Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dream Big

This is an Ode to the Young and Aspiring Writer
(Or, a letter to those in the same boat as me).

Sometimes I find it hard to write.  Sometimes I can't stop writing.  The same two sentences could be applied to reading, dancing (though that's an informal disjointed thing I do myself), singing (which I am terrible at), eating, laughing, sleeping, and acting--though acting is hardly ever in the first sentence.

I recently went and saw a musical performed at the local theatre with a friend, and I must say I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  I love acting.  I love the stage and I miss it when I am away.  I have been away for a very long time--too long.  As fun as it would be to be paid to do something I love so much, I never actually considered even attempting it.  I never believed it possible.  I'm not a good enough actress to make it in California or New York.  I never questioned that.

But is my dream job just as unrealistic?  Is it just as ridiculous for me to want to be a published author?  I want it so bad--I want it more than almost anything else.  The only thing that has ever competed in my desires to be published is to be a wife and mom--and that is something I've always just assumed I will have one day.

I'm going to a writers' conference in August.  A conference being held by my hero/favorite/genius author.  If I could have a mentor in my craft I would choose him.  We don't write similar stories, but I want to emulate myself to write like him--to put all of my passion into my writing as he does, and to succeed.  I want to be published/supported/read etc.  I am going to this conference with 100 others who probably feel just as I do about Mr. Ted Dekker.  100 other writers who want nothing more than what I want; those who dream as I dream.

But are there only 100 others who want what I want?  Am I competing against 100 other candidates for my future?  No, of course not. 

I'm competing against hundreds of thousands.

So who says I am any good?  Who says I can hack it?  Who says I can have my dream?  Who says that I can have all I have ever wanted and more? Who says that anyone will want to read my story?  I do.  I say that I can do it.  I am often discouraged, downtrodden, depressed, and defeated by the rejection letters I get on a regular basis.  But I don't give up.  I have around 20 rejection letters from agents telling me that they don't want the same things I do--I.E. they don't want to see me published!

And yet, my friends and readers, we can't let this stop us.  We can't let the world tell us "no" anymore than we can allow a day to go by without smiling! 

Whatever your rejection might be--whatever people are saying you 'can't' do...ignore them.  Unless the thing you desire is literally impossible (like, traveling through time) then I say to try your best.  Maybe you'll find in the end that it isn't actually what you wanted, and then you will smile and move on.  But what if it is YOUR LOVE FOR LIFE and you passed on it, simply because you were too scared to try?

No, my friends.  Dare to try.  I think I will go send out some more Query letters, most of which (if not all) will be replied with a bold rejection.  That is life.  Life is full of rejection, but if you give'll never go anywhere or get anything, will you?

Good luck to all those who are like me.  Good luck to everyone who wants to be published.  Hopefully we will get our wishes.

I'm thinking of doing something fun in the future--maybe a little giveaway.  As the things  Probably a book---and anyone who knows me knows which book and probably already has it ;)  So when this goes down, tell your friends!  I would like a good turn out and to be able to give some cool stuff away!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Damsel or Demolisher

DISCLAIMER: Any and all names/stories I put in this specific blog are just thoughts from my head.  They aren't in any way connected to another story.  They are just two different scenarios of two different kinds of women.

I love a fantastic story.  I want to read about or watch something that entertains me to no end.  My favorite is a good Suspense/Thriller OR Fantasy story with an interesting main plot, and an intriguing romantic subplot. 

This being said, I've come to find several new aspects of the female character that bother me.  Too often women fall into one of two categories: Juliet or Iona.

