What Has a Book Ever Done to You?

What has a book ever done to you? Personally, if I was to ban a book, do you know what books I’d ban? Math books. Math books have harmed me. They’ve made me cry. They’ve made me scream. They’ve made me faceplant on the desk in hopelessness. But in all seriousness, what has a book ever done to you? What have they done that they warrant being banned from schools? You know if we decided to ban the Bible from schools, people would lose their plum minds. Then if we decided to replace the Bible with the Qur’an, then boy, howdy, people would lose it. Yet, the Bible hasn’t been banned from middle schools or high schools. Hell, in some schools they had a “praying time” in the morning. That later got turned into “read time” or “quiet time.”

Somehow, books are constantly being banned.

Now, I am one of those people who have never believed in the whole banning books thing. Can you name a single book that should be banned? Can you? I honestly can’t. I don’t think any book should be banned. Nor do I think music should be censored on the radio (See this blog: “Unnecessary Censorship”) Or movies censored on television. All that being said, let’s talk.

I’m sure you’ve heard about how a Tennessee school banned the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. This book details his parents during the Holocaust, depicting Nazis as cats and Jews as mice. The book was taken out of a middle school curriculum. Now, it was banned, according to this article, because it had several curse words and a naked woman.

However, this banning has caused massive controversy. A lot of people have spoken out about it, and it is still ongoing. That it isn’t about swearing or a naked woman, that instead, it’s about the context in the book. Since then, the book has been selling even more copies on Amazon. I plan to order it at some point so I can read it.

What other books have been banned from middle or high schools?

Let me tell you, there’s been a lot. Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, Dr. Seuss, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Judy Blume, To Kill a Mockingbird to name just a few. A few, mind. There’s a lot more where that came from. (See links below.)

But why ban books? Well, in my opinion, it’s because the board of directors are trying to control what children learn. Do they want children to know our country’s history? Yes, but not in a negative light. They want the kiddos to know yes, slavery was a part of the country and leave it at that. They gloss over a lot of things in history classes. Such as slavery, the Trail of Tears, the Holocaust. Why? Because events like that were dark periods in our history and they (the board of educators, the government, pick one, there are lots of ‘theys’) don’t want to remind the public about those times. So when it comes to books such as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, or To Kill a Mockingbird, which both address difficult topics such as racism and slavery, of course, they will get banned.

As for books like Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, they deal with magic, and honestly, not to be rude, it’s the Christians or other religious sects who want those banned. Especially The Golden Compass which is very anti-religious.

I don’t believe books should be banned. Ever. I think that children should be able to read whatever book they want to read and draw their own conclusions from it. They need to learn and figure it out for themselves. But how can they do that when they are prevented from reading certain books? When books are banned?

So I’d like to challenge you to read one of the banned books listed in the articles below. Any of them. Make a list. See how many you can read before Banned Book Week in September.

They’re trying to ban ‘Maus’: Why you should read it and these 30 other challenged books

Book awards: Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century

Now to decide my first banned book to read. . . It will probably be either The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beloved by Toni Morrison, or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

-K

Cocoon (A Poem)

The little green caterpillar munches on a leaf, looking around with big brown eyes as the world spins around and around. She keeps trying to catch up but her short legs can’t keep up. She keeps falling and falling, further behind, scrapping up her knees and hands, blood staining her clothes.

She tries to keep her head down, be like all the other girls.

Keep smiling. Be sweet. Shut your mouth.

Don’t say a word even as the greedy grasshopper grabs her ass.

Don’t raise your fists as the angry ants swarm her, her supposed friends, calling her names and acting like she’s all to blame, Crawling inside her and devouring her up until there’s nothing left but green goop.

Don’t try to be unique. Get in line.

Neat little green caterpillars all in a row with their perfect white teeth, every hair in place, letting greedy grasshoppers move their limbs wherever they want them to go, bending and twisting, putting on a show for the whole world to see.

You’re too thin whispers the others. But don’t they know that it’s because she has hungry larvae to feed? So she hides behind baggy clothes and shrinks into herself like she can just disappear into nothing, fading away into the mist.

The whispers get louder and louder, crueler and crueler.

She’ll spread her legs for any grasshopper, they say. Let them stick their greasy claws in and tear out her insides until she’s just a Hollow husk of flesh with empty dead eyes and a broken heart.

The green caterpillar hides away, until she’s finally free of angry ants and greedy grasshoppers.

