Raven's Pen

Writing, Reading, and Ruminating

Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 5)

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Image result for snoopy winter comic

My, this year is moving quickly! I can hardly believe that it is the second to last week of 2016!

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful holiday week, filled with good food, lots of laughter, and family of one sort or another!

A Reminder for the Future

Hello friends,

In light of the recent US election, I hope that everyone is surviving and handling everything as best as you can. No one is alone.

As the future changes, there is one thing that all of us need to remember: stand together. It is time to help others out, it is time to walk with those who are being pushed to the sides, it is time to make sure that the laws built over the last eight years reaching closer to equality are not torn to pieces.

For those in the US: we cannot let this country slip backward; it is our duty as citizens to ensure that our rights are kept. This is a time of bigotry, racism, sexism, shaming, and shouted opinions, but the world is not ending.

We have power in this country, and the most basic of laws are not easy to change; our founding fathers made sure of that fact, and now it is time for us to stand. Not with violence or hate, but with a surety of our own equality.

For those of color, for Muslims and Jews, for immigrants, for LGBT+ people, for women, for the disabled, for the mentally ill: I am so sorry for what you are seeing, and hearing, and for the added troubles that this future may bring.

Whether you have been pushed to the side, marginalized, hated, considered inferior simply because of who you are– or you are simply struggling to manage the grief that so many people are feeling: this is not the end of your freedom; this road may be rough, but it will not destroy you. There is hope.

Hope that you must create, hope that you must cling to, hope that you must believe in, hope that you must be willing to work for. Hope that will stand silently at your breast to raise its voice when it is needed.

For those who are considered ‘normal’: please, stand with friends, family, and strangers in tough situations. Stand with those who need help and those who are afraid. Stand because you can. Stand because, despite the difficulty and time that it takes to change laws, this future could be incredibly dangerous for so many. Stand because we are all equal, all human, all of beating hearts.

The disdain that now is shouting and riling must be met calmly. Despite how totally encompassing it may seem, what you see does not define who you are– what you believe does.

This is not a time to hide underneath bedclothes and hope that the shadows underneath the mattress will disappear. It is time to pay attention, to prepare, to consider, and to help others. This is a time to dig back to Martin Luther King Jr.’s wisdom and remember that we must never give up.

Stay safe.

Welcome to October!

Happy Autumn everyone!

Are you pulling out the sweaters (or light jackets if you live in the desert? Has the hot chocolate, cappuccino, and soup bug bitten you yet? A sudden wish to make chocolate-chip cookies? How about one-month-away-from-NaNoWriMo-panic? All of them jumped onto my desk a few days ago, and they are still refusing to move.

All right, in traditional beginning of the month fashion, a quote has been released from the closet:

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.” ~ Ray Bradbury

I hope to see all of you around!

‘Till next time!

A Quote for September!

The next month is upon us yet again! Is everyone having a good year? Yes? No? Plenty of dragons and magic fairy dust?

If anyone finds dragons, let me know, I would love to see what they look like.

Without any further ado, here is a quote for September:

“The story that I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.” ~ Jules Renard

As a side note: I would love to hear your suggestions for posts if you have any! Let me know if you want to see a certain something or other sneaking onto your dash.

Until next time!

 

The Little and the Big

This post is going to be a bit different than usual…

Today, my family and I drove to a different part of the state to pick up a load of hay. The road we took is the type where passing ten or twelve cars can be counted as traffic. Hedged by farmhouses and ranch land dotted by the blobs of cows and fences, the small town that we passed through along the way used to contain a post office along with the rest of its buildings, but I believe that it closed down about a year ago. Our destination was a second town along the same road- amid the stretching and mountain engirdled, horizon landscape – with fresher fields and far more green– horses are the occupants of almost every third or forth field– but the majority of space is used for agriculture.

It might sound slightly dismal, but people actually seem to be doing very well.

We have been buying hay from the same people for the last few years, and they are relatively transparent about the state of their crops (a fact that I had not truly noticed until my mom pointed it out on the way home). Like so many people in the melting-pot that our state is, they cobble together their lives as they see fit- agriculture, horse breeding, working a more traditional job ect. Some things are done for necessity, but many are done for pleasure as well as making a living.

The people that we buy hay from chose to own agricultural land, and it is a conscious choice that they have kept. I think that is important to this post because of one main thing: I think it is easy to forget that what is often considered ‘normal’ is just one (typically) socially acceptable version of living life.

