When I look back on all that I’ve done for the last four years in college, I feel like I’ve learned so much and nothing at all. I’ve learned ecosystems, biomes, coding, genetics, and...nothing. To be more specific, most of my class material has gone in one ear and out the other by the end of the year, while I spend most of my time reminiscing the days I could go to concerts and farmers markers at the town plaza near my college. Whenever I think about my college days, the thing my mind conjures first is that one night I sat next to a stoned punk telling cheesy knock knock jokes and showing a picture of his cat that he named after GG Allin. The conversation came up when he saw my shirt and started spouting nonsense to the misfortune of confused bystanders.
College was and still is a strange time for me. While I’ve had a few friends, I tended to hop from group to group until I got bored and retired to a hermit lifestyle in my dorm. Friends have always been a doozy for me. I have a solid group of friends back from high school in the midwest. I tend to have trouble bonding, and possibly even trusting anyone else. I tried to befriend an interesting fellow that belonged to a Christian camp in my freshman year. He was a charismatic and outgoing guy: perfect cult leader material. The kind of guy who floats down a river on his back while making deep metaphors about the impermanent flow of life. Believe it or not he actually did this. He’d also engage in long conversations about slut shaming while walking to the local noodle house. All in all, an interesting guy.
Going downtown takes over most of the memories of my college experience. I’d always try to take my roommates down the main square often to no avail. There were two record shops around, a nice venue, and a large public park with a pond overrun with cormorants choking on old socks. Whenever I’d go down the old sidewalks I’d pass by an old etching on the pavement that said “be real”. The words always brought me a pang of happiness when I walked over them. It was a line into another world. A world without three page essays on deer population demographics and a space full of music and good smelling food to replace it. My college town always had great food. I went to a tamale place every other week. The owner always wore a red bandana and would apologize when he’d admit there were no vegan options on the menu. Not that I cared.
When I think of specific things I’ve learned in college, all I can think of is that new Aphex twin record and those delicious cornbread pancakes that an old grandpa would serve on the plaza. Nothing much else seems of much use to me when getting asked this question in the moment. Sure, I’ve learned many things, but learning cormorants can choke on dirty socks is strangely more fulfilling.
Hi everyone! So some of you know that I had made a challenge of writing tips. I am thrilled to say that I found a ton of brilliant advice. So now I am going to share the things I have learned from those dozen of people, and things I have picked up! Enjoy!
1) Write down everything and anything about your plot and characters
2) Have a specific day/time when you write! This really helps.
3) When stuck on a scene, put in who what where when why
4) Proofread each page you finish, that way you don't have a mound of editing waiting for you to put off
5) Read other authors (other than your favorites) to spark ideas
7) Ask prose!
8) Try to write down other ideas
9) Or Combine them!
10) Write character backstories
11) I plan out little scenes, then connect the dots
12) Listen to music at the mood of your scene
13) Make a cup of tea/coffee
14) Write in a notebook first, then transfer it into a writing software
15) Set a word minimum
16) Set a goal and don't break it for a certain amount of days
17) Where UVEX glasses
18) Write somewhere from 5-10 pages a day
19) I didn't realize this but 5 pages a day, you end up writing 150 pages in a month! Now thats some progress! If you can keep that up you could write a 300 paged novel in 2 MONTHS! but that is hard to keep up!
20) Find a new cool writing softwere! It will keep you interested and writing!
Hope this is helpful!!!
Darwin’s dream: The Descent of Man.
The dream was so ponderous and so vivid in its nature, it rendered me speechless on awakening. A cavernous dread has taken hold of me and I feel compelled to write this down, for posterity.
In my dream I was still asleep when a gloomy shadow passes over me. The air feels heavier, an atmospheric weight descending like a heavy mist on a barren land and from the darkness of the night I hear my name being whispered in a deep baritone forcing me to wake up from my slumber.
It felt so real. I was in my bed, in my room, with my dear wife sleeping soundly by my side. The window was ajar, and I could feel the soft cool of night air on my skin. A fly had snuck through the lace curtains and I
could even hear the background hum of its buzz.
Yet the dream was also absurd, as a strange young man sat on the end of bed.
His eyes were piercingly alert, his face was framed with an oddly shaped moustache. He wore a soldier’s uniform with insignia I had never seen before but the thing that struck me most was his striking persona. He was redoubtable, self-possessed, confident to the point of arrogance with a glint in his eye that unnerved me even in my dreamlike state. His back was straight, he sat rigid, his jaw firm. His whole demeanour radiated a nefarious intent and I had a strong sense that this man was real. Instinctively, I knew he was dangerous but of what and why I couldn’t say- it was, after all, only a dream.
“Doctor Charles,” He said as I roused from slumber. His voice was faint yet distinct. Though barely a whisper I could still detect a heavy Germanic accent.
“Doctor Charles Darwin?”
“That is I.” I croaked, pulling myself upright. My dear wife Emma stirred but her sleep remained heavy. “And may I ask your name?”
I was aware these circumstances were extraordinary, otherwise I would have screamed out at the intruder in my home, as it was, I embraced the abstract nature of proceedings and allowed my curiosity to take reign over fear.
