Posts Tagged ‘watch’

Aren’t you too old for Disney World?

I was 13 years old the first time I had my heart broken. It happened when my grandma spoke those words to me. Too old for Disney World? Is that even possible? Even if it is, I thought I had at least 4 more summers of Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. The thoughts of never again being able to sit in one of the Mad Hatter’s spinning teacups was completely devastating.

Spoiler Alert: At 19 years old, I still wholeheartedly believe that Disney World truly is the happiest place on Earth.

I hate to hear people say things like, “aren’t you too old for that?” I don’t think there should be an expiration date on things you love and enjoy. In fact, I think there are a lot of things from childhood that stay in our lives forever. It’s nostalgic and you can’t help but smile thinking about the “little things” that you cherished from growing up. Most of my favorite memories occurred in the first ten years of my life.

With that being said, I still love fairy tales. I always have. I don’t know what it is about them, but I adore fairy tales. There has been a recent wave of popular TV shows centered around fairy tales including GrimmOnce Upon a Time, and Beauty & the Beast. Hollywood has been churning out scores of movies based on fairy tales for years. The best among these, in my opinion, include Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and of course Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I haven’t been to see Maleficent yet, but I have every intention of doing so.

I’m sure most of you have seen a Hollywood movie or TV series based on a fairy tale, and perhaps even read one of the original stories. Many of the stories, in their original form, are actually quite dark. In the original version of Cinderella, one of the evil stepsisters cuts off one of her toes in order to make the shoe fit her. The Grimm Brothers, who are responsible for many of the fairy tales that you know and love, have written over 200 stories – You can read a lot of the stories here.

One of my favorite stories from Grimm’s Fairy Tales is called Godfather Death. I encourage you guys to read this one. I should warn you, this one is a fairly dark story, if you didn’t gather that from the title. I hope you guys enjoy this story as much as I do. I had actually started writing a story based around this Grimm fairy tale a while back. Unsurprisingly, it has been filed away with countless other stories I have begun with every intention of finishing, but have yet to do so.

hepburn fairy tales


So now I ask: Are you a fan of fairy tales? Do you prefer the original stories or the refashioned tellings that you can see on the big screen? Which stories are your favorite, and which are your least favorite? Leave a comment and let me know! Thank you for reading!

Every time I hear any promise of alleviation when it comes to writer’s block, I am immediately overcome with excitement, determined I have found the cure. Each and every time this happens, I am disappointed to find that I have not, in fact, discovered a groundbreaking tactic for overcoming the dreaded writer’s block. Some are more helpful than others, but when you find a technique that improves your writing or motivation, that’s a win in my book.

In a recent post, I explained the dynamics of writer’s block and other struggles that we, as writers, face. Well, I’m here to offer you a solution. Okay, there is no solution for writer’s block… But sitting around waiting for inspiration is for the weak! Go find inspiration, don’t wait for it to come to you. This post will help you learn to generate your own inspiration; it will give you new ideas, improve the ones you have, and eliminate the ones you don’t need.

The technique I am going to share with you all is inspired by two parts. One is a great post I stumbled upon called Squirrels and Killing My Inner Editor. Give this post a read, because it’s awesome. The writer of this post shared a tool that she found to be useful.

This wonderful tool is called Scrawl. Once you open Scrawl, you’ll be faced with a message telling you to “write something!” Scrawl encourages unfiltered writing; it allows you to set a writing timer, and if you stop typing for ___ amount of seconds, Scrawl will, ahem, redirect your attention back to your writing (read: make sure your volume is set to a level that won’t burst your eardrums.) You can also instruct Scrawl to keep you from deleting anything you’ve written. Explore the options, see what is most helpful to you.

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In writing my morning pages as Julia Cameron instructs, I have discovered how helpful unfiltered writing can be. Essentially as I’m writing, I’m just thinking out loud. I was facing a bad case of writer’s block working while working on my novel, so I turned to my morning pages. I had a conversation with the journal. I bounced ideas off of the journal. It was a huge help. Sometimes just thinking about it isn’t enough, but trying to formally organize your plot is a little too overwhelming. As you’re writing it, you will probably feel as if you’re accomplishing nothing, but give it time.

