Some cool things you should check out (Shoutout Saturday!)

Hey guys! So, I know I did one of these “miscellaneous things that are cool” type posts not too long ago, and under normal circumstances I’d save this post for a few more weeks afterwards, because I don’t want to be repetitive, but I’ve been having a really weird week, so I’m letting it slide. Anyway, here are some things I’ve been loving of late.

Welcome to Night Vale

This was the podcast that introduced me to fiction podcasts, about a year ago–which is absolutely insane actually, because this was the show that taught me that a) fiction podcasts are a thing and b) they’re totally awesome. And now I’m writing one? Which is crazy!

How I stumbled across it was really weird–through this really good book called Radio Silence I read for English, which centred around a fiction podcast one of the main characters made, which was based on Night Vale. After a lot of scrolling through Goodreads because I didn’t know what to write for my book report, and hearing people freaking out about this Night Vale thing, I decided to check it out, fell in love, forced all my friends to listen to it, and the rest is history, I guess.

Night Vale centres around this small, wonderfully strange desert town, through the eyes of our very endearing radio host, Cecil, as he reports on the daily happenings. From the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, to the eldritch entity that is City Council, or the flesh eating librarians, or just updaters on his relationship with Carlos–it’s always hilarious and heartwarming and generally a good time. Night Vale is objectively terrifying, but it feels like home to me, and I’m just so grateful for this show and all it’s done for me.

My Pride

So, my friend introduced me to this series a while ago. It’s an animated TV show, up for free on YouTube. I recently I decided to rewatch it–and holy crap, it’s so good. The art is so beautiful, the voice acting is absolutely incredible, the art is just *chef’s kiss*, and it has some of the most interesting fantasy lore/general worldbuilding I’ve seen in ages.

It’s hard to do justice to this show without rambling for hours–but basically, think The Lion King but a lot darker, with a major wlw relationship, commentary on social issues, and also the whole thing is about changing a deeply flawed and prejudiced society with the odds stacked against you, healing from trauma and figuring out who you are outside of a toxic system you’ve spent your whole life serving.

Like I said before, I’m working on a fiction podcast right now–I’m currently in the process of casting, and like 35% through script editing–and anyway, I always love to see other small, independent projects succeed. It’s just really comforting to remember I’m not the only person who’s done this before.

Superstore

So, I grew up with workplace sitcoms, and they’ll always have a soft spot in my heart. They were the thing that taught me about how most people hate their jobs, and that’s very valid and okay, and also the government doesn’t care about me… but like, in a funny, lighthearted way.

Anyway, I started watching Superstore a while ago, and it’s been, like, my favourite thing in the world ever since. As the title suggests, it follows a bunch of employees working at a big box store–but it’s so much more than that. It has a really diverse cast, and a really good slowburn romance, and it made me tear up on multiple occasions, and it talks about a lot of serious social issues in a really cool, interesting way, all while still being absolutely hilarious, and painfully realistic. It’s really addictive though, so be warned; I binged an entire 22-episode season in a day once, and it was not good for my mental health.

But that aside, its just so well done, and refreshing, and I really love it.

The Junkyard 2

I really love Penelope Scott’s music, and I know I already wrote about her other album, but I will just never miss an opportunity to hype her up, apparently. The Junkyard 2 just reflects complete and utter Gen-Z rage, which is always right up my alley, and overall I just feel like it’s such a beautiful portrait of what it feels like to grow up in the 21st century–and that it would resonate with pretty much anyone in that age range. (Which is something I love so much about her music.) Anyway, you should listen to it.

And while I’m hyping up Penelope Scott, may I just say: she just released a new single, which I occasionally just put on a two hour loop while I study, it’s called “Born2Run” and it’s one of my favourite songs of hers, please go check it out.


Okay! That’s just about everything, I think. I’ll see you next week; I’m pretty sure I’ll talk about musicals. Anyway: take care of yourselves, and stay safe.

Lots of love,

Lorna

Shoutout Saturday (Things I’m super excited for!)

