Mundane Monday: Some (belated) New Year’s Resolutions

Whoa. Hey. Can you believe that we’re already through with the first month of 2016? I sure as hell can’t. Time is… well, it’s weird. Am I right?

So I’ve been spending a lot of time these first weeks of 2016 contemplating not only what all I accomplished in the last year, but what I’d like to accomplish in the dawn of yet another new year as well. I wanted to get this blog entry up sooner, but mulling things over took longer than anticipated… plus I’ve been kind of awful at motivating myself to write recently. More on that in a bit.

Before I delve into what I want this new year to look like, I thought I’d reflect on 2015. I planned on listing off which of last year’s New Year’s Resolutions I succeeded and failed at, but instead of focusing on (the numerous) goals I didn’t quite reach in the past year, I figured I’d just make a list of all the awesome things I did accomplish in 2015.

All the Ass I Kicked in 2015

  • I finally started teaching myself Italian. After all these years of saying it’s the language I want to learn, I finally motivated myself to begin. Thanks to the ever handy Duolingo, I’m now able to read basic to moderate Italian pretty well, and I can speak it… thedgehog2hough very slowly… very slowly…
  • I own a hedgehog now! His name is Gobo and he likes to sleep, eat, poop, and grump. He’s the best!
  • I had the pleasure of working on The Misselthwaite Archives, an online web series based off of The Secret Garden. I wrote a handful of episodes, helped edit and transition many scripts, oversaw the multimedia and created some of my own, and worked on set as a PA. I learned a great deal about creating a series for the public eye and had a lot of fun along the way, and I’ll be much more prepared for the next series that comes along (which is not too far off in the future…!!).
  • I had the great privilege of going to both the Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS) and the National Poetry Slam (NPS). I was solely an audience member, but it gave me a chance to watch amazing poets perform live and consider my own path as a poet (not to mention it was inspiring as all get out).
  • I celebrated my one year anniversary with Stephen in September. I could not ask for a more supportive, funny, generous, loving partner. Dude’s pretty awesome.10881648_10155138025720252_3537388377048416731_n
  • In July, I officially moved out of my dad’s house and into Pointy House with Stephen and a bunch of awesome, lovely folks.
  • In 2015, I traveled to Olympia, Spokane, Boise, Seattle, Newport, Coeur d’Alene, Oakland, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Disneyland, Ashland, Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, and San Diego. Not bad for one year!
  • After managing to crash my car in November 2014 – literally one month after obtaining my driver’s license – I got through all of 2015 without being in a single car accident! Success! (Although, I did get my first speeding ticket. From a friggen robot. Not as great.)
  • I worked full time all year long and was able to finally start paying off credit cards / putting some away in my savings, like a true (groan) adult.
  • I began running and working out on a weekly basis again. Even the small triumphs count, right?
  • I read over 55 books – not counting comics and graphic novels.
  • Star Wars is back. This has very little to do with my actual personal life, but it’s such a momentous occasion I’m throwing it on here anyway cause STAR WARS GUYS OH MY GOODNESS IT’S GREAT.
  • Another year of co-producing the Muppet podcast Frog Kissin’ with my good pal Lara!IMG_6317
  • I wrote a couple pieces for ToughPigs and many reviews for the Portland Book Review.
  • My poetry was featured twice on Voicemail Poems (here and here), I had two pieces appear on Freezeray Poetry, I recorded this poem with Aileen, I read poetry on the radio show Talking Earth, and my friend, Martin, shared one of my poems on his site Front Row Central. I was also a featured poet at Boise’s Grand Slam and Seattle’s Rain City Slam.
  • Stephen and I saved up a lot of money in our “Disneyland 2016” fund jar and paid off our ticket / hotel bill in full for our upcoming Disney trip this February.
  • I made loads of friends and strengthened plenty of preexisting friendships.
  • I put together three chapbooks of my own poetry and have sold many of them.
  • I participated in my second 48 Hour Film Fest submission as a writer and actor. (Unfortunately, our finished product is not up online as of yet.)

As you can see, 2015 treated me pretty darn well.

But it wasn’t without its struggles. 2015 was one of my worst years dealing with mental health – the severe anxiety I suffered during my final year of college came back in full (less panic attacks though, thankfully) and my depression upped the ante by being a regular party guest in my head. I dealt with a lot of stress (related to finances, work, creativity, and just life in general) and ended up carrying a lot of tension in my body on a somewhat regular basis. Although I spent the last year surrounded by wonderful people and doing the things I loved most, my brain was… well, my brain was kind of a dick. An entry for another day, perhaps.

