From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, June 26, 2017

Is Everyone taking Anti-Depressants Without Me?

Okay. So the first and by far the most important thing that needs saying here is this: modern medicine is wonderful. Mental and emotional disorders are real, should be treated compassionately, and if anti-depressants or other pharmaceuticals can help you, then that is great. The ensuing thoughts are just me word vomiting my own experiences because this is my internetz space and I feel like it, okay? But we’re all going to remember that modern medicine is hooray and every single one of you people is wonderful and lovely, outside of whatever medicines or vitamins or fish oils or oozing laboratory concoctions you put into your body. Any questions about this, I’ll refer you to Dr. Bruce Banner. Who is lovely.

We good so far?


I’m pretty much the ultimate stubborn optimist, so I tend to move forward viewing things as pretty great. I have bad days like anyone, sometimes really bad, and sometimes for a long time, but I’ve always been able to figure things out and move forward. I’ve never taken anti-depressants or been to a therapist. I did once take anti-anxiety meds after I got surgery on my jaw, and at first I was stubborn and thought, pssh, why are they giving me anti-anxiety meds? But that only lasted until the middle of that first night home when my heart wouldn’t stop racing and I couldn’t stop crying and I had no idea why. Then I took the anti-anxiety meds, and felt much better.


Because optimism is what I’m built with, there’s a thing that happens to me every so often. I’m going along, living a pretty happy life, and then something will inform or remind me that someone I know and love has a brain space or personal life space that’s pretty darn crappy. That’s broken or sick. And this inevitably, although it shouldn’t, takes me by surprise and throws me for a small loop.

So, yes, because of the way I see things, I often find myself discovering that a situation I didn’t know much about was a lot worse than I thought. Or that someone I love who I thought was doing just fine actually isn’t, that they’re getting therapeutic and/or medical help for some really hard, crappy stuff. Basically, that things are much more terrible than I thought they were when I was looking at them.

Now, obviously, this little mental jolt is a million percent less of a deal than the actual hard stuff that other people are going through. Obviously. But it’s still a jolt. When it’s bad, I end up feeling like I can’t trust my own head. Like somehow I’m being deluded. That what I experience isn’t real.

I end up thinking, is everyone seeing the real world except me?

I end up wondering if maybe I’m not as complex, nuanced, or profound as other people.

Of course, I am a stubborn, defensive, and firm believer that one person’s reality is no more “Real” than another person’s. My White Utah Mormon Girl reality and a Black Inner-City Chicago Boy reality and a Chinese Rice Farmer Grandma reality are all Reality. They’re all part of the “Real World.” And I get back to that mindset eventually, usually pretty fast. But I guess what I’m saying here is that everyone has weird neurosis, and that’s what makes us so wonderful.

At moments like this I take my own form of medication, which is a self-prescription for a forty-seventh viewing of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Remember when Dev Patel’s character is watching all his dreams collapse around him and his hotels going out of business and his mom hates his girlfriend and he’s doing his best to keep things together but they’re basically imploding. He’s distraught, but then he finally says, “Things will be alright in the end. If they are not all right, then it is not the end.”

And that’s the thought I’ll leave you with.

Until the end.

Blog Spotlight: Blogging Can Lead To Many Career Paths, by Anne R. Allen
Submission Spotlight: Tomaz Salamun Prize (and a residency in Slovenia?!?!?)

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Most Life-Changing Book of the Last Year

Hey everyone! Been a while, for which I'm sorry. But life is in a routine again, the chaos is manageable, and the blog here is back in action!

So I think we have many reasons we want to be writers. One of them, at least for me, could be summed up as influence. I want to be able to influence lives the way other authors have influenced mine. And this can mean a lot of things, from a Judy Blume who makes a little girl feel better about herself, to an Upton Sinclair or Harriet Beecher Stowe who influences an entire nation. And I'm saying that with the understanding that both of those are equally important.

I want to talk today about an Upton Sinclair type book. I've had an interesting experience talking about this book, unlike any other. I tell people what it's about, or even just what it's called, and I see them shut down. They don't want to know.

And that is so surprising to me.

The book is called Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. I hope you'll let me explain a bit before passing over. It may seem like a Vegan Manifesto, but it's not. The whole first chapters of the book are about how important meat, particularly his grandmothers chicken and carrots, has been in his family. And then he goes on to talk about modern farming practices. Factory farming. He's not saying we shouldn't eat meat. He's simply asking us to consider where that meat is coming from.

And honestly, why don't we? Why are we so willing to not think about what we're putting in our mouths, and when the information is put in front of us, we do our utmost to push it aside and ignore it?

I won't go into the details, because I think the information he presents does best in the context of all the research and first hand experiences this writer went through. But I ask you to read this book.

That's really the point of this post. Writers can make a huge difference. Write to make a difference in the world, and read to make a difference in yourself.

