Unconfined Thoughts 15 – Rivers and Lakes

Everyone who lives in the city is fully knowledgeable that when it rains it pours. The rain boots immediately go on, umbrellas are whipped out and our heads are lowered into the pouring rain. Lakes are formed where holes once were and you could peer into them and wonder if a world exists by itself. En route to class, unless you don’t have rain boots, you would have to leap or take an alternative muddy path to make it forward. Rivers cascade down the streets and for a second, you’re mesmerized until you realized all the elements of the city that have come to participate with this “natural wonder” hence the slope of the street, the accumulation of the precipitation and the fact that I had to walk through the river just to sit in class or to maybe get food. While my friends are worth wet shoes and socks, sometimes class would be pushing it and there would be times when I weighed walking through lakes and rivers and being present in class or staying where I was with my dry socks and comfortable where I was. Everyone who lives in the city, especially the students and especially me, despises the rain.

Written: 12/29/16 6:03pm

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Mind Slice | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,
I hope you’re doing well!

Mind Slice

I present to you a small slice of my mind
where there is no congruity with my wants and needs.
In text, it may appear significantly sophisticated
using the right tenses and words to piece together
something quite tangible.
In reality, I’m a rolling conundrum
with no answer in sight.

In my dreams, I traverse towards mountain-high waterfalls
my shaky legs, evident, but my mind remains strong
especially in slumber.
My mother by my side, her words carrying me on
instead of forcing me to awaken my emotions.
With each step we take, our face gets sprayed with the waterfall
until I enter a small room.

Women who I’ve seen throughout my life
appear to be sleeping over.
Someone over there is already sleeping, I think that’s my roommate.
Someone is brushing her teeth, the bristles of the brush sounding familiarity
and reminding me that that’s something I have to do.
Dental hygiene, right?
Machine gun fire and I see red
that were once the women in my life.

A small whisper besides me warns me about
“A child. Don’t let them come in.”
I obey.
A child slips in through the large French doors
and I herd it around the room, seeing sleeping faces
bundled and comfortable. A part of me wishes the child to stay, but
I’m just doing what I was told.

Until I saw you, I thought I was crazy
but after you acknowledged me with toothpaste in my mouth
I really knew that my dreams are trying to tell me something.
Dental hygiene, right?
Trying to relive disillusionment?
Is it that I miss you or I need you?
There is no congruity with my wants and needs.

I wake up and sense that calamity has resumed
and push my covers off me, but the images of my subconscious
betray me as the only image I have left
is your disproportioned body.
It’s too late to add onto my dreams
because that would be a lie.

This poem was inspired by a dream I had last night and it was so vivid, but random that I had to write about it. Whenever I had a dream that I can remember, I always make sure to write them down because they get interesting and just like this one, it happened in different segments that somehow blended together. You may notice as you’re reading this poem that my style is a little different and it is because I was experimenting with my tone, style and voice.

The first stanza is basically the narrator warning the reader about how spontaneous this is going to get. It’s from the mind that was never coherent, so be warned if any of it doesn’t make sense. The mind is also very flexible so be prepared for a wild ride.

The first part of my dream took place in nature and I was walking along this bridge with my mom and since I’m scared of heights, it was reflected in my dream although walking that close to a waterfall wouldn’t something I would casually do. It would take a lot of coaxing. 🙂

The second part of my dream or the third stanza was quite bizarre because I was suddenly in a room full of women, those of which are either my friends from elementary school or college. It was unusual for all of them to be in one room, in some sort of sleepover. The last line of the stanza takes a turn for the worse and I remember being very afraid and dodging all of the bullets and wondering what was happening.

Then, almost as if nothing had happened, someone next to me told me to watch out for a wandering child. At this point in my dream, I had very minimal thought process. Maybe because I was starting to wake up or it was just so weird that my mind just kind of accepted it, yet it was the most vivid portion of my dream. I remember clearly thinking “What will a child do?” I think I got it out of the room, I don’t really remember.

In the next stanza, a very familiar face appeared and it confused me because that person was the odd one out and they appeared a lot shorter than they usually are so in my mind, I was trying to confirm if it was actually them. From there, I blended reality and dreams until it honestly got a little confusing.

In the end, it’s about what you do with your dreams and how you make of them. While this one was really crazy, there are things that you can take away from it whether it be how you see other people to who is really important in your life and how you truly are.

