As someone who enjoys writing, I struggle with which medium is best to write with. I try to keep a little notebook in my jacket, in case of sudden inspiration. There’s a red, spiral-bound notebook that is always with me throughout school and close at hand around home. Sometimes a notebook is purchased purely for the reason that “I might use it” or “this on looks nice, so it’ll definitely make me write in it more.” It all seems rather vain and wasteful, as I’ve never actually filled a single notebook ever purchased. It is rather frivolous, but it’s also defeating. Can I ever be that prolific of a writer?

Almost eighty-five percent of my collective writings is poetry. I’ve tried to write a “novel” but my own self doubt gets in the way of that. Poetry is fantastic, but it doesn’t exactly help fulfill this arbitrary goal of filling up a notebook. Poems are on average small, compared to a story. Filling a whole poem seems to be quite the feat. It’s impressive that anyone is able to fill up an entire book of poems. There’s always the opportunity to make a longer poem, but at what points does a poem just become a ramble? That question is a poisonous, but also a reality check. Many poems are cut short by the crippling doubt that goes with it.

There’s probably a few reasons that I feel so strongly about filling a notebook. Is it the pursuit of fulfillment as a writer, an attempt to prove myself to myself, or just plain vanity and pride? The doubt felt as a writer is consuming, it halts many a creative endeavor. Maybe filling a single notebook will help this doubt go away, at least for a while. Except that I know, eventually, the doubt returns. Doubt always returns. People spend a good amount of time trying to prove themselves, to others and sometimes their own mind. Completing this goal might prove something, or it might not. The only thing it really proves is that I can write a whole lot. And a small part of it all is vanity and pride, because something like this does give a sense of accomplishment, even when it might not be truly deserved.

This goal in the end is arbitrary. Filling a single notebook only leads to the next notebook. But I think that no matter how many reasons I make to explain away the problem, it does give something to strive for. Most writers would agree that having a goal of some sort is conducive to good work. All of humanity is looking for a place in this world. I think completing a goal, no matter how pointless, gives us a tiny place in the world. Filling this one notebook would give me a place, at least in my own world. It’s a noble goal, I think, and I hope one day I could say that I’ve filled a notebook.


The Pursuit of Filling a Notebook


A Love Letter to Introvertism

The suburbs always were so rainy lately. It was like the clouds were emotionally attached to staying, and their mission in life was only to make everyone else miserable. Of course, there are those crazy people who thrive on rain and thunder, but I would call them a bit too optimistic. It’s amazing that anyone could be so happy when it’s dreary and cold, two things I rather consider to be the antithesis of happiness, more like synonyms of depression and the definition of sadness.
I consider myself a happy person. But those days when it’s cloudy outside and it feels like the sun will never come back up are some of my worst. Never have I believed in some sort of “emotion influenced by the stars” or astrology, but I think there is definitely something about the weather that can really change how people feel. If not people, then surely myself.
When I sit in my house, alone on the black leather couch, listening to a podcast, I feel probably the most alone I ever feel. It’s kind of like a sort of haze; when I’m in those sort of moods, the ability to write is gone. My mind rushes with all these crazy, perhaps even philosophical thoughts but never have I written them down. Those days are just like a dead time, not much is ever produced from them.
They seem to happen so often, too. I consider myself an optimist, but on those days – they always seem to be Saturdays – it’s like there isn’t much to really be happy about. Generally, I don’t think I’m good with too much free time. My best work always seems to be done when it’s not convenient. I study for Latin class during other classes, it’s like this strange sort of rush that helps me remember things. When I’m home, there is no rush. It’s always so easygoing, that’s it’s hard to really convince myself that there is something I immediately need to do. I always write a lot during classes and right about when I’m supposed to go to bed. Leisure, at least to me, is not very conducive to getting stuff done. I’m more content playing video games and listening to music then to actually accomplish something.
It seems like going out of the house would fix my problem, since outside of home is where everything seems to come together. The problem with this solution is, being an extreme introvert, I don’t enjoy leaving the house as much as others. Hanging out with friends for more than a day wipes me out, the next day I recede back into my laziness, happily and willingly.
I think the main point of this sort of strange, stream-of- consciousness-type essay thing is that I truly do like rainy days and I like being an introvert. The sound of rain hitting windows and the earth is soothing, but being alone in the grey light from the clouds still remains depressing. And being alone at the same time is still so comforting, more preferable than to be around a lot of people constantly. I think my main point of all this is more of a love letter, a sort of love letter to introvertism.


