Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014-- Happiness Is....

This is going to be a very badly organized post, but here goes:

Happiness is....

Happiness is loads and loads of beautiful, sparkling SNOW!

Happiness is finishing your school work and having the rest of the day free.

Happiness is a square of chocolate after a week of eating healthy.(Or deer jerky instead of chocolate--whichever you prefer.)

Happiness is having your own blog and being able to write whatever you want!

Happiness is this song:

Happiness is not....
  • being snowed in.
  • having all your basketball games canceled because of weather.
  • eating healthy
  • not knowing where your MP3 player full of Taylor Swift music is.

For once, I'm actually done with school instead of secretly typing my blog posts while pretending to do school!

My friend Chloee left a comment on my guest book! She asked me how to write a novel. Well, that's a really tough topic! Many have tried and failed to answer that question. So I'm writing a blog post that I'll post soon called "How to Write a Novel."

Today is one of my best friends' birthdays. When we were little, she and I used to think it was awesome that we were born exactly twenty days and twenty minutes apart. It was like fate. Happy birthday, Tiffini! I hope fourteen is your best year yet. <3

As much as I'm always saying how I don't give a darn what other people think, really I kind of do.

The whole time I've had this blog, I've worried what other people might think when they read it. I've worried what my friends and family will think if they stumble across it. I've worried what other writers will think when they read my pieces. I've worried that my blog looks really unprofessional.

Well, I realized something today: I don't need to worry.

If people think what I write is lame or bad, they are jerks and they can buzz off. No one is making them read this. If my friends and family read this blog, what's on here shouldn't bother them because they know that I'm just being me. If other writers want to criticize what a teenager writes, they can hurl insults at me and I'll welcome them with open arms-- I need criticism to grow! And so what if my blog doesn't look professional? I'm fourteen, for Pete's sake! I'm not trying to look professional.

So I'm going to stop worrying about what other people think and write!....

Later. Because I just discovered another overdue assignment....

Oh, brother.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Seven Things On Sundays

Okay, I haven't done this in a while, but here it is:

Pure Randomness: A List of Seven Random Things I Just Realized

1. In my daily writing practice, the name Justin keeps popping up as a character. WHY IS THAT??!!

2. In every story I've ever written, there has been a cat of some sort. Whether a live cat or a stuffed cat or a tree that resembles a cat, it's there. In every. Single. One.

3. Most of my friends have a Facebook or Instagram account. Me, I'm happy with an email address and a blog. And from what I've read over my friends' shoulders, Facebook and Instagram ain't as awesome as everybody says. (Duck-face selfies, girls? Really!? And no one needs to see pictures of what you ate for dinner!)

4. I never actually call my cat, Snickers, by her name. I say stuff like "baby" or "girl" or "Nickers." But never Snickers.

5. Sharp objects and I do not get along well. (This includes high heels.)

6. Of my three personal New Year's Resolutions, I have kept one-- and I haven't even kept that one all the way....

7. I would rather argue with someone for ten minutes than have a pleasant conversation with them for an hour.


Friday, January 24, 2014

But It's STILL Cold Outside (Yay!)

Sigh. January is almost over. The first month of the year is gone. 
Basketball season is almost over. The birthday and Christmas cards have finally stopped coming. (It's a little bit depressing to walk the quarter-mile to the mailbox and find nothing but catalogs and bills. It means the holidays are officially over.) And on February 1st, I'll have to take down the birthday cards displayed on my dresser:
This isn't the best quality picture,
but it was hard to get them all in there!
I still barely managed to get them all in one picture--
see, Fat Cat on the end is sucking in his stomach
 to fit in the picture!
Thank goodness winter isn't over yet! There's still a good foot of snow, short dark days, way-below-0 windchills, and school cancelations reminding us of that.
I'm not being sarcastic when I say I really do love January! I wish it never had to end. Why is it that people love snow and a nip in the air in December, but complain and whine about it after New Year's?

I'm going to go out and enjoy the winter weather! Oh, wait. It's already six o'clock, which means it's pitch-black outside.

Smash Books

Do any of you own a Smash Book? I do. They look something like this:

They look pretty plain and neat on the outside, right? Well, the inside isn't so much. Mine looks something like this:

One of my more orderly pages.
The other ones are too messy to post!

Smash books are amazing. They give packrats like me a place to glue all our junk (gum wrappers, ticket stubs, Valentine's cards, etc.). You don't have to worry about order or what exactly you're putting in-- it's like the junk drawer. There is no right or wrong to it-- you just smash it in!
I think writers should own a special kind of smash book-- one where they keep all their random thoughts and ideas, or just stuff that inspires them to write. A character sketch, a line of poetry, song lyrics, or photos of interesting people that can someday be characters.

Oh, wait-- I think they call that Pinterest.

