Green Means Go

Forgive me, for the following will probably read like an angsty teen diary. Except it’ll be about query letters.

Guys! I’ve started sending query letters for The Fields!

Let’s pretend that it’s not 12 days after the deadline I gave myself, okay?

I’ve sent four today. Four tiny little queries. I’d say that’s a good start, seeing as how I pick and fuss over every damn one of those submissions as if it’s a rocketship about to shoot off into space to investigate a new planet. One little typo, and BOOM.

I thought all I would feel once I started this process was relief, or satisfaction that I’ve finally gotten this far, but instead I mostly feel heart palpitations. You’d think the stressful part of writing a book would be the writing part… nope. For me, it’s the waiting.

Did you know that some literary agents state right up front that they may not get back to you for three months? If at all? I’m staring down into an abyss called Sam’s Impatience, and it is so, so vast. I wish there was a way to forget that I’ve sent any queries — just wipe the memory straight from my brain — because then, in the infinitesimal circumstance that someone actually responds positively, I can be pleasantly surprised… instead of feeling like I’m unwrapping a bomb every godforsaken day that I check my email. It hasn’t even been a full 24 hours since I sent my first query, and I already feel exhausted from trying not to be too hopeful.

It’ll get better, right?

It’s a weird feeling. Because I don’t think I have any false sense of grandeur, so I don’t expect the growing pile of queries that I have sent and will continue to send for the next couple of weeks to actually amount to anything other than, well, a pile full of unanswered mail… I mean, I like my story, but just thinking about how many other queries may have been sent today just makes me a little bit nauseated. Yet, I still know that expectant little twinge will be there every time I think about the manuscript, and I know that I’ll still be bummed out every time I get rejected.

Also, synopses are THE WORST. I don’t regret putting those words in all caps because of how true it is. Hello, I’ve just written a 63,000 word novel, and now I have to squeeze it into 500. I left entire subplots out; I left entire characters out. Poor characters. I want them to be involved, because they are still, no matter how to-the-point that synopsis may be, an integral part of the story. Damn that synopsis. That synopsis better win an agent’s heart over, that’s all I can say, because it certainly hasn’t won my heart.

I think to some extent everyone has the hope that their work will produce some sort of fruit in the end. It’s hope that gets us through the day, that gets us to actually accomplish anything. If not for hope, I’d probably still have an unfinished manuscript just sitting on a hard drive, waiting to be accidentally deleted. But man, does hope suck when there’s nothing left to accomplish but the art of patience. If hope is a driving factor, then I’m basically gonna be stuck at a stop light for a while until somebody gives me the go-ahead to keep on driving, or turn around and go home.

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The Power of Makeup (vs. The Power of Women)

I don’t know if you’ve seen this going around, but there’s a new set of images on the Internet showing Disney princesses without makeup.
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A sort of bizarre realization struck me as I looked at the article. I started to think about the reactions that people might have for these pictures, and what some of the comments might be — ranging anywhere from “She’s still pretty”, to “She looks drunk” or “What happened to her eyebrows?!” In one fell swoop, an article that aims to make a point about the standards of beauty in today’s popular iconography has instead got people critiquing the characters’ appearance. No one sees these pictures and thinks, “Man, Mulan was such a badass”; instead, they think, “She looks tired”. Instead of looking at Belle and remembering her passionate personality, people will look at her and think, “See, she doesn’t look that bad without mascara!”

If it hasn’t become clear already, I have had the firm opinion for a while now that we’ve allowed women’s lives to become too inextricably reliant on makeup.

A pretty simple statement, made more complicated when people try to back up this statement with “You’ll look beautiful without your makeup!” or “You’re just hiding your inner beauty”. To be honest, it’s not even about that. In fact, to be brutally honest, yes, there are ugly people in the world. I mean, I know beauty is subjective, but there are certain characteristics that have become widely acceptable — so depending on the definition of a particular culture’s standards, some people are considered ugly. It’s not their fault, it’s just the luck of the draw. And many counteract this by wearing makeup.

The problem is, when do you reach the point in your life that you decide you’re one of those people? When do you sit yourself down and say, “Hey, I’m ugly. I need to do something about this”? Last year, a study in the UK showed that the average girl starts wearing makeup at 11 years old. I just want to quickly point out that a) a girl’s appearance will change after the age of 11, but if she’s trained to think she’s ugly that early, she will still believe in the years to come that she needs that extra push to make her beautiful; and b) it’s also a bit disturbing that at such a young age, girls are already jumping on board with the idea that they have to look good to belong. Because that’s what society tells them.

