My strangest reoccurring nightmare

I don’t have a lot of nightmares. I never have, not by frequency anyway. But I have had a few notable ones.

I very clearly remember having one reoccurring nightmare when I was around 4 or 5. My dad would come into my room and start to put me to bed. And then he would grow multiple heads, which understandably scared the bezeezus out of little me.

The funny part of that dream looking back is that my multiple-headed father kept trying to put me to bed after he grew the multiple heads. It was like it wasn’t a big deal to him, and he didn’t understand why I was losing my mind. It’s funny in retrospect how oblivious this monstrous version of my dad was.

The next reoccurring nightmare had to do with school. This one didn’t happen until I started taking college classes. I would dream that I woke up and missed my class. It wasn’t a particularly intense dream, or even probably particularly unusual. I’m sure loads of school-obsessed kids like me had similar dreams.

My strangest nightmare, on the other hand, doesn’t make a lot of sense, and I feel like it’s a little more unique. See, every once in a while, I’ll dream that I’m in class. Usually, it’s either English or biology. In the dream, I just stop going to the class. I don’t drop the class. I just don’t go anymore. I stop doing the homework. The professor emails me and asks what’s wrong, but I ignore her.

Throughout the dream, this feeling of horrible dread follows me everywhere I go. It’s like I know that I’m going to fail the class, and that’s going to wreck my GPA, but I still can’t bring myself to go to the class or drop it.

This dream is strange for two reasons. The first is that I’m not that kind of person. I was a school junkie. I loved school right up through college. I was either on-time or early to every class, and I only missed classes if I was deathly ill. I turned in all of my assignments on time (I cut a few close, but that’s another story), with the exception of one. I missed one online quiz because of a mix-up with the calendar at the end of the year.

The other reason the dream is odd is because it only started after I graduated from college. Almost immediately after, in fact. The first time I can remember having the nightmare was in the few days between when I finished my last project and when I left after graduation. I’ve continued to have the same dream over and over again once every month or so since then.

I don’t know what causes this particular nightmare. I’ve thought that maybe it’s because I never took a biology or English 101 class at Liberty (I took them at a community college before I came), and my brain unconsciously thinks I should have. But then again, I never took a college math course at all (I CLEPed out), and it’s never a math class I’m ditching.

It’s certainly weird, but it’s nice to wake up, clear the fog from my brain, and realize I don’t have to worry about school anymore. That part of my life is over. Now I have to worry about finding writing gigs, running my photography business, working on selling my book, making enough money to pay off my student loans, buying food…

Wait, what was I talking about?


An overdue life update

Y’all. Let me tell you, the last few weeks have been some of the craziest, most stressful, and most fun weeks in my life. Aaaaand I’ve been neglecting my blog just a teensy bit. So here is the overdue life update I’m sure all three of you who read my blog have been looking forward to.

First off, I graduated from college, so that’s pretty cool. The ceremony was wet and cold, leading to the photo below.


I actually didn’t get sick, amazingly.

The actual commencement part of the day was… immensely unimpressive. I don’t know whose bright idea it was to invite the ancient Jimmy Carter to be our speaker, but he was baaaaaad. Seriously, the entire speech was him bragging about what he’d accomplished, complaining about conservatives (who made up the vast majority of the crowd), and telling the new grads how much the world stunk.

So inspiring.

Thankfully, my department’s smaller degree conferring ceremony was significant better. I even won an award for my achievement! I had no idea about it until I looked at the program. Another one of my friends also won an award, so my friend group had a blast during that ceremony.

I’ve also been planning my wedding to my awesome Fiancé. It’s a little stressful, but ultimately very rewarding. We’ll be getting married on July 21st, and couldn’t be much more excited.

Then, it’s off to the Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio for the honeymoon. A few days later, we’re spending time with The Fiancé’s family in Michigan camping. And then a few days after that, we’re  driving all the way back to Virginia to get on a plane to go to Guam for a week or two for The Fiancé’s work.

