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TOP 5 WRITERS

Hello, my wonderful readers!

It is a joy to be able to write to you guys on this very important day (Good Friday). However, this post is going to relate to five very influential writers who have impacted my writing life. While these five are the ones I remember, there have been hundreds of other writers who have left me inspired to be as inspiring as they were to me.

Also please comment below which writers have inspired you and impacted you the most.   I am constantly on the hunt for a new book, and you guys are an amazing resource to do this!


1. WILLIAM FAULKNER

William Faulkner at his home, Rowan Oak; Oxford, Mississippi

The king of Southern Gothic literature, Faulkner has been the most impactful writer to me in the past two years or so. Faulkner is probably the most influential writer from Mississippi, and his works have secured his legacy.

When I was growing up in the South, I hated every minute of it (or at least, I told people I did). I wanted nothing to do with the culture or the history or anything about it. I’d tell people I was a Yankee since my parents are from West Virginia, and I’d refuse to associate myself with my home state of Tennessee. As a result, I was not a fan of Southern literature, though I’ve since converted, let me tell you.

However, that all changed when I asked my mom who her favorite writer was.

“William Faulkner,” she responded.

“Why?” I asked. I’d heard of Faulkner before, but none of his works were ever required reading at my school (though they should be).

“Read some of his books, and you’ll see why,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.

And so I read As I Lay Dying in the summer of 2017, after I realized the South isn’t a terrible place, and that despite its problems, it is my home. Faulkner’s emotional depth struck a chord in me, especially with a wide range of characters and controversial situations that weren’t easy to discuss when he wrote in the 1920s and so on.

Faulkner is famous for Yoknapatawpha County, where several of his novels take place. Yoknapatawpha almost perfectly fits the Southern Gothic realm, in which deeply flawed characters are exposed to curious readers. Faulkner’s deliberate, pointed style of writing has also inspired me to play around with narrative.

While in creative writing class, my professor harps the concept of having one main character who struggles with internal conflict, Faulkner displays the beauty of having various protagonists whose struggles intertwine into one complicated organism.

Highlights from Faulkner: Southern Gothic; Yoknapatawpha County; stream of consciousness

What I’ve read by Faulkner: As I Lay Dying; The Sound and the Fury; Sanctuary; “A Rose for Emily”


2. JOHN GRISHAM

John Grisham, the legend.

Possibly my favorite writer of all time, John Grisham produces some of the most thrilling novels known to mankind (try to argue me on this, please). Another Mississippi legend, Grisham is the king of the legal thriller.

The first book I read from Grisham was The Pelican Brief in 2016. I’d heard of the master, but I didn’t think legal thrillers would suit a then-eighteen-year-old girl. But man… Was I in for a real wake-up call. This one book left me on the edge of my seat, and it challenged my perception of Washington, D.C., and our government system. Of course The Pelican Brief is fiction, but it felt real, and it was amazing.

As you can see below, I’m a Grisham nut. I have so many more books to read of his, but I can think of no other writer whom I talk about more. I wish it were acceptable to tell people, “Oh, yeah, John Grisham is my favorite writer,” because so many consider him to be a so-so writer since he is so popular (this seems like ridiculous logic, and it is).

So why do I like Grisham so much?

I think I can attribute it to the fact that his stories are so unique, and I honestly cannot predict what will happen next in any story he writes. Sometimes his stories are set in big firms in New York or D.C., and then another book will be something as socially relevant as A Time to Kill, his probable magnum opus. Then he’ll pop out with a book like Bleachers, which is more of a nostalgic ode to the past and has nothing to do with the law, and it’s like: I want to write like John Grisham!

His writing is very to-the-point. There isn’t much flowery language or description like some of the others on this list, but that’s because his novels are very much like movies in print. He wants to keep his readers hooked into the action of the novel instead of setting, and it’s why he’s one of the bestselling authors of all-time.

Highlights from Grisham: Legal thriller; political thriller; activism

What I’ve read by Grisham: A Time to Kill; The Firm; The Pelican Brief; The Partner; The Testament; Gray Mountain; The Summons; Rogue Lawyer; The Associate; Skipping Christmas; Bleachers 


3. LIANE MORIARTY

The beautiful and talented Liane Moriarty

Another writer I discovered when I was in high school is the Australian queen of women’s literature, Liane Moriarty. And also I hesitate to use the term “women’s literature,” because Moriarty is such a talented writer, and I don’t want to limit her to just the “chick lit” genre. Her books are primarily targeted to a female audience, though anyone can become easily invested in her material.

