Top 3: Why you should be glad Trump is to rally in Westfield, Ind.

As soon as the presumed GOP nominee Donald Trump announced his upcoming visit to the new Grand Park Events Center in Westfield, Ind., my Facebook was in an uproar.
Many – if not all – posts on my feed were extremely negative, with expressions of horror and distaste in Trump visiting the city. All political views aside, this is a good thing for Westfield. An extremely good thing.
Here are my top three reasons as to why you should be excited about Trump visiting your hometown:

  •  Economic Impact
         Wow, this one’s a doozy. Where Trump goes, the people will follow. That means our Westfield businesses will be loaded with out-of-towners, which means more and more and more money for Westfield.
  • Grand Park Exposure
         As one Facebook user asked, ‘Why doesn’t Trump hold his rally at Bridgewater?’ Hordes of people come for the Trump show, and The Bridgewater Club has a 200-something capacity before the fire marshal says no more. The Grand Park Events Center holds thousands. It is fiscally irresponsible for Trump to hold his rally at The Bridgewater Club. If that’s his option, he may as well not even hold a rally. Cue Grand Park. And this, like all of Trump’s events, will receive national exposure. That means Grand Park and our little Westfield will be plastered across the nation.
    To all those doubters still searching for the pros of Grand Park, here you go. Trump is exhibiting not just the sports aspect of Grand Park, but also all other events – such as rallies, shows, etc. – that can be held there.
  • Connections
         This may just revolve around media and city officials, but a presidential candidate in Westfield? Do you know what a connection with Trump and his team can do for a person?

As I said, all political views aside. If you don’t like Trump, don’t go to the rally. But at least have the respect for your city to appreciate the impact the rally will have on our economy.

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Source: Wikipedia.org
Change happens. Grow with it.

Edit: This is not an opinion or view of the publication I work for. 

 

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Badlands to valleys: A story of restoration

Have you ever seen beauty that ripped a cavity in your chest so wide, you could barely breathe from the magnificence of it? Have you ever watched a vacant road wind through mountains, void of cars or civilization?

Have you spread your arms to the sky, screamed to the wind?

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I went to Colorado a year ago, did the whole travel-cross-country-with-your-best-friend type of deal. We went through five states, through cities, through Kansas vastness (with legit tumbleweeds) and wound our way through complicated interstates and exits. Eighteen hours, thirty-six total, and all to see mountains and a friend for three days.

Was it worth it, you ask?

Colorado changed my life, and not in the yeah-I-smoked-legal-weed-for-a-week-and-it-totally-changed-me-man kind of way, but in a spark. A light bulb of a traveling experience that shattered in my brain and branched electrons and fragments of ideas throughout my soul, throughout the railroad tracks of my veins.

Colorado is beautiful, and it was the first thing in for as long as I could remember that I did for myself. Somewhat spontaneous, I had the money, had the time, had the friends. Why not?

Was it worth it, you ask?

Why the hell not?

You tell me. Colorado was a year ago from today, almost exact. I didn’t do anything huge, didn’t sky dive or ski or whatever you’re supposed to do up in God’s castle of mountains. I hiked, got lost, lost my breath, and saw mountains, which I had never seen before.

Colorado launched the idea of a novel, an idea that didn’t work and I barely even started on before I scrapped the whole damn thing. But it was the idea before the idea that did work, and I’ll tell you that that is worth it all on its own.

My best friend and I went out there because we had nothing to lose. We’d already tried to lose our lives, tried to push everything away, kick the bucket, off ourselves, take your pick. We’d already tried everything, and we were desperate and aching and hungry for something that was fucking worth it.

Colorado was that, a staple that became our safe harbor for a long weekend. A place where dreams weren’t doubted and things could be said, politically correct or not. We got tattoos, we did drugs, we drank a lot. We hiked through the edges of mountains with gargantuan drops just feet away. We did what we wanted, when we wanted and didn’t think of anything else or anyone else. I climbed mountains without a harness, because Christ, I’d already tried to die. I might as well risk my life for a little fun.

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We visited the Garden of the God’s and hiked through cliffs so we could just see Pike’s Peak and dream about climbing it and flashing the world sprawled beneath us.

Colorado was what made me live again. I haven’t been back, and I haven’t done anything illegal since, and I’ve been a somewhat responsible adult for a year. I still love my tattoo, and my friend and I dream of returning to those mountains whenever we need a refresher.

Because life can suck. And a god-forsaken-desperate trip out to Colorado just so happened to be what I needed. Dropping out of college just so happened to be what I needed. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in this shit show called life that we don’t remember to just breathe.

