Friday, December 27, 2013

A Photo From Kirkland (Gaia Visits)


With my mom, she
peels potatoes downstairs. 
And we're in Kirkland, fingers locked
from peach smoothies
because the Book Thief wasn't showing. 

Above her natural
scarf and jacket, she dons white
Beats. Talking to my Tante
and laughing nearby
Gaia is here
for a few weeks. 
I find myself today
rainbow and glass
aside from khaki.

Just like Tante, Gaia 
doesn't mind her ecology professor
and because of that, I 
don't either, like my mom's biochem nutcase. 
Mom and Gaia are
twins and a Virgo
with Rick and
I, the Aries one of us. 

She kneels before the
tree
(wall)
On her jeans
(prayer rug)
She takes a picture. 

RM

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Omen by Sekiu

Wrote this a few days ago; It's going places.

For thirty miles, the hills were bare. The highway, laden with remnants of a Friday morning snow, maintained twenty-foot visibility through the thick fog.
Thirty miles ago, there had been trees. They were smashed together, a yellowish moss leaking out of the only divide. Along the stretch, the cedars had been assimilated into rows, growing smaller and smaller until there was only brushland speckled with green. And then none. The barren ex-beauty slapped me in the face, hard.
As I got farther from civilization, the barrenness was greeted by static silence from the radio and the slapping of the wind through the open window. I didn't care how my nose stung from the winter temperature; I needed noise.
Luckily, there was a single scream ahead. A gasp. The subtle quieting of my engine. A single home stood, supports half-exposed in the torn-up nothing. Its shutters had been hastily put down, the door (having fallen) leaning on the front porch like a person would if *their* forest was to be decimated.
The scream was half-covered by a black tarp, the wind having pushed it aside to reveal the shrill cry of protest. It was in white spray-paint, carefully written on the wet board. I stopped and stared, putting together what little of the letters were at my disposal. A single word was written, creating a streak of fire within the nothing.
OMEN

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Taking the Jump - Story 1

I had a story starter a little while ago that I had made up. I'm currently trying to write as many flash-fictions as I can to this prompt until I come up with something grand. Here's my first attempt.
-
"I don't know you," Valentin laughed, scratching his stubbly chin. On his shirt, he had pinned a folded map covered in red dots. Upon closer inspection, Daniel realized that the dots followed several cross-country highways starting somewhere near Chicago, totaling to two thousand miles. He smelled of days and days. Then came the question, "You wanna jump?" He stood a little taller than Daniel, hair that could have been combed sticking out from under his helmet.

"You have breakfast yet, primo?" Daniel laughed. The guard's expression was pained; Daniel snatched Valentin's sleeve and used him as leverage to get over the edge of the Needle. The two were sent spinning, and were far enough away from one another in time to release both parachutes. Daniel glanced forward, glaring wind-slapped into Valentin's Kodak camera. The ground hugged his soles.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We Were Kids

"Think it'll snow today, Kyle?" My mother picks my friend and I up from school as it gets colder. We climb into the car - I in the front, and Kyle in the back - and he sighs.

"I dunno," he says, "Either way, heard the Pass was great." There is a juice box-sized carton in the cup holder. It's chilled tea, but Kyle never liked it. I plunge in right away, not caring whether or not I'd get sick from drinking too fast. The air grew colder.

"Would you guys like hot chocolate tomorrow?" My mother asks, "I know this one place on the way." I smirk.

-

Kyle and I were eight. Then we were nine, ten, and eleven. Dylan, his little brother, grew from four to seven. When it would first snow, we'd all meet in Derek's backyard, a place covered in patches of snow and bits of dry, forested land only a few square feet large. The three of us would run about, establishing good places for hiding out and stashing snowballs. We'd then set time limits on Kyle's iPod, probably just five or six minutes, and "share" Dylan's extra help as we hid and threw snowballs at one another. The first year, I climbed over the fence myself, getting in trouble and grounded for a week.

The next year, Dylan and I teamed up for a whole ten minutes, beaning Kyle with the snowballs quite efficiently. That was followed by the dog in the following year. The last year that we had played in the snow, we had all gotten too cold. That was the day that Kyle had taught me to play video games.

Then - BAM! - middle school happened. Kyle's family got a divorce, and Dylan started to get more of his own friends. I'm now thirteen, and I watched the fence last year for several hours.

-

"I'd love some," Kyle laughed. I swear I saw snow.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

They Wanted Morbid Poetry

"You're so serious, Red," Cathy noted, running her hand over my paper, "I never imagined something so...bright and happy coming from that, but look at it!" I blushed, taking the paper from her. I silently left, and she didn't even turn to wave.

This poem is morbid
Their expectations to mime
They wanted confirmation
This poem has rhyme.

My converses
Propped up on the chair nearby
Are the color of vomit

Three hours stale.

RM

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An Observation from Science Today

There are three of them; They huddle around a computer, somehow out of the teacher’s view radius. Miley Cyrus has become the center of attention, belting into Calvin’s* headset loud enough to turn the buds into speakers for the surrounding three. The teacher’s watch beeps, casting silence among the classroom of computers borrowed for the day, mind the singing and anxious whisperings of the corner-bound wedgies mentioned before. 

Calvin’s pretending to be a good boy, I like to muse; He’s wearing a shirt and tie, black slacks, and fresh-oiled shoes, as the glare depicts. Yet, he’s just as much of a rascal as the rest of them, mind his ability to maintain politeness as needed. He as well wears a pink bow tie. Typical.

They're good boys, today
A pink bow tie, shoes
freshly oiled like their hair.
Miley's attending
the awards and the basketball
festivities, as she is.
Hidden
I cover my eyes 
with the screen and formulas
They call me
goody two-shoes.

RM

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Blackberry Refugee

I keep a writing journal. My best, worst, and in-between works of only paragraphs are stored there. I spend nights crying or giggling over them under the covers, and rainy lunches hidden in the library finishing sentences in my loopy cursive. If there is one thing that I seldom do, it's let people look at - even less, post on the internet - my paragraphs of writing.

This is one of them.

-

By this time of year, the field had been overgrown by thornbushes, save for the paths between them, carved by whatever lurked in the vines; Most assumed rabbits. Kelsey walked there, uncut by the thorns. Many had thought her to be a witch - a spawn of some runt-serving god - to the point of Kelsey herself being unsure. She sat in a cone of blackberry brambles, tending to a brush-fire and doubting rabbits. The fog, thick with dust and influenza, receded where she walked.

RM

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bridge Crossings



"Daddy, why does that sign offer to help people cross?"

She looked to be about eight. Her father was tall, a Euro-looking man with the beginnings of a beard. They were standing before a blue sign that the mousy girl had insisted stopping at. Her father gulped, his eyes glazing over a little. A powerful breeze blew all of our ponytails and hanging locks back, making the Vista Bridge crossing a little more difficult. The father looked back down, settling in a decision.

"Well," he said, composing himself, "When the boy scouts look for opportunities, they help people who have a hard time walking cross things, like this bridge. It's a nice service." The father looked away, trying to cast the lies off to the side, perhaps towards my feet. "That number is the Boy Scout Hotline, which gets into their walkie-talkies."

"Do the walkie-talkies have numbers?" The father's face softened instead of reddening. A trait gained in parenting, I guessed.

"Some," he said, taking the girl's hand and walking her further. There was a teenager on the bridge, too, standing on the rail and looking over. She wasn't moving - she was still, rigid. A large, knit beret covered her head, and she leaned on her elbows.

