4 x This Week: Piano/String Cover Music, More Books, and Suddenly Weirdly Creative

Warcross and Caraval and a Reflection
Warcross from last week, Caraval from two weeks ago. And look, I caught their reflection! So fancy.

Once again I have skipped a week, but I’m back. Mostly.

**1**

First, some music. Recently I discovered some awesome piano/string covers by Sam Yung on YouTube, which made my day. The first one I listened to was the cover of Hikari from the Kingdom of Hearts soundtrack, but I also love the Paramore and PVRIS covers. And just, like, everything.

**2**

BOOKS! Finished two good ones: Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee, which I’ve been excited about since forever but finally got around to this week, and Warcross by Marie Lu, which I devoured in one day.

**3**

I’ll be out of Phoenix by this Tuesday and back in Washington. I’m not gonna miss the heat, but I will miss my sister :(

I will also miss the time away from the drama that is my household. I guess I’ll be going back to Seattle and college and all by next Sunday, so I won’t be “home” long, but still.

**4**

I had a weird burst of creativeness today (or Sunday, I guess, since this is going up Monday?), the kind of happy-but-almost-sad-high I typically get right before I get sick. I don’t know if that makes any sense. It kinda feels like the way your stomach drops when you stand on a cliff or a high building and take in a gorgeous view.

I don’t really know why that makes me happy—the feeling before I gets sick, I mean—but my theory is that it reminds me of when I was a child and got sick, and thus got to stay home. It’s weird, though, because if I feel ill in any other ways I usually hate it and have panic attack. I’m not good with my body shutting down. But when I feel specifically like this, I don’t know, it just puts me in a writing mood for some reason.

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4 x This Week (Well, More Like 8): Books, Fake Languages, and Dying Inside More Than Once

Well, I’ve missed two Mondays now. The first time around I just forgot, and then I got caught up reading a new book, and then yesterday I thought it was Sunday. So, congratulations me. You are completely not on the ball.

As such, I’m going to mention eight notable things instead of four. Sorry in advance, this is gonna be a bit long.

(Aaand no picture this week. Sue me.)

**1**

I read Caraval by Stephanie Garber and I really liked it (which, if you remember, is why I forgot to post.) When I read it I thought it was up my alley, and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. Because if I had been disappointed, well, that would have sucked. Anyway, I loved the way the book was written. Apparently the prose bothers some people, but I like that kind of purpley-ness.

**2**

Need a fake language for your book, or just because? Well, a fake language generator exists. It’s called Vulgar, and it’s so much fun to mess around with.

**3**

At first I thought the sound of Paramore’s newest album After Laughter wasn’t really my thing. But then one day I was listening to it again while doing dishes and reevaluating my life, and suddenly I found the lyrics relevant to my life. Like, eerily relevant.

The songs “Pool” and “26” are still my favorite though.

**4**

Apparently I have a thing about people looking at my laptop screen over my shoulder. Like, whenever someone passes behind me while I’m on my laptop, I feel the need to hide whatever I’m doing and look at a blank tab or something. Even if I’m typing something like this blog post, which will be public anyway, or homework, which is useless for spying.

So, for future reference, anybody who reads this and meets me in real life: please do not look at my screen. I beg of you.

Times I’ve died inside: x + 1, where x = the number of times the people around me decided to creep up behind me.

**5**

My laptop has officially stopped recognizing DVDs. I’m crying inside.

But the day I replace my laptop (aka MY IRREPLACEABLE LIFE BLOOD) over this is the day I eat my socks.

Times I’ve died inside: well, since my laptop is  everything essential to my well-being and existence, I’d say about 1,000 times.

**6**

I decided to take the “Ash challenge” while playing Pokemon Fire Red again. According to the challenge I have to a) only use Pokemon that Ash caught in the anime, b) catch a pikachu as soon as possible and always keep it in my party, and c) give away any Pokemon that are given to me. I’m thinking about not following this last one, though, because I need a Lapras.

**7**

Sometimes I wish I was really into genre fiction. You know, like I wish I was obsessed with medieval fantasy or something like that, because then I’d have a near-constant stream of like items that make me happy.

Alas, it is not so.

**8**

I watched a few minutes from the live-action Death Note that Netflix released and almost died inside. And not in a good way.

