Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Visit from Dr. Dium

Dear Dr. Dium,

I think my girlfriend is seeing another man! The other day I was at the store and I saw her holding hands with someone I don’t know how or why she could do this to me! I’m so upset! I want to KILL that guy! I thought she loved me! 

What do you think I should do



Dear Jeffery,

Heaven spare me this madness.

For future reference, my blind acquaintance, there is a key on your keyboard two keys to the left of the shift key you seem to favor so much. On it there is an angle over a dot. If you press it, it will create the marking we call a period. In other countries they call it a full stop. It looks like this: . I don’t even want to discuss your utter ignorance of my good friend, the question mark. Your excess of exclamation points only discredits you, and I can only hope you learn to type properly soon.

Did it ever occur to you that there should be more evidence than this simple scenario to cause you to think thusly? Surely if your girlfriend was seeing another man she would have slipped up in her texts or emails or conversations. She would have had unexplained activities at night, mysterious phone calls, perhaps unexpected gifts. Were this a serious relationship the evidence would eventually come forth.
In that case, you should be patient and see what happens.

At any rate, if she is no longer interested in you then she will call off the relationship as soon as possible. People do not cling to objects that have no sentimental value to them. For example, as soon as I am done writing this epistle, your letter will be going straight down the shredder.

Surely you also considered that perhaps this was not a romantic interest? In complete truth, females require the confidence of touch much more than their male counterparts. Perhaps this man was a father, brother, or close cousin. These are all people she would not love romantically (one would hope) but still might hold hands with in public because she holds affection for them.

In all likelihood there must be some logical explanation because if you are in love as you say then she would not have done this to you. If she did, then I can only recommend ending your relationship and making sure you do not see her again soon.

On a side not, as a professional I do not recommend killing anybody. Unless you are James Bond (which I know you are not, because his interpretation of girl trouble is the times when his girlfriends or wife are slain) it is illegal. And even if you were James Bond you would require a very good reason.

In fact, if I recommended killing someone my own business could be put in jeopardy. Therefore you mustn’t.

As a recap, unless you have seen more evidence than your girlfriend holding hands with someone else, it is very likely that your girlfriend still loves you and there is no need to kill anybody.

What would I do? I would get all the facts straight before coming to people like me and wasting their time. But then again, I can only expect people with brains to do that.


Dr. Orpheus Dium

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blurry Interviews: Literary Liz

Hi Liz, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for a Wandering in a Blur interview! As you know, we're all about art, literature, science, history, and all that great stuff. Let's start with something easy: What is your favorite piece of literature, and why?

Favorite piece of literature... I would say it's a tie between A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Watership Down by Richard Adams. The two are very different, but both are well-constructed stories with extremely lovable characters - and extremely hateable characters, for that matter.

Ooh, what are some of the hateable characters?

Miss Minchin in A Little Princess - she's the woman who runs the school  in which Sara Crewe, the main character, lives - and in Watership Down, General Woundwort, the tyrannical (not to mention violent) dictator of Efrafa, another warren.

I'm familiar with Miss Minchin. I've seen the movie, and also Sierra Bogress was in the musical a while back! I really like when we get to see literature in many different forms—I think of Pride and Prejudice based on our *cough* previous discussion. Do you like seeing literature brought to life in other ways, and do you have any examples?

I always find musical adaptations of literature fascinating, though it doesn't happen very often - a few years ago I saw a musical version of Sense and Sensibility and liked it a lot. Apart from that... I'm mostly disappointed by movie adaptations, unfortunately. And of course I'm always up for seeing live/filmed performances of Shakespeare and other plays, if that can be counted as literature!

Yeah, movie adaptions are a little tricky, for all of us. But if the AP Board says that Shakespearean plays are okay on the test, I feel like we can count it as literature, too! Switching gears a little bit, let's talk about art. Define art.

Art. Oh, goodness. That's really, really tricky. See, I recently took a class on art and music and basically the end argument was that art is whatever you say it is. For example, there's a piece called Fountain - created by Marcel Duchamp, a Dada artist - which is literally a urinal laid on its side. That's it. I think it was supposed to be a political statement. On the other hand, you can have something that's purely created for aesthetic appeal or whatnot, like many of the commissioned pieces from before the 1800s. That being said... I suppose I have to agree. Though I personally like art better when it's created for aesthetic reasons, or at least romantic ones (looking at you, Fuseli) art is, at its core, whatever we plop down and say is art.

As Guinan might say, it's in the eye of the beholder. How do you incorporate art into your daily life?

Short answer is, I don't - not intentionally. At least I think I don't. The closest I can get would be that I tend to notice things about the world around me that could be called artistic, whether it be the symmetry of a flower or a weirdly shaped roof or the drawing technique in a Calvin and Hobbes comic. Other than that - I don't think I incorporate it much.

It's funny, because whenever I come to your house I feel like it's always so much more artsy than mine. Your brothers are musical and inventive, and there's always books and rich discussion hanging around, so it's funny that we should have a different perspective of your life. All right, one last question. Wandering in a Blur is about life and the blurry messiness we all experience as we live. What is a question you have that is part of your blur? 

Blurry messiness, huh? I guess the primary question (always in my face when I'm at college) is "What are you going to do with your life?" Sometimes I think I know, and sometimes I think I have no earthly clue.

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Thanks so much for doing this interview with me!

Liz is a Colorado humanities student, which means she studies all things awesome and having to do with how great humans are at their humanness. In her free time—and even in the time that isn't free—she reads obsessively and terrorizes her residence hall as the "crazy book girl." She can usually be found wrapped in a comforter, recovering from her latest book hangover. You can find her at her soon-to-be-blog, Literary Liz!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Adventures of George Washington

“George Washington came first and he was perfect.”

I think Jonathan Coulton’s song sums it up pretty well. You know, we put him on our one dollar bill, we put him on our nickel, he’s half the reason we celebrate President’s Day, we have myths and picture books and stories about him—in a lot of ways, George Washington is the American rock star.

I wonder if he’d hate it.

First of all, he had a temper, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would blow up at some people. Secondly, he really admired self-control, honor, and service, and strove towards those things [source]. I think he could probably be proud of the service he gave to the United States, but with those virtues, I imagine he also had some element of modesty to him.

Yes, he was pretty awesome, but as a later president would say, “Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.” [source]

If George Washington held himself to a high moral standard, and was committed to being not only diligent but humble in service to his country, do you really think he’d approve of the fame we’ve slathered on his memory?

It is impossible to know. He is dead. He has been, for a very long time. However, I like to think that he would want his legacy to continue in our own attempts to live lives of morality and diligence, rather than idolizing his image.

