Wanderlust

Earlier this month I wrote a post about being in between, that is, stuck between adventures. Soon I will be boarding a plane and flying across the Atlantic to live in Rome for 4 months! It’s crazy, I remember applying to UD and thinking that the Rome semester seemed so far off. Now, it’s nearly upon me and I’m struggling to prepare myself in every way possible. Although it will be a time full of new experiences and possible new risks, I’m ready to face down the coming months of travel and learning and exploration with my whole heart.

The past year has been, as I said previously, something of a mixed bag, both for personal growth and external learning experiences that have shaped me as a person. I’ve broken myself into the university lifestyle, that is, studying hard for good grades, rather than letting myself get distracted in daydreams and social life that college campuses offer. I’ve also learned how rewarding it is to dedicate myself to art projects and homework to best improve my understanding of visual perceptions, perspective, and proportions. This semester has greatly sharpened my mind in that respect, and I can’t wait to apply those skills in my travel sketchbook that I’m planning to use in Europe. I hope I can implement what I’ve learned to draw the great domes and arches that are abundant in the Eternal City.

Right now, I hope to use the rest of my holiday to read some of my favorite books and stories that friends and family have recommended, as well as watch some classics set in Europe or Rome. To name a few:

Films:

  • Quo Vadis
  • The Robe
  • The Scarlet and the Black
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy
  • Spartacus (the one with Kirk Douglas)

Books:

  • The Marble Faun by Nathanial Hawthorne
  • Phantom by Susan Kay
  • Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace (a perfect read for a girl traveling abroad and finding inspiration for writing)

Those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head, but there’s so many more to indulge in these last weeks of relative calm before the adventure begins.

Hopefully I’ll be able to blog again before heading out! 🙂

 

Fanart is a must

As I stated in my last post, my own original stories have taken a backseat as inspiration for those stories has drained away for the time being. Until I can once again envelop myself in my own characters and their worlds and stories, I have dedicated all my energy to the creation of “fanart”, which is not a new concept, but it gives me the incentive to write and draw to my heart’s content whilst exploring my favorite characters from fiction. Right now, I’ve transformed into a freakish Star Wars fan, namely because of the new Star Wars movies coming out recently. So, please sit back and take a look at some of the stuff I’ve drawn lately that is all about Star Wars 😉 :

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. 😉

//no homo (?): it’s kind of a rant

Excellently written post by Mirriam Neal, something that has bothered me for a while

Mirriam Neal

“You realize you’ll have readers thinking X character is gay, right?” “They’ll have to really stretch to keep thinking that after a while. Besides, I decided I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to sacrifice intimate non-amorous relationships for the sake of slash-happy shippers.” “YOU SHOULD PUT THAT ON YOUR BLOG.”

That was the summary of a conversation I had with Lauren, when we were discussing my novel The Dying of the Light, and its upcoming sequel. There are several main themes prevalent throughout the series, but one of the largest is brotherhood, pure and simple.

Or rather, it should be pure and simple. Unfortunately, Western culture is often too shallow, too hyper-sexualized, and – frankly – too under-educated to grasp the idea of an intimate, non-amorous relationship between two people. It’s the same culture where two guys don’t feel comfortable hugging each other (unless it’s a manly half-hug – you…

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Memories from Freshman Year at University of Dallas

(Scroll down past the photos 🙂 )

In honor of my Sophomore year of college beginning in three weeks, I thought I’d write about Freshman year, because of nostalgia.

