Call me Joan

Two weeks ago I started a writing class. My first step in realizing my dream of actually completing and sharing one of the stories that have been rolling around in my head. I've had it on my List of Good Intentions for a while and decided that as they year wrapped up it was time to take action.

In a moment of bravery I registered. In another moment of boldness I showed up to class. Then I got really courageous and actually read my story idea out loud to the twelve people in my class. I was terrified and could hear the waver in my own voice as I did it, but I did it. 

I have a bit of social anxiety. Large groups, new people, putting myself out there, well it freaks me the &*%$ out! I get shaky, sweaty and then I begin to come up with any excuse to not participate. I am the master of excuses.Years ago I wouldn't even send a salad with a hair in back to the kitchen for fear of being noticed. I skipped one too many classes in college because I just couldn't deal with being the center of attention for even the two minutes required to read my homework out loud. People who know me might think it's nuts. I have no issue being the center of attention in a crowd of people I love and adore. Add strangers though and I become the perfect little wall flower.

So despite being the worlds biggest scaredy cat and nearly convincing myself that I didn't actually need to take the class, I went. I went and I read and it was exhilarating as well as frightening. In the end people liked my idea and asked positive, thought provoking questions. Phew. I survived. I was rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment. I guess you could even say I was proud of myself. Wimpy little Erin pulled off a brave moment. Call me Joan of Arc!

It certainly helps to be sitting in a class filled with other book lovers who also have a story to share. Let me tell you, if you like to read, and we can all learn to write these books and then somehow get them published, this group will give you some kick ass reading material. Amazing stories being tossed around our little circle of trust (that's what I call it now, I haven't shared that with any of them yet).

Next week we get to work on the structure and scenes of our stories. I'm really excited to start this. It feels like real progress on a long ago, sometimes forgotten dream.

Cheering Squad Reports for Duty

Sunday was the 40th Portland Marathon. Charity ran it because she's crazy like that. We go cheer her on because we're awesome like that. This year it was a bit drizzley and wet. Not ideal for spectators but it's exactly what I would have wanted to be running in.

We took up our normal spot at mile 18ish. Just after everyone comes over the St. Johns Bridge. At this point you can see people starting to hit their walls. I can't even imagine running that far and these poor souls have 8 more miles to go! But they preserver.

Every year we make signs for Charity but this year I decided to make one for everyone. After running my half this year I now know just how important a cheering section is and if I can be that for someone who might be struggling why not? So I made a giant hot pink sign that said "Go Complete Stranger Go!" It was a hit! Josh held it for most of the time we were out there and he was the ideal sign holder. When people would ask if it was for them he'd yell back, "I made it just for you!" It brought a lot of laughs and smiles to that section of the race. Josh was having so much fun we pretty much had to drag him away from the course so we could go meet Charity at the finish line.

Honestly we all had a good time. I think we'll do this on years Charity doesn't run too. Of course when she's running she will always get a special sign :)

You can see the side we made for the other runners as Charity comes up on us! Go C-Dogg!
Yes, it's three months early...but I'm planning Christmas anyway. Just the thought of Christmas put me in a better mood today so I decided that while nearly three months away, it is not too early to look at and plan some things that would make me and others happy.

A book worth reading - Gone With a Handsomer Man

Fall is now here, wind blowing colorful leaves around, rain is in the forecast, the temperatures have dropped. This means a few things to me. Time to get the apple cider out and time to stock up on fantabulous books for lazy Saturday afternoons. My absolute favorite way to spend a blustery fall day is on my my couch with a fluffy blanket, a fluffy dog, and a fun book. I tend to read things that are a little lighter in the Fall and Winter. Many stores call them "Beach Reads" and they are meant for vacations, but I need that little pick me up, fun times, story when the sunshine has left me. They are my vacation from the dreary outside.

A book I just read and thoroughly enjoyed was Gone With a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West. Set in the South and full of delicious cake baking this little mystery was a joy to read. I loved the main character Teeny and all the challenges she faced. Plus she loves to bake so I could relate to her instantly. Thinking her life if perfect Tenny starts off in a really good place, only to have it all fall apart rather quickly. Accused of murder Tenny has to stay afloat in a flood of bad circumstances. From her terrible fiance, to his crazy aunt and the handsome lawyer Teeny reconnects with, the characters stay interesting and the story gets more and more intriguing.  I found myself smiling on more than one occasion and I didn't want to put it down. That's the sign of a good book.  A cross between chick-lit, mystery and contemporary fiction I think it would appeal to a lot of people and it gets a thumbs up from me. Perfect book to snuggle in with on a rainy afternoon!