writing

#DearMe: A Letter to My Teenage Self.

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Dear (Slightly Younger) Mikayla,

When I first saw the idea of writing a letter to you, I found it a bit weird. I mean, I know you and you’re too hard-headed to listen to anyone, even me. But, ultimately, there are numerous things I would love to be able to tell you, wishes and warnings alike.

So, I’m writing.

From my perspective now, I know the truth of the matter is you spend a lot of time wondering what you’re doing wrong. You worry that you’re living just this side of disaster. You stay awake too many nights trying to envision something other than a question-mark future…

Stop. Please.

Everything you’re fretting over now—the friends, the classes, the feelings, the exams, the family members, the applications, the politics—none of it is going to break you. You’re going to be alright, I promise.

Okay, I’ll admit: over the course of the next few years, you’ll truly struggle with who you are and who you want to be. There’s no use worrying though because we still haven’t figured it out in the year 2015 and that’s perfectly okay. Trust me when I say that no one has their whole life figured out at 13, 16, or 21. All that matters is that you’re continuously working on it.

Remember: life isn’t a tightrope walk over a spike-bottomed canyon.

Learn to treat every day like a stroll on the beach–the tides move in and out, but you stay standing. Just enjoy the ebb and flow.

High school will pass over you like a breeze, but sometimes it will feel like hurricane-force winds and there’s really no helping that. That’s what high school is all about–learning how much pain, how much uncertainty, how much knowledge you can stand. Chickadee, high school is about survival and endurance—even when so-and-so stops calling you a friend and what’s-his-name tells you that you’re hard to love, hold tight.

You’re a military brat, you’re made for a fight.

When it comes time for university, go with your gut.  Don’t waste time in places you know you don’t belong and don’t even want to be. Be logical and be honest. The standard university experience isn’t so idyllic and it isn’t for you. Forge your own path and you’ll end up steps ahead. Freshman year, while playing an obligatory Welcome Week name game, you’ll dub yourself Magical Mikayla–make it your goal to be that person.

After university commencement, you’ll take two semesters off. Some days, you are going to swear that it’s a waste of time, that you’re wasting time, but I swear that this opportunity to be a wanderer is precisely what you need right now. Over the course of 8 months, you’ll visit 20 different states and this time, like no other time before, travel will be all you have to focus on, all you live for.

Revel in your experiences. Get caught up in simple pleasures.

In the coming days, when you’re feeling just south of sanity, you’ll remember the feel of west coast rocks and east coast sand, the sound of northwestern rain and southeastern thunderstorms, and the smell of strong coffee and harbor winds mixed together. The places you’ve been before were wonderful, but these are the places you’ll cling to and remember best. These places will resonate.

And, just like that, you’ve caught up to me.

The future is still a masked mark in the hazy distance, as it will always be, but there is an abundance of hope, desire, and ambition. There is an ever-growing collection of wonderful days and a group of delightful people who genuinely care.

There is possibility.

My ultimate wish for you is simply that, on your way from where you are in your time to where I am now in mine, you relish the journey.

With lots of love (…and feeling incredibly strange about signing this),

(Slighty older) Mikayla

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Goodbye, Year of Exploration. Hello, Year of Ambition.

For the last three years, I’ve rejected the idea of explicit resolutions and instead made a habit of declaring a single word to embody each new year. There was the year of discovery (2012), the year of dedication (2013), and even the year of exploration (2014). Each year lived up to its name, albeit sometimes in surprising ways that pushed me to my limits and then a bit beyond.

In 2012, I discovered who I was away from my friends, outside of my hometown, and apart from everything that I’d always thought was certain, as well as who I was when I came back. In 2013, I dedicated myself to whatever felt important, including finishing my bachelors degree in English and refining my art. And, in 2014, I explored whatever struck my fancy, even as that led me to travel from coast to coast for months on end and begin a master’s degree in criminal justice. No two years were the same, yet no year was more or less enthralling than any other.

All of that being said, 2014 was pretty intriguing. I spent three months in California, Oregon, and Washington. Then I spent three months in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. That’s not to mention all the states and shores I visited on the way to and from those places. I turned 21 and wasted my newest privilege by drinking a pitifully small volume of alcohol (say “no” to big kablue-nas). I began graduate school and discovered that sometimes the student teaches the professor. I baked foods and treats I couldn’t even pronounce and used ingredients I’d never heard of before.

