Not Enough Time

To anyone who’ll read this,

I’m sitting here next to my bookcase full of unread books, looking up and down at it while the inevitable looms in the back of my mind. It’s no wonder I have anxiety. There’s not enough time.

Not enough time to play all of the video games all the way through, finish all of the puzzles that surround my room, to finish writing that book that’s in my drafts, or to read all of the books that are piling up. The end is inevitable, but I choose to fill it with mind-numbing hours on my phone and in my laptop doing homework.

Graduation is in December, maybe May 2020, but that’ll be a year (or year and a half) until I can have all the free time I need (barring any part time job of course). Yet, I can’t help but feel like that year is just going to fly by and I would’ve wasted it.

Having ADD is a lot of work, my mind is always in overdrive and I can’t sit still. The only things that’ll turn off my thoughts are puzzles and sleep. Yet, here I am. Typing up a blog on my phone, when I could be journaling or reading. Oh well, at least this is an entry! So, my time wasn’t wasted.

2019 is going to be the year of creativity whether I realize it or not, I just have to keep fighting and focus on the right things. No longer will I wait around for replies or notifications on anything. I need to focus on me, and me alone.

So, I’ll continue to date myself this year. Figure out who I am. The creative person is inside me, I just have to meet her again.

Thanks for reading,

Love, Danielle

Danielle’s 2018 Reads

img_2482Before I eventually end up starting the new year with resolutions and realistically set goals, I need to wrap up 2018. Last year was one for the books; no pun intended. All along the way, I finished 30 books in total, and 27 of them are in the slideshow at the bottom of my screen (I left out the three for school). While 30 might not seem like a lot to those of you that can finish a book in a day, after looking at my stats, I’ve found out that I can too! Most of these took under 10 hours for me to read, so while it is possible… I just don’t have the time to sit for that amount of time every day. However, I will continue on my reading streak, and I’ll set the bar even higher for this year!

After reviewing the stats, I’ve noticed that surprisingly, most of these books received five stars from me! Unfortunately, that’s not as realistic as I’d like it to be. So, in this recap of my 2018 reads, I’m going to… in a way… re-rate all of my books (besides the three for school). So, let’s dig in!

(I’m also going to tie in Goodreads reviews to each of the book titles in the mini reviews I provide.)

51rbpshz-ll._sx326_bo1,204,203,200_1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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A Game of Thrones exceeded my expectations. The show is eerily similar to the book… almost word-for-word, and I really enjoyed it. The relationship between Khal Drogo and Daenarys was revealed more in the book than it was in the movie, and it took me a bit to get through, but it was definitely good enough for me to snag the second book.

61wfumgrzzl._sx329_bo1,204,203,200_2. Fight Club and 3. Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk

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Fight Club was one of those books that made me squirm a little, but I can’t talk about it (see: Chucklehead101). So you’ll just have to read this yourself!

51fsjqc2c-l._sx329_bo1,204,203,200_Fight Club 2 was unexpected honestly. It’s a graphic novel, and the narrator’s name was finally revealed as Sebastian. Also, Chuck made quite a few cameos! They gave the book more depth and “broke the fourth wall” in literature. I loved the overall feel of this book and finished it a little less than two hours. I can’t wait for Fight Club 3‘s release this January!

4. Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk

Invisible Monsters Remix is going to have it’s own review here shortly!

173807115. Phoenix by Chuck Palahniuk

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I distinctly remember reading Phoenix in a hotel room in Golden, Colorado. Phoenix was only around 50-pages long, but it stood out enough for me to give it five stars. Even though Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors, I still choose to review his novels without being biased. Phoenix was a quick read, but it was resolved really quickly. The book discussed showed a broken marriage pretty accurately, and even though I’m a cat person… I couldn’t put it down.

51tm0lae0ml._sx322_bo1,204,203,200_6. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

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Whenever I go to pick up any Palahniuk book, I always have semi-high expectations. So, giving this book 3-stars isn’t unusual. Choke was one of those books that seemed to try too hard. I love Palahniuk, but this just wasn’t… it. The narrator was prude and he just seemed like a fuckboy. As someone who doesn’t mind reading things “out of the norm,” Victor Mancini was just too much. He was just frustrating to read about, and while I appreciated his storyline, I just didn’t care for him. However, if you don’t mind reading things about a mans’ “dog” every other page/paragraph, then take a shot at it!

wp-14906283883827. every day by David Levithan

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I’m not one to read Young Adult books as much anymore, but every day really stood out. While it’s only receiving around 3-stars from me, it was still a unique plot line. However, I just didn’t like the ending as much as I hoped I would’ve. I love the concept behind a non-binary character such as the narrator, but the ending is honestly what ruined it for me. I’m still going to buy the next book to see if it’ll redeem itself, but as for just this one? I don’t think it should standalone as much as it does.