“You don’t know me,” He replied, with half a smile. “But I know you. In fact, I am a great admirer of your work. I like to think we are comrades. United in belief.”
“You are a scientist?” I asked hopeful, yet nothing about this man’s character indicated a man of science.
“No. I am a leader. I have great scientists work for me.” He was very economical and precise in his speech, enunciating each word carefully. “In fact, I told my scientists that I am a follower of your work. My yearning fantasy is to speak with you- the greatest scientist of our time Charles Darwin- and my scientists in their zeal to please me, find a way. This is how we can meet. Only through dreams.”
“I see.” I say (although I don’t see at all). It’s apparent I was speaking to a madman but as I scientist I was intrigued.
“You see I belong to a different time and in my time- I continue your work. The Natural selection of mankind.”
“You have read my book- The origin of Species?”
“Oh yes. You are a freethinker as I am. I too believe in survival of the fittest, and racial hygiene. In my time, we call it eugenics and social Darwinism- we named it after you.”
“My country has also embraced our ideologies. We are cleansing our race as we speak.”
“Yes. The dissidents, the feeble-minded, the degenerates , the deaf, the blind, the Jews and homosexuals- all will be wiped out from our land. Exterminated. We will breed a superior race and soon the world will evolve at a rate previously unknown.”
A deep and morbid fear overtakes me.
I am speechless. I am sickened to the core. I am horrified at the mere thought and the casual fashion in which he mentioned of such atrocities; disgusted that a human being could think this way and speak to me as if I too share these perversions. My thoughts mimic the panic-stricken fly in the room: darting around in a haphazard manner, desperate to comprehend its predicament. Is it possible that someone could conceive these ideas from my theories?
“But..but my work focuses on plant life and animals,” I eventually stutter, unable to get my words out fast enough. “Humans are more evolved. We operate with an expanded law of nature. Love. Compassion. Don’t you believe that?”
The man doesn’t answer. He tightens his jaw. His eyes narrow like dark pits and peer into my own. A flick of his eyebrows and a slight pursing of the lips tells me he is disappointed with my response.
“What is your name?” I growl, surprising myself as my voice is louder now, like rolling thunder, anger bursting through my genial surface - even in my dream I am incensed that my life’s work can be twisted and misconstrued to this extent . “Tell me your name!” I shout when he ignores the question.
He stands and links hands behind his back. He is calm but his face darkens as he nears me and I detect something akin to murderous intent.
“My people call me “Mein Fuhrer”.”
I wake abruptly- thankfully. But the dream has left me alarmed and distressed to say the least.
A sense of foreboding follows me by day and I am reluctant to sleep again at night. I fear for the future. I fear my theories could ignite such a diabolical fire. I must expand upon my work. I must emphasize a moral sensitivity, mutual aid and the noble nature of mankind.
A determination like lightning empowers me, I will not rest. To this end, I have started new research and will compose a new book.
I shall call it “The descent of Man.”
A Game of Cards
I could not speak Russian very well. Fyodor Pavlovich had been almost patient with me at the beginning, but I noticed as time went on and he began to empty his flask of vodka he was becoming more than a little tired of my mistakes, my tangled grammar and embarrassing pronunciations. I tried to avoid speaking and kept my eyes lowered, feeling a blush spread hotly across my face.
I was not an expert on cards, either, and I had not realised what a quick learner Fyodor was when it came to card playing. He had suggested a game of durak and I had denied, knowing I had no chance at all at that unfamiliar game, and instead had offered to teach him Texas Hold’em, despite my inexperience. We had had three pilot rounds over two hours, and he had won the last two games. Slim wins, but still ... I would have to rely on the amount of alchohol he was drinking, I thought uneasily.
Texas Hold’em is a relatively uncomplicated game, but keeping a card up one’s sleeve is more difficult than one might suppose. The first time Fyodor had tipped his head back to drink, I had clumsily pushed an ace up my sleeve with a horrible feeling of guilt that settled in the pit of my stomach and remained there uncomfortably . But thank goodness for the Russian winter and long coat sleeves!
I felt like gulping down the vodka that sat temptingly beside me in the little flask, myself, but Fyodor was already lifting it and pouring out the last of it into his own glass, his hand a little unsteady. I ought never to have accepted the offer to play cards ... as if I knew anything about them, really. My palms were warm and damp, my knees pressed together to calm myself. Perhaps I shouldn’t have placed such a high sum on the table. A few rubles would have been alright, for the fun of it, but if my father could have seen me gambling away half my inheritance he would have turned in his grave. What kind of fool confidence had siezed me? Whatever it was, it had left me the moment he agreed to play.
I felt Fyodor’s eyes on me. Bleary and unfocused as they were, they frightened me half out of my wits. I couldn’t play with him staring at me that way ... he was turning me into a nervous wreck. I jumped when Smerdyakov came in and placed a bowl of hot soup by my elbow, feeling his presence uncomfortably near; it was as though he were peering right over my shoulder every minute, even when he had gone to stand by the door. I saw him looking at me whenever I turned around, and Fyodor did not ask him to leave.
