Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Caged Bird Still Sings

Last night I sang. My Youth Group Type Thingy (it's called Lifeteen, for the record, but I prefer my title) is doing the music for a Mass at our Church. So we practiced tonight and I sang.

Yeah, you're thinking "Big deal. You have something interesting to day about now?" Meh. It is a moderately small deal and unless this is your first time reading this blog, you should know that I think interesting is a relative term.

I sing at this Church a lot... try like, every Sunday. Most often with a mic in front of my face. To be honest, I sing a lot, period. I love music (though I don't understand it as much as I'd like to). Any way, a few years back the organist/pianist at this Church invited me to sing in the choir and gave me voice lessons. Before that, singing was something you did in the shower and an important part of pretending to be a Disney princess. After that, it's become more and more important to me. And more and more fun.

I'm a mockingbird. Most of what I learned about singing, I learned from listening to other people. In all kinds of music, both at Church, on the radio, where ever. I've worked at it and sang for weddings, funerals, Masses, talent shows... not in that order. The weddings were way after the talent shows... way after. I suppose the point of that was to show a progression, which it actually failed at doing since I failed to list them in the right order, thus making the whole thing pretty much a failure. But I am losing myself here... and most likely you too.

So I sang last night! (Get ready, here's the pointish type thing! ((I think "type thing" is my phrase of the week...)) ) And I got to sing loud. Little secret? I can be pretty loud. Particularly when I emulate opera singers. Not like I was doing that last night, but still, I was loud. They were yelling at us to sing louder. (That's actually a pet peeve of mine. When you're at a church thing and they tell you to sing louder? I can't take that kind of pressure. Plus, I'm ornery so telling me to sing louder actually kind of makes me want to shut up.)

Any way, when you sing loud, or at least when I sing loud, I get this lovely feeling. It's like a burning in my chest. It's a very good feeling... warm and vibrant and alive.

On that note, (ha ha! No music pun intended... just accidentally enjoyed.) I have often felt as though my voice was not so much me as it was in me. Like it was something apart that just so happened to get stuck inside me. (Poor thing...) But the caged bird still sings... it strikes me as somewhat incredible the way I just open my mouth and somehow, almost effortlessly, this clear sound emerges. Like "Huh... that was kind of cool. Wish I knew how I did it."

Granted, I've definitely gotten more control over time. But I still can't grasp it... maybe someday, I'll get the bird out of the cage a little bit more. Let it fly.

* I apologize for the scatteredness of this post. Usually I try to focus and use better writing habits. That wasn't really working out so great today and my quirky sense of humor got the best of me. My sincerest thanks for bearing with me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do You See What I See?

I smile so sweetly at you

I seem so pretty, so kind

Little do you know

I'm counting down the seconds

Until I disappoint you

And I don’t even know

Your name

"You are beautiful."

You called me beautiful? What were you looking at?


"You're so nice, Anna!"

Is she really?

I don't know. This is you we're talking about. Are you?

I don't know.



Me? The girl who trips over things in plain sight and claims they moved?


Me? The one who doesn't know how to smile correctly?


Now I know we must be talking about someone else.

But who?

I still don't know.


What do you believe? Your reflection in the mirror or the reflection in their eyes?

I don't know.
You know, you don't know a lot of things.
Yes, I know. I'm you, remember?
Of course I remember. I'm you.
Some days, World, I am your girl. Some days, I am no one's. I do not know exactly who that girl is, because she is unfinished. She's a work in progress. I see glimpses of who she is and who she will be, in the eyes of others and in my own. But there is more to her.
There will always be more.
I suppose that is her beauty. It lives in the eye of the beholder. In some eyes, it lives. In others, it has no place. Let there be at least two eyes that remember to see her. That keep a place for her...
And let those same two eyes make room for beauty found in others, everywhere.
So that wherever they look... it will be beautiful.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Suitcase and Me... Not To Mention You

Are you any good at packing? I am not.

Whenever I am forced to leave my happy haven (and yes, it is usually by force) I make a nice little list, plan the trip out outfit by outfit, complete with jewelry, shoes and color coordinating eye liner. Then, I carefully collect each item and painstakingly pack it into a ridiculously large suit case. I leave for three days and I need a small whale-like vessel to hold the earthly possessions I just have to have with me at all times. It takes me several hours. I wander here and there, getting things in order in between painting my nails, writing a journal entry and having a snack.

It should be confessed that I am actually not a very organized person. I do plot, plan and list things but I definitely do it to the beat of my own drum. My closet/room is a disaster area. My desk is coated in papers, clothing, empty glasses, pens that may or may not work, the last three books I read, a pair or two of earrings, an assortment of Cd's, a few bottles containing anything from water to nail polish, hundreds of lists, receipts, gum wrappers and other bits and pieces I could have just thrown in the trash can that lives inches away with the same amount of effort.

