Sunday, October 2, 2016

Subplots and Storylines - September 2016

September was wind and golden trees and russet fields. Just as autumn transforms the trees, it shows its many faces in the heavens. From rain-smeared skies to crisp, pale blue ceilings to brooding banks of clouds shredded with the rosy-golden glow of morning, I relished every face she displayed.

As beautiful as the season is, September galloped headlong into October this year, folks. The month was packed with college starting, clearing out the garden, celebrating my parents' anniversary, and more.

In case you missed it, my brother and I are in a one-year leadership/Bible program at a college run by my church. I've already learned so much in just one month, it's amazing! My teachers challenge me, my teammates are wonderful and serious about getting the most out of this year, and the course material is great.

The way it's structured is that part of the week is spent in class, and part is spent volunteering at church, in inner city, and in the specific ministry areas of the church we picked. I'm in youth, which is a stretch because ack, teenagers, but I'm really loving it so far.

Some tidbits of my college activities . . .

Early in the month, my class and I helped run a church carnival.

We went through an inner city "boot camp," helping out at foodbank for the first time, touring the neighborhoods by bus, and handing out ice cream to inner city kids as they streamed out of school.

We're learning about creativity, divergent thinking, leadership (which just means influence), excellence (which just means doing the best you can with what you have), teamwork, collaboration, the Bible, what truth really is, focus, attitude, et cetera. It's all in modular style, so our teachers can hop around from one thing to the next depending on what we need to learn in the moment.

One big highlight of the month was our two-day camp retreat designed to get us to gel as a team while simultaneously learning hands-on leadership skills and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Pretty intense. You may remember from older posts that I'm not real keen on heights. Well.

I climbed a climbing wall. (One and a half times. Halfway up the difficult side, my noodle arms and I gave up, so I came down and then decided to try the easier side--and I made it to the bell at the top.)

I climbed a fifty-foot pole and zip lined down, which was scary and way fun.

I attempted a high ropes course, but that's a longer story for another post, methinks.

Needless to say, it's been quite the month. It's crazy busy--as in, I'm spending 50+ hours at college (or driving to and from college), plus working two shifts a week. I guess you can see why this post is a day later than it should be! But even though my schedule is packed, I love almost everything I'm doing, so that makes it a little bit easier to wake up early every morning.

Somehow I had time to watch things.

The Jungle Book
I did not expect to like it as much as I did, which was quite a lot. I was never a huge fan of the original Disney animated film--not that I disliked it, more like I was apathetic about it--but this live action/convincing CGI remake was splendid. It's visually beautiful and also does a great job with a solid storyline. By the end, I loved hearing the animals recite the Law of the Jungle.

The Battle of the Five Armies (rewatch)
At a last-hoorah-before-college sleepover with my aunt, we watched this together. Since finishing the Narnia movies together, it's been our goal to watch all the Hobbit movies. This was her first viewing of it, and she's very partial to Thorin Oakenshield, so you can imagine how that went.

Zootopia (rewatch)
I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The twists didn't have me on the edge of my seat this time since I knew they were coming, but that was okay because it meant more room in my brain to appreciate the storytelling all over again.

The Flash (season 1) and Once Upon a Time (season 1 and 4)
My siblings and I are still watching The Flash and loving every episode. My sisters and I have slowed down considerably with OUAT season 4, but are still loving that too, and we started the show from the beginning with our parents. It's fun to see the characters in their old roles, and Henry is so little and adorable.

Somehow I read nothing.

Okay, not nothing, just very little.

Five Enchanted Roses
Though I read the majority of it in August, I finished in September. You can read a full review HERE.

The Calling // Rachelle Dekker // book 2 in The Seer trilogy
This was a splendid book that took me a decidedly unsplendid long time (three weeks! what is wrong with me!) to read. Just like the first book, it delves deeply into the internal struggles of its main character--this time Remko instead of Carrington--against a backdrop of dystopian action. Just like the first book, the narrator phrases (Remko saw, Remko felt, etc.) bothered me a bit. But just like the first book, I was floored by the message and how it resonated with me. The Choosing was about true identity, and The Calling is about fear, another timely topic that Rachelle dealt with masterfully.

And of course I'm now antsy for the release of The Returning.

12 beta chapters
On supper breaks I had some time to read more of Emily's The City and the Trees, which I aim to finish soon!

