And then I realized that I was somebody

I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody.

Source Unknown

I was recently watching “Horton hears a Who” with a friend (in case you forgot the book/movie plot it can be summed up in the simple phrase, “a person’s a person no matter how small,”) when I lamented to a friend, “why is it that in adulthood, we forget all the important lessons of childhood.” She responded sadly, “because adulthood makes us forget.”

I remember being a child, thinking I was going to end world hunger and create world peace on my hippie artist farm (my goal as a 13 year old.) By the time I was 20, I was so jaded with life, I swore I would only ever think of myself. That of course lasted a year maybe two at most, and I am dilligently working my way back to the 13 year old who would let nothing stop them.

It’s easy road to follow. The news is filled with awful stories every day. And it makes the world seem so bleak that there is nothing a person can do.

One such sobering fact : According to the World Literacy Foundation, one in five adults cannot read or write, 57 million primary aged children are not in school, and 123 million young people are unable to read or write.

Now what do you do with that information?

Ignore it?

Lament it?

Or try and change it?

Well one girl (who was 8 at the time) decided to try and change it. Holding book drives with eventually turned into a non-profit organization, “Read Indeed,” Maria Keller had a goal of donating a million books by the time she was 18. At 13, she has already passed her goal. You can read more here.

Never forget baby-steps can change the world. You can change the world. Don’t be jaded by past failures or the daunting task of it all. Forget how hard the road may be.  

If you don’t like what you see, rearrange it.

Breaking up with your book

Dearest —–

You must have seen it coming. My eyes have been wondering to other books on the shelf. I  have gingerly caress their spines as yours sat collecting dust.

And then there were those occasions when I did pick you up. After waiting months and months to see you, I sighed, enthralled perhaps for a minute or two, but quickly the feeling vanished and I was left, forcing myself to keep going, hoping inspiration would hit us again.

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It didn’t.

I furrowed my head at your plot twists. What once seemed ingenious now became convoluted and redundant. As more and more seemingly filler characters came into the picture, as your story become self-aggrandizing and obese, as your story veered off into tangent after tangent in an obvious allegory to Christ which for some reason almost every dystopian series feels it must follow, I sat and wondered, were you the same series I fell in love with?

Maybe it was the months and months I waited for you. Reading about you. Dreaming about what would lie in your undiscovered pages. My mind put you up on a pedestal that only Kurt Vonnegut and my other masters of literature could fill.

Or maybe it’s me.

It been over a year since I read  your last chapter, caressed your pages lovingly, let your word bleed into my reality. A lot can happen in a year, perhaps we have just grown apart.

How do you fit reading into an overscheduled life?

It’s the time of year we in the educating field love, almost-winter break time. Not a great time for the bank account (sad,sad falling numbers which will plummet in the next few weeks) but precious free time. Time to sleep. Time to write. Time to finish up projects, and most of all, time to read. ( I still have Insurgent waiting on my shelf to be picked up.)

I like way too many people live an over-scheduled life.  I hardly have enough time in the day to get what I have to get done much less have time for the fun little extras like reading.woman-reading

Barnes n Noble had a blog asking readers to tell them how they squeeze reading into their day. Some are silly. Some are genius. And others will baffle you.

So here’s my question to you, how do you fit reading into your day?

Acceptance!….and a poem

Euphemism, ISU’s literary journal came out. As I spent four years getting two degrees at Illinois State and a few years on the staff, this journal is a little baby to me which made it much all the more pleased that this year they accepted four of my pieces (two poems and two essays.) Over the next couple of weeks, I will post the work for you guys to enjoy! The first:

no light to come

Rachael Stanford

no light to come

I waited with razor blade eyes for a voice,
any voice, to tell me that can’t
could be undone.

waited, wrist atrophied
body pruning to death
amongst scented bubbles

to know
we is not are

not the doodles of remembrance
in our youthful futures.

unequivocal proof that is
isn’t only a perfect mess
potentially erased

is only is [sic]

but knowing that with wanting
what the answer could only be,
that even, if only, for the blink of an eye

even, if only, in the last lucent moments
before the drunkard stumbles
into their perpetual state of dis-existence
that we could never still be, but in—

if only

finding that never
sometimes is our only constant

the separation between you and I
exist besides grammatical purposes

(if only)

in a fractured corner of the Jungian mind
separated and immersed in
slipping words
chests of watery graves

(if only)

the pressure pushes
upon my breast

The neon lights
my heaven

Mr Darcy has groupies (gasp)!

Mr. Darcy has groupies!

blogdarcy

All the word nerds wearing this are of course screaming, “Duh!”

Apparently, the mainstream media is now discovering something that the rest of us book nerds already new! Women love Jane Austen and a lot of us really love Mr. Darcy. 

The video is worth a view if you can get over the completely obnoxious covering of it. Both reports seem completely unable to grasp people’s love of Jane Austen and in insulting and condescending way in their labeling of groupies.  And as a music, comic and word groupie, a subculture that has been around for well a long time, I find it slightly horrific that others can’t seem to grasp or understand its existence. 

But if you can get through the obnoxious banter or  if you skip to min 3 of the video, you can see some pretty awesome reenactments, events,  and costumes.  (I’m completely envious of the weekend teas!) 

 

Little Free Library the coolest idea ever!

A little while ago, I noticed this outside  on one of the streets of Bloomington, Illinois,  which is a stone’s throw away from where I live.

The concept is beautiful, sharing books with your neighbors.  Take a book. Leave a different book. Let the love spread. Interact with your neighbor and bring your love of books beyond the schools and libraries where they live.

little free library

little free library

I think this is an amazing idea! If you visit their website, you can get complete details.  The kits can be a bit pricey (anywhere from 250 to 1000) dollars.  But you can always just build one yourself.  This could be the perfect idea for people like me who absolutely dread winter. And the website has building tips. (They also have a book bench idea, which is pretty snazzy.)

