There are several methods of journaling that I incorporate in my daily life. The one activity they all have in common is they tell a story. They hold a deep and lasting meaning of my life and the lives I see around me. Looking back on all my journals and diaries, I’ve come to realize that in this endeavor is where I discovered my true writing voice. It wasn’t from reading books, though reading helps one grow their understanding of the written word, how stories are told, other life experiences and expands on one’s vocabulary, my writing voice developed over time from writing in journals. Could have it also been from blogging? Yes, I do find blogging a form of journal writing. A record keeping of thoughts, words, expression, emotions and even those awkward sentences where I couldn’t quite express myself in the way I felt inside. Those particular words don’t always come naturally to me in public form or rather, my private journals is what speaks of my truest inner voice.
Many people want to write in their journals but their uncertainty is holding them back. They say, “I’m not a writer or I would ruin my page, or rather my beautiful journal with my awkward words and ramblings.” Those awkward words and ramblings are what drives one to become a stronger writer. You must be deliberate with your writing and in the time, you take to write. Think of all the visits you made to a library filled with books that hold millions of words. Often times, those words did not come easy to the writer. Imagine the time and deliberate ink to paper or key strokes the writer put forth to build worlds in those numerous books. Believe me, it didn’t happen overnight for them. Don’t allow that voice in your head saying, “You’re not a writer,” intimidate you. Writing is a beautiful art regardless of one’s uncertainty in the act. Write what you know, write what you see and hear. Write a word or two and keep adding words after that. Allow those words to build on each other and soon you’ll find your voice as a writer. Once you do, words will flow and writing will be like exploring space. The act will take you to limitless places.
A few days ago, I was chatting with my good friend Lisl on the phone and she was talking about creating a blog post of her favorite things. Hello! Stop the presses! What fun! May I join? She is brilliant and our ideas turn into great conversations. Once we utter our silly and often times crazy greetings, before we know it, hours have gone by and we have gone down many rabbit holes. No joke. At some point, we usually start putting our heads together to come up with new blog topics and series. This blog topic, of favorite things, we decided on a few entertaining questions to answer.
After going through and answering these questions, I thought to myself that I would like to dig deeper into this topic. Or do I? It could be a scary place to venture. Kidding! Though I’m still pondering that it could possibly get really complex.
In Lisl’s post, she mentioned, about these things related to the lock-down many are experiencing globally and trying to find our happy place. Or how we can get to know each other more as individuals. I’ve heard many people around the world talk about how they found themselves through these troubling times and they’ve learned they have interests and talents; they otherwise would have probably never realized.
Be forewarned, some of my favorite things are subject to change at a moments notice. I have a tendency, on occasion, to be indecisive. Or is is because I love so many things? Let’s get into this, shall we?
Favorite lunchbox snack? Sugar, of course!
The chocolate variety. Possibly with peanut butter added to the mix. I don’t think I could survive without chocolate.
Favorite game to play outside? Bocce Ball
Love playing this game outdoors with family and friends! It has been far too long since the last time. It is one outdoor game I’m actually good at.
Fun fact: Did you know that Bocce’s origins date back to 5000 BC?
Favorite fairy tale: The Princess and the Pea
Don’t ask me why?
Favorite childhood memory? There are so many but going to the beach often was the best. Immensely grateful for growing up near the ocean. I’m always longing for the beach and try to go as much as possible.
Favorite nursery rhyme? Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Probably because it involves a boat and water.
Favorite bird: Chickadee
They’re so cute and tiny!
Favorite color(s) rose? Red or White
I’m a hopeless romantic. Swoon.
Some of you history lovers may be thinking of the Tudor rose. I dare say, I could be as well.
Favorite sea creature? Does Starfish count?
They are referred to as sea stars. How cool is that!?
Favorite thing about a rainy day? Listening to the sound of rain against the windows and rooftop. There is something calming about the sound of rain fall. Great time for reflection or to gather your pillows and comfy blankets to curl of with a book(s).
Often times when I’m writing or reading, I will listen to a rain app if it’s not raining outside.
Favorite dinosaur? Velociraptor
I know, that sounds vicious and dark. But I have a perfectly good reason why they are my favorite. Honest. Might write about it in another blog post.
Favorite fictional place you’d want to visit?
Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings.
Oh, for so many reasons. Narnia comes in second or sometimes first.
Favorite road to drive on?
There are so many wonderful roads in my State. Choose one?
