Mythology with Erin

Adventures in storytelling

Author: Erin Page 1 of 8

Week 14 in Review

Week 14 is the last week of full classes before dead week! I can’t wait to be done with the semester.

Here is my favorite image from the class announcements this week:

I love this graphic about things to put in a writing notebook. I keep writing notebooks of my own, and this has made me want to pull them out and keep using them regularly. I love my notebooks; I’ve finished one entire pocket-sized Moleskine, and I’m about halfway through with my second. I don’t often write in them anymore, but I take both of them with me in my backpack wherever I go. I love this tongue-in-cheek representation of the things that go in a writer’s notebook (like bad poems, lol, I have some of those). I also like that it ends on a serious note: yourself. 

My favorite video from this week was the short film, The Present. I love short films, and they have this horrible ability to make me tear up in a way nothing else can. I think it’s the minimal dialogue paired with extremely expressive storytelling. Also the music is always very appropriate to the story in a moving way. I especially liked that this one had a puppy. It made me wish that I had a puppy to play with, but I’ll have to wait until I get home for Christmas to play with my dogs.

Image 1: Rewind knob. Source – Flickr.

Image 2: “What to put in your notebook” Source – Grant Snider 

Famous Last Words: Four for Four!

WE BEAT TEXAS!

Yesterday, the band went to the Big XII Championship, where we avenged our loss to Texas and won the title for the fourth year in a row. Now, we’re heading to the Orange Bowl in Miami to face Alabama! I can’t wait for the trip, and I hope the game goes in our favor.

Before the big game, though, we have to survive the semester. I’m crash landing this week and next as I’m wrapping things up in each class. In fact, this is my last assignment for this class! 

I have a lot of papers to write, which is annoying but I guess I asked for it. The worst one is an 8-10 page paper for my Latin Literature class. I’m not sure how I’m going to write an 8 page paper about Latin poetry. I hate how college pushes that brevity and conciseness in writing is an imperative trait, but minimum lengths on assignments always seem way too long. I think I could fully address the prompt in 4 or 5 pages, so I guess I’ll have to dig in for the last three.

I am lucky this semester that I only have one true final to sit for. It’s a bit exasperating that it is Wednesday night of finals week, which means I’m going to spend the whole week twiddling my thumbs for the test, and I can’t just go home right after it. 

I’m super excited for Christmas, though! We’ve just put the Christmas tree up in our apartment, and it makes me smile each time I look at it. We also have a drumline Christmas party tonight, and we’re doing Secret Santa.

I’m a bit sad to finish this class; it’s been so much fun and I’ve learned so much about mythology and storytelling. I’ve been able to challenge myself as well as use this class as a way to relax, which has been great for a crazy semester. Now I’m just recommending this course to as many people as I can! I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in this class, and it has made look at learning in a different way. I hope the things I’ve learned in this course will continue to echo through my next years at college, especially the things we’ve learned about failing and growth mindset. I’m so glad my first experience with an online class was so positive!

Image 1: Snareline picture following the Big XII Championship. Source – Personal Photos

Image 2: Snareline horns down following the Big XII Championship. Source – Personal Photos

Image 3: Our Christmas Tree! Source – Personal Photos

Week 12 Reading: King Arthur, Part A

What is the beginning of this text saying about human nature and leadership? I think there’s a lot of “divine right of kings” philosophy in this myth, that a chosen one has to be the leader in order for goodness and chivalry to reign. Still, it’s a very good set up and presents a fallen world for a hero to save.

I love magical, sacred items like the Sword in the Stone. The idea a of a “chosen one” is an old trope, and one that doesn’t really fit into modern philosophies, as we now much prefer stories where anyone, even the low-born nobodies can be heroes.

“Kay shall not be without a sword this day. I will take that sword in the churchyard, and give it to him,” Arthur is a pure hero with such perfect behavior and ideals that it’s almost unbelievable. How would this story be different if Arthur displayed some kind of flaw, like pride or a bit of selfishness?

How would this story be different if Arthur realized what he was doing when he pulled the sword out? I don’t really like that he does it in such a casual, ignorant way. I feel like that could be a really epic moment.

I don’t think I had ever realized that Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone were different swords. That’s so interesting.

