Afterwords: Top 5 Heroines

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post that was appropriately titled “Top 5 Heroines.” It was, as you might guess, a list of my favorite heroines from books. Now, even though I wrote that blog post three years ago, I still stand by it. There were some really awesome female characters on that list: June Iparis from the Legend trilogy, Cammie Morgan from Gallagher Girls, Deryn Sharp from the Leviathan trilogy, Reyna Ramirez-Arellano from The Heroes of Olympus, and Stargirl from Stargirl.

But I also wrote that blog post three years ago. I’ve read (and re-read) a lot of books since then, and I’ve fallen in love with both new characters and old. So while I still love and adore all of the ladies on my original list, I thought it was a good time to show some appreciation for a few of my other favorite heroines.

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July 2019 Month In Review

Happy August! I’m gonna keep this intro short and sweet, because July was a jam-packed month and I have lots to talk about! Concerts, books, adventures, Stranger Things, and more! But first…

In case you missed it, this month I blogged about:

You can also watch my 1 Second Everyday compilation from July below!

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Time After Time (Short Story)

Back in October 2018, I entered a short story contest held for the Blimey Cow patron community (or “cowmoonity,” as we call it). Our prompt was to write a story with the following elements:

  • Theme: “Things are not as they seem”
  • Music should be featured prominently
  • Including one of the following: a broken television, a cobweb, or a cassette.

So I decided to enter the contest, and ended up winning three of the five categories (Best story, best character, and best overall). To be honest, I was totally surprised and honored to be one of the finalists (let alone a winner)!

Since then, the story was accepted for publication in my school’s literary journal, The Peregrine Review. Since I spend most of my time working on larger writing projects, I’ve become rather proud of this little story and how far it’s come. Since I mentioned it a few times recently, I thought today would be a good time to share it!

Read on to check out my short story, “Time After Time.”

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Junior year soundtrack

Junior Year Soundtrack

Every school year, when I get to the end of the spring semester, I think, “there’s no way it could get any tougher than this,” and then somehow, it does.

That’s not meant to be a complaint – my years in college have been some of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding years of my life. Still, the rewards are easy to forget when you’re drowning in multiple 10-15 page papers and group projects while working two jobs and a maintaining some excuse for a social life. A lot of times, I find myself listening to music for encouragement, motivation, or just comfort.

As is my tradition every year, today I’m sharing a short playlist of the songs I listened to this past school year that encouraged and inspired me. As is NOT tradition, this post comes halfway through the summer. Even though it’s been a few months since the semester wrapped up, I still think this is worth sharing (and I’ll never let myself live it down if I let this school year go by without a playlist.

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Writing Lessons from Stranger Things

When Stranger Things started garnering hype on the internet in 2016, I sent a text to my mom telling her she should watch it. She enjoyed shows with vague paranormal/alternate universe stuff like Fringe, and from what I could tell, Stranger Things was right up her alley. I wasn’t all that interested. I was midway through the first semester of my first year of college, and I preferred to spend my limited free time writing or gaming.

And then within a week of me telling my mom to watch Stranger Things, she messaged me and insisted that I give the show a try. And because I’m a good child (most days, at least), I listened to my mother.

Whatever I thought Stranger Things was going to be, it was so much better.

The Netflix Original series, created by brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, takes place in 1983 in the small, midwestern town of Hawkins, Indiana. The premise is simple enough: a young boy vanishes without a trace, and mysterious events begin taking place around the town. Combining an engaging sci-fi world with 1980s nostalgia set Stranger Things apart, but beyond that, the show features strong writing, dynamic characters, and a fascinating story.

With Season 3 of Stranger Things being recently released, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the show’s first season and analyze what we can learn from it.

Beware – Spoilers for Season 1 of Stranger Things below!

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May & June 2019 Month in Review

May & June 2019 Month In Review

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Between two different trips, finishing the academic year, and beginning my summer job, I’ve missed not one, but TWO Month in Review posts! I know, I know, I’m the worst. It’s okay, you can say it.

But as atonement for my wrongs, today I bring you a MIR double-header, covering May and June of 2019. That’s twice the stuff to go through, so I’ll do my best just to hit the highlights and keep it brief. But if you missed any of my other blog posts from the past two months, check those out first:

And you can check out my 1 Second Everyday videos from May:

And June!

Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months.

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Author interview with Sarah Henry: intricacies are just cracks in the wall

Author Interview with Sarah Henry: “intricacies are just cracks in the wall”

black and white photograph of a young woman with short hair and a feather pen tattoo on her collarbone. Sarah Henry.
Sarah Henry, author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall. She is also a photographer and videographer.

