Propaganda

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The promises
they make.

The tender feelings
they evoke.

The people
they trick

into thinking about
those feelings
and the future
they’ve built up
inside their heads.

The power
they gain

from these promises
and half-lies
gives them
a reason
to pursue a goal
that may as well

be out of reach.

They’re just
the greatest.

Put up
on that pedestal
of an amazing
human being.

But are they?

They’re just
the result

of propaganda.

Abortion

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Dear Future President,

    Congratulations, I hope you are able to address the many problems that America is facing today.  One of them is abortion.

    The topic of abortion has been a sore subject in America for about 140 years, “…abortion was widely practiced before about 1880, by which time most states had banned it except to save the life of the woman.”  (“History of Abortion in the U.S.” by Obos Abortion Contributors) Everyone has a different opinion on the matter, and that’s one of many things that should be considered.  Abortion is something that America needs to have an adult conversation about, to decide whether we need to make it illegal or keep the system the way it is now.  Different people of different beliefs will protest, they will fight scenarios of a world with or without abortion, but abortion is essentially something that needs to be talked about.

    A human life is considered precious by family members, friends, people who once knew someone else. We read and write and sing and dance about human emotion and beauty, about the relationship between a mother and child.  The women and girls who are considering or have considered abortion can all agree that they have contemplated the life of their unborn child.  They can all agree that their unborn child is something growing inside them.

    Abortion is something that a women should discuss with her doctor and decide whether or not she wants to keep the baby.  These girls and women have school to get through, a job that doesn’t allow enough time for a child, or they just can’t get through the financial cost.  The unborn child could be anything or anyone they want, but what about these girls and women still trying to find themselves?

    A 17-year-old woman from Barbados found out she was pregnant and was brimming with feelings.  She knew that school was a priority but she also wanted to keep the child.  The girl thought that she had figured out a way to keep the baby but when she explained this plan to her own mother, the woman thought the whole situation was a joke.  This woman told her daughter, “You know you can’t keep it.”  March 8th was the day the abortion took place and this young girl is devastated, heartbroken that she couldn’t keep this baby.  But she also knew that completing high school and moving on was a huge part of her life plan, a baby just wasn’t going to fit in.

    There is also a 34-year-old woman from New Jersey that already had a child with special needs.  While she was deeply thankful for him, his care caused her concern and stress all of the time.  When she became pregnant again, she was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to take care of her first child, that this unborn baby might pull this mother away from her child who had additional needs.  She thought she wouldn’t be able to perform properly at work, the anxiety and depression was too much.  So, the abortion was performed and she regrets it, and she struggles to forgive herself.

    My beliefs aren’t necessarily the same as everyone else.  I know that abortion is a very hard decision to make when you’re in hard situation: work or baby, school or baby, broke or baby?  A woman can go through a lot of emotional changes as the thought of abortion is hovering over her.  I think abortion should simply be discussed between the woman’s partner and her doctor, or whoever she wants to include in the decision.  I’m very “do whatever you want” in the sense that the woman is adamant about her decision and knows what she wants out of life.

    I also know that a lot of people are against abortion and they don’t want to see an unborn life being “murdered”.  I agree that this baby is a living thing, it’s something that needs to be taken care of and nurtured.  A baby is a lot to take care and can uproot your whole life routine and plan.

    But I also think that when it comes down to it, abortion should be used as a procedure to continue on with your life.  Girls and women have dreams and people that they want to be, they want to go to school in order to do that, they want to work to do that, they want to be able to have enough money to support themselves.

    So, Mr. President, I’m not exactly rushing you into giving America an answer right away.  I just want to simply ask you to gather some people who are of significance in this situation and talk about it.

 

Sincerely,

Eve A.

The Art of Writing

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When I start to write and the words are on the tip of my tongue, waiting to come out, the feeling is that of confidence and happiness.  The ink is all across the page, revising and editing what I just wrote, the black scratches indicate something wrong or something irrelevant to what’s going on inside the writer’s head.

    The writer of fictional works can write about the love between two individuals that is so deep, yet so casual.  Or an evil so destructive, the chaos is enough to blow the reader away.  This writer can also create a world so fascinating, the differences between our world and the imaginative one is unthinkable.  These worlds have human emotions and emotions no one can explain, they are too alive for one to think that new creatures could inhabit them.  The beautiful and ugly are what a writer needs to master.