Juliet--The name I give to women who are the epitome of helpless.  I pick it because of my hatred for Romeo and Juliet.  The woman who has no strength, no bravery.  She whines and cries--her life is terrible and she can do nothing to stop it.  Juliet is a wimp.  I have no respect for her character.  When her man (her knight in shining armor) is fighting against the villain, she watches and cries and worries.  Sure, her lover's sword has just fallen at her feet, but what could she possibly do with a sword?  She can't even hand it back to him, because that would mean she'd be doing something dangerous...
I can get vile. Really I can.  Juliet is weak, pathetic, whiny, pointless, and a waste of a good page in a book.  I always want to warn the man to run from a Juliet character.  Can't you envision their future?  One wrong move, and Juliet's man will be dead, because she couldn't bother to help him:

Juliet stood watching while Javier fought with the evil Dr. Ing.  Javier's sword lay at her feet, where it had flung from his hand.  There was also a gun sitting right beside her on the table. Juliet cried out for Javier to be careful, wishing he would stop preventing Dr. Ing from stabbing him in the heart and come over to her and get the gun or the sword--how would he continue to protect her without them?

Pathetic and annoying.  The exact opposite of Juliet though, is Iona.  I'm all for women's rights and blah blah blah, but I can't stand a SuperWoman character.  I don't appreciate when a woman can save herself, by herself, and doesn't need anyone ever.  I also  don't like when the man needs her to come and save him.  Iona loses the feminine touch.  She also will lose her man...since emasculating men doesn't generally go well with them.  They were created to be strong for women, not to be made to feel weak and powerless.  And while am I at it...I do not appreciate a male character who can take on 30 guys all by himself, so why on earth would I ever accept a woman doing it?  Now look at the same type of scenario from before, but the type with a girl like Iona.

Iona fought her way through all 30 of Dr. Ing's henchmen, killing them with her various versions of karate moves, swordsmanship, and devastatingly good looks.  Javier, still being held captive in a cage, completely defenseless and unable to assist her at all, watched as Iona advanced to save him.  Finally, with all of the thirty men knocked out or dead, Iona broke the lock on the cage with a chop of her hand.  Javier, too weak to walk, was lifted onto her shoulders so that she could make her way to safety.  As she turned to leave, Dr. Ing came at her, and with Javier still on her back, she fought to the death.

Neither woman is right.  It's the same way that we don't like a man who is only sensitive or a man who is only brute strength.  There is always a happy medium.  Cammie is that happy medium.  She might be a spy with killer training, but she fails...a lot.  She doesn't always succeed and while sometimes she gets the guy out of the jam, there are just as many times where he saves her. 

I don't understand why some women say they don't want to be saved.  I don't know why some women are so offended by the idea of a gentleman.  What is wrong with having the door opened for you, or a chair pulled out for you?  And, really, do you have a problem with a free dinner?  I don't!  I see nothing wrong with chivalry.  I see nothing wrong with being shown love and affection by a man who, if this were medieval times, would enter a jousting tournament for a chance to kiss me.

Why don't women want to be saved anymore?  Why don't men want to do the saving?  Where has this idea of women being the pursuers come in?  I feel it is entirely backwards!    I want nothing more than to be pursued by a man.  I want him to show me that I'm worth working for.  I don't expect the ridiculous.  I don't assume a guy will jump through hoops or always pay for everything of mine, or have to be perfect in any way.  I only want someone who is going to do as God intended--to be the man in the relationship, the leader, the strength. 

Am I crazy?  Is it weird or wrong of me to want to be pursued? To get to be the girl waiting for her knight in shining armor--IE the guy who's cute and funny and makes a point to have conversation with me.  The guy who sees me sitting across the room, and instead of me having to go to him, he makes his way towards me. 

I end with a bit of advice mixed in with a story.  Not being a guy, I didn't really understand the inner turmoil that goes through a guy who wants to go talk to a girl.  I once had the chance to watch a group of guys coach a younger guy to go talk to a girl. It took them around a half an hour to convince him to go strike up a conversation.  My advice, to any male who is reading this, is to go for it.  I know it's scary. I know you don't want to be rejected, but the truth is, the girls is waiting for you to come talk to her.  She's waiting for you to make the first move.  You can do it!!!
And girls, be patient.  The guy who actually gets up the strength to come talk to you is way more worth it.  If you make the first move...what message does that send?  Why should he ever have to make a move if he knows you're going to make them?  Don't make boys lazy...make them work for it.  It's actually what they are made to do.

