Taralei Griffin

What's Your Story?

Category: Heroes (page 1 of 2)

Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard

Sunday, April 10th, 2016:
It’s the final day of the Democracy Spring march that began in Philadelphia 9 days ago. We’re going to be arriving in D.C. later that afternoon. At our morning rendezvous, one of my fellow marchers hands me his car keys.

“I want to march today, can you drive support?”

“I’d love to! Which car?”

“The Denali over there.” I glance to where he’s pointing, then do a double take and look at him like he’s crazy.

“That big truck?! I’ve never driven anything larger than a small SUV.”

“You’ll be fine. I trust you.” He pats me on the back and walks off, leaving me nervously holding the key to someone else’s very nice truck.

Okay, Tara. You can do this. You’ll be able to take it nice and slow since you’re driving along with the marchers.

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I hoist myself up into the truck, see an auxiliary cable, and instantly pull out my iPod. I put it on a dance playlist, adjust the seat and mirrors, buckle up, roll down the windows, and put the truck in drive. I very slowly pull out of the parking lot, panicking slightly when I bump a curve, but then I’m on the road. Everything is intact, and this gigantic truck is actually easy for me to maneuver. Who knew?

Prince’s 1999 starts playing, and I turn it up as I drive past the marchers, waving and cheering them on.
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Nerd Of All Trades

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for a throwback! On this final Thursday of being a 24 year old, I want to appreciate my nerdiness, and how it started.

My parents often had Star Trek reruns on the television, and nights watching the original Star Wars movies were an extremely regular occurrence in our house. My sister and I were raised on the classic animated Disney VHS tapes. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published in the USA, my mom read the book to us (with different voices for all the characters) and thus started my lifelong obsession with J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

My personal nerdiness began to truly shine through when my sister and I decided we no longer wanted to be the same thing for Halloween anymore. For years, my mom had made us adorable matching Halloween costumes, but Marissa and I wanted to start differentiating ourselves with more than just the fact that we were sisters who looked nothing alike.

1993

Halloween 1993

Note the pumpkin with Simba painted on.

Note the pumpkin painted with Simba’s face.


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An Unexpected Inferno

Tears sprang to my eyes and I threw up a little just typing that.

Tears sprang to my eyes
and I threw up a little just thinking
about Trump going any further.

Tomorrow is the most important Super Tuesday in the history of the USA.

Let’s get this out of the way – I’m sad to say it, but I fully expect Drumpf to win most of the Republican primaries and caucuses tomorrow. The fact that he is doing so well in this race is an embarrassment to our country. I’m still harboring a tiny bit of hope that his campaign is just a really terrible joke that went viral and has spun out of control, soon to crash and fade from our memories.

Phew. That’s over. Now the good news…

Anyone who knows me or has read past posts of mine knows that I sometimes feel hopelessly overwhelmed by the hypocritically conservative thinking in my current home state. One thing that’s cheering me up?

I’m positive that enough Tennessee Democrats feel the Bern for Bernie Sanders to win our state tomorrow.
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The Necessity of Zest & Gusto – Zen in the Art of Writing

As someone who has been writing stories since I was able to form sentences with a pencil, I have many favorite authors and creators, but I have a very select list of “writer role models.”

In 2002, as an eleven year old bookworm struggling with depression, I read about J.K. Rowling and her determination to get Harry Potter written during difficult times. While anxiously waiting for the next book (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) to be released the next year, I threw myself into writing stories so that I could be just like her. In more recent years, learning how much more there is to the Wizarding World than what I originally read or saw on the big screen has only cemented J.K. Rowling’s spot on my list.

In 2009, when I was away at college for the first time, my friends introduced me to Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. That first year of college was a struggle, and some of the best moments were when I would curl up on a couch in the common area with my friends to lose myself in Echo’s story. I quickly became obsessed with finding anything created by Joss Whedon, and I admire the way he is able to craft stories that take your mind, as well as your emotions, on crazy adventures.

In 2013, while struggling with once again having moved away from everything I knew, I was introduced to A Song of Ice and Fire & Game of Thrones. The depth and detail of George R.R. Martin‘s world amazed me, and he quickly became my third writer role model.

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Ever since reading Fahrenheit 451 in a literature class as a high school junior, Ray Bradbury has been one of my favorite authors, and one of the people I quoted most often. Yet, somehow I didn’t “officially” add him to my list of “writer role models” until the end of 2015, when I finally read Zen in the Art of Writing.
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Is That Blue I See?

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“Are they called The Young Turks because they’re Turkish?”

“No. The host and founder is from Turkey, but that’s not the point.”

“And… his name is Chunk?”

“No, Tara. It’s Cenk.”

“…Kahnk?”

CENK.”

“Yeah… Okay. I now understand what people go through when they try to say my name.”

Four years ago, I had this conversation with a friend of mine as he opened his laptop, preparing to introduce me to TYT by making me sit through almost 2 hours of YouTube clips. Those two hours got me hooked. Everything this guy with the unpronounceable name said struck a chord with me. He was often loud and goofy, and other times loud and angry, but Cenk Uygur doesn’t care about what other people think of him or the volume of his voice, as long as he’s putting his opinions out there.
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