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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

There is nothing new under the sun. I used to have quarrels with that idea. I could sit in front of a notebook for hours in college, doodling deformed stars because I felt washed up at twenty years old. What could I say that hasn’t already been said? What could I possibly know at this age that meant something?

Some stories really do feel new, and then some just feel like a repeat of something else. You think up an idea one day, and the next, an author has just published a book about an idea that you were going to start. There is a lot of competition for ideas in the arts. But that doesn’t mean that our art, our stories, aren’t important. The endings still make us cry, still give us hope, still remind us something about life or imagination beyond the life we know. You can use the same chords, but change the notes and words on the page to create something new. You can use the same storyline, but change the characters and circumstances and still find a way to have a fresh perspective on it.

Some friends I made in college had lived in the city or a suburb. They talked about how flat Minnesota was; but where I live, the land is covered in hills and bluffs. They hadn’t spent a lot of time on a farm, but my mom used to work on a dairy farm, and I live on a hobby farm with cattle and pigs. I grew up riding four-wheeler and picking bales of hay off the fields. I rode with my dad on tractors and in the back of trucks down gravel roads. That life wouldn’t really be new to anyone in my small hick town, but my perspective would be new to them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t criticize artists for creating something that is similar to something else. Just because it may not seem different to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter to someone else.

So keep writing. Keep changing note progressions and keep painting lines because people can still be amazed. They can still be moved. And that’s all we ever hope for. If it matters to you, it’ll matter to someone else.
Isn’t that a beautiful concept? You matter. Even if you’re not an artist. I’d like to think you could make anything an art if you put your mind to it. When I was in college, all the professors liked to say how they thought their subject was most important. But you and I are both needed in different ways. We both have unique understandings that the other person doesn’t have, as well as understandings the other person can relate to so we don’t feel so alone. We can both leave some kindness and hope in a place the other person isn’t.

There is already an excess of complainers. It’s become the norm. Instead, be a daisy in a field of dandelions. Don’t give up on your art, don’t give up on hope, and don’t forget that your perspective is needed, no matter where you are, no matter who you are.

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This year I have heard the words “stop hiding” said to me a lot of situations that had to do with my views on things. I never saw it as hiding, but I do know I have fears regarding it. So I have made it a mission to be a little less fearful. This will be difficult on one side because my personality is an ISFJ, and I’m quite terrible at confrontation. So when I’ve talked about hard things, it’s usually through internet or texting. You don’t need to tell me how “pathetic” that may sound to some. But it’s the only way I could get myself to speak my mind about anything because I’m still learning to open my mouth when needed at the age of 23. I don’t intend to ever be someone who never stops talking once I find my voice. I’m a listener at heart. But when asked or when necessary, I’d like to find some small piece of confidence in the cramped spaces of my mind to speak what I know.

I’ve been told to stop hiding behind Christianity, to stop hiding behind my phone. But in a world that looks down upon you for having a different viewpoint than the person standing before you, or even the majority in general, it can be hard to want to speak up. Criticism and deep frowns either tend to cause more deep frowns or, in most of my cases, a caving in on oneself by feeling slightly ashamed while simultaneously not really swaying on what I believed to be true. The tone of one’s voice and the posture of one’s stance means a great deal. I am alert to emotion, and when some form relating to anger or irritation pull ahead, it becomes hard for me to find my words because I’d rather focus on calming the situation than answer the question.

There would be more discussion if the important topics were more approachable than they are now. There are the occasional few who may be set in their ways, but are willing to listen to what you have to say. But there are also those who are more interested in telling you what they have to say. Then there are others who would rather not talk about it at all and revert to changing the subject to surface level subjects. I “hid” behind the texts of my thoughts instead of using my voice because when I answer a text or after I’m done reading a text, I have time to catch my breath, to get a grip on my thoughts. My way of coping and of figuring out what I even have to say in the first place is through writing. So it looks like I’m hiding. And I think part of me was hiding. But the other part truly needs to write things out. This introverted mind of mine takes longer than the normal extrovert to answer questions or ideas through speech because my voice is not where my answers are. They are in my hands.

That does not mean I will never voice my opinions, thoughts, or views. It simply means I’m still learning how to answer in a way other than through forms of text. I don’t easily converse with people in general unless I know them, so conversing about deeper subjects takes even more effort.

