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Tag Archives: creative writing

scary_american_girl_doll

 

Image Credits: Ali Express

Hey guys! For those of you who don’t already know I am currently enrolled in a Writing Genre Fiction course at Rowan University as I work towards completing my MA in Writing. I took this class because I had to take something. I’ve never really been into genre fiction (although I do like horror) and I am actually more of a non-fiction writer which is completely different from genre fiction. This class has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone as a writer on more than one occasion.

I actually really enjoyed writing my horror story though. Initially I had planned to write about something related to trypophobia, the fear of holes, because I think the whole concept is so strange but fascinating. However, I quickly changed my idea once I read about one of my Facebook friend’s nightmares. Here’s how they described it in their Facebook post:

FB Friend Horror Nightmare

 

And with that, the beginning of my story was born. I was going to write a story about a creepy doll that wanted to suck the breath out of people. But first I had to answer, why would she do that?

I pulled a lot from my Christian beliefs about life and death and good and evil and somehow came up with a story in which everything starts off dark, gloomy, and depressing. The horror is portrayed as being normal or even good, whereas normalcy and goodness is portrayed as being evil. I will allow you as a reader to draw your own conclusions about why I took this path.

The story is below. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  🙂

A Breath Of Life

When Lillian was born, her parents had every intention to call her Lily.

“She’s beautiful, just like a field of fresh lilies,” her father said.

However, Lillian wanted no parts in lilies, or any flowers for that matter. From the time Lillian was three, she demanded to be called “Lilith”.

Lillian, or shall we say “Lilith’s stubborn, eccentric side showed in ways far beyond her name. When her mother, Rose, wanted to dress her up in frilly dresses with bows in her hair, Lilith refused.

“But you’ll look so pretty!” Rose said.

“I don’t want to look pretty!” Lilith said. “Black. I want to wear black,” she said as she pointed to her beloved black sweater with her black pants and black shoes. Rose never knew of another five year with half as many black clothes as Lilith had, but she also knew it wasn’t worth arguing with Lilith; Lilith never lost an argument.

Lilith’s dark side took some getting used to. Sure, adults expected some edginess and darkness from a moody teenager, but no one ever expected it from a “sweet” seven-year-old girl. Still, as everyone got to know Lilith, they became more and more familiar with her unusual sense of style and life perspective.

When Lilith requested to have her eighth birthday part on Friday, October 13th, no one was surprised, even if it was three weeks before her actual birthday.

Lilith’s birthday party was different from those of most eight year olds (or seven year olds, if you want to be technical). All of the balloons were black. There were no pony rides or petting zoos or even a walk around character. Instead, Lilith surrounded herself with her beloved black cat, Bones. She replaced the cliched piñata with a series of sugar skulls and for entertainment she played the saddest songs she could find while guests had the opportunity to build their own personal graveyards.

Lilith didn’t have any friends. Her parents enrolled her in a local public school, but all of the other kids thought she was weird. The parents didn’t help; they couldn’t understand why a child of Lilith’s age would choose to be so dark.  They most certainly didn’t want their normal children hanging around someone of Lilith’s kind.

Still, Lilith’s party wasn’t a total bust. She had her parents, her brother, Ryan, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins in attendance, mainly because they all either felt obligated to come or they were sorry for her. Her parents guessed it was a combination of the two emotions.

Other than her parents, Lilith’s family never quite got her. Her parents tried endlessly to tell her other relatives that Lilith liked dark things. Still, year after year after year Lilith would end up with frilly pink and purple dresses, my little pony figures, and cute “girly” things that she’d promptly throw in the trash immediately after all of her guests have left. When Lilith’s Aunt Violet gifted her with a new, custom-made American Girl doll, she realized that this year was no different. However, her mother was determined to put a stop to it.

“Look Lilith! She looks just like you!” Rose exclaimed.

“I DO NOT LOOK LIKE THIS!” Lilith corrected her mother.

“Sure you do. See, she had beautiful black hair just like you. And isn’t her dress gorgeous?”

“My hair covers my face and I don’t wear dresses,” Lilith corrected.

“I tried to get one that looked like you…this is the closest they could do…I even brought your picture in with me to the American Girl store…” Aunt Violet said, apologetically.

“It’s fine. Lilith loves it. It will do her good to have a new friend.” Rose said, you can even give her a nice new name. How about Eve? She suggested.

“Sure, whatever,” Lilith said.

The guests were invited to stay until dinner to enjoy Lilith’s favorite meal, spaghetti tacos. Many of the guests asked why they couldn’t have tacos OR spaghetti. Apparently, Lilith’s family didn’t understand the art of combining the two favorites into one, but Lilith didn’t mind.

