Friday, September 30, 2011 | By: Brianna

Eyes on the 30th

Today is September 30th, which means a number of slightly significant things:
1. It's the end of my first full month of my senior year.  Which is not okay for several reasons, but we're not going to talk about that.
2. It's the end of the month, which means I have to make a new bulletin board for October.  Luckily, I was struck by inspiration and I made a bulletin board about Banned Books Week (which ends tomorrow, but whatever).  It's a pretty awesome board, if I do say so myself.
3. Today is the last day of Poem-a-Day September.

So this September I successfully wrote one poem each day.  Surprising, because my commitment to projects is shakey (as demonstrated by my commitment to writing a daily blog post...), but as of tomorrow I will be in the possession of 30 new original poems by me.  Rough drafts, of course, but that's a pretty decent number.

It has been suggested to me by a couple people that I continue my poem-a-day project for an entire year.  This suggestion intrigues me because the idea of having a whole 366 (because 2012 is a leap year) poems by next September is a really interesting concept.  Just the thought of having 366 of anything is strange to me.  366 rough drafts of 366 different poems.  I don't even know if I know enough words to fill up that many pages.  Plus if I continue my habit of writing my poems during my business classes, my grades may not like me very much.  This idea is also daunting just because I'm not sure I have enough ideas for all that considering when I look back at a couple days in September, I used itunes to write poems for me.  It got that bad one day.  Bright side, I struggled through it and wrote something anyway.  I'm wondering if I take the challenge...would my poetry get any better?  Because I wonder if I just keep writing daily, won't I just be stuck in the same mindset over and over again and write the same quality poetry?  As if I'll be stuck in the same spot writing-wise.  Because how can I really get better if I don't let myself revise?  Then again, if I let myself revise right away, that probably wouldn't make Writer Brianna feel much better.  Anyway.  It's something to think about.

---------------------------------------------Creativity Time-------------------------------------------------

Choose one of your physical features and write about how you can change or disguise that feature. (Thanks,

I have green eyes.  I don't care what anyone tells me, they're green.  If you choose to argue with me, I will just stomp my foot and insist that they're green.  Anyone who says that my eyes are blue will receive the silent treatment for a good day or so.  I don't really time it, but they would deserve it.

I can easily disguise my green eyes with contacts.  No one would suspect it either because they all expect me to have blue eyes anyway.  So I can wear blue contacts.  Or maybe brown, that would throw everyone off.  Then there's also the fairly simple disguise of mirrored sunglasses.  Or my everyday glasses, because how many people really look past someone's first set of eyes anyway?  And changing my eyes?  Well, they can dye eyes in the Emerald City, so why not in real life?  I feel like this should be something that goes along with laser eye surgery.

It's all about misdirection.  If I wear something particularly outrageous, no one's going to notice the color of my eyes.  I'm thinking feathers and sequins should do the trick.  There's also the "Hey look!  What's that over there?!" misdirection trick.  I have a feeling that everyone around me will fall for that one.  I know I would...

"The eye sees a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination awake."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Saturday, September 24, 2011 | By: Brianna

Shuffle shuffle shuffle...

Q:  So it seems you've abandoned your question and answer blog format-ish.

A:  Oh, you noticed?  Hm.  Well, it was unintentional, there were just days when it didn't really seem to fit so....

Q:  Yeah, well, I understand, it's not a big deal.  What are you going to do today?

A:  Today I'm going to cheat by using itunes.  I found these surveys on Google while I was looking for something to write about, and it reminded me of all those itunes survey thingys where you use your itunes to answer the questions.  So I'm going to do that!

Q:  Hooray?

-----------------------------------------Itunes Shuffle Experiment----------------------------------------

1.  Put your itunes on shuffle.
2.  For each question, press the "next" button to get your answer.
3.  You MUST write that song name down no matter how silly it sounds!
4.  Tag friends...on your blog...sure...

If someone says "Is this okay?" you say...
A New World -- Shakespeare in Love soundtrack

What would best describe your personality?
Revolution Now -- Josh Woodward

What do you like in a guy/girl?
No Good Deed -- Wicked soundtrack

How do you feel today?
Any Moment/Moments in the Woods -- Into the Woods soundtrack

What is your life's purpose?
A Night to Remember -- HSM 3 soundtrack

What is your motto?
Crushcrushcrush -- Paramore

What do your friends think of you?
Vanilla Twilight -- Owl City

What do you think about very often?
Each Coming Night -- Iron & Wine

What is 2 + 2?
Three Little Birds -- Bob Marley

What do you think of your best friend?
Skyway Avenue -- We The Kings

What do you think of the person you like?
Vegas -- Sara Bareilles

What is your life story?
Absolutely Zero -- Jason Mraz

What do you want to be when you grow up?
So Nice So Smart -- Kimya Dawson

What do you think when you see the person you like?
I Really Want You -- Plain White T's

What do your parents think of you?
The End. -- My Chemical Romance

What will you dance to at your wedding?
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart -- Michael Buble

What will they play at your funeral?
I Guess This Is Goodbye/Maybe They're Magic -- Into the Woods soundtrack [Yay!]

