TONE IN LITERATURE AND LIFE

From time to time, my father and I talk about a variety of subjects. Anything from alcohol, to weight lifting, to…well, really anything. Yesterday, my dad finished reading Honored Enemy, a book by a (slightly) lesser-known fantasy author: Raymond E. Feist (at least, compared to George R.R. Martin), and we were considering it in comparison to the Game of Thrones series (yeah I know it’s called A Song of Fire and Ice officially, but everyone calls it Game of Thrones). My dad asserted that Feist’s characters were more hopeful, which I thought was an interesting perspective, since at many times throughout his book, they knowingly face and fear certain doom.

To contrast, the characters in Game of Thrones, while often times very dire (I mean, the Stark’s house words are “Winter is Coming,” which is indicative of a fear of death, rather than an enjoyment with life) also hold a sense of hopefulness at various points, it just doesn’t seem hopeful. Think about it. Tyrion is hopeful in his own way—in the sense that he thinks he can overcome pretty much anything with his own wit. Renly is hopeful in a way too. He is very fun loving, and clearly represents some amount of goodness in the world. Vars, in his own way, is hopeful that things can go well, and Littlefinger is hopeful in his own schemes. Though I would categorically say that Game of Thrones is far less hopeful than most books.

Which takes us to the point of this post! Tone! The whole tone of the story frames the perspective it takes. And I like to think of stories as an allegory for life. This one is that the tone you take can change how you look at life. If everything you think is hopeless, then the world will seem that much darker. But if you can look at the things around you, and find some greatness in it, suddenly you might be able to enjoy it a bit more—even in dire straights.

Alright, well I’ll leave it a bit shorter today, but don’t forget that life can be really great, just as books can be really great, even if there are many points where the world seems too big, and the battles you are fighting seem hopeless. Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject. Is life better when we view it as better? Or does the pessimism lead to better successes in happiness?

——

 

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APPEASEMENT

People take life

Too seriously.

 

They turn a two-dollar

Discrepancy

Into a two hour

Discussion.

Sure, I was late.

Give me a break,

I made a mistake,

Get over it.

 

It’s not like I haven’t

Sacrificed before;

Gone on late lunches,

Passed up breaks,

And

Strained muscles

Before.

 

But they don’t care

About the sacrifices you’ve made.

They only care

For the hours you’re paid.

 

They only care

That you accommodate their whim,

Paying no mind

To the pain in your hymn.

 

And the minute you

Stand up

To speak up for yourself

They immediately make up

An excuse

For their self.

 

And when all’s

Said and done,

A good worker knows,

That instead of

Escalating

The problem to blows.

It’s easier to quit

And start again

Than it is to remit

And keep appeasing them.

——

 

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I WISH

I wish the stop was as good as the start.

I wish the crop was as good as the carte.

I wish my time was as good as my tits.

I wish my rhyme was as good as the Ritz.

 

I wish the world was a bit more wise.

I wish the pearls were a bit less prized.

I wish my head was a bit more healthy.

I wish the Feds were a bit less filthy.

 

I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish,

But in the end I’m just a fish,

Barreling down into a sea

That’s full of bigger fish than me.

——

 

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A FEAST FOR A KING

The first time I ate lunch in bed,

I thought I was classy,

But the second time came ‘round and

I thought it was trashy.

 

Knifing through that royal steak on

A lush, silver platter,

Turned my bedroom to a throne room,

Filled with courtroom chatter.

There were jesters, and dancers, and

A bounty of a feast,

But my eyes were most bound to the

Fine clothing from the East.

That evening we swirled in our

Expensive silk treasures,

But on the morrow I found there

Was poison in pleasures.

 

Come morn I had been invaded

By the rank smell of sweat

And the realization that

I was deeply in debt.

When they finally tossed me lunch

It was this green-grey dish.

Served on a soggy paper plate,

With the stench of old fish.

And I understood that a king

Was no more of a man

Than a child in bed screaming,

“Mom, bring me my lunch can!”

——

 

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SPRINT

Sprint,

Don’t run.

For life is short,

And so is the race.

 

Sprint,

Because

The best meals are taken

By those first place.

 

Sprint,

Because

Death catches those

Who linger behind.

 

Sprint,

Because

Love finds those

Who are the most defined.