So breathe. Go to Colorado or whatever natural beauty you want. Walk through white mountains or white beaches and realize why you live. I realized why I did. Writing and love, and that’s what grounds me. colorado blog

Do something dangerous, do something childish. Get out there and just do something, dammit. Because otherwise, you are wasting away in the city and these barren badlands without experiencing your reason to live.

Success has a system, and sometimes that system isn’t slaving away at anything in particular. Sometimes, the system is a little dream, a little spark.

Success has a system. So find it. And use it.

Writing on love and bribes

In my 13 years of writing, I have never fallen in love with a story, with the characters like I have with “From Ashes.”

Leah is a character I made up. Granted, we have things in common. She’s a journalist and lives in Indiana, but that’s about it. But to me she’s so real. I have been working on “From Ashes,” slaving away at words and planning and character sketches and maps and outlines and rewrites and frustration and love and everything else that writing entails.

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I love it, I love it and I can’t wait for you all to read it.

Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up again, April is just a few weeks away. As much as I’d love to have my masterpiece finished by then it’s doubtful, because damn it, writing is hard. I want to stat my next book (which I already have planned) but I need to finish this one and I can tell you all that by April 30, it will be done. It’s hard and beautiful and so worth it, like anything important in life.

Today, as I finish Chapter 12 and my 43,000th word — Jesus, do you know how many words  that is? — I am writing on love and bribes. My main girl is going through a lot, and it just makes me feel.

Do what you love. Whether that’s selling something or drawing or making movies or writing, like me. I have never fallen in love with something as hard as I have with “From Ashes” and all the raw work I’ve pushed into it. Follow what you love and do it and do it well, because if you don’t feel about something the way I feel about writing, you are wasting your life. I’m not saying be an author or a poet. Just be something.

In a way, writing saved my life. Do something that saves yours and makes it worth living.

 

 

 

Success has a system. Use it.

I am one of those millennials that everybody titters and gossips about behind raised hands. I am the person who, when I tell people my story, they generally raise their eyebrows in distaste.

Oh. She dropped out of college. She dropped out of school.

How dare I.

In a nutshell, I gave the finger to the social standards of education and now, at 21, am doing what I love. Writing.

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In March, I joined the coolest newspaper in Indiana and possibly the Midwest, Current Publishing. In June, I self-published my own poetry book through Amazon and CreateSpace. In October, I became the editor of Current in Westfield. Now, I’m almost done with my first novel and in pursuit of agents and publishers.

Basically, I feel like I don’t work a day in my life because I love it so much. And not to be a braggart or anything, but yeah, I’m rubbing it in your face.

I dropped out of college a year and a half in when I was barely old enough to be considered a liable adult. I practically wasted thousands of dollars. But I am a writer whose awesome job allows her to write her debut psychological thriller in her spare time. I am a writer who doesn’t work a 9 to 5, or can, if she so desires.

I am a writer that pretty much lives life how I want. I will be traveling to my fourth new country in six months pretty soon, all without taking a day off of work.

Sounds pretty cool, huh?

We need to drop the stigma. The stigma that college is the absolute only path to success because frankly, it’s complete bullshit.

Anyone who ever spared a minute to hear me out, I tell them that if I wanted to be a doctor or a chemist or something that requires a college education, I would go back in a heartbeat. I didn’t drop out for grades, or even for finances really. But because I wasn’t happy, and I refused to turn into one of those 9 to 5ers that hated their life and family.

I am 21, a published writer, an editor, and I only have a high school diploma. I have a townhouse, a dog, I live close to my family. I drink a lot, I have fun, I have plenty of time to read and write and explore whatever local eateries sound good to me at the moment. Or exotic countries, for that matter.

Frankly, my life rocks. And whoever still has doubts, well, that’s up to them. I’ll be honest, I had doubts myself for awhile. But I proved myself, I worked my ass off, did some of my best writing and still do, learned through experience, and I showed myself that I was the real deal.

The people out there that are smart and don’t have narrow minds, they will get it.

Follow your dreams, guys. That’s the system, as cliche as it sounds. I wanted to be a writer since I was in third grade. I remember clack-clacking away at my mom’s desk, writing little eight-year-old-Anna-novels on her computer. And the thing I remember most about my passion is everybody telling me to not quit my day job, that writers didn’t make it, that if I found a different career I could still write by night or in my spare time.

I made a mistake in listening to them. I wasted a year and a half pursuing a college-educated career that I despised. I snapped out of it, listened to myself. Now, I have my dream job and I get to write books.

I followed my dream. I advise you to do the same, whether it’s college or dropping out and doing it your own way.

Social stigmas are just a waste of your time. Success has a system. Use it.