This is a harsh world sometimes, and I don’t expect to be craddled. I just know that it is taking me time to step onto the battlefield. So have some patience with those who may be similar to me. Frown a little less, and maybe we will be more willing to answer you. Use a few less harsh words, and maybe you will help us find the confidence we need.

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I prefer to read fiction over nonfiction. This has seemed strange to me. As I get older, some of my friends drift away from fiction and dive into nonfiction, but my love of fiction is stronger than ever. Why wouldn’t I prefer to read a real story? A story of a life whom I could meet in person if that person was still alive?

I think I’m starting to figure out why.

Fiction sometimes feels more real to me. The dialogue, the specificities in colors and images of what the characters see or do…some of that is hard to remember for a nonfiction story. There are images writers create in nonfiction that you don’t usually find in fiction because it’s coming from a real memory. But other than that, it doesn’t matter to me that fiction is false because the ideas behind the story are probably mostly true, depending on the story. Some things or feelings that happen to the characters in fiction stories we can either relate to or at least understand.

But it goes deeper than that. I feel like when I read nonfiction, I am getting told the story from someone else, even if it is written in first person. I already have it in my head that this story is true, therefore I give my mind space from it. It’s still a good story, but that life was already lived, is already taken.

But fiction stories are basically up for grabs. In fiction, I can insert myself into the story and allow myself to be that character.  I am the legs running through the trees; I am holding on to the back of a dragon; I am the one crying as I hold my dead, fake sister.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I am quite a lucky kid when looking at the big picture, but I have my days like everyone else. Sometimes I want to be anywhere but here, but then I don’t have the gas to go anywhere. I may not make it to New York, but I can read about a character who lives in New York. For me, reading fiction is the cheapest vacation. Emotion moves us, changes us, and I have dug through more emotions in just a few fiction books I’ve read than all of the nonfiction ones put together. I crave emotion—whether it’s anger, fear, sadness, happiness, hope—because to feel anything is to feel alive. In the low, dull moments of my life I can be soaring. I don’t necessarily like being angry or feel like my heart is breaking, but I’ll take anything over nothing at all.

That’s why I love the writing world. Writing isn’t just a world filled with words, but it’s also a world filled with emotion. The way we can use words to stir up something inside people is fascinating to me.

In life, you can’t be everything (there’s not enough time). But through a story, you can be anything. 

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I finally feel certain of where I want my writing to lead.

I’m sure you have all heard by now of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that happened this morning. First and foremost, i offer my condolences, my prayers, my heart, my hugs, my respects to the children that have found their place in heaven and for their families that were left down here. I smile as I imagine Jesus taking their hands and showing them His kingdom, but I bow my head for the families that have to mourn their children. No parent should have to go through something like that. For some, it may have been their first child and maybe even their only child.

I have thought a lot about the idea of suicides and school shootings for the past couple years, and have a feeling that I need to use my writing to reach the people that may take their own lives or do more shootings in the future. There will be bullying in the future, there will be rejection, there will be depression, but I want to be someone who can bring some peace to their frustrations or pent up issues and grudges that are sometimes the reasons that lead to these tragedies. I was an outcast throughout high school, though I have two very dear friends I owe my sanity to.

An old classmate of mine and I were talking about how there needs to be more life lessons taught in schools. Most of our speakers only talked about drinking and driving, which is very important too, but it’s not the only issue. We have people that try to get people to stop bullying, but very few people who talk about how to deal with bullying and whatever else. All through high school, I held grudges on people in my class, and I am still dealing with those grudges now. They fester and build when you don’t deal with them, when you don’t talk to someone about your frustrations  when you don’t know how to forgive someone you hate.

Though many hate the man that killed the children, I yearn to understand what led him to do such a thing. I assume there may have been family problems since he shot his mother, but to continue to kill children…it shocks me, as much as other school shootings have. For a couple kids, they aren’t getting any love at home, some get too much love, and then they don’t know how to handle rejection.  Rejection shapes us, teaches us. If this happens to our kids, we need to help them through it, not shield them from the evils of the world. If we do, then once they are out on their own, they won’t know what to do.

I want to help them through my writing. I want to bring them stories with people who may be in their position, with people who find that they are stronger than the struggles that they go through, people who choose to be better than the people that put them down. I want them to read my blog, my books, my poetry, my short stories, listen to my songs…anything that may begin to change their minds just enough to put the gun down for one more day, to loosen the rope from their necks. We need to lead them away from plans of death and destruction.

