Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Trip - Sacramento

Sacramento Capitol dome
When my little brother, Mama and I went through Sacramento on the way to UC Davis for a Public Speaking Contest, we made a quick detour to see the State Capitol. The architecture was breathtaking. It reminded me of how great artists were once revered, encouraged and most importantly funded, to do what they did best: create.

Mama at Capitol staircase.
In a time of cheap labor and fast deadlines, nothing great will ever be built again, unless someone begins to take an example from the Medici family and start funding the Leonardo of today. Otherwise, there will be nothing left of us but the rubble of quickly put together plans of today, which won’t be worth remembering tomorrow. We are in the dark ages and if you don’t think so: look at the Sacramento State Capitol and name one thing that has been created in this century that can even remotely measure up. Even the stair rails are pieces of art!
Wooden bear head staircase decoration

Monday, May 30, 2011

45 ~ Shinedown

 Hey, I'm back!
  I have decided to start off with a video about depression (no nothing is wrong, it's just the way I roll.) I really enjoy the symbolism in "45" by Shinedown. Everyone has felt those moments where your life has gone in directions that you never planned they would, and no matter what you do it goes from bad to worse. The key to making it through those times is not to give up, I know, easier said than done. It's good to listen to songs like this during those times, it lets you know you're not alone in feeling this way. You're not the only one "staring down the barrel of a 45".
Shinedown

 Here's the link to the video, enjoy:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L9xMkiPJeU

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Disney Therapy

Me at the White Rabbit's House
Disneyland Resort-California
If you’re feeling really up tight, you just need a Disney break. If you live near a Disneyland resort, I strongly recommend getting an annual pass. If you don’t live near a resort, then don’t be bashful and dig up some old Disney videos and watch them. Smile, laugh, and just have fun with wonderful Disney.
  I’m going to be going away, without any access to a computer, so I’ll be back by Sunday, I think, but I may not be in the mood to post. See you by next Monday for sure! Lots of love.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inspiration (Story)

The artist stared at the blank canvas as she had been for the past hour. Occasionally she would pick up one of her brushes, and then would debate what paint jar to dip it into. Then deciding she didn’t wasn’t the brush she had first chosen, she fumbled in her helter skelter pile of brushes before choosing one more to her liking. Picking up a jar of the lightest grey with determination, she dipped in only the very tip of her brush. Then gazing at the canvas again, decided to apply a little more paint to the brush. After all of this fuss, she returned to her prior employment of staring at the canvas with not so much of a whisper of an idea of who or what image to begin to create on the empty canvas.
So many possibilities, the canvas was the empty universe, and she was god, she could do anything, create anything she wished. She had the instruments, the power, and yet she could not bring herself to think of anything worth taking the time to create. To have all the power and being unable to come up with a subject was quite the conundrum. It would have been comical, if it weren’t so frustration.
What she needed was the first building block to begin laying the foundation of creativity and that was inspiration. Inspiration could come in so many forms, she knew this, and yet she came up with nothing. The numerous subjects for the painting, and the endless ways of getting an idea for the painting are so plentiful, that it seemed impossible that there should be a lack of an idea. Yet, here she was with nothing.
An empty canvas, making her the artist: a failure.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Collection of Death Stories

I think I’m finally ready to write then send out some query letters for “A Slice of Life Death”. I’m usually nervous at this point in the process, but after receiving so many “no” and non-replies from other agencies on my other books that were, in my opinion, so much better than this book, that I can’t even work up the energy to get nervous. I’ve decided it’s just not worth it. That’s not to say, I’m not going to give writing my query my best shot or anything like that. I’m just not nervous anymore; I’m not giving up either, so that’s got to be a good thing, right?
If anybody knows any name for agent or publishing houses that publish collections of short stories, let me know with a comment on my blog and that’d be great! Thanks!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"21 Guns" ~ Green Day


This is a beautiful arrangement for a great song "21 Guns" by Green Day. Don't be shy with the "replay" button. I think Billie Joe from Green Day said it best when he said "Do it again."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Awake!