8. the woman in the window by AJ Finn

the woman in the window was my all-time favorite book of 2018. I can’t really put more of what I want to say into words, so check out Review: “the woman in the window” by AJ Finn (2018) for my review!

9. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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I’m not one to read romances like this, but it was a book I received from a book subscription I used to have called PageHabit. They’re no longer in commission, but I still have quite a few books that I have to read from them.

The Wedding Date, in particular, wasn’t one that I’d find myself reading again. It was a cute story, but it was definitely a cliche right from the beginning… which is why I don’t tend to read romances anyway. The characters in the book were cute and charming, but Alexa Monroe (the main character), was a little short-tempered. However, after reading more and more about Drew Nichols, I realize why she is. He is more than just a quirky guy in an elevator, but the more she finds out, the more shady he seems to become.

61u0wm7ahdl10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

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Before I start in on this one, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of JK Rowling anymore. After following her on Twitter, and after I’ve seen her decide to bring to light new things about old characters just to stay relevant… I’ve decided to no longer support her. I’ll always ALWAYS love Harry Potter (proud Ravenclaw here), but she’s become another author that only discusses her characters if they can create a shock factor. So, even though I’ve come to dislike JK Rowling, I’ve decided to separate her from her work. Just because I’m in love with the world she created, doesn’t mean I have to like her as a person. Similarly to how I’ve decided to buy Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King, just because his son wrote it with him (and we all know how much I love him).

Anyway, I devoured Fantastic Beasts in one day. I found myself falling in love with Newt and his creatures fairly quickly, but there’s just one thing I would’ve changed. The dark side of this novel, should’ve been darker. After watching the movie, the book just seemed light compared to how devious the creature came to be. I loved the entire concept of creating a world before our beloved Hogwarts, I loved the snippet of Grindewald, but since this isn’t technically a YA novel like the Harry Potter series… it just should’ve been darker, which is why it got 4-stars from me.

11. Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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I have to be one of the only people on the internet so far (from what I’ve seen) that didn’t 100% love this book in its entirety. I’m glad that it brought a few LGBT issues to light, but I just can’t do the cutesy romance books at all apparently. This was another Young Adult novel that flopped in my reading conquests, but I will say one thing… the movie adaptation was really cute. Even though Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda wasn’t my favorite, I still appreciate how everyone came together and read it upon its release.

12. the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

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the curious incident of the dog in the night-time was so unique. So, so unique. It’s from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old boy on the autistic spectrum, which only made it more significant. In the book, it shows how Christopher lives by patterns, rules, and the diagram that he keeps in his pocket. The way he moves throughout the world, and how he acts whenever he finds a dead dog across the street. While the entire book is filled with Christopher’s quirks and the way he solves and unseen mystery, I still found myself struggling to get through it on its own. So, I downloaded the audiobook, which led me to a reading by someone who gave Christopher his own unique voice; Jeff Woodman. He managed to create a character with even more depth than Haddon intended. Now, I’m not one to listen to audiobooks all the time, but I’m glad I did with this one. So, if you have Audible, I highly suggest it.

13. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk

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I’ll admit, Adjustment Day was not my favorite Palahniuk book at all. While it was still better than Choke, it just didn’t feel right. I love that Palahniuk is back in the world of fiction after four years, but this book just gave me a 1984 vibe with a transgressive fiction twist. Honestly, that’s all I can say about it, other than the fact that the idea behind this was pretty ingenious and it could very well happen with the way society is going. I also find it hilarious that in my logo for my blog, I’m reading Adjustment Day. The cover was too great to ignore, and I found myself reading it for hours on end… unfortunately, it just wasn’t… enough.

14. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl was an enigma in itself. Not that it was too puzzling to figure out, but the whole plot line is really what hooked me. From the beginning, the first paragraph stood out for me; when Nick describes the back of Amy’s head. So, even before all of the crazy twists and turns, this book already starts out on a rather, unusual note.

I oddly found myself rationalizing with Amy Dunne, and realizing that what she did really did have a reasoning behind it. Plus, her whole plan was just ingenious. The plot twist in this book was seriously unexpected, and the fact that it has the potential to be so realistic is really what brought this book to life.

15. The Merciless IV by Danielle Vega

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Ahhh, The Merciless IVThe fourth novel in The Merciless series by Danielle Vega… aka a candy-coated horror novel. Honestly, this series has been hit-or-miss with me. I loved the first two, but I needed more insight on a few of the characters. I really liked how this was set in Italy, and it was just as stomach-churning as the rest of them.

Now, I’m not sure if there’s going to be another installment in this series because it’s called Last Rites, but I’m going to stay hopeful that there is going to be at least one more so Vega can round it off more with Sofia.

