"How good it is to play this quintet, to play it, not to work at it -- to play for our own joy, with no need to convey anything to anyone outside our ring of re-creation, with no expectation of a future stage, of the too-immediate sop of applause. The quintet exists without us yet cannot exist without us. It sings to us, we sing into it, and somehow, through these little black and white insects clustering along five thin lines, the man who deafly transfigured what he so many years earlier had hearingly composed speaks into us across land and water and ten generations, and fills us here with sadness, here with amazed delight.
For me there is another presence in this music. As the sense of her might fall on my retina through two sheets of moving glass, so too through this maze of motes converted by our arms into vibration -- sensory, sensuous -- do I sense her being again. The labyrinth of my ear shocks the coils of my memory. Here is her force in my arm, here is her spirit in my pulse. But where she is I do not know, nor is there hope I will." An Equal Music, Vikram Seth.
Wow. Just wow.
To me, there is a particular incomparable beauty in novels when the writing is lyrical, when it flows and dips and suits the story perfectly, when it makes you gasp with delight, sigh with envy, at the pure skill displayed by the author. I can only hope to be able to write as well as Vikram Seth when I am older, because I always seek to embody that sense of lyricism. I want people to be swept up by my writing; I want them to gasp with delight at a clever turn of phrase, I want them to feel a physical ache in their chest when they read a particular poignant line that perhaps speaks to their own sense of sorrow. I don't seek to be a mere "workman" of prose; I want to make it into something beautiful.
The authors I've been reading recently -- C. S. Lewis, Erin Morgenstern, Vikram Seth -- have such a way with words. It takes my breath away. Their stories are all so different, their lives diverge in innumerable ways, and yet, there is much of that same skill. I find myself stopping, rereading passages, just to focus on the beauty of their words.
I'm well aware that my writing has a long way to go. I tend to be rather cliched in my terminology and phrasing. I'm not quite as good as description as I would like. Perhaps I would say that I am better at writing than most people my age, but I know that there is so much room for improvement. Reading more frequently has shown me that; it's given me something to aspire to. My writing is not quite workmanlike, not quite poetic. It's somewhere in the middle. I enjoy my writing style, but it's yet to mature. I know where I need to change, where I need to tighten things up. And by reading, I see how other authors achieve the effect I want in my own writing, and it's teaching me so much.
That passage I quoted is too lovely for words, don't you think? The subtle turns of phrases ("deafly," "hearingly"). The metaphor ("these little black and white insects clustering along five thin lines"). The delightful expression of sadness and joy in turn. The craftsmanship in the sentences: "The labyrinth in my ear shocks the coils of my memory." Those two paragraphs are only a hint of the writing that's pervaded this novel through the last eighty pages. It's not so much the plot that keeps my attention, but it's the descriptions -- of his life, of the joys of music, of the sorrows of love lost and so longed for after so many years. Beautiful. The rest of the novel is sure to contain some more lovely writing as well. I just want to soak in it because Vikram Seth does make me feel every word. If only I could have that sort of skill. It's my ultimate goal as a writer.
I've been writing a lot lately. It feels so good, since I haven't written for pure enjoyment, for the simple love of words, in the longest time. It's so amazing, seeing your words appear in a document, typing your vision out, seeing it come to life. I had forgotten what a high it could give you, how the inspiration floodgates can just spring open and all these ideas come pouring out of you and all you want to do is write, write, write, all the time.
It's a more intense version of the feeling I get when I read a really good book and I don't want to stop reading. I might love reading more than most other things in this life, but there's something about writing. I don't know what it is, but I feel so whole, so complete, when I'm writing something I really love.
For example, I recently wrote a Damon/Elena (The Vampire Diaries) fic. I was a little rusty at first, since I haven't written fiction for such a long period of time, but after a while, the words started coming. And I decided to stretch my skill. My short angsty one-shot became a 5K, M-rated fic -- something I had never attempted before. I reckon that the sex was not as good as it could have been, since it's only my first attempt at doing anything remotely like it, but it's better than 95% of the stuff out there. For my first try, it worked. I was pleased with myself, and it's gotten good feedback so far.
Then that story opened up all sorts of other ideas.
Now I am stretching my skill once again, trying to write a character I actually despise (Stefan from TVD), but I feel like I understand him. And he won't get out of my head. He's demanding that his story is told, and it's been a long time since I've had a character speak to me with such an earnest, demanding voice.
Feels good. I might complain, because darn it all, I HATE STEFAN and everyone in fandom knows it, but the mark of a good writer is being able to put yourself in the shoes of someone you might not particularly care for and make them sympathetic. It's important to make them sympathetic even in your own eyes, to bring them to life in a way that maybe even the show didn't. That's why I'm actually glad I'm writing this story. I've stretched my talent more in the past few days than I have in this entire school year.
Who says fanfic doesn't have its perks? Hee.
Speaking of school. Next week is finals. On June 12th, I will officially be a high school graduate. So excited/nervous. I just know that, the minute I leave the school after graduation that night, I am never going back. I can't wait to start the next stage in my life.
I'm not sure what I'm gonna do, though. My English teacher suggested that I go into political science, because it is a humanities-related field that pays decently enough, and that's not the case for journalism and English, the two other majors I was considering. I would not become a high-profile politician, that's for sure, but there are lots of other jobs I can get with a political science degree. I'm teasing it around in my mind, and it seems more appealing the more I think about it.
Luckily, I still have four years left to figure it out. Most likely, I will do research about it over the summer.
I got bored with Doomsday Book, because I feel like nothing has really happened in over 200 pages. It's written well enough, and I love the edge of dry, sardonic humor. The world-building is great, but it just drags on and on and oonnnnnn. It's like, get to the action already!
