WAIT DID I NOT TELL YOU?

Just realized I have *NOT* officially shared the fun news that my husband got a post-MBA job, so I’m in the process of packing our lovely little St. Louis apartment and we’ll be moving into one in the Navy Yard area of D.C. at the end of this week.

I’ve already made a list of breweries/bars/restaurants to check out, as well as touristy things that we’ve never done, so it will be as fun and new an adventure as when we moved here. With the bonus of having a bunch of beloved friends already there. 

The hubs is in D.C. already, working hard and loving life. I finished work here last week, which was super bittersweet and I’ve been tearing up off and on since. I’ve loved the two years we’ve spent in St. Louis more than words can say. The Gateway to the Midwest will always have a very special place in my heart–a heart that is 100% Midwestern, no matter where we go.

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My Neighbors Might Hate Me (alternatively titled: Dammit)

I’m probably annoying my neighbors. I’ve discovered after switching through what felt like every playlist Spotify offers, I keep landing on their Pop Punk Powerhouse playlist for cleaning/cooking/packing. All the songs are nostalgic and catchy and angsty, and I love adding my voice—loudly and off-key. I can’t help screaming along with “Until the Day I Die” or belting out “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” in a way that’s becoming increasingly less-ironic with each play.

Ok, fine, it was never ironic. I loved the All-American Rejects and Simple Plan and Green Day way back in middle school, and I loved them in college, and I love them now. And since I’m anxious about moving, and sad about leaving St. Louis, and missing my husband, I think I’m allowed to be a little emo and find comfort in the whiny pop-punk classics of my youth. At least my neighbors have been alerted to the fact that “The Kids Aren’t Alright” in this apartment.

In the words of Blink-182: Well, I guess this is growing up…

My Husband’s Gray Hair

My husband turned 30 last week and he just found a gray hair in his beard. He was distinctly unimpressed (possibly closer to depressed) but I was excited because I’m all about that salt-and-pepper look–even if he’s currently all pepper (minus 1), or more like paprika because his beard is weirdly red (weird considering how dark his head-hair is). Another thing I don’t complain about.

Basically, I like looking at my husband.

So I missed posting on his birthday about his birthday. He’s the big 3-0, and it’s a little crazy to think he’s been alive for three whole decades. I remember when thirty was so old but now it feels like thirty is when life just starts to really begin. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more philosophical thoughts surrounding turning the dirty thirty when my birthday rolls around near the end of the year, but for now, I just wanted to publicly say a belated happiest of birthdays to my handsome, barely gray-haired man. I’m super proud of all you’ve accomplished this year, and really looking forward to what your thirties will entail!

…And her nose stuck in a book

The other night after a (very) happy hour and dinner with my husband, we stopped at our local bookstore so I could run my fingers over spines and stare, starry-eyed, at all the lovely stories I’ve yet to read, and imagine *one day* my book joining them. They had a bunch of signed copies of several books by authors I love, so I decided to buy one (because it’s the next best thing to having it autographed for me, personally). My husband held it for me as I continued to drift around, admiring the beautiful journals and St. Louis-themed children’s books, until next thing I knew, he’d bought it for me.

This seems silly writing it out, because we’re married and what’s his is mine and vice versa (he even said that as he was paying), but there’s something so magical about being gifted a book, even if it’s paid for with the same account that my money goes into. I hugged the book to my chest the entire walk home. Naturally (because, St. Louis), someone sitting outside eating ice cream spotted me carrying my new book like a precious baby and asked what book it was, so I got to make a new friend (read: admit to a stranger I had almost no idea what the book was about but it’s signed by Ally Condie and the MC’s last name is the same as my #1 fiction love’s, so I figured I’d give it a chance, and it might be about pirates?). That’s around the time I *noticed* I was still carrying the book like I was Belle from the beginning of Beauty and the Beast which of course prompted me to sing the line “and her nose stuck in a book” all the way home no matter how many times my husband sarcastically complimented my excellent singing.