A lot of the time when I tell someone I don’t wear makeup, the response is, “Well, you don’t need to wear makeup, you’re already pretty without it.” Well, thanks for the compliment, but you just took a giant dump on feminism. Need is the key word there: I don’t need to wear makeup because I’m already pretty. Basically, what you’re saying is that in a perfect world, ugly women cover themselves up.

I know that’s not what you meant — at least, not advertently. But note that there are plenty of ugly men in the world, and they don’t need to wear makeup to be socially acceptable. You get one ugly woman who decides to go makeup-free, and everyone rolls their eyes like she should know better. If a woman isn’t attractive, she isn’t wanted.

This is what I mean when I say that women have become too reliant on makeup — their makeup becomes their lifeline, their “in” with society. Women must cover themselves with product to measure up to the standards that we’ve given them.

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And why? So there are ugly women. So what? Your self worth should not not based on how attractive other people think you are. Why have we let this stigma last for so long? I think the real problem is not that an unattractive woman decides to go out in public without makeup, but that the world around her has such a nasty reaction to her doing so. A woman does not have an obligation to look good for the people she passes in the street; she does not have to be model material to win someone’s heart; and yet, those are two widely held beliefs. Until we reach a point as a society where first impressions are not about how pretty a woman is but how confident she is, how kind she is, how devoted to her work or how inclusive she is of the people around her — until then, wearing makeup will still be considered a necessity.

Ladies, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wear makeup. In fact, every once in a while I’ll wear makeup, because it’s fun to dress up. Some women have a lot of fun trying out different styles; it becomes an art project. Just like the dye jobs that I do with my hair — it’s fun to do, and it’s a way of expressing yourself. And if that’s your outlook, then go right ahead and show your true colors.

Makeup can really allow you to express yourself. Just don’t allow it to cover you up.

I dyed my hair!

And then I met this tree.

I found it on 2nd St, and I think it wanted to be in solidarity with me. So it dyed its hairs. Or are its hairs dying…? No matter. We both look fantastic. And there’s nothing like synchronizing with nature, in the most colorful of ways… makes a girl feel good.

So, no lengthy blog post this week. I’ll be off being vain and taking pictures of myself.

Baby Teeth

There are some people that have baby teeth well into their adulthood. While it’s not the case for me, I do know people who are my age who still have some left over. It’s a weird thing to think about… or at least it was weird, until I realized that, metaphorically, that is my life.

 It seems that good things come in packages, and go in packages. Within about a month, six of my college friends will have moved away. Most of them stayed in central PA after graduation — close enough that we could still get together periodically and hang out as a group — but now it seems that we must all finally disband and go our separate ways.

One has moved to Massachusetts. Another has moved to Australia for a year. Two others are moving to New York, one to Maryland, and another to Canada.

I can’t get too bent out of shape about this mass exodus; after all, I left them right after college when I moved to Los Angeles for a year. Consequently, I missed out on the initial barrage of mini-reunions, but it was my fault. Now, there won’t be those mini-reunions — or at least not nearly as frequently — so it honestly does feel like the end of an era.

 The fun part about living near your college friends is that you still get to feel like a 22-year old every time you hang out. Meeting up with old friends is essentially a direct transport back to your youth. And before anyone starts in on me with the whole “Youth?! That was four years ago!” spiel, I get it. I’m still a baby. But there’s something distinct in the separation between college life and post-college life — that feeling that you don’t quite have to worry about living month to month yet, or micro-budgeting your life. And when you surround yourself with people you associate with that feeling, you feel younger. Regardless of how young you are.

That’s not necessarily a positive thing. Not that I’m saying the people I hung out with in college are immature — that’s far from the truth — but there is something to be said for the amount of growth that you tend to miss out on when your surroundings never change. I may not be a kid anymore, but sometimes I don’t feel like a full-fledged adult, and possibly it is because I still have that safety net.

So, I suppose that’s it. Now’s my time to grow up. I’ve made some pretty great friends in the past four years, and the world will not end if my social circle shifts, as I’ve already come to learn. It’s already been shifting, anyway. Right now, it feels like all my teeth are falling out (no? That’s where the metaphor should end? Well.), but that just leaves room for new teeth to grow in.

So time to prepare for more adult teeth. Time to allow my experiences to be shaped by new friends and acquaintances. I hope this doesn’t get awkward for my dentist.