Once again, I have had the pleasure of meeting yet another amazing person in my pursuit of inspiration…
Kaleigh Somers is taking the world by storm. Creating happiness, one moment at a time and rewriting life with her happy go lucky attitude and colorful personality. Kaleigh embraces her readers with uplifting content in this sometimes monotonous and gloomy world, following her very own motto…
“There should never be a more acceptable alternative to this moment, this life you’re living. If you don’t love what you do, throwing your heart into it, it’s a waste of time.”
Kaleigh, thank you for talking with me. I am so excited, I am such a fan and I am thrilled that I get to present you to my readers.
Rewriting Life is such a delight.Your outlook on life is an inspiration all it’s own. How do you maintain such a positive attitude in today’s world?
Part of being positive is choosing what to focus on. My mom once told me, “Your mind is either your best friend or your worst enemy.” And I chose friend. And of course part of it’s a personality thing. I was always a happy kid. But as I’ve been exposed to all the world’s injustices, I’ve only become more cognizant of how much I have to be thankful for.
Is there a story you would like to share that attributes to who Kaleigh Somers is today?
Isn’t there always?
I sort of consider myself the kid who got kicked around by my peers. I put up with a lot, but I always bounced back.
Last fall, though, I hit rock bottom. In the span of a few weeks, I moved into my own house, started my sophomore year of college, and broke up with my boyfriend. On top of that, I felt like I didn’t fit in at school and wanted desperately to transfer somewhere closer to home. Fall spiraled into winter and with the cold weather came my depression. By the time I resurfaced in May, I’d found solace in writing for The Breeze, JMU‘s newspaper. And then I realized there were probably hundreds of other girls struggling to adapt to college or with low self-esteem. The blog gave me the voice, the channel, to speak to them.
Now, you recently published a book based entirely around your blog, tell me how that came about and what we can expect from the content?
One of my blog friends mentioned Blurb.com in her post, so I checked it out and immediately knew I wanted to make a copy of my blog for myself. Sort of a digital scrapbook, you know?
I’ve always been a reader, but what really saved me last spring was two books: 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven and The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn. They forced me to reexamine my life, and I wanted my blog book to do the same for others.
It’s really just an edited compilation of blog entries from July to December 2010.
You have two other novels, “Leap of Faith” & “Running in Circles”, along with some short stories as well… How did these come about and what kind of recognitions have you received?
Running in Circles was my first full-length novel. It’s semi-autobiographical in that it’s about a high school senior on the track team who has a rough relationship with her parents, to say the least. I was 16 when I first wrote it, and my parents and I were always clashing on things so I think it was a commentary on that more than anything. Leap of Faith is more recent. I wrote that last year and it’s a lot darker in some ways. The idea originated just as this scribble in a journal entry two or three years ago.
And the short stories just surprised the heck out of me. I won Six Sentences‘ Six of the Month contest last June for “Half a World Away.” You can purchase it on Amazon now, which might be the coolest thing ever.
I remember my mom was trying to pan sear chicken when I ran downstairs and begged her to read this story I’d written, pretty much on a whim. A couple months later they published another one of my stories in their “Mind Games” anthology.
The official name—Media Arts & Design – Digital Video & Cinema—is quite a mouthful. The usual response is, “Well, what does that even mean?” It’s basically video production, screenwriting, film studies. Stuff like that.
Last summer I worked extensively on a high school graduation video for my sister that ended up taking almost 2 months to complete. But I’m steering away from video lately and have taken an interest in web design. No projects just yet.
It seems you have pursued things in life that you are not only good at, but have such a passion for. What led you to choose this path and where do you hope it leads you?
It’s funny because I almost ran screaming in the other direction when I was about seven or eight and my dad had his own information technology company. He joked about my sister and I taking over the family business, and that went over horribly. Same thing with my mom, who’s had her own PR firm for as long as I can remember. I guess I sort of merged a little bit of tech with writing and ended up somewhere in the middle.
My parents didn’t have much growing up so they always had appetite for working hard and having it pay off. That rubbed off on me too.
There’s quite a few jobs I’d be happy with, but if I can write novels for a living, I’ll be in heaven. Something with publishing or a literary agency would be nice, too.
Any advice to undecided youth on choosing their path?
God, yes. My best friend in the world is just in love with her classes at the local community college. She’s taken such a diverse course load, and I think in four semesters she’s complained about one class. I’m pretty such those general education classes are meant to help you expand your interests. You can’t be afraid to explore or to choose doing what you love over what’s going to make a lot of money.
Between writing for your school paper, novels, shorts and your blog… how do you keep balance & remain focused without burning out and losing the joy of it all?
Such a good question. I think it’s because I love it all. And I love being busy. That’s another thing that’s actually kept me from thinking about all the negatives in life.
I make a lot of To Do Lists or reminders to myself. And I squeeze assignments into mini breaks I have between classes. Organization has honestly saved me from losing my mind at times.
What do you believe is the most important message for people to remember, or cling to?
I could probably write a whole book of them. There’s so many. But something that I just heard in the last month or so was this awesome piece of advice from one of my professors. He said that if you’re doing something and you look up at the clock and hours have gone by without you even realizing it, you’ll know that that’s what you love. Something to that effect at least. If you lose yourself in something, its not always a bad thing.
Thank you for being such a phenomenal light for us , Kaleigh. I wish you all the happiness and success in the world, you truly deserve all the best!
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