A Writer's Journey

June 18, 2018

2018: Chapter 5

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It’s June already? Wow, that came fast. As this month begins, let’s look back at the last month—or chapter—of my life!

May started with me doing some last minute packing for Paris. I got all the important things done at work and left it in a good place for my boss to handle while I was to be away. And then it was onto vacation!

I’ll cover everything that happened to me in Paris in a series of blog posts I am currently writing. So stay tuned for those!

When I returned from Paris, I was definitely jetlagged. So much so that I called it a night before 10 PM and slept soundly until about 10 AM the next morning. I then took a shower because my hair desperately needed to be washed in New York water to return to normal.

(I have very oily hair and when I travel, it often feels icky even when I was it every day. There seemed to be a layer that built up on it in France that I could never get off until I got home. But it was better than when I went to England—that took a couple weeks to fix).

The Saturday after I returned, I went and did some shopping before coming home to watch Eurovision 2018. As I watched, I realized I was starting to get sick. Sure enough, by that night, I had a cold. My head was congested and I could barely breathe out my nose. Nothing seemed to help either.

So my poor mother didn’t have much of a daughter on Mother’s Day as I was just a sick mess. I did manage to give her a card and the present I got her from Paris—I also gave my aunt her gift as well—but most of my Sunday was spent trying to clear my nose so I could breathe.

And watching the season finale of Timeless. Seriously, why hasn’t it been renewed yet? Come on, NBC and Sony! Let’s get ourselves a third season!

I returned to work but most of the week was spent fighting the cold, so I was falling asleep almost as soon as I got home. But it seemed to be helping, as the congestion cleared and I was able to breathe through my nose once more by the time Friday rolled around. However, I did have a pesky cough. I had tried to make an appointment with my doctor for Monday but I had to settle for Saturday, which I decided to keep even though I was feeling better.

May 18th was the series finale of Once Upon a Time. We got one last beautiful Outlaw Queen scene (even if it didn’t involve Robin coming back to life to live happily ever after with Regina) and ended with Regina crowned the Good Queen. All in all, it was a beautiful way to end the show.

Then the next day I watched Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle. It was a beautiful ceremony and she looked amazing. Congrats to the happy couple!

My sister came up to New York with some friends in order to take a cruise to the Caribbean. Which meant that we had her dog for a week. Balto seemed to be very happy to be at our house—no other dogs around, so he didn’t have to share anything and he had the run of his house. The weather was also very good, so he was able to spend a lot of time outside as well.

They came back the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and we had our barbecue that day. It was a lot of fun with our friends. And it was a good thing we had it on Saturday as the rest of the weekend was pretty much a washout.

And then I got sick again. At first, I thought it was my sinuses acting up because the temperatures had plunged overnight and I wasn’t as congested as the last time. But by Monday evening, I was willing to admit the cold came back and so I started the antibiotics my doctor gave me just in case that happened.

My parents then left for a trip to California and I continued to fight the cold. Not a very exciting end to my fifth chapter, but I suppose I had an exciting beginning so it was a fair trade.

That was my fifth chapter. So far the sixth chapter hasn’t been as exciting but there are some highlights to share. And of course, the month isn’t over yet! 


May 18, 2018

Once Upon a Time: A Tribute

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As I noted in my Chapter II post, it was announced back in February that Once Upon a Time would be ending with Season 7.

Today is the series finale. It’s officially ending. I don’t know if it’s going to really hit me right away or if it’s still going to be delayed, perhaps until July when there are no new set pictures and there is no Comic Con panel. Or September when there’s no premiere to look forward to. I don’t know but I know it will come.

Of course, I’ll probably cry at random times during the weekend. I did so when they killed Robin and I cried the day after the Season 6 finale because that was its own goodbye to the series as well. All of that tells me that it’s going to be another May of tears over Once Upon a Time and it’ll be even more bittersweet that it’ll be the last one.