When it comes to packing, there is no exception to my usual tidiness and precise organization. I make a list that I write sloppily, resting the paper against my leg or the textured wall, embellishing it with doodles and notes as I see fit. I wade through my closet and compare outfits and try to select something based on where I am going, who is going to be there, what I'll be doing, what is actually clean in my closet, the weather, my mood and a host of other variables that may or may not actually be in that order of importance. Then I shift everything around in a suitcase and find I've forgotten something vital, like pajamas or my toothbrush. So I find a pair of PJ's, but I'll need to brush my teeth tomorrow morning, so I throw a note to remember it on my list. And suddenly, I remember that song I've been wanting to look up online, so I run and do that. When I come back I reprimand myself to focus and throw some body splash in the case... but what scent? The Bath and Body Works would be good for Sunday, but they'll never work for Monday. And I'm still not packed, but it's 11:30 PM and I'm tired and we have to leave early in the morning... so maybe I'll just... Zzz.....

When it actually comes down to it (aka, we're leaving in fifteen minutes) I suddenly become an efficient packing machine. My decision time is cut down to one minute instead of seven. Everything can go in at once, because there is no chance I will need it again before we go. I throw in an extra shirt "just in case" (I live in fear that I will somehow ruin an article of clothing and have absolutely nothing else and be forced to borrow something from my Grandma.) I zip up the case while I sit on it to press down my sweater, hair straightener and everything in between. Lugging it down the steps, I frantically try to call to mind anything I may have forgotten. Belt? Check. Book? Check. Mp3 player? Shoot, forgot to charge that...

I shove it into the last available space in the vehicle (cute thing about having the biggest suitcase of anyone? I  also am the last person to have it ready. Meaning everything else has to move just for mine to fit.) and relish in a vague sense of relief and a not so vague sense of anxiety. I survived! I remembered my toothbrush! I can't put anything else in there now! What if I forgot something!?

Finally, as we are pulling out and the doors are locked and there is absolutely no way for me to pack/do/worry about anything else for the moment, I breathe again. Once begun is half done, right? We will be home... soon...

I wrote some of this on the eve of my leaving. So, in other words, I sat down and typed half of a blog post with my list at my side and a partially packed suitcase in my room. Shameful, I know. But I didn't want to leave without posting anything, which I ended up doing anyway, because I got on a roll and I couldn't bare to just tie this up prematurely! My deep failure, I confess.

I missed blogging very much. I would see things or think things or do things that just begged for a blog post and my fingers ached for a key board.

Well, no matter. We are reunited again. And now all I have to worry about is everything I left behind undone... not to mention my unpacked suitcase sitting taking up space on my floor.

Ah, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I love rain.

I love being in bed, or sitting at my desk when it rains. I love the sound of the rain drops on my window.

I listen to the pitter patter of the fat raindrops smacking the glass. To the blow of the cool autumn wind that sneaks in my old and leaky window.

I love how they look, slip sliding down the cold glass. I love how they blend into a wet screen that blurs the world behind it.

Rain strikes me as deliciously romantic. There is something refreshing, pure and magical about it. It smells, looks and feels enchanted to me. I wonder why? Thinking about this scientifically would only depress me as it would concretely disillusion me of my happy idea that rain is magical. Same goes for fairies, the Internet and wishes on stars. Don't tell me how it works. It doesn't work, it happens. Let me have my happy pretend and you can have your sad reality.

Rain also strikes me as thoroughly comforting. It's as if all the sadness and brokenness in the world below has been recognized and even the sky mourns it. It is contemplative. It puts us all in a bit of a quieter mood. We stay inside and become observers of the world instead of active forces and participants. Do you know how much we learn just by watching? Never stop watching, no matter what you are doing.

You know there isn't really anything magical about the way my hair looks after a quick run to and from the car in the rain, nor is there anything refreshing about having wet socks after accidentally stepping into a puddle. But this is still life, after all. My happy magical ideas only last so long. I may be an idealist, but I do have some touch with reality.

Right now, the world is in that "post-rain" state. Everything is wet, water sliding off roofs and leaves, the whole world is damp. Not nearly as nice as when it's actually raining. But it's not so bad... good conditions for a rainbow. Which, by the way, is also on the list of things that is magical, no matter what anyone says.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears- Part III

Alright, I think by now you know the drill. Let's begin, shall we?

