Mountaintop Sunrise | Quick Piece Breakdown

Mountaintop Sunrise

I wrote this piece at 3 in the morning when I was hit with a bought of insomnia. Surprise! I didn’t write about sleep. Instead, I wrote about a break-up in a relationship paralleled with rediscovery. When I was forming the story, I had no idea where I was going with it, but the more I wrote, the more direction I had.

Basically, this story follows a guy named Gabe who had recently broken up with his girlfriend and it really affected him. There was the questionable methods of if Gabe was going to try and win her back and as the story progressed,  he didn’t attempt to pursue her again since he recognized his faults in the relationship and doesn’t think that she would want him back. The story follows a series of flashbacks leading up to the decision of Gabe fulfilling Melly’s wishes to see the sunrise from the mountains. It’s a simple notion of being a couple and sharing dreams which was what separated them.

At the end of the story, Gabe hears a voice that could either be Melly or an indication of him moving on. To be honest, I wrote it with Melly in mind.

I really enjoyed writing this piece because not only was it very emotional, it was a good balance between plot, dialogue and description. I built up more on this story based on my experience with a mountaintop sunrise. Last summer, I had the chance to go to Acadia, Maine with my family and climb Cadillac mountain and watch the sun rise. We were at the same level of the sun rising so it was gorgeous.

A better view of the sunrise including the islands

Well, I hope you enjoyed this story!

Alice

 

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Shouting Red | The World Around Us

I remember reading a post stating, “If Trump wins I’m going to be openly more of an asshole to ignorant sexist racist homophobic people. No more being polite to these fucking idiots. Fuck.” I frantically shouted a response, “No, please. This is when things will certainly go down. Yes, he’s terrible, but if we are going to not be polite and be assholes, then doesn’t that make us just like him?!” I still had hope not that Hilary can win because that had gone by, but that the country isn’t as bad as it revealed itself to be. Among the 21k responses this post received, I can only hope and will that at least a quarter of the people responded as I did.

In the frantic nature of people, we are quick to panic and quick to shroud ourselves to protect our most vulnerable sides. Everywhere I looked, there were open responses of hatred, cutting sharp and leaving lacerations too deep to naturally heal. When I turned around, there were open responses of love, quickly patching and sealing the cuts, the gentle and encompassing red shrouded the sticky and oozing red, the leak that was always there, but we simply ignored because it was easier.

People bravely opened up their shirts to show the world their wounds that were caused from the other night, but the stood still without swaying and opened up the dialogue to converse with them. Our pain united the states and while it did force ourselves to expose the problems, we are evident that it is here. We can’t avoid it as it stares at us in the face. In one of my classes, we expected to just be jumping into Margaret Fuller, instead my professor opened up and said, “I stayed up late last night watching the election and I’m tired. You are also tired. Before we start class, I want to open up a discussion. If there’s anything you want to talk about, we can talk about it.” We stared back at her, not entirely comfortable with this open dialogue because our wounds were still raw but I appreciated her gesture of openness. On campus, a group of students holding handmade signs with “Send hugs not hate!” and “Love Trumps hate” and “Free hugs!” stood around smiling in the bleakness. When I walked by them, I smiled comfortably and felt myself stand up straighter.

My roommate and I hang onto the hope that because Trump is under so many watchful eyes, he wouldn’t do anything as reckless as he promised. We told each other about the small lights that we witnessed and we gave a small sigh of relief. People were shouting red, but for the right reasons.

Mountaintop Sunrise | Quick Piece

Image taken by me at Acadia National Park — 8/9/16 4:46am

The bus finally pulled up to the station and the familiar excitement started settling in. I looked around the station and saw families eager to go on their first trip with bulging suitcases and children carrying their favorite stuffed friend to share their new adventures with. I saw young couples, tugging at each other’s hands ­— their private excitement and yearning for one another evident in just a small gesture. I saw people like me, old and experienced, but still carrying around their young soul and an undying curiosity to see and feel all corners of the world for themselves. I just can’t explain this sensation. It’s as if the places I go to will forever carry a part of my soul once I set foot upon it — a magical and sweet sensation.

We boarded the bus and I settled into a seat near the front. I checked my phone to see if we were still on schedule and I scrolled through my messages to see if there was anything from her. Perhaps a departing good-bye and well wishing or a how are you, but the last message I received from her was from three weeks ago. A child on the back of the bus shouted, “Mom! I need to pee!” I smiled to myself before putting in my headphones and forgetting everything that had happened three weeks ago.

