on endings.

it was in the dark room of a comedy club, near the bottom of my second drink of the two-drink minimum, that i heard one of the most poignant and true takes on endings i've ever heard. the comedian was talking about how many children she had, concluding:

children are like shots. you don't know how many is enough until you've had one too many.

you know that feeling.  that last martini did it, i've said too many times. that extra indulgence that left you feeling like you should have just stopped while you were still feeling good.

i've thought about that sentiment a lot since that evening. the idea that you don't know when something is over until it's so far done, so beyond over that you realize it should have ended long before. sure, it's true with drinks. and though i haven't hit this point [perhaps a sign i should stop], maybe it's true with children. but it's also true with arguments, when you don't stop until you've said that one, awful, hurtful thing you can never take back. with vacations, when you realize it's time to go home after that one rough day. with relationships. 

it was a year ago today that i realized the same thing was true with writing. i'd been struggling to finish my book for a few days, putting the ending off. i didn't know how to wrap it up. i knew the end to the book, but wasn't sure of the specifics. i put so much weight on that final sentence, on how i wanted to leave my readers feeling, the imagery i wanted to create, that final emotion evoked before the back flap was closed. and then, on an afternoon exactly a year ago today, i figured it out. i was beating the proverbial dead horse. the book had already ended, and i was drawing it out. so i went back and deleted the last two chapters, and left it at that. with that swift tap of my delete key, the book was finished. i didn't worry about the final sentence, the final word. the end result, in my opinion, is the feeling of wanting to turn the page. of wanting more. but also one of finality, of just the right amount of a good thing, of knowing when to stop. 

 one year ago today, upon finishing my book. i stood in the backyard of the rental house and cried, and then ran down to the ocean and jumped in.

 one year ago today, upon finishing my book. i stood in the backyard of the rental house and cried, and then ran down to the ocean and jumped in.

i could have written that book forever. i had a first draft, a second draft, a third draft, and then a fourth that was [hopefully] typo-free. i could have written another. and i could have asked for input from editors and mentors, beta-readers and friends. i could have kept revising and revising and trying to write the perfect book. i could have kept, essentially, asking for permission to end the book. to get that validation that it was complete, that it was flawless, that it was pure. it would have taken years. and it most likely never would have actually made it to the stage of a physical book that i could hold in my hand, slide on my shelf and say, 'i did that.' but somewhere along the way, i gave myself permission to finish the book. to not tell the perfect story, but the story i was capable of telling. my story.

this is not always the case in life. there have been many instances of going too far, of overindulging, of not knowing when to stop. i'm hoping it's one of those lessons i learn with age. that what i have to say is enough, that i have the right to say it, and that the most important thing in my writing is that it satisfies something inside me, and not necessarily every other person who may touch it. 

but i do hope it touches you. i hope you find it helps you with an ending you might be pondering, or in the middle of. because in so many ways, the book is about endings, and the beginnings that often come from them.

everything changes september 9th.

writing a book is a funny thing, and a much longer process than i ever would have imagined. in my experience, it goes a little something like this:

  • spend 21-ish years living your life. 
  • decide that you have an idea for a story that maybe other people would want to read, possibly?
  • start writing the book! which means writing down random ideas and starting in a place that is definitely not the beginning, because why would that make any sense?
  • abandon book because no one is going to read it. also, you don't have time for this.
  • live your life for a while longer.
  • casually, wistfully, mention to people your idea for a story and hear people say, 'hey, that would be a great book!' and then feel bad about abandoning said book.
  • get back to writing a book.
  • have a baby. stop writing for a very, very long time as you attempt to keep said baby alive.
  • move, because that's always fun.
  • remember you're turning 30 and you were going to have this godforsaken book done by the time you were 28, spend a few months writing (not very good work) every moment you can prop your eyes open/husband can watch the baby.
  • have another baby, because why not?
  • have a very bizarre, ill-timed but overall simply wonderful burst of creativity and positivity when second baby is born, start brainstorming approximately one hundred creative projects, one of which is attempting to collect 20 rejection letters, because, again, that's always fun. right?
  • in an attempt to get a 'no,' you get a 'yes,' and this 'yes' is the biggest push you will ever get, and beyond explanation you are able to take advantage of this 'yes.'
  • spend a week on martha's vineyard with incredibly talented and successful writers who push you and help you and make you think and cry and finish your book.
  • cry, jump into the ocean, simultaneously if possible.
  • spend five months NOT looking at the book because even though the first draft is done you kind of hate it.
  • hire a nanny.
  • read and edit the book, which means you now have a second draft. huzzah! 
  • have people you trust explicitly read your draft and give you insightful feedback.
  • make said changes. 
  • wonder if they are enough, spend too much time doubting yourself before finally sending second draft to an editor to help.
  • bite fingernails for one month until draft is returned.
  • find an incredibly talented artist to design the cover.
  • make changes said editor suggested.
  • look at cover art and giggle at how it is exactly what you wanted.
  • spend approximately 14,354 hours formatting the book.
  • realize in this time you have no idea how to market book, so seek the help of a professional marketing genius.
  • order book proof in two different colors because you're indecisive, with two different font sizes for the interior.
  • choose the outside of one but the inside of the other, which of course is not easy to change. spend lots of days waiting for UPS person outside on front porch with a drink in hand.
  • finally have the book delivered to you, realize it is THE FINAL PROOF, drink champagne and cry lots and lots inexplicably.
  • spend three months marketing the book/planning a book launch party people besides you will actually want to attend.
  • wait for the launch, very impatiently.
  • attend launch, mingle, dance, drink, and generally celebrate because look at all these steps you had to get through to get there! 

