Monday, November 11, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day Eleven

Today's word count: 3,469/1,667
Total word count: 21,602/50,000


After a slow Saturday of not being able to piece any of it together and a Sunday off, I'm finally in a place where this new idea is coming into fruition. Basically, where I started the first rewrite made things too slow (in my opinion) so I tried to start it in a place where it moves throughout and I can disperse some back story in, but it keep it moving forward.

Mainly, I feel like the idea is back-heavy but it can't make it there without the front. Just trying to meld the two and now, I'm weaving the new stuff into the parts of the story that I've already begun to rewrite. So far so good.

School tomorrow, so I make no promises. If nothing else, it'll give me an extra day to gnaw on it before I can come back to it on Wednesday.



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Alana

Saturday, November 9, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Nine: The Other (Family)


It Was Supposed To Be This Way

There are four of them
Loving father
Doting mother
Two perfect children
Two little girls
Or a girl and a boy
Depending on how the story goes
The children, five years apart
Moved south to a bigger home that held all four of them
They made new friends
They play sports
Perfect in every way
They were well-liked
They were popular
Everyone who knew them loved them
The older child is 25 now
The other almost 20
Back home visiting for the holidays and planning the next anniversary party for their parents
Who never broke apart
26 years in
Many bumps along the way
But they rarely fought, and he never strayed
It was supposed to be this way

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Alana

Books That Changed My Life: The Rape Of Nanking

I was twelve years old. It was right before the explosion of YA Fiction, so at my library, you either checked out books from the juvenile section or from the adult section. I had exhausted my juvenile list, so I crossed over into the adult nonfiction side.

It was there that I found and checked out The Rape Of Nanking by Iris Chang. It took me most of the summer between 7th and 8th grade to read it (including a long road trip to Midland/Odessa for a track meet), but I finished it shortly before school started back up.

There have been a few books that have changed my life, but very few that have changed my existence. This was one of those book.
Read the rest of the post here.

One Week In

Yesterday marked one week since NaNoWriMo and Writer's Digest's PAD Chapbook Challenge began. It's the first time in years that I've written something everyday and I must say, it feels great. The more important thing is that I've made it a daily goal to take some time out to write. With it being something that I want to do with my life, it's amazing how many excuses I can make to not do so regularly. However, I know that I'll never make a go of this if I don't actually do it...profound, I know, but I've spent so many years being talked out and talking myself out of what I want to do that it's second nature to do so at this point. For better or worse, the words criticizing one of my desired career paths are ingrained so deeply in my psyche that I feel guilty wanting to do this sometimes.

But that's a different story for a different day....

Anywho.

Week one of NaNoWriMo: I've reached 17,000+ words of a rewrite, but I woke up on Wednesday to an idea for The Other Side that would cause me to rewrite the beginning of the rewrite that I've been working on this month. I'm going to take this weekend and explore that to see how it goes. I'm looking at a not-so busy week coming up so I can spend more time writing. I fully expect to reach 25,000 words by the 15th (if not sooner) and am still hopeful that I can make it to 50,000 by the 30th.

Week one of the PAD Chapbook Challenge: I'm amazed actually. It's been years since I wrote poems and only then because they were assigned. Writing poetry was a high school thing for me, but once I graduated and went to college, I graduated from poetry and started writing stories. For a long time, I wasn't able to write both. It was either one or the other and I preferred stories because I could write about others. With poetry, it was so focused on my feelings and my emotions that I never verbally share and after awhile, I got tired of sharing. Secrets must remain secrets for a reason I suppose.

But I'm eight poems into the challenge (will be writing my ninth as soon as I finish this post) and I've loved every minute of it. I guess I'm in a place in my life now where both genres can coincide in my life. I hope this feeling last for awhile.

Back to writing I go...


