In Which I Return. Briefly. But Only to Solicit You.

Howdy y’all.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been gone a long time.  Maybe I have a dramatic excuse of a story for this, and maybe I don’t, BUT I can at least say that I have been getting on with my life away from the computer and that is very important.  I’ve been DOING THINGS, guys.  Focusing on my FUTURE and suchlike.

Speaking of.  This isn’t a real post.  I’m just here to take advantage of you guys.  I’ve entered a scholarship essay contest recently, and the preliminary rounds of this contest are peer-judged!!! (This means YOU!!)  If you want to ensure I get to the final rounds and get my shot at winning a $1000 scholarship, it would mean so much to me if you clicked this link, entered your email address, and hit “Vote!”  (It’s SUPER easy–no blood sacrifices or nothing!)  You can vote every day from now until May 23rd–that’s a total of 18 votes you can contribute to the cause!  (More if you do it again on separate devices with different email accounts, coughcough.)  Any support is greatly appreciated, and if you could pass along the url (http://bit.ly/1nhoUX0) (that last one’s a zero) that would be wondrous as well.  Thanks!!

Miles and Miles of No-Man’s Land

thegirlintheorange:

As usual, Libba Bray made some amazing words that got me thisclose to crying, and they’re on a topic that EVERYONE needs to understand better.

Originally posted on Libba Bray:

This is the hardest blog I’ve ever attempted to write.

For the better part of eight months, I have been struggling under the thumb of a rather intense depression. This is a monster I’ve battled many times in my life; it is not new. Yet, this has been a particularly brutal one, and I’m not out of the woods yet.

As a writer, I try to write about everything. But it’s hard to write about depression. For one, there’s the fear that the minute you say, “I’m suffering from depression,” people will look at you funny. That they will nod at you with wincing, constipated face, place a hand on your arm and say, with all good intent, “How are you?” And your pain will war with your desire to be “normal” and not looked at funny by sympathetic people at parties. So you will answer, “Fine, thanks” while you’ll…

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Marvelous in My Monday: Que Será, Será

I am having an unabashedly awesome week.  (I’m sort of lumping in the past few days, as well as anticipation for the weekend, into it as well; not just saying that because Monday’s barely begun.) ;)  And this has been something of a rarity lately, so I really think we should commemorate it.

*cue streamers and confetti and strobe lights and music–anyone wanna make me a cake?*

I’m also not thinking in a very coherent-post-conducive manner right now (because I’ve been working a heckuva lot on Thaw as of late!  this is very good but it also means my writing brain is pretty fried!), so I think I’m going to break out the LISTS in order to detail why I’m having such an unabashedly awesome week.  (Is this bragging?  Is this shoving my happiness in your face when probably a lot of you are suffering the usual case of the Mondays and I’m sorry?  I hope not…this is just…chronicling.  A celebration.  It’s MARVELOUS.)

#1.  I have really awesome friends.

yayI’m not sure exactly why I’m just realizing this…I’ve known it for a while, certainly, but I guess I’ve never really fully internalized it.  Being around other girls my age, though, and hearing about spats and drama and huge fallings-out with their “friends” is definitely making me more appreciative.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a fight with a friend.  They’re all just too awesome.  And we all respect and love each other and are all really smart and have the same weird sense of humor and it’s just amazing.  I wasn’t aware of how rare this was until lately, and I am SO THANKFUL.  I LOVE YOU ALL, GUISE.

romione

One of my friends and I have recently started a weekly running thing (well–I say weekly–meaning it’s happened once and there are plans to do it again the following week) where we talk and we sort of run but there’s no pressure to really be speedy but we cover a lot of distance and last week we did 6 miles, which I think was actually the longest run of my life.  Granted, we definitely didn’t run for the entirety of it, but it was still very impressive to my mind.  And the talking and the repetitive exercise has been really therapeutic and happy-inducing and gah I love her.

#2.  Lately I have been conversing with an extremely smart dude with an overall pleasing aesthetic.  *giggles shyly and brings shirt collar up to hide face*

aww david tennant gif

#3.  I AM GOING TO SEE SARAH KAY PERFORM IN SEATTLE ON MARCH 1ST. (!!!)  If you don’t know–I’ll skip the shaming that you really deserve–Sarah Kay, as mentioned in this post, is my favorite spoken word poet ever and she’s pretty young and infinitely inspiring and her poem B was really one of the things that helped pull me out of my 7th-grade depression and disordered eating.  It is so beautiful and she is so beautiful and everything is sugar and rainbows and happiness because SHE’S PERFORMING IN SEATTLE AND I’LL ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO SEE HER IN REAL LIFE AND GET AN ADVANCED COPY OF HER BOOK AND THE ANGELS WILL DESCEND FROM THE HEAVENS AND CROON SWEETLY WHILE STRUMMING HARPS OF COTTON CANDY.

