Thursday, August 20, 2015

aaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAHHHH I DIDN'T WRITE YESTERDAY!!!!

I mean, uh, I hope no one noticed that fact...

I was in the car on the way back to my college's town ALL day, which isn't an excuse since I can blog from my phone, but I also was listening with my dad to an audiobook of P. D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley which is a lovely book you should all read, and that took up all the time and concentration.

Anyway.

I shall now write you two poems to make up for yesterday and for today.

FIRST POEM
I never missed a blogging day,
I never hope to miss one.
But I can tell you, anyway,
I'd rather miss than skip* one.

SECOND POEM
Ah yes, I missed a blogging day,
I'm sorry now I missed it.
But I can tell you, anyway,
I'll kill you if you diss it!**

*"Miss" here indicates an accidental lapse, whereas "skip" refers to a willful neglect of duty.
**I am just so sorry about this last line. It deserves capital punishment for its crime of existing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Perils of Packing

So I started writing a thing about stars and how humans are fascinated with them, and then I decided it might be worth polishing up and submitting to somewhere, so I'm not publishing it here because then for sure nowhere will take it. Because even though I have, like, at most, five blog readers, it probably still counts as publishing something online. But if the place I have in mind doesn't take it and nowhere takes it, it'll probably go on here.

For today, since I'm packing up to go back to school, I give you:

The Perils of Packing
(Note: The following account is definitely not influenced by the author's own experiences whatsoever.)

You need to pack. You start to pack. You probably start to pack by spreading your belongings all over the place and deciding what to bring. You realize that you have WAY too many belongings. You realize that some of these will have to stay at home. But which ones? Do you bring these shoes or those shoes, or both? Will you really need these shoes that much? How much space do those shoes take up, really? Would it be worse to bring them and never wear them, or to want them and not have them?
You take a break from the stress of decision-making to make a cup of tea. While the tea is brewing, you click onto the internet to see what's happening. Oh, how exciting, you cry in raptures of joy, Rachel the College Student posted a new post! We must read it at once! Oh, let's read the rest of the internet too! It won't take long...
BLEEP BLEEPITY BLEEPERS, you forgot to take the teabag out of your tea. It is now a very strong, very tepid cup of tea. Oh well, you think cheerfully, because you're a much nicer person than I am, It doesn't matter; I'll drink it like iced tea. You suck it down as quickly as possible to avoid lingering over the nasty bitterness of too-strong tea, and rejoice that today you have not wasted tea, nor have you neglected to read all of the internet.
Oh, right, packing.
You get back to work, refreshed and relaxed and ready to go. Unfortunately, you realize that these spread-out belongings are not all of your belongings, because you have a whole basket of unwashed laundry as well. Not to be discouraged, you start a load of laundry. Maybe you'll have to bring two suitcases instead of just one. It's not that big of a deal, really.
You pull your suitcases out from wherever they have been all summer (which, if you're like me, is on the floor in a corner, full of clothes you never really unpacked, but rather wore and washed and put back in the suitcase, or perhaps didn't even wear, but you're not like me) and you empty every single leftover item out of them, like that pair of socks you forgot you owned and maybe a financial aid statement or six, and then you tip them over and shake out all the little dust bunnies and cat hairs and crumbs that mysteriously collect in suitcases, and NOW you really feel ready to pack!
But now you're hungry. You eat. You eat some more. You drink water. Maybe you make more tea and remember to brew it properly this time. You realize that they've added more to the internet lately, and if it doesn't get read right now it's just going to disappear and that would obviously be terrible. Finally, you get back to packing.
You fold your clothes neatly, manage to weed out a few things you want to leave behind or even get rid of entirely, and feel very accomplished as you place the rest in your suitcases. They look so nice and organized, and not crowded at all. How did that happen?
Oh yeah, that load of laundry. It's ready to go in the dryer now.
For an hour, you wait for the laundry to dry, while you make yourself useful arranging and rearranging all your books into Amazon boxes and wishing they fit more perfectly and lacking the commitment to tape any boxes shut in case you decide to add something else or rearrange them for the thousandth time.
You read even more of the internet, and eat more food, and decide to add in a few of those things you decided to leave behind, because it really would be awful to need them and not have them. Maybe you write a blog post. Maybe you text all your friends about how tired you are of packing and how excited you are to go back to school. Maybe you check your email for the eleventy-hundredth time to see if you got anything exciting like an orientation schedule or tracking info for a package you ordered for yourself because you definitely needed more stuff. (Actually, you just wanted the Amazon boxes to pack stuff in the next time, and the feeling that someone cares about you enough to send you a package, even if the someone is you. But also you needed a cute backpack or something, for sure.)
When the laundry finishes drying, you take it out and it's all fluffy and warm and clean and aaaahhhh how about a nap?
No, no, you're packing. You actually are packing.
Hey look, the mail came! It's liking checking email, but even better!
Nothing exciting. PACKING.
Oh, a text from a friend. She's tired of packing too. She's also excited to go back. She had her wisdom teeth out. It hurt. You'll have to have yours out soon, so you better tell her that. And maybe take a picture of how much packing you've done and send that too. And THEN you'll finish packing.
Finally, at long last, when the day is nearly done and the sun is setting in the western sky, you have packed up everything--the clothes, these shoes and those shoes, the clean laundry. You squeezed in all your jewelry boxes and movies and hair clips and more shoes and even your computer and charging cables and everything. You even found the courage to tape shut those boxes, because you're DONE! You even got ALL of your clothes in there, every single piece!
And then the realization hits you, hard, somewhere around the small intestine, that you did not get all your clothes in there, because you are wearing some of them.
You can't take them off to put them in your suitcase because then you'd be wearing no clothes and also dirty clothes would be in your suitcase. So you'll have to keep them out for tomorrow. But you won't want to wear what you're wearing now tomorrow while you're traveling, you'll want to wear something cute and comfy that currently resides in the very bottom of your suitcase. Those words you were saying about your tea earlier? You're saying them again. You also just remembered that your toothbrush and hairbrush and stuff will have to go in after you use them tomorrow morning, and you'll have to wear those shoes tomorrow too, or maybe these shoes, and what if you want a book to read on the way, it might as well be one of your school books so you can get ahead, but they're all packed up in boxes. TAPED boxes.
Oh, well. Such is life. And there's always more internet to read.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Song about Sleep

