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The Greatest Showman Review

I never review movies on this blog unless I’m really impressed with the storytelling (and so far none of them have reached that bar), but The Greatest Showman was so stunning that I have to write about it. “Review” likely won’t be the best description of what you’re about to read, because this movie is beyond breathtaking, so be prepared for me to circle around to the same things and totally exhaust my vocabulary of positive adjectives.

I went into this movie knowing that it was going to be good. I didn’t go in with super high expectations, but I’d had friends tell me it was amazing, and I’d seen/heard ads on YouTube and Spotify that caught my attention, so I knew it was going to be good. Let me just say that it blew my expectations WAY out of the park. I mean… Stunning, breathtaking, gorgeous, incredible… None of these words even come CLOSE to describing this movie, it is just so absolutely spectacular.

I was hooked from the very first scene. You want a hook? Go watch that first scene. It makes SUCH and impact right off the bat, and the build-up is incredible. You can tell just from that first scene that it’s going to be gorgeous and amazing.

After that we watch a couple of the characters go explore an abandoned house and that’s when it really captured a sense of wonder and imagination. I don’t think I’ve ever watched or read something that so captured my sense of wonder. That’s when I first started tearing up, because it was simply gorgeous to watch, and the song they sing… Ahhhhhhhh. I fell in love with that song from the very beginning. I mean… Wow.

And the scenes on the roof with him and his family… They’re so beautiful. Visually, musically, and emotionally. Another time I teared up. Seriously, the sense of awe and wonder… It’s incredible to experience.

Then we get into the rest of the movie, and really all I can say about it is that it’s gorgeous to watch. The choreography, the music, all of it is simply breathtakingly spectacular. Like I said, I teared up multiple times through the thing. If you want an example of the way I was feeling – and honestly the best description of what I was feeling is “euphoria” – just watch P. T. Barnum’s face when he hears Jenny Lind sing.

The next point of note that really, really sticks in my head is when they’re performing This Is Me in the ring, and you can just SEE all of the extra venom and vehemence in Anne’s dancing, and I would just like to offer the greatest kudos to Zendaya because that performance was INCREDIBLE. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one greater, honestly.

And the ending scenes… That ending was simple stunning, and I doubt I’ve seen or read a more satisfying, breathtaking ending to anything. It was… Yeah, I’m out of words. Just… You have to watch it to understand.

There is just so much that is spectacular in this movie, and no review anyone could write could possibly capture even a modicum of it. It’s truly something that you just have to experience for yourself, because it’s just so breathtaking and it’s such an impacting thing… It’s spectacular. It’s definitely not a movie you only watch once, and I’m so incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to watch it on the big screen. If you haven’t watched The Greatest Showman yet, I insist that you watch it at your earliest possible convenience, because it is the best movie I’ve ever seen, definitely my new favorite, and it’s just… I’ll refrain this time from using the same words all again, but it’s simply beyond words. English honestly doesn’t have an adequate word to describe this movie. Definitely go see it as soon as you can, whether that’s in theaters or after it comes out. It’s incredible.

Character Interview: Trax Shard

Trax Shard is a tracker from The Last Assassin. There’s not much more to say in the intro, so let’s just get into the interview.

Trax: *heads into the interview room and sits down, a cocky grin on his face* Hello.

Interviewer: Hello. How are you today?

Trax: Doing all right. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m fine. Shall we get started?

Trax: Go ahead.

Interviewer: What is your name?

Trax: Tersen Shard, but everyone calls me Trax.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Trax: Twenty-one.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Trax: No.

Interviewer: What’s your job?

Trax: I’m one of the most skilled trackers in Taur’Tahl. I was trained by Torin Outlander, our very finest.

Interviewer: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Trax: *grins* What do you think?

Interviewer: What is your favorite food?

Trax: Bear meat.

Interviewer: Favorite color?

Trax: Stone grey.

Interviewer: What is your favorite book?

Trax: I don’t read.

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal?

