Saturday, 10 March 2018

Something Produced in Twenty Minutes

A few months ago, I entered a writing competition for young writers in high schools across Canada. I didn't hear about the competition until the week of the deadline, and I didn't have that week to really concentrate on anything. So what I ended up doing was something really exciting.

The competition ended at six in the evening my time. I had musical practice that day, and got home at five forty. I wrote my entry in sixteen minutes and submitted it just before the time ran out. It was an extremely exhilarating experience. I had barely enough time to check my grammar, and I knew it was very unlikely I'd actually win anything, but I forced myself to come out of my shell and write something for the first time in months and months, and for that reason I have no regrets.

I didn't win or make it to the finalists, and I thought it would be interesting to post it here, as though it is very obviously not my best or my most polished work, it was a wonderful learning experience and showed me that I can beat writer's block and produce when put under pressure.

The writing prompt was to write the first page of a novel that takes place in Canada in one hundred and fifty years. I had been toying with a dystopian novel idea at the back of my mind for a while before I heard about the competition, so I used that to create my four hundred word mess.



It all started because people were bored. We needed something to entertain ourselves; now that the population had dwindled down because of the drownings on island provinces and that we had built machines that would reconstruct the cities after the fires. People had nothing to do. We started getting restless. We started wondering if we should do something about the smoldering world around us.

And so the government introduced Masks. Devices full of chemicals that when placed on the mouth and inhaled would transport the wearer into a land completely of their own, where in their mind they would be an average person from 150 years ago, where they would be completely submerged in a safe, fake life just before all of the wars and destruction and death.

At first, people were only allowed small doses at a time. But, they began craving more and more. It was easier to hide in an ignorant bliss than to face the horror that was their reality. Our reality. My reality.

I distinctly remember the first time I put on my Mask, on my twelfth birthday. The first time everyone is put under, the chemicals being pumped through them are so strong and toxic that it takes only a few seconds for blood pressure to rise and for every muscle in the body to go into spasm. For me, for some reason, it took more time than usual for them to kick in. I remember that after they tore the Mask from my face, they wrote my name down on a clipboard that contained only a few other names. I tried to get a closer look, but they took it away before I could see anything else.

I still haven’t succumbed to living under the Mask yet. I hardly see a lot of my friends anymore because they have grown accustomed to the drugs and chemicals, and it’s almost as if they rely on them now to survive. They have to have their fix of the past.

If I look outside the window of my apartment, the streets are deserted. No one sees the point of going outside anymore. Smog clouds the horizon and it always looks as if we are in a field of ash. And no one cares, because no one needs to. Everyone is contented as long as they are under the Mask. We are placid.

We are safe.


I am planning to edit this one day and make it, you know, good, but I am still proud I managed to write something in the short time I gave myself. It was a reminder that I could still write and that I still had passion left in me that I thought had left me. 

If you haven't had time to write in a while, I dare you to give yourself twenty minutes to write as much as you can about whatever you want, and no matter what comes out, be proud of yourself for returning to something you love and enjoy. 

Most of my writing now is done through writing music now, and I'd love to one day pluck up the courage to post some of my songs on this blog. Until then, I'll push myself to write whenever I possibly can.


Monday, 5 February 2018

Welcome to February

Hello friends! I felt the need to make this quick little update because I have not forgotten about the blogging world. In fact, I've been thinking more and more about it as time passes by and I'm finally coming up with good ideas I'm getting excited to talk and write about in the upcoming months. Everything that was causing me stress before is now over and my life has calmed down for the most part. I'm eager to start anew and maybe even blog about my journey with the things that were causing me so much stress, as I've had so many wonderful experiences in the past months and would love to share them.

I'm in a steady, happy place in my life. I'm going on two trips with school in a few months, and I also got selected to go to London in August with Girl Guides of Canada. I'm so excited and I can't wait to blog about these incredible upcoming adventures!

I miss this community so much and I miss the friends I've made here even more. I hope this is the last time my blog posts have month long gaps between them. I can't wait to get back to blogging regularly again. I'm definitely thinking of updating my blog and changing the design around soon, but I want to give it the time it deserves.