I find it most beneficial to begin with the absolute basics of your story. Start with a less details. As you ease into the part of the story that you’re stuck on, start giving more details. Every possible path the story could take, write it down. For example: your main character has just been offered a job in New York City to work for a fashion magazine. Does she give in to her controlling boyfriend’s urging and stay in rural Oklahoma? Does she break up with him and accept her dream job? If she stays in Oklahoma, will their relationship even last? If she moves to New York, will she find love in the city? Will her dream job turn out to be a nightmare, leaving her wondering why she ever left her hometown? How would each of these outcomes play out? How would they affect your story? Write it all down. It may seem redundant, but you never know what will inspire you, so try not to take shortcuts. If it would be more beneficial for you to draw instead of, or in addition to writing, I don’t see any reason why you can’t. Doodle away! Finish out your 3 daily morning pages, and then look back over them. It should look a little bit like this:

So I’m stuck figuring out where my main character, Peter Parker, is going to turn now. Now that he’s been bitten by a mutated turtle, he might not be able to run as fast as before. Maybe I should change it to a more lethal, intimidating animal. What about a raccoon? That could work. Peter gets rabies and turns into a raccoon. Hmm.. There has to be something better. If I was Mary Jane Watson, I totally wouldn’t be cool with my boyfriend turning into a raccoon. What about a spider? A radioactive spider. That’s it! Peter Parker by day, Spider-Man by night!

It doesn’t have to be neat. It doesn’t have to have correct spelling or proper punctuation. I encourage you to write in pen, so you’re not tempted to erase. Don’t over-think this! My reason for incorporating Scrawl into this post, is for those of you who would prefer to type your morning pages, as opposed to writing them in a journal. It’s up to you. Scrawl is a really useful resource regardless, don’t limit yourself to using it only for this exercise.

Side note: The website where you can find Scrawl has some other helpful tools. Know Thyself is a character building exercise; the computer asks you a series of rapid fire questions about your characters; answer as fast as you can. When you complete the questions, the website compiles a character profile from your answers. Even if you think you know your characters inside and out, it really makes you think. Try it out!


 

To anyone who has previously used these methods, or decides to try it after reading this post, let me know what you think. Is there something else that works better for you? Don’t hesitate to share! I’m sure I am not the only one who wants to collect as many tips and tricks as possible. Thanks for reading!

When I read today’s topic from The Daily Post, countless ideas flooded my mind. If I could be any celebrity for one day, who would it be?

My first thought was whatever supermodel was fortunate enough to be currently dating Leonardo DiCaprio. No, that would be a waste of the day. (I’ll come back for you, Leo.)

After that notion faded, my mind came to a few of my favorite directors. Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Green Mile), Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight), or Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist). I can’t imagine what fifteen minutes inside the mind of any one of these men would be like. Maybe it would inspire a new way of thinking that would skyrocket me to fame, my name mentioned with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino. I kind of envision me just walking around in their minds as if they were museums. I would see all the fantastic ideas they had already claimed as their own, without thinking of any for myself.

Okay, maybe I’ll be an actress. Working under the direction of one of the greatest directors to ever life has to be inspiring, right? My favorite actress is definitely Kathy Bates. If you haven’t seen the movie Misery, watch it and tell me she isn’t the most incredible actress to ever walk the earth. Or maybe I could play a Victorian era goddess compliments of Keira Knightley. Can I go back in time to be Christian Bale in American Psycho? I have the Huey Lewis & The News scene memorized, I would blow everyone away. Then again, I feel like there is never a day that being Bruce Willis is a bad idea. That could work. I can do Die Hard. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock and Emma Watson are also among my favorites. Or I could be Bethenny Frankel from The Real Housewives of New York. (The last one is a joke.)

Then the answer came to me.

The most brilliant writer to ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Horror maven, Mr. Stephen King. The man responsible for The Shining, It, Carrie, The Mist, Misery, The Green Mile.. Shall I continue? Clearly this man’s imagination is a gold mine. If I could think like Stephen King, there was nothing I couldn’t do. Although, I wouldn’t just want to inhabit his body and live as him for a day. Can I just sit in a dark corner of his flourishing mind and see how his imagination works?

Come to think of it, Stephen King’s mind is a celebrity in itself. That is who I would be. A fly on the wall in the mind of the Master of the Macabre, himself.

