We have a habit of leaving the cupboards open

This is a poem that I wrote the other day. Feel free to comment with improvements you think I should make.

I don’t know what it is.

Neglect?

Forgetfulness?

Distraction?

Imagination?

Perhaps someone was too hungry to notice.

Perhaps someone was in a rush.

Perhaps they were trying too hard to find a cup or a piece of tupperware.

Perhaps I was lost in my thoughts,

Dreaming of what could be.

Perhaps it is the law of entropy.

Perhaps not.

Perhaps the cupboards open themselves. They need the air.

Perhaps the food wants to remind us that it is there;

Or that it isn’t.

Perhaps we’ll never know.

My Sister’s Fan-fiction

Hey all!

In the last meeting I mentioned that my sister wrote One Direction Fan-fiction, and some of you were interested in taking a look at it. Here is the link to her main page: https://www.wattpad.com/user/MelHoran16

And here is the link to the horror story I wrote for her a couple years ago: https://www.wattpad.com/55320684-niall-horan-imagines-onions

And here is the link for the alternate ending: https://www.wattpad.com/55366875-niall-horan-imagines-onions-alternate-ending

If you create a login you can see all the hilarious comments (viewer discretion though, there is a lot of profanity). And I got the numbers wrong. She’s gotten 3+ million views on one of her books, and only hundreds of thousands on the others. Still impressive though! 😉

The Art of Cutting Corners

When I was in 7th grade, my art teacher gave our class an assignment for an upcoming art contest for some world peace thing. We had to create these “world peace posters”, with very specific instructions on what had to be included in the poster, using watercolor pencils. I was uninterested in the contest, but this project was a part of my grade as well, and so I began to think about how I would include all the elements necessary in the assignment on this poster. I remember needing to include a dove, a key, and the Earth.
Now, I had never attempted to draw the Earth before; there were too many squiggles and lines that had to be perfect, and watercolor pencil doesn’t allow for as many mistakes as I was used to. So I was concerned–until I came up with a genius idea.
Just paint Earth spinning.
I didn’t know if that would fly; but time was limited, and I wasn’t about to attempt to draw Earth any other way. So I depicted the Earth as if it were spinning on a giant finger.
The other posters were gorgeous. Their depictions of the Earth were flawless–but so was my idea; and creativity won out over artistry. My teacher loved my work; only one piece, out of the whole school, could be entered, and she decided to enter my artwork into this contest. This contest I wasn’t committed to; with a painting of the Earth as a circle with green, blue, brown and white sweeping lines across it to create the image of it spinning.

Now, I don’t share this to brag; this was simply the type of child I was. It wasn’t that I always wanted the easy way out, but rather that I knew my abilities and was true to them. And although many would argue that my greatest work was in art, or math, or music; in all of these, I fall short. I know many who far exceed my abilities, and that is why I have not fully pursued these in college. Perhaps the greatest ability that I have is what I like to call “creative problem-solving”. In other words, I solve problems by thinking outside the box. I don’t just follow the well-paved road of the solution to a problem. Sometimes there are multiple solutions. Sometimes there is another path that leads to the same solution.

In high school, this kind of thinking caused problems. The fact is, I have spent too much time outside of the box that I have a hard time thinking inside it. I don’t know how to do things the normal way, even if it is the easier way. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I cannot conform to the tried and tested way of accomplishing things, because my brain doesn’t work that way. Other times, I find there are better, more efficient ways of solving things.
When I was taking math classes, we learned about proofs and derivatives and a lot of things that I can’t remember anymore. On tests, teachers would ask us to solve a problem a specific way. I would solve the problem a different way, but end up with the same solution. Although the work and solution were correct, because it wasn’t done the way my teachers wanted, I was docked points. These missed points didn’t affect my overall grade, but they did affect the way I saw problem-solving; you don’t want to cut corners when you’re learning math.

