poetry

seaweed (a poem)

seaweed like a corpse slices
across the beach, with tendrils
like emerald fingers clutching
for the briny, golden shore.

i walk to it, curiosity seeping
out of me, wondering why
it looks as if medusa’s scalp
has suddenly washed ashore.

where did this come from?
why now did the sublime sea
think it timely to spit up
this messy creature before me?

but eventually my interest
fades, just like the sunset
slipping across this
balance beam of horizon.

there is so much more here
than this beached seaweed:
there is the stab of mystery
that brings me to the edge.


AN EXPLANATION.

Hello, my dear readers!

I am sorry I have been MIA lately (check out next Friday’s blog post for the explanation). You guys give me so much inspiration, and I do feel like I have been missing out in the past few days, as I have not been active on WordPress. That being said, I am back and very much excited to be part of this community’s happenings!

“seaweed” is a poem I wrote for creative writing class last autumn. It’s not one of my favorite poems, but I thought it would be applicable to this blog, as we like to discuss philosophy and mystery here at Katie Kay.

There is something poignant about things we cannot fully understand. Maybe what I mean by this is that we see something as vast and powerful as the ocean, and despite knowing what it is, we’re not really able to fathom it completely. Okay, some of you skeptics out there are like: “Huh? What is this girl talking about?” But I’m here to say that when I look out into the vast beyond, I am normally quite astounded by the immense unknowns. We don’t know what all is there, despite having a basic understanding of what the ocean is.

Here I go again rambling, but I’m serious: Consider a place in nature, and think on it for a second. Maybe your place is a park in your hometown, or a mountaintop that has special meaning to you, or a beach where you dig your toes into the sand. Imagine yourself there, and then close your eyes. Hear the sound of the ocean, or the wind, or the whistle of the birds. Fully envision yourself there.

Now reflect on what you feel, what you’re thinking, what you’re imagining, as you dive into this place you’ve chosen. Probably you’ve found yourself wondering a whole lot more about your world than this special place in your heart.

Today I challenge you to take a moment and reflect on your life. We’re not guaranteed every day on this planet, so we must make the most of the time we’ve got. And for me, that’s finding solace in nature, even when things aren’t as pretty as they seem.

Okay! We will have a brighter post on Monday. I think Monday will be a “life” post, and then you can expect an “update” post next Friday, in which I explain what I’ve been up to.

I’m very excited to get back into the swing of reading your posts, and I mean that! Thank you for keeping up with me in the meantime.

-K.

 

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writing

CATCH THE WIND (a short story)

EVERY WHICH WAY there are faces.

Black, white, brown, yellow, red, pink skin. Giant, small, lopsided, almond-shaped eyes. Broken hearts, swelling pride, fragmented dreams, wondering what happened to fuel them this far.

A billion stories reside within the souls of these people, and the depths of discovery here have no limit. There must be millions on these busy streets, in the swelling metropolis of New York City, as the hubbub of car horns blasts from the roads. But I don’t want to be anywhere else, even as their body heat turns my cheeks ruddy and a woman falls over me.

 It is chaos: A sweet, simple, human chaos. A chaos I don’t pay attention to often, a deep dream that is blurred by my career, my family, the city itself. Usually I am a thoughtless wanderer, off to work, off to the routine. But for a strange reason, today, I watch those around me.

A girl on her father’s shoulders stares out in the sea of bodies asking for cotton candy.

Businessmen and women chirp into phones, sipping on warm coffees, pupils aglow with the thought of greenbacks.

A hipster dances past, headphones deep in his ears.

A young teenager attempts to read a novel without bumping into anyone else. Good luck, kid. I wish I had that skill.

A few paces ahead, the dark red hair of a woman catches my eye–that luminosity, the shine, a color that stands out anywhere.

But it’s when my mind captures individual faces, I am astounded by the complexity of our world, and how this is where I am meant to be at this exact moment. For a reason. My heart swells inside me like a rushing tide ready to break free onto warm sand. Humanity is unimaginable, incomprehensible, and I am a witness to the individual facets of this species. 

And then I see him.

