“In Pursuit of Originality” by John Ralston

It was a dark and…

“No, no, no! You can’t write that, you idiot, that’s plagiarism!” screamed my editor.

Four score and seven…

“That’s Abraham Lincoln, you dolt!” he shrieked.

We writers often worry about the health of our editor. Namely, about whether it has lasted too long. Ahem, back to the perfect beginning.

Call me…

“I swear,” exclaimed the editor (frequently, I might add) “if you try to copy the opening of Moby Dick, I’ll wring your throat until it’s dry!”

“Actually, I’m already pretty thirsty, could you bring me a glass of water,” I questioned innocently.

I have to admit, you had to give the man credit for a sense of humor. He did such a spot-on impersonation of disbelief that I had to laugh out loud and slap him on the shoulder for being alright.

“Thanks,” I finally managed between rollicking gasps. “Plenty of ice, please.”

As I returned to my desk, my mind continued to search for the perfect story. Already days had passed since my last article and word of my deficiency of ideas was starting to spread. It seemed that everything I came up with had already been taken. Since I held the job of investigative journalist, I decided maybe I should try looking for some facts for a change.

At that moment, trouble walked through the door. Her eyes were like pupils. Golden curls, red high-heel shoes, and pouty lips that were constantly smirking completed the outfit. Bringing all my occasionally sufficient intelligence to bear, I deduced that it was a woman. She made a beeline for my desk.

“I hear you’re looking for a story, sugar,” she said, her voice drifting over the room like sweet molasses on a yam.

“Uh…um, well, haha, rmmhph,” I suavely replied, merely capsizing three coffee mugs and two piles of papers in my attempt to strike a casual pose.

“Can I sit down?” she smiled.

Correctly interpreting my unintelligible noises and inability to achieve eye contact with her as “Yes, oh please, yes!” she took a seat opposite mine and began to tell her engrossing tale.

“About two days ago, you remember, it was dark and…”

“Nope, you can’t say that,” I interrupted.

Startled, she blinked a few times before continuing her report.

“Anyway, I was at my nephew’s hockey game and the score was four to seven…”

“Can’t say that either, you copycat!” I accidentally shouted.

Somewhat rattled by my interruptions, the lady stood up, fidgeting nervously with her curls, giving me the look one makes when trying to decide if dolphins count as an intelligent lifeform. For my part, I had already decided that they didn’t, but I was curious as to what made her think of them at a time like this.

“Well, if you decide you want the story, you can call me…”

“No, no, no! You can’t say that, it’s plagiarism!” I yelled, kindly.

After she had left (my companions preferred the term “fled”), I leaned back at my desk, bemoaning the lack of originality some people display. They just never learn. Ah, now back to my perfect, original, opening.

These are the voyages…

 

Photograph made available by Noah Näf via Unsplash

“Dealing with Emotional Pain” by Derek Godfrey

I want to state that I am not going through anything major right now. That isn’t what triggered this thinking. It just happened, and I want to share my thoughts.

From what I have seen, people are generally raised being told not to bury their feelings inside. I used to just let it all out, and would get in trouble for expressing my discontent. So I stopped doing it out of fear. That has changed quite a bit now, but that is what started me down this road. My strategy was to bury everything deep inside of me until I forgot about what it was. It worked for a while, until a major thing that was too big happened, and then it would all pour out at once, getting it done and over with.

Now, I still bury all my negative emotions, (and even some positive ones if they don’t fit the situation, like if I think of a funny joke [unrelated of course] during a dark subject). I don’t have any fears of getting in trouble. I just really don’t want to make anyone feel worse. I’m the kind of person that wants to take on everyone’s stress for them, and not share any of my own. The other change now is that I have honed my strategy. It works, and practically never flows out, at least that anyone sees.

I talk myself through the issues causing the negative emotions, while alone. That way, if I need to rant out-loud and aggressively gesture with my hands I can. After that I do what alcoholics do, but with happy things instead of alcohol. A lot of my thoughts in slower moments are that of, “Don’t think, just let your mind go with what’s happening.” Examples of things that I do are:

– Make sure that 80-90% of the sentences I say to my friends include a pun or other joke.