Hey guys! So, to be totally honest, I have been having an interesting few days to say the least. I’m currently in some kind of quarantine for at least the next little while. There was a COVID exposure at my school, and so even though technically we don’t have to quarantine, I’m not feeling too comfy about going out right now (both for my sake and the sake of others). Anyway, I could spend a lot of time talking about this whole mess of a situation, but honestly, don’t particularly want to think about it right now.

The TLDR is that 2020 is trash, but in an effort to find some sort of silver lining amid this less-than ideal situation, here are some things I’m looking forward to as the year draws to a close!

Hilda season two

So, as everyone probably knows, I am absolute trash for cute cartoons. I always sort of got mad at myself as a kid for liking things directed at children, and as a result never really let myself just watch fun shows without there being a guilt factor, and I stopped watching anything animated at around five. I really regret that, and I wish I had gotten to just watch fun things growing up rather than only important documentaries about tax fraud or climate change. So anyway, I’m trying to make up for that now. Hilda is this super-cute show on Netflix about this girl who’s spent her whole life living in a cabin with her mom moving to the city. She goes on all sorts of adventures, and makes friends with all these magical creatures, and it’s really sweet and wholesome–and season two is coming out on December 14th.

Turning 15

So, for obvious reason I’m not gonna say when my birthday is, but at some point in the next two-three months, I will be a full-fledged teenager, I guess? I’m probably just going to see a singular friend, two if I’m lucky, and we’ll make a cake together from scratch or something like that, go walking, and then watch some TV like we did last year, but it’ll still be a cool milestone to mark. When I was younger, I honestly couldn’t fathom being alive this long, so I feel weirdly proud to have done it. (And yes, I know, if you’re older than me you’re probably laughing right now.)

I’m really excited though, because as it stands I’m planning on actually getting myself some really cool things for my birthday. It costs a bit of money to change my blog URL (just twenty bucks, but that’s a lot of money to me right now), and so I’m planning on doing that some point soon, to lornawritesthings.com. Also, I’m finally getting a tripod to take better pictures, which is also only twenty bucks, but again, that’s a pretty big purchase for me.

Getting ahead on schoolwork

So, I do all my schoolwork via a computer–but under normal circumstances, go into a school to work on it in a computer lab there, where I can see my teachers in person and ask for help when I need it. (Also, I genuinely really like talking with my teachers, and it’s kinda nice to just chat from time to time.) Anyway, with that context aside–I’ve been making super good progress on my courses! As it stands I’m done almost all the work I was planning to do this year, which means in about a month, I can start to load up on grade 11 and 12 courses and spend the next six months getting myself to a place where I can hopefully graduate next year! There’s this a thing, I think, where if you graduate early you can take college classes through the school for the remainder of the time you were supposed to be working on grade twelve, all expenses paid, but don’t quote me on that, it’s been ages since I thought about it. (But if that’s still an option, that would be super cool and I’d seriously consider it!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future, and where I want to be in three years; looking at apartments in cities I’d like to live in someday, and planning out my finances and stuff like that. It’s so cool I’m close to entering that phase of my life! I don’t know, as a kid I always really wanted to graduate early, and I feel like my younger self would be really happy, and proud, if she knew it was looking like that might actually be a possibility for me.

Snow!

Where I live there have been a few snow warnings so far, but we haven’t actually gotten any. It’s been super cold of late though, and normally we get a few snow days in December and January, so I’m super excited for that. It only ever lasts for a week max, but my whole town always kinda freaks out and drops everything to go sledding and have fun. It’s my favourite part of winter, and it always makes me happy. (Also, I can’t wait to take a thousand really cool pictures and use them for Month in Photography, I’ve literally been waiting to do that since September. I don’t even know why that excites me so much, but it does!)

Finishing up a writing major project

So, this whole post is kinda just indirectly exposing what a giant nerd I am. But, that being said, I’ve been working on this fanfiction series which I’ve poured, like, my entire heart and soul into, for three years now, and I’m four weeks away from finishing up book two out of three. I don’t know, it’s silly and self-indulgent but it means a lot to me, and it makes me happy. It’s kinda grown up with me in a way, and taught me a lot in general. I don’t know, I work really hard at it, so it’s nice to see it finally pay off. It’s definitely got me feeling things.

