Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome To Midnight


The ball drops and fireworks. Resolutions are made. People scream and people kiss and is it possible to change? Is it really truly possible to leave the past behind?

Welcome to Midnight.

Another year comes to a close. Another year begins. With a moment in between. Why the fuss? Why the fame and fireworks? Is it more than hype? More than something else to sell us? Is there something to this holiday? Something true inside it?

Because isn’t there something inside us that aches for change…

Dreams it to be possible…
To let go.
To hold on.
To leave it behind.
To start again.
To be new.
Is it possible?

Midnight and we’re new.
Midnight and the past erased.
Midnight and we’re free.

Welcome to Midnight.

As midnight approaches, I find myself faced with the questions of the past year, and the promises of the new one. Like everyone, I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s… Like everyone, I anticipate that single moment—11:59, and then, and then…12:00. 60 seconds and poof…2013 is over and 2014 is staring me dead in the face.

But maybe I’m not ready to say goodbye to 2013. Maybe I’m not ready to be new. Maybe I’m not ready to erase the past. I want to grab 2013 by the balls and hold on for dear life.
I made some wonderful friends. I let go of some less-than-wonderful ones. I reconnected with some more-than-wonderful ones. I started seeing a therapist and am feeling much better at the end of 2013 than I was feeling at the beginning.

2013 has been an amazing year for me. I’ve grown so much, especially in my writing.

Goodness my writing. The beginning of 2013, I had a bunch of eggs (novel ideas), some of whom thought they were ready to hatch and leap out of the nest, but one project in particular surprised me.

While reflecting on a darker time in my life, I wrote out a seven page story. It was about a young girl who was in love with her best friend, trusted him implicitly, and she wanted to take a step and make their relationship official. Little did she know, this step would send her off a proverbial cliff and into a downward spiral of epic proportions. In a drunken stupor, he took advantage of her, and left her nearly broken.

This story would later be shared with one of my closest friends, Katelyn, who encouraged the story idea. This story became the prologue to Losing Me.

I have been writing for 9 years—I only began writing novels 6 years ago. For 6 years, I’ve been assaulted with idea after idea after idea, only to start a novel and never finish it. When I began Losing Me on July 1, 2013, I didn’t think it would become anything.

As I talked to Katelyn—honestly, I remember this conversation clear as day—she told me that the prologue gave her goosebumps. I don’t know if anyone understands the effect those words had on me because of the fact that Katelyn doesn’t read. SHE DOESN’T FUCKING READ AND MY WORDS GAVE HER GOOSEBUMPS.

I took those words to heart, because only I, my younger sister, my therapist, and now Katelyn, understand why writing this story was so important to me. I was molested when I was seven years old, and I’ve carried that weight around for thirteen years, unsure of how to let it go.

But as I wrote that prologue, as I created Nickayla Quinn and her story, I was letting go of mine. I was finding myself as I helped Nickayla heal. I knew, from that initial conversation with Kate, that this was a story that I had to tell.

And I struggled.

Dear God, did I struggle. I remember Katelyn bugging me incessantly for the first chapter of Losing Me, but I wasn’t able to give it to her until almost two months later. I wrote it, and re-wrote it, and re-wrote it, and re-wrote it, all the while crying, screaming, and agonizing over it because I wanted to do my story and Nickayla’s—and anyone who was taken advantage of by someone that they trusted—justice. I would NOT give Katelyn, or anyone, a less than perfect chapter, or a less than perfect representation of the damage done when you trust someone and they break that trust.

And yet here I am, months later, pushing through it. It gets easier to write Nickayla’s story. It gets easier to let go of mine.

I’m almost 90% done with Losing Me. I’m planning to hit Publish in April. I have another series in the works, and two standalone novels—all of which deal with subjects equally as difficult as rape. I’ve got an author page on Facebook with over 400 likes. Over 400 people are interested in my writing. Over 400 people want to read my work, want to read my story—and that’s not including my extensive family and all of my friends.

In April of 2014, I’ve got to take Losing Me, my baby bird, and kick it out of the nest to see if it can fly.

This year has been such a good one for me. Bad things happened, sure, but so did a lot of good things. I’m not ready to let go of this year yet, because I’ve never felt so alive. I’ve never felt so whole. I’ve never felt so…fulfilled.

I’m reaching my dream and that has me jumping for joy, wanting to scream from the rooftops and tell everyone how much I love them, because this hasn’t been a singular effort. They say it takes a village to raise a child?

Guess what? It also takes a village to make someone’s dream come true.

To Katelyn, who seriously was the person who made me continue this story, THANK YOU. You will never know how much your words shaped this story, and how much dedication, blood, sweat, and tears I’ve put into it. Welcome to Midnight, because I am going to be bugging you nonstop about Losing Me in the new year. (Also, the lovely Kate is gracing the cover of one of my WIPs, Never Let Me Go, releasing in August 2014, God-willing).

To Ashley, my writing buddy, the person who lets me talk her ear off for days on end about writing, books, and even the most random shit in the world, THANK YOU. Your partnership, dedication, and assistance has been unmatched. Welcome to Midnight, because this is FAR from over! (Ashley will be publishing her first book, Dandelion Me, in May of 2014).

