a list, sort of

I am semi-ill today, meaning not enough to barf up a lung, but enough that after I awoke in the middle of the night (read: 5 am) I did not go back to sleep and instead lay on my back reading some angsty novel for the second time. A side note, it didn’t seem so angsty the first time I read it. But this time it was like, whoa, rein it in a little there. Maybe because I’m getting past my angst stage and moving into the mid-life crisis stage. (I’m going to have one of those early and get it over with.) What was good about reading the book was that I actually gasped aloud (I do that a lot, actually, the other day I dropped a fork and I gasped and Dad heard me in the other room and thought I cut off my finger or something) at one of the main revelations, which had somehow slipped my mind.

Anyway, since I am ill, I shall blog. It’s my thing-to-do-when-ill, apparently. I know it has been such a long time, my friends, alas. However I shall not neglect you any further. So… I think I shall list the things that have happened while I was ‘away’:

1. My room has become an indoor farm. I have the whole setup. Grow lights, heat mat, little newspaper pots full of adorably cute seedlings. Which I took pictures of, and was meaning to attach to this post, but I can’t be bothered to get out of bed and upload them. So, some other day. Right now I’m growing parsley (which just started to get its first set of true leaves– aww! The babies grow up so fast!), eggplant, lemon balm, and tomato. It sounds strange, but the seedlings are the cutest things ever. They look so eager, reaching up with two leaves splayed out to catch the light. I’m becoming very attached to them.

2. Dad took Poncho, Dodge, and me shed hunting. Sheds are very elusive. And quiet. And camoflauged. Because they are, in fact, deer antlers that the bucks shed in the early spring. We went to the cemetery, where Dad was positive there are/were at least 4 antlers lying around from the Twins, and we stalked around in the woods at the edge of the cemetery property. I had fun collecting random possibly edible things that were growing, but I got a little creeped out as well because there were lots of abandoned hobo encampments back there. Plywood, bricks, tarps, old tires, ropes… and I was waiting for some scraggy guy with a beard to leap out at us or something. Which, thankfully, did not happen. We found no sheds but we did find a) deer-related things such as tracks and poo; b) a dead and partially decomposed squirrel; c) a hawk’s wing (sad!!!) Then for a while we walked around the cemetery, hoping maybe we’d find the sheds there, but we didn’t. We looked at the groundhog holes and we cleared off the sunken headstones of some veterans. And we heard a hawk shriek. It sounded exactly like the hawk sound-effect that is so ubiquitous on Dr Quinn (“ka-kwa, ka-kwa”, as the boys say). And in Mulan, the evil hawk thing does that screech. I so did not think hawks sounded like that in real life but they do, apparently.

3. My Irish dance life got majorly messed up.
Let’s just leave it at that. Otherwise I’ll babble and rant for hours and none of it will make any sense to you non-Irish-dancing people.
However, I did get to do one awesome thing, which was perform for two ESL (English as a second language) classes. One class was actually on St Patrick’s day, and it was awesome, because not only did one lady (I wish I’d gotten her name) get really into it and sit in the front row and hug me afterward, I finally met Melkamayehu! And she is even cooler in person.

4. I’m getting all rabid and weird and crazy due to a combination of inter-related factors such as no good new books, too much internet, et cetera. I have made up my mind that I shall duly finish the first draft of my novel as soon as possible– no, not definite eough– by the end of the summer– too soon?–   Well, sometime rather soon because I feel ike my life is becoming a race. I’m in 10th grade, which is fast fading, and it’s like I have two more years until the floor will drop out from under me and I’ll have to support myself, I suppose. Not that the day I turn 18 my parents are kicking me out, but I’m not going to college, and thus I can’t really afford to be a “writer” with nothing to show for it once I graduate high school. I’m a failure of a teenager at everything else (driving = I hate it and have no desire to ever do it again in my life; getting a job = I don’t want to hand over control of my schedule/time/life in exchange for money), so I have to at least make some sort of progress in relation to my future.
Pressure. I actually work well under pressure so maybe this is good for me, after all. But at the same time I sort of wish that I had a completely pressure-free existence. or at least, that I lived by measureable pressures, survival pressures. Like, food and water and shelter. That sort of thing. You can bring in baskets of tomatoes or peaches or beans or whatever and go, yeah, that’s going to be enough food, or you can say no, it’s not. And then you can act by it. But with pressures about the future and whatnot, how am I supposed to do anything about them? I can’t peer into my life 3 years from now and see if what I’m doing and what I have will be enough or not. I can’t be sure about anything.