When the last guest left shortly after 8, Lilith’s mother had a firm discussion with her daughter.

“I don’t understand why you found it necessary to be so rude to your guests today,” she said.

“I wasn’t rude!” Lilith said.

“Yes you were! You didn’t thank anyone for coming or for bringing your gifts. Your dear Aunt Violet went out of her way to visit NYC to get a custom American Girl doll made to look like you and your way of thanking her is by complaining!” Rose said.

“IT. DOES. NOT. LOOK. LIKE. ME,” Lilith argued.

“Whatever. Here’s what you’re going to do. You are going to learn to appreciate when people give you a gift. Remember, there are plenty of people on this planet that don’t even know what it is to be given a gift. Now I want you to take your doll up to bed with you to sleep with tonight. When you wake up in the morning I’ll help you to write a thank you letter to Aunt Violet explaining how much you love your new doll.”

“Yes, mama,” Lilith said. She knew it was no use arguing anymore, she had been clearly defeated this time around.

Lilith had no trouble falling asleep that night. A terrible thunderstorm has come in off the coast and threatened the area. Lilith was able to fall asleep to the sounds of heavy rain, and thunder with what she thought sounded like the occasional pang of hail. The surges of lightening gave way to just the right amount of light in her otherwise pitch-dark room to allow her to sleep comfortably and dream of all of her favorite monsters.

Shortly after Lilith entered a deep stage of REM sleep, the dreaming began. She saw the image of her favorite monster and only friend, Mr. Olga. Mr. Olga was tall, fat, and full of hair. He had a snaggle tooth, big mean claws, horns, and often wore a spike collar. In her art class at school, Lilith often drew pictures of Mr. Olga. Her classmates and her teacher, Miss Lana often said that Mr. Olga looked like a darker version of Sully from the Monsters, Inc. films, but Lilith knew he was far more unique than that.

Lilith’s dreams were always the same. She’d enter in to Mr. Olga’s home in the world of Sorrowville, a town of only two: her and Mr. Olga. This was the only place where they could truly be themselves and live freely among each other. They would plant cemeteries together (even though they never had any people to bury) and play with Mr. Olga’s black cats, Mischief and Despair. When they grew tired of that they’d put the radio on and play all of their favorite songs from My Chemical Romance, Black Veil Brides, and the occasional piece from Sleeping With Sirens. Then they would depart and count down the hours until the next day when they could do it all over again.

But tonight was different. Lilith knew that from the minute she stepped foot in Mr. Olga’s small cave in Sorrowville. The temperature wasn’t its breezy temperature of 66.6 degrees Fahrenheit the way her and Mr. Olga always set it. It was 34.14 degrees and set on Celsius. She felt warm and clammy and was even beginning to sweat a little, something she never thought was even possible in Sorrowville. What’s more, the town wasn’t its usual shades of black and grey with clouds and thunderstorms. The sky was bright blue without a single cloud in the atmosphere. The sun was bright and blazing hot, which explained why she was so warm. Her family would say it looked nice and she worried that if they ever seen this version of Sorrowville, they’d even want to join her and Mr. Olga. The very idea of that happening horrified Lilith.

Lilith and Mr. Olga weren’t the only ones in Sorrowville tonight. Instead, they were surrounded by the presence of a doll who looked like a prettier version of Lilith; it was her brand new custom-made American Girl doll from her Aunt Violet, Eve.

“What on earth do you think you’re doing?!?” Lilith said.

“I came here to play, Lillian. Don’t you want to be friends?” Eve said.

“My name is LILITH, NOT LILLIAN. AND NO! NO ONE IS ALLOWED HERE BUT ME AND MR. OLGA!” she screamed.

“Silly Lillian. Don’t you know that I am you?” she said.

Mr. Olga glanced at Lilith. “She does have your hair,” he admitted.

“YOU ARE NOTHING LIKE ME!” Lilith screamed, “I NEVER WEAR MY HAIR LIKE THAT AND I HATE DRESSES!”

“We can fix that, Lillian,” she said.

“I am perfectly fine the way I am. I don’t need to be fixed.”

“That’s too bad. You see, your Aunt Violet sent me here to fix you. She said it’s not normal for a girl your age to be so… dark. And depressing.

            “Psh. What does she know. She can’t change me,” Lilith said.

“No she can’t. That’s what I’m here for,” Eve said. I came to suck the breath right from you.”

Mr. Olga started to laugh.

“Stop it!” Lilith said. “Why would you laugh at that?”

“Because she thinks she can suck the breath out of you. Did she forget that I’m a monster?” he said.

“Good point,” Lilith said.

