Last year around Christmas time I was feeling pretty down.
I had just finished graduate school and was not making much money writing. At the same time, I felt extreme gratitude for all the support and love my family had given me. I decided to write a story focused on the holidays, loosely with the theme of family in mind. I thought it would also be an interesting and challenging topic, with so many classics holiday stories and not many popular variations.
The story I wrote then was called "Christmas By Design," and it is now featured in Niche Magazine, issue four. It is my first fiction story accepted for publication.
The story is entirely fictional, though it was written as a gift to have something else to give back to my family. In the story the main character is an artist who has a hobby designing Christmas Cards. Her father is an artist who suffered from a mental inless.
She misses her father, and does find a way to reconnect with him. So, there is a glimmer of happiness tangled in the sad memories and reflections of her family membories.
I love how Niche Magazine designs and am very excited to share this first story. Read the story here.
I was shocked one day in a graduate class when a friend told me he almost never wrote. He was a wonderful poet and I was always moved by his art.
Why did he say this? Because he thought it was selfish to write.
This was the first time I had heard of this stigma. Later, I was then asked if blogging or publishing my own blog was a vanity project. That surprised me too.
Writing a blog will never make anyone money. Writing is a very difficult field to make money in. It doesn’t really amount to much fame or recognition. That is all temporary anyway.
There are moments when kindness must supercede social norms. Are these moments that define us?
I remember driving to work, stuck in the slow slog of morning traffic. It was raining, heavy, and the cars were almost at a complete stop. A girl around my age was standing in the rain. A hood over her head, she was staring out into traffic. Her car was flashing, stuck, and her face searching out into the distance.
It was as if she was waiting for someone to rescue her. She could not get out. She was just waiting in the rain.
I felt the urge to pull over and get out. I wanted to hand her my umbrella, to stand next to her with it while she waited. I could see this so clearly, us standing together under the umbrella, but traffic jerked forward and it was time to move on.
I did not want to be late for work. The umbrella still sat in my passenger seat.
Do you go one of two directions? Interject or carry on?
At the very first Entre-SLAM storytelling event, eight entrepreneurs came to share their stories. Four had shared presentations instead. The night was taking a slow and painful turn for the worst.
Then one entrepreneur got in front of the crowd to share what she called a “trifecta shitstorm.” Everything in her business that could go wrong, did. She had started a business with 9 people, 8 she had to fire, and one who went off to start a competing business.
The entrepreneur had started her business at the bottom of the recession. She was determined to see it through. In the end, she sold her first house and profited fifty bucks. It didn’t matter that it was a low profit. She made it through and made her first sale.
“The most beautiful moment of her story was sharing how she ran around the house with her bare feet - and this moment of euphoria that she only made 500 dollars but she build this,” said Christa. “She realized that moment she became an entrepreneur.”
Christa started Entre-SLAM to bring entrepreneurs together and help them learn how to tell better stories. The group received national media attention for the new type of storyslam that takes place in Ann Arbor and Detroit.