K. J. Bagnall

Writer. Editor. Illustrator. Mental Health Activist. Christian.

November 1, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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Three Common and Unexpected Grammar Mistakes To Look Out For

Anyone who’s seriously looked into English grammar, even just a little bit, knows it’s a bizarre creature. And the more you study it, the less confident you feel about using it correctly. Or maybe there’s a magical point where it all makes sense, which I just haven’t reached yet.

Today I’m going to share three grammar rules and scenarios that surprised me when I first learnt them, and always keep me on my toes. Well, there are certainly a lot more than three that do this, but we’ll keep it nice and simple for this post!

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Photo by Elisa Xyz

Warning: grammar terms are used in this article. I explain some of the less-familiar ones, but be sure to follow links or do your own research for more definitions.

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October 1, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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The Colours Of Trust: Can I Trust You?

I’ve been thinking about trust lately. 2016 has been a hectic year where several things and people I trusted to remain consistent changed. And like many, change does not come easily to me.

Trust doesn’t come easily to me. And yet, I do it like breathing. But I’m talking about two different types of trust here. Wait, there’s more than one? Well, maybe I just have an overcomplicated way of viewing the world. I wouldn’t be surprised. But, you be the judge.

What is it anyway?

Is trust some mushy, lovely heart-warming concept? Sure, we use the word to have that meaning. And this is the meaning I struggle to enact in my life. Actually let me guard down and trust someone else? Whoa, tried that before.

Okay, actually that’s usually gone alright. But I’ve let my guard down by accident a few times and had people come in and made a big mess. And since I wasn’t bracing myself for the rejection, it cut deep. And now when I want to choose to let my guard down, it rubs against the scars.

black-and-white-bokeh-background-1444394612ovh

But trust also means faith in the reality we understand and choose to believe. With me still? Though a bit complicated at first glance, this is the one I find easy.

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September 3, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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The God of Genesis: He is Committed

Genesis is a long book, full of stories, people, trials and triumphs. I’ll be skipping over a lot, so I encourage you to read through it yourself.

The purpose of “The God of” Challenge is to find more facets of His being and personality. Reading through Genesis, I noticed this about God: He is committed.

By committed, I mean He’s in it for the long run — whatever it takes to save humankind. And how do I know this? Read on!

Original Sin

One rule. Just one little rule. Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The first humans, Adam and Eve, were going great until the snake suggested the fruit would make them like God. Their desire to be god was a great betrayal, implying that the true God wasn’t doing a good enough job.

Photo by torange.biz

Photo by torange.biz

Despite being wronged so, as God casts them out He gives a promise. While on that day the snake succeeded, a human would take the ultimate victory. From the very start, God had his eyes facing forward, into the future.

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August 5, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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How Author Mark Lawrence Helps Me Love What I Hate

There are three things I hate in stories: zombies, excessive swearing and post-apocalyptic dystopia setting. Mark Lawrence, author of The Broken Empire trilogy and The Red Queen’s War trilogy, has all three. And I can’t get enough of his work.

I’m a little embarrassed to say that I missed the release of Mark Lawrence’s latest book The Wheel of Osheim, finale of The Red Queen’s War. It’s been a busy few months. Actually, busy year. And so despite being ready to jump up and buy it as soon as I could, I missed the release date.

Mark Lawrence and his latest novel, The Wheel of Osheim

Mark Lawrence and his latest novel (image colour edited)

In my defence, as soon as I realised it was out, I was at the bookshop counter, happily handing over the $28 for his latest work.
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July 9, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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Self-Esteem: One Less Worry

Something about my self-esteem defies expectations. I have great self-esteem. Always have. Despite being raised by a mother modelling poor self-esteem, despite being bullied in primary school, having anxiety, witnessing a mum have an unexpected break-down, despite my minor abandonment issues, despite growing up as a teenager and young adult in this narcissistic 21st century western world. Despite this whole life of mine, my self-esteem has been solid.

I feel it’s taboo for high self-esteem people to self-profess. It’s seen as arrogant, self-absorbed. Which isn’t true. High self-esteem doesn’t equal believing that you’re perfect and amazing at everything. It means you feel comfortable that you can do some things, and can’t do other things. It means failing a task doesn’t define you; not living up to a certain standard does not make you a bad, lazy or untalented person.

