All my life, I wanted to outmatch Atlas. I was determined to hold every world upon my back--my world, my mother's world, your world.
Especially your world.
And for a while, I did. I was everything you needed me to be. I wiped your tears, left candy on your doorstep, brought soup when you were feverish. I gave up my first kiss so no stranger could ruin yours. I was so happy to be your pillar.
But when Atlas stumbled, you didn't know how to be my pillar. When Atlas fell flat on his face, your own world became too heavy for you to bear.
I'm so, so sorry I never taught you how.
I'm so sorry that I still haven't gotten back on my feet.
I'm so sorry that I can't hold up our worlds anymore, and I'm so sorry that I can't expect you to help me.
No matter how many times you forgive me, I will always be sorry.
tenuous spaces, and concrete softness of wounded cells
slip the back of your hand past my fears slowly
as if learning
the outside curves of my thighs,
trace the doubts
that come from rejection
as if following the line of my spine
now very gently... please
let your soul glide within still open wounds
many twisted cords,
you say it was so easy
to love my chaotic, damaged spaces
when at times,
I could not even see
one deserving string of light
between my tired muscles
and frozen air
that always lingered on the cold glass
but now... my darling,
I am learning the feel of spring between hearbeats
and the notions of your hands on my soul
it calls for you
all in me, it calls for you
because in it
down her shoulders
Somewhere In America
Here in America and every single state, they have a set of standards for every subject, a collection of lessons that the teacher’s required to teach by the end of the term. But the greatest lessons you will ever teach us will not come from your syllabus. The greatest lessons you will ever teach us you will not even remember.
You never told us what we weren’t allowed to say. We just learned how to hold our tongues.
Now somewhere in America, there is a child holding a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and there is a child holding a gun. But only one of these things has been banned by their state government and, it’s not the one that can rip through flesh, it’s the one that says “‘F’ You” on more pages than one.
Because we must control what people say. how they think. And if they want to become the overseer of their own selves then we’ll show them a real one.
And somewhere in America, there is a child sitting at his mother’s computer reading the home page of the KKK’s website and that’s open to the public. But that child will have never read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ because his school has banned it for its use of the ‘N’-word.
Maya Angelou is prohibited because we’re not allowed to talk about rape in school. We are taught that just because something happens doesn’t mean we are to talk about it.
They build us brand new shopping malls so we’ll forget where we’re really standing – ON THE BONES of the Hispanics, ON THE BONES of the slaves, ON THE BONES of the Native Americans, ON THE BONES of those who fought just to speak.
Transcontinental railroads to Japanese internment camps. There are things missing from our history books. But we were taught that it is better to be silent than to make them uncomfortable.
Somewhere in America, private school girls search for hours through boutiques trying to find the prom dress of their dreams; while kids on the south side spend hours searching through the lost and found ’cause winter’s coming soon and that’s the only jacket they have.
Kids are late to class for working the midnight shift. They give awards for best attendance but not for keeping your family off the streets.
These kids will call your music ghetto. They will tell you you don’t talk right. Then they’ll get in the backseat of a car with all their friends singing how they’re “’Bout that life” and “We can’t stop”.
Somewhere in America schools are promoting self-confidence while they whip out their scales and shout out your body fat percentage in class. Where the heftier girls are hiding away and the slim fit beauties can’t help but giggle with pride.
The preppy kids go thrift shopping because they think it sounds fun. But we go ’cause that’s all we’ve got money for ’cause mama works for the city; mama only gets paid once a month.
Somewhere in America, a girl is getting felt up by a grown man on a subway. She’s still in her school uniform and that’s part of the appeal. It’s hard to run in knee socks and Mary Jane’s and all her male teachers know it, too.
Coaches cover up star players raping freshmen after the dance. Women are killed for rejecting a date but God forbid I bring my girlfriend to prom.
A girl is blackout drunk at the after-party. Take a picture before her wounds wake her. How many pixels is your sanity worth?
What’s a 4.0 to a cold jury?
What’d you learn in class today? "Don’t talk loud, don’t speak loud, keep your hands to yourself, keep your head down. Keep your eyes on your own paper. If you don’t know the answer fill in C."