To my lovely Betas, Danielle, Katelyn, Sandra, Jennifer, Amber, Yarida, and Ashley, seriously, you all are the best. Your enthusiasm, dedication, love, and support for this project has honestly moved me to TEARS. You all truly are Colin’s biggest fans, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. Welcome to Midnight, because if you love Losing Me, you’ll DEFINITELY love what comes next. Don’t hop off the roller coaster yet, ladies!

To my best friend Elizabeth, who has known me for years and never fails to ask how my writing is going, THANK YOU. Thank you for telling me that one day in that one text message, “You better not stop writing!” Who knew five words could change everything so much. Welcome to Midnight, because I’m sure I’m going to need lots more of those texts in the coming year.

To my little sister Jade, who leaves me alone for hours on end and understands completely when I need time to myself to get writing done, THANK YOU. Thank you for supporting me, for telling me when something is too boring, or when that one sentence doesn’t belong in that place, or when I need to name a character something different (you are WAY better than a baby name site). Welcome to Midnight. You’re kind of stuck with me until one of us dies.

To my family, most notably Yesenia, Amber (double mentions, of course), Selena (who commented on my first status about Nickayla, saying she couldn’t wait to read the new story), Nina (who is seriously the most misunderstood person in my entire family who I don’t know as well as I’d like to, can give a pep talk like no other, and listens better than anyone I know), Tia Patsy, Tia Phyllis (who told me when I was 15 that I needed to write everything down), and even Nylaya, who are seriously the best cousins and Tia’s any person could ever ask for, THANK YOU. You all give me endless laughs, tears (most times from laughing), and memories that help me get through the rough days. Welcome to Midnight. Seriously, keep doing what you’re doing.

To my friends, Maria (my book best friend and the one person who will tell me if my MMC is a Mary Sue, who will not rest until I finish that book, Quinn—which now needs a new name—, and who is now dabbling in writing herself), Alessandra, Kacey (this girl is a goddamn SAINT, I kid you not), CyChristi (also a saint), Salvador (there just aren’t enough words in the English language to tell you how thankful I am for you), Sarah (who has a namesake in Losing Me and never failed to accept my aggravatingly long text messages as I shared with her a story idea I had every time one struck lol), Amber J., Jessica (who told me she hopes my books become bigger hits than Twilight LOL), Apryl, Nicole F. (funniest person on Facebook EVER), and Shirley (I’ve sent her pieces of my writing since like middle school I think haha), THANK YOU. I’m sure I missed a bunch of people here, but Welcome to Midnight. You probably don’t even know what I’m thanking you for, but thank you for being you, because I cherish every single one of you more than you know.

To my favorite teacher in high school, Mrs. Cambria D’Amico-Wu, who accepted me into her AP English Language class, pushed me to get off my cell phone and actually do my work, who decided to start a creative writer’s club with us, who encouraged my writing at every turn, THANK YOU. I will forever be indebted to you for everything you’ve done for me as a student and as a writer. Welcome to Midnight. I hope to share all my progress and success with you for years to come.

To my big sisters, Lanita and Flora, for being the best big sisters anyone could ask for, for always asking when I’m coming to visit, for reaching out to me when I’m being a hermit, and for telling me that you’re proud of me (seriously, I take those words to heart EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.), THANK YOU. Welcome to Midnight. We have a long road ahead of us, girls.

To my grandma, who took me in when I was 14 and needed a fresh start, never bothered me when I spent hours on end at her computer writing, bought me my first flash drive (I wish I still had it for sentimental value, but my dog chewed that to pieces), bought me the book that changed my life, Les Miserables, put up with my…eclectic music taste, and never asked for her laptop back when I would take it in the middle of the night, writing until 6 am while drinking numerous bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino’s , THANK YOU. I honestly feel sorry for everyone else because I’ve got the best grandma in the world. Welcome to Midnight, because I’ve gotten worse. I write for even MORE hours. I drink even MORE coffee. You thought the book Les Miserables was huge? There’s a movie musical now that I watch AT LEAST three times a week. My music taste has gotten even MORE eclectic. Just wait until next summer. You’ll see.

To my parents, Curtis and Debbie Simon, who, as far as I know, neither of you have a single creative bone in your body, but happened to create me, with more creative bones than I will ever need, THANK YOU. I wouldn’t be here without you. Welcome to Midnight, because, well, I’m kinda stuck with you guys (I kid, I kid. Lol).

Last but not least, to the Indie community, (particularly Tasha Gwartney, Kyla Grabowski, Cassandra Janey, Dani Hart, and Danielle Taylor), THANK YOU. Thank you for embracing me, sharing my page, for talking with me about writing, and overall just showing me how KICK-ASS the Indie writing community is and how you don’t need a traditional contract to share your story with the world. Welcome to Midnight. This journey is far from over.

As I bring this annoyingly long blog post to a close, I’m STILL not ready to welcome the New Year. I’m still not ready for Midnight. But I’m welcoming it because as AMAZING as 2013 was, 2014 is going to be even BETTER.

I love every single one of you that are mentioned in this post more than you will ever know or imagine. I can’t wait to continue this journey with you.

Welcome to Midnight. Welcome to 2014.