Up ahead, a tall man glides down the road, a peculiar hat perched on his head despite the cloudy day, the perfect weather. He glances back, sweat trickling down his cheeks like dripping candle wax. My eyes unfalteringly set on him. He blends into the crowd. His head bobs over the regulars and the tourists, but there is nothing special about him. Normal features, normal attire, normal everything, really. Could be a banker or a teacher, who knows. He tugs on his hat a few times, pulling it closer to his crown. Maybe he’s a murderer, I decide in the loneliness of my skull; maybe he’s an angel. He glances back around him, avoiding stubborn souls sweeping down the sidewalk.

Somehow–and for whatever reason–he locks eyes with me. As my gaze focuses in on his warm amber irises, it happens like magic: He is gone, a departed ghost. A mysterious flash, within the blink of an eye.

I stop in my tracks. A man barrels over me, and then like the parting of the Red Sea, people swim around me down the street. But I pay no attention. I look down the way to the spot where I saw this man disappear, and a squirmy ache in my heart sickens me. What did I witness? He was gone in a literal flash, like the sudden disappearance of the sun on a perfect day.

With careful examination of the crowd, I see nothing. Even if he didn’t disappear or I simply blinked and he was gone, I would never be able to find him, not with the hordes of people pushing past me now. They pass me by, their arms grazing my flesh, and I realize how lonely inside I am, how crazy I must be. People don’t disappear into the clouds. With a thumping heartbeat, I look up into the sky, as if this is a plausible way the man left the streets. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.

Tiny teardrops of water hit my nose. Did anyone else notice? 


AN EXPLANATION.

Oh, my beautiful readers! This post is one of the weirdest I’ve done in a while, and that’s because of the story around it.

As some of you guys know, I’m working on a novel right now called Church Boy. It’s a 55,000 word Christian romance novel that I’m hoping to publish soon. And somehow as I was editing this book late at night on August 5, I stumbled upon my Submittable account. What is Submittable, and why does it matter?

Submittable is a way for writers to query multiple agents at once. It’s an easy tool to use, and somehow I fumbled upon my account and saw my previous works I’ve sent off to agents in the past few years. And “Catch the Wind” was one of them.

According to this entry date, I submitted this short story to a magazine in February 2015. (Over four years ago, what in the world?). Now what’s really wild is that I have no trace of this short story on my new computer, and I don’t remember writing it. That being said, I know this short story is important, because as I read it, I thought to myself: Why not put this on the blog?

“Catch the Wind” is a short story that made me stop in my tracks, now that I’m reading it four years later, because it convicted me. It made me think that I pass so many people on a daily basis, and I ignore them. It isn’t humanly possible to recognize every single person on the face of the earth, but I do think we have a responsibility to put our energy into the people who come into our lives unexpectedly.

In 2019 it is easy to hide behind a screen, especially in public places. We’re selfish people, and we tend to find momentary happiness in stroking our own egos, but I believe there is long-standing joy in strengthening our relationships with others. This can happen through budding friendships, waving at strangers, and casual conversation with an old friend.

What I mean is that we have a limited amount of time on this planet, and we need to make the most of it. When we see that someone’s hurting, we need to help him or her. When our intuition goes off and implores us to help another, we should follow this sense.

This life is much more about we can individually do. It’s about coming together, as corny as that may sound.

Because what if, going back to my story, we are the man who disappears into thin air? What happens then?

Okay, enough ramblings from me now. I just thought this story would be a perfect Friday morning blog post, and I hope you enjoy this little guy from a seventeen-year-old Katie Kay.

More on Monday!

-K. ❤

Volcanoes National Park, Hawai’i (July 2019)

poetry

on the cusp (a poem)

when life feels like an hourglass,
i seek solace in what i love most:
fingers strewn over the keys
of a dirty MacBook Air,
eyes strained from the creamy glow
of a blank Word document,
my mind finally relaxed,
a digital massage.

what can i craft, like an architect
and blueprints and concrete magic?
where can i go, like a world traveler
and tennis shoes and a weathered map?
who will i meet, like a writer
and a pen and a sheet of paper?
the possibilities are endless,
and they are mine.

when the stress is overwhelming,
and the real world clamps down tight,
i remember my sweet escape,
the riskiness of a writer and her
invented world. my blood boils
as i pan for gold, waiting on the cusp
of my world to unleash itself
upon my very fingertips.


