A blog post in which I geek out

My obsession with British literature and (if I’m honest) all things British has not ended. And probably never will. I’m okay with that. So, maybe you’re¬†experiencing a rainy/snowy(ish)/cold Saturday afternoon and have no pressing plans. For those of you Beautiful People who want something wonderful to watch – based on some fabulous classic literature of course – here’s a few suggestions. Note: hot cinnamon tea and a kitten-with-blue-eyes-who-enjoys-snuggling are required.

1) Tess of the D’Urbervilles. This one will make you CRY. But the tears are worth it. Also, the leads are amazing actors and happen to be completely lovely.

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2) North and South. This miniseries is complex and utterly lovely. On one level it’s a moving love story, and on the other, it’s a fascinating look at the differences between the northern and southern parts of England.

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3) Bleak House. A Dickens novel many might not be familiar with, this weird, ridiculous, and mysterious miniseries is definitely worth a watch.

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4) Little Dorrit. I’m saving this one for last because it’s just SO FREAKIN GOOD. This Dickens story is not very well-known, but I actually think it’s one of his best. Such a beautiful, moving story.

Also…each of these miniseries has stunning music. ūüôā Such a plus.

Enjoy an afternoon wishing you were British, Lovelies.

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A blog post in which I declare

Beautiful People. It happened again.

Another work of mine is to be published! ūüôā

This time, instead of a short story, it’s a poem entitled “the Jungle Inhabitants”.

It’s one of those moments where I can’t even really freak out because I can’t comprehend that it’s happening.

So instead of making this post into some boastful, “YAY ME!” silliness, I just want to talk about the kind of writing that moves me and what I strive¬†to do more in my own writing.

~¬†Write what you know. When I used to hear people say “write what you know” I don’t think I took it as seriously as I do now. But it’s so true. Don’t ever try to force something that isn’t there. Absorb what you see happening in your own life and the world around you and write about that. Even my fantasy trilogy that I am working on has seeped out of my brain very naturally. It feels like a huge part of me. I don’t want to write a story that means nothing to me because then, well…what’s the point of writing anymore? Don’t be that person who writes a cliched story just because you think it will sell.

~ Write about people. These are my very favorite kind of stories… the ones that dive into people’s souls and take an intimate look into why they do what they do. Every single human being puts on a facade in some fashion or other. But exploring that, exploring the meaning and purpose behind decisions and feelings is so vast and wondrous because it means something.

~ Write with purpose. Never write just because. In choral music, we often talk about the line of music shifting, growing, going somewhere. That is what stories have to accomplish¬†as well: a sense of movement.¬†Even if you’re writing the very darkest kind of story, one full of grief and horribleness, make it have a purpose. Make every dark moment that you put your readers through have a point, have a beautiful, moving end.

~ Write with complexity. Life is complex. It’s not often black or white. There’s so much gray. So write about that. Stories should be a reflection of life, and since life is so incredibly magical and beautiful, shouldn’t our stories be also?

I long ago realized that I am never going to be able to shut off my writer’s brain. It’s always there, moving, whispering, pulling at bits of me, at glimmers of another world, and demanding that I write them down. This is one of my many goals, Beautiful People: I want to write in such a way that I move, not only other readers, but myself. If I have truly moved myself then I know, I know, what I’m writing about is¬†real.

 

A blog post in which I (jokingly) rant

Today I’ve decided to write about something completely lighthearted:¬†general aspects¬†of¬†some books that “annoy” me.

Annoy = really? you couldn’t do anything else, author? but why is this happening? what? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

1) Love triangles. Disclaimer: I love romantic comedies just like anybody else. I enjoy reading stories with well-written romance. And if I had to choose a team when I read The Hunger Games trilogy, for example, it would have been Team Peeta all the way.

However.

As I grew up and noticed people’s relationships around me and continued reading more literature, I came to the realization that love triangles literally make no sense. A sensible girl who we are rooting for has to choose between Guy A or Guy B. Both are equally attractive. OBVS. Said girl has always been in love with Guy A, yet when Guy B shows up, she is torn. She continues to stick with Guy A, yet throughout most of the story her interactions¬†are with Guy B. At the end, she realizes she does not love – and never (WHAT?!) loved – Guy A, and chooses¬†lucky¬†Guy B.