I can't  wait to be "saved" by my hero.  I can't wait for the guy who wants to make an effort to get to know me, to find out why we work together.  True love is worth waiting for, right?  I think so.  I hope I'm not alone.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Trouble with Youth

♫"Children waiting for the day they feel good. Happy birthday. Happy birthday.  Want to feel the way that every child should. Sit and listen. Sit and Listen....I find it kind of funny. I find it kind of sad.  The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had."♪

There is something alluring about the Gary Jules version of that song.  It's haunting.  The part I've put here has always resonated--"Children waiting for the day they feel good."

One thing I can definitely say, being a youth myself, is that we are always striving for the day we feel good.  Through the angst of adolescence and very early adulthood, the mentality almost always seems to be "my life sucks, and no you couldn't understand me--I'm so complex."
Even for those who were relatively happy or had a minimal amount of drama in their lives still could play the tune of "My life is so hard" or "If only I had this I would be happy" without ever having practiced.

I had a rather blessed upbringing.  I didn't want for much, and I had parents who weren't "on my case" or "ruining my life".  That didn't stop me from feeling as though I couldn't wait to get older--couldn't wait to date--couldn't wait to get out of high school (and then college)--couldn't wait to...

Well, does it matter?  I couldn't wait.  Nothing is ever enough because there is always the next step.  Someone always has something we want.  This mentality doesn't apply to only children, but to adults as well.  Regardless, it is children who tend to think beyond their station and get themselves into trouble that, when they look back, could have so easily been avoided.  (yes, yes, I know, adults do it too).

Just tonight I found an old "note" on Facebook that a friend of mine had posted.  The content is irrelevant, but the 50 comments that followed made my stomach churn a little.

Around seven or eight 18 year old kids were having what they deemed to be an intelligent conversation surrounding a controversial subject.  While there were one or two on each side keeping their heads cool, there were also the blaring majority typing as fast as their angry little fingers could manage.  The words exchanged back and forth seemed to be coming from an intellectual or logical foundation, but in truth it was children pretending to be grownups.

As I read the posts--two of the fifty were even from myself--I felt a sense of sadness that always wells up inside me when I look back at how teenagers believed themselves to be adults.  The posts had foul language, hurtful and hateful digs, and angry words spattered all over the page. 

It wasn't new to me.  It was a topic that I seemed to face weekly.  It was something that I had discussed more thoroughly and in depth in high school then I have ever done since.  A part of me wondered if it was because I had grown weak or impassive--did I not care about a subject that once led me to watch others battle over while I occasionally gave my two cents? 

Truth is, the subject hasn't made me angry or over zealous since I made the mistake of allowing my temper to get the best of me my sophomore year.  I may not have been involved in the heated portion of the argument, but that didn't mean I didn't come across it.  Just because I wasn't angry didn't mean the person I was talking to remained calm.  So do I still care?

Yes. Deeply. Passionately.  Endlessly.  The thing that changed is time.  The people I converse with about this subject are older, calmer, and more willing to accept both sides without anger or hate.  When I or another brings up this topic, it is dealt with in a loving and respectful way because I love and respect the people I am discussing it with regardless of their differing views.  They, in turn, love and respect me.  There is no argument, only discussion.

Now, this doesn't mean that the eight individuals from my teens could carry on this same conversation without yelling just because they are older.  No, not all adults carry themselves with love and respect for their fellow man.  There are still men/women well into adulthood who turn red with shouting about this subject at each other--worrying only about being right.

When arguing with a friend, if you are just trying to win the argument, there is a chance you can ruin the friendship.  I heard a saying: "You can win the battle, but you may have well lost the war."

