Thursday, December 25, 2008

A poem of little substance because I need to update my blog. Oh yes, and I have a website now!

I once found Jesus on the internet
while shopping for pins
not for my hair but for my friend's
bag, and he was in between
Don't Mess Wit' Texas and
Boys Are Stupid--Throw Rocks At Them
in a size 1 3/4 inch
round, of course, and he was etched
in black on white for
67 cents exactly--
sans shipping
sans tax, and I was, in fact,
at a friends, and I exclaimed,
"Look! It's Jesus!" and my friend
came over and had a peek and
told me that it was not Jesus
but rather a man named
John Lennon,
and oh, you can imagine
my embarrassment.

Also, I'M OFFICIALLY ON DEVIANTART.COM! This means I can do commissions for money!

My entire portfolio isn't uploaded yet, but I do have a lot on the site. So check it out:
My website

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I understand what makes the Van Gogh.

In an attempt to rediscover a part of me that was lost a while ago, I am experimenting with sketching and illustration techniques.

Here are some examples:

This is a Christmas present for my friends Adam and Miguel. They came to visit me in Cedar Rapids yesterday, and I had such a great time spending the evening with them. I love them both very much.



Here is the reference I used for the above picture.



This is a really random print idea that I came up with last week...



Marker and ink drawing inspired by my mother. Her face is suppose to be all over the place. It goes with the whole theme of the piece, which I would classify as "emotional ambiguity."



This is a portrait inspired by a friend of mine, Jared Latore. I consider it an "imprint" of how I think of him in my head. I call it Sentimental Dancer.



This is a piece of work inspired by a memory of mine. I had just been swimming in a Kirksville pond with a few friends of mine, and as we were trekking back to civilization we got lost. So we gazed at the stars for a while. I couldn't find Orion's Belt, so my friend put his left hand over my shoulder and said, "follow my fingers." It was really dark, so the outline of the trees in the backround were rather whimsical-looking to me... and I guess it made an impression. I call this work "Follow My Fingers," for obvious reasons.



I just finished the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. And I created a www.deviantart.com account. So I made a requisit "fan art" submission from the novels of The Olympic Coven (as I see them). I realize this makes me a huge nerd. But I honestly enjoyed reading the books, and I had some free time last weekend. Besides, this portrait gave me the oppertunity to explore comic-style.manga drawing, which was exciting. The discoloration in the middle of the work is because I had to scan two different sides of the image because my scanner was too small to fit the entire page.

That's all for now- more to come later!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hail C(^2)aesar of the Kingdom of Pythagorean.

Two Trees Touching At The Tips

Sometimes when I cross campus lost in solitary thought,
I use properties of triangles to find the most express
routes to where I want to go from where I begin,
and despite my affinity for physics, and fervid
weakness for stimulation, it still takes me forever
to get anywhere at all. And, for no particular reason,
I always end at the same pair of tangled trees--
the ones whose tree-tops touch at their pinnacles, like
they are forging a secret nature-bond. I pretend
they're telling secrets in tree-speak, secrets about all the
people below and how the one girl's boots are dainty
and did you see how amiable that boy was, picking up
her books for her. Underneath those trees, masses of
people often linger, like a soup that congeals and
hardens, under the membrane of innumerable legions of
leafs. Sometimes then, I often pretend it is just me
and the two trees, touching at the tips, telling secrets,
while I pretend not to listen, and for some reason,
knowing that I'll not know makes me feel earthly
and blissful in my ignorance.

Monday, November 24, 2008

There is a common view that poetry gives a person fufilment and nurishment. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army.

I Cannot Tell You Stories

If you ask me, I cannot tell you
whose face peeks behind those sepia-soaked
bushes, although I seem to have his same nose
and shape, but five inches smaller.
I also cannot tell you who is settled
by his side, with hands as slender and
delicate as my own, with the same smile
lines and shifting eyes that I scrutinize
each morning from the silver looking glass.

I cannot tell you stories because they,
they never told me stories, but I can tell you
their ages, approximate weights, heights and
perhaps even medical conditions, and maybe, if
I'm lucky, I could guess their favorite colors, too.

Blue, red, or brown for the man,
and I can deduce that the woman
would choose purple in a blink, but I cannot tell
you the former and the latter from memory,
much less entertain your simple question.

I do know for a fact that they do not
believe in anything, especially vows,
and although they might stand side-by-side
in a beige and chestnut candid, their eyes
no longer meet nor do their voices
croon the lyrics to my nightly lullaby.

And I do not know whether to blame love
or responsibility; to claim that she had it all
planned, or to know if he thought the
spooning of her belly three-and-a-half
years in was headline news. I do not even
know if they ever read the newspaper,
in which case I do not know who planted
this fondness for words and confession.

And when my children point and ask who
are those figures standing in the khaki-colored
thicket, I will tell them what I see and think,
and maybe I will pretend to know the truth.
I only hope that they may turn to another bookshelf,
and see albums upon albums filled with multi-
colored pigments, and I will smile as they smile
at their Father's stories, and savor the atonement.

A Herbaceous Memory-Producing Plant of the Genus Musa; or My Running Commentary is an Overripe Banana, Solid on the Outside, Squishy on the Inside

It started with the peeling of a banana, and
friends telling me it was upside down, and I said
No, it wasn't, Inebriates, That's how bananas look in
all the pictures in all the magazines I've ever seen.
And then out of no where there was you, in my brain.
There you were, sitting in the driver's seat, that damn
Oldsmobile, with the windows down and the sub woofer
booming so loud it shook my seat, my hand, my heart.
Turn it down I'm scared shitless, and feeling the
cold wind streaming all around me like pouring rain,
I lift my leg from the sticky leather seats, my hair's a
mess, and I think of the supposed to's and should of's,
and the Chinese fire-drills and crusin' The Ave, and
what it would mean to see the pyramids. I thought
of the last time I saw you, which will always be
the last, and it is this last one that reminds me
of the peeling of a banana, and how it is not upside
down, and how it looks in all the pictures I've seen.
Like the picture on the 99 bananas bottle. I know once
I take that first bite, once I focus on its subtle-sweet,
then your memory will be lost, and everything will
be the same as before, no sub woofer booming or cold
air around my face, and it will not matter which end
of the banana I've pried open, or what my fellow sots
think of the proper form for decorticating. Because
either way, I know the bananas will taste delicious.

This is correct:


This is incorrect:

See Also: How to Peel a Banana


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Time I Kidnapped My Friends And Put Them in Phrases and Meter; or, How to Party Like Edgar Allen Poe

A Young Lady Spied Upon the Sea Shore

White by the moon, the seething shores rise--
shifting stars for two eyes of blue.
Ocean in motion, mirroring night skies,
as a Lady enters Babe's view.

The moon lingers, black and blank above--
midst click-clanking of good -night shoes.
Eyes tinkling tired, thinking thereof,
as Lady bequeaths parting dues.

White by the moon, babe hides in a blink;
To the shore, the Lady does fly.
Cold and brisk winds shade the Babe's ears pink.
Lo' the Autumn frosts of July!

Lady then leans before white water--
supplying her face a wet wash.
Not a Mother, surely a Daughter,
the Lady, now one with sea-slosh.

The ocean that--though in sky--reflects,
a picture for the Babe to see,
shows expression and facial effects--
rolling eyes 'long side angered plea.

Then Lady adjusts her composure--
stomach constricted and tightened.
Readying wits to face exposure,
her stance is forcibly lightened.

As Lady treads away from the shore--
a child's mind is left to thrive.
Shown, she was, how to cope from one's core,
to react else feel half-alive.


A Boat, a Boat, a Lonely Boat

Far far away, see the torrent wave--
a fretted wall of silver concave.
Crash crash with wild weed overgrown
upon shooting cliff and crumbled stone.

But right to the right, see the ripples still.
In waste wood, a boat; by its own free will.
The loneliest lonely, a boat afloat.
In water of wild, a boat remote.

No mast, no sails, and nothing atop--
not even a paddle or oar.
Seemingly anchored beneath water's top;
no one and nothing to explore.

A boat, a boat, a lonely boat,
it moves but it can never moveth on.
It welters like a human thing--
wants to sail, but is still in the dawn.


A Warning For You Who Will

Shh! Listen carefully, you who will.
The cold wind blows like wolves on a hill.

See there! Look carefully, you who will.
The ivory trees have been frozen still.

Ahh-hah! Yell carefully, you who will.
Snow leopards listen for their next kill.

Brr-brr! Touch carefully, you who will.
Glistening ice will give you a chill.

Beware of the Winter, you who will.
It brings discontent and makes one ill.


The Picture of An Hour, Fixed In A Frame

A single grain, fixed in a frame, falls though the hourglass--
Till by a billion others it is swallowed.
Grain by grain, the sand shimmers and shines as it makes its pass;
picture of an hour, no others followed.


