“Do not pray for easy lives…pray to be stronger men.”-John F. Kennedy

The above quote about sums up my existence right now. After all, an overwhelming majority of writers have endured serious hardship, right?

It’s been getting better, though. Our power had been coming in and out for a couple of months, and about midweek last week, everything hit the fan. We went through some power surges (which turned my house into Poltergeist…) before the power went out. We spent two nights without heat, which had happened before, so we just bundled up. It always happens on the coldest days, I swear. Today an electrician came out and told us that the surges had burnt out our modem (I’m currently using my cell phone as a source of wifi), our oven, our cable boxes, and the heater. He patched up the heater at no cost, which was amazing, and as of this morning, we have heat again.

We need to have our circuit breaker replaced, which will run us about $2,100, which is a lot of money that we sort of have but really don’t. Somehow, my mom can pay for it, and my grandpa is lending her the money to put back into the account before it screws up finances.

The oven, etc are still out, so we can pretty much only cook on the stove. But we have power, and I’m insanely happy about that. Money’s still going to be tight, and we set up a paypal in the event that anyone is generous enough to drop us an extra dollar or two and help out. It’s so greatly appreciated. (The email to send the money to through paypal is iggyziggy2@gmail.com. I know, fabulous email, but it’s my mom’s.) I’m not one to beg, but it’s been difficult.

But housing situation aside, I finally have the chance to read now that I’m on winter break. I’m 3/4 of the way through David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, which I’ll follow up with Cursed With Power, 11/22/63, The Map of Time, and Moab Is My Washpot. 

If you’re considering reading Cloud Atlas, do it. It’s maddeningly brilliant, and it’s been driving me crazy since the end of the first chapter. The book breaks every single rule in the writing book, and I don’t even care. The first half of the book has chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; chapter 6 is an interlude, and then the second half of the book has chapters 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The book doubles back and goes in reverse order. Crazy, right? On top of that, many of the chapters stop either mid sentence or right in the middle of the climax, leaving the reader with a terrible cliff hanger. Everything is connected, and the book reinforces that in so many ways. I’ve already had so many conversations about it with friends and teachers. Cloud Atlas is literally life changing. Read it.

I’m trying out a new novel and a new how-to-write book simultaneously, and so far it’s actually been okay. The book, Chapter By Chapter, offers a countless exercises to practice your novel with. The book I’m working on, The Impossible, has taken on a mind of its own. It’s straying from my outline, and thus far, I’ve let it. I’ll pay for it later, of course, but for now, I’ll see where it goes.

Christmas is tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my family. (Did I really just say that?) But Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!