Kurt Cobain Is A "Friend In My Head"

Kurt Cobain Is A "Friend In My Head"

Kurt Cobain once exclaimed, “I'm so happy 'cause today I've found my friends... They're in my head." He's one of mine.
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“They laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at them because they're all the same.” - Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain's feelings and thoughts translate similarly to mine. His words comfort me. I know that yes, I am different, but I wouldn't want life to be any other way. I hope my complex self causes confusion and self-evaluation to those that encounter me. I hope I express my passion well enough that others are encouraged to do the same, or maybe even take the first step to finding what they themselves are passionate about.

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." - Kurt Cobain

I spent far too much time during my earlier years of high school wishing I was someone that I viewed as prettier than I was, or received better grades than I had. All in all, I wasted so much time doing so, when in reality these were wishes that would never come true. I should have spent more time falling in love with my quirks, accepting my faults, and embracing my good qualities. No one else can live my life better than me.

"I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

I used to be in a very close relationship with God. I believed that throughout all my trials, with Him by my side, I could do all things. I allowed the Bible to feed into my daily mindset. I was in love with a God; I was not in love with a religion. I began to realize this when I vocally supported equality, specifically LGBTQ equality. A member of the church went as far as to ask me, "You support gays... So, are you gay?" As if by having a good heart and requesting peace and love for all, I was assumed to be of the group experiencing hate. It was assumed by some that since I supported and encouraged equality and happiness, that I was personally struggling for LGBTQ equal rights. Fewer people spoke to me at church. I wasn't going because I wanted to. I didn't feel as if I had to prove anything to God by going to church. So I stopped going to church; I stopped going through the motions. I established that I would simply live a life that I genuinely feel that "God" would approve of. I wasn't going to lose my voice simply because others disagreed. I wasn't going to stop being who I was just to lessen the confusion of narrow-minded people. I wasn't going to stop being who I was, period.

The duty of youth is to challenge corruption." - Kurt Cobain

At the age of merely 17, surrounded by global corruption, it is easy to feel as if I am a waste of space. It is easy to feel as if any effort toward peace wouldn't go further than being recognized by myself alone. I've learned that most fights toward peace will go unrecognized, and that is OKAY. Sometimes you do something small for the good of the world, and it receives more attention than ever expected. So yes, most attempts by one person go unnoticed in the big world that we live in. But if we stop trying, the sum of attempts to better this world will grow smaller... We cannot afford to stop trying. So take every extra second you have to find opportunities to better this world--despite the size of action or the amount of years you've experienced this world.

"The sun is gone, but I have a light." - Kurt Cobain

Each night I lay in bed surrounded by darkness. Some nights I fall asleep easily, and others I am at the shore of depression's waves. There may be no physical light within the darkness, but there are almost endless metaphorical lights within the darkness or within the invisible. We read poetry, but do we see it? We listen to music, but do we see it? We feel the sun on our skin, but do we see it? We are thought of by those we love, but do we see it? We feel the butterflies and tremble when our line of vision meets someone we love, but do we see the butterflies? Do we actually see most of the things that bring us comfort?

“Thank you for the tragedy. I need it for my art.” - Kurt Cobain

The first time I shared my writing capabilities was at my best friend's funeral. I wrote a eulogy for my best friend at the age of 15. I always dreamed of partaking in a dramatic slam poetry contest and everyone being blown away by my unpredicted talent. Yet there I was, not so joyfully sharing a eulogy for my best friend... That day I broke down so many barriers at once. I took note that writing was and always has been the only thing that'll always be here for me. I had to devote my entire self to get across the inexplicable experiences I had lived through. Words don't do justice to many things I write about, especially not my best friend. Although, it was the closest I could allow the audience to get to personally experiencing the times my friend and I had shared ourselves. That day I realized how much power my writing truly had. With tears in the audience's eyes and gasps in their breaths. I was numb enough due to the grief to make it through the entire read through. From that day on, I have never stopped writing. I was even inspired to begin publishing my writings. So here I am, publishing my thoughts through writing, that I never thought I'd open up to the public.

“There's good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad.” - Kurt Cobain

My mother always tells me that "Somebody New" by Hozier seems to have been written for me, which I simply nod my head in response to. She's entirely accurate. I see the good in everyone. If I could get paid to meet strangers every day, hearing their life stories, learning what they've gone through, what they've accomplished, what makes them happy, what they struggle to talk to, etc., I would never "work" a day in my life again. I fall in love with quirks and abnormalities. I see potential in even the most strayed or broken individuals. So when I witness others fail themselves, I feel their painful self-disappointment as well. When I witness someone not receive a well-deserved award/position, I feel their defeat. I feel for others. Empathy (when possible) is my middle name, and when I cannot empathize, Sympathy is my middle name. Tatum Empathy/Sympathy Oxford... Sure does have a ring to it.

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.” - Kurt Cobain

I have struggled to cope with my past trauma of being stalked and followed. Yes, it is normal to check your surroundings when in an unfamiliar location or are alone at night; however, I do this in my own home. I jump at any sound. I continuously peer over my shoulder. While listening to music, I often pause the music, thinking I've heard someone nearby. The destruction my trauma has caused me is utterly disturbing. With the help of my treatment, I am learning to feel safer. I am learning that while stalking is a true problem and it has made me a victim once before, that doesn't mean I'm always on display. I can live my life as if no one is watching. Such a simple concept, a human right, was stripped of me for too long.