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I imagine that many bloggers would consider themselves writers. I haven’t posted any of my real writing on here, but I suppose that writing a blog post is similar to writing a story (be it a short story, a novel, a poem, etc.)

I consider myself a writer but, as I’ve said before, it’s less than a profession but more than a hobby. However, I, like most writers, often encounter problems while writing. We’re all familiar with writer’s block. I refuse to believe there is a writer who has never experienced writer’s block. That writer does not exist.

I, myself, suffer from what I have dubbed “Flighting Idea Syndrome.” Many of you may also suffer from this debilitating disease without even knowing it. Flighting Idea Syndrome (FIS) can be characterized by the sufferer exhibiting symptoms similar to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). You can never stick with one idea for very long. Before you’ve had a chance to accomplish much of anything, a new, superior idea has infiltrated your mind. There’s no going back.

Maybe you know the feeling: You come up with a brand new idea. It’s like a present. It reminds me of the Dancin’ Debbie doll I got from my parents for Christmas when I was 6. I kept seeing Debbie on TV, and I had been begging for one of my own. I just knew I was getting it and I couldn’t wait. Then, on that fateful Christmas morning, there it was. Dancin’ Debbie in all her glory. I feverishly unwrapped the package, while I sent my mom to look for AA batteries. I finally had a Dancin’ Debbie doll. I immediately discarded the instructions and took Debbie’s assembly into my questionably capable hands. Debbie was ready to dance.

Normally, one of two things happens at this stage of the story.

Option 1Dancin’ Debbie is an immediate disappointment. I should’ve gotten the Powderpuff Girls wristwatch. Luckily my birthday is soon.
Option 2Dancin’ Debbie makes all my dreams come true. She is everything I ever dreamed of and more. 2 days later, I’m really tired of hearing Debbie say, “c’mon, lets groove!”

[Spoiler Alert: As for Dancin’ Debbie, she reached the same fate as many a toy… That’s right. Option 2. But I got a Powderpuff Girls watch and a Totally Hair Barbie for my birthday.]

Now I’ll rephrase these options in terms of writing:

Option 1: You think you have a really great idea. You sit down to write. You stare at the wall for 15 minutes, then you finally put pen to paper. You begin writing your name, surrounding it with hearts, swirls, and lots of fun doodles. Okay, obviously this is distracting. You should use your laptop. You know, your laptop. The place where Facebook lives. And Pinterest. And the most deadly distraction of them all: Netflix. After binge watching an entire season of Scandal, you’re feeling inspired. That blank page is really daunting. What was your idea again? Oh, yeah. Would you look at the time? It’s half past “you’re hungry.” Okay, you go get a hot pocket, and then you will write for 1 hour. No excuses. Should you get a ham and cheese hot pocket or should you go for meatball and mozzarella? Is that even a question? Obviously ham and cheese. Good thing it only takes a hot pocket two minutes to cook! You’re ready to start writing. Go ahead and set a timer. One hour. Yes, here we go. Yep, it’s happening. You are writing. Pens and paper and words, it’s all happening right before your very eyes. Your idea isn’t flourishing as you’d expected. Come to think of it, your idea is kind of lame. Really, though. Sigh. You finally get the mindset to sit down and do something with your life. You choose that moment to determine that your idea is actually crap. You should’ve used the two minutes your hot pocket was cooking to perfection to make sure your idea didn’t suck. And if you decided that it did, you could cook another hot pocket and come up with a better idea while that one cooks. But you didn’t. Your paper now looks like this:

the sbsp

(That’s writer’s block with a side of procrastination. Back to the drawing board.)

Option 2: There you are, minding your own business when it happens. You have an epiphany. This beautiful idea is allowing you inside its imaginative world. You’ve never seen anything like it! You begin writing feverishly. This is it. You expand on your idea, everything is falling together quite nicely. You’re already envisioning how your photo will look above the title “New York Times Best Selling Author.” All of a sudden you’re paralyzed. An idea, a brand new idea, has overtaken you. You have been taken prisoner by the new idea. You tell your old idea that you’ll write when you can, and you’re whisked away by your brand new idea. You’ve put your memories of your old idea into the darkest recesses of your mind, and you are completely smitten with your new idea. Your brand new idea loves you back, but it has this feeling that you’re not devoted to it; you’ll abandon it the second that another shiny, new idea makes its way into your sights. Sure enough, your new idea was right. Idea #2 is left broken-hearted, attending therapy sessions every other Wednesday to cope with losing you. Your idea still loves you but, emotionally, this is pretty much where you are at this point in your relationship with idea #2:

