lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Maize April 13, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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Once upon a time, the husband and I decided to go to a corn maze between performances on a two-show day. This was before we lived on a tour bus, so we had our own car and the maze was less than fifteen minutes from the theatre.

It was a beautiful fall day, and the farm hosting the maze was great. There was apple cider and apple cider donuts. We blithefully headed into the corn maze, ready to spend a fun twenty minutes winding our way through the corn.

About forty minutes later, we realized the maze was bigger than we had imagined.

Fifteen minutes after that, we realized we hadn’t seen anyone in a long time and didn’t really know which way the front of the maze was supposed to be.

We had to be at the theatre for the evening performance in a half hour. Subtract about fifteen minutes for getting from the maze to the parking lot and driving from the farm to theatre and…we were potentially very screwed.

We considered squeezing between the corn stalks to try and find our way out but, not knowing what direction we wanted to go, trail blazing could have landed us on the far side of the farm with no better clue which way our car was (the husband and I were late to the iPhone party, so no compass to be had).

When we had ten minutes left to find the car if we were going to make it to the theatre on time, we finally had to call the stage manager. (more…)

 

A Wrinkle in Summer March 23, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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The summer after my senior year of high school was terrible. After spending a million hours a week dancing in preparation for college auditions, I ended up with two stress fractures in my shin. I was condemned to three months on crutches. Worse than just crutches, with orders to move as little as possible to rest my other, slightly less damaged shin.

My sister took some time off to stay with me and literally sit on me on the few occasions I tried to get to the bathroom unassisted. The only things that saved me were Dawson’s Creek reruns and Madeline L’Engle.

The local library had her full set of books, and I tore through all of them. And not just the Wrinkle in Time series. I got to be good friends with the Austins and the O’Keefes too. There was something about her writing style that was so simple and so mythical. You were never talked down to, but you knew everything that was happening. From visiting ice caps to traveling to strange planes, I always knew I could count on Madeline L’Engle for an amazing adventure.

To this day when people ask who my favorite authors are, Madeline L’Engle is always on the list.

But…I still haven’t seen the new movie. I’m just too scared. (more…)

 

Authorless-ness January 16, 2018

In case you missed it, my latest book, The Girl Without Magic was released last week.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say how grateful I am and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful publisher, and how thrilling it is to have people read my words.

All of that is true, but this is Life Beyond Exaggeration, not my author website, so here’s the messy part of it.

Being an author isn’t always fun. I actually thought about it, and if I gave up writing, I could get masters degree. I would have time to do the school work and time to earn the money to pay my tuition. If I didn’t write, I could be a really great ukulele player, have a six pack, have watched everything on Netflix everyone tells me I should watch. There is so much I could do with my time and my life if I just stopped writing! It’s maddening!

And that’s what I spent my joyous release day thinking about. In a burrito of blankets. Binging on cool ranch Doritos. There were a lot of things that led to this highly attractive moment.

Amazon being screwy and not posting the book for many hours so I was panicking that it would never go up.

Important people not answering my emails when I needed them to.

People in my non-author life treating my writing like a side hobby that should hold no sway over my schedule and should be dismissed when it becomes inconvenient for them.

The never-ending self doubt because no one will read my books and, even if they do, won’t leave a good review.

Then I decided. I was done. No more writing. Fulfill the commitments I currently have contracts for and then be done. (more…)

 

You Have Chosen… Poorly October 3, 2017

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 12:40 pm
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I’m going to combine three stories into one. Maybe a little because it’ll be more interesting and I can create an allegory of doom, maybe a little so I don’t get in trouble.

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Once upon a time, I received an email. Basically the email read: Whatever people told you you’ve done well, they were wrong. We found someone better. A new shiny toy that we like much more than we like you. I know that you’ve worked for us and you trusted us, but we’re going to screw you over for no apparent reason. Mostly because our nuggets have been tweaked, and we’ve lost all sense of right in the world.

The funny part is the email came more than a year after the battle had been won. The contract had been signed. The reviews had been given. I’d already won.

But the email sender still felt the need to reject a hard-earned triumph, even at the cost of their own business. (more…)

 

The Ferns of Blarney July 13, 2017

Most of you have probably heard of the Blarney Stone. If you haven’t, here’s the short of it. There’s a stone in Blarney Castle, and if you kiss it, which is way harder than it sounds, btw, you’ll be blessed with the gift of eloquence.

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Naturally, when planning our Ireland expedition, we decided we had to swing by Blarney Castle. Yes, I have heard all the awful stories of locals doing terrible things to the stone at night. But if I’m going to start the zombie apocalypse, I’d just assume get the monster germs that end the world doing something memorable.

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We had planned to be at Blarney Castle for like an hour. Get in, kiss the stone, and leave. Honestly when we saw the price of admission to the castle grounds I rolled my eyes a bit. It was quite a bit of money to kiss a stone. But then they gave us a map of the Blarney Castle Grounds, and it all made sense. (more…)

 

Profiling the Viewer June 12, 2017

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
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I think I may be watching too much Criminal Minds.

For those who aren’t familiar with Criminal Minds, it’s about a group of FBI agents who hunt serial killers. So each episode is about the worst of the worst humanity can provide.

Why am I binge watching a show where you know people are going to die and not from zombies or beheadings? The husband and I have been doing a ton of unpacking and cleaning, and it’s a great show to have on in the background. Honestly, whoever makes their sound track is a genius. The music always tells you when it’s really important that you look at the screen. The music swells…and then there’s a severed head. Super easy to just sort-of pay attention to. And I love watching crime shows because no matter how stressed and downtrodden I feel, I am still way better off than that girl on the slab who had all her blood removed.

But here’s where I think I’ve been watching too much and think I might need to switch to Care Bears. (more…)

 

Month of Madness May 22, 2017

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life,What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 5:30 pm
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Well… I’m back!

It’s been a hell of a… month? More than that?

Let’s do a recap.

Closed a show in Florida and flew out to Ireland.

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Had an amazing two weeks exploring the country. Saw some beautiful places, met some awesome people, cracked my husband’s phone screen. All in all a great trip! (Don’t worry, there are plenty of Emerald Isle stories I’ll be sharing!)

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Got back to the U.S. just in time to run to my mom’s old house to help with some repairs and sorting to prep for sale! We tried to replace a faucet and ended up replacing a counter, we built a railing, and we watched the angry old-men packers box all sorts of things they weren’t supposed to touch.

 

 

2A50CA89-3326-48F8-AB57-3EFB46839883.JPGThen we got keys to the new house! Bought some plants, had the stuff moved in, and jumped into rehearsals for a show the husband and I wrote the music and lyrics for and are in!

Day off meant a break to clear out our storage unit, which is really hard when you bought the fancy non-break-in-able lock but don’t have your key. It all worked out in the end, and all of our stuff is finally under one roof. We’ve even started framing and hanging almost ten years of collected art!

There was a bit of editing and signing of a book contract thrown into that mix as well. But mostly it was just a month of madness. But now I’m having my first proper day off, sitting on my couch, typing a blog, and having coffee from my coffee maker.

It was a rough and wonderful road, and I am so glad to be back with you all! I can’t wait to tell you about my run in with a raven in Killarney!