Welcome to Perpetual Ponderings of Alice Chen!

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Welcome to my blog!

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Kingdom Management | Quick Piece

The Queen sat at her throne fiddling her thumbs. She couldn’t go back to her bedroom and read since apparently she had duties. Everyone looked up to her, so naturally she couldn’t let them down. But lately, there hasn’t been anything for her to do. The King has been out with his generals planning the next move to attack. She wasn’t particularly worried about him because they’ve only lost a couple wars and won plenty more. All the King does all day when he is home is go the pub with his military buddies, so when people think the King is running the kingdom, they’re wrong. It’s the Queen. With the harvesting season over and the holiday party planning over, all the Queen has is to receive weekly reports spoken by the businessmen of the kingdom. And the Queen has to sit through all 103 businesses. Afterwards, she just gives a stamp of approval and the businessmen go back to well, managing their businesses. Besides that, there’s nothing else that a Queen does. Sometimes she gets to play the role of the high judge and chicken stealing criminals get sentenced a fine and a couple weeks in jail. Queens may look all evil when we do sentencing but those are just if you either mess with their chickens or family, but usually they look evil because they’ve got their classic royal resting bitch face otherwise known as RRBF. Sometimes more exciting things happen. Like last month, one of her noblemen wanted to marry a farmer’s daughter. The Queen doesn’t know who came up with the stupid rule that people of different clans can’t get married unless if they get approval from the Queen, but the Queen from this kingdom usually approves of all these inter-clan marriages unless the guy is definitely a creepy guy. Maybe the person who came up with the rule was also a Queen who was bored out of her mind. The wedding ended up being a lot of fun with lots of fire tricks and delicious food courtesy of her own personal chef. Usually her personal chef cooks only for her, but the Queen pulled some strings on this one because her noblemen and the farmer’s daughter just looked so perfect together. The Queen sighed as she saw the King sleeping off the ale in the back. The businessman for John’s Family Pub finished stating his losses and gains and the Queen stamped his papers without even reading the numbers. She thought to herself, “I can’t wait until lunch.”

Bar Fight | Quick Piece Breakdown

Bar Fight

I’m back at it with the stories!

Would you believe it that in all 4 years of my college year, I’ve never set foot in a bar? It was just that I didn’t like the appeal of having to dress up a certain way, drink too much, and be social  even when I was of drinking age. At night, I was just too sleepy and needed my quiet after a long day of classes. Last weekend, I finally went to a bar and it was exactly what I was looking for – a buzzing atmosphere of familiarity. Granted, it was early in the night, so it wasn’t as rowdy yet.

This story focuses on the narrator and two girls, Anna and Susie. The narrator is in a conflict about a fight that happened at a bar a couple hours before while she reflects in the peace of her own home. The narrator impulsively heads back to the bar to fill in memory gaps when she finds herself face to face with the problem again, although Anna reminds her that she was initially the problem.

There’s two lingering themes in this piece – perfection and confrontation. You could also throw in the pairs, fear and calamity as well. Since the narrator was so absorbed with the cause of the bar fight and the mess that it made both physically and emotional, she failed to realize her involvement. At the end, it cost her both her dignity and her white crop top. I intentionally chose a white crop top because of how the color white symbolizes purity. Anna’s white crop top and the narrator’s crop top ended up being tainted by causes of destruction. You can wash out blood and have the crop top look new again, but you can’t always sew up a tear and have it look new again. There’s a “scar” on the shirt.

As for confrontation, the narrator had a brief conversation with the bartender about the fight, but he just mentions how he tends to keep out of things to avoid further problems. This all became contradicted as the narrator found herself being confronted with the underlying problem of the bar fight and refusing the acknowledge it. All along the narrator’s path of escape from confrontation, she ends up causing even more problems, small problems, but still annoying.

This piece focuses more on common human behavior. Trust me, I’m not an alien just observing behavior and writing cryptic stories. 😉 Sometimes issues are too big for us to handle, so we ask for help to avoid it causing further problems. Sometimes we underestimate how big an issue is and neglect to address it until it’s too late and ends up harming ourselves in the process. The lesson is: you can’t always think about yourself because more than you realize, there’s always someone else who’s also being affected.

What are your interpretations of Bar Fight?

Thanks for reading!