“Sir,” answered Merlin, “what you say as to her beauty is true, but, if your heart was not set on her, I could find you another as fair, and of more goodness, than she. But if a man’s heart is once set it is idle to try to turn him.” Yeah, I know the whole Lancelot incident, but every other time I’ve read about Guinevere, she’s been portrayed as perfectly good and wholesome. This is the first time it’s been implied that she might not be a good person, even when she’s young. I kind of like this angle; it makes her a much more interesting character that would be fun to explore. 

Sir Tor sounds like a really interesting character since he was born a commoner and then made a knight. I wonder how that affects his actions and relationships with the other knights.

I don’t really like Merlin in this version of the story. He comes across as a controlling old dude and doesn’t seem to be very loving or respectful of Arthur. He almost seems to be scheming, with the way he says things without explaining them.

Morgan le Fay throws the magic scabbard in the lake; I wonder what would happen if someone found it in the future. That could be an interesting spin.

Morgan le Fay reminds me a lot of Loki and other mischief gods and trickster characters. She never seems like a true formidable villain; just a jealous, scheming sister.

The Chapel of St. Augustine can only be found by “adventure.” I like settings like this because it turns travels into Quests. Just like the Lady of the Lake and Excalibur, Arthur has to go on an adventure in order to find what he’s looking for.

It’s definitely interesting that the Holy Grail is seen as a bringer of doom in this story, not a holy and good artifact.

Bibliography: 

King Arthur: Tales of the Round Table by Andrew Lang. (1902). – Web Source.

Image 1: Sword in a boulder. Source – Pxhere

Image 2: A sword-in-the-stone pewter figurine that I got at Norman’s Medieval Fair last year! Source – My photo.

Image 3: King Arthur by Charles Ernest Butler. Source – Wikipedia.

Famous Last Words: Toss the Tortillas

Welcome to November! I love this month because it means the beginning of the holiday season, and the weather is generally pretty brisk and mild. Last night was the time change, though, and I’m not a fan of that. I don’t like it when it gets dark early, but it does make evening band rehearsal more interesting. We call it Pride After Dark.

This week, I was still in the lull following midterms, so there wasn’t a whole lot of work to do. I did have one exam in Native American Music, and I kind of blew it off. I think I still did well on it, but it wasn’t as easy as it could have been. Other than that, I’m very proud of how I’ve been performing. I got a 92% on my Latin Literature midterm, which was one of the best in the class. I’m also consistently averaging above a 90 in my Media Writing, which will be valuable soon since the assignments keep getting more difficult. I’m right where I want to be to shoot for a 4.0 this semester!

In this class, I’m nearly done. I’m really only wrapping up my project, which is all I’ve done this week. It’s been nice to put this class aside so I can focus on other things, but I really do enjoy the creative time I get to spend working on my Story and Storybook. This week, I’ll add the final installment!

To continue my football season journal: this weekend I travelled to Lubbock with band to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders! It was such an exciting game to be at; I’m just glad we came away with the W. If you watched the game, you almost certainly saw me playing snare drum with the band! It was such a small group that they could show all of us in one TV shot.

Since it was a 7:00 pm kickoff, we had a ton of free time during the day, which was relaxing compared to our usual non-stop game days. We even got to walk around the Texas Tech campus! I’m still partial to OU, of course, but they had some neat things to see, like their giant seal.

Also with the beginning of November has become Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month! I started my novel on the 1st and wrote 1,800 words. Unfortunately that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I couldn’t write on Thursday or Friday because of the trip, and I’ve been too busy today. Hopefully I’ll get some words down before bed, though! I’m feeling pretty good about my novel now. I was nervous coming in because I haven’t done a lot of outlining for it, but while I couldn’t write on the bus, I could daydream and think about my novel for the 5 hour trip. 

I’m looking forward to Bedlam this weekend! There’s no one else from my high school at OU, and there’s no one from my high school in any of the other Big XII bands EXCEPT Oklahoma State. I’m really hoping I get to see my old bandmate for pictures and to show all of my Oklahoman and Texan friends, who have pals all over the Big XII, that my band actually did exist, haha. See you next week for a recap of what’s sure to be another crazy game.

