My First Ever Magazine Launch

In October, I went to my first and hopefully not my last magazine launch.

I was excited about it. Afterwards I felt and still feel so inspired.

I’m not sure when this inspiration will wear off, but I hope it lasts long enough for me to create some great work.

There was food. There were drinks. My subject-verb agreement sucks. I know that.

People read their poems and stories. I had a great time listening to them.

Of course, I had two classes back to back before the launch. So even though I had tired eyes and a sore body (because I woke up at seven in the morning to stretch, dance, and exercise), I enjoyed myself nonetheless.

I ate a chocolate cookie, a chocolate cupcake, and another chocolate delicacy. Can you tell I like chocolate? Give me chocolate flavoured anything, and I’ll be one happy girl.

I don’t collect much aside from books that contain other people’s words and publications that contain my own. I’m glad I get to grow my collections every so often.

If you’ve ever been involved with the writing industry in any capacity whatsoever, you know first-hand how quickly things happen. This magazine publication finally happened. It’s like I waited years instead of months for it.

On the subway home, I read my piece to refresh my memory because I’ve forgotten the specifics of the story. As a 20-year old, my memory isn’t what it used to be. I wrote a first draft in 2015. It was published in 2017.

Anyhow, I’m beyond proud because I submitted this story somewhere else and never heard back.

But I returned to the piece. I worked on it during exam season. I’m thankful nearly failing my exams paid off because the piece got published after all. By nearly failing, I mean not acing. Same thing, no?

I have no regrets. I wouldn’t do anything differently today or yesterday or all the other days leading up to this one.

Maybe I should submit my work to contests when and only when I have exams. I’m one for one.

Here’s a link to the magazine.

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Feeling Behind In Blogging

I’m behind on a lot of things, especially with this blog. I blame school. OK, fine postseason baseball too.

I’m not sure I’ll ever catch up. That’s okay. There will always be more work to do and not enough hours in the day.

I try to write and blog every day. I don’t have a problem doing so. But because I handwrite, I have to transcribe what I’ve written onto WordPress at some point.

I’ve been struggling to keep to say the least. I have poems and stories I wrote in 2016 still not typed up. And blog posts dating back to last month.

Luckily over the summer, I kept up with blogging quite well.

Then school started.

By the time a post is ready for publication, it’s dated. Not even relevant sometimes.

As university gets busier, I fall more behind. I can only dream of catching up.

Since I’m someone who likes being on top of things and feeling like I have my life together, this situation doesn’t bode well with my psyche.

Even if I had an entire month where I didn’t have anything else to do, I’m not sure I’d be able to type up all my written poems, posts.

Aside from falling behind, I’m also a bit overwhelmed. Books and baseball don’t mix. Who would have thought?

Word by word. Day by day. I write those lines in my journal as a reminder to myself. I can’t get to the end without first beginning and focusing on what’s next. Tomorrow happens tomorrow after all.

I don’t have to write or blog, much less do so every day. But I want to. And so I do my best to make it happen.

If I was just a student I’d have a lot more time. I will never be one thing and one thing only. I’m a writer, a blogger, a reader. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister. I’m a friend. I’m all these things and so much more.

Finding that balance is perhaps the toughest, trickiest part.

I only have so many hours in the day and so much energy to expend on any given project.

As much as I want to do almost everything, I can’t. But I’d much rather do a few things well than do a lot of stuff badly.

 

The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.

The Need To Disconnect And Connect

I feel the need to disconnect all the time, especially in a world where thanks to the internet or social media more specifically, we’re increasingly connected to each other.

Some days I’m better at disconnecting than others. Finding that perfect balance presents a challenge.

Recently, I’ve noticed I’m not able to concentrate as long as I used to.

I remember the good old days where I finished books in one day as I would sit down and read for hours on end. I went without interruptions or distractions for long periods of time.

But now I’ll read for about an hour, feel the urge to check my phone, and ultimately, give in to the temptation. Then I’ll get carried away on Twitter or Instagram. Before I know it, I’ve spent half my day on social media. Hyperbolic statements are part of Herminia’s brand. So is referring to myself in third person.

I realize I may not disconnect as much as I used to, but I do my best. It’s important to step away from the screen. My sensitive eyes appreciate it.

Also, I’ve gotten used to carrying my phone with me everywhere I go. Some days I wonder how I’d survive if I left my mobile at home either accidentally or intentionally.

It’s not easy to disconnect, at least not if you’ve grown up so connected. But the difficulty makes disconnecting that much more rewarding.

