Technically a Senior?

Let's recap:

Almost as soon as I hit the middle-marker for the fall semester (my last semester of junior year - I know, I'm confusing), I spilled coffee on my laptop. And yes, it was completely fried. No, I did not save any of my work on an external drive or even Google Docs, and yes, this was insanely dumb. Did I completely lose all of my important documents, including the book I was working on? Yes. Sadly, the way that I ruined my computer isn't even a good story: 

I was at Starbucks with some friends, and the barista gave me a venti americano instead of a grande. When we sat down to do homework, I sat with one friend, and the other friend was at a table by herself. That friend at the table by herself started talking about a TLC show she watched, and my ears immediately perked up because I'm a sucker for TLC reality shows. I turned to tell her a funny little quip about the show and somehow hooked my arm around the cup and knocked it onto my computer. Miraculously, the lid didn't fall off, but only a tablespoon or so of coffee fell on the keys. But, it was enough for the computer to never fully turn on again. (Cue Sarah McLachlan). I was so in shock at what had just happened that when the barista came over to make conversation and check in, I was completely silent. 


Now, fast forward to the tail-end of the spring semester, and I'm officially a first-semester senior! (Insert a fun little jig). It's kind of surreal, actually, because after the next summer and fall semesters, I will be a college graduate. Woah.  

This semester has been the best semester thus far; I feel like I have grown as a person, student, and writer. And I've finally updated some things on my website! Hello, new "Words" folder! Here, I have 3 pages that you can peruse through; the "Poems" page, "Essays" page (which I will post essays on shortly), and the "Published Works" page. 


Currently, I am...

Reading: The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp 

I'm reading this book for my Young Adult Literature class and using it as a primary source for my senior paper. (Let me just pause for a moment and say how great it is to be studying things in college that I truly enjoy.) It's a really good book, but it's a fantastic movie that stars Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller. Fun fact: it was produced by the same movie production company as Lady Bird!

Listening to: Troye Sivan and Dermot Kennedy

Honestly, I never get sick of Troye's music - please, oh please, go on tour.

Watching: 30 Rock and new episodes of New Girl

I mean, did we really think that I wouldn't be watching 30 Rock all the days of my life? And the newest season of New Girl isn't terrible! 

Reagan Fleming

Poetry Pieces

I knew I should've written it down;

I lost my thoughts again


think I was right thinking

too much into it


I float

I exist in the tornado


eyes once searching, 

now vacant lots to a 

dilapidated building


I like your brokenness.

mine,

just as deep.


I am waiting for the floor to crumble

the ceiling to collapse 

not knowing which step is final

which ankle will roll this time


like coffee is my bloodline,

I'm nervous everywhere; 

waves come crashing, no

stillness in the waters today


for now, I'm perfectly happy 

being not so happy about

being not so happy


Reagan Fleming

New York

Over this Christmas break, I was able to visit my sister in New York; we went to hot yoga classes, restaurants, a movie theater (I, Tonya is a great movie, by the way), bookstores, shops, and many many coffee shops. (We are coffee people.) The trip lasted for a little less than a week, and then we flew home on Christmas day. While in New York, we stayed in Brooklyn most of the time, but we also went to Soho, Herald Square, Flatiron, etc. And for any of you 30 Rock fans out there (I know there aren't many): we saw Jenna Maroney (aka Jane Krakowski) hailing a taxi, a mere feet from us! Weirdly enough, I didn't take as many pictures as I thought I would; I got caught up just sightseeing and exploring that I forgot to take more pictures than I knew what to do with. Thankfully, I took enough to make a blog post out of it - I hope you enjoy.


First, let's all marvel at the fact that the Brooklyn Public Library looks like this - my camera didn't alter the swoop of the roof... Heck, let's just marvel at both the BPL and New York Public Library. 

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library

With the NYPL in particular, I was amazed at the solid marble floors, the walkway leading up to the inside, the walls, and the intricate ceilings. 

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

The inside of the New York Public Library

The inside of the New York Public Library


Any bookstore that has a spiral staircase wins me over. (Housing Works Bookstore Café)


One day, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Was there a designated bike path for bikers and another for people walking? Yes. Did the walkers still walk in the bike lane and get yelled at by said bikers? Yes. Other than jumping out of my skin every time a biker whizzed past us, yelling at rule-breaking pedestrians, the walk across the bridge was chilly and beautiful - the sky even looked like velvet. 

