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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Growing Up

I just saw the Muppet Movie and there was
a quote that really stood out to me. "It's easier
to believe in others, it's harder to believe in
yourself. That's what growing up is all about."
I think that's true, at least for me. I've spent
all of my life believing in the people around me,
but I rarely believe in myself. I think that saying
about you being your own worst critic is very true.
As my last semester in college draws to a close, I
have learned more about myself than any other semester
and I have started to be aware of the changes people go
through and the difficult decisions that shape your future.
Life is all about testing yourself to learn who you are.
Discovering your strengths and weaknesses is part of growing
up. And, it's often the strengths that are forgotten during
difficult times.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Importance of Character Traits

In my Children's Literature class, we discussed
the importance of Harry Potter's decisions as they
define his character. These important decisions
ultimately decide who Harry is as a character and
how his decisions impact the person he believes he
is, versus the person he actually is. We were also
asked which house in Hogwarts that we belonged in.
We had to make this decision based on the strongest
character trait we believed we had. For me, this was a
tough decision. I don't believe in labels, but I find it
interesting that your most powerful character trait is one
you know right away. I feel like your most powerful
character trait may take a long time to realize. During
the making of both novels and screenplays, the character must
be defined through powerfull actions and difficult decisions. In a
sense, the way we decide the definition of a character is the way
we learn to define ourselves. Harry's decision to be a Gryffindor
determines who he is throughout his story. Strong and obvious
character traits are the elements that define a character. This is
also the way we define other peoples' personalities and how we
define ourselves. The sorting hat functions as a self consciousness
that can only be developed over time. The most powerful characteristics
that we have can only be revealed when we are honest about who we
are. This is not always easy to do, and becomes an internal conflict for
Harry. He questions this decision for awhile because it is a very defining
moment. It may take years for someone to learn this about who they are,
but it is this internal struggle that makes a character relatable to the reader.
If the character must find who they are, it is more comforting to understand
that everyone must go on this journey, or avoid it. It is a powerfull and
important choice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writing Prompt 25: College taught me . . .

Prompt: College taught me . . .

College taught me that I'm still not grown up. There are many ways to write an essay, with the creative way being only one option. People will change, and you can't really do anything about it. Support isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some teachers care about their class, and some don't. Time is precious. Life is writing. Life is learning. Some things aren't always what they seem. A budget is a good thing. Some people grow up, and some don't. Some things can only be learned through experience. You have to find balance between who you are and what is expected of you. You can't make everyone happy. In order to stand on your own, you have to believe in yourself. Presentations in front of people are not really optional. If you get a meal under 10 dollars, it's a good day. You should enjoy your major and be proud of it. Getting involved in clubs are not required, but they do have lessons of their own. Studying is done best with chocolate and music ;). You do need to make time for yourself, even if it is only five minutes. Teachers take classes too. You can learn a lot about yourself, just by reading and exploring a story. The more entertaining you make your day, the easier it is to get your work done. Patience is very important during your last semester. Everyone has to find balance between educational and personal life. There will be classes that will challenge you, more than academically. The older you get, the more you reflect on memories. The choices you make determine how useful your education is to you. There are a variety of people out there. Each person has a fear, goal and dream. It's okay to take things at your own pace, you don't have to be like everyone else. Do what you love, apply what you've learned and do your best. You must find your own definition for who you are. College taught me how to manage my time, take value in what I read and work hard towards my dream.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Importance of Conflict

I have had a lot of conflicts lately, and most of them have changed at least one aspect of my life. In the past, I did whatever I could to avoid conflict, including never voicing my opinion. Then I met someone who was very similar and realized that ignoring how you feel isn't healthy. We go over in writing class that conflict is a crucial part of a story. Only through conflict can the characters learn about themselves. What they want, What they need and What's in their way is all determined by conflict. In the myth quest, a character must overcome obstacles to grow, and they must also endure conflict. Now, here's the interesting part:internal conflict is just as important as external conflict. The fight between heart and mind, right and wrong, good and evil that takes place inside. This type of conflict determines who you are and who you want to be. I've had a lot of struggles with that lately. Mainly because I am reaching a crucial part of my life, graduating college and preparing for the outside world. I still have a lot to learn, but I have also learned many lessons through conflict.
That doesn't mean that conflict is easy. There is a reason that people run from it. It is unpleasant, annoying and at times confusing. Some conflicts start before you realize they have begun, others are obvious and important. An internal conflict works in many ways to develop your personality. Memories of pain, joy even can spark a conflict between your mind and your heart. For me, this is especially true when life gets rough. Suddenly when things are complicated, unclear and confusing all around me, I feel like I have lost who I am. Similar moments have also occurred with people I know, some moments where I failed to realize it in time. Even so, conflict is very important. Just as a series of obstacles creates a hero in literature, overcoming fears and being honest can shape you into the person you want to be. It's a tough call when conflict is necessary and when it isn't. Similar to the battle between heart and mind, usually a conflict can be driven by one or the other. But how you deal with conflict, and how you handle life can be an important part of you are. I'm slowly learning this, as I deal with conflict after conflict.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


