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.

-Oakstar


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. 

-Oakstar

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. 

source

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

-Oakstar 

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.

But.

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.

source

Friday, 18 August 2017

Love Yourself (for what's on the inside too)

There is so much talk in our current society about body positivity and loving yourself for no matter what you look like. The fact that you are beautiful no matter your freckles, your scars, the size of your nose or your disproportionate neck. And while I agree that this is very important as I've seen people I love get down on themselves about how they look, and it is important we love ourselves in the body we have as it is only ours, I think that we are not discussing something that is equally important yet just as awful of an issue. That is the matter of loving ourselves for what's on the inside as well.

I personally don't care that much about what I look like. I don't think I'm particularly disgusting, but I don't think I'm amazingly attractive either. I struggle with a couple aspects of my appearance but at the end of the day I am able to push past them and love myself  nonetheless, and I can even name things that I genuinely like about the way I look.

happy bean stagedooring Dear Evan Hansen
due to an accident, one of my front teeth is darker than the other ones, but I still smile really wide in photographs.


However, when it comes to my own character flaws or the mistakes that I make, I have trouble accepting and forgiving myself. I bother my own self and the little things that bother me start to eat me alive.

I'm too awkward, I'm a procrastinator, I lack motivation (you get the point).

And when I'm left alone with my thoughts, I begin repeating those phrases to myself over and over, letting them take control of me and my happiness and the confidence in myself. Because I am perpetuating them through my mindset, I even begin acting on them, proving to myself that I am nothing but my own negative traits.

I can't be the only one who does this. Who lets the less wonderful things about themselves take consume them, until they feel like nothing but the things that keep them up at night.

It's not something that's good or healthy. We should be doing the opposite. We should recognize that we have flaws and recognize that it's okay to have them, that we are human and living and breathing and making mistakes and growing from them.

We can't be stagnant and pretend that we are perfect, godlike omniscient beings, because that's when we truly become unlikeable people. But we can't wallow in our own self pity due to the things we believe are wrong about ourselves.

We are imperfect, messy, mistake making creatures, and we learn from making mistakes. We should love ourselves enough to be able to realize our flaws, figure out the real reasons behind them, and then work toward growing and stopping doing the actions that are hurting ourselves and others.

To end the confusing jumble of words I'm sure this post was, I want to stress the idea that loving yourself, period, is the key to literally anything else good in life and is the key to true happiness. I'm not saying that I have this all figured out, but I think we can all figure out the best way to love ourselves together.

-Oakstar

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

DEH, Chris Colfer, and Summer Camp

I've been very quiet on the blogosphere recently, but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking and growing and experiencing lots of different things in life.

I've been on two road trips since I last posted. The first one was to New York City to see Dear Evan Hansen. This has been my favourite musical for about six months, and it has given me as well as the people around me so much joy and a sense of belonging. Waving Through a Window is the most played song on my phone, and half of the soundtrack is on my top twenty five most played. It is such a beautiful story with complex colourful characters and the entire cast is so talented. Ben Platt's vibrato is my favourite thing ever.

The day I spent in New York City was absolutely perfect. This was my second time in New York City. I don't know exactly how to put this, but something happens to me when I stare up at the billboards for Broadway in Times Square. I see dreams surrounding me. Suddenly, there are little bursts of stars everywhere and I have an out of body experience.




The other one was to Boston for two nights to see Chris Colfer on his last Land of Stories book tour. Yes. After casually mentioning my obsession every few posts for the last year, I got to see my role model in person. I asked him a question about Struck by Lighting, which was the movie I watched and the book I read that helped me come into myself over the last few years. I got to connect with Chris for a brief moment and he thanked me directly for reading his book. It was one of the best nights of my life. The road trip itself was a blast as well- I went with my mom, one of my dear friends and her mom, and we got to explore Boston the next day and meet several interesting people; aspiring writers and artists and musicians.

Apart from those two equally amazing trips, the past month I've been working as an assistant counselor at a summer camp side by side with some of my other dear friends. Getting to the camp happens to take an hour and a half but public transit and the building is four floors and sweltering hot, but I've discovered that it was all worth it. Each day created a new memory. I had never been around that many kids before and I was surprised to find out that I actually really do enjoy children, and in the end it was hard to say goodbye to them.