16. Providence by Caroline Kepnes

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Providence was a very unusual take on a monster story similar to Frankenstein. This book was equally terrifying as it was mind-bending. It left me wanting more throughout the whole thing, and I was filled with hope that Jon would find justice in the end. Kepnes seriously created a masterpiece filled with illusion, self-destruction, love and obsession. I found myself reading it outdoors in my hammock, falling more and more in love with the relationship between Chloe and Jon, but I just wish it could’ve ended in a better place. To prevent spoiling this piece of art, I won’t go any further, just know that if you haven’t read ANY Caroline Kepnes books. You should pick up this one, and then continue onto YOU and Hidden Bodies (there’ll also be a review on these soon!).

17. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Sharp Objects was definitely not a favorite. Going into a Gillian Flynn novel after Gone Girl, I was hoping for it to just have more depth to it. instead, I stumbled in upon characters who were tricky and a little cringy. Honestly, the whole idea behind Camille visiting her hometown, definitely reminded me of whenever I’d visit mine. The quaint little town, the drama, the family, it was all surreal how Flynn captured it in this. Yet, I still wasn’t drawn to it. I ended up taking a while to finish it, and I couldn’t focus on it for too long before I got annoyed. However, I did love the show adaptation of it, even though I’m a little biased towards Amy Adams. I just couldn’t grasp onto reading about the characters that were brought to life. The plot twist at the end wasn’t enough for me to grab her books The Grownup and Dark Places, but I know I’ll inevitably end up buying it on one of my bookstore conquests.

18. I Could Pee On This by Francesco Marciuliano

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I Could Pee On This was one of those books that only a true cat lover would love. It felt as though my cats actually wrote each one of these poems, and I found myself actually laughing at the thought. Throughout the whole book, it shows pictures of the “authors,” so not only do you get cute, quirky poems, but you also get cute, quirky photos of the cats themselves. Even though this was an extremely quick read, it still made quite the impact, and instead of having it reside on my “finished” shelf, it now has a place on my desk among a few others.

19. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

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Talking As Fast As I Can was such a hilarious autobiography. While I read it, I heard Lauren Graham’s voice, and shortly after I ended up watching Parenthood and Gilmore Girls. This book really brought to life how difficult it can be to get to where Lauren Graham has gotten. She created a quirky novel that came off as though Lauren Graham was Lorelai Gilmore while she was writing. I got through this autobiography as quickly as she talks, and I’d recommend this to anyone who loves her. Even though there are spoilers to the Gilmore Girls reboot, she does warn about them. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it! Then check out this book! As someone who doesn’t read very many autobiographies, I found myself so attached to this one that I finished it fairly quickly.

20. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Even though Coraline is a children’s book, it was still written very well. I only gave it 4-stars because I didn’t finish it. Before you jump on me for this though, I only didn’t finish it because it was TOO close to the movie. Even though it would’ve been a quick read, I couldn’t imagine my own characters. I love the movie adaptation, but once I already know what the characters look like… the books are almost ruined for me. However, if you like creepy stories, or if your kids like creepy stories, I highly recommend this. Neil Gaiman is an amazing writer, so only you can use your better judgment on this one.

21. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is going to have it’s own review here shortly!

22. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

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Tell Me Lies was extraordinary and filled with a ton of relationship issues that many authors don’t tend to discuss. Written from both the perspectives of the relationship; the gas-lighter and the “gas-lightee,” this book is unique on its own. I actually found myself uncovering more about Stephen in the beginning chapters than I realized. As someone who’s been a victim of gas-lighting, I was surprised I was able to catch the signs so soon. Stephen was an expert in his craft, and it was frustrating to read about Lucy falling for it over and over again, but I couldn’t put it down. Overall, it was a great read, and definitely one of my top five of 2018.

23. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

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First thing first, if you’re going to read Rosemary’s Baby – don’t; LISTEN TO IT. Like I said before, I don’t really love copping out of “manually” reading a book, but this one was worth it. Mia Farrow herself reads this and incorporates all of the screams and different voices. It really created a world that was just as intense as this was 50-years-ago. Dare I say, it was scarier in the audiobook version than it was in the film adaption or the book itself? Next is Son of Rosemary, and one can only hope she recorded that one as well (update: I just looked it up and it turns out she doesn’t… which is unfortunate).

24. Saving Red by Sonya Sones

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Even though Sonya Sones is a YA writer, Saving Red was a great story. It was unique on its own, and I can say I’ve never read a story like this before. In this story, a 14-year-old named Molly decides to help a homeless woman named Red. She had to have been only a few years older than Molly, but she ended up on the streets. I read this around Christmastime, and surprisingly it was set around the same time. This book was really cute and heartwarming and, even though I don’t read YA novels, I’ve always found that Sonya Sones’ books will always have a special place on my shelves.