So why did my outside-of-the-box attitude elicit such different responses? My art teacher was fawning over my work, so what happened? When is it alright, when is it good, to practice expanding the mind, to truly learn and create instead of merely following and obeying?
Maybe what I was missing was knowing the difference between dedicated practice-time and creativity-practice time. In other words, there are times designated to practice what you have already been taught, and then there are times when creativity is the ultimate goal; and although they may have a specific idea in mind of what you should be doing, another point of view is accepted.

Leo

Leo scrunched his sleepy eyes at the sound of disgustingly peppy birds blaring from his phone. He batted his hand around the coffee table in an attempt to shut them up. He succeeded, the time on the screen reading, “4:30 PM.” Leo reluctantly straightened from his curled-up position on the couch, arching his back in a deep stretch. He supposed he should probably get to work. He walked across his dim apartment to the refrigerator and stumbled over the neat pyramid of colorful yarn balls stacked on the carpet. His pupils went wide, momentarily distracted by their enticing rolling motion. His focus returned back to food. Opening the fridge, Leo grabbed a gallon of whole milk and drank straight from the carton. A small satisfied hum escaped his throat while his stomach gurgled in protest. The carton went back in the fridge and Leo walked back to the couch. Just five more minutes won’t hurt, he rationalized as he curled back up on the warm cushions.

Living with Regret

This idea just came to me today, so I got fired up and told myself I would sit down and write it out when I got home. In reality, I stayed up way too late playing Overwatch first, which really in the mood to write this. What better way to write about regret than to have a fresh one, right? I hope you guys can give me some feedback on it and maybe I can make it into something really fun in the future. Enjoy.

 ——

People live for regret. That heavy feeling anchors us into our everyday lives, a sweet, pungent stab to the heart that bleeds out sighs. Something about the splendid moment when the incident sinks in to your permanent memory can be quite addicting. You look back and curse yourself for being you, wondering what might have been different had you chosen differently.

You know how people re-watch movies and re-read books that they really enjoy? It happens to be the same principle with regrets, the memories replay over and over in our minds, taking center stage and captivating the audience in ripping suspense. It’s the sort of experience where you want to look away and close the book, squirming in your seat while you anticipate the unfortunate antics of the characters onstage. Only the lead actor is yourself. We keep watching of course, the scene must be vital to the story somehow, even though it leaves us slamming our fists down in a single blow of frustrated protest.

We think we could rewrite the story to be much better, looking at it from the outside. In our heads we might change a detail or two, minor tweaks that leave the hero more justified or socially acceptable, more successful or cool; generally, with less adverse consequences. But the play goes on, it has already been written.  Don’t know the feeling? Imagine you’ve changed jobs, feeling up to the challenge of something new and looking for a better deal, only to find that you would rather have stayed where you were. You draw in a slow hiss of a breath and let it out all at once, and you look up at the sky as if it had any answers. Somehow you know you’ll keep on with the new work, even though your downcast spirits and crying. That just about sums it up.

What would we do without regret anyways? In that moment when your body is urging you to talk to that girl you like or ask her out on a date, your mind holds you back. This could be so entertaining the mind whispers in your ear, we could watch it again and again while trying to sleep and never have to let go of this feeling. It draws us in like moths to the fire, so eager to burn and dance gleefully in the pain. If the situation occurs repeatedly, all the better. If you come into contact with her on a regular basis and still can’t find the courage, then you can have multiple scenes to agonize over for the price of one overarching regret, producing entertainment for hours on end.

It might be the only thing that motivates you to grow. One piles up regrets and decides that there are going to be some changes made, dreading that grimacing gripe that thinks, “If only, if only,” far too many times. Though you redesign your faulty traits and move forward, you’ll always carry with you a trophy and a record to remind you of what might have been. Amass enough regrets and maybe, just maybe, you can motivate yourself to make tomorrow better.

So we go looking for regrets, setting up these moments of agony for ourselves to enjoy at leisure. Why is the thought of being a wizened old man who tells cautionary tales to young whippersnappers so appealing? Because we love to feel that grim set of the jaw and teeth grinding as we ponder our past mistakes. Why else would we subject ourselves to so much humiliation?