To sleep, perchance to dream, is all I want to do today,
For I have risen ere the sun was fully on its way,
And I am in no merry mood, and have no wish to play,
Tralalalalala, tralala, lala lei.

To sleep, perchance to dream--a lovely way to spend a day,
For many a happy hour's well spent if it is slept away
And many a brain writes better if in dreams it's left to stray,
Tralalalalala, tralala, lala lei.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Ode on School Supplies

Salutations! Just so y'all know, in case you care, I've written the last chapter out of a projected three chapters of the first story of the three on yesterday's list. It remains to be seen whether the middle and beginning will go as well as the end did; I plan to work on that in a few minutes.

Meanwhile, to sate your voracious appetites for my writing, I shall post a teensy bit of a something.

An Ode on School Supplies

Freshly sharpened pencil points
Glide across a lily page;
The sight my fevered soul anoints
And quietens its summer rage.

Crisp Crayolas, rainbow-bright,
Smell better than a fine perfume;
Oh, would that covenantal sight
Were scribed on every wall and room!

Sheets of unstained paper white,
Virgin-like but ripe to wed;
Their husbands, Sharpies black as night,
Stand ready to take cap from head.

Next, the fasteners line up:
Staples, tape, and glue withal;
Beside them, paper-clips in a cup,
And rubber bands wound in a ball.

College-ruled and thricely pierced,
Notebook pages arm to fight
With binder-rings, that, ever fierce,
Seek to rend each sheet aright.

What tales of love and war and peace
Could yet be told of these fine things!
But, alas, I will surcease,
Although my soul with joy out-rings!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Three Embryonic Tales

Hello, lovelies! Today I shall present to you three plot summaries/back-of-book blurbs for three story ideas of mine. (I'm sure you've never ever heard any similar stories anywhere, especially not in your English classes.)

Story One: Untamable

Katrina is a belligerent, raging-feminist high school senior, and a bit of a loner. Her younger sister Bess is demure and pretty (if a little less academic), and has everyone, especially three potential prom dates, in her back pocket. When their father decides to strike an unusual bargain with Bess's admirers—none of them can go to the prom with Bess unless Katrina has a date—strange things are afoot. Through lively dialogue and sly social commentary, this novelette takes high school drama to the next level, and provokes thoughts on the meanings of masculinity, femininity, obedience, and parenthood in an age of wildness.

Story Two: Wonderful

Miranda is a shy but curious nineteen-year-old, orphaned at a young age and homeschooled by her grandfather all her life. He has… unique ideas about how a girl should be raised, and especially about how she should choose a potential spouse. When a raging hurricane strands an attractive young man of the world at their rural Alabama home, he immediately starts to fall for Miranda—but will he be up to the challenge when her grandfather decides to test his worth?

Story Three: The Twelfth Knight

A moody, lovesick high school actor. His seemingly indifferent crush. Her completely indifferent crush, one of the school orchestra members, who isn't all he seems. And, her crush's twin brother, who only serves to complicate everything. Not to mention another guy or two from tech who would give almost anything to take her out at least once. After all, she's the star of the winter play, and could probably influence the director into giving them parts in it. Love triangles? This is more like a love hexagon, and it only gets more complicated from here. Will the play be the thing to sort it all out? Or will these actors keep their masks on forever?