Alice

Bar Fight | Quick Piece

The summer breeze gently rolled through the window causing the chiffon curtains to billow out. I lay still on my bed, but my mind was racing. I groaned and closed my eyes, seeing flashes of a girl named Anna and another girl named Susie fighting at the bar. The sounds of their fists smacking their faces and their shrieks sent chills down my spine. And yet I still stood there, gawking as I watched hair get ripped out of Anna’s head and she retaliated by slapping Susie across the face. “You bitch!” Susie screeched as she punched Anna right in the nose, sending blood streaming down her face. I shuddered as I remembered how brightly red the blood was and how it stained her white crop top and ran streaks across her shorts. And yet I made a face and walked out of the bar, not even giving a thought about them. I just wanted to make sure my white crop top stayed pristine. I got up with a grunt and glanced at the clock. The red display glared at me. 2:35am. I found myself heading down the same street as I did at 11:46pm to the bar with the sound of my heels matching the other girls as we marched to the bar. It had been a long week after all. The bar was still crowded when I went there with bodies still moving to the music and drinks being swayed back and forth with each rap lyric. The bartender looked at me and said, “What can I get for you?” I shook my head and said, “So you know that fight that happened earlier? Do you uh, know what happened afterwards?” The bartender said, “Look, I don’t get involved with the drama that goes on here. I just serve drinks and that’s it. I find that messing with other people’s business gets me in trouble too much.” I smiled and backed away, accidently knocking over someone’s drink. “Hey watch it!” they shouted at me as I backed up into a lady. “Hey! You’re going to pay for this drink!” she said as she glared at me. I shook my head and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t have any money.” The lady rolled her eyes at me and turned her back to me. I spotted a clear path between the bodies and started power walking through the crowd. I thought I heard someone call for me, so I turned and found myself face to face with Anna. I smiled stiffly and tried to move out of her way, but Anna blocked me. “You’re going to pay for what you did.” she hissed in my ear, the sweet alcohol scent still lingering. I stammered as I slipped out the door, “I’m sorry. I don’t have any money.” But before I could run home, Anna grabbed my crop top. I closed my eyes to anticipate whatever she was going to do. “You’re like a rat, you know that? You can run all you want, but you’re going to find yourself with fewer friends if you keep on avoiding the bigger issue.” she said menacingly as she let me go. I ran home as fast as I could. My clock read 4:03am, the red display matching the blood that was on Anna’s shirt. I gasped and sighed with relief and almost screamed as I looked down at my shirt, expecting to see blood. Instead, I saw a large, gaping tear where Anna had hold of me.

Life Goals | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I’m back! Sorry about the long absence – this time I wasn’t really procrastinating my days away. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my dreams especially now that I’ve graduated. It’s gotten me pretty frustrated, so I wrote a poem.

Life Goals

Momma once said that you can be anything you want
if you put your heart, soul, and mind into it.
I closed my eyes and racked my mind for what I could become.
Birds came into mind – how they fly and soar, freely following
the air currents and swooping in and out.
I thought about the swaying sunflower – how they yearn for the sun
and grow towards their fullest beauty while brightening up
everything they come across.

Grades started piling in and I measured up to a scale.
I was average, shouldn’t I be pleased?
You will only be accepted if you reach above and beyond!
That sounded easy until I felt my smile slip from my face
never to appear again.
Now it felt like I looked upwards and saw a looming shadow
rather looking above and beyond.

Every time I gasped for breath, the minute hand slipped as
I was shoved forward, ruthlessly filled with gritted teeth and clutched fists.
I bubbled every test answer with a force that snapped my pencil,
conducted research with my own adversities
yelling out only to shine behind the research,
participated in discussions only to speak to my past self.

With cap and gown on, I did the thing that was supposed to
get my feet into the door only have it closed
with even more being required, which meant
having to change myself for someone else again
just so I could put food in my belly.
The minute hand slipped once again as I found myself stumbling
towards a path of pain and hurt, a path that I’ve traveled
far too many times.

A bit of a quick update before I do a formal one, but I’ve been in the city for 3 months and already quit two jobs. They weren’t because I wasn’t working hard enough or I was being stubborn, but I’ve encountered a job where it helped me realize it wasn’t something I wanted to do and another job where it was completely toxic. It’s what I had anticipated, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so soon. Nevertheless, job searching has become more of a frustration rather than an accomplishment at this point.

The poem starts with an innocence that you can only get as a child because your dreams haven’t become tainted with reality yet. Everything seems possible. There were plenty of times where I dreamt of being a cloud because of how fluffy they looked and they brought shade and rain when needed. The second stanza quickly puts a damper on the enthusiastic mood and centers itself around academic achievement. It’s always a balance between constant praise for simple achievement and encouragement and making sure the student always challenges themselves. I feel that I could’ve done better with more encouragement rather than all those participation awards.

The third stanza emphasized on timing – how you’ve got to go from high school to completing college in 4 years to possibly pursuing a Master’s degree or higher. There always seems to be an unnecessary timeline for everyone to do things not only for academics, but for general life as well such as how long you should be with someone before you get engaged or how long before you have children? Who’s decision is that to make except yours?

I’ve struggled a lot throughout my school years from low academic achievement to mindlessly completing tasks to satisfying others and not feeling any benefit for my own happiness. And with the final stanza, there’s a heavy resentment tone. I graduated and it still doesn’t seem enough for employers because somehow I need 2-3+ years of experience or the industry has evolved so much while I was in school that I need new skills to “catch up”. But this is all just reality, right? I should’ve picked a profession that I knew wouldn’t shift so drastically or pick a profession that had higher pay and lower turnover rates. Dare I sacrifice my own happiness just so I could put food on the table? It seems like that’s what I have to do.