AN EXPLANATION.

Hello, my beautiful and wonderful readers!

I hope you all are doing great as we begin this new week in August 2019. For today’s post, I wanted to share with you all this poem I wrote in autumn 2018, and I think it will relate to a lot of you who are writers and wish to showcase your emotions to the world.

For writers there is almost no greater passion than chugging out our thoughts on paper (or in my case, a Word doc hehe). We have thoughts and emotions bubbling to the surface of our blood, and there is no escape greater than releasing what we need to express. As a writer, I have found that this process is almost like taking a crucial test: There is buildup and anxiety that is followed by relieved elation at finishing the test. (Of course, the grader is one’s audience, but that is another story altogether.)

“on the cusp” can relate to more than just writing. Some of you have other passions that you must share with the world. I’m serious. You may think I’m lying, but I truly believe each and every one of you have an amazing purpose that has put you on Earth at this particular moment in time. So, if you’re not exactly sure what your “sweet escape is,” take a moment and reflect today.

What relieves your stress? What frees you from the pressures of this world? What gives you the greatest joy?

Consider, and make an effort to implement more of your time into your joy.

Much love,

-Katie Kay. ❤

travel

5 DAYS IN HAWAI’I

Hello, my dear readers!

Now that we are done with the two-week poetry series, I am excited to share some other content with you guys. As you know, this blog is devoted to various topics, including writing, philosophy, and travel. Since it has been a while since we’ve done a travel post, I thought it would be perfect timing to share with you guys a recent trip of mine… To the Big Island of Hawai’i!

This was my first time to Hawai’i, and I have to say it was one for the books. I encourage you all to check out Hawai’i at some point, because it is a nature lover’s dream. (Really it is anyone’s dream. There is so much to do!)

Therefore I’d like to share some things I got the chance to do, and maybe this will sell you on your next vacation. 🙂

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A sweet Pomeranian named Precious, a friendly Hawaiian pooch. (Hāwī, Hawai’i // July 2019)


DAY 1

Stops: North Kohala Coast, Waimea
Activities: Intro to local area, shops, etc.

After arriving in the small town of Kona on the Big Island, my family quickly hopped in our rental Jeep and headed north to the Kohala Coast. We stayed at a quaint cabin called the Kohala Lodge. Gorgeous view, idyllic, pastoral scene–it was a perfect way to start out a vacation (and throw in goats and ponies down the hill!).

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Kohala Lodge, a premier cabin in Hāwī, Hawaii (July 2019)

After check in, we took a trek to Waimea, a small town nestled between green mountains and a Nevada-looking desert scene. I wish I had a good picture of the drive between Hāwī and Waimea, but unfortunately I do not. Just trust me, and imagine rolling hills with mountain and ocean backdrops!


DAY 2

Stops: Mauna Loa, Hilo
Activities: Encounter Mauna Kea protestors; travel Mauna Loa to its tip; visit Hilo, largest “city” on island

Day 2 was an opportunity to explore more of the island! We got up early, headed to the center of the island, and wondered if we were going to drive straight through an environmental protest… And we did.

Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain (taller than even Mt. Everest, when you look at its oceanic base), is a sacred mountaintop to many Hawaiians. In the meantime, the company TMT wishes to replace a collection of telescopes on the tip top of Mauna Kea with a new, state-of-the-art telescope that could potentially pollute natural waters for the residents.

Hawaiians are very divided on this issue. On one hand, environmentalists wish to preserve the beauty and integrity of Mauna Kea; on the other, the telescope would bring endless opportunity for astronomers. The telescope’s construction would also provide economic opportunity for the island.

Whatever your position on this issue may be, my family and I just wanted to avoid a roadblock in the middle of this desert landscape. And we ended up driving straight through the protest, passing hundreds of people on a mission to block the telescope’s construction.

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My sister and I being dorks on the road to Mauna Loa (not pictured). What is pictured, however, is Mauna Kea behind us, the tallest mountain in the world. If you look close enough, you can see hundreds of cars in the background due to an environmental protest. (Mauna Loa // July 2019)

Instead we decided to traverse Mauna Loa, the world’s biggest mountain (not tallest!). After going up 11,000 feet we were tired, hungry for oxygen, and descended into the lusher area of Hilo, about an hour to the east.