    All of the personalities that go into each character are contrasting and unique, they’re all developed and sometimes a necessity to a story.  They make it so that we can relate to them and their problems, it’s sadistic how their problems so often entertain us.  We try to figure out why the characters think the way they do.  If they’re influenced by someone or something, or wise enough to know what to do next.  The mystery of it all is thrilling.

    I wanted to be an artist when I was little, I wanted more than anything to be an artist when I grew up.  I made sure to color in the lines in all of my coloring books, paint with every color of the rainbow in art class, and even put “makeup” (actually blue ink pen) on a some poor Barbie’s face once or twice.  The innocence of a child and all of their future desires is really what makes a person, I think.  People do things related to what they wanted when they were young, or they’re actually doing what they wanted to do in a kindergarten classroom.  It depends on the circumstances and the skills they work on as they get older.  But then again, as I got older, I discovered that I could be really well off as a writer or an author.  I practice my skills every day and can’t wait to write something everyone will love or hate.

    Speaking of hating a piece of writing, what if someone actually gave a bad review on one of my pieces?  Of course, I would want to know why someone didn’t like something that I wrote, something I thought was beautiful and perfect as is.  But that person’s review is healthy to a writer; it’s describing what could have been done better, what they wanted out of the piece.  This seemingly bad thing is actually something I’d like to encourage, I want to know what I could have done a bit better.  Sure, I’ll be kind of miffed that someone didn’t like what I had to say, but that person’s opinion will have an effect on what I write in the future.

    Writing has been considered an art for as long as the earliest form of human has been on Earth.  That comedic caveman we see getting chased by dinosaurs in cartoons wrote about what happened the day a huge mastodon roamed too close to the village, they wrote about their beliefs and desires, everything.  We told stories with pictures, slapped onto a cave wall.  And then we tried figuring out how to actually write in the widespread language being spoken.  Ever since day one.

    But why does writing appeal to me as an “art”?  I’m not really sure.  I just know that I love it and try to do it well.  It makes me feel like me, like no one else can touch me, no one can take it away from me.  Writing is an art to me and everyone else who appreciates it the same way, that’s just the way it is.  My experiences in and out of class has made all of the difference; I write about things such as wildfires and how horrible they are for the innocent animals, I write about a girl understanding what love is when her partner is blind but loves coffee and reading as much as her, I write about a rose cactus trying to find her way through her young life while being pressured by the cloudless night above her.  The art of writing can be explained by just reading it, read what we’ve created and appreciate what we made using only our minds and the emotions, objects, everything around us.

    The poem “When I Met My Muse” by William Stafford had really resonated with me when Stafford pointed out how an idea forms inside a writer’s mind, how we begin writing.


I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

 

    To demonstrate with the image of a muse is exactly what it feels like, to come up with something and keep digging until you decide you can still go deeper.  The muse is posing as an idea presenting itself to a writer, saying that she wants to live alongside you as a new way to look at the world is a sort of honor.  Also, to say that she will take away any worry brings a smile to my face because that’s exactly what I feel when I’m writing.  This personal and cultural evidence of how exhilarating one simple idea can be after you’ve practically set your pen on fire, writing like there’s no tomorrow, like everything needs to be put on paper now.

    The art of writing can only be described as something that you do, it doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not.  You just do it because you have a wonderful mind, a mind that can’t let go of beautiful ideas and can’t allow them to go anywhere except the piece of paper in front you.

The Worst Way to Say “Happy Birthday”

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“SURPRISE!”

I jumped as the lights to my apartment flicked on and familiar faces popped up from behind pieces of furniture.  Mom was the one to flick on the lights, my brother and his girlfriend were crouching near the coffee table, Dad came out of the kitchen with a red plastic cup in his hand and a smile.  Alice and Kelly came running up to me from behind the big chair next to the matching couch.  And the rest of my family including my aunts and uncles, grandparents, and some of my cousins.

