Boredom Is The True Monster

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I can handle chaos. I can handle deadlines and stress. It calms my head to be able to put the chaos to order, piece by piece. Sometimes it’s too much insanity for me to enjoy, but at least when it is over I can feel good and relax.

No, it is boredom that I hate. I cannot deal with having nothing to do. It drives me downwards until I believe the world has no point, and what am I doing with my life anyways? Suddenly I’m awash in thoughts that I’m just a lonely hermit living in the woods with no purpose.

I need adventure. Relaxing is still great – I’m good at relaxing. But relaxing is asleep and chaos is awake, and how can I sleep if I never get to be tired? To be bored is to be restless, until my mind shuts off and I start to wonder whether or not I’m actually alive. Am I really here or is this all just the figment of someone else’s bizarre imagination?

I want to shun sanity, push away normality and evict boredom. I want to carve my path through the jungles of the universe. I want my life to mean something. I want to be more than empty space.

Think about the miracle of my life. I am system more complex than we know. I am a beating heart, nerves, veins and cells, all working together to somehow be alive. I don’t want to waste this precious miracle by spending my time staring into space wondering when something interesting will happen.  I want to be the one making interesting things happen. I do not want to be bored.

As I often say: “Chaos and madness…”. Choas and madness, people. Chaos and madness.

The Scenic Route

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If Life was a road,

Which way would you go?

Would you take the highway,

Rush until your mind went grey?

Would you take the city paths,

deal with the traffic jams?

If Life was a road,

Which way would you go?

Through valleys, past lakes

Which path would you take?

I think I’d take the scenic route,

Be the hiker with the muddy boots

I think I’d walk the back ways,

Explore the alleys,

give homes to the stray,

I think I’d climb the mountains,

Just to see the view,

Then clamber down again,

And learn how much I grew,

If Life was a road,

I’d carve a new path,

walk between trees,

With my future on my back,

I’d wander from coast across the big wide sea,

Dare the waves just to be free.

If Life was a road,

Where would you go?

Pick a route,

Set feet to the ground,

There’s an adventure

to be found.

The Writing Quotes That Mean the Most to Me

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I know I’ve filled blogs with my favourite quotes before – possibly my favourite writing quotes, though I can’t remember – but that was a long time ago. The quotes below are ones that resonate with me, that I understand as if they were taken from my own mind and crafted by another person’s tongue.

* “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Ray Bradbury

* “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreau

* “You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis

* All writers are lunatics!” – Cornelia Funke

* “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.” – Anais Nin

* “Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

*  “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” – Stephen King

* “Tears are words that need to be written.” – Paulo Coelho

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl Sagan

*  “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth

*  “For it would seem – her case proved it – that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.” – Virginia Woolf

That last one is the one that I love the most right now. It’s how I currently feel – that the words aren’t just words, they are the pieces of my soul.

Just. Keep. Writing.

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I have gotten to the point where I am too close to my novel. Like an artist, I need a chance to step back from my book and look at it from afar. I cannot remember everything that has happened, I have no sense of perception, or how a reader would enjoy my words, and I have no clue whether or not the pace is good. I feel as though my face is pressed within an inch of the page of a book and I can only read one word at a time. I am beginning, once again, to doubt my work. My solace is that during my first draft – which I never managed to finish – I began doubting around 40,000 words. Now I have 54,000 words and I am only just starting to get uneasy. This counts as progress.

Maybe it is because the lack of sleep that comes with writing is starting to get to me, or maybe the turning of the weather is causing me to go grumpy, but either one I am beginning to feel discontented. I am just glad I have a weekend coming up with nothing planned other than the odd chore or two. I am going to sleep in, watch movies, finish reading the Harry Potter series for the billionth time, and, of course, write.

I have decided that even though my close proximity to my novel is giving me a headache, I will continue to the end of this draft. I will write sightlessly, blinded by the words, until I have reached the end of my novel. I am far better off than I was at this point last time at least. And once the draft has been completed, I can set it aside for two or three weeks – this might prove to be the impossible part – and try not to think about it. After that… I’m going to sit down and read it, as if were not my own. I’m going to evaluate it, study it, and, most likely, tear it apart again. Hopefully I will also enjoy it. If I don’t… I’m screwed.

