pin this, part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the Official House Tour. If you missed Part 1, you can go here to catch up. I’ll wait.

Meet our new house, part 2 (again, you can click on the images to make them slightly larger):

Welcome to our Guest room, where all of our lovely friends will have the opportunity to stay over after they’ve had a few too many from down the street at Young Avenue Deli. Or Celtic Crossing. Or Café Olé. Or any of the other numerous restaurants/bars within walking distance of our new house.

This lamp is another one of my favorites in the house. My sister noticed it at a thrift store after I walked right by it. Kristen may or may not have somewhat fought another shopper for us to have this. But, come on. Book spines as a lamp base? How perfect is that for me?

These twin beds were in my room growing up (along with the transformed dresser now residing in our dining room). We were short one mattress, so we picked one up off a random corner, tied it to the top of Kristen’s car and prayed it wasn’t infested with bed bugs. If you happen to stay over, you’ll have to let us know.

Here’s Kristen’s lovely room. Hers and the guest room are the only two rooms in our house with carpet. Another reason why we didn’t fight over who got the master suite (I don’t care for carpet).

We each have a dress form in our rooms. She gave me mine as a birthday gift after we had been searching for them for months. They’re all over the place at antique stores, with only one exception. None of them are ever for sale. It’s like they’re just teasing you. Oh, you like this pretty thing? Too bad. Sucks for you. Try again later.

Since her room is the master, she also gets the master bath. The Hollywood Image is actually a Kristen Archer original she took while in LA last year filming a documentary for Mary Kay Inspiring Stories (I love telling people that. It’s pretty awesome to have such a talented sister). This vanity is another family heirloom, though she’s had it for quite some time. She refinished it herself while in college, so it is in much better shape than the one you’re about to see in my room.

And my lovely bathroom—one of my sister’s house requirements was that we each have our own. I have no idea why. I’m not a big fan of the red walls, but that’s the color they were painted when we moved in. I’m planning on painting it a light gray…whenever I get around to it. Seeing as how I’m a horrible procrastinator, that probably won’t happen anytime soon.

No bathroom is complete without a stash of reading material. Poets & Writers is my new favorite obsession (thanks, Bert).

And, my room! Yes, that’s a fireplace. How else is Santa supposed to come visit us and drop off all our Christmas presents? On the fireplace, holding the two red candles, are what Kristen and I refer to as the “roach killers.” If you’d like to know why, please refer to this. I bought these back when I was in college, I believe. They have definitely provided more worth than anticipated. In case you were wondering, there are no roaches currently residing under them at this very moment.

This is where the other magic happens—the writing magic. My iMac is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I highly suggest owning one. Yes, it might take a year’s salary—as most Apple products do—but I promise it’d be worth it. Also, those two frames hold the two book cover designs I did for Bert Johnston. My family surprised me by having them signed and framed. I can’t wait until he writes another (no pressure, Bert).

As you can see, my dress form is similar to Kristen’s. I also found a smaller version from Pier One to display more of my jewelry. And what’s that little old thing sitting next to it, you ask? I’m a proud graduate of Mississippi State University, so I don’t why you’re surprised I have a cowbell sitting on my vanity. As a fellow Mississippi State alum, my brother gifted me with that bell way back at my high school graduation. And yes. I ring it. All the time. Kristen loves it. Of course, my bedroom wouldn’t be complete without a magic mirror. Kristen took a short detour on her way to move into our house after she spotted this mirror on the side of the street at a garage sale. It was $5. All it needed was a little windex and a layer or two of paint. Have you noticed how she’s basically found all the good deals and I merely reap the benefits?

These “city” paintings are my pride and joy. They’ve made me quite a decent amount of money, too. Painted on 2′ x 3′ canvases, these were my two originals. My best friend, Megan, and I took weeks to come up with all the names to list on them. The left is composed of places/streets/etc. in downtown Memphis, the right from all things midtown. They hung proudly on the wall of the apartment we used to share (I miss you, 56 McLean. And you, Megan. And you, Jason. And you, Heath). There are actually quite a few establishments listed here that are no longer in business since these were made so long ago. FYI, I take custom orders for these, where people can give me their own list of 30-40 names/places/etc. that I then turn into a painting. They make great wedding presents (I’ve gifted a few, myself). Contact me if you’re interested. Yes, they cost more than $20. Please ignore all the scratches on my otherwise beautiful vanity. I got this for free from a friend of my sister-in-law who was giving it away. You heard that right. Giving. It. Away. I paid absolute zilch for this lovely piece of antique furniture. I’ll get around to re-finishing it right after I paint my bathroom.

