Libby: Take The Library With You

Books, books, books.

I want so many of them, but I can’t be spending. As a college student a dollar for a book at the thrift store is also a dollar for laundry! 

This is why I’m devoted to the library, and want to talk about a free app called Libby, by OverDrive. I’ll be displaying it from my iPhone. 

Continue reading Libby: Take The Library With You

A Little on Running Are-Lit

This fall semester I’ve done most of my blog writing at home instead of hanging out at a café. I rent a three-bedroom apartment with eleven other family members; an aunt and uncle, two grandparents, and seven cousins. 

I’m blessed with my own bedroom. Tiny and comfy but mostly cluttered because I don’t listen when I tell myself, “You have no more space!” I bring home free books from the library and Tupperware from my momma no matter what. 

I was also recently gifted a mini fridge from my older sister, Diana. Now my writing is only interrupted by bathroom breaks and when I need more water. 

I have a desk I don’t use. It’s more of a shelf now. A fluffy pillow on the floor is all I really need to get settled to write. I’ll admit sometimes it’s not the best workspace because I lean right over and take a nap. 

Drinking coffee on the floor isn’t the greatest either. After knocking over my cup a bunch of times, and most recently cough syrup, I hid all the stains with a dramatic carpet made out of scarfs. Don’t tell the landlord!

Continue reading A Little on Running Are-Lit

Writing Dialogue: These 5 Stories Will Help You Cope

A lot can be revealed through a conversation. Characters grow right before your eyes, the plot keeps rolling, the story stays engaging, and the pages don’t stop turning.

Dialogue is a sharp storytelling element.

Starting off, it stressed me out. My characters all sounded the same, the conversations wouldn’t add to the story, and I couldn’t tell if an interaction was necessary. So, I’d just avoid the dialogue.

Not the way to go. You practice, but first…

…to write the best, we read the best and hope some of the talent sticks.

Here are five short stories you can use as sources when crafting your dialogue.

Continue reading Writing Dialogue: These 5 Stories Will Help You Cope

Jeremy Ashley Owens: Being “Your Youest You” and Eliminating​ the Judgement in Writing and Performance

Jeremy Ashley Owens found the reading series You’re Being Ridiculous in 2010 and has produced and hosted ever since. Each show is led by a theme and people get together to share stories about their lives. Their motto, “Good stories are better than good times.”

From a previous interview for Windy City TimesOwens explained YBR came from wanting, “to be onstage talking about what I wanted to talk about.” He also desired a “safe, happy place” where he could be in charge of what he wanted to say and have other people with him.

Originally from Stuttgart, Arkansas, “the rice and duck capital OF THE WORLD,” Owens resides in Rogers Park. He’s a co-editor for Heauxs Chicagoand his work has appeared in Oy!Chicago, Role RebootThreadThe Daily Dotand Story Club Magazine. He’s also been featured in live-lit shows Essay Fiesta, Fillet of Solo Theatre Festival, Guts & Glory, Story Club Chicago, Story Sessions, The Paper Machete, This Much Is True, and That’s All She Wrote.

I reached out to Owens to ask about his writing process, advice for nonfiction/performing newcomers, what he looks for when reading YBR submissions and more!

Continue reading Jeremy Ashley Owens: Being “Your Youest You” and Eliminating​ the Judgement in Writing and Performance

This is Are-Lit.​

Are-Lit is a literary blog.

I write because I love to read. I read to learn to write.

Writing is therapeutic but…

…messy. The process makes me wonder if I’m indeed cut out to be a writer: the voice, character development, world building, dialogue, structure, sensory details, and edit after edit after edit.

I used to think, “The first time I get published will be the day all my writing doubts will disappear.” I’ve seen my stories in print three times, and I still read through them picking at what I should’ve done better.

The reader deserves the best experience.

When someone takes a few seconds to comment on how a piece taught them a new stylistic choice, made them remember a unique time in their lives, or feel something new, it makes all those hours spent drinking coffee, rewriting, and reading out loud, a million times more purposeful.

The struggle behind-the-scenes contributes to what your final piece becomes. This process has inspired me to create this blog where I can share my own process, teach the craft, talk about fiction/nonfiction books and experiences that keep me wanting and writing more, and, most of all, welcome a community of hardworking writers.

Continue reading This is Are-Lit.​