So I'm going to put it aside for now. I'll probably pick it up again at some point when I'm bored.
Anyway, how's everyone else?
I went shopping for graduation dresses today.
It seems like such a strange concept. I've been looking forward to this day, pretty much ever since I started school, and now, two weeks away, it doesn't seem real. Just yesterday, I was entering my first day of high school, staring around at these kids I've known for my entire life, feeling awkward with my heavy backpack and odd clothing, wondering if I would have a better time of it in high school than I did in middle school. Just an hour ago, I was sitting at my freshman end-of-year assembly, yearning for the day when I would wear the robe and walk down the aisle and become a high school graduate. I wanted to start my life away from everything: my family, my friends, my teachers, everything. I wanted a fresh start.
And now. Now it's almost here.
It's not entirely a fresh start, because I'm only going to my state university and many other students from my class will be there, but it's something. I'll be away from home for the longest time ever. The six weeks away during the summer will pale in comparison to the months away at college -- even if I do have the option of coming home any time I feel like it. It's time to actually start working toward something: my future. And I honestly have no idea what it will hold. I no longer want to be an English teacher, like I thought for my entire life. Words has always been my passion, so I need to do something to showcase my skills.
Journalism seems like the most likely option, but the allure of being a showrunner is almost too much to pass up. I want to achieve both, but is it possible?
I have no idea.
It's so strange. You look forward to something for your entire life, and then, when it arrives, it's anticlimactic. I can hardly believe it. I hear about graduation, I know it's happening. Excitement mingled with a mild sense of nausea bubbles up in my stomach every time I think about it.
Yes! I think. Finally I'll be away from the imbeciles at school.
But then, it's like... what am I going to do from this point forward? I'm an adult. I have to start making adult decisions and that is scary as hell. The child in me is screaming that I don't want to be an adult, that I want to stay a kid forever, but I know that's not possible -- and, once I graduate, everything will start to change. I'm excited, yes, but I'm not entirely sure if I'm ready.
Of course, that's normal. No one ever really asks for their life to change, especially not me. I have a routine and I love my routine, thank you very much, but in the fall, that routine is all going to change.
Two weeks. Two weeks until I walk down the aisle in my blue robe and accept my diploma.
Here I am, about to enter a new stage in my life. Hopefully it won't be too horrible. In fact, I want it to be better than the last.
...not that it's hard to get better than high school, but you get my point.
Title: Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
Pages: 324 pp.
Summary: Haunted by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C.S. Lewis wrote this, his last, extraordinary novel, to retell their story through the gaze of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain. Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god’s face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silence of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer.
Thoughts: I've read much of C. S. Lewis's writing in the past (The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity), but I would have to say that this is his best work. Till We Have Faces is still an allegorical story, but it's not as heavy-handed as the Chronicles of Narnia. In fact, there's a level of sophistication and maturity in the way Lewis presents this allegory. In the Chronicles of Narnia, the message was blatant; you'd have to be an idiot not to connect the dots and see what Lewis was trying to say. However -- and this might simply be a product of the audience Lewis was aiming for -- this novel was more subtle in its approach. It's a perfect response to one Bible verse: "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 3:12). It's such a poignant reflection on the way God speaks to each and every one of us, how it's often shrouded with grayness and confusion, and there's no way to see clearly. One must simply piece together the truth as best as one can.
Given what's been going on in my own spiritual life as of late, it's easy to relate to Orual. She believes in god(s). How can she not, since she's been raised to believe so for her entire life? However, she's frustrated because of the lack of answers. She can't understand why the gods are causing these things to happen in her life, and the loss of her sister, Psyche, to a god she can't even see, a god who won't even let her truly be with her sister one last time in her palace, is unfathomable. Why dance around the truth? she asks. Why not just come right out and say what you mean? Why not just show your presence to us so that we might believe fully and truly, without any doubt? She doesn't understand it all, and she ends up ruining her own happiness, as well as her sister's happiness. It's only at the end of her life that she truly understands that everything she went through -- all the doubt, all the loneliness, all the pain -- ended up working toward something in the end. Finally, she saw clearly. It's a magnificent metaphor for the human condition. People cannot know without a doubt that there is a god. They can believe it with all their soul, but there will always be that niggle of doubt, that question of his existence. It's only when we die that we will know for sure. Until then, it's shrouded in confusion -- because, after all, it's said that "blessed are those who do not see and yet believe" (paraphrasing). While reading this novel, that was the one verse that popped into my mind before anything else. Orual was a reflection of my own fears in this story, and her alleviation of fears helped with my own, to an extent. Lewis illuminated one of the critical crises during any Christian's walk with God, in perhaps a rather unorthodox way, given his heavy borrowing from Greek mythology, which is quite opposite from Christian doctrine on the surface. He still managed to get his message across; he definitely impacted at least one reader years after the novel was published.
Yet, going beyond the message, it was still a beautiful story in its own right. The characters were each so completely fleshed out. One of the more striking aspects of the novel, in fact, was its characterization. Normally, I would not expect such strong female characters coming from a novel like this, but in fact, the female characters were the crux of everything. Even the god was female. Orual was not defined by her beauty, or lack thereof in this case. Yet she was a gifted swordsperson, and she traveled many hours to first attempt to bury her sister and then to bring her back from the (thought-to-be) heinous god who kept her prisoner. She was clearly independent, strong, capable, determined. She didn't have to rely on any man to do what she knew she could do. Given the time period in which this novel was written, I was rather surprised, although I shouldn't have been, given the strong role Lucy and other females have had in some of Lewis's other works. The majority of the females in the story were intelligent, strong-willed, and determined. No weak damsels in distress here, unless you count Orual's other sister, but she's a relatively minor character.