Mr. Olga inched closer to the Eve’s face and placed his hands up high above his head to show off his freshly sharpened claws. He then let out a huge growl. “RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!” he said.

Eve flew over top of Mr. Olga and made her way through to Lilith.

“Just one little bite. A little something soft, trying to be polite. Nothing too hard, it wouldn’t be nice,” the doll chanted as it took a bite out of Lilith’s neck.

“WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU? ARE YOU A FRIGGEN VAMPIRE?!? Lilith screamed as Mr. Olga rushed over to her pry the doll off of her neck.

Mr. Olga clenched the doll tightly in his claws. He walked outside of his cave, towards the lake of misery and cast the doll threw the doll deep into the lake.

“Well done!” Lilith exclaimed, “Thank you for always taking such good care of me.” She gave Mr. Olga a big hug.

“You’re welcome,” he grunted.

Mr. Olga and Lilith began their walk back to Mr. Olga’s cave to resume their daily adventures. When Mr. Olga went to turn the knob on the cave door, the entire door knob fell off and the door flung open on its own.

Eve was standing there, glaring at both Lilith and Mr. Olga.

“You can’t get rid of me that easily, but it was cute for you to try,” she said.

“Not again! What do you want?” Lilith said.

“I already told you, Lillian. I want to suck the breath right out of you.”

“Okay, but why?”

“You need to change Lillian. It is not good to be so dark. Dark is a form of evil, and there is no place for evil in our world.

“Which is why Lilith comes with me to Sorrowville,” Mr. Olga explained.

“Yeah…about that. Sorrowville’s got to go, too.” Eve said.

“Go? Where?” Lilith asked.

“Bye bye. Sorrowville go bye bye,” the doll said as she struck a match and tossed it towards Mr. Olga. “Lilith, run! REMEMBER: 1 Peter 3:11!”

Lilith woke up covered in sweat and out of breath. Nightmares usually excited Lilith. She found them to be fascinating and entertaining, never scary the way her family and classmates described them. But even Lilith had to admit that the nightmare she just had was absolutely horrifying.

Lilith climbed out of bed and walked towards her window, hoping to find solace. She didn’t think it was still raining, but she always felt at peace with the passing of a storm. She pushed back her black curtains and opened the window by an inch and looked outside.

The sun was beginning to rise. The sky was bright and by society’s definition (though never Lilith’s), it was a beautiful shade of pinks, purples, and a hint of blue. There was no sign of the storm.

Lilith looked down towards the ground and then she saw it. Eve. Her custom-made American Girl Doll. It was holding a sign that read:

“Hi Lillian. I didn’t forget last night. Don’t forget 1 Peter 3:11. Also, remember Proverbs 16:17. Allow me to suck the breath right out of you. Or else. Love, your favorite doll.”

Lilith shut the window and pulled the curtains tight again. She ran into her bed and pulled the covers overhead, hoping to fall back asleep again. Her dreams were bad but reality was somehow even worse. She needed to get back to Sorrowville, back to Mr. Olga. She hoped he had survived the fire, that this dream would bring forth a new adventure, one without that stupid evil doll.

  1. 2. 1. And she was back into her deep REM Sleep, back in the darkness of Sorrowville.

Only there was no Mr. Olga this time. There was no darkness. The cave was even gone. She was greeted by the doll and a beautiful mansion on a bright and sunny day.

“Are you ready to follow Proverbs 16:17 yet?” she asked. “Will you allow me to suck the breath right out of you? Do you want to live?” she asked.

Lilith could not speak, she had no answers.

 

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why-go-to-church

Image Credits: House to House 

For those of you who don’t already know, I am currently enrolled in my first semester of graduate school in the MA in Writing program at Rowan University. One of the classes I am enrolled in this semester is Core I: Theories and Techniques of Writing. This is a required class for my program where we study many other writers and how they write. We have just been assigned to write a paper that is either an imitation or parody of another writer. For this assignment I have chosen to write a parody of Henry David Thoreau’s “Why I Went to the Woods”. My parody is listed below. As you read it I ask that you keep in mind that part of the assignment requires me to adopt Thoreau’s writing style. This is why the sentences are so long and detailed with many commas and semi colons and very long paragraphs. It is also why some parts of it may feel very repetitive and the language is kind of old-fashioned and not the way people talk today. I am attempting to write in Thoreau’s voice here, not my own. Also, please keep in mind that this is a first draft. While I am very proud of this draft (hence why I am choosing to publish it to my blog), it is just that, a first draft. This is far from perfect and will be undergoing significant revision as my semester goes on. I do however welcome any comments or feedback. 