“Why can’t you ever listen?” she shouted, tears brimming her eyes. I reached for her hand. I wanted her close. I wanted to feel her heart beating against mine, but she turned away. “Gabe, please! Now is not the time! Can’t you see that we aren’t going to be forever unless you get it together?” My mouth ran dry and my hands started to sweat. She sighed and collapsed into the chair, exhausted from the emotional turn of events. I knelt in front of her and whispered, “Melly, dear. I’m sorry.” My head was filled with cotton. Nothing I wanted to say, nothing I wanted to mean was properly forming into words. Before I could say anything else, she rebounded and said, “No, don’t. You say this every single time, but we always end up back into this position. I’ll be crying and you’ll be on your knees begging. I’ve had enough.” The next thing I knew, I was watching her pull out of my driveway, every single part within me felt broken and shattered.

The bus rumbled to a stop just as my song finished, an echoing chord fading into the distance. I opened my eyes to see a brilliant sunset stretching across the wide horizon. The bus was hauntingly silent with no previous indication that there were screaming children and chattering friends. We had the time to stretch and get a snack before we had to be back on the road again. I sauntered into the convenience store. The sudden bright lights and colorful snacks filled my field of vision and it felt like I was in one of my dreams. Unaware of where we were, but still knowing that we had some ways to go, I thrived in the change of pace. I picked up a couple snacks before heading back to the bus where I caught glimpses of people deep in their slumber.

For the first couple of days, my heart wouldn’t stop aching. My Google search history was filled with medical inquiries to relationship advice columns, but the only help I wanted was from Melly. My phone was quiet and it haunted me. I spent hours scrolling through the days when our minds were consumed with each other. I ran through everything that lead up to it and tried to figure out what had happened, but the only conclusion that I could arrive at was that I was the cause. I didn’t want to see her curled up on her bed, eyes red from crying yet somehow, an image of myself reflected what would be of her.

In the early hours of the morning, we arrived. We dragged our aching bodies out of our seats and into the cold morning air, picked up our bags and headed into the station. Parents cradled their kids in their arms, greeting me with a simple nod of unifying tiredness. Couples leaned against each other’s shoulders still maintaining how they were together on the bus. I chuckled to myself, Melly wouldn’t mind the early hours, yet I would be the one sleeping. I sighed and looked up at the sky, just starting to blossom in the day’s radiance. It seems like in the early hours of the day, human nature naturally unifies together as a subtle acknowledgement to the simplicities of life.

A week and a half later, the sadness only took up half of my mind and I had been able to settle on what had happened. My restlessness was evident because when Melly and I were still together, we itched to travel. We went on a couple of trips around the state, seeing natural beauties or creations manifested by humanity. I remembered that we wanted to go to the top of the mountains, wake up at an obscene hour in the morning and watch the sunrise, but our schedules constantly conflicted, a telltale sign of what’s to happen. Every time we went somewhere, Melly’s constant hunger for brighter vitality in the world was never filled. She wanted more and I could never fulfill it. It wasn’t until then did I realize that I also carried an undying desire to feel the world even when it was raw and bleeding. I leaped out of bed; pulled out my laptop simultaneously closing the tabs I had opened for instant gratification and searched “most beautiful location for sunrise”.

I felt the wind in my face and the tiredness coursing through my body, but I was elated. I finally made it. My hand grazed my phone, but I stopped myself. Slowly, but surely, the sun erupted from its hiding place and reached its fingers to touch all corners of the Earth coloring the deepest and darkest corners. I nearly leaped for joy as I basked in the emerging colors and welcomed the new day. People started to pose in front of this reoccurring beauty and I found myself sneaking a couple pictures for myself. Like a dream, I heard my name being called out in the distance in a voice that was familiar to my soul.

Submitted to Lascaux Review – Flash Fiction Contest

Mansion | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone!

I hope spring is kind upon you! We’ve been having snow up here so far.

Mansion

There’s this type of emptiness
that echoes in the chambers of my heart.
It rings loudly of mistrust and betrayal;
a tell tale sign of my troubled past.

And off I went, doing only what I knew.
Building walls that were topped with spikes
but leaving a sign in the front and old furniture that read
Free! Take Some!

People would try to peek and see what I was guarding
so I whispered to my luscious plants
(mostly to myself)
“We don’t need anything else except what has been given”

Until you came in and said hello not to pass the time
or to wait for a better option.
You said hello and waited upon my response.
“Hello” I said.