In short, I explored.

Now it’s time to put all of that behind me, to close the door on 2014’s wild exploration, and step into the year 2015, which already seems daunting and intoxicating.

Over the next 365 days, I’ll be traveling back to South Carolina, the state I know only through my family tree.  I’ll be completing my Masters of Criminal Justice degree, complete with nerve-wracking comprehensive exams. I’ll be leaving my friends and the only place I have ever truly regarded as “home.” I’ll be taking control of my health and defying my genetics. I’ll be taking important steps in my personal and professional lives, striving to achieve success through desire and determination.

All in all, 2015 can and will be nothing less than wild and engrossing, fast-paced and sublime. Thus, in the same vein of thought, I’ve decided to call 2015 the year of ambition. I chose the word ambition to embody or headline this year mostly because I have a strong desire to achieve multiple things this year. I have an end-game in mind and nothing will stop me from reaching it. In addition, I’ve come to realize that being ambitious is just in my nature and that is something to use to my advantage, to accept as a benefit. So, this year will be a journey in accepting ambition as a facet of my nature.

Keeping with tradition, as I jumpstart the New Year, I won’t write down any particular resolutions because, well, it just feels awful when a perfectly composed resolution isn’t fulfilled precisely as it was written. I prefer to stick with matters of certainty, like the inevitable graduation and move, and variety, like the generality of being ambitious in all my endeavors. Along the way, I simply hope that at least 15 marvelous things will happen.

Here’s to a year of purpose and cheers to everyone reading this. I hope that you find precisely what you are looking for in the exciting days ahead. Happy New Year!

NaNoWriMo 2013: Ready, Set, Write!

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For anyone who is unaware, today, November 1, marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month when over 200,000 people will endeavor to write novels of 50,000 words or more in only 30 days. Then, to make it all a bit harder, no one is allowed to edit until December–of course, that’s really up to you and your self-control. It’s a nerve-wracking, coffee-fueled, hair-pulling, sleep-deprived, hand-aching experience that may or may not result in a couple (okay, at least a dozen) nervous breakdowns before it’s over, but it’s so worth it.

There’s a reason that people commit to this, that people throw themselves into a challenge that’s only obvious reward is evidence of written their own mind’s inner workings: they want to know what it feels like to have 50,000 words spill out. I mean, have you ever held 50,000 of your own words in your hands? I haven’t (yet) and I’m dying to, so I’m going all in with my fellow NaNo-ers (NaNo-ists? NaNo-ites? WriMos?). I’ve done this the past 5 years, but never hit 50,000 because life sort of ran away from me. So, this year I’m committed to exceeding 50,000 words by 11:59pm on November 30, 2013, and I’d really love for other people to do it too.

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I’m inviting anyone out there with words in their heart and characters in their head to come over to NaNoWriMo and get going. My username on the site is mylifeinverse and I’ll be rocking around the forums all month long. If you need some encouragement, just consider the fact that Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgensten’s The Night Circus, and Hugh Howey’s Wool were all products of this challenge. Plus, the community of this whole situation is incredible: I cannot even tell you how many times everyone in the forums has helped me settle my plot bunnies and fill in plot holes…and maybe work out an abundance of “real life” problems too.

It may not seem possible right now. I mean, who in their right mind decides to write a novel in a month, right? But, guess what: it’s totally achievable and I’m going to be doing it right along with you. So, if even a single atom of you is interested, come join the fun and let your wild words out into the world. Don’t say “I can’t write” or “maybe I’ll write a novel one day,” just commit to it and do it. We can all be happy and sleep-deprived together. Cheers!

Over 15 In Under An Hour: Book Reviews.

In an ode to what this blog use to be, as well as the ridiculous number of books I have read over the past couple weeks, I am going to be doing 16 quick book reviews in as little time as possible. 1, 2, 3, go!

