Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | By: Brianna


Q:  Your face is on a wanted poster.  What horrible things could you have done that prompt a poster that calls for you "dead or alive"?  (Thank you, http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1sDpSF/www.thatgrrl.ca/exercises.htm)

A:  The sun was hot out there on the desert.  It felt as if the sand was boiling beneath everyone's boots, and it was just all around unpleasant if you were anywhere within reach of the sun's piercing rays.  One particular cowgirl exited the local saloon, surveying her surroundings with eyes a shade of green the desert only saw in her gaze.  She squinted and adjusted the tilt of her cowboy hat, shuffling her boots on the wooden "porch" of the saloon as she did so.  With a lazy yawn, she stepped off into the dirt road through town and sauntered off.

It was the hottest part of the day, so everyone was inside or cooling off in the shade.  The road through town was deserted, leaving her in peace as she neared the sheriff's place and the jailhouse.  Out in front of the jailhouse, a slew of posters were pasted to the door and on the wall around it.  They all had the same face sneering out at the road underneath the block letters that spelled out: WANTED.  Underneath the picture was the name "Brianna," and when the cowgirl looked closer at the picture, it was her own face staring back at her.  Below her name the poster announced that the sheriff would pay $500 for her capture, "dead or alive."

Brianna stifled a snort of laughter and shook her head, not bothering to read the charges.  She already knew.  Nearing her pinto, Polka, Brianna swung herself into the saddle just as a blacksmith came out onto the road to look out for the Pony Express.  Though he saw no Pony Express, he did see Brianna.  His eyes widened to their fullest extent and he ran towards town square where he disappeared.  Brianna watched all of this with a lazy sort of disinterest until she heard the bell ringing in the clock tower and a voice yelling, "It's Brianna!  She's here!  Someone, get the sheriff!"

With that, Brianna spurred her pinto into action, taking to the edge of town at a gallop and pointing her nose towards the open desert.  Only when they reached the edge of town did Brianna glance back towards the jailhouse.  The sheriff himself had saddled up for the pursuit, directed by the blacksmith's yelling.

"Damn that yellow meddler..." Brianna muttered under her breath, willing Polka to go faster.  She had a good headstart, but the sheriff's horse was world renowned for its speed.  If she had only thought to take that horse instead of her own...Polka snorted disdainfully as if the pinto had heard Brianna's thoughts and was offended by the mere possibility of being left behind at town.  Polka and Brianna skirted cactus and various other desert plants and rock formations, while the sheriff closed the distance between himself and his quarry.

"Give it up, Brianna!  It'll be easier for both of us if you come quietly!" the sheriff yelled once they were withing yelling distance of each other.

"You'll have to catch me first, Sheriff!" was Brianna's clever response.  Just behind her, she could hear the click of the sheriff's gun as he flicked off the safety.  "Now now, there's no need for violence!"

Brianna scowled and slowed Polka to a trot, furtively drawing her own gun.  The sheriff drew up next to her, but it was Brianna who moved first.  She leapt (Google Chrome, you need to stop telling me this isn't a word...) from Polka's back onto the sheriff's stallion, holding her gun to his throat.

"How about that, Sheriff?  Don't make any sudden moves or my finger might slip..."

"You sure gave me a good chase," the sheriff commented, a good deal calmer than one might assume someone with a gun pressed against bare skin would be.

"I did, didn't I," Brianna commented, grinning and letting her gun hand relax.  She holstered her gun.  "Buy me a drink this time?"

The sheriff laughed, and they rode back to town with Polka in tow.  They passed by the jailhouse where WANTED posters proclaimed that Brianna, a single female conartist was wanted for marriage to the sheriff, if only she would stop running.

"I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride.  I'm wanted dead or alive."
- Bon Jovi
Monday, May 30, 2011 | By: Brianna

Monday Wish

I wish I had an Invisibility Cloak.

[around 3:00 is when it really gets into Invisibility Cloak things]

Not so I could kick weiner dogs or watch everyone cry at my funeral or read over people's shoulders...but really so I could avoid people.  At large events, family parties, school, anywhere.  I can imagine it now...

Mom:  Brianna!  We're going to this really big event that we want you to come to!

(Brianna scurries around her room looking for something.  As she does, she throws papers into the air off of her desk, and clothes out of her closet.  It seems she's been looking for a while considering the pile of things that are out on the floor.)

Brianna:  Coming!  I'll meet you there!

(Downstairs, a door opening and shutting can be heard while Brianna continues her search.)

Brianna:  AHA!  

(Brianna pulls out a cloak made of shiny, unclassifiable fabric and throws it over her head.  The scene melts into Brianna's invisible self going to this large-scale event and standing behind her mother and father who are speaking to a small and skinny pock-marked somebody (Somebody 1).)

Somebody 1:  I really wish Brianna was here, I haven't seen her in years and we really need to catch up.  I mean, I need to remind her of everything we've been through.

Mom:  That's weird, she said she would meet us here.  (looks around, but not holding any hope that she'll find Brianna just by glancing around.  Brianna stifles a laugh underneath the Invisibility Cloak.)

Somebody 1:  Well, if Brianna's not here, I better take off.  I have a miserable life to live and I don't want to bore you.

Mom:  Oh no, that's fine, it was good talking to you, I'll let Brianna know you were looking for her.

(Somebody 1 walks away, mildly dejected, but content to live on with their life Brianna-less.)

Brianna: Tell me what? (approaching as if from a distance)

Mom:  Oh, never mind.


Invisibility Cloaks would also be useful so that people don't sneak up on me.  I'm a really jumpy person, and as such, people tend to sneak up on me.  Not purposely, at least not all the time...but there are times when malicious people decide that it would be a really great idea to sneak up on me and scare me out of my mind.  It doesn't take much effort on their part, and then all of a sudden I'm jumping out of my skin and my heart is beating a swift paced drum solo.  Which is not fun, let me tell you that.  I recover, of course, I just have to put my breathing exercises to use.
Sunday, May 29, 2011 | By: Brianna

Just a Fairy Tale

Q:  What ever happened to your theatrics from high school?  You were an actor?  Whaaaa?

A:  Yes.  I was an actor in high school.  I did theatre all four years at school, taking part in a number of "straight plays" as well as musicals.  I really grew as a theatre person throughout those four years, going from playing little parts my freshman year to playing character bits in junior and senior year.  By then I probably played a grand total of 3 old ladies, as it kind of became my specialty.  I wouldn't say that I was particularly good, just that I had a ton of fun and I really enjoyed myself.  In addition to my acting pursuits, I also wrote a couple one act plays and directed a couple scenes and plays.  I stage managed a couple shows and things too, but I feel like that doesn't really count because I wasn't too good at it.

So after high school I went on to college and became an English major, and that's where my theatrics went.  To the wayside.  For all intents and purposes.  Sure, I still wanted to act, but I was on the outside of the theatre department, so I was left out of the loop when it came to figuring out when auditions were, what shows were, etc., etc.

