remember the days when i used to be great at writing

Rick Riordan won a Stonewall award today

for his second Magnus Chase book, due to the inclusion of the character Alex Fierro who is gender fluid. This was the speech he gave, and it really distills why I love this author and his works so much, and why I will always recommend his works to anyone and everyone.

“Thank you for inviting me here today. As I told the Stonewall Award Committee, this is an honor both humbling and unexpected.

So, what is an old cis straight white male doing up here? Where did I get the nerve to write Alex Fierro, a transgender, gender fluid child of Loki in The Hammer of Thor, and why should I get cookies for that?

These are all fair and valid questions, which I have been asking myself a lot.

I think, to support young LGBTQ readers, the most important thing publishing can do is to publish and promote more stories by LGBTQ authors, authentic experiences by authentic voices. We have to keep pushing for this. The Stonewall committee’s work is a critical part of that effort. I can only accept the Stonewall Award in the sense that I accept a call to action – firstly, to do more myself to read and promote books by LGBTQ authors.

But also, it’s a call to do better in my own writing. As one of my genderqueer readers told me recently, “Hey, thanks for Alex. You didn’t do a terrible job!” I thought: Yes! Not doing a terrible job was my goal!

As important as it is to offer authentic voices and empower authors and role models from within LGBTQ community, it’s is also important that LGBTQ kids see themselves reflected and valued in the larger world of mass media, including my books. I know this because my non-heteronormative readers tell me so. They actively lobby to see characters like themselves in my books. They like the universe I’ve created. They want to be part of it. They deserve that opportunity. It’s important that I, as a mainstream author, say, “I see you. You matter. Your life experience may not be like mine, but it is no less valid and no less real. I will do whatever I can to understand and accurately include you in my stories, in my world. I will not erase you.”

People all over the political spectrum often ask me, “Why can’t you just stay silent on these issues? Just don’t include LGBTQ material and everybody will be happy.” This assumes that silence is the natural neutral position. But silence is not neutral. It’s an active choice. Silence is great when you are listening. Silence is not so great when you are using it to ignore or exclude.

But that’s all macro, ‘big picture’ stuff. Yes, I think the principles are important. Yes, in the abstract, I feel an obligation to write the world as I see it: beautiful because of its variations. Where I can’t draw on personal experience, I listen, I read a lot – in particular I want to credit Beyond Magenta and Gender Outlaws for helping me understand more about the perspective of my character Alex Fierro – and I trust that much of the human experience is universal. You can’t go too far wrong if you use empathy as your lens. But the reason I wrote Alex Fierro, or Nico di Angelo, or any of my characters, is much more personal.

I was a teacher for many years, in public and private school, California and Texas. During those years, I taught all kinds of kids. I want them all to know that I see them. They matter. I write characters to honor my students, and to make up for what I wished I could have done for them in the classroom.

I think about my former student Adrian (a pseudonym), back in the 90s in San Francisco. Adrian used the pronouns he and him, so I will call him that, but I suspect Adrian might have had more freedom and more options as to how he self-identified in school were he growing up today. His peers, his teachers, his family all understood that Adrian was female, despite his birth designation. Since kindergarten, he had self-selected to be among the girls – socially, athletically, academically. He was one of our girls. And although he got support and acceptance at the school, I don’t know that I helped him as much as I could, or that I tried to understand his needs and his journey. At that time in my life, I didn’t have the experience, the vocabulary, or frankly the emotional capacity to have that conversation. When we broke into social skills groups, for instance, boys apart from girls, he came into my group with the boys, I think because he felt it was required, but I feel like I missed the opportunity to sit with him and ask him what he wanted. And to assure him it was okay, whichever choice he made. I learned more from Adrian than I taught him. Twenty years later, Alex Fierro is for Adrian.

I think about Jane (pseudonym), another one of my students who was a straight cis-female with two fantastic moms. Again, for LGBTQ families, San Francisco was a pretty good place to live in the 90s, but as we know, prejudice has no geographical border. You cannot build a wall high enough to keep it out. I know Jane got flack about her family. I did what I could to support her, but I don’t think I did enough. I remember the day Jane’s drama class was happening in my classroom. The teacher was new – our first African American male teacher, which we were all really excited about – and this was only his third week. I was sitting at my desk, grading papers, while the teacher did a free association exercise. One of his examples was ‘fruit – gay.’ I think he did it because he thought it would be funny to middle schoolers. After the class, I asked to see the teacher one on one. I asked him to be aware of what he was saying and how that might be hurtful. I know. Me, a white guy, lecturing this Black teacher about hurtful words. He got defensive and quit, because he said he could not promise to not use that language again. At the time, I felt like I needed to do something, to stand up especially for Jane and her family. But did I make things better handling it as I did? I think I missed an opportunity to open a dialogue about how different people experience hurtful labels. Emmie and Josephine and their daughter Georgina, the family I introduce in The Dark Prophecy, are for Jane.

I think about Amy, and Mark, and Nicholas … All former students who have come out as gay since I taught them in middle school. All have gone on to have successful careers and happy families. When I taught them, I knew they were different. Their struggles were greater, their perspectives more divergent than some of my other students. I tried to provide a safe space for them, to model respect, but in retrospect I don’t think I supported them as well as I could have, or reached out as much as they might have needed. I was too busy preparing lessons on Shakespeare or adjectives, and not focusing enough on my students’ emotional health. Adjectives were a lot easier for me to reconcile than feelings. Would they have felt comfortable coming out earlier than college or high school if they had found more support in middle school? Would they have wanted to? I don’t know. But I don’t think they felt it was a safe option, which leaves me thinking that I did not do enough for them at that critical middle school time. I do not want any kid to feel alone, invisible, misunderstood. Nico di Angelo is for Amy, and Mark and Nicholas.

I am trying to do more. Percy Jackson started as a way to empower kids, in particular my son, who had learning differences. As my platform grew, I felt obliged to use it to empower all kids who are struggling through middle school for whatever reason. I don’t always do enough. I don’t always get it right. Good intentions are wonderful things, but at the end of a manuscript, the text has to stand on its own. What I meant ceases to matter. Kids just see what I wrote. But I have to keep trying. My kids are counting on me.

So thank you, above all, to my former students who taught me. Alex Fierro is for you.

To you, I pledge myself to do better – to apologize when I screw up, to learn from my mistakes, to be there for LGBTQ youth and make sure they know that in my books, they are included. They matter. I am going to stop talking now, but I promise you I won’t stop listening.”

My student submitted the most disturbing “Living History” project I’ve ever seen 

By reddit user gretelcat

One of my least favorite parts about being a middle school history teacher is the bullshit “Living History” assignments we give at the end of every school year. Kids are supposed to sit with their grandparents and video tape, voice record, or transcribe their oldest memories for posterity (and for an easy way to bring up their GPA).

Keep reading

Why Commenting On FanFiction Is Important

Alright kids, Boo here with a hopefully non-arrogant PSA.

I’m a writer of FanFiction because I like it and it’s my preferred genre (also a great way to receive feedback on writing that I can use on originals, bref). But like with most artistic work posted online, I have very little feedback.

When I was in a slightly writing rut, I cranked one shots left and right, nothing out of the ordinary. But instead of people commenting with their thoughts and good feedback, they just gave me requests.

I don’t think I could ever put into words what that felt like, but I’ll try (the irony of being a writer). It suddenly felt tiring, being a writer, and very quickly I stopped writing altogether. I only ever showed my friend what I wrote and left it at that. I haven’t published anything for a while after. It felt like people were treating me like a mule wanting me to do work for them, and I just wasn’t up for that. I lost my will to write, and then I began to think, “If I post something else other than what was requested, will people even read it?”

Then you get the infamous comments, “You haven’t forgotten about my request right??? Here’s another.”

That just adds anxiety and guilt. I’m purposely ignoring the comments to save my own uncreative ass, at least that’s what it feels like.

After weeks of convincing myself that my stories are worth sharing no matter how many people read them, I started writing and publishing again while working on some longer pieces. Slowly it got better.

Now this week, I remembered I joined another fanfiction platform, and realized I had never published anything on it. I had an idea, and so I started writing. It didn’t come out as I imagined it would, but I was so proud? Like, I started feeling happy about what I created again. Like genuine happiness that I haven’t felt in months since my last published work.

A few hours later, I get this comment:

I cranked out three 3k stories after reading this.

In four days.

It never happened before, and I don’t know how many times it will happen again. It was one comment, but it gave me so much fighting spirit that I think I’m on my way to regaining my initial writer mindset.

Fanfiction writers depend on feedback as a validation that their stories matter to people. If you’re wondering why your favourite author hasn’t updated/posted in a while, ask yourself, “Did I do everything that would convince them to continue writing this?”

motivational classics quotes

Hi guys! Here’s a masterpost of some inspirational quotes taken from classical literature that you can use in your bullet journal, planner, or whenever you need some extra motivation! Italicized are some of my favorites that really help me stop procrastinating and get through the day :) 

romans:

seneca:

  • “i will storm the gods, and shake the universe.”
  • “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
  • “if one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”
  • “it is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, but because we do not dare, things are difficult.”
  • “sometimes it is an act of bravery even to live.”

ovid:

  • “nothing is stronger than habit.”
  • “let your hook be always cast. in the pool where you least expect it, will be fish.”
  • “endure and persist; this pain will turn into good by and by.”
  • “what is without periods of rest will not endure.”

virgil:

  • “they can because they think they can.”
  • “let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”
  • “work conquers all.”
  • “practice and thought may forge many an art.”
  • “we cannot all do everything.”

horace:

  • “adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.”
  • “he who has begun has half done. dare to be wise; begin!”
  • “remember when life’s path is steep to keep your mind even.”
  • “mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. it is lovely to be silly at the right moment.”
  • “he who feared that he would not succeed sat still.”

catullus:

  • “often has leisure ruined great kings and fine cities.”
  • “if anything has happened to one who ever yearned and wished but never hoped, that is a rare pleasure of the soul.”
  • “i hate and i love. perhaps you ask why i do this? i do not know, but i feel it happening and i am tortured.”

greeks:

homer:

  • “the fates have given mortals hearts that can endure.”
  • “some of the words you’ll find within yourself, the rest some power will inspire you to say.”
  • “for a friend with an understanding heart is worth no less than a brother.”
  • “there is a time for many words and there is a time also for sleep.”

sappho:

  • “may I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve.”
  • “beauty endures only for as long as it can be seen; goodness, beautiful today, will remain so tomorrow.”
  • “you who judge me, for me you are nothing.”

plato:

  • “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
  • “no one should be discouraged who can make constant progress, even though it be slow.”
  • “music is a moral law. it gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
  • “the first and best victory is to conquer self.”
  • “the beginning is the most important part of the work.”

aristotle:

  • “the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”
  • “pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
  • “poetry demands a man with a special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him.”
  • “we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” (misattributed, but too good to pass up :) )

plutarch:

  • “the mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”
  • “what we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”
  • “to make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.”
  • “painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.”
  • “to find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.”

