Friday, December 28, 2012 | By: Brianna

Itunes Shuffle Poem 2

So I "wrote" one of these before, and I thought that I should write a blog post tonight while I'm procrastinating my Poem-A-Day make-up poems, so here we go.  Here's another itunes shuffle poem brought to you by the randomness that is my itunes.  Voila!

I feel it incumbent to warn any readers in advance that this poem includes random capitalization because I put it in Word originally and I was too lazy to play with the capitalization.  It also includes strange line breaks that I fiddled around with just because I could.  Good times.

1. Open up iTunes or the equivalent (or if you prefer, use your MP3 player)
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Play 21 songs.
4. If you come across an instrumental song, skip it and play another song instead. Otherwise, no skipping!
5. Write down the first line of each of the first twenty songs. This is your poem. You can't change the line order, but you can group the stanzas however you like.
6. The first line of the twenty-first song is your poem's title.

Good times for a change
By: Brianna

When I look
 into your eyes
 I see sunshine:
The piano is not firewood

You think I’m
an ignorant
Elope with me Miss Private
and we’ll sail around the world
(Where I go when I go there).

Oh yeah, oh yeah,
I’m falling
Time to lay claim
to the evidence.

If I was a flower
growing wild and free…
If you love somebody,
better tell them while they’re

There’s a song that’s
of my soul:
Black crows
on a blue sky,
always making a mess.

Goodbye L.A.
Morning falls like
rain into the city life.

Don’t talk,
don’t say
a thing…
And if your heart
 I’ll be here

Come with me and you’ll
be in a world
of pure imagination:
I had visions, I was in them.

Sunshine go away today,
Seems I’ve got to have
a change of scene--
Feelin’s gettin’ stronger.
Sunday, December 23, 2012 | By: Brianna

30 Day Creative Writing Challenge

Alright, so I'm thinking I'm going to do a 30 Day Creative Writing Challenge that I stole from HERE.  I need some regular writing of things, possibly fiction, possibly poetry, possibly a little bit of both as well as some stream of consciousness-ish things.  So we'll see what happens.  These will start on January 1st.  Ready, set, GO!

Day 1: Re-write a classic fairy tale

Day 2: Write a fanfiction

Day 3: A story that takes place pre-1950

Day 4: A poem using the words: blue, mistrust, half, twang

Day 5: A story revolving around an object in your room

Day 6: Start your story with: “He glanced at his watch impatiently…”

Day 7: Create a superhero. Have he/she save the day.

Day 8: Write a prequel to that Superhero. Pre-Superhero life. Maybe their childhood.

Day 9: A story in 250 words or less about your favorite city

Day 10: Start story with: “She touched the little box in her pocket and smiled…”

Day 11: A story where the characters go without power for a day.

Day 12: Find 10 random words and create your own definitions.

Day 13: Begin with “I thought I saw…”

Day 14: randomly find someone in your yearbook. Create a story about their life today.

Day 15: Write about a stranger you see. Either their back-story or what they are thinking in the moment you see them.

Day 16: Go to iTunes, put your music on random. Write a story about the first song that comes up. (250 words or less)

Day 17: Use time travel in a story

Day 18: A story set in a ghost town.

Day 19: Write an obituary for a historical figure

Day 20: Use these words in a story: grandfather, photo album, post office, and folder

Day 21: He or she sees their crush in a library. describe the incident.

Day 22: Write a story based on a dream you had

Day 23: Describe/fictionalize a childhood memory

Day 24: Write a story that takes place 100 years in the future

Day 25: Write a story about a mythical creature.

Day 26: Write about the 30th picture on your phone or computer. Write about the story behind it, or make up the story behind it.

Day 27: Story taking place during a sporting event (any sport)

Day 28: Story on a ship. Past, present, or future.

Day 29: Story about space

Day 30: Story or poem about ice
Saturday, December 22, 2012 | By: Brianna


Today is my half birthday.  Considering I'm over the age at which we answer the question of "And how old are you?" with "I'm seven and a half," you'd think that I wouldn't really care or even remember that it's my half birthday.  In fact, the sheer fact that my real live birthday will be in six months should be terrifying because I'm getting old.

But the fact is that right now I don't really mind getting old.  Right now I'm more worried about growing up.  And I know I've written about this multiple times because it's a constant concern, but I'm going to write about it again because I feel like it.  And the number of people who read this blog will be thrilled that I'm writing and everyone else won't be effected, so blah.
Recently I got a Christmas present with the theme of "growing up versus growing old."  And I've decided that I'm significantly more okay with growing old.  Mostly because it's only a matter of time before I can say, "In my day, we didn't have all those new-fangled gadgets and gizmos..."  Because that's really one of my main desires in life.  So this gift had little things that remind me what it's like to be a kid and actually play because there are these boredom buster cards and these story dice.  You know, I could probably post a picture...

Look at this really awful picture!  Yay!
Alright.  So we've got the deck of boredom buster cards which are brightly colored and beautiful.  The story cubes which are going to be a ton of fun to play with.  The picture frame to illustrate our friendship, and Barbie: Island Princess to remind me of good times had while watching cheesy Barbie movies.  All packed into a box that reminds anyone who's remotely familiar with Harry Potter of the letter from Molly Weasley to the Dursleys.  Basically this package made my day and filled me with happiness.

Because let's face it.  As life goes on, I'm going to be writing my very own story.  Whether it be the story of my life, or the fictional accounts that I write on this blog, or poetry.  And sometimes I'm going to need some inspiration.  And even then "adult life" could still get boring, so I'm going to need some way of combating that boredom.  Through it all I'm always going to have the friends that mean the most to me and who stick with me.  And sometimes I'll just need to laugh and remember what it's like to be a true kid instead of just a kid in an adult's body.

What it all boils down to is this: I may be growing older, but I sure as hell am not growing up.

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.” 
- J.M. Barrie in Peter Pan
Friday, December 21, 2012 | By: Brianna

Dreaming of a White Christmas

That's right, I'm in Orlando and I'm still dreaming of a white Christmas.  Because it's what I'm used to, and it's what I love.  When I hear about the snow back home, I feel super jealous, and then I get reminded by those people at home that "it's warmer where you are, be happy!"  And I'm here to tell you, my friends, that it's not so much warmer here, it's only about 51 degrees here, windy and humid.  Just sayin'.  This is a poem that I wrote ages ago, and I felt like posting a poem because I haven't recently.  It needs another draft, we go.

August 31, 2012

On days like these
I would wish
for a light covering
of snow,
just powdered sugar
on top of this donut.
Or a blizzard.
Despite knowing
it would melt
within seconds
of reaching
this zip code.
But that never stopped
my wishing
for hot chocolate nights
when I could break out
my winter jacket
and Doctor Who scarf
because I forgot
to finish the arm-warmers.
Oh well.
I always figured
I could steal your pockets
Saturday, December 15, 2012 | By: Brianna

Selfish or Selfless?

Anna sat in her bedroom, painting her toenails the darkest shade of blue she owned.  She was crunched up in a position that in any other situation would have been considered uncomfortable, but when it comes to painting one's toenails, one discovers the ability to contort one's body into the strangest shapes in order to reach every angle of that tiny little nail.  The music drifting from her laptop was provided by her most random Pandora station because she didn't much feel like listening to Christmas music despite the nearness of the holiday.

At that moment, there was a knock on her door.  And while she was silently narrating her life in the third person, she briefly pondered the idea of a knock arriving on a door.  It was a odd phrase because a knock wasn't a thing, so it couldn't exactly sit on a door, it was more of an event that happened without the door's knowledge or consent.  So shouldn't a knock "accost" a door?  Rather than just "be" on a door?  Anna shook her head to dislodge such narrative thoughts.

"Come in."

"You sure?" said a male voice from the the other side of the door.  He poked his head around the door and raised his eyebrows at Anna who rolled her eyes and waved impatiently at him to make a decision about whether he was entering or not.  Taking that as his cue to "stay or go," Rhys let himself in and sidled over to Anna's desk chair which he flipped around and settled into, doing all this before saying, "So how are you?"

"I'm just grand," Anna mumbled, flicking another coat of polish on her pinkie toe.  "I'm alive."

"And how are you handling your first break-up, sweetie?" he asked, leaning forward in his chair and tilting his head at an awkward angle so he could catch Anna's eyes which were bent down to concentrate on her toenails.

"I'm fine, no thanks to you, selfless bastard," Anna said, deigning to look up at Rhys and flash him a vicious smile.  "Can I refer to you as that from now on?  'Selfless bastard'?"

"I think the official term is 'selfish bastard,' darling," Rhys commented dryly.