Her website is called Que Será, Será, which is both a pun on her name (Kay, Sarah, sera) and is a saying that, translated, roughly means “what will be, will be”.  (If you were alive in the 60s you probably know this, because Wikipedia informs me that it was also a pretty popular song back then, and one I think I’ve heard at least once on some Netflix show or other.)  I can’t express how much I love this.

(I knew there was a very good reason for not asking anyone to the Sadie Hawkin’s dance that night!  Good job, TGITO.  Such a prescient decision on your part.)

What’s your MARVELOUS today?

On Being Okay With Dying

The steps for writing a poem are as follows:

1.  Don’t write a poem for a year or so, only use previously written poems when people ask you for one, and wallow for that year in your inability to write anything quality.  Feel crushed.  Consider becoming a stripper to pay the bills. Buy only lettuce to try to channel and bask in that “starving artist” mentality.  Give it up cuz lettuce sucks and eat an entire pizza.  Feel briefly and primally satisfied.

2.  Stay up way too late one night so your brain is a mess of emotions and words and stanzas.  Read Dickens.  Turn out the light and listen to your bird make his way over to his perch in the darkness.

3.  The inspiration comes: it’s often just one line that just makes you want to take your muse by the shoulders and whisper sweetly

you are brilliant you are

 

(because apparently I can’t get through a post without including a Doctor Who gif)

4.  Your heart rate increases dramatically.  Gotta get the adrenaline going in order to make the trek across your room to notebook and pencil.  Much to the annoyance of your bird, you turn on the lamp again.

5.  Then you write.  It’s like how whittlers say the shape of whatever they’re carving is already in the wood, and they’re just coaxing it out–in writing a poem, you want to feel around in the corners for every scrap of imagery and line that’s supposed to be a part of it (I’m very spiritual about this okay) and make sure it all gets there somewhere.

Usually at this stage my mind is 90 miles ahead of my hand and sometimes words get combined or even whole stanzas.  Afterward I have to go back and disentangle them.  The important thing is just getting everything down.

6.  Stay up for another hour or so, heart still racing, unable to sleep because you’ve penned the Great American poem,  you feel it, and won’t your mother be so proud?  (It’s midnight now so you can’t rush to her and brandish it under her nose.)

It’s always much worse when you wake up, but, eh, it’s something.

Without further ado, I guess: the poem I wrote last night.

***************************************************************

On Being Okay With Dying

Maybe, someday, kids everywhere are gonna have to memorize your name

cramming first and last, middle initial, basic life stats

down their throats the night before History finals.

 

Maybe, someday, you’ll be a scorch mark in a family ledger

that obscure branch of the tree your nieces can’t quite remember

because, as far as they can recall,

it bore no fruit.

 

Maybe you’ll crawl into bed with someone some night

and to them your smile will taste like lemonade spritzers, watermelon sangria

and your laugh is like orchard workers tossing apples to each other from the tops of ladders

The way you move to turn off the lamp is peach brush strokes on a gray canvas.

 

Maybe you’ll start spending too much time in cemeteries

swaddling yourself in black and buttons and a scarf thrown over your mouth

walking with the crows and mostly trying to avoid one grave in particular

because you know how you’ll scuff your toe along the empty plot next to it, thinking,

Mine.

And who’s to stop you digging into it now,

folding earth around you like the cloak of a magician

performing his final disappearing act?

 

Instead you waltz, alone

slowly and gimpily

the way they never quite managed to teach you.

You can see your breath suspended in the chill

and you start to laugh

because you’re quite literally dancing on your own grave

and then you stop because you wonder if it’ll still be funny

down on the receiving end.

 

Maybe, someday, they’ll dig up your diaries

and you’ll be a relic, and a legend

a little girl in a checkered dress

imagined in sepia,

scented like yellowing old books and dust and sunbeams in an abandoned house.

Not watermelon sangria.

 

Maybe they’ll dress like you and your friends

at a theme dance at a middle school.

 

Maybe you’ll do extraordinary things with your life.

 

Maybe you won’t.

 

Maybe you’ll go down in textbooks.

 

Maybe you’ll go down quietly in the obituary section of your town newspaper,

circulation 800,

like a late-summer peach no one notices shuddering and bumping to the ground.

 

Maybe someone catches you before you bruise;

maybe something comes along a few days later

and leaves

with sticky whiskers and paws.

**********************************************

So…that’s all, folks.  As always, things are ©The Girl in the Orange, BUT if you luuurve (or hate?) things then any feedback or sharing (via reblogging, Twitter, Tumblr, email, shouting from the rooftop of your school gymnasium, etc) is GREATLY appreciated.  I’m pretty serious about this writing thang; every bit of constructive criticism/exposure helps.  Happy Sunday! :)

Liebster Award…I Confess Creepy Things

liebster

So I was nominated by the fair Kendra to participate in the Liebster blog tag.  I’ve already won this a few times, but I love yakking your ears off in response to surveys (and–thanks K–you gave me a blogging topic for this weekend, and I wasn’t coming up with anything, so you SAVED ME); I will happily and humbly accept your nomination.rihanna rising gif

1. When you find an insect or arachnid in your house, what is your immediate response? Do you scream? Rescue the bug and let it outside? Kill it? No, I will not judge you (too harshly) for your response.   Depends on how big/hairy it is.  If it’s longer than an inch or so, it goes underfoot.  Otherwise I try to put a cup over it and slide an envelope beneath that and dump the whole package outside (UNLESS IT CAN JUMP OH GOD THAT’S THE WORST WHEN THEY CAN JUMP AND THEY JUST RAM THEMSELVES AGAINST THE GLASS OH GOD OH GOD).

2. What is your opinion on so-called “white lies?” Are they necessary in certain cases to avoid hurting someone? Or should they be avoided at all costs?  Hmm.  This is too dang deep for a blog survey…how do I say this without sounding awful..? I tell a lot of lies.  Storyteller by nature, et cetera…I just really like embellishing stories to get a reaction out of people.  I add harmless little details that I think’ll make it funnier or something.  I don’t even realize I’m doing it, which is the scariest part.  I’ll actually convince myself that the embellished version was the actual course of events…if I’m ever telling you a really fanciful story, you should ask me if I’m lying.  I’ll probably blink dazedly a few times and respond with “Oh…I guess I am!”  I DO STRIVE TO AVOID THIS on the blog, though, because it’s much harder to accidentally type up a lie than speak it.

Hmm, what was the actual question?  Oh…white lies.  I don’t think you should lie to avoid hurting people, but don’t deliberately tear someone down either.  Honesty is always the best policy…like if they ask for a critique on something that sucks, just point out the flaws along with the good points.  There’s always good points.

3. What is one of the most bizarre/detailed/vivid dreams you have ever had? Have you ever had a dream that predicted something in the future (yes, this was inspired by the aforementioned dream I had)?  Well…heh.  Do I ‘fess up here?  Every dream I have is extremely vivid and bizarre.  Extremely.  My most recent dream (meaning last night) was that my brother and I had accidentally murdered Shrek the ogre.  Also, my brother was Remus Lupin, from the Harry Potter series, except he was wearing a bra, patterned with oranges.  (It was quite a lovely bra.)  The big oak tree in our yard was actually the Whomping Willow, and we stowed Shrek’s corpse in the Shrieking Shack which was nearby, through a tunnel.  (Realization: it was actually supposed to be Snape that we killed, but I guess my brain subbed in the image of Shrek because it couldn’t picture a dead Snape..?) Then the police showed up, saying there had been a reported attempted break-in at our house.  I had this really awesome grandma who didn’t resemble any of my actual grandmas but she could do kung-fu and she took out two of the cops with her walker.  Then the rest of the police force showed up, but it turned out to be my childhood Taekwon-do class, so there was a brief happy reunion before our living room turned into the PE gym and we lined up on opposite sides of it, getting ready to square down.

That was actually kind of a tame dream for me.

4. Do you eat food that you’ve dropped on the ground? Or throw it away in disgust? Do you follow expiration dates on all packaged food, or only with dairy products and other mold-prone food? This was inspired by the fact that I recently threw out a tub of almost-empty yogurt that had expired a month ago. Even I have my limits when it comes to expired food.   Depends on the type of food.  Is it good chocolate?  I’ll eat good chocolate off a toilet seat.  (I’ll, like, rinse it off first…)  I eat most foods off the floor.  I’m exceedingly ignorant-by-choice of the types of bacteria that thrive in carpets.  It makes life so much simpler.  I am kind of obsessive about expiration dates though…I have an awful nagging fear that I’ll get food poisoning and die if I eat something even a day past the expiration date.  It just looks so final…it’s scary, man.

5. Do you have one or more social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc…)? How has it affected your life, both positively and/or negatively? Or do you prefer to stay off of such websites?  Yup.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest; check, check, check and check.  I’m a really big fan of social media.  It allows me to connect with others, like my old Wyoming friends, stay in touch, and promote things.  And I love the tiny windows into other’s lives.  (I’m the kind of person who cranes their neck to see into people’s houses when they’re driving past, not because I want to, erm, see anything explicit, but because it really fascinates me to see the kind of spaces other people spend the majority of their lives in.  Is this another thing I can attribute to just having a writer-brain? :D)  I don’t really think they’ve had a big negative impact on my life.  I don’t think they’re interesting enough to get addicted to…only blogs and Tumblr have that power over me.

6. Why exactly are there warning labels on things such as bottles of hairspray stating “Do not use near heat, flame, or while smoking.” “Avoid inhalation.” “Avoid spraying in eyes”? Do these companies think we are idiots, or are they simply terrified of being sued by a person who says “You didn’t tell me that it’s dangerous to use my hair dryer in the bathtub!! How dare you do such a thing!!” Yes, this is somewhat of a rhetorical question, so instead of answering it, feel free to share the most absurd warning labels you have ever seen.  Yeah, I think it comes of the companies being afraid of sue-age.  (Haha…)  Why would you even use your hair dryer in the bathtub anyway?  Are there really people that hellbent on multitasking?

7. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? If so, what was his/her/it’s name? Was it human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or alien?  I…well, I did.  Her name was…*cringes* Plecostomus, because that was a type of fish I had in my fish tank.  I just called her Platty for short.  I’m not sure she wasn’t human; she was humanoid, but she had green skin and red hair and in the world she came from capitalization was reversed so she wrote her name pLATTY.  I was…a special child.

8. Do you talk to yourself on a regular basis? Or perhaps to your pets? Have you ever engaged in a fascinating discussion or argument with yourself? (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done this…)  Well, I journal daily, which is essentially an elaborate written conversation with myself.  Sometimes if I’m alone (or in math class) I’ll make snide little remarks to myself, but I don’t know that I’ve ever had a fully-fledged self-argument, a la Eleventh Doctor in Nightmare in Silver.

nightmare in silver

(photo credit the BBC)

9. When was the last time you sent an actual pencil-and-paper letter to someone? Do you think handwritten letters are always more intimate and personal than an email or text message, or does it depend on the situation? Speaking of which, can you write in cursive (I can’t, so don’t worry about being judged here)?  I probably send more snail mail than most people, but I still haven’t sent a letter in a long time.  Maybe it was…a year ago??  People don’t do it nearly often enough, but I love getting handwritten letters.  I feel so shpecial upon receiving one, and I definitely feel like there’s a stronger interpersonal connection there than with email.  That said, I also love email, since it’s so much more practical and speedy and allows me to keep up with friends whom I don’t see on a daily basis! (Love ya, Cleo!)

can write in cursive.  Pretty well.  I’ve got a fancy fountain pen and I spent a lot of one summer trying to make my script as pretty as possible.  My normal, note-taking, paper-writing printing is somewhat of an ugly lovechild between printing and cursive…teachers hate it, I hate it sometimes (all the letters are nondescript lumps), but it looks vaguely artistic.

2014-02-16 15.11.34

10. Do you feel as though TV or magazine advertisements actually make you more likely to purchase the product being advertised? Or do you simply enjoy mocking them and/or laughing at them? Feel free to mention one of the strangest, best, worst, most sexist, or most creative advertisement you’ve ever seen.  I mean, I’m sure they do influence my purchases.  I try not to let them, but if they weren’t effective, advertising wouldn’t be the multi-billion-dollar industry it is now, right?  I do like to mock them; and a lot are selling naked women, rather than, um, the actual product.  BUTBUTBUTBUTBUT–the Phillipines version of Pantene made this really awesome commercial about negative labels that are applied to women vs men and how we can break through them, and it’s one of the coolest commercials I’ve seen in a long time.  Worth a watch:

My 10 questions time!  I’m upset that no one did my sock drawer survey.  (Except for TeenieYogini.  She’s just better than all of you.  *sniffs haughtily*) That hurts, you guys.  SOO I’m just going to steal the some of the questions from there and TAG people so they HAVE to respond, mwahahahaha…

  1. Show us your sock drawer.  *PEERpressurePEERpressure*
  2. Favorite type of workout?
  3. Favorite type of cheese (or cheeze)?
  4. What would your last meal be?
  5. Favorite outfit?
  6. Favorite caffeinated beverage?
  7. One of your favorite fictional characters has shown up on your doorstep ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Who are they, and where do you go?
  8. Any tattoos you’d like?
  9. Hair color? Would you ever dye it? Chop it all off?
  10. Favorite smell?

And I tag:

1. Kris @ Plants & Pages

2. Andrea @ I Run for Donuts

3. Cleo @ The Literary Flaneur (yes I’m going to keep tagging you for these things; as your sassy clumsy friend I’m just going to pressure you into doing more and more surveys and stepping away from your insane TBR pile)

4. Kailey @ The Caffeinated Runner

5.  Lacey @ Life Hands You Limes

6.  Joelle @ On a Pink Typewriter

7. Alex @ The Run Within

*counts names on fingers furtively* Crap, that’s only seven.  All the other blogs I read (that haven’t been tagged already) are either too topic-specific for this kind of thing, or are too BIG (in terms of follower count), and nominating them sort of feels like yanking on an upperclassman’s sleeve to ask where the bathroom is.  I AM NOT WORTHY.  If you’re reading this, consider yourself nominated, I guess!!  I am so totally stoked you are reading this!  Congrats on your life decisions!

Y’all should recommend some more blogs to me.  Any other ramblers out there, either fitness-, food-, or literature-related?  ALL THREE?  I must meet some more of my kin.  We must form a tribe.

Snow Angels

IMG_0037It snowed last night! This marks our first official snow…all season.  Seriously; I think there was one back in November but it was barely a dusting and definitely didn’t stick.

Since I am working hard at officially being a teenager and therefore slept in until 10 (would have been longer if not for Mother Dearest and the small dog), I only got about an hour to enjoy it, but it was glorious.  A lively snowball fight took place, and after we were all done with that, I had the brilliant idea to make a snow angel.  Like, a 3D one–a literal snow angel, like a snow man but with wings.  It was a not-so-subtle ploy to erect life-size temporary monuments of Aziraphale and Crowley in the backyard, really.  :D  We got about this far into it

before heading in for lunch (which was delicious, in case you were wondering; I was starving and made a paprika-spiced hash brown with eggs and peppers and forgot a picture because I was a. starving and b. a bad blogger), and afterwards, Aziraphale had collapsed.  A fallen angel, you could say he was.  Now the yard is full of the sounds of snow melting and trickling down trees and trellises.  Not really packable anymore.  I feel like this is some sort of metaphor for the urgency of art, but mainly I’m just sad I didn’t get to deck snow people out in sunglasses and tartan vests and build a snow Bentley.  (It would have been far beyond my capabilities, but it would have been ineffably fun.)

On Skinny Characters

Bit of a tangential post today, but I’ve recently gone jean shopping (in other words: everybody run) and have been mulling over this topic a lot recently and finally think I have my thoughts organized into a sort of sense.

To put it bluntly, I am sick and tired of skinny characters in MG and YA novels.  Flashback to me as a bespectacled, nerdy, pudgy and enthusiastic wee young sprite: I was reading constantly, and books had an immeasurable impact on how I viewed the world and myself.  It was the predominate form of media I consumed, and, since I was in my highly formative years, everything left an impression.  The lack of certain things made an impression.  (Hem hem.)  I loved being able to relate to characters–while breaking boards at Taekwon-do class, I would pretend to be a favorite heroine because that made everything easier, and the characters I read were kind of my best friends.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t isolated or bullied (which was magical–I think I must have gone to a really good elementary school) and I had a few friends in the realm of reality as well, but, you know, they weren’t as portable.

So.  Skinny characters.  They’re like white characters, and straight characters, in that when the character’s weight/race/sexual orientation doesn’t have any bearing on the plot, it’s the default.  It’s not a thing you tend to notice if you’re not consciously scanning books for it, but to me it seems like a disturbing trend.  Excuse me while I go through the archives of my favorite MG books growing up as well as some popular YA books:

confetti girl

Confetti Girl (one of my favorites in late elementary/early middle school)?  “The tallest girl in my class, all legs.  Too tall and skinny for my jeans no matter what size I buy.” I have the exact opposite problem, Lina.  “Everything is high water.  That’s why I’m a sockio-phile.  I need something to hide my knobby ankles.”

divergent

Divergent?  Here we have Tris, our strong and fearless narrator, who is always described as small and fragile-looking (even if she isn’t emotionally).

the hunger games

The Hunger Games gets a pass because most people are starving to death.  So, like, that’s legit.  (The Fault in Our Stars gets the same pass.  *produces pass from pocket, shines it on shirt and hands it to John Green and Suzanne Collins*)

Wait wait wait, John Green isn’t entirely scot-free either…

LookingForAlaska

Here we have a MC who’s so scrawny he’s ironically referred to as “Pudge”.

hp7

Harry Potter?  Harry’s all right, he’s pretty normal weight, though this isn’t really fleshed out (no pun intended) in the books; Ron, however, is described as gangly and scrawny.  The weights of the female characters aren’t elaborated upon (except for perhaps Cho Chang, whom I think was called tiny and fragile? but I could just be making that up), but they are all played by skinny actresses in the movies.   (Though I can’t mistake movie casting for author’s intent, and hereby apologize to JK if Hermione was actually supposed to be bammin’ slammin’ bootylicious.)  They even changed the actress for Lavender Brown from the original casting after they found out she was going to be a love interest for Ron.

lavender brown

This was the biggest WTH??!! moment of the series for me.

Matched?  matched

As I was looking for these examples, I came across more and more and more…and it got me thinking.  Hey, you know, the YA book I’m working on now also has–you guessed it–a lanky, scrawny white teenage boy as the main character.  So why, as authors, do we do this?

Well, naturally, we can’t make our characters average weight.  I mean, they’re our darling little muffin misfits, and their appearance has to match somewhat.  Especially if they’re a girl, in a culture where women’s weights are closely scrutinized, we need to have them feel the tiniest bit self-conscious about it, even if it’s not really relevant to the story arc.  And I get that–it’s great to have characters that break the standard mold and that “misfits” in your reading audience can relate to.  But…why am I grasping at straws here to come up with examples of “misfit weights” from the other end of the scale?

Honestly, I think it comes down to the fact that in our culture, awful as it may be, being overweight or obese or even slightly chubby is seen as a weakness.  It just…is.  Yeah, we’ve got all these beautiful plus-sized models and most people would agree that bigger girls can be gorgeous too, but only if they go the extra mile and doll themselves up with posh clothes and heavy makeup, right?  Only if they rock that Rebel Wilson vibe and base their whole personality around the fact that they’re fat and they don’t care, right?  The simple truth is that as much as we may pretend, there’s not nearly as much skinny-shaming in the world as fat shaming.  Carved into one of the science lab benches today I read “[name withheld] is a fat ugly bitch.”  (Fat was underlined, yes.)  It’s an insult.

The same day I ducked into the bathroom and overheard an agonizingly stereotypical teenage girl conversation issuing from over by the sinks.  You can probably predict how it went–“OMG you’re sooooo skinny!” “OMG what are you talking about I’m like so fat today I don’t even know how anyone looks at me oh my god” “but OMG no you always look so skinny and perfect”…I wish I could say that was hyperbole.  “Skinny”, in our culture, is praise.  I probably don’t have to tell you to walk into any clothing store at the mall and look on the walls–you’ll see posters of emaciated girls with the golden sun streaming through their hair and a huge smile on their faces as some anonymous sexy-time guy friend holds their waist.  Ugh.  We’ve perpetuated this idea that skinny equals glamorous, skinny equals powerful and “in control”, skinny equals lovable and commendable.  “Fat”, on the other hand–when it should just be a physical description like anything else with no negative connotation–is what noncreative people use for insults, a word like a dagger to be drawn out at sleepovers and in locker rooms.  And I feel like these connotations have wormed their way into our books.  We don’t want our readers to view our characters as weak or ugly, even if the characters themselves feel this way, and so we align their physical appearance to match.

So.  Chop chop, society.  More fat characters, less fat shaming, less skinny-praising, less weight-judging.  More POC and sexually diverse protagonists would not go amiss either, but I digress.

Just my 2 cents on the matter.  What are your thoughts?  Has anyone else noticed this, or am I seeing things?

Surveys Are Like Sock Drawers.

So I really hope I’m not making this up, but I’m puh-retty sure I heard this one saying one time about how you can tell a lot about a person by the state of their sock drawer..?  (Confession: this might have been on Veggie Tales.)

I really like it when bloggers take or make surveys.  Yeah, you can learn a lot about someone through their regularly scheduled (or, in my case, wonderfully erratic) posting, but surveys pose the deep questions, man; they probe people for all these little delicious bits and pieces you would have never known about them otherwise.

sock drawer

So surveys are like sock drawers.  Just for all y’all, since I love ya so much, I took a trip into the dank abyss and snapped a photo.  Any psychologists in the audience?  I’m sure this is a veritable peep into my soul.  Let’s see, we have…a massive bag of leftover Halloween candy…socks that haven’t fit since I was 6…old bottles of nail polish, a beanbag, dirt, grime, pine needles, miscellaneous hodgepodge…a baby doll bottle…several dead spiders…

*clears throat nervously*

I’m really in the survey-taking kinda mood right now, but incidentally…I’m not, actually.  No pre-existing surveys, at any rate.  I just want to tell you guys random facts about myself, so I think I’ll pass it off under the guise of creating my own survey! and you guys can participate as well, either in the comments (answer your favorite questions!) or on your own blogs!  Link up!  Let’s have a party!

Favorite type of workout?  Oh, gosh and golly.  Why do I pick such hard questions?  I guess if I’m being totally honest, I like a leisurely but looong bike ride.  Walks are nice too.  Pretty scenic, none too aerobic.

Favorite type of cheese (or cheeze)?  Parmigiano reggiano, definitely.  It does contain rennet :(, but…I make the exception because…it’s delicious.

You’re on death row but they have allowed you to choose a most extravagant last meal.  What is it?  A hot fudge brownie sundae the size of my torso.

DSC_0130

Favorite variable to use in an algebra problem?  I must confess I’m pretty traditional.  I love x.  In fact it always really bugs me when a variable is t or y or something if there’s not already an x in the problem.  Please just stick with x.

Favorite outfit?  I’m mainly just including this question because I just got a really cute outfit from ModCloth with a pretty yellow cardigan, a typewriter-patterend tee, and wedges.  Look.

typewriter outfit

Hashtag selfie swag.  We’ll try to ignore how atrocious I am at taking selfies.  Also, from this rather awkward angle, you can’t tell that the paper coming out of the typewriter ironically says “laptop”, which is one of the best parts of the shirt.  Alas.

This is literally my only outfit that looks like…an outfit, and I normally haven’t got an ounce of fashion sense, so I’m really hoping someone else will take this survey and give me some inspiration.  Pretty please?

Favorite caffeinated beverage?  For me it really depends.  If I need a lot of caffeine then I’ll drink some coffee (black, I don’t mind), and I do like coffee, but tea offers so much more variety! I really like chai spice in the morning.

oooh tea is so dramatic

oooh tea is so dramatic

One of your favorite fictional characters has shown up on your doorstep, ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime.  Who are they, and where do you go?  It’s the Doctor.  Preferably the tenth incarnation, though I wouldn’t say no to 9.  I suppose we go to Barcelona. :)

allonsy

Any tattoos you’d like?  I feel like this says a lot about a person.  I am actually DYING to come of age and have full autonomy over my body and write sompin’ pretty on it.  (Please do not suddenly go into cardiac arrest, grandparents reading this.)  I’d like a few, actually, probably on my back, literary ones; lines from poems that speak to me and that come back to me a lot or inside references to favorite works.  After reading Good Omens, I really want “ineffability and all that” somewhere, like along a collarbone.  Some Sarah Kay lines, too, like “this world is made of sugar” (from one of my favorite spoken word poems of all time, B.)  And I absolutely PROMISE to the adults in my life that I won’t be rash about this; I think my rule will be that if I still love a line or a quote as much as I did when I first read it 1-2 years later, then it can go somewhere on my person. :) I hope to gradually amass a little collection of my favorite words.  I’ve given this a good deal of thought, and yes I KNOW they will be with me forever and I KNOW I will become elderly and they will sag and spot but HOPEFULLY only people I really trust are going to be seeing my back when I’m in my 70s-80s and onwards.  ALSO, if I get really fit and well-toned before getting said tattoos, it will be a good incentive to keep the muscle definition, since if I let it turn back into flab the tattoos will warp. ;)

(I’m not a huge fan of needles or blood [gah, blood especially], so this is an odd little yearning on my part, but incidentally I am a fan of meaningful and beautiful body art.  Huh.  Who woulda thought…)

Hair color?  Would you ever dye it?  Chop it all off?  Brown.  Some people say it’s blonde but then I look at them funny.HAIR! 004have chopped it all off before!  Well, not all off, but, you know, most of it.HAIR!! 005

I don’t know about dyeing it.  I’m really envious of those lovely ladies who are rockin’ blue or red locks, but, deep down, I know I’m not meant to be one of them.  It would be cool to have orange hair but not very socially acceptable and I am not deep enough into don’t-give-a-crap mode to go for it.  I am thinking about getting highlights once it gets longer, though.

Favorite smell?  Just-baked brownies, vanilla extract, old books.  (That was three.  Whoopsies.)

DSCN3806.jpgFavorite sound?  Laughter (certain people’s especially), Citrus whistling (as long as it’s not the middle of the night), little kids with adorable lisps reading aloud, pages of a book turning, pens scratching paper, marbles rolling across a hardwood floor, meadowlark song.  That was too many.  Whoopsies.

DSCN3526

For anyone interested in taking the survey themselves, here are the questions, in order:

  1. Favorite type of workout?
  2. Favorite type of cheese (or cheeze)?
  3. Last meal.
  4. Favorite variable to use in an algebra problem?
  5. Favorite outfit?
  6. Favorite caffeinated beverage?
  7. One of your favorite fictional characters has shown up on your doorstep ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Who are they, and where do you go?
  8. Any tattoos you’d like?
  9. Hair color? Would you ever dye it? Chop it all off?
  10. Favorite smell?
  11. Favorite sound?

Also, you gotta show us your sock drawer.  ;)  No straightening up beforehand, that’s cheating.

A good breakaway from the monotony of “what’s your dream vacation?”-type surveys, methinks.  :)  I’m really dying to know what everyone’s favorite variable is.

Week in Review

If you haven’t cottoned on, for my last few posts I’ve been trying, albeit with questionable success, to give my posts zippy and witty and possibly punny titles.  (No, autocorrect, that word is not puny.)  My brain is fried this week though, so I guess you guys get a blessed reprieve mournful absence of my normally on-point and ineffable wordsmithery.

So, yeah, um.  My brain is fried.  Don’t mind too much, though, it’s a great excuse for rambly posts with lots of comma splices and erratic ideas from all corners of it.  (It being my mind.  This might not be a too-coherent post.  I’ve just finished up with finals and am trying to type this up while streaming Sherlock S3 for the second time…)

Weekity Things: (by which I mean events of note that occurred over the course of this week, excusez mois)

  1. Reading Good Omens.
    DSCN4422I don’t–I can’t–it’s just–*exhales sharply through nose in frustration* this book is now one of my all-time favorites ever, and I can’t really explain why.  Why does it make me tear up when I think of it now? Why did I feel the need to put off studying and self-care for a whole two days in order to tear through it?  Why did this religious satire speak to me on a more profoundly spiritual level than any other book I’ve read?

i don't know doctor who gifIt’s just ineffable, I guess.  (Heads up: I will be using the word “ineffable” so much in the coming posts that you will become so ineffably done with it that you feel an ineffable itch to ineffably strangle me.)  It was one of those weird things that really struck me in exactly the right way, and now my conversations with anyone new this week have been beginning with a sharp and judgmental “Have you read Good Omens?!”  Most people haven’t.  Uggghhh.  Get on this book, world.  It is so good (and hilarious) that whenever I think of it I’m pretty sure my heart rate speeds up and the emotional center of my brain (is that the amygdala? *googles* yes it’s the amygdala) sort of spasms out and my face is kind of caught between doing this
giphyand this.
glass cage of emotion
IT’S NOT EVEN PARTICULARLY SAD OR PARTICULARLY HAPPY IT JUST GIVES ME ALL THE FEELS UUGGH.

Here’s my equally non-articulate GoodReads review, if anyone’s interested:

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, man. Why didn’t I read this book sooner? Why, oh why, did I pick it up for “idle reading” in the heat of Finals season??
I’m not really sure how to describe this book, except that it’s one of those books where you drift around with your eyes unfocused for hours after reading, and you spill a bunch of stuff because you’ve been well and truly entranced. It’s one of those books that you can stare at and squeeze to your chest because the characters, even those that hail from the pits of Hell (especially those) feel like your best mates and the whole book fills you with a kind of existentially ironic warm fuzzy feeling, which I didn’t even know was a thing. Laugh-out-loud hilarious, a good read for those who want to stop taking themselves so seriously. The writing was beautiful and I loved the dialogue. In the beginning (haha, Bible pun, haha) it felt like there were WAY TOO MANY characters for my poor feeble mortal mind to juggle, but it pares down into a glorious semblance of sense.
I also have the hugest crush on Aziraphale, bless his soul.

View all my reviews

(bee tee dubs you should all become my friend on GoodReads because I need more virtual friends to fangirl over books with okay? okay)

     2.  Scholastic Art and Writing Awards results!  (This was the thing that my poetry collection won in last year, with the celebration at Carnegie Hall.)  This year I submitted a short story (that I wrote in 8th grade and that you haven’t read), “We Hired Death as Our Landscaper,” a poem collection of “Dichromate,”“Ellipse,” and “Silver,” another poem collection including two of my spoken word poems “Solicited Advice to Prepubescent Nintendo Freaks” and “Sweet, sweet Adolescence,” and finally, my poem “The Professional Aimless Wanderer”.  Two of the poem collections won Silver Keys (which is like an honorable mention except there is actually also an honorable mention category so I guess Silver Key is like one step up from honorable mention) and “Wanderer” is going on to National Judging!

SAWA 2014 announcement

Hmm.  Well, I realize this doesn’t actually look too…legitimate.  (You gotta love the PicMonkey “paper scrap” feature though, amiright?)  I promise these were my actual results. Huzzah for creative censoring.

It’s kind of wryly funny that Scholastic always loves my poetry (at least they seem to), whereas I work a lot harder on my prose and like it better than my poetry.  I wasn’t sure about some of the poems I submitted, but I definitely thought the short story or at least “Landscaper” was going somewhere.  I guess I’m too biased.  I also guess that the fewer words in which I have to say something, the better I say it…which I kind of already knew.  Brevity is not my forte, but when I can manage it, it definitely improves my writing.

3.  FINALS SEASON IS OVAHH! *upturns a science lab bench and begins tap dancing upon it*  Really, that’s being a bit overdramatic, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be. In a fit of procrastination and denial one night, I even wrote a satire of Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice” proclaiming “Some say the world will end with Finals…”  I had just heard so many rumors about how awful they were, and I suppose I had it easy since I’m but a wee freshie, but they were all right.  My lowest score was in Algebra 2/Pre-calc, predictably, and that was just an A-.  I am in a state of ineffable gratitude that there was no Orchestra final, because my Orchestra grade has now squeaked up to a 93.01%, which is literally one-hundredth of a percent over the requirement for an A.  So now my GPA is a 4.0. *smiles beatifically*

Hope you had an equally eventful week, my dearest tropical fish, and that the next 7 days also hold, for you, a trove of mystique and ineffable excitement. (Congrats on getting through finals, if you’re a student!)

Heads-Up 7-Up

Confession:  I have never actually played Heads-Up 7-Up.  In fact, I didn’t even know it was a game until a few months ago.  Everyone whom I tell this to tends to respond morbidly with What was your childhood?!  I just chose it as the title for this post because this post is a Heads-Up, and…pairing it with 7-Up is…catchy, I guess.

So, oops.  I had a little technological snafu on Friday when my post published early and then I told you you would see it later that day and I WAS LYING MY PANTS OFF OOPS.  Perhaps you will see that post next week, or maybe the next.  I thank you for your patience.  This post, in fact, serves to tell you that you shouldn’t expect any posts from me over the next coming week or so, because we are straying dangerously near to Finals season and I really want to devote all of my energies to studying and running over the next few days.  If I do post, comment angrily, be enraged, tell me to turn off the laptop, because I’m obviously procrastinating studying.  I thank you so much for your cooperation.