What is your hobby/interest?
Cruising Together -- Huey Lewis (in Duets)

What is your biggest secret?
Suspicious Minds -- Elvis Presley

What do you think of your friends?
The Phantom of the Opera -- Phantom of the Opera soundtrack

What's the worst thing that could happen?
Thriller -- Fall Out Boy

How will you die?
Everything I'm Not -- The Veronicas

What is the one thing you regret?
Shameful Metaphors -- Chevelle

What makes you laugh?
Sing -- She & Him

What makes you cry?
Somebody Like You -- Keith Urban

Will you ever get married?
Come Fly With Me -- Michael Buble

What scares you the most?
Goodbye L.A. -- Green River Ordinance

Does anyone like you?
Power of Love -- Huey Lewis & the News

If you could back in time, what would you change?
Someday -- Plain White T's

What hurts right now?
I Want It All -- HSM 3 soundtrack

What do you do most when you're bored?
Boycott Immorality -- Chocolat soundtrack

So thank you for playing, huzzah!
Friday, September 23, 2011 | By: Brianna

Sunset and Sunshine

Friday morning at precisely 8:15 AM, Brianna's phone vibrated under her pillow, shaking her awake.  After springing out of bed and very hastily (taking the span of an hour) doing everything that needed to be done without getting dressed in real clothing, Brianna sat down in front of Jacques and realized that she hadn't written a blog post in ages.  Which could be considered a problem, if she didn't realize that she had a very good reason for neglecting said blog.  Because she forgot.  That not being the point, Brianna shook her head and remembered the wonderful poetry slam which she had attended the previous evening and how she had spent two hours after the poetry slam doing nothing but lying on her tile floor staring at her accounting homework and wishing she could write some poetry.  That sentiment will manifest (hopefully) itself in today's blog post.

"Create a poem using Emily Dickinson's 'Bring me the sunset in a cup' as a starting point." - creative writing prompts

Here we go.  Yay rough draft!

Bring me the sunset in a cup
or perhaps just a shotglass
of sunshine.
Let it warm me
up like a glow light
from my stomach
radiating outwards.
Reaching fingers and toes,
transforming them into Disney
flashlights a la Beauty
and the Beast.
I want to drink in the sunlight,
or bottle it up and save it
for one of those rainy days
when I really need
a "pick me up."
But sun also burns
and what if I'm scalded
from the inside?
Searing internal organs
and blistering my heart
until its scarred over
past recognition
neither broken
nor whole.
I want to drink the sunlight
because the danger is too much
to resist.

"Bring me the sunset in a cup,

Reckon the morning's flagons up..."

- Emily Dickinson
Monday, September 19, 2011 | By: Brianna

Forget You?

"The calendar says March 10th, but the last day you remember is March 1st."  (Thank you, Twitter!)

I woke up on someone's couch.  It was this squat puke green number with the stuffing oozing out of one of the arms and I was sprawled out across it.  I blinked a couple times in an attempt to get my bearings right up until I realized that my glasses weren't jammed onto my face in their usual position.  As I sat up, the room swayed around me.  I closed my eyes and felt around on the floor next to the couch for my glasses, coming upon them only after nudging aside what I hoped was a dog's chew toy.

Once my glasses were in place, it was much easier to get a handle on where I could possibly be.  One side of the room was made up entirely of very dirty windows that looked out on a rusted metal fire escape.  The walls of the room were plastered with old movie posters and torn up wallpaper.

" I?" I croaked, discovering only then my sore throat and the fact that I must not have spoken in a good amount of time.

It was then when I saw the day-by-day calendar lying on the coffee table next to my makeshift bed.  March 10th.  March 10th?  That couldn't possibly be right.  It had to be some sort of joke.  I grabbed my hair and squeezed my eyes shut trying to remember the last date I could.

March 1st.  Again.  It couldn't be right.  March 1st.  My best friend's birthday.  What had we done that night?

I wrenched my eyes open and surveyed my surroundings again.  Same movie posters, same torn wallpaper, same dirty windows, and a half empty coffee mug on the table near the calendar.  Non-descript, and virtually harmless.  Hopefully.  I examined my arms, looking for some sign that I had been abducted or kidnapped or beaten brutally and then sent into a nine day coma.  No luck.  I did find a stamp on my hand in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, but that could be from anything, right?  I searched the pockets of my jeans and found my cell phone (dead), a wad of singles, a crushed gum wrapper, a penny, and an arcade token.  Leaving me indication as to what I had done nine days ago or what I was doing here right now.

And leaving me a loss.

That is, until there was a rattling at the door.  Someone stuck a key into the door and turned it, allowing them entrance into whatever prison or haven this might be for me.  I opted for the most logical method of defense: playing dead.  I flung myself back across the rundown couch and promptly shut my eyes, realizing almost too late that I was still wearing my glasses, giving me about a half a second to throw them onto the coffee table and return to my sleeping position before the stranger came walking towards me.  I froze, expecting the person to turn and walk away at any moment, but I could hear them coming closer until they were kneeling on the floor next to me.  I felt gentle fingers brushing the hair off my face and heard an exhale of breath before they stood and retreated, leaving me where I was.  I could hear the stranger rummaging about in one of the connected rooms, but they collected whatever it was they meant to get and left without a word (which makes sense considering they believed me to be asleep.  Or dead...).

Once I heard the lock click, I bolted from the couch, grabbing my glasses as I set off to explore this place where I had woken up after days of whatever it was.  The kitchen was just as sad as the living room where I had awoken, with dirty dishes in the sink and very small amounts of food in the refrigerator.  There was only one bedroom which was dark, but fairly neat.  The bathroom I left for last because I figured it would be the most revealing.  And I was right.  When I opened up the medicine cabinet, I found the usual aspirin and Band-Aids, but I also found a single prescription bottle made out for Keri Kalman (thank you, random name generator...) as well as nail polish remover and a modest collection of earrings.

So I had been kidnapped by a woman.  Okay.  I could deal with this.  I was sure I could take her.
But then there was that hair brushing thing.  And she took care of my glasses.  No kidnapper would be that worried about their prisoner.  Unless they wanted their prisoner for other things that they needed to be kept alive ransom...or being sold into slavery.  I wasn't sure my parents would pay a ransom, and slavery was out of the question, so my only conclusion was that I would have to escape.  Unless this Keri Kalman had saved me from something worse.  The apartment was modest, and may have looked rundown, but all signs pointed to the resident being good-hearted or at least having good taste in movies.

March 1st.  March was Marcella's 21st birthday.  We thought we'd go out with some friends and make a tour of the bars and clubs in town.  Your average 21st birthday celebration.  We had about three of mine and Marcella's mutual friends with us, and we had hopped three bars.  We were feeling a little tipsy by this point.  It was my idea to check out this new club in town...

