thoughts

GET TO KNOW ME

Hello, my favorite readers!

You guys seem to have enjoyed my past Q & A posts, so I thought it would be fun to do a little “Get to Know Me” special where I highlight some (hopefully) interesting things about myself. As you guys know by now, I’m quite the dork, but maybe this will enlighten you more into who I am behind the computer screen. 🙂

So, without further ado, here we go.

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Spacey Katie (Valparaiso, Chile — November 2017)

I PLAY THE PIANO AND THE UKULELE.

Music is an integral part to my writing process–and to my life in general. There is not a day that goes by when I am not jamming to some sort of song, whether that be humming away or screaming lyrics in the car or annoying my roommate with my ukulele skills.

(Side note: Toro y Moi is a legend. Go listen to his new album Outer Peace ASAP.)

My grandparents love music, and they were the first ones to instill the importance of it into my life. When I was seven, however, my mom decided to sign me up for piano lessons–and I had no interest in learning to play, despite my love of running around and singing to myself just about anywhere I happened to be.

Eventually, I fell in love with music. Though I am not as adept at the piano anymore (since I am thousands of miles away from my piano at home), it’s still a soothing activity for me when I can play.

Last semester I picked up a ukulele and couldn’t stop playing it. Eventually, I bought myself the instrument for $30 on Amazon and have not stopped strumming away. There’s something about the beachy, relaxing ukulele that really captures my heart while I am in California, and it’s such an easy instrument to learn.

If you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, the ukulele may be your best bet!

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My sweet baby uke (February 2019)

I WROTE MY FIRST BOOK AT FIFTEEN.

All right, guys. This is a fun fact, but it is also quite funny to think about, now that I am twenty-one. I can only imagine what you guys are thinking: That book is probably trash. And I’m not going to disagree.

Here is a brief teaser of this book, Whatley, written in 2013:

Clare Witfield is a young, aspiring singer in New York. However, Clare has a troubling past that has forced her into hiding from her abusive family. When she meets Jimmy Whatley, things change a bit and she finally lets someone take a piece of her broken heart. After a misunderstanding leaves the two apart, Clare makes the biggest mistake of her life: finding another man. As Clare hurries through abusive relationships she swore she would avoid, she learns lesson after lesson: trust your instincts.

However, it is really fun to look back at as a writer. I understand that as we grow older, our writings develop as well. The sixteen-year-old me wouldn’t be caught dead writing what I’m working on now, and vice versa. That’s okay. And it’s fun to compare!

No matter what, the big takeaway for me is that this book solidified my love of writing. Before Whatley I wrote short stories, but nothing was ever super tangible. This book taught me my “quota system” (1,000 words per day) and how you must be diligent and actually get to work.

Whatley
Whatley (2013)

I AM AN INFP PERSONALITY TYPE.

If you guys haven’t checked out the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, you need to. According to this test, there are sixteen personality types based on four major points: E/I (extraversion, introversion); S/N (sensing, intuition); T/F (thinking, feeling); and J/P (judging/perceiving).

Therefore, I’m an introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceptive chica (haha). INFPs are classic mediators: We want our worlds to be drama free, and we aim to help others with their conflicts. INFPs are idealists whose sense of the world is open and free. We account for about 4% of the population.

If you guys are curious to see what you are, I’ll include a link for you to take the free personality test. 


I AM A BOOKAHOLIC.

Books cleanse souls. It amazes me that so many people don’t enjoy reading, though I understand we all have different interests and focuses. However, that being said, there is a tremendous value in reading, and I will proudly identify as a bookaholic.

At college, I don’t have as much time to read for fun, but it is more than just a hobby for me. Books have given me fresh perspectives, opportunities to travel all over the world, and a sense of purpose. It allows readers to perceive new universes and experience new things.

Are you a bookaholic? If so, what is it that makes you love reading? And if you aren’t, why is that the case?

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Megan and me, two friends who prefer hanging out at bookstores over other activities (November 2016)

I AM A PART-TIME UFOLOGIST.

What in the world does this mean? Well, let’s travel to outer space for a moment. UFOs are unidentified flying objects (lol), and ufologists are the brave men and women who study them.

When I was a little girl, I started watching weird documentary movies on the Travel Channel, History Channel, and wherever else I could find them. I’d learn all about ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster, el chupacabra, and–my personal favorite–aliens.

As I got older, my interest in space only grew. I love learning about our galaxy, space travel, and all sorts of out-there things. Naturally, I’ve been studying UFO phenomena since I was a teenager.

