Ace2ad62 ca2f 4f92 90e4 72542c7be103

rainandsonder

United States

currently reading "the goldfinch" and trying to learn spanish. if you like what i write, please leave a comment!

Message from Writer

"i wish the world was flat like the old days/then i could travel just by folding a map," - death cab for cutie

lowercase is intentional.

Published Work

q&a answers pt 1

i got so many questions that i'm going to have to split this up into two parts so it doesn't become too long. thanks to everyone that participated in this q&a!

from r|A|i|N
- top ten latest favorite songs?
  in no particular order:  
    1. ribs by lorde. 
    2. black mambo by glass animals. 
    3. might be right by white reaper. 
    4. in the meantime by spacehog.
    5. hard to explain by the strokes.
    6. in the middle of it all by citizen.
    7. hopeless opus by imagine dragons.
    8. read my mind by the killers.
    9. inside out by spoon.
    10. kids my mgmt.    
something that annoys you?
    i'm not very good at confrontation so if there's something that bothers me in a friendship with someone, sometimes i'll just bring it up in casual conversation, like, "i hate...

q&a... again

i'm sick and still not done with my contest awards, so you know what that means! it's procrastination time.

ask any questions you want, whether writing-related or not. (also, i'm ten followers away from three-hundred, which i suppose means i'm going to need to make a piece for that, so if you guys have any ideas for what i should do, feel free to leave those too!)
 

"i thought it less like a lake and more like a moat"

nothing is wrong,
it's just a bit snapped now, a bit
unhurried, but in the way they tell you that
standardized testing is unhurried, the
way the weekend seems like a
long time until monday comes fogging
the glass with a runny nose. how do you have a
tearful hallmark-movie reunion with someone that
didn't notice you were gone? how do you blur
something into clarity, curve a line so
much it becomes straight again?

autumn smells like minty toothpaste and 
far-off forest fires, smoked sunrises and 
popcorn between your teeth; autumn tastes
like lopsided friendships, rotting streets upside
down and one way only, pumpkin guts and sore
throats, a confusedly tangled un-happy, how
do you say goodbye to
someone that didn't notice you 
showed up at all?   

september is an ever-closer due date

i. anxiety, like love, is not something you feel or something you have, but a state that you are in. it's why my mind is a violent flower that only blooms at night; it's their eyes and teeth reflected on the cutting steel surfaces of four walls leaning closer closer closer; it's a hundred loose threads that i can't help but unravel, and now i'm waiting with a drag in my stomach for when they'll finally stop. i only crane my head to see faces biting the window, saliva dripping down, and my back tightens and hisses but i resist the urge to turn and look.

ii. the past, anyone will tell you about the past: sunburns and bug bites all over. the future is worse, eyes averted and tones just a pitch off. i crinkle like origami in the face of what must come, whether it's the next sunday or the sunday fifty years later. the future is...

concrete snowglobe

    2016. My teeth chattered like wind-up toys that winter; I wanted to scream at the cold that I knew, too, what it was like to be sharp and endless.
    We had drained our pool back at the beginning of October. Our backyard looked like an abandoned movie set, with its off-white pool chairs and water guns left beside them, a bin full of goggles and a can of half-empty sunscreen, and a blue kickboard slumped at the shallow end of the empty pool. 
    I sat at the edge, dangling my legs above the eight-foot pit. I think one day someone flipped us upside-down, because when I looked at the sky I saw a concrete city, slithering towards the horizon like poison slithers its way to the heart, and the ground below me was overcast brown and dirt gray like winter storm clouds. I used to think that the sky was our reflection; now I...

sugar plum nightmares

do you ever wonder if your dog would be happier with someone else? this is how it goes: first my dreams are silly, cartoon whistling between the gaps in my baby teeth; then they are the aftertaste of a food i haven't had in years, creeping up my throat during mid-day social studies; then they are pirated memories, shards of this and that hastily glued together and soon peeling away. i wake at six in the morning with confusion leaving striped morning shadows through my blinds. like this: in last night's dream, it was the original "we"; faces i could recite in my sleep, i mean, and my throat wasn't sore from unspoken monologues. did that ever happen?

but i digress: do you ever wonder if your dog would be happier with someone else? and by that i mean that that is what my dreams are about, that is what i was getting at with "pirated memories peeling away". sometimes...

#r&scontest results!

thanks so much everyone for participating in my contest! it was a lot of fun to read everyone's entries, and i was blown away by how many people participated. so without further ado, here are the three placers!

third place: a moth's love letter to candlelight by crowsf
short and concise yet beautiful, this piece immediately endeared me. i particularly loved the creative use of the prompt, telling the story from the moth's perspective as a hopeless lover of the light. my favorite lines have to be the last two: "And I am simple-minded to give you this hug/I will cease to exist, burning with you, from here on." it's a gentle and yet almost powerful ending, and despite the fact that i don't think anyone on this site can relate to this poem in a literal sense (...or can they?), you can't help but sympathize deeply with the moth narrator while reading this piece. 
prompt used: flame
the prizes...

Universal Knowledge

like the dark has opened its maw and now i can see its teeth

the common language: something that sits uneasy on your tongue--- moonbeams darting through blinds and the jagged walls crawling forward on hands and knees--- hands and knees screwed on too loose, hit the floorboards like the heavy thump of footsteps; and all of a sudden the night is pitch and so black so huge a run-on sentence above below around, and there, the moon like the last sliver of light through the keyhole before the dark opens its great maw and begins to feast--- and something sits uneasy on your tongue and shivers from the cavity behind your eyes, and it's something something but it's climbing away from me now.  

about #r&scontest (read if you entered!)

i was totally blown away by the number of entries i got for my contest. the deadline (august 15th) was a couple days ago, so now i'm in the process of reading through everyone's entries and deciding which ones are going to place. it's going to be a tough one. anyway, i just wanted to say that even though new pieces can no longer be entered, you still have time to revise and edit your entries to make them even better! i'm giving you until friday (august 23rd) to make any changes you want to your entry, as long as you don't delete it and write a completely different piece. i will be posting the results on sunday, august 25th.

please leave a comment with a link to the revised version of your piece if you do end up revising it! best of luck to everyone.

and suddenly a face in the windshield

i heard an elegy that night,
from below clear night-swaddled stars,
when i hurled on a wheezing gas pedal,
and flew dazed out of my car

to a jagged puzzle in the road,
pieces strewn, at last untethered;
laughter spat out as i crumpled
to put the pieces back together.

they say the dead have gone to sleep,
carried on under death's soft wing,
but with parched lips torn open,
i knew he had just become a thing.

the icy air chewed on my skin
as i kneeled there like a child;
the soil reached with filthy fingers
to drag me to the wild.

i tore my lip up with jagged teeth;
the moon drenched his skin ash gray.
sobs staggered as i decided:

slid in the car

and drove away.
 

i'm having a contest! #r&scontest

i feel like the user-hosted contests thing has died out by now, but i missed the trend, so here i am. i'm going to leave a fairly long comment on every piece that's going to be entered, and there will be three winners and a couple of honorable mentions if i see fit. also, i'm going to republish this a lot so lots of people can see it, so if you keep seeing it on the dashboard and it's annoying you... sorry.

prompt
you must write a piece based off one of these three prompts: "flame," "clock," or "breath." you incorporate all three if you'd like, or incorporate two of them, but it's not required. also, you don't necessarily have to include the word in your entry, but it does have to be hinted at or centered around the prompt that you choose.

criteria
i will be looking for pieces that use the prompts the most creatively (that being said,...

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

it's called a vanity, but it's hard to be vain buried underneath all this

    addie leads me to her parents' bathroom the instant the adults wander away. i'm dumped at the vanity, and she attacks the drawers. her deft fingers toy out brushes, mascara, blush; her hand curls around a tube of lipstick. they examine me, crooning aunts ready to pinch my cheeks and eyelids and lips. it's a store sale: "everything must go."
    addie cradles my face; her razor eyes drop to my legs. "you need to start shaving," she says. "boys don't like hairy girls."
    with the way she hides me beneath makeup, you'd think boys didn't like girls at all. 
    

fragments of flashes of vignettes

2018:
october: reject your circadian rhythm; never let the elongated nights pull you down. don't drown don't drown. chase the remnants of sunlight like a hound on a trail that never ends. we beat our clubs, we open our gaping mouths with rotting teeth to say that we're all grown up now, but only babbles come out.

november: we cover our mouths with our shirts and cough up the dead fire in our lungs. smoke cages our breath, and we fan our lashes against the ash-filtered sunlight, hacking like cats. when the streets are empty, you can't help but think of it as a kind of apocalypse. it's silent now like the pages at the end of a book.

december: a fake christmas tree at safeway, feather-fingered piano kids that pour out carols like radio stations--- the radio is monotonous now. i can hear the plastic smiles. i have dreams that they eat me with two rows of artificially white...

