Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 14: A Journal on Journaling

Guess what the topic for today’s journal is?

Journaling! Great.

Just so you know, the picture isn’t a picture of my journal. My journal isn’t that cool, and my handwriting isn’t that nice and legible, either.

Also, fun fact: the difference between a diary and a journal is that a diary is typically a more strict record of daily activities, while a journal is more personal and can also record thoughts, feelings, and basically anything else the writer wants. Aren’t you glad I looked it up for you?

Yup. I’m doing it. I’m writing a journal about journaling. The main question is, what do I think the value of regular journaling is?

Hi. I’m a geek. (More geeky than nerdy. I didn’t know the difference until five minutes ago, either.) And today I’m going to tell you a few good reasons to start up regular journaling.

Reason 1? It can relieve stress without you having to talk anyone’s ears off. It just writes your fingers off instead. Plus, you can write anything you want without worrying about someone judging you. It’s all secret…

Reason 2: apparently, it makes you smarter. Maybe it’s just the act of cognitively thinking through the words as you think and write them down, or maybe people are just making it up so that they know your thought processes when they secretly read your private thought life :O Either way, the internet says journaling makes you smarter, and we all know the internet never lies.

Reason number three, it can help you process through events, thoughts, and feelings. Journaling forces you to think through everything. It can give you new perspective and maybe help you to understand what just happened. That’s great for me.

Finally, reason 4, it obviously can help you to remember things better. Processing through the events and re-living them by writing them down can enhance your memory of what happened (or so they say). If you forget when something happened, you can probably flip through your old journals to try to find it, assuming you journaled that day.

I could go on about how great journaling is, but honestly, I think it’s just preference. Some people like journaling better; other people like talking to others about it.

Personally, I like journaling in the good old notebook, because you can bring it anywhere and do it basically at any time, even if your computer/phone battery is dead. You don’t have to worry about keeping it up, or annoying the person, or anything, really, because it’s all personal. I don’t have to apologize to my journal when I miss a day or two, which I usually do. It’s fantastic.

I’m not sure if I’ll maintain the writing blog. I suppose it depends on how busy I get later.

Oh, but one random tip for journaling before I go: if you journal, don’t do journals like this journal. Don’t write journals that everyone can see, because that’s different from a real journal. When it’s public, you’re writing for the people who read your blog. When it’s private, you’re free to do whatever you want.

Thus concludes my journal on journaling.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 13: Here Comes the Bride

This journal topic is weddings. And all I can think about is how thirteen is considered an unlucky number. It is ugly, isn’t it?

There are some things I sometimes wish I could appreciate more. One of those things is weddings.

Yes, I’m one of those terrible people, because I find weddings incredibly. Boring. You show up in fancy clothes, you sit down, you wait, you watch fancily-dressed people walk across the floor in the usual boring walk, and then you sit while this person drones on about things that are probably important but often not interesting. Then you get to maybe talk to the bride and groom for about thirty seconds during the reception (assuming they have one), and then everyone goes home after chucking bird feed at the newlyweds (at least in the movies).

I know. I’m horrible. I know it’s a super special day for them, and I know it’s sacred, and I know it’s kind of cool (ish), and I know they spent more money on the dress than is probably even legal, and I know it took months of planning. (Right?)

Maybe when it’s my wedding I’ll be a little more ecstatic. I’ve been in a few weddings as the flower girl, which I have no memory of, but I think I’ve been to more weddings than I should have at my age. My parents were marriage counselors, so our family got to attend a lot of weddings in our second language, meaning I understood basically nothing of what anyone was saying. (“Holy matrimony”? “Until death do us part”? I barely know what those mean in English.) Then for the meal, we’d typically get a ton of super expensive foods like turtle, frog legs, sea slugs, maybe shark fin soup? Which was exciting and stuff, but they’re things a kid could do without.

My favorite part about a wedding is the end. I mean, it sounds mean, but it actually is, because then the bridge and groom are super excited and the families are basically crying with joy, and you realize maybe the world isn’t such a horrid place after all.