Trax: Bear.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Trax: Having contests.

Interviewer: Which of these is most important to you: Kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Trax: Bravery.

Interviewer: And honesty or selflessness?

Trax: Honesty.

Interviewer: What is something you can never leave the house without?

Trax: A long knife.

Interviewer: *nods* That was the last question. Thank you for your time.

Trax: Certainly. *heads out*

The Power of Art

Art is a powerful thing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes it feels like it’s simply words on a page or paint on a canvas or notes on the air. Other times, it’s impossible to miss how powerful it is. Other times it hits you like a train, bringing you to tears or making you grin uncontrollably. Art is much more than the sum of its parts. Art has the power to spawn emotion in a reader, viewer, listener. I know this first-hand, both from being so affected by art, and by seeing the reactions that my friends have when they read my writing.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” As artists, we have great power, but we have to be careful that we use that power wisely and that we do all we can to make sure it has the intended affect. As Christians, that means that we should reflect God in our writing, and not encourage things that are contrary to that. I don’t mean to say that we can’t portray those things in our writing, but we shouldn’t glorify them. It should be clear that they’re wrong. We should make art for the glory of God. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) It tells us to do even the little things like eating and drinking to the glory of God, so how much more so should we glorify God in something so powerful as art? This is why one of my unwritten new year’s goals is to pray before everything I do. Which maybe seems a bit drastic, but I think it will help me to grow closer to God, glorify Him better through my writing (and in general), and relinquish control of things (something that I have trouble with).

I’ve personally found music and stories to be the most powerful art mediums. Music has brought me close to tears, reminded me of things I’d forgotten, and brought my mood back up when I’m disappointed or frustrated. My youth pastor said one week something along the lines of, “Art brings what we know about God from our minds to our hearts.” Music has certainly done that for me more than once, particularly this year.

Books have also brought me close to tears, made me care about people who don’t exist, sparked my imagination, taught me things (like the fact that Muhammed Ali beat George Foreman in “Rumble in the Jungle” by wearing him out with his own attacks. Thank you, Dreamtreaders), and inspired me to write my own books. I’ve always considered it to be the most powerful medium (though obviously I’m biased), because you can create and destroy so much “at the swipe of a pen,” as a friend of mine said.

Another section of her post said: “All that power, creativity, strength, is a gift. It’s inside every one of us, and nothing, absolutely nothing, is stopping us from using it. But it’s insane how much we take it for granted, look over it, or misuse it.” Let’s not take for granted how powerful art is, let’s not look over it, and let’s use it correctly so that its potential is not wasted or misused.

The closing paragraph of her post said: “WE ARE POWERFUL. NEVER FORGET THAT.”

Happy New Year!

This update will be a longer than usual because, in addition to wrapping up December, I’m also wrapping up 2017. (Book links are Amazon affiliate links.)

December’s Writing

I wrote a total of about 20,556 words last month, completing seven short stories (out of seventeen) and nothing else. My novels have been on hold for the holiday season, but I’ll be getting back into them starting today.

I’m not sure how much I’ve written total this year, but it’s somewhere above 200k.

December’s Reading

I haven’t read much this month, since I’ve been busy with Christmassy things, but I did read Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (I can’t remember if that carried over from late November or if I read it faster than that, but I’m putting it here anyway), and I’ve been reading Echoes by Miranda Marie, which is absolutely gorgeous and fantastically written. I’ll be writing a review of it next Thursday, so stay tuned for that. :)

I only read 35 books over the course of the whole year.

2017 New Years Resolutions

Looking back on 2017 and pulling out my dusty old list of new year’s resolutions, I can tell you I pretty much bombed.

1. Complete at least three of the stories on my blocked stories list.

Nope. I even picked out three to aim for so that it was focused., and I don’t think I’ve finished a single first draft this year. I’ve worked on about three novels, but they were all newer than the list, unblocked, and I stuck with those. Which is good, because I used to have a lot of trouble sticking with projects, but it means that this goal wasn’t completed.

