Thursday, July 17, 2014

calling all antagonists...

I admit it. I have a problem.

I have a very large weakness for villains. Very large as in probably the size of Texas. Or Alaska. Or Russia. Probably Russia.

Russia says hi.

Anyways...I have recently run into a conundrum. My sprawling mess that I have so lovingly entitled the great ones and the general has no tangible villain. No Loki, no Sauron, no Emperor Zurg...and that frustrates me. Because I love writing villains. Case in point: my last big WIP Seeker, which had a whopping 3 villains. I was in heaven (not to mention I was kinda in love with Elias, my big bad guy who really wanted to be good but understand why. Yeah. It was kind of a big deal.) In my NaNoWriMo project from 2012 The Girl Who Time Forgot, my villain was in disguise and it was confusing but really fun to write and writing Sander really stretched my mind.

But in the great ones...there is no obvious (at least to me) villain.

 I always feel so squirmy putting "man versus himself" as the conflict. It's such a broad phrase. What is it about himself that this person is fighting? Or is he even fighting? Is it more of a struggle, a hit and run, or is there no resistance at all? Is he a person who struggles with a vice or a sin that keeps reoccurring in his life? Or is it a fault of his that he's dealing with? There are too many villainous options when it comes to "man versus himself."

I'm a person who likes to have a definite villain (if that isn't obvious yet). So the great ones and I have been wrestling with this. And so I have come to this decision.

The antagonist of the great ones and the general is life in general.

All three of my main-ish characters (Sam and Colt don't count as main characters technically--Colt especially--but I've grown to love them too much to neglect them of this) have their own faults and struggles. They all grow and change over the course of the story--at least, I hope they do.

Matt doesn't want to live a life without his brother.

Sam is looking for an escape.

And all Colt wants is for things to go back to the way they were.

Life itself keeping these things from them. All the bumps and curves, the rainbows and the thunderclouds...all these things keep my three lovelies away from reaching what they want. Can they beat life's designs?

Pssh. Only a stupid person would try that.

Oh wait...

Maybe...just maybe, their goals change. Maybe they grow a little. Maybe, instead of being the villain, life becomes more of an ally.

I don't know what to call this type of conflict. It feels like a mix between "man versus the world" and "man versus God." Maybe I'll just stick to calling it "man versus life." It's simpler that way.

Do you ever struggle with too few (or too many!) villains? Do you stick to the man versus conflict formula or do you have other techniques? I'd love to hear about them!

Happy Thursday, everybody!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

a question and an answer: what was supposed to be an interview and failed

My chair creaks as I settled into it. I habitually rubbed the satin soft wood of my desk and smiled at the young man seated across from me. "How are you doing, Colton?" I asked, fully aware that the fact that he's come to visit me means something is stirring around in his head.

The boy had cut his hair in the time since we last saw each other--I grimaced for him. He'd also gained some weight, something I'd never imagined Colt to be capable of doing. There were a few more smile wrinkles by his mouth and his forehead had more creases in it than before, but the thing I noticed the moment he stepped into my darkened office was his eyes.

Colton's eyes were never sad. They always had some light to them, some spark. If eyeballs could have a skip to their step, those would be Colt's. But these eyes...there was no spark or laughter in them. His entire face look tired and lifeless. He looked me straight in the eyes and for the first time since I met him, I didn't feel like smiling. "What's wrong?" quivered on the tip of my tongue, but I bit it back, knowing anything and everything that he said should come on his own schedule, not mine.

He had his hands in front of him, fingers laced tightly together, elbows on his holey jean knees. I waited, and I watched.

He cracked his index fingers and sat up.

"It's been six months."

I raised my eyebrows. "Excuse me?" I knew exactly what he meant, but I wanted him to tell me. That was a therapist job, right? To listen?

"Since Jonathon kil--died."

I nodded. "Six months to the day, yes." I subtly marked on my clipboard that he still hesitated to mention the suicide. Just like he had for the past six months.

He fake-rolled his shoulders to cover his squirming. "...Matt's an even bigger mess than before."

