beauty in the vague.

How about a little writing lesson I’ve come up with myself, and am considering whether or not it’s good to share since it goes against the grain of what I’ve always been taught as an English major, and as a writer?

Ready?

There is beauty in the vague.

I thought about this while I was talking to one of my friends this past weekend about writing. I was explaining to him my thoughts on poetry, and decided to spread my thoughts out to writing in general. Before I even spoke this quote, I typed it out on my phone to make sure that my thoughts made sense before speaking them. And this is what I came up with…

Poetry…no…writing in general…is not complete without the finishing touches of the reader.

And I hope that when I wrote this and thought this out, I wasn’t taking some other author’s words, and claiming them as my own. If I am, I’m sorry – I only truly began to make sense of this as I was having this conversation with my friend. I will give credit where credit is due if I’m told of someone who’s thought like this.

This actually goes back to the night of the last concert I went to in Nashville, TN, when I was talking to my Lyft driver about non-fiction writing. I can’t remember what specific topic regarding writing was being talked about, but I do remember telling him that it is good to give details to help the reader imagine things well, to paint the picture for the reader, but it is also good to be vague sometimes.

I know that sounds odd, especially to my fellow writers and English majors who remember being told countless times in creative writing classes, “Details, details, details. Don’t tell me, show me. Describe what you want your reader to see with vivid imagery.” And I agree, these things are totally important to writing. But I’m learning that being vague can also be just as important, just as beautiful.

This is the example I gave to my Lyft driver: I may want to write about me being in a park somewhere, but I want to emphasize my feelings and emotions while being there more than the fact that I’m at the park. Sure, I could place some proper nouns in there, give some vivid descriptions…

I walked through The Commons playground near the forest green and beige plastic playground set towards the swing set that was rooted in wood chips of different sizes. The city preferred the wood chips to the rubber padding that would cause less splinter incidents among the neighborhood kids, who would notoriously land on their hands and knees from jumping, falling, tripping, etc.

What was a pain to kids and parents all over my neighborhood brought some sadistic symbolic comfort to me. For I desired to sit on a swing, and swing as high as I could, kicking my feet back and forth, pushing me towards the sky. I wanted to launch myself off of the black rubber seat, fly through the air, and feel the stabs of the small sticks on the ground against my hands and my knees as I landed on earth, the pieces of wood stuck to my flesh when I’d look down to see the damage that was done.

Because that’s how you made me feel – you got my hopes up extremely high only to let them come crashing down, with repercussions so painful, they’ve stuck to me like splinters.

So, here, you can see that I gave some specifics about the playground, like the name of it, the colors of the playground set and swing, what kind of ground it stood on. Which is great, the reader can totally envision the playground, even though they probably haven’t been there themselves (okay, maybe they can’t truly imagine exactly what it looks like, but I’m trying to make a point here in a short amount of time, bear with me!)

But sometimes – I’m not even sure when I’ve done this in my own writing, but maybe I have – it may be best to leave the details out. Instead of “The Commons” park, just the park. Instead of saying what color the playground set is, just describe the playground set in general terms – jungle gym, two slides (maybe one straight, one twisty), etc. Now, why as an English major would I ever suggest such vague writing? I feel like a total hypocrite right now as I type this.

In this instance, when I want to focus on a specific lesson, situation, or emotion, I feel like filling out the details is unnecessary. Instead, let the reader fill them out for themselves for a deeper connection to their own story. Let them choose the park they’re walking in; maybe they’ll envision the one they have in their own neighborhood. Allow them to envision the color of the playground set. Give them space to put themselves into a specific setting they’ve created by the general descriptions you’ve provided. And let them take on the feelings you’ve described. Yes, you as the writer still have some control because you’re telling them what the emotion is – disappointment / high hopes that were totally dashed.

Now, of course, you don’t want to give the reader full control of the story if it is a true account that you’re trying to portray to them, like if you were writing a memoir piece. Reading other people’s accounts of their personal lives, the places they’ve been to, where they’ve lived, is fascinating, and inspiring, and I’m definitely not discounting that.