Well, thanks for reading!

Stay toasty,

Alice

Moonlight Sonata | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a great time with your family and friends!

Moonlight Sonata

Even though this piece was really short compared to my other short stories, it was difficult. I believe I’ve mentioned this before in another breakdown post, but I’ll discuss it again. Pieces that are emotionally driven and are full of imagery are difficult for me not because I don’t know how to write it, but I want to write it so that it fully captures the moment and that the moment isn’t completely transparent, so there’s a bit of definition in the story. Pieces that are more “story-like”, are difficult because to be honest, writing fully structured stories with a plot aren’t very comfortable for me because there are so many elements that need to fall into place. Although, that can be easily solved with more practice. 🙂 I need to work on a way that combines my imagery and emotional pieces with my stories and I think I managed to do it with some stories, but I know that not all of them are like that.

Basically, in Moonlight Sonata, it’s a piece about the narrator experiencing insomnia and after they look outside the window, they find peace in the beauty outside and the moon and are able to rest. This actually happened to me. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I experience insomnia and it sucks but sometimes I get to experience very interesting things. I really wanted to take a picture of what I saw, but it was too dim for my camera to process, so I made note of it and I decided to write about it today. In the piece, I also wanted to make it clear through my story that everyone is important and when I mentioned anonymity, it doesn’t really mean blending in and being forgotten, I intended it carry a positive connotation of accepting yourself.

Thanks for reading!

Stay warm,

Alice

Moonlight Sonata | Quick Piece

The night wasn’t letting me rest. For the last two hours, I battled with it, trying to negotiate a time through my closed eyes to let the night give me rest. I groaned and tossed and turned to my side, hoping to find a comfortable spot, but through my eyes, a silver light shone and sparked my curiosity. Like a diamond in the sky, the moon shone through my blinds and I was left speechless and I forgot about my battle with night. I let the night bask me in its beauty and I watched it dance with the trees, twirling around its arms like a lover on the side. I listened to the lullaby it sang to the city, drawing the usually active city into slumber and I was its witness of its handiwork. Even under my attempts of my own handiwork, it appeared dull and grey when in reality, it was a bright beacon of brilliance. It casted a shadow of myself, how others may see me, how I would see myself on my apartment walls and as honored as I felt to lay witness to this sight, I felt myself blending into the shadows and becoming anonymous. In my new anonymous status, I accepted defeat with the night and felt myself slip away into myself and into the picturesque world that I had a privilege to take part in.

In December | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a warm day!

In December

In the Christmas cheer,
I find warm houses and
mittened hands holding tea
quite endearing.
Where the blizzard rages outside
my soul still remains toasty.

In the midst of the Christmas cheer,
I find myself staring behind the snow covered rooftops
and up into the heavy, grey clouds
trying to remember and distinguish
between the good and bad.

Waist deep in snow,
my family and I wrestle with the snow storm.
Our jackets bundled up to our necks,
Our scarves up to our eyes and
Our gloved hands tightly grip the snow shovel,
brandishing them like swords
prepared and ready to fight a good fight.

Waist deep in final exams and papers,
students slip on their ugly sweaters
and drink their fourth red bull in order to
finish and wrap up the semester.
We brandish our notes like swords,
prepared and ready to fight a good fight.

Seated at a table with loved ones,
I look to my right and left
and erupt in joy.
Nothing will ever replace this moment
for now or ever more.

Seated at my desk with shouting in the background
and an empty wine glass,
I stare at the falling snow
mirroring my falling tears
reflecting my emptiness.

In December, the year wraps up not always under a tree or with a bow
without a big paycheck or a kiss to celebrate with.
In December, different kinds of cheer will be celebrated
in the snow or sun, under a house or uncertainty.
In December, the words of giving is more precious than receiving
even if you’re not aware of it.

I wrote this piece to capture the idealistic side of the holidays as well as the side that no one really talks about. Winter can be a really bleak time of the year for some people and I can understand that it would get really aggravating to constantly hear songs about things they may not necessarily have. Just like my previous piece called “Christmas Lights“, I wanted this piece to give a sense of realism and empowerment.