Ah, Matt. The illusive twin of whom I'd heard so much about I sometimes forgot he wasn't even one of my patients. The Matt who was located in the epicenter of Colt's distress.

"Matt isn't the one who came to my office wanting to talk," I said gently. "You are."

"Yeah, but..." He went into "figure-four" position: crossing one ankle over onto his other knee and grabbing his leg with both hands. Interesting. He wanted to talk, but he was also acting closed off, like he was conflicted.

I made another note on the clipboard.

"But..." I repeated, breaking my silence rule for once.

"But I think Matt seriously need help now."

I raised an eyebrow. He'd never been bold enough to say that out loud before; that meant something big must've happened, thus explaining why Colton was warming a chair he hadn't sat in in a month or so. If Matt was struggling, it meant Colt was too.

I leaned forward, brushing my hair out of my eyes. I made sure to keep eye contact. "Matt has a therapist, Colton. He goes to see her regularly. Remember? We established this on day one."

"I know, I know," he said. "But he's not getting better, he's only getting worse. We had our graduation the other day, you know?" I nodded. I'd had to miss it because of a more pressing appointment, but I'd seen the invitation in the mail. "Well...I kind of gave a speech."

My eyebrows arched again. "Really?" That wasn't something he or his mother had mentioned... "Willingly?"

He nodded slightly, looking down now. "They wanted to give Jon some sort of memorial in the ceremony, for the family's sake. I volunteered to talk, because I knew I would do it like Matt and Jon would want it--no sappiness, no stupid emotional crap. I think Matt liked it. He was nodding at me while I talked, at least." He smiled a little. "It was the happiest I'd seen him in a crazy long time. Since before the accident, actually. But then..." here his smile slipped away. "Then the principal decided on his own that it would be oh so meaningful for Matt himself to give a speech on the spot--"

"He didn't!" I gasped.

"--and everyone was looking at him and talking stupid things about Jon and I couldn't do anything and Matt pretty much exploded and ran off and--"

I held up my hands. "Okay, okay. I think I understand now."

He shook his head. "It isn't all, though. You remember me telling you how Jon wanting us to go on that big road trip to the West Coast after graduation? And how I was thinking about going through with it?"

I did remember; it had been something of an obsession of his when he'd decided not to see me any more.

"Well, I brought it up to Matt and his parents and they were both against it. So I dropped it." He shrugged. "It was making him mad and them worried and it just wasn't worth it. But after the graduation fiasco...Matt's parents went to see his therapist. And they mentioned it to her." He stopped.


"And she thinks it's a great idea." Interesting. Not the response I would've predicted, though I could imagine her rational. "She thinks going away from home and being away from all his memories will help Matt get over this with less pain and backsliding. So...we're leaving. On the fifth. I'm going to be in charge of him for a month--making sure he takes all his medications, making sure he gets enough sleep, making sure he doesn't go off the deep end and do something...stupid." He stopped again, this time looking up at me with searching eyes. "So...I guess what I came here for was an answer."

I smiled; I had guessed as much. "Give me your question then."

He swallowed, then asked, "Is this a good idea?"

"For you?"

"No. For Matt." He cracked his index fingers again. "I don't want to screw him up any worse than he already is. That would kill me. It is killing me. I just want him to get better, and I'm willing to do anything to get him there. this a good or a stupid thing that I'm doing?" His eyes pleaded with me to say the right thing, that he was on the right track.

In a moment of unprofessional fondness, I took his hand and squeezed it gently. "I can't say, Colton. If I were in your shoes, what I would do would probably be very different from you, because I'm such a different person. You feel like you understand Matthew, right?

He nodded.

"Then do what you feel is right." I smiled at him. "I know that's not my clearest answer, but it's the only one I can think of in this situation. Matthew needs you right now, and if that means going on a trip halfway across the country, then by all means do it. Just make sure that you are capable of handling it." I let go of his hand and leaned back in my chair. "Does that help?"

He looked at me, then at his hand, then back at me. "I think...yes." He stood up. "Thank you, Doctor. You told me what I needed to hear."