This is an extremely short post but please feel free to comment and update me on your lives in the comments! I miss talking to everyone here.

See you guys soon!


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Book Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

My original plan for this post was to have it three or four worded, to have it just say, "OH. MY. GOD." and leave it like that. However, this wouldn't quite do justice to this absolutely outstanding literary experience.

More Than This by Patrick Ness is a young adult fiction novel. It starts off with a young boy named Seth. He drowns and dies. 

I'm going to leave the plot at that, because one of the many best parts of this book is going into it without expectations, knowing as little as possible about the actual plotline. Allow this book to surprise you to no end.

So, instead of giving you a general summary like I could do with any other book, I thought I would instead tell you a bunch of reasons why you should put this book at the top of your TBR. 

You should read this book because it will drown you in philosophical thoughts and ideas. It will confuse you in the best way possible, and you'll want more. You should read this book because it does not understand the concept of genre, throws it completely out of the window and still makes it to be the most interesting literary experience you will possibly ever have. You should read this book because the buildup to its climax is incredible. You should read this book because it will have you hooked on the first page.

 You should read this book because it will blur the lines between beginning and end. You should read this book because it is a reminder that you are not alone in searching and wanting for something more, something that is just beyond your fingertips yet ever so hard to reach.  You should read this book because you will not just fall in love with its characters, but you will fall in love with the story itself and the meaning it holds. You should read this book because if you've been at a loss regarding anything at all in your life, this book will most likely provide some sort of consolation.

You should read this book because it is about love, loss, friendship, instinct, free will, and survival. It is about almost anything and everything that is relevant to the brain's cognitive process.

Patrick Ness once again baffles me with his incomparable talent. He is able to write and understand and connect with teenagers in a way that I personally find many authors can't.

What is the true meaning of our existence? I feel so much more reassured because Patrick Ness answers things in the form of questions and creates such stunning, sublime masterpieces that will enthrall and enrapture and transport you. Read this book. Please.

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Some Songs

As mentioned in probably many of my previous posts by now, I've been incredibly stressed out by school and other commitments. I've been finding that the little things that bring joy into my life really do add up and matter. One of the things that never ceases to get me out of a slump is music. Therefore, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite songs! Some of the songs on my list have been my favourites for years, whereas others are songs that I've discovered recently. My favourite lyrics of each song are in italics at the bottom of the actual song. (three of these songs are by a great big world and I don't care)  

1. Boondock Saints Theme- The Blood of Cuchulainn

I honestly have no idea where this song comes from, whether it was the backing track of a video game or a movie or a television show. I found it while listening to a compilation of instrumental music while studying for a test, and I kind of got distracted from the actual studying because I fell in love with the very Irish feeling of the song. Now, I listen to it when I need a dose of optimism without anyone actually telling me what to feel, but rather, showing me the feelings through pure music.

2. American Pie- Don McLean

Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

A little while ago, my friends and I started compiling a list of songs we wanted to live by. One of my friends suggested this, and though I've heard the song before, this was the first time I really listened to it. It is now one of my favourites. Its lyrics make me feel like I'm floating. It is a simple song, but it's also so beautiful and complex in the emotions it makes you feel. 

3. The Call- Regina Spektor

But just because they can't feel it too
Doesn't mean that you have to forget

I've been listening to this song for years. My infatuation with it comes and goes. Whenever I need to calm down and restore peace in my heart, I come to this song. I always find this song during dark times, when I need to hear exactly these words. I've possibly never heard a prettier song. It's lyrics remind me of jewels and waterlilies. I can't explain why. Just listen to it. This song has also become deeply personal for me. Regina Spektor sings the words, and it feels as if she's singing them directly to me. 

4. Glitter In the Air- P!nk 

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight

This song has been one of my recent favourites. For me, November is a month of mourning the summer and the better part of fall, but it's also a month of hope and shedding of darkness to make room for life. This song, I think, captures that feeling and that is one of the reasons I fell so deeply in love with it. Also, the imagery it provides is beautiful and P!nk's vocals are simply amazing. 