The crux of the novel is also centered around the bond between two females: Orual and Psyche, her younger sister. Orual is driven by her love for her sister throughout most of the novel. It's about their bond more than it is about anything else, and it's about the lengths we'll go in order to protect the people we love. Orual was willing to do whatever it took to save her sister from what she felt was a terrible fate, and nothing would dissuade her from her task. It was the utmost act of love (misguided though it was). Since it's rare to see a strong female relationship in a novel, it was a refreshing surprise to see this novel focusing so much on that sisterly bond.
I definitely did not expect something like this from Lewis, but I know that it's going to stick with me for a long time. The writing, the characterization, the depth, the message... it all struck a chord within me. The writing was so tight, so fluid, so absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, that I could not put the book down. I finished it in a day, that's how much it affected me. It's one of those books that I know I'm going to reread later on in my life, because you can get more out of it each time you read it. There's so much to unpack from the allegory. There's no way to get it all on one reading. It's such a masterful reworking of the classic tale; I thought I knew the tale of Cupid and Psyche, but this novel brought it to life. It made it seem real, even though you know it's not. This is one of those books that is going to stick with me for a long time to come, that's for sure. If you like Lewis's other works and you have not read this one, do it now. You won't regret it.
I feel horrible about it, so I decided to start up this blog again.
There's a lot of stuff I want to post about. For one, I want to start up my book reviews again (I recently read Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis and fell head-over-heels in love with it, and now I'm reading The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and I'm loving it), and I also want to start talking about fannish stuff. I started up a TV blog for reviews and such, but I figure it might be easier to just put them here. Everything in the same spot and what not.
And then of course there are the more personal issues. For the past couple of months -- well, years, really, if I'm honest with myself -- I've struggled with my Christian faith. It's a fight, trying to reconcile these two seemingly opposing sides -- intellectualism vs. Christianity -- and I know that I have a long way to go. Writing down what's going on... might give me direction. Or it might not. I honestly have no idea.
I will go wherever I'm led. Hopefully I'll manage to post in here on a daily basis, and people are still interested in what I have to say. If not, I'll just talk to myself. That's always fun.
- Current Mood: contemplative
I said that I would start posting here more often a few days ago, but it is currently right in the middle of finals brouhaha and so I haven't had much time. After finals, though, I will try to post more often.
Three days until I am officially a senior.
Does anyone even remember me?
This time, I want people who are willing to absolutely tear my essay apart in pursuit of making it better.
Message me with your emails, please, if you'd like to take a look. I would ask my teachers to read it, but I am worried that it is too intensely personal -- so for this, strangers who barely know me would definitely be best. :D
Thanks so much.
Her height begins to bother her. Why is she so short? She gets lost in the crowd sometimes, bumps into people in the halls because they don't see her, constantly gets asked about her height.
She lets out a sigh and continues her survey. Her breasts are too small, not even a B cup, and she can't help wishing that they were slightly bigger. That way maybe she'd be more attractive. But then again... maybe the reason she's not attractive is because she's not the skinniest one in the bunch. Her stomach is not flat, nothing like those pictures she sees in the magazines.
And God, that's just her physical features.
When she thinks about what's inside...
She's greedy and covetous. She sees the new clothes everyone wears into school and she wants them. She wants the money to go out and get them, she wants her license so she's not stuck in her house all the time. She wants everything and more—but she's fine the way she is. She knows that—so why does it feel like a punch to her gut whenever she gets denied the things she wants?
She's envious. During the holidays, all she sees are happy couples, kissing, arms around each other, exchanging gifts, hugging... and she just wants that. For a year and a half, she's been alone, but she knows what a relationship is like. She just wants someone to want her, to feel wanted, but it never happens. While everyone else is off getting together, she's resigned to being the friend that is “really nice and really awesome,” but not girlfriend potential.
She's mean. She's angry. She's awkward in social situations, falling all over herself and being too blunt, maybe, or too shy, depending on whether she's online or in person. She doesn't know what to say. She's a procrastinator. She never knows what she wants: “I don't know” is her catchphrase. She probably makes everyone feel awkward. That's why she doesn't have too many friends; all of these reasons are why she only has one “best” friend.
She sighs. She wishes that she could actually crawl under a rock and never come out when she gets in these moods.
But mostly, she just wishes that someone would tell her—
Her phone. She turns away from the mirror and grabs it from the stand next to her, flipping it open to the text message.
It's her best friend.
Listen. It doesn't matter. You're beautiful.
She lets a smile stretch across her face. In a second, she feels like her best friend is right, that it was an apt person who said that all you need is one person among the six billion people in the world. That one person can pick you up no matter what. If there's one person she can always count on, it's her best friend. With just eight words, it is like a flip switched in her brain.
Of course she's beautiful.
Of course she is.
(She sends two words back:
This has been my entry for week 7 of therealljidol's seventh season. If you liked, please considering commenting and/or voting for me? Thank you. I appreciate all comments, even though I might not necessarily have the opportunity to respond personally to everyone. Blame my Anatomy teacher for that!
- Current Mood: thoughtful
I was a writer. That fact was unalterable.
More than anything, I thank one person for this realization—someone who inspired me, made me reach for more, opened me up to a whole new universe full of friends and love and fun and joy. Even though I haven't actually met her in person—or even on the Internet, to tell the truth—there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be here at this moment, writing this, with the goals of being published, without her.
Who is this person, you might ask?
It's simple, really, when you contemplate what generation I am a part of: the Harry Potter generation. The era of waiting up until midnight for those books, dressing up in robes, waiting anxiously for your Hogwarts letter, wishing you could just Accio the remote instead of getting up to get it yourself.
She's J. K. Rowling, of course. Who else?
