Tag Archives: writing

some stuff i wrote.

Last weekend, a good friend of mine let me know that there was a free writing workshop being offered by an author who was in town to speak at a church. As you can tell from my dusty blog (hello cobwebs) my spirit hasn’t exactly been… um… pleasant enough for blogging…

Oh well — if you can’t be honest on the Internet, where can you? 

I’ve been in a major life funk lately.

There I said it.

And I hate blogging when I’m in a funk because it makes me re-feel all my funky feelings and, because I write on the Internet, it subjects all of you lovely people to my funk, too.

It must have been providential, then, that this workshop was titled, Open-heart Writing; like open-heart surgery, it is painful but life-saving.

The author gave us three prompts (one at a time) and gave us ten minutes to jot something down (on PAPER! with PENS!) And, despite the time crunch and my inability to edit, I kinda liked the things I wrote. So I’m gonna share them with you, the Internet, in lieu of a funky-feely blog post.

Cool? Cool.

PROMPT 1: Describe the room.

The room is golden, both in color and in ambiance. It doesn’t sparkle though, fighting a looming tarnish. The windows pour in a summery stream of mid-February, south Florida morning, as I sit between a Diane and a woman whose name will always be to me, Also Talks WIth Her Hands.

Laura sits at the head of our mango-colored table, adorned with silver rings on her fingers and around her neck, and her crooked smile and quiet voice reminds me of Erica.

PROMPT 2: The most important room in my life. 

Converted

Walking along the maroon, cracked tiles, the soles of my shoes always stuck a little bit, presumably because there was residual barbecue sauce forever festering in the pores of the tiles. The smell has gone, but the look of the interior of Mickey Andrews’ Barbecue Joint (was that its name?) would always linger in the church corporate gathering area.

It was in this dark, awkwardly arranged ex-restaurant where I was reintroduced to a guy named Jesus Christ who, contrary to everything I’d ever been taught as a small, loud-mouthed girl, loved me so very much just the way I am.

Being a converted barbecue restaurant, the dining tables exchanged for handmade wooden cafe tables and broken stadium seats, it doesn’t really look like a church. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much.

There were no stained glass windows, only dingy double panes dressed in cheap, plastic blinds. There weren’t any bad, last supper themed murals. Instead there was a thick coat of dark red matte and framed artwork by members of the community. Instead of a chancel with an organ and handbells, there was a rickety, slapped-together collapsible stage precariously cradling a drum set and a few acoustic and electric guitars, as well as a homemade stool for the pastor to teach from.

PROMPT 3: Tell the story in this photo. 

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The hot, sticky air disguised itself as that of mid to late May, but the calendar, turned to the twelfth month, called its bluff. Comforted by the shelter of a banyan canopy, sweating in long sleeves, you and I struggled to keep up with a smaller, more wild version of ourselves, who had just learned how to walk.

Stifled by both the south Florida winter’s heat and the reality that a toddler and a clock ticking seconds closer to nap time were a volatile combination, our appearance was remarkably pleasant. The perfect little trio, an enviable Christmas card, telling terrible lies to all its recipients.

“Things are beautiful and perfect here! We love our life! Cheese!” was what we said on the sandy path, our unruly boy trapped in the binding and protective embrace of a tired and frustrated father. Deep in our eyes, though, the truth was louder.

Sadness, loneliness, and betrayal leaked out of us onto the card as the cruel sun climbed higher behind the defenseless branches. But we are here, alive and robust in perspiration, together in a beautiful and clumsy dance of survival.

Like the Spanish moss to the stretching limbs, we are committed to growing and stretching upward, downward, and in spirals.

The end.

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are you there, blog? it’s me, lindsay.

HELLO. Hi. How are you?

*crickets*

Yes. Yes. Yes. Okay. I realize I haven’t posted in, like, FOREVS. Please stand down, angry citizens. I come in peace.

If you MUST know, I’m currently in the process of revamping this whole blog thing. Turns out I have a little bit of a hefty following and I’m ashamed of the content I was feeding you. You deserve better than that. Yes, YOU. I mean look at that outfit you’ve got on. You’re a stunner. You deserve stunning blogs to go with that getup.

