28 October 2017

Your Art Isn't Just a Hobby. It's a Passion. // On Art, Social Validation, & Creation

One of the most irksome comments arising in conversations regarding art is someone's easy dismissal of my writing as "just a hobby," and I'm sure many artists who aspire to make a career out of it, whether in film or painting or whatever medium used, have encountered this at one time or another. There's a sense of belittlement and tinged awkwardness behind their expressions staring back, yet all one can do is nod politely and continue on.

It's frustrating to encounter these kinds of comments for one reason: it derives a person's artistic ability and presuming there isn't any way to become successful. Yes, the art world is known for it's plethora of individuals trying to make a name for themselves and make a living out of their work. Outside the art sphere, an even greater populace looks down condescendingly, thinking artists, the "doomed and starving," don't contribute anything to society, which is a red flag.

Art provides light, insight, imagination, perspective, causing those who immerse themselves into it to have a better understanding. Art transcends into tangible silk with numerous facets. Art is traversal, subversive, and visceral, getting voices out there who feel the need to express it when they can't vocally do it themselves.

Most importantly, art is whatever a person wants it to be.

The thoughts kept resonating in my head as my family and I drove back from The Homey Boardwalk Town and the future of senior year laid impending on my shoulders. The greater fear of life after high school just paralyzes me. Now, I know for some bloggers, their parents allow them to live with them right after graduating high school to pursue their passions, and they are incredibly lucky to have that chance. For numerous reasons I can't elaborate on, it's not an option for me. My parents did give me a choice to support me in my future writing endeavors including potentially studying it somewhat in at the post-secondary level as long as I have a job that would help sustain me.

Does this mean I'm giving up my dreams as a successful published author? Not at all. I do understand where my parents do come from and how much of a struggle it was to move over here as a first generation Filipino-American where back where my place of birth had only a fourth of the opportunities I have here, and I am going to study something I'm incredibly passionate about doing. Going this route doesn't mean I'm giving up on my dreams. Going to university to major in something that isn't writing based doesn't make me less of a writer.

On that same token, just because someone is ahead of you in the art world, bulked up by accolades and publishing deals, does not mean that you are any less of an artist capable of success. I have writing friends who have won competitions and have been endowed some of the highest levels of national awards there is for those under eighteen, whereas I've only been acknowledged for a couple awards at the regional level. Of course, they started much before I did be regardless, the lack of success now does not define that I stink. Comparison is an ugly poison, dear friend. Over the years I've learned focusing on one's own progress instead of comparison, however tempting it may be to succumb to its clutches, help make tremendous bounds in spirit and progress.

The key to success isn't a MFA in Creative Writing, or becoming a Poet Laureate, my friends, but passion. Passion is the key to all things: to dreams, to relationships (both platonic and otherwise), the drive towards success despite the hardships enveloping when all you want to do is lay in your bed and weep. There are days when the winds howl salt scalding into open wounds and all a person can hear are painful howls coming from their mouth, days when the darkness takes toll and convinces this dream won't be fulfilled. The art world is a hard business, friend. It's one of the most brutal because it takes something so dear to one's heart and opens it up for all the world to see and people may not like it.

So keep going. Keep creating. Keep smiling and laughing and crying and feeling. Keep going during this NaNoWriMo, during this time of college applications. Our passions are the most draining things, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, but like the feeling of satisfaction that rolls over in the end, it's always worth it.

Have you had similar thoughts? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Also, sign up for the Blogger Yearbook! Submissions are due by November 16th!

14 October 2017

Your Mental Health is Important.

Your mental health is important. Reiterating these words may appear pointless to some, but I cannot emphasize this enough. Your mental health is important.

These past several weeks: headaches throbbing due to the lack of water. Quiet coffee shop sessions featuring two introverts trying to start a conversation turned awkward. Four days in a row eating dinner skimpily. Lunches spent in solidarity without the company of friends. There are days I’d wake up feigning away exhaustion heavy as the feeling in my chest and just want the days to end as early as they’ve started. And yes, I’ve broke down crying multiple times. All I’ve been holding on to are the sparse moments with friends, snippets of volunteering and slam poetry and just laughing and crying and going through this perpetuating cycle.