5. Rockstar- A Great Big World

So take a ticket and get off the line

A Great Big World is my favourite band. I discovered their music only a few months ago. This band alone has provided me enough optimism to get through the first couple of months of the school year. This song is adorable and perfect to mouth along to while bopping your head.

6.  Oh No!- Marina and the Diamonds

'Cause I feel like I'm the worst
So I always act like I'm the best

At first, I was surprised I loved this song so much, until I realized exactly why I loved it. I don't know what the original intent was of the person who wrote the song, but I related to it because, to me, the song is about loving yourself and hating yourself at the same time. It's helped me gain a lot of fake confidence, as I feel like the song itself is kind of about faking it until you make it. I relate to the internal torment of the singer that's hinted at during some parts of the song. Listening to it makes me feel I can conquer the world despite whatever is going on inside my head. 

7. Waving Through a Window- Dear Evan Hansen Soundtrack

We start with stars in our eyes

This is the most played song on my phone. A song has never made me cry more, and I've never related to a song more than this. I was lucky enough to see it performed live on a Broadway stage, and the experience is so incredible that it's indescribable. Ben Platt's vocals are absolutely breathtaking. The lyrics are moving and the emotions they evoke range from confusion and a place of being lost and alone to anger to complete elation and joy. The instrumental behind the vocals are also amazing, and every time you listen to the song you pick up something new (I've been listening to this song almost daily for six months and it has yet to bore me). AND THE FEELING you get when he pauses right before the last chorus and you bask in the silence of so many screaming emotions- just for a second- it's extraordinary and magical. 

8. Kaleidoscope- A Great Big World

You're like the thing that makes the universe explode
Into the colors of a world I've never known

This song is so happy and bouncy! Listening to it always puts me into an amazing mood, regardless of what I was feeling before. A Great Big World always comes up with the most amazing lyrics that make you picture beautiful images and just feel happy. The use of colour in the lyrics of the chorus puts pretty pictures in your head. A Great Big World is such a unique and underrated band. People tend to only know them from Say Something, but that isn't even their best song. I highly recommend all of their music, especially this song.

9. You Get What You Give- The New Radicals

You've got the music in you

The amount of important messages this song manages to get through is amazing. I rarely listen to it unless I really need it. This song doesn't employ anything really fancy to share with you what it has to say. It is a raw reminder that life is beautiful, you are beautiful, and you were put on this earth for a reason. I recommend it to anyone who is struggling. 

10. This is the New Year- A Great Big World

We are the voices of the underground

This is one of A Great Big World's bigger hits, and I understand why. It fills you with such hope and inspiration and makes you want to cry out with joy and dance around. This song sets my soul on fire. It is there to offer a fresh beginning, to bring people together, to remind you that you are not alone. GOSH I LOVE THIS BAND SO MUCH. I feel like if everyone listened to this song as well as all of their other songs, the world's problems would be solved. I could ramble on and on about why this song is so beautiful, but I think the best way to find out is to just listen for yourself. Also, there's a brilliant harmony at 1:26 if anyone cares.

So those are ten of my favourite songs! Let me know in the comments if you've taken any of my suggestions, and if so, which song was your favourite out of the ones you listened to.


Sunday, 29 October 2017

October Again

School has been incredibly demanding recently, and I've had to make a few sacrifices as I've tried to maintain a balance between work and life. 

This October, I've been thinking a lot about how important it is to find an equilibrium. I've had two weeks straight with three orals and about eight tests in total, and though the pressure isn't completely settling yet, it has finally started to slow down a bit so I wanted to find time to write a blog post. 

Lately, I've been busy with my school's Glee Club, musical rehearsals, Girl Guides and schoolwork itself. I've had to carve out specific blocks of time for myself so as to not have any mental breakdowns. I'm learning how important it is to say no sometimes and just take time to do something you enjoy. 

Also, I'm learning that schoolwork shouldn't be my number one priority always, not constantly.There is so much more to life than retaining information for a test or having perfect french grammar. I know schooling is important for getting a job in the future, but until I am actually able to take the classes I want to take and learn about the things I am truly interested in, I will not let my schooling interfere with my education (I got this from Mark Twain). 

