I’ve Moved!

Published Sunday, August 24, 2014 by Chasing Neptune

Hello, everyone!

As the title of this post states, I have moved to a new blog. It is Kate M. Colby, and it will be the “home base” for my social media platform as I begin crafting my brand as a writer and author.

If you have come here from The Broke Ass Bride, I appreciate it! Click on over to the new site for a more in-depth look at “Real Bride Kate” — or feel free to browse around here for a look at my university writing and musings.

If you are one of the many people who followed this blog, I invite you to make the transition to my new one with me. I promise it will be much more frequently updated (and much more interesting – if that’s possible!). Seriously, though, I would appreciate you taking a look.

For all of you who randomly landed here and prefer other social media outlets, you can find me here:

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Linkedin

Instagram

Pinterest

Google+

YouTube

All right. That’s all I have for you all. Thanks for the ride, and see you soon!

Brisbane

Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 by Chasing Neptune

The first of a few pieces from last semester’s fiction writing class.

BRISBANE

“I tell you what,” Harold groaned, pulling himself out of the taxi, “Once I get home, I’m never flying in one of those glorified sardine cans again. I still can’t feel my damn feet.”

“Yeah, it’s a long flight, Mate,” the taxi driver said. He handed Harold his scuffed leather suitcase. “You from Canada?”

“America, thank you. And I tell you what, if I didn’t have to be back there in a week for my grandson’s wedding, I’d go home stowed away on a cargo ship.”

The driver laughed. “Nah, she’ll be alright.”

“Who? Who’ll be alright?”

The driver was pulling away from the curb. Harold gripped his suitcase and looked around. He gazed out over the Brisbane River, counting the bridges. Four. He could see four just from Kangaroo Point.

During the war, they had never used the bridges. There were only a handful, and when a man was bleeding out his ears, it was better to zip across in a ferry. There were still a few ferries on the river: red double-decker ones with kangaroos on the side and slim white ones bearing the name City Cat. But they were for tourists and commuters and were vastly outnumbered by yachts and sailboats.

Harold moseyed along the river, feeling the warm breeze on his leathery skin, remembering the way it rustled Gisele’s skirts, the way she would pat down the hems, her fingertips brushing against her nylons. Every time they walked, they would end up at Jubilee Bridge. They would stroll out into the middle, and Harold would stop, spin around to face Gisele, and kiss her lips. Gisele, looking up at the matrix of steel beams, would blush and say, “Isn’t this the most beautiful city in the world?” And Harold, always watching her bright green eyes, would say, “Yes.”

But that was nearly 50 years ago, and they had changed. Even the bridge had a new name now – Story Bridge – honoring a public servant who dedicated his life to the city. When he first learned the name, all Harold could think was, “That should have been me.”

As Harold reached Story Bridge, he felt eighteen again. It still arched up to two high points; its beams still crisscrossed like a steel spider web. There were lights now, outlining the bridge’s silhouette, and he had heard they glowed red and green at night.

He walked out to the middle of the bridge, fingering a bundle of envelopes in his inside jacket pocket. He remembered the words of the last one: I’ll be there.

And then he waited. He waited until he began to worry. Maybe he had gotten the date wrong: with the time difference, he could be a day early – or worse – a day late. Maybe he had misread the letter. Maybe she had lied, played him for a fool, revenge for breaking his promise all those years ago. Maybe she no longer loved him.

Then, as the sun dipped below the city skyline and the green lights lit up, he saw her walking towards him. She looked exactly the same, but instead of a pencil skirt and flowing blouse, she wore tight jeans and a striped sweater. She had the same hourglass figure, the same curly hair, the same green eyes – only, it couldn’t be her. As she reached him, she crossed her arms to shield herself from the breeze.

“Mr. Matthews?”

“Yes?”

“I’m Angela, Gisele’s granddaughter.”

“You look just like her,” Harold said. “I thought you were her for a minute.”

Angela smiled. “Thank you. Nonna told me I would find you here.”

“Why didn’t she come?”

“She couldn’t, she wanted to, she…” Angela looked up at the beams. Harold noticed that her eyes were puffy, red. He followed her gaze up to the beams.

“Isn’t this the most beautiful city in the world?” Harold asked.

Angela looked down at Harold. He saw the recognition in her green eyes.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes.”

 

Writing + Fear

Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Chasing Neptune

There’s an idea in the creative writing culture that fear must be overcome, that you must be fearless to write well. I have a lot of fear, and I’ve pondered this a lot. And I’ve decided it’s bullshit. Okay, conditional.