"My pleasure," I said, standing. I shook the hand he offered me, and then watched his narrow shoulders as he exited the room with worry stirring the pit of my stomach. I hoped I had given him the right answer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

it's okay to be a mess

life is kind of crappy right now, and I think you all should know this. I feel like a lot of the time I say too much in empty, metaphorical words, without spelling it all out for you. But this time, I think I need to spell it out.

My grandmother is dying. She's been dying for a while. And, while my immediate family has accepted and adjusted to this fact, not every one else has. And they're hurting and confused and sometimes the confusion hurts others more than they realize.

One of my best friends is shutting me out and I don't understand why. Maybe if I did, I would, but since I don't, it scares me. What did I do wrong? Did I hurt their feelings somehow? Is it simply because they're too busy? I wish I could explain to them that our little talks and our oddball friendship have saved me in more ways than one but those words are too personal and too hard to put into my mouth or onto paper. I wish I could know why--if it really is me or if it isn't, and that way I could have something to put into words when I pray for them. And the fact that this is constantly on my mind makes me worry that I'm being too clingy and overreacting over something simple. Seeing things that aren't there.

Sometimes, my head is too full of frustrating thoughts for me to walk in a straight line.

I'm almost 18, without a plan for my future, can't drive, I'm not going to college like all my friends, and people don't understand this. And they don't understand that their confused looks and "...interesting." responses hurt a lot. I'm only 18. I'm allowed to be confused. Not everybody is perfect.

I've had multiple meaningful conversations with people these past weeks and yet I still feel oh-so-alone. But it's a Tuesday. And Tuesdays tend to be days like that.

I'm reading a book about a boy with depression and realizing "I do that. I think like that. I struggle with that." And it frustrates me because I don't want to deal with that.

I'm writing and words are coming out, but there are too many words to catch at once--it's like my net is overflowing, and the words keep flailing around and falling back into the sea of my imagination for me to catch on another day.

I'm behind in so many things--in school, in quizzing, in text messages and emails, in sleep, in life. All I want is to go outside and play basketball until everything fades away to a dull ache and I can just focus on me, the sky, and the ball, but I'm sick and going outside is a no-no.

I feel like I don't talk to God enough, but I can't figure out why I feel like that because I do talk to him, and I know he's right beside me, always, because he's shown me that too many times to count. 

nothing is really crumbling into pieces, but it feels like it is.

I guess, if I could sum this up in a neat concise way, I'd use The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a guide: this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both alright and not okay at the same time, and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Monday, July 14, 2014

{how to live: pursuit}

being pursued is nice.

not in the creepy, "chasing-you-because-I'm-a-serial-killer" pursuit, but a friendly pursuit. You know what I meant. Friendly. Pursuit. I'd never have thought to put those two words together, but somehow, they fit.

Being pursued usually means you're being chased, right? Someone is following you, pushing after you, striving to stay with you. I don't know about other people, but I grew up around individuals who didn't pursue others. They expected people to come to them, and in some ways, they still do. It's hard being the object of that, but it's also hard because, after being around people like that for a long time, it rubbed off on me. I forgot that it's just as much my job to pursue others as it is for them to pursue me. And in most cases, when you stop pursuing others, they'll stop pursuing you.

this is also very true in relationships, now that I think about it. If you intend to be in a relationship with someone, you need to chase after them (again, not in the creepy serial killer/stalker way). You need to strive to pursue them in spiritual matters, in personal matters, and in emotional matters. The Bible says that a wife and a husband are not two individual people, but rather a single being. And so, if while in the dating stage of the game, you pursue one another in all the important and honorable things, the relationship will probably be in better shape than if not. Pursuing your partner in a relationship also shows that you care about them, and that you want to experience whatever they may be dealing with. This is a rather obvious detail, but I think many couples in this day and age have forgotten this, and that makes me sad.