So, yes…love triangles. Because no girl can actually end up with the original guy she picked.

LOVE triangle of doom

 

2) Unconvincing villains. This one really sticks out to me in fantasy literature. An evil king wants to take over the world because LIFE GOALS.

Um, is there any chance we can have some back history? Why is he so interested in taking over the world? What does he do on a day-to-day basis, or does controlling the empire also control his every thought? Is it possible that he possesses any kind of clothing besides black cloaks? (Apparently not). But we do know that he rides a black horse, has an evil laugh, speaks with his disturbing voice, and wears a creepy smile.

*Any other details deemed unnecessary.*

Got it.

So, yes…unconvincing villains. Because no character development = the most interesting character ever NOT.

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3) Unsatisfying endings. I’m not talking about subtlety, leaving little things unfinished for readers to ponder over. I am all for that.

But seriously. I have been living LIFE with these characters, and at the end I get nothing? No resolution of any sort? No answers for the million questions you brought up and did nothing with?

So, yes…unsatisfying endings. Because the whole point of reading a story is to feel completely unsatisfied at the end.

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4) Stock characters. This is one I can really relate to as an aspiring author. It’s so easy to write stock characters. They are flat and don’t change, so basically they are the easiest ones to write ever. But if authors are going to take time to create¬†characters, they should take the time to – oh, I don’t know – write them as real people?

So, yes…stock characters. Because at least you know I won’t care about them at all.

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I hope you enjoyed my kind-of-sort-of…okay-they-were-snarky thoughts. What pet peeves do you have about literature, Beautiful People? ūüôā

 

 

A blog post in which I strive to be more

Before I get to the heart of what I want to speak about today, here’s a few random updates from my week:

Performing with this choir always feels like a piece of heaven on earth. No exaggeration. Music-making with these incredible human beings is one of the biggest joys of my life.

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Here’s a little peek at where I’ll be traveling to this semester. I wish I could take all my Beautiful People with me!

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I’m still reading Wonder, and am in crazy book-love with this story. Read it, read it, read it.

Also, thanks to my friend Sarah, I have become obsessed with this soundtrack:

You can check out Sarah’s lovely blog here:¬†https://lovesarahashley.wordpress.com

Regina Spektor is my jam here recently. I love these two songs by her!

Anyway. I’ll try to keep my rambling under control today. Emphasis on “try”.

Here’s what’s on my mind, Darlings…

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how incredibly blessed I am. Really. God has given me so many beautiful opportunities. And while that’s wonderful and humbling, it also completely terrifies me at times. I don’t want to waste a moment, a day, an opportunity.

I don’t want to waste my life.

I am a complete believer¬†in you¬†discovering what YOU¬†are good at and passionately following that path, wherever it takes you. People are sometimes critical of my choice¬†to be a music major. Yes, I won’t be making a ton of money. Yes, it’s not the most glamorous job in the world. But working with high schoolers each day, seeing their passion for choral music, and uniting with¬†them in that is how I want to spend my life.

There’s nothing wrong with an office job, crunching numbers, etc. But it’s not for me.

I don’t believe blessings should remain contained. I constantly feel the need to use whatever God has placed in my life. Whether it’s talents or any other kind of blessing, really, how can you use those gifts to bless others? To make a difference? To touch someone’s life, even in a seemingly insignificant way?

I don’t think I should ever be fully “content” in my life. By that I simply mean…I always want to strive to do more. Be more. Live more.

It’s hard, Beautiful People. It’s scary. It’s hard.

I’ve gone through disappointing things in my life. We all have. Times where I thought, This is too hard. I can’t do this. I can’t.

But by God’s beautiful grace and immeasurable love, I can.

I’ve discovered in my life…thus far…that some of the scariest, toughest things that I’ve done have resulted in¬†some of the most rewarding things/parts of my life. But the thing is…I had to do them.

Don’t be that person who sits tucked up inside all day watching Netflix and dreaming of goals they aren’t actually willing to pursue.

