Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Collecting Thoughts

What if you could gather thoughts the way you can gather pebbles on the beach? Or butterflies with a net? Or blossoms into a bouquet? And you could just line them up neatly and consider them one by one?

My thoughts never seem to collect themselves that neatly. They gather like snowflakes into a drift during a blizzard, or a waterfall into a teacup.

I've had a lot of time to gather my thoughts this past week. School has been out due to statewide teacher strikes here in West Virginia. All of my work is completely done, for once, and I can... breathe? Read books? Sit idly without worrying about something academic that needs done? It's an odd feeling. 

Especially considering that this time last week I was so stressed and sleepless from the 12+ hours of homework I had, I broke down and claimed a mental health day. Which I never do. In my twelve years of school, I have never missed a class without a valid reason. Until now, apparently.

So it's nice to not be panicking. I kind of hope the teachers keep striking.

I'm a mess most of the time, if you haven't noticed.

Over the past few months, I've brought back my old habits one by one. I'm journaling again, reading books, turning everything into metaphors.  I want to start blogging again, too. Consistently™.

So this is my hesitant hello. *waves*

Sunday, November 26, 2017

You're Not Good Enough Book Tag

I got tagged for this a reeeeeeally long time ago by Abigail Lennah at The Ups and Downs of My Not-So-Average Life. I've had this post as a draft for forever and never hit publish, so let's go!
This tag is a character face-off. Here's the rules:
"Write down 30 character names on a individual slips of paper and toss them in a bowl (hat, dish, whatever). For each of the 15 question, select two names. From the two names selected, pick who you would keep and who you would say 'You’re not good enough' to."

1. You only have one more spot on your Spelling B team, who would you pick to complete your team?

Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles) may be dashing and have good luck, but Aunt Ruth (Emily Climbs) is the prim and proper kind of old lady who definitely reads the dictionary for fun. Sorry, Thorne. Aunt Ruth wins.

2. Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Hmm. Well, Miguel (Bone Gap) does that orienteering stuff with his family, plus he's got those crazy arms, so he's probably pretty good at assassination. Poirot (The A.B.C. Murders) is  kind of a brilliant detective though, so he could definitely track me down and make my death look like an accident. Poirot it is.

3. You’re on the bachelor/bachelorette and you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose too?

PRINCE KAI PRINCE KAI PRINCE KAI (The Lunar Chronicles). Aunt Elizabeth (Emily Climbs) can't hold a candle. (Ahahaha irony. 😂 )
4. You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Ze'ev Kesley (Cinder) for sure. Wolf is honestly such a self-sacrificing sweetheart when it comes to people he cares about. I really don't see Inspector Crome (The A.B.C. Muders) risking his neck for anyone.

5. You’re stranded on an island. Which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Nooooo why? How did I pick two precious cinnamon rolls for this question? Aawpoeihfpasdf I don't knowwwww this is hard. Honestly Cousin Jimmy (Emily Climbs) would probably sacrifice himself because he's old and doesn't think very highly of himself. I really couldn't kill Finn (Bone Gap) because I'm lowkey in love with him.

6. You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show of course), who is your sidekick?

Cinder (Cinder) for sure because she's a CYBORG PRINCESS how much cooler could it get? I mean Mary (The A.B. C. Murders) did kind of help solve a murder but I don't see her being aggressive enough to fight evil. No. Definitely Cinder.
7. You’re a manager of an Avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

I would really like to fire Evelyn Blake (Emily Climbs) just because of her cattiness and poor treatment of Emily, but she definitely communicates well. But let's be honest, Sean (Bone Gap) really doesn't say more than necessary. I'm pretty sure he's a paramedic just because he wanted a job where he doesn't have to talk to conscious people.

8. You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Lol Queen Levana (Cinder) would comfort me by cutting out my tearducts and making me hold my own mouth shut. Aunt Laura (Emily Climbs) is a precious cinnamon roll who would make me tea and dry my tears and listen to me rant while binging ice cream.

