So. I said I would write about YoungArts , and I want to, don’t get me wrong. It was a fantastically awesome experience and I want to share...

So. I said I would write about YoungArts, and I want to, don’t get me wrong. It was a fantastically awesome experience and I want to share it with everyone and tell all of the talented, young artists to apply... but I don’t really know how to write it out. That week, March 8th-13th (it’s not even last week anymore, WHAT THE HECK????!!!), was so full and fantastic that I don’t even know where to start.

But I’m a writer. So I guess I better figure it out.

Me, the other writers, our teacher, and one of the jazz musicians.

Before we got there, I assumed we’d spend all of our time in Master Classes, doing workshops, editing pieces, and generally learning how to perfect our craft; in reality, we spent about half the week doing that--the other two days were presentation prep--but every one of those classes was awesome. I learned a TON--everything from writing poetry to managing finances as a creative, from how the book market actually works to being comfortable sharing mywork (even crappy new pieces) in front of others. We also visited the most beautiful bookstore I have ever seen, and I would literally return to Miami just to visit it again.

The book ladder, though! *fangirls ridiculously hard*

But I think that the part I’ll always remember the most, the part that literally makes my heart race, even now, every time I think about it, is the Cinematic Arts Screening, Jazz Performance, and Writers’ Reading on the evening of Thursday, March 10th, 2016.

I had never read my book in front of anyone before. Like ever. Not even in a workshop setting, so even the process of picking the piece I would read and reviewing it in front of my fellow writers was terrifying. I actuallysaid I felt like I was dying when I finished reading during workshop the first time.

(Shhhhh. I wish I was a fierce dragon warrior, FEAR ME, and I am (sometimes). But more often, I am actually a small, awkward cupcake, whom one of my best friends has actually called a turtleduck. So yeah.)

Anyways, when it came to my reading, I was apparently not breathing. Or speaking coherently. Or doing anything, really, other than screaming on the inside audibly. This, of course, bode wonderfully well for my performance in less than 36 hours.

I spent the entirety of Wednesday afternoon (the 9th) working with our Master teacher and the other writers; by the end of the day, after reading my piece at least 6 times and dying a little less with each one, I started to feel more confident about the presentation. If I wasn’t good, I at least wouldn’t be bad; if I was forgettable, I at least wouldn’t be infamous.

Believe it or not, I was actually okay with that. Maybe a little too complacent, but remember, I was still trying to notdie, so, you know, I had to pick my battles wisely.

Wednesday evening, we collaborated with the jazz musicians to compose some music that matched our pieces. I had to read again, with somewhat less terror permeating being, but I made it through, and they were able to work out a beautiful blues piece that I wish I had a copy of, but don’t, because that’s part of the beauty of jazz: you kinda have to be there.

Over the course of Thursday, I read and I read and I read again. I grew in confidence, and, in spite of the anxiety still stewing in the pit of my stomach, I managed to get kind of excited about the coming performance. Maybe, just maybe, I could actually do this.

Then all of the sudden, the day was gone; we were changing into our fancy, schmancy dress clothes; we were taking our seats; the jazz coordinator was reading his welcome address; the pieces before mine were playing: two films, a fellow writer reading, a jazz performance...

And then I was up. My heart started throbbing. I could actually feel the surge of fear, like an electric shock shooting up my chest, settling as a needling pressure in my temples. I forced myself to my feet--and accidentally grabbed my cell phone instead of the anthology I was supposed to read from. Luckily, I did remember and turn back for it before I reached the stage and before the applause for the previous piece had ended.

Then I was at the stairs, the pianist was playing my intro, and I was supposed to walk on.

I breathed; and then I set my foot on the first step.

I honestly don’t remember hearing my intro that time. Obviously, I know it played, but I was 100% focused on one, not tripping over anything as I walked across the stage (you think you’re clumsy? You’re talking to a girl who has actually tripped over her own two feet and who trips or falls or bumps into something almost daily), and two, adjusting the microphone since I was slightly taller than the girl who went before me and I wanted to make sure everyone would be able to hear me speak.

No, that thought absolutely did not strike fear into my heart; I have no idea what you’re talking about.

And then the music ended, and my voice began.

