Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordsmith at Work: The End

This is your stop.
Ta-da! The new website is finally up and running! Go check it out!

No, seriously, go on. This website won't be up for much longer-with any luck I'll get it to automatically redirect to the new website. Change your bookmarks and everything. It's awesome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordsmith at Work: Dealing with Insanity
First off, one week till the new website! I can't wait until it's ready to be released. As soon as I get my new blog up, I'll order new business cards with my new web address. I'll be able to show them to you and wander around handing them out. I'm even planning on making flyers, not to mention the online mailing list.

Not to mention I'm going to get a hot new logo! I love my little bloody rose, but it doesn't really have anything to do with being a wordsmith. No idea what the new one will be yet.

Also, my computer is currently in the shop. It should be fine, and I made sure I had everything I needed to work before I left it, but working from the other computers is just not the same.

Lastly, as I've been alluding to on Twitter, there have been some changes. You may have noticed that there was no post on Friday. That wasn't an accident. From now on, there usually won't be a post on Fridays. There is a very good reason for that, but as I am The Wordsmith, I will show rather than tell.

Monday, May 21, 2012

5 Ways Role-Playing Games Can Help (or Hurt) Your Writing

You may have seen these weird RPG dice around.
I own several. Although mine look cooler.
... Well, they do.
I have a confession to make. I am a roleplayer. Dungeons and Dragons, World of Darknessfreeform text-based RPGs (role-playing games), I like to roleplay. Setting aside the social implications of gaming (because here at Wordsmith at Play, we like to ignore what most people would consider important), I would like to focus on the potential effect of roleplaying on my writing skills.

Aside from increasing my nerdiness level, getting involved in RPGs has had some interesting effects on my writing habits, some of which are good, some of which are bad.

For the purposes of this post, I'll be focusing on text-based RPing games, although most of my points will be applicable to other forms of RPing, such as D&D game sessions and Live-Action RPGs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordsmith at Work: Writing and Rewriting

Corrections are in order. 
First, an update on the new website. I have most of the technical stuff figured out, now I'm down to two things that need work. Most importantly, I really need to order some high-quality images for my header, and possibly for my design. And I need a logo.

Second, I need some programming. The Hire Me page in particular is undergoing major reconstruction. It should be way more useful on the new site. Now, on to the post!

As The Wordsmith, I get a lot of orders from my family and friends, mostly because they want me to give them a discount. One such order just came in from Jim Crocker of Interactive Circuit Deisgn, who wants my help rewriting his About page.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vulnerable, Just Like Me: How to Make Your Characters Relatable

Cover art!
I am very fond of notes. This note says that this blog post might make more sense if you read Chirault first, but I will try to keep that from being a requirement. If anything in here is confusing, let me know and I'll try to explain it better.

The other day one of my friends linked me to a webcomic that fascinated me. Not necessarily because of the art (which I liked a lot, despite the fact that I was unable to recognize anyone besides the two main characters and the handwriting became difficult to read halfway through), but because of the characterization.

The main character is a demon named Kiran, and he is the strong, silent, epically awesome type. When he is introduced he single-handedly takes down a demon that was attacking a man without breaking a sweat.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wordsmith at Work: One Word

I have one more moment to pull from the critique of my friend Micosil's short story I blogged about last week, a brief exchange that I thought was rather compelling. We were discussing the italicized word in this sentence:

"The mountain of a man held a black double-bladed axe in his other hand, the great weight seeming not to trouble him in the least."

Here's the mini-conversation for you:

Wordsmith: I wouldn't say black in the first paragraph. It's uneccesary for the visual at that exact moment,
you mention it later, and it's usually good to cut out words where possible.
Micosil: Oh come on, that's one word!
Wordsmith: Yep.
Wordsmith: One word matters.
Micosil: Which is why I did change it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hashing Out the Lore

Vampire Killing Kit
This is Monday's post. I'm sorry it's so late. Today's Wordsmith at Work post will be up sometime tomorrow because I'm sleepy and recovering from being sick. Sorry about the delay.

While my declared genre is fantasy with a sprinkling of science fiction, I also enjoy writing vampire stories. I've been writing about vampires for years (since before Twilight hit the stands, thank you very much) and recently I haven't had much time to write about vampires. It's been more important to work on Heaven's Wrath, my novel.