My face immediately twisted into a  smile mixed with surprise and shock, I looked to my mom and laughed.  Everyone came towards me, telling me “happy birthday” and giving me air kisses from aunts and squishy hugs from grandparents.  And someone, in the midst of the reunion, handed me one of red solo cups filled with Coca-Cola.

“When did this all happen?” I looked to Mom and Dad, who stood next to each other looking proud.  “I thought you two were on a cruise.”

“Oh, that was just something we told you in case you tried calling us and figuring out we were planning a party,” Mom said.

“Although the cruise was nice too,” Dad joked, Mom smacked him lightly on the chest and shook her head.

I turned to Alice and Kelly to hug them them once again, thanking them for coming and chatting about what’s going on lately with one another.

“Lane, we need to go out one day, your job is stealing you away from us,” Kelly said, she’s overly dramatic sometimes.

“We literally saw her last weekend, smartypants,” Alice shakes her head, she’s the sarcastic but intelligent one.

“Still, we need to go do something later this week.”

“Fine, I’ll see what I can do,” I said, taking a sip from my cup.

“Well, happy 25th, hon, you deserve this party,” Kelly smiled and started strutting over towards one of my brother’s almost-attractive friends.  I rolled my eyes and laughed as Alice gagged while following after Kelly.

I went over to the living room and spotted one my aunts that I haven’t said hello to yet.  Aunt Yvonne is pretty snooty and full of herself, loves to spend her money in any way she can as long as there’s enough of it.  But the benefit of inviting her is the really expensive gift that she gets me every year.  Of course, I’ll probably return it for the cash because the gifts she buys for me are useless.  They’re only for show or decoration.

Aunt Yvonne stood up in a beautiful dress, probably designer, and smiled at me.

“Happy birthday, darling,” she said sweetly, “I can’t believe you’re 35!”

“In paintings, there is no unfolding time.”

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When we look at something from hundreds or thousands of years ago, we all drop our mouths in awe.  We can’t believe that that happened all those years ago and our world is the way it is because of it.  Throughout generations and generations of people, paintings and images have changed so much but they all have the same intentions: either to stir emotion in those people, or the artist is simply doing what he or she loves.  The people who gather inspiration or emotions in all of these images and paintings are ones who appreciate the meaning of each image.

    In the quote above (title), I think John Berger meant a painting was something everyone could relate to and observe.  It doesn’t matter what gender, race, or anything anyone is, everyone could just enjoy the painting and the story inside it.  No one worried about the stress of reality, they focused on one point only and dismissed what was going on in their lives.  But there has had to have been a certain piece of artwork that angered someone, that made the audience really think about who they were putting down and the discovered justice of their own people.

    You go into an art gallery and see a masterpiece, beautiful butterflies floating amongst a meadow with a dog chasing after them, sitting right before your eyes.  You walk up to it and read the little description next to the intricate frame, the title, artist, dates, and a summary of where the painting came from is very interesting.  The title is “Meadow.”  You look at the painting and wonder why this happy painting is being labeled so simply.  The title isn’t going to give anyone any idea what the artist is trying to imply.  The painting might mean innocence or playfulness, the dog is happily playing with those butterflies and shining under the sun.  Or considering how pretty the butterflies are, the artist may feel that he or she is the dog who can’t quite reach those butterflies, the artist feels that they can’t reach success, love, anything that they desire.

    The real “art” of it all is the emotion, I think.  No one knows exactly what anyone else considers and art.  It could be working at an office job, or eating, or sleeping.  It depends on that person, their wishes, desires, and their perception of art.

    To me, I consider my writing ability to be an art.  I enjoy it immensely and couldn’t give it up for anything.  I love learning more about it and just putting down what I feel like on paper.  It gives me a sense of control, that I can just slap something from my imagination on a piece of lined paper.

    When we were discussing about what we had written last night in groups, I think I’d like to talk about Sidney’s thought about love and art being related.  She blamed the thought on being a hopeless romantic, but I think it’s really clever.  She spoke about more or less about the questions, “What does art mean?  What does love mean?”  These are essentially the same questions because the answer is, no one knows.  No one knows how a feeling might be because they’re only guessing from what they’ve know in past relationships, with people and objects they’re attached to.

