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!
As promised, today’s post is going to revolve around our favorite topic… WRITING!!!
The past few months have been heavily devoted to life updates, poems, and musings, so it is about time for some source material on this blog, and that is the art of writing!
The truth is that we as writers should always strive to build our craft. While some people have a natural knack for words, there is still so much behind this skill that must be carefully maintained in order to persuade and inspire an audience. Therefore, we must remember to be patient and implement these upcoming five tips in our art.
Without further ado, let’s hit the list!
1. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
No literary great became great overnight.
This is inevitably one of the most important tips on this list, because you must practice your writing in order to improve. As a student pilot, I couldn’t just hop in an airplane and expect to know how to get off the ground… And even if I did get off the ground, what about the landing? Maybe this isn’t the best example, but I hope it hits you a little bit in the heart. We must recognize that we are students of words.
Here is something I want you to think on: What was your first story? What was your first poem? Your first journal entry? What about song? Or whatever your method of writing is? Now think about why you wrote that. How did you write it? What were you trying to say? What insights did you want to give to the world?
You’re also probably thinking: What the heck was that trash? And that’s okay! You can be proud of your first work, but the truth is that there’s probably a lot you would change if you could. And that means you’re doing what you should be doing: Practicing.
So, what exactly does practicing entail? Well, you’ve gotta sit down, ignore the world around you, and get to work. You have to be willing to commit to your art, and stick to it. If something isn’t working, figure it out. As you write more and more, you will develop your own methodical approach of writing and editing (which should arguably take longer than the actual writing process, if we’re being honest). And there is a great feeling when you’ve got your ritual of writing down.
What’s even greater than that?
Seeing how far you’ve grown.
2. FOCUS ON GRAMMAR
Some of us are grammar nerds, and others aren’t. I fall into the first category. One of the first things I notice about anything is how grammatically strong it is. If there are countless errors, I’m probably going to grow a little agitated. Why is that?
Well, when I pay for a book, I expect it to be the perfect copy of what was once the writer’s surreal conception. If I’m going to toss fifteen bucks to the industry, I want to know that I’ve paid for something borne from hard work and creative beauty.
Maybe you’re not the same, but I’m going to ask you to consider this point carefully then. Your audience will know whether you put the time and effort into your manuscript, and one of the tell-tale signs is through grammar. For example, my mom is a grammar fiend who will pick apart any of my works. While this can be frustrating, I know that she is coming at my work with an analytical mind, and that’s a good thing. When we write for an audience, we’re writing for people who don’t necessarily think like us. And if you want to impress your writers, you need to know how to write effectively.
So, how do you know if your grammar is satisfactory? Some websites I have used in the past include these:
We live in the technological age. Do not be afraid to use online programs, spellcheckers, and your friends to help you with grammar. Nobody’s perfect, but we must humble ourselves and seek advice when it comes to our writing. How else will we improve?
3. USE YOUR AUDIENCE
All right. How could we talk about improving our writing without a shoutout to the people for whom we’re writing?
We writers are selfish (or maybe it’s just me). I’ll admit it: I write as if I’m the main character. Some of my characters are actually based on people I know. Some plot points are borrowed from real life.
But guess what? Your stories aren’t going to sell if you don’t have a mind for your audience.
Maybe you’re the kind of person who is just writing for yourself. Maybe you will never publish anything. However, a lot of you guys are bloggers, and that means you are publishing things. The truth is that you must have a knowledge and appreciation of your fanbase, because there are people who will be reading and analyzing your materials. And if you want your audience to like you, you must be willing to write for them.
What I mean is that if you want to write beauty advice posts, then your target audience has to be the people who are interested in your topic. So leave Easter Eggs for them! Write posts and see how they respond. If they’re not super interested in certain aspects of what you’re producing, check in and see what else they’d like to see from you. Your audience knows when you’re invested in what you write, and they’ll be more likely to invest in you as a result.
4. READ UNTIL YOU CAN READ NO MORE
When I was in elementary school, I remember telling my teacher, “Yeah, I love writing so much, but I hate reading.” While that was most definitely a lie, and who knows why I said that, it is simply a law of the universe that a writer must read in order to improve his or her craft.
