In between

This semester has been something.

An adventure.

A growing time.

A semester filled with lessons and maturing experiences. In just over a month I will be leaving Texas for the next four months to study abroad at University of Dallas’s Rome campus in Due Santi (named “The Two Saints” for St. Peter and St. Paul). It’s unbelievable, how close the time comes to fly overseas and explore ancient cities, meet Europeans, and also complete the rest of my Sophomore year.

But this past semester in Irving has been substantially illuminating, in more ways than one. I’m not sure how to put it all together in this post, but summarizing may be the best way to go about it. I took two art classes, Basic Drawing and Digital Media, and in both I learned many helpful skills involving perspective, lighting, photoshop, and design. As far as socializing goes, I enjoyed rooming with two dear friends from Founders, and also getting to know many of my classmates much better.

The course I most enjoyed this semester was Literary Tradition IV (I will take Literary Tradition III in Rome), taught by Dr. Greg Roper, whose explications of the works we read greatly enhanced my understanding of these stories. Out of all the books we read in Lit. Trad. IV, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky truly touched me, moved me with its haunting characters and thread of redemption throughout the work. I cannot stress enough how much this book should be read and reread, for Dostoevsky deflates common schools of thoughts such as nihilism and utilitarianism which in themselves are empty, worthless mindsets. He shows through his troubled character Rodion Raskolnikov the power of the cross and the ultimate grace and mercy of God. It’s a beautiful love story, a narrative of God calling out to a man diseased by sin and pride.

I also took Creative Fiction Writing and collaborated with two of my classmates on a novella, which turned out to be an entertaining and pleasurable. And lastly, I took Western Civilization II, which is part of the UD Core. 🙂

As far as personal drawing and writing goes, I put a great deal of energy into fan art and a bit of gift-art for a friend. For basic drawing I was required to draw something every day of the semester, and I used this as an incentive to draw my favorite fictional characters and couples. Ha. I can’t say much happened in my writing pursuits, sadly. I put most of my energy for fiction into the short story assignment for Literary Tradition IV and Creative Fiction Writing courses. The past two years have been pretty dry, as far as my original stories. I can’t remember the last time I pulled up my documents for Diana and Julian’s story.

Lastly and most importantly, my spiritual walk. Lately, most of my feelings and thoughts concerning my relationship with Christ and understanding of theology has been confused, unsettling, and overall convoluted. I do feel Him leading me, directing me, and I pray to Him as I mull over my doubts and questions. But one huge factor separating me from Him is my preoccupation with Denominations. That is, feeling unsure of where I belong, how I worship Him, and many other issues of doctrine that arise since I feel caught between my Evangelical background and my exposure to the Catholic church. It’s overwhelming and disconcerting, since I’ve lived my whole live believing that my upbringing in a Evangelical Free church is the only necessary precept, complete with enthusiastic praise and worship (using lots of Hillsong music), and a Sola Scriptura approach to theology. When more in-depth theology is addressed during my pastor’s sermons, he makes sure to point it out and even apologize. Whereas, theology and historically grounded doctrine is foundational in the Catholic (and Lutheran) church. In summary, my confusion has sapped a great deal of my joy and enthusiasm for actually listening to God and His call upon my heart. I feel aimless, directionless, completely stuck. I would appreciate any prayers from my readership on this blog.

Expect to see another post brimming with ridiculous, sketchy drawings that may or may not involve my recent obsession, Star Wars, cuz I’m a nerd. 😉

“I’ll be the artist . . .”

A recent questionnaire caught my attention, and I decided to just go for it, albeit the fact that I have been scarce, and sometimes I wonder if when I’ll ever get back to writing regularly, with a passion. I think the desire to create stories lies dormant within me, waiting to rouse and spin a shelf of stories. But right now, I think this tag will remind me of why I love to write, who I am as a writer, et cetera. Feel free to join in. I want to read your responses. Comment if you decide to do it! 🙂

