Monday, September 27, 2010

A Soliloquy

As can be evidenced by my tweets the last twenty-four hours, I have been working on a soliloquy assignment for my Shakespeare class. It's pass/fail and we're supposed to compose a soliloquy of ten lines or more in iambic pentameter spoken by a character of our choice (we could make up our own, pick a celebrity, pick a book/movie/tv character, a person from history, whatever). I chose Severus Snape. Yep. If you have not read the Harry Potter series and do not want to be spoiled on important plot points in it, DO NOT GO ON. You've been warned. Without further ado. Ahem.

The Soliloquy of Severus Snape

This soliloquy would be expressed by J.K. Rowling’s enigmatic character, Professor Severus Snape, towards the climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in her Harry Potter series. At this point Snape is looking back at the choices he’s made in his life just before he dies—looking into Harry’s eyes—and passes on his memories to Harry.

His dad was such a cocky jock; it’s true,

Yet I can see his mother in his eyes.

Her floral grace—it seems to beckon me

Within those spheres of green beneath the scar.

The scar and eyes cement me to this side

Of good, which forces trickery of me:

A deathly dance among the pure of blood

Who bear an evil mark to match my own.

I dread them delving far beneath my mark

To where I am a being much in love

With someone long past dead—all due to me.

In every taunting look her son shoots me,

An arrow penetrates my heart and leaves

A gaping hole of mis’ry and remorse

For what I’ve lost but never can get back.

Though I despise her son, he offers up

A chance for me to cure my past mistakes—

Redeem myself for all I did before,

So I will aid and help him find the way

To vanquish Voldemort—to be The One.

We, both of us, are marked by The Dark Lord:

He, by his scar, and I, my telling stain.

My life begins to fade far from my reach—

I’ll gaze one final time into his eyes—

Her eyes—those verdant eyes—and I’ll be gone.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Sound of Silence

I know it's only been a few days since my last post...but as I keep promising myself and twitter, I really do want to start blogging more often. And it's a lot easier for me to do now that I have a laptop in my room with me every night--when the blogging urge hits I can just start immediately before I lose motivation. And tonight, the urge is persistent. It's like this little kid tugging my sleeve and whining, "Kiera...Kiera...Kiera?! BLOG. Please blog. When can we blog? Are you going to blog? Huh? Huh, Kiera? Are you?! Kiera!!!" Obviously it's pretty annoying. And how do you expect me to sleep under those conditions?

I find myself quietly tucked away in my room this evening after my penultimate first day of school. It's been an unusually short summer, not as in it went quickly--though it did--but as in "it already freaking feels like fall even though it's still technically freaking AUGUST". My window's cracked open and letting in a cool, after-rain breeze, and the periodic sound of water slowly slipping off my roof to the ground pulls me in and out of my own thoughts. My room's a little chilly at the moment, but I like it that way since it gives me an excuse to pull out my (always comforting) lavender footie pajamas covered in penguins--these (the pajamas...not the penguins) have gone significantly unnoticed and unused since about March. I value times like these when I can just sit on my own and think to the noise of late-at-night-in-a-small-town.

Tonight I'm thinking about silences. Silence seems like something that's very straightforward: the absence of noise. But it's far more than that. There are many different types of silences. They each have a noise and a tone all their own within their soundlessness.

There are library silences and test-taking silences, where everyone is quiet because of an almost unwritten rule and social agreement that those are settings in which a low sound level should prevail. There are conversational silences--some natural and comfortable, some entirely awkward and nearly unbearable. There are shocked silences, and there are disappointed silences. There are silences that defy connection. But there are also silences in which communication and understanding are still taking place--in which words can become unnecessary. Tonight's silence is a relieved silence. I've made it through DAY 1 of the new semester and am perfectly happy to just sit inside while still experiencing the air from outside, knowing that everyone else in my house and most of the people on my block are sound asleep as I type these words.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel songs, which has a line in it about no one daring to disturb the sound of silence. But as those fabulous lyricists encourage, I do dare disturb the sound of silence--I add my own punctuating rhythm of clicking letters, making it my silence: a silence in which I express my muddled thoughts, but in many ways am still saying nothing at all.
Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
lacuna (lah-kyoon'-uh) n. a blank space or a missing part; gap.

