// 5 reasons why i’m thankful for blogging //

hey. i hope you’re all having a good day so far.

i don’t like thanksgiving that much (who thought a holiday where you’re supposed to eat copious amounts of food in front of people would be a good idea?), but i wanted to do something for it anyway. so here are some reasons why i’m thankful for blogging.

it’s a place to express myself

i love being able to share my pictures, drawings, and stories/poems with others. i think it’s easier to share my creations online than in person, because while my friends will glance over what i’ve made and say, “nice,” you guys actually give me encouragement and constructive criticism.

it gave me a hobby

before i started blogging, my only hobbies were reading and gymnastics. making blog posts helped me realize that photography and writing — which are now two of my main pastimes — are lots of fun. plus, blogging is a hobby all of its own.

it helped me get into new things

you have no idea how many books/shows/bands i’ve gotten into just because someone mentioned it on their blog. if it weren’t for them, my tastes wouldn’t have expanded from rick riordan, doctor who, and owl city.

the community

idk what kind of blogging community i’m in (wordpress? writing? photography?), but it’s incredible. all the bloggers i know are sweet and helpful and leave comments that make me smile. in fact, i’ve gotten emails from some of you asking if i was doing ok because i sounded sad in one of my posts. most of the people in my life don’t make as much of an effort to reach out to me as you guys do.

internet friends!!

i’m not gonna lie, talking to my internet friends is one of my favorite things about blogging. it’s crazy how much i care about and enjoy chatting with these people who i’ve never met.

i also wanted to share some pictures i took when the trees were turning colors. they’re mostly of the crepe myrtle in the front yard, but there are some of our maples, too.

i have to go to my grandparents’ house today for lunch. i’m not terribly excited about that. it’s always pretty boring and i have to listen to my family make homophobic/sexist comments all afternoon.

anyway. happy thanksgiving.

xo

loren

 

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// nano progress report //

NaNoWriMo 2017 Participant Banner

hey, guys! here’s some news on how my nano project is going. (making this post is just another way that i’m procrastinating. help.)

word count

i’ve written 10,591 words out of 15,000!

according to some graph on the site, my daily word count is a bit screwed up. sometimes i’ll write a few hundred more words than is necessary. others days, i’ll reach the bare minimum. i don’t know why i do that, but i’m currently about two days ahead of schedule, so it’s cool.

the first week was really tough. i hadn’t written anything since nano 2016, so my skills were a little rusty. i had to discover my style again, but now it’s going smoothly. well, as smoothly as writing can go, which isn’t really saying much.

plot

i wasn’t able to do much plotting before nano because i switched stories last minute. when i write, i like having something to follow, so i started freaking out when i reached the end of my preplanned plot in chapter three. i have this huge empty space in the plot (between my characters leaving titan and reaching earth) that i’m not sure what to fill with. guess i’ll just wing it.

characters

i finally decided on a name for “tommy,” the annoying kid that sneaks onto their spaceship: keirnan. he’s named after this kid in my co-op who was a couple grades below me. i’m pretty sure that boy and his siblings are demons, but *sips tea* that’s none of my business.

i didn’t flesh out my characters very well before i started writing, so it’s exciting to see their personalities develop as the story progresses. zen is a sweet, soft child that must be protected at all costs; taz is already done with everyone’s crap; and lulu has somehow morphed into izzy, my best friend (brilliant, kind of rude, has crazy ideas). a good thing about this is that if i ever get stuck on what she would say/do in a certain situation, i can text izzy and get her opinion.

snippet

some of you asked me to post an excerpt for my novel, so here you go. this is where i am in the story right now. it’s not the greatest thing i’ve ever written, but i’m ok with that, because i’m more concerned with getting the words down than if they’re good ones.


Sleep has almost wrapped its soft arms around me when there’s a thud close by. Then a moan. I open an eye and glance around. Zen is still out cold in the front, likely getting drool on the collar of his favorite sweater. He probably wasn’t the one who disturbed me, then.