so, here we are. the end. or, at least, the last three bullet points of this whole writing-a-book experience. and then everything changed officially launches september 9th. there will be a party. there will be booze. there will be excessive instagrams. 

it's been such a privilege to make it this far. i know so many manuscripts die in their author's desk drawer, half-written. i'm so, so grateful that this didn't happen to mine.

and while we are on this subject, lots of people have been asking me if i've found a publisher. short answer? yes. it's me. the book is going to be self published. and no that isn't exactly the author's dream. but i've been working on this book for longer than i care to admit (though i just did, but whatever) and i'm ready to hold it in my hands, to see it on my bookshelf. i'm not giving up hope that it'll find a publisher to pick it up at some point, but not right now. right now, it's not my priority. 

thank you all for reading, for your continued support and encouragement. it's been one of the biggest surprises along the way. 

...and then everything changed.

did you know that if you write a book, the first question anyone will ask you, no matter what, is:

"what's it about?"

i did. and now you do, too.

so since i blasted all over the internet that i wrote a book, now i'm back to tell you a little bit about it and what it's called. 

the book is about that moment when you know your life isn't going the way you want it to, and what happens after that moment. do you make a change? do you continue down the same path, hoping things will turn around at some point? 

adriana finds herself at this point. she has a somewhat steady boyfriend, a job, her own apartment, and a full schedule of college courses.  but the day before her 21st birthday, her grandfather dies unexpectedly. what follows are revelations of family issues and secrets she never saw coming. within weeks, adriana finds herself questioning her life and what she wants out of it. what makes her happy? 

impulsively, adriana sets off on a journey to answer this question, ending up in prague (is this sounding familiar yet?!) to finish her studies. and it's there, in a country she's never been to, with a language she's never spoken, living with people she's never met, that she finds not only herself but something more than that.  i won't give it away but YEAH I THINK YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. 

if you've ever been faced with a major life decision, this book is for you. if you've ever found yourself questioning your life path, this book is for you. if  you like to read, this book is for you. : ) 

if you're still reading this, i'm sure your question is: so is this a true story then? 

short answer: no. it is undoubtedly BASED on a true story -- very obviously, MY story -- but liberties have been taken. characters have been fictionalized or wholly made up. so while it may feel like it's a glimpse into my life, i do want everyone out there to know that this is fiction. it's a version of the truth of my story.

and as for the title? after much, much, MUCH deliberating... 

and then everything changed.

 

the title is a play on a song that has a lot of sentimental meaning for me,  as well as a play on a line from the book -- and of course speaks to the broader themes, as well. 

and then everything changed is how i like to look at life. if you were to ask me a question on whether or not you should make a change, this is the standard advice you would receive: "yes, because if it doesn't work out, you can always [move back/quit/try something else/transfer schools]." meaning, yes. make the change. because if you don't like it, you can always change back. what's the worst that could happen -- you end up exactly where you are now? and what's the best case scenario -- that everything could change? yep. 

so, i hope you're intrigued. i hope you're excited. i hope you're also ready to wait a little bit longer -- while i don't have a firm launch date right now, it's looking to be early fall. and i could not be more excited, or ready, to wander down this path.  it's been a long journey, but i'm grateful for every step. but also grateful that it's almost done.