Every Day by David Levithan

5 out of 5

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Told from the viewpoint of A, a gender nonspecific soul or entity that lives in another body every day, David Levithan unfolds a tale that proves how vital memories to existence, the ways in which uncertainty and constant fluidity can affect the psyche, and the complexity of human relationships. The book is well written, simple to follow, and truly causes the reader to question the importance we place upon arbitrary events and ideas each day. I cannot find words that can truly describes the depth of human emotion that this book portrays and brings out in the reader.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

5 out of 5

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If you have been on the Internet the past few years, and most particularly on Tumblr, then you know that hearing about this book (the first of a series) has been unavoidable. Personally, I avoided reading it for quite some time simply because the fans grated on my nerves. However, now that I have read it, I entirely understand the excitement over every word Cassandra Clare has written. In City of Bones, Clare develops a world in which vampires, werewolves, demon hunters, fay, warlocks, and so many more creatures exist in plain sight, yet without anyone outside of the world itself truly being able to see. The primary character, Clary, has been part of this world since birth but she has not seen it until now. City of Bones follows Clary’s discovery of this second world that envelops her more obvious and mundane one, and how those two worlds will come to be intertwined. Overall, the book is well written, holds a storyline that is absolutely enthralling, and leaves you wanting more.

Matched by Ally Condie

5 out of 5

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In the Society, mathematics and science decide almost everything. Who you marry, what work you do, where you live, and even who will be your family and friends. Once those things are established, the Society follows your every movement and decision, breaking you down into a statistics and tracking you through their findings. When main character Cassia has her Matching ceremony, where she is to learn who she will marry, something goes wrong (or rather right) and more than one face appears as her match. This leads Cassia to question her character as well as that of others, as well as to progressively rebel against the rigid structure of the society. This book suggests an interesting yet not unheard of idea of a society in which emotions are rejected as having been the downfall of previous societies. I score this book so highly simply because, for an overdone plot line, it truly felt like a new idea while reading. The character of Cassia is complex, like most people, and that makes her very relatable. As well, there is Cassia’s absolutely human quality of self-doubt and confusion that is often missing in other young adult novels. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

4 out of 5

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I have a bit of a soft spot for books set in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and this book hit me right in that spot. Quite honestly, the novel gets off to a slow start and I considered putting it down before I had even really begun; however, if you truly allow your mind the freedom of immersing yourself in the upper class of early nineteenth century New York City and all that that lifestyle included, you begin to enjoy it more than ever. The Luxe opens with the funeral of Elizabeth Holland before jumping backward to explain how such an event came to take place. Through this tale, Godbersen addresses the standards and behaviors of upper class society, the idea of familial loyalty, and frequent the necessity of lies in order to live life well. While I will not yet commit to reading the second book in the series as the plot line moved along at a snails place, I might find myself drawn to it simply to enjoy the setting once again.

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

5 out of 5

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Nikki Beckett has spent a century in the Everneath; however, to the people she use to know on the Surface, only 6 months have passed.  In a modern retelling of the Greek myths surrounding Persephone and Hades, Brodi Ashton successfully translates myth into reality and leaves readers in rapt anticipation of the promised continuation of the trilogy. The characters are generally believable and complex as humans always are, and the overall plot calls to mind questions of where the line between fact and fiction actually lies within myths and fairy tales. Even as the plot becomes more complicated and the dark side to each character becomes apparent, readers will surely find themselves wishing that they could be part of the action.

Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman

3 out of 5

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Boarding school. Young love and lust. Poor grades. Unexplained night terrors. At first glance, this novel seems to be the perfect setup for the average young adult love story, and in the first half of the novel, it fulfills that cliché to a T. However, after quite a bit of typical romance and teenager confusion, the plot truly takes off and questions begin to develop about the main character, Emily Meckler’s, life views, plans, and overall background. I was entirely disappointed in Warman’s inability to tie all aspects of the plot together in order to make a cohesive book; however, the plot did keep me interested enough to read until the last page. I would not recommend the book unless you want a slow and possibly bad introduction to the world of young adult mystery novels.

