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Is anyone else going to Sewanee Young Writers Conference?

This will not be my normal style of blog post since I just want to meet more people. Well, that is my general goal from making these posts in the beginning, but….

On a whim I applied for Sewanee’s Young Writing Conference. (more like I decided to on a good feeling) I sent in all of the stuff and started to worry. At the beginning I knew I had no chance. For me I felt that it would just be a good opportunity to fail. It would have been my first rejection too. Over time though I thought about it and maybe just maybe there could have been a chance. I mean, after all I made a pretty great letter saying how cool I was.

I thought I would have to wait for a reply for months but less than two weeks later I got a reply. I got in!! I mean this was one of the happiest days of my life. I was set. Going to become a traditionally published author now! No one is going to stop me! Then I calmed down after a week. It was one of the reasons that I gave myself the Shut up! Challenge. In order for me to stop bragging about writing stuff.

In the end, please comment if you are going to Sewanee Young Writers Conference. That would be really cool to talk before hand. I kinda feel weird hopping on a plane to a state that i have never been to, and not knowing anyone who will be at the airport.

See you next time! And hopefully it will be a better post.

Sarah ❤

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A cry to learn

Hello everyone! This might get a little sappy and you will probably learn how much of a wimp I am, but why the heck not. Also, you’ll learn what kind of privileged person I am. I mean I get to go to school, and yet I am still complaining.

I want to be in love with school again. I loved that feeling of learning something new when I was little. I loved homework when I was little. Then it all kinda changed.

In middle school we started to learn about college debt. I felt threatened by the debt. I thought that getting around ten thousand dollars in debt was the same as getting a hundred thousand. I wanted to be able to get a full ride scholarship somehow. Its what the teacher was telling us to do and I believed him.

I used to cry if I could not complete something in elementary school but in middle school I put more pressure on myself. I would cry if I didn’t understand something in sixth grade, but as a freshman I don’t care anymore if I don’t understand, I just care about my grade.

It sucks and feels unescapable. Teachers expect it at this point(students only caring about grades). Some spend more time explaining how to get an A than the topic itself. No longer do teachers say, you will need this when you are an adult. They say, this will be on the test.

After living in this mindset for a while I try to escape sometimes. Today I tried to escape. These last couple days going to school has been really hard and I really needed something to hold onto, to keep loving to learn. We were given a structure to write an essay with. The topic was “Does a tollarent government have more or less power than an intolerant one?” For a long time I had thought, both have power it just shifts who controls the power, but now I changed my mind. Tolerant governments have more power. I wanted to write the essay in a more story like form just how I kinda worked it through my head.

A government starts out with seeds. A intolerant government will give out a few seeds to those who they deem responsible. It would be the same type of people and they would give the people strict rules on how to deal with the seeds. They all end up with the same vegetable and while there could be a lot of it there aren’t many ideas flowing around.

Meanwhile a tolerant government would give the seeds to everyone and tell them to plant whatever they want to. They wouldn’t ask for the fruits or plants back when they are fully grown but by simply having respect and power over a bunch of people who have a lot of plants (these plants represent individual minds and seeds represent education or… propaganda… depending on how they are used) they have more power over trade and can invent more things. Sure these people can use their power to rebel against their government but if the government is truly tolerant (Other than for crimes of violence, like killing) than rebelling would be less likely.

I get it better that way and I feel like many of my fellow students would too. I understand that this essay will be written to die(I mean just not be read by anyone but the teacher then get recycled) but why can’t I at least learn something from it.

As soon as I proposed writing this essay in this way my teacher very nicely shot me down but it reminded me of the fact that I couldn’t argue with that. I can’t argue with teachers because as a student a few of my rights are revoked including the first amendment. So now I have to waste time writing an essay that will die instead of spending it writing something that will live. That others might read. I know that my metaphor wasn’t perfect and I have no idea how to smash it into the structure but I would have liked to try. Then at least I would have failed doing something I enjoyed.

I shouldn’t blame the teacher though. After all they are amazing super heroes at this point because a lot of them are going without pay to protest. And they are just overall there to help kids learn. I guess the method of having more flexible teachers for opportunities to learn would be to not have even more budget cuts increasing our class sizes to 45 students so that teachers can give students individual care.

Or you know giving schools enough money to hire enough teachers to get class sizes down to 30 students. 25 would be great because then I could feel like my teacher actually cared but 30 is fine too.

I just realized that means elementary school class sizes are going to increase to 35, I wonder how soon it will get to 40. 40 kids aged 5 years old spells certain doom.

