Letters to Myself

I just started watching a new show called Orange. It’s under the 2016 Summer Anime list, if anyone is wonder. It got me thinking about this project I did back when I was 16, where we had to write a letter addressed to our past selves. I can remember giving my 13 year old self a huge lecture on how I should have been more out going and less occupied with what others thought about me. At 16, I thought that I knew everything. My parents still say that I think I know everything, and that I enjoy correcting people (mostly my mother). My mom thinks I’m egotistical due to the fact that I’m a musician. I couldn’t deny it because there are days when I spend hours just looking at myself…and I do take a lot of selfies (I don’t share them anywhere).

To be honest I think what happened was, after being a moody 13 year old with a low self-esteem, I went to high school and decided I no longer cared if I wasn’t with the in-crowd. As you can see, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I watch anime. One of my closest childhood friends from when I was 3 or 4 was from Japan, and so they used to buy me animes on VHS. No I don’t call myself an otaku. Yes I also read manga, but I enjoy comics in general (Archie anyone? Gotta love Jughead). So basically, to get back on topic, I realized that just because my hobbies have always consisted of writing, watching anime and music didn’t mean that I had to hide it from people. I figured, if people liked me for who I was then that was great. It was stupid trying to lie about what shows I watched and what sports I liked when I wasn’t really into any of that. While all my friends played football (American), I was more interested in pretending I was a Jedi knight…or petting the stray cat that liked to visit us at recess.

So I suppose my 16 year old self had a reason to be so harsh towards my 13 year old self. The thing is, looking back now, being 13 and 16 was equally stressful and I went through experiences that…well at the time made me feel like the sky was falling. Now that I’m considered an adult (who drinks mountain dew instead of beer and uses a starwars cup while using the worlds best Spiderman bookmark), I think I can say that I’ve realized that each part of my life is a new challenge. It seems hard at the time but once I get over it, it feels like it was a breeze.

From my first time being extremely jealous to my first date. My first experience with death to my first time holding a new baby. From bad grades to bulking down. From writing an entire novel without chapters or page numbers to becoming more organized and actually planning things out. The big and the small, all molded me into the somewhat adult I am today…although all the 16 year olds I work with think I’m the same age.

So, I’m not sure what I would say to myself at ages 13 or 16…or even to myself ten years from now when I’m 30. Wow…I’ll be 30 some day. Hopefully I have my life in order by then. To be honest I feel like I got myself where I need to be now. I try not to lie awake at night regretting the decisions I’ve made in the past. I try not to ponder the future too much either these days. Kind of makes me feel a little down…knowing that certain people won’t be with me anymore. All I can do is keep going forward. If YOLO taught me anything in high school it was that I should spend more time laughing and less time fighting. I should make time for friends and family. I should go into a career that I know I will love and will give me the most fulfilment. I shouldn’t jump the gun on decisions, and I shouldn’t put them off too long either. I shouldn’t think too much, and I should know when to take the time to think. I should step outside of my comfort zone, and I shouldn’t be afraid to stand my ground. If this were a letter to my past self or the person I’ll be when I’m 30…I’d probably say “You’re doing great. Just remember right now is a challenge but once you get over this hill, you’ll find the next will be a little easier to climb.”

— R

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Friday Mornings with Ryder. “You Wanna Date?” ft. Orion.

“Alright. Puff up that chest. Keep that head up. Good, now make sure you’ve got your shirt on frontwards…we don’t want another one of those incidents. Good. Good.”

I blankly stared at myself in the mirror. “I didn’t sleep last night.”

“Forget sleep! Who needs sleep! This isn’t about you sleeping this is about you being confident and awesome and going out there and saying, ‘Why hello there’.”

I groaned. “Dude…can’t I just like not?”

“You wanna date?”

“Yes.”

“Then don’t be such a little–.”

“OH KAY! Sheesh…no need to be so hard on me. I’m still figuring this stuff out okay?”

“Well figure this stuff out faster Ryder! You’ve only got so much time!”

I dragged my feet back to bed. “Wake me up when the sun’s actually in the sky.”

“The sun waits for no man!”

“Yah…that’s why I’m waiting for the sun.” I sighed. Then I sighed again and rolled onto my back. Then I rolled onto my stomach again and propped my chin up. “I can’t sleep.”

