Monday, March 23, 2015

What I Learned About Writing From Cinderella

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I went to see the new Cinderella movie at the theater yesterday with my mom and my little sister, and I really enjoyed it. It was a very sweet and beautiful film. I loved the way it combined the original story from the Grimm brothers with the classic Disney film, as well as adding many other small things that deepened and enhanced the plot from the original tale. The set, costumes, acting, music, and everything was superb. After those two familiar words had flashed across the screen, "The End" and the credits began to roll, we still sat there. Letting the story cement in our brains, listening to the music, and watching the seemingly endless list of names scroll by. We watched as first the actors, director, and producers swept past, followed by department after department. Everything from casting, to costuming, to catering. From music, to makeup, to medical. The credits just kept coming, and I was astounded. Sure, I knew how much work goes into a movie, especially since I had helped make several short films, but it never really hit me the massive amount of people and departments that were involved in one seemingly simple film.

It got me thinking. Thousands of people were involved in one film. Making one story come to life, took all those people, in all those departments. Yet as a writer, I set out on a journey of creating a whole new world, a book, a novel filled with many different characters, perspectives and beliefs I may not hold myself , places I've never been, foods I've never tasted, things I've never done or seen personally, and I do this all by myself. My point is, it takes that many people to create one simple fairytale on screen, but when you're a writer, you do it in a book, using only words, and you do it by yourself. You take on the responsibilities and duties of so many people. You write a world all by yourself, and yet it's not an unusual thing for me or for others. It's true that there's a lot more work involved in creating a movie, but it's still a huge undertaking to write a novel. And what's more, we do it by ourselves! 

I love being independant and working by myself when I write is just fine with me, but I was thinking about the massive amount of people it takes to create a beautiful movie like "Cinderella", and wouldn't my novel turn out better if I reached out to people a little more? I mean one person working on such a big project alone, is actually a lot if you really think about it. Wouldn't it make my book better if I joined a writer's group? Interacted on a forum somewhere? Asked for help with the plot points I'm not sure about? Went to people who knew more about the historical background I need for my novel than I do and ask their advice? Find some trusted friends to read and give feedback on my novel? Wouldn't that make it better? The more people that I allow to help me, the better perhaps? I know it's easy for me to get stuck in the mindset that my novel is all mine and nobody else can touch it, but I'm writing it so that others can read it, aren't I? So doesn't it make sense that I should be willing to let other people help me along the way? Sometimes I can't do it all by myself, and though it hurts my independant pride, there are times when I just have to say, "Alright, I need some help." and be willing to accept the help that so many people around me are willing to give. 

It always surprises me that there are so many people out there who want to help me, and I just have to ask them. Perhaps I should learn a valuable lesson from Cinderella, and the thousands of people who worked on it. Sometimes to make something the best it can be, you just need a little help, from other people, or perhaps from a fairy godmother, if you happen to be so lucky as to have one of your own.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New York City Pictures

Last week I went on a day trip with my family to New York City, it was a lot of fun, and we got to see lots of neat things. The city is huge so we walked a lot and our feet were pretty sore by the time we were done. It was amazing to see all the famous places I've always heard about, and seen on TV, though they all seemed a lot smaller in person. I guess you can make anything look bigger with a little movie magic. Anyway, all the buildings and different types of textures and structures makes the big apple a great place for photography. So here's a few of the pictures I took in NYC.

Times Square and Mcdonalds, you know you can find these everywhere...

The Lady Liberty. She looked a lot smaller, but I guess we were a bit far away.

Signs of the Times. I love the visual interest this scene has with all the different signs going in different directions.

The Nine Eleven Memorial. White roses stuck in the carved names of the remembered. 

Souvenirs, and these are even smaller than the original! Pocket sized. 

Times Square and Broadway at night. Seriously all those signs and flashing lights are enough to give anyone a seizer. I'm telling you, it's a safety hazard...

What about you? Have you ever been to NYC? If so, what did you think? If not, where have you been recently? Comment below!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

YWAM Story- Life Change

About a week after I got to YWAM (Youth with a Mission) for my DTS (Discipleship Training School) we had a get to know you night. All us new students and all the staff sat on chairs in a circle, in the center of the circle there were a lot of different cards with pictures on them on the ground. I'm not really sure what the pictures were originally from or for, maybe they were poetry prompt cards, or maybe something to use in counseling, or something. Regardless, what we were using them for was to represent how we felt then, starting the DTS, and how we wanted to feel when it was all over. As everyone searched through the pictures I pondered how I felt, and what I wanted to get out of this experience. 

It was easy for me to find my first card. A perfectly organized silverware drawer. Every spoon, fork, and knife perfectly in it's place. That was my life before. To everyone on the outside it looked like I had everything together, I behaved just like a good christian girl, I went to church and bible study every week, I knew the bible well, including a lot of historical background, especially about the old testament. I had a loving family, a few good friends, a big room all to myself that was perfectly organized, I had everything that I could want or need, every spoon and fork in it's place. A perfect life, but I still felt stale, empty, and I was confused. What could I be missing? Leaving my home and going on YWAM was the hardest thing I had ever done. It was the first time I had ever left my family for a long period of time, and I was so homesick. It felt like my whole world was flipped upside down, my whole silverware drawer, all my spoons and knifes falling in a big jumbled mess on the ground. That was my first card.

As I searched for what I wanted my second card to be, I thought about why I had come to YWAM in the first place. Firstly God had told me to go, and I had reasoned that it probably wasn't a good idea to say no to the God of the universe. But there was another reason that I went too, and I realized that it was because I wanted to change. I wasn't satisfied with the way my life was before. I wasn't satisfied with myself either. I wasn't satisfied with the emptiness. I wanted more, and I knew I had to change to find what I was longing for. I wanted to know God, and to know myself. To have deep relationships with others. To finally have my own adventure instead of always reading about the adventures of others. I wanted to really experience life. So I found my second card. 

On the second card I picked there was a picture of a guy in a red hoodie, with a backpack, and a book under his arm, walking towards an unknown future. To me he looked like he was setting off on an adventure, not afraid to really live his life, and that's what I wanted. I wanted to be fearless, to be strong, and life my own life. I wanted to stop being so shy, to stop second guessing myself, to stop worrying about being judged, and not be strangled by perfectionism. I wanted to really know God, really know myself, and really know others, with no pretending. I wanted to be the kind of person I had always wanted to be, to just live my life to the best of my ability and let that be good enough.

 Now that I have finished my DTS I  feel more like the second picture than the first. I feel more alive, more willing to take risks, and have adventures. I feel more free than I ever felt before. Right now I'm not sure what my next step in life is, but I know that I'm never going back to my perfect silverware drawer life of before, and I'm glad of that. Now I'm just going to keep heading forward, towards my next adventure, what ever it may be, trusting God that He knows what He's doing. I'm not stopping, there's no turning back now, and I'm glad of it.