Anyway, I keep an idea notebook. My idea notebook is where, every day, I write down twenty random ideas or phrases. Each one on the list can be one word or it can be a whole paragraph. It can be an image in your mind, like "lime green headband," or it can be a full description of the object. Remember, the whole point of the idea notebook is to write down the idea. You can use the idea elsewhere. So if one of the items on your list is "Grandma's house," just write "Grandma's house" and describe what it looks like somewhere else.

Here's an example from one of mine:

January 23, 2014

1. Calendar
2. Old diary
3. Drunken pilot
4. Red velvet cake
5. Zucchini
6. Slow Internet
7. Blizzard
8. "Something's made your eyes go cold."
9. A hole in the wall
10. Grabbing the radiator pipes instead of the iron stair railing-- OUCH!
11. Horrible referees
12. Winnie the Pooh
13. Snowman mailbox
14. Tired eyes
15. Ribbon
16. Lace
17. Overdue assignments
18. Ratty baseball cap with skull-and-crossbones emblem
19. Locker
20. Purple camera

As you can see, mine don't have much to do with anything. I just jot down the first thing that comes to mind. (Looking over these, I question my mental stability. Like, WHERE DID SOME OF THESE COME FROM???) But your list doesn't have to be completely random-- it can also be a summary of your day.

When I went to Camp Galilee, I learned very quickly that diary entries didn't work very well, what with the "ten minutes to lights out" combined with long, eventful, 16-hour days! There is just no way to cover all that happens in one day of camp in ten minutes. So I started an early version of my idea notebook. Instead of writing a full description, I just scribbled down the highlights of my day along with any especially interesting bits of dialogue I wanted to remember. Then when I got home, I pieced together diary entries from that list, and added the photos I took. Voila! I didn't forget one bit about my camp experience. It's all written down.

And then I had one of those "lightbulb!" moments and started using it every day as a writing prompt. Now, whenever I get an extreme case of writer's block, I just get out my idea notebook, pick a day, and write a story using all of the items on that list.

What about you? Did you already keep an idea notebook? I'd love to hear about yours-- leave a comment!


-- Rebecca

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Words on Wednesdays

I'm going to start doing Words on Wednesdays. I'm not 100 percent sure what exactly it's going to be yet. The whole thing is still evolving in my mind. But for now, I think I'll just define the word. Sound good?
Vintage Dictionary Words Necklace - "Imagine"
Photo from Pinterest
Redolent--  (ˈredl-ənt), adj.
1. having a sweet smell; fragrant (redolent flowers).
2. giving off a smell (a harbor of redolent fish).
3. suggesting ideas or feelings (Taylor Swift's song Tim McGraw is redolent of young love).
synonyms: evocative, suggestive, reminiscent.

Friday, January 17, 2014

But It's Cold Outside!

January is my favorite month of the year. For one thing, I LOVE the word January. Whenever I hear it, I see the world all spelled out in purple ink in Victorian script. I also see fireworks (for New Year's, I guess) and see a pile of shining violet gems (garnet).

For another thing, I love the snow. And, of course, January brings MY BIRTHDAY!

This year I didn't do much. I put on my Taylor Swift shirt and some pajama pants. I went downstairs to do school-- yeah, right. I'll be honest. More like stare at the computer screen yawning. :^) I accomplished absolutely nothing.

Well, it was freezing outside. It was -2 and the windchill was -44. Sledding was not an option, even though the ground was covered in a lovely layer of untouched white snow. I'd been planning on taking one of my friends to the basketball game that night, but it was canceled due to the weather. What to do?

So I called up my friend Sidney.

"Hey," I said. "Wanna come over? We could go see a movie tonight, if the theater ain't closed."

"Sure. What movie?"

"Err..." I was still half asleep and couldn't remember. So I went and found mom, asked, and returned to the phone. "Either The Hobbit, Catching Fire, Frozen, or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Those are the only appropriate ones they're showing." (They were the only ones that weren't rated R!)

Once we finally got off the phone, my mom went over to pick her up. I stayed home with the Younger Four, who were busy running around in circles in anticipation of birthday cake later that evening. Only... we didn't have a cake! (When there's no school, the roads aren't plowed very well and it's hard to get "into town.") Since we hadn't gone much of anywhere, we hadn't ordered one.

So when Sidney got here, we made my birthday cake. They were actually Devil's Food cupcakes with chocolate filling. And I think we ate more icing than we put in the cupcakes... oh, well. :^)
Just press down...

... and tilt up at an angle.

Fill hole with icing. Eat the middle that you just popped out.
Move on to the next one.
Sidney and I didn't know what to do with the middles (cupcake guts, I called them). Apparently you're supposed to put them back over the icing once you've filled the cupcakes. We weren't told that until after we'd eaten them. Oops! (They were very good, if I do say so myself.)

