inspiration here and there

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I find inspiration everywhere.

In listening to Coldplay CDs. In watching interviews of unknown to famous people. In hearing memorable quotes from the average people I know. In reading. In learning to cook. In driving down the interstate. In walking up and down stairs. In browsing through professional photographers’ websites. In cleaning out the junky drawers in my bedroom. In writing itself.

*Recent inspirations*

Quote // “The life in a graveyard is so beautiful.” – a friend of a friend

Slam poetry // Listener’s “Wooden Heart”


Phrase // “and so forth and so on”

Cause // Timestwo

Movie // The Book of Eli


Start a blog showcasing the small to big things that inspire you every day. It may be a list of words, your description of experiences, photographs, websites, movie clips, graphic images – anything, really.

possible blog names





the distractions we call life

the distractions we call life

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live one day without a single distraction? Peaceful. Relaxing. Productive. Or maybe . . . boring.

It’s been a lengthy fifteen days since my last post. 15! That’s unheard of for me! If you read my earlier treatise on the “best practices” for blogging (now kept readily accessible on the “Ready” page of the site), then you would know that I advised first-time bloggers to be consistent. Specifically, I encouraged them to blog 2-3 times per week. And here I am, a blogging hypocrite. Can it be!?

But, I have a confession of sorts. That is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these 15 days. Yes, I’ve been distracted by many things. By writing, laundry, late night talks, last minute errands, unexpected visits, sickness (two-week cold) and health (I’ve been able to celebrate our occasional warm days with outdoor running!), assignments, music, emails, studying, working. My personal  favorite distraction = people.

I used to always begin deep and thought-provoking conversations with my roommate in the middle of her homework sessions. She’d be hunched in her corner, writing an essay about contribution by lamplight, when I’d break in with random comments about life. For this, I apologized. But she responded, “I welcome distractions.” It’s always stuck with me.

And I myself am coming to welcome them even more, because it seems to me that life is a long string of distractions. Perhaps so we can constantly be reevalutating what’s actually necessary. But sometimes the distractions themselves are the necessary, so if we had done what we intended to do, we would have really been distracted from the needed distraction.

I don't look like someone who would be easily distracted, do I? (This photo was taken during a "study session," and that is a blanket on my head.)


Start a blog about the distractions that make up your life. Analyze particular days when what happened was so contrary to what you had planned. Write about all the moments that seem “unplanned.” Write about the times when it seems like you are running late, only to be just in time for something.

possible blog names

  • TheDistractionCalledLife
  • LifeDistracted
  • IWelcomeDistractions

hunts and finds: the pirate in all of us

everybody, everybody wants to hunt

Whether you take it in the spiritual/metaphysical purpose-seeking sense or the small, everyday practical sense, we’re always looking for something. We all like to hunt (and by this I mean search for things, not necessarily kill them and put their heads over the living room fireplace, which would be especially unfortunate if you, like Elmer Fudd, prefer to hunt innocent yet humorous rabbits such as Bugs Bunny).

A group of some good friends and I used to go geocaching quite religiously. When I would try to explain the object of geocaching to others – to follow coordinates to a specific location where others have hidden “treasure” (aka, usually a pill bottle with a log in it where you sign your name to prove you found the cache) and then keep an online profile recording all your finds – I always felt a little lame. Usually I would finish my increasingly polished spiel, and the person would squint their eyes a little and ask, “So, what’s the point?” I guess it’s one of those things that sounds stupider than it actually is. But geocaching makes perfect sense if it’s true that we like to look for things and find them, especially when they have some kind of value to us.

Three good friends looking for a cache



Start a blog about what you like to find, what you’re constantly on the hunt for. Some posts could be informative. Think American Pickers: they always share why their picked items are valuable, the history of the items, etc. Other posts could be mostly photographic, showcasing recent finds. The blog could be a documentation of sorts of the things you’ve seen, found, collected, or bought/sold. Maybe you want to go ancestral and start a blog that traces your hunt for family background?

possible blog names

  • _____hunter (Fill in the blank with what you hunt.)
  • PirateseekstreasureArr (For pirates.)
  • Ontheprowlforfowl (For bird hunters? Or Jack Sparrow haters.)
  • Searchinforurchin (Now I’m getting carried away, and I’ve overused parentheses in this section.)

my recent find, or the inspiration for the post

What do I like to find? I like to find abandoned buildings and houses, rundown structures, unkept places. After months of passing this old house, I finally took my photo opp.

famous quotes that somehow pertain to the post

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Jesus

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.” – Captain Jack Sparrow

blogging: when you hit month two, you sometimes wish you could start over

Two months, my dear readers. Two whole months have I been writing on this one blog! It’s certainly a record. (Well, I suppose it’s safe to say that since my first month was a record, then every month thereafter will be another record. But remember, it’s the small victories, right?) Think of how far I’ve come since my compulsive-blog-creator days! That isn’t to say that (honestly) every time I come up with a post idea, I don’t wish with all my heart that I could start a blog about it . . .