The Reviewing Pro-Tips That They Don't Want You to Know (kidding, just some regular tips)

NOTE: This piece was originally published back in January, so it might be slightly outdated, but a lot of these tips still hold up and since the community changes so much and there are so many new users now, I decided to republish it in the hopes of maybe helping some people. 

    I think all of us get annoyed by bad reviews. You log on or refresh your dashboard, and low and behold! A notification! And not just a comment or a like, but someone has taken the time to write you a review! Eagerly, you click on it and begin reading, ready to hear feedback on your piece.
    But your excitement fizzles out as you see that the review is about three lines. No highlights, and the answers to the questions are the bare minimum. "What about this piece delighted you?" "Everything." "What could the writer add?" "Nothing." "Additional comments?" "It was good."
   ...

#imagineit the first horseman

    i was only six when i saw the first man. back then, my hands were small enough to cup the moon at night, and i sat on the front porch, my doll legs dangling over the aching wood, and did just that. i plucked dandelion heads and blew them like birthday candles, watching the downy seeds scatter against the black backdrop of the night, a flock of tiny doves taking flight. the melody of my giggles echoed through the streets, and hitched as i noticed him.
    at first, he was hardly more than a disfigured shadow among the lumped shapes of cars and telephone poles. i squinted into the suburban night, and as the shadow dragged closer, it molded into something more tangible. i curled my toes inwards, heart quivering--- even at that distance, something seemed, well, wrong about it. should i cry out for my father, scrubbing dishes just through the door? should i bolt...

/əˈtərnədē/

this is my eternity:

trees hauling the heavy air like a stooped atlas
and poisoned california sky, rocks breaking through bleached
grass like desperate fingers reaching from a frosted 
ocean. wooden obelisks strung with bent wire trace this 
writhing world, and the hills climb from the
desolate grassland like steepled
hands praying, reaching for the unfathomed blue.

we're all reaching out here. telephone
pole crosses and praying hills, a
stooped atlas with begging knees and
bent back, and how we grasp at a
california sky. an intangible blue sprawl imprisoning
a bleached stretch of forever (and they pray
not for worship but for mercy).

it feels like i could hit my head on the
sky but when my fingers cry and lunge they only drag
on the weighted air. i had been too petrified by time to
read before i scrawled my signature, but
it had said, in the fine print:
e-ter-ni-ty (noun)
/əˈtərnədē/
1. a contained forever, a bleached
2. ocean...

pear a dice

in a fracturing world where the trees
howl anthems and cut up the sky;
where the night is neon lights and
the marshmallow stars are shy;
where thrashing drums paint the air red
and weeping guitars throttle blue veins;
where the sun blushes the sky and
bleeds shadows like raindrop chains;
i'd lay in this land of sound and
poetry and flower wreaths,
and find euphoria in strings of
words the world shudders beneath.



 

free reviews!

    i saw that r|A|i|N and Araw were doing this, and i've been mindlessly scrolling the dashboard looking for something to review, so here goes. the way this works is simple: you comment a piece that you want reviewed with the link to the piece. i'll be doing the first FIVE pieces to be commented.
    some limits:
- please don't ask for a review if you've entered my contest. sorry, but since there's a chance i'm going to be doing a bunch of reviews for you in case you win or place, i'd just rather not.
- one piece per person
-  like r|A|i|N, i'm going to have to ask that the piece you're requesting is mostly grammatically correct and error-free. a couple issues are fine, but i don't want to spend half an hour catching every single spelling error and grammatical mistake.
- if you look under the reviews tab on my profile, you'll see that my...

i've been standing with a doomsday sign so long, i have to be right eventually (revised)

it's absurdist, it's abstract, it's the end of the world and the sun in my eyes like sweet, bleeding papaya:
it's the way the sea grasps loose bolts with clenched claws and pulls them to a sickly salt demise,
or how a stomach shrivels, veins pop, how chronically loose fingers drag cobweb hair from a rough scalp,
and stapled houses with praying roofs collide, and it's the end of the world all over again;
hollowed eye sockets and sizzling power sockets/spitting winds and spitting cats/cakes and dirt-caked skin,
slipping freuds with botox smiles who spit on the floor to clean it, and abandoned
cardboard doomsday signs; armageddon's followers (and to think, they were right this time,) but 
now their sharpie-stained fingertips hang lifelessly in impoverished dirt, flies circling in necklace
chains around eggshell-white throats. and the half-poets paint the pining streets, and
it's "the huddled masses yearning to breathe free" just like before.
well, i'm not even half a poet but...

the arsonist's hymn, the matchstick's command

ashy dust settles in the grooves of quick fingers;
the sun crouches behind seared trees, it lingers
like a frightened child, and the smoke above

floats like charred feathers of a hapless dove.
my world tilts as it burns, scorches the grass
and the ruins sing that naught is built to last;

so i cross soot-soaked fingers, cross my seething heart
and plead the jury for the chance to restart.
but the matchstick again leaks into bloodied hands,

and with a new fervor it again takes command,
for my heart lusts not for glory, nor girl, nor game,
but for blaze, for ember: for a world set aflame.

melopoeia + phobia + snapped strings

MELOPHOBIA: the  f e a r  of music. bass guitar
with snapped strings hung in a dusty garage,
a summer bleeding out into fall, flannel jackets &
an abandoned sketchbook on a school bench.

> spiders in my head, spiders in my mind <

chilled nights tilting & witching hours beaten. family
reunions. reunions with monsters
under the bed. reunions with monsters
across the street. voices
of a house party you're supposed to be at
drifting through the door
on a shy evening.

ten thousand people stand alone now <

and there's old journals,
dust-kissed; half-written lines lost.
faces once familiar, people
once perfect, and crumpled sheet music
and old journals
and how has this been forgotten already?

i lost my halo <

rain dancing across melancholy sidewalks,
doe eyes & white flags & daily
eternities. piano-punctured hearts.
and an old journal and
monsters under the bed and a
bass guitar with snapped strings hung
in a dusty garage....

i've been standing with a doomsday sign so long, i have to be right eventually (revised)

it's absurdist, it's abstract, it's the end of the world and the sun in my eyes like sweet, bleeding papaya:
it's the way the sea grasps loose bolts with clenched claws and pulls them to a sickly salt demise,
or how a stomach shrivels, veins pop, how chronically loose fingers drag cobweb hair from a rough scalp,
and stapled houses with praying roofs collide, and it's the end of the world all over again;
hollowed eye sockets and sizzling power sockets/spitting winds and spitting cats/cakes and dirt-caked skin,
slipping freuds with botox smiles who spit on the floor to clean it, and abandoned
cardboard doomsday signs; armageddon's followers (and to think, they were right this time,) but 
now their sharpie-stained fingertips hang lifelessly in poor dirt, ants circling in necklace
chains around eggshell-white throats. and the half-poets carve the pining streets, and
it's "the huddled masses yearning to breathe free" just like before.
well, i'm not even half a poet but...

q&a answers

recently i published a piece called "q&a because i'm bored" where i asked people to ask me questions in typical q&a fashion. so now i'm, as you probably guessed from the title, answering the questions people asked.

from emmiewriters:
where do you get your inspiration from? everyday activities or just some random spur of the moment that comes up in your head as you think about what to write?

kind of anywhere. i use the notes app on my phone to write down ideas i have or interesting things i see, et cetera, so whenever i'm out of ideas i usually check that. i also get a lot of inspiration from books i read, movies i watch, music i listen to, stuff like that. sometimes it is spur of the moment, though.

are you an aspiring artist? do you do art on a daily basis? i really love your profile picture, i myself love art too :)
thanks! and yes,...

important psa!

    so this is just a quick psa, because i feel like more and more i notice people doing the thing where you like someone's work without commenting on it. like, there are pieces with seven likes and zero comments. it doesn't happen a ton to me, but it happens occasionally and i see it happening to other people, so here i am.
    writing is hard, right? and putting your writing out there is even more difficult; it takes guts. and it kinda sucks when you pour your soul into a piece and publish it with notes in the footnotes that say "please comment!" and your message to readers is "i really need feedback on this, please tell me what i can do to improve such and such part, and if you enjoyed it please leave a comment!" and you check yes on the "do you want to get reviews on this piece?" thing and you get, like, nine likes and...

q&a because i'm bored

    i've seen some other writers on here doing this, and i'm bored right now, so i figured, why not? i feel like i should have some sort of short introduction because my bio doesn't say a ton about me. i've been on this site for (i think) two years now, although i've taken some breaks and haven't been super active as of late so you might not know me. i love listening to music, and i play guitar and flute. i also love writing (obviously) and i have a dog. um, yeah.
    basically, ask me whatever you want in the comments section and i'll answer in a follow-up piece. ask me about writing, or myself, or something; whatever you want. i'll probably re-publish this a couple of times.