Over the summer it was a different story.  Summer of 2008, I began The Grimm Players as part of my Girl Scout Gold Award.  I wrote adaptations of three fairy tales (Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, and The Fisherman and His Wife) for the stage, modernized them a bit, and added in some environmental bent to a couple of them, and recruited four actors to perform them at my local library.  Ever since then, The Grimm Players have been invited back to perform over the summer, and every year we've come up with new fairy tales to perform, so by now I've got a good nine fairy tales that we've adapted for the stage.  And I say "we" because by the second summer I began sharing writing duties with members of the group because they had shown an interest in writing.

This summer, I'm a little pressed for time, and so I'm writing my adaptation right now.  My brother craned over my shoulder and asked if it was for school.

"No, it's for the fairy tale thing that I do over the summer," I answered, scribbling a bit more on my adaptation of Stone Soup.

"Oh.  When are you just going to make that into a business and start charging?"

So that got me thinking.  We've been doing this for four years, well, this'll be our fourth summer, and our library liaison has said more than once that he wished he could pay us.  But what if there were people who could?  People or organizations, that is.  What if The Grimm Players became a theatre company?  I could use it to support my horrible writing "habit" as I write the next great American novel, because theatre is such a lucrative industry.  I've taken an Entrepreneurship class, so I know the basics of writing a business plan, so what else is there?  Obviously a ton of money would have to go into it, and I'd have to find enough dedicated people willing to take zero paycheck for goodness only knows how long, but how cool would that be?!  We could be a travelling troupe and perform in tiny little venues for little children.  Maybe we could even go to schools and encourage kids to get into theatre.  Of course, that would mean more writing, and possibly branching out from the Brothers Grimm umbrella.  Or actually spending money on costuming or props.  But in the grand scheme of things, wouldn't it be more interesting to watch a minimalist version of stories that are so well known?  And then there's always the fact that we could bring more obscure stories to light.  We could do five stories in a set, expanding the show to a whole hour...

Definitely something to consider.
Saturday, May 28, 2011 | By: Brianna

Working for a Living

Q:  So what's that work that you briefly mentioned during that awful make-up video for Poetry Friday?

A:  Well, I'm an RA at school.  If we're going to get technical, I'm an FYRA (First Year Resident Advisor) for a floor of 38 girls in a building of over 120 people.  As an RA, I get to do all sorts of fun things like make door decorations to label my residents' doors.

This is just one example of the first door decs I made for my residents.
Jackson Pollack inspired.
I also get to put together bulletin boards that I eye-catching, exciting, and hopefully educational (three E's, they should make that important at Training...).  I've put together boards on procrastination, the zodiac, poetic forms (because I'm an English dork) and a personality quiz that featured crayon colors, as well as a couple other things that I can't really remember right now.  Basically I get to put all of my visually artistic energy into bulletin boards or door decs.  I could conceivably put up hall decorations, but most of my ideas revolve around hanging things from the ceiling, and apparently that's a fire hazard or something.

Q:  Is that all you do as an RA?  Decorate your floor and label doors?

A:  Well, no.  I'm also responsible for being "on duty" in the hall one night a week.  Duty nights entail doing rounds of the building, moseying along, and making sure that everyone in the building is safe.  I have to check to make sure custodian closets are locked, fire extinguishers are present, as well as make sure that there's no damage, or drunken people causing a ruckus (thank you, spell check, for helping me spell).  It's not that bad, because I get to talk to the residents who are hanging out in the hallways, and then of course I get to observe the antics of silly drunk people, which is always fun.  Well, mostly.

In addition to doing rounds, I'm also responsible for "check outs" at the end of the semester.  First semester, second semester AND May Term.  During check out, all I really do is go through the Room Condition Report to make sure that there hasn't been any damage done to the room, collect hall damage fees and keys.  After that, all the resident has to do is sign the RCR and head off home.
Yesterday I did 21 of these check outs.  At least.
So basically, from 12:00 PM until 7:00 PM, I was running around the building like a crazy person collecting RCRs, key envelopes, forwarding address cards, lockout cards...looking for residents, waiting around for residents to move all their stuff out, pulling out my hair when ignorant parents decide to show zero appreciation for the job I have to do, and handling more change than I ever care to encounter again.

In short, I was a little busy yesterday, and that's why I neglected to post.  Which is probably going to allow me to get into a bad habit of forgetting to post, but I can only hope that that won't be the case.  I mean, I've been doing so well!  Anyway, when all was said and done yesterday, I myself got to move out of the building, and now I'm safe and sound at home.  Which is a comfort.  It really is good to be home.

Poetry Friday -- Changing

This is "Changing" by Mary Ann Hoberman.  Just a little adorable poem to read on my make-up Poetry Friday.  Please just ignore that the audio doesn't line up with the video...I'm thinking my Internet decided to be cranky today.  And don't you just love that thumbnail?  *headdesk*
Thursday, May 26, 2011 | By: Brianna

The Future

Q:  What are your thoughts about the future?  Or growing up?

A:  Okay, the reason I'm writing about this is mostly because I was reading my friend's blog, and she was just talking about growing up and how she's not one to shirk from change or transition.  So thank you, Susan, for the inspiration!

Thank you, Google!
And thank you, Back to the Future II!

The Future.  Often I wish that I could look at The Future while stepping onto the set of Back to the Future II, walking with Marty McFly as he gapes at everything around him.  The flying cars, the reflecting pool, the Cafe 80s...  To say that I would like to be a tourist in the future would probably be a safe statement, if only because then I wouldn't have to change myself.  Or anything about my life as I know it.  I'm pretty much content with what I have and what I am right now, so I'm loathe to give any of it up.  I'd rather just take a peek at The Future, ascertain if I like what I see and then go back to my comfortable life.

Change, growing up, transition, whatever you call it, it usually means that something's going to be different.  Sure, I've gone through transitions, I've lived to tell the tale well after I broke down, disbelieving that it was actually happening.  It always happens.  Change does.  And there's really nothing I can do about it besides dig in my heels and put my hands over my ears in order to pretend that it isn't happening.  It will anyway, but I can live in a safely shut away state of denial.  Which might be nice.

I'm not really sure that I know anyone who's completely okay with change.  I just feel like I'm more paranoid/freaked out about it than normal people because I try my best to avoid it.  The change, that is.  My classmates keep telling me, "Oh my gosh, we're seniors now!" and my response usually resembles "Don't tell me that!"  But by next year I'll have to come to terms with the fact that the eight bajillion years of my schooling will be over.  I'll have to move back in with my parents and try to scrape together a living.

The Future is scary because everything's so uncertain.  I don't know for sure what I want to do with my life.  I don't know where I want to go.  I don't know if I'm going to be able to pay rent, feed myself, make friends, keep friends, visit home, have fun, actually live.  I don't even know if I'm going to live past graduation.  This assuming that I graduate, of course.  And then there's the 2012 prediction, so should I really be worried about having too uncertain of a Future when the world's going to end six months after I graduate anyway?  I won't really have to worry about starting a career if the world ends.  Which is semi-comforting.  (Again with the comfort.)

I'm comfortable.  I don't like leaving my comfort zone.  If I could have an adventure from home, I would love that.  Because as much as I talk about how I want to have an adventure, leave home and see the world, I'm way too much of a scaredy cat to do it.  Let's be honest, I'll probably end up living with my parents until the end of time (which could only be six months, but you get the idea).  All that networking stuff that I'm told would be really beneficial to my life or career?  Yeah, terrifying.  Can't handle it.