"Does she need help crossing?" At that time, I didn't realize that she actually did.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Girl Who Never Smiled

"Ruby," my mother calls from downstairs, "Your father dropped something off." I glance up from my growing pile of tissues, wiping my reddened nose and walking slowly downstairs. My stomach grumbles with nausea and my nose drips. My mother is sitting on the backpack stool downstairs, looking at something that the delivery envelope covers. I sit down next to her, careful not to breathe in her face. We both smell like the flu.
"Look at this picture," she says, pointing to a photo of a young man with kindness in his eyes, "That's your grandfather when he was young and handsome." I never got to meet Opa Soekehar, as he died just before I was born. They say that I have his talents in music and speech, though; That I'd make a good lawyer, like him.
"And this one." My mother shows me a photo of a young woman with raven-black hair, smiling courteously through what looked like multiple layers of red lipstick. "That's me when I was just going to America. Do you like them?" I nod. I hardly ever get to see what few photos of my mother's family were on-hand. "I accidentally put them in the bag of things for your father, and so he gave them back. See? He still cares." My mind is far from that, however. Both Opa Soekehar and my young mother were smiling downward, as if someone told them to. The lies scream out to me. My mother reaches int he envelope one last time and pulls out a very small picture, just smaller than a stamp. Her eyes widen; she was expecting to see this one. She swallows and turns back to me, the picture wedge between creases in her palm.
"This little girl has a very hard life," she said, "She grew up with a lot of money, but then her mother died. Her father remarried, but neither family liked her except for her own in her house. She was told to stay in the kitchen during parties and to never be seen. This little girl didn't have the frilly socks that her friends did, but she still played along when she felt like it. She danced, too, and beautifully. Her parents didn't have time for her, though." My mother's teared up at this point. "This little girl still has a hard life, today. I know her very well."
"We have to help her," I whisper in terror and empathy.
"We do," my mother says, her voice shrinking. I grew up taught not to cry in front of others. My mother flees to another room to let her feelings go, leaving the pictures. I pick the smallest one up. The little girl isn't smiling at all. She looks angry and confused under her smooth skin and big brown eyes.
The photo falls out of my hand and lands on the floor, face-down. I read text on the back, very small and hand-written. It's barely legible, but what I make out is something familiar.

My mother's first name.

7:30 PM - Today

I hear a voice on the stereo downstairs, and I know it's him. He speaks like my uncle, but without the struggle from a stroke. He sounds young and his voice is very deep. He speaks in soft Bahasa, a language that I have yet to understand, and I hear my mother softly sobbing downstairs. She found the tape recording today. It's him, alright.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

UW People-Watching, Pt. II

They pass bags of craisins, twisting the stems from apples alongside the growing piles of books from our field trip group. I wonder, did the groups before have this many books? The two ladies sitting alongside us are Asian, as are many of the college students. At BC, the students there were mainly Asian, with traces of Indian descent in there. Yet, here at UW, the racial variability is much larger, as is the group of people from my school...I think.
On this platform, the UW is quite loud with the gossipings of 8th graders, but the library below is much quieter than I had expected, even if the millings about of younger students are still prevalent. My teacher is still checking out books below, my dad and other parent chaperones carrying them. From how others have acted before, I'm quite surprised as to how we can all stay in one area, myself included. Ha!
This girl who I think is very pretty turns to me, her brow furrowing at my screen.

"What are you doing?"
"I'm blogging."
"You blog?"
"Yes, why?"

And then, silence. A half-chuckling glare from her. A blank stare from me, followed by a subtle eyeroll and glare back to the screen. I'm curled up between people at a round table, trying to keep warm in the drafty library. Yee is there, messing around with "Scorpion". The teacher comes forward, carrying a stack of books. "Red, these are for you."

Huskies and Wedgies - Trapped in UW for History Day

I don't have much time to post, I"ll admit. Around me are my own peers, likely peering around my screen to see what I'm so anxiously typing about. A friend of mine, "Cole", asked what the point of my blogging excursions were. Yet, I'm not so sure as to what it is exactly besides to record my people-watching. For National History Day, I am currently in the University of Washington on a class field trip for research. For the moment, I'll simply explain my surroundings:

"Joseph" sits next to me, shameless in his patterned sweaterand dyed hair. His sister had met him in the cafeteria and had gifted him a Coca-Cola, thus earning attention from the table of girls nearby. I've known Joseph for many years, as we have lived in the same neighborhood. He prefers to rebel against common assumptions and is one of the more eccentric people in my group. He recently glanced over at my screen, thus calling for further changes to my people-watching regime. A shame.

A girl in a knit hat sits just off of the girls' table. She's a student, glancing through a composition notebook accompanied only by a cup of coffee. She sits leaning on her knees, her flat soles on the chair. Her blonde hair is pulled to the side of her knees facing away from the table. I hope she finds a friend somewhere. Also near her is a bottle of VitaminWater. I had never understood why people would carry multiple drinks. I currently sit here with cherry limeade.

Earlier today, I was in the UW's Special Collections. I found a few very nice sources pertaining to my topic, aided by "Myles", a friend of mine who was researching the same topic. My father had called a box of historical papers for me to look through, and I found them to be quite helpful. What I enjoyed more, though, was how at home I felt in the Special Collections immediately. After checking my bag/laptop, I sat down with a very old research study (published by Smithsonian in 18-something) and got to breathe the smell of an old book for upwards of half an hour. The walls were a drab color, decorated only by shelves and cases of artifacts. In a room which I have yet to look in was an extensive card catalog, something that I look forward to seeing later.

As my time here draws to a close, I'll be taking more research and nosy pictures. Did you like the people-watching paragraphs?

Ruby

Friday, November 15, 2013

And Today, I'm the Coach

This passage was written in my personal composition notebook hours after the event, describing the actions. All the names are real, this time, as I feel that changing the names would take away so much from their character. 

"Twenty-one, fourteen," I call out, watching Derek intently as the music stops. Somewhere in the dusty reaches of the gym, Mrs. Wheeler, blows her whistle, silence soon overcoming the murmur of dissatisfied student volleyballers. Derek drops the ball, and we all sit. The week of net-based trials is over. Even I adopted into a team of five boys - Derek, Turner, Landon, Walker, and Yee - sport a win that I helped achieve. Yee, the center of boyish attraction, lays on the waxed gym floor, sighing in relief and wiping his brow of sweat. One by one, the teams call their results. A loss for team one, I see, as their teacher-eleted captain scowls through the announcement. Team two won, per usual. We had faced a horrid defeat the match before.
"Team three?" Wheeler calls out. My chest puff in glory.
"Win," I saw, beaming,. The team smiles in agreement. After the other teams announce their losses and victories, Wheeler reads the list of teams down in ranking order. We come in sixth place, better than I had gotten. The team that I had gotten separated from in an issue of size had come in last, without a single win.
"Nicely done, gentlemen," Yee says, then turning to me. I fear the joke of my out-of-placeness being brought up again. But his face is softer, more genuine. "And you, Coach."
"Coach," I sigh in relief, "I like that." I stand with the rest of the students, and turn back to Yee. "Hey, man. Thanks for accepting me." I extend my hand. He shakes it, his other hand touching my forearm in his actor-ish style. It's warm.

My entire P.E. experience revolved around exclusion and injury from overexertion until this week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

To My Loves Resting and Recovering

I write this post choppily for a reason, as you may come to find.


  • Last week, my friend was to meet a young man by the name of Adonis Mera in NYC for a fun time in Bryant Park. Before he could get there, Mera was shot in the back, paralyzed from the waist down. 

  • On Monday, my friend's internet friend by the name of not-Jill tried to overdose and was hospitalized. I've been helping my friend recover and eat all week. 

  • On Tuesday, a local man by the name of Ed Praitis died in a car accident. His son is a very good friend of mine and I haven't seen him since. 

  • On Wednesday, a boy of sixteen years of age was killed in a car accident in my school district. 

  • Today, the final actions regarding my parents' divorce were made. 