My Dad tells me life is all about choices. The choices we make,the choices
others make, and the way we imterpret those choices.
People use your choices to define you and base their opinion on you by deciding
what your choices mean to them. But, yout choices can also determine how you feel
about yourself. Whether or not you give yourself credit or give others credit.
Whether you allow yourself to get angry, happy or sad. Whether you let others get
angry, happy or sad. All of these choices define who you are and determine who you
will be. The way you view yourself is determined by the choices you make, the honesty
you have to yourself, and the honesty you have to others. I'm currently learning about this
both in my life and in the stories I'm writing. I've had to make some tough choices. Choices
that determine my future, my personality and ultimately myself. All of these choices are important,
but there is one thing I've learned. When you make these choices, you must choose the one you
will regret the least.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Writing Prompt 24: Writing as Therapy

Prompt: Is writing a form of self therapy?

I believe it is. During the most stressful, irritating and aggravating points in my life, I always write. I write stories, poetry, songs, journal entries and of course essays. I still write these things, and I still learn from them. In middle school, when I had about three major issues in my life, two of which I felt I couldn't handle at all, I began writing a story about a character who had no idea who she was, why she had to deal with life and who she could actually trust and believe in. As I wrote that story, I became more and more connected with the main character. As she grew and changed, I did. She began to trust when I decided to reach out. She learned how to deal with things which I slowly discovered as well. She became a very important character and gave me a new insight into myself. When life was difficult, I could write about this character and learn how she coped with it. When I had no idea what I wanted, she would, and I gradually discovered myself through my character. This is also true of my poetry and songs. I recently looked back on them, and discovered that even though the words were not the same, each poem and song was about the same topic. In more than fifty different poems and lyrics I was writing about my longing to believe in something, anything to help me cope with the world around me. When I started going to college, I picked my essay topics in relation to the growth and development of characters, the myth quest and archetypal symbolism. I honestly remember, as I was writing my Alice in Wonderland essay, stopping for a moment and realizing that I wasn't writing just about Alice. I was writing about myself. Even if Alice was the topic of my paper, I discovered that I had similar situations and learned from them, or ran from them. Alice ran from the Jabberwocky, while I ran from connections and intimacy. Emma learned from her mistake at Knob Hill while I learned from my choice to drop good friends. More and more I become convinced that writing is therapy.
In my novel class, we talk about the relationship of the writer and the writing. The novel and the author are always connected by some aspect in the story that the author is trying to understand about his or her self. The reason we write is to explore the truth about ourselves. While fantasy may not be related or even similar to real life, the character a reader connects with is always empathetic through similar experiences. In many ways, we write to learn. We learn about the world, ourselves, life in general and we learn what we want. Writing is a wonderful way to express how we feel, what we think and what we observe. It is more than a craft or art, it's a way of life. Practice, routine and discipline all apply to writing. Through writing we discover new aspects of ourselves, understand our mistakes, learn to make choices and, of course, learn to cope with life. Stories are used to learn. Songs are written to express emotions. Poems express thoughts and feelings. Essays express opinions. All of these pieces of writing reflect the writer. The concept of "voice" becomes the writer's tool to express themselves through writing, regardless if the writing is a story, song, poem or essay. The topic they are writing about matters to them in some way and can be further explored through writing.
There have been arguments that the writer's voice is their subconscious mind, which they tap into now and then, creating images or messages to understand the world around them. Writing is processing. It polishes thoughts, emotions and messages for the writer and communicates them to the reader. So, yes I believe writing is a form of therapy, and no matter what you write, the act of writing clarifies something in you. It could be a problem you are trying to resolve, an opinion you wish to express, an emotion you can't ignore and a thought you want to explore. Writing can help you discover and understand the parts of your self that seem very unclear on the surface. It is a way to organize the chaos in your mind and heart. Writing is therapy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Take a Break

Don't forget
to relax for awhile
Listen to music,
laugh and smile.

Take your time
for a moment in time
Even five minutes
can be sublime.

(photo: Cataract Lake)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing Prompt 23: Descolliding

Prompt: Make up a new word and then give it a definition

Descolliding: A (V. N. ADJ.)(v) the action of deciding based on two or more opinions of others and yourself. (n) situation in which a decision collides with others' perspectives of yourself (adj.) A modifier used to describe a moment in which a person must choose who they will be and weigh people's opinions and their own.

The word comes from "Decision" and "colliding" as well as "description". It represents the moments in life where you reach a crossroads and have to make a decision that determines who you are and where you belong. Most descolliding moments are chances to grow and change. They often occur during a period of self discovery. When you are faced with a descolliding moment, you can't think of what anyone else wants, you must only think of what you want and go for it. The important of descolliding is a rite of passage where you either learn to be true to yourself, or allow others' opinions to collide with your life.

picture: The two sides of Mulan. Mulan has a descolliding moment when she decides to replace her father in the army.