Posts by Jen Seriously

Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Jennifer’s passion for reading began at the tender age of 3 when she enjoyed flipping through her father’s electronics catalogs to pick out the words she knew. That budding obsession with the written word progressed into late nights under the bed covers with books and a flashlight – and a reputation as the only child to be reprimanded for reading. As an adult, she found she still loved to read more than write, but is working on creating more of a balance between the two. She can be found 80 percent of the year in beautiful Boulder, Colorado hiking with her Finnish Lapphund, and the rest of the year travelling to exciting destinations, both domestic and international.

It’s Just Something In My Eye

Back on April 28th, Trotsky and I hiked up to the Eagle’s View in Reynold’s Park. When we got to the 250 degree view at the top with a sea of green trees below and unique rock formations poking through and the snow-capped Rockies way out in the distance, I must have gotten a little dirt in my eyes because they got red and watery. Okay, okay, fine. I confess. I teared up. I had waited so, so, so long for this winter to be over, to be able to linger in the sunshine at the top of a trail and not hurriedly push through, shoulders hunched against the cold. To inhale the scent of the pine needles with every step and listen to the birds singing about the arrival of spring. To find a dry spot to sit down and share a picnic with my old dog. I was unbelievably happy in that moment and got a little carried away.

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The Novel: Which Critiques (Don’t) Matter

I now have a complete manuscript of my debut novel, a contemporary young adult story. Complete, of course, means that I still have another full edit to do over the summer…and then probably another one after I start to query in the fall. My first task is to incorporate the remaining comments I have from the Lighthouse critique group I’ve been going to since October. This group has been invaluable in pointing out legitimate plot holes, helping me understand reader reactions, and getting me unstuck when I couldn’t seem to move forward. I never would have finished without my peers and especially without the facilitator. In addition, some of us branched off into our own writing group, which helps me continue to find motivation through dedicated writing time and having people to bounce ideas off whose opinions I value and who know my story.  Continue reading →

Boulderites: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (Part 2)

Most of my posts about Boulder are flattering because I love living here. The quality of life is excellent, the scenery is beautiful, there’s lots to do, and the people are friendly. But, like anywhere, Boulder does have its share of self-righteous blowhards and general asshats. And I’m just as willing to write about the bad parts of being here (as few as there are) as the good. So, here is part two of a post I wrote a long, long time ago. I’m sure you know some people in your town just like the ones I’ve described here. Continue reading →

Bumble Beeline

I paid for Bumble. I felt slightly weird about it at first—like there was something wrong with my ability to get the dates I wanted otherwise—but actually I know several people my age who pay for it. And if no one paid, those apps would’t exist. So given all my years of using the apps for free, maybe it was my turn to contribute. Turns out, I really liked the features I got with a paid account. It was nice to be out of the urgent swiping game and able to browse everyone who liked me whenever I wanted. I was able to make more conscious and careful decisions about who to initiate a chat with and who to go out with. When you can only see one person at a time, you waste a lot of time messaging with people you are on the fence about because you have to select yes or no immediately to be able to see the next person. Bumble Beeline allowed me to keep those “maybe” guys on hold for a rainy day without having to engage them in conversation. Continue reading →

Big Birthday in Belize

For my 40th birthday, I was toying around with the idea of a long weekend with friends somewhere like Nashville, Asheville, or New Orleans. But when tickets came up to Belize for $350 round trip, well, plans changed. Melissa (who turns 40 just six weeks after me) and I snapped up that deal and started planning caving expeditions, hikes, beach time, and snorkeling. It was a magnificent trip! Everyone should go. Belize is beautiful, safe, exciting, uncrowded, and filled with some of the most genuine and friendly people in the world. Here are seven highlights from my seven days. Continue reading →

Turning 40: What Does Everybody Else Think?

So now that my big day is here (yay!!!) and now that you’ve read my thoughts on my life at its midpoint and who I am, what do the people in my life think about me? I asked them all to submit a statement for this final blog entry. No rules—could be funny, sad, irritating, scary, nostalgic—no word limit. Most of them wrote things that got me right in my 40-year-old ticker and brought this funny little prickly sensation to my eyes. Damn it, you guys! All of them wrote things that brought up fun memories and made me feel lucky to have them in my life. They inspire me every bit as much as I apparently inspire them and they make me want to be a better and better friend. If you guys are reading this, love you! Continue reading →

Turning 40: 40 Years in 40 Sentences

What sets me apart from most people in my life is that I was alive when Jimmy Carter was president. Then, when I was one, Ronald Reagan took office and we moved into the house my Republican parents live in to this day. I began a lifelong love of reading in that house by going through my father’s electronics catalogs and attempting to read the descriptions of the latest eight track and Betamax players.  Continue reading →

Turning 40: The People Who Changed My Life

I’ve been fortunate so far to have lived my life surrounded by people who support me. My dad worked extremely hard his whole life to make sure I had not only my basic needs of shelter and good nutrition met, but also that I had opportunity to explore my interests, learn, and ultimately become a successful adult. Later in life, I found wonderful friends who provide emotional support, encourage me to accomplish the things I want to, and make life better just by their presence. Additionally, many people throughout my life have inspired me in small and big ways, have (sometimes unbeknownst to them) been role models, and have changed my opinions and perspective. I appreciate all these people so much for their influence on me. But here at the halfway point, there are two people who, in crossing my path, literally changed the entire course of my life and who I am fundamentally as a person.  Continue reading →

Turning 40: Why I Write

At three days away from turning 40 years old, I haven’t been published, and yet I continue to write and call myself a writer. I’m not published because I haven’t ever submitted anywhere or queried an agent. Sure, I’d like to be published some day, but that’s never really been the point for me. The effort required to submit to agents and magazines and to market my work seems like it would sap all the fun out of writing. For me, the point is the process itself. I write because I have to. I have to explore ideas on paper and play with words and get creative. I’ve loved the written word since I was very, very little. Even though writing is an intrinsic part of me and a huge piece of my identity, it hasn’t always come easy. I took a nearly two-decade hiatus from creative writing, something I regret now even though I know I can only look forward. I did this exercise—a history of me as a writer in ten chapters—as part of a class I took and thought this would be a great time to share it on my blog.  Continue reading →

Turning 40: Lists, Part 2

Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s. These lists are more random, while yesterday’s were more about who I am as a person.

Things I’ve Quit Because My Ego is Too Big

  • Girl Scouts in second grade because I wasn’t voted president
  • 4-H Club in third grade because I wasn’t voted president
  • Flute in fourth grade because I didn’t get first chair
  • Softball in elementary school because I didn’t like my position in the batting order
  • Musicals in high school because a new girl joined our school and was a better singer than me so she got the lead my freshman year instead of me
  • Plays in college because no one wanted to cast me in a lead role my first semester
  • Gettysburg College because I didn’t instantly have a massive group of friends who thought I was awesome
  • Many, many jobs because I didn’t get to do exactly what I wanted and thought was best

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