I think, in this past year, I came far in both establishing myself as a writer and (groan) an adult, but I still have a lot of learning, growing, and discovering of myself to do. (How’s that for a dramatic statement, Chris Sackett?)


The best picture taken of me in all of 2015.


I feel one of my main problems with previous New Years’ Resolutions (and even summer / winter bucket lists I’ve written) is that I get too technical – too specific – while also taking on too many inane goals. I pile up a lot of easy to achieve tasks, along with harder goals that need more focus and drive, and, in the end, only achieve what’s easy. It’s a bad habit that I’d really like to nip in the butt.

Which is not to say setting specific goals aren’t always good. On the contrary, I work well with deadlines and specifics. The problem remains that I heap way too much onto myself, try to tackle everything at once, flounder, and feel like a failure. In coming up with these New Year’s Resolutions, I tried to have a bit of both. Some things I’m trying to tackle in a more broad sense, while others I’m still using specifics and deadlines. We’ll see how it goes.

So what do I want next year to look like?

Self Improvement.

    1. Read 40 books this year. I’ve already read si1933725_10156413172475252_7522528937890299981_nx in January… so yeah, I don’t think that’ll be much of a problem. If I continue to make good headway, I’d like to slow myself down a bit and read some longer books I’ve been putting off for a while (Lord of the Rings, The Stand, The Luminaries, etc.). My main goal is to focus on 1) the books I own that I’ve never read, and 2) books written by women and people of color.
    2. Start taking photography again. I’ve already dicked around enough in January to know I’m not going to be doing a 365 Challenge this year, but I would like to pick up my camera and start photographing things again.
    3. Continue learning Italian. I should have the Duolingo app wrapped in a couple months. While I intend to keep quizzing myself daily with it once I’m through, I’m hoping to pick up a textbook or two to start working with. Then, depending on what the latter half of 2016 looks like, maybe I’ll even start taking classes to improve my conversational Italian? We’ll see!
    4. Good feelings jar. Basically writing notes about good things that happen throughout 2016, putting them all in a jar, and then reading them at the end of the year to remember all the good times. Pretty straight forward.
    5. Pick. Up. That. Guitar. This. Is. Your. YEAR.

Self Crush.

Much like the vast majority of women in America, I have a very difficult relationship with my body. I’m constantly struggling to love it within a society telling me that I either “don’t care enough about my looks” or that I’m “way too vain for thinking about my looks so often.”

I must admit, in the past I’ve been guilty of setting those stupid body resolutions. “I’m gonna lose ten pounds!” “I’m gonna diet!” “I’m gonna eat barely anything!” “I’m gonna work out every single day!” “I’m gonna do all this and finally be happy with my body!”

But, truth is, I’m tired of that.

This year, I’m going to honestly try loving my body. Which is much harder than it sounds. My self loathing can be particularly strong, but it’s been 10+ years of loathing and I’m just through, y’know?

I want to make my body the home I love to live in. I want to start running regularly (once the weather turns nice again), because I like feeling my body know strength. I don’t want to restrict myself from eating – but I also want to be careful about not over/under eating when my depression kicks in (I’m guilty of both, depending on the day). I want to cut off all my hair again – cause why the hell not? I want more tattoos. I want to try out new makeup and buy new clothes. I want to not wear makeup and still feel beautiful. I want to love my body. I want to and I’m ready.

I think I’m already off to a pretty great 2016 start.


Self Expression.

So, as already stated, I meant to write this entry weeks ago. I kept putting it off, telling myself I was waiting to hear back if I made the WOWPS performance list or not. That was partially true, but here’s the other sad truth of it:


The set of the web series I wrote for.

Recently I’ve been putting off writing.

This isn’t just blog entries – which, hah, I’ve barely written any on here in a while. I haven’t touched my novel and screenplay ideas all of last year, and short stories are a thing I seem to have forgotten how to write. More disheartening, I’ve had awful writer’s block for poetry throughout all of January, which is such a drag. This has obviously been a major bummer, as writing has always been my go to form of self expression. I’m hoping the writer’s block lifts sometime soon, and I can kick this year into gear.

One of my big goals of this year is to work towards writing daily – something I haven’t done in a long time. I want to get back into the grove of writing poetry again – and hopefully submit a lot more work this year to online journals (I’ve already been featured on Thirteen Myna Birds this year!). I’m also hoping to jump on some novel/screenplay ideas that I’ve been sitting on for far too long; it would be lovely to finish one for a change.

