Monday, June 9, 2014

Goodbye Becca

Does that title confuse you? Does it maybe make you a little bit nervous? Maybe it should. I know it does me.

Here's my confession. If you have been reading this blog, you know that Becca Lathorn is my pen name. In fact, if you're a follower you probably know my real name anyway. Here's what you maybe know, something I haven't been able to admit to myself until recently. I use this fake name to separate my writing from God. There's always been a disconnect between my writing and my faith, I know. Something I thought I could get away with if I wrote things that were cool enough. It was the perfect crime, the way I could be whoever I wanted to be while still following God's plan. I mean, if my rebellions were only written, who could they hurt? How could they hinder my path? That, and I think I did it because I was scared that if I wrote about God, that'd be sealing my doom somehow. I started really getting serious about writing around the same time I started making friends at school, I wasn't going to let God get in the way of that. (Without going into detail, that didn't work out so well for me in the end. Surprise surprise.) And while I got away with not writing very Godly things with my friends for the most part, there were those who could tell from the beginning. And now it's something that I not only can see, but can't ignore.

About a year and a half ago I went to a Christian writing conference where God started to set this train of thought down in my heart, gave me a conviction. Before I went to that conference I thought writing with God was a plan destined for failure. I could name the number of Christian writers I knew on my hand, and had actually read even less. God showed me at that conference that was far from the case. I saw people at that conference that did what I never thought to do, acknowledge the fact that their writing was a gift from the Creator and offer it back to Him, to use to see His kingdom come.

Over the course of the past school year, starting college, I actually saw my voice for Him grow in the least likely of places. I depended on Him and sang His praises in the place where it was most difficult, in a liberal arts college filled with people who thought me naive deluded and weak for practicing a life of sightless faith and trust. It was there that my mission from Him became clear, my writing was to be used to glorify Him, no matter the anxiety I had towards how it may work out in the end. I discovered my love for children's fiction there, and the first Christian stories that I actually found myself interested in. And I knew, whether it would lead me to riches or rags, I could no longer afford to squander my words.

That's when I started to look back, and realized that under this name I invented for myself, I wrote some things I wasn't proud of. Whether or not these things actually ever saw the light of day is a different matter, it was the fact that I allowed my imagination to commit these deeds that lead me away from what I should have been doing all along.

You, readers, have seen this journey as well, to some extent. If you go back to the beginning of this blog, you will see little God and more Me. Yet in my more recent posts, you will see me grow bold in talking about Him.

I see now that my thoughts can be put to better use.

I guess this could be considered my literary baptism in a way, but the point of this post is to end it. There will be no new posts on this blog. I'll be taking down my website soon as well, and my Facebook page. I'll be starting from scratch. If you want to hear my new words, I'll be posting them over at Cartoons And Afternoon Tea. After I've gained some momentum I might bring some of my old (God-oriented) posts from here but that's the last you'll here from Becca Lathorn.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5 Reasons Why Jesus Was Right About Sex In Media

Okay, so maybe I'm making a bit of a leap here. The bible doesn't directly say AND GOD DECLARED THERE SHALL BE NO CANOODLING IN THE MAGIC PICTURE BOX OR THE MYSITCAL SOUND CUBE. (I mean, probably not. I don't know, maybe it's somewhere in Psalms.) But when you get to thinking about what Jesus's opinion is, can you actually tell yourself yeah, he'd be cool with it? Yeah, no. And you know what, I get where he's coming from. I so do.

1) Sex Has Been Ruined For Me (...The Hipster In Me Anyway)
I haven't even had sex yet and I'm so freaking over it. It's just so...mainstream. (Dun-dun- DUUUUUN!)
It's everywhere! It's on TV, movies, books, EVERYWHERE! It's really freaking sad that you can't escape it even if you wanted to and personally, it's sucked all of the discovery out of it for me. I feel like I've been robbed of half the excitement of my wedding night because I already know what's going to happen more or less. I mean, come on media, at least say spoiler alert.

