Growing Up

Children are meant to grow up, and not to become Peter Pans. Not to lose innocence and wonder; but to proceed on the appointed journey: that journey upon which it is certainly not better to travel hopefully than to arrive, though we must travel hopefully if we are to arrive.

J.R.R. Tolkien

High School Me Writes Poetry

The author of the poems

The author of the poems

(Note: I am not a self-proclaimed poet. I like the medium of prose, so poetry is outside of my comfort zone. In addition to the poetry, I will be writing commentary about the poems throughout the post. There are more poems hiding somewhere in my house and if I find them, I might publish them.)

“Winter Wonderland”

Up in New York in the winter

It is a wonderful sight

To see the snow

Falling to the ground

To hear the snowplows running

To hear them crashing past

To know I have school

Most likely the next day

To hear the screams of little kids

Playing in the snow

To wait for the bus

In 20 below

To live in the country

Not far from a tree.

 

“Homegame”

There is a town near Saratoga

The name is Schuylerville

It is a peaceful town except Friday’s

On Friday’s the town closes down

The town closes down for the football games

The hometown’s parents yell

The pep band shrills

The bleacher’s tremble as the hometown scores a goal

The news has come

That we have won

Greenwich goes away

We beat them in another way

Now everyone knows

Schuylerville is number one

 

“More to New York”

There’s more to New York

Than a bustling city

Schools with rivals

In Schuylerville we know

If we beat Greenwich

We are number one

The rivals can get out of hand

As everyone knows

Yet nobody knows

How much it snows

Six inches to be out

For just one day

That day we can play

It can get cold

Yet young and old

Know New York

Is more than a city

(I call this “The New York Trilogy” or “Anna Just Moved From Upstate New York.” It was written for Freshman English. There is a lack of punctuation because I don’t believe in punctuation for poetry.)  

“Bowling”

Clang. Crash. Boom.

Those noises fill the room.

This is so not tad poling.

This is how it is with bowling.

(I thought I was being clever and deep. And, it rhymes.)

“Warrior Pride”

We will be number one

Even if in no one’s mind

Everything is not existent

We are not the kind

We might fight back

But it is not a ride

All we know is what we have

And that is Warrior Pride

(I thought writing this would help encourage pride in my high school. It was written on Homecoming of my junior year of high school.) 

“Ode to Algerbra”

Spinning numbers everywhere

Finding some to add

The number jumble

Like they are some fad

The numbers are frustrating

They need to give me some room

For when the new semester comes around

They will be gone with a broom

(I will never hide my dislike of numbers with the alphabet.)

“Of Light and Beauty”

Of light and beauty, the eyes of lovers

Dance nearby my sorrowful state of pain.

Everyone love struck from here to Dover,

Everything in mind and body to complain.

 

Of him, I wonder patiently of me.

My mind, my body are all for his sale.

Do his thoughts think of me? I hope with glee.

When I am near him every time, I pale.

 

Yet, I will pledge my allegiance to him.

It is by him I love and live in state.

Even with times that everything is dim,

My eyes focused nothing else concentrate.

 

In him everything unattained for me,

All to him, everything gives from me free.

(This is the most advanced my poetry. I wrote it for AP Literature class when we were talking about Beowulf.)

Disney: The Original Fandom

So recently, I have been browsing on Pinterest about Frozen and its growing fandom. Somewhere, someone asked the question about Frozen being the first Disney movie with its own fandom. Yet, somewhere lies to the realization that Disney actually perfected fandom before fandom was probably a word. Walt Disney intentionally put his company on the track of becoming this fandom whereas some people created pieces and could care less about them (I am looking at you Arthur Conan Doyle.) Fandom has been systematically arranged and perfected by the Disney corporation. This formula has gone on to inspire the next generations which consists of popularity, emotional damage, fanwork, and shipping.

Even cult fandoms have marginal popularity. Disney is extremely popular. It is the first fandom to get an amusement part. Disneyland laid the foundation for all other parks to be made. Universal Studios would have existed along with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but both projects would have contained a higher risk of failure with no precedent. The sheer popularity of Disneyland gave the founders of Universal a way for themselves to make as much money as the Disney Corporation. Along with the popularity of the brand, Disney has created sub-fandoms. Frozen, The Lion King, and the Disney Princess brand are all sorts of sub-fandoms created by Disney. Disney has had movies so popular that the movies have become Broadway musicals. In addition to the sub-fandoms created by Disney, there are sub-fandoms which have been acquired by Disney including Marvel’s Avengers and Star Wars. Foreign companies use Disney as a distributor of film. Studio Ghibli has given Disney exclusive distribution rights so even people those fandoms have some contribution to the Disney fandom.

