Thursday, July 28, 2011

strangled in ritual

strangled in ritual

 incessant hungry obsessions
pregnant with chaos

   labor through my brain            sweetly disinclined to surrender
                 to your old midwives’ tales heard

     and                                       and

                                             again                           again


   the black sheep’s scapegoat
               perpetual compulsions
   fertile with imperfection
 giving birth to

 hide hands

                                            and                                 feel fabric
again                          safe skin

Sunday, July 24, 2011

untitled (a.k.a. this girl)

This girl
who stands before you
with just as many fears
as she has holes in her jeans
hates what you have made her.
Lost in a crowd of catastrophic connotations,
other faces see her as nothing
more than a shallow, self-absorbed
20-something who prefers drinking
to dreaming.
Every day, she finds ways
to slit the wrists of stereotypes
so that tomorrow
other 5-foot-tall blondes
can feel beautiful,
unmolested by the media
that force-feeds fakeness
into the mouths of unloved youths
who’d rather be robots
than revolutionaries.
Caught in the death throes
of another
deadbeat town, she
longs to leave
a literary legacy to usurp
the archaic ideologies
that breed anger and apathy
into the genetics of
future generations.

She is the hope families
brought across oceans
when all they wanted
was peace and possibility
before the fear became
making less than 90K
in a year. And one day,
this girl who stands before you
with just as many fears
as she has holes in her jeans
will show you that
pens are still

Monday, July 11, 2011

no more idyllic daughter

Inspired by Lorine Niedecker's My life by Water.

no more idyllic daughter

my life
   in words

   first failure
      or fulfillment

on her own


no more
   idyllic daughter




her own
   and wonderful

Thursday, June 2, 2011

At last, she reads Atlas.

The first time Atlas Shrugged made an appearance in my life I was about fourteen and picked it up at a yard sale, all shiny and used, for a couple bucks. I took it home and felt a sort of exhilaration because I knew, I just knew I was about to tackle literary greatness. I sat on my bed, pulled open the creased cover, and read. About half-way down the page, I found my precious literary ego wounded by the sudden realization that I had no idea what was going on and even less of an idea of why this book was so great. 

After that rocky introduction, Atlas Shrugged remained a constant on my bookshelves, seldom encountered in my teenaged and young-adult years. In high school, I filled my free time with community theater and the quintessential dark, brooding poetry typical of a 16-year-old artistic type. Even in my 20s, it still seemed somewhat of an intimidating read, and I was too busy falling in love with Victorian literature and Shakespeare and writing papers for my undergrad. 

But, lo and behold, when I reconnected with my now-boyfriend, Mark, Atlas Shrugged turned out to be one of his favorites. The closer we became, and become, the more our conversations lead back to the ideas of and what Mark loves about Ayn Rand and her books. So, two chapters in, I’m beginning to realize that, although a book may be praised by critics and scholars, most of a novel’s greatness comes from what readers take away from the story and the experiences they have while interacting with it. 

Rand’s ability to maintain the intricacies of multiple characters’ external actions as well as their internal dialogue and weave those two things into a cohesive story is nothing short of remarkable. From Eddie Willers to the Taggarts and Hank Rearden, the reader is instantly privy to what makes them uniquely themselves, but are always left wondering just how these characters will interact in the coming pages. 

And it is perhaps this interaction that causes Hank to withdraw into his own thoughts and plans because he is aware of the disconnect between himself and his family who he had once “wanted to like” (38). 

Hank, cognizant of the distance between himself and his family, works in subtle ways, to deliberately maintain that separation. He describes their affection for him as “causeless” because they “[profess] to love him for some unknown reason and they [ignore] all things for which he could wish to be loved” (37).

Perhaps this is because, his mother and wife, Lillian, have not figured out how to love Hank for who he is. They, to paraphrase Mr. Hughes, see Hank as they want to see him, “[i]n the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.” In this way, his mother and Lillian are left only to love their idea of Hank, their ideal definition of a son and a husband. When Hank refuses to conform to those standards, he is left with little more than haphazard affection from his family who seem “wounded at the mere fact of his being” (37). 

But what wounds his mother and his wife is not merely that Hank is, but what Hank is not. His family threatens his individual existence by refusing to love him for the reasons he loves himself, his ideals and accomplishments. However, Hank refuses to succumb to the ideal “Henry” as he is called because he knows that person is less than himself. 

I think that speaks to the depth of Hank’s character. It makes me want to find out what Rand has in store for someone like him. She was able to develop his character so vividly that now I want to know what kind of person he’s going to be when his story is over compared to the other characters and their own stories. Who will be good? Who will be bad? Who is John Galt?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Very Good Place to Start

I guess I should start from the beginning. This blog idea came to me via my boyfriend as way to continue my passion for literary discourse in that awkward time between undergrad and grad school that drives nerds like me crazy.

I have to thank Lois Lowry, author of The Giver, for my passion for literature. I read her young adult novel in the sixth grade and haven’t looked back since. I remember standing in the hallway and telling Mrs. Hasara that an analogy for Jonah’s world was going to a Dairy Queen where they only served vanilla – no choices, no differences. I started devouring the novels we read in class, putting pieces together and making my first real connections with literature. I wasn’t doing homework anymore; I was experiencing the text. And what’s most of all, I was experiencing literature in a way that fueled my creative fires, allowing me to create and develop some of my most in-depth characters and plot lines that I’ve carried through my teenaged writing into my adult fiction.

My love of reading inspired my academic career as well because I learned to appreciate and develop a talent for study and research.  In my undergrad, I studied elementary education and communications around the first set of people who saw me for me – a girl who loves learning and literature. And they so graciously enabled my scholarly addiction until reality came calling for me to sell my soul for nine-to-five security.

So, let’s meander back the to the point of this blog . . . I’ve lived life as an adult for a little over a year now; It hasn’t been the easiest, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been as my boyfriend and I plan for our future. And as part of my future, I’m nowhere near close to being done writing, learning about, reading and discussing literature. So, I find myself writing “the nerdy word girl” blog to both cultivate my passion post-undergrad as I apply for graduate schools. It’s where I’ll discuss and share my world and the literature that finds its way onto my shelves, the big screen, and into my heart because my favorite literature professor once told me that art and literature are what makes the universal personal and the personal universal.

For those of you who choose follow these developments, comments are always welcome.

Up Next: My initial thoughts on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, the first two chapters.