Archive by Author

My Internship Thus Far

3 Mar

With the first month of my internship coming to end, I wanted to write a piece on what it has meant to have a mentor as great as, Melissa, through my learning process. When I first reached out to Melissa, I advised her I had very little writing experience but was eager to learn more from an experienced writer such as herself. Without any hesitation, she was excited to take on the task of passing along her abilities in order to help me become a stronger writer. This is something I am eternally grateful for.

You know when you have that one amazing professor? The professor that would read your work and tell you, honestly, how it was, good or bad, but always had constructive criticism to give you.  They never hurt your feelings and kept you excited to write more. That is what a mentor in writing reminds me of because it is exactly that. Someone you trust to give you good advice and constructive criticism on your work that is near and dear to your heart. The two most important take a ways from this month was how to incorporate imagery into my writing and how to map out my ideas in an organized manner.

Seeing that I am writing a lot about my adventures in Scotland, imagery is key in getting the reader fully enveloped in my writing. Melissa has shown me how to do this in a couple of different ways. First of all, the obvious, include pictures in my writing. Second, paint a picture with my words. I could do this by describing colors, smells, or even clothes that people were wearing. I want to put the reader in my place when I was experiencing whatever it is I am writing about. Third, imagery isn’t just creating a picture but using more attractive words in my writing. I could do this by creating a rhyme or shortening up my sentences. Shortening my sentences will allow me to make my writing more bold, crisp, and engaging for the reader. In addition to imagery, one of my biggest obstacles was organizing all of my ideas and putting it on paper.

I often have overwhelming amount ideas in my brain but once I sit down with a pen and paper, I cannot get them to flow properly. What do I put first? Where should I start? It becomes overpowering and causes a writers block. I asked Melissa and she advised me to download a mind mapping app. I did this and it has been incredibly helping. The one I downloaded is called Simplemind + mind mapping. These are like the simple mind maps you learned to make in 6th grade but on your phone. I forgot how helpful this tool is and I am very happy that Melissa helped me rediscovered them.

All and all, the first month of my internship has been life changing. Working with Melissa has given me confidence in my writing that I didn’t know I had within myself. Her ability to constructively criticize my work, while teaching me key concepts such as imagery and mind mapping has been incredible. Melissa has coached me every step of the way through my 8 pieces this month and I am very excited to see what next month will bring!

Cheers,
Leanne

Lost in Romance

3 Mar

FullSizeRenderThe combinations of the Mashup series and traveling keep bringing up romance to me. I love the US where I grew up but one thing is certain, romance is different here. I am not only talking about romance between people but romance with everything. Clothes, coffee shops, pastries, books, and cobblestone sidewalks all feel more romantic. People here are slower. Slower in that they take their time when they walk, the way they talk, even how they eat. Boy do they appreciate their pastry!  They take time to look at the pasture or the clothing in a window. These little details, that I feel I forget back home, are so romantic.

Romantic Cobblestones

Romantic Cobblestones

It makes me think of Marie Antoinette and her romance with clothing or Shakespeare and his romance with writing. Sure, Marie Antoinette was a bit excessive but her love for clothing and beautiful materials was so romantic. Here, in the UK, romance is in the air. I can feel it.  I find myself taking the time to notice the misshaped stones on a building, the beautiful landscaping of a house, or even just a yellow front door. I take a couple extra minutes peaking in a pastry glass case. Not only am I picking my pastry but also admiring the art that someone created on top of the selection of colorful cupcakes. It is the little things in this life that make every much more romantic.

Have a Cool Girl Weekend!

21 Feb

A key component to a cool girls purse: red lipstick.

A key component to a cool girls purse: red lipstick.

Do You Believe in Monsters?

21 Feb

unnamedThis Valentines Day, Ben and went on an adventure to find the Lochness Monster. For those of you who don’t know who the Loch Ness Monster is, he is a scary monster that was seen in the Scottish Highlands years ago. His legend lives on and is every kid’s worst nightmare. “Nessie” as they call him here, was the main reason I never water skied or tubed alone. I refused to be left in the waters of Lake Geneva, WI only to be eaten by this historic monster. I wish I was kidding but I am not. Ben and I, both growing up on a lake, wanted to see what this little monster was up to.unnamed-2

What started out to be a rainy day in good ol’ Aberdeen ended up to be a stupid beautiful day the closer we got to the highlands. We drove about 3 hours west to hopefully catch a glimpse of Nessie. We drove through rolling hills of greenery and more sheep than you could ever imagine. After lunch and a quick trip to the most precious chocolate shop and bookstore, we made our way to the monster. Its kind of funny, even though I am a grown up and have been told that these things don’t exist, a little part of me was thinking the whole time “I am going to be the one to see this monster.” It’s kind of like me and the lottery. I firmly believe every single time that I am going to win. I plan out my speech that I am going to give Ben and the rest of my family when I win, only to be sadly disappointed on the Tuesday night of drawings. Anyway, I am rambling, back to the monster.unnamed-3

Even though I had my mind set on finding this monster, I got distracted. Ben and I boarded a boat that would take us down the Loch Ness River, stop at a castle, and then turn around to bring us back. Once I boarded the boat, I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful landscape. I was trying to figure out how I would write about this in order to interpret the beauty that we were seeing in front of us. I couldn’t possibly describe how perfect it was. The rolling hills, colors, and to top it off, an old castle nestled perfectly into the hills. My mind went back to hundreds of years ago, when Nessie was discovered, and thought a monster 100% lived here. No doubt about it! The mist, the twists and bends of the river were a perfect place for a Monster to live. Needless to say, we did not see Nessie but I know he was in there hiding…

Until next time!
Leanne

Match Maker, Match Maker: Who Would be Your Match 100+ Years Ago?