If you’re wondering where all this is coming from, I’m currently taking three media classes. For fun, I read a chapter of a book, which discussed how social media has changed our ability to connect and concentrate.

So lately I’ve been thinking about my relationship to media and how it affects my happiness, productivity, etc.

As of right now, I’m ready to disconnect and go to bed. I’ll connect or reconnect with the world tomorrow.

A Q&A About Reading Habits

Lately, I’ve been wondering about my reading habits, which led to the creation of this post.

What’s your policy on finishing books?

I try to finish every book I start regardless of whether I love it or not. As a kid I abandoned stories more easily, but I’ve gotten better at sticking with something if I start. It helps that I pick up books I want to read now.

How often do you read?

Daily.

How much do you read?

As of right now, I strive to finish 50 pages every day.

When do you read?

Mornings because I prefer reading in natural light. Sometimes I’ll have one reading session in the morning and another in the afternoon. If I’m busy during the day, I settle for evenings or nights.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

One book at a time. If I have to read more than one, that’s fine. I tend to do so when I’m in school. I’ll read a book for class and read something else for fun. Way back when, I used to read a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. But my nonfiction game has been nonexistent nowadays.

Is there anything you do before or after reading a book?

I wash my hands prior to and update my GoodReads status if I remember. Key word there is remember. Sometimes I forget because I’m old and getting older with each passing second.

Now I’m curious about other people’s reading habits.

Why I Love Baseball And Books

I don’t love many things. I could spend an entire day telling you everything I dislike or despise But I know this for a fact: I love baseball and books. Why, you may ask. I’ll attempt to explain as eloquently as I can.

I need variety, variation. I’m not someone who enjoys monotony or repetition.

Thankfully, no game is the same. No book exactly like another. Even after all these years, I still see plays and stories I’ve never seen before.

Variety goes hand in hand with discovery. I’m a fan of discovering new things. That’s why learning is one of my favourite activities. Books and baseball have been great teachers. I’m lucky to be a student of both. Sometimes the best life lessons aren’t the ones on the page or on the field either. You learn the most when you least expect to.

They allow me to disconnect. When I’m in the middle of a book or ball game, I want to be so immersed in the experience that I’m not thinking about checking my phone. I want to be in the moment. Besides, I can always connect to wifi after I finish reading or watching.

I enjoy cheering for someone. Sticking with a character or a player through thick and thin. Being in a person’s corner from beginning to end. Come what may, come hell or high water. In a way, they become your friends.

There’s something special in not knowing. You don’t know what will happen. Maybe your two favourite characters fall in love. Perhaps your team makes it to the post-season. I’ve come to embrace the strange, scary but also beautiful and lovely feeling of not knowing. After all, that book, that game might just be the best thing to ever happen to you.

Pick One: Book Characters

While writing my Pick One: Book Series blog post, I was inspired to pit fictional characters against each other. Enjoy!

Peeta or Gale? Hunger Games 

They’re both cool characters. Younger Herminia just thought Gale was cooler.

Edward or Jacob? Twilight 

Probably Jacob. I’m old, but I believe younger me was a bigger fan of the latter.

Dorian or Chaol? Throne of Glass

I liked Chaol’s character and his relationship with Celaena.

Rhysand or Tamlin? A Court of Thorns and Roses

Rhysand. He was more interesting to me even in the first book.

Darrow or Sevro? Red Rising

Darrow is amazing, but Sevro is somehow even more amazing. But I love them to pieces.

Minho or Newt? The Maze Runner

Minho in the books, Newt in the movies. So much got lost in the film adaptations. It’s such a shame.

Brenda or Theresa? The Maze Runner

Theresa in both the books and movies. She had greater depth to her character.

John or Robert Puller? John Puller

Robert. I’ve said this before, and I’m going to say it again: I love the older brother’s brain. I need a series that exclusively follows him everywhere.

Safiya or Iseult? The Witchlands

Iseult. She helped me remember the word, homeostasis, which I coincidentally learned in my biotechnology class. That’s enough to win me over. I have low expectations, okay.

Clary or Isabelle? The Mortal Instruments

Isabelle all the way. She’s one of the few characters I grew fonder of.

This was such a struggle to write. I hope you appreciate my suffering.

Different Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

Lately, I’ve been moving my books around because I’m not entirely happy with the way they’re displayed on my shelves. But I don’t know how I want to rearrange them exactly, so I decided to write a blog post about different ways you can organize your bookshelves.