In my controversy--Christianity--is it worth it for me to lose a friend and potentially have lost their soul just to have proven my point that a Biblical fact is indeed a proven fact?  Will yelling at them until they have no opposing point that can stand on two legs, therefore proving that I have crushed them into the ground, really be any help at all to our friendship?

How easy it is to be young, and yet we treat it like the most difficult time of our lives.  We act as though the slightest problem can crumble our world--the day is ruined because my friend did not smile at me when she walked by.  My life is over because that boy started dating a girl that isn't me.  My life is so hard. You couldn't understand.  No, no, your poverty holds no candle to my latest frenemy situation; those starving in third world countries, and those starving in the US have no contest when it comes to my bad hair day or ruined date.

Even as I type this, I am sure that I will come back to it in so many years and laugh.  I may chuckle and think "How mature I believed I was to see this.  What insight I believed I had.  If only I'd known that____" Fill in the blank here, all you who are older than I.  Those who actually know the hardships and troubles life can bring.

But for those that are young I say this--Life generally isn't that hard.  There are always exceptions to the rule, and those youths truly do have it hard.  The likelihood that you reading this are one of them though, is close to nill.  You have a computer, and likely a facebook.  You are in some sort of shelter, and hopefully you have not had to go hungry at any time in your life.  Hopefully you know what love is (no, teens, not romantic love. Quit whining about it. You're too young for it anyway).  Hopefully you can (eventually) have a good relationship with your parents and siblings.  Hopefully you know that your life will be alright.

Hindsight is 20/20.  Tomorrow you'll know what you could've done today to prevent it being "so awful".  The hard truth is that you can't change it.  Yesterday has happened and you can't take back any action you did.  You can't undo it--but you can apologize for it.

I apologize to any who hold my actions against me.  Perhaps I was unaware of what I did--or perhaps I did it on purpose.  I can only hope the foolishness of my youth will not have to haunt me in adulthood.  This might have become more of a rant than an insightful composition, but sometimes ranting can be good for the soul.

Go have a good rant to someone you trust.  You'll feel long as the rant isn't about them ;).

A few fun facts:
  • Spell check tried to change "frenemy" into fr. enemy.  This made me think of French Enemy. Ha!
  • More then 10 people a year are killed by vending machines
  • The Bible is not only the world's bestselling is also the most shoplifted...and it has been translated into Klingon.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hear me Roar

There's a song by some woman who at some time sang "I am woman  hear me roar in numbers to big to ignore..."  It goes on and it's not really my style.  My mom used it for a Ladies Night Out fun event--something for women to be together, learn, and have fun.  The song, truly, is obnoxious and I don't love it--but I always remember the first line.

Women are strong--stronger than men in many ways.  Men are strong too, but since I'm a woman, I'm going to tout on the strong women in my life--the women that make me want to be better.  The women who make me proud.  I'm going to tribute them here, and hope that they know they are loved.

The first, and easiest to group up, are the women that I graduated college with.  The UofM COT class of Surgical Technology Graduates (We all have CST after our names now)--these women endured trying and difficult times, and each of them graduated (two of them with honors).  They are strong and faced adversity--some were raising families, others nurturing relationships, and still others were forging ahead into a world they didn't know--into something new.  And so I first give a nod to these women (there was one gentleman who was also very strong to survive)  who are strong and courageous and who got what they knew they could work hard for.  I hope they all find jobs in their field.

Second I praise the mothers I know.  My sister is very different from myself in many ways, and we've always been that way.  She and I may not have gotten along all that much growing up, but she is now one of my closest friends.  One thing I know about my sister is that she is a wonderful mother.  She loves her daughter Shelby and she was born to be a good mom.  I intend to repeat this over and over to Shelby when she gets older--making sure she never forgets it.