Also, I’m not perfect either. I won’t go out of my way to write this essay. In fact I am so unmotivated to write the one that she wants me to write that I am doing this instead but I needed to let loose some bottled up emotions. I just want school to be about learning again. Instead of just getting into college.

Well, again I am super grateful for going to school and being able to be there. I also have clean water and a lot of really nice things such as I have no younger siblings to take care of, my chores are pretty basic, and I have a lot of freedoms.

I just want to love to go to school.

I love to learn. I just want school to be synonymous with learning again.

Book review, books

Book Review #1: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

First time ever writing a book review (and I have no idea how to format this) but here goes!

Summary: In this dystopian, futuristic world everyone grows up to think they are ugly, and when they turn 16 they’ll go under a knife to become a pretty. Tally Youngblood is no exception, but her new friend Shay thinks otherwise. Due to this lack of common interest, Shay runs away, and Tally is told that if she doesn’t rat Shay out she will never become pretty. She has to chose to either break a friends promise or stay ugly.

I did a full on photo shot for this book. First time photo shot and the subject is a BOOK!!

My views on the book

This book is a fast read and a really fun ride. Personally, I like their use of electro magnetic toys (They don’t go into detail but the concepts are fun.) This was my second time reading the book and I felt like it was slower since I already knew all the twists so I promise I wont spoil anything. This book (Published 2005) was one of the original dystopian books before hunger games (2008) and all of the YA books started to replicate that madness.

Is this okay for my kids? (This is assuming you have kids or are worrying about if there is violence or alcohol.)

Uglies doesn’t seem to have anything super sexual as far as I could tell, if you are against kissing then maybe not the further books. There is some violence and a little death but I think a forth grader would be fine reading it. Maybe even a third grader. Or you know what this book is fine for any age the next couple books aren’t as family friendly so you might want to look here again once I reread those ones. Or someone else probably said how they are.

Is this book okay for school?

It has a lot of themes so pretty good for any school reports about todays need for girls/boys to fit into a certain standard to be pretty/skinny. I am going to use it for my English Honors this year, and for refrence I am a freshman(9th grade) so as the teacher doesnt realize that it barely talks in any metaphors its a pretty good book to use.

Overall Uglies is an interesting read, not spectacular, but 4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for reading! (I promise I’ll get better at this stuff soon.) What books are you guys reading right now?

Sarah

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First Short Story!!: The Ride

Vivi looks sad.

I wrote this a couple months ago and for back then it was really good. Hopefully you like it. Please give me feed back as I am always on the quest to get better. Also I just want to know if you like it. Ill try and use my pictures of my dog (Violet) to break it up a bit. With out further stalling here is my first short story I’ve written outside of school. I hope the captions for the pictures aren’t too distracting. 🙂

The Ride

Dear Journal, today is August 20th. The day is finally here. I’m waiting for my train right now! I can’t wait to write the whole way to Columbia University, from Portland, Oregon to New York City! The train station is very loud. Luggage is squeaking, and people are talking. I almost feel like I’m in a marketplace with people bargaining over goods. I already got my goods: tea, a book, and a brand new pen. I’m melting into my orange spice tea. There is a lot less security at the train station than at an airport, and thankfully I can bring a lot more luggage. I don’t know what I’m going to write about on the train yet, but I seriously can’t wait. I have 3 days to write, so I will keep you updated. Maybe more often than usual but who knows. Andrew, my brother, hasn’t left yet for his college, but he will next week. He doesn’t need to be there as early since he is a junior this year.

I hope I will have enough free time to keep up my writing schedule. I’ve already worked out which classes I will have. I’m giddy because I will be writing a novel over the course of the next four years. This will be a great opportunity. All of my past projects failed one way or another, unlike my friends, Lilliana and Hailey! Those two already have agents. Lilliana got one book finished and in bookstores, but Hailey still has another year left on the process. Hailey has an extra five thousand dollars for college because of her deal. Sometimes I wish I had her skill. The train is pulling up with all of the loud screeching it entails, I better get ready to board. Write soon.

She gets no pets. (She does. She just doesn’t remember them they happened a full thirty seconds ago.)

Dear Journal, It’s pretty late, and I’m going to bed soon. I just met my roomate. She seemed cool. Her hair was half shaved and the tips were dyed purple. However when she walked in she asked why someone like me would get into the University’s writing college. I asked why she thought I wouldn’t, and she said because I was ‘vanilla’. She looked at my appearance and called me ‘vanilla’. ‘Vanilla’ as in I’m ordinary, and whatever I do is probably becuase of peer pressure. I totally used to be ‘vanilla’, but she has no right to judge me because of my appearance. She has no freaking right! I can look however I want. Instead of starting an argument I sucked it up and said, “I might be ‘vanilla’, but I don’t judge others based on appearance.”