Well… that is all for now, I suppose. I guess that last one was a glimpse into what I said earlier, about having the midlife crisis early on. Getting it out of my system. Hopefully.

Peace,
Pen

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be careful, little sister– the bears are near.

I have a fever and I am fairly sure it’s part of the reason my head’s been so muddled. At the same time, I think I’ve been pondering my winter novel (I’m calling it that, since calling it my ‘new novel’ feels empty… besides, both the winter novel and Oak Heart are new, so…) too much.

Let me explain. The winter novel, which Mom and I have nicknamed Bears, is about a city which is surrounded by bears. And I can’t go into much detail, because I am sort of paranoid about putting my ideas all over the ‘net, so please excuse me for that. But I will say that the main character, Zoe, has nightmares about the bears in between attacks (yes, the bears attack the city).
Now I am suffering the same affliction.

The night before last, I had a “Hunger Games” dream, in which I was one of the tributes to fight in the arena. We come to find out (my fellow district-whatever tribute and I) that the arena is surrounded by bears to keep the tributes from escaping. I guess the Gamemakers reverted to more low-tech means after the incidents involving their force-field things (Haymitch and the axe, anyone?). :P 
Well, we somehow found the Gamemakers and questioned them about the bears. They said that they had meant to use the bears as a weapon against the tributes, but they could no longer control the bears, because being Capitol people they’d genetically altered the bears to be bigger, stronger– and, by accident, smarter.
I awoke from that dream feeling pleased, because it had given me an idea about the answers I needed to answer at some point in the novel. And besides, it’s been a good long time since I’ve dreamed about something I was writing. So I must say I was feeling a little proud because I’d actually figured something out as I was sleeping. 

Then last night the fever hit me. I had all kinds of crazy fever-dreams, dreams haunted by quantum physics most of the time. (I need to stop reading about quantum physics, but it’s so interesting! I love to learn about this theory because it always gives me inspiration for stories… Oh, science. I do so like it homeschool-style.)
Well anyway, last night I had the most frightening nightmares about bears. Bears that I, the author, have created in my head! For these bears are not the usual kind, of course.
In the dreams, or rather nightmares, there was always this same bear. (And I do think this dream-bear has earned a spot in the novel by now.)
The bear was in our house. It was trying to get me. It’s all very vague, but I was definitely frightened. Right now it’s barely even unsettling, but while it was happening I remember being so frozen with fear. I was absolutely terrified… and I will remember that bear. If it ends up in the novel, that part will just flow from this pitcher of memory that I have inside me. The bear will practically write itself. 

I don’t know. I was kind of freaked out when I first woke up. Of course I wanted so badly to work on the novel, but I was too ill until just now to even get off the couch. The medicine must finally be working now.

I must say, though– bears are creatures that have long lurked in my subconscious. Not always in such a malevolent way, however. I can remember being very young and always having this dream that I lived with bears, like Mowgli and the wolves, or a different spin on Goldilocks. I suppose I should have seen this novel coming from miles away.

This novel thrills me. I can’t stop thinking about it, writing it, working on it and collecting ideas and fishing for answers pertaining to it. At the same time it is very frustrating, because I’ve painted myself into a corner and I don’t want to write this one scene, but I have to and basically I need to find a good way to do it, to let Zoe take the reins. I think I will be better able to do that now. I feel a lot more connected to Zoe now that I’ve experienced a kind of little taste of what she goes through. Not nearly as bad as hers, but still. I can’t wait to get to work on it. I would now but all I can manage is blogging, since my head hurts and in a minute I’m going to go lie back down on the couch with something cold on my forehead. I won’t be able to stop thinking about it, though. My brain will work on it if my hands cannot. Day and night, conscious and subconscious….

Writing, I tell you, is a 24/7 job.  