And, most exciting of all, Pencil Ink is going to be starting up a second web series this year. I’m going to be one of the Producers this time around, as well as a staff writer. I can’t wait for us to begin!

Self Work.

Remember last year when I said how I was looking forward to quitting my office job and figuring out what it is I want to do with the rest of my life?

Yeah, well, surprise, that didn’t happen.

I don’t want a repeat of last year, wherein I exclaim at the start “TOTALLY GONNA QUIT MY JOB THIS YEAR, GUYS, LOOK OUT WORLD LOLOLOL” and then fail miserably at doing so. I am, however… optimistic? Hopeful? Something along those lines. First, I want to create some financial stability in my life – something I could be a bit better about. Put money in savings, pay off credit cards in full, buy a new laptop, all that boring stuff.


Sugar, the dog I walk twice a week. <3

Then it’s just a matter of figuring out what I’d rather be doing with my time. I’ve been mulling over becoming a professional dog trainer…? It’s a possibility, right? A job where I’m outside, not working in an office, and working with dogs? Sounds pretty perfect. But it’s definitely something I’d need to research more, and then I’d have to ask myself if I really want to go back to school. (The answer is no, but short term school might be an exception.)

On the side, I’ve been doing paid dog walking/sitting and some minor freelance writing work. Once life gets a bit less hectic (ie. around mid-March) I’m hoping to find more of both of these things.

Self Exploration.

Travel is a thing that has always been very important to me, and despite not really having the financial means since returning from New Zealand, I think I did an all right job traveling around the NW last year.


My name on the WOWPS list.

This year has some bigger things in store. Besides traveling back to Spokane in January, Stephen and I are heading to California at the end of February for a full week at Disneyland. Then, in the beginning of March, I’m heading to New York to see Hamilton and compete in WOWPS – my first ever indie poetry event!

Those are the only big travel plans set in stone thus far, and it’s a bit of a bummer that they all take place in the first three months of this year. I’m sure, though, we’ll get to revisit some NW favorites, and maybe even get to visit some places around Oregon and Washington. Plus there might be a chance of heading to Arizona and/or Georgia later in the year. Fingers crossed!

Self Care.

I learned something in 2015: I am very good at keeping busy. Working out or going on runs. Speed reading books to write reviews. Coffee dates with friends. Deep cleaning the upstairs bathroom. Running errands. Reorganizing my dresser. Giving Gobo baths. Doing dishes. Cleaning my car. Dusting. Writing articles. Helping out on film sets. Yes, busy work is a thing I am amazing  yet.

What’s more, I kind of like busy work. Keeping busy, in my mind, means I’m leading an active life of deepening relationships, bettering myself, and becoming a full fledged (groan) adult.

However, there is a downside of keeping so busy. Two downsides, really.

The first, as already discussed, is that I rarely make time for my personal projects. I barely touched any of my own creative ideas – besides poetry and the web series – last year. A lot of things fell by the wayside when I really didn’t mean them to. Boo.


I’m pretty sure I never signed up for this depression / anxiety combo package. Can I get a refund?

Secondly, I sort of forgot how to relax…?

Busy work is fine, but my brain has started doing this thing where it gets anxious about everything. Literally everything – this is not an exaggeration. At the end of every work day my brain starts concocting lists of all the things I need to do (ERRANDS! READ ANOTHER TEN CHAPTERS OF YOUR BOOK! PLAY WITH GOBO! VACUUM YOUR ROOM! REORGANIZE YOUR BOOKSHELF! REORGANIZE IT AGAIN! WORK OUT! GAAAAH!!!) and I end up spending my free nights stressing over completing tasks that are… well, that aren’t really all that important in the long run.

I want to teach myself how to relax again; how to not stress over the unimportant. I want to read books without feeling the need to complete them rapidly (here’s looking at you October 2015, when I read five Stephen King books). I want to not feel defeated when I don’t complete every task on my To Do List. I want to remember how to breath normally again. I’ve been carrying all this tension in my body for the last year, and I’m ready to let that go.

I haven’t been doing a great job on the relaxing-front this year thus far. All of January I’ve been plagued with sharp mood swings, long bouts of depression, and constant stress. It hasn’t been great. Far from great. Miles and miles away from great, actually.

But I’m trying. I’m honestly trying to remember self love and self care. It’ll be an uphill battle, I’m know, but I think I can do it.

Anyway, despite expressing all these goals and hopes, I have no idea what this year will have in store. It could be the most godawful year of my life, or it could be amazing and blissful and revolutionary. The future is more terrifying than the thought of being lost in space (just kidding, NOTHING IS MORE TERRIFYING THAN BEING LOST IN SPACE, UGH), but it’s something we all have to face. And anyway…

I’m eager to find out what the hell’s in store.