You already know that I love books. I may have mentioned it before. Having a built in bookshelf in my own room? Oh, well, that’s just a little bit of heaven. You may have also picked up on the fact I love cats. I always have. I grew up with a cat named Friskey who—I love to point out—liked me better than either of my brother or sister. Friskey used to hide under Kristen’s bed and attack Kristen’s feet when she got up in the mornings. She also used to piss in my brother’s shoes, though I think that’s because he once tossed her off our back deck to see if she’d land on her feet. Even though she did, he had the piss coming to him. My mother actually gave me this lovely porcelain cat decoration when I was in middle school. I think I deserve a medal for keeping up with it for so long. I lose everything. But this? Somehow, it’s survived.

Since I own so many books, it’s only fitting that I recently started collecting bookends. My mom and sister found these been bag ones on Etsy a few years back and got me “idea” and “edit” for Christmas. Megan bought the green one for me last year. Whenever someone asks for an idea of what to buy me, my go-to is always bookends. Feel free to buy me one. Anytime.

And, because I can’t show my house to you without formally introducing you to one of its residents, I give you my cat, Mulligan. When he’s not terrorizing Maddie, he likes to hang out on my headboard by my books and stare outside. As my old roommate and friend, Jason, used to say, “He’s planning his escape so he can take over the world. [switches to cat voice] Why do you keep calling me Mulligan? My name’s Bartholomew.

And, that’s my house! I hope you enjoyed it. As I mentioned in part 1, my sister has more pictures and descriptions up on her own blog. You can check that out HERE. Go to it. Don’t fight it. Just let it happen. She’ll wow you with her amazingness.

Next week, I’ll try and give an update on my writing—you know, kind of, sort of, the whole reason I started this blog? In the meantime, you can check out my Twitter to see how Project 365 is coming along. I haven’t missed a day, yet!

– lindsey archer

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pin this, part 1

I believe I’ve mentioned how much I love my new house. Yes, I moved in during the first week of last October. Regardless—until I’ve lived here for at least a year—I’m going to continue to refer to it as my new house. After said year of living, it will simply convert to my awesome house. Because it is. Awesome.

My sister, Kristen, and I searched for months. Long. Grueling. Months. It was sort of like torture. We saw carpeted monstrosities, duplexes complete with small, whiny, loud children as neighbors, apartments without dishwashers…we were sure we weren’t going to find anything, especially with our list of must-haves and can’t-live-without’s and absolute deal-breakers that seemed to multiply with every wrong house we viewed.

And then, after months of looking, we fell in love. Perfect neighborhood? Check. Perfect house? Check. Just about all of the must-haves and none of the deal-breakers? Check and check.

Before moving in, we actually had the silly thought we might not have enough stuff to furnish the new house. Clearly, that was a moment of stupidity. We filled up a 3-4 bedroom U-Haul, in addition to a few carloads. Add that to all the extra non-essential crap we’ve bought since October, our house is officially FULL. We’ve decided we’re done decorating. No. More. Crap. Which is why we’ll probably go antiquing again this weekend.

With that said, I thought it was time to post some pictures. It’s kind of long-winded, so if you only want to look at the pictures and skip all the cool words, that’s totally okay. I’ll forgive you.

Meet our new house, part 1 (you can click on the images to make them slightly larger):

This is our house. Our beautiful house with the lovely front porch that has absolutely nothing on it. Yet. We plan to remedy that by this summer (See? We’ll never be done buying crap). Right when we moved in, our older brother surprised us with a fantastic David D. Lynch abstract print of our new neighborhood, Cooper Young. We have it hanging up right as you walk in the door.

