Alexander and Me

Two years ago today, the Sister and I were breathlessly seated in the very last row at the Public Theater – about to see Hamilton on stage for the first time. In honor of that anniversary, it seemed appropriate to share a little about my long-time history crush and the road that brought us to that room.

It took 5 years to get me into “the room where it happened” – or rather the house where Alexander Hamilton and his family once lived. The morning was bright and cold, and I had followed my friend uptown, navigating icy sidewalks until we arrived at the edge of St. Nicholas Park in Hamilton Heights, Harlem. Nestled in drifts of snow was a cheerfully yellow house built in the Federalist style. It was a Saturday at the end of February 2015, and it was the culmination of a trip I’d convinced my sister to take with me – flying across the country to a New York City still in mid-winter so that I could indulge my history geekery.

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The Sister marveling at the snow outside the Hamilton Grange.

An almost magical confluence of events and connections had led to this trip, involving a friend discovering my love of Hamilton and text messages about an upcoming off-Broadway musical that I honestly thought was not real. But the heart of this is my crush for the oft forgotten Founding Father, but that’s a story I have to the start to tell.

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The 30 List

As I wrote last week, I wanted to post an updated “30 Before 30” list now that I’m 30. A few of the items I didn’t complete have migrated to this new list while others haven’t after my re-evaluation.

If you remember my original 30 Before 30 post, I first read about the idea from Katy Upperman. When she passed her deadline, she changed her list into a “Life List,” which I also loved. I’m terrible at setting down goals or even writing New Year’s Resolutions. So having a Life List is a great way of keeping things I want to do in mind and on track.

But I’m not quite ready to have an open deadline yet. I’m updating my 30 Before 30 list into a 30 Before 35 one. There are definitely a few things I’d like to try or work on in the next 5 years. I figure this will give me some focus and motivation.

And again, I understand some of these items are out of my control or highly dependent on other factors, but I think it’s good to have it out there. Like making a wish.

30list

Without further ado, here’s the list:

  1. Road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway.
  2. Finally read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
  3. Go on a writers’ retreat.
  4. Finish book trilogies: Graceling Realm, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Lynburn Legacy.
  5. Tour the White House.
  6. See a ballet.
  7. Rehaul my closet.
  8. Finish a manuscript.
  9. Learn calligraphy.
  10. Read Jellicoe Road.
  11. Take Loki to the beach.
  12. Make Magic Coffee.
  13. Wander Iceland.
  14. Have Dole Whip in Hawaii.
  15. Get my own place.
  16. Paint a portrait of my dog.
  17. Write a short story & sub it.
  18. Visit The Ripped Bodice.
  19. Sell more poems.
  20. Read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.
  21. Develop a consistent workout habit.
  22. See the Winchester Mystery House.
  23. Explore more National Parks.
  24. Prune my bookshelves.
  25. Create a gallery wall.
  26. Attend a geeky convention that isn’t SDCC.
  27. Tour Mount Vernon and Monticello.
  28. Learn to read tarot.
  29. Put together a poetry chapbook.
  30. Go to Disneyworld.

I will be updating the list at the 30 Before 35 tab, and you’ll be able to find my new list-relevant posts under the 30 Before 35 tag.

 

Here’s to many more adventures!

 

What’s on your 30 list for the next 5 years?

Reflecting on 30 Before 30

Today is my 30th birthday, which is weird only in that I still don’t feel like an “adult.” I guess no one really does even when they are. It’s also weird to think I’ve been on this good earth for 3 decades!

Since it’s a Tuesday, I celebrated with friends this past weekend with food and especially desserts, as well as a good dose of book discussion – which is to say, a few of us had some strong words to say about Harry Potter & the Cursed Child.

That said, my 30th birthday also marks the “conclusion” of my 30 Before 30 project.

I say conclusion with quotation marks because I’m obviously not going to stop working towards these goals just because I’m 30 now. But I do want to reflect a little about what I managed to do and how I want to proceed from here.