Although I do believe a writer’s style has unique elements, I also know that we develop our styles through the writers we read. We borrow aspects we enjoy and toss what we hate into our mental trash cans. When we read thousands of works in various genres, we learn what works for the audience and what doesn’t.
If you want to write commercial fiction, study the masters like King, Grisham, and Steel. You may not like their writing techniques (I certainly do not like Danielle Steel), but they’ve become super successful for a reason. If you’re invested in poetry, study the different forms and practice your own. If you want to write songs, you have to study what goes into songwriting, and study through those who have done it in the past.
Plus, if you want to make it big, you have to know the environment. You get a better picture of the environment when you know what’s selling best right now. If you don’t care about making it big, you should still aim to improve your writing. So don’t make excuses; start reading.
5. WRITE FROM THE HEART
Others will argue with me on this one, and that’s okay. While this list is in no particular order, I believe that the biggest tip to improve your writing is to write from your own heart.
You have your voice–and no one else’s. That is why people will be drawn to what you produce. And, as I’ve stated previously, your audience will recognize when you are writing from your heart (or not).
What does this even mean then?
Think of the most beautiful song you’ve ever heard in your life. What makes it beautiful? The notes, certainly, but it’s also the build-up of emotionality behind it. I will never forget hours and hours of dissecting piano music and learning the hardest songs I’ve ever played. While I would hit every note with precision from all the practice, my one-of-a-kind teacher, Mrs. Xu-Peppers, would shake her head and say, “But you aren’t playing with your heart.”
What? I was sixteen, my fingers flying across those keys, and my teacher was still disappointed? But then I got it: There is more to music than the notes. Like she wisely said, I had to learn to play with my heart, because only then would I understand what the music was saying to me and to my audience.
Writing is the same exact thing. You can write like a pro, but if you’re not writing from your heart, then you’re going to fall flat. You have to write things that matter to you. You have to write with honesty and convey your unique perspective of the world. You must be willing to share the raw side of you, so that we can gain understanding from the emotions that flow through your blood.
How do you do this?
Write as if you’ve only got one day left on Earth to live. Write as if your life depends on it. Write as if you’ll never get the chance again.
GET TO WRITING, GUYS!
My hope is that you guys have taken some of these tips to heart. While I’m blabbing away on this topic, I definitely feel convicted by some of the tips listed above, and I will try to implement them more in my own writing life. Never forget that none of us is perfect, and that’s probably why we’re all on these blogs, so that we can share our experiences and learn from others. 🙂
The point of this post is to encourage you. You have so many opportunities, so use them! Forget the insecurities in your head, and get to work. You’ve got an audience waiting to hear from you. ❤
Keep me updated on your goals and writing life. I am super excited to hear from you.
I’m sure you’re reading this and laughing. You’re probably thinking, “What the heck were you thinking?” and the truth is that I’m thinking the same thing. Right now it’s nearly nine o’clock (bedtime’s calling soon) and I’m jamming to a sad song called “Older” by Sasha Sloan. I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike me all day for this blog post, and you came to mind.
The past few weeks have been really interesting. I’ve been searching through old memories for answers as to who I’m becoming, as if I’ll get the answers that way. Today alone I saw three people I haven’t seen in years, people who watched me grow up and looked at me with the same shock in their eyes. It’s something we all say, over and over again, hoping that the truth will sink in, though it probably never will: Time’s flying, and time’s flying fast.
You probably know that, considering you’re reading this at a different time and in a different place. You’ll probably read this letter and think, “I thought time was flying then? But look at it now!” And I can’t disagree with you, because I’ll never understand how some years feel like snails are running the show, and others like we’re going faster than the speed of light. But you’ve always known the truth: You’re not in control, and that’s okay.
I wonder who you’ll be like. I pray you are kind-hearted and humble. Maybe you’ll stumble now and then, but you’ll be strong and won’t wallow in the past. You will treat everyone with respect and dignity, and you’ll write so much that your wrists fall off your hands (okay, I’m going to actually hope that your wrists are still intact). You will never lose your sense of wonder at the world, and you’ll make sure to travel as much as you can. I hope you go to the places you’ve loved before, and that you stare at the scenery and give thanks for the moments you had there: Rossville, Tennessee; Parkersburg, West Virginia; Malibu, California; Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Columbus, Mississippi.