Wiki (I love Wiki, in case that has not been noticed) says that tears are the liquid product of a process of crying to clean and lubricate the eyes. Best definition yet! I actually understand all those words! I don't know if I should be excited, embarrassed or deeply saddened by that fact. I would like to use the word 'tears' in a literary, but less than literal sense, meaning to cry. You might produce tears when you yawn or there is something in your eye, but this isn't crying.

(In the cases of blood and sweat, we had fun watching Anna stumble through her minimal knowledge of biology trying to explain the physical causes and ramifications of these things. In the case of tears, I'll spare you the entertainment. Because this one is different. While the other two were very physical, this one is primarily emotional. If you really want to go deeper with tear ducts and what tears are actually made of, knock yourself out. That's what the Wiki link is for.)

We cry for countless reasons. Reasons as vast and varied as people themselves. Most commonly, we cry when we are sad, hurt or upset. For some of us, beauty moves us to tears. Sometimes elation can cause us to cry. Any strong emotion, positive or negative that overwhelms or deeply touches us can make us cry. Experts say it really depends on the person and in this case, I just so happen to agree with these experts, though I am certainly not one myself.

We all have the capacity to cry, but some of us don't cry very often. Others cry at the drop of a hat. Women tend to cry more than men, which you've probably noticed, regardless of you own sex. This is probably partially do to the stigma that crying is a weak and feminine thing to do, rather than a human one.

You know the feeling. That horrible tightening in your chest, the lump in your throat and the warm sensation behind you eyes.

Swallowing hard, you try to push down the grief that bubbles over you, enveloping you in sorrow.

A part of you is determined to keep the tears pushed back, safely inside, safely hidden, but they are equally determined to pour out, regardless of where you are and what you're doing.

The first tear slides from the flooded well of your eye. There is no more point in trying to subdue them, they are here. Like it or not, ready or not, you are crying. Drawing a shaking breath, you surrender.

You cry. Tears in you eyes, an ache in your heart, your nose is running and these odd sounds are coming from you throat, unbidden as you breathe.

They hurt, they represent a pain that is hidden and invisible. Yet through that expression, they are made tangible. They soothe you by materializing your pain and pouring it out... drop... by drop.


Tears and crying are inextricably connected to emotions. Emotions are about the most human thing I can think of. While they do have some, we do not see the same range and response to emotions in animals or in plants. While they have life, they do not seem to feel as we do.

Why do we feel? What is the point of an experience so real, yet often outside of reality? How do we feel these things?

Our minds are amazing and powerful things. Linked with our hearts and our souls... they can do crazy and unbelievable things.

I do not understand. I cannot comprehend the way these things work.

And yet... I am one of those things.

I do not even understand the strange and complicated being that is me.


Do you cry very often? Do you sometimes enjoy crying? You know how sometimes we'll say we "had a good cry"? Crying alleviates something. It loosens and lessens the tight knots of feeling we wind ourselves into. We cry to express emotion and often, we find some consolation or closure in that expression.

Or are you like me? Do you not cry very often? Do you try not to cry? Does crying just embarrass you more than anything else? I think crying, while hard for those of us who hate it, is also good for us in a way. They say bottling things up is never good. When those of us who try to keep it all in cry, there is something uniquely vulnerable there. We let our guard down just a little, which is humiliating, but sometimes necessary. You can't carry the whole world on your shoulders. You can't always be strong.

Kids assume that adults never cry. It scares them to see their parents cry. I'll bet you remember the first time you saw your Dad cry. I do. I can't imagine lots of people I know crying. It's not the face, the side of them you normally see.

Our grief is often kept private. It's often connected to the things we are closest to. Only those things have the power to move us in extreme ways. As such, we can't and don't expect just anyone to understand our pain. Nor do we want them to see it. Who wants to be known as the lady who cries in the grocery store? Awkward. It'll get you some concerned looks and maybe a referral to a good psychologist.

Both sweat and tears are salty. Salt and humanity... oh the connections we could make here. I will make one. You can make one two and then we will have a pair. Salt flavors. Humanity 'flavors', if you will, the world. We make it. We get to choose, to an extent, the way things go down here.
Do you like the flavor?


A tear. A single tear. What is the weight of a tear? What is the worth of some one's pain?

The tear of someone I love?

The tear of the stranger?

The tear of someone whose pain I do not know?

The tear of someone whose pain I caused?

The tear of the one who cries for himself?

The tear of the one who cries for another?

The tear for the dead?

The tear for the living?

The tear for pain?

The tear of the one moved by beauty?

The tear of the hopeless?

The tear for sorrow?

The tear for joy?

What is the weight of a tear?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dreary Day Impairs Brain Function

Nice headline, don't you think?

It's an incredibly dreary day and I am sorry to report that my brain is not functioning well. At all.

Does that happen to you to? Does the fog and the gray somehow penetrate your skull and coat your mind, making rational, creative and normal thought difficult to impossible? Ouch... not to mention painful.

It's cold and my bones, used to the warmth of the summertime, are protesting. Have you ever felt like you can feel every bone inside your body as it moves? It doesn't quite hurt, but it's not the most pleasant of experiences.

I'm wearing a sweater and wishing I had been smart enough to scout for a pair of socks. At this point, the search would take more effort than I feel like exerting.

My greatest wish is that it was bedtime rather than dinnertime. That would solve several problems.

Ack. Painful laziness. Laziness caused by pain? That makes it sound better, to be sure.

Tomorrow, they tell me, there will be sunshine. I think that will probably help me out. Maybe then I will present you with my finished Tears piece?

I hope it is warm where you are. But if not, I hope you have a sweater and socks and apple cider.

Fog, begone.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears Part II

Alright everyone. Time for installment two. I would use this cool trick to link to the first post in the series... but if you scroll down you'll find it without my help. I am slightly disappointed that my cool trick is worthless in this situation. I guess I need more cool tricks.

Anyway, we've (or rather, me've) analyzed blood, now it's time for sweat. Again, feel free to post your own thoughts.


Once again, I shall turn to my faithful friend, Wiki. Wiki says that Perspiration (sweating, transpiration, or diaphoresis) is the production of a fluid consisting primarily of water as well as various dissolved solids (chiefly chlorides), that is excreted by the sweat glands in the skin of mammals.

Though I understand like... 5% of this, sweat also apparently contains the chemicals or odorants 2-methylphenol (o-cresol) and 4-methylphenol (p-cresol), as well as a small amount of urea.

Hmm... what the...? Hopefully you got something out of that, because it flew way up over my head. Yes, I was, am and probably ever shall be hopeless in all matters pertaining to biology.

Moving on to simpler things (before my brain explodes and makes a disgusting mess on the keyboard), we all know why we sweat. Recapping, though not as an insult to your intelligence, we sweat to cool down. That fluid evaporates and boom! You're a little bit cooler.

Thus, sweat is essential. We need it. Can't move and groove without it. Yet most of us find sweat all together unpleasant. It stinks. Literally. And as a general rule, stinking is a rather negative and highly unattractive thing. Not to mention the lovely sensation of being sticky and smelly at the same time. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. You weren't born yesterday and we all sweat.

Going back to the theme of blood, sweat and tears being human offerings, I think about when we sweat. When you are active, you sweat, yes? So let's think about human activity. We do things for two main reasons: work and pleasure. Work to support our existence and maintain our lives and pleasure to recover from that work. Perhaps this is the reason we dislike sweat? Because we dislike work? Because we are lazy? That's not a very complimentary thought. It would also be grossly overgeneralising. But I dare say many people are lazy. I know I am.


Now, me being me, an Allan Jackson song comes to mind. It's called Hard Hat and A Hammer. Funny thing is that the song has no mention of sweat, which is truly a testament to the way my brain works. But sweat is implied, in my opinion. The song is about working, and working hard. The end of the refrain is: God bless the working man. He calls this man the "kind of glue that sticks this world together" and the "cradle of the promised land". I would have to agree with Mr. Jackson.

Working hard, or sweating, is what we need to do to stay alive, and it's a noble thing to do. It's the 'right' thing to do, which is why we find satisfaction in a job well done. We are 'wired' to work, as it were. Not to compare humanity to an electrical device, but I think you know what I'm trying to convey here.

I like this song because it represents work and working as hard as you can as a noble thing, but a simple thing. So many of as aspire for higher things. So many of us distain work. So many of us want to get to the top with the least effort possible. And why? Why do we think we can get there without hard work?

Because we are lazy, and we don't want to sweat.


If you are paying any attention to the state of affairs in this country today, you know that obesity is a major problem. You know how many people are put at risk for all sort of health problems and diseases because of their weight. You also know how hard many people find it to exercise, for all sorts of reasons. For some of us, we are too busy. For others, our physical state restricts us to the point where it is painful or impossible. For others still, we are lazy.

I find it both intriguing and disgusting that people are dying of both starvation and obesity at the same time. How on earth do we let this happen? I suppose the "earth" and those of us upon it would be the answer.

I am not trying to oversimplify complicated things. Because I know that not every obese person is lazy, nor does every obese person overeat. I also know that one person feels helpless in the face of these problems. I'm not saying there is a simple solution the rest of the world is ignoring and I am this great genius who figured it all out. If I was, I'd be on TV fixing all your problems instead of writing this generally worthless blog. I'm just thinking out loud.

I know that when I exercise, I feel so much better. It relieves tension, improves circulation (blood...) and releases those delightful endorphins we all like so much. I feel satified and "right".

We need to move. We need to work hard. Modern life does not afford us the difficulties it did 70 years ago when we lived and worked off the land to stay alive. No, now we drive to the store and log on the the Internet to stay alive. Seeing a little difference?


Did you catch that interesting connection between blood and sweat. Blood pumps more when you move, yes? Warms you up, causing you to sweat, yes? (I do dearly love connections, no matter how vague they may be.)

Imagine again, you heart pumping. Only now, you are running, the wind whistling you your ears.

PUMP...PUMP...PUMP, goes your heart

SLAP...SLAP...SLAP, your feet on the ground.

And soon, you start to feel it burning a little bit. In your legs, arms, and in your chest. Then you're getting a little warmer and you reach up to push back a strand of hair when you feel it. Warm and wet on your hand. Sweat. Keep it up and soon it'll be on your back and torso, sliding down your forehead and beading on your lip. Sticky and salty. When finally stop, you gasp for air. You're heart feels like a galloping horse in your chest, trying to slow down. If you've been running, hard and hot, you my friend, are covered in sweat.

How does it feel...? Satisfying? Relieving? Good?



It seems to me that it has become abundantly clear that we have a love/hate relationship with sweat. It's good for us, but we don't like it. We can find pleasure in it, but it also hurts us. You know what I call that? I call that life. That's the way it is. It's unfair, it's hard and it's bitter. But it's also beautiful, good and sweet. You can't have one without the other. Perhaps acceptance is the key to taking the bitter with the sweet. Or maybe even embracing those things. If you want to love life, what do you love? All of it or some of it?

Maybe we need to develop a tasty for salty water.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears - Part I

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." - Winston Churchill

Blood. Sweat. Tears. Three fundamental human elements. Three things that we make, that we create. Three things that make us what we are- human.

For some reason, this old phrase came to my mind today. There really is no reason for the way my mind works. If I tried to explain it, I would just end up confusing us both and it would be pretty much useless to my current purpose. I decided, in my usual instantaneous and haphazard fashion, that I would split up the three things in this phrase- blood, sweat and tears. (Be warned, I will repeat those words again... and again... and probably again. So get used to them.) I would take each one and give it a little thought. Roll it around in my mind and see what I could come up with. Feel free to add your own thoughts in a comment. We have been trained to think in narrow boxes and I, for one, am pretty sure that there is more in this world than my own box and I should get out a little more, at least in my mind.


Wiki says that "Blood is a specialized bodily fluid that delivers necessary substances to the body's cells – such as nutrients and oxygen – and transports waste products away from those same cells."

Well isn't that a nice, boring definition. But if you are as bad at remembering biology as I am, it was for your benefit. Blood... what is blood? In a deeper sense, blood is life. Without blood, you and I would not, could not work. Our bodies need blood to do all the amazing, confusing and thoroughly mysterious things they do.

Have you ever looked at you hand in absolute astonishment? I have. "What the heck... how does this thing even work...?" We could talk about the wonders of human construction for hours... but I am obviously not an expert and I have a topic at hand and I will not be swayed. Look at the strange thing connected to the end of your own arm. Yes, really. Don't pretend you did and just keep reading. Got it? Alright. See those bluish purple lines underneath the knuckles on your palm and on your wrist? Of course you do. They're called veins. Yes, I know you know that, bare with me. Underneath several layers of skin are tons of tiny little veins, a maze of rivers carrying blood, carrying life through your body. You knew that too. But how often do you think about it? How often do you remember that "specialized body fluid" that "delivers the necessary substances to your cells"?

If you answered "Um... not often, if ever." don't feel bad. I did too. We take it for granted.

But when do we remember blood? Not when it's doing it's job perfectly and normally, of course. No, we remember it when it isn't working right. When you get a cut, you remember your blood. Because suddenly, what works in secret, hidden and behind the scenes, is made visible. Heck yes, you'd better believe it's visible. The second it leaves those little rivers, it turns that beautiful, scarlet red. (I love that blood is red. Because if blood is life, I would like to think life is a vibrant color.) We're automatically alarmed by blood leaving our bodies... and since blood is a big part of what gives you life, it makes sense to try not to lose it.

If you have a disease like cancer or some other illness, you remember your blood. Do you know how many tests are done with blood samples? Me neither. But it's a big number. Your blood is full of information, if something is not right in your body, you can bet there are probably some clues in your blood. When something is wrong with your blood... it's like the very thing that keeps you alive has turned against you. The one thing you need more than anything is endangering you. Can you imagine that? I cannot.


You know how when you curl up and lay still, you can feel your heartbeat?

I love that.



You know what is beating? Yes, it is your heart. But what is beating in your heart? But what is your heart beating?


Blood is not only what we are, it is who we are. We are human. (Humanity is a what, a who, a when and a why in and of itself if you ask me.)

"It's in my blood."

We identify ourselves by what is in our blood, where we came from and who we are. It not only gives us life, it defines our lives.

"All I have to offer is my blood..."

If you are made of blood, if you are blood, then what is a gift of self? When we love someone or something, we say we would give our lives for it. We would offer everything- we would bleed and die for it's sake.

War is war because we settle things with blood. Brothers are brothers because the same blood runs in their veins. Blood is what makes the difference between life and death. It is the tie that binds and it's loss is what severs.

We do not take blood lightly. Nor should we. How can we, really? It is what are, how we are, why we are and who we are.


Blood in my veins, pulsing through me at every moment of the day. Beating in my heart, circulating through my body. Keeping me alive.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Tale of a Mediocre Poet

I started writing poetry when I was in 5th grade.

I wrote my first poem in a crisp new composition book. It was the beginning of the school year, and filled with scholarly ambition, I scribbled a short poem during some free time, hoping to earn the approval of my teacher and Mother.

That poem went something exactly like this:

As the new morning dawn
The flower stirs, the bluebird yawns
All creatures quiver with delight
As earth is flooded with new light
All the darkness been deleted
All the evil been defeated
All the creatures ooh and ah
At the glory of our God

It was a simple little thing, filled with young, overdone emotion and easy rhymes. But I was ridiculously proud of that thing. I had discovered a new power, a new ability in myself. Obviously I was incredibly talented and could write this stuff for a living someday! I circulated it amongst the literate members of my family and each one praised me for it with an encouraging word, patted me on the head and forgot about. But I didn't.

After that, I didn't need much encouraging to write some more, even though my Mother was duly impressed with my effort. I loved the timing and rhyming of a poem. I loved the tight emotion it could convey. I loved the effortless flow and the gentle ebb of the words. And I loved that I could make them do that.

As the years went by (oh goodness, I sound old now...) I wrote on and off. Sometimes almost years went by and I would write nothing. Good poems, bad poems, downright awful poems and poems I dare not even call poems. Some days were better than others, some years were better than others. I would go months without writing one and then I would right four in one day.

A smile says what words cannot
A presents from above
A gentle hand can heal a heart
For these are act of love

Sun sinks lower in the sky
Now 'tis dusk, the day gone by
The birds last call, they cease to fly
The little moon, both sleek and sky
Here she now peeks out her head
Sun, away has softly tread
Nature tucked into her bed
Man takes leave and rests his head

Heart, I need to talk to you
I must know what you're thinking
Are you trying to break yourself?
Are you fond of sinking?
Heart, what are you playing here?
I'm not playing to
Heart, what are you trying to pull?
I need to talk to you

A symphony of sorrow
Is being played tonight
When nearer is tomorrow
Than yesterday's last light
I hear it on my windowpane
The tears that from the sky
Fall down for this lonely plain
And for the cricket's cry
I hear the rumble, bold and true
The thunder's mighty roll
Lightning tears the sky in two
And leaves an empty hole
The song repeats it's sweet refrain
And rolls across the sky
It plays it for this lonely plain
And for the cricket's cry

I never name them. I never date them. The only way I know when they came from is what notebook or text document I find them in. They are all grouped together and written sloppily, littered with crossed out words, arrows pointing to new sentences, hidden amongst doodles and random scribbles. Sometimes they are truly pathetic, but only two or three have I thrown away once they were completed. The few I have chosen for you are just a glimpse of many like them.

I have written many and lost many. I have loved some and hated some. They mean so much and yet nothing to me. I know they are poorly done and sometimes even very bad. But I keep on writing them. I think I might always write them. It has simple stuck with me and at some point became a part of me.

Only recently have I come to an appreciation of other people's poetry. I used to try to read it, but it was too wordy or written in a way I couldn't relate to as the shallow, dense whippersnapper I pretend I'm not anymore. But now, I love it dearly. I prefer short poems to long ones and I have trouble following it sometimes, but truly, there is nothing more beautiful than Wordsworth, Poe and Dickinson.

The tale of this mediocre poet, brief though it may be, is best summarized in my works themselves. They are simple. They convey nothing great, wise and wonderful. They are just the thoughts and observations of a humble mind and I submit them, and this tale, to your scrutiny with that same humility. I know they are not much, but neither am I. We make a happy little pair, simple though we are.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Ball Point

The pen is a faithful friend. Solid... Steady... Smooth...

Be it's blood true blue, black as night or rose red, the pen gives it all away for your sake. Tip his head to the task and drain himself of every last drop at you command.

Be it an essay, a poem, a paper, a page of scribbles, a letter, a shopping list, a drawing, a graph, a math problem or a journal entry, your pen will see you through.

In truth, the pen used to intimidate me. He was more permanent than my buddy the pencil. He did not have a convenient eraser attached to his back. He didn't easily take things back the way the pencil did. No, if you wanted to erase words you let him inscribe, you needed that nasty white-out stuff. He could be concealed, but he could not be taken away.

He was serious. Instead of the often times gentle gray shade of the pencil, he was a severe black, looking standard and politically correct; a deep blue, like the handwritten recipe your Grandma copied in her precise cursive; or even a cutting red, the kind that littered my math papers past. While a pen can be several colors and still be called just a 'pen', a pencil of any other color is called a 'colored' pencil. I wonder why... is gray not a color anymore? And why did the pen get away with being shades the pencil could not afford?

The pen seemed adult, in a way. A pencil was for a child, someone being formed, someone unsure, someone ignorant. A pen, however was for the brave, confidant and mature. Presidents and geniuses used pens, to be sure. They had no need to erase anything. In setting pen to paper, they knew what to say and how to say it. So they did. And the pen obeyed. A pencil, on the other hand, was for a dreamer. The doodler. The one who had no particular intent in mind. Expecting, allowing and even inviting mistakes.

Back than, nothing thrilled me more than a crisp, sharp pencil point. Ah, how perfect and smooth it was on the paper! And the sound... a pen could not make that sound. To unite a paper and pencil... how right it seemed. Both having the same Mother, both being formed out of wood. Natural. Unified. Right. I drove everyone crazy having to sharpen my pencil twenty times a math lesson. I could easily whittle though a pencil a day... just to have that perfectly sharp point for every word, though every stroke.

The pen, on the other hand was completely foreign to paper. Instead of the sweet unity of elements, it seemed as though the pen was imposed upon the sheet. The pen claimed to have a 'ball' point. Only what a worthless 'ball' it was. The pen couldn't bounce on it's nose. No, it bounced as badly as a pencil, only the tip of it didn't break. That pathetically dull 'ball' point was always the same. Indestructible. Perpetually the same. Loathsome.

Since those days, I have become a more confidant pen user. It was slow going, but now, I too use a pen with relative ease. Make no mistake, I make plenty of mistakes and often have to use that nasty white out stuff.  (I still use a pencil to, of course. I discovered, several years to late, that mechanical pencils are always pointy and sharp! While they lack the natural feel of a wooden pencil, it lasts a lot longer when I don't sharpen it every other word.) But I have discovered that even presidents and geniuses make mistakes and erase things, no matter what writing utensil they happen to wield. Because we are all human. Those kinds of things happen... in fact they are supposed to happen. It's all a part of the process.

I looked too much at the finished product and I saw that as the goal. I missed the means to the end, the process, the road that led to it. No one sits down and writes a literary masterpeice with a black pen and hands it in to be published a few hours later. This is a labor...the labor of life and done right, it is a labor of love. It is a project. A work. There is struggle, but that is alright. That is right. You can't get from point A to point B without the space inbetween... not even with a ball point.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Things I learned from Mr. Franklin

Keep all conductors of electricity off your kite string. And don't fly it during a thunderstorm either.

I will never be a healthy, wealthy and wise man.

If you must be a blockhead, be a learned one.

For optimal portability, become wrapped up in yourself.

Don't ignore the small leak unless, of course, you are in to sinking big ships.

Admiration has a less than admirable parentage.

If you want good interest, bank with Knowledge.

Idle silence is apparently just as bad as idle words... just avoid idleness in general.

Beauty and folly go way back.

A hungry hobby isn't a good idea.

If you want to count on something, try death and taxes.

Don't worry about mistakes- you can count on them too.

Good luck has better parents than admiration.

Life is made of time, so don't squander it.

If you can discard a bad habit once a year... you might actually get some where eventually.

If you can't write well, do something for other people to write about. And if you can't do something worth writing about... you'd better hope you can write well.

If you could bottle energy and persistence together, you could call it "CONQUER". What a snappy energy drink that would be, eh?

Fatigue is soft and squishy... it makes the best pillow.

You can compose a great lie with only half of the truth.

To find these and more wise words from the good man himself, go on over here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dear Jeans,

Is it even possible to describe just how much I have missed you over the past few months? Oh, if there were words for the joy I feel at our reunion! I assure you, if I knew such words or had such an impressive grasp on the English language, I would know employ this power. Though none of the words I do pull from my pathetic lexis will be quite adequate, in my love for you I shall try to express my heart, feebly though it may be.

Summer days come will their own joy and beauty, but without you, I feel under dressed. Shorts do not protect me, cling to me and warm me the way you do. Oh beautiful jeans! Shorts, even denim shorts, have nothing on you. You hide my ugly leg and make it look so much better. You keep me snug and warm on even the chilliest of days. Day after day, month after month without complaint. Shorts are like acquaintances, while you are like a faithful friend.

Now that the season is turning back into those cooler months, my heart leaps for joy! Once more, you can assume your place as the head of my wardrobe. You shall make my t-shirts glad and my sweaters delighted by your simple and complimentary nature. You will happy see me though until July comes around again. Jeans, what more could one ask for?

Every morning, I pray for cool, crisp weather so I can wear you. In this painful time of in between, the temperature fluctuates greatly and annoyingly. While I would willingly risk a little discomfort for your sake, some days, it is so hot I cannot bear you. The heat is a great hindrance to our friendship and I hate the way it has come between us. Come back to me, jeans. I will always love you and nevermore abandon you for lesser things.

You are like a hug, embracing me. A shield, protecting me. A blanket, warming me. Oh jean, beautiful, glorious jeans! How I have missed you! How I love you! You Father, Levi Strauss is a man to be greatly blessed. You, his brain child, have enriched my life so much in a way no other piece of clothing could.

Dear Jeans! Welcome back.

In never ending love and gratitude,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pick Up The Pieces

A few preliminary things to say today. Then I'll get on to the long winded ramble I've been craving. Now would be an excellent time to take a nap... just leave this page up and take a little snooze until someone or something jolts you awake and you can pretend you were reading it. I won't tell anyone.

I got my cowgirl boots yesterday! Now I can pretend I'm actually a genuine article, real live boot-scooter!! I just have to master the scooting without falling over part... To be honest, they are a little more "I'm a country girl wanna-be" then "I'm an honest to goodness country girl" boots, but I really am just a wanna-be... and they're sooo cute...

Shout out to my dear friends at Katie-Isms. They were so good as to post a poem of mine. Lots of cool stuff over there. I shamelessly recommend you follow.

Ah... long winded ramble time!

I am a puzzle.

Don't look so surprised. You're a puzzle too, silly.

People are puzzles. (Aliens might be too...) I would go so far as to say that anything or anyone with a personality is a puzzle.

If you have ever put together a puzzle, you know that it is generally helpful to start with the corners and the outside frame. These are the obvious pieces. I am Anna. I am seventeen. I have brown eyes. I am tall. These pieces frame the puzzle and give you a vague idea of what it looks like, but they don't make the picture.

Next, you embellish on those corners a little. These give you more perspective on the picture. These pieces are "getting to know someone". Close, but not too close. Near the surface, but not superficial. This is, perhaps, the foundation of friendship. You would probably need to know a little more about me than the fairly obvious to be my friend. You would need to know what I like, what I don't like, what I do and that sort of thing. I like pink. I don't like snakes. I play the piano (badly, I might add).

Then, you're a row or two deeper in the puzzle. This is the fun stuff. You are starting to see it come together! You're not even half way there, but you still have energy, determination and you're still having fun! This is the treasure trove. Those cool, neat, amazing parts of people you never would have thought they had. The parts you only ever get to see if you dig a little deeper. Their opinion. Their world view. The crazy talents they have. Their dreams and hopes and wishes and their favorite song.

But just a step away are those middle pieces. The ones you really, really hate if you're working on a puzzle of something like an ocean, or a sky or something else where everything is the same color and pretty much looks the same. (Like a zebra.) These are the tedious pieces. The not so pleasant pieces. Here's where the annoying habits, the unattractive qualities, the obnoxious bits of us that make us ever so human are. If you know these things about someone, you are either married, really good friends or siblings. These are the parts a lot of us try to hide. And for good reason- they're not very pretty.

Then you have the center pieces. Those ones leading up to the last piece. The soul of the puzzle. The core. These are the pieces that make me Anna and you whoever you are. The pieces no one else has. Someone else is named Anna. Someone else doesn't like snakes. Someone else is a real jerk before they've had their coffee in the morning. Just like me. But nobody else has my heart, my soul, my core, my being. That's mine. This radiates from the inside out, affecting everything else about me, but this is what make me me.

Most of us don't really know the core anymore. Not even of our own puzzle, much less someone else's. It takes a lot of time and effort to make it there. Time we think we don't have. Effort we don't make anymore. People used to do that, you know. Get to know one another? Put together puzzles? Heck, yes.

Now we hardly know our own.

My point, my plea would be to try it. Invest in other people. Pay attention. Every time you have any interaction with another person, you're giving and receiving pieces. You'll be surprised, I can guarantee you. People are worthwhile.

Pick up the pieces.