For this reason, I am okay with The Adventures of George Washington.

The Adventures of George Washington comes from a Tumblr series, wherein the portraits of George Washington are captioned with dialogue—Washington’s captioned persona is flippant, impatient, forceful, and at best, unkind.

I don’t think Washington himself would fully appreciate these. After all, they are more or less making fun of his character, and I doubt he’d enjoy that kind of disgrace.

However, I do think they’re okay in principle, because over the years, we’ve forgotten that George Washington was just a man. A great man, but still a man. It’s fun to put him in anachronistic situations, and to show him using our slang—Adventures turns Washington back into a common man.

As a series, I think they’re hilarious. I love these things. I fully hope there to be many, many more in the future, because some of these are just to die for.

I shall show you my favorites, because I love them.

Who are some of your favorite heroes? Do you think it’s better to remember them as great people, or do you think they’re better remembered as common people who served their communities?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015



Hi. I’m still alive, although it’s been three weeks since my grandma died.

It was the week the rain started—the week that began the huge downpour that has flooded my basement and also my life. I knew better than to walk home in the rain (although that’s another story), so I borrowed a phone to call home.

Dad picked up. Dad has a nine to five job—it was two. I think that’s when I knew, but he didn’t say anything. Mom didn’t say anything when she picked me up, either. Maybe I’m wrong, I thought.

I put my stuff down, and that’s when Dad told me. “I’m home early, because Grandma Twila died this morning.”

“When?” I asked.

“Around ten this morning.”

I nodded, and kept putting my things away. “Okay.” Maybe it seems heartless, not to burst into tears, or to start crying, or anything—but for me, it felt like I had lost my grandma a long time ago, and this was just the end of a long time coming.

“Are you making grilled cheese sandwiches?” I asked, noticing the griddle.

“Yes. Do you want one?”

My mom does most of the cooking at my house, but you don’t say no to a grilled cheese sandwich from my dad. You just don’t. The bread was the crispy butter brown that Dad has seemed to master, complete with pepperoni, ham, and the gooey white goat cheese that knows my heart so well.

So we sat together, and ate grilled cheese sandwiches—I don’t remember what we were talking about, probably things to do (there are a lot of things to do when someone dies) or telling my sisters, but I remember that my friend Emma came up as I told my parents her story.

Last night, she was in her room and saw an enormous spider—and then she lost track of it. Like any sane person, she ran up to her parents’ room and said, “We need to burn my room down, there’s a spider!” (My parents laughed here.) Her mom, half-asleep and hardly paying attention, put her head up and said, “Thou shalt not kill.” Even funnier to my parents was that she couldn’t remember the episode the next morning.

Today the sun came out again. I live in a place proclaiming 300 days of sun a year, and I was starting to worry—rain used to be beautiful because it was so rare, but after twenty days of stifling wet weather, early mornings vacuuming up water in the basement, and legs frozen by the weather, it’s become more of a nuisance.

But today the sun came out. Life goes on. You sometimes have to do the things you don’t want to do, and sometimes that means writing this blog post, or preparing to get back to editing a novel I’ve lost track of again.

And sometimes it means laughing over grilled cheese sandwiches with my parents, and knowing that a woman who was with us isn’t here anymore. And that it’s okay. And that there are still chances to smile in the rain.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Somewhere Only I Know

It's a Saturday night, and I sit on a sofa with a laptop and two books. Music is playing, and I am trying to listen and hum along to songs in vain.

It's a problem I have increasingly encountered. I want to read, but the temptation of the laptop is overbearing. And I idly visit websites - Quora, my email, Reddit. Ultimately, I get bored and move to Spotify, that great bastion of music. It's the greatest thing since the Internet, I do believe. Being able to stream nearly every song you want in mere seconds - I do not take this for granted.

So I sit, and listen to Keane's "Bend and Break," and almost immediately, want to listen to a certain song lyric by The Kinks. So I listen to "A Well-Respected Man," which invariably reminds me of Collective Soul's "A Smashing Young Man," so I start listening to that. Then after, the awesome epic guitar riffs remind me of Nirvana and Bush, and off I go looking for my grunge playlist...

This is ADD made manifest. Something has happened to me. It has crept up on me, slowly, quite carefully. Consider. Once upon a time I would carry a book around with me everywhere, looking for every opportunity to read. I recall the beginning of seventh grade, when I discovered Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. I borrowed the book from my teacher's library, and took it home and began to read. My uncle came, and took my grandmother and I out to lunch, and I brought the book with me. Afterwards, I went with my dad to the Home Depot, and guess what I brought with me?

This was five years ago, I recall. Today, in this year of grace, 2015, I sit with And Then There Were None mere inches away from this keyboard which I use to type this message. I have picked it up occasionally this evening, glancing through a few pages, remembering the great mystery surrounding Indian Island, the shocking murders, the unbelievable ending which to this day never fails to fill me with amazement and awe at Agatha Christie and her clever mind.

I cannot fully read the novel, though. This is not such a surprise, however. I have only ever reread one book without jumping around and skipping parts. And that's okay. The pleasure of rereading is to enjoy a book without all the introns and parts one may consider dull. One can go to a beloved chapter and reread it, word for word, and ignore the rest.

The discerning reader of this piece can't have failed to note that I mentioned there are two books on the sofa next to me. The second is a curious work that goes by the name of Titus Groan, by the most interesting of authors: Mervyn Peake. Peake's a most interesting person: a painter by trade, he wrote his most famous works, the Gormenghast trilogy, over a period of ten years. Peake was born in China to missionary parents before the Great War, and the memories and reminiscences of Chinese culture would stay with him. During the Second World War, Peake worked on propaganda posters for the British government to earn his bread and butter. Sadly, Peake died of Parkinson's (or Lewy Body dementia? the details are unclear) and suffered a great deal in his last years. His writing and artistic abilities largely disappeared, as he underwent electroconvulsive therapy. He died in 1968 at the age of 57.

I bring Peake up as the perfect metaphor. An artist, especially one such as Peake, is cautious, delicate. He creates a world so vast, so carefully and methodically, that it sneaks up on one. It is much like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, or else Susanna Collins' amazing Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, or the vertiginous, hilarious The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. However, what they all have in common is that they require time. They require patience and many hours spent in a room, preferably with rosewood chairs and a pot of warm jasmine tea. Nothing less will suffice. I have not gotten past the first 10 pages of Titus Groan, because I understand this. I need time. The dilemma? I actually do have time.