Goodness, that is simply impossible. I would have to say the back roads to Dahlonega from the Ball Ground area are a treasure. This is ridiculous because I really can’t choose a particular road in North Georgia. Also, the roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains are spectacular. One doesn’t mind getting lost driving along those back roads. Watch out for Dear and other wild animals, such as, Squirrels! I swear, they seem to have a death wish.
Favorite things about America? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Freedom of expression, individualism, opportunity, diverse cultures and freedom to live by your faith in God.
Favorite 80’s song? Oh, heavens. There are a lot of 80’s favorites! I have to choose just one? What is the fun in that?
U2: With or Without You
Or Free Fallin by Tom Petty. Hmm…Okay, lets go with, With or Without You. Sigh. Not a fair question at all.
Favorite music genre(s)? I have several favorite music genres, depending on my mood. For everyday purposes: Classical music and 90’s Alternative.
Favorite American Classic movie? Picking just one classic movie is like asking someone to pick just one favorite book or one favorite song. Impossible!
All About Eve, comes to mind. I never get tired of watching that one. It’s brilliant and the cast of characters…swoon. The film came out in 1950 and, and, and Betty Davis and Anna Baxter co-stars in it! Love!
BUT, if I had to choose a favorite film period, it would be the 1940’s. Oh, for so many reasons. I think this causes for a blog post about the film industry in the 1940’s. Yes, I think I will.
Favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie? How can I even…
If I had to choose the best acting, he performed in a movie, it would have to be, Shutter Island. I think. I’m torn. Because of his acting in, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and a couple of others. Hmm…
Perhaps, many of you will disagree with me on this one. I would probably would disagree with myself too.
Favorite Harry Potter movie? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (set in 1992-93)
Favorite celebrity? Ryan Reynolds Swoon. Fanning myself over here. I know you must be thinking, really Stephanie? I can’t help it. .
I’m a mixed media artist and I appreciate the essence of crafting as a whole. My Main go-to craft is collage because of its form and I use it quite often in my journals and ephemera making. I’m also an abstract painter and my current focus is creating new paintings and exploring different techniques. Truly, I can’t answer this question by naming one form of craft. Surely many will understand this.
Favorite thing to cook?
Favorite comfort food?
Most foods that are related to pie or stews.
Favorite Asian dish?
Crispy Honey Chicken with Fried Rice though I try real hard to stick to a plant based diet. Alas, I’m failing miserably right now. Though I’m totally blameless, of course.
Favorite ice cream flavor? Rocky Road
Favorite season? Autumn
Favorite holiday? Christmas
Foreign country: Scotland. I’ve never been and one day I will journey there. Might blog about this more.
Favorite TV show: Currently, Miss Scarlet and the Duke. Oh, and Sanditon.
Period shows and movies are my favorite.
I will say I long for more period shows that takes place in America. That I can tolerate and not cringe at every inaccuracy. Don’t think me a snob. I’m a history enthusiast, particular and I can not abide certain liberties concerning real-life events, social norms, objects not of the period, manner of dress and people. History is interesting enough without it being distorted. Though do not mistaken that I’m not aware when it comes to historical, there are allowances for artistic license-if you will. There are so many ways to look at this topic. Maybe we shall another time.
Instrument: Always, Classical Piano. I keep having this strange feeling I might have said something else once?
One of my favorites played on the piano, “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven.
Bach/Gonoud – Ave Maria is another great one! Okay, there are a lot of classical favorites played on the piano.
Have you listened to, Chopin – Preludes, Op. 28: No. 15 “Raindrop”? A must!
I seem to be doing a lot of swooning lately. Have you noticed?
Way to Relax: Reading, crafting, sewing and long walks in the woods.
This was so much fun! What are your favorite things? -Stephanie Hopkins
On November 11th, I discussed forming positive reading habits and I mentioned a few steps I was taking to incorporate reading every day. One of the topics, was to use better system on organizing my notes and using the Bullet Journal method for that purpose.
In my research about this style of journaling, I soon discovered a writer who wrote a book on this very subject. Ryder Carroll’s, “The Bullet Journal Method”, explores what it means to live an intentional life. The journal is to help you develop mindfulness and use the Bullet Journal as a medium for productivity. I’ve added Carroll’s book to my to-read list and I’m looking forward to delving in the practice.
Why the the method is important for me to improve on a number of activities.
To strengthen my organization skills.
To encourage daily reading and writing.
