Senior Sentiments

Somewhere amongst my assignments and after school commitments, I’ve found myself lost in emotion. With three and a half weeks left until graduation, I’m beginning to plan for the end of high school. From printing off pictures for softball senior night to cleaning out the garage for my open house, it seems like there is no end to the mountain of tasks. 

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Before leaving for a job interview I got to leaf through some old photos with my mom. It was surreal. There she was, standing next to her grown daughter, looking back on the years. I couldn’t remember most of the events that our Kodak library depicted, yet she recalled where each photograph was taken and how I reacted to her taking it. 

I felt a twinge of guilt. I was about to leave my family. Suddenly, it felt wrong to celebrate graduation. Although it would be a celebratory moment, the imminent changes would bring them joy and sadness.

As graduation nears, the effects of this reality are more prevalent than ever.

My father cried as my mother showed him the open house invitations.

My sister constantly reminds me that she will call me as much as possible.


At the mention of “college,” my little brother will cry and grasp my legs with all his might. Sometimes he’ll release me only to lock and guard the doors.

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Then there was my mother. She stood with me and we searched through hundreds of photographs. We’d find a photo, a hidden treasure, and burst out laughing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Diamond Mind

Passion

 

A passion consumes you. It steals you away in the middle of the night. Then it robs you of your sleep and time. Have one intense passion and you’re guaranteed to go insane (to some degree). Have more than one passion and you’ve signed your life away to a mental circus and you star in the tightrope balancing act.

 

Those with one passion are referred to as crazy and obsessed. And those who balance are superhuman. We forget that we have passions as well. We forget that the obsessively insane and balancing superheroes are just human.

Natural DiamondA passion is a diamond in the rough. Conceptually, you know what it can be transformed into, but you don’t believe it can be done. You only see the dirty hunk in front of you. You have to be obsessed or a superhuman to turn it into a ring-worthy stone. Luckily, everyone has the ability and potential to be driven to obsession.

Yet, not every diamond is created equally. Some diamonds are the Hope while others adorn ladies’ fingers. Either way, the diamond will be adored and cherished. These diamonds will be put on display, some to a greater degree than others, but they’ll all be seen.

Then there are the hopeless diamonds. The diamonds that have been mined, but haven’t been adopted by the mind. The mind of their miner has abandoned them and they will always lack the luster needed to be a prized decoration. These jewels are nothing more than industrial grade pebbles. The diamonds will spend their existence cutting away at materials that will be used to construct something greater than the diamonds that cut it.

Inspirational Passion

Unpolished and Uncut Diamond Photograph

Inspirational Onslaughts

Cute GerbilThere are gerbils in my mind. Not really, but that’s the only way that I can explain the words that escape the abyss of my brain. Instead of brainstorming sessions, my brain appears to hold gerbil raids. During these attacks, my mind goes on a creative rampage during which anything I see is fair game for a story, prompt, or photograph. These little diabolical critters seem to take in my surroundings like a caffeinated squirrel on steroids. My insane mental tangents result in normal, everyday occurrences evolving into something completely different. Amazingly, the products of my cognitive evolution tend to be sensible. The process of getting my writing to that point tends to be anything but.

The Process: “How the Heck Did I Get This?”

Stories: I don’t search or strain to find ideas to write a story. I let them come to me. I’ll watch a movie, read a book, or browse Google News until I find pieces that I can “Frankenstein” into a story. The different images, dialogue, and settings I use are heavily dependent upon my everyday encounters. While the surface of my stories are influenced by my daily life, the underlying plot is determined by elements of my personal life that connect to the tale. This practice enables me to become more invested in a character than if they were spontaneously birthed from a gerbil storm.

KronkInstead of evil and angelic consciousnesses, my shoulders carry an evil and an angelic gerbil. Most of the stories I write do not have a clear or definitive end. I hate concluding a story. I want the characters to live on and have something after the last sentence. I don’t want  to give one of my creations an inadequate end. The vile gerbil encourages me to leave more loose ends at the conclusion of my story than is typically acceptable. The cherubic gerbil pleads for me to tie up all loose ends with a sense of hope. Sadly, the demonic gerbil wins more than the seraph, and I leave the story in a moment of danger or despair.

Prompts: The gerbils never allow me to rest. Never. Most prompts are the result of a bombardment of random ideas in my sleep or daydreams. A peaceful walk in the woods can dissolve into an alien invasion in which a fish rescues the planet. This dream was heavily revised into the Redwood Forest Prompt. The Presidential Games Prompt was an exaggeration of a daydream in which the nation united to rid itself of Donald Trump.

After finding my subject matter, I decide if I want to create a story or a prompt. When writing a story, I try to include all of the details about the event. When writing a prompt, I outline some of the details in order to build the foundation of the story.

Photo QuotePhotography: Images are a traditional element of storytelling. From cave drawings to imagery in a novel, the things we visually perceive have a great affect on the interpretation of a story. Slightly altering one piece of a photograph can result in a completely different narrative. Although photographs do not tell a whole story, they enhance it. A story describes the events that an author has formulated. A prompt allows another author to expand on the original idea put forth by a different author. A photograph provides additional information to the audience. A film based on a book can drastically alter our perception of a character. While the book gave the audience a mental image, the film provided the image of the character to the audience.

I start taking photographs without a clear focus on what I want to capture. I want my photos to be spontaneous and inspired by the moment. Somethings must be planned, but the variables that can be left undecided are. I avoid trapping myself in a set mentality of what the pictures will be. I just point, focus, and shoot.

I like to work with all three of these mediums. They allow me to creatively express my emotions and interactions with the world. I create and attempt to inspire others to create. I try to find new or interesting angles to examine things through so that I can contribute something. 

