Welcome to Perpetual Ponderings of Alice Chen!

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A Cold Night in June | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello everyone,

It’s been quite a while since I last caught up with you! As you may know, I recently graduated from college and from there, I moved to New York City where I’ve been relaxing and getting tons of writing material before I start work in the Bronx! I’m pretty excited to be living in the city and so far, it’s pretty great. I’m loving all the food!

Now, onto the story!

I wrote this story as a submission to the Duolingo Stories contest. If you don’t know what Duolingo is, Duolingo is a website where you can practice learning a language. They’re very keen on drilling you and making sure you have a good basis within the language. You can start from the beginning and work your way up! I believe my story submission (if chosen), will be translated to help people learning languages learn how to read in their language. The requirements of this story was that it be under 250 words and exciting, so naturally, I gravitated towards fantasy.

This story is about the narrator who saves his city from an unknown danger that turns out to be a child who didn’t know how to control their powers. It also turns out that the narrator has 7-foot wings, which I decided to add because I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be able to fly. Think about how fast you would arrive to places! And I wanted the narrator to not be restricted by anything.

It’s a simple story that has a quick resolution, but I find it pretty comforting. Whenever I’m stuck in a situation, I always envision myself with superpowers like being able to fly, teleport, or even become invisible and for some reason, I feel a little better afterwards. It’s almost like I have to protect my secret stash of superpowers. Regardless, I hope you have that quick thing that helps you jump back to it again.

Thanks for reading!

Alice

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A Cold Night in June | Quick Piece

The night was unusually cold for a night in June. A breeze rustled the palm trees, sending shivers down my spine. I was starting to enjoy my moment of peace when a loud alarm started blaring throughout the city. It was time to go. I raced back towards the city, ignoring everyone who was running in the opposite direction. My mother called out, “What are you doing? We have no time!” I ran up to her, gave her a hug and said, “Just trust me, mom.” She hesitated, but let me go. I reached the highest point in our city and took a deep breath. I could hear the mind shattering alarm mixed with the terrified screams of the residents. Yet from where I stood, everything looked small and it was exactly where I needed to be. I extended my 7-foot wings and scanned the horizon for the impending danger. Where was it? What was causing my city so much terror? From the corner of my eye, I spotted a looming black cloud toppling trees left and right. I leaped from my perch and soared towards the danger and spotted a small and terrified child in the middle. The child cried out, “Help me! I didn’t know I was capable of doing this!” Without thinking, I wrapped my wings around the child and said, “It’s okay, my child. I will protect you.” Like an extinguished fire, the child calmed down, terror ceased, and the night was still again.

Submitted to Duolingo Stories

 

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Snuffed Out | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope all is well with you. The following poem contains themes of depression and quite possibly hint at suicide. If you are sensitive to these topics, then I advise you to restrain from reading.

Snuffed Out

Inside my eyes, they lack the light –
A true light and drive to chase the sun.
To me the sun feels cold and damp
despite it already burning my skin
and exposing the pale white bone.

The world is being haunted by
consequences of our own cause
with loud mouthed and soft-stepped politicians,
with the rising attitude of
“Ça m’est égal”, but instead of doing better,
you simply walk further and faster
like that does anything.

Out of the womb, we’ve been valued as
the most Precious Miracle of all time because
of the will of life that was created out of conjoined unity.
Yet as more birthdays pass on,
that value turns Ordinary
to the point of needing various certificates, titles, and numbers
to prove our worth.

There used to be a fire within me
until it was snuffed out.

This poem is about depression. Last week, we lost two incredible creators – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to suicide. Once again, there is an influx of suicide awareness and unfortunately, it will die down until another instance occurs again. That’s why I chose to write a poem about this matter and how important it is to always be aware and educated about it because it could happen to anyone.

I’ve never been diagnosed before, but I’ve experienced extreme episodes of sadness and emptiness. It hurts and you feel completely helpless and worthless. It drives you down to the ground, beaten up and unable to get up. I would never wish these feelings on anyone and I feel for you if you’ve ever experienced or are experiencing it right now.