To help me remember details in stories that have made an impression on me and that I feel are important to focus on in my reviews, or to further research.
To keep learning and growing intellectually.
The five steps I mentioned are just a few of habits I want my focus to be on with my reading and writing. I’m confident that Carroll’s book will be helpful with my journey.
I’m still not entirely certain what medium I will use for my journal. I’m leaning towards altering a book. That way I can create art pages and add images as well that relate to the story. Of course, you can do that with a blank notebook or an actual journal. I prefer to use what I have on hand to limit my spending. I’m really looking forward to this worth-while endeavor and sharing my progress with you all.
Be sure to read, before the second sleep’s post on, Bullet Journaling 101. There are wonderful insights on the art of using the Bullet Journal method and how you can utilize the journal in other ways.
Help support Layered Pages to keep providing great content by donating to our PayPal Tip Jar. Thank you! -Stephanie Hopkins
The late 19th Century and early 20th Century are a deep fascination of mine and I have studied the history for years as part of my own research for my WIP’s. I was delighted when Janet Stafford posted these two posts-below-on her site, “Squeaking Pips.” I’ve read her articles on the Gilded Age several times and I was impressed and intrigued with what she wrote and how concise she is with her knowledge in the era.
Janet Stafford is an author with the wonderful, “Saint Maggie Series” I recommend. She and I are currently working on a project so moving that in the first phase of it, I was moved to tears. What is the project that has me so worked up? More to come on that soon! Meanwhile, please be sure to take the time to read both posts and comments are appreciated. We would love to hear your thoughts! -Stephanie M. Hopkins
In 1873, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner published a book that became the name of an era: The Gilded Age. This period, generally believed to be between 1870 and 1900, was marked by rapid industrialization, economic growth, and immigration, most notably in the North and West. The South, however, after defeat in the Civil War and the punishment of the Reconstruction, suffered from economic depression. This is an important difference to note. The successes and excesses of the Gilded Age did not touch the United States in its entirety.
Twain and Dudley’s book is set in the United States at the very beginning of the Gilded Age. Marvin Felheim[i], who wrote the introduction to my yellowed paperback copy of the book, notes that the story’s primary criticism was focused on “the greed and lust – for land, for money, for power – of an alliance of Western land speculators, Eastern capitalists, and corrupt officials who dominated the society and appreciably altered its character.”[ii] He goes on to say:
The “Gilded Age” was a “peaceful” era following the horrors of the Civil War. The North, industrialized and righteous, had won. One consequence was the westward extension of institutions representing its victorious value system. Expansion was in the air. Capital was available and bankers were looking avidly for investments. The West, with all its rich potentialities, both of wealth and adventure, lay ready to be exploited. Colonel Sellers’ [a principle character] ambitious schemes were not merely the idle dreams of a satirist’s euphoric imagination: they represented the hopes and beliefs of a nation.[iii]
It is true wages for the average worker rose during this period. However, there was a dark side to all this growth and expansion, and that was an alarming disparity in income and wealth. Briefly put, the gulf between the wealthy class and everyone else began to widen. According to Steve Fraser…Read more HERE
To recap, the Gilded Age was a period in the United States that roughly spanned 1870-1900. An era of rising industrialization, urbanization, and immigration, it also saw a rising disparity between the wealthiest Americans and those who were “regular” folks.
Although it was a time of conspicuous consumption, some industrialists sought to moderate their public image by engaging in civic works, such as the building of libraries, hospitals, schools, and other institutions beneficial to the populace. In that era, the wealthy still feared hell – and if they didn’t, at least they were willing to hedge their bets by doing something good for those who had little.
The big wigs (or “big bugs,” as Eli calls them) were living well, but many workers in the Gilded Age routinely got injured or killed on the job and had little in the way of compensation. Is it any wonder that this era also saw the rise of the union movement?
New discoveries in science drove improve patient treatment and housing. A reform movement, led by Dorothea Dix, sought to change mental “hospitals” from dank jails where “patients” were put in chains and lived in their own filth to healthy environments that embraced more humane treatment methods.
I enjoyed putting early whispers of the changing landscape in American society into the fourth book in the Saint Maggie series. In 1864, they are felt in the little town of Blaineton, New Jersey. So, when Maggie and her family return to their hometown, they find not only their own lives changing, but also the life of their town, and these changes are borne out in the following storylines…Read more HERE
***Illustration: Cover of the first edition of The Gilded Age by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, 1873