Resurrection Stories

You all thought I crashed and burned or maybe got buried in a mound of my own candy wrappers, didn’t you?

I mean, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Eating candy IS my principal hobby, and I also am a very poor operator of motor vehicles. But here’s what really happened.

I got tired.

2016 is the last time I blogged – like over a year ago, my how time flies when you’re not paying any attention to it! Let’s review.

In 2016, I had my worst creative year EVER.

I wrote a book. It didn’t work at all and fizzled out maybe halfway through? The troubling thing was that I usually fizzle out at 10 or 15k if something isn’t going to work, so the fact that I fizzled at almost 40k was terrifying to me. I was scared the book was a huge waste of time and maybe I’d forgotten how to write because I’d spent so much time tearing apart and putting back together the book before this that maybe my brain didn’t know how to make new things anymore.

I took a break and tried it again, this time fizzling out around 20k with a draft that absolutely one hundred percent was not working whatsoever. I revisited that same first book and tore it apart and put it back together yet again.

Then I came back to the knife book. It was, by then, a solid six – seven months into 2016 and I had exactly nothing to show for it – nothing but a whole lot of thrown-away words and a story idea that was maybe just too hard for me.

In this stretch of time I went to a writing retreat, which I’ll blog about more soon because HELLO LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE, but while there I finally gave knife book a third chance.
And at LAST I managed to finish the draft. It’s not a great book and idk if I’ll come back to it but IT EXISTS and I FINISHED SOMETHING.

I word vomited a 50k draft of an adult novel for NaNo and then, exhausted, I took all of December off and tried to recover, mentally and emotionally, from what was essentially a torturous year.

This brings us to 2017. Here’s a summary of these three months so far:

1) Read 14.5 books
2) Wrote over 100,000 words, including finishing a draft of a YA fantasy and a draft of a chapterbook somewhat related to my dayjob.
3)Celebrated one year of learning that my neurological symptoms were largely caused by food allergies and being able to have good health again.
4)Plotted out a new book that gets my storytelling heart all fluttery.
5)A few other things I’ll blog about in the future.

I guess the main point of this post is to plant a flag for a fresh start. And maybe to assure you that fresh starts are still possibilities. I am not a good blogger, as a rule, but I want to be. Last year I didn’t think I had anything in me. No humor, no words of advice, no strength. It was my year of absorbing strength from others and spending the introvert time I needed to grow and flourish inside myself. Now I’m ready to put back into the world, in thanks for all I’ve received, and in celebration of the fact that new beginnings happen all the time, just when you least expect them.

One year ago, in March, I was at the beginning of a very big, bold journey. I’ll tell you about it sometime. It has to do with my physical health, with releasing old mental and emotional fears and wounds that resulted from years of struggling with my physical health, and with the relationship between creativity and courage. Now I’m not nearly at the end, but I’m far enough along to see how long the road is and REJOICE over it, instead of mourn. As my favorite literary heroine Anne Shirley says, every road has a bend in it, and it’s possible to be excited about what’s around the next one.

Okay, enough seriousness and also enough words because HELLO VERY LONG POST. As I prepare to actually start using this thing again, is there anything you want me to blog about, friends? Anything you really want to know, or want advice about, or just have a burning desire to discuss?

Here’s to words and rainy days and ALL THE COFFEE

Lastest Obsessions

Hi friends!

You’ll probably all laugh at me when I say I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging regularly, because when has that ever happened? But I do kind of miss when I used to blog more than once a month, and I’m working on all kinds of things in all kinds of places, so maybe I’ll get better at sharing them with you too.
Stranger things have happened.

I don’t really know if stranger things have actually happened, but it seems appropriate.

I’ve been coming across/using/experiencing all kinds of fabulous things lately so I thought it would be a good time to share some with you. Here’s the top five things I’ve been obsessed with this week, and if y’all find this helpful or useful, maybe I’ll try to do it more regularly.

1) My Fitbit! My work is doing this health promotion something or other so we could sing up for a free fitbit and do a six week challenge. Not only have I realized just how much I underestimate the caloric value of half a bag of Skittles or takeout Chinese, but I’ve been weirdly motivated to get my 10k steps and 10 flights of stairs which is hopefully going to help with the whole preferring my couch to anything else problem. The feature I love best is the sleep tracker. According to it, even when I think I gave myself a good 5-5.5 hours of sleep, I’m only getting decent sleep for about 3.5 hours a night. I guess that’s why I yawn all the time? Hard to say. Anyways, it’s a fun way to get more tuned in to my health, and has a bonus of giving me all kinds of sci-fi ideas!