I hope you find these useful, or at least enjoyed reading through them! Let me know which are your favorites! 

xx, penelope

Tumblr Resources to Get You Through the School Year!

Hi guys!! Thank you all so much for your support!!! Happy 250 (EDIT: I SPENT A DAY ON THIS AND NOW IM PAST 300) and hope you all have a great start to the month! The community is more welcoming with all of you - I haven’t faced negativity from anyone at all. None of these are my posts - but they’ve helped me out a lot. With that said - let’s get started:

For bujos/planners:

This is one of my side blogs, and has tons of inspiration for weekly and monthly spreads, as well as a few aesthetic ideas and how to start one. I update this constantly.

How to start a studyblr - Studyblrs with creative fields

Lighting (for photos)

Study spreads

Planning your month

Printables (the same as some used down there but in a different category):

Weekly printable

To - do printable

Cornell Notes printable

Back to school printables

Daily Planner  @theorganisedstudent

Weekly Planner II @theorganisedstudent

Essay Planner @theorganisedstudent

Assignment Planner @theorganisedstudent

Assignment Tracker

Novel Notes

Plot Diagrams

Correction Sheets

Grid & lined paper

Weekly schedule for studying

Printables masterpost

Exam printable & how to use it

2018 Calender set (by my QUEEN @emmastudies)

For students:

Exams & Studying:

Exam revision guide

How to beat different types of procrastination

How to deal with a crappy teacher (this has to do with studying ig)

Study tips!! (its a masterpost)

Exam Printable & How to Use it

Exam & Homework tips

Coping with hell i mean exams i mean hell

A cool studying outline to try

This is my favorite thing and it’s when to use certain remembering techniques

Correction Sheets

Memorization tips for different learners

Weekly study schedule

More sites to use in normal studying routines

How to study smarter and not harder

Study smarter II

Exam printable & how to use it

Self discipline 

Study methods

Hoe tips for school and studying

Studying masterpoint

Tips and tricks to studying

Study tip - so easy

How to stay organized to study

Note - Taking:

Lecture notes

How i set up flash cards (these are nice to study from but be determined to finish setting them up)

Nifty highlighting idea (this post is so old)

Highlighting idea that i actually use

How to take Cornell Notes

Cornell style notes printable (gridded)

Notebook paper (grid & lined)

Tips for pretty notes!!

How to take notes

Notes for different classes

Life, man & general school stuff:

Back - to -school guide

Things I learned as a college freshman

Get ORGANIZED

Textbooks are expensive so here’s some free ones…

Tips for working students that sound extra but may work for u ily don’t overwork urselves

Masterpost for motivation and stuff

Get ur life together again bc haha i stay organized for like a day anyway

School supplies that u should have just to stay minimal

Grad school tips

Organization masterpost

Productive afterschool routine

30 websites to kill boredom

Back to school masterpost

Get confident in presentations

Overcome procrastination

Succeeding in school masterpost

For bad days 

For bad days II

A GOOD MASTERPOST for getting ur life together 

General school tips 

Free online courses

GOOD POWERPOINT TIPS

Sites to learns stuff

More learning stuff sites

Dealing with a trashy class

Study resources masterpost

Summer Productivity

Summer life tips

PLEASE READ THIS THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT MASTERPOST 

Honest guide to college 

University tips

SCHOOL MINDSET

What to do on Sundays

Back to school masterpost

Useful things for going back to school

How to clean your house

Cute self care tips!

More self care tips

Plant care tips!

English:

A handy list of words to fit into ur essays

How to write an article like a journalist

Words to replace over-used words

ESSAY STRUCTURE IDEA this is in bold so u losers don’t miss this bc it’s not just for English u nerds

Get gucci while reading and be an active reader

Get gud reading them academic articles amigo

Words to replace “the author or whatever shows…” bc that is baby writing and i accidentally used that on an essay and i failed so

Novel notes

Plot Diagrams

Reading Lists

Literary techniques (what themes, personifications, metaphors are etc)

Discussing in English

How to top a literature class

Literature class masterpost

Strong/weak verbs

More essay tips!!

MLA format - a how to

ESSAY GRADER.

How to avoid essay cliches

Chemistry (I’m taking chem so i have a few resources aha)

Da terms on exam papers

Chemistry resources masterpost

Cute periodic tables

Study chapters

History/Social Studies

How to write a history paper

AP world history powerpoints masterpost

Math 

General tips

Resources

Understanding math masterpost

Test Prep

PSAT I

PSAT II

ACT tips!

100 words for the SATs (start studying early!!)


Thank you so much for the support! I couldn’t have done it without all of you. A simple reblog or like will help others see these tips, and will be very appreciated. I hope these links work - feel free to message me with questions and other links!! A possible part 2 might come out at the end of august, and one for languages!!!

Bon Voyage S2 Ep.8 - BTS’ letters to each other

YOONGI → SEOKJIN

“To. Jinjinjara, Seokjin-hyung!!

It’s your forever roommate, Suga.

Can you believe I have known you for 7 years… I remember when I met you for the first time. I’m surprised and amazed that the one who used to look so upright and kind… has become very bright and cheerful these days. I believe it’s because you’re with us. It seems like just yesterday you were nervous and not confident when you had to sing and perform on stage, but seeing your performance these days makes me think you sing really well. It’s no doubt the result of working hard for a long time. Even though I have been watching you for a long time, it still touched me how you secretly work hard to make up what you lack in. I thought of you as a hyung whom I have a lot to learn from. Let’s keep going together for a long time in the future too.

P.S: But I hope you can act your age.”

SEOKJIN → JUNGKOOK

“To. JK

Hi JK, it’s hyung.

I’m always thankful to you. Thanks for having the same mental age as this 26-year-old hyung. And traveling with you this time made me feel this once again. Your fists are really strong. I will be good to you, don’t hit me, got it? And your face got tanned a lot. As I’m your hyung I’ll give you facial masks when we get back to Korea. Calm your skin and yourself as well, stop lying on my bed. You keep lying on my bed when I’m not there and send me your selfies. If you do that one more time, your face may have got tanned in Hawaii, but I’ll throw you into the fire pit in Korea. And by “fire pit” I mean my firey heart. You can come into my big embrace. Thanks for always becoming our team’s teacher and energizer. To Jungkook who’s kind and handsome and strong and has nice body and big eyes and sings well and dances well, I love you.”

JUNGKOOK → NAMJOON

“To. Namjoonie-hyung

Hi hyung, it’s our team’s maknae, Jungkook.

I’m not the type to write letters often so I don’t know where to start, but I’ll try this time. This is something I always think about every day, but I really am inspired a lot by our team. Although I’m inspired by all 7 members, but I’m especially inspired the most by you. I always want to do a lot of things but can’t stick to them long, like how you guys always joke with me. But gradually, it feels like I really became that kind of person. When you work, talk about music, compose or speak in English, I feel like I grew a sense of confidence and passion. I know it must be tired for you, but please keep showing me your that cool side of yours in the future. I will keep following you from behind. You are a really awesome person.”

TAEHYUNG → JIMIN

“To Jimin.

Hi Jimin.

It cringes me a little to write a serious letter to you like this, but I’ll try. Hope you understand. When we were trainees, we came to Seoul without knowing anything. We would wake up, put on uniforms, go to school together, eating together after school ends, go to the practice room together, go back to the dorm together, and chat together at night. 6 years passed and unknowingly, you have become my dearest precious friend. There was a time before we debuted when you were anxious because of the debut. I had a meeting with the company at that time. They asked me “What would it be if Jimin was on the team?”. After thinking for a while, I said, “There’s no one who’s by my side when I’m tired or happy to laugh and cry with me but Jimin. I hope such a friend could be by my side. I want us to debut together.” It felt good to say that. I’m happy that we was able debut together and make lots of good memories. And sorry, because I’m always the one who take. Even know, you still cry with me when I cry in the bathroom, laugh with me when we sneak out at dawn, care about me and think of me, work hard because of me and understand me, listen to my worries, liking someone who’s lacking so much like me. Let’s keep walking together on the flower path for a long time. I love you, my friend.”

NAMJOON → TAEHYUNG

“Taehyung-ah.

So my first letter is to you. I have mixed emotions. Like the pebbles on the beach we saw in Hawaii, it’s hard to pick out what I want to say to you. Maybe it’s because we’re cherishing so many memories and so many moments like the sea we saw? I thought of the time when I first met you. Seeing you following your father, roaming around the dorm with big eyes and pouty lips, I already felt it from first sight. “This kid will be a rascal”. I remember how anxious you were before we debuted. Your unique and strange character is so vague that I sometimes questioned what’s in you that helped you endure all the way here. But as time passes and I mature more, I learned that even I, who I myself thought was the most normal, am quite strange and unique like an alien. I was drawn by your strangeness. Sometimes I really envy you. Because you can get close easily to anyone and everyone likes you. Your strangeness proved to be your unique charm. It may sound cringeworthy, but as a friend, a hyung who have been with you from the beginning of your trainee journey to now, I wanted to say thank you to you. Thank you for not becoming a farmer, not playing saxophone and came to Big Hit instead. Let’s keep up the good work. Fighting.”

HOSEOK → YOONGI

“To. My bro Suga
From. J-hope

Hi hyung? It’s Hoseok.

Without realizing, we have been together for 7 years, including our trainee days. When I first moved to the dorm, I was awkward and unfamiliar with everything, so I only stayed in the living room, but you came and talk to me first, helped me relax. I still can’t forget that time. You were like the savior to me, a Gwangju kid. Always by my side when I’m hurt, always by my side when I’m sad. You’re always there to support me and become my strength when I’m tired or exhausted. When I was tired from seasickness in Bon Voyage 2 this time, the first one I saw after opening my eyes was you. I couldn’t say then but I was really grateful to you. Through this letter and this chance, I want to tell you again that my gratitude to you is as great as the time we spent together. Hyung, thank you for becoming a member of BTS, thank you for becoming my dependable brother. Please keep staying by my side forever. I love my bro.”

JIMIN → HOSEOK

“To. Hoseokie-hyung

This wasn’t my first letter to you so I thought it wouldn’t be hard, but it was indeed not easy. I’m nervous. You’re the one whom I talk and share a lot with so think you’ll know well what I think and what I want to say. What do I think when I see you? “This person is really truthful and sincere”, “This person is really upright and kind”. You are probably the first one that made me understand a person can become this cool just by being truthful and sincere. As your brother and fellow member, I have a lot to learn from you. I wanted to tell you that I know you are always working hard to take care of us and I’m always sincerely thankful to you. Thank you, hyung. I hope you can take care of your body and stop worrying too much. To my hyung who I’m always thankful for, I love you.”