 

Sprint,

Because

You can rest

At the end of the day.

 

Sprint,

And you

Can escape

What the haters say.

 

Sprint,

For the thrill

Of the hunt

In your heart.

 

Sprint,

Before age

Saps your hands

Of their art.

 

Sprint,

Until

Once strong bones

Start to ache.

 

And sprint,

Until

Your body

Finally breaks.

——

 

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THE FLOWERS OF SUCCESS

Hello everyone,

 

First of all, for those of you who liked The Discovery of the Skyfish, I wanted to let you know that He will be returning next Monday. I have a few ideas I wanted to run with to put those poems together, but today is for some goal setting and schedule building. It’s been nearly a year since I began writing for this blog (in fact, we are just 23 days away from the anniversary, if I have counted right), which is strictly awesome, and I will talk about that more at a later date.

However, I realized that I, as a blogger, have only sort of kept to some of the ideas I have shared throughout my blogging experience this past year. Specifically, I wanted to discuss the schedule of this blog. Over the past year, I have been carefully tracking the data that WordPress keeps for me, and recognized that Fridays are my most popular days. Whether this is because I cemented love poetry pretty much exclusively for Fridays or not is up for debate, but what I realized is that I am not making this something I can track easily. I write somewhat randomly, which is great (I mean, in the sense that I can claim I am channeling “the Muse”), but it also leaves myself and others uncertain about what the next day entails. Do you have the vaguest idea of what I write about on Mondays? I don’t. Is Tuesday going to be something you want to read? Who knows?

One of the major inspirations for me, as a consistent, five day per week blogger, was YouTube. YouTube, you ask? But aren’t they, like, the enemy of written work? Well, yes and no. The visual medium, and the ease of access to it, has pacified many people, which may be why reading is less “popular” today than fifty years ago. Who knows? What YouTube (or rather, many famous YouTubers) did do right, however, was realize people like consistency. Take a look at the vast majority of popular channels. Consistent views, everyday, because they upload new, interesting content every day. Similarly, if any of you are aware of Twitch, the popular streaming service, then you probably have a knowledge of popular streamers. Those who are the most popular stream daily (excluding a few, who are typically members of the community in other ways).

So what does all this have to do with my writing? Well, everything and nothing really. Any expressive medium is a device that is unique to each individual in the same way that all petals are unique to a flower. Both are used to present ones self to a variety of pollinators. While on the surface they may all appear the same, the slightest detail is enough to distinguish between two different individuals. Video and literary art are simply two different species of flower—one with blue petals, one with red. Both still need water to grow. Put less artfully, I’ve taken the success of posting consistently on YouTube, and applied it to my own work. With this in mind, I’ve decided to solidify my schedule a bit more, in order to make it easier for you, the reader, to have an idea of what to expect. Here it is:

 

Monday – Poem/Short Story

Tuesday – “Serious” Topic Discussion

Wednesday – Poem/Short Story

Thursday – Short story

Friday – Love Poem

 

Look at that. Even in my scheduling I have some room for randomness. I have put serious in quotes, because it’s not really supposed to just be “serious” stuff. It could be the terror of the political spectrum, it could be the puppies I saw down the street the other day. Until next time!

– Cassady

——

 

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DEAN’S ORDER

Dean’s Order PT. 1

Venti, decaf, hot

Skinny mocha with no foam

And something for you.

 

Dean’s Order PT. 2

Line is out the door

And the rain is pouring down.

What took you so long?

 

Dean’s Order PT. 3

Since you took so long

I will need you to stay late

To answer the phones.

 

Dean’s Order PT. 4

Go get the mail

They said there was a package

Labeled for my use.

 

Dean’s Order PT. 5

Thank you for your work

But we are letting you go.

Go clean out your desk.

——

 

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THEY LIED TO ME

My teacher lied to me.

They told me that I should work hard,

They told me that I could be anything,

They told me that I would get a job.

 

Instead, I’m stuck here,

Pushing papers, licking stamps,

Anything.

To keep myself off the street.

 

And maybe I don’t deserve a salary

With a six-figure bonus,

Or meals made by Gordon Ramsey,

But I don’t think I should be homeless.

 

My teacher lied to me,

And maybe it wasn’t their fault.

And maybe the world was out to get me

And maybe it was meant to be.

