Four sentence book reviews #3

Hello, everyone, and happy Star Wars Day! I’ve been reading quite a bit lately and I want to discuss some of the books I’ve read. It’s been nearly a year since my last one of these, so let’s do it!

Ink, Iron, & Glass by Gwendolyn Clare
Elsa’s mother, a renown scriptologist who can literally edit and write worlds into existence, has been kidnapped. Elsa, a budding scriptologist herself, sets off to find her with the help of an old family friend and a gang of other magically gifted teenagers who are beginning to realize just how much of their world is a lie. This book is truly excellent in terms of its characters, setting, magic system, and world building. It balances all of these elements well to create a believable, multi-layered universe and with lovable characters, and incredible tension.

Image result for ink iron and glass

Photo attributed to Goodreads.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
Tess, who has a painful past, has never had much support from her family, except from her sister, who is about to get married. Even though Tess helped bring the match about for the advantage of their family, she is not happy about it. An accident prompts her to flee her family and set off on her own road, to find her own adventures. Set in the same world as her previous books, Seraphina and Shadow Scale, Hartman makes a remarkable, poignant, and timely return to her world of dragons, people, and how the two get along.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Jude and her two sisters were taken away from the human world when they were little to live in the High Court of Faerie, where their humanity is something they constantly struggle with, especially since everyone holds it against them, from the faeries they live with to the prince himself. This was my first experience with Holly Black’s writing and I can’t say it was quite a favorable one. I was frustrated with the characters due to their lackluster personalities and since they all wanted to change things but they didn’t really get around to doing so until the last fifty or so pages. I doubt I’ll continue with this series in the future.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Artemisia lost her mother when she was twelve and she has grown up fulfilling her father’s artistic contracts. When a man who has been helping her with her art rapes her, it is up to her to find her voice, both tell the truth to her father, to herself, and to the Italian society that disbelieves her. I truly appreciated the timeliness of this story and the fact that it was told in verse, but I found the characters and setting lacking. I wish McCullough would have invested more in them, made them more complex and wide-ranging, since that would have made the story richer.

 

That’s all for now, everyone. I’ll definitely be writing more of these over the coming months, especially since there are some books coming out and on my to-be-read list that I’m excited about. On the writing front, I have six chapters to go and I’m already planning to start on my next book project after I’m finished with this draft.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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2017 Reading Round-Up

Hello, one and all, all and one. It’s time for my 2017 reading round-up. It’s been a great year for me, reading-wise. I managed to read a total of 62 books, more than I’ve ever read in a single year. Those 62 break down to 31 graphic novels, 12 fantasy stories, 9 contemporary/literary fiction books, 3 historical fiction novels, 3 pieces of nonfiction, and 2 mysteries. Gosh, you can tell I work at a library for breaking them all down like that, can’t you?

If you remember last year’s post, I answered five questions about my reading. I’m doing the same this year, but one of the questions is different. Without further ado, let’s get going.

1.What book was your biggest disappointment?
I feel kinda bad to say it was this one, especially since I liked the first book quite a bit, but it has to be One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake. I was so pumped for this release, to the point where I would check our new YA shelf at work every day to see if it was there. But I was disappointed. The story seemed to meander almost as much as the characters did. In certain respects, it was a good book. Blake still retains her knack for vivid description and some of her characters did undergo interesting changes throughout the story (Jules, Katharine). But overall, this book just wasn’t good for me.

2.Which book(s) were your biggest surprise?
Last year I just had one, but this year I have two books that completely surprised me. The first is Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. I’ve never read anything by E. Lockhart before, but I knew of her reputation for creating captivating, mind-blowing stories. I’m not going into too much detail about this book, because if I were to tell you too much about it, it would definitely spoil it. So I’ll just say that the two aforementioned adjectives describe it perfectly: captivating and mind-blowing. Definitely check it out.

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Photo credited to Amazon. 