And please read this book.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Anagramatically Speaking and YA Call for Submissions

Anagrammatically Speaking

What’s in a name?
Another name?
A mirror?
The law waiting to be wealth?
It worries me
That education can mean cautioned
Or worse, be auctioned. A simple idea count.

The Word may indeed have the power to warn.
But what do you make of abortion?
A bio torn?
I rob a ton?
Brain too?

Something strikes me as true
About using a thing to describe itself.
Parliament is, after all, a collection of partial men.
A politician becomes too easily a coil in a pit.
And the US of A is a hot fuse.

From the words In God We Trust we borrow tutored wings.
But when we say America, we also say I am race.

Sometimes the words tell us what we already know:
Internet chat rooms are where the morons interact.
A dangerous situation puts us near God.
Even a great organization might just be a training zoo.

It’s what names say that frightens me
With the accuracy:
Clint Eastwood was destined to personify old west action.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born a famous German waltz god.
And William Shakespeare’s name prophesied I’ll make a wise phrase.
Could President Abraham Lincoln have done anything
Other than end Americans’ ill-born path?

What does it say if all I can make of my name
is nasal healer?
And what if a poetry writer

Is just a petty worrier? 


Writing Prompt: What type of magic system could you create with anagrams? Any ideas?

Call for Submissions: Well known and well respected YA magazine, Cicada, has a new call for submissions on the theme of "Duality and Doppelgangers." Due on June 20.

Read More: Check out Writer Unboxed great post on how writers can best use video marketing and networking.

Weekly Awesome: Have you guys heard this poem? Because seriously take the few minutes out of your day and watch. It is stunning.

For more frequent updates, writing tips, and funnies, follow on FacebookTwitterGoogle+
YouTubePinterestTumblrGoodReads, and/or Instagram. (Snapchat: SarahWritesBook) Or if you enjoyed this post, sign up to get blog posts delivered to your inbox. 

Write on!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Piano Lessons and an Animal Themed Call for Submissions

So I decided to go a little romancy today. I gotta say, I had so much fun with this :)

His arms reached around me, fingers set softly on the keyboard. His breath warmed my ear and he smelled like mouthwash and dryer sheets. What piece was I learning again?

“Like this,” he said, fingers trickling up the keys like shivers on a spine. “Start the scale with your second finger.”

He stayed bent over me while I placed my hands on the keyboard. I placed my fingers where his had been, played what he played. Up and down these keys, these strings, these vertebrae.

“Very good,” he said.


Writing Prompt: This is more of a reading/writerlife type prompt--but here it is: when was the last time you gave a young boy a book with a female protagonist? We give "boy books" to girls all the time, and so its completely skewed. So my challenge is, next time you're giving a boy a book, give him one featuring a *gasp* girl.

Call for Submissions: Lackington's is a speculative fiction magazine paying $50 for stories on the theme "Animals."

Read More: 3 Writing Tips from Beyonce from The Write Practice because why the heck not?

Weekly Awesome: Ok, you guys have all seen The Lizzie Bennet diaries on YouTube, right? Because IF NOT:

For more frequent updates, writing tips, and funnies, follow on FacebookTwitterGoogle+
YouTubePinterestTumblrGoodReads, and/or Instagram. (Snapchat: SarahWritesBook) Or if you enjoyed this post, sign up to get blog posts delivered to your inbox. 

Write on!


Monday, May 9, 2016

In These Chambers and a Call for Speculative Short Fiction

In These Chambers

Here's the empty room in my heart.
I've been saving it, if needed, for you.
Please ignore the worm, he's just clearing
corners for you to crawl in to.
Did you bring a chair?
I'm sorry I'm so unprepared.
Usually its just me in here, listening
to gnawing sounds.
Sometimes I hum but when the notes make
the rounds off the chamber walls and echo
back to me, it just makes the place seem
But here's an open atrium, if you like.
You can't see the stars from here,
but maybe with the two of us in here
we can count blood cells whooshing by instead.
Maybe we look out of each other rather
than out of windows.
I am out of windows.
If we get trapped in here, I'm sorry, but please
come in anyway. It's not tidy,
but I've turned the heat up
and I think it will be warm soon. It's taken
a long time to fit it in, but if you
will just step this way, there's a place
to hang your hat.

Writing Prompt: I admit this poem was inspired by this Billy Joel song. What is the most inspiring song to you, and what would the first line of your spin off poem be?

Call for Submissions: Shimmer Magazine is accepting speculative short fiction until May 31st. Send in your best stuff!

Read More: Read this great post from Anne R. Allen about how new writers can sabotage their careers before they even get started.

Weekly Awesome: This is an amazing and possibly life-changing talk. More than worth your time.

For more frequent updates, writing tips, and funnies, follow on FacebookTwitterGoogle+
YouTubePinterestTumblrGoodReads, and/or Instagram. (Snapchat: SarahWritesBook) Or if you enjoyed this post, sign up to get blog posts delivered to your inbox. 

Write on!

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