Sunday, September 30, 2012


“The Necklace,” “When Life Depends,” “Forest of Dreams,” “The Captor,” All are titles of fragmented stories, each representing a year of my life. Ever since fifth grade, I have wanted to be a published author. However, one problem emerged soon after I began to write that first novel: I had no endurance. I would immerse myself into writing a wonderful novel. I would spend weeks thinking of titles, drawing outfits, and picturing what the characters would say to one another. But without fail, the light that had shined through my ideas would be quenched within the same year.
            Though I had no endurance in finishing novels, I could boast stamina in continuing the craft. Why did I never give up? Simple: I loved to write. I adored the rush of words that would come to me as I wrote, the thrill of envisioning the perfect sentence and then reading it in hushed tones, tasting the words on my lips. I enjoyed dreaming up new characters—pulling names from thin air, picturing their features, and discovering their strengths and weaknesses.
            Therefore, when I heard of National Novel Writing Month in November, I jumped at the chance. By writing 50,000 words in thirty days there was a distinct possibility that I could start and finish a novel within one short month. Pushing my frailty aside, I wrote a rushed outline and prepared to begin writing the required 1,667 words a day. By the second week, I had writer’s block—a dangerous ailment when writing so many words a day. However, it was through those two days without writing that I discovered more about my writing then I could ever think possible. My weakness—comparison to famous, published novels—was discovered. I spent days bettering my novel, imagining new plot twists, tying together sentences that were meaningless days before. I jumped back into the writing process with renewed gusto and by the end of the month, I had completed the required 50,000 words.
            However, my novel was only half-way completed. My low level of endurance screamed at me to forget the novel. You can never finish it. It will never get published. It is not even good. My mind hurled complaints at my spirit. At times, I was sorely tempted to give in and forget the manuscript on my computer. But I could never leave my characters. Over the month of frantic writing, I had formed a bond with my characters, figments of my own imagination. I could not leave them to fend for themselves.
            Finally, on June 30, I completed my novel. I designed a cover, wrote a summary, and sent it in to be self-published. The day I opened the box to see the five, gleaming, paperback copies was perhaps the best day of my life.
            I am proud of my first completed novel. It demonstrates the end of a battle I have fought for seven years and the unfinished stories of years past are battle scars leading the way to a beautiful victory. Was it worth it? I ask as I hold the black book in my hands and trace the fire silhouette.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Have you ever listened to soft jazz music? It is truly the most relaxing music that exists. It surrounds you. It leaks into your every pore, relaxing you from the inside out. Soft jazz is my inspiration. It flows into my fingertips, causing them to dance over the keyboard and to create strings of silken sentences. What is it about the soft jazz music coming through my earbuds? Why does it always manage to wipe away my stress and worry?
 My answer: beauty. I believe in the beauty of soft jazz. Its beauty is its magic. Imagine pressing that “play” button and hearing the music begin. Imagine a stream of light starting at your feet and wrapping around your whole body. The lights twinkle softly in hues of silver and gold. When they touch you bare skin you feel wisps of silk. They fill you with warmth and happiness. With one leap, you can fly into the sky, floating on a cloud, swinging from stars.
When the song ends, you are slowly drifted from the heavens back to earth. You lay, eyes closed as the next song begins. Perhaps for this song you stay firmly planted on the ground. But, beneath your eyelids, a soft violet blush fills your vision. Skirts twirl with the music. To the side and orchestra plays. A harp is plucked and saxophones are blown, tender and sweet. You clasp hands with your partner and step into the violet haze. A spin. A twirl. A dip. You rise as the song draws to a finish. Your eyes open and the sunlight warms your face.
I will admit, I enjoy the Pop/Country songs of the day and will more than likely slide in my Starkid or Taylor Swift CD then turn on my Disney Jazz. But, now, at 11 o’clock at night the house is dark and silent. I am the only one awake. And now, in the darkness, I can think of no better way to end my day then with the tranquil sound of soft jazz. Note after note, score after score, song after song. I close my eyes and let the music carry me to another land. A land away from homework and deadlines. A land where my mind can rest. A land of calm tranquility and loveliness. A land of soft jazz.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


In the movie Aladdin, the princess Jasmine has grown up without a mother. Taking her feelings to heart, I wrote this short story in which the seven-year-old princess Jasmine experiences the trauma of her mother’s death.