Sleep, sleep, sleep,

The cradling silence

Wraps me up in blankets

Of forgiving oblivion





Strange dreams of the sleeping mind’s

Sour and sweet nectar drink

And guilty pleasure:

Comes at no price.

Sleep, sleep, sleep.






Wake! Wake! Wake!

Wake I say and greet the sun

The father of life and breath.

The flowers open their petals

So must your eyes.








March the march,

Fight the fight,

Or walk alone on your own path.

 
 



Wait, wait, wait!

Peaceful is hard

War is easy.





 


If peace were easy,

They’d do it

If war were hard,

They wouldn’t partake.






Stay, stay, stay

Watch a sun rise

Count the stars

It won’t take long.







Our lives are over in a twinkling,

So take your time,

No rushing here.

Wait and stay, wait and stay.






Sleep…sleep……sleep………….



Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Raven - I Adore You

Today was very exciting. I went to a public speaking contest early this morning (a few minutes past eight o’clock). At the moment of arrival I realized that I didn’t have “The Raven and other poems" by Edgar Allen Poe with me, which was the book I was going to be reading out of for my interpretive reading. (How the interpretive reading category works is you pick a selection from a book of your choice, and you have an introduction of the selection you’re about to read and then a closing statement.) So, my older brother rushed it over, which was really sweet of him, I know he wasn’t planning on getting up that morning, so I ruined that pretty thoroughly.  
 
  When it was finally my turn to go up I opened with the following words to the judges: “I’m going to be doing quite a bit of acting: I’m going to be pretending I’m awake.” I wish I could say their laughter helped me from being too nervous, though I’m really glad they did laugh, because that would have been really awkward. I’ve had the awful experience of telling a joke in front of an audience and being met with silence, it’s not something you want to happen to you, let me tell you that.

  After I was about halfway through the poem I started to get lost in Poe’s wonderful writing and I calmed down, and had fun. I didn’t really practice the closure to my interpretive reading, however, I didn’t tell the judges and they didn’t need to know.

   Amazingly enough, I won the gold award in my category… It just shows that "The Raven" really is great... Shit, now I have to get ready for State next week; I might actually need to practice for that.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Anne Boleyn's Execution Anniversary

For my eighteenth birthday I got a history book called “The Lady in the Tower – The Fall of Anne Boleyn” by Alison Weir. Words cannot describe how thrilled I was to see it. I’m enthralled with English history, but especially that of the Tudor dynasty. It’s so much more intriguing than a soap opera because it actually happened. Alison Weir is an excellent historian, and while I don’t always agree with her conclusions, she always includes other opinions and theories of other historians and why they feel that way, and it is all wonderfully written. The combination of a great writer/historian and one of the most dramatic moments of English history equals a great book.
 










Anne Boleyn

I believe Queen Anne was convicted on trumped up charges by her enemies for her opinions on religious reforms. She was reputed for her brilliant mind and offended many who would have been her friends with her stubborn nature and sharp tongue. Queen Anne had always had a strong influence on her husband Henry VIII, making her an even bigger problem with her political adversaries. Evidence and documentation shows that even in the weeks leading up to her arrest, she still wielded some power over King Henry. However, in her failing to bare the King her husband and her country with a living son, she lost a lot of her much-needed royal favor.

Elizabeth
Anne’s enemies needed to find a way to bring down her and her faction in a swift and single blow that would be so terrify that no one would dare say “nay” for fear of their own necks, and good enough to convince the easily influenced Henry, who had already set his eyes on Jane Seymour. History shows that Anne’s enemies succeeded. Ever the court flirt, she unwittingly handed her enemies a way to destroy her and her entire faction so effectively and thoroughly that to even speak Anne Boleyn’s name for the remainder of Henry VII’s reign and into that of his son’s Edwards, Lady Jane Grey, and Mary I was ill-advised. It was not until Elizabeth I, Anne’s daughter, was crowned Queen, that Anne was spoken of openly in favorable tones.