Today, my footing has stepped into place. My college applications have been reigned in, I sent in scholarships, and perhaps I’m understanding what’s been going on in one of my toughest classes these past several weeks. I’ve talked to people fervently and visited friends, refracting different colors. My expressions are bright and iridescent so everyone can see the struggles. Here are reminders that’s good to be reminded every once in a while:

// It’s okay to say everything is not okay. Society tells us to dictate, to “suck it up, buttercup. Bottle it up.” I am telling you right now, this may be a great solution short term, but keeping your problems inhibited and not acknowledging them may make things worse. You have the choice of knowing what defines you, and what is weighing you down right now, know this does not. You have that choice. Let the armor fall, allow your skin to touch the air, however harsh it may be. Wrap yourself up in warm blankets fresh out of the dryer and just feel comfortable. Let go of the baggage. Go contact a friend or mentor and just hash out everything with them. 

// With that said, it’s okay to cry.I won’t rehash out this out, but if you’d like to hear my thoughts on the subject, there’s a post about it in the archives.

// There is no shame in having to drop events or itinerary to-dos. Come back and work at full capacity when you’re ready to do so. Doing things without your full best effort, while laudable, isn’t the best. In fact, just let all expectations go and just move through life allowing wiggle room to be surprised / shocked / out-of-schedule.

// Know that you are entitled to having free days to just relax. For me, those days consist of going out by myself to places with a lot of people, just basking in all of the chatter around me, and bringing something rejuvenating for me to do. That may be simple as visiting a book store or going out and walking around the woods, marveling at the leaves. Again, another post here.

// Lastly, take care of yourself. This is you. You may be fifteen or twenty, or perhaps an adult approaching their middle years. Maybe you’re even eight, but know this: you have only one body and one mind in this life, so take care of it. Don’t let stress overrun you. Drink water. Sleep well.

Perhaps a few may be tired about the same sayings coming out from my mouth, but they are universal. Struggles will always come around. I want to be real about the things that I go through. My classes may say ups equal the downs, and they’re right.

To days to be good to yourself.

30 September 2017

September Round Up // Awkward Teachers & Buttons

September's been a crazy month, friends! A ton of things have happened this month, and it's all flown by so fast, just as the slices of cake that's been devoured by my family for quite sometime. This a new series I'm going to try to do, mainly because these next several months will be busy and I won't be able to write as many full blog posts about recent events as I'd like, although I'll try my best.

// Went to homecoming for the first time. I may have slightly procrastinated in going to school dances, but a lot of the time legitimate reasons popped up, mostly revolving around musical theatre. It’s honestly super fun to have the Spanish exchange guys to go and scream in the middle of your dance circle because they think something cool is happening due to our group just chanting really loud with the music. What’s really cool is being crowded behind a ton of sweaty bodies all jumping (because face it, NO ONE knows how to dance) with everyone singing aloud to “Don’t Stop Believing.”

// Playing Scrabble against the Spanish kids and them (accidentally) thinking I’m a native speaker??? The day before they left (as they’re from Spain) converged with Mexico’s Independence Day, so those two events lead to having a board game day, where this guy and I played the game against two exchanged but with Spanish words. I hadn’t played the game since I was six, so I was slow, but I kept hashing out consistently these long Spanish words I knew to the point the two girls we played against kept shouting at me and I just sat there really awkward.

Friend two seconds before saying, "Turn your hair around like a hair commercial!"

// Taking senior photos! My friends and I decided to take photos on a limb so I dragged them to the forest near my house and we kept throwing leaves up into the air and jumping up unstable tree trunks on a curved hill. As for me, I wandered around different towns near by to take photos. In fact, the cover photo from my previous post is a shot of that.

// Squealing in front of the teachers??? On accident? I had been looking for something that day and was not feeling okay as I went through the halls looking in the ground. As I was heading back to third hour, three language teachers kept blocking the door. My science teacher last year came by walking with his coffee mug, and my brain, still out of it, automatically assumes his coffee mug is aimed at my face so I squeal and rush back inside. This was not the mortifying part, no: not only did I get a talk down about how I wasn’t scared of my former APES teacher, but the language arts teachers then start to mimic how I looked and sounded walking into the classroom in front of me, hands in their head, leg popped up bent and making weird squealing noises. Never again do I want to see something like that.

