This Is Goodbye

I have decided to, for a while at least and maybe forever, stop blogging.

You may wonder why someone who has faithfully blogged for eight years and twenty-three days would suddenly decide to give up on the craft. I’m not sure if I can explain, or if I even want to explain. But I will try, briefly.

I always valued transparency, honesty, openness, and realness, and thought I had nothing to hide. I wanted my blog to be a reflection of that. However, I underestimated the power I was giving the world to hurt me.

Also, I am growing increasingly uncomfortable with the way I have acquired a sort of “fan base” on my blog. I want to be a blessing to people by my life, and by letting Christ shine through me. But I don’t ever want to feel like I’m  the important one with the story to tell, and you’re the fan who needs to listen.

My blog makes me feel that way.

I want to be the one listening. I want to hear your story.

That is why I have decided to stop blogging. Because….

I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don’t expect I shall return. In fact, I mean not to.

-Bilbo Baggins

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10 Signs you might be a Mennonite girl in College

1. You walk into a party and your friend says, “Hey, want a non-alcoholic beer?”

2. You get a job driving combine for a local farmer, and spend a significant amount of time thinking about the carbon emissions all this machinery must produce.

3. You mention “Jehovah’s witnesses handing out paraphernalia,” only to be laughed at and told that when modern folks use the term “paraphernalia” they are almost always referring to drugs.

4. People often ask you what religion you are, and when you say “Christian,” they give you a blank stare.

5. People swear and then apologize to you.

6. Someone asks your history teacher how the Amish came to be, and when he admits that he doesn’t know, you end up giving an impromptu “history of the Amish” speech in class.

7. Someone walks up to you and asks you to pray for their son.

8. While preparing a group presentation for class, one group member suggests that everyone come dressed in black shirts and denim “bottoms.”

9. You can tell when someone is comfortable being your friend, because they start making Mennonite jokes.

10. You, at some point, find yourself in a remote corner of the library making a makeshift head covering because you forgot yours.

(And yes, it is true that all of the above have happened to me at least once.)

Thoughts About Books: Plot Twists

Most of my interesting moments this summer are happening vicariously through the books I read.

The thing I’ve noticed about books is, whether they’re good or bad, deep or fluffy, long or short, literary or popular, they all get me thinking about ideas that I want to share on my blog.

I’ve thought about doing book reviews on here, but often the books I read are ones that you guys either won’t want to read or won’t be able to get a copy of, due to my acquiring them at a garage sales.

So instead, I give you “Thoughts About Books,” a general conglomeration of the things that I think about, sparked by the books I read.

This book, “Beneath the Glitter,” is a very fluffy book about two girls who got famous doing beauty videos on you-tube, and now live in LA and live extremely glamorous lives. It was just what I expected it to be–kind of dumb and poorly written, but fun and glamorous, like watching chick flicks with great fashion.

But there was a twist at the end.

It was a confusing twist, sloppily tacked on like an afterthought. Someone was plotting to steal someone else’s money, and the wrong people were blamed, and it was all very dramatic and ended suddenly with no one sure who the real thieves were.

Time to buy the sequel, I guess.

It absolutely did not fit into the plot, clarify anything for the reader, or enhance the quality of the novel one iota. I was left thinking, “why on earth did the authors feel the need to add this twist to the end?”

It reminded me of another book I read recently. “Inferno,” by Dan Brown.

“Inferno” was a fascinating read for the first 4/5ths of the novel. People were chasing people. People found ingenious ways to escape. People were trying to unravel this mystery involving Dante’s “Inferno,” and several other ancient works of art, including paintings and buildings and I don’t remember what all. The author is really one fantastic researcher.

But then, the last 5th of the novel involved plot twists. One after another after another. I can only think of one that actually clarified what had happened earlier, advanced the plot, and added depth to the characters. The other plot twists were merely sensation devices.

In the end, the bad guy won, except there weren’t really any bad guys after all, just misunderstandings. And all the chases and escapes need not have happened at all. All for the sake of the plot twists.

I began thinking about other books I’ve read. It’s amazing how many of the “bestseller” “food for the masses” type books end in huge plot twists. I’ve read two Jodi Picoult books, which did this to such a degree that I concluded she must do it in all her books.