Woof. *wipes brow*

It’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, but it’s going to be a ton of fun as well. I especially look forward to the Guam part of the trip. Even if The Fiancé and I will both be working for quite a bit of it, there will still be plenty of time to swim in gorgeous tropical waters and take pictures all over the island.

My professional life has been exciting as well. I was contracted by Trinity Broadcasting Network to write two episodes of a TV documentary series that they are producing. For money.


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Source: Giphy


It has been a blast researching the topics and learning how to write for a medium I’m not entirely used to. I’m hoping to get a few more gigs over the next few weeks.

In my free time, I’ve been hanging out with The Fiancé and my family. I also started a Dungeons and Dragons group with my family, The Fiancé, and two of my friends, with yours truly as the DM (dungeon master, for those of you not quite on my level of geekiness). It’s really cool to get to invent characters and storylines for people to play out. It’s also incredibly frustrating when the players don’t just do the thing I set up for them... I may have to do a full post on DnD at some point in the future.

Of course, I’ve also been (more or less) keeping up with my Instagram (@ratherbewriting2014) 365 photo challenge. I’ve found that it can be – pardon the pun – challenging to post a photo every day, but still a lot of fun. I’m planning on doing a post about my favorite photos from the first half of the year in the next few days, once I hit that mark.

That about covers the life update that this blog has been sorely lacking. I hope all of my lovely readers have been having a good summer.

Contra Mundum – Episode 5: Why Textbook are SO Expensive

In this week’s podcast, I sit down with Dr. Brenda Ayres, a professor at Liberty University. She has published multiple academic books in her long career. We talked about writing, publishing, and the enormously high cost of academic books.

On a personal note, I have to tell you that Dr. Ayres is the sweetest lady. I originally interviewed her for a school project. A few days later, I realized that I needed a photo that I didn’t have. So I had to inconvenience her twice in row. In return, she bought me lunch. Twice!

“I don’t like for students to buy their own food,” she said.

She’s the best.

If you’re curious about all of the background noise, it’s because we had to record in a busy restaurant at lunch time. I didn’t think it was too bad, so I didn’t bother trying to remove it.

I hope you guys enjoyed the episode. In next week’s episode, I interviewed a friend of mine on the creative side of publishing.

See you next week!

What happens in Vegas… is archery?

I recently returned from an amazing trip with my archery team. In Vegas. Yeah, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada for an archery tournament.

The road to Vegas for most people begins with way too much money and boredom. For me, that road began in Kentucky. For the second year in a row, my team competed in the US Collegiate Archery Association’s indoor tournament. This was two weeks after the semester started.

Now, last year when I did this, I had just joined the archery team in September, and my first competition was this one in March. It was incredibly nerve-racking and was made worse by the fact that literally all of my equipment with the exception of my hat was less than two weeks old. That, and my string broke when I got there (I had an extra, thankfully).

But I still did fairly well. I actually shot the best round of my life, a 207 out of 300 (pretty good for my division). Overall, the Kentucky trip last year was a blast, and I was looking forward to going on this year’s trip.

That is, until things started changing. First, we were told that the competition was being moved from March to January. Which meant that we had a whole lot less time to practice than we normally would. This was made worse because I planned to take time during my Christmas break to practice, but then I had toe surgery and couldn’t stand up for very long for two and a half weeks.

For those of you who don’t know, archery is rather difficult to do sitting down.

Then, we found out that this year’s Kentucky event wasn’t going to be part of the nationals like it was the year before, but instead, was only going to be a true regionals. The top 8 shooters in every division from every regional competition would be going to Vegas.

I had to ask twice to make sure that my coach was talking about that Vegas when he was telling the team this.


My teammate Evan and me shooting. I’m on the right. (Pic by Meredith Dissinger)

I was ranked 5th nationally last year, and my goal was to stay there. I actually ended up doing a lot better, out-shooting myself by more than 100 points, and I moved up to 4th place. Which secured my place on the Vegas trip.

As you can imagine, I was over the moon, and I was really happy that two other members of my team also scored well enough to join me on the trip.