Random Song Lyrics for Your Entertainment (and/or Enlightenment):
"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence"
--Simon & Garfunkel in "The Sound of Silence"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Emerging Enlightened

As a college student, it’s pretty much my job to get really stressed out on occasion. School isn’t always exactly a cakewalk, and sometimes it’s best to just ignore my looming pictures of the future and focus only on things immediately at hand; the future is a scary thing to think about—I’m graduating soon. While I’m excited to be done with school, I’m not excited at the prospect of trying to find a job with my degree in English (emphasis: Literary Studies). I feel like my whole life has been leading up to this point where I get to go off and really show the world who I am—become a hardworking adult with not just a job but a CAREER: a life of my own choosing. It’s terrifying to think that any of the choices I’ve made could have been wrong.

But my thoughts continually return to my favorite class I’ve had to date—we’re not just talking my favorite college course; I really mean it is my favorite class EVER. I’ve had a lot of teachers I’ve loved and learned so much from, but this class has stuck in my mind the way no other ever has. The themes of it return to me all the time—it’s honestly changed many aspects of my perspective on life and experience. This class was my Literary Theory class last semester.

On the surface, it shouldn’t have been as life changing to me as it was; on the surface it just looks like any other university literature course—no, I take that back. On the surface it looks more pointless than your average university literature course. I confess as I read through the syllabus on the first day I couldn’t really remember why I’d signed up for the class beyond the fact that I’d heard the teacher was fabulous: the course description basically sounded like, “This class is going to be about spooky ghost stories in literature and the roles of the supernatural in our daily lives.” I was thinking it would be crazy and useless and asking myself why ON EARTH I was going to spend an entire semester reading and discussing the supernatural—that is really not my kind of thing at all. I don’t buy into ghost stories; I’d never become a “ghost-hunter”.

But for whatever reason (probably because the extremely clever and perhaps slightly eccentric professor intrigued me from day one) I stuck with the class. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

That class helped me come to a realization that I suppose I’ve known all along, but that I’d never given much thought to previous to taking the class. THE REALIZATION: We don’t have control over a lot of what surrounds us, only of how we react to those surroundings; the world is chuck full of chaos—chaos that’s nearly impossible to decipher. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, yet it’s our natural instinct and desire as mankind to make sense of the things we don’t understand. While in many cases this is fantastic—giving us new technologies or medicines or ways to accomplish things—sometimes we become so fixated on complete understanding and control that it tears us apart and impedes further progress in other areas. There comes a time when we just have to accept that we can’t control everything or know everything or understand everything—to accept the chaos for what it is—to willingly plunge ourselves into it at times and come away from it not fully comprehending it all, but feeling enlightened on some aspect of it…and knowing that that’s okay. “Willingly fling yourself down the rabbit hole and emerge enlightened instead of insane,” became the constant motto of the course.

And that was just the message I needed to hear. Now as I look to my not-entirely-certain future, I try to de-stress a little: it’s okay that I don’t know exactly what I’m doing after I graduate; it’s okay that school feels chaotic at times and that the real world is even more so. As long as I emerge from the rabbit hole feeling enlightened—as long as I come away from every chaotic experience having learned something—having improved myself—it was all worth it.



Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:

gallimaufry (gal-li-maw'-free) n. a hodgepodge, jumble; a mixture of diverse things

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:

“My journey took me somewhat further down the rabbit-hole than I'd initially intended and, though I dirtied my fluffy white tail, I've emerged… enlightened.”

—Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Hey people. It's been quite some time. And I'm sorry this isn't a real blogpost, but a copy of my final paper for my Non-Fiction class. I'm supposed to write a short autobiographical piece of writing for part one of this assignment. Part two is for me to take a step back from it and analyze it for themes and such as if I were an unconnected third party. Here's where you come in: I would love you forever if you would read through this and give me your general impressions so I know what an outside third party is actually thinking as they read this. I've already written a rough draft of my critical analysis, but I could tweak it or even this original short story thing based on your thoughtful responses. Thanks in advance if you decide to help me out with this! And without further ado, I give you...