not important to huey

You decide to go online to search for new ideas to meet. IdeaMingle.com. Hmm. Maybe you’ll check this page out. Success stories, yes! Stacey, 29 writes: “My idea and I have been together for 3 years, thanks to IdeaMingle.com!” Marshall, 42 also shares his experience: “I owe everything to IdeaMingle.com! My idea and I have been together for 6 novels now. We’re even expecting a novella next month! Thanks IdeaMingle!” Your eyes grow wide with excitement, as you imagine what your own success story will look like. You and your idea on your anniversary, still very much in love, with your 2 beautiful novels. Well if Stacey and Marshall did it, so should you! You create a profile and begin browsing. Before you know it, you have 14 idea matches! You’re meeting #6 for coffee on Thursday at 5:00. #9 is taking you to see a play tomorrow night. #13 canceled on you. Schedule conflicts. But it’s okay, because you have #2, who took you out last night to wine and dine its way into your next novel.

If you haven’t figured out, this is option 2. A severe case of Flighting Idea Syndrome. You would think a lot of ideas would be great, so many to choose from, but it’s clearly stressing you out. You can’t devote your attention to one single idea; instead you’re dividing yourself between them, and now no one’s happy.

Both of these conditions are incredibly hard to overcome. Which is why I come to you all for advice. Have any of you ever dealt with either of these issues? (AKA you have or you’re a liar.) If so, comment and let me know! Tell me what helped you overcome writer’s block or FIS. Thanks for reading.

Being home for summer, you have to get creative to keep yourself entertained. And I figured a good way to keep busy would be to start putting a dent in the infinite stack of books I have purchased but not read.

I decided on Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I bought this book a while back. It was on sale for $5 at Barnes and Noble in honor of the upcoming release of the final book in the series. The book had a really interesting cover and a great sale price. The synopsis written on the back cover was interesting enough for me to seal the deal.

hush-hush

So here’s the plot, in a nutshell: Awkward high school girl, Nora Grey, is assigned a new lab partner in biology. He is elusive, uncooperative, and refuses to answer any of her questions. She figures out that his name is Patch, but that’s about all she learns. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and despite being endlessly frustrating, she finds herself strangely attracted to him. He begins showing up at the same places she is, claiming it was coincidence. She later finds out that he is something more than what he seems. Their romance plays out in a gloomy, rainy locale (for example: Maine or Washington.)

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Nora Grey is basically a reinvented Bella Swan. Nora is more annoying than the book version of Bella, but less annoying than the movie version of Bella. Patch and Nora meet in biology class, just like Edward and Bella. Patch descends into frustratingly mysterious behavior, also just like Edward. Nora’s friend Vee Sky is seemingly intended to be the comedic relief, but just comes off as kind of annoying, not unlike Jessica Stanley in Twilight. Nora gets into trouble when she travels to a nearby town, Portland, only to be rescued by her elusive love interest. Maybe it’s just me but that sounds strikingly similar to when Bella gets scared in the alley while on a trip to Port Angeles, only to have Edward come to her rescue in the nick of time. There was no secret in beginning Twilight or Hush, Hush that the male leads were superhuman.

I don’t know about you, but when I read Twilight, I knew Edward was a vampire from the beginning. I read the book before all the hype began to generate from the movie, so there weren’t endless spoilers everywhere I turned. It just wasn’t that hard to figure out. As for Hush, Hush, all you had to do to realize that Patch was a fallen angel, was look at the cover of the novel. If there was any doubt left in your mind, the summary on the back would surely clear it up for you.

There were some good things about this book, and some bad things. I think Becca Fitzpatrick does a good job of creating this Hush, Hush world that readers just fall into. Some may disagree, but this book was a page turner for me. I finished it in just a couple hours. While it was easy to read, that doesn’t mean the story was great. It most definitely doesn’t mean that the story was original. I am certain I would’ve appreciated this book if it was the first of its kind. I read Twilight when I was about 12 years old, and I was completely enamored by it. I had never read anything like it. Now, 7 years later, Barnes & Noble has a section dedicated solely to “paranormal romance.” Hush, Hush just seems stale. It was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it, but books like that are a dime a dozen. There wasn’t really anything special about it. I intend to read the rest of the books in the series (Crescendo, Silence, and Finale.)

