4 Levels of Squirrel Haiku

While watching Epicurious’s 4 Levels videos and cleaning out my closet, I remembered that throughout elementary school I had written variations on the same haiku about a squirrel. (Why a squirrel? I can only assume I was staring out the window when inspiration scampered by.)

Partly because it was easier than coming up with 10-20 poem subjects every year, but I’d like to think it was also partly because I wanted to look back on them someday and see how my style had changed. Which is exactly what I’m doing today!

Please don’t judge me too harshly; I was young and poor choices were made.

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Why Do “Book Boyfriends” Upstage Heroines?

It seems to me that I hear more about Rhysand than Feyre, Peter Kavinsky than Lara Jean, Will and Jem than Tessa, Gilbert Blythe than Anne Shirley, Peeta than Katniss … you get the picture. Whether we’re talking about books, movies, or TV shows, it feels like the love interests get more hype than the heroines.

Of course, I’m not saying that this is always the case — plenty of people stan Hermione Granger, Jude Duarte, Inej Ghafa; the heroines I listed above have ardent supporters, too. And maybe it’s just the online spaces I hang out in. Maybe it’s the “influencers” and friends whose posts tend to cross my feed. Maybe it’s exaggerated in my mind because it’s hard to stop noticing something once you pick up on it.

But I don’t think I’m totally imagining this fandom phenomenon, so here are a few of my theories as to why this is.

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A Letter for 2025 Me

I think I first wrote one of these letters at some point in high school: my English teacher let us each pick out a postcard to write some thoughts down, then collected them to be returned at the end of the school year. (Irrelevant to this post, but I liked my postcard so much that I actually used it for the cover of my first bullet journal!)

Since then, I’ve regularly used FutureMe.org to schedule emails for my future self. It’s fascinating to see how my goals and priorities have changed, and it’s a nice reminder that life goes on in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

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Wrapping Up the 2010s

I know, I know, there’s still a few days left before 2020. But I’ll be putting my blog on private for a redesign in the next few days, during which I doubt anything else noteworthy will happen.

It’s been so much fun digging into my various blogs, Writer’s Notebooks, journals, and scrapbooks from the past years. (There are plenty of photos for these years, but for privacy reasons I won’t be sharing them.)

So if you’ll pardon my self-indulgence, today I’d like to take a brief dive into the past decade of my life! Possibly this won’t be very interesting or amusing to anyone except me, which is totally fine. 

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Teatime: Are Literary Tropes & Predictability Always Bad?

You may or may not have noticed that I’m fascinated by tropes. For quite a long time, I was convinced that predictability was a bad thing in books. It was unoriginal, it was boring, it was bad storytelling. 

Yet I eventually came around. There are so many good things that tropes can bring to the reading experience … though of course there are downsides too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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I Made November Cakes & Labyrinth Cakes

It is the first day of November and so, today …

I’m doing a mini cake competition!

It’s “mini” in that there are only two contenders, and also that each cake is small — both types of cake were actually made in my little red silicone muffin tray. Which is perfect, since I love baking but don’t have much of a sweet tooth; these are delicious little snacks. (And don’t worry, I have a big friend group that’s always happy to accept free food.)

Since The Scorpio Races was a comp title for To Best the Boys, it just made sense to compare and contrast their signature treats: November cakes and Labyrinth cakes, respectively. 

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My Long-Term Relationship with Fanfiction

Although we’re currently on an unofficial break, I would without hesitation classify my relationship with fanfiction as serious and long-term. We’ve known each other for years and grown together, through ship wars and show cancellations.

It’s a relationship that overlaps with an impressionable and formative period of my life, yes, but also one that shapes the way I engage with the world and media I encounter every day. It’s influenced my feelings about different kinds of relationships, familiarity with tropes, technical writing skills, perseverance to finish stories, confidence to share my work, awareness beyond my “vision” to the potential impact of my words on others … 

Yes, I know this all sounds a bit melodramatic, which probably doesn’t help support the case that fanfiction isn’t just for moony-eyed teenage girls who want their favorite fictional characters to make out. But it really is so much more than that, and I hope sharing my experiences will help convince you otherwise. (Or if you are/were a fanfic’er yourself, hopefully you can relate!)

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How I Created My Custom Rating System

I’d previously discussed my many frustrations with the default 5-star rating system, and even done some preliminary “research” into upgrades and alternatives. But I was so used to assigning one convenient — if somewhat arbitrary — number and channeling the details and qualifications into my review. Change is hard.

Then Bookending Summer came around, so it was easy to add it to my Tidyathon list … and never actually sit down to create a new rating system. (I didn’t get around to most of my Tidyathon to-dos; we’re only tackling one of them in this post.)

Actually, I’d almost forgotten that this was something I wanted to do, until I checked my post schedule and saw that this one was coming up. So in true student fashion, I procrastinated then wrote this under deadline pressure; I don’t expect the product to be perfect, it’s a process.

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