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While Taylor was working one morning, I took to exploring the city by myself. It was raining pretty heavily at the start of my day, so I took a book with me, wore a beanie, grabbed an umbrella, and set off. I found refuge in a little shop called Goods for the Study and browsed. Then, I went to Stumptown Coffee Roasters and got a nice, hot latte while I read my current read at the time, Big Little Lies. We met up a few hours later and shopped, then saw I, Tonya at a dine-in theatre.

(Perfect rainy day activities)


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View of One World Trade Center

View of One World Trade Center


To say we walked a lot is an understatement. We walked miles upon miles, and I was smart and decided to break in my Doc Martens on one of these days (please sense my sarcasm - it was brutal). We took the subway, sure, but my family really loves to walk wherever we go and take the more scenic route when we can. So, at the beginning of one of our mornings to prepare us for a lot of walking, we bought donuts from Dough Donuts and enjoyed them with coffee at Bedford Hill Coffee Bar. Apparently during really busy hours, they prohibit the use of laptops, urging customers to talk to one another - props to you, café. When my mom visited my sister in NY a year or so ago, she tried a latte at this cute café and loved it; she's very picky with her lattes, so I had to try it to see if it lived up to all the hype - it did. 

In the picture below, I'm pretty sure I was contemplating how I was going to go about eating the ginormous dulce de leche donut sitting in its box, on my lap.

Bedford Hill Coffee Bar

Bedford Hill Coffee Bar

DUMBO, Brooklyn

DUMBO, Brooklyn

This spot in DUMBO is supposedly one of the most photographed places for weddings, engagement photos, and just photos in general, so I thought, "What the hey?" Yet, I wish I got the memo to do a fun pose like the girl to the left of the picture. She gets it.


Overall, I really enjoyed the hustle and bustle that is life in New York. I was only there for a short period of time, but immediately after getting off the plane in Queens, I could tell that everything was different in NY. So, thanks, Taylor for the perfect post-fall semester trip.

Taylor & I

Taylor & I

As Michael Scott once said, "New York, New York. The city so nice, they named it twice. Manhattan is the other name."

Reagan Fleming

Pre-Christmas-Break Concert

I have a running list of artists that I want to see in concert. Just to name a few, I want to see Angels & Airwaves, The xx, The 1975, Dermot Kennedy, Sigrid, The Japanese House, Bon Iver, and Cold War Kids. Before finals week this semester (a particularly stressful semester at that), I was able to go see one of these artists live - Cold War Kids. They were opening for Phoenix, a band I was vaguely familiar with. Now, as you know, going to concerts is my favorite activity; so, I jumped at the chance.


I apologize to you die-hard CWK fans out there, but the best way to describe their set is to say that it was underwhelming. I'm still a fan, but I was highly disappointed in their singing and the overall atmosphere they provided. In spite of that, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since the main singer sounded like he was feeling a little under the weather. (I know, I know, how kind of me.)

Initially, I was more excited to see CWK than Phoenix; I had heard Phoenix's songs, Lisztomania and Lasso a few years prior, but that was about it. Much to my surprise, Phoenix absolutely blew me away, and their performance made up for CWK's subpar one. Phoenix opened with J-Boy and kept the audience involved until their last song, 1901. And here's a fun little fact that I didn't know until that night: the band members are French! (Yes, every Phoenix fan probably knows this; but, as a student of French 203 that semester with only a small knowledge of the band, I got really excited when the main singer responded with, "Merci beaucoup," to the cheering crowd after their first song. Sue me.) 

My advice to you, reader, is that whenever Phoenix is playing in your city, see them. In order to persuade you further, here is a photo I took of that delightful show: 

Phoenix at Cain's Ballroom 

Phoenix at Cain's Ballroom 

Reagan Fleming

12/7/17

I never really listened to authors when they said that they "need" to write in order to function. I thought that this was a little farfetched and untrue, but I've come to the realization that they're onto something.

