Cynthia’s Yearlong 50th Birthday Bash, March Update

J0341653As I described back in April 2014 (you can read the post here), I celebrated my 50th birthday with a year of activities, challenges, and FUN designed to honor this milestone. I called it Cynthia’s Yearlong 50th Birthday Bash, and it was an incredible experience. Perhaps this little project didn’t alter the trajectory of my life, but it forced me to tackle new things, honor my writing goals, and remember to save time for fun!

I made a big push in March to end the year with a bang, so to speak, so prepare yourself for a whole bunch of 50th birthday awesomeness. Here’s what I did in March to celebrate:

  • Launch—I’m (re)launching my push to complete the the third draft of my memoir. A thumb infection derailed my original plans, but in April I hope to get myself back on track. Jennifer Simpson and I have committed to exchanging manuscripts on April 15th. I intend to have the first 200 pages of my memoir as good as I can get them. Aiming for a completed third draft by August 2015.
  • Submission—In late February and March, I submitted to Lunch Ticket for its Diana Woods Memorial Award, Salt Hill Journal, the Oregon Poetry Association, and three (yes, three!) Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. I wrote a guest post for the Monday Coffee website, a blog for parents of disabled children. I also submitted a grant application for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship in creative nonfiction. It’s a long shot, but I qualified so why not? And last but not least, I submitted a chapbook-length poetry manuscript to Finishing Line Press for its Emerging Women Poets Chapbook Contest. (See below for more details.)
  • New Things—1) Spending the night in front of the Livermore Public Library in order to enroll my daughter Katie in the Exceptional Needs Network’s special needs summer camp. It was exhausting but I got her in! Four days of awesome fun for her, and four days of much needed R&R for me. 2) Poetry chapbooks (see below). 3) Taking Katie to her first Alanon preteen meeting. She loved it! 4) Lanna Thai restaurant (quite tasty). 5) Ohmega Salvage in Berkeley (thanks, James Bonacci). 6) Calling myself a writer AND a poet.
  • Challenge—About a month ago, a fellow writer told me about a chapbook competition for emerging female writers. I’d been feeling frustrated that due to my thumb infection I hadn’t been able to work on my memoir as planned and would be unlikely to complete my manuscript by my self-imposed deadline of 3/31. I researched the competition and decided to challenge myself and see if I could complete a chapbook-length poetry manuscript. I consider myself primarily a creative nonfiction writer, so this was a big stretch. I wrote and revised poems every spare moment, and in late March submitted my manuscript! I am so glad that I pushed myself to do this. I have a completed manuscript—just not the one I planned or expected!
  • Fun—This month I took Katie not only to Marine World/Discovery Kingdom, but also to Dublin’s Saint Patrick’s Day Festival. Too many spinning, twisting, splashing rides for me to count! I had several dates, and met at new poet friend for coffee twice to discuss—you guessed it—poetry. Katie and I attended an ice cream social at her school, and I had lunch with a new friend. For Spring Break, Katie and I are heading up to Sea Ranch for a week of hiking, relaxing, and birthday celebration. And yes, there’s a party in the works!

What new activities and challenges did you tackle this month? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,
Cynthia Patton

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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