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Either way, welcome! I am Tam Albright and this is my little corner of the blogosphere. 

A bit about me:

When you look up the word "Geek" in the dictionary, you will find a picture of me to illustrate. I am a bookaholic, a D&D fanatic, and a lover of all things deep fried and smothered in chocolate. I wanted to steal souls for a living when I grew up, but corporate America already had a monopoly. So, I write speculative fiction instead.

Feel free to friend me and say hello.





 
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Due to technical difficulties, once again I am not able to post my latest blog here. (It seems like I can post from my lj, which cross posts to Twitter and Facebook, but I am unable to do so here. Uploading pics from my computer is also a problem.)

So, if you're interested in finding out what Mark Twain and erotica has in common, clicky here.

Also, if you would like to follow me on Twitter, LiveJournal, or Facebook, feel free to do so. 
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For some reason I am unable to cross-post from my blogger, so here is the link about my trip to San Francisco.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my head has an appointment with a brick wall.

 
 
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I know I have enough excuses to fertilize every farm in the United States and beyond as to reasons why I haven't written anything here lately. Some of them include:
  •  I was abducted by aliens that felt I would benefit from cyber-conversion. This obviously took some time.
  • I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up in Shangri-La. Everything was perfect until I found out they didn't know who Coldplay was. I left.
  • Zombies. It's always zombies.
  • I was trapped in a Vogon airlock.
  • I didn't have time to write because I had to rescue a nest of baby cobras from a hungry honey badger.
  • I was going to write a post until I took an arrow to the knee.
  • I rolled a one.
There is an ever present theme that I've noticed in my life, a lesson that the universe likes to re-teach me every so often whenever it feels I've forgotten: if I don't hold myself accountable, I will reason my way out of just about anything. 

As much as it sucks to say so, here is the truth: I am horrible with time management.

If I don't keep a rigid schedule of "sameness" every day, my world becomes a jumbled mess of priorities, deadlines, and an overwhelming need to run in the opposite direction from it all. There are so many things that I want to do in a day versus the things that I have to do, that often times I am paralyzed with the indecision of how to prioritize based on the time that I am given. 

While I am excellent at making lists--and seriously, I kick an unbelievable amount of list-writing butt--without a scheduled and consistent daily routine, I'm pretty useless when it comes to proficiently tackling anything on said list. I require a certain amount of organization in order to run at maximum efficiency.

Which means that the chaos of this last year has me running on little more than the magic and madness of 'The Present' (with hope that the future will take care of itself,) and a whole lotta methane. (Really, right now I think that hot gas is the primary element fueling the acquirement of my degree, but that's another post entirely.) Unfortunately, life hasn't quite settled into the routine that I need being as that there are so many things that are still up in the air.

That lack of routine makes me feel less in control.

Now logically, though I may not have control over certain life situations right now, I know that I am in the driver seat when it comes to things like how I spend my time. However, that kind of truth also makes me feel bad. Because that means that anything that doesn't get done--like writing--is my fault.

And damn, if that doesn't sting.

Ah, but my reasoning steps in and goes something like, "Don't feel bad. It's not your fault that your teacher employs sweat shop methodology to your homework assignments. You're a straight A student--you're sacrificing so much already for that. So, you didn't get any writing done today. So what? You spent writing time with your kids instead, because your effing homework takes so much time away from them as it is, the poor neglected darlings. And you had to take care of that thing, you know, that thing that only you could take care of because you are 'She Who Takes Care of Things Large and Small' and it needed to be done right-this-moment-without-delay-becausethewholeworldhangsinthebalance-OH-MY-GAWD! Yeah, that thing. Now, go eat some chocolate and enjoy your all expenses paid trip to Zero Accountability. "Afta all, tomorrah is anotha day."" 

Down deep though, I know the truth--I need to manage my time better. Come to think of it, I probably need to stop writing "chocolate" on my to-do list too.

....

Well, one problem at a time.