My First One Star Review on AirBnB

Story by shawk11/reddit

Buckle up boys and girls. My buddy and I just experienced some grade-A Creepyshit while on a trip to Red Rocks in Colorado. I write a lot of things down anyway and so I figured I might as well post the story here and see what you guys think.

So who here has used AirBnB? raises hand. I think I’ve used it no less than twenty times. All great experiences up until this point, seriously.

Keep reading

Some things you can keep track of as a witch:

🌙 Your moon cycle (also known as your period). If you’re into the self-love side of witchcraft and want to focus more on your body and it’s wants and needs, you might want to think about keeping track of your period. You can then create spells, rituals and meditations that correspond with the moon phase and day(s) that you’re menstruating. <— this is obviously for those that are menstruating.

🌻 Your garden. If you have a garden (even if it’s just 3 little baby herb plants in your window, hey a garden is a garden) keep track of how well your plants or herbs are doing. Write down when you water them, how much sunlight (and moonlight, if that’s your thing) they got. You could even write down any emotional vibes you’re getting from your garden. 

🔮 Your spells and rituals. Keeping track of your spells doesn’t just help you remember when you did what spell and what it was for, but it also allows you to go back and write in how well that spell worked out for you. And if it worked out well, because you kept track of it, you’ll know how to use it again in the future.

💰 Witchy buys. This is important if, like me, you tend to do a little bit of overspending on all the witchy supplies. But since I started to keep track of what I’m buying, using and not using, I’ve saved a ton of money on unnecessary things.

🙏 Gratitude. Keep a growing list of all the things you’re grateful for. It’s great to look back on in the future and it helps you keep perspective of your own life and spiritual journey.

🍵 Your tea. Okay, this is just something I do but I love to keep track of all the different teas I try. I think tea is considered a very witchy drink and therefore some of us are a little more serious about our tea drinking lol. But I just love taping in the little packaging, that my tea came in, into my journal and writing a little bit about it and how it made me feel and what it made me think about.

🌦️ The weather. This is important, to me, because I believe the weather can affect us and how we feel, think and behave. I like to have a record of what the weather was like when I casted a spell, did a ritual or did a reading so I can go back later and see if I feel that might have affected the outcomes.

How I Got Straight A’s in My First Year of University

I was so proud of myself when I received firsts (that’s A’s for those not attending uni in the UK) on all of my assessments in my first year at university. Here are some tips for y’all to try at any point in university. They may be specific at times to my experience—my degree is in the social sciences and humanities, and I’m studying in the UK—but I did try to make them more generally applicable, and hopefully they should be helpful to someone out there.

Part One: Everyday Study Routine

  1. Before the start of the academic year, try to get in a little bit of preparation. See if there are any syllabi or reading lists posted online. You don’t have to pour over them, of course, but do attempt to do something, and have a basic grasp on what will be covered in your classes.
  2. Go to all your lectures and seminars. Unless you absolutely have to miss class because you are ill or have an important obligation to take care of, it’s really important to attend your lectures every day. (Note: if you are struggling with mental or chronic illness or a disability, don’t beat yourself up if you keep missing class. Please take care of yourself.) You may be tempted to just look at the PowerPoint presentation online, but it’s much more effective to be there in person. Often the lecturer may include information or extra explanations which are not included in the presentation. It will also allow you to process the information aurally as well as visually, and you will have the added benefit of taking notes too. You may also be able to ask questions.
  3. Do all the pre-reading for lectures. I know it’s tempting to put it off, but try to work it into your daily routine (because you will have reading to do every day). Inevitably, there will be times where you slip up and don’t have time to finish. If this happens, make sure you catch up on it at some point, because it’s very important to solidifying the concepts you are learning about. Also, the more you read in general, the better you will become at reading (and also writing).
  4. Take diligent notes (for both your lectures and pre-reading), and keep them organized. I prefer to handwrite in a notebook, as it helps me synthesize information rather than just typing it out verbatim—but it is totally up to you. If you do use a notebook, make a table of contents on the first page, where you write the date, topic, class, and page numbers of each set of notes you take. I think it’s a great idea to include your own thoughts and opinions in notes, or linking concepts you are learning to concepts you already know about.
  5. If you have the time, make sure to be reading books/essays/articles and engaging with ideas outside of your regular syllabus. This is one of the most important techniques (in my experience, at least) when it comes to writing essays and answering exam questions. Evidence of wider reading around a topic is a great way to boost the credibility of your argument. It also does wonders to solidify and broaden your conceptualization of certain ideas you may have covered in your classes.
  6. Where possible, try to contribute (as much as you feel comfortable) in seminars. If you are very quiet and reserved, that is totally okay too. I’m with you. But it has helped me tremendously in the past year to push myself to speak up more often in seminars. Talking in seminars allows you to clarify concepts and engage more deeply with the material being discussed (and it might impress your seminar tutor too, though this is secondary to the learning in my opinion).
  7. If you have some nerdy-ass friends, talk with them about your ideas and what you’re both learning in your courses. I can’t tell you the number of essays I’ve written which actually have blossomed out of conversations I’ve had with friends, where they’ve exposed me to topics I’d never heard of before or broadened my view of a concept. Learning from each other in a casual and fun setting is amazing!

Part Two: Assessment Time

  1. When you are given notice about big assignments coming up, such as essays or group projects, try to start working on them ASAP. Trust me, I know how hard it is. This is coming from someone who has dealt for years with chronic procrastination issues and nearly didn’t graduate from high school because of it. But you must start planning as soon as you possibly can, because the due date will come screaming up and before you know it, it’ll be the night before the deadline and you won’t have a clue what you’re writing about. Work it into your daily schedule if you have to. One great tip is to write down the deadline as being earlier (say, a week earlier) than what it actually is. This will prompt you to start earlier than you normally would have.
  2. Do a shitload of reading, widely, from multiple sources. Read everything you can on the topic you are doing your assignment on. For a basic literature review, this means looking through at least 20+ sources. That doesn’t mean carefully perusing each one front to back; it means looking through all the relevant literature to find a few great sources which will really give you a coherent argument and a big picture of the topic at hand.
  3. Keep your sources organized. I use Paperpile, which is a Chrome extension that allows you to save and organize academic sources. I make a folder for each assessment I am working on, and anything I find relevant to my topic, I save it to the folder. This will be a life saver for you when you actually go to plan your paper and also do the referencing.
  4. Content is important, but perhaps even more important is your argument and structure. This mostly applies to essays, but you can apply it to other types of assessments too. Try not to structure your argument in terms of blocks of content—e.g. Paragraph 1 is about Topic A, Paragraph 2 is about Topic B—but rather in terms of how you are laying out your argument. Make sure each part of your essay flows into the next, so that you are, for example, setting up a kind of dialogue or narrative between the different sources you’re using. Also ensure that any point you are making clearly relates back to your main thesis.
  5. If you’re a perfectionist like me: train yourself to remember that there is no such thing as perfect. Try to imagine what the perfect essay would be like. Can you imagine it? It’s probably pretty difficult, right? That’s because there is no such thing as a perfect assignment. Remind yourself of this, constantly. Tell yourself that you will be okay with just doing your very best. If you think about it logically: handing in something that is perhaps not your best ever, but handing it in on time and doing pretty well, is infinitely better than attempting to have a “perfect” essay but handing it in late and failing the assignment.

I hope this helped some of you! Best of luck and happy studying this year—go knock ‘em out! xo

Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully - in Ten Minutes

by Stephen King
(reprinted in Sylvia K. Burack, ed. The Writer’s Handbook. Boston, MA: Writer, Inc., 1988: 3-9)

I. The First Introduction

THAT’S RIGHT. I know it sounds like an ad for some sleazy writers’ school, but I really am going to tell you everything you need to pursue a successful and financially rewarding career writing fiction, and I really am going to do it in ten minutes, which is exactly how long it took me to learn.  It will actually take you twenty minutes or so to read this essay, however, because I have to tell you a story, and then I have to write a second introduction.  But these, I argue, should not count in the ten minutes.



II. The Story, or, How Stephen King Learned to Write

When I was a sophomore in high school, I did a sophomoric thing which got me in a pot of fairly hot water, as sophomoric didoes often do.  I wrote and published a small satiric newspaper called The Village Vomit.  In this little paper I lampooned a number of teachers at Lisbon (Maine) High School, where I was under instruction.  These were not very gentle lampoons; they ranged from the scatological to the downright cruel

Eventually, a copy of this little newspaper found its way into the hands of a faculty member, and since I had been unwise enough to put my name on it (a fault, some critics argue, of which I have still not been entirely cured), I was brought into the office. The sophisticated satirist had by that time reverted to what he really was: a fourteen-year-old kid who was shaking in his boots and wondering if he was going to get a suspension … what we called “a three-day vacation” in those dim days of 1964.

I wasn’t suspended. I was forced to make a number of apologies - they were warranted, but they still tasted like dog-dirt in my mouth - and spent a week in detention hall. And the guidance counselor arranged what he no doubt thought of as a more constructive channel for my talents. This was a job - contingent upon the editor’s approval - writing sports for the Lisbon Enterprise, a twelve-page weekly of the sort with which any small-town resident will be familiar. This editor was the man who taught me everything I know about writing in ten minutes. His name was John Gould - not the famed New England humorist or the novelist who wrote The Greenleaf Fires, but a relative of both, I believe.

He told me he needed a sports writer and we could “try each other out” if I wanted.

I told him I knew more about advanced algebra than I did sports.

Gould nodded and said, “You’ll learn.”

I said I would at least try to learn. Gould gave me a huge roll of yellow paper and promised me a wage of 1/2¢ per word. The first two pieces I wrote had to do with a high school basketball game in which a member of my school team broke the Lisbon High scoring record. One of these pieces was straight reportage. The second was a feature article.

I brought them to Gould the day after the game, so he’d have them for the paper, which came out Fridays. He read the straight piece, made two minor corrections, and spiked it. Then he started in on the feature piece with a large black pen and taught me all I ever needed to know about my craft. I wish I still had the piece - it deserves to be framed, editorial corrections and all - but I can remember pretty well how it looked when he had finished with it. Here’s an example:

(note: this is before the edit marks indicated on King’s original copy)

Last night, in the well-loved gymnasium of Lisbon High School, partisans and Jay Hills fans alike were stunned by an athletic performance unequaled in school history: Bob Ransom, known as “Bullet” Bob for both his size and accuracy, scored thirty-seven points. He did it with grace and speed … and he did it with an odd courtesy as well, committing only two personal fouls in his knight-like quest for a record which has eluded Lisbon thinclads since 1953….

(after edit marks)

Last night, in the Lisbon High School gymnasium, partisans and Jay Hills fans alike were stunned by an athletic performance unequaled in school history: Bob Ransom scored thirty-seven points. He did it with grace and speed … and he did it with an odd courtesy as well, committing only two personal fouls in his quest for a record which has eluded Lisbon’s basketball team since 1953….