My Month with Stephen King

So this has been a long time coming.

Last month (October 2015) I embarked on a mission; a crazed, stress-inducing, pointless mission. One I did not have to put myself through. One that there was literally no stress in doing, but I still managed to work myself up in a frenzy over completing it. Such a weird thing for my anxiety to make me obsessed with.

I decided to read five Stephen King novels in a single month.

Look, we could easily analyze the reason behind why I thought reading this amount of books in such a short time (while managing a full time job and an active social life) was a good idea, or the reason why I became so obsessed with meeting deadlines and putting so much pressure on myself to get it done – but that’s a discussion for another day, really.

In short, despite stressing myself to the brink, I don’t regret taking the opportunity to read more King. Up till last month, the only two King books I’d successfully finished were On Writing and The Green Mile. Not an impressive list, I know. I’ve been looking for a chance to read more of his work, and I thought – October leading up to Halloween and all – this would be perfect.

And I did it. I successfully finished all five books in under a month, then watched the film adaptations of each of them (though I didn’t get to watching two of the films until last week). This left me stumped. What could I do with this sudden intake of King knowledge? Well, first off, write a poem. Duh.

But then I figured, hey, I’ve got this blog. Maybe I can talk a bit about the experience. That sounded kind of boring and like a thing not many people would want to read, so I went ahead and did it anyway because obviously I haven’t stressed myself out enough yet.

Fair warning: spoilers galore ahead. If you have not read/seen The Shining, Misery, Salem’s Lot, Carrie, or Pet Semetary and would like to avoid all spoilers, you should probably stop reading now.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin.

The Shining

Pre-reading predictions: I’ve seen the film version, but it’s been about eight years since my last viewing. That being said, The Shining is such a classic and has been spoofed so many times before by film/television, so it’s kind of impossible to forget what the film’s about. Of course, I’ve heard the book is different in many ways, but I’m assuming the “man-takes-family-to-deserted-hotel-for-winter-and-gets-a-little-murdery” plot is probably still present.


Post-reading opinions:

I definitely chose a good one to start with. The Shining had a slow start, but picked up rather quickly as the book progressed. There’s some insanely (pun intended) good writing in this novel. I especially like how it switches perspectives between the three (four if you count Dick) characters featured.

The tension throughout the book was great, but it lacked a lot of the scary imagery I vividly remember from the film (what the crap are these hedge animals??). A creepy read, to be sure, but honestly not that scary? When looking at “Top Scary Stephen King Books” lists online, this one usually takes the cake. Perhaps I wasn’t scared of it because I’ve seen the film before, so I knew what to expect? There were definitely some “on-the-edge-of-my-seat” moments, but nothing that made me throw the book down or need to go turn on another light (or hide the book in my freezer).

Speaking of the movie…


Let’s throw the film into the mix:

So, I’m pretty sure I spent 90% of this film pointing out to Stephen the differences between the book and film (sorry Meads). There certainly are a lot of differences, but both mediums are still pretty terrific. The film very visual; the book intricate.

The movie is filled with all these shocking images (old woman in bathtub, blood gushing out of elevator, murdered twins, frozen Jack, etc. etc.) and is beautifully shot, while the book spends a lot more time developing characters, looking into their pasts, and examining what all’s going on inside their heads.

For this, I found I liked the book so much more. In the film, Jack’s descent into madness is so… so… instant. It just happens right off the bat. In the book, you get to actually experience his descent, watching as his mind slowly slips more and more into the control of the hotel (I also like the book’s strong focus on how the hotel is actually alive and controlling everyone/everything). I’m more in favor of book-Wendy as well, who isn’t quite as passive and definitely not as vulnerable as she is in the film. I also prefer Tony in the book – with him being inside Danny’s head, that is – though I understand why they had to change that aspect to make it work better for film.

Basically? Classic, beautiful movie, but I found the book had so much needed depth to it.


Pre-reading predictions: Another film I’ve already seen. I really like the (original) film a lot, but know very little about the book – besides that it was King’s first success. I can’t imagine it’ll be too different though?


Post-reading opinions:

I’m starting to see a trend of young people having supernatural abilities in King’s books.

Much like The Shining, Carrie had a pretty slow start but, again, it picked up quickly (very quickly in this case, since this book was so short). This one was pretty much almost exactly what I remember from watching the movie – except for the big fire at the end and the way Carrie (and her mother) die.