Laundry

Here is the final version of the story we had to write for class. I’m not sure how I feel about it- especially the character of Violet. I think in a few months, once I’ve had some time away from it, I’ll come back and rework it. But, for now, this is it.

 

Laundry

Although the laundry room was empty, the washer wasn’t. Something was spinning in the drum and there were still fifteen minutes in the cycle. Crap; I couldn’t put off doing laundry any more that I already had, my shift at Forever 21 started in an hour, The Notebook was on tonight, and I had a final to study for. Statistics- bleagh. I DID NOT have time for this.

But then I noticed the air. It was weighed down with some stench I couldn’t identify. It reminded me of a field trip I’d gone on when I was in the fifth grade. We went to a forest to go study the environment or something like that. I don’t really remember. But I do recall really liking it; I’m from the city, so I hadn’t really gotten to go hang out in the woods before. I can still see the absence of the sky, feel the sap squeezing itself from the trees, still smell that dark, earthy scent. Which was what I was smelling now. Except it had a sour, human tinge, a repulsive variation of my memory.

Crinkling my nose, I sat down on the only chair in the room. I might as well study for that final. Pulling my review out my review sheet, I glared at it. All those numbers, and graphs, and those pie things. As far as I’m concerned, the only pie worth anything is the kind you can eat. This was so dumb; it’s my fervent belief that math should not be required past tenth grade Algebra I. Shouldn’t you know by then whether or not you’re going to study math after high school? Only those people should have to take more. Yet here I was, in my sophomore year of college, nearly failing STAT 121.

It might not have been so bad if it weren’t for the teacher. Professor Malik had come from Sweden. Every day, he strode into class and wrote either our homework or test scores on the whiteboard, names included. It was humiliating. He said it should motivate us to do better. Despite that, he was popular among the students. Well, the female ones. Our university was small, and the amount of boys even smaller.

Ten minutes passed. During that time, I had managed to scowl my way halfway down the paper. This was just great- I was totally going have to miss The Notebook so I could review this crap. Maybe I could study during the commercial breaks? While I was trying to figure out what my grade would be if I didn’t do this assignment, the laundry room door opened.

It was Professor Malik.

I was shocked; what was he doing here? This was a student laundry room, in a dorm. And were those his clothes in the wash, the ones that smelled like rot? Why would Professor Malik’s clothes reek that bad? He was a professor, not a zombie. A second later though, I realized his coming here was a good thing; maybe he would help me with the review sheet. He didn’t usually offer any assistance besides answers to questions in class, but maybe this time would be different. I really hoped so.

“Violet! What a pleasure to see you!”

“Good to see you too, Professor” He looked at the timer, four minutes. “I’m sorry you’re having to wait on account of me. It should be done in just a moment.”

“That’s fine. I just didn’t know professors used this room.”

“Oh we usually don’t. My washer at home is broken and the repairmen can’t come until Tuesday. But, I had some laundry to do, and dirty clothes get worse the longer you let them sit, so I decided to make use of the student facilities.”

“That was a good idea,” I said. Immediately, I slapped my hands over my mouth. I couldn’t believe I had just said that to my professor, told him that his clothes smelled bad. There was no way he would help me now; I was so stupid.

But he just chuckled: “That’s what I like about you, Violet: you’re blunt.” I stared at him and the only things I could think to say were: “Statistics, help?” Wow. Was my brain dead today?

Yet again, Professor Malik laughed. He walked over and knelt down so that he could better see my review sheet. “Oh yes, this one. It can be rather difficult. But I’m sure we can figure it out.” Then he glanced at his watch, then at the washer, (two minutes) and cursed.

“Actually, Violet, could we meet later to go over these? I have a funeral I have to go to; I didn’t realize how late it was.” What? He was leaving? He couldn’t leave! Not when I was on the verge of failure. Inwardly I was cursing that timer for being so short. I would be late to my shift if it meant I got help from Professor Malik.

