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It’s Been A While…

Right before I set out to write this update, I remembered that after today, 2017 is more than halfway over, which I find to be somewhat ridiculous. They always say every year passes you by quicker than the last, but this is starting to feel like I’m on a roller coaster. That’s not to say that this year hasn’t been wonderful so far, because it has been. It’s just been kind of all over the place.

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To sum it up dramatically: just within the past two months I got a new job, a new apartment, a new car, and a new boyfriend. And they’re all wonderful. I’m feeling #blessed. I’ve gotten to go to places like Death Valley, the Channel Islands, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. I’ve embarked on beautiful hikes around the epic wilderness of Washington and walked along the ocean in Oregon. I was able to visit with family and friends back in Pennsylvania at the beginning of April, and have had three different friends and my mother visit over the past few months. I’m planning a trip to New Mexico and Texas at the beginning of September where I’ll get to check out three new National Parks. Life is constantly busy, if you couldn’t tell.

This isn’t really supposed to be a personal journal though, so let’s get back to things writing related.

In mid-February I learned that my entire team at Becker & Mayer was getting laid off, which was a huge bummer, because I loved working there and I really liked all of my coworkers. I had only started in September, and was ecstatic to be back in publishing after trying to find my niche in Seattle for a while. We were given six weeks notice before our last day, which was super nice, but still sad nevertheless when that final day came. Even though my stint with B&M was short, I’m still so glad I landed there for a while, but getting back into trying to find a new job was not something I was excited about.

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In March, I decided to pour my energy into a new venture by creating an online (and soon-to-be print) magazine called Allegory Ridge. I’ve become super into independent magazines over the past two years, and I’ve been wanting to curate something myself. I’m constantly seeing people my age doing amazing things, whether it be traveling to beautiful destinations, hiking enormous mountains, creating gorgeous pieces of artwork, snapping stunning photos, or writing inspiring essays and fiction. Some of these people are my friends, and some of them are people I’ve connected with on Instagram that I’ve never met. I decided to launch Allegory Ridge as a space for all of this content to live together, where contributors could share their stories and expand upon the glimpses shared on social media. Our main focus is on travel writing, fiction, poetry, artwork, photography, and personal essays. This content is divided into three categories: Explore, Create, Grow. I’ve really been enjoying editing pieces, seeking out authors to contribute, and discovering awesome voices through our online submissions portal. It’s been very rewarding and I’m excited to see where it goes next. I’m in the midst of trying to plan out/launch our first print issue which I’m hoping will come out this fall. You can check out the website here: www.allegoryridge.com

My other website, Red City Review (which has now been running at full steam for four whole years now!) has also been taking up a lot of my time, as the 2017 content just ended and we are in the process of reviewing and considering hundreds of books. Red City Review has been a great project, and I’m really proud of the reviews we provide. It’s been great to have this website to talk about and show off on my resume when interviewing, and also has been helpful that it makes a little bit of money during the times I’ve been in between jobs and such. However, since launching Allegory Ridge, I’ve come to realize it’s not really feasible for me to manage both, especially since now I’ve started a full-time job again. Thus, I’ve made the decision that I am likely going to close the website at the end of the year. Stay tuned for an official announcement on that front…

I had my first poem published in the spring issue of Gyroscope Review. You can pick up a copy/read it here: www.gyroscopereview.com. My poem is entitled Allegory for a Whale. Clearly, I like the word Allegory. This winter/spring was the first time I had ever sent out my poetry for potential publication, so it was cool to get a piece published. I also got a lot of positive feedback from other journals who ended up passing on my work. One of my favorite magazines, Hello Mr., also shortlisted my essay Brevity vs. Infinity for publication, which I was ecstatic about because I adore them. In the end though, they ended up having to cut my piece due to space issues for the next volume. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by all their positive words and the fact that they liked my piece so much. I was told if I ever decide to submit something to them again, to reach out to their editorial team directly. This piece was really personal, so to be honest I was kind of okay with it not getting published. I will most likely send them something again in the future, I already have an idea, but it’s even more personal, so who knows.

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I’d love to keep writing poems and short stories and submitting them, but I find writing short stories so much more challenging for some reason. Plus, sending them to different journals is definitely time consuming. Not to mention, my next novel has been begging to come to life, as I initially wrote down the idea for it all the way back in the summer of 2015 when I was in New York City at the Summer Publishing Institute. Since it’s set in Point Roberts, WA during the month of February, I decided to go up to the quirky little town this February to check it out for the first time, do some research, and get inspired. It was a uniquely wonderful place, and I finally started bringing the words to paper, writing the book’s first paragraph while nestled in a cabin in the woods the night I stayed there.

Last month, I started and completed the first chapter, and during the second part of this month, I’ve gotten about halfway through the second chapter. I’m really excited about this story, as its something rather different than what I’ve done before. That’s not to say it doesn’t have elements similar to my other novels, because it definitely does, but it certainly has some new flavors in play. I have a feeling it may take longer to complete than my other novels since I have so much more on my plate, but I’m going to try and work on it as consistently as possible so I continue to make progress.

Last week I started a new job as a Copy Editor/Proofreader at Kaiser Permanente which has been really nice so far. It’s a bit of a big change to work in the health care industry, but seeing as my position is all writing/editing based, it still kind of feels like what I’m used to.

At the end of this year I might apply to some MFA programs, and was planning to submit my early chapters of Point Roberts as my writing sample. We will see though. I love my new apartment in Capitol Hill, and am still really happy in Seattle, and can’t really see myself leaving anytime soon. These MFA programs wouldn’t start until fall of 2018 though, so that still gives me a whole other year here.

I wish I was better at keeping up with posting updates here more frequently, but with so many things going on, it’s kind of easy to forget about it. Besides, I don’t know if anyone really even reads these, but I like to ramble on even as just a record for myself to look back on. But if you’re reading this now, thank you, and I hope to be back here writing another post much sooner than the last time.

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