This is my mission. This is what I will strive for until my own death.

If you know of anyone that may need a friend to talk to, please have them email me. I would love to talk, I would love to guide in whatever way I can.

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I was looking through some past journals today, and got to thinking about old times. I love memories. I love being able to picture the cabin by the lake when we went fishing in a speed boat; or when we go to my grandma’s house to go offroading in the summer, hundreds of deep green trees spanning the hills, covering everything like umbrellas. Memories keep me going, especially on days I work long hours and just want to go home, or when I’m crammed studying for 3 tests I have the next day. Memories keep you strong, keep you pushing, keep your hopes up, and become the cushions of old age, the stories you tell your grandkids like the ones my grandma tells me.

But I think sometimes we think too much about them. We look back on fun times and think it will never get any better than that…but it can. Don’t let memories hold you down and become an excuse of why you can’t do something. If you have a bad past, don’t let it ruin your future. Anyone can start over, anyone can make their lives better as they get older, you just have to have a positive attitude  If you’re usually a pessimist, shut up for a second and try saying something optimistic, even if you don’t believe it at the present time. If YOU think there isn’t a chance in hell, then there wont be, because YOU are the only one holding you back. Life has mountains for a reason–to see how far you are willing to go, to see how much you are willing to push yourself to do something.

Give optimism a shot, and don’t let memories cloud your judgement. You are the driver. So drive.

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I used to write songs a lot. A lot of times I’d babble words just looking for a tune and I’d end up saying something and get to thinking, “You know, maybe I could make something out of that.”  As with my stories, I want people to learn something or at least get something out of the things I write. Not everyone will, but even though we are all different, we share some experiences or feelings that come from related topics. Music affects people, and sometimes when you are simply saying words, it doesn’t have the same effect as it does when you add a tune to it, especially when that tune matches  what you are trying to say.

It kinda bugs me when people say they can’t write. Trust me, everyone can write. It may not be good writing, but everyone can write a simple song about a simple experience; you just may not have the patience to write a 500 page book. Not everyone may be able to figure out what should happen in a book or how to get the reader to fall in love with the character, but anyone can write a poem about the things found in a messy room, a letter to a best friend, a journal entry after a bad day.

Write, paint, sew, decorate, mold, carve, dance, sing, act…Whatever you do, create.

“My business is to create.”–P.S. I Love You

Make it your business 🙂

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Sometimes shadows only disappear until you bring them to the light. But, what I think we sometimes forget, is that the shadow doesn’t always disappear, but instead just MOVES. When you fix one struggle, another is going to pop up. Guarenteed. But the awesome thing is, is that you are in control of the light. A shadow is as see-through as glass when your light is bright. But when you dim that light with worry, fear, frustration, and anger, the shadows become blacker than the bottom of the sea. If they come, then it is possible for them to go away, but only if you make them. No shadow can defeat the light, so why are you running scared?

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Walking around Wal Mart
not planning to buy anything,
You pause at the mirrors,
a familiar face in the midst of aliens
while your friends continue to stagger forward,
drained and disoriented.
You live in the house whose dictionary
has no word for home
with frozen peace, dehydrated love,
and parents who seal care with worn tape.
You drunk minors woke,
surprised like injured bandits
as this morning’s pain wades in your pools
of Captain Morgan,
your stomach chanting stop, stop.
The mirror won’t ignore dwindling eyes
or vomit missed on the corner of your lips.
You stare at the reflection like a scrawny cat
waiting for scraps even dogs won’t eat.

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Have you noticed how contradictory the world is? They tell us to be comfortable in our own skin, that we are “perfect the way we are”…and then they slather people in makeup, do close-ups on a couple pimples or slightly shaggy skin, and make us feel like we aren’t pretty enough or skinny enough to be called beautiful. No wonder actors and singers go into drugs and get wasted. We put so much pressure on them, and it can turn a sweet person into a Jerk.

Peer pressure has insane power on us all the time that makes us do things we say we’d never do…and why? Just to get acceptance from people who shouldn’t treat us like that in the first place? Signs say “Just Say No,” but saying no when you are surrounded and outnumbered by people who expect you to say yes…a lot harder when you’re in the moment.