I am very excited to be sharing a project that is very close to my heart with you today. Sarah Henry, my friend and fellow English major (and now graduate), is publishing her first book, intricacies are just cracks in the wall through an IndieGoGo campaign. The novel tells the story of a young woman and her recovery from an abusive relationship through poetry. It explores experiences of mental health disorders, relational abuse, and the pains of self discovery.

I had the privilege of being a part of this project near the beginning as a member of Sarah’s writing workshop. It’s great to see all of her hard work finally coming to fruition through the published novel and the short film she created based on it!

As part of the launch of intricacies, I interviewed Sarah to talk to her a little bit about her writing process and the creation of both the book and the film. So what are you waiting for? Read on to hear more about intricacies are just cracks in the wall!

UPDATE 7/24/19: Sarah’s IndieGoGo campaign may be over, but you can still by intricacies are just cracks in the wall on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

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Why Group Projects (Usually) Don’t Work

I enjoy an academic challenge. If I hate an assignment, it’s usually not because it’s too hard, but because it’s boring or feels meaningless.

The one type of assignment I just can’t bring myself to like, however, are group projects.

If you’ve never had to survive a group project, I envy you. The name is pretty self-explanatory: it’s an assignment that involves collaborating with other students in order to achieve a (usually shared) grade.

On paper, it’s a great idea. After all, knowing how to collaborate with others is a good skill to have – whether or not it’s as important as people say is something I still debate, but that’s besides the point. Knowing how to work with others and bring people with different skill sets together can allow for more productivity in a project. At least, that’s how it should be.

The problem that I’ve encountered is that in my experience, group projects have been more frustrating than educational. I always come away from a group assignment feeling like the final result would have been better if I had done it myself. Part of this is certainly a character flaw of mine, but I think it goes beyond that.

On the other hand, I’ve had many experiences with collaborative projects that have gone very well. I can think back to some group assignments in college that I enjoyed and learned from, as well as from activities outside of an academic setting, like video games and writing. Based on that, I don’t think the problem is so much with group assignments themselves – as I said, they do have their benefits – but rather with how they’re presented.

So, what makes a group project enjoyable and beneficial? (Or, if not enjoyable, at least not terribly frustrating.)

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Un Bon Voyage: France Recap

Un Bon Voyage: France Recap

And we’re back! Thanks for sticking with me the last few weeks everyone – I promise this will be worth the wait!

In case you missed it, I spent the last three weeks on a “cross-cultural” trip with my school – basically, a three-week term in another country with the goal of providing a more hands-on learning experience. Our trip took us to Strasbourg, France, located in the eastern region of Alsace (practically sitting on the German border). Most of our trip was spent in Strasbourg and the surrounding area, with a final three days in Paris.

Right before we left, I wrote a blog post about the things that scared me and excited me about going on the trip. I’m pleased to say it was just as exciting as I hoped, and nothing was nearly as terrifying as I feared! But I’ll save the details for later – I promised a recap of the trip, and a recap you shall have.

But hey, if you’re pressed for time, I understand – you can watch the special edition of my 1 Second Everyday project for the three weeks I was gone!

 

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Going on a Scary/Exciting Adventure

Going on a Scary/Exciting Adventure

When I was a kid, I was terrified of flying in airplanes. Not because I didn’t like heights, or because I thought we would all crash and die or anything. I knew that was highly unlikely – my dad used to explain to me how planes had a gazillion safety features, and how they could land anywhere, even in the water, if they needed too. So, in the event of a bizarre aircraft malfunction, I knew that I would probably be fine.

No, what I was terrified of more than anything was losing my favorite stuffed animal in the event that our hypothetical flight had to make an emergency water landing. I was incredibly distraught when I learned that luggage usually did not make it out of situations like that. So I, at whatever young age I was, resolved to never, ever fly in an airplane, especially over water.

I am pleased to report that I did eventually overcome this (perhaps irrational) fear. I actually took my first flight when I was in middle school for a class-related trip, and it was without my parents if you can even believe it. I survived. And I’ve taken plenty of flights since then, the Florida, California, Arizona, and Montana. Now, I’ve learned that of all the things to complain about on a flight, safety is usually not one of them. You can complain about the cramped seats and you can complain about the food, but ultimately, safety is not usually one of the main concerns. And I’m glad about that, because of all the things that I have to be terrified about for this upcoming trip, I’m glad that flying is not one of them.

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