Monday, September 29, 2014

Are you going nocturnal?

Gosh, I sure hope not.

I will tell you it was a weird weekend.

6:00 pm - left work
6:22 pm - fell asleep, still in my clothes
10:43 pm - woke up, brushed my teeth, decided to be productive

1:32 am - considered going back to sleep
1:33 am - started writing
5:59 am - actually went back to sleep
6:00 am - my fitbit alarm went off
9:18 am - woke up for the day

1:02 am - bedtime
8:15 am - woke up
10:23 pm - got ready for bed
10:26 pm - started doing family history

2:14 am - actually went to bed
6:46 am - woke up

And now it's 10:20 and I'm thinking I should really try to get myself back on a normal schedule and go to bed now so that I can wake up at 6:30 like I'm supposed to in order to have time to go for a walk, write, eat breakfast, and get ready before work.

Sadly, I have every reason to believe that this major disruption to my sleeping habits is entirely to do with the advent of wireless internet at my house last week.

Lesson to be learned: The internet never sleeps. You still should.

Also, family history work can wait. Those people have been dead for years. They won't mind if you leave it until the morning.

So without further ado I will "go to sleep at once." Just like Lord Goring.

I know it's random, but that's what I always tell myself to do in my journal when I stay up too late writing in them.

PS—If you haven't seen this movie or read the Oscar Wilde play, I highly recommend them both. Might even be worth staying up past your bedtime for. ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Do you believe or do you know?

I prayed for something strange yesterday.

Now that I live alone, I've started saying my prayers out loud, which is a bit of a switch for me. I'm normally more the silent-prayer-in-my-heart type. Sure, I bow my head and think the words, but I don't get my lips and teeth and tongue in on it.

But I was listening to a talk or something lately—can't remember where or when—and the speaker encouraged us to pray vocally more often. It occurred to me that I should probably do that now that I won't be disturbing anyone. So I have been, and it's been eye-opening.

There's something completely different about saying a prayer out loud.

I think for me it's related to the difference between my writing self and my speaking/in-person self. Lately I've come to the realization that there are subtle differences between the me I am on paper and the me you meet in person. Not that one is necessarily better than the other. They're both me. But they are a little bit different. I think the paper me is more authentic because I'm braver when I'm saying things to my computer or my journal than I am when I'm saying them to an actual person. Plus I worry less about being boring when I'm writing because I know that if I am boring, people can always stop reading. Whereas in person, people are sometimes so polite that they let you just ramble on endlessly about work and how stressed you are when really they couldn't care less.

Furthermore, I've decided it's good that God gave me this talent for writing as a means of expressing myself in ways I would never otherwise be able to. I also think He did it for a reason—or several reasons. One of them, I'm guessing, is that there are people I can only reach through my writing. Whether because they're far away or because they get along better with the paper me than the physical me or for some other reason, the fact remains that I can have a wider reach with this medium than otherwise.

Is this making any sense or do I just sound like I have a split personality?

Sorry, this is so ridiculously off topic.

Getting back to my prayer.

The thing about praying out loud is that sometimes you start saying something without really knowing how you're going to finish your sentence. When you're thinking your prayer, you can sort of pause and come up with a better way to say it. But when you're speaking the words, your mouth keeps moving so you end up sort of babbling.

And on that note yesterday I prayed, "Help me to have the faith to believe in... in the things I already know."

After I finished my prayer, I couldn't stop thinking about what I'd said. And I realized that there are lots of things I know. I have a testimony. But even though I know things, I still need faith sometimes. Why is that?

You would think that once you know something, you don't doubt it again. That's how it is when you know a scientific fact or when you know the ending of a really good book. It's not like the next time you read the book, the ending will change.

(Sometimes I wish I could un-know books so I could read them again for the first time, but that's not the point.)

With faith and spiritual things, it's different. Just because you had an experience in which your spirit learned the truth, doesn't mean you'll necessarily believe that thing later on. You might even still know intellectually that it's true, but even that's not enough.