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

4 out of 5

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Written in free/blank verse and spanning over 200 pages, Because I Am Furniture broached the topics of obvious child abuse as well as abuse by way of absolute neglect. The main character, Anke, is the youngest of three children and lives with her mother and father. Anke’s father is physically and sexually abusive to both her older brother and older sister; however, he does not even seem to notice her own existence. Throughout the book, Anke deals with the emotions surrounding her abuse by way of neglect and struggles with the knowledge that she recognizes her father’s crimes but feels that she can do nothing to prevent them. Although I am not usually a fan of blank verse novels, simply because they tend to ramble on, I enjoyed this book and appreciated its abrupt and to the point writing style. Chaltas was definitely not afraid to write exactly what she meant rather than hiding all meaning beneath veils of pointless imagery and metaphors. I cannot see myself reading it again, but if you are prepared for an emotional journey and unafraid to face the darker aspects of being human, I would wholeheartedly suggest it as a quick read.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

5 out of 5

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Ana lives in a world where everyone is a reincarnation of a soul that has existed for thousands of years. That is, everyone except her. When Ana was born, her soul was entirely new, and the soul that should have been reincarnated into her body simply ceased to exist. To some, that makes her a No Soul, and to others a New Soul. This book follows Ana as she attempts to unravel the mystery behind her own existence with a little help from a kind old soul known to her as Sam. The aspect that intrigued me most about this book was that I have never seen something written about reincarnation that was so believable. From the very first page you want Ana to find some assurance of her existence and you want to defend her against every evil that crosses her path. Your heart truly beat and bleeds for Ana. I get attached to characters, but this sort of attachment was on a whole other level and I will stick by her until Meadows brings the trilogy to the very end.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

5 out of 5

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Okay, I have to retract what I just said. I got attached to McGarry’s characters of Echo and Noah as well. Essentially, Echo was involved in a family tragedy her sophomore year of high school. After she returns to school with both mental and physical scars of a tragedy that she cannot fully remember, her old relationships and friendships become either seriously stressed or entirely disintegrate. Echo is desperate to remember the event that her mind was so desperate to forget. At the same time, the character of Noah has been dealing with his own issues. Freshman year his parents were killed in a home fire and, as a result, he and his two younger brothers have been living in foster care. Most significantly, they are in separate foster care and Noah is desperate to reunite the only family he knows. As both Echo and Noah navigate their lives in the aftermath of terrible tragedy, they grow together and learn to rely on each other. Unlike many books in the genre, these two face problems from every angle and it led some realism to the overall relationship. The plot itself was no far stretch from real life and thus made it easier to emotionally connect to these characters that life had so fiercely attempted to break. I am not one to cry easily or frequently and this book made me do exactly that. There are sexual references, some cursing, and other such teenage and life instances, so I would not recommend this book to people who are not mature enough to face those realities.

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

5 out of 5

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No matter how much I try not to, I cannot help but compare this book and it’s style to that of every John Green book I have ever read. Told from the alternating views of Lyla and Tripp, it is a heartwarming tale of the unlikely union between two different types of musicians. Lyla is a tightly wound cellist who plays by the rules and does as she is told. Tripp is an unstructured guitarist who makes his own rules and feels rather than learns. When the two come to share a music practice room in their high school, a friendship grows between them that is music all its own. Overall, the plot line moved along fluidly and I found few grammatical or plot related errors. The main characters are dynamic, relatable, and likeable, and I honestly wish that I knew them in real life. It is not a heavy or complicated read, nor is it going to drastically change your views, but it will definitely call your attention to aspects of life that you had simply grown apathetic to and forgotten to notice. Also, as a plus, Amato quite literally included guitar notes in the back pages of Guitar Notes…play on!

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

5 out of 5

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I know that I am going to sound pretentious in this review and I just cannot help, so why should I try? Glitch is a book that seems to have been written straight from the depths of my mind, and quite honestly shares a remarkable number of similarities to my own novel that hides amongst the folders on my Macbook. In short, Zoe lives in a technological and mechanical world known as the Community. In the Community, all emotions have been rejected and society is driven by implanted chips which break down life into simple and harmless tasks. Every day is the same and every one is the same. When Zoe’s chip begins to glitch and she gets a glimpse of how world is without the rose-colored glasses of the Link network, Zoe becomes curious about the rest of world and how different life could be. In addition to this mental clarity, Zoe also learns that her glitch is due to her own mental development of telekinetic powers. Zoe struggles to control these newfound powers and remain in the only society she knows, all well longing for something more. I will not say much about this book simply because I could go on about it for hours; however, I will say that I found the plot line to be wonderful albeit the pace was rather slow. Regardless of the pace I stayed up all night turning pages and have not regretted that loss of sleep at all. I cannot wait for the second book and the resolution to a well placed but purely evil cliffhanger. Kudos to Anastasiu for keeping me waiting.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