"Yeah, but you're not really, that being why I would want to call you 'selfless bastard.'  Plus I enjoy the mislead in making people think that I was made a mistake of calling you the wrong thing," she said, twisting the cap on her nail polish and nodding in satisfaction.  Only half of that satisfaction really being in finding a new term of "endearment" for Rhys that she was pleased with.  "It pleases me that I can speak about you in an unexpected way."

"Do what makes you happy."

A silence fell over the conversation at that point, because that was always his advice, and that was always the advice that ended any argument about what Anna should do whether it be for her choice of dinner or choice of classes for the next semester.  Her happiness was always one of Rhys' top priorities, even though Anna argued that he should do what made him happy every now and again, and that was when she was met with "Making you happy makes me happy."  Which Anna should have smacked him for or maybe rolled her eyes at, but it always worked.  And that was why he ended things, because ultimately it felt like even if in the shortrun she was grumpy, painting her nails dark colors and listening to moody music, in the longrun it's what would make her happy.  And she couldn't even hate him for it.

"I am a greedy, selfish bastard.  I want the fact that I existed to mean something."
- Harry Chapin 
Thursday, December 13, 2012 | By: Brianna


Q:  So we're talking about Wizard of Oz today?  I knew you liked it, but not as much as you like Wicked...

A:  We're not talking about Wizard of Oz.

Q:  But--but--really?  Why not?

A:  Because we're talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Q:  We--uh--what?

A:  Just shut up and listen, okay.  But in all fairness, anyone who hasn't seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer might want to skip this post, there are spoilers.  Kind of.  I mean, there are things that you could probably figure out all on your own, but yeah.  I really just want an excuse to use ***SPOILER ALERT*** in a real live blog post.  That's right.

Okay, so I've always known that if I were a character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I would be Willow.

Willow's the bookworm.  She's awkward, cheerful, usually looks on the bright side and harbors a gigantic crush on one of her best friends.  She's also the one who discovers she's a lesbian later on in the series, but when I'm talking about my being Willow, I'm talking about the high school Willow.  The awkward adorable one.  The one who wears strange sweaters and tights when her classmates are wearing mini skirts and belly shirts.  Yeah.  I'm Willow in her days before she becomes cool in college and before she comes into her own as a witch.

A large part of why I was okay with being Willow was the fact that in high school she ends up with Oz for a while.

If I had a favorite character on Buffy, hands down it would be Oz.  He is my absolute favorite because though he doesn't talk much, when he does, he's clever and sweet.  Basically he's perfect for Willow because he's smart, he adores her awkwardness, and he's super kind to her.  He's matter-of-fact and unapologetic about his affection for her, and he's just so cool.  Maybe that seems like a lame reason to like a character, but I love Oz.  Like a lot.

While Angel is all "I'll love you until the day I day, oh wait, I'm immortal, so basically I'll love you forever," Oz says things like "I'm going to ask you to go out with me tomorrow night, and I'm kinda nervous about it actually.  It's interesting."  Love.  So much love.

So I'm spending a lot of my time being Willow and not really worrying about things like boys, when I'm really secretly waiting for my Oz.

But what I conveniently forget is that even if I end up getting an Oz, he's going to end up leaving not only me but Sunnydale so he can tame the wolf.  Yeah, he's a werewolf.  And basically he leaves to protect Willow and everyone from the wolf, doing "what's best" for everyone around him.  And when I watched the show, I wanted to punch him in the face for hurting Willow like that, just leaving her on the curb as he drives away.  She's stuck broken-hearted and in Sunnydale where all she really gets to do is play second fiddle to Buffy when before that she actually mattered to someone like Oz.  But at the same time, the me who saw herself as Awkward Willow understood why Oz was taking off.  It made sense that he had to figure things out.  At the same time, I didn't realize that Willow had things to figure out too.  Though she was starting to come into her own and do more than be a sidekick, she really needed to step up.  But there were the beginnings of that that I didn't realize until I looked back on it.

Right about now, I'm not sure where I am in the Willow continuum, but I'd like to think that I'm a little less awkward if a little more adorable.  Maybe I should just take up witchcraft and see what happens.  :^P

"Sometimes, when I'm sitting in class--you know, I'm not thinking about class, 'cause that would never happen--I think about kissing you. And, it's like everything stops. It's like, it's like...freeze frame. Willow kissage. (pauses) Oh, I'm not gonna kiss you."
- Oz

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | By: Brianna


Writers are, by nature, competitive.  That's just the fact of the matter.  It doesn't matter how many times writing instructors or professors say "Don't compare your work to other people," they do it anyway.  Doesn't matter how many times a writer reassures their friend "Oh no, I don't compare my work to your's, it's cool," it's a lie.

I suspect this is because writers are artists, and like most artists, they need reassurance.  Well, if we're going to be completely honest, as humans we need reassurance, but you know what I'm saying, so go with it, will you?  What I'm saying is a writer needs reassurance that their writing is worthwhile.  They need major ego-stroking because they're self-conscious.  They're throwing their lives on the page and taking a risk by exposing their scars, and they need affirmation that it was worth doing and that they did it well.  I know this because I am a victim of this.  Or at least someone who needs affirmation that my work is good.  Right.  That.

So because of this self-consciousness, we find ourselves comparing our work to others.  I'm not saying that every writer reads Shakespeare and then quietly retires to a corner and slowly breaks all their pens because Shakespeare and the classics are always going to be considered "better" in some respects and "old-fashioned" in others, so he's not even on the table of "others" to whom a writer's work can be compared.  I'm saying that in a workshop or classroom setting or even in just being friends with other writers, a writer will relentlessly compare their work without meaning to.  Because there's going to be the idea that "Oh, I could have done this with this poem better" or "This is so good, I could never write something like this."  I don't think that we realize we're doing it, but we do because that's where so much of the bad feelings between writers can come from with one writer acting all superior and the other one being depressed and feeling worthless.

This needs to stop.  I don't necessarily think that it's a light switch that we can just turn off and say "Nope, not comparing today," but I do think that once we realize we're doing it, we can keep these negative feelings in check.  Because 1) a huge ego isn't good for anyone and 2) an inferior ego isn't happy either.  Besides, the writing suffers if you think you're so good you're untouchable as well as if you think you're so bad you shouldn't bother writing anyway.

Yes, we're artists.  Yes, there will always be someone who writes better than me, but I can only hope that they don't lord it over me when they realize that they do.  Yes, there will always be someone who's still learning and who you write better than.  For now.  So this is a good reason just to keep writing because who knows what's going to come about and who knows how good it will be, and who really cares?  Because ultimately, we should be writing for ourselves anyway.  If someone else wants to read it, great, but if we're writing for readers...I'm not sure that's writing anymore.  At least not in the same way.

I've found recently (though you would think I wouldn't have to keep re-realizing this) that writing is a really great way of sorting out things.  I say "things" because I've decided I'm going to be purposely vague and it's entertaining to me.  I spent the majority of my senior year at university writing my Poem-A-Day Project, and a lot of those poems had to do with my anxiety toward The Future.  Not that those poems have gone away, but I've settled into a more comfortable place with them.  Just like I have a friend who's still "poeming out" their heartbreak, and another who memorializes their family.  I'm not really sure what it is about writing that makes us feel better in times of distress, but I get the feeling that it has to do with trying to find the words to communicate those feelings that are confused and jumbled up.  So many times we answer "How are you doing?" with "I'm fine," but the poems say differently.

And this is why I'm thinking that the competition and the comparisons are silly.  Because if we're trying to figure things out, sorting out emotions, landmarks, and experiences, how can we even form a basis for comparison?  Basically, by comparing we're not being fair to either writer due to the fact that no one has the exact same experiences or reactions as another person, so therefore...flawed comparison.  I mean, my friend and I can write about the same conference we went to while we were at college or the same movie we saw over the weekend, but we could never write the same poem about it because we didn't have the same experience.  Sure we might have bought our movie tickets together and shared a bag of popcorn, but we wouldn't have seen the same things in the movie or tasted the popcorn the same way.

I freely admit that I'm guilty of the comparisons, but I'm trying to stop doing that, or at least remind myself continuously that I write differently than my friends, and "different" is neither better nor worse.  So I implore the writing community to stop the comparisons, or at least don't let them negatively influence anybody.  Thank you.

"If it's bad, I'll hate it. If it's good, then I'll be envious and hate it even more. You don't want the opinion of another writer.  Writers are competitive.  If you're a writer, declare yourself the best writer.  But you're not as long as I'm around unless you want to put the gloves on and settle it."
- Ernest Hemingway, 'Midnight in Paris'
Monday, December 10, 2012 | By: Brianna


On the morning of takeoff, the air was so filled with fog it would have put Natasha Bedingfeld's "pocket full of sunshine" to shame.  We could barely see the runway where we were standing let alone the lights bordering it.  I just figured my vision was blurring because I'd always been afraid of how tall I was, and seeing the ground blur in a gray blanket and losing sight of my feet seemed like a logical extension of my terror.

