Tagged: challenge


I made it, internet! Today is the Last Day of my challenge to write a blog post every day for a year. Can you even believe it?

(I know you probably don’t particularly care, but pretend for a moment, will you?)

Wow. Lots of feelings. Relief, joy, a little sadness. Some intense regret that I missed one day.

Do I feel like I did a good job? I suppose. In some ways I feel like I’m pulling into the finish line leaking gas, with only three surviving tires and a broken windshield. A lot of the blogs I wrote were just awful. Probably most of them, in fact. And there were definitely times where I could have tried harder to write a quality post, but I just kind of didn’t.

However, in other ways, I feel like I succeeded brilliantly.

The goals of this year, to quote my past self, were:

To “dig myself out of the hole I am currently creating” by “wallow[ing] long enough in my own apathetic unproductiveness”. Past me was apparently both melodramatic and wordsy.

To “have something to my name when I tell people I’m a writer and they roll their eyes at me”.

To “defy that little voice in my head screaming at me saying that I will fail”.

To become more committed.

Yes. Absolutely. I achieved all of those things and more.This was undeniably the best year of my life to date. I got my shit together, moved out of my parent’s house, paid exorbitant car bills (twice), and have more or less successfully navigated being a real person (or as much of one as I can possibly be at this moment. And oh yeah, this blog got me my job. My amazing, real person, full time with benefits, how-did-I-get-this-lucky job.

Considering I thought I’d only make it two weeks, I’d say that’s pretty good.

So now what? Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m taking a break. A little over a week. I’ll be back on January the 6th, which is a Monday, if you particularly care. I think I’ll start out with three posts a week and adjust from there. Maybe throw a few treats in the mix. You know how I do.

Thanks for reading, internet. It’s been a (weird) year.


Almost there.

Getting down to the wire, internet. I will have officially made it through my year long blog challenge as of tomorrow.

Minus one post. The punishment for which, finishing the rest of my NaNoWriMo challenge, starts effective January 1st.

Tomorrow I’ll do one last celebration post to wrap things up and then I AM DONE. Or at least done writing every single day. I think I’ll take a full week off and then start posting two, maybe three posts a week, actual, real-person, high-quality posts.

What do I think of this whole experiment?

Gosh, I don’t know.

I guess you’ll have to tune in tomorrow to find out.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, show us community, and interpret it any way you please!”


NaNoWriMo – This is hard.

It’s definitely starting to sink in exactly how many words 50,000 words is. I just hit 14,018 after banging out about 2,000 today, and apparently to stay on target I need to hit about 20,000 on Saturday, unless I want to end up doing a few 10,000 word days near the end.

No thanks.

Thankfully, I still have plenty of plot to get through. Surprisingly, the hardest part for me has been writing this story in order, but in a way it’s good, because I have to write through the tedious explainy bits.

Ah well. We shall see, I suppose. It is only Day 4.


Marie slid into the shower after waiting what seemed an eternity for hot water. Although the water pressure left something to be desired, there was soap like smelled like eucalyptus and something citrusy she couldn’t place. Grapefruit, maybe.

She leaned against the smooth, colorfully tiled wall and slid down to sit on the floor, picking up her right foot in her hands and pulling it close to inspect the bottom. Despite being hopelessly dirty, it was painfully blistered, and Marie caught her breath when the hot water hit her damaged skin.

“Shit!” she swore, as she gingerly began to wash off the dirt.

“Ow. Shit ow. Shit.”

It was a full hour later when she finally stepped out of the shower, scrubbed pink and flushed with warmth. Marie thoroughly inspected the clothes that Elsy, the woman in overalls, had given her and smelled them. They were clean, mercifully, and smelled almost floral.

The white linen pants were generously baggy, although lucky they had a drawstring closure, so that if Marie tied them tightly and folded them over several times, she wasn’t tripping over them. The bright blue shirt was heinously ugly, but was at least a closer match to her size. She’d saved her own underwear and bra, much to Elsy’s protests, washed them in the sink and left them to hang dry. They were still somewhat damp, but at least they were hers.

She gingerly put on a pair of too big flip-flops Elsy had leant her and emerged into a narrow hallway painted a fading, medicinal pink. The walls, like the rest of the small house, were constructed of some sort of plaster, smooth and cold to the touch. At the end of the hall, she turned through an open doorway into what apparently passed as a dining room, a sort of dark, low ceilinged affair with a small rectangular table and a mismatched assortment of chairs. The four weirdos she’d met that morning were clustered around it – Elsy, the fat one, Galen, the tall skinny guy, Hershel, the old man, and Alice, the wild woman.

“About time,” Alice grunted, taking a sip of what was evidently one of a series of drinks. Marie took the empty chair between Hershel and Elsy and inspected the meal that had been laid out for her.

“Some freshly fried chicken, a nice rice pilaf with some toasted nuts, and a little fresh fruit,” said Elsy with pride. Marie nodded her thanks, turned the plate so that the chicken was as far away as possible, and picked up what looked to be a slice of mango.

“You want a drink?” Galen asked. He had his right hand firmly gripping the handle of a pitcher of something.

“What is it?” Marie asked, suspicious.

“Red wine sangria. Freshly poisoned,” Galen said dryly.

Marie stared at him.

“Don’t mind Galen, he’s just an ass,” Alice said, shooting the tall guy a vicious glance across the table. He shrugged, poured her about a pint of sangria and slid it across the table.

