because stars are in the sky

i still spend a lot of time thinking about that “advanced country” post where the context turned out to be a really homoerotic cowboys singing about world peace and the screaming sky cowboys are actually the same dude (an old australian rock star) portraying both cowboys wordlessly lamenting their lost love because even though they settled their differences they’re loners at heart and still can’t really be together

Ok, there are sads on my dash that are perhaps partially my fault, so here is a small happy thought to help balance it out:


Imagine the wonder Luke Skywalker, Hero of the Rebellion, Destroyer of the Death Star, felt the first time he stepped outside Yavin base and into a shower tropical rain.


Water, falling from the sky, free to whoever wants it!

Imagine him standing there, hands outstretched just soaking it in, a wide smile on his face.

Imagine R2-D2 beeping indignantly about his pilot beginning to rust, only to be shushed by a gently smiling Leia because amid all the loss and devestation here is joy. Pure, unadulterated joy.

She really did bring the Rebellion hope after all.

anonymous asked:

Untouchable reminds me of a cool autumn night... candles and twinkle lights... sitting by a warm fire snuggled in a blanket with a sweater on.... the smell of a pumpkin candle... all things perfect and fall

i sit on the ledge of the top floor of a parking garage some nights because i like to cry/think there a lot and when im up there i can see all of the 8 stars in the LA sky and houses twinkling in hills and this cover is all i ever play because it is so soft but heavy like…..honey. i dont know it kind of fills your heart differently than any of her other songs. like there’s something about untouchable and superstar. her voice on both of them is just…..ethereal.

Everything I touch turns to love. Everything I do will open up heaven. Instead-stead-stead of us falling, we’re flying in love. Nothing’s forever because we are just stars dust. I can make the stars dance. Light up the moon. I can make the stars dance if you want me to. The sky is everywhere, so meet me under there. I can make the stars dance, dance, dance for you, you, you. I can make the stars dance. I can make the stars. I can make, I can make, I can make, I-I-I can make the stars dance. The sky is everywhere, so meet me under there. I can make the stars dance, dance, dance for you, you, you. Dance.
—  Stars Dance by Selena Gomez
You remind me of the stars in the sky
Because I don’t ever want to stop looking at sky
And I don’t ever want to stop looking at you
You’ve captivated my mind my heart and my soul the flowers from previous woes have now grown into beautiful roses as beautiful as it seems I’m finding it hard to breathe because reality has hit me and I know I can never call you one word, mine.
—  biancandthebeanstalk, every rose has its thorn

on the first day of class my astronomy professor asked us why the night sky was dark. if our universe is infinite, how can there be spaces between the stars? he didn’t answer the question until the last day– because our universe is relatively young, and is still growing. it is finite. not enough stars or galaxies have been formed to fill up the entire night sky.

but what that means to me is that somewhere, in an older universe, the night sky looks like a tapestry of diamonds. somewhere darkness is pale white and glittering. imagine being so surrounded. i haven’t gotten that image out of my head ever since– you could never navigate under such a sky but god it sounds lovely

Avatar Aang, Feminist Icon?

“Who’s your favorite character?” I hear that question come up a lot over Avatar: The Last Airbender, a show particularly near and dear to me. Iroh and Toph get tossed around a lot. Zuko is very popular. Sokka has his fans. But something I’ve noticed? Aang very rarely gets the pick. When he comes up, it’s usually in that “Oh, and also…” kind of way. Which is strange, I think, considering he’s the main character, the titular airbender, of the entire show.

I never really thought much about it until a couple weeks ago when I finished my annual re-watch of the series and found myself, for the first time, specifically focused on Aang’s arc. Somehow, I never really paid that much attention to him before. I mean sure, he’s front and center in most episodes, fighting or practicing or learning big spiritual secrets, and yet, he always feels a little overshadowed. Katara takes care of the group. Sokka makes the plans. Zuko has the big, heroic Joseph Campbell journey. Aang…goofs around. He listens and follows and plays with Momo. And yes, at the end his story gets bigger and louder, but even then I feel like a lot of it dodges the spotlight. And here’s why:

Avatar casts the least traditionally-masculine hero you could possibly write as the star of a fantasy war story. Because of that, we don’t see Aang naturally for everything he is, so we look elsewhere.