However, as I mentioned in Is Writing A Solitary Art?, I am currently working on a collaborative story with one of my oldest writing friends. After a long hiatus, we've picked it up again, and we've been working on getting more of it written.

This story happens to involve vampires, and in order to write it properly, we have to figure out all of the related lore. This, naturally, leads to a lot of questions, and all of them must be answered in order to have a cohesive storyline.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Post: Striving to Achieve the Ideal (Part Four)

Image: anankkml
Welcome to Part Four, the resounding conclusion of April's guest post series! Part One is available here. Enjoy!

Likewise Colonel Tom Kratman, who co-authored "Watch On The Rhine" with John Ringo, one of the most controversial (if not the most controversial, outright) modern science fiction stories yet conceived.

He continues to write, unapologetic works which not only examine in minute detail the philosophical guides of our day and how they could affect the future our great-grandchildren will inherit, but does so with a sense of humor.

There are those who like to lambast him and what he says. Google "Tom Kratman, Space Marine" and you'll find plenty of material. I would have been one of those critics, but for the fact that I have been on the front lines and have experienced what he talks about.

Had I not spent months on the gun line of a Marine artillery battery I would never have believed the humor we find in everything. Even death. Or the music we sing and play to pass the while. John Ringo has single-handedly introduced me to more music than MTV and VH1 combined! Never mind my love for Kipling.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guest Post: Military Writers Humanize Soliders (Part Three)

David Drake
Welcome to Part Three of April's guest post! Part One is available here. Part Four will be posted tomorrow at 9:00 AM PST. Enjoy!

Author David Drake understands the internal workings of the military mind better than most would at first glance realize. He is a graduate of Duke University and its law school, an accomplished lawyer and prolific, well-published writer in the science fiction community.

He is also a veteran of the Vietnam war, having seen service in Laos and Cambodia as an interrogator with the Blackhorse Cavalry. He was drafted, he served, and at the end of his enlistment, he returned to the civilian life he'd left behind.

But the war, the men he lived and fought alongside, those remained. Eventually, he quit practicing law and drove a bus part-time till writing began to pay, and pay enough that it became his stand-alone income.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordsmith at Work: Sample Critique Process

To give you all a break from the military strategy being discussed, I thought I would provide a short example of one of my critiques. This exchange was conducted in real time with my friend Micosil from DeviantArt on his story Deathbound.

(Note: Deathbound was written in ten minutes at four in the morning and I didn't exactly do a full edit. For a real sample of Micosil’s talent, I would read the short story Solitude, which, unlike Deathbound, does not need a few more chapters that will never be written to be fully understood.)

Wordsmith: As I said, that is the worst first sentence I've ever read from you.
Micosil: Why, and how'd you fix it?

I tend to be a horribly awfully evil proofreader. For a paying customer, I will write a critique and then edit it so that I’m not being excessively evil, but rather offering helpful, creative advice to build his confidence and self-knowledge.

For my best friend whose work I am editing because it’s fun and I want to? He gets the full brunt of my cruelty. But that’s not what I want to draw attention to- rather, I would like to point out his response. Not offended or hurt, not necessarily agreeing with me, but asking why I think that and how to improve. That’s what I like to hear!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Post: Breaking Down the Idealization of War (Part Two)

The idealization of war, personified.
Welcome to Part Two of April's guest post! Part One is available here. Part Three and Four, respectively, will be posted Thursday and Friday at 9:00 AM PST. Tomorrow will be a Wordsmith at Work day, as usual. Enjoy!

For centuries, war was idealized. The image of young men going off to fight and die in bloody combat was romanticized and sung about, and the true horror of war was ignored.

During the medieval era, knightly virtues were considered to be the best, chivalry the manner in which the greatest men in western (or eastern) civilization conducted themselves. Europe had paladins, the Persian Empire it's deghans and Mamelukes, Japan the samurai. They were mimicked and copied (or parodied as the case may be) over and over again.

Beowulf, the Song of Roland, Le Morte De'Artur, the 47 Ronin, the legends of Rustam, these are chronicles detailing the ideals which their respective people sought to be most like. Though the records we have now have been glossed over and prettied up by courtiers who never saw a battlefield, at the core they are the after-action reports of men who went to war, and, surviving its horrors, returned home.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Guest Post: Military Writers Teach Far More Than Strategy (Part One)

Hadrian's column, Rome
After a short, unavoidable delay, April’s Guest Post is ready. However, it cannot be posted all at once, so instead I will be posting a new section at 9:00 AM PST on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until it is complete.

Wednesday will be reserved for the regular Wordsmith at Work days. I hope these posts on the history of military writers will be edifying to those who are interested, and if you’re not, feel free to come back on Wednesday or next week.

For now, this is Part One of Four. Enjoy.

There is much made today of military men who write. They are criticized and reviled at all levels. And yet, it is the memoirs and written accounts made by military men which have given us the clearest history of the world.

It is an odd dichotomy of our human existence that these who have caused chaos in greater way than any others provide the most illustrative and concise knowledge of how people from their time lived and thought and believed and acted. We may wish to decry them, for personal, moral or philosophical reasons, but theirs is the records we have and it behooves us to study them diligently.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why Are You Standing There?

All the world's a stage, and all the
men and women merely players.
Before we get into the topic for today, I have to announce that today's guest blog post has been unavoidably delayed. The Marine who is writing it got called on suddenly and has to go fulfill his duty to our country. I think that's an excellent reason for it to be late. It will probably be up Monday.

Now! For the past few months, I have been trying to teach a friend of mine all about how to be more dominant, mostly for our mutual amusement. The first few "lessons" focused on the idea of making use of the space around you to take more control in relationships.

This is one of my pet theories: how people stand in relation to each other and to the objects in the room says a lot about them, and about their relationships with the other people in the room.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordsmith at Work: Major Changes

(Slightly) unrelated: an open gate like my open opportunities?
I have to say, I'm slightly nervous about the subject of today's blog post. So many things are still up in the air, and I keep wanting to cancel it altogether. I don't know if it's going to work and I don't know if you will support me in this endeavor.

But enough beating around the bushes (yes, those ones over there). The next step on my journey to creating a cohesive online web presence is this: change my website! Don't worry, I'm not going to make the switch tomorrow. I just wanted to announce it as I started the process so you know what I'm working on.

Let me break it down a bit. I'm still trying to figure everything out--maybe then it will make sense to both of us.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Is Writing a Solitary Art?

Today I am writing a blog post as a response to another blog post. That's legal, right? I've seen it done before, and ever since I've been wanting to try it myself. I made myself wait until I found something I cared enough about to write a whole blog post in response, and now I've found something that matters that much to me.

These paragraphs are from Veronica Sicoe, a writer I recently stumbled upon and whose posts I've enjoyed reading. One post she made, however, struck a chord with me. It's called 13 Myths About Writing, and while I agree with almost every point she makes, especially #13, I disagreed with her very first point, quoted here for your convenience.
Myth #1. Writing is a solitary activity
Just because we sit in front of the computer a lot doesn’t mean we’re isolated. Sure, once upon a time when writers had only pen and paper, or typewriters if they milked their family for money, they were alone when they labored away at their works of literary art. But nowadays, sitting in front of the computer doesn’t isolate you. Quite the opposite.
The writer of today doesn’t battle solitude, he battles emails, blog comments and newsletter subscriptions. There are thousands of writers out there, flocking in forums and on writing platforms, chatting away and making friends, beta-reading and reviewing hell for leather. And don’t get me started on social media and the lovely new concepts of hyperfiction and interactive fiction.

Friday, April 20, 2012

From Passive to Active: The Reluctant Hero

From Wikipedia
Readers root for an active hero. They don't want to see the hero who doesn't want to be here and isn't going to help and is instead going to whine about every little thing that happens to him. They want to see Batman. Things don't happen to Batman. Batman happens to things.

However, as Joseph Campbell noted, most heroes will refuse the call to adventure. This may be because they have changed worlds unexpectedly and want to go home, or because they're naturally passive, or they don't feel like they're suited to being the Hero.

In these circumstances, it's tempting to simply make the hero be braver or smarter because you want them to be, but it's key to introduce change naturally. The character must willingly change, not because you force them to.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wordsmith at Work: New Beginnings

Eggs always symbolize starting again to me.
Announcements, announcements, announcements! Coming to you at the tail end of Tuesday night, I'll be telling you about some important changes I'm making to this blog.

Let's start with the most important fact: the posting schedule has been changed. New posts will come Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday and Friday I'll talk about writing, and Wednesdays will be Wordsmith at Work days.

Why the change?

Ever since I got home, I've felt lethargic and trapped. I've been completely unwilling or unable to get anything done. Even getting this week's blog posts done on time has been extremely difficult (hence my posts on break-taking and trying to focus).

Friday, April 13, 2012

3 Steps to a Focused Writing Environment

Have you ever had those moments when you find it completely impossible to focus? When, no matter what you do, you can't seem to just sit down and write? Sometimes, the easiest solution is to make sure you're in the right environment. It's easiest to be focused when the area around you is focused too.

Before going into my methods of achieving this, I must add a word of caution. The Most Important rule is to write, and if having a complex pre-writing routine prevents you from writing as much as you should be, then you need a new routine.

With that said, here are the top three things that help me focus and get down to writing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why You (And I) Shouldn't Take Breaks

Source: via Kimberly on Pinterest
I am supposed to write a post for this blog every Tuesday and Friday, but this past Friday I simply forgot. What with finishing finals, packing up to go home, and trying to get my dorm apartment clean enough to leave it, the fact that it was Friday and therefore a blog post was due simply never crossed my mind.

For this, I am deeply sorry. I love writing blog posts, even when I don't know what to write, and I intend to continue to try and make my schedule as often as possible.

However, I learned a valuable lesson from missing a day. As I sat down at my computer today and thought about what to write, it seemed as though I was more reluctant than usual to write something. The ideas were jumbled and confused, which was normal, but I couldn't seem to settle on one.

I realized that, by taking a break from blogging, I had broken my flow. Last time I missed Friday, I simply posted on Saturday, no big deal. This time, I didn't even attempt to make it up, because I wasn't able to try until Sunday and it didn't seem worth it to me.

One of the most commonly suggested ways to break writers block is to take a break from the writing. Walk away, set it down, come back to it later.

I am here to say taking a break may not be such a good idea.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What the Creative Process Looks Like (Sometimes)

I was standing in a bookstore with a close friend, reading aloud the titles and authors and commenting on them, when he spied a single word on a spine. Half, it read. “Hey, I have an idea.”

He proceeded to sketch the outlines in the air. What if you wrote and published a series—book one, two, three, and four—and then wrote books 1½, 2½, 3½, and 4½, before bringing them all together in book five? The half books would cover the events between the full books.

What order would you read them in?

Any order you wanted. You could read one through four, and then the half books, finishing with five, or you could read them in numerical order—one, one and a half, two, two and a half. If you were really ambitious, you could read the half books first, then the whole books, always finishing with five.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest Post: Writing as a Competition

I've been using more of *'s real estate on writing advice lately. It shows where my head's at, gets me involved in a community I like, and forces me to articulate my core writing beliefs. As I tweeted about a recent blog, someone remarked "I'm in yer blog, stealing yer research." I promptly hid my kids, hid my wife, and hid my husbands. I tweeted another new blog entry and he essentially said, "Seriously, I don't understand why you're giving away all your research for free."

I didn't respond in any particularly clever way, but this interaction brings up an important idea. Are we, as a writing community, in direct competition with each other? And if so, shouldn't we cede no conceivable advantages to our competitors?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In Pursuit of the Sun

Nothing but golden wings.
Golden hopes and golden dreams.

He died, right?

He flew too close to the sun and paid for his youthful folly with his life. He ignored the sage advice of his father and allowed his man-made wings to lift him into the air, far higher than he should ever have gone.

His story is full of parental advice - all things in moderation, listen to your parents, do what I say or the sun will melt your feathers and you'll fall into the sea.

But the children don't listen, they never listen, and generation after generation gain their wings and look up to the sun. Is this folly or foresight? Destiny or self-destruction? What's the difference?