But I hope more that you take care of the people you love. When I think of you, I see resilience. I think of where you’ve been, and then I think: Wow, I wonder where else you’ll go, and the people you will meet there.
The truth is that I don’t know you, but you know me. But I’ll meet you soon enough, because you’ll be here before we both know it. 🙂
Writing has not been that enjoyable lately. Though this blog has been a crucial outlet for me in the past year (and I have no intentions of giving it up), my love of novel writing has come to a screeching halt.
The good news: This blog isn’t going anywhere. One of my favorite things to do is plan these biweekly posts. What’s even more fun: Checking up on your own posts and going through our interactions. I will never get over how many international connections are established through this platform, and that is a beautiful thing.
The bad news: I’m not sure when I’m going to be publishing again. Though I’m very invested in my future as a writer, I have been struggling with the entire process lately. I am more than halfway done with a novel, Church Boy, that I was planning on releasing in June; however, I have lost all interest in the project, and nothing else has captured my attention in the meantime.
Now for some more details on this situation….
I have been addicted to writing books since I was fifteen. As of now I’ve written nineteen completed manuscripts, hashed out many partial ones, and lived to tell the tale. I attribute this to my love of storytelling, and for a while the only way I knew how to tell stories was through novels.
For a while, I assumed I would pick up an agent like magic, strike out rich, and never worry about anything else. This is wishful thinking, but I believe that hard work paves the road for success. While that is true in many areas, there are so many hard-working writers out there who never get “discovered.”
Books are the core to my life. However, my core has expanded recently. (Okay, this is just a weird sentence, and I apologize.) Relationships, school, and everyday stress have left me fatigued in normal life. The hours I once spent hammering out books are now devoted to other interests and activities. Maybe I knew this instinctually as a teenager, that life would come about and leave me with less time to pursue this passion of writing, but I’ve found that I have fewer and fewer stories I want to tell as I grow older.
HOPE FOR FUTURE.
The quality of the stories I want to tell needs to improve, and I’m not denying that. I’ve admitted to myself that I want my writing to reflect my outlook on the world, and I’m not content to be associated with the writing I’ve been producing lately.
In the past, my outlook was very much centered around how many books I could write, and how many stories I could share with you all in a given setting. Though this taught me how to write effectively, my brain craves a new story that will fulfill what I want to share with you guys, and what I’ve put out in the past few years is not quite up to par.
I’m hopeful that my motivated spirit will return. The truth is that I’ve swallowed a lot of ideas in the past few years, and I know my mind has been chewing through all of it for a while now. That being said, I know the coming years will be some of the hardest of my life, and that’s okay too.
But for now I must be willing to challenge my writing in a personal setting before I return to the self-publishing world.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR NEW BOOK, CHURCH BOY
As I’ve posted on this blog a few times, Church Boy is almost done. However, I realized in writing this book that I’m not happy with the story. I’m sick of that feeling of drudgery I get when working on this manuscript, and I have decided to toss it in the slush pile for now.
Who knows if I will finish it. Maybe I’ll come back to it at some point, but for now I want to focus on other matters in my life, and this book is not one of them.
Well, that’s what’s been on my heart lately. This blog is not going anywhere, and the twice weekly posts will continue as normal. I have been surprised at how much I’ve been liking poetry lately, as I once hated it. Also I’ve been rediscovering my love of reading, which is important too.
Thank you guys so much for listening to these rambling posts! More positive energy to come, I promise. ❤ ❤ ❤
but you are the breakthrough
for which i have yearned
Hello, my dear readers! Since you all enjoyed my last poem “a dream killed me,” I felt compelled to come up with this guy. So, here we go again with my attempt at explaining my poems. I’m not sure if anyone else does this, but there is something really fun about going through my poetry with you guys. I love hearing your thoughts on what you read between the lines. ❤
The first two lines (baby stanza hehe) of this poem is what came to me first: “patience is a value / i have not yet learned.” A common theme in my thinking is, “If I could just be somewhat patient…” This can apply to anything in life: Not completing a goal, wishing my hair would grow longer, waiting for something to happen, etc.