This is the summary from the back of the novel, if you want a better idea of what the story is about:
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back? As their connection grows stronger, Nora’s own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

Upon doing a little research for this post, I learned a film adaptation of Hush, Hush is in the very early stages of production (fingers crossed for Thomas Dekker to play Patch.) Patrick Sean Smith, writer behind ABC Family’s Greek, has been commissioned to write the script for the film. If you want to get ahead of the movie hype, now is your chance.

If you enjoyed Twilight, and are just looking for a quick, easy read, Hush, Hush isn’t a bad choice. If you’re looking for groundbreaking literature, I don’t think I need to tell you to look elsewhere.

Let The Right One In, released in 2008, is a Swedish horror film starring Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. You can watch the trailer for the film here, or watch it in its entirety on Netflix. The film is based off of a novel of the same name by John Adjvide Lindqvist. If there’s one thing about Let The Right One In, it’s that it cannot be easily categorized. While it is considered both a horror film, and a vampire film, it really doesn’t seem right to categorize it as either.

Kare Hedebrant plays 12-year-old Oskar. He is the quiet, socially awkward target of school bullies. He notices a girl around his age and her father moving into the apartment next to his family’s. He later finds out that the girl’s name is Eli, and the man with her is not, in fact, her father. His job is to get blood for Eli. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eli is a vampire. After letting her borrow his Rubik’s cube, which she returns solved, she and Oskar begin to form a friendship.

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I had heard countless rave reviews about this film, claiming that it was much better than the U.S. version, Let Me In (starring Chloe Grace Moretz, also available to stream on Netflix). Reviews said not to be put off by the fact that this is a “vampire movie.” It’s more of just a movie, that happens to have a vampire in it. That’s mostly true; it’s unlike any other vampire film I’ve ever seen. There are definitely no sparkling Edward Cullens in this film. While there are still age old vampire tropes included (aversion to sunlight, being unable to cross a threshold without being invited in) it is still quite unique. It sounds pretty generic in the summary I provided above, but I kept it short to avoid major spoilers.

Here’s where I’m probably going to upset some fans. I didn’t think this movie was all it’s cracked up to be. After reading 100 positive reviews for every 1 negative review, I was convinced I was about to see something profound. I enjoyed watching this movie, but I was quite disappointed. The story didn’t waste time getting started, but nothing exceptionally eventful really happened until the first hour had passed. Going in to the film, I was thinking that I would like Eli because she was a “good” vampire; a misunderstood, tortured soul. I found myself pretty indifferent to her. Oskar elicited more emotion from me. I was rooting for him to fight back and stop letting the bullies get the better of him. I think the only reason I really like Eli at all was because she seemed to be the only thing that made Oskar happy.

To be completely honest, and this is just my opinion that 99% of people will disagree with: I found Twilight more entertaining than Let The Right One In. I’m not saying that Twilight has a better story, but I didn’t find myself bored at times, like I did while watching Let The Right One In. (Yes, I enjoyed watching Twilight. Judge me.)

The story, as I said, is very unique. I can appreciate that. It’s not at all a bad film, in fact, it’s a pretty good one as far as story quality goes. I just didn’t enjoy watching it as much as I had anticipated. It’s possible I would have felt different if I had watched the film without hearing all the hype, but as it stands, it was really just okay for me.

If any have you have seen this film (or the American version, which I haven’t seen) let me know what you thought! I would love to hear your opinions (aside from bashing me for saying I liked Twilight.) Thanks for reading!

I stumbled across this excerpt from a commencement speech that actor Jim Carrey gave at Maharishi University of Management. You can find the speech in its entirety here, but what Carrey says in this excerpt is so profound. He talks about why you should go after your dreams, and how his father inspired him to do so.

Carrey’s father, instead of embracing his talent as a comedian, decided to take a safer course and become an accountant. Later on, his father ended up losing his accounting job, leaving his family to do whatever they could to survive. So Jim Carrey brings up a good point; you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. He claims that we come to believe that our dreams are too big and too far out of reach, that we can’t ask the universe to make them come true. Instead, we choose our paths “out of fear disguised as practicality.”