2) “My Shot” from the Hamilton soundtrack and “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” by Fallout Boy. I looooooove the first one for walking to (as I walk in actual circles in my living room to get my 10k steps until I’m too dizzy to go on) and in general when you need a pick me up. The second one I’ve been writing to for a couple days now – there’s almost always at least a few Fallout Boy songs on my various writing playlists, but this one is giving life to a challenging scene where I have to explain the fundamental underpinnings of the kind of magic kind of not in a non-boring way. Plus it’s just catchy and makes me chair dance. Good thing I write at 5 am so no one sees me.

3) Along the writing refrain, I am LOVING the Writer Igniter tool from DIY MFA. I recently wrote a draft of a short story to submit to an anthology, and I’m eying a couple other short story opportunities, but I have trouble coming up with ideas that don’t require 80k of explanation. This generator pulls together the elements of a story in a way that gives me something intriguing to work with but helps me stay just a little detatched from it so I can play with words without getting so invested and deep into the work. It’s a really relaxing way to play with words, which is something I haven’t historically been very good at.

4) My Kindle! I just got this in December, and I’m still not big on reading fiction on screen. I got terrible headaches from reading on screens before and I think I just have a phobia now, plus my eyes get tired after a while. But what I LOVE my Kindle for is reading nonfiction! I am a huge fan of productivity, creativity, and business/marketing/organization books, but nonfiction can be really expensive. With my Kindle, I can use Overdrive to find almost all the nonfiction books I could want and read them for free. This has really helped accelerate my nonfiction reading, and the bonus is that it’s small and light – my movement disorder has affected my hand strength, and sometimes books make my hands cramp up. No such problem with my Kindle!

5) Making “art”. I put this in quotes because there has never been nor will there ever be someone who can call the kind of drawing I do art. I call my style MidAmerican Kindergartner, but that’s probably overselling it. However, I’m finding a LOT of relaxation and fun in getting out my sketchbook and a pack of papermate bright color felt tipped markers and just doodling until it makes something. I did this while listening to an audiobook last night, and found it the most relaxing, easy night ever. I am not good at sitting still or relaxing or any of those things, and audiobooks have never worked for me before because I can’t hold my attention on them. However, drawing gave me just enough of something else to focus on without getting totally swept into it and I managed to listen for over an hour. It’s kind of nice to do something so terribly I know there’s no hope of improvement. It gives me permission to just play.

A theme of this week’s obsessions is finding ways to defeat my own…drive? I don’t even know what word to use, but I am generally someone who either doesn’t do something or does it with every single ounce of energy and pursuit of quality I can. I think this works out in my career, but as a general life strategy it can be a little exhausting sometimes, and I catch myself diving into projects even when I know I’m tired or don’t have the right mindset yet. I’m hoping that with things like making “art” and playing with short stories from outside ideas I’m not so invested in, I can teach myself to have fun in a way that still feeds the productive side of myself.
As I type that I realize that still probably doesn’t sound right as a method for enjoying things but alas. Such is my superpower.

Anyways, there you have it – my obsessions of the week. Are any of these new to you? What obsessions of your should I look into?

How my sister reminded me that creativity is a good thing

First of all, thanks so much for your support regarding my last post! I was super nervous about putting it out there, but y’all were so kind, and I received so many notes from people going through similar things and needing the encouragement, that it was absolutely worth it.

Anyways, on to today’s post – I used to live really far from my family, but now that I live closer, my baby sister has spent a week or two at a time with me over this summer so far. Sometimes it shrinks the amount of time I can work, but it’s totally worth it: a) because I love my sister, and b) because she wants to write books, and has started working on one already. And the thing is, watching her both at work and at play reminded me about some things I forgot, things that I used to know when I first started writing and that seem to have escaped me more recently. Maybe you’ve forgotten too.