the arsonist's hymn, the matchstick's command

ashy dust settles in the grooves of quick fingers;
the sun crouches behind seared trees, it lingers
like a frightened child, and the smoke above

floats like charred feathers of a hapless dove.
my world tilts as it burns, scorches the grass
and the ruins sing that naught is built to last;

so i cross soot-soaked fingers, cross my seething heart
and plead the jury for the chance to restart;
but the matchstick again leaks into bloodied hands,

and with a new fervor it again takes command,
for my heart lusts not for glory, nor girl, nor game,
but for blaze, for ember: for a world set aflame.

utopia with a capital "u"

and i'm counting the ways i can say goodbye:
with a word with a smile with a
song with a nod with a -- 

chalky hands shake behind closed curtains and
ashy sunlight pulls open blinds with prying hands and
the radio chops itself into pieces.
with the look in your eyes with the
smile ghosting your lips with the
blood on your heart and hands with --

it's a utopia on some days, the way the
trees steal back the cities and the thunderclouds
crash and shake the world. i found a cougar
sleeping while i raided a house, and birds nesting on 
windowsills, and i'm
starting to think this isn't ours anymore.
with melancholy with joy with
rage with triumph with
hopelessness --

some days i miss the television;
the whizzing colors and zany sounds and
the places we went where crude figures were all our cares.
i can't remember pop music, but at night i hear
drums and...

the sea breathes in time to our lungs

the sea waves the same way a shaken-out
blanket does: it rises and falls like a
sleeping beast, rearing up and charging
at the jagged shore rocks, casting a light spray.

down here the world feels hopelessly twined,
the gray water reaching from our tired beach
to shoddy refugees with parched, cracked lips
and raving sun above like a scorching leech;

from patricians with pursed brows and furrowed
lips to stressed walls crumbling away,
and buckets under chapped, leaking ceilings
swelling to the rhythm of drops from our bay

where i dig my feet in sand and watch the
world sway in the reflection of your eyes:
hopeless indeed, the silvered sea foam hums
and we walk away to the seagulls' cries.
 

pear a dice

where the world fractures:
where wind gnaws your nose red,
and trees howl anthems and cut up the sky;
where the night is neon lights and the stars
taste like marshmallows;
where drums throttle your veins,
guitars leave fingerprints on your skin,
and voices paint the world red with war;
where crab grass tickles your neck and
the sun blushes the sky, leaving long streaks of 
shadows like raindrop trails on a windowsill;
where the migraines end and the numbers jolt out of place;
where the world is light festivals at midnight and
foggy mornings where breath sticks to glass and
the ecstasy of stringing together a word that the world
shudders beautifully beneath;
if i believed in paradise, that's where i'd go to find it.

the book i'll never write- two

    i decided this a long time ago, before i read our deaths in the television static at grandma's house, before the realities that i've built around myself like a tent came crashing down around me--- even then, i knew. it was like the trolley question that my parents had told us about one sleepover, a route with three people on the track but a way to switch to a route with one person; which would you choose? you answered instantly that you would take the latter, and my brother nodded, and i realized that i was outnumbered. my father nodded, seeing that we had the right moral code, and went along his day. i must've gotten lost in his peripheral vision.
    that was me all over. too easy to give up, surrendering before the fight began. a white flag draped around my body like the opposite of a superhero cape. for me, it was murder. i...

macabre soulmates

his hands grapple around the edges of the skull,
like clinging from a cliff ledge:
grotty fingernails snatch at rough bone,
browned and deepened in the soiled light,
shadow cascading over the gaping sockets,
the deserted cavity of a nose.
light shines where skin would fit,
and a row of teeth like rotted pillars rest
on calloused fingertips.
and atop it all, a crown;
tarnished gold and an air of demand.
there's an architecture to it, the social pyramid ingrained
into the slender curves and ledges.
it slips over the skull as easily as a gown,
as though the sculpted dents and the turn of the gold
are locked in a dance,
a precise pirouette to where shadow meets shadow---
macabre soulmates from another life.
you beg a question to the
wide eclipse of the eyes, the cape
of shadow draped over it all,
the tantalizingly untouchable bone,
and the hollowed cave of sockets and crown
leave you to...

as i must assume was the case with you #N.poetry

people don't seem to realize what numb means:
it's not like shin guards in soccer, or
the callouses you get when you play guitar.
numb is standing in a creek with your
jeans bunched up against the skin above your knees and
the sun flashing like a sword, whiling away to the horizon,
and the water slapping your ankles again and again,
so cold it bites,
so cold it seeps through your skin and drags away your veins,
and still not feeling a thing. and you would kneel and dip
your face into the water with your eyes open and let
the salt shrivel whatever's left of you
just so things could be the way they were before.

and standing there with a handful of dripping stones, as
the setting sun casts shadows down my face, i pray:
i drove three states to get here, to fit my toes into your footprints,
and still my heart refuses to sink me...

macabre soulmates

his hands grapple around the edges of the skull,
like hanging from a cliff ledge for dear life:
grotty fingernails echo on rough bone,
tanned and browned in the soiled light,
shadow cascading over the sockets,
the cavity of a nose.
light shines where skin would fit,
and a row of teeth like rotted white pillars
rest on calloused fingertips.
atop it all, a crown;
tarnished gold with an air of demand.
there's an architecture to it, the social pyramid
ingrained into the fine curves and ledges.
it slips over the skull as easily as a gown,
as though the dents in the head and the turn of the gold
were tailored for each other.
macabre soulmates from another life.
it begs a question---
no.
no, you beg a question,
and the hollowed cave of sockets and crown
leave you to kneel. 
 

My Mother's Smoke Shapes- Part Four

    I'd like to say there was a happy ending.
    Because that's how stories go. Something goes wrong, something gets resolved. Maybe not always in the way you'd expect, but there's a stamp of finality on the last page.
    This is reality. And somehow, no matter how many times I say that to myself, I can't believe it. Caleb once said that reality is either the highest or lowest form of fiction; I see myself agreeing with the latter. I'd like to say there was a happy ending, but there wasn't. There wasn't an ending at all.
    Mother died in the post office.
    Post offices are comforting in an odd depressed sort of way. They're always too narrow and have funny lighting, and the employees look just as bored as you. They don't play the illusion of a happy working place, a friendly business that Wants to Help. They have a...

we can't even trust february to have twenty-eight days per year

    Today, the blacktop was slippery and I skidded into an awkward position, an almost-split, my foot twisted and my nails dug into my skin as though they would provide adequate reassurance that i wouldn't fall. I was trying to take the ball from her, and she cried out in amusement (or concern) or both (or neither), and I did too. A few brief eyes my way, and back to the game. Back to the routine dribbling, the passing, the guarding and blocking, the swish of a net or the thump of a backboard. And I could understand why people liked this: there were particular mechanics about it, something comforting with the way you could bounce the ball and know with absolute certainty that it would come back up.
    Today were math finals, and for once I checked my answers. I rewrote the equations backwards and scribbled meaningless numbers on scrap paper just to remind myself I...

lie on my epitaph when the dirt gets in my eyes

they say i'm not the center of the earth,
well,
maybe i'll dig there with a frozen spoon
just to prove them all wrong.
when the dirt gets in my eyes and
leaks through to my head,
and i start to fall away,
i'll ask you to lie on my epitaph and say i made it:
it's hard to be optimistic when every voice i've ever heard
is cataloged somewhere behind my ears
and i drive myself up the walls and claw the roof down
twisting around to see who's calling me.
 
one day i'll wake up
wearing a crown of fingerprints round my neck,
and i'll know i'm a ghost but i don't think i'll care.
if my life were a book,
i could write essays on the symbolization,
and i'd chart it out like psychological astronomy---
you, for instance, would align somewhere between ego
and coping mechanisms. 

sometimes i think i'm just the same old primitive ape ...

Maybe the Faces We See in the Dark Are Our Own

a. he has a bed, but chooses to sleep against the wall in his closet, and in the morning thousands of crabs are pried to his spine. he tells his parents that it's an experiment. he laughs. their permanently arched brows do not.

b. an experiment, he says, but never what for. his bones know the answer; they are trees getting hacked away at. they cry like a whiny child over going to bed, and he has to drag them, kicking and screaming, to the closet. he wakes up to coat hangers and boxes crushing his legs and forgotten toys fallen on him in the night. he wakes like he's waking from a nightmare: suddenly, in a cold sweat, and with a screaming heart. he wakes disappointed.

c. next he tries under the bed. he has to lie flat on his back like a corpse in a coffin to fit. he likes to stare up at the wooden underside of...

the book i'll never write- one

   it didn't start in june but i can't say it didn't not start there either: there were twenty-three bloody fingerprints stapled to my white t-shirt that morning as the wooden bench weaved splinters into my bare knees. it would go like this: i pinched the thread between my left forefinger and thumb, and held the needle as steady as i could in the other hand (which for me, was only less shaky than usual). the silver flashed in the sun. like a dog showing off its fangs, i thought, and my hand would shake more, but if i thought about it, it would never happen, so i yanked the thread and missed the loop. my forefinger slipped and pushed the point of the needle into my thumb, and there was a sharp sting and a tiny circle embedded into the pad of my flesh. this happened six times before blood dribbled out, warm on my skin. i glanced around---...