What is fandom without some emotional damage? Somewhere, I know there is a better way of saying that, but at this time, the words escape me. Disney helps people feel empathy for its main characters. Of the many Disney movies, The Lion King, Bambi, and The Fox and the Hound seem to be the most relevant to this part of this post. Now that I think about it, most of the emotional damage comes from the deaths of the parents though not the only way. At least, Disney did not “kill” off a main character and wait a  couple of years to bring them back to life. In Robin Hood, Disney only waited a couple of heart-tearing moments.Yet without sorrow, there will be no opportunity for the hero to rise up. This so called emotional damage it to make the hero if not the viewer stronger. The emotional damage is there to show the journey from the mad man with a box into the hero that saves the day. Oops. Wrong fandom. But, you see how the principle permeates popular culture. Pixar/Disney created such characters that we empathize with children’s toys. The characters which Disney creates impact the lives of the people who watch the movies and provide the emotional reaction consistently throughout the movies.

Fandoms often have things re-created by the ones who love them. I am talking about fanfiction, fanart, and cosplay. I don’t read fanfiction. It is one of those things that i just don’t do. But, I know that it exists. Why and how do you know something exists without even looking for it? Because, I have looked at all of the fanart. I have looked at enough to convince me that I know there is fanfiction. I spent an entire summer looking up fanart of the Disney Princesses. I do not feel like I wasted a summer though. It was a cultural experience of sorts. I also wanted to touch on the subject of cosplay because…

ArtfulAnarchy on Devianart

ArtfulAnarchy on Devianart

And, this only one example of the countless pictures found on the web. These people replicate the costumes for the pure enjoyment of Disney. In a response to people creating their own Disney Princess dresses, the Disney Princess line was formed. This has not overpowered the grassroots of the cosplay. In this case, imitation is flattery.

Disney taught me how to ship. The word itself was created in the 1990’s, but people have been doing it forever. It is a concept as old as dirt, yet Disney perfected its selection of OTPs. Because of shipping, fanwork are created. For a recent example, the sheer number of shippers for Anna and Krisoff from Frozen. Yes, it is implied they start a relationship, but look at the fanart that even implies children:

xxMeMoRiEzxx on Devianart

xxMeMoRiEzxx on Devianart

And Elsa? Elsa gets shipped with Jack from Rise of the Guardians despite corporate boundaries. People ship Jessie with Woody totally avoiding the fact that the official OTP has her with Buzz and Woody with Bo Peep. Yet, shipping is all in the small stuff. Jessie and Woody are cowfolk. That equals that they are meant to be! That is the long and the short of it.

Though not an official indicator of a fandom, merchandise can show a fandom. Disney is the perfecter of this unofficial indicator. In addition to the amusement parks all over the world, Disney has stores where merchandise is sold. As mentioned above, the Disney Princess line came out of Disney seeing a need and filling it with merchandise. There are debates on the Internet about who should and should not be included in the line. The line is based on the most popular movies. (As a personal opinion, Pocahontas should be included in the line because she is a chief’s daughter.) That is why Eilonwy is not included and the Disney Corporation does not include animals. Otherwise, Nala would be a Disney Princess. The Disney Fairies line came about because Tinker Bell was originally included and then taken out of the Disney Princess line.

Disney is original creator of the fandom world. Some may ask the question: Why? I ask: Why not? Disney movies are targeted at children. They created the indicators of fandom subtly throughout the creation of the company. They were at the forefront of popularity with enough “emotional damage” to keep the company going. Through inspiring fanwork, Disney shipping has systematically been spread throughout the culture sometimes using merchandise.

To A Year of Non-Academic Reading

Throughout my life, reading has been associated with the academic world. If not reading for a class, I have been reading supplemental material to something I have already read. Yet after graduating last year, I have been given a gift. This is the gift of not being assigned anything to read. So, what does one read when not assigned? That is the problem yet also the most amazing thing. This gives  the freedom to read whatever I want without the deadline. This was my year to grow as a person and a reader. It was there to prove that I liked reading for more than just being a GPA boaster.

The question soon becomes: What should a person read without any guidelines? Well, anything is too big of a pool of suggestions. Book Riot soon became a source for many options. This post has become a challenge of sorts. Currently, I have read 45 of the books on the list of 100. Yet with some of these being assigned in school, it took some of the challenge out of it. Except Great Expectations which, I will admit to not reading five years after it was assigned. Then, there are the books which I have wanted to read yet never had the time. Somehow, Wicked is still on this list after at least two years of trying before this year of complete chaotic reading habits. Goodreads has been extremely helpful in finding books along with Overdrive for Kindle reading.

In this year of unlimited reading, I have been re-reading favorite books. This includes parts of The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey. Everyone has their own reason for liking and disliking The Catcher in the Rye. My reason for liking The Catcher in the Rye is Holden’s personality. We have pretty much the same personality especially in high school, so I have pretty decided that my personality in high school was pretty annoying. If Holden was my personality in high school, Franny is my personality now. My favorite quote comes from how there is no way of being original. She could turn into a bohemian, and I could turn into a hipster; it would just feel conforming. Another book that I re-read was The Princess Bride. Now, I had originally watched the movie before reading the book. This is one movie which is as good as the book. It is quotable and watchable. It seems to be inline with “Don Juan” by Lord Byron where the author comments on the action. One book which I did not re-read was Up the Down Staircase. It gets told through notes and announcements rather than prose. It is inspirational to teachers and those who would like to be teachers.

In addition to re-reading other books, I have recently gotten into reading non-fiction. It all started with reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?.  This was one of the books I randomly found on Overdrive. I was pleasantly surprised with how witty and relatable it was. So in addition to finding a really cool book, I found a really cool TV show which was not cancelled in this last go round (I tend to start liking shows which get cancelled soon after I find them). It makes me feel like I am not alone in some senses. I also read Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. It was less of a serendipity find than it is a highly reviewed book that I might like. I get that Sandburg started from a place of “privilege,” but what successful is not given some advantage. The latest non-fiction book that I really liked is Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity in addition with Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. They both tell the story of Mumbai. A couple of years ago, I got really into Bollywood movies like 3 Idiots and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. So, non-fiction about India was not that far of a leap. It was really interesting to read about the poor in India.

Finally, I had to challenge my fiction reading because I cannot read YA and Jane Austen for the rest of my life. That being said, I am not ashamed of YA literature. Back to the subject at hand. At the time of the publication of this blog, I have read four out of five A Song of Fire and Ice books. That was a real stretch of reading ability. It takes a lot out me to actually read the books, so I cannot read them right after another.  I do like the books though. I started and finished Anna Karenina. It is this year’s Irene Iddesleigh, yet it is better written. At least in this book, the husband had reasons to doubt his wife and get mad at her. I have discovered Rainbow Rowell in this past year and enjoy all of the books of hers published this far. She writes in a YA style that is often called New Adult. This makes her the Meg Cabot of older young adults. I especially enjoyed Attachments which takes place right at the time of the Y2K scare. Finally, I have read The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers so far. I am planning to read The Return of the King in the next couple of months after I finish the last A Song of Fire and Ice books and 1Q84.

So long story short, I took my non-academic year to read and read and read. I took advantage of free resources from the library and recommendations from strangers. I took leaps of faith that I would not hate the book presented to me, which actually takes a lot of effort more than some people. It has been a rare gift to read for the joy of reading instead of for the joy of GPA. 

Ramblings Discusses Areas of the Feminist Realm

Feminism is one of those nasty words that leaves a bitter taste in people’s mouths. It is the word equivalent to instant coffee. Recently, there has been a movement away from the pictures of bra burning outside of Miss. America pageants to redefining what it means to be a woman. To put it simply, feminism is the social, political, and economic equality of both genders. For further definition, here is a picture:

Yet, feminism has yet to lose its reputation as a movement that is trying to fundamentally end the masculine gender of all rights. Too many people have encountered that stereotype and accepted it as the only reality. If the was no feminism, there would be a tendency to do the opposite. The opposite of fighting is denying the rights that people have died to gain and accepting the life of a second class citizen (essentially, creating the position of a second class citizen). With feminism being such a broad topic, education, language, and “conservative” feminism are going to be discussed.

Education is one point of activism. Education is denied to many grls aroun the world. There are girls denied and scared away from getting an education. Here in the US, education is essentially taken for granted. Where it is most needed, it is denied. Recently, at least 200 girls were kidnapped. The girls were abducted from a school. How clear of a message is that against female education? The news of the girls being abducted did not even reach the general public for around two weeks with any sort of vigor. It took social media for some people to even learn about the kidnapping. The kidnapping is not the only worldwide acknowledgment of anger against the education of woman. Malala was shot in the head for wanting more than purdah. Malala is even supporting the effort to bring back the girls from their captors. Because, education is the key to freedom.

malalafund Instagram

malalafund Instagram

With education, woman can vote with knowledge in places that will allow women the right to vote. Whoever controls the mind of the women controls the mind of the country. So by controlling voting and election policies, men control women.

