life

Four Facts Survey

Some people seem to know themselves quite well. They have clear likes and dislikes and distinctive personalities. Maybe it’s because my head is in the clouds most of the time, but I don’t think I’m one of those self-aware people. That’s why it’s nice when a tag like this  comes along to bring me back down to earth and get me thinking about what makes me tick. For that I have smart, funny, forward-thinking Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles to thank. Rae discusses so many intelligent topics in her blog, not the least of which is, of course, books. 🙂 I hope you get a chance to check out her blog.

Rules:

  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 4  people to answer the same questions

The Questions

Four names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name:

Eve / “V” / Mom / “Honey”

Four Jobs I’ve Had:

Music/foreign language teacher, vocal arranger, Acquisitions & Divestitures Coordinator (sorry, that really was my title, ha), waitress

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once:

Groundhog Day, Zoolander, Galaxy Quest, Love with a Proper Stranger (w/Natalie Wood & Steve McQueen)

Four Authors I’d Recommend:

V.E. Schwab, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Marie Lu

Four Places I’ve Lived:

Japan, Taiwan, Virginia, Southern California

Four Places I’ve Visited:

San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, Cancun

Four Things I’d Rather Be Doing Now:

Writing, playing with my dogs, finding new music, talking to my friends

Four Foods I Prefer Not to Eat:

avocados, guacamole, anything sour, marmalade

Four Favorite Foods:

sushi, chicken curry, b’bim bop, chicken tortilla soup

Four TV Shows I Watch:

Orphan Black, Broad City, Walking Dead, The Little Couple

Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This Year:

  • Having lots of time during summer vacation to write, read, exercise and play piano.
  • Taking a trip sometime in August (not sure where yet–any suggestions?)
  • Finishing my novel.
  • Getting healthy again.

Four Things I’m Always Saying:

“I totally get that.”
“Have a great weekend.”
“Absolutely.”
“I don’t want to talk about politics.”

–Eve Messenger

Four People I Nominate:

Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secret
Blaise @ The Book Boulevard
Beth @ The Books are Everywhere
Jesalin @ Blogging Everything Beautiful 

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 1

Little Kimono & Dad

Little me with the best dad ever. 

As a child, who was your favorite relative?

My favorite relative was my dad. When he got home after a long day of work, he made time to talk to me, play board games and word games with me, start tickle fights, and make me feel unconditionally loved.

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?

I’d be a big tree with wide branches overlooking the forest and seeing up into the sky. Woodland creatures would make their homes in me and be my friends.

What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?

My preference would be to awake before dawn, though I rarely do this anymore. I love the quiet of early morning, running and cycling, getting lots of writing in before the day begins.

Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?

If it’s big, really comfortable, and not too high off the ground, I’d go for the human size nest in a tree.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that I “woke up” and starting reaching out to friends and family. I realized I was sort of cocooning, but I’m reconnecting now and it feels good. Next week I’m looking forward to the relief of being done with a couple of major events that have been zapping my time and emotional energy.

–Eve Messenger

And the Muslim Woman Sang

My mother was born in Fukuoka, Japan. She fell in love with an American soldier (my dad) and moved with him to a small northern Virginia town. Though she arrived there well after World War II, my mother came to know all too well the sideways glances and outright scorn of white people who viewed her as the enemy.

Here’s another true story. My best class in high school was Freshman English with Mrs. Kiyoko Bernard. Woven among our exploration of great literature were stories Mrs. Bernard shared with us about her life. Like the story about how she and her young Japanese-American husband were forced by the U.S. government into an internment camp during World War II. This remarkable woman who touched our lives with her humanity and her encouragement suffered the degradation of having to bear her first child in an internment camp.

In the heart of Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles is the Japanese American National Museum. JANM is beautiful, always clean, with many windows allowing in natural light, knowledgeable docents, and engaging Japanese cultural exhibits and activities. As a Japanese language teacher, I have taken my students on field trips there many times. But the museum’s purpose extends beyond expanding awareness of Japanese-American culture. Founded by survivors of Japanese internment camps who pooled government restitution money to build the museum, JANM exists as a reminder that, even in the land of the free, especially during the toxic climate of war, fear can drive the masses to ignore, subscribe to–even call for–foul human actions.