  Catching up, some of my July favourites were:

Music: I've gotten really tangled up in the band Oh Honey. They have such sweet music and harmonies and they are very underappreciated.

Shows/Movies: I bingewatched all of season four of The Fosters, and I'm rewatching Glee again.

Books: Currently rereading The Humans (this time for school, which I think I ranted about at this time last year), as well as reading Gone and The Knife of Never Letting Go (Manchee is the goodest boy).

Food: The metro where I'd get off to work at the summer camp sold bubble tea. I'm not going to go any further into it for fear of embarrassing and outing my bubble tea addiction.

All in all, the last month has been pretty fantastic for me, and now that I'm free pretty much 99% of the time I am probably going to be blogging about a lot more.

How was your July? Let me know in the comments!

-Oakstar

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Would You Run


The following poem is inspired by my time at Arrowhead Museum and my understanding of Herman Melville's time there, as well as my own brief time there. 

Would You Run

Would you run through the meadow,
If within the long blades of grass there were creatures yearning to bite at your ankles
Would you run?

Would you run through the fields,
If you knew that soon the clouds up above and cast a shadow, making them devoid of light 
Would you run?

Would you run down a lonely road,
If darkness lingered along the path, waiting to snatch you as you passed it by
Would you run? 

Would you run to the trees,
If you could discover the maggots that live under ripped up bark 
Would you run?

Would you run up to your room,
If the ocean below you was but a dipped, rickety floor, but below there still swam sharks just like the sharks in your head
Would you run?

Would you run far north,
If the mountain ahead would reveal to you secrets you had been keeping from yourself the whole time you stared and wondered
Would you run? 

But do I need to ask, 
One more time
Because you wouldn't run, my darling, 
You would fly. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Moments

I write stories in my head as well as things like this, and they never come out on paper in the same way that they are imagined. Life never comes out the way it is imagined either, in the moments we plan before we are struck by sleep. It is never something absolutely perfect, but it can come close when we are caught up in the present.

Most moments like that, for me anyway, feature people. Her dancing on the marble floor as the sun set behind the obelisk. The night we laid on an empty tent platform under the stars and spoke words of the significance of our existence.  

Humans are strange creatures. They look for meaning in each other and in their own everyday lives. They hold onto near perfect little moments as if they last lifetimes. As much as my early life was spent trying to fight the fact that I was human, I see now the subtle beauty of our imperfect minds. We cling onto our good feelings; construct monuments and temples around them, until we find a lot of it. Perfect moments that work like dopamine inside and outside of us, giving us breath so we crave more.

Humans imagine those moments as if they are perfect, and in their minds they create crystalline worlds to which they can escape when reality comes crushing on their shoulders. Life goes by fast in waves of passion and pain and feeling, and then those waves return in the land of the semi-conscious before dreams, with heightened sense and emotion, little shooting stars behind the eyelids.


In this world, people fight, and cry tears of anger, and fall out of love, and diamonds don’t shine, they refract light coming from someplace else. But humans hold onto the hope of something more than a refraction of light, more than an awkward aversion of the eyes, and something more than what we've come to know in our every day mess of our lives. 

______________
so here's another writing thing
-Oakstar

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Some Writing

This started off with an idea for a song, but grew rapidly into something that was not quite a poem or a story, but rather a piece of some sort that I can not really explain. 

The writing itself is rather rough. In fact, by the standards I have set for myself, I would rate it very low.  I haven't taken much time to proofread and edit it- basically, what you see is a string of my thoughts put down on the page. I didn't inspire myself off of anything tangible. I hope you enjoy nonetheless, and if you have any ideas for titles, please comment down below as I have absolutely no clue.

________________________________

It seems to be written in our human code that we should fight against our own selves. We don’t believe we deserve things the way we want them. We don’t believe we have it in us to achieve what we desire. Every day seems a battle against what we had won before.

We don’t know why we fight so hard. We fall into a pit of darkness, truly uncomprehensive of the damage we have done unto ourselves. We blame others because we are too afraid of facing the shame. It appears that every last inch of life has been sucked out of us, by the cruel, cold world of which we are a part.