I think that if you do not have any stress, any apprehension, any fear – whatsoever – while you’re writing, you must be doing something boring. I’ve written plenty of pieces with which I’m perfectly comfortable. The topic is approachable, the reader is well-defined, the purpose is clear. But it’s also boring. I can write about school and horses and nature all day long, but those subjects are safe. Too safe.

The true fun comes when I take a risk. By definition, a risk involves a hazard, a dangerous situation, the chance of loss. If I take a risk when I write, if I write about something personal, intimate, or metaphoric, something I know the reader will not understand properly (or maybe understand too well), I feel a bit of fear. While I write, my stomach turns and my lip curls and my fingers tap the keys quickly, as if they are burning coals. I like it. It’s fun.

Fear during the act of writing is positive. It’s energizing, validating.

But I’ll agree with the culture on the other point: the fear of starting to write is paralyzing.

This is my biggest obstacle as a writer. When I’m under obligation to write, whether it’s a deadline or a class or a promise to a friend, I can always get started. I’m one of those people who feels obligation much too strongly. But when I’m trying to write for me, I always let myself off the hook. Oh, you can totally play video games or hang out with a friend or throw the ball for the dogs – the writing will be there when you get back. But it’s never there, because I never start.

So what do I fear?

  1. Failure
  2. Sounding like an idiot
  3. Realizing I’m a horrid poet/fiction writer
  4. Losing my passion for an idea
  5. Ruining an idea with my clumsy writing

I could probably go on, but I like the number five.

I’ve tried different ways to get over this fear. I’ve made fake deadlines (but I always justify ignoring them). I’ve asked friends to pressure me (but they always fall for my justifications). I’ve tried to write crappy prose on purpose, just to start something, (but I can’t turn off my internal editor THAT much).

Once upon a time, I told myself that if I could just find out how my role model, or should I say idol?, did it, I could copy his methods and follow his advice. Well, I met my idol, and I asked him how he overcame the fear to begin writing. He told me that you just have to realize that you can do it. He said that if you can communicate, have a conversation and tell a story vocally, you can do it on paper. Logically, I realize this, but it doesn’t work for me.

I think I like the romance of  “suffering artistry” a bit too much. Many years ago, my idol also said that he found something romantic about self-destruction, or something to that effect. I can agree with him on that point, sometimes it’s kind of fun to watch everything, even yourself, burn.

But…eventually, the suffering artistry will turn to ash, and I’ll either have to pick up a pen or find another passion.

For now, I think I’ll cozy up next to the fire and write pointless blog posts.

The Next Step

Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Chasing Neptune

If all goes according to plan, one year from now, I will be a college graduate. Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into some nostalgic rant or preach about the importance of starting a new adventure. I am going to ponder what the hell I’m doing with my life, but hey, at least I won’t whine or stick my nose up.

I’ve decided to go to graduate school. It just seems like the next logical step. Even though I bitch incessantly about the stress of university, I do love it. I’m good at school. I know how to work the system, and it is a huge part of my identity. I’m not ready to give it up just yet.

So, I’ve decided to get my Master’s Degree in Writing, Editing, and Publishing. I like to write. I enjoy editing (probably because red is my favorite color, and I love feeling superior to others). And I think the publishing industry is my best chance for making a butt-load of money with an English degree. I may also be able to be a professor. I’m leaving my options open. In other words, I’ve made a decision that allows me to procrastinate making the real decision.

I think I’m just at the point in my life where the decisions are becoming irreversible. At this point, I can’t change my Bachelor’s Degrees. Luckily, I’m pleased with them. Once I get accepted into a graduate school, that decides my Master’s and, ultimately, my career.

I think I’m just a little worried that I’ll fail. I feel like I’ve been given a bow and arrow, and I have to shoot a target while blindfolded. I know the general area of the target, I’ve seen other people shoot an arrow, but I have no idea how to pull this off myself.

What if I decide I don’t want to sit around and help other writers reach their dreams? What if I try my hand at writing and realize I’m horrid or don’t love it?

I could always be a housewife. Better learn how to cook…

Week Thirteen: Wellness Goals

Published Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

Hello, blog world. As it turns out, I am alive. Would you like the standard excuses for my neglect? Work. College. Apathy. Forgetfulness.

But it’s okay. I have started an ongoing wellness challenge, which I realized, fits relatively well with my Roaring Twenties challenges. Wait, wellness? Yes, however hippie/new age it sounds, wellness.

