updates

A WHIRLWIND OF A WEEK

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I almost (ALMOST!) forgot about my weekly blog post. That being said, I’m back in the game and ready to share some thoughts that have been nagging at me in the past week.

After escaping the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, I flew home to Tennessee this past Sunday afternoon. I am thankful to be home, to relax and regain peace in my life, and to take some days to recover from the stress of this gnarly November.

Though I am quite cryptic in nature, I want to be honest with you all and go over the things that are tearing me up right now, even though I know I am safe and loved and cared for.

So here we go… In chronological order.


ONE PERSON

Who knew one person could have such an effect on you?

Not to be too cryptic on this front, but if there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s that just one person can change how you really feel, both in the best of ways and the worst. While I try not to be too analytical, I can’t help but regret certain actions and revel in them at the same time.

Ugh.


BORDERLINE SHOOTING

On the evening of Wednesday, November 7, thirteen people lost their lives at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. One of these thirteen souls was Alaina Housley, an eighteen-year-old freshman from my university, Pepperdine. It was a senseless act of violence that shook the entire United States, and it destroyed the peaceful atmosphere of Pepperdine.

My freshman year, I went to Borderline countless times with friends, because it is primarily a line dancing club. It was a place to bond with friends, attempt to boot scooting’ boogie without the professionals stomping all over you, and get a little country music through your veins.

But now I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering of Alaina’s family and the other Pepperdine students who managed to flee with their lives intact. I cannot understand how a place like Borderline is not safe anymore, that college kids cannot even go enjoy dancing without the worry of violence seeping in.


WOOLSEY FIRE

On Friday, November 9, I received an evacuation alert from Pepperdine due to the Woolsey Fire wreaking havoc upon the Santa Monica Mountains. The fire that had started near Westlake Village, close to the already-reeling Thousand Oaks, had jumped into our neck of the woods.

Only thirty minutes after receiving this alert, I stumbled outside with a backpack and my flight bag to discover smoke rolling over the mountains. Terrified, I hurried to my car with two friends and fled to San Diego, while most of my friends remained on campus.

Fortunately, Pepperdine was the safest place to be in Malibu, and though the flames would make it onto campus that night, it was the miraculous effort of firefighters who saved the school and protected all those college kids in the process. Though the fire was nothing less than alarming, putrid smoke followed its path, leaving those who stayed in paper masks.

The following morning, Saturday, November 10, the rest of my friends got out as quickly as they could because the air quality was so poor. Eventually, I was reunited with some of them in the safety of my friend’s San Diego home.

On the morning of Sunday, November 11, we received another alert that school was canceled until November 26. Five minutes later I booked a flight and was home to Tennessee by midnight.

The status of the fire now is on the upswing. The last time I heard, the Woolsey Fire is 60% contained and will be fully extinguished soon. Though hundreds of homes burned down and two lives were lost to this specific fire, there is much to be thankful for, especially the way the community pulled together to save the thousands who lived in the areas affected by the fire.

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Woolsey Fire near Pepperdine University (November 9, 2018) This still feels unreal. 

SEPARATION ANXIETY

While most of my friends remained on Pepperdine’s campus that first day of the fire, I went to my friend’s house in San Diego, where we watched a special nature show, Earth’s Natural Wonders (not the typical college kid flick, that’s for sure), ate a lot of delicious food, went to church, and played cards. It was relaxing and a lasting memory. When we reconnected with our other friends, we felt even tighter as a group.

That being said, we received the phone call from school that Sunday, and suddenly we were all packed up and headed five directions. What was a moment of us being all together completely fractured.

Finding myself on a flight home in the middle of November was unexpected, and it affected my mood the first few days of being back, because my friends were all over the map. We are all over the map, and it felt so weird saying goodbye for two weeks when just days before we’d been going to concerts, playing video games, and gulping down horror movies. Luckily we have been able to call and do a group crossword or two. (Told you, we’re not normal college kids.)