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Alana

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Eight: Inanimate Object Poem


Cardboard 

 They hold me up at street corners
With pleas and blessings on them
Written in despair
So few actually ever read me
Or see them
So many passersby don't even realize they're there
But they hold me up at street corners anyways
Praying for someone to care


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Alana

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Seven: Hardship Poem

First and Last
The first time was an accident
Both of them were drunk

She yelled her words
He responded with his fists
Neither of them knew better than this
The apology came quickly
He spoke his words so quietly and sweetly

Telling her you complete me
For every hit, an apology
A flower for every lost drop of blood 

Chocolates for each bruise her makeup covered up 
A teddy bear for every lie about a fall 
An excuse for it all 

The last time wasn't an accident
Both of them were drunk

He drew his fist 
So she drew her gun 

He won't be hurting her anymore


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Alana


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Six: Perspective Poem

On The Train To Nowhere...
On the train to nowhere, the woman knits a blanket.
It's not a habit she's mastered quite yet,
but she's getting better.
She learned it while inside
Made the time there less monotonous
And now she sits on the train to nowhere
Knitting a blanket for a baby she has never met
Her family has given her one last chance
To do things right this time
This is it she was told
As they all gathered
Trying to find her some help
She couldn't bear to lose her world
So she went to save herself
She did her time
And worked her steps
Earned her chips
And earned her stripes
The day finally came
When they let her out
So she could begin to live her new life
The temptation never goes away
It probably never will
But she doesn't want to go back to her former life
She doesn't want to fail
Knit one purl two
And three and four
She whispers to herself
As she sits on the train to nowhere
Knitting a blanket for the baby girl that she will never forget
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Alana

NaNoWriMo Day Six

Today's word count: 3,704/1,667
Total word count: 17,708/50,000

After taking a day off yesterday for class and homework, I'm back on the NaNoWriMo grind. I'm up to 17,708 on this rewrite...if only I didn't just think of a new way to start the story that would mean rewriting the rewrite that I'm already rewriting (if that makes any sense)

I'll keep things on their regularly scheduled programming until I can have another marathon work day. Until then, I'll try to outline the direction this idea is taking me on before making a commitment one way or the other.

I've got school and such all day tomorrow, so we'll see if I can get anything going tomorrow. If not, that's cool too. Just means more time to try and flesh out what could become the new beginning.


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Alana

NaNoWriMo Day Five

Today's Word Count: 0

You read that correctly, but I figured this would happen on the days I have classes (Tuesday and Thursday) because those are also the days I do homework and just about everything else I need to do errand-wise and the like.

So no progress on The Other Side today, but I'm still above the average and looking at an off day tomorrow because I got everything that was pressing done today.

Looking forward to the weekend so I can truly get back into the groove of things, but I'll take a day here or there during the week where I can write so long as I don't start falling behind on other aspects of my life.

Back at it tomorrow....which is actually today since it's nearing 2 in the AM. You know what I mean.


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Alana

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Five: Concealed Poem

I'm Fine, Thank You For Asking
Hi, how are you? Good? That's good.
Me, you ask? How am I doing?
Well I feel like the world is closing in on me
I feel like expelling my last ounce of energy
Screaming from the top of the lungs
That I'm not okay.
I'M NOT OKAY! 
I have never been.
I'm angry, furious, with the world around me.
I can't stand to look into the eyes of the ones who betrayed me.
I'm tired of smiling, so tired of hiding.
Tired, so tired of denying.
But I'll laugh my laugh
I'll tell another joke
And make believe that I'm alright.
How am I, you question?
I'm fine, thank you for asking.

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Alana

I Voted Today (And I Hope You Did Too)

So I voted today. This election isn't a big deal. No one's vying for the presidency. Congressional seats aren't up for a vote. In fact, there wasn't a single person on my ballot this time around. For my precinct at least, it was merely nine propositions.

I knew this would be the case (I took a peak at a sample ballot before going in) and I went anyways. I voted anyways.

Read the rest here.