5 out of 5

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After finally reading this piece, I wish that I could slap every person who told me that it was precisely like Twilight. Okay, the plot does involve wolves who shape shift into humans, but the similarities end there. Shiver is the story of girl named Grace who was attacked by wolves year before but retains no fear of them. In fact, Grace believes that there is more to them than meets the eye and she even calls the wolf with the yellow eyes her own. When Grace finally comes to meet the boy, Sam, who exists with the yellow eyed wolf, her life is changed forever and she is ushered into a world and life that she never would have dreamed about. Overall, I found the romance between Grace and Sam to be incredibly endearing and a topic of which I do not believe I will tire. While I can understand how this novel would not appeal to some, as paranormal romance novels often do not, I would urge readers to give it a shot. It is a prime example of well written paranormal novels that go beyond clichés and actually navigate a suspenseful plot.

MacKinnon Curse Trilogy by J.A. Templeton

4 out of 5

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The MacKinnon family is legend in this Scottish town and even the newest residents, an American family that includes main character Riley Williams, cannot avoid being affected by the MacKinnon’s tale. After living through an accident that killed her mother-the event which led the family to movie across the globe-Riley has developed the ability to interact with ghosts. Within moments of moving to Scotland, Riley meets Ian MacKinnon, the ghost who use to inhabit the castle near her own residence. As the tale develops over three books and a novella, Riley comes to terms with her ability to talk to ghosts as well as the event which led to the ability. I generally do not expect much from ebooks, particularly when the first in the series is free, but I was pleasantly surprised by Templeton’s writing abilities. While the storyline sounds as though it would follow the cliché “ghostly interactions and becoming a median” plot line, it is executed in such a way that it feels new. Not only does the plot involve “helping ghosts move into the light” but also a stalker ghost set out for blood, the concept of reincarnation, and the simple confusion of being the new girl in not just the new school but also new country. I hope that Templeton continues writing and perhaps expands even further upon Riley’s character and the MacKinnon curse. I would not recommend the book to anyone who is easily triggered by mentions of self harm or violence, or those whose sensibilities deny the possible existence of ghosts and the like.

Lovely by Alison Liddelle

4 out of 5

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Oops, I just realized that I already reviewed this book. Link –> Lovely by Alison Liddelle

Alright, darlings, my fingers might fall off so that is all for now. I hope that I have helped you find a few new books to add to your reading list and I would love any suggestions for my own reading list in the comments below or by email. Have fun reading!

Come Alive by Elora Ramirez

The strongest people in life are often those that you least suspect. At least, that has been my experience. They are the boy or girl who put on a brave face. The man or woman who smiles regardless. The person who makes it through terrible days and nights without anyone even taking notice. Strength is a difficult aspect of humanity to understand because it is different for every person. For Stephanie Tiller, strength is something that she consistently feels she has run out of and others believe she has no need for it.

In Elora Ramirez’s book Come Alive, the reader is instantly immersed in a world where everything holds a secret story. A girl with a dirty father and desperate hopes of escape. A boyfriend with a truly loving heart and a hidden agenda. A former teacher with a soul of pure white and an abundance of cookies. A world in which many of those that commit crimes are the same people that are meant to stop them from being committed.

While I will not tell you the whole storyline–as I wouldn’t want to ruin it for those that want to read it and some pretty heavy topics are involved–the book is overall centered around the idea that pain, darkness, and the past in general can lead a person to places and actions that they never imagined. Countless times during my reading, I had flashbacks to the dark bits of my past as well as the songs that I took comfort in at the time. “Beauty From Pain” by SuperChick (Song Link) echoed in my mind with every turn of a page.

Setting aside the religious component of both this song and Come Alive, both express this deep feeling of deliverance from the darkness. A coming into the light. An awakening of some deep seated faith or hope. For the character Stephanie Tiller, she holds such light within her, as seen in her creative writing and general thoughts on life, yet others attempt to suppress it with suffocating darkness. While many may not suffer the exact same circumstances as Stephanie, it is heartbreakingly easy to relate to the feeling of being a caged bird that is present throughout the tale.

