In Review

Last night, one of my best friends celebrated her 40th birthday. There were people from her whole life there. It was pretty amazing to sit on the side lines and watch the pockets of people who entered her life. 
There were a few people there that I hadn’t seen in a long time, my ex-roommate (and good friend) and a guy that had come to a party at my the  apartment that I shared with her but not when she lived there with me (if that makes any sense). This guy was an artist who had given me and my first roommate a piece of his art as a housewarming present. It was a photo a guy on a truck that he had painted over it so you had to really look within the colours to see the picture. It was wild.
This picture went back and forth between my first roommate and I. When she left, I kept it for a while and then she had it. Like it was the settlement in our separation.
When I told him about it, he asked, “Do you still have it?” 
I said, “Yeah, I think so.” 
He laughed and said, “You don’t. That is okay. I haven’t looked at those in a while, why should you.” 
Truly, I wasn’t sure. It could be sitting at the bottom of a trunk somewhere, or, my first roommate has it. I don’t know. But, there was something so important about us sharing it, that this person, this artist who I’ve met only briefly a few times in my life, clearly created something so significant to us at the time, that it was shared. 
At one point towards the end of the evening, he said, “You know, none of us have changed. We look exactly the same.” 
It is funny that he said that because although I thought he looked exactly the same as he did ten years ago, I’ve been looking in the mirror lately and not quite recognizing myself.  Then again, I am not convinced he remembered who I was. I’m okay with that. 
The thing is, we’ve all changed. We all had to sort of “grow up,” get jobs, find a “career,” make money to pay off our student loans. Some of us, like my friend who threw the party and my ex-roommate (the second one) have been pretty consistent about obtaining their goals. It may have not exactly gone in the way that they expected, but it is happening. Others, like this guy whose painting my friend and I found so significant, tell me that they don’t really paint at all anymore, but have found a vocation they are happy with.
It is way of our life’s path and it is fascinating. Particularly when it converges on my friend’s porch on a rainy Saturday night in May. 
The past couple of months for me have been particularly intense. Balancing the demands of a full time job and graduate school has certainly shown me what I am made of. I’ve had to make some social and financial sacrifices that I don’t regret, but, it does mean that I am not there for my friends as I had been before. It means that I’m wearing summer clothes from a few years ago which need mending (I keep thinking of LIW and how she probably just continued sewing clothes until they fell apart. I don’t mind this, keeps me humble.)
I think, though, it is paying off in other ways. My partner and I have never been closer. He’s been so supportive of my time and what I need. Making sure that I take breaks to eat and do T.V. marathons. (Right now we are watching Boardwalk Empire.)  
Oh and we got a kitten. His name is Merlin. Here he is with our dog, Duke, looking innocent on the couch.

 

I’ve been connecting a lot with authors and friends online and those serendipitous moments have felt like everything is just falling into place. Its led to blogging opportunities, Q&As with authors I respect and speaking engagements
I’m writing all of the time. Currently working on two WIP which I will continue to keep in the vault until I’m ready to discuss. I shall tell you that I’d given the first few chapters to a colleague and friend who loved a character so much that she made me fan art. (My first.) It is now pinned to my creative bulletin board. It makes me smile and surprised every time that I look at it. Someone was so inspired by something that I created that she made fan art? It still is hard for me to believe it. 
I’m reading all of the time too. According to my tally on GoodReads, I’ve read 61 books since January, 31 of those are picture books but most of them are YA.  Believe me, I cannot quite believe it either.
The weeks have just come and gone and I cannot believe that it will be June on Wednesday and in about a week I will send off my fifth and last packet to my advisor.  I can see the subtle changes in my work, but, I don’t pride myself on being better than I was a few months ago. I’m just more aware of my mistakes now.  
Physically, I felt run down. Currently in the second week of a cleanse and I’m starting to feel more clear headed and grounded in my body again so hopefully by the end of June, I will look in the mirror and maybe see the girl that I knew. And, like what I see. 
 
That girl, or woman really – for although I live in the world of teens in my head I am an adult – I suspect will look a bit different than when I saw her last. She will have stepped into herself in a different way, dug deep for the story she hopes to tell, so that maybe, one day, it will be worthy of sharing from one roommate to another. 
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About Melanie J. Fishbane

MAUD, my YA novel based on the teen life of author L.M. Montgomery will be published by Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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