ONE LAST DREAM

I think I’ll dream a dream tonight

A dream about a magical flight

A dream up to the skies above

Where I can see those that I love.

 

A dream that shows me down below

A dream covered in clean white snow

A dream where Jacque still rides his trike

That’s a dream I think I would like.

 

I’ll dream one last dream ‘fore the end

A dream more sweet than all I’ve penned

‘Cause how on Earth can we transcribe

The beauty that our minds provide.

——

 

Hello there!

 

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HOW TO FIND INSPIRATION

Hello everyone,

 

I decided to take a break from writing creative stuff today to talk a little bit about inspiration today. If you are a regular WordPress blogger, you probably have had moments where you struggle for inspiration. I didn’t know this, but there’s a cool blog where people respond to one word in a whole blog post, or other ideas. That’s a pretty smart concept. It gets people to interact with their blog and it promote writing. If you need inspiration and are either desperate or lazy, I would suggest trying this out. It’s really good for a one-time fix, especially if you are in a pinch.

However, not everything about this kind of blog is good for you, the writer, or by extension the people who are struggling with ideas in the rest of their lives. Think about it. If you, along with a quadrillion billion million (like my number choice?) other people are all responding to the same prompt, how original can you be? I mean, certainly, your writing may be completely different and exceptional, and that’s wonderful. Yet you are not being truly original. The best a person in this situation can do is defamiliarize something. To defamiliarize means to make a familiar concept different. For example, instead of a plain old rock, the object is a coarse, rough, solid stone that is jagged on one side and opaque on the other. See the difference? Ok, good. This isn’t to say that defamiliarization is a bad thing—I mean, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is made up almost exclusively of stories that he had changed slightly, or told from a different perspective, and it’s one of the biggest pieces of literature ever. Seriously. You can be very successful doing this. But if you’re looking for inspiration, that’s probably because you want to make something that feels original, right?

That being said, this isn’t really “original” ideas. It’s original work, but it’s not something that is going to make you stand out. Think about how many famous authors there are throughout history. Pretty short list, ain’t it? At least, compared to the total number of people that have ever existed in the course of human history. Here’s the difference between Chaucer and an average blogger using this kind of blog as daily inspiration—the blogger is part of a mass, Chaucer was not. No matter how good your writing is, if you write the same thing as 100 other people, you have to beat out 99 other people. Which I’m not saying is impossible, but the higher that number is, the more people you have to beat. I mean, to make this relatable, I have to actively try to beat out other bloggers every day I post. I have to do something that makes me stand out. I have no illusion that I fail regularly on that, even if I check all the marks off and write something perfect. Hence why I wrote In the Dirt. However, most of my work is closer to original, even if it pulls from and alludes to other works, because it is unique. I try to start my work with an idea. A book I’ve referenced before, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, explains this idea really well, and I highly recommend you check it out. I’ll try my best to explain it quickly.

The best way to find inspiration is to look at an idea in a way that nobody has looked at it before. Zone in on one concept, or even a concrete object, so closely that you can have an original idea. Look at whatever is in front of you. Let’s say it’s a wall. Ok, well look at the top left corner of that wall. What’s there? A brick? Ok. Describe the wall, starting from that brick, and go across, one by one. Because that’s how you find inspiration. Brick by brick.

CRAFTING POETRY

Hello everyone,

 

Here we are again, with Wednesday coming to a close. Though at the time of writing, my Wednesday has just started. Today, I’d like to talk about writing poetry, mostly because I really like doing it, but also because someone asked me how I write poetry so easily. Typically, a 3-4 stanza poem takes me about 40 minutes to get right, though if my rhythm is working well it can take less time.

In terms of structure, one of my preferred poetry styles is to mimic the style of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam. This follows the pattern A, B, B, A—which means lines one and four rhyme, and lines two and three rhyme. Additionally, each line is 8 syllables in length. These are just aspects I’ve noticed while reading his poetry. I don’t know if it consists of iambs, sorry. That being said, there are a lot more forms of poetry. One I’ve been toying with lately is A, A, A, A, which is a lot harder than it would seem, mostly because the style can feel forced and redundant. That being said, it certainly makes a person rack their brain more.