That being said, much like Shining, we got a lot more in depth character analysis and backstory. I loved getting to read about Carrie slowly discovering her powers and experimenting with them, and really enjoyed how, simultaneous with the story, we get these snippets from future books / interviews / trail transcripts from people who were at the “Carrie White attack.” It was a great, insightful storytelling technique.

Also like The Shining, this one didn’t really scare me. Again, probably because I’m so familiar with the film. I did feel very unsettled during a few parts though, like when the girl’s are brutally picking on Carrie at the start and right before the pig’s blood falls.

Also: Tommy was so nice in the book. SO NICE. I felt horrible once he died.


Let’s throw the film into the mix:

Stephen and I ended up watching both the original and the 2013 film, one right after the other.

The original is best (no duh), but the newer film does contain moments the first movie left out (but also elaborated and added in moments that were in neither predecessor). I do prefer the entire cast from the first film acting-wise; although, it was nice to see that in the newer Carrie they made an effort to cast actual teenagers (or people who at least looked like high schoolers). Not to mention the filming techniques in the first film are so much better. CGI doesn’t hold a candle sometimes.

For me, the book and original film are pretty much on par. While a handful of differences between the two exist, both are gripping, eerie tales that basically go hand-in-hand.

I was, however, pretty bummed that the version we watched of the 2013 Carrie didn’t have this ending.

Pet Sematary

Pre-reading predictions: Finally! A book I haven’t seen the film adaptation of and know nothing about! I mean, deducing from the different edition covers and the book’s title, I can predict that there is a cat and a pet sematary (spelled that way for some reason?).

My guess? Zombie cat goes crazy and kills everyone.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got… I really hope that’s not the actual premise of this book.


Post-reading opinions:

First off, like the previous books, this one had a slow start. Slower in fact. I didn’t feel myself really getting into this one until about one hundred or so pages in. I kept forgetting character names and found myself not caring at all until I was well into the read.

Second off, this is – without a doubt – my favorite King book of the month.

I kind of wish I hadn’t read King’s introduction to Pet Sematary. As I said, I had no idea what to expect, so I could have gone into the read completely blind. I ended up reading the intro though, in which King talks about playing with all the “What If?”s of his family’s personal experiences that inspired this book. I was able to do a lot of guesswork and figure a couple things out before they even happened. While there were still plenty of surprises and shock moments, it would have been nice to have had even less things spoiled.

Anyway, after getting over the initial lack of caring at the start, I ended up caring a lot about all these characters – specifically the Creed family. It really is a heartbreaking story, watching the crumble of this ordinary, happy family.

Pet Sematary was the first book to actually scare me… kind of. I mean, I was never truly terrified, but there were definitely moments where I was on the edge of my seat gripping the book and storming through the words while holding my breath. I also dealt with some deep, gut-wrenching nausea at points. This book speaks a lot about death anxiety, which is something I have dealt with for several years now (although, unlike Rachel, I didn’t witness the horrifying death of my sister, so there’s that).

Plus there was just something eerie about the whole book. It’s weird, but this one felt so much more grounded in realism than the previous two. Maybe it’s because in the other two, right off the bat, we have a child (Danny) and a teenager (Carrie) who show obvious traits of supernatural abilities – whereas in this one the supernatural element isn’t introduced until the book has already been going on for a while. Yet, while no supernatural elements are introduced at the start, there’s still something unsettling about the text in its entirety. I’d probably have to read it again to really place my finger on it – and I probably will in a year or two.

(Also: Louis’s daughter, Ellie, does have a couple prophetic dreams, which ties in with my “King loves psychic kids” theory.)

All in all, a marvel of a book.

Let’s throw the film into the mix:


One word: disappointing.

While keeping all the major plot elements from the book, this film lacked finesse, depth, and a reason for the viewer to give a shit. Plot details were simply handed to the audience; all tell, no show.

It… it was bad, friends. I loved that book so much. I demand a better film be made.

The best part of the entire movie was Stephen making fun of Fred Gwynne’s accent.



Pre-reading predictions: Another film I’ve seen, but like The Shining it’s been so long that I really only remember the huge plot points (especially the breaking of Caan’s foot (feet??)). I can’t really remember how it ends or all the minor moments.

I do remember that after I first saw this film Kathy Bates started appearing in a ton of other movies and shows I was watching at the time, to the point where I was somewhat convinced the world was having her work stalk me. I clearly remember one time when I yelled at my computer screen at some ungodly hour in the morning, “ANNIE WILKES, STOP FOLLOWING ME.”