This front living area is the first thing you see inside the front door. Kristen and I found this green couch on consignment at a local furniture warehouse for only $100, so we have no idea who’s actually slept on it before. Though, other than the under-lining Maddie’s teeth have taken a shining to, it’s in great shape. A bunch of our other furniture are pieces we’ve inherited from our parents (A.K.A. confiscated from their attic with their reluctant permission). Since she had two, my mother gave each of us an antique, cedar chest (Kristen’s seen above, repurposed as a coffee table). My mom also let me temporarily use her old, antique, SINGER sewing table. I love it, so I’m not really planning on giving it back anytime soon. Nothing in this room really goes together, yet it all somehow goes together.

I promise we’re not vain, but we do have a lot of mirrors in our house. Strange men appear in them and tell us how we’re the most beautiful residents in all of Cooper Young. They also open up smaller spaces and make every room look bigger. Plus, now there are plenty of places for our friends to check for food stuck in their teeth when they come over for parties. It’s a win-win. When we were in Nashville a few months back, a friend of Kristen’s referred us to a hotel furniture liquidator warehouse. It smelled like old people and mildew, but it is where we got both of these mirrors for under $15. Ridiculously cheap. Ridiculously worth the old people smell. Now, as a writer I may be biased, but one of my favorite things in the whole house is on top of this sewing table—a vintage Underwood typewriter that belonged to our great-grandfather in the early 1900s. This was also one of the great finds from my parents’ attic that was dusted off and given new life. I used it to type all 124,000 words of Jaded (no I didn’t).

Our house is technically a four bedroom house, though we consider it a three. We repurposed one of the bedrooms as a media/TV room since we didn’t need two extra bedrooms. Plus, it has french doors. Who wants see-thru doors in their bedroom? Weirdos. As you can see on the wall to the left of the room, I love that we finally had a place to hang our masks that we bought from Maui last year. They’re hung right above where Maddie’s face is photo bombing the top image. Our house also features a ton of my art. A friend who stayed in our guest room recently referred to the house as an art gallery. The Memphis Bridge painting above my mother’s antique desk in the right picture is one of the first paintings I made for my sister while she lived in Nashville. Sort of so she could have a piece of Memphis while she was there. As for our furniture, my sister and I redid a lot of the pieces in our house. In the media room, for the side and coffee tables, we bought some teal paint and distressed each piece (our dad’s favorite word) and added two decorative knobs from Anthropologie to the side table since the handle we bought didn’t fit the weird size of the two holes in the drawer. We improvised. The two tables were rendered unrecognizable. It’s amazing what a little paint and sanding can do.

The trolley painting in the media/TV room practically took me as long to paint as Jaded did to write. Unlike most of the paintings I do (in one sitting), I painted the trolley in bits and pieces. It took me forever. My friends made fun of me a lot, wondering when—if ever—it would be completed. I can’t remember how long it sat on my easel with the background finished and a big white space looming in the middle, waiting for me to fill in the trolley. Because of that long, grueling process, it gets a prominent spot in the house.

Here’s my cedar chest that desperately needs refinishing (hence why it’s covered with pillows). As you can see, this cityscape is substantially larger than the trolley painting, yet took me less than a day to paint. I surprised my sister one of the first weekends she traveled out of town by having this hanging up when she got back home. It’s a mash-up of the Memphis and Nashville skylines (since she lived there for about 7ish years before moving back with me in Memphis). Another aspect I love about this house is the lighting. It has recessed lighting coming out its a…you get the point. It’s wonderful. The black grate in the floor is the dungeon where I trap my sister when she pisses me off or parks behind me in our narrow driveway. Don’t judge. There are holes for air.

Can you tell we’ve recently become obsessed with lanterns? I can’t get enough of them. Every time I see one in a store, I feel like I have to have it. Plus, I sometimes let my sister use them when I banish her to the dungeon. Sometimes.