The language of a culture is formed by its users. Meanings of words are defined not only by the denotation (dictionary definition) but the connotation (every day use). Recently, there have movements to somewhat eliminate the stigma associated with words that put down women. My least favorite has an association to a female dog. Yes, I did not write it. In 2004, Mean Girls came out. Near the end of the movie, Tina Fey’s character is talking to the crowd of girls about the fallout of the burn book. To paraphrase, using those types of words do not give women back the power; it still gives the men the power by using those words. Personally, I believe those words cannot be redeemed. I cannot use those words every single day to change the connotation. If those words were to change, it would not happen within the female community alone. I think of the words like “geek” or “nerd.” Both of these words have had bad connotations until recently. Who made these words okay? Personally, I think hipsters had a huge part in the changing the connotation. Then, society as a whole was forced into accepting these words as a symbol of pride instead of one of shame.

Finally, we have arrived at the possibility of a “conservative” feminist. The entire phrase seems to be an oxymoron because the stereotype seems to involve more “liberal” female/male feminists. While there is a push to get women out of the house and into business, there are those who choose to stay at home. This is a woman who is often ignored because staying at home to watch children is being a bad feminist. This hit home one day during a debate at school more than a year ago. I was talking to smart, wonderful, talented women. They were saying how they did not want the title of being a feminist because they believed women were meant to stay at home. At first, I was defensive. How could they choose that life? They have options. Then after a while, I realized staying at home was an option that they could choose. It was an option that I had grown up with. Why am I shocked? Then in an unrelated incident, there was Utah mother who bought shirts from a PacSun store because the models were immodest. She was slammed on the Internet for being a prude. Someone even asked the question, “Who will the feminists defend?” There was not a lot of support for her. If feminists are fighting against the de-objectification of women, why is this wrong? Why are we not standing with her? Is it because of her views?

Feminism is wide and diverse. These are only three subjects of many. These are also the three that I feel most passionate about. Women need education around the world. I did not even begin to start talking about human trafficking (modern day slavery) which is related to education. In order for society to change, we must stop thinking of offensive words for each other. Language is a social contract. We must also start looking at situations through other people’s eyes. That is the only way society can progress.

When I Forget That I Am a Creative…

…I mean like those people who are analyzed all over the web, I feel horrible. I feel like I do not operate at the same level as so many people. Words don’t come. Sentences are forced. But only when I forget that I am creative. Then, this happens. Words flow. It comes an goes at random times…like at work.Words flow. I have to write down the emotion. I misspell things in the process. It does not really matter anyway. Who has time for a dictionary? Long hand, blog posts are written and forgotten. When I forget I am a creative, I get bored. When I get bored, I doodle. In the meaningless doodle, I find it. I find my creative side. During the unexpected, creativity flows and seems like it will never be able to be translated into typed form. Or can it? Can it ever show that I am losing room on the paper? Or does the scroll eliminate that possibility?

It is too easy to erase things while blogging.  When writing on paper, you see the mistakes. The wrong words. The do-overs. The blog just seems so polished compared to the draft. Ever word has potential. When writing on paper, the page is blank but running out. These little creative moments. They help me forget about the conformity of everyday. Rules of writing, when learned, can be broken for something more than the sum of the parts. Some molds can not be broken. Sometimes, you have to pretend. Not in writing. Not when being authentic. Being authentic brings the pain with the healing. I forget that being authentic means showing the scars…something I don’t really do. I hide behind a band-aid. Literally. Not metaphorically. In acting, I was taught that the most meaningful performance does not come from creating the moment from scratch. The best acting comes from a place of memory.

The conformity of everyday. It bores. I forget while I hide behind my mask. The smiley, machine-like  mask of conformity. Then, that little voice tells me that I am the same as any other person. There is nothing special about me. I feel like Sherlock is in my brain saying:

BBC's Sherlock

BBC’s Sherlock

while Catherine Tate is all like:

And, all I can do is freeze. All I can do is force myself to forget that I am creative. To pretend that I am not special to fit in. To pretend that all of the creative things are bad and just to accept conformity.

But, I cannot fit in. In not even trying, I do not fit in. I notice things. And others might too. I realize that I may not make a significant difference to people all over the world with my way of thinking. Yet, I might inspire somebody. That might be it. One person. I might let them realize that they are a creative too. That being a creative is not something set in stone from the time of birth. It is hard work to spontaneously start a project.  Habits have to be formed. It also takes a lot of forgetting. To forget critics. To forget norms of behavior. Yet, to remember. To remember a time that being creative was not hard. Where it was okay for things to be out of place. To remember that sentence fragments are not the end of the world. That everyone is human.

There is no real wrap-up. I just wanted to write in the manner of stream-of-consciousness. That was the best way to get some thoughts out.