Writing Wednesday: Voicemail Poetry

So this’ll be a short post, as it’s not so much “blogging” as it is shameless self promotion which, btw, I am queen at.

I’ve been doing slam poetry for four years now. Around this exact time when I was twenty, I was fumbling through writing my first two ever pieces: ‘Just a Drunk Kiss’ and ‘Where the Fraggles Roam.’ Heck, you can even watch me performing for the first time ever in front of a live audience here and here. Anyone who’s seen me perform as of late can vouch that I have, thankfully, come a long way.

Starting out doing slam, I participated in open mics and talent shows when I could. It wasn’t until 2013 that I participated in the Ashland Poetry Slam – taking first and second place each time I competed. Then New Zealand happened and I didn’t touch poetry for an entire year. Oh sure, I might’ve dabbled a poem or two while there, but traveling, wrangling livestock, hitchhiking, drinking with people from all over the world, and constant searching for free WiFi took up the majority of my time. Anyway, now I’m at the Portland Poetry Slam, which is awesome and I’ve met a ton of cool people and I’m writing a lot again and yay for the way life works out!

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My “still in shock that I won a slam” face.

Okay, enough of the boring history of my adult poetry life. To the self promotion!

A poem of mine was featured on Voicemail Poems yesterday. It’s a poem that I’m sure most people from the PDX Poetry Slam are getting a little sick of hearing, but it’s one I’m very proud of. It’s called “i will not beg for scraps” that I wrote for the final competition to get into IWPS last August. (Fair warning: there’s some profanity in the piece.)

If you can’t listen to it for whatever reason, the text can be read here. Anyway, I’m just happy that it got chosen to be featured and am pleased that so many people have been telling me good things. I feel like I have a lot of good things coming my way poetry-wise this year, so if this is how I kick off 2015 then bring on the other eleven months.

That… is literally all I have to say as of right now. But I’ve got a sure to be excellent entry I’m gonna write on Monday about the amazing weekend I have coming up… Stay tuned!

JGask out.

PS. Make sure to check out  more of Voicemail Poems collection over on their Tumblr and Soundcloud!

Fan Girl Friday: Once Upon a Time a Tree and a Raccoon Made Me Cry.

Groot and Rocket.

Rocket and Groot.

I spend a lot of time thinking about these two.

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How Rocket has to remind Groot not to smile during jobs or drink fountain water or worry about losing limbs because they’ll just grow back. How Rocket does not mock or belittle Groot’s vocabulary when explaining the way his friend speaks to the other Guardians. How Rocket is the only Guardian who can understand Groot. How Rocket worries when Groot takes the battery out too early in their plan, because he knows that he’s unable to protect his friend without a firearm of sorts. How Rocket runs at Ronan after losing Groot, not even caring how unpredictably powerful Ronan’s become, because all he can think is that Groot is dead. How Rocket, who you would never expect to see cry, openly weeps when he assumes he’s forever lost his best friend. How Rocket beams with pride as he holds his little potted plant at the end of the film.

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Art by deviantart’s zzigae

How Groot grows his body as a literal and physical shield to protect Rocket during fights. How, when The Collector’s place is about to blow, the first thing Groot does is grab Rocket and get the hell out of there. How Groot stands by his friend in every scuffle and situation, but is also not afraid to tell Rocket when he doesn’t agree with him. How Groot allows Rocket to climb up onto his shoulder during fights, to give him more of a physical advantage. How Groot, the gentle giant that he is, forcefully attacks Drax after he insults Rocket by calling him “vermin”. How Groot gave his life for all the friends he’d made, but especially Rocket. How Groot starts out so big and strong, and in the end is smaller than a raccoon.

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Art by deviantart’s Wetrilo

How much they equally take care of each other. How much they need each other. How they are perfect compliments.

How these two idiots would not last five seconds without the other.

How I really really REALLY need a Rocket and Groot BROTP movie. Like, yesterday.

Just… just shut up and give me that movie.

Give me that movie now.

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Time to be Astonishing :: 20 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years everyone!

Insert paragraph here wherein I make rambling excuses for the lack of writing on this blog and blather on about all the post travel/seasonal depression I’ve been dealing with and blah blah blah okay bored now.

So. New Year. New changes. New resolutions. I figured this could be a good way to bring myself back to this blog: by forcing you guys to read all twenty of my resolutions for 2015.

I considered not overloading myself with resolutions for once, maybe keeping it to a three to five minimum, but in a recent chat with one of my boyfriend’s roommates I was told that it was a positive quality that I often bite off more than I can chew. I also figured, hey, I’m turning 25. This should be a big year so, what the hell, I’m gonna make a big list.

So. Here we go.

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Prince Joffrey ain’t got nothing on me.

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Mundane Monday: Life Back in the States.

Hey there readers! What’s up? What’s happening? What’s cracking? Enjoying the lovely weather we’ve been having?

So, I’ve officially been home in the States for a month and 3.5 weeks now. On the one hand, it feels like I never left the USA; on the other, when I close my eyes, I can still see New Zealand, so crisp and clearly in my mind. It feels like it’s been eons, but also like I’ve only just left. A contradiction, to be sure, but I’m sure you all understand that feeling I’m trying to describe.