Why I Went to Church

I went to church because I wished to live for Christ, and to live my life in a way that is only pleasing to him, and to see if I could lead a life free of sin, so as to go on to heaven at the time of my death. I wished to follow the commandment of my Lord in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1728). I wanted to surrender myself and my life to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to live so spiritually and free of materialism as to have no one question my faith, but for others to come to know Christ through me and my faith, and to show the world what it means to be a Christian. We do not live our lives for us, we live for Christ.

Did you ever consider how we might live for Christ? Living for Christ is a conscientious choice that we must make every day; a decision to live free of our material possessions and the worldly sinful life. Some choose the pleasure of a life of Christ, others choose the ways of the world run by Satan. It is my hope that one day those who choose the world will wake up and break free of Satan’s hold on them, that they will suddenly choose the life of Christ and follow him and his ways, so that they too, may be saved. Why should we exercise the right of free will? We are determined to choose our own paths in life. Men constantly choose their own paths, thinking they know what’s best for their lives. But we constantly fall short of the glory of God. It all started with Adam and Eve, who chose their own free will, they took pleasure in their own hearts’ desires, so that now we must all suffer the misfortunes of their sin. And now when comes forth acts of temptation, we must all struggle with decision to sin or turn way and follow God, for this is a constant battle in an unbelievers heart, until the day comes that they may be saved.

There is but few men residing alongside Washington Township who considers himself not a sinner, but a saved man, yet has an excuse every which way for why he cannot attend church. The man claims to not have the time of day for such matters as church, yet the same man and his wife would ask the fine couple next door, “What’s the plans for the day?”, fearing that they may miss out on the town’s latest social event. Yet they fail to realize the day’s occurrences are but temporary, for they cannot match the days of heaven that would lie ahead of them, if they were to only get saved.

Still, we live for the world and not for Christ; though the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam’-mon” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1462). Our lives are stained in sin. A saved man knows not to count on the things in the world for happiness, for as Psalm 23 states, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 915). Pray, pray, pray! I command, pray 10 or 20 times a day, and not once or twice; instead of television read your bible, and listen to 2 Corinthians 6:14 which demands, “Be yet not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1764). Pray, pray. Instead of arguing with your wife, pray for peace; instead of drinking at the bar, invite your friends over for a time of prayer; and pray for each other as often as you can. Our lives are each ridden with sin as the result of the fall of Adam and Eve, and we constantly fall short of the glory of God, with the only option to escape salvation through the grace Christ alone. Look at our nation, an icon of sin, which obviously hasn’t been doing so well in recent years, thrives on the motto, “Do what makes you happy, regardless of the consequences”, which explains why we have become obsessed with the sexualization of our culture and the constant need for self-gratification, and the only way to escape the ruins that we have fallen into as a nation is to turn away from ourselves and our own free will and instead surrender our lives to Christ and his will and his ways for ourselves as individuals and our nation as a whole. Repent, repent, repent! We must admit our shortcomings to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness as we accept the life he has laid out for us, and not merely the paths we think we know best for ourselves, for in all honesty, we know nothing. Men believe that they must engage in pre-marital sex, to put money before prayer, and to break each and every commandment in the bible for the stake of liberty and equality in our nation; whether they actually engage in these acts or support them as bystanders remains to be uncertain, but whether we shall live as moral Christians or sinful heathens these days is questionable.

As for me, I could easily do without the television. I believe there are very few Christ-pleasing shows on air these days. To be honest, I haven’t seen a television program but twice a year during the span of my lifetime that I believed worthwhile of my time. And I am confident that I’m not missing out much on this week’s latest tabloid stories. It’s just one Kardashian sex tape, Taylor Swift’s breakup, WikiLeaks breakthrough, celebrity drug overdose, Jennifer Aniston pregnancy, Kanye West feud, Kate Middelton hat, Oprah Winfrey failed diet, Jennifer Lopez wedding, and Angelina Jolie divorce after the other. Reading one tabloid story is more than enough to last me to my final days. Why do we care to read so much gossip about the misfortunes of the rich and famous? Does Ephesians 4:29 not state, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”? (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1785). Rather than judging these celebrities and talking about the times when they fall short of the glory of God, shall we not pray for them instead? I hear women in the grocery store pick up these tabloids and chat about the celebrities all the time. “That Taylor Swift sure gets around these days,” they say, “What a whore!”. Some of these expressions come from women who wear a cross around their necks and claim to be a Christian, yet they can’t remember the last time they stepped foot in a church or made time for prayer. They may be better off if they threw the tabloids in the trash where they belong and open up their bible and fold their hands to pray instead. Gossiping about Taylor Swift and talking bad about the other celebrities in the tabloids will only fuel the success of the tabloids and bring about no change or betterment of the lives of those who these women mock; for the only real change can come within these celebrities due to an intervention from the holy one above. We as citizens and brothers and sisters in Christ can only do our part to pray for those in need, and not to gossip about the misfortunes and shortcomings of others, for we know ourselves to be stained with the same blood of sinners.

Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll seems like a life of luxury. Sure, these things will bring us gratification, but men must realize it is only temporary. For as John 14:6 tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father; but by me” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1638). We can never be satisfied in the things of the world or our own personal gratification alone; we must depend on Christ for hope, salvation, and happiness to last all eternity.

Prayer is but the essence of my life. I come to the Lord as a sinner ready to repent, yet through his grace he redeems me. I struggle in the world ridden with sin as my eternity in paradise awaits. I would live more humbly, pray more often, and attend church to hear the word of my Lord and savior amongst a community of imperfect believers. I am perfectly flawed. I cannot count but one day of life without sin. I always regret the ways in which I let my savior down. I strive to live a life for Christ; but the devil often crosses my path and leads me down the road to sin. I do not wish to follow his ways, but rather to cleanse myself with the holy water to follow in the path of Christ. My heart is pure and for my Lord. I feel an overflowing love and adoration for my savior Christ. I hear the promises my Lord makes in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1212). I hear his calling and I follow him, to live a life of purity and the need for nothing more than my faith in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ; for I understand that this life in the present moment is but temporary, the starting point for a life of eternity in Christ that is yet to come.


30-day writing challenge.png

Image Credits: Pretty-Random-Things.com

Hey guys! Since I finished the 30-Day Writing Challenge yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to write this follow up post detailing 5 key things I learned from doing the challenge. This was my first writing challenge (unless you count NaNoWriMo) and I learned A LOT. Overall, it was a positive experience, with a few drawbacks mixed in. Here are 5 things I learned.

1. Writing takes time. This seems like a give in, but I really learned just how much time writing takes after doing the 30 day writing challenge. If I got done a post in a half hour or less it was extremely rare. Most posts took me over an hour to write…some took more than a couple hours to write. When I got to day 2 which was to “Write about your first love or your first kiss, if separate, do both” I ended up writing 2 separate posts on 2 different days. Each of those posts took me a couple of hours to write, especially the one about my first love where I detailed my dysfunctional, unhealthy long-distance relationship.

2. It’s OK to break the rules. The 30 day writing challenge was supposed to end in May, but I didn’t finish it until July. I think it was more than okay to break the rules because I was still really committed to writing as much as I could. Some times I took off of the challenge so I could write about other topics like the Social Media Philadelphia Day or book reviews. Other topics got spread upon multiple days as mentioned above. One day, day 23, I completely refused to write about the topic because I didn’t like it. As long as you write and are consistent, does it matter if you follow the rules?

3. Writing is therapeutic. Some of these topics were very difficult and uncomfortable for me to write about, especially day 26 when I had to write what I’d say to my ex. I ended my longest relationship ever less than a year ago and the wounds still are a bit fresh. When we broke up, I hung up on him and that was it.We haven’t talked since then, so there was definitely many words left unsaid and not much, if any, closure. While I really dreaded writing on day 26, I was so glad I did it at the end of it. This post took me days to write and I really poured my heart out in the post. I probably said a bit more than I should have in that post, but I really needed it. It was my way to get all of those emotions and feelings out that have been bundled up inside of me for many months. Writing that all out was so therapeutic to me. I’m glad I did it.

4. 30-day writing challenges are great for generating content…I blogged so much over the last 2 months. Once I had the topics, the content just flowed through me. I began to think of how my own personal stories and experiences could work into characters for stories.The 30 day writing challenge was awesome for coming up with ideas and for churning out content for my blog.

5. But they are terrible when you already have a novel in the editing stage. The biggest drawback of doing the 30 day writing challenge was that it involved so much of my time that it took away from the project I was already working on – my novel – which was much more important. I was almost finished editing my 2nd draft before taking on this challenge. Now it’s been nearly 2 months and I haven’t touched it and I’m not entirely sure where I was when I left off. Next time I’ll have to make sure to do a writing challenge when I don’t already have a lot going on in my life.

Have any of you guys ever participated in a 30-day writing challenge? What was your experience like?


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Image Credits: Edutopia

Hey guys! Happy Wednesday! It’s a happy Wednesday because I’m finally on the last day of the 30 day writing challenge! It took me long enough!

The final challenge is to write about something I’m looking forward to. There are many exciting things I’m looking forward to in my life, but one of the biggest ones is becoming a college adjunct professor and teaching my first class this fall.