First: Creativity is a good thing! I remember in middle and high school, staying up as late as I possibly could tapping away on an ancient Gateway laptop that creaked noisily at all times and occasionally went white screened for a few minutes for no particular reason. It had no Internet capabilities, and the Internet was slow back then. I didn’t have a cell phone, and then even when I did it was just a prepaid one with limited minutes and zero other functions. So when I wrote, I wrote. For hours, alone in the lamplight, lost in the story. I lived for those chunks of writing time, and at a time when so much of my identity was still under development and tangled up in the messy confusion of those years, I knew for a fact that I was a writer. I was a creative person, and my creativity exhilarated me with it’s potential.
I forget that now. Writing is a part of my life I generally take for granted. Sometimes it’s more burden than anything else. I still love the words, but fitting it into an extremely busy schedule does feel like work more than not, and as I dive deeper into the bloodletting of revision, the science and study and art of carving up a story from my fingers and turning it into a Book, there are times when it’s really not all that fun. I get distracted by Twitter and texting and staring into space. I carve out huge chunks of time but really only focus for maybe 40 or 50%. When I watched my baby sister write, it was sheer joy. Her face would light up and her pen would go so fast it seemed like she could hardly keep up with herself. When she did get stuck or lose track of her way, she tucked her notebook back in it’s spot and went on with her life, content and able to wait until she found her way again. No stress. And more importantly, no fear.
Creativity is joy and passion. It is often work, and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be because I firmly believe that if you abandon everything that doesn’t bring you immediate joy or requires effort from you, you’ll never really complete anything. But it doesn’t have to be drudgery or based in fear.

Second: My sister made writing part of her life, but not in this dreary, proscribed, dutiful fashion. Her heart was in it, intensely, for brief periods of time, and then when she wasn’t writing she flung herself into other activities. She still plays with Barbies, and she’d have the floor of my living room covered in various families and clothing and shoes and whatever little paper-based structures and things she made for them. She engaged in play unselfconsciously, sometimes related to her book but usually not, and she was entirely focused on that. She colored, she helped me cook, she did lots of things that had nothing at all to do with her book, and she had no guilt for that.
I’m an achiever. I can’t help it, I’ve always thrown my whole self into everything, but it can become problematic at times. I have workaholic tendencies, and sometimes I get tunnel vision so I can’t see beyond the immediacy of what I’m doing in the moment. I have to remind myself that other hobbies, things that have nothing whatsoever to do with words, are okay. Healthy, even. I could take up playing the piano again, or do more with my growing cooking hobby, or play a videogame or even color a picture myself, and I don’t have to feel guilty that that time’s not going to writing. Writing will always be there, words aren’t going to leave, but time is going to pass and my life will be what I construct it to be. I want it to be a whole, healthy, flourishing thing – and that, in turn, will feed my writing much more than some kind of forced and dutiful routine. That’s not to say routine isn’t important. My sister wrote every single day she was here. But routine and obligation don’t have to be synonyms.

Third: My sister’s heart is in her story. It is uniquely hers in every possible way, and she’s proud of it. She loves it. She’s very aware of it’s faults (both real and imagined, like any good writer) and she’s the first to spot mistakes, but she loves it. She talks about it with everyone. It comes up in casual conversation. She doesn’t criticize it as compared to other writers, and she’s not so focused on how it’ll fit in the market, whether it’s conventional or edgy or YA or adult, she doesn’t have the first clue about pacing. But she loves the story, and it shows in her work.
This last lesson is a tricky one to transmit. As a more developed writer, it’s natural for me to have a strong awareness of the market, people’s expectations, expected reader reactions, categories and style, and all the other structural pieces of writing a good book. But sometimes, because of our intimacy with the nuts and bolts, we can’t stand back and see the creation as a whole. We notice the slight tilt of the flooring, that corner where the paint already chipped, how the front door window is just barely not quite in the center, but we miss the comfortable grace of the story home we’ve built. This kind of intense focus on our story faults can make us shyer and quieter, hesitant to discuss our stories for fear someone will ask how it’s going and we’ll have to answer honestly. It can make us afraid, which in turn can crush the very creativity we so need to foster. If we can find that illusive balance between knowing our markets and our publishing business, and still loving the little seeds of stories we carry in our hearts, and more importantly find a way to transplant that seed from our hearts to the page without judging the sapling for not being so sturdy, I think we’d all be more joyful, and more creative, writers. Don’t let fear, or your own judgement, crush your heart and your individual voice.