Post-reading opinions:

I’m starting to see a trend in King books: they all have insanely slow starts. This one had the slowest by far of the month – mostly due to the shift of character casts.

Sematary and Shining focused on families and went back and forth in perspective, and in Carrie there’s an enormous cast of characters the reader gets to know. In Misery there’s really only Paul. Well, Paul and Annie, but we’re never given Annie’s perspective (which is good, because it’s much scarier that way). It took me a while to adjust to just one character perspective, after reading three of King’s other books.

Misery definitely didn’t frighten me as much as Pet Sematary, but damn if it didn’t come close. There was a lot in the story that I forgot from (or was left out of) the film. Despite knowing where the story was headed, every time Paul left his room or Annie was in one of her moods I couldn’t help feeling nervous.

So far this month King’s batting four-for-four; another enjoyable read as a whole.

misery stage

Let’s throw the film into the mix:

This movie. This goddamn movie is the reason it took me so long to get this blog entry posted. I put it on hold at the library mid-October, thinking that it surely would get to me by the first week of November at the very latest. Nope. Turns out the library only has one copy of the film, and I was very far back on the holds list. I finally shelled out three bucks to watch it on Amazon.

Misery as a lot like my experience with The Shining: both films are undeniably classics at this point, but while amazing cinematic feats I still prefer the books. Getting the insights to Paul’s mind and what all he’s taken notice of / plotting makes the story so much more intense.

H’okay. That’s all I’ve got. I’m still too angry about how long it took me to get a hold of this film. Ugh.

Salem’s Lot

Pre-reading predictions: Okay. So. Honestly, I always assumed this book was about witches… probably due to the fact that the word “Salem” makes me think of the Salem witch trials (that or a shitty city in Oregon). But apparently it’s about vampires? And… yeah. Much like Pet Sematary, I have no idea what to expect.

Fun fact: Vampires are not my jam. They creep me out and I have physically gagged while watching vampire attack scenes in films before. I figured, if any of these books are gonna really scare me, this is the one.


Post-reading opinions:

Congratulations, folks. We’ve done it. We have found the King book that TERRIFIES ME.

Did I mention I don’t like vampires?  Oh crap, I do not.

That being said, I liked this book. A lot more than I was expecting to. A slow start (which I was expecting), and like the previous book it had a huge shift in characters – this time so many friggen characters. It was like reading a George R. R. Martin book: almost impossible to keep track of everyone. King throws an entire town into your lap, and while certain characters were memorable and easy to follow, there were several that I’d keep forgetting even existed.

The most horrifying element of this book was not the vampire attacks – though I did squirm through a couple, they weren’t described in depth (thank goodness). The most horrifying part of the book for me was how fast it all goes down. Bartlow rides into town and gets one person on his first night. Then a couple more people the second night. Then double that the third night, double that the fourth night, double that the fifth night, and that’s the town. Math is scary, folks.

This book also helped me figure out what it is that I like so much about King’s material: he writes about extraordinary things happening to somewhat bland, ordinary people. There’s nothing special about Jack Torrence, Rachel Creed, Sue Snell, Paul Sheldon, or Mark Petrie. They’re all normal people placed in these extreme, supernatural situations, and because of this absolutely every action they perform is humanly realistic. The bursts of bravery are just as believable as the cowardly acts. I dunno, watching people behave normally in terrifying situations is just something I really enjoyed this month. It felt like a nice change of pace.

Let’s throw the film into the mix:

I watched the three hour long mini series from the late 70’s. I stayed away from the remake, since I read only awful things about it. There were three real takeaways from the film:

1) It did a pretty good job sticking to the material. Obviously the whole cast wasn’t in the film, and some characters had to be combined. But mostly all of the major plot points where present and accounted for.

2) I was so bored that I fell asleep during the film at least three times.

3) This was the only one of the six films I watched to make me scream because THIS GUY POPPED OUT OF NO WHERE ALL OF A SUDDEN CHRIST ON A CRACKER NOT COOL.


So what have I learned?

  1. I really like King’s books and would like to read more in the future.
  2. Five 200-800 page novels in one month is insane. DO NOT DO IT AGAIN.
  3. There was a distinct lack of LGBT and POC characters (I find it so hard to believe that there’s an entire Maine town being ravaged by vampires and NOT A SINGLE PERSON OF COLOR LIVES THERE). However, these are all some of King’s older books, so I would hope that King’s newer work over the years has more diversity.
  4. Lots of characters who are writers, school teachers, or have some job that involves a lot of writing. HMMMMM.
  5. Never put faith into the adaptations Stephen King has spoken fondly of (ie. Salem’s Lot and Pet Semetary).

