Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

Year in Review: 2013 Edition

This is Wind.

This is Wind.

2013 started out with sort of a bang, but it’s overall been a fairly crap year for me, because I spent a lot more time being depressed than not, and have considered, on several occasions, ways to take my own life. Thankfully I didn’t, but as you all know from my last post, I’m still scared that I’m going to, once again, be caught up in those feelings, make an attempt, and have that attempt be successful. But there were moments of light and hope, and I’m going to share them with all of you.

  1. The Roar of Love. I did not expect to be casted in this recital not only because I was an adult ballet dancer and too old for the company, but because I had not done ballet for half of the semester ever since ballet started in August (but EVERYONE can be in this recital, even the alumni who have not danced there in several years). I spent my time being depressed, missing a week because of said depression, missing another week, I think, and missing an entire month because of hospitalizations. But I was casted, and I was so happy that I cried, because one of my dreams was being en pointe and then performing in a recital en pointe. I also didn’t expect to get the roles that I did, and one of those roles was Wind, which involves a lot of bourrees and being en pointe for mostly every scene. It showed me that Mr. Ron, owner of the studio, had the confidence that I would be able to handle such a role in spite of being en pointe for half a year and missing an entire month and a half of pointe class.
  2. When Stars Die. Okay, as you all know, I jumped headfirst into the querying process. It arguably makes me an amateur, but you know what? I knew the risks of going with a publisher who did not yet have a track record of publication; however, they did have authors. But I am no longer an amateur, and you can’t say that I am, not when AEC Stellar has proven to be a very smart, flexible company, with fantastic transparency. I feel like I could ask my publisher how many times he’s been toWSD2 the bathroom in his life, and he’ll tell me (okay, maybe not that, but you get the point). I was thrilled to get the contract because it meant my dream was finally coming true, after 15 years of waiting for it to come to fruition. Now my dream is to be a bestseller, so that is what I’m striving for next. Of course, I know that one trilogy being published doesn’t guarantee other works will be taken on, as ALL writers are freelance, except for maybe those who self-publish, but having credentials under your belt makes the process a little bit easier.
  3. Freelance Editing. It had been a while since I’d flexed my freelance muscles, but it was really nice to be able to edit a sample for someone who was impressed with what I did. That same someone also sent the sample off to a professional editor who works with the Big 5, and our comments roughly aligned, so it told me that I definitely had the skills necessary to be one. I was also able to edit two manuscripts this year for people. My first client wanted me to edit his again because he had a positive experience with me the first time, but I was, once again, struggling with depression and had to recommend someone else for him–but he was grateful. However, the experience with my last client was horrible, but I at least got my money, and I will write a blog post about that, mostly pointing to what clients looking for an editor should expect (and what you should and should not do when interacting with your editor). In conclusion, my last client was unable to handle my criticism, and I did apologize to him that he did not like my feedback.
  4. Ballet Summer Intensive. I was both terrified and excited to take this intensive because I was finally starting the ‘Big Girl’ level, where you really start to begin to dance instead of just doing tiny, short exercises where you worked on mastering the technique of one or two moves. With Mrs. Renee Toole, it was fun and showed me that I had improved since taking juniors the year before–I had been taking the junior class during Roar because I had to since I had rehearsal right after, but the class still intimidated me every time I took it. With Mr. Ron, the class was tougher, and I royally screwed up on the across-the-floor exercise he gave us, but I practiced it and nailed it the next time we had to do it. I was also okay with his center work, but the intensive made me realize that I was indeed ready for the junior level.
  5. Ballet Senior Class. For the longest time this semester I was terrified to take this class–the highest level–because I had no idea what to expect. But I finally decided to dive in headfirst with my junior buddies, and the class was not as bad as I thought it’d be. In fact, it was a million times easier than Mr. Viator’s junior classes, where he gives us ridiculously long exercises I have a hard time remembering. I’ve taken the senior class twice, and I am no longer scared to do so. In fact, I welcome it because I got tired of taking the Petite II class, which no longer offers anything to me any more, other than allowing me to work on technique. However, by the time you reach my level, a challenge class often improves you more than a lower class. So I will be taking it from now on and will take one senior and one junior class starting over the summer. I have no idea what the senior class will be like for Mr. Ron, as he primarily utilizes the Russian technique, something I am not used to, but I do welcome the challenge.