We did not stay in Hilo very long, though the weather was pretty nice, despite Hilo’s status as the fourth-rainiest American town. We visited Rainbow Falls and headed north after lunch at none other than Taco Bell (blech!) to see Akaka Falls (pictured below).

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Akaka Falls (A short drive from Hilo)

After a quick stop at Akaka Falls, I found an abandoned airstrip on Google Maps. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a baby pilot who loves aviation quite a bit, and I made us head up an old road once used for the production of sugar cane.

We were probably pretty dumb doing this, but it was a lot of fun, especially when we got to the end of the road and realized we were already driving on the overgrown runway. Who knows the history of Waipunalei Airstrip, because I couldn’t find anything online, and I highly doubt many people today know of its existence. That’s why it was shocking to find it on Google Maps.

Whatever the case, it was a highlight of my trip: An abandoned airstrip with a lot of buried history.

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An abandoned road that leads to the eerie and also abandoned Waipunalei Airstrip (North of Hilo)


DAY 3

Stops: Kona, Captain Cook
Activities: Snorkeling Adventure, Captain Cook Monument, The Painted Church

Kona is located on the leeward side of the island, and it’s a town of about 12,000 people. Though we did not spend much time in Kona itself (a quick lunch at Denny’s and a stop at Walmart for supplies), we were much more invested in a snorkeling excursion in a little town to the south called Captain Cook.

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this activity, despite it being my favorite part of the entire trip, due to the fact that I didn’t want to lose my phone in the kayaking portion of the journey. However, you’ll just have to imagine brilliant blue water and a whole lot of tourists swimming about as kayakers push against the shore to see the Captain Cook monument. (Captain James Cook was a famous explorer who was killed by Hawaiians in this namesake town.)

This experience was made even better by our friendly tour guide, Lalu, a local who showed us the best places to snorkel while giving us a little history of the area and its ties to Captain Cook’s ultimate demise.

After the three mile roundtrip kayak experience, we headed back to our car, changed clothes, and stopped at The Painted Church, a Catholic church about ten minutes from our kayak point. The Painted Church is well-known due to its painted interior, as the first priests who journeyed to Hawai’i explained biblical stories to locals through paintings on the church’s walls.

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(The Painted Church // South Kona, Hawai’i)

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Cemetery at The Painted Church (South Kona Hawai’i)

 


DAY 4

Stops: North Kohala Coast, Waikoloa Village
Activities: Sunrise Hike, Zipline Adventures, Luau at Marriott

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Sunrise hike at Polulu Valley (North Kohala Coast)

My dad and I are fans of hiking, while my mom and sister are not. So when we suggested getting up at five to catch this ideal spot, my mom and sister laughed at us, and we went anyway.

The forty-five minute roundtrip hike spans incredible views of the Polulu Valley and coastline. Polulu is located at the very end of a main road on the Kohala Coast, so not many people were around–especially at the ungodly hour of sunrise. (Although we did run into a weird woman who was possibly worshipping a plant.)

The hike was stunningly beautiful, and a perfect reminder that sometimes you’ve just gotta bite the bullet, set your alarm, and run down a mountain in the darkness to wait for the perfect sunrise.

After our hike, we headed home, showered, and got prepped for a zipline activity in the nearby town of Kapaau. It was an incredible experience to zip through hundred-foot trees, but after so many activities I was quite ready for a nap by the end of our adventures (see the image below).

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Kohala Zipline Activity, and an eager Katie Kay (Hāwī, Hawai’i)

Post zipline, we showered once more and then headed to the resort town of Waikoloa Village in order to catch a sunset luau. This was my mom’s favorite experience of the entire trip, as it was a chance to listen to traditional Hawaiian music and see the hula and other Polynesian dances.

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Beautiful sunset luau at Marriott Waikoloa Village


DAY 5

Stops: Volcanoes National Park, Black Sands, South Kona
Activities: Quick hikes, Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau National Park

Our last day on the island was a packed one. While we were staying on the Big Island’s North Coast, Volcanoes National Park is located on the opposite side of the island, roughly a two-hour drive away. Plus it was a foggy and rainy morning, which you can see in the pictures below.