I know it's common for us to be incredulous when we read stories in the scriptures of people who had miraculous experiences and later turned their backs on God. People like David in the Old Testament. Or those who witnessed Christ's miracles and then said he was using the power of the devil. In the Book of Mormon we read about Laman and Lemuel who saw just as many miracles as their brother Nephi, but who could never stay obedient to God for long. Or the early church members in our day who witnessed amazing things but later fell away.

I think I know why this can happen. Back home we have a general authority, Elder Packer, who is fond of reminding us that "the shelf life of faith is twenty-four hours." I sort of got what he was saying before. He wanted to remind us that it's important to participate in the gospel every day.

But now I realize that what he meant is that you actually need to exercise your faith every single day in order to believe the things that you already know. Knowing something doesn't mean you're done having faith in it. You will always have to have faith and hope because those things—not knowledge—are what compel you to action.

The struggle is constant. There will always be something that will make me question who I am, where my life is headed, how I'm going to get there, and if I'm really up to the challenges ahead.

But I know that with God nothing is impossible. I just need to have the faith every day to believe what I already know. I need to believe and keep my hope strong because that's what will drive me to obey God's commandments, keep progressing, and serve others around me as I know He would want me to.

So I plan to keep praying for that faith and hope, out loud and in my heart.

And since he's way more eloquent on this topic than I am, I'll leave you with this message from President Uchtdorf. It's a good one.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What happens to a book once you're done writing it?

So I've technically been an author for five years now; I've been an editor for eight years; and my first novel just got picked up. I figure it's about time to start getting delusions of grandeur and giving unsolicited advice to my fellow writers and friends. ;)

Plus my friend Christy asked me today to tell her how I got my novel published or what the process was like, and I realized that the story might be of interest to others out there too. 

I actually do know a lot about the publishing process and what goes on inside those ivory towers that can be so intimidating to first-time authors.

Keep in mind that most of my personal experience comes from outside New York City, so if you're hoping to become the next J.K. Rowling, I may not be your best resource. But if your goal is less lofty and you really just want to get published—which is probably where J.K. was at some point, too—I can totally help with that.

Here's my main mantra as an author: take yourself seriously but not too seriously.

Just make sure you care about the things you should care about and have patience with yourself and the process when it comes to things that aren't as important. Vague enough?

Here's an example: About five years ago, I wrote this book that I thought was going to be the first in a phenomenal bestselling YA series a la Twilight. I stopped just short of casting people in the movie version. But mostly because I retained enough sense to realize that movies take a long time to come out, so probably everyone I casted would be too old for the parts by the time the film went into production.

Here's what happened with that book . . . nothing.

But the thing is, I actually could've published it. I had a contract in hand. I just didn't know enough yet.

I actually don't regret it because I learned a lot from the process and I wrote the book wanting to experience that process. Plus, turns out I didn't care enough about that book to keep writing the series. I may recycle some of the characters because I still like them, but the overall plot was flawed to begin with.

The point is, I learned a lot about what was really important to me as an author, especially in terms of my long-term writing career. Most of the successful authors I know have things in common, and one of those things is that they are in it for the long haul. Of course your first book is supremely important, but it's still just your first book. And if you never finish working on it or you don't know what you want from it, it will likely be your only book. And that's really a shame because there are so many more inspiring, entertaining, exciting words that could come from you if you'd only push through the tough parts, get published, and keep writing.

Okay, enough with the big picture stuff. Let's talk about the nitty gritty.

Here are the basic steps in the publishing process. For the sake of this exercise, I'm going to assume you're writing fiction. (Nonfiction is a little different because you can get a book accepted based on only a proposal, but you kind of have to be an expert in something first.)

1. You write a book.
2. You edit and revise (please don't leave this out, but don't get stuck here either).
3a. You write a query letter, synopsis, and all the extra stuff that talks about your book.
3b. You submit the book or query letter (depending on what they ask for) to agents and publishers.
4. Your book gets rejected. A LOT. (Don't worry. This always happens.)
5. You re-evaluate. (Maybe you tweak your book. Maybe you reconsider who you're sending it to. Maybe both.)
6. You resubmit. Then you go back through steps 4-6 until...
7. Your book gets accepted!
8. You sign a contract.
9. You go through more editing, this time with help from your agent and/or publisher
10. Your book gets published! You hold it in your hands, and it's awesome.
11. You celebrate with all your friends! (This step is very important. Don't skip it.)
12. You do everything you can to spread the word and make sure your book keeps selling so that when you want to publish your next book, your publisher wants to publish it too.