I LIKE PIZZA

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There’s Lydia, she’s playful and just kind and caring in general.  She’s high-spirited and sympathetic all the time.  Then Saharah, she’s considered to be the flirt in our little group.  If some guys try to hit on us, she has no problem with talking or waving to them.  But you won’t believe how innocent she is.  Next, Rebecca is the one who makes us all laugh.  No matter what, she’s always there to make us laugh whenever she has the chance.  These three girls have been a part of my life for almost three years and they’re why I believe in friendship.

When I first met Becca, we were in third grade with Mrs. Chisholm.  She was the little girl with cute bangs who picked a fun background for her school picture and then brought her tiny stuffed elephant to take the picture with her.  One of the only memories we have of that class together was of one of the other little kids crying in front of everyone, or the kid that got pinched on St. Patrick’s Day because he didn’t wear green but swore he had green underwear.  We met once again when I went to sit at her lunch table at the end of sixth grade.

At the end of sixth grade, I met Saharah and Lydia.  Lydia had a sharp and short bobbed haircut going on and Saharah had tons of cute clothes.  I started sitting at their lunch table with Becca and that went on for the rest of junior high.  They seemed to welcome me to their table and our little group officially became a group.

I went on the eighth grade field trip to Washington, D.C. with Becca and Saharah and shared a hotel room with them.  We made up so many inside jokes and went everywhere together.  It was the best week ever and we wish we could redo the whole week just to be together again.  There weren’t any parents around to restrict us, there weren’t any specific bedtimes, it was educational, of course, but the best thing about it was just being there with Becca and Saharah.

With Lydia, my family took her with us camping and it was really fun.  We rode our bikes around the campground, we met some cute guys, put jumbo marshmallows in our mouths and tried to say “Chubby Bunny”, and we roasted those jumbo marshmallows for s’mores over the fire.  We took funny pictures together and went to the beach.  While we were at the beach, we went fishing with my sister and her friend, they were too spooked to get the fish off the hook so Lydia did it.  Then I was the one to get the hook out of it’s mouth and rip the worms apart so that we could put it on the hook.  So, even if it’s just a fish, Lydia is still the bravest of all of us, I think.

It was only last year that I learned to really appreciate their companionship, their advice, and their unconditional love.  I just saw them as girls who I hung out with before last year, I didn’t see them as people who I might be seeing far into my future.  But now, it’s crystal clear.  They’re the reason I go to school, they motivate me and encourage me to do things I might never do.  Rebecca, Lydia, and Saharah are it for me, they make me believe in myself and, of course, my friendship with them.

So, to end this letter of introduction, I just want to say that this relationship with these girls is really important to me and they will hopefully forever be a part of my life.

Little Daisy

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This particular day was sunny, a clear blue sky sat on the horizon and a few fluffy clouds rolled in the slight wind. The aroma of fresh soil and flowers filled my nose, dandelion seeds blew past my eyes and some landed on my shirt as children in the park blew them into the air. The bouquet of daisies clutched tightly in my hands looked lively, they almost made me feel jealous because of how happy they seemed.

I walked past the noisy park and down the worn sidewalk that was in dire need of replacement, I hesitantly walked by older houses, and along the fenced-in cemetery.

She and I used to walk down these very paths, when the cement wasn’t as dirty and worn as it is now, holding hands and only having eyes for each other. I could see her smiling at me, telling me to chase after her as she let go of my fingers and ran helplessly into the park. Now, I wished I hadn’t let go of her fragile, porcelain hand, I wished I would have chased after her a bit more, just to hear more of her laugh.

The houses looked like they were built in the 1900s, no one lived in them and they weren’t for sale. That always confused me. They were just sitting there, life hadn’t passed through for almost 100 years according to some guy who apparently knew everything about those houses. Their roofs were crumbling, windows were cracked or either knocked out completely, and the pastel colored paint slathered up against the wooden panels was peeling.

Those houses were sometimes our little meeting place, just for us. She would often call me in the middle of the night and say, “Wanna dance?” A secret phrase meaning that she wanted to meet up at one specific house we thought was perfect for us. It was a house big enough for a family, painted a pastel blue on the outside and white walls on the inside, located in the midst of all of the other houses.

