Category Archives: Journal

Current State of Affairs 3/31/16

 

 Photo by: Hollie Barringer, Gulf of Mexico on the Carnival Magic
I’ve been listening the podcast Writing Excuses again and feeling somewhat guilty for lacking the focus to keep up with my writing. I’ve been able to make a few addendums to previously determined plot points in my novel. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve had this story idea for close to 8 or 9 years now and I have, admittedly, spent more time world building than actually writing scenes and dialogue to progress the overarching plot. It’s a problem. I really want to put my thoughts into words, but my focus is terrible. I’ve had much better luck with short form writing, but I definitely want to make progress on this novel idea.

One of my big excuses for awhile was that I didn’t have a laptop to work on because the hard drive crashed (don’t worry, I had my files backed up) and new computers can be pretty expensive. Writing by hand is exhausting for me because I have this ridiculous habit with a pen or pencil- I press down really hard on the paper and it literally hurts after awhile. Plus, my hand written notes tend to have an excruciating number of X’s, strikethroughs, margin annotations and revisions that make the legibility subpar. I can say, however, these are really poor excuses. The good news is that I finally ordered a new laptop and it arrived two weeks ago. I’ve got Word installed and I’m prepared to start organizing my timeline of events again because a lot has changed since I first conceived this story idea. My protagonist’s goals have changed drastically and her companion no longer plays the same role I first imagined for him. One major change that I’m quite proud of is that I realized I fell into the grasp of a common trope: the love triangle. I absolutely abhor love triangles as they never end satisfyingly. There are always hurt feelings or resentment and a sense of missing closure. I personally try to avoid these situations in literature, film, and in every day life. My solution isn’t clever, but it’s effective and necessary. I eliminated a useless character and introduced a much more interesting character and by changing the original role idea for one of my main characters I eliminated any conflicts with love rivalry and made a more realistic connection between my characters. Primarily, I wanted to avoid the dissonance of a love triangle from overshadowing the main plot. I felt that while character relations are essential to telling this story, any romantic drama is excessive. It’s a fantasy story, so the main plot is centered on a larger, world-changing scheme.

I also managed to solidify the main POV characters,  identify all secondary characters, and even eliminate a few other unnecessary roles to reduce issues with continuity, focus, and problem solving. Aside from tweaking my timeline, I need to settle on my paragon heriarchy and start writing some fleshed out scenes because I believe I’ve sufficiently pieced together enough world building material for a stand alone novel.

In other news, doctors have confirmed that the right side abdominal pains I’ve been getting since last year are because I have gallstones. I’ll be having a quick outpatient  surgery soon, and a week off of work following that, which might give me some much needed time to coordinate my thoughts regarding the direction of my story. I’m surprisingly not concerned about the procedure. I’m just ready to get back to my life because shortly thereafter my other half is coming to visit for a couple weeks. I am beyond excited! This will be his first time in Texas and I cannot wait to introduce him to my friends and family. I have plans to try and visit him again before the years end, assuming work is kind to me.

I hope everyone is doing alright and has enjoyed the start of the new year with spring in full swing and summer on the way. Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, or bug me. I’m always looking to make conversation 🙂

Asking for Forever

It’s unfair to ask, and perhaps selfish to dream that you might stay with me, but my heart demands that I do. So I did. I asked you for forever and you said the sweetest thing. I can give you time, you said and promised nothing more. I smiled despite myself, wishing away my ridiculous request. It struck me then just how down to earth you really are, completely aware of life and averse to false promises. You offered me time and I realized that’s all I really need. Your honesty is blunt, but filling. It is sincere and comforting. I am ever thankful for that, I hope you understand. In the past I have struggled to show what’s inside, but you’ve pulled it out of me like colorful ribbons from a hat. So please pardon my selfishness because 1500 miles is a difficult place to see and I know full well that the future is a mystery. I could ask for forever all day, wishing for a simple yes, but you made me realize that false pretenses have no place here. I have come to understand that I have what I need, and I’ve found my place to be. My only hope is that it lasts, maybe not forever, just long enough to know you better.

Written By: Hollie Barringer, 2016

Late Night Admissions

In recent months I’ve found myself struggling to find the peace of mind for sleep because thoughts of you run rampant across my consciousness. It’s difficult to cope with you being so very far away. There are 1500 miles of plains, desert, grassland, and mountains separating me from you. I want nothing more than to hold you right now, to feel your warmth. I miss the feel of my hand in yours and those moments when you’d wrap your arms around me and pull me close. I remember it all so vividly: your taste, your smell, your smile, your touch. Instead of sleep my mind has you on replay and there is no stop button.

Happiness

 Happiness is one of those things that happens when the pieces begin falling into place. Imagine the world as a giant puzzle and each person a smaller collection of pieces that create one focal point of a bigger picture. Happiness is when those pieces finally come together and everything becomes more clear; it all starts to make sense.