“I started to be really proud of the fact I was gay even though I wasn't.” - Kurt Cobain

When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled same-sex marriage a right nationwide, I celebrated. ME. Even though I wasn't in line on that exact day awaiting my marriage, I felt the excitement. I felt the warmth. I felt accepted. I saw people I knew, expectedly or not, open up and proclaim their sexuality. I had an internal conversation with myself that when I find the person I love and want to spend the rest of my life with, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT IS IN THEIR PANTS. I felt a new me open up. I knew that we were beginning to live in a more accepting world. I couldn't help but want to be cliche and wave a rainbow-striped flag. I was full of pride.

“If my eyes could show my soul, everyone would cry when they saw me smile.” - Kurt Cobain

My short time on this earth has been filled with experiences that most people haven't even witnessed by the age of 60. I am blessed and cursed for having such experience and knowledge. I know the importance and burdening factor to empathy. I know that I must express my love for those around me while I can because they can be taken in an instant... Sometimes you cannot even say goodbye. I've battled anxiety, chronic pain, depression, grief, migraines, trauma, and much more. I am not my difficulties. I am nothing but the bold person that is still somehow breathing today. So when you look me in the eyes, and if in that instant my smile reaches my eyes, I would cry if I was you; I cry when I see a genuine smile on the face of someone who has endured their unfair deck of cards. So if you cry, I understand. I'd cry too.

Cover Image Credit: Mark Seliger

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The Key To Ending Your First Draft Blues

Or at least getting through the next chapter with your hair intact
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Ah, the first draft. We’ve all been there as writers. The day we decide to turn a blank word document into a 70,000 word (or more) masterpiece. Or, at least, that’s always the aim. Often as first-time writers, we go into the experience blind, learning as we go, and never really knowing whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

It can be frustrating at times, as most first drafts are a test of sanity. As somebody who had written ten first draft books (nearing eleven) in six years, I have had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to first drafts.

My first book ever took me four years just to write it, I started at the age of sixteen and finished by the time I was twenty. A year later I had written another. I then wrote one in thirty days, and nowadays I write about three to four books a year.

My point is, there is no science to writing. It is all about learning how to do it, and finding the methods that suit you best. I just wish I could have had someone to tell me all of that when I started.

With that in mind, here are my five pieces of advice on how to write your first draft:

#5 Embrace the Terribleness

The first draft is always the worst version of any story. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to move forward with your work. So you misspell a few words so bad that even Word can't help you. That shouldn't stop you from going with the flow. Your dialogue will feel hammier than a "Star Wars" film, but you'll clean it up the second time around. You're not expected to create a masterpiece on the first go, so just enjoy the ride.

#4 Suffer for your Art

Writing can be hard. I've said it enough times already, but it's true. You have to be prepared to suffer for it. The reason my first book took four years to write was because I didn't commit to it. The reason I wrote 80,000 words in thirty days was because I committed myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Now I average 3,000 daily. Is it painful to force 3,000 words to the page every day? Yes, but that's what you have to do to get the draft finished.

#3 Take your Time

Now I know this goes against what I just said, but it's important that you go at the pace you want to. I was happier writing 1,000 words a day, but I was eighteen then. At twenty-three, I'll never get everything done going at 1,000 words a day. Commit yourself to writing every day, even if its only 200 words. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get to the finishing line quicker if you jog a steady pace rather than adopting a sprint and rest mentality.

#2 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Yes, it's important to remember what colour your character's hair is, which one is taller, and what weapon they are carrying. Although with that said, it is important to keep going forward. In my editing, I go over everything with a fine comb, often with a character profile at my side. Don't get bogged down giving every little detail the first time around, you'll have time for that later. The hardest thing is getting it down the first time.

#1 Keep the Story Going at All Costs

This kind of goes without saying, but it is by far the most important step for me. You have to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter if you have to use the biggest Deus ex machina to get your plot going again, you can always edit it away in the re-draft. I use a technique called automatic writing, which means that I don't plan every detail of a chapter. I simply write it as I go. This allows me to give my characters natural reactions as events often come as a surprise to me too.

Obviously it is good to have a rough idea of what is meant to happen, but as long as you can get your characters from A to B, then you are half way there. The other half will be polishing it to the point you can see your reflection.

Good luck, and happy writing.

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer%27s_Block_I.jpg

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4 Steps To Writing a Haiku

It's Fun I Promise
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You've probably had to write a haiku for English sometime in your school career. You most likely found it boring, or difficult, or just plain stupid. I am going to try and show you a more fun way to write a haiku.

1. The Basics: What You Should Know

In case you don't know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that is only three lines long. It is usually taught that the syllables in each line should go 5-7-5. But really, as long as there are 17 syllables or less in the three lines, it's a haiku.

2. Write to Get a Reaction

When you write a haiku, you are aiming to get one of three reactions: Aaaahhh, aha!, or ha ha! For example...

Aaahhh: Laying in bed/dog next to me under blanket/my furry heater

Aha!: Life is too short to love people/who do not deserve/your whole heart

Ha ha!: I'm on the toilet/and my stomach drops/the roll is empty

3. Create an Image

In your writing, you want to create a new image in your readers mind with each line. Take my first haiku for example. I first talk about laying in bed. Then, I say there is a dog next to me under the blanket, so you picture a lump under the covers. In my last line, I call him a furry heater so you imagine a heater covered in fur. The image you create is more important than the syllables.

4. Performing

Lastly, you need to think about performing your haiku. As always, when you're speaking in front of a room of people, you need to project so the whole room can hear you and you need to make eye contact. Another thing to remember is the tone of your voice while you are saying your poem. Dramatic pauses can keep people on the edge of their seat, waiting for what you're going to say next. You also have to remember to be confident! And if you're not confident, fake it till you make it!

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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