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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I originally posted this in Reddit’s /r/Ravenclaw subreddit, but i wrote enough that I thought I should just turn this into a Facebook post.

Then I realised I haven’t written here in quite a long time, so it now serves as a blog post.

Do you need good books? Here are some good books.

1. The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar – Fantasy meets reality as a pair of drunken Scottish Fairies on a romp almost start World War 3 in modern day New York City while running around with a group of normal New York people. Seriously, it’s a riot and Neil Gaiman wrote an introduction for it.

2. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. When I was 14, I was given this book by my English teacher. This was my first all nighter. It changed my life, I started writing, and within the year I had been published in national magazines for poetry and I am still writing over 20 years later. I will graduate in 2-2.5 years with a triple Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and History Education and I attribute it to this book. I own it in two languages and I am reading it in Portuguese right now as that is my second language (the third being Spanish). I cannot tell anyone how much this book means to me, but how relevant this book is to even now in life.

3. A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. Easily the best science fiction story I have ever read, the best short story I have ever read, this book overall is overlooked often and should never be overlooked. If you have heard of the Butterfly Effect, it originated here.

4. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. You are noticing a trend. Yes, I have classics on this list. Do not be scared; classics are here for a reason. They are not meant to scare you away, they are meant to draw you in. This book is an everyman book – this is real life. This still happens, in different areas, in different places, but this still happens nowadays. Don’t sit with a pen and paper, or feel like you have to because a teacher set you for a book report. Download it free on a kindle app, and read it a little bit at a time. Get into Jurgis’ story, put yourself in his shoes. Transport yourself into his time. You’ll find a newfound respect for anyone who has a job that they have to do to survive; a surprising empathy for anyone who has to keep fighting no matter what the world goes after them.

5. Any of the alternate fairy tales by Gregory Maguire. I especially adore the Wicked: A Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and the ensuing Trilogy, and After Alice, as I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland.

6. The Alice series by Carroll. all of it. It is by far my favourite Fairy Tale series of all time. I don’t care if it is the Disney version, or what. You give me the option of Hogwarts, of Wonderland, of a TARDIS, of Narnia, of Tolkien, anywhere.. I will choose Wonderland. I will always choose Wonderland. (Oh, now I’m sobbing again…)

7. Watership Down series by Richard Adams. It helped me, when I was much younger, to understand the concept of death, to understand the concept of a possible afterlife, to understand that animals, that every living thing can have feelings, emotions; it does not matter what you are, or how you believe, you can feel, you can act, you are alive, even for a short time, you can influence the world.

8. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I picked it up for $1 before a trip, and it was one of the first books where I had to read it at least half a dozen times before I could understand what was going on. Sometimes I will read it and I will understand it in a completely different way than I ever had before. It is a book written in a different frame of mind than any book I had ever read previously or since.

9. The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson – Poetry is now and forever a part of my life, and this poet, for all the modern poets, has been the one to influence me to always want to keep writing. Or never want to keep writing. But I got to see them speak, and perform, and I realised that if I gave up now, I would not be able to do what I need to do, which is write. So I keep writing. And I keep dreaming. “You, you stay here with me.”

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Antibiotics are working. I do not have all the symptoms that I have been suffering from (most of my cold/cough/congestion is gone, unless I lie down).

However, it means that my mono has come out in full force. I ache all over, I have severe cramps in muscles, my headache is almost like a migraine by the end of the day. I can be sitting here and before I know it a couple hours have passed. I force myself to eat 2 meals a day and even then I am not hungry at all. For me, to take a bath is about the most exhausting thing I can do.

My homework is still sitting here. I have kept up on reading, but I am finding I don’t retain it. This is scary for me. I can’t tell you about at least half of the past week since I’ve been at home. I space out more than normal. I wish I could sleep more.

Anything that is rough material physically hurts me. My comforter is of flannel material, and I have a Linus approved fleece security blanket. I have other blankets around me, and those are mostly fleece/super soft. I’ve found out a lot of my tshirts are too painful to wear, and fuzzy pants are the awesomest thing ever. My cat tries to walk on me and I bust out crying because he weighs too much. (Fortunately, I can pet him and he is very happy.)