Image 1: The drumline has a tradition of choosing two OU players to “sponsor” for the game and writing their numbers on our hands. We’ve also recently started writing inside jokes, funny phrases, and symbols on our knuckles. Last night, I wrote “Roll Tide” upside down and backwards because I really wanted Alabama to beat LSU. Source – My personal photos

Image 2: The Texas Tech pep band drumline. What you can’t see in the picture is that the wind is blowing, and the temperature is dropping 15 degrees. Source – My personal photos.

Image 3: The four snare drums that went to Texas Tech. Source – My personal photos.

Image 4: The Texas Tech seal, which is placed outside the front entrance of the university. Source – My personal photos.

Week 11 Story: Daedalus’ Haunted Labyrinth

Author’s Note: I hope you enjoyed this choose-you-own-adventure Halloween story! I had a lot of fun working with Twine to create it. Hopefully you found a way to survive!

The rooms and monsters within the story come from different episodes I’ve read from throughout the semester.

The giant spider is based on Arachne, a Greek woman who was turned into a spider after challenging Athena to a weaving contest. Versions differ about whether or not Arachne won the competition, but the transformation was because of her hubris (pride) in challenging the gods. Thus, by flattering her, you can talk your way past the fearsome spider.

The flaming field of grass comes from the stories of the Japanese hero, Yamato. At one point, Yamato is stuck in a burning field, and he uses his sword to put out the flames. In my version, you can use the blanket from Arachne as a shield against the flames.

The monster in the forest is a Wendigo, which I learned about in a Crash course Mythology video about monsters. The Wendigo is a mythical monster from Native tribes in Canada. They are humans who have surrendered to their own wickedness and have become cannibal monsters. In some tribes, the transformation can be reversed with fire, which is seen as purifying. 

Finally, the eye-stealer in the mansion comes from a Blackfoot story that I read last week about a man called Thunder, who steals eyes and displays them in his house. The only way to defeat him is with a raven’s medicine (or power) so you need to team up with a raven to get past him in my story.

The overarching concept is that of Daedalus’ Labyrinth, which is where the minotaur is kept in the story of Theseus. 

Bibliography:

Here’s some more information about Arachne.

Crash Course Myth: Monsters, Horses, and Dragons. Web source.

Romance of Old Japan by E.W. Champney and F. Champney. Web source.

Blackfeet Indian Stories by George Bird Grinnell (1915). Web source.

Image: Stone Labyrinth. Source – Wikipedia.

Famous Last Words: Where’s the Cat?

It’s the last week of October! That means it’s almost November, and November is always one of my favorite months. It’s been a good October, which is unusual. October is usually the April of the fall semester: insane. The weather has been crazy, football has been crazy, and school has been crazy, but I survived it all pretty easily.

I had almost nothing to do for school this past week, which meant that when I wasn’t in class, I was in my room reading with my window open, enjoying the fresh air. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas came out this week, and I got my copy! It’s the last book in the Throne of Glass series, which has been one of my favorites and a huge inspiration for my writing. I thought the yellow cover was going to look bad, but it’s absolutely beautiful in person. I’ve been reading this series since middle school, and I clearly remembering looking up the projected release dates for the 7-book series and thinking “Wow, I’m going to be a sophomore in college before this is over.” It’s crazy that it’s actually happened!

I haven’t gotten to read a single word of it yet because I’m trying to reread the whole series as a refresher. Right now I’m at the beginning of book 4, so it might be a week or so before I get to KoA. Luckily this next weekend, I’ll have a five hour bus ride to Lubbock for the Texas Tech game to read on!

The K-State game yesterday was fun. I despise homecoming parades, but it wasn’t so bad this year. We were worried it was going to be hot again, and we wore our red uniforms, which are hotter than the white ones. However, despite the cloudless sky, it was pretty mild once we got into the stands! The band danced to Thriller at halftime, which was awesome! Check out the performance below. Thriller starts at about 6:55.

The title of today’s post comes from a funny incident at the game. K-State has a stuffed bobcat that they display on their sideline. We all noticed it and had a good laugh at the strange prop, and the stadium cameras zoomed in on it. Five minutes later, the cat was gone, much to the amusement of the student section, who wrote “Where’s the cat? Spooky,” on a whiteboard after the cat went missing. Did K-State just get embarrassed at the attention? Or did a sneaky student manage to filch the taxidermied wildcat? 