But if we can’t say no to the small things…what will become of us when worse things come our way? It will seem small now, but when you give in, you may think you are in control of it, but it is already in control of you. If they are your friends, you should be able to say no around them. If they keep pushing you, then why do you hang around? It won’t be a one-time thing; they will keep persuading you to do more and more until you are a different person. Find the people you can be yourself around, not the people who you feel like you have to be better. It is good to have people to push you mentally with school work and stuff like that, but when it comes to being who you are, you shouldn’t have to change just because they have problems with it.

If you are shy, like me, trying to push yourself to be out there and conversive…it makes me feel uptight. Once I found friends that actually love to talk a lot, they like being with me because I’m a listener, yet they still let me pipe in every now and then and give my life story while they ask questions and share theirs.

My first semester in college, we were split into halls where we do activities with that hall and a “brother hall” which is a guy’s hall. Most of the girls were fun and nice…the kind of people I like being around…but I didn’t feel myself at all. They ended up not even talking to me , and I felt like I wasn’t being “fun” enough. Since I wasn’t popular in high school, I wanted to try and be in it now…

But then I started making other friends from my classes, people I felt comfortable around. They weren’t the populars, but turns out I’m just not built to be one of them, and I’ve finally learned to accept that.

So be yourself, and you will find that, even if they aren’t the people you are hoping for, they are people who love you for you and won’t try to change you. You were built to be you and will never be happy trying to be someone “better.”

You have probably heard it all before, but maybe that just means we are on to something that others don’t want to listen to.

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Writers are the ultimate stalkers. I am allowed to sit and watch people with the excuse that I’m writing about them. There is not much that I don’t notice. I see the piece of blue gum squished flat into the sidewalk from a thousand shoes, and the callouses on your fingertips. I notice empty straw wrapper thrown on the ground and the freckle by the hairline on your forhead.

There is nothing in this world that doesn’t deserve my undivided attention. I can sit in a coffee shop for four hours, bringing nothing to do, and just watch people live their daily lives without feeling the need to talk or do something. I would rather listen than talk; I’d rather watch than do.

I went to Target a couple weeks ago, brought my notebook, walked to the food aisles, and sat down at the end of an aisle where the busiest street was in the store. I may have noticed the little old lady searching through betty crocker cake mixes by herself, and the mother singing songs to hush the little girl in a yellow sundress standing in the cart while she gently bounced the baby strapped to her chest, but what I noticed most, was that it was only the kids who watched me.

We’d have staring contests and they would always win, for I couldn’t help but turn away with a smile. Kids don’t see any harm in staring, whereas the rest of us become embarrased and look away if we meet eyes with the person we’ve been looking at. A couple of kids asked really loudly “Momma, what is she doing?” and would point to me. The mothers would say “I don’t know,” and hurry thier kids away, giving me apologetic looks, though I saw curiosity in their eyes as well. It made me laugh, but at the same time, it makes me wonder what they all see. God tells us to be more like children. Kids see everything and aren’t afraid to ask questions. What if we all paused in our pursuit of buying things we don’t need, and take a look around…what would we notice?

They say babies laugh 400 times a day and that if you spend the whole day with the kid, and laugh whenever they laugh, that you’ll be a happier person.  What if we were as worry-free as they are? Pay more attention to kids. We can learn a lot from them.

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Rain

People say to dance in the rain…but you never see anyone doing it.

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As I raise her bleach-blonde locks,
thin and soft as silk,
into little fountains out the sides of her head,
realization sags my shoulders;
soon she won’t need me.

I am the one who chases her around the backyard,
sprinting in slow motion
as her bell-ringing laugh echoes,
little legs tripping over un-tied shoes.

I am the hero who saves Barry,
her one-eyed, ketchup-stained teddy bear,
when Nick snatches him from her weak arms,
his jealousy engrossed in a game of “keep away.”

I am the lap on which she drifts into slumber,
as we watch The Little Mermaid
while popcorn grows stale in the bowl beside me.

But eventually we all have to grow up.

Jimmy Choos and Chanel bags
blue eye shadow and silver hoops
flower fragrant perfume and strawberry lotions.

Barbies will dust in a box behind the stairs
nail polish will replace her tea set
a cell phone glued to her hand.

I smile into her innocent blue eyes,
biting into the sweet Honey Crisp
that we decided to share.
Time will only continue.

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