Sunday, March 31, 2013 | By: Brianna

Hoppy Easter to Every Bunny!

This is it!  It's Easter Sunday for those who celebrate it, and another Sunday before April Fool's Day for everybody else.  It's the end of Lent as we know it, and you know what that means.

No more promises of regular blog posts.

Because I'm a bum.

I'm also a bum who's totally kidding because I should be writing things consistently and not necessarily poetry.

Plus I'm a bum who has loyal readers.

Out there.

Somewhere.

Anyway...

There's one thing that I've always wanted.  A white Easter.  Forget snow-covered Christmas, I'll settle for snow on a day when little girls are forced to wear white Mary Janes and flowered dresses so they have to also be forced into their puffy pink winter jackets.  I want little white snowflakes flying around my head as I trek out to the car for Easter brunch with a friend.  I would love for an icicle to form.

I'm not sure when this wish was created, but I was thinking about it, and for the past four years I spent Easter at school because our spring break never overlapped with the holiday.  And my school is super pretty when it's covered in snow.  I highly doubt that Easter could muster a snow dramatic enough to make the campus look like Narnia as it does in the winter, but I would love for snow on Easter.  That'd be great.

If there's a way to request certain types of precipitation, I'd like to submit a form for a white Easter for the rest of my days.  That would make me very happy.  I mean, it's possible.  This is Illinois, and weather is weird, especially with "global climate change" and all that.  So there is the slight possibility that the air might just get cold enough to freeze whatever precipitation might be promised for this Easter.  I'm really hoping that that possibility is high, but considering the 41 degrees that I'm seeing right now, it's more likely to get warmer as the day goes on.  Mildly depressing for the idle snow-wishers, but hey, the people looking for sunshine and daisies might get their wish, so at least someone goes home happy, right?

"Hedwig didn't return until the end of the Easter holidays.  Percy's letter was enclosed in a package of Easter eggs that Mrs. Weasley had sent.  Both Harry's and Ron's were the size of dragon eggs, and full of homemade toffee.  Hermione's, however, was smaller than a chicken's egg."
-  J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Saturday, March 30, 2013 | By: Brianna

"She's like...twelve!"

Whenever I'm talking about someone who's much younger than me, or someone who seems much younger than me, I typically make the observation that "[NAME] can't do that, he's like 12!"  This is a tendency I picked up from a friend of mine because I thought it was hilarious, and it's been stuck in my brain's lexicon ever since then.  I think I was 15 or 16 when I picked this up.  Maybe.

So now that one of my younger cousins (who am I kidding, I only have three) is turning 12 for real, I'm realizing that I really can say what the older old people say when young people walk into the room: "I remember you when you were this big..." and suddenly I feel decades older than I really am.  And I can't even say she's "like 12," because she will actually be that age.  So this weirds out my speaking patterns.

My mom and I were out shopping for birthday presents for this cousin, because that's what you do when you're family members and you're invited to a birthday party, typically you bring presents, and I was thinking.

What did I do for fun when I was 12?

And I realized that I have no idea.

I was in middle school at the time, leaving a handful of my friends behind at the local elementary school so I could go forth with my best friend to this special program through the local high school that would involve white collared shirts, and dark pants/skirts as a dress code and French class.  I was particularly excited about learning French, let me tell you that.  So presumably, I did a lot of homework.

I don't remember hanging out at friends houses very often, and I don't particularly remember what books I was reading at the time, only that I'm sure I was reading things.

And I have no idea if I was writing at that time.  Because I'm fairly certain that there was a time in my life when I took a break from writing.  I just didn't do it.  Like ever.  I don't know if it's because I didn't have the time or the ideas or the inclination to write short stories or what, but I'm pretty sure I hadn't figured out that I could scribble down ideas or whatever randomness I wanted in a notebook and call that "writing."  Yeah, pretty sure I wasn't doing that.

I think I was doing Girl Scouts, because I had joined the local troop when I was 11, and continued on.  And I don't think that this was the time when I called my Girl Scout leader every week to ask if there was a meeting, I think that was in high school.  So 12, I probably remembered when the meetings were, and went to them as well as the camping trips and other fun things.

If I remember correctly, I did the drama club at middle school, but we didn't really do much that year.  When I was 12, we did a lot of improv.  And I wasn't very good at it.  At least, I didn't think I was particularly good at it, but I had fun, so that's all that really mattered anyway, right?

I must have hung out with friends, but considering we were 12, I have no idea what we did.  Pretty sure that would mean I went to their house and we hung out or had a slumber party.  I must have painted my nails a lot.

I seem to remember a long black skirt that I really loved to wear with brightly colored argyle knee socks under it, because this was a way I could wear bright colors and still be in dress code, because no one was looking at anyone's socks.  This is also when I started liking colored/patterned socks, because dress codes suppress pretty colors otherwise.  Though I'm not sure how this paragraph is relevant to what I did as a 12-year old.

I'm going to guess that I spent a lot of time at home reading or watching movies with my family.  I really love movies, and my grandpa has this really great collection that he lets us borrow from, as long as we swear on our lives that we'll bring them back.  They used to be all VHS, but he's since upgraded to DVD.  I wonder if he'll go as far as blu-ray, but I highly doubt it.  This was also an age when Blockbuster was thriving, so I could have gone there as well.

Not really sure, but I've got a couple ideas, I suppose.

"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been."
- Madeleine L'Engle
Friday, March 29, 2013 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday: Preludes

I forgot it was Poetry Friday.  I almost didn't write about a poem, but luckily I remembered in the nick of time!  Huzzah!

So today I read T.S. Eliot's "Preludes."  I remember reading bits and pieces of this poem in my British literature class, junior year of high school.  This was one of the first poems that helped me decide that poetry might be cool to read.  It helped that there are some lines in here that show up in "Memory" from "CATS," and there was a time when I was in that musical...I don't really want to talk about it, it involved spandex and a painted wig.

And my brain is fried.  Hooray!

I promise that next week I won't be so horrible with Poetry Friday.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now is about the time of the month when I talk about my plans for the upcoming month of Poem-A-Day.  April's actually National Poetry Month and also National Poetry Writing Month, so hopefully that means that people out there in the world are taking part in some sort of poetry writing/reading shenanigans during the upcoming month.  For myself, I'm setting myself the challenge to write a poem about each sign of the zodiac. I'm not really sure how I'm going to time them or how I'm going to set them up, or even if I'm going to write them all in similar styles, so we'll see how that goes.  I'm also playing with the idea of posting this month's poems here so I can formally take part in the National Poetry Writing Month things, but that didn't work out too well last year, so I'm a little hesitant.  Plus that would throw off my whole "putting poems in an envelope and not reading them till the end of the month" routine.

"I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing."
- T.S. Eliot, "Preludes"
Thursday, March 28, 2013 | By: Brianna

Kaleidoscope Heart

I learned recently that one of my readers recently (how many times can I use that word in a sentence...) is an attorney, or at least works at an attorney's office, so their name links back to that website.  You know who you are if you're reading this now!  And I find it interesting that they commented on one of my posts to stress legality and getting everything down in "black and white."  Just wanted to take a moment to thank that commenter, and assure them that my Last Will and Testament post was a draft, I'll be working out the kinks soon, and when I'm closer to my deathbed.

Moving on to today's prompt which I pulled from my box (yes, I'm going to announce that every time I pull a prompt from the box, you'll probably get irritated, but you'll have to either deal with it or...deal with it, thank you!).

Today's prompt:  What music album would be used for a movie about your life?