"Come on, guys, it'll be fun," I giggled, grabbing Marcella's hand and making my best puppy dog eyes at her.  "Marcie...pleeeeaaaaase?"

Marcella was willing to do just about anything at that point, but our friends decided that it was high time that they went home.

"Fine!" I called after them, my interest turning swiftly back to the peeling paint on the front of the new club's door.  You would think that they would repaint before opening said door for business, but apparently not.

I dragged Marcella inside only to discover that the club was dark, the only light coming from the green strobe light at the front of the place where the DJ was playing some strange music that seemed to combine an Irish jig with your typical rap beat.  I may have been further gone than I thought at the time, but I could have sworn that I saw a guy with goat legs approach me and Marcella, shoving a Solo cup of some liquid into my hands and taking Marcella out onto the dance floor.  I looked down at the cup that I had taken out of reflex and bent my head to sniff the liquid.  It smelled like a mix between honey and roses, and the second the scent hit my nostrils, it was all I could do to keep myself from drinking it all in a single gulp.  The substance called to me.  "Drink me!"  It was like the bottle from Alice in Wonderland had a voice and was conspiring against me to be rude to this random guy.  But he and Marcella were halfway across the dance floor and it didn't look like they were coming back anytime soon.  Why not?  "Just a sip" turned into "finishing it off" and then I was being handed another cup by hands I didn't recognize.  By this time Marcella and the guy were nowhere in sight.  The last thing I remembered was throwing my third cup of the same sweet liquid into a trash can and giggling maniacally as I climbed up onto the bar...
Friday, September 16, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- I Need to Be More French. Or Japanese.

Today is Friday, which means that Brianna should be reading and "analyzing" poetry.  So here we go.

This week I read Beth Ann Fennelly's "I Need to Be More French.  Or Japanese."  I read it aloud on YouTube, but you can feel free to read the poem all by yourself on the link that I'm attaching to the title of the poem

First off, the title of the poem flows pretty nicely into the actual text of the poem, and I respect that.  I can never get my titles to do things like that, but I think it adds a nice effect to the poem.

One of the big themes/thoughts of this poem is the idea that the speaker isn't subtle.  She (I'm going to call the speaker a "she" for now because pronouns are fun) prefers California win "its big sugar, big fruit rolling down [her] tongue" (53) and she says that she wears a lot of yellow, thereby "pledg[ing] to wear more gray, less yellow" (53).  The tension in this poem lies in the idea that the French and the Japanese are more subtle, more refined, and less boisterous than the speaker.  So this idea that the speaker needs to be something that she's not is interesting.

The imagery is centered on French and Japanese...things.  I don't know how else to describe it.  The speaker uses a quote from Cezanne to illustrate that people sound smarter in French, and "The Japanese prefer the crescent moon to the full, / prefer the rose before it blooms" (53) which is an interesting image because it sounds as if the Japanese prize potential rather than the finished product.

The first half of the poem focuses on this clash amongst French, Japanese and the speaker's tendencies, all the while illustrating how not French or Japanese the speaker is.  The French designer who makes an appearance in the poem disdains the speaker for this "not Frenchness," so perhaps the speaker has been confronted with this "not-ness" before?

The turn (which one of my poetry professors would be SO excited that I'm pointing out) takes place (I think) around "OK: I didn't really.  But so what..." (53).  At this point in the poem, the speaker is embracing her true self.  She's owning her qualities.  But at the same time, she's still comparing herself to the French and Japanese, which makes things interesting.  She writes "If I were Japanese I'd write a tone poem / about magnolias in March, each bud long as a pencil...I'd end the poem before anything / bloomed..." (53-54) because the image that the speaker paints for the Japanese is all about potential.  Before anything bloomed.  Perhaps the speaker can consider herself one of those magnolia buds?  In contrast, "If I were French, I'd capture post-peak, in July, / the petals floppy, creased brown with age..." (54), making the French sound like the "day after" a party.  A really good party.  But the images of both beginning (from the Japanese) and end (from the French) come together as the "red-tipped filaments" all over the lawn signal an end for the French, but a beginning for the Japanese because they look like matchsticks.  "..and it's matchsticks, we all know, that start the fire" (54).

1.  Fennelly uses a lot of landmarks/geography in this poem.  We've got the temples of Kyoto, the Pont Neuf, and Wrigley Field.  Write something that integrates landmarks.  Subtly, of course.
2.  Are there objects or images that can symbolize both a beginning and an end just the way they are?  Write about it.
3.  Find a way to integrate dialogue into your poem and give those people some character, like the French designer in this poem.
4.  End your poem with spent firecrackers, since Fennelly didn't, but said that she would.
5.  "I hereby pledge to be reserved."  What kind of character would make such a pledge?

"I have stood on the Pont Neuf, and my eyes,
they drank it in, but my taste buds
shuffled along in the beer line at Wrigley Field."
- Beth Ann Fennelly in "I Need to Be More French.  Or Japanese."
Thursday, September 15, 2011 | By: Brianna

Clue Night

After all the hard work on the script, organizing people, advertising, and all that jazz (although I only really helped substantially with the script), International Clue Night will take off tomorrow night.

So there are a couple really cool things about International Clue Night.  For me, one of the first cool things is working with my friend to write the script.  I helped write last year, so we kind of knew how the other one worked when we came to the process this year.  What made this year so different is that Family Weekend is so early (and that's when Clue takes place).  It's this weekend.  Usually it's late October.  So basically we had a lot less time to work.  But that meant that we got to spend a TON of time together working on the script.  And no joke, plotting out this script was SO much fun!  This friend and I play really well off each other, and we're really good at asking each other questions when something doesn't make sense.  We took a good long time outlining the plot before we even thought about writing the script or describing characters, and that was because of how Clue Night works.  It's mostly because we need to make sure we know everything about the mystery even if the audience doesn't know everything.  We also need to make sure that we know what's getting revealed when, and that it all works and makes sense.  Lots of thinking of "motives."