Anyway, iCal has become my new best friend.  As Annie Dillard said, "A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time." It's really encouraging to have a semblance of order amidst the pandemonium. I was beginning to worry if I would ever escape the ranks of the insane.

I also need this journal to keep me honest. (At least, as honest as a person who makes stuff up for a living can be anyway.) That means more posts on a consistent basis.

And we all know that consistency is as crucial to good time management, as a nice patch of grass is to a constipated weiner dog.

It feels good to finally be going somewhere.

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 “See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.

That’s what I believe.”

—Robert McCammon, “Boys Life”

Unwritten

Jan. 1st, 2012 12:21 pm
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“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." --Edith Lovejoy Pierce


Fog obscures the world from me this morning, as I take in the view from my window. Everything is enshrouded, making the spaces out there seem an endless blank.

Such possibilities in that space--stories yet to be written.

For many people, the approach of a new year creates regretful reflection of the one before--whether it be failed expectations, disappointments, or even loss and disillusion. This is usually accompanied with the sentiments of "So long, and good riddance." For me however, I find myself looking back on 2011 with a surprising amount of gratitude, despite the many trials.

2011 was definitely a year of transition; in fact, 2010 was only a lead in for what would culminate one year later. 

The biggest change of course would be the foreclosure of my childhood home, and the subsequent homelessness that ensued during the summer months. Looking back on that time, even though it was fraught with uncertainty and loss, the lessons from that experience was one that I will always be grateful for. 

It also makes me realize that sometimes bad things have to happen in order for better things to come along.

Job loss led to an opportunity for higher education and greater employment. Homelessness reconnected me to my family. Toxic friendships taught me how to let go and move forward.

Past mistakes allowed me to realize present success.

2011 also brought a lot of joy.

I was able to achieve the one and only goal I made for 2011--mostly. (Though NanoWriMo did not go well for me this year, I was able to cheer on my NanoBuddy/Sister in Books and Music, who crossed the finish line with remarkable success. Go, Kristy!)

I had the honor of watching my best (and only) cousin marry the love of his life, and more recently, share in their happiness as they prepare for their first baby.

My aspirations of becoming an editor and a published author were realized this year, but more importantly, I became a part of a company where dreams (my own and others) are encouraged and cultivated, rather than ridiculed. (Having the privilege of working with such extraordinary people who make others' dreams come true may sound romanticized and idealistic, but at least I know I'm in good company.)

The word "friend" was redefined and became precious to me, having found myself surrounded by some "Fantabulous" people who stood by me and acted as my light when in darkness. (Truly, there will never be enough words to express just how important they are to me or how much I love them, but with my every fiber--I do all the same.) 

Most of all, I have been cradled within the love and comfort of my family--I've laughed, cried, rejoiced, and (occasionally) fought with my sisters. I've become a dependable niece, a championing daughter, a cool aunt, a caring granddaughter, a proud cousin, a grateful daughter-in-law. I've come to celebrate in all the little nuances that is my family. I've held hands, hugged hard, and remembered to always say I love you, even when it hurt. Especially when it hurt. 

The word gratitude has become an intrinsic part of my every day happiness. I've learned to appreciate what I have been given, while expecting nothing from others, and to accommodate inconveniences. I acknowledge that life does not owe me anything. I've also learned to tolerate my life circumstances and realize my strengths and limitations.

As the day wears on and the fog finally begins to burn away, I am reminded to appreciate today, because ultimately, today is all that anyone ever has. 

The rest is still unwritten.


Happy New Year, everyone!
 
*Images courtesy of Google, John Bauer (1882–1918).
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The Twelve Days of the Season
by Tam Albright

On the first day of the season,
my loved ones asked of me,
“Are there enough ideas for your WIP?”
 
So, on the second day of the season,
my loved ones gifted me,
withTwo back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.
 
On the third day of the season,
my loved ones helped some more, with
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.

On the fourth day of the season,
The blinking cursor mocked: 
(Many four-letter swear words,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies, 
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.
 
