Emmie Mears
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Time Capsule: A Surprising Prompt

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Time Capsule: A Surprising Prompt

I don’t often blog off of prompts. I usually fly by the seat of my threadbare sweats and write whatever I goll darn feel like writing. I opened up my computer today to write le blog. I thought about describing my rewatch of Pride and Prejudice and how this moment:

GUH. After lots of years.

…still makes my heart speed up and makes me feel All The Warm.

I thought about blogging about the top five things I’ve learned about being a cat, but decided that could wait a bit.

I poked around WordPress for a bit and, on a whim, clicked on the Daily Prompt. The prompt asked what I would put in a time capsule right now, as 2012 draws to a close.

My little brain, in all its codeine-filled glory, fired up at that.

This time last year, I was determined things would be different by now. I’m still not where I want to be, but some things are in motion that I have to be proud of. So here’s what would go in my time capsule.


This picture, printed out and framed.

I have a folder in Gmail entitled “Agent and Publisher.” And there is STUFF in it. 41 different emails, to be exact. This time last year I was getting excited about the Writer’s Digest Conference and trying to get myself pumped up to put my writing out there for the first time.

The first thing I pitched and submitted wasn’t ready. But that taught me how to tell when things are ready. I learned that, in the time it took me to write my first two and a half books, my style started to emerge. I started to learn about voice. And as a result, trying to submit book one was like hoping a high school term paper would cut it as a senior thesis at uni.

I fuzzed out any identifiers in the inbox, but if you look at it with an eye trained in the Query Trenches, you’ll see some rejections. You’ll also see the words “FULL MANUSCRIPT” and the beginnings of a request or two. This little image marks the beginning of the most important thing I’ve ever done for my writing career. Sure, you have to write books. But you also have to put your work out there.

One down!

This comic book.

I made it through my first year of marriage! And we don’t hate each other. Spouse made me this comic book (we had Jean Grey and Logan cake toppers at our wedding, and I made our place settings from an Astonishing X-Men comic) for my anniversary gift.

It’s been a rough year on both of us. 2012 might not spell the end of the world, but it’s been a sobering year in many ways for us. Here’s to making 2013 our year.

Teeny ketchup bottle!

This teeny tiny ketchup bottle, because Scalzi himself would not fit (and would probably not take kindly to being put in a time capsule).

Capclave was a weekend of a lot of interesting feels. I hung out with John Scalzi. I watched a newly published friend do his first reading. I met publishers and editors and bestselling authors. And I found this wee bottle of ketchup that will forever rather encapsule the whole damned weekend.

Too bad I couldn’t bottle all the scotch…

Dried roses from Gram’s funeral.

This last year has held a lot of loss. Even though it happened in 2011 and not in 2012, I still feel my cousin’s death as if it were yesterday. It’ll be a year on the sixteenth since I got that awful call on the way to work on a Friday morning. I don’t have anything from Nate‘s memorial. Nothing but memories, and hard ones at that.

When we all arrived at the funeral home, people were collapsing like balloons with all the air let out in one gust.  That’s my clearest memory of that service — all of us felled by grief over and over again. And later of his baby girl, my namesake, asking a day before her first birthday, “Where Daddy?”

Gram’s was different. There was laughter and stories. Smiles through tears. When my cousin Karen got up to sing “I’m Going Home” in her rich, velvet contralto voice, tears fell all around. But no one deflated. No one lost footing. Because Gram had the long, full sort of life that was riven from Nate, and as a family we knew that her passing was only the denouement of her finished story.

Leanach Cottage

Leanach Cottage (Photo credit: IrenicRhonda)

The dream blueprints of my cottage.

I’ve had them for four years. I drew them myself, with only the skills of a 9 week course in drafting and a vague idea for how it works. But I love it. It’s a reminder of a dream, of what I’ve wanted from this life for a decade.

It might not come out looking like that.

The blueprints are a reminder that dreams have to be built, stone by stone, and that you pour the foundation when you start making decisions to move toward them. This year has been a year of foundation pouring. Next, let’s hope for the first stones. I’ll be ready.

So that’s what would go in my time capsule, gentle viewers. I’m writing this on the eve of the Pitch Wars announcement. Maybe because I wanted to preserve this moment. Tomorrow, things are going to change. I don’t expect to get chosen for Pitch Wars. I do know that regardless of what Brenda Drake’s blog says in a few hours, I’m going to take new steps tomorrow, whether it’s sending new queries or finishing this WIP.

I’ve got two days off work to recover from my plethora of illnesses. Since I have to be in bed anyway, I might as well let my fingers fly where they need to go.

What would you put in your 2012 time capsule? 

EDIT: Well, the Pitch Wars announcement happened, and I did not get picked. BUT, one of the mentors who I applied to (the wonderful FizzyGrrl, aka Summer) offered to work with me behind the scenes…which is awesome and lovely of her, because she certainly didn’t have to do that. So this is me, with a new friend and coach…minus the fetching. Well, maybe with the fetching.

KITTEH, to the rescue!

Edit again: Kristin McFarland’s husband made THIS:


In which you can actually level up as a writer, because yes, writing is totally an RPG. Use too many adverbs, craft -5. Make someone cry? Magic +12. 😛 If you click the picture, you can make your Very Own Skill Tree! Go do it. For the funsies. And go read Kristin’s blog.

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Author | Emmie Comments | 6 Date | December 12, 2012


Daily Prompt~Circle of Five « The Cheeky Diva

[…] Time Capsule: A Surprising Prompt […]

December 12, 2012 | 10:54 am


Pitchwars has been so much fun – just meeting other writers is soooo cool. I enjoyed reading your comments along the way. Just wanted to say that. And, loved the post about your Gram.

December 12, 2012 | 12:06 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Thank you! And thanks for stopping by Ye Olde Blog!

    It’s been great making new friends, some of them unexpected and full of AWESOME! I met someone last night who lives 8 miles away from the tiny Montana town where I grew up. o.O

    December 12, 2012 | 12:18 pm

Kourtney Heintz

Emmie, you certainly had an eventful year. Some really good and some really awful. But you made it through and you might not be where you’d thought you’d be, but you have made the connections and learned what you need to get there. I’m so glad I met you this year. Best of luck in 2013. 🙂

December 13, 2012 | 5:13 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Thank you so much, Kourtney! I am super glad we were able to bond at WDC this year over walks and Thai food. (Though I am rather thankful that the conferences I’m going to this year will be in the spring, haha. Cold feet were a theme last January.) I absolutely wish you all the best in 2013 as well!

    December 13, 2012 | 5:16 pm


Every year adds to the tapestry. Think of Gram’s fine completed piece – and Nate’s with unfinished threads – and remember they are vital parts of your work in progress. *a toast to 2013*

December 15, 2012 | 9:33 am

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