Remember to Look at the Stars

Do you ever have bouts of anxiety that never seem to stop? You resolve one worry–oh I’m so glad I remembered I get paid tomorrow!–only for another to body-slam itself into the forefront–but what about that basement toilet that needs fixing? 

I seem to be the queen of these kind of thoughts. Especially nowadays with the COVID-19 pandemic, the general unrest of social media, and the doom-and-gloom of the news. If left unchecked, it’s the perfect storm for uncertainty and stress; a nightmare where everything appears to be falling apart at the seams.  

Last night, that familiar territory began again: Will COVID ever end? Is the US in decline? Will social media ever calm down? What if my novel never gets published? What will our future look like for our kids? If we start trying for a family now, will it be safe?  

Then I looked up at the stars.

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Everything stopped. I could hear frogs groaning, birds chirping, feel the coolness of the night on my skin. And I stared at the stars. They blinked down upon me. I knew that none of my worries mattered in that moment; they were insignificant. 

The anxiety stopped. It went to sit in that corner and think about what it had done. 

Sometimes we get so bogged down by our fears that we forget to listen. We forget that other humans are our partners, brothers and sisters, in this walk of life. We ignore the wise words of whatever Being we believe guides us. Unintentional, but it happens. I’ve experienced it many times, firsthand. 

So here’s my advice to you, dear reader: remember to stop and look at the stars. Take a breath, wave to a friend. (When COVID dissipates–because it will–make it a hug.) Step away from social media when the world seems too heavy. Read a book, watch a favorite show, play a game. Pet your furry companion, if you have one. 

We are all climbing this mountain together.  None of us are alone. 

“I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision of the universe that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are not… that none of us are alone!”
– Jodie Foster, Contact. 

A New Approach to Resolution

A few nights ago I came across a blurb in Women’s Health (by Marta Topran). Basically she was talking about how she’s changed her tactics on new years resolutions: instead of saying “I’m going to lose 30 pounds this year” say something like “I’m going to aim to exercise three times a week.” In short, make progressive goals, not ultimatums. Ultimatums never work.

I found this concept alarmingly simple. Like, in the “why didn’t I think of that?” way.

So, I’ve decided that I’m shaping my life around it: no more long-term ultimatums, no overbearing deadlines. Just progress. Day after day, week after week.

Actually, come to think of it, I’ve already been doing it: I’ve lost a good fifteen pounds this year because I focused on smaller portion sizes and exercising more. And my novel? Well I’m so pleased to say I’m about two-thirds of the way through! All because I didn’t assign myself a date to have it done by. Instead of saying that I was going to have my novel done by Christmas (or some other notable holiday), I’ve been focusing on one simple goal: get two chapters written a week.

HA! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this until now!

So here are my 2019 goals:

  1. Write two chapters of my novel a week.
  2. Exercise 30 minutes a day.

I feel good about this upcoming year. I feel like some of the things that happened in 2018–especially in the culmination of my father’s passing–have made me a stronger person. I feel more dedicated to my craft. And I feel that I’ve progressed in shaping myself into the person I want to be. I will always hold the lessons from the past, the challenges and joy of the present, and the hope of the future close to my heart. (And my muse!) Thanks for all you taught me, 2018.

For now, I’m buckling down and finishing this novel!

Get ready! It’s coming!

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Happy new year to all of you! I hope you are blessed in 2019.

Sincerely,

Katie L. Mortimer.


For a fun time, check out my list of favorite TV shows and movies I caught in 2018:

TV shows I’ve binge-watched (you know, outside of my usual binges):

  1. Blue Bloods
  2. Madam Secretary
  3. Gravity Falls
  4. Stranger Things
  5. The Kominsky Method

In fact, check out these blog posts I made earlier this year: Favorite TV: Blue Bloods and Favorite TV: Stranger Things!