I’m trying to put the brakes on in this class a little bit (she said while writing up a bonus assignment) because I’m in no rush, and I definitely want to finish my Storybook project before I’m done with the class. I’ll probably hit my point goal early but stick around long enough to wrap up the project. I’ll definitely be done by Thanksgiving Break, though, and it will be nice to have a class out of the way before finals season!

Next week: Texas Tech Red Raiders at 7:00 p.m. I love pep band away trips! Hopefully we’ll get to see them through tortillas on the field…

Image 1: Stuffed bobcat at Shenandoah River State Park. Source – Flickr.

Image 2: Kingdom of Ash hardcover by Sarah J. Maas. Source – my personal photos.

Week 10 Story Lab: Advice to Writers

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Good Writing Practices:

“Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” 

Neil Gaiman

This is an especially tough one because it’s easy to get bogged down in the middle of a story, start a new and exciting project, and then leave the old one undone.

I love number 8:

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (that may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

Neil Gaiman

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling:

I love Pixar’s tips! Their stories are always so fantastic, and these tips are great for aspiring writers.

#5: Simplify; I love simplifying my work because I tend to make it too complicated in the beginning. I definitely combine characters often.

#7 Endings are really hard. I’m still uncertain about the ending of the novel I’ve been working on for 6 years/

#9 This is great advice for throwing in something unexpected!

#12 This is how we learned to brainstorm in my Destination Imagination club. We would throw out ideas and write each one down, but we’d force ourselves to keep going for a long time to come up with more creative, less obvious plans.

#17 is the reason I have a giant Word file on my computer labelled “Archived Scraps” that hasn’t been opened in years.

#20 I’m a big proponent of writing what you want to read. The first entry in my first writer’s journal is a list of things that I like to read about or find in stories like “Time travel, dreams, secret sanctums, witty banter, goofy friends, superpowers, sacrifice, sword fights, and monologues.”

John Grisham’s Do’s and Don’ts for Popular Fiction:

Write every day—This is pretty good advice but hard to follow. I tend to believe that as long as you’re writing something, even if it’s a journal or blog and not your actual Work-in-Progress, you’ll get better at writing.

I don’t like his advice about a thesaurus. I think a thesaurus is a useful tool, as long as you don’t go digging for the most obscure words possible. But vocabulary should be varied and vivid, and using a thesaurus helps with that.

Nanowrimo

I also took some time with this story lab to set up my November writing project. I’m really excited about it, and one thing I’m trying to do with my writing this year is not keeping it to myself. I can be very protective of my work to the point of being secretive, and I don’t think that’s healthy for my writing or for my ability to deal with feedback. So here’s a novel aesthetic that I created with Canva! The (current) title of the novel is Compass Point.

Image 1: Open, blank journal. Source – Pixnio.

Image 2: Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. Source – Hello You Creatives

Image 3: Compass Point aesthetic. Source – Made on Canva.

Week 10 Reading Notes: Blackfeet Stories, Part B

The Smart Woman Chief:

WHOA. This story starts really sexist and then has a total twist ending where the women make the men look like complete fools. 

I hereby propose that we solve all our problems by turning the perpetrators into pine trees. There would be fewer annoying people AND more forests.

Bobcat and Birch Tree:

Judging from this and the previous story, Old Man is really foolish and kind of a jerk, especially when he kills all of the prairie dogs. It’s interesting that his persona is also tied to the Blackfeet creator god, which is usually a wise and benevolent character.

Kut-O-Yis, The Blood Boy:

Kut-o-yis literally comes from the blood of a bison, which is one of the wildest origin stories I’ve ever heard. 

Respecting and helping elders must be a strong value to the Blackfeet since Kut-o-yis is born to help the old people overcome their cruel son-in-law.

Bears, like wolves, are also some of my favorite animals. We saw a few of them this summer, and the general opinion was do NOT mess with bears. They’re no friendly, and they have been known to cause trouble with humans. Obviously that Blackfeet share that opinion of the bears, as in this story, they are stealing human food.

It’s interesting that in all of these stories, there is a tyrant who is taking food from the people. Many times it is animals. I guess that represents the struggle that the Blackfeet may have had with nature.