  1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’? I have been writing since I was about four, but my earliest stories were more like visual storyboards–I remember way back then I would scribble on page after page in my sketchbooks, “fan-fiction/art” of my favorite Founding Fathers and Moses and Disney characters. My favorite book characters took a huge part of these early comics. I think I officially began to write when I was about seven, starting with some stories based on the American Girl Kaya, the Nez Perce girl . . . (obviously I’ve always had a strong preference for historical fiction). My best friend Kayla and I wrote about the eponymous Kaya and her own character “Rayla”, both native American girls whose adventures we scrawled on stacks of notebook paper. I kept on writing, and became an avid fan of mystery stories, like Nancy Drew, Detectives and Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom (both by Henry Winterfeld), and the Mandie series. It was during this time, from around age 9-11, that I realized that writing meant something to me and it was something I wanted to do forever.
  2. How/why did you start writing? I really wanted to relive all of my favorite books, because the characters became so real to me. I couldn’t just close them up and put them back on the shelf. I went back to them, dwelt on them and their stories, and I tried to keep them alive in my own writings, usually “fan-fiction” of these works. I loved history. George Washington, Paul Revere, Lafayette, the Ancient Romans and Greeks . . . all the books I read began to filter into a creative drive, and I started to write, typing in Word 2000 on my parents’ old computer, until another family member kicked me off if I overstayed my computer time. 🙂
  3. What’s your favorite part of writing? The intimacy of it. I absolutely love to envision the expressions and speech and mannerisms of the people I write about–I feel like I’m really there, seeing all of it, knowing these people. Reading has the same effect, which is probably why I decided to create stories to read. I love the fact that when I write historical fiction, I am sort of time-travelling to a different era, knowing people I would never meet otherwise.
  4. What’s your biggest writing struggle? Ahem, the finishing part is ALWAYS a challenge. I usually lose momentum after the early chapters, but I intend to force myself to finish some older projects soon.
  5. Do you write best at night or day? Definitely at night. Less distractions, less noise and obligations to fulfill when everyone is asleep and I’m supposed to be asleep as well. 😉
  6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!) I try to write at my desk as often as possible (or else work on school and art), but most of the time I write in my bed before I go to sleep.10568932_557268047751032_6987686810130708086_n
  7. 1173836_308419322635907_302420527_nHow long does it typically take you to write a complete draft? Six months to a year, sometimes 2. The only two books I’ve completed are a novella, Intertwined Destinies, and a novel, The Wish. I’m pretty sure the first one took about half-a-year and the other one around a year.
  8. How many projects do you work on at once? Umm, three? Sometimes more. It depends. I have been working on the same things the past year.
  9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between? Bittersweet ones are a fair in-between, and definitely the most satisfying for me. I like to be both melancholy and happy . . . how very complicated of me!
  10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey. L.M. Montgomery-inspired me to change my style and overall story-lines, and her subtlety of writing permeates her tales in impressive ways. C.S. Lewis, David Nevin, Dostoevsky, Harper Lee, and Margaret Mitchell, and lots of history books . . . all of these have played a major part in my development as a writer
  11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not? Sometimes. Lately, no, because I have been highly unproductive and the little that I do write is a historical fantasy alternate-universe fiction which I would prefer to keep under wraps. 🙂
  12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream? Definitely to become published, and to direct/write/script movies, specifically movies associated with American history (or any other favorite historical people/times) and possibly be a writer and producer for animated films.
  13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do? Simply be the best artist I can possibly be, explore the animation field, work as a political activist (I mean, get hands-on, not simply write impassioned articles).
  14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet? Several, actually. :’)
  15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go? Definitely Fortis Corde (Strong Hearts) . . . this one is very dear to me, perhaps since I’ve invested so much emotional energy into it. And besides that, I absolutely love the time period in American history where it is set. It is a very Washington Irving-esque story and something so haunting and rustic about it that i don’t want to give it up. I’m not sure if I’m ready to write it, but I definitely want to finish it someday soon.

