I set zero goals this month. How did that pan out?

After setting (and meeting) my “publish 20 stories this month” goal in April, I decided to set aside specific expectations for May and just keep up a regular writing practice.

Surprisingly, I maintained decent momentum even without specific numeric goals this month. It felt good to release expectations a little, even if I did feel a bit dulled and tired towards the end of the month, like I’ve run out of things to write about. I think we all know that feeling now and again, though, so I’m not considering my lack of specific goals responsible.

I managed to write…

On Twitter, where brevity reigns supreme, I sum myself up as: Writer, educator, yogi, runner, general nerd & wearer of many metaphorical hats.

While that’s great place to start, a list of labels only gets you so far in learning about someone. In addition to the above, I…

  1. Work a day job in Student Affairs and teach two 100-level courses
  2. Fill my phone with pictures of Azula, my Blue Heeler puppy with a personality fitting her Avatar: The Last Airbender namesake a little too well
  3. Am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but currently live in Pittsburgh
  4. Love a good buffalo chicken…

I laughed, I cried, I made my fiancé roll his eyes…

(Full disclosure: Book links are affiliate links, which may earn me a small commission if you choose to purchase)

When I first heard that John Green had a collection of essays coming out, I figured I probably wouldn’t read it.

Why this was my initial reaction, I’m not entirely sure. I write and read a great deal of nonfiction and have a great appreciation for the essay collection.

I also have nothing against John Green. In fact, I quite like him as a person and as a writer.

I suppose it’s just that I saw him as a fiction writer…

The game that solidified my gamer girl identity

My personal experience growing up as someone who identified strongly both as a girl and as a gamer in the late 90s and early 2000s was… complicated.

In my formative years, prior to widely available access to other humans via the internet, I felt like being a girl who liked video games simply wasn’t done. At least, not in public by anyone that I knew.

The games themselves reinforced this notion because there were basically no playable female characters involved. …

A space to chat about our current reads

Hello, and happy second Wednesday in June! I can hardly believe we are into June already, and that in a short week and a half, I will be officially fully vaccinated against COVID-19!

I can’t wait to get back to reading & writing in the coffee shop of a summer Friday afternoon. The past few months, I’ve taken to finding ambient coffee shop sounds to listen to on YouTube to try and replicate the experience of being surrounded by — but not speaking to — other humans. It isn’t quite the same, and I miss the real experience terribly.


On resistance to labeling my spiritual practices

Since I was very small, I’ve been resistant to organized religion as a concept. It seemed impossible to me that human beings could stumble upon the exact right answer for how the Universe was set up and operated.

Clean-cut rules and explanations for how one might arrive at a favorable relationship to their higher power chafed at my nascent sense of grey areas and ambiguity.

At the same time, I found myself drawn to one particular way of relating to a sense of connectedness with something larger than myself.

I read countless fictional stories about witches, and eventually found my…

Let’s talk enemies-to-lovers in the style of Jane Austen

I’m not sure that modernized adaptations of classics are technically a trope, but hey, adaptations of Pride and Prejudice also fit the enemies-to-lovers trope, so I’m going with it.

Recently, I finally got around to reading Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev, which has been on my list for a while.

When I first graduated from college and had free time for reading again, I read a lot of modernized takes on Jane Austen stories. …

That time a bus full of writers tipped sideways into a river

Let’s face it — the idyllic moments full of wonder are rarely the most exciting travel stories to tell. Though they fill us with awe and take our breath away, they aren’t necessarily fun or even easy to explain to someone who wasn’t there.

For all that, we want to impart the magic of standing atop a mountain after a hike or the strange sense of smallness as you gaze out over a melting glacier in the distance. These experiences have to be felt more than anything.

Travel mishaps and misadventures, though? The excitement, adrenaline, and humor come ready-made with…

Vicariously studying abroad and making bad romantic choices all over again

I first heard about Kristy Boyce’s Hot British Boyfriend when one of the social media pages for Harlaxton College, where I studied abroad, posted a photo of the cover art.

The cover features a teacup with the outline of a British manor house on it… the British manor house where, approximately one lifetime ago, I lived for four months.

Naturally, I added the book to my TBR faster than you can say “hot British boyfriend.” Relive my study abroad experience through the pages of a book? Yes, please.

(Disclaimer: book links that follow are affiliate links, which means I may…

A review of Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

I rarely review a book if I don’t rate it three or more stars on Goodreads.

Generally, this is because I don’t finish books that I wouldn’t give at least three stars. Under three stars means I didn’t enjoy the book, and i don’t like to waste valuable reading time on books I don’t enjoy.

But I did finish reading Love Your Life, and the last 5% or so brought me around a bit on the book as a whole. …

Amanda Kay Oaks

Pittsburgh-based writer & wearer of many metaphorical hats. Making words about self, health, books, travel, and more! She/her.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store