In case you’re curious, the book I purchased is The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie. She wrote the Matched series, as well as an interesting, quasi-mermaid tale Atlantia that was really good.

How a Writing Community Helped Me Understand “The Bachelor”

It occurred to me the other day how similar my life is to a season of The Bachelor. Okay, it isn’t really, but just bear with me. I’m part of this online writing community called Scribophile, where we upload chapters of our works-in-progress, and read and critique each others’ works. It’s amazing and encouraging and so so helpful.

But. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about how long it takes me to return a critique. I get wrapped up in some stories and just want to keep reading them, other relationships be damned!, but I try to be fair about returning the attention I receive. If someone takes the time to offer me feedback on a chapter, I want to show my appreciation by offering the same. Also, there are several stories I’m really into–not just one. I’ve established critique relationships with a bunch of people and enjoy the dialogue we maintain about our works on a regular basis, so I feel like I’m missing a friend when we go too long without conversing.

So anyway, I was chatting with one friend about his story and thinking about how I want to just charge ahead and finish his book so we can have a full, big-picture type discussion (and because I’m very excited for the developments I know are coming up because I totally peeked ahead–don’t tell my mom, I hate it when she does this!). Meanwhile, I have the first chapter of a whole new story/crit-relationship pulled up to start on, and I got this irrational thought that it was almost like cheating on his story, because I felt so excited about this new one. And that’s crazy, because loving a new story doesn’t make previously-read stories any less loved (I’ve got several bookshelves of proof).

Maybe it’s because The Bachelorette recently started its newest season, but my mind instantly went to the show, and how one person seems to genuinely enjoy her time with every guy when it’s his turn. It’s always seemed odd to me, like can she really be so *into* this one when she was just laughing so hard with that one?

Obviously this is a very different scenario. I’m just saying that I see now how something can be absorbing and delightful and take up a person’s full attention, only for the same to be true of something similar (and yet, completely different).

Blinding the Entire Ozarks

Life update: my husband graduated business school last weekend! To celebrate/because we were invited to crash a friend’s family’s Memorial Day celebration, we’re heading out to the Ozarks this upcoming weekend. That is, unless the hubs needs to stay away an extra week. He’s currently interviewing and/or meeting with 4 different companies in D.C. this week, still looking for that elusive post-grad job (side note: if anybody’s looking for a fresh MBA in the real estate field, hook a sister (‘s husband) up!!).

Because of this–the Ozarks, not the job thing–I’m currently working on edits to my book while sitting in front of a very sunny window (really, it’s because I’m a house cat). But I read on the Google that it *is* possible to get tanned/sunburnt through a window (yeah yeah, with extreme exposure, whatever), so I’m hoping this will help keep me from blinding the entire Ozarks with my winter-legs upon arrival.

Exciting News!

I’ve launched my writing website! 🙂 I started it as a blog a while ago when I was *very* excited about a *very* different story, but didn’t do much with it and turned my (admittedly sporadic) attention here instead. I’m hoping to be much better at keeping up the writing site with regular postings (I’m aiming for once a week, we’ll see how it goes) and plan to shift this site away from documenting writing-related updates (since I need *something* for that other site 😉 ). That being said, my first big “share” on the site is a piece of flash fiction from the world of Blood and Water, the book I’ve been working on all year. It’s set well before the actual story takes place, but gives a glimpse into my main character (Solvi)’s childhood.

If you feel like checking it out, it’ll drop *today* at annieatkinstories.com. I plan to share a few more “side stories” to drum up some interest, so if you do check them out, please be sure to leave a comment letting me know what you think–good or bad! I’m very curious to see if the story works without knowing any of the characters yet…everyone who’s read them so far already knows the characters almost as well as I do. 🙂 I’ll also share things like more writing playlists, and I’m sure I’ll have a few more random thoughts on writing to share as well.