All posts by Abby Wolff

About Abby Wolff

As far back as I can remember, I have been creating. I was blessed to grow up in Kansas City into a family that encouraged me to pursue my passions in the arts. I am currently on track to double major in Animation and Theatre/Cinema at Missouri Western State University. Some of my favorite moments on stage have been playing Ruth in Blithe Spirit (MWSU), Genie in Aladdin (CYT-KC), and Anybody's in West Side Story (CYT-KC). Behind the scenes credits include Dramaturg and Scenic Charge for The Great American Trailer Park (MWSU), Prop Designer and ASM for The Addams Family (TitP-Shawnee Mission), and Prop Designer for The Drowsy Chaperone (OCTA). Along with working on and off stage, I also serve as the Vice President of the Alpha Psi Omega- Xi Eta cast. When not on stage or in the animation studio, you can usually find me either working in the Missouri Western scene shop, working on short films, or writing and doodling in coffee shops. Life is too short to be boring. We have been given the opportunity to live extraordinary lives, and I want to use the time I have to make art that matters.

Broken Streak

For the past 43 weeks, I have uploaded a blog post to this site every Friday in a way to keep a promise to myself that I could keep a habit going for a whole calendar year. Ideally, I like to finish these posts by Wednesday night/Thursday morning so I can have time to sit on them and process what I have written. However, it’s 11:30pm on Friday night at Applebees and this is my first time all week sitting down to write. It’s been a stressful week, but a show has been opened and I survived my Spanish test. 

 

There is nothing profound in this blog post. In fact, it’ll be late. I have broken my streak. Whenever I break a streak, I usually give up completely. But here I am, chugging away at a post, trying to keep a promise to myself. 

 

This post is not for anyone else but myself. It’s now Saturday afternoon, and while my streak of having a post every Friday has been broken, I still intend to keep this promise to myself. Abby, it’s okay to slip up. However, just because you slip up doesn’t mean you have to quit completely. Life is insane, but you’re tough and have conquered so much. Brush it off and keep going. 

 

*Deep breath* See you next week. 

 

Until Next Time, 

 

Abby

 

The Best Cartoon to Ever Happen

Okay, so I’m running on a cup of coffee (that I almost dropped my phone into) but fighting off NyQuil that is trying to knock me out. It’s 10:27pm and I’ve been sleeping half the day and dancing throughout the other half. I’m about to hit crisis mode before this musical opens. In light of this, let’s talk about the best tv show to ever exist EVER:

Gravity Falls

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After I made the family watch Girl Meets World a few years ago, my brother Jeremy suggested that we start watching a new Disney show about a set of twins who go to live with their great uncle in a very strange town over their summer break. The show follows Dipper, a very smart boy who wants to crack the mysteries surrounding the town, and his sister Mabel, a girl who embodies the word “whimsical”, as they make friends and discover the insanity that makes up Gravity Falls. Their con-artist Gruncle Stan hides his own secrets throughout the plots, and we come to find that his has a truly huge mystery that he has been trying to overcome the whole summer. 

Spoiler time: if you’re reading this and plan to watch this brilliant piece of television, scroll past this paragraph. When you see the next gif, you are safe. Come back after you’ve enjoyed two seasons of beautiful story telling. 

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In season 2, the twins find out that Stan is actually a twin himself, as he pulls his brother, Ford, from an inter-dimensional time portal. The two brothers are at each other’s throats, even when saving the universe was in the balance. It wasn’t until Stan and Ford realized that they needed to regain the comradery like Mabel and Dipper have that they were able to work as a team to stop the evil triangle demon, Bill. Anyone who hasn’t watched the show would probably think that this is a super lame villain, but I kid you not, he is one of the best written villians in a TV show that I have ever seen. 

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End of Spoilers

 

I love this show. It’s a very complex story full of cyphers and mysteries for the audience to try and crack. In fact, the fan-base figured out what major plot points through clues before the episode even aired. Stories that inspire that much passion are to be commended. Television like that is what inspires me to keep working on my own stuff. If I could create something that inspires that much excitement, I would be a very happy wolf pup. 

There’s a quote I found from Alex Hirsch, the creator of Gravity Falls. It says, “Gravity Falls was never meant to be a series that goes on and on forever. It’s meant to be an exploration of the experience of summer, and in a larger sense, a story about childhood itself. The fact that childhood ends is exactly what makes it so precious, and why you should cherish it while it lasts.” I found that quote while scrolling through my Pinterest, sitting on the couch with Jeremy on the floor with his giant blue exercise ball. We had been watching episodes all day together, enjoying each other’s company and not at each other’s throats. It was so nice. 