When Gould finished marking up my copy in the manner I have indicated above, he looked up and must have seen something on my face. I think he must have thought it was horror, but it was not: it was revelation.

“I only took out the bad parts, you know,” he said. “Most of it’s pretty good.”

“I know,” I said, meaning both things: yes, most of it was good, and yes, he had only taken out the bad parts. “I won’t do it again.”

“If that’s true,” he said, “you’ll never have to work again. You can do this for a living.” Then he threw back his head and laughed.

And he was right; I am doing this for a living, and as long as I can keep on, I don’t expect ever to have to work again.



III. The Second Introduction

All of what follows has been said before. If you are interested enough in writing to be a purchaser of this magazine, you will have either heard or read all (or almost all) of it before. Thousands of writing courses are taught across the United States each year; seminars are convened; guest lecturers talk, then answer questions, then drink as many gin and tonics as their expense-fees will allow, and it all boils down to what follows.

I am going to tell you these things again because often people will only listen - really listen - to someone who makes a lot of money doing the thing he’s talking about. This is sad but true. And I told you the story above not to make myself sound like a character out of a Horatio Alger novel but to make a point: I saw, I listened, and I learned. Until that day in John Gould’s little office, I had been writing first drafts of stories which might run 2,500 words. The second drafts were apt to run 3,300 words. Following that day, my 2,500-word first drafts became 2,200-word second drafts. And two years after that, I sold the first one.

So here it is, with all the bark stripped off. It’ll take ten minutes to read, and you can apply it right away…if you listen.



IV. Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully

1.  BE TALENTED
This, of course, is the killer.  What is talent?  I can hear someone shouting, and here we are, ready to get into a discussion right up there with “what is the meaning of life?” for weighty pronouncements and total uselessness.  For the purposes of the beginning writer, talent may as well be defined as eventual success - publication and money.  If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

Now some of you are really hollering.  Some of you are calling me one crass money-fixated creep.  And some of you are calling me bad names.  Are you calling Harold Robbins talented?  someone in one of the Great English Departments of America is screeching.  V.C. Andrews?  Theodore Dreiser?  Or what about you, you dyslexic moron?

Nonsense.  Worse than nonsense, off the subject.  We’re not talking about good or bad here.  I’m interested in telling you how to get your stuff published, not in critical judgments of who’s good or bad.  As a rule the critical judgments come after the check’s been spent, anyway.  I have my own opinions, but most times I keep them to myself.  People who are published steadily and are paid for what they are writing may be either saints or trollops, but they are clearly reaching a great many someones who want what they have.  Ergo, they are communicating.  Ergo, they are talented.  The biggest part of writing successfully is being talented, and in the context of marketing, the only bad writer is one who doesn’t get paid.  If you’re not talented, you won’t succeed.  And if you’re not succeeding, you should know when to quit.

When is that?  I don’t know.  It’s different for each writer.  Not after six rejection slips, certainly, nor after sixty.  But after six hundred?  Maybe.  After six thousand?  My friend, after six thousand pinks, it’s time you tried painting or computer programming.

Further, almost every aspiring writer knows when he is getting warmer - you start getting little jotted notes on your rejection slips, or personal letters…maybe a commiserating phone call.  It’s lonely out there in the cold, but there are encouraging voices…unless there is nothing in your words which warrants encouragement.  I think you owe it to yourself to skip as much of the self-illusion as possible.  If your eyes are open, you’ll know which way to go…or when to turn back.

2.  BE NEAT
Type.  Double-space.  Use a nice heavy white paper, never that erasable onion-skin stuff.  If you’ve marked up your manuscript a lot, do another draft.

3.  BE SELF-CRITICAL
If you haven’t marked up your manuscript a lot, you did a lazy job.  Only God gets things right the first time.  Don’t be a slob.

4.  REMOVE EVERY EXTRANEOUS WORD
You want to get up on a soapbox and preach?  Fine.  Get one and try your local park.  You want to write for money?  Get to the point.  And if you remove all the excess garbage and discover you can’t find the point, tear up what you wrote and start all over again…or try something new.

5.  NEVER LOOK AT A REFERENCE BOOK WHILE DOING A FIRST DRAFT You want to write a story?  Fine.  Put away your dictionary, your encyclopedias, your World Almanac, and your thesaurus.  Better yet, throw your thesaurus into the wastebasket.  The only things creepier than a thesaurus are those little paperbacks college students too lazy to read the assigned novels buy around exam time.  Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  You think you might have misspelled a word?  O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right - and breaking your train of thought and the writer’s trance in the bargain - or just spell it phonetically and correct it later.  Why not?  Did you think it was going to go somewhere?  And if you need to know the largest city in Brazil and you find you don’t have it in your head, why not write in Miami, or Cleveland?  You can check it…but laterWhen you sit down to write, write.  Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.

6.  KNOW THE MARKETS
Only a dimwit would send a story about giant vampire bats surrounding a high school to McCall’s.  Only a dimwit would send a tender story about a mother and daughter making up their differences on Christmas Eve to Playboy…but people do it all the time.  I’m not exaggerating; I have seen such stories in the slush piles of the actual magazines.  If you write a good story, why send it out in an ignorant fashion?  Would you send your kid out in a snowstorm dressed in Bermuda shorts and a tank top?  If you like science fiction, read the magazines.  If you want to write confession stories, read the magazines.  And so on.  It isn’t just a matter of knowing what’s right for the present story; you can begin to catch on, after awhile, to overall rhythms, editorial likes and dislikes, a magazine’s entire slant.  Sometimes your reading can influence the next story, and create a sale.

7.  WRITE TO ENTERTAIN
Does this mean you can’t write “serious fiction”?  It does not.  Somewhere along the line pernicious critics have invested the American reading and writing public with the idea that entertaining fiction and serious ideas do not overlap.  This would have surprised Charles Dickens, not to mention Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Bernard Malamud, and hundreds of others.  But your serious ideas must always serve your story, not the other way around.  I repeat: if you want to preach, get a soapbox.

8.  ASK YOURSELF FREQUENTLY, AM I HAVING FUN?”
The answer needn’t always be yes.  But if it’s always no, it’s time for a new project or a new career.

9.  HOW TO EVALUATE CRITICISM
Show your piece to a number of people - ten, let us say.  Listen carefully to what they tell you.  Smile and nod a lot.  Then review what was said very carefully.  If your critics are all telling you the same thing about some facet of your story - a plot twist that doesn’t work, a character who rings false, stilted narrative, or half a dozen other possibles - change that facet.  It doesn’t matter if you really liked that twist of that character; if a lot of people are telling you something is wrong with you piece, it is.  If seven or eight of them are hitting on that same thing, I’d still suggest changing it.  But if everyone - or even most everyone - is criticizing something different, you can safely disregard what all of them say.

10.  OBSERVE ALL RULES FOR PROPER SUBMISSION
Return postage, self-addressed envelope, all of that.

11.  AN AGENT?  FORGET IT.  FOR NOW
Agents get 10% of monies earned by their clients.  10% of nothing is nothing.  Agents also have to pay the rent.  Beginning writers do not contribute to that or any other necessity of life.  Flog your stories around yourself.  If you’ve done a novel, send around query letters to publishers, one by one, and follow up with sample chapters and/or the manuscript complete.  And remember Stephen King’s First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don’t need one until you’re making enough for someone to steal…and if you’re making that much, you’ll be able to take your pick of good agents.

12.  IF IT’S BAD, KILL IT
When it comes to people, mercy killing is against the law.  When it comes to fiction, it is the law.



That’s everything you need to know.  And if you listened, you can write everything and anything you want.  Now I believe I will wish you a pleasant day and sign off.

My ten minutes are up.

1/5 back to school 2017 masterposts

school is starting soon (or has already started) and i also wanted to somehow thank you guys for 7k in a way other than the usual blog rate or blog awards. keep a look out for the other 4!

this is a collab with @studyruels. his masterpost is on making an aftetschool routine which you can check out here!

now, i’m naturally a morning person. i just am, and i always have been. no matter how late i go to bed my body thinks it’s a great idea to noT sleep in and wake up at 6 am every day (’: here are a few things i do to make it a little easier and enjoy my mornings!

1. GO TO BED EARLY. this is honestly a no brainer but STOP SPENDING HOURS ON YOUR PHONE WTH like it’s so harmful for your eyes and your mind and your brain and your body will thank you in the morning when your eyes aren’t burning with exhaustion. 

1.a. when i decided to stop being an irresponsible smol child who tried to stay up every night, i started setting alarms for going to sleep. so like at 9:00 (ok ik thats pretty early but thats usually when i go to bed), or maybe that’ll be like 10:00 or 10:30 for you so that you can go to bed around 11. but anyways, when you hear this alarm, it’s time to get off of your phone or laptop (-: send your gn streaks and texts, close insta (log out if u have to), and shut it all down. soon after, you will start to notice how tired you actually are without all that blue light distracting you !!!

2. read! this is a personal favorite just because i’m a huge nerd but reading right before bed is just killing 2 birds with one stone: you’re exercising your mind and subconsciously improving your writing skills (vocabulary and grammar) while making yourself very tired!! if you think reading, especially at night, is boring, you aren’t reading the right books for you.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3. prepare yourself for the morning so it seems less dreadful. OPEN YOUR BLINDS BEFORE BED JUST DO IT OMG you will wake up with the sun. do a little miniclean of your room before bed so you’re not waking up to yesterday’s disaster. make your coffee the night before and leave it in the fridge if you like it iced in the morning. plan out what you’re going to wear tomorrow, as well as your lunch. shower (so u sleep better and/or dont have to do it in the morning) and brush your teeth. pamper yourself. set up fairy lights. just do anything that will cause you to wake up and go “jeez glad i did that last night; now i have more time and peace of mind”. 

4. find something to look forward to in the morning. this might be going to get coffee or tea with a friend in the morning, getting to wear the cute outfit and eat the delicious lunch that you prepped last night, or remembering that you’re going to see a movie after school. whatever it may be, let it motivate you to get up and start your day as soon as possible. 

5. turn off/disable snooze. do it. if your alarm app can’t do this, install an app that can. i also like to set up my alarm so that i have to do some challenging mental math to turn it off. 

5.a. make your alarm something that will cause you to get up. it doesn’t necessarily have to be something really annoying. it can be something upbeat and light that puts you in a good mood for the day. however, if you’re a really heavy sleeper then you might want to make it some obnoxious and loud sound so that you will be motivated just to get out of bed and turn it off. 

6. put your phone across the room. we’ve all heard of this one but most of us are too lazy to do it. at night, when you whip out that book, log off all your social media and then put your phone somewhere so far that you’ll have to physically get out of bed and turn off the alarm.

