A guy I met once on a wine tour/bus trip shared this fact about marriage with me:
Marriage. It’s not all pixie sticks and butterflies. ~ Mitch
I thought that was rather prolific and true. Sure it came from one newlywed to another, so neither of us really had that much experience in this whole married life thing, but I agreed with him.
Not more than one hour later, Mitch also asked about my husband’s and my plans for having children, a natural step after marriage, but I felt it was a little soon to be discussing plans for my uterus given we’d: 1) just met, 2) had been drinking copious amounts of wine, and 3) it’s my uterus and none of his business. Thank you very much. (My mama raised me with manners.)
Still, this Mitch guy had a point. Marriage is not all pixie sticks and butterflies. Sometimes the person we love, the very individual we picked out of all other individuals – like ones who know how to clean up their beard hair trimmings or put the toilet seat down *swoon*– sometimes they morph into something else. Their alter ego.
Getting to Know Your Spouse’s Alter Ego
My husband has an alter ego. He denies it because I can’t remember the name we gave him, and if I can’t remember his name, then he doesn’t exist. But we wives all know that’s bogus. It’s BOGUS I tell you, Joseph Judgey McBelchins!
My alter ego has long been named. She goes by Grumpy Pumpkin. Which sounds adorable and cute and quirky, but that’s what makes it so annoying. It’s all very Anne-of-Green-Gables-“He-called-me-CARROTS!!”-esque.
Grumpy Pumpkin rears her horned head when:
- she hasn’t eaten in awhile
- she’s woken from her beauty sleep because friends of Acoustic Van Man-Coozie are strumming the guitar and bellowing song lyrics at 3 in the morning
- she asks a question and gets answered by Deadpan McBlank Stare
- she hasn’t eaten in awhile
- and/or she doesn’t like what she’s eating
I maintain I am not the only party in my household with an alias. But until He Who Shall Not Be Nicknamed gets an identity, I can’t call him out on it.
This is where you come in.
Help me name my spouse’s alter ego.
Here are some helpful examples of things that lure his bad boy out:
- Timeliness – my hubby is exceptionally prompt, but I say it’s called an itinerary not the Iditarod
- Timeliness – the man has scheduled poops – WTF?
- Cleanliness – supposedly, the house is not clean until I remove my piles of gloves, magazines, car keys, DVDs, postage stamps, notebook paper, AA batteries, my external hard drive, a bag of Dove chocolate, and a pair of earrings from the kitchen table
- Repeating Himself – I may, or may not, have the worst short term mem- OHMYGOSH! WHAT BRINGS YOU ALL OVER HERE? … You’re reading my blog? … I have a blog?
- Inconsistent Shaker Skills – At our local wedding ceremony, we performed a musical number in which I desired to play the tambourine and was downgraded to an egg shaker and forced to practice under Nazi-regime (which isn’t an exaggeration because food was withheld from me) because apparently I have “inconsistent shaker skills.”
So, I’ve created a poll with some potential names for my honey’s alter ego.
Vote for your favorite! Or better yet, write in your own!
Does your partner have a cranky alias? Do tell!
As little girls we daydream about what our wedding day will be like.
I was so obsessed with it I wore my grandmother’s old slips and paraded around our front porch, two steps at a time and always in a straight line. I went through boxes of kleenex by piecing together homemade gowns for my Barbie dolls.
Now that I’m actually wedding planning, I can’t wait for the day to be over and the stress of really planning a wedding to be gone.
Soooo THAT’S the reason all the Disney movies go from first kiss to wedding to credit roll. It wouldn’t be a fairytale anymore if you had to listen to Cinderella talk about table settings with her stepsisters. Or see Snow White hit her prince over the head with the registry scanner because she wants 500-thread count sheets and he wants low ball glasses on clearance.
But as of last week, I made the last payment on my wedding gown and got all my accessories.
Let’s hope it’s an improvement from my dress-up box days.
What things did you daydream about as a kid that were different once you experienced them?
