Monthly Archives: February 2016

Regressing & Progressing

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Last week was a tough week for many reasons. Nothing exceptionally awful happened, but I could tell that I was losing my drive. My grades were a little lower. I interacted with fewer people. I stayed up later putting off work I didn’t want to do. I also skipped out on my weekly blog post and neglected my daily Bible reading. (I’m trying to do a “read the Bible in a year challenge.”) I spent the weekend telling myself, “You’ll get back on track. You can do it. Just push through it.”

But I didn’t push, and I’m glad I didn’t. I spent my weekend locked in my room watching some Law and Order SVU on Netflix and cleaning out my cluttered desk. I did some laundry and gave myself a facial. I ate a pint of cookie dough ice cream. I doodled. And you know what? By time I woke up on Monday, I felt a lot better about everything. I honestly can’t remember what it was that put me in that Mood. (I think everyone has experienced that  Mood at least once.)

For this week’s post, I decided to remind myself of the progress I’m making on the little things in life. I’m worn out from writing, so I decided to ease back into blogging with something simple.

Six Years Ago…

  • I had moved to Arkansas and started school at a high school I absolutely hated.
  • I auditioned for All-State for the first time and made the women’s chorus.
  • I quit piano and started taking voice lessons.
  • I never once went out with any of my friends.
  • I went on my first date ever.
  • I became an active member and then a moderator of a group of gaming/roleplaying/writing forums.
  • I went to Washington D.C. for the first time.

This Year…

  • I’m pushing through my last semester at a college I love (in Arkansas); if everything works out, I’ll graduate with highest honors.
  • This semester alone, I’m singing solos at 3 separate concerts. I’ll also be performing Brahms’s Requiem with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and several other college choirs this weekend.
  • In addition to voice lessons, I’ve started playing my flute again and continue to be an active member in theatre.
  • I may not socialize a lot, but I’m a leader in several different student organizations including my sorority, the English honor society (Sigma Tau Delta), and the student ambassadors.
  • I’ve decided that I’m content being single; and I’m going to wait on the dating until I’m comfortable with myself.
  • The forums I used to moderate revived with many of the old members. Reuniting with internet friends was a huge plus to my year.
  • This past school year I’ve traveled to Japan, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas. I’ll be returning to Washington D.C. this April to present my research paper “I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me: A New Historicist Approach to 1925” at the Alpha Chi National Convention.

When I look at where I’ve been, it’s easier to see how far I’ve come. What about you guys? Do you ever feel as though you’re going nowhere fast?

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Meet the Wanderer: Chapter 2

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Discovering Yourself as a Writer

If you missed my first chapter in this series, feel free to check it out HERE. My goal in introducing these chapters is to give my readers a better idea of who I am behind the wall of text. I could be a robot pounding out posts, but I’m actually just an overly caffeinated young adult with too much to say and not enough time to say it.

This month’s topic?

HAPPINESS: What is your own secret for happiness? If you had to sum up your ideas, what one word would you use to describe how to be truly happy.

Believe it or not, I struggle a lot with “being happy.” In the real world, I feel as if I spend my life pretending to be a-okay. I smile because I’ve heard that smiling makes it easier to feel actual happiness. I laugh because I’m nervous or uncomfortable. I joke. I giggle. I act. But none of it feels real at the end of the day. In fact, it’s tiring. Being “happy” all the time drained me, so I gave up and embraced my other feelings.

To be happy, you actually don’t have to be happy all the time. Crazy, right? Once I realized this, I felt a lot better about myself. Having a bad day? Rant about it. Cry about it. Get it out of your system. Suddenly it’s gone. Worried about something? Worry about it. Finish worrying. Move on. Perhaps it isn’t that simple for everyone, but I realized that once I stopped trying to ignore the rest of my feelings, I felt a lot better about myself. My friends and family finally got to see the real me.

But that doesn’t mean one should embrace these feelings all the time. In Japan, I got lost a lot. Sometimes I got lost alone. Sometimes I got lost with a group. Usually, when I got lost with a group, at least one person got REALLY upset. One time, my friend and I spent an hour looking for a cat cafe in Akita City. (We wanted to spend our afternoon petting cats and eating silly little desserts.) My friend got incredibly upset, especially after we had to ask for help. We found the cafe about 45 minutes after it had closed. She apologized over and over and over, but honestly, it was fine. I could get frustrated, but how did getting lost actually hurt us?

As I see it, we saw a lot of the city. We found the cafe so we could go to it next time. We spent the afternoon with each other. Maybe we wasted a little bit of money traveling into the city, but is it really worth spending my afternoon angry over a couple of dollars or yen?

I’ve found myself asking “Is it worth it?” a lot recently. Surprisingly, that mindset has helped me keep my emotions in check, especially during particularly stressful semesters. Since my prompter seems to like one word summaries, I’ll leave my readers with this:

Think. If you’re miserable or frustrated or confused or just struggling to be happy, think things through. You don’t have to do it alone. You could perhaps think out loud with a friend, but don’t dwell on it. I promise you’ll be a lot happier.

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Poetry: The Philosophical Brooding of a Wannabe Poet

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I joined this group after hearing about it from a few different sources. Finally, I decided it was a great way to find support and other struggling bloggers/writers. If you’re interested in joining, take a look at it HERE.

I don’t write about writing a lot. In fact, the first time someone I knew personally read a creative work of mine (to critique) was just last year. I hate it when people read my things. I’ve still never worked up the courage to show my parents something I’ve written. I actually wrote a memoir piece about my sister, something very personal. It got published in my school’s literary magazine for strangers to read. I’ve never shown it to my sister however.

But once a month now, I’m going to try to write about writing. So…here goes nothing.

I’ve always enjoyed the act. I remember sitting down at restaurants with my family and scrawling down little ideas for grand high fantasy novels on dirty napkins at the age of 12. Now, a senior in college, I’m taking my first creative writing class. A poetry class. After three weeks of class, I’ve learned one thing: POETRY. IS. HARD. (…and that I shouldn’t be taking this class because I’m AWFUL at poetry.)

For some reason, I thought I thought it would be an easy A. But I hate reading poetry, and I hate writing it even more. I finally managed to get an A on a poetry assignment, and I stayed up until 3:00 am to finish a sixth draft of an 11 stanza strict ballad. But writing it wasn’t the worst part. I had to READ it in class…in front of 18 other poets. I almost threw up.

After seeing that I got an A on that assignment (which was a HUGE step up from my angsty sonnet I had written before the ballad), I decided to branch out. I’ve been reading more poetry to get an idea of “how to poetry.” I’ve been taking what I know about writing prose and trying to make my poems my own. I’ve been learning about the different types of meter and how meter changes the mood of a poem. A poem isn’t a short story…but it is. Poetry is music, and I can relate to that. I’ve discovered that I actually like Emily Dickinson and John Keats and Robert Frost. We’re reading poems by a contemporary poet named John Brehm now. I’m actually enjoying his humor. Who know poetry could be funny instead of torturous?

Perhaps I don’t actually hate poetry, but it frustrates me. I can tell a story in 1,200 or 50,000 words quite easily, but a poet can tell a story in 14 lines or even fewer. That is the ultimate skill: to make a reader know everything with a few words. I’ve learned a lot about word choice and meter in just a few weeks. But I have a long way to go before I can even begin to consider myself a poet.

“And miles to go before I sleep.

And miles to go before I sleep.”

Does anyone have experience writing poetry? I’d love some advice or even recommendations for reading material.