Some cool upcoming meteor showers, apparently?

So, admittedly, while trying to find things to add to this list, I kinda had to google “things to look forward to in 2020” and discover this idea is really not original at all. (But most people stopped writing these posts after April, so I guess I’m, like, ahead of the curve? Or really behind it? I don’t know.) Aaanyhow, there are apparently some cool meteor showers coming up on December 13-14th and December 21st-22nd. I am absolutely in love with astronomy, which has sort of been an on-and-off obsession throughout my life. During quarantine my parents got really into stargazing, and it’s definitely rubbed off on me. I haven’t ever seen a meteor shower before though, so hopefully I’ll be able to watch one during the next month, I think that would be super cool!

Anyway, those are some neat things I’m very hyped up for! What about you? I’d love to know, hearing from you guys always makes my day. So feel free to drop it down in the comments, or let me know on social media. (I don’t bite!)

Lots of love,

Lorna

My favourite movies! (Shoutout Saturday)

Hey guys! Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies–just because I’m busy, . But there are a few movies that are very close to my heart, which I’ve grown fond of over the years–so I thought I’d share them in a quick little post today. 🙂

I Kill Giants

This was one of the movies I binged during quarantine. It’s definitely a tearjerker, but it has a happy ending–and also is guaranteed to drop-kick you back into middle school without your permission.

It’s about this young teen girl, Barbara–I don’t remember if they say her age, but I’d guess about thirteen? Anyway, as per the title, she kills giants. (Or at least believes she does–it’s left very ambiguous whether it’s something she makes up as a coping mechanism, or a real thing in this world.) After school, she makes traps to catch these giants, and sees herself as the last person who can protect the world from them. Throughout the movie, she uses this perceived responsibility as an excuse to hurt those she loves, and push away the people trying to help her, until she reaches a breaking point. Also, while this is all happening, her mother is dying–so yeah, like I said, it’s a tearjerker.

Aesthetically speaking, this movie is just so pretty to look at, oh my god. The writing is absolutely god tier, and… I don’t know, it’s just one of those movies that just leaves you speechless, and/or makes you question your every life decision for a good day after watching it.

Miss Americana

So, I was basically raised by Taylor Swift music–I’m pretty sure it was the only music I knew existed until I was eleven. It wasn’t a huge part of my childhood, but it influenced me for sure.

I’ve been getting really nostalgic of late, and going back to a lot of the things I used to like when I was younger–rereading my old favourite books, and making my favourite snacks from when I was a toddler–and it’s been really, really nice. Anyway, at some point, I decided to watch this documentary, and it almost made me cry.

It’s about Taylor Swift–but also, it’s about way more than that. It’s really intimate and real, and calming, and I think if you’re a girl, it’s pretty hard not to relate to this in some way or other. Like, god. (Also, if you were ever classified as a gifted kid from a young age, this pretty much captures that whole experience as well.) It’s about a celebrity, and it shouldn’t be relatable–but it just came into my house and completely called me out.

If it’s not clear in my poetry, I totally get the pressure to constantly achieve greater and greater things from mostly yourself, but also indirectly the people around you, as well as the constant social pressure to “be a good girl.” (There’s a reason I use that motif a lot in my poetry, in case you couldn’t tell.) That feeling, of anger, and insecurity, and all those other fun feelings is something I’ve been really struggling with of late–but watching this documentary really helped me sort through some of that, and it’s always nice to know you’re not the only one who struggles with this kind of stuff.

When Marnie Was There

This was the first studio ghibli movie I watched, so it has a special place in my heart–which is probably part of why I love it so much. My friend and I were hanging out together after school. We were going to go out, but we decided to just hang out, and eat chips. It had been a really stressful week, so honestly, just having a chance to unwind was really nice. We talked about our problems, and our lives, and for some reason, I remember it very clearly.