// Volunteering! I helped out at a civics fair in town using a button maker and I guess people are impressed by it. It’s incredibly awkward to go out and have so many local organizations and news reporters video recording you that I literally squeaked, “I am the mighty button maker.”

// My birthday. I’ve officially Lieseled? And it’s a weird feeling? I still can’t comprehend that I’m seventeen! I starting this blog when I was still twelve! Agh!

// Book festival! There’s going to be a much greater elaboration post on this, but I was tons of fun! I can’t spell any of the words from The Mortal Instruments right, but give me Harry Potter and I’ll rock against the competition.

// School! Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but my classes are posing a challenge and I can tell you I’m often more stressed than I am relaxing. The terrible jokes in Physics and Calc have been helping me out.

// A girl spilled her breakfast, mashed chocolate bananas, in the bathroom, and combine that with toilets and it looks like someone threw up, so I stood their gagging until I helped her clean up.

// Nothing much else, really...

Let's explore the woods, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

It’s been the number one factor why my posts have been so limited. I’ve been working on Cahira and the Ghosts plus some other projects for a time now and besides school and college, those projects are my main priority thus placing blogging on the back burner. I have some upcoming writing deadlines soon I’m exceptionally nervous about, so please bear with me? I’ll try to reply to comments by the end of this weekend though.

// There’s a playlist with some dated songs that’s been on repeat not because of nostalgia, but instead the calming feel that’s associated with studying. My favorite tracks are “Poet, Solider, King,” by the Oh Hellos and “1234” by Colony House. Other than that, I’ve listened to some older Bruno Mars, Lorde’s Melodrama and more people.

// Reread The Lunar Chronicles which I haven’t read since the end of my freshman year, and now I’m a senior??? LIFE GOES BY SO FAST.

// Watched You’ve Got Mail, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Jackie, La La Land, and Sherlock Holmes, a stark contrast to what I usually watch mostly because the past Fridays consisted of my grandmother and I being the only members present in our house while everyone else is out partying or watching a movie out. I can’t help but sing “Moon River” aloud because it’s such a good song! Also rewatched some of Stranger Things to prep for season two and started watching Friends for the first time.

I’ve solidified most of my universities. This month has been impeccably busy getting my footing with my classes, so a lot of the time really consisted on just focusing on that. Thank goodness I did a huge chunk of my college applications over the summer or I would have been melting under the mess of stress I’ve created for myself! I’ll be doing some Senior Sunday posts just revolving about what I’ve been doing for that (along with some weird things I’ve learned along the way) just to help with people who may be going through the process in the future so keep an eye out!

How is your September? Are you excited for fall to get into full blossom? Seniors, are you excited for these next several months (and if you're not, still contact me for a collab because I have ideas)? Is everyone ready for NaNoWriMo (which is in about a month, ahhh)?

23 September 2017

All the Writerly Things: Subjects to Help World Build

Hello, friends! Welcome to my first installment of a new series I'm doing, called All the Writerly Things. Once a month, around the third week, I will be posting anything and everything about writing, whether it may be snippets of my pieces or some advice accumulated over seven years of engaging in the craft.

I've been in school for about a month now, while some of you are just embarking on your first week and others interact with the daily norm. Learning is an integral part of the writing process, particularly when it comes to world building-- how heavy is a guillotine? What significance do moon cycles have to various cultures? World building is an immense task to drag upon as writers, and some days, it's rough and feels like you don't know anything.

As a senior, there isn't a lot of leeway on what kinds of classes I could take, but for all of you underclassmen and learners at heart, here are five subjects to study to help with the process of world building!

This was my favorite class my junior year because of the immense feeling of empowerment to change the world, but that is not the reason I've added this to the list. Environmental studies is the study of the natural world and how humans interact with it, so topics such as human population, water cycles, and peat are all touched upon which helps with world building for two reasons. First, there is a STRONG correlation between a country's economy and the well-being of the environment which explains why some countries in novels are better off with numerous resources or faltering due to over harvesting. Secondly, environmental science delves into how biomes and it's smaller counterparts are composed, such as where certain plants are more likely to grow and thrive, so once the basis has been established, it's easy to look through and say, "Oh, I want this desert to have these plants," which cuts research time a lot.