Annnnnnnyways (that was a rabbit-trail and a half)...pursuing friends is hard. Not only are you putting yourself out there, but you're also opening yourself up to be labeled as "pushy," "clingy," and "needy." Always asking how others are, always inviting people to do stuff...sometimes it can be taken in a negative sense. That's frustrating--trust me, I know. But maybe that person doesn't need pursuing right then. Maybe they're still in that cycle of not wanting others around them--been there, done that. Eventually, though, they might wake up. Eventually, you'll find the right people who want to be chased after, to be checked upon, to be pursued.

Over the past few days, I've been pursuing and have been pursued. I wanted to see a friend before she left for college at the end of the summer. I asked if we could go see a movie, hang out, just talk. She said yes. A few hours later, another friend texted me saying that she missed me and wanted to hang out SOON.  A few weeks ago, I texted someone I hadn't talked to in a while and told her that I loved her and had prayed for her that day, just because I felt like she might need it right then. Her response was incredible. 

Yesterday, one of my best friends out of the blue said: "Can I call you and can we just talk?" And for me--that's pushing the limits. I hate talking on the phone. But I ended up saying yes, merely because I knew that she was pursuing me...and I knew what it felt like to have that metaphorical door slammed shut in my face. And what do you know--I really enjoyed getting to talk to her, and it was good for the both of us just to talk about life and faith and what we had learned over the summer. It felt really amazing.

I also pursued someone who didn't want to be pursued. It was frustrating, and it was hard, and it hurt a lot later, but at least I tried. At least I gave them an opening. And sometimes, that's all it takes. A little opening, a little door that says: "I'm willing to listen. I'm willing to talk." Sometimes, that little simple thing can do miracles.

So...I really don't know if this makes any sense at all, but it's something that's been on my heart a lot recently. Pursue people, and don't be afraid to be pursued. It's as simple as that.

Friday, July 11, 2014

born for the blue skies

I like music.

honestly, if there is anything in this world that I might possibly love more than books, it is music. Not just playing it, though I do love that too and wish I had more time to do it, but sitting in an empty room with my crazy tunes pumped up to an absurd volume and either dancing along to the beat or basking in the sounds of my current emotions.

I like music.

I have a variety of musical taste, but mostly I listen to rock or pop. twenty one pilots (obviously), Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, Paramore, Panic! at the Disco, Family Force Five, Relient K, He Is We, Owl City, and as you all know, a variety of Korean singers, are what I like to listen to most. I have no issues with most other music (except for country. I really REALLY don't like country. No idea why, but I just don't.)

I like music.

and that's why I feel it's important to find my wonderfully messed up characters a song that just fits them.

this is one of the hardest parts of the writing process, in my humble opinion (at least it is for me). Unlike writing or outlining, I can't stick my rear in the chair and work away at it for hours. Instead, I have to wait for that one song to come on the radio, have to figure out what the lyrics are, have to figure out who sings it...sometimes, it can be very frustrating. However, it is also one of the most fulfilling part of writing. Every time I find a song for Matty or Sam or Colt or anyone else, I feel all happy inside and it makes me want to do a victory dance. I found their song. Finally.

And that is why, without further prelude, I present you with the songs (and pictures of my darling babies...) that hold the great ones and the general together.

Colton Trelawney
Dylan O'Brien as Colt
Colt gets two pictures because he's my special snowflake
and because his hair matches better in this pic.

Sam Carpenter

not entirely thrilled with this, but it's the best I've got
Emma Stone as Sam

Linds Carpenter
(because I honestly don't talk enough about Linds)

(some elements apply to Linds, but this song is actually both hers and Sam's.)

Jonathon North
no idea who Cole Mohr is, but apparently Jon looks just like him
Matthew North
Skandar Keynes as Matt

and finally, the song that sums up what I feel for this whole book...

what do you think? Do you think my characters match their songs? Do you have songs for specific characters in your writing? I want to hear about it!!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

“We fight and we bleed for this hidden world, and the world eats us alive.”

“I fear, in my dark hours, that it hungers for me and that it is only a matter of time before it eats its full of my sanity.”
In the Iron Thorn, by Caitlin Kitteredge, Aoife Grayson is supposed to go mad on her sixteenth birthday. Her mother's insane, and has been for a while. Her brother tried to kill her "because the voices told him to" on the day he turned sixteen. Aoife only has a little time before the madness strikes, but she's doing everything she can to steer clear of the necrovirus that causes the insanity. That is, until she receives a letter from her brother--the same one who tried to cut her throat--pleading for help.