That morning you were already questioning whether flying with me was a good idea in the first place while I warmed up my arms by stretching them out and trying to flap them around.  These questions swirling around inside your head like a little kid's science project were muted, and I wouldn't have been able to hear them over the fog anyway.  One thing I knew: if you were flying, I was flying.

And I used to think that I was already flying around because standing in the middle of a runway in fog already feels like walking on clouds, so why did I feel so rooted?  My arms made pretty pathetic wings, all scrawny and featherless, but you never saw that as a problem because you subscribed to the belief that all you had to do was throw yourself at the ground and miss.  I was trying not to think about what would happen if I didn't miss, because I didn't know if trying to purposely miss would defeat the purpose of missing in the first place.

But even if I didn't miss the ground, I would miss you.  So I guess it's lucky that morning we were grounded even if takeoff is still in your flight plan.

Thank you to Sunday Scribblings for the prompt: Grounded.

"And if I'm flying solo
at least I'm flying free.  
To those who'd ground me, 
take a message back from me.  
Tell them how I am
defying gravity."
- "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked"
Saturday, December 8, 2012 | By: Brianna

The Cake

“I’m going to make you a cake that looks like a Band-Aid, but it might end up looking more like a penis, so even better!” Elisa let out a laugh as she said it, causing Anna to shake her head.

“Yeah, okay, Elisa,” Anna said, heading out the door in her striped work uniform shirt and matching skort.

Little did she know that when she arrived home in the darker hours of the evening after sunset, she would be greeted by said cake on the dining room table.  It was exactly what Elisa had said, a Band-Aid cake, but with the shape and the color, it ended up looking a lot more like a penis than a Band-Aid.  Then there was the contributing factor that that was something Anna had on her mind anyway.  The cake was surrounded by candles artfully arranged on top of stacks of books and circling the Band-Aid/penis cake.  On the table in front of it was a brightly colored Post-It note that read “Eat your heart out.  Don’t forget to swallow.”

“Elisa, what did you do…” Anna mumbled, shaking her head at her roommate’s idea of a cathartic binge eating of oddly shaped baked goods.

There was no point in inviting Elisa to help her eat the cake since she was probably out with her current boyfriend, so Anna was left with a paper plate, a napkin, a fork, and the cake.  Nothing but her feelings and sugar to keep her company.

She supposed she should be thanking Elisa for thinking of her, but there was some small part of her that wondered if it was an act of mercy because if Anna went into a diabetic coma, then not only would it put her out of her misery but Elisa also wouldn’t have to deal with the moping of a recently single roommate.  She supposed that there were worse ways to go than by sugar overload and since “she had nothing left to live for,” it was probably the least cliché way of going short of tying a silly straw around her throat and seeing if that worked.  Besides, tying a silly straw around anything would probably take more effort than was worth expending on a potentially failing pursuit.

Part of what angered her about the whole situation was how cliché her feelings were.  Two things couldn’t possibly be more cliché and those were being in love, and being heartbroken.  The fact that she could be upset about feeling a cliché just went to show her that she was more worried about how her emotions measured up in the “universal condition” than she was about dealing with whatever those feelings meant.  That probably had to do with the fact that she was a writer, and as a writer you write things (go figure).  But since heartbreak is a universal thing, everyone feels it at some point, is there really something new to say about it?  How was she supposed to explain how she felt without using tired phrases that didn’t mean anything anymore?  Then again, she ran into the same problem when she was happy and in love too.  So there really was no winning.

Anna grabbed the plate with the cake on it and re-located it to the coffee table, settling down into a pretzel position on the floor next to it.  She looked at the cake accusingly for about a minute before stabbing it with a fork.

“Well, might as well put something in my mouth.”
Friday, November 30, 2012 | By: Brianna

Between You and Me

Between you and me and the Internet, let me just say that I'm scared approximately out of my mind, so I'm not really sure where my mind is going because when I'm thinking I'm thinking down eight different paths, and I can't follow any one of them to their logical conclusion because that's when I realize I don't know.

Anything, really.

So between you and me and the Internet, allow me to say that publishing these fears and emotions across an open forum where anyone who can use Google and knows my name will find it scares me just as much as any one of the pages in my choose-your-own-adventure book.

Between you and me and the Internet, I want to move to the city with you so I can see the skyscrapers in the reflection of your glasses.  I want to find that greasy spoon diner where we can go for breakfast every week and where the coffee tastes like mud, but you drink it anyway, and I make fun of you because tea is so much better.  Or hot chocolate.  I want to curl up on a threadbare couch with barely any cushion to it and sleep curled up in your arms because it's safest there.

Between you and me and the Internet, I want to spend days going through every single one of my Poem-A-Days and tack them all over our walls just so I can see if they'd be good for wallpaper.  I want to read your poetry all the time or at least keep it in my purse for rainy days.  I want to drive you to work and drop you off on the corner and do circles around the block until I need to pick you up again.  I want desperately to make out on public transportation and claim no regrets because I don't think I could ever be ashamed of that.

Between you and me and the Internet, I hate the carpet in your basement, or at least I don't like it as much as you seem to, but I would be willing to sit on that floor if it meant sitting with you.

Between you and me and the Internet, I love you like mad and all it takes is a Facebook post to make it official.

Thank you to Sunday Scribblings for the prompt: Between You and Me.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | By: Brianna

White Christmas

Today we're nearing the end of November and the beginning of December.  Yesterday I walked around in jeans and a t-shirt, and this morning I seriously considered taking off my army jacket that makes me look super cool because I was warm.  But for the sake of coolness, I kept it on.  (I'm sure you were worried.)  That and I didn't want to have to carry it to the Dollar Tree.

It's weird that it's so sunny all the time, and I can safely assume that what it looks like through the window is reflected in the temperature.  For example, sun means warmth.  Comfortable warmth.

And the trees haven't gotten the memo that they're supposed to get naked by now.  I'm not kidding, all the trees are still completely dressed.  Although I'm not sure I really want to see a palm tree naked, I do think it would be funny to see all those big fan leaves yellowed and crumpled on the sidewalk.

This is when I start realizing that I'm not in the Midwest, but it's supposed to be fall turning into winter.

Right about now if I was back at home, I'm pretty sure I would be bundled up in a jacket, scarf, hat, and gloves.  I would be sharing pockets with the boy because his gloves don't have fingers and my pockets are warm.  I would probably wear a sweater to class and then remember that it's in the general classroom building which is usually hotter than Hades year round.  And when I forget that I have class in the science building because that's where they stick business classes, I'd just shiver through it.

It might be sunny back home, but if you step out of the house without a jacket, you'll just have to turn around and grab it because sunshine does not equal warmth in the autumn months back home.  Some of the more reckless folk would just venture out in a hoodie, but I've always been one of those people who's always cold, so...jacket and scarf it is.

All the trees would be naked and prancing about.  That's right, the trees prance about in the Midwest.  Yes, yes they do.

And any day now there would be snow.

I'm swiftly coming to terms with the fact that I can dream of the white Christmases I used to know as much as I want, but chances are it's not going to snow in Florida.  This is slightly depressing, but the prospect of finding a palm tree to decorate with Christmas lights is just about as exciting as the idea of putting Christmas lights on a cactus.  Not sure how it work...but it would be worth a shot.

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.  Just like the ones I used to know."
- 'White Christmas'
Sunday, November 25, 2012 | By: Brianna

The Future

We're all afraid of it to some extent.  My boss told me last year that I'm perpetuating my own fear of The Future by capitalizing unnecessarily in my Twitter hashtags and whenever I refer to The Future.  Like right now.  The Future.

As a new graduate from university, college, whatever you call it, The Future is staring me right in the face.  When I think about it, it feels as if I need to make decisions about The Future, which makes sense.  Choose your fate, all that jazz, because we make our own fate, right?  But when you pick a path, don't you eliminate the possibilities and the potential of the paths that you could have chosen in the first place but didn't?  I have ideas, and some of them are silly or downright crazy, but I'm afraid of picking just one because I would have to commit to just one idea.  I don't want to limit myself.  Which is all well and good, but when The Future is standing nose to nose with you and you're still avoiding eye gets a little awkward.

I know one thing for sure.

I want to write.

I don't really care what else I do to maintain time and funding for writing, as long as it doesn't suck out my soul and leave me too drained at the end of the week to do anything but sleep.  I'd really love to be able to do something that makes me happy, and inspires me to write.

So the things that I've been thinking about for The Future all go in different directions, but these are my thoughts because I'd rather write a blog post right now than do the homework that I'm so good at procrastinating.  (Actually, if I could get paid to procrastinate, I would be richer than J.K. Rowling.)