And so it's no surprise I wrote piddly beans this month.

I finished the 100-for-100 challenge . . . and proceeded to not write a single word afterwards. Yup, I produced a grand total of 1,239 words in September. Knowing that I'm capable of creating ten times that in the same timespan needles me a little, but I also know that I needed the break to recover from challenge burnout and acclimatize to a new life schedule.

Maybe I can manage to write a little more in October?

Oh, and hey, if you missed it: I interviewed Christine Smith about her writing life, and she interviewed me!

Subplots of character growth

It's been an intense month, but in a pretty good way. I'm being stretched, which isn't always easy, but I prefer this over plateauing! It's like those training periods in so many fantasy character arcs. Learning, growing, being challenged. Filling my toolbox with things I'll need for the future. Because of all this thinking, I feel some blog post topics stewing in my brain, so I may plunge deep without warning this month. Is that good with you? (I know it is.)

So tell me of your own autumn quests! Any good novels you've read? Is the weather crisp and lovely where you are, or still swelteringly summery? How are your pursuits going, academic or otherwise?

This song has been in my head since I took a glorious walk this afternoon. ^_^


  1. AHHHHH TRACEY I LOVE YOUR MONTHLY RECAPS! (Once again, I'm behind on mine, but I'm surprisingly not stressed? I usually stress about it, but for some reason I'm actually fine with not having it on time this month. :P)

    Just...that first paragraph of the post. It's so gorgeous like HOW ARE YOU SO ELOQUENT??? *desperately wishes I had 1/1000 of your ability with words*

    Oh, your college sounds like a lot of fun! Slightly intense (seriously, 50 hours a week is a LOT--I can't even imagine how you manage to work 2 shifts in addition to that :O), but still really cool. ^_^ I'm so glad that this shift in your life is going well so far! Big changes can be really difficult sometimes.

    YOU SAW THE JUNGLE BOOK, OH MY HEART. <3 We actually just rewatched that in September, too! IT WAS SO GOOD, WASN'T IT?! I wasn't a *huge* fan of the original animated version myself, but the new one was a pleasant surprise! That animation, though. O.O (Also Bagheera. <3)

    BOTFA. *weeps quietly in the corner* That movie = a knife to my heart. </3 I haven't watched it in like a year or so. It's definitely due for another viewing soon!

    Awww, I totally understand unproductive reading months! YOU WERE SO BUSY. Not reading/writing a lot is completely okay! I for one barely wrote anything...again. *cough* I think I wrote around the same amount you did? Maybe 2k, I dunno. IT WAS PRETTY LAME. :P But we're busy college students now so sometimes things like that have to slide. *fistbump because we're college buddies*

    EEEP, I WANT ALL THE INSIGHTFUL TRACEY POSTS. *bangs gavel* I'm off to listen to "The Real World." (Because Owl City! *flails excitedly*)

    And I'm also gonna go comment on your review from last week! A TRACEY REVIEW, YAYZERS!!!

    1. That makes a delighted little human bean. ^_^ (I'm glad you're not stressing over your recap! I sometimes do too, but this time I was like, "Nope, I've had a full week, so even if it's Saturday morning I'm just going to read and take a breather, and the post will go up late.")

      Oh, Mary, you're sweet. <3 All month I was soaking in the beautiful scenery on my college commute, so I guess it had to spill out into words!

      It IS awesome and intense! Not all 50 hours are actually AT college, since I spend about 90 minutes driving each day, but's still a lot. Yes, the shift is going pretty well, which is an answer to prayer. :)

      THE JUNGLE BOOK WAS GORGEOUS. "The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack." <3 (Sorry, I just had to quote it!) It was definitely a pleasant surprise, like you said. Bagheera--he looked so silky soft! I have a weakness for predatory cats...

      *drops hankies in your weeping corner* So much sadness... D':

      Hey, you were busy this month too! The start of a new school year is an adjustment for everyone. *fistbumps you back* So yes, we can let it slide because we had important things that took precedence. *nods*


      Did you enjoy the song?

      Heehee, you never fail to make me smile. *hugs*

  2. WOWWW, you had a busy month. xD Way to go with those college activities! And oh my goodness, you ziplined?? That is literally so much fun. o.o

    FALL HAS ARRIVED. Where I live, anyway. In only one. day. the entire atmosphere changed from hot sun and warm air to cool, golden sun and cold air. :P I'm so excited.