I'm not ready to be a grown-up here.  So maybe I have the age, and I'll have the ID to prove it come June, but I'm really just a scared, pathetic little kid stuck in this college girl's body.  Which is a really strange place to be, believe me.  My mental age is probably around 12.  Or younger.  So would people really take me seriously in some sort of work setting?  I like to color in my spare time.  I like watching cartoon Disney movies, and they make me cry every single time.  When I'm bored or thinking, I lie in the middle of the floor and stare at the ceiling which still has glow-in-the-dark stars on it.  I sleep with a teddy bear.  My wardrobe consists of nothing but high school t-shirts and jeans.  Would re-vamping my wardrobe or re-decorating my room really make me feel more like an adult?  Because it's really just a mindset, right?  But do I really want that?  I have fun the way I am, I like doing quirky things on a whim or dressing up.

I want to be able to say that I stepped into The Future and I didn't show fear, that I didn't let it get to me, but there's a very big part of me that's letting The Future get to me anyway.  So where does that leave me?

"Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal.  Live this day as if it were your last.  The past is over and gone.  The future is not guaranteed."- Wayne Dyer
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | By: Brianna

Towel Day

Q:  What is Towel Day?

A:  I'm not exactly qualified to explain what Towel Day is, but as I understand it, Towel Day is May 25th of every year.  It started the year Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) passed away on May 11th.  I'm not sure what the significance of having Towel Day two weeks after that date, but there you are.  On Towel Day, fans of Adams' works carry around a towel in order to honor him.

"Why a towel?", you ask?

Well, there's this fantastic quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that explains why a towel.  It has to do with towels being the most useful thing an intergalactic hitchhiker can carry around, with that quote enumerating the different things one can do with a towel including (but not limited to) drying yourself off.

Basically, I love this book.  There are currently six books in the "trilogy," with the first five having been written by Douglas Adams himself, and the sixth written by Eoin Colfer (author of the Artemis Fowl) series.  The sixth book came about after Adams' death because Adams' estate said that he had always planned to write a sixth installment, and they (Adams' estate) decided that Colfer would be the right man for the job.  I personally think that the sixth book (And Another Thing...) stays true to the spirit of the original books, this coming from the girl who has read  the first book maybe three times, and the remaining books only once.  In short, I highly recommend the first, because it's my favorite, but I suppose the rest are worth reading as well, but it's not absolutely essential that you do.

Q: What are your plans for today?

A: Because today is so stormy, I'm probably going to go straight home after class and take a nap.  Or maybe I'll go home and pack, because that would be a little more useful than a nap.  It's days like these that make me really tired though.  The overcast skies full of cotton ball clouds dipped in gray.  Puddles shining on the sidewalk and the leaves looking either bejeweled or ten times greener when set against the gray.  Of course, the smell of wet pavement is always pleasant, and I welcome the rain, but it's highly inconvenient weather for carrying around poster boards.  But this morning the thunder woke me up.  I lay awake watching the storm for a little while, the lightning flash and the grumbling thunder that shook the building.  I think that's what woke me up, the thunder shaking the building.

And then of course when I woke up with the storm, I remembered my dream.  I was in a boat with someone else, but I don't know who it was.  This boat was on Loch Ness.  I don't remember how I knew, but I just knew that I was on Loch Ness.  Off in the distance, I saw some sort of animal, and my first instinct was to say that it was the Loch Ness Monster, because of course it would be the Loch Ness Monster in Loch Ness.  But whoever was with me said that it was a bear, and when I looked a little closer, I could see it's head poking out of the water as it swam.  I turned around and then I saw a whole bunch of bears just swimming around in Loch Ness.  I thought, "Oh, they're just bears."  Because the water was so clear, I could see their bodies paddling under the water, so I could see a whole bear.  But they looked small as far as bears go.  But it was a dream, so I'm really not questioning it too much.
"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."
- Yogi Berra

Summer Scheduling

Q:  What do you want to do this summer?

A:  Well, I'm thinking of starting a list right now.  Because there are quite a few things I want to do this summer!  Of course, this is a working list that'll be added to, hopefully.

Summer To Do:

  • learn how to cook -- because I know how to make toast, cereal and milk, PB&J and French toast.  That's about it.
  • make crepes (okay, that's related to "learn how to cook") -- because they're delicious
  • produce/direct/organize a series of fairy tales to be performed at my local library -- because I was invited to do so for the fourth summer in a row!
  • explore/do the touristy thing/get lost in the city -- because I've never done it, due to the fact that I'm terrified of it.  I really just have to take a deep breath and go.
  • go to the zoo and animal watch while also people watching -- because it would be a ton of fun to just hang out at the zoo all day and write about the people that I see in addition to the animals and all their amazingness.
  • geocache with my brother -- because we did it last summer, and it was SO much fun!
  • ride a bike (preferably more often than using a car) -- because it's green AND healthy!
  • read.  A lot. -- because let's face it, I'm not going to have a lot of time next semester, and I need to get my fun reading!
  • write at least 5 poems -- so I made this a thing to do last summer, and it didn't happen, but I really want it to this year, so I'm hoping I'll commit!
  • brainstorm re-writes for "Inked" -- it's a story from ages ago, but I really want to rewrite it because I like it a lot, the problem lies in whether I can bring myself to do the major overhauls it needs.
  • spend an afternoon in the library -- why not?
  • drive to my favorite walking spot -- because that happens all the time.
  • dance in the rain until I get soaked and then curl up in a pile of blankets to watch a movie -- elaborate? Yes.  Worth every second?  Very yes.
  • clean my room -- it must be done.  It should probably be done every summer...
  • craft, do lots of crafts -- because it'll be fun!
  • make a quidditch shirt -- this one, although I'm going to make myself a Hufflepuff one, methinks.
  • shop at a thrift shop, actually get something, and alter or wear it
  • work out -- whaaaa?
That's all I've got for now.
And I apologize for falling behind on the blog posts, I keep putting them off until late in the day and then either forgetting, or posting them after midnight...as shown by "yesterday"'s post.

"It's not that bad.  I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely."

- The Princess Bride
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | By: Brianna

Monday Wishes

I wish that it was socially acceptable to carry around a kazoo and accompany yourself with kazoo theme music. It would be especially useful when walking down the sidewalk so you could kazoo at the large group of men who take up the entire sidewalk, alerting them to your presence, and politely requesting them to move out of your way.  It would be really nice in the middle of class because you could provide your professor with sound effects when he announces a test.

But really.
Today I wished: "You know, I kinda want to bunk my beds for the last three days that I'll be here."  I made the fortunate mistake of saying this in front of three of my friends while they were hanging out in my room.  Their immediate response was: "Let's do it!  Right now!"  So all of a sudden I was digging through the drawers of my desk for the bunk pins.  With four of us, it was ridiculously easy to bunk my beds.  In fact, it might have taken a grand total of 45 seconds to bunk my beds.  And now I have a bed...with a ladder!  I'll be sleeping on this bed for four nights, but hey!

