She Isn’t Dead!

An image of Me Hiding

She isn’t!

And by she I mean me. I’m not dead. But the blog has been metaphorically dead for, what? Half a year? Good Lord.

A lot has happened, internet. I’ve graduated from college. Got a real-person job. I moved away from Vancouver and now I’m situated in Kirkland (still Washington, though, so not too far.) My internet has downgraded from 120 Mbps to 60, but it’s just me using it now so I guess it’s all good.

But who cares about me– I know what you really want to hear. WHAT ABOUT THE BLOG? ARE YOU GONNA DO SOMETHING WITH IT???

The answer, my friend, is yes. Though I guess that doesn’t mean much coming from me, since I’m historically bad at continuing this blog. Heck, I don’t even know if anyone’s gonna read this post about Little Atmospheres’s resurrection. But you know, that doesn’t really matter– I started this blog for me, and I’m gonna continue it, because, why not?

So this blog– I might be shifting it to more art-stuff, since that’s what I do more of now. But other than that, this blog will continue to be what it always has been: random.

So until next time, internet. I’ll keep in touch, I swear.

-Jackie

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4 x This Week: We’re Alive (Probably), Missing Winter and Introvert Problems

Me, as described by a manga speech bubble
Figure A: an accurate description of Jackie.

Hello hello hello~ It’s been a while, hasn’t it? As you might have guessed, I’m starting up these 4 x This Week posts again. Woot.

Unfortunately, however, it’s not going to be very exciting this time around. Or particularly long. Why? Well, young audience members of mine: it’s 11:43 p.m., I’m sleepy, I’ve been babysitting the members of my class project group all week, life is fluctuating between yay and meh and dear God no (but mostly the last two), and if I write too much right now I might accidentally flood you with all my pent-up anguish.

All right, all right, I’m just bein’ dramatic.

Mostly.

Anyway:

**1**

I miss winter so, so much. And autumn. Typically it’s just about missing the cold air, or raindrops—crunchy leaves, cups of tea. I’m also a big fan of soup, which isn’t really a summer food.

But this time around it’s different. Why? Because this is the last winter I get to spend in college. Which I like. And this summer I have to go home. Again. Do you remember what happened last summer when I went home? If you don’t, there’s a 4x post about it.

It wasn’t fun.

Cue existential dread.

**2**

My friend and I were doing a photoshoot this past weekend (we’ve been doing a lot of them recently, I realize)—I take the shots, usually. It’s fun, and I could always use some extra practice behind the lens.

But you know what makes me really happy as a photographer? Window lighting. So gorgeous. So dramatic. It makes me look more pro than I actually am.

I also like bricks. Bricks are a fun background.

**3**

I am a 22-year-old adult in college, and you know what scares me the most?

Professor: “Get into groups.”
Me: *looks around* *sweats*

**4**

On the bright side, the writing’s going well. Sometimes I wonder if I write better when I’m really stressed. Because my characters are usually pretty stressed. So I probably write their stress better when I am also stressed.

x

That’s it for this week, I guess. Nothing too fancy.

I’m going to try to establish these as a Monday thing. Maybe Tuesday? Still deliberating on that one. But I’ll try to be cheerier next week… probably.

4 x This Week: Back in Seattle, Inktober (question mark?) and Craving a Book

Seattle Sunset
Look how pretty!

Back again. And on a Wednesday, no less. And on a school day. Sigh.

**1**

I’m back in Seattle! And I start school today, as I have mentioned earlier. Everything in Washington is so beautiful. Sorry Phoenix. I miss the trees.

**2**

There was a book I ran across at the book store that I reeeeeally want to buy. Like, the summary and I just clicked, you know? And I almost purchased it even though I told myself I’d try not to impulse buy books. Plus, this book is pretty new and is $25. (Probably would be like $18 if I bought it on Amazon, but I want to support my local independent bookstore, damn it.)

So… check back with me next week. I might be $25 in the hole by then.

**3**

I’m thinking about doing inktober this year, which is saying something because I am historically bad at doing these kinds of challenges. Remember the 30-ish day drawing challenge? The one that I never finished? Which was about the same length as the month of October?