About The Poems:

A Young Lady Spied Upon the Sea Shore, A Boat, a Boat, a Lonely Boat, A Warning For You Who Will, and The Picture of An Hour, Fixed in A Frame are all original compositions of mine written during the my Spring 2008 semester of my senior year at Truman State University.

A Young Lady Spied Upon the Sea Shore is a poem that was inspired by the unfettered spirit of a near-and-dear friend of mine at Truman State University. In fact, I'm sure that her shrewd understanding of civility coupled with her passion for theatrics is something will continue to delight and inspire me for years to come. The setting for the poem is a place from my childhood; a vast ocean-like shore on the banks of Lake Rhinelander in Wisconsin.

A Boat, a Boat, a Lonely Boat is a somber poem about depression, loneliness, and apathy. I was inspired to write it after failing desperately to help a friend of mine through his or her healing process with depression, using knowledge from my own experience. The ship bobbing on the water is representative of the human heart beat, and the poem suggests that one must look to their own heart in order to brave life's turbulent waters.

A Warning For You Who Will is simply a whimsical poem that I wrote in an attempt to author my dislike of the winter season using various senses.

The Picture of An Hour, Fixed in A Frame is a poem that I started when I was in high school, but didn't finish until college. I have a natural curiosity about physics and time, and as such, own a small collection of odd time-measuring devices. I would give myself exactly one hour of free time each day in high school to do whatever I wanted. Most of the time this was writing, reading, or drawing. I used an antique hour glass that my father gave me to keep me on time. One day I decided to write a poem about the object that I spent an hour with each afternoon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Intellectual purging" according to Elaine; Hybrow Syndrome according to Dove.

Some spur-of-the-moment free-writing because I need to update my blog:

Today it was suggested--for the second time this semester--that I have the tendency to "care too much about what people think."

I am aware of the caprices and idiosyncrasies that I maintain which advocate for what others may see as over-sensitivity (although if they believe this, they obviously subscribe to superficial postulations.)

I've ruminated about this coping mechanism of mine (because of its resurfacing in my social circle,) and I remain firm in my original assertion. After reflecting, I still deduce that that my desire to understand the motives of others (via the means of showing my genuine care and concern for their likes and dislikes) is a positive attribute.

Not to sound bull-headed about the matter, but I honestly believe that self-actualized individuals are nourished from the roots of objectivity in one's perception.

I've spent many years attempting to improve my emotional intelligence; it has, in fact, been one of my life's greatest struggles. I think that I was born with a brain that has a tendency to rely heavily upon intellect and logic rather than instinct and feeling. I, like most humans, have a sense for both, but I sometimes don't trust my instincts and feelings because I can understand their flaws. Ergo, increasing the breadth of my emotional intelligence has been a goal which I have exercised a great amount of effort towards. I truly believe it has been instrumental to my growth and maturity.

The older I become, the more I realize the whole spectrum of objectivity. By attempting to eliminate my individual perceptive observability (or by playing "Devil's Advocate" in my mind, if you will) my cognitive processes certainly uphold a great deal of indecision and changeability at times (which could undoubtedly be considered by society as two personal vices.) And when I'm not making a concerted effort to be more balanced I certainly fall prey to the consequences of these negative extremes. Despite this, I am firm in my advocation for objectivity, because it serves as a check when one's emotions and instincts threaten to lure his or her rationale and intellect into a bear-trap of ignorant subjectivity (which inherently masks one's personal desires as fundamental needs rather than personal wants.) Sure, one must understand when and where to trust their instincts. But I think, in general, that the rationalization of feelings is a worthy path to tread. Besides, I would rather have a balanced critical faculty and possess the ability to stand back and look impartially upon matters which call for impartial judgment than torture myself all the time with subjective guilt and/or criticism.

Thus, I postulate that "caring about what people think of me" isn't really a negative attribute, but rather, a stepping-stone on the path to progressivism (which is a historically positive ideology--despite its synonimity to political liberalism.) It's the catalyst for self-improvement, which is the ideology behind self-sustainability and societal evolution. And I don't feel silly arguing this, either, as I believe the world to be fundamentally dynamic; a versatile, breathable, permanently elastic fabric in the tapestry of human existence.

I would go as far to say that I regard my sensitivity in a positive light. I tend to think it more of a gift than a curse. It is, after all, what allows me to meet the needs of my companions with my own type of innate optimism. And who doesn't deserve to feel good about themselves?

^I really do believe that.

As such: I can deal with having my personal wants put on hold for the greater good. I don't mind exercising patience in that way. In fact, I actively do my best to cooperate and compromise with all that I encounter for that purpose. I can tolerate interpersonal failings... to a fault, actually. In fact I sometimes struggle rhetorically with how to be assertive with my personal views while still remaining mannerly. I am the type of person that despises cruelty, viciousness, and vulgarity. And I detest conflict between people (because I actively try to objectify my perception and hence enhance my abilities to empathize with other's pain. So, for lack of a more humble phrase, I feel your pain.) Subjective afflictions in abundance are no good, I do declare!

I realize that this post makes me come across as a self-important perfectionist who is more-than-a-little insecure. And maybe I even look perpetually bull-headed, for I can see how it might appear to readers that I am hasty with my conclusions and tend to see them as self-evident... (And sometimes this is true-- in fact it is the cause for my impatience with people. Sigh.) Please forgive me if these assertions come across that way. Alas, perhaps I lack the eloquence to author my inner monologue effectively? But at least I am satisfied in my knowledge that if I do come across this way, it is a superficial quality produced by my ego that is correctable with time. And it comforts me to know that the people worth knowing won't care about those things. To quote a friend, the people who you want to know "look past people's veneers."

These thoughts make me wonder if perhaps my cast of mind is actually more artistic than logical? Or maybe I'm just a walking contradiction; a teeter-totter of emotions and intellect...

But then again I'm too moderate to be considered avante garde in any artist endeavor (much to my disdain!) and too chaotic in my thought process to be considered analytical. Sigh. At least I've got integrity-- that's the result of being able to rationalize my subjective perceptions and compare them with the efforts of others. And because of this, I can certainly say that my close friendships are unions of true minds and true hearts.

I personally think empathy mollifies hurt and smooths over tiffs. And that, folks, is one of the many values of compassion and Truth that has to be experienced to understand. Well, what I mean by that is that experience leads to knowledge. And knowledge is power, they always say. Lest we not forget the old proverb that compassion (and therefore, empathy,) is a worthy endeavor.

I've just re-read this and I think that perhaps I tend to over-think things. Yes, that is certainly an honest justification for all of this loquacious mumbo-jumbo.

That reminds me. The other day I received the best advice of my life. It was from a Dove chocolate wrapper. It said, "don't think about it too much."

Point taken. I'm going to go ahead and check the
la tee dah now.

...Hail the profound wisdom of the Chocolate-Sage.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mini-Markers of Adulthood

Today's big plan, besides procrastinating on a short story for creative writing, was to correct my credit report with Transunion and fix the tabs option on my US Bank online account. Prompted by the advice of a close older friend, the moment that I became eligible for free annual credit reports, I set up an schedule to check out all three. And not just check them but check them carefully, one report at a time, spread out at four-month intervals.

Dang. I was on top of things. I was focused. I was proud.

But chaos theory has, once again, conquered my personage, and when I went to check my meticulously-planned credit report last night, I found out that Transunion has me living in my home town, going to school in Chicago, and working in Kirksville. And to top it off they have my birth year wrong, which means I'm younger in some circles. It also means that I can't simply file the corrected information online; I have to fill out forms and send hard copies of vital documents.

Well.

I am resolved to be optimistic- so I've done some contemplation on the matter, and I think that I've managed to find the humanity of it all. I postulate that this experience is one of those weird little markers of adulthood.

I know it seems silly, but prior to this realization, this incident really did affect me. What can I say, I'm impressionable sometimes.

Anyways, these "markers" always catch me by surprise because I like to consider myself a perpetually free-spirited adolescent-- someone who would never take pleasure in possessions over feeling. Or pay attention to FICO scores, for that matter.

All I'm saying is that these little experiences that used to remind me of what I consider adult and inhumane (and therefore alien) have now become part of, well, who I am.

Are these little moments true epiphanies? That seems to be such a self-important word for such small pauses of adjustment.

Let's hope not. Goodness knows I'd much rather concern myself with the likes of more Bohemian-centered ideals when considering life-changing forces.

I suspect, though, that everyone at this age is starting to have these small, idiosyncratic moments that prompt thoughts such as:"huh, that was a very adult thing to do" or "wonder what that means?" And in some ways, I can see how these realizations might be considered supremely important because they help us define our adulthood, our individual goals and values, and how they differ from what we've been told adulthood should be.

Interesting.

