Rachel Poli is a writer, blogger, and entrepreneur. What started as simple Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan fiction grew into a writing career. Rachel runs a website for writers and readers as well as a video game website with her sister. She also contributes to Pure Nintendo Magazine.
Fueled by coffee, Rachel enjoys writing short stories and novels, especially the mystery genre. Her aim is to entertain and inspire others with any and all of her writings.
When she’s not writing, Rachel is typically reading, playing video games, cleaning, or getting distracted by her dog, cat, and turtle.
Grant stepped out of his pick-up truck and pointed to the river bend as Hazel stepped out of the truck on the other side. He drew in a deep breath and grinned. “Can you smell that?”
Hazel nodded her head. “I smell something… dirt, maybe?”
Grant smirked. “Come on, Hazel. I love camping and I want to share this experience with you. I used to come here all the time with my dad.”
“You make it sound as though your dad is gone.”
“I don’t mean to. I know you say you hate camping, but you’ve never been before. I just want you to experience it and if you don’t like it, then we’ll never do it again.” Grant said. He stuck his hand out to his girlfriend. “Deal?”
“No deal,” Hazel took his hand and he led her down to the stream. “I’ve never been camping because I’ve had no interest in it and I don’t think I’m going to last out here. But I don’t want you to never go camping again because of me. If I really don’t like it, I’ll still come with you once in a while.”
Grant kissed the back of her head. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Hazel replied, “but I might kill you by the end of the weekend.”
“Have you ever skipped rocks before?” Grant asked ignoring her comment.
Hazel narrowed her eyes. “Yeah, I skip rocks in my above-ground pool…”
“Alright, alright. No need to be snippy.” Grant chuckled. “Find some flat rocks.” He let go of her hand and started looking on the ground.
“Shouldn’t we build the tent?” Hazel asked pointing to the truck. “Or build a fire or something? Doesn’t that keep bears away?”
“Oh, I found one.” Grant said still ignoring her. Though now he was wondering if this was such a great idea. This whole weekend might be filled with Hazel panicking and him trying to calm her down and convincing her they won’t get eaten by bears.
“Great.” Hazel sighed. “How is that little rock going to protect us from the bears?”
“Calm down, would you? We’re not going to get eaten and the rock is for skipping.” Grant got behind her and pushed her toward the water.
“If you push me in…”
“Would I really do that to you?”
Grant hesitated. “Well, not right now I wouldn’t.”
“Gee, thanks…” Hazel grunted.
Grant, without another word, put the rock in her right hand and held onto her arm from behind. He did a couple of swinging motions before telling her to let go of the rock. She did and the rock plopped into the river.
“Huh.” Grant stood up straighter. “That was a lot more romantic in my head.”
Hazel burst out laughing. She turned around and gave Grant a kiss on the cheek. “You’re a delightful idiot, you know that?”
“I’d like to think so.” Grant agreed deciding to take it as a compliment.
“It seems like we both need some practice skipping rocks.” Hazel stated. “I bet, by the end of the weekend, my rocks will go much farther across the river than yours.”
Grant grinned. “You’re on!”
The two of them pushed away from each other and spent a good chunk of their afternoon scurrying about the shore in search of flat rocks, tossing them into the river, but none of the rocks going very far.
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This is kind of an oldie at this point, but this is such a good song. (Zootopia is a great movie too!)
I fell in love with this song’s catchy beat, but you can’t beat the lyrics either. Zootopia had a great message about following your dream and never giving up and this song just puts that message into a catchy theme.
I used to listen to this song on a loop because it reminds me a lot of me. I often put too many things on my plate and I’m always wanting to try new things. I’m always wanting to create new things. I resonate with this song because I truly do try everything and with this whole writing and blogging thing? Well, I haven’t given up yet.
What did you think of the song? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
“Everything needs to be just so.” Stella said. She placed the plates, utensils, and napkins down on the table. She backed away and took a mental picture of the place settings.
“No, they don’t. Trust me, no one is going to care where their fork is along as they have a fork.” Claire replied with an eye roll.
“No, this is our first dinner party as adults. We’re inviting our parents and close friends, I want everything to be perfect.” Stella paused to look at her roommate.
“I don’t think we should have a dinner party in the first place. Neither one of us knows how to cook.” Claire countered.
“We cook dinner for ourselves every night.”
“Yeah, we make noodles because it’s quick and easy and we have no idea how to cook.”
“Well, we need to learn.”