Melbourne wished that I would blog about my bunk bed.  And our friend (and my resident) made the excellent point that I wished for bunk beds and that wish came true!  So here I am, blogging about my bunk bed.  There's a ton more floor space, "so much room for activities!"  Also giving me a good amount of room for me to throw all of my things around while I'm packing.  Which is going to be ridiculously useful.  Sure, the basket where I keep my glasses is now far away from the head of my bed, but that's alright because it's only four days.

I slept in a bunk bed during my freshman year, but I slept in the bottom bunk, so I feel like that doesn't really count.  Last year I also slept in a bunk bed during first semester, but on the bottom bunk again.  That semester it was a little different because it was actually three beds bunked on top of each other.  I was in the submarine berth, the shortest bunk out of all three.  Obviously the top bunk had the high ceiling above her, and the middle bunk was pretty spacious, you could definitely sit up in it...mine?  For mine, I had to dive into my bed headfirst and shimmy under my covers.  It was so dark in that bed, it was impossible to read in bed.  Especially because I didn't have one of those fancy clippy lights.

But today I have a bunk bed.
A wish come true!

"No, bunk beds are cool!  A bed!  With a ladder!  You can't beat that."
- The Doctor
Sunday, May 22, 2011 | By: Brianna


Q:  You have an obscene amount of mustard.  What are you going to do with it?  (Thanks, Melbourne.)

A: Well, let's free-write about it, shall we?

It was a bright and sunny day, one of those days when all you feel like doing is go to the baseball diamond to play catch or run around in sprinklers or maybe just lay around and catch a few rays instead of baseballs.  There was a slight breeze coming from the place where breezes come from, and the leaves high above anyone's heads shifted, allowing the shadows on pavement to sway in a shadowy tango.  It seemed like everyone was outside, the air was full of children's laughter and the sound of gym shoes pounding against the pavement, all except one girl.

This girl had golden blonde hair and sported her signature black plastic rimmed glasses, and she was curled up on the couch inside her air conditioned house.  The television screen was black and a book lay in the girl's lap as she inclined her head towards it.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang.  The girl twitched as if her first instinct was to approach the door, but she heard footsteps toward the back of the house.  When the footsteps died away and disappeared into the basement, the girl let out a sigh and unfolded herself so she could open the door.  She wrenched open the door with a bit more force than was absolutely necessary and looked expectantly at the man on her doorstep.

"Hello, are you Brianna?" the man asked.  His hair was thinning around the top of his head and he wore a mustache.  One of those very carefully trimmed mustaches that made her nervous, she couldn't explain why.

Brianna furrowed her brows in thought.  "Yeah, that's me."

The man consulted his clipboard and signaled a second man who had been waiting in their truck.  "You've won an obscene amount of mustard, where would you like us to put it?"

Brianna's mouth opened as she took one look at the metal drum that was presumably filled with mustard that was being wheeled toward her house by the second man.  She wasn't exactly a fan of mustard all on its own, it was fine when mixed with ketchup, but if she had a choice she would opt for ketchup over mustard.  "Uh, um...in the back is fine."

The second man wheeled the drum of mustard into the backyard, and soon the backyard was populated by thirty large drums full of mustard, though the mustached man assured her that there would be more as soon as she called him back.  Brianna gaped at the drums full of mustard as the two men drove off in their truck.  Not only was this mustard in the way of the garage where her mother would need to park, but the sheer magnitude of the mustard itself was just highly inconvenient.  Whipping her cell phone out of her pocket, Brianna dialed up the number for the operator and asked to be connected to Wrigley Field.

"Yes, hello, do you need mustard at all?"

"Yeah, we put mustard on the hot dogs."

"No, I mean do you need mustard right now?"

"Uh...we got a bunch over here.  What you asking for?"

"I've got some mustard that I thought you'd be interested in."

"We don't need no mustard here, but we'll call you when we run out."

The line went dead as the man at Wrigley Field hung up on the helpless Brianna.  With her cell phone in one and a magically appearing crow bar in the other, Brianna opened one of the drums of mustard and peered in at its traffic sign yellow hue.

Then, she had an idea.  Using her formidable strength and a dolly from the garage, Brianna rolled the open mustard drum across the grass to her neighbor's backyard.  One look at the large hole in the backyard was enough to determine what Brianna had in mind.  She tipped over the drum of mustard, aiming it at the cobblestone lined hole in her neighbor's backyard which created a large lake of the hot dog condiment.  Twenty-five drums later, and the hole was satisfactorily filled with mustard.  Brianna grinned mischievously and proceeded to finger paint with mustard all over her driveway, using the remaining mustard to fill up a kiddie pool and sell tickets to whomever wanted to wade in the mustard.  Since it was such a nice day, a number of the children running around the neighborhood were particularly interested in sticking their feet in something cold and yellow, so she made a good $3 profit by allowing them to stick their feet in the mustard.

"And tomorrow, I'll barbecue!" Brianna announced, only to be met by the cheers of all the neighborhood's children, for they knew that their foot contaminated mustard would be the only topping for any of the barbecued foods available...

"Mustard's no good without roast beef."
- Chico Marx
Saturday, May 21, 2011 | By: Brianna

Pirates or Ninjas?

Q:  So.  Pirates or ninjas?

A:  Okay, so.  Back in the day when Pirates of the Caribbean first came out, I couldn't care less about pirates.  I knew about the whole skull and crossed bones thing, the raid, pillage and plunder thing, the wooden leg, eyepatch and parrot thing, but that was about it.  I had been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Land a couple times, and that's still about it.

I didn't even want to see the movie because I thought that it would be super creepy.  I'm not really a fan of scary movies, and when I saw the trailer while at the theatre for another movie, the whole "not really dead" skeleton thing was a little much.  I was pretty much convinced that I would have nightmares if I saw the movie.  Somehow, that must have passed, because I went to see the movie in theatres.  And I pretty much fell in love with it.  When I met one of my best friends from high school, I learned that falling in love wasn't nearly as crazy as you could get when it came to Pirates.  She had dressed up as Jack Sparrow for Halloween, owned multiple t-shirts sporting skulls, wore hoop earrings every now and again, and planned on getting an Aztec gold coin someday if her brother could swing the cost to purchase a replica.

Being around her made me a lot more excited about pirates in general.  So I picked up books that were about pirates or had pirates in them.  I'm pretty sure I read about half a dozen books about pirates during that phase of my life.  All fictional, of course.  But I also Google searched so I could learn about the Jolly Roger and other pirate flags.  (Did you know that each pirate captain had his own signature flag?  But they didn't fly their colors unless they were about to take a ship.)  I took quizzes which told me what my pirate name would be.  And I anxiously awaited the second movie after it was announced.  I did not, however, go to see The Pirate Queen when it came to town, I drew the line there.  Even though it looked like a decent show, I was iffy about it, but I digress.

In short, all through high school, I would answer your question with "pirate."  Actually, up until this year, I would unabashedly answer with "pirate."  This year, however, one of my residents is training me to be a ninja. I suspect that she hopes to convert me from piracy, but pirate is in my blood, mate, and she'll have to square with that some day.  Perhaps on the day when I advance to full ninja level, my true pirate nature will reveal itself.  Or hopefully not.  Because if it doesn't, I can use those ninja secrets so I might become a pinja.  Or a nirate.

