“Play is just as important as reading a good book.”

As someone who works with children, it irritates me when I hear adults say things like, “A child couldn’t understand this.” Especially when it comes to books. I have always been an avid reader. I read comedies, tragedies, histories, whatever there was to be read I would read it. Happy or sad, it didn’t matter as long as it was well written. The words resonated me, and even if there were some words that I didn’t fully understand, the feelings stayed with me. Children are very empathetic. They are capable of understanding emotions, and are able to place themselves into other people’s positions quite easily.

I think the reason for this is because children play pretend. When we play pretend we enter into a life that is not our own. It’s a lot like reading a book, honestly. Only adults think that books are more sophisticated and, grown up. I’ve always felt it was the same thing. Writing, and playing. What do actors do? They play at being someone else. Writers imagine many lives, and feel many emotions, think many thoughts. Is this not what children do when they play pretend?

I have played games with my five-year old niece. In one of her games the king died. I was surprised while watching this little girl play as the queen, who was saddened by her husbands passing. The queen was too upset to leave her bed. She was lonely. If a five year old, can understand this without having any idea of what death really means, then why do adults think children are incapable of understand the notion of death?

My niece knows that when someone dies we don’t see them anymore. This is all she knows, and yet, this little girl can take the scenario of not seeing a person you love anymore, and associate it with loneliness. How does one feel when they are lonely? Sad? Depressed?

Even in some of my classrooms I have read aloud to my students and listened to them rant about how rude the characters are in the story. I’ve had children say, “They need a spank on the butt!” My niece will say it as well, when I read her Cat in the Hat.

Children are not given enough credit. They are observant and their world is complex, much like our own. A child’s world is much like a puzzle. They slowly put the pieces together as they grow. The figure out where things belong over time. They are not incompetent. Children are extremely capable of grasping tough subjects such as war, and death, and loneliness. Do not underestimate a child’s abilities. Play is just as important as reading a good book.

–R.

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Novel Update

This morning I made some more progress with my editing. I’m happy to say that I’m almost finished! Only four chapters left. My goal to finish by the end of the month is completely possible. I was worried there for a bit, working two jobs and trying to complete this at the same time seemed very difficult. I only had one day a week to myself, and even then I felt as though there was work that needed to be done.

After this stage, I’ll be able to complete my read through. I want to do this as soon as possible so that I can make any of the necessary corrections before handing it over to my “test” readers and editors. An extra pair of eyes never hurts. I also want to make sure that I’ve been consistent throughout the novel.

If I work hard enough I can probably get those last few chapters edited by Monday. However, I’ve got a wedding to go to tomorrow, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have before and afterwards. Still, Monday night seems to be a reasonable amount of time.

–R.

Book Update!

The illustrations have been reviewed, and approved. I’m extremely satisfied with the way that they turned out.

As for my novel, I’ve made a lot of progress and I’m almost ready to print and do a read through. My goal is to read the entire book in one sitting, however with my schedule I’m not sure if that’s possible. I’ve also selected a handful of people to read it over as well…which I’m very grateful for. I could really use the extra eyes.

Anyway, it’s 1 in the morning now and I have to go to work at 6…so I’d better get some sleep.

–R.

Revisiting Old Books

I did a little bit of cringing today, while looking at my old writing. My sister told me it really wasn’t that bad…and I do agree, for the time it was good. The stories I told were engaging, it was merely the old idea I had, where I thought I had to use sophisticated words in my writing. I didn’t use the words incorrectly (thank God), however it gets pretty annoying after a while…like…people don’t actually talk like that.

Oh well…I’d better go. I have some editing I need to do.

Novel Update

I started editing this morning around 6 am, and managed to get through three more chapters. I still have a lot to go, but my stomach is bothering me so I felt it would be best to take a break. I think that I’m going to have some toast for breakfast, and then do a bit of reading.