"Hmm..." mused Jarin, "I wonder if we could trap it with a marshmallow..." He bent over the pile of sticks and rocks we'd collected in the last twenty minutes, his young face scrunched up in concentration.

Wiping my dirt-covered hands on my worn-out overalls, I suggested that a s'more would probably be better in case it was picky and didn't like marshmallows plain; I knew I didn't. "If it's got chocolate and graham crackers and marshmallows, there's no way it won't want some," I added matter-of-factly.

We agreed that we'd sneak an extra s'more away with us from the campfire later that night and went to work assembling our trap.

It was an annual tradition in our extended family to go on one big camping trip together in the middle of the Summer. For the past several camp-outs my cousins and I had turned making chipmunk traps into something of a ritual, as well. In the back of our minds I think we always knew we wouldn't actually catch anything. Our traps were handmade, wholly unreliable, and not very stable. They had very little real logic behind them. We didn't care; it was just something we did to do something. It made us feel adventurous. Like we could go out and become Daniel Boone.

The color of our hands progressed to increasingly darkening shades of brown and gray as we strategically stacked stones on top of each other and used sticks to line the inside of our structure for support. After about an hour and much trial and error, we had what looked like a miniature stone hut, complete with a smooth rock roof concealed by dead leaves. The finishing touch was a tiny trapdoor at the front so we could slip the pilfered s'more inside as bait.

As we sat testing it out in our isolated corner of the campsite, Brooke meandered over to us. "Hey, Brooke!" we greeted her warmly, eager to show her how good our trap was this time and have her admire our handiwork.

Peering down at us, she crossed her arms and looked skeptical. "What are you guys doing?" she asked, furrowing her brow.

We glanced back up at her, slightly crestfallen and somewhat confused. " know what we're doing..." I said tentatively. Up until this year she'd always helped us with this project. As the oldest grandchild in our family, she had been the leader: the one who had started this whole trapping thing in the first place. Now at the wizened age of 10, she seemed to have lost interest in it altogether. Previous years, Jarin and I had always just followed her lead because we looked up to her. This year we were leading ourselves.

Rolling her eyes and shaking her head, she responded, "Of course I know what you're doing--but why?!" She sounded exasperated. Irritated.

"Maybe we'll catch something this ti--" Jarin began. But Brooke cut him off before he could finish.

"You're not going to catch anything. It never works." She walked away haughtily to do whatever it was that she thought was so much cooler than us or our project.

I tried not to look or feel disappointed as I watched her go. Turning to Jarin, I smiled wildly and exclaimed, "This time it will."

"Yeah," he said, returning my pre-braces, crooked grin. "This time we'll catch something."

After dinner, with s'more bait in place, we went to bed hardly able to wait until morning when we could check our trap. Undeterred by past experience, we were just as confident and hopeful as always that our trap would work and we'd have a pet chipmunk for the remainder of camp. As I tossed and turned in my sleeping bag, trying to fall asleep to the rhythmic sounds of my dad snoring and the rushing water of the creek near our tent, it felt like tomorrow would never come.

When it finally did, the kids--as usual--were up before the parents. Jarin and I found each other as quickly as we could so we could check our trap together. "Do you think--?" I half asked him with bare enthusiasm.

"I don't know--let's go find out!" he answered back hopefully. Both of our voices were dry and crackly from having just woken up, but unmistakably laced with excitement like on Christmas morning.

We raced each other to our little stone trap and were surprised to find Brooke already there, standing beside it. We stopped in our tracks, not sure what to make of it. We stared at her. She stared back, looking smug.

We nodded uncertainly at her, and Jarin spoke quickly to no one in particular, "C'mon! Let's see what's in there!" He started to move towards the trap but didn't quite make it before Brooke blew:

"This is so stupid," she said angrily. Her voice rose to a volume kind of shocking for that early in the morning. "There is not going to be anything in there!" On this last heightened note, she dramatically swung her foot back behind her and kicked over our primitive little construction, blasting it apart. It separated back into it's composite parts at an astonishing speed.