I like helping people fix their written work.  I really like writing all over a piece of paper and drawing arrows and giving feedback about a person's work.  I like critiques.  I like workshops.  I like playing around with sentence structure and playing with other people's ideas.
I've been reading about book editors for the project that I'm procrastinating right now, and the majority of what I've read talks a lot about figuring out if a certain idea or book will sell and then selling that to the market.  This sounds a lot more business-y than I'm willing to be, and not a whole lot like what I've thought editing is like.  I'm wondering if I'm thinking of a different type of editing or if I'm thinking of lower level editors instead of the head honcho of a publishing company.
I don't really need extra schooling to be an editor or work in the publishing industry.

Student Affairs Professional
I really loved working as an RA at school.  I really enjoy working with first year students to help them figure things out, and I've always loved being a big sister or a mentor for those who are younger than me.  Though I say that I hate people a lot of the time, the truth is that I actually do like people.  I like being able to see that I've helped someone out, and I like being able to help people learn and develop.  My boss at school had a big impact on my senior year, and I want to be able to pass on that help to someone else.
I've talked to my boss and people who I know who are in this field, and their passion for their work is infectious.  It's one of those things that I get really excited about in bursts, and then get lost in trying to figure out how to do it.  There's probably a lot more administration and paperwork to be done in this field than I'm thinking, but being able to see that I'm making a difference or helping people would be huge.
I would have to go to graduate school, preferably for some college student personnel Masters degree.

I love the library.  Though there are some libraries (particularly academic ones) that creep me out, I really love the idea of neighborhood libraries and how they could be a central hub for a community.  Creating community was a huge thing with me in college because I was an RA, and I would want to do things to create or maintain a community in a neighborhood because I think that would be really neat.  Plus I would love to be able to share my enthusiasm for books.
I'm not really sure what a librarian does outside of shelve books, assist with research projects, recommend books, help with homework, or plan community programs.  I've heard that librarians at academic librarians have to write papers and present them at conferences, but that's not really something I would be interested in.  I want to be able to help people somehow.
I would have to go to graduate school for a Masters in Library Sciences.  Which I have no idea what it means.

So what I'm saying is that if I pick one out of these three ideas, chances are I'm going to have to go to graduate school, and then I'll have to worry about all of those things.  I really want to be able to see that I'm making a difference in a community or a person's life or in their written work.  Another thing about these is that editors and librarians are sort of on a sinking ship what with self-publishing and e-books.  So I'm not really sure if either of those careers would look like something I would want to do in The Future Future anyway.

I suspect that I'm thinking too much, which is usually the case for these things, but I can't help but sit on that rocking chair of worry and get nowhere because it feels like if I'm worrying about The Future I can justify not doing something immediately.  What I'm saying is that I have no idea what I want to do with my life, and I'm not quite sure that that's okay anymore.  I'm getting bombarded from all sides with questions of what I'm going to do or who I'm going to be, and the only answer I have is "I don't know yet."  But that doesn't seem to satisfy any of the askers.  Trust me, it's not making me feel any better either.

"It's time to begin, isn't it?  I get a little bit bigger but then I'll admit I'm just the same as I was.  Now don't you understand that I'm never changing who I am."
- Imagine Dragons, 'It's Time'
Saturday, November 10, 2012 | By: Brianna

Thinking about Writing instead of Writing

So my friend, Katie, and I decided that we would do NaNoWriMo.  After years of talking about doing it, I actually committed, re-signing up on the website and keeping up a word count, and saving my day's writing and all of that.  I wrote every day except yesterday.  And, well, today too.  I'm getting horribly terrible at getting myself to write all of a sudden, and I suspect that it has to do with the fact that my "novel" has no plot.    I'm writing two different sections with characters and stuff (which is hugely specific, I'm well aware), but right now neither of those sections have a plot.  Which is mildly irritating, but I'm going to try my best to persevere.

I'm also thinking that I need to learn more things about life and stuff in order to write more better things.  Yeah, that's right, I said "more better," because that's definitely a term.  And it's awesome.
Point being, I think that I need to learn more.  I want to learn more about topics that I'm not familiar with, if only because I want to be able to go on a game show and be awesome at answering the random questions.  That, and I love being a fountain of strange knowledge, so this calls for reading.  Reading of strange sources of information and the like.  What's great is that the Internet exists, which is pretty awesome.

As for learning about life, that would just come from experiencing more of it.  Actually taking chances to explore and have fun.  Go to speakers, listen to people, go to events and places where I've never been, and the like.

More genre experimentation.  I haven't played around with genre outside of fantasy, and I think that that could be fun.

I'd also like to play around with different styles of poetry, different forms of writing.  I haven't done a lot with forms, and I think that that would be challenging.  Especially since I don't think I'm particularly good at form poetry.  I could also do more with lyric essays and non-fiction type deals.  Or maybe I could write a song.

And then I need to figure out what to do with my writing.  Do I want to rewrite everything I've ever written?  Do I want to submit them for publication?  Do I want to peddle them on street corners?  Yup.  Need to figure that out.

So there are lots of things that I need to think about with regards to my writing, and get back on track with NaNoWriMo.  So enough of the procrastination, let's get writing.
Saturday, October 27, 2012 | By: Brianna

Life as a Pixar Movie

There was a time when my friend posed the question:

If your life was a Pixar movie, what movie would your's be?

I struggled with this question mostly because the best Pixar movies had been taken, and I couldn't think of a way to relate my life to Toy Story or Up, which was sad.  And there was no way I was going to use A Bug's Life.

The conclusion I came to was that my life is Ratatouille. 

And now is when I put up the obligatory ***SPOILER ALERT*** because I'm going to talk about plot, characters, and other things.  And though I'm not sure if there are people who would care if I spoil...but you know...just making sure.


I definitely feel like Remy in that I feel like I have a talent, but I'm in an environment that isn't exactly fostering that talent or encouraging it.  One might say that I feel creatively stifled by where I am in my life.  So in that way, I'm faced with the challenge of finding a means through which I can use my gifts.

Then again, I also feel like Linguini because I don't always have Remy's confidence in my own talents, and sometimes I just feel like everything I'm doing is going wrong and subsequently leading me in the completely wrong direction.  But I'm eager to learn and develop as an artist, I just need a mentor of sorts.

Plus I feel like I'm surrounded by Colettes, the people who know exactly what they're doing and where they're going.  They're unflappable, and they're so staggeringly confident in themselves that I fall over myself to please them or prove that I'm even a little okay.  Then again, when I do that, I'm less true to myself and I end up coming up with art that's not too great because I'm making it for someone that's not me.  Some of my best friends are Colettes.  Or I feel like they're Colettes because I have a huge inferiority [hush] complex.

And that's all I really have because I need to think more.  Basically the gist is that I'm still coming to terms with my own talent and gifts, so I'm mixing things up a bit as I figure things out.

"I know this sounds insane, but... well, the truth sounds insane sometimes, but that doesn't mean it's not. Uh, the, the truth. And the truth is, I have no talent at all." 
- Linguini, 'Ratatouille'
Friday, October 26, 2012 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Love

This morning, when I woke up and thought about writing a blog post, I realized: hey, it's Friday!  Poetry Friday!  Then I didn't know what poem to write about.  I thought I might cheat and write about how (just like every year around this time of October) I'm considering participating in National Novel Writing Month.  I have yet to actually commit to doing it, well, let's be honest, I'd like to, but it's more a matter of committing to an idea than anything else.  Anyway...

Novels aren't the point, because today's about poetry.

Today I read Pablo Neruda's "Love," which I'm also going to type here because it took me an eternity to find it when I wanted to read it originally.  It makes me really want to be best friends with Pablo Neruda, steal his brain, and kiss him on the mouth.  Maybe not in that order though.

Love -- Pablo Neruda

So many days, oh so many days
seeing you so tangible and so close
how do I pay, with what do I pay?

The bloodthirsty spring
has awakened in the woods.
The foxes start from their earths,
the serpents drink the dew,
and I go with you in the leaves
between the pines and the silence,
asking myself how and when
I will have to pay for my luck.

Of everything I have seen,
it's you I want to go on seeing:
of everything I've touched,
it's your flesh I want to go on touching.
I love your orange laughter.
I am moved by the sight of you sleeping.

What am I to do, love, loved one?
I don't know how others love
or how people loved in the past.
I live, watching you, loving you.
Being in love is my nature.

You please me more each afternoon.

Where is she?  I keep on asking
if your eyes disappear.
How long she's taking!  I think, and I'm hurt.
I feel poor, foolish and sad,
and you arrive and you are lightning
glancing off the peach trees.

That's why I love you and yet not why.
There are so many reasons, and yet so few,
for love has to be so,
involving and general,
particular and terrifying,
joyful and grieving,
flowering like the stars,
and measureless as a kiss.