One of the popular poetry styles nowadays is a Free Verse poem. Free verse poetry typically is more…well, free form. It’s just line breaks. There’s no need to rhyme, or follow a pattern of syllables, and so on. While this can often be interesting, I don’t really like this type of poetry that much. I’ve used it before, and I have no doubt I’ll use it again, but it sometimes feels lazy to me. Maybe this is because I make deadlines for myself, and in doing that I have some inner expectation of what a “poem” should look like. That being said, one of my most “liked” poems, Stand Up Citizen uses this style.

A sonnet is one of the more difficult styles for me, mostly because iambic pentameter can be a bit hard for me sometimes (quick note: iambic pentameter means lines of 10 syllables, which alternate unstressed and stressed. I.E., I like to ride my bike—“I,” “to,” and “my” are all unstressed, where as “like,” “ride,” and “bike” all have more emphasis on them). A sonnet’s rhyme pattern is A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D, E, F, E, F, G, G. Of course, there are many, many, many ways to craft a poem, and it really should come from the heart a lot more often than forced. That being said, any time you write as often as I do, sometimes writing from the heart doesn’t come as easily.

Choosing a topic can often be difficult. I stray toward love poems quite often, but sometimes writing about internal frustrations, or other aspects of society are good as well. Take I’m Looking for My Friend, which another poem that people have received fairly well. It’s about other aspects of society besides romance. The key, I’ve found, is to find something you can cling to and ride it out until you feel good about it. Then reread it, clean it up, and see what people think.

Am I wrong? Do my ideas make sense? Let me know!

COLDPLAY LIVE

Hello everyone,

 

Ah, Monday has returned, and it’s time to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I had quite the weekend. Saturday night, I saw Coldplay live at the Rose Bowl! In all honesty, this was my first major concert in something like 15 years, if memory serves. Which was quite an experience. First of all, parking was a killer. Seriously, it was $40 for general parking. That is like legit highway robbery. Then, getting into the stadium was a pain. There were such huge lines that my industrial engineer of a sister pointed out were horribly inefficient.

You would think that, with all this negativity I would be somewhat put out. But I couldn’t have been happier! Coldplay has been a long time inspiration for me. And sure, you may not like their music, and that’s ok. You’re still capable of understanding my experience has led me to pull a lot from them. So, when the lights finally went out and they started playing, I was understandably ecstatic. When they walked out, the wristband that somehow everyone except my family had gotten all lit up. Which means something like sixty thousand lights the size of your wrist were illuminated. It was a sea of red, then yellow, then blue, and so on. And it was moving, which was absolutely gorgeous. It was almost like seeing the a sky full of stars (see what I did there? No? Here).

Of course, Coldplay is about a lot more than simply lights and showmanship, The reality is that they are seasoned veterans of touring. Apparently in about a month with be the 20th anniversary of their group’s existence. What’s even more amazing to me though is that they aren’t just a band in it for the money. I mean, sure, it’s possible that they well surpassed the amount of money they could possibly spend in their lifetime many years ago, which could nullify my next statement, but I like to think it won’t. What’s great about Coldplay is that they are out for the betterment of humanity. Although their love songs are typically the most popular (Yellow, Fix You, A Sky Full of Stars, and so on), many of these have a tone of being more that just a love song. Take Yellow as an example. Certainly, the primary tone is to say “I love you so much that I’d write this song for you,” but what does that tone mean? Does it have to be a love song? No.

You see, Coldplay’s song’s have depth. They don’t have to be about simply romance. They can be about something more common than that—like a friend, or a family member. Which tells us a bit about how they as a group think. To attempt to decipher that, I would say that the group believes something along the lines of this: everyone suffers in life, some more than others. And in spite of this pain and suffering we must rise above. Rise above and make each other better people, together.

MEMORIES AT THE BEACH

I’d watched her,

As she sat in the shade.

The shadows were like a cure

For that sunburned maid.

 

I’d watched her,

As she went to the beach

Her smile like the lure

Of a summer ripe peach.

 

I’d watched her,

And she’d giggled at my jokes.

We’d drive to Big Sur

Just to get away from our folks.

 

I’d watched her,

Sleeping like an angel.

Her hair felt soft and pure

Yet her skin had turned glacial.

 

And I’d watched her,

As she was lowered in the ground.

I had been so sure

That she’d always be around.

LOSING WITH GRACE

Hey everyone,

 

I want to start off by inviting you all to read a story that I posted to the blog yesterday. It’s quite long (about 16 pages double spaced) but so far I’ve only had positive feedback. It also didn’t post properly to WordPress, so I am worried that some of my normal readers may not have seen it. On to the discussion!

