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