My sister learned from my mother.  My mom is the best.  Blah blah blah you can say "no my mom is better", but that's the joy of differing opinions.  I won't believe you.  My mom is another one of my closest friends.  She's always been there for me, correcting me when necessary and praising me when I deserved it.  She's gone through her share of hell, and she's come out strong.  My mom is one of the most loyal people I know.  She'd give you our house if she thought you needed it more than we do (is that an exaggeration?  I don't know...).  My grandpa describes her as giving, and she is--he says she would get a bag of candy and rush out to share it with everyone else.  I, on the other hand, will horde and hide mine away, saving it for only me.  I love my mom--I couldn't imagine my life without her.

My mom learned from my Grandma.  Both my dad's mom and my mom's mom are amazing.  They have dealt with their own share of troubles and strife, each rising to the occasion and becoming amazing women of God.  Gigi and my Grandma Wendy are some of the sweetest (and sometimes feistiest) women I know.  My grandma Wendy recently had surgery and while most people I know would be laying around in pain, whining about their troubles, she's not complaining and she's doing all she can do without causing further problems.  She's cheery and positive in a time where most would be woebegone.  Gigi deals with people who are...well...I wouldn't want to deal with them.  People say thing about my grandparents and about our church, but my Gigi doesn't allow them to stop her from doing God's work.

It's easy to praise my family.  But one of the strongest women I know has only recently shown me how deep her strength truly runs.  One of my dearest friends has just recently had her heart handed to her in a blender by a man she had trusted it to whole heartedly.  Now, when a relationship that has lasted quite some time ends, and it was a relationship a woman had poured her entire self into, it would only be assumed that said woman would fall apart, perhaps never to repair. haven't met my friend.  This girl is hurting, and she wouldn't deny it.  This is not some high school relationship, that after five months it's over and she'll be fine in a couple weeks.  This was a place she'd thought was safe--she'd found her prince, but alas, he was only a frog.  But I've seen her strength.  She knows that even though she is hurting she will make it through this.  She knows she is strong enough to deal with the pain and survive.  I don't think I'd be as strong as she has been.  I think I'd give up. 
I don't think I can come up with enough words to describe her strength or how much I love her.  I can't make you understand why she is one of the strongest women I have ever met...but if you know her, I know you probably agree.

What does it take to be a strong woman?  What can I learn from these ladies whom I love so much?  The answer  I observe these women and I hope to someday be one of them.  I trust them. I love them.  I cry their wonderful abilities from the rooftops.  I hope you know they deserve it.  If you are a woman--whether a mother, a lover, broken, built, skinny, fat, short, or tall--I believe we all have strength.  If you don't believe me, maybe you'll just have to find out for yourself.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I am an American, from Chardeau*, and nearly 100% Irish.  I am a writer, a reader, crotcheter, and a girl (not to mention a laugher, a bad singer, and a pianist).  I am a Christian, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.  All these things are what I know--what I am. 

Most of the time, these things are what "define" me.  These are the words people use when someone asks "Who is Kelsey?".  And yet, while these things often are used to describe what and who I am, I often find it is the things that I am not that truly let a person know more about me.

Because in so many ways, I am a foreigner.

Last night I was watching Eat, Pray, Love, with Julia Roberts.  I have yet to read the book, as I tend to prefer fiction, but it was in watching that movie that I realized something.

I am a foreigner.

I've grown up in Church, with knowledge and relationship about God and all he has done.  Truly I tell you, I haven't a clue what it feels like to not know God.  I don't know what it feels like to be lost, to hunger for something and not understand what it is--to have a whole inside you that you try to fill with anything and everything, but never can succeed.

I really have no idea.  I watched as Julia Roberts' character had her first conversation with God; she cried, saying she hoped he knew how thankful she was for all he'd given her--even though they'd never spoken.

I've never felt that desperation.  I've never felt that sense of need.  Oh, I have needed God and I have felt desperation, but not to the extent of meeting him.  I've needed him and come to him crying for certain things in my life, but I knew he was there was me coming to him as I come to one of my parents when I need help--my parents whom I've always known would be there.