Fragments of these stories will hopefully make it onto the blog soon. For now, writing a blurb for each is my way of getting myself excited about writing them while also tricking myself into sort of outlining the story and characters because I utterly hate outlining stories and characters because I want to just WRITE already, but I also can't write without doing it, do you see my problem? Anyway, my potential, tentative plan is to maybe get these written up and eventually publish them as three novelettes in one volume, probably just in ebook form, and see if anyone will buy it for like $0.99 or maybe just for free because I kinda just want the fun of saying I published something.


Anyway, I hope these moody high school drama stories interest a few people, but even if not they sound fun to write. Since the stories are DEFINITELY NOT already pretty much outlined for me.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Communion Meal

I kneel before the altar-rail;
A robéd priest before me stands;
Offer God's Son unto God,
Worship God within his hands.

I open wide my unclean lips,
Teeth from humble mouth are hung;
Now the guest receives the Host;
Worship God upon my tongue.

Close my lips and bow my head,
Silence north and west and south;
Creator offered by His child;
Worship God inside my mouth.

Kneel before my morning meal,
Bought by love, that dearest pelf;
Offer God back unto God,
Worship God inside myself.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A thoroughly inexcusable piece of doggerel

Sing, O Muse, and in me tell the story
Of that girl skilled in all ways of pretending...


The above was the first thing that came to my mind when I opened this blank 'new post' page. I think it's talking about me, or a similar human, who is very good at daydreaming about every sort of situation from the mundane to the supernatural, usually at times when she should be studying or paying attention to Mass. She's skilled in pretending she's somewhere else, and pretending that it's ok to pretend rather than paying attention. É una brava ragazza... non.*

Today's written thingy should be a poem, because today is a poetic day. The weather was delightfully cool this morning as I waked to Mass, although it's a sunny day in August in the South. I found bits of Wordsworth's "Daffodils" floating through my head, and knew it was a poetry kind of day. I do like to wander lonely as a cloud, and I love daffodils, so I'm generally reminded of that poem anytime I walk through my neighborhood alone on a nice day. However, what I did this morning can hardly be called wandering proper, since I had a goal in mind, and I don't really consider myself lonely so much as having some peace and solitude, and I didn't see any daffodils because it's August (see above), and so, here's an version of "Daffodils", which better suits what I was actually doing this morning than the original. (Pardon the partly-free-verse format and numerous grammar contortions.)

Daft near Wheels

I walked purposefully toward my destination as a human
Who walks on low o'er asphalt streets
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of multicolored automobiles;
Across the street, in the intersection,
Driving and vrooming in the breeze.

Continuous as the lights that shine
And glimmer in the city rains,
They stretched in eventually-ending line
Along the margin of the lanes.
About four saw I at a glance,
With drivers' heads in perfect stance.

The houses near them stood quite still,
Did not outdo their noiseful glee:
A poet could not but be thrilled
By such a fearsome company:
I gazed--and gazed--and wondered when
I could start to walk again:

For oft, when I do cross the road
And do not wait for cars to cease,
They crash into my soul's abode...
Or would, if my pace not increased!
And then, with painful, dying sigh,
Upon a hospital couch I'd lie.

*I'm trying to learn Italian for a study-abroad program. This means, "She is a good girl... not,"; literally accurate, though perhaps not idiomatically.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Limerick about Pinkeye

Day two of this writing every day thing. I regret yesterday's good decisions. I am tired and ready for bed and in no mood to write. The muse has called in sick, and I have recently discovered I have pinkeye, for the second time this year. Shmuuuur.

Anyway, here's a depressing limerick about the situation:

Pink is a lov-e-ly, happy hue.
It makes for much par-tay and to-do;
But afflicting the eyes
Makes me to despise
Altogether the shade; so adieu!

My apologies for how utterly dreadful that is. If it's any consolation, tomorrow I'll probably reread it and wish I could sink into the earth. Now go cleanse your mind by looking at the Perseid meteor shower that's apparently going on which I can't see because I have to leave the contact lens out of the pink-afflicted eye.

Lest ye think I had a completely terrible day, I did get to see my grandparents and have a nice family dinner and open a box of books that came in the mail, but it's actually more fun sometimes to wallow in one's minuscule complaints, isn't it? 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

So.

