writing about life

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Validates Everyone Who Ever Loved Jess Mariano
Milo Ventimiglia's former token bad boy is actually now a sane voice of reason.

“Now a relatively successful adult, Jess has a stable career and solid relationships with both his mother and his uncle. He has become a voice of reason and a sounding board for his friends and family thanks to his unique perspective as an outsider who sees through Stars Hollow’s admittedly infectious whimsy. He has twice put Rory back on track – it was also Jess who pushed Rory to write about her life with Lorelai in the revival, thus giving her life direction and helping her to tap into her formerly missing passion – and has proven to be quite helpful when it comes to Luke, too. It seems that in the time since we’d seen him in Philadelphia, Jess has matured even more and so in the grand scheme of things, Jess finally became the man many fans always knew he could be.”

Originally posted by abritandayank

you didn’t think
you were beautiful
because your eyes
were brown and not blue
because your hair
was the night sky
instead of the sun
but to me you were perfect
your hair was my favorite time of day
and your eyes were like stars
your smile gave way
to crescent moons
and I couldn’t help
but fall in love
every single time
7 Years Bad Luck

tried and failed

you got tired and bailed

found that once in a blue moon

now I try to forget you

it was all about the shoulds

when hell, it wasn’t even good

still I crave that connection

sweet brief intervention

where I forget my name and

it’s somehow that which keeps me sane

I guess
It was me then
After I heard you
I noticed it was my fault
I gave you the rough touches and smirks
And all you ever tried to give me
Was love
And I took you for granted
I didn’t give you love in the morning or during the day
I didn’t stay with you when you wanted a hug
I left
And although I said “no strings attached”
I didn’t mean it
I didn’t want it
Yet I said it
And I didn’t know what it would do to you
You said you wished you got forehead kisses and nose bops
I wish I gave them too
I wish I didn’t lose you
I wish I gave you all you wanted and even more
Because then I could have you
And I hope you’ll forgive me
I hope you’ll love me after you get this
I hope you’ll come back
And fix this red string of fate
That I broke
By all my freaking non-sense
I wish you would come back
Back to me
I’m sorry
I’ll love you more than you could ever imagine
And I hope you still love me too
 I’m hoping you can come home 
Back to the flat 
full of geeky things and houseplants 
They’re dying you know 
I hope you can bring them back 
along with me 
I hope we can still love each other 
like we both wanted back then
—  I hope ~ Alyssa Marie
Writing About a Real-Life Event in Your College Essay

Writing about events from your own life can be difficult, even painful. But it’s necessary if you want to get into college.

For the Common Application essay, students are asked to write a 650-word essay in response to one of five essay prompts. These prompts ask students a range of questions about themselves, from their background, identity, or talent, to the lessons they’ve learned from failure, to their core beliefs and their major life dilemmas. Each question, in its way, asks students to write the first chapter of their memoirs.

If you have a painful or uplifting story to tell, then you’re in luck: you have meaningful material for your college admission essays.

But if, like many high school students, you struggle to find meaning in the relentless cycle of school, homework, extracurricular activities, after-school programs, and college applications, then your first challenge is to dig into your life to find a story worth telling.

If you’re struggling to find your story, here are some tips to get you started:

Nothing Is Too Embarrassing

To get started brainstorming, first allow yourself to consider the parts of your life you’re hesitant to share with others. Some of the most meaningful aspects of your personal life are likely also the most embarrassing. Perhaps you’re embarrassed by what your parents or guardians do for a living, or by your living situation, or by some element of your family dynamic, or even by your name. We all have aspects of our lives that we wish could be different. These wishes often cloud our thoughts during the day and fill our dreams at night.

Start here. Everyone’s life is messy. Whatever you find too embarrassing today will very likely become a fundamental part of who you are tomorrow. It’s from this space of embarrassment that you’re most likely to tell a compelling story of personal growth.

There are limits, of course. In general, avoid sharing that you’ve broken the law or cheated on a test, for instance.

Also, if you do elect to write about a difficult personal topic, it’s important that you feel comfortable writing about this subject in detail. If you just can’t bring yourself to be detailed on a given topic, then skip it. Without details, you’re unlikely to write a meaningful essay.

But, with a detailed account of your own unique story, you’re sure to impress admissions committees.

Nothing Is Meaningless

Often the best writing is spun from the most mundane circumstances. James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), for instance, is widely heralded as perhaps the greatest novel of the twentieth century, but its 700 pages focus on a single day of a 38-year-old advertising canvasser who does nothing overtly heroic or remarkable. What’s remarkable about Ulysses is less the content of its plot than its form—not what Joyce wrote about, but how he wrote it.