2) Inflation (Nickles Used To Be Worth A Lot. So Did Sex.)
The fact that sex is everywhere cheapens the value of it so much. It used to be that you had to invest in the person you where engaged with, that you had to put in effort. Now that people feel they have the liberty to do whatever they want sex has been down graded to it's most basic physical pleasure. And that just sucks because God intended it to be so much more. He gave us a gift when he made sex a meaningful experience. He could have just left it at "procreate the species" like he did with animals and made it a chore but he wanted us to find joy in the act of bringing new life in this world and he wanted us to share a deeper bond with the person you choose to spend your life with. Well, so much for that. And not only that, but it makes it out that this cheap, meaningless exercise is worth so much more then it is. I mean, this knock off of intimacy is meant to be the reason for existence? MMMMMM, nope.

3) Cake Analogies (Death By Association)
This is probably one that's a bit personal, but sex has ruined cake for me. I don't know if you know this, but in college, all you ever talk about is sex. (And Doctor Who, which I'm cool with.) So one, I have nothing to talk about most of the time. And two, I know a lot of things I'd rather not know. But whenever I'm trying to vent my frustrations about this with my friends back home, there are always children in the room. And they look up at you with their little eyes that know nothing of the shame in the world and babies grow out of cribs for all they know. And none of us want to ruin their happy little minds so we tried to find a substitute word. And that word was...
I'm so sorry.
Because now, cake has been ruined for me just by being bound to all the horrific experiences I've had involving my far to blunt confrontations with sex in college, like watching a graphic film in order to study it or when someone in fiction writing is reading what is generously called soft porn. (They have a name for that at Columbia, Art.) Now, when I think of cake, I think of that night when my roommates talked about all the sexual conquests they've had in their life and when they tried to give me advice about it. That's not a night I want to remember when I'm at my friend's sister's five year old birthday party.

4) Needless Distractions (Why Have A Relationship When Someone Else Can Have It For You?)
Speaking strictly from a storytelling point of view, having sex or a relationship in a story can be a crutch. Don't get me wrong, romance is a driving theme in life and without it none of us would be here, and I'd be lying if I said that my heart doesn't melt when I read a good romance. Heck, even when it's a minor plot point in a book, if it's done right then HECKS YEAH I SHIP IT. But let's keep in mind, the romance has to be well done. This means that it has to have significance and needs to be fully fleshed. What do I mean by this?
Well, for one, for it to have significance means that you can't just have it there to have it there. It can't ever be a last ditch effort, or part of some formula to make an instant success. When you force a relationship into a plot it only drags it down and damages it's credibility. If you want an example, go watch any movie that's out right now. In fact, I dare you to find a movie without at least one romance going on, main plot or back point.
Second, the romance needs to be fully fleshed. Hollywood will tell you that you're significant other only exists to jump in front of a bullet for you and to fulfill you physical needs. Everything else is a side note. This is a cheap thrill designed to get you to identify with a character by playing on what you hope you're girl/boyfriend or spouse will do for you. But see, that's not all that there is to a relationship. (I would know, I've never been in one.) First off, you're partner does not live for your convenience. They are indeed their own person as well. And again, contrary to what we see all to often, you and your partner do not become one symbiotic being. Yes, the affection you feel between you is intense and yes a lot of your being should coincide or compliment your "other half" but the two of you remain to very different being with very different problems and from that there will be conflict, real meaningful conflict where it results in real awkward pain and something difficult to work through rather then divorce or angry, cheap sex. When you see a romance that does this, you've seen a romance done right.
And I realize that this section is getting a bit ranty but while we're on this note I feel I have to say that not all stories need a romance. Sometimes the conflict already placed is significant enough that it doesn't need anything else or a character just isn't ready for that level of relationship or wouldn't necessarily encounter it in the setting they've been placed. Look at some Cartoony Greats; Spongebob, Tom and Jerry, Pokemon! (I realize that at some point all of these shows had a romance but they didn't shove it into the lime light and tried to force it to be something it's not.) I mean, when we live in a world where Cartoon Network can't seem to string along a couple of shows without some sort of love story, you know we're going overboard.

