Category Archives: Writing

Question 2: If you could erase a horrible experience from your past…

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So, I’m starting a blog series where I answer random questions. It’s like those questionnaires I love so much, except with actual writing instead of fill-in-the-blanks. Feel free to play along at home by answering the question in the comments or by submitting a question.  Hopefully this is fun! Question 1 can be found here.

You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Ok, so my life has been pretty average. There have been awful, awful things but I know how blessed I am.

That being said, I refuse to fall into the “I wouldn’t change anything because each experience has come together to shape who I am as a person” cliche, because, while it may be true, it is absolutely no fun and not in the spirt of  the game.

*Trigger Warning: Bullying*

I think the memory I’d most want to erase would be from my 6th grade year. I know, I know, middle school drama! But there were these two horrid boys who would bully me so badly that I actually became afraid to go anywhere without a friend. That’s the kind of memory I could live without.

Ultimately, one moved away and I punched the other one in the face, so things worked out alright. But it was a rather harrowing time for little me and whatever “growth” I experienced, I would willing exchange for never having to think about that part of my life again.

 

 

 

Waiting

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I have little patience. Concentration is a challenge, and waiting rooms are nothing short of torture.  I pace when I’m thinking, I doodle in class, and I tap my foot when it takes too long for someone to come to the point. Inactivity is my Kryptonite. I share the “I want it NOW!” attitude of much of my generation.

Every once in a while, though, I’ll find something worth waiting for. In such cases, my patience is endless. I’ll keep waiting for something I should have given up long ago.

Right now, I’m in one of my waiting periods. I’ve found something that I want desperately. So I wait. And I’ll admit there’s a part of me that wants to burst into action, to do something. But it’s one of those cases where action would case more harm than good.

It’s so hard! There’s a little voice screaming at me, telling me that inactivity is passivity. A wiser, calmer voice reminds me of all the times I acted when I should have just sat down. It plays memory after memory of me running my mouth, doing the wrong thing, or causing damage that could have been avoided if I’d just given myself time to let emotion cool.  I’m such a passionate person that I tend to regret what I say in the heat of the moment.

And it’s not as though I’ve done nothing. If this whole situation were chess, I’ve done the equivalent of placing my opponent’s king in check. Now I just have to wait for their next move, and that’s the difficult part.

September was an emotional month, and so far, October seems to be following suit. To lighten the mood, here are my (unedited) journal entries from the past two days:

Oct. 1, 2012

OMG! It’s OCTOBER!!!! How????? I don’t even know…. So you can see, I am a deep individual.

Oct. 2, 2012

I’m shrouded in a cloud of apathy. Bleh.

 

I know, right? My journal is the most unintelligent piece of writing I have ever had the misfortune of reading (or writing, for that matter!). But I have a theory that if I get out all my bad writing in my journal, then my writings here and for school will be nothing short of literary gems.

Yep.  See you soon.

High School

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This is going to be a life blog. I do not apologize.*

This summer, I began asking myself what I wanted to remember about high school. Those of you who have been here a while or who know me IRL are aware of the fact that I’ve never attended a “normal” high school. For my freshman and sophomore years, I went to a cooperative school. But last year (my junior year), I began taking all my classes at a local community college. So, this year is both my senior year of high school and my sophomore year in college. I guess you could say that I haven’t had the most typical of high school experiences.

I mean, I have attempted to “experience” all the things kids my age experience (No, Mom, that doesn’t mean sex, drugs, and alcohol…). I’ve played sports for my local school, gone to dances (ok, one dance),and  cheered at homecoming games. The cool thing, though, is that I am in the unique position of shaping what my personal experience looks like.

For me, high school will remind me of seeing my first Broadway show (“Memphis”) or the time I went to a six hour concert showcasing local artists or being able to intern for credit at my college’s theater department. I’ll think of meeting the Vlogbrothers and Tom Milsom and Raven Zoe. I’ll laugh at the memory of the time I went for a walk in the snow at midnight, dressed in footie pajamas and a kola hat, with two of my best friend or staying up all night to marathon Doctor Who or Buffy. High school will be where I broke a boy’s heart for the first time and where another boy kept breaking mine. It will be the time of my life where I left the country for the first time, pushed myself to actually make friends, and discovered a love for Nutella.

I have the rare privilege of being able to plan my own graduation. When I first started high school, the song at the top of this post would have seemed the most appropriate song to play at the ceremony. Everything was embarrassing. But as I found my footing, I realized that the fact I was embarrassed was good. It meant that I hadn’t allowed myself to stagnate. I was out doing things. The last thing that I want is to look back on my own life and realize that I’ve been a spectator.

I’m reaching the point where I’m in a state of perpetual nostalgia. 🙂

 

*lies. I feel awful when I life blog.

I’m Overwhelming You

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obsession

And I don’t mean to do it,

But I’m well aware I do.

It’s borderline obsession

this ambiguity over you

And I have no real reason

No way I can explain

The emotions I am feeling

Or why I act this way

It’s like my reason’s gone

I’m at sea without an oar

Where’s logic when I need it?