I’m sure I’m not alone in that I have struggled in choosing between the safe route and what I truly love. As long as I can remember, writing has been my passion. I knew I wanted to write stories and make movies. And yet, everything I did was to ensure my path to medical school. Then I realized that, while I did find it interesting, and it would probably be a satisfying job, I didn’t think I could ever be satisfied with not following my dreams.

It started with me changing my major at Appalachian State from Natural Science (a psychology major that includes all the classes necessary for applying to medical school) to Creative Writing. At first I was worried that I was throwing away a sure thing based on a chance that my dreams might come true. Already fearing that I may had made a poor decision, naturally I decided to take it a step further.

I made the decision to not return to ASU this fall. Instead, I will spend the year working, and compiling a portfolio to apply at the North Carolina School of the Arts. I’m hoping to get into their school of filmmaking, concentrating in either directing or screenwriting.

I always think of the quote: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” 
My mind always fills with ideas. The sky is the limit. Then I step back and realize how much fear of failure truly holds us back.

Have any of you ever deviated from the “safe route” in order to pursue your dreams? What was it, and what made you decide to take a chance?

Thanks for reading!

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who considers themselves a writer has dealt with two things: Writer’s block, and your ruthless inner critic.

I recently posted about my first experience with Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. The first section features a segment about what Cameron calls “The Morning Pages.” Essentially, this is a daily practice of writing three unfiltered, unedited pages of whatever you want. The point is to write without limits; not allowing yourself to look back and criticize what you’ve written. I found myself, of course, over-thinking what I was writing. Isn’t it kind of interesting that your inner critic comes out, even when you’re doing informal journaling that no one will ever lay eyes on except for you?

That’s a problem I’ve been struggling with lately; it’s somewhere between writer’s block and my inner critic. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, but I can’t bring myself to write something that I don’t think is good enough. I’ll begin, writing a couple paragraphs, then look back at what I wrote. Sigh. This sounded so much better in my head. I know all of the how-to books and tips on writing say, “just write!” It’s not as easy as they say. Sure, technically I am writing, but repeated exposure to my inner critic along with lackluster writing doesn’t seem to improve my writing the way all the writing experts say it will.

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Julia Cameron stresses the endless possibilities of the morning pages. She encourages the writer to include all of the seemingly petty, silly things floating in their mind. Getting them off your chest, and into the morning pages. It will free you; once they’re out of the way, it’s just you and your creativity. The morning pages give you the power to grant yourself the freedom to make mistakes. In the beginning, I wrote my morning pages as a stream of consciousness, but as a narrative. It could be a major production of dueling dragons, chivalrous knights, and fair maidens. It could be about an alternate theory as to how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. I like to alternate my writing setting, and the local Starbucks is one of the places that I frequent. It sounds somewhat creepy, but sometimes I would pick a person in the coffee shop and make up a story about them.
I thought that writing the morning pages as a narrative could spark an idea for a real story. I really enjoyed it, and this practice did generate some worthwhile ideas that I explored further outside of the morning pages. Occasionally I would have a bad day, and wouldn’t feel like being creative. I would just write my morning pages about what ruined my day. It became progressively less artistic, and infinitely more of an angst-filled diary. In my defense, I was around 15 years old the first time I began morning pages. Oh, the pleasantries of pages upon pages, filled with documentation of teenage melodrama. I’m sure you can understand why the morning pages, at that point, were no longer beneficial to my creative process.


 

I have progressed in Julia Cameron‘s book, and am now in the stage of “creative recovery.” She essentially encourages readers to nurture their creative self; protect it from criticism. Evaluate and dissect the appraisal; expose yourself to the constructive criticism. Assess what it is about the purely negative critique that bothers you; if you can create constructive criticism from that, then do so. If not, discard it. If it can’t help you, it serves no purpose.

I wouldn’t say I’m a pessimist, but I’m certainly not an optimist. Perhaps it’s me disguising negativity as being a realist. Whatever you want to call it, I know that I will always be somewhat critical of myself when it comes to writing. I used to be able to just retrieve that spark of passion, and write eagerly. My ideas were exciting to me, and I believed in them with every fiber of my being. I had created characters that became more than characters to me. I developed them, and they were important enough to me that they served as gasoline on flames; I wanted to write more. I loved the story, I loved the characters, and it was my duty to narrate their adventures in a way that was worthy of them. Lately, while I have been writing, it feels forced. I have no passion for what I am writing. My inner perfectionist is constantly reminding myself that what I’m doing isn’t worth being passionate about.