Other books do it as well, though not as bad as Picoult and Brown. The most popular ending twist is the “wrongful death” twist, where you expect one main character to die and then the other main character dies instead, or something similar. This is so common that I’ve found myself, a page and a half before the unexpected death, suddenly realizing who’s gonna die.

Is the new formula for popular books “exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, plot twist?”

I don’t understand. Sure, give me an occasional plot twist that adds depth and clarity, but spare me the contrived tacked-on creations that are merely sensation devices and add nothing to the message the novel is trying to convey.

Thank you.

Too Tired to Title this

This morning my alarm rang at 7:30 am. In half an hour I was on my Mom’s bicycle, peddling to the warehouse.

I spent an hour sticking tags on bags of grass seed at the going rate of $0.50 a pallet, which can earn me a few dollars more than minimum wage if I go fast enough. I peddled back home, then, with just enough time to shower bathe, pack a lunch, and drive to my neighbor’s house to put in a 12-hour shift driving combine.

So as you can see, I actually have a good excuse to neglect my blog.

Not that I need an excuse beyond “It’s my blog.”

I looked for a job this summer, but as I don’t actually need a dime until my quarter tank of gas runs out, I didn’t sweat it when nothing worked out. I figured I would spend the summer writing a novel and designing a clothing line.

Maybe tagging a few bags in Dad’s warehouse here and there.

One evening, about a week ago, Dad said, “hey Emily, want a job?”

“Sure!” I said. “Do you have some bags for me to tag?”

“Actually, no,” said Dad, and he proceeded to inform me that our neighbor’s combine driver had just quit, and he was looking for a replacement.

Well. After my experience a couple months ago of joining the ROV club on a whim and having such a jolly good experience, I decided that I should stop turning down opportunities.

So I said, “sure I’ll drive combine!” and started the next morning.

Now, in case you didn’t know that chatty little Emily has an introverted side, it’s true. Sitting alone in a big air-conditioned cab, inching along at 2.3 mph, sipping iced tea and listening to NPR all day, well, that suits me just fine.

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Writers who Don’t Care

I’ve decided that there are two types of writers: writers who care, and writers who don’t care.

http://attemptedwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/writers-block.jpg

Writers who care write in order to be heard. They post Facebook status updates about the bickering matches they’re writing for their characters. They spend hours pounding away at the keyboard, and go to writer’s conferences, and endlessly promote themselves. They keep stacks of rejection slips, knowing that all the great writers had to deal with rejection slips too.

Writers who don’t care write just to write. They may compose funny stories for their little sisters, or letters to their grandparents, or extensive diary entries.

They don’t care if the world hears them or not. They just write, because they can.

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Fun Fact: The year I was 16 I wrote over 90,000 words in my diary. For comparison, my book was about 30,000 words. So in one year I wrote three books worth of words about my feelings and a social life that consisted of roughly fifteen people.

I don’t know why I wrote that much.

When people ask me why I write, I have no good answer. I just do.

Some writers who don’t care have become very successful. Jane Austin comes to mind. But usually it’s the writers who care who become successful, because they put in the time.

Writing a whole book takes time, you know, and dedication to one project instead of whatever strikes your fancy at the moment.

The world is big, and in most cases, if you want it to notice your work, you have to care enough to hand it over.

That it why I would like to become a writer who cares.

But at the same time…

When I come across unpublished works by writers who care, I find myself gasping and flinching and seeing every error. It may have potential, and it may end up a best seller, but between every line is written, “trying, trying so hard,” and reading those unwritten words over and over again drives me batty.

But when I come across unpublished works by writers who don’t care, I devour them. Old diaries at garage sales. Handwritten letters from my cousin. Family newspapers. Funny essays by my students.

Words that were written, not to be heard by the world, but just because.

I guess I would like to be a writer who cares, but still write like I don’t care.

I don’t know if that is possible.

All You’ve Ever Searched For

People end up on my blog by googling some pretty interesting things. I find them vastly amusing. Today I decided to make cartoons of some of them.

Search: Cantaloupes under rubberboots

searchcant.

Search: Miley Smucker

searchmiley

Search: Girl in pool of slime

searchslime

Search: Mennonite rule on red vehicle

searchred

Sounds of Summer

Jenny blows up the air mattress so she can spend the summer sleeping outside.

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Summer smells like Garage Sale perfume on your hands.

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It is Canada day.

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