the year of jenny

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Well, hello to you. Happy  New Year!

...oh, surprised, that I am about four months late? Okay, fine. Happy Lunar New Year!

...still no? Alright, Happy Anniversary of Jenny Moving to Chicago!

...okay, that was March 1, which over a month ago. But that's the closest we're gonna get, okay!? Moving on.

I have about a dozen working drafts of posts I come back to on this blog, and I seem to forget that I never upload them. This is one example. Feeling very inspired and refreshed, I started this post around the end of December 2012 in hopes of uploading on New Year's Day, but as was to be expected, the new year got off to a galloping start and this little blog of mine fell by the wayside. But here we go, anyway! Time for some reflection.

Looking back on 2012, it was the best year of my life so far, as well as the hardest, the most exciting, the most revolutionary. I moved to Chicago on the first of this month and it was snowing, and as I was eating with my parents the night before they were to head back down to Texas, I found myself uncontrollably sobbing. It didn't stop until the following morning. I picked myself up and would find myself having to pick myself up many times in the coming months. 

These massive cities are cold places, and I'll never think that humans are meant to live in smallness, but what is in our nature is resilience. I hated and loved my new city all in this year but I learned that being truly "on your own" never really is. This was a year of finding myself and understanding myself, even if it meant feeling lost and dark for the first time.

I accomplished a lot of what I wanted, and earned the year. I mean that: I grew, grew up, I was happy, I was sad, I worked hard, I failed in some places, living my own Tale of Two Cities, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times and so on. And even though there were those days where I found myself slumped in my couch in a gelatinous blob, wrapped up in three blankets watching Netflix marathons and thinking, "Hey! My shirt smells like pizza," I kept my head up. That's something that I can be proud of, something I've come to understand about myself. I cherish the bright spots.

No matter what difficulty I'm going through, I never stay down for very long and have bounced back from many obstacles. I want to keep staying positive, staying true to the person I want to be, remembering where I'm from. I owe so much to people in my life, because I have a support system like no other. Time and again I remember the love of my friends and family, and sometimes just knowing that there were people in my life that were on my side was enough to pull me up by the bootstraps. Alright, enough with the warm feelies and cliches.

So here's my 2013 outlook.

-I've finished my internship at Booklist, which is bittersweet, but I am so grateful for the opportunity I had and will take with me invaluable experience and lasting contact with some truly inspirational, kind, and good people who are working in the literary world.. Now that I've had experience in publishing, I'm sort of on the fence about the direction where I want to take my career - which brings me to:

-I've been semi-promoted at my main internship, and am truly enjoying the work I do every time I go in. I am working really hard and it feels great--the more successful I am, the more fickle I realize I am. Laziness and stagnation are the deaths of me, and I can only hope that this next year is just as chock-full (if not more) and I am lucky enough to keep seeing the outcomes of my goals and work. As I begin the job search (graduation is creeping up!), I am more and more interested in pursuing nonprofit development/fundraising work as my career, at least for the time being.

-March and February was a crazy (and I mean it!) time at work with the poetry festival in full swing, and during this hectic span, I somehow managed to write the first draft of my novel. Uhh. How did that happen? Yes! I have written a novel! That's probably a bad sign for this blog, that I've written an entire freakin' novel since my last post. It was an arduous process to say the least, daily torture in essence, and when I announce, I announce it only as a massive personal achievement. Anyone can write a novel in 10 weeks; talking about it at the hazy, primordial stage that is the "initial draft" part feels a little like telling people that you're planning on going to law school and expecting rampant applause at your thirst for success. The proof will be in the pudding as they say, and I'm no Bill Cosby. Not yet.

(Wow, that was an awful line, right? Chalk it up to my current lack of sleep and burn out from pulling 60,000+ words out of the ether. Forgive my coffers for being empty.)

What I'm saying is that, yes, I am one of the hopeful, ambitious, want-to-be-great, ever-unsatisfied folk. My favorite writers, truly great artists, do not craft masterpieces from NaNoWriMo. Haruki Murakami famously takes like a five year minimum to write his novels. I have no illusions about being a great novelist at age 23, or ever being as great as, say, Nabokov, but I am intent on doing the best of my capability. And that is a lifelong endeavor.

So I've written a manuscript, yes, but it may never see the light of day. It is the first of many. It is a sprawling work in progress, but it is deliciously exciting to have taken the first plunge. It was a huge challenge and I met the task, and am satisfied for the time being. I learned a lot from the process--in fact, writing the first draft has made me want to write an entirely different novel. And that's a positive! At least, from a writer's perspective, it is thrilling. 

-Graduate school, my main priority, is more than halfway through and I am basically in the home stretch. Terrifyingly exciting. As I mentioned I'm in the infancy stages of job searching, seeking out both literary publishing and nonprofit development, but more so the latter. Still not sure I'll ever tire of school, no matter how stressed it makes me in the moment, but I will be both glad and sad to be finished relatively soon. I have to say it will be refreshing to not be surrounded by equally competitive and focused peers who love to namedrop Foucault and say the word "reductive" in every single sentence. Who am I kidding, I'll miss that too.

So. Happy 2013 to you, and Happy 2013 to me. Let's make another great one.

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