Aoife refuses to let society convince her that her brother is truly insane. She's watched her mother for years, and the madness in Conrad is different...there were no proceeding signs of insanity, unlike her mother. Just a violent turn for the worse. She still loves her brother, and if he is in would be on her own head if she didn't come help. So Aoife leaves her school, along with her best friend Cal, and goes back to her roots to try and find Conrad.

What should I say about this book?
 My little blurby effort to sum this book up doesn't sum it up. I love so many things about this book...
Aoife and her wonderful balance between spunkiness and Victorian propriety.

Cal and his amazing plot twist that I totally didn't see coming at all.  And the fact that I still love him after what happened.

The steampunk elements, the magical fantasy elements (seriously, combining my two favourite book genres is like a gift sent from above).

The almost complete lack of swearing.

The lack of a real love triangle (I'm holding out for the next two books...please let there be no third love interest)
please no.
Aoife's and Dean's relationship--it was sweet and cute and sarcastic and hardly no sappiness or angst. 

 If you have an affinity for bad boys...beware Dean. Seriously. He chiseled his way into my heart even though I at first was SURE he was going to betray people.

Also--I wish I had a super power with as cool as a name as a Weird. That's just genius.

Another thing I loved about this book is how the fairy-tale and fantasy elements were skewed just enough to keep them interesting. The ghouls and nightjars fascinated me; I wanted to learn more about them. Instead of giving the "fairy" world of magic some mystical name like every other author under the sun, this author called it the Land of Thorn, in contrast to the land of Iron. Instead of a whimsical feel, it gave the magic a deadly and dangerous element, and I love that.

I was very impressed by this book. I have no major issues with anything in it, and I definitely recommend it. In fact, the moment I finished it, I handed it to my sister and said "Read this. Now."

So yeah. If you want to give steampunk/fantasy a shot, want to fall for a sarcastic anti-hero, want to find out what exactly causes Aoife's family's madness (I still don't know!!)--I definitely think this book is for you. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

again with the perfection

{excerpt: the great ones and the general, chapter three}

Graduation Day came.

Mom fluttered all over the house, ironing shirts and everything else under the sun--she would've ironed my socks if I'd asked, I imagined. Shiloh, ever the apathetic rebel, rolled her eyes to everything and lounged on the couch, texting her new boy friend or guy friend or whatever excuse she was giving these days. Dad...well, Dad stayed in his office until the very last possible second. Lucky man.

I stood in the middle of the kitchen, arms stretched wide as mom fussed over me. She looked nice--all emerald fabric and pearl earrings--and I noticed that she'd coordinated my tie to her dress. Great. That was as embarrassing as if my mom was my date to prom or something. Colt would get a kick out of that.

I hadn't talked to him in almost a week. Avoiding Colt was exhausting, because I couldn't stay hidden like a recluse in my room. Closed doors didn't bother him, not in my house. So I'd spent most of my week in the library, hiding in the study rooms with my books and last minute homework. And when the librarians started getting worried about the pale kid stuck in the back rooms, I moved to the park, which was a mistake. Couples on lovey-dovey, smoochy dates walked by my homework station. Kids shouted, parents yelled. It was chaos. Seeing Colt again and simply facing the music started to have more appeal as the days got longer. And today, on our graduation day, there was no way I was going to miss him. And I almost felt grateful for that.

Mom smoothed out my suit lapels and looked up at me. When around my mother, I felt tall for once in my life. Her eyes shimmered with tears. "I'm so proud of you," she said thickly, gently yanking on my tie. "After all's been hard, hasn't it?"

I shrugged.

"But you still did it. I'm proud of you--and Colton too, of course. He's had it as hard as you have, honestly."

I raised an eyebrow at that.

She squeezed my forearm and gave me another wobbly smile. "Jon would be proud of you, you know?"