“I agree,” Claire nodded, “but I don’t think cooking a grand meal for all our close friends and family is a great time to start, you know?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Stella dismissed the thought with a wave of her hand. “I’ve picked out a couple of recipes from some cookbooks and we’ll test them out. If none of them go well, I have a backup.”
“What’s your backup?” Claire wondered aloud.
“Homemade mac and cheese.” Stella grinned.
Claire sighed. “Oh, yeah… mac and cheese. People are definitely going to want their forks and spoons to be on the correct side of their plate now.”
Mary entered her house as loud as can be stomping her feet through the hardwood flooring in the living room.
Her older sister, Audrey, was sitting on the couch reading a book when her sister stormed into the room. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked.
“School was dumb today.” Mary growled. She kicked off her sneakers, tossed them into the closet as well as her backpack.
“Why was it dumb?” Audrey continued.
Mary closed the closet door. “My backpack can stay in there for now. I don’t want to even think about my homework.”
“I say again,” Audrey sighed putting a bookmark into her book and closing it, “why was school dumb today?”
“I have a lot of homework.” Mary pouted. She threw herself onto the armchair slouching her whole body like a slinky.
Audrey scoffed. “Yeah, okay. Been there, done that.”
“No, you don’t get it.” Mary said sitting up. “I have homework in every single subject tonight.”
Audrey nodded. “Yeah, that happens. You’re in high school now.”
“But it’s the first day of school!”
“The teachers don’t care about that. They want to get down to business as soon as possible.”
“I have five tests tomorrow too.” Mary continued.
“Five? Out of seven classes?” Audrey wondered.
“Six classes. I have a study last period.” Mary clarified.
“Then why didn’t you get any of your homework done then? Or why didn’t you get a head start on studying? That’s the whole point of a study period.” Audrey couldn’t help but smirk. Mary was so exited to start high school just that morning. She had no idea what the next four years was going to bring.
“I got some of it done.” Mary replied calmly. “Really, I did.”
“I believe you.” Audrey put her hands up. “What are the tests for though?”
“Summer reading, the summer homework we had to do, and one test is a placement test… whatever that means.” Mary said rolling her eyes.
Audrey frowned sympathetically. “I’m sorry. I know it’s overwhelming. This isn’t what you expected at all.”
“No, it’s not. And I already have two projects assigned! Both are from two of the books I had to read over the summer. One is just an essay that’s due by the end of the week and the other is an essay along with some sort of presentation with visuals and stuff… that’s due in two weeks.” Mary ranted.
Audrey raised her eyebrows. Mary must have had some tough teachers. She didn’t remember the teachers in high school being this brutal when she was there – especially not on the first day.
Mary sighed. “Please tell me your first day of college was just as rough. I’m sure that’s ten times worse than high school.”
Audrey tilted her head to the side. “Why would you want it to be worse? You’re going to have to go through it someday as well.”
“I know, but I don’t care right now. I just need to know I’m not the only one having a tough time.” Mary said.
“You’re not the only one, Mary. College was brutal today.” Audrey stated.
“How are you so calm about it right now?” Mary asked in shock.
Audrey shrugged. “I’m used to it from high school, I guess.”
“Oh. Okay.” Mary nodded. She stood up and headed toward the kitchen. “Maybe high school really does prepare you for college then…”
Audrey watched her sister leave the room. Then she went back to reading her book. She didn’t have the heart to tell her sister that college was great. Her professor is really nice and they didn’t have any homework to do tonight. She also had a feeling Mary forgot that Audrey made her own schedule and she only had to attend school three days a week for four classes. She wasn’t about to tell Mary that just yet though. Audrey decided to let Mary get used to high school and settle in with the new school then.
Then Audrey would brag to Mary about how wonderful college is.
Scarlett sat down on her bed and put her laptop in her lap. She had a mug of coffee on her nightstand along with a glass of water. There was a bowl of leftover Halloween candy as well as a bowl of popcorn. Normally she didn’t like having greasy or salty food while she was on her computer or gaming because it was always a pain to wipe her hands after every bite and she didn’t want to get her things slippery, but she knew she was in for a long night.
It was Friday afternoon. School was long and boring but she had nothing to for the rest of the afternoon and absolutely nothing going on for Saturday. Her homework for the weekend was going to have to wait until Sunday.
She and her friends were about to embark on an epic journey and defeat the evil dark lord who was plaguing the land. This new expansion pack for the MMORPG she and her friends played all the time had been out for a couple of months. They had finally all saved their allowances and even did extra chores so that they could each buy a copy of the game – which was about 50-dollars.
