THE HALLWAY

I woke up in an empty, white paneled hallway. It was lit with rows of florescent lights, which reflected off the walls to make them appear even brighter. When I got up to look around, I noticed that there were no windows, but in the distance there was the vague outline of a doorway. I glanced behind me, only to see the ongoing nothingness continued that way as well.

I began to walk thought the hallway. The emptiness was filled by the soft pattering of my shoes beneath my feet. The clothes I had woken up in felt clammy, and stuck to my skin awkwardly, but the more I walked, the more they fell away from my skin. The door, which had been but a tiny outline in the distance, grew closer as I walked toward it, and it became clear that it was built for another time period.

In stark contrast with the walls around it, the door was made of a faded bronze metal, with a handle rather than a doorknob. As I put my hand on the door handle, my eyes came into contact with a large door knocker. The knocker was made of a large metal serpent’s head, which looked vaguely draconic. The serpent held the metal knocker ring in its mouth. The ring itself was another work of art, which had been fashioned with careful detail into the design. Rather than smooth metal, the ring had been made to look like a chain of people moving into and out of the serpent’s mouth.

I realized I had been transfixed on the serpent, and shook my head back to the task at hand. I pushed and pulled on the door handle, but found it to be stuck in place. A few more shakes and I yielded. I sighed, and took a step back from the door to look around. The white halls stretched endlessly on either side, but in the distance from the direction I had come I could hear the faintest of sounds. Dah-duh…Dah-duh it was the unmistakable rhythm of someone—someTHING walking closer. I strained to look into the distance, and noticed a speck of black at the edge of my sight. It was definitely moving, albeit slowly.

Fear shot through my body, and I had the sudden urge to run away. I restrained myself, and turned back to the door. I wondered what could be on the other side of the door. Freedom. Safety. Slavery. Murder. Death. It was the great unknown, locked to me. And what monstrous being would be on the other side? But as my ears turned back to the slowly approaching creature down the hall, I decided it was best to take my chances. At worst, I would have two things coming for me instead of one. I drew my hand up to the ring of people, and banged it hard against the door twice. I stepped away from the door again, and prepared myself for what came next.

One…two…three moments past before I heard the distinct clank of metal unlatching from the other side. The door swung open, and the stale air of the hallway mixed with the moist, wooden air of the new room. Standing in the doorway was a little girl, no older than my cousins. She was pale white, with light brown hair that fell down to the middle of her back. She looked on at me with wonder; her head cocked to the side slightly. Her eyes were black and dead, yet her mouth moved with the most colorful and lively emotions. Shy, happy, concerned, scared, and so on. She was dressed in a white ballerina’s leotard, and white ballerina shoes.

“Hello,” I said cheerily, meeting her empty eyes with as warm a smile as I could muster, “and what is your name?” She didn’t answer. I glanced off into the room, and saw nothing but a black void before me.

“Do you have parents? Or a caretaker? Would they be available for me to speak to?” Again I was met with silence, though this time the little girl stepped back from the door and into the darkness. The light faded away from her body, and I could barely make out the barest hint of her form. She beckoned me in, then stepped to be completely engulfed in the darkness.

——

 

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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!

THE GIRL OF INFINITE POWER

It is I, girl of infinite power
Even the gods will cower before me
I thrive in the good light’s darkest hour
Because I am the one that is of three

In the morning I am but a small girl
All my smiles and my laughter are warm.
By midday my brow begins to furrow
And the girl is replaced by mature form

At night my age seems inescapable
Like my bones would break at the softest touch
But my magic has become palpable
The electric air is nearly too much

Yet as a being unmatched in her skills
I am alone, no one to warm my chills

 

Hello everyone,

 

Just a quick sonnet today. Hopefully it was clear that this is a narrative by Hecate, but if not, I have spoiled it for you. Let me know what you think of it!

TALKING WITH THE DEMONS

Hello everyone,

 

I really like rap music. Which is probably the “whitest” way to phrase that. But it’s interesting. Take a look at this video from 8 Mile, where the character Eminem plays takes on several people in a rap battle. Specifically, watch through to the last person he takes on. Because that’s an example of embracing flaws. Yeah, he comes from a white trash neighborhood. Yeah, he’s got problems. Yeah, he’s a loser. But he’s still showed up to the battle in full force.

This is something that rap approaches in some ways. I like the way Eminem does it, any maybe there’s some subconscious white bias mixed in there, but he shows more than just the strengths that come from embracing the flaws of a character, he also displays the damages that they can bring to a person’s life. Take Stan, for example. Tough song to listen to. But within the depravity of the Slim Shady alias comes the aftermath of it’s impact on the other people who are also struggling with their inner problems.