I’m not sure what the first book I read by Moriarty was, but I remember knowing her as the writer of Big Little Lies, one of the hits of 2014. Whenever a popular book comes out, I devour it: Gone Girl (2012) or The Girl on the Train (2015) are examples. While I am quite a fan of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, Moriarty is a popular writer who has stuck with me in terms of how I want to write.

Liane Moriarty is an unapologetic observer of the world she writes. She is a professional at creating flawed but believable characters who make entertaining bad choices, whether that be the hypnotist in The Hypnotist’s Love Story or an amnesiac housewife in What Alice Forgot. 

When I was eighteen, I wrote a novel called The Forever Optimist that was an attempt at mimicking Moriarty’s writing style because I was in love with it so much. She is a magician at penning beautiful phrases and settings that make me want to hop on a jet for Sydney immediately.

Highlights from Moriarty: Complex characters; rich description; modern storytelling

What I’ve read by Moriarty: Big Little Lies; The Husband’s Secret; What Alice Forgot; Truly Madly Guilty; Three Wishes; The Hypnotist’s Love Story; The Last Anniversary


4. KHALED HOSSEINI

Afghan-American Khaled Hosseini, writer & physician

Khaled Hosseini is one of the most inspirational writers on this list. Though I do not know much of his personal backstory, I can tell you that this man escaped unbelievable horrors in his home country of Afghanistan in order to forge a future in the United States. Hosseini is an example of the American Dream, as he rose from a refugee into one of the 2000s most respected writers (all while being a doctor).

When I was thirteen, I attempted to read The Kite Runner for the first time, and I was disgusted by the first chapter. There was plenty of foul language and adult themes, and I refused to read more. When I was in my senior year of high school, my best friend and I decided to read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns at the recommendation of our teacher.

We were stunned.

Hosseini’s books are not appropriate for a thirteen-year-old, obviously, because they are so starkly honest and brutal. Hosseini’s literature focuses on the atrocities of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Hosseini writes with a forceful emotional capacity that left my friend and me speechless. As American girls we were astounded to read about things we had no idea were happening on the other side of the world. (Again, Hosseini’s books are fictional, though many situations are based in reality.)

Hosseini’s books are not for the light-hearted; however, they are for every human out there in the sense that we must listen and respect others from different cultures and backgrounds.

Highlights from Hosseini: Historical fiction and drama; sharp critique of culture; emotional writing

What I’ve read by Hosseini: The Kite Runner; A Thousand Splendid Suns


5. GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ

El reino de realismo magico, Gabriel García Márquez (Gabo)

What would this post be if I didn’t mention the man who taught me my favorite genre of literature to ever exist? Gabriel García Márquez is the papá of magical realism, a medium of storytelling that uses magical elements to highlight a realistic or mundane world. The way I explain magical realism is to highlight the real world, and to minimize the magical.

My roommate freshman year of college asked me why I hadn’t read One Hundred Years of Solitude, a book she was reading. “You’re going to Argentina to study abroad,” she said, “so you should probably know what magical realism is.”

I shrugged. One Hundred Years of Solitude looked like a long book, and I was reading other stuff at the time.

But then something happened. A new novel idea dawned on me, about a young woman who goes to a mystical Mississippi town in order to find her missing sister. I wasn’t sure what genre it would be, as I am not the biggest fan of fantasy, and I’d read nothing like the story I wanted to tell.

Suddenly, I remembered my roommate’s excitement about magical realism and One Hundred Years of Solitude, so I gave the book a shot, and it was absolutely crucial for me as a writer. Anyone who wants to write magical realism has to devour the fine course known as One Hundred Years of Solitude. 

García Márquez’s world is believably magical, with characters who make no sense at all and the most sense known to man. There is a strict order to what is possible and what is impossible, and the reader is left to decipher the symbolism of the literary gold of this incredible man.

Now, though I love Gabo, I do think he can be wordy, and his books take a long time to read. Compare this to Grisham, and you’re looking at two very different writers. However, that is why we are looking at so many different writers today, to see what stands out from each.

Highlights from García Márquez: Magical realism; Latin American literature; almost biblical narrative style

What I’ve read by García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera; “La prodigiosa tarde de Baltazar”


WHY THESE WRITERS?

Obviously each person out there is affected differently by different writers. However, I am so glad that I got to share a few of my favorites with you today. It is always fun to write about writing.

I’d love to hear from you guys! Who are your favorite writers and why? And if you want to argue with me on John Grisham, I’ll be waiting. 🙂

Until next time,

-K.

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Malibu, CA (March 2019)
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WHERE HAVE I BEEN LATELY?

Hello, my dear readers!

I promised I would admit why I have been incognito lately, and this post is going to answer that question for you. Truly I have missed blogging over the past month, and I am super excited to get back into my two posts a week schedule. I have some interesting ideas for future posts, and I’m excited to share them with you.