That didn’t stop us from making the journey down to Volcanoes. There are no current lava flows (thank goodness, and hopefully everyone has recovered from the volcano issues from a few years ago), but there are various pockets of steam located throughout the park. We also journeyed to the crater of a volcano (although we stayed at the rim). If you look close enough at the picture below, you can see that there are trails in the middle of this crater, and people are walking in it! I was not that brave, to say the least.

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Creepy sight at Volcanoes National Park

After an hour at the park, which is not enough time, we had to hurry down to Black Sands, about a twenty minute drive away. This is a black sand beach that is pretty peaceful. Since we were in a time crunch, we could not stay long, but I’m thankful for the time I got there.

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Black Sands (Southern tip of the island)

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Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau National Park (South Kona)

After Black Sands, we headed to Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau National Park in order to learn more about Hawaiian culture. Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau is located on sacred grounds, and it was very important to take a few moments to educate ourselves on traditions of the area.

While the other parts of the island were quite chilly in the fog and rain, Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau National Park was humid and hot–too much like home for my liking.

After our stop there, we hurried back to the north, grabbed some dinner, and started packing for our ten-hour return trip, which was a beast of its own, as you can imagine. 🙂


PLEASE GO SEE THE ISLAND YOURSELF.

Hawai’i is an incredible place. It’s laid-back island living, and it would be so easy to get lost there for ages. That being said, I’m a pretty fast-paced person, and I found myself wanting to hop on a plane and go see the other islands that comprise this great state.

While the aforementioned stops were what my family did on our trip, I’m sure there are countless more places we missed. The island is an island, but its diversity is incredible. Where else can one drive through a desert to a tropical rainforest in an hour or less?

Go check out Hawai’i. Maybe I’ll see you there someday. 🙂

As for now, I’m back at home in the throes of studies. But do you want my honest opinion? Really there is no place like home, especially after a long vacation away.

You guys are amazing.

-K. ❤

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Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park (North of Hilo)

blogging

Mystery Blogger Award

And we’re back, my dear readers!

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.

Sarika’s Questions

  • 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.

My Nominees

Questions for Nominees

  • Where do you find your greatest joy?
  • 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?

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Santa Cruz Island, California (Channel Islands National Park) // March 2017


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!

Thanks as always,

-K.

 

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blogging

Liebster Award & A Quick Thank-You

Hello, my dear readers!

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.


LIEBSTER AWARD.

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

  1. I can’t roll my tongue.
  2. Thunderstorms are my favorite type of weather activity.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, but only lived there for a year.
  6. 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?)
  7. 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.)
  8. I am a Southern Baptist. (This is a denomination of Protestant Christianity for those of you who don’t know.)
  9. I am going to be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding in a little over two weeks!
  10. I developed my “allergies” when I was eighteen. Now I cannot be around pets for extended periods of time. 😦
  11. Currently I am writing this blog post at a burger joint in the middle of a hurricane.

Questions asked by FantasyNovel1

  1. 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?)
  2. 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.
  3. What is your favorite quote? “The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”–Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  4. 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?)
  5. 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.
  6. Which countries have you been to? The United States, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Perú.
  7. Who inspires you the most? My parents. They’re not perfect, but they’re close to it.

Questions For Nominees

  1. What is your favorite book and why?
  2. If you could go anyplace in the world, where would it be and why?
  3. Do you believe in love at first sight?
  4. Why did you start blogging?
  5. When did you discover your love of writing?
  6. What author has made the most impact on your writing abilities?
  7. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Nominees

  1. http://johnwhowell.com
  2. https://tutoringyoudotorg.wpcomstaging.com
  3. https://wonderblogz.wordpress.com

THANK YOU GUYS!

I know this blog post is not my normal setup, but I thought I would participate in this chain. Thank you for viewing, and be prepared for some Heavenly Virtues poems beginning tomorrow…

You guys are the best!

-K.

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thoughts

20 THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY

Hello, my dear readers!

Today we’re going to do something a little different. I’m going to ask you to pull out a piece of paper or open a fresh document on your computer, because you’re going to jot down some notes.

