Slipping off the Grid


When I knew I was going to commit to getting back into my blog writing this week, I hadn’t realized just how much I had neglected ‘The Amber of the Moment’. It’s been since the end of January- two whole months have gone by without a single post. I must sound like a bit of a broken record because I get into this cycle of posting-religiously to posting-never to promising-to-post and back again. But that’s life. Sometimes my writing gets stale, and I need to take a break. Sometimes real-life things get in the way and I get laser focused on them and can’t really see the big picture of all the things I’m letting fall by the wayside.

These past couple of months have been a huge buckling-down for me. My fiance and I managed to buy our very first house, closing on it on Valentine’s Day weekend 8d40d063-c389-40f3-9254-4e2c1d0ce052after a whole bunch of hoopla (almost losing the house, switching lenders, stuff with concessions, just a mess). I have an issue with houses that are asylum-white, so the next couple weekends were spent, every day, just painting the house. And then came the housewarming party. And the weekend of de-stressing afterward from so much work in so little time. And then Easter.

Now the house still isn’t fully painted (got two bathrooms, spare rooms and a laundry room to go), and a bunch of home improvement projects are piling up on to the list. And now that we’ve finished the push with setting up the house, we’ve got to settle down on getting a lot of our marriage prep stuff finished (meeting the photographer, beginning our mentoring sessions, meeting with clergy to begin paperwork, etc.) So I can’t promise that I won’t find myself distracted by life anymore.

I think I’m finally coming to terms with that. That I can plan all I want, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be capable of following through. And that’s okay. Life can get in the way and it should because it’s important. I want to always be able to say ‘alright, now that I’ve finished this task I can be a real writer and keep a real schedule like the big names do’. And there is a point where I can’t just give up on these kinds of tasks because in the long run it is important to me. You all are important to me. Writing is important to me.

But I don’t need to beat myself up when things get a little jumbled up. When I slip off the track. All I can do is shrug and try to do better next time, knowing that ‘better’ is always just doing my best and attempting to discern between real-life challenges and recurring excuses not to do what needs to be done. It’ll be a life journey, for sure. Thank you for sticking through it with me.

Any big changes for you lately, readers?

Updates: A Bit Frazzled


So we’re only five months in to the year and I’m already falling behind a bit on my blogging schedule. I would first like to apologize for that. I have unfortunately been full up to my ears with schedule changes and life shocks. Just this week I had a graduation, a funeral, a giant family crawfish bake and attended a comic-convention at the last minute. At work, my normal rhythm has been interrupted by changes in schedule as well as the boys I nanny now being out for the summer.

It’s a good lesson for me to learn. Sometimes you set schedules, and then life happens. At the moment, I have dealt with that fairly poorly. I have let something important, my writing, fall by the wayside just because I have become busy, instead of juggling my time in a more efficient manner. I have done plenty of self-care in the past weeks, and hopefully will be able to hold myself to a better standard in the months to come. Life won’t always work by my schedule, and I need to learn how to better handle that while making sure that I don’t give up things that are important, hoping that my good will will be enough.

Look forward to regularly planned blogs coming back again for the rest of the year. Thank you for being patient with me!

Updates: Getting My Life Together


I’d been doing so good with my resolution to post twice a month. On the one hand, I’m proud that I made it at least five months without slipping, but on the other, I’m a tad disappointed with myself for letting that just go.

Ah, well. Life goes on. And how. I’ve moved back to Highlands Ranch fully now. Settling back in to a living rhythm with my parents, college-aged little brother and younger sister has been a bit of a struggle, but the kinks are starting to work themselves out now. I started my first full-time job nannying for two small children Monday through Friday, at the beginning of this month which is both a challenge and amazing.  Overall I’m proud of this day-job, and feel blessed to be able to make a living doing something that I’m good at, that makes me feel affirmed and valuable and every-day, and surrounds me with love and support instead of hard deadlines and constant belittlement from peers (it helps that if my boss gets cranky at me, I can just put him down for a nap!). I’m also super excited to be getting more involved with my church community, as I have committed myself to being a core team leader for a local high school youth ministry where an old youth group friend of mine was recently hired as the youth director.

In this time of settling in and setting up, I think I’ve written a grand total of one new poem. On the writing front, I’ve been itching to finish my latest full-length fiction manuscript (around 130K words), and I’ve been reading in most of my spare time to try to get rejuvenated with how I’m feeling with my poetic ability. With all of these new experiences in my future, I have a feeling that I will soon have more to write about- but after graduating and moving back, I’ve found that I’ve lost a majority of the writing community that used to keep pushing me to write a new poem a day and I’m most certainly suffering the effects of that. I’m still waiting for a couple of poems to be published before I can send off my next poetry manuscript, but I need to set a goal to get back into submitting poems.

