February Resolutions

*fights urge to start post with a comment about how she can’t believe it’s February already*

But it is, by the way. February, I mean. And we all know that that means…

Despite the looming reminder of my forever alone state, I am resolved to be resolved this month. Let’s roll out the resolutions!

1. Do something worthwhile. 

This is one of my New Year’s Resolutions, but what I mean with this is to find better things to do with my time than sitting on tumblr. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the amount of time I spend on the internet is embarrassing. Especially considering the other great things I could be doing, and how much better and more satisfied I feel when I spend my time on those things instead of online. I’ve set the background of my computer to this:

Untitled copy

It’s there to remind me every time I open the computer that I have better things I could be doing. (Also, to get back into the swing of writing again, my deal with myself is that in order to spend any time on tumblr or my forums, etc, I have to write something. A sentence of a novel – if not more, this blog post, a college letter, a D&D adventure… just write something. Something I should be writing but have been putting off.)

2. Be more charitable.

This is really tough for me, but this resolution is to basically quit the gossip and quit speaking unkindly about people. There are a few select people who drive me up the wall, and so I complain about them and make them seem like terrible people. It needs to stop. Instead of judging others, I’m going to try and focus on the positive aspects of people.

For example, instead of internally grumping about a woman wearing a miniskirt at mass, instead I should find something nice – like how she’s done her hair in a really neat way.

3. Get more sleep.

I’ve been staying up too late, and that means I put off my prayers until I’m too tired to do them, and then try to catch up on my sleep deprivation by ignoring my alarm clock – but then I get behind on my day, and for what? An extra half hour of sleep at most. This month I’m setting a schedule and sticking to it.

As always, resolutions from She Learns as She Goes. I’m going to hit some Shakespeare before I crash for the night; I’m absolutely exhausted.

Best wishes,
Hero

Some Writing

I really wanted to do a meaningful post today but I’ve got a jam-packed Friday ahead of me, so it’s just not going to happen.

Instead, here’s some proof I’ve actually been writing recently: an excerpt from my as of yet unnamed novel involving three (four?) of my favorite things (mermaids and Broadway and sign language [andboysnamedHarrison]). Enjoy!

My aunt lived deep. Going to see her was – to use a human phrase – a bit of a hike. Not that I was human then.

She lived deep, in one of those sea caverns miles below the surface, tucked between what might have been the beginnings of an underwater volcano and what was definitely an underwater fault-line. To this day I will never understand how she was able to escape her home on a day-to-day basis – the opening between the two natural disasters that formed her caverns was so narrow that even I, the littlest of them all, always lost a few scales when I forced myself through.

Despite the distance and the precarious arrangement of her lodging, I went to her often. In retrospect, I regard this as a mistake, but there are others in my life who would disagree; they come later in this story, though, so I shan’t name names at present. On better, reflective days in my current life, I think of my aunt fondly… A blessing in disguise, as they say. On other days, well, I’m told that if one has unkind things to say, one should keep them to oneself.

There have been many days when I have been forced to silence by a lack of polite things to say. I am rather accustomed to silence.

See here! Without meaning to, I reveal far too much. This story starts with my aunt, a fact which I can’t deny, despite the many occasions on which I have wanted nothing more than to strike her name from my memory and never speak of her again. She was a major player in this grand game that is my life; perhaps more than just a player at times, but I digress…

It was summer, but you couldn’t tell, not down there. The light didn’t stream down far enough, and at that depth, the water was freezing. I shivered. Though with the craggy rock formations forming strange shapes out into the dark and the unfamiliar creatures I only ever saw in the corner of my eye, I wasn’t entirely sure the chills running down my spine could be entirely accredited to the temperature. My breath didn’t come easily until I finally wedged myself through the crack in the seabed and was greeted by the warm glow of Aunt Keren’s pet anglerfish.

“There you are.” Aunt Keren’s voice slid through the cavern, steady and slightly flat. “I was beginning to wonder…” In the dim light I saw her vague outline shifting about the cavern.

“Good morning,” I said. “Have you got the lights, or shall I go and…?”

“Don’t trouble yourself.” She waved a hand lazily at a dilapidated chaise (salvage from a shipwreck, no doubt) in the center of the room. “Sit.”

I sat.