To show what I mean, I want to talk about some of the show’s other characters, and I want to start with Zuko. Zuko is the hero we’re looking for. He’s tall and hot and complicated. He perseveres in the face of constant setbacks. He uses two swords and shoots fire out of his hands. He trains with a wise old man on ship decks and mountaintops. Occasionally he yells at the sky. He’s got the whole 180-degree moral turn beat for beat, right down to the scars and the sins-of-the-father confrontation scene. And if you were going into battle, some epic affair with battalions of armor-clad infantry, Zuko is the man you’d want leading the charge, Aragorn style. We love Zuko. Because Zuko does what he’s supposed to do.

Now let’s look at Katara. Katara doesn’t do what she’s supposed to do. She doesn’t care about your traditionally gender dynamics because she’s too busy fighting pirates and firebenders, planning military operations with the highest ranking generals in the Earth Kingdom, and dismantling the entire patriarchal structure of the Northern Water Tribe. Somewhere in her spare time she also manages to become one of the greatest waterbenders in the world, train the Avatar, defeat the princess of the Fire Nation in the middle of Sozin’s Comet and take care of the entire rest of the cast for an entire year living in tents and caves. Katara is a badass, and we love that.

So what about Aang? When we meet Aang, he is twelve years old. He is small and his voice hasn’t changed yet. His hobbies include dancing, baking and braiding necklaces with pink flowers. He loves animals. He doesn’t eat meat. He despises violence and spends nine tenths of every fight ducking and dodging. His only “weapon” is a blunt staff, used more for recreation than combat. Through the show, Aang receives most of his training from two young women – Katara and Toph – whom he gives absolute respect, even to the point of reverence. When he questions their instruction, it comes from a place of discomfort or anxiety, never superiority. He defers to women, young women, in matters of strategy and combat. Then he makes a joke at his own expense and goes off to feed his pet lemur.

Now there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, and it’s the one that shielded Aang from the heroic limelight in my eyes for ten years. The reasoning goes like this: Aang is a child. He has no presumptuous authority complex, no masculinity anxiety, no self-consciousness about his preferred pastimes, because he’s twelve. He’s still the hero, but he’s the prepubescent hero, the hero who can’t lead the charge himself because he’s just not old enough. The problem is, that reasoning just doesn’t hold up when you look at him in the context of the rest of the show.

Let’s look at Azula. Aside from the Avatar himself, Zuko’s sister is arguably the strongest bender in the entire show. We could debate Toph and Ozai all day, but when you look at all Azula does, the evidence is pretty damning. Let’s make a list, shall we?

Azula completely mastered lightning, the highest level firebending technique, in her spare time on a boat, under the instruction of two old women who can’t even bend.

Azula led the drill assault on Ba Sing Sae, one of the most important Fire Nation operations of the entire war, and almost succeeded in conquering the whole Earth Kingdom.

Azula then bested the Kyoshi Warriors, one of the strongest non-bender fighting groups in the entire world, successfully infiltrated the Earth Kingdom in disguise, befriended its monarch, learned of the enemy’s most secret operation, emotionally manipulated her older brother, overthrew the captain of the secret police and did conquer the Earth Kingdom, something three Fire Lords, numerous technological monstrosities, and countless generals, including her uncle, failed to do in a century.

And she did this all when she was fourteen.

That last part is easy to forget. Azula seems so much her brother’s peer, we forget she’s the same age as Katara. And that means that when we first meet Azula, she’s only a year older than Aang is at the end of the series. So to dismiss Aang’s autonomy, maturity or capability because of his age is ridiculous, understanding that he and Azula could have been in the same preschool class.

We must then accept Aang for what he truly is: the hero of the story, the leader of the charge, who repeatedly displays restraint and meekness, not because of his age, not because of his upbringing, not because of some character flaw, but because he chooses too. We clamor for strong female characters, and for excellent reason. But nobody every calls for more weak male characters. Not weak in a negative sense, but weak in a sense that he listens when heroes talk. He negotiates when heroes fight. And when heroes are sharpening their blades, planning their strategies and stringing along their hetero love interests, Aang is making jewelry, feeding Appa, and wearing that flower crown he got from a travelling band of hippies. If all Aang’s hobbies and habits were transposed onto Toph or Katara, we’d see it as a weakening of their characters. But with Aang it’s cute, because he’s a child. Only it isn’t, because he’s not.

Even in his relationship with Katara, a landmark piece of any traditional protagonist’s identity, Aang defies expectations. From the moment he wakes up in episode one, he is infatuated with the young woman who would become his oldest teacher and closest friend. Throughout season one we see many examples of his puppy love expressing itself, usually to no avail. But there’s one episode in particular that I always thought a little odd, and that’s Jet.