I was just thinking about this fairly recently (it's that word again...).  I'm actually making a list of all the songs that are out now or that I'm hearing played on the radio right now that apply to my post-graduation "real world" life.  So I've got a couple songs on that list, but it's not a whole album.  One that I'd just like to mention because a friend shared it with me and I feel like it suddenly applies with "22 is like the worst idea that I have ever had..." is Paramore's "Hello Cold World."  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

What's strange is that there's one album that would be pretty good for a movie about my life right now.  Or at least, how my life is right now, and that's Sara Bareilles' "Kaleidoscope Heart."  I shamelessly borrowed the CD from my local library so I could familiarize myself with the music, because my same friend who sent me Paramore's song also sent me "Uncharted."



There was a good week when I played this song on loop.  It was in December, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life when I got home from Florida.  If there was a movie montage to go with this song in the movie of my life, it would be me puttering around the apartment, playing on my computer, and writing stacks of poetry.  Which is interesting in that that's exactly what I'm doing right now since I've been back from Florida.  But this is how I've found myself approaching my life right now.  It's uncharted.  I'm the one making my decisions and determining my own future, drawing the lines on my own map, and I don't want to listen to other people telling me how "to get started."

Then there's "Gonna Get Over You," which makes me love Sara Bareilles all the more, because the music video is so fun.  I don't really know what to say about this.  I'm not sure it's making a promise that I can keep, but I don't know.  "I'm not the girl I intend to be."  This is something I want to live, I want to be the girl that I do intend to be.  Just...need to figure that one out.

"King of Anything."  The song that I've heard on the radio and sung along with.  This would be perfect for the movie of my life because the movie of my life is going to be a romantic comedy of some sort, and I'm going to sing this to someone in a diner.  At least, that's how I'm imagining it.

I'm not really feeling coherent right now, but my feeling is that this album as a whole pretty accurately paints my life as it is right now.  I'm still figuring things out, feeling like there's potential for everything, and yet having no idea how I'm going to get there.  I feel like I want everything but I don't have enough room in my arms to carry it all to the check-out counter.  So there's a lot of reflection needed, but I'm going to be playing this beauty on loop for the next couple forevers because Sara Bareilles is keeping me sane right now.

"Each day, countin' up the minutes, till I get alone, 'cause I can't stay
in the middle of it all, it's nobody's fault, but I'm
so low, never knew how much I didn't know, 
oh, everything is uncharted.
I know I'm getting nowhere, when I only sit and stare..."
- Sara Bareilles, "Uncharted"
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 | By: Brianna

Love Me Dead

There's a book out there in the world called 642 Things to Write About.  I saw it at Barnes and Noble the other day, and because I'm a cheapskate and because I bought a bunch of Sharpie pens that I didn't need, I didn't get this book.  But I DID shamelessly Google it and find a bunch of Tumblr posts from it, which conveniently provided me with a couple ideas for things I could write about here.  Go figure, right?

Today's prompt:  Write a story based on the title of your favorite song.

My favorite song is currently Neon Trees' "Everybody Talks," but I wasn't really feeling it...so I'm using another one of my top favorite songs, Ludo's "Love Me Dead."


Thump.  Draaaaaag.  Thump.  Draaaaaag.  Thump.  Draaaaaaag.

This is the soundtrack of the afterlife.  When you're the only one wandering the burnt out streets of your hometown and you've suddenly lost all desire to speak more than a couple syllables, this is the sound you have to accompany your travel.

Thump.  Draaaaaag.

And that's because I twisted my ankle in some strange direction, and because the bone didn't heal right, or at all, I'm just dragging my sad left foot along through the dust and ash.  I feel like a weird cliche, but the shriveled remains of my brain can barely wrap itself around the concept of marbles let alone a cliche.

Westley whispered into my ear, "Death cannot stop true love, all it can do is delay it a little while."  And I believed him.  I believed that we would be together and we would love so much and so deeply it would embarrass the neighbors.  I believed that no matter how many times I received word that he had died, he would show up at the door that evening for dinner.

And I should have suspected somehow that his attachment was deeper than mine because he's gone off and died, and I'm stuck here.  He loved me just so much, his love isn't letting me die properly.  Which is great for me, I guess.  Prince Humperdinck doesn't really mind that I can't speak well or the limp I've got going on, and he's desperately wanted me for some time now.  Well, Westley, you had your chance, and now you screwed it up for all of us.  Thanks, thanks a lot.

"Kill me romantically, fill my soul with vomit, then ask me for a piece of gum.  Bitter and dumb, you're my sugarplum."
- Ludo, "Love Me Dead"
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | By: Brianna

Advice

Q:  Hey, so what's up?

A:  Not much, just hanging out with people who are younger than me.

Q:  Oh yeah?  Can't find too many friends your own age, eh?

A:  You have no idea how severely unfunny that is.  In fact, these teenagers are actually pretty cool.  I've known them for a while.

Q:  So what's up with the title?

A:  I'm getting there!  Sheesh!

Last night I was giving advice to a friend.  Specifically, I was giving advice to a teenaged friend about boys.  Via text message.  While I was sitting in Baker's Square with a friend who I've known since high school.  Because I'm incredibly rude.  (I'd say you probably wouldn't believe how often I text other people when I'm out with real people...but like I said, you probably wouldn't believe it.)  Anyway, I'm not saying I know a lot, but I have good instincts, and I care about people.  So that's where all my texting was coming from.

My friend who I was eating pie with made the observation that I've been doing this for a long time.  I almost wish that I could have asked him dubiously what he was talking about, but I already knew what he was saying.  I've been collecting friends and surrounding myself with people who could benefit from my advice.  In high school, I "adopted" freshmen, and in college, I was adamant about wanting to work in a first year hall as an RA.  And now that I'm out of school, I'm helping out with my local Girl Scout troop.  My friend made the comment that I can be the "cool and hip" adult person in old TV shows that picks up the main character from the police station, gives them a lecture in the car about responsibility, and then the credits roll.  I immediately thought of Full House.  But I'm not really sure I can be Uncle Jesse.

This realization isn't really something that should come as a surprise to me.  It's just something that I do, kinda like breathing.  And obsessively checking Facebook even though I know that nothing interesting could have happened in the span of five minutes.

So I find myself thinking that this is something I'd like to do with my life.  In The Future, maybe.  I want to be able to give people advice, or help them when they're struggling with something.  And I think that's what draws me to residential life at universities, because I had such a great mentor while I was at school, and I'd like to serve as the same type of person for another student.  When I say I want to "help people," this is the capacity in which I want to help them.  I want to get on their level or be able to say, "I've been there," or "I care about you" and mean it.

And this is when I realize that this tendency toward "mentoring" the young is exactly why people think I would make a good teacher.  Not just because of the formal teaching aspect that would come as a function of my own knowledge and studies, but because I could also be that teacher that the students could confide in.

I'm not really sure where this takes me, but I do know that self-reflection is a big part of the job search.  At least, that's what What Color Is Your Parachute? tells me.  Because I'm a nerd.  Not the point.  Anyway, I'm sitting here thinking about it, and residential life just seems to make more and more sense.  It just feels like it could be a natural extension of the person I already am.  Hm.

"I always pass on good advice.  It is the only thing to do with it.  It is never of any use to oneself."
- Oscar Wilde
Monday, March 25, 2013 | By: Brianna

Goodness

Today I pulled a prompt from my magical prompt box, but the first one I pulled was: Name a time when you broke a rule or law.  Did you get caught, or did you get away with it?  I feel like this would be an unwise thing to write about on a blog where the proper authorities could conceivably find me.  So we're not going to do that one.  The short answer for the curious, is yes I have, but get caught, no.  I'd like to keep it that way.  Just ask me, and I'll tell you the story!

Anyway, one more time!

This is my mysterious full of orange slips with prompts on them.  Magical, yes?
Today's prompt:  Name one thing you feel brings out the good in people.