It has taken me far too long to write this review with my only justification being that I read this novel thrice over and still could not find quite the right words to express my feelings. For almost two months I could not decide whether I should tell my readers about this tale rather bluntly or simply encourage them to read it themselves and react accordingly. I have decided on a review that allows for something in the middle. I am tiptoeing on eggshells so that I may not influence your own reading and I hope it makes sense in the end.

Come Alive will make you cry, tear at your heart strings, break another piece of your innocence, and then hold you close and dry your tears. If no other words can describe the tale of Stephanie Tiller, it is an emotional roller coaster–a roller coaster I am honored to have ridden and likely will again.

I must warn my readers however, that the topics are quite mature and dark, and might not be appropriate for my youngest of readers and fellow bloggers. On the other hand, with the topics that are discussed on daytime and evening television now, I cannot see how it would necessarily harm readers of any age as long as they are mature in their reading. The topics simply force you to face a reality that is not pretty and that some may not appreciate.

I cannot wait for this author to delve further into her creative gifts and write more pieces of literature. Congratulations on her first full publishing and I will be sure to read the next piece of Stephanie’s story whenever it comes out!

If you are interested in the author or would like to read the book, you can find quite a bit of information about that at the links below. Cheers to your reading.

Author Website

Author Facebook

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Weaving Words & Wielding Weapons

Cries. Gurgles. Whines. Screams. First words. First sentences.
Creating sound and word is an integral part of every society. That is what makes it is so simple to neglect. Constant use is not enough of a reminder and immunity is built against these mighty creations. We underestimate them.
We have forgotten their power. 
Words are like breath. Taking in and letting out. Sometimes holding it inside until its dying to be released and replenished yet again.
Words are like food. Providing for the most basic of needs–personal nourishment. Yet, at the same time, quite dangerous in consumption and expulsion. Poison as well as dessert.
Words are like sleep. Rejuvenating to the senses. Exhausting to the emotions.
Words can call for help. Words can cause help to be needed.
Words can declare true love. Words can express fierce hatred.
Words can ask grand questions. Words can proclaim venomous lies.
Words can heal terrible wounds. Words can cause irreparable damages.
Words are powerful, and they can serve infinite purposes.
It is as simple to weave words as it is to wield weapons, and sometimes they are one in the same. 
Be careful what you express.

Dreamer, Doer, Thinker: The Beauty of Journaling.

A new journal sits atop my ever-growing stack of library books, and it saddens me to think of the fullness of book pages while my journal lies empty. It is a terrible oxymoron: my fingers ache to create and my mind craves words to write within new pages, yet I cannot bring myself to give in. I am too scared to ruin it; I am too scared to write alone and with abandon.Journaling is different from writing here or anywhere else online. On the Internet you know that anyone is likely to read your work, and there is a certain comfort in recognizing your work as only one of millions. Journaling is more personal and very nearly a secret. No one has to know unless you allow them. It is the private words that fill your head and spark such great emotion. It is the map of your mind and heart, and maybe even your soul. A journal is a creature of its own; a volatile and uncertain creature.

This journal is special to me even though it’s nature and depth have yet to be defined by filled pages. Emblazoned on the moleskin cover are two sentences:

“She’s a dreamer, a doer, a thinker. She sees possibility everywhere.”

Challenge. These simple words printed on simple material are my own personal challenge, though they were probably only meant as decoration. These words are growing in my mind, threatening to become unconquerable obstacles. And with each obstacle that forms in my mind, I am encouraged.

Dreamer. Endless days and nights have been spent in the dreams of the waking and the resting. My soul knows well the contours of reality and my imagination allows me to defy them.

Doer. A revolution to fight or a war to wage, I have craved to do something. My body is capable and my heart is fierce; I know well the pull of action.

Thinker. Facts, figures, and concepts are not foreign, and I crave only more of them. My mind carefully measures out every second and every detail; my mind knows well the power of analysis and thought.

This journal holds so much promise. Greater dreams that break boundaries I did not know I even had. Meaningful actions that change the future. Powerful thoughts that come to bring life new definition. Out of innumerable identically manufactured journals, this one is mine and the two sentences it contains encourage me to fill it with me. I cannot be scared of possibly not measuring up to the challenge. I cannot be frightened to write alone and with abandon. I must do exactly what the cover says. I must meet the obstacles my mind alone presents and overcome them. Write. Dream. Do. Think. Will you do the same?