Peace,
Pen

we put on our winter skin

our winter skin, and walk…

And we watch the snow fall.

Because it is falling, very much so, all over the country I hear. Some global warming. I do like snow, and I do so love winter and its mysterious, grey, see-your-breath, clear night skies atmosphere, but I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m getting kind of sick of this. I think it’s not so much the constant cold or the bad driving conditions or the fact that I am continually forced to wear jeans and shoes (my two pet peeves clothing-wise… if it were up to me I would always wear skirts and walk barefoot), but it’s really just that I can’t do anything in the winter. I am an outside kind of person, and if I can’t get outside I pace and act like a marsh wiggle. In any other season this is easily remedied; even in the rain I can walk the dogs around the block, or hang out in our backyard fort. But with six feet of snow on the sidewalk and sub-zero temperatures, it’s such a hassle to get outside. The closest thing to the outdoors I get is playing Island Cycling on the Wii Fit. What is the world coming to?!? 

Anyway. There’s other stuff going on in the world besides the dumb weather. I must be getting old or something, starting a conversation in that manner.

Well, Dad is very close to the end of Catching Fire. He didn’t read it for a while because of all the camps and stuff, but I think he’ll be done by next week. I read that book in five hours, btw, but I’m still impressed with how quickly Dad has chewed through these despite the numerous “girly” parts in Catching Fire. I knew he would like book one because it has a lot of survival, hunting, action, etc. But he seems to like book two as well. Yay! :D

When I was reading Catching Fire, in the part where *spioler alert* President Snow comes to “chat” with Katniss, I had a small freakout moment and almost stopped reading. Why? Because through that whole part she keeps mentioning how President Snow is really creepy and kind of disgusting and also very strong-smelling. He wears a rose in his lapel that is genetically enhanced to smell very strongly. But Katniss also thinks she smells the distinct scent of blood coming off of him, but she’s not sure where it’s coming from, him or the weird rose. Then when he says goodbye, it says: The smell of blood… it was on his breath.
The second I read that I looked up from my book and shrieked, “PRESIDENT SNOW IS A VAMPIRE?”
Everyone in my family immediately come running to my aid saying, “Huh? What? What happened, are you okay? Why are you jumping in circles making angry faces like that?”
Luckily, all the blood/breath stuff was just for added creepiness. Like we needed any more of that when Snow is basically killing people off left and right without even breaking a sweat, threatening to have Gale die in an accidentally-on-purpose mine explosion and have Prim sent off to the Games, and then in the next breath thanking Katniss’ mother for the tea and cookies. 
Vampires suck.
(I just read that over and realized that it’s a pun. LOL. XD )

And… what else is going on around here? I watched a great episode of Frontline all about technology, and you can watch it here: www.pbs.org . It was really good, a bit long, but nonetheless I found it pretty interesting since it fits in with all my thoughts on the world in this wired age. Maybe one of my upcoming posts will be about technology, and my generation, etc…. but maybe not. I feel too lazy to do that right now. Ugh. See, it’s getting me, too!!!

I think that’s all I’ll say for now, since I don’t want to get too disorganized in this poor little posty. ;) Next time, I will try to be a little less all over the place, and to talk more in depth. We need to talk, you and I. About a great many things. (A little Palpatine there, just for good measure. Uh, not that the Emperor would really be considered “good” measure. oh phooey. I need to log off before I keep running my mouth and become completely irrelevant.)

Peace out,
Pen

“Kill all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em…”

I love the Bellman. :) Just gotta say that. Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark” shall always and forever be one of my favorite stories told in poem form, or one of my favorite stories altogether.
which reminds me…

