This month for me has been all about recognition. From acknowledging my influences to recognizing other bloggers, I’ve been in the mood to pay it forward instead of indulging my self-interests. With this Versatile Blogger Award being passed my way courtesy of Oh Hello, Darling, I have an excuse to do both. I’ve been honored with nominations before, but I’ve made a terrible habit of letting them slip by. Maybe this is redemption. Or maybe this is a chance for you to get to know me a little better. Surely, there’s an actual person behind all this movie talk.
The rules for the award are simple. Acknowledge the person who nominated you (see above), list 7 things about yourself, then nominate 15 others. Here we go:
- I live on Maui.
That’s right. This writer spends his time on a laptop than on a beach. I’m not surfing every day, as Hawaii stereotypes would have you believe. (Think of the sunburn!) Hawaii may be a popular tourist destination, but it is still a place filled with people trying to make a living. The sub-tropical climate does not preclude us from everyday struggles. I assure you, I know how blessed I am to live where most ache to spend a vacation. But take it from me, not every day is a day at the beach.
- I love movies.
I love writing about them even more. The stories, the technique, the experience. We take the theater-going experience for granted. We pile into a room full of strangers and stare at the screen for 2-hours. That’s straight up weird. Yet, the walls and the shadows and the people sitting next to you melt away, and all you see are the characters in front of you. They’re fictional. Not “real.” But in the cathedral of cinema, it feels exactly the opposite. That’s the magic of movies.
- I got my blogging namesake from a movie.
It felt appropriate to name a film blog using a direct reference to a movie. The movie? Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. I’ve been obsessed with Edgar Wright since Shaun of the Dead, been endowed with cinematographer Bill Pope since The Matrix trilogy (kudos to the special features), and I had a huge crush on Mary Elizabeth Winstead. (Okay I still do.) But there was something about the tag, “Versus the World” that stuck. I was so sick of labeling movies “good” or “bad.” I wanted to dive deeper, but not many people around me were open to such discussions. To speak my mind about movies felt rebellious, and to give myself the space to write about film long-form felt like I was going against something. Me against the world became a mantra. It became a state of mind. It became me.
- I have a daughter.
Her name is Chanaiyah (pronounced “Shania”). Her mother and I aren’t together, but for the sake of our daughter we agreed we can at least be civil. It sounds complicated, but this is actually one of the least complicated things about my life. I’m lucky that things are mutual between us. I’m even luckier that my daughter calls me dad, when the truth is I haven’t been much of one. Being a father isn’t something you are entitled to. You have to earn it. I’ve got a lot of learning to do, and my daughter and I are figuring this out as we go. The set-up is less than ideal, but to me it is its own kind of perfect.
- I freelance full-time.
I made the switch to freelancing last October and the transition has been…rough. My fault. I couldn’t keep up my writing while managing a full-time job. So I put freelancing on the back-burner. I got really comfortable in the 9-5 work grind. Like, reaaaally comfortable. I’m not against working a service job, but when it’s not your ambition, it can be soul-sucking. And when you see how your career has plateaued – the career you went to school for – the realization is soul-crushing. When I got back into it, I didn’t know the routine anymore. (Working at home, setting up a dedicated work space, applying for opportunities in between gigs to bankroll the next job, etc.) I had to re-learn everything. It’s been tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m finally putting food on the table doing the thing I love. It’s exhausting. It’s anxiety-inducing. At the same time, I’ve never been more fulfilled.
- I chose to be a writer.
A lot of people think I chose this path out of a lack of options. For me, writing was the only option. To this day, there are people in my life who try to talk me out of this. I’m constantly encouraged to take up a hotel job. (Hawaii.) Or go to med school. (Again, Hawaii.) From a financial standpoint, it’s tempting. Because writing is nothing but financial insecurity. I’m paid per gig, not the hour, and it can take weeks to verify that the work is satisfactory, even longer to receive payment. I don’t have a Friday anymore, and I don’t go out much to save gas. (Oh, the cost of living in Hawaii.) But I chose to do this, ergo writing doesn’t owe me anything. This may be rock-bottom to some people, but I kinda like it here. I wouldn’t change a damn thing.