So many people in this world live in cities where the everyone seems to be trying to race time. There is the always the larger objective, the giant new challenge that must be accomplished by a set date, or the action that has been done a thousand times and now must be repeated. An exhilarating rush for the people who love it; a dull roboticism (that isn’t a dictionary approved word, but maybe it should be) for the people who despise it. So is the life of the corporate.

Alright, let’s get back to the point, shall we?

I love hearing stories of people who are slightly quirky; artists chasing their dreams as though they cannot live without it, and perhaps, they cannot. There is something beautiful in a slower world. Or perhaps, it is simply a more connected world.

More connected to the expanse of whatever is around you; instead of the next deadline that someone else has set.

Of course, all of this ties into a different discussion about passion that I hope to post soon. But, I digress.

Corporate situations fit many people, and so they should. But there must also be a place for someone who is not interested in being the next big CEO of a brilliant company; someone like a distant neighbor of ours who works out of their home and keeps goats for fun- and as a second source of income, or the family that I began this post with.

I am not saying that aiming for something large is bad, or that deadlines are unimportant: quite the opposite. Deadlines are usually necessary to accomplish goals on your own, and reaching as far as possible for you dreams is something that should always be done.

Seriously, go for your passions.

Not everything needs to be large and fancy. If the goal of a life is ‘living well’ and happily/with passion, than why should we try to shove anyone into tiny boxes? There should be room for simplicity. And simplicity in contentment. Or visa versa. Whatever you find yourself floating on.

Isn’t happiness part of what we all want? Of course, stability is often on many people’s minds as well, but surely the two can work together.

Perhaps I am biased, this post is certainly colored by my own opinions, but I think it is important to remind yourself every once and a while that a life is what you create. It should not be ‘lesser’ to be pleased by little pieces of a larger accomplishment; or to aim for something that could be considered an ‘old-fashioned’ way of living. Not everyone’s grand wish is to be a great doctor or a brilliant scientist; although, surely there are many people in the world who aim for just that. No one is lesser than anyone else simply because of what they want to accomplish in the world.

This post is heading in circles- or maybe it is just my thoughts. Seriously though, there is freedom in this world as long as you are willing to look for it.

So… to condense this post into one sentence: There is no shame in being different.

Also, there is no shame in wanting something different.

As long as you don’t harm anybody.

Yeah. Let’s make peace trendy again.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have the temptation to comment…

Until next time! (You can bet that a similar discussion will be continued- with more writing stuff added along. It all arcs around.)

I’m Backkk!

My goodness!

It has been a looong time since I last posted.

Today is the last day of July. It has been one crazy month; I managed to accomplish most of what I wanted to though- thankfully! Camp NaNoWriMo is officially at its close, and I finished at 100,198 of 100,000 words. I apologize that I have not posted regularly, and I am hoping that I can get back into it within the next few days or so.

So far, Camp has included many, many late nights (writing is more important than a good night’s sleep after all), copious amounts of caffeine and chocolate (of course!), a few moments- or more- of questioned sanity, and slightly sore fingers. All in all, it has been a great month.

I hope that everyone else who is participating is having a great time! Remember: if you are consistently sitting down to work than you have already accomplished so much more than you realize!

Jack London said that “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” As far as creative work goes; I think this is a great motto. However, it is important to remember that sometimes rest days are important. Sometimes you just need to let things sit- it is perfectly valid. Silence can be a tool, just as long as it does not last forever.

Well… there is always something more to accomplish, and there are very few things that are impossible- or perhaps none at all.

Hopefully, I will have another post for you soon. Until then…

Don’t forget to save your documents!

(Also, cookies for whoever manages to figure out the reference in the title of this post…)

‘Till next time!

A General Update (and Camp NaNoWriMo!)

Well… I disappeared again.

The past two weeks have been crazy! Camp NaNoWriMo started (shout out to all of the people participating this month!), I started a month long-seriously-condensed foreign language class at the local community collage (yes, I am still in school), and my grandmother is in town (yaahoooo!). I started a few posts, but nothing made it past the beginning of a first draft, now that I have more of an idea of what my schedule for this month will actually be, I am hoping that I can start posting regularly again.

Now, a bit of an update for Camp NaNoWriMo…

I started a new story! I’m about half-way into the one that I was working on in April (and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a series… oops), but it’s been floating in place for the past few weeks- I also lost track of the plot- so starting a new story seemed like a good idea. I will finish April’s novel at some point, but, right now, I think I need a break. Mid-story slump style.