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Alana

Monday, November 4, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Four: (Blank) Sheet

SAD Sheet
Tis the season
The weather's getting colder
The sun's out for shorter
And nights are getting longer
My mood changes with the weather
The colder outside, the lower my demeanor
I bundle myself up tightly to get through the worst of things
My mind's enveloped in a SAD Sheet 
Hiding from the cold world around me
Wrapped in the warmth of a SAD Sheet
Protected from the gray world around me
As I await for winter to turn into spring


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Alana

NaNoWriMo Day Four

Today's Word Count: 6,045/1,667
Total Word Count: 14,004/50,000

Day four of NaNoWriMo and I put in about three days of work today. I was off today but I have class and stuff to do until Friday. From NaNoWriMos past, I know once I fall behind, it's curtains on trying to reach my goals and I didn't want that to happen this time around. So I went beastmode today because even if I don't make it to the 50,000 word count goal, I will make it through this month.

I haven't decided if I'll take some time to flesh it all out and get it all connected to what I did the first three days (as I'm rewriting a previously-written monstrosity) or if I'll just write less until Friday until I can really give my undivided attention to it again.

I guess it'll just depend on how I'm feeling and if I have the energy for it.


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Alana

Sunday, November 3, 2013

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Three: The Last Time I Was Here

The Last Time I Was Here
The last time I was here
I barely survived
The last time the darkness came for me
It almost devoured me
Swallowed me whole
Left nothing behind
I flirt with returning there
Every now and again
As a good day morphs into bad
As happiness fades into despair 
But I know that I can't let it win
Because if I let the darkness back in
There won't be anything left of me to salvage


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Alana 

NaNoWriMo Day Three

Today's Word Count: 1,766/1,667
Total Word Count: 7,959/50,000

I didn't get as much done today because I've made to the end of Chapter 1! Instead, I finished the rest of the chapter before reading through it and making sure it all flowed and stayed true to my outline.

It does for the most part, but right now, I'm trying to remain focused on the task ahead and writing instead of letting the rest bog me down and keeping me at a standstill. So far, so good on that front. I just hope that I'm able to continue the pace I've been on this weekend now that a new week is starting up.

Goal for tomorrow: finish smoothing out Chapter 1 and begin writing Chapter 2.
Goal for this time next week: be done writing and smoothing out Part I


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Alana

This Week In Photos: 10/27-11/2

10/27/13

10/28/13

10/29/13

10/30/13

10/31/13: Happy Halloween!

11/1/13: Day One of NaNoWriMo

11/2/13: finally got around to cleaning the bedrooms...now onto the rest of the apartment!

PAD Chapbook Challenge Day Two: News Of The Day

News Of The Day
Someone is hurting
And someone is in pain
But that is news to no one
For that happens everyday
Someone mourns the loss of a loved one
Lost in a senseless way
But that is news to no one
For that happens everyday
Someone is left reeling
From another senseless tragedy that happened today
But that is news to one
For that happens everyday



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Alana 

NaNoWriMo Day Two

Trudging along with the rewrite. Instead of overwhelming myself by trying to deal with a huge chunk of the original story, I'm going scene by scene, adding it to rewrite document and fixing some of the more obvious issues as I go.

Won't do a full edit until I've got it all down, but I think going little by little and tweaking what stands out may help in this step as well.

This is a departure for what I regularly do because I try to edit as I go, but I've noticed that while that works with short stories, it doesn't work with these monstrosities and I think that's why I always hit a wall with them.

Anywho,
Today's (albeit inflated) word count: 2,688/1,667
Total word count: 6,193/50,000


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Alana

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Here I Go Again

It's been a while.

Longer than a while.

And then it still wouldn't explain why I've been gone for so long. Suffice it say, life got in the way and then trying to figure out where to go and what to do next took a wee bit longer to figure out than I anticipated.