Grow and learn. Read, research, develop, make yourself the best you can be and always push yourself to do bigger things. But don’t forget to enjoy the work you do and the life you live.

The One Where It’s Finally Done

This is a story about strawberry tea and sparkly star stickers and avocado fries.

It’s mostly about doing impossible things, the importance of having people to complain to until your face melts, and why you should have a really nice chair at your desk.

It’s about how I finally, Finally, finished the book.

A brief review: In January and February I revised a different book. It was hard and it was long and then it was done.

In March, I did…possibly nothing. I know I wrote a 10k short story, which you can read right here on the blog, and I have absolutely no idea what else. This is not uncommon for me. Nothing to see here. I do know that I went on vacation and stayed in a gorgeous hotel and walked through some ruins and started dreaming about a book.

In April I did Camp Nanowrimo and tried to give that book some guts. I got 20k in and I realized there was no story there. It was all too clean, dry, dull. It was already boring me and if something bores you at 20k, my friends, just don’t force yourself through 50-70k more. It’s just not worth it.

In April I also moaned and complained and blogged and fussed, until I suddenly realized what I was really telling was the story of a somewhat villainous girl with a stone for a heart and a whole lot of fears hidden away underneath it. Then I found the story.

In May I worked on the book. Which is to say I wrote in fits and starts, interrupted by days of staring at the ceiling or reading books so I could hide from how scared I was of the book. I talked people’s heads off. I brainstormed via DM and email and I’m kind of surprised I have any friends left. I was grouchy, irritable, and then giddy sometimes. The story inched along, and it got bigger and deeper and darker. It started a body count.

I started getting cramps in my forearms and elbows.

In June I started the sticker system again, annoyed with my brain and my apparent need to only write 3-4 days a week instead of six. I’d never written a book so slowly and it was slowly crushing my confidence.

And then it wasn’t. It wasn’t slow, it was bloody, there was a lot of kissing, my back was aching from the hours in my antique, lovely, awful chair, and there was Progress happening. I only missed two days of writing between June 1st and today. Aside from those, my lowest wordcount for a day was 1500. The last two days, Monday and yesterday, were 7k and 11.5k respectively. That’s right, I finished this book exactly the opposite of the way I started it – in April it was a creeping, miserable thing. In June it was a marathon fueled by avocado fries and tea from my lovely OTSP secret sister, the encouragement of my very, very lovely and sweet and understanding first reader, Pinterest, Woodkid and Two Steps From Hell, and a kind of satisfaction I’d been missing before.

Finally the story is right. It’s not necessarily good, y’all, good takes more time and I already have a list of things to polish up, but it’s very solid. Much more so than usual. Which makes all that extra time and frustration very  much worth it. AND IT’S DONE.

Usually I write six or seven drafts of books per year. In 2015, I’ve written one. This one. And where that used to scare me, now I’m a little bit proud of it. Because I know it’s already on it’s road to being what I want it to be – what it’s capable of being. And that’s what any writer wants for their story.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m back in a week or two weeping and tearing my hair out over how it won’t polish up as shiny bright as I’d like it to. But I finished a book, y’all. And if you’re staring at a screen or a page and moaning and stuffing yourself with cookies, let me just encourage you – it is, it is, it is worth it in the end.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to see these kind of things, I’ve included a little scene below from this draft. Words in the rough, you know.

You guys, it’s done.

They climbed the steps into the ruins themselves, and she was swept by a silent awe that nested in her bones, wove itself through the fabric of her skin, laced itself through the slipping furious strength of her blood. Evian’s hand fell from hers as he walked slowly across to the far wall, running a hand across the stone with head bowed as though he absorbed the whispered pleading prayers of a nation through his fingertips over the rough façade.
She felt loose. Untethered. It was a heady sensation.
Marguerite turned slowly the way they came, staring out across the sun-dappled gravestones to the river beyond, flowing blue and green and fast along it’s path. She felt it’s movement, wild, in her veins.
The high arches where the bells used to sit framed a sky so blue it made her breathless. Low branches of trees hung overhead, drooping down over the stone walls into the dirt courtyard they stood in and sneaking through the wide square windows carved into the stone. There was nothing but rock and sun and late afternoon breeze, ripe with spring and lilacs blooming somewhere beyond the walls. The silence wrapped itself around her, easing the pain in her side, the burn of her cuts and the stitches woven through them, and the aching gape of her fear of the future.
She sat on a low stone stoop leading down into one of the copses standing diligently on either side of the arched entrance to the ruins and tilted her head back, letting the sun fall full and hot across her face, washing away the damages.