I decided that I am simply not writing enough, and that is why I am not succeeding at writing. (These sorts of brilliant deductions are my specialty.) So, I decided to resuscitate this little corner of the Land of Blog and use it to publish my ramblings. My hope is that you lovely people pictured in the sidebar, known as "followers", will read the writings and enjoy them, or criticize them, or both, but more importantly will help to hold me accountable for actually fulfilling this promise to myself. It's another school year, another day, another destiny, another set of Les Mis lyrics, and so I shall make of myself a new sort of writer, one who doesn't ensure that everything she writes is perfect before letting anyone else see it, because that sort of writer isn't a real writer at all. To love others is to know even their flaws, and to be humble is to let others love you. So be it. Fiat secundum verbum meum, et fiunt verba!*

To get down to bald facts, as opposed to facts which grow hair, what I publish here might be anything: a poem, a single stanza of a poem, a description of a person or thing, a vehement denunciation of untruth, a tiny beginning bit of a story... Anything, as long as I'm writing. Now, there are times when people put words on a page (or a screen) and the words form complete sentences that communicate some sort of meaning to the reader, without actually writing in the way that I mean it--I don't consider what I'm doing right now to be "writing" for the purposes of this mission. This is an explanatory note. So, if you catch me going, "I'm thinking about writing a such-and-such but I don't really know, what do you think?" and not actually writing even a line or two of the such-and-such, chew me out in a comment because that doesn't count. But a tidbit of dialogue, a miniature fanfiction, a haiku, a parody of a song, a humorous account of my own awkwardness at a grocery store... all of this counts. Of course, I'd appreciate feedback on whether something is funny, awful, interesting, worth continuing, etc, if anyone would enjoy giving it.

Now, without further ado, here is my first day's creative writing tidbit:

Thoughts on Places

So much depends on location. The same plant is a weed in one place and a wildflower in another. A lion is a treasure inside an urban zoo, but a terror the moment it's outside. A child is considered, well, not really much of a child before he or she comes out of the womb.

In the same way, we are all different people in different places, a little bit. At least, I know I am. At school, I flit from friend to friend, activity to activity, class to class, almost never still and quiet except when I'm in the chapel alone. I am passionate about almost everything, distracted from everything by something else. I'm full of energy, usually happy, ending my days with my head full of thoughts that won't let my mind sleep. To relax the mental tension that stays with me day after day, I have to transform it into physical tension, balancing my body with my mind by manual, monotonous motion.

At home, I curl into a ball in an armchair and read or stare at a screen for hours and hours on end, only stopping when the vulgar needs of the body distract me. I find myself content, but sluggish and unwilling to talk to my fellow humans or even to pray. I suddenly start to worry about money, and yet be more than usually reluctant to work, and simultaneously want to go buy shiny new things that cost more than they should. After a while, my brain feels like quagmire, and I crave the stimulation of like-minded comrades, and their friendly, implicit challenge to academic greatness.

Places are backgrounds that make different parts of us stand out more or less. Places are also springboards or destinations, giving us a reason to move and a way of moving. I can't separate who I am from where I've been. My home town, where my parents met and married and decided to give me life, is one of the threads that weaves me. Every time I visit a new place, it's like reading a new book; it adds another thread. When I talk to people who have traveled a lot, I think I can hear all their threads, and see that their cloth is more finished than mine, no matter their age.

And when I leave a place behind, I am always sad and afraid, because I feel that a part of me will always be there. Maybe we are to places what places are to us. We give places a reason to be, and so some part of us must stay in each one. I think I'm always afraid I'll never see the place again, that I'll forget what it's like, and its thread will start to fade or unravel.

Once, when I was very young, my family lived in an apartment in Maryville, Tennessee. Nearly all my earliest memories are connected with that place, and I value those memories (of trivial events--spilling water, crying and kicking my feet, sliding flashcards into a slightly open drawer) in a quiet, respectful way, the way people view small everyday objects of times past preserved in glass cases at a museum. Growing up, although we moved to several other houses in several places, and the photographic aspect of the memories faded, and my body and mind grew and changed, "the apartment" was a definite place in the timeline of memory, fitting together with other puzzle pieces and helping them to fit. And then one day, on a trip to Maryville, my mother and sister and I stopped by the site of the apartment, and the building that once housed it was gone. Only grass remained, and the asphalt that once was a parking lot but now had a purposeless existence. And I realized then, that without knowing it, I had thought of that apartment I could barely remember, as a place that, because it was in my past, remained unchanging. I never knew that as the memories faded, the place itself could also disappear.

Now I think, how many other people had that apartment building, and indeed those same rooms my family once rented, in their own pasts? How many of them know that the place is gone now? Does it matter to anyone else? Or is it just another manmade structure, doomed eventually to pass away, leaving no trace, although it did its job well?


*I haven't taken Latin in about a year, so I'm pretty rusty. This is meant to say, "Let it be according to my word, and let the words be!" It's a rather bad, punnish reference to the words of Mary to the Archangel Gabriel, upon hearing that she would be the mother of God: "Let it be unto me according to your word" ("Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum").