Tag Archives: Changes

I’m back!

7 Jan

No, the break wasn’t long. However, yes, it was needed. Though I’m still in the stage of adjusting some things about my current life that had previously been on the back burner, I realized that I didn’t want this blog to be kicked to the back of my mind like so many other things. This blog has helped me too much to be at any place other than the forefront of my thoughts (right alongside academics, friends, and family).

One of my goals (not resolutions, but goals, or something I expect to stick around and even grow) for this year is to complete a rough draft of my memoir by the end of 2013. That being said, I am planning to spend as much time as I can to writing my memoir, which means my blog posts will no longer appear daily. I’m thinking of going bi-weekly or even weekly so that I actually might have something to say rather than feeling like I’m constantly rambling on about nothing. Though in the past I have shared certain memories related to my Cerebral Palsy on this blog (and have worked them into my memoir), I primarily began doing that because I was in need of support and feedback. Thanks to all of my lovely followers who have provided just that. However, now that I am beginning to not exactly need the encouraging feedback quite as often, I think it would be best to restrict my written memories to the Word document of my memoir. It seems safer that way. Plus, then my number of pages of my memoir might actually increase (hey, imagine that!). However, that doesn’t mean I won’t still be talking about my writing or what I’m facing on a daily basis in regards to my CP. I’ll still be sharing those snippets, and on those hard days when life just seems to knock me to the ground, every ounce of encouragement from all of you will be just what I need.

As the New Year came and went, I realized how often I was telling so many people: “I’m writing my memoir!” without actually doing much about it. Though I am not necessarily planning to give myself a deadline (good writing comes in time), I do want to move forward with my memoir. I’ve been in a pretty huge rut for quite a while, and even though I have never been a fan of outlines (normally, I’d prefer to just write, write, write and not care where it was doing), I think using an outline could provide me with a greater sense of direction in regards to my memoir, which is exactly what I need at this point. I don’t know how much it will help, but I’ll just have to see I guess.

Along with writing comes reading, and I have written numerous book reviews on this blog in the past. Today I signed up for GoodReads (and have decided to enter a Book Reading Challenge). My goal is to read 100 books in one year. Though that seems like a bit much right now, I know how much I read. And if I don’t complete the challenge, oh well. I just know that I will need a way to balance out all the writing I’m planning to do (plus college classes and friendships). Also, I think all the reading will be a nice break from focusing so heavily on my own life through writing my memoir. I think it was Stephen King who said: If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

It will be one heck of a year filled with tons of writing, tons of reading, academics, and as much fun as I can squeeze in! Thank you to all of you who have continued with me on this journey, despite the fact that this blog has changed its focus so many times. I appreciate each and every one of you so much!

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” – from Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

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Pigs In Heaven By Barbara Kingsolver: A Book Review.

20 May

Earlier this week I finished a second book by Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs In Heaven. I loved The Bean Trees and Kingsolver’s writing so much that I just had to read more by her.

Pigs In Heaven is a follow-up to The Bean Trees. However, you don’t have to read The Bean Trees first to be able to follow the storyline of Pigs In Heaven. Here’s the synopsis of Pigs In Heaven (according to Amazon.com):

Six-year-old Turtle Greer witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, leading to a man’s dramatic rescue. But Turtle’s moment of celebrity draws her into a crisis of historical proportions that will envelop not only her and her mother, Taylor, but everyone else who touched their lives in a complex web connecting their future with their past. With this wise, compelling novel, the acclaimedNew York Times bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, and Animal Dreams vividly renders a world of heartbreak and redeeming love as she defines and defies the boundaries of family, and illuminates the many separate truths about the ties that bind us and tear us apart.

I can without a doubt say that I enjoyed Pigs In Heaven more than The Bean Trees, but honestly I think that’s because I had already gotten used to Kingsolver’s writing style and I was eager to hear more of Taylor and Turtle’s story together after first meeting them in The Bean TreesPigs In Heaven definitely didn’t disappoint.

Even though I was drawn most to the character of Taylor when I read The Bean Trees, when I read Pigs In Heaven, I connected most with Taylor’s mother, Alice. I think I connected with her most because her strength and strong belief in herself was evident through the fact that she left a marriage that she was unhappy in so that she could be there for a person who was struggling more, her daughter. Alice’s need to be there for her daughter, while also knowing that she had reached an age where she was expected to stand on her own to feet is something that really stuck with me. All teens go through those times with their parents. For me, the most notable was when I went off to boarding school. For most other teens, it’s when they go off to college. When I was first at boarding school, it was hard to adjust to not having my parents around. I remember the months before I left and how I was dying to get out of the house, but the second day I was away from them, I found myself sitting on my bed in my dorm room crying for a mom and dad who were three and a half hours away. Though I know that these feelings are normal, it’s not any easier when you realize you have to pack up and leave behind the people who have believed in you since before you were even born. How do you walk away from a love like that?