The most common motives that I could think of were:
- money
- revenge
- blind rage
- jealousy
- insanity

And you can only use those so many times.  So thank goodness I wasn't alone, or the plot would have been so linear and boring.  I really enjoy my friend, she's a truly brilliant writer, and it's an amazing experience to be able to work with her!

AND this year I get to act.  I acted my sophomore year as the CEO's daughter who was about to succeed her father as CEO and change the entire company into an environmentally radical company.  I was part of the reason my father ended up dead.  Oops.  I also got to do the big "reveal" at the end of the show, explaining about how clever I was and how I figured out that China was the murderer.  Well, China the representative...
Last year I was out of town for a conference, so I couldn't act, but I did help write.  The daughter was the killer that year...
And as I was saying...this year I get to act.  And I'm Switzerland, the land of cheese, chocolate, and knives... Needless to say, I'm absolutely thrilled.  I haven't acted in ages (as I've said in blog posts gone by...), so it'll be good to get back "onstage," and even better because of how unique this show is with regards to audience interaction and the like.  SO exciting!

The Motorist: Where is it?
Wadsworth: What?  The body?
The Motorist: The phone.  What body?
Wadsworth: There's no body.  Nobody.  There's--there's nobody in the study.
- CLUE (the movie)
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | By: Brianna

I Am Your Master...

Your best friend's exotic pet adopts you as his real master.
(I would like to take a moment and thank Twitter for this prompt.  Well, not Twitter as a complete entity, but the place where I can get writing prompts on Twitter.  You know what I mean...)

I never really questioned why Courtney had a lemur.  It was just her pet.  She got it from some auction that her school had to benefit charity, and when I heard about it, I thought, "Hey cool!  That's awesome, they're auctioning off a lemur for charity!  That's great!"  It never really struck me as odd that it might take a little while to house train said lemur.

This is a picture of Orlando the lemur.  Found on Google.
She named the lemur "Orlando" for reasons unknown, and I came over nearly every day to help her train the thing.  And the thing about lemurs is that they're very stubborn.  Every time I put Orlando down into the litter box, he would cling to my arm like a small child.  Which I'm sure is endearing at appropriate moments, but when you know this lemur has a full bladder and is just waiting to pee on you...not a very good time to be clung to.  Because I don't want to be peed on.

All throughout the training process, I was forced to do most of the work because Courtney didn't want Orlando to start hating her or anything.  So I figured, "Why not?  I'm never going to see the thing again, I can just train it and leave."  Wrong.  So wrong.  In fact, just to illustrate how very wrong I was...Orlando laid a trap for me.  I kid you not, he strung up one of those tiger traps underneath the rug before you get to the door, and once I stepped on it, it pulled me up and I was just hanging up there in a net.  And then Orlando just stared at me in awe, probably jeering at me with his little orange lemur eyes.

But it wasn't a jeer that I saw in Orlando's eyes.  Oh no.  It was affection.  And my brain said, "Whaaaat?"  Not only had I just been prevented from leaving my friend's house, but a lemur was now holding me captive because he liked me?  I wasn't sure how to feel about it at all, but Orlando's brought me fruit and everything since I've been here in the net, and things are going pretty well...he just doesn't know about my Swiss army knife...
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | By: Brianna

More Things I've Learned

Sure, I posted today at 12:30 AM, but I feel like I should make up for being negligent on this blog...and this is my life.  So more things I've learned.

  • Spree = roofies, but first years are more observant than you might want them to be when you're "having fun" roofie-ing them...
  • Acting drunk in a first year hall should be saved until second semester so you don't get handed a "What's a Drink?" pamphlet with the promise that "this is an intervention."
  • If your friends are in the novel-writing class, and you offer to read their work, they'll really let you read it.  And they'll ask for feedback.  What more could I ask for?!  I love it!
  • Writing a poem every day helps maintain sanity in business classes.
  • Too much to do.
  • Cell phone alarms will keep me on track until I forget to enter an event in my phone's calendar.
  • It's possible to crank out a script for a murder mystery in 13-ish hours.  After initial outlining and preparations, of course.
  • Don't Panic.
  • Prostitute posture.  The end.
  • "Some people find it charming."
  • Late night texting makes sleepless nights infinitely better.
  • If you can design flyers, people will ask you to.
  • First years will let complete strangers into the building and they will camp out in the conference room to do their homework.  (Really?  Go to the library, sophomores!)
  • I will always be the last one to know anything.
  • If you spend enough time in a building that you don't officially live in, the residents will adopt you and let you into the building without asking questions.  (Thanks, Kemp!)
  • If you want to print something in color, ask you friend for the password to his computer before breaking into his room.
  • None of the printers in weird places on campus will work if you're trying to make life easier for yourself.
  • My hair does weird things.
  • If you ask someone "Are you a writer?" the most common responses are "Kind of..." or "I'm not very good..."
  • A Pandora station based on "Rhapsody in Blue" is exactly what I needed.

I Meant to Write...

And that was when my pen ran out of ink...

Just as I was about to write that letter to you that I promise I've been meaning to write.  I mean, your letter's only been sitting next to my computer for about two weeks now, and I still haven't found the time to write back.  Maybe it's because I'm lacking in bright colored paper at the moment.  I'll have to scurry off to ORL to steal--I mean...redistribute some paper into my personal stores.

Just as I was about to write that poem.  I should probably have written it earlier, especially with all that free time I had in my accounting class.  And I had a really great idea too, about a nerdy Romeo and Juliet type thing.  It was going to be really funny.  Okay, well, maybe.  You might have chuckled.

When I really had to write down the assignment for my marketing class.  And notes for the murder mystery that I was helping with.  But that's alright, I have another--no, wait.  That pen's out too.  Two of my favorite pens, the Bic "crystal" black pens.  I love those pens.  They never run out!  I swear I still have one of them from my freshman year.