I’ll get back to you when I actually finish the movie. If I finish the movie.

Times I’ve died inside: you have no idea. And I only saw a few minutes.

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4 x This Week: Help I Hate My Characters, More Ambient Music, Shepherd’s Pie, and a Tongue Twister

Monday. 2:54 a.m. Nearly forgot to write this post. So a-here-we-go~

**1**

I’m hitting a bit of a writing wall right now, mostly because of some character things. I may write a longer post about it this week, but for now I’ll try to summarize. Lately none of my characters have been clicking for me, and there have been certain points in time when I’ve just hated all of them. Like, what used to excite me about them has suddenly vanished into thin air. After some introspection, I realized this is likely due to events in my own life—but how so, you may ask?

Well, it has come to my attention that the way I perceive my characters is directly related to the way I perceive people in general—not specific people, mind you, but humanity as a whole. Lately, however, certain people in my life have lessened my opinion of relationships (not necessarily romantic) and other people in general. You know how it is—you run into someone who is so infuriating or downright evil that it makes you want to tear your hair out. So opposite your own soul that you cannot believe they actually exist. So present that it makes you question the sincerity of every other person you have met or ever will meet.

Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Because of personal issues I am dealing with, the characters in my writing are suffering. And, as you may know, writing is usually a pretty personal experience.

My characters now seem too… optimistic about encountering other characters, whereas I suddenly find myself more pessimistic about meeting new people. This also comes at a crucial time when my main character is supposed to be forming her friendships, and creating lasting bonds—something that is now difficult for me.

For a moment I considered taking a break from writing my main work and focusing on some other side thing, but I felt a little better about my characters today than I did yesterday. Mostly I think it’s just personal stuff I need to sort through.

The most interesting thing about this whole experience is probably that I never realized just how closely my characters were connected to my own state of being. Whether or not that is a good thing, well, I guess I’ll find out in the weeks to come.

**2**

Flipping the switch here, I’m always looking for ambient, soundtrack-like music, particularly when I’m writing. Some time ago I posted about jazzhop or something like that. This week it’s, let’s see—“chillstep,” which I guess is like dubstep, but… chill; lofi (lofi hip hop?); and some trap-Japanese mix, which sounds weird (I mean the name, not the actual music), but is good.

**3**

I tend to make this shepherd’s pie a lot, using this recipe. Just made one today, actually.

**4**

Tongue twister I heard somewhere that my sister and I quote a lot:

How many Lowe’s could Rob Lowe rob if Rob Lowe could rob Lowe’s?

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4 x This Week: Animated Movies (Question Mark?), Writing Advice Websites, and Five Man Bands

Hello again. Not much going on this week, so, uh, I’m gonna talk about random things. Also, no picture, because… just because.

**1**

Here’s a question: why do some adults avoid animated movies? I always come across people who think that animation (2D or 3D) is for children, which confuses me a bit. Yes, many of these movies are marketed towards children, but many of those movies are also quite complex. And who says that a story made for children can’t be for adults too? This, to me, calls to mind a few quotes from C.S. Lewis:

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

and:

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Additionally, have you seen how much work goes into animating a movie? There’s a lot of planning and technical work that goes into that stuff.

If anyone is an adult who is averse to watching animated stuff, I’d love to hear a thought.

**2**

Writing advice?

http://elumish.tumblr.com/ –> General, lots of posts about lots of different things

http://howtofightwrite.tumblr.com/ –> How to write about all kinds of combat

http://tvtropes.org/ –> Just go check it out. Every trope under the noonday sun.

**3**

For some reason I’m really hung up on the Five Man Band trope, and I keep trying to identify it in movies/shows/books with groups of five people. I’m always surprised by how many things fit the trope…

Also, have I mentioned how much I love looking through the TV Tropes website?

**4**

I just have to tack on at the end that I saw Wonder Woman and I was not disappointed. It was great.

4 x This Week: Phoenix, Aimer, and Lightless Rooms

Airplane Sunset on My Way
Sunset from my airplane seat on my way into Phoenix. How did I get this gorgeous shot? I have no idea.

The photo is a bit deceptive. It is beautiful. Light. Almost whipped-cream adjacent.

This post is not.

