The Opposite of Loneliness [Literature 2]

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Finally back (once again) to the world of blogging, I thought long and hard what I wanted my first post since my almost six-month hiatus to be like. Definitely not one declaring that I have crawled out from under my rock another time (been there, done that). Instead, I decided to write about something that recently impressed, inspired, and awed me which is why I will talk about Marina Keegan’s book The Opposite of Loneliness.

Published in 2014, the book came out two years after Marina’s tragic death only days after her graduation from Yale. As sad that it is and as shocked I was when I learned of the circumstances, that is not what I want to focus on in this post but rather cherish the amazing work she has left behind.

I’ve got to be honest, reading this collection of both fictional & non-fictional essays written by someone who, unfortunately, did not even turn 23 (!!!), I couldn’t help but be a bit envious. I’ve already mentioned on this little blog that it is one of my biggest dreams to be able to work in writing – in whichever shape or form. Whether for a newspaper or magazine, books, or for TV/film. The only problem: I’m not really convinced that I’ve got what it takes. Or can actually write (well) for that matter. That’s the reason why I picked up The Opposite of Loneliness in the first place; I wanted to see (and compare) what someone my age was capable of producing. Needless to say, I was impressed. Not only is her style fresh, witty, and just simply really good but Keegan also had an incredible knack for assessing what’s going on around her. As a student about to graduate from university this summer I could relate to the stories, plots, and characters she so vividly created. At times, when I marvelled at her ease and confidence, I thought to myself: You’re definitely not as good. Far from it. Though I am not giving up on my dream as of yet I know I’ve got a loooong way to go.

What probably stood out the most for me is Marina’s optimism. Especially the essay which gave the collection its title and was in fact her graduation essay urges to keep a postive outlook on life. Me being the total opposite, a person who tends to concentrate on the negative a little too much, I felt encouraged to read a person my age’s thoughts on exactly the things that worry me. While I’ve come to realise already that I’m definitely not too old for pretty much anthing (in terms of what I can achieve in life), Marina’s heartfelt address to her fellow students was exactly what I needed to give me that last assurance(see quote below).

My advice to all budding writers, students, and lovers of books and literature: go out and get that book. Maybe you won’t connect with it as much as I did but I believe there is something to draw from it for everyone.

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End of Summer

End of Summer

So, here we go again: Summer’s over. This means, among other things, going back to school. For me at least. This year will be intense as I’m going to be finished by the end of next term (if everything goes as planned). While I’ve been sort of looking forward to it over the break now that the new semester’s actually ringing in I’m not that motivated, to be honest. Still got some courses and exams to take but all in all the end is drawing near.

The past few weeks I’ve been mainly working and trying to enjoy the last few days of summer. On the weekend I’ve been to Bad Gastein (Austria), a once well-known and highly frequented health resort/spa town which could now be described as deteriorating with its closed-down shops, hotels, and casino. Situated quite removed at a pretty high altitude and scattered with semi-ruins of old grand houses, it has the romantic touch of an other-worldly place, or ghost town.

Next destination on that same daytrip was Zell am See, a lake town I’d never actually been to despite the fact that it’s in the same state as my hometown. I’ll just let the pics speak for themselves:

Enjoying one of the last pretty days of the year at the lake
Enjoying one of the last pretty days of the year at the lake

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As you might have guessed, this is just a quick rambling update of what’s going on with me at the moment. Lately I’ve been suffering from lack of inspiration – what to write and post about. I am working on it, though, so hopefully there’ll be new content soon!

Until then, have a good first week of October,

x Lauren

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.

Bruce Lee

I find that to be very true. At least it applies to me. As a constant worrier, I usually ponder over things on my mind, whether and how I should approach something daunting and then go on to devise plans, which I hardly ever see through. Recently I’ve become a bit more spontaneous and impulsive but, most importantly, more confident in my own judgement. Whether it’s a new activity I want to try out, a club I want to join, a job I want to apply to, my main advice to myself is to just do it. Just do it…you’ll eventually figure it all out.

source: http://srainwater.com/

How to Value Your Own Voice

Lately I’ve been struggling with one thing – one question, really – which has kept me from blogging:

Why would anyone want to read what I’ve got to say?

I don’t live an exciting ever-changing life, I’m not some genius whiz kid nor am I overly artistic or talented. I have not seen outstanding things in the course of my life. So what am I actually doing?!

I love writing: personal diary-keeping, texting and writing letters/postcards, public writing like on here, and yes, sometimes stuff for Uni. This is what I eventually want to do with my life but I too often feel self-conscious about my writing chops and the relevance of what I’m writing about. But what exactly makes something worth sharing or publishing? And should one, in this case I, really base what to blog and post on what others would like to read? Shouldn’t it be the other way round: me feeling the urge to jot down my thoughts and throwing them out there? Readers’ reaction would be out of my control, anyway. On top of that, I am writing for myself. Sure, it’s nice to know people read (and maybe like) what I’m rambling about but at the end of the day I don’t want that to dictate how I will proceed with this blog.

Another thing that sometimes hinders me from writing perhaps more original posts is that I’m still worried about opening up. I’ve already blogged about this months ago but, apparently, I’ve not progressed since then. I know it would be easier to stop caring what others think of me but I do occasionally find myself hesitating before posting something: do I really want people to know about this? Though I do feel pretty comfortable in the blogging community and definitely got some bloggers I feel connected to whose posts I read and they do mine, I worry about people who actually know me in real life. What they’ll think. But I’ve made that decision to stop being so secretive about my blog a while ago and now I’ll just stick to it. Also, isn’t that essentially what writing’s all about: you’re expressing your thoughts and everybody’s finding out about it.