I hesitated to call you friend, but found resonance in my soul
as you pointed out that my plants were on the verge of death.
I hesitated to call you true, but found recognition in my mind
as you fixed my faulty gates and I allowed you beyond the boundaries.
I hesitated to call you as yourself when you accidentally dug too deep
as you were pulling out the weeds, preparing my yard for flowers.

There’s this type of fullness
that rings in the chambers of my heart.

This poem is written as an ode to everyone who has difficulties trusting people due to circumstances that have happened in their life whether it be a betrayed friendship, someone blowing you off or someone losing something of yours. Whatever it was, it hurt you.

I decided to use the metaphor of a house to illustrate trust with gates being the physical manifestation of trust, closing and pushing things away. The plants could be your personality or your experiences because they require proper care in order for it to thrive. In the second stanza, the narrator mentioned free furniture. That could either represent people taking what isn’t necessary from me for themselves or the narrator is able to put on a facade on the outside, but on the inside, it’s a different story.

Things start to change when the narrator meets someone and they literally and figuratively begin to break down the walls and earn their trust. The narrator thinks they’re doing well, but in reality, they aren’t but that someone is able to care for them and help them get better and changing them for the better. Sooner than later, the narrator begins to trust that someone even after many trials and errors including critic, hence the pulling out the weeds to prepare for flowers.

In the final line and stanza, it’s clear that the narrator is finally content with themselves, the ultimate goal because of how I paralleled it with the first stanza. It signifies a journey with a solid beginning and conclusion.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this poem!

Stay warm,

Alice

Twenty-One

I turned 21 in January.

From the day I was born, those who were wiser and older than me gave me gentle guidance as I grew up. It went from “make sure you eat your vegetables so you can grow strong!” to “study harder” and “don’t give up!” In a way, those pieces of advices were like our vegetables. It doesn’t really taste delectable, but it’s required to grow. Sometimes you would hear things you don’t want to, but you knew that it was necessary.

Throughout my life, I’ve met a plethora of people and believe it or not, everyone I’ve met has had some impact on my life. There were some people who were still figuring out where they were, but I was also doing the same so I wasn’t able to offer the appropriate guidance they wanted. There were some people who already figured things out, but to them, all I could offer was a hello, my name is Alice. There were some people who shouted too loud and it hurt my ears and those who spoke too softly and I leaned in too close to try and hear what they were saying. There were some people who laughed with me, gave me hugs when I needed someone and fed me when I couldn’t get out of bed. There were also people who smiled brightly, but poison streamed out of their mouths, but I soon learned who to stray away from. And there were people who taught me how bright life actually was.

I chose to write this blog post honoring my 21st year because I’m well aware of immense changes that come along with it from the beginnings of the search for my future, solidification of my identity and the entrance of the bulk of my twenties. So far, I can surely attest that I certainly feel different with new experiences being thrown my way, but instead of cowering in fear, I’m finally able to stand up straight and look at it straight in the eye. It’s not arrogance, but the ability to see where I’ve come from. I still struggle and I still shake, but I know my strength.

From the day I turned 21, I started asking those who were older than me to share what they had learned from when they were 21. None, some or all may pertain to you and some could contradict for you. I’d like for you to look at each piece of advice as its own, but also carrying the unified theme of becoming 21. Take what you need and leave feeling a little better about yourself.

I want to thank each person who contributed to this wonderful list! 🙂 Thank you for handing me your own wisdom experienced through trial and error to help us embark on our journeys, 21 years old and beyond. While your gesture may appear small, it will be beneficial in the long term.