Ok. Tough losses last night for the Sanders community. I feel like there are two ways that people take losing. There are two archetypes that I can think of for people who lose—those who take it with grace and those who displace the realities. I say archetypes because the reality is that anyone can be a sore loser about something if the mood hit’s them right. Heck, I’m pretty good about losing, because I’ve done it so many times, and I still get caught up occasionally. Some of the more zealous Bernie supporters epitomize this. Sure, there are definitely arguments that the system is rigged, or that the polling stations “misread” ballots, and while those errors (or “errors,” depending on your view) are unfair and unacceptable, they also are very few and far between. Excluding maybe the lines at polling places in Arizona, there really isn’t an excuse in this kind of argument.

Speaking of polling places, I had the best experience voting that I could possibly have. I mean, it was awkward that my mail-in ballot was sent to the wrong address, and I did not get it until the day before it was due, but hey, that just meant that I had to drop it off at an actual polling place. Anyways, I took it, and dropped it off with the people there. And the place was so empty. This is the real problem with the system—so few people feel the need to vote. “Good” turn out for us is 33%. I know it’s a choice to vote, but by not voting you remove the opportunity to choose a candidate.

Ok, I digress, make sure you vote in November, even if you don’t like either candidate that much. Moving on, we all know the bad losers. The guys and gals that say “my control broke” or “man if only that ref hadn’t been totally against us” every single time they lose. We get it, you’re insecure and don’t want to admit you just got out played (note that if either of these situations were true, it wouldn’t take an explanation). But the people who take a loss with grace are the kind of people we need more of in the world. The people who can bow their head and say, “yup. I lost. I’m not happy about it, but congratulations on beating me.” If you value yourself as an opponent in anything, then you should be the first to congratulate your opponent when they defeat you. Because that should mean a lot. I play a hobby fairly competitively, and I shake my opponent’s hand after every match not because I am happy that I lost, but because I am happy that they beat me. Not everybody can beat me.

Which is a good way to look at things. Not only does a person respect their opponent by taking a loss with grace, but they also respect themselves. The reality is there will always be time for a rematch later, but in that moment it is a kindness to accept being outplayed, or that someone got luckier than you. It happens. And that’s ok.

CRIMSON AND WAFFLES

Hey everyone,

I’m super busy with finals. I wrote this short story for an Ethnic and Women’s Studies class final, and I figured it would be cool to share on here. It’s fairly long, and in all honesty I was really uncomfortable writing it because I have not experienced any of this first hand, but I like how the product turned out. There’s some secret drama near the end that I added to try to add depth to the story. Let me know what you think! Here it is:

Crimson and Waffles

Red, red dripping down my leg. It was so embarrassing. I was in the middle of class. And I just…started…bleeding. I didn’t get it. As it would be explained to me later, this was my first period, but at the time I just sort of panicked. I raised my hand.

“Can I go to the bathroom,” I asked in a bit of a whimper. My teacher, Ms. Ceres, glared at me for interrupting me, but her facial expression quickly changed. I must have looked very distressed. I could feel my eyes pooling and my face was getting red. She let me go, and I got up and sped out to the bathroom.

I got to a stall, pulled my skirt off, which was ruined by the blood. I really liked that one too; it had little flowers around the edges. That’s when the pain set in. I thought I was dying at first. First I was bleeding, now I couldn’t stop gripping my sides, trying to keep the pain in. It felt like someone had taken scissors to my insides. I must have been in their for quite a while, because Ms. Ceres came in the bathroom and knocked on my stall.

“Everything ok in there?” I sobbed, everything was a blur from the crying.

“Y-yes” I said, though I was sniffling so I didn’t sound very believable.

“You don’t sound ok, little missy. Do you want to talk about it? You missed the rest of my history story.”

“I’m bleeding.”

“How bad is it? A cut doesn’t mean you should just leave class for this long. I’ve shown you all how to clean a bandage.” She sounded annoyed

“No, I’m bleeding-,” I cringed from the pain, “I’m bleeding from my…um…my special place”

“Oh. That’s natural. Does it hurt?” Her voice softened a bit.

“YES,” I shouted, more out of sudden pain than anything else.

“Ok. Well this is something that all girls have to go through.” What? What was she talking about?

“No it’s not. None of my friends have had this happen.” My mind was racing.

“Well you are a little young, but everybody is different. Are you still bleeding?” I looked down. The bleeding had stopped.