So I'm a sap.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a complete and total sap, and they're either okay with it or they ignore me when I go into "sap mode."  I adore this poem.  I found quotes from it when I was browsing around Tumblr trying to decide if I want to get a Tumblr.  Then there was a gigantic Google search of epicness during which I found a bunch of other Neruda poems, none of them the ones that I wanted until I finally stumbled upon this one.  So I printed it out and it now lives on my bulletin board.  Basically it's awesome.

Anyway...I really love the third stanza.  The third stanza is the one that caught my eye originally and made me want to read the entire poem.  I love it.  Like a lot.  It's just about as good as chocolate covered strawberries and cuddly kisses.  It's so simple, and yet it's so swooningly romantic that I want to shake Pablo Neruda's hand and congratulate him for writing something so beautiful.  I don't know what "orange laughter" is, but I imagine it being something bright and delightful and sunshiney, and that makes me happy.

I like the idea that this poem takes on something that is so easily cliched because it's written about so much, and makes it new and fresh.  Sure, there are probably a ton of poems about how the speaker doesn't think they deserve the one who loves them, but this poem ropes in the element of luck and the consternation that the speaker will have to pay for having been so lucky in love.  This ups the stakes and makes things not so much about the self-deprecation of the speaker but more so about the elevation of the loved.

I have never heard spring described as "bloodthirsty," and I'm not quite certain how I feel about it.  But I am inclined to think that it has to do with the spring being most associated with love and "mating season" that it heats the blood, as it were.  These images of nature in the second stanza make me believe that the speaker's love for the subject is as natural as breathing.

"Lightning glancing off the peach trees."  Can we talk about how beautiful that is?  Sure, it's destructive in that lightning striking just about anything fries the "anything," but peach trees make me think of scent and fruit and delicious things and lightning is dangerous, but combined with peaches, it makes it all worthwhile.  Goodness gracious.  And I'm not sure how stars "flower," but yes.  So much yes.

1.  What is orange laughter?  Can you write something that either explains what this is or explores the idea of many-colored laughters?
2.  I dare you to write an un-cliche love poem.
3.  Write a poem in which the speaker self-deprecates in order to talk about their love.  Then find a way to twist that self-deprecation into an elevation of the love.
4.  Create an image of dangerous beauty.  What does it feel like, and what kind of emotions does it inspire in the speaker?
5.  Write about the bloodthirsty spring.  What's up with that?

"I love your orange laughter."
- Pablo Neruda, 'Love'
Friday, October 19, 2012 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Kiss

Once upon a time, I read a poem by Gabriel Gadfly.  Once upon another time, I thought that I should post something about Poetry Friday, and StumbleUpon provided me with another Gabriel Gadfly, this one titled "Kiss."

This is an example of a poem that uses the same word over and over.  Though I'm sometimes of the opinion that if you say a word over and over again that it starts to lose meaning because all it becomes is a sound, I believe that this poem uses "kiss" effectively without allowing it to lose its meaning.  In fact, I would argue that this poem opens up far more definitions and interpretations of the word "kiss" and what it actually means to kiss someone.  And the experience of communicating through an intimacy like that.

The line "you are the water and the jug" reminded me quite a bit of Billy Collins' "Litany" mostly because of the way that the line is set up in the "you are the ________ and the ________" format.  I'm wondering if that was a purposeful similarity.  Then again, rather than continuing to list the things that the "you" is or is not, Gadfly transforms it into a metaphor with his "thirst and thirst."  Going along with that, there's a good bit of water imagery and words that evoke the idea of water: spill, thirst, moist, etc.

This poem interested me in that it makes simple rhymes, but they're not distracting.  I usually find that amateur poets who try to write rhyming poetry come out sounding like Dr. Seuss.  And maybe that's just my prejudice, or I'm weird, but yeah.  That.  But Gadfly juggles his simple rhymes with a grace that keeps them from being distracting.

And this is when I lose steam because my brain is mush.

1.  Experiment with rhyme without creating a Dr. Seuss poem.  Good luck!
2.  Come up with a simple metaphor that you can extend through a couple lines.  Kinda like the "water and the jug," and the "smoke and the salt."
3.  Write about a kiss.  Or a series of kisses.

"But first I will kiss her and spill
Herds of sweet words
Over the hills of our mouths,
Beautiful words..."
- Gabriel Gadfly, "Kiss"
Thursday, October 11, 2012 | By: Brianna

Coffee Shop Pilgrimage

Q:  So what's going on?

A:  Not much, really.

Q:  Seriously?  That's the only answer you're going to give me?  This is going to be a really long blog post of nothing.

A:  Nah, it's just the normal stuff.  My need to catch up with Poem-A-Day things and my sudden interest in writing short fiction again.

Q:  Oh?

A:  Yup.  And my need to write in a coffee shop.

Q:  Well that's something you can write about.

A:  Yeah, I guess.

So in the town where I went to school, there were two coffee shops that were little independent coffee shops  with the wifi and the delicious baked goods, and of course, coffee.

See, the thing is I don't drink coffee.  I love the smell of it, but I can't really get myself to drink coffee.  Unless it's loaded with cream, and even then I'm not necessarily going to sit down and drink an entire cup.  I'm more of a tea person.  But the coffee shops in the town where I went to school were perfect for writing in.  My friend and I wrote a murder mystery show in one of them, and I wrote poetry and went on dates in those coffee shops.  Basically, these little independent coffee shops made my heart happy.  I love supporting local business, and I'm not really a fan of chain restaurants or things.

So even though I'm far away from these little coffee shops, I'm reluctant to go to Starbucks to fulfill my need to write in a coffee shop again.  I used to work in a cafe, and we loathed Starbucks.  For good reason.  And I'm not that impressed with Starbucks mochas [because that's all I really drink that's coffee-related].  Plus [and this is the biggest deal] Starbucks is a chain.  They're everywhere.

Unfortunately, small independent coffee shops are not everywhere.

This leads me to the conclusion that if I want to write in a coffee shop, I must write in a Starbucks.  They're easy to find, they're everywhere, and they will feed me food and expensive coffee drinks while I write poetry or the short fiction I've been playing around with.  Everything I could possibly want in life, right?  Sure.  Point being, this is my blog post to say that [for the moment], I am selling out and will be writing in a Starbucks.  If there's any way for me to find a small coffee shop within walking/easy bus distance from my apartment in Orlando, FL, I will be going to that instead...but as of right now...Starbucks it is.

This is also an attempt to get me into a regular writing pilgrimage routine.  So if possible, I can go to this Starbucks every Thursday and write until my heart's content, go home, feed myself, and feel really accomplished that I did something writing related.

I'm sure that this is all thrilling to hear, but I thought it was at least a little interesting...maybe?

"And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss."
- J.K. Rowling
Thursday, September 27, 2012 | By: Brianna

More Little Things that Make Me Happy

At about this moment, I thought it was about time for another blog post.  It's been a while, so it's time for a continued list of little things that make me happy.  Some may be repeats because I'm not reading the original list, so you're just going to have to deal with it.

  • brightly colored socks
  • hot tea and honey
  • comfy, holey hoodies
  • Post-It notes
  • ice cream
  • going for walks
  • feeling my waistband a little looser than usual
  • chocolate milkshakes
  • knowing I'm wearing new shoes
  • dressing up and looking pretty for no particular reason
  • rolling around on the floor
  • decorating my bulletin board
  • cuddling with gigantic stuffed animals
  • curling up with a blanket
  • starting a new notebook
  • bicycle bells and bicycles with baskets
  • getting a seat on the bus
  • poetry
  • when Pandora plays music with words
  • washing dishes with a lot of soap so I can see the bubbles run over
  • pulling my knees up to my chin
  • handwritten letters
  • chalk
  • Chinese food
  • pizza
  • being able to say "I lifted weights this morning" even if they weren't very heavy and I didn't do it for very long
  • colored pens
  • writing in books
  • using recycled paper (because I am a supreme nerd)
  • finishing a month of Poem-A-Days and being able to look back and read them all
  • holding hands
  • kisses (chocolate and otherwise)
  • toothless little kid grins
And...that's all I've got for now.
Monday, September 17, 2012 | By: Brianna

A Letter to Florida Weather

Dear Florida Weather,

I know I've talked to to you a couple times...specifically to shake my fist at the heavens and say "CURSE YOU!" whenever it rains, but this letter isn't like that.

