To the lost millennial

As a millennial myself, I feel quite lost in the nonstop pace of this world and the expectations coming from all sides. Are we part of the generation to make the world a better place or to destroy it with technology and overall liberal-ness? Well, I suppose that depends who you ask. (Disclaimer: this is not a political blog.)

If you ask me what I think about our generation, I’ll be honest: I have no fricken clue.

Everything is at our fingertips and most of us know how to use this to our advantage, but what disadvantage does this bring?

There’s so much to juggle with the increase of social media – (ya, ya ya, sure, people don’t have to get phones and they don’t have to fall into the Instagram craze, but don’t try to tell a young woman to give up her iPhone apps because she’d be giving up a lot of contact with other people) – I guess that’s a big disadvantage: now we have all these ways of connecting that there’s so much more to handle than when people would maybe see each other once a year in person. It’s a beautiful, horrible thing.

This blog post is starting to sound how I feel: disconnected. With all that’s available to us in this connected age, it is shockingly easy to feel disconnected. And what happens then, when you can reach everyone with the tap of a finger but find yourself alone, shivering in isolation and sadness? You wonder how it got this way.

Pay attention to the movement of your story

I’ve been contemplating pace in my stories. How the language of my work aids the flow. Words create momentum and momentum propels the story through time.

How does your work get from the beginning to the end?

 

Consider this passage I wrote:

My toes sink into lush red carpet. A boxy old TV sits like a lost dog in the center of the room, and flesh-colored couches sway and topple when used. The sound of parents comes from a nearby kitchen – clank, swish, crash – as they create a meal.

Wait, no, the smell emaciating the living room is something much sweeter.

“She’s always over here,” a voice says. Metal hits the counter.

“Yes, she’s always over here.”

*

I cough, unsettling dust from the TV stand in the middle. Years later, after everyone died, the poor thing still sat in denial. Denial that anything is different. Denial that the flesh-colored couches were replaced with brown leather ages ago. Denial that after the family cleared everything out, it’d been forgotten.

The outdatedness of the house is palpable, like I could reach out and touch wrinkles on the wall and inhale the scent of decay and neglect.

Dust settles on the beaten red carpet. Out of nowhere, the TV crashes to the floor to join the dust, giving up.

 

How did the flow of this effect the way you read it? Is there anything you’d change or adapt for your own work?

I encourage you to write a scene or take a look at some old ones. Really dig into what’s compelling to move your story along.

The Writing Life

Insightful and just what I needed to hear! I hope someone else finds encouragement and the strength to keep writing in these words.

Libby Sommer, Author

pen and cup of coffee on cafe table

It’s a tough gig being a writer. Lots of isolation, lots of intense concentration, lots of rejection from publishers and agents. Sitting in a cafe with coffee and fountain pen is one of the good bits.

Why do I write? It’s a good question to ask yourself.

  1.  Because I’m a fool.
  2.  Because I want to impress my old school friends.
  3.  So people will like me.
  4.  So my friends will hate me.
  5.  I’m no good at speaking up.
  6.  So I can invent a new way of looking at the world.
  7.  In order to write the great Australian novel and become famous.
  8.  Because I’m a nut case.
  9.  Because I’m an undiscovered literary genius.
  10.  Because I have something to tell.
  11.  Because I have nothing to tell.

Hemingway has said, ‘Not the why, but the what.’ It’s enough to know you want to write. Write.

One of my favourite books on the writing process…

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A heart as beautiful as yours

From being assigned This Is How You Lose Her and reading Uninvited on my own time, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of love and loss – PSA, I’d recommend both of these books. This Is How You Lose Her has stories of love gone wrong, and Uninvited focuses on finding love for yourself in the midst of rejection. 

Love and loss mean different things to different people. To a child it could mean a pet’s death, to an adult it could be the loss of a child or marriage or job. However, a lot of times, the type of loss that hurts the most is when someone you love leaves on their own accord. The rejection and hurt of knowing they’re out in the world but just didn’t want you is a lot to handle.