– Spend a lot of time chatting with friends

– Watch lots of anime/ videos (like more than normal)

– Play lots of games

– Read really good books

– Otherwise keeping my mind so busy that it can’t think

I basically just don’t let myself think, and if I do it is working towards a solution like one would with a counselor. I keep that up until the stress passes and I’ve accepted the issue at hand.

This goes against so many things I was taught, and I’m pretty sure that professionals would consider this unhealthy. I look at it in two ways:

  1. When I had a therapist (which was when I was still in middle school), they couldn’t figure out how my mind works over the course of probably 7-8 years. They went to college to understand the human mind, and had years of experience. And they couldn’t figure out the way that my mind worked, with me trying to help them. So obviously my mind has always worked differently than the average person. Normal solutions to mental obstacles don’t necessarily apply.
  2. I have made it this far into life. I haven’t bothered keeping count, but 10+ times in my life I had stress on that I just stopped caring/ functioning. Out of all those times, only one time did I ever talk through it with anyone but myself. That one time, it was stress from worrying over someone, not stress dealing with me. All the rest of the times I dealt with it myself, using the methods listed above.

And you know what? I can honestly say that I have had a happy life. I am a happy person, and the good easily outweighs the bad in my life. What is 1-2 days every few month of any major-ish negativity to all the rest being positive? Obviously my methods aren’t that unhealthy if I am mentally sound, and enjoying being alive.

My main purpose of this was just to express my thoughts on the subject. But I suppose it serves a secondary purpose. It gives this message, “Just because someone else says you should act/ think /deal with things a certain way doesn’t mean that it is the right way for you. They don’t see your mind. They aren’t you. If your method works and leaves you happy with life, then what reason is there to stop it?”

 

Photograph made available by Matthew Henry via Unsplash

 

“A Tribute to the Ones Who Got Me Here” by Dalton Palmer

Some days I feel like Elton and Freddie.

I want to break free and fly away like a rocket-man.

Some days I feel like Kanye and Marshall.

I want you to run away from me cause I have no apologies to give.

Some days I feel like Alan and Garth.

I just want to remember when I had friends in low places.

But at the end of every day I still feel like Freddie.

Nothing really matters…to me.

 

Photo made available by Austin Neill via Unsplash.

“The Greatest Gift” by Kerrick van Asselt

I want you to take a moment and imagine a child waking up on Christmas morning. Watch this child open up a particularly large present, and inside is the bike they’ve always wanted. Can you feel their energy and excitement? Their overwhelming joy? That immediate longing to take the bike outside for a ride?

Isn’t this exactly how we as Christians should feel every morning? Every single day we wake up to find that we have received the greatest gift of all—the grace of God and the knowledge that our sins are forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus. Shouldn’t this fill us with complete joy? Shouldn’t we have a desire to go out and live fully in that grace? Each morning we have an amazing opportunity to go out and live beautiful and meaningful lives in Christ, so shouldn’t we want to fully embrace that newness of life?

But what is this grace? Grace isn’t a “get out of jail free” card that allows us to do whatever we want. Today’s passage from Romans tells us that as followers of Jesus, we can no longer live in sin. Instead, we are called to live in Christ and do our best to live like Christ. And grace is what is there to pick us up when our best isn’t enough. We all make mistakes, but God’s grace forgives them all. And that is what makes this gift that we have received even more amazing than anything we could ever earn.

 

Photo made available by freestocks.org via Unsplash

Authenticity and Acceptance by Ethan Harvey

Our generation is obsessed with authenticity. We want real food, real sugar, real music. We want our organic Chipotle, locally-grown fruits, sustainable shampoo, handmade, hometown, biodegradable, non-GMO, fair-trade everything, even to the point of being the generation that is slowly putting the biggest fast-food-giant out of business. However, our desire for authenticity stops there—on the outside. If we look outwardly real, then no one can tell that our hearts are still as fake as they come, right? In a fantastically ironic turn of events, our desire for the authentic is only skin deep. We want to eat, drink and use something real, while our relationships, goals, beliefs, and lives are as shallow as they come. This spring break, I had the opportunity to witness true authenticity, and to be challenged to recreate that authenticity in my own heart, as well as my own life. Continue reading “Authenticity and Acceptance by Ethan Harvey”

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