Candy Medicine

    I loved cutting out snippets of magazines as a kid. I hung them on a bulletin board in my room, and rearranged the words to make new sentences; I was creating, but within confinements. I liked the creating and my parents liked the confinements, and therefore it was a win-win.
    Our mailbox was like a rusty nail sticking out of the ground. I would check the days off the calendar in shaky red Sharpie, and on the Special Days, I ran outside and sat in the weeds. Head in my hands, foot tapping. Funny how kids have endless patience when they want to. I was shy around the mailman. He would give me a toothy smile and say something along the lines of, "You've been out here all day, haventcha?" or "Tell your parents I said hi," and I would stare at the ground and nod. As soon as he was gone, I clutched the magazine to my...

#capitallettersq&a

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
    There is no meaning of life. Like most things in the universe, it just sort of happens, and everything else is up to the living creatures themselves. I suppose one could say "reproduction" or "surviving", because technically, that's what a singular organism's purpose is, but evolution-wise it could be to make ourselves better, stronger, faster, smarter, et cetera so that our species will improve. Life itself, though, doesn't exactly have a purpose, just like the formation of the stars and planets doesn't have a purpose. It just is. We're born a collection of cells and we die a collection of cells and nothing changes in the long run.

WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?
    Gosh, I don't know. There are some songs that I wish I didn't like, but I don't think I have a singular guilty pleasure. 

DESCRIBE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY. (POSITIVITY AND HONESTY IS KEY)  (courtesy of she’s-got-a-story)
    No. 
...

The Pros and Cons of Happily Ever After

    And they lived happily ever after.
    Time passed in that odd way that it always does, like a faint ringing or buzzing in your ears. You drown it out most of the time, and only when it's gone do you notice and say, "Huh, that's funny."
    There was abject happiness, a palace and a marriage and a kingdom that lived up to the promises. And that was it, she supposed. She had made it to the top, and there was nothing more from there. No above and beyond. Which was fine, in a way, because she hadn't been expecting it; her Prince Charming had lived up to his name and his word. And she found that there was wealth, but all her dreams of everything she could do with the money disappeared down the drain. She looked for them, sometimes, pulling back the shower curtain to find only her shadow, or reaching for the...

Love in Words

i can barely play piano but even i love you

the rain patters on the roof above my head,
and it invokes a terrifying sense of comfort:
here, in the spaces between words, is where i want to be.
but three days from now, i'll be back in
programmed hallways with the course
of my day mapped out by people i don't know,
so i write this to worn keys, shining blacks and faded whites,
to memorization of where my fingers fall and
how the pauses dictate the melody,
because none of us have sheet music, and
only half of us can read it;
i write this to the songs played,
to learning the favorites of your friends
and the ones that will make them roll their eyes
and the ones that will withdraw vacant humming and tapping shoes,
and to the ones that set the backdrop for
lunchtime conversations;
i write this to the little freedom we get
and the art it creates,
to the weapon and tool and...

Strong Women in Fiction: A Rant/Essay

Part I: The Strong Female Character
    In recent years, a lot of movies have realized that there's a strong demand for female representation, and have decided to market towards feminists, and thus the Strong Female Character trope has been invented.
    What is the Strong Female Character? She's not the same as a strong female character.
    A Strong Female Character is a badass. She's completely feminine while also rejecting the idea of femininity. She's cold and tough and shows no emotions ever. She fights people. She usually ends up reluctantly falling in love with the leading male character. And she's also the opposite of the kind of female representation that we need.
    Sometimes I wonder if the people that make these movies have spoken to a real-life human person ever. They seem to have no trouble making a diverse cast of male characters (personality-wise, at least). They have funny characters, brave characters,...

Writing Advice That Has Actually Helped Me

    I've been writing for a while now. When I first started out, I read a LOT of writing advice and blogs, and after a while you start to notice the same tips resurfacing again and again. "Don't use adverbs, don't say it was all a dream, just write, etc." Now that's all pretty OK advice, but I'm here to share the writing tips that actually helped me improve.

1. Vary sentence lengths. If I wrote a paragraph using only sentences with five syllables, it would be extremely boring:

    This is a sentence. Another sentence. The dog ran away. The man looked at me.

    See what I mean? It all sounds the same. If I wrote a whole paragraph like that, it'd be excruciating to read. Always change up the sentence lengths; do short sentences followed by long sentences followed by medium sentences. Of course, slower scenes need more long sentences and fast-paced scenes need more short sentences, but varying sentence...

(it was only a light drizzle, but you take what you get when it never rains)

today it was raining, and the water gathered at the crest of the hill
and dove down; the shallowest river i've ever seen,
and i'll admit i was daunted, but math class couldn't wait,
and i curled my toes and fell upwards.
when i reached the door, she said my jacket looked like
a jackson pollock painting in gray and black. well:
i remember jumping in puddles,
sending my gleeful reflection splashing over the pavement,
and giggling between mismatched teeth
and too-small feet,
but i tried that again and
the water swallowed my shoes
and soaked through my socks
(and i would use a better verb,
but soaked is the only one that can snare the right feeling)
and the cuffs of my pants were dark and dripping
and the water splattered on passerby whose faces snarled at me.
i didn't have a change of clothes,
so my socks kneaded my raw-red feet and
my shoes leaked into my skin.
and...

My Mother's Smoke Shapes- Part Four

    I'd like to say there was a happy ending.
    Because that's how stories go. Something goes wrong, something gets resolved. Maybe not always in the way you'd expect, but there's a stamp of finality on the last page.
    This is reality. And somehow, no matter how many times I say that to myself, I can't believe it. Caleb once said that reality is either the highest or lowest form of fiction; I see myself agreeing with the latter. I'd like to say there was a happy ending, but there wasn't. There wasn't an ending at all.
    Mother died in the post office.
    Post offices are comforting in an odd depressed sort of way. They're always too narrow and have funny lighting, and the employees look just as bored as you. They don't play the illusion of a happy working place, a friendly business that Wants to Help. They have a...

Yellow is for Happiness, Roses are for Love

she wore a yellow dress that day:
her smile, glued to her face long ago,
was peeling off,
and the sunbeams danced around her
as if accusing her of a crime.
even the trees bent in her direction,
and her lips slipped out words
and i didn't hear even one of them.
the answer was scribbled
on her perfectly structured,
perfectly tanned,
perfectly perfect face
like a first grader's
crayon drawing of honey.

i left a rose on the porch for her,
to say goodbye.
i remembered a day
when i passed a rose bush
and picked the most extravagant one
i could find:
full, curvy petals like her lips,
a deep red like her heart,
and my own sang.
i left it with a note on her door.
this is from the same bush, but
i found it on the sidewalk
covered in thorns---
crushed stem,
shriveled leaves,
a sick green and crumpled brown.
i could almost see
the...

My Mother's Smoke Shapes- Part Three

    Mother told us to stop at a drugstore. It sat, shabby and gray and sulking in the corner of the street like a kicked cat, and eyed us enviously. We were alive, we could get out. We wouldn't, but we could.
    The sky was pale and too bright in that dismal overcast way, and I squinted at the place. Ripples of memory.
    In fiction, reality is a straightforward thing. Time passes and either you forget it or you don't. Flashbacks are like full lips kissing the distant past, and the main character is allowed to lament over times gone by. Sometimes I wonder why. Their memories are in color, sharp-cut and good quality; they can simply rewind if they ever miss the good days. Real life is woefully incompetent in that regard. The past is like a book you read a long time ago but can't remember the name of. It doesn't matter if...

My Mother's Smoke Shapes- Part Two

    The kids in the neighborhood used to play a game, I recalled as I drove past my former best friend's house. We were reckless and restless, but in this town there was no room for that. Either you followed the rules or--- well. And so we found the line between dangerous and safe and played hopscotch with it.
    We were young and ready to choke the sky, but anything underneath it was the limit. We called the game Witches, being the highly imaginative children that we were. As you may have guessed, we pretended that we were witches. There were ceremonies in the woods and nonsensical chants and staying up until two in the morning at each other's houses to practice our "art". We pretended that it was a secret we must keep from the parents, that must be whispered in each other's ears and kept under our beds, out of sight from our caregivers. In our heads,...