I have a busy schedule, now more so than ever: an issue of the school newspaper I work on came out yesterday. AP exams begin Monday, and I am taking four this year. Several teachers have given nothing but tests in preparation, and I have been dutifully studying. (This, by the way, is my rather pathetic excuse for abandoning this blog for the past few months. Heather has been the very picture of grace, maintaining this blog and continuing the spirit of the Blur.) But for every night that I have spent up working on academics, extracurriculars and life in general, I have had an hour or so to myself, which I have largely frittered away on listening to Spotify and rechecking my email. School is the same way: during lunchtime, I could easily spend time reading. My lifestyle has created a false sense in me, the false idea that I do not have time to read.

But I will change. Two weeks hence, I will be done with all exams. I will still have work to do, but it will not be as much. And seven weeks hence, I will be done with school. And I will read. I must. You see, despite my aversion to reading that has started of late, I still want to read. There is this excitement, the idea of reading my way through a large stack of novels. Mervyn Peake may have devolved into a tragic insanity, but I will recover from my own tragic insanity.

Reader, you may have experienced this yourself. I encourage you to follow my lead, and disconnect yourself. Nothing is as important as time spent thinking and improving yourself. I have always been a fan of self-improvement and self-education, and reading is nothing less than that. A stack of novels, sitting on my desk and elsewhere, await. I will read my way through them.

I must.


Friday, April 24, 2015



When did I first hear the first word of poetry?

I can remember sitting in a lap that was bigger then, and there was a man who wrote all the best books about one fish and two fish, Mr. Brown who moos, tweetle-beetle battles, and oh, the places you’ll go.

I can remember third grade, when we had our poetry unit. I wrote limericks, haikus, open form, other things. I can remember sharing my poetry book with my family, and my mom cried when she read what I wrote about my friend who had moved away.

My grandfather is a poet. I’ve read his poems on warm sunny days in a room painted with the brightness of a smile. There was something about that day last summer—and I don’t know if it was the softness of the cotton comforter gluing me to the eons or the fact that I’ve touched the hand that wrote the words, and it’s different.

We study poetry in my Lit class now. There are items like SOAPSTTone and lit devices, meter, sound devices, structure, more. Little pieces that are confusing and intricate but as juicy as worms dug out in the backyard. Maybe not beautiful but still good.

And when did I hear poetry?

It’s one thing to watch Dead Poets Society or Four Weddings and a Funeral and smile and cry because it’s poetry and God it’s good.

But it’s another—entirely another—to stand up to the sun and shout, “THIS IS POETRY!” so that it knows to shine extra-brightly. And when did I first start shouting?

Perhaps I’ll never know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015




Say it out loud. Listen to the way it rolls off the tongue—lyrical, magical, filled with promises and memories of hot cookies on Tuesday nights.


Whisper it to the wind. Caress the brittle pages of the books Dad used to read when he was a child. Smile and shy from the smell—old, piercing, dusty books. But they’re stories. That’s why it’s beautiful.


Fingernails and paper cuts. Remember the little streaks of blood on all the pages and the stains from tears and chocolate and ink and worse because books aren’t sacred and they long to be free.


The stilted words and the jagged voice that makes you feel like your eyes are going up against a cheese grater. It’s terrifying. Enchanting. Boring. Wondrous. Not so much. That’s the opinion of it all.




Pages and pages and pages and pages of yellow black white red blue and the smell of jasmine leaves and camel sand, distant places and dreams that come from dirty lamps and bottles that tell you what to do. Unfortunate colors, red wings, white wings, the things that make us fly tie us down to the world, but that’s all we have to go off of. So go we shall.

They get married in the end, you know. Or they all die. To be or not to be—it’s always the same question. Whether it’s sharper in the mind to record the flips and flops of literature—just literature. Yellow bellies, blue blood, red coats, white men with black minds and not even God to save them.

Passion, perdition, purgatory, peace.


It’s a trip.

Thursday, April 16, 2015



I was a little nervous when we went down into the cadaver lab. I’ve seen dead people before, of course—I’ve been to funerals, and I’ve seen bodies on TV. It’s just that at funerals they aren’t naked with their parts on the table, and on TV there’s a screen—even so, bodies are also liable to get dismembered or turned into zombies or something horrible like that.

But, as I learned… It was okay. Looking back, I’d actually say visiting a cadaver lab was one of the best field trips I’ve ever gone on. Getting to hold all of the organs and see how organs look in a real human body was kind of amazing. A textbook is a great way to learn, but I’ve got to say… nothing beats holding a human heart in your hands.

That’s not to say that sometimes experiencing the dissection wasn’t a little disgusting sometimes, but I got used to it. I really appreciated that our teacher would always warn us before doing something. She’d say something like, “Okay, now I’m going to turn her leg upside down and inside out,” and that was a good enough cue to prepare me for what came next.

We passed around the brain, a kidney, the heart, lungs, tongue, stomach, bladder, entire arm, of the woman—more, even. I got to touch and examine.

Man, I love to touch and examine. If you have drawers or cabinets, I will open the drawers or cabinets. That’s just a rule.

I got to open the human body. It’s interesting, because we often associate life with goodness, and death with badness—but that isn’t the feeling I got from the cadaver lab. This woman was in her 90’s when she died. It sounded like she had lived a pretty decent life before. She had a family. She had a name. And when her time was done, she gave her body to us to explore.

Against all odds, it turns out death is a beautiful thing as well.

Although, I have to say—during our halftime break, a little melody came over the intercom. Our teacher said they play that every time a baby is born inside the hospital.

Death can be beautiful, but there’s still something to be said about being born, too. Go figure.

Monday, April 6, 2015



I used to believe that people’s favorite colors were those not present in their souls.

I mainly I believed that due to one girl, who I shall call “Pam,” like the cooking spray.

Pam’s favorite color was yellow. My favorite color was (and is) gray. We are still two vastly different people, four years later.

The way Pam lived stunned me—in elementary school, you can pretty much live with any classmates. Sure, they can be annoying, or weird, just a little different, but you’re still children and everyone is essentially a good person. Now, in middle school, I saw that people could be terrible people, and it disgusted me.

I saw that she held grudges. I saw that she used writing as an exercise to write revenge stories, and to unleash violent, degrading emotions on people because she didn’t have the resources or the liberty to do it in real life. She laughed at pain. She crumpled at her own misfortune, oblivious to that of others. I watched her physically abuse her little sister over a TV remote, and since then she’s taken one of the nicest, most amazing humans I know to court with a story I doubt the veracity of—she still wants to hit him with a car.

What a dreadful, dreary place her soul must be, I thought. Filled with hatred and yuckiness and just plain meanness… She must like yellow because there’s no way it lives in her soul.