My mouth was dry, chills were running up and down my arms, but I read. I read like I’d practiced for the last day and a half, breathing, pausing, enunciating each word to make sure the audience could feel the full effect of my piece. I peeked up every once in a while to make sure the people in the one row I could see weren’t leaning forward to hear my voice, but by the middle of my piece, I had forgotten they were there. I forgot I was on stage, I forgot people were watching me, I forgot to be terrified, and I just let myself get lost in my narrative. The writing was lightyears from perfect of course, but I remembered what I loved about my characters, why they’d enchanted me with their story in the first place; I remembered why I loved writing, and I remembered that I had always wanted to share those loves with other people.

I reached the final words of my piece. Capital letters scribbled in blue gel pen reminded me 

And so I did. And then I walked offstage.

The cheering was... enthusiastic, I imagined, more than just polite. I made eye contact with our teacher, Joan, as I returned to my seat, and she raised her hands a little higher and cheered a little louder.

I grinned. I’d done good. If nothing else, I had done good.

People told me later that I had a great performance, that I was moving, even effing incredible. Especially compared to some of the other writers, I don’t know that I believe those compliments, which is perhaps not very charitable of me as that would be to accuse those people of lying, but regardless, I knew that I had done well, and not only that, I’d had fun doing it. Now don't get me wrong, handing my heart over to the mercy of the masses still absolutely terrifies me--but I love it. And honestly, I would love the chance to do it again, although I reserve the right to freak out extensively and possibly require CPR at some point prior to the performance.

I’ve had this idea for a linkup floating in the back of my head for a while, where every month or two, I would do something completely outside of my comfort zone and post a blog/vlog about how it went. Maybe the experience would be horrible, maybe it would be awesome, but I would take a risk and try something new; maybe I’d discover that I loved it, maybe I’d discover that I hated it, but I would discover something, something new about myself. And that discovery just might make all the difference for me.

All of that to say: one, here’s the video of the performance, and two, let me know what you guys think about starting that monthly linkup (or perhaps a bi-monthly. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone can be incredibly traumatizing after all). Hope you all enjoy the video, and I hope to see you in the comment section! :D

In going to write this post, I realized that, though I do have a tendency to give overall positive reviews (either that, or I just happen t...

In going to write this post, I realized that, though I do have a tendency to give overall positive reviews (either that, or I just happen to review a lot of good books), most of them end up in the 3-4 star range, and few of my recent reads have actually hit a full five stars. So. I suppose this will be interesting.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information and future prompts, click here. :)

The Golden Specific by S. E. Grove

To be fair, as of writing this post, I technically haven’t finished this one yet. But it’s been fantastic so far (even better than the first), and I have almost zero doubt that I will rate it 5 stars when I finally do finish.

Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. It had everything I didn’t even realize Heroes of Olympus was missing (not that I don’t still adore HoO, because it’s pretty freaking epic. Just, well, the series is not as perfect as I once thought), and I cannot wait to see where the rest of Magnus's story goes. :D Also, an actual crossover had better happen. Just saying.

The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore

Considering the way this guy tends to end books, I probably ought to not put this one in just to be as horrible as he is. But who am I kidding, this series is phenomenal.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

So this was a reread (and that cover is from the movie). It’s a classic and it’s gorgeous and I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving it.

Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

I flailed about this one somewhat extensively in this mini review set, so I’ll just leave that link here and restrain myself from repeating that spectacle.

Winter by Marissa Meyer


Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This book was so lovely, I can’t even. The story was gorgeous, the humor was beautiful, just... *sighs deeply in adoration* I loved it.

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

I feel like I’m having to go too far back for this. All the same, I can’t be too upset, since it gives me the chance to promote this wonderful, enchanting story once again. Seriously. I think this may be the best historical I’ve ever read.

I Don’t Know How The Story Ends by J. B. Cheaney

And this gorgeous little jewel comes in at a very close second.

Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover

*hugs book to chest* I love how much this book explains about the characters and the emotions and the full story behind what was shown in the movie. EVERYONE WHO HAS COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE PREQUEL SHOULD JUST READ THIS.

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Freaking epicness. Also, it’s quite funny. Like, arguably funnier than Percy Jackson funny.

Well, that’s it for this post! And yes, I actually went to 11. Guess I had more five-star-ers than I counted on. *shrugs* No regrets. ;)

So tell me, have you read any of these? What’s one of the best (or worst) books you’ve read recently? Leave me a comment and let’s chat; I can’t wait to hear from you! :D

Wow, it’s been a while since I did one of these. As such, it’s going to be a bit of a mishmash on post dates, but all the posts will be gre...

Wow, it’s been a while since I did one of these. As such, it’s going to be a bit of a mishmash on post dates, but all the posts will be great, I promise. :)

First Day of Spring by Mariella Hunt. In which she talks about her life lately, and the newness and activity that the coming of spring will bring.