In Jet, Katara has an infatuation of her own. The titular vigilante outlaw sweeps her off her feet, literally, with his stunning hair, his masterful swordsmanship and his apparent selflessness. You’d think this would elicit some kind of jealousy from Aang. There’s no way he’s ignorant of what’s happening, as Sokka sarcastically refers to Jet as Katara’s boyfriend directly in Aang’s presence, and she doesn’t even dispute it. But even then, we never see any kind of rivalry manifest in Aang. Rather, he seems in full support of it. He repeatedly praises Jet, impressed by his leadership and carefree attitude. Despite his overwhelming affection for Katara, he evaluates both her and Jet on their own merits as people. There is no sense of ownership or macho competition.

Contrast this with Zuko’s reaction to a similar scenario in season three’s The Beach. Zuko goes to a party with his girlfriend, and at that party he sees her talking to another guy. His reaction? Throwing the challenger into the wall, shattering a vase, yelling at Mai, and storming out. This may seem a little extreme, but it’s also what we’d expect to an extent. Zuko is being challenged. He feels threatened in his station as a man, and he responds physically, asserting his strength and dominance as best he can.

I could go on and on. I could talk about how the first time Aang trains with a dedicated waterbending master, he tries to quit because of sexist double standards, only changing his mind after Katara’s urging. I could talk about how Aang is cast as a woman in the Fire Nation’s propaganda theatre piece bashing him and his friends. Because in a patriarchal society, the worst thing a man can be is feminine. I could talk about the only times Aang causes any kind of real destruction in the Avatar state, it’s not even him, since he doesn’t gain control of the skill until the show’s closing moments. Every time he is powerless in his own power and guilt-ridden right after, until the very end when he finally gains control, and what does he do with all that potential? He raises the rivers, and puts the fires out.

Aang isn’t what he’s supposed to be. He rejects every masculine expectation placed on his role, and in doing so he dodges center stage of his own show. It’s shocking to think about how many times I just forgot about Aang. Even at the end, when his voice has dropped and his abs have filled in, we miss it. Zuko’s coronation comes and we cheer with the crowd, psyched to see our hero crowned. Then the Fire Lord shakes his head, gestures behind him and declares “the real hero is the Avatar.” It’s like he’s talking to us. “Don’t you get it?” he asks. “Did you miss it? This is his story. But you forgot that. Because he was small. And silly. And he hated fighting. And he loved to dance. Look at him,” Zuko seems to say. “He’s your hero. Avatar Aang, defier of gender norms, champion of self-identity, feminist icon.”

thanks @ florence welch for fulfilling my musical needs of songs about the stars and the moon and the great big sky and the deep and terrifying ocean

but also thanks @ florence for writing absolute bangers about arson and all-consuming guilt and night terrors and human sacrifice because i need those just as much

The Witch Head Nebula : Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble . maybe Macbeth should have consulted the Witch Head Nebula. A frighteningly shaped reflection nebula, this cosmic crone is about 800 light-years away though. Its malevolent visage seems to glare toward nearby bright star Rigel in Orion, just off the right edge of this frame. More formally known as IC 2118, the interstellar cloud of dust and gas is nearly 70 light-years across, its dust grains reflecting Rigels starlight. In this composite portrait, the nebulas color is caused not only by the stars intense bluish light but because the dust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earths daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in planet Earths atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. via NASA

js

1. The last time you made the mistake of making a home out of a pair of arms and a soft smile, you learned the hard way that anything that moves, that can blame, that can cause ache does not deserve such an elevated status in your heart. Still, you are an anomaly, a wild thing hoping for a home. A sailor wishing to leave the ocean and return.

2. I still remember a day when your father had lifted you in his arms and told you that you are loved, more than you ever know. It was two days before the plane crash that took him. It was two days before I saw death dance in your broken eyes for the first time. I don’t think it ever stopped dancing there.

3. Yesterday, someone asked you, “who do you trust most in the world?” And you felt that your lips were sewn shut. Everybody you should love and trusts’ names felt rough and raw on your tongue like they were in a foreign language that you had become too ancient to learn. So instead you whispered your own name like a secret into the abyss and hoped no one saw the sadness that had crawled it’s way along with your name out of your mouth.

4. A summer ago, you asked me what it was like to not need a place to call home. I know you asked this from a place of trauma, that your trauma has convinced you it will all be okay once you find a home. But it is lying, because what you need up find is your healing. And I told you that wanderlust had etched itself so ornately into my bones that I had no choice but to travel till it had sated itself. You looked at me with envy, even as I thought of all the people who would love to make a home of your heartbeat. You however were looking for a certain kind of love that you would call your very own. A kind of love that would never abandon you the way everyone you have ever loved has.