So, please, bear with me as I navigate this blog like a total n00b. Mo’ betta posts are in the works. They are coming soon. SWEARSIES.

In the mean time, check out these beauties. They’re my most popular posts. If my posts were my children, I imagine these posts would form the cool clique at school. But they wouldn’t bully the other posts, okay? I raised them better than that.

Y’ALL DA BEST. Stay tuned!

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follow me on bloglovin’!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

In a few weeks, a dear friend of mine, Google Reader, is going to the big RSS Feed in the sky. And so, I’ve started to follow blogs on Bloglovin’ and think you should follow me too!

So, do it!

Cool!

#RIPGoogleReader

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giving a crap.

Six days ago I moved from Tallahassee to Naples. Not even a week has gone by but everything is already different and changing so drastically that I can barely stand up straight. It’s as if the ground is moving swiftly forward beneath my feet and I have nothing on either side to hold to, either for stability or for stalling. We hit the ground running, as they say. (Stumbling, really, in my case.)

During my last bible study meeting with this guy before I moved, we spent the majority of our time fawning over ink pens, journals, and other writing instruments, particularly those that are well crafted and expensive because, he argues, if you’re going to write you might as well do so using the best utensils.

“Life’s too short to not give a crap about stuff,” he declared.

I wrote that sentence down in my journal the moment he said it and, while he carried the conversation elsewhere, I repeatedly ran over the phrase with more and more ink to make it stand out on the page.

Why? Because I find it way too hard to give a crap about stuff these days.

I think my Give-A-Crap turned off because I was moving away from a city and a community for which I have great affection and I knew, were my Give-A-Crap at all functional, I wouldn’t be. I would just be a walking, sort-of-talking-but-mostly-sobbing, mess of a girl. And no one likes a sad sack, am I right? I mean think of my poor husband, for example. To quote the always-lovely Emma Thompson from Love, Actually, “No one’s ever going to shag you if you cry all the time.”

boxes

Right now, our apartment is mostly unpacked and organized, but there is still quite the lengthy list of things that need to get done. I haven’t really started my job yet so, while my baby is currently napping, I really should be organizing my bedroom closet or unpacking the last few boxes or hanging pictures or sleeping or putting on some damn makeup for crying out loud or something rather than blogging but I just can’t do it because why. Who cares. I certainly don’t.

To compensate, I think my son’s Give-A-Crap has jumped into overdrive. At 10 months, he suddenly gives a LOT of craps about EVERYTHING. My sweet angel baby who used to go down for naps happily now screams bloody murder whenever I try to put him down. As I am no stranger to hyperbole on my blog I have to clarify that I’m not exaggerating here. He literally screams so loud that I’m legitimately concerned. It’s so bad that his voice has actually become hoarse in the past week. I’m not joking, guys. Kid really gives a crap.

Last night he really gave a crap about being awake unless he was in my arms which kept me awake all night. It’s been awhile since that has happened (sorry to burst your bubble, new moms I know — the sleepless nights don’t always end when the newborn phase does) so I was quite the emotional wreck this morning. A ticking time bomb, all I needed was a stern email from my new boss to cause me to crumple into a heap of sobs on my new, south Floridian tile floor and weep for the better part of an hour while my husband tried to hold us all together.

All of a sudden, this morning, I gave ALL THE CRAPS.

I gave ALL THE CRAPS about leaving Tallahassee. And about the first week living in a foreign land with zero friends. And about how my husband and I have actually been in a fight for the majority of our new life in Naples. And about the fact that I CANNOT STOP SWEATING. And about the fact that no matter how many times I Swiffer this EFFING tile floor my feet are ALWAYS black after I walk around barefoot. And about the fact that we didn’t have internet until FREAKING yesterday. (I know. I know. All of these are first world problems. Which leads me to…)

I then gave ALL THE CRAPS about GIVING CRAPS about stupid, meaningless, arbitrary B.S. that, if I’m lucky, won’t even hold a spot in my memory this time next year.

