New Poetry!

This isn’t a real¬†post per se, but I promise there’s some good stuff for you to read. ūüôā I spent a good chunk of time digging out and sorting practically¬†all of the poems I’ve ever written. I’ve uploaded them and categorized them under the poetry tab. You’ll notice that the majority of them rhyme, but I’m also beginning to experiment with free verse. I think rhyming will always be my signature style though. Check them out, enjoy, and please comment if you like what you read!

The Perfect Idea + The Best of 2014

So at this point there are about six¬†hours until 2015, which just goes to show how good I am at procrastinating. I think the reason I stayed away from this blog for so long was that I just didn’t know what to write about. I wanted to write something interesting, something people would enjoy reading, but I didn’t know where to begin. I spent so long searching for the perfect idea that 2014 got tired of hanging around and just sped on by.

It’s the same way with writing novels. I’ve been sitting around for a year now, just waiting for the perfect idea to come to me. Just¬†waiting for inspiration. But I finally realized that you can’t just sit and wait, because life¬†will¬†pass you by. The perfect idea isn’t something that comes; it’s something that’s made. And it can’t be made unless you start somewhere. So from now on, I’m not going to sit and wait anymore. My resolutions for the new year are¬†to resurrect this blog and to write as often and as much as I can.

That being said, even though 2014 went fast, it was a great year, and I feel obligated to recount some of what made it so memorable for me:

1. Graduating high school/getting my IB diploma/starting college

2. My trip to Egypt, Yemen, and India/seeing family

3. Getting my driver’s license

4. Summer sleepovers/get-togethers with friends/volleyball/badminton/playing euchre all night

5. The coldest winter ever/the most snow days ever/skiing/bonding time on the ski lift

6. Performing at teahouse

7. Prom

8. Senior prank/senior skip day/senior skit

9. Playing “I Spy” with my friend Shriyash during band class/band in general

10. My last synchronized swimming season

So here’s to 2014 – ¬†and here’s to 2015 being even better.

What Good Poetry Does

Yes, it’s been a long time since I last posted. And yes, I don’t have an excuse. But I’m not going to make one up. The truth is that I had plenty of opportunities to post. I just didn’t. Maybe it had something to do with the abnormally cold winter that Michigan experienced this year? (It was nice getting snow days at first, but after a while it was miserable. Sucked out all the motivation.) Maybe senioritis kicked in and I felt like doing absolutely nothing, including updating my blog?

I don’t know. But hey, better late than never, right? On to what this post is really about:

This is the last stanza in the poem “The Secret of the Sea” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

Longfellow might have been referring to the ocean, but good poetry does the exact same thing. It sends a thrilling pulse through me. And then I think to myself, “I want to write like that!”

To be honest, I think that’s the best possible thing poetry can do. Inspire you to write your own. Great writing makes you feel something, but the best writing makes you write something. It’s kind of like when you listen to music that’s so beautiful it makes you shiver. And then you wonder what it would be like if you could do something like that; what if that gorgeous sound you’re hearing were made by you?

Writing poetry is about expressing yourself, but it’s also about putting your thoughts and emotions¬†somewhere. It’s about putting something of yours into the world. And it might seem insignificant, but it’s not. Because it’s¬†yours, and it’s¬†in writing,¬†and it’s¬†there. Even when you’re gone, the writing stays.

I like that. I like the thought of an author or a poet living on through his or her words. I don’t think you have to be famous for that to happen, either. Someone will have read it. Someone will read it in the future. And that, I think, is enough.

Looking Past the Rain

I don’t know where you’re living, but where I am there’s nothing but rain. Michigan weather can be ridiculously unpredictable at times, but every single day this week has been the same. (Okay, to be fair, it hasn’t rained yet today, but it’s still cold, it’s still rained every other day this week, and it looks like next week will be the same.)

It makes it hard to get stuff done, and if you’re like me, it makes you feel gloomy, too. I guess they don’t kid around when they say “April showers.”

It reminds me of this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

I like this poem a lot, and the main reason is that although the first two stanzas sound really depressing, once you get to the third one you realize that the poem itself is quite encouraging.

Some days (in Michigan’s case, weeks) are going to be gloomy. And there’s nothing we can do about it, except remember that the sun¬†is out there, somewhere behind the clouds. We can’t control the weather, but at least we can control our outlook on life. Besides, if every single day were sunny and bright, I don’t think we would appreciate those days as much as the first sunny day after a period of rain. I guess this way we don’t take the sun for granted.

And hopefully we’ll get a lot of nice flowers because of the rain. ūüôā

I personally have a really hard time with gloomy weather because it affects my mood. It may have something to do with SAD; I’m not sure. But whatever it is, the lack of sun gets me feeling rather depressed. When this happens, it helps just to remember sunnier days of the past or look at pictures of tropical places I’d one day like to visit. I have a calendar on my desk with a photo of a tropical island for each day. I also have vivid memories of my trip two years ago to Florida. This might sound silly, but if I try hard enough, I can almost feel the sunlight on my back.

A photo of me in a place I’d rather be at the moment – relaxing in the Florida Keys on a sunny day!

It reminds me a lot of the book¬†Frederick, by Leo Lionni. You can read more about the book here. It’s a children’s picture book, and it’s very nice. I would definitely recommend reading it. It’s quite inspirational and the pictures are beautiful.

At any rate, I think if we can just look past the rain and remember those warm, sunny days we’ve had, we can make it through the gloominess. Just try not to let those dark days get you down. Here’s to brighter days in the future!

The Romance of Writing

I swear one of my new year’s resolutions is to update my blog more. It’s just that these past two weeks I’ve been on winter break, and sometimes, the most wonderful feeling in the world is the feeling of doing nothing at all.

I will admit, however, that I have spent (at least the last half of) winter break struggling to plot my manuscript. It seems that everything I think of is too clich√©, or it doesn’t make sense, or no one would ever want to read it.

I did write two new poems though, which you can read here.¬†One of them describes my situation as “the tortured writer.”

I wish I could say that writing is just soft pretty flakes of inspiration fluttering onto the page, the romantic unleashing of all that lies in one’s heart. But it’s not, although the very best authors do make it seem that way.

But you know something? Tonight, we dimmed the lights in the family room and played Frank Sinatra songs on my dad’s old record player. And I sat by the fireplace with my notebook and wrote my story as the flickering flames warmed my face. And that was pretty darn romantic. Sometimes I feel as though I were born in the wrong time period! It’s like that movie,¬†Midnight in Paris.

There’s also something more romantic about physically writing on a sheet of paper in a notebook as opposed to typing on a computer. I read somewhere that writing on paper accesses the creative part of your brain and so the writing flows better. It seems to be true, at least for me. I think a sheet of notebook paper is also less intimidating than a blank white page on Microsoft Word.

I don’t know if I’ll actually end up writing my entire manuscript longhand. One advantage of using a computer is being able to edit so easily. Also, if I¬†do end up writing out my manuscript, I’ll have a whole lot of typing to do by the end of it.

As I was struggling to write over break (and also after I watched Midnight in Paris), I wondered what famous authors would tell me if I asked them for advice. I googled it, and I found this very helpful page:

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2009/11/17/words-of-wisdom-101-tips-from-the-worlds-most-famous-authors/

It’s called Words of Wisdom: 101 Tips From the World’s Most Famous Authors, and it’s really nice. I enjoyed reading the quotes, and I also felt much more motivated and inspired to write my own story.

I would definitely recommend checking it out. You may find yourself inspired, if not to write, than at least in some other aspect of your life. Because that’s what’s beautiful about writing; it inspires you in more than one way.