I grew up in one of those families, the ones that seemed to decry Harry Potter as evil just because it included magic. They seemed to disregard the fact that they wholeheartedly approved of Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, both of which included magic. But apparently, since the Christian connotations were more apparent in those novels, they were okay, but Harry Potter wasn't.
For a while, I felt the same way because they were my parents and I thought they knew best. It changed when I watched the second movie and figured that maybe there was more to the story, that maybe I should dig out my battered copy of Chamber of Secrets that my grandmother had given me a couple of years ago and figure out what the big fuss was about.
So I decided to crack the book open and, sure enough: I fell completely and utterly in love, forcing my dad to buy me the entire series. I tore right through it, even finishing the fifth book in eight hours (including the time I was in school!). And it was one of the best books I had ever read.
It's such a cliché to say it changed my life. Millions of people all over the world have said it before me, and millions will probably say it after me, but that doesn't make it any less true. The story, from beginning to end, was captivating. Harry Potter lived in a world so similar to our own mundane Muggle world, and yet, with aerial sports, chocolate frogs, and giant three-headed dogs, it formed its own universe, and I fell into it, head over heels, unable to disentangle myself from my love of the series and its characters.
I remember lying in bed at night so many years ago—just like I still do today—listening to my sister cry over her boyfriend and thinking about Harry Potter. About the universe. I wanted it to be my life, I wanted it to be real so badly. I wanted to wake up on my 11th birthday with a letter from Hogwarts. The way the world was crafted, it just seemed real, like it actually existed and I could find it if I just waited a little while longer. Maybe my Hogwarts letter was just late. I knew that the book included magic, but to tell the truth, the series itself was magic.
Capturing that magic was one of my goals ever since I read the books for the first time and got taken aback by everything about the series. My first story—a Harry/Ginny story that took place between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince—wasn't even close to capturing the magic, but since then...
I have never stopped trying.
J. K. Rowling achieved magic in her stories, giving me hope that I can do the same. Reading her books opened up doors, numerous doors, that led down corridors: first, there was the fanfiction, posting my first story on FF.net and reading all of the feedback. Then years passed and I read and wrote fanfiction. I met people from all over the world through my love of Harry Potter. That was our common thread: we loved Harry Potter with a passion that some might even call religious. Through her stories, I read and I wrote and I understood more about the act of writing than I would have otherwise.
Before Harry Potter, writing was just a hobby, something that I had stopped doing after a while, but the series propelled me right back into the art. It nearly singlehandedly formed my world of words and sentences and paragraphs and stories, gave me the push to start writing, and provided me the resources to develop and hone my talents.
I might have a long way to go but, then again, all writers do. I wouldn't be a writer if I didn't think there was more out there to discover and uncover.
All J. K. Rowling did so many years ago was open up a door and reveal a world at once new and utterly familiar. Since then, I have only had one goal that has remained in my head for seven, eight, years—
—and that goal is simple:
I just want to write—hopefully getting better and better as the years wear on and the wrinkles accumulate and I can barely see, but I never stop because I just love it so much. And I want to make sure my writing is a part of me that will never disappear.
This has been my entry for week 6 of therealljidol's seventh season. If you liked, please considering commenting and/or voting for me? Thank you. I appreciate all comments, even though I might not necessarily have the opportunity to respond personally to everyone. Blame my Anatomy teacher for that!
You know that feeling? That feeling you get when you look at the person you like? It's a universal feeling: the tension that fills the air between the two of you. It overtakes you, especially in the darkness of a movie theater as you watch Deathly Hallows for the first time. It feels so obvious to you, except you try so hard to make it seem not obvious. But then. Guys happen to be dumb. And what if he has a girlfriend? To be more subtle or to be less subtle, that is the question.
Ah, the perils of being a teenage girl.
Sure. It might seem so all encompassing in that moment. It seemed like I might explode that night in the theater. Even now, as I prepare to pick my best friend's brain about him—does he have a girlfriend? Did he like me? Did he hate me? Has he talked about me at all?—it strikes me as absolutely ridiculous, how people can put the utmost importance on meetings, on situations, that won't even matter ten, thirty, fifty years from now. And yet the things that matter... don't.
My problems are one of many. I am one girl among many who have had the same problem.
One girl among seven billion people. Seven billion people on one planet among eight. Eight planets in one solar system. One solar system among billions in our galaxy.
It makes problems seem sort of small thinking about it like that.
Even a year from now, it won't matter if I date the guy or not. It won't matter if I look like a fool asking my friend about him. The feelings toward him swell inside my chest, but they make me realize that, yes, it's true, the most important word is the English word is also the smallest:
It's all about me.
I would be the first to say that the person that I look out for the most is me. My problems seem so huge, overtaking everything else. I can't deny that I try as hard as I can to bring the conversation around to myself. It's a character flaw of mine: being self-centered, thinking my problems have to be the center of everything. When in reality, there's more important things than getting a boyfriend or getting into the National Honor Society or finishing National Novel Writing Month.
Each elephant might stampede across my consciousness, obscuring all of the more important parts of my life: the things in my life that might not necessarily revolve around me, me, me.
As I lay in bed, I think about all of this. The constant fixation on the self. It might seem like heavy thoughts to have just before bed, but it's one of the only times I do think about it. It's when I can just lay under my blankets, shivering, and stare up at the ceiling, thinking about my day and all of the things that I would change. All of the things that would make me better equipped to help out other people. As I listen to The Fray and Sleeperstar and Regina Spektor and all the other artists on my MP3 player, I promise:
Tomorrow, I'll get up and I'll put aside all of the problems that seem so huge. I will focus on others.
It is a promise made in the dark of night, but it slips away into nothingness the morning after. And I suppose that my goal, my mission, is to make sure that it doesn't slip away, that it remains and grows into the most all-encompassing part of my life. Put others before yourself seems like such a simple statement and it is, but it's hard to achieve. Especially when you're a typical teenage girl who wants a boyfriend more than a lot of other things at the moment, let's put it that way.