More lanterns. Another magic mirror. After moving home from college, I found this mirror wrapped in a blanket in my parents’ attic. They didn’t even know it was there. They couldn’t remember where it had come from—like a magic mirror stork had dropped it down into their attic. I took it upon myself to paint it black (the stork dropped it off in an ugly, chipped gold color). It’s really heavy, in case you were wondering. The faux buffet below it is actually my antique, cherry wood dresser I had growing up, handed down to me from my grandmother. Sitting in a dusty attic for four years (while I was away at college) had it in pretty bad shape. Pealing sections of stain, scratches up and down every surface. We applied a fresh coat of black paint to match the mirror and distressed it with some sand paper (can you tell we like distressing furniture?). Instead of forking over a fortune on new handles, we painted the original ones to match the walls of the dining room. My mom didn’t recognize the dresser the first time she saw it after we transformed it. Seriously. Re-doing furniture is way easier than most people think.

Here are some of the random knick-knacks & knooks in the dining/kitchen area. We found the brown shutter discarded in a corner of our creepy midtown basement, added a teal Anthropologie knob and Voila! Instant art piece. The black wine rack is on loan from my mother’s best friend. Maddie loves to poke at the wine glasses with her puppy nose in her sad attempt at playing the bells. She’s not very good at it. I told her to keep practicing. And I’m not sure our parents agree, but we find the wooden word block hilarious.

I. Love. This. Kitchen. It has everything my old kitchen didn’t. Tons of counterspace. Pendant lights. A bar. TONS of cabinet/drawer space. Outlets everywhere. Huge double-door pantry. Wide open to the rest of the house. Recessed lighting galore. I love cooking in here, even though I don’t really cook that much. I keep saying I’m going to cook more. Then I remember that I’m lazy.

I love my house. I love most of the rooms in my house. This is—by far—my favorite. I’ve spoken about it before. It’s what my sister refers to as our Beauty and the Beast Library. Totally identical, right? One full wall of bookshelves, complete with a winged-back reading chair I found at a local antique warehouse for about $30. It’s like heaven—bottled up into a room. Though, my cat gets more use out of the room than I do, considering I’ve only actually sat and read one book here. Mulligan uses the chair as a scratching post and the bookshelves to play his own game of keep away from Maddie. Screaming at him to stop doesn’t deter him.

This is one of two side tables we redid (the first was in the front room). We merely painted them white and sanded down the edges/grooves. I wish I had a before and after for you. They went from drab/cheap looking to shabby chic. I only lost a few layers of skin to sand paper in the process.

I own a lot of books. Physical, hard-cover books. None of that e-reader crap. I buy all of my books because I don’t know the meaning of due dates at the Library and am always surprised when I go there and all of a sudden owe $70. I thought libraries were supposed to be free? In the long run, it’s cheaper and better for my stress level to pay for the books up front instead of taking them out on loan with no intention of ever remembering to return them. Speaking of, I just recently purchased three DVDs from Redbox.

While I’m sitting in my reading chair, reading life-changing, challenging, literary masterpieces like Twilight, this is my straight on view (when I’m not distracted by my dog tapping out SOS messages with her body against the glass back door). We found this mantle down the street at Gary’s Antiques for $40. It was dirty, white and beat-up. I added a light coat of teal paint and then we broke our backs sanding it down by hand on our back deck. Attach a piece of plywood covered in chalkboard paint to the back of the opening and you have yourself a new, large writing surface for guests to leave messages. For accents, we used empty wine bottles as vases and a set of mason jars we found somewhere for $7, full of fake apples from Target. The print in the frame is an original photograph taken by my sister.

And, next to our mantle chalkboard, we have the illustrious easel. It’s where the magic happens. It’s where I turn blank canvases into works of art. Except those two. They’ve been sitting there since I moved in last October. I have no idea what in the Hell to put on them. Until then, they’ll sit there all crisp and clean and waiting for inspiration. Maybe I can incorporate the thin layer of dust that has settled on them into some sort of mixed media piece. Only time will tell.

And, that’s part one of my new house. Are you in love, yet? What’s your favorite room? I’m sorry. You can’t have it. We have a state of the art security system, so don’t think about breaking in and stealing anything. That alarm will seriously break your eardrums before the police show up and break your face.

All the photographs you see here were taken by my lovely and talented sister and roommate, Kristen. She just started her own photography blog HERE. Sometime today, you’ll be able to see images of her room there, too. She’s about ten times funnier than me, so it’s worth a look or two. Or ten.