The short answer is "pirate."  Because I know even less about ninjas.  I haven't read anything about ninjas, and yes, they're pretty amazing, but I'm not impressed.  Ninjas are assassins, if I'm understanding this correctly, but pirates are the rebels of their time.  Sure, a good deal of them died out from scurvy or were run through with a rusty cutlass, but they dedicated their lives to the sea.  Sometimes the sea took their lives, but it just sounds so romantic.  Yes, dirty, icky, bearded men sailing around the open sea is romantic, get used to it.  I just don't see the romance in ninjas.

Thank you, Google, for helping me find this.
Fun fact, this is actually the flag of John Rackham or Calico Jack.

P.S. I apologize for neglecting Poetry Friday, yesterday was a really hectic day what with class and my friend coming in to visit, and a staff meeting, etc.  So I might make it up this weekend, elsewise there just won't be a poem read this week.

"Pirates could happen to anyone."
- Tom Stoppard
Thursday, May 19, 2011 | By: Brianna

Love Hesitates

Q: Do you use writing prompts?

A: All the time.  These past questions I've come up with all on my own though.

Q: Can you use a writing prompt right now?  Create a story/situation based on this personification: love hesitates.  (Thank you, creativewritingprompts.com)

A: Yeah, sure.

She was one of those people who had a glow.  Hers was a rosy one, and it was almost as if her skin had a pinkish tinge to it, more so than your average human being.  People who looked at her instantly admired her, they couldn't help it.  She radiated this confidence and exuded this magnetism.  The one thing that completely set her apart from other human beings (aside from that unearthly glow, of course) was her uncanny ability to navigate the world with grace despite her handicap.  Somehow she walked the world with a deep red blindfold over her eyes.  Against all expectation, she could see into the hearts of those who admired her, discerning those with pure intentions and those without.

They say that Justice wears a blindfold, but even Lady Justice has a seeing eye dog.  Love is also blind.

Love sat on a park bench in the center of town, facing out towards a deserted playground.  She felt a tugging on the back of her blindfold and turned.  Though she couldn't see who the person was, she could smell the wisps of a man's cologne.  It smelled faintly of sulfur.

"What do you want?" she asked, turning her face towards the playground again, her shoulder blades tensing.  She sat up a little straighter and looked directly ahead as the spidery man took a seat next to her.

"Aw, you don't seem happy to see me, Love," the man said, sticking his bottom lip out in a mock pout.  Of course, the blindfolded Love couldn't see his act, but she got the idea.  "I'm here to do you a favor."

"What could you ever do for me?"

"It's pretty easy, actually," the man said.  With a snap of his fingers, the blindfold around Love's eyes disappeared into smoke leaving her blinking in the sudden sunlight.  "And now's point in our conversation where you thank me and fall over me in gratitude.  Just think, this'll make making sandwiches ten times easier."

"I don't suppose you're doing this out of the goodness of your heart," Love commented coldly.

The man clutched his heart as if she had aimed a dart at the bloody sack of an organ.  "We're interested to see what you do with it.  Go ahead, enjoy.  Live a little."  The man grinned, and without a word, he disappeared into memory.

Love was left in the sunlight, blinking out at the playground that was no longer abandoned.  In fact, there seemed to be a young man sitting on one of the swings, gently swaying to and fro.  While she was rosy, he was golden.  He was the picture of beauty, and Love could immediately feel herself drawn to him, but she halted.  While Love hesitated, her rosy complexion deepened, the roots of her hair transforming into a deep red.  Love, no longer blind, turns to Lust.

And there you have it.  This was just a little blurb by Brianna that was written in starts, not all in one go.  Lovely, I know.  Thank you for reading, I hope I haven't lost you yet!
But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush 
To see me thus transformed to a boy.
- William Shakespeare
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | By: Brianna

Take Me Out to the Movies

Q: So.  What do you think about movies?

A: I love movies.  A lot.  Mostly because I grew up with them.  When I was little, maybe I was around 8, or maybe a little younger, I can't remember, my family used to go to my grandparents' lake house at Little Swan Lake.  I remember it being the most exciting part of my summer because we would all pile into the car for the long drive, my brother and I each getting a separate bench in our family's gray mini van.  Though I don't remember what time we left, we always got to the lake house in the dark because we'd have to be careful so we didn't trip over the gravel driveway or the shallow steps leading up to the door.  How this relates to movies?  Well, my uncle had left his boxed set of the Star Wars trilogy at the lake house, and my mother (being the nerd she is) introduced us to Star Wars very early in our lives.  I remember sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching Darth Vader enter the Rebel ship for the first time in Star Wars: A New Hope.  If I remember correctly, the carpet was sulfur yellow.

But it didn't stop there.  My mother continued to introduce us (us being myself and my brother) to movies that we still hold dear now.  Mostly trilogies, and mostly from the 80s, bringing us to Back to the Future and Indiana Jones.

Part of the reason (I think) I'm so drawn to movies is also because when I was so young, we went to my grandparents' house a lot.  My grandparents on my father's side.  There in the basement of cold tile, stale cigarette smoke and the laundry room was the most extensive collection of movies I had ever encountered.  Right next to Blockbuster or the little drug store that used to be down the street.  In those days they were all VHS (my grandpa has since then updated to DVD), and I remember going down there with my brother and just looking through all of them.  Mom would come with and we would pick out movies that we wanted to see.  That's how we ended up seeing Indiana Jones and Back to the Future, if I'm not mistaken.  We would take the movies we wanted to borrow upstairs to Grandma, and she wrote down the titles so we wouldn't forget that we had them.  She said that it was like we were renting the movies and we had to remember to bring them back.  And my grandma has the smallest handwriting I know.  Aside from my one friend, but that's another story.  My grandma's handwriting looks literally like a spider strung out its web and curled it around just a little bit to form words.  So basically my brother and I couldn't read it back in the day, but we trusted her.

When I got older, I continued to re-watch the same three trilogies and branch out into other 80s classics including (but not limited to): Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers.  And by the time I got to high school, I considered myself at least semi-knowledgeable on all things movie related.  Well, movie quote related.  As it turns out, I wasn't the hotshot that I thought I was, so I needed to watch more movies, leading to my Watch Before I Die list of movies.  By senior year of high school, I was in a Cinematography class.  Not only were we taught how to make movies and clap the clapboard at the appropriate moments, but we learned about the elements of cinematography and what (artistically) makes a good movie.  I absorbed as much as I could in that single semester, and now I  can't watch a pretty movie (like American Beauty or The Hangover, bet you never thought you'd see those two movies mentioned together...) without gasping, "CINEMATOGRAPHY!"  I kid you not.  I do that.  A lot.  I'm sure my friends get annoyed.  Ah well.

What's weird is that those people who seem closest to the movie fanatics in my life are actually the furthest away from movies themselves.  My grandma, for instance, doesn't watch movies.  She also doesn't read books, but that's another thing entirely.  My dad also doesn't really watch movies.  This is weird to me because if my parents were all about movies, I would be all over them so that I had something to relate to them about.  That, and my mom likes movies so much, I don't understand...did my dad ever take my mom to the movies?!  I wonder...