Anyway, that aside, it is a really beautiful movie!

It’s about this young girl named Anna, who struggles with a chronic illness (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I think she has asthma?) who gets sent away from the city, where she lives with her foster parents–to the country, to stay with some distant relatives. She explores the area, and ends up finding this ancient house scheduled for destruction, and befriends a ghost named Marnie.

A lot of the stuff this movie discusses definitely hits home for me as well–it definitely gets me a bit emotional. Oh, and the main character looks eerily like me, so I get to self-project on her, which is fun. Anyway, the art is really gorgeous too, I don’t know, I really like it. 🙂

The Queen of Versailles

So, in the area I live, there’s no real “rich neighbourhoods” and “poor neighbourhoods.” Everyone is just kind of lumped together–so you’ll see tiny family homes and mansions, literally on the same street. Which means, growing up, I’ve seen my fair share of dumb rich people–so laughing at them is always kind of fun. I watched this documentary for the first time in seventh grade, but recently rewatched it with a friend for the hell of it, and it’s really well-made, and thought-provoking, and also great if you just want to laugh at some dumb rich people.

It follows the Seigels, this insanely wealthy family who want to build the biggest house in America, modelled after the palace of Versailles–all during the 2008 financial crisis. It’s absolutely wild, think Tiger King meets, like, a Hallmark movie, in the absolute best way possible. Oh, if you’re a writer, this whole documentary is an absolute gold mine of inspiration, you have no idea how many of my characters were inspired by the Seigels.

It’s a really fascinating look into not just America, but capitalism as a whole, and always gets me in a contemplative mood.


Anyway, um, as usual, I hope you enjoyed reading me geek out about movies for 1000 words? These posts always seem to get a decent amount of views, so I assume you enjoy it. Um, yeah! I hope you’re staying sane, and taking care of yourselves–and I’ll see you next week.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

My favourite TED talks (Shoutout Saturday)

I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks of late. I grew up on a steady diet of BBC documentaries, TED talks, Ideas, and Tapestry–my parents’ two favourite shows on CBC radio. (If you’re Canadian, you know what I’m talking about.) I remember, how when I was little, I always got dragged up to do these skiing lessons–which, let’s be honest, I was objectively terrible at. (One time, I just lay on my back in the snow, and cried for like fifteen minutes because I didn’t know how to get up, and I thought I was going to have to break my skis to rescue myself.)

But on the long ride home, I’d always lean against the window, and draw little shapes in the fog my breath made, tired and relieved, and listen to the hour-long programs on Tapestry, captivated. I always fantasized, that one day, I would be one of the people on the shows. That I’d tell people something true, and important–even if I didn’t know quite what that was at the time. To be honest, something I’ve been learning about myself of late is that… I really like learning. Not in the way we do at school–memorizing facts and dates, and constantly worrying about tests and grades. I like listening to people; seeing through their eyes, learning their stories.

As a result, I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks! And it’s been making me happy, and they’re all weirdly calming? These are some of my favourites so far!

Ok, I’ll be honest: I’ve been listening to Dylan Marron’s podcast, Conversations With People Who Hate Me for a while! It’s one of my favourite comfort shows–although sometimes, it does take a bit of processing after I listen. His voice is really calming to listen to, and he’s always so kind, empathetic, and overall just seems like a really lovely person. I’ve been meaning to watch his TED talk for a really long time, and I finally got around to it a few nights ago.

For those of you who don’t know, Dylan Marron makes a lot of content online–discussing racism, transphobia, etc. Long story short, he got a lot of positive feedback on it… and also a lot of hate. Conversations With People Who Hate Me was created as a coping mechanism for him to deal with these online trolls. In each episode, he interviews people who have left him online hate–and as the show goes on, he takes on mediating other people’s online discourse as well.

What I love about the show is that it gives the listener a safe place to feel their feelings, in a productive way. His whole mantra is “empathy, not endorsement”–you can recognize that person’s views are unacceptable, and that you disagree with them and will continue to fight against them, and also recognize that they are a human being.