She pointed to my mug. “You use NaNoWriMo. If anything is mainstream it’s using Nano instead of figuring out your own writing strategy.”

“You think I’m vanilla because of my writing strategy?” I kept my voice calm. I was just honestly asking her on the surface. The hostility was deep in me and completely buried.

“I bet you haven’t even published a book yet”

“I haven’t. Not that that was your business!” I put on my headphones, drowning her out, and ending the conversation.

I ignored her for the rest of the night. At least I got a ton of writing done.

Dear Journal, Today is August 21st. I can’t wait until I get to school. It is close, only two days away. I think I can almost feel it. Today we are going to stop for a couple of hours. Not as long as we stopped in Portland, but long enough that I could stretch my legs. I would spend all that time to get away from Gwendolyn. I learned her name today.

I might as well try to get to know Gwendolyn. She might not be as bad as she seemed. First impressions aren’t always correct. Maybe I will be proven wrong. I hope. I’ll keep you updated.

SHE IS SO SAD!!

Dear Journal, here is the conversation I just had with her.

” Gwendolyn, What are you up to?” I asked leaning over my bunk bed down to hers below.

“Important stuff.” She was writing on a Macbook Air. I wanted a Macbook Air but my dad said a chromebook would essentially help me do the same thing:  writing, and procrastinating.

“Like what?” I tried to see what she was doing.

She moved a little and warned me. “Don’t look over my shoulder or else the next time I respond will be a little more than just a warning.”

“Okay….” I moved back a little. But instead of pulling back first, I lifted my head first and hit it on the light. “Oww..” It didn’t really hurt just surprised me.

“You cant even move without hurting yourself? You really need to understand you can’t just hurt the furniture.” She sighed and put in her earbuds. I can’t get anywhere with her and our relationship if she doesn’t talk to me! All I want is to be able to communicate with her. Maybe to ask if she would want some tea, or if she has any good books.

Well, signing out. I think we are stopping in ten minutes and I want to put on my shoes and be out of here ASAP.

Dear Journal, I surprised myself (and her, I think). I asked Gwendolyn if she wanted to go to a cafe with me and she said yes. We actually had some fun. I hope we can keep this friendship longer than two hours though, because when I came back into the room she had obvious body language that she was done.

Of course I asked her if she wanted some tea. She raised one eyebrow and said. “You drink tea? Are you trying to act English to make up for your lack of personality?”

“I just like tea. If you’re acting like that, fine! No tea for you!” I started a kettle of water and climbed up in my bed. Time for some reading. I can’t rant anymore especially with this hand cramp.

Still very sad

Dear Journal, Gwendolyn made dinner. Nice right? She became nice again. I’m getting really confused about her mood swings, but she started explaining it. Apparently, her brother is in the hospital. It was putting a lot of stress on her, and she was just dealing with it. I understand. I love my brother too. That can be really stressful. She should be dealing with it in a healthier fashion, but if she needed to take it out on me then I guess it is okay. I think she needs it. Also I’m a pushover.  

The dinner was Top Ramen. It wasn’t fancy, but it was still good. She added spinach and carrots to make it somewhat healthy. There is a restaurant on the train as well as a cafe. I got us ice cream for dessert and at least we share a love for mint and chocolate chip ice cream.

I think I’m going to call it a night. Two more full days on the train. Maybe this friendship will go somewhere. Hopefully. Future me, cross your fingers.

Dear Journal, Today is August 22nd. We have one train transfer, but we will still be roomates. Why you might ask? because it only costs a little more to book a sleeper cart with two people, and we met online to organize this.

I’ve been growing fond of this train room, the slightly cracked ceiling, the white walls, the creaky bunk beds, the really grimy window, the broken AC, the beautiful view. It’s just a nice room.

So far today my fingers have officially fluttered (writing wise). I’ve already written 5,000 words and I’ve just started. I can’t wait till I have my first book deal. My goal is to be published before I graduate college. I still wonder whether or not I want to do grad school. Hmmm… I will decide this when I’m a junior or something. Maybe at that time I will be a millionaire… well, that might be a little crazy, but one can hope. Maybe if I wish hard enough something will come true even if it isn’t a million dollars in my pocket.

Well, I will keep you updated. Write you later.

Dear Journal, sometimes I wonder if I will keep you forever, never finishing you despite how much I’ve been writing. I swear, I will write in this journal until the day I finally die or when I fill it with my day to day activities. I have a feeling I will die first. I mean I’ve been writing in you since 5th grade, and I’ve only filled a quarter of you. I’m already a quarter done with life. Saying that aloud is weird. I feel like I have a lot more time than 3/4 of my life left to live. I mean I haven’t done more than a miniscule amount of things I want to do in this life. I better go skydiving soon! Good thing this train ride marks off another one of the things on my bucket list.