Writing Wednesday: A Few New Things…

So it’s been a while, and I figured I’d update on some of the writing-oriented stuff that’s been going on in my life. I mean, there’s nothing much else of interest going on, so why not?

…Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’ve got cool friends, a cool boyfriend, and I just traveled down to the Bay Area for the first time ever – wherein I went to Oakland, San Francisco, and San Luis Obispo. I’m also moving out of my house and in with Stephen and his roommates at the start of July, which will be wonderful.

But still, it feels like a weekly grind of work and nothing much else. It feels like I haven’t been writing much as of late, but when I wrote up the blog below, well, I guess I haven’t been totally lazy.

San Fran is beautiful, but those hills are killer.

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Writing Wednesday: The start of another 30/30.

One day I’ll figure out what to use this blog for.

Using this blog was easy for the first year. There was a purpose: a catalog for my excursions. I had pictures, information, stories, y’know.

I keep slipping away from this blog, but it still lingers in the back of my mind; a persistent itch. It no longer befits a diary of my adventures, as I’m currently not on any adventures, but I want it to be used for something. On the one hand, I feel like life’s at a standstill; so utterly dull, filled with nothing but work, television, and sleep. On the other hand, I feel like my writing’s growing stronger everyday, I’m in love and it’s absurdly wonderful, and I’m making so many amazing friends. It’s a strange period of my life.

Despite feeling like everything’s at a standstill, I have done things since my last entry, especially in the poetry department. I traveled to Olympia and Spokane where I took second and first place (respectively) at their slams. I took first place, and a cash prize, at a Valentine’s Day slam that happened here in Portland. I went to Albuquerque for the Women of the World Poetry Slam, where I didn’t compete but still had an eye opening experience and a huge journey of self discovery as to my goals as a poet (I meant to write a longer entry about my time there, in fact, so maybe that’ll be a thing…). Most recently, Stephen and I traveled to Boise for my first ever co-feature, where I was paid to do poetry at the Boise Final Grand Slam.

So, on all those notes, I figured I’d share some poetry. Cause why not? I’m participating in the 30/30 this month, wherein you write a poem a day for the entire month of April. I figured I’d share the poems I’m most proud of thus far.

Hopefully I’ll have some idea where to take this blog soon. For now, I hope you enjoy my poetry.


Stephen and I watching some great poetry at WOWPS in Albuquerque.

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Writing Wednesday: Voicemail Poetry

So this’ll be a short post, as it’s not so much “blogging” as it is shameless self promotion which, btw, I am queen at.

I’ve been doing slam poetry for four years now. Around this exact time when I was twenty, I was fumbling through writing my first two ever pieces: ‘Just a Drunk Kiss’ and ‘Where the Fraggles Roam.’ Heck, you can even watch me performing for the first time ever in front of a live audience here and here. Anyone who’s seen me perform as of late can vouch that I have, thankfully, come a long way.

Starting out doing slam, I participated in open mics and talent shows when I could. It wasn’t until 2013 that I participated in the Ashland Poetry Slam – taking first and second place each time I competed. Then New Zealand happened and I didn’t touch poetry for an entire year. Oh sure, I might’ve dabbled a poem or two while there, but traveling, wrangling livestock, hitchhiking, drinking with people from all over the world, and constant searching for free WiFi took up the majority of my time. Anyway, now I’m at the Portland Poetry Slam, which is awesome and I’ve met a ton of cool people and I’m writing a lot again and yay for the way life works out!


My “still in shock that I won a slam” face.

Okay, enough of the boring history of my adult poetry life. To the self promotion!

A poem of mine was featured on Voicemail Poems yesterday. It’s a poem that I’m sure most people from the PDX Poetry Slam are getting a little sick of hearing, but it’s one I’m very proud of. It’s called “i will not beg for scraps” that I wrote for the final competition to get into IWPS last August. (Fair warning: there’s some profanity in the piece.)

If you can’t listen to it for whatever reason, the text can be read here. Anyway, I’m just happy that it got chosen to be featured and am pleased that so many people have been telling me good things. I feel like I have a lot of good things coming my way poetry-wise this year, so if this is how I kick off 2015 then bring on the other eleven months.

That… is literally all I have to say as of right now. But I’ve got a sure to be excellent entry I’m gonna write on Monday about the amazing weekend I have coming up… Stay tuned!

JGask out.

PS. Make sure to check out  more of Voicemail Poems collection over on their Tumblr and Soundcloud!