“No. But it still hurts,” I rubbed my eyes so that I could see clearly, “I cant put my skirt back on though.”

“That’s ok. I’ll talk to the nurse and see what we can do.” Her voice was a lot sweeter. Like when one of the boys in class brings her a flower to put in her hair from recess. She walked outside. As I waited for her to come back, my breathing slowed, and my heart stopped racing. A few minutes passed by, and my hands had wrapped around my knees, pulling them up so that I felt like a ball, and I hid my face from the rest of the world. Why did it have to happen to me? Why today? Why on my skirt? The door of the bathroom opened.

“Hey, you still in there?” Ms. Ceres shuffling was matched with someone else, “I brought the nurse, and she can talk to you about some of this stu—”

“I want my mom”

“Your mom isn’t here right—”

“I WANT MY MOM” I yelled. This was infuriating.

“OK. We’ll call your mom and have her pick you up. But while I do that, will you talk to Mrs. Persephone?” I didn’t answer. “Well? I’m not calling your mom until you talk to me.”

“Fine!” I said angrily. Ms. Ceres walked outside.

“Hello. How are you doing today?” Mrs. Persephone’s voice was sweet yet firm, like a pomegranate. I didn’t answer her.

“I have some cloths for you. How are you feeling?” She draped the cloths over the stall as she talked, “you know, every girl has this happen to her. It happens about once a month. It’s part of getting older.”

“But it hurts!” I exclaimed. I took the cloths and looked at them. The underwear was clean and black. The pants were black too. They both had a thick lining in them.

“I know it hurts. But think about when you’ve been hurt in the past. Sometimes you get bruises, or scrapes, but those all go away right? And when you get back up from a fall, you’re a stronger person that you were before you fell down.” I put the pants on. They were snug and warm. It was kind of nice, better than I felt when I first ran in the bathroom.

“Are you ready to come out?” I opened unhinged the latch and pulled the door back so that I could walk outside. Mrs. Persephone was smiling down at me. She had long brown hair and a smile that could make flowers bloom.

“Is my mom here yet?” I asked.

“Not yet, but I’m sure Ms. Ceres will be back any—” the door swung open and Ms. Ceres walked in, “Ah, well speak of the devil” Mrs. Persephone smiled with a chuckle.

“Your dad is on his way,” said Ms. Ceres. I furrowed my brow

“I wanted my mom” I glared.

“Your mom is in New York for a conference, she said she would be back this evening” Oh yeah. Mom away for work. “Class starts in 5 minutes. Mrs. Persephone can you walk her to the office?”

“Certainly,” Mrs. Persephone held my hand and smiled down at me.

“Ok. Thank you.” Ms. Ceres turned and walked out.

“So how are you feeling?” asked Mrs. Persephone.

“Well it stopped hurting,” I said.

“It will probably start hurting again. And that’s ok. When you get home, you should take a bath and turn your lights down. Maybe take a nap. This is your moon time.” Mrs. Persephone’s eyes were wandering as we entered the hallway. I think she was listening to the birds.

“Moon time?” I looked at her inquisitively.

“Women are often associated with the moon. Do you know the Greek myths? All great women are associated with the moon, because our internal clocks line up with the moon. Artemis, god of the hunt and the moon, is our calling.” That sounded really nice. We walked in silence the rest of the way to the office.

When we opened the double doors of the office, the scent of mahogany swept through my nostrils. It was very rustic for a principal. The walls were a soft beige color, and the desk before me was taller than me. I had to stand on my tiptoes to see over it.

“Hello,” said a voice as I peered over the wall of wood before me, “you’re looking bigger.” It was a blond lady. Oh wait, I knew her. She was mom’s friend. She had long, blonde hair and a face that looked like the lady that sings “Shake It Off.”

“Hi Dawn” said Mrs. Persephone, “we have a little friend here that’s gotten her first period” Period? What a gross word. It was very misleading. A period happens at the end of something, and this sounded like it was the start of something new for me.

“I just got off the phone with her dad, he said he was delayed getting out of work and will be here in just a couple minutes,” said Dawn. She had a weird glitter in her eyes, like when her and mom come back from nights out. But not quite the same. Mrs. Persephone turned and bent her knees to talk to me.