This blog is called Jess Witkins’s Happiness Project. You probably come here for tips on happiness, or to laugh at the stupid things I do in attempt to achieve it, thereby making yourself feel better about life. That is fine.
But sometimes, I’m not happy.
Sometimes I’m pissed off or stressed out or emotionally unstable. Often when I’m hungry. Which is why my fiance thinks I need this shirt…
I think my writer pal, Myndi Shafer, said it best:
Life is fucking hard.
Myndi wrote an honest blog post about feeling low in life, and I’m so glad she did, because I needed to hear that I wasn’t alone.
I’m known for being a really positive person and finding the humor in situations out of one’s control. But recently, it feels like everything is out of control. Which is scary because I’m a control freak!
We all go through chapters in our lives where things are out of balance or in transition. I just happen to be dealing with a few big ones all at once.
I don’t know about you guys, but I seem to be placing my coping skills in the weirdest of places too. For example, I feel like I have no control over the things in my life, so I’ve taken to controlling my fiance’s. Specifically, his healthcare.
Here are things I said in the last week that I never thought I would say. Ever.
–“You should floss tonight. We ate poppyseeds.”
-“Did you take more echincea? You really should if your throat is sore.”
-“I told you NOT TO BLOW YOUR NOSE SO HARD! You’re inflaming your nasal passages! God!”
Bless his congested little heart for putting up with me.
I know things will get better. My brain cells tell me this is so. But my soul is still unsure and spends way too much time worrying.
Know what I mean?
P.S. Free vitamins and neti pots all around.
Happy Redhots Day!
It’s another month’s edition of The Redhots and Marcia Richards and I are back and bolder than ever!
Ok, you caught us, we’re both crazed madwomen right now!
Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful! Believe me, I work in retail. I’ve put in an insane amount of days and hours for the past month – hence the disappearance of me from the blogosphere. But I’ve missed you all and wrote you a little poem while I was away. So settle into your pajamas, kiddos, Jess is going to read you a story!
The Sale Before ChristmasIt was the sale before Christmas and all through the mall the customers were shopping for gifts big and small! The registers were ringing, the managers running. And somewhere in their temporal lobes – a constant, steady drumming! This coupon! That special! Lines the length of trains! – Had this particular manager wracking her redhot brains! There were gifts to still wrap, Heck presents to buy! Not to mention the store potluck, that dang peppermint pie! There was severe lack of sleep and a small bought with the flu. But Christmas was coming! What’s a girl to do? The dishes began to pile at home, and the laundry was crawling the walls. Is this what Kris Kringle had in mind when he said “Deck the Halls?” At last the day came and went, though short, it was full of cheer. With family members, grace and thanks I can wish you a Happy New Year!
Your turn! This Redhots edition we want to hear YOUR holiday stories! Marcia and I are each posting a picture about the holidays and we’d love to hear your reactions, stories, perhaps poems (who doesn’t love a good limerick or haiku?) all about the holidays! Thanks for sharing and we hope you all had a very happy holiday!
I know, I know, I’ve been completely MIA in the blogosphere this season!
Forgive me. I work in retail. You won’t see me in full swing until January.
However, doesn’t mean I can’t play along with…
See the Full Holiday Yum Schedule – Tasty Treats You Won’t Want to Miss!
- On November 17th, Jenny Hansen kicked off the hop with her Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal. There are lots of great tips for folks who need to eat GF, including some sneaky foods to watch out for!
- On November 19th, I shared the salty-sweet, super-easy Spiced Pecans appetizer.
- Ellen M. Gregg has us all drooling with The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake – Evah on Monday, November 26th.
- Jenny Hansen introduces us to her luscious Almond Roca, famed of song and story, on Wednesday, November 28th.
- Estee Lavitt shares her mouth-watering Baked Latkes on December 2nd, just in time for Chanukah!
- Natalie Hartford starts us off on a cookie binge with her fabulous French Lace Cookies on December 5th. Mais Oui.
- I’ll be back on Dec 10th with a Christmas cookie staple that’s yummy and versatile – butter spritz cookies.