"Anne Boleyn in the Tower"
After she was convicted of treason by way of plotting the king’s death and committing adultery with her co-conspirators:
Sir Henry Norris, Sir William Brereton, Sir Frances Weston, (all of whom were close friends of Anne’s and had the king’s ear on many issues) and Mark Smeaton (Henry VIII’s lute player), and incest with her own brother Lord Rochford, her husband managed to get an annulment of their marriage. Yes, an annulment, meaning that the marriage between Henry and Anne was never lawful, which means Anne couldn’t possibly have committed adultery if they weren’t married. That didn’t stop her from going to the scaffold and dying by way of the sword on May 19, 1536, for adultery, now did it?


Anne Boleyn
Painted around the time of her fall.

Never admitting her guilt, Anne all but denied it on the scaffold when she was making her last confession: her last chance to seek forgiveness before meeting her maker, and save her soul. Why she didn’t out-and-out denied it is because she knew by doing so she might provoke those who had condemned her to take it out on her cherished daughter Elizabeth.
 













Memorial for Queen Anne

Every year, since the 1960’s, on the anniversary of her death, anonymous persons order red roses to be placed on the memorial plaque in St. Peter ad Vincula which is said to mark the place where Anne’s body lies. However, a number of historians now believe that spot actually marks the where Katherine Howard (Henry VIII fifth wife) lies, and Anne’s body is beneath the memorial for Lady Rochford (who acted as go-between for Katherine Howard and her lover, and lost her head for it. It was also Lady Rochford’s testimony against her husband [George Boleyn] and Anne that was the primary evidence used to prove that Anne had committed incest with her brother. On the scaffold, Lady Rochford admitted that her testimony against her husband and sister in-law Anne was a lie). 
Henry VIII

Anne, handmaiden to Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII first wife, was raised up to be Queen, and then she was brought back down by the same men who raised her up and her handmaiden Jane Seymour. I find it intriguing that they never took Anne’s title of “Queen” away. Her coronation papers to become queen were not based upon her marriage to Henry, and they were never undone, and she went to the scaffold a queen. It is because of her infamous fall that we all get a little feeling of foreboding when we hear anyone reference the Tower of London, in which Anne was locked in the very rooms she slept in as she awaited her coronation to become queen, and later her daughter Elizabeth would be locked in those same rooms as she awaited her own fate by the hand of her sister Mary I.

  I find it eerie that I finished “The Lady in the Tower - The Fall of Anne Boleyn” on the 475th anniversary of Queen Anne’s death, so eerie in fact that I felt I had to share the fact with everyone.
Anne Boleyn

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Breakdowns

Sometimes when things in your life are compounding themselves on top of you, you need to make sure that they don’t start to pile up inside you too. Eventually your suppressed feelings will break out of you and spill all over the place – which is my colorful way of saying: “you’re having a breakdown babe”.

  Crying, screaming, and yelling are often the symptoms of a breakdown, but they can also help prevent you from having a breakdown. I know, it sounds counterintuitive, but I find it to be true. But these mini breakdowns or what not are actually healthier than letting them build up to the real deal.

  Also when you breakdown, you are not in control of what your breakdown will be about, and it can be over something stupid, and may have only the slightest connection (or no connection) to what your breakdown is really about. It’s better to have the little breakdowns that you can control when and where they will happen, than just snapping at that last straw that broke the camel’s back.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Daycare

Mike’s ears were ringing as he left the daycare where he worked. As a teen aged boy, he had gone to his share of rock concerts, and he’d thought the loud music was really bad, but it was nothing compared to the screams of the five to twelve year-olds at the center. The noise those little monkeys (as Mike called them when none of his co-workers were around) made was excruciating after half an hour, but staying for five hours like he had to was a new kind of hell.

  Then there was the fights, blood, pee, broken toys added to the mayhem. There was not one decent kid in the bunch. The new ones that started out okay always turned into one of the monkeys given enough time. It was as if the kids knew they were being abandoned by their parents and they were releasing all of their frustration on everything and everyone around them. Aaahh, the parents; they’re another case in and of themselves: rude, self-absorbed, inconsiderate monkeys in suits.