Aunt Keren cupped her hands close to her mouth and clicked her tongue. An orange flash sparked across her fingertips and dropped into her palm. It flickered faintly like a weak child’s heartbeat. She blew on it steadily, coaxing it to life. The light radiating from her palms grew in bursts, expanding and contracting until it took on a life of its own, floating out of her hands and up toward the roof of the cavern. The orb cast a cheerful light over the cave, warding off the gloom of the outside ocean. This task now finished, Aunt Keren fixed me with her eyes and skipped the formalities. “Your father came to see me yesterday.”

I faked a smile. “Is that so? How lovely.” I slid off the rock and glided over to a giant mirror propped against the wall. “Say, why don’t we…”

“Maeve.” She was frowning and her arms were folded over her generous chest. Her almost-graying hair floated about her face, tickling her chins as she sighed and looked down at me. “You can’t run from this. He wants you to keep away from all these human things.”

I huffed, annoyedly. “We have this discussion every single time I come to see you. One would think you agreed with him.” I glanced furtively at the looking glass and fondled the edge of it.

“Perhaps I do,” Aunt Keren said, resignedly. She contorted her sour red lips into a scowl. “Your duties lie here, Maeve, not up there. You have responsibilities.”

“Please! You don’t understand what it’s like at home… This is my only escape.” I settled myself on a stalagmite and looked at her pleadingly.

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why I indulge your fantasies. I only get punished for it, and you only delude yourself further. There are some things you can’t escape, love, and some things you shouldn’t.”

I clasped my hands. “One delusion. Just one. Father’s been an absolute beast – he always is, you know him. I know I shouldn’t run away from it. I know that, but…”

Aunt Keren opened her arms and broke into a forgiving smile. “Come here.” I allowed her to hug me. Enveloped in her crushing grip, I received an awkward pat on the head. (Aunt was rather rusty when it came to affection.) “Dreams are not a bad thing. I only worry that one day you will have to make a choice between your dreams and your realities, and you won’t be able to make it.” She released me and furrowed her eyebrows. “Not one word of this to your father.”

I have more if you so desire; hopefully I’ll write up my memoir-ific post on turning sixteen on Sunday, but we’ll see. (You know me. :P) If you’d like more excerpts, let me know – maybe it’ll motivate me to write a little more.

Best wishes,
Hero

December Resolutions (also, 99th post?)

Why, hello there. Long time no see. That’s my fault, of course, and I’ll admit it with only a little bit of shame. I could sit here and complain and make excuses, but frankly, I don’t have time for that right now – so just assume the usual excuses and let’s get on with things, shall we?

December Resolutions

I can’t believe it’s December already. This year just blew by, and now I’m singing Christmas carols and knitting like a madwoman to get all my friends gifts (dropped $65 on yarn the other day – so much for saving money by making things, right? Oh well) and sometimes I just feel like I want to stop life and just… freeze. HOLD EVERYTHING. Take this one moment right now and just live in it. I am happy and feel so blessed. The Christmas lights are up and – you know, strike that. Let’s live in a moment about two weeks from now, during Christmas break. 😉

That being said, Advent is waiting for something, and stopping Advent and living in this one moment means Christmas never comes. And so I am reminded once again that the train of life chugs onward for good reason.

Resolution #1: Finish most of my Christmas gifts on time.

I’m knitting something for basically all of my friends this year – I’ve “finished” four things (I still need to seam and sew in ends and add finishing touches) and have four left. I’m hoping to get at least most of them finished before Christmas – Essie’s given me permission to give them to her late because I’m going out of my mind trying to knit a million things before Christmas.

Resolution #2: Be a little more organized.

Basically, keeping my room clean, bed made, getting up at a reasonable hour and prioritizing things. Practicing my cello before I sit on Skype for hours. Writing that religion paper (oops) before going off to read Romeo and Juliet (which I haven’t really had a lot of time for, either).

Resolution #3: Work on SAT math.

I got my SAT scores back – and I got the exact same score in math that I did last year. It’s ridiculous. Something’s gotta give. So I need to study and work and run practice tests… Anything to boost my score. The only way is up!

Resolution #4: Remember the whole point of Christmas.

