I am going mad.

I would like to inform you all that I’m going mad. Actually, madness is often confused with creativity. Perhaps it is a combination of the two.

I did not fall asleep last night due to my characters. Yes, that’s right. My characters kept talking to me and I couldn’t make them stop! I tossed and turned all night wondering what would become of Eric and Joey and Jordan, and also Leigh and Benjamin…and who should Eric’s other girlfriend be…and should the County find their hideout…

Oh, excuse me! I’m going on about my story again. Have you ever been so in love with something you’re writing that you just can’t leave it alone? When I’m not writing, I feel like I should be. If I go too long without any new stories, I feel guilty. I’m wired for writing, like I have to even if nothing is ever read or published.

Of course, I’m not the only one. Do any of you suffer and benefit (it is a mixed bag) from intense fits of creativity in the middle of the night?

Thank God for coffee, that’s all I can say.

Marrying a guy named Alabaster

I’m one of those girls who daydreams about her future and plans out every detail of her wedding before she’s even met the guy. Because I have no preoccupations at the moment, I am going to discuss with you my dream life. Of course it won’t all turn out this way, but it’s always a joy to plan.

I’m going to meet a dashing young poet named Alabaster Orion Wolff while I’m a junior in college. He’ll have medium brown hair and striking blue eyes–but most of all, he’ll be a complete gentleman. You know, the sort of man that respects his parents, treats a woman right, and helps elderly people cross the street. I find polite guys extremely attractive.

Alabaster will propose to me on October 23rd, 2020 in a beautiful autumn park. We’ll be married on April 10th, 2021. I’ve decided the wedding colors will be light pink and gold, because they look good on me and go nicely with the season. My honeymoon will be in the gorgeous Mediterranean city of Cassis, France.

Alabaster and I will move to the Appalachian mountains of Virginia and live in a secluded area a few miles from a small town.

I’ll have my first child on April 29th, 2023–a little girl named Dawn Lily. Two years later we’ll have Evening Daffodil, and Alistair Ocean in 2026. I’m not sending my kids to public school, rather, I will homeschool them up through second grade. After that I will find put them through private school. Dawn, Evening, and Alistair will be immersed in poetry and creativity.

And, of course, I’m going to publish several novels.

Excuse my rambling, but I love dreaming about my future.

Guilt and Diamonds

This year hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. (I hate cliches, but this one is necessary.) It’s been more of a run-for-your-life in ancient Pompeii. I’ve done a lot of stupid things. Shameful things, hurtful things, dangerous things. Although I’ve refocused my life, it is still difficult to deal with guilt.

As much as I’d like to, I don’t loaf around all day thinking about what I’m going to blog about next. Well, okay, that’s only on Friday afternoons. My point is that I do have a life to tend to, feelings to deal with, and my own little history.

Parts of this little history are things I’m not proud of, especially February and most of March. Last night I was overcome with the shame of these short months, a tangle of guilt and regret. It was only until about 8:00 that I began emerging from my wretched state.

I’m still a princess. Just because I’ve screwed up in the past doesn’t change my royalty. (I am referring to my belief that I’m a child of God.) Everybody messes up; everybody falls down; everyone has times in their lives they’re not proud of. Guilt shouldn’t hinder us, rather, it should shape us to become better people.

The analogy I frequently use is the diamond. I’m not scientist, but I know that diamonds begin as coal. It is only under stress and great heat that they become the sparkling jewel. Diamonds are the strongest jewels–but still profoundly beautiful.

Today, don’t let your guilt hinder you. Aspire to be the diamond. Through your hardship, remember that the stress and heat is necessary to become that beautiful jewel.

Childhood

Remember childhood? Waking up at eight-thirty, watching Caillou (my favorite children’s show) for a while, then riding in the backseat of the car on the way to preschool, where you’d eat Gogurt tubes and play house in the plastic kitchen.