For my own wedding, I want something super small with only our closest family and friends there. And it’d be great if it was surrounded by nature, because nature is awesome.

That’s about it. It’d be great if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg, too.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 12: Giving > Getting

I was going to do a cool Christmas picture, but then this one came up and I couldn’t resist. I really did have a good heart when I started searching, I promise.

Anyway, this Journal is about Christmas: traditions, favorite memories, things I don’t like about it…. etcetera. It ended up turning out pretty random. Oh well.

It’s cold out.

I’m bundled up in my jacket as I pump along on my bicycle, the wind nipping at my face and freezing my nose. My bare hands feel nothing but stinging cold, and the smell of roasting chestnuts and sweet potatoes waft through the air. The brakes screech as I stop to jump off the bike, and I fumble with the lock, then lean the bike on its stand. Walking hurriedly into the building, I exhale as the sudden warmth rushes to greet me with light and music, chasing away the cold.

This kind of excited feeling only comes in fragments of a season.

It’s Christmas.

Yes! I love Christmas, even if I don’t exactly have a favorite Christmas memory. The scene above probably describes the overall feeling, though, because that’s how I always picture it when the “feeling of Christmas” suddenly comes to me.

For me, Christmas is a time when the family gets back together again. The five kids can goof off together and hang out, everyone has a break from work and school, and everyone finally has an excuse to give presents to others just for the sake of expressing love and appreciation. We get to contemplate the wonder of the joy and hope and life God has given us, and we get to celebrate His birth.

If there’s anything I dislike about Christmas, it’s probably how easy it is to get self-centered. I know that Christmas is a time of joy for most; it means celebration, warmth, family. Yet for others, it can also bring depression, pain, and bitterness, maybe because of current circumstances, past experiences, or a mix of both. We often tend to ignore that in the midst of our own celebration, and I find that really, really sad.

In L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, there’s a part where Anne invites her fellow teacher, sour old Katherine Brooke, to Green Gables for Christmas. Anne doubts the wisdom of her invitation at first, since Katherine seems to hate everyone and might spoil the whole time; but to Anne’s surprise, Katherine accepts, and they end up enjoying the time as Katherine learns what it means to really be loved and accepted.

The moral of the story? We’re all human. We all need a home to celebrate Christmas in and be loved in. Christ literally gave up heaven for the chance to be with us; can’t we give up little things like comfort or tradition to invite someone else to be loved? Would it kill us to make an extra effort?
Giving is one of the best parts of this holiday. Let’s give back to God by giving to the people He loves, whether that be through our time, a kind word, or a physical gift.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 11: Talk Less

Today’s journal topic? Difficult conversations.

Woopee! ‘Cause we love having conversations about difficult conversations; those are always the best, right? Ha… ha ha… gotta love the bully lovely person who came up with these prompts…. -_-||

Alright, fine. If you really need to know, I guess I can make one up. Let’s go with one from this summer, when I wanted to settle things with an old friend. She’d hurt me and my sister a few years ago by kind of giving us the cold shoulder after we’d been buddies for a while, but I wasn’t sure she even knew that we’d been hurt since she’d moved away. I needed to get it out, so I asked if we could talk. Mostly I stuttered through it awkwardly – like, yeah, I’m a writer, but with writing you’re just bleeding onto a page without worrying about how well people understand it. Most of your stuff won’t be read anyway, and you can always go back and edit. But words are more permanent; once they’re out, they’re out. Plus, it’s your tongue doing the work, not your hands. My hands like me better than my tongue does, possibly because of what I’ve made it go through with Chinese herbal medicine.

Anyway, despite my lack of speaking skills, my friend understood. She hadn’t known or realized how much she had hurt us, and she apologized and gave a little bit of explanation. Overall, it was a pretty good talk, if you take out the awkwardness and lack of social skills on this kid’s part. At least it cleared away a lot of old negative feelings.

