Recent Posts

Monday, July 27, 2015

Maggie's Monday Music (39)

Let's make Mondays slightly less dreadful.

1. My tastes are varied.
2. Yes, I found the Isakov song from a car commercial.
3. Natalie Dormer (!!!)

(Here; Alessia Care)

(Someone New; Hozier)

(River; Leon Bridges)

(Time Will Tell; Gregory Alan Isakov)

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

leftovers for dinner, aka my writing


The word itself is an aesthetic, honestly. I instantly picture a nicely structured organization of colors, patterns, photos. The older I get, the more I appreciate people and their use of design to make something beautiful, unique, and interesting. I've always been envious of those who can create a nice set of images. Those instagrams that are all succulents and neon signs and simple phrases and, like, white? I'm so friggin' into those. 

Feeling like I'm constantly in a tornado of chaos, I have never been able to master this art of design. I'm too messy, to begin with. I don't have the patience to think an image through. I have a very flighty personality, so I get obsessive over different things constantly. I'm too inconsistent to be so consistent. It kills me.

I think you can usually pull a kind of "aestheticism" out of a person's writing, too. Except in writing it's called your voice, and it isn't always so distinct as a visual form can be. 

When you look at my room, you'll notice a mess of things, all of these more than likely spurred by some aesthetic that I tried to mirror and instantly failed--but that I've made my own. I have photos and a map of Paris. I have framed pictures of animals and trees. I have my shelf of books, with an assortment of doodads. Above my desk are a bunch of fangirl posters of Supernatural and The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. I have dying succulents on my television stand. There are a ton of the same, like, three photos of my animals in a multitude of frames scattered about.

(This is my aesthetic. Coffee stuff and dog stuff, simplified.)

In my writing, depending on the project, you'll see my attempt at different voices, different ways of writing, inspired by that same need to mimic those I admire. Inadvertently, after reading a Maggie Stiefvater or Jandy Nelson book, my writing takes on a not-so-greatly executed form of poetics. Sometimes I focus on different aspects of a book, like how I try and fail to make beautiful settings a la Kirsten Hubbard or Lucy Christopher.

They all obviously turn out bad. They aren't me.

I'm a mess, but a simple mess. Despite my mismatched room, it all fits in a homey kind of way. Not too cluttered or I get overwhelmed. My writing, I think, it the same. When I haven't been trying to copy someone else's way of writing, I've been told by various people that my voice is distinct. I'm not good at flowery language. I can't move someone with a sentence, or make someone swoony with a setting. But I'm decent at simple humor. I can make someone feel comfortable with my characters.

I can't keep a succulent alive to save my life (which is so ridiculous! they're supposed to be easy!), I can't figure out how to make myself fashionable. But people generally feel comfortable when they enter my space. And my writing is easy going and at least vaguely entertaining, if only to myself.

I've never been able to accomplish the kind of organization and design that I admire from others. I can't pull off anything fancy or cool. But at least I'm myself in my mess, and that's all I can really hope for. It's taken a lot of practice and morphing of others' talents to get me where I am at this particular point.

I used to talk about a person's voice in their writing all the time on here, because I've always felt like voice is such a huge aspect in a novel. It's the voice someone is drawn to and sticks with. Even with different characters in different stories, you can always seem to pinpoint that sometimes unexplainable voice of the author hidden between the words.

I don't know what you would call mine. A dinner made out of previously delicious leftovers in the fridge?

Something like that, probably.

(Even now, thinking too hard about it, I'm becoming overly aware of how this post is even being written. Yikes.)

Do you have any tips for perfecting your writing voice? Or how to make my dumb plants stop wilting? 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Maggie's Monday Music (38)

Let's try to make Mondays slightly less dreadful.

For the next few days my big butt will be planted in an innertube floating down a river. I love floating! Yes, I'll be consistently paranoid a snake will slither my way or nonexistent leeches will attach themselves to my little feetsies. But it'll be fine! I'll be fine! Rivers are safe!

Sort of. It has been raining a lot here lately...

Have at some songs, y'all.

(Fast Lane; Rationale)

(Runaway, Aurora)

(Saeglopur; Sigur Ros)
I've loved Sigur Ros for a long time, but I'd be lying if I said the finale of Sense8 didn't get me listening again.

Have a great week! I'll talk to you soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

lizards, and keeping true to a story

April 1st, baby Wicket, day 1 of our adventure.

At the beginning of April this year, I bought a baby bearded dragon.

Now, I'm a worrier. I have issues with anxiety, which leads me to be super obsessive when it comes to making almost any decision. The other day I spent ten minutes working myself into a tizzy trying to decide if I wanted to get a blue ice bucket or a distressed silver one. The blue is prettier and more fun but the silver has that shabby chic thing going for it! The decisions! (this bucket is now my dragon's bathtub! and I chose blue.)