Or, rather, don’t forget it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the material, but my main goal this month is to remember what Christmas is really about and not lose myself in the frantic rush of presents and Michael Bublé’s version of Jingle Bells. Keep the Christ in Christmas, as the bumper stickers say. 🙂

Quick plug for my friends Julia and Kira – they’ve been nominated for a blogging award and it would be super awesome if you could kind of go and second the nominations. 😛 You can only nominate one, so here are the links to their blogs:

Julia’s
Kira’s

Now you must make the impossible choice. 😉 And keep your eyes out for the voting, as I’m sure they’ll needs votes as well.

As always, resolutions come from the lovely Kelli at She Learns As She Goes.

Thanks for reading! Up next, 100th post! 😀

~Hero

Things That Make Me Very Happy

No words. Just. Look.

Which means I’m breaking this out:

 

Which is basically one of my favorite things to do.

Also, I found this:

Link to sweater

It’s just too perfect. I’m too broke to buy it, but I want it soooo baaaadlyyyyy…

I’ve also picked up my writing again, thanks from some encouragement from my history teacher… So we’ll see what happens! I don’t have access to my old novels right now, but I’m slowly outlining a book I’ve had an idea for for ages. I’m excited. 🙂

That’s all for me! My brother has a voice recital today and I’m off to read Romeo and Juliet instead of The Cid. My work ethic is so good.

~Hero

BEDA Day 20: Getting Some Writing Done

Excerpt from my work today:

Caerwyn sighed. “What are you doing?”

Eila looked up. “I am painting.” She slapped her palm flat against the paint, making a smacking noise. “I am making art.”

Caerwyn shut her eyes and dragged her hand down her face. “Eila. Why do you insist on acting like you’re five years old?”

“You’re jealous,” Eila sang. “You’re jealous because you have to stay up and work and I get to paint.”

“I am many things, but I am not jealous. Not of you.” Caerwyn narrowed her eyes. “Not now. Not ever.”

The tone of her voice caught Eila’s attention. Her hand paused mid-stroke and she looked narrowly over her shoulder at Caerwyn. She said nothing and returned to her painting, a wry smile on her face.

Vaguely disconcerted, Caerwyn sat back in the alcove across from the cell and studied her scuffed boots. Hours passed with no sound but the swishing of Eila’s hand across the burlap and the near-silent splatter of paint. Caerwyn found herself humming softly and picking at the lint on her breeches. She couldn’t place where she’d heard the tune, but it was strangely evocative… She felt a swell in her heart and a smile graced her lips.

She glanced over at Eila and saw the princess staring at her, grinning. “Bravo.”

Caerwyn furrowed her eyebrows. “Beg your pardon?”

“First spell, I imagine,” Eila said, wiping her hands on her shift. “Without words, too. Impressive.”

Caerwyn’s eyes widened. “What…?”

“And apparently subconscious.” Eila picked at a smear of paint on her forehead. “Look at your hair.”

The ends of Caerwyn’s hair were floating about her head, drifting slowly upward. She realized that she’d been humming the tune she’d heard Eila hum in the memory. Instinctively, her hand shot up and snatched it up in a handful, dragging it back down around her shoulders. “How…?”

She glanced over at Eila, who had paused with her hands poised over the linen on the floor, red paint dripping from her fingertips. The princess’s eyebrows were furrowed and she appeared to be thinking. “Curious.”

Caerwyn almost responded, but realized she actually didn’t want to hear what Eila was going to say next. She went back to staring at the wall, silent.

Eila made a vaguely disconcerted noise in the back of her throat and smacked her hand against the wall of her cell. “I know you’re wondering,” she lilted, pressing another handprint onto the stone. “Don’t deny it.”

Caerwyn sighed and turned to watch the princess adorn her cell with red handprints. “I have no objection to you speaking if you so wish,” she said, feigning indifference, “but I couldn’t care less about what you have to say.”

Eila chuckled, her protruding ribs shifting at the action. “Don’t lie to me, Caerwyn, darling. I am not as stupid as you think.”

Caerwyn massaged her temples and sighed. She got up from the bench and walked over to the bars. “I don’t think you’re stupid,” she said.

Eila looked at her over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow.

Caerwyn shrugged. “I don’t think you’re stupid. I do, however, think you’re conceited, arrogant, annoying, barking mad, childish…”

“Childish?” Eila pouted. “That’s unfair.”