In all seriousness, I’m not sure if alien life exists or not, but it’s fun to think about. It’s always a great conversation topic, to ask people about UFOs and wait for them to give you an inquisitive eye. 😉

The Mutual UFO Network, an organization devoted to solving cosmic mysteries

I HAVE A FIVE-YEAR-OLD GUINEA PIG NAMED FLUFFY.

There are always two routes this will go. 1) You will enjoy the following pictures of my guinea pig. 2) You will scream and think my pig is actually a rat.

When I was a junior in high school, my younger sister asked for a hamster. Now, mind you, I wasn’t allowed to have pets growing up (except a few Betta fish). But my sister asked–and she received. (Younger siblings, I gotta tell ya.)

When we went to the pet store, we were a little put-off by the hamster selection and maneuvered onto the guinea pig exhibit. This little creature was being bullied by a big poppa guinea pig that looked, well, like a rat. However, there was a golden-haired guinea pig who was so plump and adorable, and we all pointed at her and knew she was the one.

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First pic of baby Fluff (sometime in 2015)

Fast forward five years, and we’ve got a big, fat Fluff of a creature. She is the size of two guinea pigs, runs around and squeaks nonstop for kale, and is a great stress relief during hard moments. She is a docile pig, though she can be sassy and doesn’t like to be petted too much.

While I used to think all rodents were gross, Fluffy is a gorgeous girl who is definitely a part-time model.

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Fluff in her youth (sometime in 2016)

THERE YOU GO!

I hope you learned a little more about me in this post. I know I usually write things about the way I perceive the world, so I thought it would be different to give you a little more of my backstory. There is something about the internet that connects us as readers and bloggers, and there can be a layer of mystery surrounding both parties. Therefore, I hope you feel like you can understand more of who I am and why I write the way I do. 🙂

Just know that I am a happy, healthy human who wishes the same to all out there. Please leave any comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you guys, and it really means the world to me that you read my materials.

Until next time,

-K.

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Give me a map, some stars, a blue jacket, and I’ll be set 🙂
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music

5 (unpopular) SONGS TO CHECK OUT

MUSIC.

What do you think of when you hear the word music? Or more importantly… What do you hear?

In March of this year, I was asked to write a paper on my ten favorite songs for a college class. Though I wondered why it would be educationally beneficial to do this, I was able to compose a list of my favorite songs, most of which are pretty unpopular. I’m into songs with deeper meaning, melodies that unleash a river of emotions, and fresh, thoughtful writers.

Since music is KEY to my writing process, I thought it would be interesting to share five songs all of you should check out. I know some of you may not speak English, but maybe you will still enjoy the music itself and could translate the lyrics.

Anyway, here they are!


STRAWBERRY SWING by Coldplay (2008)

This song was released in 2008, two years after my sister was born, and ever since its release, the two of us will play this song and be taken back to a time when she was a little girl, and so was I. This song has great sentimental value for me, and rightfully so, because this song is bittersweet in tone anyway. Interestingly enough, the song begins with a group of clapping sounds that are gradually replaced by drums, and I can see how this relates to the change of a child into adulthood, which is the theme of this song.

There is amazing symbolism within this song that makes it incredible. “Strawberry Swing” refers to the singer and his childhood crush, and the titular strawberry is an adjective for the sweetness of youth and childhood. As an adult, the singer can look back and see how he once thought the world was beautiful, but now he sees it with nostalgic eyes and a desire to remember his childhood with only happiness.

The song reaches a crescendo with the realization, “It’s such a perfect day.” Here he remembers the ultimate brightness of his youth, but there is also an alarm clock-like sound in the background as he has this epiphany. Therefore, it is apparent that we hear is the sudden jolt back to reality for the singer, where his memory is like a dream he must wake up from.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H84ia4pR2PI


THE TRUTH by Carla Morrison (2012)

In high school, I decided to listen to Spanish music (and funnily enough I ended up studying abroad in Argentina), whenever I drove to and from school. In this way, I discovered Carla Morrison, a Mexican-American singer whose main themes include love, family, and pride for her culture. “The Truth” is ironically her only song in English, and it is one I will no doubt include in my wedding someday.

The song is very simplistic, with a consonant chords relying heavily on C major. Carla’s voice is sweet and feminine, and it is perfect against the backdrop of the principal instrument, the ukulele. With each additional chorus, Carla’s voice is layered by harmonized voices, and it is really beautiful, because it showcases her stunning vocals. I think that I love this song because it is relies more on Carla’s melodic voice rather than the combination of five or more instruments. Instead, this song is about Carla and her ukulele, and that leaves more emphasis on the song itself as well.