The study of the behavior and mind. I haven't taken a class on this, but I love to read up on Myers-Briggs types frequently as well as why some behavioral patterns exist. Everything hailing as high as how personalty and development occurs down to the seemingly small topics, like cognition and how people remember things all come down to this line. This is an important subject to study more for the villian's sake, to perhaps see why their backstory and motivation has formed them into the person they are. It's almost creepy, like picking away at their brains-- but then again, it is our job as writers to do so.

Just take any history and all history, where it be ancient civilizations, world history, or United States history and government. Across all branches there are fascinating tidbits of information scattered throughout that can help give quirks to your novel's world. Like psychology, study anthropology, the study of cultures. Be warned, though: cultural appropriation, or using elements from another culture outside of their original contexts, causes a lot of backlash, so be sure to do heavy research to avoid that at all costs.

I've yet to actually take this class next semester, but the study about how the market works, how individual consumers affect it, and the role of economy are all integral to help develop a sense of currency which in term can contribute to the main dilemma of a novel without it directly being involved. Suppose characters want change because the market is fluctuating. Maybe hard times have stricken, but the government isn't helping, causing animosity to form and tensions to rise.

Friends, I have spent the past four years of my life reading in English authors dismissed as archaic from society but pose interesting ideas: Aristotle. Socrates. Thoreau. Machiavelli. Buber. Rand. Out of all these authors, most could only name the first two right off the bat. Even thinking about their ideas give me a headache because of the complexity of them. Don't just read up on Philosophy to brainstorm darling quotes: it's good to study and look at different beliefs not to necessarily agree with them, but to see their perspective of things.

What other subjects would you include? Do you agree and disagree with the list?

16 September 2017

Peek Into My Story: Cahira & the Ghosts

After many weeks of disappearing into the deep recesses of life’s demands and secret projects, I have finally resurfaced and am back to present new posts. My absence was unplanned, and the only excuse I can give besides school and college prep is writing: essays, poems, short stories, spoken word, for both the likes of enjoyment and scholarships—my attention needed to divert there for reasons remaining ambiguous and personal.

Alas, today is the day where I finally get to share one of my (unconventional) projects with you!

Isn't this such a pretty aesthetic?

“What happens when a person has an out-of-body experience?” This thought first arose while browsing many medical articles on a whim. Numerous scientific explanations came up involving the senses and neurology, but slowly this nocturnal twist festered in my mind. For some time, I just let the thought ferment in my mind, until this story about a girl with a tape recorder rolled into my mind until it could no longer stay within the breaches of my brain and joined the page in matrimony.

As the final touches are surfacing, there isn’t an official set blurb nor an official title, expect the following:

Cahira and the Ghosts. A teenaged girl has an out-of-body experience and must return to her body while evading an eminent threat of ghosts feasting on spirits to strengthen their tethers to the mortal world.

Spirits: blue and living.

Aesthetic wise, it’s a clash between Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, the Bone series by Jeff Smith, Doug TenNapel's Ghostopolis, and Ghosts by Raina Telemeger—it deals with the subject of ghosts and spirits without getting too relatively dark or sinister but still has the threats and stakes of the story still incredibly heightened.

Meet the spirited protagonist, Cahira. She’s feisty when provoked and talkative to everyone she meets, but never allows a word in edge wise when conflicting opinions strike her. Unlike past characters, silence is not a comfort. Instead, she deems it as a burden that causes her most private affairs to surface, things she’d like to avoid at all costs. She has an obsession over pears and pairs, as well as has an affinity for a certain cassette tape (the question of why shall remain a mystery for the time being). Her extroversion will pose a challenge as keeping the vigorous energy up is a difficult task (which will make sense once the story is revealed).

I love not revealing anything!

Ghosts. Notice the coloration difference?

The differentiation between spirits and ghosts are integral to understand the story. Spirits are the living who have an out-of-body experience. They can remain out of their bodies for some time and walk around, but too prolonged and consequences arise. Ghosts are those who have not accepted they are deceased and make the return to the body difficult by prowling on spirits. The only shared qualities are their resistance to light and the fact that they cannot hurt nor physically touch those in the land of the living.