9780062878649_p0_v2_s550x40625. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

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Eerily similar to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, A Simple Favor just wasn’t as appealing to me as I hoped it to be. While I think it was a good standalone book on its own, without comparing it to another book, I think the rating I gave this book was pretty accurate. A Simple Favor, was filled with just the right amount of plot twists, but it was still predictable. Although, as someone who reads thrillers frequently, I’ve found that this is the case for most thrillers at this point anyway. I loved the unique point-of-views, but I still wish it was a little more intense. However, I think this would be a great book for people who are new to the thriller genre. I’ve talked to several people who have loved it, and several who didn’t think it was the best, but if you’re just starting out with thrillers, try this!

26. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado

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Her Body and Other Parties received the lowest review of the year, not only because it was a schoolbook… but because it seemed as though it was written purely for shock factor. I couldn’t even make it through some of the chapters, but I had to for school. This book was another that I needed to download the audiobook, and while a few of the chapters were clever, they weren’t good enough for me to rate this any higher.

27. Bait by Chuck Palahniuk

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It’s not unusual that Palahniuk has presented us with a collection of short stories. It certainly isn’t his first collection, and it won’t be his last. However, what makes Bait unique is that there are photos you can color along with.

While I was reading it, I couldn’t put this book down at all. A few of my favorite stories were: Conspiracy, Let’s See What Happens, and Bait. Even though they were all unique, those three really stood out among the eight in the whole book. Plus, the illustrations really rounded it off.

 

 

 


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Catharsis

Why do we do it?

Why do we put ourselves through things like catharsis just so we can feel? We deliberately listen to songs that hurt us. Songs that remind us of pain from our past, songs that we listened to when we were with someone we no longer talk to. It isn’t just music either, we watch TV shows that make us cry even though we know it’s coming. But, why? (Looking at you Grey’s Anatomy!) woman-sad-near-water

Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll tell you why I do it. Currently,  I’m listening to a
playlist I made. It’s not even supposed to be as deep as I made it, but somehow it came out that way. There are 30 songs, and eleven of them are indeed that deep. In fact, all day, I’ve felt myself on the verge of a breakdown and here I am. Listening to those ten songs, that now have more meaning to them than I originally planned.

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that  I made the playlist that deep, or maybe my brain is just in overdrive from recent events, but either way. While I’m writing this blog on catharsis, I’m putting myself through it and honestly it feels a little fucked up. My eyes hurt, my fingers are shaking, and my heart feels shattered. Plus, blowing your nose with a septum ring in is just a pain in the ass.

Also, I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but for those of you who don’t know by know, (or haven’t gotten from the context clues I’ve loosely provided), catharsis is the process of releasing emotion… on purpose. The fact that we even need to push ourselves to release emotions like that is just insane and this is coming from someone who builds up emotion like a pro. Wow, while I wrote that, even I knew it didn’t sound healthy yet here I am with almost twenty-two years of pent-up emotion.

Let me say this though… I’ve been working on it. While some of my nights still consist of crying on the bathroom floor after a day of difficult emotions and stressful moments, I have managed to fight the urge to do it alone. Even though it’s been a long journey to get to where I am now, I’ll forever be proud of the fact that I’ve shown at least a little progress… even if it did take quite a few years to get here.

Podcast: Fiction

From the time I learned how to read, I’ve always read fiction. I could get lost in Wonderland or Hogwarts, just by opening up a book. The simple stumble into a couple hundred pages could result in many hours, or even days, spent entwined in the content between the cover pages. Yet, one of the best parts is the smell. Oh, the smell of a book. If you’re an avid book reader who’s in love with printed literature, describing the smell is almost impossible. It’s easy to get lost in it. Just picking up a book and sniffing the pages, old or new, it’s enticing. A digitally printed book doesn’t even compare to a hard copy, especially since a hard copy could be placed on a shelf. Personally, I love having my books on display.

Ah, the display. IKEA really has some fantastic bookcases even though they’re cheap. Alphabetically organized and divided between read and unread, the books give off a floor-to-ceiling library effect. Now, let’s not forget about the people responsible for my aesthetically pleasing case.

There are currently 266 books, or rather 178 authors that are alphabetically aligned on my shelves, but let’s get down to the authors I have the most books from. Off the top of my head, there’s JK Rowling (who we all know and love), Danielle Rollins (a, as she puts it, candy-coated horror novelist), and Chuck Palahniuk (who you might know as the man behind Fight Club).

These three authors have the most books on my shelves, and here’s why:

For one, all three authors write in some form of fiction. Whether it’s considered fantasy, horror, or transgressional, fiction is always my go-to.

Joanne Rowling, or JK Rowling, is the writer behind the entire Harry Potter franchise. Naturally, I have more books of hers than I do anyone else’s (besides Chuck’s) and I’ve been reading and rereading her books since 2006.