When I was living at home, I got my bro-bro to get off the Xbox tonight and come watch more episodes with me while I worked on a new drawing project or fought against my homework. I hope that my friend’s kids are watching my shows or reading my books and feeling the same whimsy I feel when I enjoy stories. I plan to start another watch-through with Sweet Ben and a new college buddy very soon. If you too would like to experience a story that will make you feel good about life, check out Gravity Falls: you will not regret it.

 

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Until Next Time,

Abby

Revisit: Grief

This past Wednesday should have been my buddy Houston’s 22nd Birthday here on Earth. Luckily for him, he spent it in heaven with his Saviour as he has done for the past several years. While the grief has evolved over the years and become manageable, there are still times where I find myself longing to see loved ones that have passed on before me. There is no time table on grief, and sometimes you will have waves of emotion come out of nowhere. 

This Revisit is from my first winter break of undergrad. I was back in Kansas City about to head back to St. Joseph for my second semester. With these revisits, I make it a rule for myself to not change anything that I originally wrote in 2017. I started this experiment with myself when I was cleaning out my Google Drive and ran across two documents in which I was pushing myself to write once a day for an entire year. Neither project was completed to the intended goal, but the original drafts serve as a sort of time capsule for myself. This week, I wanted to look back on where I was at almost three year ago in terms of how I thought about grief and hard questions we ask. Words in bold are 2019 Abby, and italicized words are from 2017 me.

 

January 8th 2017

During Sunday School today while we were doing a lesson on Job, a few of the girls were asking really hard questions. Seventh grade girls can ask really hard-hitting questions at the most unexpected times. You know, those questions. The questions like, “If God can do anything, why does He let sin happen?” and “Why doesn’t God fix bad things?” Earthly suffering is a tricky topic is juggle when looking at it from a human perspective. When you add God to the mix, there can be a lot of frustration and confusion. 

During my high school years, there were many times I was very angry with God. Like, super angry. As in lots of yelling in my car on drives to school that I didn’t want to go to and feeling guilty later that I was feeling perfectly normal emotions. A big time was when Houston died. A bright, wonderful, loving, talented 17-year-old killed in a car accident right before he was supposed to lead Tarzan. I mean, come on WHY? I’m never ever going to forget that horrible night when we were sitting at the table playing Jenga and mom got the phone call. After that phone call, I went to Target to pick up some things with my dad. I wandered the store, calling every person I could think of, including one of our Pastors. An hour later, our living room was filled with a dozen heart-broken teenagers. For a few weeks after that, I was bitter towards God. Why did He take someone like Houston? It seemed like Houston had so much more to give to this world. Having someone who is such a big light be taken away never fully makes sense to us. 

I was numb towards God in Romania. That night in the children’s home up in the mountains when both Grams and Grandma weren’t doing well and my team was praying for them, I remember praying, “God, please don’t take her till I get home.” It was one of the last few days I spent in the country with my missions team. We had finished our service work and were doing some sight-seeing on our last few days.  Totally selfish thinking, but I didn’t talk to her enough at my graduation party. I wanted more opportunities to talk to her. I just wanted to talk to her one more time. Come to wake up hours later, Susan  was gone from her suffering, leaving me on Earth with my own. I’m glad God took that pain from her, I truly am, and that’s where I find my joy. But the grief, that still lingers, and has fanned the flame of other grief I haven’t yet gotten over. This grief has lightened over the years, but still remains. 

God’s timing is perfect, and that’s not just something I say because that’s what I’ve been told all my life. No, I trust that His plan is perfect, because He is perfect. But man, there are times I’d really like to see His timeline laid out. It’s so aggravating being trapped in this human form at times; being stuck in my sinful body when I know that there’s going to be a time when the pain and hardships that are caused by sin are gone. Constantly fighting against my own body in order to be in communion with my Father is exhausting at times. I know the Holy Spirit brings us strength when we are weary, because if He weren’t inside of me, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be alive right now. I guarantee that if I did not have Christ living in me that I wouldn’t be alive today. 

Oh, how awesome is my God that He would reach out to a wrecked piece of creation like me. How awesome that He would take my little hand and wipe away the tears from my eyes. How awesome that He would carry me through the pain of loss and heart break. How awesome that He would hold me as I shake with anger and grief. How awesome that He would lay down his life for me. How awesome that He would send other hearts that He’s created to live out the call of rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. How awesome that He never leaves us, even when we wander. 