I, on the other hand, had a mind vibrant with stories. I ignored my own faults, of course. When I compared myself to her, she was focused on the beauty of the dollar store stickers on her pencil box, while I sat and watched the wind ripple through the crisp, long grass below the mountain view. It braided itself in the wind, and I smiled, because how much more beautiful could the earth be?

She was irritated I was not as enthusiastic about the stickers. You should appreciate the little things, she told me. Little did she know.

There was no gray for me. I saw beauty. I accomplished things. My mind was never empty, filled with stories and dreams of volcanoes, cats, dreams, and mountaintops I could touch with my finger. There were lush red ribbons and sparkling blue lakes, matte black helicopters, magical golden sparks.

There was beauty and love and adventure and passion and dreams and there was me. Just me. And I loved it.

There couldn’t be room for any gray in my soul, I thought. Not when I live in such a vibrant mind.

It’s changed. Others have disproved my theory. My love of gray has come from other areas. And I have learned that perhaps I don’t have any yellow in my soul, if I can’t learn to forgive her, either.

Friday, April 3, 2015



Good Friday. Sad day. End game. Everything is gone, the curtain is ripped, the altar is broken, and we are so, so, lost because it is dark and cold and there are blisters from where the shoes rubbed away the skin.

Good Friday. Happy day. A new beginning, opportunities, chances. Compliments because you dressed up today, and despite yourself you enjoy the shoes and feel beautiful. And not just because people keep saying so.

Good Friday. Black day. Death day. It's the day that we mourn for our loss and we leave in silence, because how on earth can there be anything good in the world at a time like this.

Good Friday. Gray day. Fire day. Days of burning passion and happiness because yes there are ashes, but just you wait, because the fire will roar again. Just wait. Just watch.

Good Friday. Last day. Lost day. Everything is burned and empty, and you probably failed that test just now. You don't know what you'll do for the Lit assignment. You might as well give up now. It doesn't matter anymore.

Good Friday. First day. Fast day. A day to wear the dancing shoes and yes, it has been three hours but there's still some cinnamon on your nose from the toast this morning, and it's time to go.

Good Friday.



Shiver with happy, shiver with sad. It's cold and dark and yet the sun is still shining. Maybe it's not fair but it's no reason just to stand there. Something's coming. Something new.

Thursday, April 2, 2015



It’s Maundy Thursday. Well, it is for another hour.

We’ve always gone to Maundy Thursday service, as long as I can remember. I can remember once at my old church there was a night where we set up tables in the sanctuary and we all had our own little last suppers and there were plastic wine glasses I enjoyed the heck out of.

Tonight was good, too. We sang, we listened, and we had communion.

I like communion. I like the idea that we all come together. I like that everyone is welcome at the table. And I like that traditions aren’t always set in stone.

You always hear the words of institution: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, Take; eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way he also took the cup after the supper, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, Drink of it, all of you. This cup is the New Testament in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

I’ve probably heard that probably about a thousand times since I was born (more or less).

But I never did it in a circle. We never did it all together.

Despite our lack of practice we were all put in a circle around the sanctuary, and tasked with giving each other communion in a big circle. And circles are hard for us, I suppose, so it took a while. But we shared the food, and we sang.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

We prayed together, holding hands in that big circle-y square, booming the Lord’s Prayer while the snow slushed outside. It was the sort of circle that made you think, “This is what home feels like.”

We prayed, we sat, we waited. And then they came to strip the altar.

I never thought about it much before—it’s traditional, they’ve done it at every church I’ve been to. You take down the candles, the cloth, the books, the symbols. They pass everything down from the altar and all that is left is a naked slab of wood and we stare at it.

Except it’s not really the altar being stripped, is it. It’s Him. No clothes, no pride, nothing to hide behind, nothing to protect himself. Naked, alone, betrayed, and abandoned. And I hated looking at that altar—because why would someone submit to that shame? Why would anyone want that kind of sacrifice, when nothing could make it better again?

But in that building, with those people, with the candles and the memories and the certainty that’s never really certain… I also knew exactly why he did it.

He did it for home.

He did it for us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015



145/365 - Mad Science
Flickr Credit: Dennis Wilkinson
Hello, I have come to do the science.

Oh, the science. What kind of science?

Just the regular kind of science. I’m still an amateur, you know—I don’t want to go crazy with all the calculations just yet. Nothing too complicated!

Well, let me see what’s available. We have “Dropping Cats” in Room 2B, although that one’s rather labor-intensive. Normally I’d recommend “Putting Different Things in the Microwave” or “Poking People While They Nap,” but those are all full. Hm, what about “Mixing Things Together,” as led by our fantastic professor, Walter P. Creshum?

My mother always did say I had a way with a spoon!

Excellent! That’ll be a twenty dollar entrance fee, and if you just take the first corridor to your left it’s straight down the hall in 8L.

Thank you ever so much! Let’s see, here it is. Mixing Things Together?

Yes, yes! Do come in, we were just about to get started!

I see! What are you mixing?

Well, in this bowl I have mixed chocolate chips and toenails, and in this bowl I have mixed a cow’s tongue and hydrochloric acid. I was about to mix them together, and see what happens.

Ah, that does sound fascinating. Any chance I might try mixing things together?

But of course! All the things to mix are just on that counter over there, take anything you like, mix it together, and do let us know if it’s going to blow. Oh, they yelled at me rather severely the last time I shattered the windows.

Absolutely. Now, let’s see. Socks, a must-have. And an old telephone! How quaint. Well, here is some chlorine, and I’ll just take this whisk and weed-killer, and then… Oh, I wonder if they have any sea bass. Hm, sea bass, sea bass, sea bass. There we are!

What are you mixing?

All these things—the sea bass will really hit the spot. And you?

Just some oats, maple syrup, raisins, and a good helping of brown sugar.

Sounds delicious!

No! Don’t—eat it…

This tastes funny… Acgh, what is that?

Well, you didn’t give me a chance to tell you about the laundry detergent, did you?

Why on earth would you put laundry detergent in oatmeal?


Monday, March 30, 2015



baby feet 3
Flickr Credit: nichole
It’s interesting to look up names on the internet, because you can do it a couple of ways.

There’s the baby name sites, and that is where you find the most precious name for your coming newborn—something classy, maybe with a symbolic meaning or a tie to your family’s past. Nothing that will get your child teased, nothing too strange, something beautiful.

And then there’s Urban Dictionary. Look up your name. You will learn that a lot of other people have some things to say about that name—they’ve known some good ones and they’ve known some bad ones and whoo, there’s some strong language to be said about either.