I spent weeks of my freetime researching bearded dragons. I watched youtube videos. I read care sheets. I researched set up costs, and what foods they can eat when they're little and what foods they eat when they're big and what to do if they choke on a roach and how to treat yellow fungus. Every possible situation a lizard could have in its lifetime, I researched it.

Bearded dragons are popular reptile pets because they're so laid back. It's rare they bite. Mostly they're just curious little scaly-butts who will sit in the sunlight and are scared of birds flying past the window. Being a reptile lover, I was ecstatic to be getting my own lizard best friend. Because we were, one hundred and three percent, going to be best friends.

Flash forward to now. I spent hundreds of dollars on his set up. I've invested a lot of time and money and effort into this tiny beardie baby.

And we are not best friends.

Teeny tiny dangling feetsies.

I love him more than anything. He is my baby butthead. But he is, in fact, my baby butthead. He's small and a lizard, and so he doesn't like to be held for long. I have to chase him around his enclosure to take him out. He's realized if he sits still in my hand long enough, I'll trust him, and then he can dart from my fingers while I'm off my guard. I recently spent forty dollars on different feeder bugs because he was going on a food strike. He's the biggest punk of all time. Totally not the lazy, loving lizard I was expecting.

Like I said, I adore him more than anything. He's got so much spunk and personality, it'd be impossible not to. But I realized my problem about a month after I got him: I was expecting him to act like a mammal. I expected a type of cuddle and strong bonding relationship as I raised him practically from birth (he was very, very tiny when I first got him).

But he's a bearded dragon. And as sweet as they can be, they are reptiles. They understand comfort and security and food. They do not understand emotions. They aren't dogs, who form emotional bonds. They are lizards, who appreciate your care, but do not want to lick your face out of love.

As much as I was hoping my bearded dragon would act like a species outside of himself, I couldn't change him. No matter how many worms I feed him or how dope I make his enclosure, he will never love me the way I love him. I've come to terms with this, and it's made our relationship much better!

Me and my growing potato.

Why am I telling you all of this? You can't change your story either.

I've discussed how I wasn't capturing emotion in my writing before. Well, the same goes for trying to pull emotion from something that doesn't fit. In my creative writing classes at school, we're told to write a very specific type of literary fiction. And as hard as I try, I just... can't. Not well, at least. I'm not capable of writing about a man going through a midlife crisis after a separation from his wife unless something crazy has happened. Did he leave his wife because she was turned into a zombie in a post-apocalypic setting? Because I can do that. But I can't suffer through a man's emotions and make it feel true without a reason I've been able to create and understand. I can't sympathize with a man who cheated on his wife and regrets it, but I can one who cheated on his wife and then regrets it because he couldn't apologize to her before she went all undead on his ass.

Stories need to be organic. You can have an idea given to you and work from it. But you can't have an idea forced onto you. Each writer thinks differently. This is great! Books would be awful if everyone thought the same way and wrote about the same things! But you can't write a story that isn't your story. You can't force a character's life and expect it to turn out well. In the end, you'll only be disappointed.

Is your scene not working out? Try a different angle! Maybe what you think you want isn't really what you need. I thought I wanted a lizard who would sit on my shoulder and snuggle my neck. And I'm sure when he's older and settles down, we'll get to that point. But I'm so much happier with my fiesty baby who puffs up at his bugs and tests his boundries.

You'd be surprised what a little lack of control can get you. Which, coming from the biggest control freak in town, is saying something.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Maggie's Monday Music (37)

A meme created by yours truly to share with the world good music, and hopefully make Mondays slightly less dreadful.

Today I'm going to introduce you to Korean pop music, or more commonly known as: kpop.

Here's the thing. You don't know what you've been missing.

Much the way I fell into a One Direction hole Way Back When, about seven or eight months ago I got swooped into a straight up kpop tornado. It started with a friend I'd made online constantly talking about a "GD" on twitter. I found myself asking, who the heck is GD? And why is he supposedly so wonderful? 

Thus began my adventure.

GD stands for G-Dragon. G-Dragon is part of the band BigBang. BigBang is one of the most popular boy groups in Korea and FOR GOOD REASON. They've been releasing their newest album in sections with two new songs coming out at the beginning of every month, and it's awesome.

At the time, GD had just put out a single with another BigBang member, Taeyang. I was instantly hooked.

