To Focus on Focus

The Newbery Award is the highest honor given out for excellence in children’s literature. It is given out annually–The Newbery Medal is given as the highest award and the Newbery Honor is given to a few runner ups.

Newbery_Medal
John Newbery Medal, front and back Source

When I was younger, my dream was to one day become a Newbery Award winner.

As a child, I was a voracious writer. I had this huge ledger book filled with unfinished stories and I was always adding to it, always coming up with new ideas. When I was around seven or eight years old, I wrote a story that was deeply rooted in my love and appreciation for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series entitled, “Little House in the Hills” (you can really get a sense of how my creative juices were flowing there). When I was around thirteen and fourteen, I actually had the gumption to send my one completed manuscript to a local publisher in the Minneapolis area. The manuscript was kindly rejected with a note from the publisher stating that, while I had promise as a writer, “it just wasn’t what they were looking for.” It was, quite frankly, all for the best as the story itself was a bit on the shaky side. Well. A lot on the shaky side. Let’s just say that it’s safe to say that I’ve improved quite a lot as a writer since then…still, I can’t help but admire my younger self for her determination and drive.

Come high school, my desire to write quickly died away. I took one creative writing class in my freshman year of high school but after that, my dream to write–to become a Newbery Medalist–faded. I was heavily involved with the band program at my high school and was preoccupied with fitting into my friend group. I didn’t think I had time to write and, although I occasionally got out my journal to write lengthy entries about the goings on in my life, I no longer considered myself to be a writer. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that the writer within me reemerged. After breaking off from a serious and very detrimental long-term relationship, I was searching for a way to reclaim my life for myself. I had become so invested in my ex-boyfriend and the relationship that I had with him that I had really lost all sense of myself. Around the time of our break up, memories of the writer I used to be, the writer I dreamed to become, rekindled. I began to realize that writing was, indeed, a part of my identity–a part that I had the misfortune of rejecting for far too many years. With that in mind, I started to a blog–to force myself into the habit of doing one of the things I loved most again and often.

To write.

Still, though, throughout the rest of my college career and into my time in Thailand, I never once considered writing to be anything more than a hobby. A hobby that I happened to be really good at, but a hobby none-the-less. I strongly Continue reading “To Focus on Focus”

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The Road Less Traveled

“YOU

who have stolen my heart.

Didn’t they teach you that it’s wrong to take what is not rightfully yours?

— — — — Continue reading “The Road Less Traveled”

Heart Broken

“Where is your heart?”

He asked in exasperation. His eyes. Searching hers. Looking for answers that were lost in the dark waters of her abused soul.

This was the ultimate question, she knew.

Where was her heart?

This question…this question should sting in every sense of the word.

But it didn’t…because she knew her heart, wherever it was, could never be restored to what it used to be–filled with so much love. How naive she used to be.

After this year–this year of so much loss and tragedy–Opa, gone…then Sylvie, goddamn, Sylvie Continue reading “Heart Broken”

Slut is NOT a Nice Word

slut

[sluht]

1.

an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.

2.

Obsolete. a dirty, slovenly woman.
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What do you think of when you hear the word slut? Probably something akin to the dictionary definition above (courtesy of dictionary.com a.k.a my go to site for quickly defining the English language).

Slut isn’t a pretty word. Definition aside, it doesn’t even sound nice. It sounds dirty. Just like the the image it defines, an image that that has become so dirty because of our societal perceptions of woman and sex.

 I actually just experienced this first hand the other day–this being, the centuries old societal perception of women that insists that we females cunningly tempt men into sex because we’re sinful, dirty, second-best, cut from Adam’s rib, etc., etc. The experience? When I called out a married coworker for flirting with me (something that has been going on on and off this whole summer, mind you). Upon making my point, he and another coworker exchanged amused glances; the other coworker simply Continue reading “Slut is NOT a Nice Word”

Lilly and Grandfather

Lilly looked up at the vast expanse above her head in wonder. Her wandering five year old mind never stopped taking in the world around her. So many questions, always. At her young age, she didn’t know much about the world—but she was always curious, always hoping to discover more.

“The way the world works is very strange,” her grandfather told her once. She was sitting on his lap, quietly taking in words, in his low, gentle voice. A voice that exuded tired determination. He had been in Vietnam and had seen more of humanity in a matter of years than most people wished to see in a lifetime; he was a Vietnam veteran who wondered every day how he had survived while his buddy, his best friend, was blown to pieces right next to him in the Vietnamese rainforest. Yet, despite that daily question, his aging mind was filled with those nuggets of wisdom he had picked up not just because he had survived, but because he had willed Continue reading “Lilly and Grandfather”

I Remember… (Second Edition)

I remember being in a new place and feeling overwhelmed and homesick and lonely…

…I remember crying in bed because I didn’t know what else to do.

**

I remember being with you and feeling…so normal…so right.

**

I remember that locale that felt like a home away from home in a foreign place. 

**

I remember feeling free…and exhilarated…and on top of the world, on top of life. 

**

I remember how I couldn’t stop smiling, until I wasn’t–until tears were splattering down my face. Continue reading “I Remember… (Second Edition)”

Intuition

“I think the scariest part of feeling is that more often than not, they don’t appeal to logic.”

Em looked into his eyes with a wry smile on her face. He blushed, quickly looked away, fearing eye contact at the moment when eye contact was most necessary.

They were thinking the same thing, of course. The difference was, he didn’t want to admit it.

Seconds passed. She could tell he was choosing his words carefully.

Finally.

“So…what are you saying?”  Only because he wanted her to say it first; he knew exactly what she Continue reading “Intuition”

Culture Shock–In Words

I’ve grown a lot in the past couple years.

I talk about that a lot.

I preach about it, really.

Just last night, new friends of mine were commenting on my maturity for a twenty-two year old and I just said in reply, “Well, I grew up a lot in college.”

And I did. I did grow up a lot in college. I found my confidence and my independence and my strength and college and I am so thankful for that.

But today? Today I am feeling vulnerable.

Today, I am sitting my new apartment in my new town in Thailand. It’s the weekend after my first week of teaching English and I have no plans but to explore my city and get to know the Continue reading “Culture Shock–In Words”

It’s My (Blog’s) Birthday!

My birthday’s in March, folks…remember? (yeah, it’s okay if you don’t)

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I registered for WordPress in May of 2014.

May 27 to be exact.

That’s when I started the blog that would carry me through my summer as a Smithsonian intern in Washington D.C…

…but that internship only lasted eight weeks. And I hardly thought it was appropriate to carry on a blog entitled “2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.” (a.k.a the street address of the National Postal Museum) past the summer of 2014.

With the end of my summer, and the blog that went along with it, I found myself asking what I should do next with this blogging business…

See, I had a blog on Blogger, already. I initially decided to try WordPress out for my internship blog because I was curious…some of my Facebook friends were using WordPress for their blogs and I really was just so curious. Admittedly, I toyed with using it for my first blog, but was for some reason a little intimidated by it, which is why I chose Blogger instead. In the weeks leading up to the beginning of my internship, I decided I wanted to make a blog specifically to document my experiences living in D.C. So, given that I was curious about WordPress, I put my intimidation past me and signed up. I soon discovered that this WordPress place seemed pretty Continue reading “It’s My (Blog’s) Birthday!”