Every cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes. It’s supposed to mean that even the worst circumstances have some aspect of good about them. It’s just that though; an aspect. Yes, every cloud has a silver lining, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there’s still a big cloud looming overhead.
Maybe that’s cynical of me. It’s just that when I’ve often heard this idiom used, the speaker is trying to ignore the presence of the “cloud.” That doesn’t help anyone. Pretending everything is okay when it clearly is not doesn’t solve any problems.
All this to say, I’m in a rather cloudy season right now. (I usually hate when people talk about “seasons” of life but since I’m already using weather metaphors I’ll let it slide.) I am trying to find the silver linings, but the fact is that I am still sad, angry, and discouraged.
I’ve been going back and forth about writing this post for almost two weeks now. I don’t want to just be another voice on the internet throwing a pity party because life is terrible right now, but at the same time, I’ve always found writing to be one of the things that brings comfort. As for publishing it for all the world to see – well, I don’t know. Perhaps we’ll learn something along the way (but I make no promises).
My life, like those of many others, has been rather chaotic this March, so blogging has taken a backseat to things like passing my classes and staying mentally coherent.
But hey, I’m back, at least for right now! And while it’s not on schedule by any means, I still want to share my February in review (thank goodness I took notes for it earlier this month). In some ways, it might be rather nice to look back on when things were sort of normal.
But first, blog posts! In February, I wrote about:
A fun fact about me: in my junior (third) year of high school, I was voted the “Best Writer” in our yearbook.
This is less impressive when you consider that it was probably less a comment on the quality of my writing and more on the fact that, as president of the creative writing club, I was just the first person people thought of when they thought of writing.
(Never mind the fact that my high school was relatively small and our yearbook was digitally created with Microsoft Publisher.)
But that aside, yearbook superlatives are fun! So today, as inspired by this post (which I learned about through Wanderer’s Pen), we’re going to discover where my characters might end up in their hypothetical high school yearbook. I decided to come up with my own list of categories, but shout out to those two blogs for giving me the inspiration!
My family would probably be the first to tell you that I am a notorious paper-hoarder. Physical objects usually end up in the “donate to Goodwill” pile at some point, but I still have movie ticket stubs from 2012 for some reason. Eight years ago. And I assure you that’s not the oldest paper product in my possession.
At one point, I wanted to cover an entire wall of my bedroom with corkboard, or some equivalent. I insisted that it could be done. My parents told me I needed to calm down and got me to settle for three large bulletin boards, which did just as well.
And then I went to college. Obviously, I could not take all of my ticket stubs and theatre programs and postcards with me. It was a real shame too, because the walls in our dorm rooms came equipped with corkboards.
If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve experienced a creative block from time to time. This phenomenon is not uncommon. I talked a little bit about this before, when I was feeling creatively drained and I just couldn’t get myself to write. Back then, I decided I needed a break to refresh myself.
And it worked! I took a month off from blogging and just focused on doing things that refilled my creative well, so to speak. After a few weeks, I felt ready to take on the writing world again.
But there’s more than one kind of writer’s block, and sadly, just taking a break doesn’t always solve the problem. Sometimes, writer’s block gets a little more personal.
Another year, another January, another month in review. I’ve always thought January is kind of a strange month. On one hand, it feels like thirty-one Mondays in a row, but on the other hand, everything feels so fresh and exciting! That’s the approach I try to have, but when it’s dark by 5:30 p.m. and the temperatures are freezing most of the time, it’s hard.
On the bright side, there was a lot of new and exciting stuff to keep my spirits up this month! I’ll talk about all of that in just a second, but first, here’s what I blogged about this month:
Listen, I love football. I enjoy watching it, even when I don’t necessarily care for the teams that are playing. Well, that might be a little lie. If one of my teams isn’t playing, it’s pretty easy for me to get distracted. But it’s not like I can just go without watching the Super Bowl. If I want to be socially literate, I gotta watch it.
I’m sure a lot of us are familiar with being in situations where we’re under social obligation to watch some kind of sporting event. The Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl… if you’re not into sports, it might not hold your attention. Lucky for you, I have a list to help you prepare for your next socially obligated sporting event!
It’s a common stereotype that readers are notorious for hating on e-books, audiobooks, and pretty much any form of reading that isn’t a hardcover from 1974 with a faded velvet bookmark. You’ve seen the poorly-formatted memes and comics – kids these days with their “Kindles” and “Nooks,” not reading scrolls by candlelight like we did in ye olde America. What happens when your e-reader’s battery is drained, or you can’t find your headphones?
At the beginning of the month, my campus library posted this poll on their bulletin board:
And recently in my papermaking/bookmaking class, we’ve been talking about how books and the methods we prefer to use when we read them. Despite what the memes suggest, people of my generation still love printed text.
Unfortunately, this love of traditional reading often comes with a disdain for other ways of consuming books. But let me confess something: I love having e-books and audiobooks. As time passes, they’ve become a more present part of my reading experience, and I’m incredibly thankful for it. These days, when I hear someone mocking non-traditional reading, it takes a lot out of me not to start an argument. So instead of starting an argument in person, I’ve decided to write a little bit about why e-books and audiobooks are in some ways better than printed pages.
Alright, I know last week I skimmed over my goals for 2020, and that included a handful of writing goals, but I promise this is different! I want to take a closer look at my “Quest” fantasy project and where I want to take it this year. I’ve spent a lot of time planning and plotting over the past month, and I feel like I’m ready to approach this project once again.
I like setting goals for myself if for no other reason than the fact that I like the illusion of accomplishment. We can debate whether or not reading a certain number of books is actually making a difference in the grand scheme of things, but hey, at least I actually did something. If nothing else, I think goal-setting helps us prioritize, and they teach us patience and perseverance.
There’s nothing really special about the first day of the year – it’s just another day, so what? But for whatever reason, when humans made calendars, they designated this specific day as the beginning of a “new year.” And we like new things. They’re scary sometimes, sure, but they also feel full of opportunity. So yes, setting goals for a year is somewhat arbitrary, but I think it’s good to capitalize on that optimism and use it to make changes that will go beyond the next twelve months.
All that being said, today I’m going to review my goals from 2019 and rate myself on how well I did, and then look ahead to what I want to do in 2020.