    ALSO NANO IS COMING AND I! AM! FREAKING! OUT! Are you doing NaNo? I probably won't reach the goal because of life and school, but...

    I hope you have a fabulous October! ^_^

    1. Yeah, I'm so looking forward to having a day off for Canadian Thanksgiving next week Monday! XD Yaaas, ziplining is SO fun! Minus the getting up there and actually having to push yourself off the platform, that is. Once you're actually going you want it to last ten times longer!

      In one day, just like that? (I wish springtime would arrive in the space of one day too. XD) I just love fall. ^_^

      NANO *IS* COMING, ISN'T IT? Heh, no, I won't be doing it this year because that would be 100% insane with my schedule. But one of these years I'm going to have to try it! Good luck on your goal!!

      Thank you, m'dear--I hope the same for you!

  3. THAT FIRST PARAGRAPH, TRACEY. *dies from the prettiness*

    The Battle Of The Five Armies. THAT MOVIE. I love it so much <3. Even though ... even though Thorin dies *cries*.

    OOH, I've been wanting to read Rachelle Dekker's books! I shall have to go and get my hands on one ... *adds to TBR*

    Good novels? WELL I read the Lunar Chronicles with my sister during Spetember and they were AWESOME. I'm working on Stars Above right now *nods*.

    *scampers off in search of that Owl City song* XD

    ~ Savannah

    1. *frantically revives Savannah* (Random thought: if pretty words kill you, will ugly words revive you? asdlkfjasdlfkas;. There, how's that gibberish?)

      ALL THE DEATHS. *sobs*

      They're really good! The depth is probably my favorite part. (And Remko. Remko is precious.)

      The Lunar Chronicles! That reminds me, I need to get my paws on Cress sometime soon. Are you going to be reading Fairest? I've heard some iffy things about that one. :P

      *tosses Owl City songs like confetti* Hope you have a splendiferous October!

  4. The Jungle Book! That was a really good movie. Although I didn't think I was going to like it as much as I did when I went to go see it. Zip-lining is so much fun! I've only done it once, and I was terrified at first, but it was definitely worth it. :D

    1. I know, me too. I wasn't expecting to like it, but I did. Love ziplining! Not like I've done it very many times...actually, I think this was the first? But I'd jump at another chance. (Oh, ha, no pun intended. Jumping off the platform, you know... Gosh, I've been making terrible puns all day. XD)

  5. I've been anxiously awaiting this post! I couldn't wait to hear how school is going for you! :D And EEP. It sounds amazing!! I loove how interactive it is. Instead of being stuck in a classroom and studying ALL the time, you're getting out there, getting amazing experiences, and serving God at that! So different from your run-of-the-mill college experience, you know?

    Also, you went zip-lining? :O SO COOL. I've always wanted to do that. It sounds like a BLAST. And now I'm verrry curious about this high ropes course!

    Wow! Your month has been full. o.o But it makes me so very, very happy you're enjoying school and everything! It sounds like such an amazing experience. I'm ecstatic for you! ^_^

    You literally voiced (typed?) my EXACT thoughts on The Jungle Book. The animated one was never my favorite, but this new one was just beautiful. So full of emotion. I really enjoyed it.

    Oh, your poor aunt. Yeeah, BotFA is so painful. *sniffles* (And aren't we all partial to Thorin? ;D)

    I actually own The Choosing! I really need to read it. So many books, so little time...

    GIRL. You needed to take a break from writing! I mean, between work and school AND just finishing the 100-for-100? YOU NEED A BREAK. Don't even think about being hard on yourself. You DESERVE some time to rest from that. *nods*

    I definitely look forward to these blog posts coming! Your words always bring out such beautiful truths and make me THINK, which is my favorite kind of writing. So yes, share with us these thoughts! I now those times of being stretched can be really hard, but also beautiful. Praying for you, girl! I know God is doing wonderful things with your life. ^_^

    Our weather keeps teasing at cooler temperatures but it's still kind of summery out there. *pouts* I cannot WAIT for some cooler weather. Fall is my favorite time of the year!

