Your Guiding Light

Who would I be today
Without your guiding light?
Would I still be myself?
Would I still turn out all right?

Without your love and guidance,
I don’t know where I’d be.
I’d probably be lost,
Like a ship at open sea.

Your words of wisdom taught me
To distinguish right from wrong.
You’re the model of a woman
Who is nurturing and strong.

Through the years, as I grew older,
Your patience knew no end.
Though I made many mistakes,
You remained my truest friend.

Who on Earth could ever love me
As much as you always do?
I know God gave me a blessing
In a mother just like you.

To my mother, friend, and mentor,
There are few words that can say
Just how much I truly love you!
Have a wonderful birthday!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful mother! Thank you for always being my guiding light! I love you so much!

3 Lessons from My Mother That Inspire My Writing

I’ve made no secret of the fact that much of my inspiration for writing comes from my family. Some of that inspiration comes from observation while some of it comes directly from the lessons they teach me, and some of the best lessons I’ve ever learned came from my mother. She’s one of the wisest people I know, and many of her lessons have made their way as much into my personal life as into my stories. They say “write what you know”, and much of what I know about life comes from her!

So this week, I’d like to dedicate my creative writing post to my amazing role model and share three of my favorite lessons from her that inspire my stories. Enjoy, and thanks for the inspiration, Mom!

1) Marry someone with whom you share mutual love and respect.

every_man_and_woman_quoteAs I’ve mentioned a few times before, my parents are my greatest inspiration for romance. They talk about everything, laugh with each other often, and clearly love and respect each other immensely. That’s why most of the romantic relationships in my stories are between people who start out as friends and who would go to the ends of the Earth for one another. My mom clearly didn’t settle when it came to choosing her life partner because my dad does everything to make her happy and take care of their family. At the same time, he isn’t exactly the easiest person to live with, yet she always seems to know how to talk to him and what to say to keep him content (an art I’m still trying to master myself).

It’s this amazing balance that I try to practice in my personal life, as well as give my characters when I want to convey how much they really care for each other. True love is hard to find, so I’m lucky to have such excellent role models in my parents. One of the best lessons my mom taught me is that a woman should be loving and understanding, and should never settle for a partner who doesn’t appreciate how wonderful she is!

2) Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.

parent_of_a_teenagerOne of the qualities I admire most about my mom is how great she is at being a mother. She always took excellent care of me and my sisters, guiding us through life and protecting us from the dangers of the world while still giving us the freedom to develop our own personalities. Now as an adult taking on my own responsibilities, it’s become clear to me in hindsight how much my mother truly did to give us a happy childhood. Raising three daughters and running a household were definitely challenges in and of themselves, yet she always made them seem effortless. And on top of everything, I didn’t exactly make the job any easier for her when I was growing up. Let’s just say I went through some attitude issues in my early teens and she had to bear the brunt, always handling the situation with a level of patience that I couldn’t even dream of. I can only imagine the challenges that lie ahead if I ever become a mom!

Whenever I write characters who are mothers, I try to keep in mind the difficulty of the job and imagine backstories for them full of the trials of raising children by drawing inspiration from everything my mother has done for her family. And not to speak too highly of how I think I turned out, but I believe she did a pretty great job!

3) There’s no relationship like the bond between and a mother and daughter!

I admit it: every time I watch Pixar’s Brave, it makes me want to hug my mother and tell her I’m sorry for everything I ever put her through. The story of Princess Merida and Queen Elinor is reminiscent of the relationship I had with my mom growing up: she taught me everything she could about being a lady, yet being a stubborn tomboy who mostly took after her father, I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with her. Still, I appreciate all her efforts to raise me into a “princess”, and while I often rebelled as a child, I understand now that she always had my best interests at heart and that she was the only one who could ever have taken on the task. As much as I’ve learned from my father and my sisters over the years, my relationship with my mother will always be special and unique!


Princess Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor (Brave, 2012)

Much like how the story turns out for Merida and Elinor, I like to think my mom’s efforts did pay off in the end and that we have a great friendship today. No matter how many times we’ve argued in the past, my mother is still my greatest role model, and I can only hope that if I ever have a daughter of my own someday, I can be at least half the guardian, mentor, and inspiration to her as my mom is to me. For now, though, I’ll simply have to settle for modeling some of my characters after her and using her lessons as inspiration for my stories, both fictional and real life!

What about you? Have you ever drawn creative inspiration from your mother’s lessons? What sorts of stories or poetry has she inspired?

Today’s post is dedicated to my mother, whose love and lessons have always been a wonderful inspiration to me. Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Word of the Week: Circumlocution

Word: circumlocution

Pronunciation: sər-kəm-lə-KYOO-sh(ə)n

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: the use of many words where fewer would do, especially in a deliberate attempt to be vague or evasive

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Have you ever tried having a discussion with someone who insisted on stalling the conversation to no end or using a thousand words for something that could have been said in three? I’m sure we’ve all met people like that before, but while some simply like to hear themselves talk, others deliberately use this practice as an evasive maneuver to avoid an unpleasant topic. The way they see it, when verbal confrontation is inevitable, a good escape route is “circumlocution”!

“Circumlocution” is the use of many words where fewer would suffice, typically in an attempt to be evasive or vague. The word arose in late Middle English and comes from the Latin noun circumlocutio, meaning “indirect speech”. This noun comprises the adverb circum “around” and the verb loqui “to speak”.

