An Open Letter to My Reddit Secret Santa.


Alright, so, my reddit SS was absolutely incredible to me. I’m not sure what his reddit name is, but I was able to send him this message. I figure I’ll share it below so others can have a better understanding of how much this gift means to me, and why. Also note that I wrote a lot in my “About Me,” and only off-handedly mentioned loving to read/my books and wanting to switch over to a Kindle eventually. But that definitely wasn’t the lead in my write up, so this was beyond a shock to me.

Let me briefly explain reddit and what this Secret Santa exchange is for those who don’t know. To quote from the Wiki page about it: reddit is an entertainment, social networking service, and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links. Registered users can then vote submissions “up” or “down” to organize the posts and determine their position on the site’s pages. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called “subreddits.”

For the past several years, they’ve been organizing a Secret Santa event, where you are paired up with a complete stranger who also has signed up to give a gift to someone else. You can be paired with someone from anywhere across the US, or internationally if you choose.

Also note that this gift exchange had a $20 limit.  Continue reading

No thanks for livin’ on Thanksgiving; I’m still starvin’.

It’s Thanksgiving Eve and I’m powering through cups of black coffee and full albums of Wu-Tang on YouTube, waiting for the workday to end. It’s been a bit of a slow day, but a good one for bonding with new co-workers who are also looking longingly at the clock, waiting (somewhat) patiently for quitting time. It was one girl’s birthday, and so we headed over to the local wine bar for lunch, a glass of our favorite spirit, and an opportunity to share some hilarious/embarrassing stories while also sharing the details for our upcoming holiday celebrations. Continue reading

Challenge Accepted.

So, my lovely writer/Internet friend, Kate, recently tagged me in a writer/blogger challenge to answer questions regarding my writing process. And true to my writing process, I’ve been writing this in bits and have been dragging out actually posting it. But it’s Saturday morning, I’ve got nothing to do for the next few hours, and it’s time to finally get to writing! It’s hard to believe how many years have passed since Kate and I first had the pleasure of working together on Lucy Magazine (RIP), and in that time, I’ve had the pleasure to watch her pursue her writing dreams full force. No smoke blowing when I say that it’s been an inspiration, and I’m super stoked to see all the ways she’s continuing to kill it. So, please, go check out her latest endeavor, and follow the project on everyone’s favorite NSA tool.

And so, without further ado, my responses to the challenge (followed by the people I’m tagging to complete it next!) Continue reading

The Roads That Guide Us Home.

I made the observation a few months back that certain driving routes capture very specific timeframes of my life–these back roads, main drags, and exit numbers (make your Jersey jokes now) have the ability to launch full-blown nostalgia for me the same way an old beloved song or familiar smell can.

These past couple weeks have found me traveling several old roads, both figuratively and literally. Continue reading

Call Me By My True Names.

So, I was helping my mom get ready for bed when she reached for my phone. Being that she has a habit of picking up things and wandering with them, I say, “No–don’t touch that. That’s mine.”

“Oh, it’s yours?” she says.

“Yes.” I reply.

“…Nerd.”

Breaking Bad, The Cold Edition.

So, I have a cold and feel rather miserable. My dad comes home and asks how I’m doing.

“Can I get you anything?”

“Sudafed. Please.”

“OK…”

“But not any kind of Sudafed. I want the kind that requires you give them your license because they’re afraid you’re going to make meth with it.”

(My dad pauses, stands there for a minute, and then walks away.)

Good Grief…

Alright, another shameless plug/plea…

I posted about Grief: A Life in 5 Stages last year when the first volume came out, and now we’re at it again…

grief

Peace, by Heather Shaw

Because I paid for that one out-of-pocket, and can’t really afford to do so again this year, I launched a Kickstarter in the hopes of raising the funds needed to come out with vol 2.

So, if you liked what you saw last year, please consider donating to the cause this year. And if you’d like to be a part of the project, send your submissions my way! Looking for original art, photography, and writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essay)! You can send submissions (jpeg files for art or Word docs for writing) to sara @ iamnotajedi.com

 

 

Just Breathe.

One of the biggest things I learned from yoga was the importance of breathing. I remember sitting in my first couple of classes, thinking how stupid it was that we were reviewing how to properly breathe. I’ve gotten this far in life, I thought, how much more do I need to learn about this? But it wasn’t until I stopped and started paying attention to my breath did I realize how often I would hold my breath when I was feeling stressed or panicked. I would get so consumed in a fear or worry or thought that I unknowingly held my breath, as if I felt so paralyzed by whatever it was my mind was racing over, that I neglected my normal functioning.

It’s sadly been a while since I’ve hit the yoga mat, but the importance of checking in with my breath has stayed with me. Whenever I am getting stressed or feeling overwhelmed, I stop, and make sure to inhale deep and slow, and exhale long and with intention. And as silly as it first felt to do this, I’ve now come to rely on it to help keep me in check. Continue reading

Silver Linings.

I’ve been posting a lot recently about my recent frustrations and navigations through life lessons learned, but I feel it fair to report that the past couple of weeks have also had their strange silver linings.  Continue reading

The Heart of the Fire

I have this friend, Graham, whom I met in college and who I keep up with mainly through social media exploits. Graham is some kind of a wonderful mix of Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, and a German film star from the 30s. He introduced me to ammonia cokes and the beauty of Victrola recordings; he helped rekindle my love for black and white photography, and, by example, he has given me a nostalgic appreciation of eras long ago passed.
As if all that wasn’t enough, he also has a lovely way of capturing life’s bittersweet bits in a way that really resound with me (unbeknownst to him, I’ve been writing a blog post based on the concept behind his former blog’s name, Displaced Heimat., for about 3 years now…).

Yesterday was no different, when he alerted me to this quote, unprovoked, without really know how much this truly resonates with me right now:

 

“Above all, in my anger, I was sad. Isn’t that always the way, that at the heart of the fire is a frozen kernel of sorrow that the fire is trying–valiantly, fruitlessly–to eradicate.”
–Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs

Continue reading