Monthly Resolution check-in

It’s almost March, and that means that my monthly resolution is up! I had originally stated that I would read 5 books this month and, surprise surprise, I actually achieved my goal! Here are the 5 books I read:

Unaccustomed Earth Never Let Me GoCrime and Punishment, The Hunger Games trilogy (this counts as one since the books weren’t hard to read), and Chasing Shakespeare (which unfortunately turned out to be a waste of time. I’d give it maybe a 2 out of 5).

Hmmm… I guess the list I made in the beginning of the month didn’t actually help me at all, seeing how I only read 2 books out of my suggested list. But on the bright side, I did read 5 books this month!

For March, I think I’m going to amp it up to 6 books to continue widening my literary horizons (cough cough so incredibly cheesy cough cough).

What books am I going to read, you ask? Well, since my list for this month didn’t really help, I’ll just post a tentative list here of the books that I want to read, just so that if I start thinking that I have no more books to read, I can look back at this post and be proven wrong.

  • The Europeans by Henry James—this is fairly short, about the same length as his Washington Square, which I loved and read pretty quickly. So it shouldn’t be too hard, unless I lose focus and start getting hooked on embarrassing reality shows (thank GOD The Bachelor is almost over. My Tuesdays were pretty much consumed by The Bachelor).
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin—a book I got from my favorite used bookstore that’s been sitting on my shelf, just waiting for me. I bought it on a whim so I’m really excited to see if it’s good or not.
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster—I know. I’ve been saying that I will read this for a while now. Hopefully this month I actually do.
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières—I was so excited to read this when I first made my literary resolution, but when I went to the bookstore to buy it, I got sidetracked by the other books, and I left without buying it. But this month, I will go to the bookstore without getting sidetracked, and I will read that book because it sounds amazing!

Now that I have my tentative list, let’s see if I can actually accomplish my resolution for March!

Being a good student isn’t always a good thing

I’m a nerd—an English nerd to be precise. I love to read, annotate and I love class discussions. I’m pretty much a model student in my English class, which, oddly enough, is the reason why I have this problem.

We recently started our poetry unit in which my teacher’s been going over meter, masculine/feminine rhymes, and other terms relating to poetry. Everything was fine and dandy; my original apprehension disappeared when I realized that we weren’t going to be critiquing poems, and I began enjoying the lessons and even looking forward to them.

However, that is until I tried to use these new techniques to improve my poetry. I just sat there, scratching out words, ideas, stanzas, and then everything. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I can’t write, or at least not at the moment, because all of my creativity is being sucked up by the terms and tools we were given in class.

For instance, I’ll write a line down and then think to myself “No, the meter’s all wrong, and I don’t want a feminine rhyme here” or “Should I put more sibilant sounds here to add to the meaning of my poem?” It’s as if I’m editing the poem before I’ve even written it and that all of the lessons and lectures that I gobbled down so eagerly has started making me second guess myself even when I’m in the middle of a line. I’ll start writing with a clear vision and by the end of it, I’ll have nothing but a million scratch marks that are all I can show for my hours worth of work.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love learning about poetry in class, but my love of learning is seriously impeding my love of writing poetry. I miss writing poetry passionately and only then going back to edit it, and I miss that cathartic feeling of getting all of my emotions out on paper without even thinking about it.

I guess I’m going to have to take a break from writing poems for a while. That way, I can wait for these lessons sink in, and once that has happened, hopefully I can start writing without second guessing myself.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

By William Shakespeare:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

—Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

I know this poem is overdone, but it’s one of my favorites and it’s so beautifully illustrative of the emotion Shakespeare is trying to capture that I thought I’d put it up here anyway.

Our work isn’t done yet

Let’s avoid going back to that darkened tunnel
when our mouths were strapped shut by that age-old muzzle,
and we were pushed by a strapping car with a white collar
that ran on its insistent need for incessant power.

The history books flap to Ceausesçu’s Romania,
reminding us to learn from the past’s manic mania.
We must not stand by the wayside and watch
as our gender gets browbeaten, discarded and tossed,

because we are more than just bunnies or sex slot machines;
we are Women. We must fight for our rights and our needs.
We are Women. We may practice different faiths or beliefs,
but we are strong, and we will be heard, and we will be seen.

jealousy

i feel sick.
Green bile is spewing inside of me.
my Eyes twitching left and right
to avoid your face, avoid the crinkles

that form your cheery cheeks,
your twinkling eyes.
i’m despicable, i know
i’m a Monster underneath the pretense.

you don’t realize this because you have branded
my face with a barcode that reads: friend.
though i’m not nice, not really;
i’m half-dead.

i’m horrible, i’m wicked,
but i have a collection of masks
so you’ll never know i’m heartbroken,
that i can’t stand you basking in the sun,

because I hate that my eyes fill with tears
instead of joy over your good news.
because i’m a jealous mess and i’m no good
for someone as honest, as pure as You.

The Hunger Games/mainstream novels

“ALRIGHT ALREADY! You were right and I was wrong. Yes, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a fantastic book, and you have full rights to mock me because, after complaining about how this book wasn’t deserving of all its accolades, I am now in love with it.”

Or at least, that’s what I would have said to my friends if they weren’t so sweet and gracious enough to forget my annoying rants about The Hunger Games and refrain from saying “I TOLD YOU THAT ALREADY, SUCKER!” Instead, they just gushed with me about the amazingness of The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games is a fast-paced read that deals with a dystopian society, which seems to be a meld of reality TV and barbarianism. I don’t want to give too much away for those of you who still haven’t read it yet, but it’s certainly thrilling and gripping, to the point where I didn’t do any homework, study for any tests or go to sleep at a reasonable hour (read: stayed up until 2 am and only fell asleep because the iPad ran out of battery) because I was so engrossed in it. I even contemplated skipping school so I could read it.