It’s been… rough. Okay, rough may be a harsh word, but readjusting back to States life has certainly been difficult. There’s a lot you have to get used to when you’re no longer living out of a backpack and trekking to a new place every few days. As I’ve said, I’m happy to be home, but my wanderlust has not simmered. I’m aching to get back out into the world.

All right. Enough small talk. What have I been up to lately?

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Fan Girl Friday: Genie, I’m Gonna Miss You.

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Celebrity deaths don’t normally hit very close to home for me. Don’t get me wrong, when a beloved celebrity passes on I take time to reflect on their work, on their life, and on life in general. It’s always sad … Continue reading 

Writing Wednesday: Inappropriate Moments Your Favorite Kids Books Got Away With

Something I’ve been keeping in my back pocket is that, recently, I applied to write for a web-site. Won’t say which one, but I will say that it’s a pretty cool site. It was up in the air but, ultimately, I didn’t get the position. Which is all right. I mean, yeah, I’m a bit bummed, but I’ll get over it. As much of a cliche as it is to say, writing and rejection really does go hand-in-hand.

But one thing I am particularly bummed with is the future of the sample article I wrote for the site; an audition piece, as it were. I wrote it to show the site what I had to offer. Since I didn’t get picked for the job, that means the article I put several days of hard work into will fall by the wayside. So I figured I’d put it to good use and share it on here with you guys. It’s a bit rambley, but I’m still proud of what I came up with.

Enjoy!

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Fan Girl Friday: Amazing Female Characters pt. 1

I’ve always had an affinity for strong, well-written female characters, and I shouldn’t have to explain why. When I think of amazing females in literature/film/television, I think of Hermione Granger, Ellie Sattler, Eowyn, Korra, Skylar White, Miss Piggy, Buffy Summers, Leslie Knope, Sansa and Arya Stark, Toph, River Tam, Rose Tyler, the entire cast of Orange is the New Black and Orphan Black, and the list goes on and on.

Needless to say, I’m interested in writing about these female characters and what makes them so well-written – covering their strengths and weaknesses; perfections and flaws.

So I thought I’d start with a female character I adore who, well, isn’t exactly well known.

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This is Annie Sawyer. She was played by Lenora Crichlow on the BBC television program, Being Human, and was a central character on the show for the first four series.

Since it’s not a super well known show (which is a shame, because it’s got some damn good writing and some of the best philosophizing I’ve ever seen), I’ll summarize. It’s a show about a vampire (Mitchell), a werewolf (George), and a ghost (Annie) sharing a flat together in the present day, and how they learn to cope (well, most times, fail to cope) with their supernatural powers and try to justify why they’re just as much human as the people around them. It’s funny, suspenseful, gore-filled, heartbreaking, infuriating, and one of the best shows you’ve probably never watched.

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(It’s also currently streaming on Netflix so, really, what’s your excuse for not watching it??)

(Also-also, it’s gonna get a bit spoilery from here on out, so I’ll try to be as vague as possible.)

I really came to love Being Human quite a lot – in case you haven’t noticed – when I discovered it a year and a half ago. I began watching because Aidan Turner, who plays Kili in The Hobbit trilogy, plays Mitchell, but I stuck around for so many other reasons. Like other supernatural shows, such as The Walking Dead and Buffy, the core of this show really comes down to humanity and what makes us, in spite of everything, human.

So. Annie Sawyer. Why am I writing about her?

annie3Without giving too much away, I will say that going into the fourth series of Being Human I wasn’t particularly looking forward to what lay ahead. Due to actors leaving the show, there was a sense of comradeship missing between the three flatmates. I did like the couple new characters they brought in, but it took me a while to time adjust to seeing them around so often.

However, what really made the fourth series work for me was Annie. Well, Annie and Eve. Annie is, in my mind, one of the most well-written characters in television that I’ve ever come across. Sure, George may be my favorite Being Human character by far, but Annie… there’s just always been something about Annie, y’know? And with her whole plot line with Eve, well, it really heightened her role on the show for me. When the fourth series came to its end, I was both disappointed and glad to see her go. While I knew I’d miss her as a character, I also knew it was for the best. I was just quite pleased that her storyline came to a rather beautiful end.

Also? Possibly my favorite George-Annie moment of the entire series:

I just want to take a moment to reminisce about what an amazingly well-crafted character Annie Claire Sawyer was on this show. She was peppy, enthusiastic, optimistic, and happy, despite the heartbreaking way of how she ended up as a ghost. Not only that, but she was trusting, caring, and kind to just about everyone. Was she perfect? Good lord, no. She certainly drove other characters a bit nuts at times, and even George hated her in the first couple episodes. Yes, she could be annoying and over persistent, and yet you couldn’t help but love this girl; the tea-making ghost who saved the world.

annie2Of the original trio, to me, Annie will always be the strongest. She grew so much over the course of her four series; much more than Mitchell and George ever did. At the start she was a mere dead girl, not really sure what to do with herself, but by the end she became a force to be reckoned with, because she was Annie Sawyer and no one was going to mess with her or her friends or take “her fucking baby” (her words, not mine). She became so very strong, not just in her powers as a ghost, but in mind and soul as well. She toughened up and learned how to take care of her own, but at the same time she never lost any of that peppy, happy-go-lucky nature we first saw in her all the way back in episode one.

