Tagged: music

Writing Advice: Write Like There’s No Tomorrow

blog dog

A piece of advice that I’ve happened upon many times in my internet searches of “how to write blog” can be summed up as “write as much as you can…don’t be afraid of failure or mistakes, otherwise you will never improve…you will never grow.”

I’ve always skimmed over this tip but never given it much thought, always writing for this blog what I thought others would surely enjoy, nothing that would be too risky.

However, I was thinking the other night, and realized this, that

If I’m ever to grow as a writer, I’ve got to embrace the concept of backlash, the prospect of defeat, and the idea of failure. Continue reading

Something About Playlists…


If you clicked on this thinking it would be a sizzling summer playlist, you were wrong.

(but there will probably be one up later next week!)

Does music ever make you feel nostalgic?

In high school, when debate seemed to dominate my life, I would download new music right before every major tournament…there are playlists in my library whose titles share the name of the tournament I was about to attend.

Songs of every genre were clumped together in groups with no collective identity, their only similarity being where and when they just so happened to be relevant.

Continue reading

My life in Roman numerals


i) They say that I don’t smile. Almost every person I know looks at my empty face and asks why I’m looking at them like I want to kill them.

I took a look at my face in the mirror the other day, nay – I stared deeply into my eyes and saw that indeed, I wasn’t smiling. My lips were pursed, my mouth was closed. I conveyed neither disapproval nor distaste; I was completely neutral of emotion. Maybe then, you can see me through my eyes. What is it that they say about eyes? That they’re the windows into the soul? Maybe it’s my voice. It’s expressive but meanwhile horribly deceiving.

The truth is that sometimes I wear my emotions on my coat like badges or flashes of color for all to see, but I can also suppress them, like a lid on a pot of boiling water. So perhaps I’ve been too suppressive of my emotions lately? Is that why people keep saying that to me?  Continue reading


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Hello readers, this is Colin. I’m a freshman at the prestigious Illinois State University and an avid Spotify playlist maker. Last year I started making playlists for each month to capture all the feelings and vibes that time of year gave me; Catherine and I have decided to include them on her blog. So without further ado, here is the first installment of the Monthly Listening Club, “December”.

How playing the violin changed my life


When I was in elementary school, my mother pushed my sister and I to take up piano lessons, a prominent Asian stereotype. Grudgingly, we complied for a few years, but I personally never felt satisfaction or even enjoyment from the activity. Perhaps it was because our teachers weren’t the most pleasant, or because the recordings of the music sounded far superior to what I managed to produce with my chubby, tiny fingers. I dropped the activity around sixth grade.

But violin was a different story. I joined orchestra in 4th grade, and have never since stopped. Private lessons began in 5th grade, with Laura, a teacher that I stuck with until the beginning of junior year. She’s witnessed my growth over the years through our weekly meetings. She’s seen me at my positively worst – struggling with ambition and motivation – but she’s also seen me at my Sunday best – galvanized into repetitive practice. Our interactions have been professional for the most part – practicing scales and etudes – but there were often moments of genuine friendship between us.

Continue reading

A blind date with an album

The world ought to rid itself of people whose job it is to design book covers and album covers. Instead, we ought to go about purchasing nameless, coverless books and music albums with simple prescriptions, not descriptions (i.e. “biography of an empowering woman” or “rainy day 11 PM music”). We should rely on librarians and record store employees to make wise decisions when we say, “surprise me.” We should embrace this form of “blind date.” Imagine leaving a record store (who even buys records these days anymore? Respect to you if you do) with a record, no name, no label. Or a book, with a blank cover. Instead of allowing some sort of arbitrary judgment to dictate your opinion, let the music or literature speak for itself.

Continue reading

We forgot how to be happy

Happiness is the old song on the radio from 2005, your dirty little secret, your unknown jam. It plays in a store, it comes up on shuffle, it hits you like a nostalgic blast from the past. It is fighting the urge to break out in dance in public, or letting the music take you as you writhe around in privacy, if you are lucky enough. It is memories sequestered to songs, a melody from long ago, a better time.

Happiness is wiping dirty glasses, as if the air were magically filtered, as if you rid yourself of a visual obstruction that you didn’t even know existed. It is clarity, it is lucidity, and it is precision. The world is cast in a brighter light.

Happiness is waking up naturally. It’s that moment when you’re caught in between the dream and the awakening. It is gradual, as if the sunlight slowly prods you awake from behind your closed eyelids. It is completely embracing dry mouth and eye gunk and morning breath and ratchet hair and numb limbs. And then you slowly roll over on your back and look up at the ceiling sleepily, with nowhere to go and nowhere to be.

Happiness is tradition and routine, lazily enforced. It is Friday night phone calls and Sunday morning bubble tea runs that can be easily skipped if the circumstances so require it. Looking forward to something, the anticipation builds up. Sometimes we forget why we do it, we just keep on since we see no reason to stop. It is me-time and we-time, and it should never be forgone. 

Happiness is getting in the shower after reluctantly convincing yourself to do so. It is the endless stream of purity trickling down your body, it is the luxurious scent of Dove and Herbal Essences and Pantene and Garnier Fructis and everything in between. It is loofahs and sponges, and time passes by in globs of soap. The hardest part about getting in is climbing out; once we’re here, we never want to leave. The pruniest fingers in the world wouldn’t convince me.

Happiness is a piece of paper in front of you, blank and beckoning. It is begging for intervention. Write, draw, scribble or swirl, fill the margins and shade in the corners. As cliche as it sounds, letting your mind wander and your pen make its way across the page in this way and that promotes a nomadic state of mind. Here, your mind is flowing; there is no such thing as a coherent train of thought…

Happiness is the little reading space in the corner of the room, with a few old pillows and blankets for sheer comfort. It is the little desk where you put your cup of coffee, where you rest your computer as you scroll endlessly through your tumblr feed, and where you write your heart out into a purple journal. It is the makeshift reading nook, devoid of fancy plushes. It is where your favorite novel is within reach, where the light is not blinding but instead, a soft glow, that starts in your special corner and gradually pervades the room.

13 steps to write a post

– Daily Prompt 

song is:


1. realize that it’s been 5 day since you last posted something on your public blog

2. panic and find a time and place to write – before summer lab starts, in a café by yourself, or even better – in the wee hours of the morning when no regular human would be awake

3. put on headphones and blast intense music (playlist to follow)

4. type on your laptop because your life is too engrained in technology for you to realistically write on a notepad, even though you know that’s the best option

5. scroll through list of writing prompts accumulated over the months – find nothing that sparks inspiration

6. go to your angsty and adolescent tumblr and scroll through endless pages of quotes, pictures, funny gifs, and creative poems – still find nothing but hate on yourself for not being able to rhyme like these creative folks; I don’t even rhyme, I just whine really fast

7. search the term “writing prompts” on google for the millionth time and find nothing new

8. resume not writing for a few more days

9. get motivated to write by something that genuinely interests and concerns you

10. resist the urge to publish something that sounds forced because if it sounds forced, it generally is

11. write your heart out for long periods of time

12. search through tumblr for a perfect picture to depict the subject of your post

13. publish with satisfaction

writing playlist: (I adore music with heavy bass and minimal voices, but that’s just me)

and if this doesn’t suffice for writing, it’s just a trippy collection of songs