Right before the cops stopped me and demanded that I sign away my soul on a burrito wrapper.  I'm not quite sure what they were planning on doing with my burrito-smelling signature, but as it is...they couldn't have it.

Just as I was considering what black ink would taste like.  It was a sign.  I shouldn't try to drink ink.

Just as I got a great idea for a cure for the common cold.  I'm pretty sure it would work this time, I just need to add woolly socks to the mechanism that I already have in place.  The one made out of old paper clips, pencil shavings and used Post-It notes.  It's going to be big!

Right before life threw me a lemon.  So I couldn't even stab the thing and make it bleed inky droplets of lemony goodness.

Just as I was writing---
Sunday, September 11, 2011 | By: Brianna

Crisis Response

I knew this was going to be the most difficult part of my job.
And I knew this was going to be the part of the job that would kick my butt.

As an RCA, I'm required to take a certain number of all-campus "primary duty" nights.  Which means I get to carry around a gigantic set of keys, a magical messenger bag, and the Phone of Death.  These duty nights are weekends.  Now anyone who has ever lived on a college campus knows that the most excitement happens on weekend nights.

And every RA knows that if they can't handle something, they need to call Primary.  Which means that the Phone of Death goes off with its evil ringtone that strikes fear into even the most steel-hearted RCAs.  And for Brianna, that means that nerves get frayed, and sleep is lost.  The last time the phone rang it wasn't even a crisis, but I can almost promise that I won't be able to sleep the rest of the night because I'm terrified that that phone's going to go off.

I'm supposed to respond to crises.  And I'm trained to do that.  But when I get into a situation in which I'm supposed to be cool, calm, and collected.  Nope.  Silent.  Frozen.  Panicked.  Which is horrible for the RA that you're responding to because they're looking to you for some comfort and support.  And I can give them that, but I'd much rather give them a hug instead of going in gung ho about an alcohol violation in the residence hall.  I mean, I can do that too, but can we hug first?

So I'm scared.
Really scared.
And tired.
And my head hurts.
And I'm generally miserable, but I'm supposed to be going to brunch with friends in about eight and a half hours.  I'm trying not to think about the homework that I should do tomorrow.  In addition to all my other obligations tomorrow.  Basically I'm doomed.

I'm really tempted to pass out.
And if I could, I would.
But the Phone of Death haunts my waking nightmares.
And it just won't lull me to sleep.  
Thursday, September 8, 2011 | By: Brianna

Window Eyes?

"Eyes are the windows to the soul."

I can't help but wonder about this.  First of all, there are a couple literal problems with that metaphor or saying, or whatever you call it.  Well, you can't see through eyes, whereas you can see through a window.  Because it's made of glass and clear.  Also, I wonder what you would see if you actually could see a person's soul through their eyes.  What does a soul look like, anyway?

I'm inclined to say that a soul looks like a flowy silvery type thing.  That is, if you're a good person.  If you're not, it would probably have some weight to it.  But because souls can fly, they definitely need to look not-too-solid.  In fact, it would probably make things in Harry Potter difficult if souls were inanimate objects.  Though that's interesting to think about, I'm not sure how I would feel if someone lost that object.  What if you could wear your soul on a necklace and it broke?  What then?

So eyes.  If they're the window to the soul, does that make our bodies houses?  Does the soul live with other things?  I can imagine the soul partying it up with some random white blood cells (which I really wanted to call "hemoglobin" right now, but I'm 99% certain that that would be wrong).  Or maybe the soul gets along better with "the mind."

Which brings up another interesting thought.  The mind is usually attributed to being stored in one's head, so why is it that the eyes are the windows to the soul?  [This is where I start making things up.]  This reminds me of the fact that back in the day (which is a precise moment in time, I know it) people used to believe that the soul was stored in a person's head and a person's mind was actually somewhere else.  Or maybe they believed that the soul and the mind were the same thing.  Which is something else entirely, but interesting nonetheless.

Eyes.  What's interesting about eyes is that if you look close enough, or let your eyes unfocus when you're looking at someone else's eyes, you can see the reflection of what they're seeing on the surface of their eyes.  I may be making that up too, but I know it works with sunglasses, so why not eyeballs too?  So that prompts the question (it doesn't beg the question because this website would get mad at me if I said that it did:  Yeah, I found that site on Google) that maybe what a person's soul looks like at any given moment is what they're seeing at that time.  Do the things around us reflect what's kept inside us?  I mean, I don't necessarily think that Jacques reflects my spleen, but maybe it has something (if only a little bit) to do with my soul or my mind.  I'm not really sure.

Plus, there are all these different literal and figurative and metaphorical meanings or definitions of the word "see," because what is it that we're actually seeing when we're looking at someone's eyes.  We're seeing color and an iris and some whites of the eyes.  But what we see is colored by our interpretation, so if we believe that we're looking into the other person's soul, then that's what we see.  But then does that mean that we define the souls of other people?  You know, when you see someone with really cold eyes and you say, "That person looks evil," does that mean that their soul is evil?  Or is it really just your subjective interpretation of what their eyes look like?  Besides, it doesn't seem right to judge someone based on their eye color, it's like judging someone based on their hair color.  Or the length of their toes.  And all of those are completely invalid except for the toe one because people with short toes are weird.

"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot.  In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you."
- Oscar Wilde
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | By: Brianna


[This is all I could think of to write today, so yeah.  Still working up the courage to revisit that "Little Shop" post down there.  We'll see.]

I am silently judging you for riding your bike.  It's not the general fact that you're riding your bike, it's because you're riding it through the quad.  I know where you live, I've seen you going into one of the residence halls that are in the center of campus.  I just want to ask you why you're riding your bike right now.  Okay, I get it, three steps is a really long walk to the science building, and unlocking your bike, riding it, and relocking it is a much quicker way to get to class, but really?