In that moment, when I realized that this was something as foreign as the French language to me, I wondered what else I was foreign to.  What else in my life would cause me to cock my head to one side, much as my dog Gibbs does when I make funny noises at him.  I no longer even saw the TV as I sat there, my mind racing, perplexed.

I am a foreigner.

I don't know what it feels like to wake up in a city other than the one I've been born in and go to work.  I've only ever been on vacation--I've never lived anywhere but Chardeau.  I don't know what it feels like to receive a paycheck after a forty hour work week (I've worked 4-10s as an intern, but never been paid).  I've never been able to be a foreigner in Europe (where everything would be foreign to me).  I've never been published, good and kissed, slapped, drunk, or male.  I have no need to be slapped, drunk, or male, but they are things I've never been.

More than anything, this blog is a funny little train of thought that traveled through my head while being entertained by a form of media--but does it make you question what you are a foreigner to?

What do you take for granted that you've never experienced, whether good or bad?  What is foreign to you?

Do you need to change it?

A few of the things I'm foreign to I plan to change.  I intend to be published; I intend to have a full time job now that I've graduated; I expect to be married one day; I will someday go to Europe, and Ireland, and New York for that matter--I may even be there working if I can get published.

There are always choices in life, and there will always be things I am a foreigner to, but if I can change them (and want to) then I will.

Will you?

*It's not Narnia, but close.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Childhood writer

Fiction writers often have difficulty blogging.  The big question comes down to--What can I possibly blog about?
The thoughts behind it are simple; I write fiction, and so my safety net is to tell a story that I've spun myself in my head--but how long will anyone want to read a blog that is solely short stories or chapter excerpts?

With this in mind, I went where any new blogger should go--Google.  I asked the Great and Powerful Google what a fiction writer should blog about.  As would be expected of the Wonder Site, it gave me several ideas that have gotten me here.  (

And so, today I start by blogging adventure with where my story begins.  The question at hand is this:
 "What one event in your childhood had the greatest effect on your writing career?"

 My mind immediately scatters to a million different spaces devoted to this very subject inside my skull--learning to read at a young age; devouring books because I needed them to breathe; listening to the stories of older children told to them by their parents; realizing for the first time that when I told a story people listened.

That final one (accompanied by its immediate predecessor) is, I think, where my Story began.

When I was a little girl, my mom was the neighborhood sitter.  She watched all of the children while their parents were at work.  That meant I grew up around an array of children from ages 3 to about 12, maybe older, but I hardly remember their ages.  What I do remember, is the way my sister (5 years my senior) would tell us  stories.  Jokes, mostly, were the favor of the group as they made us laugh; these weren't ordinary jokes--they weren't "knock knock"s or "Dumb blonde" jokes.  They were stories that unfolded, with funny morals at the end that seemed to make no sense, which was why they were funny.

When I started school, I took those stories with me.  We moved to a different part of town when I was only in the first grade, and shy, as I was, I actually made a few good friends.

What I noticed about these friends were the way they would listen to me when I told them the stories my sister had told me.  Eventually I would tell my own stories--I would tell them my dreams from the night before if they were funny; anecdotes that happened in my house; adventures I had been on with my cousins and siblings--ANYTHING that came to mind.

And they listened.

I grew to hunger for those moments--I loved the feeling of seeing their faces light up or fall in the appropriate places when I told them true stories--even more when I told them ones that I'd made up, just for them.

I never stopped telling stories.  Nowadays, when I have a friend that is busy and not texting me back I tell them a story.  I send them a series of texts that consist of a story just for them.  I recently wrote a short story adaptation of "The Princess and the Pea" (named The Prince and the Pea) after a friend of mine shared that he never liked peas, in fact he sincerely hated them.
I've written short stories for Facebook, stories for my niece, and two books that I hope one day will be published (it's actually three books, but the third is not yet written).

I love to tell stories.  Would you like to hear one?