It’s said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Cute, but no.

I mean, sure. If we lived in a universe where roses were called ugleshruffs and always had been, no one would question it. But we come with culture, background, history, memory, connotation, past.

I notice that the name Adolf fell in popularity, after World War II.

I notice that the name Khaleesi has risen with Game of Thrones.

I notice that when I hear the name Max I almost exclusively think of a big dog licking Ariel and an evil villain who lives in a volcano and whispers beautiful plots across the sea.

I notice that when I hear the name Gertrude I think of cookies and soft hands, baking banana bread and rough carpet on my cheeks as I played with plastic bowling supplies and an ancient TV set while Christopher Lloyd sings “In the Dark of the Night” and I build with wooden blocks on the floor with my cousin.

I notice that my parents have forbidden us to name any of their grandchildren after a coworker who stole from the company.

We think of a name, we think of a fascist dictator. A mother of dragons. A dog. A villain. A grandma. A thief.

Perhaps the rose would smell as sweet, but would we want to touch it? Would we want to put our babies in the cage with the Incredibly Deadly Viper? Would we want to remember the death, the pain, the suffering, the anger, the hatred, the retribution?

What’s in a name? We call our babies Mary, but you’re harder-pressed to find a Lucretia. Search the Internet. Find out. What’s in yours?

Friday, March 27, 2015



She finally forgave him and started to heal.

There are times when pieces of my life are like that line in “The Piña Colada Song.” Things are like a worn-out recording of a favorite song. My Percy Jackson collection, for example. Or Harry Potter. Something I’ve gone through so many times I can’t touch them again without knowing that it isn’t the same and I don’t love it the way that I did. Because I am different and it is different.

But there are other times when the repetition doesn’t make it fade. Where every single time I feel like I’m hearing it for the first time and I’m in love and in pain and broken and alive again.

“This Isn’t The End” by Owl City is one of them. I love that song. I love that song because as many times as I hear it I can still feel the pain and the hope that contrast and yet are so strong.

She finally forgave him and started to heal. She finally forgave him and started to heal. She finally forgave him and started to heal.

It’s just that… I don’t know. I can’t imagine something happier than forgiveness. I can’t imagine something sweeter and more welcome. Because forgiveness takes things away—pain, hurt, the wear and tear of an anger-filled life. Justice is good. I like justice. It’s just that forgiveness is better.

Maybe that’s also why I like Les Mis so much.

They’re just those songs that take away all the doubt.

“This Isn’t the End” by Owl City.

“Wolf Bite” by Owl City.

“Finale” from Les Mis.

“Something Girl” by Adam Ant.

“Move Toward The Darkness” from The Addams Family Musical.

And another song. I can’t remember it but when I listen to it, it is always new.

They’re just the songs. Songs… New songs. Songs that tell me that someone is listening. Not only is someone listening, but He loves me. Something I could stand to hear every day.

Thursday, March 26, 2015



Catskills Fireflies 2012
Flickr Credit: s58y


It’s the sound the clouds make as they breathe in
come hazy sunshine
come dirty earth
come smoky wind
the clouds pour for all

The firefly in her cocoon sings the same song
hello trampled leaf
hello broken stick
hello rumpled flower
the fireflies glow for all

The wolf brings the music at night and whispers
dream waning moon
dream howling stars
dream weeping comet
the wolves comfort all


And even when the sun is blind
the clouds pour
And even when the earth is deaf
the clouds pour
And even when the wind is mute
the clouds pour
and make the changing song


Or even when the leaves fall
the fireflies glow
Or even when the sticks burn
the fireflies glow
Or even when the flowers wilt
the fireflies glow
and sing the changing song


But even when the moon is melting
the wolves comfort
But even when the stars are falling
the wolves comfort
But even when the comets are breaking
the wolves comfort
and dance to the changing song


Because the change never stops changing
Just as the rain never stops raining
The clouds and their keepers never shall leave
The flies and the ashes push away grief
The wolf in her den and the moon up above
Sing the songs and those old memories of
They don’t want to hear and they don’t want to change
But they’re wrong
They don’t think the old dog will learn the new trick
But they’re wrong
They don’t understand the sound on the cold front
But I can teach them
I can teach them—all it takes is a little


Wednesday, March 25, 2015



Secrets can mean lots of different things.

In The Addams Family Musical, no one has any secrets, and as soon as they start keeping secrets the entire family just collapses like the Roman Empire.

In Finian’s Rainbow, Susan has a secret—a secret, a secret, she says she has a secret; a secret, a secret, a secret kind of secret! And Woody sings that part really well, by the way, so don’t read it in an ugly voice.

OneRepublic has a song about secrets.

We keep the secrets, we tell the secrets, we have moral problems about whether or not the secrets should be told…

And yet in one way or another, people will either know or not know and secrets are that simple.

I have some secrets. For example, I really like the blog post I am putting on Sometimes I’m a Story on Friday, and no one knows what it is but me.

I also like what I’m doing on April Fool’s Day, although that one I’m a little bit more apprehensive about. There are other secrets, between friends. Because I once did something horrible on April Fool’s Day—and people say I should forgive myself and I have, but forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness. I have the tendency to think that something that may be funny will not be funny at all.

I think it is funny, but then, who knows if it will truly be funny or not. I’m not sure.

Secrets can be silly, but other times secrets are destructive. I do not think my secrets are destructive. But then, sometimes it is hard to tell until the damage has already been done.

Monday, March 23, 2015



My Breath of Joy
Flickr Credit: Vincepal
I did not feel joy today.

Or, at least, if I did it feels far away.

In the morning there was serving. Feed the dog, feed the cat, feed the rat, feed yourself. Pick up the sister and bring her to her playdate, work for a little while then bring her back home. Do the dishwasher.

I forgot to do the laundry. Or maybe I just didn’t do it, because the dryer might be broken and I will have to ask about that.

In the afternoon there was homework. Applications, Federal Reserve notes, Ceremony, correo. I didn’t even get to biology.

I saved a lot of it for tomorrow.

In the evening there was dinner. I had wanted to watch a certain movie, but the will left me. I thought I would write, and I did. It’s just that they called me and told me they still wanted me to apply for a scholarship, even though it is ludicrous to ask someone to write you a letter of recommendation within three days, even though I had to write about behind a humanitarian even though I am pretty sure writing is still the entertainment industry. I wrote 3,000 words in three hours.

Most of that paper is a lie. Fabrication. Bull. Not the information, it’s true. But it’s still a lie to try and get something when you don’t want it in the first place.

Now it is night. There was coughing, so I stopped it. There was cold, so I warmed it. There was silence, so I dispelled it. There was nobody, and I don’t know what to do about that.