We couldn't decide which movie to see. My dad finally talked us into watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, saying the reviews looked really good. We agreed. Later we found out that it was the "cheap" movie of the week (every week the theater picks a movie to show at half-price), so we think that might have been why he wanted us to see that one so badly....

Anyway, it was a great movie. A combination of adventure and comedy.

When we got home, we "did presents and cake." Sidney and I also exchanged Christmas gifts since we hadn't seen each other since before Christmas. It was kind of funny, because we each made the other a pillow for Christmas!

Thank you, everyone, for an awesome birthday!

I love January, but I know some people get depressed by the long, cold, dark dead of winter. So if you're feeling cold and want to warm up, here's the recipe my family uses to make hot chocolate. Having a big family we make it in bulk, of course.


22 oz. non-dairy creamer powder
32 oz. powdered milk
1 ½ lbs. dry chocolate milk mix
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup cocoa

Now get out there and play in the snow. Go, go, go, before it melts!

P.S. I'm giving up the 30-Day Blogging Challenge. It's just to hard to blog every day!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 14

Day Fourteen: A Vacation You Would Like To Take

There's just one problem with that. Can you keep a secret?

Here's the secret: I don't like to travel.

"Oh my gosh, did she just say that?" Yes, I did. I'd much rather be home.

The House in the Hollow
(my house)
 I've never liked all the rush and discomfort of traveling. Vacations can be fun, yes, but for the most part, I'd rather sleep in my own bed under my own roof in my own town.

"But you need to get out and see things," you say. "How can you write if you don't know what's out there?"

First of all, I do travel. I have seen what's out there (and I don't always like what I see). I just prefer to stay here at home.

Second of all, there are plenty of beautiful things to be seen in my own backyard:

Meadow Fritillary Butterfly
(I think)

View from the treehouse.

October Snow
The Spring Ice Storm
Third of all, I LOVE THIS PLACE! To me, anywhere else in the world seems alien and cold by comparison.

Friday, January 3, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 13

Day Thirteen: A Guilty Pleasure

Here we are again, running into another "unlucky" thirteen! You know, speaking of lucky numbers, 13 is Taylor Swift's. She's still drawing it on her hand before every concert, I believe.
lucky 13 .
Got this from Pinterest.
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Pinterest?
Oh. Sorry. I was doing a bit of fangirling there. Where was I? Oh, yes. A guilty pleasure.
If you've read some of my previous blog posts, you know that I ADORE Taylor. So can you guess what one of my guilty pleasures is?
1. Listening to unreleased Taylor Swift songs on Youtube. All. The. Livelong. Day. "Music is my drug. Youtube is my dealer."
If you don't know me in person, and you've read my other blog posts, you probably think I do nothing but write and listen to Taylor Swift. But I promise you, that's not (entirely) true! You can actually get a lot of things done faster if you do it while listening to music... in fact, today I'll be cleaning the bathrooms while listening to T-Swizzle....
2. Chocolate. Enough said.

What's going on lately:
  • You know that storm that's been blasting the northeast? Well, we're feeling it here in West Virginia. Six inches of snow and 13-below wind-chill factors are nothing new to us, though, since we live on a mountain. The only thing is, it's a bit hard to practice basketball outside in this kind of weather.
  • It being 2014, I can begin writing my novels! YAY! (*does a little happy dance.*) I'm never making a stupid promise not to write ever again.
  • School is back in session-- for the public-schoolers, anyway, hehehe. :D I don't have to be weighed down by any schoolwork until Monday. Oh... I should probably start working on those overdue assignments from last semester....
  • My flute is in the shop. I haven't been able to practice it since the Christmas Concert, since the band director took it with her over Christmas break to be fixed. I hope it will be as good as new when I get it back! (I also hope I'll be excused from turning in practice times, since I didn't have my flute to practice with.)
  • Basketball season is back! Sigh. Back to practices and working out instead of sitting around eating Christmas cookies.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge-- Day 12

Day Twelve: A Song That You Want Played At Your Wedding

I agree with the Magic Violinist. Being thirteen (almost fourteen), I don't usually give much thought as to what will happen at my wedding. I have PLENTY of time to grow up and worry about wedding songs. But I'm thinking about it for this blog post, so....

1. Mine by Taylor Swift. This is just the sweetest song ever. And, well, you know I love Taylor <3.

2. Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice. Another incredibly sweet song.

3. Love Story by Taylor Swift. "What!" You say. "Another Taylor Swift song?" Well, did you really expect me not  to put this one on the list? It's one of her best-known songs. And it just makes me want to write a story, because I can see the whole story that goes along with this song just unfold in front of me. It's one of those songs that you can see. And anyways, who else enjoys a version of Romeo and Juliet that doesn't end violently?