Tell Me Why You Love Me

“Why are you with me?”

The young woman looked up at her boyfriend, surprised by his question.

“What do you mean? I’m with you because I love you.”

“But why?” There was a subtle sadness in the young man’s eyes as he gazed at his girlfriend. “Why do you love me? You think I’m even worth it?”

The woman smiled kindly at the man. It was evident from the look in her eyes how silly she thought these questions were.

“I love you because you’re my best friend”, she said. “You’re sweet, and smart, and thoughtful. I love you because you make me laugh, and you comfort me when I’m sad. I love you because you understand me like no one else. I love you because you make me happy. So yes, I think you’re worth it.”

As her boyfriend smiled back, the young woman dared to ask the same question.

“Why do you love me?” she said. The young man hesitated; he didn’t believe he was quite as good with words as his girlfriend.

“You’re my best friend too. You make me happier than I’ve ever been. I’ve never loved anyone like I love you.”

“…Then I hope I’m worth it too.”

The couple gazed fondly at each other, then said good night the way they always did before ending their daily calls.

“You think we’ll be together again someday?” asked the young man. His girlfriend nodded.

“I don’t doubt it”, whispered the woman, and her boyfriend smiled again.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

The young lovers bid each other farewell and finally closed their computers. Though they couldn’t see each other anymore, they still felt peace as they thought of one another and the wonderful relationship they had. They may have been thousands of miles apart, but they knew that what they shared was incredibly special and too precious to let go. Their love was worth the wait.

Happy Birthday to my best friend and loving boyfriend! You’re a wonderful person, and I feel so blessed to have you in my life. I love you, sweetheart!

Motivational Music: Ambient/Post-Rock (Brent Gnecco, Explosions in the Sky, Hammock)

OK, so I had another idea for an Inspiration subtopic for my blog. Aside from good books and talented authors, I’ve found that another major source of inspiration for my writing is music. Based on that thought, I decided to start a Motivational Music segment on my blog, and since there’s so much great music that I enjoy, each new post will feature a few related artists/songs at a time.

To start off this segment, here are a few of my favorite artists in the ambient and post-rock genres. Enjoy, and be sure to check out their music if you can!

Brent Gnecco

Brent Gnecco MusicGenre(s): Ambient, Post-Rock
Origin: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Writing Inspiration: Fantasy, romance, tragedy
My Favorite Song(s): “We Are But Ghosts“, “Everything”

How could I start my Motivational Music posts with anyone else? This young man is someone very special to me, and his gift (and taste) in music has been inspiring me ever since we became friends. In fact, most of the artists to be featured on this blog were recommended to me by him, so if you discover new music here that you enjoy, you probably have him to thank for it.

Most of Brent’s music consists of what he calls “sad sounds”, strung together in beautiful melodies with a melancholy tone. His songs are usually played with an electric guitar and loop pedals to create echoing ambient sounds, though he’s also created some very cool rock and post-rock pieces (a few of which were written just for me!). The ethereal feel of his songs has helped me imagine some wonderful fantasy scenes for my writing, and his so-called “sad sounds” have sparked ideas for more tragic scenes in my romantic stories.

To hear Brent’s music, check out his YouTube channel and SoundCloud page. I recommend starting with “We Are But Ghosts“. Enjoy!

Explosions in the Sky

Explosions in the Sky - The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place

The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place (2003)

Genre(s): Post-Rock, Instrumental
Origin: Austin, TX, USA
Writing Inspiration: Romance, tragedy, poetry
My Favorite Song(s): “Your Hand in Mine” (The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, 2003)

If I remember correctly, Explosions in the Sky is the first post-rock band I ever listened to in my life. They’re also the first band I ever saw live in concert, and what an amazing experience it was! This band is popular for creating some very beautiful  and emotional music, almost all of which is instrumental (guitars and drums). Because their songs are so moving and don’t usually have lyrics, I like to listen to them when trying to find inspiration for purely emotional writing, such as poetry and certain scenes involving characters of a more artistic nature. They’re also great to listen to just for relaxing and getting lost in thought once in a while.


Hammock - Departure Songs

Departure Songs (2012)

Genre(s): Ambient, Post-Rock
Origin: Nashville, TN, USA
Writing Inspiration: Fantasy, romance, tragedy
My Favorite Song(s): “Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life” (Departure Songs, 2012)

Hammock is probably one of my favorite bands in the ambient/post-rock genres. Like Explosions in the Sky, their music is comprised largely of instrumental sounds, mostly guitar combined with electronic beats. I tend to find inspiration in their music for poetic and fantasy pieces, as their unique sound often has a soft echoing style to it. I especially love the album Departure Songs (2012), which focuses on themes of loss and consists of beautiful songs with an ethereal vibe, making it great inspiration for writing of a more melancholy type.