“I need to get back to my office. James hurt his arm. Will you be alright here with Dawn?” I glanced at dawn. She had a friendly smile on her face. I nodded. A thin smile spread across her face, and she walked past Dawn to a room inscribed with School Nurse across the door in golden letters.

“You can take a seat there,” Dawn pointed to a wood bench a couple feet behind her desk. It made it a lot easier to see her. “How does it feel?”

“Like I got kicked in the stomach,” Dawn frowned a little bit, before reassuming her glowing smile

“Hey. It’ll be ok. Let yourself enjoy it.”

“Isn’t there anything to make the pain go away?” Her smile faded.

“Some people use drugs to keep themselves from feeling the pain, some use—”

“That sounds great!” I could feel my eyes bug out in happiness.

“It’s not that simple though. Those drugs take away the bleeding. They take away what it is to be a woman.”

“What do you mean?” Dawn’s face turned serious, though it still held the happiness that was warming.

“Well, boys don’t get periods. They have different parts. And so our bleeding makes us different from them. But in a good way. We should embrace our difference happily, and work with it to make everyone more successful,” She leaned in toward me, and lowered her voice, “you know, when adult women get those pains, we don’t get to go home. I have to bit my lip and not cry,” she leaded back and smiled.

“But that’s so unfair!” I exclaimed, “you don’t have control over it, and it’s natural, right?”

“Yes, but most of the world doesn’t like that as a reason to stop working” Dawn’s head sunk a little bit, and she took a deep breath, “still, I’d never trade my womanhood for the ability to keep a man’s work style.” She looked up and winked at me. Suddenly the door swung open, and my dad walked in. Dawn swiveled in her chair to face the door, caught off guard by the sudden intrusion. Dad glance at her and forced a quick, awkward smile. Then he turned past her and looked at me with a big smile. I was so excited I didn’t even realize I’d gotten to my feet.

“Daddy!”

“Sweetie!” He swept me up in his arms. “Look at you in your big girl pants!” Dawn laughed. He turned to Dawn, “How’s she doing?”

“Well, things have been going pretty well. She seems like she’s been feeling a bit better,” Dawn smiled at me again.

“Good,” dad set me down, “Mommy won’t be home until later tonight. We can get you a special dinner! What would you like?”

“Chicken and waffles!” I cried with joy. I even did a little dance. I LOVE chicken and waffles.

“Alright alright. Slow down little lady. Let’s get you home first,” we walked toward the exit. I kept walking out, and heard behind me dad say in a hushed voice, “she’ll probably need a nap at about 3, do you want to come over then?” I smiled. Are they planning a surprise party for mom before she gets back? I turned around, and saw Dawn glowing at dad as he walked out.

“Lets go get those chicken and waffles!” he said to me with a grin. We got in the car, it was our old truck, one we got rid of a few years later. The seats were tall. It was so old there were no seatbelts! I got to sit in the front seat in the truck.

“So how do you feel about your period?” My dad asked awkwardly.

“Well, it hurts a lot—”

“That’s natural” My dad intervened.

“—but everyone seems to think it is a good part of me getting bigger.” We turned down the road toward the shopping center. I could see the sign with big red and white letters that read Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. My tummy growled. We pulled up to the restaurant and I hopped out of the truck. Dad closed his door behind me and had to do a funny walk-jog to catch up to me. When we walked through the door I was bombarded with the enticing smell of maple and chicken.

“Table for 2 please,” my dad told the hostess, who was dressed in a red and white outfit that matched the sign.

“Right this way please,” she said in a bit of a snarky tone. We walked with her to a crimson booth that was bouncy in the way most 50s diners are. She handed us two menus. “Your waiter will be with you in a moment,” she said, then turned and walked away.

“So um,” Dad paused, trying to be thoughtful, “you know, I hear that a lot of girls don’t like their periods.”

“Yeah, well…I don’t really want to have it.”

“You know there are drugs you could take to…inhibit the process.” Apparently we forgot that I was nine.

“What does inhibit mean?”

“Oh. Like stop the process. Or prevent it from happening. Does that sound good to you?”

“No,” my fingers tightened around my menu reflexively, “Dawn and the other ladies told me that this was my time to be a girl and I—”

“Ok ok, good. I was worried. Your mom takes those drugs, but I don’t like them. I think they’re just a way to keep us in line.”

“Us?”

“Yeah well, I’m pretty sure they were developed by some racist scientists to keep down people of color.”

“Oh. Really? Why would anyone do that?” Dad paused. I think he must have realized that this conversation was a bit too big for a nine year old.

