Tag Archives: College Students

Reflecting on words.

29 Nov

Have you ever come across one of your previous pieces of writing and thought: Did I seriously write that? It’s SO good! That happened to me last night when I came across a blog post I wrote on October the 20th, titled The finding place of my words. As I read my own words, I was amazed. There were certain connections I made on that brisk fall day back in October that still apply to how I feel right now. I don’t know what it is with writers wanting to write about words or the creative process. However, in my case, it provides me with perspective, which is discussed in more detail in my blog post titled, The magic of first lines in literature.

Last Spring, as I was walking across the quad of my college campus to get to class, I had to stop and take in the scene that was unfolding before me. As I looked around, I saw tons of college students sitting on the quad reading. However, as is customary for Asheville, they were all different. Each student’s reading experience was unique. One guy was lying in a hammock he had strung up between two nearby trees, and his book rested lightly against his bent knees. I also saw a girl who was lying on her stomach on a flowery blanket with her bare feet casually in the air. She was holding a book out in front of her, careful to block the sun from her eyes. The third student I spotted was my personal favorite though. She was sitting in the grass with her back up against the trunk of a tree. Her long, dark hair covered the sides of her face, making it possible to only focus on her eyes, which were moving so fast across the pages of her book that I could tell she was a very focused reader. I think the image of the third student stuck with me the most because I could see so much of myself in her. As a reader, especially when it involves a book I am reading for pleasure, it takes a lot to break my focus. Often times, I get so absorbed in the words that I lose the ability to fully comprehend what is going on around me, outside of the world of words that I so often call home.

Though I don’t know whether the students that I observed were reading for their own pleasure or for a class assignment, I like to believe either they were reading something for pleasure or were at least reading something they were interested in. I enjoy sticking to this belief simply because it is very closely related to how I imagine myself when I am reading. In so many ways, words have always been my refuge, but they have also been the place I have returned to again and again if I need to re-evaluate something or find my sense of balance.

“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” – Ernest Hemingway

Not all words provide us with the strength to change or the reassurance that we are moving in the right direction in our lives. However, if a series of words can come together into a sentence that causes us to stop and read the sentence again and again, it’s almost like magic. Whether they fill us with a sense of happiness, loss, sadness, anger, loneliness, or hope…words matter. They have the ability to reach a place inside us that not many people can even describe. It’s almost as if the most precious of sentences we have ever read reside in a place so deep within us and so personal that it takes a certain kind of experience for the words to resurface.

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.” – Truman Capote

“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.” – Hart Crane

Words matter. They are precious stones that have been washed by the countless waves of the sea, and they lie in the sand, waiting for us to uncover them. But the most precious words, the ones that are the rare deep blue stones, they are not so easy to find. They reside in the crevices of rocks, thrown to those places by the most violent of waves. But they have triumphed. They have overcome the turbulent waves of the sea, taking refuge until we are able to bring them out into the light. So don’t wait. Start searching.

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Finals Survival Music: Hem.

22 Apr

I’ve been studying like crazy this weekend with finals approaching. It’s been stressful, but the past part is being able to listen to Pandora while I’m writing papers or looking over notes for a particular class. One of the artists that has been a favorite of mine to listen to while paper writing is Hem. Hem is an indie folk-rock band from New York City, and they are definitely worth a listen.

The video I’ve posted below is “Half Acre” by Hem (taken from YouTube), and it’s absolutely beautiful. Let me know what you think.

 

Middle Of The Night Writing.

19 Apr

Sometimes I feel stuck in my writing. There are so many aspects of my past that I want to let out, but then I sit down to type, and nothing comes out…which just seems ridiculous when I know of so many things inside me that need to be released.

I’ve been told for as long as I’ve been writing that I have a way with words. I take pride in that compliment. I take pride in it because writing is the one thing that I never, ever feel limited by…and that is a truly awesome feeling. However, the fact that I have a way with words can be damaging at times because it leads to me wanting to have things sound just right, and when they don’t, I’m not satisfied. However, I’ve learned to write through the dissatisfaction. That writing usually isn’t my best, but it gets me out of my writing slumps. But you know, sometimes a slump is a slump, and there’s not really much you can do but wait for a new day.

There’s a quote I read somewhere that goes something like this: “Writers never have to change the things they got up in the middle of the night to write.” I used to not really understand this phrase, but as I’ve delved deeper into writing my book, I see the connection. Before writing my memoir, I didn’t understand the concept of literally being woken up by something that’s so vivid in your mind that you’ve just got to write it. However, over the past few months, I’ve had many nights where I’ve gotten in bed to go to sleep, and about 15 minutes later, memories pop into my head. But not just random, vague memories. Strong, vivid emotional memories that have on more than one occasion caused me to sit up in bed to take a breath in order to let some of the emotional shock wear off. However, not once have I gotten up to write those thoughts and memories. Not because I haven’t wanted to, but because I knew that if I did I probably wouldn’t be up the next morning in time to go to class.