Your college admissions essays aren’t experimental novels, of course, but they can be similarly focused on finding and expressing meaning in everyday circumstances.

Take this essay for admission into Johns Hopkins University from 2015. Isaac is a teenager from Vermont who loved reading the morning announcements over his high school’s intercom. Look at how he describes his first day on the (seemingly boring) job:

Fortunately, there is not much going on this week, which means I have some wiggle room with what I can say. The loud buzz of the intercom whines throughout the school, and the silent apprehension of the day is met, somewhat unexpectedly, with a greeting of 20 “yo’s” and a long, breathy pause. I artfully maneuver someone else’s writing into my own words, keeping the original intent but supplementing the significant lack of humor with a few one-liners. I conclude by reminding everyone that just because the weather is miserable today does not mean that we have to be as well.

Isaac takes time to linger over what most would take for granted: through his imagination, the sound of the intercom becomes a “loud buzz” that “whines throughout the school,” interrupting the “silent apprehension” of his schoolmates. Consider how this paragraph might sound with a less imaginative approach:

Fortunately, there is not much going on this week, so I can say what I want. The intercom turns on and I say “yo” 20 times. I read the words written on the script and add some jokes. I conclude by saying we don’t have to be sad like the weather is.

The content is essentially the same, but the second version fails to communicate the essential spirit of the moment. It fails to give us something interesting to savor, and it keeps us at a distance from the texture of Isaac’s unique experience. Isaac’s writing succeeds not because of his rather mundane content, but because of his ability to re-inhabit the life of the moment through vibrant words and images.

To paraphrase Isaac, you might feel as if there is not much going on in your life, but that just means you have more wiggle room with how you can write your story.

Be Specific

It’s just a plain matter of fact that most readers are more compelled by concrete images and specific stories than by vague assertions and generalizations. Typically, the best essays tell a single story. The trick is to find a story that represents something essential about you.

So, instead of generally describing your school’s social dynamic, tell that awfully embarrassing story about your first social interaction in high school. Instead of vaguely suggesting that you’ve never seen eye-to-eye with your parents, tell your reader about a time when you argued with them. Instead of describing the frustration you’ve felt from losing high school sports competitions, relate the story of a single, meaningful loss.

In other words, show your reader specifics, then tell them how this story provides insight into your essential sense of yourself.

Your essays should be open, interesting, and detailed. But above all, they should be you. As director Shekhar Kapur says, “We are the stories we tell ourselves.” Getting into college requires that you share just one of those stories with others.

Stephen P. is a writer and teacher based in Los Angeles. He has taught literature and writing courses at several universities and has taught writing and critical reading at Elite of Los Angeles since 2010.

Stress is what will lower your grade, stop you achieving, prevent you from doing what you love and so much more. Stress is poison to the human mind, do not let stress rule you. Take a minute, take a walk, take time out, but always bring yourself back into the game. Do not let stress win, keep going.

Stress is a killer by Amy Kennedy


I know that you are hurt but please, never lose that beautiful smile of yours.
—  it’s the only thing that keeps me from falling apart // ck.writes (on Instagram)
I urge you to spend a good amount of time counting the things that still make you smile. Like puppies, or an old couple you see sitting in the park hand-in-hand, or that one stranger holding out the door for you. Because believe me when I say you will need that when you’re alone and the storm decides to pay you a visit.
—  Keen Malasarte, Turmoil.

Listen I LOVE fantasy novels about badass women overcoming patriarchal societies, but like… I’m also really really tired of fantasy novels about patriarchal societies? 

There’s something very demeaning about the way so many fantasy authors can create fascinating, in-depth worlds and characters and magic systems, but a society in which men and women are simply treated equally is considered “unrealistic.” You cannot tell me that there’s simply no potential world where gender roles/bias aren’t an issue! I don’t believe you! I reject your every-fantasy-society-ever-has-to-resemble-Medieval-times arguments! 

Give me my fantasy novels where kings and queens are equally respected and princes AND princesses get to choose whether they want to become a knight or get married for political reasons and even the villains aren’t sexually aggressive towards female characters because that’s just not a thing you do. I hate this “if you’re a woman you’re never going to be fully safe no matter what world you live in!!” outlook. Bring on my escapist fantasy novels about elves riding into the battle on the backs of dragons sans the misogyny, please and thank you.

You’re afraid of late nights and falling in love. You’re afraid of lighting candles and yelling and burning yourself; you’re afraid of losing people you love and trying too hard for people who don’t care in the end. I know you’re afraid of being alone, but you won’t have to worry; I’ll be by your side for the rest of your life.
—  you (via fraagmented)