Awkward Family Photos

Family photo albums are an entertaining thing. Before the advent of digital photography, people would save every one of their awkward photos without editing in the slightest. The result is a hodgepodge of decent and unrecognizable pictures.

I don’t know this for certain, but my family’s old photos are more peculiar than usual. My dad has an aversion to what he calls “posed pictures,” which means out photo albums are filled with ridiculous looking people who are right in the middle of whatever they are doing. Most of our pictures don’t make sense and are often of unidentifiable people.

In a lot of our photo shoots, no one knows that their picture is being taken which has much more interesting results than if everyone stopped to smile at the camera. These are pictures of life as it is happening. They prompt more memories than a planned portrait does, and if no one remembers the context, they prompt us to use our imaginations to fill in with a new story.

Now that we do not have to conserve film, we can take thousands of pictures all at once and then pick out the very best looking one. And if there is no perfect picture to be found in all those options, one can easily be edited. Because of this, photos have gotten progressively less weird (at least in the way I’m talking about). Now perfection is the expectation instead of being a pleasant surprise when the film is developed.

Aiming for perfection is one of the surest ways to suck the fun out of something. I tend to be a perfectionist, and the ability to edit enables this horrible tendency. If it is in theory possible to be perfect, I will not be satisfied with anything less which means I probably won’t even try something if I suspect that I will fall short.

I am trying to kill that perfectionist side of myself. The first step is to remind myself that imperfection can be the most fascinating.

To reach my goal of embracing imperfection, I asked for a Polaroid camera for my birthday. Even if I take a objectively horrible picture, it looks “artistic” as a Polaroid.

I have also begun writing rough drafts on paper so that I can’t backspace or copy and paste, at least not without a lot of mess and trouble. In fact, this whole blog post was originally written in ink in a real life notebook.

If perfection is the goal, trying is usually failing. I would much rather have lots of awkward attempts at writing or art for people to puzzle over in the future than not have anything at all.

And in another attempt at forgoing perfectionism, I am not going to go back and edit this post. Good luck reading this.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 Acknowledgements

Hello everyone!

I know I have not written in a very long time, but I wanted to make an announcement.

I have just completed my second 50,000 word National Writing Month Novel!

I began this novel on November 1, and today I finished with 50,017 words.

Obviously, this novel is a rough draft, but I intend to rewrite it and polish it until it is readable to someone who isn’t me. So I will not post any excerpts from the story, but I will let you read some of the acknowledgments from the end of the book. I hope you enjoy.


Author’s Acknowledgments

First of all, I obviously must thank (my friend who I won’t name). You have been my writing buddy for two consecutive National Writing Months. You of all people know exactly why there are acknowledgments at the end of this garbage rough draft slash first draft of this novel. I have finished the story (more or less) but I am still at, like, 49,042 words, and I am using this as a lazy way of meeting my goal of fifty thousand words. Thanks for giving me this excuse. You are great.

Second of all, to all of my family. For being supportive and encouraging and for mostly leaving me alone and occasionally going out to coffee with me to sit in silence while I write.

This is also particularly to my dad who makes me feel like a superhero for writing a single word. Thanks. I know that you will write your book one day too. You will probably outline it and think through what you are doing. I will probably never do that for my entire life.

And to my sister, roommate, and “best” friend (I put that in quotations because I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings and you might do something in the near future and you will lose your title. Ha). You will probably be able to quickly tell that you are basically one the characters in this book. I hope you like her. I tried my best and she is really only a cardboard version of you as you are a complex and amazing person. Knowing you, you will probably like Loki better anyway (he is kind of in here because you like him so much and Norse myths are fun). Thank you for reading all of the same myths I did so that I could bounce ideas off of you and make weird jokes. Honestly “Iliad” might be our own personal language.

I also want to thank some people that I will never meet: C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien (and all of the cast of The Lord of the Rings movies. You killed it), and Mister Fred Rogers. You have all inspired me more than I will ever be able to say. You have obviously inspired my writing but also my life in general.

Then there also the current writers that I love and may possibly meet. First there is Neil Gaiman. A View from the Cheap Seats helped my writing out a lot. But I also love all of your fiction particularly Neverwhere. Then there is Lemony Snicket who wrote the most inspiring pep talk in the world on the National Novel Writing Month website and all while trying to discourage me from finishing this novel. You are a genius.

For some reason it felt right to put this last, but I thank God (I wish that statement didn’t sound cliche. I am being entirely honest and not just saying because I have to). It was you who started off the great story and has inspired every story ever. It was you who created hope and the afterlife and absolutely everything in every book ever and particularly this one.


Please don’t feel sad if you are not in my acknowledgements. I wrote this up in about 15 minutes because I was getting tired of stretching the ending of the story out.


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Writer’s Block

About a month ago I said that I would blog every single day.

That dream didn’t last long.

After those four posts I wrote, I had such bad writer’s block that I haven’t written anything. No stories, no letters, barely any journal entries.

I can’t begin to explain how frustrating this is.

I read an entire book about how to unblock writer’s block. It was the first book I had finished in a long time, so I guess this isn’t all bad. I don’t think it helped anything. I still have writer’s block.