Suffering comes in many forms. It can be something seemingly small or hugely devastating, but regardless of what level it is, I feel as though I have come to the conclusion of how I look at God through it all. God is bigger than me. This is a huge understatement, but it is still true. God is bigger, and He sees the bigger picture, because He created it. Who am I to wag my finger t at Him and tell Him that He’s wrong? What right do I have to shake my fist at the One who went through the greatest amount of suffering any person could ever go through? While my soul may bleed and ache, I know that He knows the “why”, even if I never will. 

 

Life can suck at times. I am unbelievably grateful that I have a Father who remains unmoving even when I am being tossed by massive waves. Is grief ever easy to handle? Absolutely not. Is pain something we should be happy with having? Of course not. Even in the midst of our suffering though we can still find joy when we understand that what happens in life can shape us into stronger people. Do I have all the answers to why crappy stuff happens? No, and I never will as long as I am on Earth. Because of this, I have given up the fight in trying to understand and chose to press on by continuing to grow. Lord, let me today and everyday renew my commitment to reflecting Your Love even when my imperfect life seems to be crumbling down around me. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

 

Simple Joys

Life is stressful. Spanish tests make you cry. Dance steps that you don’t understand can make you feel like a loser. However, there’s a lot of great stuff to remind you to love life. I did an exercise with myself this past week where I wrote down as many things that bring me joy. This is what I came up with!

  • Walking to class with your favorite album playing through your headphones
  • A cup of tea in the morning when you’re feeling icky
  • Jump in a puddle
  • Ten different colors of pens
  • Making a friendship bracelet
  • Sparkly eyeshadow  
  • Using stickers to check off items on your to-do list
  • Neon flashcards for studying
  • Wishing on a dandelion 
  • Hot coffee to accompany you during homework sessions
  • Watching cartoons from your childhood with your pals
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Taking selfies with people you love 
  • Bean bag chairs
  • Playing Risk at 11pm with your people
  • Doodles in the margins
  • Petting a happy doggo
  • McDonald’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Reading a book that is in no way, shape, or form related to school work
  • Pink Sunsets
  • Binge watching “Yugi-Oh”
  • WWE Video Games
  • Holding hands
  • Eat chocolate
  • Wandering through an art museum 
  • Lemon drops
  • Leaving an encouraging sticky note on the bathroom mirror
  • Bubble wrap
  • Getting a new pair of shoelaces
  • Orange Soda 
  • Treating yourself to two flavors of ice cream
  • Hand-written letters
  • Sitting under a tree
  • Apple-Spice Candles
  • Spending time coloring
  • Fuzzy Blankets 
  • Dressing up in the middle of the week for no particular reason
  • Hammocks
  • Sitting on a bench and people watch
  • A Bouquet of flowers from the grocery store
  • Snuggles on a rainy day
  • Turning off your phone for the evening 
  • Pizza Nights
  • Looking for shapes in the clouds
  • Washi Tape
  • Cleaning your room
  • 1am discussions
  • Drawing little hearts on your sneakers

Take heart and cling on to the simple joys of life. I found that the more I added to my list, the easier it became to appreciate the little things that made my days sunnier. Set aside time to truly give thanks for the blessings that come in small packages.

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Lies from the Christian Film Genre

If it isn’t obvious by the banner above or some of my previous posts, I am a pretty vocal Christian gal. I’m also a gal who loves watching and making movies. In fact, half of my bachelor’s degree is in cinema! Whenever a new movie from Christian production studios hits theaters, there is a huge wave of believers proclaiming, “YOU MUST GO SUPPORT THIS FILM AT THE BOX OFFICE!!!!!!!” And if you ask, “Why must I go support this film at the box office?” you often will get the reply, “BECAUSE IT IS A CHRISTIAN MOVIE!!!!!” And then you’re the worst Christian ever if you say, “Well, honestly it doesn’t sound like it’s getting very good reviews, so I don’t really wanna spend my money to go see it.” 

Over my 21 years of life, I’ve been surrounded by Christian media. Veggietales? That was (still is) my jam. Adventures in Odyssey? Love me some radio drama. Left Behind? …okay the books were great, but the movies… While I have seen some great forms of entertainment that have the gospel message at the center of the piece, I have seen many more films that just plain awful. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to learn what it takes to make good art. The Christian film genre seems to struggle with this idea of “good art” and I think it boils down to these six lies that this genre constantly spouts out. 

