Hobbies: Collecting Journals

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Ever since I could pick up a pen, I remember there was always a journal to go right along with it. I’ve kept journals all my life, and I don’t think I will ever be without one. Life is too interesting to keep all your thoughts, observations, and everyday worries inside your head. Your brain can only contain so much information! 

This is my hobby. I journal. A lot. And, I’m not ashamed of it. 

Although, I do recall a time when I used to be. 

Every time my mother and I went out to the store when I was a pre-teen, all I wanted was a notebook and some gel pens. That’s it. I felt guilty for even asking her for them, because I asked so frequently. I wrote frequently, and finished these notebooks frequently. I was a human sponge, absorbing anything and everything, because I wanted to remember everything. 

I’m not so insecure anymore. I am more confident about this hobby, because I’ve realized I love what I do. And what I do is write.

Tell me, what good is a writer if they don’t record their everyday observations?  

Having a hobby is a healthy outlet for your creative energy. 

Find your spark! 

And once you find it, never let it go, no matter what. 

Tips for Peaceful Writing

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Working on research papers at the end of the semester can be a tedious process. It’s so easy to become distracted by anything and everything around you. Here are a few tips that have helped me with a more efficient study/writing session: 

1) Clear your mind.  Turn off your cell phone. Keep away from the internet. Anything that diverts your attention will only slow you down. Of course, if part of your research requires a browser, then just make sure you hold yourself accountable and go directly to the sites you need. If you have an urge to blog, don’t give in! 

2) Get a snack and something to drink. An empty stomach is an uncooperative stomach. Restlessness is sure to set in if you don’t listen to your body’s needs. Research shows that if you have eaten citrus fruits like oranges, that you will focus better. Even chewing a citrus-flavored gum will do the trick!The Vitamin C is always a welcome energy boost and stimulates your senses. Drink healthy liquids like Green Tea for an added calming effect. 

3) Listen to music. Some aren’t able to concentrate properly with tunes playing in the background, so keeping your music nice and light will be more pleasurable. Listen to instrumental music like a soft classical piano solo. Your brain will thank you in the long run. 

4) Hit the books. Once you’ve set the mood, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Take out the books and materials you need to get started. Read over the rules your professor has set for you and your class. If you spend at least 5 minutes preparing yourself and thinking about what you are going to write, you will be able to coax yourself into getting started. Also, reading an assigned or leisure novel for 15-20 minutes will help you become inspired. 

5) Brainstorm. Open that blank Microsoft Word page and construct an outline for your research paper. Include any possible options for a  thesis. Allow yourself to concoct ideas and ask questions. Make web charts or jot down a few notes if you are a more visually-oriented person.

6) Sit down and write! Don’t put it off any longer. Procrastination will haunt you right up until the deadline for your research paper or novel. Remember, you made a promise. It’s up to you as a a student, a freelance writer, to complete your mission. Be professional and start writing! 

Take deep breaths and relax during your study sessions. The key to all good writing is optimism. You can do it! 

Good luck writing! 
 

Discussing Poets: Natasha Trethewey


In class we discussed the poetry of Natasha Trethewey, the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Native Guard, which reminisces the Civil War, the Antebellum, and more importantly, racial equality between African Americans and whites.

Trethewey was named 19th Poet Laureate of the United States in June, becoming the first Southerner to receive the honor since Robert Penn Warren, in 1986, and the first African American since Rita Dove, in 1993. She is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta She is the proud author of three books of poetry: Domestic Work (2000), Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), and of course, Native Guard, which was published in 2006. She is currently working on another, called Thrall, which will be published this fall. She is a brilliant poet and utilizes free verse, sonnets, and elegies as a way of speaking her mind.Image 

 Natasha is also an inspiration to me personally, because she kept journals. She recorded thoughts, ideas, and observations about the world around her to aid her in her journey towards becoming a famous poet. 

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“I like to write in the morning,” says Trethewey in an interview told by Alex Hoyt. “I’d get up, make my coffee, and write from nine until noon, or until I made a poem, whichever came first…It was at that moment that the notes I had written in the journal turned into an actual draft of the poem in its couplets.” 

It is important for any writer, any poet to believe in the ideas that exist within themselves and push themselves to new heights. There is a rawness, a realness, a unique, genuine perspective that Trethewey presents within her poetry that I and I am sure, many others as well, greatly admire. 

Write the truth and your inspiration, your audience, will come to you! 

Childhood

Childhood is filled with
starry trampoline nights and
clambering up giant oaks
that fondly embrace you in
their leafy outstretched branches
with wild, fascinated eyes.
It’s catching sparkling fireflies in 
glass mason jars and 
scampering barefoot upon
cool summer long grass
and collecting sea shells
on the white sandy beaches
just to put them next to your ear. 
It’s swinging as high as
you can go and closing your eyes
to see what it feels like 
to spread your wings and fly.
In my case, childhood is 
all these things and more,
but mostly calm ocean waters
and never wanting to leave the pool—
feeling like a fish,
a mythical creature hidden
beneath the depths of the sea. 
Childhood for me, looks like
well-pruned hands and mermaid hair.
It smells a lot like 
chlorine skin. 
But, more than anything,
childhood is what it means
to be innocent and
carefree. 
Years later, 
I can still hear
the sound
of the 
ocean.

a.j.b.