Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fantastic February

 I am not a fan of the month of February. Its frigid enduring gloominess keeps my body and soul in constant yearning for sunny skies and warm breezes. Sadly since I lack both the time and resources to relocate to a tropical island, I find I have no other choice than to simply endure February’s imposed melancholy. This year however, I found myself caught in a whirlwind of fun and exciting February experiences.
1) I started a writing class. I met middle grade/young adult author Aaron Starmer at the Collingswood Book Festival this year and had the chance to listen to a panel discussion on writing for the young adult audience that he was a part of. I loved how interesting yet down to earth he was and he seemed more interested in the creation of original imaginative stories than in the obsession of getting published. I started reading his book The Only Ones and found it strange, inventive and thought-provoking. After the festival I thought that I would love to learn specifically from him and was excited when I read his Facebook post announcing that he would be teaching an online class through the Loft Literary Center. I signed up right away. I am loving the class and have learned a lot, especially from Aaron’s personal feedback on my own writing. I desperately want to improve and am trying hard to do so.

2) We enjoyed a lovely evening at Renault winery celebrating the great achievement of our friend Maryann. The evening included a tour (with a rather dynamic guide who had a flair for the dramatic), a wine tasting and a relaxing time stuffing ourselves with delicious food and chatting with friends.

3) I went to Dr. Who night. I won’t expound on that here since the previous post before this one describes that evening in detail.

4) I met author Brandon Sanderson. Just in case you haven’t heard me talk about this in person (and at this point that makes very few of you) epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson did a talk and book signing at the Free Library of Philadelphia. He was mainly there to talk about finishing The Wheel of Time series (because the original author of the series passed away before he could complete it) which I haven’t read, but I loved the Mistborn Series and I am a huge fan of his podcast Writing Excuses. After his talk we lined up and waited to get our books signed. Standing behind us were two really great couples Jennavier (yeah I know, I was so envious of her name) and Jonathon and Tamara and Blake. They were friendly and had super interesting things to converse about so it made the time in line go quickly. What I loved most about Brandon was that for the few minutes that you were standing in front of him he gave you his full attention. Since I hadn’t read any of The Wheel of Time I figured I had to come up with something else to say to him. I decided to mention the podcast and how much I loved it. He then asked,
“Oh, do you write?” I felt my face go red. I didn’t want to be that person who is like, hey awesome famous author I write too so we’re soul mates. I timidly answered yes. Brandon replied that that was great and said,
“Fist bump for writing,” and then we fist bumped and then he said that I had no excuses and I had to write (which is the theme of the podcast). For the rest of the week I felt like Eliza Doolittle coming home from the ball except I sang I could have fist bumped all night (okay maybe that was too much information but I did sing it a few times at home while I was alone and maybe in my car…). It was quite an inspiring moment for a wanna-be-author.

5) My final highlight was afternoon tea and game night with the girls. We had tea at Amelia's Tea Room in Mullica Hill and it felt just like stepping into the pages of Anne of Green Gables. We sat on lovely cushy chairs and poured tea from pretty teapots into delicate china cups. We each ordered a different kind of tea so we could swap. Alana’s Vanilla Chai was my favorite. We each got The Queen’s tea, which included soup and one of those charming three tiered serving platters that included a quiche, a variety of tea sandwiches (the cucumber with carrot cream cheese was my favorite) a sampling of sweets and of course the item that made it feel delightfully tea like, a scone with jam and clotted cream. It was wonderful having the opportunity to insert a little elegance and sophistication into the month and fortunately no one got into the raspberry cordial (obligatory Anne reference). Later we went back to my house and snarfled lots of bad for us snacks while playing games that included Dix-it, Fluxx and Harry Potter Clue (Clue excluded, Wil Wheaton would have been proud).

With all of the fun, merriment and geeking out my usual melancholy gloom was bright and sunny, even if the brightness was only contained within and it was truly a fantastic February.

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