I may be off for some time as I recover from all this stress, and I apologize before hand. Adieu, my lovelies.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

And Today I Was Called, "Love"

Today, the subject's name isn't Paul, but I'll refer to him as such. Paul is an extremely popular boy at my school known for being funny and nice. Rumor has it that he is so helpful and supportive that the prevented a girl from committing suicide at the last minute. I only have one class with Paul this year, but he seems to be a nice enough guy that I wanted to get to know him.
Okay, and then things got just slightly out of hand in a sort of funny way. Paul has a social media page where people can anonymously ask him questions and he'll respond. So, I just said hello. He responded within the hour, "Hello, love."
When people say that there will always be one person in the world who loves you, I hadn't found it to be so ironic and slightly funny as it is, now. Paul delivered indeed, even though he had not idea as to I was.

And so today, I was called, "Love".

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Waning Crescent

And there it is
Just above the horizon
Between the pines, it's there, alright --
The sliver of life clinging to the screen-run sky
The smog-smeared atmosphere
It's there. 

Just a bit of short prose from today. Doing well, lovelies? I've been busy with NaNo, for the most part, but I wanted to check in, just to say hello. Hoping to put up a fashion post (for once) later next week. 

Ruby

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Beacon in the Storm

We went to an estate sale the other day. Promising books, CDs and furniture, my dad and I packed the car and drove to a distant neighborhood. The fall leaves blew down on us as we walked the culdessac, looking for the mansion over the lake. Yet, as we approached, all that was there to greet us was a burned-down lot. Disappointed and shocked, we returned home, waiting for the following weekend.
This weekend, we didn't have very much luck at the actual estate sale that we had found. Everything that we put down was immediately picked up by someone else. As we drove back, the leaves blew down near frantically, a nasty wind whipping the trees to the side. When we returned to building B, most lights in the city were dark. Rushing inside, I struggled to  finish my NaNoWriMo words, sitting down for a break. Hours passed. My dad and I made and ate meals, hearing of more and more blackouts. Around one o'clock, the building groaned in disappointment as their power was cut. Still, B-15 stayed alight, appliances running and wi-fi stronger than ever.
Our power went out, eventually. It was straight to the road with us, looking for a single place with wi-fi and outlets. After forty-five minutes, a Krispy Kreme shone brilliantly against Aurora, inviting us in. There, I sat down with doughnuts, patiently letting my scene unravel itself. As of yet, it's been a great experience. Across from us were three other internet-seeking WriMos who I hadn't seen in exactly a year. A friend of mine noted, "Krispy Kreme will be the last bastion on Earth when the apocalypse hits". Surprisingly, I don't doubt that at all, minus the apocalypse bit. Sometimes, the best places on Earth are those that constantly nip at your sanity.

Friday, November 1, 2013

"The Boy Named Hello" - First Paragraphs

  Early afternoon in an early year, maybe too early for anyone to care: A field of flowers, slapped to the sides by a torrential wind threatening rain. Still, the brothers pushed on, mumbling through th icy air of the view rumored to be so great over a peak that was running from them. The tot, dandelions in his face and eyes from a slight disadvantage on height, sneezed the pollen away every few minutes, thus earning the attention of his brother, who remained standing and non-allergic.
  "Come on, Johnny," the taller one – Leroy, as remembered – whispered, "We've got to see that view." To any loafing passerby with children and picnic baskets dangling from their fattening wrists, a phrase as such would be considered cute, whereas the boys only understood the hollowness in the promise.
  The boys kept walking, leaving a trail of trampled stems. Over their sneakers fell petals and dandelion pollen, wafting up dangerously close to Johnny's nose. Leroy absentmindedly bent down and dabbed at his brother's nose with a small cloth. The cloth was more or less clean, rubbed down weekly with the apple soap. After several nose-pattings and words of empty reassuring, Johnny at last broke free from Leroy's vice-like grip, running in his knee-less fashion towards a rock overlooking the coast.
But, there was no coast. No beach, no shining sun, no soaring gulls. Looking back at Leroy, Johnny shrugged.
  "Lookit!" he exclaimed, not sure as to what else there was to say. Pre-programmed phrases still made up half of what his vocabulary. Leroy put his arm around Johnny.

  "Yeah, what a view." Staring into the thick and standing fog, the boys saw more with their minds' eyes, just as they had been told.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"A Friend Like You"

As the shutters over the gym windows slowly opened, a grainy shaft of light passed over the folded bleachers and shone directly on Marisa's strawberry blonde hair, freshly flat-ironed. Once again, I was feet from the light. The remixed music from years back blared through the speakers above us, the local techies cringing in pain at the poor sound quality. I didn't care much for out-of-tune Evanescence, myself, but it was more of the beat that I was worried about. Taking care as to not throw a punch to the air with my injured wrist, I followed the directions of the kickboxing video offered to my gym class during last week's Workout Wednesday.

The people on the screen, the coaches repeatedly told us, were professionals in their sport and knew what they were doing. This, of course, prompted the two coaches to survey the students taking the challenge and help them hone their skills. I was given a bye for standing front and center with a hurt arm, and I doubt my technique was at all correct. One thing that I was certain of, however, was that I was the only student in the room of eighteen remaining in time to the song. Three cross-punches with my left hand, skipping beats where my right would have struck, then stepping with the opposite foot between beats to deliver a kick. Bouncing in my tennis-y fashion, I read the teleprompter as the (obviously Australian by accent) man announced the next exercise.

"Alright," he panted, "We're going to keep that up, just like we were, but then adding a jump kick into it!" I stopped in my tracks. If there was one kick that I couldn't time nor complete, it was the jump. I'll say now that I'm not a P.E. perfectionist, but if I can do all of one thing but one portion, then I must learn how. The first jump kick or two didn't work, and I nearly fell over. (Typical me.) As I returned to regular push kicks, a short Asian boy - the immensely popular Jordan - slid on his shorts a few feet in front of Grace, the girl to my right.

"Come on, Grace!" he exclaimed, putting a smile on her face. She delivered. I tried to hide in my shadow, hoping not to be humiliated by the boy who everyone loved.

"You, too, Red!" he called out, "Come on!" I laughed uneasily at this, but I gave it another try. Near-failure. That did mean success, however. Jordan stopped his routine and walked up to me, giving me a high-five. I never again made the jump kick, but the adrenaline from making a single blow kept me going.

When the program had ended, I walked with the rest of the group towards the courtyard outside of the locker rooms. The girls and boys parted from one another. Jordan had been walking nearby, so I walked up to him.

"Hey, man," I said, "Thanks for the boost. I'm really grateful for friends like you!" I turned towards the locker room, triumphant in my words. I think that Jordan turned and reached back.

"But Red," he called out, "I barely even --" Before I could hear the end of Jordan's sentence, the door shut behind me.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10 Things About Me Tag

Hello! The wonderful Khloe Grace of All Things Good tagged me to post the first ten things that come to mind about myself, and the first ten things that come to mind when deciding what I want to do before I die. Here I go!

Ten Things About Me:

  1. Most of my friends call me Red.
  2. Even though English is my favorite class, I have the worst grade in it of all of my other classes .
  3. I write two blogs.
  4. I have won three Office of Letters and Light events (NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo 2013 (both)) and intend to try for NaNo November this coming month. 
  5. I feel capable of disabling a person using only my trusty tennis racket.
  6. I have walked up to the scariest, tallest, most buff end-grade student at my school and taught him a lesson in Spanish on the spot. (That lesson helped him earn an A on the test the following day, he said.) 
  7. I believe that tennis skills apply to all P.E. sports and that I am at an advantage with them, even though I'm really not, in most cases. 
  8. I'm infamous for debating with every science teacher and substitute science teacher that I've had in the second semester, last year. 
  9. There is a football in my apartment. No, I don't know how to use it. 
  10. I am an amateur birdwatcher. 
Ten Things I Want to Do Before I Die:
  1. Attend Bumbershoot 
  2. Take a falconry lesson
  3. Attend a tai chi course (and practice in my school's courtyard when I'm alone, as the sun rises)
  4. Attempt to buy a lighthouse on the Pacific Coast, intending to live in it
  5. Finish and edit the draft of a novel
  6. Publish said novel 
  7. Go camping
  8. Nap in a field of wildflowers far from the highway
  9. Make such a witty remark that the mean girls in my English class never speak to me again
  10. Face-cake! 
In the spirit of giving (and of face-cake, because face-cake), I hereby tag anybody who wants to attempt this challenge! Be sure to comment with a link to your finished post, as I'd love to get to know you better. :) Better yet, I'll be able to follow your blog, if I haven't already! 

