Blemished Queen

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(Yes, I haven’t done anything with this blog since last fall. Sorry. I’ll try to be a little more consistent, but I can’t promise anything.)

Confession time: I’m not really into Beyoncé.

“Single Ladies” is pretty catchy, but I’m mostly ambivalent about Queen Bey and her music. That said, it was interesting watching Beyoncé’s fans lose their collective minds over untouched photos of the artist being leaked to the world. Of course, there was plenty of vitriol for the individuals who posted the offending pictures. They tweeted their indignations, some even declaring the photos were actually Photoshopped to make Beyoncé look awful.

Right.

If you haven’t seen the photos and don’t feel like Googling them, I’ll save you the search. Beyoncé looked like a gorgeous 30-something mom with a little acne, uneven skin, and smile lines. She looked, you know, like a human.

First, I think it sucks that these photos were leaked. These were done for a L’Oréal ad campaign and never meant to be seen by the public as is. Unfortunately, it’s getting easier for things like unflattering pictures to be made public and that won’t be stopping in the foreseeable future. At the same time, maybe it isn’t a terrible thing that her rabid fanbase was reminded that Beyoncé isn’t a flawless-skinned epitome of perfection; she doesn’t wake up with static-free hair and breath that smells like roses.

Surprise! She’s made of flesh and blood!

Yes, she’s uber talented, beautiful, and fabulously wealthy, but she has to put on her bodysuit one leg at a time, like the rest of us.

It’s easy to dismiss Beyoncé’s fans for their undying, blind loyalty (like when one fan defaced Beck’s Wikipedia page after he beat out Beyoncé for Best Album of the Year at the Grammys), but I think it’s a sign of something deeper.

I believe everyone has the capability to worship and we all worship at an altar.

It can be the altar of money, an ideal, a celebrity, or whatever else we humans can think of. When we put all of our adoration on something or someone, it becomes our standard for perfection. But what if it’s proven to not be perfect? What if our object of worship is revealed to have blemishes? Rather than deal with the possibility that our idol is faulty, we lash out at those who would dare tarnish our god’s honor.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Maybe Beyoncé’s fans were just upset that her privacy was violated.

Or maybe they were upset that their queen was revealed to be a mortal, like the rest of us.

NaNoWriMo 2014: Part Two

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It’s the last weekend before the start of NaNoWriMo and I’m officially jittery from the excitement.

Here’s the thing: I’ve hardly done any planning. This is highly unlike me.

If you’re unaware, the NaNoWriMo camp generally falls under three camps: planner, pantser, and plantster.

“What in the heck does it all mean?” I’m sure some of you are asking, with a wide-eyed look in your innocent eyes. Let me explain.

Planner: a person who not only has a plot down, but has outlines, character profiles, hand drawn maps of their novel’s setting, novel covers, etc. This person knows how their novel will start, finish, and everything else in between.

Pantser: a person who “flies by the seat of his or her pants” in terms of writing a novel. This individual has done minimal or no planning, and each writing session is filled with surprises.

Plantser: The category I typically fall under. This involves doing some planning, but not going overboard with it. Also, it helps that if you’re not married to the bit you’ve planned. I’ve discovered that direction can be good, but you never know when your characters can lay waste to some of your outlines.

In my NaNo novel from last year, my main character was a teenage boy in present time who. unknowingly, came from another realm. I planned for him to be this tough guy descended from a line of kings, ready to fight to take back his birthright. Instead, he became a misfit who had to learn to fight and adjust to his new found identity. Don’t be afraid if your plans veer off track. It often turns out better than one would think.

My plan for the next few days is to re-read No Plot? No Problem? by Chris Baty, get my Pinterest board set up for my characters, and get some index cards to do some outlining. I also have to stock up on writer fuel (read: Halloween candy, caffeinated beverages, and pretzels). Plus, I’m participating in a couple of NaNo swaps, so I have to get those packages sent off by at least next Saturday so I don’t have to stress.

I honestly can’t believe this is my ninth NaNoWriMo and I’m subjecting myself to this torment once again.

It’s like Christmas!

 

Feeding Frenzy

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(Fair warning: If birds freak you out, then click here to watch some carrots dance.)

A few years ago, I worked the 3am-1pm shift of my job. Waking up while most of the city was still sleeping meant I was a poster child for sleep deprivation, but I dealt with it by drinking plenty of caffeine. However, being hungry felt absolutely worse than being half asleep on my commute home (don’t worry; I take public transportation). I rarely had time to get anything to eat for lunch, so I was always famished by the time I got home.

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Ode to My Creative Frustrations

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I stare at the blinking cursor on my laptop screen
And I feel like I’m being mocked.
I grab my vibrant pastels and drawing pad,
but the page remains unmarred.
My guitar is dusty and out of tune,
so I’m typing up my frustrations instead.

