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Berkeley.

Life is weird.

I’ve been breathing, thinking, writing, and learning in the quaint but bustling city of Berkeley, CA for almost a month now. A MONTH! How did that happen? I have no idea. It just did. A few days passed and several days fell and then suddenly it’s January 29th and February is just around the corner.

What the hell, right?

I’ve put off writing about Berkeley simply because I didn’t know where to begin. The idea of expressing my thoughts and emotions about my new home sounded exhausting. And in all honesty, I’ve been writing about it on my livejournal at least 30 times each day – as Hannah knows.

I’m not going to ramble, nor am I going to banter. I’ll put it simply, right here, in clear English:

Berkeley is beautiful. It’s weird, unique, filled with pot smokers, and smiling bracelet sellers. I love it here. A dear friend from Colorado visited me last week and he shook his head frequently.

“Heather, you’re living in another world.”

No, I’m not. This is just a city. A city with open-minded souls and street musicians that call out to you with pretty names. Berkeley is so different from Orange County, so strange compared to my native home. And I fit right in, I think. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here for – until the end of this semester? Until the end of college career? I don’t know, but I’m thoroughly enjoying each day that I’m given. I refuse to take my time here for granted, because God, does time here swing by fast.

In other news, I finished the first draft of Falling Into Yesterday. It’s hard to accept this. FIY has become a very personal and dear thing to me. It brought me out of some of my roughest times the past six months and for that I’m grateful. I’m excited to eventually share the story with the world, for it brings up the question I’ve asked a lot in my own life… But for now, only a select view may see it, including Lauren and Hannah due to their amazing-ness.

Anyhow, I’m going to go back to listening to Trevor Hall and contemplating what to start next in my life of writing. The sequel to FIY? Nah, too soon. The novel remake of the 5-page story I wrote when I was 10? Maybe. The Colorado story? Possibly.


Giddy.

I spent the weekend at the Southern CA Writer’s Conference in San Diego. I’m burnt and inspired, excited and hopeful. I met with a few agents who seemed enthralled by my work and I got tearful, amazing feedback from my editor. I’m content. I needed more hope and I received it this weekend.

Time for some revising!

I’m “home” right now, in Orange County. I won’t return to Berkeley until Tuesday, which is really nice. I needed a break from the city life. It’s nice to just relax in a warm, large house with a stocked kitchen and my smiling family.

The greatest plus? Being with my dog, Bellatrix.

Words can explain how much I love her. She whimpered when we reunited and I sobbed. I don’t know how I’m going to leave her again on Tuesday. It’s going to be so hard, but I’m beyond grateful to be with her now.


Time.

I have a memory of steel. I can look at a picture and remember the exact circumstances surrounding the moment the photo was shot–what I was feeling, what I ate last, what boy I was crushing on, what day of the week it was, and so on.

Time is my obsession.

I’m not proud of my attachment to time, because that’s just what it is – an attachment. And in my search for inner peace and freedom, I’m trying to free myself of the addiction. I’m trying to learn to stay in the moment I’m in, and not wander back and forth in life.

This past semester of college has fallen from my grasp. It feels like last week I was walking through the crowded parking lot in my combat boots, palms sweaty from the August heat. Saddleback College, I was not excited to matriculate into you. I didn’t know where I was going then, what I was waiting for. I had no idea that two close, close people would drift away and new ones would enter. I didn’t know that I wouldn’t connect with a single person in my math class and that I’d drop two of my other courses. I didn’t know I’d ultimately kind of fail at the whole Saddleback deal.

The rumors are true: the community college is not that much different than Tesoro High School. Only difference is the cigarette smoke.

Anyway, I certainly didn’t know I’d choose to transfer and move to Berkeley – a foreign northern city where I know only a few singular souls. I had no idea how quickly the few months would pass, that weeks would float in blinks of my eyes. But I suppose that’s the fun of life. The unknown. I suppose it is for the better that I didn’t know what was to come.

I’m sorry. I do this thing where I’m over dramatic and cheesy and trite and can we blame it on me being a Leo and move on and accept it? Thanks.

A month from today I’ll be moving from the town I’ve lived my entire life. And in this moment, I have no idea what will occur once I’m there. And, you know, I think I like that I don’t know what is to come. I enjoy the elation of seeing what occurs from minute to minute.

So, let’s get to it.


Fires.

Despite my love for the Santa Ana Winds, they are absolutely terrible and dangerous in severe drought conditions.

The senile winds combined with a lack of rain and endless amounts of brown, brittle land has resulted in many brush fires to alight across southern California. Once again.

The closest fire to my own home is luckily, a 20 minute drive away (last year’s was a mere ten). So I am safe. My only personal concern is the great deal of brush and (dead, dry) national forest surrounding my house. I’m living in the middle of a field awaiting a fire. One match and BAM. But I’m not thinking of that. Positive thoughts bring positive actions.

In all honesty though, my thoughts are only on those effected by the current blazes.

I pray for the families victimized by the raging fires, the many souls who have lost their homes. God bless this land, this community. Every year it seems another part of it goes up in flames.

California needs more rain, and less heat.

90 degrees in late November? So NOT okay.