How come happiness and achievement isn’t contingent with our careers?

It’s a long and hard road, but I’m going to come out strong. I promise you.

Thanks for reading,

Alice

Unconfined Thoughts 34 – Jazz

Jazz used to be confusing. Ever since I was 7, I was trained with a precise ear to make sure every melody, rhythm, and note had its purpose. When I first encountered jazz somewhere in a café, I knew it had an air of sophistication. Only people who were just rolling with life listened to this type of music and I most certainly did not fit in. The lazy drum beats and steady bass with the swelling trumpets made no sense to me. How could something feel so loose, but steady at the same time? I made sure to avoid it at all costs and drifted towards the electronic music instead where my heart beat confidently with the throbbing bass line and my passions rose when the rhythm dropped.

In times of chaos and confusion, I find that jazz comforts me even more. The loose melodies and sing-song tones is exactly what I needed when I felt like I had no direction. Electronic music, pop music, and the indie vocals still had their prominent spots in my life, but I could feel jazz slowly making its way in. It reassured me of my indefinable emotions and told me that sometimes things just are the way they are and you just need to go with it, just like a flickering flame. Some days, I’m the gentle piano chord giving direction or some days, I’m the drifting trumpet going wherever the breeze takes it. Oftentimes, I find myself as the answering tone, the one that makes the sing-song tones stand out even more. My soul is evolving with the colors of jazz.

Written: 7/25/18 10:50pm while listening to jazz

Unconfined Thoughts 33 – Homeward Nomad          

I have a collection of songs titled, home, in my stash. Some sing about being lost and then being found again. Some sing about never finding a place they can call home again. The funny thing is that those songs always elicit a feeling of being home within me. I can’t really pinpoint it, but even if I’m sitting next to strangers in a café a couple miles away from home, I feel safe. Almost like I could kick up my feet, throw on a blanket, and put on a movie and not be afraid of being stared at. I won’t even care! It’s my home and you can’t take me away. I could practically hear my mother from the next room over, cooking up a meal as I count down the minutes before the scent hits my tongue and my belly is full and satisfied.

There most certainly have been moments within my actual home where I felt completely foreign. At those points, home just becomes an area where I have all my possessions, not somewhere of comfort. The fits of yelling and rage are just ugly decorations on top of the desk I bought to help my room feel like home. The lies and deception add an unknown ugly scent that seeps throughout the house. You can spray air freshener all you want, but it just masks the real problem until it gets bigger.

I’m not lost or looking for home. I can just take a couple trains and in three hours, I’ll be home and expecting a meal. Home is just around the corner for me, but being able to detach myself from something so concrete is key to making home more portable and accessible especially when home sometimes feels like I need a passport to get through.

Written: 7/24/18 4:10pm

Humidity | Poetry Breakdown

Humidity

I can feel you
all around me.
You place your hand over my mouth and nose,
suffocating me and watching me drown
as you fill the rest of the house
and complete your deed.

You take away my breath.
You make me motionless,
as if that’s what I could settle for
when all I want to do is
run, run, and run some more.

Where did you come from?
You appeared suddenly around the corner,
slipping under doors and cracked windows.
It’s a surprise I never looked forward to,
an invitation you never received,
yet you arrive late and prop your feet up
and linger until you are the last one to leave.

Good thing you only visit during the summer
and are extinguished whenever thunder strikes.
Although you make the summer drag
the summer ends up being filled with countless memories.
Because of you, lemonade tastes sweeter,
the pool water feels alluring,
and a sense of community builds in spite of
escaping from you.

I’ve been living in New York for a majority of my life and it’s an amazing state except for the humidity during the summer. In fact, I can’t stand any humidity. I’ve been to Orlando, Florida and Guangzhou, China and both have worse summer heats and humidity. I can escape those places since I don’t live there, but I can’t escape my place of residence! Last week was dedicated to one of the more revered works of nature while this week is dedicated to one of the more hated works of nature – humidity.

I really wanted to personify humidity. What kind of person would humidity be? Since I don’t really like humidity, I would think of Humidity as a pretty annoying & petty person. They would be the person who finishes the orange juice only to put the empty carton back in the fridge. Or they could be the person who doesn’t flush the toilet after they use it. In the poem, I wrote that they’re the person who shows up to events late, but ends up overstaying their welcome.

I’ve experienced thunderstorms during the winter time, but I’ve only experienced humidity during the summer. And even though it can be pretty miserable most of the time, humidity can make summers a little better because as the saying goes, the bad makes the good even better. Also, blasting the air conditioning becomes more valid when the humidity is really bad.

With that being said, thanks for reading my poem and I hope you enjoyed it! Stay cool, drink lots of water and lemonade, and enjoy your summer!

Alice