She builds up her shell, making thick outer layers to protect herself but doesn’t harden her heart. Instead she creates solid bones, a spine to hold up her head and a sharp tongue to defend herself.

Slowly the caterpillar starts to strengthen with the care and nourishment she never had as a child, flourishing and flourishing.

She becomes strong, finding her voice and speaking her truth with no fear of the repercussions, knowing that she’s not the victim. She is the heroine in her story as long as she believes. She builds herself a suit of armor, made of the encouragement of the others before her, telling her. You can do it. You can do it.

Just keep trying.

Keep your head held up high.

She wraps herself in her own strength that she never knew she had, forming a cocoon.

She used to be so afraid but now she’s not, even as she dissolves into green sticky liquid in her cocoon, shaping into something new. Change can be scary but she’s somehow she’s not afraid even as she breaks down until she’s nothing.

But then, then ugly brown shell cracks and the caterpillar slowly breaks out, shaking the wet off her face, more pieces crumble and as she dries, she spreads out beautiful wings of multitude colors. Vibrant blues, reds, yellows, oranges, greens. All in varying shades. Some pieces darker than others, others darker, some have no color at all, instead black as the night or as white as snow.

In some places, the wings have holes, letting the light through, a little scarred, torn in places but they will still get her where she goes.

She takes a slow hesitant step, still afraid. What if they get more torn? she wonders.

No.

She will simply add more colors, more scars and more tears that tell the story of her life.

So she spreads her wings, the kaleidoscope of colors shimmering in the sun and then she takes off to the sky, feeling the wind in her air and the sun on her face, as she finally tastes true freedom at last.

-K

The Snow Family (A Poem)

The house looks so picturesque, like something you’d see in a magazine for Home Garden, the Christmas edition.

The front yard blanketed with a fresh layer of snow, icicles forming on the gutters, so artfully dripping as if it was planned.

A neat snowman with a black top hat, a checkered blue and white scarf around his frozen neck, little black buttons to make him a sharp jacket, a carrot for his nose and blue buttons for his eyes, a smile on his face. He carries a briefcase in his hand.

Next to the snowman is his snow wife, a pink scarf around her frozen neck and a cream-colored faux fur hat, a wide smile plastered onto her face. She holds the hand of the snow girl, a mini copy of her with the same pink scarf and faux fur hat. The snow boy stands next to his snow father, a baseball cap on his head and a mischievous smile on his face.

The house is strung up with lights that start white then flash to green, red, blue, yellow, and every color in between. A Christmas tree behind the little snow family, the decorations perfectly in place. Not a pine needle out of order.

No, no, that must never happen. Everything must be perfect.

Emerald green, shimmering silver, gleaming gold, and radiant red delicate glass ornaments so carefully set in the tree. A string of white lights and a wide velvet ribbon wrap around the tree like a noose. Glittery white snowflakes and shimmering clear glass icicles. Cranberries and popcorn on a thread in between the ornaments, snowflakes, and icicles. The snow father placed an angel on top of the tree, her beautiful face filled with reverence, gold wings stretched out behind her, and a glowing halo above her head.

Everything is perfect. They seem like the ideal snow family. Their house is seen in one of those magazines that talks about how the family, a mom, and a dad, two kids, one boy, and one girl, have lived in this house since before there were children. When it was just snowman and his little snow wife.

It seems like nothing is wrong until it slowly starts to melt, revealing what they don’t want you to see.

Snowman yells at his snow wife and broke her carrot nose, blue buttons flashing with anger. “I am the man in this house!”

Snow wife threw a plate at his head even as she clutched her bleeding nose. “It’s Christmas!” she yelled. “How could you?”

Snow boy hid with his little snow sister in their closet, covering her ears instead of her own. “Everything will be okay,” he whispers even as the shouting gets louder, flinching at the sound of glass shattering and their mothers cries. The front door slams.

The icicles dripped onto the polished wood floor.

The angel turned up her nose as her wings turned black and charred, a broken halo on her head.

Snowman knocked the tree over, scattering pine needles and glass for his snow wife to cut her feet on as he fled. “Don’t come back!” screams the snow wife.

Crows eat the cranberries and the popcorn while the snow wife cried, her tears freezing on her face.

Snowman grabbed his car keys and screeched out of the driveway, running over the snow boy and snowgirl in the yard, leaving a track of mud.

Snow wife pours herself more mulled wine, telling her best friend over the phone, “I can’t do this anymore.” Her face in her hands, the tree still laying on its side, needles bent and broken. The first ornamanet they ever bought, a simple blue ball with a pretty white Christmas tree painted on it, laid in pieces on the floor.

