Saturday, December 29, 2012

My first tattoo

my first tattoo, Hoot, on left forearm

Many amazing changes materialized in my life during 2012. The most permanent is my first tattoo (pictured above) - a colorful, punk princess owl I refer to as "Hoot".

I've always admired tattoos - I love the expression of art, creativity and one's self. In college, a group of my friends were covered in them, and one, Jason Stephan, is now a successful and amazing tattoo artist. But I could never imagine what I would want on my body for the rest of my life.

My business card displays a logo with three owls. From there, owls have appeared again and again in my life - from jewelry, journals, to my blog. And when I purchased an owl ring last December, I just knew that this would be my first tattoo.

Moving to Portland from the east coast and leaving my accounting career to pursue my passion for writing has taught me to never have any regrets. To me, regret is when you repress your strongest desires and dreams. So on July 3 at the vegan friendly Scapegoat Tattoo, Silje gave me my first tattoo. 

Owls symbolize wisdom, foresight, and a messenger of secrets. Hoot has become my spiritual guide, my totem. He reminds me to listen to my dreams, check in with my wisdom and follow my intuition.

have no regrets,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace, love and joy


May you and your loved ones have a 
happy holiday and wonderful new year.

Peace, love and joy to all,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Getting the Story Right

“most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one”  - Flannery O'Connor

Need help in getting your story onto paper? Visit this great article on Writer Unboxed - The Biggest Mistake Writers Make and How to Avoid it.


sit down & write anyway!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Get down Peanuts

Get Down Peanuts by Sonja Thomas 12/10/12
Peanuts...whenever I hear that tune, I automatically think of my friend, Nyree.

During college when the weekend had arrived, Ny would drive up to Orlando, crash at my place and a whole bunch of us would go to the club. As we danced to alternative tunes, we would break into the Peanuts dance. You know, that scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas where Schroeder's stroking the keys and everyone's jamming. Our favorite was the move of the girl bobbing her head side-to-side.

I miss those nights. We had so much fun - laughing, dancing and just being silly. Not caring about what the world thought and not living up to others' expectations - not on the dance floor anyway.

Still to this day, every year like clockwork I'll receive a voice mail or text message letting me know that A Charlie Brown Christmas is on TV tonight. Even if only for a half hour with the Peanuts gang, I still laugh, dance, and be silly, as if time hadn't moved at all.

be silly and dance,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 23, 2012

Obama Love Around the World


Tanzanian Students Join America in Celebrations!
Tanzanian students join America in Obama election celebration.


My beautiful friend Fo currently serving in Tanzania for the Peace Corps, uploaded the above photo of her students reaction to the 2012 Presidential election which was featured on CNN.

The day following the election her students asked, "Madam, can we have President Obama's phone number?" She almost said no, but then thought, Why not? And gave them the number to the White House. Awesome.

Use your voice. Vote.
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On your mark, get set...

NaNoWriMo!
It's that time of year again.  National Novel Writing Month.

  • Where writers put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard on November 1st,
  • let go of fear, judgement, and doubt
  • and allow the words of a new story to flow through
  • until you complete a 50,000 word novel by 11:59:59 pm, November 30.

Now, I know you're thinking, That's impossible. I could never complete an entire novel in just one month, especially with holiday travel and family drama. I counter your argument -- one can do anything if you trust in yourself and take a leap of faith.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh, a simple kind of life


In a small Washington town, my friend Caroline and I had ventured into the local grocery before hopping on the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad - the longest continuously operating steam train in the Pacific Northwest. 

I could not stop laughing when I saw the above bag of cat food on the shelf.  Don't you just love small town simple living?  No fancy, shmancy brand names or ridiculous fuss and frills.  You know exactly what you're getting.

no doubt, appreciate the simple things in life,

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do one thing every day that scares you

This past weekend I attended the Toad Hall Writers and Illustrators retreat near Salem, Portland.  A place to connect with fellow children/young adult writers, sit in classes where I actually pay attention, and maybe even sneak in some writing.

I am NOT a public speaker.  The thought makes my skin break out into red splotches.  But I pushed myself past my comfort zone and participated in the Open Mic Newbie Night.