What I’ve realized, and what was discussed in Pigs In Heaven, is that even when it’s hard to leave home and go out on your own, you can still look back to your parents for guidance and support. In Pigs In Heaven Taylor relied heavily on Alice when she was in a really difficult spot, but yet Alice was the one to pull away when she realized that Taylor had to walk ahead alone with her own daughter that she loved as much as Alice loved Taylor. It was touching to see the support that Taylor and Alice had for each other, while also seeing how much they trusted that each of them would be okay. Even though I’m not a parent, I know from the standpoint of a daughter how hard it is to realize that it’s finally time to take your own responsibility for things, rather than relying on your parents. However, for me, my parents will be here to support me no matter what, and yet they’ve given me the wings that I need to fly.

I definitely, definitely recommend this book. Go read it! Now!

Barbara Kingsolver Quotes.

12 May

Since I’ve been on a recently discovered Barbara Kingsolver kick lately (I just finished The Bean Trees and am now reading Pigs In Heaven), I thought I’d share some Barbara Kingsolver quotes since I haven’t done a quotes post in a while (Quotes obtained from goodreads.com).

  1. “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
  2. “Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
  3. “It’s what you do that makes your soul.”
  4. “What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, ‘What life can I live that will let me breathe in & out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?”
  5. “If we can’t, as artists, improve on real life, we should put down our pencils and go bake bread.”
  6. “In a world as wrong as this one, all we can do is make things as right as we can.”
  7. “Morning always comes.”
  8. “Every one of us is called upon, perhaps many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job…And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another–that is surely the basic instinct…Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.”
  9. “Literature duplicates the experience of living in a way that nothing else can, drawing you so fully into another life that you temporarily forget you have one of your own. That is why you read it, and might even sit up in bed till early dawn, throwing your whole tomorrow out of whack, simply to find out what happens to some people who, you know perfectly well, are made up.”
  10. “It’s surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time. ”
  11. “To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know.”
  12. “She kept swimming out into life because she hadn’t yet found a rock to stand on.”
  13. “In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again
  14. “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.”
  15. “That was when we smelled the rain. It was so strong it seemed like more than just a smell. When we stretched out our hands we could practically feel it rising up from the ground. I don’t know how a person could ever describe that scent.”
  16. “If you ask me, when something extraordinary shows up in your life in the middle of the night, you give it a name and make it the best home you can.”
  17. “It’s one thing to carry your life wherever you go. Another thing to always go looking for it somewhere else.”
  18. “Anybody can get worked up, if they have the intention. It’s peacefulness that is hard to come by on purpose.”
  19. “People read books to escape the uncertainties of life.”
  20. “Don’t wait for the muse. She has a lousy work ethic. Writers just write.”

Happy Saturday everyone! Is there a particular author that has some of your favorite quotes? What are they?

Burning Bridges.

2 Apr

“The hardest thing in life is figuring out which bridges to build and which bridges to burn.”

Throughout my life, my mom has warned me about the concept of burning bridges, pointing out that I should think before I burn something that I may want later. The concept of burning bridges for me has come up a lot with past friendships. Up until recently, I was very clingy with friends and often became upset when they didn’t want to always hang out with me. I wanted to spend a lot of time with them, so I didn’t understand why they didn’t want the same thing.

My first best friend Lauren (who is still one of my best friends) taught me what it meant to be a true friend. She became my best friend in 7th grade, and until that time, I wasn’t really aware of what true friendship was. Through my friendship with Lauren, I learned that there’s nothing wrong with caring fiercely about others, while also realizing that it is possible to be truly happy. From 7th grade until 10th grade, Lauren and I were incredibly close. We talked about boys, high schools, fears, dreams and everything in between. She was one of the first people I felt like I could count on no matter what.

During the summer after 10th grade, things began to change. I was going to be leaving for boarding school at the end of that summer, and I needed someone to turn to for support and advice. When that person wasn’t Lauren, I panicked. I had no idea what I would do without her friendship, but most of all I was confused as to why she was hardly talking to me. In the middle of that summer, I got a call from Lauren in which she asked if she could drop something off. I hadn’t heard from her in a month or so, so I was hesitant, but finally said okay. About 15 minutes after that phone call, Lauren showed up with a cardboard box full of things. She handed it to me without saying a word and left. I looked in the box to find pictures, things I had given her, memories….all that was left of our friendship. It was in my hands….broken…and already far away from the person who would be able to mend it. That afternoon, I got all the things together that reminded me of Lauren (pictures, movie ticket stubs, things she gave me, t-shirts from concerts that we went to together, and put it all in the same box that held the things she had given me. I also went onto my computer and deleted every picture of us that I could find. I then placed the box in the back of my closet and willed myself to not pull it out again. A month or so later, when I was packing for boarding school, my mom came across the box and asked me what I wanted her to do with it. Without even thinking, I told her to throw everything away.

When I came home from Salem over Christmas Break, Lauren called me. I didn’t answer. She then called my house phone, so there was no getting out of speaking to her. She asked if she could come over, and I said okay even though the rest of me was screaming no. When I hung up the phone, the color had gone out of my face. I had shallow breaths, and I was pacing and crying hysterically, asking my mom what I should do. When Lauren came over, it was awkward at first. I was cold towards her because I was scared to imagine letting a friend hurt me again like she had done. Without even saying anything, I started crying, and she hugged me, telling me that it was okay. Lauren then said that she was unsure of what had happened between us and that she was sorry. I knew right then that if I was able to forgive her that we would be able to get through anything.