Snow boy creeps out of his room, sneaking a candy cane to give to his sister. He carefully picked up the pieces of the ornament and took it to his room, spending all night trying to glue it back together, cutting his little fingers, his tongue sticking out of his mouth in determination.

Snow girl hides under the covers, crying but not understanding why, sucking on the sweet candy cane but not tasting it, clutching her stuffed bear tight, a red bow on his neck.

Snow man drives to the bar, picking up a blonde with too much red lipstick smeared on her face. “Make me feel something,” He tells her. But as she leaves red stains on his tie, the one his snow wife bought him as a gag gift, the one with little briefcases on it, he feels nothing. He shoves her face further down, closes his eyes, and finishes the bottle of whiskey, melting into the bed that smells like piss.

Later snow man will come home. He will kiss his snow wife’s cheek. “I’m sorry, baby,” he’ll say. She’ll smile and forgive him, like she always does. “It’ll get better,” says the snow man as he kisses her frozen lips.

And maybe it does. For a while. The snow boy proudly shows his parents the blue ornament he spent all night fixing, lines of silver glitter hiding the Elmer’s glue. The snow wife will say, “It looks even prettier now.” Presents will be given, red and green wrapping paper on the flooring.

The snow man gives his snow wife a heart shaped dimond to hand around her neck. It will get heavier and heavier as the years go by as her smile gets wider and wider. Back to crisp suits and steak and potatoes on the table. Back to screaming and crying, slamming of doors and broken bottles.

The snow man will continue to see random, nameless woman with lipstick smeared on their faces and cheap perfume. He’ll end up dying of a heartattack, sitting in his own filth in front of the television and leaving his wife all his gambling debts.

The snow wife will drink, throwing herself into PTA meetings, soccer games and ballet recitals, and trying to make everything perfect, putting so much Botox in her face, it’s like she’s permanently smiling. She’ll have to get a job after her husband dies, then another until she’s working three jobs.

The snow boy will drown his pain in pills and whatever else he can shove down his throat to forget the yelling that happens. He’ll turn to a life of petty crime, begging for someone to see him, to save him, until at 17 he ends up on a slab with a bullet in his head. His own hand pulled the trigger.

The snow girl grows up with earbuds in her ears, locked inside her own mind as she makes red lines on her arms and writes into a batter composition note book, hiding from the world. She won’t even mourn her father. She barely knew him.

She’ll try to help her brother but it’s too late, and she’ll always remember the blood on their family portrait and he said, “I can’t do this anymore.” She’ll remember her mother screaming and hitting the ground, clutching her brother’s body.

She’ll end up going to the school counselor and pouring her heart out. Her father’s drinking. The fights between him and her mother. Her brother’s crime record and suicide. She’ll slowly heal, telling her story to group therapy sessions and then eventually to a crowd of teenagers at her old high school, with her wife by her side and her children in the crowd.

She’ll visit her mother every weekend, take care of her and talk about the good days. Only the good days though.

She’ll place flowers and baseball cards on the grave and tell her brother that she’s okay, that she still loves candy canes and making snow angels with her children. She’ll tell him that it wasn’t perfect but at least they had each other. She’ll tell him that now she counsels children who came from homes like theirs so maybe there won’t be another him. Maybe she can save another snow boy when she couldn’t save him. She’ll tell him she loves him and that he was right. It will get better. Maybe not at first but it will.

Then she’ll set a blue ornament on the grave that their mother kept all these years, little lines of white glue visible where the silver and gold glitter had flaked off. She’ll remember how she took a glitter pen to hide the glue and how her brother said “That’s a great idea!

Then she’ll walk away, taking the hand of her snow wife, their daughter in her arms as they walk away. Money is tight. Stress is high. Their daughter is sick. Her snow wife lost her job. But the snow girl will remember.

It will get better.

-K

Bottles in the Closet (A Poem)

You only call me when you’re drunk.

I can hear the slur in your words even as you say, “I haven’t had a drink all day.” We both know it’s a lie. I can almost smell the alcohol on your breath over the phone.

You poured another glass of red wine, instead of putting the cork in the bottle and just walking away. Drink some water and start up again the very next day. As if drinking red wine will numb the pain and erase all the memories you swear you don’t remember.

Or maybe it was a shot of vodka to chase all the bad thoughts away. When you wonder why it is that none of your children want to stay. Throwback the shot glass, the alcohol burning your throat. I bet you don’t need a chaser. You simply grab another.

