It's finally here!
Switch the Song, the sequel to Dancing Daisies, is out today!
Please spread the word!
Accept. Educate. Love.
It's finally here!
Switch the Song, the sequel to Dancing Daisies, is out today!
Please spread the word!
Accept. Educate. Love.
With me, nothing is for certain. Anything could change at any given moment. I am just now accepting this about myself, but everybody else should know this already haha. With that being said, Facebook told me three years ago today, I announced my release date for DANCING DAISIES. God knows it could change, but I feel it's only appropriate today to say . . . SWITCH THE SONG should be out in January of 2017!
One of my favorite authors wrote a blog post the other day that was the start of the inspiration for this post. She said she thinks about every word she puts on social media to make sure she doesn't come off a certain way, but that day, she felt like she needed to talk about the struggles she was having. She wanted her readers to know that her life is not rainbows and butterflies.
Like her, I watch every word I put out on the internet. I don't bash the world on Facebook whenever I am having a bad day, because I don't want to come off as immature. I don't post memes that could be in any way negative, even though they sometimes say exactly how I feel, because I don't want to come off as whining. I sometimes post stories about how different people treat me, but that's strictly for education and awareness purposes.
Like her, I feel like I need to be brutally honest with you today.
A lot of you have been asking me when my next book is coming out. Let me tell you. Whenever I get an email asking when it's coming out, it makes my day. Whenever I get an email about how my book changed somebody, it makes my day.
At this moment in my life, you, my beautiful readers, are keeping me going from day to day.
However. . .
Where do I start?
I will start in May.
I sent my manuscript to my editor in May, and like usual, she sent me all the changes I needed to do. I did not have anything going on for the next two months, so I told her I would get it back to her in July to do the final proofread. I figured because I didn't have anything going on, this would not be a problem. Get it to her in July and have it out in August.
Well. . .
Somehow, and I'm not entirely sure how, I received eight presentation requests between the middle of May and June.
I am now going to tell you what I figured out within those four months.
I can only type about 600 words a day. I looked it up and most authors average about 1,000 to 2,000 words a day. I can do 600 and that's when I don't do anything else that day. That means no emails, no paying bills, not even having a conversation with anybody. I really can't stand to say this, but something so small as telling my assistant to do something different can take up a lot of my time and energy. Whenever I do 600 words in a day, I don't want to do anything else or else looking at my DynaVox screen makes me physically sick.
Physically sick as in tossing my cookies.
I am going to use yesterday as an example.
Yesterday morning, I started reading through my manuscript, which was me looking at my computer screen for over an hour. Yesterday afternoon, I went to a new doctor, which required me to do a lot of chatting, which required me to look at my DynaVox screen and type with my head. Last night, my friend came over. I tried as best as I could to have a normal conversation with him, but I broke. I asked him if we could move the conversation to my recliner, because I felt like if I was in my wheelchair one more minute, I was going to combust, and there were going to be blood and guts all over my living room.
This morning, I cried. I cried because I can't do what I used to. I cried because I couldn't talk to him like I did in college. I cried because I can't be in my wheelchair for more than four hours.
I'm not telling you this because I want pity. That is the last thing I want. I'm telling you this in hopes that you will understand what I am about to tell you.
I have no idea when my book is actually going to come out. I'm hoping for December, and so far, so good. That sucks, because I really want to have a deadline. I really want to be able to say my books come out in a certain month. I have so many ideas I want to get started on.
But I can't.
I'm not traditional, and never will be!
I would have to say Saturday, June 25, 2016, was probably one of the biggest days of my entire life. Yes, in the last couple of years, I have decided I want to keep making a career in education, and I have decided I want to make a career in education in a non-traditional, fun, and exciting way, for example, my fictional books and my personal presentations, but that Saturday made my decision final.
Let's back up eight months ago.
Actually, first, I want to back up about fifteen years ago.
I attended the Notes from the Heart music camp back in 2001 when I was a teenager. I absolutely love music. I would say it is my life. And I always wanted to go to a camp. So when I had the chance to go to a music camp, it was a no brainer. I jumped on the idea.
My first year at camp, there was a girl, who had written her own song. I thought that was just so cool. So, my second year, I came back to music camp with a poem I had written. I met somebody who could help me turn it into a song, and is now one of my biggest mentors.
Over the next 10 years, Lucas and I continued to write songs together. Eventually, we had enough songs to put together a one act musical. I really, really, really, want to tell the world that people with disabilities are equal, and should be treated equal. After writing a script and putting together all of the songs, we performed our musical, One Single Voice, for the first time at the music camp.
Okay, now let's. . . err. . . fast forward fifteen years? Go back eight months ago?
In September 2015, I received an email with the subject along the lines of "Performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra." Before I even opened the email, I screamed. I screamed so loud, my personal care assistant came running into my bedroom, because she thought I saw a bug.
Because, ya know. Bugs elicit the same scream as performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Someone from Music Camp who had seen my musical thought it would be awesome for the Symphony to perform the title song, One Single Voice, at a sensory friendly concert that is designed for children with disabilities, who might have trouble with bright lights or loud noises.