Poetry and its Importance

The true shame in a time like our own is how little emphasis is placed on the little things. Though I may be biased in its favor, poetry is given little to no attention in common society. Surprising, given how many people throughout history participate in its creation. Just as there are innumerable amounts of books, there is even more poems. A lifetime or more could be spent reading poems. But in our world, right now, only a few select people would be mentioned. Poets such as Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, maybe J.R.R. Tolkein, perhaps an Emily Dickinson, or Robert Frost. All great poets in their own right, but that’s only five poets. Upon looking up the list of poets on the Poetry Foundation website, there were 2.982 poets in the list. Most people could only name a small few.

But why is poetry so ignored? Books, magazines, and all sorts of literature still dominate our social spheres. Even “non-literature” mediums like movies and television contain some of the greatest writing in history. But in our society, one of literature’s greatest and oldest aspects has little to no influence. Poetry goes back to the days of Ancient Greece, evidenced by the works of Homer. In the days long gone, you could actually make a living being a poet. Now, that is almost unheard of. Only a genius could do it, and some aren’t even able to.

Perhaps our society is so dominated by other media that poetry is simply swept to the sidelines. And whenever poetry is brought up, a resounding groan and comments about how “boring” poetry is. The people of today are raised on other media, and most of their exposure to poetry is through children’s books and the only poet they really know is Shakespeare, which, honestly, can be rather boring. So when any child is brought into a conversation about poetry, their first thought will either go the childish side of poetry, or to the boring side of poetry. In their minds, poetry is not that interesting. Poetry wouldn’t be that interesting to me either if that’s all I was exposed to.

The part that’s sad is how beautiful poetry has the potential to be. Some of the rawest emotion ever portrayed lies between the lines of a poem. And no one will ever hear or see those words, because when someone suggests reading or watching anything, it will almost never be a poem. Being a poet myself, it’s disappointing. Poets will pour their heart and soul into a poem; their only escape is to express themselves with poetry. But what use is it to celebrate or cry out in pain if no one else can hear it? The brutal truth is that no one cares about poetry anymore. In my own life, I have only met a select few who honestly love poetry. And I believe poetry is something that should be loved, just as books receive their praises. Poetry deserves some place in the world, as this level of emotion deserves to be felt.


Looking Back: Czech Republic Mission Trip 2013

       Thinking about this trip, it’s not exactly a normal missions trip. If you asked a random person what a missions trip was, they’d probably say it was going to Mexico or something and building a house. But the Czech Republic is kind of a strange destination. Even myself, growing up with the knowledge of missions trips, would never have picked the Czech Republic to start sending people to. Europe just doesn’t seem like a place in need of missionaries, does it? But in reality, it’s the perfect place.

            The Czech Republic is currently one of the most atheistic places in the whole world. Since the 1600s, it has only had forty plus years of freedom. Ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then the Nazis, and then the Soviets. During the Reformation, the country was primarily Protestant. But the Catholic church of the time came in, expelled all the Protestants, and then Catholicism was forced down the throats of the people. So religion isn’t exactly the most appealing idea to them. But that makes it all the more fun.

            My story with going on this trip isn’t inspiring or anything, but I think it’s interesting nonetheless. The trip is described as an English camp. We go there, teach English to the Czechs, but we also share the gospel to the students. But we also make relationships with the students too. My father had gone last year, and he strongly felt that my mother and I were meant to go this year. Neither my mother nor me were too keen on the idea at first.