This has been my entry for week 4 of therealljidol's seventh season. If you liked, please considering commenting and/or voting for me? Thank you. I appreciate all comments, even though I might not necessarily have the opportunity to respond personally to everyone. Blame my Anatomy teacher for that!
- Current Mood: blank
And finally, the sonnets arrived.
It was a week ago. The thin sheet of paper arrived in my hands like a kiss of death. I stared at it, all of the restrictions sneering at me, taunting me.
Fourteen lines. Iambic pentameter. Ten-syllable meter. Specific rhyme scheme (oh, God. Please no). A volta.
Five restrictions. Granted the iambic pentameter was optional—our teacher didn't want to make it too hard to write—but the thought of having to restrict my work caused a constriction in my gut. I had enough issues with the sestina—rather hilariously, one of my six words had been “prick,” as in a prick of light—and don't even get me started on the atrocity that was my villanelle.
Structure in poems is not my forte, to put it as lightly as possible. I prefer my poems to flow. I hate using capital letters in poetry, because it makes it seem more like prose. When I have to rhyme, I feel boxed in, like there's a specific format my poem has to fall into or it is not good enough. I prefer just letting the words fall from my fingertips, appearing in whatever structure seems best. I like to see the words tumble out as they will, transforming from joy to angst in a moment's notice. Nothing is set in stone when I write poetry in my free time.
It's not like this when I write poetry for school.
The words do not flow. Line by line, the words come slowly. I write a line of the poem, reading it over, making sure it sounds right. I stare up at the TV. I look over at my friends sitting beside me and have a huge conversation with them about The Vampire Diaries and Cat's obsession with Flynn, her karate instructor when she was younger. I turn away and try to focus on the line in front of me, finally etching out another line that sort of, maybe, kind of goes with the one above it. Repeat this process ad nauseum.
And all I want is to tear this structured poem down and build up a poem that is all rooms and doors and chimneys in the wrong places. I don't want a mansion. I want a tumbled down house that leads you into rooms you never expected. A house should not come with a set of instructions so you can find whatever you need, so you know exactly where to go if you are looking for something. It should be constant surprises, full of weird nooks and crannies, homey and comfortable. It should reflect its owner.
Poetry is a form of art. Beautiful poems have been structured. Shakespeare alone wrote hundreds of them. He wrote gorgeous sonnets, full of meaning and power and beauty that did not once feel forced. Do I think that Shakespeare penned his poems, line after painful line, wondering why he invented his particular sonnet form? No, I think that he might have struggled, but the poems reflected his way of thinking and to some extent probably came naturally to him. The people who invented sestinas and villanelles? Perhaps they thought that way. It might have been easier for them.
But for me: I am unstructured and I like it that way. Just like other people who have written sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, I can stick myself in that little box of aba aba aba aba aba abaa. Fourteen lines with a repeating rhyme scheme and a volta at the end? I can do it. I have done it.
Given a choice, I will always choose to let myself fly with the wind. And I will always prefer letting the words fall as they may over fitting my thoughts into a perfect structure.
But I have to admit.
This sonnet ain't bad.
Assume that the world will end tomorrow.
Will it end in fire, will it end in ice?
Either ending might be full of sorrow;
each ending contains a spatter of vice.
If it ends in fire: burnt trees everywhere,
smoke plumes rising above my head.
Heat rises on my face through this affair.
The world is covered, overwhelmed by red.
If it ends in ice: the frigid wind blows
over the frozen earth, gnarled trees bowing
to cold earth. Teeth chatter, ice freezes toes.
All is cold, full of snow, with dark unknowing.
But this is false. The world is fierce and strong
and endures for centuries with its song.
It might not be Shakespeare, but it's me. And I have to say that I am proud of this first sonnet—but I'll go back to my tumbled down houses now.
This has been my entry for week 2 of therealljidol's seventh season. If you liked, please considering commenting and/or voting for me? Thank you. I appreciate all comments, even though I might not necessarily have the opportunity to respond personally to everyone. Blame my Anatomy teacher for that!
Three words, five syllables. They didn't seem like they would make much of an impact on anything. They were just three tiny words that I say several times on a normal day. I didn't mean anything by it: I was just a quiet teenage girl who didn't want two obnoxious little boys rampaging through the house, being loud and annoying when I expected to be able to relax.
Everything was already stressed enough. I had moved away from my father for the first time in my life, living with my sister and her husband, with whom I often didn't get along. I felt cold and alone, lost and confused, and I just wanted some semblance of normality, some peace and quiet.
That was all I meant.
But apparently they took it differently—as they always do. God, I loved them, but sometimes they made me just want to run and never look back. But then again, my family's always like that, so I've gotten used to it after awhile.
They ranted to me about respect, about helping out family, about not complaining when my sister was doing something to help her mother-in-law, about the lack of quiet that would be in the house after my newest nephew arrived. My sister started with the rants, but then my brother-in-law came into it—and I was completely outnumbered.
Every muscle fiber in my body stretched taut. Frustration burned behind my eyes. I tried to stare down at my computer screen, tried to calm myself down, but it didn't work. There was a spring inside me, compressing, winding tightly. I feel it inside me, aching for a way out, but I held it in.
I won't get angry, I won't get angry, I won't get angry, I told myself.
But then I exploded.
So I liked to be in a quiet environment. How was that so bad? It wasn't as if I had anywhere else to go, because my brother still bothered me if I was around him for too long. It was awkward in my house and I felt a small measure of comfort at their house, even though they bothered and pestered me and otherwise made me want to pull my hair out. Tensions were already running high with my schoolwork and my family life, and God damn it, they weren't making it any better.