But I'm back. No more My Time For Ashes as I no longer feel like I need to rise from the actions, but am rising if that makes any sense. So that's why Alana Muses now.

So the game plan is to blog on here and keep my other blog's content to writing-related activities.

Still doing school (almost done with my A.A. in Print Journalism!) and I finished applying to my first round of grad schools (Eastern Washington, Memphis and Texas State). For those of you who don't remember (and why would you) I had time after my teaching certification program (which I finished last December!) and before I had the chance to apply to grad school so I went back to school to finish my associate's in Journalism that I started way back in 2006 but never finished because once again, life got in the way.

Surprisingly, the most fun I've had in the past several months is getting the chance to have a radio show, but other than that, nothing's really new except for my participating in the National Novel Writing Month as well as Writer's Digest's 2013 November PAD (Poem A Day) Chapbook Challenge

That's about it.

Until next time,
Alana

Friday, November 1, 2013

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Did I mention that I'm also trying Writer's Digest's 2013 November PAD (Poem a Day) Chapbook Challenge (link to the guidelines here)

Because I'm doing that as well ("all things in moderation" is a phrase I have no experience with).

Day one's prompt was to write an appearing poem. The tailend of my experience with Dysphonia inspired mine. Here it is:


Appear
It was months of therapy
Months of stretches
Months of exercises
Of retraining
All to make a voice reappear that had remained silent for far too long
All to make me normal again
No luck on the aaaaaas
Or the oooooos

Still whispered
Still no voice
Day after day
Week after week
Month after month
Perhaps it wasn't meant to be
Month four
Still nothing
Maybe there would never be again

First the aaaaaas
Nothing
Then the oooooos
Nothing
The eeeeees come next
Something
Finally something
Then a tear escapes my eye
Not of joy or sadness
The first true sound in 19 months exits my mouth
A blessing in spite of the excruciating pain 

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Alana


NaNoWriMo Day One

So I'm participating in the National Novel Writing Month again (my participant's page is here). I made it about halfway through last year before I had something major due in every class the third week of November.

This year, everything has appeared to align perfectly, so I'm taking the plunge and I hope to make the whole month.

At the end of day one, I'm 3,505 words into The Other Side, which is a rewrite of a monstrosity that I started writing over five years ago. I'm not sure if rewriting a full-length story counts as a NaNoWriMo-related story, but that's what my mind has been trending on for the last several months, so I decided to give it a go.

The story, in a nutshell, is about two high school juniors from two totally different worlds who have to go through the trials and drama of life. Throughout it all, they both come to terms that life isn't always better and the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

If nothing else, getting so much done today might help later on when I'm not able to write as much for one reason or another, but my aim is to reach that 50,000 word goal.

NaNoWriMo: Take 3!

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Alana

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reset

So it's been awhile...

Longer than awhile. Life happened and something had to give. For me, it was this, but I've spent the last few months reading other people's blogs and advice trying to learn how be a better writer hoping that when I got things going again, I'd be able to sustain this time.

Now's as good a time as any to reset with the start of NaNoWriMo (my 3rd attempt at that), I figured it would be as good a time as any to restart this blogging thing too.

So that's what I'm trying to do.

Just about everything else (school and life) are the same, but I did finish my grad school apps to Eastern Washington, Memphis and Texas State. Will let you know what's come of them when I find out.

So here I go again!

 
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                                   Alana                                                 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Rundown

Pardon the prolonged time away. Two jobs and class mean not a lot of time of doing much else.

Got some articles published both in the June issue of the News-Register and online on the website:
5 One-Act Plays Delight Summer Audiences
Crime Log: June
Seeing Red

Also spent the summer getting into doing a weekly radio show for KDUX (click here to hear past shows)

So that's my summer so far in a nutshell.

Now, pardon my progress as I take some time make some changes here on the blog.

Back to (semi)regularly scheduled programming of writing, creating and sharing...I hope...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Weekly Rundown

A pretty light week this week with summer school starting as my two-job summer continues.