A few months might be a long time to some but to others it’s not that long at all. Still, there have been no reports on anyone defeating this dark lord. People have posted on the online forums and discussed items they collected and certain things they’ve done in the game to prepare for the final boss, but so far no one has had any luck. So far, this boss was unbeatable.
Scarlett had been taking notes from these people online and writing down what has worked and what hasn’t. She’s also brainstormed some ideas she and her friends could try out and some items and status updates they could collect. They had been leveling up all their characters in the meantime. They weren’t as high a level as they could have been, but it was now or never. Scarlett was determined to be the first group to defeat this boss.
She had also heard reports that this boss took hours. There was a journey and tons of enemies to get to the castle, then they’d have to go through the castle and defeat a lot of enemies along with mini-bosses, and then it would be time for the dark lord. Or, that’s what people have been assuming. Most people haven’t made it past the third floor of the castle and there were only five floors.
Scarlett took out her notes and put on her headset while she waited for the game to load. She had told her parents that she was going to be busy for the rest of the night. She was expecting to pull an all-nighter with this one. There was no saving in the middle of the journey.
Once the game was booted up, Scarlett noticed that none of her friends were online. She leaned back against her pillow and unwrapped a candy bar waiting patiently. Then her phone beeped with a text message.
One of her friends had texted them all in a group message saying she wasn’t able to log on. Apparently, it was her parents’ anniversary and they wanted to go out to dinner. Scarlett pouted but didn’t respond as she noticed some of her other friends were replying.
One friend was relieved because they had forgotten they agreed to babysit their younger sibling. Scarlett’s third friend, and the final member of their quartet in the game, responded saying they mouthed off their mother and lost their computer privileges. (She lost her phone as well, but snuck it back and her mother hadn’t noticed yet.)
Scarlett sighed. She didn’t reply to any of them. She knew things came up, but she exited out of the game and shut down her laptop. She turned her phone off, shoved another candy bar into her mouth, and then opened her backpack from school.
There wasn’t anything left for her to do that night other than do her homework. Maybe her friends would be able to play Saturday night into Sunday. If her homework was all done by then Scarlett wouldn’t have to worry about it later.
But who was she kidding? She was just bummed because if she couldn’t play her game, she wanted to hang out with her friends on a Friday night. They were apparently all busy now… except for one who was most likely grounded. But what else was new with her?
A knock came at Scarlett’s bedroom door and her mother poked her head in. “Hi, I’m sorry to bother you… are you in your game, yet?”
“No, why?” Scarlett shook her head.
“Well, I was thinking and… wait, why is your homework out?” her mother asked confused.
Scarlett sighed. “They all just texted me. Andy has to go out to dinner with her parents for their anniversary, Cara forgot that she agreed to babysit her little brother and sister tonight, and Tori mouthed off to her mother again so she’s in trouble.”
“Oh,” her mother frowned. “I’m sorry, honey. That’s annoying. I know you were really looking forward to playing this game tonight.”
“I know,” Scarlett said with a shrug. “I guess we’ll just have to plan another time. What is it that you were going to say?”
Her mother hesitated to respond. “I don’t want to make you feel worse than you probably already do, though.”
“What do you mean?”
“I figured, if you’re going to stay up all night anyway, I was going to see if you wanted to invite your friends over for a sleep over? Then you guys could play the game and it might make things easier.” Her mother explained.
Scarlett smiled. “I’ll keep that in might for next time.”
“Maybe letting Tori out of the house would keep her out of trouble with her own mother too.” Scarlett’s mom laughed.
“I appreciate that you understand how important this game is to me. Thanks.” Scarlett said.
Her mother nodded and turned away from her heading toward the door. “I don’t get it, but I know you enjoy it. I want you to have fun even if I think it’s weird.” She winked. “Did you want to hang out with me and dad tonight? We could all watch a movie together.”
Scarlett closed her math textbook. “I thought I’d be proactive on my homework, but that sounds much better.” She grabbed the bowl of popcorn off her nightstand. “I’ve already got the popcorn ready.”
Remember using your imagination out loud in front of your parents or friends and not caring about whether people are watching you or not? Yeah, I miss those days too.
You’re Using Characters
I’m almost 26-years-old. I still have my action figures from when I was young. I still have my stuffed animals too. In fact, I still collect stuffed animals. I’m always creating characters in my head and having conversations with them. That’s one of the things I love about writing. I’m bringing my characters – some I made up or fan fiction – come to life. I can give them a voice and give them an adventure.