You keep pouring

and pouring

and pouring,

until everything goes fuzzy. You almost feel like you’re invincible. Like you aren’t risking your life and everyone else’s when you get behind that steering wheel.

You only call me when you’re drunk.

You tell me you don’t want to be here anymore. It’s something I’ve heard before, ever since I was 13 years old. What a thing that a teenager hears from her mother. Can you imagine how that makes me feel?

That time you took a steak knife in the kitchen and cut your wrist in front of me, slurring your words as you screamed and cried. Always playing the victim and making it about you when it should’ve been about us. Your children.

But no.

I had to be the mother. Coax you to hand me the knife even as the smell of vomit on your breath and leftover wine made me gag. I had to lie and tell you that it would be alright. I had to tell you that you were a good mother and that we loved you. That we didn’t blame you for all the hard times.

And when I finally got the knife away, you wouldn’t let me call the police even as the blood dripped on the floor that I’d clean later that night.

You left to go have some fun with drinks. Drank more. It was as if it never happened. As if I was the one who was crazy instead of you. As I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the red off the floor and trying my best to erase the memory of you dragging the knife across your wrist oh so slowly, like you had to make sure I was watching.

You tell me that you’re a good mother, and that you tried your best. Yet you do the same thing over

and over

and over again. You hit repeat. You never learn. You never listen.

You are not a good mother. You never were a mother.

You didn’t do your best. You don’t even know what that means.

Your best is not staying out late partying while your oldest daughter takes care of your children.

Your best is not the water or the electricity being turned off because you got more clothes rather than pay the bills.

Your best is not the pantry and fridge being empty and children going hungry because your happiness is more important than your children’s.

But go ahead, pour yourself another glass of wine. Fill up the cup if that makes you feel better. Makes you feel like you’re not a failure of a mother. Like you’ve done nothing wrong. Like you’re the saint that you think you are.

I remember once I opened your closet door and on top of all the shoes were empty alcohol bottles. Dozens of them, sparkling in pretty colors in the yellow light. Like it was some dirty little secret that you failed at hiding.

How many times did I help you out of your shoes and into bed, making sure you were on your side so you didn’t choke on your own vomit? I couldn’t tell you, I lost track. I know it was too many for a teenage girl to have to deal with.

You always said you weren’t an alcoholic but you’ve got bottles in the closet and wine on your breath that tells another story.

You always say that you’re a good mother and that you love your children. I don’t doubt that you love us. But I don’t think you loved us enough. I think you love yourself and the bottle more. You love partying with friends and trying to capture your youth while your children are left behind. Then we are the bad guys when we want to leave. When we want out of that toxic environment and to do better for ourselves. Suddenly we are abandoning you and turning on you.

You only call me when you’re drunk.

You tell me you love me, that you are so proud of me. As if that matters to me. You had nothing to do with the woman I am. There is not a single part of you in me, and for that I am glad. I don’t see you anywhere, and if I did, I’d be terrified.

I don’t want to be like you. A woman who drowns her self-loathing and insecurities in booze. A woman is so blinded by her own perceived greatness of motherhood that she can’t see the mental scars she’s left on her children. That she still leaves on them. A woman who puts the blame on everyone else instead of looking in the damn mirror and realizing that it’s been her all along. That she is the problem. Not us.

Go ahead. Pour yourself another drink, all the up to the brim until it pours over the edges and drips like the blood did on the linoleum all those years ago. I bet you’ll lick that wine up too. Make sure you don’t waste a single drop to numb the pain and ease the guilt.

Go ahead and call me, tell me you’re a good mother and that you did your best.

I know the truth.

The truth is in the bottles in the closet.

You only call me when you’re drunk.

-K

I Don’t Think About You (A Poem)

I thought I would miss you.

Instead, I don’t. And I think that’s what hurts the most. The fact that I don’t miss you. The fact that our friendship is over and it doesn’t hurt like it should.

Shouldn’t it hurt more? Shouldn’t I feel your loss like a phantom limb? But I don’t. I barely feel it at all.

Maybe the reason it doesn’t hurt, why I barely feel your absence, is because you weren’t there. You stopped being present a long time ago. It’s like you were there when you wanted to be. When it was convenient to you. You were like a ghost, fading in and out and only showing up when you wanted to haunt me.

I don’t know when we grew apart. Could it be when I moved here? No. I’ve had friends who kept in touch more than you did.

It can’t be that.