I have more pictures to show you. Next up…you get to see where I sleep. That sounded much creepier written out than it did in my head. My bad. Stay tuned!

– lindsey archer

UPDATE: Kristen’s blog is now up with more pictures of the house. See it HERE.

unwelcome houseguests

I love my new house. I really, really do.

Everything is up on the walls. Has been since the first week when my sister and I morphed into maniac Martha Stewarts with our hammers, nails and furniture paint because we HAD TO HAVE EVERYTHING PERFECT THE MOMENT WE MOVED IN OR ELSE WE WERE GOING TO JUST DIE. It looks very put-together, in case you were wondering.

I have a whole room for my used bookstore/library/I-buy-way-too-many-books collection, complete with my awesome, brand new, green reading chair I found for a mere $35 at a local antique store. It doesn’t matter I haven’t actually gotten around to reading anything while sitting in said chair. The point is it’s there for when I eventually get around to it and looks pretty and bookish and amazing in all its tall, winged-back, velvety glory.

As of our Halloween housewarming party two weeks ago, the house has officially been broken in by copious amounts of drunk, cheerful friends and their spilled alcoholic beverages. My old, hand-painted beer pong table was even drug out and put to good use on our beautiful, spacious back deck.

So, see? My new house is wonderful. There’s just one teensy little problem.

Technically, problems—plural. They’re brownish-black with six spiky legs and turn my sister into a screaming, fleeing lunatic.

I’m talking about roaches. Don’t pretend you didn’t just shudder in disgust. It’s okay. We all have weaknesses.

Moving into an old midtown house that was previously vacant for at least a month, I sort of expected to see the occasional bug. Even after having Cook’s Pest Control spray pesticides in and around our house numerous times, we were told a few dead ones might turn up as the spray worked its magic.

The problem? They. Keep. Coming. Back.

Alive.

My cat can only eat so many before he just starts flipping them over onto their backs so he can torture them and bat them around the hardwood floors like they’re nothing more than playful toys there for his amusement.

The second weekend after we had moved in, my sister came back from out of town to find random paint cans and a few of my solid, wooden candlesticks distributed throughout the house. They had served as my weapons of choice against the invaders because of their flat, unforgiving bottom surfaces. Except, once I slammed them down and heard the horrible crunch of the bugs being annihilated, I was too grossed out to lift said weapon back up and dispose of the dead bodies appropriately. I left them as is, hoping some magic bug fairy would come and clean them up while I slept. What do you mean, there’s no such thing as a magic bug fairy?

Look on the bright side, you say? I have a wonderful house in midtown and bugs can be exterminated? I guess you’re right. And really, I could look at this as a bonding experience between my new dwelling and me.

If standing on the slender edge of your bathtub in your narrow bathroom while holding a tall, wooden candlestick—aka roach killer—suspended in the air while you scream at a roach to please scurry onto the easily cleanable checkered tile floor because you refuse to spill bug guts all over the brand new, plush, gray bathroom rug its creepy bug legs are currently residing on, all while your sister conveniently watches from the safety of the hallway…well, if that doesn’t bond you and your new house for life, I honestly don’t know what would.

So, I guess I’ll stop complaining and pray the pest control service hurries up and starts actually controlling our pest problem. I just want to leave you with one, tiny disclaimer.

If you come over to our house and spot a large, tall, black, wooden candlestick seemingly positioned in a random spot in one of our rooms?

Don’t look under it. Trust me.

It’s for your own good.

-lindsey archer

PS – a NaNoWriMo update coming up next!

it’s crowded in there

My head, I mean. I have so many thoughts swimming around in there that it’s usually hard to concentrate on just one at a time. Also, if you’ve ever met me for longer than 5 seconds, you’ve probably witnessed my worthless short-term memory. When I’m introduced to someone new, it’s like all I’m hearing is some Charlie Brown version of wha-wha-wha-wha-wha. By the time I’m done shaking their hand, I’m left staring…wondering what in the Hell they said their name was, because I’ve sure as Hell already forgotten.