 

God needs defending

“I feel like God wants someone to defend Him.” This was a line from the main character in “God’s Not Dead,” a film that came out in 2014 and sparked two more films to join the series in 2016 and 2018. When I heard this piece of dialogue a few days ago while watching the review that made me sit down and write these thoughts, I laughed so hard. Fun fact: the Bible describes God as a lion. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a lion before, but those bad boys don’t really need anybody’s help. Christians: our God does not need defending. He’s not up in heaven, curled up in a corner thinking, “Ah man, someone said I wasn’t real today, I sure hope to Me that one of my super followers will prove that I’m real!” Yeah, no. Should we be bold when we talk about how God continually is changing our lives? Absolutely, but He doesn’t need us to be the last line of defense. In fact, God really doesn’t need us at all (that’s kind of the whole point).

 

If you are a Christian in the United States, you are highly likely to be persecuted and these movies show that there are court cases to prove it. 

This is something that gets me fired up in general: when people reference sources WITHOUT EVER READING THE ACTUAL SOURCE. I’m gonna use “God’s Not Dead” again as an example. At the end of the credits, there is a list of court cases that apparently inspired the making of the film. Film reviewer Kevin McCreary pointed out the inconsistencies in the cases that were listed. 

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(Go watch his videos, he’s great)

“God’s Not Dead” is a story about a student arguing with a professor in the classroom about the idea of God being dead. There’s about a dozen other story lines, some of which are way more interesting that the main character’s plight, and the movie ends with the classroom of easily swayed college students standing up and saying that God, is in fact, not dead. Here’s the kicker though: you’ll notice that none of these cases support the message of the film. In fact, having these cases listed make it seem as if the filmmakers think you are too dumb to do your own research to see that they were lying to you. That, or they’re naïve enough to Google search “Christian Court Cases” and just copy and paste the first six articles they find into their credits. Either way, people are being fed false information. 

I am not going to pretend that there is not prejudice in the United States against Christians but it is nowhere near as bad as Christian films want you to believe it is. It’s instilling a fear-based mentality of, “Oh no, if I’m in a public school or in a job that has nothing to do with ministry then I run a huge risk of being wrongly persecuted like the protagonists of these films!” Y’all, there are people who are being tortured and murdered for having bibles in other countries. We’re doing just fine in the United States. 

 

Every single character who is not a Christian is a horrible person who needs to be saved by your preaching.

I hope that this is self-explanatory, but just in case anyone needs a refresher: just because someone believes differently than you does NOT make them the scum of the earth. Why is it that in every Christian film, the antagonist seems like one of those vaudeville bad guys? It’s like the writers think that all Atheists are sitting in their classrooms and offices thinking, “Hahaha, how can we make these pathetic Christians know they’re totally inferior to my Evolution-believing, Abortion-loving, Proud-Liberal mind?” Contrary to what these movie makers want you to think, the only people like these who exist are characters in their stories. 

With how jacked up our online (un)civil discourse is at the moment though, it can be easy to forget that people are people. Here’s the hard truth: humans don’t save souls. My parents can’t take credit for my salvation, even though they were the ones to lead me to Christ. Stop looking at every person who has a different world view from you as the enemy who needs to be fixed. Instead, look at people how Jesus looked at them: living, valuable beings who need love. 

 

Storytelling should be sacrificed for preaching.

If your dialogue sounds like you are reading from a pamphlet about Jesus from the 1970’s, you have made a mistake. There’s a philosophy with Christian media that if it can change just one person’s mind then it doesn’t matter how hokey the writing turns out. As an artist who is a practicing Christian, this is very frustrating to me. My goal is for everything I do to be an act of worship. In other words, I want everything I do to glorify my Creator who gave me my gifts. This mindset encourages me to strive to do everything with a high quality. I avoid doing things halfway. When I write something, it doesn’t say, “This is a piece written by a Christian who is a Christian because God loves Christians who write about Him because Jesus is the best and everyone should be a Christian.” I do my best to reflect my values in my writing, but I am not going to sacrifice basic structure to force in a Bible lesson. There have been films like “Soul Surfer” and “The Miracle Season” that have been successful at having Christian values being a central part of the story without them constantly using “Christian-ese.” (See, there are a few faith-based movies that I like.) Let’s just tell good stories instead of trying to awkwardly shove the Gospel at people. 

 

Low Budget is an excuse for Low Quality 

No. No No. No No No No No. I go to a public college that does not get a huge amount of funding for students to make film projects. With what we have though, I have seen my peers make some stellar pieces of cinema. If my pals at college can make things with great actors, special effects, writing and direction on a no-money-budget, then Christian films should be able to do the same with their million dollar budgets. 

 

If people judge the movie, they are attacking your Christian faith.