Who are they? How do they play into the story? If only you knew what I'm about ready to do to them... *insert evil laugh*

Of course, there are a few side characters, but despite the small ensemble, the personalities are well-developed: the boy with the piano. The girl who always complains. The young man with clear spectacles. Each of these descriptions do not begin to envelop the essence of each character, but they will make an appearance, and they will listen.

I did make a (slightly terrible) teaser trailer, which can all be found down below.

Yes, there is a date when this will be released: November 3rd! I’ve never released a full-story for the public to hear, so this will be a first! More details can be accessed will be available on the blog once more information is solidified. If you're wondering what platform it'll be on, do not worry. If you've paid attention and heard what I've said, then the answer should be clear.

Have you ever tried to write in a different genre? Are you excited for Cahira & the Ghosts? What have you been up to recently in the blogging world? Can you guess where to access the story? (If you do, brownie points and points for your Hogwarts house!)

30 August 2017

Ensemble // Hundred Word Challenge

Word limits are difficult. The challenge of limiting yourself to certain constraints in an art form feels tight, but as my good friend Rachel said one time, it also helps to focus on the important aspects of a memory or a certain scene, and today, I wanted to tackle this one-hundred word memory prompt, seeing that I'm missing theatre a bit more than usual.

“Diva.” Our theatre director initiates the game, singing a song where lyrics fall out of everyone’s lips but my own, an unfamiliarity I’d grown accustomed to but could never shake away. Songs about a wealthy man, minutes in a year, and Frozen blared.

I wanted to enter in, and quietly, I start thinking about the songs and how they related.

Think. "I wanna be a billionaire, so freaking bad..."

Everyone surrounding in our make-shift stared at this ensemble voice belting 2009 Bruno Mars. Arms rise, grappling sepia’s tinged air. Everyone bounced to the rapping and harmonies and—

We sing.

Will you take up this challenge to write a memory exactly one hundred words, nothing more or less? How's school been lately or the remainder? You have a little over a month to sign up for the yearbook! Would you guys be interested in seeing a mini-senior series?

p.s. I need to focus on AP Calc BC and AP Physics; everything has been okay except editing blog posts which  and replying to comments on the blog, so please be patient in that aspect! I'll also be changing up my schedule to post at least once during the weekend at a minimum. Let's see how this works!

22 August 2017

Three Ways Reading Your Writing Aloud Improves Your Craft

As a way to get myself down into full-on writing mode since essays and competitions are calling out to me, I've been listening to a ton of performed pieces online.

Nothing is better at reading than how we read in our heads, and our introverted selves knows this well. Everything is perfectly intonated without flaws, but getting it out verbally is another story. Why would anyone want to read their writing out loud? The effort doesn't appear worth it. But it is! Here's how.

This is the most glaringly obvious reason to read your work aloud. No matter how many times one goes through their document to hunt down all of those typos and misconceptions that hadn't been cleared up before, not all of them will get cleared up in one sitting. I'm not relaying either that this method is always the most effective way for simple line edits involving punctuation-- words may soon turn into mush and then mouths just rattle on until spittle begins to form at the cress. Reading your work out loud for editing and revising purposes demands full attention, but it is more effective than having a computer read off your work and perhaps not catch that missing comma within quotes.

Reading your work out loud does point out areas of improvement that may go unnoticed. Maybe some sentences are wonky in word structure. Perhaps the color of a silk blanket changed to blue, when it had been established green two pages prior, and maybe this blanket ends up causing an entire village to perish because it had been riddled with a terrible virus strain and investigators in the story are trying to find the blanket's origins from two villages that make different silk colors.

Sure, a voice reader produced by a Kindle reader or a computer can easily do these things. Why be bothered with doing something that sounds so tedious? However, it shouldn't be always relied upon, as it would omit the next two important points I'm about to tell you, which are very much important and you can't receive from a computer dialect.

There are books with some incredibly lyrical writing that can draw you in right away, sucking you into the world the author has created. The way their writing wanes and ebbs along the lines, the poetic pauses and the faint breath before starting another sentence. How can one possible get on that level? It's hard to figure out, but the answer lies in understanding rhythm.

While reading your writing aloud, it's easy to find common fallbacks, which ties in to the previous point. Skews of long sentence after long sentence wraps the pages and it drags on. Some adjectives (particularly those dressed at the ends with -ly) feel like they bog down the quality of the piece because the word pacing is slightly off. The main thing to do is to one, consider what scene is on the page, and two, understand the atmosphere in that moment of the book.