Sometimes our lives get so distracting. Things happen, and we’re left to wonder: What the heck was that? Obviously these moments can be crucial to our development, but there are other times when we think, Well, that’s not how I wanted that to go… 

Today I want you to write down twenty things that make you happy. These things can be childish, ridiculous, serious, or insert whatever adjective in the dictionary. Write exactly what you think, and do not shy away from what you first write.

The point of this exercise is to remind you of the things that make you happy, so that you can remember to actually do them. Your happiness and everlasting joy must make recurring elements to your life, or you’ll forget what you enjoy doing.

Write ’em down!


MY TWENTY THINGS.

These are twenty things I wrote down on August 20, 2017, when I was about to jump on a plane to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a year. A friend had recently asked me how I found happiness, and so I thought this list would be a fun way to show her my interests. It takes some time, but it is fun to reflect on yourself for a little bit.

Here is my list, unedited:

  1. Writing writing WRITING
  2. Reading
  3. Diet Coke
  4. Jesucristo!!!
  5. Cheese dip
  6. Talking to people/good convo
  7. Traveling/hiking/nature LOL
  8. BK breakfasts ❤
  9. Watching movies ❤ ❤ ❤
  10. Music/playing piano/singing to myself
  11. Falling asleep at night ❤ (that time before I fall asleep gives me some of my best story ideas lol)
  12. Driving with blasting music
  13. Fighting with Gen (my sister) but then making up like 2937373 seconds later
  14. Trying new things
  15. Seeing people smile
  16. The smell of fall candles/fall time
  17. The emerald green landscape in TN
  18. Fluff (guinea pig)
  19. My new fluffy slippers
  20. Dreaming of my future kids (SO CHEESY)

Now that it has been two years since I’ve written this incredibly cheesy list, I smile and think to myself, “Not much has changed.” This is important, because I’ve identified how I can pick myself up after a challenging time.

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Find your place to jot down the twenty things that make you happy (Tennessee // June 2019)


YOUR TWENTY THINGS.

The point of this post is for you to identify your twenty things. The friend who brought this idea to life could not identify twenty things that made her happy. Though she promised me she would write some things down, she could not think of twenty things that brought a smile to her face.

This saddens me, because we all have the ability to find the goodness in others and ourselves. Please take these ten minutes and think on what makes you tick. Some questions to consider are: Who do you want to be around? When do you not feel nervous? When do you feel nervous? When are you the calmest? When are you sure what you’re doing is the right thing? What brings you the most peace?

You can share them in the comments below, and I will enjoy reading them if you do! However, this can be a very private, personal challenge–but I still want you to do it. ❤

Thank you as always for reading, my dear readers. You inspire me in every way.

Until next time,

-K.

P.S. My two-week poetry marathon begins on Monday, July 8. Those two weeks will be strictly poetry devoted to the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues. After those two weeks are up, we will return to normal content. Thank you guys!

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Hiding behind a lamppost (Collierville, TN // June 2019)

updates

IT’S JULY!

Hello, my beautiful readers! This will be a quick post, but I want to give you guys a few updates as we head into this new month.

Can you guys believe 2019 is already halfway done? Now, that’s a wild thought! Thank you all so much for writing and keeping me updated on your journeys this year, and I truly hope and pray that your year is as good-natured and amazing as you are.

In the Southern United States, we’re headed into the worst months of the year weather-wise, since the humidity is close to unbearable. But it is always nice getting a few pop-up thunderstorms to cool down, reflect on life, and read a good book. Without further ado, here are a few updates I want to give you guys!


I AM WRITING AGAIN!

This is a long time coming, but I am the happiest I have been in a long time. The past few months have been slightly little off-kilter for me, considering that I was focusing more on relationships than writing, and now that I’m free of that, I’m back to my craft!

Right now I’m close to finishing the romantic comedy novel, Church BoyI aim to polish the manuscript and send it off to agents at the end of this month. Once Church Boy is completed, I’ve got a few other projects lined up that I am super excited to work on.

It feels amazing to be able to write again. Though I’m sure I’ll write on my struggles in future posts, I’ve learned what to cut out of my life in order to write. ❤


POETRY INSPIRES ME THESE DAYS.