That’s a lot of craps to give at once. Not sure if you’ve tried to give that many craps at one time but it is exhausting.

So. Instead of unpacking the last few boxes that need to be unpacked or putting away the clothes that are just in piles in our bedroom or starting the OVERWHELMING load of laundry that is staring me down, I’m writing.

Because this is the one thing right now that isn’t too exhausting to care about.

Thanks for reading my crap.

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words to live by: franz kafka

Today’s WTLB is actually about writing (squeeee) but I think it can apply to most things. If you are passionate about anything — that is, if you have a soul — I think this quote should resonate with you.

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(Image Source)

 

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

– Franz Kafka

Have an intense, obsession-driven weekend.

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friday favorite: being a writer.

Image

“You write a lot, Lindsay Durrenberger,” a friend observed this morning.

It’s true. I do. I can’t help it, honestly. I have to. It’s how I process things. It’s how I understand things. I cannot fully experience something in my life until I have written it out in words, be it in a story or an email or a blog post or a journal entry. Without words, my days have no life. (Side note: today is still unfathomable.)

Before I started writing this post, I did a Google search for one of my favorite quotes about writing so that I could cite the person who first said it. But the only thing that was returned was a link to my Tumblr, where the simple phrase is plastered across the header. (Which is ironic, actually, because, as my followers can attest to, I rarely post original content there. I typically use it to reblog stupid/weird/inspiring things I find that other people have written/composed.)

Did I coin my favorite writing quote? That can’t be right, can it? At any rate, here it is:

“Why write? Because, quite simply, it isn’t there.”

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it isn’t easy being green. with envy.

I’ve been dealing with some stuff.

That’s what I told a couple of my girlfriends in an email last week. Only I didn’t say “stuff”. I said something else. Something much more fitting to describe exactly what it is I’m going through.

Yesterday, I got an email from NaNoWriMo. When it hit my inbox it felt like a sack of pumpkins to the face. Oh yes. It’s October, which means that next month is November. National Novel Writing Month.  Has it really been a year since I touched my novel?

Let me give you a little bit of insight as to how my life looked a year ago:

I’d just gotten surgery to repair my ACL, an injury I sustained during an awesome dance class at an incredible studio. I was writing like it was my job (which, okay, it is my job but youknowwhatimean), my blog was getting roughly a bazillion hits a day (roughly), and I was taking on my biggest writing challenge ever — fashioning a novel (albeit a complete crap one) in a month. All the while, I was involved in four ministries, one of which I led, at my church.

I was doing it all, basically. I was the it-girl.

And then bam. On November 16th, I took a positive pregnancy test. A figurative slam on the brakes of life, if you will. A happy gear shift, for sure, but a gear shift none the less. I went from being completely focused on my life and my goals to turning down everything (including beer, dang it) that I wanted in order to put someone else — someone so precious and special — first.

I was thrown head-first into a season of rapid life-changes, both physically and otherwise. As I watched my body grow, I also watched important things in my life grow distant. It was almost as if I was taking up too much space to allow for anything else. A painfully obvious metaphor, of sorts. I stepped down. From a lot of things. I put writing on the back burner. I surrendered the ministries in which I volunteered (one of which I’d run for five years — that was pretty hard to let go). I removed myself from all of the “good” things in my life in order to make room for the “best” thing.

Make no mistake. When I saw his little face on July 19th at 1:34 AM, I could see why he was, indeed, the “best” thing. He was (and is) absolutely perfect. He is my whole world. 

That should be enough for me. It should. But guess what?

I’m human. I’m broken. So sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes, like right now, for instance, it’s not.

This year looks  a lot different than last year. I’m not dancing. I’m not writing as much. I’m most certainly not writing another novel, or even editing the one I did write, and I’m watching as all the ministries in which I served move on without me. Moreover, they’re moving on with other people. People who, by my account, are better and more lovable than me. My brokenness begs me to cling to the public affirmation associated with being involved in and doing everything, and so now, since I don’t have any of that, I don’t feel as though I am worthy of love. It’s especially hard because the only person for whom I’m “doing” things, the only person from whom I can receive affirmation, can’t speak. Can’t audibly affirm me. (Unless you count coos and the occasional but oh-so lifesaving smiles.)