The Harry Potter series has had such a big impact in my life. Right from the start, my mom read me 60 pages a night so I could get through them before the big AR tests we had. Now, for those of you who don’t know what AR tests are, they’re Advanced Reading tests we used to have to take in elementary school. We got points for each one depending on our grade and I was number 2 in all of the fourth-grade class of Martin Walker Elementary, all thanks to JK Rowling and her magical books. Immediately, I got hooked on Severus Snape (RIP Alan Rickman), Mad-Eye Moody (may he rest in peace, as well), and all of the mythical creatures throughout the books. While the series may be finished, Rowling still continues to produce widely-loved novels even to this day. I’ll always appreciate the boy who lived under the stairs, and I’ll always appreciate the woman behind it.

Danielle Rollins is a different story. She’s a fireball with her words. One minute I’d connect with a character and the next I’ll start feeling queasy due to some gory scene she slipped in. Her books are like roller coasters and if you go under her pseudonym, “Vega,” they just get gorier. Now, I’m not talking Saw-gory, because she is technically candy-coating some of the scenes and the books are for young adults. Yet, somehow, someway, I can’t read them all the way through without taking a few breaks. Rollins, or Vega, has published a total of six books, and I barreled through them in a matter of weeks. Now, let’s get into my all-time favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk.

From this point forward, for the sake of not mispronouncing his last name, I’m going to refer to him as Chuck. Chuck is a trangressional fiction novelist who refers to his fans as Chuckleheads. All of his books plotlines were written so that the main character broke out of societal norms. For instance, in Fight Club, the main character got tired of working a nine-to-five job, so he started doing illegal activities after hours. Which, coincidentally, I can’t talk about due to the number one rule: “Don’t talk about fight club.”

Chuck has published a total of 21 books and I have 17. Alphabetically, by book title, there’s Beautiful You, Choke, Damned, Diary, Doomed, two copies of Fight Club, Fight Club 2, Haunted, Invisible Monsters, Invisible Monsters Remix, Lullaby, Make Something Up, Phoenix, Pygmy, Rant, Snuff, Survivor, and Tell-All.

Surprisingly, there’s actually a story behind one of the copies of Fight Club. On Black Friday, my fiancé and I woke up at 7am to go and get a signed copy of it. Now, we didn’t meet Chuck because he wasn’t there, but we now own a signed first-edition copy of Fight Club and we’re planning on putting it in a shadow box. It’s become one of our prized possessions and we don’t let anyone touch it, which sounds obsessive, I know, but the Chucklehead in me can’t resist.

Anyway, I think that’ll be enough for this podcast. I hope each and every one of you go out there and find a good book, get lost in the pages, and have the same experience I do when I find a new favorite. Make sure to keep up with me to find out more about the vast world of literature, multimedia topics and the study of writing.

Reflection

My composition process changed by switching to a more audio approach because I had to think about how I’d say it while I typed it. I included commas where I’d usually take a breath.  On Microsoft Word, I typed up the blog so I could read it easier. That way, I could double-space the text and increase the readability. Overall, this was an interesting and fun experience and I’m glad I finally did a podcast.

Creative Non-Fiction Inspiration

In this blog,  I’m going to discuss a Creative Non-Fiction piece and answer a few questions. This piece, in particular, caught my eye because of the name and the hook the author wrote in the beginning. The following is a link to the piece itself by Jane Bernstein:

CNF Inspiration Piece: The Marrying Kind 

Summary: The Marrying Kind is a short essay about the narrator getting ready to officiate the wedding of someone they’re very close with (the bride). She then proceeds to discuss more in-depth on the lengths her officiating goes through, bringing up her past marriage, the several weddings she’s officiated, and her relationship to the first bride she writes about.

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At first, she doesn’t think she would or should do it. She thought that an online officiating site was just a scam until she joined her first couple in matrimony. After that, she continued to keep on going. Marrying people left and right. Same-sex couples, different religions, different families, she just kept going further on her quest to be an officiator but she still only married couples who she felt were in love.

Now, for the questions:

1. How does the form contribute to the meaning of the piece?

The form of this essay is traditional and it carries several descriptive characteristics. It’s estimated at around five pages of text and it kept me hooked throughout the entire thing. While this essay could’ve fit into the “shell” of a hermit crab essay, I feel as though the traditional route was better in this instance. Throughout the piece, the author incorporates several different factual statements, along with analogies, irony, and a few flashbacks.

2. What literary devices make this piece aesthetic?

The author uses quite an analogy when writing about the process of officiating a wedding ceremony. They compared a wedding ceremony to a simile; the form is precise.

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There’s also underlying irony in the text as well. The narrator often points out that it’s great being single, while also on her way to officiate a wedding that’s very dear to her. I found it ironic that she was relieved that she was divorced from her husband, yet she still found the sanctity of marriage to have an emotional aspect. However, this irony also gave her a reason to keep officiating. She knew all the trouble it took to be in a relationship. All the fights and the turmoil were inevitable, but if these couples were truly happy she wanted to be there for them because she went through them herself.