I’ve finally had a chance to catch up on books that I’d bought a year or two ago and due to how my schedule was I didn’t have the time to read them. It’s nice being able to read books I actually chose for myself versus assigned readings. Not to say that my professors don’t choose the odd gem, but I’ll be frank (“hi Frank”), the majority of the books I’m forced to read for school I barely get passed the first three chapters. I skim them…sometimes only reading the dialogue or anything that catches my eye. Of course a lot of the books that they choose have almost no dialogue whatsoever. I tend to write a lot of dialogue…my creative writing teachers have said that’s what they like best about my writing. So perhaps that’s why? I just enjoy dialogue…maybe because of all the comic books I read? Who knows. Still, a lot of the books I get assigned are difficult to get into. They’re not very exciting. Sometimes the writing is extremely poetic and gorgeous but despite the words being beautiful the text isn’t saying anything at all. So, being able to read what I want is a nice change.

I just finished reading Tokyo ESP. The amount of references made to superhero’s like Spider-man and Batman is ridiculous, but it made the book more enjoyable. If you’re into manga or graphic novels I definitely recommend it. There’s a flying penguin, how cool is that!? Now I’m reading a novel called The Painted Girls. I’ve read 52 pages so far. I always had the problem of misplacing my bookmarks as a kid…so I taught myself to memorize the page numbers. I know it’s weird. Anyway, I’m really enjoying this book so far. I picked up some more manga at Chapters back on Tuesday. My Nana reserves novels for me that she thinks I’ll enjoy, and I got birthday money and Chapters gift cards so…I’ll be hanging out among the books for a while. Since purchasing The Painted Girls two years ago, and Galore I haven’t spent my money on novels that weren’t for school. I also haven’t had the time to read them. My Nana gave me four novels: three last year and one back in December. I still have to get those read before she gives me the next batch.

She said, “I have some books for you, but they’re adult books.” since I told her I’d finished reading a comic book the day before. I wouldn’t recommend Tokyo ESP to my five-year old niece, but I’m guessing my Nana can’t tell the difference when it comes to comics. My Dad never used to like reading as a kid, and she ended up giving me a bunch of his old comic books. They’re huge by the way. I can’t imagine trying to carry that around with me. I’ve always enjoyed books…that’s why I’ve been writing my own since kindergarten. Although…the things I wrote in kindergarten probably shouldn’t be seen by another human being…they were weird. I wrote about a zombie once…but I spelt zombie like “zoom-bie” and yah…the zoom-bie only wanted some friends. It was basically a four-year olds take on Frankenstein. The illustrations were pretty great.

Since my niece found out that I write books and make videos and music, whenever she comes over she wants to do the same. So, we take some paper, staple it together in the middle and then she says, “You can be the author and I’ll be the illustrator” and tells me what I should write.  She comes up with some interesting stories. Many Disney characters tend to appear in the story. Who knew that Princess Jasmin and Aladdin rode a magic carpet? Apparently we’re also going to start a band because she has a recorder and a ukulele and I have a keyboard and a guitar. I don’t know what we would call our band but…we definitely need some practice. Between the squeaking of my guitar strings and the whistling from her recorder…we’ve created a very…unique sound for our listeners (sorry fam).

I’m so glad I managed to get some writing done this morning. I was starting to worry that I’d end up slacking today because of my stomach. Glad that I didn’t. Maybe I’ll do some more in the afternoon. I’m still a bit tired but I think I need to put something in my belly…it just feels weird. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with what I are last night. I started feeling gross after dinner so…who knows. It annoys me that whenever I’m not feeling well, I want to go for a run. I could go for a run anytime, but whenever I’m like this where my stomach is bugging me or I’ve got a massive headache I want to go on this intense run around the track. I need to lose weight anyway. Despite the fact that I barely eat more than one meal a day. I seriously need to get fit though. I can’t stand being so unhealthy. Of course, Easter is coming up so I’ll be fed all sorts of goodies. I’ll force myself to get fit anyway. I really don’t want to put on anymore weight. I managed to lose some back in December, and at the moment I feel as though I either put some back on or…it just shifted around. I just want to feel healthier. Exercise helps me relax and whenever I’m active I can think clearly. Well, I think I’ll go make something to eat.