Monkeys, each and everyone, making more monkeys, then they all wonder why no one acts like a decent human being.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunshine

“I find I'm more creatively inclined when the sun is shining”~ Samantha Blackwell (Taken from my 5/17/11facebook status.
Why I'm bring up the subject of sunshine is because today I am being deprived of it by the clouds (greedy, can’t they share! There’s plenty of sun for everyone, if they’d just get out of the way then we all could enjoy it. Sometimes the clouds remind me of those annoying people at the beach who stand right in your sun shine. There is a whole beach for you to be standing in, why’d you pick right there!?)
My loss of sun is the reason my post is so late. Everything seems to take longer when the sun is absent in my life. It's as if my body is preserving energy in semi-hibernation. Whatever it is, it all goes back to: no sun.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Last Song I'm Wasting on You



I got a rejection from textbroker.com. This is going to be the last words I'm going to be waisting on them. So for my Monday music video is "The Last Song I'm Wasting on You" by Evanescence.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Just a Poem

In ties of purple and red
I sit in church; but inside my head
I walk in desert lands: that are my home.

In ties of purple and red,
I leave the road
And wander instead.

In ties of purple and red
I cry silent tears for those without bread
To eat on this rainy morning.

I wait patiently as the flute plays; therein
The empty place in my heart
Wonders when life will begin.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

You know you're a Writer When 1

You know you’re a writer when you have pads of paper and pens within easy access of your bed.  
Pretty much everyone who has been writing for a while at one point had a great idea right before they fell asleep. That’s just one of those weird things about our brains that just happens sometimes. We’re close to having an idea, but can’t quite break through to reach it. Then it comes to us right when we’ve stopped trying, but we can’t let it go by – wouldn’t it just be peachy if we forget the idea by the next morning? So now we always make sure we have a pad of paper and writing utensil close to our beds. Every the optimists: we writers are always anticipating the big breakthrough to occur anytime and at anyplace. Which isn’t a bad thing: we need that optimism to survive all the rejection letters and the non-responsive agents.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Reporting from the Writing Prison

After a day of Blogger not working on Thursday, which nearly drove me up the wall, I’m back to posting.  
  This week has been very eventful. I went and took my assessment test at my community college of choice and passed both the English and Reading test with flying colors, Math was unfortunately a different story, not that I was shocked, Math has never been my strong suit.

  I have edited and revised “A Slice of Life Death” and am getting ready to do it several more times before I start sending out queries to agents. The whole while I am continuing to edit “Survival”, which is taking longer due to its size, but I’m to chapter thirty-one of forty, so I’m almost there.

  It’s also the last week that I was told to wait for a reply from one agent, if they were interested they would contact me, and since they haven’t I am going to assume their answer was “no”. They were the last agent I was waiting on for my book “Samantha’s Animal Stories”.

  I think that gets you guys all up to date with what I’m doing. Till next week then.

Vitamin Dog

Whenever I’m feeling put out, or if I need something to lift my energy level up a notch or five, there is one person that will make everything alright: my dog. The master of the yard, the receiver of treats, and the lover of walks: that dog is everything. He’s got the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on an animal, and I swear he thinks he’s a puppy and doesn’t understand why my lap keeps getting smaller and smaller, when in fact he’s the one that’s changing sizes. He’s the most protective guy I know, he sleep just below my bedroom window to keep me safe.

  All I need to do is go outside when I’m not at my best and I’ll be smiling again in no time. I don’t know what I would do without my daily dose of vitamin D; I’d be a real case.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

College

Today I went down to the junior college that I plan upon attending in the fall. I looked around and figured out what my next step is in order to get in, and I'm still just as nervous as I was before I went there. I keep being told that it's nothing, I'll get used to college and then I'll wonder what the fuss was all about, I don't know why they bother saying it, it doesn't change the way I feel.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Life

Some say life is a train
Set on a track that can’t change
All joy is predetermined, as is pain
The track ends at a set age.

Others say life is a road
With many choices along the way
When you reach the end of one road
There is always another way.