Q: So what was the last movie you watched?

A: Branching out from my usual 80s movie/chick flick/Netflix Instant Watch, I watched King Kong.  That's right, the 1933 original.  Because I'm just that awesome.

Thank you, Google!
I was watching it for research, actually.  And I have determined that the Loch Ness Monster only appears for a good 5 minutes, tops.  The movie itself was pretty good, this coming from a girl who was raised on decent special effects mostly hailing from the 1980s and being based on Star Wars.  Anyway, the battle against the T-Rex could have been shortened, and Ann Darrow REALLY needed to stop screaming for 10 seconds, but it was definitely worth watching.  I enjoyed it.

"You know what your problem is, it's that you haven't seen enough movies - all of life's riddles are answered in the movies."
- Steve Martin
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | By: Brianna

What are you going to do with that?

Q: So, you're an English major. What do you want to do with that, teach?

A: No, I don't want to teach. Mostly because as a writing major the only class I would be qualified to teach in high school would be Creative Writing, and the last time I was in a creative writing class, no one took it seriously. Not that I'm saying all creative writing has to be serious, but really folks? Writing poems that rhyme...with "cat" and "mat" and those? You can do better than that.

This may seem like it's in the same vein as Monday wishing, but here it is.

Want the realistic answer?

Q: Sure, why not? I'm a fan of realism.

A: I'm going to sit trapped for eight hours a day in a cubicle in a gigantic office building in the midst of ties and panty hose and I'm going to write jingles. And mission statements. And memos for my boss because he doesn't know the difference between "their" and "there" and also because I really don't want another memo saying: "Be their and make sure they bring there notes on the Berger merger." I'm going to make jokes about Chaucer that no one'll understand and I'm going to read poetry by the water cooler when I'm on my fifteen minute break because none of those accountants or other people are interesting to talk to.

Q: That sounds lovely, I don't know why you're so grim about it.

A: Because I want to write.

Q: But you are writing in that scenario.

A: No. I want to write for me. I want to write poetry that people think is ridiculous and brilliant and silly but profound. Something that makes people think while they're choking with laughter. I want to write a novel with characters that kids dress up as for Halloween, and I want every parent to recognize them and suggest another book for that kid to read. Because Brianna's great, but have you read Rowling or Adams or Pratchett or Gaiman?

I want to write plays and screenplays so quirky that they only cater to a specific audience. I want to write for my favorite TV show and make it even better than it already is. I'll write plays that Darren Criss will compose music for, and we'll both be such great friends that he'll invite me to watch the filming of next week's episode of Glee. I want to write skits that make me laugh every time I see them performed and I want kids to perform them and have fun doing it. No chore skits.

I want to live in a box on some deserted London street and support my "habits" by miming. Or monologuing. Or reciting poetry. Any poetry. Maybe even Shakespeare. I want people to be able to say "I knew her when..." and be proud when they see that I'm actually living out my dream. Show pride when they gesture towards my cardboard box, decked out with Christmas lights running on a portable battery.

I want to write until my keyboard falls apart or my fingers bleed. I want to write nonsense and things that make no sense just because I can. I don't want people to ask me what I write, and I don't want them to ask if they can read it. Not until I'm done. I'll sit in a local cafe and scribble on anything in sight from napkins to menus or newspapers. I'll do the crossword in the newspaper first, of course. The locals will recognize me because of my overlarge cream sweater with the adverbs dripping off the sleeves and the adjective stains.

That's what I want to do. I don't want people to remind me that I actually need money to live. I want to have come into a decent-sized inheritance so I don't have to worry about things like that. If I do, the street performing'll cover it. I don't want people to tell me that it's impossible. And I don't want people to tell me that I'll never do better than what's already set as a goal. I don't want people to tell me to be practical. Because that is practical. Reaching for dreams, shooting for the moon, facing the impossible, doing what you love. It is practical.

"Write without pay until someone offers to pay."
- Mark Twain
Monday, May 16, 2011 | By: Brianna

Monday Wishes

Wish I was here...

This is my Monday Wish. I wish I was here. Well, there.

Meet Doctor Who. Doctor Who is a British science fiction series that started back in the 1960s and ran until the mid-1980s, if I'm not mistaken. The reason the producers could run it for so long is because The Doctor (the main character) is a Time Lord (aka not human) and every time he "dies," he actually "regenerates," giving him a new face and allowing the producers to hire a new actor. Which is really clever, if you ask me. The Doctor you see above is the 10th Doctor as played by David Tennant. After the Doctor Who movie, the show went on a hiatus until about 2005 when it was brought back with the 9th Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston. Long story short, this is part of the new series, and a lot of younger folk whose parents might have watched the original series are getting into the show. It's run on BBC and BBC America, and if you don't have access to either of those, you can watch it instantly on your computer through Netflix. Thank you, Netflix!

But back to my wish. I wish I was there, right next to The Doctor. Or maybe off to the side and out of the camera's reach. You see, The Doctor has these companions who he takes on all these adventures through time and space, and I want to be his companion. Not just on the set, but in real life. I want to step inside that funny blue box and gasp, "It's bigger on the inside!" and really take off to some unknown planet. I can just imagine what my first meeting with The Doctor would be like:

(A college residence hall building in the United States. Midwest. If you looked out a window and squinted enough, you might be able to see corn fields. Inside, on a floor lined with doors, the TARDIS sits situated directly between the doors labelled 408 and 412. The Doctor is hanging half out of the door to the TARDIS, seemingly adjusting the door which doesn't seem to be cooperating. He's mumbling about the queen and how he had promised that he would be at the wedding, but the TARDIS has been unreliable of late.)

(The door that opens onto the floor squeaks open and slams shut behind a 20-something year old girl with golden blonde hair and black plastic rimmed glasses. She doesn't notice the TARDIS at first because she's digging in her backpack for her keys. By now the TARDIS door is completely open and The Doctor is puttering around behind it. The girl, seeing the light spilling from inside the TARDIS thinks it's her door that's already open, and turns to enter the TARDIS. Once inside, she looks around, takes in the control panel and the size of the place and shakes her head. She walks out and The Doctor pokes his head out from behind the door. The girl walks in again and her jaw drops.)

The Doctor: Excuse me, I hate to be rude and all, but people don't usually just walk into other people's police boxes...

Brianna: Sorry, you're parked in front of my room.

The Doctor: Am I? (crosses the center bit of the TARDIS and opens up a door on the other side that didn't previously exist, exposing a bland door covered in colorful labels heralding it to be "Brianna"'s room) So I am.

Brianna: Do you know how long you're going to be? Because I have class in half an hour.

The Doctor: Well, it could take a while. Well...maybe not. You might as well stay for lunch. And then...come with me?

Brianna: Go with you where?

The Doctor: Anywhere. Anywhen. You pick!

Brianna: Sure! Mind if I get my knitting?

The Doctor: Not at all! What are you knitting?

Brianna: A Doctor Who scarf.


Okay, maybe it would be a little better than that. Because The Doctor might actually be a little more confused, and I wouldn't be nearly as bland. Well, in the second draft of my wish it'll be better, that's for certain.