Ready or Not

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The game has been much afoot since August, I must say. There are many sides to that statement. I regret that I fall behind on the blogging thing, but anyways . . . as to the “game afoot”. ‘Tis more like, there are senior year responsibilites/tasks/to-dos afoot which hover round the head and chirp at me like so many obnoxious bird (whaaat? I’m a bit tired right now. Excuse my stupid similes)

Let’s go through the photos up there. The first one is of a blue and white striped backpack I found at Khols. To be clear, I get most excited about buying accessories like backpacks, purses, bags, aaand shoes, but other than that I get insufficient satisfaction out of a sartorial shopping trip. So I found this beautiful “Benrus” military backpack which is just awesome, with its leather accents and blue and white stripes. You’ll find out why I love blue and white so much now . . . but just to hold that question up in the air, I’ll say that between August and lovable October, life has seemed like this thrilling albeit stressful roller coaster. I have been very much in a state of Writer’s Block. BUT, I am finally resolving to put my foot down and take a shot at National Novel Writing Month this November (NEXT MONTH! :O) I have found the story to write, but now it comes down to planning it out, outlining, compiling an inspo-notebook (plus a Spotify playlist). ANYWAYS BACK TO THE BACKPACK. YES.

It is beautiful. It is perfect. I can see myself wearing it as a uni-student, and I’ll have on a preppy plaid red skirt, a dark scarf, a blue shirt beneath a jean jacket. And BOOTS, yeah. I love, love boots. And now that it’s October I feel it fitting to bring them out.

Next pic is of a cup with Plum tea that I sipped in my favorite local coffee shop. It is such a deliciously rustic, hippie-like place. It reminds me of Austin and long conversations about books, history, random stuff with special people (because we had those conversations at this little place). It reminds me of a chill in the air and then stepping inside and feeling a surge of warmth and my heart begin to race when I glimpse a certain somebody in the corner on a mac computer . . . ♥ but it’s not like coffee shops aren’t for fantasies, sitting alone and wishing something could happen, like a meeting in the coffee shop. Ohh my goodness, wow. Sorry, what a tangent. Excuse my totally chaotic, disorganized mind.

So the picture of the tea is capturing a moment. when I drove myself to the coffee shop to celebrate . . . celebrate becoming an official almost-uni student, as in . . . I was accepted to the university of my dreams and this means that next October I’ll be at My University delving into their beautiful Classical curriculum, reading Plato or Dante probably, walking around the mall with glowing autumn leaves scattering around . . . and I screamed, my family celebrated with me when I opened that letter.  So yeah. I know what I will major in: English. And I have decided to concentrate or minor in Studio art. Thus, the last picture is of my University’s seal.

Veritatem, Justitiam, Diligite.

(Truth, Justice, Diligence), the school motto in Latin. Beautiful.

Blue and white are the colors. I already have a lanyard from the Uni, with their name on it, so I can make it clear where I belong. I am totally, beyond belief, ineffably excited for next year to arrive. And it is only 45 minutes away from home so that takes the edge off of leaving home. Truly, I cannot imagine a better place–their Core Curriculum delves into Theology, Philosophy, Classic Literature, History, all taught with a foundation in classical education. Can I just say that I love all things classical (music, edu., art, literature, languages, architecture, sculpture, cities . . .)? Well, this is obvious of course, given the blog’s name.

More on this in a bit, because I want to discuss the fundamental aspects of the literature, theology, philosophy, and art that will be rigorously taught (BRING IT ON YEAH). OK. I must tone down.

I am definitely set on doing NaNo. I have no idea how it will turn out, but I already have everything I need barring the oh-so-valuable outline that I know would be invaluable. My next post will be a tag, sort of fun, just cause I wanted to. I also have some more writings I hope to post soon, and blog posts of my thoughts lately. Adieu for now,

Soli Deo Gloria,

Reb

Digital Art debut

#Still soo rough #my first *official* digital art pieces #wooo #I need a Tumblr now . . . #Meriwether Lewis is fun to draw #Trying out colors #Digital coloring is the hardest for me

#Still soo rough #my first *official* digital art pieces #wooo #I need a Tumblr now . . . #Meriwether Lewis is fun to draw #Trying out colors #Digital coloring is the hardest for me