Still, I wrote a new movie review for the News-Register. This time, it was for Before Midnight.

And some news hobby-wise, I started hosting a new radio show last week and will be doing that weekly for the foreseeable future. Really happy about this opportunity. I love music and also love trying new things and this chance is a way to fulfill both. You can catch last week's show by clicking here and tune in to KDUX every Friday from 1-3 CST!

All for now. For the moment, it's basically school and work for next little bit, but I hope to carve out some time for writing as I get more into the swing of things.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekly(ish) Rundown

Spring semester is done! Learned a lot, but I'm ready for something new. I'll be taking Technical Communications during Summer I and Film and Video Editing during Summer II, but I'll be taking it pretty easy this summer school-wise so I can focus on working and (hopefully) writing.

Speaking of catching up, I updated a little bit. Moved some things around, so hopefully things flow a little better than before.

Without further ado, here are the last assignments from my spring classes:

Some of our last in-class assignments had to do with writing editorials and opinion pieces. My editorial focused on the local elections that were happening the first Saturday in May: Politics Is Local

My opinion piece was near and dear to my heart since it focused on sports. I wrote about some comments that Bob Stoops made in a piece that I called Another Hungry Sunday

For my final exam, I had two writing assignments: a blog post about area events commemorating Memorial Day and an advice column compiled of questions found online and my responses.

That's all for now. Pretty light couple of weeks before the next paper comes out. Some new endeavors coming up soon as well, but that's a different post for a different time...that hopefully will not take me three weeks to write...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekly Rundown

Spring semester is almost over for me. With my Advertising final due on Monday, a final on Tuesday and two final essays due on Thursday, I'm counting down the moments before my breaks begin.

Time to get back into my writing habit, so here's me catching up on the Rundowns.

As someone who has taken summer classes almost every summer since 9th grade, I guess it wasn't too big a leap for my latest DCCCD.edu post to be about students who can benefit from taking summer classes: Who Can Benefit From Summer School

Newspaper-wise, my article about women on the frontlines made it into the paper and two movie reviews (Mud and Much Ado About Nothing) were published online.

With class winding down, I only had a couple of in-class assignments that haven't been returned yet and two more installments of Veg Out at Home (II and III)

Got all caught up with the blog for the radio show. Now, you can listen to each show that we've done that I was able to edit and upload. Hopefully, I'll have some good news about the radio thing come this time next week.

All for now.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Rundown

Another long but fulfilling week. Another doing just about anything but writing week, but I did start a new story today. It's from an idea that started while sleeping last night (or this morning, I never opened my eyes to ascertain this fact) and it just grew from a "what would happen if" scenario to an entire story, ending and all. Now I just need to carve out the time to write it all out.

More photos! Naples Part I, A Walk in Naples: Part I, A Walk in Naples: Part II, and Sunset in Naples are all posted. Now it's time to organize my New Orleans trip, but I think I'll upload (or download...still don't know which one) my pictures from the Stars game and my trip to Fort Worth in the meantime.

Also, made the slideshow with pictures from my trip to Austin as well.

On the writing front, my newest blog post for DCCCD.edu went live. And my latest in-class assignment previewing the Final Four was graded and returned to me as well.

Oh. And I figured out a way to upload (or download) past radio shows. Learned Adobe Audition in the process, which I have a feeling will become quite handy in the future.

I think I got everything for this week. While I'm not excited that the semester is coming to an end, I will be happy for the free time that the break before summer school will allow. Mayhaps I can even squeak out one of these stories I've been sitting on for a while. I hope so anyways.

Until next time.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekly Rundown

Okay...biweekly in this case...or is it tri-weekly?

Anywho: a nice spring break in New Orleans and Houston plus I got to spend the last three days at TIPA, where I learned a lot about the journalism profession.