I believe it is the last
For if life were a track
Then everything would come to pass
So much easier; without a way back

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Poems by Emily Dickinson

I have been keeping a small book of Emily Dickinson’s poetry by my computer: I read a bit while I’m waiting of something to load up, and I’ve come to find that I can read the exact same poem on two different days and sometimes I can understand what she is

trying to say better than other times. I think it has everything to do with my mood. If the poem is subtly rebellious to the higher order of things and I am in a similar state of mind I will pick up her meaning a lot better than if I were at peace with the world and was trying to read the same poem, in which case I will have trouble understanding its meaning.

  To write poetry that is entirely written with raw emotion through symbolism is an incredibly difficult task (I know because I’ve tried). While poets sometimes frustrate me “Why can’t they just say what they mean straight out instead of using ridiculous, and overly decorated and exaggerated innuendos?” However I do recognize that reading and writing such poetry does exercise one’s mind, and expands one’s vocabulary as well.

  So, I shall keep Emily Dickinson beside my computer, besides it’s a good way to spend the time as pointless and life sucking advertisements load onto my server screen.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Survival Editing

I’m going through my final editing cycle of “Survival” before I print it out. I’ll hold it in my hands and glow, like a loving parent should its child. Then I’ll put it in a drawer for a month or so, and then when my euphoria has subsided, I’ll destroy my ego with the merciless red pencil of critics.

  I’m about halfway my final computer edit, finishing Chapter Thirty last night. Which reminds me, I should probably print out “A Slice of Life Death” too, but I can’t let myself get distracted, (which happens entirely too easy for me sometimes.)

  Then there’s “Samantha’s Animal Stories” which I have sent out the last few agent queries that I’m going to be sending before I throw in the towel on that endeavor. I gave up on finding an agent for “My Magical World” a while ago. I’m thinking of deleting “Stargazers” - again. I’m hesitant to start writing “Chloe’s Diary” since I really don’t like the characters, though I love the story; and…I got off track didn’t I?

  Well, I’m going back to editing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Writing Calendar Update

I feel really lousy today, so I’m just going to tell you guys about the subject calendar for my blog, since I can’t get up the energy to do much else.

Monday: Post music video, or talk about my musical career, or my opinions on music, or what I’m listening to at the time. (Everyone needs a little more music in their lives.)

Tuesday: I will write about something that is true. Whether it be an essay on an event in history, or my life, or someone else’s life it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be my “True Tuesday”.

Wednesday: Wednesday I will tell a fictional short story.

Thursday: Thursday is going to be all about therapy. I will write about something that calms me down so that I can write, or concentrate on whatever obstacle is in front of me so that I don’t go berserk. (Do you have one of those moments? I do, and more often the older I get.) Or maybe I’ll just rant about something that’s on my mind, that’s therapeutic too!

Friday: End of week report! I’ll report on what I’ve done writing wise, or in some other aspect in my life.

Saturday: Saturday is all about reading and writing (thank goodness no arithmetic.) Whether it is something I learned or experienced while I was writing, or a recommendation of a book for you to read (other than my own of course; although I might do that sometimes too!)

Sunday: I am going to attempt to write a poem every Sunday…we’ll see how ling that lasts.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Writing Calendar

I have decided to organize a daily calendar for my blog so that if I’m having a dry day, I can have something to give me some kind of idea on what to write about. I’m not sure how loyal I will actually be to my calendar, but it sure beats what I went through today. Wondering, “what in the world am I going to blog on today?” Its kind of late, so I’m going to make the actual calendar tomorrow, so I’ll keep you posted, or maybe I’ll love my calendar so much, I’ll get started on it right away.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lady Jane Grey

"Innocent Traitor; A Novel of Lady Jane Grey" by Alison Weir is the book I have been reading lately. Alison Weir is an excellent writer and historian who paints a very vivid setting of the mid 1500's in the political world of the time.
Lady Jane Grey lived a very short and all references agree - wretched life. As a young girl, she was no doubt kept in the dark about much of the plans that were made about her own life until deals were made and the contracts sealed. in order to paint the full picture of the intertwined religious and political structure and power struggles surrounding her life, we must look beyond what she knew and what others did concerning her. Alison Weir weaves and excellent story consisting of all the view points of the people who made the decisions that brought about Lady Jane's life course to a tragic end.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Catherine Griffith

