Untitled Jazz

  • so this is different, but listen. the floor is underrated
  • people are amazing
  • colorful pens are fantastic for taking biology notes and parsing latin sentences. i’ve never looked back.

  • dry erase markers + mirror are handy and make a fun toy
  • this keith green song has been stuck in my head all last week
  • now my mirror is completely filled with writing. all bullet points of course.

  • i think chick-fil-a is a little tired of seeing my team every week. but most importantly i have managed to almost convert all my peeps to the true glory of dipping fries in milkshakes
  • our team t-shirts are pretty epic

  • in december i had an idea. but like 51, it felt different. and special. and it grew. here and there, just been brainstorming. writing down notes. and making collages.
  • i wanted to make this one my background on my phone but then i realized that might look weird. it is a collage of random people that i found.
  • the story doesn’t have a title yet (surprise ha) and it will probably take a long time to find a good one, so i gave it a random stand-in name that came out of no where: untitled timebus jazz.
  • untitled jazz. it sounded like this. random thoughts. bullet points. pictures of life.

  • let me tell you. there is no other experience like singing with sixty other people.
  • giant spotlights shining from across the gym give the orchestra members magical halos when you’re perched on the risers behind, out of sight of the crowd. it’s breathtaking paired with their music that throbs and aches and begs for emotions.
  • that was december but thinking of it still makes me happy

  • saturday i have my mock trial competition. i don’t feel nervous. yet.
  • i know i will eventually. but i also know it will all leave that moment i stand. cause it’s all come together and my friends are amazing and that calmness i will feel is all for them and for all their work.
  • i use to dislike the fact i have the first speech. now it’s my way to stand up and give them all back the confidence they give me.
  • its all for you. you got this.

  • i needed this. maybe you did. maybe sometimes you need to say the obvious or think your random thoughts and clear your mind. tell me if you do. i’ll listen.
  • one final thing: sometimes it’s hard to smile. but perhaps smiling doesn’t mean life is perfect or even great. but maybe it means trying to make other people’s life good. look around. you are loved. so love.
~ evelyn ~

Favorite Books Read | 2o19

At the close of 2018, I found a handful of posts in the blogger world batted around discussing and sharing the list of books read for the year and goals for the next year. All that led to wonder about how many books I read in the course of twelve months, and so I decided to create a list and discover the answer. 

About half way through the year, however, I realized how boring a post of just a plain list of books would be and I abandoned the idea, and keeping record fell more and more out of habit, only remembering every once and a while and adding what I could remember for personal records.

That is until a friend a couple weeks mentioned she was writing a list of favorite books read during the year and why. I promised to make a list too and began coming back over the year in my mind and finishing the overall list, so then I could work it down to just favorites.

The list grew. And grew. And grew. (If I calculated correctly, I read 63 books.)

It was pretty easy at the start to knock out huge chunks at a time. My friend and I first set the rule, that only books first read in 2019 can be included (fairewell rereads of amazing books from 2018) and then there were a nice amount of school books that I enjoyed but probably wouldn’t read again, (goodbye Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) and then there were books that I just didn’t enjoy that much.

By the end I had twenty-two novels on my list. My friend only had six. Including one I wrote. So really just five.

At that point my friend said to try to at least get it down under twenty.

So with some more careful carving, I reached seventeen and then fifteen.

You will notice though that I snuck in a couple nods here and there to some of those novels that “aren’t part of the list.” Please take note. 😉

With that! Two more things to be aware of:

Note #2: While I enjoyed these books, I would not necessarily suggest them for everyone. Make sure to check content warnings before reading any of them.

Note #3: These books are not listed in any particular order or ranking.

Oh and! Note #4: I had a lot of fun with this. I plan to start making this tradition each year. Feel free to steal this idea from my friend too. 😉



  • Adorning the Dark  by Andrew Peterson

I was excited to get a Rabbit Room gift card for my birthday, and with it I preordered this book (though apparently I did not get a true pre-order copy that glows in the dark…?) Once it arrived, it did not take long to read, it’s fairly short, but I found myself wanting to take just one chapter at a time. Most books I find on writing – or even just a set of prose attempting to capture writing – falls into the same endless circles that are worn to the point of sickening to hear over and over again, but I found this book different. It has a very personal feel to it, and captures the process of writing so incredibly well yet in a very uncliched and realistic way. It had some helpful nuggets and had some beautiful thoughts. 

(Also as a side note if you ever have the opportunity to order a book from The Rabbit Room store instead of Amazon, I 100% recommend it. The updated status texts for your order make it worth it.)

  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Another book on writing though this one is specifically about screenwriting. I heard about it from a novelist who said it is a good book for writers in general and checked it out from my library. I found it extremely practical, insightful, and fresh, even though I don’t have any grand plans of writing a movie script any time soon. I especially like the first section that talked all about developing ideas and writing “loglines” (one sentence story ideas summaries). I had never heard the technical term before but I realized I have often tried to write them, and his advice in doing so was super helpful. I also want to try his ideas on plot structure sometime. The notion of writing plot points on index cards and taping them to the wall is especially appealing.

  • All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstien

This book was fascinating. I had been wanting to read it for a while (held out because of content issues) but finally got around to it, and didn’t put it down for a week. The true story about the Watergate Scandal written by the two reporters who sniffed it all out and published in the throws of it all, it’s both gripping and informative. I had heard a lot of things here and there about Watergate, and had even seen the original file cabinet that was broken into in person, but had never really understood what happened. Turns out a lot happened. And it also gave a picture of journalism and the true power of words. It can be hard to follow at times with all the names that I didn’t grow up hearing in politics, but thankfully they include a list and pictures. 

  • Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Either you hate it or you love it. I loved it. The old classic, slow perhaps, and yes, just an old man out at sea trying to catch fish, but I found it a very raw and realistic depiction of the straining human nature and its limitations. It’s a sobering novella, but I think in a good way. Also. Manolin. 

  • Letters From Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien

I was volunteering at my local library (during the summer) when I spotted this treasure on the shelf. After I finished my shift and had a while before I was going to be picked up, I went back, found it, and retreated to a corner to read. I loved every moment of it. It’s so sweet and magical, filled with clever illustrations and quirky handwriting that all tie into the story that arches over a couple years worth of letters to the Tolkien children. The unique take on the North Pole and the personable characters such as the Polar Bear and the Christmas elves, are all fresh and quaint, and the actions and events related within the notes are both comical and enduring. Every page is overflowing with creativity and beauty. The best word to describe the book, I think, is “delightful.” I would love to make reading this a yearly tradition with a mug of hot chocolate in hand and before a roaring fire.

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I had watched the movie first a couple years ago, and then found a nice copy of the book for cheap at a thrift store and bought it. The story was just as sad as I remembered, and the ending still hit me as hard as the first time experiencing it. I love the first person narrative, the struggles and emotions experienced, and still think it is a very clever plot (but a very sobering one, in the same way as The Old Man and the Sea.) 

  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson

This book, suggested by a friend, I read all in one quiet afternoon sitting – it’s a fairly short story, but truly a beautiful one. I cried when I finished it, partially because of the deep sadness in it, but mostly because of the breathtaking ending which was so overwhelmingly simple and enchanting. “Enchanting” is probably a surprising but encompassing description of the book, even though it is placed in a very plain, rough rural town, filled with plain, rough, everyday life. The characters themselves are very plain and simple in a realistic way, but the journey they took me on, was in no way plain.

  • Circus Mirandus and it’s sequel The Bootlace Magician by Cassie Beasley

These books. I adore them. I really do. I have ranted about it. And the relationship between The Lightbender and the boy…. Just – wow. My heart is stolen. Forever. I’m never getting it back. 

The creativity. The quirky voice of the narrator. The sweet, simplistic but breathtaking beauty of it. And the illustrations. Everything. I loved it all

I read the first book over a trip to Philadelphia for my older sibling’s college level Mock Trial competition. At first I was a bit embarrassed to be seen by the smart, advanced mock-ers (yes that’s what we call ourselves) carrying it around between rounds, but by the end I didn’t care. It’s the kind of book that is called a “children’s book,” but that you find and can never let go of – especially as you get older, like Winnie the Pooh. The second book came out this year and I borrowed it from the library as soon as it was available. 

But to top it off? When I was in Nashville at a huge warehouse of used books, I found a gorgeous hardback copy of Circus Mirandus. I don’t think I stopped hugging it until I had to hand it to the man at the counter in order to buy it.

( ^ see?)

Also: A very good, similar type of book I read this year, which I loved, is The Girl Who Drank the Moon, because Glerk. And Fyrian. 

  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I don’t even know where to start with this one. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. It’s thrilling. It’s fascinating. It’s epic. It’s emotional. It’s scary. It’s so life-like in its characters and their actions and reactions even as it’s placed in space in a battle against aliens. And I found myself not wanting it to end. I made the mistake of starting it in some spare time one afternoon and then finding myself altogether too caught up to do anything but read it until I finished it around noon the next day. And the ending? Wow. Just… wow.

Interesting note: it reminded me of one of my favorite reads from 2018, Starship Troopers, (which (also interesting fact) I had expected to be completely different than it actually turned out to be.) Early sci-fi with themes of challenging philosophy I guess…?

  • Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt 

Okay though. This book is fantastic. A friend (and both her mom and brother) suggested a handful of Gary Schmidt’s books to me. I first read The Wednesday Wars (amazing!) and then Orbiting Jupiter (good too), but in the end, I had to pick Okay For Now as my favorite. It’s such a wholesome, good novel, about a boy in a dysfunctional family learning about life and creativity and love and friendships. It’s extremely well written and paced and also very cleverly entwined around James Audubon’s bird paintings. I absolutely love the relationships developed through the story and how the characters change. It’s just such a good book.

I look forward to reading Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy next via said-friend’s mother’s suggestion.

  • American’s Favorite Poems collected by Pinsley and Dietz

Here is another book I found at the thrift store, a nice condition hardcopy, for $2. What made this book unique as compared to any old used-copy collection of poetry discovered on a sagging shelf, is it’s set up. The two editors had hundreds of Americans send in their favorite poems and explain what it means to them. Every poem is prefaced with a name, an age, a location, and a paragraph of story connected to the poem. It has a large variety from all kinds of poets and all kinds of styles, and it manages to make every one of the poems so meaningful, setting them in lights I would have never thought of. With the wide variety, I also found new favorites such as Refugee Blues, a haunting poem I ended up memorizing for a presentation. 

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book I struggled with. I don’t think I’ve still gotten over the ending. I didn’t cry. I was too numb. 

The novel switches to and fro from the perspective of two characters – a German orphan boy and a blind French girl around the time of World War II. The prose is lovely, and while the main characters muse a little here and there about a memory, I had no problems with becoming bored. It is the sort of book that wastes no scenes or words, and that with the first words you know the author took up the task of writing it with such respect and love and carefulness.

I loved the storytelling and the characters. though I sometimes wondered if the latter was a good thing. 

Overall it is a chillingly beautiful narrative, raw in its handling of humanity and emotions. It reminded me in some ways of The Book Thief. 

  • And finally – what I will try to sneak in as “honorable mention,” – Shaun Tan’s The Arrival

Honorable mention? The reason? Because technically I did not read this book. I experienced it. 

There are no words, only pictures. But breathtaking sketches at that. They all link together and unfold the story of a man leaving his wife and young daughter to make a new life for them across the ocean in a strange foreign place with strange and confusing contraptions and creatures. It’s everything… fascinating, scary, exciting, lonely, strange, and hopeful, and overall it’s really beautiful. 


And then right now I’m currently reading Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card.

A glimpse at my TBR (to-be-read) List:

  • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • The Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The rest of the Wildwood Series (I’ve only read book 1 so far)
  • Ender In Exile by Orson Scott Card
  • T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

What books did you read in 2o19? Which were your favorites? Any suggestions for my 2o2o TBR list?

(*all pictures beyond the one with my hand in it, taken from Amazon or other internet locations* :))

The Box Of Possibility | thoughts on imagination, creativity, and the inspiration found within a to-go box

Imagination is magic.

How could I ever doubt it?

I remember those days we sat on the dirty floor of the dark classroom pouring over your iPad early in the morning every week while all the moms were busy. We would play a hundred games on that device, everything from solving puzzles and serving hamburgers to swimming sharks.

But there was that one game – it stuck with me for ages after the classroom was abandoned as we grew up and graduated into chores and school.

There was that one game, boxy graphics of lurid green grass with a squatty little pixel person, waiting to be moved. You pushed the button, the box appeared, and you typed in “wrench.” And a wrench appeared. We typed in “hammer” and a hammer appeared.

We tried everything we could think of. Fries. Hamburgers. Sword. Dragon. With every press of ‘enter,’ word became reality and idea materialized. Through the character we ran around gleefully and collected the items and hit them together, then explored the cliffs with the top hat we donned to find a castle and prisoners to free with whatever genius method we thought up out of thin air.

The possibilities were endless.

It was so romantic. So perfect. So glorious. To have every slightest item at the most last minute demand. At the thought, to make a dream a physical fact.

I was so jealous of the little thirty pixel man, his sleek suitcase in one hand and a golden key in the other, ready to conquer.

Sometimes it feels like nothing could be so far from the truth. Life is life. Dragons don’t appear when you simply say “dragon.”

As much as you spend your time, curdled up in a corner, soaking in a distant world with white witches and epic battles and codes of honor and chivalry, you still find that the icy scenes melt and the fog of the mysterious mountains fade and everything’s back like it was before. Only now you’re sitting in a dark room, the sun long gone. Your foot is asleep and your eyes are aching from the strain. Not to mention, you realize you’re hungry, but there are dirty dishes in the sink to clean first.

You return to everyday life, more stale and slow, for the realization that it is Christmas! …but only once a year for a meager 24 hours and it never manages to snow on December 25th.

This week, starting on Monday, I returned to school. Except for the fact I felt I had never truly left it long. December was fairly busy with Mock Trial and driver’s ed and a trip to Nashville. At the beginning of the month, I had made this plan to write a poem every day – whether it be two lines or ten. I wanted to write at least something and try to capture little tidbits of insight at the end of my day.

Monday I basically decided December had already ended.

With a few spurts of two or three over the entire month, I managed to have fourteen messy poems. I looked at them as a collection, (not daring to look too closely) with a small smile of satisfaction, for the ideas behind them and the way they make me think (even as 99% of them are in a distressingly unreadable and entirely unsharable state.)

I closed the document, knowing that I had finished, and left it behind, and returned to school.

However, that was not the end of it.

That night my family went to get pizza together and my sister and I decided to share a salad, knowing that salads at restaurants are mountainous mounds with deep caverns that never end.

Even sharing though, the dish was not finished. All the pieces of gyro meat had been consumed, and all that was left was half a bowl of greens and fetid cheese sprinkled throughout, and one or two grape tomatoes. My mother said it could be saved, so I asked for a to-go box and filled it up.

At one point someone asked why I was saving it, “What are you going to do with that? It’s just lettuce and kale.”

“It’s my box of potential,” I blurted and looked down at the plain, greasy, everyday white-foam to-go box and suddenly felt strangely defensive. “Just you wait and see,” I continued, “tomorrow for lunch I’ll add so much to it. I’ll fix it up and it will be glorious.”

In the car on the drive back, clutching the box in the dark and watching grainy black shapes blur together out the window, I couldn’t stop hearing the phrase over and over in my mind.

My Box of Potential.

My Box of Potential.

Just you wait and see.

As soon as I got home, I found an index card and wrote my fifteenth poem for the month:

I own a box of possibility, it’s bottled up inside. Why of course it’s empty! The contents are up for me to decide. Of course you don’t see anything, because many good things look like nothing. This is my box of potential ready for me to become imaginationial.


This week I was reminded of that small pixelated man from so many years ago and I realized that to this day I have been writing words and watching them become “fact.” I say “dragon” and one swoops down toward my characters. I say “fries” and they appear at my character’s table.

But even more importantly, I say “adventure” and I go live life.

Sometimes fantasy is merely fantasy. Elves are elves, and petite high schoolers dragging backpacks of Algebra and Biology, who stayed up late the night before and in the morning had no time to fix their frizzy hair, are petite little high schoolers in the end with a towering stack of vocabulary to memorize as the closest thing to a foreboding castle to conquer.

But imagination is a practical magic. You don’t have to be “the special one.” You don’t even have to own anything special.

Look around, you have paper clips and jute string, a handful of markers, some smashed earbuds, a half-forgotten notebook, and a handful of friends.

Where are your big ideas, plans, grand adventures? Your treasure coves to plunder, prisoners to save, dragons to summon?

Right there if you want. It’s called living.

Keep your head up. Keep marching forward. There are worlds to build, people to discover, and gifts to give.

Listen, everywhere you look? There is a box of possibility. And all you need to open it? A little bit of magic.

Happy first Saturday of 2o2o, my friends!

Season's Greetings

I don’t think I had truly realized how many blogs I followed until this week when I returned from a five day roadtrip to Nashville and found my inbox flooded with wintery writerly things.

I follow over 30 blogs? Over 35? Over 40? Even more?

Wow.

And then in exploring WordPress, I stumbled upon some setting that disables comments and realized I had accidentally turned it on for my last post.

Whoops.

But yes, I went on a road trip to Nashville and did fun things, like spending an entire morning in McKays (great, amazing, and huge used book store) where found many books, some that I got, some that I wish I could get, and some I was glad I don’t own, including this book I found that I decided looks quite hideous:

How’s that for a title?

Yes indeed.

It does look hideous, doesn’t it?

Also food for thought: there is one day a year that thousands of people are not the least surprised to find candy in socks.

Well, it seems like this is a bit of a random post, but there are things to be gathered and wrapped. Plans to be made. Hot cocoa to be sipped, fires to be stirred, snow to be shoveled (at least for some).

There waits some poems to be typed up, a list of best reads this year to be formulated, and a book to be plotted. (bahahaha *cracks knuckles*)

Oh and also candy to put in socks. 😉

So I’m just dropping in to deliver a simple little Christmas card from me to you.

Merry Christmas!

~ evelyn ~

(Side note: As much as I love writing about writing, books, poetry, and creative habits, I love holidays more because they are such a good excuse for everyone in the family to get together. I will not be posting next week because of joyous time with my awesome family, but shall most likely return with tags and rants and rain and scribbles next decade. Enjoy your holiday!)

Dear Character | a short story based off of real life events of a younger self

March 10, 2017

Dear character:

It’s been a while since our interview and your debut is coming up soon by our calculation. We would appreciate if you would fill out the information form we gave you in the packet. Please send it in by the weekend and we’ll contact you about schedules for next week’s sessions.

We all look forward to working with you, especially MC. She’s been pretty excited about it.

Until then,

Your Author


March 13, 2017

Dear character (or current resident):

We are forwarding our previous message again as you have not answered. If this is the wrong address, please let us know and we will stop spamming you.

Thank you,

Your Author


March 16, 2017

Character:

Thank you for finally reaching back and sending in the form. It appears as if you forgot to fill it out though. We still need a picture of you and a sentence or two that best describes your character. It’s merely a simple height, and hair and eye color check.

Attached is the form.

Thank you,

Your Author


March 23, 2017

Character:

You seem to be taking a lot of time responding. We had to shift around schedule because of your speed in reaching back out to us.

“Mysterious and creepy” does not work under every answer and we aren’t paying you to send back snarky responses. All we need from you is to come in and point MC toward the Western Gate. It’s quite simple. You don’t even have to bring a compass, just point in the way we’ll tell you. I’m sure someone who thinks so much of themselves like you can handle it. Or is it too complicated? Huh?

We expect you tomorrow at eight pm after work.

Pick up coffee on the way and I might give you a donut.

Sincerely,

Your Author

yourauthor@herblog.com


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: March 31, 2017, 10:49 AM
subject: Thank You For Your Service

Character:

Thank you for showing up on set the other day! Since we ran out of time, we’ll just have to work with the short cut scene. There is no need for you to come again.

Please connect with me on bloglovin’.

Your Author


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 5, 2017, 11:30 PM
subject: Re: Thank You For Your Service

Character:

You reached out asking about pay but there must have been some misunderstanding. Did you not read the note on my blog? If you become my character you consent to never hold me accountable for any and all injury or death that will incur, you agree that I write all the rules (magical or practical) for the project, and you promise to rate the book on Amazon when it gets there. As an extra you are not paid, but through bragging rights. Honestly, kid you should feel honored that I picked you to be the moving force in pointing MC in the right direction. Who knows what would happen if you weren’t there, right?

Good day,

Your Author


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 5, 2017, 11:52 PM
subject: Re: Thank You For Your Service

Character, I don’t think you get it. You are an extra. You come in, and then you GO OUT. LEAVE. TA-TA. BYE-BYE

Yeah?

Listen kid, I still reserve the right to inflict whatever injury I see fit to my characters. And who knows what might accidentally happen to a side character when writer’s block comes knocking, yeah? A knife may slip…. a wagon wheel.

Maybe said-character has a big ego and never looks down.

SO HE SLIPS AND HITS HIS THICK SKULL ON A ROCK

Just sayin.

It happens randomly to us all.

Your Author >:)

P.S. There is always another draft.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 12:39 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

Character,

Thank you for sending your most kindest regards concerning the lawsuit you are writing up, but I promise you that your efforts shall not pay off! How could they?

I’m the Author.

I write the court-hearings.

Most fondly,

Your AUTHOR and amazing BOSS


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 12:45 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

So now you want to duel.

How very cliched.

Oh go jump off a cliff.

Of better yet? Try to save a princess and get captured or something. I’ll gladly provide the prison.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 1:05 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

Just keep ranting.