The Hidden Struggle

I’m sure having high self-esteem saves me buckets of energy fretting and worrying, although I overthink pretty much everything else. But in this world, high self-esteem has an unexpected struggle. It can be really lonely. Most of the time it feels like I’m living as the odd-one-out in a world of people struggling with low self-esteem. And while feeling rejected and isolated doesn’t make me think I’m a bad person, it still hurts.

Isolated
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June 6, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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The God of Challenge

Last year, I set myself a challenge. I wanted to read the bible. The whole bible, from start to finish to make sure I didn’t miss anything. After years of being a Christian, attending Sunday school, attending church, going to a Christian high school, I’m pretty familiar with bits the bible. But I haven’t read it all.

Photo by Ryk Neethling. Colour edited.

Photo by Ryk Neethling. Colour edited.

As a person who believes in God and Jesus, and ascribes to the Christian faith, I figured I should know all about it that I can. And where better to start than the bible?
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May 2, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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Back To The Psychologist

Last year, life was going pretty great. Sure, I mean, it wasn’t perfect. Second semester last year was probably my most hated university semester of them all. And yet, I got through it. I was looking forward at my last study year left before I head out into the big wide world. And for the first time, that thought didn’t scare me.

I was approaching 2016 with enthusiasm. I planned to join a new Christian group at uni, and actually socialise a bit more and meet new people. I signed up to be a leader at a local Girls’ Brigade, despite being nervous about working with children. And I started this blog, planning to post once-a-month or so, at least to begin with.

Near the end of last year I had an appointment with my psychologist, and I was feeling great. My anxiety was under my control, I was looking forward to pushing myself in new directions. She was just about to go on maternal leave and I thought, what better timing? She left me with the name of a substitute psychologist, which I dutifully noted while confident in my chances of not needing it.

train station

Photo by Luke Zeme

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March 1, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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How To Write An Honest Memoir

Memoirs, one of the latest literary booms. Once they, and autobiographies, were the realm of celebrities. But now comes the era of the every-day memoir. Because even the most ordinary person can have the most extraordinary life. And because the most ordinary experiences can be the most powerful.

Plus, this is the “me” century. We’re all used to being celebrities of our own lives thanks to social media.

Too Easy!

Last year in my memoir subject, the teacher noted the difficulty of not offending or upsetting anyone when writing about your life from your own bias. I thought, sure, I could see that. But I’ve never really offended anyone, and no one’s really ever offended me enough to deserve literary revenge.

The few people I have actually disliked (either for a period of time, or the entire time I knew them) I can actually understand, or at least hypothesise, where they were coming from. One of the perks of being a writer, and my personality. So I don’t think I’d portray them in too harsh a light.

typing
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January 30, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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Worship With A Human Heart

The church fellowship I attend is small. Worship is usually run by a singer and one – or, if we’re lucky, two – musicians, along with someone in charge of displaying lyrics.

This week, it didn’t quite go smoothly. Sometimes the lyrics were out of order, sometimes the guitar was louder than the singer, sometimes the congregation was off-key or sang at the wrong time. At one point the musician couldn’t find the music sheet for a song, so we ended up singing one song twice!

This is my favourite worship. When we raise up our voices and stumble, when our plans go awry and the guitarist stumbles. And when we continue anyway. Because we must. I love these moments. They make me smile, and I like to think they make God smile too.

Mum and Dad's wedding photo
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January 13, 2016
by K. J. Bagnall
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TMS Treatment for Depression

Mum goes back into hospital today. It’s just a top-up of treatment, so nothing too terrible. In fact, it’s a lot better than some of the treatments she’s tried in the past; at least this time she won’t be to catatonic that she can’t drive and as to be signed in and out every time she wants to leave.

Mum’s getting TMS treatment for her severe depression, since the years of trying different pills have resulted in more side-effects than useful effects. TMS is an electro-magnetic treatment they do to stimulate part of the brain.

I’ve never actually seen it done (this time is only her third lot of treatment), but she’s told me that she sits back on a chair, they measure her brain and stick some wires to a particular point. Then, for the next hour or so she sits, with it tapping really quickly for ten seconds or so, then stopping for thirty seconds, then repeating. Apparently the tapping pattern is different for each patient.

The whole thing is pretty easy-going, except mum says she feels like she’s just come out of an exam afterwards. But after the three weeks of treatment, she comes home and her brain actually works! For those unfamiliar with depression, it’s got nothing to do with feeling sad or crummy all the time. It’s a bit more like feeling intensely lethargic, but worse. Horrible worse. But the TMS really helps with the “lethargic” side of it all, which in turn helps her think clearly and make healthy decisions. And decisions in general.
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