The only way step 4 doesn't happen is if you've been through the process before so you go into it this time having already re-evaluated (per step 5).

I know because that's what just happened with me.

It's also important to be realistic about your timing. All of these steps together never take less than two years and can take up to an entire lifetime. So... that's encouraging, right? Plus, just as a heads up, the chances of you ever making enough money to quit your job and write full time are... I don't want to say nonexistent, but...

I could talk a lot more about any of these steps, but for simplicity's sake let's leave it at that for now.

For those who only want to know about publishing in general, you can stop reading now. But for those who want to know my personal story about how I got my first novel accepted, here it is:

I started working as an editor when I was still an undergrad. It was educational material, so not exactly book publishing, but at the time I was also taking editing classes and writing and editing fan fiction. It sounds dorky, but it actually helped me a lot as a writer. I had never really considered writing a book because I got annoyed by the "writer types" in my English classes who were always talking about their manuscripts and grand literary dreams. I'm a much more private person. It's weird for me even now to talk about my books and some of them have been on shelves for years.

Anyway, that was when I really started to write. But I was still much more interested in becoming an editor than an author.

Fast forward a few years to me graduating and being offered a job as a book editor. Not in New York, where I'd always dreamed of going, but in Springville Utah. I almost didn't take it. But I'm so glad I did.

This is Springville. Not New York. I know you might be confused because they look so similar, but...

Fast forward again to when I realized, after working as an editor for awhile, that I could write better than some of the authors I was editing. So I tried to write a book. And I failed. Writing an entire book is hard and it takes way longer than you think it will. So I tried again.

In the meantime, there was this book series that we published at work. A little, nonfiction book called Tiny Talks that came out each year. The author who was writing it at the time was no longer interested. And because I happened to be in the right place at the right time, I volunteered and suddenly I was on my way to becoming a published author. I realize not everyone gets that chance, and I hope you don't discount my story because I got lucky. Honestly, when it comes to getting published, it's really similar to getting a job. There's always a little bit of luck involved. But only a very little bit and your odds go way, way, way up when you're being persistent and doing your homework so that you're ready when the chance comes your way.

Fast forward again to last October, which is when I started writing the book that's going to become my first novel. I'll call it The Jane Journals because even though I'm hoping the title will change before it gets published, that's the title I've been using until I came up with a better one. (By the way, I skipped right over what was almost my first novel and the novel I only half finished and several other projects that never even made it close to novel form.)

Anyway, last October, I began drafting this book. At the time, I wasn't sure it would become anything, but I did know that if it did, I wanted to submit it to my Tiny Talks publisher, Cedar Fort, who at that point, I was no longer working for. I knew enough about Cedar Fort to know that they would probably accept this book because of the kind of book it is and who their audience is. So I had done my homework. In fact, I had actually been looking for an idea that I thought would fit Cedar Fort because I'd decided that I wanted them to publish my first novel. I could go into my reasoning behind this decision, but it would take too long and we need to continue with the story. But if you're interested, let me know. I'm happy to talk about Cedar Fort and why I like being one of their authors and now their production manager.

So I wrote and wrote and wrote. And then revised and revised and revised. And finally, I was ready to submit it. I skipped the querying process because Cedar Fort prefers to have authors submit a full manuscript. And I didn't feel the need to get an agent, so I just submitted it.

Actually, because I was working here again, I mentioned it in passing to the fiction acquirer just to confirm with her that it would be something Cedar Fort was interested in. She was excited about it. So then I was even more excited about it.

But still the process took a long time. There were a few weeks when I felt like I was living in limbo because I had no idea which way the pendulum would swing and I wasn't sure what I would do if it wasn't accepted. I was considering self-publishing, which I've never done before. I may still do that someday if I write something I love but no one else seems to care about. We'll see. Anyway, I thought it was a good sign that I cared enough about this book to want it published, even if it meant self-publishing.