The author also uses flashbacks to make the story more in-depth. The narrator points out in the beginning that she knew the bride because she knew the bride’s mother. She brings up moments from the past in order to build onto the relationship she has to the bride and I feel as though it was very successful. A few would be:

  • the time when she felt the bride’s mother’s stomach before the bride was born
  • when she planned her wedding to her ex-husband
  • when she left her husband
  • her past relationships where she didn’t marry, but “played house”

In one of my personal writings that I’m working on, I’m including flashbacks as well.  I feel as though this tactic is very effective in increasing relatability, depth, and potential tension.

3. What sort of ethics does the writer seem to be following?

Along with the irony that the piece has, she often points out the different characteristics of marriage. Due to her recent marriages, she predicts which couples are going to be happy and which ones aren’t by the way they interact with one another. She went through a lot of what everyday couples go through; arguments/disagreements/etc.  So, she followed through with the ones she felt would last. The ethics she follows might not be solid in logic, but they’re her own beliefs and she wouldn’t go through with something she felt was wrong.

Writing as a Metaphor

Writing is an art. 208cf27b2e80467fb7fed0b834ee564f

As Lakoff and Johnson state in Metaphors We  Live By, life, in general, is a concept. It’s a concept that we cannot understand because it is not obvious (Lakoff). However, it’s up to us on how we choose to live that concept. Sure, it’s easy to dissect and evaluate your own life, but there always seems to be an underlying meaning behind it all. The simple four-word sentence I wrote above could be dissected in a number of ways, so here I am to do just that with help from the aforementioned book.

When anyone asks what I do, the first word that comes to mind is “writer.” Yet, it used to be “artist.” I often wonder why it can’t be both. Writing is an art. It’s a form of expression and it leads to a result you’re proud of; even though you’ll always be your worst critic. After all, writing is never perfect and neither is art.

secrets-of-short-story-writingIn Metaphors We Live By, they used the metaphor “argument is war” as an example. They said that if we were to change “war” to “dance” we would view arguments differently (Lakoff).  When I think about war, the first words that come to mind are strategies, defense techniques, artillery, military, treaties, and foreign countries (unless it’s a civil war). When I think about arguments, the first words to come to mind are defensive,  close-minded, social media, debating, and a resolution. By combining the two, it makes the word argument out to be this horrid thing when in fact, it can be eye-opening. However, would comparing an argument to a dance make arguing come off as any less evasive? Yes, yes it would, but would it make the statement about an argument being similar to war any less true? No, it would only lighten the load a little. paint-brushes-jar-over-wooden-aqua-blue-background-51063951

Well, let’s get back to the original metaphor at hand. “Writing is an art.” When we take the two contents of the metaphor; writing and art, what do you get?

Personally, when I think about writing, I think about pens, pencils, laptops, BlueTooth keyboards, and notebooks. Coincidentally, art involves most of those things too. When you write, the whole point is to put your voice on a page. When you draw you’re putting your personal view of things on a page. No artists are the same, they merely contain different mediums or styles, just like writers do. Except in the writing world, we call our styles our, well, styles and we call our mediums fonts.

Putting a pen to paper, a brush to a canvas, or your fingers on a keyboard are all similar. They all do one thing: express the style of the person behind it.

download (4)As a writer, I feel it’s important to consider writing as an art. It’s not just a task you set out to do just because you’re assigned a paper or have to write a resume for a job. Writing is another form of expressing yourself, as I stated several times above, therefore, it is an art regardless. While you read you can create your own versions of the stories you read in your head. You create the images, but the writer creates the imagery. The mind is such a crazy, imaginative, and wonderful thing and when you express yourself, it’s even better.

 

 

 

Reference

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2011.

Dance Gavin Dance vs. The System of Grammar

Music is a universal language. The simplicity of listening to a group of instruments and vocals can result in a complex mood change, or even help create a memory of someone/something significant. A strategic rhythm set to a beat can get stuck in your head in an instant. The magic of a symphony in an auditorium can give you goosebumps—especially if you’re listening to John Williams or Stephen Sondheim. Luckily, today there are several other ways to listen to music other than live. Whether you’re looking for country, rock, pop, indie, folk, opera, metal, or post-hardcore, music will always be powerful. However, in this case, we’re only going to narrow the vast subject that is music down to one genre and one band.

The subject: Dance Gavin Dance. The adjective: post-hardcore. The collective noun: band. Established in 2006, in Sacramento, California, Dance Gavin Dance consists of five members: Tilian Pearson (clean vocals), Jon Mess (messy vocals), Matthew Mingus (drums/percussion), Tim Feerick (bassist), and Will Swan (lead guitar). This band contains a lot of attributes towards grammar, not only with their lyrics but with the group members themselves.

