Writing Workshop

This Tuesday I started a writing workshop for children at the Boys & Girls Club in Salem. The children have been so fantastic and show so much potential to be smart and creative people. I did an exercise today where the students imagined a character in their head and then wrote it down on paper. I think I may have been a little unclear that the character had to be one of their own and not one they have seen.

So far I am having a wonderful time with it. The children love being read to and I love reading to them.

Perhaps I should record myself reading some books out loud?

Anyway.. I’m going to bring my camera next time and see if I can take pictures of their products for this blog.

Where I Volunteer Now

Where I Volunteer Now

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Happy to be Reading- “Underlife” by January Gill O’Neil

Yet again I must apologize for neglecting this blog. I’m sure once I go on winter break I will try to post periodically. This semester at college has been challenging but also soul enriching. The challenges I faced made me look at what I was doing with my life. Why was I starting to have panic attacks? I know I have major anxiety problems when it comes to school work so much so that I finally started to go to a counselor to talk to her about my issues.

I found out two things I have been doing wrong my entire life:

1. I was comparing myself to others.

2. I was trying to meet all my teachers’ expectations and be a “perfect” student.

But since I realized these two main flaws in my philosophy of what I am supposed to be as a person (which is not to my capabilities), I have realized the source of my anxiety and perhaps have begun the process of letting go of the idea of being “perfect”. I feel everyone holds themselves today to unimaginably high standards. But we are only human.

I hope this provides for some explanation for why I have been neglecting this blog. In essence it is only an extension of me neglecting myself. I hope instead of neglecting myself and what I enjoy doing, I can pick myself up, dust myself off, and start to create a new happier me. I deeply desire to shed away the stress and idea I never have enough time, so I have more time to better myself.

One of my first steps has been to start reading more. I have taken up reading the Anderson fairy-tale stories before going to bed. Right now I am reading a series of short stories about a man who paints pictures of things the moon has observed happen on Earth. It is quite interesting. The moon sees the varied human emotions happen right before his eyes and all sorts of different people and places. It makes me wonder at the history of man kind and the many people, places, and experiences which have happened on this planet. The only constant in truth is the universe itself. The moon and stars. Yet, now that I think of it, even that changes. Stars die creating supernovas.

Anyhow, one of the people I go to for advising whom I now consider a friend as well as a role model (Although I am unsure whether she realizes this), got into a conversation with me yesterday about poetry. She suggested I read a collection of poetry named “Underlife” by January Gill O’Neil. I am halfway through. I must tell you that the poetry is such a meaningful look at simply (yet complicated) moments of life. Anyone who has lived in an urban environment could connect to it and even if you haven’t it is still very relevant to anyone.

That’s all for now! I hope all of you aren’t stressing too much about the upcoming holiday season (excepting Hanukkah which has already come and gone).

Until next time,

Megan

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The Teacher’s Friday Afternoon Treat

I wrote this poem for my Creative Writing class in high school. It is about my fourth grade teacher who would read to us every Friday afternoon and give us lollipops. She was a very good teacher and helped me a lot with math. I think her and other special teachers in my life is why I want to become an elementary school teacher. She read to us The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo. This was my favorite book as a kid (which really wasn’t too long ago or so it seems) which is a fantastic story about a mouse and a princess. I am pretty sure it was turned into a movie which from what I hear was not that good. I highly recommend reading this book to any kids you have in your family.

Also remember that I have two contests going on which you can participate in to win a gift card for either $10 or $25 to a number of different stores and restaurants: See Explanation Here.

200px-The_Tale_of_Despereaux

The Teacher’s Friday Afternoon Treat

My mouth watering around a lollipop,
I gaze up to my teacher’s soft eyes behind glossy glasses.
Her smooth voice molds itself to give
each character a slightly different inflection.
I still become awed when the reader can leave
behind themselves without making their influence completely lost.