It doesn’t matter where the inspiration came from, all that matters it who it came from. Whether it was your creature of enlightenment (my gerbils) or the evolution of an idea, if it was yours, it matters.

Inspiration attacks and leaves behind a creative scar. It leaves your mind with a consuming nature. The more you ignore it, the worse it gets. As it is disregarded, it begins to fester and annoy its future creator. It wants, no needs, attention and demands it from you. Then, when it is satisfied, you desire to repair it. You see the story and value it holds, so you tediously and lovingly revise your work until you are satisfied.

Adorable Gerbil Photograph

Kronk Animated Drawing

Elliott Erwitt Quote

 

Super Me?

We’ve all wanted to be a superhero or possess at least one superpower at some point in our lives. As a kid, I would look up at the sky and be jealous of the birds soaring through the air. When asked which superpower I wanted, flight was my go-to answer. I’m pretty sure we all have a rote superpower answer. It’s human nature to desire something we could never have.

If you could possess any superpower, which power would you choose?

That’s a good choice. It definitely has some benefits; however, you chose wrong.

Most of us have bought into the lie of superpowers at one point or another.

I see a clear distinction between an ability and a superpower, but we tend to get those confused. I would love to have the ability to fly, but I wouldn’t want flight as a superpower.

superpowerAn ability is something you were gifted with or have learned. A superpower comes from a source that is beyond or outside of you. You can’t own a superpower like you can an ability. I have the ability to write, but would my words mean as much if they were the result of a superpower? I’d rather write with less gusto and know that every single word came from my ability than to write something that was the product of a radioactive typewriter ribbon.

There are a lot of things I have the ability to do that I wouldn’t take a superpower for. Although superheroes still train and prepare, they can’t fathom the pride that comes from doing something completely on your own accord.

I’d rather be an ability focused version of me than one who can fly.

Superpower Photograph

 

Rare Disease Day

imageHappy February 29th! I won’t be able to say that until February 29, 2020. We are currently living in a day that won’t exist next year.

In addition to today being a Leap Day, it’s Rare Disease Day! So, Happy Rare Disease Day! That might sound awful, but I’m in this group so I have a license to celebrate as I please! This day isn’t for celebrating the existence of these diseases. It’s for celebrating everything that patients have overcome, medical innovations, and everything that is still to come. This year’s “global theme, ‘Patient Voice,’ recognizes the crucial role that patients play in voicing their needs and in instigating change that improves their lives and the lives of their families and carers.”

 

While some of the symptoms of these diseases can be seen and others are hidden, anyone with a disease, rare or not, deserves to have their voice heard. We are not our struggles. We are not our diseases. We are not our limitations. We are what we decide to do with them.

Rare Disease Day Logo

The List

“It’s not things to know, not things you will learn, but things you already should know but maybe are a little dumb, so you don’t.” – A. M. Homes


Somethings are so simple that we fail to recognize that we know them. Other times we just need to be reminded that we know them. These simple truths are everywhere and can be seen in almost any circumstance. We encounter the “Things You Should Know” on a daily basis.

Everyone has their own list. We build these lists and acquire more truths for them based on our experiences and beliefs. Everyone else misses out on our list because they are busy making their own lists.

  1. Cost and worth are two different things.
  2. Never complain about winter to an Alaskan.
  3. Everyone is enduring their own struggles.
  4. You probably won’t survive a zombie apocalypse.
  5. “Just one more” is never just one more.
  6. “Do what you will because you will anyways.” – A. M. Homes
  7. Comments sections are not the proper place to correct grammar.
  8. Others talk behind your back.
  9. You were an annoying freshman.
  10. You don’t have to watch the new episode of that show.
  11. Everyone is pessimistic about politics.
  12. When complaining about taxes, you are preaching to the choir.
  13. Even the choir needs preaching to.
  14. Valentine’s Day is a marketing scheme.
  15. Avoiding risk is avoiding opportunity.
  16. You should stop banking on winning the lottery.
  17. You have eyes on you at all times, but even those eyes have eyes on them.
  18. Everyone had dreams and everyone envisions accomplishing them.
  19. Failure is always an option as long as you don’t fail to get back up.
  20. The solar system doesn’t revolve around you.
  21. We aren’t content; we continually seek out new things.
  22. Your children will think about trends from your teens the same way you think about trends from your parents’ teens.
  23. Denial is an attachment to your current situation.
  24. The zombie apocalypse is irrational and improbable, disregard number 4.
  25. You get to choose how your life is judged through your choices.
  26. You’ll never have enough time; you have to have enough determination.
  27. You’ll never have a Barbie body (that’s good).
  28. “If you begin and it’s not the beginning, begin again.” – A. M. Homes
  29. Vulnerability is a display of courage, not weakness.
  30. We are not our failures. We are not our successes.
  31. Ignorance is self-destructive.
  32. Being stagnant is suffering a living death.

Respecting differences is acknowledging others’ lists. We’re supposed to help others create experiences and miss out on some. Being part of an experience gives us memories. Missing out on an experience gives us stories to hear.

 

My list was inspired by “Things You Should Know” by A. M. Homes.

 

The Real Story

The Real StoryAs The Fault in Our Stars notes, we all have our own unique story. Our stories are defined by a mixture of challenges and victories: illnesses, the loss of a loved one, moving, winning the championship game, or graduating.

Whatever your story is, those defining stories are small instances through which your view of life changed. We remember these moments the most, even if they happened in a split second. Without these memories it’s likely that we would not be the people we are today.

These stories are us and they aren’t us; it’s how you approach them that matters. Our challenges and victories aren’t us; we are what we got out of them. We have to define our moments.

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