It’s pathetic. I know. And it’s not just meeting new people. I’ll wake up from the middle of a really great dream and by the time I’ve blinked my eyes, I couldn’t tell you—for the life of me—what the Hell it was about. It’s gone, lost somewhere in my head, swimming around with all the other jumbled thoughts. My mom thinks I’m being sarcastic when she’ll ask me to go upstairs to get something and has to yell up 15 minutes later because I’ve become completely distracted and forgotten the actual reason that brought me upstairs in the first place. Yes, sometimes I might forget on purpose…but not all the time! Promise.

When I’m driving down the street and a great conversation idea for my novel pops in my head, I scramble to find something on which to write it down. It’s a wonder I never crashed ole silver bullet in the process. Luckily, I’ve come up with a better plan. I’m now the only person I know who actually uses the Voice Memo app on my iPhone—to record my random thoughts, novel ideas that pop into my head and other bits & pieces I’m scared I’ll forget by the time I exhale my next breath. Plus, it’s way safer for silver bullet 2.0 than trying to write down or type something while I’m pushing 60+ mph.

Anywhoo…back to my head. There are so many thoughts I have fighting for attention right now, I could fill up about 10 blog posts by Friday. But, seeing as I don’t have the time to write all of them (see topic #2 below), I’ll start with just the top two.

Topic #1. WE GOT THE HOUSE (that’s in all caps so you’ll know I’m screaming inside)!!!?!!! We got THE house. The PERFECT place. Seriously, my sister and I are so excited the search is finally over and we get to move into a place that has ALL of our must haves and none of our dealbreakers. We move in October 1st, back to midtown in the middle of beautiful Cooper-Young, a mere two blocks from my favorite bar. Seriously. My insides are smiling and screaming and jumping up and down. You’ll just have to trust me on that. Stay tuned for pictures.

Topic #2. My novel will be complete by September 10th. 17 days. I’ll be done in 17 days. I’ve set the 10th as my deadline because the Colts play their season opener on Sunday, September 11th, and I’m beyond obsessed with them. I want no distractions that could possibly pull me away from Peyton Manning when he beats the Houston Texans in the first week of the regular season. So yeah, I’ve been writing like crazy lately and I’ve loved every minute of it. And to make my deadline, I’ll be writing even more frantically over the next 17 days. Please excuse me if, in the meantime, my blog posts are a little sporadic. But guess what??!? Jade Henry is almost ready to meet you.

– lindsey archer

Side note—you would have been able to enjoy this post on Monday night, except I decided after work on Monday it would be a great idea to start re-reading Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series in celebration of its 10th anniversary this month. The problem? Those books are SO good. They are like crack cocaine…if I was a crack addict. I’ve wanted nothing more than to lock myself in my room so I can finish all five of them with as few distractions and as quickly as possible. It’s been two days and I’m almost to book three. I know. I have a problem. Oh, and if you’ve never heard of Jessica Darling, then I’m sorry. We might not be able to be friends.

i don’t mean to brag

…but then again, yeah I do. Seeing my work out there—for REAL, not just in my portfolio or on my computer screen—makes me so excited, I decided I had to write up a short post to let you all know. Literally, my face is stuck in a huge grin right now. The kind where if someone were to slap me on the back at this very moment…it just might stay there.

Now that I have you writhing on the floor in suspense, I’ll get to my point. I recently designed my second book cover for Bert Johnston and the book launched today! It’s called Sunrise in the Cloud Forest and here’s the full cover for you to ogle:

I’m really proud of it and book cover design has easily become my favorite freelance work. So, if you’re an author or publisher in need of a freelance artist for a cover design, let me know! I’m ready and willing. Plus, Sunrise is a great read, so everyone go out and get your copy today. Bert’s writing gets better with each book and I will keep designing his covers for as long as he lets me.

It’s also my birthday on Sunday, making it a nice little present to have this book launch this weekend. That and the fact my sister and I may have found THE ONE, the perfect house, that has everything we both want. I’m not going to lie, I was starting to think such a house didn’t exist. We’re supposed to find out on Saturday if we get it, so keep your fingers crossed for us! So, yeah, it’s shaping up to be a pretty great weekend. As an additional present to myself, I’m making plans to get out of the house sometime over the next two days and hide away at my favorite coffee shop in Midtown to get some writing done. I’ve been on a roll, so expect an exciting, full writing update late Sunday or Monday.