For school, I’ve started reading Harper Lee’s first and only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. I was reading it about an hour ago, actualy, but i had to stop becuase I was getting waaaayyyy ahead of my study guide. Those things are such killjoys. >:(
But still, the novel is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites, an honor reserved for such masterpieces as grace my most accesible bookshelves. Soon my copy of Mockingbird will be well-worn and dog-eared as the rest. It’s paperback, so I try not to be too rough with it, but I have a habit of taking books everywhere with me: the car, the kitchen, reading while eating or walking, or spinning in circles. Sometimes I catch myself humming tunelessly as I read a very tense part of a book. It’s like my subconscious is trying to relieve my stress or fear a bit by making background noise. Whatever, subconscious.
To Kill a Mockingbird really has no major action yet, but just the characters and everything unfolding is making it so irresistible. I’ve wanted to read the book since I was about seven, anyway. I heard that my older cousin (whom I adore, she’s in college now…) was reading it for school and I thought that it really was about mockingbirds. My whole family tried to explain that it’s not really about killing mockingbirds, and that it was just a metaphor, but I got all hung up on the fact that it was suuposedly a sin to kill a mockingbird, and I was so fascinated by that idea. Like, if a really mean poacher type saw a mockingbird, would he kill it? Or would superstition kick in, causing him mto allow the thing to pass by unharmed? Even if he was starving?
I guess the idea of villains being susperstitious seemed like it happened very often. In my old Madeline movie the bad guys wouldn’t crash into Miss Clavelle’s car becuase she was a nun, and then as I got older I read such books as Inkheart where Basta, an awful character with absolutely nothing good about him, was very superstiious and would not kill a fairy, among his other superstitions. And he seemed like a fairy-killing type!
So… I was very attracted by the cover of my Mockingbird copy. It has oinly like 3 or 4 colors, and it looks both modern and old, which is quite nice. The back just has the simple quote, in stately black letters: “Kill all the bluejays you want, if you can kill ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” It seemed so simple and yet so drawing and mysterious. Ooooh! That I could do something like that!
I maybe could. If I keep studying the greats. :)

Speaking of novels….

*drumroll*….

NaNoWriMo is starting in like fifteen minutes! That’s basically why I came here. I wanted to write, but I’m waiting (impatiently) for midnight to strike before plunging into my novel. So I ate some Halloween chocolate and did juming jacks to keep myself awake, though staying up till midnight is no strange occurence for me. I used to do that every night last year. Now I find myself curling up at about 11:00- 11:30, which I consider early. BBC World News is putting me to bed, instead of beginning my night! Bizarre! I like falling asleep to that, though…. British voices and the weird beeping in the theme song… or I watch POV or Independent Lens, except when they have to keep using subtitles becuase it’s in a completely foreign language. Then I get too tired trying to keep up with them, and I just roll over and listen. Once it was all, totally and completely, in French. They were talking very softly and nicely, though, so it lulled me right to sleep. When Mom woke me up to lead me to bed from the couch, I felt like saying something in french but found I could not, and I was sooo tired, and I think I dreamed in french that night. How glorious to dream in a foreign language. It was probably my brain repeating everything it just heard, but still… oh lovely notion, you inspire me to poetry…. Maybe I will write that poem sometime.

I carry thoughts in my head for a long time before writing a poem about them. Usually. Of course there are exceptions, like when I hear something and then it’s like a firecracker, boom crackle sizzle boom and then it’s up on Apricotpie for all my homies to view. (haha get it? Homies?) But usually it’s like a really good stew. It just kind of sits in there bubbling for days and days, getting botter and hotter, and occasionally new spices are added, and then I’m finally ready to serve it up via that magical box on AP’s website.
That box is magic. I am telling you it is.
If I feel no inspiration, I type within it. Even if I don’t post, I write there. If my mind was blank, I find my fingers flying with ideas that came from– where? I don’t know. Do you know where such things come from? Or if my mind was too full, too burdened or chaotic, I find that the lines of poetry or prose set things in perfect order once again–how? I don’t know. Do you know how such things happen?
I think it’s the box. The fact that it’s completely blank, with no distractions of font and format, color and size. And if you don’t like it, you can just click that convienient little red X at the top right hand corner, and blip! There goes the disarray of sub-standard words, gone forever and not luring on my computer, taking up space. Indeed, there is magic in that little box and the freedom and creativity that comes with it.

Now I’m off to NaNo-NaNo Land. (haha get it? Okay seriously I need to stop making weird jokes. It’s getting late… it is, as my dad calls it, “The Witching Hour.”)

Oiche Shamnha Shona

Happy Halloween!!!
Good night, everybody!