“Love will do that to you.”

“I’m not in love. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I snapped.

They chuckled. “Then why were you so excited for Friday?”

“Because. I have lots of exciting things to do on Friday.”

“Like what, you don’t even go out for drinks in the evening like normal people. What is wrong with you? Who sits at home and watches cartoons until bed?”

“We do that Orion. We do that.”

“Yah well…I want to do something different this weekend! Let’s get ourselves a date!”

I rolled onto my back again. “I dunno bruh.”

“It’ll be FUN!”

“It’ll be fun…it’ll be fun. Go by yourself.”

“Why are you in denial? Stop denying your true feelings!” cried Orion.

I sighed. “Because I’m not going to let myself get caught up in my emotions and have my heart torn out again. Remember last time?”

“Last time was different. This time it’s for real!” Orion shouted, shaking me. “Doesn’t it feel different?”

“Remember how I felt like throwing up yesterday?”

“Yes?”

“Stop shaking me…my stomach feels gross.”

“Oh great! Getting all gross on the weekend! How could you! You planned this! You planned this Ryder! I’ll never forgive you!”

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

“Hey Ryder, your alarms going off.”

“Hooray…” I moaned, pulling myself out of bed. “I’m going to blog now.”

“But…but YOU NEED TO PLAN FOR YOUR DATE!”

“I don’t have a date! Do you see me dating anyone!? NO! I’m going to blog like a respectable person and then I’m going to get dressed and blah, blah, blah, blah!”

Orion frowned. “Fine. Be that way…jerk.”


Enjoy your Friday folks.

I’ll be getting ready for class now…since I’ve got nothing better to do. I love my life.

Peace!

–R.

What Would You Have Done?

Today I’m going to be posing a question…you see the other day I overheard someone crying. At first I was going to ignore it, because I’m not very good at comforting people (I just don’t know how to react) but instead something told me that I should go and see if this person was alright.

I gently knocked on the door. “Are you okay?”

When they replied with, “Everything’s fine Ryder. Thanks.” I decided not to press any further and to go back to watching Magnum P.I.

I don’t know why this has been on my mind since but I do feel kind of like I should’ve done more.

They stopped crying for a bit but I heard them again not long after, and I felt as though I should check again or let them know that I was there if they needed me.

I’m not someone who likes to get into people’s business, but something seriously moved in me. It was as thought I was making up for the time I heard them crying before and didn’t bother to check.

If you had been in this situation, would you have just asked and left it at that, kept pestering them until they told you what as wrong, or just mind your own business?

I feel like I’m over thinking this. I’m trying not to, but I know that I am. Let me know in your comments.

I Got This: From Teen to Adult

Every teenager between 16 and 18: I got this. I know everything. I’m smart. I’m an adult now…sort of.

18 – 19: I don’t got this…mom? Mom? Hey mom what am I doing with my life?

When you finally figure things out: Okay…this time I got this for real. I am invincible!

When you have your kids: I went through this! I know everything!

Your teens ages 13 – 16: No you don’t understand me at all! No one understands me!

You: Yep…I went through this.

Your kids after they learn their lesson on their own: I should have listened to you…you were right about everything!

You: I know. Everything is gonna be okay.

Train of Thought(s)

So it’s 1 am, and I’m so tired that my minds running like a get away train.

You know when you’re about to fall asleep and all those thoughts come rushing in, so you start thinking all these really deep things.

For example, last night before falling asleep I questioned why I was wearing black all week. I sure wasn’t grieving. I mean, nobody died… then I thought, “Maybe I’m just reflecting what I’m feeling on the inside? I’m feeling pretty down in the dumps…let’s face it I’m depressed.”

When you actually admit it to yourself, there’s this feeling you get. It’s not this feeling that you’re depressed, it’s this feeling like your choking from the inside. Like you wanna scream but you can’t.

I try not to admit those kind of things to myself. I’m scared of being crazy. I don’t think I’m crazy, but if I were crazy I don’t think anyone would ever talk to me. I’m lonely enough thanks. Just thinking things like that bugs me. Then again, a lot of things bug me lately. It rains too much, it’s too cold, people are too damn loud or too damn quiet. There’s not enough lighting, or it’s too bright. I’m thinking so much about everything that I can’t think at all. Its driving me up the wall. Up. The. Bloody. Wall.

