Attempting Authenticity

pursuing an authentic life
August 16th, 2014 by africanstardust

A Story That Must Be Told

not my image


Sometimes people ask whether I still write, and whether I still write as much as I used to. I usually give kind of a roundabout answer, because the truth is I don’t want to admit that the thing that used to bring me so much joy and that I felt so passionate about is now yet another thing on the Things I Feel Guilty About list. I feel like a failure when it comes to writing. Am I really good at writing? Who would actually want to read what I write? I wish I could get back to how it was in the beginning, when I was 12 and I didn’t give a crap if someone read or liked what I wrote. I wrote for ME. Because I enjoyed it, and because I had all these ideas flying around my head, and because it put me smack dab in the middle of my very own adventure.

Maybe I got too hung up on the publishing side of things. Yes, it’s exciting to think that people might love your books. It’s not even about being famous, or about money (really, no one becomes an author for the money) – it’s about other people getting to know the characters you love so much and becoming invested in their stories, just like you are. It’s about telling the story and knowing that other people are letting the story become a part of them. But maybe I got too distracted by all of that and forgot to just love my characters and love their stories, and let them take me on an epic adventure I never could have planned myself.

So…here’s to getting back to the root of things. There once was a tale of a young girl who ran away, became a pirate, and found a whole other world that needed her help. There was love, and there was a sorceress, and there were dragons and armies and battles. There was a world worth fighting for. Her story should be told. If you don’t want to read it, that’s ok. But it must be told. Excuse me while I lug out some files and dust them off.

August 11th, 2014 by africanstardust



Tonight I am reminded of a very significant day just before the beginning of my 9th grade year. I had more or less decided that I wasn’t going to do marching band – not because I didn’t want to, but because I thought I couldn’t, because I thought I would make a magnificent failure out of it. I based this on past experience, on knowing myself. On the first day of band camp, I was sitting in my room, feeling depressed and lonely, and I kept thinking, It’s good that I’m not there. I’m a failure. I fail at things.

I was listening to TobyMac, and then the song Momentum came on. Something about the song made my heart race and I suddenly felt determined. Despite being absolutely convinced that I would make a mess of things, that I would fail, and that they wouldn’t want me in the band, I was determined to do it. The next day I was there, already behind, but I was there. I did marching band for three years and it was one of the most difficult, most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Appropriately, the theme for that year’s show was “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Most people in the band thought it was cheesy, but it had a lot of meaning for me.

Tonight, I feel like I am sitting with several messes on my hands. They are mostly academic. No, I haven’t technically failed anything – I haven’t dropped out or even come close to it. But I know that because of my choices in first and second year I’m not where I should be, and a large part of me wants to sit and feel sorry for myself and give up, because I know myself. I know my past. I am a failure. I fail at things. I can blame it on the guy who threw a rock at me, but I fell behind long before that happened. That was just another setback.

But despite everything, I am determined. I will go on. I’m stubborn and resolute and determined. I will not turn back; I will run even faster and break down the walls in my way with even more force. And I can say this not because of my own strength, but because I know that this is where God wants me, and that’s enough for me. And to the one I try never to speak to or negotiate with, I will say this: beware. You do not want to mess with a child of the King who has a fire in her heart and a sword in her hand. Your lies are like sticks poking an awakening giant. And I’m done with you. All that’s ahead is victory.

June 17th, 2014 by africanstardust


Well hello there, everyone…it’s been a while. Let’s just say things got a little bit intense for a few months. It’s been busy and emotional and up and down and scattered. I’m not quite ready to write about some of it yet, but I will eventually – for me the grief is still too near, as Legolas said, to write about Pouncey (my cat of 16 years who recently moved on to greener pastures).

However, there are other things to write about. Lots of things. Like the fact that I’m really and truly going to try to be more consistent with my blogging. Planning is always the problem, isn’t it? I can plan up a storm, but it always seems to be slightly unrealistic, so during this six week vac I’m going to do my best to establish some sort of routine when it comes to blogging and life in general.

And like Camp NaNoWriMo, which is happening in July. And like God. And food. And art. And things. So stay tuned, and let’s see if we can get this blog dusted off and functioning again.


March 20th, 2014 by africanstardust

A Second Chance


I’ve been going back to the beginning with a lot of things in my life. I view this as a rather brilliant opportunity to redo things, a second chance. I have this semester to really focus on studying Greek and Hebrew, without the pressure of having to be ready for each class and keep up with current content. I get to sit in the library for hours and study, and fill in the gaps that I somehow missed along the way. I get to go home and practice flute, exercising those otherwise little used muscles, getting my tone and flexibility back to where it was. I get to redo the things in my life that caused me a lot of stress and unhappiness because I lost sight of why I was doing them. Now that that inspiration is back…it’s incredible.

I forgot, somewhere, that I actually adore Greek. I forgot that learning Hebrew used to literally make me cry because of how deep it is that I get to learn the language of the Bible. I forgot that I used to actually know what was going on in Greek. I felt confident and I was getting good marks. What happened? Who knows…first year can be hectic, especially if you move away from home and have to learn to be an adult very quickly. Maybe I got overwhelmed. Maybe insecurities got the best of me. Either way, I took a wrong turn somewhere. But now I’m getting a second chance, which is, I have discovered, not a normal part of adult life, and I’m going to make the best of it.

All this to say…if you have areas in your life that you view as failures, or an area where you’ve been defeated and it makes you cringe just thinking about it, don’t lose hope. Give it back to God see what He does with it. Our lives are meant to be lives of victory, not of despair and defeat. Get up again. Try again. All is not lost.

March 17th, 2014 by africanstardust

The Ink in My Veins


I have started writing poetry again.

For a very long time now, I haven’t had the heart to touch the poetic pen, so to speak. Poetry is deep – when you write it, the ink doesn’t just go onto the paper and that’s that. It’s as though the ink is drawn from your soul, and you are putting a little piece of that eternal being onto paper, exposing it to air and possibly also the eyes of others. It’s no small thing. And for a while, I haven’t wanted to go that deep into myself – I was tired of it; not poetry, but the mirror. I’ve written about the past few months and how things have affected me, for the better, and how it was deep and trying and difficult. After something like that, it takes a while to voluntarily delve into that place again, even if you know it’s much lighter and cleaner than the last time you visited.

Some people tell us that poetry has rules and rhyme and meter and that if your poem doesn’t fit the rules, it’s not real poetry. Pardon my arrogance, but I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would say that. Who made the rules, anyway? Yes, there is poetry that has rhyme and meter, and that’s lovely, and kudos to you if you write like that, but just because a poem doesn’t fit a rhyme scheme or isn’t intertextual doesn’t mean it’s not poetry. Poetry is what my soul wants to say. If it doesn’t sound like the soul of Whitman or Keats or NP van Wyk Louw, then that’s good, because I’m not them.  Bad luck if my poems don’t fit some constructed standard and if I never get my writing into an anthology or collection, but that isn’t the point. The point is to write. And write I will.

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