In 1942, by executive order of the president of the United States, everyone of Japanese descent, including natural-born U.S. citizens like Mrs. Bernard, were forced out of their homes, businesses, and schools. The lash of wartime anti-Japanese rhetoric fell swiftly. Here’s the story my dear friend and second mother Pauline once told. Pauline grew up in Bellflower, California, when it was still a small farming town. One morning in 1942, when Pauline was twelve, she arrived at school to find many of the classroom seats empty. To her horror, she realized that all of her Japanese friends were gone. Pauline’s parents and other good-hearted neighbors attempted to keep the land for the Japanese farmer friends. Others took advantage and bought the well-worked Japanese farms on the cheap.

Meanwhile, Japanese-American soldiers in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were fighting and dying in Europe for the very country that was forcibly interring their family members.  38 years later, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter called for an investigation into the government’s internment action. The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians determined that interring Japanese-Americans had been a clear violation of their human rights and was stoked by “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

Here is another true story. It is not set in the 1940s or the 1960s or even the 1980s. It happened very recently in the large metropolitan area in which I live.

My old friend Luke, whom I’ve known since high school, has a lovely wife Cathy who’s always been kind and generous toward my family, especially my children. Cathy is very involved in her church. During winter break, she invited my daughter and me over to decorate Christmas cookies. Some of Cathy’s church friends were there. The political discussion became uncomfortable.

One of Cathy’s church friends shared this story:

Across the street from her a Muslim family had moved in, and the church friend felt very unsettled about this. One day the Muslim mother, a woman in her thirties, even crossed the street with her six-year-old daughter and rang the church friend’s doorbell. The church lady was terrified. She peered through the peephole and panicked. What should she do? Her husband was at work, leaving just her and her own young daughter at home, and a woman in a hijab was standing there on her doorstep with a little Muslim girl beside her.  So here’s what the frightened church lady did. Through her closed door, she insisted she would only open the door if the Muslim woman proved her patriotism by singing the national anthem.

And the Muslim woman sang.

 

 

–Eve Messenger

 

 

 

 

Reply Like No One’s Watching (Writing Tag) #amwriting

giantbook

 

Yay, I get to do a writing tag and answer questions thanks to my new writing friend, G. L. “Gwynne” Jackson. Gwynne has a lot of writing knowledge and offers great advice. I hope you get a chance to check out her blog.

G.L. Jackson’s Questions:

 1. It’s the old stranded on a desert island question! Which three books do you take with you? 

  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare because it will keep me occupied on the island for a good long while.  According to Goodreads, The Complete Works of Shakespeare is 1,745 pages long. Amazon says 2,016 (there you go exaggerating, Amazon). This book must weigh a ton. It’s probably what sank my boat.
  • Moby-Dick so I will finally finish it.
  • Whatever book comes floating my way. I like to be surprised.

2. Which author or authors would you cite as your inspiration? V.E. Schwab and Lauren Oliver.

3. What are some of your other creative pursuits beyond writing? Does blogging count? With a full-time job, part-time job, family to raise, and books to read, I’m afraid I don’t have time for other creative pursuits, but I used to be a songwriter.

 4. Tell me about the last TV show you binge-watched. What did you think? Sense8. I liked it!

 5. How did you get your start in writing?  I’ve had several “starts” in writing. In 1st grade, I wrote my first story (see exciting recap below). After college, I attended writing workshops where I learned a lot about craft. Then the “start” that finally took was an inspiring conversation with a friend. 

6. Do you remember the first story you wrote? Can you recap it? Umm, yes. A busy butterfly flies around to all the flowers and trees. A big wind comes, bringing with it a flying Christmas tree. I don’t remember what happens after that.

 7. Fast-forward 60 years into the future. What does society look like to you? (This is a big question, so feel free to narrow it down as you like.) I like to believe the human race figures things out and that the future is beautiful.

8. What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure genre to read? Thriller with a spicy sex scene.

9. Do you consider yourself to be an extrovert or an introvert?An introvert with decent acting skills.

10. What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to aspiring writers?Don’t believe the “tortured artist” myth. Do whatever you must to keep writing fun.

Tag, You’re It:

Let’s kick off this list off with three writing Kelly’s, shall we?