To make matters worse, I had to go back to work. And my milk supply consequently dropped. So now I sit in my cubicle, praying that the one thing I — and only I — can do doesn’t slip away, too, making me (in my mind) completely and utterly useless. It feels like this thing — breastfeeding my child — is the only thing keeping me from being obsolete and unloved. As each pumping session shrinks just a little smaller than the last, I begin to panic.

Enter: envy. Pure, immature, annoying, soul-crushing envy.

I find myself envious (and bitter, to boot) of everyone these days. Stay-at-home moms who can answer the demand of their nursing infants and, therefore, don’t have to worry about a diminishing milk supply. Published writers who, because they’re published, are better at it than I. Singers, because dear GOD don’t ask me to sing. Songwriters. Artists. Friends. Not friends. Redheads. Brunettes. Blondes.

The list is endless.

Chances are, if I know you, I’m probably envious of something you have that I don’t. Even though what I have — a beautiful and perfect baby boy — is something you can’t ever have. Sure, you can have a baby boy at some point. But he’ll never be my baby boy. He’ll never be the perfect little angel I wake up to every morning.

It’s the nature of the sin. It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t God-honoring. It’s wrong and stupid and awful. And yet, here I sit, stewing in envy. The painful thorn in my side.

One of my favorite writers touched on this earlier this week when she lamented about the solitary nature of book-writing. The way she explained her feelings echoed mine. It’s as if I’m a duck floating atop a pond. Quiet and inconspicuously still above the surface, but furiously paddling my feet beneath, unseen and unappreciated by all.

Barf. Whatever.

Because this terrible ulcer in my heart wouldn’t stop festering, I had no choice but to open up about it to a couple friends. (In two completely unrelated lunch meetings, both over sushi, which I found to be adorably ironic.) I sat across the table from these two friends, friends I’ve known for years, friends who have seen me at my absolute worst, and I let them have it. I let them know that, yep, I’m still messed up. I compare myself to others and get really freaking jealous and it really sucks.

And they listened. And they challenged me to think differently. To be proactive and to make changes.

But change is hard and I hate it. 

This past weekend I took a short, 24-hour trip to my hometown to see my best friend’s little brother get married. It’s a four-hour drive, and since I had to take Dax with me, I had to drive at night. I hate driving at night, but Dax sleeps through the night now and also conks out during car rides so there was no way I was going to drive during the day if it meant my son would revert back to a nocturnal disposition.

My least favorite part of the drive, probably because of the low speed limit and lack of passing lanes, is driving east on highway 40 through the Ocala National Forest. As soon as I get on 40, I start counting the minutes until I can finally turn right onto 17 and get the hell off of 40.

But this time, it was different. I wanted to stay on 40 forever.

In the dead of night, the Ocala National Forest should have, by all accounts, been pitch black. My Camry and I should have been shrouded in complete darkness. But we weren’t.

The moon was full, and so it poured buckets of silvery moonlight across the land, transforming the forest completely. The trees were a mass of dark, almost-black-but-just-not hunter green against a slate sky and clouds disguised as clumps of charcoal. It was devastatingly beautiful — a type of beauty that could only be seen in the dark of night. As much as the sun could try during the day, that type of allure was only achievable with the overwhelming glow of the full moon. (I tried to take a picture of it with my iPhone but none of the photos did it justice. So hopefully my words will.)

It reminded me of me. And what I’m going through in this time. Though I am, indeed, walking through a “dark” period, a night which has gone on way too long with the hope of dawn too far off in the distance, there is hope. There is truth. There is light.

There is light in the truth my friends bring me through honest, raw, desperate conversation. There is the reality that, though I am broken and have weak moments, I am loved and valued, even if I am not publicly esteemed as such right now. And though I’m currently wrestling with this beast of a sin, I can beat it because I am a daughter of the Most High. A princess.

A broken princess. A messy princess. But a princess, none the less, bathed in the sweet, soft moonlight of grace.