**1**

I’m in Phoenix! If anyone is reading these 4 x This Week posts (which you’re probably not, but I’m trying to practice being an optimist), you might remember that I mentioned that I would be visiting my sister in Arizona two weeks ago. And then I didn’t. And I went to Seattle last week instead.

Well, I finally made it to the Grand Canyon state. As expected, it’s hot. Like, really hot. As I am typing this (at 8:36 at night, sun is down) the current outdoor temperature is 102 degrees. Now, 100+ degree weather is not what you would call my forte, but I’m coping. We have air conditioning. The sunsets are amazing. I’m adjusting to the heat… sort of.

I can’t say the weather isn’t exciting, though. Saturday there was a weird storm thing happening. In the morning it was sunny as usual, and then all of a sudden in the late afternoon it was raining and the wind was blowing hard enough to break the palm trees down the road. It was kind of fun, but then again I didn’t have to go outside, so.

Update: It’s 10:00 and there’s a storm. Lightning, wind, dust, the works. And yes, it is 92 degrees.

Second Update: 10:15 look it’s raining. A lot.

Still 92 degrees though.

**2**

Right now I’m listening to Aimer. She’s a singer from Japan and I absolutely love her voice, as well as the rock/emo influences in many of her songs. I just found out she’s on Spotify, so she’s been on repeat for a few days. The first song I ever heard from her was Brave Shine, which I highly recommend. Also, I really appreciate the whole blanc/noir theme of her two collection albums. And cats! With crowns!

https://i2.wp.com/aramajapan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/aramajapan_blanc-noir.png?fit=1024%2C518

**3**

Writing: right now I’m at 42,816 words in my latest draft (give or take—I skipped over a section but also tend to write a lot of notes). I feel like the story needs to happen along faster, or that 42,000 words is a bit much for how far I actually am in the story. But then again, they say that when writing you should worry about the word count later. For now, just write.

Right?

Also I think I have too many characters moving around in the story right now… which I feel has actually been a problem for a long, long time. I guess I just never felt like addressing it. Well, not properly, anyway.

So if the person who is reading this right now is actually me from the future, I hope you’ve done something about this. And if you haven’t? SIT DOWN, GRAB A PEN, AND FIX IT.

NO, DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

FIX. IT.

**4**

Besides all the stuff above, nothing is really happening right now. I mean, if you don’t count my inner turmoil (which is almost always happening, *eye roll*). The thing is, I knew something like this would pop up eventually—that one day I would sit down to write this post and realize that there is nothing of interest for me to write. Nope. Nothing. Blank.

Most days I just wait for my sister to come home from work, since I’m not at school and do not currently have a job. It’s just minutes upon hours upon days upon months of in-between, transitory waiting time. And in those minutes to hours to days to months, I get these flickers. Flickers of fear, flickers that I will be forever in this waiting limbo. Doing nothing, contributing nothing, enjoying nothing. Just… waiting for something to happen to me that is not a blood sugar crash or a panic attack.

I can rationalize and say that this transitory state is, by nature, transitory. But I can only realistically see this and/or feel it to be true once I am outside that state. It’s like being in a room that’s completely dark, a room whose dimensions are unknown. It could be five feet across. It could be a hundred. But I won’t know until I cross the lightless room, touch the walls, and possibly find a light switch. Until then, I am endlessly in the dark, waiting, waiting, waiting.

For eternity? Maybe.

…Anyway, sorry. Got a bit depressing there for a moment.

On a lighter note, I have realized that Emma, my current read, is actually the basis for the movie Clueluess. Huh. You learn something new every day.

***

Well, that’ll be all for today, folks. Stay tuned for the next 4 x This Week, where we’ll discover whether or not our young heroine can pull herself out of her own misery. Will she be forever waiting in a lightless room? Will she find a job? Or is her life about to take a turn for the worse? Find out next Monday!

4 x This Week: Bohemian Rhapsody, Noodle Soup, and Say No to the Zombie Apocalypse

Noodle Soup from Silk Road Noodle Bar
Perfection in a bowl. Noodle soup from the Silk Road Noodle Bar. Not sure what it’s called, but it’s number A1.

I’m changing up the numbering style for this post, maybe this’ll be better?

Also I realize that I’m just ripping all of my pictures straight off my instagram account. Oh well. I’ll try to give you more original material next week.