For example, if a scene encompasses characters chased out of a forbidden area, use short sentences. Instead of saying, "They stopped to catch their breath," show them doing that by how the sentences are written! It doesn't need to be written down because it's presented without having to be verbose. Make the sentences short and snippy, and gradually build length as they regain their breath and their sense of panic is arising again.

Another example is describing the ocean on a warm sunny evening. It contrasts tonally with the chase scene. Instead of necessarily saying, "The ocean rose and fell," allow the sentences and the descriptions to rise and fall by the strength of the words being used by saying something like, "'El mar, mija,' my grandmother would say. 'El mar.' Her dying words came at a light whisper as foam kissed my barren toes in soft greeting. The waves retreated back to the heart of this vast sea where, like abuela, all living things returned to at the end."

As the advice goes, "Show, don't tell... balance these two aspects out" This is an aspect of that. It takes years practicing this. It's something I've focused on in my writing a lot, and even after writing for over seven years, it's something that I still work on. But, even if there is only a slight understanding on rhythm in the beginning, so much improvement will occur the more this gets delved into and the more it's understood.

Twelve-year-old me despised presentation time at her writing group, for one good reason: everyone read their pieces in a monotone voice, which irked her so much that she tried not to flinch when the next person got up and began reading. Writing is meant to evoke emotion and feeling, even if the piece isn't classified as "deep." Stories are meant to evoke emotion. They're supposed to make you feel trepidation, despair, zealousness-- the feelings a character feels-- among many things. Even if the words are beautiful, if the presentation isn't great, people will automatically start tuning out.

Getting to the point where your voice conveys what's written melodically is hard, and there's only two ways to do just that. One, listen to a ton of written pieces being performed. Go onto YouTube and search up Spoken Word videos or go to an Open Mic night at your cafĂ© or library. Watching videos and listening to writers perform has actually made me grasp a better sense of how to be sensitive with my pieces and my craft as a whole. Even if one's sole works are primarily novels, one still learns a lot because the rhythm in writing is much easier to listen to. If listening isn't easy to concentrate on, find a transcript or put on subtitles and just listen.

Secondly, read your writing aloud. Understand how each sentence should sound. Recognize what the words are saying and how it should be conveyed when said aloud. Do the same for other works by published authors-- study their poetry and prose, take notes and record yourself saying their work out loud. Mastering this will result in a much better understanding of what your piece is saying, and what you're trying to say. This all seems very tedious, from hind sight-- but who ever said writing is easy?

Do you ever read your writing aloud? What are some authors or poet slammers you enjoy listening to because of the way they read their pieces? What other kinds of writing advice posts should I hit on?

18 August 2017

It's Time to Admit I Have a Fear.

I've never told anyone outside of my immediate family I blog.

For those unfamiliar with my four and a half years of blogging journey: this is my first blog. I used to write under a nom de plume for awhile for the sake of privacy and the freedom of writing whatever I want, and over the years I've accumulated so much confidence as a writer and as a person. It wasn't until this year that I revealed my actual name and stepped into the limelight, and while I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished both in and out of the online world, this suffocating feeling of revealing the blogging part of myself, an aspect I've coddled away from the blogging world for almost five years, downright terrifies me.

There have been close calls over the years. A group of girls in middle school kept teasing me over the blog, and long story short, they dropped it after some time. This is most likely where my fear of blog sharing stems from. My huge group of friends also revealed they knew I blogged since my browser opened up to Blogger ninety percent of the time, and after many months trying to bog me down with the URL and getting no response, they've moved on. People from my math class ask where I publish my writing and I stay lip sealed. I'd always reply Blogger is used for coding when prompted to defend myself, but this secret of mine had been kept under wraps, and I'm all right with this arrangement.

Senior year is coming up, and perhaps younger me is saying, "Wow! You should just tell everyone you blog! They'll love it! It'll be all smiles and happily ever after!"

It's sweet and hopeful, and in some ways I am still the optimistic I was five years ago, but if I had to undergo this situation realistically with that optimism... Probably not.