I later realized that the reason Lauren reacted the way she did that summer and the months until Christmas Break was because being angry was the only way she could handle my leaving. If she allowed herself to feel anything but anger towards me, she’d fall apart. Today, Lauren is one of three people who I call my best friends. No matter how much time has passed, we’re always able to pick up right where we left off, and I know that she’ll be there for me through anything. However, every day I regret getting rid of all the pictures and memories of the early days of our friendship. I hate that I can’t look back at those pictures and remark on how I wouldn’t have gotten through those 3 years of high school without her. In the case of the box of “Lauren Memories,” I burned a bridge that I shouldn’t have. Though it breaks my heart that I can’t ever see those pictures again, it also taught me a lesson of what to do with friendships in the future. Now, if I have a fallout with a friend, I do make “friend boxes” and put them in my closet, but I always remember to not throw anything out. If I hate the stuff that moment, I can put it in a box in my closet so that I don’t have to be reminded of the memories every day, but burning the memories…..watching moments catch flame and turn to ash….it’s as if the memories never even happened. And who would want to completely erase parts of themselves? Every single moment makes us who we are.

Let’s NOT Spring Forward.

11 Mar

Even though Spring Forward didn’t affect me much this morning, I still hate the concept of losing an hour of sleep. I mean, really?! What sick and twisted person decided to take away an hour on sleep….applying to everyone else (ya know, including new mothers, sick people and yes, college students!) Totally not cool.

At 2am this morning, Americans turned their clocks ahead one hour in order to mark the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Clocks are set ahead an hour so that the sun will rise and set later in the day. According to infoplease.com, the federal law that established “daylight time” in the United States does not require any area to observe daylight savings time. But if a state chooses to observe DST, it must follow the starting and ending dates set by the law. Interestingly enough, Arizona and Hawaii are the only 2 states in the United States that do not observe DST.

Aside from the facts, I’d rather not Spring Forward. Can’t we just keep falling back? That would seriously be GREAT. What’s funny is that even when we fall back, it takes me a long time to get used to the time change. I guess that’s a plus for Hawaii and Arizona though…they never have to attempt to adjust. It’s just so aggravating. I’ll either wake up thinking it’s 7 and it’ll be 8, or I’ll wake up thinking it’s 7 and it’s 6. Bleh. I’d much rather have the time be earlier rather than later (in terms of waking up in the morning), but if given the choice I’d prefer to just opt out. I’m wondering how long it’s going to take me to adjust to DST this year. I hope it’s not long because I’ve got classes and work starting back tomorrow. I can’t be walking around in a sleepy haze. I need to be alert and ready to go.

Either way, change happens, and we’ve just got to move with it. But messing with people’s sleep is just wrong. Don’t you agree?

The Start Of Something New.

8 Jan

It’s here…the start of a new semester. Well, almost. The first day of classes of the spring semester begins tomorrow. Though I had a nice break, I’m ready for classes to start back. I’m ready to continue my journey in Asheville, and I look forward to meeting more people and getting deeper into my majors (Psychology and Journalism). This semester will be more focused on my majors than last semester, and I can’t wait to see what it brings. I’ll be taking Social Psychology, Research Methods II, Newspaper Workshop, Intro to Mass Communication (Media Ethics), and Humanities 124. I’m most excited for Social Psych and the Newspaper Workshop!

I remember the days when I hated the thought of going back to school. I was in high school (before going to Salem), and I disliked my school and the people there. I loved some of my teachers, and I think that’s the reason that I stuck it out there for so long. But then, I don’t know. It’s like a lightbulb switched on in my mind and said, “Hey, what are you doing here if you’re not happy?” So I went to Salem for my junior and senior years of high school, and things were so much different. I made great friends, and I got a really amazing education.

It wasn’t until this year of college (my sophomore year) that I actually got excited for classes to start. I think it’s for a myriad of reasons though. The first of which is because I’m happy overall at UNC Asheville, and I think the second is because the majority of my classes are part of my majors, which I love to learn about. Since tomorrow is the first day of classes of the semester, today is being spent preparing for a new semester. I got my books yesterday, but today I need to prepare my binders and clean up my room, not to mention making sure I know where all of my classes are. It’s all exciting though!

I can’t wait for this semester to start. Normally new things and changes make me nervous, but I think there comes a time when we’ve got to either face the changes or shrink away from them. I remember the days when it was second nature for me to shrink because I was nervous or scared. And yes, sometimes I’m still nervous to face changes, but no matter how we feel, we’ve still got to face them right? And if we’ve got to experience them, we might as well face them head on. And the great thing is that most of the time we’re not alone in changes. Often times, if we look around us we can see that there are others facing the changes too. So why not face the changes together? Often the simple realization that we’re not alone in things gives us the push we need to face things head on.