Weekend Reads #46: Solitude

Weekend Reads is a weekly discussion on a variety of topics. At the end of the post, I’ll include what I plan to read on the weekend.

For this weekend, I’ve decided to do a prompt from WordPress’s Daily Post. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these; plus, I’m not in the mood to write about books and reading. I guess one could say my post is late since the prompt I’ve selected was for Thursday, April 28.

This weekend’s topic and Daily Post prompt:

Solitude

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Disruptive Thoughts

Daily Post: Sweeping Motions

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts so since I’m in the mood to write but am procrastinating on a review, I thought, why the hell not.

Today’s question:

What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.

I don’t have organized thoughts.

On a good day my thoughts jump quickly from one thing to another but there’s a common topic to them. But days like today, my thoughts drift heedless of my attempts to control them. They are languid, lazy thoughts and all they want to do is just mill around in my mind, taking their time to float to my attention before dispersing.

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The fight over the event last night

Daily Prompt: Roy G. Biv

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image.

Note: I started with the first image that popped in my head and went with it until I ran out of steam. I have no idea where this came from. I’ve never been in such a situation before.

My vision was red when I woke. I was so enraged. I thought that a quick nap would shake off the anger but instead it slept along with me, patiently waiting to resurface, and now it was ready. Ready for me to take action. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my jacket, and left the house in search of him. I drove my blue buggy right up to his house and banged on the door until he opened it. He refused to meet my eyes knowing that he had done wrong, that he had pushed me too far. I shoved him into the house and entered after, intent on putting a hurting on him that he’d soon not forget. No one messes with me.

As I drew back my fist to deliver a punch, a flash of pink caught my eye and I looked around to see little Sara staring at me. The sun caught the flecks of green in her big hazel eyes as she stared up at us, opened mouthed, probably wondering what I’m doing to her daddy. But my anger refused to relent even for this little girl and I tried to sweeten my voice as I coaxed her to return to the living room and her cartoons, but she continued to stare. Dammit!

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1 Unmotivated Student, 2 Exceptional Teachers

Daily Prompt: We Can Be Taught!

What makes a teacher great?

As part of the International Women’s Day celebration, I shall highlight the two teachers who influenced me the most while in school.

The first is a high-school teacher. I shall call her Ms. P. Ms. P was an English teacher who also taught a creative writing class. Though I didn’t enjoy her English classes much, I loved her creative writing classes though I spent most of it asleep. She was a quiet lady, who barely spoke above a whisper yet could control the rowdy high-school students. Usually when we were assigned to work in groups in the English classes, our noisy collaborations would mount to a din similar to that at a concert, yet she was able to quell us by simply standing in front of the room with a mild stare as if politely waiting for us to quieten. It was a bit eerie. I always wondered why this worked more effectively than the antics of other teachers—banging the table, scraping the chalkboard, or shouting “Shut up!” She was always composed and never “lost it,” even when students were beyond rude. I admired that—the power of quiet.

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Sharing My Instagram Pics: Winter Snapshots

A Moment in Time

What was the last picture you took? Tell us the story behind it. (No story behind the photo? Make one up, or choose the last picture you took that had one.)

I hate winter. I abhor the cold, the sniffles, and that tingly feeling I get in my fingers and toes when they’re numb. I loathe the fall in temperature and the rise in wind. And the burning sensation I get in my nose whenever I step outside that makes me want to sneeze. I dislike the ice, that slippery ice that I slide on, glide, as I fall while running for the bus. I hate winter.

The last pictures I took were three quick snapshots of snowy branches. I was waiting for the bus and was bored and agitated. Bored because I wanted to get back to reading The Fires of Heaven and agitated because a girl was smoking and spitting all over the sidewalk where I would have to walk when the bus arrives.

I was also upset with the weather—snow. Snow means ice and I hate both. I was huffing and puffing to myself as I tried to think of warmer moments in my life when I saw a man and his wife taking photos of the trees with their phones. It was then that I noticed the beauty around me. The trees were all spectacular with their bare branches, some dripping with icicles while others were simply decorated with snow. It wasn’t heavy snow but just enough to give the impression that the trees had somehow sprouted snowy leaves. With the light of the lamp posts shining behind a few, the branches would glitter as if decorated with crystals.

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Pondering my Handwriting

Daily Prompt: Pens and Pencils

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

I fantasize about writing with a pen—never a pencil. Always I would imagine myself sitting by an open window in the summer, inhaling the brine of the ocean down the road from my house (my fantasy house by sea) while writing a short story or a letter to some loved one. It’s a huge window and every now and then a blue jay or sparrow would perch upon its sill and chirrup at me as I write, encouraging me to continue with my thoughts. Whenever I fantasize about writing, it’s always handwriting, not typing.

The physical exertion involved in handwriting makes the act more personal, especially if it’s a letter or a journal entry being written. When I do write with a pen, it’s as if I’m leaving a part of myself on the page along with my thoughts. I think more exertion is required of us when handwriting, which makes the act all the more satisfying when completed. However, since handwriting is more physical, my hands are now out of shape since I do not handwrite often. Now whenever I write with a pen, I can only do so for a few minutes before I have to stop to rest my hand. These days I find it hard to imagine how writers managed to write hundreds of pages for hours by hand back in the day.

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Missing My October Groove

Daily Prompt: Winning Streak

What’s the longest stretch you’ve ever pulled off of posting daily to your blog? What did you learn about blogging through that achievement, and what made you break the streak?

