Reflections on Writing

I’ve always loved reading, as long as I can remember. I’m the kind of person that reads constantly, whether it’s a book or a newspaper or just a poster or a sign on the side of the street. I consume words because I love knowing things, and written words are the most widespread, easily accessible source of knowledge. But beyond that, I love reading other people’s writing. I think there’s something that goes into a piece of fiction or especially creative non-fiction that tells you more about a person than you could ever learn from sitting down and having a conversation with them.

And people are fascinating to me. I relish every chance I have to really get to know someone, to hear their stories and their thoughts about life. I love when someone I’ve known for a long time tells me something about themselves that I had never heard before. And because writing gives such a unique look into the writer, I feel like after reading an excellent book, I know the author a little bit. And then if I read another book by them, I know them a bit more. So it’s this journey of discovering another person through the little bits and pieces that they share.

The popular expression is to “write what you know.” I think that’s a bit of a misnomer, because it’s impossible to write what you don’t know. I think it should really be “write what you know best.” I don’t think anyone would enjoy a story I wrote about a character who is a dancer or a soccer fan or whatever, because I don’t really know anything about dancing or soccer. But almost all my stories are about characters that are alone, whether that’s a physical proximity from other people or just a sense of being lonely. That’s something I know a lot about. I can reflect on and explain loneliness.  So I think (hope) people enjoy reading my stories, because they seem true and real and they’re a little part of me.

I’ve taken several creative writing courses in university, and they’re some of my favorite classes ever. Partly because I enjoy writing and going through the process of becoming a better writer, but mostly because I get to read other people’s stories. And when I read someone’s story they become more than just a friend or a classmate or a person I recognize from four years of school together. They become someone I know and I understand a little better. And conversely, they all know and understand me better than any of my classmates from other courses.

I’ve never wanted to be a writer, but I hope that I’m always able to write, and to read, and to connect with people through writing and reading.

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Please Help the UNHCR

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, but it’s also been a long time since there was an issue I felt I had to share. This is one that’s been important to me for quite a while.

Almost a year ago I was at school, just walking to the main doors after my last class so that I could go home, when I passed a table that had been set up in one of the open areas, one of the ones with a bunch of people handing out flyers trying to promote something. Generally I try to just look at my phone or at the ground, or basically just avoid making eye contact with anyone so that I don’t have to endure an awkward conversation before turning them down. But this time, one of the girls called me to come over. I didn’t want to be rude and just walk away, and she was pretty cute, so I went over and talked to her.

She was there representing The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. I ended up spending about 15 minutes talking to her about the work that they do all over the world, providing food and shelter to people who have been forced to flee their homes, reuniting families that have been separated, and helping millions of people rebuild their lives. After hearing all this, I couldn’t just continue to do nothing. I signed up to donate $15 monthly to the UNHCR.

This summer, the refugee situation has only become more extreme. Millions of Syrians have been trying to find safety wherever they can. I’ve seen a lot of opinions and articles from a wide range of sources. Some have disgusted me with how unsympathetic people can be, but most have just broken my heart. The past two weeks, the popular blog Humans of New York has gone to Greece and spoken to many of these refugees, as well as the people helping them. I’ve shared some of these on my Facebook, but I encourage you all to take a look at these stories. I’m so blessed to have been born in such a safe, wealthy country. It’s easy to forget how many people in the world aren’t.

So why am I sharing this now? Well, right now Kickstarter has launched a charity campaign to give to the UNHCR. For this campaign, they’ve waived the usual payment fees, and every donation goes directly to the UNHCR. You can find that here:

If you want to sign up for a monthly donation like I have, you can go to the UNHCR website. Or, if you don’t want to use Kickstarter for whatever reason, you can make a one-time donation there as well.

So I encourage everyone to give just a little to help these people. It doesn’t have to be $15 a month, although I certainly haven’t missed it the past year.

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you’re able to contribute!

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Once In A Lifetime

The greatest part about traveling isn’t the destinations. It’s not the major sights, the main tourist attractions. It’s the journey. It’s driving through mountains listening to country station you picked up on your radio 20 miles ago, knowing that as … Continue reading

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I’ve never had a problem with being alone. I actually kind of enjoy it. I think some of you are probably thinking “Yeah, me too”, and I’m not sure you understand. I don’t mean that I like being home alone … Continue reading

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Music, Movies, and Christianity

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One Year of Blogging

I just got a notification from WordPress that I started my blog exactly one year ago today. I know I haven’t been particularly consistent in posting over the last 7 months, but it’s still been a really cool experience. So, … Continue reading

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Alternate Titles for “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies”

Yesterday, I watched the newest Hobbit movie, also the last Hobbit movie. In fact, it is most likely the final movie about Middle-Earth that will be released for many years. Anyways, after watching it, I went home and researched it, … Continue reading

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