Ergo, rather than pay attention in class today (because I felt like I've been told and retold the same academic material for the past four years of my life) I scribbled a list of idiosyncrasies.

So, without further ado, I present:

Mini-Markers of Adulthood

--I realized today that I can't remember the last time I ran out of toilet paper (or hand soap, for that matter.)
--I took my first "vacation" alone this summer. And by vacation I mean my first solo trip (a preliminary interview with F&H in Chicago) -solely for business- and not pleasure. I did not go see the Field Museum. This was the first time that have ever consciously allowed that to happen.
--During a recent fight in a friendship that was going really badly, I said "No, I don't think we should be friends," rather than over-analyzing, torturing myself, and going through the expected social script of forgiveness and redemption.
--I wrote down questions for my doctor and chose my own treatment for scar tissue in my colon, rather than letting the doctor dominate. That also had to do with the fact that I was being treated in Kirksville. But still.
--Every day I'm closer to paying off all my credit-card debt. Albeit by working in a bar. But hey- money's money.
--I've downloaded and re-watched the first five seasons of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. For pleasure. And I usually knit when doing so.
--Yesterday I chose one piece of Vosges chocolate over a big bag of M&Ms.
--I've become a CNN junkie rather than a MTV/VH1 junkie. And not just because of the election.
--I called in sick to work two weeks ago because I was actually sick. And then I preceded to soak my feet in a milk bath and eat chicken soup offered by a good friend.
--I paid for a pet-sitter. By choice. And Viola was groomed. I'm sure she liked it, too.
--In Chicago, while eating by myself at a fancy restaurant this summer, I tactfully sent back food without regret and without feeling a need to over-tip the wait staff.
--On Friday I scrubbed the floors of my bathroom on my hands & knees, and yes, used a toothbrush.

I'm not bitter about any of these, par say. "Out to sea" is a better way of putting it.

I'm sure that there will be many more to come as the year progresses.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obligatory and Long-Winded Back-In-Kirksville Update

Here it is, approaching the twelfth hour of my return to Kirksville, and things aren't settling like I want and/or need them to. Not to be ungrateful, but I returned home yesterday, changed from the experience of profound loss, with a semblance of hope that perhaps those who had regarded me with suspicion because of my lack of self-disclosure before leaving would perhaps be different after several days of reflection and contemplation about the matter.

Wrong.

In fact, way wrong. Those few relationships that were left here, in shambles and frustration, have, to my dismay, remained the same completely. I (for lack of a modern term) bite my thumb at people and their subjectivism! Nay to their selfish attitudes and paths! What's the point?

I'm suppose I'm losing my patience with people. Don't get me wrong, I've met my fair share of Cool Cats at Truman- but for the most part I've found the majority of Truman students to be a critical, harsh, and unforgiving breed. Perhaps my perception is tainted because I'm a transfer student. That's distinctly possible. Reasoning aside, I have to face facts that I am sick to the point of severe anger of having to "explain myself" to them to avoid being judged. Not only that, but the depth of conversation I find myself being thrown into with most of them is shallow at best, on good days. Recent events have opened my mind to a world of new thought, and the obsequious banter about who had sex with whom and who's doing pot now seems to be a waste of my time.

Perhaps I'm on a pretension kick- I don't know. All I know is that when I try to chime in with a new idea that I find interesting, the theme of the conversation always turns to something gossipy and tacky; pointless chitter-chatter in all respects. I'm sick of it all now. I want more than what I personally perceive as a one-dimensional existence.

In recent news: I'm sure everyone knows by this point that my Grandmother passed away on Wednesday. Goodness knows word spread like wildfire at Truman. I went back home on Sunday for the wake, and the funeral was on Monday. I really don't want to talk much about the past few days specifically (for I've decided that those memories are mine to cherish), suffice to say that the whole experience has helped to better define my philosophy and outlook on life.

Example: A few relatives back home told me that they read my blog. Talking with them about some of my poetry, at least for me, helped to strengthen my goal of communicating what I believe; I told them that I believe frank honesty in written form can help everyone to put things into a clearer perspective. They mostly agreed. And most of them at least seemed interested by what I had to say. Except Aunt Jane. "At the very least your blog keeps me entertained," she chimed. Yippie skippy.

^And she can read that too, I don't care anymore.

I'm at a point now where I understand things better than I used to. Death, however, still frustrates me. But only because I don't understand it as much as I'd like to. I know that earthbound personality and ego might bring about the usual problems that we all face on a day to day basis, but just recently I've learned of the higher self which is the storehouse, synthesizer, and guiding light of our being; a beacon, if you will. It decides, within certain universal laws humans have not yet deciphered, what experiences are needed in order to achieve a level of self-actualization. I want to know its role in death.

My grandmother's death also helped me to put things into perspective. I am an optimist, and I believe that we all live a hedonistic path of evolution that we want to make positive. We don't always succeed, though. Those are the moments when life slides backwards, when all hope can seem lost. Case-and-point the last few weeks of my life. But I recognize that the experiences we need, no matter how difficult, are those that will move us along our path. Sometimes we slip, sometimes we fly, right?

Personally, I think that guilt, fear, repressed anger (and all other vices) are the forces that keep us from soaring. That's why, for me, writing about self-knowledge is so important. It's a personal barometer for the flowing, flexible style of my growth.

It's taken me a while, but I am getting better at recognizing that life is not the meaningless, chaotic thing it may seem when I am confused, angry, or depressed. I'm learning to confront my anger and depression, and what's more- I'm building upon knowledge gleaned from these episodes. Life might be a constant challenge- but I understand it to be a gift, none-the-less. Albert Einstein had it right when he said that "God does not play with dice."

I don't mean to say that life is predetermined- au contraire- I believe it is prong on a latter towards something which my feeble brain is unable to comprehend at this time. All I know as of this point is what I have learned (which really isn't much in the scheme of things.)

A most important reflection:
The experience of my Grandmother's death has taught me that love of another consists not of finding the right person, but in becoming the right person.

How profound. And lovely.

Thanks, Grandma.

Sigh. There's still so much I need to get off my chest.

Ah well, I have more time for that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Series Of Poems For My Dead Grandmother

Gone Back
By E.

Awakened
On a muggy mid-September night
Awakened
by the on-rush of white light
Light bright in a world of black!

There it called-out in agony:
The moon, lifeless now, spoke
As it reached-out through the oak
That extended a hand mournfully-

It called me from black-rose dreams,
Called for time, called for prayers-
The moon held-hands, white beams
Mirrored in mortal eyes: it cried on pained ears

Awakened
On a muggy mid-September night
Awakened
by the on-rush of white light
Light bright in a world of black!

Then Moon and Daughter touched:
But the Moon is not comforted by it!
Then Moon and Sea embrace:
And life flows-out for roses that sit
Upon the cold tombs
For which grandchildren go back-

Gone back, but not for Holiday;
Gone back to be awakened
By a mid-September's moonrise,
Upon Illinois' black-body sky:
Gone back to be fulfilled
By a mid-September's sunrise.


The Final Act
By E.

From the first slap upon my buttocks,
I started toward death.

A series of stages:
Infancy.
Childhood.
Adolescence.

And then, when the maturation process
has been completed,
I am returned to the soil and, in essence, to
the dust
whence I came.

Throughout these stages we are conscious
of the Final Act.
And the Final Act is conscious of us.

Then the strings are played and the puppets move
back and forth
across these earthen planks.

Bravo,
Bravo.

But no encore.


The Old Oleander
By E.

O Flower, though art wilting!
The invisible aphid
That lurks on slipp'ry earth,
Smelling smoking wind- Earth's rolling pin,
In the fragrant lies of springtime,

Has found out thy sleeping-place
Upon man-trod green grass,
With pearl and crimson finish:
And with stained limbs of bed's departing life
Doth allow your petals to knowingly diminish.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When she leaves us, she'll take her Christmas cookies with her.

I had gone to bed late on Sunday night-- staying up a few extra hours to do preparatory work for Phi Sigma Pi Rush week. Usually, when I go to bed late, I'm knackered by the time my head hits the pillow.

Sunday night/Monday morning was different, though. For some reason, I simply couldn't disengage my brain-cogs-- thoughts were spinning like tops in my head, mulling over the the to-dos and not-to-dos of Rush week. I remember thinking to myself, at some point before I actually fell asleep, that sleep should not have been that hard.

I have no idea when I eventually dozed off, but I did. Probably somewhere in the vicinity of 4:00 am or 5:00 am. I suppose that's irrelevant though, because I was woken up at exactly 6:22 am by a frantic phone call from my Mother.

My only living Grandparent, My Grandmother Margaret Mitchell-- aged 93, had suffered a stroke and had been hospitalized earlier that morning.

The funny thing is that Grandma Marge was, for a 93 year-old, relatively quick-witted and strong as an ox, despite having been diagnosed with Dementia a year ago. So this stroke took us all by surprise; it was completely out of the blue.