The Best Might Feel Like The Worst

Let me set the scene for you. It’s Sunday night, 8:00 pm, on a tempestuous Spring evening that wants to be a thunderstorm. Branches are swaying against the lilac blue of dusk falling, I have an apple scented candle burning and a playlist of epic movie soundtrack music playing, and I may or may not at some point this evening be making words. I will also likely drink tea, eat cookies, possibly lay on the floor, mumble under my breath a lot, and scribble in my notebook in fits and starts interspersed with a fair amount of Twitter.

This book is going to give me gray hair, kids. I’ve blogged before about how my writing process seems to suddenly have taken a left turn, how it’s been much harder than I remember. It still is. It would be really cool if I got to come on and say OMG Y’ALL I WROTE 50K THIS WEEKEND AND IT WAS MAGICAL but alas. This I cannot do.

Here’s the thing – none of this is feeling good as it happens. My productivity is at more or less an all time low – the only time it’s been lower is when I wasn’t writing in all, like in college. I’m averaging 3-4 days, and 1-2k on each of those days. And in my head and my heart, this feels like a failure because why isn’t writing the way it’s always been, why is it suddenly HARD?!

But then there’s the objective, reading, knowing a little more about writing and publishing than I did before side of me, and that part of me knows somewhere at the very edge of my thoughts that this is actually a good thing. Every other book I’ve drafted has either remained in draft stage or required serious down to the bones revision. This one may not need that – it will absolutely need revision, but I’m already aware of where some of those places will be in the beginning, which is helping me craft a much stronger middle. I know exactly why I’m crafting scenes the way I am – everything they do, everything they say, the bits of history I choose to share and where, the reason certain relationships exist, all of that and more is deliberate and chosen for a place in a bigger picture. Which is not to say this draft isn’t a mess because man, first drafts. But it’s a first draft with purpose, and intellectually I know that even if it takes more time, this may just save me in the end.

But it doesn’t feel good.

Which is why I wrote this post to begin with. Y’all, not everything that is good for you is going to feel that way. I know that’s just very shocking, but it’s true. Reading craft books isn’t always going to be the top most interesting thing to do with your time, nor is diving into nonfiction for research when you could just eat ice cream and watch Netflix for six hours. Slowing yourself down to create a character arc or work out a thorny plot problem your characters are doing real, not just convenient, things, or acting just for the sake of an interesting plot, isn’t easy and sometimes isn’t that fun. Writing fast to fly through a section that scares you may not feel good either, you might be a little sick to your stomach or have to type with shaking hands.

But that doesn’t mean those aren’t the things you need to do. Just like there are times and places where maybe the very best thing you can do, the most you have to offer to your writing, is doing some reading, or scribbling 100 words per day into a notebook. There are stages, places, times. There are best efforts, and there’s discipline and there’s patience. There’s plodding and there’s plot firestorms, and there’s cookies and tea time.

You will not always feel good about your writing. You will not always understand your own process, or rather, each particular book’s process, because they can and do differ wildly. You may feel like you’re doing the worst, slowest, clumsiest work of your life.

But see it through. Because it just might be your best.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be here rocking and drinking tea and mumbling under my breath.

Bucket Lists and That Sort Of Thing

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut. I’m really good at ruts, in fact, I’d say they’re my forte. Part of this is because of my ADD, and the fact that if I don’t follow a routine there are -ten quadrillion chances I’ll accomplish anything in particular. Part of it is because I just like routines. I like to know what to expect and how to plan ahead.

But I also don’t like the rut. I love it, and I loathe it. It’s too easy to stay tucked in so comfortably, and the more I tuck in the less I want to leave it until it’s kind of this endless cycle of getting more and more comfortable and less and less engaged with the world around me.

I guess y’all probably don’t care too much about all those cycles and ruts, though. Let’s got on to what I’m going to do about it: the bucket list.