    AND OWL CITY LYRICS. The second I read the first four words I was like, "IT'S AN OWL CITY QUOTE." I'm a liiiittle obsessed. XD

    I hope this new season in your life will be a wonderful one. I'm so in awe at all you're doing! You're a true inspiration. *huggles*

    1. Awww, you have? ^_^
      That is the PERFECT word: interactive. I love how it's set up, and you're right, it's not the norm. There's lots of discussion and asking questions (one of my teachers always presses in with "why?" to get us thinking deeper), and I love how it's tailored to us. And we're not stuck in a classroom all the time! We get to experience what we're learning and put it into practice right away. But here I go blabbing on about what's already been mentioned in my post AND in your comment. XD

      Ziplining was sooo much fun! Once I made myself push off the platform, I mean. Sitting up there and looking down at the far-away ground, I started to chicken out, and asked the facilitator if he could push me off. "Do you want me to?" he asked. "I think you can do it yourself." So I held my breath, closed my eyes, and pushed off with an embarrassing scream. XD And then it was fun. As for the high ropes course--okay, you're convincing me to make that my next post. :)

      It was stunningly beautiful! And Mowgli was so cute. I really admire that kid's acting ability--he literally had no other humans to interact with on screen.

      *sniffle* Beloved Thorin...

      You own The Choosing? :D I'm suddenly blanking on how much you like dystopian, but I think you'd quite enjoy this one! But oh man do I hear you on the books-time ratio. So unbalanced. XD

      THANK YOU so much for that reminder. *hugs* Because I am too hard on myself, so it's wonderful when I have people to shake some sense into me. ^_^

      ...I'm just...I'm frolicking off in a happy glow right now, Christine. You're such a blessing! Thank you for the support and prayers and everything! ^____^

      I hope the weather cools off for you sooner rather than later. Fall is tied with spring for my favorite season of the year!

      Ha, I figured you'd know instantly where those lyrics were from! Owl City forever! <3

      Thank you, girl! *huggles back* You're an inspiration to me. Words like these help me keep going. <3

  6. Sounds like college is treating you well!!!

    AHH!!! I SIMPLY MUST read Rachelle Dekker! My TBR is burying me alive???

    1. It sure has been an adventure!

      YES, DO IT. LOL, when are our TBRs ever NOT burying us alive?! (Especially when one has been reading as slowly as I have been lately...)

    2. Gah, I KNOW, right??? What is with this slow-reading thing??? Its like slow-dancing, BUT WORSE. I used to be able to read so fast (like a book per day, I kid you not!) but recently I have just been DRAGGING. I don't know why!!!

    3. Lol, so true! I used to read so much faster as well. When I had more free TIME. And books were shorter. Now I'm going through 400 page books, but with much less time. I don't think I've done a book a day since I was in elementary school. XD Here's hoping we both get out of the slump!

  7. That's a great opening paragraph. Much of my September is spent just looking at the sky. Everything is so fascinating during the change of the season. I was biking through the mist on my way to work the other day. The sweltering summer is gone. I'll miss it, but I don't mind the change.

    The leadership/Bible program sounds like a good one! I'm sure those lessons will find their way into your writing, too.

    I also watched The Jungle Book last month. It certainly wasn't a silly kid's film, like its predecessor. Although terrifying at times (I hate monkeys!), the animation was powerful, and I was pleasantly surprised by the themes.

    I'll be looking forward to those deep blog posts!

    1. Aw, thank you! Most years I'm paying more attention to the leaves changing color, but this year, I was drawn to the sky. Ohhh, your bike ride to work sounds glorious. (I remember one of your posts talking about it, and I was properly jealous. XD)

      Good point! What I'm learning definitely will impact my writing, which is an exciting thought. ^_^

      It's funny how so many of us watched it in the same month! Ugh, yes, I don't like monkeys either, especially King Louis. *shudders* But Shere Khan--he was a fabulous villain. I was pleasantly surprised by the themes too! Did you have a favorite character?

      Thanks! Like I mentioned to Mary, now I feel I'd better deliver. XD

    2. I suppose this is the season for The Jungle Book. My youngest brother is going to be in Jungle Book play, so it's suddenly become more popular in our house.
      Shere Khan was a little more chilling this time, but Bagheera remains my favourite.

      No pressure! (we'll just be waiting eagerly)

    3. Must be! Oh, that sounds like fun! Theater looks like a blast... I mean, it would be, if I had any acting skill. I hope your brother enjoys himself!

      No kidding, he was a lot more intense. I liked Bagheera too. :)

      Heheh, well, one of those is now up!