My Mother's Smoke Shapes- Part One

    Like any other child, I grew up thinking that my mother was perfect and fearless. The difference was that for me, it was mostly true.
    We grew up in the middle of nowhere, a place where the trees crept ever closer to the neighborhood like a child cuddling an adult for comfort and the sky choked you at night. Kids were born knowing to never look behind them, and that tells you everything you need to know about us. You were safe as long as you kept the danger in your peripheral vision, and if you felt like something was watching you, you weren't being paranoid. Mother taught us that.
    And since we were taught, since we knew better, we were never put in danger. None of us were, the kids of the neighborhood, except for Michael Boone from next door, who ran his mouth and came home one day with a mangled leg...

empty promises and the promise of emptiness

there are more songs to be sung
in the key of c,
but you know that
they all sound the same to me.

your eyes like chocolate wounds
on my doorstep
when the winds griped for life
and the sky was a steppe:
fingers struck yellowed keys
and it was hard to admit,
but the song stole you away
in rhythm with it.

i glued glowing stars
to the back of my eyelids,
proclaimed myself a pessimist
but still placed a bid;
the world didn't drop anchor,
and i peeled the stars away
but the cavern still shines
when i visit the bay.

there are more songs to be sung
in the key of c,
but you know that
they all sound the same to me. 

The World Doesn't Spin Like it Used To

she had a collection of animal skulls
that she kept a secret from her parents.
there was something fascinating about
the empty sockets and
the display of teeth and
the white-but-not-white bone.
she liked to imagine it in layers:
muscle, blood, nerves, organs,
then the skin draped over that
and the fur over that.
it was hamlet,
but they begged her
for the answers instead.
it started when she was five
and there was a rotting skunk
on the porch.
her parents screamed and kicked it
into the bushes, and she watched
and months later she came back
and found the skull
and cradled it in her hands.
she turned it over.
she slipped it under her jacket
and it told her a secret:

and the days
d
r
a
g
g
e
d.
time never flew for her;
each second echoed in her own skull
and her fingers twitched.
maybe things had changed
(like how her favorite restaurant
got...

Maybe the Faces We See in the Dark Are Our Own

a. he has a bed, but chooses to sleep against the wall in his closet, and in the morning thousands of crabs are pried to his spine. he tells his parents that it's an experiment. he laughs. their permanently arched brows do not.

b. an experiment, he says, but never what for. his bones know the answer; they are trees getting hacked away at. they cry like a whiny child over going to bed, and he has to drag them, kicking and screaming, to the closet. he wakes up to coat hangers and boxes crushing his legs and forgotten toys fallen on him in the night. he wakes like he's waking from a nightmare: suddenly, in a cold sweat, and with a screaming heart. he wakes disappointed.

c. next he tries under the bed. he has to lie flat on his back like a corpse in a coffin to fit. he likes to stare up at the wooden underside of...

Ask the Writer

Credit to this idea goes to Paperbird; you can find their piece here.

The idea is simple: you ask me questions in the comments, and I answer them in a separate piece! Feel fee to ask anything you're curious about, whether it's writing-related or not. Just try to make the questions interesting. So, no "what's your favorite dinner food?" questions (ey, Vine references). I'll answer pretty much anything as long as it's not "hey uh random question but whats ur social security and credit card number? im just curious lol theres no reason for me asking this its just random please dont be suspicious" type things.

Maybe the Faces We See in the Dark Are Our Own

a. he has a bed, but chooses to sleep against the wall in his closet, and in the morning thousands of crabs are pried to his spine. he tells his parents that it's an experiment. he laughs. their permanently arched brows do not.

b. an experiment, he says, but never what for. his bones know the answer; they are trees getting hacked away at. they cry like a whiny child over going to bed, and he has to drag them, kicking and screaming, to the closet. he wakes up to coat hangers and boxes crushing his legs and forgotten toys fallen on him in the night. he wakes like he's waking from a nightmare: suddenly, in a cold sweat, and with a screaming heart. he wakes disappointed.

c. next he tries under the bed. he has to lie flat on his back like a corpse in a coffin to fit. he likes to stare up at the wooden underside of...

My Mother's Smoke Shapes- Part Two

    The kids in the neighborhood used to play a game, I recalled as I drove past my former best friend's house. We were reckless and restless, but in this town there was no room for that. Either you followed the rules or--- well. And so we found the line between dangerous and safe and played hopscotch with it.
    We were young and ready to choke the sky, but anything underneath it was the limit. We called the game Witches, being the highly imaginative children that we were. As you may have guessed, we pretended that we were witches. There were ceremonies in the woods and nonsensical chants and staying up until two in the morning at each other's houses to practice our "art". We pretended that it was a secret we must keep from the parents, that must be whispered in each other's ears and kept under our beds, out of sight from our caregivers. In our heads,...

Why You Should Comment, and Not Just Like

    A while back I published a piece with a really long title that I'm too lazy to type here, so I'll just call it Reviewing Tips. As the title might suggest, it was a piece about how to write an effective review, and I was honestly surprised by the reception. It got over twenty likes, and many people said that it helped them. You can find it here
    Because of that piece, I've decided to write another one about commenting. The reason I'm not doing a piece about how to write an effective comment is because, well, I've already done that. I wrote a piece for the Corner Writing Club about exactly that, and you can find it here. J.A. also wrote an excellent piece about that which you can find here. So, seeing as I've already written about how to write a comment, I'm going to talk about why it's so important. ...

My Mother's Smoke Shapes- Part One

    Like any other child, I grew up thinking that my mother was perfect and fearless. The difference was that for me, it was mostly true.
    We grew up in the middle of nowhere, a place where the trees crept ever closer to the neighborhood like a child cuddling an adult for comfort and the sky choked you at night. Kids were born knowing to never look behind them, and that tells you everything you need to know about us. You were safe as long as you kept the danger in your peripheral vision, and if you felt like something was watching you, you weren't being paranoid. Mother taught us that.
    And since we were taught, since we knew better, we were never put in danger. None of us were, the kids of the neighborhood, except for Michael Boone from next door, who ran his mouth and came home one day with a mangled leg...

The Reviewing Pro-Tips That They Don't Want You to Know (kidding, just some regular tips)

    I think all of us get annoyed by bad reviews. You log on or refresh your dashboard, and low and behold! A notification! And not just a comment or a like, but someone has taken the time to write you a review! Eagerly, you click on it and begin reading, ready to hear feedback on your piece.
    But your excitement fizzles out as you see that the review is about three lines. No highlights, and the answers to the questions are the bare minimum. "What about this piece delighted you?" "Everything." "What could the writer add?" "Nothing." "Additional comments?" "It was good."
    This is the absolute worst kind of review in my opinion. I would take an overly harsh review over this kind any day, because at least the former will help you improve the piece, whereas the latter serves absolutely no function.
    Of course, there are many reviews that aren't this,...

A Very Late Thank-You, or 200 Followers??

    Yes, I know I'm late--- I have 220-ish followers now, and me hitting 200 followers was a couple of weeks, maybe even a month ago, but I feel the need to write this because, as most of you know, it's almost the end of the year, and I want to celebrate and look back on the past year for me.
    When I say that I never expected to get this far, I'm both lying and telling the truth. Lying because of course I knew that I was going to get to 200 followers. I saw the numbers slowly climb from 180 to 190 to 195 and so on. I wasn't surprised--- pleased, of course, but it didn't come as a shock to me, and I hope that doesn't make me seem shallow.
    And telling the truth because when I first started out, even when I had 50 or 100 followers, I didn't think I...

2019

another empty package with a shiny label

i used to throw the door open
at exactly midnight,
the moment of the ball drop,
to breathe in the new year.
how strange that
the air of one year
and the air of another
taste the same to me,
but despite that:

i hope that the guitar-string ruts
in my fingers finally do me good.
i hope that i find all the puzzle pieces,
and if they don't fit,
that i can make my own.
i hope that people stop
seeing the snake around my neck
as a fashion choice.
i hope for music festivals
and old books
and honey that doesn't taste like medicine,
and teeth that feel like my own,
and sourflowers,
and---

but i may as well wish for
a world that doesn't sound like
eyes and neon lights.
and is new year anything
but just another day?
is there really any difference
between the seconds before
and the seconds after midnight?  

#23foraarushi

Blue: the color of the beads woven in her braids, her words curling like smoke, and the icy sea the day she drowned.

From Sick Days Spent Watching Dog-Walkers Outside the Window

    Sometimes all you can do is sketch forgotten faces in the morning light. Everything is perfect; the technique, shading, proportions--- and yet something doesn't feel right. There's no life, no soul. In a fit of anger, you begin furiously erasing, accidentally ripping a hole into the paper. You spent hours on those drawings, but you don't regret it.
    Sometimes all you can do is listen to desperate music at three in the morning. You sit in the office in front of a bright screen with meaningless words. The lyrics cry out, grasping for meaning, and they tap something inside of you. A sob builds in your gut, but no tears come. It's not a sad song, just hopeless, and somehow that's worse.
    Sometimes all you can do is listen to the wind rattling the window shutters and imagine that it's a terrible beast instead of a storm. It hisses and claws at your house,...