You’re Using Your Imagination
We all talk to our imaginary friends. We all wish we were someplace we’re not. We all wish we had superpowers or something of the kind. Writing allows you to take your imagination to new heights. It allows you to bring it to live and live the life you want, even if it’s just for a little while.
You’re Sharing It With Others
By writing down you’re imagination, you’re sharing it with others. Whether you get it published or just post it on your blog, others are reading it and being absorbed into your world. You’re teaching others morals from your story. You’re sharing life lessons and how to be imaginative with children. You’re allowing people to love reading. In the end, it brings us all together.
What are some ways writing reminds you of playing? Does it remind you of anything else? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.
When it comes to anxiety, some triggers for myself are known and some aren’t. Going to the movies is one of those known triggers for me. In fact, movies, in general, can be a trigger for me. However, I finally went to the movie theater for the first time in forever a few months ago.
Honestly, I have no idea why movies are a trigger for me. I’m not one for blood and gore and, I think, with the more serious kinds of movies, not knowing what to expect or what will happen throws me off. I used to be able to watch superhero movies like Iron Man with ease and now that kind of stuff bothers me. I still watch them though because I love those movies, but I can only take one or two movies at a time.
I can watch PG-13 movies to a certain point, but I’ve never watched a rated R movie before (not willingly, at least). Needless to say, I can’t and will never do horror. There are exceptions, of course, though when watching a movie for the first time, it can be rough for me.
Why they’re a trigger for me, I don’t know. I think a lot of it stems from school. We’d watch movies that, I personally believe, were not age-appropriate. In ninth grade, my biology teacher gave the substitute a movie for us to watch and it was similar to America’s Funniest Home Videos but it was called That’s Gotta Hurt and was totally bloody and people were getting hurt and screaming. It was not entertaining in the least bit. The sub happened to be the most infamous one among all the students and he refused to let me go to the nurse thinking I was trying to get out of class… because we were totally busy, right?
Long story short, I had an anxiety attack and passed out in front of the class.
In eighth grade, we watched a rated R movie about some war and I have certain bloody scenes embedded in my mind.
In fifth grade, we watched Pirates of the Carribean. I love that movie now, but at the time, I was deathly afraid of the pirates and skeletons. I spent that whole time with my eyes closed.
In third grade, that was when 9/11 tragically happened. My teachers were in a panic and, rightfully so, couldn’t focus on work. They brought in the TVs to the classrooms and we watched it all happen on live TV. Their reasoning was that it was “history in the making.” Of course, they didn’t mean that in a good way. I can’t begin to imagine what people went through who were actually present and had loved ones pass away. However, for an eight-year-old watching that live on TV… it was pretty scarring.
Needless to say, whenever I saw a TV in the classroom, I immediately felt anxiety to the point where I would fake being sick or lie to my teachers and tell them my parents didn’t allow me to watch whatever it was we were watching.
I Shied Away From Movies
Throughout the years, I became more and more distant to movies. Cartoon movies and such are totally fine but rated R and some rated PG-13 movies along with live-action or even CGI are tough for me to watch. Despite all that I just said, I still don’t entirely understand why. Again, I think it may be the unknown of what’s going to happen in the movie but I haven’t pinpointed the exact reasoning.
This grew to affect the movie theater as well. I was never one for loud noises, crowds, or the dark – all of which can describe a movie theater. I stopped going to the theater when Fantastic Four came out in 2015. I went with Kris and our friend and I ended up leaving in the middle of the previews. I never went back to the theater after that. Only on the occasion when a new Disney movie came out or something. Then I might go, but I usually waited for the DVD. That way, I could pause and walk away if I needed a break.
Aside from the occasionally Disney movie exception, there was one movie in particular that I was determined to see.
Detective Pikachu came out in May 2019 and I couldn’t resist not seeing it. It’s Pokemon, which I adore, and I’ve been waiting for this movie for so long. CGI and live-action have been daunting to me because there can be some scary or trippy scenes. (And there was.) But, I made it work.
I’ve never forced myself to work on going to the movie theater. One thing I learned from therapy was to pick and choose my battles. School gave me anxiety, but I needed to work through that as it was stopping me from doing something important in my life. Going to the movies is just a fun activity that I could live without. Plus, there are DVDs and streaming. In fact, it saves me money in the long run.