I know a lot of people were surprised when I announced that I’d be teaching this fall. Some were a bit surprised and a lot of people have expressed their concerns and almost doubt me and my ability to teach. I know some people, whether they actually come out and say it or not, are thinking that this is kind of “random”. Surprising? Yes. Crazy? A bit.But random? No…not at all.

Teaching is actually something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. I’ve always valued education. I’ve always loved to learn and have been a bit of a nerd my whole life. Many people thought I would become a teacher. My parents always encouraged it, that’s for sure. When I was in high school I was an AVID tutor that worked with at-risk students to help to prepare them for college. My teachers all loved the work I did as a tutor and they thought I’d make a great teacher, too.

I’ve always enjoyed working with kids as well. I first realized how much I enjoyed working with children when I was about 12 years old and worked my first job as a summer camp counselor. I made less than $70 for the entire summer, but I didn’t care at all because I loved what I was doing so much. I didn’t just play with kids, but I learned from them and they learned to me. I built relationships with these kids and I got to see them grow so much in the 2 months that we spent together. I talked about them all all the time as if they were my own kids. I felt good about the work I did as a camp counselor and it made me realize that if I enjoyed this work so much, I’d certainly love to be a teacher where I could make an even bigger impact on children.

I dreamed of becoming a pre-school or kindergarten teacher. Then I realized I had a passion for English and becoming an English teacher started to gain appeal.

There was just one major problem:

I was born with profound hearing loss. I never learned sign language. I couldn’t hear the kids I was a camp counselor for (fortunately it never mattered much. I had the support of the other counselors to fall back on and the kids just wanted to play anyway). How would I ever hear my students?

Not being able to hear the kids I supervised at camp was one thing. Not being able to hear students was quite another thing. I wouldn’t be able to ask them questions, because I’d never hear the answers. I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions, either because I wouldn’t be able to hear them.

Suddenly, I found myself completely giving up on dream and chalking it up on the list of things that just weren’t meant to be for my life. I still decided to study English and writing in college, but this time it was for my own personal use to become a writer instead. Becoming a teacher just didn’t seem like a possibility for me.

At least, not at that moment…

I didn’t realize back then that I’d later go on to receive cochlear implants that would allow me to gain above average hearing. I never could’ve imagined that I’d be given this incredible gift that would allow me to hear almost perfectly…a gift that would make it so I’d never have to worry about hearing my students.

But even after receiving my cochlear implants I didn’t think it would ever open the door to teaching for me. I thought that was a missed opportunity I would never get back again. How could I be a teacher now? I was working full time for an agency receiving below-average pay. While my checks weren’t for much, I depended very heavily on them. I also worked a typical day schedule…which would be the exact schedule I’d need to follow in order to do student teaching which is a requirement in order to be certified to teach at a grade school level. Teaching at a college level also wasn’t an option since I didn’t have my MA yet and wasn’t sure if I ever would. I have wanted to enroll in Rowan’s MA in Writing Program for years, but always backed out fearing the cost. I was already thousands of dollars in debt and unable to afford my student loan repayments from my undergrad. I heard financial aid didn’t exist as a grad student. Grad school sounded like a great idea, but completely impractical. There was no way I’d ever be able to afford it.

That was, until I received an e-mail from Professor Rob Block in March explaining that Rowan has developed a new Teaching Experience Program (TEP). The program sounded like the answer to all of my problems. It would allow me to follow my dream of becoming a teacher without having to give up my full time job and it would also help me to pay the cost of my tuition and allow me to work towards earning my MA degree.

To make things even better, a few months after receiving that initial email I left my job at the agency I was working for and started working for Penn Medicine instead. After my first semester, Penn will pay up to $8,000 a year towards my tuition which should cover the full cost each semester I’d imagine. They are also more than willing to help to work around my school and teaching schedule.

This is the beginning of the next chapter in my life. It may have taken me awhile, but I am finally going to have the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher, and not just a teacher – but a college professor! I am so beyond excited to take on this new role in September. It’s about so much more than just teaching first year writing to students. It’s about creating strong relationships with these students and working to motivate, encourage, and inspire them and to help them to grow not just as writers, but as students. I hope to improve their writing skills, but more than that, I hope to make a difference in their  lives and their college experience. If I manage to do those things, then I’ll consider my job as a professor to have been a success.