**1**

Right now (well, before I took a break to write out this post) I’m listening to/singing Bohemian Rhapsody while sitting on my living room couch, writing. The lights in this room are out. But not for atmosphere, no. It’s because the light switch is broken *cry*. So far, I’ve written about five lines of text. This is my Sunday.

**2**

I saw my friends in Seattle! I missed them so much, even though it’s only been like a month since I’ve last seen them. Instead of making a depressing comment about how I’m sad to be back in my home town of Washougal (near Vancouver– not the Canada–and across the river from Portland– not the Maine), I’m gonna recommend some food places I went to this week.

Silk Road Noodle Bar. For some reason I always end up going there at like 4:00 p.m. when it’s empty. Like, really empty. But you should get whatever noodle soup A1 is (I can’t remember the name, just the number). It is all I have ever wanted in a noodle soup.

Portage Bay Cafe: Breakfast. Yum. I’ve only been there the one time, but omigosh it was delicious.

**3**

On my hell no list: caffeine and zombie apocalypse movies. I have indulged in both this week and have realized my mistake.

Caffeine affects my system pretty badly, and mixed with my anxiety it feels pretty much like a race to death. Heart pounding. Hands shaking. Paranoia, paranoia, paranoia.

One sunny afternoon I decided I would drink a white mocha (which I’ve had before, by the way), but there was a bit more caffeine in this one, and I was jittery for hours afterwards. But, like, I like the smell of coffee. And the taste is good at times. But coffee does not like me. So warning to my future self: never again.

Now, zombie apocalypse movies. I have always hated them. And always will. I watched one with some friends on the Fourth of July, thinking that it can’t be that bad.

It was that bad.

I don’t think I scare that easily, but there are four subjects that I stay away from in movies and books at all costs:

  1. zombies
  2. apocalypses
  3. deep outer space
  4. and diseases.

This movie that I watched ticked off three of these four items. And no, it did not include deep outer space. Anyway, it was a bad idea. At first I thought it just made me more depressed and uncomfortable, but then I realized it actually scared me. Like actually scared me. It’s been five days and I’m still having horror flashbacks.

Again, warning to my future self: NEVER AGAIN.

**4**

I started reading Emma by Jane Austen this week. So far, I like it. From Austen I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice (one of my favorite books) and Persuasion. Some time ago I read that P&P, Persuasion, and Emma are the three essentials from Austen, but a quick internet search tells me that that might not be the truth. Thoughts on Austen, anyone?

***

That’s all, I think. Man, I want some noodles now.

4 x This Week: If I Die Young, Someone Delete My Internet History

Books: Ninefox Gambit, Raven Strategem, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
From left to right: Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee, followed by Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Hey would you look at that, it’s July. This week in my uneventful life:

  1. Books! I kinda talked about this on instagram, but here it is again. It’s summer, and I usually read more in the summer, and I haven’t talked about books in a while, so this post was a long time coming. In the order presented in the picture above, first we have Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee is one of my favorite books of all time, and I highly recommend it. Smart, overpowered characters for the win! I’m super excited to read the sequel Raven Stratagem, which I just got my hands on. It feels like I’ve been waiting for it forever. I recently finished Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami. I read it because I a) heard that some people whose work I admire cited this as one of their favorite books and b) made a deal with myself to read more Murakami/magic realism in general. I liked it, but I also feel like I missed something about it. Probably/definitely needs a reread. Also, the shadow was my favorite. Speaking of Murakami books, I actually started The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle before Hard-Boiled Wonderland, and am about a quarter of the way through. Wind-Up Bird has one of my favorite covers of all the books I own. The book itself is a bit long, but I hear it’s worth it.
  2. On the writing side of things: I decided this week to switch from past tense to present tense, which is, uh, harder than I thought it was going to be. Originally my story was 1st person past tense, then I switched it over to 3rd person past, and now it’s gonna be 3rd person present. The flow of words is all messy now, and rereading my work is making me realize that the plot needs some major edits. I’m a bit stuck, but I think I can fix it. Probably. Maybe. 50/50.
  3. I’m flying to Arizona tomorrow to stay with my sister, and I realize that my normal sleeping patterns have not prepared me to wake up for a 6:30 a.m. flight. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter, and I never will. I think it would damage my psyche too much, not to mention that I know it wreaks havoc on my anxiety levels. So I’m going to attempt to sleep early, and wake up before the sun rises. If you see a broken human on the floor in PDX, PHX, or in an airplane somewhere between the two, it’s probably me. (Also Arizona is too hot for me and I heard that Prescott is on fire. Literally on fire.)
  4. I am a giant ball of stress right now and feel unmotivated to do anything, which is bad bad bad. Between unnecessary pressure from my parents, a grim future outlook, fluctuating anxiety levels, a stomach that won’t cooperate with me and self-confidence at all time lows, I don’t know how I haven’t had an attack yet. But it’s whatever, I guess. I know this is another hump I have to get over, but it kinda feels like I’m gonna be climbing over this hump forever, Sisyphus-style. See broken human in #3. The only good thing I can say is that my appetite hasn’t completely crashed yet, and I don’t feel as bad as I do when I’m in the actual pit of anxiety, the way I was in like September-Octoberish of last year. So that’s… good, I guess? Kind of a low bar if that’s what I’m comparing my current state to, though.