No, they’re using basic critical thought to judge whether or not a film is worth watching. Calling a movie out because it had errors that could have easily been fixed is not attacking an entire religion. When Christians get up in arms about why a film should be loved and watched by everyone, it can be easy to give the wrong impression. You can get loud and angry with people when you are trying to argue your point, and when you are yelling, it’s kind of hard to do that whole, “love your neighbor” thing. If I was a person who didn’t believe in Jesus and someone told me I was attacking them personally because I didn’t like a movie, I would be concerned. I would think, “Geez, why is this person so upset over a movie I don’t like?” Your identity in Christ is not hinging on how many people like the latest Christian movie at the box office. Furthermore, if a fellow Christian does not like said latest movie, they are entitled to that opinion, especially when that opinion is grounded in truth. As believers, we are to be on constant alert for inconsistencies and things that can lead people away from the Lord. There are things in this genre that blatantly lead people away from what the Bible really says and if we sit by and keep quiet, we become part of the problem. 

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A dear friend, who happens to Hindu, told me that religion should not be a genre, and I agree with him 100%. This label is not helpful and honestly, I refuse to accept it as an actual genre. “The Passion of the Christ” was a highly successful film that was not marketed as a “faith-based” movie. It was advertised as a mainstream story that people of any and every background could enjoy. Because they marketed the film in this manner, the movie-going audience was not just a bunch of Christians who felt it was their duty to go watch a movie about Jesus. 

When people hear that a film is part of this so-called Christian genre, it repels people who aren’t already “in the club.” Films can often turn into a fan-service for Christians rather than as a way to get non-religious people interested. We need to get back to the root of storytelling, and the most successful stories are the ones that are relatable. Making films with one-dimensional characters who either think that the Angel of God has told them that they need to defend Jesus in their classroom or the Atheist villain who once believed in God but now is an evil person is not a way to use such a powerful medium of entertainment. Let’s make movies that truly reflect the human spiritual experience, which is messy and imperfect. Let’s stop comprising filmmaking in the name of ministry. Let’s start making our actions more important that the labels we put on them. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

 

Memory|Stream of Consciousness Blog

To follow up last week’s blog, writing is hard when you don’t have any ideas that you want to use. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a LONG list of prompts. However between classes, work and theatre ventures, the creative writing part of my brain has checked out.  Maybe since I’m not called to rehearsal, I’ll get a burst of inspiration while I derp around my dorm room. Also, pro tip: don’t get paper cuts, because Band-Aids make it slightly difficult to type, even if they are the awesome Avengers kind. Better yet, don’t slice your wrist on the fly rail wire while you’re at work, because not only will your arm will hurt when you type, but your Sweet Ben will have to help you clean it and put a giant bandage on it. There’s no point in living in the past though, onto today!

Actually, I do like looking back at the past; that’s why I take so many pictures and am a scrapbook fanatic. A few of my friends have given me grief in the past for taking so many snapshots. It was a lot worse in high school, but you know what? I barely talk to my high school friends anymore. It’s not because we hate each other or anything; we’ve all just grown apart. I like having albums of photos to look back on and remember the wacky adventures I had with my high school besties. I enjoy having memories captured to reminisce with. I mean, how else am I gonna look back at the “Good Old Days”? 

For my high school/Associates Degree graduation party, my mom got over 400 photos printed to display on boards. After the party, I took the displays apart, but gave the photos a new home. I had recently moved into the former gaming/office room, and decided to line my door with photos. Every time I walk in or out the door, I saw the faces of people I love. Sometimes, they reminded me to pray for someone. Other times, they lifted my spirits because they remind me that I’m not alone in life. Since then, I’ve moved rooms and have half way moved out of the house. Even though that door of photos is gone, I still have all those precious snapshots tucked into an album that I’ll flip through every so often.

There are memories from old scrapbooks that make me remember times with people who used to be my closest friends. Some entries include twinning in Superman shirts, various snapchats from/involving Avery, a screenshot saying, “Antibodies is just around the corner”, playing card games after a black box rehearsal in my living room, and my ticket stub from seeing La La Land with my buddy Micah. Even just writing about those memories has made me smile, but here’s the thing: I barely talk to half of these people anymore. I’ve got memories scrapbooked from old crushes, boyfriends, and friends that turned into not so great pals. However, just because a relationship comes to an end for a sucky reason doesn’t mean you have to completely forget about the good memories you had with that person. You have people in your life for seasons at a time.

The art of photography is very important to me. I enjoy the silliness of taking selfies or goofy photos with my friends, but I also very much enjoy making art through the media. Mom still doesn’t get why I took darkroom photography in community college, but oh man, I loved that class. I was so glad that I still was allowed to use the photo lab during my final semester at Maple. The process of getting a single darkroom print is so long and tedious, but when you get a great shot, it’s all worth it. Plus, when you’ve got fun photos, you can add cartoons on top of them and make yourself crack up at your own jokes. 