“Lu?” I rasp, my voice scratchy and too deep.

“Nope.” She sounds tired. It must be awful, having to pay attention to the creeping traffic for this long. “I thought it was you?”

I shake my head. Not that she’d be able to see.

Maybe it was Zen, after all, twitching in his sleep. Or it could have been the ship. I don’t know. I lay my head back and yawn.

Thump. 

I jerk up. There it is again. “Lu –”

“Check on the engine, would you?” she asks distractedly. I can practically hear her fighting off a nap, struggling to keep herself aware of the pilots around us.

“I don’t know how –”

“Just do it! Unless you want to fly?”

“Uh, I can take care of it. No problem.” The engine is hidden in the floor, concealed by a trapdoor. It’s located right next to the emergency exit, which means that if I accidentally pick the wrong door, I will be sucked out into space and hit by the ship behind ours. That would be an unfortunate way to end the trip. “Lu –”

“Left one.”

“My left, or . . .?”

“Yours.”

“Right, right.”

“No, left.”

I decide to shut up before we get any deeper. Yanking up the trapdoor, I bend close to the engine, craning my ear toward the whirring gears. Heat radiates up from the cavity, warming my cheek. “It sounds fine,” I tell Lulu, shrugging.

She growls in frustration. “Still. Try whacking it with my wrench. The toolbox is in one of the cabinets.”

I let the door fall. “Which one?”

“How should I know?”

I don’t even bother this time. I work my way around the ship systematically, opening each cabinet in turn, giving myself no more then a second to scan the inside for the toolbox. When I’ve peeked into all but the two closest to Zen, I hear a cough from the nearest one. And this time, I’m sure it’s not the engine, or any of us. “Lulu, there’s . . . ah, well, there’s someone in the ship with us.”

Lulu tenses, her back straight, her hands tightening around the yoke. She speaks slowly, her voice low and strained. “I can’t help you right now. The traffic is letting up. Don’t do anything till we get close to the police ships up ahead, where the accident was. They can help.”

I face the stowaway’s hiding spot, preparing myself to strike. “We can’t. No offense, but the fake IDs might not be convincing enough. We can’t risk it.”

She snarls again. After a moment, she breathes in a trembling voice, “Open it.”

Whoever is in here is scaring Lulu. I can’t allow this. I reach forward, rip open the cabinet, and launch a kick into the small space.

“Ow!” the intruder yelps, followed by whimpering. “Holy Pluto, dude, what was that for?”

My mouth drops in disbelief. Curled up in the cupboard is none other than the bratty nephew of our neighbor Nadala. “Keirnan?!” I sputter, letting go of the door in my shock. It catches his finger as it slams closed.

“Ow, ow, ow!” he wails.

“Lulu!” I screech, rousing Zen with my cry. “Keirnan’s in our ship! Our freaking ship, Lu!”

Suddenly, we’re picking up speed, everyone’s screaming, I’m losing my footing and toppling over. The world inside our fixer-upper, peaceful just moments before, is in utter disarray.

“Zen, take over!” Lulu orders, leaping out of her seat. “It’s just like driving your hovercraft. Well, not really. You’ll figure it out.” She tugs me off the ground and we crowd around the cabinet.

My brother, having just returned to consciousness in a loud, confusing world, sobs as he throws himself at the controls. The ship rears up and down, the result of shaky hands. Vehicles around us blare their horns irritably.


i need to write some more today and decide keirnan’s fate.

anyway, how are your nano projects going? do you think you’re going to reach your word count goal in time?

xo

loren

// q&a answers | part four //

hey.

i’m doing a q&a post today, because despite having nearly forty drafts, i “don’t have anything else to post!!”


sam‘s questions:

what is your favorite tree?

weeping cherries! when i was younger, my brother and i took swimming lessons at a college pool. there was a lovely weeping cherry outside the building, and i remember dancing under it while the petals tumbled down and caught in my wet hair.

i also like pines and weeping willows.

watercolor or color pencils?

i use both, but i prefer colored pencils. i have a much wider range of colors, and they’re easier to control.

three favorite christmas movies?

the nightmare before christmas. i love that one so much. but i never know if i should watch it on halloween or christmas, so i do both. that’s really the only christmas movie i like. all the others that i’ve seen are too cheesy.

have you finished courageous hearts?

ugh, i have not. i haven’t been able to work on it at all since nano 2016, because the laptop broke.