Laundry piles up. Recyclable bottles pile up. I feel terrible because I can’t physically do anything without the world spinning, turning white, and causing immense pain.

Thankfully I can watch movies (some even for homework) and a lot of footy.

I’m going to get worse before I get better. I’ve felt worse with every passing day. Never doubt that I’ll end up fine on the other side, however.

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I’m suffering through some of the worst writer’s block I’ve had in quite some time, so I’m struggling even now with every word I put on this post. But I need to start pushing myself, I have too much to do.

For Halloween, my Hutchinson Community College KNEA-SP Future Teachers group is holding a trunk or treat. It benefits the Reno County Food Bank and is a donation drive. We’re going to have a car decorating contest, story telling tent, etc. (Press Release will be at the bottom of the post). It’ll be nifty and awesome, if you’re in Central Kansas on Halloween night, grab a can of kid friendly food and head on over. I’ll be manning the admissions table.

Did I mention the costume contest? Yeah. That… Now.. uh.

How do I put this in plain language…

Halloween is my Christmas holiday. I LOVE THIS HOLIDAY SO MUCH IT IS UNBELIEVABLE.

So there’s a nifty costume contest, and by gods, I wanna win.

I’ve narrowed it to two costumes, and I’m having an official vote. Between here and my Facebook page, I’ll be taking votes as to what character in costume I should be. Reminder: I’ll be dressing up even for classes as this character.

My two options are:

Abby Sciuto from NCIS:

I’ve been her a couple times now for Halloween. This was taken at the Wicked touring cast aftershow in Wichita KS Halloween night, 2009.

OR

Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter:

I have since tweaked the outfit – I have a much better fitting uniform underneath the robe, I have fingerless gloves that match the scarf (but it was too damned hot to wear them that day), etc. I have yet to wear this for Halloween and have only worn it once.

So, I ask to all of my digital and otherwise friends: Who do I portray for my favorite holiday of the year?

You can post a comment here or on Facebook. I’ll add them up and announce the winner in a week.

~

Official press release is below for more information on the event:

Spooky stories, ghoulish goodies, and creepy contests are all in store at the Hutchinson Community College Future Teachers Group Trunk or Treat, located in the small parking lot around Stringer Fine Arts Center on 11th street in Hutchinson. The event is open to the public from 6:30-8:30pm on Halloween night. Admission is a can of kid-friendly food that will be donated to the Reno County Food Bank or $1 per costumed trick or treat participant.

This event includes HCC students holding both a “Trick Your Trunk” car decorating contest as well as the “Mysterious Masquerade” costume contest. Over $50 in prizes will be awarded to First and Second place in both of these contests. A haunted reading tent will be available for spooky storytelling throughout the event. Early Bird prizes will also be available to the first 75 costumed participants. There will be plenty of candy to share. Children under 10 MUST be supervised by an adult chaperone.

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This school year has started off well. My job is going okay. I don’t talk about it much due to privacy – I work 2 days a week at an elementary school with first and second graders in a public school district here. My voice is still adjusting to being able to.. i mean, (unfortunately) needing to… roar at kids now and then.

I could not do it 5 days a week, week in and week out. Two days a week is plenty for me. Teachers, yet again, I salute you.

I want to bottle their energy and sell it to college students.

Classes are going well, I think. I adore my history class and I’m actually enjoying British Literature. American Lit… well, I’ve deduced that this teacher and I just don’t gel well. I’m trying. Music Appreciation, the “easy A” that i needed to boost my GPA, is actually the worst class of them all. I have a solid C and I’m studying almost harder for it than any other class!

It is still early in the semester, though. At this time last month, I was still looking for a place to live and didn’t even have all my college books yet. So in a month I’ve completely moved (in the process had to separate my cats, which is really tearing at my heart more than I am letting on), gone through over 50% of my belongings and sorted trash, donate, sell and keep piles so far, started a new job and new classes.

is it any wonder I’m tired? Nah.