            The months go by, and certain things happen that seem to point towards God telling my mother she needed to go. We were driving home from family on Thanksgiving, and we drove by a church. The church had Tabor, the name of the town the trip was going to, in the name. My dad instantly knew that was a sign. Roughly a half hour later, my mom was playing Scrabble on her phone, and this is what showed up when she started:

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            So I think you can see what I mean when I talk about signs from God. But that’s where I really struggled. I got no signs like that. All I had was that my father kept telling me I should go. It might sound like a big sign, but parents are always telling what they think you should do.

            Planning for the trip was just going with the flow; get it done, the least amount of effort possible. My heart wasn’t really in it at that point. But through it, I was still nervous. I was nervous right up until the last week before we left.

            I think the last week before we left was one extraordinarily difficult. For some reason, I got increasingly prideful and defiant. I would get really angry, really quickly. God definitely helped me through it; I was actually getting excited, as The 8th of July got even closer. The day we left was a good day.

            An eight-hour plane ride. Eight full hours of sitting down. That wasn’t exactly the best part of the trip. Luckily, I was placed next to Shara, a theme that seemed to persist through the entire trip. I didn’t really know her at all, so it was cool to get to know her. There were a lot of people that were cool to get to know.

            The first three days was a training camp thing at Brejlov. After training was the English Camp. The big event, everything we had prepared the last six months for. Now this was also the whole thing I was afraid of. The last few years in my life were marked with social inhibitions, I only had surfacey friends that got me through the school day. No close friends I could confide in. I’m also incredibly introverted. So this whole thing about having to make relationships with all these strangers was a big stumbling block. One I don’t think I necessarily got over. Initially, I kind of just shut down socially. I was quiet. My only comfort was my friends. And at that point, not a lot of my friends were there.

I never made a strong relationship with a Czech, at least not a student. But slowly I got more acclimated to being around them. I was able to get at least to the surface level of social skills. But regardless of my social situation, I was still given a peace throughout the trip. I never felt like I had failed on the trip. I feel that if I had failed or messed up my opportunities, I wouldn’t be so peaceful and happy with it all.

     I instead think I was sent there for a different purpose. I think I was sent for morale. To be the one that can encourage those who were making the relationships. To be the pillar for the temple. When we were all so tired in the mornings, I would still act cheerful. I was incredibly tired. I could’ve fallen asleep on the spot. But my simple act of acting happy seemed to go a long way with everyone else. And God did give me a peace in this. I firmly believe that if you asked anyone who went on that trip, they would agree.

     After camp we had a follow up in Tabor. All the students could come and see us, we could all just hang out and see each other. That was incredible. English camp was awesome, but being able to just hang out in the purest sense was such a blessing. And Tabor is a beautiful city.

     When follow up was over, we had a free day in Prague. Prague is beautiful, though I do wish there was less smoking, less alcohol, and less red light district type stuff. To be honest, the day in Prague wasn’t my favorite day. It was cool to get some awesome souvenirs, and the sights were amazing. But that was the day that I was done acting like I wasn’t tired. I was beat, and I went to bed as early as I could.

     You know, this trip was awesome for two reasons. One, I learned a lot about myself. I learned how important prayer is and that it works, and it works very well. I know for sure that if there isn’t a God, and then this trip wouldn’t have been possible. Without a God, I don’t think I could’ve made it through this trip. Some people in our group might not even been alive today without a God. And everyone on our team knows it. If all other evidence is ignored, the existence of God is proved by the testimony of those who truly have a relationship with Jesus. Because no atheist can deny the life I’ve lived, or the life anyone in our group has lived.

     The second reason is the relationships I’ve made. I didn’t know like anyone on the trip until we left. And I am so blessed to know them. They helped me through it all, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. God has blessed me with all the people I know, and I will treasure the time I spent with them forever.


Random Analyzations of Topics

On Time Zones:

     Time zones are a strange part of life. All the ideas and concepts in the concept of time zones make sense, all backed up by numerous sources. But the weird part is how it affects us. Obviously knowledge of time zones explains away why people feel tired after staying in a far off place. The most intriguing part is how anyone could call someone in China and it wil be night there, but it’s day here. And yet, it all happens at the same time. Though I do not claim to know how exactly timezones work, but I do find it interesting to think that potentially someone I’m talking to is having lunch while I’m getting ready for bed.


