RIP Rob Stewart

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Today I attended the funeral for Rob Stewart.

Rob was an environmentalist and filmmaker with a passion for sharks and a unique ability to make other people care about the same things he did.

The first time I heard of Rob Stewart was back in ninth grade when my science teacher showed the class Sharkwater. It completely changed my world.

I was lucky enough to get to meet Rob once at a screening for his second film, Revolution. I was about fifteen at the time and beyond terrified to speak to him. How often do we get to meet someone we idolized and looked up to?

Despite my nerves, Rob was incredibly nice. He spoke to me for a few minutes, signed my copy of his book, and took a photo with me. It’s a moment in my life I’ve never forgotten and will cherish even more now.

When I heard the news Rob had gone missing I thought it had to be a joke. One of those horrible hoaxes you hear about on Facebook or Twitter. But then I realized it was his own page that had posted and it wasn’t a joke.

For those three days I constantly checked Facebook, the news, anywhere I could to see any updates about what was going on. I hoped beyond hope that he would be found safe.

When the news came on Friday that he had been found I was heartbroken. It didn’t feel real. I just couldn’t believe that this man who had had so much affect on the world and who still had so much left to do, was suddenly gone.

My heart goes out to his parents, sister, the rest of his family, and his friends.

It also goes out to everyone who admired Rob and all the work he did to affect change.

I would also like to thank his family for opening his funeral to the public. Being given the chance to hear everyone speak of him and say goodbye was something I didn’t think I would have the chance to do and it meant more than they will ever know.

Rest in Peace Rob Stewart

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1979-2017

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R.I.P. Alan Rickman

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This morning I woke up to the news that Alan Rickman had passed away.

Now, fourteen days into 2016 and the world has been hit by one celebrity death after another. Everyone is affected differently and everyone is hit differently.

This one hit me hard.

Alan Rickman was a major part of my childhood. He was Professor Snape. He is Professor Snape.

He brought to life this character we hated and loved and loved to hate and hated to love. He delivered some of the most iconic lines in Harry Potter and delivered them in a way (and at a pace) that we will never forget.

Alan Rickman was a brilliant actor in everything he did. My heart goes out to his friends, his family, and his fans who are feeling this loss today.

Thank you Alan Rickman, for all the work you did over the years and for giving us the best Professor Snape there ever could have been.

You will be remembered. Always.

R.I.P.

The Power of Words

imageHave you ever read something that changed your life? You connected with it and it made you feel something so powerful that you can’t remember how things were before.

Words can do that. They can change the way you think; they can change the way you feel; they can change you. Words are probably one of the most powerful tools we have. Sure, money is great, power is great, technology is great. But not everyone has money, power, and technology. But even without these things, if you have words then you have so much more.

As a writer it still amazes me that everything I do is just different combinations of 26 letters. That on their own these words don’t mean much, but put together they have the ability to influence something. Words can literally change how a person sees something.

Imagine you’re reading a book and you see: ‘The girl was mad.’ Alright, but how mad is she? Change it to: ‘The girl was furious’ or ‘The girl was livid’ and you suddenly get a much clearer image of the girl. Even without describing what she actually looks like, it is much easier to picture someone ‘furious’ or ‘livid’ rather than ‘mad’. By changing one word you have changed the entire meaning and given the reader more to think about: Why is she furious? What made her so livid?

Words can change everything. They have the power to influence you and those around you. Without words the world would be an incredibly dull place.

Have you ever read anything that changed you?

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I would just like to say thank you to Robin Williams. Growing up, his films were a huge part of my childhood and the Dead Poet’s Society changed me. His performance in this film forever changed the way I think about literature and the way I write. May he rest in peace.