Laughter.  There are a number of different types of laughter, but most importantly is the laughter that actually makes people happy.  I find that happiness and laughter tend to bring out the good in people.  I say this because I enjoy surrounding myself with people who enjoy laughing and who enjoy making other people laugh.  Because laughter is a unifying experience, people tend to be more friendly once they've laughed together.  I remember going to poetry slams on campus and leaving with this warm feeling and being met with smiles from other people because we had shared something, and I feel like that's part of the "good" that comes out in people.  So laughter for one.

I think that also leaks into shared experiences.  Sharing experiences brings out a good toward the people in that specific context, which is good, and sometimes that also extends to good towards outside people.  I'm not sure if that sentence makes any sense, but it made sense in my head, so I'm leaving it.

Kindness.  Being shown it yourself brings out kindness in others in a sort of "pay it forward" type of attitude. Random Acts of Kindness Week is in February, and I've always wanted to do little anonymous random acts of kindness, but I always manage to forget, which probably says a lot about me, but we're not going to go there.

Feeling like someone cares about you.  This always makes me feel like I need to do something for someone else or let that caring person know just how much their care and concern means to me.  Just because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Caffeine.  I'm only kidding.

Love.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."
- Wendy Mass
Sunday, March 24, 2013 | By: Brianna

A Letter to Ms. Right Turn on Red

Dear Ms. Right Turn on Red,

You don't know me, but I'm Brianna.  The first and last time you saw me was when I was walking on my way to my internship work day wearing the army jacket I'm so infinitely pleased with, and my Gryffindor scarf while cradling my laptop, Jacques, in my right arm.  My gray messenger bag was hanging from my left hip.  But this description of me probably doesn't even really help.

But I know you.  You really have a great shiny black SUV.  It's kinda on the large size, which would explain why you pulled halfway across the striped crosswalk.  You're tan, dark hair, I admittedly didn't get to see you too clearly because our interaction was so short and traumatic.

Let me break it down for you.  Your light was red.  The little white "walk" symbol was illuminated for me, and I was walking from your right hand side to cross the street.  I thought, "Well this jerk is a little rude, taking up half the crosswalk," and stepped out in front of your car, sidestepping around the nose because well...as I said, you were a little inconsiderate when thinking of pedestrians.  I was right between your headlights when you decided you wanted to move your car.  And that's when I felt the shiny hood of your car against the flat of my palm.  I don't know how I just happened to have my hand up there, but yup, there it was.  And that's when I looked straight through your windshield and put my hands up in the universal signal of "WHAT THE HELL?!"  You were looking down the street in the direction you wanted to turn.  I passed you, still in the middle of the street, and you tore off, taking your right on red.

As if you couldn't possibly wait until the green light.

I do have you to thank because now I have the opportunity to say, "I had a near brush with death!" and "I was hit by a car!"  Because technically...I was.  Five months working in a parking lot, and I was never hit or run over.  Two months at home, doing everything right in the eyes of the law, and that's when I get hit.  Part of me suspects that it's because I'm not wearing an orange safety vest.  Clearly this is something I should carry around with me at all times or else I'm likely to be run over.

So thank you, lady.  Thanks a lot for that.

Love,
Brianna
Saturday, March 23, 2013 | By: Brianna

Weird-o

Source: imgfave.com via Brianna on Pinterest


It's true.  I know quite a few people who appear perfectly sane until you get to know them, and then they reveal their true craziness.  And I don't mean padded walls, strait jacket crazy, although there are some people I know or have met who should probably set themselves up with that scenario, but I mean the type of endearing crazy that all humans have and are so reluctant to share with strangers.

And I wonder the same way that Charlie does in Perks of Being a Wallflower, "Do you ever think, if people knew how crazy you really were that no one would ever talk to you?"  That question in and of itself answers any question that I could ever have about why people hide their crazy.  But at the same time, it's the people who are fearless and who wear their crazy on their arms like expensive tattoos who are the most interesting.  And as I've met more people and learned more about the world (which, admittedly is not a lot, but I get by), I've come to realize that I'd rather talk to interesting people than small talk with monotonous people.  Which sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes we have revelations that are dumb or that prompt other people to say "duh."

Being a person who wears a shell for the first...I don't know how long amount of time when you first meet me, it's a little difficult to tell how many people I'm friends with who inspire me to be comfortable with my weirdness.  There was one person in particular who I met and spent a lot of time with, and I was frustrated when it was taking me so long to come out of my shell.  It might defeat the purpose of having a shell if you acknowledge it with a text like, "It's just taking me so long to come out of my shell!"  But it was kinda awesome that that person said it'd be worth the wait.  I need more people in my life like that.

I wonder how many people wear shells when they first get to know other people.  I mean, at least half the world is introverted, so is it just them?  Hm.  What can less introverted people do to make introverts more comfortable?

So for now, I need to keep my weirdness in check because I may be comfortable around the new people I'm meeting, but I'm sensing that it's not the same in the opposite direction, and I'm not sure why that is.  Also need to make a note that my sense of humor is weird and I should be more serious.  At least for a little while.  But be warned, the second that comfort level increases, the sarcasm and the ridiculousness will return.  And you'll have to figure out whether I'm joking instead of me telling you every time.  So there.

"We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual weirdness and call it Love."
- Dr. Seuss
Friday, March 22, 2013 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday: More Lies

Today I read Karin Gottshall's "More Lies," which is a really beautiful poem, and I enjoyed reading it.


This is where I have every intention of writing about this poem.

PROMPTS:
1.  Write about people talking about "small things."
2.  Do you ever lie when someone asks "where you're headed"?
3.  Ever wished you had a sister or a brother?  Write about what it would be like to have grown up with a brother or sister that you don't have right now.
4.  What kind of relationship would two people have if they only ever met in cafes?
5.  Write a poem about meeting someone in a cafe.  Do it!

"Sometimes I say I'm going to meet my sister at the cafe--
even though I have no sister--just because it's such 
a beautiful thing to say."
- Karin Gottshall, "More Lies"
Thursday, March 21, 2013 | By: Brianna

Geronomio into Jell-O!

Today we come to you with a prompt from my mysterious prompt box with the little orange slips of paper.

Today's prompt: Who filled the pool with strawberry Jell-O?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was her last day of senior year at Elk Valley Public High School, and she was sitting in homeroom when the announcement came over the PA system.

"To whomever thought it was funny to pour strawberry Jell-O mix in the school's pool, rest assured that you will be found and properly reprimanded.  That is all."

Everyone in the classroom started up a racket chattering about Jell-O and speculating about the possible culprit.  Grace O'Malley wasn't so thrilled about the shenanigans because she had swim practice later that day.  And if she was right about the brutality of her coach, they would be swimming through the strawberry flavored goo.

"Grace, who d'you think did it?" Ryan asked, leaning over on the edge of his desk and tapping Grace on the arm.  "I've got a sneaking suspicion that it was Bailey, he's got a shifty look about his eyes."

The two turned in their seats to look back at Marcus Bailey who was wrapped up in his jacket, as if he didn't have a locker.  The truth of the matter was that he kept so much shit in his pockets, he was reluctant to let any of it out of his sight.  And if the rumors were true, the things he kept in his pockets were less than pleasant.  Maybe strawberry Jell-O mix was one of those unpleasant things.

"Ryan.  Bailey always looks shifty.  Remember that time you snuck up on him the the hallway and he nearly knifed you with a spoon?" Grace replied.

"Better than spooning me with a spoon, eh?" Ryan countered, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively and earning himself a swat from Grace when she rolled her eyes.

"Shut up, twit.  It was probably Caroline anyway.  It's always the quiet ones, and she hates swim team, so she'd do anything to get out of practice," Grace said, giving the guessing game a try of her own.

"Why's she on the swim team in the first place then?"

"Parents forced her."

"Ah.  And they didn't think to force her into cheerleading or something productive?"

"Because swimming is less productive than badminton, right?" Grace asked, batting her eyelashes innocently as a scowl settled onto Ryan's face.  "Don't get me wrong, that birdie needs to be frequently beaten into submission."