Worst of all is a loss of control and grappling for things that aren’t meant to be. It takes a lot of courage to face a new day and accept that you can’t change things. People sometimes hold onto the idea that if they do something differently or try harder, they can save a relationship or get a person back. But hey, maybe God wanted this for you, right? Maybe there’s a reason for how much your heart hurts now.

In This Is How You Lose Her, there are countless couples with doomed romances. Reading them, it’s easy to see that it’s not meant to be, but when you’re in something it’s hard to see the world outside. So what is love? What makes one person the right one? How much unpleasantness and distrust should you feel when starting to date, or when considering marriage? In this novel, a lot of people go gallivanting about unhappily, recounting the times they messed up in love.

We never see things clearly until we have time away, and even then sometimes not.

“Our relationship wasn’t the sun, the moon, and the stars, but it wasn’t bullshit either.” Relationships are so difficult and precious. They won’t be pretty all the time. They just won’t. So when is it time to stick it out or move on?

I don’t know. Like I said here, I’m not big on advice in general. People either won’t listen or they’ll push your advice to the back of their minds when they need it most. They will do what they want so I think the most valuable advice I could ever give is this: it’s your life, you deal with the consequences. So be dumb, make your mistakes, but don’t screw yourself over.

As Lysa TerKeurst said: “Bitterness, resentment, and anger have no place in a heart as beautiful as yours.”

 

What happens after you date before you’re ready (a follow-up post)

No circumstance, person, or relationship is the same. I don’t know how you came to find this post or what your situation is, but I hope this blog will bring you a bit of comfort in the days after a beautiful and tragic relationship has ended.

First off, don’t blame yourself. Hell, maybe it is all your fault that you lost your significant other, but just stop being hard on yourself. Nothing is one-sided. People make mistakes. Sometimes we act out of immaturity or insecurity but the important thing is that you can see your errors and know that you want to become a better person. Without that person around to love us, we have to make sure to maintain love for ourselves.

(Note: this is no longer about becoming better for your significant other or to fix your relationship. They’re gone now and you need to do this for yourself.)

Take time and grieve. Don’t let anyone tell you when or how to move on.

(Another note: if it’s been a month and you’re seriously unable to cope with life, there is no shame in getting help.)

Back to the beautiful tragedy of it all: it’s a curse and a blessing that you and I got to experience such great things worth missing. That’s why it’s so hard to cope with.

Remember that and be grateful.

You got to love someone and have them love you back. 

It hurts now. But one day, we’ll wake up and it won’t. That’s what I’m living for.

What happens when you date before you’re ready

Warning: it’s not pretty.

You think you’re ready, and that’s the whole problem.

When things don’t work out, you fall apart. Why? Because you based your self-worth on one relationship. You became too dependent too fast. All because you thought you were ready. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 45, if you’re not emotionally ready for a real relationship, you aren’t ready. And instead of dating anyways, maybe you should focus on yourself or what could potentially make you ready to date?

If you date anyways, here are some things that could happen:

You overreact to everything. If they don’t do something the way you want, it’s like a personal attack. Do they not love you anymore?

You’re clingy. You feel like if you’re not getting the attention you want you’re not enough and you compromise/sacrifice parts of yourself to make that person want you more.

You’re immature. Because everything in your life is about them, you assume everything they do should be about and for you. If they don’t text back or make plans with you, the relationship suddenly feels like it’s slipping away and you have to do everything you can to get it back.

You’re mentally weak. Whether this person is wearing you down or you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position, by placing all your love and hope on one person, you can’t focus on yourself or see with clear eyes what’s going on. Logic slips by you. Things that should be small are huge and before you know it, you’re screaming at them and placing a strain on the relationship because something rubbed you wrong and you think he doesn’t love you anymore.

 You can’t have a healthy relationship.

You can’t love them the way they deserve. 

Perhaps the scariest: you don’t know it’s you.