Whenever stopped, she trances her fingers over the page to regain the place lost.
My tongue begins examining the chocolate tootsie center of the lollipop.
My mouth tingles from the sticky residue it begins to leave.
Creeping closer, I can clearly make out my dim reflection in her glasses.
I twist and chew the gooey center causing the fibrous stick to have an inflection.
I savor every morsel of this Friday afternoon treat she would always give.

Every word, sentence, and paragraph open to give
me a doorway into a world in which I can get lost.
As the plot and character unfold, I feel an inflection
of my senses overwhelm me so that I forget completely about the lollipop.
I watch as the king adjusts his glasses
to see a little mouse scurrying to leave.

In desperation, I watch as the mouse is forced to leave
and go to the dungeon with the red thread, which will not give
way, around his thin neck. He must say goodbye to stained glasses
in the castle and submerge into the pitch-black maze in which he will surely get lost.
Having completed devouring it, I now chew mindlessly on the stem of the lollipop.
My teacher has created a severe mood with her dramatic inflection.

Being the end of the chapter, she loses her voice inflection
and tells us it is time to leave.
I discard the white stick of the lollipop.
It gave every bit of flavor it could give.
I yawn and feel all the energy I lost.
My teacher, rubbing her eyes, removes her glasses.

I observe the bright string attached to her glasses.
She, too, yawns with a sharp inflection.
Looking outside, I see the tree has lost
most of its dry brown leaves.
I smack my lips to give
the juices in my mouth a stir to taste a hint of lollipop.

It was much more than a mere lollipop
which she would give.
She built in me a passion for the written word which would never leave.

Relaxing Day & New Book

Today was one of those days where I just had to relax. I feel like I have been really tired from traveling and walking around the agility trial. Today I mostly stayed in the hotel room and started in on another fairy-tale collection by Hans Christian Andersen. Some stories included in this collection are The Princess and the Pea, Little Tiny or Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, and The Ugly Duckling. I decided it was a good idea to read this right after The Brothers Grimm stories to continue on my short fairy-tales trend. From what I have read so far the stories are very similar in set up to the Grimm stories. I’m thinking they must have been done around the same time. Also.. I keep forgetting to mention that I am writing a play which is a modernized take of Red Riding Hood. Now I know you must be thinking that this has been done to death. I know it has been done and I feel bad  for doing something slightly unoriginal but mine is also a scifi gothic romance and a bit of an edgy one at that. I haven’t been working on my larger pieces as much as I should. A lot of times I feel like I write much more poetry but that’s because my poetry is my personal way to vent emotions and poems are shorter and a bit easier to write for me. I’m not downplaying how difficult you can make poetry but I tend to just write them and edit later or not edit at all. I’m a perfectionist so I kind of edit as I write if that makes sense. Anyway.. I hope to go through this book faster than the last book but I’m such a slow reader because of my processing disorder. I just need to not be too hard on myself if I can’t get through books in a more timely fashion.

Anderson Fairytales Book

The Brothers Grimm Fairytales

I just finished reading these and have to say they are very interesting. There are so much darker and bloodier than the stories of Disney and others we know today. But these stories always have a hidden morale to them which was important in the time they were written. I also realized that the Disney movie Tangled actually matched the original story of Rapuzel quite well. The child was stolen away, kept until adulthood, only to fall in love with a young man who eventually experience misfortune at the hands of the “mother”. The only difference in that the guy got blinded instead of stabbed and Rapuzel got taken to a desert by her “mother”. But she still cried healing tears to fix the guy she loved and she still had long hair. Of course, the was no humour to the Grimm tale but it still was amazingly similar. Cinderella was generally the same too but there is one gory detail missing from the Disney version. One stepsister cut of her big toe to fit into the shoe and the other cut off part of her heel. Ouch! Anyway.. I digress. Overall I am glad I read such a classic work.

cinderella rapuzel

 

The Princess and the Kitchen Boy

Hey. As all of you may or may not know I have been trying to get through reading the Grimm Fairytales. I find the works very interesting. The stories are very repetitive and because of this I wonder if they were originally told verbally. Anyway..Here is my shot at trying to write in the style of the fairytales.