Caerwyn crossed her arms across her breastplate and said nothing.

“I hate you,” Eila said, scowling. She returned to her ‘painting.’ Before Caerwyn could reply that she knew that, Eila went on. “And surely you can’t think that magic comes automatically. It’s rough.” She flicked paint at the wall. “The fact that you’re doing it already with hardly any study means that you’re more gifted than I previously anticipated.”

“Meaning…?” Caerwyn asked, against her better judgment.

Eila cackled wryly, wiping her hands against her shift and settling onto her cot. “Because I’d tell you.” Her eyes narrowed. “We’re not friends, Caerwyn. Remember that.” She pulled the threadbare blanket on her cot up over her shoulders. “Put that torch out, would you?”

Total crap, but whatever.

Random update: today I went to a discount book store to try and find the books on my history book list, and of the twenty I needed, I found one.

Beowulf.

Obviously they had that one.

I’m slightly annoyed that there’s no Shakespeare on the list this year… I guess I’ll have to do the Shakespeare course myself. 😛

Have a great night. Sleep tight, my darlings.

~Hero

BEDA Day 1: In Which Hero Attempts to Become Massively Productive Instantaneously

Good morning, interwebs! Not only am I posting on time today, I’m posting early! Will wonders never cease?

The reason I’m posting so early is because I have a jam-packed day ahead of me. Actually, make that a jam packed month. Why? Because not only am I going to do BEDA, I’m also going to take another shot at Camp NaNoWriMo, and… Well, I’ll just skip to my resolutions and let you figure it out for yourselves.

August Resolutions!

1. Practice my cello daily.

Obviously, I didn’t have my cello with me in Florida, so I’ve fallen out of the swing of practicing every day. My cello is really important to me, not to mention that my orchestra season is coming up, so I need to practice.

2. Work out! (Daily.)

Like so many other nerds, I live a sedentary life. I work on the computer, play on the computer, play an instrument that requires you to be seated, when I have free time I watch TV (sitting down) or I sleep. Which is completely unhealthy and probably the reason I continue to gain weight despite the fact that I regularly forget to eat. (I’m not hungry, okay? Aaaand I snack all day. The apple pie at 3:00 was yesterday’s dinner. Promise.) So my goal is to actually get up and exercise for 45 minutes every day. Take a break from the screens, and go jump rope, or run on the elliptical, or maybe do an exercise video. As long as I’m up and moving (grocery shopping/library perusing doesn’t count).

3. Study Algebra for 30 minutes every day.

My SAT and PSAT scores were high, but the reason I get spam from colleges is because my English skills made up for my lacking math skills. Not that my math is awful – it’s still above average (yay, homeschooling), but not by a lot, and if I want to get my scores up to where I’d like them to be, I need to put myself through a self inflicted Algebra boot camp. It’s almost embarrassing how bad I am at functions. Seriously.

4. Write every day: for 45 minutes, or until daily wordcount is reached.

I didn’t write for the entire month of July, which is awful. I am a writer! I need to write! For the past couple days I kept imagining my twelve-year-old self looking at me and going, “I’m working so hard and my writing is awful. I don’t even have a chance. You’re good – you can get published, you can reach our dream. And you’re not even trying.” Twelve-year-old me is right! (For once. Twelve-year-old me was a complete brat, so I don’t know why I’m doing her any favors.) That’s why I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I need to write every day. That’s what writer’s do, and I am a writer.

I’m going to be really busy this month. But it’s all in keeping with trying to get me off the computer and turn off the TV and be productive. I know it’s a lot to keep track of, so I’m employing these handy-dandy charts:

That’s right! Don’t Break The Chain charts! I’ll make sure to update you throughout the month with photos of them, so you know I’m not lying about my accomplishments. 😉

As always, the resolutions idea comes from comes from the lovely Kelli Taylor at She Learns As She Goes.

Well, I’m off! I have to eat breakfast and then break out my cello. Rosin’s gonna fly, baby. 😛

~Hero

Cello: Not yet completed.
Algebra: Not yet completed.
Exercise: Not yet completed.
Camp NaNo wordcount: 0

Thoughts From Places: On Finding One’s Oasis

On Friday, we drove up to the beach. Generally, the beach irritates me: the water is overwhelmingly salty, the sand is gritty and it gets everywhere. On top of that, it’s always unbearably hot and I always get sunburned.