Fun fact: I learned this word while reading about the same video game character who inspired my post on the word “nihilism“, as he tends to be vague about the reason behind his laziness for fear of upsetting his loved ones with his discovery. Interestingly, the Latin word for “circumlocution” is probably a translation of the Greek noun periphrazein “periphrasis”, defined as “the use of indirect and circumlocutory speech or writing”. Because of this, these two words are possibly interchangeable, though notably the latter’s definition makes no reference to a deliberate use of indirect speech to be evasive. If your characters try to avoid unpleasant topics of discussion with long and vague speeches, you may enjoy pointing out the “circumlocution” in your stories!

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

Ode to the Redlip Blenny

Oh strange fish, whose
Phylogeography baffles me so.
How did you traverse the Atlantic?
I thought you were Brazilian –
O. trinitatis, I called you –
But when I tested your DNA, I
Learned that you came from the East!
Everyone was amazed when I told them;
Nobody had anticipated such a result!
Never again will I make the mistake of
Inferring conclusions before obtaining results and
Underestimating the surprises of academia.
Science truly is incredible!

I think an explanation is due here. Apparently, in the final weeks leading up to my Master’s thesis defense, the only thing that was on my mind anymore was the reef fish I had been studying for almost two years. Its common name is the redlip blenny, but I mostly referred to it by its genus name, Ophioblennius. Well, now that my project is done and my thesis has been defended, I thought it fitting to see my fish off with a poem! Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

25 More Sets of Easily Confused Words to Be Aware Of

Every morning, as part of my daily routine, I exercise my mind with the Elevate – Brain Training app. I tend to do well in most of the Writing games, but there is one that almost always trips me up no matter how many times I play it: Error Avoidance. In this game, you’re provided with a series of sentences, each containing two words that can easily be confused, and your goal is to fill the gauges on the screen by correctly choosing whether to swap the words or leave them as they are. I’ve played rounds of this game that lasted several minutes because I kept either mixing up the words I didn’t know or second-guessing the ones I did. It seems even for native speakers, English is a difficult and confusing language!

I’ve featured a list of 25 sets of easily confused words on my blog before, but playing Error Avoidance has inspired me to share some more. So for your reference, here are 25 more sets of easily confused words to watch out for in your writing. Enjoy!

error_avoidance1) Abjure / Adjure – To “abjure” is to solemnly renounce a belief, cause, or claim. To “adjure” is to urge or request someone solemnly or earnestly to do something.

2) Abstruse / Obtuse – To be “abstruse” is to be difficult to understand. To be “obtuse” is to be slow to understand.

3) Allude / Elude – To “allude” to something is to call attention to it indirectly. To “elude” is to evade or escape from danger.

4) Amoral / Immoral – To be “amoral” is to lack a moral sense. To be “immoral” is to not conform to accepted standards of morality.

5) Amuse / Bemuse – To “amuse” is to entertain someone. To “bemuse” is to bewilder or confuse someone.

6) Appraise / Apprise – To “appraise” something is to assess its value or quality. To “apprise” is to inform someone.

7) Credible / Creditable / Credulous – To be “credible” is to be convincing or able to be believed. To be “creditable” is to be worthy of acknowledgment. To be “credulous” is to be too ready or willing to believe things.

8) Elegy / Eulogy – An “elegy” is a reflective poem, typically a lament for the dead. A “eulogy” is a speech of praise about someone who has recently died.

9) Emigrate / Immigrate – To “emigrate” is to permanently leave one’s home country. To “immigrate” is to move to a new country.

10) Endemic / Epidemic – To be “endemic” is to be exclusive to a particular area. An “epidemic” is a widespread occurrence of a disease or phenomenon.

11) Entomology / Etymology – “Entomology” is the study of insects. “Etymology” is the study of the origin of words.

12) Envelop / Envelope – To “envelop” is to wrap up or surround something completely. An “envelope” is a paper container used for holding letters.

13) Existent / Extant – To be “existent” is to be real. To be “extant” is to still be present.

14) Flaunt / Flout – To “flaunt” is to show off. To “flout” is to openly disregard the rules.

15) Flounder / Founder – To “flounder” is to struggle helplessly. To “founder” is to sink or fail.

16) Forbear / Forebear – To “forbear” is to refrain from doing something. A “forebear” is an ancestor.

17) Imply / Infer – To “imply” is to strongly suggest something. To “infer” is to draw a conclusion based on evidence and logic.

18) Inequality / Inequity – “Inequality” is a lack of equality. “Inequity” is a lack of fairness or justice.

19) Moral / Morale – To be “moral” is to be concerned with principles of right and wrong. “Morale” is the confidence and enthusiasm of a person or group of people.

20) Perpetrate / Perpetuate – To “perpetrate” is to commit a crime. To “perpetuate” is to make something continue indefinitely.

21) Persecute / Prosecute – To “persecute” is to treat someone unfairly, typically because of race, religion, or political views. To “prosecute” is to institute legal proceedings against someone.

22) Rational / Rationale – To be “rational” is to be in accordance with reason or logic. “Rationale” is a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action.

23) Sallow / Shallow – To be “sallow” is to have an unhealthy yellow or pale complexion. To be “shallow” is to lack depth.

24) Sanguine / Saturnine – To be “sanguine” is to be positive and optimistic. To be “saturnine” is to be slow and gloomy.

25) Upmost / Utmost – To be “upmost” is to be the highest. To be “utmost” is to be the greatest or most extreme.

What about you? Are there any words you often get mixed up? What other pairs or sets of words would you add to this list?

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