Always wear ear-buds when you ride the bus alone. If you think that someone’s following you pretend you’re on the phone.
A teacher never fails. Only you do.
Every state in America.
The greatest lessons are the ones you don’t remember learning.
-Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen
Pardon the Interruption
I have a couple of announcements.
First off, I am changing my profile name to OceanofStorms for the time being. I know many of you chose OceanofStars as your favorite when I asked for your thoughts on my new name ideas, but I am not feeling very starry right now. I am doing fine, the stars will always be reflected on my waves, they’re just a bit harder to see right now.
I also know some of you like my current name, and you are right in saying that it reflects who I am, or who I was. Elsie was a nickname from a numer of years ago and while people still use it occasionally, it’s from a part of my life that I’d rather not hold on to. To remember is a powerful thing, but to be stuck in the past will only inhibit my future.
Second, I’ll probably change my profile picture at some point as well. I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I might as well let you all know.
Third, I am going to start my first book. I’ve been thinking about doing a color-inspired series and when I posted my Questions? post someone submitted the idea and reminded me of what I wanted to do. I’m not sure what it will be called yet, so if anyone has any ideas I am open to them.
Finally, I would like to make two comments on the recent issues surrounding the actions of some Prosers. I am not condoning their actions or attacking anyone, the situation was handled very well and I hope to see some changes made in how we interact with one another.
That being said, I would like to see some more critiquing in our community. We are all here to write and grow as writers and I feel as though it is harder to grow if issues are not pointed out with our writing. I am not saying that we should go around pointing out everyone’s flaws, far far far from it. I would never want to critique the poem of someone who does not appreciate it and I would never want to hurt them or discourage them from writing. All I propose is that we try to be more open to it. We are a close community and there are many writers I respect here. If an experienced writer who I have interacted with frequently (let's take @danceinsilence for example) commented on my post and said “I think it would be stronger if you did it this way” I would so so so appreciate it. The only writer I can think of who has done this for me is @TeaRise I think, and I am very grateful to her for it. When I have disagreed with what she thinks I should do, I have explained to her why I wrote something a certain way and she has been understanding. I have also taken some of her advice in the past and edited my posts.
If this is something only I want, I understand that. There’s nothing wrong with learning to do something by yourself and there are beautiful benefits to this method of learning. I guess I just want to point out that there have been times I’ve asked for honest critiques and been slightly disappointed when I didn’t really get any. Encouragement is wonderful, I love receiving it and giving it to others, but I think many people can also benefit from a well-said critique.
The second comment I wanted to make is that I have been honestly impressed with how our community handles issues. Are there outbursts? Yes. Do people say things that are too aggressive or misunderstood? Yes. Are we perfect? No. But we care, and we apologize, and we work to make it better. I know there are possibly some people leaving our site, which is understandable and is their choice, but I love the dedication our users have to this community.
Ok, that’s everything, thanks for reading my long post :)
She Was Zero
There’s a certain comfort to knowing that someone won’t remember you in the morning. That they won’t feel the same about you. Heck, it’d be a miracle if they felt anything at all. I guess it started when I was younger. Fifteen: age of battles where most wars are lost to the offspring of disappeared fathers. I read that once, didn’t understand what it meant at all. I wormed the words into shoeboxes of mysteries, yanking their letters until nothing meant everything, and everything was nothing. For every story told, I wonder how many more are lost to time and silence. Nobody else will ever tell the story of us as it stands, complete and yet undeniably shattered. She and I are the sum of a hundred stories never told.
Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen
Twelve, eleven, ten
Nine, eight, seven
Six, five, four
Three, two, one...
It all starts at one, doesn’t it? Everything. Nobody ever starts at zero! Why would they? Zero is nothing and nobody. But zero is special, isn’t it? Multiplied against anything, it’s nothing. The heart feels, the eyes see, the ears hear, but we still know NOTHING! Added or subtracted, it disappears completely. Comfortless and confined to its own place, the finite bounds of an infinite number line. Anyway...