 


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Image Credits: Joseph AlvaricoImage Credits: Joseph Alvarico

Hey guys! Happy Monday! I don’t usually use those two words together, but I’m really loving my new job and I look forward to the start of a new work week, so it is indeed a happy monday (even though I’m incredibly tired…)

I left off on day 25 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. This is a fun one: Write About 4 Weird Traits You Possess. So here it goes:

1. I frequently mispronounce words. This is weird when you take in consideration how much I love words. I read all the time and I am a writer by nature. I’m very good with writing words…just not actually saying them. I think this is because I was born with profound hearing loss…approximately 97% deaf.For the first 24 years of my life I really couldn’t hear most words. I learned words primarily from reading them and took a guess at how they were pronounced or how they were suppose to sound. Apparently I’m not very good at guessing…

2. I can’t read anything if there’s music playing or people talking. This trait I really developed after getting my cochlear implants. Now that I can hear sounds and understand them, I cannot focus on a task at hand especially if it requires reading while people or talking or music is playing. I can either listen to a conversation/the radio or read, but I cannot do both at the same time. I’m great at multitasking, which makes this weird. I guess that reading and listening require so much of my energy that it makes it impossible for me to do both at once. This is when I feel the most fortunate to have the ability to turn off all sounds in life. Whenever I want to read and people are talking or music is playing, I take my magnets off and tune out the world. Rude? Usually lol. But oh well, people will get over it. 🙂

3. I love hoagies…but only if I make them. Even though I’ve lived in South Jersey my entire life, I never quite “got” what the big deal with WaWa was. I hate their hoagies. In all honestly though, it’s not just WaWa. I hate just about any pre-made hoagie from any given place. I hate American hoagies. I hate Italian hoagies. Roast beef hoagies freak me out because the meat is never cooked enough. I can tolerate turkey or tuna hoagies…but I hate the cheese they put on them which annoys me. I’d much prefer to make my own hoagies. I love them when I make them. My hoagies usually contain combinations you’d never find on a menu. Here are two of my “signature” hoagies: Olive and munster cheese (this one is pretty simple) and the one that everyone laughs at me for when I order it from Carmen’s deli? An extra spicy one. And by extra spicy I  mean this is what it contains: hot capicola, buffalo chicken, pepper ham, and pepperjack cheese. What can I say? Some like it hot!

4. I only wear eyeshadow if it matches my clothes. I really love makeup, but I’m not very good at applying it. I’m also not very good at understanding it. I think you’re supposed to use eyeshadow that matches your eyes and your skin tone. I never understood that. How the heck am I supposed to know how to match my eyes/skin tone? What fun is that? I much prefer to match my eyeshadow with my clothes. If I’m wearing blue, I have on blue eyeshadow. Today I wore a tan skirt so I had on brown eyeshadow. Tomorrow I’m probably wearing black and white, so I’ll wear neutral eyeshadow (only because I don’t have white and that’s the next best thing). I think it’s more fun that way. Everyone tells me I’m weird for doing that though. Oh well. Like I care.

Do any of you guys share these same weird traits? Which one(s)? What are four weird traits of your own?


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Image Credits: Pinterest

I’m up to day 18 of the 30 day Writing Challenge! Today’s challenge is to write about my favorite color and why. This reminds me so much of a writing prompt I did for the NJ Writer’s Group a couple of months ago where I did what I’m doing now: chose the color black.

Black wasn’t always my favorite color. Growing up, I was one of those kids who changed their favorite color all the time. For a long time it was pink. Then as I got older, I went through a period where I liked bright green. Purple was my favorite for a few weeks *shudders* and yellow was a favorite for about a month, actually *cringes*. As I got older, I went through a period of time where I was obsessed with baby blue.

Now, I’m 26 and I’ve had the same favorite color since I was about 13, so I think I’ve finally, permanently settled on one: black.

A lot of people look at my weird when I tell them that black is my favorite color. Black is apparently only reserved for goths. If you’re a goth, you’re pretty much expected to say that black is your favorite color. Sure, I went through a bit of a dark phrase in middle school into high school when I was a little punk, a little emo, and at times, yes, goth. Much to my mother’s displeasure, I wore spike collars, chains, wrist bands, and lots and lots of black from time to time. I even had blue hair before it was cool. But those days are now a part of my distant history. I’m no longer goth, but my favorite color still remains black.

I understand that black is supposed to represent mourning and it’s the color that people wear to funerals, but I don’t think black is *always* meant to be a depressing color. I think that it can be really classy and elegant, too (little black dress, anyone?). I love it because it’s so versatile. It’s a neutral color that matches anything (which is great for me because I can be bad at matching haha). It also looks great on everyone. Some colors just don’t look right on people. I feel like bright colors look weird on me. White especially is not my color. But I never have a problem with black, that’s always flattering on me. I can’t imagine black being anything but flattering on any given person.