I’ve been entertaining the idea of posting more of my poems directly on my blog rather than submitting them to journals, but I’m torn down the middle on that one. I want to be able to continue to be published as I have been being published, on the one hand, but on the other it would easier and less time consuming for me to post poems directly to my blog on a regular basis (once a month, perhaps?). I might consider doing so with some of my poems which are too specifically worded for most poetry publications, and I might do so with poems that have now been published for long enough that I can re-post them without there being any conflict of interest between myself and the publishers. My question with that would be: which would you rather see, these poems in a text format, or these poems in graphic format? Or should I publish them as both? I will most likely make them as both, seeing as it is easier for some of my media outlets for me to post in graphic rather than text format…

Either way, now that I’m finishing with my latest fiction project I want to get myself back into the swing of being able to balance my poetry side with my fiction side, which means more work and more dedication to both sides of the writing art that I have committed to. I would very much appreciate any prayers or good thoughts that you could spare!

(Also, if you have any requests for a specific kind of poem that you would like me to post, or a poem you’d like me to do a video reading for, don’t hesitate to let me know!)

It’s Almost July!


 

At the end of the month, I’ll be announcing who won the signed copies of Drunk Dialing the Divine as well as finally trying to get back in to compiling my next manuscript. I know I keep saying that I’m starting that, but with all of the work I’ve been doing this summer its been getting really hard just to find the time to sit down and organize everything I’ve written. Or to justify printing it all out. I’ve only written maybe a total of four poems so far, and they aren’t at all ready for any kind of submissions (in consequent, I’ve also not been submitting half as much as I was at my peak). So this is a picture of how I feel pretty much all the time right now. I can’t wait until I graduate and I at least don’t need to spend my time after work writing papers that I’m not really excited about anymore. I just want to spend my free time writing and editing things that are of utmost importance to me, and its frustrating when I can’t. Again, I’m privileged to be so busy but… it’s not always easy to remember that. I’m honestly just waiting for this summer to be over.

Book Blog Tour: Different Gifts, Same Spirit


More chances to enter in the giveaway on M.L. Anderson’s blog about writing as a ministry. In this guest post, I talk about how the seeming death of one dream lead to my realization that I wasn’t being open enough in my own sense of vocation. Only one week to win a signed copy of Drunk Dialing the Divine, my debut poetry collection from eLectio publishing!

What I’ve Been Up To


With my personal laptop being down for the count, to me it seems like lately I’ve had to fight to get enough time to work on my writing. It’s funny to recognize how much writing has become work to me- I’ve become nearly addicted to networking, graphic designing, editing and compiling. Every waking moment is dedicated more to figuring out how to improve my next work, or bringing back-burner projects to the public in fresh, new ways. On the one hand, it’s stressful- being a writer in a day and age where publishing can be had with a fistful of cash, fighting to remain relevant and yet still true to oneself, doing promotion writing and work that were never even dreamed of when I decided I wanted to be a writer… it’s hard. On the other, it’s stress relieving- I wake up every morning with a strong sense of purpose, a list of tasks to be done, and firm goals in mind. A lot of my peers have expressed horror and depression at not having the same drive, especially as we are currently in the thick of graduation season. If I could have a nickel for every ‘what now?’ status I’ve read in the past month, I could quit my day-job and write full time. So for that, at least, I am very grateful. Without my writing, I literally would not know what do so with myself besides surviving.

That being said, it is nice every once and awhile to acknowledge the other things that I’ve been doing. You know, the whole having-a-life-outside-of-writing thing that even I forget ninety percent of the time? Like going to movies with old friends (The new Star Trek was alright, I felt like the humor kept hitting at the wrong times) and shopping with my housemate once a week.

Tanning has been coming along smoothly, which is good news.Fun fact: I’m allergic to sunscreen. Last summer, I didn’t get the opportunity to build up a base tan before June because I started working in an office mid-may every day, and ended up essentially confined to my house for the rest of the summer (or to wait to go to the pool until late nights, brrr) because I would burn so badly. What with starting my nannying job in June this year, I don’t really have the option of not going outside- it would be unfair to the girls I’m watching to make them stay in the shade ninety percent of the time for my sake- so with this tan I’m hoping to go back to my old cycle of protecting myself from the sun with slightly pre-baked skin.