To further explain what “messy” vocals are–they’re vocals that are “screamed” into the microphone. They create an intense effect on the lyrics and exaggerate (or italicize), their meaning. By switching between messy vocals and clean vocals, the band creates different rhetoric altogether.

Usually, the messy lyrics would consist of primarily utter nonsense, but when Jon Mess screams them, they somehow seem to fit. For instance, in their song “Chucky vs. the Giant Tortoise,” the line (or should I say a sentence): “Riding a rhino pico de gallo. Roosters beak, I’ll go to sleep when I leap that jeep,” is screamed by Mess (CITE). Even with the rest of the context, it’s unusual:

“[Jon Mess] I’ll go in cryo and return to life h-. And make a Bisque, some tomato basil s—, Riding a rhino pico de gallo. Roosters beak, I’ll sleep when I leap that jeep. (Mess)

[Tilian Pearson] Don’t close your eyes tonight. Perfect melodies are hard to find. I got a feeling we could touch the sky.” (1)

When you listen to the lyrics, they come off a little easier. Also, since the “screamed” lyrics aren’t entirely necessary for some of their songs, Jon Mess’ portion would/should be surrounded by parentheses.

Tilian also partakes in partial “messy” singing. He often switches back and forth between the two when it’s necessary, but he isn’t the “messy” vocalist because he doesn’t scream. His way of choosing either way of singing would be the perfect example of a slash in grammar.

The simple act of singing and playing their guitars/drums would be their verbs. They play their guitars, drums, and bass. They sing/scream their lyrics. The names signed on their instrument cases are an example of apostrophes because they’re possessive. Also, in brackets next to their part on their lyric sheets, there should be the bands’ names.

While each member plays an essential and vital role in the band, Tilian and Jon are the direct objects because they’re always front-and-center. The rest of the group are indirect due to them playing in the background and supporting the singers. However, musically, each instrument couldn’t stand alone, or else this wouldn’t be a post-hardcore band (since they can’t stand alone musically, this would be an example of a conjunctive adverb).

Dance Gavin Dance has changed a lot since 2006. They’ve gone through several members over the years. The band cycled through Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis before Tilian came along in 2013. Before it was just Will Swan, he played alongside Sean O’Sullivan back when the band began; before there was Tim Feerick on bass, there was Eric Lodge. These weren’t the only switches over the bands lifetime, but we’re only going to focus on the 2018 edition of the band. Coincidentally, there hasn’t been a change in their role-call since 2013.

Before their sets, the owner of the venue announces the band, which would be an example of metadiscourse. The owner informs the audience who’s up next, and Tilian tells the audience what song they’re going to play. These announcements would result in the venue owner or Tilian being considered as the appositives due to them explaining who’s next or what song is up. Along with these announcements, a colon would be placed on the general admission ticket or flyer announcing the set: “The Black Sheep Presents: Dance Gavin Dance and Chon, featuring Eidola and Vasudeva.”

Most of the bands’ cohesiveness (or when all the words in a sentence link together to give the sentence more meaning), is when the members are all playing together. For their music to make sense and stay in rhythm, they must agree with one another. Each member of the band must make sure that their hands and mouths are playing/singing in coordination with each other. In general, all bands must follow this rule, or they wouldn’t thrive and continue to gain fans. Coincidentally, the coordination between the band members results in a hyphen. They’re used for word division, yet they also combine words. In this case, they’re combining the members. Without cohesion or coordination, Dance Gavin Dance’s music wouldn’t be able to create the symbolism they have, which would result in a lack of underlying meaning in their music.

For instance, in their song “Here Comes the Winner,” there’s plenty of symbolism behind it if you read between the lines. The song was released in 2016 when the presidential election was going on in full force. One of the verses (or clauses) in the songs suggests that all the public figures were lined up on a stage to win the hearts of America. They incorporated a few political statements within the messy vocals, and altogether they made everything agree.

Another line that could be used to show symbolism is a verse from their song “Inspire the Liars”:

“So, let’s start a religion, they’ll believe in what we say. Let’s start a religion; we can blind their eyes with faith. A new religion, we’ll tell them where our spirits go. Start a religion; I need my ego to explode.” (CITE)

This verse is towards the end of the song, and it symbolizes the “cult-like” mentality of some of the religious groups in society. It suggests that some of the religions result in “blind” followers and that people will follow anything that interests them.

Throughout their songs, there is a known-new contract. As you listen, you begin to learn the choruses (the known) and are gradually introduced to the verses (the new). In this “contract” they also created ties into their listeners’ expectations, (or readers expectations). Their fans expect their set to flow together and their music to keep with their usual style, (or the way they establish their overall mood or meaning). To keep the contract and the expectations of their listeners up-to-par, the band also needs to keep their (sentence) rhythm.