All the best,

Ruby Red

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Plot Journal

"Oh, you'll never be a writer," Emaline sighed, smiling in adoration over me. I laughed along, attempting to mimic what she had done with her hair, something impossible with my unruly curls. The half-cylindrical building surrounding the six cracked tennis courts just ten minutes from the city center was teeming with aspiring players, including myself and sixteen-year old (as exclaimed several times the day before) Emaline. A warm, lazy breeze slid droplets of sweat from my shoulders to my chest and back, making way for more stink.

At this point in time, I was a fifth grader, feeling at the top of my game (even though I really wasn't). Emaline was two months new, having moved from another tennis club to ours. She had appeared friendly, and constantly talked about her love for writing. After a downtime from writing in the fourth grade, I was excited to have started working with words again, and I felt Emaline to be one of my greatest supporters. At that time, I truly looked up to her and her letters to Christopher Paolini that never actually got answered, I found out. I had decided to show her my plotting journal, a concept that I still keep up with today. She glanced in at the first page. Scribbled on its wide-ruled lines were snippets of possible first lines and character names. She closed it and handed it back, scoffing.
Oddly enough, I never saw Emaline again after that day. Her words stuck with me, whether making me overcome her words by writing, or by pushing me down when I moped in a corner. There's just something about criticism, isn't there? Something unfair and debatable that can make or break a person's future, sometimes both at once. 

Thanks a lot, Emaline. For what, I'm not exactly sure yet. 

The first scene from the fifth grade was about a girl by the name of Sabrina. She had fallen from a small height and was bobbing in saltwater, hoping to float back to shore while overcoming the shock of the event. 

Now, I'm in the eighth grade. My likely first scene will be about a boy by the name of John - about fourteen, at this point - catching his sister, Sabrina, before she falls. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Here There be Rubber Ducks


Simply, I don't know anything better. With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, I've checked into my local Third Place Books to get things going again. At the moment, I'm curled up near the corner of a table with leftover potato chips of Jenn's and my own soy hot chocolate. (Soy, you ask? I, for one, actually like how it tastes, opposed to cow milk.)
In truth, I'm so impressed as to how people of several ages not around my own can band together and be equal friends for the same cause. Around my own peers, it's plenty awkward if there were to be an adult around. Same goes for someone younger. But what if they were at the same level as we were? Still, due to  our stubbornness, it wouldn't be the same. I'm aware that this comes with reason, but it just makes me appreciate my mixed groups of friends more. My D&D group is composed of people from my age to parenting age, whereas my writing group can go up to grandparenting age. (Once again, I'm the youngest.) To me, the difference is nearly laughable. With age, one can gain enough sense to learn inclusion, I conclude.

No matter who's participating and no matter how it's responded to, NaNo season is officially here! Go Seattle ducks!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Attempting NaNo 2013

Hello, my dears! I have decided to attempt my second NaNoWriMo this year, but to change things up enough to accommodate my busy schedule. My thinking is that, after months of writing burnout, I am in no shape to write a novel. Instead, I'll be trying for 1667 words a day of any fiction that I can possibly eek out of my skull. This means a lot of D&D adventure recreations, a considerable amount of in-character complaints, and quite a few blog posts, to boot! I'm excited for NaNo, but I feel like I'll be falling asleep more than usual (the usual being every few minutes, these days). Cheers for coffee! :)

Ruby

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Glitter on the Keys


This might be the first bit of clothing that I don't think I'll ever use. Still, it's such a pretty mask that my mother picked up with Rick...I'll find a way, won't I?
Today, I also walked all the way down the hill and into the town on my own - finally - for the first time. I didn't see anything weird, and I was filled with such adrenaline that I didn't have any emotions past excitement as I walked. I bought hot chocolate at the Molbak's and brought it back for Rick and my mother.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Nothing Like Golden Gardens




Just behind where I was standing, there was a willow tree and a rope tied to it. I tied a loop in the rope and made a standing rope swing for myself to use. I climbed the tree and over the rocks as the tide came in, and sprinted all the way back. Funny how I wait till the last moment to finally let things go.

How do you feel about me posting a picture/short thought every day?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Observing Columbus Day

Columbus day is almost here! Let's light the cannons and go....hunting!

A friend of mine once told me that one would theoretically celebrate Columbus Day by, "Walking up to someone's door, knocking, and telling them, 'This is my house now'." To this day, I can sort of agree with them. (Just a thought.)

This post isn't exactly a restatement of school being a pain in the behind, but do enjoy this infographic by The Oatmeal.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

4700 Miles and a Promise

This post is in partial followup to, "Imogen Heap's 'Little Bird' and the Story of Me" . If you would like, take a look at it.

On the twenty-first of every month, starting with August, I've e-mailed a friend of mine who was torn from me. He moved to Truro, England, out of a family issue. I ground my knuckles into the keyboard and ended up tear-ripe every day. I still am. I trusted - and still trust - this one particular friend more than any other person, and we've been friends for as long as I can remember. 

...and just hours ago, he e-mailed back. He apologized for not getting back to me, but assured me that he was (and that I was to be) alright. He described his new living situation and how much he missed everyone back home. I often wondered if I hindered his transition, but I'm confident that I still have a friend in the one who had to fly away. Before this friend moved, I was surrounded with rumors; Goodbye parties that I hadn't been invited to, denial of the gifts which I so carefully packed, etc. 

...but just hours ago, he e-mailed back. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Last of the Summer Picture-Taking

The maple outside my window is still green. It and all the other deciduous trees in the culdesac have just begun losing their leaves, though the weather is begging for otherwise. Indeed, summer is ending.


fun fact: All the pictures on this site
were taken with my phone.

See? Green. Right there.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Overcoming Jealousy: Wizards, Smiths, and Therapuetic Cursive

Over the course of the past summer and the school year as of yet, I've written variations of "The Eighth Grade Wizard" only to post one random version of it a little while ago. Truth is, I consider myself to be a blacksmith in the town which the wizard resides in. I know a useful and profitable craft that people tend to enjoy, yet the things that gain more appreciation - Say, enchanted robes, for example - go straight to the wizard. As a smith, I could easily have the will of the city in my hands, but for some reason, no matter how hard I work, I don't. I love the wizard, for she helps me if I get too hurt or if I have too heavy a load. As powers in the city, we both work together often, though the wizard knows that she could handle it on her own. As I realized this myself, I started to dwindle from my craft. What was the point?

At this moment in time, I'm currently balancing an unwritten short story for English due in a week and the idea of a research paper for National History Day. I know that my writing skills in some areas surpass that of Wizard's, but she ends up getting all the credit because she is more apt to exploit her work. I tend to be on the humble side, only sharing my expertise with those who can truly appreciate it or give me extra credit. People still constantly compare me to Wizard, and I'll admit that I haven't written a word of fiction in weeks that I appreciated.

Shocking, isn't it? I can write blog posts just fine, but I do so with a pang of anger and resent, as Wizard doesn't have a blog and all "posts" that she writes are just links to Youtube videos. Still, whenever it comes to fiction, I know that my tongs are hot and ready to go whenever I need them, but my calloused hands are fumbling with them whenever I feel the Wizard's aura effect me. I can't appreciate my writing anymore, and I do it out of habit rather than out of joy and inspiration. Writing has become more of a chore than walking the dog on rainy days.