Throughout the years (I say as if I'm 50), I've dealt with anxiety and depression. This still feels a bit weird to write that out, but thankfully these topics aren't as taboo as they used to be. Basically, my downfall is when I keep everything bottled up and choose to not express my feelings. This is partly due to the fact that I'm an introvert; I don't think to go to a friend to talk an issue out, I simply overthink it or push it aside. When I'm feeling anxious (speaking of the devil - I am right now) thoughts tend to run rampant in my head and I have trouble keeping up with them. That said, I need to write. And I can tell when I haven't been writing. 


When I feel extra stressed or anxious, I write poetry - that's usually when the words come the easiest. Sometimes they're good, and sometimes they're really not. But for some reason, I wanted to share some of those words with you:


There’s not enough breath capacity in these lungs to exhale out, 

to filter out all my feelings. 

I don’t want them to be my feelings. 


Reagan Fleming

These Words

These last couple of weeks have been rough, to say the least. But, thankfully today marked the beginning of my Thanksgiving break (praise dance), so I decided to leave campus and read at a coffee shop. I got a chai (I know, who am I?) and read for a few hours. Every reader has a few authors or some books that just get them. Sarah Dessen? Yep. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green? (So far, even though I'm only on chapter 10?) Yes indeedy. Now, this may not be the most beneficial thing for my mental health, but I often lose myself in fiction books when I don't particularly want to focus on what's happening in real life. However, this becomes beneficial when a book causes me to think about my own life in a different or new way. For instance, when I first started reading TATWD the other night, I read a passage that made me immediately start crying. I don't cry very often, so for a book to make me cry was really something. Writers can make their readers feel things - really feel things. It takes a good writer to produce something more than just words on a line that become intermingled with all the other thoughts fumbling around in the reader's brain. Good writing consists of words that change the reader's point of view and/or make them feel understood. 

So, as the first few hours of Thanksgiving break began - one that will inevitably be filled with homework - I sipped my chai and read these words: "Your now is not your forever." 

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Reagan Fleming

Gap Year

Fall break is upon us (at least for me and my classmates) and I could not be more excited; Ohio has never looked more green and sunny, and the trees have never been more lush. Like how I want to spend most days, I am sitting outside at a coffee shop, with the sun beating down on my face. Today's drink is an iced americano with pumpkin syrup and cream. A girl to the table next to me is gabbing to her friend on how "okay" she is that her boyfriend isn't ready to commit, and some weird rock music is softly playing on the speakers overhead. Ahh, home.  


Some of you know that I took a year off of school. Some of you don't know that I did that, nor do you know that I'm even back at school. So there's your update on my life. 

I was at the point in my academic career where I wasn't settled on my choice of major, and I didn't know if I wanted to be at that university. So, I took a year off to work. I initially told myself that it would be just a semester, and that slowly turned into a year. But, I can honestly say that it was the best decision that I could have made; taking that year off helped me realize that yes, that university was the best one for me to attend, and yes, I wanted to finish my degree in Writing. I realize that some people take time off of school and they never go back - that was a possibility for me. Yet, during that time of being away from my college friends and not having a typical "student" life, I realized that I missed all the studying, the midnight Sonic runs, and most of all, the writing projects I had to do for my writing/English classes. My dad told my sister many years ago to "get a degree in something you love." I love writing. 

Now that I'm back in school - even though it took a while to get acclimated to everything again - I know that I'm supposed to be here. And that's a really good feeling. 


So. If you're ever unsure about college, or a job, or whatever it is - just take baby steps. It's okay to not know the whole picture.

Reagan Fleming 

Jane Eyre & the Brontë Sisters

It is Friday, May 12th, 2017, and I finished Jane Eyre earlier this afternoon. I started reading it two weeks ago + I watched the movie (2011 version) when I reached the 25th or so chapter. I was in a word, overwhelmed by Charlotte's writing. No offense to Emily, but I enjoyed Jane Eyre a lot more than I did Wuthering Heights. On one hand, I liked that WH had story line that went back and forth between past and present, + it was all narrated through the eyes of Nelly + a random passerby named Lockwood. On the other hand, Healthcliff + Catherine, the protagonists in the story, were extremely selfish people. As I was reading it, I was not rooting for either one of them. The entire book, although well written + thought out, was not as romantic, humorous, or compelling as Jane Eyre.  

