the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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the end of an era

It’s official. I’m going to semi-retire this blog. Not because I no longer desire to share the joys and woes of this 20-something life, but because my passion lies in a much more specific field, and it’s not fair to neglect this blog with the intentions of not doing so.

Whenever I prepare for an interview—whether for a paying job or an internship—I re-realize why I’m doing it and why I’m pursuing book publishing. I have SO much excitement about the literary scene and community here in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota (the “Twin Cities” for those of whom do not live or have ever been here), and books and writers themselves bring me the greatest joy. I’ve had the privilege of meeting awesome people in publishing and the joy of becoming acquaintances with writers and MAGERSliterary figures who either call the Twin Cities their home or are visiting.

So why am I telling you this? I’m not going to dissolve all my interests into only book-related things (secret time: I have lots of hobbies. I play a few video games, I knit, and I LOVE horror movies, to name a few), but I am going to start something that I’ve been meaning to return to for a while, which is creative writing (in a new way), and I really want to share my excitement about the people and experiences that I’m getting here.

AWP-signA year ago, my mentor challenged me to go to one literary event/reading a week after hearing me express how many I was finding out about and how I felt it almost too much. Suddenly, I found myself last minute at the Saturday sessions of AWP—by myself—and loving being there. And then there were more readings, and events, and then a job where that is what I do, and an internship and gwsuddenly I know people. Not only is my husband graduated and excited about art, but I have this very young community around me that I want to reach out to in new ways.

Thus, my new blog will be about that. About the amazing literary events happening right rain taxi 2013.jpghere in my hometown (and oh, yes, across the river in St. Paul too ;)). About authors, debuts, poetry slams, book festivals, collaborative readers, books in art—you name it! And hopefully also a place for discussion to start.

So farewell, the Process of Becoming. I do believe I achieved what I set out to do—become a 20-something who, despite the mishaps of post-college adulting, is proud to have discovered who she is, who she’s become.

Thank you for reading!

Best wishes,

Sarah

P.S. I will tell you when the new blog is live!

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hello again, friend

It’s been a while.

Things have changed, rather drastically, and dare I say that I feel like a different person? I think so. It’s December, and 2015 is coming to a swift end, which, obviously, calls for reflection!

Couple things!

I’m looking into re-launching this blog/website, but I’m ready for it to be a little more focused, and little less personal, and a little less commercial (in those few and far between posts that seemed so much like random articles we read online). But I’m not sure what that means! I do know that it means I want to add a page for my freelance writing services and possibly merge my portfolio onto here, while also keeping the other site as well.

I also know that I want the book reviews to come back and the reflections on literary events series to be in full swing. I mean, I get to experience SO many every month now!

Which brings me to my career update (and the bringer of joyous news!): 

  • I took a hiatus from blogging when I was hired by an independent bookstore (and the best, IMHO) as the Events Assistant. I have been privileged to work alongside authors such as Nick Offerman and Marlon James, to name a few. I also assist with social media and general retail in the store. (YES, I get to touch books all day, new and old!)
  • I started freelancing more and am currently a company newsletter producer and designer (and writer and journalist all in one!).
  • I became a barista at an independent coffee shop and trained in Dogwood Coffee classes.
  • But the best part is that I was hired as a Marketing & Publicity Intern at the prestigious Graywolf Press in Minneapolis!

I could have written a big giant post about all my excitement, but I realized that with these 4 unexpected new opportunities, I would need to concentrate on giving my 100% to all of the above. And being at Graywolf really showed me that all my 8 months of planning, researching, networking, and prepping to break my way into the publishing industry had paid off and helped me step into the glorious book publishing world.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Now as the internship draws to a close, I turn to the new year with more hope than I have ever had for my future career — no matter the timing, I know I can succeed (without moving to New York!).

So I will be brainstorming and deciding what this blog is really going to be. It was a journey to get to where I’m at now, but it’s also an opportunity to grow and share even more of what this creative world holds.

Cheers to change, hope, and reinventing creativity.

 

 

 

 


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what I’m currently reading

Lately, I haven’t been reading as fast as I was only two weeks ago. This is because 1) I went to visited family, which included lots and lots of social time and not very much reading time, 2) I worked way too much when I got back, and 3) I had an emergency root canal done on Wednesday, and the pain has been debilitating ever since. To the point where reading is annoying (and you know it’s bad when I’m like that).

Despite all the hold-ups, I still have had way too many books waiting for me at the library.

Here’s the typical me: I put books on hold at the library before I forget I want to read them, knowing there are long waiting lists for most of them. When I go to pick them up, there’s usually three or more waiting for me. But on my way out the door, I glance at the new releases the librarians have tempted me with on the end caps and usually pick up one or two of those (my library is special in that is it the only one in our system you cannot request their books on hold and have to physically grab them. Thus lots of new and popular books).