Fun note: the husband started showing me Gravity Falls this week. (HOW HAVE I NOT WATCHED THIS SHOW?) I currently have its theme song on repeat.


Movies that I want to watch over and over again:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Bumblebee
  3. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  4. Christopher Robin
  5. Black Panther
  6. Incredibles 2

(Note: I have yet to see Mary Poppins Returns, but I’m sure it’s fantastic!)

Going off of Bohemian Rhapsody, my whole family has been obsessed with the soundtrack that accompanies the album. Here’s the thing: it’s actual Queen singing actual songs! Including the amazing Live Aid 1985 recordings. If there was a moment I could go back in time for, it would be to hear Freddie Mercury sing live.

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!” 

 

Writing Updates, Crimson Peak — HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

First off, let me say, I have been listening to “Valse Sur Une Berceuse Anglaise” ON FREAKING REPEAT since I saw Crimson Peak last Monday. The music plays in the background as Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) woos Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) into demonstrating the Viennese waltz. The following ensues:

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Yes. A highly romantic scene, a dance between two meant-to-be lovers, spouses caught in a horrible plot.

(THEY ARE MEANT TO BE. I WILL ACCEPT NO OTHER ANSWERS. FIGHT ME.)

Honestly, if Thomas Sharpe and Edith Cushing had been in a Jane Austen novel–especially if Tom Hiddleston played a male love interest–GOD. I think feminine hormones would take over the world and kill us all. Seriously. Go check Tumblr right now. I guarentee within the first page you’ll find someone gushing over Tom.

(I’m one of them.)

I swear, I SWEAR I was over gushing over Tom Hiddleston. And then the Victorian Gothic Romance fangirl in me reared her head. Doomed, I say! Doomed!

Others are making a big deal of the sex scene in Crimson Peak. Me? The waltz was my downfall.

“There are two kinds of people” as Tumblr likes to say.

Speaking of big deals, I found out that they announced Museum of Words last Friday when I was sick. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t win. I was hoping I would, but I didn’t expect it, like I do with most things. It was a slim shot for anyone, at best. 35,000 stories were entered; the chances were slim at best for anyone. Furthermore, I think most contests look for literature-type, “real world” submissions anymore (unless they specifically look for fantasy, sci-fi, or speculative fiction). My style is more in line with pop culture. A fangirl through and through.

Honestly, I read the submission that won. Brava. She definitely deserved it, I will say that.

As JackSepticEye says in GTA V with Markiplier, Bob, and Wade, “I ain’t even mad, bro.”

(Maybe a little disheartened, but not mad.)

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Anyways, so here’s the hopeful optimist in me coming out. I have a theory: maybe I’m not winning contests or getting selected for journal submissions because my “big win” is going to be Angel’s novel being published. Maybe, just maybe, God is saving that moment, a “winning” moment, for when I will truly enjoy it. Isn’t that how he always works? Gives us what we need, not what we want?

I have confidence that you guys and gals will enjoy Angel’s story. And I’m excited for you to read it. Personally, I’m just happy the Museum of Words loss didn’t cripple me like I feared it would.

I also think Crimson Peak had excellent timing. Due to my obsession with the waltz (yes, obsession), I’ve been distracted in a moment where, in another time, I would’ve been depressed for longer. Points for you, God. Points for you. Funny how that all works out.

Hope you guys and gals have a happy and safe HALLOWEEN!! (Still have no idea what I’m dressing as. Instagram will surely reveal my decision!)

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The Day After The Oscars

Here we are, the day after the Oscars. Awards have been given out. Lives have been changed. Media channels issue recaps: about fashion, the stars, the winners and their speeches. Hollywood itself wakes up, ready to start a new movie-making year.

I always have enjoyed the Oscars. It is a celebration of storytelling, plain and simple. As Cheryl Boone Issacs (President of the Academy) stated:

“At the Oscars, we celebrate our love of movies, and in doing so, we honor filmmakers who cross borders and test boundaries, … [those] who encourage us to see the world and those around us in new ways”

She went on to talk about how the Freedom of Storytelling is important. She praised the filmmakers who traverse the globe, into danger, to tell stories that change the world.