The tragedy of it all is that she is still alive. My entire family is waiting by her bedside for her heart to give out. She's physical paralyzed and cognitively vegetative. The Doctors tell my family that the stroke damaged too many brain cells to ever hope to resuscitate her to consciousness- yet her heart beats on.

I'm the only immediate family member who is unable to go and see her before she passes. This is because I don't have a reliable source of transportation to get back to my hometown, and because I am the overseer and planner of Phi Sigma Pi's Rush (which just happens to be this week.) I'd love to simply pass my responsibilities over to another and ask a friend for a ride back home, but the reality of the situation is much more complex than that. As such, my mother and I decided that the best course of action would be for me to stay in Kirksville and occupy myself with planning Rush. As of this point, I'm suppose to stay here until she dies and then go back to Cedar Rapids for her funeral.

It's rough, dealing with all of this.

I don't know why, but for some reason, in the middle of it all, I can't stop remembering her hands. I've been thinking about them for two days straight. My grandmother's hands were scrawny and cold, disfigured from arthritis and gnarled by years of hard work. But they were beautiful. They were the hands of my childhood- the hands that held mine when we walked to church on Sunday mornings, the hands that fed me candied apricots and cucumber sandwiches, the hands that guided mine in prayer by my bedside. They were hands that worked so hard and loved so well.

I remember watching those hands once on Christmas Eve. My Grandmother was in the kitchen with me, prattling the recipe for her Peanut Butter No Bake Christmas Cookies. I wasn't paying attention. Instead I was watching her hands, and thinking to myself that I hoped that my hands would someday resemble hers.

How I wish now that I could go back in time and tell her how much I admired her hands. Not only that, but I wish that I would have listened to that recipe that she was generously offering me. It's funny to think that once she passes, that I'll never see those hands or taste those cookies again.

The memory of those cookies are on my tongue as I write now-- and thoughts of my beautiful-handed Grandmother consume my heart and mind.

I know that I don't need a Christmas cookie recipe to keep her memory alive and feel like at least a part of her will always be with me, but it hurts because the memory makes me realize how silly I have been for not spending more time with her.

I realize it's also silly to think that my hands could ever be as distinct as hers were. I should just accept that my hands will never be so beautiful; my life has been much too easy to merit the grace of work-worn hands. I suppose that's what Grandma had worked so hard for, though.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think that I won't be able to thank her for everything she's done for me in person. And it hurts me to know that she might be suffering.

Also, everyone in the family is a mess. Right now we are stuck in the worst kind of waiting game. And dealing with these circumstances is forcing us to contemplate the ephemeral nature of all, much to our disdain. And I feel like it's driving us all crazy in different ways.

Since Monday morning, I have been getting stressed about things I cannot control to the point of breakdowns, and have temporarily given up on how I look and what I eat. Also, I can't think straight, can't remember things, can't focus on anything, and can't make accurate judgments.

Everything is overwhelming right now.


Friday, September 12, 2008

But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. <--- Shut The Fuck Up, George Lucas.

Get yourself a cup of tea and tuck in- this is a long one.

Where to begin. This one’s been simmering on the back burner for about six weeks. Or maybe my whole life. I don't know. All I know is that as far back as I can remember, I've haven't done the best job of avoiding the things that bind individuals to a one-dimensional existence.

My former life-philosophy: Do not remain emotionally disassociated, do not collect $200.

A former subscriber of the "she is not what she feels" credo, I've recently learned that my emotions are more than passing ships in the nights which come and go as they please. They are comparable, in fact, to the weather that determines the totality of what I am. In lieu of this realization, I'd like to consider myself newly liberated; now my tears are truly genuine, my laughter sprung from the heart, and my anger bona fide. I am whole.

It's been quite a journey. And I still have some tweaking to do here and there.

But this blog is proof positive that I am improving myself for the better. In the past I wished for the courage to say things because they've been occupying space in my thoughts and using up my energy, but I had been scared about what people would think of my opinions. But now, I posit: fuck it. I really do need to get these thoughts out of my head and into the world, for the sake of my mental health. I need to acknowledge them and then let them go, and hopefully find a way to move on. Maybe I'll never be brave enough to write about some of the more ghastly experiences I've endured in a public forum. Who knows. All I know is that I've got to start somewhere:

(But first, a second preface): I’m not going to write about the details of the last few years of my life. The details are things that I know could cause hurt and shame to myself and others, so I won’t do that. But I will write about what these events have left me with. And maybe, if I’m lucky it will give me the rest of the closure that I need to move on.

A new personal challenge: accepting loss and moving on.

This one is so hard for me. I've never really figured out how to deal with losing people that are close to me. I know that people leave for whatever reasons: people die, people change, and people come in and out of your life. They're close, they're distant; they give joy, they spread hate. And all that’s okay.

But what I can’t accept is doing my best-day in day out-to be a good friend, family member, and person (in the face of sometimes less-than-ideal conditions,) and then having my honesty and sincerity trampled on. I'm fucking pissed about it, actually.

I want to sock it like I was a puppeteer in a Punch and Judy.

A musing of which Bruce Banner would approve:

Anger is a natural human emotion, right? I mean we feel love, greed, lust, envy, sadness, happiness- and we feel anger.

At least I certainly am not unaffected by it. In fact I have an enormous problem with unacknowledged, repressed anger. I'm like a dove whose hawk side comes out unexpectedly under stress, usually in the form of pretended concern. Not only that but I often don't even recognize my anger until after the fact. And when I do recognize it, I usually don't know how to express it honestly and constructively.

I mean, none of us are really taught how to deal with anger, are we? We aren't given any ground rules for impulsive emotions; we aren't taught the basics of "integrity fighting." What we do know comes from experience and evolutionary impulsions which result in a "dominance fighting" of sorts. The difference is that the first results in the removal of friction, while the latter increases it by leaving one party victorious, the other humiliated and/or hurt.

Shamantics-Semantics

Also, it pisses me off that people don't call anger by its real name: anger. Instead we say we are "depressed," "hostile," "guilty," "upset," "worried," "selfish," etcetera etcetera. Aren't all of these verbs (particularly "depressed") the result of anger turned inward (never expressed?)

A portrait of Elaine Sokolowski

I've recently realized that I never allow my face to register anger. Instead my primary mode of coping with the emotion is to express it in the guise of loving concern. I "know" that my mother's friend's husband is worried, that my best friend is suffering in an unhappy affair, that my brother has done something wrong. I know-and I pat people on the back and have no problem empathizing. But in doing so I fail to rid myself of my anger. Funny, to think that I am actually projecting it onto others and distorting it into fear, worry, and guilt. Hah! The reality of Pandora's open box, I suppose.

I used to be unaware of my manipulation. I used to disguise it under the excuse that all I wanted to do was avoid hurting others. The formerly prototypical Pollyanna, I have experienced the frustration of denying my anger and the debilitation of doing what was demanded of my "good little girl" image. I know now that the outcome does more harm than good. I've only just recently acknowledged my intrinsic right to my feelings. Feelings are fact, I do declare.

But at the same time, in ironic tribute to my former assertions, I can't help but shake the feeling that anger isn't necessary on this small planet. I mean, it's valuable because it prevents stagnation and stimulates growth, but could we survive without it?

Sigh. Will my thoughts be forever plagued by contradictions?

^Yes. ...Dammit.

Okay. I get it. I am suppose to yield with a smile and command with compassion. If only it were as simple as written words/phrases in blogs.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

O Dreamer, Wake Unto Me.

The constance of Thought makes itself hastily-heard
Light hushed over fields; another dawn gently-blurred.
In bold disposition of Tempest the Nightingale cries,
and spurs shut the blues of Beau's golden-thread eyes.

This Author-Lover's soul: a Backward-Bard writing inverse,
She can not sleep for dreaming; tis' Her nightly curse.
With quill and parchment Her rapier and a phalanx-will to write-
She caresses and cuddles close while World turns day from night.

Clickedy-Clanks of Rude World heard in Downtrodden Day,
Lull'd by Cow-Over-Moon-Light have all passed away.
This Noiseless Night drink'eth the Dregs of evening decay-
Permit Authress voyage to Dreams- but keep Starlight at bay!

Her pillows sway with Rapid Rising of Dreamer's chest;
Rapid Eye Movements, Sweet-sleep, & Innocent Rest.
Feeling Chill of Alone, Authress contemplates re-write,
For His sweet-soft sleep-murmur brings muse and insight.

She observes his Blinking Eyes- holding unspent tears-
hearing Steady-Sleeping Heart mirroring Waking-World fears.
Dreamer's thoughts glad for Night and His mind put to Bed;
Ill-spoken Worry-Words left lovingly unsaid.