These are just a few of the ambient/post-rock artists that have inspired me with their music. There will be more featured on my blog in the future, so if you enjoy finding inspiration in this art as much as I do, look forward to more posts in my Motivational Music segment! Thanks for reading/listening!

Word of the Week: Altruism

Word: altruism

Pronunciation: AL-troo-iz-əm

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Remember that dialogue from The Big Bang Theory that I used to demonstrate last week’s vocabulary word? Well, it’s time to learn about the other word that was tripping Penny up.

“Altruism” refers to the theory or practice of putting the well-being of others before one’s own. In other words, “altruism” is the virtue of doing good deeds without expecting any benefits in return, as described in studies of various cultures and religions. The word can be traced back through different languages, from the French noun altruisme; to the Italian adjective altrui “other person”; to the Latin term alteri huic, meaning “to this other”.

In philosophy, “altruism” is the opposite of “egoism”, that is, the view that people’s actions are driven by self-interest. However, some disagree on whether these concepts are mutually exclusive, since doing good for others often comes with the side effect of personal gratification. Interestingly, the term “altruism” is also used in zoology to define the behavior of an animal that benefits others at its own expense (e.g. monkeys that sound alarm calls when predators are near, warning their troop of danger while simultaneously drawing attention to themselves).

Because of the weight it carries as a scientific and/or religious concept, the word seems to me like an even more virtuous form of “selflessness”. While a “selfless” person does good mostly for people closer to them, an “altruistic” person has a natural tendency to put the welfare of others in general before their own. That’s not to say these synonyms can’t be used interchangeably, of course; this is simply my own interpretation. In any case, “altruism” is usually a great character trait for a narrative’s hero, so it may be a good word to know for your writing, especially if you write adventure stories. A truly admirable protagonist is often a selfless one!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Journal – Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Yes, I got another blogging award! Being my third so far (the second has yet to be posted), the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award was kindly given to me by the very sweet and inspiring Lily of Lilica’s Place. Be sure to check out her blog! She’s awesome!

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers AwardThis award is shared among female bloggers who inspire each other through their writing. It’s an honor to have been considered for this award, especially since my blog is still only a few months old! Thank you so much!

The rules for this award are:

  1. Post the logo on your blog.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Choose 10-12 other ladies who blog as your nominees.
  4. Post the links to the nominees’ blogs and notify each of them on their blog.

Now here are my nominees, some really amazing women in the blogosphere:

1) Best Ever Easy Recipes

2) Jennifer M Zeiger

3) Emily Morgan Writes and Mama Going Solo (both run by the same blogger)

4) Vanessa Writes

5-9) Writers Challenge 2013 (This blog is run by five awesome female writers, so I’m counting them each individually here.)

10) Lilica’s Place (I know she’s the one who sent this award to me, but since I find her so inspiring, I feel she deserves another mention. No need to accept it all over again; it’s just a friendly gesture!)

Thanks for all your inspiration, ladies! And thank you again for the nomination, Lily! You’re amazing! Thanks for reading!

Tickets, Please!

How long does it take to get into a concert in Brazil?

A few years ago, my baby sister was part of a theater group, whose most recent accomplishment at the time was winning a chorus competition on a very popular variety show on national TV. Since then, they’d been getting calls left and right to perform at events, many of which were local. One of these calls was a request to open for a band that was going to be playing in town, the same band whose songs the group had performed on TV. It was a good opportunity for exposure, so naturally they accepted.

My sister informed us of the date and time of the concert, then told us that everyone in her group would be putting the names of their family members on a list so they could get in for free. After all, what’s the point of paying full retail for a concert ticket if you’re only going to watch your kid perform in the beginning instead of staying for the whole show? It made sense.

On the day of the show, my dad and I drove down to the concert hall to see my sister’s group perform. My mom couldn’t come with us, since she was out of town at the time, so I took my digital camera with me to record it for her. We got there about half an hour before the show was supposed to start, and found a long line outside leading into the building. The man at the entrance of the parking lot told us that parking was going to cost R$25 (Brazilian reals). To give an idea, that’s about 15 US dollars. My dad thought this was a bit steep for only a couple of hours, but we were going to watch my sister on stage one way or another, and the price wasn’t going down, so we paid and left our car in the lot.