 

My question to all of you is this: How do you overcome your inner critic? What is it that ignites passion for what you’re writing?
This post is for all my writers!

I love when I see collaboration, sharing of ideas, offering advice and constructive criticism, and most importantly praise for a great post amongst writers. Everyone has their own unique style, and writers can learn a lot from each other. Anything that you have to share; a useful tip someone once shared with you, pass it on. A source that provides you with infinite inspiration, share it in a comment below! Also, if you have a favorite author, who is it and why? Let me know! Thank you all for reading!

Since I haven’t posted in a while, I thought I would tackle a few posts today. In this post, I am addressing a question posed by The Daily Post. However, this post includes much more than just that. I preface with discussing the power of words, so that once you reach the actual question, you will have a more imaginative mindset to answer an interesting question.


 

The Daily Post’s question today caught my eye. This is a blogging site, so words are important. Maybe your favorite blogger has an unparalleled eloquence that makes their posts so fantastic. Their word choice is impeccable, and everything flows without skipping a beat. On the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe you’re browsing some new blogs. Maybe their posts are interesting, maybe not. What is it that helps you decide whether or not you want to follow them? What is the element that makes you say “ah!” and delve into their post, consuming their words with urgency.

Well, I believe it’s just that: words.

Words are important. Imagine a world without words. You can’t, because you wouldn’t have the words sad, boring, uninspiring, bland, dull, and depressing to describe such a bleak world. Words can do so many things, it’s all in how you use them. You can make someone, or you can destroy them, all with words alone.

The YouTube video above is from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society. I attached it for a few reasons. First of all, I love movies, and the majority of the posts on my page are in some way, if not completely, about movies. As I am trying to convey the importance of words, this scene comes to mind. It explains the difference that words and literature can really make. This is a great movie, and I’m sure many people will agree with me. It is great for many more reasons than Robin Williams‘ consummate acting chops, and my perpetual adoration for the infinitely underrated Robert Sean Leonard (Dr. James Wilson, for any fans of the TV series House, M.D.), who plays Neil Perry in the film. As a writer (more than a hobby, less than a profession), Williams’ character, Mr. Keating, has taught me one of my most valued rules in writing. At the beginning of this scene, he describes the inadequacy of the word “very.” He encourages his students to avoid it; “A man is not very tired, he is exhausted!” While it seems like a common sense rule, I didn’t truly follow or appreciate it until hearing the way Mr. Keating expresses it in Dead Poets Society.


The question posed by The Daily Post today was thisIs there a word or a phrase you use (or overuse) all the time, and are seemingly unable to get rid of? If not, what’s the one that drives you crazy when others use it?

As it is difficult to detect through a blog post, some of you might not know that I am extremely sarcastic. Because of this, I have a highly specialized technique for speaking to others. If you think about it, sarcasm is an art, really. Both speaking it, and understanding it when it’s spoken to you. Not an art? Okay, probably not.

One of the “verbal ticks” I overuse is directly related to my affinity for all that is facetious, and that is adding sarcastic third person modifiers to the end of sentences.

If an impassioned, melodramatic person came to me describing, in an infatuated tone, some romantic gesture that their significant other performed, once they are done speaking I may say, “she said fervently.” Sometimes I even do it to myself, when I’m the one speaking.

There are plenty of little words or phrases that I use often, but this one often bothers people. I mean, if you were gushing about the dozen roses your boyfriend gave you for your two year anniversary, a dry, sarcastic response is not really feedback you were searching for.

A verbal tick used by others that I despise is the word “awkward.” Okay, it isn’t the actual word that I hate. People take the word “awkward” far beyond its definitive territory. I understand that there are situations that simply cannot be described with any other word. However, when I hear people use the word “awkward” to describe something like a pencil or a shoelace, it bothers me. I’m sure they mean well, but when you describe every item, experience, and situation as “ugh, that is so awkward,” the points I initially assigned to your assumed I.Q. begin to dwindle. Expand your vocabulary. Pencils aren’t awkward.