2. Complete a reading list.

Also nope. I had a reading list, but then I didn’t end up doing a lot of reading this year. I don’t know what’s up with that.

3. Complete my 101 in 1001 goals list.

I’m actually overdue for this, I was supposed to finish in October 2015, I think. Obviously I didn’t, and this year made no impact in it, either. I think I need to make a new one and try again.

4. Write at least 2k every day.

This didn’t seem like a super tough goal to me, but it failed rather quickly, nonetheless. I haven’t written close to 2k most days, though some days I’ve knocked it out of the park. On August 26th, for instance, I (re)wrote over 15k. I don’t exactly count that since most of it was just rewriting existing words, but it was still pretty cool.

5. Write in my diary every day (even if it’s just to keep track of my other goals).

I was better at this one. I didn’t miss too many days in there (and most of the ones I did miss were simply because I stayed up too late so it was no longer that day) until the end of November when I went on vacation and was super busy and stayed up late every night of the trip. And then that bad habit carried into December, aided by my laptop (it’s both a help and a hindrance). Next year I’ll restart that habit and try not to fall off the rails again.

6. Make a concerted effort to get to know the people in choir. (No pun intended.)

I did make a couple of great friends in choir this year, but no thanks to effort on my part. I’m now part of a trio that feels like it’s been together for way more than a year, and I’m so happy that we ended up being friends.

I’d still like to make this a goal going into 2018, though, because I – being shy and confident in my singing – probably come across as a total snob, and I’d obviously like to change that.

7. Have bible study every day for an hour.

Wellllll… Yeah, this one immediately failed. I don’t think I even did this once. That’s sad.

8. Make a list of skills I’d like to learn before I’m 18 and work on them.

I think I started a list of skills, but did I work on them? Okay, in my defense, a lot of them aren’t exactly things I can learn on my own, so I’m not entirely responsible for not… Never mind, that’s not accurate, because I didn’t take the initiative to ask someone to help me with them. Yeah, I just failed this goal.

9. Practice drawing at least twice a week.

Drawing is hardly something I’m super interested in, but it’s a fun side thing and if I could learn how to draw well it could be a good tool for my writing. Unfortunately, I don’t care about it enough to stick to consistently working on it.

10. Work on “backstage” writing stuff (worldbuilding, character development, marketing, etc.) every day.

This is another one I actually didn’t do too badly on. I’ve done this almost every day, whether it’s just jotting down a story idea, planning out blog posts for the next month (or six months), posting something on my author Facebook page, etc. It can be something really simple, so it’s actually a really easy goal to meet.

11. Write {family  friend} weekly.

I’m terrible at remembering to send letters. Pretty much always. With anyone. Once I got started it would have been easier because her replies would remind me to reply, but I just didn’t get started.

12. Go to sleep regularly around 10:30.

As much as I talk about staying up late and past midnight and whatnot, I actually stayed pretty consistent with this until late November. (Everything went off the rails either right out of the gate or in late November, it seems.) After that I started staying up until two or three in the morning, which I would not recommend for numerous reasons.

13. Get up regularly around 8.

This one, on the other hand… I am no morning person, and it took me a while to find a working alarm clock. And then I just ignored said alarm clock to sleep in. I do think there actually was a stretch between about August and October where I actually paid attention to the alarm, but that was it. Next year I’ll be turning that around.

14. Read for at least an hour each day.

You know, this should have been really easy, and yet it wasn’t. I tend to get carried away with whatever project I’m working on and forget about other things I have to do (which would be why I kept myself to my schedule every day with an alarm for a while, until I started ignoring the alarms), and so my writing time swallowed my reading time. Actually, my reading alarm was the most-ignored alarm of the bunch.

15. Get a book ready for publication.

Man do I wish I could say I did this. I did come close-ish with House of Mages, closer than I’ve come with anything else, but it’s still not ready yet. Next year, though, my goal is basically to get two novels ready for publication: House of Mages and The Heart of the Baenor (new title pending).