7. make your bed suit your aesthetic. this derives from the basic “make your bed” tip. sure, you can make your bed, and sure, it might motivate you to not get back in. but if you really struggle with this, buy one of those prepackaged bed sets that has a nice color scheme. once you make your bed, you’re not going to want to ruin that aesthetic tbh

8. keep a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends!! i’m not saying you have to wake up at 6 am even on saturdays, but don’t go from waking up at 6 to waking up at 12. maybe push your wake up time to 8:30 or 9 latest on the weekends. as you get used to waking early (and sleeping early, too!) you can slowly push back your weekend wake up time earlier and earlier until it’s almost identical to the time you wake up when you have school.


i hope this helps! good luck with this school year, everyone!

How i study languages

A couple of days ago @bonbonlanguage asked if i have a post about what i do in order to learn a new language so i thought i should try to make a post about that.

The beginning

As a beginner i always do the same stuff. I research a couple of apps or i just see if my favourite choices have a version for my target language. Usually i use: 

Memrise
Fun Easy Learn
9000 words
50Languages
HiNative
babbel, busuu (rarely but i still have them on my phone)

+some sites and specific apps only for my target language

I choose a grammar book and i take notes from from it. So far i chose books from 3 collections: Teach Yourself, Colloquial and For Dummies.

How i take notes from a book

I ignore the excercises, in my notebook you will see only grammar notes and sometimes irregular verbs at the end, but you will never see exercises. (i’ll say later what i do with the exercises)
If the book has a pretty good structure, i just copy what’s in there. (when i say good structure i mean that i can’t extract main ideas or just a formula              e.g. stem+ending)
The theory is written in black or blue, the examples are written with a pencil and if there is a keyword, i highlight it. When i have languages with articles based on the gender of the words, like French, i use a pink and a light blue pen so when i study the articles i can see the difference. 
Now, i said that in my notebook you won’t see exercises, true, that’s because i solve them on another notebook or just on a blank sheet of paper. If your book has exercises after the grammar lesson, solve them. If half of them are wrong, you will take a break of 1-2 days (in which you will study the grammar rules) and when you feel prepared, you solve again those exercises. (you are allowed to have mistakes but try to have at least 70% of the exercises correct).
What i do after i finish a book
After i finish that grammar book, i take another one. However, this time i don’t copy-paste like i did the first time. I read what informations are there and if there are new rules/exceptions, i just write them on a sticky note and add it to my notebook. After i finish my 2nd book i usually move on to the next stage but if i feel that i missed out something, i take a 3rd book and do what i did with the 2nd one.
As a beginner i have the habit to read my notes once a week, as an intermediate learner i rarely do that.

Don’t understand that as a beginner you only take notes! Sometimes when i get bored i just study on memrise/vocabulary app and that sometimes can last 1 week, sometimes 2. I even like to use InternetPolyglot with my target language and an old target language. (e.g. I learn new words in Spanish through Danish) 

After i have a proper notebook

Usually when i finish my book and i add all the exceptions/rules that i found in the 2nd book i also have learned 1.500-2.000 words in that period of time so i want to test my skills.

When i feel confident enough, i start using duolingo. I use it as a test tool, not as a learning one! I take the shortcuts and usually in 2 days i finish a tree. (at the last part of the tree you don’t have a shortcut for everything so you just have to take the shortcut of every skill there which gets boring)

Since Duolingo is pretty advanced with his lessons, at the end i can consider myself a B1 learner. (if you have an amazing memory and skills, you can say you are B2, but Duolingo can’t get you further than that)

The intermediate stage

Whoever followed my blog for a while knows that i have 2 nightmares in my language learning journey, the intermediate stage and the irregular verbs.

For how to overcome a plateau in the intermediate stage i made a post here. (sooner or later you will hit a plateau)

Back to what i do. No book anymore, duolingo is done, this is the moment when i start to use my skills. If i didn’t use 50Languages as a beginner, i use it now. It has 100 audios so i use them to get used to the sound of the words in case i don’t know them and i also use it as a resources to learn new words. On Memrise i try to find advanced/intermediate and i use 9000 words and Fun Easy Learn. 

At this level the main problem is the lack of vocabulary so i try to learn as many new words as i can. However, since using apps can get boring after a while, i use the classic method of learning vocabulary, reading.

How i memorize/learn new words

Most of the time i just use apps/sites. However, everyone had moments when we couldn’t remember a word regardless of how many times we tried to memorize it. When i have to deal with this, i usually make a mnemonic. (e.g. afslutte = to finish, to end, to conclude; in order to remember the meaning i think at a key sentence: If you don’t study you’ll END up as a slut. [harsh example, i know, but it stays in my mind])

If my mnemonic method doesn’t work, i write the word a couple of times, sometimes with my left hand too since i focus more then. (i’m right-handed) and if i still can’t remember the meaning, i’ll start making some sentences where i’ll use that word.

How i read in my target language

Just as a side note, if i feel confident with my skills (that has happened only once) i read books, if not, i read comics until i feel confident enough to try books.

I have 2 methods because sometimes the first one doesn’t work. So, for French i just read and try to guess the meaning of a word and if i can’t, then i search it. Why i do this for French? It’s easier somehow and i can guess the meaning very well. Sometimes i even highlight words and search the meaning later just to analyze them more.

However, this method doesn’t work on Danish. For Danish i have to read once the entire paragraph and then see what i understood from it. If there is a certain word that it’s unknown, i’ll search it. Since Danish has a lot of structures, i tend to use HiNative to translate those because normal online translators aren’t good for these. After i have all the unknown words, i will look over the paragraph again.

With all these unknown words, i usually make flashcards on Quizlet and practice them from time to time.

Sometimes when i’m in a hurry or i’m not in the mood for studying new words in big quantities, i use WordBrewery or Clozemaster. When i use these i always write the new words on a piece of paper or i just add them directly to Quizlet.

HiNative

I mentioned it above so i should tell you how i use it in order to improve since many might not be familiar to it. It’s an app where you ask questions and natives will answer.  I use HiNative mostly after i read, watch a movie or learn something from memrise.

For what i use it?

- ask for differences
- ask for examples with new words that i didn’t find a context for
- ask for translation from target language to English since not everything is easy to translate as a beginner/intermediate

Listening skills

Listening is a very interesting skill because you can combine it with speaking and reading or just focus only on it.

Listening+reading

In this category you find movies/cartoon/series with subs. Usually i don’t do anything when i watch series/movies because i guess the meaning of the unknown words but if there is a certain word that i can’t understand, i will write it down and search it’s meaning.

Listening+speaking

This involves 2 things. I either talk to someone or i just talk to myself/a toy/the cat. I tend to use the 2nd method most of the time. (it’s not that i dislike talking, i just don’t feel confident enough to use my skills until i’m not sure that i know most of the things/vocab i need to know). I start the conversation like “hey, how are you?” and then i ask myself “how was your day?”. For this question i have to make 2 answers, the reality with what has happened, and an imaginary version for my other side who’s “talking”.

Listening

Here i just watch videos on youtube, listen to 50languages, a podcast or songs. If i do listen to songs, sometimes i try to find the lyrics and see if i understand everything, if not, i’ll look for the unknown words and after i start to sing too. (disney songs are great because most have lyrics on youtube already)

Writing skills

Here i have 2 choices, i either find someone or i just write in a notebook/diary. The purpose of this is to figure out what vocab/structures/expressions i don’t know. 

Speaking skills

It’s not that i dislike talking, i just focus on this skill at the end usually. I improve my other skills and the speaking one improves in a weird way too. However, at some point i just ask people who i know for a long time and i feel comfortable with to talk to me on skype/on the phone.

Extra

Idioms are everywhere in a language. At some point you have to deal with them. If i find them on memrise, i study them there, if not, i’ll look for them and make flashcards. These flashcards have only the idiom in my target language on them and that’s it. I don’t write the translation. I force myself to remember the meaning.

Also, when i don’t know the pronunciation for something, i use Forvo.

The advanced stage

Here i just learn idioms and some advanced vocabulary at the beginning. After these, i stop caring. I consider my learning journey almost done so i just enjoy my life using the language. I read without worrying that i don’t know words, i watch shows without worrying that i don’t understand what i hear, i can sing without worrying that i just say words with no meaning but similar sounds to what i hear.

Note: This is how I learn languages. I can’t say it will work for everyone but it works for me.

p.s. sometimes Fun Easy Learn and 50Languages are set in another language, not my native one or English.

How to Read Energy and What to Expect

As many of you know, one service I offer on this blog are energy readings. I have gotten a lot of inquiries on how I do these readings, so I would like to inform you on my methods as well give you tips on how to do them yourself. Please note that I am not an expert nor do I have the final say on how to do energy readings properly, this is just my experience. 

Understanding Energy
The way I understand energy is as the force that inhabits everything at one point or another. Everything has an energy signature, down to the smallest grain of sand. However, the energy of living things is a bit different. There have been many names given to this energy but it is most often known as one’s life force. The hardest part of an energy reading is picking up on one’s particular energy among the trillions of energy sources swirling around at any given moment, but I will tell you how I do this.


How to Read Someone’s Energy

My method for reading energy is going to be different from everyone else’s. Your method for reading energy will be different from everyone else’s. Everyone has their own techniques for reading energy, but here are a few of mine.

  1. Sit in a comfortable location with at least part of you pressed firmly against the ground. 
  2. If you are reading for someone irl, have them sit near you. Physical contact often helps if both of you are comfortable with that. 
  3. If you are reading for someone not physically present, it can help to have a piece of them “sit” in front of you. I ask for names and blog urls when I do my readings so that I have an energy signature to focus on but you really can use anything or nothing at all, whatever helps you get a lock on the other person’s energy. 
  4. Sit in front of the person or blog and close your eyes. A bit of meditation before you try to tap into their energy is a good idea.
  5. Feel the energy of the earth under you and feel out this individual’s energy as it appears, a piece of the earth just like you.
  6. Grab onto this energy. Snatch it from the earth just briefly. Images, smells, tastes, sounds, colors, and feelings should come to you as you feel their energy. Keep a mental note of what you experience and write it down once you return.
  7. What you have experienced while feeling someone’s energy is their energy reading. It may be a bit of a jumbled mess, but that’s okay. Everyone’s energy is different but there may also be some overlap, which is also okay.

You can give someone their energy reading in many forms. I give mine as a paragraph with everything I saw, yours may be only a line or two. Everyone experiences different things when reading energy and having shorter readings isn’t a bad thing. You may even pick up on more or less energy from each individual. Its totally okay if some readings are long and others very short. 


So…. What if your energy reading doesn’t resonate with me, like, at all?

There could be a great number of reasons your reading went screwy. As I said before, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it simply changes shape. This being said, it could be a number of factors.

