Zelly & Ol’ Hem’s has been around for two months now. Just the thought of that gets me all giddy. 😀 As you can tell, I am a writing/book/art/history/insert-nerd-related- adjective-here nerd. I’ll be honest, I am not one to put the personal details out on the interwebs. I am a big believer in privacy. But hey, I am open to new things and know that balance is the most important aspect when sharing details. That being said, let’s play a game of 10 Questions!
Q1. Where did you get the idea for the title Zelly & Ol’ Hem’s?
Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, of course. The Roaring 20s is one of my favorite periods in history because of the great writers and artists that popped up in that era. Zelda was fierce, independent, smart and though she had problems, she always knew how to have fun. Plus, you can’t have a better title than “America’s First Flapper”. Her book, Save Me the Waltz, is on my top 10 favorite books of all time. Hemingway was an adventure-seeker. Sure he had more problems than Zelda, but his books are as well amazing. I can remember reading The Sun Also Rises for the first time and immediately being sucked into the 1920s European world Hemingway portrayed. If I were to ever open a bookstore/coffee shop/music venue (venture capitalists get at me!), I would definitely name it Zelly & Ol’ Hem’s.
That’s reason #1. Reason #2 comes from an inside joke between my best friend Siddiqi and me. It involves a history project, a prude Siddiqi and a very deep V-neck dress that become famously known as the “Zelda Dress”.
Q2. Do you have a goal to reach involving Zelly & Ol’ Hem’s?
Thank you John for asking that. I want to practice my writing skills and share the thoughts that run through my head. I hope to reach 1000 followers someday (I am ambitious, I know). I’ve reached 100 followers this week. I am grateful for all of my followers. You have given me confidence in my writing. Please do support Zelly & Ol’ Hem’s and share the blog on your social media channels. Use #z&h when you talk about the blog. 🙂
Q3. What got you into writing?
Oh man. My first novel was written in late 2009/early 2010, but I kept journals before that. My teachers were always fascinated with my writing skills, even when I wasn’t. The most ironic thing about this whole writing thing is that when I was a kid I hated writing. I absolutely hated it. I was a math person. I could do mental math like no one’s business. Hated reading and writing. Book reports were the absolute worst! I believe when I learned about the complex grammar rules and actually read more interesting books that weren’t The Hungry Caterpillar or The Oregon Trail that it sorta clicked. Grammar was like math almost. There was structure and rules and I was hooked. By the time I learned the rules, I learned a rule that stole my heart: writing rules are meant to be broken. The rest is history.
I could also attribute it to Catholic school. My earliest fascinations with writing came during my primary years in Catholic school. We had weekly mass, which captivated my attention. The readers had great diction and actually told the story rather than just recite a bunch of lines. I would say it went even beyond the readings and to the structure of the mass in general. It was a routine,very mechanical and yet it was a moment that was bigger than you. I am not a Bible thumper, regardless of what you think. I am a word thumper.
Q4. You have mentioned a hiatus, aka “disappearing act”. What made you stop writing and then come back?
There comes a time in your life when you have to give yourself a long look in the mirror and answer the damn questions: who am I? What have I become? Who do I want to be? That point came in smack dab early 2015. I was in the middle of my college career and needed to figure out who’s who, what’s truly important and what career path I want to take.
Q5. Describe yourself on a plate.
Risotto alla Milanese (Italian), pulled pork (Cuban), bread with a side Spanish EVOO (Spanish), sweet potatoes (Peruvian), a bowl of strawberries (Californian) and a big side of brisket (Texan). The fork is replaced by a fountain pen and the knife is instead a paintbrush. The place mat is a fashion sketchbook.
It’s kinda funny. I lived in Austin for almost 11 years and it wasn’t until I entered college that I began to accept myself as an Austinite and a Texan. When you are stuck in the “suburbia bubble” for your junior and high school years, you don’t see a lot of the whole “Keep Austin Weird” or “deep in the heart of Texas” vibes. I still refuse to wear cowboy boots in the middle of summer and absolutely refuse to say “y’all”. “You all” ain’t hard people! I will eat BBQ. I will listen to Willie. I will support KUTX. I will laugh at the antics of the 101x Jason & Deb Morning (and do pretty much every day). I will glance at the TV an extra second longer during UT football season. I will mind my “ma’am”‘s and “sir”‘s. I will not wear cowboy boots in Texas summers nor contract two words that are short enough.
Q6. Favorite place to escape to (IRL).
Can’t use books? Booo…New Orleans is nice. Went there five, six years ago and since then I have been trying to find every reason to go back. I don’t drink. Hell, I’ve probably taken five drinks in my life. I love the architecture of the French Quarter and the friendly folks. I love listening to the street musicians play their instruments. I love the atmosphere. It’s spooky, romantic, lively, free-spirited, humid and absolutely whimsical. I am in a different world, far from Earth where the people are easy-going and cherish the short amount of time we have in this world. Strangers will dance with a wedding parade around the square. The food is to die for. The parties are loud and the stories will be told forever. I based a one-act play in New Orleans. A perfect dream. A perfect escape. Hopefully I can visit it again soon.
Q7. Favorite food?
Mac’n’cheese will always be my favorite. Milkshakes are good too.
Q8. Favorite piece you’ve written?
I am not sure. My last novel was fun because I steered away from romance and realistic fiction. I used concepts I learned in my time at St. Ed’s. Though my three-act play about the adventures I experienced during my college job was quite enjoyable. It’s a toss-up, depending what day and what I am reading.
Q9. Biggest lesson you have learned so far.
The “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” mantra doesn’t always work. I admit it: I am a stubborn girl. I am proud and a perfectionist. Though there are some situations where this mantra is fine, there are a lot more situations where being a team player is much more beneficial. It is best to accept that you are not the best at everything. It is best to give the reins to the person who is fit for the job.
Q10. What are you long-term goals as a person?
I would love to continue to hone my writing skills. My dream job is to work for a haute fashion company, preferably in their marketing department. I would also love to open a bookstore out of an old home. I’ve got a few locations picked out (a four-story home on Minetta Street in Greenwich Village and a 1930s beauty on Enfield Road in Austin). I definitely want to get one of my novels published, preferably the latest novel. Traveling is a must. I have lived in a bubble and I accept that is probably the worst thing you can do. Your world view is so narrow and skewed. I have been fortunate to find friends who come from different backgrounds and share different thoughts but sometimes you just need to escape.
All in all, the goal I want to reach most is balance. I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. Now it is time to float in the middle and experience all-around happiness.