And, really, isn’t that the point of storytelling? To inspire, to push?

That’s what I was trying to get across in my most recent YouTube video. The Oscars tend to celebrate the movies that make the most waves. The ones that push boundaries. Whether it be Big Hero 6 — an animated movie about a boy who inadvertently avenges his brother’s death — or Boyhood — a movie filmed over several years to chronicle the growth of a child to a man. They all push the way storytelling is presented.

And each storyteller has their personal lives, the ones that push them to do greater things.

One of the most inspiring moments of the night was when Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. His speech was simple, yet important:

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I immediately followed him on Twitter, inspired myself.

However, what I was really, really looking forward to was Neil Patrick Harris’s hosting. It had been a long time coming. NPH has hosted two Emmy’s and a Tony’s but no Oscars. That changed last night. Ellen Degeneres’s 86th Oscars were quirky, comedic, and integrating. However, NPH’s Oscars were… more fluid. He didn’t dwell on different gimmicks. Instead, he followed, with ease, the format that the Academy Awards follow: presenting the awards. He added very good jokes, and a magic trick at the end, but didn’t linger in his hosting duties. Which I think was very good.

It seems in recent years that the hosts of the Academy Awards (minus Ellen, because she did a FANTASTIC job) seem to linger on their duties as Emcees. With the awards show already so long, it draws out the duration of the event and makes everyone wish it was over that much sooner.

However, Neil did what he was supposed to do: he put the audience at ease, making the awards show move quickly but efficiently.

My favorite part was his opening number, “Moving Pictures”.

Oscars 2014, My Favorite Speech: Matthew McConaughy

Watching The Oscars tonight, I thought this was one of the best speeches. And THAT is saying something, considering there were so many great speeches: the most notable being Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o.

My favorite part of Matthew McConaughy’s speech goes as follows:

“… and to, uhm, my hero. That’s who I chase. Now when I was fifteen years old, I had a very important person in my life come and say to me ‘Who’s your hero?’ and I said ‘I dunno, I got to think about that, give me a couple of weeks.’ I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says ‘Who’s your hero?’ I said ‘I thought about it. You know who it is? It’s me in ten years.’ So I turn 25, ten years later, that same person comes to me and goes ‘So are you a hero?’ and I was like ‘Not even close! No, no, no!’ and she said ‘Why?’ and I said ‘Because my hero’s me at 35.’

“So you see every day, every week, every month, and every year of my life, my hero’s always ten years away. I’m never gonna beat my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not! And that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.

“So to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say ‘Amen’, to that I say ‘Alright, alright, alright’ and to that I say ‘Just keep on living.'”

This speech spoke volumes to me. Before the week is over I will have reached my mid-20s, with a lot of accomplishments under my belt. Just not nationally. I am proud of these accomplishments, without a doubt. And every day I make it a point to challenge myself. As Matthew had said in tonight’s Oscars broadcast, I’m chasing my future self.

Or, rather, I’m excited for what the future brings.

For those of you who may not know me, I am an aspiring writer living in Northeast Ohio, about an hour south of Cleveland, and two hours north of Columbus. I live in the heart of Amish Country, just outside of the City of Wooster. I guess you can call me a professional writer since I used to work at our local weekly newspaper. It was a fun job and I got to stretch myself, meet new people, and grow my writing skills. But at some point I wanted to move away from that job, before I had been at it for a year, to work on the novel that I’m working on now. Which is nearing completion.

I made this blog to promote myself, my creativity, my randomness, my fangirling, and, most importantly, to meet new people. I hope that this will grow into something that everyone will love. Thank you for checking my blog out.

Honestly I didn’t really think that this would be the first post, but through a computing error I decided to leave it. It kind of fits perfectly.

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