Till next time,

–R.

 

The Girl – By O. Ryder

She wished that she could fade away,

Like the petals that decay

And become like dust

Upon the shelves of homes

And through the pages she would roam.

A lingering scent she might be

Amongst secrets of the wardrobe,

or within the old Curiosity Shop.

From each one she would hop,

And find herself on a train

That would run and she’d wonder

If I stay will they notice or remember?

Will my story be told if I hide in the pages?

Shall I be swept away by many imaginations,

Only to lose sight of reality,

And forget how paper cuts once made me bleed?

Then that longing to be evanescent,

Faded along with the thought

And the girl found she’d rather her story was not forgot.



Poem By O. Ryder.

March 16th, 2016.

 

Welcome to November!

I’m grateful for the week I had off from classes, because without it I feel as though I’d be a complete mess right now. I just kept saying to myself, “It’s almost reading break. It’s coming. The end is near. Just three essays, two exams and you’re free!” and somehow I managed to survive.

I kept getting sick during that time. I think I was so stressed and overwhelmed that my body began to react. I had constant headaches, and nausea. Never happened to me before…but after all of the stuff I’ve been through since last April…boy. I’m lucky I didn’t just snap and tear my hair out.

I managed to do a lot of writing and artwork over the break. I even got to work on my music, which was a lot of fun. I enjoy goofing around with my piano and guitar when I think no one is home…my sister screamed, “Shut up!” after about fifteen minutes. I was jokingly singing Chandelier…but it turned into a screamo edition and I sang “I want to screeeeeeam!” instead of “I want to swing.”

Anyway, you probably didn’t need to know that but basically I’m doing a lot better. I don’t feel like I’m a zombie anymore, I haven’t had any nausea or headaches, and things have been a lot less stressful back home. Plus, now school is settling down a bit…it’ll be busy again in a week or two but at least right now I can pace myself and get my head in the right place.

I guess I’d never been so stressed out in my life. I let it all build up from April. I refused to let myself crack…and then finally I just broke down. Which sucks because here and there I was finding myself slowly crumbling after trying to build myself back up. That’s why I’m glad that I had a week where I didn’t have to worry so much about school, or friends or anything and I could just catch up on sleep, draw and write and relax. I needed that break. I know if I had kept trying to push myself I’d have completely shut down. I usually try to be a very optimistic person but that side of me just vanished. I feel a lot more like myself these days. I’m goofing around with my friends again, I’m reading in my spare time (even though all I do is read for class), and I’ve set some goals for myself that I’d like to meet by my last exam date in December.

So, November I welcome you with open arms. I’m in good spirits despite the cold weather and the rain. Although I tend to write a lot of very depressing poetry in the winter (according to my creative writing professor), I will try to write something…warm and fuzzy. Not corny. Warm and fuzzy. Like…a nice blanket or a fluffy animal or some sort.

This was longer than usual.

Till next time,

— R.

 

Up Late Reading

It seems that I have a fever. I guess staying up till two in the morning wasn’t such a great idea. Especially on a school night…but I couldn’t stop reading. Even today when I got on the bus I was reading. I kept getting drawn into the pages. I just read and read and read, and I wandered. I almost forgot how much I loved to read. How much books become a part of me. How they heal me, and give me strength so that I might forget for a little while the hardships I may be facing. Hopefully I’ll feel much better tomorrow. Hopefully with each and every day that passes my heart will heal…as a story progresses at every page that is turned.

A Very Long Update

So I recently moved back into my apartment…and have been a bit stressful. First we had no power, and when I left on Friday we had no internet access. Great right? Somehow I’ve managed to stay as optimistic as I possibly can. I mean, because the library isn’t too far. I can just print off my homework and such there.

It’s nice that I was able to come home this weekend and visit with my family. Although this visit wasn’t exactly planned. My parents didn’t expect to see me until October, however there was a bunch of stuff that needed to be dealt with at home. So a nice long three hour bus ride and I’m back to my tiny bed, in my tiny room, with my piano, guitar and row of tiny pointless soccer trophies.