She holds Pen in tow and scratches words with brace of shelf:
She criticizes Him only of That which she fears most in Herself.
To give small things large Shadows is consistent to Her person,
She burns bridges often with promise that Love will never worsen.

Her prose begs the question: why pay interest before it's due?
Why dodge the Elephant but not the Fly in Her Womanly rue?
If after a Botticelli's Vision-Fairer He doth' optically embark,
Old Candle must flicker afresh- created by new flint and spark!

O Dreamer, wake unto me and sing me your Lamenting-Song,
Gone are the Worries and Cares of the Waking-World's throng:
This night I write from my heart that which I know to be True-
The time will come when Waking-World Worries will no longer torture You.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Platform 21 and 3/4. Next stop: somewhat closer, but no where distinctly nearer to self-actualization?

I didn't go to classes today.

I decided this morning that I would rather spend the day in my room, rationalizing. I know how dumb and self-indulgent this is, on every level. But I can't help it. Rationalization: It's what I do, when it really comes down to it. As for the choice to stay locked up in my room all day: that's just me feeling sorry for myself.

Last night I made a stupid decision, and the consequences have certainly taught me an important lesson: to be grateful for grace and eager for redemption. The concept seems rudimentary, but I, at least in my life experience's, have found that pride often has a funny way of stupefying one's intellect. Besides, I have this bad tendency to listen to advice, but not take it. Ergo, I have to learn life lessons via show-and-tell. It's so dumb. Ugh. ...Common sense be damned! <----Sigh.

On a serious note, human experience can be a straight-up bitch.

Goodness knows it doesn't help matters that I've been acting like a serious kook lately. And I want you to know that I know that you know, if that makes any sense at all.

... I do have one chipper memory of last night's whole ordeal that is worthy of re-telling: This morning Andrew woke up and checked his e-mail. I was secretly watching. I noticed that his mind is always planning; it is constantly calculating and evaluating for the future. It makes me feel safe. It is wonderful. But at that same time bad; he worries so much. And I'm talking the self-sacrificing worry; i.e. the altruistic variety. Oh Andrew.

Also, I cried in his arms this morning. Raw tears stemmed from my habit of disassociating myself with my emotions. Irrational tears, really. And all he did was hold me and empathize.

Memories like the aforementioned are my live's saving grace; they give me hope for better times.

And there is goes again-my innate optimism. Geez. I used to wish I could turn it off when I was younger. But I realize now that I can't. I've come to accept that it simply is too strong a force to be snuffed. Besides, I'm starting to like my optimism. It's the one thing that separates me from mostly everyone else (or it is my "ego," if you will.) And if I'm going to be proud of something (because goodness knows that personal vice of mine has a will of its own as well,) then it might as well be something beautiful, like optimism.

I get legitimately upset with people when they tell me it is unfounded or "blind." Don't they realize that it stems from shared human experience? At its core, it is a reflection of my personal observations of the people who have come in and out of my life. It is a cheerful frame of mind that demonstrates to my intellectual tea-kettle how to sing despite having hot water up to my nose. Colored by this outlook, I can't help but expect the best for mankind when I can still whole-heartedly observe the True beauty of human experience. Besides, I would imagine that a world without optimism would be a world akin to Hell.

And not only that, but I am 100% sure that the beauty of profound optimism- the kind that motivates people- can only be appreciated fully when one experiences its opposition; profound pessimism. Moral of the story: Don't ever think a "blind" optimist naive.

The key is balance, really. I genuinely believe that a combination of healthy proportions of optimism and pessimism, hopefulness and naivete, and skepticism and realism are the strongest force that people can muster to insinuate social change. I really do believe this.

Sure, you can argue that my optimism is often misplaced. But you live and you learn, right?

Random spur-of-the-moment memory/reflection: When I was a child, the only thing that I couldn't regard with optimism was a pessimist. I see now, however, that pessimism acts a a check for recklessness, and is, therefore, positively attributed. How paradoxical.

^Also, have you noticed how I tend to see life in dualities? I've been thinking a lot about that lately.

Maybe I'm just neurotic.

^That's a distinct possibility.


I suppose there are worse things to be, though.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Analyze this, Sigmund Freud.

I just woke up from a fairly ominous dream. I can't fall back asleep. Naturally, I'm pissed off.

So, with heavy eyelids and a kitty on my lap, I am going to attempt to refocus my negative energy. Perhaps I should write a prose of my dream? Okie dokie artichokie.

The Revenant
By E.

I sit dreaming of old times in my aged wicker chair
when the sound of thunder made me arise with raised hair.
A storm brews outside with with satanic wrath
Shrewd are my plans to be out of its path.

I close my eyes daintily and bow my head,
Hoping to escape my thoughts of overwhelming dread.
So I think of seventh-heaven, sweet-snacks, and love,
I am entombed by waltzing grass with clouds up above.

Then comes a knock, knock, knockidy knock.
The door begins its rattle, dead-bolt and lock.
I bound from my chair as frightened as can be,
who would venture the storm to come visit me?

I timorously tip-toe towards the front door.
Sweat flowing bountifully from every pore.
I reach for the doorknob with timid fingers,
in my body the feeling of dread still lingers.

I gather my poise and yank open the door.
I prepare myself to see a great horror.
But all I see is nothing... Nothing in sight.
Just the trees rustling in the darkness of the night.

I stand in speechless agitation,
then close the door with little hesitation.
I was once told this place was haunted.
Stories, I thought; to make me feel taunted.

They said that one day a man would return,
He looks for She who makes his heart yearn.
Perhaps tonight's episode was caused by this man,
and my trepidation was part of his macabre plan.

The feeling of dread is now gone now, no more do I lack.
But who knows where The Revenant is going, or when He'll be back?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Furor Poeticus. Or maybe just because one is the loneliest number.

I wrote two poems in my creative writing class today. And I like them both.

Perhaps with a bit of revision they might be something that I can be proud of. Here they are:

Netherworld of reflections
By E.

When I am not really looking,
I do truly see:
A mirror,
the puddle,
chrome bumpers,
Her Father's storefront window.
In it a world we can never touch-
and place we can never go.
True to life, or false counterpart?
'Tis the netherworld of reflections.
Where you see and what you see reflected-
are your faces of internal reflection.
Sparkle and shine are the result of the surface-
Superficial and polished sparingly.
Alas we be brought back to reality
where one considers the invariable Truth:
Nothing really but beams of light,
hastily transmitted back into the air.

Erasing Ethnicity
By E.

The mind's vibrant color eclipses Black
and one's everyday flats edge out stiletto heels-
To a place where silk-chiffon-and-ribbon streams of thought
skip-to-their-lou in tourmaline chains.
Where the sweetest flavors of Plum and Berry
are content to be worn on the eyes, cheeks and lips-
and purposefully seek to disguise an age of obscured origins.
Allowing for the soul's mercury to plunge to icy-cold lows
we are lead scantily by multibillion-dollar demons.
Let us hope that a few still be concerned with True hue
and let them be the copper-colored hope of the future.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I am a haunted house. But I still don't want you to know I'm haunted.

It's 2:45 am and I'm so anxious that I find myself unable to sleep. Why? For reasons which I don't wish to disclose to the general public, that's why. I do, however, think that it might be an effective use of time to channel my current melancholy energy into a positive feeling. And how better than via the means of written expression?

Actually, that's a very interesting reflection. I suppose that's why I, in general, keep coming back to this damn blog time and time again: to refocus. Sigh.

"Self-Relfections" was a piece that I wrote after I completed the Taiwan at Truman program this summer. I like to consider it an attempt at authoring my emotions about my semi-sordid past. And by "semi-sordid" I mean my former struggles with Depression, Anxiety, and Bulimia/Anorexia.

...Wow. That was sort of liberating. Writing it, I mean.

I understand that the piece is mediocre in the literary sense, but it is the closest that I have ever come to being unrestricted and frank with my friends about my life's throes. So in that sense, I suppose it could be considered profound- albeit superficial in its existence.

I'm aware that it's considered selfish for one to keep his or her experiences from others (so that they may learn from them). And I understand that I fall prey to this vice. Be assured in knowing that I hate that I am indulgent and prideful in this way.

It is a Truth that the sharing of human experience is meritorious, however, so I am going to remain optimistic about my endeavor to self-disclose. Ergo, in an attempt to put my proverbial best foot forward, I would like to promise all who read this blog that I am working diligently to correct my "problem" of keeping my past tight-mouthed. Honesty is a virtue that I hold in the highest regard, after all, and omission can certainly be considered dishonesty, can it not?

A random spur-of-the-moment contemplation: Perhaps my woebegone mood is an indicator that I am spiritually malnourished? Interesting notion. How does one experience catharsis for such an affliction? Or better yet, is there any way to absolve oneself of somber reflections without spirituality? Well, yes. There is always physical eradication.