Stay Awake, or Writing a Poem About Not Sleeping at 3AM, Which Contributes to the Problem I Suppose

Smoke-wreathed mornings and
black-ichor nights:
bags like sideways moons
under your eyes
and the feeling of drowning
in your own blood.
Watch the walls
until they swim with
the breath of the sleepless
and a thousand thoughts
like tally marks.
Stuffy nights and
freezing days,
a heartbeat under the bed,
a heartbeat scared that if
it slows it might stop---
if your heart drums through
the night and no one's around to hear it,
what's to say it's not there?
The shapes behind your eyelids
give you bad dreams
so best to stay awake tonight.
Smoke-wreathed thoughts
and black ichor heart.

Q&A With a Twist #twistq&A

    Yes, I did come up with a Q&A a while ago, but this is different, because instead of the normal Q&A where someone comes up with questions and you answer them, the way this works is that I come up with a list of questions and everyone else answers them for you. So basically you put this list into a piece of your own, and everyone else will answer them in the comments. You'll understand when you read the questions. I don't know if anyone will do this or if it'll work or if it's even a good idea, but I might as well try, and if it does work it'll be a fun way for everyone on WtW to see what everyone else thinks of them, right? Anyway, here it is:

1. What Hogwarts house do you think I am?
2. What is your mental image of me? How do you think I look IRL?
3. What's...

Q&A With a Twist #twistq&A

    Yes, I did come up with a Q&A a while ago, but this is different, because instead of the normal Q&A where someone comes up with questions and you answer them, the way this works is that I come up with a list of questions and everyone else answers them for you. So basically you put this list into a piece of your own, and everyone else will answer them in the comments. You'll understand when you read the questions. I don't know if anyone will do this or if it'll work or if it's even a good idea, but I might as well try, and if it does work it'll be a fun way for everyone on WtW to see what everyone else thinks of them, right? Anyway, here it is:

1. What Hogwarts house do you think I am?
2. What is your mental image of me? How do you think I look IRL?
3. What's...

#spicephilosopherQ&A

1. Do you have a favorite line from a movie/TV show/book? Why? 
    I just finished reading The Fault in Our Stars, and there was this one bit about how some infinities are bigger than others that I liked. Like how there's an infinity between zero and one but a bigger infinity between zero and two. Also, I'm a pretty big fan of Markus Zusak (author of The Book Thief, I Am the Messenger, and most recently, Bridge of Clay, which I'm currently reading and it's REALLY GOOD), and he has a lot of great lines, including:
    “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
    “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they're capable of.”
    “A small but noteworthy note. I've seen so many young men over the years who think they're running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.” ("Me" being Death;...

An Escaped Epiphany

I'm sorry, there was meant to be something clever here,
but I forgot to jot it down;
don't you know that
epiphanies only remain beautiful
if they escape you?
And a bird in the stars
is worth a thousand in the hand,
but I don't have either,
so I'm writing this instead.
 

Google Search

 Google search:

are the polar bears dyi--

click click click

are the polar bears dea--

click click click click click

is it too late for the polar bears?

enter

a heavy thud before the results can load

 

Google Search

Google search:

are the polar bears dyi--

click click click

are the polar bears dea--

click click click click click

is it too late for the polar bears?

enter

a heavy thud before the results can load

 

Excerpt?

     My uncle wasn't that bad. I liked him because he payed no mind to what I did; I could run off into the woods and never come back and he wouldn't question it. He didn't really care about anything, not even himself.
    He lived in that area that isn't exactly suburban but isn't exactly country, where it's always hot and you can't tell if the neighborhood was built around the woods or if the woods grew over the neighborhood. There weren't a lot of kids out there, so everyone under the age of twenty was friends out of necessity. Most of them knew me by name, even though I only came out once a year or so.
    Out there everything was a strange mix between the good-old-days your parents talk about and modern times. Kids had phones and watched TV, but they also played in the woods and climbed trees. When I was younger,...

Excerpt?

    My uncle wasn't that bad. I liked him because he payed no mind to what I did; I could run off into the woods and never come back and he wouldn't question it. He didn't really care about anything, not even himself.
    He lived in that area that isn't exactly suburban but isn't exactly country, where it's always hot and you can't tell if the neighborhood was built around the woods or if the woods grew over the neighborhood. There weren't a lot of kids out there, so everyone under the age of twenty was friends out of necessity. Most of them knew me by name, even though I only came out once a year or so.
    Out there everything was a strange mix between the good-old-days your parents talk about and modern times. Kids had phones and watched TV, but they also played in the woods and climbed trees. When I was younger,...

#reptilianq&a aka RainAndSonder does their own Q&A

Yes, I know it's my Q&A, but I'm bored so I decided to do it. You can find the original here.

1. What's your zodiac sign, and do you think it fits you? If not, is there a different sign that you think would fit you better?
    Virgo, but I think Aquarius fits me much better.
 
2. What's the time right now where you are? 
    9:37 AM.

3. How many languages do you speak? Ones you're learning or half-learned a year ago but kinda forgot about count too.
    English, and I had a Spanish class through elementary school, but our teacher was kinda terrible and I can only half-remember it. I know a bit of German too.
 
4. What's the last movie you saw, and what did you think of it? 
    I think it was Coraline? Fantastic movie. I convinced my younger brother to watch it since he's been...

#reptilianq&a aka RainAndSonder hops on the Q&A bandwagon

Yes, you read the title right. Recently, there's been a trend on WtW of creating Q&As for everyone to do, and I've decided to hop on the bandwagon before it gets lost in some desert in the middle of nowhere and everyone forgets about it except the cousin of one of the people on board who keeps bugging the police chief to look for it with no results, leading to the cousin deciding to look for it themselves and getting lost in the same desert the bandwagon got lost in.

What that means is that I'm making a Q&A for you all, my reptilian friends! I'm going to try to think of interesting questions that I haven't seen before on here. Let's begin!

NOTE: This Q&A is for reptilians only! No wannabe amphibians allowed. Also, this is gonna be a long Q&A, so get ready.

1. What's your zodiac sign, and do you think it fits you? If not, is...

#CatherinelyMesQ&A

I saw this Q&A and thought it looked interesting, so here we are. Credit to CatherinelyMe for coming up with these questions, you can find them here. Also, I skipped the first two questions, so that's why the numbers are off. This is long but it was actually a really interesting Q&A.

3. How many people have you dated, and what is the numbers girls:guys?
    Nope.
 
4. What do you think of this pun? 
    "What was Forrest Gump's password? 
    1forest1." (If you don't get it say it out loud lol)
        I've heard it before but it's still a good joke.
 
5. Who is your favorite YouTuber?
    Right now I really like Shane Dawson, because of his conspiracy theories and hilarious videos. I'm following along with his Jake Paul series and it's actually fascinating. It's kind of changing my opinion on Jake Paul? Like I still don't like...

Music Recommendations?

I published this a while back but I’m bored again so.

I hate to be one of those people that’s constantly uploading non-writing things, but... anyone have any music recommendations? I’m bored. I like rock and alternative rock but I’m open to basically any genre.

If you suggest an artist, could you give me your favorite songs by them so I know where to start and stuff?

#pbqanda

Find the original here.

1. Which kids’ movie scarred you for life and why?
    The Dark Crystal. If you've ever seen it, you'll know why. It's one of the most strangely dark and weirdest movies I've ever seen. 

2. Why kind of cult would you like to start? 
    Seeing as I'm already in a Beatles cult, guess I can't choose that. Idk, maybe a Welcome to Night Vale cult? Fall Out Boy cult? Hunger Games or Harry Potter cult? 

3. What’s the weirdest emoji? (Include the actual emoji) 
    To narrow it down, I'm going to stick to face emojis. The weirdest one in my opinion is this: . Like, when will you ever need to use that? What the heck is it? What emotion is it supposed to express?

4. What are two foods that should never be combined? (e.g., Paperbird and people who like pineapple pizza) 
    Ketchup and spaghetti. Actually, wait, that might...

#flyofstriped Q&A

Thanks to stripedfly1001 for this Q&A! I saw either people doing it, so I decided to do it too, because conformity is fun. If you want to conform too, the original is here.

1. What line from a TV show/movie/book has stuck with you and why? 
    Hmm, let me think. The first quote that popped into my head was “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” (Dumbledore in the third Harry Potter book, written by JK Rowling), so I'll go with that.

2. Which fandom can you talk and theorize over for hours? If you don't have a fandom, why not? 
    Basically any of my fandoms. Even if it's not really a fandom, I could talk about it. I'm a very talkative person and I love to theorize, so. Some of my favorite things to theorize and debate over, though, are Doctor Who, Harry...