Ah, Jane Eyre. There have been few books that I have read where I thought to myself: I want to be like her/him, in reference to the protagonist. Jane Eyre is definitely one of those characters. For one, Jane suffered through a terrible childhood where she was mistreated by her cousins + aunt, but somehow, she was able to go to her aunt's bedside in the end + forgive her, which is amazing. Secondly, her relationship with Rochester is adorable, but I mostly love it because they're funny together; their banter, although written in the 1800s, made me laugh out loud many, many times. Jane is a character that you are constantly rooting for, unlike those of WH. In the earlier chapters you're thinking: "When on earth is she going to find happiness? This is too depressing." and in the later chapters: "You go, Jane. You witty, brave soul." 


As nerdy as it sounds, I am currently on the waiting list at my library to get ahold of the PBS series: To Walk Invisible, a series about the Brontë sisters. I'm excited to see if what I think about each of the sisters (solely based on their writing styles) is true or not. Reader, I will keep you updated. But for now, I wanted to share with you some of the words that I underlined in Jane Eyre (lightly with a pencil, mind you. Don't freak out). 

We all know the quotes from this book, such as: "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will." and spoiler alert: "Reader, I married him." I wanted to share some unknown quotes that stood out to me.

  • 'I knew,' he continued, 'you would do me good in some way, at some time; - I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you: their expression and smile did not - (again he stopped) - did not (he proceeded hastily) strike delight to my very inmost heart so for nothing.' (Rochester) ... Strange energy was in his voice; strange fire in his look. 'I am glad I happened to be awake,' I said: and then I was going. (Jane)
  • He made me love him without looking at me. (Jane)
  • I saw them smile, laugh - it was nothing: the light of the candles had as much soul in it as their smile; the tinkle of the bell as much significance as their laugh. (Jane about the Ingrams)
  • Did you take any cold that night you half drowned me? (Rochester, after Jane saved him from the fire in his room by throwing buckets of water at the flames)
  • I have told you, reader, that I had learnt to love Mr. Rochester: I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me. (Jane)
  • His features were regular, but too relaxed: his eye was large and well cut, but the life looking out of it was a tame, vacant life - at least so I thought. (Jane, talking about Rochester)
  • Well, you too have power over me, and may injure me: yet I dare not show you where I am vulnerable, lest, faithful and friendly as you are, you should transfix me at once. (Rochester, talking to Jane)
  • ...but there was ever in Mr. Rochester (so at least I thought) such a wealth of the power of communicating happiness, that to taste but of the crumbs he scattered to stray and stranger birds like me, was to feast genially. (Jane - My personal favorite)
  • 'Thank you, Mr. Rochester, for your great kindness. I am strangely glad to get back again to you; and wherever you are is my home - my only home.' I walked on so fast that even he could hardly have overtaken me had he tried. (Jane)
  • This was very pleasant: there is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort. (Jane) 
  • Never had he called me more frequently to his presence; never been kinder to me when there - and, alas! never had I loved him so well. (Jane)
  • 'Because,' he said, 'I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you - especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, - you'd forget me.' (Rochester)
  • 'I would not - could not - marry Miss Ingram. You - you strange - you almost unearthly thing! - I love as my own flesh. You - poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are - I entreat to accept me as a husband.' (Rochester, talking to Jane)
  • Again and again he said, 'Are you happy, Jane?' And again and again I answered, 'Yes.' (Jane, after Rochester asked her to marry him the first time)
  • Mr. Rochester came thrice to my door in the course of it, to ask if I was safe and tranquil: and that was my comfort, that was strength for anything. (Jane)
  • 'Don't address me as if I were a beauty; I am your plain, Quakerish governess.' (Jane) 'You are a beauty, in my eyes; and a beauty just after the desire of my heart, - delicate and aërial.' (Rochester) 'Puny and insignificant, you mean. You are dreaming, sir, - or you are sneering. For God's sake, don't be ironical!' (Jane)
  • 'Had you ever experience of such a character, sir? Did you ever love such a one?' (Jane) 'I love it now.' (Rochester)
  • 'When you are inquisitive, Jane, you always make me smile. You open your eyes like an eager bird, and make every now and then a restless movement; as if answers in speech did not flow fast enough for you, and you wanted to read the tablet of one's heart.' (Rochester) 
  • '...I have for the first time found what I can truly love - I have found you. You are my sympathy - my better self - my good angel - I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wraps my existence about you - and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.' (Rochester to Jane)
  • We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us: and it is the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence. (Jane) 
  • 'Choose then, sir - her who loves you best.' (Jane) 'I will at least choose - her I love best. Jane, will you marry me?' (Rochester, asking Jane to marry him for the second time)
  • Whenever Rochester calls Jane an "elf."