I’m emptied of ideas and notions,
And my brain and fingers are uncooperative accomplices.
No inspiration flowing through my being.
It doesn’t help this flesh is unwilling.
Rather than let the unwilling win,
I’m typing up my frustrations instead.

There’s a part of me that feels useless,
that I’m doomed to failure before I start.
A voice often whispers, “What’s the point?
“Why start? It’s going to suck anyway.”
I’m here on my laptop, fighting the best way I know,
by typing up my frustrations instead.

To wait until inspiration strikes is unwise.
Many times, you have to work even if your soul feels dry.
You have to write, draw, or sing even it’s uninspired nonsense,
Even if your whole being fights against you.
At the end, you’ll have something to show for it,
Which is why I’m typing up my frustrations instead.

Recital Corner: O Captain! My Captain!

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Well, this selection shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering what happened earlier this week. However, if you’ve been living under a rock or just not a connoisseur of pop culture news, Robin Williams died on Monday.  There’s no point in rehashing all the grim details; that’s not my desire in posting this recording.

One of his best movies is Dead Poets Society, which you should go see if you haven’t, and “O Captain! My Captain” by Walt Whitman is referenced a lot in it. I wouldn’t blame you if, after viewing the movie, the urge strikes you to stand on your nearest table or desk and recite this poem.

Gravel Road (poem)

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(Back when I was a moody teenager, I used to write a lot of angst ridden poetry.  A majority of it sucked, but I should look for them.  I’m sure they would elicit a chuckle or two.  Anyway, I’ve haven’t really written poetry since college, but I thought up this poem and decided to just go with it.  Not my best writing, but that’s okay.  God is mentioned, so if you have a deity phobia, read at your own discretion.)


 

I limped on a gravel road,
my feet were bruised and bleeding,
I searched for a bit of hope,
darkness, instead, greeted me.

My eyes were blurry from my tears,
no relief could be found.
I tasted the saltiness of my sorrow,
before each drop hit the ground.

“God, do you love me?
Where have You gone?
My hope is fading fast.
I no longer can hold on.”

My feet gave out
and the gravel bit my knees.
I closed my eyes
and wondered if He’d heard my pleas.

I laid on the gravel road;
my spirit was undone.
I waited for Death to take me,
while I whispered my regrets, one by one.

In the midst of the darkness,
a silver mist came from the east.
It circled my broken body
and my pain decreased.

From the mist came a voice,
gentle yet not tame.
“Courage, young one!
Brave heart!” it exclaimed.

Anger swelled within my heart.
“I can’t! I’ve had enough! I’m done!”
Before the mist vanished, the voice said,
“The road is long. Courage, you must go on!”

Though weary in body,
I knew I still possessed much fight.
Though it was a struggle,
once again, I was upright.

I still limp on that gravel road,
my feet bruised, but my steps more sure.
I’ve savored more than a bit of hope,
moving from darkness to light, I now can endure.

Getting Over It

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Before you read the rest of this entry, listen to the audio below. I can wait.

Hopefully you got through that. I’m sorry if my thoughts sounded all over the place and super sorry I sound like a twelve year old (that’s something I can’t help). I recorded those thoughts exactly a year ago and had to convince myself it was worth keeping. I found that recording a few weeks ago and it’s a BIG deal that I’m sharing them. That experience in college happened almost almost ten years ago and I still struggle with fear, particularly my fear my writing is just not good enough.

I hate that.

I hate that I write all these rough drafts and never go back to edit them. I hate that I don’t show my writing to people for feedback. I hate that these thoughts of being an inferior writer often control me and I just don’t write. Fear fuels all of this.
I’m tired of being paralyzed and discouraged. Which is why I’m writing this post and actually making it public for all the world to read (or at least one person, perhaps).

The truth is, I’m doing this to push myself to write more. That’s why I’m also taking an on-line writing class and doing Camp Nano. I need every bit of motivation I can get to keep writing, even if it can be overwhelming.

I’d love to be a published novelist. What writer wouldn’t love such an opportunity? However, the reason I write is bigger than being a New York Times bestseller or getting lucrative advances from a publishing house.  The reason I allow myself to bleed words through a pen or a computer keyboard is because I love to create and love to tell the stories or thoughts that rattle around in my mind. I want to use every ability the Creator has gifted me with (yes, I brought God into this post. Tough.) and I want to burn out bright rather than die with unused potential.

Here goes everything.

P.S.
My initial goal is to post something new every Monday. That can be a short story, an essay, or something I’m currently working on. It could also be me venting, so be prepared for that too. Topics of faith may be brought up, but I’ll give you a fair warning before each post if you aren’t into Jesus or God.

Until next time.