The rest of the poem came pretty fast after the first lines. I wanted rhyming, but things had to make sense. And while I wanted the main piece to revolve around these feelings of impatience and frustration as to when things don’t go according to plan, I felt there needed to be a ray of sunshine at the end, something that counteracts the more dramatic lines in the beginning. “but you are the breakthrough” is meant to convey the truth that things will change when we allow them to.
It’s my observation that we fall into ruts that we can climb out of, but sometimes we have to be more forceful than normal in order to free ourselves. That can be anything from prayer to help from others to whatever you think that “you” of this poem can be. I hope that is clear to you guys: The “you” is whatever you want it to be.
All right, enough ranting from me. Your turn to analyze, if you want.
Thank you guys so much! What a joy it is to write.
I’m so sorry to have been incognito in these past few weeks. A lot of great things have happened, and I will be writing a blog post on that for Monday. Please know that I have missed my blog so much, and especially hearing from you guys! It gives me great joy to be able to connect to so many different people across the globe, as you guys are truly amazing. ❤
Since it has been a while since I’ve posted anything, I decided to do another Q & A, since I haven’t done one in a long time. This gives you guys a chance to get to know me better, and I really do enjoy answering some of these ridiculous questions.
I hope you are all doing well, and I am looking forward to reading your blog posts as well. Without further ado, though, let’s get into the Q & A!
1. Read on a Kindle or paperback book?
Paperbacks are the best in my opinion. There is no greater feeling that having a book in your hands, the pages glimpses into the soul of the writer. I love old books too, the ones you get from a used bookstore, because I feel as if I am connecting to not only the author, but any previous readers too. That being said, I do have a Kindle, and it is a convenient method to reading popular novels.
2. Go to a play or musical?
Though I am in love with music, I have never been big into musicals or plays. I am very much a movie person, but plays and musicals have never been my schtick. My friends will make fun of me for how much I’m not into musicals, though there are good ones here and there.
3. Go to the theater or a movie?
Definitely the movies. I am obsessed with film, and I always have been. I can attribute this to my dad’s love of movies too, as I grew up watching the classics with him. Another fond memory of mine is Friday family movie nights, where I’d pop some cheesy popcorn, pick out a movie, and critique like Roeper. Even now I am addicted to movies. Back home it is an absolute joy to forget the world, hop into the air conditioned theater, and pretend for a while. At college my friends and I hop aboard $5 Tuesday movie nights at AMC so that we can see the newest releases on a budget, since movies are so expensive these days. Just this past Tuesday I saw Pet Sematary, the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller.
4. Have a Margarita or Pina Colada?
Diet Coke. 😉
5. Crash with friends or stay in a hotel?
I honestly have no idea what this question is. I love staying at people’s homes, since it is such a personal experience, but at times I’m an introvert who craves the peaceful aura of a hotel. I have the travel bug, so I’ve stayed at countless hotels, motels, Airbnbs, hostels, and cabins in the past few years. I’ve found that one method isn’t better than another; it’s who you’re with that matters.
6. Visit Europe or Mexico?
I have never been to either. I spent a year abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so I’d probably go to Europe if I had the chance. And there isn’t just one country I could go to; I’d want to see them all!
7. Vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
Both. I think both states are incredible, with their own strengths and weaknesses. I think Hawaii would be a great family trip, whereas Alaska would be something I’d want to do with hikers and outdoorsy individuals. I’m not sure I could pick between the two.
8. Choose a free trip or money? This may tell you whether the person values experiences over dollars.
This is a weird question. I think I’d have to know where the free trip would be, and how much money I am being offered. If someone handed me a thousand dollars, a good portion of that money would be going to travel anyway, if we’re being honest. Though I am a broke college kid right now, I know that a big portion of my future income will go to exploration of this amazing planet!
9. Travel by plane, train, or automobile?
10. Go climbing or zip lining?
Probably zip lining. I have done rock climbing once, and it was so much fun. However, I zip lined in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and it was so incredible to whoosh down a mountain. My heart wanted to burst out of my chest, but it was such an unforgettable experience, and I would love to do it again.