Brittle girl, brittle world. If even you can call her that.

It’s hard to remember pain when you are content, or even happy. It can be a curse.

It’s hard to remember joy when you are apathetic, and a shell. It is merely unfortunate.

There is coughing again. The drops are cherry flavored. I will have to stop it again.

Sunday, March 22, 2015



Flickr Credit: José María Pérez Nuñez

Privacy is divine.

Privacy is hell.

I'm alone, so there is no one to make sounds and distract me.

I'm alone so I can hear the fridge turn on and nearly crap my pants.

There is no reason to lock the doors because there is no one to walk in on me undressing.

There is every reason to make sure the doors are locked three times because if anyone comes in there will be no one but myself to save me.

Time passes slow and sweet, like honey. I have no need to rush.

Time passes fast and dangit I have no one to remind me when I need to be places I'm totally responsible I can handle this.

Ah, me, myself, and I. Alone at last.

I have not touched the dryer the entire time I have been here help help someone has broken in to do laundry.

I can eat whatever I want!

I totally should not have eaten that.

I can watch whatever I want and no one will judge me!

I can watch whatever I want... Oops.

Oh, thank goodness, it's just the dog.

But what if it isn't just the dog.

The zombie apocalypse could happen outside and I would never know.

The zombie apocalypse could happen in here and no one would ever know. 

I don't understand why the cat likes to cuddle with the cupboards.

I don't understand why the cat likes to cuddle with me if it likes the cupboards so much

I will ask.

Why am I talking to the cat.

I love being alone.

It is hard being alone.

Saturday, March 21, 2015



Love :: 20140830 8682
Flickr Credit: Oiluj Samall Zeid

I watched Mean Girls tonight. I have access to Netflix, which is a rare luxury and I used it to watch things I hadn't watched before (3rd Rock from the Sun was also funny).

I also read an Enneagram book lying around. I don't really know how the system works, but my best friend thought I might be a five, and after reading it, I think she might be right.

When you're a five, you have "delayed emotions," let's say. I know that feeling. I can be in the moment of something important and be so focused on the thing that is happening that I do not actively feel anything. It takes some time later to think about what happened, and then have the feelings there.

Now I am alone, and I am able to think, and have feelings.

Perhaps it is because it is late at night and I ate three servings of Junior Mints and a lot of orange Kool-Aid, and it is 11:30, but there are more feelings than usual. Love being one of them.

The Mean Girls movie is the first aspect. Not as in I loved the movie (I don't think I do) but I did love a part at the end. Cady jeopardizes her math teacher's reputation under a serious drug search through her house. Cady apologizes, and the first thing her teacher says is, "I forgive you." And then she proceeds to give Cady her punishment.

I also got a text. Just a short text to update my sisters and me, and say "we love you all." The text was emailed to me and ended up in my spam folder, and even though I didn't think to connect the number with the owner I clicked through on it. There were no names, no salutations, just a short text, but I immediately knew who it was from and why they sent it.

Because they love me.

Love is an interesting thing because even though there are 28 definitions on Dictionary.com it's really not the sort of thing you can ever fully describe, because love never really makes itself apparent in one sure way.

Forgiveness is love. It's insane how ridiculous forgiveness is; it doesn't say "don't worry, it's okay" but it defers justice. You can still be punished and it can still hurt, but you are spared the justice you deserve. The only reason? Love.

And the text was love, too. I don't know if there's another name for it. It would be very easy to not send a text, to not check up and to not say "I love you." But sometimes when you are missing things, small things get bigger to try and fill that space.

Even small holes that will fill back up again very soon. They still need to be filled. I don't know if love really fills that space, but it certainly tries. Yes, it certainly tries.

Friday, March 20, 2015



Flickr Credit: Daniel Dionne
Let me tell you what is art.

Art is tigers.

Art is the squiggles in a Halls’ H that make it special, unique, different. And even though it is silly, they all came from the same pan you twit, it tastes better when the grooves scratch the ridges from the surface and make an oval red stone to suck on.

Art is lungs. Even though they are torn and gasping and white from the cough cough cough of scars and movies at midnight, they are art. Little pieces, big job. And they move and you can feel them and watch Lady move up and down as you breathe.

Art is ankle bones.

Art is toenails. Broken, chipped things that are too hard to paint and too precious to slice against a table at Subway in Iowa. Don’t worry, it healed.

Art is when you wish there was less faith and more pennies in a jar to toss at the windows because even if everything wasn’t okay at least there would be no one to blame. No blame, no game, no state of mind, no brain.

Art is dusk.

Art is crumpled papers by the basket in the dark where purple exasperation and bad aim have made a mess on the floor. Art is the woman who cleans them up and takes the plate away—the one from the sandwich she made him.

Art is paneling, and it is ugly and rough and there are thoughts in the paint that tell me I was different then. The yellow is not yellow, it just is.

Art is fear.

Art is the gamble, and love is the reward.

Thursday, March 19, 2015



Remote Control
Flickr Credit: Thunderchild7

Harry, a sleepy-faced eight year old, sits on the couch watching movies; he has been there for six hours and his eyes are starting to glaze over. There is an overturned bowl of Captain Crunch on the floor, and he is eating it straight from the box. The remote control sits on the stand beside him.

His persistent six year old sister, Kara, enters.

Kara: Harry, Harry, come look! I made a castle!

Harry grunts and keeps his eyes fixed on the screen. Kara runs to him and starts to pull the cereal box from his hand.

Kara: Come and play with me, please? Please?

Harry: Go away!

He settles back onto the couch, and laughs at something onscreen. Cereal flies from his mouth and sticks to the screen. Kara frowns, and reaches for the remote control. She hits pause.

Harry: HEY! I was watching that!

Kara folds her arms, hugging the remote control to her stomach.

Kara: Come play castle with me, first. You haven’t been outside all day.

Harry: I don’t want to go outside. I want to stay in here. And I don’t want to play with you.

He lunges at Kara, who darts out of his reach. The remote is sticky and does not fall from her t-shirt. 

Harry: Kara, I mean it! I’ll tell Mom!

Kara sniffles.

Kara: Just for a few minutes? Please? I won’t even make you be my prince. I just want to show you my castle.

Harry hesitates, then runs for the remote and grabs it.

Harry: Get out. Playing is for little kids—I don’t need castles anymore.

Kara walks out with her head hanging. Harry hits “play” on the remote; his film resumes. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015



Writing? Yeah.
Flickr Credit: Caleb Roenigk
I read an account today of visiting a writer's conference.