"Really." The word wasn't a question; instead, it was a brittle, disbelieving statement. My fingernails buried themselves in my palm's tender flesh. Stop, Mom. Don't make this day worse than it already needs to be. Jon, who hated school, who wiggled in his desk until the teacher lost their patience, who couldn't care less about 4.0s and grades, would never have been proud of me. He'd think this all a joke. 'Come on, Matty, you had a perfectly good excuse to skip school for...I dunno, the rest of high school? Why didn't you take it? Now all you've got is a lousy piece of paper and a head stuffed full of society. What good is that?'

She drew back a step, a question on her face. "Matty..."

"Please don't call me that."

She sighed, then amended, "Matt...are you okay?"

I snorted--really, mother? That's all you've got? A generic question that screams for a generic answer? "Of course," I retorted, "why wouldn't I be?"

It was the same exact same words I always said--just like the one hundred other times I'd been asked that question in the past six months.

She squeezed my arm again. "Just checking. I want this day to be perfect for you, is all."

Perfect. Which meant that she just wanted to piece everything together momentarily, just so the outsiders could think that normality had come back to our home. Right.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

it's really an owl city day

{warning: this post has no rhyme or rhythm. I'm merely needing to empty my head.}

I'm exhausted.

Emotionally. Physically. Socially. And I barely did anything today.

Went to the library this afternoon. I need to fill out my volunteer form. I've needed to do that for the past two years. Life always seems to get in the way. Also, while I was at the library, I was overwhelmed (and a little disturbed) by the amount of books about dystopias and broken futuristic societies. I walked through the New YA section and randomly pulled books of the shelf...5 out of 7 were in that realm of genre. Not that I don't love a good dystopia/utopia....but this is too much. Just because something is popular and selling well in teen culture right now DOES NOT mean it's what everybody wants to see. Have mercy on us people who are still searching for that one historical fiction book that ensnares their entire imagination (i.e., me. If you have recommendations, PLEASE. That genre has been severely lacking in my life lately).

future hair aspiration. Only longer.

I wrote thank you notes today. It was hard. Writing thank you notes is such a bizarre thing; I don't understand it at all. Especially when it's for money. "Hey, thanks for the fifty bucks you gave me just because I graduated. I'm gonna spend it well--or not, I haven't decided yet." Yeah. Weird. At least my stationary is pretty.

Currently reading: This Star Won't Go Out, by Esther Earl and her parents. Ouran High School Host Club manga. Streams of Babylon, by Carol Plum-Ucci. I'm going to like that last book a lot, I think. Only on chapter 4. It's about bio-terrorism. Yes, I have diverse book tastes

Currently watching: Merlin, with Jesh and Mekana. Once Upon A Time (which I will be blogging about at a later date), by myself. An no Exorcist. You're All Surrounded.

Currently listening to: Right now, Owl City. Earlier, Family Force Five, Paramore, and Flyleaf.

Hold on. In Christ Alone by Owl City just came on and I might be crying a little. I need this song so much right now.

I'm tired.

I drove for the first time in probably six months today. It was stressful. I know it's silly, but driving freaks me out so much, guys. My mind shifts into overdrive and I have to think about every single possible thing that I could mess up or could go wrong and I hate it. But I need to learn how to get past it.

I also cut my hair today. Well, trimmed it. And I didn't do it myself, obviously. My childhood Barbies are clear evidence that I should never be in charge of hair cutting. But I'm pretty happy with it. It has more floof to it now, which I like.

I want to go to bed already and it's not even 8:30. I have a book review to write. And laundry to do. And I should probably write something for the great ones and the generals.

But I want to sleep.

Monday, July 7, 2014

yet another beautiful person

I have returned!!!!

you know, from the amount of Mulan gifs I've been using, you'd think I need to rewatch that movie or something...
yes, dearest bloglings, your scatterbrained author has returned from her beach gallivanting. I'm tired, tanned, and really happy that I get to be home for more than a week this time. That's right, you have three whole weeks with me before I disappear again. I hope you look forward (or dread) to what's coming!