The second book that was a huge surprise was Warcross by Marie Lu. She’s another one that, despite how popular her work is, I’ve never read anything of. I got really excited when I heard Warcross was a story that takes place mostly during a gaming competition. I grew up as a causal gamer surrounded by much more intense gamers, and I was curious how the story would incorporate an art form that has been so important over the last 30 years. The gaming is interwoven throughout the story in such a clever way that you can tell Lu has lots of firsthand experience with it (and she does). I’ll admit that this book didn’t hook me right away but I persevered and was not disappointed. I think I’ll try to read more of her work in 2018 because Warcross was so wonderful. I also can’t wait for the sequel!

3.What’s the book you’re most likely to reread soon?
I’ve been on a Broadway musical kick this whole year and in the middle of October I finally listened to “Dear Evan Hansen” and promptly fell in love while my heart was ripped apart by this musical’s deep and gut-wrenching message. About a week later, I was bored at work and I looked up the CD on Amazon to see how much it would cost and my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw that they had the script available for sale. When I got home, I immediately reached for my Kindle, bought it, started reading, then had my heart ripped apart again. The musical is about a guy in high school who has extreme social anxiety and he gets caught up in a lie he tells to a grieving family. The music is beautiful but if you don’t know the background of the story, it’s a little difficult to tell what the music is all about. I guess their marketing people realized that and decided they better release the script so people could read it and know what exactly is going on. And as a script, it sets the scenes up so well and it’s just as well-written as the music and lyrics. The entire piece would be absolutely amazing to see on stage and I hope I’ll get to, someday.

4. Who are your favorite characters you encountered this year?
This is the new question! Last year, I listed my most unusual book, but I thought this was an unexpected and different question, especially since reading introduces us to so many new people.

Image result for the hate you give

Photo credited to Amazon. 

Figuring out my favorite male character I read about this year was not difficult at all. It’s Maverick Carter from Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give.  Maverick is a shopkeeper and an ex-inmate trying to keep his family together and safe during race riots that erupt after a cop murdered his daughter’s best friend. Maverick was so much fun to read about and such a lovable, honest character. He does his best for his family, no matter what happens to him and does his best to make up for his past mistakes. He’s also hilarious, especially his theory about the Hogwarts houses being gangs. One of many important characters from an incredibly important novel from this year, Maverick is someone I’d love to meet in real life.
My favorite female character is from a manga series I read early this year, Iku Kasahara from Library Wars. This series is about a military force dedicated to protecting people’s right to read in a world where censorship is rampant. Iku is an incredible, zany girl. She has quite a short attention span and a shorter temper that often leads her into some sort of trouble. When she’s in trouble, though, it doesn’t take her long to figure a way out of it. She’s fantastic, just like this entire manga series. If you’re looking for a new manga, definitely check this one out.

5. What are your top three books of 2017?
I read a lot of great books this year, but I decided these answers based on which books have stuck with me the longest throughout the year.

Coming in at number 3 is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. This is one of the works of nonfiction I read this year and in it Gilbert discusses not only her take on creative life and what that means but also tells the story of her creative life. I’ve never read anything by her before but I was intrigued by this book when it came out in 2015. I forgot it even existed until I had to shelve it at work and decided to take it home with me. Gilbert’s writing is incredibly accessible, even though she talks about lofty, complex ideas, you never feel lost or completely out of touch, as she grounds those ideas in practical advice and anecdotes from her life. If you’re a fan of books about creativity, this is one for you.

My second favorite book of the year is Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali. This novel tells the story of Max, a boy born in Hitler’s Lebensborn program, a program which was to effectively engineer the “perfect race”. I will say that, though this story is told from the point of view of a child, I don’t think anyone under fourteen should read this, simply due to its subject matter. That being said, I think everyone over fourteen should read this at some point. I’ve learned quite a bit about the Holocaust and the devastation the Nazi regime caused throughout the world. I never considered how devastating it would be to be a child born as a result of this program. It’s a truly eviscerating but absolutely necessary story.

And my favorite book of 2017 is….Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor!

Image result for strange the dreamer

Photo credited to Goodreads. 

If you remember the second of my four sentence reviews, I gushed about this book. And I haven’t stopped gushing or thinking about this story since I finished it back at the end of May. It’s the story of an orphan who has longed to journey to a forgotten city ever since he was little and he’s pretty much resigned himself to never having that dream come true. Until a group of strangers come to town and give him the chance to go to that city. This word “epic” gets tossed around when talking about fantasy stories, but this story is truly epic in its scope, world, characters, and everything. This is another book that I almost put down due to the fact that I had trouble focusing, but I’m so glad I didn’t. I would have cheated myself out of a brilliant adventure and heady romance if I had. I hope I can write like this someday.