This is a great idea for book lovers like myself who find their library overflowing with books.

They have a “make it official” package which gives you some benefit , but again, if you want to set up a rouge library, you can help people and feel like a rebel as well.

I definitely intend to work on one for my little town. We amazingly enough have a library, which I do love. But it has a limited supply of books which is greatly different than my collection.  Besides, it seems like an amazing way to interact with your neighbors!

 

A short piece (as promised!) and challenge update

Update: So far I have sent out a few articles for guest blog pieces this week and have submitted a few pieces for publication. Though I’ll probably fall short of my thirty submission in the month challenge, so far, this has been a really good experience for me.

Anyway with my challenge, I’ve been trying to post more creative works that I have written on my blog. So here is a short piece I wrote a few years ago for a blog contest, where you were suppose to rewrite Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t win the overall prize, but I did place in the top five for internet votes

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Pride and Prejudice High

It is universally acknowledged that high school is a form of medieval torture invented by embittered adults to retaliate against the inconvenience youth has caused them. This was never more true than for an outspoken, sharp-witted junior named Lizzi. Her unconventional dress, and various charity causes, including most recently, “What are Men Compared to Mountains: A Weekend of Womanhood and Nature Retreat,” earned her much notability and scorn among the jocks and cheerleaders that roamed the halls of Pemberley High.

Today was no different, though as Lizzi ran to her locker, and hastily pulled out her science book, she noticed a lack of mockery. Perhaps, they have finally seen the wisdom of my nature.

 Then, she noticed that the halls, normally full of hormonal animals, referred to as students, engaging in mating and social rituals, which Lizzi felt were unnecessary and demeaning to an individual, were empty, save her.

She glanced down at her watch.

“Shoot,” Lizzi said. Late again. It was so easy for her mind to wander during her walk to school, and Lizzi often found herself lost in contemplation over a wayward daisy or rose that lay on her path to school. Sighing, she was about to renounce herself to the dull dribble called Chemistry when a splashof color invaded her vision.

“Hey,“ She said turning.

A boy, well-dressed in a polo and dark jeans, handsome with a brooding stare, stood in front ofher, nervously clutching a piece of paper.

“Are you new…lost?” Lizzi said. “I can show you where your classes are.”

“…I…”

“Let me help.” Lizzi reached for the paper.

The young gentlemen recoiled as her hand brushed against his.

“Don’t pay her any heed.” Caroline said, appearing from the shadows.

She was dressed immaculately, every accessory matching her cheerleader captain outfit which she adorned every day. This monotony made Lizzi’s stomach churn.

“I fear I might be ill.” Lizzi said under her breath.

“I’ll show you around and protect you from the pariahs that infest the hallways, mosquitoes on an otherwise calm June night.”

Caroline batted her eyelashes and interlaced her arm with the stranger.

He smirked at Lizzi, to acknowledge his awareness and acceptance of his and her social standing, and Lizzi suspected to rub her face in that knowledge.

“Arrogant jerk!” Lizzi exclaimed. “See if I ever help him.”

Lizzi had all but forgotten the incident by the time she arrived at Chemistry class and was entirely ready to immerse herself in the world of formulas and equations when an all too familiar face appeared at the door.

“Class,” the teacher said, “we have a new student. Meet Mr. Darcy, I assume you will all reveal your charitable nature to him in time.”

“He’s very easy on the eyes.” A perky blonde chirped.

“If you like the conceited type.” Lizzi’s laugh echoed to the corners of the classroom.

“And I hear his parents bought the mansion that had been left to dust on the corner of Main.”

“One thing in his favor, I suppose,” Lizzi replied. “Though even if he had all the money in the world that would not make up for his lack of manners.”

“What was that Miss Bennet?” Her teacher replied.

“I was just welcoming the fine and honorable Mr. Darcy to Pemberley High.” Lizzi said, standing. “We had the pleasure of meeting earlier today. I sure with his disposition, he’ll have no trouble making friends.”

Though no one else seemed to notice, Lizzi thought she perceived a slight discoloration in the new student’s cheeks.

“How very kind of you,” Her teacher replied. “And since Miss Bennet, you were the first to show the “welcoming spirit” that our school so very cleverly embodies, I’m sure you’ll have no problem honoring Mr. Darcy  by being his lab partner…Kid go take a seat next to our self-appointed welcoming committee. “

“I’d be honored to be his partner.” The blonde said.

The teacher replied that she already had a perfectly good lab partner.

“Sir,” Lizzi retorted, “You and I had an arrangement regarding partnerships—

“Yes. Yes, you’re independent, and don’t need a partner because its “demeaning” to you self- esteem and sense of womanhood ,” the teacher replied. “But Mr. Darcy is in want of a lab partner, and as you are, by your own actions, the only student without a partner, there seems to be only one solution to our problems.”

Lizzi shrunk down into her seat, as the boy sat next to her.

“I..er hi.” He whispered, “this morning, I can explain, you see some of us are not as endowed—“

“Spare me your excuses,” Lizzi hissed. “Let’s just figure out a way to make it through the semester.”

—–

Video

What a week it is!

Happy National Punctuation Day! Yes, since pretty much everything has a special day designation to them, it seems fair that our friends the period, semi-colon, etc have a day to praise their awesomeness. Even Fox News got in the spirit with punctuation fails; or, if you prefer, you can read about the history of punctuation marks.

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also banned books week. Do you have a favorite banned book? I have plenty, including 13 Reasons Why which made top ten in 2012.