In between

This semester has been something.

An adventure.

A growing time.

A semester filled with lessons and maturing experiences. In just over a month I will be leaving Texas for the next four months to study abroad at University of Dallas’s Rome campus in Due Santi (named “The Two Saints” for St. Peter and St. Paul). It’s unbelievable, how close the time comes to fly overseas and explore ancient cities, meet Europeans, and also complete the rest of my Sophomore year.

But this past semester in Irving has been substantially illuminating, in more ways than one. I’m not sure how to put it all together in this post, but summarizing may be the best way to go about it. I took two art classes, Basic Drawing and Digital Media, and in both I learned many helpful skills involving perspective, lighting, photoshop, and design. As far as socializing goes, I enjoyed rooming with two dear friends from Founders, and also getting to know many of my classmates much better.

The course I most enjoyed this semester was Literary Tradition IV (I will take Literary Tradition III in Rome), taught by Dr. Greg Roper, whose explications of the works we read greatly enhanced my understanding of these stories. Out of all the books we read in Lit. Trad. IV, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky truly touched me, moved me with its haunting characters and thread of redemption throughout the work. I cannot stress enough how much this book should be read and reread, for Dostoevsky deflates common schools of thoughts such as nihilism and utilitarianism which in themselves are empty, worthless mindsets. He shows through his troubled character Rodion Raskolnikov the power of the cross and the ultimate grace and mercy of God. It’s a beautiful love story, a narrative of God calling out to a man diseased by sin and pride.

I also took Creative Fiction Writing and collaborated with two of my classmates on a novella, which turned out to be an entertaining and pleasurable. And lastly, I took Western Civilization II, which is part of the UD Core. 🙂

As far as personal drawing and writing goes, I put a great deal of energy into fan art and a bit of gift-art for a friend. For basic drawing I was required to draw something every day of the semester, and I used this as an incentive to draw my favorite fictional characters and couples. Ha. I can’t say much happened in my writing pursuits, sadly. I put most of my energy for fiction into the short story assignment for Literary Tradition IV and Creative Fiction Writing courses. The past two years have been pretty dry, as far as my original stories. I can’t remember the last time I pulled up my documents for Diana and Julian’s story.

Lastly and most importantly, my spiritual walk. Lately, most of my feelings and thoughts concerning my relationship with Christ and understanding of theology has been confused, unsettling, and overall convoluted. I do feel Him leading me, directing me, and I pray to Him as I mull over my doubts and questions. But one huge factor separating me from Him is my preoccupation with Denominations. That is, feeling unsure of where I belong, how I worship Him, and many other issues of doctrine that arise since I feel caught between my Evangelical background and my exposure to the Catholic church. It’s overwhelming and disconcerting, since I’ve lived my whole live believing that my upbringing in a Evangelical Free church is the only necessary precept, complete with enthusiastic praise and worship (using lots of Hillsong music), and a Sola Scriptura approach to theology. When more in-depth theology is addressed during my pastor’s sermons, he makes sure to point it out and even apologize. Whereas, theology and historically grounded doctrine is foundational in the Catholic (and Lutheran) church. In summary, my confusion has sapped a great deal of my joy and enthusiasm for actually listening to God and His call upon my heart. I feel aimless, directionless, completely stuck. I would appreciate any prayers from my readership on this blog.

Expect to see another post brimming with ridiculous, sketchy drawings that may or may not involve my recent obsession, Star Wars, cuz I’m a nerd. 😉

Memories from Freshman Year at University of Dallas

(Scroll down past the photos 🙂 )

In honor of my Sophomore year of college beginning in three weeks, I thought I’d write about Freshman year, because of nostalgia.