11. Hike or bike?
Hike. Though biking is fun too, I enjoy a nice hike now and then. While I’m not a fan of extended, rigorous hiking, I do love getting lost in some wilderness and walking through forests and deserts and the beautiful world in which we live. This is something else I inherited from my dad, as we both value National Parks here in my home country of the United States.
12. Go to a comedy club or dance club?
I’d prefer to stay at home with a book (LOL). If I had to choose between the two, it would depend on 1) with whom I’m going, and 2) what kind of a comedy/dance club we’d be going to. So many comedians are too crude for my liking, and so many dance clubs aren’t my cup of my tea. I like dancing, but I’ve had some bad experiences at clubs in the past, so I’d probably choose a comedy club.
13. Have a night out or evening in?
It depends on what the night out would entail. I love going out to movies and grabbing a good dinner, but I’m an early bird who prefers seeing the world in the daytime. That being said, I’m an adventurer who wants to really dive in deep to the place she lives. Living in Los Angeles has given me so many opportunities to see and do things I would never have the chance to do otherwise, and many of those experiences are more memorable because it happened at nighttime. So… Another response in which I say I am not sure I can choose.
14. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m not sure there is a specific statement that has changed my life, but I can give examples of ethic that have been key pieces of advice for my life. My parents instilled hard work into my brain from an early age on, and I have learned to set goals for myself that are realistic but will propel me to where I want to go.
15. Go canoeing or waterskiing?
I’ve never been waterskiing, and my canoeing skills are quite limited. One time I almost died while kayaking, so there was that situation. (While I’d like to think this is an understatement, it was a very tense moment during my freshman year of college.) That being said, I’d love to try out waterskiing, but I really do enjoy canoeing. A great memory I have is of canoeing on an Ohio river with my cousins while trying not to A) encounter a snake, or B) topple us over.
16. Camp in an RV or stay in a tent?
While I do consider myself an outdoorsy person, I’m not the biggest fan of tents. I like air conditioning and heat and running water. While an RV isn’t the best lodging in my opinion, I wouldn’t mind taking an RV across the country.
17. Use Facebook or Twitter?
Neither. I’m not big into social media. The only reason I have a Facebook is for college purposes, and the only reason I use Twitter is to network with the writing community. Instagram is a waste of time in my opinion, whereas I do use Snapchat.
18. Win the lottery or find your perfect job?
Perfect job. While money can buy some happiness, I’m looking for joy, and I know joy comes from long-lasting things.
19. Swim in a pool or the ocean? Salt water and waves crashing on the beach or temperature controlled, lovely water all year round.
Ocean! I’ve never been really big into swimming, but I do enjoy hopping into the sea now and then. I love hopping on a bodyboard and pretending I can surf, when I have the gracefulness of a newborn giraffe.
20. Travel by sailboat or cruise ship?
I’ve never been on either, so I’m not sure I could accurately choose!
21. What’s your favorite candle scent?
Anything fall scented! There is nothing more I miss than a good Southern autumn, since I haven’t had one in three years. I love when the leaves start to change color, from a deep emerald to bright scarlet or orange. I love corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and the crisp weather. And when it becomes fall, I always bring out my favorite fall candles.
Well, only 21 questions today. I promise to get back into the rhythm of two posts a week, and I’m excited to do so, because I have so much to update you guys on. But in the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful Friday! ❤
Today we’re going to mix it up a little bit and hit the road. What is the destination of choice, you may ask? We’re going to California.
Some of you may have been to California, and others have no idea where it is, except that it’s a big poppa state in the U.S. California has many things associated with it: Exorbitant prices, Hollywood, hippies, the Pacific Coast, an influx of cultures, redwood trees, the Golden Gate Bridge, and many more. While these associations are very much in accordance with the state, I want to highlight my three favorite places within California’s borders so that we can both go on a little road trip of sorts.
Without further ado, let’s get going.
What a beautiful seaside hamlet stuffed with Hollywood stars, college students, and surfers. Malibu is a town that I both love and dislike, but it had to make the Top 5 list because it is an incredibly beautiful town nestled between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Malibu is a twenty-seven mile long town of about 15,000 people. It’s a beach town pretty much year-round, with spectacular surfers’ coves, hidden canyons, and hikes for all people. It isn’t too far from the wild metropolis of Los Angeles (depending on traffic, that is).