Our campus is tiny.
Please walk.

If you live off campus, I understand.  Bike.  Much more sustainable than driving, more efficient than walking.  I get it.  I'm okay with that.  But if you live in the hall that I live in, and you're seriously going to bike across campus just so you can get to class in 3 minutes instead of 5, please don't.  Really.

You are a hazard to pedestrians.  You may think that you have the right of way because you're on this person-powered monstrosity that you picked up at your local garage sale this summer, but if you're thinking that, you would be wrong.  There are more pedestrians than there are of you, and if you run me over, I will slash your tires.  And cut your bike chain.  Oh.  And your brakes.  I'll take care of those too.  You don't know how to steer, and you're riding on the sidewalk.  Go home, please.  Put on some walking shoes and suck it up.  Five minutes is really not that big of a deal.

Let's talk to students on campuses larger than ours.  Yeah, they're biking.  They're also taking buses so they can get to one of the many dining halls on campus.  You are not.  You can walk to our only dining hall.  And if you're late for class in the music building, jog that distance, and you can count it as a work out.  Please don't ride your bike through campus.

Because I'm silently judging you every time I see you.

I don't care if you're wearing a helmet.  And kneepads.  You're in my way, you're irritating, and you really need to get off that bike and walk.  Park it somewhere on campus and pick it up after you're done with classes for the day.  Do NOT ride your bike through campus, I beg of you.

I can't wait until it's too cold to ride bikes.  What will you do then?!

"The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets."
- Christopher Morley
Tuesday, September 6, 2011 | By: Brianna

Little Shop

[I'm lazy, so I'm not doing Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy today.  And I take no credit for this idea, merely the execution of it.]

A young girl with golden blonde hair cropped closely against her head walked the damp sidewalk, clutching a wrinkled Post-It between her fingers.  Written on the Post-It were directions to an address that was scribbled along the bottom edge of the little square.  Having no idea where she was headed, the girl followed the directions as best she could through unfamiliar neighborhoods until she reached a small shop sandwiched between two tall apartment buildings.

"This is it?" she mumbled to herself, tilting her head backwards to see the top of the apartment buildings.  They had at least six stories worth of height on the shop that stood between them.

The shop itself looked a little squished, exactly how someone would imagine a piece of garlic would look just before being smashed in a garlic press.  The door was painted a particularly vivid shade of green, and the shutters on the two front windows were painted to match.

The girl approached the door hesitantly, putting her hand on the doorknob and surveying her surroundings before resolving to open the door.  Somewhere near the back of the shop, a bell rang, though it didn't seem to be connected to anything.

The inside of the shop seemed packed like a bag of Halloween candy with all manner of strange looking objects that the girl couldn't identify.  Luckily, the shop's proprietor was an older gentleman with cobwebby wisps of white hair attached to his scalp and a jack-o-lantern grin.

"Can I help you?" he asked, raising his eyebrows expectantly.

The girl was taken aback for a moment, but she managed to gather her wits about her.  Running a hand through her hair, the girl said, "I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for.  What have you got?"

The old man smiled kindly and opened up a glass front case behind the front counter of the shop.  Reaching in, he pulled out what could only be described as a pom-pom.  It was fuzzy around the edges, and a fetching shade of pale pink.  "This one isn't quite developed yet, still a bit fuzzy, but it's a good starter."

What did I get myself into? The girl nodded slowly.

[Posting for the sake of posting right now, but there will be more and better additions when I'm not sleepy.  Ready?  GO!]
Sunday, September 4, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Letter to Writer's Block

Dearest Writer's Block,

We meet again.  Oh yes, you know me.  At least you should, after that extended relationship we had for a good couple of years.  I woke up next to you every morning those years, and every morning I was disappointed.  You know this.  We did not part on amiable terms.  I'm sorry.

But I've found someone new.  It's Inspiration.  This relationship is everything I've ever looked for, and you know that because you got jealous every time I flirted with Brilliance at the corner store.  And I'm not trying to write this letter to torture you, I just feel that you need to know my situation.  I'd love to know what's going on in your life if you'd like to write back.

Anyway, Inspiration and I...we're like magic.  We stayed up until two in the morning, Inspiration talking while I wrote.  And I did write.  I never wrote while I was with you.  Now I feel the words itching my fingertips as I write.  You'd think that would be uncomfortable, but the words merge with my motions and flow onto the page with only the effort of creating a pen stroke.  I've written in the dark with Inspiration.  I've written in the morning, scribbling out words quick enough so they don't skitter away before I can pin them down with ink.

And it sounds great and all, but I have a problem.  That's the real reason why I'm writing to you.  I need your advice.  I know, me asking you for advice is akin to asking a brick wall to pick up and move to Nevada, but I didn't know who to turn to.  Inspiration walked out.  I woke up this morning and felt the space on the pillow next to me only to find what I feared I would find ever since this relationship with Inspiration began.  An empty pillow.  Inspiration must have snuck out some time during the night.  We weren't really talking at all around midnight last night, and maybe Inspiration wasn't really feeling it anymore.  We didn't even fight.

I want Inspiration back.  I'm not sure if you've seen Inspiration about, but it'd be really great if you could let me know if you have.  Because I need Inspiration back.  We had something great going on.  I wrote all the time, during classes, at home, on recycled paper and on loose leaf, with a fancy pen, and sometimes with one of those Sharpie pens.  It was amazing.  I even managed to blog a couple days in a row, and that was virtually unheard of until Inspiration showed up.

I'm a better person when Inspiration is around.  I'm more excited about life, I'm enthusiastic about my work, and it just feels so much better when Inspiration is around.  I may have been a little sleep-deprived, but it was worth it because Inspiration was there, and we could wake up with bags under our eyes together.  We could shuffle through the day without drinking caffeine because neither of us need it.  I was wittier.  I was more put together.  I knew what I was doing.  I never needed prompts for my Poem-a-Day September exercise, and then today I needed to use itunes shuffle to help me write a poem.  They weren't even my own original words, Writer's Block!  That's why I need Inspiration back.  I can't even find Brilliance any more, I think Brilliance might have left town with Passion.  I'm not sure though.