After several light-hearted, humorous pieces, I wobbled up to the podium and changed the tone with my young adult dark fantasy.  I forgot about my racing heartbeat and the judgement from faces staring at me.  I read for about five minutes.

The applause enveloped me with love.  I did it!  I took a risk and faced my fear.  Not only did I read in front of an audience, but I shared my creativity, something that came from my heart and soul.  And I survived.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Stare fear in the face and stick out your tongue.
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 1, 2012

Keep Portland creative, uh, weird


Where in the world...

...can you witness 160 nonprofessional dancers perform a 30 minute line dance?


...can you sleep in until 9 am on a weekday and consider it waking up early?

...stumble upon street art on practically every corner?

...do people ask "what are your passions?" instead of "what do you do?"

...can you get Pear with blue cheese ice cream? (and it taste good?)

...do the cars have eyelashes?


In "Stumptown," "Beervana," "Rose City," "PDX"...my new home, Portland


Keep Portland Weird.

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sending Love

I was devastated to learn that my childhood idol Judy Blume was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In her blog post titled "!@#$% Happens" she recounts the biopsy results received this past June and life pre- and post-surgery. 

Sending love to all the lovely ladies in the world, young and old, battling breast cancer.  Hopefully together we can win the war.

Say a prayer and spread love.

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Doodle doodle dee!


i forgot how much i love to draw.  when i first started with this, my mind got in the way, aiming for perfection.  i walked away, came back, and let go of any attachments and had oh so much fun.

do something u love just for the sheer joy of it,

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 20, 2012

Soul fed with dance

The drought has ended.
Now my body soars with joy.
My soul fed with dance.

The above drawing and haiku inspired by Sunday Scribblings #333 - Drought.

let your soul soar,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Heaven


PLUS  










= HEAVEN


My friend Caroline and I met up to write at the Tigard Public Library, right outside Portland.  I was floored when not only did they have a coffee shop, Sesame Doughnuts, but that you can actually take your cup into the library.  Free books, free internet, quiet community, and delicious coffee - life doesn't get better than this for a writer.

write on!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 17, 2012

Old friends who've just met

Ever just meet someone and talk for hours on end about everything and nothing?  It's as if you've known one another an entire lifetime.  That happened to me last week and a line from Gonzo's song in the 1979 Muppet Movie soundtrack popped in my head.   

"There's not a word yet for old friends who've just met..."  

I couldn't get the song out of my head, so I went directly to i-tunes.  Argh.  They didn't have it.  I looked everywhere online and couldn't find it.  If I'd known this before, I would have never donated my record player and cherished childhood album.

But wait -- You Tube to the rescue.   



What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 10, 2012

Free Energy



feel good boom-bap music with a positive message...

spread positive energy,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

WriteOnCon

Attention all children writers:

WriteOnCon is an Online Children’s Writers Conference created by writers, for writers.
When:  Tuesday, August 14 and Wednesday, August 15
Cost: Free!


It’s everything great about a writer’s conference, without any of the cost or inconvenience.  Enjoy the conference from home, for free — with a schedule designed around working hours. It all takes place within the WriteOnCon website.

There will be keynote addresses, agent panels, and lectures presented as blogs, vlogs, moderated chats, webinars, podcasts, and live streaming. There's also a critique forum, where participants can post query letters and writing samples to receive helpful feedback and comments from their peers and industry professionals. 

Details at WriteOnCon.

write on!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Top 100 YA novels...did yours make the cut?

Check out NPR's top 100 teen books voted by over 75,000 readers this summer.  Does your fave make the cut?

Before perusing the article, I thought about which titles create my personal list ...
  1. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson (#26)
  2. Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling (#1)
  3. Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor
  4. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher (#24)
  5. Remember Me - Christopher Pike
  6. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares (#32)
  7. Uglies - Scott Westerfield (#28)
  8. Feed - M. T. Anderson (#88)
  9. Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen
  10. Go Ask Alice - Beatrice Sparks (#35)
  11. Forever - Judy Blume (#46)
All but three showed up.  The fun part?  This list will forever grow, morph, change and one day have my novel tucked somewhere in between (got to have a healthy ego)
 

read on!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wise



This drawing was inspired by Sunday Scribblings: #331 - Wise.


PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Teen girls petition for images of real girls

I was super excited to learn that two teen girls, Carina Cruz and Emma Stydahar, started a petition for Teen Vogue to showcase photos of real girls rather than the usual air-brushed perfected images.  The two are outspoken members of SPARK Movement, "a girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media."

Members of the SparkTeam
The petition is to support fellow SPARK team member Julia Bluhm when she took on Seventeen to print one unaltered photo spread per month with her own petition and won with over 86,000 supporters!  Seventeen editor-in-chief Ann Shoket announced their new photoshop policy: the face and body sizes of the models in their magazines will not be digitally altered in any of the spreads in the magazine.  Awesome.

Click here to sign the Teen Vogue petition and pass the message on.  It only takes one to voice an opinion out loud; together we can change the world.

Spark a movement,

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Distance

When I first saw the Sunday Scribblings prompt - distance - my immediate reaction was the 1996 Cake song, The Distance.  Which then took me back to living in Orlando, Florida.

It was my first real job not involving anything to do with food (no cooking, no serving, no cashier, no drive-thru).  I was the accountant for a local music zine, Jam magazine, mainly processing and recording subscription income.  Accounting, not so fun, but working so close to music was a total dream come true!  One of the writers was reviewing Cake's album Fashion Nugget.  I can't remember the guy's name off-hand, just that it was the first and only red-head I'd ever had a crush on.  

So, here you go.  Enjoy some Cake!



PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Off in the distance

Harley trotted along the gravel covered trail.  The afternoon sun hid behind the towering trees, creating a much appreciated canopy.  The crushed rocks crunched under his paws.  Various smells - pine, soil, grass, citrus - forever changing, repeatedly stole away Harley's attention.  A twig snapped.  He froze.  His ears perked.  His eyes saw a shadowy figure in the distance.  Harley sped off.  Closing in the gap, Harley barked blissfully in response to the familiar smell of cigarettes and peanuts.

"There are you boy!"  The man crouched down, his arms opened wide.

Harley licked his owner's face with ecstatic excitement.   Once again he'd managed to get lost.  One of these days I may not be so lucky, Harley thought.  Need to keep this man on a  leash!

the above was a free-write inspired by the Sunday Scribblings prompt #330 - Distance




PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nu Metal, who knew?

Spent the day at a coffee shop working on my YA novel, In Search of Joy, doing character research.  Was looking for various genres of music, and came across nu metal.

Now, first off, I hate "classifications."  Why does everything and everyone need to be shoved into a nice, neat little box?  I always state that I love all good music.  Okay, I admit, even some bad music...as long as it's fun and gets my toes tappin'.  Shuffle on my i-Pod plays rap, grunge, pop, country, alternative, punk, and the list goes on.

On the Wikipedia post, my eyes zoomed in on nu metal's origin: "Rock bands of the 80s and 90s including Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, Tool, Alice in Chains and Rage Against the Machine have been identified as laying groundwork for the development of nu metal...combining aggressive riffs with pop structures and drawing influence from a variety of genres within and outside of heavy metal.  FNM's song Epic is considered by some to be the earliest incarnation of nu metal, with anti-music writing..."

OMG.  I've seen every single one of the bands listed above in concert.  Lived and breathed FNM in high school.  Even met FNM, Rage and Alice.  WoW.

So, I guess it makes sense that I like all kinds of music.  Since nu metal is influenced from a "variety of diverse styles, including electronic, funk, glam, gothic rock, grunge, hardcore punk, hip hop, industrial, jazz, post-punk, symphonic rock and synthpop..." and well a whole bunch of other sub/genres and musical elements.

Goes to show it's not possible to put good music in a clearly defined box.  Because when art is good, it encompasses all influences and passions within that artist.  Just the way it should be.

Express yourself freely, no labels required.

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Doggie Advice to Live By



PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Billy's Balloon by Don Hertzfeldt


Sometimes you just need to take a break and laugh.


PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Limitless

Connect
Create
Empower
Relate
Express
Imagine
Enlighten

The possibilities are limitless. 

travel 1st class all over the world. put an end to the common cold. have a novel on the NY Times bestseller's list every year. have someone say that I'm their favorite author. speak 3 languages fluently. fall in love. eat chocolate, ice cream, and gummy bears when i want with no guilt. dance to 80s music all night long. fly. climb mt. hood. own a private jet. have a private chef. smile everyday. smile at every stranger. sing at the top of my lungs with the windows open. follow my intuition without question. inspire others by following my dreams. trust in my guides. allow my feelings to flow. face my fears. write. paint. wear neon colors. kiss for hours. connect to my passions thru creation. film documentaries and showcase at Sundance.   

 the above was inspired by Sunday Scribblings: #328 - Limitless 

Let go of limits and see what's possible.
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 9, 2012

True Love

I have been on a quest
nearly thirty years
to find my true love.
Along my bumpy trail
I've kissed many frogs.
What have I done wrong?
Finally, I realized
to look within, love 
was there all along.

That is the irony
of living a life
without.

The above was inspired by Sunday Scribblings: #327 - tongue in cheek.

Shout out loud, "I am SO in love with myself!" and see if it doesn't make you smile.

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Scribblings: #326 - Stretch

My furry baby boy jumps off my lap
and lengthens into his favorite downward dog pose.
Every morning the same routine: wake, stretch, meow, eat.


***********************************************

On the first of the month
I pull out my checkbook to pay bills.
As I stare at my new account balance,
my mind races on how I can make every dollar stretch.

***********************************************

Sitting in the coffee shop I struggle
with how to move forward on my novel.
Mental chatter only feeds my fear and doubts.
I reach out for inspiration,
tap into my imagination,
but the words scrawled across my notebook
are a just a big pile of crap.
And my perfection cries "Fraud!" once again.
But the desire inside refuses to quit
and I push the pen once more across the page.
There was a time when I would give up, walk away, give into failure
because my mind and body felt stretched thin.
My soul, however, reminds me I am a writer,
and every day I must allow the journey to begin again.


The above was written in response to Sunday Scribblings prompt.

Stretch beyond your wildest dreams,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Breathe

Just when you think you can't take any more...

breathe in, breathe out


A little reminder from the universe through Portland street art.


Inhale, exhale, smile
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's Your Story?

When my friend invited me to my first Urban Tellers show at Hipbone Studio my immediate reaction was how much fun to tell your story to an intimate audience...I'd love to do this!

Then I quickly remembered that I HATE to get up in front of people - friend, foe and stranger alike - and speak.  I HATE attention.  My skin covers in red splotches like I'm coming down with some infectious outbreak and my mind uncovers any and every possible "what could go wrong" scenario leading to possible anxiety attacks (not really, but you never know what could happen).

Urban Tellers is a workshop of six adults that get together for four sessions to share and uncover the stories needed to be told.  And then without a script or notes each of the participants share their personal story with a live audience...completely improvisationally.

Then I attended my second show, The Game Changer, that my friend Tamara Lynne participated in.  Of course she was great, she performs for a living.  How could a former accountant turned young adult writer (introvert alert anyone?) possibly think she could get away with this?

Why couldn't I?  I've noticed that a lot of things are coming up that I would love to do, but once I think too much about it, fear sets in and I quickly dismiss and avoid.  I promise myself moving forward to take baby steps.  Picture myself up on that stage sharing my story.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll actually sign up for the class one day.  Even if I don't, it feels nice to embrace the possibility.

live dangerously...do one thing a day that scares you!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 7, 2012

and this relates to CVS how?

Venice Beach


what disturbs me most are the over-sized hands. not sure why...

art for thought.
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why?

I just read the black snob's blog post about society's obsession with body size and skin color.  My jaw dropped when she referenced the Clutch magazine article that discusses how some members of the Puerto Rican side of Michelle Rodriguez's family married first cousins in order to stay light-skinned (see the PBS clip below).




I understand that social status, opportunities, education, and so on are more afforded to those with the lightest skin.  I've seen it in action...the way people (sales clerks, strangers, neighbors, etc) treated my mom, who is German, versus how those same people treated my dad, who's Black, not knowing that the two were husband and wife. 

I understand the history beyond my parents, but can't we move forward and create a new future?

Why are we so concerned with outside opinions and critics?

Why do we judge only with our eyes instead of our intuition and heart?

Why can't we look at our reflection and smile at what we see?