"It's called a shuttlecock."

"Because that's so much better."

"Maybe it was Principal Wilson.  I mean, does he have anything better to do than sabotage a high school swimming team and the tortures of PE swim class?" Ryan said.

"Hm.  You've got a point.  He's got motive, opportunity, everything."

At that point, the PA system crackled into life once again, "The Jell-O culprit has been identified.  Grace O'Malley, please report to the principal's office immediately."

Grace's jaw dropped in a parody of every cartoon she had ever seen as a child.  She looked at Ryan helplessly before gathering up her backpack and heading out the classroom door to the hoots and hollers of her classmates.

"It's as if we spend our entire lives avoiding Jell-O but it's always there at the end, waiting."
- John Grisham
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | By: Brianna

A Very Potter Reflection

Yesterday I settled in front of my laptop with a mug of tea and donned a set of headphones to watch Team Starkid's A Very Potter Senior Year, the very last in the Harry Potter parody trilogy.  And I realized, it's the end of an era.


It's been a long time.  The Harry Potter craze.  But it felt like AVPSY was a salute to the end.  We're told that it's okay to let things go and move on.  And "okay" is definitely good enough.

Move on, eh?

Reflecting back on Harry Potter instead of moving on for the purposes of this post, I remember in maybe 4th grade, my elementary school librarian held up the book and gave us a concise summary while I thought to myself, "That looks weird..."  This coming from the only girl in her class who wore tights after the age of six.  It wasn't until one of my friends talked it up and lent me the first two books that I really got into it.  I remember reading Chamber of Secrets at night and shivering at the voice in the walls, and I remember asking for my own copies of the first three books for Christmas.  I didn't read the third one until I had my own copy.  I remember being at a birthday party when the fourth book came out and my dad and grandpa going at midnight to get me my copy.  Books 5 through 7 were delivered straight to my house through Amazon.  I never went to a release party, and looking back on it, I regret that.

But I think a big part of why I wanted to write when I was younger was because I was reading good books. I used to write about witches and magic all the time, and reading Harry Potter was fuel for that, I think.  At that time I wanted to write a book.  A novel.  Right now, I'm not so sure, the only thing I'm sure about is that I want to keep writing.

It's probably been said a ton, but I think the magic of Harry Potter is the effect it has on its readers.  That a series of young adult books could inspire a group of college kids to write a series of parody musicals, that a movement of poets and musicians are out there creating wizard rock, and that the Harry Potter Alliance is making love, not horcruxes.  It's amazing to me that I can look at all that a boy wizard and his friends have done for us and realize that Harry's part of the reason we knew "okay" was good enough.  So even though we're growing up and some of us are graduating college or adventuring off into the real world, we still carry Hogwarts with us.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to read next, and I'm not really sure that it'll have the same impact on me that Harry Potter did, but I'm kinda hoping that it does.  I'd hate to go through the rest of my life reading things that are any less than magical.

"I do not read for I have renounced life, I read because one life is just not enough for me."
- Abbas Al-Akkad
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | By: Brianna Kratz

Something Old: Eden's Diner


AMIE
An entire book in one week.  That’s unbelievable!

CLANCY
(mumbling under AMIE’s comments)
It’s impossible.  Insanity.  It can’t be done.

AMIE
Any idea what you’re going to do?

CLANCY
No. (sits)  I have nothing.  It’s impossible.  A WHOLE book in a single week?  (Rests forehead on the table)  Nothing’s coming to me.

AMIE
That’s called writer’s block.  Nothing ever comes to you.  You always need to find a “muse.”  But you’re just stressed out.  And you can’t write about nothing.  Why don’t you write about…a writer with writer’s block?

CLANCY
 (rests chin on the table, after a pause)
That sounds oddly familiar…But you know I can’t leave my protagonist alive at the end.

AMIE
He could kill himself.

CLANCY
No.
(forehead on the table)

AMIE
Alright.  Then why don’t you write about that murder that happened recently?

CLANCY
What murder?

AMIE
Didn’t you hear?

(REPORTER enters, and CLANCY isn’t really paying attention.)

REPORTER
This just in.  (mouths words) of (mouths)  Publishing Company has just been found in his office with several bizarre stab wounds in his back.  No word yet on possible suspects or the weapon used in this murder, OR when it could have occurred, but we will keep you updated.
In other news, theatre students from Loyola Academy---

AMIE
(cutting off REPORTER.  REPORTER exits.) 
It’s either that one or the one involving the cat.

CLANCY
 (chin on the table)
 I wouldn’t know which one to pick.

AMIE
You should definitely go with the backstabber.  (Gestures vaguely.) There seems to be a lot of explanation needed for that one.

CLANCY
(Pause)
And the cat murder is self-explanatory?

AMIE
(shrugs)
It’d make a good story.  Use your imagination.

CLANCY
You sound like a kindergarten teacher.  It’s impossible.  I could never pull it off with so little time.

Pause

Well, what are you going to do?

AMIE
I’ve got a couple ideas I’ve been tossing around.  I’m just worried about where you’re going to find inspiration.  For the sake of competition, of course.  I mean, I hate to beat you without you even trying.

CLANCY
 (Sarcastic)
 Of course.  I’ll think of something.  Possibly.  Maybe I’ll find something under “inspiration” in the yellow pages.
Monday, March 18, 2013 | By: Brianna

Future Brianna

I stole another idea from my English teacher friend's class blog.  It asks me to imagine a future me has come to talk to the present me.  What kind of advice would Future Brianna offer the now me?  Would I trust this person who claims to be me...from the future?

What I'm actually going to do is write this in the form of a letter.  Because I feel like it.  And because I imagine Future Brianna is literate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Past Brianna,

Well, by now you're Past Brianna in relation to my--I should probably introduce myself.

I'm you.  From The Future.  I know it sounds strange like some freaky Doctor Who or Back to the Future thing, but I promise I'm not going to attack London on Christmas, and your children are fine.  They're actually at school right now, and that younger one is a whippersnapper, let me tell you.

If I'm timing the receipt of this letter correctly, you're in the middle of your first ever job search.  And you're having great fun, you run around the block every time you hear back from a potential employer and you drink champagne every time you get a job offer that you're at your leisure to decline because you already have your perfect job, right?  Wrong.  I know it's seriously lame, that you spend the majority of your "job search" hunting through the same websites for different or new postings and that you've heard from less than 0.0000002% of the employers you've bothered to send your resume to.  You're also worried that these potential employers aren't a fan of the quote you start your cover letter with.  These are legitimate concerns.  But not really.  I know you think they are, but you really need to calm down.  Right now.

Deep breath.

And let it out.

Okay, good.  That's a start, at least.  From one Brianna to another, let me tell you that now is the time to work on your writing.  Because trust me, there's going to be a time very soon when you're going to have an opportunity related to your writing, and if you're not prepared for it, it's going to cause some serious stress.  I  know this because I lived the stress scenario, and it'd be really great if we could change that, because I suspect that's where the gray hairs came from.  I'm mostly kidding.  But when it comes to your writing, revise those stinking Poem-A-Day poems!  They're just sitting in piles on the desk chair for the desk that you don't use, and they're calling your name in feeble little voices, imploring you to "Do something with us!"  Answer the call.  Oh, and write a play.  Someone's going to ask you for a play, so it would be helpful to be prepared with that one.  Yeah.

And when it comes to the job search, keep up those deep breathing exercises.  It's going to take a while.  You've only been at it for a couple months, and you probably won't get a legitimate job offer until June, so sit back and relax a little.  And if you get a job offer from a website claiming to be a French person in Chicago...you need to ignore that one.  Okay, good.

