Announcements, Short Stories

Graduation

Ah, the week has finally come. I have worked twelve long years to reach this week. Graduation! How sweet the word sounds when I say it, except for when I think about the ceremony I have to attend to get it over with. My graduating class is made up of about 420 other nervous, motivationless teenagers like myself. I think the part I dread most about the whole thing is that, because my last name starts with a “V”, I have to sit in a chair, my heart racing for eternity, while I wait to be called. I know I’m getting a medal at graduation. Will I trip on the stage? Will I look a complete dork when I walk across it? Will I be able to stand my principal long enough to let him hand me my diploma? Will I cry? I can see all of the worst-scenario events happening.

Granted, I’m probably making way too big a deal out of this, but it is probably the biggest event I’ve ever been a part of, and I want it to go quickly and according to plan, whatever the plan may be. Also, my school colors are purple and yellow, and my gown is a giant purple blob. It is not a dull purple either: more like a neon purple, if there is such a thing. I feel like a giant eggplant going to sing in a choir when I wear it, minus the green and the choir book. Oh well, no one said I had to look pretty. Who came up with the acceptable graduation attire anyway? You’ve got to admit, graduation caps look pretty silly if you think about it. Who just decided that wearing a giant, cardboard square on the top of your head was attractive, or that it marked scholarly achievement? I just don’t understand it.

Well, I imagine I’ll be able to tell you all about how it went in a couple of days, if you’re interested, so stay tuned. There’s sure to be wonderful tails of embarrassment coming! :p

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Short Stories

Children

Children are certainly one of life’s most interesting wonders. They are all very different, but somehow manage to also be very much alike.

For example, almost all of them have disgustingly repulsive habits, are remarkably rebellious between the ages of two and four, and have very strong opinions about which food should be considered untouchable, and toxic to the human body. Their differences are much more profound. Some children I’ve met are undoubtedly more intelligent than I, and are happiest when left alone to observe the world around them. Others, well… sometimes I wonder if they were born without a brain. Usually they grow one, but sometimes kids are just space cadets.

Here are two real-life examples of kids that I have known, kids who I would venture to say are polar opposites. The first, a girl, was around eight years old when I made her acquaintance. She attended the same K-12 school as I, and, since there were only about ninety students, I saw her often. She had frizzy, dark brown hair, some sort of skin condition that caused her to contract acne-like bumps around her mouth, and a princess-like demeanor about her that suggested that she thought the world revolved around her. So far, she sounds about normal right? Just you wait.

Every Friday before school began, our entire student body would gather in a half-court gym and listen to a bible study that our principal would deliver. It was specially tailored for the attention span of adolescents and small children, and our principal did his best to allow time for interaction with the audience. He might ask a first grader to answer a question, then move on to a high school student for some deeper insight.  Now that you have a better understanding of the circumstances, enter stage right the little girl I told you about just a moment ago. My principal loved to ask her thought provoking questions, because she was what one might call a mind-wanderer. It was as if her thoughts were not linked to the information being presented to her, and she would answer the questions with answers that were as random as they could possibly be. For example, my principal may have once asked if being asked by God to stand in front of a giant like David was would have been scary, she might have replied,  “We got a new cat, and she likes to purr!”

There is one other such instance which I can remember quite clearly concerning the little girl. She was on her way to the restroom, which wasn’t very much of a way to go, considering that our entire school consisted of one hallway with two branches. However, on her way there, she turned and began to study the wall and talk to herself, then began looking up at the ceiling. One of my teachers asked her what she was doing, and she promptly replied that she had gotten lost. In short, this little girl most definitely fits into the category I label as “space-cadet”.

The other child I would like to tell you about is a boy. He is seven years old. I was in charge of babysitting him one evening, as I am so often assigned to do, so I decided to make the best out of it and get to know him. Upon having only a brief conversation with him, I realized that he was brilliant. His vocabulary well exceeded his years, and he used the words with perfect understanding of what they meant and where they were to be placed in conversation. I was, to say the least, impressed. At some point in the evening, I told him how old I was. He looked at me as I told him, and nodded his head. Later, I put on a movie that I had a great fondness for, as it was one that I watched several times when I was little. I told him that it had been the first movie I ever went to see in theaters and gave him a year to go along with it. He averted his gaze from the movie and, within thirty seconds, had done the math in his head to be able to tell me how many years ago it had been since I first went to the movie theater. He is only seven! Needless to say, this kid is practically a genius; hence, he falls into the smart-kid category.

That is all I have to share with you today, but I do hope you enjoyed my insight on children, and hope that you’ll let me know if you did. Also, please, if you have any ideas for blog posts that you’d like to read, let me know. Have a great Sunday!