Casting a look back

2015 was a big year.
Depression hit hard, and so did bouncing back.
So much happened. To me, to my family, to my life. I did a complete 180, dropped out of college and stopped listening to what everybody else wanted for me and started listening to what wanted for myself for once. I am a success story, and it’s due to working my ass off and also taking a life changing trip across the country to Colorado with my best friend.
Dropping out of college set me back, it put me in a hole, but I refused to stay in my own grave for too long. I packed up some stuff, packed up my best friend, and we drove 17 hours to Colorado for a weekend. We saw beauty, we renewed our friendship, and I took the short time I needed to find out what I really wanted. As soon as I was sure of myself, everything good came quick and hard.

Current Publishing. Self-publishing my poetry book, “Rise.” Meeting J.R. Moving to Carmel. My mom beating cancer, my brother getting married and my other brother shipping off to San Diego to learn how to defend this nation.

It was a good year. I met friends. I kicked some out of my life, because they weren’t helping me get where I needed to go.

Most of all, I listened. To myself first, then to others next. I went to church. I helped myself, and I stopped feeling sorry. I started “From Ashes.” Finished it. And started all over again to make it better. I gained confidence. I learned to laugh again, to love, to trust, to dedicate myself.

I learned to fall in love with myself and my life. I learned that being selfish and loving yourself is okay. I aged emotionally so much and learned so much and fell in love with my job. I never work a day in my life because I love it so much.

It’s worth it. All of it. It is always worth it, whether it’s good or bad or passionate or crippling. It all leads somewhere.

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And if you ever need to find yourself, take a weekend trip and drive out to the mountains. Let your soul run free for a minute. Or for three days. Sometimes, nature’s beauty can stitch up even the deepest wounds.

Recovery of words and body

So after a short stint in the hospital and a Christmas that was jolly — despite my not eating for 48 hours — I’m back at it.
Back at those damn words and the story I’ve fallen in love with. I’ve got a new playlist (Halsey rocks) and new inspiration and I’m ready to tackle Chapter 3!
But other than my imaginative novel, I’ve been working on other writing, too. For one, this blog. For another, poetry.

Poetry has escaped me for a long time. Ever since I published “Rise” in June, it’s been hard for me to get back in to writing poems again. Maybe that’s what publishing 50 poems does to a writer, I don’t know. But despite my struggle, some of the talent has returned to me so in a short few more paragraphs, you’ll all get to read my new poem. If any of you read this, that is.

I don’t mean to be cocky, but my writing has been phenomenal lately, thank you very much. In all honesty, when I was in school, I could write flawless essays and not even skim them for a second read or a rewrite. I was a writer who was against editing, which now I feel is the most idiotic thing in the world. My rewrite for From Ashes is damn hard. It’s time consuming. It’s so unbelievably frustrating, and some days I kind of want to snap my laptop in half. But it’s good. My story is good. Instead of rereading it and thinking what the hell is this shit I read it and think, oh my god, I actually wrote that and it’s damn good. 

I’ve spent so much time on this book. Almost a year. And it’s not even close to being done. But it is worth it. So thank you, Stephen King, and bless you and your editing and “On Writing.” It’s been a godsend.

And also, thanks to all you folks who have stuck with me through years and years of “oh, hey, I’m writing a book!” that led nowhere. Finally, finally, it’s leading somewhere.

As promised, here’s my poem. Drink up for New Year’s, everybody.

Colorado Skyline

Country never felt like home to me
Kansas open road stretches –
for forever – empty badlands,
and you screaming next to me out an open patch
of freedom
through a patch of air in my sunroof,
letting your soul run free in the gun slate
of an elastic sky.
Acidic gas station coffee lingers on your lips,
a stained kiss for the magenta sunset,
while Colorado mountains crest the distant horizon.
Country never felt like home to me,
Before roads, before skyscrapers,
before my love of the city,
there was just land, just these mountains.
Country never felt like home to me.
Maybe that’s why I feel so free.

 

Writing on rain

It rained today.

Not just in the sad excuse for a December outside, but also in my story. I’m about 20 percent through Chapter Three, and rain couldn’t be a better description for the story, for reality, for my feelings.

When people ask me about my book, I tell them the plot line. An Indianapolis journalist, sent to her hometown in southern Indiana to cover the anniversary of arson crimes that took a toll on the town, and the investigation is reopening with the arrival of a new detective. I say, ‘oh, I’m a journalist and so is she, but the similarities end there.’

Maybe superficially, but they really cut a lot deeper than that.

Authors pour themselves into their creations. It’s raining today, so it rained in my story. Leah, my main character, is itching for a good beer and a solution to this mystery, and in a way so am I.

I feel like oftentimes, novels are a big ole metaphor for the author’s life. At least that’s the case with mine. Read between the lines. Peel back the layers, read between the superficial meaning.

For me, it’s not about the fires. But the struggle. The constant, uphill climb.

Maybe that’s what makes me such a good writer.