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November 2016

Black Friday: Keeping Spirituality Separate From Materialism

Today I’d like to talk about a topic that has been bothering me since the Black Friday commercials first aired on our televisions. It affects us all as artists, writers, and individual thinkers. Over the past few days, I’ve realized two things.

One, it’s extremely difficult to keep a humble heart during this time of year: the time of gifts, sales, expensive objects, and corrupt bargains. How does an artist, a writer, keep himself grounded during so much chaos? Throughout a time of strong jealousy and shallow competition, how does one keep his spirituality?

Two, the conflict between spirituality and materialism eventually becomes an intense internal battle in all of us. Unfortunately, in many people, materialism triumphs over spirituality. When I walked into the mall this morning with my sister, I legitimately felt the two concepts collide and pull at each other. I felt the desire to be enticed by the sales and the stores; I was drawn to the enthusiastic crowds. But, at the same time, I also felt a need to be grounded and to realize that the things surrounding me were simply objects– that I have a pile of poems at home that need to be revised, that I have stories that need to be developed, that I have a currency of imagination in my mind that I need to spend. This collision of juxtaposing feelings manifested itself as anxiety, and I’m sure many of you can relate to the feeling. But should this REALLY be happening? Should materialism be such a strong presence in our society that it battles our innate human nature to create? To feel humble? To feel human?

I believe that materialism, the desire for objects, is swallowing up our need to tend to our minds and relationships, the things that really matter. I think that objects are just what they are– objects. Spending time with my grandmother and family this week reminded me of that idea very strongly. While objects can be replaced, your spirituality and your connections with others and/or yourself cannot. I’ve found that if a society’s standard grapples for superiority with things like love, good intentions, generosity, creativity, or imagination, it is not worth it. But, the reality is that it does. And, looking around the mall today beside my sister, it made me sad. It made me sad for future generations.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts for today that I could not shake. Please leave a comment below if you feel the same way, or even if you disagree. In addition, I hope all of my readers in America had a fantastic and connecting Thanksgiving. Stay grounded and stay happy.

Share Your Blog With Me [100 Followers Post]

I began this blog in the stifling months of Summer through an arts college program in Georgia. I honestly did not think it would get very far… at the time, it was an experiment, a personal project urged on by my professor. However, over the last few months, this blog has slowly yet surely grown, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I just want to personally thank each and every one of my followers, and encourage you guys to keep creating your own content. No matter how small you believe your impact is, it truly does make a difference in the world. 

Please leave a comment below about suggestions or things you would like to see from me in the future. I am always, always looking for something to improve. I’d love to know whether you’d like to see more personal pieces I’ve written, more advice, or more on my thoughts of the world in general. As always, you can always send me personal messages through my Contact page. I offer free feedback for your writing pieces, and I also provide you with advice in general. 🙂

I would also like you guys to take this opportunity to post your own blog URL in the comments below. I want to make my blog a community, and I think this is a perfect way for everyone to get connected and increase their own traffic to their own websites. So, what are you waiting for? Now’s your chance to advertise your website and promote connectivity. I can’t wait to see what you guys have been working on!

Stay awesome and keep writing,

~Hannah

(2B or Not 2B)

Top 15 Writing Prompts to END Your Writer’s Block

Getting stuck in a creative rut is one of the most frustrating obstacles to overcome, whether you’re a blogger, poet, essayist, fiction-writer, or a creator still in your experimental stages. To ease some of that frustration, I’ve listed fifteen of a few of my favorite prompts to help get your gears moving again. (They are listed in no particular order.) I hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to comment on your favorite!

  1. Write a list of questions to which you urgently need answers.
  2. Make a list of your favorite songs and recall the best lyrics from each. Use a line from one of your favorite songs as the first line of an emotional scene.
  3. Write a brief obituary for an inanimate object near you right now. 
  4. You are sitting at a Chinese restaurant and you’ve opened up a fortune cookie. What does it say? Will your fortune come true?
  5. There are only 50 people left on this Earth. Each of you are designated a specific role. What is your role, and what are theirs? 
  6. Open a scene or poem with the following words: “I steal.”
  7. Imagine a drawer. Open it. What do you see? 
  8. The neighbors have discovered your secret. Continue the story.
  9. Write three things you’re grateful for. Then, write three things you wish you had in your life. Write about why you chose these things. 
  10. A librarian is charged for arson after the city library suddenly burned to the ground. What happens next?
  11. Describe what life is like through the perspective of a blind man. Then, write in the perspective of a deaf man. 
  12. You are walking along the sea shore when a woman dressed in red emerges from the waters. How do you react?
  13. Write a scene of dialogue in which you are placed in a room with your past self. What do you say to each other?
  14. Describe an irrational fear you harbor, and the situation in which you developed it. Write the scientific name for this unique phobia.
  15. You live in a world where hatred does not exist. What is life like? Now, write as if you were transported to a world where love does not exist. What changes? 

Are You Good Enough?

Artists are, by far, some of the most doubtful people I know. I attend a school of the arts, filled with budding, eager artists, and yet I witness their doubtfulness on a daily basis. My good friend Tori, for example, is a brilliant artist, yet I am only able to catch glimpses of her work as she flips through her sketchbook. From just a couple of glimpses, I have noticed intricate and fantastical swirls climbing along her pages. In the few seconds that my eyes are able to catch her most recent projects, I try my best to absorb the small strokes of ink in quick moments. However, I’ve never seen any of her pieces in their entirety. Tori actually refuses to show me her art work. She stubbornly shakes her head when I ask her and grips her sketchbook to her chest. When I ask her why, she replies simply, “It’s not good enough.”

 

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I like to call this phenomenon of doubtful thinking the “Artists’ Syndrome.” It is an illness that creators of all types were, and most likely are, diagnosed with. In fact, countless authors were recognized posthumously in history, due to the fact that they were afraid to publish their works. Franz Kafka, author of the critically acclaimed Metamorphosis, felt this way. He did not believe that his work was good enough. After his death, his friend discovered Kafka’s true potential, and, eventually, he was the one to publish his novels.

Is it an innate feeling then, to feel doubtful or shameful of our creations? Is it normal to feel this way?

The answer is yes. Art is, simply put, a piece of ourselves. When we create it, we offer a part of our soul to reality; we publish ourselves to the world. Especially when writing poetry or personal pieces of prose, this feeling of humility is strong inside us. It is natural to feel humility toward our creations. After all, feeling doubt is a much better alternative to being prideful. Isn’t it?

That depends. Some artists internalize a stronger feeling of doubt more than others, creating a sense of eternal, never-ending uncertainty. This sense of doubt prevents them from ever making artwork again. I am not good enough, I am not good enough, they’ll say to themselves. They keep themselves from gifting the world with pieces of tangible art, thereby robbing their own lives of humanity’s greatest treasure.

If you are one of these people, I assure you that you ARE good enough. Anyone who is brave enough to share a piece of themselves with the world is a hero. Love yourself, love your work, and be confident. If you feel as if you are not good enough because you have not been published, or have not been officially recognized, do the world a favor and never give up. Opportunities will show themselves soon if you keep working and sharpening your skills.

Good luck, and never stop. If you ever need support, you can always comment below or contact me via the Contact page. Let me know if you have ever experienced Artists’ Syndrome; maybe there is a solution for it that we can all strive to find.

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