And compassion. Oh my god, Annie embodied compassion. She just had so much love to give, so much so that she almost couldn’t go through with saving the entire planet because it meant hurting the one she loved most. Yet, it was love that allowed her to do what she had to do. For the love of her friends, for the love of mankind, and for the love of her baby (because, in the end, Eve really was hers, wasn’t she?). She would not let Eve go through the hell of living as the War Child, of watching the world burn around her just because of what she was, which was how Annie made the hardest choice a mother could ever make, and she did it all out of love.

annieMy favorite moment of the entire series is the last shot of Annie at series four’s end. That look that overtakes her face as she opens her door and sees what’s on the other side, oh god, the way she just lights up at the sight of whatever it is tugs at my heartstrings. I’m so glad the creators of Being Human didn’t show us what was waiting behind her door, because, honestly, we as the audience already know what’s there. It’s written all over her face.

As I wrap up this love letter to a truly amazing character, I’ll leave this entry on this one last note: it’s pretty clear to me that George was the brains and Mitchell was the brawn, but Annie?

Annie was the heart.

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Mundane Monday: Summer Bucket List.

Well hello there, world. I’m back.

It’s been twenty-one days since I returned from New Zealand. It’s funny to think that, if I hadn’t come home early and had ridden out my visa until it expired, I’d be leaving New Zealand tomorrow. I can’t help but wonder what I would have accomplished had I stayed those extra twenty-three days. Would I have visited places I missed out on? Would I have gotten to spend more time with the friends I made there? Would I have wished I had come back earlier? These are the questions, folks.

The post-travel depression has subsided considerably, but that’s mainly because I’ve done such a doggone good job keeping myself busy that I haven’t really hadntime to slow down and think about everything I’m missing out on. Of course I miss travel still. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of New Zealand (but that’s partially because every single day someone asks me if I miss it, and that just sends me down the rabbit hole of wanderlust).

On the bright side, my Little Shop of Horrors obsession has bloomed into something beautiful.

That’s my way of saying I bought myself a Venus flytrap.

No one should be surprised. At all.

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“FEED ME, JULIA.” 

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Leaving on a Jetplane: Wishing New Zealand Farewell

It seems right to preface this entry, if anything to apologize for my, yet again, tardiness in updating.

I wrote this entry on the flight home from New Zealand. As of now, I’ve been home for a little over two weeks. For the most part, I’m fine. I’m happy to be home, amongst friends and family, and being back in Portland fills me with glee most days.

But there are days. The days I feared in the entry below. Where all I can feel is sadness and I can’t move from my couch. Days where I question what the hell I’m doing back in the States. Wondering why my feet are now stuck to the ground and unable to run.

Telling you all I’m going to take a break from my blog is laughable, really, cause the last half a year has been nothing but me taking breaks. But I’m hoping sometime in the next two weeks to get back on a schedule. I want to ponder the future of this blog – whether to keep using it as a diary of sorts, promote my writing on here, do fan girl entries, or, most likely, all of the above – and the schedule I’d like to stick to.

So expect more in the future.

But for now, here it is, at long last, my final New Zealand entry.

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Right now I am sitting in seat 53A of an airplane, situated in a window seat and staring out at the beautiful blood orange sunset while listening to “Suddenly Seymour” for my seventh time in a row. I am ignoring the two giggly girls to my right and less successfully ignoring the popping in my ears from the altitude. I am wearing a tank top because whenever I put my jacket on it becomes 100 degrees to my skin. I am wondering why they have not brought us food yet, as I am starving. I am pondering what Rick Moranis is doing with his life. I am ten hours away from home.

This is it. The denial of my departure is dead and gone. I’m no longer in New Zealand. I’m not even in Australia. I’m flying over an ocean that’s black as the evening sky, resisting the urge to stand up in the airplane aisle and scream at all of the flight attendants: “I MADE A MISTAKE. I SHOULD NOT BE HERE. WE HAVE TO GO BACK.”

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Sunday: Wrapping Up My Travels

All right, ladies and gents, dogs and frogs and bears and chickens and whatnots, this entry’s dedicated to covering the last month and a half of my travels. I take off in less than two days now, so being short on time means I gotta cover a lot more than I’d normally take on in an entry.

(Random sidenote: I may or may not have stayed up till 6:30am last night with James Whitehead watching old school Sesame Street clips and behind-the-scenes Muppet stuff, as well as The Great Muppet Caper and Little Shop of Horrors twice (once without commentary and once with). Please assume the jealousy stance to your leisure.)

All right. Forty-two hours left in the country. No time to waste. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get crack-a-lackin’.

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