Promoting Creativity: April Edition

Hey everyone! Here I am with another Promoting Creativity. This month I’m featuring someone a bit different but I’m super excited for you all to meet Eleanor! ¬†She’s doing a lot of interesting work. ūüôā

1) Tell us a little bit about what you do.

I’m a blogger and a content writer for a medical software company. I also volunteer on the editorial board for Homeschoolers Anonymous.

2) When and why did you start writing?

I started writing a novel when I was 13. It was didactic and predictable, but I remember being very caught up in the world-building aspects of it. I’d like to re-write it sometime, as fantasy in an alternate version of China instead of historical fiction.

I wrote my first decent poem when I was 15. This continued into two booklets of poetry throughout 10th and 11th grade. They all rhymed and focused heavily on theology–mostly the crucifixion. Now I realize most of those were dealing with guilt that I’d carried since early childhood.

During freshman year of college, I joined an online writing forum called CleanPlace, short for A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Around 50 other writers between age 13-early 20s were actively involved in the community for several years, and we got together for annual Moots each summer and mini-moots throughout the year. We’d go up into the mountains and sleep in cabins and wear cloaks and have writing workshops. Most of us were homeschooled and very sheltered by strict conservative backgrounds, and our families didn’t always approve of our nerdy pursuits, so finding a supportive community in each other was huge.

One of my mentors on the forum, MysteriousTwinkie, encouraged me to broaden what I wrote about, beyond religious poetry. She helped me to find my voice. After doing some projects with Twinkie and Poem-A-Day in April for a couple of years, I was published in my campus creative arts journal, riverrun, in 2011 and 2012. Toward the end of college, I had some health issues and took a semester of classes just for fun, including theater and a poetry class.

I also joined my campus newspaper, The Scribe, as the news editor in fall 2012 and reported and edited there until I graduated in 2015. ¬†All of these experiences helped me to get away from writing in a formulaic and stilted way. I once got feedback for a short story I wrote in 2010, and the reviewer said that my main character escaped a virtual reality world and stumbled upon… a sermon. Haha. But it was true. I didn’t know how to stop writing that way, I felt obligated to be strictly moralistic in my storytelling and poetry and really any other creative work for so long.

3) Tell us about a project that you are currently working on that has you really excited.

I’m brainstorming for an e-book that I’d like to auto-email to new blog subscribers. It’s a bunch of snapshots, early memories as I relive them now. People keep telling me that I should write a book about my life? So that’s how I’m starting it.

4) What are some of your goals for the future?

I want to start writing for a local newspaper again soon because I miss journalism so much, oh my goodness. I love the thrill of being the first to announce the story. It was an amazing feeling to put out a breaking news story about something on campus and have our articles / photos then be picked up by city newspapers and television stations.

5) How can we support you?

I recently started a Patreon for my blog.

I’ve been thinking that a campaign would help me to obtain copies of homeschool curriculum and cult literature, which I’ll dissect on the blog. Buying copies on my own gets expensive, and the materials are sometimes difficult to obtain and not available in libraries.

The homeschool community at large needs to be aware of what’s being taught to their kids. Too many times, my friends and I have told our parents about something harmful we were taught growing up and they’re surprised. They don’t even agree with it, at least not to that extreme, and they never realized how much we internalized some of those messages. But we thought that our parents agreed with it, since this is the curriculum that they bought for us.

Blogging about some of these textbooks would educate parents and help them make an informed decision about curriculum.

Eventually, I’d like to establish a hotline for homeschool alums, especially those trapped in the stay at home daughters movement and high control churches. When they call, we’ll direct them to outside resources and offer support and advice for their transition, similar to human trafficking prevention hotlines. A good friend of mine who works for Restore Innocence¬†, a non-profit that helps human trafficking victims in Colorado Springs, first suggested the idea, since both survivor populations have similar needs.

He also suggested establishing a safehouse for young adults who have to escape controlling home and church environments and help them find work and a place to live. That’s a lot more complicated than it sounds, unfortunately. I’ve helped 8 friends move out, either through providing support and advice or actually physically moving their possessions and housing them temporarily. I love doing it, but it can be messy when you both come from unhealthy backgrounds. It’s challenging to maintain a healthy dynamic with those you’re helping and maintain self-care with limited resources.

One day, when I am more established in a career, I want to do more of that again. I am so grateful for each time that my story synchronized with so many other stories like mine. It’s kinda like sharing a heartbeat for a short time.

If you’d like to get in contact or just follow¬†Eleanor¬†here are the links to her Twitter page and Facebook.¬†

 

Finally On Track – Reading Update

Yes! You read the title right. I’m finally caught up to my reading goal. I’ve read 64 of 200 books. ¬†It has been insane trying to catch up. Weird it’s like 200 books is a lot to read in one year. *sigh*

Anyway here are some of the most recent books I’ve read, these are ones that I felt didn’t need an entire review post to themselves. Plus I just don’t have the time to review every book I’ve read this year.

African-American Poetry:¬†This was a short collection of poetry dating all the way back the 1800’s. ¬†It was really interesting to read. I loved seeing how African culture was mixed in with christian themes, ¬†the poems on slavery were heartbreaking. ¬†And it was also cool just to see how poetry style changes over hundreds of years. 3 stars.

Witch Child:¬†I picked this book up randomly, because I thought the cover was really pretty. ¬†It turned out much better than I expected. The characters and story is all well-written. ¬†It was also a frustrating book to read because of all the misogyny of the time period. It’s about a girl who comes over to America with a group of Pilgrims. 4 stars.

Gemini Bites: I picked this book at random as well, first because the title was partly in latin and secondly because one of the main characters is gay, and I love seeing diversity in books.  Again this book was much better than I thought it was going to be.  I felt like the plot was pretty well done, some of the characters could have been developed better. But overall it was a fun short read. 3 stars.