Anyway, here’s my long list of what I am currently reading:

me-talk-pretty-one-day1.  Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Excellent book of essays. Slow going because it’s located at my work and I can only read it to my clients occasionally. But I have enjoyed it immensely thus far.

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashnerthe maze runner

Of course I am reading this because I saw the movie. Basically, I want answers. And a friend graciously borrowed it to me but unfortunately then the slew of books came in. Another one of my YA-read craze.

unbroken3. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

So so good. On hold because, again, library books a’calling, but oh so good. My mom borrowed this to me maybe… right before the movie came out. I went and saw it about a month ago, even though I hadn’t finished the book, and the movie did not disappoint. But of course the book has way more depth and I am excited to finish it.

4. Things That Are by Amy Leachthings that are

Since I own this delightful Milkweed Editions book of essays, it is also on hold. But beautimous. (Yes that is a word). I hope to get back to it soon.

you-must-remember-this-web5. You Must Remember This: Poems by Michael Bazzett

Another wonderful Milkweed book, this time borrowed from a friend. So good. It has reminded me that I want to read poetry more often (:

6. On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Bisson immunity

This is a popular Graywolf Press book that just came out that I am super curious about. So far, it’s truly remarkable and fascinating. Definitely not as light as all my YA, but very insightful and interesting. Unfortunately I had to return this to the library yesterday, but I am about halfway through and can’t wait to get it again.

neverwhere7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Decided to go with some adult fiction instead of YA! So far it’s super mysterious, so I’m having a hard time keeping up. But I do like it enough to keep reading.

8. Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies_new-cover

Another YA dystopian, but one that’s been around for around 10 years. I’ve been meaning to read this for about that long, but forgot about it with all the new releases that are catching my eye constantly. I’m halfway finished and so far I like it but not as much as others in the genre.

So that’s it for now! I’ll probably start another library book tomorrow though 😉

What are you currently reading? 


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the jumble of my brain, growing up, and other messes

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Do you ever have something you really really want to say, talk about, or bring up, but you don’t know how to do it?

This is me when it comes to my Christian, fundamental, homeschooled upbringing.

Yes, that is a Lion King quote. But if you’re around my age, maybe you remember and relate to that move as much as I. It was my favorite, and I thought of this quote when writing this post.

I don’t know what to say about my past because I don’t want to bash – I didn’t hate it, and I mean no disrespect to anyone who endorses all that. I love my parents and am thankful for their excellent parenting in many areas (pretty sure I turned out all right!).

But I’m realizing now how much I disagree with many of the books I read, concepts I was taught in churches, and leaders who spoke to me throughout my entire life – including my private, Christian university. I’m having trouble sorting it all out, what’s “good” what’s “bad” (if those categories are even okay!), and whenever I’m asked about it, I want to explode. So many thoughts in this brain.

I’m only a year removed from all of that – a year since graduation. I’m not removed from my faith, I just attend a different church than I did even while at college, and I am surrounded by friends who don’t constantly bring our childhoods up. But when one of us does, and we have childhood stuff in common, it’s like I’m a top that can’t stop spinning. Or we exchange similar memories one on top of the other like caffeinated pre-teens.

I guess I’m writing this post because I literally do not know where to start. I want to share what I am learning and the opinions I am forming about stuff I’ve known about my whole life but that looks so different to me now. I want to talk to 20-somethings who grew up similarly to me, about things we were all taught, about youth groups, Christians who hurt us, Bible verses and concepts that hurt us, books that confused us, maybe even people who judged us. But to talk about it all in order to sort out the good that existed, that came, and that continues.

I’m tired of being angry or hurt.

And I don’t just want to talk about faith and the Christian church. However, that is the lens through which I used to look at every single thing on the planet. So to think about my childhood and teenage years while excluding Christianity is like trying to look through purple sunglasses without seeing any purple. It just can’t be done.

So bear with me, if you are interested, in the jumble of my post-college and growing/changing-of-my-faith brain.

And as I invite you to participate in the ramblings, please don’t hesitate to share your experiences too! I think it’s time our generation spoke up about homeschooling, fundamentalism, the Purity Movement, or whatever burden you are carrying around unspoken about. And then turned it into a conversation about how we can do even better for the next generation.


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“the process of becoming”

be who you are

(image via Pinterest)

You may be wondering what my blog’s name means. When I first starting thinking about starting up this blog again, I had to decide why I wanted to do it, who it was going to be for, and what the purpose of it will be.

I already knew I that I enjoy reading articles on websites like RelevantThought Catalog, and Gen Twenty, a few online communities that write for my generation. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into why these articles circulate so much. We find them funny, encouraging, and identifiable because we relate to them so well.

It was then that I knew I had to write to twenty-somethings like me. Graduating high school and embarking into the big unknown is a scary thing, whether one goes to college, finds a job right away, or spends forever trying to decide what they want to do. We’re faced with singleness, relationships, friendships, opportunities, rejections, networking, and plain figuring out what it means to be a “grown up.”