  8. Sounds like a cool time! I watched Jungle Book. It was very intense (much like the book!). But, it was enjoyable. I did not watch Zootopia, but my siblings did. ;) I also am having no luck finding any of those 'Five...' fairy-tale retelling sets you talked about... :P I am hoping once the new one comes out, they may be easier to find...?

    1. Oooh, I haven't read the book, but watching the movie made me want to! Zootopia is such a fun film, and I loved the strong storytelling. :)

      I haven't found any of the Five Something Something collections in any bookstore or library either, so I've just been ordering them off Amazon. There are three collections out so far, with two more to come. The next contest will be announced in June 2017!

    2. Cool! Do you plan to enter again? :)

    3. I'd sure like to. :) How about you? Do you write, and if you do, do you think you'd enter? It's a lot of fun. :D

    4. Well, yes, I write quite ardently. :) But, I don't think I shall enter unless I magically become brave enough to ask my parents. :P

    5. Cool! Maybe you magically will. ;)

  9. You seem really busy, but I'm glad you found time to watch and enjoy things. I still haven't watched The Flash!

    1. It has been pretty crazy, but yes, somehow there's been a little time for books and things. :) SKYE, THE FLASH IS AMAZING. I'm going to have to gush about it on here once I finish Season 1. ;D

  10. Wow, that leadership/Bible program sounds awesome! I really liked Zootopia, which I hadn't expected from the trailers. My reading has been very limited lately, but I've read a few good short plays and viewed some good digital poems (and a few traditional poems, like this one: Autumn is really setting in now in SW Pennsylvania, and about half of the trees are sporting their fall shades. I'm in college right now (third semester) in a standard 4-year program; it's going well. (As one last note, I must say that your writing style is beautiful.)

    1. It's incredible--quite the adventure so far! Yes, Zootopia was quite the pleasant surprise, wasn't it? Ooh, I haven't read any plays since high school (oops), and haven't read published poetry in a while either. Thanks for the link to such a beautiful poem! Those last two stanzas really grabbed me.

      Ah, sounds lovely! Pretty much all the trees here are either in full autumn splendor or already losing their leaves. Wish the season would last a little longer...

      Glad to hear college is going well for you! Four years sounds like a long time, but at the rate my own school year is passing, I'm sure it doesn't feel so long.

      Thanks so much, Patrick! (And by the way, I've seen you around Ink, Inc., but I believe it's your first time here, so welcome!)

    2. Thanks for the welcome. I've been neglecting the Blogisphere criminally lately (read: for the past two years), so I'm trying to expand out. By the way, I have three semi-active blogs right now (one with a group of people), but my main blog is found at

    3. My pleasure! Glad you're enjoying your re-entry into the world of blogging. :) Yes, I noticed you have a few blogs running! I'm meaning to check them out properly...once I have a minute in between this full college schedule. XD

  11. Great post, Tracey! I like everything about it!! XD So I'm not sure what to say... Umm... *thinks hard* Oh! I know! I LOOOOOOVVVVVEEE THE FLASH TV SHOW!!! There. I said it. :) Also, I liked the first thing you said. You're so darn good at writing. <3 ^.^

    1. Thank you, sis! <3 THE FLASH IS AMAZIIIIINNNNGGG! LOL. Well,*you* are so darn good at being an awesome sister. Love ya!

  12. Hey! It's lovely to hear about college, I'm so glad you're enjoying it! WELL DONE ABOUT THE CLIMBING WALL. (Sounds kinda horrifying!) "It's like those training periods in so many fantasy character arcs" made me lol. I know you are all about that Chosen One training XD

    I really, really want to watch Zootopia (or Zootropolis as I believe it's called in the UK)! Oh, and seeing my book title IN ITALICS made me squee once more XD

    1. Thank you, friend! <3 The climbing wall wasn't actually too bad heights-wise (for whatever strange reason); it was more the physical exertion that was hard. But the zipline and the high ropes course--those were both difficult because of heights.
      Hahaha, SO TRUE, THOUGH. XD I love that stuff.

      Right, it's called Zootropolis where you live. (It's funny to me that the same movie would have different names in different places. *shrugs*) YOU NEED TO WATCH IT. :D
      LOL, I remembered that comment of yours when I wrote out your title again and it made me snicker to myself! XD