5. Something about you glowed bigger and better than all the stars we gazed at in the night sky. And even then, even when you had everything, you longed for a human to belong in. But everytime you laid the foundations for something good, they came crashing and tumbling down on your head. Because your trauma is a perfectionist and no one could quite become what you needed and wanted at the same time.

6. I wish I had told you then what I told you in that very last letter before I left. That child, why did no one ever teach you that you cannot turn people into homes? People are rivers, ever changing, ever flowing. They will disappear with everything you put inside them. Still, that home you are hunting for does have a heartbeat. But it isn’t one locked in anyone else’s chest. Just look inside your own.

—  Nikita Gill, People Aren’t Homes
Eclipse 2017: A Unique Chance for Science

On Aug. 21, the Moon will cast its shadow down on Earth, giving all of North America the chance to see a solar eclipse. Within the narrow, 60- to 70-mile-wide band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina called the path of totality, the Moon will completely block out the Sun’s face; elsewhere in North America, the Moon will cover only a part of the star, leaving a crescent-shaped Sun visible in the sky.

Find eclipse times for your location with our interactive version of this map.

A total solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth about once every 18 months. But because Earth’s surface is mostly ocean, most eclipses are visible over land for only a short time, if at all. The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse is different – its path stretches over land for nearly 90 minutes, giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to make scientific measurements from the ground.

No matter where you are, it is never safe to look directly at the partially eclipsed or uneclipsed Sun. Make sure you’re prepared to watch safely, whether that’s with solar viewing glasses, a homemade pinhole projector, or online with us at nasa.gov/eclipselive.

Within the path of totality, the Moon will completely obscure the Sun’s face for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, depending on location. This will give people within the path of totality a glimpse of the innermost reaches of the Sun’s corona, the outer region of the atmosphere that is thought to house the processes that kick-start much of the space weather that can influence Earth, as well as heating the whole corona to extraordinarily high temperatures.

In fact, scientists got their first hint at these unusually high temperatures during the total solar eclipse of 1869, when instruments detected unexpected light emission. It was later discovered that this emission happens when iron is stripped of its electrons at extremely high temperatures.

This region of the Sun’s atmosphere can’t be measured at any other time, as human-made instruments that create artificial eclipses must block out much of the Sun’s atmosphere – as well as its bright face – in order to produce clear images.

We’re funding six science investigations to study the Sun’s processes on Aug. 21. Teams will spread out across the path of totality, focusing their instruments on the Sun’s atmosphere. One team will use a pair of retro-fitted WB-57F jets to chase the Moon’s shadow across the eastern US, extending the time of totality to more than 7 minutes combined, up from the 2 minutes and 40 seconds possible on the ground.

Our scientists are also using the Aug. 21 eclipse as a natural science experiment to study how Earth’s atmosphere reacts to the sudden loss of solar radiation within the Moon’s shadow.

One region of interest is Earth’s ionosphere. Stretching from roughly 50 to 400 miles above Earth’s surface, the tenuous ionosphere is an electrified layer of the atmosphere that reacts to changes from both Earth below and space above and can interfere with communication and navigation signals.

The ionosphere is created by ionizing radiation from the Sun. When totality hits on Aug. 21, we’ll know exactly how much solar radiation is blocked, the area of land it’s blocked over and for how long. Combined with measurements of the ionosphere during the eclipse, we’ll have information on both the solar input and corresponding ionosphere response, enabling us to study the mechanisms underlying ionospheric changes better than ever before.

The eclipse is also a chance for us to study Earth’s energy system, which is in a constant dance to maintain a balance between incoming radiation from the Sun and outgoing radiation from Earth to space, called the energy budget. Like a giant cloud, the Moon during the 2017 total solar eclipse will cast a large shadow across a swath of the United States.

Our scientists already know the dimensions and light-blocking properties of the Moon, and will use ground and space instruments to learn how this large shadow affects the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface, especially around the edges of the shadow. This will help develop new calculations that improve our estimates of the amount of solar energy reaching the ground, and our understanding of one of the key players in regulating Earth’s energy system — clouds.