 

So that’s my reading round-up for 2017! It’s hard to believe that this year is nearly over. Thank you all so much for a great year here on the blog. I hope 2017 was a great year for you and that good things are in store for you in 2018. See you next year!

End of the year book tag

Hello, lovely people. So there has been a new book tag floating around the bookish side of Youtube that I thought would be fun to cover here on the blog. If you couldn’t guess by this post’s title, it’s the end of the year book tag. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and now that the new year is less than two weeks away, I think it’s a good time to put this up. So let’s get started.

  1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
    Like about 5. Currently I’m reading Before the Devil Takes You by Libba Bray, Renegades by Marissa Meyer, All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. So yeah, I’ve got some work to do.

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?
I haven’t been reading too much lately, so I’m fairly sure that I won’t be able to finish most of these, so I bet all of the aforementioned books will transfer into the beginning of 2018. At the very least, I’ll definitely have Tolstoy with me.

Image result for war and peace oxford world's classics

Photo credited to Amazon. This is the edition I have. It’s massive but thorough in its footnotes, which is good for such a big novel.

3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?
No, I’m doing alright. Most of the books I’m champing at the bit for aren’t being released until mid to late spring of next year, so I have some time to catch up and read some more of my never ending “to be read” pile.

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
I definitely want to finish Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. I just started reading it today on my lunch break and have been enjoying the story so far. And if I can finish either Before the Devil Breaks You or Renegades, I’ll be a happy camper.

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?
No, I think my favorite book of 2017 is pretty much set. But you’ll have to wait until my 2017 reading wrap-up to find out what that book is *cough coming up soon cough*

6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?
Yes, I have! I surprised myself by wanting to make reading resolutions after originally watching different tag videos. I normally don’t like making plans for my reading because I don’t like planning things out too much, especially activities that I do for fun, such as reading. But I have made three easily achievable goals for myself and we’ll see how they go. Those goals are 1. to finish reading Jane Austen’s novels (I haven’t done that yet, much to the embarrassment of my English major side). 2. Read at least one work of nonfiction (I’ve managed to read three works of nonfiction this year and, though I am a really slow nonfiction reader, I’ve been enjoying delving more into the genre and I want to read more of it). And, finally 3. Read at least one of Toni Morrison’s works (I read part of Beloved  for my women writer’s class during my final semester and I wasn’t able to finish it, unfortunately. I hope to remedy that).

There we have it, folks. What about your end of 2017 reading? Have any tomes that you’re scrambling to finish? Let me know in the comments. I’ll link the original video down below. I hope you’re having a great week. Bye for now!

What’s not needed

It seems forbidden

but then again,

everything once

was forbidden.

We are taught to build meaning

out of another’s

words

but to use another’s words

for your own meaning,

is that okay?

They say it’s better

to ask forgiveness than

permission,

so let’s go.

Sorry, Shakespeare,

you’re being edited.

 

Written directly after making yesterday’s blackout poem. I’ve always wanted to try it ever since I first heard about it, but I never plucked up the courage until one of my best friends gave me a book of excerpts of Shakespeare that was designed for blackout poetry. Thanks again, Abigail, for such a great gift! If you want to know more about this type of poetry, here’s a video all about it. I hope you’re enjoying the October Poetry Project so far! I certainly have!

A letter to Jane Austen, on the 200th anniversary of her death

Dear Miss Austen,

I hope you will forgive my tardiness in writing to you. This week’s business caught me unawares. I’m sure you will forgive me when I tell you I was tending a library.

I feel the need to mark this occasion, though it is a sad one. You have been such a tremendous friend to me and to millions of others, and though I wasn’t a thought in anyone’s mind when your funeral was held 200 years ago, I will eulogize you now.

