I recently went on a foraging adventure with Urban Outdoor Skills, a Southern California organization that endeavors to connect people with nature.
Wait. Let me preface this account of my adventures in the wild with the admission that I spend altogether too much time developing Survivorman-flavored fantasies while staring at the straight borders of the lawn from my office window. My favorite scenes in every episode of said show are as follows:
- Les Stroud perches a rock on a spindly stick and waits for a squirrel;
- Les Stroud plucks and onion bulb from the soil and pops it right into his mouth;
- Les Stroud stabs at the crystal clear waters of the tropical sea before settling for a dinner of sea snail boiled in a coconut.
Survival dining. It gets me every time.
I was Katniss before she was an itch in Suzanne Collins’ fingertips. In my mind…
I would emerge from the woods with a brace of rabbits and skin them without hesitation. I’d eat them with gusto and maybe a little salt. I’d hobble around under my pelt collage and the bleached bones adorning my fat-free hermit’s body would jangle like wind chimes as I crouched behind redwoods. Hikers would stop in their tracks and wonder at the sound but never see. Yeah I’d be a Jim Henson character but I would also catch salmon traveling upstream with nothing more than my bared teeth and the hunger strength in the springs of my knees.
While these visions persist for all the glitter in my brain, my true-to-life outdoor skill level has less in common with Survivorman than with, say…Troupe Beverly Hills.
With my woefully dubious visions of grandeur and podcast gossip about the glory of foraged foods, I struck out for the Foothills of Pasadena and for the Urban Outdoor Skills workshop on foraging and cooking wild foods.
Read the rest of the article on my foraging adventures over at my new website!
Some months ago, a few lady friends and I had a lengthy discussion about V.C. Andrews’ library of effed up YA fiction (the unspoken genre) while at the Korean spa–because that’s what you talk about when wandering naked among strangers–so I got a bit of a jolt when I found out the Lifetime channel was airing a “Flowers in the Attic” remake.
I remember reading the book and watching the movie as a kid…and deciding I would never do that to myself again. So I’m not going to watch the new version, but the show and a conversation with another friend got me wondering about V.C. Andrews’ life and what happened that inspired so much soap opera morbidity.
So, without further ado, let’s put Andrews in the hypothetical psychiatrist’s chair.
With the new year comes new things. I’m starting out 2014 with a new, ever-evolving website. My blog will now live at szainabwilliams.com, so hit that RSS feed! The crappy thing about transitioning to a new blog is saying goodbye to this place and my inability to take you all with me to the new site, but I hope you’ll make the transition with me.
While I won’t post here anymore, this blog will not be deleted (yet). Thanks to everyone who found me here and stuck around. I think I might occasionally visit this place like you’d visit a childhood haunt.
I’ve opened my Facebook to the public, so you can also find me and my blog post and writing updates there if that’s your preferred method of update. Hit the Follow button on Facebook to get my updates or add me as a friend to interact. My other social media profiles are linked on my site as well.
I hope you’re having a wonderful start to the year. I can’t wait to see what you do with 2014 so find me and let’s be friends!
I can always rely on Christmas to replenish my reading list. Though I’m usually hesitant to don the cape of any boxy classification (nerd, intellectual, snot), I don’t mind being a known bookworm because it means books for Christmas. (And I have to admit to feeling relief that I stopped getting the gift of journals when people started using computers for such things because my drawers can’t fit anymore.)
While some of the books I receive are chosen via my wish list, I get a thrill every time I open the wrapping and scan the cover for the title. Sometimes, I have to recall what it was about the book that made me add it to my list because I discovered it long ago; sometimes, I get books my friends loved and had to pass on to me; sometimes–okay, just this time–the book is authored by a friend. Well, another caveat, Hard Luck Hank (a fun, sci-fi adventure story, by the way) wasn’t technically a Christmas present, but it arrived in the mail just before the Christmas break after being jockeyed around at the post office because it was delivered to my old address.
The next time I’m up at 1:30 a.m. suffering from caffeine-induced paranoid delusions, I’ll have a book to crack open. Welcome distraction indeed.
Oh hey! I also got this beauty!
Time to learn how to fix typewriters. (Rest assured, I will not be lugging this thing to coffee shops to look cool.)
…I also got this. Because I’ll never grow up you can’t make me! D:<
Did you get any good books this Christmas?
If I have to eat my own brain vomit one more time, I’m going to be sick. I’m making my final, final, “no really this is it” edits to my graphic novel after getting the proof back from the printer, and I’m just over it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. I love it and I think others will, but I’m ready to let it go.
There comes a point in self-editing when you start reading your memory of the text, rather than the text itself. This is when mistakes put the slip on you. When others find edits after the millionth read or even post-print, I calmly tell them it happens to everyone and they should let it go. When it happens to me, I fly into a blind rage.
While you should always enlist beta readers to catch these slip-ups (and even they won’t always catch them), self-editing is an unavoidable part of the writing process. It can also be the most tedious, frustrating, self-defeating part. You get to discover a new typo every read-through. You get to cringe at stuff you wrote earlier in the learning process. You have to come to terms with letting go of some of this stuff because otherwise you’ll never push anything out.
I approach self-editing with my tail between my legs after procrastinating until I can’t avoid it anymore. It’s like paying a visit to your most judgmental friend.
Here are some methods to keep your mind active and engaged while self-editing:
- Take mini brain vacations for more intensive, fine-toothed reads. Work on other projects between editing sessions: crafting, reading, cooking, whatever helps you check out for a while.
- Avoid distracting environments. Can you guess where I prefer to do my editing? That’s right–coffee shops. I’m far from the temptations of my pillow, and I can people-watch when my brain gets tired.
- Adopt a different role for each read-through: your target audience, a professional proofreader, an editor, your ex. So many options!
- Have a beverage handy. This is probably the oddest method, but I have found that I stay focused for longer periods of time when my hands have additional tasks. Since I wouldn’t recommend smoking, and perpetually eating while editing could also be unhealthy, drinking water, tea, or even coffee seems the lesser evil.
If you have your own methods for effective self-editing, do tell!