A Place of Light


This is another excerpt from my journal that I would like to share. It needs editing, but I liked it, and hope you will too!


There’s a lot of light in this place.

It’s a haven of pure air and high spirits. It makes me feel like there’s no darkness left in my reality; by this I know it can’t be reality.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Perhaps I’m on a different plane.

It has to be a dream.

I sit on the ground and let it soak in – energy, inspiration, peace. Could this be the place ideas come from?

Could this weightlessness be the root of my inspiration?

Closing my eyes, I search my mind, seeking ideas for my next poem…here in this place of light.

David Copperfield: Escapism and Books


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Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield is, in many respects, autobiographical. Readers see the protagonist in bleak situations, many of which take root in things the author himself experienced–child abuse, poverty, instances when it was difficult to count one’s blessings.

As a reader and writer, the following paragraph stood out to me. It describes Copperfield as a child, seeking refuge from his ill fortune by vanishing into books.

It is astonishing to me now, how I found time, in the midst of my porings and blunderings over heavier themes, to read these books as I did. It is curious to me how I could ever have consoled myself under my small troubles (which were great troubles to me), by impersonating my favorite characters in them–as I did–and by putting Mr and Miss Murdstone into all the bad ones–which I did too.

I’ve written books where my characters were similar to me in some ways, sharing habits or speech nuances. This has always happened by accident. I never sat and told myself this character will like the same music or we will enjoy the same foods. No, these things crept onto the page; later, I found them and smiled.

In the above paragraph, David Copperfield describes escaping dark times by reading books. He became the hero and identified the villains in his life. I wondered if Charles Dickens did this knowingly, to increase the book’s autobiographical nature. Was it strategic, or an accident? Did he later reflect on his character and realize he and Copperfield shared this trait?

Once writers master the art of escapism, we know the skill for life. It becomes a part of us, so when we spin stories of our own, we write ourselves in without meaning to. We don’t notice until later that bits of us have slipped in between the lines.

Excerpts like this show why it’s interesting to learn about the author as well as the book. When you know the circumstances in which they lived, it enhances the experience. It’s why I always read introductions when they are available. Often, when I finish reading, I do research on the setting (time period, customs, etc.)

When you read a good book, there’s more going on than your brain registering words. You’re immersing yourself in a journey through time. You become one with the characters. You might even find that you and the author have things in common–habits, opinions, hurts. Any well-written novel has this power. All you need is a bit of patience to get through longer works.

Find a sliver of spare time, and you will travel far.

With people seeking entertainment elsewhere, I fear the beautiful art of reading might one day be forgotten–the kind of reading that immerses us, escapism. Each form of entertainment has its benefits; however, let’s not overlook the joy that can be found in a book.

Reading is a superpower, and we can all learn to use it. If you haven’t been reading much, find a book and start now. There’s a book for everyone, and best of all, there’s always time.

Book Review: Char by Kristina Wojtaszek


I accepted a review copy of Char, having been told beforehand that it was a good read. I think I expected it to be a good read anyway, because I love stories about faeries. The book did not disappoint me; I was excited to read this book and see what I’d find.

It was an emotionally scarring trip through the land of fae. I could feel dirt under my feet, taste smoke in the air; my heart raced during intense scenes.

The world of Char is one of magic and danger. Luna has embarked on a quest which costs her actual blood—a bit of her pinkie finger. It separates her from all the people she loves most, but she’s determined to follow through. She has a no-nonsense mindset, focusing on the task at hand.

0 Actual Char Front Cover 3.16.16

Char lived up to my expectations in almost every way. However, once I finished reading, I realized the love triangle felt over-emphasized. The interactions between Luna and her love interests were enjoyable—I certainly hopped on one of the ships!

However, I wonder if that emphasis on love was necessary in a story driven by urgency.

Why is Char different from the other faerie books out there? It gives you a sensation of freedom. You are living this journey with Luna, feeling her pain, facing the danger. It’s written so your heart feels like it’s dancing on the pages.

Also, the faerie queen is not perfect. She’s got haunts and regrets so powerful, she often seems like a normal girl. We do not like everything she does, but feel enough sympathy not to judge. It was nice to see her off the pedestal, struggling alongside her people.

Luna’s fate at the end was so harsh, it almost made me sick. It showed how human-like these faeries could be, making decisions based on feelings of fear and betrayal. Events in Char were arranged to shock readers, dropping a bomb.

Char has several traits which make it worth the read:

  • Clever character development. It must take delicate planning to make the faerie queen so vulnerable that readers feel sympathy, despite the darker things she has done.
  • A setting written like artwork. You smell the forest as it’s described, feel grass under your feet. You aren’t turning the pages of a book—you’re living a story!
  • The ending. It has a powerful effect, shattering what was generally a peaceful setting. We are pulled along harmoniously, and the ending shatters our daydream.

In all, Char was a beautiful book that’ll have my mind reeling for a long time. It’s a faery tale you can taste and smell. Give this book a try if you like faeries or are a lover of nature; I promise you won’t be disappointed!

What Professor Snape’s Death Tells us about Fiction


12075060_10153859413444313_8491525309490219634_nYour news feeds are full of Alan Rickman—pictures, quotes, and tributes. Perhaps you’re tired of it, which considering the volume of posts would be understandable, but allow me to explain what it means in my point of view.

The Rickman post I’ve seen going around most is this:

Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”

He’s right.

A lot of people aren’t missing him as the actor Alan Rickman. Many of my friends are mourning the loss of Professor Severus Snape, who despite being a fictional character—and not one people liked all the time—played a huge role in our childhood dreams.

As a storyteller, an ‘agent of change,’ I’m sure he knew this would happen. He must have been familiar with the sensation of attachment to a fictional character, one who to so many people was real.

This does not only apply to Harry Potter.

I’ve always been fascinated by the effect a good story has on an audience. Not everyone understands why we attach to fictional characters, more so than the actors who play them. I’ll admit I don’t follow the actors in movies, but love and respect what they represent. They become faces that get us through difficult times; we look forward to seeing them at movie premieres.

A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world. No one understands this better than fandoms, communities who gather because they love the same stories. We stick together because we have a special magic in common, not just the magic found in Harry Potter!

Members of fandoms are familiar with the looks we get when we gush over a favorite movie or cry over the character’s death. We are strange to the rest of the world who consider fiction a waste of time—and we don’t care what they think, because fandoms are huge families.

Judgment from ‘normal people’ can’t budge us. It makes us stronger, steeling our bond, enforcing our love for something fictional.

If you ask me, there’s nothing fictional about the love we feel for these dreams, the stories told, and the actors behind them—even when we don’t recognize them by name.

I didn’t think much when I heard Alan Rickman had died. It wasn’t until they played a clip of him as Professor Snape that I became sad—because he was, and is, Professor Snape.  I felt like I’d gone personally to Hogwarts and one of my teachers passed away.

Many will find this sentiment silly, but more yet will agree. This is the power of storytelling, fandoms, dreaming.

Alan Rickman’s death inspired this blog post, but I didn’t follow him as Alan Rickman. I followed him as Professor Snape, the favorite teacher to many. I never followed him as an actor, but he was part of my life and those of many other Potterheads.

So tell me fiction isn’t real. Tell me the sadness so many now feel is fake, an irrelevant waste of time. I disagree! Fiction might not be tangible, but it’s made so many people whole, creating beautiful friendships and unforgettable moments.

RIP, Alan Rickman, and thank you for giving us Professor Snape.