GROWING UP

This little unplanned break has been, well, wild. I went from a wildfire to rain that shifted to snow. 80 degree temperatures in California dropped to the thirties in Tennessee, and I was shocked to see colorful trees from the autumn here in the South. Neutral accents melted into my particular lilt of Southern, and things seemed so strange…

I think I am able to understand my feelings of confusion and stress now that I’ve been home five days: I am growing up, and it hurts just as much as it excites me. I will be graduating college in a year, and then the real world’s going to knock on the door. My friends will be split up around the country, permanently, even though I know they will always be a phone call away. College will become a distant memory, and I’ll be responsible for my future. Who knows what will come then, but the worry has been sinking its teeth into my brain for a little while now. I haven’t been writing as much, considering the circumstances, and therefore this post feels long overdue.

This is a sentiment everyone goes through, if you get the fortunate chance. It’s not something we should complain about, since so many don’t get to walk in our shoes, but there are still ups and downs with this thing called life. Sometimes we can’t control our emotions, our feelings, what drives our souls, and that can be overwhelming.

That’s when I take a step back, pray to God, and try my hardest to clear my head. It doesn’t always work, so I’ve been doing all sorts of things: Exercise, working on a new book, listening to music (check out “Freelance” by Toro y Moi).

And I know that it will be hard to leave home when it’s time to go.

That’s where I’m at now: Torn between two worlds, one of which will inevitably win over the other.

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Mammoth Lakes (October 2018) I can’t believe this was already a month ago. On my trip to Yosemite National Park.

SPLIT.

I think this describes my mood right about now: I’m split over my future, split over my present, split right down the middle. There’s so much going on in this world that my days are slipping like sand through my fingers, and this can be terrifying, not having a way to stop what’s coming.

Though this may seem like a melodramatic post, I know things are looking up. From being home I am reunited with my one-of-a-kind family, hometown best friends, and overweight guinea pig. I get amazing work done here, including 800 questions for my written pilot exam and thousands of words for a new romance novel. Being home reminds me of who I am, truly, deeply in my core; it reminds me of what I was and how far I’ve come. It inspires me to stay true to my values, and not to wrap myself in the what-ifs of my life in California.

Home. A place some never get the chance to see again.

I pray for the family of Alaina Housley and the countless people who were displaced, injured, and lost their homes due to the Woolsey Fire. I cannot begin to imagine the severity of the Camp Fire in Northern California, where so many have lost their lives and livelihoods.

Therefore, it is times like these that should remind us all of the good things that we take for granted. I need to do a better job of remembering, because memory lasts with us much longer than the present.

Hopefully my next post will be a little more light-hearted. πŸ™‚

Until next time,

-K.

 

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HOME! Fayette County, TN (Summer 2018) At this time of the year, the leaves are in full-blown glory: Crimson, vermillion, butter yellow, the whole nine yards. 

 

updates

SUMMER’S END (update)

Well, my dear readers, it is that time of year…

Summer is coming to an end. (At least in the States, where school has started… Yet in the South, it’s still as humid as a nightmare and will be for quite some time.) This also means that I will be leaving home to head back to college. Though I love being at home so much, I am ready for the adventures this next year is sure to toss my way.

At the beginning of the summer, as soon as I got back from Argentina, I wrote a blog post titled  SUMMER’S HERE (and reality too) where I talked about my goals for the past three months. Therefore, I thought it would be a little fun to update you guys.


GOAL #1: BOOK SITCH

  1. My goal is to find an agent, send out my manuscripts to as many people as possible, to gain experience and to get my name out there.

  2. Also, I expect to write about two to three novels this summer. I hope I can fulfill that goal.

Well, as you guys know by now, I love writing/books. It’s actually a pretty strong addiction that destroys my wrists from all the typing and takes up a large chunk of my time. This summer, I was writing for… Well, if we’re being honest… I was writing about four-to-five hours a day.

Writing this much can be great, but it can also be very physically and emotionally deteriorating, because I will admit–I am a workaholic when it comes to my stories. I am constantly planning the next book I want to write, whereas I need to focus more on the book I’m currently writing.

Before this turns into a winded rant, I will say that I am still looking for an agent, and I think that will be a goal for the foreseeable future. I am about to query for two novels I wrote this summer, and I will update you along the way.

