lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Mass of Mint June 19, 2018

Filed under: I Meant Well — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I’m not the most domestic person. It’s not a part of my personality or skill set.

But last summer I decided, as I was living at home for the first time in a very long time, that I wanted to grow mint.

  • By all online accounts, mint is so easy to grow it’s nearly impossible to kill. Sounds great!
  • Mint can be used in food and drink. Easy and edible, I like it.
  • They sell mint plants for super cheap at the garden store. Budget-friendly is great.

By all measures, mint and I had just become soul mates. The husband and I went out and bought one tiny mint plant. I put it in the garden, fed it organic fertilizer, and waited a few days before picking off a few leaves. The fresh mint was delicious! Tossed into an icy cold beverage, a few leaves created minty perfection.

But my plant was so small and helpless, if I kept pulling off its leaves, soon the little baby mint would be naked and die.

So I went back to the plant store and bought two more mint plants, carefully placing them next to the first and giving them plenty of that high-end, organic fertilizer. (more…)

 

The Chatty Husband May 15, 2018

I have this thing about being in public. Sometimes, strangers talk to you. It’s a real problem for me.

I’m not an introvert by any means, but I don’t want to chat with the person behind me in line who compliments the voicemail I just left my mother. I don’t really want to know why the person on the plane next to me is flying to D.C. And I really, really don’t want to know why the awkward stranger in the coffee shop really loves any song.

I’m happy watching people without interacting. I’m totally fine with chatting with patrons after a performance. But I have a strong stranger danger button.

My husband, however, really likes chatting to people. All the damn time. We get stuck in hotel lobbies, waylaid by elderly women who want to detail exactly what we should try at the continental breakfast the next day. We spend extra time in rest stops hearing about how the gas attendant has never left their home state.

I mock him for it, I grumble at him when we run late because of it. But—and I really hate to admit this—every once in a while, he meets someone really cool.

I’ll let him tell you about it.

I stood in line at a Starbucks in Chicago the other day when a gentleman in his 50s or so cut the line. (more…)

 

The Creek and the Stings May 11, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I grew up in a very old house in the country. We had three-ish acres of land, and my family left most of it wild. Trees, blackberry bushes, and tall grass all leading up to a creek.

I would run wild through the back for hours at a time. As long as I stayed within our property and didn’t go swimming on my own, my parents just let me go. My mom had this giant antique school bell, and when she rang, it was time to head back toward the house. It was a crazy amount of freedom.

One day while playing way out toward the back of the property, I stepped on a hive of ground bees. I don’t even know how many stings I got, only that my leg hurt like hell.

I did the only thing a child used to running wild would do. (more…)

 

Reading Reviews May 8, 2018

There are a lot of similarities between acting and authoring. The love of storytelling, artistic nature of the endeavor, the constant threat of rejection… and reviews.

Reviews as an actor have never really bothered me. You win some, you lose some, but at the end of the day, you have to do the show the director set to the best of your ability. Altering your performance to fit a review is horribly unprofessional, so you soldier on and keep your chin up.

It’s a little different for books. The book is out there, and there really isn’t anything you can do. Unless there are semi-colons mid-word (as was found in a big name book that will remain nameless), in which case your publisher has to scramble to send a new version out into the world, the book is the book.

But you’re working so independently on your books; you could let the review pressure trickle into your work. Declaring that you’re never going to use a love triangle again, you will avoid writing on all social issues, or banning magic from your books are easy traps to fall into.

I know a lot of authors refuse to read any reviews of their work, and I get it; avoiding psychological damage is important. (more…)

 

Adventures in Authoring May 4, 2018

As I type this blog, I am sitting on my tour bus seat with my computer perched on my lap. (Don’t tell my chiropractor). During the seven months of tour, this seat has been my bed, my office, my sofa, my kitchen.

The thing is, if I didn’t have a writing career, if I were just being a full time actor and living a leisurely tour life, I would have so much time to read and play. But I have an author career to maintain. I wouldn’t want to change a thing. Smashing all my time into writing when I’m not eating and sleeping is a worth the sacrifice.

Generally, I wake up, crawl my way onto the bus, and sleep through quiet hours. Then it’s time for lunch, during which I work on managing my social media accounts. Afternoon on the bus is writing and editing time. Get to the hotel at 3:30-ish, work/swim if there’s a pool, scrounge for dinner. Get on the bus to go to the venue at 5:15-ish. Get to the theatre, cram writing work in between meetings, sound check, and the show. Get back to the hotel at 10:45-ish. Work until about 2am. Go to bed. Start the whole process over bright an early the next morning.

There are times where variations happen. If we’re in a city for more than a day, I can sneak away for a few hours if there’s a hiking trail available. If there’s a really great brewery, I’ll sacrifice a bit of my word count to sample the local brews. But really it’s a lot of time pushing through to get things done.

But it’s worth it because by the end of this tour I will have
Released two books:

Boy of Blood (Girl of Glass, #2)

The Girl Without Magic (The Chronicles of Maggie Trent, #1)

Edited one project to turn in: (more…)

 

The Crete Blockade May 1, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I present you all with a mystery.

The husband and I are currently putting the finishing touches on our trip to Greece and Italy. Because that’s what you do as soon as you finish living on a bus for seven months: you go travel more.

Things were going really well as far as trip planning, but then we got an email cancelling our flight from Crete to Venice. Which is weird. I mean, I’ve had flights changed, or been merged onto a later flight. But they just canceled. Sent an email saying, “Oops, you’re on your own to get off of Crete.” (more…)

 

Just a Gig April 27, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 12:30 pm
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I learned a very important lesson a lot of years ago. A job, no matter how beloved and how consistent, is nothing more than a gig.

What can a gig do?

  • Pay you
  • House you
  • Provide artistic fulfillment
  • Allow you to excel in your field
  • Maybe—if you’re super lucky and found a unicorn job—give you health insurance

Those are all pretty great things. I mean, food and housing are vital to life. Assuming you’re working in a field of your choice, getting a chance to work is great, and delving deeper into your profession is excellent.

But here are the things a gig can’t do: (more…)