It makes me uncomfortable just thinking about every visiting one. I get uncomfortable when I let my mom read my own work—what will she think, what will she say, and if I wrote something that doesn't click with our beliefs will she think that it's what I believe, not the character?

And that's kind of the point of a conference. People can take a look at your writing and teach you without being your family and not instilling fears of personal failure in your heart.

But at the same time, I would hate to have to look at someone's face while they read my writing. I don't mind when it's my sister or my best friend—the stuff I show them is exclusive and designed to make them laugh. It isn't real feedback, and I know it. I'm just getting an extra dose of dopamine by accrediting their smiles to my own hard work.

Watching a stranger read my writing would terrify me.

We're reading Ceremony in English right now; Tayo, the Laguna Indian, is trapped with the memories of WWII and the run rises with a story, because stories are sacred, a kind of worship, something that Spider Woman thinks of and delivers through each of us.

Stories are sacred. We can find any kind of use for a story—as a lesson, as a source of entertainment, as toilet paper, a paper hat—but the thing is that stories are also personal. Something I thought of, something I worked on, something I worked on every day for a year because I wanted to make it good and I wanted it to reflect me, in some small way.

There are the writing ideas in all of the folders that I don't touch anymore because I don't want to explore the paths in my soul where those ideas reach.

And there are things that I put down that I want to say, that I need to say, even, but I don't want to see them said.

Stories are sacred but I am only human. And if that means I will avoid interpersonal contact like the plague, or refuse to show my writing to anyone who knows me as a sister first and a writer second, then I guess that's the way it's going to be.

Even if that way may be wrong.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


First breath. First cry. First kiss first date first time first lady first bank first first first. First day. The days when you sit there and wonder why it isn’t the same as it was the first time, when it was magical and imbued with the thrill of learning that yes—you are confident. Yes, you can do this. Yes, you are loved. You can celebrate every year and listen to the sounds of the wax sobbing into the cake and still. It’s never the same as the first time. 
The very first time.  
First qualms. Maybe I should turn back. First friend. We can do this together. First name. Heather. A name I used to dislike because her name meant “noble” and mine meant “shrub.” But then comes the takeover and I say to myself “My name is Heather.” The towel falls. 
There’s the first time you’re comfortable in your own skin. 
First day with a new haircut. First smile—and babies love to smile, and we love to smile back. Like penguins. 
First fight, fist fight, black eye I see tonight. You never expect it, you never dream, and then you’re on the floor with a pair of socks and  fingernail clippers and you realize how important it is you need to put them away but they’re nice to look at. And it’s nice to know that they’re there to hold, even if you can never hold them for the first time again. 
First time you realize you’re going to miss the way the house smells, the lady who lived there, and the cement floor where you ran around with a wheelchair. The smell of sunlight and dust in the kitchen while you felt the heat on your hair. The nightlight reading because it’s too hard to breathe laying down and whatever you do don’t stop. 
First try.  
Tomorrow we try again. But it’s never the same. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The League of Gentlemen: A Disappointment

Sometimes I wish there were real, classy villains.

James Bond villains. Classy villains. Delicious men with such twisted idealism and beautiful plotting that you can’t help but fall into their gushing grins and want to be evil, too.

(On an unrelated note, I am wary of getting married because inevitably I only fall in love with people of questionable moral fiber, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in prison.)

There’s a scene in the episode “Engagement” in the second season of the show The Vicar of Dibley, wherein the Vicar invites Hugo to tea with her. She assumes he’s wondering why she’s asked him over, but to her surprise, he claims he’s figured it out.

You know the film League of Gentlemen, where they gather together the seven master criminals of the world, each of them skilled in their own particular trade—master of disguise, master lock-breaker, explosives expert, etcetera—are all assembled to pull off the greatest robbery of all time. I assume it’s that; am I right?”

He isn’t.

But, I did get the film to watch with my father—this old black and white film from the sixties that I had to borrow from another library system—just to see what Hugo is talking about.

via hypnogoria.com
Fair enough, men who have all been slighted in one way or another by the government/military gather together, all hoping to steal enough cash to embarrass their enemies and live comfortably on an island somewhere until they die.

It was an okay movie, I suppose (obviously, I have to make allowances for the film quality and choices, simply due to the era in which it was filmed), but the story frustrated me. Because these were not classy, dazzling men. They were miffed military men in suits and with petty crimes on their hands.

They ran everything like a polite military operation, secret and dirty and secluded in a day and age before security cameras and annoying neighbors could easily rat them out. Sure, they wore the right clothes, but the silkiness of an Alpha was completely absent.

What was worse, spoiler alert, in the end, they all get arrested because a little boy noticed the faulty plates on their getaway truck. He turned them in to the police and they tracked down the owners.

That made me mad—oh, why did they have to lose? Dad looked at me mildly amused, and reminded me that this was the sixties, and in the end the government and goodness had to win.

Which I thought was stupid.

Granted, I have a sense of morality (somewhere…) and I do tend to have faith in my government, and in the people around me to do the right thing at the right time. Murder is wrong, being mildly rude to someone isn’t particularly acceptable, and I go to church.

All that kind of goes away as soon as I enter a fictional novel.

Books broaden perspectives, change the fabric of morality, philosophy, and science simply as the author sees fit. Gods can be created and destroyed, beauty designed and ugliness tempered. Murder becomes a goal, death is desire, blood is a must and it glitters like rubies on the floor. I expect to breathe in the injustice from the pages and absorb it and breathe it out like smoke.

I wanted them to win… Obviously, this league of gentlemen wasn’t perfect and in fact, with a couple of tweaks to the storyline, I could have easily foiled their plan from the comfort of my own living room.

But I wanted them to win, because they were still the heroes. Their evil was the good. And they disappointed me.

Sometimes I wish villains were real. Not because I don’t have a sense of morality, or because I think that their fundamental actions and beliefs are justified. Sometimes I simply wish that there were people like that—classy, with shiny shoes and tailored suits, neatly combed hair, secret lairs, massive danger, and ultimate calm. People who can do their evil right.

Of course, I should be careful what I wish for. Getting kidnapped by terrorists would probably be just as educational, but I doubt I’d enjoy it at all.

Baron Samedi
Flickr Credit: Julien CARTRY
And yet… Kananga, Nero, Rugen, the Darkling, Thorne, the list goes on and on. No matter how much you root for justice, you also have to root for these guys, because they are fantastic.

Take that, my poor league of gentlemen. You deserved what you got.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Gift of Language

A Gift

I have an awesome friend in Japan who sent me a Sherlock manga for Christmas. It’s beautiful, soft cover, and came in the mail with twelve stamps—I almost felt like I was getting mail from the Weasleys. I haven’t taken the time to start really looking at the book yet, but sometimes one has econ homework. Blast.