5) Comparisons (I Don't Have Anything Clever To Say Here...Yet.)
Much like not every story needs a relationship, not every person needs a relationship. Me, I'm eighteen and I've never even had my first kiss. If I were to go by the standards of today, (largely enforced by the media), this would be because I'm not good enough to have a boyfriend. Maybe it's because I don't fit a cookie cutter figure or because I'm not interesting enough or I'm just too just darn awkward to become a "completed set" and to be worthy of participating in "the ultimate pleasure". Once upon a time, I really believed all those things were true. About a year ago I realized that I didn't have a boyfriend because I didn't really want a boyfriend. I wanted exactly what TV told me I should want, someone who lived to make me look and feel better. And when I really thought about it, I liked being single. I wasn't ready for a relationship at that level. And besides, there were no guys around me that I could truly picture myself with, at all.
But here we've got all these people jumping into relationships for those very reasons, we've created a co-dependent society. People are impatient and aren't willing to wait to for the person they're truly meant to be with, no matter how long it will take, because they think that being a partner and a friend is overrated and just want to get down to the bottom line. We all think that we need that special someone and we need it now, or else we're not really living. And shouldn't we all be blessed that the media has found the meaning of life, sex. So we date and we marry the perfect body without considering the perfect soul, because, well that guy is married and this girl is happy and yada yada ya.

Point is, don't listen to or compare yourself to anything, fictional, lyrical, or otherwise. It never ends well.

Stats of the Week
Song: Let's Dance To Joy Division by The Wombats
Book: The Rook by Daniel O'Mally
Word: Selfie (Yeah, it's a word now. Look it up.)
Quote: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'll Die 1000 Deaths Before I Make My Life Easier (Why College Is SO Much Better Then Pre-College Schooling)

I didn't have time to whip up a picture related to this post so...

Greetings Monkeys. It's great to see you again. You know, you spend so much time as a human pretending to be an octopus that you lose track of your priorities. Like writing blog posts for all of the five people who will read it.

So yes, college. That's still a thing for me. Semester 2 is under way (or as I like to think of it, semester 1 take 2) and a great many things have changed for me, both with their advantages and disadvantages. But here's the thing now, the kiddie gloves have come off. While before in high school and first semester college I had maybe three hours of homework a week that I choose to blow off because why the heck not, now I have a good ten-fifteen hours a week of professional-grade work to turn in. And I LOVE IT!

Perhaps you've heard this a thousand times, but high school is the dark over-world of standardized education, and almighty terror of one-size-fits-all-learning. Well, one sized doesn't fit all as I'm sure you've gathered, and whether it's because you aren't engaged or you keep up, more often then not you will be restricted by this. Me, the problem is that I learn in a very weird way. I can only do well in a subject if I can manipulate it in some sort of aspect. Writing? Easy, I can control what I say and my interpretations of a book. Math? No problem. Puzzle solving, like Legend of Zelda. Science? That's just math with explosions. But see, even with the subjects I could manipulate at school, I still was very restricted, in that I could only play with them so much. High school is a very controlled environment, no elbow room allowed. And then, to test your skill, you don't apply them. You mere pencil in a few bubbles and hope they're right. So me not being so great in high school, yeah. Not a shocker.

That's why I was looking forward to Columbia so much. The learning style there is one that always keeps you engaged, with small classrooms and discuss-based lessons, you are always affecting the outcome of your education which means you decide what it is. Which. Is. Awesome.

BUtt Beca, cant uz mak ur edkaton easy thn?

Short answer, nope.

They will still challenge you. In this week alone I had to read seventy pages, write 10k words, and a many other things, all the while making real considerations of your future career and building connections. So expect to be working. Like a lot. Like. A. Lot. A lot. All the time. Now, I can't say that this is true for all colleges, but as for Columbia, I'd have to say that even with the work load and the nightmares I sometimes get now-(Apparently that's a thing. Stay in school, kids, you'll never sleep.)-I'm thriving in school more now then I ever did. And so, even with my butt being kicked left and right, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Stats of the Week
Song: Arcadia by Marianas Trench
Book: Dirk's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Word: Fable
Quote: "Life happens when you're busy making other plans."
-Allen Saunders