So since today is the series finale, I want to pay tribute to this show. Because it changed my life in so many ways and I need to say goodbye to it properly.

season 5 cast


May 14, 2018

Confessions of a Fandom “Old”

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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I have been fangirling for a long time, probably since childhood though I didn’t realize it. However, I mark my official start in the world of fandom at the age of 13 when my friend Eowyn (yes, her real name) introduced me to fanfiction and fan art for our favorite animes—Sailor Moon, Ronin Warriors and Gundam Wing.

So, yes, I’ve been participating in fandom for almost two decades. I’ve bounced around different fandoms, from the three I mentioned above to Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to, of course, Once Upon a Time (specifically Outlaw Queen).

I’ve come to grips that I am now a fandom old. That I’ve been around fandom so long, I’ve kinda seen it all and am not very surprised when shenanigans happen. It just seems to be the same song, different fandom.

Yet sometimes, I can still be surprised and shocked at how low a fandom can sink. As much as I love the Once Upon a Time fandom and know it is filled with amazing, beautiful and kind people, there still can be a very ugly side to the fandom as well. And I know it’s not unique in the changing world of fandom.


May 7, 2018

2018: Chapter 4

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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So, I’m in Paris right now. But this is definitely an easy post to get up and out while I’m overseas finally living out teenage me’s dream.

It’s time to review how April went. And it went by fast.

April started with my 32nd birthday, which was also Easter. It was a great day and thankfully the weather was really nice—there is nothing worse than a cold Easter! My cousin came over to celebrate with us and later some friends came over for cake. I finished the night with the live production of Jesus Christ Superstar and considered it a successful birthday.

The next day, I read about the dysfunction at Channel Awesome and the maltreatment of the producers there. I wrote about it in this blog post.

That week was the last week of filming for Once Upon a Time. All eyes were on Vancouver as people tried to figure out who else would be filming, what exactly were they filming and how would the cast handle the last day? We all sent messages to them—especially Lana Parrilla (Regina)—on their last day and got teary as they posted a goodbye from the set. Other cast members, including Sean Maguire (Robin Hood), sent them supportive messages as well.

Around that time, some fandom fuckery was afoot. I know I usually try not to curse on this blog but that’s the only way I can describe it. I won’t go into too many details but it seems a small subset of fans in a particular ship were upset that one of the actresses didn’t acknowledge their win in a poll but commented on how well another ship her character was part of was doing in another poll. So they started a concerted effort to make sure that other ship—my ship—didn’t win. And it was a really obvious effort that all other ships knew we weren’t being paranoid. The site running the poll was contacted and obviously realized something was up. After looking into it, they removed the votes cast by bots and our ship went back to first place.

I believe we won that poll.

There was some other good news for Outlaw Queen fans…or goodish news. Lana gave an interview to TV Guide ahead of the episode she directed and they published some things she said about the Outlaw Queen scene in a separate article before publishing the interview regarding her directorial debut. Lana said that it’s everything we could hope for and that it’s a testament to their relationship.

We’re really all still trying not to get our hopes up too much.

Lana’s episode aired and was amazing. She deserved all the praise she got for it and I’m just sorry that the president chose to announce we were bombing Syria before it was over.

The following week was a busy one for me at work. My manager and I arranged for a trainer to come out from YUSA in Chicago to deliver a training on diversity and inclusion. So we were busy with all the last minute details as I still had to give a New Hire Orientation on Wednesday. The next day, we were in constant communication with trainer as rain in our area kept delaying his flight to New Jersey. He finally made it and I picked him up for a brief meeting with some staff members ahead of Friday’s training. I was then part of the small group that got to have dinner with him. Friday was an early day as I got to the branch to help set up for training. It went well and when I got home, I took what I think was a well deserved nap.

That weekend was OUAT Chicago, which featured Sean Maguire in place of Colin O’Donoghue. He threw some shade at the writers but caused a storm on Twitter when some comments he made were taken out of context by some. They crossed the line when they started to tweet vile things at his wife and he rightly called them out. Lana made a comment the next day that seemed to indicate she knew exactly what had happened and continued to be very supportive and friendly with Sean. He continued to raise the hopes we were starting to have after Lana’s article by saying he felt the Outlaw Queen scene would give fans closure, saying it was his favorite to film with Lana and that it was very easy to slip back into their groove as Outlaw Queen.