Overall, not a fantastic week. To quote the Band Perry:

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn

…but send me away with the words to either Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, In the End by Black Veil Brides, or maybe the sound of Farewell Life by Arn Andersson. All good songs, highly recommend.

4 x This Week: He’s Writing Backwards, Isn’t He

Doodle from 6-19-17

Me drawing: looks good
Also me drawing: he’s writing backwards isn’t he

Anyway, 4 things that stuck out to me this past week:

  1. Only reached my writing goal of (at least) 300 words a day three times this week, but they were a very productive three times. Lesson: keep writing, you can cut stuff out later!
  2. There is a human who made me want to invoke this song this week. Thank you, sir-who-shall-remain-nameless-and-that-I-would-punch-if-we-weren’t-related. I don’t have that many weak points, yet this person managed to hit. Every. Single. One. during his tirade. It was not pretty. There were tears and existential crises. Related to #3. Also related: I miss college and my dorm. I do not like being home. SOMEONE TAKE ME BACK.
  3. I think I’ve hit a low point in my life… All of a sudden, too. Like, I don’t remember being in this pit of despair last week. I’m still in college so it’s kind of okay, but I have no job and am doing nothing for the summer, which makes me feel like human garbage. On the flip side, though, I would like to thank one of my friends for sending me a godlike miracle text of support. She didn’t even know I was feeling down, and yet she made me feel 1000x better. I would also like to thank my sister, who I usually take care of, but I feel is now taking care of me. (Also, it was her birthday yesterday *confetti*)
  4. On a better note, I tore through the manga Akatsuki no Yona in like three days. Character development. Gotta love it. But, unfinished story… driving me insane.

Well, those are my 4 for this week. Stay turned, hopefully next Monday my life will be drastically better.

Hopefully.

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Aaaaannnnd We’re Back

Stone Park in My Hometown
It’s like Stonehenge… but without the stone

Hello there blog, I haven’t seen you since… wow, April? Really? That’s a long time. Anyway, I’m going to try to blog again, which I know you’ve heard a million times before. But it’s summer now, so I guess I have more time to blog, in between dealing with the crazy people in my house and walking to the library two miles away.

(On my first walk this summer I crossed through the weird/cool stone park in the picture. Definitely didn’t know that was there.)

As exemplified by the stone park photo above, I am trying to improve my photography skills. For some reason, this means adding a lot of yellow to my photos when I edit them. I don’t know why. Everything is bluuuue gold *cue Halsey song*

Along with improving photography skills, I’m also going to be doing more writing. I used to be up to 2000 words a day at one point, but now I’m back to 300+. I say “+” because I usually write more after 300. I forget where I heard it first, but someone had the idea of giving themselves a goal of 300 words, since they’d usually get into the flow by then and keep writing after 300. Hopefully, though, I’ll to get back to 2000 soon.

As for the blogging, I think I will attempt to do something new, and hopefully easy: once a week I’m going to list nine (four? five? seven? I’ll decide later) things that stood out to me during the week. In addition, I’ll try to post about my writing journey or other things at least once a week as well. We’ll see how that goes.

I think that’s it for today. Next post will probably be on… Tuesday? I think I used to blog on Tuesdays.

Obviously I am a master at this.

Well, farewell for now.