On Impressionism:

     Impressionism is a weird art form. For hundred of years, even thousands, never was art made just to look good. Since the dawn of man, art had a function. But at the turn of the nineteenth century, this new art shows up. These big innovators called “Impressionists” come on scene and change everything. And everyone dismisses them as fools. Except the leader of the group, Claude Monet, stays strong. He constantly put out articles about it, affirming his point that art can just be something that looks nice. Times goes by and everyone realizes he was right. Art can be something beautiful all by itself. Impressionism is now praised and continues on to this day. I admire Impressionism because of its ability to change the world and create the avant garde. Simplicity is beautiful, and Impressionism thrives on this truth.


On Human Thought and Minds

     The human mind, a remarkable concept. A storage system, a production line, and an environment observer. These jobs that some people are paid to perform. Some require an entire team of people. How amazing it is, that an organ that is so powerful resides in the head of every single person. Six billion human beings, all with a super machine in their heads. The marvel of our universe can be defined in something that visually is just a grey mass.

     A human male’s average lifespan in the United States is 77.97 years. When anyone lives for around 28459.05 days, he is bound to see a lot. Memories of youth, adulthood, and seniority are all stored in one brain. Despite the common effect age has on memory retention, most people can recall the majority of their lives. And every man and woman has innumerable memories to store. Six billion people, with memories that could perhaps outnumber our population.

     Crazy ideas are the human entertainment system. Our minds produce so much. Our societies’  greatest tales, the best books, and a man’s favorite song are all written by our world’s crazies thinkers. Human brains can imagine entire worlds, worlds bigger than our own, and can bring them to life, Beautiful, majestic, and marvelous worlds can be contained in such a physically unremarkable object. Power to create, is locked inside our skulls and we are given the ability to let it flow into the real world. It truly is amazing, how one man can unravel a world, even a simple one.

     Scientists spend their entire lives trying to understand our world. Their most important tool, the human mind, is instrumental in everything, even in the most simple of matters. Books are written about Earth, and people can walk outside and process every word that book outlines. Smells, taste, hearing, touch, and seeing are all understood by every person. Anyone knows what they do. And these simple functions show us an entire world.

     A most startling thought it is to realize that mind can perform so many tasks, and that every person in the world also does this. The monumental worlds a man creates can be made by anyone. The enormous amount of people in the world, and they all imagine. They all think. You wonder why thunder exists, why is it necessary? Chances are, someone else is thinking about it too. Dozens of people probably are. The college student plans on being a doctor, and another wants to be an author. Every life dreams, six billion dreamers. All of life’s little things, they are overwhelming. You’re never alone though. Everyone on our little planet has it too.


My Best Day of School: My Response to a Dumb Contest Topic

Well, I was told that the topic for the writing contest was my favorite day of school. But I’m not going to do that. Especially since school is often a dull humdrum only broken by the miracle that is called “lunch.” So I’m going to write about how this topic is extremely stupid and boring to write about.

I imagine when you started this contest you would hope all of the young aspiring writers would send you a lovely essay about how school is great and that we all benefit from our schooling. Not neglecting it, learning itself is beneficial. But really, writing a stupid summary about a fun time I had is boring. It’s basically just writing a teen movie made by Disney. The start is simple and depressing, and then some miracle happens where the main character has a special talent. Great story, terrible movie.

If I were to honestly tell you about my favorite days of school, I would simply regale you with all of the last days of school I’ve ever had. I could also write about all the days off and snow days, as normally they would be school days. Writing a summary of all these days would be summarizing the times I really didn’t have school. On the last day of school, we all just show up and get our yearbooks signed. After the day ends, summer starts and we forget everything until the start of next year. Most likely, you would be more interested in how my summer went because I can tell you I have a much better time during summer than any school day.

I can tell you, whoever is reading this, that I don’t care if I win this contest. I only wish to say that fifty dollars is not worth writing an extremely boring story.