I asked them:
Can't I get some quiet?
(No, it's never going to be quiet in this house with a nearly two-year-old and a nephew in a few months.)
Can you tell me when B and L are coming over, at least?
(Sometimes we don't even know until the morning before.)
Why do you have to watch them?
(Because their mother watches my daughter. It's just right that I return the favor when she asks us to. You're being very disrespectful right now.)
(You're asking us to tell my mother that we can't watch B and L because you'd rather have peace and quiet. That won't go over well.
And—and of course this was all my brother-in-law—why are you getting angry?)
The cycle continued, ad nauseum. Eventually I snapped, yelling about how they made me feel so inferior, like I was this antisocial freak of nature. And then they asked me why I wasn't just saying what bothered me about their treatment of me, instead of yelling about it, and I told them, trying to keep my voice down.
And their response?
“We didn't mean it that way.”
Of course they didn't. I know that. It's hard not to know that. They're my sister and brother-in-law. I love them and they love me and they only want the best for me, but their methods make me feel like I can't do anything right. And that's why I snap, why my nerves wind up tight, ready to explode.
In this infamous case, tears sprang up behind my eyes. But then I heard B and L pull into the driveway, I hurried to remove everything from the futon, and the conversation was dropped.
I still remember.
I always remember.
And it sticks with me.
That niggle of thought appears in the back of the mind. I do what they want—but they still want me to change. Am I not good enough?
For them, maybe not.
But for me?
Yes, most of the time, I am good enough. And my sister and brother-in-law will just have to accept that I refuse to change to make them happy, that I will continue to stretch taut if they want me to change, that I don't feel as though it's necessary to fit their ideal.
Because I know that they cannot change who I am.
I am my own ideal and no one can take that from me unless I let them.
This has been my entry for week 1 of the seventh season of therealljidol. If you liked this entry, please consider dropping a vote for me? Thanks!
There are basics that everyone knows within a few minutes of meeting me.
I am a sixteen year old girl living in a tiny town nestled on the curvy coast of Maine. I'm a junior in high school, currently holding the number two score ranking in my grade. Short, blonde, with blue eyes, I am shy. Awkward. Uncomfortable. These are all things that people probably see when they look at me. Looking over a crowd, you would miss me and my four feet, ten inches. Sometimes you would find me curled up with a book in the corner of the room. If I'm in school, I'd be either buried in reading about something on the Internet or talking to the smartest person in my grade about homework. Maybe, on the right day, I'd be doing homework so it wouldn't be necessary to do it at home.
At home, I'm just the same. When I'm not doing homework (which I am doing 75-80% of the time I'm home), I'm browsing LiveJournal, listening to music, and writing. My older sister, mother of two, thinks I'm withdrawn, hidden in my own shell, unwilling to go out and do “normal” teenage activities. My brother-in-law feels the same way; we've had many fights about the topic. But I don't mind. I am the girl who sits in her room and writes and reads and listens to music and rarely goes out.
What people can't see is that I'm so much more than those facts. People deserve second looks because what's under the surface is different than that which is revealed through mere observation alone.
I want people to take a second look at me.
If they did, they would see more. They would see the way I work as hard as I can. They'd see the way my face twists up in disappointment when I get a bad grade and figure out that grades are important to me. If someone walked away from me and went to join their friends, then looked back, they'd see the disappointedcrushedhurt expression on my face. They'd wonder: maybe there's something beneath the surface of this girl. She's more than four feet, ten inches. She's not just a bookaholic. She's more than that weird awkward girl who leans heavily to the right because her schoolbag is weighing her down.
They'd think to themselves: hey, maybe I should get to know this girl.
If they did, they'd hear me say:
I want to be an author. For so long, ever since I could write, ever since I could read, writing has been my passion. Nothing can compare to the feeling of those words flying from my fingers, flowing across the page. It's the best form of catharsis there is, because—
(I'd hesitate, but—)
—paper can't judge you.
And if I was an author, people would hear me. They might not know me, but they would listen to me. They'd read my stories—of love, pain, hurt, comfort, hope—and smile to themselves, because they saw parts of themselves in my writing. They would think that my characters are them. That I wrote the book for them. That is what I wish for.
(Please appreciate me, even if it's only from a distance.)
But there's more to me than just wanting to be an author.
“Easy” is not the word to describe my life. My eldest sister left when I was three, four? And I never got the opportunity to really know her. My mother and father battled cancer before I was even born. Their relationship suffered cancer of a sort and they didn't recover. They got divorced when I thought that my family would forever be together.
No. “Hard” is how my life would best be described. But life is always like that, one constant struggle after another, and I try not to let it bog me down.
Goals. Dreams. Aspirations.
I have them all.
My goal? To be an English teacher. To go to Bowdoin.
My dream? To be an author. To have some modicum of recognition.
My aspiration? To be known. To grow out of my shell and just be.
I have moments of depression, but a moment later, I can be on top of the world, walking on sunshine, on cloud nine, all of those cliches. I have moments of almost five-year-old stubbornness. My preferred method of letting people know I'm mad at them is silence: I'm a pro at the silent treatment. I am still a teenager in so many ways—stupid B, why'd you have to break up with me when I still like you? Why do you have to be happy with someone else with my same stupid name?—but I know where I'm going. I might act like a teenager sometimes, but I have never been a typical teenager.
I often find myself thinking: faith. Love. God. What do they all mean? Do I know? I think about politics, the stupid back-and-forth rhetoric between Republicans and Democrats, and I am glad to say I'm an Independent. I go to youth group, help with the trick or treat party, and help with VBS. But this is yet another reason why I'm different—because I am a Christian, but I wore purple on that day commemorating those poor souls lost by gay bullying, bashing, hatred. I support gay marriage—with my entire soul—but looking at me, you would never guess.