You're also single, and I need for you to go forth and have fun with that.  For real.  Otherwise, you're just going to sink into sadness.  So please, for my sake, and the sake of your future children, go out and have some fun.  Because let's face it, those future children aren't going to let you go out with friends too often once they arrive.  Sorry, fact of life.  And I know right now you don't want kids...but that future husband's going to change your mind.  Oops, did I say you were going to get married?  Oh.  Yeah.  That.  Yeah, ignore that.

No, I'm not going to tell you where you meet.

Yes, you can trust me.

No, you should not burn this letter right now.

Anyway, you're sinking a lot of your time into trivial things.  So I need you to identify those trivial things and cut them out of your life.  Or at least trim them.  Facebook for instance, trivial thing.  This blog?  Not so much.  Just look at how much it's gotten you to write over the past...however long.  This is a good thing.  This is also a good thing to maintain because you have at least one person who reads your blog every single day, and I'm not going to tell you who it is.  So deal with it.

I know it sounds cheesy and probably a little unfair coming from me, but it's going to get better.  Okay, okay, I know, I'll back off on the cheese now.  When one door closes...ha, I'm only kidding.  You thought I was serious, you should really know you better.  Another thing to put on your to do list!

Remember things.  Be a good role model.  Put forth an effort, not only an effort, but your heart into everything.  Take a deep breath and remain calm.  Have a little fun.  Moderation.  Don't be afraid.  Help others.  Show people understanding.  Practice compassion.  Love.  Get out of your comfort zone and your shell.  Do something worthwhile.

And knit those elf slippers, because those things are awesome.

Love,
Future Brianna

"'You will be fine,' the fortune teller says.  'There may be decisions to make and surprises in store.  Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes.  The future is never set in stone, remember that.'"
- Erin Morgenstern
Sunday, March 17, 2013 | By: Brianna

Time Goes By

Time goes by every day around noon, trailing wasted moments behind her when she passes the cafe.  Because every day there are wasted opportunities or missed trains just on the other side of those doors, and Time just lets them happen.  Because it's none of her concern that non one seems to notice her passing.  She tends to walk down the center aisle of the cafe, looking to either side of her at the tables lined up and the people wasting her away playing on cell phones or listening to music that they're not really listening to at all.

And every day, Time leans up against a wall next to the cafe's front counter where a clock hangs over her head, ticking away the minutes that no one really notices.  Every day she stands there, watching people come in and out of the cafe that doubles as a train station, none of them noticing her.  She let out a sigh and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Can I get you something?"

Time watched as a woman gathered up her newspaper and struggled with her briefcase as she heard the announcement that her train would be arriving soon.  The woman's face was lined with care and she looked preoccupied with some other thoughts, probably going through the list of things she would have to do when she got home from wherever she was going.

"Hello, lady, can I get you something?"

Time blinked and shook her head until she felt the tap on her shoulder coming from behind the cafe counter.  When she turned around, she saw that the person behind the counter, a pimply teenaged boy, was looking straight at her expectantly.

"Wait, what?" Time asked, blinking again as if her eyelids could erase the questioning look directed at her.

"I said, can I get you something?" he asked again, this time with a hand gesture that took in the espresso machine behind him and the case of baked goods on the counter.

"I, um, wait, whoa," Time said, holding up a hand connected to a wrist which wore three watches, each set to a different time zone.  "You can see me?"

"Yeah, I can see you, should I not?  Are you like a ghost or something?"

"No, no, I'm not a ghost.  Hardly a ghost, I'm just--just trying to wrap my head around this.  You can really see me?" Time babbled, not something she was used to doing, but stutter she did.

"Yes...like I said, I could not see you if that'd be helpful, all I have to do is close my eyes, really," the boy offered, closing his eyes so they were only slits as if waiting for the go ahead from Time.

"No, that's not necessary, let me just, let me just think, okay?"

"Sure, okay, take your time, ghost lady, I've got customers to take care of."

PROMPT:
Write something based on the phrase "time goes by" or any tense of the verb.

"Time is the longest distance between two places."
- Tennessee Williams
Saturday, March 16, 2013 | By: Brianna

A Saucy Tale (well, sort of)

When I was in Florida, there was a time when I was scheduled to work for hours long enough that would require me to eat two meals in the break room.  Usually lunch and dinner.  Being the optimistic sort that I was, I decided that packing a lunch would be beneficial because there wouldn't be enough time to go to the cafeteria and I really didn't want to eat out of the vending machine for meals, that sounded like a spiral of sadness that would just never end.

So that meant peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Because I'm not really a fan of putting together cold cut sandwiches, far too much effort.

If I was going to pack multiple PB&J sandwiches, I would want some variety, right?  At least, that's what I figured.  I don't eat grape jelly.  It's weird.  And I'm not a fan.  Strawberry jelly all the way!  But that left the question of how could I possibly bring variety to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  The answer was clear: raspberry jelly.

Fast forwarding to my departure from Florida, I had a nearly full jar of raspberry jelly.  Somehow it found its way into the hamper with my sweaters and my hats.  And that was how a jar of raspberry jelly traveled unrefrigerated from Florida to Illinois.  By car.

I'm sure it was a really thrilling ride for the jelly because I spent the majority of it either singing along with the radio or crying uncontrollably, and I know how sensitive jelly can be.  Its hearing, of course.  Pretty sure I missed a couple notes in my singing those days.  But being stuffed in with sweaters and hats and random plush animals, the raspberry jelly must have had a grand old ride home to Illinois.

And when we got home, the jelly was abandoned in that hamper for a good week before I remembered that it existed.  And that was how a jar of raspberry jelly sat in the front room of my parents' house, unrefrigerated, until I remembered that these things are supposed to be refrigerated.

So now there's a jar of raspberry jelly, nearly full, in the refrigerator at my parents' house.  I suspect that either my family members know that I forgot about it, or they don't eat raspberry jelly for the same reason I don't eat grape jelly.  Because they think it's gross.  So I can't help but pity the poor jelly that didn't do anything wrong, and is just sitting there in the refrigerator door, waiting to be put to some use.  I smeared some across a slice of soda bread the other day, and I haven't died yet, so I'm thinking the time of unrefrigeration didn't actually cause any damage to the jelly.  That or jelly is so full of preservatives and fake things, it doesn't really matter in the first place whether you keep it in the refrigerator or not.  OR that the house is so cold that it was close enough to a fridge in and of itself.

If this jelly is really one of the most dramatic things that I brought with me from Florida, maybe that's why I've been disinclined to twist open the cap and eat some.  Because what if I have flashes of memories of peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwiches in the break room and get hit with a sadness of missing that time?  I hardly think that this is even remotely possible, but it distracts me from feeling writer intimidation which isn't even close to being related to what I was saying at the beginning of this sentence, but you know, sometimes the sentences need to be let off the leash to run away from you.

And let's not talk about how there's no strawberry jelly in the house.

"When the tide of misfortune moves over you, even jelly will break your teeth."
- Persian Proverb
Friday, March 15, 2013 | By: Brianna

2 Truths...and...Just Kidding

One of my friends, Elizabeth, is an English teacher.  As part of her teaching magic, she has her students write blog posts.  So, she shared these prompts with me, and I am very excited to be stealing one of them for today's post.  It's based on the game 2 Truths and a Lie, but I've decided to dispense with the lie (for now) and tell you three truths about me.

And note to self, write something fictional soon.  Preferably good and fictional, but I know how you can get...

1.  I can juggle.

I'm not saying I can juggle well, but I can, indeed, juggle.  My first May Term through my university, I went to a juggling workshop.  I believe that was my first May Term, at least.  I spent the majority of the workshop tossing two balls into the air until the person running the thing had me pick up the third.  At that point, I spent a long time tossing two balls and holding the third because I was terrified of tossing it.  Until I just did.  So I can do the very basic juggling pattern of three balls.  That's about it.  My brother taught himself how to juggle by using YouTube, that magical place, and he can do a number of tricks, and in my attempt to be more like my brother, I'm planning on learning how to do some myself.