Father rounded the corner with physician behind him. The man was short and fat, his round legs painfully walking dutifully behind my father. The physician is a fool, I thought my dark eyes following my father’s tall, gaunt form, wishing I could go with him, to see my mother one last time. Mader was going to die, I was certain of it. I was going to live the rest of my life without her. At seven, the words “rest of my life” had monumental meaning. Many, many years without Mader. Curse Ashtu, I screamed inside my head, Curse death. I curled up on the hard marble floor and pressed my hand to my mouth to stifle my sobs. Servants crossed the corridors with their heads down, trying to avoid my eye contact. The only person able to touch or calm me, other then my family, was my Nah.
I don’t know how long I laid on the cold floor before strong arms lifted me away, but when I came to my senses, I realized I was in my large bed in the quiet castle. I slid my feet out of the bed and walked across my room to my window. The dark night settled over Agraba like a heavy fog. A tiny sliver of the moon shone in the darkness. I looked up to find the moon grinning at me. I knew then something had happened, something important, for the moon knows everything and only smiles when something big happens. For the moon loves change. I ran out of my room, my bare feet slapping on the ground. My heart pounded against my chest each step I took. The corridors leading to my mother’s room seemed to stretch on forever. A single candle was lit in front of Mader’s room. Hesitantly, I pushed on the door with my small hands. It opened easily. I walked in, smelling the heavy incense. A small fountain gurgled in the corner, water jumping up and down. Mader was lying on her bed, a thin veil over her face protecting it from evil spirits as she slumbered. I stared at her stomach, until I saw it moving slightly up and down. She was still alive. I breathed a sigh of relief. Mader opened her eyes. I walked over to her and touched her thin hand. When she spoke it was with the barest wisp of a voice.
            “Yes, Mader?”
   She paused, taking a long breath. I placed my hand on her forehead.
   She spoke the last word, her last word with as much force as she could muster. Her stomach moved up and down twice and then stopped. Mader’s forehead grew cold under my hand. A rush of air wisped past me, Madar’s spirit on its way to Final Judgment. Let her go safely, I prayed to Ashtu, the goddess of death.
    My father entered the room, his dark form filling the doorway. I turned and bowed. “Father, Sultan, Man,” I murmured. My customary greeting seemed strange to say under the mourning circumstances. My father nodded his head, then crossed over to Madar’s bed. He placed two of his fingers on her forehead for a slight moment. He then reached in his robe and pulled out a small knife. Slowly, he raised it to Madar’s side. I felt Madar’s spirit cry out in terror. I closed my eyes as Father cut Madar above her hip. Nothing could stop my ears from hearing the blood that dripped down onto Father’s waiting hands, though. The blood glistening on his fingertips was the first thing my prying eyes saw when they peeked open. My Father’s head was bowed.
            “She is dead.” he pronounced, “The mourning time will be six months.” With this he swept out of the room, his slippers soundless amid the tricking of the fountain. When Father was gone, I walked back to my mother’s side. A window was open; the sheer curtains blow back by the night breeze. The smiling moon looked down on me. Thank you Kaysuau, I prayed to the moon goddess, without your guidance I would not know to come to Madar. I unfastened the necklace around my neck and removed a blood red jewel. I laid it on the windowsill as an offering to Kaysuau. When I turned around, my Nah was behind me.
            “Jasmine,” she whispered. “The mourning time has started. We must leave.”
   I turned back to the window and breathed in the faint scent of violets that caught on the breeze. The thin curtains fluttered and I could feel Madar’s spirit one last time as it wrapped around my body and headed into the distance. A tear dropped onto the ornately carved windowsill as I turned to follow Nah.