Amentia: A-m-e-n-t-i-a. Catherine wrote out the final word on her spelling list which she would take home and study. It was an interesting looking word: she had no idea what it meant though.
Her teacher, Ms. Hoper’s, never taught them what the words meant; she just concentrated on getting her students to pass the test, nothing more. If they passed the test then forgot all the word the next week, it was okay with her. It didn’t reflect on her work at all.
Catherine finished writing the word, then slipping her hand into her desk and felt around for her thesaurus. Finding it she quietly pulled it out, she didn’t want to disturb the rest of the class, who had not finished their lists yet.
Thumbing through the worn book, she found amentia. It said the synonyms were mental defect, and mental retardation.
She couldn’t resist a smile. She could use the word amentia as an insult towards someone and they’d probably have no idea what it meant, and thereby prove her point.
An involuntary giggle escaped Catherine’s throat which did not go unnoticed by Ms. Hoper.
“Would you mind sharing with use what is so funny Miss Griffith?”
“Hmm,” the girl looked up.
Humpbacked Ms. Hoper limped towards the girl, her cane making a loud click on the tiled floor, followed by the soft shuffling sound of her tan leather shoes.
“What is it that is so amusing that you find it necessary to ignore your spelling in order to enjoy it?”
“But, I’m done with my spelling words, I was just-
“Then you should have sat still until the rest of the class was finished as well.”
“But-
“‘But’ nothing,” the teacher snatched away the Thesaurus without even looking to see what it was. “You will sit still, hands folded on your desk, facing straight ahead until the end of the lesson. Then you will remain in class for the next recess for your disrespectfulness.”
“Aren’t you behaving rather like someone with amentia?” Catherine ventured. “You don’t even know what I was doing.”
“For speaking in class, you will have lunch here as well.”
Catherine suppressed another giggle. That old troll clearly didn’t know what she had said: otherwise she would have been in a lot more trouble than staying in class for lunch.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

L.A. Zoo

Okay, first off, I love zoos. I’ve learned a lot about animals and the people who care for them thanks to zoos. I’ve also had a lot of fun there. I just got back today from a visit to the zoo with some my cousins, and we had a blast. But there are just some flaws about that zoo right now that I feel bears repeating, so that maybe the right person will hear about it and get it fixed.  I’m not discouraging anyone from going to the zoo, or specifically the L.A. Zoo, I just want the zoo to reach its fullest potential, which it is sadly falling short.

  At the present time, the L.A. Zoo is undergoing some changes. They are adding a building for reptiles, which is fine, except they have been at it for many months now, without much visible progress. There are also several other things that are being built, or changed, (I’m not sure what they’re doing) but their doing it wrong. I’m a carpenter’s daughter, so trust me, when I say something wrong: it’s wrong. There were so many things wrong I don’t even know where to start. It’s not going to fall down or anything horrible like that, they’re just wasting a lot of wood, layer upon layer it looked like.

  Also, while all of these things are going on, the paths are in desperate need of repair and maintenance, my cousins are quite young and we needed to push the stroller around potholes, large cracks, and tree roots.

  My suggestion: prioritize.

  Fix paths so people can walk around with their children without as many hazards. This will also help builders bring in supplies and workers carrying equipment not have to worry about stepping around hazards.

  Also, hire carpenters who actually know what they’re doing. I know the economy is hard right now, and going for cheaper labor is tempting. Just remember, cheap labor, is cheap for a reason. It’s always worth it to hire the guy who has a license and costs a little bit more so the job right the first time: which means the project will get done sooner and there will be little to no materials wasted. In the end, hiring the experienced guy will actually save you money in the long run.

  If the zoo isn’t always in the middle of building something, then a whole lot more people will come to the zoo and the animals won’t be bothered by the noise of construction for as long. Everyone will be happy, and that’s what matters.