So many things about me you would never guess just by a cursory glance.
I am messy and complicated. I am kind and mean. I snap and I yell and then I shut the door behind me and I cry. I let my emotions run my mind sometimes. I write to let out my feelings. I squeal about The Vampire Diaries all the livelong day. I talk to my ex and wonder why the hell I'm so dumb and sing along to Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs. I read Allen Ginsberg's “Howl.” I read Twilight. I want to be loved for who I am, but I try to change myself so that people will like me.
People are balls of contradictions and I am no exception.
No one can say that I am just a shy awkward girl. That is just a snapshot. But look at me, really look at me, and talk to me, and you will see more. Read my writing and see me grow. See me flourish.
The journey of life takes me places I don't want to go—
—but the person I will become at the end of the road is what keeps me going on.
So here I am. At the beginning of a journey, both in this competition and in reality. I'm hovering between my teenage years and my adult years, posed for the life ahead of me. Who knows where I will be at the end of this journey?
Because I certainly don't have an inkling.
This has been my introduction post for the seventh season of therealljidol. Please tell me what you think? Feel free to follow me if you are interested in my journey this year.
I am officially participating in LJ Idol for the second time.
Not sure how I am going to juggle everything, but I am not going to pass up an opportunity to do this again. Last year I had to drop out, but this year I am determined not to let that happen. I'm not sure if I will get as far as I did last year, because of my teeny F-list, but I'll try. I can't wait for the experience to begin again!
- Current Mood: excited
NaNoWriMo is starting up soon, though, so that might put a monkey wrench into my plans. With homework and writing a 50,000-word novel, I might not be able to update as quickly as I would like. But maybe once a week? That seems doable.
Unless LJ Idol starts up soon -- in which case, I might update more than once a week, depending. A teaser came out Thursday night (?) and I am going to do it again, determined not to drop out, so we'll see how things go. I have a feeling it could start from as early as tomorrow or as late as a month from now. You never really know. Hee.
Anyway, in celebration of getting 1,000 songs on my MP3 player, let's do that music meme. Maybe I'll actually remember to post the answers!
Simple rules, as usual.
Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing. Skip the instrumental-only pieces (non-English too if you want, or the songs with the title in the first line).
Step 3: Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and title correctly. (If it's a cover, the original artist is okay, and vice-versa.)
Step 4: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!
Step 5: If you like this game, post your own!
1. Every night, I remember that evening, the way you looked when you said you were leaving.
2. I don't need no license to sign on no line, and I don't need no preacher to tell me you're mine.
3. I was writing, thinking with my long hand, put pen to paper; everything was sinking.
4. We were both young and when I first saw you, I close my eyes and the flashback starts, I'm standing there on a balcony in summer air.
5. Two jumps in a week, I bet you think that's pretty clever, don't you, boy?
6. Breaking your heart was never my intention, playing with parts too fragile in the ending.
7. She's looking right at me and I'm just waiting for the moment to say hello.
8. She's going out to forget they were together, all that time he was taking her for granted.
9. Everyone's around, no words are coming now and I can't find my breath. Can we just say the rest with no sound?
10. You say the sky is green, I don't know what you mean. Your lies were always clear but I don't mind.
11. I thought I knew you well, but all this time I could never tell.
12. He is sensible and so incredible and all my single friends are jealous, he says everything I need to hear.
13. Why don't you come home, it's not very far, I'll wait up each night for the sound of your car.
14. All those arrows you threw, you threw them away. You kept falling in love and then one day...
15. Welcome home, while away they have tampered with the locks and your things they rearranged.
16. I have built a city here, half with pride and half with fear. I just wanted a safer place to hide.
17. My friends wonder why I call you all the time; what can I say? I don't feel the need to give such secrets away.
18. We're both looking for something we've been afraid to find. It's easier to be broken, it's easier to hide.
19. As I sit in this smoky room, the night about to end, I pass my time with strangers but this bottle's my only friend.
20. Come on, girl, I've been waiting for somebody to pick up my stroll, pick up my stroll.
21. You with the sad eyes, don't be discouraged, oh I realize it's hard to take courage.
22. Used to come around here everyday, now you're breaking, used to be the one that's not ashamed, now you're shaming.
23. Emily will find a better place to fall asleep, she belongs to fairy tales that I could never be.
24. I wake up every evening with a big smile on my face and it never feels out of place.
25. Little boy of thirteen is on his way to school, he heard a crowd of people laughing and he went to take a look.
26. I'm holding on your rope, got me ten feet off the ground, and I'm hearing what you say but I just can't make a sound.
27. We've got one chance to break out, we need it now, 'cause I'm sick and tired of waiting.
28. Throw away the radio suitcase that keeps you awake, hide the telephone in case.
29. One boy, one girl, two hearts, their world, time goes by, secrets rise.
30. I have nothing left to give, I have felt the perfect end, you were made to make it hurt, disappear into the dirt.
Not as much variety as I hoped... but oh well. Guess away.
I set up an appointment at Bowdoin College for Monday. I was going to go last month sometime, but because of money issues, I wasn't able to go. However, if the van holds up, the appointment on Monday looks like it is going to happen.
However, I am visiting College Board and Princeton Review and other sites of that nature and they all say that you should go to visit a college about a week or two after the students have returned to the school in order to get a view of what campus life is like as an outsider. They recommend going at that time or after, but not before school starts.
Normally this wouldn't be a problem for colleges that start mid-way through August, but Bowdoin students arrive on the 28th. My tour is scheduled for this Monday.
My question: Is it worth going even though no students will be there? Everyone says you should go when college is in session, but it won't be when I arrive.
