Category Archives: my musings

Thank you, Moana! (You’re welcome)

DAMN IT–I have an ear worm in my head.

Personally, I blame Dustin Pari for this; he has been bopping around Twitter with pictures of Maui saying “You’re welcome.” Naturally, since I had yet to watch Moana, I decided to finally make time and view the acclaimed movie.

It. Did. Not. Disappoint!

And, now, as it happens with movies that you really, really love, I’m obsessed with how the movie was made and the Polynesian culture that weaved throughout the plot. (In fact, I purchased a Hawaiian legend book the other day at work.)

Legitimately, I have been singing “You’re Welcome” from Moana on repeat for a good week now. Darn you, Lin-Manuel Miranda and your catchy lyrics! I mean, I don’t know for sure who was responsible for the song–I know Lin, Mark Mancina, and Opetaia Foa’i all worked together on the Moana soundtrack and give them ALL the points–but “You’re Welcome” and “Shiny” both seem up Lin’s alley.

Also, I am in love with “We Know The Way.” There are so many beautiful feelings that swarm into me whenever I hear that song. It makes me dream of exploration, yes, but, also, the part inside me that appreciates spirituality, history, lineage, and respects nature adores it!

I especially get chills at the part of the song where they sing:

“We are explorers reading every sign.
We tell the stories of our elders in a never-ending chain.”

Here’s an official link to part of the song, so you can join me in the chills, whether you’ve see Moana or not (because even out of context it’s a gorgeous song):

I also give all the props to John Lasseter and the Moana creators; they wanted to respect the Polynesian culture and history, so they did a five year research excursion to talk with locals in the South Pacific. Bonus: they actually hired locals to fact check them, and even invited them back to Disney to approve the film.

This is how you make a movie!

Here’s an article in Vanity Fair that talks more about this story:
How Pacific Islanders Helped Disney’s Moana Find Its Way
(There’s also a documentary about this on Moana’s bonus features, which is where I learned of the development.)

In turn, Moana has, as excellently told stories do, inspired me in my own stories. (Note: I am not talking about plagiarism. I know I don’t have to say that, but I want to make that clear.) The rich mythology, scenery, and character development has made me reflect on my skills as a writer and given me the urge to match Moana’s quality in my own writing.

The same thing happened with American Gods and Anansi Boys, which I fell in love with about a month ago. (I talk about it in my post: “Current Status: In Love With American Gods.“)

Here’s the amazing thing about well-crafted stories: they make you want to be a better writer. They raise the bar of what you thought was possible, and set the target higher, causing you to push your development as a creator into different areas. Some of which you didn’t think needed worked on, but, after seeing another reach so far, you realized you needed to do better.

It’s not an ego-related thing. It’s not putting yourself down. It’s just looking at another story and saying: “Yes. I can do that. I can reach that level. I know I can.”

So, yet again, I have been inspired to push myself as an artist; to reach the quality that my heroes and role models have accomplished before me. It’s a simple strength exercise game.

I look forward to what comes from this!

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A Shack-Inspired Birthday Reflection

Ever since I saw The Shack this weekend, I haven’t been able to get its themes out of my head. Frankly, would I even want that? Nope. I think it’s great that the story sticks with me so much!

The Shack is a heartfelt story about a man, named Mack, who is lead back to life by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Literally, they appear in a shack in the woods and spend the weekend with him. Whether you’re Christian or not, it’s a good story that can reground the best of humanity within you: being good to one another, forgiving those who do wrong against you, and spreading love.

Every time I read–or now watch–The Shack, I feel like a child again.

And, especially now in my life, it’s a message I need reiterated to me.

I have found myself, especially in the past, in seemingly hurricane-like chaotic years, not focusing on love–or trusting in God–as much as I really should’ve been doing. Since Choy, my beloved feline companion died, events have transpired that have shaken me. Frankly, they’ve taken me, unwillingly, a bit away from focusing on God. My belief in him has still been strong, of course. It always will be. However, I realize in hindsight that I was going through the motions of living a strong faith; specifically, I focused on my worries rather than putting my trust in Him. It’s amazing how we can get lost in our own battles, and our fears of the future, and forget to put our trust in God–to trust things will work out the best way they should.

Truly, it’s hard to put your trust in something you can’t see. And that’s the theme of The Shack: God is always with you, his love will guide you, just let him show you the way. (Or, for those who prefer, let “her” show you the way.)

This year, as my birthday approached, I’ve been feeling more emotional as of late. Last year, I spent my special day at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, watching my father go in for melanoma surgery. Mom and I left my dad late that night, after we knew he was safe, settled and the surgery was successful. On the way home, we stopped at Olive Garden and I blew out a candle in an apple crisp dessert.

A simple, small, somewhat melancholic birthday that fell right in place with the rest of 2016.

But it’s not that specific day itself that makes me bittersweet about my birthday, it’s how the year went after dad’s surgery. That landmark moment seemed to catapult my family and I into a variety of stunning developments that grew me into a stronger Katie today. In part, I wish that some things didn’t happen; mom’s brain bleed last April, for example. But, for the most part, I’m happy for how much I’ve grown out of my shell. For example, I’ve found a hidden talent in bookkeeping that I could hone to subsidize my writing career and support my family.

All in all, even if my birthday feels a tad bittersweet, I still remain stubbornly optimistic to see the good that this new birth year brings.