I'm scared. I love (loved?) writing so much and it is truly the root of my existence. Without writing, I wouldn't be anything that I am today, from how I dress to how I speak. I fear that Wizard will take over my life, and she is. Everyone just relays that fact to me over and over again, instilling more of a fact than something to make me angry enough to change. That's why there have been fewer interesting posts here, too, as I feel too guilty to blog, as much of my fiction time was converted into blogging time as I hated my writing more and more. It's nothing like the wizard's, I tell myself day after day, You're simply too far behind. Her mother wins writing contests, and your mother quit. Why should you continue? If the wizard follows her mother's footsteps, then you will, too. 

I knew I had to do something, so I tried to find what separated Wizard and I, writing-wise. I was much more professional and could effectively write in several different styles, whereas many of her stories were about lion-like sword-wielders whose main characters always died in the end from magical overdose. She wrote after Kingdon Hearts and anime, whereas I wrote after the smell of tea and people-watching (and eventual people-obsessing-over). But there was something startlingly different about how we presented ourselves. As my writing grew in popularity, I started to hide it more as to avoid peer pressure. Wizard gave her writing to her favorite teachers and grew to be the teachers' pets in all of her classes. I didn't want to put myself up to that par, so I avoided it, only shrouding myself in more guilt. Now, when we're in the same classes or situations, I avoid writing and speaking as a whole. I let her win every time, assuring myself that one day I'll strike a blow that makes me better, once and for all.

In the meantime, as I sulk on the weekends, I desperately try to enjoy writing again. I started writing about a girl who lived immortally by literally "dis-/re-placing" objects and people to feed off of experiences. I intend her to suffer a strong internal conflict once one of her interesting "catches" dies in a car crash due to a foul re-placing. I reduced myself to older techniques in order to both console myself and make it harder to share:




Writing in cursive is a technique that I learned in the second grade only to actually apply in the seventh. I was the victim of people reading over my shoulder as I wrote my stories, so I decided to write in a way that few could decipher. Those few happened to genuinely appreciate my writing. I feel like knowing how to read and write in cursive is a skill that only those literally dedicated can really take on. Since then, I write in cursive normally for my notes and papers. (My manuscript isn't so bad, but it's messy and ends up turning into cursive.)

If you've gotten this far, well, I wish I had something nice to give you. I'll be working on that. Have a good day!

Ruby

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tidbit of a Speech

I may not kick a soccer ball or catch a curved Frisbee like the next budding athlete,

I may not don high-heels and a scarf like a rising fashionista.

I may not look, speak, think, or at all be you, but (my school name), hear me out. There is one thing that remains true, one thing that will always be constant.

My name is Red, and I will never, ever be taken advantage of again.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The P.E. Pain-Taker

And there goes Sarah Lee*, sprinting down the line. Doesn't look like she's going to let the soccer ball - Oh! - and there's Red, running straight in. I don't think she even plays soccer...isn't she a tennis player? Tennis? Yes, a tennis player. One can definitely tell, too, so long as they've played; Look at that magnificent footwork! Red had better watch out, though, cos there's Noah* darting past the rest of his clustered team. I wonder how much more obvious he can get to Sarah Lee with all that arm-waving. Red isn't phased, though...she takes a step forward, and - Ooh! - she's down on the ground. Didn't really look like she needed to take that fall, but she got a tough hit to the jaw and wrist, by the looks of things...and she's back up! I can't believe it, Red is still chasing that ball! 

Sideline comments from this morning
*names have been changed

Even though the commentary above was devised and written entirely by me, it does tell a true story from yesterday. So goes the story of me playing Ultimate Frisbee and almost everything else. Today, I was playing Capture the Football with my entire gym class. I got into a three-boy collision that involved similar spots being hurt as in the fake commentary. I found that because the collision points stung so much, I'd be better falling over to distract myself than dwelling on the pain. I fell, let the wind catch in my lungs, and popped back up, almost snatching the person's flags back down. (I also had my secret agent moment also during Cap the Ball, when one of my feet slid to the side. I got to land in a crouch and sort of leap up to the person running. Didn't end well, though.) 

For all of my years, I've been known for rapid recoveries. I can easily run off a stinging jaw by letting it dangle or a short scare by falling back and getting distracted. No matter how awkwardly I've fallen, I can get back up and get my job done. Of course, that comes with its consequences, especially if I fall over again. (At that point, it's a rush of the combined pain that does cause me to sit out) I'm also generally vulnerable to pulsating headaches from many things, so a knock to the head or a tough fall will set me off. 

Ultimately, though, I do wonder if my style of holding the pain off in favor of other things is played out socially and mentally in realer life. Someone with confidence, for example, may be able to hold off mental blows for some time while they work on their greater ambitions or try to be decent. I believe that we all do that. However, it leads to the saying preventing people from "bottling it up", as just with my P.E. bumps, I see bruises in the morning that hurt just as much as if I'd let them hurt when they got hit. I find it fascinating how my actions are dangerously similar both physically and mentally. I bottle things up until I'm in a better situation to feel it. Is this true for any others? 

Well, I should sleep. Jaw's sore. 

Ruby 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unfortunate Stalkerisms

Hey, guys. Just as I did when I had my little adventure over at Bellevue College, I am going to start more of my peoplewatching-based posts as school gets to be more and more interesting. My general problem is that my school is very concentrated to only two cookie-cutter types of people by looks, and I haven't found all that much difference in personality. Fortunately, most people who strike me as "different" in the school happen to sit at my lunch table and be my friend. For that reason, I'll note how interesting they really are.
Believe it or not, I'm actually open to suggestions for this post series; It'll help me make more friends, to say the least. All names of people will be fake, though - obviously fake - and I won't be posting pictures, says the student handbook.

I can't wait to share with you a slice of my...lunch table...and how awesome my friends can be. Ciao!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Donkeys vs. Dollars - My Thoughts on Chance

A friend of mine told me last night at La Isla (where you should totally try the Pez Gato), "You know, I read somewhere that the probability of getting kicked to death by donkeys while getting stung to death by bees is higher than winning the lottery".

Really?

Following this, he then said, "Then again, I'd pay a buck to feel like I actually had a chance."

In my opinion, it's very interesting as to what someone would do for a chance at something. Especially here, where people have money to spend, it seems like nothing is ever guaranteed when something is obtained. Will a buck or two buy happiness? People tell me that it shouldn't.  Then again, is this happiness at all? Is a lottery ticket and its emotional value truly happiness, or is it reformed anxiety and doubt? To me, it's like a drug. You do it for the feeling though you have the aching feeling that it won't do much more good than that in the long run. Many people buy lottery tickets even though they are running low on money - they can't stop or they think it's just a buck - and the feeling is just too good, isn't it?

This leads me to think, is society trying to put a price label on happiness? Not only does this apply to lottery tickets, but things like feedback surveys for store coupons or even those dreaded people who will trip you, help you up, and ask you to then assist children. (Time and a place, folks. Just not in front of my Starbucks.) They're all saying that so-and-something or this-and-that will make you happy, but what does it make you? Anxious. Anxious in the way that makes you feel like a good person.

Then what do you need? Yeah, a few million dollars. My lucky number's 21, what's yours?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wizard of the Wedgies: An 8th Grader's Sarcasm

There is a wizard in the school -
I'm sure you know -
But as wizards wear robes
She wears makeup, though
I'm sure you know.
Like a wizard, ours is an excellent scribe
and musician
and mathematician
and thinker
and artist
for wizards do that kind of stuff as they please
And I'm sure you know
as she should have said. 

Vanderveen says, too
you know, 
That the wizard stuns him every time
With her spells and clever understanding. 
And a trader like me
with a sword and my wits
Have as much as I have sparkle
None? 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Imogen Heap's "Little Bird" and the Story of Me

Cameron, this post is dedicated to you. --Red


Little bird, little bird, little bird 
What do you see? 
A picture perfect scene 
Two toned lawns are manicured 
The garden's wearing a haute couture

It's hiding something 
It's trying too hard 
Hiding something 
It's trying too hard

"This is not how it ends." 
The quote has been with me forever. Whether it was when I argued with a friend or when I would write something, the promise of a better end has fueled me for as long as I can remember. Yet, I've skittered in every which-way in the process, flying to great heights in short bursts of energy. Thus, I've always been the little aerial ace, like a chickadee or a sparrow. Thus came the nickname Little Bird. I had found Immi's song somewhere around twelve years later, and I'm thirteen now. I have found so much relevance in this song to my life that it's not even funny anymore. 

