Writing for Another Part II

So, some of you know that I write. Yeah, I know. Shocker. Most of you know that I like to write different kinds of things, not just blogs. I enjoy branching out creatively and experiencing the joy when writing in an untested medium…at least for myself.

Not many of you know that I write for another blog, called How We Lost the Moon. There, writers, experienced and novice find a voice. You can write whatever you want. If you’ve been wanting to write a short story, but didn’t feel confident publishing it, this site will publish the work and the audience will accept it. It’s a safe place to experiment in your writing. I started writing poetry when I was a teenager, then in college my good friend David started a writing group where we shared our writing. Then I got into blogging and loved that format. HWLTM was the first place that I tried to write a short story. Once I tried it, I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of it. The stories I write are getting longer and longer now, ha. I am a huge advocate for the cathartic release that writing can give a person, and I will always encourage people who are shy about their writing to take a step of faith.

This month on HWLTM, they are running a contest. It’s a Blue Moon Contest. The rules are to write about a famous painting. My piece is called “A Self Portrait in Retrospect,” written on the painting “The Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog,” which happens to be my favorite painting. The rules are also this: Like the post you want to win. The Like button is located at the bottom of the post and is a button with a star in it. Mobile versions of the website might have more trouble, I hear, so sorry.

Thank you for reading my blog and for enjoying what I do here. If you enjoy my post that I mentioned above, keep an eye on the website for a new short story that I will be publishing within a few weeks called, “The Adventures of Booker and Bishop: And The Lost Door.”

Thank You.

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2014 in review

Thank you for an incredible year. I love writing, and having an audience to read what I write makes the process that much more enjoyable. I hope you stick around for 2015, should be a heck of a year in writing.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Memories

Two nights ago, I started doing something that I haven’t been able to stop. I started writing about my past. I started writing down any and all memories that I could think of, unhindered and unfiltered. I then started to categorize them into Good, Neutral, Bad, and Good/Bad memories. I can’t really explain why I started doing this, but I haven’t really been able to stop writing for about two days now. Any free time I get, I jot down a memory that comes to me, which will lead to another memory…so on and so forth.

The process has been incredible. All of these memories are inside my head, just filed away somewhere and pulling them out/recalling the details of events has been both challenging and incredibly therapeutic in some ways. This is an exercise that I would recommend to my clients. I just decided to do it on my own for whatever reason. The memories I choose are generally before high school, as in, any time after high school seems closer to “recently happened” rather than “past”. Semantics. I would say that about 98% of my memories are things that I would be able to share with my two sisters and parents, as they are all characters in said memories. 1% of my memories they don’t know because only I experienced them, and the last 1% are memories that I don’t see myself telling anyone. Some things belong in memory.

I have written about 11 pages so far, or 6,500 words, and if I had to do maths on what I’ve done, I could probably write another 20-30 pages (12-18,000 words). It goes without saying that I am not going to start posting my memories to everyone, as that cheapens my experiences and I’d like to share those with someone special someday….not the rest of the world. Still, there is an example memory that I can share with you all, and I think it accurately reflects my process. Enjoy this memory of mine, circa August 1999.

Once, my family and the Zehrs, a family I grew up with knowing and hanging out with, took a vacation to Michigan. It was Robyn, Nicole, and myself in my family. Ashley (Nicoles age) Alaina (my age) and Allie (Robyns age) in the Zehr family. We rented a beach house somewhere off Lake Michigan. I still remember pulling up to that house. Turquoise in color and fully awesome. I ran into the house and threw my stuff on the bed that I called dibs for. I then ran to the backyard…we had a HOT TUB! This was awesome. I was never allowed in the hot tub before. We jumped into our suits and ran down the beach. Freshly sun screened and eager, we marveled at the size of the waves. Equal parts frightened and gitty, we made sandcastles, sand towns, rivers of water, and sand angels. We burried each other, and swam in the lake to wash off. We ended up in the hot tub, me with my cubs hat and shirt still on, the others being crazy…which was business as usual. I remember that house being so beautiful and reeked of  “summer” with scents of sunscreen, bugspray, and BBQ. The house even looked like summer with shells everywhere, rope, sailing pictures, fish art pieces, wicker furniture, plenty of windows to let the sunlight in, etc. I loved it. Our families took turns cooking dinner, and we would all congregate around the big glass table to eat. Unrelated, but this is around the time that Prince of Egypt came out, and I was listening to the soundtrack the entire trip, ha. Loved that movie. To this day, both the Peterson family and the Zehrs remember fondly on that trip and how incredibly relaxing/fun it was. It was a golden week. Untouchable.