Needless to say, the beach is not my favorite place. But this time, I was determined to enjoy it. And I could tell as soon as I stepped out onto the sand that I would. For one, the weather was perfect: dark clouds covered the sun, so the weather was cool. Every time it got too hot, a sprinkling of rain would drop the temperature and then the sky would clear. From the beach, you could see rain on the horizon, passing by in sheets. The sight was beautiful.

The water was the perfect temperature, the sand wasn’t too hot to walk on, the sun wasn’t in my eyes, and there was a breeze.

But within thirty minutes, I was sick of the beach. So I took a nap.

I have trouble with the beach – besides the aforementioned reasons, I can’t help but seeing everything as a metaphor. The ocean, the beach, the shore, the tide, the people on the beach, beachcombing – even watching the weather pass along the horizon: all of it. It’s all a huge metaphor, for life, for human nature, society…

And as much as I love metaphors, they’re all overused and terrible metaphors. Which I can’t stand.

I wish I liked the beach. I wish I could lie in the sun with a book and my iPod and just relax. But I can’t.

Before we left the beach, I saw two women walk out across the sand and set down two chairs next to each other, immediately sitting down and chatting away. The beach is an escape for them: a nice place to go to get away from normal life, a place to relax, a place to be with friends.

Two days passed, and on Sunday morning, Papa and I went to the private airport of which he is the vice-chair. He showed me the Cessnas and the Beechcrafts, and then we toured the hangars and watched couple planes take off. He showered me a pilot’s lounge, where there were various screens showing radar and satellite imaging. After expressing my affinity for meteorology, we got in the car and drove away.

As we were driving, Papa talked about everything and anything. I was stuck by how much Papa knows. Sure, he can be annoying sometimes, and he’s a terrible driver (he has a complete and utter disregard for stop signs), but he’s so knowledgeable, and he’s a really hard worker. He does everything he does for the people he loves, and that’s pretty inspiring.

We stopped at Starbucks – which is on The List, I know, but Starbucks is my weakness. We do not throw stones here. At Starbucks, Papa read a financial newspaper (the literary equivalent of watching paint dry) and I wrote in my journal. I realized in Starbucks how much I love it there – not because of the coffee (or the hipsters), but because Starbucks is an oasis. The woman at the table next to us was painting. I was writing. A guy outside was working on his computer, and a girl behind us was studying – all things you can do at home, but we were doing them at Starbucks. Why?

Because Starbucks is an oasis. A place to get away from everyday life. A place to write, to draw, to study. A place to be by yourself without being alone.

After Starbucks, we drove over to Barnes and Noble (blowing through a few stop signs on the way). I glanced at some books, joked about learning Russian, and then noticed: Barnes and Noble is an oasis, too. Driving home, I realized that everyone has their oasis. The beach is an oasis for those two women. The airport is an oasis for Papa. Starbucks is an oasis for the artist I saw; for college students, hipsters, businessmen, stay-at-home moms. Barnes and Noble is an oasis for me.

I think our oasis shows insight into who we are. What do I love about Barnes and Noble? I love being surrounded by books. I love the idea of being able to open anything in the store and immerse myself in a story, or learn something new. I love that it has something for everyone, and everything for someone. New horizon, new opportunities – and motivation. As a writer, as a student, those shelves hold hope and inspiration.

I love how I can enjoy the place no matter who I’m with; whether I’m alone, with my dad or with my best friends. I love how if we split up, I know exactly where my friends and family will be hen I go to find them: my brother will be slipping through a Lego book in the Toys/Games section. Mom will be looking at educational or clearance stuff. Essie goes to cookbooks, or goes with Tanith to YA. Dad and Papa can both be counted on to be at the newsstand flipping through an aviation magazine.

And me? I could be anywhere. I could be looking at the knick-knacks, reading Shakespeare, poring over sheet music, meandering the Middle Grade fiction and wondering why it is that everything in MG is better than the stuff in YA. Because I’m multi-faceted. And so is my oasis.

What does that say about me? I’m not sure. But once I figure it out, I feel like I’ll be one step closer to answering my ultimate question: who am I?

~Hero