I found this site because I see hearts everywhere – LITERALLY! I came in search of what it all means or else to connect with humans who are experiencing this [not at all] phenomenon. At the very least you thought you’d find HEARTS. Instead, there are words, words, and more words. (Curses too!) Where are the hearts?
I started this blog with the intention of collecting photos of hearts everywhere because I too, found myself spotting the iconic symbol of romance in the clouds, in the rocks, in the leaves. However, I’m a writer and eventually this blog evolved into a platform for me to share autobiographical essays as I documented my life.
I spent 2016 in a self-imposed 365-day writing project called Life Clubs: Imaginary Threads of How We Connect to One Another. As virtual members of theoretical clubs, we are all linked by the life experiences that bind us.
I’ve lived through 4 decades of stories – joining many clubs along the way. The Immigrant Club, The Tattoo Club, The I Lived through 9/11 Club, The Parenthood Club, The Divorce Club, The Co-Parenting Club, The Getting Remarried Club, The My Aunt Died Club, The My Modern Family Trumps Yours Club. We have all inadvertently joined a club, and until your official initiation, you can’t understand what it’s truly like to be a member.
Through these stories, I tried to tell stories of the human conditions using examples of my life. I vulnerably spilled my soul in order to find other humans who would say, “Me too!”
So if you are looking to connect, I guarantee there is a club here for you. I’m still finding hearts in the world, but for now, I’ve dedicated my life to finding (and writing) the hearts in the stories.
I love photos and I have a goal of adding photos to all of the stories in the 365 Project – slowly, eventually … (see I am a Procrastinator Club). In the meantime, I’ve picked up my Instagram activity here.
Did you have an editorial calendar for 365 Project?
I had talked about the idea of “life clubs” for years, since I became a proud member of The Divorce Club in 2005. I decided to use Nora Ephron’s quote, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim” as inspiration and I took the reigns at dictating the narration of my life. I made an initial list of about 150 life stories but quickly realized life narrated faster than I could keep up and the project evolved organically.
When I struggled with liberating the long-dormant tales of my adolescent angst, I found myself writing about what was pressing today rather than delve into an uncomfortable past. It’s easier to write about the now, harder to live in it. (Feel free to quote me.)
Did you really write every single day or a few days in advance?
I really wanted to develop the habit of writing every single day so I did. Some days I wrote more than one piece, but I always wrote at least one a day from scratch.
How many words did you write?
250,702. Apparently, this is the length of four average [first] novels.
What were your goals?
This was the first time in my life I had ever written down goals for anything. Ever. Surprise: it works.
- Become a better writer – physically become more effective at sitting down and prioritizing writing. See this through to the end, no matter how grueling, annoying or failing it may seem. One year without excuses!
- Purge the floating stories from my mind and set them off on a sea of words, letting go, and ultimately alleviating panic attacks.
- Learn to forgive myself and liberate myself from my own judgement.
- Stretch my memory muscle. As I embark on this memoir-writing project, tapping into distant memories, I want to enhance those detail-grabbing skills from the distant past.
- Finish something – in addition to dozens of scattered, incomplete notebooks and journals, I have two books that sit unfinished. While the ultimate goal is to have a comprehensive piece of work, I hope that this exercise helps me finish my other abandoned writing projects.
- Reestablish an online voice and expand my portfolio
- Own it. Value my words, my writing, and myself as a writer. Give myself one year without doubt. For 365 days, I will think, “I will sell this house today.”
Did you accomplish your goals?
HECK YES. Here was my last piece about the Lessons Learned.
What was the hardest part of the challenge?
Life’s intervention. Going through this year showed me a new kind of strength and resilience. The world didn’t stop for my 365-project. In fact, it seemed the world intensified. Life heard I was documenting the year and the earth reverberated with material. Life gave me two weeks in Hawaii, but also took my aunt and my grandmother two months apart and flooded our apartment, sending us into a 4-month unexpected, life-halting renovation. In one year, I went to the Emergency Room with every member of my immediate family and I used every day to cope with life, with words (publicly).
Did you successfully form a habit?
Yes, and more than one. I didn’t realize I had formed a habit until I was allowed to stop writing on January 1st. The most important habitual training was when I had an idea, I immediately wrote it down because I was going to need a story that day – or if not that day, the next. When I suddenly didn’t have to create a piece a day, I couldn’t resist the desire to write down my ideas. In addition, my thought process had solidified such that everything that happens to me still feels like fodder for another Life Club. The habit has become celebrating shitty experiences while spinning them into stories.
Do you recommend doing a 365 Project?
I needed something extreme to jostle my brain and prove to myself I could. In retrospect, this was one of my extreme ideas which felt like a strike of brilliance, which was going to help me “write my way out” Hamilton style. I thought if I pushed to such an extreme, the reward would be literary agents falling at my feet begging me to publish my stories. (I didn’t write that as one of the goals, and clearly, should have.)
For others, I would recommend adopting more of an “everything in moderation” philosophy. I would recommend a 260 challenge (weekends off). The body needs a chance to rest, though it was truly hard to stop the internal writing even if I wanted to.
Do you have a favorite story?
Not yet. I plan to make a list of Top 10 – or 50. Eventually. See I am a Procrastinator Club.
Please drop me a note and ask any other questions and I will add them if they’re pertinent.