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The Early Leanings of a Traveling Warrior

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In the time that I have spent in the country of New Zealand, a few things have raised to the surface as clear: The driving is not the same, the food is not the same, the humor is not the same, the culture is not the same, and the weather is not the same; The same as my little hometown in Northern Illinois. I knew these to be true before I checked my luggage and boarded the flight into Auckland. What makes them real is having experienced them. Having lived in the shoes, heard the stories, tasted the delicious and not so delicious, talked the local, steered the left, laughed and laughed, and stopped laughing, the picture becomes more clear. Like a photograph out of focus, or staring at a painting with your nose on the canvas, you won’t see the full picture as it is meant to be seen. You need to really take some steps back to bring everything into focus. Then take that leap, with humility, and what is revealed will be beautiful.

I chose to go with the title that I gave my post today because I feel as if I came into this foreign land, to fight a war…in a sense. There are some serious problems in this country that are “too taboo” to talk about. When entering a new country, it is important to be culturally competent. The last thing you want to do is automatically apply everything you learned in the United States to New Zealand. Rookie mistake. One cannot assume that because one method works with one population, it will work with another. This is what Aurora University taught me, and it is a very important lesson. Still, if there are young adults, teenagers, and even younger, who are dealing with suicidal thoughts and don’t know where to turn or who can help them, that is a problem. I feel that there are some things in this country that need to start changing, and if no one will do anything about them, then I need to step up.

I love this country. In my travels, everywhere I have gone, New Zealand is the most beautiful. This land captivates me. There is something that saturates me and doesn’t let go. The people are kind, the food is exceptional, and the sights aren’t bad either. This is a beautiful country. It can be easy to notice the beauty and overlook the hurt. It can become convenient to only notice the working and neglect the broken. I am fortunate to be working in such an incredible country with incredible amounts of freedom (more so than the U.S.), but I follow a Father who realized that it is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy. It was difficult getting used to this new life, but I am on my way to truly calling this home, and making my home a better place to live for everyone. And I will warrior on until that day comes.

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Writing for Another

Hello readers. I just wanted to update you on a new development recently regarding my writing. About two weeks ago, I was emailed by a website called rednow. Rednow explores the “wonder” in the media we experience. To quote the website, rednow exists, “to provide opportunities to feel and think: to wonder.” Their tagline for the website is, “Rednow: The Art of Wonder.” What does their name mean? Even that is left for us to “wonder” about.

 

Naturally I checked out the site to see what they were about, and after reading their mission statements, I was on board 100%. I began by writing a piece about Garden State for them about a week ago, you can see that here. After editing it a few times and running it by their editor, they liked what I had written enough to put it on their site! I was very excited, because even though I have many viewers on my blog here at wordpress, this was a new and exciting opportunity that I never thought I would get to experience.

I want to let you know here that I am not going to stop writing on my blog, but I WILL be running my articles that I write for rednow through my blog. I’d like to give my friends over there some much deserved traffic, as their site aims to explore media from a totally different lens rather than just letting it wash over us from a numb, mindless, perspective.

I hope that you can check out their site and read some of their articles on film, music, tv, and other fascinating stories. Most of them will make you wonder yourself, and frankly, that’s not a bad thing in todays world.