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.”