“Well…some people think that the color of someone’s skin changes how they can function. Which is stupid, isn’t it?” He turned back to the menu, “so what looks good? You can get anything you want!”

“I want the chocolate waffles and wings!”

“Alright alright,” he signaled to a waitress, “can we get some help over here?” The waitress smiled and padded across the floor.

“What can I get started for you today?”

“I’ll take the Stymies Choice, and the little lady would like to know if you guys have any chocolate waffles.” The waitress turned to me.

“Well they aren’t on our menu,” my heart sank. I really wanted chocolate. The waitress must have noticed, because she continued, “how about I see what our chefs can find in the back? I can’t promise it will be pure chocolate, but we might be able to find something close.” I smiled back at her.

“That’ll do fine. That you very much.” My dad smiled as we handed her our menus. We sat in silence for the most part until our food came. Dad was busy texting someone with a goofy smile on his face, and I was drawing on a kids placemat that they had given me. Eventually waitress came back with our food.

“A Stymies Choice for the gentleman in purple,” she set his plate down with a smile, “and for the little lady with a sweet tooth, we brought you a bit of rainbow to go with your sunshine!” She set down a plate with golden chicken wings and the most amazing waffles I had ever seen. They were speckled with reds and blues and greens.

“What are these?!” I said excitedly. The waitress giggled.

“Those are M&M’s. I hope you like them. We can get you something else if—”

“No these are perfect!” I said as I stabbed my fork into one. The steam rose off them, eliciting the sweet smell of the batter with just a hint of chocolate. The waitress walked off. I dug like a tiger gorging itself on a recently caught prey. It was sweet, salty, and perfect. When we finally finished our food, I let out a deep sigh of relief.

“That was a lot of food,” my dad commented. He paid and we left for home. “Now when we get home, I’ll draw you a nice warm bath and then I think you should take a nap.”

“Ok dad.” That nap was sounding more and more appealing, as my full belly made my eyes droop. We pulled up to our house and dad drew a bath for me. I took my cloths off and stepped in the water. It was immediately soothing and a slumped into it until my hair was wet.

“Now I’m going to make a call, but you go ahead and holler if you need anything ok?” I nodded a yes and he shut the door. I took deep breaths, enjoying the warmth of the steam as it entered my lungs. The water was so warm. I let my eyes close and drifted off into a nice hazy half sleep. I could partially hear my dad on the phone.

“No she not as…can’t you just come over aft…I told you we…no she doesn’t get back til…” I wonder who he was talking to. Maybe Dawn? Probably setting up for the party.

The water had gotten cold, and I was getting bored being half asleep. Not restless, indeed I was quite the opposite. I just wanted to snuggle up in bed and go to sleep. I got out and toweled off, then walked over to my room. I got in my PJ’s and was about to put my head down when dad poked his head in.

“Hey sweetie. Glad to see you’re getting a rest in. I just wanted to let you know that Dawn’s going to be coming by in about 30 minutes, in case you hear anyone knocking on the door. No need to get up, I’ll get it. Also, if you feel more pain or wake up and your sheets are messy, just let me know. We’ll get things cleaned up.”

“Ok,” I said, as I pulled the blankets over myself. He closed the door and I dozed off.

I must have been out for quite a while, because I didn’t even hear Dawn come over. I opened my eyes, and sat up slowly. There was a weird squeaking noise coming from somewhere upstairs. I opened and shut my door to go find out what it was. I must have shut the door too loudly, because dad came hopping downstairs so fast he was sweating and winded. Funny, my dad wasn’t out of shape.

“Hey sweetie! How’s it going?”
“I’m feeling better.”

“Good good, do you want to watch a movie?”

“Sure.” We walked over to the living room and put on the television.

“Just so you know, Dawn’s over. You’ve been asleep for quite a while. Mommy will probably be home in the next hour or so. She just got off the plane, and she said she’d bring dinner back for us.”

“Ok. Cool.” I smiled. My eyes lulled over as I was watching cartoons. Eventually, I heard Dawn and my dad come out from upstairs.

“Hi Dawn!” I smiled at her. She looked awkward. Her hair was a little messy, but she still had that happy glow to her.

“Hey there! How’s it going big girl!” She straightened herself and came down the stairs to give me a hug.