Then it got accepted! Yay!

After that I had to review a contract, which I'll confess I didn't really read closely because it's basically the same as my Tiny Talks one. Then I signed the contract and sent in some more paperwork and now I wait. In about January I'll start some rewriting per my editor's suggestions. Then in March the editing will stop and we'll send the book to a printer. Then in May it will be an actual physical thing with a cover and a spine and all that good stuff. And that's when you'll probably all get sick of me begging you to buy my book or share it with your friends.

Don't worry, I'll do my best to keep my appeals of the non-annoying variety. And I solemnly swear not to spam everyone who has ever emailed me. That's not how I roll.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep writing. Because I guess, now that all of this has happened, I really am an author. I know. It surprises me too.

Especially because I still sometimes get annoyed by those "writer types" and their grand literary aspirations.

PS—Christy, I hope this answered your question even if it was probably a much longer explanation than you wanted.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What are you so happy about?

So when I'm happy—like really, really happy—I do this thing where I get so excited that I kind of wring my hands. I call it being hand-wringingly happy. And that's what I am today.

Want to know why?

There's actually a bunch of reasons . . .

1. I finally, FINALLY have wireless internet at home.

2. I also have a couch now. It's awesome.

See those pillows on it that look like purses? That's because I made them out of a couple old purses. I'm cool like that. Also, poor.

3. I'm reading Allegiant, which a friend loaned me so that I didn't have to wait for it at the library, and it's really good. I love Four. SO. MUCH. For reals, though.

4. My sister Ali left on her mission to Belgium and the Netherlands, which is sad because I'll miss her. But also happy because I inherited her Macbook Air while she's gone and it's like at least fifty thousand times better than any other laptop I've ever owned. Ever.

5. I got to spend time with my mom and sisters last week when we dropped Ali off, and it was really nice, especially the one-on-one time I got with my mom. We started this puzzle together, and when she had to fly back to California, she left me a note . . .

I love her too! Especially when she sorts all the puzzle pieces because that is my least favorite part.

6. And last, but . . . yeah, you know the rest:




That's only like six months away. If you don't count October. And really, how can you count October? It's my favorite month, so I always think it goes by too fast anyway.

Plus with this book and Tiny Talks and that board book I mentioned awhile back, that's three whole books of mine that will come out next year!

I'm kind of still in shock. This is all happening so fast. I mean, I've been dreaming about publishing fiction for at least six years now and maybe even before that. It's amazing. And I feel so, so grateful to have this opportunity.

I know it's just a silly little YA novel. And I'm not expecting it to make me rich and famous, but it's a start. And I love this book. I want other people to read it, even if they think it's dumb. (Which, let's face it, will definitely be the case for at least one reader. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, as Taylor would say.)

So anyway, about the book. You may actually remember me mentioning it on this blog before, back when I was writing it.

Basically, it's a modern version of Jane Austen's novels, set in a Northern California high school, and each of the heroines is writing in a journal. So the book is just their journal entries and it was SOOOOO much fun to write.

Here's the blurb I posted awhile ago:

Lizzie's family is big and crazy. Nila's best friend just moved to England. Fiona's good at school and nothing else. Alice and Vivian are two sisters who couldn't be more opposite. And Catherine reads vampire novels. What do these six girls have in common? Not much.

But they do all attend Kellynch High School where their English teacher, Ms. Elliot has just given them a year-long journaling assignment to write down everything that happens to them, from beach trips to boys to picking out ball gowns.

Quirky and cute, this is Jane Austen with a modern makeover. A laugh-out-loud read that will reunite Austen's fans with their favorite heroines and send the younger set straight to the originals to find out what happens next!

So, yes. Life is good. Really good. Hand-wringingly happy kind of good.

And this is the part where I thought about inserting a certain Pharrell Williams song, but I'm a little sick of it. So I'll spare you guys and share this one instead because it's my favorite song of this very good week.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What more could I do to put my marriage first?