A Year in Review

While my new year goals were obviously a total mess, and honestly the first half of my year was kind of a mess, with lots of things changing (I hate change) and stuff like that, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t have its highlights.

1. Singing with Celtic Woman

Seriously, this was incredible. My choir, thanks to our wonderful director, got to sing with Celtic Woman in June, and the memories are amazing. Road trips with the choir are the best, and in practice it felt more like family than usual choir does, for some reason. I don’t know if it was just because there was a smaller group or because we were all excited and practicing for some incredible experience that we knew we’d all treasure for the rest of our lives or because it was more casual or what, but it was really cool. The whole thing… It was just so, so amazing.

2. Making friends with the aforementioned choir friends

Seriously, I feel like I’ve been friends with these two for years, not a little under six months! I won’t say much more for privacy reasons, but these guys are amazing. ^-^

3. Camp

Me last year at camp: Introvert sitting on her bunk playing a billion games of solitaire while everyone else has fun outside. The introvert side basically only went away when I was singing a solo for the talent show. It was sad.

Me this year at camp: Extrovert chatting with random people on The Stoop and making really cool friends, stealing the job of holding the door from one of said friends, performing a choir song at lunch because we were late to breakfast, speaking to introduce my solo (because I sang one of the songs we performed with Celtic Woman and I wanted to recognize my choir director, even though she couldn’t make it to the show), teaching someone how to play chess, getting probably twice as many people to sign my notebook as had signed my shirt the year before.

I seriously felt like an extrovert at camp this year. It was so weird. Super cool, but weird. I actually made friends, something that rarely happens, I had fun playing sports I don’t usually play (I had bruises all over my thumbs from playing volleyball one-on-one), impressing people in Capture the Flag with my sprinting (despite that, I never got the flag), playing chess, discussing books and fandoms, talking with the pastor after lessons, hearing everyone in the hall singing during worship, hearing a friend on the other end of the dining hall randomly say “Everybody clap your hands!” and then the response of everyone in the dining hall dropping their food and clapping… It was just so much fun, and I can’t wait to go back again.

4. The Father’s Lullaby

A song that a choir friend wrote and the choir sang. The timing of it was incredible, because it talks about God always being there for us and stuff like that and it was around the time that everything was in turmoil for me and it felt like God had just abandoned us. It’s one of my favorite songs now.

5. Even If

Even If, by MercyMe, is an amazing song, and it has a somewhat similar message to that of The Father’s Lullaby. It talks about trusting God even when he doesn’t get rid of our tough circumstances, and it’s another favorite of mine.

6. Getting my blog up and running again

Oh yeah, that was only this past August, wasn’t it? It feels like I’ve been posting longer. My schedule still isn’t perfect, but I’ve vastly improved since the beginning of the year, when I was posting super irregularly and didn’t have a schedule or anything in place. I hope to improve even more and maybe make some tweaks to the appearance of the blog as 2018 progresses.

7. Setting up a Facebook page

Yep, I have one of those now. And a schedule in place for posting on it in 2018, so that it doesn’t sound like the page of a narcissist as I start publishing.

8. Getting my first professionally-made cover and hiring my first professional editor

While I didn’t learn much about how to get a cover since I got a pre-made cover, I do know some, and hiring an editor taught me how to act the next time I do so. Learning experiences are great. :)

9. Publishing short stories through CreateSpace

So technically I wouldn’t consider these published yet because they’ve only been printed once – as proofs – and given as gifts, but doing this has taught me a lot about designing my own covers, formatting a story as a book, what print sizes I prefer, what it’s like to open your own book in printed format the first time… it’s just been a really cool experience. :)


Well this post has been super long, as expected, and hopefully it didn’t bore you tooo much. What have been some highlights of your year? Did you do better on your new year’s resolutions than I did?

(Oh, and by the way, you can read my 2018 new year resolutions here, if you’re interested.)

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