  6. Pointe Work. I am so happy with how much I have improved with pointe work since beginning it a year and a half ago. I can now just about do everything en pointe, including Italian Fouettes. I can’t do regular fouettes just yet, which are included in the video at the end, but hopefully I can at least do a few by the end of the ballet year. Otherwise, I can do just about everything else,even though I have to work on cleaning up some of the technique, like the Italian ones. The funniest thing, however, is it has become a practical tradition for me to fall at least once when practicing a move before ballet class actually begins. And it happens every single class. But I don’t mind these falls because it means I am giving everything I’ve got, even though it’s often too much. But you at least learn your limits by doing it that way, and I am not afraid to fall. Not afraid at all. I am also not afraid of injuries, although I will be in a lot of pain if one happens. But, hey, injuries are part of any athletic endeavor.
  7. The Stars Are Infinite. I am very, very pleased to have finally finished this novel after nine years of working on it. This novel has been such an arduous undertaking, the second most difficult novel I have ever worked on. And, no, When Stars Die was a relatively easy novel to write, to be honest. But I know some1497758_565921593490151_1533230412_n novels are going to be easier to write than others. However, TSAI was so difficult to work on because you want the second book in a series to outshine your first book, and I hope it will, because I REALLY considered the criticism of a 3 star reviewer who is looking forward to the sequel and has faith that it will be better. So I treated her as my number one fan in that moment when doing serious edits to TSAI. When Stars 1465364_666263030061307_580854722_nDie, even though it has only 33 reviews so far, has mostly received praise, and I think that by the time you receive the 30th review, you roughly know where your novel stands–at least I hope. I am waiting for the 70th review to do a signed giveaway of one of my paperback WSD copies. I do know books who have about 30 reviews and have low-average ratings. I consider average to be in the 3 star range, or the 3 point something range. But, yes, I REALLY hope the sequel outshines the first because a lot of new authors like me have a hard time trying to do that.
  8. All Shattered Ones. This book, by far, is the most difficult to write because it stems from something very personal and deep inside of me, that being of depression and suicidal ideation. The basic premise is that a young boy struggling with chronic depression takes his own life, being urged by a haunting voice to do so. After taking his life, he wakes up in another world called Silvaria, a place for people who have lived painful lives, and need another chance in a place that is meant to be a paradise for them. In Silvaria, there are beings called Lightveils who help these people overcome their tragedies. They then help these people become Lightveils themselves so they can continue the cycle of helping those just like them. However, the voice still haunts Gene, and despite being in a promising place of paradise, the voice drives Gene to self-harm, worsens his depression, and makes him wish for a death that is impossible in a world where death does not exist. It originally started out as When Heaven Was Blue, the character having the same name. But Gene was saved from a suicide attempt by a puppeteer who took him to a place called Stolentime that would allow Gene to heal from his mental illness. He was stalked by the same haunting voice, but I didn’t like the set-up, even though I was slightly satisfied with the direction of the story. However, I do draw from bits and pieces of WHWB to form ASO, so ASO is the third draft.
  9. Completing My Last Year as a Junior. I had to miss an entire year of school because of bipolar disorder so I could focus on getting better. Well, when I registered for the fall, I was feeling great; however, when the semester began, I was back to being depressed, so it was a very, very difficult struggle to get through the semester, and I had so many doubts that I would survive it because there were times where I felt like I needed to be hospitalized again. In fact, my therapist told me that if I continued to worsen, I would have to be so that I could be kept safe from myself. But that didn’t happen. I struggled through mid-terms, having several panic attacks and crying spells when studying for these, and flying through finals, when I finally found stability by the end of the semester. Now I am a senior in college, which I should have been a year ago, but I will hopefully graduate one of these days. So I survived despite the intense depression.

Well, this has been my year in review with my most memorable moments in spite of the dark times I dealt with. What are some of your most memorable moments from this year?

Merry Christmas, and let’s all make 2014 our best!

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2 comments on “Year in Review: 2013 Edition

  1. Laurie Buchanan
    December 25, 2013

    May this holiday season smile gently upon you and yours, and may the New Year bring you light and joy.

    • amberskyef
      December 25, 2013

      May your 2014 be bright and filled with gifts!

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