The first stanza is the idealized vision of Christmas with the warmth on the inside and the coldness on the outside. I chose to set up the poem with this stanza because it is definitely a vision that everyone has pictured in their head before. Some may have moments like this and I can attest that I have as well, but it is never permanent. The main “goal”, I guess you would say of Christmas is the last line, “Where the blizzard rages outside/ my soul still remains toasty” and that could be related with physically, mentally and spiritually.

The second stanza is less idealized and it talks about a bunch of emotions, but they’re not joy or happiness. It could mean depression, paranoia or loneliness. By writing this stanza, I wanted to contrast the first stanza and make it aware.

In the third stanza, it’s about a blizzard and bonding with your family. This stanza is something that occurred a lot for me because where I’m from, it snows quite a lot and we have a large driveway. The storm would force the entire family to shovel the snow. When I was little, it would be miserable because the snow would be so heavy and it would be very tiring, but as I got older, I had more strength to battle the snow per say. Perhaps not everyone experiences snow during the winter and I wanted to give people a glimpse of how crazy snow can be.

In the fourth stanza, it’s an ode to students because during December, students are studying and taking final exams as well as writing massive papers. We’re sacrificing our sleep and diets for the sake of our grades and it gets very tough especially when it piles up on you. During this time for students, it gets very hard to have a Christmas cheer. I decided to pair it up with the third stanza because believe it or not, it is like a battle to us. As much as we want to be done and as much as the professors want to be done, it is something that must be done.

In the next stanza, it talks about having dinner with your family and feeling a sense of belonging while the sixth stanza is about loneliness and feeling like you don’t belong anywhere – both feelings very prominent in our lives and able to make a significant impact on ourselves.

Now, the wrap-up stanza. In my opinion, that stanza is the hardest to write because after a poem like this filled with parallel images, you kind of need a stanza like this to get your point (or maybe because I worry that my readers aren’t going to get it – please let me know!). Basically, I wrote that that there are people in situations that you aren’t aware of, so sometimes it’s best to be a little sensitive and understanding because while these seasons are very picturesque, it is also full of pain for people. I encouraged the readers to give rather than focus on receiving, a phrase that has been embedded in us for a long time, but it is very true. From an extended hand of understanding and care to donations to a charity or even bringing light to issues that no one talks about. It is the season of love and joy after all, so why not live a life that reflects it so everyone can experience it.

I hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading!

Stay warm,

Alice

PS. Quick Piece will be rescheduled for Monday, the 26th. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Lights | Quick Piece Breakdown

Christmas Lights

Hello everyone!

I just finished all of my finals, wrapped up my fall semester and said good bye to my friends. I hope you enjoyed this piece! It was a lot of fun to write.

In this story, I wanted to play with the idea of the tangible Christmas lights and how they look nice in the dark and how that can also symbolize hope and empowerment. In fact, I was inspired by my own Christmas lights I put up in my room since I wanted to spruce things up and with daylight savings, it gets darker a lot quicker.

This story circulates around a woman who is unnamed for relatability and in the beginning of the piece, she has a boring life with no love life, regular work pace and a dark apartment. Everything seemed to be monotonous and filled with darkness, but it wasn’t so dark that it hindered her. She simply got used to it as we usually do during this time of the year. I kept these paragraphs short because it really showed how uneventful her life was. I also added the nuance of the pile of dirt falling from her shoe because I thought it would be funny and it represents a slight disturbance to her life as you will see in the later paragraphs. Then, the paragraph starts begin filled with her own thoughts of doubt and wonder.

In the final and the longest paragraph, this is when the most change happens to the woman. Basically, there is a chain of events which forces her to stop several times at the local drug store and buying Christmas lights and seeing her good friend John again. She becomes nostalgic and after putting up the lights, she realizes that she is capable of change. The ending of the story is a little ambiguous about the relationships between the woman and John, but in whatever way you prefer, it will be up to you. 🙂

Thank you for reading this story!

Stay warm,

Alice

Christmas Lights | Quick Piece

Every morning, the alarm goes off and she cracked open her eyes and peered upon the grey ceilings. No light seeped through her windows. No breeze kissed her. There was no caress from a partner, it was just her. Every morning, she rose from her bed and shed the loose skin of her brighter life and proceeded to get ready. She watched her eggs cook, just the way she liked it with the yolk running and the white toasted. She ate her breakfast to the silence of her apartment and to the ruckus of her neighbors. Often times they would storm down the stairs, clearly late in order to make it in time. She found herself envying the quick life they had, but her thoughts wandered no more. After she finished her breakfast, she put her hair up, slipped into her jacket and walked out her door. After doing this routine for five years, she started to become consumed with darkness.