However, I thought it would be best if I give you a little update on what I’ve been up to, and then we will resume with normal posts on Friday.

So, where have I been lately?


1. PRIVATE PILOT (finally)

The past two months have been devoted to studying anything and everything related to becoming a private pilot, and I can say I am official! I had to take a five hour check ride in order to secure this status, and it was intense to say the least. However, it feels so good to be done, and I’m very, very happy. 🙂


2. SCHOOL

As a college student I am (unfortunately) taking a bunch of classes that seem pointless at times. While I love learning, I’d rather be studying things I feel are useful (such as flying). As the school year wraps up, the amount of homework grows exponentially, and so I am in the midst of papers, tests, and presentations. That’s okay, though, because summer is just around the corner!


3. WHAT BOOK SHOULD I WRITE NEXT?

While I have some projects I am working on, there hasn’t been a book idea that really stands out to me since I finished my latest book, Yours Truly, in February. I attribute this to the busy schedule of college and flying, so I am excited to get back into the normal grind of shuffling between projects.


SHORT AND SWEET.

I know this is a baby post, but I did want to update you guys on this big news and explain where I’ve been. I’m still eager to share my viewpoint with the world, and you guys have always been so supportive of that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Look for an upcoming post on Friday.

But until next time,

-K. ❤

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Find the beauty wherever you are. (Malibu, CA / February 2019)

HELLO AGAIN: Q & A

Hi, my wonderful readers!

I’m so sorry to have been incognito in these past few weeks. A lot of great things have happened, and I will be writing a blog post on that for Monday. Please know that I have missed my blog so much, and especially hearing from you guys! It gives me great joy to be able to connect to so many different people across the globe, as you guys are truly amazing. ❤

Since it has been a while since I’ve posted anything, I decided to do another Q & A, since I haven’t done one in a long time. This gives you guys a chance to get to know me better, and I really do enjoy answering some of these ridiculous questions.

I hope you are all doing well, and I am looking forward to reading your blog posts as well. Without further ado, though, let’s get into the Q & A!

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Malibu, CA (March 2019) When am I not wearing tennis shoes?

1. Read on a Kindle or paperback book?

Paperbacks are the best in my opinion. There is no greater feeling that having a book in your hands, the pages glimpses into the soul of the writer. I love old books too, the ones you get from a used bookstore, because I feel as if I am connecting to not only the author, but any previous readers too. That being said, I do have a Kindle, and it is a convenient method to reading popular novels.

2. Go to a play or musical?

Though I am in love with music, I have never been big into musicals or plays. I am very much a movie person, but plays and musicals have never been my schtick. My friends will make fun of me for how much I’m not into musicals, though there are good ones here and there.

3. Go to the theater or a movie?

Definitely the movies. I am obsessed with film, and I always have been. I can attribute this to my dad’s love of movies too, as I grew up watching the classics with him. Another fond memory of mine is Friday night family movie nights, where I’d pop some cheesy popcorn, pick out a movie, and critique like Roeper. Even now I am addicted to movies. Back home it is an absolute joy to forget the world, hop into the air conditioned theater, and pretend for a while. At college my friends and I hop aboard $5 Tuesday movie nights at AMC so that we can see the newest releases on a budget, since movies are so expensive these days. Just this past Tuesday I saw Pet Seminary, the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller.

4. Have a Margarita or Pina Colada?

Diet Coke. 😉

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BLAST FROM THE PAST! (August 2015) Random pictures with my guinea pig

5. Crash with friends or stay in a hotel?

I honestly have no idea what this question is. I love staying at people’s homes, since it is such a personal experience, but at times I’m an introvert who craves the peaceful aura of  a hotel. I have the travel bug, so I’ve stayed at countless hotels, motels, Airbnbs, hostels, and cabins in the past few years. I’ve found that one method isn’t better than another; it’s who you’re with that matters.

6. Visit Europe or Mexico?

I have never been to either. I spent a year abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so I’d probably go to Europe if I had the chance. And there isn’t just one country I could go to; I’d want to see them all!

7. Vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?

Both. I think both states are incredible, with their own strengths and weaknesses. I think Hawaii would be a great family trip, whereas Alaska would be something I’d want to do with hikers and outdoorsy individuals. I’m not sure I could pick between the two.

8. Choose a free trip or money? This may tell you whether the person values experiences over dollars.

This is a weird question. I think I’d have to know where the free trip would be, and how much money I am being offered. If someone handed me a thousand dollars, a good portion of that money would be going to travel anyway, if we’re being honest. Though I am a broke college kid right now, I know that a big portion of my future income will go to exploration of this amazing planet!