It will get better though. And I have a picture I look at at least once a day that reminds me why I am doing this now… for a better life. This few months will be long, but I will one day be able to look back at it and not only be glad I did it, I know how good it is for me, for my future, and for the future of others in my life.

And while I hate being cryptic, I will just state that there are a few things going on in my life, all positive, and all awesome, just not that I’m talking about here. (yet). 🙂

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I’m in the process of moving to a city that’s roughly 50 miles away for next semester. I’ll have a much smaller area, and therefore can’t bring/pack everything I’ve grown accustomed to having.

So I am forcing myself to finally start going through the mountains of containers and boxes I have in a storage area here. I have been finding a lot of random things, but the most exciting is a book I was given in 2002. It’s dark green, with the lyrics of a song that I absolutely adore, from someone in my life that still is a major influence (whether he knows it or not).

The cover has autographs of a lot of musicians that I have worked with and whose music has influenced me over the years. I have all 4 members of Vertical Horizon, Angie Aparo, Barry from Carbon Leaf, and Andy from VaCo (with an original saying <3). I have a space on the top of the cover of the book where eventually, hopefully, I will get Dave Matthews or Glen Hansard to sign it. Keep dreaming, I know….

But a long time ago I started writing poetry (as in, 1990 – I was published in 1992 the first time I believe) and I've kept track of a lot of the random poetry I used to scribble here and there in this book.

Then I misplaced it for YEARS. years. So I have poetry scattered half a mile across creation. Every time I open a box with papers I am COMPELLED to check every one of them to make sure I'm not throwing away half a novella I started when I was bored in class. I do find bits and pieces here and there.. originally I was going to keep them all in this book, then I lost the book. Now I found it again. I don’t have much of an excuse anymore, do I?

This is what takes me so long to go through storage and pack. I have a lot of memories, and a lot more written words than I'll ever admit. (at minimum 750 poems just from 2000-2005 alone, not to mention my completed play and the 2 novels I'm working on…)

So I'm constantly on a hunt to try to gather the bits and pieces together and solidify them into the myriads of journals I have lying about.

I should do this more often, but I don’t; I’ll post an original poem that, while I know and remember the particular situation, a lot of it still seems to ring true even almost 10 years later. It’s quite interesting to me to see how something I wrote then applies oh so well to now too.

“Departure”

Last few moments
before I lift away
back to everything familiar

yet not as familiar as
your scent as you
hold me close to your beating heart

I know what I have to do
and that’s let go and walk
on, turning the page

and starting another chapter
in the sketchbook of my life.
So I look in your eyes

one last time, squeeze your hand
and run away silently
turning around for one

last fleeting glimpse I find
you’ve run silently on
swiveling around

not opening my mouth lest
I start bawling.
No goodbyes said

though the chapter may be
done, there is no
“the end”.

~29.4.02

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Walt Whitman is my favorite poet. He wrote my favorite book, Leaves of Grass. The name of this site, many of the tabs, many of the jumps, are all taken from “Song of Myself”.

Walt Whitman is the reason I want to become a poet.

If people have never read him, they need to. I am such a fan that I can barely talk coherently about him without babbling incessantly.

So.. do yourself a favor. Follow this link and read him. Just do it with an open mind, when you have a moment.

If you don’t feel something… I will be surprised.

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This musical needs to be revived.

It’s about people in their ordinary jobs. It gives them a chance to be extraordinary.

I can’t express how much this musical needs to be revived. I win the lottery, I’ll figure out a way for this to happen.

It’s based off of a book called “Working”, by Studs Terkel. Amazing book. I think it should be required reading for everyone.. especially government workers.

It’s my favorite musical. The song I’ve linked below sounds different in the musical version, but it is the essential same song. (most of the YouTube versions, to me, are terrible.) Also, the French verse is just awesome.

If I were given the option to sing one song, on Broadway, to a packed house, it’d be Millwork.

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