Maybe I’ll write it down and use it some day.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 1:15 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

What? No! Of course I’m not going to make you my next MC!  Where did you get that silly notion?

You want a Pinterest collage too? HA.

Oh go jump off a cliff.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 2:03 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

OKAY

Look you’re relay kinda getting annoying here. If I bring you back in with a bigger part will you leave me in peace and stop sending emails??


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 2:04 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

*really, not relay 😛


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 2:23 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

Oh yeah, super fast. A nice change of heart on my end. Of course you shouldn’t be suspicious. I just suddenly felt pity for your lowly being  I MEAN situation and my rudeness. I realized you have potential and it would be thrown into the wind if you jumped off a cliff.

Get it?

Get it??

No need to clap. Oh why thank you. Thank you very much. I would like to thank my family and friends who were all vital in my journey to this one point.

So you’re in?


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 2:34 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

Look it’s almost 3 in the morning and I’m on my fifth cup of coffee. And to be fair all YOUR great so said amazing jokes come from my brain.

Anyways, I have the perfect part for you.

I had a request from a friend for an arrogant, stuck-up, annoying kid around your age to be the literary representation of her brother (who is writing a story in which he is coming up with pages and pages of ideas of how to kill me as a character) so she can help me torture him.

I think I might go as far as to make him betray everyone and live to regret it and THEN die a miserable death.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 2:42 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

No, I’m not going to give you that guy’s number. For starters I don’t even have it. Either you help me here or you’re returning to the dusty closet with the plot bunnies and cardboard monsters. Eh? You want that?

Yeah, yeah, you won’t get any flowers and it might be painful, but hey you get to have a epic dramatic last days that will haunt readers for the rest of their days.

Doesn’t that sound like fun??


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 6, 2017, 2:49 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

Awesome. I’ve got to go, but I’ll be back this afternoon to fill you in.

Get some rest.

And try not to fall off a cliff in the meantime.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 22, 2017, 4:53 PM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

DUDE

What do you think you’re doing?? And where in the world did you get that cloak! I did not give that to you. Give it back! You know what I’m going to never bring sunglasses to your world! Give the cloak back and I might not burn every black cloak in history.

Also, did you even read the game plan??

You’re not suppose to follow her – well you’re suppose to for a little bit but then you go and tell the riders at the inn at the west gate and get your dirty little money bags.

Dude! Get with the program! Scurry and get that money. I don’t care if you don’t like the riders. They have money, so like them. Isn’t that all you care about?

Money. Go for the money. You don’t even like Seth or Nathan. Betray them. Get rid of them.

And get the money.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 22, 2017, 4:55 PM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

DUDE

Get a compass. WEST gate. Not east.

Or better yet look for the sun and blind yourself. Maybe then the readers will feel sorry for you.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 22, 2017, 5:10 PM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

What? Who told you that? Look you need to work on your communication. I’M IN CHARGE. Hear that? I’M THE AUTHOR. Not you.

You’re not hiding from the riders with Ethel. You’re suppose to hunt them out AND GET THE MONEY.

NOW.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 22, 2017, 5:17 PM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

What? You have other priorities over money now?

Jerk.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 22, 2017, 5:19 PM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

You know what? Never mind! You help them out but they’ll still hate you anyways. (Ha!) All of them will because you are heartless and insensitive and still a jerk, even if you have priorities beyond money – like hatred for nice people or government officials.

Just you wait and see. You can hope, but it won’t pay off.

We will keep going, but I can see e x a c t l y how this will play out in the next ten chapters.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 27, 2017, 7:09 PM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

I told you. Don’t start complaining now. This was your idea, remember? Shoulda stuck with the first plan and listened to me.

Fondly,

Your Author 😇


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: April 28, 2017, 9:34 AM
subject: re: WHAT IF I SUE YOU

Oh I am so not going back. I am enjoying this way too much for that.

Just keep making snarky responses and huffing and rolling your eyes. I could use some more of that.

feeeeed it toooo mee

By the end of this, my readers will want to punch you.

Hehehe, this is awesome.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: May 7, 2017, 3:31 PM
subject: re: What happened?

Look, sorry to keep you hanging. Something came up and I was trying to work it out. Turns out I got all the miles wrong between the cities, and have you even read the beginning passages?? They’re terrifyingly cliched and what’s up with Ethel’s drama life? She’s worse than a teenager. And don’t ask me why you haven’t died from starvation and thirst in a desert while everyone else is having a drought and how in the world is the plot suppose to be finished blah blah blah

Besides I was busy running around with Ethel’s brother, doing interesting stuff like throwing knives at benches and burning down inns.

What’s up with all the knives anyways???

Maybe I should get a job at McDonalds or something. 😛

Hey maybe I could get hired to fix all the typos in the driver’s ed course.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: May 7, 2017, 3:34 PM
subject: re: What happened?

OH MY GOODNESS

KNIVES

THROWING THEM.

I GOT IT.

I got it, I got it, I got it!!

This is too good.

ALL OF A SUDDEN. Three more scenes and the book is over!?

THIS IS GLORIOUS

Hang in there. (and watch out for the falling rocks when you enter the canyon bahahaha)


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: May 8, 2017, 5:11 PM
subject: CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!!!!

Yo man. DID YOU SEE THAT.

In case you missed it:

THE END.

That’s right.

I can’t believed it. I am shivering all over – literally! I can’t sit still. IS THIS A DREAM??

And hey you survived even if you’re a jerk. Happy??


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: May 8, 2017, 5:17 PM
subject: re: CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!!!!

I don’t care how many exclamation marks are in the subject title.

I FINISHED MY NOVEL.

