Escape

I have been completely enthralled by fantasy since I could read. Throughout elementary school my obsession existed in Ben M. Baglio’s Animal Ark series. I distinctly remember only ever reading the novels featuring horses, though. From middle school and onward I dropped the children’s books and moved on to other, grander things. Obscure fantasy novels featuring knights and dragons and elves became my passion.

I was a quiet kid. I still am. As a preschooler I preferred to sit inside and create imaginary lives for my toy dinosaurs rather than go to the park or sneak onto my brother’s computer and take care of my virtual pets. My teachers always hailed me as quiet and well-behaved, but encouraged me to speak up more in class, because I put bright ideas down on paper. For as long as I can remember, my friends have been a tightly knit group of two or three or four. With them, I spoke in great volumes. With everyone else, not so much. We all knew this sort of kid. The one who did all their homework and sucked up to the teacher and read a lot and was probably obsessed with horses or something. That was me. And while I can no longer attest to doing all my homework or being obsessed with the equine race (though they do still have a special place in my heart), I am still notorious for having a book in my hand and my head in the clouds.

What sarahleelucas describes in her post, I have always strongly felt. While art and video games are both beloved passions, distractions, and escapes of mine, I find that nothing is quite as refreshing as a good book. When I watched ordinary teenage boys transform into brave, dangerous heroes throughout novels filled with magic and villains and despair, it no longer mattered that I was a mundane Canadian in a mundane school leading a perfectly comfortable but agonizingly mundane life. I was a young boy. I needed adventure. I needed crumbling kingdoms and ancient monsters and magical weapons to make up for what sarahleelucas described, very well, as the dull, inescapable cycle of everyday life.

Books do that. I am greatly saddened when I see the youth of this generation, so many of which look upon casual reading with disgust or contempt. Youth whose only knowledge of the world of literacy seems to stem from the books they are forced to read in English class. It saddens me that many of them will never give reading a second chance, that many may never find their favourite book to cry over, laugh at, or stay up until three in the morning for, just to get in that one last chapter, because oh god is what I think is going to happen really going to happen, is so-and-so going to die, and am I going to need to wipe my tears with this page? 

Books are very much like windows. They may show you nice things: the pleasant sunshine of spring, pink and white flowers dappling the grass, excited dogs going on walks with their owners. They can also show you frightening things: thunderstorms, hurricanes. Sad things: melancholic winter mornings, car crashes. But the difference between books and windows is that, although what a window shows you is contained to the sorrowful confines of reality, books are limitless. Through a window, you can look as far as your eye can see. But through a book, you will see things you never could have imagined.

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Dear Stephanie

The following is an excerpt from a letter I am composing titled Dear Stephanie. Last week, my English class was told to write a one page letter of advice for our siblings going into high school. One page wasn’t enough for me. That night I went home and wrote out everything I wanted my little sister to know. The following paragraphs are part of a much larger composition.

– – –

Try to get enough sleep. Some nights you will find yourself staying up until two a.m. doing homework or watching movies, and some nights you will want to go to bed at dinnertime. There is nothing wrong with either. But get up the next morning. Get to school on time. Pack your lunch and prepare your clothes the night before so you can sit down and have breakfast in the morning. Give yourself time to wash your face and brush your teeth and brush your hair. Don’t forget to floss. Trust me, if you do it enough, it becomes a habit, and it’s worth it. Shower every single day. Use a nice smelling shampoo. You will feel better about yourself.

Do your homework. You’re going to want to procrastinate and it will be very hard to motivate yourself, but it’s worth it. Doing things ahead of time feels so much better than doing everything at the last minute. Tackle big projects one step at a time. Reward yourself for studying for tests. Reward yourself for good grades. Forgive yourself for bad grades and figure out where you went wrong. Teachers are really good at making you feel stupid, but trust me, they don’t mean to. If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask. There was someone else in that class who was too scared to. No one will laugh at you and the teacher won’t think you’re stupid.

Don’t worry too much about what other people think of you. No one really cares if you’re a boy or girl or both or neither, and no one really cares if you like boys or girls or both or neither. People just want things to talk about. The people who promise to never talk behind your back are almost always lying, but remember that gossip can be good. Your true friends are the ones who talk about how great you are when you’re not around to hear it. Your friends should never make you feel bad about yourself. If they do, they are not your friends. It’s okay to distance yourself from toxic people. I recommend it. Please remember that you will make friends you hate and lose friends you love. Boys and girls may break your heart. You may cry over them. Remember that sometimes they come back. If they don’t, accept that and move on. People come and go and it is always for the better, even if it seems devastating at the time

Photo Challenge: Work of Art

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Work of Art

I have always struggled with calling myself an artist. It never helped that an artist, in the mechanized mind of Google’s search engine, is defined in two ways: a person who practices art, and a person who is skilled at a particular task or occupation. My problem stemmed from the fact that I never considered myself skilled enough to suit the latter definition, but if I were to follow the first, there is no doubt in my mind that I am an artist. Throughout my life I have picked up a broad range of creative outlets: painting, drawing, photography and photo editing, cooking and baking, reading and writing, and an abundance of crafts and DIYs. I see art in everything, so I apply artistry in everything I do. Most of the time, this is intentional. Working away at a canvas or spending hours thinking up fantasy stories is hardly ever accidental. But there are other aspects of my life in which visual aesthetic plays a key role. When I have things to do, I make a list. The bullet points had better line up, and they had better be the same size. When I write, regardless of whether I am composing a blog post or the chapter of a story, my sentences have to not only sound right, they have to look right. My closet must always be organized by colour. When I fill up my plate at dinner time, every component of the meal must have its own spot, and God forbid my mashed potatoes are touching the carrots. It may sound like I become a bit obsessive at times – I do not feel inclined to disagree. These are merely examples of how visuals have been a massive part of everything I do for as long as I can remember, so debating my mental stability would steer me away from my point. In conclusion, making things beautiful is a simple pleasure I partake in to make life more enjoyable as a whole. And so, if someone were to ask me what I think art is, I would have to say, “What isn’t?”