I think that black has a little bit of edginess to it, too. It’s not all pretty and girly and preppy like pink is. Oh and it’s not yellow!!!! (Seriously, how was that EVER my favorite color? It’s way too bright, sunny, and …. cheerful. Ick!). While my goth days may be well behind me, I think I will always have a little bit of edge or a slight dark side about me. When I see the color black I feel happy. It is a reminder to me of who I am and to never lose sight of the person that I am in order to fight into society or what others may want me to be.

These are just a few of the reasons why black is my favorite color. What’s your favorite color and why?


rubber duckeyyyyy squeakkkkkk

Image Credits: Press Up Inc.

Hey guys! Happy Monday! So I haven’t had time to write in a couple of days (big shock there…). My sister’s birthday was on Saturday so I’ve been pretty tied up with that. I left off on day 12 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge and it’s a fun one! For day 12 I’m instructed to write about two words/phrases that make me laugh and why.

The first two words that come to mind are “squeak” and “honeydew”.

Now, these seem like two completely different words. “Squeak” is a noise that a rubber duck makes (and precisely how I discovered I am kind of obsessed with that sound…more on that in a sec). Honeydew is a fruit. However, when applied to my life, these two different words have way more in common than you’d think.

I’ll start first with “squeak”. I never had an opinion of this word until right after receiving my first cochlear implant in December of 2014. If you follow my other blog, Confessions of a Def Deaf Girl, you might remember that one of the first places I went with my cochlear implant after being activated was Smithville with my boyfriend at the time, Larry. When we went there, we got these crazy rubber ducks out of a machine. When I squeezed it and heard it the first time I thought it sounded hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was a sound I never heard before and it brought me such child-like wonder, amazement, and above all else, amusement. The only thing that was more amusing to me than hearing the actual rubber ducks “squeak” was hearing the word “squeak”. “SQUEAKKKKKKKK”. I like to say this word VERY loudly and stretch out each and every syllable. When I do this, I usually end up dying of laughter and everyone looks at me really weird. I know that it probably doesn’t make much sense to most people and most people won’t understand what’s so funny about this word. You have to be deaf to get it, and deaf in a certain frequency (high frequency) at that. “Squeak” is a high-frequency sounding word. I never heard it the way it’s supposed to sound until after I got activated and it sounded funny to me and it was so much fun to say. “SQUEAKKKKKKKKKKKKK”. Yup, still hilarious. Still fun to say.

honeydew

Image Credits: Belly Bytes

The other word that I’m kind of obsessed with is “honeydew”. This is a newer word obsession, although I’ve been obsessed with the fruit for a long time and when it’s in season, I typically eat a whole honeydew or two myself per week. I didn’t realize this until I went bilateral, but honeydew is a funny word, too. I love the way those syllables roll of my tongue and the sounds they all make together. Honeydew! I think it might have something to do with the “eeee” sound in honey and then the “ewww” or maybe the w” in “dew”. “EEEE” is high frequency and likely not a sound I heard fully in the past. I noticed as I worked to train my right ear after going bilateral that “W” sounds are a challenge to me. I think I’ve gotten much better with them (which would explain why this is a recent discovery for me), but it’s something I couldn’t hear right in the past. Now that I can hear “honeydew” correctly, it sounds funny to me. It sounds strange. Imagine all of the common everyday words in your life. Now try to imagine hearing those words for the very first time — some of them probably sound strange, right? That’s exactly how it is for me. It’s like when a baby hears a sound for the first time they might laugh and smile in amusement by it. That’s exactly how it is for me, too. I’m in wonder and awe at these new sounds. Also, “honeydew” sounds a lot like “how you do?”. I tried to make a joke based on this. It went something like:

Q: What’s a melon’s favorite greeting?

A: Honeyyyyydewwwww!

I’m the only one (other than my sister who will laugh at anything) that understood the joke or found it funny (let alone, hilarious), but oh well. I’ll amuse myself if no one else haha.

For me, words are funny because of the way they sound because many of these words I’ve been familiar with and have read or known of my entire life, but are just now hearing and discovering the sounds of for the very first times. I have been amazed almost every single day of my life since having my first cochlear implant activated by the sounds of words. I have always loved words and been an avid reader and writer. There are many words I’ve discovered from reading and writing, but never hear them. I have my own ideas on how to pronounce them or how they should sound, and then when I hear them for the first time it ends up being totally different and it just blows my mind and makes me laugh. Many times I argue that “my way is better so I’m just going to keep pronouncing it wrong!”.

“Squeak” and “honeydew” are my current word obsessions, but I’m sure that as I continue to progress with my cochlear implants and make more word discoveries, there will be many, many more to add onto that ever-growing list.



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