2.  My favorite game is Bananagrams.  Though I'm not particularly good at it.

I was only introduced to Banagrams a couple years ago and played it in Steak 'n Shake and/or the lounge of my residence hall.  And it was awesome.  But the reason I'm not particularly good is because I'm not usually very quick about putting together my words.  I have a bad habit of seeing a word I really want to use and then rearranging my entire collection of letters so I can use it.  I did this for "quixotic," and "wizard," and those are the two I can remember.  To be fair, "quixotic" uses two really annoying letters, so strategically it was a good move.  Point being, I usually sacrifice speed for interesting words.

3.  I collect fortune cookie fortunes.

Not on purpose.  Though I'm not really sure how you can accidentally collect something.  It's more that every time I eat a fortune cookie, I pin the fortune to my bulletin board in my room.  Last summer I actually took all my fortunes, compiled them into a Word document, and tossed out the little slips of paper.  So now I'm starting from scratch.  I think I like being able to look back at the fortunes and see if any of them still apply later in my life?  Or maybe I think that I can use them for a writing prompt of some sort.  My friend, Katie, actually talked about writing something based on fortune cookie fortunes, and I think that that's a brilliant idea.  And using fortunes that have already been written would eliminate the headache of having to write your own fortunes.  Hm.

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
- Winston Churchill 
Thursday, March 14, 2013 | By: Brianna Kratz

Guest Post: Claire!

Well isn't this intimidating.

Hey there, blogosphere. Or...Brianna's followers, whoever you might be. Today is the first ever (and possibly last depending on how well I manage this) edition of the GUEST BLOG!!!! (Cue Applause).

My name is Claire, and I have the unique privilege of being a dear friend to our favorite blogger. Which is why, when sitting on my couch this morning, she said, "Claiiiiirrrreeee....., I don't want to write my blog post today. Do it for me." I turned to her, shrugged, and said "why not?" Hope you're cool with that.

First, just because I want to be your friend, and friends tell each other things, I'm gonna do one of these lame about me surveys. I'll try to spice it up a bit for you.

Two names you go by:
1. Claire-Bear
2. Shoupie /Shapooopie (both plays on my last name. Endearing, no?)

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. A kelly green shirt with an Irish Flag. Happy St. Patty's week.
2. Jeans that are so long that I often trip myself. Being short is a problem for me. I can never find jeans that are the right length.


How old are you?
23, but most of the time I feel like I'm still 15. I wonder if this will ever change. 
What are your favorite things to do?
1. Read
2. Go on long drives with the windows down and music blaring. There's nothing better to clear your mind.

What are two things you want very badly at the moment?

1. a full time job, so I can pay off my student loans more quickly, and so I can quit one of my three part time jobs.
2. to fall in love

First thoughts waking up?
Probably "Dear God why am I awake right now," followed closely by, "if I reset my alarm for ten minutes from now, will I still have time to get ready before I have to be at work? Yes? YES." My half asleep brain is very good at convincing me that there is always more time to sleep.

Last song you've listened to?
Misguided Ghosts by Paramore - It's completely unlike most of their music, but it's still hauntingly beautiful and I absolutely love that.

Last movie you watched?
Perks of Being a Wallflower. Just as good as the book and still gives me goosebumps. I've seen it four times.

What were you doing at midnight last night?
Playing World of Warcraft. Yep, I'm one of those people. I can see your judging eyes, internet. But I'm such a nerd, and I've accepted that about myself.

What's a word that you say a lot?
Ooooo. champ, dear, cheese and crackers. 


If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
cerulean
What are you afraid of?
being alone
failure
extreme heights
being rejected by people I love because of being gay
and a whole bunch of other things that are more difficult to sum up in succinct phrases.

Telling people stuff is important. I want you to feel like you can trust me, internet. I want you to understand that I'm not just a bunch of words on a screen or a bunch of pixels mashed together, but I'm a living breathing person. A living breathing person you can trust. Because now I'm gonna talk about some serious shit. Today, I wonder about homophobia. I work with elementary school kids. One of my friends works at the same school that I do, and she was having a bad day. When she was leaving, I shouted after her "I love you," and two of my female students (both third graders) responded by saying "ewwwwww."

  I was astounded. Normally when the kids say things I disagree with, I can either tune them out or find small ways to make them question their own assumptions. Since this statement hit me closer to home, I decided a more direct approach might be helpful. I asked one girl if she loved her best friend.

"Well of course I do. She's my best friend."

"Ms. --------- is my friend too, and I care about her. So tell me, then, why is saying I love her is a bad thing?"

"Well I don't love love my best friend."

"I don't love love my friend either, but that doesn't mean I can't tell her I love her. Do you see what I mean?"

"Oh. I guess. But it's still weird. Because you're a girl and she's a girl. And that's just not okay."

It makes me wonder, internet, why homophobia seems to come so easily, especially to children. It seems to me that kids are supposed to be the ones who can see people without bias, and who can understand love in its purest form without succombing to hate or prejudice. But maybe we're not doing enough. Maybe even by the time they're in third or fourth grade the world has made them believe that loving someone of the same sex is wrong. Things like this still happen. How many little girls are afraid to tell their female friends they love them because they're afraid they'll be called a dyke? And how many more lgbt youth have to suffer through understanding who they are while at the same time suffering through the hate of those around them? I wish I had more answers. I'm just one person. I can help my students question they're own views, but that isn't going to be enough. And I'm still not sure what to do about that.

That's all, internet. Hope to see you crazy kids soon.

-Claire
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | By: Brianna

Something to Blog About

Please someone give me something to blog about.

I realized fairly recently that the majority of my posts about my personal life are whiney and boring.  Well, maybe they're boring, I'm entertained by the way that I ramble, but maybe I'm the only one who's entertained.  My life is fairly mundane.  My friend, Claire, asked me what I do in the morning around nine, and I couldn't even really tell her that I have a routine because...I don't.  Which is a little depressing, but it's okay because maybe one of these days I'll be just waking up at nine and getting ready to prepare my famous French toast.  I can look forward to this hypothetical possibility.

Poem-A-Day March's challenge is "drunken poetry" given to me by my mother, which was surprising.  Especially since the first thing you think of when you think "drunken poetry" is "get drunk and then write a bunch of poetry."  I did this on a team with two of my friends once, and some really weird stuff came out of it (we passed around a piece of paper and each wrote a line).  But I've chosen to interpret this challenge a bit more liberally than that first narrow assumption.  I've written about a poet being too hungover to write poetry at all, and about a drunk poem.  Get it?  Because it's drunken poetry.  Sometimes I'm clever.  I'm not sure what else I'm going to write about it quite yet, but I may revisit my favorite Charles Baudelaire poem, "Enivrez-vous."  Because it's lovely.

I'm also working on things for Here's the Story, which is basically a dream come true, but I've heard word that there may be more interns to work with.  This tentative announcement makes me feel like an only child waiting for the inevitable arrival of a new sibling.  I already feel jealous of these new children and apprehensive that I will no longer be "the favorite."  Then again I also feel like I can easily make friends with these potential new folks because having friends is nice.  So I'm torn.  As usual.

My horoscope told me this morning that I would be making a big time decision about my life soon.  I can't even begin to imagine what kind of decision that would be because I don't really have any decisions to be making that are more dramatic than what I want to eat for breakfast in the morning or where I want to curl up to read my book in the evening.  But said horoscope also informed me that important people in my life would tell me that I was making the wrong decision, but that I should follow my intuition.  This doesn't surprise me in the least because typically the people in my life tend to be know-it-alls.  Just a little bit.  Well meaning lovely know-it-alls who I love.  They're endearing, and I hope they don't mind if I ignore them.