You might start out with a general idea of “the way things are supposed to be”. This is your plan, but you’ll quickly discover that executing a plan is never as easy as you might first imagine it to be. You can match like colors and differentiate between all of life’s obstacles. This takes time and effort. There will be a lot of confusion and chaos, typically followed by frustrations and sometimes anger. Sometimes you will forget that this is normal and that everyone experiences similar situations and problems on their journey. Just remember that every piece, no matter how upsetting, difficult, or irritating, is essential to complete the whole. It’s a lot of trial and error. Then, one day you’ll wake up and something will just click. You made it through the screaming, tear-filled, restless nights. You don’t have to argue and fight this uphill battle today. You realized something important along the way. You remembered the bigger picture, the end goal, the thing you’ve been working so hard for. A piece fell into place.

So take a break, sit back, and celebrate this victory. Enjoy the little things so you’ll find the strength to endure another day. Cherish what you have presently. Don’t let the frustrations of yesterday weigh on you anymore and don’t let the fears of tomorrow push you to giving up. Let’s focus on our happiness to keep it alive as long as we can because one day we will find two pieces that don’t fit and it will be discouraging, but memory will remind us that while some things don’t work out, others do. We will find happiness again.

Terrifying and Amazing

These two words keep popping up in a way that resonates with me.
I’ve seen them everywhere lately, but more importantly I’ve felt these two particular feelings simultaneously. They coincide wonderfully, like two halves of a soul embracing. It’s difficult to describe, but I can say with a certainty that it’s worth whatever cost to pursue a feeling like that.

If I’m Being Honest

I’m recovering from a low point in my life. It’s hard to rise above the pressures weighing down on you, especially when they attack from multiple fronts. Between my final semesters in college, searching for a job to kickoff my career, and juggling my personal life I had become something of a wreck. I’ve made poor decisions and attempted to hide from them. I lied to myself and hurt the people closest to me. I did a lot of foolish things in the name of delusion. It’s difficult to admit, but it’s the truth. It happened. But, it’s also in the past now.

The sweet and beautiful thing about hitting rock bottom is the ability to see things in a new light. The realization that all of your reassurances were false and the scenery you’ve been imaging doesn’t exist is a sobering experience. It’s a moment of clarity that hits you from out of nowhere and left me stunned. If I’m being honest it’s both terrifying and thrilling, but mostly terrifying. The worst part is knowing that I was responsible for the hole I dug and that the collateral, everyone who visited me in my pit of denial, are irreversibly affected in some way by my mistakes. While it wasn’t my intention to cause harm, the fact remains that I did and for someone like me who cares deeply, it stings. Fortunately, I’ve had time to process. I can now say that while I am deeply sorry for my mistakes, I also accept that the past is beyond my reach to change. I found a way to come to terms with myself and now I’m able to breathe again.

I want to revise an earlier statement. The worst part is remembering the wreckage left behind, knowing that it exists in its current state because of my choices. But, the best part is that I got to start over. Despite all of the shame I may have felt I was able to see new opportunities I never thought possible. The unknown is still daunting and Lord only knows where my path will take me, but this time is different. This time my choices are for me. This time there won’t be any lies. This time I won’t accept contentment; I will strive for what makes me happy. This time things will be different because if I’m being honest I have changed and I am better for it.

This is a bit personal and a little dated at this point. It’s something I’ve tried to write about but could never put into the right words until now. With the wax and wane of inspiration it wasn’t until now that I found enough of my voice to share this. It’s not the brightest of topics, but if there’s anything to take away from this it is that change isn’t always a bad thing. You may make mistakes in life that bring great shame, but mistakes are part of all of us and their lessons are what help us grow. I have dramatically changed from the person that I used to be and in the beginning it terrified me. I’ve come to realize the beauty of change in that it opens the door to possibilities we never imagined. It allowed me to see the world in a new light. I hope that anyone struggling with themselves, anyone on the road to self-discovery, anyone unhappy with the place they’re in… Please don’t accept contentment. Fight for your happiness and your individuality. As much as it hurts to leave people and things behind us, you’ll only hurt yourself more if you pretend everything is okay when it’s not. I speak from experience. 

Too Much Television

I had a brief moment of panic today when Skype disconnected. I was spending my evening doing the usual: catching up with my long distance boyfriend after a long day. His internet kept going in and out. I, always imagining the worst case scenario, created an apocalyptic situation where the Internet, phone lines, and satellites became useless. And I asked: “What if this actually happened. How would we find each other?” The thought of losing contact with him with 1500 miles between us left me temporarily stunned. Can you imagine being separated from your loved ones in the apocalypse with no knowledge of their well-being and no plan to organize a reunion if such a feat were possible?

Needless to say I watch too much TV, and I am especially fascinated with the apocalypse theme in media. Maybe I need a little balance for my creative mind.

His response was adorable though. “Tell you what, if that happens, I’ll come to you. You stay there and I’ll go to you.”

Living

Today she questioned the motives of another.  

They replied with: “I’m living and learning”. 

She pondered the statement and then, with a precious smile asked: “Are you living to learn, or learning to live”

I find that the implications of deciding which is more true is of great significance not only to the individual, but to all who may cross their path as well.