“Kut-o-yis’ was glad to know that there was such a person, and he went to the mountains.” This is Kut-o-yis’s response to finding out that there is someone who may be able to kill him. The man is obviously a folk hero character with great skills and benevolence, but maybe that response is a sign that he’s also reckless and a bit arrogant, which are common flaws of heroic characters.

“The ground was white as snow with the bones of those who had died. There were bodies with flesh on them; some who had died not long before and some who were still living.” More scary images that might inspire my Halloween story. I wonder if bones and skeletons hold a special significance to the Blackfeet people as they seem to be a common motif in the more gruesome stories.

Kut-o-yis wants to visit “all the people.” There are several small groups within the overarching Blackfeet Nation, and I wonder if this is alluding to them being separate but unified under one language and culture. Since they share language, it makes sense that they would also share mythologies and legends, so maybe Kut-o-yis is a common figure in each group’s folklore.

“Now, really, this was what Kut-o-yis’ was looking for. This was what he was doing in the world, trying to kill off all the bad things.” What a heroic guy!

Bibliography:

Blackfeet Indian Stories by George Bird Grinnell (1915). Web source.

Image 1: Chief Mountain on the Blackfeet Reservation. Source – Wikipedia.

Image 2: Blackfeet warrior by Bodmer. Source – Wikipedia.

Image 3: Map of Blackfeet land and Glacier National Park. Source – Wikipedia.

Week 10 Reading Notes: Blackfeet Stories, Part A

I decided to read this unit this week because during the summer, I visited northwest Montana, which is where the Blackfeet people live. We were on their reservation for a brief time, and many areas of Glacier National Park are part of their history. I was especially inspired by the story of Running Eagle, a female warrior of the Blackfeet Nation from the 1800s. She’s similar to China’s Mulan or even Joan of Arc. We hiked to Running Eagle Falls and learned all about her importance to the nation.

Here is some more information about the Blackfeet Nation, as they are known in the United States: Wikipedia.

The Wolf Man:

Wolves are one of my favorite animals! The Blackfeet people characterize them as clever and strong and possessing of special powers. This legend is almost like a werewolf story, since the man is partially turned into a wolf. 

I wonder why the man chooses to turn his back on his people by stealing their food after the wolves save him. Was his anger at his wives extended to his entire tribe?

The Dog and the Root Digger:

“This happened long ago.” This opening sentence sounds like it may be another version of saying “Once upon a time.” It immediately engages the imaginations of the audience and the mystery of the upcoming story.

“In those days the people were hungry. No buffalo could be found, no antelope were seen on the prairie. Grass grew in the trails where the elk and the deer used to travel. There was not even a rabbit in the brush.” I love the short sentences used here. It sounds like someone is reading aloud, telling a story to a group of listeners.

What is a root digger? —After Googling, there doesn’t seem to be an animal that is regularly called a “root digger,” but I think I can safely assume that it’s some type of small rodent, like the ground squirrels we saw in Montana this summer or even a gopher.

“Soon after this the woman and her son went off to pick berries…” I wonder if they’re out picking huckleberries, which grow in the wild in Montana, where the Blackfeet are from!

The Camp of the Ghosts:

It’s interesting that the idea of journeying to the underworld is such a key part of so many mythologies. There’s one in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, which I learned about in a Crash Course video. There are scads of them in Classical Greek mythology, from Orpheus to Cupid and Psyche, which I read for a unit. There was even one in Japanese mythology with their creator god and goddess! Humans seem to need to find ways to describe and explain death.

“If you should open them and look about you, you would die.” Serious Orpheus vibes.

“They will try to scare you; they will make fearful noises and you will see strange and terrible things, but do not be afraid.” I’m really looking for some material to help me write a scary Halloween story, so I hope these things really are frightening!

Ah, to the Blackfeet, the best way to overcome fear is by being “strong of heart” and resolute. 

It’s interesting that the ghost village has a similar structure as a human village: there is a chief and citizens. The ghosts can smell, and they seem to have the ability to talk and reason. They’re not just floating, scary zombie types.

There are a lot of rules in this task! He must keep his eyes shut, obey the ghosts, clean himself in a sweat-house.