“Good,” I said with disinterest, and turned back to the television. A commercial came on for Tampons. I didn’t realize it until a woman with a sugary voice said “time of the month.” Suddenly I turned my entire focus to what the woman was saying.

“…omen often say that their periods are hard for them to endure. To keep yourself and your pockets happy, try Tampax Pearl Tampons, now with extra strength. We provide the durability for you to last through your day without the worries of leaking. Available at your local market, or shop at Target and check out our other Tampax products.” The commercial ended with a girl running through a meadow smiling.

There was a knock at the door. Mom. I climbed over the couch and ran over to the door. It swung open and there was my mom, Juno. She had bags in hand so I stood out of the way.

“Hey mommy!”

“Hi sweetie!” She gave me a big smile as she stepped inside.

“Honey!” I heard dad say from across the room. He walked over and grabbed a bag from her hand. With the other arm he gave her a hug and a kiss. Dawn was opening a bottle of wine, but gave mom a quick smile and a wave.

“Hey Dawn, I wasn’t expecting you over. I would have picked you up something to eat!” Mom said.

“That’s ok. I ate before I got here. I just wanted to see how your conference went,” Dawn said. I turned back to the TV, bored with their conversation. Mom brought my food over, it was a burger. I scarfed it down and let my eyes droop over again. Eventually it got late enough for Dawn to leave and for mom to tell me it was time for bed. I brushed my teeth and hobbled into my room. A few minutes after I got comfortable mom came into my room. She had changed into a silk pair of PJs. She sat at the side of my bed and turned to me.

“So I heard you had your first period today.”

“Yeah, it hurt a lot, and was really messy.”

“How are you feeling about it?” Her voice sounded concerned.

“Well, it hurt, but everyone has seemed to think that me having it is a good thing.”

“You know, a period is a good thing. It shows a woman that she is in touch with her womanhood. But at the same time, a period can be restricting.”

“What do you mean?

“Well, our periods mean we are healthy. But you’re already a healthy young woman, and so that reminder is unnecessary. At the same time, it is going to make school and eventually work much harder.”

“Harder?” I didn’t understand how my period would make me learn differently.

“Well, take today for example. You had to leave school because of the pain. Sure, it was your first time and I’m happy you celebrated it. But if you keep missing school, you’re going to fall behind everyone else. You don’t want to do that right?”

“But I like missing school” My mom smiled.

“I know school isn’t fun. But if you want to be successful you have to go to school and tough it out. It’s fine if you want to experience your period. But you don’t have to. Mommy doesn’t have her period very often anymore because she takes something to help her deal with it.”

“Deal with it?”

“Yes, I take something to help keep my period from coming as often, and it lets me focus on my job. I couldn’t have put off this conference, and if I had missed it or performed poorly, they would have fired me. And if I had been on my period, there’s a good chance I would have failed to perform well. Most women don’t like to bleed either. Not just because it’s painful, but because it impacts so many aspects of life. My Italian friends in New York almost exclusively hate menstruating. They much prefer the ability to control their bodies so that they can succeed.”

“Oh. That makes sense.”

“Yeah. It’s all about getting us women more options. You know?” She paused, “Well, I don’t want to keep you up too late,” she rubbed my back and smiled at me, “you have a big day ahead of you tomorrow. I do want you to think about what I said today though, about controlling your period.” She leaned over and kissed my forehead, and then gave me a hug, “Goodnight.” She stood up and walked towards the door.

“Goodnight mom.” She closed the door behind her, and I looked up at my ceiling in the dark. I liked my period. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. And if things were going to be harder for me, well then bring it on. I could take it.

 

STEPPING IN THE RING

Hello everyone,

 

Look where we are. Monday again. How is everyone doing today? So as you may have noticed from your Facebook newsfeeds, or really any form of social media, Muhammad Ali died in the last week. That’s a tough loss. One of the things I remember about Ali in the context of my own life was a story my father told me about him while we were cleaning. He told me about how Ali knocked a guy out in seconds.

I never really knew that much about the boxer, but he certainly impacted the world in ways that changed people’s lives. In fact, that’s what I’ve decided to talk about today. Not so much the work he did, but the way he did it. Lets look at Ali the boxer. Self-confident, boastful, charismatic. He was a lot like Kanye West is today. Seriously. If you haven’t heard the trash he talked, or the claims that he was “the greatest of all time” go check it out. It’s a bit unexpected for someone that was such a major part of pop culture from those days.