I just finished settling into my room on the new train. It’s pretty cool. Not as good as the old train room because this one has a leaky ceiling. I still have top bunk and the water will fall on me while I sleep.

Writing is going great. I think I wrote about that this morning, but it still is. Also, Gwendolyn said that we should hang out all day tomorrow. I guess that would be cool but I don’t know. I wanted to get more writing done. Then again it might be nice to start school already having a friend. Even though she is cute and well, over the past day, she has been perfect. Having the best flaws and personality traits, it’s like she knows herself so well she could write a character sheet about herself. I wish I could do that about myself. Too bad I’m too hard to read for myself.

Oh, right. I wanted to make dinner, so I had better get going. I want to start up hot water. I think I’ll have Cup o’ Noodles tonight. Maybe I’ll make Gwendolyn some too.

Dear Journal,

She got pastries for dessert tonight and they are good. The paper smells a little like her. Is it weird that I’m getting a crush on her? I have a feeling I shouldn’t. But are hearts ever logical? NO!

We watched a Netflix movie together. We started at a friendly ‘I just met you’ distance but near the end I got scared and held her hand. I know, cheesy hand holding. Well I barely date  and I don’t just kiss right off the bat. I mean it’s the most I’ve done romantically in a while. I’ve been busy writing recently. I just don’t feel confident enough in my writing to do anything with it. I believe that I should keep to myself until I reach my standard of quality.

This rant has gone on long enough. I definitely feel like my fingers are going to die if I write anymore. Thank you future me for reading. Adiós!

Dear Journal, Today I’m going to spend the whole day with Gwen. I made her coffee, but she isnt awake yet. I’m going to write a little until she wakes up. You know I won’t be creepy watching her. I don’t want to be too much of a creepy stalker. You know. Only a little bit a creepy stalker. Just enough that you are considered nice, and not weird. I’m going to write a little today. I’m hoping for some tears! The climax is near, and I have the power of tension.

Bye.

Dear Journal, I’m writing this late at night. Gwen is reading right now, but I have much to tell you.Today was perfect. We stopped at a town for a couple hours and we just walked around. It was sunny and a perfect 70 degree weather. It was weird how much our relationship changed, but living with people can do really strange and weird things. Maybe this was just one of those.

We ate some popsicles and some sushi. I amused her with my horrible jokes. I let her read my last book, and she said that it was good enough to publish. I didn’t believe her of course, but it was still nice to hear.

We sat in a park for a while. The grass was slightly damp, so we just sat on our bags. She had to do some writing too. We both were in our two totally separate worlds for about an hour.

Back in our beautiful train cabin we call home, we watched some movies and played games. It was an overall enjoyable experience. After over tea and coffee I asked her about her brother. She began to cry. I hugged her for a good thirty minutes. She talked about him going into surgery on and how scared she was. She felt bad for leaving at such a crucial time but he asked her to go to school and didn’t want her to come back just for him. It pulled at her heart but she did as he asked.

I wish I could help her heal, but I understand she needs to work through it on her own. We will be parting ways early tomorrow morning. I wish we could stay together longer, but we have many classes together. Maybe I will see her again soon. I can’t wait until I can have another day like this with her. She deserves more days like these.

Well, I got a lot of writing done and maybe I will try to publish soon. Publishing will always be my dream. I just need to get to that dream. I know I will be able to find a way. New York is a pretty cool place to make that happen.

I have the perfect outfit for tomorrow. I’m going to watch a show on Broadway then write in a coffee shop. All of this after dropping my stuff off at my dream school. It really is going to be a great year.

Action shot or just shape shifting

Hey Journal, Right after I wrote the above my phone rang and here is the conversation. “Baby,” Crackled my mom’s voice. “Andrew took a turn for the worse. He wanted to call you just in case.“

“Mom?” I said. “What do you mean? I thought he was doing better.”

“No sweetie.” My mom croaked. I could hear people crying in the background. I stared at my laptop.

“Is he awake?” I willed her to say something like ‘Just Kidding!’ But I knew she would never joke about this. My eyes stung and the lump in my throat was so big I couldn’t breathe.

“Yes. Here I’ll give the phone to him.” The transition was quick.

“Hey Gwenny.”

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A Pondering

Hello! Finally a day where I’m not babysitting so I can post something.