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secrets.

I love being a writer. I love writing this blog. I love to tell stories. I love expressing things about myself and others openly and honestly. Over the years, there have been many blessings that have come from my willingness to share my secrets with the world.

But there have been many negative repercussions from my openness as well.

Lately, I’ve been very in tune with some sacred echoes in my life.  The first echo I wrote about concerned the word “enough” and what that means for me and my journey. But even before that, and since then, I’ve also been really struggling with the idea of secrecy in my life.

Right on schedule with my internal struggles concerning this idea, Rachel Held Evans published a blog post about the sanctity of secrets in the public world. As soon as the title popped up on my Facebook feed, I knew it wasn’t coincidence; based on the title and summary alone, I figured that Evans’ blog post was specifically and divinely written for me. Clicking on it and reading it confirmed what I already assumed.

Here’s the excerpt in Evans’ post that really wrecked me:

As a girl who makes her living (and finds so much joy in) sharing her questions, ideas, insights, and experiences online and in books, the value that Jesus places on secrecy can be a bit disconcerting. All writers struggle with this, I think, but with our access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and You Tube, it’s easier than ever before to slip into the assumption that unless something is shared, it didn’t really happen, it didn’t really matter.

Lately I’ve been feeling that way — that if I don’t blog/tweet/Facebook/Instagram about my life, my life isn’t really happening. Just the other night, when I was suffering from yet another bout of insomnia, I snuggled up against my dead-to-the-world husband. In his sleep, he leaned down to kiss me on the forehead. It was so wonderful and perfect. But right after it happened I became wracked with conviction because the first thought in my mind was, I can’t wait to blog about this.

Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been bombarded by so many people, some I know and some I don’t, about the decisions Dan and I have made about our birth, child-rearing, nurturing, etc. And, for the most part, I’ve been completely candid and open about everything. Even when people disagreed with me. But it turned out that I was so open that, as my pregnancy progressed, people began to assume that they’d be able to be at the hospital when I went into labor and, in some extreme cases, actually in the delivery room for my son’s birth.

Before, I was so excited about becoming a mother and I was so thankful to have so many people share that sentiment with me that I didn’t think much about it. But with the “real deal” swiftly approaching, I’ve been really feeling it on my heart to protect those precious moments with my son and my family. Which is why the only people that will be in the delivery room when I have my son will be me, my son’s father, the doctors, and the nurses. (If I could somehow convince the doctors and nurses to not be in the room, I would, but they’re kind of a package deal at the hospital.)

But it’s not just the birth that I feel the need to protect. It’s not even just my son. It’s so much more than that. It’s the meetings I have with friends. It’s the books I read and the scribbles in my journal. It’s any and all things I am otherwise all-too-eager to share with people, no matter their influence in my life.

Don’t get me wrong. It will take all kinds of restraint to not blog/tweet/Instagram every moment I have with my baby, especially the first six weeks when I’m on maternity leave and up to my face in burp cloths. And this is not to say that I won’t blog as frequently, or as openly, but the discipline of keeping my real life and my family life still mine and not the Internet’s is one that I believe any writer/blogger/social media user should try to implement.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Check out Rachel’s full article here.

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guest post: on growth.

Growing is supposed to hurt. That’s why you get growing “pains” not growing “tickles.” I’ve done a lot of growing over the past couple of years (a lot of it, thankfully, has been documented right here on my blog) and, consequently, a lot of hurting as well. I’m certainly not anywhere near done with it yet, either, but that’s okay. It’s all for the glory, right?

My friend and mentor, Eric Case, asked me to share a little bit about my story of growth on his blog. It scared me a little bit because a lot of my story is quite messy, but I agreed to it because the writing is a raw, visual, concrete representation of just how far I’ve come.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Why are you doing this again?”

The words shot out of my mouth like ping pong balls and bounced against the windshield and hit me in the face. Despite the eating disorder treatment under my belt and its offering of some false sense of normalcy, I was still suffering from a disease much more deteriorating. Complete and utter self-hate.