And finally, I’m celebrating my lovely birthday on Saturday with some friends, so feel free to stop by Celtic Crossing and buy me a birthday drink. Or a couple if you’re feeling really generous 🙂

– lindsey archer

wake up

My sister, Kristen, and I are close in age. Less than two years apart, she was only one grade above me in school, which resulted in numerous clothing fights, door slamming and screaming matches while growing up. Thankfully, those have dwindled as we both inch closer to our thirties (a feat of which I love to remind her that she’ll reach before me). We’ve actually become incredibly close over the years, which I’m sure you’ll hear more about as this blog develops and progresses—especially considering we’ve decided to move in together at the end of this summer.

So why mention her in my introductory post? Well, as we were browsing for possible apartment furniture this weekend—for the apartment we have neither moved into nor even picked out—an interesting topic came up:

High School Reunion.

Her 10-year reunion is less than a year away, which means mine is less than two years away (though I’m sure if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have already figured that one out). My first thought?

“Holy shit.”

My second thought?

“What the Hell have I done with my life?”

I don’t know if it was like this for you, but when I was in high school, I had a specific vision of what my adult life would be like. As a teenager, when I looked to my future, a 10-year reunion seemed so far away and I just knew that by then, I was going to have earned my biomedical engineering degree, gotten married, popped out a kid or two, be in this incredible job with lots of money and Accomplished. So. Much.

Right? Like in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, when the class geek came back to the scene of his high school days with his private jet, flashing his lucrative career in the faces of all his old classmates. (If you just had to google Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion to figure out what it is, then we are not friends)

I may not have been the class geek and I definitely wasn’t delusional enough to think I’d own a private jet by age 27/28…but I still had a plan.  I mean, I would be so old by then.

Crazy how a teenager’s mind works, isn’t it? If I could go back, I’d knock my 17-year-old self over the head and insist to her that “28 is NOT old, dumbass!”

But it still kind of puts things into perspective of what I’ll have to show for myself 10 years after graduating from high school. I’m far from an engineer (it took only 2 semesters to realize I hated it), not even close to getting married, pretty sure I never want to have children and the money…well, let’s just say I won’t be putting that down payment on a jet anytime soon.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that my life is particularly unhappy. That isn’t what this is about. I actually have a great job with a decent paycheck, enjoy a good social life, am surrounded by wonderful friends and family…there’s just so much MORE I want to do.

While what I hope to accomplish has changed significantly since my teenage years, that doesn’t change the fact I still have things I’d like to accomplish. And if you’ve read my bio, you’ll know I’ve written a novel. 121,002 words, to be exact. And what have I done with it?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.

It’s in a little folder on my computer’s desktop, hidden away from anyone who could actually read it. I even labeled the folder with a generic name so even if someone stumbled across the file, they’d probably skim right along without a second glance. I’ve made excuse after excuse to my friends, “It’s not ready, yet!” or “just a couple more edits!” or “if you don’t leave me alone, I’m not giving you a shout-out in my acknowledgements…” When really? I’m just scared to actually put it all out there. I’m scared to have people read it. What if everyone hates it? What if everyone rejects it? But I’ve realized if I keep it hidden, if I keep making excuses, my book will never actually become a book. It will just be 121,002 words saved to my hard drive that won’t even be discovered when I die because I’ve given it some obscure name that no one will think twice about.

So, I decided it was time to wake-up. It’s time to get the ball rolling. It’s time to do something. I’ve made a deal with myself that I get one more round of edits (baby steps) and that’s it—I’ll go chapter by chapter and make my final changes. And when I reach the last word of the last page of the last chapter?

I’m done. It’s finished. It’s time to show it to someone. I’ll get some feedback. I’ll query agents. I’ll get it published. I’ll be an author. At least that’s the goal. I’ve heard from others about the process and I know it’s not going to be easy. I know it’s not going to happen overnight—most likely not before my high school reunion rolls around. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t ever happen. I’m still young, right?

– lindsey archer

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