You ever feel like you just wanna hit somebody? You know you won’t actually hit anyone, but you want to. You just wanna clench your fist and swing your arm real fast till smack, there she goes…and you can just stare at yourself in disbelief because you really hit that guy. Poor fella…didn’t really deserve it. You were just having a bad day.

I’ve felt like hitting someone lately and that someone is myself. Talk about beating yourself up. I literally would love to. If I could, I’d clone myself and beat myself to a pulp…I call myself an idiot in my head. I do it all the time. I’d never say it aloud. That’d be admitting to it. When words are said out loud they come true. They don’t come true when you think and un-think them. All this thinking and un-thinking…exhausting. I wish I could sleep but I can’t. I’m too tired to sleep. My minds racing. Worst part of it is, I can function on little sleep without coffee. I’ve had coffee twice in my life. It’s awful stuff. Bitter. I’ve got a sweet tooth. I’d rather drink pop or a cup of tea with three large spoons of sugar. That’s why I’ve had so many cavities in the past…it’s all this dang sugar. I can’t wait till I can go home. Don’t get me wrong, living on my own is fun and all, I can leave my room messy without my mom nagging me about it, and I don’t have anyone complaining to me about anything, but I need to get home. I feel like if I don’t get home I’ll break.

One can pretend they’re okay for so long until they just break.

I’m so tired my eyes sting. They’re watering. I’d sleep if I could…I sure would…but these dang thoughts just keep on coming. I’ve gotta get up for class at 8 am. It’s 2 now. I’m feeling hungry, light headed…feeling awful. Just awful. Why can’t I just push a button and say, “Racing thoughts let me sleep. Do not make another peep!” These thoughts make me sad…real sad. Like there’s something wrong with me. Guess there is something wrong with me. I still haven’t changed outta these dirty clothes and I’m talking to a brick wall. Yah a bloody, cold brick wall. Nothing’s getting through that thing. If I were a brick wall I’d be better off. No more of this feeling like beating myself up and curling up at night staring at the ceiling. No more being a big suck. No sir, I’d be unmovable…unless you took something and smashed me in. You’d need a wrecking ball for that. Sadly, I’m no brick wall….not emotionally anyways.

Some people must think I’m unapproachable but I just don’t approach people. There’s a difference. I like people. I like to watch them, talk to them….but I over think before I say anything. So instead of worrying myself about what I should say, I don’t say anything at all. Makes things much easier on me…being shy and all.

These are the kind of things that run through my head constantly. It’s like a runaway train. There’s no stopping it. It just keeps speeding down this track. I never know where it’ll end up…I think that’s the depressing part. Not knowing.

The Problem With YA Fiction

Some might argue that young adult fiction is not a good form of literature. They might say that it lacks quality or that the novels are simply written to please the audience.

Others would say the complete opposite. They would probably remind us not forget that some of the most popular YA novels have also reached adult audiences.

Now I’m not exactly a fan of “sitting on the fence” but in this case I will as I do have valid points for each side of argument.

I do feel as though YA novel is a real form of literature, though I’ve heard many of my teachers scoff at the novels we teenagers are currently reading especially those involving vampires and werewolves. I also cannot deny the fact that I too have turned up my nose many times at a vast amount of the novels being produced for this age group. However it is not because I think the novels are poorly written but because I find them to be fake.

fake

As you may or may not have noticed the word fake has been overused by us teenagers recently but I am going to use it in this case simply because it is the first word that comes to mind when discussing YA fiction.

The problem with young adult fiction is that the characters and what they go through is fake. Some of these authors write novels for teenagers thinking that they know so much about us without actually doing research.

Sorry folks there is no guide on How Teens Act and What They Are Going Through in 2014.

These authors have not been teenagers for some time and their children (if they have any) are either too young or too old for them to get some sort of idea of what teenagers are up to these days. This makes it hard for them to connect with their audience.

Sometimes I read these novels I picture a woman in her late thirties, with a pen and notepad sitting in her living watching Disney Channel on the T.V making a list of what teenagers are like.