Yet outside the ring Ali was not the same kind of brash, head held high sort of man. He practiced Islam, and he did a lot of work for the good of society. These are not the kind of practices that we expect from someone who claimed to be the greatest ever. It’s weird, right? I think this is what made Ali the best. He didn’t let it go to his head, but at the same time he was confident that what he was doing was for the best. Maybe that’s an advantage of being religious, in the sense that the idea that, when there is a higher power overlooking everything, then a person realizes that just because they are the best at what they do does not make them more significant than another person. The idea that just being the best boxer in the world isn’t enough to hold someone above someone else in the greater scheme of the world.

I’m torn between how to apply this to my own life. A lot of people who do proclaim themselves as the best at something end up sounding like Kanye West. Like it’s gone to their head. But at the same time, how else can we actually show that we have succeeded with something and be proud of it if we can’t express that feeling? Ali’s division between boastful in speech and humble in actions shows a sort of way to achieve this. And I think that’s something we should all take away from his passing. That we—Americans, men, women, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Africans, and so on—all should be happy to promote ourselves and out lives, but at the end of the day we need to realize that we are all one people fighting for the same fight: to have a good life. And that, rather than think we need to knock out everyone else, take on only those who challenge you to step in the ring.

WHAT IS: A POEM

What is a poem?

Is it an artistic representation

Or just some fancy words

Split across weird line breaks?

 

What is a poem?

Is it a rhythmic ensemble

Or some emotional preamble

Meant to intensify how things are spoken?

 

What is a poem?

Is it meant to incite fear

Or love, or hate, or passion

In ways we don’t normally imagine?

 

What is a poem

But a group of words,

Made to make us accept

Things that are absurd.

 

What is a poem

But an extension of self,

Meant to present

Our mind’s great wealth.

 

Hey everyone,

 

I just kinda put this together off the top of my head. I’ve never been to great a rhyming, but I’ve got a little bit of that in here. The more I do it, the easier it gets. I kinda like how this has some of the tropes of poetry. But it really is just sprung from my mind. Let me know what you think! Have a great weekend!

THE SOCIAL ARENA

Hello everyone,

 

How do you make new friends? And don’t answer, “I don’t,” that’s lazy. There has to be someone you met in the last few weeks that you didn’t know before. School is definitely an easier place to meet new people. I mean, classes change constantly—if you attend a school on the quarter system it happens even more rapidly. Sure, sometimes this means that if you don’t have the nerve to talk to someone, you never get the opportunity to get to know them, because 10 weeks passes by extremely fast. This happens to me quite often. I don’t particularly get outside my circle and talk to people. It seems weird to me.

Yet despite my best attempts I have made new friends this quarter. Because, ya know, people talk to me sometimes and it is rude to ignore them. I know a while ago I made a distinction between friends and kind acquaintances, which realistically is what these people start out as, but some of them have developed into friends. Take coworkers as an example. At my job on campus, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was friends with anyone when I started. Now, the girl (gender doesn’t matter, don’t look into it thank you very much) that I work with is one of my better friends. I mean, we don’t go out for a beer ever, but we text a decent amount. I know enough about her life and interests to talk about her with other people. I’m also respectful enough to realize that as her friend I shouldn’t parade information about her around.

Of course, every social arena is different. My second job doesn’t particularly allow me the same level of friendship. I mean, I have made friends with my coworkers because I have been working there long enough, but more so I have made friends with regular customers. Working at a luxury hobby store means that the people who come in regularly are typically into a specific thing. Because I know my product well, I can relate to that thing, even if I am not extremely interested in it. The more consistently a regular comes in, the more we chat, and eventually I know something about them. One of my regulars has an interest in working with the IRS one day. Another is interning for the music industry. Another is lazy and smokes weed every day.

So there are different social arenas. Sometimes you have the choice to make friends, like at school. It’s really a question of whether or not you are interested in someone enough to talk to them. Other times, people are thrust into a scenario where they either become friends or hate each other. Finally, there are situations where people develop friendships unintentionally. Regardless, it is important to reckognize that these friendships provide every person something that is valuable—connection. Not just the connection like “hey, you work for the music industry and my other friend is trying to promote herself as a country singer, could you maybe give her a look?” But connection on a more basic level. They provide a sense of camaraderie, and likeableness, which when a person gets isolated often falls to the wayside. Sometimes a simple smile brought to someone’s face is enough to brighten their day in ways you can’t possibly imagine.