Unconventional

Sleep Well Tonight


s l o w i n g
heartbeat

death but
not but
death
(but you wake up)

(but the fear lingers
and sometimes you're drifting off
and JOLT awake
with tears in your eyes
and cold sweat
d
r
i
p
ping
down your neck)

a moth to a flame
but you are the flame
and it is the moth
and you can't keep it at bay for long

thoughts dissolving
the mind, a slippery slope that drops away
as the coma overpowers you

a
s l o w i n g 
hearbeat

 

Coughing Up Everything, Including Poems Apparently

My
My nose
My body is clogged

Sticky red sandpaper stuck in my throat
Dr
 Dri
  Drip
   Dripping
thick ink I can't cough up

Ropes wrapped around my lungs, squeezing them
til I can't breathe
Squeezing until ink runs from them

Small beasts
howl under my skin
Running across my veins,
ripping them open and cackling with delight
as ink bursts out

The ink
fills my body til I can't take it
leaks from my eyes, my ears, my nose,
invisible and torturous

The sandpaper in my throat scratches 
and ink drips
and I hack,
and I wheeze,
and I pant,
until I cough the ink onto this paper
in the hopes of finding a cure.

#LifeLemons

    "Lemons?" You said. You balked a little at it, but quickly covered it up with a meek smile, hoping Tom didn't notice.
    "Yeah!" He squeaked, his nervous grin widening, his eyes expectant. "S-straight from Mom's garden. Do you like it?"
    You hated lemons. But you couldn't tell that to this little boy that thought he had finally found a friend in you, so you nodded, slowly, carefully. "Oh, yeah! Lemons. I'll, um," you laughed a little, "I'll make lemonade with them."
    You hated lemonade too, but you knew you said the right thing. Tom looked so happy he was practically bursting, jumping  up and down on the heels of his feet, his fingers grappling with each other. 
    You smiled, and your teeth hurt.

    When you got home, you glanced down at the lemons, puzzled. What the hell were you going to do with them? You loathed everything lemon,...

#ImpressMe- A Portrait of Epiphanies Crying to be Freed

They say a picture speaks a thousand words,
but it's the contrary: 
art refuses to spill its secrets.

The girl with the pearl earring--- just one, her head tilted ever so slightly,
glancing over her shoulder as if she's just noticed the artist is there,
her lips held open by a thought about to escape,
a whisper on the tip of her tongue,
a portrait captured before she changes her mind and keeps the epiphany to herself,
to flutter away into the darkness, forgotten even by her.

The Mona Lisa is louder in her insight,
almost advertises it,
teasing the watcher with a smile that holds everything,
a matador flicking the cape at the bull---
she knows her silence, and she knows the fury it causes.
She has been betrayed by her words before,
or rather, her lack of words,
to describe such an enormous feeling, to describe the spark of insight,
and nobody understood, and nobody listened.
She forever...

#Seance- Death is No Different

    Everyone says they want to die in their sleep. Honestly, I did too. It's painless, quick--- you don't even have to experience your own death. And isn't that what everyone wants? To avoid those last moments? To stay as far away from them as possible? Because here's the thing: nobody is scared of death. We're all fine with the fact that we'll leave this world one day. We're just absolutely terrified of dying.
    I woke up that morning just like I wake up every day. The alarm buzzed, I opened my eyes, dragged myself out of bed, and headed towards the bathroom. My name is Josh Headen. I'm an average American Joe; brown hair, unmemorable face, slightly pudgy, with a job that I don't like but don't particularly dislike either, and a girlfriend that's much the same. I do not do, but rather I am, I exist, I go about the same routine almost every day,...

The Malevolent Coils of Loneliness in the City

"The stars look pretty tonight," I say, and you, beside me, are silent. We both know there are no stars where we live. The sky is vast and empty, serving as a reminder that it is not a gorgeous backdrop for the going-ons of our nighttime life, but rather a void, emotionless, useless, and leading nowhere. Just like us.

Autumn Comes in Waves

Autumn doesn't knock on the door, doesn't politely wait while you scramble to your feet, trip down the stairs, swing the door open;
 
it doesn't say a mandatory hello, nice to see you, and enter the threshold of your home, looking around, pretending to admire the decor, the wooden sign that's meant to be funny, the silent family pictures, the faded furniture from your old apartment and the new table you proudly picked out from the store that just opened, the rooms that look the same as every other house;

it doesn't make small talk, skirting around an anxious subject on both of your minds, one wondering, one with the weight of knowing;

no, autumn comes in waves, seeping slowly through the cracks in the shingles, creeping, undetected, into your mind, and hitting you with sudden realization, with bursts of color or the lack thereof:

a wave of wonder as the first leaf, light green hinted with gold, falls...

#PixarRankingChallenge (All Pixar Movies Ranked)

Hey everyone, so recently my friend @Paperbird published a piece called Pixar Movies Ranked, and we decided to make it into a challenge. The way it works is really simple: you rank every Pixar movie (with a little commentary if you want) and title it #PixarRankingChallenge. If you haven't seen all twenty, rank the ones you have seen. So here's my list:

1. WALL-E. I know it may be boring to some people, but I really loved this movie. It had gorgeous animation and storytelling, and, most of all, robots!
2. The Incredibles. Come on, who doesn't love this movie? It has everything. Comedy, emotion, family, friendship, action, superheroes, romance--- if you aren't interested in one aspect of it, you're sure to be intrigued by other parts.
3. Inside Out. One of Pixar's more recent movies, but already a classic.
4. Finding Nemo. I actually haven't seen this one in a while, but I remember being in love with it...

The Raven

A black scribble sat on top of the pine
Forming the distant shape of a raven.
It stood out against the evening sky, 
(A cotton-candy blue
With streaks of salmon pink)
And I thought I saw its head swivel
And it let out a caw
Echoing across the empty lane;
In a larger clump of trees farther away,
Unseen ravens returned the call.
And as if they were speaking in code,
And this was a cue,
The lone bird flew to the others
Who soared into the air,
And they began to circle,
Crowing to the world.
I thought maybe it was a sign,
And when the dusk dream dissolved,
And I woke in the morning to the real world,
I would forget, but do my best
To carry the message along.

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2018

Red Winter

it was dawn when they found my body.

i remember it perfectly:
the sky was on fire,
ten million shades of crimson and orange.
thin black bars stretched out of the ground,
blocking the view.

the woods was silent,
all for a chickadee
who sat contentedly on a branch---
sort of like the one in my backyard,
but he must be dead now
or gone.
i never got to say goodbye.

snow was spread through the forest like a parasite;
it stretched, sleeping, on bare branches;
it dusted the ferns like powder;
it sat smugly around the police's knees
as they trudged through the woods.
their faces were red,
and their vests matched the sky.

the dogs ran ahead---
they darted here and there,
frosted muzzles nosing through bushes
and tangled undergrowth.
they spotted a dark trail
splattered across the snow,
sniffed, going still,
barked.

a woman with bags under her eyes
and yellow nails rimmed with red 
hurried over. ...

A Lover, a Hero, a Rebel, and a Sage

"Do you ever wonder,"
said a Lover to a Hero,
"why, if the Sun loves us so,
she runs off at the end of day?"
The Hero paused for a moment
to look up at the setting sky,
and said, in a thoughtful tone,
"Well, she has guided us for hours,
cheering and shielding and helping,
and now must go off
to protect another world."
A Rebel had overheard,
and sidled in, saying,
"No, that's not it at all.
The Sun is not saving us,
but instead running
towards a better place,
very far from here,
and we can only hope,
for her sake,
that she makes it."
"No, no, no,"
said a Sage, who had been listening,
"The Sun is neither protecting nor running.
She leaves because she must make room
for the Moon to come and shine,
for everything has a place
in this universe, and she must follow hers."
The Three began to argue loudly,
words...

Honeysuckle Evenings

And there was:
Rust bricks with light gray-pink chalk marked against them, forming a crude drawing of a dog,
Lying on a hill in the late afternoon, the onion grass leaning over me and the baby blue evening letting out an exhausted sigh,
A twig being dragged through the sand, paving a road for the ants (which they inevitably ignored),
The back-and-forth creaking as we soared on the swings, always wondering what happened if we were to let go---
Would we soar into our dreams, the complex stories and games we played?---
Cheese and bread and pesto in a narrow kitchen, sunlight streaming in through the window,
Smocks covered in dry colors slipped over us in an art room smelling of charcoal and paint,
Balancing unsteadily on a large boulder, staring down at the tire shavings on the ground, anxious to take the plunge,
And honeysuckles, white petals peeling up and outward, with antennae reaching in the center;
that was the...

The Mournful Song of a Whale

    It was a Monday the day they came to tell us. I remember it perfectly, every detail weaved into my memory. The day that we lost the war could not be forgotten easily.
    They knocked on the door two times, a solemn knock that I can still hear when I'm alone. Three soldiers, grim-faced and scarred from battle, with lost eyes that desperately searched mine, stood on the stoop of the house that we were staying in. We stared at each other, and I knew what had happened. I turned back inside and found Castin staring at me from the middle of the room. With a small, wordless motion, I beckoned my brother to come to the door.
    His eyes were like the sea as he faced the soldiers, still and ghostly silent, waiting for what would inevitably come. The soldiers looked at each other, and the middle one, a twenty-year-old woman with bags...