But I also believe that being a little general, a little vague has its place as well, and I don’t know about any other writers out there, but I was never told that being vague in my writing could be a good thing. I was never taught that allowing the reader to take control sometimes, and to connect in their own way with the words I write could be something powerful. And I truly believe it can be as readers can put themselves in their own worlds, but at the same time try to sympathize and empathize with the feelings of the writer.

And, who knows, maybe I’m wrong, or maybe there’s someone out there saying this already, and I have yet to hear it. For now, I’m gonna take this thought, run with it, and see where it leads me.

I hope that maybe this spurred some thoughts about your own writing, or maybe you have questions about why I think like this, or maybe you want to tell me your opinion on this matter? I’d love some feedback because in no way am I saying that I’m the English / writing expert here. Just sharing my writing thoughts with you all! 🙂 Please don’t hesitate to comment!

I must go, for sleep is needed when one must get up at 6am for work the next morning. Sweet dreams, luvvies!

#JustStartWriting

💙 Mishy 🦋

“the tornadoes never came”

I read about my craft until a friend came over to sit by my side, and play me a song they’ve been working on, and read a book about their own craft. Silence is sweet, yet the interruption of light conversation makes the time even sweeter. We talk about our futures, and a meal is prepared and shared; it doesn’t matter that you don’t have a lot, just as long as you share what you’ve got.

More conversations about other things – people we both know, what our days bring about, how we’ve managed to push past self-doubt – all this over dinner, and a trip to get ice cream, and to eat that ice cream outside on a windy, tornado-gray day. It’s crazy how we always have so much to say, although we see each other at work every day.

We drive back to my apartment where the time is spent trying to film YouTube videos, but failing to do so. Because of dead batteries, we go ahead and begin watching Thirteen Reasons Why, and I wonder if this show will make me cry, or if it’s just another one of those dramas that makes me want to try to figure out what happens before the last episode ends.

Two episodes in, it’s ten o’clock, and we both have work in the morning. I see you out of the front door, and as I look back on the afternoon and evening, I thank God that it wasn’t boring.

~ “the tornadoes never came” or “when Classic Movie Night is cancelled”

#JustStartWriting

💙 Mishy 🦋

The Divine Zero.

It was the summer of 2015, the summer right before my senior year of college.

This time was initially stressful for me because I felt the pressure of having to get a job, but also the pressure of realizing that this would be my last summer to have “play time.” The summer after my senior year of college, I’d have to have a job, not just to occupy time, but to sustain myself. There would be no more summer breaks after this one. So, I had to make it count.

I was blessed to be able to spend the entire summer with my dad and stepmom, Honey, out in California. And along with the very relaxing days, we did a whole lot of stuff. One of those things being painting at my aunt’s little pottery shop, where we could pick an item like a plate, mug, etc. and paint it. She would then put it in the kiln, and it would come out all glossy looking.

Well, during this time, my favorite alternative, punk rock band, Pierce the Veil released their first single since their last album Collide with the Sky, which was released in 2012. It was titled, “The Divine Zero.”

As soon as I found out they’d released it, I listened to it on YouTube, and right after I listened to it three times or more, I bought it on iTunes. It became one of my go-to songs that summer. So it was that I would decide to paint a mug totally dedicated to “The Divine Zero.”

Part of me thinks there was maybe some sort of contest within Pierce the Veil’s street team that asked or some artwork to promote their new single, but I can’t remember. I do remember working on it though, and being excited to post it on my Instagram, and onto the street team page.

I definitely tried not to let perfectionism get the best of me as I tried to paint the waves (which was definitely one of the hardest parts aside from trying to have a steady hand to paint the lyrics on there), but overall, I had fun doing it. And, of course, I listened to “The Divine Zero” a million times as I painted it to continue the flow of inspiration. By the end of the single’s first week of being released, I would have the lyrics memorized.

As I painted, I remember thinking of the times I’d previously been in my aunt’s paint shop, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get what I was envisioning in my head onto my piece of pottery. I would be on the verge of tears if I couldn’t get it right, disappointed that I couldn’t execute perfectly what my mind wanted to create.

