I watched the pilot of The Carrie Diaries last night and realized that I have been meaning to blog more, but I have just enjoyed this month long break too much. This, as well as the article, “The Best Beginning: Clarity” from the Wall Street Journal, sent a spark back up to my brain convincing me that I must continue to write.
I will post the article here, but first I wanted to share a few quotes that I loved from The Carrie Diaries; which, if you are not aware explores Carrie Bradshaw’s life before she moved to the big apple to become a writer as well as fashionista.The show starts off with this quote, “They say the key to being a writer is figuring out who you are… finding your own voice”
I think this is true for anyone who is an aspiring writer. Writing and finding your own voice takes practice. It’s not simply something that happens over night. It is a journey that you go through with yourself, and on the way through the exploration you, hopefully, find your voice so that you can share it with millions, or simply a few, readers.
“To tell the truth or create a life for myself I’ve always wanted to live”
The best part about writing is that you can create any fantasy or version of yourself you like. Whether it be the truth or not, it simply doesn’t matter.
“Love is something we wait for, we imagine our first sex, our first kiss, our first I love you, but we never imagine our first heartbreak. Maybe because its too painful to even imagine but in a way the pain of love truly changes us its the losing of love that makes us who we are. Life gets more complicated but also filled with promise and the possibility of opening hearts to new beginnings, new dreams and new places. Things are no longer a fantasy. I’m searching for me: who I was and who I wanted to be.”
I think this one is pretty self explanatory.
WORD CRAFT: TRACY KIDDER AND RICHARD TODD, AUTHORS
The Best Beginning: Clarity
To write is to talk to strangers. You want them to trust you. You might well begin by trusting them. No doubt you know some things that the reader does not—why else presume to write?—but it helps to grant that the reader has knowledge unavailable to you. This isn’t generosity; it is realism.
Good writing creates a dialogue between writer and reader, with the imagined reader at moments questioning, criticizing, and sometimes, you hope, assenting. What you “know” isn’t something you can pull from a shelf and deliver. What you know in prose is often what you discover in the course of writing it, as in the best of conversations with a friend—as if you and the reader do the discovering together.
Writers are told that they must “grab” or “hook” or “capture” the reader. But think about these metaphors. Their theme is violence and compulsion. They suggest the relationship you might want to have with a criminal, not a reader.
Beginnings are an exercise in limits. You can’t make the reader love you in the first sentence or paragraph, but you can lose the reader right away. You don’t expect the doctor to cure you at once, but the doctor can surely alienate you at once, with brusqueness or bravado or indifference or confusion. There is a lot to be said for the quiet beginning.
Consider the most memorable first line in American literature: “Call me Ishmael.” Three words. Cited out of context, it can be taken as a magisterial command. It’s more properly heard as an invitation, almost casual, and, given the complexity that follows, marvelously simple. If you try it aloud, you will probably say it rather softly, conversationally.
Meek or bold, a good beginning achieves clarity. A sensible line threads through the prose; things follow one another with literal logic or with the logic of feeling. Clarity isn’t an exciting virtue, but it’s a virtue always, and especially at the beginning of a piece of prose. Some writers seem to resist clarity, even to write confusingly on purpose. Not many would admit to this.
One who did was the wonderful-though-not-to-be-imitated Gertrude Stein: “My writing is clear as mud, but mud settles and clear streams run on and disappear.” Oddly, it’s one of the clearest sentences she ever wrote.For many other writers, clarity simply falls victim to a desire to achieve other things, to dazzle with style or to bombard with information. It’s one thing for the reader to take pleasure in the writer’s achievements, another when the writer’s own pleasure is apparent. Skill, talent, inventiveness, all can become overbearing and intrusive. The image that calls attention to itself is often the image you can do without.
The writer works in service of story and idea and always in service of the reader. Sometimes the writer who overloads an opening passage is simply afraid of boring the reader. A respectable anxiety, but nothing is more boring than confusion.You can’t tell it all at once. A lot of the art of beginnings is deciding what to withhold until later, or never to say at all. Take one thing at a time. Prepare your readers, tell everything they need to know in order to read on, and tell no more.
Journalists are instructed not to “bury the lead”—instructed, that is, to make sure they tell the most important facts of the story first. This translates poorly to longer forms of writing. The heart of the story is usually a place to arrive at, not a place to begin. Of course the reader needs a reason to continue, but the best reason is simply confidence that the writer is going some place interesting.
Isn’t that just a great quote? I think it is. It reminds me that life isn’t about the day-to-day grind. It’s about enjoying every moment and living life to the fullest.
Here’s the thing…
Have you ever actually danced like no one is watching or sang like no one is listening?
Truth is, most of us are faking it. Sometimes it’s just really hard to be positive. I think I’ve found a solution though.
Two weeks ago I was having a horribly stressful week. It was almost time for finals, so professors were piling everything on us and it was too much to handle. Lets just say I had a complete meltdown. Instead of doing nothing, I did something about it. I decided to blast my two favorite songs; Fun’s “Some Nights” and Florence’s “Shake it out”. That is literally what I did… I shook it out.