  • First few days of orientation, feeling a bit nervous but also that kind of butterflies-in-my-stomach excited about what is about to begin, and so totally into being a social creature (like never before lol, I have always thought myself pretty freaking shy and a loner-type)…I dragged my INTJ roommate to a bonfire party by the guys’ dorms and then this barbecue by the Sophomore dorms (West Hall) where we did a pretty good job pretending like outgoing individuals…
  • At that barbecue party some random guys offered one of my friends a rubber duck from a game and stood there being a creep watching her sort of nonplussed reaction.
  • Those days were a blur because we met so many people and did so many things as we tried to do everything advertised by the orientation peeps
  • But by the time the scavenger hunt around campus came on Monday (we got there on Friday), my roommate and I decided to hide from everyone and skulk around, watching people go on the scavenger hunt XD
  • Our introvert side won out I suppose
  • I love the memory of the ice cream social just before classes began, and I lost my roomie in the crowd so I tried to be brave and socialized with some Senior guys (which was a whole new thing for me, being a loner homeschooling girl and all)
  • First day of classes, Wednesday, was pretty much dizzying and I can barely remember it except for meeting various classmates throughout the day, like in Art History, my first class, and my heart racing as the lights dimmed and our professor did roll call
  • That semester was a wonderful daydream and nightmare mixed together, trying to figure out how to adult, how to study efficiently, how to go about prepping for midterms and finals and figure out the whole Latin class thing, with our hilarious dear teacher who didn’t like using the textbook so went with a bunch of random stories about Ancient Rome
  • My professor for Literary Tradition I was Father Maguire, a wonderful man who would ask us about which Greek god we would choose to be, or marry…lol
  • And attending mass at Cistercian Abbey for the first time, my alarm clock went off in the middle of mass and the monks stopped chanting to look at me D:
  • Waking up at 5 in the morning and crossing under the freeway to get to the Abbey for that mass :O
  • Seeing a Dominican monk in all the robes that order wears, I probably looked like somebody had shot me with a water gun or something…
  • Running down the UD mall after the first dance at UD, glad to escape my heels
  • Having amazing discussions at night, or any time of the day, with Hannah about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING–theology, philosophy, our day, classes, the Cistercians…so wonderful ❤
  • Our dorm, the setup we had, it was perfect! Our own little space, our overflow of books, our complementing color schemes and bed coverlets!
  • Visiting Raj who ran the gas station across the street from UD, and buying snacks for the night 😀
  • Seeing the Dallas skyline from the “hill” on which UD is situated
  • The UD tower lit up at night, which made for many fantastic photo opts.
  • Finding the park near campus for the first time, with its adorable bridge and baby ducks and perfect climbing trees
  • hearing an organ in Mass (or in my life) for the first time!
  • Attending Sunday Night worship in the Church of the Incarnation for the first time and being absolutely blown away by the quiet and reverent beauty of it
  • Attending TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) down in the Rathskeller, the basement dining area in the Haggar Center, which was a riotous event
  • Basically a lot of music, drinking, smoking, and themes for every Thursday night
  • The Cafeteria, where many an amusing hour was spent in deep discussion, people-watching, and food-loving
  • UD food is pretty good, tbh
  • Knowing that Brigid Vaughn, aka Burdge on Tumblr, attended UD and graduated a year ago from this school. She’s my art idol and her blog and drawings give me life
  • Seeing her senior studio work and her actual studio in the Art Village, and freaking out because IT’S BURDGE
  • Swing dancing for the first time in the cafeteria with the swing club, dancing to Marvin Gaye, Shut Up and Dance, Dear Future Husband, among other splendid choices 😉
  • The Capp Bar–modeled after the Cappuccino Bar at the UD Rome Campus
  • sitting in there with my mac and homework and people-watching, simply full of joy that UD is my school
  • The Library–three glorious stories of books, plus the periodicals, which became our favorite place during the Spring Semester
  • Sneaking around said Library, checking out all the spots for potential studying, and just enjoying the general atmosphere of being surrounded by books
  • The Art Village, so mysterious and set apart from everything else, with its unique architecture and the various studios, and sculptures scattered about by art students 🙂
  • I LOVE THE ART VILLAGE
  • Songs that remind me of Freshman year: Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness , Marvin Gaye by Charlie Puth, Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon, anything by Mumford and Sons, Howl’s Moving Castle soundtrack, Hans Zimmer music, Pompeii by Bastille, Passion Pit, Thunderstruck by Owl City, 2 Heads by Coleman Hill, Safe and Sound by Capital Cities, Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots, Blow Away by A Fine Frenzy, Midnight City by M83, Paris by Magic Man, Concert Pitch by Empire of the Sun, and French Navy by Camera Obscura (most of them found on Burdge’s spotify, her music taste is amazing)….and it fits the UD aesthetic
  • late night walks around UD
  • music on the mall, with the wonderful music blaring out across campus, making my DAY

Where it all began

a novel idea

Recently I let my dear friend Hannah read a piece of fiction I wrote back when I was fourteen. Honestly, I felt mortified to imagine that my fellow literature student would be exposed to my early attempts to follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps. That story is rife with huge words and pretentious dialogue, and I could moan about it some more…but it is a treasure, if we’re going to be positive about this. It is an example of my fledgling attempts at pursuing my passion in writing. The following setup for this post–a chronological record of what happened from 1996 to 2016–was inspired by Sky.