Here is my list as it stands.

  1. Road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway.
  2. Order a subscription box. (Owlcrate!)
  3. Finally read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
  4. Attend San Diego Comic Con.
  5. Attend a music festival. (Coachella x2)
  6. See a Broadway musical on Broadway. (the brilliant Hamilton- off & on Broadway)
  7. Go on a spontaneous vacation. (New Orleans with the ConSquad)
  8. Visit Harry Potter Wizarding World /Harry Potter Studio Tour. (The Los Angeles park)
  9. See something Shakespeare performed in London. (Coriolanus w/ Tom Hiddleston)
  10. Go on a writers’ retreat.
  11. Sell a poem. (Actaeon!)
  12. Vacation with my friends. (East Coast trip! NOLA!)
  13. Attend a book convention. (Does YALLWest count?)
  14. Visit Hamilton Grange (finally!!)
  15. Finish book trilogies: Graceling Realm, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Lynburn Legacy.
  16. Visit the White House.
  17. Rehaul my closet.
  18. Go to Italy.
  19. Finish a manuscript.
  20. Watch a big game at a sports bar. (The 2014 World Cup)
  21. Learn calligraphy.
  22. Read Jellicoe Road (finally!). (Reading it now.)
  23. Ride a mule down into the Grand Canyon.
  24. Bonfire on the beach. (My 29th Birthday!)
  25. Participate in a podcast. Done (1)done (2), and done (3)! Done (4)!
  26. Have a summer movie marathon. (Star Wars movie marathon)
  27. Visit The Last Bookstore.
  28. Take Loki to the beach.
  29. Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
  30. Make magic coffee.

There are a few items I’m currently working on (I’m reading Jellicoe Road now), and there are a few things I’m looking forward to repeating (Hamilton, again – all day every day). I think overall, I didn’t do too shabby in the past year, though I really could’ve planned my reading schedule better to get the reading goals in.

I’m most pleased by No. 11; I was able to sell a poem. That goal was one that wasn’t in my control, and I still can’t believe it happened – and that it happened with my first poem out. Way to set a high bar! Beyond that, working towards that has pushed me to submit more and to write more – and I’m pleased to be doing that.

Next week, I will be posting a new/updated list as a 30 before 35. I hope this might inspire you to make your own list or to set a few goals of your own. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

2016: One Word Resolution

I usually make this post at the A Nudge in the Right Direction, but since I have my 30 Before 30 goals here, I thought this might be a more appropriate venue.

For the past few years, instead of making individual New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve picked one word to be my touchstone and guide for the year. I call it the One Word Resolution, but I read about the concept first at Jessica Cora‘s blog. I’ve also used Susannah Conway’s free e-workshop for finding my yearly word.

I let January get away from me, which I admit isn’t the best start to 2016, but I have landed on a word for the year.

INTENT

2015 was a wonderful year that swept me away. I don’t think I was completely successful with sticking to my word CHANGE, but I did let myself say “yes” to more things and didn’t self-reject from opportunities and experiences as much. At the same time, doing as much as I did also left me feeling spent and burnt-out, especially towards the end of the year. I found myself wondering where all my time went, and yet on weekends, I found myself so exhausted that I couldn’t motivate myself to do any of the productive things I wanted to do.

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Hart & Hunter

In high school, I joked to my friends that I’d grow up to be a penniless poet. It made sense because I liked to write, and while I had very little formal education in poetry, I enjoyed reading and dabbling in it.

Fast forward to not-so-long-ago, and I’d all but given it up. Thanks to Twitter and writer friends*, I found my way back to poetry and started to feel like maybe I wasn’t terrible at it. I wrote a few, made a resolution to submit (no. 11) ** a few, subbed a couple to online lit-mags, and left it to fair fortune.

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I’m incredibly excited to say STRANGE HORIZONS accepted one of my poems for publication***, and it’s part of this week’s issue!

You can read my poem ACTAEON now if you have a few spare minutes.

It would make my day if you did.

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