That’s not okay. It’s not enough.

You need to do more.

I need to do more.

Every day. Every moment. Strive for that. Strive to live an awfully big adventure.

A blog post in which I contemplate

I know, Beautiful People, I know. I didn’t write to you yesterday. ūüė¶

But I am making up for that by writing to you today! ūüôā

Some things I have been contemplating recently:

~ How completely and utterly lovely the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio is. I have just started reading it as an assignment in my Literature for Children class, and I am already in book-love. The cover. The title. The story itself.

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~ How to act drunk. Yes, you read that right. ūüôā My character in the opera this semester is a drunken “low-life”, and I basically remain¬†on stage for the entire opera. FUN STUFF.

~ Moving action along when I’m working on a story. It’s hard. I repeat: it’s hard. I love lingering over long conversations and character-revealing moments…too much sometimes.¬†I’m thankful to always find gorgeous, lush soundtracks for listening pleasure¬†as I write. Here’s a few selections from what I’ve been listening to recently…

It’s beautiful. That is all.

This song makes me want to fly to a magical world and never come back.

Can we just listen to this and collectively weep at its beauty?

As I sit hear looking at my tiny white lights and van Gogh’s gorgeous painting, I’m thinking about snow, stars, stories, school, and the joy – the absolute JOY – of living.

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I think that’s what I contemplate most of all. ‚̧

 

A blog post in which I ramble extensively

Hello, my Beautiful People.

I hope your lives are going wonderfully.

I hope you are loving this new year and all the adventures it holds in anticipation for you.

My first week back at school has been insane, which I expected, and it also has been completely wonderful, which I hoped for. Fun things that I learned this week include, but are not limited to…

~ Learning new conducting patterns.

~ New choral pieces.

~ Practicing a mid-Atlantic accent for opera. (No…I did not know what that was a week ago.)

~ New repertoire. Related: I am in love with my music.

~ Choral performance.

~ Preparing for a trip to Europe(!!!!!!!!)

~ BUT. I must say that my Literature for Children class might be one of my favorite surprises of this past week! We are reading some completely beautiful books, many of which I am unfamiliar with. I will post my favorites once I get further into the semester.

~ I also finished writing a poem entitled “the Jungle Inhabitants”. Yay for completing projects! ūüôā

~ I am still FREAKING OUT over the fact that I am going to be a published author. *starry eyes*   *is this real life?*

I realize this blog post basically had no structure or purpose, but I do hope you enjoyed these random updates from my week. ūüėČ What have you been writing or reading lately?

Enjoy your week, Darlings. Do something fun and fabulous…and completely Wanderer-approved. ‚̧

A blog post in which…

I make an announcement.

One of my short stories is going to be published.

Yes, Beautiful People, it’s true. ūüôā

I still can’t believe it. I still feel like my hands are shaking.

Wait…that’s because they are. ūüėČ

This will be the first work I have ever gotten published! It’s entitled when Girl meets Boy and centers around a girl and boy working on a school project together. I wrote it over Christmas break and decided to toy with the whole idea of “love at first sight”. The story¬†will be released in an online-based magazine as part of their January/February issue.

I was often sentimental about the¬†first work that I wanted published. I often dreamed, in past years, that my fantasy trilogy would be published first – the trilogy¬†that I am still currently working on. It really wasn’t until I got to college that I realized it’s okay to start “small”. Publish a short story in a not-extremely-glamorous magazine.

But I love this story. So much. And I am so thrilled that it’s the first one I will ever publish (and hopefully not the last!)¬†It’s very short, around 1300 words, but captures exactly what I wanted to say about this nameless boy and this nameless girl.

I don’t share this information to be like…YEAH ME…I’M AWESOME. Because, clearly, that’s not the case. Instead, I hope this encourages you to keep writing, Darlings. To keep GOING¬†in whatever path you’re trying to pursue in life. I’ve been rejected before in the writing world. I know what it feels like. Rejection is not only COMPLETELY¬†okay, but also a necessary part of life. Don’t ever let it defeat you. Let it push you forward, on. To the next step. The next goal.

The next story.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for reading. ‚̧