The Ghost Children

    There was a playground at the edge of the neighborhood, and next to it, a graveyard. Perhaps some parents would feel uneasy having their children play so close to a cemetery, but the parents of this small neighborhood didn't mind. They watched as their kids played games with each other, created imaginary friends, and scrambled all over the playground equipment, and smiled at the creativity of young minds when their kids told them about the ghost children that played with them. 
    The ghost children had spent most of their time playing games with each other in the graveyard, and were intrigued when the mortal children began to play at the park next door. They drifted over and introduced themselves. The mortal kids, being only five years old, accepted this and befriended them. They were soon the best of friends, and played the most marvelous games, mixing the ghost childrens' knowledge of history with the mortal childrens' vivid imagination....

On Writing (Please Read)

    From the Writer to the Reader:
    I know it's awful.
    The analogies make no sense, they make me want to bury myself in a hole far away.
    The descriptions are bland and boring; that metaphor shouldn't be there, that simile makes me wince, the paragraph just drones on and on, it's either too much or too little detail.
    What kind of dialogue is that?! What the heck are they saying? That just sounds so strange and robotic, but otherwise it's eccentric and goofy.
     I don't know what to do anymore.
    And this character--- where to start? Too little flaws? I added more, but that makes them unlikable. Are they rounded or flat? Cardboard prop-ups or wide oceans?
    I use too many cliches and fillers, I know, but I can't think of what else to put. Don't get me started on adverbs.
    And the plot. Trust me, this is going somewhere, and...

Day 28- A Soul In Two Sentences

A rainy 6:00 AM, blue skies, nobody out but you. A time for surreal thinking.

Day 24- Hooks

1. She pressed her face against the window and suddenly saw what all the fuss was about--- a person was walking leisurely down the street.
2. More than anything, it was the silence that made him know that something was wrong.
3. The whale calls had warned him of his imprisonment, but he had not listened.
4. "Distinguished guests, we present to you... the last real human being on Planet Earth!"
5. "Well, what do you think?" His guard said, nodding at his future gravestone.
 

Day 22- Saddest Sentence

And of all the lives we could've lived, we didn't.

Day 15- Dark Sentence

    She heard her dog's claws clicking on the wooden floorboards.
    She heard her dead dog's claws clicking on the wooden floorboards.

Day 3- Three-Sentence Plot Twist

    Dr. Winters had a freshly dry-cleaned white lab coat on, not a wrinkle in it. He stood with his back facing me, using a metal instrument to dissect a heart, and looked up as I walked in. He turned, and I could see the hole in his chest where it had once been.

Day 9- Summaries of Books/Movies/Shows

Harry Potter
Teenager fights to destroy bald man who lacks a nose.

Doctor Who
Strange alien kidnaps humans and takes them on a journey of self-discovery and angst in a time machine that involves either saving or blowing up planets.

Mary Poppins
Eccentric umbrella woman disrupts a British family's ordinary life and teaches them important lessons through singing.

Back to the Future
Teenager goes back and time and gets his parents together, and then returns to his slightly altered life where his parents somehow don't notice that he looks exactly like their highschool friend.
 
 

Signing Off

Dear 2018

Dear 2018,

    12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, about 8760 hours, around 525600 minutes, and far too many seconds to calculate. That's an awful lot of time. Do you know how many things can change in a year? The world could end, wars could start, the greatest hero or greatest villain of all time could be born, but not just things that change the course of history. More 'mundane' things can change too, like a loved grandfather dying, or getting a new job, or even something as ordinary as making a new friend. The future is full of opportunity, and no matter how hard we try, there's no way to predict what'll happen this year.
    Hopefully you won't be as insane as 2017, but with politics being what they are right now, there's almost no chance of that. But you never know. We'll almost certainly be making some scientific advancements this year, probably advancing deeper into space. And Apple...

Dogs vs. Cats

    First of all, I would like to say that the idea of dogs and cats being opposites is ridiculous. They're both mammals, and they are actually very similar. Animals can't really be the opposites of each other anyway. A dolphin is not the opposite of a whale shark. That would be ridiculous. Yet for some reason, everyone has the idea that dogs and cats are polar opposites, even though really they're just two different domesticated species that have nothing to do with each other.
    Let's say that I have this hamster, and I really like this hamster. Now let's say that you have this pet lizard. I prefer hamsters over lizards, and you prefer lizards over hamsters. Simple enough.
    Now, for some reason, since I like hamsters, I throw a huge fit over lizards. "Lizards are evil!" I screech to the world. "Lizards are weird! Nobody likes lizards! Get a hamster instead!"
    And for some reason,...

The Dream- Kenopsia

    NOTE: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE READ THE PREVIOUS INSTALLMENT TO UNDERSTAND THIS ONE; EACH INSTALLMENT IS A DIFFERENT STORY
 
    Kenopsia- n. the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.

   
It's midnight, and I'm at school, the same school I always go to every morning, but it's empty now. Everything's silent, dark, silvery blue--- a normal night.
    But it's not a normal night. I can't remember how I got here. I can't remember why I'm here. I just know that I'm walking down the hallway, that I have to walk.
    There's something--- something different. I don't know what. Maybe it's how empty the school is. Normally there are people here, students, putting stuff in their lockers, laughing, talking, going to class. Right now, the only light is the moon, streaming in through the windows. And I'm alone. Funny. It seems so surreal here, like...

The Rules of Taking a Walk in Somnio Woods

1. Say to yourself, 'what a nice forest'. It will seem like a nice forest to you, at first. Strange that there are no birds chirping, but still, what pretty trees! What nice scenery! It's a nice place, a nice place indeed.

2. The forest seems a little less nice now. You feel like something's watching you, but that's just part of taking a walk, isn't it? So put a skip in your step. Whistle as you walk. Try to cheer yourself up. But don't turn around.

3. You're not skipping or whistling now. Just walking. Quickly. The forest seems almost foreboding, but that's just nerves. Keep telling yourself that. Keep walking. Keep looking straight ahead.

4. Eyes are staring at you, piercing you, and you're certain you hear footsteps behind you. You're walking faster, telling yourself that you just need to walk a little bit more before you reach your friend's house. Maybe you're on a horse, those aren't...

I'm Working on the Title

    It was like fire. It coursed through my veins, seized my brain, rattled my insides, but my mouth was the worst part of it. It was burning my tongue off, pinching each individual taste bud one---
    ---by---
    ---one---
    ---and now I could barely breath---
    ---I was dying. Why, why had I done it? It was---
    ---no time to think about that now--- I grabbed the cup--- not a drop of water in it---
    ---goodbye---
    ---cruel
    ----world---
    "Dude, the lemonade's not even that sour."

1-3 Sentence Stories

1. "There's fur everywhere--- all over my clothes, on my bed, on the couch, on the floor, even in some of my food. I suppose it is shedding season, and maybe that could explain it, but, Mr. Williams, please tell me this--- how can my pets shed if I don't have any?"

2. "Harry Potter, you have been in a coma for seven years."

3. "My pet has a strange attraction to shiny gemstones and jewelry. Is that a normal human thing?"

4. When I look in the mirror, a face stares back at me that is not my own.

5. At first I thought that the person playing the violin downstairs sounded nice, lulling me to sleep, but then I remembered that I lived alone.

6. You studied the TV closely, thinking that there was something familiar about the actor's face. And then you realized it was your own.

7. Everyone is born with a watch, a watch that...

A Hopefully Helpful List of Words for Strange Emotions

Lately I've been looking at lists of words for emotions that we've all felt at one point, and I realized they were very helpful to me since as I'm looking at them I'm thinking about how to include them in writing. I figured they might be helpful to others too. Here it is:

Sonder--- the realization that everyone else has a life as complex as yours

Zenosyne--- the feeling that time keeps passing by quicker and quicker

Chrysalim--- the calm feeling when you're inside on a rainy day

Monachopsis--- the feeling that you're out of place

Lachesism--- the feeling of wanting to have a disaster to happen to you

Rubatosis--- when you notice your own heartbeat

Klexos--- when you dwell on the past

Jouska--- playing an imaginary conversation over in your head

Liberosis--- the desire to be carefree

Kuebiko--- the exhaustion after violence or hearing about violence

Opia---  the intense feeling of eye contact with another person

Deja vu--- the...

Cat and Mouse

CAT"S VIEW

    Slipping through the lush forest, she tastes the air, her ears pricked, an alert position any cat lover would recognize. The forest is silent and still, so different from the buffet it was in the summer. A bird song dies off in the distance; branches of a bush scrape together in a lonely wind. This will be hard. She closes her eyes, listening, smelling... and there it is! The cat has caught the scent of a rodent. The scent of her next meal. She slowly swivels her ears, pinpointing the sound it is coming from, and soon she finds it. A mouse.
    The cat moves as graceful as a dancer and as smooth as flowing water. She stalks toward the rodent, licking her lips at the thought of sinking her teeth into it, as the mouse darts back and forth, weaving between grasses and ferns.
    The cat's eyes are fixed, unblinking, on her prey. Her...