My Journey Journal
Many things have happened in the past week. Of course there was schoolwork and creative writing, but I also was introduced to some pretty cool new music this week. I have been listening to a lot of S.J. Tucker lately. I find that her songs tell a story of her relationship with nature and the sometimes invisible space where nature is a part of us. She has a very tribal sound, and the energy of music keeps me company while I write. I have also been listening to a couple of songs by composer, Thomas Bergersen. Children of the Sun is one of his pieces that I listen to when writing; I get inspired by it. Remember Me is the other song of his I listen to. It is also inspirational, and it flows without being repetitive; I find that this song is great for when I want to be calmed. There are several instrumental pieces by Audiomachine that I find myself drawn to; Blood and Stone, Legends of Destiny, and Ice of Phoenix are just a few of my favorites by them. I really like having these playing in the background at any time of the day. They really energize me and seem to motivate me with their rhythm and vibrations. So, as you can probably figure out, these are definitely not your mainstream popular music. (there is nothing wrong with popular music….I love the Beatles, Journey, Wings, The Eagles, Bon Jovi and many others)This week, not only was I listening to my favorites, I was also introduced to some “old favorites” by a friend. Based on my taste in music, she selected several artists that I might enjoy and shared her cd’s with me. So, now I am listening to Enya, Adiemus, and Loreena McKennitt, and will be adding quite a few songs from each into my playlists. I am looking forward to seeing how this new music adds to my life. Stay tuned.So, the last week wasn’t only filled with music, it unfortunately was also filled a bit with a head cold. Yeah, I came down with a little head cold, then I got well pretty darn quick. (Bone Broth Soup and spoonfuls of Honey and lavender oil are my new best friends).As exciting as music and spoonfuls of honey and lavender oil are, there was one event that topped all other events last week. The most important and impactful event was that my dad is now a (Dramatic Drumroll)………. U.S Citizen! Can you hear me cheering over here?

Yep, Wednesday was the official swearing in ceremony, and all the family came to experience the birthday of a New American. As I sat there I was surprised by the number of people that were there. It was considered one of the smaller swearing in ceremonies, yet it still had over 600 new citizens representing 79 countries. I was not expecting so many people from so many different countries. As each country was named prior to the oath taking, the people from those countries stood up to be acknowledged. That moment was such an emotional one…their last act as a citizen of their home country was to stand up proudly and receive recognition for where they came from. Moments later they would no longer be, Mexican, Afghanistan, Syrian, Russian, Mongolian, or Indian, they would be American. American, just like me. I guess it had to be a bittersweet moment for all of them; in order to gain all the rights, responsibilities and freedoms of an American, they had to give up the pride of being from their home country. As I listened to the entire room of 600+ people as they recited the oath of allegiance, I noticed that these people were “choosing” to swear, promise and pledge to do things for our country that many natural born Americans would not swear to do. That is something that I will forever keep with me.

As I watched my dad, with his hand raised, pledging his fidelity to America, I realized that this was not a difficult pledge for him; for everything our country asked him to pledge that day, he had already been doing or was willing to do for as long as I can remember. Pride…I felt so much pride for him. Our country became richer on Wednesday, and I am so thrilled that I was there to be the first one to hug the newly-made American.

My Word of the Year (Breathe) has helped immensely in the past week. School has been stressful because I have been doing and re-doing my math problems to make sure I was doing them right. (This was not always my idea, but in the end I am glad that I did) Breathing helped me keep my temper in check during this time, and I didn’t get defensive and snap at people as much as I normally would.

Recently, the days have also been long because of other responsibilities, and breathing has helped me keep myself not stressed out as much and of course, alive. Breathing helped me stay alive.

The Writing Path
————————–––Story Excerpt – Hissing Words #2—————Draft——

“Right, let’s work on Illusion again.” She smiled encouragingly. I was about to recite the words, but Zara’s bright, sunny smile turned into a stormy scowl. She hissed under her breath, “It’s that Wolfdale girl. Maggie? Marrie? Marthie?”I shook my head. “Maddie, I think. Is she coming?” I didn’t turn around to look. Zara nodded and tilted her head, a sure sign that she wanted me to keep quiet.