Little bird, little bird, little bird
Where are they now?
...
One more question 
I'll let it rest 
I swear I'll let it rest 

I'm not sure, Immi. It was according to the lyrics that I have lost so many friends. First, I had to leave my uncle after he had broken his hip while suffering the afereffects of a stroke. Then, my friend was torn from me once a family upset in his life separated him from his dad. I haven't seen him in the longest time. Then, my lifelong friend moved very far away over this past summer. I wanted to ask him what his address was but could never reach him. Then, a very close online friend and I got in a small squabble resulting in contact being cut for a  month. We had talked daily for two years and suddenly having no friend there to talk to was tough. (Luckily, we've started talking again, even if it's much less than usual.)

But what of I, this Little Bird? I'm always asked what I see (since I think differently than my peers) and sometimes I just don't know. I'm flying away from my problems, only to have my maps and compasses fall and break along the way. People say that I've grown more introverted, shy, and breakable over the past year, and it's maybe because of everything breaking around me. 

Little bird, little bird, little bird
Where have you gone?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Getting Used to School (again)

It's been an interesting few days. My back hurts and my brain is absolutely fried. However, I do have a few observations to make on 8th graders:

Girls - The girls are wearing things that gross me out, for starters. Second, they bleach their hair and put on ridiculous makeup that makes them look weird. I don't understand. They wear short skirts that practically scream, "Want to see my panties? Go ahead!". Their usernames are "BooBoo Kitty F*ck" and "C*nty Wh*re" and are turning into "bad girls". It disgusts me!

Boys - The boys...have grown. They wish to be called "men". Chest hair has sprouted and voices have deepened. Some of the pompous boys have taken to flirting and wearing "bro tanks" from which anybody can see said chest hair when unlucky enough to get a side profile. In the words of my gym teacher, nobody wants to see that. You won't be getting hugs, either.

The Scene - When I say this, I mean the boyfriend/girlfriend scene. People have, people steal, people make out before they're faked out and/or replaced. I understand relationships to a point, and I know that the feelings for others are real. However, that gives nobody any reason to do it all on their first try. (Someone labeled me as "hopless" then told me to label my own romantic self. I said, "Frank Sinatra".)

My morning was interesting. It always is. This time, I sped into school and started by printing documents. I had walked with a friend of mine to the library. I printed documents then my friend (a "he who needs a shower but is real nice to be around" friend) challenged me to a game of chess over books and morning sleepiness. We ended in stalemate and walked as far as we could to our different first period classes together until we parted. Hanging out with that friend in the morning is a really good part of my day, as I feel happy in first period.

The rest of the day is composed of getting through classes. They aren't very hard for me and I'm making tons of new friends to go with the old. I break for lunch just after P.E. and I am able to mooch enough food off of my friends to feed myself, sometimes. This isn't exactly like my days at the college, but I could expect as much. Ah, well.

I've got to go, now. See you!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Portland's Runaways

Charlie on 12th

Charlie, please stop smoking
You can't be older than I
and Portland is very warm today. 
I see you sitting on 12th and Couch
Your mother's coinpurse
and a faulty lighter
By your feet. 
Charlie, I don't know your name
and your hair is a mess
Are you a boy? 
Charlie, why didn't you say a word? 
I asked you to stand 
so we wouldn't back into you
and you did. 
You smiled, flashed your pearly whites
Oh, I did love your teeth
and your expression when I said hello. 
Charlie, please stop smoking.
Charlie, please go home. 


Peyton on Burnside

Shoes worn through
khakis torn
Hair growing out
Hopping over Starbucks cups
Peyton, I see you. 
Peyton, where's your mama?
Peyton, you're thin. 
Pale, pink cheeks
Pimples just beginning life
Has to be fourteen
In trouble
In trouble
Peyton, I see you. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

My Trip to Portland, Day 2


Hello! I'm way too tired to talk about my entire thing today, but I'll show you pictures and some poetry.

Today, I went to Powell's Books
I got SERIOUSLY lost, but that was the best
part.
There was a giant manga section. I sent this picture
to my friends.
Oh, remember the tip jar
from this morning? Yeah. I got $5!
Poetry for the day:

"David's" Phone Beeped

A missed call! It chimes
making my heart race
and almost split the ladder. 

The Rose Room

There are books on the ceiling!
I admit, I'm overwhelmed
There aren't benches
I love it.

The Journal Corner

But, alas!
They're all so expensive.
Must I remember my own
principles of value?
My wallet growls. 

User Error

I'm curious
as to how this ladder will be set
to reach the dusty shelves by I
after I brunt the toast this morning. 

Re-Locating the Map in the Pearl Room

My lungs are dust
and filled with ink
and worn-away glue
and cutting pages
to my penniless heart. 
Heart races, nervous paces.
Wrong room, wrong room. 

Tip Jar!

...is all I have to say for now.

I was playing the piano at breakfast today.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hugo the Restaurant Dog at Oven and Shaker

Hey, everyone! Before I start the post, I wanted to thank everyone who's followed me in the past few days. Coming from other blogging endeavors, getting two followers in a day - which happened this morning - is very exciting for me, as well as getting one yesterday and the day before that. I am very pleased with where my blog is going based on these numbers, and it's full speed ahead!
I'm reporting "live" from Beaverton, Oregon at a very nice inn. We drove into Portland after a few hours of the cross-state culture-shock getting-over, walking around for some time before finding a kissing dog-friendly restaurant by the name of Oven and Shaker.

Hint: Fried Chickpeas Make Good Dog Treats
We sat outside with my dog sitting on the bench opposite to mine. He gleefully distracted the people at the table behind him and all the wait staff who passed. In the meantime, I had a very nice non-alcoholic drink that was some sort of grapefruit juice with a wedge of starfruit. (The starfruit was very good, I have to say. Haven't had very much exotic fruit past jackfruit and durian since my trip to Bali in the second grade.)

Headless person on the right. Photo Editing Gold.
Then, there was the picture that I wanted to take. Sitting a few tables away from us was a man alone with a small alcoholic drink (margarita?) and a thick book. He sat there, hand in his short-trimmed dreads and then on the table or turning a page. Otherwise, he was pouring more water for himself, having gotten three-quarters of the way to the bottom of the bottle by the time I noticed halfway into my pizza.  He sat there, reading and twirling the plant-holder for longer than we had been seated, I noticed, until I was popping the last few fried chickpeas into my mouth. Onto the platform walked a girl whose long hair was braided into one very long strand. I only saw the back of her head, but the man reading had forgotten to mark his page as he gestured for her to sit. I rejoiced in that his loneliness had been broken. I can't imagine the shame and sadness of going to a restaurant so formal as this one (Not so formal, but not a Starbucks) without someone to spend time with. My heart goes out to this man and my curiosity in the meantime will wander towards his book.

Night 1 of Portland was pretty good! Catch you all tomorrow.

Ruby

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thoughts on a Writing Plan

This year, having stumbled upon an extra composition book, I have decided to improve my fiction this year by developing a writing plan to focus on certain elements as I work on my NaNoWriMo novel. Here's my plan as of yet:

August-September - Character Relations (devlopment, dialogue, background integration)
October-November - Setting and Description (or as I say, set-n'-descrip)
November - NaNoWriMo! I'm hoping to finish my novel during this month.
December-January - Specific Characters (Thinking back to August and focusing on single characters and how they handle themselves)

New Notebook after January (or whenever it gets filled)

February-March - Extras, Extras, Extras! (Poetry, Song, Fairy Tale)
April-May - Short Story Work (I mean, this will be happening the entire time, but more focus.)
June-July - NaNo Focus, Probably Beginning of Editing Phase II

I'll start posting entries to Character Relations once or twice a week with my favorite bits and bobs. Until then, I'll be off. Ciao!