Not needing to think twice, I replied to that email immediately with my answer.
On the day of the concert, I was nervous. I was so nervous that I felt like I was going to throw up at any given moment. However, after being in a dressing room where people like Idina Menzel and Matthew Morrison once were, and after feeling the Pittsburgh Symphony play my song, and after hearing the vocalist sing the lyrics I'd written, and after explaining to the audience what the song meant, and after seeing the pride in my family and friends . . . I just felt . . . incredible.
One thing is for sure. I want to keep spreading education in unique ways. Even if I have a performance where they do just one of my songs, I want to do this again, and again, and again.
I truly hope this is not the end to something so beautiful, but rather, a beautiful beginning.
Just got the BEST idea for my second book and I can't not write it so, unfortunately, I have to push back my release date to this fall, but it'll be SO worth it! I promise! I want to give you the best possible book I can give you. I want to blow everybody away with it. And to do that, this is what I have to do. To everybody who has been patiently waiting, I'm sorry. I hope you will still be patient with me. Keep checking back for updates. I'm so excited!
A little more than a month from now, I will be thirty.
I have been dreading turning thirty.
Seriously. Dreading. It.
To me, turning thirty meant you already have a steady job, you already have a nice home, and you already have or about to start your own family.
To me, being thirty meant you are an official adult. There is no turning back now.
Until recently, I didn't want to turn thirty, because I don't have a nice house of my own, like everybody else. I don't have a "typical" job, where I get paid every two weeks, like everybody else. I don't have a significant other, who I can come home and talk to every night. And if I don't have any of those things now? When I'm weeks away from being thirty? When will I ever get it?
However, it wasn't until recently that being an adult doesn't mean you have a nice house, a fancy car, or a significant other to keep you company.
Being an adult means knowing what you want.
Being an adult means knowing what you don't want.
Being an adult means taking responsibility of your life.
Being an adult means being independent to the best of your ability.
Now that I know this, I am ready to take on the big 3. 0. I may still not like the idea of getting older, but I never, ever, want to repeat this year. I don't really want to go into detail, but this year has been the toughest year of my life. It was full of heartbreak, let down, and change. Three things I am NOT good with.
However, I finally am settling down into my new life. I have accepted what I cannot change. And I am just being my own me.
I am ready to be thirty.
I am ready for 2016!
Which brings me to the point of this post.
I wanted to be done with my first draft today. That didn't happen. There is just so much I want to put it in. I already know I'm going to be extremely proud of it. It's just taking me a little more time than I thought. So, to make a long story short . . .
My big announcement today . . .
My second novel, SWITCH THE SONG, will be out August 9, 2016!
Be ready for it.
Be ready for 2016.
Because I know I am.
When I arrived back from Sweden, my mom wanted to know all about my trip. I told her to ask me yes or no questions, because I just was too tired to type anything out. She didn't want to do that. She wanted the "funny, witty, Sara Pyszka version."
My dad then came to visit up from Florida. Again, I told him to ask me yes or no questions. I was still exhausted. Flying across the pond and back? Exhausting. He was not having that, either. He wanted a Sara P story.
I guess I'm in the right career. Everyone wants and loves my stories.
So, here I am, five days later, typing everything out. Not only for my mom and dad, but for you as well.
Before the trip, I really didn't think it was going to happen. People were like "Are you just so excited? You are going to Sweden!" And in my head, I kept thinking, "Yeah, whatever." It wasn't that I thought I couldn't do it. I just didn't know how I was going to do it. I couldn't picture how everything was going to work out. It wasn't until I was in a taxi in Sweden, I was like "Oh my God! I did it! We did it! I am in Sweden!"
Tobii DynaVox asked me to come speak at a conference at a hotel. Naturally, I was thinking... Conference. Hotel. Business. Type. Stuff. Well, the hotel was not really a hotel. It was more of a camp, where they have retreats. (Of course, I appreciated that!) And the conference was not business ish, at all. After I told everyone what the DynaVox could do for me, we just played problem solving games and just really got to know each other.
That night, we all went out to dinner. Unfortunately, down a hill that was more for mountain bikes. Unfortunately, I did not have my power wheelchair. Props to my assistant for pushing me all around Sweden! It took four guys to get me down the hill, and five guys to get me back up. When we were coming back up, my DynaVox's screws fell out and my device almost fell off its mount. That's how bumpy it was! Luckily, I was with all engineers, so it was all good!
The next few days I spent touring Sweden and the Tobii DynaVox office. I tried eye tracking. For those of you who don't know, I work the DynaVox with a switch by my head. I am considered a fast scanner, but I still get extremely frustrated with how slow I am. Eye tracking is where you just look at the letter that you want and it types it. I have come so far but I still have trouble with keeping my head still and focusing my eyes.
I have hope for the future though.
After we figured out how to navigate all around Sweden, I thought we were in the clear for the trip home. Wrong. We had a connecting flight from Stockholm to Paris, and Paris to Pittsburgh. On the way to Sweden, we gate checked my wheelchair so that I could use it during our time in Paris. So, naturally I assumed we would do the same on the way back. Instead, we arrived in Paris and my wheelchair was nowhere to be found. I had to sit in one of the airport's wheelchairs while three non-English speaking men held me up. Two hours later, the airport was able to intercept my chair on its way to being loaded into the plane that would eventually take us to Pittsburgh. However, it was pouring in Paris so my wheelchair was soaked! A half hour later, a lot of blow drying, and a lot of craziness, I was finally back in my chair.
You would think that would be enough of a disaster, but no. Here I am in Pittsburgh, 5 days later, with no luggage.
And that is about it. I am going to be honest. This has been one hell of a year. Just absolutely insane, I can't even tell you. But, things are getting back to normal. I don't think anything else crazy will come up, so my new deadline for my rough draft of my second book is November 30th. That gives me about 90 days.
I know. I know. I suck with deadlines.
But it's coming!
I wanted to start off by saying "This is my last night in my house that I grew up in," but things became too busy. I then wanted to say "This is my first night in my new apartment," but things were still too busy. Finally, a week later, I have time to write this.
It all started about a little over a month ago. My mom was going to be my assistant for the day. I should've known something was going to happen that day, because my mom was going to be my assistant for the day. She came into my bedroom, ripped the covers off of my head, and said, "Good morning! We are moving to Florida!"
Me being me, I was like . . . What? . . . Coffee . . . . I need coffee . . . .
My dad had the opportunity to move the Florida, and my mom's dream has been to move down to Florida, so they jumped on the opportunity that morning. I was going to go with them, but after I had my coffee, I decided I wanted to try it here. I have a good team of assistants, and I'm just starting to have a good relationships with schools.
So, within a month, I found a really sweet apartment, hired another assistant, and moved. I really have a good feeling about this. I really think this is going to work!
You guys must have known how much I needed a change, because it happened. And I thank you for that!
I have been going back and forth as to whether or not I should write this blog. I really try to keep this website professional, and this post is going to be a little more personal. Educators come to look at it to see if they want to book me for speaking engagements. People who I don't know come to look at it to not feel so alone. However, I thought about it a little more, and this website is personal. The problems I write about and speak about are personal. So I decided to just go for it.
Just a little disclaimer. This might sound like I want pity. I don't. What you are about to read are facts. I just would like to tell you some of these facts I am experiencing. I know for a fact that I'm not alone. If this post helps just one person or makes just one person feel not so alone, I will know I did the right thing.
I'm extremely frustrated.
I feel like a thirty year old trapped inside an infant's body. I just gave up my apartment; something that I dreamed about since I was fifteen. If I want to get another apartment, I know I will need an outstanding team to help me. I need physical help for pretty much everything. It is very hard to get good help. When I don't have good help who understands what I want to do, I don't feel like doing anything.
I was talking to my friend who is kind of in the same situation and she described it perfectly.
I am stuck. I feel like all of the people around me are moving on, and getting married, and having kids, and here I am. Just stuck.
Now, I don't like to dwell on problems. I like to fix problems. So I have been asking myself what I can do. What can you do when you can't really change your situation?
Here are three things I am going to start doing to try to help myself. If you, too, are feeling "stuck", maybe this will help you.
Focus on my writing. As most of you know, I have to rewrite my second manuscript. I actually don't mind this. I'm happy to have something that I can make better. Writing makes me feel good. Writing makes me feel productive. Writing is something I can do by myself. Along with a few other books, I think I have an idea for a short piece, and after talking to my friend, I think I am going to do it for my website.
Get more presentations. I still like talking to groups and spreading my message, so if you have any suggestions on how to get more presentations, I'm all ears.
Don't dismiss the small stuff. I absolutely love listening to music on my bed. I absolutely love listening to a good book. I like watching a favorite show on Netflix all day. I like emailing with a friend. I like going to the mall, even when I don't need anything. I like going for frozen yogurt. So I think I need to know I can do all of this without feeling guilty or thinking I'm a loser.
Hmmm. Now I wrote everything out... I'm frustrated with the things I can't do and need to remember to enjoy the things I can do? This doesn't sound that uncommon after all.
It was the night before Christmas Eve, and . . .
Okay, I'm not going to do this. It's just cheesy.
2014? What can I say about you? You were amazing, heartbreaking, easy, hard, good, bad, fun, boring, beautiful, ugly, full of opportunity, and full of loss. You made me happy, and you made me depressed. It was a great run with you.
I have said this before, and I will say this again. Thank YOU for your support. I'm not the greatest writer. Sometimes I take the easy way out and pick a word that is already programmed in my DynaVox rather than take the time to type a more fancy word out. Sometimes I don't know how to describe a place where my character happens to be. But, I do have a story to tell, and because of you, I am able to tell it. Sometimes, I will feel so alone in this world, and I will get a post about somebody liking my book or an email about a possible presentation, and my day is all better.
Thank you for that.
I really can't wait for 2015. I have my second book coming out, which is going to be a little shorter than I wanted, but I am hoping you will like it anyway. I want to get more presentations. And who knows? I might have a surprise or two for you along the way.
I just want to tell you to have a Merry Christmas! I hope that you get everything that you wish for.
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