- And if those last two posts aren’t enough “cookie” for you, Ellen M. Gregg will also be making her Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Sugar Cookies, along with Bulldog Punch, on December 14th.
- Natalie Hartford continues the yummy sweets with her favorite cheesecake recipe on December 17th.
- Jenny Hansen teaches us not to fear candy-making with her super-easy, super-yummy Holly Candy recipe on December 19th.
- Jess Witkins is still plotting and planning, so we will either be treated to a comfort food or appetizer recipe on December 23rd.
- On December 26th, I’ll be posting about my super-easy beef rib-eye roast with currant jelly brown gravy that I make every year for Christmas dinner. Hope my holiday guests don’t mind me taking more pics of the food than of them, LOL.
- And, finally, to help us ring in the New Year, Natalie Hartford will share some festive and delicious Mocktail recipes on December 28th!
On With the Food!!!
Today, I’m sharing a comfort food dish that I tried this year and loved! And working in retail, I’m all about the little comforts when I get home!
Here’s what my roommates said about the meal:
If you wanted to make this again, that’d be alright.
This is f#$@ing good!
But don’t take their word for it! Try it yourself!
Pumpkin Curry Chicken
Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Aysha Schurman from Ammon, Idaho
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 tsp. curry powder, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup apple butter
1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1/3 cup chopped cashews, toasted
Minced fresh parsley
Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. curry powder and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet; saute chicken for 5-6 minutes or until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Stir in pumpkin, broth, raisins, apple butter, five-spice powder and remaining curry powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.
Stir cashews into rice and serve with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.
Blue Cheese Herb Bread
Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Janet Allen from Sarasota, Florida
1 tube (12 oz.) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp. dried minced onion
2 tsp. dried minced parsley flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. minced chives
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Separate biscuits; cut each into quarters. Arrange into an 11 inch long loaf on a greased baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush over loaf.
Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Voila! Gourmet comfort food without all the fuss!
Cheers to you and yours this holiday season! May each of you celebrate with all those you love, and take a little comfort in some homemade treats!
Happy Friday Everyone! We’re taking a change from guilty pleasures to talk about happiness. Specifically, that age old question, Can Money Buy You Happiness? Please welcome the author of The Power of Happiness, Timothy McKinney!
Plus: He’s offering 3 lucky commenters a chance to win an e-copy of his book! Leave a comment on today’s post to enter, or double your chances by also leaving a comment on my book review of The Power of Happiness here. All comments must be in by Sunday, September 16th 5pm to win!
Can You REALLY Buy Happiness With Money?
“Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.”
-Helen Gurley Brown
This past month, American cultural icon Helen Gurley Brown passed away after a lifetime of helping people challenge their beliefs. And, her quote about money really captures the age-old question, “Can money buy happiness?”
The answer to this question isn’t as simple as one would think. To illustrate the challenge, let’s look at two people—one with money and one without. To keep as many things constant as possible, let’s imagine that these two people are twin brothers, Bill and Bob. They are, of course, the same age, have the same parents, and grew up in the same environment. They have the same level of health and are both in sales. They’re both married and have two children each. The main difference between the two brothers is that Bill made an investment when he was in college that made him a lot of money. Bob invested the same amount in a different company and didn’t see a return on his investment.
Bill and Bob have a sister, Bonnie. One day, Bonnie comes to her brothers and tells them that her husband has left and taken all of their money. She’s got young children and doesn’t know how she’ll make the rent. She asks her brothers for a small loan. Bob is struggling to pay his own rent and doesn’t have any extra to give his sister. He feels awful, but must tell his sister, “I don’t have the money right now, but why don’t you and the kids come over to dinner this weekend. I can’t give you financial support, but I can give you emotional support.” Bill has plenty of money and is easily able to give his sister the money. “Don’t worry about it, Sis. It’s my gift to you.”