I had two phone interviews at the end of last week, and I'm really excited about the one that I had on Friday because I think I did fairly well.  Plus it's for a place that I would definitely enjoy working at.  They even told me to have a good weekend and laughed when I apologized for being incoherent.  I really hope they were laughing with me and not at me...but they were so nice I couldn't imagine them jeering at me.

And my brother's coming home for spring break on Friday.  This is particularly exciting because it means that for a week, I won't be an only child.  I've missed him.  And even though we're not really going to hang out, per say, it'll be good to see him.  I only hope he doesn't hate me for evicting him from his room.  We're crossing our fingers that he doesn't hate me too much.  Yeah...

I tried baking Irish soda bread last night.  I sliced part of it today, and I suspect that I worked the dough too much because it's kinda lumpy and weird looking, but you know, I'm sure it tastes fine.  I'm beginning to strongly suspect that I can't cook or bake anything delicious on purpose because of the muffins I made last month and the soda bread this month...both seem pretty bland and boring.  But maybe a little jelly will make the bread better.  This is one of my first forays into the domestic, and I really don't want my mother to think that she failed me somehow and that I'll starve if I ever move out.

And then there's the whole thing that I said I would start working out at some point.  Maybe I should have made that my Lenten promise instead of blogging everyday.  If only I had thought of that!  I keep saying that I'll go to the library and pick up a yoga DVD or something, but I keep forgetting.  Or getting distracted by other things like the stack of grant writing books that I'm cradling in my arms (because I figure if I can learn how to write grants, I'll be more marketable as a writer).

I'm reading a book that my grandpa lent me, which was really sweet, but I feel bad because I definitely fell asleep when I was reading it the other day.  Oops.  It's going to be a murder mystery, I believe.  It's called V Is for Vengeance.  And I do like the Kinsey character, but I'm thinking I need to get to know her a bit more before I get into the book.  I'm just reading a lot of books, actually.  I have a bad habit of sticking bookmarks into half a dozen books and then reading them in a circle of sorts.  So there's that one, Red Seas under Red Skies, and a couple grant writing books.  Then there are the ones that I started before the Disney College Program...and I'm not even sure where those are because they got put away somewhere.  Maybe in the dresser that's holding more books than clothes...hm...

So yeah, can someone just give me something to blog about?  Thanks.

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.  That myth is more potent than history.  That dreams are more powerful than facts.  That hope always triumphs over experience.  That laughter is the only cure for grief.  And I believe that love is stronger than death."
- Robert Fulghum
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | By: Brianna

Braaaaaiiiins....

"I have a brain, but it isn't mine."

Grant was something of a collector, you would say.  Lining the shelves of his office were jars with wrinkled up balls of rubber floating inside an unidentifiable fluid.  Each of the jars had a neat little label attached to the front of it so he always knew which brain he was playing around with whenever he chose to shake things up a little bit.

Tara wasn't sure whether she should laugh or if she should remain straight faced as she sat in the chair across the desk from Grant.  Behind Grant were the five levels of shelving, each shelf packed with brains.  If the zombie apocalypse ever occurred, they could always send the zombies here and this office alone would feed the brain eaters for a week.

So she settled on clearing her throat uncomfortably and shifting her grip on the briefcase that was balanced on her lap.

"Um, excuse me?" she asked, pretending she hadn't heard what he said correctly.

"I have a brain...but it isn't mine," Grant repeated, this time with a gesture to the jars behind him.  There was no mistaking the poorly timed joke this time, and Tara choked back the bile climbing the back of her throat.  "Anyway, as I was saying, we're on the cutting edge of brain technology so I've had the responsibility of poking around the folds of the actual brains and learning what exactly goes where and what we can fiddle around with."  Grant said all this at a speed that slightly exceeded the speed limit for casual conversation, and indicated that he assumed Tara knew what he was talking about.

Which she didn't.

But he didn't need to know that.

"Mr. Newman, I would appreciate it if you would keep your jokes in check," Tara said primly as she pulled a sheaf of paper out of her briefcase.  "And I wondered if you could look through this and tell me precisely whose brain wrote this document."

"I...I'm not sure that I'm the right person to talk to about something like this, I'm not really a paper read-y type of person," Grant said, holding up his hands, palms out, as if in surrender.

"Please, Mr. Newman, I insist.  You are, after all, the brains of this operation, so called."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I've been watching too much Dollhouse.  Luckily there's only one more episode left and then I get to figure out what new show I can use to procrastinate with.

"The vast majority of us imagine ourselves as like literature people or math people.  But the truth is that the massive processor known as the human brain is neither a literature organ or a math organ.  It is both and more."
- John Green
Monday, March 11, 2013 | By: Brianna

Solo Coffee Date

Today I took myself out on a coffee date.  To Starbucks.  Because I'm a sell out and the local coffee shop's owner kinda scares me.  At least I'm going to different Starbucks shops in the neighborhood and spreading around the love.  But I treated myself to a drink and a scone.

To be quite fair, I'm not technically alone because I brought my poetry with me.  Which might sound even more lame because there isn't a real live human sitting across this little bitty table from me.

Looking around, I think it's interesting that the majority of the people who are sitting here drinking their coffee are solo.  There are six of us, including me, who are sitting down, and they're all on their own.  This is interesting to me because I tend to think of coffee shops as kinda social places.  At least that's how the coffee shop down by school works.  I miss that place, I liked their espresso so much better than Starbucks'. That and their atmosphere is better.  And more bustling.  And more beautiful.  Alas.

It is interesting that the baristas today actually seem like they want to be here.  That they're cheery and interested in who they're giving coffee to which is something that I'm only used to when I'm at that coffee shop near school.  Oh, and people trust other people here too, which is also weird.  The man near me just stood up and left his laptop on his table.  I'm pretty sure I would never do that in a Starbucks.  Maybe I'm just paranoid.

What's also interesting to note is that I'm not a coffee person.  I only drink the coffee that can be watered down with chocolate and milk, so a mocha it is.  Still possessing the taste of coffee, but more chocolatey and delicious.  Yup, that's right.  I never really understood the logic behind buying hot water and a tea bag when it would be cheaper for me to be at home and make my own tea.  If we're talking loose specialty tea...it might be totally different.

And now I'm off to do my work which is really revising a single poem.  And perhaps apply for more jobs.  Ready?  Go!

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."
- T.S. Eliot
Sunday, March 10, 2013 | By: Brianna

Theatrical and Writing Concerns

So I started this post during my last semester of college and left it as a draft.  It kinda feels like I should finish it.
...
This morning I awoke at my usual 7 AM (today to the sounds of the Tangled soundtrack) because I'm participating in the 24 hour theatre fest.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  In 24 hours, a bunch of people write, direct and act in a series of short plays.  The most intense part (I think) is that the writers stayed up for quite a long time last night writing our plays.  Today is the first day that I'm thankful I'm not a writer.  Today I'm just an actor, so I can take directions and do what I'm told and get feedback, no worries about people misinterpreting what I write or butchering my lines.

It's a glorious feeling.  I feel free.

But the real fact of the matter is that I am a writer.  Maybe not for this show, but for the show of life, I'm writing the script, and half of the lines need to be cut.  They're not that good.  I've been writing a lot.  As my loyal readers know, I've been writing a poem a day since the beginning of September, and there's no end it sight quite yet.  I've noticed that a lot of my poems are influenced by what's going on in my life at the time of writing.  I had a whole series of zombie related poems when my university was playing a game called Humans versus Zombies, and I have a short bunch of poems that feature or are indirectly related to the boy I started seeing about two days after I started the Poem-a-Day project.