Learn all about the Aug. 21 eclipse at eclipse2017.nasa.gov, and follow @NASASun on Twitter and NASA Sun Science on Facebook for more. Watch the eclipse through the eyes of NASA at nasa.gov/eclipselive starting at 12 PM ET on Aug. 21.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

love for the signs
  • aries: i love you because you're fiercely, genuinely, mercilessly yourself. with a whip-sharp tongue and bright eyes, you are all i admire and all i ever want to be. you say what's on my mind - you are like part of my soul. you remind me of who i am, and i'm never more sure of myself when i'm with you.
  • taurus: i love you because you're so warm and soft. i am undeserving of your gentleness, your tenderness, your patience and comfort - but you offer it to me anyway. you hold me up when i'm in danger of falling down, and you make me laugh when i feel like all i'd rather do is cry. you are forever my guardian angel, and i could never be thankful enough.
  • gemini: i love you because you make me feel alive. it's like life comes into focus when you are around - everything is vivid, interesting, beautiful. you're like a shot of oxytocin when the darkness comes creeping in, and i could never get enough of you.
  • cancer: i love you because you feel like home. we may not see eye to eye, but you stand by me when i need it most. you are the rock keeping steady by my side, and there is a quiet familiarity you bring that always puts me at ease. you are my family.
  • leo: i love you because you make me feel like i am the brightest star in the sky. you treat me like a princess, and your vivacity makes my heart deliriously happy no matter the circumstances. you are the light of my life, radiant and unforgettable.
  • virgo: i love you because you are like stable ground in the middle of an earthquake. you ground me, see into me - not past me like so many people do. you help me feel okay when things feel anything but. you are unchanging in the face of chaos, and i know i can always turn to you.
  • libra: i love you because you never push me too far. i don't feel like i have to act around you - unlike others, you don't expect anything from me, and it's a freedom more relieving than words can explain. you let me be without a mask, and sometimes that's all i need.
  • scorpio: i love you because we don't need words. i can count on you to have my back when it counts, and you understand when i need silence more than conversation. you know the importance of quiet, and i appreciate that more than you know.
  • sagittarius: i love you because you see my potential. you are my inspiration, my brilliant epiphany - you make life something fresh and new, filled with adventure and excitement. you make me believe that there is so much on the horizon. with you i could forget my problems - you are irreplaceable, my elixir like nothing else.
  • capricorn: i love you because you try your very best. you may not be able to read my mind, but you put your entire heart and soul into doing whatever you can for me. sometimes it's not the result that counts but the effort, and you prove that to the furthest extent.
  • aquarius: i love you because you bring me back to reality. you not only listen, but you speak, and your honesty means everything to me. you never judge me - instead, you take everything i give you and try to help me with all your heart. your dedication is unwavering, and no matter how deep under i am, you never let me drown.
  • pisces: i love you because you are so damned strong. you've been through so much shit, and yet i know that you'd drop everything in a second to help me. despite everything you've suffered, you still look at life like it's the best thing you've ever been given. i don't deserve your support and optimism, but you have the best heart of anyone i've ever known - and i know that somehow, it's always open for me.
How to Write a Novel:  Tips For Visual Thinkers.

1.  Plotting is your friend.

This is basically a must for all writers (or at least, it makes our job significantly easier/less time consuming/less likely to make us want to rip our hair out by the roots), but visual thinkers tend to be great at plotting.  There’s something about a visible outline that can be inexplicably pleasing to us, and there are so many great ways to go about it.   Here are a few examples: 

  • The Three-Act Structure
    • This one is one of the simplest:  it’s divided into the tried-and-true three acts, or parts, a la William Shakespeare, and includes a basic synopsis of what happens in each.  It’s simple, it’s familiar, it’s easy to add to, and it get’s the job done. 
    • It starts with Act I – i.e. the set-up, or establishing the status quo – which is usually best if it’s the shortest act, as it tends to bore audiences quickly.  This leads to Act II, typically the longest, which   introduces the disruptor and shows how characters deal with it, and is sandwiched by Act III (the resolution.)  
  • The Chapter-by-Chapter
    • This is the one I use the most.  It allows you to elucidate on the goings on of your novel in greater detail than the quintessential three act synopsis generally could, fully mapping out your manuscript one chapter at a time.  The descriptions can be as simple or as elaborate as you need them to be, and can be added to or edited throughout the progression of your novel.
    • Can easily be added to/combined with the three-act structure.
  • The Character Arc(s)
    • This isn’t one that I’ve used a lot, but it can be a lot of fun, particularly for voice-driven/literary works:  instead on focusing on the events of the plot, this one centralizes predominantly around the arc of your main character/characters.  As with its plot-driven predecessors, it can be in point-by-point/chapter-by-chapter format, and is a great way to map out character development.  
  • The Tent Moments
    • By “tent moments,” I mean the moments that hold up the foundation (i.e. the plot) of the novel, in the way that poles and wires hold up a tent.  This one builds off of the most prevalent moments of the novel – the one’s you’re righting the story around – and is great for writers that want to cut straight to the action.  Write them out in bullet points, and plan the rest of the novel around them.
  • The Mind Map
    • This one’s a lot of fun, and as an artist, I should probably start to use it more.  It allows you to plot out your novel the way you would a family tree, using doodles, illustrations, and symbols to your heart’s content.  Here’s a link to how to create basic mind maps on YouTube.