So if you've seen Inspiration, can you say that I'm sorry?  I'm sorry that I stayed up watching Mulan and drinking wine instead of writing poetry.  I'm sorry that I didn't walk Inspiration home after a couple tarot spreads.  That wasn't fair of me.  So I'm sorry.  Ask Inspiration to come back.  For me?  If you could do this one thing for me, I would be so grateful.  I'll take you out for lunch some time.  Please just ask Inspiration to come back to me.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.  I hope our time together hasn't meant so little to you that you won't do me this favor.  I would do the same for you if (God forbid) anything happened to you and Motivation.

Have a good day!

The Lost Writer

"Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity."
- Bo Bennett
Saturday, September 3, 2011 | By: Brianna

Use the Force

A:  I went through at least three prompts today before I could decide on something that I wanted to write about.

Q:  That's because you're indecisive.

A:  Yes.  But quiet, you.  Did you really want to hear about my first job?  Or "something you've always been good at"?  I didn't think so.

Q:  Actually---

A:  No.  So let's talk about Star Wars.

Thank you, Google!

Q:  That trilogy that you're a geek over?

A:  Well first.  Let's clarify.  Trilogy yes.  Geek no.  We discovered only fairly recently that a "geek" is a circus performer who bites the heads off of live chickens.  Though I occasionally do so in my spare time, that's hardly something I want to advertise to the populous.

Q:  Fine.  Nerd.

A:  That's better.  Anyway.

I first saw Star Wars (the original trilogy) at my grandparents' lake house.  My uncle was really super excited to show us these movies, and we sat down and watched them.  I remember sitting on the floor with my brother, staring up at the TV, but I don't remember any of my reactions or anything.  I do remember that the carpet was sulfur yellow.  If I'm not mistaken.  I was little, but I know my brother was around.  I want to say I was about eight-ish.  We'll go with that.

It was always a big deal going to the lake house, but for the sake of watching Star Wars, it was an even bigger deal.  It became part of our tradition.  We would go to the Memorial Day flea market type deal in this pine tree forest, buy kettle corn, swim in the lake with our life jackets, go on the boat with Grandpa, and watch Star Wars.

My grandpa on the other side of the family had the box set of Star Wars too, if I'm not mistaken, as well as Indiana Jones.  So my brother and I borrowed those from him ALL the time.  When the lake house was getting sold, or once our uncle got the DVD box set of Star Wars, we were allowed to take the VHS set from the lake house for our own.  And now we actually owned Star Wars and could watch it all the time at home instead of waiting until the summer when we went to the lake house.

With the Blu-ray version of Star Wars coming out soon, I'm seeing a lot of information about things that are being changed especially for that version.  I only just learned about the "Greedo shoots first" thing last year while I was writing my series of nerd poems, and I thought that was dumb.  Han clearly shot first because Greedo never shot.  I understand the reasoning behind trying to make Han a victim and his killing of Greedo a self defense mechanism, but honestly?  Part of what makes Han such a great character is that you can't tell if he's a good guy or a bad guy.  And he is a criminal at the beginning, so he would shoot a bounty hunter to save his own skin.  Makes sense.  Stupid DVD changes.  io9 explains some of the changes that are being made for the Blu-ray version.  My favorite being "No...NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"  Which is so ridiculously unnecessary, I don't even know what to do with it.

One of my RAs and I geeked out (we're still using that term despite the chicken thing because there's no better way to say it) about Star Wars yesterday, and it was just about one of the most exciting things ever.  Although we mourned the changes to the Blu-ray version of the original trilogy.  Which also include adding blinking Ewok eyes?  Why is that necessary?!?!  I don't understand these additions because they add absolutely nothing to the film.  I understand.  Make it HD, make it pretty, but don't change the 70s effects and don't change the Muppets, that's what distinguishes the originals from the over computerized new trilogy.  Which we're not going to talk about.

And then my friend Katie and I were having a conversation via text as she continues to compel me to "join the Dark Side" aka Twitter.  An entire text conversation featuring Star Wars references.  My life is complete.

"Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy."
- Darth Vader
Friday, September 2, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Pole Dancer

This Poetry Friday I’m going to be looking at Andrea Gibson’s “Pole Dancer.”  Mostly because it was suggested that I look up Andrea Gibson’s poetry, and also because I feel like listening to poems rather than reading them today.  Strangely enough, after listening to a couple of Gibson’s poems, I realized that I had heard them before.  Which was silly because I’ve never seen Andrea Gibson perform, I’m pretty sure I would remember.  And then I realized that it’s because some of her poems are in this book of slam poetry I have called Junkyard Ghost Revival.  So it’s the best of both worlds today because I get to listen to “Pole Dancer” and also refer to it in this book.  Occasionally I’m clever like that.

First thing I’d like to compliment about this poem is the voice.  Andrea Gibson has the unique ability to combine contemporary imagery with meaningful sentiment and humor.  It’s truly amazing how Gibson manages to say so much and mean even more in this poem.

I LOVE the stanza about crocheting a scarf and pinning a note to it, mostly because of Andrea’s spot on delivery.  You could not add more humor to that collection of lines if you tried.

Her use of story is interesting because she tells little snippets rather than plowing right through a single storyline.  She explains about crocheting the scarf, counting freckles, and now that I look at it, those are the only two snapshots that I can find, but both focus on the body in a truly romantic way.  Plus both are laden with Gibson’s spectacular imagery.

Gibson also uses triples to her advantage.  Not always for comedic effect, but most of the time to emphasize or round out imagery that would be strange if there was only one part to them.  The one that sticks out most to me is the triple that includes comparisons to “popcorn at a drive-in movie,” “Batman and Robin,” and “Pac man in the eighties.”  I especially appreciate the pop culture references, and how can I say no to popcorn?  So great.