And you know, I’d love to know what the secret to good communication is. I know Christ and love are in there somewhere, but that’s about it. The world would be a much better place if we just knew how to listen and talk to each other, wouldn’t it? Talk less; smile more. We really don’t need all these trillions of useless words thrown around so carelessly. Let’s just get bigger ears and smaller mouths.

Yeah, maybe that’s it. Talk less; listen more.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 10: Fame and Stuffs

Famous people are overrated.

…alright, yeah, that may be due to the fact that I have zero context in the U.S.’s modern pop culture. Still, though, famous people are just people a lot of other people know about. People people people. Nothing exciting. I’d rather meet a talking lemur.

But this week’s journal asks if I’ve met someone famous, or which famous person I’d like to meet and why. Therefore, I’ll say that I would love, love, loooooove to meet Lucy Maud Montgomery, as well as every other author who kills off the best characters. Then I could tell them off for ending lives, writing well, and breaking hearts. I mean, if you’re trying to make the story more realistic, why not just kill off those annoying characters instead of my favorites? Always. William Golding, Harriet Beecher Stowe, J. K. Rowling, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Louisa May Alcott… leave the good ones alone!

Readers have it so hard.

But yeah, I’m good without meeting anyone famous. They probably don’t need a millionth “number one fan” anyway.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 9: Subject of the Pen

For this journal we’re supposed to re-write an event of our lives from a different point of view. Writing this was fun because I get to make fun of myself and also see somewhat how much I’ve grown XD It hasn’t really given me any new insight, but it makes me want to improve.

The not-so-great thing about being the first legit character of your author?

It’s painful.

…Okay, it’s true that I don’t have as much to complain about now as before. At least she listens to us more, as opposed to creating us and then doing basically whatever she wanted, but I’m still a subject of the pen.

Hey there. My name is Asher Pierson. I’m seventeen, though I was fourteen when I was created and placed on a dystopian, radioactive Earth in the year 3012. I’m super awesome, and I’ve got a less-awesome twin named Ashley; yet somehow together we ended up saving the world with our friend Lila, who was sixteen at the time. Since my author’s a teenager, we of course happen to have super awesome powers from this meteorite or something, since that seems to be the trend for most kids nowadays. (But don’t ask me about the details of how we got our powers, because I don’t think our writers thought our story through that well at that point.)

I’m the first character by Elisabeth who ever had his story finished, which is why I’m still her favorite.

I hope.

Just kidding! Of course I’m still her favorite.

But yeah, she’s asked me to relate some of my experiences, and she’s even letting me be as harsh as I want to be. So sit back and relax while I relate my tragic story.

My life began three years ago. But even from the beginning of my first action, and even as a brand-new character, I could tell this kid was an inexperienced writer. She wanted to write from my perspective, but she had to start out in a really cliché way, which shames me still, because I would’ve started out in a really cool, action-packed scene…

But yeah, when I came into existence, I found myself in my twin’s room, holding a bucket of cold water in some blurry white place.

“Hey, Ashle – wakey wakey!”

The last two words rushed forcibly out of my mouth, and I dumped the water over Ashley’s head. Before she had time to react, I found the pen dragging me out into the hallway, where I bumped clumsily into Lila (when, by the way, I’m not really that clumsy).

“Ouch!” I rubbed my shoulder, but Elisabeth didn’t seem to hear me as more words stuttered messily out onto the page.

“What’s she doing?” Lila, the character of my author’s friend, stared up, but according to the writer’s command she then found herself demanding, “What did you do this time?”

For once, I found some description from Elisabeth’s pen as Lila’s gray eyes filled with suspicion, but without any sort of pause or transition whatsoever, my mouth was blurting, “Erm. Nothing! Catch you later.”

What on earth is going on? I wondered as I took off running… somewhere. Apparently my writer couldn’t even manage to describe where I was trying to flee to as my twin “screamed bloody murder”…?