She nodded her thanks and attacked another piece of fruit, realizing she was starving. Marie took a generous slug of sangria.

“This is fabulous,” she sighed, taking a second sip.

“It’s also real fucking strong, lady,” Galen replied, reaching across the table and refilling her glass.

Hershel turned to Marie and held up a small medic case.

“Alice mentioned you were running around in the forest barefoot last night,” he said. “Can I see your feet?”

Marie hesitated.

“Right now?” she asked, a forkful of rice almost to her mouth.

“No time like the present,” Hershel replied firmly, and patted his knee. Marie shifted awkwardly in her chair, kicked off a sandal, and gingerly perched her foot where he indicated. He pulled out a few antibiotic pads and got to work. Marie tried her best to ignore him and continue eating, although the ointment stung.

“Not a chicken fan?” Galen asked when she pushed her plate away.

“I’m a vegetarian,” Marie explained.

The four of them stared at her.

“What the hell is a vegetarian?” Galen asked, picking up a piece of her chicken.

“Very funny,” Marie spat.


Day 4

Word count – 14018

Confused? Start here!

Ode to Apples.

My granny did not care for my Rude Review of apples this week, internet (although I believe ‘did not like’ is perhaps a mild way of putting it), and she has challenged me to write an ode to apples that, in her words, “show[s] off your creative, cerebral and imaginative skills”.

Challenge accepted, Gran-mère.



Ode to Apples.

Where I grew up, there were apples
little ones
green and snarled
that fed the neighbour’s worms
amid the craggy branches of a malformed tree,
and where they fell they stayed
and watered their own tree with their meager life’s juices.

When I was small, I plucked those apples,
and took them to my great-grandmother’s
in hopes that she would transform them
into jam
into butter
or one of her coveted pies.

And my great-grandmother smiled,
and left my apples as an offering for the birds and the raccoons,
and took me to market
and showed me the granny smiths
and the blushing galas
and the jovially striped honey crisps.

and together we bathed their flesh in butter and spice
and put them to rest
and covered them with dough.

As our creation baked, the crabapples disappeared
giving themselves up to the woodland creatures
attracted by the strong scent of cinnamon
and roasting butter
and sweet apples.

and we had tea
and pie
and were none the wiser for the loss.


CALL TO ACTION. And other things.


All 5 of you.

Per yesterday’s poll results, I’m making a few changes around these here parts.

Most of you, it seems, do not particularly enjoy themes, particularly the creative writing days. However, from looking at my stats, I seem to get the most blog likes on some of those posts. Which is… confusing. A compromise – I’ll ditch Manuscript Monday and Fiction Friday for now, on the stipulation that I get to randomly pop in a creative piece from time to time. I’m keeping Yoga Tuesdays and adding Life Advice Wednesdays – L.A.W. (yes, yes I did that on purpose) because 11 people apparently think I’m a credible source of wisdom. Which quite frankly is a poor choice on your part. 

I’ll also try really hard to pop a personal story in every week, preferably about my pets, because apparently you guys are into that.

However, I’m including a CALL TO ACTION IN THIS POST.


Look, I formatted it so you’d pay attention. Here’s an inspirational photo, too:

It's a poorly photoshopped picture of Xena, Warrior Princess, riding my dog Peppermint through the sky!!! FEEL MOTIVATED.

It’s a poorly photoshopped picture of Xena, Warrior Princess, riding my dog Peppermint through the sky!!! FEEL MOTIVATED.

I’ve got 113 days left on this year long challenge, and I’m getting burnt out. So I need YOUR HELP.

What do you want me to write about? What stories would you like me to tell? What advice do you need?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated to get me through the next 113 days are greatly appreciated, no matter how stupid you think they are! Do you want to read about my first school dance? Or how I got into a sorority? Or the time I ran from the police at summer camp? Or the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me?

Write a suggestion in the comments or email me at hnwcassandra@gmail.com!


Fiction Friday #23 – 4th of July Happened.

So here’s what happened, internet. Varenka’s boyfriend Rory is in town for the 4th and I was working yesterday eve, so tonight we made burgers and pineapple and drank MANY BEERS.

Rory challenged me to write a story about the 4th of July in under 500 words, and I started it… 4 beers ago.

Here’s that bit:


Henry took another long sip of his mango margarita and shifted in his cheap Walmart lawn chair as his friends came around the corner of the house.

“What’s up fuckers?” He yelled, waving his arms and accidentally spilling burrito grease down his Bald Eagle™ shirt.

“Why the fuck are you eating Mexican food on the 4th of July?” Barnabus asked, throwing Henry a lukewarm Sam Adams. Henry reached for it, but the throw went wild and bounced off the lonely inflatable pool that was sitting half-full on the dead lawn.

“Because being American means I can eat Mexican food whenever I want!” Henry replied jubilantly, taking a huge bite of the soggy, leaking carcass of his chicken Supreme Supreme.

“It’s written in the constitution,” their other friend Freddie said, plopping heavily down onto the dead grass. Barnabus remained standing with two freshly opened beers in his hands.







Some time later, Henry set down his 15th beer.

“Fuck!” he said. Freddie groaned, throwing her flimsy plastic shotglass across the yard.

“The fuck are we doing?” she groaned.

“Fucking, drinking, and shit” Barnabus chimed in. He was lying on the ground with his legs on a chair.