On the fifth day of the season,
my loved ones distracted me:
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(More four-letter swear words,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.

On the sixth day of the season,
I wrote my loved ones in:
Six doomed characters,
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(F-dash-dash-dash word,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.
 
On the seventh day of the season,
I vented to the Net:
Seven writing #hash-tags,
Six doomed characters,
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(Still swearing swear words,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.

On the eighth day of the season,
my loved ones gave me advice:                                                
Eight clichéd phrases,
Seven writing #hash-tags,
Six doomed characters,
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(*eye-roll* Four-letter swear words,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.   

On the ninth day of the season,
my “hobby” was discussed:
Yeah, nine old trunked novels,
Eight clichéd phrases,
Seven writing #hash-tags,
Six doomed characters,
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(“I’m a sailor” swear words,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.

On the tenth day of the season,
I became quite desperate:
Ten magical McGuffins,
Nine old trunked novels,
Eight clichéd phrases,
Seven writing #hash-tags,
Six doomed characters,
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(Swear words just to say them,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,   
And enough ideas for my WIP.
 
On the eleventh day of the season,
with my loved ones fast asleep, I had
Eleven cups a-coffee,
Ten magical McGuffins,
Nine old trunked novels,
Eight clichéd phrases,
Seven writing #hash-tags,
Six doomed characters,
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(Four-letter swear words,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
And enough ideas for my WIP.
 
On the twelfth day of the season,
my loved ones got the drift:
Twelve uninterrupted hours,
Eleven cups a-coffee,
Ten magical McGuffins,
Nine old trunked novels,
Eight clichéd phrases,
Seven writing #hash-tags,
Six doomed characters,
Five times I forgot to hit “SAVE!”
(I still can’t believe I did that,)
Three unrelated plot bunnies,
Two back up hard drives,
 
And enough ideas for my WIP!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!


X-posted from http://www.spectaclepmg.com/
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Is anyone else doing NanoWriMo this year? I'm Tam_Albright on the site in case anyone wants to add me as a buddy.
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Life the last few weeks has been many things, but the only word that I can come up with that comes close to what I'm feeling right now is, whoa.

There are SO many things that I want to post about, like how school is going so well that I've decided that on top of my Bachelor in Entertainment Business, I've added on an additional year to earn my Master in New Media Journalism, and a Graduate Certificate in Internet Marketing.  

Or, how the internship with the publishing company has been nothing short of amazing. That saying is absolutely true: Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Or, how things are finally starting to come together as far as life is concerned, and we couldn't be happier.

However, there's one thing that is overriding my circuitry right now:

I'm published.

Me. Published!

I have a publishing credit to my name, and suddenly I want to scream and dance naked down the street. (Yeah, probably shouldn't do that.)

My short story, "Wayward," is published in Spectacle Publishing's Halloween Anthology entitled, "dis.turb.ing." It involves a lonely bridge, a hearse named "GRAVDGR," and a teenage girl who's about to end the worst night of her life.

I hope you guys get a chance to check it out. The anthology is priced at .99 and has some really great Halloween-y stories. (In addition to Smashwords, I'm told that it will be soon available on B&N.com for the nook and Amazon.com for the kindle.)

So, enough about me ... how are you doing?
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I am pleased to announce that I have been accepted for an editorial internship with Spectacle Publishing Media Group, LLC.

More details to follow, I swear.

All I can say is that, so far, I have:
  • Screamed real loud.
  • Chair danced.
  • Participated in a group hug.
  • Had my mother point and say, "See. I told you so." And, I didn't even mind.

For those of you who have never heard of SPMG, they are a brand new publishing company founded by writers for writers. You can find their website here: http://www.spectaclepmg.com/

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My apologies for the lapse in updates. I've been trying to get through the last leg of this month with school, while working to put the pieces of my life back together. Also, in the moments where I have had a chance to breathe, I've spent them panting over [livejournal.com profile] rhiannon76 's impending novel. (Seriously. Good. Head-food. OM NOM NOM.) I only wish I had the kind of reading time that I once had, because DAMN, I'm rather obsessed with the world. The characters. The concepts. (In other words, "WOW, RHI!") 