9. Travel by plane, train, or automobile?

Plane. 😉

10. Go climbing or zip lining?

Probably zip lining. I have done rock climbing once, and it was so much fun. However, I zip lined in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and it was so incredible to whoosh down a mountain. My heart wanted to burst out of my chest, but it was such an unforgettable experience, and I would love to do it again.

11. Hike or bike?

Hike. Though biking is fun too, I enjoy a nice hike now and then. While I’m not a fan of extended, rigorous hiking, I do love getting lost in some wilderness and walking through forests and deserts and the beautiful world in which we live. This is something else I inherited from my dad, as we both value National Parks here in my home country of the United States.

12. Go to a comedy club or dance club?

I’d prefer to stay at home with a book (LOL). If I had to choose between the two, it would depend on 1) with whom I’m going, and 2) what kind of a comedy/dance club we’d be going to. So many comedians are too crude for my liking, and so many dance clubs aren’t my cup of my tea. I like dancing, but I’ve had some bad experiences at clubs in the past, so I’d probably choose a comedy club.

13. Have a night out or evening in?

It depends on what the night out would entail. I love going out to movies and grabbing a good dinner, but I’m an early bird who prefers seeing the world in the daytime. That being said, I’m an adventurer who wants to really dive in deep to the place she lives. Living in Los Angeles has given me so many opportunities to see and do things I would never have the chance to do otherwise, and many of those experiences are more memorable because it happened at nighttime. So… Another response in which I say I am not sure I can choose.

14. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I’m not sure there is a specific statement that has changed my life, but I can give examples of ethic that have been key pieces of advice for my life. My parents instilled hard work into my brain from an early age on, and I have learned to set goals for myself that are realistic but will propel me to where I want to go.

15. Go canoeing or waterskiing?

I’ve never been waterskiing, and my canoeing skills are quite limited. One time I almost died while kayaking, so there was that situation. (While I’d like to think this is an understatement, it was a very tense moment during my freshman year of college.) That being said, I’d love to try out waterskiing, but I really do enjoy canoeing. A great memory I have is of canoeing on an Ohio river with my cousins while trying not to A) encounter a snake, or B) topple us over.

16. Camp in an RV or stay in a tent?

While I do consider myself an outdoorsy person, I’m not the biggest fan of tents. I like air conditioning and heat and running water. While an RV isn’t the best lodging in my opinion, I wouldn’t mind taking an RV across the country.

17. Use Facebook or Twitter?

Neither. I’m not big into social media. The only reason I have a Facebook is for college purposes, and the only reason I use Twitter is to network with the writing community. Instagram is a waste of time in my opinion, whereas I do use Snapchat.

18. Win the lottery or find your perfect job?

Perfect job. While money can buy some happiness, I’m looking for joy, and I know joy comes from long-lasting things.

19. Swim in a pool or the ocean? Salt water and waves crashing on the beach or temperature controlled, lovely water all year round.

Ocean! I’ve never been really big into swimming, but I do enjoy hopping into the sea now and then. I love hopping on a bodyboard and pretending I can surf, when I have the gracefulness of a newborn giraffe.

20. Travel by sailboat or cruise ship?

I’ve never been on either, so I’m not sure I could accurately choose!

21. What’s your favorite candle scent?

Anything fall scented! There is nothing more I miss than a good Southern autumn, since I haven’t had one in three years. I love when the leaves start to change color, from a deep emerald to bright scarlet or orange. I love corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and the crisp weather. And when it becomes fall, I always bring out my favorite fall candles.


THANK YOU.

Well, only 21 questions today. I promise to get back into the rhythm of two posts a week, and I’m excited to do so, because I have so much to update you guys on. But in the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful Friday! ❤

Until next time,

-K.

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Malibu, CA (March 2019)

YOURS TRULY (out now!)

Hello, my dear readers!

I hope you are all doing wonderful and having a great beginning to April. I am sorry for not posting as much this month, as things have been quite busy as the school year wraps up. That being said, I wanted to do a quick post and tell you guys some very big news.

My newest book, Yours Truly, is out today! This book is a thriller that takes place in both New York City and Mississippi, and I’ll give you guys a brief overview below.

Eight years ago Eliza Oehlstrom was a college senior aching to graduate and get discovered by New York literary agents. Today Eliza Oehlstrom is a bestselling writer who has retreated to the quiet Mississippi hills.

Both Elizas are forced to reckon with unwarranted and haunting notes from a stranger only known as Yours Truly, who seems to know Eliza’s every move. While Yours Truly supports Eliza’s writing career, the stranger also makes it clear that Eliza’s every move is being observed.