I'm writing today to say thank you.  Thank you for starting to cool off.  I'm really excited that the temperatures are dropping below 90 degrees.  I know that Florida is supposed to be warm, but I'm from Chicago and this humidity is a little crazy.  Granted, my hair is loving the humidity because it curls in all sorts of crazy ways, which can be nice, but the rest of me?  Not so much.  Especially all the bits of me that I have to cover in sunscreen because in addition to the humidity, it's been hot and sunny.  Except when it rains.  When it rains, that's the only time when it's windy, because rain is only fun when it can soak you through in a matter of minutes.  So your weather is a little strange, and the majority of it is taking a lot of work to get used to for this Chicagoan.

When September started, I found myself looking around for the changing colors in the leaves.  But you already know that palm trees don't lose their leaves, and they don't change colors either.  I'm already starting to miss the fall leaves in Illinois, but on the bright side, your weather is getting significantly easier to deal with. Now that the temperature has dropped below 90 degrees, it's better for cuddling up in a hoodie inside the apartment, and maybe there'll be a time when we can comfortably sit outside on our balcony and enjoy the outside.  That would be nice.  Maybe it'll even drop below 80, and then I could easily wear a sweater outside, that would be spectacular.  I miss sweaters.  And scarves.

Rumor has it that you get pretty chilly in the winter months.  If the rumors are true, I'll be really excited because that'll mean I may get to bundle up.  Or scoff at the Floridians who are bundling up.  Either way, I win, really.

So do me a favor, Florida Weather, cool off a little more than a little, and we'll have a great time for the rest of my stay here.

Friday, September 7, 2012 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Snow White's Acne

This morning, I woke up, read a couple blog posts by friends, and then realized that I also have a blog and could probably post something.  After waffling about what I could possibly write about, I realized that it's Friday.  [and don't you dare start singing that Rebecca Black song...oh wait, it's already in my head]  And Friday means...

Poetry Friday!!!

Since I haven't done a Poetry Friday in approximately forever, it's going to be a bit interesting to see how I can get back into it.  I'd like to get back to blogging daily as well, but you know...some things aren't going to happen, especially when I have this really pretty journal that I can hand write in.  And you know how much I like hand writing things.  [I'll give you a hint, I actually prefer it...]

So today I read a poem by Denise Duhamel, mostly because I forgot to read something by her when she came to visit at my university and also because I was looking for something by her that I was really interested in.  Duhamel writes a lot of modern stuff including (but not limited to) a number of poems about Barbie, chronicled in her book Kinky.  Though I haven't read all of Kinky, I read the bits that were found in her collections Queen for a Day.  But today isn't about Barbie.  Today's about Snow White, which I thought was rather fitting.  Today I read "Snow White's Acne" which sounds like an off-putting title.  Although not really for me because I love fairy tale poems, and I especially enjoy fairy tale poems that take the fairy tales and twist them up for the reader so the story's a little less pure than you originally thought it was.  Because let's face it, some of these princesses really need to be taken down a peg.  Or four.

First off let's talk a little bit about the title.  It has the word "acne" in it.  How many people actually find the word "acne" appealing?  I can tell you right now that there isn't a very large number of people who enjoy the word "acne" or the feelings that the word "acne" inspires in their pores.  Although my pores are currently rejoicing at the mere mention of acne because they're creating enough to rival Snow White's adolescence in this poem.  Anyway, when you think of Snow White, you immediately finish up her title with "and the seven dwarfs," so you're set up with one set of expectations, yet this title gives you a different answer.  Acne.  What could be less dwarf-like than acne?  Well, you could probably argue that acne is kinda like dwarfs in some ways, but I'm not going to go there right now.  A twist of expectations in this way makes things interesting.

Now about those comparisons.  And/or descriptions.  "Dried strawberry juice"..."like a tapeworm curled up"..."multiplying like pins in a pin cushion."  And on and on.  They're very vivid descriptions that we've got here, and they all seem very concrete, comparing or using descriptions that are rooted in real world things like juice or tapeworms or pins.  I think this makes the descriptions of the acne even more grotesque, and that definitely brings Snow White down a couple notches.

And at this point I have lost steam with my poetry "analysis," so I'm going to stop for now...if I think of other things...I'll come back.  Yeah...

Another good Snow White poem is Anne Sexton's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

"The Queen remained the fairest in the land.
It was hard on Snow, having such a glamorous mom.
She rebelled by wearing torn shawls and baggy gowns."
- Denise Duhamel, 'Snow White's Acne'
Saturday, September 1, 2012 | By: Brianna

Poetical Anniversary

It's official.  Today marks the one year anniversary of my Poem-A-Day Project.  Exactly one year ago, I was walking with a friend and we decided to write one poem a day for the month of September.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Actually, all through the project, I've spent every month going back and forth about whether I would continue on.  Would I write more than one month or would it stop after September?  Would I do more than six months?  Might as well finish up the school year, should I continue over the summer?  I'm not sure where all this indecision comes from, but if I had to guess it would be because of the endless doubt in my ability to produce more poems.  Because some months are just altogether rotten, and some of those months I'd really like to forget.  Oh, that and the fact that continuing the project always sounded crazy.

Stranger:  You've been writing daily poems for how long?
Me:  A year.
Stranger:  (wide eyes)  No way.

A professor at the university I just graduated from told me that he was considering creating a class around the idea of writing one poem a day with the thought of producing sheer quantity of material to work with.  He said that he wasn't sure that a college student could handle it with all their other commitments and things, but that hearing I had been maintaining the project for months on end, he thought that maybe he could create a class like that after all.  These are the things that make me happy.

Additionally, I'm trying to get my friends to pick up on a Poem-A-Day Project of their own.  I've sent out a challenge to my poetically minded friends to write one poem a day for the month of September, just like how I started out a year ago.  If they continue after this month will be up to them, but I'm hoping the experience in and of itself will be as good for them as it was for me.

Stranger:  But what are you going to do with those over 300 poems and poem scraps that you've written?

Well, like any good writer, I'm going to keep them.  I plan on also revising them, but since I'm miles and miles away from my collection of poems, that's going to have to wait until I return home.  I'm excited about the prospect of revision, but I'm not quite sure where I'm going to get feedback and critique.  We shall see.

Stranger:  What now?

Since I'm still participating in the Disney College Program, and there are still tons of poems to be written about that experience as well as the experience of living away from home for the first time out of college and all of that, I'm going to continue the Poem-A-Day Project into the rest of 2012.  Once January 1st rolls around, I'll probably go back to flip-flopping about whether I'll continue after that, but for now I want to keep going and that excitement for the project will hopefully keep me going for the next couple months.

This month my Poem-A-Day Project challenge will be to revise 2 poems a week from either my freshman year Creative Writing class or my sophomore year Writing Poetry class.  The first being when I was still grumpy about writing poetry, and the second being when I started thinking that poetry was a little bit better than "okay."  My style has changed quite a bit since both of those classes, so I'm excited to go back and read what I wrote originally and also to see what the new revisions will look like.

No matter what this project has in store for me, I know it's going to be an adventure, that's for sure.

"Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn."
- Thomas Gray
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 | By: Brianna

Waiting by the Phone

"I'll call you on Monday," he said, shoving his hands in his pockets along with the little slip of paper that held her phone number.  With that, he walked away in his stolen bowling shoes.

That was 48 hours ago.

On Monday, Jenny woke up at dawn because of the nerves.  The sun slanted through her bedroom window, hitting her strategically in the eye as if it had planned its intrusion into her sleep.  Of course, the sun didn't really much care whether Jenny was awake or sleeping in someone else's bed, it was going to shine wherever it damn well pleased.  Anyway, when Jenny woke up, her tummy was doing somersaults up and down her middle so she held it steady as she brushed her teeth and took a shower.

Jenny wasn't much of a breakfast eater, but when her mother slid a plate of bacon and eggs onto the table in front of her, she couldn't very well say no.

"So what are you going to do today, Jenny?" her mother asked, cocking a hip as she fried up some eggs for Jenny's father who liked his eggs runny, a preference that his wife never fully understood.

"Oh, this and that.  I think I'm just going to hang out here for a while, I need some time to recharge," Jenny said, waving her fork around vaguely as if indicating some abstract plans she may have in the near future.  And that was the end of her mother's questioning.  One simple question, and Jenny was left to shovel scrambled eggs and bacon into her minty toothbrushed mouth.  Oh well.

Once Jenny's mother was safely off to work and Jenny's father was locked up in his office where he was working on his novel, Jenny dragged a dining room chair to the wall next to the phone.  The family phone was practically a museum piece, one of those plastic wall hanging ones.  Luckily they had upgraded from the rotary number dial, but it still hung on the wall, the listening and talking piece chained to the wall piece by a stretchy curly cord.

This was the phone number that Jenny had given the boy.  Something had lapsed in her brain, and she had forgotten that she owned a cell phone, so texting and calling on that was out.  Oops.  If she had told her mother this predicament, her mother would have been astounded that Jenny could be so stupid considering her phone was practically surgically attached to her hand at all times while she texted the day away.  Basically her mother would have marveled at Jenny's idiocy, and it would have been completely warranted.