Later that week, Bill and Bob’s mother ends up in the hospital after a fall. She’s broken her hip and needs surgery. Unfortunately, her insurance won’t cover the entire cost of the surgery. Bill says to his mother, “It’s okay, Mom. I can cover the gap. You just worry about getting better.” Bob visits his mom, too. He brings her a huge bouquet of flowers and a copy of her favorite book. He spends the afternoon with his mother in the hospital reading to her.
The next month, during the brothers’ annual “Guys Weekend,” Bill and Bob are sitting on a small boat on a lake doing some fishing. The subject of happiness comes up. “Bill, are you happy in your life?” asks Bob.
“Yeah, I am. Of course, there are some things I would change…”
“What would you change, Bill? You have all the money you could possibly want. What would make your life better?”
“Well, Bob, I kind of envy you sometimes. Everyone in the family knows that when there is a financial bind, they can come to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the ability to solve problems with money. But I envy the personal connection that you seem to have with everyone. It’s almost as if because you don’t have the financial resources I have, you’re forced to give another kind of support. Money is the easiest kind of support there is to give, and sometimes I think it makes me a bit lazy. What about you, Bob? Are you happy?”
“Yes, I’m happy. But, I’d change some things, too. I do wish I had more money. I think I would be happier if I did. It makes me feel awful when I can’t help Bonnie or Mom. I feel like if I just had the money to solve their problems, then I wouldn’t have to feel terrible for other people so much.”
The brothers lapsed into silence for a few moments and contemplated this. Finally, Bill broke the silence. “I guess it’s like this. Having money makes it easier to do the things that make you happy. It doesn’t MAKE you happy, but it takes away the stresses that can make happiness elusive.”
Bob agreed. “Yeah. I don’t think that one of us is more or less happy than the other, Bill. We each use the resources we have to do the things we can to make others happy. It’s about serving others and giving, whether it’s money or another form of support.”
This story perfectly captures the paradox of money and happiness. You can be happy with money, or you can be miserable with money. You can be happy without money, or you can be miserable with no money. But, there’s no question that having money can at least ameliorate some of the stresses that can make one unhappy. Perhaps, Henry David Thoreau said it best…
“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
Timothy McKinney lives in Redondo Beach, California with his wife Cindy and their two children, Heather and Robbie. He went to the University of Southern California, where he received degrees in Business and Psychology. Since 1997, Tim has been a corporate trainer who conducts workshops on subjects related to happiness and workplace effectiveness. He is a passionate vegetarian who enjoys SCUBA Diving in the Kelp Forests of Catalina Island.
Some weeks you just wish for a mulligan.
I had hoped by this week I’d be reporting in fabulous word counts thanks to Fast Draft and a holiday week where I was determined to hang with #teamsprinty all afternoon!
Would you even believe me if I told you about the week I had? First day off I go and give myself food poisoning by eating a.) bad tomatoes and/or b.) bad cheese that was in my fridge since before I left for vacation. Yah, the smart thing would have been to toss that, but we still haven’t gone grocery shopping. I’m sort of making periodic mini trips and eating a lot of tacos right now… #headdesk
So on my second day off, you’d think I’d take it easy. I went to the coffee shop and started working on my WIP. I did, I wrote a few paragraphs, and then I got hungry. And I ordered a sandwhich with creamy cheese on it. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I immediately felt sick again!
Then it was back to work where I’ve put in extra hours regularly for the last 2 weeks. But saturday was a new record. We were Christmas-like busy and had an epic number of life events/sick calls. It was crazy – peoples parents were admitted to hospitals, others daughters were delivering a baby, someone scratched their cornea, others played phone tag about coming in, and some just didn’t show. To say I managed a skeleton crew is an understatement! I worked two hours myself in fine jewelry and then a half hour in juniors, and before I left closed half the department store’s registers to where I was starting to count cross-eyed!
I turned right around to return to work on Sunday and Monday leading new hire training, which I love doing, but was exhausted from all the talking and running around.
So when Tuesday rolled around, I didn’t work on writing. I didn’t wake up early or exercise. I slept in. I read Harry Potter, which has been my wonderful, magical escape each night before bed! I ate another taco and feasted on dark chocolate while watching reruns of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. It felt wonderful.
