Here is an unexpected post from me in the midst of my September Poetry Series… We’re going to take a break for a moment and twist over to this nomination I received from the lovely Priya Singh (you can check her blog out here.)
While I have participated in the award process before, I thought it would be fun to give you guys some more content apart from the poetry series, so that you don’t think I’m just sitting around my room writing poetry all day long… (I promise, I’m not sitting there all day.) 🙂
So, without further ado, let’s look at the questions Priya asked and learn some answers.
1. In the world what is luckiest thing you have?
Well, this is an interesting question indeed! I am not sure if I have a luckiest thing… Sometimes I believe in luck, and other times I think that the world operates on our own actions. But if I had to pick something to answer the question, I would answer… When I’m feeling like I need some luck, I twist my earring a lot. Stupid, I know, but I think it’s more of a nervous tic rather than a lucky object.
2. Which subject are you most likely to study in everyday life?
I’m a Spanish major in college, but it’s definitely not my passion. I like learning a new language like Spanish, but I’m more drawn to writing. That being said, I am not a fan of studying creative writing (more on that to come), and I’m currently training to be a pilot, so I’d probably pick something related to aviation at this point in my life. If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would have said either history or English, but interests change!
3. Do you believe in luck?
I’m not sure! I definitely believe we have free will and our choices affect the consequences of our lives.
4. Your favorite author?
I have a post on this, which you can check out here! This question is hard for me, because I’ve read so many authors, and I really don’t have a favorite favorite. But if we look at this list, I’d consider William Faulkner, John Grisham, Liane Moriarty, Khaled Hosseini, and Gabriel García Márquez to be favorites. ❤
5. Do you like adventures?
Yes! I’m definitely an adventurous person, though in spurts. Also it depends on who I’m with (that was some grammatically incorrect English right there LOL). For example, when I’m with friends I’m more apt to do things that are “wild,” while with family I’ll tame it down. This probably makes me sound like a wild child, and I definitely am not that. Trust me, if I could, I’d live in a cabin in the middle of the mountains (near people, of course), but I do live off adventurous activities.
6. Your favorite food item
My favorite food item would probably be… Hmm. I really enjoy country fried steak, a staple of a good old fashioned Southern meal. Maybe it’s because I have spent so much time away from the South now, but this dish always makes me happier after I’ve eaten it.
Again thank you to Priya Singh for the nomination! It is such an honor to be recognized by a fellow blogger. ❤
As for my nominees, I have some questions for you:
What makes you happiest?
What is your favorite book?
If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be and why?
You are probably so sick of me at this point, but I hope you are enjoying these frequent posts. As you guys know, I typically post twice a week, but this past week has been my favorite week of blogging ever. And that’s because of you all! I am constantly astounded by your sweet comments and support of my poetry. Wow!
As for this sweet but short post, I want to thank Sarika of Sarika, Pure Reflections for nominating me for this award. Please go support and check out her blog, and you definitely will not regret it. What a sweet soul Sarika is!
MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD
What is the Mystery Blogger Award? “The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma
The Rules: 1. Put the award logo on your blog. 2. List the rules. 3. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog. 4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. 5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself. 6. Nominate 10-20 people. 7. Notify your nominees. 8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question. 9. Share a link to your best post(s).
Three Things About Me (you guys are probably sick of my answers, and I’m honestly running out of ideas for these little factoids lol)
I do not like tomatoes. I know, I know… What kind of a person am I? Well, I do really enjoy salsa at Mexican restaurants, but tomatoes by themselves are not my favorite.
I volunteered at the local library for four years straight and accumulated over a hundred hours there (probably more, but my memory fails me). To this day I am a neat freak when it comes to keeping my books in order, though I am messier about other things.
I have an irrational fear of closets. My sister still makes fun of me for it.
Who or what inspires you to write and in life in general?
There is a hunger in me that is only fed when I’m writing. My inspiration comes from the most random places and people. Sometimes ideas strike in dreams, but mostly my ideas come to me when I am daydreaming or falling asleep. From there it takes off.
When did you start blogging?
Two years ago. My aunt challenged me to make a travel blog, and I laughed at her. “A blog?” I asked. Of course now, my tune has changed. ❤
What do you like and dislike about yourself?
Hmm… I do think I have a gentle spirit that attracts people of all backgrounds, and I appreciate deep conversation with anyone and everyone. However, this can sometimes be a detrimental issue, as I tend to get railroaded and trampled on due to my conflict-averse personality.