Why do we believe someone else's story?  Just because they've set up limitations, hurdles or roadblocks, doesn't mean that those stumbling blocks apply to me.

Why can't we fully embrace all that we are?  Fat, skinny, curvy, black, white, mixed, dark chocolate, pasty white vs caramel colored, freckles, wrinkles, hairy, bald...

Imagine if you sat down to color and the Crayola box held 64 crayons all the same color.  BORING. 

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and shades.  And I hope someday every little boy and girl can stare at differences in awe and appreciation rather than in fear or envy.

Why not make a difference?  Use your voice and match your actions to spread love for every detail that makes each of us unique and beautiful.

spread love,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Scribblings: #321 - Strange Bedfellows


There are many sides to every individual.  And many hats are piling up on my head and merging into one amazing showpiece.

In early childhood I had no fear and did anything my little heart desired.  I created my own magazine featuring my first article on then crush Michael J. Fox and performed tricks on my roller skates.

Always an honor roll student, I majored in accounting and worked in the CPA world.  On the weekends I danced at clubs dressed in my goth meets grunge attire.  Or going to concerts and meeting my favorite bands - Pearl Jam, Beastie Boys, Faith No More...

I'd always dreamed I'd be a writer like Judy Blume; a cartoonist for the Simpsons; a back-up singer like Wendy & Lisa of the Revolution for Prince; or an A&R rep discovering new rocking talent.  Who knew that 2012 would be the year I moved from the east coast to Portland, leave my CPA career behind and embrace writing for young adults, living a full-time creative lifestyle.

Everyday I'm learning that I am many things.  Creative, shy, stubborn, outgoing, smart, smiling, curvy, curly and beautiful...a singer, a dancer, a traveler, a perfectionist, a writer, a painter, an accountant, a sugar addict, a vegetarian, an animal lover, a friend, a coffee addict, a cartoonist...

And although these attributes may make strange bedfellows, they make up one extraordinary individual.  Me.

The above was inspired by the writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings.

Embrace all that is you.
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/


Becoming Extraordinary

The all day TEDxConcordiaUPortland event, Becoming Extraordinary on Saturday, March 31st was...well, extraordinary. 

For those not familiar, TED is a nonprofit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading".  A conference which began in 1984 brought together three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  On TED.com, they post the best talks from the conferences available for free.  TEDx was later created, a program of local, self-organized events to share a TED-like experience.

Thankfully I was early in the coffee line which stretched across the building and sampled my first vegan VooDoo Doughnut - delicious.  The sold-out event with over 600 people buzzed with excitement and anticipation.  There were so many amazing presenters filling my head with so many possibilities and so much needed inspiration.

One of my favorites was Colleen Wainwright who raised $50,000 in 50 days leading up to her 50th birthday for the LA nonprofit WriteGirl.  A must see, especially if you have an extraordinary idea to give back but doubt your ability - a truly humorous inspiration.



Friday, May 25, 2012

My Idol: Judy Blume

Growing up, I spent Sundays at the public library and the author I'd go to over and over was Judy Blume.   

Superfudge, Blubber, Deenie, Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself, Forever... My absolute favorite, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.  She's the reason I want to be a young adult author. 

When I came across the Judy Blume Journal Contest, I was super excited.  The first place winner would receive a personalized message from her.  There were other prizes, but I didn't care.  A personal message from my idol?  A total dream come true.

My entry received 146 votes and I was in the top five contenders.  Of the five, Judy Blume selected the three Finalists, a Runner-Up, and Grand Prize Winner.  Fingers crossed, breath held...I remained a finalist and despite the i-Tunes gift card, I was devastated.

On April 6, 2011 while checking my gmail, I almost fell out my chair.  There in my inbox was an email from Judy Blume!  Oh.My.God.  I screamed for my co-worker to come into my office, just so I knew I wasn't dreaming.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh procrastination...


Even professional writers have days when they'd rather clean the toilet than do the writing. - Octavia Butler

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Donna Summer: vocal on embracing multiracial backgrounds

One week after MCA's death, I woke up to learn that yet another beloved musician that has had a large impact on my life also past. On Thursday, May 17, Donna Summer died of cancer at age 63.