21 Pieces of Advice:

  1. With greater pain, comes greater reward because failure is a part of life that is to be embraced, felt and concurred.
  2. Always be tenacious and persistent.
  3. Love your dream like you love your family.
  4. Treasure the time you’re given.
  5. You have a voice – a beautiful one that people need to hear.
  6. Keep trying to find yourself and work towards your ambitions even if they’re scary. Adult life doesn’t get easier, so it’s important to stay optimistic and keep your sense of self.
  7. Don’t take things too seriously. It’s okay to not have everything figured out, so be silly!
  8. Once you made a decision, go with it and fight for it, but think one more time before taking action.
  9. Your life may not turn out as you plan now. But it is okay. Trust God for your identity and do your best.
  10. Optimize what you can, but also realize that there will be times you will fail, so you should continue to persevere since God is there with us every step of the way.
  11. When God wills you to do something that you are yourself passionate about, take care not to fuel your work by your own passions rather than by the sole desire to follow God. Righteous and fun things have eternal value; the rests are fleeting vanity.
  1. Take the time to write down things that you have learnt, lest you should miss important lessons about God and about yourself. Do not aim for long passages, sum things up first and write your reasoning afterwards.
  2. Praise God unceasingly.
  3. Be open to plans other than your own; they work out better.
  4. Go into every class, meeting, and interaction with excitement and intent.
  1. It’s okay to be lonely and just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to feel alone. Try and embrace it and spend time doing things that you love.
  2. Try not to force a relationship with someone because it’ll never work that way.
  3. Don’t try to spend too much time trying to please every friend. Sometimes you make other people expect more of you than what you can normally offer because they got used to you pleasing them. Spare your love and gifts for special moments, and share them wisely. Some friends will physically be separated from you but still think of you as a great friend even if they don’t see/talk to you for months, others will start to dislike you when you don’t cling to them all the time. When that is the case (which it is), focus your energy on the former because they give you (and themselves) the biggest space to grow in every way. When you meet this kind of friend again after several months, their growth can astonish you and inspire you, and you can do the same for them.
  4. Drink when you can.
  5. Don’t go to grad school; don’t be afraid of testing out the job market.
  6. Don’t read the comments section and don’t procrastinate in organizing things on your laptop.

A Sense of Falsehood | Quick Piece Breakdown

A Sense of Falsehood

About a year ago, I asked my friend what I should write about and he posed “fake”. I tried to write on this subject, but it always came out too straight forward for my liking, so I kept it in the back of my head. When I decided to write the story for this week, I found my inspiration.

This story revolves around a woman named Dawn and her boyfriend named Nate. On the first glance, they seem like a compatible pair, but things kind of change towards the end of the story when Nate doesn’t completely console Dawn and Dawn doesn’t even want to communicate with Nate. Their truest selves only emerged not with each other but rather when they’re by themselves.

I wanted the message of this story to revolve around the title, a sense of falsehood. We’ve all had moments when we weren’t our complete selves. Personally, I only show my true self to those I’m very comfortable with and I don’t really feel the need to show it to professors or acquaintances of mine. I guess it’s because I think that there are aspects of myself that would be more appropriate to be known when we’ve reached a level of trust. Yet, people who aren’t aware that I do this or don’t catch on to this may think of me with some level of arrogance, almost as if I’m holding something back only for myself. This is also something that we could keep in mind when meeting someone for the first time. It’s interesting how first impressions are and are not the best representation of someone, but we’ll talk more in depth about this another time.

What do you think? Are there moments when you have a sense of falsehood more so than other times? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Alice

Red and Blue | The World Around Us

At first, I didn’t want to watch the election unfold with my excuses being that it would be too crowded in the lecture hall and I had work to do, but it spiraled into not wanting to see the country unfold into the hands of a troubled leader who consistently announced discrimination and separation. I knew that when I filled out my ballot, I knew that I had done the right thing, but when it came to the entirety of the future, the “what if” hung in front of me and it was too loud, too terrifying, too unstable. My best friend urged me to go because something like this happens once every four years. I whispered this to myself and found myself at disbelief that the country is constantly uncertain every four years. It felt like an unhealthy relationships where we consistently break up with our partners or vice versa. Why can’t we have a happy marriage?
I sat with my friends and we watched the election unfold. We continued to laugh, but our laughter turned somber as too many states turned red rather than blue. The numbers made no sense to us and we hung to a small thread of hope, but the thread was snipped near the end of the night when we realized what the future may hold. I left when it was clear that the numbers and colors were shouting his name. Even while I was home and away from the banter of the students, I checked the rising and unchanging numbers. I saw the fear that has been built up in people starting to bubble up, but I simply closed my eyes and waited for the new day to fall upon me.
After the night passed by, I opened my eyes and looked at the headlines with disbelief I never wanted to experience. One family was triumphant, but many other families felt torn. This wasn’t what we expected; yet it became the truth. I sauntered over to Tumblr and saw my feed full of people full of fear, uncertain about their future, uncertain about their lives and uncertain about what to do. We cried out, but it was too late. A couple months ago, we were laughing and impersonating our future president without realizing it. The further I scrolled and read, the more hatred I saw seeping through the letters, bleeding red and hot.