So. Should I reschedule or just go anyway to get a look at the campus and the buildings and such, then set up another appointment later on to see the actual campus life?
Because I really want to go, but I'm not entirely sure how useful the trip might turn out to be.
Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing. Skip the instrumental-only pieces (non-English too if you want, or the songs with the title in the first line).
Step 3: Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and title correctly. (If it's a cover, the original artist is okay, and vice-versa.)
Step 4: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!
Step 5: If you like this game, post your own!
1. My tears run down like razor blades, and no, I'm not the one to blame, it's you or is it me?
2. Someone tell me what to do, I feel like I must be a fool for ending up right back at the start
3. If I could give you the world on a silver platter, would it even matter?
4. Steve walks warily down the street with the brim pulled way down low
5. I don't know what I've done or if I like what I've begun
6. Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me, I think they're okay
7. I left a piece of my heart at your apartment on a cold dark night when I gave myself to you
8. If you just walked away, what could I really say? Would it matter anyway?
9. Don't talk, don't say a thing, 'cause your eyes, they tell me more than your words
10. Hold on, what's the rush? What's the rush? We're not done, are we?
11. Watching myself when I'm taking strides but here comes the moon
12. If I was strong enough, if I were wrong enough, to be someone like you, would you have let me come to be with you?
13. Seems like just yesterday you were a part of me, I used to stand so tall, I used to be so strong
14. You and me, we used to be together, everyday, together, always
15. I've heard talk of blind devotion, lovers through thick and thin, lives touched with real emotion
16. I can't remember when it was good, moments of happiness elude
17. I wish that life was like it is in the movies 'cause the hero always gets his way
18. Spend all your time waiting for that second chance, for a break that would make it okay
19. Unexpected, understatement of the year, that's for sure
20. There's a calm surrender to the rush of day when the heat of a rolling world can be turned away
21. I see you there, don't know where you come from, unaware of a stare from someone
22. Was it that hard to give me away? Are you that easily persuaded by a memory that's faded?
23. This here's a tale for all the fellas, try to do what those ladies tell us
24. I first saw you at the video exchange, I know my heart and it will never change
25. You with the sad eyes, don't be discouraged, oh I realize it's hard to take courage
26. Staying in again on a Saturday night, I'm gonna settle on the sofa and turn down the lights
27. Well, isn't it like you to have 'em all fooled, stand tall, walking proud, now you're breaking the rules
28. I recall a long farewell and a time to choose, so we part like rivers, baby, yeah, like rivers do
29. Young teacher, the subject of schoolgirl fantasy, she wants him so badly, knows what she wants to be
30. We've got one chance to break out, we need it now, 'cause I'm sick and tired of waiting
Wow... my music taste is... varied, to say the least.
So go ahead, guess! Results will be posted on Sunday.
I am currently obsessed with this song.
I especially love this part:
I will sing, nobody will break you
Trust in me, trust in me, don't pull away
Just trust in me, trust me 'cause I'm just trying to keep it together
'Cause I could do worse and you could do better
I just love how the instrumental just swells and the words are just sung with so much passion and everything just coalesces and gives me goosebumps. *shiver*
And I love the "oh wai oh wai oh ooo" segment. It just adds so much to the song and it's just awesome.
Some other songs I love at the moment:
You're the One
It's Not Over
A Drop in the Ocean
I know, my tastes are hideously mainstream. I can't help it!
The ban on same-sex marriage in California was just overturned, everyone!
It's about time justice was served. I was absolutely disgusted, to my intense surprise, when Maine voters decided to overturn the right of same-sex couples to marry, so this is a huge victory for same-sex couples in California, at least. The fight isn't over, but it's turning back in the favor of what I now finally feel is right.
Equality is important. And I will always, no matter what, stand on the side of equality.
Just... YES. FINALLY.
Going to a friend's house for a sleepover tonight and then tomorrow I'm starting a mural.
Will tell more about this tomorrow.
Goodness, is there anything I don't worry about every day?
I am a compulsive worrier. I worry about everything and there's not even a reason to worry about it half the time.
The thing I worry about everyday, though?
I know, it's strange, considering that I have never done anything bad in my entire life. The worst my behavior has ever gotten recently was when I blew up at my sister and brother-in-law, and those occasions are not all that common (although they would beg to differ). I don't rebel against my parents, although I do beg my dad for several things so that he'll actually do them and not procrastinate and leave me with nothing. I have a 98.352 GPA in school (and that will never stop sounding cool). And I am a good Christian girl -- no drugs, no sex, no alcohol. I go to youth group and helped out with VBS. I am the quintessential "good girl" and nothing is ever going to change that.
And yet... and yet...
I worry about my behavior all the time. This stems from my self-consciousness. I always worry that I'm doing something wrong, saying something wrong. It's constant for me, which is why I'm so shy. I never know if what I'm doing fits in the "norm" of human behavior and, whenever I do something I consider weird... well, you know that time right before you sleep where you go over everything that went on that day? I beat myself up for it that night or... well, I don't beat myself up, in that I verbally abuse myself, but I just wonder what the heck I was thinking at that time and I never have a clue why I did what I did.
I think to some extent we all go through that sort of "what did I just do? Why can't I just be normal?" phase. For me, it's just more pronounced. Deep down, I know that no one pays more attention to me than I do (thanks, favorite English teacher!) and they don't even notice half the stuff I do in regards to my own behavior, but I am just way self-conscious. And I worry about my behavior because of that.
I am trying to overcome it, though. Being confident in myself is normally not something I'm good at, so it's going to take a lot of doing to truly overcome it as best as I can. I'd like to think I'm getting better at it.
- Current Mood: thoughtful
- Current Music:Take Everything (ft. Ingrid Michaelson) - Greg Laswell