Today I feel a bit chastened.

Why? Because I haven’t been putting my family and my marriage first.

“But Heidi,” you’re saying, “you’re single. Doesn’t that give you a free pass to not worry about the state of your marriage?”

Uh… I don’t think so. Let me explain.

It’s Sunday, and instead of regular church services, we had a special meeting today to rededicate the Ogden Utah temple. For those who aren’t familiar with LDS temples, after they’re built we hold a special meeting in which we dedicate the temple to the Lord. Before a temple is dedicated, anyone is welcome to come in and tour it. But after, you have to be a member of the church and keep specific rules in order to qualify you to enter.

Anyway, during the dedication today, one of the speakers said something that I’ve known all my life but have been ignoring lately. He said, “Eternal families and temples should be your highest priority.” (This was M. Russell Ballard in the 4:00 session.)

In an earlier talk, a speaker reminded us that eternal things have no beginning and no end. This means that if I really believe in an eternal marriage—one that lasts beyond this life—I also believe that it doesn’t really begin the moment I say I do. It can and should be a part of my life right now.

In the excitement of taking on new responsibilities at work, moving into my first apartment without roommates, and seeing my writing career take off (stay tuned for an exciting announcement about this), I’ve let other things take first priority, instead of the temple and my marriage and future family.

But I’ll admit that it’s hard as a single person to put family first. I feel like I’m doing okay in terms of my relationships with the family I already have. What I haven’t been doing is focusing on the family I might have someday.

So my question is, what more could I do right now to become a better wife, mother, grandmother, or daughter-in-law? These are roles I have yet to take on. And it’s entirely possible I never will in this life. If that’s the Lord’s plan, I’m okay with that. But in the meantime, I want to be ready in case the opportunity arises.

More than that, I want to do all I can to help the opportunity to arise. This is where I get frustrated. I’m not saying guys have it easier. I know dating is hard no matter what. But I wish sometimes that I could take more action, maybe even more initiative in pursuing someone I was interested in without becoming Helena from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, who basically falls in love with a guy and then follows him around, begging him to like her for the rest of the play. Even when he flat-out tells her he’s not interested. Why is it okay for a guy to demonstrate persistence in pursuing a girl but when a girl does the same thing it’s pathetic? Whatever. That’s not really the point I want to make.

What frustrates me is that no one will tell me what to do in order to make marriage happen for me.

To all who are about to post things like, “Don’t worry about it. You’re amazing the way you are. It’ll happen when it’s meant to be.” Thank you, in advance. That’s really very sweet. But ultimately, unhelpful.

I don’t want platitudes; I want a plan of action. I may not be able to make a goal to get married by X date. That’s not really up to me. I can’t actually force someone to marry me just because I set a deadline. But I’m a goal-setter. I want actual suggestions for things I can do to put my marriage, my family, my potential eternity first in my life right now.

It seems like the guys get all the scoldings when it comes to dating. No one ever tells us girls what to do. It’s like we’re all afraid we’ll hurt womankind’s self-esteem if we even hint at the fact that we’re not already perfect. But once a group of women has passed the fragile teenage years, I feel like it’s okay to say, “Ladies, shape up.” Maybe even literally.

Which brings me to the elephant in the room. Weight loss. Yes, it’s entirely possible that the reason I didn’t date much when I was younger and still don’t go out as often as I could is that I’m overweight. Not that you have to be skinny to get married, but from what I’ve observed, it doesn’t hurt your chances. So that’s something I’m working on—with a moderate degree of success at the moment, actually.

But aside from that, what else can I do? I remember one specific time when a church leader called the men to action and told them x, y, and z things they could be doing to get married. Then he said to the girls, “You’re amazing. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Oh, and make sure you’re wearing make up and that you make yourselves look attractive.”

Sigh. The weird part is, I was actually grateful to be given something concrete for once.

But that can’t really be the answer. Plenty of overweight, non-make-up-wearing people get married and have perfectly good relationships.

Maybe it would help if I came up with a list of things that I already know will encourage me to pursue marriage or to make my future marriage a higher priority.