This house was special because it had a surprisingly working record player and a whole shelf of its sleeved discs right above it, our secret phrase pertained to selecting a random record and then dancing like crazy around the bare living room.

But sometimes, she would have a bad day, or I would have a bad day, and we would just pick a slower song to fit in with the mood. I grasped at her waist and her my neck, my shoulder was her designated spot to rest her head and her head mine. We swayed along with the wind passing through the old house and just didn’t talk about anything, only soft piano filled the air between us.

Those days are behind me now and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get them back. I can’t get her back. My family worried about me throughout the months and months she was in the hospital and when we went to her funeral. They’d always ask if I had eaten recently or if  I was alright when anybody with working eyes could see that I clearly wasn’t.

At the very first sign of coming up on the cemetery, I sighed shakily and kept going. I couldn’t back down now, it was July 20th, our 3-year anniversary and I feel like she was expecting flowers or chocolates or something. That’s how it was when she was… Here.

The sweet and stuffy smell of the flowers already surrounding her headstone made my eyes water, I’m not sure if they were watering from the flowers or the fact I was staring at her grave instead of her face.

In Loving Memory Of

Clara “Daisy” Marie Michaels

March 18 1990

May 5 2016

Loving Daughter

and Friend

who will be missed

    I placed the daisies right next to all of the nearly withering bouquets of flowers, none of the other ones were daisies, and that made me angry. Whoever put these roses, orchids, tiger lilies here were blind to the fact that she loved daisies. She wore them in her hair on some of our dates, to school when she was feeling especially smiley, and brought them with her everywhere. She would give them to anyone who just needed a daisy.

Adjacent to the flowers was a book, the pages under the leather cover were bumpy and rotting a bit. It looked to be worn from a few rainy days but it could have still been written in. I took it up into my calloused hands and opened it, expecting some kind of writing that might have been related to her, but the pages were blank.

After talking a bit to her, I said goodbye and wished us a happy anniversary and took the mysterious book back to my apartment. I was quite curious as to what was inside and when I looked, I swore I could hear whispers coming from the book’s spine even after my friends told me I was delusional. Maybe I was, am.

I knew better than to open the thing, I really did. I’d been warned of its existence since I was a child. Everyone knew of it, everyone feared it. The Necronomicon, or book of the dead, followed people it found “worthy” around like a bloody curse, “bloody” being the key word. The book forced you to do things, horrible things, and the longer it made you do those things, the further you fell. The sad thing was I could already feel myself slipping.

I spent the next few weeks reading the awful thing. It’s not that I wanted to read it, it messed with my head, telling me things like, “I can bring her back,” “I can save her,” I could feel myself falling more and more as I listened to its promises. It promised to bring her back to me, as if the time where I sat in her hospital room listening to the heart monitor drone out never happened. That she was still alive, next to my shaking body telling me it was all a bad dream and to go back to bed. It promised such delightful things and, honestly, how could I refuse?

“Clara, I found something the other day while I was visiting you,” I said excitedly. “It’s a book,” I smiled down at the granite stone sitting over my beloved, I imagined her alive once again: soft and curly dark blond hair that came to her shoulders, the bluest eyes you’d ever seen, and lips that made me shiver every time I kissed them.

“A book of the dead,” I felt my smile stretch under the strain of my excitement. “I can bring you back, love, I can save you from the other side.”

I opened the book a crack letting my eyes roam its blank pages before centering on the gravestone once again. The pale marble with her name on it reminded me of her skin, plush and fair, spots of freckles always covered her nose and forehead. I tried to count all of them once, but she got tired of my poking and just kissed me to end my boredom. That kiss was out of annoyance, love, and amusement, an odd kiss but a good one nonetheless.

“I can bring you back to me.” A wide grin now took up the majority of my face. “It’s a small price to pay: two women your age! It’s a steal, honestly, it’s only two people I have to sacrifice to bring you back.” It really was a bargain, only two people would have to leave this plain of existence but it would have been for a good cause.

    A rain drop slowly fell down the length of her gravestone. “Oh, love, don’t be sad, it’s just a tiny price to pay to see you again. Then we can have the fairytale ending we always deserved, it’s perfect.”