  1. I am picking up not on your energy, but the energy of someone very close to you. If you have been in contact with them recently, pieces of your energy sometimes clings to them. 
  2. It could also be that I am reading into the energy of one of your past lives, something you won’t necessarily resonate with or remember.
  3. It could also be that the reading was accurate but maybe some part of it was hard to hear, or some repressed memory. This is not the fault of the reader, in the long run it is up to the client to interpret the reading. 
  4. It could also be external factors in my own life clouding my ability to pick up on your energy. My cat knocks over a vase in another room and not thinking I write that in as your energy because I was so lost in the moment.
  5. It could also be you’re my last in a long line of energy readings and I am exhausted and hurriedly trying to get through your reading without paying attention to detail. 
  6. It could be any number of things, all acting upon one another. Keep an open mind. 

Whatever the reason for your energy reading not being accurate, it is best to just be polite and move on. No good will come of harassing a reader, especially if they are offering a free service. 


I just did an energy reading and I’m exhausted!

Yup, that’s a real thing and totally normal. Energy readings can be draining, especially for beginners, as you expend some of your energy when you tap into the earth and go out in search of other energies. This is especially draining at first if you have not yet learned how to shield your energy when searching in the energy field and subsequently some of it may be leeched out. Here are some self care tips to help you regenerate faster.

  1. Time yourself. I like to light a stick of incense before I start my readings. Once it is completely burned out, I stop no matter what I’m doing and go drink some water and just do something I enjoy for 30 minutes or so before returning to readings. 
  2. Eat or drink something sugary or high in carbohydrates while you read to return energy lost. I like to munch on sweet cherries while I read.
  3. Learn to shield yourself from energy drain. I imagine my energy dressed in a suit of impenetrable armor before I search out someone’s energy. Your shield can come in any manor of form, find one that feels right to you and keeps the pesky energy leech out. 
  4. Take little breaks in between readings, even just a minute or two to catch your breath. 
  5. Use crystals to return your energy. I like to take some moon-charged amethyst and hold it in my palm during breaks, feeling its energy flow into me. 
  6. Practice self care. Shower, change your clothes, put on some lotion or makeup… Anything like that will help replenish energy.
  7. Take a nap! I have a bad habit of doing energy readings as soon as I wake up and then I’m dead for the rest of the day. Napping helps immensely. 
  8. Know your limits. You probably won’t be able to do 20 energy readings your first day. Pacing is so important.
  9. If you are doing energy readings online, be prepared to use the block button. Some people are going to be rude, but that is their problem not yours.
  10. Have fun! If energy readings become stressful take a break. If someone is waiting on you for their energy reading, they will understand if it comes a little late. If not, fuck ‘em. You don’t owe anything to people who don’t care about your well being as a reader. 

There are a great many things you can do to recharge after an energy reading, but these are just a few of my favorites. Everyone is different, and respecting that is key. 

Remember actually enjoying yourself is key. Good luck with your energy readings!

shitty advice of a college student.

OR: some (actually helpful) stuff my first semester of college has taught me.

disclaimer: this is from the point of view of a community college student. my experiences may be different from other students, but overall I think this list could be very helpful to anyone going to a college, university, high school, or for any students just hoping to kick procrastination in the ass. I’ll probably be uploading updated versions/parts of this in the future, but here’s some stuff based on my experience so far.

  • do. work. every. day. even if it’s just a little bit of work. don’t procrastinate.
  •  college isn’t like high school; oftentimes, professors won’t expect homework from you every single day of class. usually, you’ll have due dates of when large sections of assignments or papers are due. make the most of your time. do not wait until the night before to get 6 sections of homework done by 11:59.
  • in reality, you should be doing homework and studying for every single class. but remember that you need to put more time into the classes that are toughest for you. For example, math is my weakest subject so I usually put more homework time into doing my Stats homework.
  • if you don’t want to do it, or have been procrastinating on doing it, it should be the thing you’re getting done first!!
  • books are hella expensive everywhere. if you can’t find any free versions of your textbooks online, try to buy your textbooks used. I buy all of my textbooks used, with the exception of one book which I’ve rented. Personally, I recommend buying your books bc it’s a great study strategy to actually own the books for your classes and be able to write and highlight inside of them… but this is a personal preference.
  • doing homework on your bed makes you lazy. work at a desk, library, coffee shop, outside; anywhere that will make you sit down and focus.
  • let your phone run out of battery and leave. it. alone.
  • if u don’t have a planner/agenda/calendar already then there is nothing more I can help u with pal ur on ur own
  • make a study playlist bc you’ll need it at some point. find music that helps you study the best! for example, I strictly can only study to soft music or just instrumentals, but I know some people who study really well to rap and hip-hop. find what works for you! remember this should relax you, not distract you.
  • hydrate. I keep a water bottle right on my desk when I study so when I look up I’m reminded to take a sip. being hydrated is important!!! not only will this make your body and skin happy but it’ll also make your brain work a little harder and focus more!
  • I know things can get tough and busy but pls pls eat and sleep well I’m begging u
  • follow-up to the last point: let yourself go pee as many times as you need to. it’s ok. it doesn’t count as your break. you’re not wasting time from doing work. do us all a favor and go to the bathroom already.
  • follow-follow-up: know the difference between taking a break and giving up.
  • learn how to say no to temptations like hanging out with your friends or distracting yourself in the depths of Youtube and Netflix. you have work to do and you know it!!! don’t make yourself feel bad by suffering. if you want good grades, your education (next to your mental/physical health) should be your first priority.
  • reward yourself for working hard. this could be a night out with friends, a candy bar, boba, whatever floats your boat.
  • I know it’s a drug but I don’t care what anyone says: if I need to drink coffee then I’m drinking that damn cup of coffee.
  • priority-wise, your education should always top your studyblr. every. single. time.
SDCC 2017 Rebecca Sugar interview

Rewind and Pause interviewed Rebecca Sugar in this fifteen-minute interview. Here’s a sorta-transcript–not word for word, but basically what the questions are and how she answered, paraphrased.

Question: A lot of the show’s symbolism is inspired by Utena. Can you discuss that show’s influence?

Rebecca: When I was a teen, that show was an epiphany for me! It plays with the semiotics of gender and I was a bisexual teen relating to it in a way I’d never related to anything before. The show is beautiful and I love that she decides she wants to BE a prince after being saved by a prince. And it’s also funny. It’s so extreme that it’s funny, and that was a huge influence on me as well, that something could be so dramatic and so beautiful but also wacky. It’s so extreme that it’s powerful at the same time as being funny. I got to see the origins and see Guys and Dolls at the Takarazuka Theater when I visited Japan. Osamu Tezuka grew up in that town! You know, Princess Knight, which has everything to do with Utena. I got to see some of the roots there and it was a big influence. Amazing.

Question: Another influence, especially lately, you can draw comparisons between Steven’s miracles and Christ figures. Are you exploring this, and potentially modernizing that allegory, with different kinds of love?

Rebecca: We’re inspired by every voice that has ever spoken about peace. I think–I’ve been reading about Hillel the Elder and how he said “If I’m not for myself, then who will be for me?” The gentleness with which he approached everything is really inspiring to me. I think that I’m very influenced by my Jewish upbringing. I’m half Jewish and was raised Jewish. I’ve felt the feeling of belonging but not belonging. I’ve been moved by this incredible history and this wonderful community that I wanted to understand and be a part of. That’s all been a big influence on the show as well. It was all about growing up with my brother, and that was a big part of my life. There’s a lot of spiritualism in the show.

Question: I wanna ask you about the color symbolism? And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say thank you for showing our community on TV. About Steven: His Gem is pink, his shield is pink, his sword is pink, his shoes are pink! It subverts the tropes of a traditional male hero. Was that intentional?

Rebecca: Oh, it’s COMPLETELY intentional. Yeah, I think one of the things I wanted to do as I went into the show was address how intensely gendered shows for children are and dissolve that. That was my first goal. And I think it came in large part because as a little kid I always gravitated toward boys’ shows, and I felt extremely guilty about that. And I don’t think my child self should have had to feel bad, but I understood “this is not really for me.” So as we went into this, I wanted NO ONE to have to feel that. I wanted everyone who wanted to, to feel it was for them. Especially since it’s gender nonconforming as a show.

Question: Silly question: Peridot and Lapis are roommates. What do you think their biggest pet peeves are of each other? If they have any, I mean.

Rebecca: Gosh. I think Lapis is sort of both annoyed and comforted by Peridot’s infinite energy. I often thought of them like the sort of old cartoon idea of a small dog and a big sort of like doesn’t-really-care dog. With a small very very excited dog. I felt that that was a dynamic for them. So I think that that, like those characters, it’s annoying to Lapis but she doesn’t actually dislike it.

Question: Congrats on the Emmy nomination!

Rebecca: THANK YOU!

Question: I hope we get to see “It’s Over, Isn’t It?” and “Both of You” during the Emmys. How do you feel?

Rebecca: I’m so excited, and I’m so glad it’s that one. It was such a fun dream to make a musical episode. I always loved those, they’re always my favorite. I couldn’t wait to do ours. Everyone was firing on all cylinders for that episode. I got to do music with Jeff Liu and Ben Levin, and Aivi and Surasshu’s compositions for the finals were stunning, the backgrounds are incredible, the art is so beautiful, it’s Jeff Liu and Joe Johnston’s last board together, it was one of the last episodes I got to work on with Ian before he left to do his show, so it also has a special place in my heart, I remember seeing it come back and being in the edit bay watching it and my eyes were welling up because “this is it, this is everything I ever wanted.”

Question: Not to mention Deedee crushing it.

Rebecca: She’s amazing! And that was when she was doing Tommy! So we got her on a day she’d been doing shows all day, and she came and knocked that out.

Question: First take?

Rebecca: We did several, but all of those takes were amazing. I love writing songs for Deedee. And that one, it has some notes in it that I cannot hit. But I know Deedee can do it.

Question: Now when you write songs, you hear a lot of the demos you write on ukulele a lot, but you play other instruments. Do you find that you write differently depending on what instrument you’re writing for?

Rebecca: Yes! Oh, completely. I have my go-to ukulele chords. But I also like to write songs on the omnichord, which is like a synthetic harpsichord from the 80s. And it has a row of buttons, you hit a button and you get that chord. I can use it for experimentation for chords I might not have thought of. I got one off eBay, the OM-84, and it was a little buggy, it wouldn’t play right, would go out of tune, and I took it to get it looked at, and these incredibly corroded batteries fell out of it! With this cloud of red dust! So I can’t put batteries in it anymore. But I can plug it in and it still works.

Question: So for “Love Like You,” is it connected to any of the characters or any point of view, or was it more a one-off?