With everything going on right now, it feels like such a dangerous thing to empathize with other people, at least for me–because there’s so much suffering in the world, it gets overwhelming. This show is just a little safe place for me, where the world doesn’t quite feel so overwhelming.

Anyhow, this is a really interesting talk, you should watch it! And listen to the podcast!

This is really interesting, and definitely very relevant to me right now. (Honestly, it kinda made me get a little misty-eyed, because… yeah, wow.)

This whole talk basically just debunks the myth that by pushing past, denying, ignoring, or bottling up your feelings, you become a stronger person. As well, unlike a lot of talks on this stuff, it discusses tangible steps to unlearn bad habits, and accept and work with your feelings. I found it really helpful, and interesting, so, yeah, give it a watch!

So, for some reason, I couldn’t get this talk to embed via the ted.com URL–but here’s the YouTube video, I assure you it’s the exact same talk, and it’s still as good as it is on the original website, the platform is just less aesthetically pleasing.

This talk is, honestly, kind of my entire life explained in 14 minutes and 20 seconds. It’s funny, and honest, and real. I don’t see a lot of discussion around, well, the fact that anxiety doesn’t always present the way people commonly perceive, and that often mental illness truly is invisible to the outside observer. And that you can be incredibly successful, and a productive member of society, and still be suffering. (Or maybe there is a lot of discussion around it, and I’m just not looking in the right places.) Anyhow, I really liked this talk, check it out if you want. 🙂

This whole talk really just came into my house, called me out, and left. If you’re a girl, I can’t imagine how this talk wouldn’t resonate with you, at least in some small way. Bottling up emotions is something I’ve really been struggling with of late, so even though it’s not a solution, this talk was definitely therapeutic to watch–it just felt like letting out a breath I’d been holding for a really long time.

And if you’re a guy reading this, and hopefully wanting to be an ally to women, this is a great talk to watch. Obviously, not the end-all-be-all, but it’s one more aspect of the way our society works right now that isn’t talked about enough, and isn’t really benefiting anyone involved in the long run.

Okay! I think that’s it! It’s getting pretty late, and I’m very tired, so I’m going to go to bed now, but I hope you enjoyed this post? And you check out some of these? I don’t know, do whatever you see fit with this post–and make sure to tune in next Saturday for more of me geeking out about… something. (Still working out my topic–I think it’s gonna be movies?)

Lots of love,

Lorna

Shoutout Saturday (My favourite slam poems)

Hey everyone! Happy Halloween! I hope you all are celebrating however you can within lockdown restrictions, and having a good time. This post has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween, but, um, here you go anyway. I hope you enjoy!

I remember my first open mic. I was twelve years old and, to be totally honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d just started writing poetry about five months before. I remember, my mom came home on day, and told me there was this article in the newspaper, about an open mic starting up in my area. I practised this poem that now, feels kind of awful, but back then was my absolute favourite thing in the world for days, polishing it to what at the time felt like perfection.

I didn’t expect people to like it. But they did. During a time of my life when I felt lost, and aimless, and alone, this room full of strangers cheered me on. I remember, this one lady pulled me aside, and she told me that I was going to make it, and gave me a hug. She was a total stranger, but it meant the world to me.

That was the moment I think I really fell in love with poetry. And, honestly, that night changed my life. I haven’t been to a poetry slam/open mic in a while, but I really miss it. I might go to an online one sometime, I don’t know–but for now, I thought I’d share with you my five favourite slam poems, that I come back to time and time again for inspiration.

“Explaining Depression to My Mother” by Sabrina Benaim

Sabrina Benaim is probably one of my favourite poets of all time, and to be honest, her work has gotten me through a lot of not-so-great mental places–and shaped my own style. (She has a Zoom open mic, and I really want to get up the courage to do it, but also, I have anxiety, and just keep putting it off.) I remember, I found this poem right after I’d done that first open mic, and I’d study it for hours, taking note of her delivery, and flow and whatnot. This poem isn’t perfect, and the way she delivers it feels very chaotic and a bit desperate–but I think that’s why it resonates so deeply. You can tell the poem comes from her heart, and that she’s being completely honest and vulnerable.