Out of Comfort Zone: The Power of New Experiences by Shar. One of the most unique book reviews I’ve ever read. She also convinced me to (eventually) read Fahrenheit 451, something I had exactly zero intention of doing prior to reading her post.

How To Waste Being In College by Chard. Best way to “waste college” I’ve ever read. ;)

Writerly Bundle # 6 by Tori. One, provenance just sounds like a beautiful word. Two, the idea of these writerly bundles is really super cool. You should check ‘em out.

The Greatest Love Story by Koko. Sure, you’ve heard it before. But tomorrow’s Easter, so what better time to hear it again? Plus, Koko’s got sucha way with words, and she makes this post just incredible.

My High Standards: 10 Ways I Review Books by Kat. In which she breaks down her style for book reviewing in a way that I thought was really interesting. It’s always cool to see someone else’s process. :)

One of Those Bloggers by Heather. I love it when other bloggers talk about their struggles and insecurities. Sometimes, you just need to be reminded that your gauge of success shouldn’t be placed in views, comments, or “one of those bloggers” either.

How To Turn Any Book Into A “Movie” In Five Easy Steps by Alea. Lol, I love this post because I do this all the time.

Be Strong. Be a Penguin. by C. Lee Mckenzie. A very cool (yes, pun is intended) analogy for feminism--one that can also be applied to the many other things in our culture that could use a change.

Vision, also by Koko. I’ve talked about this before, but I often do have such a problem with perspective and with keeping my eyes on Him, and I just found this post very encouraging. :)

It’s Okay To Be Bad At Grammar, also by Alea. True, we should probably still try to learn good spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. But still, it’s nice to be reminded that, one, I’m not the only writer who’s not so great at this, and two, what defines me as a writer is my love for writing. And that’s it. :)

Well, that’s all for this week! Are the technical parts of writing your strong suit or do you struggle like Alea and I do? Do you have a specific process for reviewing books? What’s your favorite-sounding word, something that just rolls of the tongue so gorgeously, you can’t help using it whenever possible? Can’t wait to see you guys in the comments, and have a Happy Easter! :D

So I’m going to post about YoungArts. I promise. But I’m waiting for the videos and photos to come out, because they're kind of importa...

So I’m going to post about YoungArts. I promise. But I’m waiting for the videos and photos to come out, because they're kind of important to what I'm going to be talking. In the meantime...

I was tagged for this by the lovely Liz from Out of Coffee, Out of Mind. Thanks so much Liz! :D

Vital Stats:
Name: Alexandria Mintah (fun fact, this is my actual real name)

Nicknames: Alex, Alexa, Lexi, Sky ( thing), Miss Thang (from my childhood *sigh*)... uh, there are probably more, but I’m just gonna move on now.

Birthday: October 28th

Place of birth: Tbh, I’m not sure why anyone needs to know, so I'm going to plead the fifth on this one.

Star Sign: I’ve looked it up, but I can never remember it, and I’m too lazy to type it into google search right now.

Occupation: Writer, blogger, student, and part-time library page.


Hair color: Very, very dark brown, with a couple slivers of red and gold.

Hair length: Um... short? Although it’s probably closer to medium, since my hair is super springy.

Fun fact, I suck at selfies. But at least you can see what I mean about my hair.

Eye color: Again, dark brown.

Best feature: I’d say my smile. Though I’m not smiling very well in that picture, so you’re just gonna have to take my word for it. ;)

Braces: Nope. Neva.

Piercings: So my parents wouldn’t let me get my ears pierced until I was 13; they said I had to be old enough to make the choice myself. My 13th birthday arrived--and I completely chickened out. It took me six months to build up the courage to go get it done with a friend--and only two months for me to have some kind of weird reaction and the holes to close. So yeah. There's my piercing story.

Tattoos: Nope, and I would get one, except that they’re kind of permanent, and what if I don’t like it in a couple of years? Thenwhat, I ask you?

Righty or lefty: Definitely righty. But I kind of want to try and train my left hand to work as well as my right one does.


First best friend: So, here’s the deal, I never really had that thing where you have one best friend that you spend like all your time with; my childhood all the way through now actually, I've always been in a group of like three to five best friends.

Well, except for late elementary school and the beginning of middle school. My best friend then was named Shannon and she introduced me to Percy Jackson. So yeah, she’s a pretty cool bestie.