😳😱🤩🤪😎🤑🎉😁😁

I am almost tempted to give you a cookie.

Almost.

Wow. We’ve come so far.


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: May 8, 2017, 5:20 PM
subject: re: CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!!!!

Well, I’ve got to go. But wow. That was crazy.

I guess this is where we say goodbye. I almost feel sad – no. I can honestly say I feel sad. Well. Another day has passed, another round of tears shed over the events my poor darlings suffer through. (I don’t know if Ethel will ever forgive me. (Or you, but who cares about that part.) And poor, poor Ethan *sniffs* What has he gotten himself into??) And there’s a lot of work to be done. It’s such a mess of a draft, but I’m done.

I’m done.

I’ve grown. I’ve learned.

And I can set it aside and proudly say I have finished a novel. My first full novel ever! No one knows the name of it! But maybe some day I shall return and edit it and give it a title.

Who knows. Only time will tell.

Until then,

Let the music blast.

Very fondly,

Your Author


from: The Author <yourauthor@herblog.com>
to: Matthew <thisisthemat@characters.com>
date: May 9, 2017, 2:13 PM
subject: Been A While

Heyyyy!

What’s up, dude? Long time huh.

Welp. Lots of busyness and such stuff over here with the celebration ya know and it’s certainly been a while. What 24 hours? Well not quite but almost. Anyways, I look back and it’s crazy to think about it all. How do you like the new house? How’s the pet lizard? All well and fine I hope.

Yeah… So I was uh well. Just wanted to check in.

Your old friend,

The Author

(PS. What’s your opinion on sequels?)

One Down, More to Go | novel celebrations, considerations, and introductions

Let’s ignore last week.

Because skipping out on blogging to go on a field trip is nothing in comparison to my news of this week.

Are you ready for it?

It’s kina big.

Just kinda.

Are you ready? Okay here it is:

I have finished 51.

Wait.

Say WHAT

I’m DONE?!?

…and in the meantime all the rest of you are wondering why in the world it has taken this high schooler to finally learn how to count to 51.

No, its not because I’m homeschooled (thank you very much)

It’s because “51” is the title of what use to be my W.I.P. (which work-in-progress for those wondering).

Though to be honest it’s still a work-in-progress, but we’ll get to that later.

For now, confetti! Balloons! Cake!

In order to celebrate I will be ranting, rambling, and well. More rambling. Gifs.

And watching hobbits celebrate my great feats.

All that jazz.

But first, for those lost: 51? The initial seed of an idea was planted last November when I needed a break from NaNoWriMo (you know that thing where you write 50,000 words in a month) and so asked a writer-friend for a short story prompt so… I could write even more…?

I know it doesn’t make much sense, but wait until you are cranking a couple thousand words a day for the same project.

You get kinda tired of it. Especially the end of the second week. (Which is the point you decide that there are dragons in your world.)

NoNaWriMo in seven words:

Well I wrote a couple thousand words of a short story that felt more like a novel. I started plotting. I wrote a couple pages on how time-traveling might work and how it would effect users. By the end of those pages, I had met my characters. They had brought to me their problems, which I prodded and poked and plotted from.

Since then it has grown. It has had its highs and lows. Things developed and changed. Including the method of story-telling.

All until last week. I finished at the personal-award-winning length of over 75,500 words (what a big plump rabbit that plot bunny has become!).

It’s an experience.

Everytime I finish a novel, I sit back and stare as I try to swallow the fact that I just wrote “the end,” and I think, “Wow, maybe I do know how to do this writing-thing…”

And then I close it and step away. An hour later it hits me. When I’m scheduling maybe. Or passing the computer. Or unconsciously hurrying through chore because of those 1,000 words waiting to be written. Suddenly the mindset is shattered.

There dumps that all confusing but amazing sense of joy, sadness, relief, fear, and confidence. And then that renewed energy.

All of a sudden, it is done. I did it and as comma-depraved and pitiful the prose is and as sagging as the plot proves to be with every chapter, it is mine. All the sweat and mental circles I ran, the sleepless nights I poured into it, the long afternoons squinting at the pixels blinking back at me. All the scrawling’s in my school notebooks. All the holes I must have drilled into my wall as I sat at my desk oblivious of humanity and the schoolbooks before me.

But wait…

Done?

Actually done?

And that original fondness and excitement you had for the characters? It was never lost, merely muddled with the day-to-day grind. And you will no longer visit them.

At least not like this. Not like how it’s been.

It will never be the same with them.

All those problems they brought you have meddled away your summer with. And they’re less of a jerk for it too.

Maybe it will never be the same, but I will be returning. After a break I plan to edit a lot, starting with all those filler {ELEPHANT}s and {helicopter flight check?}s that I stick in when I don’t have time to research. And that I forgot about until handing it to a friend.

I always finish a novel with renewed vigor. When I sit down to write I find myself pulling out the upbeat tunes to dance through as I rip apart pages and scribble with red pens. Or something like that. 😉

Well summer is now gone. Fall has already arrived with all its luggage: Shorter days. School. Cold. Flaring colors.

And then another revelation rocks my little universe.

NaNoWriMo is just two weeks away.

And yep.

I’m doing it.

How could I not? Last year was fantastic and after spending almost the past year just on one novel, skipping from section to section, rewriting, and overthinking sometimes, I feel like a good rush of new words and ideas, and that feeling of defenestrating perfectionism and care. Kidnapping a couple new characters and also holding my inner editor for ransom.

Look sometimes you just have to write a random novel and that’s the truth.

