I am Indeed Not Dead

I apologize for not posting for several months and being generally absent from the writing world. I left for my first semester at college in the middle of August, and I finished my first week of finals on last Thursday. It has been an interesting and even difficult few months for me, but I am back to blogging—at least, until the beginning of February, when I go back to school and must figure out if I can manage college and blogging at the same time.

*Gif is not mine but from WiffleGif


Before I update all of you on what I have been doing, here are a few house keeping things for this blog.

Open Pen Critiques

I have nine submissions for critiques—the oldest dating back to May… which is unfortunate for everyone involved. So, this week, I will be e-mailing everyone who submitted to Open Pen and seeing if they are still interested in having a critique and if they would like to change or update the piece that they originally submitted. As soon as I get responses, I will start a new queue and will be posting the pieces for critique starting this Saturday. If you would like to submit a piece for critique, please feel free, but priority will be given to those submitted before I returned.

Monday Writing Tips

Yes, I will start posting writing tips on Mondays again. Do I have any idea what I will be posting about? No. None whatsoever. So if you have any requests, I am taking suggestions.

Beta-Reading of Child of the Curse

Back in July, I asked for beta-readers for my work-in-progress, Child of the Curse. A surprising number of very kind people volunteered, and I never got back to them with the actual manuscript. I am dedicating myself to finishing my edits of the last three chapters, and then I will e-mail those volunteers asking if they are still willing to read it. I know you have heard this story from me three or four times over these past months, so I have low expectations. Mostly I have learned not to ask for beta-readers until you finish editing—no matter how close you are to the end.

Highlights of my First Semester at College

For those of you who do not already know, I am studying English Literature at a small Christian school (which will remain undisclosed to you, though you may find hints about the climate and such below– probably enough hints that you could figure it out if you really tried. Oh well.) I am in their general honors program (which is fantastic—if you hear me talking about a courses with weird titles like “Wisdom” or “Beauty” this is the honor’s program).  I despise the climate, but the people and professors are wonderful.

I learned a lot this semester, so here is a quick and incomplete list:

  • I learned that I need to double major if I want to stay at this school for four years.
  • I did not learn what I should double major in.
  • I learned not to write blueprinting thesis statements.
  • I learned what a cicada is and how much I hate them.
  • I learned that wisdom is actually about loving rightly.
  • I read Harry Potter for the first time and learned that I am a Slytherin.
  • On a completely unrelated note, I also learned that ambition is a sin.
  • I learned the value of ritual and joined a liturgical (though Protestant) church.
  • I learned exactly why George Washington did not want a two party political system.
  • I learned that caffeine is a precious necessity.
  • I learned that some states should really abstain from cooking “Mexican” food.
  • I learned the value of not understanding.
  • I learned that the modern, Christian fiction writer should take up the role given to Old Testament prophets.
  • I learned that prophecy is actually about “showing sin as sin and grace as grace.”
  • And finally, I learned that Jesus wants to devour me. (E-mail me if you are too curious.)

Books I Read

I have read a lot of books over the past couple months, including my favorite novel, Till We Have Faces, a bunch of new books, and a couple new series. So I won’t go through each book with my recommendation (with the exception of my favorite book), but if you want to ask me in the comments about what I thought of these books, I would love to discuss them!

  • Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis (Reread): This is my favorite book, even before this semester when I reread it as the capstone to my honors course—if you have not read this book, you need to. Not only is it a retelling of a Greek Myth, has a sword fighting queen as a main character, and is written by C. S. Lewis, but it is one of the most beautiful, challenging, and relevant books that I have ever read. Read it.
  • Confessions by Saint Augustine: Highly recommended though it is a hard read and not for everyone
  • Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew Crawford: Highly recommended
  • Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn McEntyre: Recommended
  • Mengzi: A highly situational, cautious recommendation
  • Leisure by Joseph Pieper: Highly recommended
  • Christian Scholars in the Age of Reformation by E. Harris Harbison: Informative but not enlightening
  • Various Short Stories by Flannery O’Connor: Highly recommended
  • The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (Reread): Highly recommended (duh—it’s Lewis)
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (Reread): Highly recommended (duh—it’s Tolkien)
  • Harry Potter (through The Order of the Phoenix) by J. K. Rowling: Enjoyable and extertaining but not my favorite
  • Attack on Titan Manga (through Chapter 88): Highly Recommended with a few disclaimers

So I am back and ready to write and interact with you guys again. I have missed blogging and writing.