But slowly, as we embrace the night we have become, we realize there is a glow of warmth.  It is merely anything there, barely enough to hold our life, but enough, if strongly believed in.

That is because we think we’re ash, but we’re actually ember. And through all of the smoke and burnt dreams, we will rise again. We will conquer. We will prevail. Holding onto whatever essence of humanity we have left, we will stand up. Across an eternal pit of grey we will reach out one to another, and for a moment, our fingertips will touch. And there will be a ripple that races across the world and the solar system and eventually the galaxy. And we will stand, forever at the epicenter of a massive earthquake of love. Love will undulate across everything that matters, everything that exists, tangible or intangible.  We will create energy untouchable by no other than God Himself, and our energy will be what will revitalize the souls of creatures young and old.

But in that moment of rich, profound complexity and connectedness, it will all seem so simple. Just people, reaching out to form a bond.

Because no one understands, and we don’t understand, why humans love so deeply and so powerfully. We don’t understand why we cling so tightly to the bonds that we form, and we don’t understand why we form these bonds. Is it purely for the survival of our species, or is it for something that we do not yet have the capacity to explain? Is it really that hard to let go, or have we made it hard for ourselves for reasons we choose not to comprehend?

And as the stars twinkle above us, as our souls mesh together to create a fabric that time cannot touch, we will decide that we are better together, and that we will never be able to fall out of love. We could stop loving the parts of ourselves that we see in each other, but we could never stop loving the reasons we chose to love so fiercely in the first place. And in that instant we will reside for a forever.
We are a host of memories and dreams and reality, and all that we withhold seems to become one, showering us with rays and rays of light.

Days of cynicism seem to fall behind us, making a crooked path for optimism and radiance.
And we glow. We glow because we are so in love with each other, with ourselves, with everything that lives and breathes and completes us and our world.

 Love is the only thing.   

_____________________________

Much love,
Oakstar

Friday, 10 March 2017

Book Review: Stranger Than Fanfiction

I had been looking forward to reading Stranger Than Fanfiction for over six months before its release, and I must say, I was not disappointed in the least. This book was coming from the same author who penned Struck by Lightning, one of the wittiest and most unique books I have ever read in my entire life.

This review is surprisingly free of any major spoilers. 

The premise of Stranger Than Fanfiction (written by Chris Colfer) is four friends, bonded by their love of a tv show reminiscent of something Doctor Who-related, who go on a road trip the summer after they graduate as a last laugh of sorts. As a joke, they invite the actor who stars in the show along for the ride, and the actor agrees to come along. His coming along turns the trip- and their lives- completely upside down, and sets them on course for adventures and experiences that certainly are stranger than fanfiction. 

My favourite thing about the book was how much time the author took in developing the five main characters, and how well those five characters molded together to form a group and grow together. Each character represented a different part of him, and each character was hiding something. As the writer stated in several interviews, all five characters united shared a fear of disapproval, a fear that I think governs a lot of this generation and motivates us to hide parts of ourselves. That  human instinct is portrayed very well with Cash, Joey, Topher, Sam and Mo. 

Another aspect the book I thoroughly enjoyed was the road trip itself. The team visited several landmarks along the way, yet my favourite scenes were the unplanned stops at the concert and at the abandoned water park. They made for the best stories. 

I've noticed a lot of the criticism toward the book was about the writing style, yet I think that the simplicity in the writing leaves better place for a wonderful story to be told and characters to be developed. No, it isn't Shakespeare, but on the bright side,it isn't Shakespeare. (that totally wasn't a quote from the book)

I am very impressed with the representation in this book, and I love that one of the characters explains so well the concepts of gender and sexuality, and how they are different. Important messages can be found throughout the book in the characters' dialogue, and several times I wanted to pause my reading and highlight things, though I resisted the temptation. I will lovingly deface the book during my reread. 

The ending is gut wrenching, and I am still upset, but I have realized that the book couldn't have ended any other way. It had to end the way it had for the characters to reach their full potential and complete their arcs. Nevertheless, I am sad.



I have yet to be disappointed by Chris Colfer's writing, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever been in a fandom. I rate it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If Chris Colfer wants to go on a road trip with his fans, I offer my terrible map skills and good taste in music. 

