25,000 more

I’ve been writing so much, I think I might actually revert to some math.

I’ve been alive for twenty years and a month. I’ve lived a quarter of my life, a fifth if I’m being optimistic. Twenty years is a substantial amount of time. I’ve fallen off of a bike, crashed into failure, tumbled into growing older in the 7, 330 days that I’ve lived. For someone that survives by using words, right now I’m enjoying looking at life through numbers.

By five, I’d seen 2000 days. I don’t remember much about them or the young girl who referred to her self in third person—because apparently that’s how you are taken seriously. Her hair was nearly blonde, her skin crisped and kissed by the sun. I had raccoon circles around my eyes because of my constant need to wear sunglasses. Maybe at five, I already knew to prepare myself, that sometimes the world is better looking when you don’t see it directly, when you aren’t aware of the things behind the lens, instead only choosing to see the beauty on the outside. I think I may need those glasses back.

By 5000 days, I was thirteen. Life wasn’t as easy because now I knew how to count the summer days, I knew that everything at some point ends and changes. But life was still good and simple. I can’t tell you that I knew who I was but I did know what I liked and what I wanted to do with my life. I guess not everybody is that way at thirteen, but I was sure. Even at thirteen I knew what I couldn’t live without.

It seems appropriate that I started with my first 2000 days; I should finish with my last. They’re the days I’m closest to, the ones I remember the most. They’ve been the roughest but some of the best. I’ve cried the hardest but smiled the most.

If we’re doing the math, and apparently we are, I’d assume that in those numbered days a person is expected to have half of those days good. 3500. I really wish the ratio would be more but I have to account for life and the times when light is harder to find. I’d hope then that half of those days, 1700, were the kind of days that were so good you almost forget them, instead their happiness just bleeding into your life, filling up your being.

I figure in 7000 days, one person should have at least 20 exceptional days. Maybe I’m skimping or possibly I’m being generous, but these are my ratios so I’m just going to go with that for now.

I’m calling on one of my twenty. I had one of those days on Tuesday. I, again, got to experience something I never planned. Apparently, at 5000 days I didn’t know how to dream big enough.

On Tuesday, I got to speak to a group of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from St. Brendan’s school, in LA. They were just awesome. Enthusiastic and eager, they listened to me, and I felt what it was like to have everyone’s attention, to realize the weight of my words. It was the first time I got to witness with my own eyes the affect of Above. I can’t tell you what if felt like to watch their faces and to see their energy. There’s something about it that makes you feel as light as a feather, but so warm and full you think even gravity couldn’t move you.

I’ve always wanted to do good for the world but Tuesday was the first time I saw that it was possible. In a world where there are so many poisonous things, I want to be a relief; I want to enforce the good. I guess it hadn’t dawned on me until now, or maybe I was just cynical and didn’t actually believe it was possible, but then again, to be honest, I’m still cynical. But now I’m hopeful, too.

So I’m crossing off one of my days, ticking off another finger, all in the hope of the next 2000, the coming 7000, and the 20 that I’ll be here dreaming about.


Rule book for bone hide and seek:

1.You must hide the bone.
2. Kenzie will not wait if you disappear around the corner
3. You will only have 20 seconds, thirty tops if a squirrel from outside enters her view
4. If you do not find a difficult hiding place, you will be required to participate again
5. You may be expected to repeat with a following bone
6. A half attempt will not be taken lightly and will immediately be enforced by the stamping of paws and notice me grunts
7. And most importantly never forget what it was like to play this game

I have a story but I’m having trouble writing it.

This is one of those times where I have too many things to say, too many words arguing against each other. I guess it’s better than being silent. I’m filled with memories of her; they topple me to the ground, forcing me to surrender to the sadness.

I never could have imagined that I would end up feeling this way, a gaping wound in my chest that leaks daily, each drop falling to the floor, reminding me what to miss.

If you had asked me in fifth grade how I felt about dogs I would have told you this: I don’t like them. I’m scared.
If you had asked my brother how he felt about dogs at 8 he would have told you this: My life will be complete once a dog sleeps in my bed every night.
Even my heart cracks slightly at his words—I get why my parents broke.

The next part of the story comes in two parts. Eventually my parents crumbled under the relentless pleas of the little boy, succumbing to getting a Wired-hair Fox Terrier. Her name was Pepper. We kept her for three short weeks until my mom gave her to another family, and my brother’s dream deflated before he even turned ten. I had won, my mission accomplished. You see, although I had warmed to Pepper, she’d never taken my heart and squandered my fear. That didn’t happen until the second part, until her…until Kenzie.

Kenzie was decided upon six months later, in my absence, over a piece of chocolate birthday cake. I came back from a trip with my grandparents and it was happening. My brother’s dream was going to live again.

