When I was young I was told that you can grow up to do and be whatever you want. When I was seven years old I wasn't allowed to go and hang out with my new friends. That was okay, I knew I was a little kid so I thought,
"Next year I'll be older and can go see my friends!"
The next year nothing changed so I thought,
"When I'm 13 I'll be able to go out and see my friends, I'll be a teenager."
When I turned 13 I was still not allowed to go and do whatever I wanted in terms of being a kid. I thought,
"Time is running out, when I'm 16 I'll be allowed to go to concerts and hang out whenever I want."
When I turned 16 I was grounded for having poor grades. So I thought,
"When I'm 18 I'll be an adult, there will be no excuse to hold me back!"
When I turned 18 I didn't have a job and was yelled at at every turn, I couldn't see my boyfriend, and I was forced onto a scholastic path I didn't think was for me. Remember my grades weren't that good to begin with.
When I turned 21 I was stuck. My family didn't care what I did. I didn't know where to go or what to do. I cried over the lost time and I cried over what path to take.
Now I am 23 and I know I have to make sacrifices but I'm scared to disappoint myself.
I'm sure it will the most satisfying disappointment I'll ever experience.
The right-wrong debate.
People tend to think that they know what is best for themselves and usually project that onto other people whether right or wrong. You see it in the media and in school and at work. If your views clash with someone else, the other person will try to change your opinion or you will try to change theirs. Even with research an opinion is at least partially subjective and no one likes to be told they're wrong. If you think you're right all the time (even if you're not) then you probably think you're more intelligent than the rest of the population. If your opinions and knowledge are right (to you) then why wouldn't you be above average?
Admitting that you are average has connotations that you are not unique because the majority of people are at the same level as you. You're not a leader, genius, prodigy-- someone to be proud of-- but you're also not a leech on society, you're not making the world a worse place to live. You're just there, consuming and contributing in no special way.
People like to feel good about who they are, they like to think their opinions matter, and if their opinions matter; then they must be above average because their opinions have worth above the masses.
Taking a Break
Hi fellow writers,
I'm just letting you all know that I'll be taking a break from Prose for a bit because with all my commitments I don't think I have enough time to write for prose and work on my story Emille plus school and work.
I'll be back sometime. I love this community. Thank you for all the support so far :)
Letter to the Highschool Crush I Wish I Could Forget.
Dear nameless one,
I cannot even write your initials because your initials are what we all called you. Even your first initial is too recognizable, and after five years of being deprived of your beautiful face I find that even now I would like to forget if only to relieve the annoying gnaw and hum at the back of my mind that won't forget you.
You were my first love. That sounds cliché but I really thought that against all the odds we were meant to be together. We liked similar things, we got similar grades and we took the same classes. To me we were equal. I know that to everyone else and even yourself we weren't. Knowing this I persevered. Some could say I was borderline stalking you. I cannot deny that I scoured your facebook to learn more about you because god forbid I talk to you without a reason at school.
I started listening to the Strokes so that we could talk about music together. That was a sweet time in my life. I'd listen to a song and then tell you I liked it; it felt like we were having a regular conversation. Your locker was near mine, one year in highschool and you told me you liked my coat. I was glad.
When we took the course in Italy I basically threw myself at you. I shudder to think how ridiculous I must have looked or what people were saying about me.
One day I did hear what some people had to say "What makes her think she's so special, everyone likes *insert name*"
You were very handsome and a model but again to me I thought we were similar and not because I adopted some of your music. You probably knew I liked you. I didn't know infatuation could be so intense.
Sometimes I wish I could just tell you "I liked you" to get it out of my system. That won't happen now.
In university I saw you a couple of times. The last time I saw you I didn't say anything because you were with a girl who semi-bullied me in highschool. The joke is on me. I should have just said something because I saw her recently and she talked to me warmly like we were friends.
Back in High School I thought that somehow, like in a fairytale, you would come to your senses and know that I was the one for you. It would be just like in the fairytales: I, the not so pretty Cinderella and you, the not so chivalrous prince.
On the plane ride to Italy I was sitting by myself with a stranger and you said if anyone was being mean to me that you'd beat them up. I appreciated that more than you could know. I wish I knew how you felt. All these memories are taking up valuable memory space in my brain.
It probably wouldn't have worked even if I wanted it to...
But inside I wish I could just tell you.
Eyes and Artful Highs
There are no do-overs in this game.
No matter how many times you ask yourself,
"When did this become so serious?"
You realize it happened when you started to run out of fingers and toes to account for every year that you've been alive.
You didn't do anything except look.
You taste salt in your mouth against your dry tongue; and your eyes begin to sting as you clench your teeth so hard you think they'll crack. They don't. But the awkward squeaks and jagged crunch-rumble from the grinding has you thinking they have.All you can do now is wait.
Review of Scratch
A review of Scratch, Edited by: Manjula Martin
Review written by me on Goodreads: (3/5)
I liked the book as it gave a unique look into the paths other authors had taken to become authors and have their works published. Like any collection there were some pieces that didn't keep my attention and some that honestly had me at the edge of my seat thinking, "WHAT HAPPENED NEXT I NEED TO KNOW!!! OH MY GOODNESS I CAN'T BELIEVE MY SUBWAY RIDE IS OVER AND I WON'T BE READING AGAIN FOR A FEW HOURS"
The reason I gave it 3 stars instead of 4 was because I thought that the interviews could have been held in a more engaging way. It seemed that for some interviews, it felt like authors wanted to talk about something else or were leading up to a point but then the questions given would stop them or cut up their train of thought. It didn't feel like a natural conversation. I don't think I could do better. Interviews are stressful but maybe Manjula could have more natural conversations with the interviewees and then have edited the pieces so it would still come to the point of the specific section of the collection.