A good many of my poems are products of my distress.  I frequently get flustered or stressed out, and instead of buckling down and committing to doing my homework, I write poetry.  If you're friends with me, chances are you've shown up in my writing in some capacity, though I try my best not to consciously do that.  But a lot of times I'm worried/concerned/hurt/stressed/distressed, so I have to get the words down on paper.  And I can't help but wonder if there will ever be a time when it would be appropriate to show the objects of these poems the poetry that was written about them.  Mostly because I'm at this stage in my writing where I want to show everyone everything, dance around and sing, "Aren't I brilliant?"  Even though I would never admit to it if they told me I was.  The answer I've come to is "probably not, Brianna" because I can't for certain determine what the objects of poetry might read in the piece, and I don't want to create awkward situations.
...
Now that I've gotten to a point where there have been distinctive shifts in my life and situation, I've been writing a lot about my daily life which isn't too thrilling.  And I've learned that a break up can be really great fodder for ideas, even though you have to jump over the cliche hurdles to get to anything good.  So I find myself thinking...would I want to show anyone those poems much less the person they're about?  Yeah, I think it would be safe to say that that would be awkward.  Even if I wasn't purposely writing about a person, if I wrote something that they could interpret as about them...emotional distress.  I know this partially from experience and partially because I'm self-centered.

So it all boils down to even though I can crow, "Oh the cleverness of me!" I can't show the subjects of my poetry those poems.  I just can't.  So if I'm looking for feedback...I better pray that those feedback givers don't show up in my poetry because I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable unnecessarily   All uncomfortability must come from necessity, naturally!  Gosh!  When it's all over, when I'm done being broken up about a break up or done feeling betrayed or abandoned by close friends or done being over the moon excited about an unpaid internship, even when the feelings are gone, they're still going to be stuck to the page of the poem, so even if I say, "Hey, I don't feel this miserable/happy/whateveremotionapplies anymore," the reader could still read into it.  And then misunderstanding.  Or worse, understanding.  Understanding that maybe they made me feel that way, and then guilt.  And no one wants that.  Well, at least I don't want people to feel guilty.

Decision: Choose your audience wisely, Brianna.  The end.

"Poetry is an act of peace.  Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread."
- Pablo Neruda
Saturday, March 9, 2013 | By: Brianna

Living in the Library



There are definitely perks to living in each of these places.

Library  --  You get to read to your heart's content.  You can travel wherever and whenever you want through the power of the written word.  You can use the strips of paper and the golf pencils to write your own novel or leave notes in the stacks.  Sleeping in the children's section on a bean bag or curling up in the reference section because it's always quiet.  If you live in a neighborhood library, then there would be movies and music to entertain you as well, you would just have to find some place to play them.

Museum  --  There will always be a food court or some sort of snack-y place here, unlike the library.  You can sleep in the exhibits and explore and learn to your heart's content.  You can play with the ancient toys or musical instruments and you can compare yourself to the height of mummies because I swear they're smaller than contemporary humans.  You can leave notes and play around with the security guards.  Living in a museum reminds me of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  If I were to live in a Chicago museum, I'm not sure which one I would pick, though I feel like it would probably be the Field Museum.

Zoo  --  Living at the zoo might be the most terrifying prospect if only because predators could eat you if you went exploring in the exhibits.  Then again, there would be an endless supply of food and you would be able to cuddle with the cuddly animals.  You could climb around with the monkeys and go swimming with the penguins (or the fishes), and then of course you could pet every single animal that looks so soft, but you're always separated by glass.

I would love to live in a library.  As it is, I spend a lot of time at my local library and the libraries of the surrounding suburbs because sometimes the suburban libraries just have a better selection.  Sorry, Chicago Public.  I could easily live in a library because I'm curious about so much, and I would love to read about everything.  I really want to learn more about just about everything with the exception of lots of the sciences because I'm bad at learning about them in the first place.  I know that living in a library probably wouldn't be the most social life because well, you have to be quiet in the library, but I can always invite friends over after hours and we could bask in the silence.  I can just imagine how cozy a library is in all its quiet.

"A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort.  A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered.  Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people - people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book."
- E.B. White
Friday, March 8, 2013 | By: Brianna

Bored? Never!

This morning the radio told me, "If you're bored then you're boring."  And because being boring has got to be the worst and most terrible insult that I could ever receive...and it would probably make me cry if someone called me boring...I remembered that I'm doing lots of things, and therefore not bored!  Step one!  When I say that I'm doing a lot of things, I mean that I'm working on revising poetry, I'm reading a lot of novels, I'm watching a lot of movies, and I'm knitting.  A lot.  Part of me suspects this is in preparation of my becoming a grandmother one day.  I need to learn how to knit sweaters...

It also astounds me that anyone could ever be bored.  There are about a million and one things that you can do whether you stay at home or go out and have adventures.  I know this because I've found and done the majority of these things with my new found free time.  And I have plans to add more things.  But right now I'm just compiling a list of things I can/would like to do solo so the next time I get into my "I have no friends" funk, I'll do something exciting and make friends through telling people about it!  Ready?  GO!

Things I Want To Do While At Home:

-  make 5 Pinterest crafts, otherwise I'm just talk
-  learn how to make 5 Pinterest dishes, so I don't starve)
-  learn how to do a card trick (or multiple card tricks...)
-  learn new juggling techniques and/or tricks
-  finish moving pictures from the old computer onto CDs for my father
-  read a wider variety of books (genres I need to try: biography, horror, and possibly western)
-  experiment with make-up and see if I can learn how to do fancy things, just for fun
-  see a movie on my own because I hear it's a totally different experience
-  Random Acts of Kindness
-  go to a public place and people watch shamelessly
-  learn how to knit something that's not flat and square
-  memorize Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech because I've got the first five lines and I might as well
-  memorize my nerd poem because that's going to be useful one of these days
-  revise poetry!  Lots of poetry revisions!
-  send snail mail
-  go forth and do tourist-y things because I can
-  write something that's fiction and prose, preferably a short story!
-  use the "bored?  don't be!" deck of cards
-  clean the entire house
-  organize my personal library
-  play dress up

"She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring."
- Zelda Fitzgerald
Thursday, March 7, 2013 | By: Brianna

Things I'm Bad At

Well, that was a very near thing.  The thing to which I'm referring being nearly forgetting to write a blog post for today.  I was all tucked up in my reading corner to read a book (V Is for Vengeance, my grandpa lent it to me), and I suddenly had a light bulb moment and I was reminded that I hadn't written a post yet for today, and I was doing so well with my Lenten promise, I couldn't quite get myself to slack.  Darn.

So without further ado...things I'm bad at, inspired by Jenna Marbles' video that my friend posted on my Facebook this morning!  Whoohoo!


1.  Remembering things -- I'm notorious for forgetting things, which is the number one reason I use Post-Its as if my life depends on them because let's face it.  My life depends on those little paper squares.

2.  Speaking -- Too many thoughts, not enough coherence to get them out into the air.  Practice, I guess?

3.  Sports --  All of them.  Typically things that require physical exertion of any kind...I'm bad at.  Take my fencing class for instance, I was the class punching bag.  Basically.  I helped boost the ego of every one of my classmates by losing every bout.  Except for that one...and I'm very disappointed that I've forgotten who I beat.

4.  Backing my car down the driveway -- My brother and my mom just zip down the driveway no problem, but swinging into the driveway and then inching along that length of concrete is just plain difficult for me.

5.  Making popcorn -- Although this is a matter of opinion.  I'm perfectly good at making popcorn for myself...because I like it slightly burnt.

6.  Small talk -- I'm not really a fan of small talk, so I think my lack of enthusiasm may show through here.  Again, practice, that would help...

7.  Hearing -- I'm good at listening, but I occasionally mishear things.

8.  Using my desk for what it's actually meant for -- I tend to use my desk as a storage space.  I like stacking things on top of my desk.

9.  Wearing ugly socks -- The end.

10.  Finishing creative projects -- I start these grandiose projects or have these great ideas, but the follow-through...need more follow-through.

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad.  People are either charming or tedious."
- Oscar Wilde