Closer to the end, she says “Lover, this is not just another poem” which I love because 1) it’s borderline metafictional, 2) it’s direct address, and 3) because she uses the word “lover” with such power, it hits me like a block of cement to the sternum.  This is just one example of how Gibson uses words.  Yeah, that’s right, I made that observation.  Gibson is a poet who doesn’t just build up her poem, she makes every single word count.  EVERY word in this poem is imbued with the strength of the poet and enhances the overall poem.  Just wow.

Favorite image that I just found again:  “I have been painting the night sky upon the inside of doorframes / so only moonshine will fall on your head in the earthquake.”  AH!  Okay, not only am I a sucker for imagery that takes the night sky into consideration, but the night sky has such a danger of turning cliché, but by grounding the image in the doorframe, Gibson allows the night sky to become something more solid, something that’s within reach.  Plus I love an image that makes me think “Wow, that’s really cool” and this is one of those.  I can just imagine Gibson painting little pinprick stars around every side of the doorframe and then sending her lover to stand there in an earthquake.  And the house that holds it has fallen, but the doorframe stays standing, beaming moonshine.  AH, so good.

I also enjoy the multiple uses of the word “break,” but that’s just a sidenote.

Finally, wow, ending image/comment.  Just wow.  “…how they never speak guardrail, / how they only say fall.”  Just wow.  I’m leaving it there.

1. Use the night sky.  Don’t let it be cliché.  If you’re going to use a flowery description of stars and romanticize about how far the cosmos is from your fingertips, please skip this prompt.
2. Write a pop culture triple.  Because you know you want to.
3. Tell a story in snapshots.  Or tell snippets of a life.
4. Write a poem.  Go back and cut all superfluous words.  Use words sparingly and inject them with your own unique power.
5. Write a poem to be performed.  And go out and do it!


On a note slightly (okay, maybe very) related to poetry, I was walking home from a meeting with my friend...

Katie: Have you heard about that challenge where you write a poem a day for a month?
Brianna: Yeah, that sounds crazy.
Katie: Yeah.
Brianna: It's September 1st...wanna do it?
Katie: Yeah!  We can exchange poems and then we'll have mail every day!
(and this is the point in this script where if this were a movie we would jump into the air and high five)

I'm REALLY excited about this project because I've been feeling really poetic lately, and if I commit to writing a poem every day, then maybe I'll actually get things written.  I've already spent my last couple of business classes scribbling out lines of poetry, and though it's not a habit I should be encouraging in myself, it feels good to write some poetry for once.  And of course I'm super out of practice so I would have to apologize for any poem I ever wrote...but we're dispensing with apologies for now because they're drafts.  All drafts.  And by the end of this month, I'll have drafts of 30 poems to show for it.  Let's do this.
Thursday, September 1, 2011 | By: Brianna


Brianna: I have no idea what I should write about.
Courtney: Crayooooooonnnnssss!
Brianna: O_O  Really?
Courtney: Yes.

Well okay.


I was going to make this a free writing bit of prose, but I'm not really feeling the prose right now.  And I could write poetically, but my brain has decided to blaaaaaah.  Melt inside my skull and ooze out my nose.  Which is totally fine, since I really don't have to speak intelligently again until tomorrow.  And even that is debatable.

I really enjoy crayons.  A lot.  Before I went off to school for my freshman year, my mother bought me a gigantic box of crayons.  120 crayons, to be precise.  At least, I think that's when I got them.  Coloring has got to be the best stress reliever that I can ever think of.  For Christmas that same year of college, my friend got me a set of High School Musical crayons.  Now you would think that these crayons would have something special about them.  Like they would sing while you colored with them or yelled about "Wildcats" when you open the box.  But no.  The boxes have characters from High School Musical on them, and that's about it.  Less than stellar coloring ability as well.

I'm very picky when it comes to crayons.  But maybe it's not so much "picky" as the fact that I have standards when it comes to crayons.  None of those Rose Art crayons, give me Crayola, and that's it.

A couple years ago, I asked for a "crayon tower" for Christmas, and I got it.  BEST Christmas present EVER.  It has these glitter crayons and metallic crayons in addition to the classic colored crayons.  I'm a little upset that I got multiple white crayons and only one black crayon, because it's a fact that black is the crayon that's used up the quickest, and white...well, not so much.  So that's just silly.

Crayon Tower FTW!  :^D
Basic gist of this post?  I love crayons.  A lot.  I also may or may not have stolen a coloring book from the closet of an organization I'm no longer the president of.  I figured I deserved something to remind me of that wonderful, wonderful year.  It's a Magical Creatures coloring AND activity book!  I could hardly resist.

I've been coloring for a really long time.  My most vivid memories about coloring all take place at my grandmother's lake house.  Well, my grandparents'.  They used to have this house hours about 4 hours away from my home, and it was always a big deal when we went there because we had to stay for a long time to make it worth the drive.  The reason for having the house was so we had a vacation place, and then my grandpa really likes to fish, so he would go out on the pier and fish.  On bad days, little Brianna would color on the dining room table.  It was always SO cool because sometimes I could get my mom or my grandma to color with me.  They were REALLY good at coloring, I remember.  Grandma would always shade with weird combinations of colors, and Mom always gave the Disney princesses weird colored hair.  If I'm not mistaken, she put Belle in black and purple and gave her gray hair.  SO good.  We also played a game where you had to close your eyes and pick a color and then you had to use that color in your picture.  We always ended up with really weird looking pictures, but it was so much fun!

I still color now.  I may be a senior in college, but you know...I need a stress reliever if I can ever force myself to take time for it!  My coloring books and crayons are just within reach of my desk, so I should get on that...

A picture from November 2010.  Because I date my colorings.  :^P
"We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live in the same box."
- Unknown