Jenny could feel the chairs's cushion warming underneath her butt.  She crossed her arms and stared at the phone, pausing to check the time on the microwave clock.  8:00 AM.  Well, it was summer, so he was probably only getting up just now.  That gave him to climb out of bed...brush his teeth...maybe run damp hands through his bed head, and call...NOW!

The phone remained still, hanging from the cradle on the wall.

8:02 AM.

Maybe he showered instead of damp hand combing.  So he'd have to take off his pajamas and run the water so it got warm, then climb into the shower...wash his hair and all the clever little places that contained odors...then he had to get out of the shower...dry off...go back to his room and get dressed.  Then maybe he combed his hair.

8:22 AM.  The phone didn't ring.

Maybe he ate breakfast first.  And when he ate breakfast, he made himself a really elaborate breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice, French toast, eggs, bacon AND sausage.  He was a teenage boy, it was morning, and he was hungry.  So he needed to make this breakfast himself after feeding the dog.  Then he'd set up a table setting with a fresh flower that he had to go out into the backyard to retrieve.  And because he was a good son and didn't want to put his mother out, he would clean his own dishes.  By hand.  And after all that he would have to dry all his dishes and put them away too.

9:14 AM.  Nothing.

Jenny rocked back on the dining room chair's back legs, thinking.  What else would he have to do outside of call her?  Wasn't he wondering what she was thinking just as much as she was wondering what he was thinking?  I mean, was he upset that his school's football team had lost and her's had won?  Wasn't he thinking that he wanted another custom made hot dog from her school's free hot dog stand?  Jenny had been absolutely certain that they had connected.  They shared the same disdain for ketchup on hot dogs and had given his best friend a hard time about including ketchup in the "everything" on his dog.  They had all laughed and he had looked at her and smiled.  She could remember just about everything that he had said that night, and she sat next to the phone while she analyzed every pause, glance, and word.

9:52 AM.  Nada.

Jenny let out a sigh.  Maybe he was cleaning his room?  He was a boy.  Unlikely.  Maybe she needed to clean her room?  No.  She couldn't allow the chance of him having to leave a message on the family answering machine.  She would never hear the end of it if that happened.  Jenny bit her lip thoughtfully, staring even more intently at the piece of plastic that was quickly becoming more of an enemy than she ever could have previously imagined.  If he didn't call in the next ten minutes, she would go to the mall with Stacy. Ten minutes.  He had ten minutes to call.

10:02 AM.  Nope.

Jenny took a breath, steeling herself.  She pulled herself up off the dining room chair, peeling her pajama pants off the chair's cushion and shuffling back to her room to get dressed and brush her teeth again.  She fluffed her hair, grabbed her purse and her cell phone.  As she headed out the front door, Jenny dialed Stacy.

10:41 AM.  The phone rang.

"I'm tired of waiting by the phone, and second-guessing what a guy says and trusting someone not to hurt me.  Again.  I've been storming the relationship castle for fifteen years, and I still don't have my prince.  I've got a bunch of battle scars from the field and I want to go home and nurse my wounds.  I don't want to fight anymore."
- Kim Gruenenfelder
Sunday, August 5, 2012 | By: Brianna

Things I've Learned at Home

As a recent college graduate, I figured that my learning would end once I left the beautiful campus of the place I'd called home for the past four years.  How very, very wrong I was.

  1. The day you really want to go to the library, it'll be closed for a library institute day.  You'll try going at 9 the next day, only to realize it doesn't open until noon.
  2. Old people will glare at you if you drive across parking spaces in the parking lot.  They will also glare at you when you start driving across the intersection when they're crossing the street NOT at the corner!
  3. Small children will attack when you're innocently trying to recycle paper.
  4. Your 5 books are only worth $2.  All together.
  5. The local Barnes and Noble doesn't have a poetry section, though it does have an entire set of shelves devoted to "teen paranormal romance."
  6. It has to get worse before it'll start looking better.
  7. No, I don't need a copy of the script from a show I wasn't actually in, I just stage managed...because I'm never going to need to call those light cues again.
  8. Don't worry if it looks like you've made zero progress with cleaning your room...that's just a sign that you have a lot of stuff to sift through.
  9. If you ask your dad really nicely, he'll fill up the bike's tires with air before you even get home.
  10. The alternative music radio station will resurrect itself just in time for you to listen to it on a bike ride.
  11. The radio in your car will never work again.  Ever.  Because you're home and you want to listen to it.
  12. That car sitting next to the school bus that almost hit you?  She wasn't watching the school bus.  She will also almost hit you.
  13. If you're helping your dad with the balcony, make sure those unsecure boards you sit on are out of his reach, or he'll try messing with you.
  14. Spiders can drown in the washer.
  15. Cookie sheets can burn you.
  16. You might be judged based on the titles of the books you take out from the library.
  17. If you start one romance novel in a series, you will have to read the rest of the series just to find out what happens to the rest of the characters.
  18. Most Parisians are kind and helpful and genuinely don't want to see you wandering around sad and lost in their city.
  19. Your boyfriend will remember this: and it'll be awesome.
  20. If you're standing next to someone nice in the line for the Amtrak, they'll give you the window seat because you talked about it.  On your return trip, you will meet Ben, and he will be awkward.
  21. People are stupid.  Sometimes they're related to you.
  22. You will see Fifty Shades of Gray everywhere.  Yes.  Even Kroger.  Though not at Menard's.
  23. You will get a "nod" at Menard's.  Possibly because you're wearing a zombie bandana.
  24. Time moves really oddly over the summer.
  25. You will be in every picture/video of the front row at a concert for a band you only know 3 songs for (though you will be surrounded by people who have attended (collectively) over 200 of their concerts).
  26. Ekphrasis is haaaaard....  And you will be thankful when the Pinterest poems are over.
  27. You are a reading machine.
  28. It doesn't matter when you go to the library, even if you vary the days and time of day, you will never bump into the librarian you want to bump into.
  29. "That's a lot of watermelons."
  30. The dog you're sitting doesn't know how to play fetch, but he's exceptionally good at playing "keep away."
  31. Everyone will have a job, or something to do during the summer.  Everyone but you.  So pick up a book.  Or three.
  32. "Where do you wait for the buses?"  "Over where it's labelled 'buses.'"  Thanks, I can read, I was testing you under these unusual circumstances.
  33. Coffee Hound espresso is infinitely better than any other espresso and you will be reminded every time you buy a coffee drink from anywhere else.
  34. After a couple ciders, always be careful when you choose to turn your head to kiss your boyfriend.  That head in the way does not belong to him.
  35. Yes, you can quote "The Doctor's Wife," but that doesn't mean you should.
  36. Be careful how enthusiastically you twist your neck.
  37. Never make promises you don't intend to keep.
  38. New things come out on Tuesdays.
  39. You will visit Barnes and Noble WAY too many times during the summer, but you will buy too few books (a.k.a. none).
  40. A complete stranger will hear your conversation and assure you and your friends that he "can do the tongue thing."


Any time you leave home, you're reminded: Goodbyes were always difficult.  It came with the territory, all wrapped up in the "seeing off" presents, but hidden in a corner away from the Hallmark cards with the checks from family members who couldn't remember what they needed when they first moved elsewhere or who had never been to college.  And it was a big box that was actually more of a glorified "nesting doll" with box within box within box, each holding a different category of farewell.

There were the family goodbyes which were the lowest difficulty.  Relatively easy when compared with others because your plans were always the talk of family dinners and gatherings, even if you weren't actually present to confirm facts or quash rumors.  Yes, you would be moving into an apartment and yes, you would have to feed yourself.  No, the pets would have to stay home, and no, you wouldn't be home for the holidays.  The "missing" of family members was a given.  They sent you with cookbooks that they probably didn't have in their own cabinets because they were thinking about your budget (or lack thereof) and how you would in reality live off of Ramen despite the fancy recipes in the cookbook.  At least one family member will send you with salt and pepper.
Your immediate family will drive you to the airport, probably even make sure that you remember to tip the skycap for taking care of your magenta rolly bag.  They'll follow you as far as they can, and hopefully you'll remember to hug them all before you put your shoes on the conveyor belt to be scanned because ballet flats are dangerous shoes.  Especially when they have cut out stars.

There were the general goodbyes, to familiar places and the librarians you probably won't miss anyway.  You'll have to bid farewell to the Walgreens within walking distance, various libraries in town, the train station, the bank where you don't have much money anyway, all the streets you're familiar with because you've lived there all your life...

Less general but still impersonal-ish goodbyes went to things like your house.  Your bedroom.  Your car which wasn't really "your" car anyway because you shared it with your brother.  The backyard.  The dog.