So, let’s start from the very beginning. Where do I get my ideas, and what began this lifelong passion for books and creating stories?

1996-2003

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Since I was a baby, my older sister and mom and grandmother instilled in me a love for stories. They read me book after book and I couldn’t get enough. This led to my mom recording herself reading one of my favorites, Thomas the Tank Engine. I’m pretty sure Thomas was my first fictional obsession. o.O

2003-2005

In 2003 my life changed when I experienced a severe injury to my right arm. Thankfully it wasn’t my dominant one. But after that my mind began to shift from being content to merely listen to stories to the desire to create ones of my own. I began to draw since I was restricted to little to no activity at this time. Boredom and restlessness drove me to get out all that energy via filling up one sketchbook after another. These drawings were basically comics about myself (then 6 years old) in college with my sister and best friends. I especially enjoyed drawing our adventures with my dog, Oliver, who accompanied me into the dorm. I also fell in love with historical figures. I remember one of my earliest books was about George Washington, Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin. My love for animated movies (especially Mulan and The Prince of Egypt) expanded drastically and I was daily inspired to draw and “write” visual stories about my favorite characters and I (I had a crush on Moses…)

2006-2009

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Around this time I was entering my middle school years. Middle school came with all the awkwardness and angst I didn’t desire whatsoever. But in retrospect I am pretty sure I escaped it and dove into the worlds of my favorite books, which were Little Women, Detectives and Togas, and Why Not Lafayette. History and fiction enchanted me.  I continued to play with my dollhouses and plastic horses but gradually Microsoft Word on my parents’ computer became the medium of choice. My best friend and I spent long periods of time together writing stories. I wrote about Kaya, the Nez Perce American Girl Doll™. So I suppose you could call this an early forage into fan-fiction. My best friend wrote about her own character, another Native American girl named Rayla.

2010-2014

Fourteen and up I was on fire. I wrote non-stop, constantly. I wrote a 300 page (still unfinished) story about a group of friend time-traveling to Ancient Rome. It was my classified project and I enjoyed the secret adventure of writing it. Most everything else I shared with my family and friends and on my early blog. And I finished a novella called Intertwined Destinies. I gave it to my older sister and her husband to read, so proud of my first finished work. They ended up editing it and binding it, as shown above. To have a piece of my juvenilia bound together so beautifully is a blessing. Intertwined Destinies is a historical romance, featuring my American historical hero, Meriwether Lewis.

2014-present

Since then I’ve lapsed into what seems like an eternal writing block. But sooner or later I’ll sit down and feel that delightful rush, that craving to write, to create, to tell stories again. And who knows? Maybe my storytelling dreams won’t come to be through writing novels. It could be in storyboarding for an animation company, or writing screenplays.

What do I enjoy writing the most?

It’s probably clear by now but I love integrating history into any and all contemporary genres. I love mulling over the concept of time-travel and I hope to explore that in future stories.

Writing preferences:

3rd person POV//historical fiction + contemporary + short stories//favorite setting-America//

Artists I listen to while writing:

Fall Out Boy, Halsey, John Williams, Sia, Maroon5

Strike the match, strike it now//we’re a perfect match, perfect somehow

Strike the match, strike the match now

We’re a perfect match, perfect somehow

We were meant for one another

Come a little closer

Flame you came to me

Fire meet gasoline

-“Fire meet Gasoline” by Sia

How about a sappy post now? A sappy post about pairings in film/TV/literature whose stories and development strike me as compelling. Even if not much development has happened yet (*cough* Kylo *cough* Ren), I still look forward to seeing how their relationship progresses. But most of them have come to fruition and I would call these my “one true pairings”. Yes, it’s possible to have multiple “OTPs”. You must know that in real life I come up with ship names for my friends and their significant others. It is a great source of entertainment, especially to tease my friend/family member. 😉

And some of these couples may surprise you. You may think, “Geez, this girl goes for the dark romances!”

True, true. Most of the time I am drawn to the stories that promise the most development, change, and redemption. Give me a broken human who finds light in another, who is guided back to the right path and strives to care for and love this special person. That special person changes them, alters them forever, and the old way of life becomes like a ball and chain. I like to consider myself an optimist. And yes, maybe a tad idealistic. But I love to see the person in the light (which to me represents God’s goodness and mercy) lift the one crumbling in darkness out of despair and into hope. Is this cheesy?

For some reason I find it extremely inspiring, heart-wrenching, and dear. These are the romances I adore, the ones I hope will happen, the pairings I see so much promise in as a part of the larger picture of the story.