Fan Girl Friday: Once Upon a Time a Tree and a Raccoon Made Me Cry.

Groot and Rocket.

Rocket and Groot.

I spend a lot of time thinking about these two.


How Rocket has to remind Groot not to smile during jobs or drink fountain water or worry about losing limbs because they’ll just grow back. How Rocket does not mock or belittle Groot’s vocabulary when explaining the way his friend speaks to the other Guardians. How Rocket is the only Guardian who can understand Groot. How Rocket worries when Groot takes the battery out too early in their plan, because he knows that he’s unable to protect his friend without a firearm of sorts. How Rocket runs at Ronan after losing Groot, not even caring how unpredictably powerful Ronan’s become, because all he can think is that Groot is dead. How Rocket, who you would never expect to see cry, openly weeps when he assumes he’s forever lost his best friend. How Rocket beams with pride as he holds his little potted plant at the end of the film.


Art by deviantart’s zzigae

How Groot grows his body as a literal and physical shield to protect Rocket during fights. How, when The Collector’s place is about to blow, the first thing Groot does is grab Rocket and get the hell out of there. How Groot stands by his friend in every scuffle and situation, but is also not afraid to tell Rocket when he doesn’t agree with him. How Groot allows Rocket to climb up onto his shoulder during fights, to give him more of a physical advantage. How Groot, the gentle giant that he is, forcefully attacks Drax after he insults Rocket by calling him “vermin”. How Groot gave his life for all the friends he’d made, but especially Rocket. How Groot starts out so big and strong, and in the end is smaller than a raccoon.


Art by deviantart’s Wetrilo

How much they equally take care of each other. How much they need each other. How they are perfect compliments.

How these two idiots would not last five seconds without the other.

How I really really REALLY need a Rocket and Groot BROTP movie. Like, yesterday.

Just… just shut up and give me that movie.

Give me that movie now.


Time to be Astonishing :: 20 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years everyone!

Insert paragraph here wherein I make rambling excuses for the lack of writing on this blog and blather on about all the post travel/seasonal depression I’ve been dealing with and blah blah blah okay bored now.

So. New Year. New changes. New resolutions. I figured this could be a good way to bring myself back to this blog: by forcing you guys to read all twenty of my resolutions for 2015.

I considered not overloading myself with resolutions for once, maybe keeping it to a three to five minimum, but in a recent chat with one of my boyfriend’s roommates I was told that it was a positive quality that I often bite off more than I can chew. I also figured, hey, I’m turning 25. This should be a big year so, what the hell, I’m gonna make a big list.

So. Here we go.


Prince Joffrey ain’t got nothing on me.

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Mundane Monday: Life Back in the States.

Hey there readers! What’s up? What’s happening? What’s cracking? Enjoying the lovely weather we’ve been having?

So, I’ve officially been home in the States for a month and 3.5 weeks now. On the one hand, it feels like I never left the USA; on the other, when I close my eyes, I can still see New Zealand, so crisp and clearly in my mind. It feels like it’s been eons, but also like I’ve only just left. A contradiction, to be sure, but I’m sure you all understand that feeling I’m trying to describe.

It’s been… rough. Okay, rough may be a harsh word, but readjusting back to States life has certainly been difficult. There’s a lot you have to get used to when you’re no longer living out of a backpack and trekking to a new place every few days. As I’ve said, I’m happy to be home, but my wanderlust has not simmered. I’m aching to get back out into the world.

All right. Enough small talk. What have I been up to lately?

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Fan Girl Friday: Genie, I’m Gonna Miss You.


Celebrity deaths don’t normally hit very close to home for me. Don’t get me wrong, when a beloved celebrity passes on I take time to reflect on their work, on their life, and on life in general. It’s always sad … Continue reading 

Writing Wednesday: Inappropriate Moments Your Favorite Kids Books Got Away With

Something I’ve been keeping in my back pocket is that, recently, I applied to write for a web-site. Won’t say which one, but I will say that it’s a pretty cool site. It was up in the air but, ultimately, I didn’t get the position. Which is all right. I mean, yeah, I’m a bit bummed, but I’ll get over it. As much of a cliche as it is to say, writing and rejection really does go hand-in-hand.

But one thing I am particularly bummed with is the future of the sample article I wrote for the site; an audition piece, as it were. I wrote it to show the site what I had to offer. Since I didn’t get picked for the job, that means the article I put several days of hard work into will fall by the wayside. So I figured I’d put it to good use and share it on here with you guys. It’s a bit rambley, but I’m still proud of what I came up with.



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