To answer the second goal… I significantly challenged myself to write as much as possible, and I was able to crank out five books this summer. While this may seem ridiculous, it really is, but considering that I averaged between two and three thousand words a day, I still had time to edit these books as well.

Three of those novels are part of a romance trilogy I conceived abroad, while the other two are novels that took more of my time and creative juices. While I’d love to discuss more about these books, that will probably be a separate blog post so I don’t ramble forever and ever. That being said, I am very excited with one of my projects, and I can’t wait to write about it. Soon, I promise! πŸ™‚


GOAL #2: PLANE SITCH

When I was a kid, I always told people, β€œI want to be a pilot.”

At sixteen, I had my first flying lesson. While I enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to that path.

At nineteen (last summer), I bought a pilot book on learning the ropes of flying, and I became obsessed with it in Argentina. For all the classes in which I was learning nothing, my pilot book was able to give me new information, new knowledge, new insight.

At twenty, I hope to be flying.

Well, this is a goal that excites me beyond belief!

I’m also working on obtaining my private pilot license… More on that to come! Flying is truly amazing, though there is so much to learn and study. It is actually stimulating to be able to fly, and though I don’t want to hate on my college experience, I feel as if my experience flying versus working on my bachelor’s degree… Well, that would probably be an interesting blog post.

I’m at fifteen hours of flight time (forty hours is the requirement), and I think I’ll be able to get my license by December.


GOAL #3: MAKE MONEY (BUT MAKE THE MOST OUT OF MY TIME)

I only have two summers left before I graduate college and am expected to be a full-fledged adult. That means time is running out. However, I’ve still got time to pursue my passion (writing, of course), goals (a healthy bank account which will be destroyed by flying lessons), and creating long-lasting relationships.

Now that I’ve only got one summer left before the real world shows up at my doorstep, I’m excited. I have a plan. I know what I want to do, who I want to be, and how I can get there… And I know that things don’t exactly go by the book all the time. πŸ˜‰

This summer has taught me that money is valuable, but time is even more so. Every day we get is one less day we have, and it’s crucial to make the most of the present. Some of my favorite memories of my summer are just snapshots of the most mundane situations: Laughing with friends and family; holding a paper copy of my book in my hands; jamming with my mom in the truck to ’80s salsa music.

Time  γ€‰Money


So, there you have it, my summer in a nutshell. While some could see this as possibly very boring… Just a young chica writing, flying, and hanging out with family and friends… I think it was one of my favorite summers, because I got to do what I love with the people I love most.

Though this has centered on me, I’d like to shift the focus to you, my reader. You’ve got goals too, even if you haven’t put the pen to paper yet. Though I’m not typically a person to list things out, I’ve found that it is amazing to reflect on the seasons, and especially if you are a forgetful person like I am. Find your goals, and stick to them. Maybe you won’t make as much progress as you hope, but any progress is better than nothing at all.

Though this summer is ending, life isn’t. Go for whatever makes you happiest, and whatever makes you fly as high as you can go.

-K.

P.S. Here are a few of my favorite moments of this summer, because I’ll probably read this post a year from now and have forgotten most of these. πŸ™‚

  • My final flight lesson for the summer with my instructor. We got to fly downtown, and I finally figured out how to land without killing us.
  • Taking pictures with one of my close friends who just got engaged!
  • Hanging out with my friends in Wisconsin and trying to pick up the Midwestern accent. I think I sound pretty neutral, but people tell me I’ve got a Southern voice. Bless their hearts!
  • Taking my sister to the library once a week.
  • On my flight to Baltimore, my mom was cross-stitching the whole time, and everyone enjoyed this. A pro tip for mending our divided world: Cross-stitchers unite!
  • Discovering the dream-pop band Beach House while driving my sister to and from school.
  • Finally learning how to decode what the heck ATC (air traffic control) is saying to me as I fly.
  • Reconnecting with old friends.
  • Connecting with new friends. πŸ˜‰
  • FINDING OUT THAT I HAVE 61 AMAZING AND WONDERFUL WORDPRESS FOLLOWERS!!! A special shoutout to you guys. You make this such an enjoyable experience with your likes, comments, follows, and re-blogs. Thank you for spending some time on my blog. β™₯
updates

SUMMER’S HERE (and reality too)

*I realized that summer does not start until June 21. Please 
excuse my inability to remember which continent I am on LOL.