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Lover Award

Imagine my surprise when a little bird told me that I had been nominated for an award. An award? Me? Really? What is this?

Apparently, there is a certain award called the Liebster Award, which my German-speaking friends tell me means "lover". I can only assume that when they named it this, they were referring to such synonyms as beloved, favorite, or dearest. I'm not sure how to feel about receiving the "Lover Award."

Nevertheless, received it I have! Feast your eyes on this beauty:

This is an award that was created to give love and attention to lesser-known blogs. It's designed to showcase those blogs who could fondly be considered "best-kept secrets," with under 200 followers. I am honored to have been nominated by Jeff Hargett of Strands of Pattern, and while I usually don't pass along these messages, it would be selfish of me not to in this case.

Besides, who can resist that pretty little heart?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do My Characters Need Religion?

Let us set aside the issue of religion itself - which one is right, if any, what the truth is, where it came from, etc. All these are irrelevant. What matters now is your character, determining what he or she believes, and many factors can have an influence on this.

Most major cultures are largely religious, and if the character has spent most of her life deeply immersed into the culture, then it's more likely that she is religious. If she lives on the fringes, she's more likely to have rejected the dominating religion.

The strength of her moral code plays into this, as religions are tend to have strong moral codes. She could believe in morality so strongly that it actually supplants the religious portion of her belief, or she could follow the religion because it supports the moral code she believes in.

However, it's possible that he is part of a counter-culture, and that can go different ways as well. He could be a rebel against the system, rejecting everything it stands for, including the religion, or he could have deviant beliefs that cause him to be isolated from the community. Either option allows for greater character development along  potentially new avenues.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Power of Positive Thinking

Last week I attended the beginning of the Miss America 2013 pageants. Fifteen beautiful young ladies competed for the honor of representing our small college city, the local area, and the larger surrounding area. Each demonstrated amazing talents, but only three girls won, and fewer still stood out to me.

I noticed, however, that the girls I favored all had one thing in common. They were all incredibly positive.

One of the girls livened up a harp piece by rapping on the casing and flinging out her arms every time she finished a scale. Another made an esoteric violin solo approachable by playing songs the audience knew. Still another performed a heart-stopping hula dance that drew my most taciturn friend into letting out a whoop of approval.

On this stage with fifteen 'characters', I have mentioned three- the cheerful ones. The melodramatic ones I have left out, relegating them to mere placeholders in this story.

It's always easy to be dramatic.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Abandoning Truth in Fiction

I have a friend who is currently writing a story and posting it in chapters, or "entries," online. He currently has up to Entry #5 posted, and as I've read through his work, I've been consistently impressed with one particular thing. He is amazing at conveying character.

He undertook a project I rarely dare to try - inserting people from his life directly into his story. This is usually a very bad idea, copyright issues aside, because it's almost impossible to write a real-life person accurately as a character.

That combined with the possible offense to be taken if you show them in a bad light, their desire to do certain things or act in a certain way, and the writer's desire to make people happy can easily combine to have a huge effect on the story. McSamsonite consistently manages to navigate these hazards and accurately portray the personalities of his friends.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Spirit of Fantasy: Do You Have It?

I went to exactly one panel at LTUE that I hated. It was a reading by Larry Correia from a short story called "Tanya, Princess of the Elves." He started with the idea that in his world, elves would be the equivalent of white trailer trash. His wife was tired of the high and mighty elves, so he took the exact opposite road.

This I could have dealt with on its own. I'm very fond of elves as they appear in common folklore, with beauty and grace and magic, but I always enjoy new twists on the old works. What drove me absolutely crazy as he read through Chapter 1 was the complete and total lack of fantasy.

Fantasy isn't a setting of rolling plains and dark forests. Fantasy isn't elves and dwarves and goblins. Fantasy isn't having crossbows and swords and having knights charge at each other in full armor--we have medieval fiction for that. Fantasy isn't even magic.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Someone gave me a four-leaf clover yesterday. My computer class was ending and a man came up to me asking "Was it you with the ladybug? Was that you?" I stammered for a bit, trying to figure out what he was talking about, and then I flashed back to the beginning of the semester.