And yet I am here writing. How is this possible?

I have decided to tackle writing differently than I have before.

I am using writing as a spiritual discipline.

My dad has been learning a lot about the Christian disciplines and spiritual practices which means I have been second-hand learning about them. A spiritual discipline is something that you do in order to get to know God better. Usually those disciplines are things like fasting, bible reading, meditating, and worship.

Instead of relieving my exhasperation with writing by quitting, I am praying and asking God to help me to continue to write. That means I have been doing a lot of praying.

I am discovering that God cares about all the little things, even blog posts. But I’m also learning that anything can be used as an opportunity for coming closer to God.

Normally I hate group writing projects, but I guess having the God of the universe as a partner isn’t too bad.

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Life Update

I have spent most of today brainstorming for a blog post topic. I was all set to write about time travel when I realized that I needed to address the elephant in the room. I have depression again.

Two months ago I wrote about how my medication was working really well and that I was on my way to feeling completely better. Since then my meds stopped working, and I had to ween myself off of them. Pretty soon I will begin that fun roller coaster of trying out new medications.

I haven’t really told anyone for several reasons, the main one being that I’m doing ok and there hasn’t been a lot of reason to bring the subject up.

The other reason is I don’t want to talk about depression all of the time. I have done that already. As you can see on the sidebar of my blog, my biggest tags are “depression” and “mental illness.” I want the biggest tag to be “nice and happy things that are fun to read,” but alack. I don’t have a single post under that tag.

As I am progressively getting worse, I see that depression is what will be taking up a lot of my thoughts for the next couple of weeks. I hate to say it, but when someone has any sort of chronic illness, that is the main thing on their mind.

But don’t worry. I will not be only writing about mental illness. I will definitely get that time travel post up here at some point, and I will try really hard not to be boring.

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Angry Bird Cake

I am pleased to say that I finally have a real job. I am a caretaker/provider for a girl with developmental disabilities. So far I really love my job and my client.

When I have told people about it, many have reacted by saying, “That’s cute.”

Cute? How is my job cute?

I suppose it’s sort of cute how I come home with bodily fluids on my shirt. And it’s adorable all the medications I keep track of. And it’s super sweet when I hurt myself with all the heavy lifting.

Now that I have reason to think about it, “cute” is a weird word. According to my Pocket Oxford English Dictionary, cute means “charmingly pretty; sweet.” But I don’t think it actually means that because when I Google “cute,” this is the first thing that comes up:


But when I Google “charmingly pretty and sweet,” this is what comes up:



Two very different things.

So according to Google and the dictionary, what people are actually saying to me is, “That job sounds like an Angry Bird cake!”

To which my response is, “Exactly!”

Cute is one of those poor words that used to mean something positive, but is now starting to sound like a backhanded compliment. Cute things are small and not very important. “Cute” is for when children play doctor and when kittens make friends with ducklings.

When I Googled “cute jobs,” do you know what came up? One opening for a cupcake truck manager and then tons and tons of nanny jobs.

First of all, I would make a great cupcake truck manager. Second of all, why is working with young people so “cute?” It’s hard and serious. And if you think about it, cute doesn’t pay. Elementary school teachers are adorable, but college professors make more money.

“Cute” takes respect away from something. It is a patronizing word.

So please, my new job is not “cute.” It’s “really cool,” “important,” and “valuable.”

And also it’s just a job. I have to make money somehow and hanging out with a charmingly pretty and sweet person is as good a way as any.



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How to Have a Conversation

Every time I go to my Tuesday night bible study, I think, “I’m going to talk to strangers today and be welcoming and mildly extroverted.” And then I hang out with my same group of friends.

This week a poor stranger took the initiative and talked to me. I now see that maybe I should have been practicing my conversation starters all those other weeks. Here is more or less how our introductory dialog went:

What are you interested in? he asked

I’ve been reading a lot of Shakespeare, I say.

Oh yeah? What’s your favorite play?


Why’s that?

The character of Hamlet is basically my soul mate. He’s depressed, narcissistic, talks to himself, and he murders people.

Hahahahaha I’m joking. The weather, amiright?

That’s it. That’s my story. Come back to tomorrow for another just like it.

Thank you and good night.

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Anyone Can be Anything

When I was twelve I decided that I would be a professional novelist. By the time I was about fifteen, I decided that was ridiculous and that nobody made money that way and I wasn’t that good of a writer and I should go into accounting.

Well, things have changed. I watched Zootopia a few too many times and now I know that anyone can be anything.

I’m going to be a writer.


But I now have a problem. Even though I love to write and it’s one of the things I’m best at, I hate writing and am terrible at it.

According to the internet most writers feel the same way.

That’s a relief.

This is all to say that I will be attempting to write a blog post every day. The reason is quantity is better than quality and practice makes perfect. I might run out of ideas and I will probably look back at my uninspired mess and have to delete this whole blog, but if I want to be a writer I have to actually write. So weird.

So if you want your inbox flooded and your dashboard covered with things by an emotionally unbalanced young adult who thinks she can write, you can follow this blog. Or you can follow almost any other blog. There are a lot of us out there.

Finally. I’m done. This took me way too long.

Now I just have to do it again tomorrow.

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