My earliest memory was seeing the video "She Works Hard for the Money" on MTV in the early '80s.  It was the first video by a black female artist to be placed in "heavy rotation."  I loved the song so much, I saved up my allowance to buy my very first LP, Donna Summer's eleventh studio album, also named "She Works Hard for the Money."  I wore the album out so much that the song doesn't sound right without the permanent skips from scratches.

Who knew that over 20 years later she would also have an influence on my writing career.  A friend had mailed me the article, "Let's embrace our heritage of many cultures: celebrate how diverse Black people are" written by Donna Summer from the September 2008 issue of Ebony magazine.  I had no idea that her racial background included Native American, Dutch, Irish and French Canadian.  I, too, am mixed - my father's Black and my mother's German.  So, my main characters are of color who deal with everyday contemporary issues, but from the perspective of someone who doesn't fit neatly into a one race check-box.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Always a bridesmaid...

Even though I moved to the west coast only six months ago, I've already been on two trips back to DC. This last visit was for my 24hr lawyer friend's wedding.  I have to admit, I was dreading it.

I was excited to see all my friends, but I HATE being a bridesmaid, especially a single, thirty-something bridesmaid with no romantic prospects.

My usual angst of feeling uncomfortable in my body and without a plus one, however, never had a chance to surface. During the rehearsal dinner when I was forced to say a few words (with absolutely no forewarning), the moment I looked at my friend, it hit me -- how much I love and miss her and how truly happy I was that she found someone to share the rest of her life with.



Then at the reception, I was super excited to be sitting at a table with my "DC family!" There was no time for silly, woe-is-me feelings. We drank, we laughed, we danced all night...and then felt it the next day at brunch.

When my bubbly brilliant friend commented that this was the first time that our entire group had all been together since August, I was truly reminded about what is most important to me...experiencing love.  Love of friends, love of dance, love of love. Which meant getting out of my head and living in the moment.

Raise a glass to great friends and great times!  Cheers!

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sunday Scribblings: #318 - Wild

My curls have a mind of their own.  I rid the knots with my wide-toothed comb caused by the wind, finger twirling, and tossing and turning.  Step out the shower and they hang past my shoulders in waves, weighed heavy from the warm water.  Air dried, they shrink to my chin and expand.  They quench their thirst and seek to replenish with any found moisture - humidity their favorite dessert.  Depending on their mood and the weather my head wears ringlets, frizz, corkscrews, or kinks.  They never look the same despite the daily routine - wet, comb, and condition.  They live with attitude - bounce and fly for the fun of it.  Curls are crazy, wild, intense, present, and extroverted.  I love my curls.  My curls are me.

inspired by the writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings.

let go & live wild,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 4, 2012

Three MC's and One Sad Fan

When I saw my friend, Lisa's text about an hour ago, I was devastated to learn that MCA (Adam Yauch) of the Beastie Boys had passed away at the age of 47 from cancer.

Music is my strongest passion, and I grew up with the B Boys since the 6th grade when I got the record Licensed to Ill.  The unfolded album cover hung on my bedroom wall displaying a Boeing 727 crashing head-on, looking like a smashed out joint.  The tail of the plane had the Def Jam logo and the legend “3MTA3″ which spelled “EATME” when viewed in a mirror.

I remember my first trip to California with my girl, Nyree; we drove from LA to San Diego singing along with then newly released Intergalatic.  Not only did their music rock, but their videos were ingenious, Sabotage my absolute favorite.  I can still hear my dad comment, "You in your Beastie Boy shoes," every time I wore Converse.  But the BEST memory was when I met the Beastie Boys in 1992.

Me and Ad Rock
It was Friday, November 13.  Lisa, Nyree, Ny's friend Heather (pictured above with MCA), and I went to the Beastie Boys, Henry Rollins and Cypress Hill concert at the Edge in Orlando, Florida.

Lisa and I followed Mike D and Ad Rock to Yab Yum (a downtown coffee shop) and somehow ended up on the guest list (see the proof to the left).  After the show we ended up backstage, where they let us munch on their veggies and drink their beer.  Beastie Boys will forever have an impact on my life and love of music.

RIP MCA.