This scene better be everything they promise or we’ll all be heartbroken yet again.

Once OUAT Chicago ended, Paris started to get real to me. I got emails about my flight and my hotel. People were talking about it and I asked my dad to take down a suitcase for me so I could start packing.

My dad then went to Ireland with my aunt and uncle while my mother and I went to a charity spaghetti dinner. I won a few raffle baskets and had a good time before coming home to watch Once Upon a Time. There’s only a few weeks left and then it will be over for good.

The weekend was spent getting ready for Paris, though my cousin came out to celebrate my aunt’s birthday.

So that was Chapter 4 of my year. Pretty eventful if I do so say so, but I doubt it’ll top Chapter 5.

April 30, 2018

Paris: It’s Here!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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I leave for Paris this week—in only about three days! I’m writing this in advance because I’m probably going to be running around with last minute packing, last minute shopping and getting everything ready at work for me to be gone for over a week.

I have tried to write some posts ahead of time so that I don’t miss too much time. I also promise to write up a full account of my time in Paris, even if I have to turn it into a mini-series like I did when I documented my time in Kansas City for the YMCA’s General Assembly.

If you want to follow along with my trip, feel free to follow me on Instagram (@musicalangel12) or Snapchat (@musicalangel12). You can also follow me on Twitter (@AEBrim), though I don’t know how much I’ll be tweeting.

So I’ll see everyone when I get back!

Au revoir!

April 23, 2018

A Dance for a Rainy Day

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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Pitter Patter.

Pitter Patter.

Pitter Patter.

Emily curled up on the couch, listening to the sound of the rain as it beat against her window. She left the lights off, so her room was more grayish than not. With her blanket wrapped around her, it was the perfect way to spend this rainy afternoon.

“Are you sitting in the dark for a reason?” her husband asked, entering the living room.

“It’s atmospheric,” she replied. “I like it.”

He chuckled. “Is there room for one more under that blanket?”

“Of course,” she said, holding it up so that he could climb in with her. Once he was lying behind her, Emily wrapped them in the blanket and curled closer to his warmth.

Andrew breathed out and she felt him relax. “This is nice.”

“It is,” she agreed. “I love rainy days.”

“Oh, I know that.” He kissed her forehead as they cuddled together, the rain lulling them into a dream-like state.

She wasn’t sure if seconds or hours had passed when he shifted next to her, rolling onto his back. He pulled her on top of him, rubbing her back. “You asleep?”

“Almost,” she murmured, nuzzling his shirt. “Why?”

“I was just thinking…Listen to the rain,” he told her.


Pitter Patter.

Pitter Pitter Patter.

Pitter Patter Patter Pitter.

Pitter Patter Pitter Pitter Patter.

She smiled, opening her eyes to look at him. “It has a very good beat.”

“I love a good beat,” he replied, eyes sparkling with joy. “Dance with me.”

Emily lifted her head, giving him an amused smile. “Right now?”

He nodded, sitting up. “Come on, Em. Dance with me to the song of the rain.”

“You’re a dork, you know that?” she asked fondly. She still took his hand as they stood from the couch and let him lead her to the middle of their living room.

Andrew took her hand in his while placing his free one on her hip. They started to sway to only a melody they could hear, accompanied by the sound of rain drops on the windowpane.

It was the perfect way to spend a rainy Spring day.

April 16, 2018

My Reading Challenge: Time for an Update!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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So, we’re at April. One quarter of the year is over—I know, right? Anyway, I figured I would check in to share how this year’s reading challenge is going!

It’s going well. I already have five books read! And I’m getting closer and closer to finally finishing The Night Circus. I really feel like I’ll do that this year.

Stay tuned for thoughts on the book.