I can’t find it anymore.

And it appears quite funny

Maybe ironic too

That this absurd obsession

Keeps me away from you

 

Yep. Hope your lives are going well.

 

Not in Love

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I think that there’s a chance

And even admitting that makes me queasy

I mean, me: eternal pessimist

Keeper of the temple of broken dreams

And hearts to boot. It’s impossible

The math must be wrong, the calculations

Faulty. The results are mistaken.

I am not. I cannot. There’s no way at all.

I refuse to believe I’m in love.

Festina Lente

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So, I love the arts. I’m especially passionate about literary, performing, and visual arts. Literary arts are my life, and I’ve taken two terms of theater classes. I’m also volunteering with a local theater troupe. But my love for visual arts is a bit more complicated.

I was that kid in kindergarten who refused to color in class because it was “silly”. I haven’t taken a visual art class since middle school. And if you asked someone to describe me, I doubt the words “painter’, “artist” or “the next Van Gogh” would be used.

You see, unlike with theater or lit., I always considered myself bad at visual arts. I loved drawing and painting and shaping clay, but I hated to show my work to others for fear that it would fall short of some invisible standard. I wanted to be the best and I knew that I wasn’t the best at this.

Two things changed my mind, or at least, forced me to reconsider my perspective of what makes good art. The first was a painting of pumpkins I did as a make-up assignment for my middle-school art class. I had been sick and the teacher had told me to create a painting of whatever I wanted in order to get credit. So, I chose pumpkins.

Painting those pumpkins was the first time I felt like I was doing something that wasn’t too weird or bad or incomplete for others to see. And when I turned it in, I felt like da Vinci bestowing a second Mona Lisa.  Obviously it wasn’t, but it’s the first time I remember being proud of a piece of visual art.

The second was when I was doodling in my notebook one day, and my friend looked over and said, “Hey, that’s pretty cool. I wish I could draw like that.” I looked down at my doodle and then up my friend in surprise. I wasn’t working on anything spectacular. I was just drawing interesting lines over and over. And suddenly it dawned on me:

Art isn’t about perfection

In fact, one dictionary defines art simply as a work produced by skill and imagination.

What I was doing was legitimate art, even if it wasn’t likely you’d find in a museum.

My teacher has an expression she likes to use. “Festina lente”, or hurry slowly. I think that one phrase sums up my whole experience with art. It’s been about letting things happen and embracing opportunities. It’s knowing that I’m headed someplace, but still taking time to smell the roses. It’s about art for art’s sake and not in order to please an imaginary critic.

There’s my 5 cents worth. Don’t spend it all at one place! 😛

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Tell me if this is a normal person thing or just a weird me thing. I’m not really sure.

Do you guys ever fall in love with an idea? I mean, hardcore, heart in your mouth, butterflies in your stomach, nervous, sweaty in love with an idea?

Does it become some kind of driving force behind your thoughts, a kind of background music to your day? Is it something that you just can’t shake, something that seems to bubble up from inside of you? And, even though it’s crazy, you find that this idea is on par with food, water, and shelter when it comes to the list of things you need to survive?

It’s not being OCD. It’s not like being on some kind of maniac trip. It’s just this all-abiding passion for one singular idea.

No? Just me? Ok.

Sigh

 

A Challenge from Hayley

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Hayley G. Hoover, one of my favorite YouTubers, posted a poetry writing prompt on her blog:

“In your poem, include at least fourteen of the following items: a statistic, a dish eaten cold, three forms of heat, a smell you can’t forget, a line from a movie, something out of a textbook, two things you wish you had said, a reference to an aunt or uncle, some kind of moving vehicle, two words beginning with R and ending with “-ion”, a stage direction, two distinct hours of the day, an historical figure, an adhesive, an animal only seen up close in the zoo, a slang expression (“call it quits,” for example), something really bad that you did, something that undermines or negates everything else you’ve said.”

I managed to fit all the items in. Here’s my poem

“Here’s looking at you, kid” he said

Toasting success to the best- the two of us.

And I didn’t respond, despondent silence

Louder than any shout, I hesitated.

I should have spoken, said something

Bring my congratulations to the surface

instead of mirthless fear but I didn’t.

I should’ve said “To us!” “Mazel tov!”

“I love you,” true every one. I said nothing.

 

Pungent, like fish weeks past their prime,

he stared at me, the world a train moving

Removing any distance between us

As I ate an 8 o’clock spaghetti at midnight,

Cold in a way no microwave or stove could restore,

Fiery glances passed between us, like a gust

Of death, come to cheer up the evening

that had begun so well, now gone bananas.

 

FDR said fear fears itself. I disagree

Revelation of reintegration between words and mouth

brought out this response: “Let us digress

to a non-relative discussion, percussion

Reverberation of static and non-static existence.”

I feared myself, my heart

No uncle, cousin, sister brother, father,

mother- dearer was he and I said

Nothing. And I was 72% sure I loved you.

 

End scene, drop the curtain down

Drown out the sorrowful glance of rhino

Behind glass at the zoo, so close

I could reach out and touch it, if it were real.