They’ve got numbers for names, I suppose, for what’s the point of knowing but never letting the words slip. Does it really matter if their name was Channing or Dylan or Gwen or Rachel? None of it matters. They’ll still flow from my unfeeling fingers like loose sand all the same. None of anything I ever do matters. I guess that’s that existential nihilism people always talk about.
Fifteen lovers. That’s enough. It’s been fun, but I think I’ll keep this one forever. I laugh, mockingly, at number fifteen, the only one who’s ever been brave enough to deem themself worthy of a second night, of a morning where the soft petals of autumn dawn grace emotionless entities in their entirety. Narcissist. Yeah, that’ll be the day, I think. There are a lot of days between now and then, yet not enough, I think. When my heart unfreezes and the tyranny holding my mind against its will, holding it inside the meaningless body, yes, then I think I will finally let myself stay until the morning. Well, I suppose the final day did come. My own personal Ragnarök.
I never had an Achilles Heel, never a soft spot where sentiment could seep through. I’ve never been totally vulnerable. Not even when my mother died. I remember the day solemnly, with the frown I know people expect of an alleged mourner. I remember it in shadows and slipped words, and almost mists into definitely because I can never truly picture it exactly. Screams emanating from down the hospital corridor. Legs broken, wheelchair out of reach. Footsteps nearing. Children crying. They’re always crying! Just one shot. Why is it always the strongest, and most loved, who fall first?
I’ve never felt true rejection. Dreaming and waking, only to shatter again. I’ve sparked it in other people, but it’s better that way. I didn’t want to be a big fish in a small water, so I left. And I guess I never stopped. Awkward conversations aren’t my style. I’ll never mope and whine over what could be. Then hope only for the bitter sting of rejection to beat me senseless, yanking my heart from its chest and promising a terrible, foreboding end and leaving my eyes to ponder it all, rose colored glasses smashed against concrete.
“You asked how much I love you, what can I say?”
“Not much I think,” her thumb twirled into her hair, disappearing beneath my somber gaze and gently resting on her neck.
That was true, what I said. What would she want me to tell her? Either way, I’d be lying. After I whispered those first words, she gave the answer I expected, but it was hardly the one I wanted. She was the first one I ever wanted to stay. Lucky number fifteen, I suppose, though it’s likely Lady Luck left me to my own devices that night. I doubt she would have stayed long; they never do.
“Why didn’t you save me from myself? Heaven knows you had the chance.”
She remembers, I can tell by the finicky expression in her eyes, the way they flickers between pity and sorrow and hatred, all directed at me. She remembers all those nights, we were younger, yes, but still the same. Still patiently waiting for our chance in the lunch line and caressing stuffed animals instead of each other’s shoulders. I think she loved me then. Maybe not so much now. After all, my dad always warned against buying used shoes with the toes scuffed and the soles worn in through mud and snow and evergreen needles spread like wedding rice. I guess people are just about the same.
“Because I don’t know how to fix the broken, okay!” She screams, and had I been a lesser person, I would have cowered under her watch, the epitome of condescending and heartless. Tasting my own medicine never did feel sweet. She’d bring death upon the gruffest sailors, yet I still want to follow my heart. Help.
I want to slam my face into an elephant’s tusk, just to see the blood seep out, feel the bones and cartilage rupture. Until I’m dead. I won’t. But let it be known that I want to. I think she might like it better that way, and I would do anything for her. I beg my voice to be loyal, fight off the traitorous instinct to bend and shiver until it’s hardly there at all, just a whisper, a fine, little wisp of words that never were.
The cracked pot leaked slowly around my hands as I carried it to the stove. Why was I preparing pasta? For some fragmented view of domestic life? It certainly was not for her, no, certainly not. It was because I wanted linguini when she left. Darn, I think, if I really wanted to leave first, I wouldn’t have taken her home. Now I’m making pasta in my own kitchen when normally I’d be catching the noon train to Essex for a morning-after pick-me-up.
“So I’m broken then?”
“If the shoe fits,” her words pummel me. I realize later that she left first. Nobody’s ever done that before her. But then again, nobody’s ever held me like her, and I’ve never wanted somebody to stay like her. I’ve never wanted to get away from somebody like her. Every word, she’s one step closer to understanding me, cracking the code, but I’ll never get close enough to her.
