I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea

but I know what heather looks like / and what a wave must be…

Actually, I do know what heather looks like, but I don’t know how it smells or how tall it would be if I stood in it or how it looks when it’s dead and snowed on or does it even get snowed on at all and if it’s soft and what noise it makes when wind or footsteps go over it. 

I have a little better knowledge of waves, as I have visited a particular Great Lake on several occasions, but it’s not the sea and it doesn’t smell like salt. It kind of smells like sweaty water and whatever fishing bait is being used nearby. Besides, it’s hard to smell when you’re being blinded by the glare of the sun off the lake and the concret you’re sitting on, and you’re distracted by herons that your brother is feeding heat-stroked minnows to.

It’s hard to reasearch things on this disorganized network of inaccurate information we fondly call the internet. And I keep having to look up things for White Funeral, like different types of sailboats and rowboats and docks and tides and… The list goes on.

But there are things I do know. I know the twenty-nine different types of snow, the feel of cold wind down the back of my neck,  months where the difference between day and night is just the sky changing shades of gray. The moon being so huge and orange and low on the horizon that it seems to be asking for someone to try and climb onto it. (Which is how it looked last night, and I wished I was out in an open field so I could chase after it, or just stare and stare without streetlights polluting my view).  

 Well, speaking of things never seen, I am leaving this weekend for… Kentucky! I will be surrounded by wilderness, and I will see mountains, and (best part) I’m going with the DHFs! I think it will be awesome as long as it doesn’t turn out like a cliche TV show, where the one character gets invited to go camping or something and they show up in a pretty dress with some technological device in hand. (Not that I don’t know how to pack; Eliza has given me a helpful list, and I’ve gone camping plenty of times. It’s just a weird phobia I have, I guess.)

In other news, today was like a giant time-warp because I had to go to the dentist and get my hair cut. And then it was like oh wait, the day is completely over. Sigh. I never want to sit in another waiting-room chair for as long as I live. (Unfortunately, some dreams really are unattainable.) Now I have to get some writer’s group stuff together, and go to bed. (Instead, I’m half-watching The Voice and writing this. I justify blogging because it’s already been some time since my last post and I assume I will not be back here until I’m home from Kentucky. How do I justify watching some lame singing show? Yeah. There’s really no excuse.)

Lured by Language

I’ve decided I want to learn how to speak Spanish and French.
I’m way too optimistic.

I mean, look at what happened to learning Spanish at school. I get bored because you learn colors, numbers, and where-is-the-bathroom. How can I have a conversation like that? I’m the sort of person who wants to learn the hard stuff first, because it’s really hard but at least you’re really getting into it and you feel like you are actually making progress. I don’t dip a toe in the water, I do a cannonball and if I almost drown oh well.

If I try to learn French, no one else in my family will know it, so I will get no practice.

But watch me try anyway.

Like I always say. Optimism has no cure.

Yours Incurably,
Pen

PS: incurable is actually one of my favorite words, by the way.

Everything I know I learned from Fiction

It’s true. Here’s what fiction has taught me:

History. Where else could I have learned about the Wars of the Roses, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the Native Americans, the early settlers, the immigrants who came to Ellis Island, Amelia Earhart, the Great Depression, saints, royals, commoners, Shakespeare, Victorian England, Protestant Scotland, and so much more? Medieval France, the roaring 20’s, the assassinations of MLK and the Kennedys?

Science. With books like The Quantum July out there, you can make your brain hurt and have fun, too! Yep, fiction taght me chaos theory, string theory, Einsteins’ theory of Realatvity. It taught me that the mere prescence of an observer changes the outcome of an experiment. It taught me about entropy, parallel universes, black holes, supernovas, and even some chemistry.  

Writing. I learned from the greats. In school, teachers would be talking about the ‘right’ way to write, and then I would raise my hand and say, “But that’s not how you write it in a book.” They would snap, “well, we’re not talking about writing books right now.” Then what the heck were we talking about??? Sheesh. Besides that, fiction taught me how to build characters, settings, conversations, and conflict. I learned all the elements of a great story, all the elements of fiction which some writers agonize over learning, by the time I was ten. 

And besides the above subjects, here are some other lessons I’ve learned from my extensive wanderings through the world of fiction…..

