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