Since I’m back at my parents’ house for the entirety of May (so that my younger siblings can have at least a month of being able to use the little Civic we share liberally), I’m also closer to where my boyfriend lives. I’ve been trying to spend as much time with him as humanly possible, since during the rest of our eight-month relationship we’ve only been able to see each other one day a week, if that. So far, that’s been awesome.  I really do enjoy his company, and the opportunity to hang out more with his family has been great as well. Together we’ve been going to a couple big events with our friends, too, like the first couple of summer BBQs that have been happening (I love those, by the way), as well as his school’s awesome rendition of Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Denver Performing Arts production of Sense & Sensibility:  The Musical (Love Austen!). Today, we’re gonna kick back and play Injustice: Gods Among Us, which I’ve wanted to try out since the first concept art was even released.

Other than that, I’ve just been soaking up this time that I have with my family. When I’m not out, I’m usually watching soap operas with my mom or visiting my grandmother or bugging my little siblings endlessly. It has been wonderful being able to go to Mass with my family again- I love working as a Sacristan up at my school, but it’s also nice to sit down in the pews and receive the experience of church without all the anxiety of having to make sure that it goes as planned, as well as being able to sit surrounded by those I love most (instead of by myself, in the back, ready to spring up if anything goes wrong or someone needs help).

So until I get a replacement for my old computer and have the capability to really grind down to work again, I’m going to be focusing on that. Once I do get the replacement, however, the first thing I’m going to be doing is getting all of my posts for the June Book Blog Tour set up and ready to go! Remember, if you’re interested in being a blog tour host for the month of June, e-mail me at amberkoneval@gmail.com. So far, I’m slated to be writing a couple of great blog posts on what poetry means for me to express my faith, my impressions of Paradise Lost, a couple of exclusive never-before-published poems, and maybe even some new video/audio readings (and don’t forget, at least one giveaway!) Definitely stay tuned for that.

Oh Man, Oh Man


It feels like life is going three hundred miles an hour, nowadays. I just planned out my last semester of college (only fifteen credits, yahoo!), I’ve got a musical to perform in (as a lead) in two weeks, and I only have about a month left of school for this semester. In that time, I’ve been dealing with a novel release under my fiction name, writing my thesis, writing short stories, and getting ready to become a nanny for the summer.

It’s times like these that I need poetry the most, but find myself feeling ‘too busy’ to pick up a pen. I’m barely able to get enough time to practice for my next reading, let alone crank out new work. Part of me doesn’t like that I’ve begun to view writing as ‘work’. Fortunately, that mindset only tends to last until I actually do pick up the pen and get to writing. It’s funny that the one thing that I think will add on more stress to my life ends up taking it all away.

So even though I’m exceedingly busy, be rest assured that I’m still writing. I may not be submitting at the superhuman volumes that I was used to doing, but I have at least refused to come to a stand-still. Once I get a little break, I’ll get back into the swing to things. After all, Drunk Dialing was always meant to only be an introduction to my journey. There’s lots more to be shared and to be experienced. I promise I haven’t forgotten, and that there is no way that I’m going to let my poetry slide just because of a little thing like lacking time.

What do you do when you’re stressed out and can’t find time to do the things you love?

Storyteller Volume 17, Issue 2


Finally got the first issue of the first Storyteller edition that I’m published in! Here is my poem ‘Reflection’, which can be found on page 53 of this specific edition:

Reflection

like a gasp
like a sharp intake of breath
it comes

a slow realization
that you realize quickly
like a slap
a burning sting that lasts for days
as sharp

you are reminded again
and again
softer, first
then harder
urgent
screaming
wailing
for your attention
ignored
as easily as sin

those moments
when life tells you
that she’s passing you
by

 

 

 

 

If you like the poem, please go to The People’s Choice Award and vote for ‘Reflection By Amber Koneval’. Your support would mean an awful lot to me!

Sorry For The Lack of Posting


But I’ve been at work the whole time.

My boss actually found out that I don’t go back to school until the 15th and rescheduled me everyday but Monday on the week I was going to have off.

Oh well.

At least now I’ll for sure be able to afford a car come summer!

And I got my mother to agree to let me get my tattoo over Easter break, as long as I prove to her that I do my research about my artist. I wanted to be able to get the pain part of the tattoo over with during this break, but at least she’s now promised a set date. I won’t let her back out of it this time!

I miss my boyfriend a lot too. He wants to come back to Colorado early just so he can be with me for a bit before we start classes again but I’ll be at work, yet again. I mean I don’ think that my mother, who adores him, would be adverse to having him around the house even when I’m not there but that’s got to be boring for the kid. Not to mention my little brother would have to give him room up yet again. Unless I could convince my mother to let him sleep in the basement with fifty thousand blankets since it’s cold down there. I really want him to come. I miss him so much.

Only two more weeks before break is over!

And I’m already so tired because of work that I almost don’t want to go out and party on New Year’s Eve.

I feel like I’m thirty years old. Even my joints have started creaking. Sometimes I wonder where my life is going.