I can see no other paths in front of me but the ones that lead towards being an author or journalist. I have not considered other paths – I will not consider them. In the back of my mind, there’s a little voice screeching ‘you better succeed with plan A, clueless, cause you have no plan B.’ This is true. I have just the one plan. It’s rather like the feeling that comes to me when I’m playing tag and my enemies have surrounded me, circling in. I see the gap between them and I run towards it, knowing that there is no hesitating; I will either make it or I won’t and there’s no point considering the latter til it happens. In fact, just writing that down, as if there’s even a possibility of me not making it, seems disloyal to my determination.

I will become an author. I have to. Without words, I am nothing. Spending my life without writing would be like spending my life without breathing. It would be in defiance to everything I am. No matter how difficult it ever is to write, I will keep writing. This current discontentment is just another hurdle, and I will jump. There’s no point hesitating. I will either make it or I’ll die trying. This is not melodramatic. It is truth. I will be an author or I will try to be an author until the breath fades from my lungs and I pass from this life. I was born to write.

You can see my determination – my insanity? – through the process of this blog post. I started writing this with the idea of telling you all that I am too close to my novel and I might need to take a break and step back from it. I ended this post on the note that I will never, in a million years, give up writing, and that – screw my discontentment and my tiredness – I will triumph.

On that note, I think it’s time to end this blog. I’ve got to work writing.

The Overlooked Lesson of Harry Potter

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Anyone who has read the books knows it: Harry Potter is packed with morals. Lessons of love, strength, courage and acceptance are easy to find within the familiar pages. True, there are a few morals that are a bit tainted – teaching children they shouldn’t go for help when a cruel witch is making them write in their own blood, for instance – but there are enough important jewels of life in the HP books to more than make up for it. There’s one, however, that I don’t hear very many people talk about: forgiveness.

For all of you who have not read Harry Potter, now is your time to turn back and find another blog post to pursue. These next paragraphs are fraught with spoilers. For the veterans of the HP series, come forth and hear me.

Hundreds of potterheads have speculated on why Harry would possibly name his son after Dumbledore and Snape. And though I would never name my children after a host of dead people, especially not an abusive killer or a man who raised me to die, I can see easily what JK Rowling was trying to demonstrate. The symbolism in Nineteen Years Later is not disguised.

JK Rowling was trying to show that Harry had made peace with Snape and Dumbledore. He had recognized – and I think this is a very important thing to do – that people change. That they make mistakes and then they try to take them back. That they do bad things and then regret them. Harry was being incredibly strong when he chose to forgive those people who had put him through hell and back.

Forgiveness is a hidden skill. It isn’t blaringly obvious. It doesn’t shout of its power. People often mistake it for a weakness. And yet it is often the key to happiness. With it as a tool, you can learn to move on, to leave the past behind you, to believe in other people and give second chances, and to forgive yourself for your own faults. How would Harry have lived with himself had he dwelt constantly on Sirius’s death? Would he have been happy had he kept his anger at Dumbledore and Snape burning in his heart?

Snape was cruel. He loved the dark arts. He was abusive. And yet when Harry dived into the pensieve, he saw how Snape had become that way. And he also saw that Snape was full of regret, of a deep pool of strength and of an undying love. The only way to put your soul back together is through regret. Snape’s soul was in one piece, and he was always hurting. So Harry was brave and he forgave – which, once you get to know Harry, is quite remarkable in itself. It shows how much he grew in the last book.

It wasn’t just Snape and Dumbledore either. He forgave Ron for running out on him. He forgave – even pitied – Malfoy. He forgave Dudley. All this is a precious lesson in one of humankind’s most beautiful skills. Forgiveness.

Endless Ripples

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Ripples, ripples, everywhere. Waves and waves of cascading change caused by just one pebble being tossed from a hand into still water. You will never know how much you matter. You will never discover everything you have done. You will never fully comprehend the change you have created in this universe.

Think of JRR Tolkien, for instance. He was barely famous at all when he died. He was one of the first fantasy writers, probably the first High Fantasy writer who ever got published, and was an inspiration to thousands of writers after him. As he wrote his books decades ago, in a part of the world I’ve never been, do you think he realized that across the globe and into the future a seventeen year old girl living alone in a cabin in the woods would find delight in his words? Could he know the lives he was changing, the things that his words would inspire? There is no way he even dreamed of the effect he has had on the world.