Related image

favorite youtuber?

the only youtuber i really watch is dodie clark (her channels are doddlevloggle and doddleoddle). she’s lovely and funny and has an amazing style, and i like her music. i’m also subscribed to kati morton, she makes mental health/psychology videos. and sometimes i watch good mythical morningpeanutbuttergamer, and game theory with my brother.

fuzzy socks or fleece blanket?

i like wrapping myself up in a blanket and becoming a blanket burrito.

do you like white chocolate?

i used to like white chocolate, but then everyone told me that it was gross and fake chocolate, so i stopped eating it. thanks, society.

what is your favorite baskin robbins ice cream flavor?

Following the announcement of production beginning for Antman and the wasp, The real question everyone was asking is if everyone’s favorite Baskin-Robbins manager Dale will appear again.

i’ve never been to baskin robbins. so there you go.

do you have any plans for this summer?

since summer is over, i’ll just list some of the things i did.

i went to a co-op picnic that was sort of a last hurrah for my class, my friends convinced me to go to a field day with them, i explored a swimming holewent to emerald isle on vacation, ran a 5k, went to summer camp, celebrated b‘s birthday, and went to the fair.

would you rather be a unicorn or a mermaid?

i’ve always had a love for mermaids that i haven’t really grow out of. i have a mermaid tail and mermaid-length hair (aka long enough that i wouldn’t have to wear a top). so definitely a mermaid (although my nickname was unicorn at one point. thanks, k.).

do you like starbucks?

i’ve never actually had starbucks, so i don’t think i can answer this. i’m not really a fan of coffee, anyway. but i guess they put so much other stuff in that it doesn’t really taste like coffee anymore.

what animal would be cutest if scaled down to the size of a cat?

DRAGON DRAGON DRAGON.

can you imagine having a tiny dragon? it would sleep in your lap and light candles for you and you could put a leash on it and take it on walks! T I N Y  D R A G O N S, GUYS.

what weird food combinations do you really enjoy?

i will eat peanut butter on pretty much anything. cornbread? check. cookies? check. ice cream? check. just give me something with peanut butter on it and i’ll probably like it.

what food is delicious but a pain to eat?

 i have braces, so everything is kind of a pain to eat. food gets stuck in my braces and chewing hurts like heck if the bands have been tightened. r.i.p. loren.

what was the last photo you took?

this one. it’s from the veteran’s day parade my ahg troop was in. izzy and i were in the front, and we carried a banner that said “home of the free, because of the brave.” random people watching the parade kept telling us to smile so we’d be prettier. that was strange.

what is the most amazing slow motion video you’ve seen?

idk, pal, i don’t remember every slow-mo video i’ve watched in my life.

where are some unusual places you’ve been?

longwood gardens. when i was in pennsylvania this spring, my mom and i visited an enormous garden that had lakes, a meadow, bizarre and amazing tree houses, etc.

☼ the rock-throwing range. at camp, there’s a dilapidated area beside the main road. there are thick poles stuck into the ground, with sheets of metal attached to them. there’s a mound of gravel in front of the poles, which you can use as ammunition. the rock-throwing range feels slightly disconnected from the rest of the world, especially when it’s dusk and all you can hear is the ping of rock against metal and muttered expletives when you miss.

 ☼ a cafe downtown. i’ve always been fascinated by it. i’ve never actually been inside, though. it has vibrant, picasso-style murals all over the walls.

☼ sunflower field. not too far from my house is a huge field. the owners plant sunflowers in it, so many sunflowers blooming and exuding joy that you feel as if you are in a van gogh painting. you’re allowed to walk through the field and pick flowers for a small fee, although i’ve never had a chance to do it.