Monday, August 26, 2013

The Boy Behind the Tree

In my apartment, there are three instruments which I play daily; two guitars - electric and acoustic - and a keyboard. As a pianist of four years, I love classical and general improvisation of modern pieces, though any bit suffices. As stated in the Realer Life, children of all ages run past my back door every day, causing my dog to go bonkers if I don't hold him myself. However, my dad was taking the dog for a drive and I got to stay inside and amuse myself. After a little Doctor Who, I decided to download sheet music for Clara's Theme and play it on my keyboard. I pulled up the sheets (which were fairly easy) and began working it out. I got through the entire piece a few times and started working on individual bits. I ran through the piece once more, trying to make out the struggle of the Doctor's attempt at understanding his Impossible Girl. I struck the final chords and raised my hands.
At this point, a ray of sunlight had made its way through the trees and above the building before us, landing right where my electric guitar had been stood up. I turned towards it in PNW-y fascination to catch the face of a boy around my age peeking out from behind one of the last natural cedars. He was wearing a red soccer jersey which stood out especially when I saw him in the parking lot hours later. From behind the tree, he laughed and ran away.
Thinking speculatively as a person pretending to be older, I was flattered to see someone - especially a boy, if I choose to revert to my own age for a moment - enjoying the art which was laughed upon at my school. I'm finding that this realer life, though it can be stereotyped, is sweeter than it has ever been. It's almost too picturesque. People enjoying their lives regardless of income and social standing. If one can ride a bike, scooter, or run, they are welcome. Even if they can sit and talk, they are included. Children - and I could have been one of them - roam the lots and yards, laughing and hanging out every day in the sun. I feel out of place, being that one girl who never speaks and tends to keep to herself, her dog, and her keyboard. Perhaps, with the help and support of Tree Boy, I'll find my way into the ray of light.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Sale: Repost from Devereaux's Dungeons

As a new D&D player, I feel similar to D.S. Devereaux in this post.



I've been asked before, "Dev, what do you need to play D&D?". At one point a few months ago, I would have listed books and bits for player support and things. However, I now realize that all I needed to play - whether I wanted it or not - was a king heart and wide smile. I play with a notebook, pencils, character sheet, and dice. As I play more, I have come to realize that none of these items were ever bought by me. My notebook was a birthday present (It's a very nice notebook!) and so were my dice. My character sheet was downloaded from the Playtest Packet, and I was given the pencil before I played a particular day. My two promotional and one ranger-style d20's were gifts, as was my map of Baldur's Gate.
A friend of mine was very excited to play. She went to a store a few days ago and bought $200 worth of 4e D&D swag for a fifth of the price, as well as Magic and Kaijudo decks for free. She sent me a photo shortly after. I was very disheartened. I can't easily afford the books and I'm very blessed to be able to playtest for free, thanks to WotC. I'm essentially the bottomfeeding gamer junkie, rid of any way to buy anything shiny.
I went to Encounters that week feeling swamped over by the friend's picture. I realized how little I had and from that I felt like a lesser player. I walked into the store with a Dr. Pepper and a d10 necklace (Pretty much all of my "expensive" D&Swag.). There, I started talking with the others as normal. The DM was happy to see that I had turned up and waved through the window while talking on the phone. I sat back in my normal seat, opening my notebook and taking out my character sheet, crisp from being printed just hours before.
During the game, I fumbled with my d10 a little bit and one player suggested that I get one from the store we were at - the price was particularly low - and offered that I use his d10 until the end of the session. Nar became ravenously hungry (a very scary sight) and the DM offered his filled M&Ms punchcard for her to use. I began to come to grips with the fact that everything my friend had wasn't needed at all. I had everything I needed - a knowledge of the rules and dice - all as gifts through bits of kindness. I realized that D&D wasn't about shiny books and sparkly dice; It was about kindness and fun. These players - REAL players, not just enthusiasts - would happily give to others as needed and from this have taught me a very powerful lesson. So what if they have everything that my friend has and more? They don't flaunt their merch, they teach and give all that they have taken in.
From this, I have the shiniest, hardest to afford bit of D&D swag in the world - humility even more than books and sparkle. I will never, ever let this go.

devereauxdnd.blogspot.com (re-posted with permission)
 Dev teaches a powerful lesson here. Many things in this world don't require all the shiny things, even though they've been categorized to do so. I'm a pianist; I don't need a grand Steinway and crystal-backed metronome. I use a keyboard and a website. I'm a student; I don't need the latest calculator and Juicy backpack to go with my Blackberry. I have a TI from a few years ago, a backpack that smells like fallen pizza, and a phone that makes calls and checks my e-mail.
Dev also points out that  the players who she interacts with are genuine and "real", as I have referenced before. What an amazing post! Nice job, Dev!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dear Lily: Songwriting

Occasionally, I dabble in song lyrics, that which I will now attempt:

(Sad and slow) (Piano chrods)
One day, we'll find our names up there
People pointing to the bright lights
One day, we'll make them stop and stare
And realize what they have dreamed.

(In marvel) (Clarinet/Piano/Drums)
Isn't it new?
Isn't it marvelously, scarily appealing
To see in Times New Roman
Cambria, and Comic Sans - our names!

(whispered) (I can't even believe the fame!)

(Cue brass)
Oh, Lily, my dear
Excitement is near
Just cue in the encore
Bring in the brass --

(Back down to a softer tone)
Because one day
We'll regret we threw it all away

(Exclaimed) But hey, darling, we've got a life to live! (Cue brass back in)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Brick Boxes on Magnolia: Why Perfect is the Scariest Thing Ever

 
This is my favorite cover of the song.

When I sit in their livingroom with a cup of hot cider during a morning such as today's, I'm flooded with perfect. How else does one explain it?

Well, the little girls -
They do all their chores
Save allowances for the candy stores
And they come out holding boxes
And they smile, all the same. 

And the troublemakers
In their Cadillacs 
Don't cut any of the nerds some slack
And they walk through the town as the day breaks
Pickpocket, all the same. 

As a followup post to I Burped My Mother Today, I am reflecting on one of my favorite Youtube videos and what I have observed in my current life. 
As I am helping my mother recover from her surgery, we are staying with family friends in Magnolia. Living in Woodinville, I'm used to walking between nice houses with nice yards and barking dogs. I wouldn't have ever dreamed of actually living in one, though. 
I told my mother, "Mom, the people here walk to the town and drop cookies at one another's houses. Then, Corinne and I went to the park, and I found all these people who I didn't know. I played tag and picked berries with them!". However, as I reflect on that with a moment to myself, I only now realize how different my life is from the one I'm living now. 
It's scary, actually. I'm used to turning the lights off and saving some food for the following day. Heck, even as I'm a teen, I watch my sugar and salt intake and think about how much money is being spent on summer activities and the like, even though I don't spend any of the money used myself. I think about these things when I'm at home, though. Things like how my dad is doing in the apartment or how my mom is doing in the house. When I'm here, in my "Mega Magno Mansion", it's all Doctor Who (a luxury that I hadn't yet discovered nor will I be able to use when I go home) and iced tea. The phenomenon of something so different, and so wonderful, is the worst thing I have ever gone through. 
When I get up in the morning, I check my laptop. I reply to any roleplays and try to start a blog post, as well as write. Then, I walk with the two other teens in the house into the "village" on what I call "the far side of the concrete hill" in spirit of Jean Craighead George. Then, we return for lunch and an episode or two of Doctor Who. Then, we mill around and do our chores, where mine is taking care of my mother. We eat dinner, and I check my laptop again, most likely stroking their cat or one of the two dogs - one of which is mine - as I finish any posts and wrap up my thoughts. Before we watch one more episode on the big-screen TV, I cartoon my thoughts (as I like to do sometimes) and settle down for one more adventure. Then, after I shoo the girls away, I sleep on the couch, which serves as my bed. I dreamt this week of the TARDIS and chocolate cake. 
Not a single thing went horribly wrong, either. No drunken neighbors, no yard-waste-bin thieves from across the street and no mean mothers coming to pick up their toddlers from their smoking Nana's house. Something to worry about and chew on - to me, at least - is stimulating. It gives me something to work around and makes me tougher. This life that I'm living now, however, is just...scary. Everything can be poked, but it won't change shape or develop an abnormality, no matter how hard you punch and kick at it. Even if you lodged tacks in its heart, the life would remain so wonderfully perfect that it would kill me. 