Advice

Post, post, post some more

When faced with the decision to blog or not, I often opt to not, simply because I whine myself out of it. I tell myself, no one will read your posts anyway, and they kinda suck, and… etc. etc. Then, I have to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if I don’t post, people won’t find or follow. So maybe I should post more often… just a thought.

Advice, Announcements

What a Week!

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed by now that I haven’t posted in a loooong time. Like, two weeks, at least. Sorry if you’ve been depending on my writing prompts. I’ll try to get back to them soon. (Although I really doubt that any of you have really been thinking, “Wow, I wish there was a new ‘Aspire to Write’ post to read,” but if you have actually thought this, I’m honored. I would be even more so if you would tell me about it. 🙂 Anyway, I think now would be a good time to explain myself, or rather, the lack thereof.

This week, I had AP Exams. Now, if you don’t know what an AP exam is, you are (or were) either very lucky, smart enough not to self-inflict unnecessary pain on yourself in high school, or are (were) too lazy to attempt college courses before graduation. Basically, an AP exam is a test that usually lasts about 3 1/2 hours and follows the completion of a college level (Advanced Placement) course. It is meant to reward those who worked diligently throughout the year by appropriating a grade that equates to a specific number of college credits, which varies depending on the college. So, now that you know what it is, let me tell you more.

Before I continue, it is important to note that I did not say I had an AP EXAM. No, I had AP EXAMS, plural. In fact, I have undergone approximately fifteen hours of testing during the course of this week alone. I guess you could say I’m a pro now.

In order to avoid making this entire post sound like a pity party, I will try to offer you any tips that might possibly be of help to you if you are planning on taking an AP exam or exams. If by chance you have already taken them, and don’t plan on taking any more, you can simply read this article and reminisce about all the time you wasted back in high school and kick yourself for the things you didn’t do but should have done in preparation.

  1. Don’t wait to start studying until the last semester. This was a mistake on my part. I should have begun studying for the AP exams literally on the first day of school. It is never too early to begin, especially if you aren’t accustomed to timed tests and difficult, involved questions that require more thought than any question presented on an SOL.
  2. AP prep books are useful. I know that they are expensive, and that they are thick, and that they look utterly boring and arduous, but do not underestimate their ability to help you become efficient at taking AP style tests. If there is any way that you can get your hands on one, you are a lucky soul, my blog-reading friend. Most of the books are limited to one subject and contain a number of practice tests and questions, as well as summaries of all the topics within the said subject that you need to know for the exam. Because the AP exams are frequently redesigned, it helps to have the newest edition possible, but a few years difference will still be helpful.
  3. Time yourself when you practice. If you are like me, timed tests freak you out, big time. I can understand a topic completely, yet when I sit down to take the test and realize that I’m only technically supposed to be using a minute per question, I blunder, big time. (And yes, for most AP exams, the test writers recommend using about a minute and a half for each question, and there are usually about sixty questions and sometime between sixty to ninety minutes to complete them.) I know this all sounds terrible, but if you prepare by practicing with the amount of time that you will be provided with on the actual test, you will be much better off when it comes to test day.

Alright, so I think that’s about all the helpful advice I can squeeze out of my brain right now, but if you have any questions at all about what it’s like to take AP exams, or how else I prepared, please feel free to leave your questions in the comments. I’ll be happy to answer them. Hope this article is helpful for someone out there. 🙂

Advice

Advice of the Day 4/23/17

Again, instead of a prompt of the day, I am going to offer just a small tidbit of wisdom. In writing my book, I’ve found that some of the worst work I’ve ever done was a result of my trying to rush things. If I am determined to get a set amount of pages completed in such and such a time, for example, I usually find that the quality of my work is far less than average. Now, I’m not speaking for every writer, and I admit that there is more than one way to write a book, but it is my personal opinion that having a very loose deadline when writing your first book is best. Also, when I say that rushing things results in poor writing, that includes rushing dialogue and scenes. If you are cutting out valuable emotion and insight just so you can get to the “good stuff”, you probably won’t be satisfied with your work later on. Keep re-reading what you’ve already written, the good quality writing; look back to the last chapters. Even if you know your story inside out and it feels like you’ve re-read it a thousand times, and trust me, sooner or later it will feel like that, keep doing it. It helps to ensure consistency in your writing and keeps you on track with what the overall feel of your book should be. Then, if you have to cut down on a particularly long and unnecessary scene later on, you can do it confidently, knowing that there is enough emotion or scene elaboration before or after the chunk that you’re cutting out.

In conclusion, I would like to note that you may not agree with my advice at all, and that’s perfectly alright. 🙂 Like I said, there is more than one way to write a book. Please, if you find something that you do or don’t agree with, let me know, because sooner or later, I will probably be at the same stage that you are in writing, and I might come to find that my own advice isn’t working as well as it once did before.