Danger, I think, danger is what I need. Not the danger of committing a crime or running a red light or setting fires to feel joy. I just want to get lost. Get lost far away from her. I will live in Africa and console the ferocious lions, scale rocks and gallop through meadows to a cold cave that once, a long, long time ago, belonged to the fire-keepers and the cavemen who stole the first ember. I will set myself aflame if it means being away from her. Here I lay, I’m stuck between two worlds. Both end in her. Oh, I’ve always held a flair for the dramatics.
I’m alone again come Friday night, so I stick pins in my heart and watch it bleed. I suppose it’s not my anymore to break: it’s stolen. In the hollow of my heart, here I lay, content with shouting, ”I’m stuck,” between two worlds where only death lives
I flip through channels, bored. I leave other people bored and anxiety-ridden, not the other way around.
Some sitcom with C-list actors begins, ”Good morning! Coffee ma’am? Oh yes sir, please, without it, I would be a beast.”
Then, Dr. Phil comes on, a right terrible show, one I have no idea how it stays on, ”I won’t forgive her! That ***** gave my daughter ideas on how to kill herself.”
The trashiness continues, I speak aloud to no one and realize how alike my father and I have become. We both lost beautiful women.
”The weapons of WW3 are a lost mystry. Now we fight with sticks and stones.”
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Whoever made that up was a stupid clown. Pineapple words clog my throat, acidity burning. I am so sad. She will not leave me alone. The world is warmer every day, but that will never cure the ice in my soul.
“Ask not what yours can do for you. Rather what you can do for yours.”
”Were you born as a twin or is that voice inside your head an illusion?”
”He bit the hand that fed him. Then, the whole world quickly came crashing down.”
Good for him. Chaos is good once in a while, Mr. Sci-Fi movie trailer.
“My darling wife- I will always love you~ hold still while I bury you— alive!”
What channel is this?
Eventually, I allow myself to succumb to the pull of the void, letting the cracking of nightmares lull me in.
Ninth Grade, Halloween Night
She was a cat. Black eyeliner for whiskers and bashfulness slipped into a feline-like suit of pure darkness. The boys called her sleazy, I preferred goddess in cinnamon red lip balm. She was, in a sense. She might have been plopped down from Olympus just for me. Isn’t it romantic how I can only think about her in metaphors and empty promises? I don’t think so.
Easy laugh falling from crimson lips, breezy amber locks flowing, voices still full of hesitation and anticipation. I’d grovel on my knees at Aphrodite’s temple to get that back. Senior abbey monks mutter, gesture at the ridiculous notion that a mortal could change fate. Alas. It was a challenge, convincing myself to stay home that night. While my brother played superhero, I resigned myself to being the wallflower at the neighborhood Trunk or Treat. But at least she was there. She was always too polite to leave. Was. Used to be. God I hate past tense almost as much as I hate reliving the past. But it’s necessary, isn’t it?
The shorter, the braver, rise not to the faint of heart, but those who respect. I never knew what that meant either. Instead of hanging family pictures on the walls, her parents plastered quotes in every vivid hue, with every word known to man. It was not beautiful. But I sat in that kitchen, that house, while she nursed my broken nose or scraped knees. I slept in the living room on Christmas Eve and wept because I had no family to hold like she held me. I broke into a million pieces. No. A billion. I can’t take this.
“I’m ready," I called when she asked me to leave the warmth of her house. Leave the smell of her.
She left her beanie in my house that night. That’s a lie. She left it in her back pocket, and I brought it back to my house. How could I not when it smelled like lemon and New York salons that we’d never been to? It was shaped like a balloon, and with it, I believe I could have flown like the myth of Icarus.
The day ended with contentment and desire for another just like the one now over. I want that day back. I would reverse every single moment since then just to get her smile back. For her eyes that lit up the night. The way she took my hand and held it like a paper doll, such that if it wasn’t treated with the utmost care, it might break. I wish she would have held my heart that same way, but it was not to be.