And ironically, a good many of the pairings below contain an NF personality type-which is, one of my own kind, since I’m an INFP, in myers-brigg typology. I will share the characters’ types as well.

Note: Yes, I know I’ve done this before, but this is the list that contains the most gripping sorts of relationships. Also, expect this to be a semi-long post.

The Phantom (Erik) [INFJ] and Christine [INFP]

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

I read Susan Kay’s novel, Phantom several years ago, and it was probably among my favorites. It was probably melodramatic, in retrospect, but I believe it captured the Gothic elements of the actual story. It truly is a Gothic story, pretty legendary in musical history. The Phantom of the Opera is a dark fairytale, and it follows the trope of “Death and the Maiden.” Christine wears white, a sign of her innocence, and the Phantom is the “Angel of Music” who teaches her how to become a legendary singer. But this Angel is a jealous teacher. And that is the setup for the rest of the story, which entails Christine slowly discovering the warped ideals and damaged nature of her Angel of Music. Both Leroux’s original novel and Susan Kay’s book reveal the layers of pain and hurt and lack of healthy development of Erik, the Phantom. While some would argue that is going out to justify his actions, I believe it is showing a man who since childhood has seen the worst side of humanity. Christine is his idealized project, his very own piece of humanity that is untouched by the cruelty he has always known. She shows him that she has the strength to live selflessly, and it seems like her name is meant to hint at her Christ-like grace and compassion. She chooses to sacrifice herself so Raoul, the man who is trying to court her, can be freed from Erik’s lair. He realizes how truly selfless she is and surrenders her, however much pain it costs him. Yes, he is a damaged soul seeking to grab at whatever comfort he desires. But he learns. He surrenders. He lays down his own need ultimately for Christine.

Kylo Ren (INFP) and Rey (ISTP)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Probably one of my favorites. I honestly didn’t even realize the potential for a relationship between these two at first. During the first viewing with my family, my cousin and sister started cracking up because they saw Kylo Ren as extremely ugly. And then I saw a piece of Reylo fan art on the internet a couple weeks later and the realization slammed into me. This could really be a fantastic thing, Kylo Ren the prodigal son of Leia and Han. I never got much into Star Wars until these two. The dynamic and chemistry between Rey and Kylo Ren is definitely there. This story has the potential for a Beauty and the Beast twist that would lead to the redemption of Kylo Ren. I believe the force bond that is probably developing between them will become evident in the next two films. And I sincerely hope they aren’t cousins. But it looks like that theory is null. Here’s to hoping Rey is a Kenobi.   😉

Daryl Dixon (ISTP) and Beth Greene (INFP)

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Well. This show has succeeded in rattling me to the core. It’s absolutely tragic and shows us how humans can survive despite all odds. It seems to be a much more intense version of LOST, plus the walking dead. But these two. These two have a unique sort of relationship. While it was never officially called a romantic relationship, what existed between Beth and Daryl was pure, subtle, and emotionally shaking. They are “two sides of the same coin”–she reminds him there is good in the world still and he teaches her to face reality, to toughen up in order to make it in the world. And that is such a beautiful thing between two people.

Sherlock Holmes (INTP) and Molly Hooper (INFJ)

Sherlock (BBC)

Well, I’m pretty sure I started with the hardcore adoration of “shipping” when I watched Sherlock. Now, this is my opinion, but I detected a sweet connection between socially dysfunctional Sherlock and sensitive, caring Molly. They have something, there’s these shared looks and Sherlock shooting off rude comments about Molly’s various boyfriends (JEALOUS?). He always apologizes to her when he says something hurtful or insensitive, and he kisses her so tenderly on the cheek, and once on the lips! I really look forward to seeing where the series takes their relationship. I honestly think it has strong potential for being an example of somebody (Molly) bringing out the best in someone else (Sherlock). And he gives her blunt, but quite insightful, commentary on her choices in relationships and he values her hard work.

Jack Shepherd (ESTJ) and Kate Austen (ISFP)

LOST (ABC)

When I saw this show a few years ago I found it to be rich in storytelling and in how it developed each individual character and their relationships with each other. But best of all, I found a new OTP. Jack and Kate. They complete each other. They are both haunted by their pasts, they both seek to restart on the Island. And in each other they discover a friend, confidante, and eventually love. Complicated, tough, and unbreakable love. Theirs is a roller-coaster relationship. But in the end, they understand that they need one another. They survive together, and they go on together to face whatever J.J. Abrams throws at them. 🙂