- I blog as a way of therapy.
Writing, like everything, can be stressful. When it’s work, you need a space to vent even more so. Blogging is that space, a way of channeling my frustration. No matter what the results may be, at least I’m writing. Ask any writer. Any writing is better than not writing. I’ve gone through many forms of therapy to get here. Running used to be one, until I realized how much I truly hate running. Gaming used to be another, but that got ruined during my dorm room days of college. (Put too many gamers in one room and it gets obnoxious.) Blogging filters out the noise; it allows me to hone in and express myself. I should be writing more, and with my recent change in lifestyle, I feel like I just might get there.
That’s way more detail about my life than I typically allow so no more personal stuff from now on. Onto the nominations.
Truth be told, these 15 don’t need my help. They’re going to be just fine with or without me nominating them. In any case, they deserve recognition. As for the bloggers themselves, you are under no obligation to respond. Just know that you have my appreciation.
The Ü – Jade is a cinephile who somehow finds the time to write music reviews AND short stories. Versatile indeed.
Frostwritten – Allie is an indie author who blogs about the writing life and obsesses over movies, which you know I can appreciate. She’s in the middle of an Oscar countdown as we speak!
Jasmine Eclipse – Believe it or not, we went to the same school. She, too, grew up on Maui and has carved a path for herself as a lifestyle blogger. She knows a thing or two about the telecommute life, and also provides keen incentive to move to Maui. Hell, I live here and she makes me wanna move???
The Bookworm Chronicles – The great thing about book blogs is that they’re very potent reminders to read. Jessica, in this case, is a VERY potent reminder. She’s got some truly inventive segments involving literature, film, and the adaptations that bring them together.
#Speak – The writer of this blog is unnamed, but that doesn’t make her writing any less illuminating. More important than a name is an identity. She writes about her experiences of abuse, but not as a means of identifying as a victim. It’s a release, and a powerful one at that.
Roman Reboot – Melissa charts her very busy life living abroad, which I envy. She’s got travel knowledge, parenting insights, and blogging advice for good measure.
Amanda J. McGee – A fantasy author who also writes some exceptional film essays. I have no idea how these bloggers do it. I drink 6 cups of coffee just to do one thing!
Netflix and Mill-ennial – Chill, watch movies, review. Is that a thing yet because I strongly endorse it. Bonus points for an epic name.
The MOMO Talk – As a freelancer in the movie industry, Monika knows what it’s like to be a dreamer. She is a rare soul who’s hopeful despite the challenges, like a real-life Mia. Anyone who’s well aware of my obsession with La La Land knows that is the ultimate compliment.
The Bay Reads – This fascinating literature blog is a must for self-professed bookworms. In fact, it was stumbling upon her review of Whiskey, Words, & a Shovel that made me delve into the work of R.H. Sin. My soul is eternally grateful.
Noveltea – One of the benefits of following an author blog is the insight to their everyday life. Movies typically romanticize the creative process. It’s just so refreshing when someone lends actual truth to the image. It’s messy, it’s uncertain, but nonetheless fulfilling.
Kristen’s Creative Library – Kristen began her blogging journey a year ago and she’s written about literature, identity, motivation, all through her own unique lens. I can’t wait to see what else she’s got in store.
Genevieve Rose – This is the kind of millennial lifestyle blog that I simply love to read. Us millennials tend to get flack for ruining the world, but we’re people too. Bloggers like Holly prove we have keen life advice to spare.
Rachel Ashley – Rachel is an accomplished vlogger on YouTube so she really doesn’t need to blog elsewhere. But she does and that’s what I admire about her. She is brimming with creativity and insight. Aspiring bloggers should take note.
Jen’s Life – The type of personal blogging that I’m aiming for, the kind that feels conversational. Wherever she is, you’re there with her. Side note: she created this blog while she was drunk! That is so wild, I love it.
Blogging is a community and I’m honored to be among them. They are truly inventive, truly unique, and always inspiring. I’d like to thank Oh Hello, Darling once again. This nomination came at a time when I myself was in a slump. Thanks for getting me back in the game!
Check these bloggers out. You don’t need my endorsement. Their content is proof of their readability, and, of course, their versatility.