So I’ve been ridiculously quiet, and I guess life does that to you. Pretty sad. But my mind is kind of exploding with ideas for storyboards, character designs, and illustrations I’m dying to start working on. I already have a lineup of projects I want to jump on, and in the meantime study anatomy and figure drawing. I also need to work on creating backgrounds, versus the boring whiteness behind my figures. :/ I decided to try out this challenge, a “100 themes” challenge, with 100 different prompts for either writing a story or creating a drawing. So I decided to write a short story for each prompt and create an illustration to go with it. My first prompt was “Introduction” so expect to see that around here soon. I already have a good idea of what I want to create for that. I found a free download of Paint Tool SAI for my wacom bamboo (which I just started using it, after letting it sit in my room untouched for a whole YEAR, basically). Finally I decided, “Wow, I seriously need to start practicing with that thing”. So, here it goes. Expect to see lots of trial-art around here, and trial-illustrations. I shall bombard ya’ll with it. Also, I am considering pouring myself into making fanart, because making fanart has never been such a big deal for me. Here is a list of the stuff I plan to draw, because I adore it so much. Plus, it would be very good practice.

You ought to be warned. Most of it is associated with classic literature and history. o.O

  • Lewis and Clark (well, this is a given. All of my other blogs were swamped by Meriwether Lewis, because I am a nerd like that)
  • The Civil War Era
  • Charles Dickens (Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House)
  • The Revolutionary War
  • Harry Potter (whoa, this is weird with all this history I have down already.)
  • L. M. Montgomery (The Anne Books, The Emily Trilogy, Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, The Story Girl, Jane of Lantern Hill, The Blue Castle)
  • Phantom by Susan Kay
  • Any characters by Maud Hart Lovelace (Heaven to Betsy, Betsy was a Junior, Betsy and Joe ♥)
  • Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility)
  • Becoming Jane (I absolutely love this movie)
  • Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South, Wives and Daughters, Cranford)
  • Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy)
  • William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Merchant of Venice)
  • The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
  • Elizabeth George Speare (Calico Captive, The Witch of Blackbird Pond)
  • Louisa May Alcott (Little Women, An Old Fashioned Girl, Rose in Bloom, The Long Fatal Love Chase)
  • Any Disney Movie
  • The Zion Covenant Series (Bodie and Brock Thoene)
  • The Christy Miller Series (Robin Jones Gunn)
  • Anna of Byzantium
  • John Milton
  • The Renaissance time period
  • World War II
  • World War I
  • Downton Abbey
  • While You Were Sleeping (I could see this a million more times)
  • The Narnia Books by C.S. Lewis
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Washington Irving
  • Rosemary Sutcliff
  • Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
  • Elizabeth Enright
  • The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence
  • Elizabeth Goudge (The Little White Horse)
  • Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • St. Augustine’s Confessions
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Robe
  • Quo Vadis
  • Spartacus (with Kirk Douglas)
  • Lost (ABC TV)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Rose of Old St. Louis
  • In the Good Old Summertime
  • My Theodosia by Anya Seton
  • Mirriam Neal (Paper Crowns, This Mortal Coil, Monster . . .)
  • Rachel Heffington (Fly Away Home)
  • Pepper Darcy (Pippa!!!)

So many more are on this list, but they’ll show up randomly in artwork. If I ever get around to making posting it. Ahaha.

A Riddle

e9f7d8c2ca8ba1f18b3e67910cb50dfdFor a recent assignment in literature, I was supposed to write a riddle inspired by those given in Jane Austen’s Emma (namely Mr. Elton’s significant one, which was intended to mean Courtship). I had a great deal of fun with it. This riddle is supposed to be from a studious guy to a girl he admires. I was grinning stupidly the whole time I wrote it, because I was thinking, “Gee, why can’t a guy send this to me?” I tend to romanticize, ya know. So do forgive this indulgence in . . . uh . . . sentimentality. It has a lame rhyme, but oh well.

 

 

{Getting to know . . . you}

 

Please engage your mind to study

A most delicate subject

Do not permit irrational thought to muddy

A future prospect, to not object!

 

For I am the scholar,

You my tutor, and each time you speak

You illuminate, your humor choler

So persuasive, you draw me to seek

 

Knowledge of yours, which I could but know

If I opened you, read you as

A book, to be memorized, slow

And steady. The scholar must be amorous!