But Eliza can only take so much.

Told from these two time periods, YOURS TRULY poses the question: Are we ever really alone?

SMASHWORDS LINK

***The book will be published on Smashwords, iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other formats. Since it is just now coming out, the URL links are not available yet, so I will make sure to come back and add in those links ASAP.

Thank you guys so much for your support! I promise I will keep writing soon. (Things will settle down here in a week or so, and I’ll get back to my regular schedule.)

Until next time,

-K.

yours truly-2

 

YOURS TRULY (new book announcement)

Today I have some wonderful news for you guys!

It has been quite some time since I’ve published anything, and that is why I’m super excited to announce my newest novel, Yours Truly, will be available on April 1. It’s about time, isn’t it?

Well, what’s the book about?

Eight years ago Eliza Oehlstrom was a college senior aching to graduate and get discovered by New York literary agents. Today Eliza Oehlstrom is a bestselling writer who has retreated to the quiet Mississippi hills.

Both Elizas are forced to reckon with unwarranted and haunting notes from a stranger only known as Yours Truly, who seems to know Eliza’s every move. While Yours Truly supports Eliza’s writing career, the stranger also makes it clear that Eliza’s every move is being observed.

But Eliza can only take so much.

Told from these two time periods, YOURS TRULY poses the question: Are we ever really alone?

Yours Truly is definitely a project that has been time-consuming, arduous, and emotional. The novel is unlike any other I’ve written, and to be honest with you guys, I’m not sure if it’s good or not. It’s a book that dives into my psyche, and it’s one I’ll probably regret self-publishing in a few years. But that’s the magic of being a writer, and I want to showcase my writing from all different eras and ages of my life.

And, added bonus: The book will be free to download. (Yeah, no excuse not to get this book!)

I will post on Release Day, but I just wanted to give you guys a little heads-up about this project. I’ve put a lot of time and energy to it, and I hope it interests you. If not, no worries. That is the beauty of the free market system. 😉

Until next time,

-K.

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Book cover! This was shot in Malibu, California, in March 2019. Thank you, Miss Givenchy, for lending your creative talents and model hand for this picture. LOL.

TOP 3 CALIFORNIA STOPS

Hello my dear readers!

Today we’re going to mix it up a little bit and hit the road. What is the destination of choice, you may ask? We’re going to California.

Some of you may have been to California, and others have no idea where it is, except that it’s a big poppa state in the U.S. California has many things associated with it: Exorbitant prices, Hollywood, hippies, the Pacific Coast, an influx of cultures, redwood trees, the Golden Gate Bridge, and many more. While these associations are very much in accordance with the state, I want to highlight my three favorite places within California’s borders so that we can both go on a little road trip of sorts.

Without further ado, let’s get going.


3. MALIBU

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Malibu, CA (August 2015)

What a beautiful seaside hamlet stuffed with Hollywood stars, college students, and surfers. Malibu is a town that I both love and dislike, but it had to make the Top 5 list because it is an incredibly beautiful town nestled between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

Malibu is a twenty-seven mile long town of about 15,000 people. It’s a beach town pretty much year-round, with spectacular surfers’ coves, hidden canyons, and hikes for all people. It isn’t too far from the wild metropolis of Los Angeles (depending on traffic, that is).

Malibu has withstood countless wildfires, including the Woolsey Fire of 2018, and its community has only grown stronger as a result.

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Malibu, CA (January 2017)

2. YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Environmentalists, where you at?

With ties to President Theodore Roosevelt and Scottish-American environmentalist John Muir, Yosemite is a testament to the National Parks Service here in the United States. It is the largest park and is known for its incredible beauty within the Sierra Nevadas of Central California.

Last October I had the incredible opportunity to visit Yosemite, though it was only for twelve hours or so. That being said, I fell in love with this place. While I have already written a blog post on this, that you can check out here, I do believe that a place like Yosemite is a God-given place designed as a living, breathing testament of the beauty of our world.

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Yosemite National Park (October 2018)

1. DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

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Death Valley National Park (August 2016)

Death Valley is one of my favorite places in the world. Though I’d grown up hearing of it as being the hottest, driest, and lowest point in the continental United States, I wasn’t super excited to trek on over to this particular spot.

My dad and I were driving to California from Tennessee, and this was one of the last stops on our tour of the Southwest. We’d seen so many incredible places, such as Zion, the Grand Canyon, and more, and we were ready to be in civilization again. We’d spent the morning bustling out of Las Vegas and whizzing past Area 51, because we wanted to see Death Valley and then get on down the road to Los Angeles.