Lisa, Me and Mike D




PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Scribbling: #317 Storm


Curled up on the cotton, chaise lounge,
bundled in a fuzzy, cream blanket.
Hands wrapped around a steaming mug of Masala chai.
The original 1940's window of the fourth floor apartment
does nothing to prevent the spring morning chill.
Lush trees in olive, pea and emerald hues
sway and stretch towards the rising sun.
Commuters in cars and on bikes flood the streets,
while joggers and dog walkers stomp the sidewalk.
Fluffy white and baby blue skies morph into a gray, somber haze.
Threatening storm clouds produce only drizzle
and soon the sun makes another appearance
until hidden once again and again.
Another typical day in Portland, Oregon. 
 
inspired by the writing prompt at Sunday Scribbling.
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Drop it Like its Hot




PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 27, 2012

No more Musts, Should or Have To


I'm trying to lead a life of fun, smiles and laughter.  But even when I do the activities I enjoy, such as writing, all the joy it brings can disappear when you give in to the "musts, should, or have to." 

You know what I mean, "I must spend at least so many hours writing" or "I should have finished my novel by now" or "I have to write so many words every day".  Once you create required conditions for something you want to do, it's no longer so much fun.

My friend gave the perfect example when I said I'd like to start running again.  Don't be like Rachel with the mindset that you must run by certain rules; but rather embrace Phoebe's way of living, run however it feels good and natural to you.

Do what you love, when you want, how you want.


PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Purple
Purple is epic
Purple is totally awesome
Purple is the new black
Purple is the color of tomorrow
Purple will take over the world
Boooo pink

Today is national Poem in Your Pocket Day.  Select a poem you love and share it with family, friends, co-workers, strangers, the world.  I was so inspired with the poem above, that I wore purple tights today.  And I so agree, purple is totally awesome and will take over the world.  


roses are red, and violets rock!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beach Writing Retreat

It's been two weeks since I've retired from accounting and charged forward with my new career writing for young adults.  I'm still figuring out the best method of attack to completing my YA novel while still involved in two critique groups, two writing circles, regular volunteering, and reading best-sellers in my genre.

I know how to multitask and organize, but some days I struggle with the fear and doubt, especially now only being accountable to myself.  But I'm learning how to push on through that dreaded writer's block - meaning procrastination due to fear of failure.

First, surround yourself with inspiration.  This past Monday I was up to my eyeballs with stuff I love: sunshine, beach, coffee, and a great friend.  We drove out to Cannon Beach for a day-long writing retreat.  Soaked in some rays; enjoyed the view, smells and sounds of the Pacific; enjoyed great conversation; and drank fabulous coffee roasted on site at Sleepy Monk.  Even in that inspired space, I found myself struggling to write. 

So, what to do?  Just do it!  After wasting time trying to think about what to write or staring at the activity around me, I took a breath, put pen to paper and just wrote.  At first, a bunch of nothing sprawled across the page, but after a paragraph or two, I ended up with two amazing scenes.

Always trust your voice and talent.  I constantly self-edit, even with the very first words still swimming in my head.  I'm learning to let go of this ridiculous control freak.  I can edit all I want after I get words down on the paper.  Let the work simmer and be out of sight and mind for a day or so.  With new eyes, shape and mold that first draft into a masterpiece. 

Finally, never give up.  No matter how dark your outlook may be in the moment, keep the faith.  If you love what you're doing, then keep on creating, because someone else will love your voice as much as you do.

Happy Creating!

PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 13, 2012

Inspire Someone

I'm most happy when creating, doing, a human in action.

Writing, drawing, dancing, playing, hiking...whatever.

A common question is "Where do you find inspiration?" Inspiration is everywhere ...nature, art, music, and watching the world go by.

An action I find most inspirational is when a person follows their passion. My sparkly friend, Erica Pastore, relocated from the east coast to LA to sing, dance and act. Check out the video I compiled below showcasing her belly dance expertise.









Be Inspired!
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

FREE Webcast with Rick Riordan


Rick Riordan and The Serpent’s Shadow
SPONSORED BY: Disney/Hyperion, and School Library Journal
EVENT DATE: Tuesday, May 1, 2012– 1:00 PM EDT – Approx. 60 minutes


Rick RiordanJoin a free webcast on May 5th, with the award winning author of the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series, Rick Riordan at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium in San Jose, California for a tour of Egyptian artifacts and a chance to ask Rick questions live.