I was sitting in my car, parked about a block from my house and my new husband, with hot tears running down my cheeks.

I’d run away from him again. This time, however, after telling him he would divorce me if he knew what was good for him. Not even a year into our marriage and I had slapped the “d” word across his face and left.

Check out the rest of the post here

Also, Eric is a very intelligent dude. For posts that will challenge you, make you think differently about the world around you, and probably help you realize that the music library on your iPod needs a face lift, read his blog here.

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an ode to katniss everdeen.

Do you know what I’ll be doing this time tomorrow? I will be counting down the hours until I’m seated at the movie theater watching The Hunger Games at midnight.

ACK.

Now, I know I’m only the four billionth person to say this on the Internet, but this book series by Suzanne Collins is seriously incredible. It’s everything I wish I could write and more. It’s my favorite series right after Harry Potter and, if you know me at all, you know that’s a huge deal. (Gotta give mad props to Emily for convincing me to read it. Shout out.)

This blog post is not about why you should read the books. I really don’t have time to get into it. (But seriously though, you should. Trust me.) This post is to celebrate a book series whose main protagonist is a strong, fierce, and, dare I say, kick-ass female. In today’s society, we really needed someone like Katniss Everdeen to which our young girls (like Emily, for instance) could look up. Katniss doesn’t need a man to take care of her. She knows what’s important in life. She has a feminine side but that, by all means, does not define her.

The other day, Dan and I were in Wal-Mart (for those of you paying close attention, yes, this was the same Wal-Mart trip that was the catalyst to me breaking down in a bathtub later, but whatevs) and while he was evidently poring over the purchases of the lady in front of us, I was furiously flipping through each magazine on the rack with Jennifer Lawrence (the actress portraying Katniss) on the cover and trying to consume as much information on the film I could.

I found that each article had one thing in common: they all compared Katniss to Bella Swan from Twilight.

And I about threw up.

If there is any fictional character that Katniss is like, it is not Bella Swan. If you ask me, Bella Swan is the worst heroine to show up in fiction since, well, ever. I would never want someone like Emily to look to Bella as an example of what it means to be female. Bella is weak, codependent, seemingly in love with the idea of being abused, depressed, and crazy. Katniss is strong, sacrificial, logical, level-headed, and, by all accounts, a B.A.M.F.

At any rate, I’m not writing this to bash Twilight. I have a lot of friends whom I greatly respect that read these books for entertainment purposes. But I bet they’d all agree with me on the fact that Katniss and Bella have about as much in common as I have with a dolphin.

So, rather than compare Katniss to Bella (because seriously, apples and oranges doesn’t even begin to cover it) I’d like to highlight all the reasons that Katniss rules. Period. Not in comparison to anyone else.

TOP FIVE REASONS KATNISS EVERDEEN RULES:

1. she supports her family.

Katniss’s father died in a mine explosion when she was only twelve, leaving her mother so distraught and emotionally detached from the family that she could barely even get out of bed. This caused Katniss to step up and provide for her and her little sister. Rather than crying about it and watching her mother let her family starve to death, she took it upon herself to learn how to hunt, gather, and trade so that her family would survive.

2. she volunteers for her sister as tribute in the hunger games.

She literally puts her life on the line in order to save her sister.

3. she’s a perfect shot.

She could kill anyone by just the snap of a bow and arrow. I mean. Dang.

4. she stands up for what’s right.

Katniss knows that what the Capitol is doing to Panem is injustice at best, inhumane at worst, and refuses to stand for it. At only sixteen, she stands up to something way bigger than herself.

5. she doesn’t let romance get in the way of what’s important.

Yes, in the books, there are two guys vying for Katniss’s affection. While she does consider this, it doesn’t govern her every move. What’s important to her is survival and protecting her family. Romance is an after thought. (Which is impressive because, hello, Peeta and Gale are both dream boats, am I right?)

All that to say, I raise my glass to you, Suzanne Collins, for writing a character that I believe girls everywhere should look up to. As someone who is tired of women being portrayed as meek, inferior sex objects, it’s refreshing to see someone like Katniss come in and shake things up a bit.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

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