January: Month in Review, Part I

Guess what: it’s that time of month! Since January’s recap was getting crazy long, I stole Hanne’s idea of splitting it into two parts. Today’s is my personal favorite: everything I’ve been listening to and reading and writing (including excerpts!!). Let’s get started!

This month I’m…

Listening to: Newsies. Sentimental Creatures by Jess Ray. City of Stars from La La Land. Lucky covered by Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Jenna Lea Rosen. Whole Heart by Gryffin. Natives by OneRepublic (this was my car CD of the month). Hamilton. Jewish folk music. All the King’s Horses by Karmina (obviously, my taste in music is all over the board).

Reading: John, Romans, Psalms, Ruth. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J. K. Rowling. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott. Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson (stayed up until midnight finishing this–so worth it). The Unexpected Everything, Morgan Matson. Treasures of the Snow, Patricia St. John (reread). Maria, Maria von Trapp (reread). The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan (reread). The Son of Neptune, Rick Riordan (reread). The Mark of Athena, Rick Riordan (reread). The House of Hades, Rick Riordan (reread). Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, Morgan Matson. I tried to read Gone with the Wind, but I just couldn’t.

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“Every day of your life ugly, angry, selfish thoughts will knock at the door and try to get in again. Don’t try to push them back yourself; ask the Lord Jesus to meet them with His love. Think about the love of Jesus all you can. Read about the love of Jesus every day in your Bible–and if you keep your heart full of it there just won’t be room for those thoughts to stay.”

Watching: Blimey Cow. Monica Church. Alaskan Bush People. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Katie Gregoire. The Fault in our Stars.

Writing: I wrote an article and submitted it to History Today magazine; they promptly rejected it #writerlife. I queried the editor of a pet magazine with an article idea. I submitted a humorous piece on gluten-free eating that I wrote last fall to the Columbia College Young Authors Writing Competition. I had a devotional published called “Persevering Through Pain.” I edited a short story (working title Denny & Curtis) that I wrote last month. I submitted my baby Mazarine Jupiters to the New Yorker AND SCREAMED because, HELLO–it’s the New Yorker. If you need me, I’ll be on pins and needles for the next three months. I’m now in the middle of a fantasy story for a contest, and a secret project, and a dystopian story titled Angelica. Here’s the synopsis of Angelica because I’m completely in love with it:

Kris doesn’t care anything about politics. All she ever wanted was for her father to get away from his high-pressure job as the king’s advisor and spend time with her. But when the king is assassinated, Kris’s father contacts her for the first time in months: she’s the only one who can bring Angelica, the king’s daughter and the heir to the throne, through the city and around the rebel strongholds. If she’s caught, the rebels will kill them all. Throw a handsome, sarcastic, and infuriating boy named Jack into mix and Kris doesn’t know what to do—especially when she begins to admit to herself the true extent of her feelings for him and for Angelica. And when Jack drops a truth bomb on Kris about the kind of man her father really is, things just get worse. Can they make it through the city to the palace, or will they die trying?

I also wrote a 7,000-word story titled “Shatter Me” that I plotted on New Year’s Eve in-between eating chocolate fondue and tangoing in the kitchen with Joshua and playing Nertz. I finished my first draft about a week later (and I basically turned down all my social obligations that week in favor of holing up in my room with the laptop and my two cinnamon rolls of protagonists. Again, #writerlife). It’s a story about the night sky and falling in love and being shattered and then put back together more beautifully by the greatest Potter and I’m just OBSESSED with it. The inspiration for it came from so many beautiful places, and it was amazing to write. See exclusive excerpts below (warning, they’re unedited):

“I can’t lose anyone else,” he whispered.

“You have me until every last star in the galaxy dies.”

            She looked at him carefully. Then she smiled. The waves folded softly on the sand and a dog barked in the distant balmy air and light poured from tiny holes far above them. A sky full of stars and he was staring at her.

He passed a hand over his face, roughly. “I was just surviving. And then I came out here and you made me feel alive. You make me feel like I’m not shattered. Like I’m worth something.”

“Aren’t we all shattered?” she said. “Every person who lives under these billions of stars… we’re all shattered, Rhett. But we can be put back together. Maybe more beautifully than ever before.”

*squeals* The first draft was all blissful brilliance, but when I start editing it, I’m sure I’ll come across all kinds of holes. Just let me have my fantasy for now–okay?

Grateful for: Going to dinner with Anna. Listening to music in the car with Joshua. Vanilla EOS lip balm. Smoothies made with almond milk and frozen strawberries. New (to me) Keds. Spontaneously going to dinner with Cari. Sitting on the couch with my seven-year-old, the light outside the window growing dim, and hearing her say over and over, “Miss Hailey, look, I want to show you something.” A little girl at church telling me she named one of her dolls after me. My Pinterest “aesthetic” board (see grid below–I’m kind of proud). Quiet Sunday afternoons spent planning out my week. Getting a special letter in the mail. The band This Hope playing at my church. Conversations with my dad about how to write Christian fiction. Seeing a friend who never fails to make me laugh so hysterically my cheeks hurt. Talking fandoms with Lydia.

Loving: I’m Useless (and That’s a Good Thing) by Belle. 2017 Goals by Katie Grace. To Kill a Mockingbird–Book Review by Jess. Sometimes by Olivia. introducing my novel + a Q&A about it! by Madeline. How to be UNCOMFORTABLE at College by Emma Grace. How To Make A Beautifully Perfect Aesthetic Board For Your Novel by Abbiee. excerpt | the art of letting go by Ashley. Reflections on a quote by Hudson Taylor by a different Olivia.

I personally blogged much more than I’d expected! If you missed my posts: My prayers for you &me this semester and this year., on softball and dreams., Persevering through Pain, and How to Hit the Books!

What did you listen to, watch, read, and write in January? What are you grateful for? Stay tuned for part II–coming Tuesday!


5 thoughts on “January: Month in Review, Part I

  1. Pingback: January: Month in Review, Part II (What I Did!) – Now All I Know is Grace

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