-Oakstar

P.S: Glad to be back!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Break

As you may have noticed, there have been long delays and breaks between my posts the last couple of months, and recently, I have not had a lot of time or energy to create the types of things I used to.

Thus, I'm announcing a break until March 1st, where I will come back with the type of posts you have grown accustomed to seeing from me, as well as an exciting new project involving some of my friends.

Thank you all for your patience. I will still be occasionally checking up on blogs and commenting during this break, which I will be taking for mental health reasons.

much love
Oakstar

Monday, 9 January 2017

Imaginary Friend- Short Story

It's been a while since I last published a short story

It's raw and barely edited, and not one of my best either, but I hope you find it somewhat enjoyable  just the same.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Imaginary Friend
I came to you when you were three and afraid of the ghosts under your bed.
I heard you cry out in the middle of the night; saw you in a mass of light. Your mother came in as I watched you, waiting, wondering. She kissed you and said it was all going to be alright, that there was no need to be afraid, because you lived with only friendly ghosts who would protect you. When she left, you were still whimpering. That was when I approached you. Your finger was in your mouth. With bright green eyes you looked up at me from the piles of blankets, accepting me for what I was before you even knew me.
I didn't understand much about your pain, but I kissed your cheek and you feel asleep.
I came to you again when you fell off the backyard swing set. You had scraped your knee. I wiped the dust from your red hair and I wiped the tears from your eyes. You then began to put your trust in me. I would never hurt you, as I was a part of you.
You grew attached to me before you started school. And when you did start school, I was there with you, helping you with the weight of your backpack. That morning had already made you sad. There was yelling between your mother and father, and they had nearly forgotten to drive you. You had to draw your best friend for homework that night, and you handed in a blank sheet of paper.
You were chastised and as you sulked, I was there to hug you better.
Every day was a day of battles, a day of trials, a day of learning. You needed me each time. I often didn't understand why you were crying. The only thing I understood was that you needed me, not why. I was meant to protect you.
You talked about me to the friends you made at school. Neither of us understood why they laughed, but it made you upset and I did my best to comfort you.
The day you needed me most was when your parents came in to your bedroom and told you they didn't love each other anymore.
They would of course always love you, but they had said some things to each other that they couldn't pretend to ignore. 
You were alone that night and I was the only one that protected you against the demons in your head.
You needed me for a long time after. We found ourselves switching homes quite often, but I never grew tired of following you.
As the years passed, you began crying less. You grew accustomed to the hurt you faced every day, and I needn't watch over you every night like I had before. I instead took a background presence, there to reassure you for your first oral presentation, there to smile when your feelings toward a girl were not reciprocated.
You began growing older, and didn't always appreciate the few times I was there. I felt myself fading away, becoming again enveloped by the shadows, until you barely remembered me and I was simply the figure you thought you saw, across the street, under the lamplight.
In grand moments of your happiness and misery, I came back for a fleeting moment. You saw me, and your face twitched, and you looked at me the same way you did so many years ago, as you lay under the mobile, a layer of melancholy haunting your features.  In every moment of joy there was a cloud of sadness, and in every journey of sadness there was always a bit of joy. I think I began to understand as I saw you less, because every time you reminded yourself of me, the ghost of your past, sadness lurked in the corners of your shining eyes.
I remember after many years of flailing in the darkness, in my mind trying to solidify the image of your face, a burst of joy that caused me to come back. I saw you, just for a single glimpse, one minute, as you slipped a gleaming diamond onto the finger of your lover.
Then, months later, I was the flicker you saw in the mirror. I was the feeling that swept over you when you fixed your tie. You realized the feeling had little to do with what was facing you. You brushed a piece of hair from your face- you should've cut it a long time ago- and you smirked and nodded at the mirror, rushed with the same confidence we practiced for your first day of high school. Under the wrinkles on your skin lay the emotional scars only I could see, word imprinted on your soul. Names people would call you when you were just a little boy, and names mommy and daddy would call each other at night when they thought you were sound asleep. Things you called yourself while standing on the scale, because you thought no one could hear you. But I was there for all of it. 
As you walked out of that room, it felt like we had officially reached our end. I wanted to reach out and stop you from going on, but as I put out my arm,  I suddenly felt weaker than I ever had been. I couldn't hold onto you, and I could barely hold onto myself. I choked and sputtered and fizzled until I was nothing but particles, molecules mixed with dust made of dead hair and flakes of skin.
I am hardly waiting. I am hardly anything at all.
But now, I feel myself being tugged away from the shadows. A face is shown in an overhead ball of light. A sad little girl by the name of Hope, with your red hair and bright green eyes, who is only now learning about the ghosts underneath her bed.
The light is growing. She is growing. I am becoming corporeal.
Goodbye, old friend.
-Oakstar