Which was, of course, only two weeks away. *Cue 80s-style training montage*

I was in the range every other day when I could be, and I competed in a local shoot for two days longer than I needed to just to make sure my form was perfect. Because I’m an idiot and a glutton for punishment, I bought brand-spanking-new arrows and got them fletched the day before we left.

So I shot like a blind monkey for the first day of the shoot, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

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It was too early, but at least the sunrise was nice.

First, we had to fly to get there. Now I like flying. Most of the time. However, waking up at 5am Virginia time, flying all day across three time zones, competing two hours after we landed, and not finishing until 12:30am Vegas time. Yeah, that was less than fun.

The good news is that I apparently shoot better exhausted. Because after a whole day of phenomenally bad shooting (due mostly to the aforementioned brand-spanking-new arrows), I started shooting really well in the shoot-offs.


My team standing with our bows and plaques. (Pic by my coach, Mitch Reno)

That is how I managed to come into the competition in 4th place and leave it ranked 2nd in the nation. The shoot-offs started at around 10pm Vegas time. My body thought it was 1 in the morning, so why I was able to stand up, much less shoot as well as I did is a mystery. I just kept praying as I shot that I wouldn’t just fall over in the middle of it.

That could have been… messy.

The rest of the shoot wasn’t as eventful. We did get to watch the World Cup of archery, so that was pretty cool. We also went to the trade show, and I picked up a sweet new quiver.

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Sweet new quiver

The trip didn’t end there, of course, but I’ll save for a later post the story of how my coach got us lost on the way to visit the Hoover Dam, so we just decided to run around in the desert for an hour. This post is a little long anyway.

I’ll end it by telling you that we left at 10pm Vegas time that day (Sunday), got back to Liberty at 11am on Monday, and I immediately had to go work for my other club until 8pm. Yeah, I don’t think I woke up again fully until Thursday.

If you’d like to here a little more about the trip and archery general, you can listen to the interview that another member of my team and I did for my friend’s radio show.


Below are a few more photos from the trip if you’re interested.

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Freshmen are babies now… and other things that make me feel old

When I got to college I quickly fell in with a group of other freshmen honor students. We had lots of fun and thought that we were adults. We looked up to the junior and senior honor students that we hung out with sometimes. We called them the Bigs.

I am one of the Bigs now.

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I had this realization the other day while listening to some freshmen discussing one of their classes. They were complaining about a class called Biblical Worldview. They thought it was hard.

*Laughs maniacally*

For context, when I got my concussion two years ago, I wrote a paper for that class that I actually don’t remember writing. I got an A. I’m a pretty smart cookie, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that you can pass that class with half your brain tied behind your back.

But these freshmen were telling each other how different it was from high school and how much harder it was. All I could think was, “Oh you sweet summer child.” They have no idea what they’re getting into.

I keep wanting to sit down every freshman that I see and tell them all the mistakes I made and how to avoid them. I want to hug them and tell that everything is going to be okay, that they’ll get used to this, even though it’s hard. I guess what I’m saying is that freshmen are giving me maternal instincts I didn’t know existed.

The other thing that freaks me out a bit is that kids that I worked with when they were eight and nine are on Facebook talking about exams in high school. It’s hard for me not to keep seeing them as the fuzzy-headed little cuties that would run up to me and hug me around the waist because that’s all they could reach.


Is this what getting older feels like? If so, I don’t like it. I want to go back to when my biggest worry was whether or not I would manage to finish my two page Evangelism paper in time to go see a concert.

Forget all this internship searching and worrying about my future nonsense.

Things I’ve learned to value in 2016

The year 2016 is fast approaching its glorious end. It’s been a wild year, but not a bad one, mostly, for me. I’m not sure the world is better off than it was at the beginning of the year (then again, we’re getting rid of Obama, so…), so here’s to 2017 being a little more, um, sane? And here’s a list of things I’ve learn to greater appreciate this year.

1. My left big toenail

Of all of the body parts to cause me massive amounts of problems this last year, my left big toe has probably been the most consistently annoying. It’s been a problem for the last couple years, but the last couple of months have made me wish the little bugger would just fall off and stop hurting me.

But see, I’ve also come to realize that there’s a reason that we have toenails. Mine was only just starting to come back before my doctor unceremoniously cut it back off again a few days ago. So that means I have lived a few months with no big toenail. And let me tell you, it sucks. When people step on your toes or you stub a toe, yeah it hurts, but it hurts a whole lot more when there’s no nail to protect it.

So now, I still want the darn thing to come back and not look really stupid (fat chance). I value it more, but I also resent it more.

2. Non-insane politics

It’s not just me, right? This last year was crazier than usual? I mean, I know that I’m only 20, so I don’t remember most election years. Maybe they’re all like this. Who knows, maybe it’s always been this way, but I became politically conscious around 2008, and I don’t remember this much insanity then.

This past election was like a reality TV show, which I realize probably had something to do with the candidates. This was the year the media really showed who they really were, and a good portion of America collectively said “Screw you, we’ll take the psycho you don’t like.” I have to wonder how many people voted Trump out of spite alone.

Dear God, please don’t let this happen again next election cycle.

3. Positive people

In a year that was full of negativity, it was a blessing to find people who were trying to stay positive. I clung to people who could see everything that was going on this last year and still smile about it. Those who could still laugh at all this made this year a little more bearable.

Speaking of laughing…

4. SJWs

I know what you’re thinking, how could you learn to value social justice warriors? The answer is easy: they’re flipping hilarious.

I mean, have you seen the way they reacted when Trump won? The looting and burning wasn’t so funny, but the TEARS and the WHINING, bloody hilarious. I learned a new word in 2016: Shadenfreude.This was year they all collectively lost their minds, and It. Was. Glorious.

10/10 would tick them off again.

5. Books

I miss books. Being in college, for me, usually means not reading a whole lot. I’m the kind of person who can’t just sit down and read a few pages of a good book. It’s finish or bust, and finish sometimes means staying up till 3 in the morning. I can’t really do that when I have an 8:15 am class the next day. Sleep is a good thing. Which reminds me:

6. Sleep

I’m a college student. Do I need to say more?

7. Classes that start after 9 am

My class schedule sucks donkey balls next semester. I have 8:15 classes EVERY DAY, and I am not a morning person. I’m hardly human before 10 am. I’ll also be spending more money on gas, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to wake up at 6 am to catch the hour-long, bumpy shuttle to Liberty’s campus. I like living off-campus, but not being able to walk to class in the morning is a bit of a pain.

The only good news is that I’ll be done by 2pm every day. I am seeing a lot of naps in my future.

What have you learn to value more in 2016? Let me know in the comments.

A short little story about my day

*Read to the end. There’s a point, I promise*

So today, I woke up with the sniffles, which sucks, so I decided to sleep in a bit and just drive to school. Forty minutes of extra sleep isn’t that much more in the grand scheme of things, but it helped a bit, I think. In any case, it didn’t stop me from getting to school on time.

I enjoyed my morning class as always, partially because my professor is awesome. We got another talk about the importance of registering to vote, and because it was taking everyone else forever to do theirs, I redid my registration. Now I can vote in the right place. Woohoo, I guess.

Moving on. While I waited for it to be an acceptable time to eat lunch, I got some of my reading done. I realized once I got home that I did, in fact, read the wrong chapter… So, I guess I’m ahead, or something.

I got through the rest of the day. Avoided improv in my directing class. Wrote a screenplay in my video production class. Hung out with friends.

At the end of the day, I had about half an hour till the bus got there, so I worked on one of my video projects. Finally, I packed things up and headed out. I called my mom on the way back to ask what she thought about me going to Florida for an internship. She was amenable, fortunately.

The bus got back quickly, and I just fell into my bed, exhausted…

Not a bad day, right? Go back and read the first and last last sentence of the story, and you’ll understand why I’m face-palming myself right now.