Malibu has withstood countless wildfires, including the Woolsey Fire of 2018, and its community has only grown stronger as a result.
2. YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Environmentalists, where you at?
With ties to President Theodore Roosevelt and Scottish-American environmentalist John Muir, Yosemite is a testament to the National Parks Service here in the United States. It is the largest park and is known for its incredible beauty within the Sierra Nevadas of Central California.
Last October I had the incredible opportunity to visit Yosemite, though it was only for twelve hours or so. That being said, I fell in love with this place. While I have already written a blog post on this, that you can check out here, I do believe that a place like Yosemite is a God-given place designed as a living, breathing testament of the beauty of our world.
1. DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Death Valley is one of my favorite places in the world. Though I’d grown up hearing of it as being the hottest, driest, and lowest point in the continental United States, I wasn’t super excited to trek on over to this particular spot.
My dad and I were driving to California from Tennessee, and this was one of the last stops on our tour of the Southwest. We’d seen so many incredible places, such as Zion, the Grand Canyon, and more, and we were ready to be in civilization again. We’d spent the morning bustling out of Las Vegas and whizzing past Area 51, because we wanted to see Death Valley and then get on down the road to Los Angeles.
(A quick little tangent. I think this exemplifies the problem with our society today. When we rush to things, we miss out on the most incredible aspects of the planet around us.)
When we got to Death Valley, it was late morning, and temperatures were already reaching 115° F (about 46° C). Though we’d come in late August, which is probably not the best time to go to the hottest place in my country, I was still impressed by the heat. We drove on through the back gate, passed some test cars using the national park as their playground, and felt like we’d landed in Mars.
When I say that Death Valley is an extraterrestrial place, it really is. There is something about standing on a green, lush mountaintop that reminds a person of fertility and life in general; Death Valley is unlike this image. In the daytime it feels as if life isn’t possible at all in the rugged landscape. There are incredible sand dunes and salt flats with mysterious moving rocks (I’m not sure if scientists ever figured out how these rocks move, but it’s a cool science fun fact). The mountains are harsh and rocky, and you can drive hours through the park and still not reach the other side.
But when night comes alive, biodiversity is proven to exist in a Mars-like expanse like Death Valley National Park. While my dad and I did not stay for nighttime, we were impressed by how a place can seem so deadly yet still so fragile and protective of its nocturnal inhabitants.
Maybe the reason I fell in love with this national park is because it is so incredibly unique. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a Southerner who’s used to seeing green all around me, and the desert is so unlike my normal vista. Maybe it’s because I know that God has a purpose for every biome out there. I think it’s all of these, and many more. But Death Valley is a place that has inspired me to talk about nature. It’s a place that makes me want to scream to everyone, “Get over there! If you’re from California, how have you not been to Death Valley yet?”
Therefore, I urge you, wherever you are in the world, to experience this California wonder at some point in your life. It should definitely be on your bucket list, because this is a place that will challenge your perception of the world you think you know.
THERE YOU GO.
Though these are my top three California destinations, there are so many more to check out. That is the beauty of this state, despite its faults. So, if you can, definitely make a stop in California. 🙂
In the next week or so I will update you guys on some awesome news. Be looking out for that blog post soon.
My heart is a fortress
Made of skin and steel;
The drawbridge retreats,
Locking up what I feel.
It is a castle inside my soul,
The stronghold of my bones,
Amidst the cold world
Where only I sit on the throne.
With righteous human blood
My veins bubble and boil,
While the water of my moat
Blackens to oil.
And at the curtain wall
A thousand men may try to enter,
Yet their words are dried out
Like the dead of winter.
Open the guarded door,
Let these emotions seep in;
But this is my fortress that
Protects me from them.
For months I have had the phrase “My heart is a fortress / Made of skin and steel” stuck in my head. While I knew this would be part of a poem someday, I wasn’t sure how to follow up with these opening lines. What did “My heart is a fortress” even mean? Well, yesterday I was bored in my environmental politics class, and I started to write more.