But I remember feeling growth that summer. I was growing out of my perfectionism, embracing the unique way that I could create. And I feel like the increase in maturation that summer (in more ways than just creatively) has truly influenced who I am today as I continue to create with my words, and generally live my life as an adult.

I look at this mug now and I love it for what it is. I put a lot of work into creating it, and I wouldn’t want it to look any other way. I even put my favorite Jaime (pronounced “hi-may”) quote on the bottom! 🙂

 

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋

A Deal’s a Deal.

I never shop at the PINK store…unless I’m buying my favorite perfume. Or unless I was with one of my co-workers Jess, who adamantly insisted we stop in. This was one of those times.

As we walked into the store with its trendy music and underwear and work out selections, one of the clerks made us aware of the deal of the day – but $30 worth of merchandise, and you get a free mug. As soon as I heard “free mug,” I knew that I was going to be spending $30 that day. And my friend would make sure that I would too.

Not only did I find my signature scent – PINK’s “Sweet and Flirty” scent – but they were having a deal on the fragrances: buy 3 for $30.

“Look! You can get the free mug if you get three fragrances!” Jess exclaimed.

After much deliberation, sniffing, and spraying, I finally chose three fragrances. My signature scent, one called “Sunkissed” that reminded me of the smell of the beach, and another titled “Cool and Bright.” I was so excited as I walked to the counter, and the woman rung up my purchases.

“So, what color mugs does she get to choose from?” Jess asked the woman.

The woman replied, “Oh, actually, she doesn’t get the free mug. It only applies to purchases that are $30 before tax.”

Jess and I looked at each other confusedly. But…the fragrance deal was 3 for $30, right? I think both of us knew the woman was wrong, but we didn’t feel like arguing the case. The woman, who could see we were a little suspicious and disappointed, tried to make the mug seem less appealing…

“I mean, it’s okay. The mug isn’t even dishwasher safe, you have to hand wash it, and honestly, that’s sort of a deal breaker for me.”

After hearing her say that, Jess agreed, and I smiled, but thought, I hand wash everything anyway, so that doesn’t make me want the mug any less.

I walked out of that PINK store without a mug, with disappointment and a little buyer’s remorse in my heart.

We went to a jewelry store where Jess would pick out her anniversary wedding rings, and we’d eventually meet up with her husband. In some frustration, Jess explained to her husband what happened with the mug, and he said that he’d be willing to go into the PINK store and inquire about it. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but he and Jess both insisted, and off he went, my PINK shopping bag with my three fragrances in hand. Jess and I went to Great American Cookie for a couple of “double doosies” while we waited for him.

My heart sunk a little when I saw him exiting the store without a mug in his hand. But then he asked, “What color mug would you like?”

I squealed (yes, I really did), and immediately answered, “SILVER PLEASE!” And he walked back into the store, and came back out with a silver mug in a box in my PINK shopping bag, along with my fragrances.

 

Thank you, Uncle Bo and Aunt Jess.

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋

Pomp and Circumstance

Tonight was the night.

As Caylin drove our little best friend group, the Shawties, to the Alumni Induction Dinner, I stared out of the window and shook my head. How were we here already? How had our college years passed us by so quickly? How in the world were we about to graduate in a month or less?

When we arrived at the Fairyland Club, a valet took Caylin’s car and parking troubles away from us, and we entered the building. I couldn’t tell you what my friends were thinking, but I was super excited, eager, and also anxious. Because at this point in time, I didn’t have any solid plans about what I’d be doing after graduation.

Tables were spread from one side of the room to the other, with one important item placed at each setting. An item that every graduate of my college acquired before walking across that stage in May…

Our mugs. But not just any mugs. Hand-crafted mugs that would symbolize our achievement of finishing four years. Mugs that were just as important as our degree itself, it seemed. No one wanted to miss out on the mugs. Even if you didn’t want to be at Senior Social because you didn’t want to dress up, or you didn’t want to see every person who would be graduating with you, you would still attend to get the mug.

I loved seeing the different shapes, the different hues of blue mixed with brown in each mug that was set before each graduate’s plate. People were constantly switching mugs with others to get the exact shape they wanted.

I didn’t switch mine, though. I liked it just the way it was.