I didn’t want my anxiety to stop me from seeing a Pokemon movie though. It was something I looked forward to for so long. Being in the gaming community, I would have sorely missed out on Twitter conversations talking about the movie. It’s not the same watching it on a DVD for the first time months after everyone has stopped talking about it.
I Was Prepared
We got our tickets early and went opening weekend so we could get the special Detective Pikachu Pokemon cards (another incentive for me to go). So, I knew it was coming for a few weeks. I was mentally preparing myself.
When I go to the movies, I have my worry stone and bring a cold drink and a snack. The food helps me focus on something else if I need a distraction from the big screen in front of me. For Detective Pikachu, I hid an entire bag of cheese pretzels in my backpack – they were so good!
I sat in between Kris and our friend Nickie and we were also in the back, which I prefer if I need to step outside for some air. I also had two other friends with me to cuddle with – Detective Pikachu himself and Psyduck.
Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks before the movie and I found plush toys from the movie. Psyduck talks and Detective Pikachu, oddly enough, doesn’t. I got both of them though because Psyduck is one of my favorite Pokemon and Detective Pikachu is the title character. ($40 later…)
I had both plushes in my lap throughout the movie (I even brought them into the restaurant with us for dinner before the movie). I had anxiety, yes. That was to be expected. However, when the movie actually started, all of that seemed to go away.
I’m Still Anti-Movie Theaters
After that, I’ve gone back to the theater to see Toy Story 4 and that’s it. I had a good time at Detective Pikachu, but I’m still not thrilled of the idea of going to a movie theater. As fun as seeing Detective Pikachu was, it took a lot out of me. I’m going to continue picking and choosing my battles.
But at least I can say I won that one.
Can you relate to any of this? What was the last movie you saw at the theater? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!
If you haven’t read Part One, you can do so here. Last week, you guys chose to have the characters check out the banging by the window. Here is part two.
Another banging at the window came, shaking the wooden boards that held it together. Luna shrank back stepping away from the window while Alex grabbed a poker from the fireplace and pointed it toward the window. Felix watched this with wide eyes before holding a hand up motioning for her to stand down.
He crept to the window and peered above the board that covered most of the glass. He saw nothing. He ducked lower and peered before the plank.
Felix turned back around with a shrug. He didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried that the banging must have just been the bugs or maybe the wind.
Alex let the poker go lip, her face twisting in frustration. Luna looked as though she were about to pass out.
None of them spoke a word or dared to breathe loudly. There still could have been something out there, but no one was willing to suggest it out loud.
“I know you’re in there.”
Felix looked back over his shoulder at the window. He heard Luna gasp from behind and Alex possibly take out another tool from the fireplace. He crept closer to the window.
“If you want to live, follow me.”
Felix furrowed his brows. He couldn’t make out who was standing outside. The window was tinted with dust and there was only a small crack at the bottom, Felix could barely hear him speak.
“If you want to live,” the voice said louder, “follow me.”
He walked away from the window and Felix turned to the girls. “Did you hear that?” he said quietly.
“You’re not going out there, are you?” Luna asked, stepping forward.
Felix shrugged. “This could be someone in the same boat as us. Someone who can help.”
“Or it could be a trap,” Alex suggested.
“He could have sent the bugs,” Luna added.
“I don’t think anyone can really ‘send bugs,'” Alex said, rolling her eyes.
Luna glared at her. “Have you seen the size of those things? They’re not normal. Something altered their DNA or their mechanical. And where did they all come from?”
“Bugs lay eggs and nearly 100,000 of them are born,” Alex stated.
“You know what I mean,”
“Girls,” Felix interjected, putting a hand on his sister’s shoulder. “I’m going to go outside and check what’s going on.”
“Don’t you dare,” Luna snapped.
“Alright,” Alex agreed. Luna shot her another glare, though the new friend just shrugged in response.
“We haven’t heard any buzzing in a bit, so I’m thinking the bugs moved on to a new location. Let me just see what this guy wants. He might be able to help us,” Felix explained in an attempt to convince his sister.
Luna shook her head. “Or he could just be trying to kick us out of our hideout so he can have it to himself.”
“Oh, please. This is the worst possible shelter,” Alex grunted.
Felix, ignoring Alex, looked Luna in the eyes. “I will be right back. I promise.”
Without waiting for a reply, he turned his back and exited the house closing the door behind him. Luna stared at the door as though it would open back up immediately. She looked over at Alex, who sat dwn on the couch.