I also hate the word “wow.” I don’t think it’s overused, I just think it’s an annoying, pointless word that, if you think about it, isn’t really a word at all.
Anyway, those are just a few that came to my mind. I enjoy when I notice other people have “trademark” words or phrases that they often use.

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So what is the verbal tick that you guys either use yourselves or one you have disdain for that others use?
Leave a comment, and  let me know! Thanks for reading!

 

Last night, I went to the theater to see 22 Jump Street. This film is the sequel to 21 Jump Street (not to be confused with the TV series starring Johnny Depp).

The films, 21 Jump Street (2012) and the new release, 22 Jump Street, star Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.

I know quite a few of the reviews I do are about horror films, but I’m a fan of all genres so this review is going to be a little different! Admittedly, I am typically pretty hard on the comedy genre. It really reminds me of horror, in that it is a very polarizing genre. I don’t think there is a lot of middle ground. It’s either really funny/scary, or just stupid. I know there are many viewers who will be critical of the “silliness” of the Jump Street films, but if that’s not your thing, that’s okay. When I saw 21 Jump Street once it was released on DVD, I was impressed. I would be lying if I said these movies had characters who are hardened into emotional stoicism only to have their heart of stone changed by the love of their life, or an unpredictable, mind-bending plot, but what comedy does? The comedy is more witty and clever than Dumb & Dumber, Zoolander, or any Will Ferrell movie (I’m not a fan). Clever and witty humor, in my opinion, makes the best comedy. (Poop began to lose it’s comedic effect around roughly age 6 for me). I would say I have a pretty eclectic taste in terms of comedy, but smart humor usually prevails (I won’t lie though, as stupid as the film was, Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator made me laugh enough for me to watch it more than once.) Previously, Horrible Bosses was my favorite comedy, but Jump Street has surpassed it in terms of how funny the films are. However, watching Charlie Day pretend to be on cocaine and sing “That’s Not My Name” in Horrible Bosses will always be hilarious.

In 21 Jump Street, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) go undercover to find the supplier of a new drug at the high school they graduated from, while the drug is still contained to their high school. While they were actually students, Jenko was a hunky jock, who has beauty, but not so much with brains. Schmidt was the Not-So-Slim Shady, who, while he wasn’t popular, is intelligent. Jenko and Schmidt end up at the Police Academy together, and become friends. One thing with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is that they have incredible chemistry. I imagine that they’re pretty tight off screen with a chemistry this dynamic. After being taken off bicycle cop duty to go undercover because of their youthful appearances, they find that high school is different than it used to be. After accidentally switching their assumed identities, Jenko ends up in AP chemistry (“Fuck you, science!”) and becomes friends with the tech nerds, while Schmidt falls in with the mellow, environmentally conscious popular crowd (“Ja feel?” “Ja feel. Ja definitely feel.”) Schmidt befriends Eric (Dave Franco) who they figure out is the dealer. You can get a better idea what the first film is about by watching the trailer.

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21 Jump Street ends with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) telling the guys their next assignment (“You two sons of bitches are goin’ to college!”)

22 Jump Street takes everything we loved from the first movie and amplify it. They are similar; same type of comedy, similar characters (“It’s the same case! Do the same thing!” “It’s not exactly the same case, ’cause one of us got laid last night.”) But if you liked the first film, you will love the sequel. First of all, it’s hilarious. I was laughing through the entire movie, and even into the credits. From the moment they arrive in their dorm, hilarity ensues (Pop-up hamper. Bean bag chair. Hot plate. Hilarious shirt that signals we drink alcohol.) Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) has a larger role in this film. His mental breakdown at parent’s weekend at MC State University had me in tears. Jenko and Schmidt are up to their usual antics, but the comedy isn’t stale or, in my opinion, overused. Another positive note worth mentioning is nearly 2 hours of Channing Tatum, and his new frat-tastic football dude bro, Zook, played by Wyatt Russell (but sadly, Dave Franco had less than two minutes of screen time). If you even remotely enjoyed the first movie, I highly recommend you guys check this one out! You won’t be totally lost if you haven’t seen the first film before seeing 22 Jump Street, but it would help; plus, it’s another great film that’s worth the watch.

If you’ve seen either of the Jump Street films, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think! Also, what is your favorite comedy and least favorite comedy? Leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

 

Oh, and there is no Korean Jesus in 22 Jump Street. Instead, Vietnamese Jesus. Word.