Before I go on, as you can see in my books read list on Goodreads, I'm not very well versed in current writers. This collection gave me a nice little look into some current authors and I'm very grateful for having the opportunity to be exposed to them.
My favourite piece was Worth by Jennifer Weiner and my favourite interview was Work Hard Read Dead with Yiyun Li. I think however that interview would not be many people's favourites because she exclaims that she reads only dead authors. I didn't feel personally insulted or outraged because there's a reason--usually-- that dead author's works are still in circulation or conversation so many years into the future. Reading a dead author's work does several things:
It can teach you what an author did right (or wrong)
It can expose you to different styles of diction and prose
It can also expose you to different points in history or places.
It can expose you to different authors.
So all in all I'm glad I read this collection.
Not a Review. Just a Thought.
I am currently reading Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living edited by: Manjula Martin. I am mentioning this because of a challenge that is currently underway here on Prose, the Simon & Schuster contest.
Most of the anecdotes in this collection of essays are pretty useful and can ground the aspiring writer's life in reality and show just how hard it is to be a writer. There is a fascination to have other people take time out of their ruthlessly busy modern lives to give your work a chance, you have something to say if you've written it down.
Its not like visual art where you can glance at an image and if touched by the piece have the wheels of your brain start to turn and think and melt into a vacuous puddle of existential dribble.
With words you are active.
While your eyes peel across the page you are hearing every syllable as though it is playing out before you. It's impossible to not hear them if your brain is seeing them. I'm hearing what I'm writing right now. With. Every. Word. I. Type.
The pay off of reading can be as rewarding as living.
Who is your audience and will they give you the time? The chance?
I stepped out my door and then...
I wish that I could describe the intensity with which the outside air burdened me. The humidity matted my hair and gave a dull sheen to the gravel below. The rain had stopped, but its shower was fresh and lingered. I always liked being alone; I could notice the aftermath of the rain or the sweet after-taste of custard filled pastry or the grey look in the eye of a passerby. I wouldn’t notice the magic of a moment if I weren’t by myself but I also wouldn’t notice the sadness of a moment—the sadness of a drove of hungry consumers, or the sadness of a funnel of steam on a cold day. The state of the atmosphere however, was not actually what was important, but who’s to say what is or is not important because for a moment, all I saw was some damp gravel and was assaulted by that smell. It was the smell of the damp world that has not quite awoken from the blanket of rain. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it; I revered it.
Cycles of the Moon
The smartest person in the world is the person who admits to know nothing. Socrates. That was not exactly how I felt when I began the day that felt like the first day of my life. At first I didn't really notice, I thought things were going as they had always been. When I got downstairs however and my eyes had opened a bit and were becoming accustomed to the morning light I starting realizing little things that I had not thought of before.
"If I arranged my books this way I could fit 80% more books in this space."
Where did that thought come from?
"This coffee is exactly 5.7 degrees too warm"
I didn't know I had a thermometer for a tongue.
I eyed the dying plant on the window sill next to the television.
"The PH in this soil is too high for this plant"
What was going on? Full moon or what?
Immediately having that thought my brain ran over numbers and figures and physics of all things and came to the conclusion that the moon has no effect on my mental capacities.
I didn't even take physics in high school.
The rest of the morning I sat inside thinking that I was having some sort of mental episode. Maybe this is a dream? Maybe I'm having some sort of personality crisis? Maybe it was a "bit of undigested cheese."
I turned on the television. After five minutes of channel flicking I turned it off. The soap operas which I loved to watch had no lure. The people on the cooking channel were cooking food I would consider no better than slop for pigs and on every home and gardening show I could find, the script and the realities of life crushed my soul as I watched a couple argue over why they couldn't possibly decide which house was the most perfect to buy on one of the Hawaiian Islands. On their budget they couldn't possibly afford house number 2 and the walking! They stated they were not active people and said they would not get a car due to cost... but the town is 2 miles away...
Wait... do I even have a soul?
Finally something that puzzled me. I smiled to myself triumphant in not being an omniscient being.
I left the house and wandered down the street. I thought about how arbitrary the days of the week were and quietly picked up litter from the sidewalk as I went. Why did I do that?
My first human interaction of the day was with an elderly neighbour named Jeanette. She was watering the flower bed in her front yard. She waved and bellowed
"Good morning neighbour"
Wait the I before E rule... nEIghbour... Frustration befell me.
I walked right past her thinking of the over watering she did, the chances of causing drought and the stupid I before E except after C rule. I'm sure that if I had thought about it long enough I could construct the perfect language.
I don't know how I knew that I could. I was no linguist... until apparently 5 seconds after my NOT-INTERACTION with Jeanette.
Three blocks away I stopped and said Good Morning Jeanette but I had been so busy that I missed her entirely and began the walk back to talk to her. Hopefully I wouldn't miss her again.