I remember the first night we had Kenzie. She was fluffy and blonde and quite possibly the cutest thing I had ever seen. But she terrified me. I found myself sitting on the kitchen counter, staring at her in distress. Here was this little being, one I didn’t want, but inadvertently felt for. I felt bad that she wasn’t with her family in Idaho, that she wasn’t with her mom. She slept in my parents room that night, in a cage, my father’s hand on top, welcoming her home, promising her love. It was all she ever wanted.

Kenzie’s and my relationship progressed slowly, much like spring turns to summer or summer to fall. It was gradual, but natural, and in three months my butt was no longer glued to the counter, my heart seized by something else other than fear.

Kenzie will always be the dog that taught me how to love. She will always be my best friend. She will always be my dog. I will never know how to love anybody like I loved her. And I’m okay with that. I have that particular love guarded in a very special place in my heart, impenetrable and never fading.

There’s so many things I could tell you about her: The bone game she always insisted on playing, the way her ears never failed to hear the refrigerator door open, or the way a tear dropping to the floor was as loud as a gunshot to her. I could go on and on, instead I’ll keep those things so close to my heart it nearly blackens.

I wrote Above before Kenzie had passed on. It was an idea that comforted me: to see her again one day. I like to believe that’s where she is…somewhere she never has to ask for a bone, a tennis ball is always a throw away, but most importantly, somewhere that love is. Because that’s what this dog deserves, all the love in the world.

Right before Kenzie went to sleep for good, my mom put the phone to her ear, letting me say goodbye. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t…so I just cried…helpless and unbelieving. In some ways I guess this is my eulogy for her, my letter that I’d hope she’d hold in her mouth, never knowing what it says, but the words sinking into her tongue. I’m not saying goodbye. That’s something I decided I wouldn’t do. Instead, I’m just remembering how much I love her. The tears on my keyboard, my mascara smudging my face, are all the proof of what she’s left behind.

I love you Kenzie. Above will always be for you. The dog that taught me everything about love and loss, and never left me feeling alone in either.

Me Myself and Scared

“I really would like to know the moment that life starts forcing itself upon you, when the scary things out there are never as scary as the things inside of you.”

Callie says this in Above. Surprise, surprise it’s a thought I’ve been wondering about too. I think it’s so interesting that when we’re younger the scariest things are having your birthday party canceled, or getting up to present in class, or having to make your way through the dark hallway to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The latter was a terrifying journey for me. Funnily enough, I remember that well…I remember how afraid I was to walk the ten feet in the looming darkness without my mother to promise me that there were indeed no serial killers. A mother’s promise is nice…it changes, as you get older, it doesn’t fix things or even place a metaphorical Band-Aid anymore. Instead it’s there as a presence and a reminder that you’re loved.

I kinda think that’s all that matters. Because once life starts forcing itself upon you, just knowing someone cares is enough to kill some of the scary things inside of you. It doesn’t make them go away, if only it made everything better, but still it’s something.

One of my main goals with Callie was to make her honest and imperfect. I guess I feel that way a lot of the time and it seems unfair to do differently, to present a person to the world that isn’t actually a person. I read a lot…I’m a nerd…like my brother would say, so I think I can fairly say that it’s not comforting to always read an idea or a fairytale. I want it to be truthful and real and yet, still be an escape, a different life for an hour of my day. Clearly, I like to live in someone else’s life because I act too, but that’s not the only reason I read. I read to not feel alone. I read because maybe there’s a character out there that is just as baffled by the world and life as I am. Maybe there’s someone that’s lost and finding their way. I wanted Callie to be that. Strong and stubborn and unsure and imperfect, but perfect because she was. I wanted Callie to be a real person. And now four years later…she is. At least to me. Always to me.

On top of a mountain

I don’t really have much to say on a daily basis for a blog. I spend all my time writing that it seems unfair to do anymore, to suck up all the words from the universe. And yet somehow here I am again, my fingers tired before I’ve started, my brain slowly turning to mush.
I got to do something really cool yesterday. I can’t speak about it. Maybe I’m just trying to gain your interest…or maybe I really can’t. Are you curious yet? Is it working? Well, anyway, it was one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do because of Above. And really I’ve had my share of unbelievable moments already, but yesterday felt like the beginning of all the things I had wanted from the start. I sat on the edge of this hill taking in the beautiful scenery, the scene that was occurring beside me, and the disgusting beetle bug that I won’t dare to describe to save us all from scarring, and all I could think was…this is good. This is real good. I want to do this more. The funny thing was that I never counted on writing Above, so I never counted on having this experience. And now I found myself wanting it more.
Yesterday was so cool. It was awesome, and mind-blowing, and exciting, and terrifying, and enticing and…I’m going to end there, letting you understand that those three ellipses contain most of the words from the English language. So apparently I have sucked up all the words from the universe today.

