Sunday, January 30, 2011

By The Window


Outside
the clouds are flat
and grey
it looks as if it might
begin to snow
Not soft snow
as fluffy as a rabbit's tail
but hard flakes
driven down in sheets
whistling at the windowpanes
bathing everything in ice.

I sit by the window
wrapped in a fuzzy blanket
notebook on my knees
mug of raspberry tea
clutched in my hand
buttered toast
crunchy on my tongue
warm
safe
sheltered...
home.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Obernewtyn


It's been years since the Great White- a terrible nuclear apocalypse that decimated the world's population, and pushed them back into the Dark Ages. Now, mutations are beginning to affect children. Hailed as "Misfits" and feared by the the Council, they're banished from the towns and sent as far away as possible. Elspeth Gordie knows that this fate might well be hers. She's managed to hide her unusual powers from the others at the orphan home for years...until the day when she loses control of her power in front of another girl, who exposes her as a Misfit.
She's packed off to the far institute of Obernewtyn, where the Misfits are threatened with wolves if they ever dare to escape. Elspeth befriends several of the other children- and estranges the guardians. After overhearing a secret meeting, she discovers that the guardians are trying to reawaken the forces that caused the Great White with the help of a certain Misfit. Her.
There's no way Elspeth can allow them to arouse such a menace. But with the guardians inside and savage wolves without, how will she ever escape?
Obernewtyn was illuminating and well-told. I fully enjoyed it, and will be reading the sequel!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dancer

(The Star [Dancer on Stage]) by Edgar Degas

I wait in the wings
my breath like butterflies in my throat
I hear my cue
that faint lilt of flutes
and before I can think
I pirouette onto the stage
Like an autumn leaf
I twirl, releve and grand jete
leaping like some deer in a forest glade
my breaths come easier now
but then my dance is almost done
A quick hop to on pointe
raise one toe in arabesque
And then I am caught,
like a bird as it rises from the earth
and seeks the stars
Was it the sound of the orchestra?
or the joy of this dance?
I do not know.
But for whatever reason,
as I stand in arabesque,
I add an acrobatic leap
to my dance
(although I have never before tried)
and I fly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High


The date: September 4, 1957.
Where: The central high school in Little Rock, Arkansas
Central High had been voted the most beautiful high school in the nation. One this day, however, the scene played out before it was completely ugly. An angry mob of about four hundred people surrounded the school, screaming unspeakable things. All this was on account of nine students who had transferred to the school. What was the cause of their wrath?
The nine students in question were African-American.
The youngest was only fourteen years old, and her name was Carlotta Walls LaNier.
When she had signed the paper that allowed her to attend Little Rock Central High School the previous spring, she thought of it a no-brainer. Her family had always taught her to seek the best in education, and the local high school was rated one of the best in the US.
And when she had left the house that morning, her chief worry was about geometry class.

A Mighty Long Way is Carlotta Walls LaNier's story of that hellish first year in Central High School, and how her life was impacted by it.
It brings a not-often discussed chapter of American history to life- a chapter that should never be forgotten.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Invisible

Two drops fall to spot the path
Somewhere, an invisible girl is crying
I can hear her sobs in the wailing wind
and her tears as the deluge beats down
The trees bend forward
as if to mirror the despairing curve of her back
I want to comfort her, to dry her tears
but I cannot see her
I cannot find her
She cries on, completely alone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Small Alice Obsession

When I was about eight or nine years old, I was obsessed (and I really do mean OBSESSED) with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol.

I read it about once a week, and could practically quote the whole thing from memory. I reread it just recently, and fell in love with it all over again. The insane plot, the crazy logic games, the wacky cast of characters...there's never been another book to compare with it. It's completely unique, and completely MAD.
I'm also a fan of the Tim Burton movie, the Looking Glass Wars trilogy, and anything Alice-related. I've got Alice folders, a Red Queen t-shirt...an annotated copy of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.
Just this past weekend, I hung this poster in my room:

Great, isn't it?
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book.

`In THAT direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, `lives a Hatter: and in THAT direction,' waving the other paw, `lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.'
`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
-From Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Walk


The trees were grey
and so was the duckless pond
The people on the path were grey
Until...
White flakes overflowed the brimful sky
and settled on the park
a dusting of white
banished the grey
and made colors seem bright again
brought us back to life
made us marvel at the touch
of snow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Progress


The year stretches out before me
like a book of pristine white paper
intimidating in its potential
I pick up my pen
and besmirch its clean pages.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Other Side of the Island

By Allegra Goodman

When Honor 's parents moved to Island 365, they knew the rules.  Earth Mother controls everything- from the books they are allowed to read to the number of children they are allowed to have. Honor is quickly accepted at the government school, but her mother and father insist on being Unpredictable. They take long walks out into the country to look at the night sky, and dangle their feet in the ocean, when any normal person knows that the sea is dangerous.
Her best friend Helix has parents who are the same way, and when his parents Disappear (read: arrested by the government officials) Honor knows that her parents could be taken as well. In order to protect her family, she tries to be the perfect student, but when her mother gives birth to a second child, Honor knows that her parents can't change who they are. When her parents Disappear, she and her little brother Quintilian are forced to live in the orphanage. Helix is there too, and together, they discover the secret on the other side of the island.
The Other Side of the Island was both an entertaining read, and a challenging one. Its dystopian plot closely resembles 1984, but it keeps a tight hold on its hopeful outlook. I enjoyed this book enough to re-read it, and found it just as engaging on the second read. If there was a sequel, I'd be the first in line!