By alphabetical.

Do the author’s last name or first if you’re so inclined. You might even decide to go organize according to the titles of each book. It’s up to you.

By colour.

Ombré. Rainbow. The possibilities are endless.

By genre.

Have one shelf for fantasy, one for mystery, etc. This is a good way to see what you like or dislike.

By height.

Shelves look more uniform when books are the same size. This is a fact of life. My heart breaks when I buy a novel that doesn’t fit in with the others.

By love.

Have your favourite books on one shelf. You can play favourites with novels. That’s totally ethical.

By status.

What you’ve read, what you’re currently reading, what you want to read. I have a shelf for all the books I own but haven’t read yet. Without fail, I’ll read a few novels on my to-be-read shelf only to buy many more. I almost always enable my own addiction.

By story.

Is it a standalone? A series? Also consider grouping books by the same author together. Because why not?

By type.

Paperbacks here. Hardcovers there. Easy, fast, simple. You’re good to grab and go.

By however you want.

Obviously, you can organize your books any way you like. Feel free to use one or a combination of the methods listed above.

Let me know how you organize your books. I’d love to get some inspiration for my shelves. It doesn’t help that I’m starting to run out of space either. But that’s a problem I’ll tackle another day.

A Rant In Regards To Reading

This post may or may not be a rant depending on your definition, but it will be about reading.

I think it’s important to read what you want and to enjoy your reading experience. No, you might not love everything about a certain book, but try to find something you do like.

Even though I read as an escape from real life, reading for me is almost akin to living in a way. I get to live different lives through fictional characters.

Maybe I’m using reading as a metaphor or analogy for living. I’m not too sure. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an English major.

I just hope readers don’t feel pressured to read what they don’t want to just because everyone else is. Case in point: Herminia and Harry Potter.

I also do my best to finish what I start, especially if I chose to buy the book with the thought I’ll enjoy the story. Or at least, enjoy some aspect of the work. Sometimes, it’s the writing. Other times, I’m a fan of the plot or I’m fond of the characters.

Besides, reading what you enjoy will always win out over the alternative of not enjoying yourself.

Am I ranting or rambling? I’m not even sure at this point. Now that I’m older and wiser, I hope going forward, I will decide what’s best for my interests. Not allow others to decide for me.

So go ahead, read what you want. If you realize you aren’t enjoying the book, read something else.

It’s perfectly fine to pick up another novel if you aren’t enjoying the one you’re on right now.

Reading, like life, is about timing. Perhaps you don’t appreciate a certain book at this exact moment. But maybe in the future, you will.

That might mean you’ll grow out of books. Stories you loved in the past might not have the same effect on you years later. This is okay.

After all, readers should read what their heart desires.

Live your life. Read the books you want. Have fun. Enjoy yourself while reading.

You don’t get that time back.

Pick One: Book Series

I force myself to choose between book series to figure out which ones I love with my broken heart.

Hunger Games or Divergent?

Considering I read all three books of the former and I only read the first book for the latter, it’s no contest. The Hunger Games takes the cake. I’m not usually a big fan of love triangles, but Gale and Peeta didn’t annoy me. Maybe I also need to do a post where I pick between two characters. That’ll be fun.

Twilight or Thirst?

The latter. It’s not as well known, but I enjoyed reading Christopher Pike’s novels in high school. I finished all of the Twilight books in 22 days, something I don’t do very often nowadays. By something I mean I don’t read a whole series all at once in such a short span of time. I miss the good old days where I had no responsibilities.

Throne of Glass or A Court of Thorns and Roses?

The Throne of Glass novels will always have a special place in my heart because I started that series first. But also because I love the characters so much it’s not even funny.

The Maze Runner or The Mortality Doctrine?

I read all the books in the former and only The Eye of Minds for the latter. I even watched The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trial films alone because I have no friends.

Lorien Legacies or Legend?

Legend. I’ve been trying to pit similar series together or books written by the same author. This one is slightly questionable. I digress. I liked Legend. I didn’t like I Am Number Four.

The Ender Quintet or Red Rising?

There isn’t a series that can rival my love for Red Rising, despite my four star ratings on GoodReads. Take those with a grain of salt. I’m all over the place and have yet to get my act together. I’m not sure how I’m 20 years old.

Writing this post has made me realize how many series I haven’t read but need to. And that my memory is bad (re: I am 20, so old; did you get that memo?).

Let me know your picks down below!