“Not long after this, once in the night, this man told his wife to do something, and when she did not begin at once he picked up a brand from the fire and raised it — not that he intended to strike her with it, but he made as if he would — when all at once she vanished and was never seen again.” What an interesting ending to the story. Did the entire Blackfoot Nation have a stigma against domestic violence? Or was it commonplace and this story so happened to warn against it? Was it told or adapted by women? There’s a whole sociological conundrum in this one paragraph!

How the Thunder Pipe Came:

“Are you brave enough to enter the lodge of that dreadful person?” asked the Raven. “He lives near here. His lodge is of stone like this one, and hanging in it are eyes–the eyes of those he has killed or taken away. He has taken out their eyes and hung them in his lodge. Now then! Dare you enter there?” This sounds a lot like a haunted house!

Cold Maker’s Medicine:

This is some spooky stuff, similar to Hansel and Gretel. The old women is definitely reminiscent of a witch. She tricks Lone Feather into thinking she’s friendly and murders him.

It’s terrifying to hear what she does to Lone Feather’s body: she cuts it up, cooks it, and eats it. Then she throws his bones out, and there’s a huge pile of bones! How many people has this old woman killed?

“‘My bow is broken. I cannot,’ said Broken Bow sadly.” HA!

“Medicine” seems to be somewhat equivalent to magic because Cold Maker’s medicine allows him to stop the smoke and start a snowstorm.

Bibliography:

Blackfeet Indian Stories by George Bird Grinnell (1915). Web source.

Image 1: Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. Source – Wikipedia.

Image 2: Running Eagle Falls, just east of Two Medicine Lake. Source – Personal photos

Image 3: A trailhead sign near Running Eagle Falls that tells about the Blackfoot warrior woman. Source – Personal photos

Image 4: A yawning wolf. Source – Wikipedia.

Image 5: A ground squirrel in Glacier National Park. Source – Wikipedia.

Famous Last Words: Road Trip!

What a week! In last week’s Famous Last Words, I talked about how excited I am for fall, but this week we skipped over autumn and went straight to winter! It was FREEZING! 

It was so cold, in fact, that my roommates and I hosted a hot cocoa party on Monday evening. Our apartment is walking distance from Pride Field, so after a frosty band rehearsal, most of the drumline walked over. I had Crockpot hot chocolate all ready to go, and while everyone drank that, I made red beans and rice. That warmed everyone up! I love cooking for people, so it was a lot of fun. We watched a movie, and in the middle of the movie, a delivery guy from Insomnia Cookies showed up with two boxes of cookies for us. But no one had ordered any! We eventually found out that one of my roommates’ parents had heard about our little get together and ordered us cookies all the way from Dallas. It was so sweet of them!

The rest of the week was hot and cold. I loved my work in this class this week, especially my story. I’ve always admired science fiction and space fantasy, but I’ve never written any. I enjoyed dipping my toes into the genre!

I also felt really inspired by doing my revisions in my project this week. It’s really easy for me as a writer to feel like I’m bad at writing because I don’t get feedback very often. It’s not like I shove manuscripts at my friends and ask them for line edits. However, I was uplifted by the comments on my project this week because many of them were positive, and it showed me that I am actually good at this craft that I’ve chosen. 

In a similar vein, I’m incredibly excited because I’ve decided to do Nanowrimo this year! Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and (while I have many critiques of the event and understand it’s not perfect) it was my first ever experiment with novel writing. The goal of the event is to write 50,000 words of an original novel during the month of November. That’s about 1,667 words per day! When I was in 7th grade, I decided to participate, and I wrote over 50,000 words of my first novel. That manuscript was actual garbage, but I absolutely loved writing it. Since then, I haven’t seriously participated in the event, and I feel like I need a burst of energy in my writing that Nanowrimo can help me get. The only way to get better at writing is by doing it, and as a goal/progress-oriented person, there’s no better way to motivate me than giving me a goal and a deadline. I’ve already drawn a progress bar on my bathroom mirror for me to fill in as I go. I have no idea how this is going to go or how I’m going to find the time to write 1,667 words per day, but I’m ready to give it a shot come November 1.

