The Crooked Path

picssThe other day my class had the honor of hosting for a visiting writer, Domingo Martinez. We had the pleasure of listening to him talk, give us advice, and answer any questions we could throw his way. I haven’t read all of his book yet but I have flown through a couple of chapters and let me tell you, this guys has lived quite the life.

Or, as he puts it, he’s taken the crooked path.

First off, I do suggest his books to anyone interested in memoirs. I can tell he’s spent years honing his voice and perfecting his craft, so now his novels have a unique tone and language. He’s worked hard over the years and never let his past or struggles stop him from being heard.  Continue reading

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Follow The Cloud

23435041_10210694259899428_5803650162365813881_nNumbers 9:16-20:

“The cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped. Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep the LORD’S charge and not set out. If sometimes the cloud remained a few days over the tabernacle, according to the command of the LORD they remained camped. Then according to the command of the LORD they set out.”

Continue reading

Not In Charge.

23132121_10210649578102411_2645317899219630129_n“Senior year is a time for random road trips” Jordan said to me one afternoon as we made the decision to hop in the car early Sunday morning, drive to Austin, see our teacher at the Texas Book Festival, get lunch, and drive back. It wasn’t meant to be a long trip, or even an eventful trip. Just a trip. An adventure.

I was running late Sunday morning because geez I wake up early every day but I managed to make it and Jordan hopped in my car, ready for the day. We instantly stopped for coffee and I blasted Taylor Swift. “Are you a fan of Taylor?” “Yes.” “Good.” Continue reading

Caress Your Soul

13244015_10206450173279915_4943505738771786978_oThis weekend I took a familiar trip to Austin, Texas. Even though I’ve been there multiple times, each trip and experience is unique from the last. The one this photo is a part of, taken over a year ago, was filled with different places, different events, different people, and different memories. A different Madison Lawson visited the same city and saw everything… differently.

“Caress Your Soul”, a piece of graffiti I saw that day at the graffiti park, spoke to my heart. It told me that anything that touched me, made me feel, made me love and warmed my soul was good. It told me to chase those things that caressed my soul, told me to hold onto them because they would be fleeting and when would I find the next one? Continue reading

Proud vs Pride

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For some reason, it’s often seen as selfish or arrogant to be proud of yourself. If you say “I’m proud of this accomplishment” you run the risk of other’s thinking you’re conceited.

There is merit in modesty humility, though. It’s probably not a good idea to wear a shirt that says “I’m the best” everyday or force your friends to throw you a party every time you make an A or B on a test, but if an accomplishment is a large, unusual, and meaningful one, then it’s 100% okay to be proud of yourself. If you just made an A on your MCAT, then you should have a party. Yeah, modesty is a virtue but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to voice your own excitement at your achievements. Continue reading

Chain Smoking

21762046_10210204500455748_9149997079439913457_nFirst and Foremost I must give credit to the idea of “chain smoking” to Austin Kleon in his book Show Your WorkIn the book he discusses the importance of chain smoking (in relation to writing) and gives examples of writers who practice it. Now that’s out of the way, I’m going to Steal Like an Artist and write like the idea were my own.

Chain smokers go through multiple packs of cigarettes a day. As of 2013, the average adult aged smoker went through almost 22 cigarettes each day. In order to continually be smoking without a break, they often will light one cigarette with the butt of another.

Can we, as writers, identify ourselves as chain smokers? Not in the (albeit unhealthy and honestly gross) habitual way of literally inhaling the smoke of cigarettes, but in how we write. Are we going through multiple pages a day? How many writing hours are we averaging a day? Do you light the beginning of one story with the end of another? I believe we should all strive to be chain smoking writers. I know I do. And In no way am I saying writers have to write 22 pages every day, but continuing forward without a writing hiatus is more beneficial than we may give it credit.  Continue reading

Dark Colors

21462786_10210178347641944_6627037810111179313_nMost vividly, I remember the rain. My hair had been stuck to my forehead and I was shivering from the cold. Running through the trees had winded me and I was struggling to see through the fog and rain. The house was large, hiding in plain sight.

I was scared, lost, and alone. I was also only six years old.

Now, twenty years later, the memories have become distant at best and fictional at worst. Once, I made the mistake of confiding in my girlfriend at the time, telling her all I remember about that night twenty years ago. I told her how the memory of the night feels physical to me, but the evidence of it was never found.  Continue reading

The Glass

21077224_10210045709286068_6398435211009267583_n“Is your glass half full or half empty?”

Well, fictional person I created to start an imaginary conversation for the purpose of making a point, it really depends on the past condition of the glass.

I always had trouble with the “Are you a glass half full or half empty” concept because my answer seemed to be “it depends” every time. It depends on how the glass got to that point.

See, a glass isn’t always one or the other. If water (or wine…) was just poured to the top and someone drank half of it, then the glass is now half empty. Alternately, if the glass was just filled to the current level, then it is half full. You can’t look at something and, with no knowledge of it’s past or it’s circumstances, decide it’s current condition. Its’s just too relative for that. So the answer to the question is going to change with every different circumstance.

It’s relative to the beholder.  Continue reading

Ari’s Best Friends

14882125_10207637211315124_7188519246657598919_oHer eyes glaze over, her chest shakes with laughter, she falls onto her back and her fingers rake against the glaring white ground.

It was 2008.

No… 2007.

2006?

It was a while ago when Ari first met her best friends.

She was five.

So it would have been 2006, right? Continue reading

Dear Ex

zoeDear ex in my inbox,

The way I see it is there are three types of “inbox exs”.

  • The lonely inbox ex. He probably wants to hookup or even get back together. He realizes he lost something great and now regrets his life. He also can’t get any other girl to smile at him so he’s feeling small and lonely. It’s sad.
  • The angry inbox ex. He’s victimized himself, made you a “b*txh*, and told all his pickup truck friends that HE broke up with YOU. In his message, he makes use of all the curse words he’s learned in his however many years on earth and let all his “feminazi” frustration out on you. It’s also sad.
  • The apologetic inbox ex. He’s moved on, realized though you may have damaged his pride, he may also have hurt you. He has a new girlfriend but his conscience is keeping him up at night. He’s in your inbox to make amends. This one is no longer sad.

Which makes it all the more annoying.

In this letter, I’ll be referring to inbox ex #3.  Continue reading