*and everyone says amen*

I felt quite lost the other day realizing I have no idea what I was going to write. That since of complete loss. Overwhelming nothing-ness. There is a huge difference between a new chapter in a book, and starting a new book. Facing that blank white page with no history.

Suddenly all that confidence about knowing what I’m doing?

Out the window.

And suddenly I’m sitting at the computer wandering what the temperature is outside.

Where is inspiration when you need it?

Well, after waiting for a sudden creative revelation to hit for a week I gave up only to be most pleasantly bombarded by Eden.

How can you say no to her inspiring bubbliness? Or the prodding by a couple other people I had kinda convinced to do NaNo in the past hundreds of flocks of other eager writing friends. Well she came up with some ideas, which I absolutely loved and twisted together into something I hope will be digestible.

And so now the minor dumping…

Short Teaser

She was born without wings. He was born deaf. And the man was cursed, but he was not born that way.

Hopefully that mini dwarf blurb left you with a couple questions. (Or at least made you want to know more.)

Winged people a norm?

…and now thinking about it, I’m starting to grow extremely excited, scared, and about ten other emotions.

Want to hear more?

What else this novel will include*

  • outcasts
  • fog monsters
  • towering treehouse mansions
  • old maps
  • pirates
  • locked sea chests and riddles
  • angry mobs
  • a quest (to what though I have yet to discover)
  • magical ship with no crew

{*Disclaimer: This is by no means a complete list and is in fact only a list by the author. It has yet to be pitched to the characters. It is very much subject to change. Thank you. 😉 }

Extra Fluff

I tried my hand at making character collages/inspiration-boards…

Cora:

Salar:

And Azo:

And with that I think my introduction is complete-

Wait… I need a title?

You’re saying most books have titles? And ones not just randomly pulled from the number of playlists I have on Spotify? *cough51cough*

Okay confession. I’m terrible at naming books especially when I have no idea what they are about especially out of thin air.

I promise 51 is firstly: not about aliens. And secondly: relates to the story. And thirdly: no I don’t have 51 playlists anymore.

(Don’t look at me like that. You go count your playlists. They multiply like rabbits.)

Well, we will work on that one.

WELL

And that’s that.

You think the party is done though? Never. 😉

Chalice tagged me for this really cool music tag so return next week for another dose of ramblings, this time about music.

Prepare to be drenched.

Until next time, let the joyous hobbits dance!

~ evelyn ~

**all gifs extracted by my personal crew of dwarves from the mines of giphy**

The Simple Things Tag

If there was anyone who I would call the Sun-Drenched Writer, it would definitely be my wonderful cousin Camille who loves sunflowers, plants, the color yellow, and just about anything bright or cheery. She also has created what is now I favorite tag ever. (And I get the bragging rights to be tagged first muhahaha)

The rules are fairly simple and the idea behind it is as well. (Hence the name, right? 😉 )

  1. Link back to the person who started the tag and thank them. Thank you Camille!
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you and thank them. Also thank you Camille. (:
  3. List 5 simple things that make you happy with pictures.
  4. Tag one person.

Here are some things that make me happy:

#1. Live music

Sister playing piano. Brother playing guitar. Family singing.

On the porch. Around the campfire.

Concerts.

Though music in general is absolutely amazing.

#2. Playing games

The competitiveness. The strategy.

Catan. Pandemic. Seven Wonders. Spoons. The Homeschool Game.

#3. Things that come with fall

Sweaters. Boots. Tea. Pumpkin pies and cakes. Oatmeal cookies. Camp fires. Falling leaves. Camp fires. Candles. Crisp air.

Need I say more?

#.4 Downtowns

The shops. Quaint. Small. Personable and cozy. Beautiful buildings. Hidden Arbors. Shutters. Window Shopping. Thrift stores. Nestled Bookstores. Walking with friends.

And Christmas lights and music in winter.

#5. Road trips

Music. Podcasts. Audiobooks. Games. Blurred landscapes. Headlights in the night. Big citites. Gas station stops. New things. Strange things. McDonalds lattes. Goofing off.

And now that I’ve started I could keep going.

The smell of rain after a hot afternoon. Playing frisbee in a thunderstorm. Color-coordinated bookshelves. Organized art supplies.

This is the kind of tag I feel like I could do again and again because there are so many small things that make me happy. (:

Speaking of which, I tag…

Dekreel!

But really if anyone wants to steal it, feel free to take it and spread a little sunshine. (:

What makes you happy?

~ evelyn ~

10 little (somewhat random) things to do on a rainy day

Today the sky seems to be stolen from a 1950s film: Blurry gray. No blue.

Rainy days sometimes can be disheartening being stuck inside with little natural light and a yellow glare from your bedroom lamp, but there are always things to do none the less. And maybe it isn’t the fact that there aren’t things to do, but more the restlessness of a long afternoon.

Even when its sunny I have those days where I roam the house in search of something engaging to do.

I had been thinking about posting a list of activity ideas for such an afternoon since I absolutely love small random interesting tasks and the little things that brighten up the day, and then this happened.

Yep.

This is proof my friends. Great minds do think alike. 😉

Well here are (my) ten somewhat random – but interesting – things to do on a rainy day (or really any day because why not?)