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

'New Year, New Me'

I had never come to understand the idea behind the popular phrase 'new year, new me'. I didn't understand what anyone meant when they said they were going to be a brand new person. Only this year did I finally get the concept, as I have officially become self-aware. Self-aware? Aware of what society truly means when they push these expectations on us.

New Years resolutions have always been an interesting topic for me. I've made a few each year, some goals that I have kept and some goals that I, obviously, didn't. (did you know? it is very difficult to become a published author AND a successful actor at eleven) I think that if kept in a healthy balance, New Years resolutions can be a good idea. For instance, this year, one of mine was simply to hug people more. This is good in premise and in execution, as it is a positive one, and it will benefit everyone involved (as long as they like hugs, of course). And so what if someone wants to make changes in their life, and a good starting point for them would be the New Year? Nothing about the New Year is different except the number on the calendar. It is the same as making a resolution at the beginning of summer or at the beginning of the school year. New Years resolutions can empower people to make needed changes in their life. Writers can write more. People can be healthier (note, I did not say that they need to go on seventeen different diets and follow every single new exercise craze).

But, back to the original point of this collection of thoughts. 'New Year, New Me.'  Every time I see this phrase as another freaking Instagram caption or Pin or hear it from my friends, a little part of the light I have recently found fades. Why do we have to completely change the person we are already? Is it for ourselves? Or is it for society? Why can't we love ourselves enough to not want to change every little bit we see? Why can't New Year, new me, become New Year, new attitude?  Because that's what really has to change in order to change our lives. Yes, we all have flaws, but with better attitudes, we can change what we really want to change about ourselves. New Year, New Me imposes the idea that we are not perfectly imperfect enough just as we are, and we must morph into someone new every time the earth revolves around the sun. Evolution certainly does not work like that. We were not chimps last year or the year before that, and I do not believe that in 365 days we will have grown a third arm.

And can we just stop pretending that we are going to make everything better in one year, much less as soon as the clock strikes twelve? Real change takes time and effort on all counts. Every single choice matters. If you look at all the ridiculous goals I have set for myself, I know I will only touch a few of them this year.

publish a novel
publish a collection of short stories
complete Nanowrimo without cheating
do all 3 splits
be published in a magazine
drive a tractor
drive a horse-drawn carriage
own a small pig
make any british actor laugh, preferably Matt Smith
inspire those younger than myself
help elephants
get my writing about global issues recognized
cheer someone up
make an Alaska cake
see Wicked on Broadway
go skydiving
learn Spanish
sit on a jury
sit next to a celebrity on a plane by accident
visit Machu Picchu
bring a glass of Atlantic Ocean water and spill it into the Pacific Ocean
visit Stonehenge
read Moby Dick
take a road trip without a specific destination
Rocky Horror Picture Show live
waterski
attend the Survivor reunion show
shake hands with Chris Colfer (and possibly co-write a book but that's just details)
shake hands with Emma Watson
shake hands with Ellen
treasure hunt
milk a cow
shave a sheep
do a favour for a stranger
get off the train at the wrong stop and play hookey from life
donate cans to canned food drives
create an imaginary land for children
surprise my best friend who lives across the country with gummy bears + entire Harry Potter collection
learn sign language
get featured on YIAY (yes, this is a legitimate goal of mine)
go camping with friends
go on a road trip with friends
drink fresh coconut milk
create a brand new dessert
learn ASL
make pickles
eat a Twinkie
eat a deep fried pickle
be a movie extra
start a band
attend a concert

This will not be my year, because I want every year to be my year. I want to check things off this list little by little and one by one. I want to make this 'my life'.

-Oakstar