But amid the dead rocks and sticks and leaves and dirt, all three of us saw something small--something living--dart away and disappear into the trees behind us. We could read in each other's puzzled faces that yes, we had finally caught our chipmunk. And because of Brooke it had gotten away.

After the initial shock had worn off, Jarin and I glared at Brooke, unable to believe that we'd finally succeeded only to have her literally tear apart all of our hard work. We were left with the scattered remnants of the only trap that had ever worked and had to content ourselves with the guilt and bragging rights we could hold over Brooke's head for the remainder of the trip. We never did catch another chipmunk.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Half Cray-Cray, Half Philosophical

SERIOUSLY?! The last post I made was IN OCTOBER?! That is absolutely unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE, I SAY! I'll understand if none of you ever want to speak to me EVER AGAIN. Or...leave me comments or whatever...just sayin'. This blog has been so neglected.

But NO MORE. I am here to save the day and to attack you with useless information! Dun-dun-dun-dun! (That? Oh...that's just my hero music.)

Honestly, what is this blog without me writing in it? It's like...a play without a leading lady. Or a ship without a captain. Or a quidditch team with no seeker. a week that's only Mondays; only ice cream--never sundaes; like a circle with no center; like a door marked, "DO NOT ENTER." Darling, I'll be yours forever 'cause I never wanna be without lo-o-o-o-o-ve, so baby never set me free. Or something. (Clearly my lengthy absence hasn't addled with my propensity to random lyric quoting without warning. Good to know.)

So now that I'm here and you're here, you probably want me to actually write about something, huh?--Crap. I hadn't foreseen know, earlier when I was consulting my crystal ball and reading tarot cards...How's about I rationalize why I seem so cray-cray?

  • As you may or may not know, I have returned to The Institution of Cognitive Chaos. On the surface (and based on context clues) that may sound like I'm talking about a mental institution, which isn't too far from the truth: I am back at uni. (I know "uni" is a British/Australian term, but I don't care. I'm using it. TAKE THAT. It's cooler than "college" or "school", okay. Just admit it already.)
  • Being back in classes is messing with my brain. It has to work so much harder now than when I was just working. Seriously, my cognitive exercise routine is so rigorous that I'm actually burning TONS OF CALORIES thinking. I get ravenously hungry SO OFTEN lately because my brain needs more fuel just to keep going!
  • I just barely got back from work, finished two annotations on scholarly journal articles, AND filled out an intense psychology study guide, so I need to release my creative energy that I had to hold back all day in order to sound ultra-professional and straightforward and all that scholarly poop. (You see that? Poop. That is what work and homework-filled days reduce me to: joy at using immature words in leisurely writing. Yep. Really.)
So...such is life at the moment. And in all sincerity, I am actually enjoying being back in school. (It's really busy and FRYING my brain and making my social life dangerously approach the brink of extinction, but I love learning things everyday.) My classes--for the most part--are very interesting and full of insightful discussions that keep my brain occupied long after class ends. It also helps that we cover different aspects of related themes in each of my classes because I get perspectives and input from not only different classmates, but also different professors. It's kind of awesome.

One of the things that keeps coming back is different theories of self and how each person's actions, behavior, looks, etc. are really just a representation of their inner self. (Naturally what keeps running through my brain during these discussions is Paper Towns. Paper Towns. Paper Towns. Great Gatsby. Paper Towns.) We've hit upon this topic particularly in my Studies in Non-Fiction Prose class and my Literary and Cultural Theory class, and I keep making connections from that to the complex nature of the brain which we keep studying in my Cognitive Psychology class. This stuff is mind-boggling to me and constantly reminds me to take no one as just a surface--humanity is insanely complicated and intricate.

I don't want you to feel like you're reading an essay here, and I don't want to feel like I'm writing one, but I seriously find this concept fascinating and inarguably true. Which is a perfect segway into what I want you guys to do: leave me a comment that allows me to "imagine you more complexly." It doesn't have to be deep or life-changing or anything; just tell me something about you that I probably don't know yet. I'm really looking forward to your responses!

And with that, I depart!!! Dun-dun-dun-dun! (<--hero exit music)

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"Four for you, Glenn Coco! You go, Glenn Coco!"
--Damien dressed as Santa in Mean Girls