What is the most memorable moment in your life?
The most memorable moment so far: Finding out my mom was pregnant with my sister. I was seven-years-old, and I will never forget jumping up and down when we found out Mom was pregnant with Gen. I actually found out before my dad, since he was coming back from a trip. When he walked into the room and saw us jumping, he was like, “What the…” 🙂
Who is your favorite person?
Oh, this question KILLS! Sarika, what a tough one. While I hate the idea of choosing a “favorite” person, because I believe there are so many people out there who will help you in all aspects of your life. But if I had to choose, I’d pick my redonk sister, Gen, who keeps me on my toes every single day.
My Best Blog Post
Oh, geez. I have no idea. My favorite poem so far has been “a dream killed me,” which you can check out here.
Do you prefer blogging or writing on your own time (poetry, novels, etc.)?
What made you start blogging in the first place?
Do you feel that blogging has improved your writing?
If you could go to space or the bottom of the ocean, which would you choose and why?
THANK YOU, GUYS!
All right, hopefully I did this correctly. Thank you again for reading this post, and I hope you guys are enjoying your afternoon. I am still waiting out a hurricane (it has been downgraded to a tropical depression, FYI), which is giving me time to work more on this blog.
Do not forget tomorrow will be Day 2 of the Seven Heavenly Virtues series!
It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me… (Well, actually only a few hours ago, but still.) Today is a rainy, hurricane-ridden day in the Southeastern United States, which provides a perfect moment to stop, reflect, and take a breath. Over the past week, I have been struggling with some calendar-related stresses, and now that it is a peaceful Sunday afternoon my spirit is more relaxed. And a big part of that relief is from this blog.
I just want to take a moment and thank all of you for supporting me on this journey. You guys don’t have to read my materials or follow my blog–but you do, and for this I am forever grateful.
As a young writer with no traditionally published credits to her name, I sometimes struggle with the idea that I will never “make it.” What I mean by this is successfully navigating the publishing world and seeing one of my books in print. But two years ago something changed. My aunt asked me to start a travel blog documenting my year abroad in South America. I relented, but barely posted anything. A year ago I started to implement more focus into what this blog is, and it took off from there. You guys are the catalyst, and my heart goes out to you–wherever you may be in this beautiful world we get to call home.
This morning I was nominated for the “Liebster Award” by FantasyNovel1. Please check out FantasyNovel1’s blog if you can and help support another burgeoning writer. (To do so, click here). Thank you again, FantasyNovel1.
I’m not exactly sure how these awards work, but I’ve seen a few examples on other blogs, so I’m going to try my best to answer questions and nominate three other blogs. We will see what happens!
11 Facts About Myself
I can’t roll my tongue.
Thunderstorms are my favorite type of weather activity.
I have a weird “ghost spot” in my mouth. It’s like a ghost tooth, if that makes any sense at all. It shows up on X-rays but nothing else.Weird, I know.
My sister/best friend/redonk person is eight years younger than me. Sometimes I am mistaken for her mother, which INFURIATES me, but I understand.
I was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, but only lived there for a year.
Growing up I lived on a “farm.” While we didn’t have a barn or animals (allergic, unfortunately), my childhood was invigorated by acres and acres of Tennessee land. This really instilled my love of storytelling. (Maybe a blog post on this soon?)
My favorite movie is Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno) that was directed by Guillermo del Toro. The movie is an example of magical realism that incorporates the Spanish Civil War into a redemption story for the books. (While I am not as enchanted by this movie now, it definitely inspired me to try my hand at magical realism, so I will forever be indebted to this guy.)
I am a Southern Baptist. (This is a denomination of Protestant Christianity for those of you who don’t know.)
I am going to be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding in a little over two weeks!
I developed my “allergies” when I was eighteen. Now I cannot be around pets for extended periods of time. 😦
Currently I am writing this blog post at a burger joint in the middle of a hurricane.
Questions asked by FantasyNovel1
What do you admire most about yourself?Shoot. All ready starting out with a tough question! Hmm… I think I enjoy helping others as much as I can, even when I receive pushback from it. (INFP, anyone?)
How many languages can you speak and write?English is my native language, but I am studying Spanish in college and learned to speak/write it fairly well in Argentina, where I lived for eight months. However, my Spanish is getting rustier now that I do not use it as much in my home state of Tennessee. Maybe I will write a blog post in Spanish soon.