Rebecca: “Love Like You” is so unusual. It started as a point-of-view song for all Gems, and the thesis of the whole show, sort of toward Steven, and my own brother Steven, but because it was the credits, I wrote the song over three years in little pieces. I thought at the start that this is about an alien that’s looking at a human, who loves them, and the secret meaning of this is that they don’t have the capacity to feel this way. By the middle of it I was deep into the show and going through a real crisis of confidence, where I was like “why are people looking to me? It’s not right!” and these people were coming out of the woodwork to thank me for the show, people who had been able to speak to their families in these wonderful new ways, people who had become comfortable with themselves in these incredible ways that I had not been able to do! Where I was like “I’m so inspired by everyone! Why are they thanking me?” So the middle of the song I was sort of in that place. And about a year later, I realized the beginning was not what I had thought it was about at all. It’s not a secret meaning about an alien who doesn’t understand humans. It’s about the fact that I had always loved my brother and had these people who would love me unconditionally in my life, and because of my insecurity I had not been able to be there for them 100%, and I realized this was maybe one of the most human things I’d ever written, and I had written it by accident. So I got to conclude it. It was seriously written over 3 years.

Question: Recently we talked about how the show has been dramatic and full of conflict. It’s great but do you ever have concerns about taking the show–it’s a very positive show, so does the conflict have the potential to go too far, or do you like making it more challenging?

Rebecca: I’m excited to be more ambitious with the story, and the danger they’re experiencing also feels like a danger for us who are writing the show. Writing stories that are more ambitious and challenging. It feels necessary, because it’s about how love conquers all, but you can’t write that story without showing what comes up against that. I’m excited to explore the–you’re right, it’s scary to explore where hate comes from in a show about love. I want to–it’s a challenge to stay positive while exploring that. But that’s a challenge I experience in LIFE. And that’s a challenge we’re all experiencing right now. So it also feels like the time to explore that in myself and in the show.

country singer bitty accidentally writes a hit about nhl player jack

Based on this post about the inspiration for Dolly Parton’s Jolene, which is somehow even gayer than the song itself. Bless you, Dolly.


It had started out so innocently.

Bitty had been tired after hours of this meet n’ greet, and when that tall drink of water walked up to get his autograph, Bitty couldn’t help the words that tumbled out of his mouth.

“Gosh, well aren’t you the most handsome fella I’ve ever seen,” he said, reached for the outstretched CD–CD! Who even bought CDs anymore?–and readied his Sharpie. “What’s your name, hun?”

“Uh, Jack,” the man said, pretty eyes going wide. If he’d been more awake, Bitty might’ve felt bad for making a fan uncomfortable. But if this Jack really were a fan, then he certainly wouldn’t have a problem with another man complimenting him. And besides, he was handsome, with his wide shoulders and high cheekbones and eyes as blue as the summer sky.

Keep reading

when i was seven the sea-witch cursed me.

she cursed my great-grandfather, actually, who had spat on the hands of the ocean and disrespected the beating heart of the earth - for what else are waves but a pulse - who was silly and violent and who tried to rip from the water what was hers by rights. we were wealthy, before that, a family of merchants. my mother says in her youth she recalls white horses, the gleam of candles, early mornings with bread baked fresh by a horde of servants.

he didn’t ask permission to cross her. that’s what my mother tells me while she spoons porridge with no flavor into the wood of my bowl. he had no faith in superstition, rode with boats that were more decoration than strength, the folly of a man who was cruel and vain and proud of his own gold teeth. the sky had been blue, so regardless of what the village witch said, he would sail that day. and when his boat sank; their lives turned blue like the sky that day.

my mother says she thinks the curse on the men of our family, even if they come in when they marry, is that they will forever be violent, too foolish to see the storm on the horizon. she whispers this to me on the eve of my seventh birthday, while father is his own storm, thundering around the house, looking for her. later, when i am cleaning the cut by her cheek, she tells me the curse is on the women to forever be unhappy, to wane until they are shadows, to walk into the deep like a sinking ship. 

we don’t burn candles often, they are too expensive. she tells me this in the silk of a dark room. the moon kisses her hair. 

in three days, my mother will walk into the ocean, and my father will be my own problem. the curse will pass onto me. 

my father does not believe in superstition, no curse to conquer him. when he is gone, and i am heartbroken, i go to the village witch. i ask her to teach me about magic, and other things, and about how the ocean can be coaxed, and how to save my father’s soul. 

and my hands rot too, keeping a house by myself with things i barely knew. i learn the art of a good scrubbing, keep my mind full of white horses while i endlessly clean, dream of candles in dark while i make the bread that he will not allow me to eat. he keeps me from the ocean, from visiting the place that took my mom, from following in her footsteps where the water makes women undone.

i am sixteen when i see her in the water of a bowl. she scares me so completely that i drop it, and my father comes in with his hands, and the curse, and i almost forget all about it. it isn’t until after that i realize she is beautiful, and young, which surprises me. 

i think about it every evening. her face becomes distorted to me. i can no longer remember the exact shape of it, only the impression of beauty. 

i turn seventeen and wait for the high moon. i pin safety to my vest in little witch herbs and runes. i put naked toes on the sand and slip closer, closer, to the avenue of my family’s doom. i find a little private beach, small and surrounded by rocks, hidden from my father in the event he ever thought to come looking. at high tide, it is barely the span of my body. at low, it feels empty.

the witch of the land has given me what i need to call in the witch of the sea, but i do not use it. it feels wrong, somehow, standing here in the wind and the quiet pulse of the world. i put down the incense and sage and i sit just close enough it feels wild, dangerous - but not close enough to get caught up in thrill. 

when nothing happens, i go home and i make bread that i will not eat.

for months i do this. i climb down to my beach. i learn to do it when the moon is half, and then when the moon is empty. i learn to do it so well that sometimes i go to sleep in my own bed and wake up by the water. i take to sleeping with warding runes to keep me from being pulled in the rip out to the waiting hands of a hungry sea-witch.

i don’t know when i start talking. more often i sing, because singing in my house is not allowed, and something about the way the rocks echo my voice feels comforting. the older i get, the more i can pretend i hear my mother’s voice, answering me, harmonizing gently. i sing songs about sadness and lullabies about curses. when i have exhausted every song i know, i write new ones about fathers who have never learned how to be kind, about the house i work in but do not love, about mothers who left, and about a sea witch.

i see her sometimes. in a puddle, in the drop of rain, in the strangest places. i never expect it, although i always hope. i am never able to see her for more than the length of a wave, breaking, and each time, it does something new to my heart.

at eighteen i am too much of my father’s burden. he tries to unload me onto other men. the land witch helps me with this. i rub hemlock, burn wolfsbane. we arrange so these men have other women to marry. the news of my curse is bad enough to scare most away. my father is not happy.

after a particularly savage night, i wonder how bad it could be. i could marry some boy from the village who didn’t quite bother me. i suppose they’re not ugly. timothy had always been gentle to me. i think about a life, and how i am cursed to be unhappy. my father would finally be proud of me.

i walk to the beach and i tell the waves about him and how i could convince myself it was love if i just never wanted from him. how i could be okay, if not content, how i could be free, how i already had learned life down on knees.

but i go home and i write a rune of warding. and the years pass and i find reasons each suitor is wanting. and the sea witch i see, sometimes, peeking out at me, staying long each time in the water, looking, watching. i see her in mirrors when my father storms against me. it is bad because he mistakes the cause of my smiling. it is better when she is there the next morning.

and i go to the ocean. when i am too sad to speak, it seems like the ocean is whispering for me. i picture my mother’s voice and tell myself i am happy. i am seven again and we are sewing. i am seven again and the curse has not been given to me. i am seven and she came home after she walked to the sea.

i grow silly, brave, unthinking. i leave behind the herbs and i wade deep. i teach myself the art of swimming. i am bad at it, at first, but something about it feels good to me. like the ocean wants to buoy me. in the day i think of it, guilty. what if there was a rip tide, and the water took me? who would care for my father if i stepped off the beach into a long drop? wasn’t i clever enough to know that the ocean is uncaring?

it is not this that does it. i go out after a rain and i slip on the rocks and suddenly i am in water above my head but without the moon i cannot see the up of it. i kick and i thrash and the water surrounds me. the tide pulls on my body and in the cold i feel my body grow weary. water spills into me. it punches through my body, up my nose and into my lungs and some part of me knows this is what mother felt before she was gone.

i kick ground by accident, reorient, drag myself heaving and spitting into the air. i lie there for a long time, half in and half out of death, enjoying the sensation of breathing and of life.

when i look up, i think i see her, watching me, her brows knit with something like worry. but we make eye contact and my heart leaps and then she is gone and i am left alone with nothing but the dawn breaking.

my father is furious when there is no bread. he finds my hair wet, and the salt of the ocean still smelling on me. and that is it. that day he goes out and pays someone to agree to marry me.

this feels right to me, i think. i’m twenty-one, three times seven, a perfect number for a curse to fully come down on me. i will be wed in three weeks.

the land witch comes to visit me. she looks like she’s sorry for me. she gives me a spell and tells me to put it under my pillow; i’ll dream of love and it will soothe me. instead i dream of the seawitch, and how wonderful she is, and the sight of her, out on the water, worried.

even though it is risky, i go down to the beach. i do not bother with protective spells, i have already seen that the water can kill me. fear alone keeps me from wandering. i sit on the beach and in the sand i draw runes for understanding and i make the small magicks i’ve spent years learning and i close my eyes and i ask the ocean “why do you do this to me.”

i fall asleep. i dream that the sea witch talks to me. i dream she is my age, that she is the great-granddaughter of the first to curse my family. i dream she has spent years watching, learning, finding the truth of me. that she just needs to get the courage to come and speak, that she has fallen in love with my singing, that she knows no curse but the one in her heart that brings her back to a human, to a creature of air and not water, to a mistake in the making.

in the dawn i know it is a dream and no more. i make bread. i pour water out before it can make mirrors. i do not look. i do not like the ache that has filled me, as if i’ve been looking for an answer and the answer only leads to longing.

the man i meet - my husband-to-be - is delighted by the house i keep. he believes a woman should keep in her place, and her place should be clean. he hears from neighbors that sometimes i sneak out to the land witch’s house. laughter barks out of him. not going to allow that behavior, not me. he does not believe in curses. he will pack me up and move me from the ocean to somewhere in the mountains, where i know nobody. and i will, he promises, learn to keep my place, and that place clean.

i tell myself i could love him. he is not ugly. he says i’m pretty enough after whiskey. my father mentions i used to sing. i refuse to perform for these men so instead i make them cookies. they laugh and talk about me, even when i am in the room, as if they cannot even see. they shake hands and talk about how useless a woman is for much else than breeding. it’s very funny. the man meets my eyes and promises he’ll put a baby in me. i look down and pretend the thrill i feel is excitement, not fear brewing in me.

the land witch comes by a week before my wedding. she is smaller these days, aging. her apprentice and i get along wonderfully. the two women stand before me, holding something. 

a small box, so tiny and lovely. “break the curse,” the witch whispers, “learn to be happy.”