Anyway, I would love to travel with The Doctor. Run around while being chased by strange looking aliens that really just want to be loved, meet The Master and find a way to defeat him...again, explore the endless corridors in the TARDIS and check out that swimming pool and library The Doctor's been talking about... I want to visit the Medieval era just for a little bit because I wouldn't want to stay some place that was so ridiculously patriarchal. And the 1920s in Chicago so I could dance like a flapper. He would take me to planets on the other side of the galaxy where the grass is purple and everything has a pink tint to it. I would be scared out of my wits and have a bucketful of fun. He'd call me clever, and I'd say he was crazy, and we'd zip off on another adventure.

"Not impossible, just...a bit unlikely!
- The Doctor
Sunday, May 15, 2011 | By: Brianna

What's in a name?

Thank you, Google!

Q: So. Brianna. That’s a nice name.

A: Thanks. That’s not a question.

Q: Where’d the name “Brianna” come from?

A: When I was in my mommy's tummy, my parents called me "Otto." I'm not really sure where "Otto" came from, but I suspect it's because my dad's German, and it must have been a lot of fun to watch my grandparents' faces contort when my parents explained that I was girl and I would be called "Otto." The same thing happened to my brother, but they called him "Wolfgang." Oddly enough, both of those names ended up being used for cars. Well, "Otto" was used for my dad's work van...

Anyway, after the joke of what my parents were going to call me, they had to come up with what they were actually going to name me when I was born. My dad was dead set on calling me “Rebecca,” but my mom wasn’t too keen on that name because she wanted to call me “Amelia.” If I had to choose between those two options today, I would probably be more excited about the name “Amelia.” And that’s not just because of my habit of disagreeing with my dad, it’s mostly because “Rebecca” probably wouldn’t fit me today. Granted, I could go by “Reba” or “Becca” or “Becky.” While if I were “Amelia,” I have the choice of “Amy” or my full name, and that would be it. Today I also have the advantage of looking at Doctor Who's most recent companion, and saying, "Hey, her name's Amelia!" I might like having a name that started with a vowel though.

Q: That doesn't answer my question.

A: I'm getting there! So because my parents couldn't agree on a name, my mom suggested, "What about Brianna?" My dad asked why, and she explained that I would be named for him. I mean, I'm the first child, and aren't first children usually named after their fathers? If we're talking traditional, yes. A little girl running around with the name "Brian" would just be silly. I can imagine it now:

Little Girl: Hi, I'm Brian!

Little Boy: No, I'm Brian!

Little Girl: That's my name too!

Little Boy: But Brian's a boy name...

Little Girl cries.

I can only imagine what all the girl Taylors and all the boy Sasha's go through.
So that's the reason behind the spelling of my name as well. Okay, so I could conceivably have a single "n," but that would just look weird. Briana. There are also a ton of other weird ways that you could spell my name, so I'm really glad that my parents chose the simplest one. Breana. Bryana. Breeanna. Brieana. Oh, the possibilities. And just think of the nicknames...none of which I have because I don't like being called "Bri." My dad called me "B" for a little while there, but I convinced him that that was his nickname at work, but really, I think "B" might be the only nickname that could actually work for me. My mom calls me "Anna" every now and again, but that's rare.

Besides, all the Brianna's I know who go by "Bri" are dancers. With the exception of one. Well, and me.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
- William Shakespeare

Saturday, May 14, 2011 | By: Brianna


Thank you, Google and J.K. Rowling!

Q: Would you consider yourself brave?

A: No. Absolutely not. I am no Gryffindor.

Q: Why not?

A: Because I'm a Hufflepuff, that's why.

Q: You're deflecting. Why don't you consider yourself brave?

A: Because there are so many things that scare me. Just last night, as I was laying in bed with my glasses off, I could see the shadows playing tag on my ceiling, and that fuzzy motion reflected in my mirror, making me think that there was something moving in my room. Other than the shadows. So I very nearly slept with my Christmas lights on, the ones that border my entire room, illuminating it in a warm and inviting glow...the ones that you could practically read under. It really would have been akin to turning my overhead light on and sleeping like that.

The other day Melbourne wanted to give blood for the first time, so she asked me if I would go with her for moral support. Though her exact words were, "I'm giving blood, will you hold my hand?" So I did. I sat in the waiting area listening to a mutual friend talk about how giving blood really wasn't all that bad and you just have to make sure you don't do anything strenuous afterwards because you could pass out, and I'm just sitting there innocently trying to read The Girl Who Played with Fire, and one of the ladies taking blood told me it was good, so I was extra interested (and I just wrote a run-on sentence without sense, and that's okay!). Once it was time for Melbourne to get all her stuff checked out to confirm that she could indeed donate blood, I got to read my book in peace. Of course, the beginning of The Girl Who Played with Fire was a little creepy, so I was on edge. Melbourne took her place on the big stretcher-like chair, and I took a seat right next to her. She prompted me to tell her a story so I told her about that time in first grade when I wanted to bring home a story I wrote to show my dad, but because it was in my in-class journal, I wasn't allowed. And about that other time when I spelled "Thanksgiving" "T-H-Q" during a Spelling Bee. I'm babbling on while she's the one being brave and getting a needle stuck in her arm so she can feed the vampires. So in comparison, I'm not brave in the least. But then she fainted. I never really thought that when they describe in books that the "color drained from her face" that there was any real life basis to that, but that day I witnessed it. Melbourne went ashen, and her lips were white, I kid you not. And what did I do? Well, Melbourne had just said that she was feeling dizzy and couldn't see straight, so I relayed that message to the blood-taker lady. In my normal voice. No urgency, because I was hoping that everything was fine. But when Melbourne went backwards from Oz to Kansas, I was completely paralyzed, still holding her hand. So I was terrified. Everything was fine, the blood-taker lady helped Melbourne regain consciousness, and it turns out that they didn't have enough blood to use, but she would be fine. And through this entire rescue procedure, I'm sitting on that rickety old chair, probably just as white as Melbourne was and just as shaky.

The Oxford English Dictionary tells me that "brave" is defined as "Of persons and their attributes: Courageous, daring, intrepid, stout-hearted (as a good quality)." With that situation, there were a number of things that I could have done that would have been a good deal more "stout-hearted" or "daring." For instance: I could have stood up and pointed at the blood-taker lady and shouted, "She's feeling dizzy and needs your help NOW!" But maybe that would have caused a scene. Or I could have leapt (don't you tell me that word is spelled wrong, Chrome, it's a word and I spelled it right!) into action and yanked the needle out of Melbourne's arm and whisked her off to the snack area.

Or I could have done nothing at all. Or I could have run away, making Brave Sir Robin of Monty Python and the Holy Grail proud. And that wouldn't even have had the semblance of bravery.

I'm not brave because I avoid things that frighten me instead of facing them. I'm not brave because I fear too much, or losing too much. I'm not brave because I don't fight, I run. (And that's why I'm a Hufflepuff. The end!)

"A true knight is fuller of bravery in the midst, than in the beginning of danger."
- Sir Philip Sidney
Friday, May 13, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Hate Poem

Despite Blogger's updates and hiatus yesterday, I decided to go on with Poetry Friday during which I will read a poem and reflect on it, write about it, or come up with ideas related to it for my writing. Simple as that!