The only voice she hears would be her boss telling her to finish the assignment he assigned two days again or a co-worker asking her if she wanted to get lunch. She would just shake her head and look at her computer as if to indicate the same work that everyone was working on was bugging her too. The co-worker would shrug and walk away, leaving their perfume lingering in the air long enough so she could get a glimpse of their quick life and for a brief minute, she found herself strutting in a bright office with strikingly red heels, her radiant smile enticing everyone. She would shrug and her thoughts wandered no more. After being in the work force for five years, she started to become consumed with darkness, from her soul to her fingers.

When she gets home, she finds herself basked in an endless cloud of bleak darkness. She groped around in the darkness, searching for the light switch. “Oh there it is.” she muttered to herself as she slipped off her shoes. A chunk of dirt falls from her shoe and onto her spotless carpet, annoying her a little but she found herself laughing. She squatted down and peered at the pile of dirt and whispered, “How did you get in here?” Of course there was no response from the dirt, so she shook her head and thought of it no more.

The next morning, she woke up with a smile. Half of herself was confused, half of herself was indifferent, but there was a secret quarter of herself where she was elated. She had dreamt about her high school crush. Even though everyone in her high school liked him, he was actually her friend, but she never got around to telling him, but in her dream, she relived the moment when she told him and she saw a future of children running around her apartment and she was smiling so much, her cheeks were aching.

The only voice she heard now was her own. The dream still intrigued her and she wanted more. She found herself daydreaming during the day, emptily nodding to her boss’ remarks and blankly telling her co-worker that she’ll join them another time for lunch. She wondered if there was another time that she felt this way, a little high on life.

When she got home, she found herself basked in darkness with only the neighbors downstairs keeping her company. “Wow, it’s so dark in here!” she said as she fumbled for the light and without realizing, she knocked over the vase of dead flowers. She stared at them for a while, watching the brown liquid run over the loose and brittle petals. She thought back to when she first received the flowers. They showed up at her doorstep and for a moment, she was elated that she may have a spontaneous secret admirer, but when she read the note, it was just from her friend who had left over flowers and wanted a better way to get rid of them. She stooped down to pick up the pieces and after she wiped away the liquid, she looked down at her hand and found that she cut herself. “How come I didn’t notice that?” she muttered as she rummaged through her drawers for a bandage. Upon realizing that she didn’t have any Band-Aids, she rushed out the door without her jacket and her hair slightly askew to the nearby drug store. At the checkout, she thought she recognized the cashier but she rushed out of the store too quickly to think about it but it lingered in the back of her head. She remembers that while he was helping her, he said her name not in a casual way, but like there was familiarity in it. When she got home, she put a Band-Aid over her cut and started to make dinner. Something else was bothering her. In the middle of cutting carrots, she looked up and saw that even though she had her lights on, her apartment emitted a sense of darkness. She put down her knife and rushed back to the nearby drug store. She walked into the Christmas aisle and put a couple of boxes of Christmas lights into her basket when a voice nearly startled her. “Jules? Julie? Is that you?” the clerk said. She turned and looked him, finally seeing him in a new light. “John?” she said, she could barely contain her smile. It spilled out and extended towards him and for the next hour, they stood in the Christmas aisle, catching up on the last five years and wondering why they never called each other. At the end of the conversation, they still hadn’t sufficiently caught up or rather, she wanted to know more about her friend John’s life and what had happened to him. They exchanged numbers and vowed to each other that they must contact each other. For the entire way back, all she could think about was the memories she and John had when they were students. She remembered the brief moment when she loved him but that quickly dissipated. She remembered when he took care of her when she fell ill with a fever and in her delirium, she remembered him confessing that he liked her but they never did anything about their mutual feelings except let it die out. She put her purchases in the living room, grumbling about the darkness the apartment carries and finished cooking her dinner. After eating her dinner, she started lighting up her apartment with strings of Christmas lights running from one corner to another. They lit up her flat like stars on a clear night sky and she laid down in her living room with tears filling up on her life and whispered to herself, “I will not let darkness consume me anymore.” Just as she was rising to get ready for bed, her phone started to ring. It was John.