1.     Go to the temple more often.
2.     Lose weight. Wear make up. Improve my physical appearance.
3.     Become a more attractive person intellectually by setting goals, learning new things, and sharing my talents.
4.     Establish gospel habits now that I will continue with my family someday: prayer, scripture study, church attendance, tithing, keeping the Sabbath day holy, etc.
5.     Save money. Learn how to budget better.
6.     Be happier. Guys are more attracted to girls who are happy and confident. I feel like I’m doing okay in this area. (In fact, I might be a little too confident sometimes.) But I’m putting it on the list because there’s always room to improve.
7.     Build a time machine and go back to age 21 or 22. My mom got married when she was 22. Lots of my friends did too. Did I miss something? Was there a point at which I should’ve found someone but I wasn’t paying enough attention or I was too focused on other things?
8.     Make an effort to meet more people and to keep an open mind about them.

What am I missing here? What could I add to this list?

I want there to be some magic ingredient I’ve been leaving out all my life. I want someone to say, “Just do this one thing and bam! Instant husband.”

I know that’s unlikely. There’s probably no magic ingredient. Probably the answer really is: Just keep doing what you’re doing and it’ll happen when it’s meant to be.

But hey, a girl can dream, right?

Besides, my marriage and future family really are important to me. And if there’s anything else I could be doing to make them a reality, that’s what I want to do. So please, comment with your suggestions. Don’t worry about my self-esteem. Just tell me what else to do because I’m running out of ideas, I’m not getting any younger, and even though I do have a lot of confidence in myself, I don’t actually think I’ll be able to build that time machine.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who are your favorite primary kids?

Dear Friends and Family,

It's that time of year again. The time of year when I frantically attempt to write an entire book in a couple of weeks. Oh, it's fun. Stressful. But so fun.

And this year it's going to be even more fun because I'm going to let you all help me!

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, this is Tiny Talks vol. 14.

It came out last year.

And I started writing Tiny Talks vol. 15 this past weekend. It's supposed to come out in November.

I'm hoping that will still happen, but it kind of depends on how fast I can write the thing.

(Disclaimer: just so you know, this is not something I procrastinated the way I used to do with all of my school assignments. I was waiting on info that I didn't have till last weekend. But now I have it and I get to write! Quickly!)

Anyway, here's what I need your help with. Tiny Talks includes a talk for each week of the year, and many of these talks begins with a little story. Sometimes the stories are from the scriptures. Other times I make them up or adapt them from things that happened in real life.

And when I make up stories, I need names to go with them. I discovered a couple of years ago that it's way more fun to use the names of real kids than it is to come up with fictional names. Plus, I think I've used up all of my default names. This is my fifth year writing this book. Two years ago, I used the names of kids I was babysitting for at the time. Last year I asked my illustrator to send me some names of kids from his family.

This year, it's your turn to help! If you are interested in having the name(s) of your favorite primary kid(s) featured in a real book, all you have to do is post a comment here on my blog or on facebook.

In your comment, please list the name(s) of one or two of your favorite kids who is currently in Primary or Nursery. (In my church, these are kids between 1 and 13 years old.)

Please remember:

First name only
Make sure the name is spelled correctly
Include gender
List age (optional)

The gender thing is really important. I don't want to get that wrong. One time I babysat for this family with three girls: Alex, Ryan, and Cooper. They were so cute!

Age is not as important but it might help.

No more than two names per person, please. I can't promise I'll use them all but I will do my best! And if they don't make it into the book this year, I'll save them for next year.

Thanks so much, everyone! I'm really excited about this book and can't wait for you all to see it!

Speaking of which, I have to get back to writing. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What kind of a crazed lunatic walks home from the airport?

I thought about titling this post, "Do you have a fatal flaw?" But this seemed more fitting, somehow.

And trust me, I had a lot of time to think about it. Like hours. And hours. As I walked... home... from the airport. Yesterday.