Kelly Deeny

Kelly Miles

Kelly F. Barr

Melanie Noell Bernard

Elena Johansen

Alyia J. Helms

Nicolette Elzie

Jennifer F. Santucci

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog and Twitter in your post.
2. Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided.
3. Nominate up to 10 other bloggers or Twitter followers
4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nomination.

Eve Messenger’s Questions:

  1. What are three things you do really well as a writer?
  2. When you daydream about “making it” as a writer, what do you visualize?
  3. Do you have a regular writing routine? If so, when?
  4. Dogs or cats?
  5. What’s directly to the left of where you’re sitting right now?
  6. When do most of your plot ideas come to you? In bed, on walks, in the shower, while driving, when reading other books?
  7. What’s your most recent writing breakthrough?
  8. Are you able to write in noisy environments?
  9. Have you ever attended a book signing event for an author you admire? If so, what was it like?
  10. Are you better at coming up with titles or elevator pitches?

 

 

 

A Moment of Gratitude. . .

sunny forest

A sunny day in green forest with high trees

I love. . .

life.

reading.

my reading friends.

writing.

my writer friends.

my daughter and how she brings sparkle and laughter to my life.

my son and how ambitious, confident and reliable he is.

my husband and how loyal and smart he is.

the city I live in with its small town feel, friendly people, and quaint Old Town and British-style traffic circle, even though it’s actually a big city with all the conveniences.

that I have a short commute to work.

losing myself in music, both as a listener and as a player, and that jubilant moment when I hear, for the first time, a song I know I’ll love forever.

the music and foreign language students of all ages I work with, their enthusiasm, “aha” moments, hugs, and goofy things they say like, “You smell like a seashell.”

my piano students, AKA friends and fellow musicians, who tell me jokes and say Anna is way better than Elsa (I agree!), and get me to do my Stitch, dog, pigeon, and wicked witch imitations.

the excitement of knowing I will publish novels.

my two dogs and two cats, the friendliest, most intuitive furry friends ever, especially Teddie, our not-purebred-poodle-after-all with his really ugly butt.

my friends who make me feel like the nicest, funniest, smartest person in the world and who’ll talk to me about anything.

my parents and wish they lived closer.

my brothers and what good family men they are.

ice cream, being outside on sunny days, being indoors on cloudy days, libraries, meeting nice people, amazing talent, handsome cowboys (but, sorry, not cowboy music), epiphanies,  dumb blonde jokes, walking in the woods, and beauty in all its forms.

–Eve Messenger

 

 

Infinity Dreams Award #writerslife

wpid-infinity-award

Thank you to the ever-classy Caitlyn @ Rhodes of Reading for nominating me for this  Infinity of Dreams Award. Caitlyn is a teacher who adores YA fiction, so of course she’s one of my favorite peeps.

Rules:

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you
2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer
4.  Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them

Eleven Facts About Me

  1. At major crossroads moments in my life, I’ve had a hummingbird fly out of seemingly nowhere and hover right in front of me, which I see as a sign that “everything is going to be alright.”
  2. As a kid I enjoyed scary stories. I’d save up to buy graphic novels about ghosts and hauntings then moved on to Edgar Allan Poe stories and Stephen King novels. Maybe it’s because of my overactive imagination, but now scary stories freak me out.
  3. I love riding my bicycle, especially through nature.
  4. I am calm in crisis situations. Afterward is when I get nervous and shaky.
  5. Because I’d love to be able to enter them all into Goodreads, I’m bummed I can’t remember all the books I’ve read, many of which were randomly grabbed off library shelves with barely a glance at the title.
  6. I enjoy collecting coffee mugs to commemorate trips I’ve taken.
  7. Before writing fact #6, I had to look up the difference between “coffee cup” and “coffee mug.” If you’re curious, too, here’s the link.
  8. My lucky number is five, so on all the athletic teams I played on growing up I liked having five as part of my jersey number.
  9. Whenever I take left-brain/right-brain tests, my results are always exactly in the middle.
  10. On the rare occasions that I feel overwhelmingly distraught, I drive to the parking lot of a nearby congregation/compound for nuns (though I’m not Catholic), and it makes me feel better.
  11. I love dogs and am like a little kid at the dog park.