There are various specifications of friend goodbyes, but the most common are the last minute goodbyes that actually happen via text or Facebook post because everyone forgot that life happens.  One of you has a job and the other one of you has a plane to catch.  Some of these goodbyes could be frustrating, and that's okay.  It's one of those things that you shouldn't let fester.  Let it go.  It's really not the end of the world if you don't see every single one of your friends exactly a week before you take off.  Really.  It's okay.

And then there are the goodbyes to that special someone.  That one person who tolerates all of your cliches and all of your cheesiness and loves you anyway.  And I'm not talking about your mom.  I'm talking about your special lady friend or your gentleman...friend?  Yeah, that person.  You'll spend just about every waking moment cuddling and doing everything you can to stay as close as humanly possible and socially acceptable. You'll do all the cute little couple things and pretend that it's just another weekend, that one of you isn't leaving the state for five months.  You'll pretend that you live together and eat off the same plate because you don't want to do the dishes...some chores are just always intolerable, it doesn't matter who you're doing them with.  One of you will tell the other not to cry when they leave and the other one will promise, but they'll cry anyway when the other has their back turned.

You'll miss everyone and everything, partially because of your change of locale, the increased distance between people, and the unfamiliarity of where you'll be.  And you'll probably feel homesick.  And that's okay.  It's really just a temporary goodbye anyway.

"Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?" - Unknown
Sunday, July 22, 2012 | By: Brianna

Cleaning Out Jacques

So Jacques (my laptop) has been a little grumpy, leading me to believe that things need to be deleted.  But in going through this process, I found some gems:

This unfinished bit about The Search for Hogwarts:

Once upon a time in a land just over the Atlantic Ocean from the United States, the sun was just peeking over the horizon, as if checking to see if it was safe to rise.  On a random streetcurb sat two girls.  They looked somewhat out of place, and definitely lost.  The blonde one was consulting a large map and muttering to herself while fiddling with her thick maroon and gold scarf while the dark (not black!) haired girl craned over her shoulder.
“Okay, so we were supposed to pass eight phone boxes and make a left on Princes Street.  We did that,” the blonde mumbled, massaging her temple with one hand.  “Let’s face it, Maggie, we’re lost.”
“We’re not lost, we’re right in front of a bookstore!” Maggie assured her lamenting companion.
“Which translates to our being lost.”
It was clear that the two had had this conversation before, and Maggie’s continued attempts to lift the blonde’s spirits had been so far unsuccessful.
“Look, Brianna, we can take a break from our search and go into the bookstore for a bit, and then you can keep freaking out,” Maggie bargained.  Two opposing forces battled across Brianna’s features, the one side wanting to forge ahead and reach their goal the most efficient way possible, and the other side with a soft spot for bookstores of all kinds.
“Alright, let’s go.”
The two girls stood and crossed the cobbled street, attracting a number of odd looks due to Maggie’s skirt and tie and Brianna’s scarf, but neither of them took any notice.
Inside the shop were shelves upon shelves of books.  Virtual mountains of books reaching the ceiling.  At the very sight of them, two American jaws hit the dusty floor.
“Oliver, this isn’t working, no one’s coming.”
The complaining voice came from the mouth of a very well dressed gentleman


The Death of Creativity from a class I took once and how upset I was that my classmates were uncreative...

I feel that creativity doesn’t exist in this realm.  Creativity lies in the hallway with a pike rammed in it’s chest.  The life juices already run out.  Needles impale Creativity’s fingertips, pinning them to the ground.  Eyes open, watching the door.  It’s ears bleed.  Flesh separated from its legs, feet reaching towards the door.  Escape.  The room within welcomed not Creativity.  Spurned it.  Here was where Creativity came to die.

Outside the doorway, Creativity twitched.  Fettered to the thin wall, Creativity struggled against its bonds.  Somehow clinging to life after a mechanical pencil was rammed down its throat, Creativity rasped.
“I live,” it said.  “There’s Hope.”
But was there?  While Creativity slumped against the wall, did Hope live on as well?  In the corner of the classroom hung a dingy birdcage, the small snowy feathered Hope huddled toward the corner, its dark eyes peering between the bars.

And Creativity had flown out the window.  Looking out the window and down at the ground, you could tell it wasn’t the impact that killed it.  Creativity wore a blindfold, almost like blind Justice, an arrow buried in its chest.  Its feet and hands were bound with barbed wire and mud from the ground smeared its garments.  Hope’s dark brown eyes watched over Creativity’s unmoving form.

The horrid, hanging silence.  Creativity lying gagged beneath the desk.  It gazed out at the occupants of the classroom.


The beginning of a film noir parody of a campus television show I was in during freshman year which I would paste here, but who knows who might be reading this...that and it's also unfinished.


Soundtrack to the Movie of Your Life

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc.).
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Don't lie and try to pretend your cool...because none of us are
Waking Up: Gimme a Chance -- Plain White T's
First Day At School: 'Til Him -- The Producers
Falling In Love: Big, Blonde, & Beautiful -- Hairspray
Fight Song: Bet On It -- High School Musical 2
Breaking Up: One Day I'll Fly Away -- Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge)
Prom: Brown-Eyed Girl -- Van Morrison
Life: Here Without You -- Three Doors Down
Mental Breakdown: Singin' in the Rain -- Gene Kelly
Driving: Thankful -- Jonny Lang
Flashback: Amnesia -- Chumbawamba
Wedding: Be Our Guest -- Beauty and the Beast
Losing your virginity: Mischief Managed! -- John Williams (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Birth Of Child: Jimmy -- Thoroughly Modern Millie
Final Battle: When It All Falls Apart -- The Veronicas
Death Scene: You Get Me -- Michelle Branch
Funeral Song: What You Own -- RENT
End Credits: Not Alone -- Darren Criss


This from Baby Brianna, it's longer, but here's a snippet:

The whistle of the Hogwarts Express trilled and a small puff of smoke engulfed the waiting wizarding families.  Lily Evans bid her Muggle parents and her little sister Petunia farewell outside the barrier between platforms 9 and 10.
“Good-bye,” Lily’s voice wavered with tears welling up in her eyes.  Petunia shoved her older sister away as Lily attempted at giving her a hug, and rolled her eyes.
“Don’t get all emotional,” said Petunia.
Lily gave her parents one last hug and they started walking toward the family car.  When they looked back to wave good-bye, Lily had already disappeared onto platform 9 ¾.
Once Lily had stepped onto the hidden platform, she caught sight of the Hogwarts Express.  She wheeled her trolley away from the barrier and glanced around at the people standing on the platform.  She was hoping to find her loud, outgoing best friend Vivian DeWilde.  But she couldn’t find her blonde best friend; instead, someone else found her.
James Potter waved when Lily caught sight of him.  Lily rolled her eyes and thought, Of course, the person I had least wanted to run into.  I can hear it now, ‘Hey Evans!’  He’s in fifth year with me and yet he still acts so immature.
Once James had finally gotten to Lily, he waved again.
“Hey, Ev-Lily!” he said with a big grin on his face.
“Hello, Pot—I mean, James,” Lily replied.  She sounded like she was tasting the word “James” as if she had never said it before.  In her head she thought, I’m surprised he doesn’t have Remus, Sirius and Peter tagging along with him.


This from quite a bit older Brianna, it's longer, but here's a bit:

The snow covered everything in a thick icing, reminiscent of gingerbread masterpieces of Christmases past.  Streetlamps cast a warm glow on the little neighborhood where families sat in the warmth of their sitting rooms, snuggled up with mugs of hot chocolate.
With a small pop, two figures appeared out of seemingly nowhere on that quiet little street.
“Sirius, you git, you Apparated us into the middle of a snowdrift!” came the whispered rebuke from the shorter of the two figures who pulled her cloak closer around her and leapt out of said snowdrift.
The taller of the two calmly stepped out of the snowdrift, trembling with contained laughter.  “It was a little difficult for me to concentrate with you at such close proximity, love.”
The young woman sent her midnight blue glare at Sirius Black, crossing her arms over her chest before turning her back on him.
“Vahn, love, it’s just snow,” Sirius pointed out, still fighting to control the laughter that threatened to burst from his throat at any second.
“You did it on purpose,” she growled under her breath, turning slowly around to face a Sirius who was significantly closer than he had been a full ten seconds ago.
“I did not,” he said solemnly, his grin the only part of his countenance that contradicted his statement.  With a roll of her eyes, Vivian DeWilde allowed herself to smile and relaxed her posture, standing on her tiptoes only to peck Sirius on the lips before turning and heading off down the street.  Sirius trotted the short distance to fall in to step with her, and by then her hand was in his and they were climbing up the steps of a little house and rapping on the door to gain admittance.

And oh, there's more...but I'll just stop there for now...