Rhythm is among the top qualities every type of band needs to know. If one instrument/singer is off-beat, then the whole group is off. The bands’ rhythm would be where the punctuation would set in. Their music breaks between lyrics could be considered as semi-colons because they create a new mood. The breaks between their songs would be considered commas due to the literal breaks between independent clauses (or songs). The line, “Are you ready?” would end in a question mark, and their lyrics all contain quotation marks around them because they’re direct quotes coming out of their mouths.

The choruses could pass as a predicate. They’re the primary voice in the song, and they contain verbs that state something that they’re doing or are going to do. For instance, in “Inspire the Liars,” the chorus represents an antithesis (by showing opposition in one sentence), and a predicate: “Say you want to know the truth, well you can ask me a question. I’ll tell you something that you may wanna hear, but I’ll lie” (3). The chorus states that if you want to know the truth about something, then you should ask them even though they told you they’d lie. So, why ask them in the first place?

The choruses could also represent parallelism because they’re repetitive and show importance throughout the song. Their parallel structure is consistent throughout all their music when it comes to how often their choruses are played.

If Dance Gavin Dance were to break down, it would result in over-excessive songs with minimal lyrics or meaning—which could also serve as a run-on sentence, (or in some cases a comma splice).  Luckily, to decompose the system a little, music breaks (or their form of semi-colons), can help divide up the extended run-ons or potential comma splices.

Musically, the band creates a solid post-hardcore sound altogether. While they’re not the only band in this genre, they are certainly unique in their own way. Since 2009, they’ve had a significant impact on my life. A big part of the reason why I got into Dance Gavin Dance was that of their unique song names and unique verses. It’s part of their style and their voice. Actively, they sing these lyrics with pride and create their overall rhetoric by doing so. Dance Gavin Dance proves that music is universal with their take on the genre they’ve been placed in. With their careless demeanor and their relatable lyrics, this band really puts the phrase, “fake it ‘til you make it” to good use with some of their songs.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Mess, Jon. I’ll go in cryo and return to life h-. And make a Bisque, some tomato basil s—, Riding a rhino pico de gallo. Roosters beak, I’ll sleep when I leap that jeep. “Chucky vs. the Giant Tortoise.” Mothership. Vinyl. Interlace Audio Recording Studios. 2016.

(1) Pearson, Tilian. Don’t close your eyes tonight. Perfect melodies are hard to find. I got a feeling we could touch the sky. “Chucky vs. the Giant Tortoise.” Mothership. Vinyl. Interlace Audio Recording Studios. 2016.

(2) Pearson, Tilian. So, let’s start a religion, they’ll believe in what we say. Let’s start a religion; we can blind their eyes with faith. A new religion, we’ll tell them where our spirits go. Start a religion; I need my ego to explode. “Inspire the Liars.” Mothership. Vinyl. Interlace Audio Recording Studios. 2016.

(3) Pearson, Tilian. Say you want to know the truth, well you can ask me a question. I’ll tell you something that you may wanna hear, but I’ll lie. “Inspire the Liars.” Mothership. Vinyl. Interlace Audio Recording Studios. 2016.

 

Dead Media: the Phonograph & the Creation of Audiobooks

This is a conference poster I did for one of my classes! I’m pretty impressed with how it turned out and it’s so professional looking. The photo in the middle is of my mom when she was five-years-old back in the 70s. She’s the main reason I have over 300 records in my collection and I’ll forever be grateful to her for putting her records in my care.

Introductions

School has officially started and I feel more inclined to write than ever.

I’m not writing for school – for now – but I’m writing for myself. This semester is jampacked with three English classes and a biology class. Which means – a LOT of writing. So far, I’ve accomplished quite a few introduction discussion boards. They all sound kind of like this:

“Hi, my name’s Danielle Mahriahna-Skillings Johnson, but I just go by Danielle. This is my 3rd introduction discussion board and I want to kill myself (not really). I have most of you in my other classes so you already know everything about me that you need to. So, have a picture of my cat Theodore.”

Okay, maybe I didn’t write all of that but it’s close.

It’s so funny to me how it’s important to introduce yourself to people you’re never going to meet.  I understand the reasoning, but this is all online. I don’t want to stand up and tell you my favorite color. I want to sit here and finish my homework and pet Theodore. Sorry, I’m grouchy.

All of my classes are filled to the brim with discussion boards. Tell me about your life. Tell me about the major you’re pursuing. What do you want to do with it? What’s your opinion of online college (I’m in it aren’t I)? If you were to write a novel, what would it be about?

Now, I’m not here to complain. I’m here to express myself further and let all of my readers know that I might be inactive until further notice – which means my site visits will go downhill.

NEVERTHELESS!

I.

Am.

Still.

Writing.

I’m going to update Keeping Up With A Skillings (along with my other two brand new blogs) all throughout the semester. It just won’t be as often — so bare with me!

I appreciate every one of you so please continue to keep up with me,

Danielle