As artists, there's the stigma of being afraid to share what we create with others simply for the fear of being judged. In fact,  judgement is the main benefactor when narrowing down the basis of most fears. "What if this is gets negative responses? What if people say that I suck and should burn all of my manuscripts?" Maybe not to the extent of that second one (because that's just a horrible troll looking for someone to react), but like all creators on the art or technical sides of the spectrum, fear is okay. Fear is inevitably part of the process. A ton of authors say once a book is published, it's not in their hands anymore, but the people's, and for some that is just shocking.

What's not okay is to expect the world the world to be perfect and treat the art we create with no ounce of malice armed towards ourselves when exposed to a larger audience. Blogging is considered an odd thing to do; if a person says they blogs, many automatically assume Tumblr and give weird looks which is not the case. I've submitted so many small pieces to various competitions and the like only to receive rejection letters, and this is only in the writing sense. Misunderstandings and confusion have enveloped much of my high school life to the point of just wanting to bundle up in bed and just hash it all out in writing, and while I acknowledge and accept this fear is there, it's not something I want to always face straight on.

The good news: ours fears can be worked on.

There have been times when I may have slipped in telling others about this little abode of mine I've created on the Internet. I've told two friends of mine at a writing conference, back when this blog was doused in a hot pink color scheme at the end of 2015, and accidentally blurted out the fact just recently in amidst of twenty other people I'd only recently been acquainted with at a meeting this past summer. Unlike the (unfortunate) scenario involving the three girls in middle school, the response was somewhat okay.

I still brace myself for negative comments, because I'll know they'll come racking in like a bulldozer. Even after this post years down the line this will still be something I will still need to work on, because some struggles are just hard to make go away entirely and getting to the point when they're fully "conquered" isn't a linear process. Some months things will get better only to falter negatively, then slowly hover at a bearable mark. To those dear friends whose limbs are immobilized, know that while this battle is daunting, we must learn to fight off the fears in my mind because we are the ones who must tame them, whether it be small the fear of staring into a person's eyes feeling vulnerable or big, like the fear of public speaking.

I am putting on thick skin. My courage has some bounds, and that is okay; I've decided to impart the info about my blog to close, trustworthy friends, the link and all, and whether or not they decide to read it is all up to them.

To real-life friends redirected to this post that have never seen this before: Hello! I hope you guys understand the reasons why I've never actually said anything about this little corner of mine where I write, and yes, this is also the reason why I have to stop us from eating whenever there is good food or there's a pretty plant in the garden that has no shade. Hopefully you don't mind my musings, and perhaps stay awhile?
Have you ever told anyone about your blog? How do you deal with the fear of negativity attacking your art? I start school on Monday-- when are you heading back to school? Do you like the new blog design and the mostly updated pages? Also, have you signed up for the yearbook yet?

14 August 2017

The Homey Boardwalk Town

 The mountains on the drive to are ginormous-- just look at the telephone poles.

Looking out to the river at the rest stop. 

Hello, everyone! Recently, my family did one of the most uncharacteristic things ever-- take a last minute trip to a town over three hundred miles away from where we lived. I remember doing some online research one Saturday evening when my parents announced us leaving the following day for the overnight trip, prompting me to find the charger for my cameras and scrambling to download some episodes of Downton Abbey on my phone in case the trip droned on. Just as a small note: this town is the southern most town within our region of the state that's reachable by car. 

On Sunday morning, my family packed ourselves into the car with a day's worth of amenities and a cooler, and set off. The episodes I downloaded went unnoticed on the way to the town. It had been over five years since my family drove that many miles away. All I could do was watch as the coastline traded in for rocky shrubbery, to mountainous terrain, all the way down to picket branches. We passed by the fishing and clam beaches and proceeded to drive an additional hour just absorbing in the volcanoes and glaciers, with eighties songs, such as "It's Just a Fantasy" and "99 Luftballoons" playing in the background.

 One (of four) dormant volcanoes that are visible on the drive to the town.

 This particularly strand of boardwalk had a bubble blowing station. A bubble blowing station!

 A bike.

 Sadly, we didn't have a campfire during the trip.

Yes, "How Far I'll Go" actually is appropriate to sing when looking through the door... 

 All of the shops are this cute on the inside.