  • First few days of orientation, feeling a bit nervous but also that kind of butterflies-in-my-stomach excited about what is about to begin, and so totally into being a social creature (like never before lol, I have always thought myself pretty freaking shy and a loner-type)…I dragged my INTJ roommate to a bonfire party by the guys’ dorms and then this barbecue by the Sophomore dorms (West Hall) where we did a pretty good job pretending like outgoing individuals…
  • At that barbecue party some random guys offered one of my friends a rubber duck from a game and stood there being a creep watching her sort of nonplussed reaction.
  • Those days were a blur because we met so many people and did so many things as we tried to do everything advertised by the orientation peeps
  • But by the time the scavenger hunt around campus came on Monday (we got there on Friday), my roommate and I decided to hide from everyone and skulk around, watching people go on the scavenger hunt XD
  • Our introvert side won out I suppose
  • I love the memory of the ice cream social just before classes began, and I lost my roomie in the crowd so I tried to be brave and socialized with some Senior guys (which was a whole new thing for me, being a loner homeschooling girl and all)
  • First day of classes, Wednesday, was pretty much dizzying and I can barely remember it except for meeting various classmates throughout the day, like in Art History, my first class, and my heart racing as the lights dimmed and our professor did roll call
  • That semester was a wonderful daydream and nightmare mixed together, trying to figure out how to adult, how to study efficiently, how to go about prepping for midterms and finals and figure out the whole Latin class thing, with our hilarious dear teacher who didn’t like using the textbook so went with a bunch of random stories about Ancient Rome
  • My professor for Literary Tradition I was Father Maguire, a wonderful man who would ask us about which Greek god we would choose to be, or marry…lol
  • And attending mass at Cistercian Abbey for the first time, my alarm clock went off in the middle of mass and the monks stopped chanting to look at me D:
  • Waking up at 5 in the morning and crossing under the freeway to get to the Abbey for that mass :O
  • Seeing a Dominican monk in all the robes that order wears, I probably looked like somebody had shot me with a water gun or something…
  • Running down the UD mall after the first dance at UD, glad to escape my heels
  • Having amazing discussions at night, or any time of the day, with Hannah about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING–theology, philosophy, our day, classes, the Cistercians…so wonderful ❤
  • Our dorm, the setup we had, it was perfect! Our own little space, our overflow of books, our complementing color schemes and bed coverlets!
  • Visiting Raj who ran the gas station across the street from UD, and buying snacks for the night 😀
  • Seeing the Dallas skyline from the “hill” on which UD is situated
  • The UD tower lit up at night, which made for many fantastic photo opts.
  • Finding the park near campus for the first time, with its adorable bridge and baby ducks and perfect climbing trees
  • hearing an organ in Mass (or in my life) for the first time!
  • Attending Sunday Night worship in the Church of the Incarnation for the first time and being absolutely blown away by the quiet and reverent beauty of it
  • Attending TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) down in the Rathskeller, the basement dining area in the Haggar Center, which was a riotous event
  • Basically a lot of music, drinking, smoking, and themes for every Thursday night
  • The Cafeteria, where many an amusing hour was spent in deep discussion, people-watching, and food-loving
  • UD food is pretty good, tbh
  • Knowing that Brigid Vaughn, aka Burdge on Tumblr, attended UD and graduated a year ago from this school. She’s my art idol and her blog and drawings give me life
  • Seeing her senior studio work and her actual studio in the Art Village, and freaking out because IT’S BURDGE
  • Swing dancing for the first time in the cafeteria with the swing club, dancing to Marvin Gaye, Shut Up and Dance, Dear Future Husband, among other splendid choices 😉
  • The Capp Bar–modeled after the Cappuccino Bar at the UD Rome Campus
  • sitting in there with my mac and homework and people-watching, simply full of joy that UD is my school
  • The Library–three glorious stories of books, plus the periodicals, which became our favorite place during the Spring Semester
  • Sneaking around said Library, checking out all the spots for potential studying, and just enjoying the general atmosphere of being surrounded by books
  • The Art Village, so mysterious and set apart from everything else, with its unique architecture and the various studios, and sculptures scattered about by art students 🙂
  • I LOVE THE ART VILLAGE
  • Songs that remind me of Freshman year: Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness , Marvin Gaye by Charlie Puth, Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon, anything by Mumford and Sons, Howl’s Moving Castle soundtrack, Hans Zimmer music, Pompeii by Bastille, Passion Pit, Thunderstruck by Owl City, 2 Heads by Coleman Hill, Safe and Sound by Capital Cities, Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots, Blow Away by A Fine Frenzy, Midnight City by M83, Paris by Magic Man, Concert Pitch by Empire of the Sun, and French Navy by Camera Obscura (most of them found on Burdge’s spotify, her music taste is amazing)….and it fits the UD aesthetic
  • late night walks around UD
  • music on the mall, with the wonderful music blaring out across campus, making my DAY