The game dragged on slowly, frequently interrupted by comments from Fyodor or stories and jokes that I pulled from the back of my mind and tried to translate to Russian, in an miserable attempt to stall the inevitable. I began to wonder how it was that I found myself seated in Fyodor Pavlovich’s kitchen, playing at a game of cards, seeing Smerdyakov grinning disgustingly by the door and scalding my tongue on steaming soup. Drat my sister and her ridiculous notions! Hadn’t she said a few hours before I went to bed that when you whisper something into someone’s ear as they sleep, they dream about it? Of course. She knew that I was in the middle of reading The Brothers Karamazov, that I had read Crime and Punishment.
Perhaps, I began to think in a panic, Perhaps Rodion Romanovich will come in through the door any moment with a ...
“Look!” shrieked Smerdyakov excitedly from the doorway, pointing at the floor below my chair. “An ace slipped out of her coat sleeve!”
“What?” mumbled Fyodor, looking up. “Cheating?” He dropped his cards on the table and tried to stand up, swaying with the effect of the vodka. I couldn’t run out the door with Smerdyakov blocking it. I wanted to stand up and tell him he was a liar, but there was no use. If only he would come towards me, I would have a slim chance of running around him and flying out the door before he could put his hands on me. But it was just a dream. A dream. I would wake up any moment now, in my own bed. I was not a cheat, I never played cards, I didn’t even know what the words Texas Hold’em meant, and I most certainly was not gambling away half of all the money I owned in the world.
* * * * *
I woke up in the cellar, a bruise on my forehead. I think I must have fallen when I attempted to swerve to the side and make a dash for the door and hit my head somehow. I think Smerdyakov must have carried me into the cellar and locked the door, and I think I will be here for a very long time.
I can only hope Fyodor Dostoyevsky bothered to write a happy ending for me.
Describe the word
It comes out from you before you can stop it.
It bubbles up from your stomach,
till it comes out your mouth.
Tickling you until it is unstoppable
Sometimes you try to stop.
But how could you not?
You smile mischievously,
And jump up and down,
Ready for the victory.
it becomes more popular in the later hours of day,
sleep deprivation and sugar fueling it.
You could be frowning,
Then there's a joke,
then there's a sarcastic reply,
then there's a reference to great times,
Then you can't help your self,
A to Z - A Story In Songs
Along came John,
Could It Be I'm Falling In Love, thought John.
Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind, Nellie asked John one day.
Everything Is Coming Up Roses, Nellie, he replied.
Fade to Black.
Get A Job, his parents kept telling him.
Hallelujah! they cried when he finally found work.
I Second That Emotion, John said.
Johnny B. Goode, okay? his mom said.
Knock On Wood, mom, I'll do my best.
Leavung On A Jet Plane tomorrow, mom.
Mister Sandman soon found him and John was off to sleep.
Nellie, John's girl, called waking him saying, Never Leave Me Alone.
One Way or Another, Nellie, I promise you will never be alone.
Pledging My Love for you, John, she said.
Que Sera Sera, my darling. Goodnight.
Respect Yourself, he remembered hearing before as walked the New York City streets.
Soul of A Man has to be true to himself, he thought.
Take It To The Limit and see where it takes me.
Under A Stormy Sky and sixty years later, John stood over Nellie's grave.
Vision Of Love, you gave me and I will carry that with me to the end of days, Nellie.
Wear Your Love Like Heaven while in heaven, Nellie. I will see you there one day.
X Marks The Spot, is where John was one day found, surprisingly with a smile,
You'll Never Walk Alone, ever again John. You are finally going home.
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, zip-a-dee-day, my oh my it's a wonderful day. John, you are home.
If you haven't figured it out by now,
all words italicized are song titles.
an ode to overpriced coffee shops.
there is something absolutely divine about a six-dollar matcha latte.
the way the ice hits the plastic boundaries
and shifts the powdery green,
melting a million shades lighter
as it melds,
softly folding into some half-understood
alternative milk to match your alt music.
the hues of lucky a cold complement to a false,
complete with steam
and a hard "r" that makes the flaky,
buttery remanents of your half-breakfast
there is something shockingly satisfying about eavesdropping.
catching snippets of a conversation between
gushing about photoshopping themselves into photos with Harry Styles,
only to suddenly shift tone at the swipe of an insta pic,
passionately arguing that if abortion is illegal,
so should abandonment of the woman you impregnated.
there is something so incomprehensibly soothing about the voices of a coffee shop.
falling in love with the barista's voice,
as they read orders off,
marking what can only be the incorrect spelling
of some mother-loved,
hearing the clink and chatter of machinery,
pushing ever so softly against the mellow,
yet bold sounds of coffee house pop
that elevate the empathy between a middle-aged trucker
and his stranger-turned-confidant,
as he unloads a year's worth of resentment
and journaling on an unsuspecting,
there is nothing more lovely that falling in love at a coffee shop.
watching the sunlight frame your lover,
enveloping their soft curls,
adding a twinkle to their hearty,
yet suppressed laughter because,
you are in a coffee shop after all.