The Book of the Goddess Past and Present: I decided to read this book to go along with my research into pre-christianity religions. This book is a bunch of essays written by historians and was very interesting. 4 stars.

Sometimes It Happens:¬†This is a book I had on my TBR from 2009 I think. Found it in the library and thought why not? Ugh it was terrible. Don’t read. Just don’t. Terrible writing, predictable plot and characters that were as flat and boring as a blank paper. 1 star.

What have you been reading this week? 

Rat Queens – Badass Ladies and Fun

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Who are the Rat Queens?

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.

It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

Find on Amazon and Goodreads.

Guess what I found a copy of at my library? If you guessed the first volume of the Rat Queens then you have guessed right! ūüėÄ ¬† Ever since reading Saga I’ve been find all sorts of awesome graphic novels on Goodreads. Rat Queens was one that I’ve been dying to read it. The story was even better than I thought it would be, probably because I try to keep my hopes low. Rat Queens are a great group of hired killers, all girls from magic welders, to a healer to a little sneaky dwarf. ¬†The girls are hilarious. Each one of their personalities is unique and interesting. ¬†The story was maybe a bit predictable, but I didn’t really mind because I was enjoying the rest of the comic so well. ¬†The art is also really fantastic, lots of bright colors and I fell in love from page one.
Just an FYI this is an adult comic, so if you don’t like mentions of drugs or sex or language then you probably won’t want to read this. I found most of the scenes with these amusing, but that’s just me. Rat Queens is fast-paced and full of adventure, and I’m going to own this entire series someday. ūüėÄ I gave this book 5 stars, though if Goodreads would just add half stars I would give it 4.5.

Anyone else read Rat Queens? Please say yes I’m dying to fangirl with someone. ¬†If you haven’t you should, then come back and fangirl with me . ¬†Oh also, I’d love more¬†recommendations¬†for other graphic novels! No superheros please. ūüėȬ†

 

10 Reasons Why Being an INFP Isn’t Always Fun

My Myers Briggs personality is INFP, which basically means I’m an introvert who feels all the things. Today I wanted to talk about some of the downsides to being INFP.

1. ¬†I’m an¬†emotional¬†sponge:¬†Some days I pick up other people’s feelings like I’m tape, which results in ¬†a feeling overloaded. I’m sometimes so aware of what others are feeling around me that I start feeling it too.

2. My feelings change rapidly: I go from boiling in anger to skipping with glee in a matter of seconds. This is sometimes confusing to people around me and makes me seem like a loon.

3. I’m a hopeless dreamer:¬†Far fetched, idealistic (which is coupled with my undying pessimism) probably-will-never-happen-but-let-me-put-all-my -hopes-into-it dreamer.

4. I take criticism very very personally:¬†Even if the person didn’t mean it negatively, I just feel everything so strongly. Which leads into number 5.

5. I get depressed:¬†If something bad happens or I mess up, it sends me into depression. Everything’s my fault. I’m a fucking screw-up. I don’t deserve to be happy. These are all thoughts that go through my head.

6. My memory is a jerk:¬†I remember everything negative that anyone has ever said to me. And then replay it over and over again to prove to myself I’m worthless.

7. Motivation isn’t my thing:¬†It can be hard for me to be motivated to do something unless I feel 100% like I want to do it. ¬†This goes for writing, chores, anything. If I don’t have an emotional connection to it, then I can’t motivate myself.

8. I care too much: If I love you, I will love you to the end of the world and back. If I hate you, I will hate you just as long or longer. This can be good and bad. Mostly it just hurts.

9. I’m incredibly shy and socially awkward:¬†This leads to a lot of people thinking that I hate them. I don’t. ¬†Usually .;) I just don’t know what to say or what to do. I’m sorry.

10. I often feel like no one will ever fully understand me: Which makes me lonely.

So there ya go. Don’t worry too much about all the negativity in this post. I promise I’ll be posting soon about all the things I love about being me. ūüôā ¬†What’s your Myers Briggs personality type?¬†

 

 

Dark Triumph – Definitely Better Than the First Book

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Goodreads Synopsis:¬†The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her home to the life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of death himself, he must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Find on Amazon and Goodreads. 

I am so so so glad I read this book.  On the 7th I reviewed the first book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, I mentioned at the end of my fairly negative review that I was going to try the second book. So here I am!

Dark Triumph¬†was in every way a triumph compared to the previous book. ¬†Our main character Sybella is intelligent, easy to connect with and well developed. From the start I liked her character. She has a lot to lose and a lot to fear but she doesn’t let any of that keep her down. Her story is very realistic and at times a bit disturbing, but I like a good dark back story. Without giving away spoilers let’s just say her family is massively screwed up.

The plot of the book was also really good, it kept me on my toes. I was always excited or nervous to see what was going to happen next. ¬†This book brings in some minor character from the first and fleshes them out more. ¬†We have more time with the Beast, whom I enjoyed from the first book. ¬†Ismea is in a few scenes, which I didn’t really like because her character annoys me.

We had higher stakes in this book. ¬†I loved the way Sybella was at odds with the convent and the mother superior. Though I still don’t understand what’s up with the convent. It’s kind of confusing, maybe I have to read the third book in order to get the whole picture. I just never knew whose side the convent was on. ¬†Though on a different note, we got to see a different convent in this book, these nuns served a water god and that was really cool.

The only thing I could have done without was the romance. At times it was sweet and cute, but I also felt like it didn’t fit Sybella. Why don’t we have more characters who decided to be on their own for awhile? YA diversity needs to get on that one. ūüėČ

But in the end I gave the book 4 stars. Go read it. Read it now. ¬†ūüėÄ