TILT July 17, 2014

This is an ode to the written word.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, for as long as I can remember.

Strike that, I’ve BEEN a writer for as long as I can remember. It started, as I imagine it does with most readers, with works of fiction.

Short stories about princesses and magic and life in general. I haven’t gotten much past that as far as fiction goes. I still like dreaming up stories and I don’t suppose I ever won’t. Fiction was my first love and it’ll stay with me until the day I die.

Journalism came later. I started reporting because I wanted a way to have a solid paycheck while still writing.

I knew early on I wanted to write features — the type of stories that almost read like fiction, with flowery language and lots of fluff.

I’m the queen of fluff.

It took me ages to learn how to write news, stories cut down to facts, without the adjectives and narrative I so loved in novels.

I became more skilled at writing stories about car crashes and shootings and facts and figures. I even liked it.

There have times in my life when writing became a bit of an obligation, sort of without me seeing it coming. That’s why I latched on so much to National Novel Writing Month. Fiction was still FUN.

It was weird for me to not want to write, even if it was for work, but I went through it. That’s when I sort of lost faith in writing as a whole.

But, luckily, I pulled it together.

In my new job, I write feature after feature. A story about a girl who was in a very traumatic car crash and is recovering five years later. Another about a woman who created a book to learn more about her photographer grandfather but then died before it was finished. I’ve learned about secret passages used in wartime in France and about a nurse moving to Anacortes from Finland and spending her vacation time going on 88 volunteer trips to more than 20 countries. Writers, artists, local heroes.

I get to learn about them all.

And then I get to write about them and make sure everyone else knows about them too.

That’s my favorite part about my job. I get to tell these stories to people who would never hear about them otherwise.

And it’s great.

Telling stories, that’s what I did when I was writing stories about princesses when I was 8. And that’s what I’m doing now. Telling stories, that’s what I love today.

Sure, I still want to be a famous novelist. I want to tell the stories that are swirling around in my head.

But you know what? The stories I get to tell now are even more interesting than the ones I make up. I wrote a novel about a group of bank robbers. But then this year I wrote about someone who researched a real bank robbery and shoot-out, around here.

Real life, that tops fiction, sometimes.

And me? I get to write both.

Because it’s what I love. Writing is a part of me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

TILT July 9, 2014

Hello hello hello to my little blog fans.
Oh, how I’ve missed you.
I don’t know how I could possibly catch you up on what’s going on with me, but I’ll try.
Since last November, things have been a whirlwind in my life. I applied for a job and eight days later I was giving my two-weeks notice at a job that had been the entirety of my life for more than three years. I was finding a new place to live and saying goodbye to people who had started as strangers and became my friends, my family.
I hated Othello when I arrived. I was counting down the days until I hit the year I promised my boss. But then a funny thing started to happen. People started stopping me in the post office, the grocery store, the park to say hello. People waved to me on the street. They asked me how I was, remembered things about me. They cared.
Othello became more of a hometown to me than I’d ever had before. I love the people I met in Renton, where I grew up, but I still have no connection to the town itself. My mom and Padre moved out of the home I grew up in and I felt no sadness, no nostalgia.
But, somehow, driving away from Othello the last time was like leaving a part of my heart behind. With the people who accepted that new girl in her first professional job and made her feel like a real reporter, someone who made the newspaper … and the town … better.
I was terrified of the move. I new town, moving in with my boyfriend, impressing a new boss and new set of coworkers.
I was excited too. After living five hours away from Brent, I was going to see him every day, literally a dream come true.
I had accepted my dream job. I am an ARTS REPORTER. I get to write the features and the fluffy pieces and all the things I love and Rikki and Lynsi make fun of. Dream job.
I was closer to my family, my friends, the water, trees.
I was heartbroken as I drove out of Othello but once I pulled into Anacortes, that all went away. My tears dried and I discovered the strangest thing.
I was happy.
It had been a while since I was truly happy with everything. I’d struggled with melancholy for months and months.
So it took me a while to realize it. But I was, I am, happy.
I work eight hours a day. That’s it. Not eight to 10. Not 12. Eight. I go home at 5. I cook dinner, a lot. I bake. I watch movies and TV and snuggle on the couch with my love. I walk. I hike. I bike ride, now (thanks to my gma and gpa). I explore.
I act.
As if life on Fidalgo Island wasn’t good enough, the local community theatre put me in one of their plays. The theatre has always been more than a little part of my life. I feel a rush on stage that I don’t feel anywhere else. I discovered it in high school and I almost gave it up when I graduated. I told myself I was content to sit in the audience and watch theater. And I was, for a long time. In Othello, I tried out and got bit parts in the chorus. It was enough, I thought. Then I was the evil stepmother in Cinderella. I was the third choice for the part but I embraced it. I got great community feedback.
Then, I moved to Anacortes and everything changed. I tried out. I got the part I wanted. I acted with people who actually cared about the play we were doing. It was as important to them as it was to me. I performed to packed houses, sold-out shows. It was literally a dream come true. I earned the respect of my fellow theatre people.
I left behind my home in Othello.
Anacortes gave me a new one, first in my apartment, with Brent. Our first home together. Decorated as we want it. No one telling me how I can or cannot decorate. it’s ours.
But then Anacortes did something spectacular.
It gave me another home.
Up there, on that stage, that’s my home, too. I feel more comfortable on stage than I ever do in real life, even though I’m more comfortable with myself now than I have ever been in the rest of my life. Being on stage let’s me be who I want to be. And when I make people laugh, or hear that applause, I feel whole.
I’ve been a drama queen my whole life.
Now, I just get to be that in front of hundreds of people.
All while reporting on what I want to report on. And getting a goodnight kiss every single night from the one I love most.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t been posting. I don’t need to work to find one thing every day that I love. Life, that’s what I love today.