Needless to say, I very much recommend this book. Read it if you haven't already in high school. Better yet, re-read it and underline the quotes that jump out at you.

Reagan Fleming

A Poem About Words

I tend to keep things. Because of this, I have a couple of flash-drives containing old poems, stories, pictures, etc. to make room on my computer. It's a win-win, because I'm de-cluttering, yet I get to keep my documents. As I was looking through one of my flash-drives today, I found this poem below. It was written about 2-3 years ago.


Isn’t it amazing how 

beautiful words sound together?

Alone, they are nouns, pronouns, etc.

but together, now there’s something 

different. 

Words can inspire.

They create a burn in 

the pit

of your stomach. 

They cause you

to act.

 

Or at least have the longing to.

Why don’t we go off of feelings?

That’s something us as a people

have tried to overcome.

“Don’t be led by feelings.

Follow facts and stats, those set in 

stone.” 

That’s all you can trust 

now isn’t it?

Reagan Fleming

Rainy Days + Rereading Books

It's raining, I'm in a coffee shop, and I'm tapping my feet along to a Spotify station. It's a Sunday, post-church, and I'm looking out of the huge window-wall at a Starbucks while I write this, drink and phone to my right. Outside, I can see people hiding under their umbrellas, making a beeline for the coffee shop; they're on a mission to simply find shelter and a warm beverage. Dustin Tebbutt is singing "Plans," in my headphones, and the rain outside along with Dustin's beautiful voice is making me feel so at peace right now. I have been under a little bit of stress lately - self-inflicted as well as the inevitable kind - so to be able to write a new post with this newfound calmness is refreshing.

The reason that things have been a little on the not-so-peaceful side, is because I am making the transition from "taking a semester off" to "going back to the U and finishing up my degree." I'm so stoked that I get to finish my last year and a half with my friends. However, it's kind of stressful getting from point A (home) to point B (at school and enrolled in all the proper classes). There are a lot of processes involved, guys. Who knew. 


Let me update you all on what I've been reading/listening to/coffee beverage I've been drinking this March. I'm really good at focusing on one topic at a time, as you can tell.

  • Current coffee drink: Double shot on ice with 2 pumps of caramel instead of the classic syrup, and a little bit o' soy. Hint: there are three shots of espresso in a grande, so you're welcome. And it's the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Current album: American Teen by Khalid. Some people say, "I've had this song/album on repeat!" and they've played it maybe three times. But seriously... I've had this album on repeat (minus when I was listening to Dustin Tebbott a few paragraphs earlier). I've listened to this album many many times - PS: it's great to listen to while writing. PPS: "Winter" is my favorite track. 
  • Current read: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. It's my 2nd time reading one of my favorite novels, and it's almost better the second time reading it; I'm noticing little things that I didn't before (or at least I'd like to think that I have been), and it reminds me why I love Dessen's books so much. I've been listening to the audiobook while I clean, and last night, I listened to it and read along while drinking a cup of tea - it was a crazy night. Let's take notice that this book is making me drink TEA now. This book changes you in ways you never thought possible. #CoffeeDrinkerTurnedTeaDrinkerSometimes

Below is a picture from when I met Sarah Dessen on her book tour for Saint Anything in 2015. There's something about seeing and being able to talk to an author whose books have played such a big part in your childhood/young-adult-hood and overall development as a writer. It gave me that boost of hope and and comfort, knowing that what I've chosen to do with my life isn't a waste.

Books matter. Words matter. 


I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.
— Sarah Dessen, Saint Anything

Reagan Fleming