“I spent all this money and suffered through four years of stress in college, just to get this mug!”

It was funny to me how so many people seemed more intrigued to get the mugs as a reward for their hard work than their diplomas. Not saying that on May 7 they wouldn’t be grateful to be handed that rolled up piece of paper that wasn’t our actual degree after we crossed the stage.

But the mug was just another special symbol of our dedication and hard work.

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋

the pan-TEA party.

I had never been to a “panty party” before…

To those who don’t know what a panty party is, it is a party for a bride-to-be where her bridesmaids and whoever is invited bring underwear for her. At the party I went to, all the underwear was placed in a box all together, and the bride guessed who gave which pair. So there you have it…a panty party.

Only, this particular panty party was a pan-TEA party (haha, you see what they did there?) So, yes, there would be tea. Which means there were going to be mugs.

Bria, Kae’sha, and I were somehow able to spend the entire Friday afternoon of the pan-tea party shopping for underwear and gift wrapping for said underwear. I also think we got Chikfila. Truthfully, I just remember that afternoon being super fun, but also crazy.

When we got to the party, there was a small table filled with mugs that everyone could pick to drink tea from, and we also got to keep the mug. Which made my mug-collecting self so happy! So, I chose this blue striped one.

Like in my post about my Cafe Du Monde mug, I was tempted to choose a more classic teacup, but decided the blue striped one was more my style. I’ve always been known to own blue objects since it is my favorite color after all. This mug was definitely one I used frequently during late nights while I wrote my senior thesis paper, although I haven’t used it recently, maybe because it reminds me of all those late nights. But maybe soon, it will be used.

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋

Cafe Du Monde

I know I didn’t write a post yesterday, and I always apologize for not doing so, but honestly, as I say every time I miss a day of blogging, life happens. And I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to keep apologizing for life happening the way it does. If I can obtain my goal of blogging every day, that is honestly fantastic, and quite a miracle. But this blog is a true reflection of myself – and I am not perfect.

That being said, I hope that you enjoy today’s #ObjectsTellTales post about a mug I got when I was in New Orleans spring semester of my senior year in college. 

This is probably one of my favorite mugs. I mean, I feel like most of the mugs I own are my favorite, but this one in particular is extremely special.

Imagine my friend Rachel and I rushing through a crowd of tourists and locals. Paintings, photographs, and other works of art were spread throughout the sidewalks. We weaved our way through the crowds, trying to make it to our destination as quickly as possible, before noon preferably.

Dependent upon the GPS of an iPhone, we finally found Cafe Du Monde on Decatur Street, and entered the gift shop to buy mugs for ourselves, and other gifts for family and friends.

There were so many styles, designs, and colors of mugs to choose from. I picked up a classic white coffee mug with a dark brown outline of the cafe, a different classic white coffee mug with a colored outline of the cafe, and a blue diner-style mug with a picture of the cafe in green and beige. Where there wasn’t a picture of the cafe, there was a description about it, explaining what it served – beignets and cafe au lait – and how long it had been in business.

I held the mugs in my hand, struggling to make a decision as Rachel shopped around for the items she needed. She also had couple of diner mugs in her hand, one a mint green, the other I can’t recall the color of. She decided upon the mint green one for herself, as I continued to be my usual indecisive self.

But I didn’t really have time to be indecisive. And as you can see, I went with the blue diner mug instead of the classic coffee mug. I honestly couldn’t tell you why; maybe I gave in to it because it was my favorite shade of blue – what many of my closest friends call “Mishy blue.” Or maybe it was the way the mug was shaped. Either way, I have the mug, and I’ve probably used it more than many of the mugs I’ve had for a good while.

I remember lugging the white paper Cafe Du Monde gift shop bag that held my blue diner mug in a box back toward the hotel we were staying in. Our trek consisted of more weaving around people, crossing many different crosswalks, but finally making it to our destination. I was grateful for beautiful weather that day; spring had definitely hit NOLA, and I was sad that in an hour or so, we’d be going back to the college campus, where winter still reigned.

But I could warm up with some coffee or tea in my new Cafe Du Monde mug. 🙂

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