The end…kinda

I just finished reading my book. I’ve read it about a million times, but this was the first time I read through it, knowing there wasn’t much I could do to change it. I’ve had four years of reading this book, each sentence temporary in my mind…and now they aren’t. Now, these sentences are staying, the story indelible.
After all this time, I really am happy where the book ended up. I try to stop myself from cringing at the thought of the first manuscript I wrote of Above. I try to give myself credit that at least I wrote it, but still it’s hard not to be hard on your self. It’s amazing what it has become since then. In a lot of ways I feel like the book has grown with me, blossomed into something entirely different. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you much about the girl who had first written this. I remember her slightly, the important things having never changed, but I don’t really know who I was when I first wrote this. I was living in New Jersey, before I moved to California, before the world looked different.
I realized something the other night. No matter what happens with this book…if it falls painfully into the never read category or flourishes into something else, I will always have it with me. I think it’s pretty cool that I’ll be able to read it over when I’m thirty and catch some glimpse into my sixteen-year-old self, find the seventeen-year-old missing her mom across the country, or the eighteen or nineteen-year-old still unsure but a little bit older. I’ll have my own personal time capsule. Because although Above is a story and most of the things are made up, there are pieces of me that I left behind, a journal of some kind. It can be this fossil I dig up over and over again, never quite satisfied, but never disappointed either.

There and back again

I find myself staring at a computer screen quite a lot lately. It’s funny because this wasn’t necessarily planned. I never knew the amount of hours I would spend by my computer or the strength that my fingers would get from endless typing. I’m still really glad my mom had made me take that typing class in 9th grade. I’d failed my first one and I wasn’t too pleased with the prospect of being in a class where I knew I wasn’t good at something. It makes me laugh now, if it weren’t for that class, I would probably still be finishing the last page of Above, my two pointer fingers prodding at the keyboard. Thank god for moms. Guess that’s the lesson here.
Life has a way of getting you either way though. I spend a lot of time in Above writing about fate and happen stance, and the way a person’s life is intended to go. I always think it’s an interesting topic, mainly because I haven’t even made up my mind about it. I’ve started to realize those are the things that interest me to write about. I think I like that there’s no answer, no right or wrong, there’s a gray area to which anything is possible. Math isn’t like that. That’s why math sucks. Just kidding. Okay only kinda…but then again maybe math and I have a rivalry because our brains just think different.
Anyway, this blogging thing is dangerous. Clearly, I think too fast to write. I can sensor a character’s thoughts, but apparently my own are scattered and are anything but linear. Back to my point, Callie, the main character in Above, spends a lot of time harping on where her life is supposed to go. I guess it’s funny how I was the same way for so long. I planned to write my acting part in a movie. I never realized along the way the love for writing I would gain as well. It wasn’t the plan. I’m starting to think that four-word sentence may be one of the most awful sentences in the human language. Well not awful, I guess I’m being a tad dramatic. But I really don’t like those words. I don’t think we really can plan. Or at least that’s what I’m realizing. Whether your explanation is fate or chance, it seems there is no control either way. Sometimes life just plays out for you. And sometimes you just write a book.

Mackie’s Vlog – Santa Monica

Mackie and her VLOG buddy, Adam, go to Santa Monica to check out Ocean Avenue, the Santa Monica Pier…and all the birds.

Mackie will be Vloging weekly as she discusses anything and everything about the creative process in being a published writer and her journey to achieving her career dreams. Mackie will also be answering questions from her fans!

HAVE A QUESTION FOR MACKIE? Post a question in the comments for a chance to have Mackie answer it in one of her upcoming Vlogs!

Mackie’s Vlog – Escape From the Office

Watch as Mackie and Adam play hooky from the office today. They take a break at The Grove in Los Angeles, CA. They cover serious topics such as Mackie’s expressive eyebrows and her favorite book.

Special Guest Star, Mario Lopez…from a distance.

Mackie will be Vloging weekly as she discusses anything and everything about the creative process in being a published writer and her journey to achieving her career dreams. Mackie will also be answering questions from her fans!

In Mackie’s 4th VLOG, Mackie takes a trip to the historic Mel’s Diner on Sunset in Hollywood.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR MACKIE? Post a question in the comments for a chance to have Mackie answer it in one of her upcoming Vlogs!

Mackie’s Shout Out to William Annin Middle School New Jersey

Mackie and her VLOG buddy, Adam, go to to Beverly Hills Sign and gives words of inspiration to students at her former middle school – William Annin.

Mackie will be Vloging weekly as she discusses anything and everything about the creative process in being a published writer and her journey to achieving her career dreams. Mackie will also be answering questions from her fans!

HAVE A QUESTION FOR MACKIE? Post a question in the comments for a chance to have Mackie answer it in one of her upcoming Vlogs!

Mackie Burt’s VLOG – “Mackie and the Producer”

Mackie will be Vloging weekly as she discusses anything and everything about the creative process in being a published writer and her journey to achieving her career dreams. Mackie will also be answering questions from her fans!

In Mackie’s first VLOG, Mackie is joined by her producing partner, Barry Tropp, to help her launch her premiere episode.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR MACKIE? Post a question in the comments for a chance to have Mackie answer it in one of her upcoming Vlogs!