But, fun fact, I don’t speak Japanese, much less read it.

And yet, I’m still excited.

What I think sometimes we misunderstand about languages is that we assume they are foreign merely because we do not speak them. This is silly. Certainly, it’s not my native language. And yes, it originates from another country, revolves around a different culture than mine, including the different slang, customs, and representations of a place I’ve never been.

Somewhere, though, I don’t think it’s that foreign to me.

I think of the language I am actually learning. Español. Tomo una clase de AP en las tardes con ocho otros estudiantes para practicar el idioma por clases en el futuro, y, quizás, viajes a los países hispanohablantes. Durante el verano, fui a la España con mi padre, a Madrid y Barce. Es un país hermoso, pero siempre puedo retarme en mi casa, también. En el año pasado, compré mi libro favorito en inglés para leerlo en español: HIVE, Escuela de Malhechores.

No entendía la mayoría del cuento. No me importaba. Es posible que el cuento haya sido tan familiar, pero también, la otra lengua me trajo otros pensamientos. Dichos. Vocabulario. Una perspectiva diferente.

And sure, I assume you might not speak Spanish. That’s okay. There may have been words that stuck out to you because they sound the same in English. Futuro means future. Surprise! Clase means class, practicar means practice—you get that there are cognates.

I don’t speak Japanese, but I expect that somehow, it’s not going to matter, completely. I have the help of the Internet to take a look at introductory characters, and a friend who lives in Japan to boot. Even then, it’s a manga so there are pictures.

Someone has made a meaning for me; I merely have to find it.

Yes, I have gotten an awesome gift. And sure, I won’t know everything. But when I was speaking in Spanish, did you think I had abandoned you forever?

So, what’s one of the best gifts you’ve gotten, lately? And, what are you reading this week?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

TCWT January Blog Chain: Meaning and Magnificence

Oh, you thought you were done with me this month. You were wrong. Thanks to Teens Can Write Too! I’m participating in the blog chain AGAIN because John was kind enough to say it was okay.

Our Marvelous Hosts

This month’s prompt was suggested by me, and goes thusly:

“What is something you feel is generally written well in fiction? What is something you feel is generally written poorly?”

Obviously, every author brings everything they can to their work. It’s an agreement of our trade, and no strange one at that. We write because we must, but when we publish something, it is also something we tend to take pride in.

I’m not a huge fan of the phrase ‘labor of love,’ just because it sounds like an excuse. “I didn’t really learn how to use exclamation points or a spell checker before I published this, but, hey, I really put my heart into it!” Um, no. I’d rather read book from people who’ve learned the craft and can write a good story.

Anyway, authors want to write good stuff. The books that are famous and the books that we adore have something in common—they are artful, somehow. Sometimes it’s symbolism, or archetypes, or thematic elements. Other times it’s character arcs or certain plot devices that enamor us.

Either way, every book is going to make an assertion, and every book brings something to the table, however small.

Nor does art fail to breach genre or era.

A book like The Handmaid’s Tale talks about human rights, religion, and the role of women in society. It was published in 1985.

But then you’ve got Jane Eyre. It talks about individuality and duty, religion, and the role of women in society. It was published in 1847.

And then you’ve got The Unwind Dystology. The last book just came out, but Unwind came out in 2007. And it talks about human rights (especially to one’s own body), religion, and the role—no, the power—of teens in society. And the nice thing is, Neal Shusterman writes about the girls and the guys (so in a way, he’s just saying that the role of women is up-close-and-personal with that of men).

via Goodreads
(Also, I talked about women’s role in fiction a few weeks ago, so look at me following up on my own ideas.)

Every book brings something, and the books that last tell us is that writing is full of incredible meaning and power. A writer will never cease to write until a point that matters has been made, and well made at that.

It isn’t enough, though. Not for me.

Yeah, I like books that are symbolic (blatantly so, because that’s not my forte) and have thematic elements. Sure, sometimes it’s necessary we use these ideas so that everyone understands our point.

via Goodreads
Other times, I think authors can write the heart out of a good book—they’ll talk about life and its meaning
and our purpose and mankind, and then they’ll forget to give the story a soul.

The soul of a book is imperative for it to resonate with me, more than I can say in words.

Part of the reason that I love Neal Shusterman is that I feel what he wants me to feel. I know what those kids feel. I’ve never been that desperate, and I have never once thought my parents would think my life worth more in a divided state than whole. But I feel and know that anger, that resentment, the grief of the betrayal and the shame that comes with it all.

Like that, but with every book. My reaction. The memory. The feeling when you’re laying on your bed at
via Goodreads
three in the morning with tears in your eyes and a pit of despair in your heart—but just enough hope to see you through ‘til the morning. There’s joy and pain. Not too much, but enough. There’s a soul in books, that makes you remember them and makes you believe that this isn’t fiction at all—this is real life.

And like Elie Wiesel said, “Some stories are true that never happened.”

More than anything, books are a relationship. A contract, if you will, between the writer and reader.

We never read alone.

That is, unless the book doesn’t have a soul. And I think soul is different for every person. I didn’t have much a feel for "Fences" by August Wilson. I do not think I’m going to rush to read a book by William Manchester in a hurry. And I got bored reading The Hunger Games.

I was bored, but other people fell in love. Our taste in souls varies from person to person. It’s amazing.

Yes, we’re good at tackling the important stuff, the fragments imbued with meaning. Bring it to life and making it last? Well, we all need something to strive for.

Flickr Credit: Aaron Moraes

What do you think is written well, or poorly? And, if you’re in the blog chain, drop your link so I don’t forget to come by on your day!

Be sure to check out the rest of the chain!

5th While I Should Be Doing Precal

6thJasper Lindell's Other Blog

7thThe Upstairs Archives and Against the Shadows

8thMiriam Joy Writes

9thThe Ramblings of Aravis

10thSometimes I'm a Story

11th – Kira Budge: Author

12th – The Little Engine That Couldn't

13th – http://maralaurey.wordpress.com/

14th – http://dynamicramblings.wordpress.com/

15th – literallylovely

16thHorse Feathers

17thJulia the Writer Girl

18thButterflies of the Imagination

19thGalloping Free


21st – https://deborahrocheleau.wordpress.com/

22ndThe Road Goes On

23rdClockwork Desires

24th – https://introspectioncreative.wordpress.com/


26thA Note From the Nerd

27thInsanity, Inc.

28thUnikke Lyfe

29th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)