I do have an amazing Human and Physical Geography class this year, however, and it has truly piqued  my interest and I feel like that might be something I may want to pursue one day. I am also taking Biology, and I've gotten to learn about the leaves that grow in the forest by my house, which has been extremely cool. 

My geography teacher went on a rant the other day about his idealistic views, and I've been thinking about that a lot as well. Imagine a world where people would be able to spend their lives pursuing their art, just creating and imagining. 

I spent a lot of October kind of down on the world, partly due to my own personal stress and dark thoughts, and partly due to just watching what has been going on in the world. However, now I feel like I've been filled with optimism and hope that will help me trudge on through to November. It's going to be okay. 


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Book Series Review: Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

Out of everything I have ever read, watched, seen and listened to, there are six things that have happened in fiction and art that have made me cry. These six things are:

  1. Dobby's death in the Harry Potter series 
  2. the ending of the second Narnia movie
  3. when Klaine broke up (both times)
  4. the last chorus in Waving Through a Window from Dear Evan Hansen
  5. The Art of Racing in the Rain 
  6. the entire Chaos Walking trilogy. (I was crying throughout, ok, it's time to explain)
Out of everything that I've ever read in my entire life, the Chaos Walking trilogy has put me through more emotions than everything else combined. I've never cried, shrieked, or made more of a scene on a public transport train before reading those books. I feel like these books have altered the way I view reading, and I will be surprised if anything I ever read again will surpass the ridiculously high bar that has now been set by these books. I love them so much and I love the characters so much and I honestly don't know what to do with all the love I am experiencing right now so I am channeling it into getting more people to read this series. Yes. Please read this. 

Okay, I should probably discuss why I love this series so much, right? That is the next step. Okay. 

Disclaimer: I will never be able to give this series the full justice it deserves.

The basic idea behind the first novel is a future civilization of humans living on a planet called New World after an ugly war with an alien species. Except, all of the women on the planet are dead and because of a germ released by the alien species, everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts always. It is a place where one is perpetually surrounded by Noise. The protagonist of the first book is a boy named Todd Hewitt, just on the cusp of becoming a man. He is the last in his town to become a man, and he has a very adorable talking dog. (I'm not doing the book much justice am I) One day, while Todd is walking in the forest, he comes across a silence in the Noise, and he uncovers a dark secret hidden in the Noise, and soon has to start running for his life. 

The first novel has many twists and turns and surprises, and even though there are a few moments you do see coming, there are also many others that have you in your seat, gazing down at your book, completely shell shocked at what you just read. The threads from the first book continue and are resolved in the next two, with each book piling on more depth and a deeper understanding of the world where the book is set as well as the main concepts of the book. 

The world building in this series is phenomenal, and you are painted a beautiful portrait of a world similar yet also quite different to our own. (I don't want to spoil everything, but as you see more of New World you also see the different cultures and dialects of the beings that live on it and it's fascinating). 

The deeper messages the book conveys are so incredibly powerful and vary from how powerful love is and how powerful your love for a person can be to redemption as well as sacrifice and forgiveness and trust(I have yet to really further analyse these themes but just reading the series as a whole makes the themes obvious as you can see the different parallels and recurring ideas). 

The writing style is so unique. In the second and third books the narrator alternates between two and then three characters and each has their own way of speaking. I usually dislike when books switch between several narrators, but Patrick Ness is such a literary genius that it all flowed together perfectly and I couldn't stop turning pages. The second book contained the most romantic battle scene I've ever read and it was so powerful I cried in the middle of Chapters and then collapsed on the floor and cried some more in the aisles when I couldn't find the third book twenty minutes later and then hallucinated seeing Daniel Radcliffe working there. The books have a lot of pages but are still each easy reads because of the way it is written, simply and beautifully.

The character development of even the secondary characters is better than what I've seen in most primary characters in most of the other books I have read. The two main characters are on a whole new level of complex and incredible and are both now on my list of top 5 favourite fictional characters. I empathized with both of them and fell completely in love with both of them, understood their actions even when they were being foolish, and remained in awe the whole time at how well-written they were.