...Actually, I SO take that thought-stream back. I'm physically healthy now. I can't get caught up in those thoughts anymore; purging is a terribly addictive response to emotional distress. I would know.

Huh. I feel better having just admitted what I did about myself. But on the flip-side I just realized that I really do hate listening to myself think. Or re-reading my thoughts, for that matter.

Ugh. I'm so anxious I'm teetering. Dang.

How about a round of peace and fucking quiet for everyone? That would be nice. The world doesn't get nearly enough of that. Besides, no one likes an emo. Oh geez. I'm being emo. I'm sorry, readers. I promise that my next post will be more chipper.

I'm going to go for a walk. Maybe pretending like I can leave will do some good.

Goddamn I need a smoke.

-E.






Monday, August 18, 2008

Self-Relfections, By Elaine Sokolowski

The Woman was not aware of the queerness of the day, or even of the restless feelings urging her to pace about the shadowed drafty lodgings of her small-town summer abode. Yet, quiet as awareness crept in like the thief of night, the raspy-clinging urge of restless fever came upon her.

She glanced wistfully at her surroundings; the fixings of her home were stylish, yet they were not grand, clean, nor trim. Despite this, it was a pleasant place to relax in the quititude that The Woman deemed necessary to calm her frayed nerves like an anointed balm.

As the fidgety feeling crept in deeper still, The Woman became uneasy and paced in front of her bathroom window, staring out bleakly and without purpose into the early-morning summer sky. The beauty of the condensation upon her window rolled in like a summer mist, and she was oddly taken by the shroud of its mystery.

Suddenly, the woman was struck by the odd silence of the moment, only to have the encounter punctuated by the revving-thrumming engine of a dump truck outside: not a lively twitter, not a sonorous hum, not even a sympathetic human voice. Only a dump truck.

In a spur-of-the-moment decision, The Woman turned sharply and sat down lickety-split in the velveteen armchair located directly in front of her bathroom Vanity.

She stared at her reflection, expecting to see nothing but a familiar face, punctuated with her Venusian smile--akin to the passing of a small white cloud before the coming of a Spring shower-cyclone. She thought of her bright, lilting laugh that rang with merriment-- the one that once you've heard it, you won't soon forget it. And she couldn't help but think, "how long it has been since I have heard you sing, sweet laughter."

She gazed without thought for a second time into the polished exterior of the Vanity. To her surprise, however, the face staring back at her was not the same in nature, quality, amount, or form as she was accustomed. When her intellect effectively deduced the true nature of the situation, she was, without warning, taken aback by the face which she saw mirroring her own. Gone was The Woman of quiet-yet-striking features; the one with the sensible and tempted stare.

In her place sat a bookishly-shy, full-figured, curly-haired Likeness, comparable to a budding rose in the bramble of a thorn bush. The hushed intelligence within The Likeness's pristine brown eyes made the woman's heart teeter with bewilderment. It was then, at that moment, that The Likeness (as though she had a life of her own,) extended her hand towards her mirrored counterpart.

The color faded from The Woman's cheeks-- certainly her eyes must be playing tricks on her! Yet, with boldness that matched the bravura of her otherworldly effigy, she instinctively reached out to graze the fingertips of The Likeness, whose petite and benevolent hand possessed a Herculean energy to which she had long since been unaccustomed to.

The Woman's palm tightened about the the tips of The Likeness's genteel littlefinger. Struck by form's regal bearing, her poise, her half-coiffed hair, The Woman noticed a ornate (but refined) diamond ring upon the forefinger of The Likeness. Awestruck, The Woman watched as the faceted gemstone sparkled in the surface of the Vanity with each shard of changing light.

It was then that The Woman really observed her counterpart's features--The Likeness's equine face and aquiline nose meshed well with just a hint of the oriental slant and cheekbones to render her exotic, and The Woman couldn't help but be overwhelmed with recollection.

Without provocation, and for seemingly no reason,
The Woman was then provided an exposition into The Likeness's mind. She saw October's vivid, golden leaves flitting across the pavement in the brisk autumn weather. Only a moment passed and then The Woman saw sky blue bunches of shy violets, drenched in the fresh scent of April rain.

The Woman understood this to mean what it was: bright optimism turned to silent panic, weighed down with lonely depression. Or was it th
e image of perfect harmony she saw, cradled between rich, crackling intellect and an affectionate, sympathetic heart?

"Who are you?" The Woman abruptly cried with fervent passion (most likely spawned by fear.)

The Likeness then shifted her weight, unbidden, and watched The Woman intently, benignly ignoring the question.

"What do you want from me?" The Woman then followed in a dramatic plea.

The Likeness only stared woefully back at the woman, cheerlessly comprehending.

The Woman, cantankerous towards her believe-ed mirage, drew her hand back to the solace of her lap.

Lowering her eyes, The Woman sat for many moments in a melancholy contemplation. She then looked up briefly, with no expression in particular, to see The Likeness gazing upon her with bafflement in her eyes. The Likeness uttered no words, but her eyes begged a single question, reiterated slowly, as if aiming to get through to a slow-witted, yet cherished interlocutor.

The Woman, however, could not hold her gaze for long. Instead she sat, ensconced in her ancient velveteen Vanity armchair, steamy libation fragrantly sweetening the air nearby. She could hear The Likeness's silent voice speaking to her intently. It took every bit of her quintessence to keep from escaping to the protection of her bedchamber (so as to avoid absorbing every unspoken word that came from the closed-mouth of arguably The Woman's greatest expert on herself.)

When The Likeness had finished her silent speech, The Woman (eyes still downcast) allowed a single tear to shed to the floor.

Then The Woman paused for another brief moment. With little hesitation (and to the wonderment of her effigy,) The Woman suddenly raised her eyes to the image of The Likeness in the Vanity mirror. This time, however, she was unclassifiable: she now stared at her counterpart through a pair of dead, black, enormous pools that passed for eyes. Her hands suddenly looked sinewy and contorted, and she was fidgeting- clasping and unclasping the hook of her simple silver necklace.

It was then that The Likeness nodded wearily, without reproach. Still shaking her head, she glided towards The Woman, and placed a single kiss upon her cheekbone, like a butterfly alighting.

Then, as fast as she had appeared, The Likeness was instantly gone.

The Woman looked up again at the mirror and contemplated her reflection. She had never looked more imposing as she sat upon the velveted chair, attired in a stiff sleeveless white chiffon dress, no hint of make-up on her imperious, commanding face.

The Woman suddenly ripped her simple silver necklace fast as greased lightening from her neck like it was macabre pendant. She promptly placed it upon the counter, and paying it no more attention, briskly rifled through her jewelery box on the Vanity. It was there that she located a stylish beetle-shaped brooch, complimented by a lavish pearl necklace that emphasized the contours of her delicate and weakly neck, which served the purpose of making her look less diseased than normal.

Her gaze was cold, almost inhuman, and as she prepared to stand, she looked into the Vanity and contemplated what she had seen, before reaching a sickly hand to her perpendicular, thinning, and deteriorating hair to rearrange one single curl that obscured her view.



Sunday, August 10, 2008

The PostSecret Challange

I saw this on www.postsecret.blogspot.com and I'd thought I'd give it a try.

The PostSecret Challange:

Tell 20 influential others what they mean to you. Don't use names or identifiers, be honest, and write what comes to your heart.

1. You are the smartest person I have ever met in my entire life. Not only that, but you are beautiful, talented, and sensitive. And you are the greatest friend I've ever had. Mom tells me you aren't doing so well with things, and I hate God because of it.

2.I consider you my Father. I love you, and someday I'll make you proud.
*A request, however: Please stop hooking up with my friends. It makes me uncomfortable.

3. You always know the right thing to say to make me smile. I don't know why God made you love me so much- especially since I excel at hurting you. I'd do anything for you, if you asked.

4. I resent that I am sometimes forced to be more of a parent to you than you are to me. But on the flip-side, your pride taught me to admire and appreciate the inherent beauty of humanity.

5. I only did what you should have done. I know that I did wrong to you, and I'm sorry for that. I hope you can forgive me. I forgive you, but you will still be a d-bag in my book until you apologize to my face.

6. I gave away years of myself to you- and I'll never be the same because of it. I forgive you for everything, though. Thank you for the memories.

7. I don't think you know how much I learned from you; about life, love, and happiness. Even though we only spent a year together, I will remember you forever. You were my teacher, my confidant, and my partner in crime. I miss you terribly.

8. You're such a bitch sometimes! But I've never laughed harder at anyone's jokes than yours.

9. I've never met a wiser person. You're a walking sage.

10. Your confidence is refreshing (and your easy-going nature makes me feel safe). Also, I admire you a great deal for your courage. You would be happier if you did more listening, though!

11.This might be a bit too sentimental, but when I think of you in my head, I imagine that you are a beautiful flower... who is subject to the occasional wilting. Please don't let the small stuff get you down, ever! You're so much better than all that! I wish you could see that too.