She once told me, ”Laugh at the hardship, cry at the happy memories, carry that weight, refuse to lose.” We were in sixth grade. She had been stood up by some idiot who couldn’t see what was right in front of him. She watched the clock, chewing white wheat bread, tick by rock, waiting for a call that would never come. I watched the windmill her father built, a micro reconstruction, sway lifelessly. Walls. Shadows. The sound of rain. So many things to work through. So little time.
We carved our names into a tree that summer. A mosaic of roots, intertwined like Celtic knots, terrible to traverse, but beautiful to behold. Relationships; easy to end; to mend is effort. It’s worth it only with the worthy. She was worthy, I suppose.
I started counting lovers like daisy petals, pretending it didn’t hurt to leave them because someone left me, and isn’t all the same? In galleries of green, plucking petals in hope. “He loves me, he love me not.” Don’t all great loves either end in hatred or death? I find I’d rather the latter. Have it plague my nightmares instead of my waking hours. Sleeping sorrows, I suppose. There’s nothing worse than becoming old and irrelevant, dreaming only of things out of reach. Please come back, I’ll whisper into my pillow, the one on her side of the bed that she only graced with her scent, lemon and New York salons, once. But it was not to be. I told you it was a worthless perspective to have, always behind her, never beside her, but you never listened.
I left her beside the tree. No one came to her rescue, she lay there, still, alone, lifeless, cold, and rotting. Mildew. Grief, a destroyer of worlds. In this moment, it landed the final blows to mine.
Basement. Darkness. The smell of rain.
Creaks. Cracks. Crackles. Silk soft hair matted by the narcissist of a sapling beside her, who would not raise a limb to help her up. Sometimes I forget whether I’m speaking of her or me.
Gone. A dream. A hope. A wish. A shadow. A prayer. Pop, sizzle, crash. All gone. Blustery blizzard began blowing beyond believable boundaries.
Lively lighting lingered long. Screw my brain for thinking in alliteration. We want to predict the future, but such a dream will only manufacture silly trysts through cotton fields of agony, ending inevitably with broken hearts and twisted ankles. Flying through the treasure cove of forgotten, bad heartbreaks and banana-colored forests, my mind starts to dream again. Finally, I see dadada below the dadada El Captain mountain. I can do this, I told myself, but climbing it in springtime and undertaking this incredible journey I’m on is hard, however, only because my mind must make it so. Metaphor? Game on.
Aberrant behavior. Infantile actions. Gregarious bartenders with too much enthusiasm. Tee-totalers, leave me alone. Human stupidity embossed on my forehead. Wheezing. Voracious civilians claw at my throat. Feast on my self-hatred. worthlessness. So many examples of my own limitations. Can't help her or myself. Relevance? Not sure.
I’ve fallen out of my mind. I’m not okay, but for you, I’ll act okay. My dad told me to always buy new shoes; they won’t last forever, like tattered calico, like scratched vinyl records somebody took a sledgehammer to. Like her. Forever is a pointe shoe, it lasts but a night, worn out with your dancing. I feel like I’m wearing ice skates sometimes. And with a shiver, the ice cracked, and everything fell, and the dark water welcomed it. Oh well. I love to suffer at my own hand.
I think I might miss her sometimes.
I want to point out that there’s no dirty stuff in here. She’s leaving their tea party alright? And this story doesn’t really make sense...I’m realizing now. You like the way I got around using half the sentences by having her watch tv and complain? Cool, I hate it too. I’ll probably rewrite anyway, so stay tuned if I stop procrastinating long enough.
There's about 2700 words here. Fifty four entries, times fifteen each, that's a crazy 810 words! Fifty four people. Wow. I want to thank everyone for participating. The 810 words are in bold (hope I caught all of them because I did the bold after I wrote this.) Yeah thanks, guys, really. :)
The dead don't bother the living
At least that's what they say
But on certain dark and stormy nights
The dead will have their way
Creeping out at sunset
From wet and musty graves
Maggots eating decaying flesh
Midst their softly moaning raves
Walking slowly in the night
Their stench upon the plains
A fog upon the fields tonight
The undead stake their claims
Perhaps they will find you in the night
When sleeping in your bed
Sinking teeth into your flesh
To be joining the undead...