God bless,



11 thoughts on “I am Indeed Not Dead”

  1. Sounds like you’ve been busy! An English Literature major must be really cool (especially for a writer).

    I was excited to see a blog post by you sitting in my inbox. Welcome back! 🙂 I cracked up at your “some states should really abstain from cooking “Mexican” food.” I live in SoCal, fairly close to the border where the Mexican food is amazing. So when I go other places and eat it I think, “…..What IS this?”

    Anyway, I’ll be looking forward to your Monday Writing Tips!


    1. Yes, I think I will enjoy it very much! I almost choose to focus on creative writing, but I think literature is a better focus for me.
      Thank you! I am glad to be back! I read your posts as often as I could during the semester, but I am happy to be chatting with you again 🙂
      Half of my family is Mexican (though you can’t see it looking at me), and so I know good Mexican food, and then at college they handed me “salsa” that was chunky marinara sauce with jalapenos. Nasty. Oh, and they had mini “tamales” that were deep fried something (not masa) with cheese inside. How can you mess up tamales that badly?


  2. I know how you feel, I just finished my first semester of college too, and WOW. Somehow I managed to stay up to date on blogging (don’t ask me how), but it was rough! Glad to see you survived though! Pretty cool to meet another English major (I haven’t picked a concentration yet, but I’m considering writing).

    Anyways, glad to see you’re back online! I hope you have a lovely winter break, and best of luck with blogging/editing/everything else!


    1. I’m impressed! Good job with the blogging, Maggie.
      I considered creative writing as my concentration for a while, but I decided to focus on how great authors wrote about truth at the cost of not practicing writing creatively in school. So it was a trade.
      Thank you! I am glad to be back.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks!
        Yeah, that’s also something I’m interested in which is why I’m so torn and still haven’t officially decided. Either way, I’ll be taking literature and writing courses, I just have to decide what I want more of.
        Can’t wait to see what you post! 😀


  3. Blogging and pursuing a degree is difficult!!! I started blogging my last semester in undergrad and continued through grad school. It’s definitely hard to find time to do it, or to find topics when you’re completely swamped with school stuff, but it’s doable! 🙂 Actual writing time also pretty much took a back seat for me and now that I’m almost graduated, it’s weird to know that I have time to do blogging or writing things. 🙂


  4. Welcome back! 😀 I found your blog a while back, but I’m new to blogging myself so I’ve only commented one other time. XD But I really enjoy your blog! 🙂
    You learned a lot of things! And pretty much all of them have my curiosity peaked. XD I am curious. How is ambition a sin? Is it because it is striving for achievement? I’m just curious. ^-^
    I’ve never read Til We have Faces, but I’ve been wanting to! I’ll have to give it a try soon then.
    Well, welcome back! I hope you have a good break and a merry Christmas! 🙂
    Good day and God bless!


    1. Thank you! Good luck with your blog. I hope it is going well.
      The problem with ambition is that it is always motivated by a desire for power– which is why Lucifer fell and why Eve took the forbidden fruit. Though we may claim that we are “ambitious for God,” this can’t actually be the case. Does God need us to do anything? Can anything we do offer anything to Him or benefit Him? No, because He lacks nothing. So all ambition is a self-serving desire for power and a major sin. Ouch, huh?
      You should definitely read it. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, too!


  5. Hi Gabrielle,
    Yes, I did just email you, LOL, but then I read your post and a few ideas popped into my head regarding staying up to date on blogging.
    One idea is to write the posts ahead of time when you’re on break, then post them later throughout school.
    Another idea is to reach out to other bloggers and ask for guest posts.
    And lastly you could try posting about what you learned in your favorite class of the day. (This is actually the premise that I built my blog on.) You can teach others while also solidifying what you learned that day. 🙂
    Anyways, I just got really excited about blogging all of the sudden. 🙂
    God Bless and Merry Christmas!


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