Despite the situation at my apartment my classes have been going well so far. I mean, I’ve only been going at it for a week. I’m pretty bummed out that one of my friends were unable to come to school this year, but I only have to government to blame for that. I live in one of the most “educated” countries in the world and yet the majority of the people are in so much debt after they finish university that they spend the rest of their lives trying not to drown in debt.

I’m almost done my undergraduate. Its pretty weird to think about. Like, here I am on this teeny tiny budget, almost finished my degree, single and seriously not looking forward to returning to my previous summer job. I can survive on my tiny budget for a while. I don’t eat much, nor do I spend a lot of money. I also have a gift card so I’m able to purchase a lot of my books using that. Actually…my sister and I have been getting by lately solely on our collection of gift cards. So thank you to all those lovely folks who gave us gift cards for Christmas and such. You’re all fantastic!

Seriously though, gift cards for the movies, for books, for clothes, for restaurants. With all these gift cards I can entertain, clothe and feed myself for around $25 and I don’t have to spend any of my hard earned money. All I have to worry about is paying rent.

I suppose a writing update is in order. I’ve currently put my book on hold until next month, just because I don’t want to try to publish it while I’m getting settled back into my school routine. But yah, getting ready for publishing. That’s exciting. My parents have been waiting since…April ha, ha. My other books are all going very well. If I feel stuck on one book I work on another. Doesn’t matter if I’m researching, planning, illustrating. I just have to be doing something art related. I’m not sure how many copies of my first book I’m going to publish or what sort of route I want to take. I’ve looked at all sorts of things with my Dad, and I’m doing my best to figure out the best plan for myself.

So once it is published, then I’ll probably make a really hyper-excited post about it. However right now I feel super drained…so I probably sound kind of blah. I went to bed earlier than usual, but I think I burnt myself out earlier in the week and now it’s catching up to me. I guess I could technically try to lay back down or a bit, but my parents said we were hitting the road early morning. I always assume that early morning is around seven or eight? Apparently its like eleven to everyone else in my family.

Alrighty then. Well, I’ve wanted to post something for weeks now and I finally was able to…since I have power and access to the web. I would’ve blogged at the library but I get a little shy writing around other people…or drawing. I can doodle and write poetry on my stuff no problem but that’s when I’m confident no one is paying any attention to me. If I’m one of those people who doesn’t like being hovered over while I work. Been that way since I was a little kid. I like my space.

Okie, dokie. I will let you all know how the publishing process goes once I begin that. Should be exciting. In the meantime, I’ve got to double check that I put all my homework back into my backpack.

Till next time,

— R.

 

Nearing the End

The other evening it occurred to me that I’m coming close to the end of two of my projects. One is at the point where it could be complete within a couple hours of hard work, and the other is almost ready for its first round of editing.

Although I didn’t meet my original goal, which was to have them complete by the end of May, I did manage to stay true to my word and get them done before the end of the summer.

With all that has been going on since I arrived back from school, I know that I pushed off my work. I made money, I ran back and forth, I packed, I cleaned, I entertained…but in my free time, rather than work on my personal creative projects I instead focused on keeping an eye on my loved ones. I suppose I was more concerned about everyone’s wellbeing and feared that if I slipped into my own worlds, I’d want to escape for days at a time. I’ve done it before. So rather than write or draw, I just made up stories in my head or read books. When I was exhausted I stayed in bed for hours and did nothing but trace the patterns on my blankets while creating stories in my head. For some reason whenever I feel seriously tired, it is harder for me to fall asleep.

Anyway, I thought I would share my excitement with you.

P.S right now its 7:45 am where I live. That means that no one woke me up in the middle of the night because she couldn’t sleep. She had to go back home…which is a little sad, but I got a hug that apparently never, ever, ever, EVER goes away, so I’ll survive until our next visit.

giphy

Image from Ponyo

 

 

Maybe in my next post I’ll be finished my work? We’ll see!

— R.