And you don’t have to be a famous writer or artist to create incomprehensible change. One word, one sentence, could forever alter the universe, for better or for worst. One small act of kindness could shift the fabric of existence. Giving an apple to a homeless person could give them hope and faith in humanity, could inspire them to take a chance. Donating a book to a bookless child could teach them empathy, give them hope and make them stronger. They could, in return, go on to do crazy things they never would have done, creating yet more change.

The true mark of a remarkable person is not necessarily that they give a hundred thousand dollars to a charity and stand there getting medals and public approval for it. Incredible is the person who does things they will never be recognized for. The person who gives without thinking about what they will get in return. They pass on pieces of themselves knowing that they may never get them back.

I do not even know the effect this blog is having on the world. It is a little thing, a couple of thoughts and a handful of my words donated to the infinite realm of cyperspace. But it could be doing things and I will never know. It could be causing change. I only hope that change is good and not bad.

You are reading this, right now, from some unknown place; I am speaking inside your head. We are connected, though we do not know it. Telepathy. Artists everywhere have long created ripples. They are creators, and they let their creations expand into a universe they know they will never see. The person who plants the tree under whose shade they will never sit is the bravest of our people, the kindest of our race. I hope that I have been able to plant flowers at the very least, if not trees.

So be careful, very careful. With great power comes great responsibility. You have great power. Hold it with care. With one word, you could ruin someone’s life or you could bring them to the heights of joy. You could plant the seed that will give shade to an unknown person, or you could cut down the tree that might have one day given relief from the heat of summer to a lost person. You could be the thing that pushes someone over the edge, or you could be the person who pulls them back to safety. You do not know how much you matter. You do not know your own strength. Please, take a moment to listen before you act. That one action, that one word, that one look has the power to alter the universe.

Open your heart. Open your mind. Open your ears. And then, only when you have listened long and hard with both heart and mind, should you open your mouth.

Giving Thanks

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This year was a weird Thanksgiving. I didn’t get to visit with all my family, we didn’t play any board games, we weren’t at home and we didn’t go around the table and tell each other what we were thankful for before digging into our feast. It was an odd, scattered kind of holiday.

But it is important to be grateful for life and it is important to demonstrate gratitude. We should always be thankful – ‘thanksgiving day’ is just a chance to share that gratitude. Maybe it’s a chance to tell someone how much they matter to you.

So here goes.

I am thankful for new opportunities and options. I am thankful for an incredible job, an amazing boss and plenty of things to learn. I am grateful for my adorable little cabin, and the chances to learn and grow that it provides me. I am happy to live in a beautiful place, on a beautiful island surrounded by kind people.

I am glad to be alive in such a fascinating world. I love the stories that are everywhere if only we look for them. I am happy that I am a writer and have been given the chance to unearth these stories, and to share and inspire. I am thankful for the hours I get to spend wrapped in blankets with endless mugs of tea, writing away into the night.

I am full of an incredible gratitude for the people and experiences that have shaped me. Going to my alternative school for highschool was – and always will be – the best decision of my life. It was the foundation to everything I am becoming, and everything I’ll be. It taught me to be who I am, to love deeply and to laugh often. I had amazing experiences during my time there. I climbed mountains, swam in glacier lakes and freezing bioluminescent oceans, ran through forests at dusk, spoke at prestigious conferences, played pranks, lit brooms on fire, sang to strangers on their doorsteps, and learned the magic of life. I will always be thankful for that.

I must also give thanks to the wonderful people in my life. I was gifted at birth by the family I was born to. I have two of the most incredible parents the world has ever seen. I have five amazing, kind, diverse siblings, and a wonderful brother-in-law, and a precious niece. I have had a beautiful childhood, full of adventure, roadtrips, laughter, and games. My family have all helped me to be who I am, and taught me incredible things. I know how lucky I am to have been raised the way I was.

Though many years of my life have been lonely, I still have a host of amazing friends. I want to thank them for being there for me, and for helping me learn who I am. I want to thank them for the good times we had, the songs we sung and the adventures we’ve been on. I want to thank them for being the shoulder I could cry on when things were tough. Somehow we got through everything teenagehood threw at us together – though I guess I shouldn’t speak too soon, it isn’t over yet. I want to thank them for being deep and true, strong and brave. They were never artificial friends and they never gave up on me. They are the type of people I want to know forever, the type of people I can envision myself sitting around a table with when we’re all fifty, reminiscing and making new memories.

So thank you. Thank you life. Thank you to my family and thank you to my friends. Sometimes I don’t get the chance to tell you all how much you matter.