Questions from Caitlyn

  1. If you had to choose, would you rather be a contestant on The Amazing Race or The Great British Bake-Off? (Or The Great British Baking Show…depending on where you’re from!) Sorry to say I’ve never seen either show, but I enjoy baking.
  2. If you were on a deserted island and only had one book with you, what book would it be? Moby-Dick because if it’s the only book I own, I might actually finish it.
  3. Cake or pie? Pie, definitely, blueberry or peach, please.
  4. How many different cities have you lived in? Seven.
  5. Hot chocolate or apple cider? Hot chocolate.
  6. What super power would you want to have? The ability to speak and understand all languages.
  7. Who’s the last person you texted? A friend.
  8. Do you buy DVDs or watch movies online? Online streaming all the way.
  9. Which 3 people, dead or alive, would you want to invite over for coffee? I’m curious about historical mysteries so, first, I’d invite my 5th great-grandfather for coffee and chat about why he assumed a new name at the turn of the 19th century, find out what his real name was and where he came from. Assuming we could understand each other’s languages, I’d also invite one of the last surviving Picts and inhabitants of Easter Island to ask what happened to their civilizations and find what all their cool stone structures were for.
  10. What’s your favorite accent to hear people speaking with? (British, American, Spanish, etc.) The sound of a Scottish brogue makes me pretty happy.
  11. Would you rather have a pet dragon or be a centaur? Both are pretty wonderful, but I’d go with the pet dragon since it can fly me places, which would come in quite handy during rush hour.

I nominate. . .

Mary Cathleen Clark
Abbielou @ Café Book Bean
Beth @ betwixt-these-pages
Madi Uram @ Writing Every Which Way
Sumaya @ Sue’s Reading Corner
Nate Philbrick @ You Write Fiction
Jennifer F. Santucci
Josie @ Josie’s Book Corner
Kelly Deeny
Melanie Noell Bernard
Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets
Jesalyn @ Life: Books, the Arts, and Nature

 Your Questions

  1. If you had two weeks and unlimited funds, what would be your dream vacation?
  2. What was one of your favorite books as a child?
  3. What was one of your favorite recent reads?
  4. What is your dream/life’s ambition?
  5. What three things would indicate you’ve achieved your dream?
  6. What is your favorite board/card/casino game?
  7. Would you prefer camping in nature or staying at fine hotel in the city?
  8. If you could write like any author, who would it be and why?
  9. If you could visit any historical time period, which would you choose and why?
  10. Romance or adventure?
  11. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Happiness, Like Opening Your Eyes to See Other Bright, Kind Fishes Swimming Alongside You. #amwriting

You know how sometimes you’re moseying through your life, teaching classes, reading great books, tending to the family, house, groceries, and pets, writing each morning before work (like you promised yourself you would, yay), and then someone says something nice to you out of the blue like, “You’re pretty,” or “You told me something wise in high school that stuck with me,” or whatever it is, and suddenly life feels more sparkly? There’s a shift. The current changes, and you feel as if you’re not swimming upstream anymore, or maybe your eyes are open wider to see the other bright, kind fishes swimming alongside you.

Three things happened this week that made me feel that kind of happiness, and they all have to do with writing since that is my life’s ambition and mostly what I blog about here. 🙂

  1. Melanie Noell Bernard invited me to post a guest blog in a special series she’s running in January. I really love Melanie’s blog, and it’s an honor to be asked. (I hope I don’t let her down.)
  2. My first reblog–thank you, Elizabeth Huff of the Well-Rounded Writer.
  3. A writer I crossed paths with during NaNoWriMo 2015 messaged me through the NaNo site (it’s crazy that I decided to check my message box there six days after the event ended) saying he “liked my style” in the WIP excerpts I posted in the forums and asked to be a beta reader for my novel. Wow, someone WANTS to read my book.

It’s been a good week.

–Eve Messenger

 

 

Twilight, When the World is at its Sweetest

The highlight of my summer season so far has been the long twilight.  The days might be feisty and unrelenting, but then twilight eases in, echoing with childhood summers in which dusk marked the coda to days of running, throwing balls, imagining, exploring woods, frolicking with neighborhood kids;  high school beach bonfires, riding my bike home after solo expeditions with a stack of library books bungee-corded to the back.  Twilight, when the world is at its sweetest and most dignified.  Voices soften, buildings and trees stand taller, dreams begin to stir, and monsters remain in hiding.

Eve Messenger

This post is in response to today’s writing prompt:  If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/in-the-summertime/”>In the Summertime</a>