It’s odd when things like this happens: when I happen upon something that relates to what’s going on in my life or how I currently feel. Today’s daily prompt is like that. I just posted on Facebook that I find it hard to write because all my thoughts suck and the motivation has disappeared. Much as I would like to write, everything I type seems wrong. So I hopped over to Daily Post for some inspiration.

Today’s prompt is fitting if I substitute “posting daily” for “writing daily.” From the end of September to the beginning of November, I wrote daily. Sometimes it was for my blog and other times it was personal. I was inspired, motivated, and on a creative high that I thought would never end. I was happy that I was caught up on discussing the books I read and that visits to my blog had perked up some and I had even gained a few new followers. Writing daily helped to make my thoughts clearer and strengthened my writing. I learned that though I thought I was a night writer, anytime of the day worked as long as I commit myself to the task. But my creative energy is usually higher in the mornings, shortly after waking up, or late at night. I also learned that once I am in that zone where I’m typing away heedless of what’s occurring around me, it doesn’t matter where I am working or how noisy the area is. Once I am committed to the task, I enter a vacuum where all that exists are my thoughts and the characters I tap on to the screen. I was happy with this process and I thought I had finally formed a writing habit that would remain but the constant writing lasted for a month and then stopped.

I wrote nothing for the month of November. At first I reasoned that I was just taking a break—that I’d OD’d on writing and I needed a breather. Then it was that I needed to finish reading my current books and then I would have something to discuss. Next came the usual excuse: “I’m too busy.” And then the cop-out: “I don’t feel motivated/inspired/creative/in-the-zone to write.” But those excuses were just a mask for the truth—I had broken a productive cycle and become lazy. I began by skipping one day, which led to two, then three, four, five, and so forth until a month had passed and I wrote nary a thing. I couldn’t even muster the motivation to discuss the books I read. But I hope December will be different. Starting with this post, my plan is to push myself to write every day until I get back my October groove.

Is There Someone in My House?

Daily Prompt: Trio No. 3

Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call). Feel free to switch one ingredient if you have to (or revisit one from previous trio prompts).

It’s 3 a.m. and I’m the only one up. I’m glued to my laptop, tapping away at the keyboard as I write about the previous day when I hear a disturbance downstairs. It’s a scraping, tumbling sound, as if someone had broken in through the back door and knocked down the alphabet blocks that my niece had left in front of it. We had stacked them before retiring to bed.

I’m tense as I listen, wondering if someone is breaking in. But all is silent now. I begin to relax and then—there’s the noise again! Immediately I’m on edge. I consider waking my parents but that will take too long plus this is an old house and the floors creak. The robber will hear me. Why didn’t we activate the stupid house alarm? Did we activate the alarm? I can’t remember. My mind is racing and my adrenaline is pumping, rendering me immobile. I don’t know what to do. Now it sounds as if someone is creeping around downstairs, trying to slide their boots along the wooden floors to avoid the creaks. Maybe if I move around a bit it will scare him off or maybe he will come up here and kill me. Ah, what to do?

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Mess is Where the Books Are

Daily Prompt: Sweeping Motions

What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.

It used to be my bedroom. Papers and books scattered across the floor like a second layer of carpeting with art supplies lining the walls but all that has been picked up and cleared away because of the attack of the silverfish. Now the messy place is my nightstand, where bills are thrown and forgotten.

Actually, it’s not a nightstand but a small office bookcase (too broke to buy a nightstand). The spillover from my bookcase is stocked on it as well as art supplies and a few electronics. On top, I have a lamp, alarm radio, batteries, medicine, Bible (of course), an exiled Nook Color, a few articles I’ve printed, an old purse, Our Daily Bread (a daily devotional), Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm (which I just completed), pens and highlighter, a bottled water, booklight, and a stack of bills I try hard to make invisible by the force of my mind.

I’ve tried tidying it but every time I succeed in doing so, it refills within a few days. Sometimes I wonder if my family contributes to the mess. It simple cannot be just me. The thing is my nightstand has become an easy place to throw things I’d rather not think about—bills—or to place things that I can quickly access from my bed—currently-reading books, medicine, Bible, and water, a bit in that order.

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A Wandering Mind and Other Things

Blogging 101 Assignment: Make a Prompt Personal

I guess this post can be a mash-up of today’s assignment and an assignment from a few weeks ago that I didn’t get to: Be Inspired by the Community.

Today’s Daily Prompt—The Great Divide: When reading for fun, do you usually choose fiction or nonfiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?—made me immediately think of a quote from a recent post over at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shh! The quote explains how a person’s personality influences her preference for either science fiction or fantasy:

“Fans of science fiction (and dystopia) want to explore ways to change our existing world. Fans of fantasy want to explore ways to escape the limitations of this world.”

I begin with this because when I read for fun, I always gravitate towards fiction and the type of fiction I tend to choose is fantasy. Even when I decide to take a break from fiction and choose a nonfiction book, I still tend to pick up compendiums of essays that discuss fiction or mythology.

The quote above helps to explain why these are my choices. I do seek ways to escape the limitations of this world, even in my simple everyday tasks. While walking down the road, I may see a structure or doorway that tickles my imagination into wondering if it’s a portal to a world that operates on a different time (faster or slower than ours), and that’s filled with magical creatures and odd experiences waiting to happen. Sometimes I walk through such imagined portals, excited at the prospect of what could happen to me: Would I immediately exit through the other side, or would I first live a separate life before exiting to continue my present one? Sometimes I think C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has left too strong an impression on my imagination. (My friends and family probably think this too.)

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