“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.

Back in

Whenever I sit down to write a new blog post (usually at night when *magical* surges of inspiration happen) . . . I sort of freeze up (those magical waves of creativity obviously don’t help much). Maybe it’s the subconscious awareness that so many people could potentially see what I write, and then I get all introverted, even though I can’t see those people, and I huddle into my shell. I guess this will have to change, especially since next year I will be submitting papers to my professors, which essentially means breaking down my barriers of keep-everything-to-myself!

Some exciting little things that rouse my geekier side are currently underway:

Sims 4 comes out next month. Right after school begins. Dang.

It is “Lewis and Clark month” on Tumblr, which brings joy to me daily when I see people post about some of my favorite historical guys.

SCHOOL BEGINS. Yes, I AM excited. SO SO EXCITED. Why? SENIOR YEAR IS WHY.

And then there are the BIG things.

College begins next year!

Final SAT test this October

University of Dallas Odyssey Day happens in October as well

Jaw surgery. no. no. no . . .

Preparing transcript and reading list for college

Applying and getting accepted to my favorite college

FINALLY entering some writing contests.

If I manage to get into University of Dallas, I would hopefully get the opportunity to spend a semester of my sophomore year in Rome! Rome! As someone obsessed with ancient history, anything classical, the “dead” languages (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, etc.), getting to visit Roma Aeterna is the ultimate desire on my lifetime bucket list. It would make me so happy. The campus in Rome looks exquisite, breath-taking, with this haunting sense that I would be existing where the men and women of old lived and breathed. There would be St. Peter’s Cathedral, there would be visits to Greece, to Venice, Assissi, Florence–to quote from the UD website, “all the wonders of the Renaissance.” And in addition to Italy and Greece, I will be able to travel to other countries in Europe (The UK, of course, and France, AND Germany . . .) Now I must share some Pinterest pictures of this potential destination in my future! XD

L'Opera Garnier
L’Opera Garnier
Greece
Greece
The Tyrol
The Tyrol

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Florence
Florence
Paris
Paris
Venice
Venice
the Forum Romanum
the Forum Romanum
coast of Italy
coast of Italy
Library in Prague
Library in Prague
The Alps
The Alps
Verona
Verona

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Rome
Rome
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Mt. Vesuvius
Mt. Vesuvius
Rome
Rome

 

 

Going up

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tumblr pic

On Saturday my sister and I leave for Washington state to visit our best-friends-since-childhood, and I can hardly wait. This means no writing for a week (no typing on the computer, that is, and therefore more procrastination. o.O

I love, ABSOLUTELY, love, the Northwest. It is such a beautiful part of the country. Last time I went in 2012, we visited Fort Clatsop, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Bainbridge Island. We went salmon fishing with our friends’ grandfather on the Puget Sound. The memories stay with me and delight me, two years later, as I prepare for a second trip north. I’m a Texan, fyi, so it is awesome when I can step out of my state and check out other states. Like last year, I took a trip to Virginia to visit PHC for a teen Strategic Intelligence Camp. And visited Monticello. (Oh my goodness, I barely contained my excitement. Visiting the home of one of my favorite Founding Fathers? I think yes!)Trip to VA 2013 055

We also visited Michie’s Tavern, but I’m digressing. We’re discussing the Northwest here. Not VA. 😛

I must say, I don’t know if I’ll sleep much tomorrow night. We’ll be waking up early, and then off on a four hour flight. Here are some pictures from my last trip, with captions! If any of ya’ll have been to the Northwest, or live there, what do ya’ll like best about it?

From my seat on the plane. Yes, we got stuck by the wing on my FIRST plane ride. Dang. #no-view
From my seat on the plane. Yes, we got stuck by the wing on my FIRST plane ride. Dang. #no-view
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Fish at Pike’s Place! For the record, I don’t really like seafood, except for Salmon, shrimp, and talapia. ONLY if it is seasoned in the right way. 😛
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We went to the original Starbucks at Pike’s Place. This is Megan, one of our Twinsie BFFs (who we’re going to visit all week!!!)
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Fish throwing at Pike’s Place!
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The market at Pike’s Place! So amazing! We got to try chocolate pasta, and bubble tea.
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The gum wall. (bleh) I’m the one holding the jean jacket! 😀
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Another pretty Starbucks in Seattle
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We tried Ivars, and I ate fried fish for the first time. The sea gulls swooped everywhere, which was kinda unnerving. Ha.
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Moar seagulls
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And we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island! I loved the feel of the boat swaying beneath my feet.
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Puget Sound and Sailboats!
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And duh, I totally met Seaman in a flower garden by the water gates in Seattle. I arranged it with Meriwether Lewis, yeah. (I wish!) But I could not believe my luck, at meeting a Newfoundland in the Northwest. Seaman! I hugged him (the owners gave me permission to pet their beautiful dog)
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A photoshoot on the railroad tracks got the four of us teen girls some publicity. A group from Texas stared at us for a while, they wanted to learn the ways of crazy Washingtonians who take photos on railroad tracks. (BUT we’re Texans! lol) See, the creeper in the background has a TEXAS shirt on!
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In a phone booth, yep
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Being from the flatlands of TX, I couldn’t get over the TREES. THEY ARE REAL TREES, NOT LITTLE SCRAWNY BUSHES THAT ARE HERE IN DFW. WUT
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I literally could not wrap my mind around Mount Rainier’s hugeness. Look at those buildings down at the bottom! That was the mountain museum, hotel, and tourist center. Even looking at this photo takes my breath away. The Northwest really has magnificence.
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I snapped a shot of this because it says CHINOOK. Like, the Chinook Indians, who Lewis and Clark stayed with during the winter of 1805-06. So of course I had to take a picture of a sign saying Chinook in this region.
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Fort Clatsop! When I beheld this sign I might have hyperventilated a bit. Because if you didn’t know, I sort of really love Lewis and Clark
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At Fort Clatsop, the national park, we went on a river walk and at lunch in a picnic area with a replica Lewis and Clark canoe. We took a land-ride.
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A blurry pic of me at Lewis’s desk inside the captain’s quarters at Fort Clatsop. Wearing a Chinook hat! *grin*
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In the tourist center museum at Fort Clatsop! Lewis and Clark!!!! 