Huh. Alright. I wasn’t the writer, I supposed with a shrug as I suddenly slammed my room door in Ashley’s face. As I looked around, everything was still blurry, even as Elisabeth tried to somewhat describe the place by pathetically mentioning that the room only had the bed and a dresser.

“Hey,” I tried calling up as Elisabeth sat me down randomly on my bed. My voice actually echoed through the emptiness of the world. “So, uh, what’s going on right now? What are we…”

Suddenly Lila shouted something about needing to go to the store, and I found myself asking if it could wait until later.

Alright, I saw how it was.

Thanks anyway,” I called as our story went on, words flowing out clumsily to guide everything that happened, whether relevant to the plot or not. The story continued with its awkward bumps and irregularities, but the writers ignored it, so I kind of did too.

So that was my life before. Despite the clumsy writing, we characters ended up getting used to it eventually. It was sad and kind of frustrating to be ignored so much, but as Elisabeth and her two friends continued to write us into a five-novel series, that gradually changed for the better. Now Elisabeth even admits her deafness – though I think she likes to think she’s a better writer now than she actually is. But she also develops us a little bit better, and knows me a little deeper than she did then, so we’re getting there.

Yup. Our relationship has improved a lot since three years ago. And thank goodness for that.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 8: Choosing Favorites

Today I get to contemplate on the past… going back about one and a half months. Crazy, right? And the question is, out of the numerous, numerous, numerous journals I’ve written so far this year, and out of the many, many creative writing assignments I’ve poured sweat, blood, and ink into, which ones were my favorite?

Tough question. Why is this class all about the favorites?

Well, to start off, I honestly don’t really appreciate any of my journals. They’re so sarcastic and boring. (Sorry, Journal. Don’t take offense as I write you.) I don’t even like my real journals; they’re just a way to get stuff out, especially garbage, so they’re basically just that: garbage. I’d like to think I can get deep and philosophical, but…


As for my creative writing assignments, I’ve probably enjoyed the last two the most: the modern re-writes of well-known Bible stories, and this freestyle one, of course. I think they left the most room for creativity, so I could let my brain out and be freeeeeee little birdy….

That’s my contemplation on the past. Bye now.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 7: Waging War

Am I the only one who finds a morbid kind of fascination with war? I think it’s wired in us somewhere to be drawn to the idea of two opposites clashing in epic battle. You know, Jedi versus the Empire (or the Sith, or Republic, or whatever); the elves versus the orcs; the Narnians versus the Telmarines; the wizards versus the… Muggles…

No, but some of my favorite Bible verses are ones that relate life to a war, or include things about spiritual warfare. Imagining angels and demons clashing around you in an epic, real-time battle as you push through those difficult situations really gives you more of a will to fight. This week’s journal wants me to choose a favorite Bible story or verse, so much as I love the entire book of Daniel and its collection of amazing stories, I chose one really epic verse that God showed me recently.

Dad really must’ve known I love this war thing, because the Bible has plenty of references to war (put on the full armor of God; wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil; war arose in heaven at the end times). Lately I read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, which says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have the divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

…what. Paul, why didn’t you say something like that sooner? We don’t use the world’s crude weapons; our tools of war have divine power to demolish strongholds! How cool is that?

Plus, we get supernatural armor on top of this divine power. Plus, we have power over demons. I mean, the God of the Universe lives in us, doesn’t He? As one speaker once said, “You’re much more powerful than you think.” Except that it’s not really you; it’s God living in you. You think your limitations can put boundaries on the God who created everything we know in mere days? He’s equipped us for war, and you can’t have a war without two sides. You’re fighting with an army: an elite team of saints, angels, and last but most importantly, the God of gods.

So next time you’re going out to war against temptation and sin, just remember that He’s given you power and weapons to defend yourself. You’re not fighting alone.

And that’s. Awesome.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 6: The Road Ahead

Today’s Journal prompt asks a question that most of us in this class will probably answer with similar replies. The question is, “Do you like poetry?” And based off the kinds of people this Creative Writing class is composed of, I’d deduce that most of us are likely to retort, “Do I need oxygen?”