Some of you know that I hated poetry back in the day. But now it is super easy for me to harness a particular emotion and put it to paper. So, it is super exciting to tell you guys this news: Starting July 8 I will be publishing two straight weeks of poetry in two one-week installments. The first week will be poems belonging to a collection on the Seven Deadly Sins, whereas the second week will be poems on the Seven Christian/Heavenly Virtues.

Why, you may ask? Well, I’m not really sure, to be honest. I came up with the idea last week, and I think it will be really fun to post more often than I normally do. I hope you guys will enjoy those poems!


INDEPENDENCE DAY IS THURSDAY!

For those of you who are not familiar with the United States, our holiday on July 4 is Independence Day, when we celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedoms we have here. Thank you to all who have served and protected the USA and given me the opportunity to live here.

But another reason I love July 4 relates to my beautiful, strong mother, Momma J, who celebrates her birthday on July 4. While I will be a good child and not reveal her age, my mom is a beautiful, ageless woman who never fails to amaze me. She deserves much more than a shoutout on this blog, but I couldn’t post without giving her some recognition. ❤


THANK YOU GUYS!

Thank you for reading this post! We’ll get back to normal content on Friday, and then will be the two-week poetry marathon. Anyway, I hope you all have a blessed week, and I’m looking forward to your own posts.

You’re the best, and don’t forget it!

Until next time,

-K.

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Collierville, TN // June 2019

poetry

in the midnight black (A POEM)

in the midnight black
nothing is as it seems
time is just a product
a product of your dreams

some men will bare their hearts
and others will stay silent
yet no matter your side
your heart will bleed violence

violence, violence against whom?
in this darkness i only see you


AN EXPLANATION.

There is a certain mystery that comes with the night. Instinctively we know that the darkness is a time for sleep and rest; yet there is much more symbolism to this magical time.

Though my favorite part of the day is the morning, I have always held a special appreciation for night. Somehow it is easier to dissect my feelings, because there is so much waiting underneath my skin. For whatever reason, the darkness allows me to examine my thoughts in a totally different manner than in in the daytime. This probably relates to hormones or something, but there is no mistaking that standing in the darkness produces a different reaction that standing in the sunlight.

Therefore, “nothing is as it seems” because time is a weird but terrifically important component of our lives. If there was no time, our sense of the world would be tilted one hundred and eighty degrees. While I do believe that time is necessary, I think that it is also nice to forget it exists once in a while, so that we are not focused or worried on what is to come.

The second stanza of this poem shifts from the perspective on time to something a little more nuanced. At nighttime it is easier for me to open up about my problems and worries, and I believe this rings true for some of you as well. However, some choose silence instead, as the night opens a new cavern for them to dissect the meaning of life.

The most dramatic lines of this poem, “yet no matter your side / your heart will bleed violence,” are not meant to avow images of bloodshed and gore. Instead, these lines are to dramatize the concept of humanity. For me, the darkness exposes some of my deep-seated flaws, as I am more willing to share who I am with others and myself. When we allow our hearts to open up, we can see that we are damaging ourselves just as much as the natural world can.

Violence has two main definitions. 1) Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. 2) Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.

In the darkness, my heart bleeds violence, against my own sins and my own shortcomings. It is at night when I see who I really am. The absence of light, funnily enough, exposes me more than the day ever could.


THANK YOU.

Thanks for reading another poem from yours truly. I am excited for the next posts that will come on this blog, and in the meantime I am enjoying yours as well. Stay safe, and have a beautiful week.

Until next time,

-K.

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Los Angeles, California (Perspective from the Griffith Observatory // April 2019)

writing

5 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING

Hello, my dear readers!

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?

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Editing on a random Uruguayan beach.  (February 2018)


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.

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Read random books with your pig if you need to. Actually, I do not recommend this. Who knows what kind of blue waves my poor pig was exposed to?!? (Tennessee // 2016)


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.

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Though I wanted a picture that relates to writing, I found this old pic of a baby alpaca that I think can represent us writers. At first we’re skinny, confused, whatever… But eventually we will grow into who we are meant to be. Random musings, I know. (Memphis, TN // September 2017)


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.

Until next time,

-K. ❤

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It doesn’t matter where you write, as long as you enjoy what you are producing. (Please ignore my creepy shadow.) (Tennessee // June 2019)