  1. Teenagers are angsty.
  2. Teens are brats who talk back too much.
  3. Always rebel.
  4. Hate parents.
  5. Defy all authority.
  6. Over obsessive relationships.
  7. Snobs.
  8. Popularity is the most important thing in life.
  9. Nerd wear glasses and have braces.
  10. Mean Girls is a realistic representation of the life of average teenage girls.

While they create this list I also picture them drooling like a mindless zombie….

zonedout

If anyone actually believed anything on that list, you might want to stop watching today’s so-called popular forms of entertainment featuring teenagers (I don’t have cable so I don’t know what’s on these days).

That entire list can be found in over half of the YA novels that I have read between the 6th and 12th grade. Now in the 6th grade I didn’t know better. I thought that in middle school girls and boys dated and that dating was really important because like anyone who’s anyone is dating. Then I got to the 7th and 8th grade and realized that was stupid. Only two of my friends dated and the relationships lasted a couple days. If they were lucky it lasted two weeks tops. However I then formed an idea of what high school might be like, however I realized before I arrived (thank the Lord), that what these books and what T.V told me about high school was nothing like high school at all. The other 9th graders hadn’t figured it out so quickly, but they did by October.

The young adult novels that moved me the most were the ones where the characters acted their age. I’m not saying that there aren’t mature thirteen year olds out there but most thirteen year olds are at a point in their lives where they are now trying to decide on whether or not they want to make a change in who they are or if they’re happy with themselves. Unfortunately many of them are unhappy with who they are because they think that they’re losers due to the idiots who write television for that age group.

Anyone ever watch the show Drake and Josh or maybe the show Unfabulous?

Don’t watch those if you want an idea of what teenagers are like. Please…I’m begging you.

When I was glued to a book it was because I knew the character and I could trust them to be an accurate representation of those around me. When I got to the point where I could no longer relate to the majority of the books I was reading I began to create my own characters who were like those in my age group.

I hope that this post will encourage YA authors to take into consideration that when writing for a young adult audience, the characters are extremely important. If your character is fake, your book won’t be read. If your character is relatable and someone that your young readers can truly connect with, then your book will remain with them even after they’ve read from cover to cover.

reading

Goodbye High School

Yesterday I finished my final exams and all I could think was, “Boy did time fly.” It feels as if moments ago I was sword fighting with my cousins by the lake, and then in a blink of an eye I’m an eighteen year old kid sitting on my bed reading all of the short stories I’ve written over the last two years.

I’ve said this many times in the last month that I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life. I’m ready to try and do things on my own without my parents coaching me along the way (though their coaching does help me come to a decision faster…). I told my sister multiple times, “High school is done and I have no regrets.” I’ve forgiven the people that hurt me, left behind those that weren’t the right company, and successfully finally figured out which studying methods work best for me (insert props/daps here).

If there was anything that I could have changed, it would have been to get the nerve to ask an old friend of mine, “What did I do wrong?” Though I’ve told myself after not speaking to them for two years that I am over it. There is still this pesky little voice in the back of my head saying, “Ask! Just ask! It’s a simple question!” but I feel as though there is nothing to ask anymore. Two years is a long time…or so it seems.

They surprising spoke to me first…which I tried to be casual about. I didn’t say, “What the heck is your deal man? You ignore me for two years and then you come to tell me that your ‘boo’ wants me to wait for them? Yah…NO!”  I could never see myself saying that in reality, however if I did speak like this to people it would be very gutsy of me….I simply said, “Oh okay. No problem.” and that was the end of the conversation. Yes my friend hurt me, and yes we aren’t friends anymore but I let it go….

Okay why did I have to say that? Now that song is going to be in my head all day! Stupid…movie. Okay I actually like the movie. I’ve watched it three times with my niece. I think Hans is cool and I like Olaf because when I mimic his voice my niece gives me “warm hugs.”

Anyway! That was really off topic…so if I were to go back in time and change ONE thing it would be that I would straight up ask my friend if they were alright during that first week when they started avoiding me. And if they claimed that nothing was wrong and continued to ignore me then I would simply let it be. I wouldn’t fuss about it or let myself get hurt by it (and trust me it feels like getting stabbed in the chest when the kid you’ve known since the 5th grade suddenly starts to push you out of their life). I wouldn’t have dwelled on it for so long or spent the summer going, “Maybe I should go see if they want to get a slushie?” and never bothering to get off my butt out of fear that they might say no.