Currently I'm enjoying the silence (irony here: I'm listening to Car Radio) and doing nothing. Tomorrow, I'm going to start Algebra again--I shall slay the beast yet!!!--, continuing studying Acts, and hopefully start driving. *crosses fingers* but I am doing nothing. Well, that's a little bit of an untruth. I might mow the yard.

And I'm doing the Beautiful People link-up. That counts as something, right?

Everyone seemed like they enjoyed Colt's time as a Beautiful Person (heh) I'm rather excited to see how you bloglings receive my next, I mean, character.

I'd like to introduce you all to Mr. Jonathon North, if you don't mind. He's a character (in more ways than one), and I'm really looking forward to writing more about him in the future.

here we go...

1) What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavor of chocolate!)
Jonathon's favourite food was probably macaroni and cheese. Matt called is childish, but Jon really didn't care what his brother thought about his dietary preferences. (Bonus: Jon didn't like chocolate. Like me. *fistbumps fictional character*).

2) What do they absolutely hate?
*in a whisper* chocolate...just kidding. Jon hated flaky people, much like his brother does. He also highly disliked the color fuchsia. Like, seriously. Hated it.

3) What do they enjoy learning about?
Unlike his twin, Jon did not get good grades with little or no effort. He had to push to do well, and although he wasn't bad at school, he didn't enjoy it much. However, he really enjoyed biology. He liked cutting things up. Shocker.

4) Who is the most influential person in their life?
Colt, probably. If Colt hadn't stumbled into Jon's life, he would have ended up much like Matthew is now. Instead, Colt helped draw at least one twin out of his shell, and thus Jon became the Jon that I know and love.

5) What is their childhood fear?
getting lost. separation from Matthew. having mayonnaise put on his hamburgers (I'm sorry, I didn't get much sleep last night...)

6) What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible?
Along with biology thing, Jon really loved animals. So even though his grades were average (or below), he had a secret desire to become a veterinarian.

7) What is something he is impractically afraid of?
*see mayonnaise thing above*

8) Are they a night owl or morning person?
Oh my goodness. Morning person. So much of a morning person that it almost makes me want to murder him.

9) Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid?
Jon had no filter. He literally said everything he was thinking about, whether people liked it or not. This drove Matthew crazy as you can imagine, but he also admired his brother for his honesty and ability to speak his mind.

10) What are their nervous habits?
If sitting, he bounced his knees up and down repeatedly. If standing, he crossed his arms, then uncrossed them. Then crossed them. Then uncrossed them. Rinse and repeat.

And yes, it did kill me to write these answers in past tense.

so, Jonathon's a Beautiful Person now (okay okay I can't stop laughing because I can mentally see him preening like a peacock and I just...I don't have words). As much as I miss Jon--and also really wish I was kinder to myself in letting me write him more--this has been crazy fun. And maybe I'll get to talk to Jon in an interview sometime in the future.

Oh wait.

He's dead.

welp. this is awkward.

Friday, July 4, 2014

{one hundred: a thank you}

I'm sorry if this makes no sense and is just a wobbly mass of words that came unfiltered flooding from my mind. But I need to get it out.

recently, I've felt a pull.

a pull to do things. to not be the observer that I've always been.

I am, by nature, a watcher. A person who sees but never takes part, unless I'm comfortable or dragged in somehow. On my own, there is no volition to stand up on my own two feet and do things that are outside my comfort zone.

At least, there wasn't...until recently.

I don't know why it is happening. I'm grateful, and a little miffed, that after nearly 18 years of being "alone" (though I truly never was) and doing my own little thing, that I've finally woken up. I still have my social anxiety. I still have the most ridiculous crutches. I still have days when I don't want to step out my front door--or even my bedroom door.

But something has changed slightly.

I think God's kind of been nudging me a lot recently, whether it's through friends, media, a Bible many little 'hints' have popped up in my way lately. Little reminders that it's okay to be the way I am--an introvert with social anxiety, sometimes even social depression (if there is such a thing...)--but it's also important to move on. To test the waters. To improve.