What I’m trying to drive home with this poem is how society’s attitude needs to be changed. That’s an extremely hopeful and difficult statement, but it’s what needs to be done. In the first stanza, it’s an analogy of what depression feels like to me. You’re aware you’re getting hurt, but there doesn’t seem like there’s any other way to get out of it. It’s a hellish situation. Following that, in the second stanza, I write about “loud mouthed and soft-stepped politicians” meaning people who say they can do this and that, but not taking the necessary actions to do them. In other words, hypocrites. And there’s also a growing attitude of “letting it be”. That attitude is never healthy when it comes to dealing with issues that are vastly bigger than yourself because if you just let it be, then it’ll just get bigger before it consumes you in the end. Only you have the power to make the changes within yourself.

The third stanza is kind of a step back from the chaos of everything and takes us back to the origins. Babies and children are life’s gifts and miracles. They show pure innocence and curiosity, but we take that and utilize it for our own profits, reducing them to an unfit standard. I agree that there has to be a standard to everything, but it does no good if you force someone to fit within that standard. In the end, you just end up breaking them.

Suicide and depression are serious matters that should never be taken as a joke or lightly. I believe that there is always a reason for everything. Maybe death is supposed to show us the value of life rather than death showing the dangers that life can carry.

If you are currently struggling with your self-worth right now, I want you to know that you can beat this. It feels like an ongoing and never ending struggle right now and it hurts so bad, but hang in there. Little by little, you’ll start seeing the light again. If you know someone who is hurting right now, offer them your support. Love them and cherish them. Let them know that they are important in your life.

I hope you enjoyed reading my poem!

Alice

Note: Ça m’est égal translates to I don’t care in French.

 

Writer and Reader | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I’m back with the poems! I’ve been reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur lately and I just love how she can connect with everyone and feel her pain through the simplest words. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Go ahead and support another poet.

Writer and Reader

You are not someone who
extracts each letter from
each word and uses it like a weapon.
You view and you read.
You acknowledge the meaning
and digest it further
before regurgitating an interpretation.

I am the sentence flow dictating
the mood and voice of the author.
I feel and I write.
I dig deep and release my soul
just so critic can tear it open again,
but that’s my craft.

As a writer, you have a tendency to connect with people and I managed to connect with many writers. Whenever I write, I always forget to write for the readers so I just pour out my rawest (and proofread) self and hope that someone understands. Yet if I were to cater towards the readers, I wouldn’t be staying true to myself. It’s a hard balance.

With this poem, I write about two perspectives from the writer to the reader, but it’s still obviously kept in the writer’s perspective because it’s really hard for me to “turn off” without sacrificing the quality of my work. Sometimes I find myself diving into each letter and word and it gets a little excessive. There was a point in time where I worried too much about making sure each character’s name had a significant meaning behind it or that the colors surrounding the scene had to mean something. It took away from the plot and all you could read were a pile of symbols mixed with cryptic dialogue. I guess I fantasized one too many times of an English teacher tearing apart my writing and getting everything I hid in there correct. That’s why all this time, I’ve always said, “I’m taking it back to basics” because I don’t want to detract away from the actual story.

Even though you aren’t are writer (maybe you are) and you find it a little challenging to read some writer’s work, just know that it’s always a work in progress and open to suggestions. As artists, that’s how we evolve with each day and how our art is even going to get better.

I hope you enjoyed my short poem!

Alice

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Support me on Ko-fi! | Update

Hello everyone,

I made a Ko-fi account! If you don’t know what Ko-fi is, it’s basically a site where you are able to donate money to creators to support their work. One “coffee” is equal to about $3, which is a manageable amount to give. You can definitely give more if you choose, but by having this platform, it will allow me to ensure more blog posts posted on a regular basis. And now that I’m entering the working world, I’m going to need as much support as possible to continue pushing forward to my writing dream! I mainly chose Ko-fi over Pateon because of the flexible nature that Ko-fi has rather than a subscription basis that Patreon carries.

Click here to buy me a Ko-fi. You can also find the link at my home page under “Follow Me”.

Thank you for all of your consistent support!

Alice

Diversity | The World Around Us

On May 12th, I walked across the stage and graduated! I’m officially on alumni of Syracuse University – what an accomplishment! Unfortunately, I’m going to have to cut the excitement short because the reputation of my school became tarnished last month.