Registration is required to attend.  Even if you can’t make the live event, you’ll have three months of access to watch the archive on demand.


 Tschüß,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Top 3 Reads in 2011

I promise that this year I will do a better job of reading (so far, four to date!), along with writing, moving more and eating right. But until I crack the code to living a balanced life, let's take a look at my favorite reads in 2011. Gotta start somewhere.

#3 Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
(YA Fantasy) December 2010

Book description from Amazon.com
Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas, in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. And when a crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

My thoughts...
This novel appealed to my senses for two main reasons.  First, I could relate to the character because she was bi-racial; the first I've ever encountered in the lead and in a YA novel.  I loved how the author painted this fact without shoving it in your face.  Everyone can relate to just wanting to be loved, whether by a parent, friend, sibling, mentor, or simply a first love or soul-mate.  Dia Reeves achieves this flawlessly through action, internal and external dialogue, so that the reader aches with longing along with Hanna. 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Whee!!!



Sometimes when you blindly trust, people get hurt; but if you listen to that little voice inside, trust your gut and take that leap of faith, your soul will squeal with delight.  It's not to say there won't be uphill battles; life is full of opportunities to grow and learn.  But we are never given more than we can handle.  Nor are we ever alone to deal on our own.

So keep your eyes wide open, push through the fear and lead with your heart.  And just like the little piggy, cry "Whee! Whee! Whee!"

Show me your soul,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case


(Image Credit: ABC News; Orange County Jail)

Deep feelings and reactions have manifested in response to the Trayvon Martin Case.

For those not familiar, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home from a convenience store on the evening of February 26th. The shooter, George Zimmerman, was the neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman, a 200 pound 28 year old with a history of violence, claimed self defense although Trayvon Martin, with no criminal history, had nothing more than candy and an iced tea in his hands. George Zimmerman remains free.

My hope is that love, growth and unity will result from this tragedy. Not necessarily from the Sanford police, or even from the shooter, but from the rest of the world watching.

My friend, Erica Pastore, and I have each blogged about our reactions to these events at our shared blog, The You are Love Project. Feel free to read her thoughts in Eyes Open and mine in Oh My God. And please, share your point of view with us and the world.

Share your voice,
PlayWrite
http://sonjathomaswrites.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do you See What I See?

The passengers deboarded the plane and I hurried to the women's restroom.  The moment I entered, a middle-aged woman slumped on a couch asked, "Do you have any food?"  I shook my head and entered an empty stall.  After using the bathroom, I washed my hands and remembered that I had some change in my pocket. 

I approached the woman and handed her five dollars.  "I don't have much, but hopefully this will help."  

She jumped to her feet, a wide grin spread across her face.  Her wrinkled clothing hung loosely on her tiny frame.  "Thank you so, so much.  God bless you."

"You're welcome."  I smiled.

"My name is Shawna.  Airport security lets me sleep in here.  Don't know where I'd go if they didn't.  Thank you so much.  God bless you.  Please keep me in your prayers."

I hugged her tight.  Tears streamed down her face, washing away caked on grime.

"Life's so hard.  But I'm trying to do right..."  My heart melted as her face crumbled.  She told me how she gave up her parental rights and turned her children over to the state.  How every time she passes the nearby church, Miss Lucy always says hello and allows her to take a nap on the lawn; the pastor, however, has never said a word to her.  That her sister verbally attacks her but never offers any form of help.

Two ladies entered the bathroom, their hair, make-up and clothes looking as if they've walked off the Basketball Wives reality show.  "Hey ladies, looking good," Shawna said.  Neither responded, nor looked in her direction, but continued primping in the mirror.  Shawna and I locked eyes and shared a knowing look.

Those ladies were blind to Shawna's very existence and choose to not see what I saw...a fellow human being struggling in life, just wanting to be acknowledged and loved like anyone else.

How many times have you walked past a homeless person or someone begging for money or food?  After moving to DC, I became immune to the vast numbers and walked past without any acknowledgement, as if they were never there.  Not just one can afford to give all those in need money, but how much does a smile cost?  We're so quick to judge, but you may never know the rest of someone's story unless you say hello.    

Smile at a stranger,
PlayWrite
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