☼ fairy stone state park. i went on vacation there one time. it seemed quite normal: trees, lake, critters, etc. the sort of things you would expect to find at any state park. but you can find tiny rocks there that are shaped like crosses. one day after it rained, we drove to a gas station and searched through the muddy bank of a stream. the fairy stones had been stirred to the surface by the runoff. the legend of the fairy stones is that an elven messenger came to the forest to tell the fairies there about the death of Christ. their tears, upon reaching the ground, morphed into beautiful stone crosses.

ms. agdoll’s questions:

what’s your favorite season?

autumn! there are so many wonderful things about autumn, it’s almost not fair to the other seasons. the pretty colors, perfect temperature, halloween, apple cider, etc. and autumn brings soccer, my youth group’s weekend retreat, and nanowrimo.

favorite drawing instrument?

my mom has these super thin markers called staedtler pigment liners. i use them in most of my drawings, for outlining and writing.

what do you think of ag’s newest doll?

at this point, i don’t even know who the newest doll is.

favorite summer activities?

sitting in a spot of sunlight on the porch and drawing. making flower crowns. listening to albums on repeat, so that whenever i listen to them, i will be transported back to this summer. picking fruit and making smoothies out of it. stretching out in a patch of sun and reading.

favorite author?

here are a few off the top of my head:

rebecca stead
jodi lynn anderson
pseudonymous bosch
cressida cowell
shannon messenger

what’s the longest trip you’ve ever taken?

when i went to myrtle beach for the weekend to visit my mom’s best friend from high school. it took us around ten hours to get there because my mom got lost. what fun. :)

day or night?

nighttime, no doubt. music and books somehow mean more to me when it’s the middle of the night. you can actually hear yourself think in the darkness. and i enjoy going outside at night, because i can breathe and watch the stars. everything is calm and mysterious.

have you ever stayed up all night?

oh, yes, many times. i pulled about four all-nighters in july. the first time i ever stayed up all night, i think, was at an ahg lock-in at a climbing gym. izzy was there, and our friend emily from summer camp. we spent the night bouldering, eating pizza, and making up an insane story about bob the tiger, who married anias the unicorn.

how many books do you have? XD XD

you’re really going to make me count all of my books? what kind of twisted joke is this?

. . .

there are 103 books on the floor of my bedroom. i really need a bookshelf.

do you like tea?

yes, of course! i love having it on those gloomy days that drag on forever, or when i’m writing. my favorite kind that we have in the house is either english breakfast or peppermint.

about how much time do you spend on the computer every day?

at least twenty-seven hours a day.

favorite school subject?

i like astronomy, p.e. (my co-op’s p.e. was just running/playing soccer), and art.

have you ever picked up a frog? (or anything similar :p)

one time my brother’s dumb fish jumped out of the tank. he was freaking out too much to do anything, so i had to pick the fish up and toss it back in.

oh, and my first kiss was with a fish, so that’s pretty gross.


i have to do math homework, but i missed two days of school because i was sick, so i have no idea how to do it. also, i’m just bad at math in general. and i need to work on nano and go to a baby shower and study for a spanish quiz and a science quiz, but i’m procrastinating by doing this instead. please send help.

xo

loren

// tips for writing stuttering //

i thought i’d post some writing tips in honor of nano. i’m going to be talking about stuttering, because that’s something that lots of writers get wrong.

i’ve seen stuttering done like this countless time: “w-w-well, i . . . i m-mean, you k-know . . .” and it bothers me, because that’s not how people actually stutter. not how i stutter, anyway. it might be different for others.

i don’t trip over my words aloud as much i used to, but i still do it all the time when i’m thinking. i’ll just be talking to myself in my head, and then i’ll reach a mental roadblock. that’s what it feels like. i know the word, i know how to say it, but my mind won’t let me. i’ll just trail off instead while i try to force it out. i usually end up having to change the way the sentence is worded so i can avoid the one that my brain isn’t letting me say.

