Long Overdue

Let me start this with an apology: I’m sorry I disappeared without a word! I have not stopped reading blogs, but my own last post was in March?! I should have spoken up before now, providing some kind of explanation.
Contrary to what some may have assumed, I have not at all stopped writing. I’ve actually done more writing in 2014 than any other year of my life that didn’t involve working on a degree. I just haven’t written here, on this blog. Most of what I’ve written hasn’t made its way to the public eye in any way, yet. Hopefully that will change.
Let me start my explanation with the best thing that happened to me in 2014: I was accepted into the MFA in Writing program at Pacific University! It has been my dream for as long as I can remember to fully pursue writing. I spent months working on the application material and still convinced myself I wouldn’t get in. I lived in shock for weeks after the acceptance letter arrived. Now I get to live out that dream, starting in January.
At the same time all of this applying and celebrating has been going on, I started pursuing other ways to put my writing out into the world. Doing that means not “publishing” it here first. Many of the places I hope to eventually have some writing accepted will only take work that has never previously been published, and a blog is considered published. This was part of the reason for the lack of writing here.
But also, life just turned exceptionally bizarre after my last post, on top of what had already been a difficult year before that. I should have listened to the part of me saying “Don’t do this” when I first decided to move to the suburbs. Intuition exists for a reason, and ignoring it lead to a lot of pain. It also led to putting quite a few things that had once been important on the back burner. I moved back into the city in July, minus one friend and a lot of drama. Being back in Portland and living alone is the second best thing that happened to me in 2014 as life immediately started looking up in ways it had not in quite a while.
Between dealing with the situation that led to moving for a 2nd time in 6 months, the actual move itself, trying to get into an MFA program, traveling home to GA/TN twice in less than a month for family things, continuing to write things that I hope will one day be read by people other than my writing group (though I am grateful they keep reading!), and that thing called a job that keeps me pretty busy 40 hours a week, there has been no time to concentrate on writing anything for this blog. To anyone who occasionally showed up here or wondered what happened, I’m sorry.
With all of that said, I am here today to also tell you that the silence will only continue as I simply don’t have the time to put into keeping it up now. I’m not sure what my literary future holds, whether blogging again will be part of it or not. I know that 2015 starts with chasing my dream, and we’ll see what develops from there. I’m excited ecstatic, and scared out of my mind. It’s a feeling I can’t replicate at will, and one I haven’t felt since I arrived in Portland almost six years ago. Thank you to everyone who has traveled this writing journey with me, especially those of you who have been reading since I first started many websites ago. The encouragement and support so many of you have provided over the years played a large role in deciding to go for it.

I may not have kept up this blog like normal in 2014, but I still want to end it (it being the year, and also possibly the blog) in a similar fashion to years past: with an end of the year list!

Liza’s Random Favorite Things of 2014:

Favorite thing someone said to me about reading in general: “You’ve ruined me for bad books, Liza.” Mission accomplished.

Favorite books, in no particular order:
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
(This is just a sampling of what I read; if you want the full list you need to by my friend on goodreads)

Favorite new people: My writing group/friends Jen and Ashley and my writing teacher/friend Jenny. Also my landlords, Alex and Monica. I kind of knew them before 2014 but not really, and I like them a lot.

Favorite new snack shop (not that I had a favorite old snack shop before): Cheese and Crack

Favorite spot: Anywhere in my apartment, but especially if that anywhere is my couch. My first real grown up couch that I bought in August after moving into my perfect apartment.

Favorite cheap, cheap eats: $1.50 tacos from King Burrito which is so conveniently located on my walk home from one of my bus options.

Favorite coffee shop in the neighborhood I live in now: The Arbor Lodge, where you can find me about once a week, usually.

Favorite pandora stations: The holdovers from last year-Brandi Carlile, Mumford and Sons and The Civil Wars, but currently it’s the Friendsgiving station which I hope is going to stick around well past the holidays because it is the perfect combination of all of my favorite stations.

Favorite new piece of technology: the Samsung Galaxy s5 phone I got in April. It does everything. Most recent favorite use of it: catching up on the podcast Serial while I wash dishes of cook dinner.

Favorite uses of the internet overall: 1) Skype and google chat/hangouts. I love being face to face with people across the country when I talk to them, especially those who really hate to talk on the phone but are really great with chatting when we can look at each other. 2) Watching The Mindy Project on Hulu.

Favorite days of the month: when my writing group meets and when my Literary Society meets.

Favorite interaction with a stranger on the max: seeing a man reading The Rosie Project, leaning over to tell him how much I loved it, then watching him laugh out loud a few seconds later as he was reading.

Favorite text received when boarding a plane (from David as I was leaving Phoenix where I had just spent my birthday weekend): “I love being able to talk with you and share life in the immediate tense.”

Favorite moments of laughter: several that occurred during the week I spent with my parents in August, over things that were only funny if you were there, but one of which involved my mom saying “We never got that duck in his May, June or July clothes. He’s still in his April rain gear.”

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Favorite last minute plans (that turned out to be incredibly fun): Karaoke with coworkers.

Favorite in-person response to my acceptance to school: “You have a glow, a positive energy around you right now. You look like you just won American Idol and can’t believe it. I’m so honored you chose to tell me about this.”

I hope you are looking forward to many good things ahead as we close the door on 2014. Whatever changes, adventures, plans and goals await you, may your 2015 be full of peace, love, friendship, coffee and good books. Happy New Year!

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