12. In all likelihood, you were absolutely right about everything you said. I shouldn't be involved with something if I don't devote myself to it. But I looked up to you, and you hurt me a great deal with your words.

13. Generosity of spirit is a uncommon thing- and you still posses it. You're an inspiration. Please understand that I have the hardest time asking for your help. I get nervous around you- but only because I admire you so much.

14. I'm having the hardest time forgiving you. I think about what you did all the time. You've made it so that I can't easily trust people.

15. In high school, you were the pinnacle of cool to me. I don't think you realize how cool you still are. Never second-guess your uniqueness, and harness it to your advantage!

16. I've never loved anyone more than I loved you the moment you looked me in the eyes and told me the worst thing about yourself.

17. I don't know you at all. And I'm not okay with that. But I need time. I fear I would hurt you if we spoke at this moment.

18. I'd go gay for you in a heartbeat. Seriously. And I know you know too.

19. Your intentions confuse me a great deal. And you hurt me by making me feel a fool. One minute you act like you like me, then you shut off. How am I to respond when I really like you? Since your ambiguity is all I have to understand what you want, I'll assume you don't want me. But if cynicism and judgments are the causes of your indifference, than you, sir, have a lot to learn about compassion, honesty, patience, and courage. And I pity you. I'd like to remain optimistic about your character, however, so I'll tell myself that you really didn't mean to hurt me. And in that case, I'm sorry to have made you feel any less than comfortable and I wish the best for you in all things, I really do. And I hope things get better soon. Some heartfelt words of wisdom: the key to overcoming pain, worry, and indecision is by finding a balance between staying true to yourself and following virtues and experiencing their Truth.

20. The real reason I don't go to see you anymore is because I am afraid that I won't make you proud. I know I told you once that other people's opinions don't matter to me- that the "only thing that was important was what I thought of myself." The truth is that you are the one person whose opinion really does matter to me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I have strong feelings about apathy.

I can remember one and only one fight that I've ever had with my closest friends. We fought about the ethicality of apathy (in reference to whether a person should actively seek to voice their opinions about percieved injustices). I had strong feelings on the matter.

I was reflecting upon that fight (and thinking of the passionate spirit of a close girlfriend of mine), and I was inspired to write this:

Apathy Hath its Place on The River Styx

One should mourn the apathetic drove-
The irresolute and haughty,
Who see the world's subjective torment and its wrong
And dare not speak!
To not speak is a travesty of individualism.
There is no universal Truth
That is worthy of compliance.
At the very least we gain perspective
And learn the value of diffidence.
The catalyst for evolution and progression-
Which is needed in the quest for originality.
And freedom of expression is akin to peace.
So one must negotiate to end the hate-
For peace is a worthy endeavor.
A formidable legacy to leave.


The poem really isn't very good... but it's a start in the "exploring Elaine's ability to emote" directive.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

William Cullen Bryant approved.

I was reading some Elizabeth Barret Browning this morning (for a new perspective) and I found this poem. It hit a nerve, to say the least.

I won't delve into the crux of why this poem affected me as much as it did, but I do have some reflections that I'd like to share. I mean, I should be afforded the luxury of keeping some things to myself, shouldn't I?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Pain in Pleasure

A thought ay like a flower upon mine heart,
And drew around it other thoughts like bees
For multitude and thirst of sweetnesses;
Whereat rejoicing, I desired the art
Of the Greek whistler, who to wharf and mart
Could lure those insect swarms from orange-trees
That I might hive with me such thoughts and please
My soul so, always. foolish counterpart
Of a weak man's vain wishes! While I spoke,
The thought I called a flower grew nettle-rough
The thoughts, called bees, stung me to festering:
Oh, entertain (cried Reason as she woke)
Your best and gladdest thoughts but long enough,
And they will all prove sad enough to sting!

Subsequent reflections:
I am, once again, left muddle-headed (and more-than-marginally enchanted) by the complexities of the human psyche. This poem (in addition to subtly allowing the reader to be privy to the cockles of my heart,) really makes me re-visit and re-evaluate the whole nature v. nuture/ emotions v. intellect debate.

Perhaps we don't manage our earliest self-confidences; maybe we, as humans, simply aren't capable. I can recall more than one instance in the last few weeks where first encounters left me teeming with positivity, but the feeling was slighted there afterwards by creeping doubt (or "bees that sting," if you will.) And by "creeping doubt" I mean my profound talent for questioning my optimistic emotions/intuition in favor of the rational of my overly-reflective and pessimistic intellect.

Anyways. One might ask his or herself (as I did) whether there is any Truth in this observation. Interesting prompt (better suited for another day, perhaps).

Ha. William Cullen Bryant would not approve of these speculations. "Pain dies quickly, and lets her weary prisoners go; the fiercest agonies have shortest reign," he would tell me.

... and it would do me good to heed him.

Sigh. I really need to forget the pages and screens and learn to write myself on the smiles of others. Even if nothing comes of it.






Thursday, July 31, 2008

Emerald City, where everything is made of emerald.

I wrote this last night at four in the morning. It's reactionary, really. It isn't profound by any means, but it is reflective of my emotions last night. Interesting. In retrospect, I mean.

Today I saw the real you-
for the first time
in a long time.
From behind green lenses.
More like bloodied spyglasses.

I screamed-
a silent sound
heard by none-
cloak-and-dagger to the masses.
Besmeared by immorality;
muted by guilt.

Why do you affect me so?
I mustn't affect you.
You draw me towards you-
in flesh,
in spirit.
Magnetized by empathy;
birthed by curiosity:
I want to help you-
however unrequited

I see why
He thinks you His muse.
Perpetually emboldened;
cheerlessly striking.
I know not of your diyad-
only of its profundity.

You are hurting.
Innocence becomes you.
Suddenly broken is my melancholy telescope-
never without the camouflages of night-
often finger-painted green-
stupefied by abundant intellect-
animated by distant stars.

The silver lands heads-up
in the coin-toss of rationale.
The two emeralds tarnish,
rather than supplicate the addiction,
back to their charnel-house receptacle.

Hand-in-hand
my heart doth follow.
'Cross to a new saturnine catacomb;
a sabbatarian valley of condolence.
Therein intellect seesaws
against the imminence of mercy.

It's flickering now,
a lantern formerly agleam,
flitting like a lily-white songbird-
in extremis.
'Tis a slow suicide.

Replenish your incandescence
or let it be snuffed-
by the heel of oppression,
by the blanket of society!

Aggrieve you? I won't.
I mustn't.
Instead I'll attend to your afflictions.
Because you are beautiful-
especially through emerald-smeared optics.

My heart yearns at you.
My heart yearns for you.
My heart yearns without you.
I envy you.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bon Ami: In which the blogger gives a formal introduction.

Dear Friend,

I keep a diary of random reflections/inspirational things. Just a collection of random thoughts, really. I'm feeling artsy today. Accordingly, for no meaningful reason, I'm offering you the gift of a single written musing of my personage:


"---You push me for the extravagant, for detail, for the 'nitty-gritty;' you ask so much from so little. You ask a the-glass-is-half-full cup that is quite damp from its last outpouring to spill on you so that you can justify your need to manifest the light within yourself. Don't you realize that for all the rational and optimism that I claim to subscribe to, I am first and foremost an artist? I'm a creature driven by demons. I don't know why they chose me, and I'm usually too busy to care. I've an elevated sense of spirituality; yet I continue to live amorally for my craft; I will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done. I'm a living and breathing contradiction-- I represent a single vagabond who is forever appraising, ascertaining, evaluating whether to escape the game of life via wonderfully-aesthetic sewer or lofty-but-benevolent bridleway in a spiritual tug-o-war---"

~July 27th, 2008


The rest of this post is from the second half of my journal. The quotations are excerpts from a memoir-ish narrative that I've been free-writing since June:

"In case you were wondering, my place of birth is Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the second largest town in the state and the so-called "city of seven smells." Beautiful panoramas, aromatic factories, and inquisitive livestock were customary happenings of my childhood. Born in 1986, a time where Micheal Jackson was king, and "girls just wanted to have fun," I was predetermined to be an eclectic, rash, and intuitive young woman full of imagination and ready to break rules. And break rules I did... but I'd rather not share."


"Out of two children, I am the youngest. My older brother Anthony and I were close in age, and therefore grew up together with a particular closeness that we still share to this day.

Pity, to be raised in a tremulous environment where the gold and silver moments of a fiscal comfort were hidden beneath the tarnish of being lower-middle class."


"I'm my father's daughter, which is disadvantageous for me, seeing as how I was raised by my mother. I subscribe to my father's rational after observing years of my mother's lack-there-of. It scared away my desire to explore my emotions. My emotions are thusly raw and underdeveloped. I'm irrationally scared of rejection and I'm flighty with my identity. I'm indecisive, to say the least, but strangely I possess a refined ability to understand and empathize with all that I encounter (often to a fault).