One of the interesting aspects of the town is the small long strip of land formed millions of years ago due to several geological features seceding away. The road goes on for about five to seven miles, and lined all around the edges are a ton of boardwalk shops. At first, we didn't know how long the strip actually went-- we only saw one strand of boardwalk and decided to explore it for a bit, as our parents were trying to look for a specific soap brand from the area. All of the buildings look cool, even the tattoo shop, and it just fit perfectly! The buildings all had large windows that looked out to the bodies of water as well as the ocean dwellers that lurked near the coastline.

This town has its own unique charm-- I feel like it's one of those places where the locals know each other very well and are super sweet. It's definitely the kind of town that I'd love to host the Blogger Party at. Somehow, the area has made fishing gear, painted signs, and flowers combined all together visually appealing. Every angle had a different color, and if a certain sign or picture was just a dark color, the blue and green background made it pop! Tons of people crowded the roads as they went from store to store, whether it be one of many seafood eateries, a knapsack store with a wood-wall interior and bags hanging from the ceiling, or a gift shop selling super sassy coin purses. Pretty much just imagine the first little bit of "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast, and this describes how the town is.

 There are many flags that go around the docks, and each one has their own symbol for something. I forgot what this one represented, though!

 Painted signs are all over the place.

 Some fishing equipment.

Wooden carved fish! It's about five feet tall. 

 I haven't had clam chowder in forever and this bread bowl was just delicious! It's probably because the clams have been freshly caught.

If driving constantly is difficult, rent some bikes! There were over fifty people getting around the area with them. Just be sure to pay attention to the long road where cars are constantly going by! 

 How did this log get to an upright position, and why? Some questions of the town can never be answered...

 Some beach houses on the edge of the area.

 People walking along the beach.

 Hiding away from the immense heat the sun has to offer.

 The dock here is twice as big as the nautical town, but like many towns bordering the coast, the main livelyhood involves fishing.

 There weren't any checkers or chess pieces available! It's a pity, too-- my brother and I had to wait at this table as our parents asked for directions. My brother was about ready to pluck off some flower petals still on their stems to use as checkers pieces and I was ready to scream out. Don't kill the span of flowers-- that's just cruel.

 The wind slowly caresses the wild grass.

 My family watched people cut some fish. The net and the rotten piece on the top left corner is supposed to ward off any wildlife, particularly seagulls and bears.

 Unlike the wooden fish, these ones are real and freshly caught, so the smell reeked!

 There are so many animal wooden windmills!

 Flower beds border the edge of the boardwalks.

 A dock station featuring some private and charter boats.

 Some wildflowers!

 Some other wildflowers-- all of the wildlife is just so lively!

 "She sells sea shells by the sea shore!" Still can't say that tongue twister...

Seagulls kept squawking-- I was tempted to burst out singing The Seagull Song. 

 I love the ocean!

 This eatery is adorable-- it has an upstairs floor that's awfully reminiscent of a tiny house.

This is under the small shack from the picture above. 

 Wood-stoved pizza, friends. Wood-stoved. The one pictured above is also vegetarian friendly (no meat)!

 A photo of the abandoned ship graveyard, where boats that are no longer in use go to pass, for a lack of a better word. 

The second day, dark overcast clouds loomed over head, so my family and I ended up going over to visit a ton of museums and other areas. One of my favorite places I ended up spotting is the boat graveyard, where all of the boats that are no longer in use go over and just lay. It's kind of creepy, but it's neat to look at the progression of what boats looked like five or ten years ago. For example, one of the boats (the brown large one pictured above) has a living space on the inside-- there are still books and vinyls covering the windows.

On the drive back, we passed by all the lakes and rivers again. We probably drove over fifteen of them, which is an insane number, and that doesn't even include the ocean that borders the left right when driving north! I brainstormed fifteen blog post ideas and drafted a few, which should last me the remainder of the year, took photos of the lakes, and then watched a few episodes of Downton Abbey. It was bliss.

 There are some other nearby towns, but they're only accessible by boat or plane.

 Some clay cups shown at a museum.

 This painting is meant to symbolize an ocean, and it's made by watercolor and tide book pages.

One of the many lakes on the drive back home.

Have you ever visited a boat graveyard? What are some qualities you like about small towns? Do you like wood-stoved pizza? Also, be sure to sign up for the yearbook, friends!