Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Greetings L.O.T. Blog Enthusiasts! 

I've been doing some thinking... and I do believe it is time for me to bring my unique love of editing, revisions, writing and proofreading to the great, big world. 

Need your résumé or CV revamped? 
Applying for a job or school and need some help with that cover letter or personal statement? 
Are you a burgeoning writer who would like some extra proofreading? 
Looking for a freelance copywriter?
Interested in virtual tutoring for your school-aged child? (elementary through college)

Then we should work together

My one-woman show company WordsmithToYou provides, easy, fast, reliable and confidential editing for a fraction of the cost of bigger businesses (there may be a discount involved for those who live in warm weather climates and describe it to me in vivid detail)

A little about me:

  • A Harvard educated educator based in Boston
  • A Los Angeles native who cannot get enough of all things literacy

I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with you. If you are interested in these services please feel free to send me an e-mail! 

Write On, 

C.A. Carter

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Death & Taxes

We had never been particularly close, but that didn't change the fact that news of her suicide shook me so deeply and so completely in a place I did not know existed before 2014. 26 years on this earth went by before ever knowing someone, I had spent countless hours with, to die. And yet, in the unexplainable oddity of this even year, I have bid farewell to two. So, here I am, a woman grown, asking the cosmos the same foolish questions children without a damn clue on how the world works must ask: 

Where do they go? Why does this happen? How am I ever supposed to smile again knowing this is possible? 

The truth of the matter is, I am the happiest, unmedicated person I know and I have yet to find a silver-colored lining for death. End of pain and suffering? Sure. But what about those left in the wake of their catharsis? There is no end to our suffering as long as memory exists. And living without the comfort of pleasant recollections sounds equally as unappealing. 

So, now what?

No one tells you the point. 

You can scour the works of philosophers from Confucius to Kierkegaard and never truly comprehend the goal of living. 

We are taught to live well, to live honestly, with concern for others, respect for ourselves, and to leave something behind that was not already in existence before us… And that is believable. I am willing to buy into the fact that living as best you can by making a series of decisions that seemed most good at the time is a decent way to go about things. Hell, even the good ol' Declaration qualifies that unalienable right with "pursuit of" opposed to "attainment of" and for good reason. Because I am sincerely circumspect of my preconceived belief that the point is to be happy. 

Happiness is subjective. 

Happiness is ephemeral and as elusive as billows of smoke. But those of us who are still here find it impossible to not, at least, attempt to engage in a high-speed chase of it. It is our right to run this thing down until it is our turn to leave friends and family with these same, unanswered questions. For if we have learned anything from our dear friend George Bailey, it is that no matter how hopeless and devoid of happiness the present may seem, our presence is the goal. 

The point is to be here. 

You don't have to enjoy it. You don't even have to understand it. But before the fat lady finishes up her vocal exercises, the goal was for you to come in contact with those around you. And while this may, very well, add some undue pressure onto your existence, it is as certain as death & taxes that you are the reason someone else has chosen to continue in the pursuit. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The greatest creative writing gurus will tell you to “write what you know”.   Fair point, gurus.

…and at this thrilling juncture in my life, all I know is how excited I am to get home from work or the gym to return to the couch and snuggle up with my selfless lover, Netflix. With this incredible gift that keeps on giving, I am simultaneously on Season 3 of The Tudors and Season 5 of House, M.D.

Needless to say, life is good.

Each day, you can find me in either 16th century Europe or modern day Princeton, NJ, watching complete strangers meander through the chambers of great castles or through the hallways of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital [additionally, if you willingly or unwillingly spill any of the beans from the next three seasons of House, sleep with one eye open].

Sure, I can tell you that when your eyes are yellowing that your liver is failing and 9 times out of 10 your “mystery” disease just might be sarcoidosis (if not lupus) and you will probably need an echo [echocardiogram], CT, or biopsy to determine what we [yes, WE, the doctors at Princeton Plainsboro] already know…but what do I tell the Creative Writing Gurus when they ask me what I actually know? I’m not a doctor (even though my mother played one on tv) so what authority do I have to write about dear Gregory’s logic when arguing with Wilson? None. And herein lies the inherent beauty (and ultimate horror) of the life of a binge-watcher: faux knowledge and experiences masquerading as actual knowledge and experiences.

Binge-watch an entire season of True Blood? Come out on the other end thinking and speaking in a Southern accent for days

Mad Men? Develop a sudden urge to alter your entire wardrobe and become a functioning alcoholic

Game of Thrones? Similar results as Mad Men with the addition of swords, poisons, royalty and the occasional Man of the Night’s Watch

Which got me thinking, after waking up from an inevitable boredom-induced coma, if someone were to binge-watch my life, what faux knowledge and experiences would keep them coming back season after season? 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Les Anniversaires or The Way the Universe Conspires to Make You Feel Victorious

After my dear-God-here-comes-30 panic attack had subsided, I decided to take action and plan a party for my 26th birthday. Surrounded by individuals from various spheres of my life, laughing, dancing, and drinking together as if they had all known each other since before this very moment, I realized (as the lynchpin of the whole soirée) how incredibly humbling and blissful the celebration of your birth can be.