9. Ugh, it’s high school. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Hmm. Two untamed, isolated girls with crazy long blonde hair? Ilse (Emily Climbs) would probably be really popular at first because she's funny, but she'd undoubtedly fly into a rage and rip someone's Vera Bradley satchel to shreds at some point. Now while Cress (Cinder) is awkward and doesn't have many people skills,  she's still pretty and easygoing and is dating the hottest criminal in the galaxy, sooooo I'm going to give it to her.
10. The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

I feel like Priscilla Willis (Bone Gap) doesn't forget anything. Teddy (Emily Climbs) though, he's pretty absentminded. He's an artist. And clearly he's not that bright because he based his and Emily's whole future off a letter that he told her not to reply to if she didn't love him back. (*spoiler, his mom hated her and took out the letter before he mailed it so all she got was a newspaper clipping*) Now anyone who can't tell the difference in weight between a newspaper clipping and a letter is probably clueless enough to forget my birthday.
11. You’ve just found an upcoming booktube star? Who would it most likely be?

Megan Barnard (The A.B.C. Muders) seems pretty chill, but Iko (Cinder) is the ultimate fangirl and she would definitely be a very enthusiastic, popular booktube star.

12. Sleepover time! Unfortunately you can only invite one person, who would you invite?

Well, this is awkward. Two mediocre secondary characters from the same book (The A.B.C. Murders). Ummmm probably Hastings, since he's good friends with Poirot. We could stay up talking about his latest cases.

13. Bam, you’re pregnant. Who’s the father/mother?

More characters from the same book (Cinder)! I should have shaken up the basket before I drew these last ones. Hopefully Scarlet would be the mother, because Linh Adri would not be a very cooperative person to share custody with.

14. You’ve just written a super important text. Who would ‘see’ it, but not reply?

Konn Torin (Cinder). He's too busy advising Prince Kai to reply to the texts of peasants. Emily (Emily Climbs) would be waiting by the phone for a text from Teddy, so she'd answer mine because she's bored.

15. You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mum’s been replaced by..who?!

Roza (Bone Gap), I would hope. She's loving and sweet and an amazing cook. If Perry Miller (Emily Climbs) was in charge of making my breakfast, it would probably be in my best interest to skip the most important meal of the day.

That was pretty fun! I'm not going to tag anyone specifically for this, but if you liked the tag and you haven't done it yet, go for it!

Have a lovely day


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Life is a Woodwind Instrument

We were sitting in band one day, trudging through a particularly difficult song. Outside, it snowed. Inside, we shivered. My flute was an icicle in my hands as I muddled through sixteenth note runs.
Mrs. Blossom was conducting, and suddenly she stopped. She waved her arms. "You! Trumpet!"
The redhead looked up from, bewildered. "Yes?"
"How often should you tune?"
"Uh..." The girl was dazed, tired, cold.
"Come on now, how often should you tune?"
The band broke into waves of laughter. A nonsensical answer was appropriate because our musical tone is a joke. Us? In tune? With 22 flutes? Funny joke. You got us. *slaps knee*
Mrs. Blossom laughed too, but grew suddenly solemn. She stood up straight as an arrow again and pointed at the trumpet player beside the girl. "Wrong. You, Jordan. What's the right time to tune?"
"All the time!"
"Correct!" She pumped her fist. "Now everyone fix yourselves and let's try again."
Instruments were adjusted, warm air blew through mouthpieces, horns came up. Mrs. Blossom counted us off again, and something magical happened.
It sounded better.

It's difficult to explain to a non-musician how tuning works. But basically, two instruments are in tune when they play the same note together and it sounds like one instrument. They blend flawlessly. Usually it takes a lot of adjusting of the strings or mouthpiece to get this to happen.
In good bands, each section sounds like one instrument. No one sticks out. None can be picked out above the rest. A blind listener shouldn't be able to tell that there are 5 alto saxophones. They should sound like one.
For stringed and percussion instruments, you can pretty much tune after you warm up and you're good for the performance. But woodwinds and brass-- instruments that require air from your mouth?
Every note is different; you have to adjust constantly. Your instrument may play one note that is beautifully in tune with your neighbor, and the next note will be horribly flat. You have to fix it. It's up to you to make those little adjustments that make a big difference.

In the past few months, I've learned that life is very similar. It's unpredictable; nothing ever happens the same way twice. One moment things will be going perfectly, the next your plans are in broken shards at your feet. You have to be ready to adjust and make those little changes so that things are smooth and even in the long run.
When you realize you're in the wrong place or making the wrong decision or going the wrong direction, you have to change something. Otherwise, nothing will get better.
The beautiful thing is that with life, it's never too late to "tune" yourself-- to adjust things or start something new.
You never know. Things might just get better.