See the thing is, I do have fatal flaws. Lots. And I can't blame just one for this whole fiasco. If it had been just one, I could've dealt with that. I could've overcome it somehow. This was more like all of my worst traits conspiring together to leave me with sore feet and hips and a wicked, lopsided sunburn. (Lopsided because it's only on my right side, which was the side facing west as I walked mostly south in the afternoon heat.)

Anyway, back to my flaws. Or maybe I should go back to how this all started.

What happened is last week I flew home to visit my family in California. And I had an awesome time. So glad I went. But my dad thought that it would be a good idea to have our mechanic friend fix my car while I was gone since I obviously wouldn't be driving it from states away. And it was a good idea. Except that our mechanic friend is not the most reliable person on the planet to begin with. Plus he has cancer and so with one thing and another and being in the hospital, he wasn't really able to finish working on my car. I totally get it. Cancer sucks. And I feel bad for the guy. It's not his fault that I walked home. It's mine.

Because what I should've done is arranged for a backup ride. And I sort of did. I just forgot to follow up on it and so then I felt like it was too late to call someone as I was landing at the airport and be all, "Hey, uh... can you pick me up, like now?"

So this is the part when we get to my flaws. There are many. Probably even more than I'm about to list. But each one on this list somehow contributed to my inability to do anything but walk the twelve miles home from the Provo airport to my apartment in Springville.

I swear, it was the only option.

You'll see why.

1. Stubborn independence. I hate needing people. If I can't do it myself, it's almost always not worth doing.

2. Pride. (See above.)

3. A phobia of talking on the telephone. There has got to be a word for this. Does anyone know what it is? I'm too lazy to look it up. Whatever the word is, I've got it. I will not talk on the phone unless I really, really like you or I'm at work and this is a business call. I don't even call pizza delivery people. I'd rather go in personally and wait the twenty minutes while they make my pizza.

4. Asceticism. I know the word for this one. ;) Basically it means I get a little bit high off of denying myself pleasures I actually want. Probably why I don't have a TV. Or internet. Or a couch. I really want a couch today.

5. An overdeveloped sense of adventure. I blame being a writer. Or maybe being a writer just gives me an excuse. Anyway, I've always loved disasters. Even as a kid, I was gleeful when the power went out. It's something out of the ordinary, you know? It's exciting!

6. A wistful desire to lose weight. Yes, I have this desire now. I'm sort of maybe working on it. I'll keep you posted. But it was enough of a factor for me to think, "Twelve miles? Do you even know how many calories that would burn?" In like an excited way.

7. Passive aggression/Being a martyr. I... yeah... There was a little part of me that wanted to punish my dad for not finding a more reliable mechanic and insisting I use this guy. It's an ongoing battle, actually. And I guess it's fitting that since it wasn't really my dad's fault, he wasn't really the one who got punished. Mostly I did. By the sunburn that's still flaming hot 30 hours later and is still giving me some sort of heatstroke-ish headache.

8. Extreme frugality. I totally could've afforded the cabs at the airport. I'm not that destitute. Granted, at that point, so early on, I was mostly walking because I was mad. I didn't really intend to walk the whole way. And then I could've called a cab later on, but... see number 3.

9. Reluctance to make close--local--friends (the kind you could ask for a ride home from the airport, even on a holiday). I do have those kinds of friends. Just not here. I'm going to work on that. Probably.

10. An ingrained hesitation about taking rides from strangers. I really should've. Twice people pulled over to ask if I was okay. But... I... It's the stubborn independence again, really. It's a curse.

So anyway, it wasn't all that bad. And yes, I know the map says 10.6 miles, but my fitbit gave me more than 12 for the day, so I'm going with that.

But yes, twelve miles is totally a do-able walk.  I'm already thinking I should plan a hike of that length or longer sometime soon. But this next time I'm bringing a backpack instead of a purse and I'm wearing sunscreen and I'm going to bring a water bottle and snacks and stuff. And I definitely won't be hiking along any busy roads or dusty industrial areas.

And I might wait until my sunburn fades to a nice tan.

Oh, who am I kidding? I don't tan. With my luck it will all peel off and I'll be left with brand new skin that's even whiter than before.

Le sigh.

I guess that's just one more fatal flaw to add to my list.