Now, on to the quick and dirty.

Good stuff: 
  • finally got a job.
  • Matt may have an opportunity for a position in the field that he is going to school for. Also, he would be working with his best friend from high school, if he gets the job.
  • I am still a straight A student.
  • Next month I only have one class to worry about. (Whew!)
  • Matt and I are still crazy lovebirds.
  • The kids are happy and healthy.
  • "Busty" the gypsy mobile is still running.
  • Summer is almost here. (This means gratuitous amounts of camping, fishing, and hiking!)
  • We are staying with my amazingly wonderful sister until August. (Hopefully, we will not have to be here even that long, as I don't feel right invading her life in the way that we have. So, our goal is to be out and in our own place well before August.)
  • Matt may also join the Navy Reserves.
  • Plot bunnies will not leave me alone.
Not so good stuff:
  • My new job has me on call, but they have not called me in to work yet. *is still looking for a job*
  • Nomadic life has taken somewhat of a toll on my kids' academics. (To be fair, this has been quite difficult for them, even with Mom and Dad making it an adventure.)
  • While "Busty" has not succumbed yet, we think she is having a transmission issue. Which translates to, "SERIOUSLY SCREWED" if she dies on us now.
  • Matt tried to join the Navy as an active recruit, but he was told that he has one too many dependents. Damn it.
  • Plot bunnies will not leave me alone.
(Boy, I am so glad that that list is much shorter.)

Anyway, things are not quite there yet, but I am starting to see some progress. I am as grateful as ever to have such good friends (and family) in my life, both in RL and online. You guys make all the difference.
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 I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions.

-- George Carlin


After reading all of the ridiculous status updates on FB and Twitter about Bin Laden, Obama, and Donald Trump, I am rather hoping for first contact next. There must be intelligent life somewhere out there in the cosmos.

Oh, I am so lonely here.
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The 30th will mark one month since we lost our home and subsequently transformed our minivan into a traveling Gypsy-mobile. Unfortunately, not much has changed, but we are in a holding pattern at least. The kids are happy and healthy, and Matt and I continue to make this a "choose your own adventure" scenario to get through the rough spots.

I've been thinking a lot about writing. Of course, between job hunting, apartment hunting, school, and kids, I've only managed to scribble out sentences here and there into a notebook with an old chewed up pencil that I found in one of the motels that we stayed in previously. However, I. am. writing.

Perhaps this is sad but in those few sentences I've captured more than just the right words; I've found that 'grit under your nails' honesty that lacks in all my other work. Finally, they ring true. I think this is because I was never really honest with myself before. Fear always managed to get the better of me, which allowed for the many excuses to prevent me from writing anything of substance.

I was constantly worried about my ideas, and what would sell, and what is popular, and if I don't read this book/author/blog OMG! I will always be that loser who calls herself a writer but is really just a poser because I am not doing it THIS way. Nothing felt right. This lack of "right-ness" in turn made me doubt my abilities. In my doubt, I lost my voice.

In having to deal with our set of circumstances I have realized that this fear is rather pointless. I mean, being homeless with small children is -- by far -- one of the most frightening experiences I think that anyone can go through. With this new sense of true fear, not only have I found my voice but also I am no longer afraid to let others hear it.

And,
if I'm doing it wrong ... well, I'm going to be wrong in all the right ways.
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Such a dumb question for someone like me, who is homeless.

Yes. I would.
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Hi Everyone,

First off, I just want to say thank you for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time.  I am so very humbled by your responses.  I may not have any sort of financial status or a place to call home, but the honest truth is that I have everything that matters right here.  It means so very much to me that you all are just ... there.  I really feel like the luckiest person in the world.