It’s true. Over these last two months, I’ve had so many ideas. I’ve come to see what I’m passionate about and tend to write about. When you hit month two, you sometimes wish you could start over. Maybe I would have created a photography blog instead? Or a blog about Canadian dancing (which I know nothing about, but it would have been one of those learn-as-you-go-bildungsroman type blogs, yea?). But then I remember that through you, my dear readers, I can start these blogs and more!

The world's an open field. You may rove it, run through it, or roll in it. But please, write about it.

I must once again give a big “thank you” to everyone who has peeked at, read through, commented on, spammed up, and even (what!) followed the blog. Thank you to my friends and family who encourage me and often (whether you know it or not) inspire me to write. Thank you also to the bloggers who read and share; I’m just as often inspired by you.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to do a post on “how to know what you should blog about” (although I hope to come up with a more creative title for the post by the time it’s written). I’ve been throwing out ideas, and I know I’m not the only one who struggles with the question, “What do I really have to say to the world out there?” or the question, “What can I write about consistently enough to name a blog after?”

So that’s what’s coming up next. Stay tuned. Keep blogging.

portraits and how they define their subjects

Someone should start a blog about portraits and how they define their subjects . . .

I recently told some friends I’d love to just follow someone for a day and take a lot of good pictures of them that they would like. My friends say that’s called being a stalker. I defended myself, explaining that it would only be if I were commissioned. It wouldn’t be that creepy, right?

I love taking pictures of people. For me, if someone uses a picture that I took of them for their Facebook profile picture, they might as well have just made me queen of seven countries. I’m on top of the world. I like to see it when someone truly enjoys a picture I’ve taken of them.

A good portrait of a person is one that defines them, in some way. Of course, it’s impossible to define the entirety of a person by just one photograph, but the point is to capture just one image, one glimpse, one accurate portrayal of who this person is. (I liked this recent post from another blogger, entitled “Faces Tell Stories.”)

It would be cool for someone to start a blog about portraits and how they define their subjects. This would be a great blog for a portrait photographer, or just someone who (like me) enjoys taking pictures of people for fun.

So, I’ve collected some of my favorite portraits I’ve taken (of my friends and family members, and a dog):

meeting for the first time

Somebody ought to start a blog about meeting for the first time . . .

Meeting people. Being introduced. Introducing yourself. First impressions. Shaking hands.

The old cliche says, “A first impression is a lasting (or important) impression.” Maybe it’s true somehow, but I find myself forgetting most of the ways I met some of my best friends. I have a theory about this!

First impressions are sometimes all that you know about a person. If you really want to know them, however, and get to know them, then you share experiences that overwrite the first impressions. (To the grammar conscious: I realize that because my antecedent is person that my ensuing pronoun should be singular, but I really hate writing “he or she,” so I refuse to do it in informal settings. My apologies.)

Some people get a little nervous when they first meet someone.

It would be cool to see a blog that documents all the first meetings of a person, for say a year or so. It could even follow the development of relationships (Although, that might be a little creepy? What do you think?). It could give examples of good first meetings, and not-so-good ones, and tips of how to improve people-meeting skills.

Today was actually one of the most awkward introductions I’ve ever had. I’ll change names to protect the identities of all involved victims (Well, there were only two victims, and I was one of them. You already know my name, so I’ll keep my name the same.):

Me: Hey, I’m Celeste.

Woman: Charlene. (I didn’t change this name, because it’s not a real person, and thus not a victim.)

Me: (Thinking to myself) I thought her name was Melissa? (Aloud) So, your name is Charlene?

Woman: No, I’m Melissa. I thought you were Charlene?

Me: My name is Celeste.

Woman: Oh.

For me, it was some consolation that at least people are getting a little more original. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been called Chelsea. On the other hand, I had no idea how to redeem the situation. The world needs some faithful person to blog about how to handle those mysterious first-time meetings.

small victories: accomplished every day

Dear readers, as you know, my last post was about small victories, those little steps we take in overcoming our fears. They may be small (thus the term “small victories”), but they really do help us grow as people and give us a reason to celebrate. Since then, two pretty big small victories have been attained by me and one of my close friends.

This good friend of mine is quite terribly afraid of a certain plant. Of course I cannot explain why this is, any more than I can explain most of the things I’m afraid of (with the exception of getting my hair cut, and spiders). But in the spirit of bravery, he decided to consume a dish containing the plant, and guess what! He actually liked it!