Well, that was my early childhood, at least. I long for those days. When I call up these blissful memories, I feel a sort of sentimental ache for the youthful ignorance I once had. Yes, ignorance. Typically the word is not viewed in a positive light, however, it is in this case. Perhaps a better word would be not-knowingness. Okay, okay, it’s not a word. I am well aware of this, but doesn’t it describe childhood so well? We weren’t aware of all the sickening crimes and horrible tragedies. We didn’t worry about what we would wear, how we looked, or the crippling stress of having so little time. Innocence was our constant companion. A sense of wonder surrounded us.

You’re probably chuckling at me right now. Oh sure, Abigail, how can you speak about childhood when you’re a child yourself? Perhaps I am still a child, but one that has at least a vague understanding of how life works and how innocence and wonder can be lost so easily.

Part of me is still five (and I believe everyone has this part of them) the other part is an eighth grader, and the last part of me grew up too quickly. I’ve held fast to my ever-growing sense of wonder, but some shards of innocence have gotten away from me. Now that I’ve gotten my life realigned a bit through some changes, I’m determined to get back all I can of what I lost.

I’m not encouraging ignorance at all. The time of not-knowingness has passed; we must be informed of the current happenings in order to make a difference. But in matters concerning wonder and innocence, perhaps children have it right.

Today, I’m challenging all of you to see the world through the rose-colored glasses of a young babe. Laugh at bad jokes, notice that funny-looking tree, and whip out some crayons and construction paper–you might be surprised what you can discover about yourself!

 

Numbness or Passion?

Imagine there are two pills on a table. One pill will promise no pain, no sorrow, no grief–at the expense of all joy. Essentially, pill number one will numb all emotions. The second pill will present you with intense passion–intensifying both your grief and your joy.

Which do you choose?

Consider the pros and cons of each choice. Everybody would love a life without having to shed a single tear, a future guaranteed to be lacking heartbreak. But a future also lacking joy, the feeling of triumph, and sheer happiness? I’m not sure I would be willing to make that trade. While all of us know that sorrow is a powerful and heart-stabbing force, do we not remember that joy is capable of the same power?

There was a time in my own life in which numbness was a good friend of mine. As days passed by, I let myself settle deeper and deeper into the suffocating pillow of dullness, apathy, and monotony. That’s exactly what numbness is–a suffocating pillow. While it may seem inviting and comfortable at first glance, the deeper you settle in, the more suffocating and dangerous it becomes. After spending much time with numbness, one may resort to drastic measures in order to escape this pillow–food, the internet, or shopping to name a few.

After I finally exited the numbness, I was filled with passion. Both my joy and sorrow increased, but out of this passion came some of my greatest works of literature. The methods I had been using to stop feeling the nothingness were only driving me in the wrong direction–once I stopped these behaviors, I started engaging in healthier activities.

We all want to feel joy. Sadly, joy and pain are partners, and we must experience both somewhere along the road. Believe me, passion is far greater than numbness. Wake up! Write, read, go for a jog, smell the roses–but don’t let apathy and monotony get the best of you!

Writing is like running

Writing is like running. I bet some of you are probably laughing right now! Don’t worry, if I were to tell me this statement without an explanation, I’d probably be laughing too. Just let me elaborate on this point here…perhaps you’ll see what I mean.

I’ve just recently finished a decent short story that consumed my life for the past week or so. Yesterday I wanted to begin a new short story, but stumbled across a severe case of writer’s block. No ideas lit the fire. I tried to just write through the block, but it was excruciating and I could not continue. Then this simile dawned upon me.

Imagine you’ve just finished a long race (not me, because I can’t run well to save my life, or anything to do with sports for that matter). The first thing you’re going to do is slow down, take a drink, and rest. Right? Or are you going to go run another race immediately?

Of course, writing is both exhausting and energizing for me, if that makes any sense. However, I’ve found that a few days to brainstorm and observe the world around me is beneficial to finding a new idea that lights the fire.