This is my hundredth post on this blog. I started writing on this blog a little over a year ago...and honestly, I've changed and grown up so much since post number one. It might not seem like that if you've been observing me from a close or far distance, but let me assure: I've let go of so many fears and foolishness, I've lost so many things and gained so much more, I've changed emotionally, spiritually,'s been one giantly weird and awesome experience.

And this blog and you readers have been there the entire way.

I admit, this blog is rather like my diary. I literally stream my thoughts, my interests, and my dreams here, and you all are a willing (or unwilling, perhaps) audience. It is also a little bit like my jump-start. Writing is my passion, and putting my thoughts onto a page is easier for me than it is to voice them. So having this blog as a sounding board for what I'm a way, this blog is one of those things that has helped me grow this year--one of the things that is helping get me out of my 18-year "slump" of being an apathetic watcher. And thusly, so are all you people who follow this blog.

Whether you comment or not. Whether you read every post or only what strikes your fancy. Whether you've clicked the follow button or are just observing me and my thoughts out of curiosity...thank you so much.

Thank you so so so much.

Because there have been days when I just want to go back and erase everything that I've written. Days when I can't bring myself to write. Days when I'm just so done that I don't think I put the words on the page.

But then I remember your kind words. The fact that you're following along with what I'm writing. The fact that you're interested.
And something about that keeps me going.

So thank you. And keep doing what you're doing. Because I appreciate it more than you can ever know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

yes, I finally did it. I finally have read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. After two years of meaning to and always forgetting, I have finally done it.

And honestly, it's a very good thing that I waited until now to read this book.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. Drugs, sex, angst, suicide,'s got all of these things. You follow Charlie through his journey as a kid heading towards adulthood too quickly, and your heart hurts as you watch it happen. I didn't physically cry when I read this book, but if there is such as thing as mentally and emotionally sobbing buckets, that's what I was doing. There were even a few times where Charlie would be ruminating on something and it resonated with me to the point that I had to put the book away and blink hard for a few moments. This is a terrible, sad, messed up book. And it's also a beautiful, broken, messed up book. I don't know how it rides the balance between the two, but it does it with graceful tact.

There's something eerily familiar about this book--not like it's happened to you before, but like you're one of the people involved. It feels like Charlie is writing to you, pouring out his hurting and lost heart to you. You watch him grow up, a spectator. There's nothing you can do about it, but you're clearly involved. So you listen. For Charlie's sake.

One powerful characteristic piece to this book is how old it is. Written in 1999, The Perks of Being A Wallflower has been around for 15 years. It's not a huge book, but it's one that is still relevant and powerful almost two decades later. You don't find books like that every dynasty, to quote this semi-famous Chinese guy.

I would not let my sister (who is the same age as Charlie at the beginning of the book) read this. I would not go up to my friends and say: "This is the most amazing book I have ever read it made me think so hard you need to read this NOW" like I do with other books that have affected me like this. To me, this is a book that you need to decide to read on your own, to pick off the shelves and say, "I think I'm ready to fully experience this." I know that if I had read this when I first heard about it, I wouldn't have understood it at all. All I would have pulled away from the story were the terrible and bad things that happened, not the elements beneath them.

The snippet on the back of the book doesn't do it justice, honestly. "The perks of being a wallflower is a story about what it's like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school, the world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends, of sex, drugs, and the rocky horror picture show, of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up."

Yes, this book is all those things.

But it's so so SO much more.

That blurb of emotionless words marks this book down to a bunch of events, a handful of meaningless happenstance. But the body and soul of this story is made of the feeling, the growth, the thought.

Like, I said, I don't recommend this book to you unless you think you can handle it. Unless you want to delve into this broken and sad book. Unless you think you're ready. Because if you are, you're setting off on an adventure that could change the way you think.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

saltwater thoughts

 I like the wind
That crashes against with the taste of waves.
I like the sun
That kisses my Irish skin to dark.
I like the sand
My open soft canvas of the earth.
I like the salt
The taste of summer and freedom in my mouth.
I like the quiet
No cellphones ringing urgently.
No unplanned trips into town.
No waiting for uncertain news.
I like it here.
A lot.