2.  “Show don’t tell” is probably your strong suit.

If you’re a visual thinker, your scenes are probably at least partially originally construed as movie scenes in your head.  This can be a good thing, so long as you can harness a little of that mental cinematography and make your readers visualize the scenes the way you do.

A lot of published authors have a real big problem with giving laundry lists of character traits rather than allowing me to just see for myself.  Maybe I’m spoiled by the admittedly copious amounts of fanfiction I indulge in, where the writer blissfully assumes that I know the characters already and let’s the personalities and visuals do the talking.  Either way, the pervasive “telling” approach does get tedious.

Here’s a hypothetical example.  Let’s say you wanted to describe a big, tough, scary guy, who your main character is afraid of.  The “tell” approach might go something like this:

Tommy was walking along when he was approached by a big, tough, scary guy who looked sort of angry.

“Hey, kid,” said the guy.  “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to a friend’s house,” Tommy replied.  

I know, right?  This is Boring with a capital ‘B.’  

On the other hand, let’s check out the “show” approach:

The man lumbered towards Tommy, shaved head pink and glistening in the late afternoon sun.  His beady eyes glinted predatorily beneath the thick, angry bushes of his brows.

“Hey, kid,” the man grunted, beefy arms folded over his pot belly.  “Where are you going?” 

“I’m going to a friend’s house,” Tommy replied, hoping the man didn’t know that he was ditching school.

See how much better that is?  We don’t need to be told the man is big, tough, and scary looking because the narrative shows us, and draws the reader a lot more in the process.  

This goes for scene building, too.  For example: 

Exhibit A:

Tyrone stepped out onto his balcony.  It was a beautiful night.

Lame.  

Exhibit B: 

Tyrone stepped out onto his balcony, looking up at the inky abyss of the night sky, dotted with countless stars and illuminated by the buttery white glow of the full moon.

Much better.

3.  But conversely, know when to tell.

A book without any atmosphere or vivid, transformative descriptors tends to be, by and large, a dry and boring hunk of paper.  That said, know when you’re showing the reader a little too much.

Too many descriptors will make your book overflow with purple prose, and likely become a pretentious read that no one wants to bother with.

So when do you “tell” instead of “show?”  Well, for starters, when you’re transitioning from one scene to the next.

For example:

As the second hand of the clock sluggishly ticked along, the sky ever-so-slowly transitioning from cerulean, to lilac, to peachy sunset.  Finally, it became inky black, the moon rising above the horizon and stars appearing by the time Lakisha got home.

These kind of transitions should be generally pretty immemorable, so if yours look like this you may want to revise.

Day turned into evening by the time Lakisha got home. 

See?  It’s that simple.

Another example is redundant descriptions:  if you show the fudge out of a character when he/she/they are first introduced and create an impression that sticks with the reader, you probably don’t have to do it again.  

You can emphasize features that stand out about the character (i.e. Milo’s huge, owline eyes illuminated eerily in the dark) but the reader probably doesn’t need a laundry list of the character’s physical attributes every other sentence.  Just call the character by name, and for God’s sake, stay away from epithets:  the blond man.  The taller woman.  The angel.  Just, no.  If the reader is aware of the character’s name, just say it, or rework the sentence. 

All that said, it is important to instill a good mental image of your characters right off the bat.

Which brings us to my next point…

4.  Master the art of character descriptions.

Visual thinkers tend to have a difficult time with character descriptions, because most of the time, they tend to envision their characters as played their favorite actors, or as looking like characters from their favorite movies or TV shows.

That’s why you’ll occasionally see characters popping up who are described as looking like, say, Chris Evans.  

It’s a personal pet peeve of mine, because A) what if the reader has never seen Chris Evans?  Granted, they’d probably have to be living on Mars, but you get the picture:  you don’t want your readers to have to Google the celebrity you’re thirsting after in order for them to envision your character.  B) It’s just plain lazy, and C) virtually everyone will know that the reason you made this character look like Chris Evans is because you want to bang Chris Evans.  

Not that that’s bad or anything, but is that really what you want to be remembered for?

Now, I’m not saying don’t envision your characters as famous attractive people – hell, that’s one of the paramount joys of being a writer.  But so’s describing people!  Describing characters is a lot of fun, draws in the reader, and really brings your character to life.