Now that I am back home in the States, things have shifted a little bit. It’s summer, which means that I’ll be cranking out as many novels as my poor fingers can type…

***MINOR INTERRUPTION: Someone just rang my doorbell, and it turned out to be a neighbor, who literally threw her dog at me. For those of you who do not know, I’ve never had a dog, never really been around dogs, and am kinda scared of them… So that was interesting.***

Anyway, summer is my best time for creative thought. I am finishing my magical realism novel, starting another romance, and have plans for another late summer book. However, as a rising junior in college, I also have to get a job and attempt to book flying lessons. Therefore, I am a bit stressed!

I have been Stateside for all of four days, and I’m already feeling the pressure of my future. Money, location, and the unknown are all weighing on me, but I know that God’s got this. (Cue “God’s Plan” by Drake, thank you.)

***MINOR INTERRUPTION AGAIN: I discovered that I am allergic to horses last summer, when I came to the South from California. Just now I have been sneezing my head off because I held that pup…***

Therefore, I’d like to set some goals for the summer and see if I am able to conquer them!


GOAL #1: BOOK SITCH

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a writer who loves to write. I am almost done with my sixteenth novel (that doesn’t mean all sixteen novels are good, by any means). However, I think this one has some cinematic vibes to it, and I’m not sure if I’ll try to agent it or self-publish. I’m a little tired of trying to find an agent for my books, because I’ve realized it is such a daunting situation. Even if I get agented, will my book ever even get published? Who knows. That is the crisis I’m facing now.

Anyway, my goal is to find an agent, send out my manuscripts to as many people as possible, to gain experience and to get my name out there. If I don’t find an agent, so what? I’m not a writer to make money (although that would be nice). If I don’t find an agent, expect even more releases on Smashwords (which then converts my manuscripts to iBooks, Barnes & Noble, the Kindle Store, etc.).

Also, I expect to write about two to three novels this summer. I hope I can fulfill that goal. πŸ™‚


GOAL #2: PLANE SITCH

When I was a kid, I always told people, “I want to be a pilot.”

At sixteen, I had my first flying lesson. While I enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to that path.

At nineteen (last summer), I bought a pilot book on learning the ropes of flying, and I became obsessed with it in Argentina. For all the classes in which I was learning nothing, my pilot book was able to give me new information, new knowledge, new insight.

At twenty, I hope to be flying.


GOAL #3: MAKE MONEY (BUT MAKE THE MOST OUT OF MY TIME)

Money is valuable, but my parents have instilled the concept in me that money isn’t everything. I want to be able to afford certain luxuries in my future, like travel and a nice car and a Mac computer, but I know that what really matters is time.

I took a personality quiz as a joke once (although I do love personality quizzes, just not the one called “Love Languages” or whatever). I thought it was hilarious that my friends and I were taking this quiz when virtually none of us have ever been in love or are in relationships. But then I remembered that there is more than one type of love, and my special “love language” (or the thing that I enjoy most about my relationships) is quality time. 

I only have two summers left before I graduate college and am expected to be a full-fledged adult. That means time is running out. However, I’ve still got time to pursue my passion (writing, of course), goals (a healthy bank account which will be destroyed by flying lessons), and creating long-lasting relationships.

While I may be freaking out about this “time crunch,” I am reminded that life is not certain at any point in time. Tomorrow, I could die in a car crash, or six months down the road, I could receive a terminal diagnosis. Therefore, I may be “stressed” by the pressures of becoming an adult, but this is actually a good thing.

Time has blessed me with choice.


THEREFORE…

Por lo tanto, I am encouraged after writing this blog post. My troubles are insignificant, but I know I have one life, and I want to make the most of it.

Expect more books from me. Expect more blog posts from me. Expect some complaining and some hard times, but also excitement and new discoveries. That is what I guarantee you!

Thank you for listening to another KG rant.

Until next time,

-K.

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A church in La Pampa (November 2017)