I fervently aim to finish my book and get it out to agents by the time I go to New Orleans, but I am also, now, looking forward to pursuing this bookkeeping career. (If I’m being honest, I wasn’t entirely set on it until now.) I’m excited for Dan, the boyfriend, and I to get engaged and set our combined goals in motion. And I aim, with God’s help, to let my life–and the lives of those around me–be as little stressed as possible. (Especially after the taxes are completed! Hah!)

I impart this wisdom to all of you: hope is never gone, love never leaves, God never deserts you, unless you let it go yourself. As the infamous Dustin Pari says: “#NeverGiveUp!” 


For more birthday reflections and ramblings, check out my companion Youtube video, and, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, subscribe to my channel and blog!

A Writer’s Guide to Impending Holiday Interruptions

Well, ladies and gents, I cannot believe it’s December! Honestly, I wish life would move slower–it seems to have picked up pace and left little time for my writing, again. That, and we here in Wooster have yet to see snowfall cover the ground, which adds to the citywide disbelief that the Christmas season is upon us.

Yet time keeps racing forward. I know I feel bogged down when the iconic Willy Wonka quote repeats in my head:

“So much time, so little to do–wait–

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It’s even worse when it’s on automatic replay. Then I know my mind is trying to calm the impending stress-out: “It’s the Christmas season,” It says. “It’s going to be busy. Do your best and regroup in January.”

So I try to take it one day at a time this December; get as much done as I can, try to keep promises.

One of the most common pieces of writing advice I come across goes something like this:

“You will get interrupted. The key is to write every day; whether it’s 100 words or 3,000.”

However, the unexpected events seem to throw that plan out the window.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, we at the Mortimer household were thrown into another jumble; emotions included. I’m not talking about the holiday or dad’s birthday, but our love of the household, Vito. Vito passed on from this world on November 28th, two days after Thanksgiving. For me, his passing was bittersweet: it was a sadness to say goodbye to a loving friend and yet also a kind of relief. He had suffered from diabetes for the majority of his seven years. To see him be at peace from the vet appointments and twice-daily injections, to hold a strong belief that he’s romping around Heaven’s meadows with Choy, gave me hope…

… but I still couldn’t concentrate on my writing. While my outward facade consisted of peace and prayer, inwardly, my thoughts couldn’t gather. Every time I sat at the computer last weekend, my mind would not settle, my concentration: static awareness. So, instead, I sat working on my Christmas presents.

Now I’m progressing smoothly through my crafts, determined to give homemade gifts this year rather than store bought. It saves on money and is a great meditative tool. Maybe I’ll make a stock of scarves, gloves, dish towels and washcloths and put them on Etsy for you all to buy? We shall see!

In any case, the goal of this Christmas season is to not stress about the interruptions it might bring; to continue to write, as much as possible, with the time I have. Oh, and also, not to overthink my future goals.

Just take it one day at a time.

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Weekend Recap: With A Great Birthday, Comes New Plans

On March 7th, at 7PM, I turned 26 years old. As all adult birthdays tend to do, it got me thinking about the next 365 days of my life. So I made changes and re-evaluated my plans.

And I wanted to update you on these plans.

SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES

I will be doing a little something every day during the week. Whether it’s a new post here or on Fangirlish, a new YouTube video, or a new Morty’s Stories or Fanfiction chapter. I’ll also post links to these in a weekly recap on Fridays so if you miss anything, you can catch it there!

I’m so excited about this, guys! Not only does it create a predictable schedule for all of you, but it also gives me a type of schedule I can follow — so I can get my book finished and sent to this agent.

*nervous laughter* Heh… so… yeah.

Every day you can find me someplace on the internet.

Check out the sites listed about at these links:

Everything else you can find on my website here. I am planning on recapping my week’s activities every Friday in my blog posts, so if you missed anything I will catch you up there.

SPEAKING OF RECAPS, I uploaded two new videos on my YouTube channel! Watch them here:

MORE SNOOOWW!!!

Welcome to YouTube v2.0

See you in the next adventure!

I’m Calling It

Welp. It’s been five days past the personal deadline I set for myself. Not for anything to get done… but, and, ok, I’m not aiming to sound egotistical or anything, BUT it was the deadline for Ghost Hunters to contact me.

Not that they did or anything. It was one of those personal deadlines that everyone sets for themselves, most commonly found in job hunting. The “if they don’t contact me by this date it’s time to move on” deadline.

Honestly I have a set of mixed up emotions (which you could probably guess from the previous posts Ghost Hunters Casting and As a side note (to Ghost Hunters Casting) ) I’m kind of glad they didn’t contact me. Especially because it would seriously screw with my plans to attend Midwest Writers. It says in the casting info that the person must be able to travel by the end of June, and will be travelling for three weeks out of every month. The chance that these weeks would coincide with Midwest Writers would be high. So A) I’d have to ask permission to still go, and B) if I did get to go, there would be NO WAY that my novel would be done by that time.

Well there’s still a high chance that I won’t be done in any case… but it would be a near impossibility.

And then there’s my brother’s wedding in September, which is the most important conflict on my list.

That sigh of relief after the dog makes it.

So… life can now resume. And it’s a mad dash to write… about 30,000 words in 30 days. That’s not extreme, right?