"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Introducing: Letters to October

Dear Readers,
       Hello there. This is different, isn't it? I am writing to inform you of a new project I am starting. It's called Letters to October, in which I write a letter to the month of October on each day of the month. Each letter will be accompanied by a picture and a song of the day. This project was mostly inspired by my favorite Youtuber Emilieofnewgloom's Letters to July series. If you watch her videos (and you should!), you have some idea of what I want to accomplish with these letters. I have always been partial to keeping journals and diaries, but they always seemed to diverge into a boring or bland recounting of events. With Letters to October I hope to capture the essence of each day, and what better time than during my favorite season, Fall. One of my favorite parts of Emilieofnewgloom's series is that we got to see July through both her and other's perspectives. I would love, LOVE to see some of you undertake this project alongside me. Consider this your formal invitation to participate and share your Letters to October on your blog or through other forms of social media. And, if you decide not to participate, I hope you will enjoy seeing October through my eyes. I, for one, am SO ready to see what it has in store.


The inspiration:

Song of the Day: 1234 by Feist
(Oh, and at the end of the month I will make a spottily playlist of all the songs from October!)

I will see you on October 1st!

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm in College!

Hello, lovelies! There's been a bit of a scenery change since you heard from me last....

My dorm room

If you haven't guessed yet,  I'm in college! In preparation for writing this post I did a lot of thinking about how we as humans hate the idea of change, but when it happens we just sort of naturally adjust to it. I guess it's kind of a survival mechanism, something we picked up from our ancestors. But when you're in the midst of facing momentous change this is pretty cold comfort. A few weeks ago the thought of being a college student both terrified and excited (but let's face it: mostly terrified) me. I was about to be left in a place, 2,000 miles from home, and be expected to make friends and go to classes and become an adult. Yeah... 3 weeks in, and I'm definitely not that far yet. But I have changed. Or rather, I'm learning to live my life in the context of my new surroundings. Before I left for Iowa I couldn't fathom the life of a college student outside of what I've seen on television or heard from friends, but now I'm living it, because I can't not live it, and it is so much more that I expected.

My favorite study spot 

First of all there's the concept of time. In college, time is something you have way more control over than you did in high school. Of course you sill have to go to class, but everything is more broken up, and there isn't any significantly large block of time where you have to be in one place doing one thing. As a creative person, this has been semi-difficult to master. The first time I was faced with a three hour block of free time before dinner, my thoughts swam. There's so much I could do! I could work on a short story, or study for Lit class, or write letters to the people back home, or attempt to make new friends! The list went on. It's easy to become paralyzed by all the things I want to do, and end up getting nothing done. Since that first afternoon I've slowly been getting better at making time for the things that are important to me. Not to mention the fact that I've met so many wonderful people, and am learning something new on a daily basis!

Campus geese!

Okay, so what does all that mean for this blog? Obviously I have no intention of giving up on this blog anytime soon, but things are probably going to be a little sporadic (like that's anything new) until I really get the hang of this whole time management thing. I have several other projects I'm working on as well, including a Tumblr that my best friend and I made in order to keep in touch. So much of our inspiration is shared, and it would have been a shame to loose that connection because we go to school in different parts of the country (me in the midwest, she in the northeast). If you would like to check that out, you can find it under the "Collaborations" tab at the top of this page. I also have some great posts and possibly a blog-specific project planned for the future, so stay tuned for news about that!

City lights 

I guess that's all I wanted to say for now. I've never been very good at the "life update" type of posts because there is way more life than can possibly fit into these 550 words. This will just have to do for now.


If you have some questions (or advice! o_o) for a newbie college student, feel free to drop them in the comment box. As always, thanks for reading :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Ready, Okay!

I finished Ready, Okay! by Adam Cadre last night after two afternoons of solid reading. This was, in part, due to the heart-wrenching downward spiral of the characters' lives, but also because I was vanquishing a year or so of book guilt by finishing it. After recommending it profusely, a friend of mine lent me her only copy of this book, and what did I do? I started reading it and then...stopped. For a really long time. I'm not sure exactly what made me put it down, but a year passed before I was able to pick it back up again, at which point I just decided to start over from the beginning. From that rocky start came one of the most powerful reading experiences I think I've ever had.

Ready, Okay! examines the lives of a handful of teenagers in suburban California. Allen Mockery (our narrator) is a jokester, amateur psychologist, and friend to those in need. Surrounding him are a host of other characters, including Peggy (his best friend), Molly (his little sister, who has some pretty strange ideas regarding clothing), Echo (his steely eyed twin), Krieg (his foul mouthed brother), and plenty more. You will meet quite a few people in this book, and all of them will surprise you. You will learn about their childhood, their family life, and their secrets. Before you know it, you will be so wrapped up in Allen's world that his friends will feel as real to you as your own. With wit, sarcasm, and probably some bias, Allen lets us in on everything, from gossip around school to his difficult family history. Even though only a few days had passed since I started the book, when I put it down I felt like I had grown up with the people between its pages. 

Allen's voice is sharp and funny and I constantly found myself laughing out loud at the things he said. True, more than a handful of the jokes were cringe worthy, but that doesn't mean that his witty comments weren't still highly entertaining. As his sister Molly told him in one of my favorite scenes in the whole book: "Your sense of humor is pathological. It's a defense mechanism. Echo's defense is to be insular and anti-social; yours is to crack a joke every twelve seconds." The other thing I loved about Allen is that his first instinct is to help people. It's this instinct that makes him so endearing to the reader, but also brings him (and us) a lot closer to the people around him. 

Even though it has a sense of humor, Ready, Okay! doesn't shy away from serious topics. Far from it. Instead, it plunges headlong into the pool of issues that teenagers face on a daily basis, from friendships and school gossip to sex, drugs, and parental abandonment. As the book progresses, and the lives of the characters deteriorate, you begin to see how everyone is connected- how the people you know, even if they are just acquaintances, can have such a huge impact on your life, and how those you thought you knew by heart can still surprise you.

I recently learned that Adam Cadre is working on a re-write of Ready, Okay! I think he is right to re-work some things, and I definitely want to read the revised version as soon as it's available. In the beginning I was majorly confused by the number of characters (so many siblings with similar names!). Allen makes some pretty long speeches when he happens to call someone out on something (which happens a lot), and, though this may also be due to the book's small type and unconventional chapter breaks, I felt like no matter how much I read I didn't make much progress. These things bugged me while I was in the middle of the book, but as the story careened towards its end all of that fell away. 

This book was a roller coaster ride of hilarity and poignancy, laughter and tears. It's honest and and funny and a little weird at times. Long after closing the book the characters stayed in my head, and I was still thinking about them when I woke up this morning. And if you do decide to read it, don't give up, even if it takes you a year. Trust me. It's so worth it.