The beat is 4/4 and very rhythmic as well. It is easy to sway along to the beat and get lost in the beauty of the song, from its romantic lyrics to the sweet thrum of the ukulele. I really appreciate that this song is a lot more calming and simplistic than the others on the list, and it is one that I know I will like forever, even if it is not my favorite song of all time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jAp-CmIB_E


ATTENTION SEEKER by Etiquette (2015)

There are many reasons why this is my favorite song of all time, but I am content to discuss the three major elements that draw me into this one. First, the song’s tempo (or the speed at which a passage of music is played) is slow, casual, and airy. It is lackadaisical, almost as if someone is walking around a park, trying to escape the constant rhythm of the city. There is tempo rubato in the song during its most defining parts, where there is a temporary disregard of the strict speed, and I appreciate this because it is a song of thought, and it almost acts like a string of thoughts in the process.

Furthermore, this song’s melody is one that never grows old to me. Melody can be defined as a sequence of notes that are the principal part of harmonized music, and the melody in this song is incredible. The instruments used are incredible, but it is the melody that really delivers the song. Both the singer’s choice of lyrics and the melody of the music itself are brilliant, and when they are combined—it is magic to my ears.

As a person who loves words, I am drawn to this song because of its lyrical prowess. Lines like “Simple conversation is a land mine field / Tread lightly” are incredibly impressive to me, as I become enraptured by the power of the words in relation to the sweeping sensation of the music itself. For me personally, I appreciate songs with actual meaning, and this one is no exception to this rule.

“Attention Seeker” seeks to examine the condition of the human heart, of a person who wants nothing more than to be recognized by all those around him or her. The singer, on the other hand, promotes an ideology for individualism and freedom of expression, and I love to live by these principles. Add in a steady, calming beat, and there’s my favorite song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zHI34EOKE


LIFE HAPPENS by Ardyn (2017)

I only discovered this song a few months ago, but it is one that left me completely inspired, and that is a difficult task for a song to do. This, much like “Attention Seeker” is heavily influenced by both the music component and the lyrics of the singer, so that the combination of the melody and the lyrical meaning produce a single masterpiece.

“Life Happens” is bolstered by layers of sound, which includes multiple musical textures. For example, I really love that this song employs homophonic texture, which incorporates harmony and the combination of melody and chordal accompaniment. Furthermore, every time I listen to this song, I hear a different instrument—a different layer—that inspires me further, and makes me appreciate the time and effort dedicated to this song.

The song has a strong melody, where its succession of pitches creates a strong cadence later in the song. The resting pace has a medium tempo combined with a duple meter. However, it is the song’s ornamented melodies that really stir something emotional within me. The first chorus, there is a strong melody, but in each successive chorus, there is more and more, and it is apparent that Ardyn is a proponent for embellishment to the song as it continues on, which mirrors the song’s theme that life is complicated and difficult and has multiple layers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yDDgLKxwyM


JUNGLE by Tash Sultana (2017)

“Jungle” is a song that is inspired by both a powerful rhythm and a powerful melody. The song features glissando, the technique that uses a continuous slide up and down between notes, and this really bolsters the song in my mind.

The song is strong, and bolstered by its use of guitars and strong rhythm and beat, I can see colors like scarlet and electric blue and violet, in order to reflect the sharp, strong personality Tash Sultana uses for her song. I see images of lovers in a forest, and I can see how the song’s title of “Jungle” is exemplified through the layers of the song—but also from the song’s depth and emotion. Tash Sultana combines all three forces—lyrics, instruments, and melody—to produce a song that has true power and a true hold over me as I listen to it. It’s got traditional elements and untraditional elements, and I love that Tash Sultana is willing to take risks in her songs.

The song is one of my favorites, but it’s one that was a great part of my second semester experience in Argentina. I know that this is one of those songs that I will hear and will transport me straight back to Buenos Aires.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZvP7PwUAwM


Therefore, hopefully you will like some of these songs, depending on your taste in music. Also, the definition of “unpopular” can be kind of hard to define, but these songs aren’t ones you will normally hear on the trashy radio stations of today. (Sorry, was that too ruthless?)

Anyway, if you want to share some of your favorite songs with me, I will absolutely give them a listen. 🙂

Until next time,

-K.