But I’m still motivated by you ROWers to make changes. Elizabeth Anne Mitchell in particular gave me a good boot with her ROW update last week to make small changes for a bigger impact. I’m taking her advice this week and setting aside a half hour each day to write.
It’s much easier to fix a page with words on it than a blank one!
A plus side is that I visited a lot of blogs this week! I loved reading the innovative and inspiring posts you’ve all written. Below are my recent faves about writing, new book launches you should know about, and my favorite fun reads!
And Don’t Forget: I’m hosting a book giveaway of 3 e-book copies of Timothy McKinney’s The Power of Happiness. You can still enter to win by leaving a comment here before Sunday, September 16th at 5pm.
Posts on Writing:
One of my favorite posts EVER by the amazing and hilarious Jenny Hansen is 3Writer’s Commandments and Avoiding the Dreaded ‘S’ Word. Hear first hand how Jenny learned to never quit, write her story her way, and finish what she started. Sounds like useful advice right? So, READ IT! She also brings you fantastic links to NYTBS authors’ stories and gives props to the peeps that helped her along her journey. Love this post. Love that woman!
Did you all get to read fellow ROWer, Julie Glover’s, post about writing this week? I’m Awesome! I’m Awful! Epiphanies While Editing and ROW80. We have so ALL BEEN THERE!
I swear I’ve said this before, but if you’re NOT following August McLaughlin’s blog, you’re ridiculous! She is a favorite blogger of mine and has some of the most well written, introspective, thought provoking posts out there on real stuff! Check out her recent post, Carving Out Alone Time: 10 Tips for Creative Artists.
Jody Hedlund asked the question What to Do When People Don’t Get Your Story? Experiencing first hand and sharing a friend’s tale, Hedlund gives you the best of both critique acceptance and staying professional.
Looking for inspiration on the upcoming ROW week? Rachel Funk Heller blogged about our fear of failure and our fear of success. She’s making some changes in her life, and inspired me to do the same. Gr8ful4: Mediocrity, Fear, and Why I’m Giving Up Sugar.
New Book Releases You Have to Check Out:
As it is now Football Season, what better way to get in the mood with a little YA mystery set on a football field? Tiffany A. White just self published her first novel, Football Sweetheart, and it’s soooo in my queue to read this fall!
Aimee Freeman is looking forward to the start of her senior year. She knows her best friend Ella has been keeping secrets from her all summer long, but with football season right around the corner, the student trainer decides not to worry about it—they’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the field.
Then Ella goes missing, and Aimee realizes those secrets might be the key to finding her. As the case unfolds, Aimee discovers more than one person may have wanted to harm Ella. Was it Ella’s current boyfriend, a social outcast the entire city seems intent on blaming for her disappearance? Or her ex-boyfriend, the beloved star quarterback who has harassed Ella since their breakup? The list of potential suspects continues to grow after Aimee reads Ella’s journal, but she must first break her best friend’s secret code to reveal their identities.
Unbeknownst to Aimee, her investigation has not gone unnoticed. Ella’s abductor is watching and waiting. Will he decide Aimee needs to be silenced—making her the next target?
Nothing can explain to Aydan Fulbert how she survived the savage attack in the woods. Why her left eye, instead of being blinded by the injuries she’d sustained, had simply turned a shocking shade of silver. And nothing can explain the fact that she can hear the Stranger speaking in her mind – or that she can answer him back without using her mouth.
Nothing can explain it – unless he’s telling the truth.
Nothing can explain the things the Stranger knows about her – things that she, until just a few hours ago, hadn’t known herself: that she’d healed faster from her injuries than was humanly possible. That the cruel family she’d been raised by isn’t biologically hers. That her stepfather is now hell-bent on bringing her to his own form of justice for a crime she didn’t commit.
Nothing can explain it – unless he’s telling the truth.
Nothing can explain why she so easily agreed to go with the Stranger. Why she didn’t find the notion of another world ludicrous and impossible. Why she didn’t cut and run the minute he explained where he wanted to take her.