When he shared the news on his facebook status, he received an overwhelming amount of support and congratulations. Comments ranging from “I’m so proud,” to “You’re a legend. I will tell my children of this day,” to “Conquering and victorious!” Isn’t it amazing how much a small victory can mean?

Well I, too – dear readers – decided it was time for a small victory. I’ve been growing my hair out for over a year now, for the sole purpose of donating 10+ inches of it to Locks of Love. I faced the music, and for me it was a huge small victory, because as you remember, I am terrified of getting my hair cut! So, here it is . . .

Here's my hair before the cut. I had a ponytail longer than 12 inches.


This is me just after I got my hair cut. Surprisingly, the lady beside me in the salon flipped out more than me.


Wala! The new hair.

how to save a dying conversation

Someone should start a blog about how to save a dying conversation . . .

When I was in the ninth grade, or thereabouts, I made an unofficial pact with my extremely comedic friend Tyler Mounce (a few other good friends were involved, too) that one day I would write a book entitled How to Save a Dying Conversation. In this book, I would offer ideas for redeeming every situation when conversation is about to take a turn for the worse, or die altogether.

You know the situations. Do I really have to list examples? Sometimes, it’s unforeseeable and inexplicable. Sometimes, the signs are all around, but there’s just nothing you can do to stop it. Sometimes, it’s natural. The longest phone conversation I’ve ever heard of someone having was (if memory serves me right) about eight hours. I’d imagine that somewhere in there were some lulls in the conversation.The dinner table witnesses these moments globally. It’s seen me strike out in my fair share of conversations.

Don't strike out in conversation anymore; strike up conversation.

I can’t accept the delusion that we’re doomed. I believe there are tons of ways to save a dying conversation. For example, having some good “conversation starters” on hand is essential. I was reminded of my pact recently as I was reading The Grim Grotto, the eleventh book in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Snicket agrees that conversation starters can be a real lifesaver:

“When you are invited to dine, particularly with people you do not know very well, it always helps to have a conversational opener, a phrase which here means, “an interesting sentence to say out loud in order to get people talking” . . . . I keep a list of good and bad conversation openers in my commonplace book in order to avoid awkward pauses at the dinner table . . . . Good conversation openers are sentences such as ‘What would drive a man to commit arson?,’ ‘Why do so many stories of true love end in tragedy and despair?,’ and ‘Madame diLustro, I believe I’ve discovered your true identity!,’ all of which are likely to provoke discussions, arguments, and accusations, thus making the dinner party much more entertaining.”

But the ideas don’t end there. What about jokes? Long stories that can keep people distracted long enough for you to think up something conversation-worthy? And of course, there’s the ever-classic: pocket-sized pets. Just pull one of those guys out at the dinner table, and no one will be at a loss for words.

There’s truly enough material to start a blog about it.

*Photo by Hannah Murray. Guest starring my friends Grace and David.

those times you wish you had a camera

Somebody should start a blog about those times you wish you had a camera . . .

Call me old-fashioned, but my cell phone is a few years old and doesn’t take quality pictures. So I find myself sometimes wishing I’d brought my camera with me. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, though. I try to bring my camera with me at all times, 24/7.

But sometimes I forget, and almost without exception, it’s in these times that something amazing or beautiful happens, and I wish I’d had my camera. Sometimes it’s a sunset, or I pass an old, abandoned house that’s just waiting to be photographed. Other times, my friends are doing the unthinkable, and I have no hard proof to use as blackmail later (not that I would, right?).

One of these moments happened very early in the semester. Someone had played the age-old trick of putting stuff in the school’s fountain, so the whole vicinity smelled of mountains, in a synthetic, laundry detergent sort of way. Honestly, I’ve been here a few years, and every time people play the trick, they believe they’re so clever and no one’s ever done it before. Let this be a lesson to us all: it’s all been done before.

Well, one of my very random and crazy friends decided it was a good idea to take my other friend’s necklace/rope thing (which happened to have his room key on it) and swing it around nearby the aforementioned mountain-fresh-smelling, bee-attracting fountain, and you’ll never guess what happened next! (Can you sense the sarcasm?) It ended up in the fountain!

So we (my crazy, random friend and I) decide to help our key-necklace/rope-owning friend get the key back out of the sudsy soup. We grab his legs as he stretches himself across the teeming waters and disappears into the fluffy white bubbles. At this point, we’re all laughing hysterically (including my other friend Hannah, who like me owns an out-dated cell phone with not really top quality image capturing abilities and who now has the only hard evidence of this event ever happening); well, I’m not sure I can say that my key-necklace/rope-owning friend was laughing, but we heard some muffled sounds and drew our own conclusions. He did eventually find what he went in after.

It’s times like these when I wish I had a camera on me. Of course, a blog recording such times could not include pictures (that’d defeat the purpose), which I’m very fond of. So I leave this mission up to one of you, dear readers.