BLOG SWAP! Feat. my sister Erin!

Hello and welcome to the first edition of BLOG SWAP!

I’m about to get married this Saturday (!!!!!) so I don’t have much time to post, BUT I had this idea forever ago and finally Erin and I have executed it so I didn’t want to have to wait a moment longer!

My younger sister enjoys writing and making beautiful (and sometimes quite intense…) illustrations.  I highly encourage you to check out her stuff at her blog, Darkness That Shines.

I wrote a post for her blog (this is a SWAP, after all!) and you can read it there.  Without further ado, here is my little sister’s little treat for you!

My sister thought maybe she’d post something on my blog to show the things that she likes to post, and I’d post something on her blog in exchange, so maybe a few followers would cross over.

Even if I only have like, 3 followers.


So I drew this picture, it took me 3+ hours, and it’s of a character of mine named Smiley.



She’s not completely human, she’s more like some sort of demon or spirit, and her real name isn’t actually Smiley, it’s just a nickname. Her brother’s nickname is Frowny, who obviously wears a frowny mask, and he can’t speak, but he can make noises such as laughing and screaming and such.

They’re twins, go everywhere together, are inseparable, and if they could choose from saving the world or saving their sibling, they will choose to save the sibling, every time. They cannot live without each other.

They are only about 5′ tall, and always wear black. You cannot take their masks off, only they can take off each others or their own. They’re sort of urban legends, and no one is positive they’re real or not. They love to steal things, especially shiny things, and are extremely stubborn. They rarely kill, but if you bother them enough they will, and they definitely can; they can “summon” pinkish-red ribbons of any thickness, and they can make them float around and stuff like tentacles and strangle people and tie them up and such. Their ribbons don’t stay, though, they sort of have a time limit, so after a day the ribbons will be gone, so theres no trace they were ever there at all.

Smiley is usually the one that kills people, and she of course does all the talking. She somehow always knows what her brother wants to say, so she’ll always speak for him. She’s extremely sassy and has a fiery temper, so you don’t want to get on her bad side. Her mask distorts her real voice, so she doesn’t sound like a female or a male, and people tend to think of her as a guy. She likes it that way, though, because she feels like no one will take her seriously if they know she’s a girl.

I might write a story about them, and I might post it on here, but I’m not sure how it’s going to go plot wise and stuff.

Let me know if you like it! I drew it with my new drawing tablet which I’m still getting used to, so constructive critisism and advice is highly welcome and recommended!


If you would like to give Erin any feedback feel free to comment below!  Also feel free to comment on her blog and follow her as well!  She is just bursting with talent and always amazes me with her boundless creativity, and I’m glad I got to share one of her creations with you.



PS:  Let’s do this again!  If you have a blog and would like to trade posts with me sometime, send me an e-mail at!  Or comment below.  Later!  🙂


2014 in review

Thank you all so much for your contributions to my blog! I look forward to what happens with this small blue thing in the future. 🙂

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Reunion

Reunion — war-torn — Titan
Reunion — war-torn — Titan

Those were the three words that The Brainstormer gave me that sparked this story.  The Brainstormer is a fabulous little app created by Andrew Bosley, a free-lance artist that I know from church (he’s really amazing, make sure you check out his stuff!)  The pinwheel app gives you three random words or phrases: an object or person, an adjective, and a conflict idea.  It’s meant to be a way to get you, well, brainstorming, and I can testify that it works magically.  There are endless possibilities.

Why this particular combination struck me I can’t be sure.  Maybe it’s because I saw it soon after I had just gone to my family reunion.  Maybe it was the word “titan,” which has always been a favorite word of mine.  Whatever it was that made me choose to use this as a prompt, the result was interesting.  I tried to pretend I was a war-torn titan at a family reunion.  What would that be like?  Would it be a relief and a joy to be home, or maybe more stressful than comforting?  And then somehow some romance crept in there.  Sometimes it amazes me what leaks into my writing.  “Where did I even get this?”  I wonder. This piece is a perfect example, since I’m no titan, I’ve never been in a war, and I’m not super knowledgable about romance either.  That’s the beauty of creativity, though.  We don’t have to experience every situation to try and find a way to understand it.

The title of this piece so far is The Reunion.  I hope you enjoy it, and make sure to listen to the song I posted at the bottom, it’s awesome and I thought it fit nicely with everything.

The Reunion

It was like a nightmare.

People came at him from all sides, reaching out to him and staring him down with wide eyes.  He stepped back, but the door had already closed behind him; he was not fast enough to grab the handle before the first pair of arms wrapped around him.

“Welcome home!”  The woman smelled of fresh-baked cookies and other noxious sweets, and he tried to recoil but found he had nowhere to go: he stumbled straight into another claustrophobic embrace.

“We missed you so!”

“My, would you look at that scar!  However did that happen?”

“Oh don’t talk about that now dear, he’s only just gotten back…”

“It’s such a blessing that you could make it back in time for the reunion!”

“My son just thinks you’re such the hero…”

“How are you feeling?  We were worried about you after…”

Suddenly a hand found his, and he would have pulled away, except that his hand remembered that hand.  The fingers laced between his familiarly, and something warm and lovely ran up the length of his arm and spread through his whole body.  The twittering old women faded away as he turned and met eyes with her, his anchor in the sea of uneasiness.

“You all right?”  She asked him, her big brown eyes soft and comforting.  She was the only face he had ever wanted to see when he was gone, and now that he was back, her face was the only one that didn’t make him feel unsafe.

“Sure,” he replied as she carefully steered him around the little blobs of inconsequential relatives.

“It’s a lot all at once, I know,” she said, and suddenly he felt a pang of guilt.  These were his relatives, after all, not hers; it should have been him who was leading her around the hall.

“No, it’s fine,” he lied, squeezing her hand and ordering his lips to smile.  One side obeyed, but only very weakly, and he silently cursed it as it fell back to it’s usual limp state.

“We don’t have to stay the whole time,” she said softly, pulling out a chair for herself and sitting down.  He sat next to her, still holding her hand.  He was trying not to grip it so tightly, but it was hard.  She was his lifeline, but he couldn’t hold on to her the same way he did to real lifelines, he told his hand.  This wasn’t the ocean.  This wasn’t a battle of that kind.

“Whenever you want to leave, just let me know,” she continued.  He looked around the room— countless faces, some strangely familiar, some just strange.  Then he looked back at her.

“I don’t want to leave,” he said finally.  He felt his heart jump even as he spoke; he, the war hero who had faced droves of armed men without flinching, could feel his blood begin to chill at the thought of staying in that room with all those people.  “I can’t.  I already left all this once…  should at least try not to walk out on them again.”

She leaned over and kissed him.

“You’re the bravest man I know,” she whispered, smiling at him warmly.  He smiled back at her, and even though it was still a small smile, it was a real smile this time.  The fear wasn’t gone, but it was smaller now, as if she had taken some of it away when her lips left his.  He looked over the crowd again and felt a calmness settle over him.  He could do this.  Or, if he couldn’t, they could.  Together.


The Book Thief

I know, I know. It’s been entirely too long.

School overcame my life. As well as some other things. I didn’t even post a song for November, or a new quote! Don’t worry, I’ll try to make up for it next week when December rolls around. Until then, however, here’s a post about something I’ve been meaning to cover for a long time:

The Book Thief

“It’s a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery

I saw the book thief three times.”

And so begins one of my favorite novels.  Markus Zusak’s historical fiction novel The Book Thief is, as described above, a story about a lot of different things that you would not at first think are related.  But probably the most unexpected thing about this book is who Zusak chose as his narrator– Death.

The Book Thief cover

Morbid, I know.  I can see why people might think it strange that I love this book so much, since I myself am not the most morbid of people.  But the thing is, while The Book Thief is told by a morbid narrator, and takes place in a rather morbid setting (World War II Germany is not a cheery place, no matter what side you were on), the novel itself, the actual atmosphere of the entire book, is not inherently morbid.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There are some heartbreaking chapters in that novel; a lot of them, in fact.  But to me, this novel carries a powerful message about selflessness and love.  The characters discover that throughout their many horrid, unbearable trials, they can find peace and joy when they focus on helping others.  In spite of all the terrifying things that they have to experience, they still find a way to keep their character, to remember their humanity and reach out to each other to help each other through.

the_book_thief_by_jaystab-d3bema5The story of the protagonist, Liesel Meminger, is particularly inspiring.  A young German girl who is left with foster parents when her mother (a communist) is taken away, Liesel has to struggle with the challenges of hunger, fear, and (due to her lack of schooling before coming to her new family), illiteracy.  The latter torments her for the first few years in her new home as she tries to understand the world around her, which, especially with Hitler’s rise to power and the growing prominence of Nazi propaganda, seems to revolve around words.  Liesel works hard, studying by painting words on the wall in the basement and reading books– not all of which were obtained legally.

Another very important story in this book is that of Liesel’s unassuming adoptive Papa, Hans Hubermann.  Hans, who fought alongside and befriended a Jewish man during World War I, finds the Nazism in his country difficult to deal with.  The Book Thief follows his struggle between trying to keep his family on the good side of The Party while still being able to live with his conscience… and then Max shows up.

Max Vandenburg, the son of Hans Hubermann’s World War I comrade, seeks shelter from the growing anti-semantic violence at the Hubermann house. He is a fist-fighter, a defier of Death, and, as Liesel soon discovers, a writer of stories. His friendship with the Hubermann family and the lenghths they go to in order to protect him are inspiring.

The fact that these character’s lives are narrated by Death adds a certain rawness to the story. Death tells it like it is, no cutting corners or sugar-coating things. This is one major issue that I have with the movie that recently came out based on this book– it wasn’t real enough. It was a good movie with a great cast, but the story was… lacking. All of the raw emotion had been drained from it. This book makes you hurt for these people, and the movie just didn’t do that.

Anyway, back to the book– Death is the perfect narrator. Throughout the novel, he uses Liesel, Hans, and Max’s lives to demonstrate the best and the worst that he has seen in humanity. The entire time, Death is just trying to understand us– why we treat each other so horribly, and how we can be so loving and forgiving. It’s a beautiful perspective, and I’m infinitely grateful to my 9th grade English teacher who, when I told her I didn’t want to read the book she had assigned me because it was narrated by death, told me that I really needed to give something different a try. 🙂


So, to prevent myself from spoiling anything in this wonderful novel, I’m going to end this post here. The Book Thief explores the emotions and actions of the German people during World War II, in a way that humanizes and makes relatable horrors and emotions most of us will never experience. If you have any interest in World War II, reading and writing, or just in people in general, I highly recommend this book. If it doesn’t change how you feel about the war, it will change how you understand the actions of people around you.

Sincerely, your book-loving author,
Torrence Nightingale