I guess the idea of a single print taking a lot of work can relate to relationships. You can’t just expect a friendship to happen. You have to work for it. The thing with friendships though is that it doesn’t feel like work when it’s a true friendship. I used to feel like I had to work extremely hard for my “friendships”. Funny enough, the people I used to break my back to impress don’t have a presence in too many of the photos I hanging up in my dorm room for my senior year of college. Thing is though, those people show up in scrapbooks, journals and photo albums as good memories. So, I can either look at those people with bitterness and/or regret, or I can thank the Lord for the influence they had in my life for a time. We move on and grow up, but living with heavy thoughts from the past is not helpful in your growth process. If you pull anything from this jumbled stream of consciousness mess, hear this: treasure your memories, but don’t let them hold you back from new relationships and adventures. 

Fingers crossed that your friendly, neighborhood red-head gets a creative spark back while battling spanish quizzes. Thank you for reading, and happy memory-keeping. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

 

WRITER’S BLOCK: Aglet Edition

There are times when I get writer’s blocks. There are different types of blocks: ones when you are dealing with a combination of both lack of inspiration and motivation, and others where you are just lacking the ideas. And then there are the times when you are back to being a full time college student and you cannot make your brain sit down and write something deep. When I get in these funks, I just do word vomit writing on a random topic and see what comes of it. So let’s talk about something everyone should know about: Aglets.

Honestly, the only reason I know what in the world an aglet is credited to the classic Disney Channel show Phineas and Ferb. There’s one episode where the genius step brothers decide to raise awareness for the tiny piece of plastic/metal at the end of shoe laces. The big song of the episode, “A-G-L-E-T” is one that every now and then slips into my brain and won’t leave for a good, long while, even though the episode come out in 2009. In fact, it’s swimming around my head now. Maybe I’ll even dream about it tonight. If you haven’t listened to it ever, go look it up. It’s a bop. 

Aglets are very helpful to those whose shoes get attacked often. I admit it; I am guilty of untying my friend’s shoes from time to time. A shoe attack is truly successful when you are able to get the laces pulled out through the holes that keep them in place. If you’re a poor soul whose aglets have fallen off, or worse, never had aglets to begin with, you’re stuck trying to thread your frayed lace back through its hole. It’s extremely frustrating for the victim of the attack, but slightly amusing for the person who did the deed. 

When I was younger, I had a strange habit of picking at the aglets on my laces. I wasn’t enlightened to the fact the aglet was a friend to my shoe and therefore a friend of mine. Out of boredom, I would pull away at the plastic until my poor shoelace was left in ruins. I would then have to put a piece of scotch tape around the devastated shoe lace to avoid the dilemma of having to rethread a tattered piece of string. Thankfully, I am no longer a child and have learned the ways of the world. Well, at least the ways that involve the end of shoelaces. 

I wonder who the chap was that invented the aglet. This little piece of plastic is something that is taken for granted so often; maybe the inventor was taken for granted, too. I mean, he’s not a person like George Washington or Neil Armstrong that we learn about in history class. I bet he was the kind of guy that got made fun of in high school. He’d get his glasses knocked off or his books thrown across the hallway. All the while he’d think, “Someday I’m gonna prove all you wrong and do something great!” And what does he do? He invents this little thing that half the population doesn’t know the name of and dies without fame or fortune. 

*Jumps onto Internet*

After a quick Google search, I learned that the inventor credited to the creation of the aglet was a gentleman named “Unknown”. I guess his parents didn’t like him very much. Just goes to show you that you can do something awesome for the world, yet everyone still will forget your name when you die.

 

This ended up being a lot more depressing than I ever intended it to be. 

 

Lord, let me get inspiration/time to write next week.

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Until Next Time,

Abby

 

The ABC’s of Theatre

Theatre is full of words and phrases that can be confusing to one who is not heavily enveloped in the art. Due to this fact, I have taken the liberty to create a glossary of sorts: The ABC’s of Theatre. I hope you find it enlightening and helpful in your future theatre endeavors. 

 

A- is for Audience, which is the group of humans you have to entertain every night. 

B- is for Babies, which you pray are not in the audience. 

C- is for Coiling Cables, which you need to know how to do properly or your technical director might throw something at you. 

D- is for Dressing Room, which is where normal humans transform into whimsical stage characters. 

E- is for Ensemble, the group of people who make stage shows much more interesting. 

F- is for Fresnel, a type of lighting fixture. If you pronounce the “s” in the name, it is highly likely that your master electrician will make fun of you forever. 