(Good Boy; GD x Taeyang)

At this point I still didn't know that BigBang was a thing, so I went straight for G-Dragon's music. He was the one with the braids in the video. I fell in love. Once I'd acquainted myself with his entire discography, I realized how dimwitted I was and found the band. This is one of their latest songs released:

(Bang Bang Bang; BigBang)
Two new singles should be releasing within the next couple of days. Yaaaas.

Once the band was found, I realized that my new boyfriend was TOP. Surprise! TOP is the one in the weird space suit section of the video (dat voice doe). After BigBang, I discovered a girl group called 2NE1. They're one of the most popular female groups, also FOR GOOD REASON.

(Come Back Home; 2NE1)

One member of this band is actually starting to get pretty noticed in the US, and I think she's making her debut soon. She goes by CL, and she's my girlfriend. Surprise surprise! That song wasn't one of their more upbeat ones, but I love it a lot and think it kind of shows another side to kpop.

There are too many Korean pop bands/artists that are pretty big right now. Currently I'm obsessed with this song (would it be a surprise to say I have multiple boyfriends in this band?):

(Call Me Baby; Exo)

and this one (just guess what I have to say):

(Catch Me If You Can; Girls Generation)

Like I said, there are an endless amount of artists, but I think these four are a good starting point for beginners. If you notice in the last two videos, there are a ton of people; yes, they are in fact all band members. I KNOW.

Anyways, please, I beg of you, enlighten your soul. 

And for those of you who have literally zero interest in learning about kpop, I'm also really digging Selena Gomez's new song.

(Good For You; Selena Gomez)

Have a great week! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Maggie's Monday Music (36)

A meme created by yours truly to share with the world good music, and hopefully make Mondays slightly less dreadful.

To follow today's first post, I thought this would be a fitting song for the return of our music Mondays. Can we take a minute to discuss how this is totally not how I thought James Bay would look? But, listen, I'm not complaining. I'm into it.

(Hold Back The River; James Bay)

And to throw in the total opposite kind of music, have a song that I CAN'T GET OUT OF MY DAMN HEAD. This song is not kid friendly. And the video only includes a clip of the song. But look at these talented dancers! Dang.

(Bitch Better Have My Money; Rihanna)

Rihanna makes me feel bad. Like, in a good way. So I thought it'd be nice to include her as well. Especially since I, too, love and demand my money.

***Update! Rihanna has since come out with a video for BBHMM, and it's cray.

If you have any song recs, be sure to let me know. Otherwise, let's all try to have an awesome week.

how not to live half a life

I've spent a lot of my more recent years trying to figure myself out.

It's been bumpy, to say the least. I've gone through an abundance of experiences which have morphed me and my views into things I'm happy with. I do feel more myself, in many ways, than I ever have. In other ways, though, I feel like I've also lost something integral.

This is going to get confusing for a minute, as life and emotions usually are.

The last few years I've focused solely on trying to keep my mental issues at bay. In an effort to focus on staying happy enjoying life not crying, I think I've left an important part of myself trapped somewhere.

I do not like negative emotions. Who does? I spent a lot of my younger years suffocating in them, which is why I shy away from them now. But I've blocked them out so purposefully that I don't think I'm experiencing life the way I should. My plan for fulfillment has backfired.

The reason we love books so much is because they touch us somehow. A good majority of my favorite books are my favorite books because they have taken things, screamed about them, and then let us move on from them. When I say this, I mean they tap into a character's emotions over something and ride them out, and then they move on. I've been skipping the screaming stage, and have instead been tucking them away in some deep, dark place to harbor and fester.

This isn't to say I'm festering inside or anything (gross). But this is to say that I think my writing is lacking emotion, because more recently I have not wanted to explore emotion. I try to write scenes that would touch me if I were the reader, and they feels like words. They don't feel emotional. This is the issue.

Like I said, this whole ordeal has been bumpy. Each book I've read reminds me what I love. Each one invigorates me. Each one has allowed me to tap into negative emotions without going overboard and drowning in them. And if there is overwhelming negativity, I'm able to ride through it with the characters. I haven't worked on the project I've been thinking about because it still scares me. I'm still not one hundred percent on if I can tackle it.

But books are patient, and writing is understanding. I think part of why I love YA so much is because there is no restraint. It's raw, and it's crazy, and it's beautiful. It's why adults love young adult literature. We're all still feeling that craziness inside, we've just been told to handle it differently.

Writing is tough, tough work. You're forced to tap into every emotion you've got, even the awful ones, and you live there. Sucky things happen. You get anxious. You get sad. You can't decide to just avoid them. You can't avoid life. I've avoided half of my life.

I may be sitting alone in my underwear looking like a haggard mess, but reading and writing have always made me feel alive. And I can't wait to live again.