So what’s the solution?  If you want your character to look like Chris Evans, describe Chris Evans.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Exhibit A:

The guy got out of the car to make sure Carlos was alright, and holy cow, he looked just like Dean Winchester!

No bueno.  Besides the fact that I’m channeling the writing style of 50 Shades of Grey a little here, everyone who reads this is going to process that you’re basically writing Supernatural fanfiction.  That, or they’ll have to Google who Dean Winchester is, which, again, is no good.

Exhibit B:  

The guy got out of the car to make sure Carlos was alright, his short, caramel blond hair stirring in the chilly wind and a smattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose.  His eyes were wide with concern, and as he approached, Carlos could see that they were gold-tinged, peridot green in the late afternoon sun.

Also note that I’m keeping the description a little vague here;  I’m doing this for two reasons, the first of which being that, in general, you’re not going to want to describe your characters down to the last detail.  Trust me.  It’s boring, and your readers are much more likely to become enamored with a well-written personality than they are a vacant sex doll.  Next, by keeping the description a little vague, I effectively manage to channel a Dean Winchester-esque character without literally writing about Dean Winchester.

Let’s try another example: 

Exhibit A:

Charlotte’s boyfriend looked just like Idris Elba. 

Exhibit B:  

Charlotte’s boyfriend was a stunning man, eyes pensive pools of dark brown amber and a smile so perfect that it could make you think he was deliciously prejudiced in your favor.  His skin was dark copper, textured black hair gray at the temples, and he filled out a suit like no other.

Okay, that one may have been because I just really wanted to describe Idris Elba, but you get the point:  it’s more engaging for the reader to be able to imagine your character instead of mentally inserting some sexy fictional character or actor, however beloved they may be.

So don’t skimp on the descriptions!

5.  Don’t be afraid to find inspiration in other media!

A lot of older people recommend ditching TV completely in order to improve creativity and become a better writer.  Personally, if you’ll pardon my French, I think this is bombastic horseshit.  

TV and cinema are artistic mediums the same way anything else is.  Moreover, the sheer amount of fanart and fanfiction – some of which is legitimately better than most published content – is proof to me that you can derive inspiration from these mediums as much as anything else.

The trick is to watch media that inspires you.  I’m not going to say “good media” because that, in and of itself, is subjective.  I, for example, think Supernatural is a fucking masterpiece of intertextual postmodernism and amazing characterization, whereas someone else might think it’s a hot mess of campy special effects and rambling plotlines.  Conversely, one of my best friends loves Twilight, both the movies and the books, which, I’m going to confess, I don’t get at all.  But it doesn’t matter that it isn’t good to me so long as it’s good to her.   

So watch what inspires you.  Consume any whatever movies, books, and shows you’re enthusiastic about, figure out what you love most about them, and apply that to your writing.  Chances are, readers will find your enthusiasm infectious.

As a disclaimer, this is not to say you get a free pass from reading:  I’ve never met a good writer who didn’t read voraciously.  If you’re concerned that you can’t fall in love with books the way you used to (which, sadly, is a common phenomenon) fear not:  I grappled with that problem after I started college, and I’ll be posting an article shortly on how to fall back in love reading.

So in the meanwhile, be sure to follow my blog, and stay tuned for future content!

(This one goes out to my friend, beta reader, and fellow writer @megpieeee, who is a tremendous visual thinker and whose books will make amazing movies someday.)

give yourself time. accept that this is currently your reality but it won’t always be. know that i’m here for you, and be there for yourself. most important of all, don’t let them convince you that you have no worth, because even if it doesn’t always seem like it you are worth the stars in the sky, the water in the ocean, and all the beauty on the earth.

A Gegenschein Lunar Eclipse : Is there anything interesting to see in the direction opposite the Sun? One night last month, there were quite a few things. First, the red-glowing orb on the lower right of the featured image is the full moon, darkened and reddened because it has entered Earths shadow. Beyond Earths cone of darkness are backscattering dust particles orbiting the Sun that standout with a diffuse glow called the gegenschein, visible as a faint band rising from the central horizon and passing behind the Moon. A nearly horizontal stripe of green airglow is also discernable just above the horizon, partly blocked by blowing orange sand. Visible in the distant sky as the blue dot near the top of the image is the star Sirius, while the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy arches up on the image left and down again on the right. The fuzzy light patches just left of center are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Red emission nebulas too numerous to mention are scattered about the sky, but are labelled in a companion annotated image. In the image foreground is the desolate Deadvlei region of the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, featuring the astrophotographer himself surveying a land and sky so amazing that he described it as one of the top experiences of his life. via NASA

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the types as | space phenomena

ISTP // cosmic ray
high-energy radiation, mainly originating from outside the solar system. upon impact with the earth’s atmosphere, they can produce showers of secondary particles that sometimes reach the surface.