Though I never did and never could meet you when you were alive, I feel as though I know you through your stories. My mother bought me Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice for Christmas when I was thirteen. I received the rest of your books for my subsequent birthday. It took me a while (I am a terribly slow reader when it comes to the classics), but I grew to love your stories and, through them, you. In your works, I found ladies who understand what it’s like to deal with the challenges of growing up, of finding love and losing it, and of learning how to go after your desires. These ladies quickly became friends and role models. I still aspire to be as selfless as Anne Elliot, as witty as Lizzie, and as determined as Emma.

In your stories, I also found something that I didn’t know I was looking for. I discovered the sense of human continuity that only stories can bring, the knowledge that though people’s circumstances and social and political climates change, human nature remains the same. It is so lovely to pick up a book and read that a heroine from two hundred years ago had the same hopes and fears that a somewhat awkward heroine, such as myself, now has. That sense of continuity, of belonging not just to my time and place, but to a greater family called humanity, is such a gift. And you gave that to me and I’ll always be thankful.

Miss Austen, you worked so hard and received so little success during your brief time on this earth. But I am happy to tell you that things have changed. Women can now be and are recognized as great writers and contributors and storytellers. You helped pave the way for the rest of us and I can never thank you enough for that as well. Your determination in continuing to put pen to paper has helped me and so many others take up our own pens and write our own stories. Your struggles have borne much fruit. I hope that you know that and that you are proud of all of us.

God rest you gently, Miss Austen. May your stories and your legacy always live on.

Infinities of love,

Elizabeth

Four-sentence book reviews #2

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re having a great day! I recently counted up the books I’ve read so far this year and I’ve already read more books than it took me all of last year to read. So I thought I’d write more four-sentence reviews.

1. The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

Peregrine, or Perry for short, fights to earn her parents’ affection by being the model of a Latki warrior maid, though she ultimately cannot, for reasons she cannot expect. As you may remember, the book this is a prequel to, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, is one of my favorites and I was thrilled to return to this world. This is an incredibly faithful prequel and it was absolutely fascinating to see the origins of Bamarrian society and its traditions. Wonderful characters and a thrilling story, this is definitely one middle-grade story you don’t want to miss!

Lost Kingdom

Credited to goodreads.

2. Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly.

This story looks at the time Belle was entrapped by the Beast, their friendship, and an escape she finds through a book in the castle’s library, which contains a story that seems deceptively perfect. As much as I love the story of Beauty and the Beast, I’ve never thought about the time where they lived together in the castle and this book is an interesting window into that time. Belle and the crew are well thought-out and portrayed very well. This book was released by Disney in conjunction with the remake of the 1991 film that came out in March, but Donnelly takes the story and the characters and makes it completely her own.

3. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Isn’t this cover gorgeous? It’s even better in person. Credited to goodreads.

Orphan Lazlo Strange has always dreamed of the famed city that has come to be known only as Weep and, when a band of strangers from Weep come to town, he has the opportunity to make that dream come true. This is my first foray into Laini Taylor’s writing and what a foray it was. I just finished reading it this morning and all I can say is that the characters, the writing, and the world are all so well-developed that it makes me green with envy. If you think the world of YA fantasy is full of unreadable drek, then read this book and prepare to enter a dream.

 

4. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

This is the beginning of the Chronicles of Narnia series, need I say more? Learning how Narnia was formed and getting to see Digory and Polly go on adventure after adventure was just wonderful. I’d never read this before and all I wanted to do was go back in time and thrust it into the hands of didn’t-like-to-read-eight-year-old-me. Truly a great start to a series that deserves its classic status.

That is all for now, loves! In slightly related news, the first round of revisions are soon to commence on my book, which I am both excited and slightly terrified for. I will probably be writing about that at some point, but I am wondering, is there a specific part of the revision process you would like me to talk about? Or any part of the writing process, really? Let me know and I’ll do my best for you! Thanks for reading and I will see ya’ll soon.

A wee little story

Ahoy, everyone. Today’s post is just a tiny one to tell you that I’ve got a new story out! The marvelous folks at 101 Words published one of my stories and you can read it here. Theirs is a fantastic website full of amazing, bite-sized stories. A huge thank you to them for publishing a story about a struggle of mine.

Do let me know what you think about it! I will see ya’ll soon!

