past that sometimes I may not like my beginning, but love my ending, so I just go back later and fix the beginning. Again, editing. Finally, I think one of my biggest problems is I haven’t written anything for myself in a long time and so I need to get back in the swing of writing fiction for a little bit everyday. I had a professor once who said to write 15 minutes every day. Even if you feel like you don’t have time, at some point in the day excuse yourself from whatever you’re doing and just take 15 minutes to write. That’s what I would do in college and it worked! I just need to get back into the swing of doing that.

I recently joined a writing group a friend was trying to get started up again, so I’m hoping that it will help me. Our first story is due in a little less than two weeks and while I’ve started it (and am OK with what I have so far) I have no idea where it’s going. Yet. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

SPARK: Inspiration in 10 days

Over the past week and a half I participated in an inspiration project called SPARK. The object is to write a short story or draw/paint a picture in 10 days based off an inspiration piece given to you by a partner. Naturally, I wrote a short story based off a picture I was sent.

I think this is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. All artists need inspiration of some sort because ideas don’t just come out of nothing. Whether we want to believe it or not, every piece we create we comes from something.

Friday was the last day and I was able to upload today! Go check it out and see for yourself what exactly SPARK does!