This is something that someone like Kanye West doesn’t really attack. Even Lil Wayne, one of the other big names in hip-hop and rap doesn’t really broach this. Both of them have rather embraced their self-centeredness and self-confidence to make claims like “I am the greatest artist of all time” and so on. Classics like Notorious B.I.G. are other artists like Eminem who entered this mindset of struggle. Suicidal Thoughts, a personal favorite of mine for it’s extremely frightening yet realistic stream of consciousness that people go through sometimes late at night. Don’t you sometimes get so locked up in your own self-sadness that you talk yourself down? So much so that you can’t even hear the positive things your friends say. Everything just becomes background noise.

The dark side, right? We all have those hard nights. Those days when it feels like the walls have closed out everyone else in life. Those nights when we feel like the sun will never rise. And it’s so important to recognize exactly what those feelings do to people. They break people sometimes. But look at where Eminem is now. One of the biggest names in the world. Seriously, how many people don’t know who Eminem is, or Slim Shady? Or some amount of his music. He made it through some of the hard times, despite coming from a tough neighborhood.

And certainly he still suffers from hard times, even if today his life is better than most people’s ever will be. We all get lost in our minds sometimes. Just keep walking, and eventually you’ll find your way out of the maze to a better place.

SICK DAY BLUES

Hey everyone,

I’m feeling pretty under the weather today, so I decided to take an easy day. This is my favorite poem, titled Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I recommend looking at it from a few perspectives. First read it and enjoy. Then reread it and realize that Ulysses convinces his men to effectively commit suicide. Then reread it again and realize that all of Ulysses mariners died in previous journeys. Then reread it again and try and see if the poem transitions from location to location at all. It doesn’t. So is it just an old man on his death bed? Does it help that the author wrote this immediately after the death of his best friend?

It little profits that an idle king,

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,

Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole

Unequal laws unto a savage race,

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink

Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d

Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those

That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when

Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades

Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;

For always roaming with a hungry heart

Much have I seen and known; cities of men

And manners, climates, councils, governments,

Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;

And drunk delight of battle with my peers,

Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’

Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades

For ever and forever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!

As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life

Were all too little, and of one to me

Little remains: but every hour is saved

From that eternal silence, something more,

A bringer of new things; and vile it were

For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

And this gray spirit yearning in desire

To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,

To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—

Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil

This labour, by slow prudence to make mild

A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees

Subdue them to the useful and the good.

Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere

Of common duties, decent not to fail

In offices of tenderness, and pay

Meet adoration to my household gods,

When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:

There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,

Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—

That ever with a frolic welcome took

The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed

Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;

Death closes all: but something ere the end,

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep

Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,

‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

A DEFENSE FOR RHETORIC

Hello everyone,

 

Speech is a powerful tool. It lets us bend the truth so that things go in our favor. It allows us to represent ideas in a manner that doesn’t reflect things as they should be. Most of the greatest people in history have often had a deep understanding of rhetoric, because it was less important to know a lot than to know how to control people. I know I spoke at some length a while ago about the validity of lying in society. But today I’d like to speak about the importance of rhetoric and knowing how to speak well.

Certainly, I am not the best rhetorician in the world. I wouldn’t say I am bad by any stretch—I know the importance of parallelisms and what not, but I am still developing. Rhetoric, however, is something that nowadays is not really taught to students. Maybe it is because there are other areas of focus, like math, science, engineering, and so on. Even in English, the area I would most expect rhetoric to be taught, it is mostly avoided. Which is interesting, since grammar is another thing that is rarely taught in schools anymore (which I am completely ok with). Why are these old staples of English falling to the wayside? I think it is because rhetoric is something that is relied on by the higher ups in society to keep people in line.

Think of Obama. Great speaker. Concise. Literate. Friendly. He’s all the good things about rhetoric. Even if you don’t agree with his policy, it’s hard to think of a more honey tongued president. While I don’t think Obama is working to keep people extremely “in line” or overly “politically correct” (I mean, the guy fist bumped Larry Wilmore after he said “my nigga” to him at the White House Correspondents dinner), he very easily could be bending some rules in his favor. I certainly hope he does when dealing with Putin. To an extent, everyone needs to be kept in line for society to function. It’s the basis for democracy. If everyone just did whatever they wanted, we would break down into anarchy. Think about it. Imagine if Trump supporters could just go out with whatever weapons they wanted. Or if there was no laws against child and spousal abuse. Or if we simply executed people any time we got a mob together to accuse someone of a crime. These are all things that rhetoric plays a role in controlling. And that’s good. Hitler was terrible, abuse is unacceptable, and lynching was an extreme injustice.

Rhetoric is a tool that we often overlook because it also motivates changes. As noted, some changes can be bad—both Trump and Hitler are recognized as good rhetoricians in their own right—whether its because they spoke simply or passionately. But if only the higher ups that get “small loans of a million dollars” are learning to use rhetoric in various ways, then who’s to say where it could go next. MLK is another example of a rhetorician, and illustrates the good that it can do for the world. His words have inspired museum architects to be innovative. And he came from an underachieving community, in a time where being African-American was akin to being less of a person than being white. Think of what good the ability to be well spoken can do. We need to harness that power in order to overcome the ideas of others, before something terrible happens.