If my dad had known the ordeal we were about to go through, he might have tried a little harder to haggle with the attendant.

The line outside the concert hall prompted a wait of about ten minutes to get into the building. When we finally reached the ticket counter, my dad mentioned the list with the names of the family members of the theater group that would be opening the show. One would have thought he was speaking a different language, based on the looks he got from the ladies behind the counter.

“What list?”

That was the last thing my dad wanted to hear when asking for tickets to the concert of a nationally famous band. He wasn’t prepared to shell out for something that was obviously going to be way too expensive, so he insisted that there was indeed a list. He was not alone in this argument; a few other families whose names should have been on that list showed up right behind us, asking the same questions my dad was. The staff then took the time to search through their VIP lists, which for some reason were located on the other side of a curtain behind the ticket counter instead of on the counter itself. I can only assume that’s what made them nearly impossible to find, since this process seemed to take three staff members a total of almost ten minutes to complete. When they finally returned to face a small crowd consisting mostly of confused parents, they did in fact have the mysteriously elusive list in hand. However, it came with some bad news: the list was not official, since the group hadn’t secured permission for it with the managers of the concert hall, so it was not valid for free admission. Great.

Well, turning around and leaving was not an option, since we had come with a special purpose (and a digital camera). From this point, we could either continue insisting on complementary VIP entrance just to see the opening act, or simply pay for VIP tickets. It’s probably obvious which was our first choice, but when that plan failed, my dad pulled out his wallet in defeat. This should have been the end of our struggle to get into the concert. Sadly, it was only about to get worse.

“Do you take credit cards?”

“Sorry, sir. Our card machine isn’t working today. Cash only.”

“Cash only” wasn’t a problem most of the time, but that’s because most of the time we weren’t obligated to pay overprice for parking. To our dismay, my dad discovered upon opening his wallet that he no longer had enough cash on hand to buy admission for both of us. The irony of this was that he was less than R$20 short of what we needed. It’s moments like these that make some of us wish irony were an actual person, just so it could literally be smacked in the face.

Our choices for how to get into the concert had been narrowed down to paying for tickets by credit card, and even that didn’t seem like an option. Still, we were determined. Now my dad was asking if they had any other card machines around the building that he could use to buy tickets. When the staff couldn’t provide one right away, he went so far as to visit the gift booth on the other side of the room to find one that might work. I stayed by the ticket counter, laughing to myself as I wondered who in the world Murphy was and how he could possibly have understood the universe so well that he even came up with a law to account for its perversity. I hid the smile on my face when I saw my dad walking back with an annoyed expression on his. No luck at the gift booth. This was really getting ridiculous.

Thankfully, it was around this point that we found a ray of hope. A man appeared from behind the curtain dividing the entrance and the concert floor just as my dad was explaining to the ladies at the counter that all he wanted to do tonight was watch his teenage daughter sing and dance on stage. What I saw next was proof to me that there are few things women find sweeter than a man who is genuinely supportive of his daughter’s career in the performing arts. While the ladies started to put a little more effort into helping us, the man who had just arrived, having obviously overheard, introduced himself to my dad as the manager of the concert hall. As it turned out, he had seen the theater group performing on national TV, and he remembered my sister from her solo in that performance, as well as having had the pleasure of meeting her and being charmed by her sweet personality.

The manager quickly sent someone to fetch a credit card machine from the bar inside the floor. A few minutes later, my dad and I finally had the VIP tickets we had thought would have taken much less time to buy. We thanked the staff for all their help, bypassed security, and made our way inside to the section of the floor closest to the stage.

The rest of the evening went about as well as one could imagine. My sister’s group was as great as ever, definitely worth the hassle to come and watch. It didn’t even matter that the show started over an hour late. Or that I had forgotten to clear out space in the digital camera’s memory, so we had to keep deleting old photos between songs so we could keep filming my sister. Or that we found out later that night that we could have gotten in for free the whole time if we had met with the other parents in the parking lot before the show. No, it didn’t matter. For the most part.

How long does it take to get into a concert in Brazil? If you’re lucky, less than half an hour. If the universe decides to make you its next victim, though, all you can really do is accept the test of patience while trying your best to laugh at the absurdity of life.

I wrote this short story as an assignment for the Humor module of my online UCBX creative writing course. The piece is based on a true story that happened to me and my dad a couple of years ago, and because of the absurdity of the events that took place that night, I thought it would make a great funny story. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!

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