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So after Fort Clatsop (which constituted an amazing, awesome time with my older sister’s mother-in-law, who lived in Portland back then), we hastened over to Cannon Beach in Oregon. This included walking on the sunny beach, running into icy ocean water, splashing, getting wet, walking through the small seaside town of Cannon Beach, stopping at an ice-cream shop, and marvelously enjoying ourselves. What a day!
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The next day on the way back to Seattle from Portland we took a tour of Mt. St. Helens. On the way we stopped at several tourist centers and mountainside overlooks. Here is a statue of an elk, because elk are awesome. We glimpsed them from afar as they moved around in the huge barren valley of Mt. St. Helens’ destruction. Texas doesn’t have elk. We have deer. But no elk. 😦 I want an elk
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The valley by Mt. St. Helens, still affected by the blast in the 80’s. Wow. But it is so beautiful!
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On the way to the Mt. St. Helens main tourist center we stopped inside a mountain-lodge restaurant, where we enjoyed huge sandwiches and soda, and warmth. There is Megan, and my sister Abby, and my mom!
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More mountain pictures!

Heaven Sight

20130925_225058 (1)Work in progress novel Heaven Sight has been sort of on my mind.

Anton Reinhard grew up when the fever pitch of war angst rose high. In 1917, as a small child, he faced the brutal death of his father, in an anti-German riot on the streets of New York. He grew up learning to look after himself, but under the protecting wing of a compassionate priest. As he grows older he develops strongly as an artist, seeking and loving beauty and meaning, but finding only disillusionment in the world around him. As his intent search for Heaven’s sight continues, with the furor of the second World War broiling at a distance, Anton catches frustrating glimpses of something divine in a world catching afire. 

I just came up with the synopsis off the top of my head. I also made a graphic in PS . . . with a quote from Dante’s Inferno.

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I started writing this story a year ago, and now I’ve finally come back around to it. I’ve been in a serious dry spell lately, which is tragic. I will sometimes reflect on the days when I just wrote and didn’t double check every sentence and let the mind flow out onto the page (computer or otherwise). And now . . . maybe it’s just when you get older you get more self-conscious, that’s just me, but it continues, drawing out and reducing me to spinning helplessness and wonder. Where have the words gone, I sometimes ask. Why can’t it be as easy? Why can’t I just churn out the stories a hundred miles per hour and drive on fearlessly?

Honestly, I really don’t know, but I have to tell myself that I’m definitely more of a brooding author type, who takes a while to get things down when the mind is filled with life. Life happens. So, let come what may. I’ve begun to learn that through sunshine and shadow I must write, I must draw, I must devour the thoughts and words and creations of other great artists, because that is the only way to escape the mire.

Part II of this post will feature the snippets I have so far . . .

Le update

Because I love my bed, I decided to stay in it later than I normally would. I tend to be very much a night-owl (or at least I am a night-owl wannabe). Now that school is out I feel pretty confident that it will be easier to stay up and write and draw and read. Recently I made a library trip and hauled back home about thirty+ books. It is really worth trying to imagine the expressions of other library-goers and librarians. In real life I am possibly one of the most awkward people ever, though I try to seem less so virtually (Deviantart, this blog, facebook). Yesterday my sister and I took the SAT at a nearby public school. I enjoy visiting schools, even if it is rarely, when we take these tests . . . I enjoy observing kids who are in the system of public education, since on a normal basis I am with my homeschool or church friends.

After the test my mom, sister and I visited Central Market (which psyched me). We had gelato, for my first time (mom and sister already had some before). It was pretty nice, but as I’m sensitive to lactose products, I felt a rather poorly afterwards.

Last night my sister and I watched Roots (Alex Hayley) with Mom and Dad and it quite inspired me to get back to my historical fiction piece, which I have neglected for a while now. At the point where we are in Roots, the year is in the 1780s, which is the decade when most of my Fortis Corde characters are born. My story is more focused on the later years in the early 19th century, but watching Roots has given me an excellent image of how people lived back then . . .

And then, we watched the Christmas Special, Season 2, for Downton Abbey. It filled me all the warm feels a person could want after a long day and a long SAT test!

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Holding my nephew!

In other news, my newest nephew arrived. My big sister is pretty thrilled to be a mom at last! I loved holding him. Babies are marvelous.