when i’m stuttering out loud, it’s not just because i’m nervous/shy. sometimes i stutter when i’m excited, when i’m angry, when i’m talking about something personal. and like i just mentioned, i’ll reach a roadblock. if i try to say the word, my throat feels tight and i am literally incapable of saying it.

here are some alternative ways to write stuttering, besides the classic way:

– have them repeat some words

– have them trail off and restart their sentence

– show them getting frustrated/embarrassed

– have them begin the sentence one way, then reword it

– have them pronounce a word incorrectly a few times before getting it right

– have them mix up their words: “i played with my cat today” becomes “i played with my today cat.”

i hope this was helpful! if you’d like to add onto this, leave your tips in the comments.

xo

loren

// playlist: rad //

the “rad” playlist (which originally had y.m.c.a. on it, but it made me laugh so hard that i had to take it off):

i want you back // the jackson 5

forget you // ceelo green

blitzkrieg bop // ramones

basket case // green day

back in black // ac/dc

hooked on a feeling // blue swede

should i stay or should i go // the clash

we will rock you // queen

another one bites the dust // queen

carry on my wayward son // kansas

i wanna rock // twisted sister

i wanna be sedated // ramones

cherry bomb // the runaways

we didn’t start the fire // billy joel

all the small things // blink-182

wake me up before you go-go // wham!

ghostbusters // ray parker jr.

it’s still rock and roll to me // billy joel


i’m sick today, have been since sunday night. i’ve got a fever/cold, i think. idk if anyone else does this, but when i’m sick, i have to be moving constantly or else i’ll feel like throwing up. which means i’ve been drumming my fingers on things, pacing, fanning myself, etc. it sucks a bit, but i’m actually kind of glad, because i didn’t have to go to school today.

 my friend izzy slept over on monday. we had a campfire, played the alphabet game (“my name is bartholomew, my husband’s name is bob, we live in a bathtub, and we sell BaBiEs on the bLaCk MaRkEt.”), watched guardians of the galaxy, slept in a hammock (2 people + 1 hammock = very bad idea), and made fun of each other until 2 a.m. the next morning, we danced in the rain to the piña colada song and then came back in and played just dance (which is always extremely competitive for us). i need to make an appreciation post for my friends sometime, because they’re strange and wonderful and make my heart do weird things.

i haven’t worked on my nano project yet today, but i’m at 24%, so i guess i’m on track. i’m still on the first chapter and everyone is still on titan, which isn’t nearly as much fun to write about as space shenanigans are. i want to strap them into their crappy ship immediately, but i need to introduce more characters before i can do that. someone help me, nano is already driving me insane and i’m only doing 15k words.

friendly reminder to take your meds, drink some water, and relax your shoulders. sometimes things are happy and sometimes they are sad, but they’re all good and you will be ok.

xo

loren

// missed connections //

i am afraid that one day
 i will be married
and i will cry myself to sleep
because i didn’t end up with you
and you will always be
the boy i miss

-m i s s e d  c o n n e c t i o n s 


today was not great. i was late to my soccer game because some days it hurts too much to get out of bed. it was freezing this morning and i could barely move my fingers by the end of the game. my friend bailed on me and i had to go to a church event alone, where i spent three hours trying to entertain a loud, energetic child with a tiny attention span. when i came home, i found that a book had been left on the sidewalk and had gotten soaked by the rain. i tried to do schoolwork that was due earlier this week, but i couldn’t concentrate. my head hurt and i was tired. it took me five hours to write 500 words for nano, and they weren’t even good words.

i miss my friends and i miss being told that i am loved and i miss my camp and i miss yesterday’s sunset and i miss getting in the ocean at night and i miss when it didn’t hurt to wake up. life is all about missing things and people and moments.

my head still hurts. and this is just me venting with some sucky poetry. i’m sorry. i’ve been angry today and it feels good to write things down.

xo

loren