(A quick little tangent. I think this exemplifies the problem with our society today. When we rush to things, we miss out on the most incredible aspects of the planet around us.)

When we got to Death Valley, it was late morning, and temperatures were already reaching 115° F (about 46° C). Though we’d come in late August, which is probably not the best time to go to the hottest place in my country, I was still impressed by the heat. We drove on through the back gate, passed some test cars using the national park as their playground, and felt like we’d landed in Mars.

When I say that Death Valley is an extraterrestrial place, it really is. There is something about standing on a green, lush mountaintop that reminds a person of fertility and life in general; Death Valley is unlike this image. In the daytime it feels as if life isn’t possible at all in the rugged landscape. There are incredible sand dunes and salt flats with mysterious moving rocks (I’m not sure if scientists ever figured out how these rocks move, but it’s a cool science fun fact). The mountains are harsh and rocky, and you can drive hours through the park and still not reach the other side.

But when night comes alive, biodiversity is proven to exist in a Mars-like expanse like Death Valley National Park. While my dad and I did not stay for nighttime, we were impressed by how a place can seem so deadly yet still so fragile and protective of its nocturnal inhabitants.

Maybe the reason I fell in love with this national park is because it is so incredibly unique. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a Southerner who’s used to seeing green all around me, and the desert is so unlike my normal vista. Maybe it’s because I know that God has a purpose for every biome out there. I think it’s all of these, and many more. But Death Valley is a place that has inspired me to talk about nature. It’s a place that makes me want to scream to everyone, “Get over there! If you’re from California, how have you not been to Death Valley yet?”

Therefore, I urge you, wherever you are in the world, to experience this California wonder at some point in your life. It should definitely be on your bucket list, because this is a place that will challenge your perception of the world you think you know.

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Death Valley National Park (August 2016)

THERE YOU GO.

Though these are my top three California destinations, there are so many more to check out. That is the beauty of this state, despite its faults. So, if you can, definitely make a stop in California. 🙂

In the next week or so I will update you guys on some awesome news. Be looking out for that blog post soon.

Until next time

-K.

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California/Nevada Border (August 2016)

MY HEART IS A FORTRESS (a poem)

My heart is a fortress                                                                               Made of skin and steel;                                                                         The drawbridge retreats,                                                                   Locking up what I feel.

It is a castle inside my soul,                                                                     The stronghold of my bones,                                                               Amidst the cold world                                                                             Where only I sit on the throne.

With righteous human blood                                                                    My veins bubble and boil,                                                                  While the water of my moat                                                                  Blackens to oil.

And at the curtain wall                                                                             A thousand men may try to enter,                                                      Yet their words are dried out                                                                   Like the dead of winter.

Open the guarded door,                                                                         Let these emotions seep in;                                                                     But this is my fortress that                                                          Protects me from them.


AN EXPLANATION.

For months I have had the phrase “My heart is a fortress / Made of skin and steel” stuck in my head. While I knew this would be part of a poem someday, I wasn’t sure how to follow up with these opening lines. What did “My heart is a fortress” even mean? Well, yesterday I was bored in my environmental politics class, and I started to write more.

Emotions are the propellers of our lives. Without emotion, there would be no purpose to anything. Imagine if there were no such thing as happiness or pain or ecstasy or terror. While we rely on positive feelings, the negative ones are important for our growth and individuality as well.

As human beings we are constantly dragged through ups and downs. Some moments are beautiful, and others are dark gray. We rely on our experiences and our feelings to drive us to where we want to go.

I believe this poem is an attempt at harnessing a well of emotions that have been unleashed upon me for a while. I want to be as strong as I can, but there will be those who want to tear down my walls. Though I am in no way condoning selfishness, I do believe that we must strengthen our hearts in order to protect ourselves from both the known and the unknown that will attempt to wither our beauty.

Maybe this explanation does not make much sense. Maybe this poem can be interpreted many different ways, and that’s the nature of writing. My intention for writing this piece may not be the same intention you receive from reading it.

Thank you guys again for reading, commenting, and sharing this post. ❤ I promise I will write more content soon and try to get back into the swing of publishing twice a week.

Until next time,

-K.

aged architectural design castle clouds
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

MARCH 1, 2019

Hello, my wonderful readers!

It is the first day of March, and that means spring is just around the corner (at least in the Northern hemisphere). I’m ready for fresh flowers, clean air, and the rejuvenation that comes with my favorite season of the year. Spring is a symbol for Earth’s revitalization, where green replaces the deadness of winter; plants bloom in full abundance; and we catch a few moments of sunny, breezy days before the scorch of summer.

So, to celebrate the first day of March, I want to briefly mention some things that are on my mind in anticipation for the springtime ahead.

