Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Where

Here
Distance sends you spread-eagled;
Slipping on wet stones,
and falling head over heals into the abyss.
The image of space
casts shadows in the clouds,
and the air isn't quite the same,
as it is where you call home.
But a tint of freedom rests in the sky;
a vision of the future looms over my bed;
pressure condenses on my window;
And longing sneaks under my pillow.
Here
Is figuring out life,
Discovering that philosophy and chemistry,
may be the reasons that brought you here.
Or rather,
you have your heart rooted in words,
sending you to English class
because that's where you feel you belong.
Here
I sit in the library looking outwards and inwards,
searching for the stones I had to leave behind,
Missing home and striding to the future.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Announcement

Hello!

So, I don't know exactly who reads my blog regularly, but here's some news for anyone who does.

I'm leaving for college on August 24th. I'll be attending the College of the Holy Cross. Sorry that I haven't posted on this much this summer. I've been crazy busy trying to cram in time with my family and friends in these last months before I'll be away for months at a time. It's going to be very different for me to be living away from my hometown. Okay, so the point is, I'm leaving for college soon! While this is all very exciting, and I've even gotten my own laptop, I don't know exactly how much time I'll have to be writing on the side. So, I'll try to write every day the rest of this week, and then I'm off! Can't wait to start studying for my professional career in writing and English. (:

-Rebecca, author of In A Beautiful Place

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Reflect and be Reflected

This is a time of reflection. A time for packing boxes and reading books. A time for hugs and tears and grilled cheese with tomato fresh from the garden. A time for warm sun and tan lines. This is a time for swimming pools and thunder storms and family vacations; a time for chocolate and friendship; a time for change.

This is August. This is watching the days on the calendar get crossed off as they move closer to the inevitable day of leaving home. This is climbing a mountain and standing up at the tip-top looking over a world where you can't see where the sky touches the ocean. This is throwing a Frisbee on a beach while your mom throws it to the birds instead of you. This is riding in a car with no particular place to go. This is holding onto your friends. This is wandering the mall with your sister and eating chicken. This is walking to the lighthouse and talking about school. This is bike rides and laughter, picnics and breakfast, and holding hands because this is not a time for giving up.  This is long walks on the beach and holding onto each second because everything is about to change.

And this is facing a world where responsibility is inevitable and it is time to leave the nest.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I

I want moonlight and fireflies-
A spectacle that needs to be
admired by multiple people.
I want ice cream and chocolate-
So that I can soak up all the
sweetness this life can offer.
I want peace and quiet-
A chance to reflect and meditate
so that body and mind work as one.
I want books and music-
To keep my mind and fingers
moving and learning and doing.
I want blue skies and thunderstorms-
A world where I can make my garden grow
and my life beautiful.
I want your arms around me-
So I may be safe and cared for
in a way so dreamlike I forget reality.
I want your hand in mine-
Locked like a zipper in a way
that I know you won't let go.
I want friendship and love-
So that I can surround myself
In a blanket of positive light.
I want peace-
In a world where war and poverty
Threaten a nation's well-being.
I want the impossible-
Because impossible turns into possible
when possible is in your dreams.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: A Review

Upon the completion of reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, I felt strongly enough about it's message that  I decided to write about it.

Growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900's, the main character (named Francie) struggles to figure out what to do with her life because she comes from a poor family. She gets a job before she is old enough to get working papers, completes elementary school late because she got a late start, doesn't go to high school so she can get a full-time job, and takes summer courses at college to absorb knowledge so that she can do something better with her life. I diverge--it is not the plot that I want to take a moment to discuss, but the theme of persistence.

Right from the start, Francie talks about a tree that exists in Brooklyn in places where it shouldn't. After a fire, the tree grows. Between cracks in the sidewalk, the tree grows. While personal growth becomes very important throughout the course of Francie's life, it is the persistence of this tree that mirrors her actions and decisions. The mention of this symbolic tree is only a hint at what is important in this situation. This brings about the idea that people should strive to reach their goals and overcome problems against all odds. In the life of Francie, she was born into a family that had very little. Despite their lack of resources, they owned a Bible and a book of Shakespeare, out of which their mother read one page every single night. Like the tree that grew in an unlikely place, Francie's intelligence and reading abilities soared because of these two books.