And then I realized what else he’d said: that I could come over to his office and he’d help me. Yes! This was just what I needed; he would go over it with me, we’d study it, and then I’d ace that final. Then we’d- wait, Professor Malik didn’t do things like this. Half of me didn’t even think he’d even say yes to helping me and now, here he was inviting me to his office. Had he always been this way? If so, I wished I’d known this earlier; I’d probably be getting better than a C-. But potential awesomeness aside, something about this felt weird.

I think Professor Malik took my silence as agreement, because he added, “Does tomorrow at three work for you? My office is room B308 in the math building.” Again, my mind was malfunctioning because all I said was: “Don’t you have to dry your clothes too?”

“Well, yes. But I prefer to air dry them; it just makes them smell so much cleaner.” This time, I was able to keep myself from blurting out any more insulting things about his laundry. He looked as if he were going to say more, but just then the washer beeped.

“Finally.” He opened the door heaved a pile of sopping clothes into basket. “Hmmm…” Professor Malik held up one of the garments and eyed it critically. Up until now, I’d been focused on him, but now I turned my gaze to the clothing he was holding.

It was a dress. Or, rather, it had been: brown, green, and red stains masked the once white fabric and I could see the underskirt from where the lace overlay had been ripped off. A clump of black hair was snarled in the zipper. Something was forming in my mind, but I couldn’t quite grasp what it was.

“Darn, I was really hoping bleach and vinegar would do the trick,” Professor Malik said resignedly.  “Oh well, I’ll just have to let it dry and then rewash it using stronger stuff. As

they say, third time’s the charm!” He folded the dress, put it into his basket and walked towards the door, smiling over his shoulder. “See you tomorrow, Violet.”

Exhaustion is like being exhausted.

In the Spirit of Tuttlemania, I’ve decided to post one of the poems that I did in class that I particularly enjoyed writing. It was the one on exhaustion that I did before we made our compiled poem in groups, and the poetic tool I had to work with was simile. If anyone has the compiled poem we made in the end, you should post that too!

Two hands rubbed to her head

like the hefty heaving of labored breath.

A pent up sigh of sweeping wind

was as trembling muscles urging onward.

Shutting out the world she closed her eyes

like arms that flag and will not rise.

It was a lust for sleep, so impossibly far

as the mountain of doom for the vicarious burden.

Fable Creation ~ Creative Writing Exercises

In our wonderful Creative Writing class, we were discussing fables. As an exercise, Mr. Tuttle (for whom this blog is named) asked us to pair up and write the moral of a fable on a piece of paper, which we then passed to the group on our left. With new morals in hand, each of our groups wrote the fable for the other group’s moral.
These are the results (in order of passing, so the group before the fable wrote the moral):

 

By Laura Goodrich and Matthew Pope

Winter was approaching, and all the woodland was preparing. Mr. Squirrel considered his humble burrow and decided he would expand his dwelling so he might store more nuts to comfortably last the icy months. He cleared out the leaves that made his floor, scratched away at the walls, and cleared out the dirt. As he took a moment to rest outside his cave, Sir Sparrow passed by, his mouth full of worms.
“How clever of you,” he said with a wink, “You’ve widened your stores to hold more food, I am off myself to gather more.”
The squirrel thanked him for his visit and returned to his work. Yet all too soon, the snows fell, hiding all the nuts he might have stored.

Time wasted can never be returned


By Madelyn, Holly, and Jared

Once there was a man who really really wanted to be king. So he bribed the necessary people and some extra just to be safe. Eventually, his dream was realized and [made] many already wealthy people even more wealthy. From thenceforth, he was known as the kingdom’s most benevolent ruler.

He who serves himself may benefit his fellows


Two Mice and the Blind Cat
By Jen Kurtz and Jaren J.

Once there were two mice who lived in a barn. Nightly, they made a game of hiding from the blind cat that prowled the premises. As one hid in the hay bale, the other bravely stood atop a box. The mouse upon the box was feeling particularly facetious and waited for the cat to cry out, “Where are you?” to which he replied, “You’ll never find me in the hay bale!” with a snicker. The cat, being too blind to see the hay bale, turned in the direction of the voice and pounced upon the facetious mouse atop the box.

Don’t speak unless you have something intelligent to say