G- is for Ghost Light, which should always be placed on the stage at the end of the evening before turning out work lights and leaving the space. This is for safety and to keep the ghosts in your theater happy. 

H- is for “Hamilton,” the musical that you are 95% confident that you could perform as a one-person show. 

I- is for Italian Run, a rehearsal in which the actors say their lines as quickly as possible. This is helpful in checking for line memorization and is guaranteed to make any show, regardless of genre, much funnier. 

J- is for Jukebox Musical, which is a show consisting of pre-existing songs. Examples include “Mamma Mia,” “All Shook Up,” and “American Idiot.” Some Jukebox Musicals are better than others, and others really should have just stayed on the radio. 

K- is for Knap, a technique used to mimic the sound of contact in a stage combat scene. This sound is often made by slapping your chest or thigh. Examples of knaps can be found when observing Super Kicks in WWE matches.

L- is for Lift and Fight Call, where actors practice lifts and fight scenes before the audience is let into the house. These are very important for safety, and any actor who thinks there are unnecessary has never been dropped on their head or punched in the mouth.  

M- is for Microphones, the things that get very sweaty after actors use them for a performance. 

N- is for Notes, the instructions directors and/or stage managers give you to make sure you continue to do well at your job. When you ignore these notes, you increase your chances of having a hard time getting future employment. 

O- is for Outdoor Theatre, for people who like to sweat more often and worry about weather more consistently while participating in the fine arts. 

P- is for Pit, which is either the term for a group of musicians or the place you hide the musicians for the show. Contrary to popular belief, it is not intended to be a trap for the musicians. 

Q- is for Quick Change, one of the most stressful things that can happen backstage. 

R- is for Rehearsal, the session of time where actors learn and practice the show. Sometimes, when actors, directors and SM staff are truly exhausted, it is possible to break a rehearsal. An example of this is when you are supposed to be a posh, British lady and yell like a southern rancher. 

S is for Shakespeare, the writer that everyone will claim to love but a lot of the time are fibbing to look cool and/or like an intellectual in the theatre community. 

T- is for Tech Week, the period of time where technicians don’t sleep.

U- is for Upstage, referring to the part of the stage that is furthest from the audience or when an actor draws a ridiculous amount of attention to themselves rather than the person who is the main focus of the scene. Most people are not a fan of this. 

V- is for Vamp, a musical term referring to a section of music that is repeated over and over again until the next section of music begins. These are usually used underneath dialogue, and depending on the performer, the conductor will either have to speed through the vamp or repeat it 53 times.

W- is for “Wicked,” the musical that kind of seems like fanfiction but is still doing super well on Broadway since 2003.

X- is for Cross, because writing out the whole word “cross” while taking blocking notes takes too much time and space. 

Y- is for Yoke, which is the part of a Source 4 Lighting Fixture that is attached to the pipe. You’re gonna wanna hope that this yoke is secure, as lighting fixtures obey the laws of gravity, regardless of whether or not there is an actor underneath them. 

Z- is for Zzzzzz, which is what you do after a 16 hour work day in the theater. 

 

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

A Year of Lasts

I still haven’t fully processed that this is the final year of my undergraduate program. Technically speaking, I’ve been working towards this degree since I was 15 years old, which is when I started my gen eds at my local community college. I spent three years completing my associates degree, a year taking art classes/trying to figure out where to transfer to, and will be beginning my third year at Missouri Western on August 26th, 2019. It’s so odd to think that in roughly eight months, I will be moving on to a new chapter of life. 

Last time moving into a dorm 

Last year of caf food 

Last round of college auditions

Last year of working in the Potter scene shop

Last two semesters of foreign language classes (Praise the Lord)

Last eight months of having to walk almost a mile to most of my classes

Last few advising sessions with Jeff

Last time I will celebrate a birthday where there is a high chance I will be on a film set

Last year of using my faithful blue dorm room bed spread

Last year of sharing a bathroom with three other girls

Last round of finals during undergrad

I spent a few days working on this list. While there are many more things that will be a “last” this year, I have been having a hard time making the list much longer. It was frustrating, because I had the idea for this post about four weeks ago. I said to myself, “I’m gonna make a blog post to commemorate my senior year of undergrad by talking about all the lasts that are coming.” The more I worked to come up with a list though, the harder it got. I was wondering if I was struggling with writer’s block, but then I realized what the real problem was: I was being too negative. 