Have I ever written fanfiction?
God have I ever.
It was literally how I used to practice my writing... damn does this bring back memories.
I do believe that Drarry must have been the first fanfic I wrote. Plus a bit of Dramione, but those ships I never published.
I've always had a bit of an obsession with the Harry Potter fandom, not as much as some people, but more than most. It's the only fandom I've consistently posted stuff in, all my other fandoms I've only ever written unpublished stuff or just read and silently lurked, occasionally offering up a comment to the creator.
Yeah... other HP ships I wrote were Wolfstar - honestly it's my OTP over everything else, I can't even begin to describe it. I've published the most under this ship, however I do not believe I have written the most about this ship. That title would have to go to either Drarry or one of my other rarepairs.
I've also written some fanfic about the founders - I had a miniseries where they were deciding how to build Hogwarts, and if you can imagine children in grown adult's bodies that would be relatively similar to how people describe my portrayal of them.
I've written a disastrous attempt at a fanfic of Heathers - a whatif where Veronica didn't reach the school in time, and I will admit the attempt I published wasn't the best, as I was writing it on the spur of the moment and on my phone, but my rewritten draft and second half were somewhat decent and less OOC (and so more believable from the characters), but I never got around to typing them up and posting them, and now I've lost the drafts which is kind of mournful.
Then let's move on to Throne of Glass - which I have so many rarepairs for. The annoying thing about smaller fandoms is that when you do come across an epic rarepair you have four fics in total across all platforms and three of those are smut. It sucks, but I ended up writing some more, and never posting them, which is also quite sad. It was mainly RowanxAedion, DorianxAedion, and LysandraxAelin, the latter of which I believe is slightly more popular anyway.
Aside from that, most of my other written fanfic comes from taking a plot of the book, and then putting my own characters in it and changing the situation slightly and seeing how they react. God I have so many of my old works which are exactly like that. The first (major) story I wrote, which I believe reached approximately 35,000 words - though it was on paper and I'm discounting the copious amounts of notes that I made on it, so beyond a few basic calculations I have no idea how many words it was - before I abandoned it, at least, was based off a story with a similar plot. The origin for my latest story - which coincidentally I finished, though I did skip out quite a few plot points so I could get the whole story written and not lose hope in the project, and I believe it is currently sitting at a similar word count to the aforementioned story, if you discount all the subtracted scenes and scenes which I am yet to write up - comes from a YA novel, though I will admit that, beyond a few themes which crop up in both books, is very different to how I started it. I mean for god's sake I was going to kill off a suicidal character who had just decided that she was going to overturn how dead set she was on killing herself and live instead, just to hurt her best friend/the reader. But I didn't, and I have plenty other characters which I am killing off instead, as well as several angsty sections where there is plenty of miscommunication.
Quick sidenote: I also made a plan of this Doctor Who fanfic I was going to write, which was basically going to replace 12, as when I first watched him I didn't like him. Didn't end up writing it, but I can't say as though my opinions of him have changed that greatly.
But yeah - that's a quick timeline into my journey in writing fanfiction. My journey into becoming obsessed with fandoms is much longer and had so much more variation, but that's a story for another day.
This all just reminds me of a thing one of my favourite authors - to read her opinions about writing, anyway, I'm pretty sure I haven't actually read any of her work yet - Mercedes Lackey, I believe it was, though I could be wrong about this - was talking about some time ago.
Everyone has about a million words of crap in them, that they're going to have to write before they can write decently.
My writing ability has progressed so much since I first started writing fanfiction, and I don't really write fanfiction much anymore - though I wish I did, because right now I am so deep in the Sander's sides fandom it's a joke and I wish I could contribute to the fandom but I believe I would need to actually watch the source content first, before contributing anything major, unlike Heathers, where I just dived straight in without any regard for what may or may not be OOC.
But yes - fanfiction will always have a special place in my heart, even though I don't write much anymore. I love it, especially the freedom we have today with it, because there have been times when authors have really cracked down on fanfiction, especially on the internet.
Goddamn that turned out long.
The cart before the horse,
I don't know what is worse,
my death from your potion
your absence on this course...
in a box