On April 18th, Syracuse University, made the news and it wasn’t for a world changing achievement. It was because of a serious offense that was portrayed in a video. We were featured on CNN, ABC, Syracuse.com, BBC, and many more.

Syracuse University suspends fraternity over video showing racist, sexist behavior

Syracuse Fraternity Suspended for ‘Extremely Racist’ Video

During that week of hurt, confusion, and fear, when you searched “Syracuse University”, the word, “fraternity” immediately popped up. My professors took time out of their busy class schedule to discuss their personal standing and where we should stand as a University as well. In one of my classes, we took the time to discuss what diversity meant. It’s really an easy answer: it simply means variety.

There was a lull in my classes when it was bought up. We didn’t really want to talk about it because we we weren’t even surprised by what had happened because it had happened before especially on smaller scales that didn’t make it to BBC, CNN, and NBC news. Our chancellor offered his condolences and suspended the fraternity, but because this had happened before and because we had to bear witness to these occasions one too many times, we wouldn’t stand for it. We weren’t going to allow this to pass by us too fast and let it happen again.

From that Wednesday onto the next week, protests erupted, flyers were stuck on the student center, and conversations were fiery. To make matters worse, one of the days was admitted students day so students and their parents would be touring our school and seeing the evidence of pain throughout the campus expressed on our faces and the grey skies. If the question, “How is the University dealing with it?”, we were told to respond in extreme formalities, “They have launched a formal investigation to identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary actions.” I remembered one of the faculty members saying in a heartbreaking tone, “This is not us! I want the families to know that what that fraternity did isn’t who we are!” Isn’t it heartbreaking when someone breaks your illusion of reality?

One of the most shocking things I saw plastered onto the student center where touring families oftentimes pass through were flyers that read, “Welcome to Syracuse University: Home to Homophobia” It goes on listing several other “-isms”. On the front of the student center, there were several flyers that read, “Do not commit to SU until SU commits to you.” and the quote pulled from the video, “I solemnly swear to always have love hate in my heart.”

The class of 2018 just graduated and are moving onto the world, a bigger and more real place. We’re going to deal with much more injustices and discrimination, but the difference is whether or not we just sit there and critic the wrongdoings or do we start implementing change. It’s a lot easier to say that you’re going to start making changes, but it will only get harder once you get up onto your feet, open your mouth and speak your mind. That’s where change is born and that’s why I write.

Alice

Four Years | Blog Birthday

The blog’s birthday was May 10th, but I’m behind again, staying true to the original nature of this blog. I created this blog four years ago and it followed the ebbs and flow of my life especially through my college years and boy, did a writer emerge! While I didn’t land a job in the writing field straight out of graduation, I’m still getting my hands involved in ground shaking things particularly with education.

Statistics:

Total posts: 77

A World Around Us: 3

Quick Piece: 18

Quick Piece Breakdown: 17

Poetry Breakdown: 19

Unconfined Thoughts: 9

Noble Chats: 4

Followers: 164 lovely people

Based on the statistics, I’m definitely a lot more poetic! I found a stronger gravitation towards writing poetry to express myself and I’ve written some pretty heart-gripping pieces in my opinion. And that becomes pretty evident in my writing style and storytelling style especially with my constant use of vivid imagery paired with simple plot lines. I took a class on writing style this past year and I learned a lot about sentence branching and became even more aware of how my words and flow of things are affected through the shape of my sentences! I just keep learning more things and I never get tired of them.

This year, I did try a new medium with my own podcasts. It quickly dropped when I realized that I didn’t have a lot of material to talk about and it was hard to maintain writing with words and speaking through a microphone. The idea may have to rest for a little, but don’t give up on seeing different kind of media on this blog yet! The writing world is shifting and I must shift with it! I’ve also started doing my own research on current events and reporting on it. I never really wanted to go down the “journalism” route, but it seems to be working out! I’m really enjoying it. Is it because I have free reign?

All in all, I couldn’t have done it without you avidly reading my posts! Thanks for letting me know when my stories are truly great and when they’re lacking that little spark. Thanks for being so consistent with your interest and letting me know that my work is being appreciated!

Here’s to another year – look forward to more posts!

Alice