18 Feb

So, I’ve recently gotten really into the show, Downton Abbey, during my travels. I spend most of my days out and about exploring. This allows me to end my day getting home very early. After while I decided it was a good time to dive into a TV show. I don’t watch a lot of TV but people seemed to be raving about Downton Abbey, so I jumped on that bandwagon. Sure glad I did. It’s wonderful!

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe I’m even more interested than I would be if I were in the US because, as I’ve mentioned in my past posts, I am currently living in the UK, where the show takes place.  Either way, the costumes, old traditions, and love affairs suck you right in. Let me tell you, I am a stinker for a good love story. While watching this show, I couldn’t help but think about the Masters Mashups. I found myself being drawn to certain characters on the show over other characters. I sit leaning forward, eager to hear every word and wonder to myself, “Why am I drawn to the farmer over the lord or prince”.

I started to ponder,  “What if there was a Mashup on lovers. Who might Marie Antoinette be paired with if she was alive in this day in age? Would she have similar dating habits to that of Madonna or completely different? Or whom might Madonna have dated back in the day? (See Marie Antoinette to Madonna in Mashups) I imagine her to be similar to the character, Lady Sybil Branson, on Downton Abbey. Sybil played the rebel and politically conscious woman who always considered the feelings of the underprivileged.  She ended up marrying the family chauffeur, Tom Branson. I could see Madonna rebelling in a similar manor and marrying the farmer or any other servant for that matter. Or maybe she might just move to London and become a flapper!

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Who might have you been paired with hundreds of years ago? Would you have dated in your social class or would have rebelled for love? I’d like to say I would date for love but would I? If I am yearning for the farmer in this uppity show, I think it might have been a struggle for me to marry a lord or a prince. But who knows!

Sybil trying on a new outfit that her family does not approve of.

Sybil trying on a new outfit that her family does not approve of. Photo credit:(dailymail.co.uk)

 

Alone

13 Feb

Lost on a walk in Aberdeenshire

On a walk in Aberdeen

Yesterday, I met my fiancé for lunch. Prior to his arrival, I was standing in a popular lunch spot at 12:30pm sharp. The hustle and bustle and the sheer amount of people surrounding me tightened my chest. I stood there feeling like a fish out of water. When Ben finally arrived, I turned to him and said, “I am afraid we are going to return home and I wont know how to have human interaction.” He chuckled.

But, after being in Aberdeen for a week, I have come to fall in love with my alone time. I don’t know anyone nor does anyone know me, besides Ben, of course. In this short time, I have also come to understand that as long as I have one interaction with people each day, that is enough for me. This might include getting lunch with Ben, exchange with a person at a convenience store, or going to get my haircut. That is all I need in my full day of alone time.

Growing up, I was an extrovert. I wanted to be at every party, every event, and had serious FOMO (fear of missing out). However, as I grew a little older, that slowly began to change. By the time I was 17, I noticed I yearned for time to sit alone, make a quiet dinner, or read. My energy was fueled from time to myself. Of course, once I approached college this became a huge issue of concern. Kids my age were out partying, socializing, and doing whatever they could to meet people. This felt painful for me. However, it is a little confusing for the people who knew me in my life. Anyone who knows me at work or in a classroom would classify me as an extrovert. I am talkative, giggly, and fueled by people in my place of work or classroom. For whatever reason when I return home, I become an introvert.

The Social expectation of what college was supposed to be like made me feel like I was a loner. Because I wasn’t attending parties every weekend or doing what “normal” college students do, I felt I must have failed. However, I knew deep down that this wasn’t the case. While some kids graduate college with a whole slew of friends, I graduated with one. However, she was and is my dearest friend and I hold her very close to my heart. However with graduation approaching, I couldn’t help but think of what my family or my then boyfriend, now fiancés, family would think of me graduating with only one friend? Again, this was the social expectation of what college should have been like that made me feel so badly about myself. Even though I am sure nobody cares or notices, I am human and I do care what people think. After school, I started to get more comfortable in my skin and embrace my habits and know that they were okay. The world wasn’t staring at me.

Here, in Aberdeen, I know nobody. No one has a preconceived notion of me and nobody knows where I came from. It is the very first time in my life that I can be alone and sincerely at peace with it. Nobody knows me as the bubbly work girl or the fun classmate. I don’t have to stand up to any standard I might have built for myself. Being here with just nature, my most wonderful fiancé, and myself is truly a gift that I am deeply thankful for.

This internship has given me an opportunity to do what I truly love, reading and writing. I hope that my alone time will continue to fuel creative work. Next weekend we are traveling to Glasgow so stay tuned!