Over the summer, I joined a wellness book club at my very health-conscious office. As part of the club curriculum, we read Wellness on a Shoestring Budget. The premise of this book is that everyone can live a healthy lifestyle, regardless of income or status. Dr. Michelle Robin describes seven categories that contribute to bodily health and inner wellness. Therefore, I have taken these categories and made three goals for each one. For the first two weeks (I’m on Day 9), my goal within the goals is to do one objective* from each category.

1. Rest, Reflect, Rejuvenate

This category focuses on restoring the body and the soul. It is meant to recharge your batteries, make you mindful of the world around you, and encourage you to be a little indulgent with yourself.

  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours a night
  • Appreciate a moment (for its beauty or the inspiration it brings you)
  • Take 10 minutes a day for YOU

2. Breathe Deeply

Breathing helps us relax. It calms our body and mind. It delivers oxygen to your organs and muscles. It’s just plain refreshing.

  • Breathe deeply…when waking.
  • Breathe deeply…when stressed.
  • Breathe deeply…when falling asleep.

3. Move Your Body

Our bodies need to move. We need to exercise our muscles, less we become stagnant. I mean, we’ve all seen the New Year’s Resolution commercials. Yay, exercise.

  • Practice good posture
  • Get up and move every 45 minutes
  • Exercise 30 minutes per day

4. Free Your Space

Clutter, whether physical or mental, causes anxiety. Anxiety hurts our body and our minds.

  • Keep desks organized
  • Keep rooms organized
  • Resolve mental clutter

5. Go for the Greens

Green veggies are one of the best sources of nutrients. And, as anyone can tell you, healthy eating habits are probably a good idea.

  • Control portion sizes (aka, stay in your skinny jeans)
  • Eat a veggie at each meal
  • Drink one green smoothie per week (This objective will be substituted shortly, because, despite their health benefits, I just can’t do it. Gross.)

6. Eat from the Sea & Enjoy the Sun

Fish have Omega-3s, which are probably the key to immortality. Okay, that might be a stretch, but they’re good for everything from heart care to preventing cancer. The sun gives you Vitamin-D, Vitamin-D makes you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t. (Bonus points for anyone who can name that movie)

  • Eat one tbsp of flax seed each day (non-fish source of Omega-3s)
  • Spend 10-15 minutes in the sun each day
  • Eat a green vegetable each day (another good source of Omega-3s; this goal may need to be substituted as well)

7. Drink to Your Health

  • Drink half my body weight in ounces of water each day
  • Drink room temperature water (cold water restricts the esophagus)
  • Do not drink 30 minutes before/after a meal (water dilutes necessary digestive juices)

Overall,  I think I am doing a relatively good job of accomplishing my goals. Some of them are already habitual (Free Your Space), while others are quickly becoming so (sleeping 7-9 hours and drinking enough water). It may just be placebo effect, but I truly believe that I have already noticed a change (albeit subtle) in my health. Taking time to rest, breathe, and drink water have given me more energy (most days), and I tend to wake up feeling refreshed, rather than sluggish. I also pee a lot more, but that’s between me and my kidneys.

I still have a long way to go. Some goals need to be substituted for ones that don’t offend my taste palate. I need to figure out how to motivate myself to exercise (which is laughable considering my history with exercising and the “definite” lack of time in my schedule — yes, in the rock/paper/scissors of life, college trumps all excuses). However, I’m pleased with the progress that I’m making, and if nothing else…

It can’t hurt.

For a more technical analysis of why these things are healthy, click on the book name from the opening paragraph or refer to your favorite search engine.

*Bolded objectives denote objectives that I have accomplished every single day.

Adolescent Rival

Published Saturday, July 7, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

This is a letter poem, written for class last fall. As the title suggests, it is about an adolescent rival. Picture any pre-teen “frenemy” combo, and you’ve pretty much got us. We had our differences, but this person made a huge impact on my life. Seven years ago (give or take a few weeks), she introduced me to my favorite band, My Chemical Romance, which is still one of the most inspiring entities in my life. And for that, I will always be grateful to her.

For three years, we inspected each other
under the fluorescent lights of the middle-school
hallway. You laughed at my bushy eyebrows
and mustard yellow highlights. I gawked
at your beak, snaggletooth, and
five-finger forehead.
 
We were two sharks in a small
tank — circling each other like the predators
we had taught ourselves to be.
 
I didn’t always hate you.
 
Once, we spent the summer by the lake,
cherry popsicles dripping down
our chins. I watched your stained
lips, as you mouthed the words to our
July song. And to this day,
 
I remember every syllable.
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