You see, I was looking at this final year with the mindset of “Oh yeah, it sucks that I don’t have a ton of time left at this school.” Instead of being grateful for the fact that I am going into my senior year with strong relationships and expectations, I was focusing on how all of it will be over once May 2020 hits. When I realized what I was doing to myself, I took a step back to reevaluate how I was looking at this school year. I have made goals for myself in academics, work, and personal development, but my main goal for the 2019/2020 school year is to fully live in the moment. I don’t want to focus on how a good thing is coming to an end; I’d rather be enjoying the good thing while it is happening. 

I challenge anyone who is getting ready to go through a time of transition to not focus on how things are coming to an end. I have found the more I focus on the inevitable end, the less I enjoy the journey. I’d like to think that I am a bit of an expert when it comes to planning, but there are times when plans become too rigid and stressful. Instead of making sure every single “last” is absolutely perfect, I am going to try and let myself be free to feel whatever emotions may come. So bring on the final year of shows, films, APO meetings, GFS projects and surprise adventures that will come my way. I am eager to see what Senior Year will bring.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

A Letter to 14-Year-Old Abby

Dear Abby, 

Hey, girl. It’s me: You. I’m the You that’s about seven-ish years older than you. You’re fourteen, and your life is about to become a lot more complicated than you ever thought it would. You see, in about seven months, you’re going to turn fifteen. You’ll learn to drive and get your first real job. You’ll start teaching piano to an eight-year-old girl and end up teaching twenty-two kids music before you turn twenty. You’ll get a boyfriend and start community college. You’ll start a double major in Animation and Theatre. You’ll get dumped (twice). You’ll drop a major. You’ll meet amazing people. You’ll see the life of someone you love dearly change completely for the better. There’s a lot of stuff I wish I could go back and tell you. I’m taking the opportunity to do it down, with the hopes that there’s some other fourteen year old girl who needs to read this letter. 

You’re gonna have crushes on a good handful of boys, and that’s okay. However, these boys won’t always treat you the way that you deserve to be treated. Understand that you are a treasure, no matter what anyone’s opinion of you. There will be a few boys who show an open interest in you, but goodness sakes, do not settle. You deserve to be treated like a queen: accept nothing less. When your heart gets broken, know that the hurt does not last forever. Also, understand that it’s okay to have good memories from relationships that came to an end. God brings people into our lives for seasons. Sometimes those seasons aren’t as long as we originally thought they would, but regardless of how long any relationship lasts, there is something you can learn from every person you encounter. 

Don’t give up on your dreams. You’ve got some huge ones, and you will accomplish some of them over the next seven years. No one can achieve them for you, and no one will want your dreams more than you do. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you want to do with your life is foolish. You are not a traditionalist or one to do things the conventional way. You are a trailblazer and an extraordinary achiever: own it. While your dreams are your own, know that you will have allies to your goals who will help you along the way. Also know that there will be people who don’t have your best interests in mind. Be discerning with who you open up to while also trusting those God has put in your life to help you grow.  

Taking care of yourself is important. In fact, it’s about the most important thing you can do. You love to take care of others. You’re really good at it, too. However, you tend to have trouble taking care of yourself. One of the best things I have learned recently is looking at the “Love your neighbor as yourself” verse in a different light. You see, that verse isn’t telling you to love others but treat yourself like crap. It means that you have to know how to love yourself in order to love others. Loving yourself includes making sure you get enough sleep, drinking water, being in the Word, going to counseling and taking your meds. You’re gonna want to fight your doctor for a long time about medicine, but there is nothing wrong with getting a bit of extra help. Do not let anyone convince you that you are wrong for doing things that truly help you be the best version of yourself. 

“No” is a sentence. You are going to have so many great opportunities come your way, but you cannot and should not say “yes” to all of them. There will be times where you feel that you have to justify yourself for why you are saying “no” to something. You’ll also feel like you’re the biggest disappoint that there ever was when you have to decline a job or experience, but that is not true. The world will not combust if you don’t step up for every single position. Sometimes, the best way for you to take care of yourself is for you to step back and let someone else be in charge, even if it’s a job that you truly love.

There’s going to be a lot of really crappy stuff that happens. At times, it will feel like the world is going to end. However, there is going to be some really amazing stuff that’s going to come your way that will remind you just how wonderful life can be. There are times I wish I could go back in time and actually talk to you, 14 year-old Abby. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell you to avoid certain people or situations. The thing is though, every event that will happen in your life will shape you into the strong woman you will become. So I’ll leave you with this: live your life to the fullest. Love everyone, including yourself, full heartedly, even when they hurt you. There will be so many more mountains that will outweigh the number of valleys. Be present in the moment and savor every minute of life. I promise I will do the same. 

 

Yours Truly, 

Abby