There once was a princess in a kingdom. Since the king was getting older and the princess was his only child, he decided it was time for her to marry so she should become queen. The princess, never questioning her father’s wishes, started accepting visits from suitors. She did not accept any gifts given to her by any suitors and rejected all of them. The king grew very frustrated with this and said “why my dear do reject them all? All of them seem like fine young men to me”. The princess simply said that she desired no physical possession any suitor could bestow her but may marry any man who could give her the ability to glow in darkness of night. The king, knowing much about the kingdom and beyond its borders from his travels in war, was reminded they there are crystals on an island in the west which glow during night time. He said to the princess that he will make the suitors go to the island in an attempt to retrieve the crystals so they could be ground into a potion which would make the princess glow. The princess thought this a wonderful idea and soon came a suitor in pursuit of her hand. The king came to the suitor and told him that he needed to journey to the island in the west to get the crystals. The suitor therefore headed out on his journey. When he got to the edge of the water, he saw there was a stone bridge which crossed to the island. Just as he was about to step onto the bridge a crow flew down and warned “Do not cross this bridge or you will die but that bridge over there made of rope and wood will give you a safe way across. Looks may be deceiving”. The suitor simply replied “I trust my eyes and they tell me this one is stronger and I do not trust a crow like you” and started crossing the stone bridge. Suddenly the stone crumbled beneath him and he fell to his death. The stone returned to its original position as if nothing happened at all. The king and princess waited for the first suitor to return but soon another suitor decided to try his luck. The suitor set out to the island and when it came to the stone bridge, the crow again swooped down and warned him “Do not cross this bridge or you will die but that bridge over there made of rope and wood will give you a safe way across. Looks may be deceiving”. The suitor took heed of this warning and crossed the other bridge quite quickly and got to the island safely. He then called out to the crow “Thank you my friend. I always listen to others. They know more than I”. The suitor then went wandering about the island and soon found crystals growing on the rocks but it was daylight and he could not tell whether they were the ones which glowed in the dark. Then a bear wandered over and said to him “I see you need to determine whether those crystals glow or not. Come into my cave and you will have all the darkness you need”. The bear was drooling quite profusely and licking its lips and it looked at the young suitor. The suitor did not pick up on this and went into the bears cave. The bear quickly devoured the suitor. Again, the king and princess waited for the suitor to return when an unlikely suitor came to try his luck. It was the kitchen boy who worked in the palace. He was not considered very handsome but had a good judge of character and an honest heart. The kitchen boy went out on the quest and when he came to the stone bridge, the crow again swooped down and warned him “Do not cross this bridge or you will die but that bridge over there made of rope and wood will give you a safe way across. Looks may be deceiving”. The kitchen boy said in return “I see you are an honest type of fellow. I will cross the other bridge” and so he did. The kitchen boy then wandered the island and found the crystals growing out of rocks but it was daylight and he could not tell whether they were the ones which glowed. The bear wandered over and said to him “I see you need to determine whether those crystals glow or not. Come into my cave and you will have all the darkness you need”. The bear was drooling quite profusely and licking its lips and it looked at the young suitor. But the kitchen boy saw how the bear was acting and said to him “I can see you are trying to trick me into going into your cave. I will instead close my hands together and make darkness of my own so I can tell whether these crystals glow”. The kitchen boy then folded his hands and saw that the crystal in them did indeed glow. The bear felt quite embarrassed his plan was foiled and went back to his cave. The kitchen boy returned to the king and princess with the crystals. It was quickly ground and made into a potion and the princess drank it. That night the princess found she glowed as bright as the moon and her heart filled with happiness and love for the kitchen boy. The kitchen boy became king and her queen and they lived happily until the end of their days.

Medieval Woman