Award: Um... Spelling bee in either 3rd or 4th grade. I studied for literally 3 days because I had completely forgotten that I entered until right before the contest, yet I still won first place. I’m kinda proud of that.

Sport: Does backyard football count?

Real holiday: Halloween.

Concert: WinterJam 2011. And I got to see my favorite artist at the time, Francesca Battistelli. So yeah, it was pretty epic.


Film: Revenge of the Sith, always and forever <3 Although I have a lot of very close seconds, including, but not limited to The Last Sin Eater, Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World (Loki’s 40 minutes of fame, tbh), and probably Captain America: Civil Warwhen that comes out.

TV show: Uhhhh.... I don’t know? I don’t really watch TV that much-- OH WAIT, I KNOW: IT’S MERLIN THAT GORGEOUS LITTLE BEAUTIFUL MAGICAL HEARTBREAKER. *DIES*

Color: PINK. Except when I’m wearing my wood-nymph shirt (couldn't get a good picture of that, since it's night where I am, but I'll try to get one another time)

Song: Oh, come on. I'm one of those people who, if you check in one day, I will have a completely different answer for this question than the day before. I don't know why; it's just the way I work.
But because I am still obsessed with Hamilton (IT’S BEEN ALMOST 4 MONTHS WHAT THE HECK), my favorite right now is probably something on that soundtrack. Or In The Heights. Because I love that musical now too.

Restaurant: Um... I don’t eat at restaurants? So I don’t really know. I mean, Sonic has great milkshakes, and Hardee’s has great chicken, and yes, I realize I am listing only fast food places...
BUT WAIT. I have one! The cafe at Books And Books in Coral Gables, Miami. We went there during YoungArts and it was fantastic.

Shop: Also, Books and Books in Coral Gables, Miami. That’s the best place ever, guys, I am so serious.

Book: *blank stare* You’ve got to be kidding.

How about I list my favorite authors instead, since all of my favorite books are in series: Jill Williamson, Colleen Houck, Eoin Colfer, John Flanagan, and Rick Riordan, just to name a few. All of the books I've read by them are beautiful <3

Magazine: Again, not really something I do.

Shoes: Whichever ones look reasonably good with whatever I happen to be wearing. Though I am a really big fan of my boots and my sandals. So yeah.


Feeling: Nothing, really? Just... chill, I guess.

Single or taken: Taken... by a mass amount of stories that have rendered me HELPLESS.

Eating: Nothing right now. But either chocolate, ice cream, or both are in my very near future.

Listening to: the sound of my ceiling fan whirring.

Thinking about: This tag. And how much I want the YoungArts videos to come out. And OMG WHAT IF I’M TERRIBLE AND I DON’T WANT TO SHOW THEM TO YOU GUYS AND THEN MY WHOLE POST IS RUINED.
(suddenly not quite so chill)

Watching: The words appear on my computer screen. It’s actually pretty amazing when you think about it.

Wearing: USF t-shirt, leapfrog pajama pants, glasses, and favorite watch (which no one asked about in the tag, and she’s really quite offended.)


Want children: YES. And adopted and foster kids, too.

Want to be married: Very much, actually.

Careers in mind: Writer, Special Ed teacher/tutor, homeschool mom (I’ve seen my mother do it; it’s a full-time job).

Where do you want to live: Earth. Though if Mars is fully inhabitable by then, I’m not picky (actually, that’s a lie, I’m very picky).

Do you believe in…

God: Yup, see my blog header.

Miracles: Yup.

Love at first sight: Define love. True, genuine, actual love? Honestly, no. Attraction and infatuation that could eventually grow into real love? Sure, totally.

Ghosts: Meh... I don’t know. Leaning towards a no, but not completely disregarding the idea.

Aliens: I mean, I guess it’s not impossible. But I don’t necessarily think there are either.

Soul mates: Sure.

Heaven: Yup.

Hell: Yup.

Kissing on the first date: Depends on how long you’ve known this person prior to the first date.

Yourself: I’d like to say yeah, sure, all the time. But to be perfectly honest, this can also fluctuate from day to day.


And there you have it, the Get To Know Me tag! By now you’re probably aware of all kinds of things you neither needed nor wanted to know about me. Oh well. Hope you had fun anyway.

I’m not tagging anyone for this one, but if you’d like to do it, consider yourself tagged and please leave a note in the comments so that I can find your post. :)

Question time! So what do you think about aliens? Have any strange or embarrassing nicknames from your childhood? Leave me a comment below and answer one of the questions; I’d love to get to know all of you better. :)

Until then!
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