What is your favorite quote?“The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”–Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Favorite book and reasons why?People love to ask this question and I never know how to answer it. I’ve read a lot of books, so how could I possibly choose one? But for the sake of this question, I’ll choose… (Got you there, didn’t I?)
Favorite actor? Daniel Day-Lewis, hands down. I love his acting, and I’m so sad he is retired, though I can understand why, as Hollywood doesn’t produce that many quality films anymore. Check out some of his classics: The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln, My Left Foot.
Which countries have you been to?The United States, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Perú.
Who inspires you the most?My parents. They’re not perfect, but they’re close to it.
Questions For Nominees
What is your favorite book and why?
If you could go anyplace in the world, where would it be and why?
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Why did you start blogging?
When did you discover your love of writing?
What author has made the most impact on your writing abilities?
It has been a while since I have done a post like this, so I am excited to write on this topic: The value of people watching! Now, before you consider me a weirdo or accuse me of spying on people, I just want to define what people watching means to me (or according to the good old Internet).
People watching or crowd watching is the act of observing people and their interactions, usually without their knowledge. It involves picking up on idiosyncrasies to try to guess at another person’s story.
So, yes, people watching is a little weird at times. You may even get caught when you do it. However, I attribute people watching to four things that are essential to storytelling and the ability to write believable characters.
Let’s dive on in.
1. A QUICK INTRO
In this day and age, we are constantly surrounded by information. Many of us have smartphones that can tell us what we need to know in seconds. Communication has become as simple as clicking a button, and you can see your loved ones who are thousands of miles away. With this comes the pressure of technology. I am absorbed in my phone, and, as stated in previous posts, I can become overwhelmed by the amount of time I spend on my phone or computer.
Occasionally I challenge myself to just sitting down on a park bench with no distractions. After a few moments, I’ll grow bored and restless, wishing I was at home, snuggled in bed, or drinking a nice Diet Coke. But then, when I stifle these nonsense thoughts, a person walks by. Who knows who the person is or where they’re off to…
So it’s up to me to figure out who this person is!
Maybe the person is off to a job interview; maybe the person is going to the hospital, about to receive a life-changing diagnosis. Maybe the person just won the lottery. Then comes the power of imagination, and a writer unleashes his or her talents accordingly.
Watching normal people living their everyday lives is the perfect way to learn about how we all interact.
2. SOCIAL AWARENESS
There is no doubt that people watching aids in social awareness. Once you start practicing the people watching habit, you’ll start to pick up on subtle things that can explain why people act the way they do.
Social awareness leads to emotional growth, and this is massively important for writers. We must consider ourselves psychologists, in a way: We study our characters, diagnose their flaws, and work to expose them for our readers.
Social awareness then takes on the role of various factors. When we want to develop this emotional intelligence, we have to pay attention to certain things that will help us learn more about the people around us. Here are a few:
Listen to what they say
Repeat what was said
Tone of voice
So how does this relate to real life situation?
Well, let’s consider an example from my creative writing class. Personally, I am not a fan of the classes I take at my university, but I don’t want to rant in this post. In one class, I felt as if I was learning nothing from the school activity, and so I challenged myself to a little “people watching” exercise, in which I observed my classmates and wondered what they were really thinking.
From what I could observe, I sensed that there was a lot of boredom in the classroom (constant gazes toward the clock, staring into space, etc.) and some attentiveness to the professor (scribbling in books, eye contact, etc.). Maybe I was wrong in my assessment, but even if I was, I found the experiment to make me think about how communication is so important in any environment you’ll find yourself in.
3. VERBAL COMMUNICATION
Verbal and non-verbal communication are both tied to social awareness, but I want to expand on the two a little more. In some past classes, I learned that most communication is non-verbal, and some statistics suggest that only 7% of all human contact is through verbal communication (according to Dr. Albert Mehrabian).
While the numbers could be skewed, it is important to realize that the overwhelming majority of communication is through non-verbal cues, yet we emphasize so much on what we say and how we say it (words and tone). Why is this?
Words cut like a knife, and words melt us when we’re in love or with friends or receive a compliment. Language is integral to the human experience, as we know, and so when we people watch, it benefits our understanding to know what our people are saying. Words are little insights into the mind.
Now, this can be considered eavesdropping, which I am quite guilty of doing. It’s human nature to want to know what people are up to, and the same thing can be attributed to verbal cues.