With the last of the traveling for awhile, I hope to get back on a writing schedule soon, but here's what I've done since I last checked in. Enjoy!

  • My in-class writing assignments can be found here. My beat assignment, which is restaurant reviews, can be found there as well.

  • I added a tab for what I've been doing with layout and design at the paper and on my own.


Until next time...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Austin Trip, Part I

March was a busy month for me. On top of school, work and everything I have going on around here, I went out of town for 3 out of the 5 weekends of March and took about a thousand pictures documenting these journeys. Long story short: April might be a busy month getting through everything! Instead of uploading everything onto every place, I'm just going to upload the pictures once and add the links.

For the first of the uploads, click here

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Balance

I've just about figured out a schedule that will let me take care of my school, work, home and writing obligations so I start posting on here regularly again. Will work out the kinks during my spring break and hopefully get used to it once school starts back up.

New DCCCD blog post here. I'll transfer my in-class assignments into Google Docs and get them on here as soon as I can.

Also, a new opportunity fell into my lap and I'm now the co-host of a radio show at school! Very excited about that. There's a tab for that or you can check out the show's blog here.

Be back soon, but for now, back to midterm assignments!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New articles

Click here for this month's newspaper articles and Comm 2309 in-class writing assignment.

As always, thanks for reading! I promise I'll get back to regularly scheduled programming soon.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Prompted: Three Wishes

Three Wishes

July 6, 2011

You bump into a genie and she offers to grant you three wishes. What are your wishes and why?

"Are you sure this is what you want," the genie asks me once more. I've had this dream since I was a little girl. If a genie were to ever come, what three wishes I would ask for. The wishes have changed over time, but the dream hasn't.

"Absolutely. This is what I want." A slower existence, more time to myself and to break away from what's considered normal to become my own person.

"Then close your eyes and count to three." I close my eyes.

"1, 2, 3." I open my eyes and find myself in an unfamiliar place. I look down at my clothes, but they're not my clothes. I look down at my hands, but they're not my hands. "What's happening? Where am I?" The genie only shakes her head.

"I get this all the time. I asked you if you were sure first did I not?"

"You did, but--"

"And you said you were."

"I was, but--"

"You asked for this, you got it. Enjoy."

"Whoa. Wait. Enjoy what?"

"Did you ever wonder how I make these wishes come true?" I shake my head. "Of course you didn't. Nobody does." She sits me down on a bed that I've never seen before, sitting down beside me. "The only way to make any of this work is to make a switch."

"A switch?"

"I take the wishes of one, compare it to another's whose wishes are the opposite, then I switch em. You asked for a slower life, more time to yourself and to break away on your own. The other girl asked to live somewhere fast paced, to always be around other people and to be normal. See? Everyone wins."

"What do you mean everyone wins? I didn't ask to be switched. Switch me back."

"Uh uh uh. You only get three wishes."

"So what do I do now?" The genie stands up and begins to leave.

Before she closes the door to a room I've never before been in, she calls out, "See if the grass is really greener on the other side...."

Check out this and other Writing Digest prompts here. 


Gap Year Update

Things have been going well lately as far as my gap year is concerned. So much so that I'm extending it....

Long story short, I'm postponing grad school one more semester. I didn't actually come to the decision until right before I was going to send in my apps (like the day before, had the money and everything), but something didn't feel right. Started stressing out before the thought that I can wait came to mind.

Then, I felt at peace.

So I'm going with that. New anticipated date of beginning is Spring 2014. My top four schools are still Eastern Washington and Memphis, then I've added Northwestern and Texas State.

The main reason why I decided to wait is money. I still owe a lot on loans and my car. Waiting until January gives me a lot more time to pay those debts down and put some aside in savings because once I'm gone, I'm not boomeranging back to my mom's. I have to make it this time and I'll need some more time to get everything together.

Not giving up, just giving myself a breather and not stressing that a short-term setback will eventually allow long-term success.

All for now.

Until next time...