-The flowers that now grow in our gardens were once rare mysteries that men crossed the earth in search of, risked prison, injury, and death to retrieve. Botany was not for the faint of heart. 
-The best heroes are never perfect.
-Your real friends are the ones you would die for.
-Or who would do the same for you.
-Your mind is your greatest possesion. It cannot be taken from you, it can be used as a weapon, a haven, and a storage device. 
-The pen is mightier than the sword. Unless you’re fighting illiterate pirates.
-The color of wax can help solve a mystery. The slant of handwriting is a giveaway clue.
-Asparagus means death.
-Attention to detail is key.
-Girls in dresses rock the world.
-Your brothers mean well… usually.
-Trust your instinct.
-Music can change the world.
-There is magic everywhere.
-Never take this world you live in for granted.
-Names are not mere trivialities.
-True love is never easy.
-A broken heart can still beat.
-Death is not the end.
-You are not defined by your past, your family, your money, or where you come from.
-Cars are for losers. Bikes, horses, carriages, feet, and gryphon-back are much better modes of travel.
-Writing is a dangerous business.
-You can start a sentence with And. Really, you can!
-Some rules are made to be broken.
-Evil may win battles, but they cannot win the war.
-The ability to see the future is way overrated. 
-It’s considered rude to eat anything you’ve just been introduced to.
-Think lovely thoughts, and they will lift you up in the air!
-Be what you seem to be. Or, if you’d like it put more simply….
-“Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them otherwise.”
-The best maps are perfect and absolute blanks! (Bellman forever!LOL)
-You will find friendship and even love in the most unexpected places.
-Never trust gorgeous people in white gloves.
-The best answer to any question is “Treacle.”
-Beavers are sensitive creatures, who are generally not too good at math.
-Never let a toad drive a car. Just don’t!

There’s so much more…. I could go on forever…..

Maybe some other time I will. I will have What I Learned From Fiction THE SEQUEL. Unless, of course, this bored you. ;P

Smartness = Awesomeness

Awesomeness! Okay, I just found out the name of the author I was telling you about in my previous post ‘Beddor and the Bard’– it’s Frank Beddor. So I guess not specifically English, but I’m happy I know that now. Anyhoo, let’s see…. oh yes. Yesterday was another crazy rehearsal for our play. We’ve been working on our (as the lady says) ‘show stopper’ Ug a Wug number. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s pretty hard, but a lot of fun. And yesterday we were informed as we drank water like people who’ve spent three days in a desert that we’re only halfway done. That’s good, and also not. What else? Well, I also learned about this composer guy yesterday called Schubert. I play the flute, so I was playing part of his Unfinished Symphony, and I asked my music teacher why it was unfinished. I thought maybe something interesting happened to him, like he was poisoned before he could finish. That’s not the case. But it was interesting to learn about him anyway. Sometimes he couldn’t get a job in aristocratic society because he was supposedly rather ugly, but there was a picture of him and I thought he was okay. I mean, at least he wasn’t wearing a huge wig and an angry expression… and his hero was Beethoven. He was buried by dear Ludwig, too. Which is good, because if he was buried by Mozart they would’ve thrown him in a pit and sprinkled this powdery stuff on him. (I saw that in a movie when I was still in regular school. So who knows, maybe it’s not true but it makes for a good show– they play the Requiem music and it’s all dark and cloudy… yeah.) And then at rehearsal we were talking about how you get dizzy and that liquid stuff in your ears that keeps you balanced. So I feel very smart right now. Plus I remembered what ‘facetious’ means. One of my favorite words, although I have a list of favorite words– I have about sixty. Yes, I have problems. But you would, too, if you were me. I read constantly, my mom used to be an English teacher and my dad always talks in big words. Plus some words are fun to say or they just look funny. Or how about the word ‘extraordinary’. It means, like, out of the ordinary, right? Then why is it extra-ordinary, which seems like really ordinary? It’s weird. A conundrum. (see me sneak that other favorite word of mine in there? Oh, I am good.) (*singing*) You know you really got a friend–a friend!– we’ll be true blood brothers till the end, blood brothers till the end! I wonder if I’ll ever get that song out of my head. Ug. Tee-hee.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Well, I bet you’ll be interested (or not) to know that my Girl Scout troop is going to World Friendship tomorrow. My mom is our leader. World Friendship (in case you don’t know– in case you heard ‘Girl Scouts’ and thought, yummy! cookies!)  is where a bunch of troops in one area come together and they each represent a country. They make and sell crfts and food that have to do with the country, and usually we put on a skit. This year we’re being China, so we’re doing a skit of two songs of Mulan. And we’re raffling off this parasol thing that I want becuase it’s amazing. We’re selling egg rolls and fortune cookies (which I’m going to buy a zillion of) and paper fans, necklaces, and these drum things. Somewhat cliche, what with the egg rolls and stuff, but it’s fun and it’s good so let’s just go with it. I’m excited but not, becuase they changed it this year (long story–let’s not get into it) and I’m worried no one is going to watch our skit. That makes me sad. Even though I’m really a writer, I still love the stage. “All the world’s a stage” as the Bard would say. I had a dream about a stage once…                                                                                     I can remember dreams even from years ago, if they were particularly real to me. It’s weird. Once I asked my dad “What if  dreams are real life, and real life is a dream?” and he said “Then I must be dead” becuase he claims he doesn’t dream. Which I half believe to be true. MissPrez (my best friend, as you may remember) says she knows she dreams but doesn’t remember them ever. Alas.

Well, I think I shall be on my way now… Arrivederci!