Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Skeleton Party

So I kinda like skeletons.

There's something funny about them. I call them hilarious, charming, and cute. Of course, I'm sure they're anything cute about a rotting body... but when I look at one of those plastic skeletons in a science classroom, I smile. I can't help it.

I found the picture above here at We Heart It (I think I'm terribly obsessed with that site). There's something magnetic about it. I like how the skeletons are so tiny, and the red-hatted one had his hand on the yellow-hatted one's leg. What could it mean? They both look like guy skeletons to me, but I could be wrong. They're sitting stiffly, as if their mother skeleton is forcing them to pose for the camera.

Mommy Skeleton: Now smile!

Yellow: But Brad's touching me. Tell him to stop.

Red: I'm not touching him. He's lying.

Mommy Skeleton: Look, we're not cutting the cake until you sit still. We need a nice picture for Daddy, considering he wasn't seen you in 126 years. If they dig him up this year, you probably won't want him to scold you.

What do you think of when you look at it?

In my Who Am I? section, I mention that I like weird things. Including tap-dancing skeletons. There's a story behind this. My friend and I were trying to study one night, bemoaning the fact that Halloween was on its way and we didn't have the time to go out. We kept the television on one of the lower channels and were strangely entranced by an old Halloween special where old celebrities (none I knew of) got together in costumes to dance and sing. The show was incredibly corny. My friend and I dropped our books and laughed hysterically. At one point a group of skeletons came out and tap danced. It was brilliant. I wiped the tears out of my eyes and thought, without a doubt, that the corniness was so high that it could actually be considered good.

With that being said, I like watching old horror films. And I mean really old. This small hobby has led me to my silent film favorites such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (which I referenced in my Men of Honor post) and Nosferatu. Other black and whites continue to be a lot of fun, and one of them has a knee-slapping (yes) skeleton moment towards the end of the film. I highly recommend you click the video and enjoy it. Rest assured I cry-laugh every time I do :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award!

So, the other day (or should I say, weeks ago) I checked the blogs I follow and found that Melee from The Midnight Train of Thought was wonderfully kind in bestowing "The Versatile Blogger Award" upon little I Wear Milk Crowns. I was super excited about it and couldn't wait to follow up with my answering post - until Spring Break arrived and I rode the waves of the Carried Away scent. Ah.

So school's back in session. There was a power outage this morning that left me, understandably, upset because the paragraph in one of my stories that I had just edited was lost to the infinite blackness that was my office. Only the emergency lights from the hallway offered refuge. I was so disgruntled that I stayed in the dark office until the lights came on twenty minutes later. Of course, my paragraph was forever lost.

So I decided to do something fun to take my mind off of it, something I had been meaning to do. This post. Here's the conditions for the award:

1. Thank the person who loved you enough to bestow this gift.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Bestow this honor onto 10 newly discovered or followed bloggers - in no particular order - who are some way.
4. Drop by and let your ten new friends know you admire them.

I think I've told Melee, thank you, but if I haven't: THANK YOU! I'm honored!

Alas! The sacred seven facts:

1. You can bribe me to do almost anything by offering me Peeps.

2. I'm still struggling to find my place in the world of Disney Princess identification. I used to love Ariel the best as a kid, and now it's Sleeping Beauty (though I confess it's mostly because of Prince Phillip) but I know in my heart that I'm actually most like Belle in personality. I love books and spacing out, and would probably have no issue with talking candlesticks and clocks.

3. When it comes to writing, I tend to overexert myself. I take on multiple projects at once and even feel like, while doing those, that I need to do more. This surprisingly does not result in unfinished short stories and the like, but it does mean I have way too much on my mind. My friends cock their eyebrows and sometimes slap me when they hear me talk about a new project. They mean well, haha.

4. I've ridden on a hot air balloon. It was only ten minutes, but it was one of the best moments of my life.

5. There are two likely reasons for me being crabby. 1) Heat. Hot weather. Not even mints can make me forget the sweat and sluggishness. 2) I'm working on a story in my head. Most likely I'm thwarted from jotting notes down on a computer or piece of paper. Other times I just want to be left alone to mentally work on a particular scene or dialogue.