ESTP // solar flare
a sudden flash of brightness observed near the sun’s surface. the flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space.

ISTJ // solar eclipse
an eclipse of the sun happens when the new moon moves between the sun and earth, blocking out the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on parts of earth.

ESTJ // the sun
the star at the centre of our solar system. it is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, and forms the most important source of energy for life on earth.

INFP // supermoon
a full moon that coincides with the closest distance that the moon reaches to earth in its elliptic orbit, resulting in a larger-than-usual size of the lunar disk.

ENFP // galaxy
a system of millions or billions of stars, together with gas and dust, held together by gravitational attraction.

INFJ // lunar eclipse
an eclipse in which the moon appears darkened as it passes into the earth’s shadow. this can occur only when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned with the earth in the middle.

ENFJ // constellation
a group of stars forming a recognisable pattern that is traditionally named after its apparent form or identified with a mythological figure.

ISFJ // saturn’s rings
the rings of saturn are the most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the solar system. although reflection from the rings increases saturn’s brightness, they are not visible from earth with unaided vision.

ESFJ // aurora
an aurora is an incredible light show caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen.

ISFP // winter solstice
an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is at its lowest.

ESFP // meteor shower
a number of meteors that appear to radiate from one point in the sky at a particular date each year, due to the earth regularly passing through them at that position in its orbit.

INTP // nebula
a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter. 

ENTP // galactic wind
composed of photons ejected from large stars, it is a powerful cosmic force that can push interstellar dust clouds into intergalactic space. 

INTJ // black hole
a black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. the gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. this can happen when a star is dying.

ENTJ // a supernova
an astronomical event that occurs during the last stages of a massive star’s life, destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion. this causes the sudden appearance of a “new” bright star.

Supercorp Practical Magic AU in which baby witch Lena Luthor is afraid to fall in love because she’s seen what it does to people, so she casts a true love spell for a person with impossible qualities so that she never will.

Qualities like “Marvelously kind” and “Will hear my call a mile away”.

Cute, ridiculous things like “They can jump higher than a kangaroo,” “They can hold their breath for 6 minutes,” and “Their favorite letter will be an S”. 

(Lena also wishes for them to have a family. A good family. A mother who loves them. “No,” she adds greedily, “two good mothers”.)

But what really gets Lena, in the end- what makes her realize that Supergirl, Kara, is the one that she summoned all those years ago- occurs on the warm summer night that Kara finally convinces Lena to go out on a flight with her.

They fly all across National City- past L-Corp, by the buildings, up above the clouds. She shows Lena some of her favorite places to go, like the hills overlooking the city (Close enough to bask in it’s busy light and yet far enough to be at peace).

Finally, Kara takes her to speed just above the ocean water. 

And as Kara reaches down to skim her hand over the waves, the night sky reflected in the water so clearly that it looks like she’s making ripples across the cosmos itself, Lena remembers her final wish. The final feat that would prevent her heart from falling, because it was impossible.

“They can touch the stars”

I can’t write when I’m happy, most of the time.

It’s an unfortunate affliction, but I’d much rather be happy and empty of words than sad and pouring my heart out onto a piece of paper.


I’d much rather have your arms around me every night than fall asleep next to a phone filled with unsent letters and apologies that are nonsensical and unnecessary. Nostalgia once was a friend of mine.


I feel like I’m floating most days. I can soar high into the atmosphere, high enough to see where the rainbows start and sit on the clouds like they’re thrones. The only thing tethering me to this earth is your hand pressed firmly into mine, fingers intertwined and unflinching in their grasp.


I don’t write very much because it all spills out the same. You are the love of my life, you know this. I need you. I crave you. You’re the air in my lungs and the stars in my sky and I’d pluck every single one down and give all of them to you if you asked me to. But you don’t ask, because you know. You don’t need the stars as long as I’m waiting for you at home every night.


I don’t write because I’m not scared anymore. I’m not afraid to let my love pour out of my mouth and dribble down my chin. It’s messy and half the time I’m buried into your neck, but you listen and love me right back. It’s special.


You told me connections like this are hard to find. I rolled my eyes back then, but I get it now. When two hearts beat in sync, you don’t let that go twice.

—  cut scene: “i can’t find the words to write because i’ve said them all to you already”