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Flowers… Perfect for springtime.

1. CHANGE WILL HAPPEN, AND IT CAN BE A GREAT THING

February was a hard month, but it taught me the importance of friendship and family. It also taught me that nothing is set in stone, and it never has been. Some humans crave stability, and others desire the opposite. I think I’m in the middle here, but I’ve learned that stagnation leads to rifts in my happiness.

Sometimes we can’t control the change in our lives, but sometimes we can. Instead of wallowing in what is tossed our way, however, we must remember that we can find immeasurable growth in the darkest spots.

I’m learning to embrace the change in my life, and it feels weird and wild and natural. If life didn’t hurl mysteries our way, then we’d be chugging along in boredom. But when we recognize that things are shifting in our life path, we can harness this energy into something positive.

Life is going to be hard. That is a guarantee. Change will come, whether we want it to or not. It’s up to us whether we’re going to embrace the future, or fear it instead.

2. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, AND THINGS WILL FALL INTO PLACE

When I dropped out of my spring break trip to Hawaii, I was adamant that I needed to fly as much as possible. For those of you who don’t know, I’m working on my private pilot license, and the weather hasn’t been too great in California this past year. I’m lucky to fly once or twice a week normally. But then the skies opened, the sun bled through the clouds, and I was able to fly four days in a row. The weather was absolutely perfect, and if I had gone on that trip, I would have lost valuable time to fly.

There was a perfect window of opportunity, and I flew through it. 😉 The same can be applied to your life as well. Now I’m not going to say you should always listen to your heart. We’re only human, and we do stupid things at times, because we want what we want. We’re selfish and stubborn, and that can be problematic.

But if we never listened to our hearts, we would find no passion for the world around us. If we had no emotion or feeling, then what would be the point of anything at all?

3. WE’VE ALL GOT GIFTS AND TALENTS TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD

A lot of you guys can relate to this, I’m sure. Most of us bloggers are writers. We find value in what we write, and there’s a sort of addiction to sharing our thoughts and seeing them in the form of words. 

At college I get minimal writing done, and when I come home, I’m struck by a million jolts of creative energy. Being home for the past few days has given me the chance to write, reflect, and realize that we are all given talents and gifts to return to the world.

What is yours? What makes you happiest, and what’s something you want to share with the world? We were all placed on this Earth for a purpose, and each purpose relates to the rest of humanity. I think this is an interesting point to ponder on, as there are billions of people on this planet, and even more who were before and will be after us.

What is your purpose? It’s a difficult question, but there is an answer. 🙂


THANK YOU, GUYS!

As always, thank you for reading this post. I know it’s a short one, but I wanted to share some things with you before this weekend. You all are amazing, one-of-a-kind individuals with immeasurable potential. This month I challenge you to consider that things are not always going to be what you plan, but that’s okay too. As we enter this new season, we will find strength in our weakest moments, and that is something tantamount to the human experience.

There is so much joy in the world around us. ❤

Until next time,

-K.

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More fake flowers. So beautiful, though!!

P.S. Today is also one of my good friend’s birthdays, so I’d love to send her a special shoutout. 🙂

BREAKING POINT (an update)

 

Hello, my dear readers!

As I write this, it is Tuesday night in California. As you read this, it will be a different date and a different place, but I hope you all are doing incredibly well and that you are happy wherever you are in this grand universe of ours.

One of my latest posts, “Burnout,” has received much attention due to the fact that I revealed some difficult stresses in my life right now. Your support has meant the world to me. Though I rely on my family, friends, and God for so much, I know that I have this community to help me as well, and that makes me so incredibly thankful. But since you guys are a part of my life now, I wanted to update you a little as to what’s going on.

Recently it has come to my attention that, as an INFP personality type, I let people stomp all over me. One of my traits is that I love harmony, and I try to include people on everything and everything, to the point of undermining my own mental health. This very thing has happened to the point of my breaking point. What does this mean, and what happened? Well, let’s answer these questions.

I am a pretty calm person, and I rely on zen. I’m an individualist by nature, but I crave unity for every person with whom I come into contact. Analytically I search people’s eyes, looking for hurt and happiness and all sorts of elements. It may be weird, but it’s also who I am. I rely on what I can detect, and I value intuition.

My friend group has been putting me through a lot lately. Relationships are always work. We know this. If there were no issues in our relationships, then would they really be relationships? It’s because humans want specific things, and others don’t. It’s because we value certain things, and others don’t. So now I’m going to be selfish for a second. I don’t want to admit this, but it’s the truth, and it’s something I value: I’ve come to learn that I’ve put too much of my energy into other people.