25 Days of Movie Cheer

Brent and I decided to do a little 25 Days of Christmas movie marathon this year, to celebrate the season but also seeing each other every gosh darn day.

They do these marathons on TV all the time, but we don’t have cable and it’s also far more fun to choose your own schedule.

Here’s our line-up of films:

Dec. 1: Elf

Dec. 2: I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Dec. 3: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Dec. 4: Love Actually

Dec. 5: Olive, the Other Reindeer

Dec. 6: Year Without a Santa Claus

Dec. 7: While You Were Sleeping

Dec. 8: A Christmas Story

Dec. 9: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Dec. 10: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

Dec. 11: Jack Frost

Dec. 12: Christmas in Connecticut

Dec. 13: Home Alone

Dec. 14: The Santa Clause

Dec. 15: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Dec. 16: White Christmas

Dec. 17: Holiday Inn

Dec. 18: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Dec. 19: Scrooged

Dec. 20: The Muppet Christmas Carol

Dec. 21: Trading Places

Dec. 22: It’s a Wonderful Life

Dec. 23: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Dec. 24: The Holiday

Dec. 25: Die Hard

A little update

Yes, I’ve fallen behind on blogging again. I don’t want to promise I’ll pick it up again. I love it, it helps me outlet some of my feelings and somehow I still can’t quite get into doing it every day. Instead, I just lay in bed and hope that I can actually sleep that night. Been having some problems in that department lately.

Anyways, life is going on. I’m not as sad as I used to be, definite plus. Rough days, of course, but for the most part, I’m doing A-OK. This may be because of my favorite things coming up. Halloween is in a little more than a week. Which sucks for us totally flat-broke ladies but we’ll see what costume I come up with. Then, it’s election day, which I am embarrassingly obsessed with. Then National Novel Writing Month, which will involved me pouring my heart and soul into a 50,000 thousand word novel over the course of 30 measly days. Did I mention I’m hosting Thanksgiving in there? At my mom’s, but my family (including g-rents) and Brent’s family will all be there. Excited to cook up a storm (I’ve actually been cooking lately and I freaking love it) and have everybody meet each other. Then on to December and somehow making it to all the distant corners of the state to see all the different family members for the holidays.

I’m already exhausted.

On the life front, I’ve been hiking more and more lately and it’s my new favorite thing. I love being outside, I love seeing new things and getting a little physical activity. I don’t love the dead animals we’ve encountered, but what are you gonna do? We’ve seen some truly remarkable places. It is insane to me how much I love Washington. I always thought I’d move somewhere else, probably to return. But the more I see of this state, the more I think it will just be my home forever. There is so much to explore.

And exploration is kinda my thing.

A look at the past

I’ve been on a quest to clean out the things I own. To organize. To clean. To essentially move things from one place to another but get rid of some things I don’t need. A lot of things I don’t need.

Shoved in the back corner of a box, I found a crumpled, ripped and old piece of paper. Written when I was in high school (or middle school, to be real) was probably the most angsty poem I ever wrote. I don’t know who it was about, although I have some hunches, because all of my crushes were my “one true love.” It seems laughable now that I am actually, honest-to-goodness in love with the person I plan to spend the rest of my life with.

Knowing myself, and knowing I didn’t really date in my youth, there’s a good chance this is about a movie character or (even more likely) a literary character who touched my heart in a profound way.

But what’s the point of finding this hidden gems if you don’t share? Plus, I’m throwing away this paper but don’t want to forget the true genius I had as a young writer.

 

It’s over

By Briana Alzola

 

It’s over.It’s done.
We have said goodbye
And walked away.
My feelings for you
Should have walked away, too.
So why am I tormented by your name?
Why does your smile send shivers up
And down my spine?
How come our conversations always end
With me overjoyed to just have talked to you?
You were my first love
That leaves a lasting mark on my heart.
I can’t rub it out with the strongest eraser.
Or wipe it away with a thousand cloths.
I may be able to paint over it
With the name of another.
But over time, even the strongest paint
Will chip away.
Showing the truest colors underneath.
Maybe the someday someone will come and leave
A mark so deep that yours will no
Longer matter.
But for now, I will just say I don’t love you
When in my heart I know that it is a lie.
I try to see how you can act like nothing
Between us even mattered.
But I can’t figure you out.
Maybe on the inside you are as
Uneasy and confused as I am.
If you are, I would never know.
I will try to take after you,
And put on a mask for the rest of
The world, to lie and say
I am over you.