However, it’s just that—just a book that’s exciting and filled with action. It doesn’t have any deeper meaning, and that is just as it should be since it’s a YA novel and doesn’t need to be packed with motifs, symbols and deep ideas…. which brings me to my next point.

In my English class a few days ago, my English teacher started talking about The Help, a book I found to be a wonderful and nice read. Apparently, she thought otherwise. Without explaining why, she told the class never to read The Help, and that it was not at all a good book.

Yes, we’re all entitled to our own opinions, but I had a feeling that the reason she didn’t like it was because she was reading it with the wrong mindset. The Help, while fabulous in its own way, is not a particularly deep or intellectual novel. It’s not even that historical, since many people from around that time state that the situation was much worse than the author, Kathryn Stockett, portrayed it to be. But besides all that, it is a good story about empowerment and finding your own voice.

That said, mainstream novels are not meant to be analyzed or critiqued the way classics are. I would never spend days poring over each color mentioned in The Hunger Games or ruminating over possible symbols in The Help. In fact, I finished The Hunger Games in just over one day, and I listened to The Help on an audiotape. I wonder if this is why my teacher didn’t like the book, and I wish that she had read it with the right mindset, because it is a good novel. Yes, it isn’t a work of art, but it’s a nice book that I enjoyed reading (or listening to, I guess).

Of course, I didn’t say that out loud because she’s an amazing teacher and I would never want to seem like I’m disrespecting her, but I did feel a little sad that we didn’t share the same opinion.

What about you? Have you ever read a book with the wrong sort of mindset and then revisited it later only to find that you love it?

The Hunger Games Rating: 3.5/5

The Kreativ Blogger and Versatile Blogger awards

Wow! I just got nominated for the Kreativ Blogger award and Versatile Blogger award, and I am so happy and surprised right now! It’s such a nice feeling to know that not only do people read my posts and poems, but they also appreciate them. I am just so thrilled right now… I wish I could find words that explain how I feel in better terms. Elated? Joyful? Effervescent?

Either way, I would like to thank all of you who read my blog! It’s great to have kind, helpful readers like you, because you really do help me grow as a poet and as a person. Also, a special thanks to wantoncreation for nominating me for these awards and also— congratulations for being nominated for these awards as well! You’ve kind of been my online poetry mentor, showing me new styles of poetry and also motivating me to write and experiment with poems. Actually, I think you were the first person who commented on my poetry, so thank you so much for all your advice and for nominating me!

So here’s how the award works. I have to write 10 facts about myself that I haven’t already told you, and then I have to nominate a few bloggers myself. Hereeeee goes!!!

1. I love long car rides. Not because of the destination, but because it’s a time when I can sit, listen to my music and contemplate life. I probably would like it a whole lot more if I could read without puking in the car (I’m such a weakling when it comes to car sickness. Or anything for that matter), but I really do enjoy calm car rides, just sitting in the passenger seat. In fact, I actually prefer it if people don’t talk during long car rides, because it allows me to collect my thoughts and enter that dream-like state when you just you feel relaxed and calm.

2. I am allergic to dust. This means that I was allergic to stuffed animals as a child, a fact that my friends can never get over and always pity me for.

3. I’m the Managing Editor of my school newspaper. I’m pretty much second-in-command, which means that I don’t have to make all of the hard decisions, but I still get an overall view of the production of the paper and I’m still able to edit people’s articles. So it’s pretty amazing 🙂 And on that note…

4. I love editing. It’s almost like I’m a paleontologist who gently removes the dust away from the skeleton to reveal an awe-inspiring collection of dinosaur bones. I love trying to make other people’s good writing great, and, oddly enough, I love how the paper looks like when I’ve finished editing it, and it’s all covered in colorful ink. Although, I’m sure the person who receives my edits positively hates me.

5. Stress balls make me more stressed. Whenever I try to squeeze a stress ball, I feel the need to squeeze it until it pops, which, as a stress ball, it never does. And all of this squeezing and wishing the stress ball would just POP ends up making me more stressed.

6. I can wiggle my ears without touching them, which is a skill that will serve me well throughout my life (sarcasm alert).

7. My dream job is to work at The New Yorker as an editor. I know it’s pretty impossible, but-hey-that’s what dreams are for, aren’t they?

8. Although I love reading, something in me is against picking up a new book, particularly if it’s highly recommended. I don’t understand this, but the more people who tell me I should read a certain book, the more I don’t want to. And then I read the book and realize that it’s AMAZING and that I was a fool. This is true for movies and for music. I guess I’ve got a little hipster inside me, wanting to eschew all things mainstream 🙂

9. One of the items on my “before I turn 30” bucket list is to shave my head. My mom told me of a temple in Chennai, India where people go to pray for good luck and, as a sacrifice of sorts, shave their head. I’m don’t practice Hinduism; in fact, I’m not really religious at all, but I think that this is a great way to identify with my Indian heritage.

10. I’m a scorpio, and in pretty much every single horoscope I’ve read, this means that I’m either a slut, someone with anger management problems, or both. I hate being a scorpio.

Hope you enjoyed my random facts! If not, here are a few bloggers that I’m nominating for this award, who I think you will enjoy:

Thank you once again!