Reality gone haywire, clinging like duct tape,

Absorbing everything. I take it back,

it’s better I stay silent, reliant quiet

in face of the tangles of the unrealities

Unraveling in my head. Better to say nothing.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed! Any comments, questions, or critics are appreciated.

Sylvia Plath

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“Great wits are sure to madness near allied, And thin partitions do their bounds divide…” -John Dryden

A fine example of this is found in the poet, Sylvia Plath. Her life was scarred from the beginning by the death of her father. He died from complications relating to the amputation of his leg. Plath blamed her father for his own death, claiming that his carelessness about his health was the same thing as suicide. Upon first receiving news of his demise, young Sylvia proclaimed “I’ll never speak to God again” Interestingly, one of her most famous works was entitled “Daddy”.

As she grew up, she used writing as a way to express her emotions, mostly through journaling. It wasn’t until college that Plath began to find her voice. During this time, Plath found moderate success publishing her work in magazines and newspapers.  A series of incidents including a rejection letter from a writing program, severe insomnia, relationships with abusive men, and a panic attack all led to a severe case of depression. She was treated with electroconvulsive therapy, which only made things worse. She attempted to kill herself, but was thwarted. She spent several months in a mental health facility. This pattern of feverous spurts of writing followed by severe bouts of maniac depression was one that followed her throughout her entire life. Prior to her death, Plath had written about 40 poems in 4 months, often writing 2 a day. She killed herself at the age of 30.

Speaking of suicide, Plath said “If you have no past or no future, which, after all, is all that the present is made of, why then you may as well dispose of the empty shell of present and commit suicide. But the cold reasoning mass of gray entrail in my cranium which parrots, ‘I think, therefore I am,’ whispers that there is always the turning, the upgrade, the new slant. And so I wait.”

Now, obliviously I disagree with Plath on…well, most fundamental issues. However, she truly was a brilliant writer. Here are some of my favorite quotes from her poetry as well as from her book, The Bell Jar:

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

“Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.”

“I must be lean & write & make worlds beside this to live in.”

“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.”

“Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much – so very much to learn.”

“There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It’s like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction–every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it’s really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and excitement at about a million miles an hour.”

“That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”

“I want to be important. By being different. And these girls are all the same.”

“I knew chemistry would be worse, because I’d seen a big card of the ninety-odd elements hung up in the chemistry lab, and all the perfectly good words like gold and silver and cobalt and aluminum were shortened to ugly abbreviations with different decimal numbers after them.”

“I have done, this year, what I said I would: overcome my fear of facing a blank page day after day, acknowledging myself, in my deepest emotions, a writer, come what may.”

“Living with him is like being told a perpetual story: his mind is the biggest, most imaginative I have ever met. I could live in its growing countries forever.”

“There is a certain unique and strange delight about walking down an empty street alone. There is an off-focus light cast by the moon, and the streetlights are part of the spotlight apparatus on a bare stage set up for you to walk through. You get a feeling of being listened to, so you talk aloud, softly, to see how it sounds.”

“Now I know what loneliness is, I think. Momentary loneliness, anyway. It comes from a vague core of the self – – like a disease of the blood, dispersed throughout the body so that one cannot locate the matrix, the spot of contagion.”

“…we shall board our imagined ship and wildly sail among sacred islands of the mad till death shatters the fabulous stars and makes us real.”

“I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head. Love is an illusion, but I would willingly fall for it if I could believe in it. Now everything seems either far and sad and cold, like a piece of shale at the bottom of a canyon – or warm and near and unthinking, like the pink dogwood.”

“I love him to hell and back and heaven and back, and have and do and will”

“I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.”

“With me, the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone it is dead. But you can’t start over with each new second. You have to judge by what is dead. It’s like quicksand … hopeless from the start. A story, a picture, can renew sensation a little, but not enough, not enough. Nothing is real except the present, and already, I feel the weight of centuries smothering me. Some girl a hundred years ago once lived as I do. And she is dead. I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass. The high moment, the burning flash, come and are gone, continuous quicksand. And I don’t want to die.”

 

 

I did not fall in love

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I did not fall in love today, as someone said I should.

It’s not for lack of trying, though. I would have if I could.

The air was just a bit too thick. The atmosphere was sour.

Why, never could I fall in love when all is grim and dour!

 

I did not fall in love today, despite a desperate cry.

It seemed for every kind “Hello!”, I received a rude goodbye.

The sun was just a wee too bright. The flowers were too gay.

Why who could ever fall in love on a day like today?

 

I did not fall in love today. Why should I, if you please?

Love is a hardy illness that brings great men to their knees.

Luckily, I’ve had my shots. My record’s up to date.

I’m immune to all its tricks. My health chart is first rate.

 

I did not fall in love today. What is that to you?

My mother would be quite ashamed were I as rude, it’s true!

All matters of the heart should be good and left alone

Instead of being written down through gossip’s gramophone.

 

A work in progress piece of my poetry! (Update: I don’t why this didn’t show up until today. Glitch?)