Yeah, me neither.

I keep saying I’m “thinking about it” even though I just bought new drawing pens and markers. You’re such a hypocrite, me.

Anyway, we’ll see how this one goes.

**4**

Earlier I mentioned that I’m back in school, so I thought I’d talk a bit about the future here. I’m going to keep trying to do these 4x posts, though it may drop down to every other week, since school makes me quite busy. Not that anyone cares, probably. These posts reach, like, what, two people?

Sorry, sorry, that’s just me being salty. Anyway, I don’t want to drop these posts completely because I think it’s good for me to meditate over what happens to me every week, even if it’s not particularly exciting. So I’ll carry on, I guess. Though it will probably  be

much

much

slower.

x

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.

x

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.

Save

Paper Adventures: Musing About the Blog While Folding a Procrastination Crane

Paper crane I folded that looks kind of like vanilla bean ice cream

So I had a thought yesterday, and that thought was: I wonder how my blog is doing?

Not well, obviously. Little Atmospheres has become a poor, neglected child in my opinion. I feel like I’ve become an estranged parent who only visits her kid every month or so, if even. Why, oh why have I let things go this far?

Anyway, the thought hit me because I was in the middle of writing an essay for one of my classes when I decided that I should fold a paper crane out of some dot paper instead (which, as my sister pointed out to me, looks like a vanilla-bean ice cream crane). You know, as you do when you want to procrastinate. And then somehow paper crane yay turned into I love paper turned into I think I mentioned my love for paper on my blog before which morphed into I should put this on my blog which eventually became oh my gosh the blog THE BLOG.

Suddenly I remembered my blog’s existence. It was kind of like finding an unused journal in the back of your bookshelf. Exciting. But also kind of, why haven’t I been using this?

Paper, as it happens, is one of my favorite things on this earth. Paper is crisp, it’s pretty, it’s packed full of potential. The blog is similar, in many ways. It’s pretty. It has potential. But the key difference between the two is that I know what to do with paper. If I see a piece of paper I know I can draw on it, fold it, or maybe look up something new to do with it. I saw some dot paper while writing my essay; I folded said dot paper into a vanilla-bean ice cream crane. Easy.

But the thing is, I have never known what to do with Little Atmospheres. It’s a piece of paper I’m often afraid to touch. It’s still crisp. It’s still pretty. It’s still full of potential. But it’s not much more than that. Why? Because I’ve never known what to use the blog for. And honestly, I don’t think I know how to properly blog. When I sit down to blog I feel like a monkey at a typewriter, randomly jamming keys and hoping something will stick.

I think part of the problem is that I want whatever I put on the blog to be shiny and perfect. I was like this as a kid with those journals I mentioned—I would always buy beautiful journals, but I didn’t write in them. I wanted to save them for the perfect thing to write, which of course never came. So the journals went unused.

But now I think I’m going to try something new. Treat Little Atmospheres more like paper. To use and enjoy, not fearing judgment or lack of perfection. I think this is a lesson I can apply to other things in my life as well. You know, I heard on the internet somewhere that procrastination can be a sign of perfectionism, because often what happens is that we put things off if we are unsure of whether or not we can produce something quality. But perfection isn’t everything, and quite honestly, the stagnancy isn’t very helpful.

So what does this mean, in the end? Well, for starters, I’m going to try to do something with the blog. What? I don’t know. I’ve probably said this a million times before, too. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?

Hopefully I find my true blog calling through this experience, whatever that may be. And if you’re struggling with some kind of perfectionism-procrastination thing, well, I hope you know that perfection is subjective, and whatever you do will probably be quality, or else will be a stepping stone you can use to get to quality. But you gotta take a step first.

Or so they tell me.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. I still have an essay to write. Oops.

Repurposed World

A Fence Somewhere Else

Repurposed World

We start over, building the world again

Taking blocks and
pressing sand
to powders

So that they can all be used once again

All that was old has been taken apart

Repurposed
so it loses its old face

But keeps a new name—
new time—
new purpose

We can build towers,
and ships,
if we want

Scale the highest heights
sail the ocean blue

If we rid ourselves of the shackles first,

And try to build them up again—
anew