I hope that my blog can do the same thing that poem did for me, when I first heard it. I hope I can be part of an honest, intimate, and real conversation about mental health issues–and serve as some kind of reminder for the both of us, that things will get better.

Sabrina Benaim has a book too, if you like this poem! I’d highly recommend it; it’s called Depression and Other Magic Tricks and should be available anywhere books are sold.

“To This Day” by Shane Koyczan

This was another one of the poems I absolutely obsessed over back in the day. (A huge shoutout to my eighth grade English teacher, who had us listen to this piece for school–.)

As someone who experienced bullying in the past, and at the time was still processing that experience, this poem home. It made me feel heard, and safe, and understood, and it helped me deal.

Shane Koyczan just has this beautiful, strong voice. His poems are always heartfelt, honest, and real. He just has such an interesting, unique performing style. I don’t know how to describe it, but his work inspires me so much, and is, like, a lot of the reason I started this blog. (Also, the only reason I survived eighth grade.)

Anyhow, what I’m trying to get at here is, if you haven’t heard his work, you should check it out–it’s really good. 🙂

“One Side of an On-Going Dialogue with Sharon, my Therapist” by Desiree Dallagiacomo

This poem is so special to me. I love how it’s delivered; because every time I watch this video, it just pulls you in–makes you feel like you’re sitting down, and talking with a friend. I might not have personally experienced the things she describes, but I can’t help but feel her pain as my own–does that make sense? And that ability poetry has, to immerse you in someone else’s feelings, and allow you to safety feel and empathize–is something I love so much.

The delivery isn’t perfect in the typical sense, and the lines aren’t always “neat” or “clean”–but they’re real, and I think that more than having a perfect poem, that’s what matters. Desiree Dallagiacomo’s slam poems honestly have taught me so much about performing, she’s such a skilled poet.

“Anxiety: A Ghost Story” by Brenna Twohy

This poem is so brilliantly written. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. It starts off so lighthearted and funny, and then it hits you like a punch in the chest, with these raw, beautiful emotions. The flow, the metaphors… from an artistic standpoint alone, it’s gorgeous.

Not only that, but the poet understands exactly what the experience of anxiety is. If you’ve suffered from the condition, there’s no way this poem couldn’t resonate with you.

(Also, there really was something up with the kids in those Goosebumps books.)

“Anxiety Isn’t Cute” by Alyse

I love, love, love this poem–admittedly, I’m biased, since I don’t think it would his as close to home if you don’t have anxiety, but I’m pretty sure most of my audience struggles with some mental health issue or other, so I feel like most of you will understand this experience.

Maybe this is just my experience, but I think, it’s hard to struggle with a mental health issue and not experience someone—whether in real life or in the media—romanticizing your condition. And, eventually, you start to internalize it. This can look like wanting your symptoms to worsen, and making yourself feel worse on purpose, and not seeing your symptoms as all right, fine, even desirable despite the destruction they might cause in your life.

And whenever those habits rest their ugly head, I like to listen to this poem, as a reminder about how absolutely bullshit that is.


Okay! I think that’s enough geeking out about poetry for one night, but I hope you enjoyed, and that you’ll check these poets out. They inspire me so much, and, I don’t know, they all seem like really awesome, kind, strong people.

Over the past year, I’ve lost touch with the reason I fell in love with poetry, and writing in general. But I want to get it back–the kind of excitement I used to have, back when this was just something I did for fun, or to vent on a bad day, on the floor of my bedroom. And somehow, going back to my roots–to these people who I looked up to, two years ago, really helps.

I’ve been thinking about making a lot of changes to this blog of late–I think I’m going to change my URL, and edit the design a bit. I just feel like I’m entering a new phase of my life, and I want to grow, and change, and learn how to be brave again–and if I’m going to do those things, I need this blog to change with me. Does that make sense?

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings