Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,– but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,–
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

     I recently finished reading the book Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein about an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, Rose, who was imprisoned for six months in the Ravensbrück concentration camp during WWII. While this specific story was a work of fiction, Rose takes solace in poetry- specifically the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I had never before read her work, but her poetry is impactful. Only a couple of the verses from the above poem are recited in the book, but at this moment in time, the words are more relevant than ever.

     There has been so much tragedy and death in our world lately. From the very personal loss of my grandpa’s passing, to the life lost overseas to unthinkable violence. My heart aches for those I have never met, for the names I will never know, and the smiles and beauty that will never be seen again. It is true that death and violence happen all the time. People die unjustly, but that is no reason to not care. My heart aches for those who will never be given burial rites, and for the families who had no choice but to flee for their lives. I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

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Fin.

Deep breath in, deep breath out. I can wonderfully say that I feel like I can breathe again. School is over. I am a Master at Library and Information Science… sort of. So the question is what’s next?

Well, what’s next is a slight breather. At this moment I don’t have a full-time job. As they told us multiple times during library school, getting a job is insanely hard. So I’m applying and looking for jobs in any place that I could stand to live. Ultimately, I would love to stay in Pittsburgh, but I know that realistically, I can’t hold onto that. 

Hopefully soon I will have a job that will work for the interim and help pay the bills. I know that finding a job in my profession can take time. Thankfully I still have my part-time job in a library so I plan on using that to my fullest extent. I’m so thankful for all of the support and prayers that people have directed at me. I sincerely could not have completed my degree and gotten to this point without everyone around me. 

But now I’m left with the question of, “what do I do with my free time?” I have no homework. None. Nothing that’s due (besides job applications) and nothing to be graded on. My days are very empty now. In this moment with a job in which I only work three days a week, I actually have time to do things other than homework. 

I’ve begun reading for fun. It’s a little weird. Throughout school, I’ve built a mental block to reading. It’s as if I have to get over a negative connotation of reading before I can start. This is most likely from being forced to read useless articles and such, so reading for fun has been a bit hard. 

But I need to read as much as possible to be the best book recommender as possible. We’ll see how this goes. In the mean time, however, I am going to try and keep writing here. Make this a more active space. 

Let’s get this show back on the road… or at least cyberspace.

Please believe me when I say that my lack of posting here does not mean a lack of writing. I have drafts… at least three versions of this one and several more. They are sitting behind the scenes… collecting cyberdust. You will probably never see them. At least not in their current forms. They’re too personal or too exploratory. They never seem to have conclusions. So they sit, waiting for my mind to resolve.

I think the best way to describe this is to quote John Green, “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.”

Ever since I read that line in The Fault in Our Stars it’s been the truest statement of my life. I have ambitions. I have stories in my head that can’t seem to come together long enough to be written down. I have a story that just wants to be told but I can’t put more than feelings towards the characters. Have you ever felt that? That there’s a story you need to tell, but one of the characters scares you so much because their story is unconventional. That telling their story might just reveal some of your own.

I think the overarching emotion would be fear. Fear of not getting it right. Fear of the backlash from telling a story poorly or telling one that some people disagree with. The fear of not writing the sentence well the first time.

I’m trying to get over all of these. To remember that before a book is published, or a story is well-written, it must go through a series of edits and re-writing. I know those things. I know that it’s a process of commitment. However, I don’t really know what that’s like. Lately a lot of people have been talking about next year… or plans a year from now. I can’t think that far in advance… or I can, it’s just completely unknown.

I don’t know what I will be doing in a year. I don’t know where I’ll be, if I’ll have a full-time job… this instability makes it hard to commit to much. It makes it hard to commit to a story. That’s weird, right? That the unknown makes it difficult to write a fictional story? Well, since when have I ever claimed to be a normal person?

Well, I’m ending this here. I want to publish this post and I can’t collect my thoughts enough to delve further into my psyche. Hopefully, though, I’ll meet you here again soon.

Why movie adaptations of books are a really good idea.

As a future librarian I feel like I might be struck by lightning for that statement. But this realization came to me yesterday as I actively sat on my bed staring at my TV absolutely riveted at the story unfolding in front of me. That story, was Ender’s Game. And before the diehard Ender’s Game fans come to skewer me, let me explain a bit.

I can’t stand reading science fiction. I almost never enjoy the process because science fiction tends to be set in the future and involve technology that doesn’t exist or concepts that are easy to visualize, and I lose the story because I spend most of the book slightly confused and not able to see what I’m reading. There is one sci-fi book I’ve enjoyed which is The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, but even that book I didn’t feel compelled to finish.

On the other hand, I love watching science fiction. I grew up on Star Wars and highly enjoy Doctor Who and starting to get more into Star Trek. I love these stories because I can see them. I have a picture in my head of futuristic technology that I otherwise would not have understood in a book form. Sci-fi is a better visual genre (to me) than literary. By no means does this say that Sci-Fi isn’t good in book form, but it’s less understandable for me.

But.

As I sat watching Ender’s Game yesterday, I was absolutely in awe of the world and circumstances of the story that was unfolding in front of me. The ending surprised me. I wasn’t expecting that ending but it also made me slightly happey because I love literary endings- the ones that aren’t necessarily happy and whole.

More importantly, the moment I finished the movie, I wanted to read the book. And before more Ender’s Game fans skewer me. I am aware that the book is different from the movie. I am aware that some of you absolutely hate the movie and others think that it was okay. But here’s my honest opinion… I don’t really care about your opinion. (Actually my honest opinion was a little more blunt, but I thought I should refrain.)

Ender’s Game (the movie) was very well-made. It took concepts that I hadn’t thought of before and made them real. What this means now, is that when I do read the book, I will be able to picture what before would have frustrated me. I will be able to see the book. I’ve had to learn over the years that it’s really not worth it to get super mad all the time about movie adaptations of books. 

I will say that there are sometimes that it is okay (Ella Enchanted and City of Bones to name a couple), but it’s also important to recognize that these movies are creating opportunities for a person to read a book that they might not have picked originally. Since I haven’t read Ender’s Game yet, I can’t say that this is one of the movies that people shouldn’t get worked up about. But, it wasn’t a waste. It served a purpose. 

And tomorrow I plan on watching it again because even if inaccurate, it’s still a wonderfully made film.

Born To Lose

Today some of you get to learn something new about me. I really like metalcore. For those unfamiliar with the term, metalcore “is a broad fusion genre of extreme metal and hardcore punk.” Thank you Wikipedia for that lovely definition. I have my cousin to thank for this because he has been my biggest influence in this genre. He has this uncanny ability suggest bands that I will like… seriously, there is not a single metalcore band that he has suggested for me that I haven’t liked.

But I love it. It’s a mix of exquisitely beautiful and chaotic instrumentals that fuse together and somehow, it allows the screaming to be complementary and contrasting at the exact same time. But enough with introductions because this whole post was simply about sharing one of my favorite songs by The Devil Wears Prada. I love this song because is speaks of the war that is within ourselves… at least it does to me. It could also be pointed at someone else, but whenever I listen to this song, it’s almost as a reminder to myself. I’m probably explaining this horribly, but that is life.

Read the lyrics and then watch the video… it’s powerful.

Born to Lose

Blessed be those who have no idols.
I invoke holy honor, sanctify the patient.
I don’t see the world the same.
I’m no one’s hero, so just forget my name.

I abhor you,
With every foolish thing that you say.

None of it is worth the time:
Another meaningless war.

You don’t know what you need.
We’re all so back and forth,
Nothing is as it seems.
You don’t know what you need.
We make the same mistakes,
We’ve ruined everything.

What is it this time?
What must you call holy?
This is your lifeline,
Nothing is as it seems.
If I were you I’d give it up.
I’d give it up. I’d give it up.

If I were you I’d care.
I’m born to lose
With a noose around my neck.
World be damned and move forward.

I abhor you,
With every selfish thing that you say.
None of it is worth the time.

You don’t know what you need.
We’re all so back and forth,
Nothing is as it seems.
You don’t know what you need.
We make the same mistakes,
We’ve ruined everything.

Born to lose, born to lose
Born to lose
With a noose around my neck.

Yeah, hi, I’m going to… um… to write about something

Hello there. 

It’s been awhile. Hasn’t it.

I don’t like posting something that I don’t absolutely feel driven to post here. And lately, every post idea I’ve had feels way too “motivational speechy.” And I don’t want to mislead people here to think that I’m just always full of happy and semi-philosophical thoughts. I’m not. I find that people really cling to the outside of a person without considering that they may be drastically different on the inside. I’m not going to get all philosophical about that. I also can’t spell the word philosophical… both of the previous times had to be fixed but spell check. I also can’t spell Presbyterian that well either (though I did just now). 

But I should say something informative right?

One reason I haven’t felt like writing here is because I have an idea for a book. It terrifies me (in a good way) but it’s been on my mind more than anything. The characters have at least. Though don’t hold your breath for it because for all I know it’ll be crap. It’s also terrifying to think that someone could possibly read it because I find writing to be personally impersonal. At least that’s how I view fiction writing. Everything you write are thoughts that have crossed your mind even though they aren’t necessarily thoughts or convictions you hold. But you’ve thought about them nonetheless.

But I kind of hate writing fiction. At least I can never seem to have the patience to develop a story, or to make the plotline more complex and interesting to avoid being a “cookie cutter” story. So I found a book called “642 Things to Write About.” It’s probably one of the most self-explanatory titles on the planet because it’s a book that has 642 writing prompts. Some of them are a bit personal while others ask you to write about the greatness of sandwiches.

My goodness, you’d be surprised how many words I have misspelled while writing this post.

 

It’s all circumstance.

I am 23 years old. This is a verifiable fact. But unfortunately, if you asked me how old I thought I was, I would say that based on life experience, I still feel like I’m 16. Not that I have the maturity level of a 16 year old (I was once accused of being too mature in high school… literally accused).

I know that a lot of this comes from the “fish-out-of-water” effect. When I’m in new or frustrating situations where I don’t know what to do, I feel like a child. This is probably not a new phenomenon, but I feel that it should be recognized. Most of this probably stems from finally being in a position where I am largely responsible for every single thing in my life. Now you could ask, “You weren’t responsible before?” Well, yes and no.

For example. I have a car. I don’t own this car, but due to the graciousness of my parents while I am still in school, I have a car to use. Now, with this car, I don’t pay the insurance or anything. I pay for gas (but I live in a city where I mostly take the bus or walk to that’s not really a huge responsibility). So while I have had a car, it hasn’t really been my responsibility when it comes to oil changes or repairs. I’ve never had to get it towed or deal with auto repair services… until now.

I found out earlier this week that my car doesn’t start. Kind of a sucky realization because I’ve also had other frustrations lately (knee injury as an example) and I just didn’t need the hassle of a massive hunk of metal that does absolutely nothing. Normally, since I don’t own this car, I would call my dad and he would find a way to come and fix the problem or get the car to where it needed to be. Sadly, though, I no longer live an hour and a half away from my parents. I live 17 hours away and as much as my parents love me, a broken down car is not a good reason for them to drop everything and drive or fly 1,000 miles.

I still called my dad.

He had useful information and guidance, but that was as far as he could go. It’s now my turn to figure this stuff out. Somebody out there reading this is probably thinking that I should just suck it up and deal with it. These kind of things are a part of life, right? Why on earth should I write about it on my blog for the whole world to see my incompetence?

Well, because it’s quite astounding the amount of things that I don’t know yet. I’m sure if you looked at your own life you would come to a similar conclusion.

I also think that the knowledge we do have and the experience we’ve gained is all a matter of circumstance.

The majority of the people I know in Pittsburgh are at least 2 or more years older than me and certainly not just coming off a four year stint in college. They have had more experience than me when it comes to a variety of things. This isn’t bad, but it’s a good perspective. The majority of them have grown up in the Eastern part of the U.S. I think the beauty of the country we live in, is that you can grow up in the same country, yet have grown up in a completely different culture.

It’s different because of circumstance. It’s wonderful, but it’s easy for me to feel like I haven’t had enough “life experience” to relate to others. Though I’m going to say that as of writing this I really am beginning to hate the words “life experience.” Is it seriously something that can be measured or worth measuring? Just like everything else, those two words create a divide between people because it can make some hold it over others.

That’s not fair. If experience is something that is gained over time and you then account for the circumstances surrounding your life- controllable and uncontrollable, I think we’d see that everyone is where they are in life for specific reasons.

I’m only 23. I am an adult, but I’m still growing into that, and that’s okay.