Monday, September 24, 2012


There’s a song in the Disney movie Cinderella, entitled “So This Is Love.” I think that is the most beautiful song that matches a love story that is equally beautiful.
            It’s that moment where she stands above the prince and the whole ball stops to revel in her beauty. The second their eyes meet, they know that they are in love. She glides down the steps and into his arms where she remains the whole night long. 
But then, the clock strikes twelve. I know what is to happen, but still my fists clench in outrage. The magic will wear off and Cinderella must leave her prince! But so great is the prince’s devotion that he will go to every maiden in the kingdom to find the foot that fits the slipper that Cinderella left on the stairs of the palace. And even when Cinderella’s stepsisters promise that, no one else live in their home the prince’s heart cries out to his lover and she walks through the door. He slides the glass slipper on her foot and joy overwhelms his expression. True love has conquered all.
Another one of my favorite love songs is called, “The Way I Do.” The lyrics simply state:
“No you don’t know you
The way I do.”
The story around the song focuses on two character, a farm boy with a low IQ named Tootsie Noodles and a killer robot named Mega-Girl. Tootsie Noodles falls in love with Mega-Girl from the moment he lays eyes on her. As Mega-Girl is designed to loathe the human race, she turns away until Tootsie Noodles breaks out into song.  He remarks on his personality says, “I may be dumb,” and telling the robot that though she is designed to kill humans he loves her anyway because he sees that there is more to her that she can see. In a moment of audience chills, Mega-Girl begins to sing to Tootsie Noodles claiming that he does not know himself the way she knows him.
            The reason the story is so touching is not for the lyrics or the voices. The love is woven between them so tightly that they can put their differences behind them.
            Don’t love stories make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Even though the endings might be cliché and repetitive, they never fail to make me happy.
 Love is everywhere. It is a feeling to be held on pedestal above
everything else. It is a gift, a command. It is simple and beautiful. It is soft and sweet. Do you feel it?

Photos curtsy of: The Rowbacca and Disney Studios on Facebook

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


This year I am a senior and will be heading off to college in a few short months. It is really hard to believe that my life has lead me down the twisting path to my senior year in high school. This poem is set in an old woman’s point of view as she thinks back about her children’s lives and how they ended up the way they were. And though the woman in the chair is wrinkled with age, her thoughts and feelings reflect mine as I look back on my life.

A gnarled hand lays upon the pictures
The owner asleep, as if she wishes to go back in time
And experience the memories once more
She remembers her first child
Blond hair and brown eyes, a smiling little girl
She remembers a boy with a head of shaggy black hair
She remembers his first tee ball game
The crack of the bat that signaled a run for her precious son
She remembers her daughter’s first ballet practice
Lining up against the wall with nervous parents, watching her gallop across the room
She remembers their first haircut
The tiny sliver of hair that lay in the box on her dresser
She remembers the drips on her finger from the cone holding their first ice cream
She remembers the first set of Duplos spilled on the floor as her son crawls through them
She remembers their first steps into her arms
Then the memories come faster
She remembers the first day of kindergarten
Sending her off for a whole day, five days a week
She remembers the expeditions she took with her son
She remembers the days when they went to the same elementary school
Coming home bearing grades and art projects
She remembers the sleepless night before her first day of middle school
His first day in third grade
She remembers the tears and the frustration as they go through life
She remembers her first day at high school, his at middle school
Taking pictures together by the big tree before school
She remembers graduation, hats thrown in the air, diplomas clutched by eager hands
She remembers the day she dropped her daughter off at college
Left home with her junior son
She remembers the day he left, too
And she remembers coming home to a quiet house
And soon marriages were planned and babies were being had
And she was a grandmother
She remembers watching her children turn into adults,
And realizing she is not that young anymore
But most of all she remembers, as a tear slid down her cheek
The nights they spent together in one bed, as she read a book out loud
And she knew she loved them, and they loved her