I changed my site a little, a new url, title, and a username. I guess I just felt uneasy with the old ones. It’s probably dumb but it is a showcase of teenagers loving something one second, and changing their mind the next. I added a Instagram too! I made one just for book stuff. I think I’ll add my Goodreads account later.

I finished reading Misery, by Stephen King last night. I gotta say, near the last few pages I had no idea what was going on. It was really creepy and intense though. I still can’t get some scenes out of my head. I don’t want to spoil any of it for you guys so I’ll shut up now.

Do you ever lay in bed wondering why books are so amazing? Okay, I’m tearing up right now. Books are just too great. I feel passionately that books are life changing. Am I alone in this? Is it normal to love everything this much. I feel like I am constantly poring over with love for things like writing and reading. Just thinking about it practically makes me cry. Is that too much?

Drink your water!

Also I was thinking whether or not I should post some short stories on here. I have a few that are okay. My failed first drafts of countless (an exaggeration, there are 4 uncompleted manuscripts and one that I wrote ‘the end’ on) novels will never see the light of day, but that doesn’t mean that my other stuff can’t.

I never said anything about me, so here is a brief description.

  1. I live in the US or more specifically, Oregon.
  2. I am fifteen years old and a freshman in high school.
  3. When I was young I used to want to be a wolf. I would act like it too.
  4. I also idolized my older brother and would treat him like a super star.
  5. My friend got me into writing by challenging me to NaNoWriMo.
  6. I’ve never actually finished NaNoWriMo.
  7. I love ice cream but my entire family is lactose intolerant. (It doesn’t stop them though. PRAISE THE PILLS!!)
  8. I sing in a really cool choir.
  9. I worry about climate change, but barely do anything about it. (other than avoid eating steak)

Nine is a nice number to stop, I mean its such a fun number anyways. By the way, one of the strangest thing about me(in my opinion) is that, I love taking math tests. I usually end up writing notes to the teacher or doodling in the margins. If I have any sort of style it’s all from the notes in my math tests.

I also don’t know whether or not my grammar is at all okay. I cross my fingers, but it is all I can do in order to not have a horrible error filled post.

Well Im going to go to bed (another place to read) now. I wish I had more hours in the day so I could make this even more fun but sadly enough I have to obey the clock and my eyes.

Keep reading and living! (I’ll probably change the afterword after each post.)

Sarah

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Shut up! Update

Quick update for those who didn’t read my last blog post. I gave myself a challenge to not talk about this blog to anyone if they hadn’t asked me a direct question about it first. I thought I would do this in order to stop repeating myself to my friends, but really it just feels like I am keeping secrets from them as they have no idea I have a blog in the first place. I don’t want to quit but it isn’t working out for me. Since I didn’t set a time limit I am going to say that was a twenty four hour challenge, and that twenty four hours is up.

I guess I learned a lot: to think about a challenge instead of posting without a thought, that the opposite of a bad thing isn’t a good thing, and to set a time limit beforehand. Not to shabby for my first challenge. When was a good learning experience for you? I don’t know what I will do later but not too shabby. Anyways I did tell my mom some stuff last night after she asked my why I was kinda flapping my arms….. (I am like 30000% weirder in front of my parents when I am excited.) and so she asked, “Are you excited about Misery(by Stephen King)?” (I started reading it a few days ago and it is really good.)

“No,” I waited a little bit thinking about whether or not that was a close enough question for me to answer and get away with.

“What are you excited about then?” She asked.

Then I decided that that question was close enough. “I got a follower on my blog.” (Which by the way, thank you so much!) This escalated because I had it bottled up so I talked for a couple minutes, careful not to repeat myself.

But now it is the next day, and I haven’t talked at all about this. I would say that was pretty good. I’m wrapping it up now though. Thank you for reading! I hope you guys have a fabulous week since I probably wont post until Saturday! Please tell me if you like these kinds of posts or if I should try something else.

Challenge

SHUT UP!

I got a view!! That’s insane that someone actually read something that I wrote. I understand that it probably wont ever happen again but if you are reading this, thank you! It really means a lot to me.

As for what this post is about, I’ve noticed that over time I talk about writing more than I write. For my first challenge on this blog I am going to try not to say anything to anyone about this blog. I wont tell my parents that I got a like on my first post, no matter how exciting it is. I won’t give my URL to my friends a million times. I will talk about it if someone asks directly. Otherwise If I need to talk about something I’ll just come here. I already told my parents that I have a blog so they will already know, but they will probably not ask about it. Also I can just call it writing if I have to get time to get a post out. Its okay to generalize! Still not lying.

That might not seem that challenging to you but for me, if I am excited about something I usually never shut up about it. This is a little nudge to myself to just shut up. I hope it will work. Ill keep this blog posted.