Still alive here, 

Ruby

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ms. Naive and the Individual

It will happen, my dear
The tearing of flesh
From your out-puffed chest
My dear, it will.

But should you choose, my dear
the fork and spoon
Over I? Go ahead -
My dear, you shall. 

Why do you run, my dear
away from the bees?
The stigmas they carry on their fuzzy backs
My dear, their fuzzy consciences

Why must I leave, my dear
away to whichever fandom is next
Never staying long - not ever
My darling, your winds are raging.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Burped My Mother Today

I remember tracing my fingers over the flowers on my mother's quilt, surrounded by the silence of the sad little room lit only by the fiery gossip from the dining table. All the more I remember that I'm but an alien in this house where my mother is staying. I haven't ever stayed longer than three days, but now I'm expected to be here for upwards of ten.
My fingers kept rubbing together as I tried to distract myself in my not-aunt's (In which case I just call her aunt, and on the blog, Naunt.) GMC as we neared Swedish Hospital. I talked my chapped lips off about the boys who I am friends with (Whose misadventures will soon surface here!) and how they react to my occasional bout of girlishness.
I didn't know what to expect. I remember when I had surgery around this time last year; I was groggy from anesthetic and had been fed wonderful things. However, I remembered less if my eyes were droopy or if I had a little dry drool on my cheek. I didn't know what someone six-hours-out looked like. In my head, I wondered if my mother would be helpless as a baby. I knew that a friend (Gogrammer, officially) would be watching over her, and in that I have faith. Still, I have found the peaceful silence and fear emanating from every crystal-clean surface to be scarily unnerving. Wouldn't you think the same?
She was there, asking for chapstick and a milkshake (and her Lactaid pills). Her eyes sagged a little and the machine connected to her IV clicked and sounded off. From there, I ordered her dinner and edited her goals for tomorrow to be along the likes of "Mars Landing" and "TARDIS Repairs". A day well done, I'd call it, so long as she'd have been home about eight hours ago. 
I'm in the same place as last night, writing the same old post in the same old position on this raggedy beanbag. Naunt is talking downstairs and I imagine that, albeit the time difference, my grandmother (Oma, officially) is still up. My mother should be home tomorrow, and I ought to go to bed. Goodnight, world. I'll take you to the Market with me next.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I See the Room Where my Mother Will Be

I see the room where my mother will be
Clean and yellow-white
Clean enough to wipe a tear away, as if she'll die on impact.

I see the room where my mother will be
It smells like flowers
Like that in powder to clot the surgical drip as if it will keep her bound.

I see the room where my mother will be
It's as if she'll die there
As if she'll waste away.

I hear the room where the gossip will be
I'm sitting on her linens. 
A shrill laugh erupts over Doritos, as if she'll waste away.

I see the room where my mother will be
I'll channel the waste
And without haste
I'll leave let her sleep.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

September Portfolio Project: Process of Editing

cellar_door_films on Flickr

As I title my posts, I imply that each passing "day" is a day of actually doing things. There was one day before the first post where I got my ideas, and I've procrastinated most of the week after the first post. As a refresher, my September Portfolio Project is for the common case of people asking what I write. I have also decided to enter my story in the Bainbridge Student Writing Contest under a realer name (Cos, you know, there is a realer life when you power down the computer.).
Yesterday, I finished my zero draft. Being a teenage writer, the very thought of going through an entire draft and ripping it up sounded (and still sounds) horrendous, but I have powered through 1/4 of the three-page "zero draft".

...okay, so that means about 3/4 of a page, but that doesn't mean that's all I did! I drew a TARDIS on my desk, too.

At this point, to cater to contest rules, I have greatly shortened my plot and draft length to three pages. Condensing it all was probably one of the hardest things I've done. Still, I got to the point where all the characters were introduced after the first page, tension rose, and action ensued. There is still quite a bit that I am working on (as in the rising action - so hard in short pieces) and that I'm refining. (Are those things on butterflies' wings...scales?) I'll be sure to get some more to you guys later. However, there's no excerpt today...now that I've edited, everything sounds horrible...


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fitting in as a College Kid (and Doing Alright)

I can only pray that nobody peers over a certain shoulder - that of the short Asian girl who never says a word and sips cautiously at the school food that nobody else seems to be eating - and sees this post being written at the same time. However, with one comes the others, and I don't know any of these people. As I employ my skills of single-handed typing (from a few too many sprained wrists), I find myself in the almost-lively cafeteria of Bellevue College.
As a teen, I'm generally social. I'm happy to start conversation with people at my school who I don't really know and hope for the best. Frankly, though, it's a little intimidating when the people around you are all much taller than you are and know maths beyond even your advanced classes. I look around and see faces of people taking a break from biochem 160 or taking data for the statistics class. In fact, when those students come around I am forced to reveal my identity as not from here.
Don't get me wrong - I love BC. The campus is very pretty and the people seem alright to be around - at least from my observations - if not friendly in general. I find art everywhere, whether in the form of a statue in the courtyard or this wonderful sun-speckled mural on the cafeteria window. I haven't yet gained the confidence to talk to too many people, though; I ordered some soup and asked for directions but barely spoke audibly. However, the atmosphere is lively and friendly. I'm only intimidated by my own standards of peers. I actually hope to meet a few people and be able to chat, since I'll be here most of the week.
My mother's taking a class in the science building - biochem 160, as I said - and I've spent most of my time there or in the cafeteria. There's a wall-sized window that looks right out at the courtyard, and the chairs near there are marvelous for my back. Mom says that I would fit in well as a college student mind that I would have needed to finish my high school education. After taking summer classes this year, I was feeling pretty big-headed as I hadn't many to talk with. Now that I'm at the college and around folks speaking humbly about their algebra work, I feel a little smaller in ego, too. I'm thinking that this has prevented me from talking to many, though I'm sure I'll find an acquaintance at one point or another.
In comparison to my last post, BC is very diverse. Wherever I go, a new language is added to the fluency list of the student population. Because it's finals week for many, groups of students (many of the same ethnicity as their peers) chatter about course coverage and testing, at least from what I can see when papers and passed around. Many of these people are excited for the end of their courses, though I can pry a few anxious faces from the crowd. I feel pretty bad for them, and I often mentally with others luck.
With that said, I'm not going to look at anyone. As a growing teen, I've become more immersed in social problems revolving around older teens and young adults. Colleges seem to be hotspots for all sorts of danger, and I'm keeping a careful eye out for anyone following me too fast. From my careful writerly observations, though, I've been introduced to a medley of characters through the people there. For instance, there's this one guy who has worn a top hat and schmancy clothing for the past few days. He seems alright. TopHat hung out at a table near mine yesterday and was pretty nice to the others. (Drat, I feel like a primary teacher...) I'll probably be running into him again some time.

As for my NaNoWriMo and other projects, my NaNo file was corrupt and refused to open yesterday morning, resulting in a loss of 6,000 words. I decided to join my mom here so I could get more work done...yeah, that's going pretty well, considering that I spent the past fifteen minutes blogging...

All the best and more soon,

Ruby

Update (minutes later): Okay, I'm back in the science building. Someone just sat down across from me. She looks alright. Lady just walked by walking her pet dog, doesn't give a crud. I wish my dog were here and wouldn't chew everything up.