Breaking Night, Book Review

Breaking Night by Liz Murray
“A memoir of forgiveness, survival, and my journey from homeless to Harvard.”
Publisher: Hyperion Books
ISBN 0786868910

It’s hard to believe this book is a memoir, a true-life story of someone’s life. I read it more like fiction because it kept me in a state of horrific disbelief. Ms Murray (Liz) writes her experiences with sweet innocence, surprisingly without anger, and is able to share her appalling experiences growing up with drug-addicted parents.

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Other Writers

Since I’ve been hitting a brick wall lately with what to write on the old blog I thought I would give you a list of other writing bloggers. Enjoy….

Susan Cushman at Pen and Palette talks about Thoreau on the Writer’s Life. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Susan via the internet. She is living the writing life I’d like to live.

From her current blog post:

I want to make a home for myself with my writing—especially in other people’s minds, but also on paper and in time. And so I blog. Three times a week for the past three and a half years I have shared my art, my life, my musings, book reviews, family news, my ups, my downs, with whoever will listen, whoever will read the words I have poured onto the page. When something big happens—whether it’s good news or trauma—my first instinct has always been to share it with someone, to write about it.

Susan just got back from a month long writing retreat from the beach too! I love reading her blog and Facebook status updates. She always has something good and positive to share, she keeps me inspired and encouraged.

Next up is Allison Winn Scotch, she has an awesome Question Of The Day, where her regular readers can email her their questions and she’ll answer them on her blog.

Currently on her blog she is giving thanks.

I have a lot, A LOT, to be thankful for when it comes to my career, and as I’ve repeatedly stated on this blog, no author achieves any modicum of success on his or her own.

It’s nice to see a successful person giving credit to others.

And then we have Julie Buxbaum who has no qualms whatsoever to put it all out there for all to see. In one of her most recent posts she talks about a struggle she has with a main character.

In the Modern Girl’s Handbook, one of my main characters finds herself practically friendless. Since she’s a good person, and I love her, and I want my readers to love her, I’ve been thinking a lot about how someone could accidentally become so isolated.

I love the type of writer Julie represents, fearless.

There is another trait that these three writers have that I admire, their honesty. Their ability to share with the rest of us what is really going on with them at any given time, they are all fearless in their honesty. I love that.

These ladies have inspired me, at the same time they have validated me in the fact that writing is definitely something I need (and should) be doing on a regular basis. I just need to “get over myself” and get to writing, fearlessly and honestly.

So thank you!

Plan The Work, Work The Plan

I’ve only done a handful of things that I am proud of in my life, really probably only two, but I am working on my third.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a good friend of mine who used to be in the financial business. Of course living with The Gent and watching him be responsible with his own finances also played a good part in my decision to claim my own freedom as well. The Gent is a great example of responsible living. He’s a grown up. Well, I’ve decided to take control of my own finances. I’ve made a plan to be debt free by the end of summer 2011. I could really be debt free before then but I’m allowing enough time for emergency scenarios as well.

So I created my little financial spreadsheet and let my good friend, who used to be in the financial business, give it a glance over. Yes, I trust her that much. She edited it and did some things for me on the spreadsheet to make it more realistic and doable. I’ve been following it the last few paychecks too. I must say, this is very empowering for me, to take control of my finances and realize that this IS doable. Most of all, I’m proud of myself to sticking to it, even for this short amount of time so far! Having succeeded with this plan for just a short few weeks makes me want to keep going!

For a long time now I have known what I needed to do and I would TRY to execute some sort of plan but it would always fail. I would become weak and give in to some little trivial and useless purchase, something I easily talked myself into having because I thought I couldn’t live without, only to get home and realize that that was a stupid purchase. But would I ever take any of these stupid purchases back? Nope. I always talked myself into keeping them. Well, except for that one suit I ended up taking back a few months ago. See? I’m learning.

Well, this time I have my plan down on paper and I keep it with me all the time. I look at it several times a week. I take a highlighter and mark through the payment when I’ve made it. I have already paid off one bill in just one month by adhering to this plan. I have realized something about myself – I have to write it down, make a plan, study it. If it is down on paper and I’m able to SEE it on a daily basis and be able to check something off, then I have clearly succeeded. I can see the result.

I’ve had to change some things, little things mainly but they all add up. For example, eat out less and pack a lunch, cut down on the dry cleaning bill by wearing clothes I can wash myself. Don’t buy that little useless trinket. Don’t go to the mall. Pay cash. If you don’t have the cash then don’t buy it. And actually WORK my part time job.

I am amazed at how sticking to the plan, the spreadsheet, and SLOWLY chipping away at this small amount of debt I have gotten myself into can be so liberating! Empowering. I feel like a grown up.

I’ve got bigger and better plans for myself in the future. However, I will become debt free before anything else.

Rock on,