6. I dream of buying a mustard yellow pea coat someday. I have strange expectations that, when I do find one, it will mean that I've achieved something great in my life. Like a marker or something.

7. I love coincidences. Because I don't believe that they are coincidences. I love whatever it is that makes me stumble upon a long-lost childhood book in a used bookstore or lets me here my favorite song while I'm strolling around the grocery store. Those strange moments of timeliness, like straight out of a movie script. I feel one with the universe in those moments, haha.

I'm still relatively new on the blog scene, but I found some that I absolutely love to read:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Carried Away

The air is thick with whimsy. The scent is heavy and sweet; I can feel it collect on my tongue as I try to catch clouds. They drift away from me, crawling towards the end of the world with such determination that I can't help but feel in awe. Come back clouds, I call, come have tea with me and tell me stories of what you've seen. They won't come down. They've promised the Sun and Moon to remain silent and unobtrusive. But they shower me with sparkling powder that makes my skin glow and my veins pop with color.

I left my shoes behind a long time ago. They were cute little things, leather with wire shoelaces, but they cut the backs of my heels. They were not made for land, but they hardly deserved the sky either. They're in the conserve behind my house, placed neatly next to my polka-dot backpack and tin of mints.

A street vendor was a curly mustache had come into my life as briefly and nonsensically as a Roald Dahl plot device; he sold me six balloons for a pack of gum and a hair ribbon. He told me to wait until I got home to tie the balloons around my wrist. Instead, I did it right there and drifted away. I bobbed over my house and kicked off my earthly items, watching the plants try and catch them and my dog barking and wagging her tail from inside the screened-in pool area.

The balloon turned to swans and they carried me higher, faster, and the strings multiplied and formed a net around my body. I found a pair of goggles in my penny-sized purse and strapped them on. I sat back in the string net and stared up at the swans who, in a past life where I may have had to stitch nettle-sweaters in silence, could have been my lost brothers.

There's only the sky. Endless blue, but not the kind that's full of salt and rainbow fish. This blue is pure; the air up here is gauzy. It tickles your throat. There's too much and too little and the winds each have their own names and up here, only up here, can they whisper them to you.

Somewhere below a boy is waiting for us to land. He wipes his glasses with a green cloth and keeps watching the skies. Consulting his compass, a trinket from childhood, he knows that I'll soon be landing. The compass doesn't point north. It points to the heart.

Spring Break is finally here. It's just begun but before I know it I'll find myself standing at the edge of the week, peeking over and seeing the classes back in session and the grades pouring in. However, I'm not there yet. I'm trying to enjoy the moment.

There's something relaxing about wandering in and out of stores. A delight, perhaps, in the colorful displays and whirring electronics, and the people who come out to gaze in windows and carry heavy bags. I never tire of it. Yesterday I came back with a few treasures, but perhaps the most thought-provoking one is actually a new perfume I picked up.

I'll never forgive Bath & Body Works for discontinuing my favorite scent as a girl, Daffodil Fields, but once and a while I'll feel curious about what the company is up to. I'll wander in, take a peek. Kind of like an older sister. But when I went in yesterday, I was immediately drawn to a new fragrance. The ribbon-typography yanked me in and the smell, well, it made me smile and start dreaming, right there in the store. I fumbled around for some cash and, in the end, settled on a small spray bottle and lotion of Carried Away.

The official website describes the scent thusly:

"Master perfumers have blended lush raspberries and juicy pear nectar with white jasmine and whipped vanilla to create this whimsical fragrance inspired my the way love sweeps you off your feet."

I'm not sure if anything can truly be captured in a bottle, except perhaps a genie. However, I must say that I'm greatly inspired by Carried Away.

I get carried away by many things. Crushes, manuscripts, side projects, grading, big dreams that threaten to swallow me whole with their repetition. However, it's not often that I'll look at something and think, "Oh, that's the sky in that bottle. It's the clouds, the birds, the sun and the love that I may have seen or felt as splintered pieces over the years."