Today I read "Hate Poem" by Julie Sheehan from a book titled Seriously Funny. It's an anthology from one of my classes last semester. When I first read it, I fell in love.
The beginning rhymes are really great as an introduction to the poem because it gets the reader used to the rhythm of the poem right away. But my favorite part about this poem is the concrete imagery. Well, semi-concrete. "The history of this keychain hates you" is just so completely brilliant, I want to write a line like that one of these days. With the history being abstract, but a history of a keychain evoking a thoughts of being attached to random house keys, backpack zipper pulls and all sorts of things. I also enjoy the line "A closed window is both a closed window and an obvious symbol of how I hate you." I love the meta-fictive strategy of bringing attention to the symbol being a symbol. And ending on an image is always classy.

Because this poem is about hate, a hopeless hate that might not actually be hate as shown by the "idealists in a broken submarine," write about love. Sure, it has the potential of being trite, but let's see:

I love you. I love you with all the running in fields of daisies, rose petals on the bedroom floor movie cliches that I can name. The callous on my right hand, middle finger, loves you. The backstory of this library DVD loves you. My voice, singsongy and teasing, loves you. With every autotuned note of contemporary music, I sing your virtues, from that cluster of freckles across your cheeks to the way your feet turn out at the toes when you walk. When the sprinklers are out in summer and I run barefoot through the soaked green carpet of grass, I love you. The empty fishbowl with the plastic flora loves you. This cup of pens, sixteen, loves you. This backpack zipper, teeth pulling apart, loves you. My hair in the morning: love. The way my voice cracks when I speak to you: love. That time when I sat a little too close to you and worried about if I should move over because maybe you might notice and be weirded out: love. I love you more than six year olds can spell and more than accountants can add. My heart beats with the tradition of making lemonade out of life's lemons. It sits as an empty glass next to the pitcher on a little girl's lemonade stand.

No, really. Why blog?

Blogging every day, there has to be a reason for that.
There is.

As a writer, I’m supposed to write (shocker, right?). Sometimes I do. A lot of times, I just avoid writing like I avoid small children. Either because I don’t have the time to sit down and balance pen on paper or I do have the time, and I find something else to do. Usually Facebook, refreshing the page until that little red flag goes up on my notification globe, alerting me to a “like” on my status or a comment on one of my posts. I live a thrilling life, really I do.

But why do I avoid writing if I’m a writer? That gets us to the juicy bit. It’s because I’m afraid. Simple as that. Afraid I’ll mess up, afraid the story’ll get away from me, afraid the characters’ll take over or just fall flat, afraid I won’t write the right words or punctuate correctly, you name it, I’m probably afraid of it. As I’ve come to realize, I’m a bit of a control freak with regards to my writing. I tend to latch onto an idea and plot it out, mapping out every little incident and then throwing my characters onto that map and expecting them to follow the path I made from them or else. And sometimes my characters don’t like that, leading to my story sounding wrong and the reaction of “It was a good idea, but…”. In an attempt to loosen up a little bit on my characters, plots, and general concepts this semester, I sat down at my computer the night before my story was due and typed. I didn’t let myself think and I didn’t stop to check if what I was writing was okay. I just wrote. And that was the story that my professor liked the most, running his hand over his long white hair and laughing in that crinkled-up smile sort of way and saying, “That’s the real Brianna!” Control freak Brianna responded by pounding her head on the nearest hard surface while the real Brianna did a happy dance amidst sparkly confetti. In an attempt to get back to that real Brianna without a drug-induced stupor, I’m going to write every day. No editing, not too much thought, just writing.

And then there’s writer’s block. I’m inclined to believe the advice that “writer’s block is merely a refusal to write.” With that said, I’m usually met by one of two reactions: 1) sullen acceptance and reluctant writing or 2) anger at myself because I’m not writing. Which can be very confusing. Today I have decided that I’m not going to let myself refuse to write, and I’m not going to let myself be plagued by writer’s block, a malady that I so often complain of. This is my attempt at being positive about my writing. So more often than not, I might be writing about writer’s block. Or writing, because sometimes that helps.

My plan. As of right now, I plan to have two themed days. Mondays and Fridays. On Mondays, I’ll write about wishes. Things that I wish happened, things I wish I had, places I wish I could be, etc. Hypothetical situations that I can explore, hopefully whimsical and fun. Fridays will be Poetry Fridays during which I will read a poem (not by me) via video and upload it to this blog. Because I flatter myself that someone might want to listen to me read poetry. The accompanying blog post will either be about that poem, ideas that spring from it, or something related to poetry. On the remaining days of the week (as of right now), I will be focusing on questions that prompt thought, reflection or just general musings.

You may have noticed that I actually started this blog a while ago. For now we’re going to ignore that, and pretend that for the purposes of this exercise that I’m starting anew in an attempt to actually maintain this blog with some structure and frequency.

“Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it.”
- Alexandre Dumas Père
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | By: Brianna

[something clever HERE]

Hello, my name is Brianna. I'm a 20 year old college student studying English Writing at a small liberal arts university, specializing in fiction and poetry, even though I hated poetry up until about a year ago. I have a little brother, who's actually taller than me, a mother and a father, as well as a dog that usually looks weird but we love her anyway. I enjoy using subject-verb construction of sentences only because that's all I can think of doing right now. If asked what music I listen to, I probably wouldn't be able to answer coherently because I am drawn to the radio. Okay, there's that. I listen to the radio.

What do you write, Brianna?
Well, Questioner, I write lots of things, but I specialize in story fragments, random poem bits, and character descriptions. The only writing that I have ever finished has been for school assignments, which might sound mildly pathetic, but hey. My favorite method of writing is in a notebook with a black Bic pen, sprawled out on the floor.

Well, why are you blogging, Brianna?
I'm blogging because there was a choice between starting a journal and writing every day or maintaining a blog and writing every day. I flatter myself that people might actually find something that I've written amusing, so here I am writing on a blog that anyone can see. Also because of a request that I write on a blog because it would be easier for James K. and Melbourne to read. Then there's also the argument that I would be saving paper by writing in a blog rather than in a journal, but that's the argument for e-readers, and don't get me started on those.

What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Who do you find most attractive of celebrities who are present today?
Thank you for your question, Questioner. I must say that I am drawn to British men. David Tennant is my first answer, mostly because he's delicious as The Doctor, and I would love to watch the rest of "Hamlet" on youtube (but I keep forgetting about because procrastination points me in other directions). I also find Robert Downey Jr. very attractive, and must add the rest of his movies to my "must see" list.

Can I ask you a question? Can I ask you a question now? Least favorite holiday?
And many thanks for your question, Questioner. My least favorite holiday might be Labor Day. Because I have no idea what it's for, and I'm not sure why you shouldn't wear white after it (okay, that's a minor untruth, but who said I was a reliable narrator?).

Well. I give you my blog. Orange as it is, and fairly bland, here we are. Insert something clever HERE.

"It's not the urge to jump. It's deeper than that...it's the urge to fall."
- The Doctor