Of course I like poetry. I love it. I don’t breathe it and meditate on it day and night, but how can anyone not love poetry? How can one dislike a collection of beautifully-chosen words that flow with rhythm and often rhyme – a piece of art where each stroke of the pen equates to a loving brushstroke? Poetry is song without tune; it’s emotion on paper; it’s part of a soul carved out in words.

So now that we’re asked to share our favorite poem, I get to share one of too many favorites.

In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien often integrates poetry in the form of song for his characters. One of my favorite poems from Middle-earth comes up a few times: “The Road Goes Ever On” (or “The Walking Song”) appears not only in The Hobbit, but also thrice in the trilogy, each time with slightly different lyrics. My favorite version of these appears in The Fellowship of the Ring, when Bilbo sings as he departs Hobbiton for Rivendell after leaving the Ring for Frodo:

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

First off, I love the simple rhythm and rhyme of the poem. It’s so simple and flows easily in a form that most of us have seen hundreds of times. I’ll admit that I used to be one of those people who got annoyed at poetry that had inconsistent rhyme and rhythm, yet though I’ve come to appreciate the different styles of poetry, sometimes certain verses simply need a rhyme and/or rhythm. I think Tolkien chose this style perfectly for this poem.

Also, I think I particularly like this piece because I love the Road. We travel often, not only on this paths of Earth, but also along the roads of life, where we take many turns, and where often the path ahead is dark and unclear; but still we continue to follow the path until we can finally see how it all turns out at the “larger way / Where many paths and errands meet.” And once we see how everything fits together, how can we even guess at what comes afterwards, or where we will go from there? For the Road go ever on and on, even past the reaches of this life.

Posted in Class Journals

(CW) Journal 5: The Fate of His World

Today’s Journal is supposed to be about a difficult situation I didn’t know how I would get out of. While the situation I chose is somewhat humorous, I truly didn’t think I would get out alive xP But I guess I’ll let you judge how serious the situation really was.

As a writer, I get to control whole universes: people, places, events. I have the power to literally make anything happen. But when I first started writing and finished my first novel, I originally worked with a sister and a friend, which meant I had more boundaries and other interesting complications.

So one day, my friend – whom I’ll just call Eva – was sleeping over at our house so we could write our series and basically goof off (and of course gorge ourselves on candy in the meantime). I always edited all of our chapters as we wrote, and at one point Eva sent me her latest chapter through email. I began reading the chapter to start editing it, and then…

I died.

At least, I died on the inside, because it was really… well… interesting. Because suddenly my character, Archer, was randomly making love to Eva’s character, Clara, who had had a not-so-secret crush on my poor guy for the past couple of novels. I mean, sure, I’d technically agreed to say they could start something lightly, but just a chapter earlier he had been narrating and still treated her and saw her as an ordinary friend. Now he’s blushing and stammering out a confession of love?


And the thing is, I don’t have good enough social skills to intercede even in my characters’ love life; I haven’t even had experience in the real world yet (praise the Lord, hallelujah). So I started panicking, because how do you tell your friend that you really don’t like a scene without hurting her feelings? Maybe I could just leave it.

…But did I really want to leave my character, my creation, my friend, in such a love-struck, silly situation – leave him to be someone who hardly even resembled him anymore?

As Eva was busy with her computer, I gestured to my sister Ali and made a choking action. She emailed me to ask what was wrong, and I poured out the story online to her, even though we were literally sitting right across from each other. Then, Ali gave me some of the best advice ever: just consult Eva about it politely and say the truth in a nice way.

It took me about an eternity to finally muster up the courage, but I finally did it.

So now I’m proud to say that, though poor Clara’s heart ended up being broken (with Eva’s understanding and consent), my sister and I were able to save the fate of Archer’s world. I never thought I could get through it, but with the help of God (and Ali), I did.

Now I can’t stop thanking Ali enough. Evidently even speaking the truth will set you (and your characters) free.