My roommates were gone, the sun was shining through the windows in my kitchen, and I danced. I danced like no one was watching. I felt completely absurd doing this, but honestly it worked. My mood did a complete 180. You just can’t be in a bad mood when you’re acting silly, its impossible. Especially when you decide your dog is going to be your dance partner, where you hold her over your head and spin in circles… I think I scared her…
To my readers, I give you this challenge. The next time you read an inspirational saying, try living what it says. Put the words into action. Your results might surprise you.
What would be your death row meal? That’s an odd question for me to ask you because I imagine you’re quite a lovely person… and don’t kill people… BUT, let’s pretend you do…okay back to my point. If you were a bad person, what would you want your last meal to be?
I find myself drawn to thinking these things, not because I’m weird (okay, maybe I’m a little weird), as a way to procrastinate, which I’m quite good at if you haven’t noticed yet. Its kind of fun to think about all the different options you could choose from, like steak or lobster or something cool like that. However, I’m not sure why but I’m pretty sure mine would consist of a bowl of macaroni loaded with oozy, melted, cheesy goodness.
I honestly never ate or liked cheese as a kid. A: my dad was allergic, and B: the only cheese my mom would ever eat was foul smelling blue cheese (YUCK!) So you see how, naturally, I was skeptical.
Despite the fact that I looked at cheese with disgust, and wouldn’t even touch it, if someone put a bowl of mac and cheese in front of me, I would easily find room in my stomach to eat at least 2 of 3 bowls… I now realize why I was a chubster.
Kraft mac and cheese was my favorite. Since I had no real knowledge about any other cheese: one time my grandma made me homemade pasta and cheese and, as I’ve been repeatedly told by family members, as soon as she put it in front of me, I refused to eat it because it was white and not orange… I’m horrible, I know. But, what can I say… I loved that fake, processed, orange stuff.
My ways have since changed and I’ve moved on from that blue box, but macaroni and cheese will forever be one of the greatest comfort foods EVER. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 50, this creamy and cheesy dish will always put a smile on your face, or put you in a food coma… either way I’m happy.
I’ve had many different recipes, but let me just tell you something: Panera Bread’s macaroni and cheese is thick, creamy and loaded with white cheddar and American cheese, making it the best thing I’ve seriously ever had (I could add more words to that, but I’m just not sure I can describe how awesomely amazing it is, you just have to try it for yourself). That mixed with the open shell pasta they use, which captures the cheese within it so that each bite is full of yummy amazingness.
I think I’ve used the word cheese wayyy too many times… so I’m just going to stop here.
In the game of romance, few things are black and white. Subtlety, insinuations and suggestions are at the heart of the chasing game.
You’ve already memorized the signs to see if she’s flirting, but a lot of men don’t understand the signs that she’s not interested. For one reason or another, many women will not come outright and tell a man that they are simply not into them. If, after reading this, you find these scenarios pertain to you, cut your losses and move on.
8. She invites people over:
In other words, there’s little to no chance she’ll be spending any alone time with you. This is your red card, so kindly excuse yourself.
7. She highlights how busy she is:
This is probably the most classic subtle sign of all: her life is just too hectic to emotionally invest herself in you.
6. She pays more attention to other men in a group setting:
In this scenario, she invites you back to her place at the end of the night and she spends more time talking to another guy. Not only is she willing to risk losing you to another girl, but she also doesn’t really care about appearing rude. Sure, she may run back to you when it’s time to sleep, but it’s clear that her heart isn’t in it, especially if she won’t even try to get close to you in bed.
5. She hasn’t come near you:
Whether it’s by conscious decision or not, if she hasn’t made any sort of physical contact with you, such as a brush on the arm or a pat on the thigh, she may have already counted you out of the race. It is said that women generally know within the first few minutes of meeting a man whether they’ll play the game with him. If there is no incidental contact, unless dancing in a public setting, the chemistry’s probably not there, she knows it, and she has put you in the FRIEND ZONE.
4. She talks about other men:
This can take many forms, so stay alert. She may say she has a lot of guy friends and does activities with them a woman would normally do with her boyfriend, like invite them to stay over or spend the day out together. This shows that she likes the company of men as friends, which is what she might very well label you.
3. She avoids intimate settings:
There’s a huge difference between a quiet dinner for two and inviting you to lunch with her and her friends. This might mean she doesn’t want you to get the impression that your friendship is leading anywhere, so take this advice for what it’s worth: it’s one of her signs she’s not interested.
2. She’s not talkative:
Dating guides will tell you the same thing: women love to talk, so let them. If, however, she limits her answers to ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ never bothering to elaborate, you have a flat liner. Likewise, if she doesn’t ask you questions, doesn’t attempt to extent the conversation, or appears inattentive while talking to you, she is showing no interest in what you have to say.