2016 Reading round-up

Hello, everyone! So it’s almost 2017 and like many, I am reflecting on this year and all it has had in store for me. More specifically, I’ve been reflecting on the reading I’ve done this year. It’s been a bit uneven. I began this year reading more canonical, more academic, and theological works for the first few months of the year. I barely read for fun, yet a few days after I returned home after graduating from college, I began binge reading novels to my heart’s content. Then, toward the end of the summer, I didn’t really want to read much of anything, though I continued to read now and then. Regardless of its ups and downs, 2016 was a pretty good reading year all around. I managed to read a tidy total of 25 books. I thought I’d share my thoughts about some of those books in a question and answer format. Let’s get to it.

1.Which of the books you read this year was the biggest disappointment?

This one is fairly easy. It’s And I Darken by Kiersten White. I read this a little over a month after it came out and while I initially enjoyed it since the story started off really well, it quickly grew slower in terms of pace. It’s basically a gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler story. The characters were incredibly complex and interesting and were the only reason I made myself push through my reluctant reading feelings and finish the book. Maybe it’s because I don’t know that much about Vlad the Impaler, I don’t know. It had some wonderful elements and could have been a truly fantastic book if it was paced a little bit better. Though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, it was still an okay read.

2. Most unusual book you read this year?

That would have to be To Stay Alive by Skila Brown. It’s a novel written in verse about the Donner Party’s tragic journey west in 1846. Let me just reiterate that. It’s a novel written in verse. About the Donner Party. I just finished this novel today and while I’m fairly sure it’ll be the last one I finish this year, I will definitely be thinking about it well into 2017. It tells the story of Mary Ann Graves, who’s 17 when her family sets out to settle in California. I can’t really say more than that without spoiling anything. It’s a gut-wrenching, gripping read where the land they traverse becomes a character in and of itself that challenges them and pushes to their limits.

Image result for to stay alive skila brown

Courtesy of skilabrown.com

3. Which book was the biggest surprise?

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. I’ve never read anything by Kendare Blake before, but I heard quite a bit about this book when it came out in September and I loved the cover when I first saw it on the book shelf at the library where I work. It’s a story about three sisters who are all princesses of a diverse island and they will have to battle each other in order to see which of them will be crowned queen. This story was surprising in that while it wasn’t well-written, I couldn’t put it down. The characters didn’t change much and some of the characters were completely unnecessary. The setting descriptions were pretty good but nothing too special. What really had me turning the pages was the premise of this story. It’s incredibly rare that a book’s premise will keep me invested in a story, yet it was that yearning to know who would eventually become queen that kept me reading. And of course the book ended on a total cliffhanger. I’m fairly sure it’s going to be a trilogy, so hopefully the books will only keep getting better as the story progresses.

4. Which book are you likely to reread next year?

I read so many books this year that I might be tempted to pick up again in 2017, but the one that tops that list is A Torch Against the Night  by Sabaa Tahir. I don’t know if I’ve ever looked forward to a book release more than this one. That’s a lie, the seventh Harry Potter book probably has this beat. This book is a follow-up to the smash hit An Ember in the Ashes  that came out in 2015 and takes up Laia and Elias’s story as they flee Blackliff and head north to rescue Laia’s brother from Kauf prison. I read this story in three days, breezing through it because I just HAD to know if they made it in and out of Kauf alive. In reading it so quickly, I feel that I missed quite a bit of the nuances that the story has to offer. I’m already wanting to reread this, but I should probably finish some of the books I’m currently reading.

5. Top three books you read this year?

It was hard to whittle it down to these three but here we go.

3.Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge. This is an adorable graphic novel about a teen artist who moves from Virginia to New York City with her family and has to undergo the highs and lows of a new school and finding new friends. The art in this graphic novel is amazing and the artistic struggles that Paige undergoes are incredibly real and not romanticized in any way. Even if you’re not a fan of graphic novels, check this one out. You won’t be sorry you did.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This was my first Gaiman novel that I’ve ever read (I’ve read a few of his short stories and am amazed that you can be that awesome within the confines of a short story). I tried reading this last year and got about 30 pages into it and decided to return it to the library. I picked it up again early on in the summer, began reading, and couldn’t stop until the last page was turned. This is the story of a man who returns to his childhood hometown for a funeral and, as he wanders down to a house at the end of the lane, starts to recall what happened there when he was little. A truly fantastical tale, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one book you definitely should read. I’m only sad that it took me so long to do so.

1. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. This book wrecked my heart in every way. It’s the story of four teenagers who find themselves aboard the doomed ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Everything in this book is so well done. The characters, the pacing, the descriptions, and the historical detail all make this a stunning story that will break your heart, only to glue it back together to make it bigger. There are two things that I found especially chilling and important about this book. The first is that it’s about refugees. The narrative of the refugee is incredibly necessary right now because of the millions of refugees that are crying out for help right now. The second is, astonishingly, the character Alfred. He truly is an amazing character in how bad he is and how strange he is. And while his perspective is difficult to read, it’s important to not only consider the stories of those who rebelled against the Nazi mentality but the stories of those who went along with it or embraced it. Sepetys tackles this subtly and through Alfred, explores not only the sick and twisted Nazi mentality, but how sick and twisted people could become by adopting that mentality. It’s just a truly fantastic work and completely deserves the Goodreads award it won. Please read it.

Image result for salt to the sea

Photo credited to goodreads.com. 

So that’s the best of my 2016 reading. What were your favorite books of 2016? Do let me know in the comments and if you’d like a recommendation, please don’t hesitate to ask. I will write again soon! Bye for now!

 

 

Ten first sentences story challenge

Hello to one and all! So I came up with a challenge idea that’s probably been done before, but what the heck, let’s do it anyway! As the title of this post implies, the challenge I thought of is simple: create a story with the first sentences of books. Feel free to use any books you like, but I’m choosing to use books that I either have read, am currently reading, or want to read. So don’t take the books I use as a formula, go crazy with your own creations! Let’s go.

“This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child. To begin with the rigmarole of childhood. Pippin looked out from the shelter of Gandalf’s cloak.  It was a very distinct sound, the quite scraping of steel on stone, that first told him that his visitors had arrived, followed by a strange sort of tapping and the shuffling of feet. Autumn had come too swiftly.

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. Those who can, do. They’re out there. True!-nervous-very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am! It’s finished.”

Whew! That was more difficult than I thought it would be, but I’m so pleased with the result! Feel free to take on this challenge yourself and let me know how it goes! To keep copyright and attributions straight, here are the books I borrowed from, in order: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien, Here there be Dragons by James A. Owens, The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, and To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this experiment! God bless!

The Old Man/A promise for tomorrow

I met an old man once

and he’s been haunting me ever since.

His clothes are black, cut in sharp,

Puritanical lines that slice the skin.

His beard slavers down his mouth and his jaws,

like Walt Whitman with rabies.

His eyes, though, are the worst.

Two pieces of the dullest aquamarine

and as hard as the stones

he throws at me.

“Dance, you bitch!” He cries, pummeling me

left, right,

front and back.

He has an endless supply

of stones in his coat pockets,

as I have been quick to learn.

Nothing can halt his relentless rain,

so I do what he wants.

I waltz, swing my hips,

pirouette, and fox trot

until breath is a memory

my lungs are holding onto

even though they know

it’s never coming back.

He doesn’t stop until I think he wouldn’t

ever tire of my hideous dancing.

Even then he doesn’t quit.

Breath and my lungs could

reunite for a moment

and he’d be back.

I’d look away from his eyes

and be caught in his avalanche again.

He’s over my shoulder now,

in my gut, in my head,

pounding and scratching and kicking

over everything

I’ve tried to safety pin back together

since he last intruded.

He thinks he’s won

but he doesn’t realize

that my feeble arms

aren’t just made for dancing.

He knows me, this old man,

and I pray

he’ll never know you.

 

Someday I will see

the road I’ve traveled

falls, pit stops, U-turns,

tire marks, and lost fluids

all included

and not be ashamed

or unafraid.

Until then,

my grip will never loosen

on this steering wheel

though my shoulders ache

and my hands

are so very tired.

 

Yesterday was my highest percentage of likes in one day. Thanks to everyone who’s been on this poetic journey with me so far. Ya’ll rock and I hope you stick around for what’s to come.