 

But when so many people

Struggle to put food on the table,

And to get a full night’s sleep

Because they have to work.

 

Why lie to me?

 

The gutter knows nothing about hope;

The rain knows nothing about the cold;

But we, we know all of these things

Like we know the dirt on our hands.

 

My teacher lied to me

And told me that I was free

Because, in truth, they were afraid to say

The realities I now live every day.

——

 

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LOST IN THE MONOTONY

The alarm bell rings.

My eyes open. It stings.

The long night and early morning

Remind me that today will be boring.

 

I cook my breakfast; pack my lunch,

Tell the world “thanks a bunch,”

For another day it’s given me

To feel lost in the monotony.

 

I make the drive out to work

Through the 6:00 AM murk,

Then slog my way through the day

I can’t help but notice the gray.

 

The walls, the desk, the ceiling too,

Would probably be more alive in blue

Or red or yellow, or even green,

Instead, it’s a faded scene.

 

10:24, she left my text on read.

I wonder if she went to bed?

Or maybe she was with another guy,

Its not like I expected a reply.

 

12:01, it’s time time to eat

My white bread sandwich with dry meat.

My mind wanders to the weekend,

Where I went out and vacationed.

 

I took a trip to the Bahamas,

Away from all the baby-mamas

That live on the floor of my apartment,

Whose children seem to be hellbent.

 

1:01 and back to work,

I noticed that my boss will lurk

Around at the back of the room.

He’s like a figure of impending doom.

 

The day goes by very slowly,

And as it progresses I feel lonely.

Until eventually the five o’clock bell rings

And all my coworkers begin to sing.

 

I drive home through fading skies,

And arrive as stars start to rise.

Another day come to its end,

Till tomorrow when I do it all again.

——

 

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DIGGING DEEPER

Hello everyone,

 

It’s been a while since I wrote a personal discussion of things as opposed to something creative, but here we go for a spin. Just a few days ago I crossed the two hundred post mark on this blog…which I only knew about because WordPress notified me. Anyways, that got me a tad bit excited. I mean, that’s a lot of writing. I usually spend between 30 minutes to an hour on each on, which means I’m somewhere between 100 and 200 hours spent writing openly on the Internet (in all honesty, it’s probably closer to 200, since most of my work takes closer to an hour). In that time, I’ve written poetry, political commentary, short stories, life restructuring, and emotional discussion pieces.

Sometimes, I get asked by people how I write so much—I mean, there’s only so much to talk about, right? Well, yes and no. Firstly, the human condition is infinite. Or, if not infinite, it at least is far longer than what a human could talk about in one lifetime. Seriously, I could write every day of my life and still only scratch the surface of the world. At the same time, it also begs the question: how much is relevant? I mean, do we really need another college student presenting ideas on how World War II was bad when we could go to a source that is more well-known, or even more entertaining? No.

Digging deep to be entertaining, or interesting, or whatever you want to call it, can be difficult. I know I struggle with it. I know people who are professionals that struggle with it. If you have never heard Louis C.K. talk about his life as a stand-up comic, struggling for new material, check out this video. It’s pretty enlightening, even though it’s born out of the passing of another famous comic. The reality is this: 1) we can always get better at what we do. Take Usain Bolt, famous fastest man alive. 2008, breaks the world record for the 100-meter dash, at the Olympics. This guy is set. He’s in history. He’s the greatest ever. Exactly one year later, in 2009, he breaks his own record. 2) to get better, you have to work for it constantly. Usain Bolt is a good example. It’s not like he sat around for a year to break his own record. He probably ran every day. Louis C.K. writing new material constantly to always come up with something unique and different.

This is the reason I write new stuff constantly. But what I have noticed is that it gets hard sometimes. I LOVE writing. I mean like I really, truly enjoy it. But that doesn’t mean every day is easy. Sometimes I don’t know what to write about. Sometimes I sit down at the computer with no clue what is going on. Some days suck. I’ve written things I don’t particularly like. But if you throw darts at a dartboard 200 times, sometimes you’ll hit dead in the center, sometimes you’ll hit that solid midpoint, and sometimes you’ll miss that board entirely. If you never throw the darts, however, then you can never hit the bullseye. And, conveniently, the more you practice, the less misses you will have.