One time, I was commuting on the Buenos Aires subway system when I stumbled upon a very interesting situation. The subway was cramped, packed with people, and I was sitting across from an interesting couple. Both were obviously well-dressed, educated, young, and… Breaking up, in front of everyone.
The man was whispering to her, trying not to make a scene as he broke her heart on that train. I was shocked, terrified, and wondering if I was imagining the conversation before me. But there was no imagination in this case. And what’s worse? He kissed her on the cheek as tears rolled down her face, said goodbye, and hopped off at the next stop.
My heart ripped down the middle for the poor woman across from me. Everyone on the train pretended not to know what was going on, and no one offered any help to her. I wanted desperately to talk to her, but I was a young American and had to get off at the next stop. I was certain she didn’t want anyone bothering her, because she shut down with her non-verbal signals (more on this to come). The shame that covered her face still haunts me.
In this example, there are a lot of non-verbals to unpack, but the ability to hear what the man was saying and how he was saying it was a crux in my understanding of the situation. Sometimes, when we don’t fully comprehend what’s going on, it’s because we don’t have a full picture. Maybe we catch phrases here and there, but I was held captive by the break-up.
The words only iterated the situation before me, despite all the hints from the non-verbal communication.
When we listen to people around us, we develop a greater understanding of how people operate. We can understand how people use what they say to further highlight what they really want to do. If we’re being honest, sometimes people just don’t catch the non-verbals we send, and words step in, ready to get the job done.
4. NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
If verbals only compute 7% of communication, that means that non-verbals make up 93%. Let that sink in.
As a writer, I have trained myself to emphasize what I want to write. When characters are talking, I know exactly what they are saying to each other, and dialogue becomes one of the most key elements of the story. For example, why is there such an emphasis on the first time lovers whisper, “I love you,” to each other?
Well, according to our statistic, we should be paying more attention to how people act around us, physically, that is. Are they interested in what we are doing, or are they bored and wish they could be anywhere else? Are the people on the streets broken inside, aching for someone to ask them how their days are going, or are they madly, desperately in love?
While we are not psychics or fortune tellers, we can gain greater understanding when we pay attention to body language.
Let’s head back to my creative writing class experiment for a second. I was watching my classmates (hopefully not in a creepy way) and ruminating on what some of their body language meant. Here are some things I caught onto:
Slumped over the book. (Indicates boredom, tiredness)
Fiddling with fingers or pens. (Can suggest boredom, but studies suggest that fidgeting is something we do when we are paying attention to something)
People staring into space, eyelids drooping. (Boredom, tiredness)
Pens back and forth above lips. (Honestly who knows)
Underlining phrases in book. (Attentiveness to class)
Doodling in book. (Boredom)
Mostly crossed legs. (In a comfortable environment)
We have to consider that our minds pretty much automatically recognize these cues and place them into one big image of the people before us. But when we unravel each little movement, we start to see how our minds are smart enough to figure things out in a span of seconds.
It’s pretty incredible stuff, if you ask me.
5. STORYTELLING ABILITIES
As previously stated, we writers are psychologists, we are doctors, we are researchers. We must know what we want to write, and we have to know how to write it convincingly, or our readers will be disinterested in the story we are so so excited to tell.
I have learned so much from watching people. An infinite amount of stories are possible when you open your mind to the world around you. Just like our world is never stagnant, our created worlds are as diverse and large as we want them to be.
I will be honest with you: People watching has taught me more than any creative writing class. Maybe this suggests the classes I have taken are subpar, but I do believe the best writers are trained to watch and analyze reality before diving into imagination.
Both are integral to write, as we write what we know, but we also write what we want to know of the mystery around us. Nothing should ever be black and white, because there is always a gray area of magic around us. This magic is simply what we cannot understand, since we are only human.
But writers have a God complex. We want to be the gods of our imaginations, and that’s where our storytelling comes into place.
If you find yourself in a crowded place, pay attention to the people around you. If you find yourself on a park bench, pay attention to the people who cross in front of you. There is value to be found in observation, especially if you’re a writer. And at the very least, consider how all of these aforementioned points are tied together.
People watching is something you can do anywhere. Don’t be a creep if you decide to participate, but it can be a good way to distract yourself from your own situation, and empathize with others.
But people watching is just the cusp. Relationships are where we really learn. Don’t forget to be kind to all you meet, and really begin to pay attention to all the non-verbals.