Frankly, that’s a LOT to relate to, a lot to experience, and a lot to write about. When I was super ambitious my first year of college and told my professors I wanted to graduate in two years, one told me I needed to get outside campus and experience more life before I would really know what I wanted to do. Before I knew what I wanted to write about. I needed to travel, to experience loss, to realize what the world has and doesn’t have to offer. (He was right! I want to write memoir and autobiographical creative writing, which can’t really happen at 22, haha).

I may be in my early twenties, but I feel like I’ve experienced so much already while still realizing I have a long way to go. I am still becoming an adult. No, actually I am just growing older. And hopefully wiser. “Becoming” is also is an adjective meaning “attractive appearance,” or “suitable” (Dictionary.com). “Become,” for me, means “to grow.”

I hope that this process of growing and becoming more of who I am can be beautiful and also humorous in its own way, and that it is also encouraging to everyone else going through this journey.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e.cummings


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10 scenarios over-anxious people understand

1. That moment when you have to make a phone call and your pulse was doing fine but now you’re at 160 and breaking a sweat. For no real reason.

2. You are almost constantly thinking you should have said something different during social interactions (and/or texts and emails) and replay the conversations in your mind (especially if it’s your crush, an interviewer, or someone you super duper respect and you’re always like “ahhhh”).

3. Naturally, you always sample cookie dough or brownie batter before you bake it. But then you always question your stomach health for that evening. And probably your life decisions. But you still don’t regret it.

4. You actually question every major (or minor) life decision that you make ten too many times. And then wonder if you’ve made the right choice for a long time afterwards.

5. The moment you turn out the lights to go to sleep, your mind decides to turn ON – full blast – and relive both today and imagine all of tomorrow. And maybe also a year from now.

6. Most of when you cook, you ask yourself a million questions: “Am I doing this right? Did I hear my mom correctly? Or maybe I should have done it this way…” And then find yourself calling or texting your mom or cook of choice anyways to ask for help.

7. Watching movies with your friends is torture for them. Especially mysteries and especially if you are an external processor because you say so much out loud, worrying about and questioning everything. You apologize over and over and hope they’ll forgive you each time.

8. You try not to over-question every comment someone makes around you, but still always secretly wonder if it’s about you and what they think of you and how you interact.

9. Dressing for the day is THE WORST. Even outfits you love become horrible depending on where you’re going, who you’re going to see, and what the weather’s like. And that’s why your room is always a mess after you finally leave.

10. You have to daily remind yourself that whether you’re nervous about something or not, life goes on and you’ll eventually get over it… hopefully. Like Anne of Green Gables (my favorite fictional character) said, “The sun will go on rising and setting whether I fail in geometry or not.”

Preach it, Anne.

overthinking funny

(image via Pinterest)


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10 simple items for an emotional-health “kit”

Given all the emotions us twenty-somethings and college students experience in our day-to-day lives, my mind has been searching for an emotional first-aid kit, if you will. A list where, when I’m apathetic or truly raw, I can pick off a number and do that item in the hopes that, for a few moments, I can either forget my many emotions or better process them. Quick fixes to curing depression don’t really exist. Instead, I want to offer and be offered small, general steps for when you recognize you need a little TLC. These are good reminders for anyone in that moment of emotional need. emotional first aid kit 1. Stopping to breathe! Tell yourself that times will not always be like this, and whatever emotion you’re experiencing will eventually settle down.

2. A hot drink. Even if that’s not your favorite, even holding some hot water in a mug can be very calming.

3. Taking a walk. Outside, if you can. If you live in the Polar Vortex (like me), then find some hallways, stairs, or pace around. Getting moving can be an emotional break and help relax you.

4. Reading that letter to your future self. I stumbled across one today in a journal from a year ago that basically told me to calm down and remember that nothing is as big as it seems in the moment. Write one to yourself now and store it in a safe place.

5. Stretching.  Sometimes I think my day would benefit greatly by giving my muscles a moment to relax or be used in gentler ways. It leaves your body feeling refreshed.

6. Relaxing media. Whether that be a playlist of your favorite, emotionally-freeing songs, funny YouTube videos (cats or laughing babies are my favorite), or an inspiring Podcast. For example, sometimes I need hip hop dancing and sometimes I need a Spotify “mood” playlist.

7. A Disney movie. Or, if those aren’t your thing, just a favorite film that always incites good memories. And maybe a warm blanket and a friend to watch it with.

8. Blank sheets of paper. To journal, or rant on, or color, draw, paint – you name it! Getting something written down or out of your system can be very therapeutic.

9. Someone to talk to. A phone call, text, or Facebook message away. Admitting you need help or sharing thoughts is healthy. For me, an external processor, it’s almost essential at times.

10. Doing nothing. That’s right – just lie down on the floor and stare at the ceiling for a while. Your mind’s been busy! Give it a break.