 In French, the word for birthday is un anniversaire, derived from the Latin anniversarius meaning “returning yearly”. What I appreciate about the etymology of this French word, is the fact that it has very little to do with the singular persona. It simply refers to a specific, recurring unit of time that can be interpreted as a return to a place, an emotion, a gathering of people, or (as we have come to know it) a day.

Some lucky few may find it easy to reflect on their past, or celebrate life with the people they love regularly and thus do not need a predetermined span of time to which they must return. But for those of us who are too often mired within the daily minutiae, the annual return to a consciously reflective state which celebrates still being above ground, or the friends we have garnered, or the past year’s accomplishments, or the fact that you are standing there in the smallest pants size you have ever worn in your life [shameless fitness plug] is precisely what we need to give us the strength to make it to next year’s return.

Taking inventory of all the things that have altered in your life and all the goals you have yet to cross off your Life List can be a paralysis-inducing experience. But the benefit of an annual return is that, with any luck, you will not necessarily be returning to the same place each year. For me, this past year teemed with seismic shifts that altered everything from how I felt to where I worked to how hard I loved to how I viewed the world and my place in it…if that’s not a blog post waiting to happen, I don’t know what is. The fact remains, Chapter 25 of The Book of Me read pretty slowly...almost as if the author was making it all up as she went along. But towards the end, the plot really started to pick up, a clear and concise focus started brewing and by the beginning of Chapter 26, even I was anxious to see what would come next. As a writer, I rarely share my work before I am satisfied with its completion, and similarly, the major plot points of the forthcoming The Book of Me chapters shall remain a mystery…but as long as I am granted continued annual returns I assure you the finished product will be one hell of a read.

I’ll sign you a copy,


Friday, August 23, 2013

Wordsmiths United

I am what you might call...a traditionalist.
I want my architecture borderline ancient,
my neighborhood infused with quirky history,
my last name changed [eventually],
and my literature presented on pages, not a screen.

My current tome of choice is David Foster Wallace's magnum opus, Infinite Jest. Now, I am not sure if I just have one of those faces you can't help but bother while it's deeply engrossed in belles-lettres or if the 1,079-page, footnote laden, encyclopedic text really is that marvelous to behold, but I cannot tell you how many people, while on my morning commute, have approached me about investing in an e-reader.
At first, the consistent interruption while reading an already complex novel was purely bothersome. But as the comments continued, it became a reluctant game I would play called: Let's See How Many People Say Something Today...
Yesterday morning, while boarding the T, one individual told me he had received Infinite Jest, a few months ago, as a gift and [noticing the placement of my bookmark] wanted to know if I had any tips for getting through it.
I realized then, that for a self-professed bibliophile [and teacher!], my reaction to this whole please-stop-bothering-me-during-the-few-moments-I-have-to-myself-to-read-in-peace-haven't-you-ever-seen-a-big-book-before thing was all wrong.
The fact remains, that whether donning scrubs, a business suit, a grocer nametag, baggy pants, active wear, or a T-driver's uniform, not one person asked me why I would read a book of that size voluntarily, they simply questioned the most efficient way to do so. They were intrigued, moved to say something, and [dear God] it was literature itself that got complete strangers talking.
I did my best to convince him that if you could just muscle your way through to page 223, you won't want to put it down. ..And suddenly we were engaged in a discourse over preconceived literary notions. When did recreational texts become synonymous with relaxation and auto-pilot reading? Why aren't cognitive challenges valued outside of a space where you can receive a grade for it?
Spark Note Version: Nerd-alert/Bookworm Heaven
We are not meant to live in isolation. Even a solitary event like reading is a measured and calculated social interaction between you and the author. At times, we simply need to take a step back from our planned personal moments and realize that perhaps this moment is the one in which we were meant to engage.  If the works of art we so enjoy were destined to live in a desolate vacuum, they never would have been created in the first place.
Life [like art] is not about detachment, it is not about how many trolley stops we can get through before the next person interrupts our myopic views of how this specific instant should play out. It’s about discovery; it is the knowledge that you are not the first [and you will certainly not be the last] individual to appreciate this text. And that the more you engage others, the more you become the reason this piece of art will never be extinguished.
Wordsmiths and logophiles unite,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Acrylic Nails, Boxing, & The Unwitting Quest For Something Real

I had a goal: Become Smaller. Minimize. Take up less space. Turn inward on myself and realize I do not need all of this weight to, in fact, live.

