I’m following the #dosummerwrite prompts from the Instagram account Well-Read Black Girl (@wellreadblackgirl) to bring a more mindful approach to my writing practice, both personally and professionally. Since I’m working primarily on editing my upcoming book Guardians of Masks and Memory, this is a refreshing change of pace and I hope to learn things about myself and how I want to write. The first prompt I’m following is to make a list of 25 things that I love. Here we go!
- Watercolor Palettes – I just get inspired looking at the little fields of color. They can literally become anything!
2. Nature/Ocean Documentaries – When life gets crazy, just sit down and look at the pretty fish in the coral or the fierce tigers. Whatever your mood…👀
3. Music – I’ve been stuck in 90’s R&B for a minute. I recommend jumping back to “Brown Eyed Girl” by Tevin Cambell.
4. Turquoise – I mean it’s the color of the ocean and it is the representative of tranquility if you ask me.
5. The Beach – Whether I get in the water or sit in a tent on the sand, I find the utmost tranquility. Probably, because it’s turquoise.
6. Marvel – I just feel privileged that I was able to witness the storytelling of the MCU starting with Iron Man and that I’ve gotten into the comics over the past few years. Middle School me didn’t know the journey she was in for. Now, we’ve got Eternals, What If…, and a whole bunch more stuff coming!
7. Chicken Gnocchi Soup – I had it for the first time at Olive Garden and have been making it at home ever since. It’s a delicious, hearty meal and leftover soup is one of the best things ever!
8. Apple Cinnamon Candles – Summer may be my favorite season, but I love to keep the scent of fall year-round. It just makes me feel content and wish that I had an apple pie.
9. Webtoons – Technically, online comics in general, but I’ve got quite the list on Webtoons. My top obsession is the comic Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, in which Rachel does her own take on Greek myths. Principally, the myth of Hades and Persephone getting together as well as other myths in the background. You should definitely check it out!
10. Pinterest – I call this my ADHD Google. The rabbit hole to end all rabbit holes. Maybe even black holes. Pretty pictures and inspiration everywhere!
11. Gouache – Watercolor’s lightness is great, but I love thick, saturated colors too. If you use watercolor as a base, you can use gouache for emphasis on certain details in your artwork. It’s also great to draw over with graphite or ink once it dries.
12. The Met – I’ve only gotten the chance to go once, but I can’t wait to go again. Museums in the south of the United States just can’t compare to the global interconnectedness at the Met. I was able to see African, Asian, Greek, European and Indigenous American in so much abundance and for the first time! Down south, it’s usually a whole lot of marsh paintings, which are lovely but the market is very oversaturated.
13. Nicholas Palmquist Choreography – When I look at Nicholas’ choreography, one of my first thoughts is that Michael Jackson would have totally hired him to choreograph something. There’s just something so eclectic and electric about the movement choices that he makes and I too would like to harness that energy.
14. Enamel Pins – As a kid, I actually didn’t care for them that much, but I think that may have been because they were pins for participation awards and girl scouts. Now, that I can get pins of things I love and make a statement about who I am, they are wonderful little trinkets that I keep on my canvas hanging over my desk. My favorites are my Shuri and mermaid pins!
15. Avatar the Last Airbender (ATLA) – ATLA is always a good idea. Point blank. It is such a great feat of storytelling for so many reasons and it has heavily inspired my Guardians series.
16. Jaquelin Deleon’s Artwork – I’ve been watching her process videos for years and studied her style when I was doing my illustration senior project in college. I particularly love how she uses watercolor, colored pencil, and ink in her process. Her work is light, cheerful, and has a peaceful ambiance to it.
17. Creative Soul Photo Photography – I desperately want to take branding photos with this company at some point. I mean the costume creation! The props! The editing! The hair extensions! I know that I can’t afford them right now, but ooh, just you wait!
I mean, look at these photos! I will definitely be saving my coins!
18. Books – As someone once said, books are the way for you to travel without leaving home or indulge in an escapist complex. Books have been my means to travel to fantasy worlds and realistic ones alike. Right now, I’m close to finishing A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow and I’m so entrenched! As a reader, there’s so much to explore and as a writer, it’s so encouraging to know that all authors have gone through the ultimate struggle to bring a story into the world. If they can do it, so can I. (Upon editing this, I have finished A Song Below Water and I am astounded! Now, onto A Chorus Rises).
19. A Court of Mist and Fury – This book is the second in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas and it is my top core book. The main character, Feyre, has been through an ungodly amount of trauma and she doesn’t really have a desire to live. She merely exists in a grey depression. Yet, when it seems like nothing will ever get better, she finds her way back to wanting to live life to the fullest and she’s surrounded by an inner circle of her most trusted friends in (what I think is) the most beautiful hidden city in the world. It basically reminds me to have hope and that you can pick up the pieces and remake yourself, even when it seems like all the bad stuff hits the fan.
20. The Aquarium – Childhood trips to the local aquarium were a highlight and it allowed me a glimpse into the alien, underwater world. I usually frequented otters, seahorses, jellyfish, and eels. I probably look for ocean documentaries so often because I haven’t been to the aquarium in some years. I should probably rectify that, COVID-willing. If I wasn’t focused on trying to tell stories full time, I would probably have become a marine biologist.🐠
21. Plants – I only bought a snake plant and an elephant ear bulb during the pandemic. I’m particularly proud of the elephant ear as I have already had to put it into a larger pot and it’s around 4 feet tall. I held out until spring 2021 until I visited the garden section of Lowe’s. 😉To be completely honest, life was just getting more chaotic as the pandemic continued, so I decided that if I could implement a routine of taking care of something and watch it flourish, then I would be a little more ok and feel more encouraged to take care of myself. Also, the added decor and lovely greenery don’t hurt.
22. Oxfords – My style is eclectic with a little bit of everything, but this is the most Nancy Drew thing about me. However, I love bright colors and funky patterns! (I don’t just want to stick with black and brown suede.) If I were able, I would totally get these grey and pink striped ones from the Office of Angela Scott.
23. Making Story Playlists – It’s one of the first things I do when I have a new story idea. It helps me secure the overall ambiance and feel of the story. Each song can even play to a plot point! It’s all fun and exploration. Below is my playlist for my Guardians series.
24. Golden Bird Boutique Aesthetic – This account is one of the most wonderful things I’ve seen on Instagram and when I think about the vibe I want my artwork to give off, I think of this account. Y’know intergalactic, traveling black girls whose first stop on earth was a thrift shop.
25. Brandy’s Cinderella – Honestly, I shouldn’t have to give a reason…but I will give them anyway. Brandy was the first Cinderella I remember seeing as a child and I thought she was so pretty. I also love how wildly diverse the cast was. I mean, a white king, black queen, and a Filipino prince and it was totally fine, which I love! The music, the black Cinderella, Whitney as a fairy godmother, and the enchanting atmosphere encourage me to keep revisiting it whether it’s through a rewatch or a Karaoke session of “Ten Minutes Ago.”
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