“Hey, Sageshade and Swiftwoods, what’re you two doing?” Maddie’s voice was playful, but there was a sharp and commanding edge to it, with an almost imperceptible hint of accusation.

“Eh, talking. How you doing, Maddie?” I noticed Zara’s forced smile, and I followed suit, turning around.

“Hey, Maddie.” She nodded to me, but looked back at Zara.

“Well, Zara, I wanted to congratulate your little friend here on doing her first Soulsteal successfully and Recharge.” She pronounced little as if I didn’t exist, and followed her words with a little laugh. ”But, that said, I’m doing very well, Zara.”

I shrank back. Both of the older students were about six inches taller than me, and they both loomed over me. My shadow was easily hidden. “Well… I’ll… I think Louise is calling. See you later.” I hurriedly added to the most popular girl, “Nice seeing you, Maddie.” I marched down the hill, shaken. I could have hit myself. Why do I always act like that around her? It’s not like she’s more powerful or anything…

I stared up at the sky – it had almost been an hour, somehow. Hurrying down the hill, I stood, waiting where Louise told me to. She wasn’t there. Five minutes later – which, I noticed with glee, was two minutes over the time, – she appeared. “Early, are you?”

“Actually, I got here two minutes ago, so no.” She feigned anger with a look that could say, “Watch yourself,” but I knew when she was actually angry.

She flicked her grey-amber hair over her shoulder. “Let’s begin. Illusions.” I bit my lip as I kept in that I already knew how to do illusions. “Ermrak anfar. Then you think of what you want to–”

“I think I get it. Ermrak anfar!” I closed my eyes to the light and pictured the largest thing I could think of – a mountain. The larger the illusion, the harder, but I still wanted to show her that I could do it. When I was confident that the stone pyramid was fixed in my mind, I opened my eyes and repeated, “Ermrak anfar.”

Shimmering grey was already gathering, like mist. I gasped as the stone seemed to grow into me, but I felt nothing. Puzzled, I let my attention drop for a moment, and the growing stone mountain faded before it was completed. I shakily looked up to see my teacher. Her mouth was open, and she turned to me when the mountain faded.

“H-how did you do that first try?”

I yawned awkwardly before responding. “I… I don’t… I don’t know?” I squeaked. I had done big stuff for my first try before – like a Shadow Self and Flash, but never a whole mountain-sized big thing. “M-maybe….” Her gaze focused on me, hard and wondering. I yelped under the pressure. “N-n-never mind.” My heart fluttered, and I realized how exhausted I suddenly was. I wish someone would talk! This silence is getting to me. Wait, silence? My thoughts raced. There was never ever silence in the training valley. At least, normally, someone was chatting with a friend or reciting a spell, or screaming at a work of magic gone wrong.

Louise breathed heavily. “You… need… a promotion.”

I yawned again, but my eyes widened at the sound of her words.

Looking Back
I’ve learned in this past week that school has to come before creative writing. (I am not happy about this, but it has to be) For the past 7 days, I’ve written 4000+ words… but, I did all of that writing before I completed my schoolwork. At the end of a very successful writing day, I would want to share my creativity with my family, however, they weren’t as receptive or thrilled as I had hoped, mostly due to the fact that we all could see that I didn’t get too much school done. I realized that I would/could write all day long, and only get a hundred or so words for english written, and only do enough math to get me by (wasn’t really taking the time to make sure I was fully understanding the concepts). Or maybe I missed that early morning geology class because I slept in too late; which may have been caused by staying up way too late the night before trying to cram in the schoolwork that I should have been doing during the day, instead of creative writing. I guess it is hard for them to be happy with my creative writing when it appears that the writing is causing friction and stress about unfinished schoolwork.

I have a new rule for myself, now. No more creative writing during the school day. I will treat it as an “after-school” activity. I will limit myself during the school day to only jotting down quick notes about plots, characters and scenes so that I don’t lose the ideas. I hope that this new rule will help keep me on track for balancing school and creative writing.

That’s it with this week! There was a lot of newness; New Music for me to enjoy and appreciate, New American to celebrate, New Chapter of my story, and a New Rule to make my life easier.

Enjoy your week, and, oh yeah….keep breathing!