Tonight we're staying at an Inn in Concord.  It is far nicer than the Motel 6 and way more comfortable than the minivan.  Matt went to go do laundry, while I caught up on my homework. (My entrepreneurship class is BRUTAL.)  The kids got to catch up on all of their favorite shows during that time.  

Later in the evening, my oldest sat at the computer and wrote the beginnings of a story.  So far, it is about a family of Gypsies who find an old abandoned excavation site with "dino ooze" that transforms one of the kids into a sort of dinosaur super hero.  

We ate a meal of canned raviolis, and played a game of "Would You Rather."  I had the choice of either eating T-Rex boogers or unicorn poop.  I chose the unicorn poop because it was a.) (apparently) sparkly, and b.) the kids just about died when I announced my choice.

I think it was right around that point, amidst the laughter, that I realized how good my life is.  Really good.  

I mean, yes, we are homeless.  Yes, we have very little money left, and essentially zero personal possessions.  But in the grand scheme of Things, they are exactly that. Things.  

What I have is Now.  My kids, my husband.  I can remember back to all those years that my husband missed out on holidays, birthdays, homework, goodnight hugs and kisses, because he had to work long hours to support us.  All of that time missed, time that we will never get back. And for what exactly? 

That is why I can't allow myself to feel defeated by our situation.  Do I wish that we had a roof over our heads? Absolutely.  However, I am beginning to realize that I do not need to spend each day in despair, so long as I remind myself of this "Nowness" that I have been given. 

For that, I'd eat sparkly unicorn poop any day of the week. 
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I have a new iPhone 4. I am posting on lj. I am also out shopping for my baby sister's 23rd birthday while posting on lj.

Two black cats have crossed my path in succession.

Mark me, Agent Smith is bound to show up any minute.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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As he was dressing for school, my oldest son noticed that the slacks to his uniform had a huge hole in the crotch. "Um, Dad? Either my parts are growing bigger ... or my pants are falling apart." Hubs chokes on his coffee, while I scramble -- blind from laughing and crying -- to fix them. My Mom however, isn't phased. With a straight face, she pats her grandson on the back: "You sure you want Mom to fix those? After all, it's supposed to get warm today. You might need the extra air conditioning for those bigger parts." "No, Grandma! If I go to school with them like that, the girls will see me and then I'll really be in trouble!"  ... yeah. That magic hormonal number Twelve is so looming in our future.
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The only goal that I have set for myself this year is to follow through with everything I start.
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My relationship with words is -- at best -- tempestous in nature. Too often, I find myself sick in love and envy with the work of others; with Sylvia Plath's fragile prose, or Mark Twain's parleying wit and cleverness, etc. My admiration is anguishing.

Words twist me, twine around me, knot me into a noose until I'm light headed and gasping with need. I'm dying in love of them. For them.

Yet, my grasp is tenuous. Rude grammatical understanding and basic vocabulary are the only things in my arsenal. Why can't I write like them?

In so far, my writing encounters more or less resemble the late night gropings of two horny teenagers in a back seat -- sweaty-palmed eagerness combined with ignorance and wadded waxpaper wrappers from the last drive-thru visit.

I reek of desperation and stale french fries. I stink of fear. The blinking cursor remains still and I question. It. Myself. The world.

A small voice in me poisons until my reasoning becomes subject to interrogation. "Do you write for love or money?" "For truth or vanity?"

When I don't answer right away, it grows louder. "Fraud." "Hack." "Worthless!"

The voice forms in conviction, in condemnation -- it resembles the slurred vodka-speech of my father. Worthless, it pronounces.

My verdict.

So I sit, watching the blinking cursor in the memory of alcoholic fumes and will it to move.

Ignoranus

Feb. 5th, 2010 08:17 pm
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(Courtesy of the 2008 Mensa Word Challenge) Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Have you ever written something that you fell in love with, only to realize that after walking down the aisle with it, the entire thing is in the wrong POV and you need to rewrite it in order to make it work?

*headdesk*

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