1. She avoids eye contact:
This is an obvious sign that many men overlook. If she is attracted to you, she will naturally want to be close to you and make eye contact. If she is evading your gaze, however, she may be consciously trying to avoid leading you on than having to turn you down later. It’s a sneaky little trick, but it usually works. Take it as a sign that you’re not her type.
I know from experience that an unreciprocated crush can be a big blow to one’s self-esteem. So do yourself a favor and don’t prolong the inevitable. If you’ve noticed she has exhibited more than three of these signs, listen carefully, because it’s never going to happen. Repeat this mantra to yourself until it sticks: She’s just not that into you.
Taken from MyAms blog
Exams are stressful, so we’ve put together a collection of cute animal photos & videos to relieve some stress! From cats, to dogs, to otters, here are some adorable stress-relief photos for you to enjoy & share.
1. Christmas Pups
2. A baby sloth, with a new best friend
3. Cat (probably) surfing Facebook
4. Baby bulldog trying to walk
5. Happy baby
6. Cat sad that you can’t focus
7. Best of friends
9. Cats, trying to find a seat
10. Getting ready for Hurricane Sandy
11. Elephant bath
12. This puppy might like car windows
13. Dogs that want to be a Christmas tree
14. Wrinkles. Wrinkles everywhere.
15. Baby elephant at the beach
16. Pandas trying to climb a slide
17. Best of friends
18. Hat trick
19. Newborn Gorilla
21. This crazy sheep
Even though its almost time for finals and I have way more on my plate than I can handle, I decided today was a great day to cook. It calms me down and overall just puts me in a great mood. The sun is shining through my windows and it’s finally getting cold in Austin… thank gosh. My birthday was this past weekend, on December 1st, and normally it always snows in Chicago. But I have to remind myself, of course, that I am 1,300 miles south of Chicago, where the weather is pretty much up in the air all the time.
Since it is slightly chilly outside, I thought I would embrace this fall/winter(ish)-like weather and make use of the butternut squash that has been in my fridge since right before Thanksgiving. I’ve always wanted to try to make ravioli from scratch and I love butternut squash… see where I’m going here?… so obviously put two and two together and decided to make butternut squash ravioli. Now considering the fact that I’ve never actually made pasta dough before I remember I had a recipe for it in my “recipe folder” on my desktop… which by the way has over 100 recipes in it that I’ve collected over the past few years and have recently came to the conclusion that I will not repeat a recipe on there until I have tried all of them.
Anyways, back to my point. I decided to make eggless pasta, since I figured that was the easiest choice, but am now feeling shameful because my Italian ancestors are probably rolling in their graves right about now.
So I mixed 2 1/2 cups of flour in a small mixing bowl and originally put in 1 cup of warm water. After mixing it with my hands, I decided that it needed a little more water, so ended up gradually putting about another cup into the mixture until it was fully absorbed and felt like a dough(ish) substance.
After that I wrapped it tightly in saran wrap and set it aside in the fridge for about an hour. While that was sitting aside, I cut my butternut squash in half, scraping out the inside and keeping the seeds for later on. I set the oven for 375, sprinkled some brown sugar, salt and pepper in and around the squash and put it in the oven for about an hour, or until soft… this is currently where I’m at right now, so I will keep updating my progress as the day goes on!
When writing a piece on someone or interviewing them, it has its perks but also has problems. I had to write a story for NSIDE Austin, the magazine I work for, and my boss gave me 3 days to write it, which already was a tight deadline. He only gave minimal information on himself and since he was really busy, I never actually had the chance to interview him. I basically had to go on the internet, do my own research and compile a 500 word story on him, which would be my first actual published piece… EVER. I obviously was stressed and nervous, to say the least. In the end I wrote a piece that I was kind of comfortable with but not fully confident in, but had no choice other then to send it in. Turns out the guy I was writing about actually loved the piece and thought that I captured him as well as his school I was writing about in a great way. The bottom line is, you never know how comfortable the person your writing about is with an interview. They may be rude, shy, would rather talk on the phone, or in my case would rather just email you about themselves and leave it up to you to compile something great.
If there was one piece of advice I could give to someone wanting to go into entertainment journalism it would be to always check your sources. Since blogging has become so popular in the past decade, it gives everyone with a computer and internet the capability to be a ‘journalist’. With the internet at our fingertips, it is so simple for us to type a question or topic into Google and get thousands of links to click on. Not knowing every credible source on the internet, because there are so many, we could easily be reading something and the writer could have the wrong facts or it could be a satirical piece and we would not know it simply from looking at one site. This occurs also on Twitter a lot; and, because of this I think that it is extremely important to check sources when looking up anything on the Internet, especially if you plan on writing a story based on that same topic or ‘retweeting’ it. These past few months I have learned a lot about personal branding. By gaining followers throughout Austin as well as other places, on my blog and twitter, I not only realized I had to post things on the Internet with caution, because what goes on the Internet stays there forever, but also realized that since other journalists and companies followed what I was posting I had to make sure that whatever I was posting was credited and well sourced.