Later on in life, Francie needed to get a job instead of going to high school. Because this prevented her from getting the education she wanted, she started taking college courses and buying books in certain subjects so that she could test into college as a full-time student. Her persistence was the key to her success, not her family's well-being.

Persistence. Never giving up. That's what Francie could teach each of us. It's not just the tree that insisted on growing in desolate environments, it's her mind. She refused to cease activity to foster her talents and passions. She refused to let poverty overcome her. She refused to stop growing. Her's is a lesson that we can all learn. It isn't just when people are faced with hardships and poverty that they should use her example. It's in everything we do. Your book didn't get published the first time? Edit. Try again. You fell off your bike when you took your training wheels off? Get back on. You failed the test? Study. Take it again. Insist on persisting to achieve what it is that makes you happy. Because that's what we, as human beings, must do to achieve self-fulfillment.

As the book ends with Francie leaving for college in another state, I do not know if she reached self-actualization or if she was successful in her future years. Seeing that this is a novel, I also do not know if Betty Smith put any thought into what the rest of Francie's life would look like. In any case, her point about persisting throughout hardship in order to get what you want is an example worth reading the entire book. Her story also examines family relationships, childhood, and coming-of-age; so this tree is not the only symbol her book has to offer. If I've learned anything from reading, it's that you should always take something away with you after you put the book down. So here's what I took, and what I share. Read up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Storytelling

So here's the question: Why bother?

There are billions of people on this tiny planet, and we are only one creature out of billions that inhabit the lands and oceans. So why does our story matter in this mass of creation? Books are going to become outdated anyways. Who knows? Maybe we will live the life predicted for us in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. There's just one problem with that. There are people like Staci, who read and read and read, and listen to stories until the box of tissues is gone. There are people like Sarah, who get up on stages and tell their stories to kids until the kids will open up and talk about their own stories. There are people like Jo who wrote books that became so famous, people will be reading them for generations. There are even people like Rebecca who want to study the English language and literature so that they can be the next person to write down the stories that the world still has left to share.

Storytelling opens up a box of new ideas, and brings people together. A whole group of strangers can be united when a single person talks about that time they ran into a tree when they were biking, thinking Oh, I had a similar experience. Something that appears meaningless creates a bond between people, connecting us all with experience and gratitude, for sharing a piece of life with another. Stories not only serve as entertainment, but they commemorate a history of people and countries around the world. Everything that surrounds us can be turned into a story, however dull it may seem, but the small proportion of thoughts, ideas, and experiences that are turned into ink on a page or words on a tape make up a whole world of knowledge that we can use to enjoy and learn from.

So this is why we bother. It's worth enduring the mistakes, and being patient about this whole learning process. People may be saying that books are slowly disappearing, but in fact, more and more stories are being created every single day with each baby being born and each grandparent passing away. It is inevitable that these things will change and grow until society looks completely different than it is today. Invariably, we must bother to tell stories.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dusk

When you sit outside at dusk
And the sun finally disappears,
There's that moment of total blackness,
Before the stars become visible.
In that moment,
There's nothing there but emptiness;
It's just a black wall, and
"hope is for suckers" anyways.
Right after that moment of darkness,
Your eyes take a minute to recover
And tiny specs of light appear;
Dazzling spheres of gas,
Illuminating this messed up place we call Earth.
But when this spectacle occurs,
There is so much to see.
Because baby, this world
Will hit you hard if you let it,
But you can't be afraid to take a leap of faith,
And catch all the beauty it holds.
Because right here,
Right now,
I know there are plenty of mistakes to be made,
But there are also plenty of miraculous choices
That I made, and will make.
There is a myriad of pain to be felt,
And tears to collect,
But there are even larger quantities
Of happiness to share and laughter to hear.
That moment when the light
becomes enough that you can see shadows,
Is proof that hope really isn't for suckers,
And yes, life can suck,
But it can also give you the greatest joy;
Take in the beauty around us,
Use it to lessen the pain.
Hope for the spectacular
And believe in the impossible;
Because dusk repeats itself
Every
Single
Day.