What I have now come to realize is that it’s necessary to really value one’s own voice to be a good writer. And that entails considering my thoughts and opinions worth sharing. And not caring whether others will judge, laugh, or disapprove. Obviously, I’m not going to be completely at ease doing so right away but I will work on myself as this blog is important to me.

Taking Sylvia Plath’s advice, I’ll try and not let self-doubt interfere with my writing.

It’s my Birthday!!

It’s my Birthday!!

The day has come. I’ve officially left behind my teenage years and entered my twenties! I’m thrilled to say that I’m still excited about it all despite the past weeks of madness. As I’ve mentioned in one of my last post, I’ve had tons to write for uni term papers; on top of that I was caught up in the midst of changing jobs, which meant a lot of additional worki to get my hours together and job interviews. I was really struggling to keep up with everything and also missed pretty much all the deadlines I’ve set for myself. BUT I MANAGED (barely though!).

And now I can enjoy my summer break :)

Today was such a lovely day!! I saw and spoke to the people I love most, got to catch up with all my friends, it was nice weather, and, of course, lots of food!!

Highlights of the day:

1) Going out for breakfast with my parents

Started off the day with opening some presents and then going out for breakfast with my parents.

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my favourite summer perfumes :)
my favourite summer perfumes :)
My home town: Salzburg
My home town: Salzburg

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2) All the lovely messages

Throughout the day I was sent soo many sweet messages, got a call from my aunt and cousin in Jamaica, and skyped with one of my closest friends who’s currently living in the U.S. (and from whom I’ve got some really pretty things sent in the mail <3)

love this little gem sent by a friend ;)
love this little gem sent by a friend ;)

3) My Birthday Part(ies)

Despite my having finished the last thing I needed to write for Uni only one day before my birthday, already the whole weekend consisted of going out to celebrate. Tonight, as I’m leaving early tomorrow morning, I just went out to dinner with my friends but it was really nice as I haven’t seen some of them in such a long time!

So, to conclude, I definitely enjoyed today to the fullest and am excited to see what the future year holds. That is all from me (newly 20yo Lauren) for now. Hope you’re having a good day :)

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Books I’m Rereading [1]: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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A while ago I decided to reread some of the books I’d already read, in particular those very popular ones everyone loves but that didn’t work their charm on me.

The first time I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower was exactly this time two years ago. Just graduated from high school and on summer break, I wasn’t too sure what to do with myself and where I was heading. The slow realisation that the things I wished to do would have to be put on hold definitely dampened my spirits, and that’s also the state I read the book in.

Back then, I did not particularly like the book: it’s not that I hated it, I simply didn’t understand the hype surrounding it, which happens to me a lot with YA literature (The Fault in our Stars, everyone). Despite the fact that I could even relate to Charlie in some regards, I failed to see what others felt when reading this book. This time round, though, I loved it and can’t find nor remember what bothered me in the first place.
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Reading the book now that I’m out of high school felt almost nostalgic; of course, it features many serious and difficult subjects/issues which not every teenager necessarily experiences, but it still captures the essence of growing up enough for anyone to relate to it. Especially the parts in which characters are getting excited about going away to college where everything will be great was sort of “bitter-sweet” for me as I can well recall the times I’ve said that back when I was still in school (surprise: it didn’t really turn out that way…but that’s okay).

One really important lesson one can take away from the book to me is that one’s own pain is always “valid” regardless of whether other people have it worse than oneself. I think sometimes we can forget that no matter how petty our insecurities or silly our worries, they are still the exact same things that keep us up at night or make us feel bad about ourselves.

What also resonated with me a lot was the focus put on “participating in life” as it’s called in the book. Charlie, the title wallflower and outsider, is struggling to connect and interact with others and is continuously told by others to take part in life. As I’ve written here several times, this is something I tend to have difficulties with, as well, and while there are many books that adress this Perks might be the most on point.

So, to wrap up, I absolutely benefitted from giving a book I’d already written off another chance and so might you!

source: http://theeperksofbeingawallflower.tumblr.com/
source: http://theeperksofbeingawallflower.tumblr.com/

Back to Blogging, Summer’s Finally Here & Vacation Plans :)

Back to Blogging, Summer’s Finally Here & Vacation Plans :)
taken at my uni: amazing view from the rooftop terrace
taken at my uni: amazing view from the rooftop terrace

I’M BACK! After a whole month without posting, I’m finally back. I just finished my semester last Friday and now I’m officially on summer break from Uni.The last month was filled with finals and presentations, and while I still have term papers to write, I’m positive I’ll be able to blog more again :) There are also several things right now I’m quite excited about:

1) Summer’s Here

It's finally safe to wear open-toe shoes :)
It’s finally safe to wear open-toe shoes :)

Following weeks of cold and rain, summer, warmth, and sunshine are finally here (to stay, hopefully). In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about and why sunny days in July should be a source of excitement – where I live, in Austria, you cannot simply expect to have more than 2-3 weeks of real summer. Therefore, I’m pretty thrilled and try to soak it all in before it’s gone.

My balcony flowers are bloomingly alive again!!
My balcony flowers are bloomingly alive again!!

2) Vacation Plans

This year I didn’t really plan on going anywhere abroad for vacation, not because I didn’t want to but I was simply to caught up with everything else that what I was going to do during the summer sort of got forgotten. Also, as I’ve just started a new job, I thought I might not be able to go on holiday but everything’s worked out and I’ll spend the week right after my birthday at the beach!

3) The Big 2-0

I’m turning 20 this month!! Not sure why I’m still excited over birthdays, especially when shortly before them I’m usually completely demotivated and leave any sort of planning until the last minute. But so far I am looking forward to that, too.

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That’s all from me right now! New post soon, I promise ;)

x