Nothing can explain it – unless she believes he’s telling the truth.
Aydan knows she’s being intentionally naive. She knows her decision to follow the Stranger is at best, reckless. At worst, deadly.
…unless he’s telling the truth.
And if you’re craving even more witchy goodness, do seek out Fabio Bueno’s Wicked Sense. The paranormal romance that just might get famed by the Redhots! What say you, Fabio? Be our Valentine?
Witches inhabit our world, organized in covens and hiding behind a shroud of secrecy—the Veil.
Skye’s London coven sends her to Seattle’s Greenwood High to find the Singularity, an unusually gifted witch who may break the Veil and trigger a dangerous new era of witch-hunting. Things get complicated when Skye meets a charming new classmate, Drake. Skye’s job becomes even trickier when she clashes with Jane, an intimidating rival witch.
Drake falls for the mysterious Skye, but odd accidents, potion mix-ups, and the occasional brush with death kind of get in the way of romance. Once he discovers Skye is a witch, he goes to war for her, even though his only weapons are a nice set of abs and a sharp sense of humor.
Fighting off wicked Jane and the other dark forces hell-bent on seizing the Singularity’s immense power, Skye and Drake will risk everything to save the covens.
Going on a date has never been harder.
Just for Fun:
What was your first kiss like? Myndi Shafer tells the tale of her awkward adolescence in First Kiss, and it’s a good one! Elements of jealousy, secrets, saliva, and shame all make their way in!
Fans of Ellie Ann Soderstrom’s Tall Tale Tuesdays will love this gorgeous photo blog she shared on What I Did Last Summer.
Adam at Roof Beam Reader is hosting an LGBT Readathon in honor of LGBT Awareness Month! The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event This event is hosted with only positive, and accepting participants please! He’s put together an awesome list of book ideas both written by LGBT authors and books with their characters or themes LGBT related. Thanks Adam!
My lovely literature friend, Jillian, at A Room of One’s Own, turned me onto the Harry Potter Readathon and is loving the series too. She had a fun conversation with a coworker over the question What is Your Favorite Book? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Hello Readers, and welcome to the Happiness Project. It’s been a particularly stressful day following a particularly stressful week involving closing my credit card because it was stolen and used fraudulently, driving sales day in and day out only to be pushed back in the negative sales plan by a blizzard preventing business, state budget protests, financial concerns, and zero time to write creatively or even read more than a few pages before falling asleep with the little LED booklight poking me in the eye.
But, Jess, you say, we come to you to provide us with the ever-positive, try again and try harder, funny outlook from a new writer! All together now…”We shall overcome, we shall overcome…”
Right, right, we’ll kumbaya later. So what is it that’s getting me through the end of the day this time? A bologna sandwich and chardonnay.
Time to make a manageable list, and I emphasize manageable. Flashback to the store today, I think I spoke into the radio system something like: “Jess to Leadership Team, I’m stepping off the floor for a few minutes. I just need to
cry in a stockroom update the scoreboards.”
Pity party check in: Me. Check! Junk food. Check! (I admit half a can of Pringles was downed before I made the sandwich.) Looming deadline for two writing contests I’ve sworn to enter. CHECK! To Do List? *rifles through some wine glass coaster papers, smooths out wrinkled edges*
- Quit whining.
- Take a sip.
- Take time to journal 5 things to be grateful for today.
- Get the bottle out of the fridge, swig! No one’s watchin’.
- Finish reading Pope Joan, 60 pages to go, and one upcoming book review from yours truly.
- Designate time in your week’s schedule for writing devoted time to work on entry submissions.
- Freewrite a new section of your story-in-progress. Deadline: Saturday.
- Send out love, support, and kudos to your fellow writers!
How do you deal with meltdowns? What sparks the creative juices in you when your life’s got you down? What are your current happiness projects this week?
P.S. Did I ever mention every Tuesday night is band practice at my house? I find it strangely ironic that they’re learning Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” while I write about my crumbling grip on sanity. You know what they say, you can’t make up real life. Happy writing!