People are why the world matters. They’re the reason that things get done, societies are built, and love can spread like wildfire. They do stupid things, and sometimes they’re so ridiculous that there’s no questioning motive. But sometimes it’s the opposite. People can manipulate and stab each other’s backs. They can eat their friends alive, leaving nothing but the bones behind.

Basically, I have come to the conclusion that out of my friend group, I am the person who listens to everyone: Their stories, tragedies, and goals. I love this, because human connection is crucial to my happiness. But it has gotten to the point where I have been verbally attacked for not taking sides and, quite honestly, for being myself.

A friend group of five people is not ideal. That’s what I’ve learned, not when each person comes to the table with different expectations and refuses to listen to others. It’s especially not ideal when four of the five begin to form sides, and the fifth becomes caught in the crosshairs.

I still believe in mediation. I believe that I handled myself in the best way possible for the situation, and I stood up for myself and my values. I am not sorry to be a happy, conflict-free person. I am not sorry that I wish the best for others, though I am sorry that it sometimes harms my soul in response. I am not sorry that I canceled a trip to Hawaii in order to go home to Tennessee because of disrespectful individuals. And I’m not sorry for taking a stand and not going with the flow for once.

Growing up is a hard thing to do. It’s something we will all hopefully experience. It’s a chance to melt your skin and bloom into who you were always meant to be. Though there are tough, tense moments in this time, I am still grateful for the life lessons I’m learning. Through it all, I have found meaning in the people who have respected me and wished for my happiness. There were countless friends and family members who helped me through this time, realizing that I was jeopardizing my mental health for people who only wanted to belittle me for remaining a friend to everyone.

To those individuals, thank you so much for listening to me and putting up with my antics. You saw how hurt I was, and I’ve seen your good hearts.

Things ebb and flow; that’s life. At this point in time, I’ve realized that I’ve wasted so much time on certain relationships that have cost me other ones. (Economics and opportunity costs, anyone?) But I’m glad to have come to this conclusion now rather than later.

Sometimes we must reach our breaking points in order to find the solution to our problems. Obviously, we must handle situations with respect, but we cannot be trampled on forever and ever without some sort of blowback. Be yourself, be humble, and remember that good comes from even the worst of situations. Treat others like you want to be treated. It shouldn’t be that hard of a concept, but for some it is.

Therefore, my dear readers, I hope that you understand I am in a better place now. I am going home in less than a week for my spring break. I am flying solo, in more ways than one. 😉 I have seen so much good in people, even when I’ve seen the bad too. And I’m hurt, but I’m also working to mend myself in the process.

Do what makes you happy, as long as it doesn’t cost the happiness of others. And, as one of my friends sweetly reminded me, “After a hurricane comes a rainbow.” 

Until next time,

-K.

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After a hurricane comes a rainbow. (Mar del Plata, Argentina // December 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

SELFISH (a poem)

I want to be Sylvia Plath, words
slipping from my mouth in hopeless
abandon, aware of the mania,
craving the solitude of my mind.

I want an emerald pool filled
with money, so that my fingertips
are stained jealous jade, my nose
inhaling the scent of luxury.

I want a house, hidden in pines
and forest, a bright springtime
racing across the lawn, flowers
in bloom, and the scent of spruce.

I want a diamond engagement ring,
and the boy who will give it to me,
his eyes a cool, calm green,
two eclipses of satisfying luck.

I want what I can’t have,
and that’s what makes me coil
with envy, a serpent slithering,
just a soul withering in the soil.

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Somewhere in the United States (2016)

AN EXPLANATION.

Hello, my dear readers. This poem was written for creative writing class in December 2018. The poem is meant to cut into the “big” aspects of life: power, money, success, love, and jealousy. I’m not exactly sure how I was inspired to write this one; it just came to me. Maybe I was in a particularly envious mood. Who knows. However, I think this poem can apply to everyone. Jealousy is not a pretty trait, and we must all work on finding our happiness through what we already have–rather than what we want.

I didn’t write this poem to complain about what I want; I wrote this poem to expose what I see are the things that drive our actions. We all desire success in some shape or form, and that can be problematic. It can affect our outlook on life, and for some it will make things unbearable in the long run.

Therefore, let’s learn to be selfless. Let’s not focus on I want I want I want. We are all blessed by things in our lives that others covet, and we all struggle with things greater than ourselves. Let’s learn to be compassionate and not wither away, because selfishness does that to us. It’s a blight on crops, and it’s a toxin in our veins. An emotional toxin, so to speak.

Don’t let your selfishness rot you dry.

All right, my beautiful readers. I hope you enjoyed reading this poem, but now I’m off to do more studying.

Until next time,

-K.