I’m just happy that the two years of silence were broken…and that I didn’t have break it.

Well that’s the end of this post because apparently my computer needs to restart in exactly 4 minutes!

Hope everyone has a great summer!

Colds, Competitions, Complaints and Constellations.

It seems that I’ve been sighing a lot lately. I sign when I am tired, or under stress.

Yesterday, I finally defeated that head cold. Today I am trying to prepare for next weeks very important events; competitions, and presentations. To top it off I still don’t have an actual job, and I’m nearly eighteen. I want to publish my first novel for my birthday. Last year I wasted my money on buying a guitar that I play maybe once a month. I always wanted one as a kid but I’m having trouble teaching myself. I tend to play things by ear. It was so much easier teaching myself how to write properly.

I’m a bit frustrated with myself for not doing as many posts as I would have liked to. I haven’t even kept up to date with writing poetry (which I want to get back into), and I’ve only worked on my novel once this week.

This post may just be the complaints of a teenage writer, but at least it’s a post.

Well, since I have all this work to do before Monday, I’ll get right back into it. I’d rather not have to stress out tomorrow night trying to finish my homework.

I’ll try and blog a little more tomorrow. I always have interesting things to talk about Sunday afternoons.

Until next time,

Orion.

P.S. did anyone spot my favourite constellation? I see it every night outside my window and like an overly excited kid I say, “Hi Orion! You’re so cool! You’re a hunter! I like your belt!”

 

 

 

Train Story: My Entry for Open Book Toronto

This is a short story that I entered into the Open Book Toronto competition back in December. We were given a prompt, which you can find here. I didn’t end up winning, but it was a fun challenge for me, since I have little experience with writing short stories. Well, I hope you enjoy.

Also, please feel free to give feedback.

Orion.

Found on Google.

Found on Google.

It was Kris who was the first to react. He jumped up out of his seat and raced towards the closed door; eyes wide. His friends followed him with their faces pale as the three of them watched the knapsack fade off into the distance.

After Caz got his friends to calm down, Jackie decided to go and find someone who could help them figure out what to do. When she returned, she told the two boys that they had been advised to get off at the next stop and walk back to the other station—this was the train’s last root for the day. “Guys I’m really sorry…I should have kept better track of my things.” Jackie choked as she lowered her head.

As usual Caz tried to sooth her. He was always good at keeping things together. The three of them waited until the train came to a stop. Jackie said that she was told the last station was about an hour’s walk from where they were let off, and if they kept at a steady pace they could get there before it got too dark.

“Hey, let’s try taking a short cut.” Kris suggested a sly smirk crawling across his face. Before the others could protest, Kris had already started off into the alley on his own. He looked over his shoulder and grinned deviously. “You guys coming or what?”

“I guess.” Jackie mumbled following in after him.

Caz hesitated for a moment but stormed after them. “Guys this is dangerous. We don’t know this city very well, and—.”

“Don’t be such a baby.” Kris snickered. He pulled himself up onto the fire exit of an old apartment building and shot Caz a daring look. “Should I jump?”

“You’re an idiot.” Caz spat as Kris climbed up to the second set of stairs. He flashed his friends a devious grin that caused Caz to grit his teeth, “Kris you’re wasting time.”

“Guys, please not another fight.” Jackie choked. Without looking at either of the boys she fled from the alley in tears.

The two boys stopped and looked at one another shamefully. Caz waited for Kris to climb down before the two of them went off to look for their friend.

“Ever since you came along she’s been getting mad at me.” Kris said softly as they scanned the street.

“Maybe if you weren’t such an idiot all the time, she wouldn’t be getting so ticked off?” Caz spat.

“I wouldn’t act like such an idiot if she never told me that she liked you!” Kris’ voice echoed out through the darkness; in front of them stood Jackie alone under the glow of a streetlight. The tear stains on her cheeks added to the flushed look on her face. “Let’s go find my bag.” she mumbled, glaring at Kris. She took Caz by the arm.

Slowly, Kris trudged behind his friends in silence. For once he had nothing to say.