Despite the aforementioned, I shouldn't complain-- I
was born into a congenial home. My mother was self-sacrificing; she gave every penny she made to her children. There was never a time when my family didn't have the basic necessities of life. And for that I am truly grateful.

I lost contact with my father after my parents divorced, aside from the requisite Birthday card. I still have the last card he sent me (for my tenth birthday,) inside my journal. After that, I didn't receive any contact from him for eight years."


"The neighborhood that I was born into was one which was predominantly middle-class and quite ordinary in terms of social standings. There were a few wealthy families, but for the most part, the townsfolk shared a certain sense of camaraderie and community that made the town a very pleasant place to be raised in. Families in this neighborhood had a tendency to be highly moral and religious, and any wrongdoing on the part of my brother or I would be reason for our neighbors to promptly notify our mother. I give a warm-hearted laugh when I think of how the town used to thrive upon gossip and tittle-tattle of its townsfolk's imperfections.

Crime was few and far between, and most of my childhood friends were my neighbors. Who were also my Sunday School classmates.

It wasn't that I had a particular affinity for them, they were just the only children of my age that were ever around to play with."


"My education was always the best that the city could provide: I was enrolled in fourteen years in the same school district (with two years of pre-school), and my studies were quite typical during those years. After the advent three years in high-school, I expended any and all efforts that I had attempting to be accepted into the University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies as an 'Anthropology/Near Eastern Civilization-Language Egyptian major.'

Studying there would have been the manifestation of my biggest dream come to life. But that dream is over now.

I currently study communication and theatre at Truman State University, but only because the college is my financial benefactor. Kirksville, Missouri is the location of my current humble abode-- a small apartment, of which I am certain is miles away from the curtained place in my dreams ,which-- under the assertion that all dreams are self-fulfilling prophesies -- has a legitimate and supposed obligation to demand its rightful due as my true asylum."


"In some sort of a tribute to my mother's abundant compassion, I have (since the advent of my youth) made a point of excelling in every challenge placed before me. I'm a perfectionist to the core. I have always been more-than-somewhat intellectual, and I once had the gall to take an online test which confirmed that my I.Q. was "above average" (I took it to reassure my insecurities more than to prove a point, I think.)"


"When I was fourteen, I read this quote by Albert Einstein and it legitimately changed my life: 'the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.'

Ergo, I've tenaciously spent the latter half of my years attempting to develop my sense of intuition (via perception); it was, in fact, the catalyst for my love of the study of communication. Now I can say that I am silver-tongued and knowledgeable about the art of cryptesthesia, so there!

For these gifts, I'm not sure whom to credit: my ancestors (whose genetic code seemed to have spawned intelligent offspring), my mother's domineering influence, or some sort of a Divine Presence which transcending into my being."


"To transition into a more detailed chapter of my spiritual advancement, let me first begin by saying that my religious journey started before my physical birth. Contrary to the normal, I wasn't introduced into the church by means of a "spiritual revelation," as it is sometimes called, but rather, religion was something that I was raised with. My mother loved me; she love the church. I loved my mother, so I loved the church.

From this it seems quite clear that I joined the church not out of any self-motivated principal, but out of a desire to prove my enduring love of my mother. I suppose that's why it's easy for me to see (sometimes contrary to my experience) the world as affable and hospitable: because of the idealogical undertone of my white-picket-fence Christian upbringing.

What am I now, religiously? I have absolutely no idea. I know that it is unrealistic to try and discover the origin of one's spiritual state of mind without taking into account the psychosomatic and educational dynamics that fashioned one's character, but I still lack insight into my beliefs on the matter--despite understanding the historical chronology that is an absolute prerequisite in determining my religious outlook. I'm in theological limbo?

I do, however, still feel the affects of the righteous moral and ethical ideals that I grew up under. And they have been genuine and important to me. And even in times of theological uncertainty, such as now, I have never turned away from those ideals. Because of that, the search for my religion is a worthy pursuit that is closely knitted to the fabric of my life."


"Anyways: I've only traveled to four of the fifty states, and I've never been out of the country. Of those four states, I've been to so many places that I can hardly keep them all straight. And yet that's not the boldest lie I'll probably tell you before we're done here.

I know exactly where I've been down to the color of the buds on the local foliage. I've learned in my brief swarees with traveling how to properly commune with the earth-- to understand the appeal of feeling that a home is a place that invites you there."


"I think of my past in moments of tedium now. And to my own disadvantage I sometimes analyze the last four years in every way possible (often while simultaneously choking in a huff of smog caused by the pollutant that is my friend.) I'm lofty, spiritual, and idealistic. I'm also indecisive; I change my mind about everything on a daily basis. I am comforted, however, because I feel that the cerebral
hand of cards that was dealt to me for the most part has not changed. I'm helplessly allotted to my spiritual phylum, appointed in ages long gone, laid unchanged for eons and countless snuffings of souls. I've often thought that I am one in a line of many malaise souls, but I think I'll be alright. It has to pass soon."


"I'm a portrait of my father, physically and mentally. Secretly I'm dejected that I hardly know him. But there is always time for that sort of a thing, right?"


"Sexually I'm a child of John Lenon; forever experimental, yet strictly raw and somewhat undeveloped because of my life's oppressions. I haven't experimented with this side of myself as much as I'd like to because I have simply lacked the time. This fact has never failed to precede my rational thought on the matter and henceforth has given me a itch-you-can't-quite--yet scratch feeling of injustice my whole life. I feel slighted by Mother Earth at not having the ability to develop emotional breadth. It's as though I have been robbed by existence, insofar that I am not afforded a single moment of reprieve from knowing exactly what I am. There is no moment, no shade of me, that still dwells with any sense of ignorance or even kind indifference towards what I want, what I desire, and what that makes me."


"I try to be what I think is the best woman I can be, and all I end up feeling is phony, like my pursuit of perfection is grounded in something that isn't real or that is fruitless. Sometimes I feel as though I don't simply live my life. But that's the real never-ending-story, so I'll spare you."


"...I'm perpetually exhausted, for more reason than one (several of which I have sworn to myself never to reveal.) I'm nervous and anxious in most social situations. Despite that people tell me I'm actually really easy to be around, and that I'm a social butterfly. Whatever. I write that completely off."


"I think far too much, by the way, if that wasn't already terribly evident."


"I haven't learned quite yet how to balance my heart and my intellect... or how to ignore my thoughts when necessary. I just realized--
in this moment-- that I talk and talk about myself, but actually feel a fool when I listen to even the smallest bit of another's problems. Their problems feel more real than mine, more worthy of my pursuits than anything I could ever need."


"I really don't need your help. I'll be okay... but I'll love and nurture you if you want mine. I've never been without an abundance of bravery in that respect. And no, it's not me being noble or gallant or try to put up a defense. I am simply at ease with that portion of myself.

Funny thing.

It took years of solemn reflection and a life-threatening illness to come to grips with. Now I know that all I want is someone to be kind to. I truly believe that is all it will take to keep me young at heart and able to carry on. If you're only willing to trust that I'm sincere..."


"My biggest insecurity is rejection. When I look in the mirror, I try to see what others may see and all I can think is creepy-- because I talk too much; I am too much of a presence."


"I wish that I was raised in a society that appreciated the beauty of silence. There's no escaping the voices of so many people not understanding that what they really need is inarticulation in order to heal. Our society hungers for it, yet we starve ourselves? It's an anorexia of tranquility."


"If I could exist in a world where my mind was perpetually free for expansion, I would. I could talk, talk, talk for so long. Its how I experience the world, how I solve my problems: through intellect. If you let me, I will go on forever (and it won't even do any good--like talking about your problems might.) It only strengthens the resolve of encroaching despair (which will be an adventure, to say the least.)"


" So I will take the hint of this ever-lengthening page and shut the fuck up."

Thank you and goodnight.
-E.

Proof positive that he deserved the 1850 poet laureate.

To a Stranger
by Walt Whitman

Passing stranger! you do not know
How longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking,
(It comes to me as a dream)

I have somewhere surely
Lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit by each other,
Fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,

You grew up with me,
Were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become
not yours only nor left my body mine only,

You give me the pleasure of your eyes,
face, flesh as we pass,
You take of my beard, breast, hands,
in return,

I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you
when I sit alone or wake at night, alone
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.



Nothing else worthy of mention today.

-E.

Monday, July 14, 2008

To Opulent Beginnings

Dear Me,

Why did you stop writing a blog? It was good for you.
You're right... I'll start again.
I like it when I'm right.

-E.

In which a shadowy freedom fighter known only as "E" uses intellectual terrorist tactics to fight against her totalitarian society.

Followers