A hug or a slap?

Imagine a horrible day–it’s Monday, you’re tired, there’s a slew of work to do, and if you have a job, maybe you got laid off. Aren’t those the days when you just need a hug (or a similar alternative if you’re not a ‘huggy’ person)? Everybody has those days. I wish I could think of a better vocabulary word, but I can’t–it’s just icky. Blah. But you cry, you get a hug, drink some hot tea, take some deep breaths, and keep moving with your life.

Now imagine that same day, but instead of moving on with life and deciding to get back up after the fall, you stay in that misery and mope around in a puddle of self-pity. That’s when you need a little ‘slap’ in the face! There’s nothing wrong with being upset about a bad day, but after you’ve cried enough, it’s time to get back up again. It’s time to bounce back. This is something I struggle with–not staying in the pain. Sometimes people we pain because it makes us feel alive. But the truth is that our successes also make us alive. We matter! We are worth it, and we don’t need to stay in the pain to know this.

So the next time you have a bad day, sit down and think. Do you need to get that hug? Or is it time for the wake-up call, the slap in the face, the time to get moving again? Consider this and really ponder. When you’re feeling low, remember the old saying…

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Happiness vs. Joy

Everybody has pain–it’s an inevitable and sad fact of life. To put it simply, life can really suck. Although everyone has their own cross to bear, how do some people emanate an inner joy while others often seem dispirited?

Joy is different than happiness. Happiness is the feeling one gets in a moment of excitement or elation, for example, going out to ice cream or having a good hair day. Joy doesn’t always look like a radiant sunbeam or a bright yellow smiley face. When one is having a horrible day, horrible week, or even a horrible month, it can be very hard to skip off into a sunset swinging a basket full of daisies. It can be very hard to feel that kind of pleasure. But joy… joy is the strength to pick yourself up when you fall, the still small voice whispering that it’s going to be okay, the courage to keep walking through the pitch black and into the light, not seen, but sensed.

Nutella and mindless drivel

Some days are full of inspiration, creativity, and ideas, and there others where the mind lacks activity other than “I want Nutella.” (For those of you who don’t know, Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread that has significantly grown in popularity over the past few years.)

Today is a Nutella day for me. In fact, the first thing I ate when I got home from school was a plateful of Club crackers spread thick with the chocolatey spread. Not the healthiest snack choice, but I can afford an occasional treat with my tremendous appetite which never seems to cost me any pounds.

Excuse me if I go off topic. I assure you, I am more than the mindless drivel I am spewing right now. My brain might as well be a bowl full of Nutella at the moment. Which, in that case, being a zombie wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Earlier today, my friends and I had to create an in-class project in Civics. The objective was to create a product and write how we would finance and budget. We decided quickly–we would genetically engineer potatoes to grow with bacon, sour cream, chives, butter, salt, and cheese. Of course this is scientifically impossible at the moment, but this was Civics, not genetic engineering.

I still want that potato invented as soon as possible.

Vulnerability

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” -Herman Melville

This quote exudes truth. While the majority of society goes about life trying to mimic the best and the brightest, the prettiest and the most talented, I strive to find the person I am–and that girl is far from normal. Over the years, I’ve struggled accepting the fact that I will never ‘fit in.’ After so long fighting to become like everyone else, trying to avoid the pain of rejection, I began to realize that it would be so much easier to simply be myself rather than trying to conform. I call this concept vulnerability.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been ‘fake’ in an effort to be safe from the rejection I would receive if I were to reveal my true personality. But the truth is that what makes us vulnerable makes us beautiful. This is so because it is showing that we have the courage to be real in a plastic world, to be willing to get hurt. If we never show who we really are, how will we make a difference? Since when has ‘fitting in’ done anything for the benefit of mankind? In order to truly live in creativity, to rock the world with our uniqueness, it is crucial that we be real. Real and vulnerable and courageous.