V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N (in the summer sun)

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

I am sure I have started more than one of these blogs with, “it’s been a long time since I last wrote” and for that, I am sorry. But, life has this sneaky little way of speeding right past me. One minute it’s January and the next I find myself smack dab in the middle of June asking myself, “how the shit did that happen?” So much awesome crap has happened that I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose I will just jump right into this post and see where it all ends up, myself included.

How about this for starters? I published my first scholarly article! Yep, that’s right. And you know what else? It’s about zombies. Teaching with zombies. That kicks ass. I also brought my first exhibit to Wellesley College. I personally think it was a success. I know I had a lot of fun with the programming and events and I cannot wait to do another one. I love that I am able to be creative at my job. Hell, that’s one of the many reasons why I wanted to work at Wellesley. It’s one of the many reasons why I want to stay at Wellesley College and grow as a professional librarian. Win.

I finished my novel! After four years of writing it on and off, I decided last summer to just start over. So, that is exactly what I did but I didn’t really commit to it until I returned back to Salem from Christmas break. Every weekend was spent writing for about 8-10 hours a day. Then one fine Sunday, it was done. I took two celebratory shots of tequila and cried. I was that happy! I tried to high-five Izzy but he just didn’t see what the big deal was. Cats.

I scored Lollapalooza tickets to see The Cure! The show is August 4 so it is the perfect way to end the summer. And I will be accompanied by Barbie, who is my partner-in-crime when it comes to Cure shows.

I opted to not work this summer. I had a blast last summer working at the local witch shop, talking and interacting with tourists. I got a lot of exercise and quite a tan but this summer, I really wanted to spend it with Matt. Even if that meant leaving Salem and staying in MoNasty, PA. (aka Monessen). I call this little adventure the “poor woman’s writing retreat” because the goal of this summer for me is to send out my agent query letters with the polished first chapter. Which means, NO distractions. MoNasty is the perfect solution because there is not jack shit to do here. And I mean “jack shit.”  Unless I want to walk around the streets getting shot, stabbed, raped, or accosted. So while Matt is in class I will be sequestered inside (or on lockdown, semantics) writing away. By the time the summer is over, I better have query letters out in the world.

One fun thing Matt and I have started is coming up with appropriate new names for the towns here. So far we have MoNasty (Monessen), Filthy-delphia (Philadelphia), Smell Burnin’ (Belle Vernon) and Charred Rot (Charleroi). It passes the time. We also have taken up drinking a little more than usual. This caused some concern when we visited the in-laws in Florida. Rest assured, MIL, we are functioning alcoholics. It’s when I  need a shot of tequila to wash down my vitamins in the morning that I need to find the nearest AA meeting.

I signed up for my first MOOC. It’s an Introduction to Art through the University of Pittsburgh. So far I really enjoyed the first three weeks. I have completed art projects I would not have ever done before and personally, I really like what I created. What I do not like about the course is the shitty, pompous-asshat critiques other students give you. People, art is subjective. Not only that, but you CAN NOT see the piece up close and personal. All you can see is a photograph of said piece posted on the Internet. And let me tell you, not everyone belongs behind the camera. Which is not to say the art piece itself is shit, it just means the picture of it is. I’m trying not to let the “grades” bother me since the purpose of this course for me was to take a chance. To attempt something I had  never done before and stretch my artistic longings. I also wanted to bond with Matt in a new way. Sharing art sounded like the perfect fit and so far, it is.

Speaking of art, I started my collages again which has been awesome! I can’t tell you how much I love to collage. During the semester I was completing one a night but since summer has started, I am lucky to get a few done a week. Again, the summer is about the novel so I try not to be so hard on myself. I also started using watercolors. While I am not great at it, I love doing it. I find it extremely therapeutic and as long as I am loving the process, I will continue to dabble. Both the collages and the watercolors I have been posting on my tumblr account: http://itakeupspace.tumblr.com/  You can see my pieces by searching the hashtag #dawnstahuraart if you are interested. I don’t have a lot of followers but I like the idea that someone out there might stumble upon one of my collages and feel something. And if something I write helps another person is some small way, then I’m even happier.

And as if I don’t have enough on my damn plate already, I signed up for a class through Salem State University called “Beginner’s Guide to Publishing.” It is a six-week course that discusses query letters and formatting your manuscript correctly taught by an actual agent. I figured this was money well spent considering my end-goal is to have my novel published and before that can happen I have to format it correctly. Oh, and those little query letters have to be written.

Matt worked on a movie last month doing the special effects. He will also be part of the commercial for the season premiere of “Face Off” in August! My husband, the celebrity. He has ONE quarter left of school. Yes, that’s right, ONE quarter. We are at the end of this already, 8 more months. I can’t say it hasn’t been difficult but what I can say is that it has gone by relatively fast. Once January 30 hits, he will be set to move to Salem. And then the THIRD phase our plan takes root. He opens up a tattoo studio. He works on movie projects. He creates art. He makes money. We have a life together in one place with both kittehs in hopefully a kickass fabulous apartment or condo in Salem.

It was all worth it.

All the dreams we had, all the goals we set out before us, the path we chose to take, the shit we left behind, is all worth it.

For all of you who have been following me on this crazy journey, you know how scared and terrifying the first part of this was. The insane man who lived below me in Wellesley, the harassment, the move to Salem where I knew no one.

Now over a year later, I am loving my life in Salem. My cute apartment. My friends. And soon, so very soon, I will be joined by Matt.

Until then, I savor the fact that I look 600 virgins young.

  1. the mother in law says:

    LOL!! OK, I’ll “calm my tits” over the alcohol consumption. I love that you are coming up with great names for PA cities…you could make some up for Indiana too!! Lafayette might be “loaf-a-lot”.

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