That’s what’s hard about choosing to start this book when I have. Not only do I have my book on my mind, but I’m 19, I’m a sophomore in college, and I’m still trying to piece together who I truly am. Granted, I’ve discovered a few key pieces over the last year: like my love of writing and photography (and psychology…definitely can’t forget that one!), the realization that I am and will always be the biggest book nerd that I know (HA. No…really), and the understanding that every person I have met in my life thus far is here to teach me something about myself, whether it be good or bad. The last part is an understanding that I haven’t come to lightly. I like to think that I can hypothetically have a genuinely good relationship/friendship with the majority of people who I come into contact with. However, we all know from life experiences that that is not always the case….which is sad, but it also can be a learning experience (especially in connection with those people who we may not see eye to eye with). Then again, there are some people that we’ll just never be able to win against, but that’s okay. We can just keep walking…because there will always be other people further on down the road that we’ll feel glad we crossed paths with.

Once I’m done with this semester, I’ll be happy to have a little bit more time for the middle of the night writing. The writing that wakes you up…and forces you to get out of bed and start typing. I haven’t fully experienced it yet, but I can’t wait to see what it’s like. Even now, when I’m woken up by things that I know I want to write down, I tell myself that I’ll remember in the morning. I talk myself into staying under the covers…and eventually I do drift back to sleep. However, all of you writers know as well as I do that things that wake you up in the middle of the night are never as vivid the next morning. Even if the memories are vaguely still there, you rack your brain wondering what it was that had you itching to write it all down at such a precise moment. I find it fascinating that something can seem so vivid and clear in your head one moment, and then the next moment it can be covered in haze and doubt….reaching the point where you are unsure whether you should try to write it down or not. My theory, though I haven’t tried it yet, is that if something you want to write wakes you up in the middle of the night, it’s got to be good. After all, despite what we say about living and breathing words every day, even writers need sleep.

Write On Despite The Rain.

18 Apr

Asheville has been hit with a crazy amount of rain over the past few days, but it’s been perfect for me. I forgot how much I love walking in the rain. It’s not exactly my favorite when I have to walk to class (especially when I’m in a hurry), but overall, I love it. I love the way everything smells so much greener after it rains, and I love the sound the rain makes as it hits the leaves of the trees that surround campus. Rain has a different feel to it in the mountains. Instead of something to complain about, it’s something to celebrate. It has a kind of calming effect that is truly hard to describe, but sometimes when it rains, I just sit outside and listen to the pure sound of such a simple thing: rain falling from the sky.

These rainy days haven’t been good for my productivity level however. Even though I did get a good bit of work done on a Humanities paper that’s due on Monday, I’d much rather open my window and curl up with a book and some coffee. Or even better: sleep. Adequate amounts of sleep are rare at college campuses this time of year. It’s the time of year for final projects, presentations, papers and the favorite of all, final exams. Even though my final exams officially begin a week from today, there is still so much to be done before I can even think about studying for that Wednesday final exam. Chief among them is the paper that’s due Monday. Therefore, instead of listening to the rain and reading a good book with some hot coffee at my side, I’ll be working on this Humanities paper until it’s done. I’m hoping that I’ll be finished sooner rather than later, but with papers it’s so hard to tell. One day I may be able to crank out a good 3-4 pages of the 7-page paper, while other days I may struggle just to get one paragraph. Alas, this is college, and I must do what I do best: Write On!

In Two Short Weeks…

14 Apr

I’ll be officially done with spring semester of my sophomore year of college! Crazy. Though two weeks doesn’t seem like very long, I’ve got lots to do before then. Next week is my last week of classes, so I’ve got presentations and all sorts of assignments that professors love to give at the very last minute. The following week is finals, which is always full of stress and late night studying. Thankfully, I’ve only got 3 finals, but the kicker is that they are the most important classes to do well in since I’ve had at least one slip up in each one of them. So, it’ll be a busy week of notecard making and coffee drinking, but bring it on!

Also, two weeks from today I’ll be going to see Alison Krauss and Union Station in concert with my mom, and I’m SO excited! I grew up listening to Alison Krauss (since my parents played her music a lot when I was young), so her music has a strong connection with my childhood. But more than that, her voice is simply incredible, and I love it. If you’re unfamiliar with Alison Krauss and Union Station, they are a ’90s band that blends bluegrass with folk music.

Have a listen and let me know what you think.