But somewhere between the loss of pound 1 and the closer side of pound 30, I recognized that my world had been enhanced. Made fuller...more rounded and the only thing to become less has been my pants size.
Shameless Smaller Pants Size Plug

As the only woman in the boxing gym, my painted toe nails [we don't wear shoes on the mat],un-chiseled physique, [and let's be honest] breasts, stood out like well..breasts in an all male boxing gym. I had heard boxing was an excellent total body conditioning workout and while Females Welcome At Every Session flashed across their webpage, the raw and Million Dollar Baby-ish atmosphere clearly deterred the average lass. Let us be clear that I am in no way switching careers to become Laila Ali, Jr., I simply wanted to try something new.

Now, I won't come right out and scream Chauvinist or Sexist at the evident surprise on the men's faces as I kept up the combinations with them, hit the heavy bag with them and "planked" them under the table...hell, I was surprised too. But I will say when I heard the words "I didn't expect you to be good" I knew I had to come back and get better.

Weight loss is about getting smaller, right? Becoming more demure, inward, less...We females do it to become a more "girlish" weight, to fit in smaller sizes, thus widening the gap between femininity and masculinity, no? Along with these fallacies, I was under the impression that weight loss would let my natural beauty shine more fully.

What an idiot.

Natural beauty is there all along. How you perceive it, however, is entirely psychological.

After my first session, I went to the nail salon to have my acrylic nails removed, thus exposing my natural nails for the first time in eons. Aside from the practicality of short nails in boxing gloves, I wanted to take a small, tangible step in the direction towards natural beauty.

It starts from within...way in...like cerebellum deep.

Once I stopped identifying long nails with beauty, just as I stopped identifying boxing with brutishness, I discovered my own definitions of "beauty" and "femininity".

Femininity is synonymous with strength. Beauty is the ability to work in the sweltering heat, pass another human through your body and return to work because "maternity leave" wasn't invented for your color yet. Beauty is recognizing that when there is something you want to alter, you have the ability to accomplish it, because to be "girly" is to understand the world is yours for the taking.

Whatever your goal that has been collecting dust on that shelf you only think of when riddled with guilt, If you think you can not accomplish it...think again.

For me, it's cheers to the next 30 pounds, and the unintended, unwitting yet invaluable life lessons I have yet to dream up.

Keep moving,


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Do Mi Mi. Mi So So. Re Fa Fa. La Ti Ti.

The first time I bought a Maxwell album I was 16, freshly driver’s licensed, and taking every advantage of summertime self-transportation freedom. After spending the day with my devastatingly handsome, and soon-to-be-16-year-old boyfriend [cradle robber!], my voyage back to The Valley through Hollywood allowed me the joys of traffic and radio “seek” button pushing. The dial landed on the most sensual falsetto tones I had ever heard [take notes, Robin Thicke]. Years away from actually doing the deed, I imagined if it was done correctly, sex would make me feel similar to how mesmerized I was by his incredible harmonies and romantic lyrics. Needless to say, instead of driving straight home, my car found its way to the Tower Records [do they still have those?] near the Beverly Center Mall.

Now, before fancy-schmancy car radios displayed the name of the song & artist you are listening to, one had to wait for the DJ to tell you the name of the artists in the previous set, which could take ages if the set was particularly long and heaven help you if you had to sit through a commercial break. I hadn’t the patience. So, when I walked into the store, I found an employee and sang him the part of the song I could remember; he directed me towards the R&B section and asked me to re-sing it for his co-worker who happened to know Maxwell’s repertoire well because his girlfriend also developed swoon-y tendencies when his voice seeped through the airwaves.

I became a fan for life.

As a writer, sometimes you simply need to give credit where it is due and I feel the screenplay of Forrest Gump [one of the greatest films of my generation] sums up my sentiments well: You know, it's funny what a young man recollects. 'Cause I don't remember being born. I don't recall what I got for my first Christmas and I don't know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. But, I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world.

While Maxwell can not hold a candle to Jenny Gump’s beauty, I completely understand where he is coming from.

To this day, whenever I hear a song from this particular album, every ounce of me is transported to the sweltering heat of that car, to the longing I had to feel about someone the way the lyrics described, to the contentment with all that traffic, prolonging the time I had to experience his music for the first time.

They say elements of life are cyclical. Music, fashion, and trends more generally are said to rise like a phoenix. Just when you never thought you’d see bellbottoms again, there they are on your teenage daughter. Remakes of films and recycling of other artists’ devotion to their craft are making current “artists” wealthy [ex. Michael Bublé, the poor man’s Frank Sinatra]. My hope is that whatever musical cycle we are in gets thrown off its axis soon because I miss music. I miss lyrics. I miss instrumentation. I miss helplessly turning into the parking lot of Tower Records because my soul refuses to go one more day without listening to that song I just heard. So to anyone reading this: If you are a lyricist, a member of an orchestra, a band member, a lover of real music or an in-the-shower-singer, do not stop creating.

With any luck, we are on the brink of a musical revolution and we all need to be warmed up when the time arrives.