This is my Spring list, and it has a deadline of roughly June 10, just because that’s the end of the school year. I’ve already started a few things because I wrote this list on Easter, but I’m cheating by swapping OUT the exercise item for something far more fun and interesting. Because I did exercise 30 min/5 days a week for one week and that hell was more than enough.

The List:

1) Buy 2 pairs of really good-fitting jeans

2) Go through all my shoes

3) Read 10 nonfiction books – One down so far, Radical Together by David Platt, and one in progree, Follow Me by the same author.

4) Write a new book

5) Go to 3 non-chain places in my city

6) Get a state park sticker

7) Get a chair/couch for the writing office

8) Develop 5 “signature dishes” to cook – made one already, a kind of Hawaiin shrimp thing. it’s fair to middling.

9) Host a brunch

10) Revise a book

11) Master a cookie recipe

12) Bake 7 times

13) Win Lego Batman video game – don’t even start, you criticizers.

14) Get some pet fish

15) Sign up for something writing related – I went to AWP15! But I’m still going to try to do this one.

16) Send two care packages

17) Watch at least one season of at least two new shows – Started Mad Men and Daredevil last night, one ep each. I may stick with them or may not, not totally sure yet.

18) Read all the Harry Potter books

19) Develop some favorites – this is the least specific on my list, but most people have favorites: animals, colors, songs, books, foods. I’ve somehow managed to not really ever develop these, not consistently. And I want to.

20) I’m taking suggestions for item twenty. Something big and marvelous and exciting. Like riding a hot air balloon or something. What do YOU think I should put here??

What’s on your spring bucket list?

It’s About The Work

One of my favorite blogs ever to read is Study Hacks. I read it a lot to get ideas for how to approach and organize my chaotic day job differently, but several of the articles apply incredibly well to writing.  The article that really caught my attention is here, but if you just want the quick summary, the author references an interview of President Obama, where he talks about a time he got creamed in an election race, and had to cope with that and how he wondered if that level of losing meany maybe he wasn’t supposed to be doing this or something. And then he had to remind himself it wasn’t about him, it was about the work – losing there didn’t mean anything about him as a person, basically, it meant he still had work to do, and he had to decide if he thought himself capable of doing that work and willing to put in the time.

What I love about this, and other Study Hacks articles, is that they completely dismiss the idea of passion. I’m going to blog a little more about that next week because it’s been on my mind, but for now let’s side it aside and think about that idea – it’s not you. It’s about work still being left to do. Failure, even failing in a really big and spectacular way, rarely has anything to do with you as an individual person. It has to do with the work. It has to do with putting in hours and hours of thought and careful crafting. It has to do with spending time doing the nasty bits, and with persevering, not by ignoring detractors completely, but by weighing advice carefully and being humble enough to dive into projects again and again, digging deep and sifting thoroughly.

I especially like how the idea of it being about the work separates the self so tidily. President Obama’s quote even talks about the idea that questions like “Am I succeeding?” “Do people notice me being great here?” are the wrong ones, and lead to frustration and irritation because for a long time that answer will probably be no. But turning it to the work always leaves you a path forward. Making rejection and failure about the work means you have opportunities to improve, because work is not intrinsic. Work is art and craft and science and labor. Work is action.

When I was a kid and got very upset about things, my mom used to tell me I was focusing on myself too much: that I was having “inward eyeballs”. Though at the time it made me QUITE irritated, I still think of that phrase often, and I’ve seen in myself and others how too much time and too many thoughts focused on yourself only lead to negative, self-pitying, stagnant places. I’m quite familiar with those places as well, but I know I hate them and I think it’s a pretty fair guess to say you do too, my lovely reader.

So it boils down to something pretty simple in the end. Rejection is going to come in a million forms, both in life and in writing, and probably ten thousand times. But we get to pick how we’re going to react to it and where we’re going to focus on our attention. We can allow ourselves to make it about us – we suck, we’re terrible, we’re never going to be good at writing and why are we even wasting all this time getting back problems and carpal tunnel when Netflix is calling? We can let that focus on our selves make us angry and bitter both at our own selves and everyone else in the universe. Or we can make it about the work, weighing one thing with another, balancing the truth of being the only ones who really know our story with the wisdom of people more experienced and knowledgeable than we are, and take decisive action to move forward.

As I say to children ten quadrillion times a day – you have a choice to make.