i smuggle the box, take it everywhere with me. it is days before i have a moment to slip away, to open it by the sea. i take a candle with me, even though my father will notice and be angry.

by the light of fire i read the spell they have left me inside, and then i am so full of gratitude i cannot stop crying.

it must be a full moon, so i must wait. in the meantime, i walk home, and i bake. 

i do not see the seawitch, even though i look for her. maybe i have wounded her, getting married. my father asks why i keep smiling. i tell him it is because i am finally with a man. he grunts and says to stop looking so silly. 

the man kisses me. i let him. we are married on a night with a full moon, and i poison him and my father in the bread i did not eat. i think of how these men were cursed so they could not see a storm coming. i watch them as they lie there, dying, and then i put all of the things i own into a basket for the land witch. i leave it there with a song i wrote for her, a spell i know will make her happy, will stop the aging of her joints, will give her the kind of relief she gave me. 

i go down to the water. i find myself running, even though i am in no hurry. i know the way so well it is like i wake up there, panting. i ask permission first. i lay out the contents of the box, i organize and practice and when the needle and pain comes, i am ready for it. i am used to pain at night. i breathe into it and walk naked into waters that swallowed my mother.

i chew bitter herbs. i swallow fire. i feel myself drown as i change from land witch to sea witch. 

when it is done, i open my eyes in the deep of a moonlit ocean. and i see her. 

this time she does not flicker. this time when i reach for her, she is there, and she is pushing my hair out of my eyes, and we are kissing with the ocean rejoicing around us, and i am laughing, and i hear her voice as clear as bell inside me.

and we live like this, a whole world between us where white horses are the size of pinky fingers and swim with their thin snouts, where i need no candles because i was raised lightless, where we have no servants but the water takes care of us. i show her the magic of land and she unfolds the magic of water. together we are unstoppable. when i come up to the air to sing little girls a promise that they can survive the madness, she sings with me, and we make a beautiful harmony.

for a lot of us, it seems nearly impossible to find a balance between our grades and our health. i’ve created a list of tips and resources for managing classwork as well as mental illness. i tried to be inclusive of depression and anxiety as well as other disorders like adhd and bipolar. (i’d like to be more inclusive of others, but i couldn’t find a lot of resources and wasn’t sure what would help aaaa)

please let me know if you have anything to add, and i hope this post can help you out in some way c:

while studying

  • create a routine, and do your best to stick to it. having a consistent schedule can be a struggle, especially when dealing with long days of class or difficulties with sleep. try something more open-ended and flexible if you can’t manage specific times. (studying for an hour in the morning and before bed vs studying at 8 am and 10 pm)
  • start with your favourite subject. there are a lot of suggestions on how to start a study session (and they usually conflict it seems), but i’ve found that this works best for me. your favourite subject may be easy or difficult, but by starting with it, you get in the groove of studying and won’t get burnt out as quickly, giving you more energy to do your other work.
  • don’t take on more than what you can handle. if you’re feeling motivated, great! get as much done as you can! but on the bad days, just do what you can. there are times where it seems nearly impossible to get anything done, but still try to make the most out of each day and do what you’re able to so you don’t fall far behind. do what you can, when you can. don’t overwork yourself so much.

during class

  • take notes. for me, the easiest way to lose track during a class is if i don’t write or doodle. even if the material doesn’t seem important, write it down! it may be useful later, and it’ll keep your mind from wandering during lecture. (that being said, don’t always write things exactly as the teacher says; putting it into your own words can make it easier to remember and understand)
  • record lecture audio. if you can’t copy everything down in time, or if for whatever reason you need to know something verbatim, then you’ll have something to listen to again later.
  • take pics of what the instructor writes on the board. similar to the above tip, you can refer back to the pictures you took. just don’t forget about them! write yourself a note or make an alarm on your phone to remind you that there’s more material to review. don’t be the kid who takes pictures during the whole lecture but never writes anything, that kid’s obnoxious and gets bad grades
  • stay focused. i fidget a lot with my hands and feet, especially during a long lecture or study session. i find that keeping my hand on my pen/pencil is the simplest way to keep my mind on track, but fidget toys may help you as well. most teachers and students are fine with it as long as it’s not too disruptive.

at home

  • keep track of medication. ngl i am suuuper forgetful when it comes to medication :’) if you’re forgetful too, leave yourself as many reminders as you can. set alarms, write notes, or have someone else keep you accountable if you’re living with a parent or roommate. having routine helps here as well, especially if you take meds multiple times a day.
  • communicate regularly with your doctor. if you’re living away from home, or just a busy student, it can be particularly difficult to make appointments. but you should still make an effort to email your doctor, therapist, etc. at least once a month, and more often if you’re currently changing or adjusting medications.
  • “catching up” on sleep is a myth. depriving yourself of sleep during the week and then sleeping in on the weekends won’t fix your sleep schedule, sadly. keep it consistent if you can. even if you’re staying up late and sleeping in, try to get at least 7-8 hours. whether it’s 12-8 am or 2-10 am, it’s a reasonable amount for getting through the day. sleeping too little can leave you tired and grumpy in the morning, but sleeping too much can also leave you groggy, sluggish, and unproductive for the rest of the day.
  • eat something healthy. okay, no one can eat healthy all the time, and i don’t expect you to. i certainly don’t expect myself to lol. but we can still find a healthy snack or meal to make a part of our lives. sometimes fruit is the best comfort food tbh. here are a few simple snacks that you could try, for studying or for whatever else. i personally enjoy anything with berries, especially yogurt parfait or oatmeal.
  • have a support system. it helps so much to have someone you can talk to when you’re not feeling well or in need of encouragement. it can be a friend, a parent, a sibling, your significant other, or even other members of the studyblr community! (if you don’t have anyone to talk to, please talk to me!! i am here for you my friendo)

other stuff

  • community college by @universi-tea - if you’re worried about moving into dorms or away from home (or are simply unable to), i strongly encourage you to try out community college. it’s made schooling much more enjoyable and accessible for me and i think everyone should give it a chance. plus it’s waaay cheaper.
    • also, most (if not all) U.S. schools have a disability services department; this applies to both physical and mental illnesses. talking to them for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but in the long run it’s completely worth it. teachers and staff want to help you! but you have to help yourself a lil bit too. accommodations may include leniency about attendance and deadlines, or they may let you take exams on earlier or later dates with fewer students present. the flexibility with deadlines has saved my ass more than once tbh
  • things to do when things don’t feel right by @affectionsuggestions - sometimes it’s okay to just do small things, and sometimes it’s okay to not do anything at all.
  • ways to start feeling again by @urbanthropologie - similar to above, but with a focus on mindfulness (helps with anxiety, dissociation, etc)
  • my mental illness tag - this has many other resources that are otherwise not listed in this post.
  • my printables tag! - printables are great for when you’re too tired or not sure how to write things out completely by hand. there are some planners and calendars as well as gratitude logs, habit trackers, etc.
  • i have tons of other tags listed here if you need anything more specific :>

thank you for reading! i hope you found some of these tips helpful. i believe in you!!

(not so) subtle hints peter drops when he has a crush on you

Originally posted by tomshollandss

  • although we all know peter is a gentleman, he goes out of his way to be the ultra gentleman for you
    • actually running in front of you to grab the door for you
      • pouting when you get there first 
    • making sure to always have a hoodie on hand for you when you’d get cold 
    • always insisting on buying your coffee
      • often bringing you coffee before classes that he just knows you’re way too tired to handle at the early hours of the day 
      • he has your orders memorized for each coffee shop and bakery within queens 
      • always remembering to put a little coffee sleeve on your drink so it doesn’t burn your fingertips 
  • LOTS OF COMPLIMENTS FROM LITTLE OLE’ PETER 
    • “wow your hair looks great today” 
      • “thanks..didn’t even have time to brush it” 
    • “that shirt looks great, y/n” 
      • “it’s yours” 
    • “your eyes are really pretty wOW” 
    • “y-you have really nice lips, is that a weird thing to say? yeah it probably is, i should stop talking, i’m still talking, ned make me shut uP” 
    • “if my parents were alive i’m sure they’d love you-wait that’s a horrible thing to say” 
      • “pETER” 
  • he absolutely LOVES spending time with you and finding excuses to do so 
    • exhibit a: STUDY DATES STUDY DATES STUDY DATES 
      • peter is your go-to man for all school subjects and he knows it
      • so homeboy uses that to his advantage 
      • “hey, y/n, i could totally tutor you” 
        • “peter, you’re literally spider-man, you have other responsibilities” 
        • “but i’d rather help you, best friend duties of course” 
    • exhibit b: mOVIE MarATHONS WEEKLY 
      • ned at first begging peter to come, but peter begging him to make up an excuse as to why he couldn’t go 
      • every week 
      • “peter, why is ned never here anymore???”
      • “uhm…great question?” 
      • he one time actually LOWERED the thermostat so you would be cold and his hopes were you’d cuddle with him 
      • “jesus, your apartment is freezing today” 
      • “darn..cuddle?” 
    • exhibit c: always lab partners 
      • you replaced ned really quick 
      • but ned didn’t mind, he liked playing the wingman so he’d go chill with michelle
        • don’t @ me but i ship that 
      • peter making sure to save you a spot before class and you happily sitting next to him 
      • he’s lowkey making web fluid in between experiments 
      • “hey, pete, can i watch you do that? it’s actually really fascinating” 
      • HE’S SO EXCITED THAT YOU WANNA SEE HOLY CRAP 
      • you totally find it adorable cool how into it peter gets and he thoroughly explains everything 
      • tbh not getting much of the labs done 
  • SO MANY HINTS FROM NED IT’S RIDICULOUS AND TBH HE MADE IT THE MOST NOTICEABLE 
    • “hey, y/n, why don’t you go to homecoming with peter?”
      • “he never asked me?”
      • “right, he’s just scared, so i of course am left with all the heavy lifting” 
        • “neD sHUT Up!!” 
    • he loves doing the cliche thing where he physically pushes peter into you often 
    • ned loves to drop not so subtle winks at peter in between conversations amongst the three of you
    • often “whispering” too loudly 
      • “peTER THERE’S Y/N” 
      • “THANKS NED, I GOT  IT” 
    • “please ask her out, this wingman thing is exhausting” 
      • “all you do is embarrass me ??” 
  • eventually catching on and peter is very !!?!?!?!?!?!? 
    • “hey peter, do you like me?”
      • him practically choking on air 
      • “w-what , w-who told you? what????”
    • “it’s fine if you don’t, i mean i like you, but if you don’t it’s totally cool maybe i just misread-” 
      • “waIT YOU LIKE ME?”
        • “what do you mean by ‘misread’???”
      • “peter you’re not that subtle” 
      • “it was ned wasn’t it” 
  • moral of the story: you got peter head over heels and it’s the cutest thing in the whole world