We played TCU this weekend, which was crazy. The Pride left at 4:30 a.m. to go to Fort Worth and we were back at 7:30 p.m. Talk about a whirlwind road trip! The game was pretty average as far as games go. I was impressed with how our defense performed after the firing of Mike Stoops. It’s definitely not a 180-degree turnaround, but that’s too much to expect after just two weeks. I was just glad to see improvement and some convincing stops! The TCU band was super nice to us, which was refreshing because their fans were pretty rude here and there. The fans also arrived super late, like after kickoff. It was sad and surprising to see the TCU band performing pregame to almost empty stands when ours are packed and roaring when we take the field. The fans also left super early, even when their team was still in the game. The student section reduced by half early during the 4th quarter. 

**See explanation below**

The best part of yesterday’s game day, though, was watching the Ohio State vs Purdue game. My dad texted me “Are you watching the game?!” and I had no clue what he was talking about because we’d just gotten back from TCU and I was cooking dinner. When I found out that unranked Purdue was solidly beating #2 Ohio State, I rushed to my room, grabbed my laptop, and had the game playing on our living room TV within two minutes. All of my roommates came in, and we watched the last quarter. Go Boilermakers! I can’t believe they won! Now Ohio State is almost completely out of the playoff picture, which is just what we need to get back in. Now we need Notre Dame to lose, either Alabama or LSU to embarrass the other in their upcoming matchup, and to defeat Texas in the Big XII Championship. What a crazy and exciting football season!

Everything that I’ve just mentioned was cool and all, but the absolute BEST thing this week happened at our Friday evening band rehearsal, which no one wanted to be at. My roommates and I were walked to the Everest practice facility. We rounded a corner, chatting about something mindless or complaining about going to rehearsal. And then mid-sentence, our eyes locked on something. Someone. My brain could barely register it. I thought I was seeing a ghost. Or hallucinating. Or just really, really confused. Because standing there, in the flesh, was KEVIN.

You have to understand how unfathomable this was: Kevin was part of our very close drumline friend group last year. He played cymbals, he worked at Roscoe’s, and he was amazing. We loved Kevin SO MUCH. But we weren’t supposed to see Kevin until 2020 because during the summer, Kevin left to go to Argentina on his mission as a member of the LDS church. The only way we could communicate with him was by email, and he only had 30 minutes a week to read all of his emails, write personal replies, and write a weekly update for his friends and family. Every day during Pride someone would sigh and say “I miss Kevin.” We bittersweetly made old jokes about him missing the bus to Texas last year and fondly recalled all of the silly things he did. We’d basically given him up for dead, except for those emails. We weren’t supposed to see him until 2020.

BUT NOW HE’S BACK. We don’t know why–it definitely doesn’t matter–but we’re happy to have our Kevin back. My roommates screamed when they saw him. I suddenly got dizzy with adrenaline. We did the running-group-hug thing. Our percussion director wasn’t mad that we were all a little late to rehearsal because Kevin was back, and that was crazy. We had been so put-out with going to rehearsal, but after seeing Kevin, we couldn’t stop smiling. I now understand the feelings that happen when a service member comes home and surprises his or her family.

I’m looking forward to some better fall temperatures this week and a fairly relaxing week as far as assignments go. I have one big assignment due tomorrow, but that’s it for the week! Boomer Sooner!

Image 1: American highway. Source – Max Pixel.

**Image 2 Explanation: This is a TCU stadium souvenir cup. One of the weird Pride traditions that no one really knows about is that a lot of Pride members collect souvenir cups from the stadiums we visit. I love collecting things, so I get super excited about getting a new cup. This is my first from TCU! I also have cups from Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Iowa State as well as our own stadium, the Rose Bowl (my favorite!) the OKC Thunder, and the 2017 Big XII championship. That last one is funny because it’s actually a Dallas Cowboys stadium cup, not the ACTUAL Big XII Championship cup. I forgot to bring cash to the game that day, so I ended up scavenging the stands for abandoned cups and could only find a Cowboys one. To make up for it, I wrote “2017 Big XII Championship: OU vs TCU” on the bottom of the cup, along with the score of the game. My biggest regret is that I didn’t know about the collecting tradition when we were at Ohio State last year, so I didn’t get one of those cups. One day I’m hoping to find one on eBay or at a garage sale, lol. As for Big XII teams, I still need to collect Kansas State, Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas Tech! Image Source: My personal photos

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