Lastly, the romance in this series. Holy. Moly. I have never been able to fall in love with a fictionaol relationship so easily before. I felt every emotion both characters felt and cried at every turn and just wished for their happiness. I felt their pain. I felt their love. Both characters were teenagers and I couldn't believe how seriously the author took teenage love, and how he put these two people together and made them fall for each other and made me fall for their falling for each other. There was such an excitement-inducing slow buildup to the two characters officially getting together, but it also was clear all along just how in love they were with each other and how they were meant to be.

I've never read or watched anything like that in my life where love between teenagers was represented as such a powerful, unbreakable thing. Patrick Ness has a remarkable understanding of teenagers, and I've never seen an author respect and understand what it is truly like to be a teenager and to feel such strong emotions. It was the least stereotypical romance I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. Both characters were flawed but they both loved each other so much nonetheless.

I think the peak in my emotions was the four minute long voice recording I sent to my friend while tears poured down my face of me explaining why I loved the series so much and in particular the two main characters and their love for one another. There are tear stains in my book.

There are tear stains in my book. 


Patrick Ness, I just want to thank you for creating this beautiful underappreciated world and these extraordinary teenage characters and for being the reading highlight of my summer.

In conclusion, I think this is one of the longest blog posts I've ever written and if you manage to make sense of all this word vomit, then good for you. The main point I'm trying to make is that Chaos Walking is beyond words astounding and I'm so thankful I came across it. Writing this post was semi therapeutic for me as no one who I've ranted to about it has cared very much. Being able to write down all my feelings on the subject was helpful.

please read this book


Friday, 1 September 2017

Nineteen Years Later

So, this is it.

Nineteen years later.

The last day where we know canonically what is going on in the magical world of Harry Potter.

I can only picture it in my head. Children giving their parents fleeting hugs goodbye as the train comes rolling into the station, the whistles signifying the start of another nine to ten months of cold, echoing hallways and warm fires and running to Herbology in the rain and racing up the towers to get to misty Divination.

My sentence structure isn't great today because I'm simply not okay. Everything seems a little off balance.

For nearly half my life, in my mind, Hogwarts has been a safe place I can escape to when normal life hurts too much to process, when I just need to remind myself that love and friendship and bravery are stronger than fear and that the most important things in life can't be taught in school. It was somewhere familiar. It was the world off of which I built everything I am today and everything I will continue to be.

I've said it so many times before but I simply don't know where I would be without Harry Potter, and frankly, I don't know if I would like myself. Reading those books and connecting to Hermione and feeling empathy for every single character was the first time I really understood empathy and the start of me trying to figure out exactly who I am today.

I can't believe the timeline is over. The books that sparked a decade of movies, a musical adaptation, a puppet show, a play, several interesting types of chocolate, and the hearts and minds of millions of men and women around the world. I am so blessed and lucky to be a part of the Harry Potter generation, to witness its everlasting growth and impact on so, so many people. I owe who I am to a bizarre combination of Hermione, Luna and Ginny. I owe my love of reading to the series itself. I subconsciously chose the school I have been attending for over three years because its uniform reminded me of the Hogwarts uniform. But most importantly, we all owe everything to Joanne Rowling, who created the fully immersive universe that gave everyone something to hold onto.

I am so, so grateful.

Every first of September I get slightly more Harry Potter obsessed than I am on an everyday basis, but this year it touched me more than other years. Harry has completely grown up and so has the Harry Potter universe, and I am growing up too. Maybe it's how we will never again be able to reenter the canon Harry Potter timeline, just like how sooner than I realize, I will never be able to reenter certain periods of my life.

Maybe it's how everything ends, even everything we love.


We will still keep introducing Harry Potter to our children, and their generation will probably fall just as hard, and Harry will live on, just like the love represented in the series about him, and we will keep on discovering new things to love about the series, and it will have an everlasting impact on all of us in some little way, whatever that little way may be.

So for now, I will try not to cry and try to accept the exciting changes that will come.

I'm not going home, not really.