Emotions are the propellers of our lives. Without emotion, there would be no purpose to anything. Imagine if there were no such thing as happiness or pain or ecstasy or terror. While we rely on positive feelings, the negative ones are important for our growth and individuality as well.
As human beings we are constantly dragged through ups and downs. Some moments are beautiful, and others are dark gray. We rely on our experiences and our feelings to drive us to where we want to go.
I believe this poem is an attempt at harnessing a well of emotions that have been unleashed upon me for a while. I want to be as strong as I can, but there will be those who want to tear down my walls. Though I am in no way condoning selfishness, I do believe that we must strengthen our hearts in order to protect ourselves from both the known and the unknown that will attempt to wither our beauty.
Maybe this explanation does not make much sense. Maybe this poem can be interpreted many different ways, and that’s the nature of writing. My intention for writing this piece may not be the same intention you receive from reading it.
Thank you guys again for reading, commenting, and sharing this post. ❤ I promise I will write more content soon and try to get back into the swing of publishing twice a week.
1: the cessation of operation usually of a jet or rocket engine also: the point at which burnout occurs
2a: exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
b: a person suffering from burnout
HELLO, my dear readers.
I hope you are all having an amazing day. Can you believe it is already the middle of February? Wow! There are so many incredible things just around the corner, and I can’t wait to hear your updates and read your blog posts.
Today’s blog post is going to be a little different. This is going to be an “emotions” post, where I update you guys on how I am feeling in life and whatnot. Writing has always been a therapeutic activity for me, as I’m sure it is for you, and I love being able to use this outlet to jot out my thoughts and receive feedback from you guys. Thank you, as always, for your gracious comments and prayers for me. ❤
And without further ado, I’ll just state it simply: I’m on the verge of burnout.
Burnout is a terrible feeling. It’s when things aren’t going your way, and you find that the things that once made you happy aren’t doing you justice anymore. It’s ruthless and powerful.
As humans we experience a wave of emotions. Sometimes we’re propelled into outer space, we’re so happy; others we are in valleys void of water, and droughts bloom in our hearts. Though I think we all hate the droughts while we’re in them, it makes that taste of water that much better. Growth isn’t possible without both highs and lows, and this is something I try to focus on when I’m on the verge of burnout.
So what’s going on? Why am I feeling this way?
I can trace the beginning of it to last week, when my friend group got into a massive argument. While things are better now, this argument exposed a deep fracture in these relationships, and as an INFP I have been really affected by how things are not what I thought they were. I value loyalty and friendship above most things, but not when it destroys my happiness.
These thoughts may seem harsh, but I cannot stand drama. As a person who always takes the middle of the road approach, I’ve found myself on a ledge where no one else is. From being in the middle, I have found myself pulled in two directions, and I’m tired of it. I’m sick of the sting of selfishness. And people are the way they are.
Though I want to find fault in others, I know part of the blame belongs to me for how I handle things. I allow people to walk all over me, because I want to help others in all I can, though this causes pain and hurt in my own walk. We can only carry so much before collapse. I’m sure some of you guys can relate.
As a result of this friend group problem, I have started to analyze the situations around me. There are certain aspects of my life that are absolutely incredible, things I would never change, but there are others that leave seeds of doubt in my brain. I hate wasted time, and I feel as if a lot of it is vanishing before my eyes.
However, I value so many relationships outside of this situation, the people who have listened to me talk nonstop about these frustrations. My family is an integral part of this, and without them I know things would be so much worse. Plus, you guys have also contributed to helping me through this state of anger, and again it means the world to me that you have chosen to listen. 🙂
And to clarify… Flying has given me an outlet to escape my college world. It is the thing that keeps me grounded right now, though the weather has been pretty terrible in Southern California in the past few months. However, the sun always comes out in the end!
If you guys are also going through burnout, just know that eventually it will end, and things will return to normal. However, we have to be willing to do things to relax our frazzled brains. We have to repair ourselves in order to find happiness, and if this means cutting out certain relationships or activities, we must do it to gain ourselves once more.
The truth: Things will change.
Until next time,
P.S. Life is great. Though I am hurt in some aspects, I am very happy in others! ❤