  1. Warm up a marshmallow in the microwave. Note what happens. (**I am not accountable to whatever may happen when you do the aforementioned act**)
  2. Make coffee hot-chocolate (1. First put a scoop of hot chocolate mix in a mug. 2. Add coffee to fill half of the mug. 3. Stir that in until it is completely mixed, then fill the rest with hot water and stir again. Finally add a splash of cream or milk and if you like, froth it all and top off with mini marshmallows.)
  3. Use dry erase markers to draw on the window(s) in your room. Outline something you see outside. Do some school on it. Make a to-do list. Write a message and take a picture for a friend. Leave messages on your sibling’s windows.
  4. Send one of your favorite songs to a friend and tell them why you love it.
  5. Find a sunny quote and doodle it to hang in your room.
  6. If you have a bulletin board, use widowed earrings as thumbtacks.
  7. Pick one tree or  bush in your yard and look up what it is. (We have an Osage orange tree in our yard.)
  8. Make up a code alphabet for you and your siblings to use.
  9. Crank up music and sweep the house.
  10. And if it is just misting or a slow drizzle, simply open your window and enjoy the cool breeze and the smell of fresh rain and soil.

And I would have put sorting through closets and baking on my list but then it would look like I stole those ideas from Kenechi Duatron. Instead I’ll just say, go read her list too, because there are some really fun ideas there! (Like becoming Iron Man. 😉 )

Whatever you do, if you warm up a marshmallow in the microwave, make sure to report back. I want to know how it goes and what you think. 😉

What do you like to do on a rainy day?

ta-ta for now my friends

~ evelyn ~

 

8.31.19 | pros to hiking at 4 a.m.

  • It is pitchblack and you can see the constellations
  • The four-lane highway is empty and forgotten
  • The air is chilly and cool
  • The crickets are deafening
  • You never see another soul
  • Deer pass you
  • The entire walk you can untangle the knotted threads in your mind
  • At the top the valley is filled with twinkling lights of far-away cities.
  • You get to watch the sky wake up from your high perch
  • When everything lightens, you can pass the time watching the thick fog move through the hills and listening to roosters from a distant farm.
  • You can hike six miles and still get home in time for breakfast

 

surviving a book shopping spree 101

We had planned it three different times.

And every time something came up.

Like a fair.

Or a wedding.

Or school-preparing.

And/or we just plan forgot, because well… we’re us.

My friend (who, for the purpose of this post and future posts, shall be given her rightful name of Eeyore) and I on the last meeting of our homeschool co-op this spring had come up with the idea of a joint book shopping spree. We both went home that very afternoon and made an envelope toward the cause. And began adding to it.

Slowly but surely, we fattened our pets and by the end of the summer, they had grown into (slightly) plump little envelopes sitting and waiting.

So – finally –  this Monday we woke up to a brilliant blue sky, grabbed our bags, and headed out for a day of wandering around malls and antique shops.

In short: it was amazing.

Here’s what we did to survive and live to rant about the awesomeness tell the tale:

 

#1. Plan a season ahead to start on saving

Books are expensive. (Can I get an amen?)

I don’t think I have ever gone on a book shopping spree before. Yes, I’ve bought a book now and then, but I always feel guilty spending too much on myself and avoided it. I would walk through stores and simply make mental notes of titles to ask for my birthday.

And so while the trip itself felt a little last minute in timing, we were very prepared thanks to Eeyore’s grand thinking four months earlier.

Every penny counts after all.

 

#2. Dig deep in your closet for partially used Chick-fil-a or Starbucks gift cards

Ah yes. If you want to stay out long (which, is that even a question?) check your closet. Below the stack of books, boots, and bags, who knows what you can find?

Or maybe there’s one in your purse.

That’s a good place to check too.

 

#3. Visit a used book store first

Thank goodness for used book stores.

Digging through shelfs and shelfs of cracked, battered, and torn books can feel a little depressing or frustrating, but it really is worth all the little treasures you find. That book of poetry overlooked. That signed novel tucked behind a thick row of other books.

Don’t pass up the used book store in your shopping spree. It’s a good start and who knows? You might come out only having spent a eighty cents on a beautiful copy of The Book Thief!

 

#4. Walk through the store once to get a feel for it, then take a second round

To do it right, you must understand your surroundings. Take a quick stroll through the aisles, locate sections, skim titles, and note where you might find coffee if needed.

Once you feel familiar with the store and its layout, you are ready to begin the real work. Roll up your sleeves and grab a basket. This might take a while.

 

#5. Bring a shoulder angel (or devil depending on how you look at it…)

AKA a friend.

There’s no one like a friend to help fill in your knowledge about books, stick their favorites in your face and demand you buy them, or pat you on the head and slowly pry your fingers from that copy of the complete collection of Winnie the Pooh, when you already own two other versions.

I know I know, the golden hardback cover is gorgeous and I feel the temptation too, but not today, okay honey??

Double points if friend-brought is a writer and will understand your exclamations of needing to write down a name for a character, or listen to your critique of a cover.

 

#6. Bring a list for the books you don’t end up getting but might want to read another time

AAAh

sO mAnY CHOICES

Rows and rows of them.

What about putting a handy dandy notebook to use? Add to that growing list of to-be-reads. You don’t have enough books on that giant until the list itself could be packaged and sold.

And lastly, for those homeschoolers out there…

 

#7. Save money!

Did you know that educators can join the Books-A-Million membership club for free??

YEP.

That means, you homeschoolers, you get special membership sales just because you stay home to complete your algebra lessons. (Okay technically its your mom that gets it, but still…)

We only just stumbled upon this fact Monday and we immediately put it to use.

Cause who doesn’t want to buy books for cheap??


 

Over all, after discussing our wonderful experience, Eeyore and I decided to try to make it a tradition in starting off our school year, but with one little change. In order to go? First make sure you have read every single book you already own.

Now excuse me while I go completely reorganize my bookshelf…