Poetry: I have a cat

I have a cat, and she is not mysterious.
Shoulders hunched; a twitching tail,
Pointed ears and eyes so curious,
All these show a hunter hale-
I have a cat, and she is not mysterious.

I have a cat and she is not aloof.
For one, she knows I let her eat.
She recognizes “No!” as a reproof,
Begs to play and always comes to greet.
I have a cat, and she is not aloof.

I have a cat, and she is scarcely wicked.
(Perhaps a little, casing cupboard doors
Or leaping when she knows she hasn’t listened.)
No more solitude with all its bores-
I have a cat, and she is scarcely wicked.

But when she walks in utter silence,
There is the stamp of self-reliance,
Some flicker of a tiger’s child.
I have a cat – and she is wild.

I got Sydney in June; she’s an adventure and a half and a pretty major reason for not blogging much in that month (writing was the other). This has been simmering in my head since the first day she came home.

Cat and book

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On Symbols and Searching for Them

When I was a middle/high school student, I had a flair for finding meanings in various literary constructions in the poems and short stories that we read. For most of these, I was spitballing because no one else in the class would raise their hand, but it was still fun to poke around at the possibilities. This stayed through college; I once jokingly told a friend that I could come up with all sorts of “deep” interpretations of a webcomic we both followed and did so. A joke cult became a comment on religion’s masquerade and a running gag of a purse was transformed to a comment on the menace of consumerism. It was a ton of fun and made up entirely on the spot.

I had the tables turned on me when one of my poems came up for critique in a poetry class. A classmate expounded on a complex interpretation related to art and the perils of taking its pursuit too far. It was incredibly insightful- and had nothing to do with anything I’d had in mind for the poem. Continue reading

An obituary for an electric kettle

Today I am taking a moment to mourn the passing of a treasured help and companion that saw me through three years of college and a year and a third of adult employment: my ~$20 electric kettle purchased from a humble CVS that passed away quietly on Sept. 8, in the year of Our Lord 2015. This kettle saw to the boiling of the water for tea that prevented me from freezing when walking to work during apocalyptic Chicago winters, kept me caffeinated during the multiple papers and midterm papers, saw me through the one all-nighter I pulled for academic reasons and the one all-nighter I pulled for reading in the 24-hour Readathon. I’d crank it up and hear the whir when I needed to curl and calm down from stress, and when I began adult employment, it became routine to stumble into the kitchen and blindly grope for the kettle. The rumble of the water beginning to bubble was the sound of my lifeboat approaching as I tried to get ready for work without either putting on a shirt inside or knocking over things in my sleep-dazed stumbles, and it became a part of my pre-bedtime routine to whip it for something herbal, ridiculously sweet, and decaffeinated as I tried to readjust from my customary night-owl habits to those of someone who had catch a train before 6 a.m.

It will be greatly missed, and I have no doubt I will mourn its passing for many days to come. Not least because it was my primary method of getting caffeine for the mornings and I am genuinely at a loss for what to do tomorrow (I’ll probably end up forking over for coffee).

ETA: Tweaking some cords and things seem to have brought it back at least for the moment. How long that’s going to last, I can’t say, but here’s hoping the zombie version will at least get me through the rest of this week for caffeine…

Your grave will be watered by the tears of the uncaffeinated

Your grave will be watered by the tears of the uncaffeinated. Or at the very least, your memory will live on in my complaining.

What I’ve been doing: SO MUCH STORY REWRITING. This is what happens when you give up writing for a year- you think you’ve gotten the hang of finishing something decent and then you open the document again and it’s all spiders and cobwebs and overgrown ivy, where things are constantly scratching, nibbling at or distracting you as you try to clear things out. Writers, if you write… just don’t stop, for the love of Heaven. Having taken hiatuses in both writing and exercise, I’m finding regaining the writing stamina infinitely more excruciating.

What I’ve been listening to: a lot of podcasts, notably Thinking Sideways and The Tolkien Professor

On taking writing seriously

First of all, I’m so sorry about neglected comments, updates, and other neglected things. Something apparently went wrong with the email I was using before, and I wasn’t getting any updates at all, so I assumed this place was seeing its usual zero traffic (not exactly the case; I have no idea why, given my lack of updates). Anyway, a comment with foul language was purged, another is a thoughtful one that I have yet to respond to, and there are no doubt several updates that I completely missed on the assumption that every other person I followed was slacking off as much as I on the blogging front. I’ve changed emails while trying to sort out what’s going on with the other one, and I actually do have something written. I’ve also finally updated my About page.

Now to what I initially logged in to write… Continue reading

On the blending of words and actions

When I was in college and the piles of deadlines became too much to handle, I’d finish what I absolutely had to for the day, grab my keys and head out to start walking.

It always began as an aimless stroll, one day moving through the residential areas to the west of my campus one day, heading east to Lake Michigan on the next day. I’d cross busy streets, double back, go down a road I’d headed down in the opposite direction a few days before. There was no rhyme or reason to any of it.

One thing was always constant, though. Somewhere along the way, I’d stop by a place with books. Continue reading

Motivational Deadline Setting

So here’s the thing. Full-time work takes time. Add a forty-minute commute- give or take ten minutes with possible train delays- and that takes even more time. When that work consists of writing and researching for articles all day, I don’t want to spend the little free time doing even more typing. And so I read or catch up on television or check Twitter without actually tweeting anything.

Now that I think about it, the fact that I sometimes struggle to come up with 140 interesting characters is a little sad. Continue reading

Why stories?

Sometimes I wish my blog was more useful than it was. I wish I had advice on how to get into the publishing industry, or make a bestselling story. Maybe my blog would be better if I offered more advice, sought out an audience, focused more on social networking, or tried to promote myself more.

But I keep focusing on stories, and I think I now have the words for why. Continue reading