Just the size of the atmosphere.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Forest

I think that someone should write a song about midterm time. Perhaps the song would be deceptively cheerful, starting out with a xylophone solo so amazing that you'd find yourself wanting to squeeze the nearest teddy bear. But if you do know what it's like to go through midterm, especially in the spring, it would not surprise if the song suddenly switched to drums and electric guitar. In a snap. Your ear buds might even explode.

When I say midterm, I don't mean simply a midterm test - a plot devised by your teachers and professors to give you something incredibly hard to go right before spring break. No. It's more than a series of tests. It's a space-time crunch where suddenly everything that you have been working on or are involved in freezes. You, though, are still chugging forward. There will be a collision, and it's not going to be pretty. The only way to prevent this train wreck is to sacrifice your sleep to the academic gods.

Which I just can't do. I'll take the train wreck.

There's still grading to be done for my students. Some recording. Midterm grades, as you know. I'll be reading a somewhat embarrassing story about my life at the nonfiction reading next week. And, hopefully, I'll be joining hands with a friend to launch a new project into the endless abyss of the internet.

Wow. Midterm indeed.

I have two writing-related projects going right now (not my Figment novels). One of which you'll find out about within the next two blog posts or so, and the other, hopefully a few months down the road. We'll see how it goes. But both projects, in their own ways, have to do with forests.

What do you think of when you hear the word forest? What's a forest to you?

I don't have any real life experience with forests. I've never gone camping. I can't imagine camping because I've never gone camping. I admire people who do. Sometimes when I'm driving to school, I wonder what it would be like to pull the car over and wander into the scrubby brush of Florida wilderness. We don't have those beautiful woods you see in car commercials. Actually, when I'm looking on the side of the road (the one road that doesn't have shops flanking both sides), the ground is usually covered in water. I'd have to wear some serious rain boots if I wanted to trudge in there.

My idea of a forest is totally built on fantasy. It's the image I prefer, the one I've gotten from my steady IV of fairy tales and pretty photos. It's the forest of Arden, straight from Shakespeare's As You Like It. It's the original Arden from Thomas Lodge's Rosalynde. I think I've spent many an hour reading and re-reading Lodge's 16th century book, marveling at the chivalrous heroes and surprisingly strong heroines as they all explored the forest and discovered themselves. A pastoral romance at its best, I daresay.

I've recently discovered another way to enjoy this more idealistic view of the woods; it's called mori girls. Mori means forest in Japanese. It is a fashion and lifestyle created in Japan where girls (mostly) dress as if they live in a forest. They usually wear long, shapeless dresses and many layers, preferring natural materials and colors. Mori girls wear little, if any, makeup (the most defining coloring their cheeks to imitate the dolls they owned as children). In spirit, these girls seek out the small enjoyments in life, living at a slower pace, and they make choices for themselves instead of for others. Well, there's a lot more to it then that. But we're looking at the tip of the iceberg.

(Last two pictures are from the Japanese brand called Wonder Rocket)

I truly wish that I could step out of the house like this. These pictures make me sigh. Truth be told, I've always been a t-shirt and jeans girl. I tend to admire other people for fashion, and, in recent years, have made an extra effort to collect some clothing that makes me feel, well, bigger and brighter. Reflective of the me on the inside. I have a few dresses that, when it does get warmer, I'm looking forward to wearing. I guess I just have to deal with my students staring at me, confused, haha. If I do ever make it to Japan, I'm saving my money. I want to come home with some of these mori-style clothes. I haven't seen anything in the grand USA that even comes close. I'm patient, haha.

There is something incredibly endearing and fascinating about this fashion movement. Hopefully in the futute I'll be able to blog about it more. In the meantime, I'd like to leave you with one more thing pertaining to mori girls. I good friend of mine (and brilliant colleague, haha) has just launched her own blog: Hello Enaam. If you have the time, please check out her first post about mori girls and, of course, larger issues concerning self-expression and freedom:

The video Enaam talks about sent my hackles rising (if I had hackles). Really. It's more than a little unsettling - a makeover show gone wrong. Poor Stacy and Clinton. I think even they would be shocked by this. What do you think?

Good luck with your midterms, dear readers!