As for this month’s NaNoWriMo, I have been so distracted with everything else in my life right now that I am barely reaching my daily word goals. But the story is slowly moving along, and I am not really feeling the need to push myself as much as I usually like to. I will have a separate post up soon with a more complete update for the story; I am hoping that I can do an update at least once a week- if not more often.

Now… news!

Clearly, this is not a very eloquent post…

I am currently working on a few cool things that should be near to completion within the next few days! I’m super excited, and I hope that you will be too!

Before I end this post, here is a (very belated) quote for the month:

“The true alchemists do not turn lead into gold; they turn the world into words.” ~ William H. Glass

Until later…

A bit of a Hiatus

It’s been a busy month. Geez, I seem to be saying that a lot lately.

Let’s see, in the last month I have managed to start playing around with rewriting a story I have kept in my drawer for the past eight months or so, traveled to New York with grandparents on my mother’s side, signed up for a foreign language class at the local community collage, avoided cleaning my room, and panicked about how close Camp NaNoWriMo is (four days away- FOUR). And let’s not forget the procrastinating… a lot of procrastinating.

You caught my mention of Camp NaNoWriMo, yes? I, awkward NaNoWriMo-obsessed aspiring writer-person, am doing it again. This time, I actually want to have a slight outline before the beginning of the month. Although, my version of an outline is essentially a bunch of sentences about general scenes toward the beginning of the book, a few threads of thought to run through the entire book, and a bit of a plot; plus the names of main characters if I am lucky. And boy are the names difficult this time.

All right, enough complaining on my end! (You can probably expect another post about Camp NaNoWriMo in the future…)

Among the rest of the stuff this month, I have been organizing the back end of this blog. *slips behind magic curtain

The reason is that I still don’t feel like I know exactly what this blog is for. I do not expect to know everything, especially the details, but I do think that I need to contemplate how I can make it easier for me to post more consistently. Thankfully, I have come up with a few ideas!

So, hopefully I will be around more often! Not much will change on the public end, but I am going to start planning ahead as much as I can. Of course, I suspect that I will still disappear every once in awhile, but that will hopefully be less common.

And now… BOOKS!

I have a gigantic reading list right now (as I always do), and I ended up bringing a few books home with me. By the way, if you live in NY or are traveling to NY, go to The Strand bookstore, it is astounding! (Think floor to ceiling bookshelves, three floors, and so many books you barely know where to turn.)

So, what did I bring home?

Three awesome books:

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Le Miserables by Victor Hugo (it was on sale for an immense discount so I wouldn’t have been able to resist even if I tried)– I’m barely at the end of the first chapter, but I am already enjoying it.

The Gollum and the Jinni by Helene Wecker– I’ve only read the first few pages and am looking forward to seeing where it will go.

And Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom– and Revenge by Edward Kritzler– I read this book a few years ago and loved it. Hopefully it was be just as good the next few times (and I think I can use it as a writing resource as well)!

All right, that just about covers my absence.

Until next time!

Things Books with LGBT+ Characters Need More Of

Lately, I’ve been trying to read more books with queer characters. To be honest, I’ve been pretty slow with getting through fiction lately, I’m trying to catch up though! This is has been an interesting and difficult thing to accomplish, not just because many of the books I want to read with queer characters are not in the public city library system, but because it’s hard to know where to start looking.

Indeed, I had to search through multiple lists just to find as many as six books that I’m really interested in reading!

Queer characters are far and few between- although the numbers seem to be growing (you can read my previous posts about that stuff here and here), and that makes stereotypes incredibly prevalent in many places. However, I have run into some authors that are avoiding the common stereotypes to an extraordinary degree! More about that later…

For this tiny little post, I have tried to pull together a short list of a few of the things that books with LGBT+ characters are seriously lacking.

Note: this is an incomplete list and entirely open to personal opinion.

Here we go!

  • Diverse lesbian/gay characters
  • More asexuality
  • More bisexuality
  • More pansexuality
  • More LGBT+ characters with diverse nationalities
  • More trans characters
  • More genderqueer characters
  • More non-binary characters that are not robots
  • More gay trans characters
  • More happy endings

I wish everyone a great Monday!

‘Till next time…

June A Cometh!

It’s been one quick month!

I apologize for my lack of posts lately; I’ve been pretty swamped by other things. (More about all of that stuff later).  Hopefully, I will be able to post much more starting this month… Annnd, speaking of the new month, here is a quote:

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” ~Richard Wright

Until next time…

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