The last book I finished was “A Tangled Mercy” by Joy Jordan-Lake, which was a Once Upon a Book Club selection. It told two stories concurrently—the story of Kate, who returned to Charleston, SC, following the death of her mother to find answers and the story of Tom Russell, a slave pulled into a rebellion plot in 1822 Charleston.

I’m down to four books I’m currently reading and I think it will come down to either The Night Circus or The Tory Widow—both on my Kindle—as the next I finish. I am making good progress in The Cottingley Secret and The Taster, both Once Upon a Book Club selections.

I am going to Paris in a few weeks, so perhaps I’ll get some reading down on the plane and will put myself even further ahead. I have plenty of books to catch up on for Once Upon a Book Club.

How about you? Are you doing a reading challenge? If so, how’s it going? Sound off below!

April 9, 2018

Hello, April!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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(Okay, yes, April started last week but I did my March wrap up then. So just go with it).

It’s April. It’s Spring.

And it snowed on Day 2.

Early April snow isn’t unheard of. My parents have often spoken about how it snowed on my birthday once when I was really little (and I’m an April Fool’s baby). They say once we reach April 15th, it’s generally considered safe that we won’t have any more snow. But with the way the weather has been going, that now seems like a double dog dare!

I hope spring comes soon though. We had a taste of it on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And then again on Wednesday, just two days after the snow. Then it got chilly again. I hate the up and down like this. So do my sinuses.

We have certainly gotten a lot of rain–April showers as they say. Hopefully they bring us May flowers and warmer weather. I just want spring. I love spring almost as much as I love autumn.

And you know how much I love autumn.

I’m sick and tired of my jacket and my warm clothing. It’s time for lighter outfits and for some shopping. Actually, I need to go shopping anyway—I need some nice clothes for Paris! And work. I should get some more clothes for work as well.

I want to open my window again and air out my room. There’s been a few warm days I’ve been able to do that but winter always returned. So too did the stale winter air. Let’s get some fresh air in there!

And I’d like to drive home with my windows open a few times too. It’ll be nice, even if my hair will look a mess by the time I’m done.

I want to see the leaves come back to the trees and the grass to become green again. I want to see flowers and plants spring back to life.

(Sorry for the pun).

So, please, Mother Nature, send us Spring. I miss it.

April 2, 2018

2018: Chapter 3

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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I cannot believe March came and went so quickly. I personally blame all the storms. They blew the month away! Here we are, at the end of another month and myself at the end of another year. Let’s take a look back at how the third chapter of 2018 went for me, hmm?

March rolled in like a lion with the first of four Nor’easters blew through the area. We had to close the office early due to strong wind gusts so that we weren’t on the road during the worst of it. The same day, Once Upon a Time returned to start the run of its final episodes.

That Sunday was the Oscars and it went off without a hitch, though I thought “This is Me” should’ve won Best Song over “Remember Me.”

Nor’easter #2 slammed into us that Wednesday, dropping several inches of snow on us. My office was closed and I took the opportunity to work on my entries for the Outlaw Queen Prompt Party later in the month. Most of it was gone by that weekend, though.

My sister called us over that weekend and said that her dog, Balto, was hurt. It seemed he had a slipped disc and has been prohibited from jumping, one of his favorite activities. Naturally she was upset since they warned her he could be paralyzed if she didn’t change him to a low-impact lifestyle, so my dad went down to help her with Balto. He stayed for that entire week.

Timless returned for the second season it almost didn’t have and it was great to have it back!


March 12, 2018

Oops, I Did It Again

I know with how off topic I’ve been lately, you might be worried that this is an ode to Britney Spears’ hit song from the late 90s. Don’t worry, it’s not.

No, no, I have another reason to invoke her song title. Because I have done something again.

I put The Christmas Wish on the backburner and so technically stalled it. Again.

deep sigh

Once again, it’s because of my other fanfiction. I’m still trying to wrap up my Valentine’s Day story (it’s coming. I can feel it nearing the end) but I’m also about to head into the prompt party. So that’s going to take a lot of my time because there’s another button on the line.

I want that button.

Sorry. These buttons are serious business in our fandom.


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