I was trying to find a quiet, Internet-free place to study, having a two-hour gap between classes, and on my way from building to building I saw a little red ladybug in the snow. I couldn't just leave it there, so I dropped my books off in the nearest building and went looking for a place I could put her to be warm.

I asked the opinion of pretty much everyone I came across, finally settling on the idea of taking her to the greenhouse in the Agriculture and Life Sciences building. Having no idea where that was, I naturally had to ask more people in order to find the right building, and then get directions once I was inside. Eventually I found the greenhouse, and inside the greenhouse I found magic.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Only Human

Fun fact: Life, the Universe and Everything was my first convention. Ever. However, if I had to pick a place to start, I'd pick LTUE. It was exactly my kind of place. Filled with authors and wannabe authors (that's me!), writers all, it had a haphazard, homey feel to it.

Last-minute changes were made, plans were turned upside down, and roving bands of volunteers wandered the halls finding those who looked more lost than usual. The schedule for Saturday was so last-minute that they refused to give out schedules until Saturday, and even then there were plenty of changes made as the day went on. It was a conference for writers by writers.

But the most interesting part of the convention was how completely normal the authors were. I suppose this comes as a surprise to only me, but authors - even bestselling, published authors who make enough money to quit their day jobs - are entirely ordinary people who love to talk to their fans and don't really think of themselves as all that special.

Monday, February 20, 2012


As we were driving through the falling snow Saturday, I was fascinated by the snow. Coming from a sunny area, I haven't had a chance to observe this phenomenon in detail. You see, the snow doesn't fall down, or left, or right like you'd expect it to.

No, it hurls itself bodily at the car, intent upon dashing itself to pieces on the windshield. Moments before it collides head-on with the fast-moving windshield, the wind currents snatch it from the jaws of death and sweep it up and over the car.

Protected from the danger of being crushed against the windshield, the snow flew onward, no doubt to test its luck against the next car, and I realized that this reckless abandonment to fate was part of what James A. Owen was talking about.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Achieving Goals Through Social Networking

This post has been moved to the new site. Read it there!

This is not the LTUE post I promised you (which is still coming over the weekend!), but it is related. James A. Owen's keynote address was inspiring, and it's motivated me to recommit to my goals, so in this post I'm going to go over my goals and what I am doing to accomplish them, finishing with my long-term goals. That's the coolest part, so you can skip all this and just read the ending two paragraphs if you like.

Social Networking Complications
One of the main hurdles I needed to surmount is the problem of where I am going to base my "self" - what do I link people to when they want to look me up? Ideally, I'd link people to this blog, but the URL is really long and difficult to remember, which is less than ideal.

After much consideration, I've finally decided that Twitter is going to be my center of attention. Everything will link to Twitter, and from Twitter I will post the most updates and link to the most information.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Idea of Home

This post has been moved to the new site. Read it there!

It bothers me. I can't seem to define it properly enough to figure out where mine is- where mine should properly be. It seems to me that home should be stable, not fluid - home should be someplace you can always go back to, not some place you are borrowing for a certain amount of time and will leave when it no longer is yours.

"This is my temporary home, it's not where I belong,
Windows and rooms that I'm passing through,
This is just a stop on the way to where I'm going,
This is my temporary home."
~Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood

Up until September of last year, I had a very solid, permanent home that fulfilled all of my needs. It was someplace that would not change, because although my family had moved relatively recently, it was a place we were planning to live in for a very long time.

Moreover, we moved from one comfortable place to another- from a place that we knew through long experience to a house across the street from my grandmother, in a neighborhood that was familiar to us already. So, you see, I was set, and meditations of this nature did not even occur to me.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
~1 Corinthians 13:11, KJV

Then I turned 18 and went away to college, and suddenly my life changed. All of a sudden, I didn't live in a permanent, stable home with my parents and siblings; I lived in the lower half of a house, with a large living room, a crazy combination of silverware and lack thereof, and eight other girls, and now I live in an even smaller apartment with three others, freshmen all, and not enough spices to flavor a turkey.

Family Home Evening, what family? We formed groups, we drew together and pretended we were a family, but no amount of pretending concealed the fact that none of us really knew what we were doing, and we were just trying to make our way in this crazy world. With stability torn away, what else is there left to make a home?