Maybe it began before that. Before we graduated high school. When I needed you in tenth grade, when there were rumors running around about me and I was alone with no one on my side. With no one to turn to. No friendly ear to listen to me.

You would pass by and let me suffer alone, when what I needed back then was a friend. Someone to have my back. Like I had always had yours no matter what.

You would call me and I answered like a best friend does. Immediately. I dropped everything. And it wasn’t until you had cut me off. Told me that I was selfish that I realized. . .

It wasn’t me.

It was you.

I thought it would hurt more. But I don’t feel a thing. Maybe that makes me cold. I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t think about you. Not really. Maybe for a fleeting moment but then that’s it.

After all, you can’t really miss someone who wasn’t there in the first place.

I don’t wish you any ill will. I hope that you are happy and safe. I hope you find everything that you are looking for and even more.

I don’t regret our good times.

Going to the park and spending hours swinging and enjoying the sun.

Late-night talks as we discussed the stories in our heads.

Your passion equaled mine and a part of me, might miss having that. But I don’t need you to have that passion. I don’t need you to be who I am. To be a writer. To be an artist.

I don’t think about you. Maybe I should. Maybe it’s cruel. Or maybe it’s the cold stone truth. That I don’t miss you.

You are not a thought. You are barely a memory. You are nothing to me.

You were long gone before we ever said goodbye.

-K

Red (Taylor’s Version): Album Review

If you aren’t aware, Taylor Swift announced that she was re-recording her six first albums. She doesn’t own the masters of those songs due to a lot of legal stuff that I’m not smart enough to really understand. For more information on why she’s re-recording them, read this article. Basically she’s doing this so that she gets the money if the song is used in a movie or on streaming sights, and it’s a way for her to reclaim the songs she wrote. Which, hey, you know what, go you Taylor. I can’t blame her for doing that.

The first album she re-recorded and released was Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which was originally released in 2008. It was her second studio album, released after her self-titled album. A few of my favorite songs from the album are “Fearless,” “Breathe,” “Untouchable,” “You’re Not Sorry,” and “Forever & Always.”

Re-released, April 9, 2021, let me tell you, not only do I have a new appreciation for those songs in Fearless (Taylor’s Version) but her songs “From the Vault” are incredible. The “From the Vault” songs are ones that didn’t make it onto the album. Ones that were written for it, but no one has ever heard. There’s something about hearing Taylor’s more mature voice sing songs she wrote a decade ago. But even more, hearing songs that we’ve never heard from her.

Songs like “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” a subtle sassy jab at a guy who broke up with her and acts like he’s not hurting.

'Cause I hear he's got his arm 'round a brand-new girl
I've been pickin' up my heart, he's been pickin' up her
And I never got past what you put me through
But it's wonderful to see that it never phased you 

“You All Over Me” tells how she tries so hard to get over a guy but he’s still there.

The best and worst day of June
Was the one that I met you
With your hands in your pockets
And your 'don't you wish you had me' grin
But I did, so I smiled, and I melted like a child
Now every breath of air I breathe reminds me of then

“Bye Bye Baby” where she realizes she has to let go and leave.

Bye, bye, to everything I thought was on my side
Bye, bye, baby
I want you bad but it's come down to nothing
And all I have is your sympathy
'Cause you took me home but you just couldn't keep me
Bye, bye, baby

November 12th, 2021, she released Red (Taylor’s Version). Now, Red has always been my favorite album. Taylor’s said that it’s her only album that’s really about heartbreak. I totally get that. Especially with songs like “All Too Well” and “Red.” “All Too Well” hurts when I listen to it. Just like when I listen to “Last Kiss” from Speak Now.

Holy crap. Just, y’all. I already loved Red as is. But now. . .yeah, I know what album I’ll be listening to forever now. Taylor has done it again, and honestly, I know we just got Red (Taylor’s Version) but like, I need more already. I can’t wait to see what we get from her version of Speak Now, 1989, reputation and her first album, because is this what with her versions of Fearless and Red, hot damn, it’s going to be gold. I can’t even listen to the original albums anymore because the new ones are superior.

Red (Taylor’s Version) takes an album was already incredible and raises it so high that I have no idea how she will top this album. It’s heartache. It’s tragic. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect.

Now, I’m not going to talk about the songs we know, because well, they were perfect then and now they are practically perfect in everyway now. I want to talk about her “From the Vault” songs, also the video of “All Too Well,” and “Better Man.” We’ll start with “Better Man.”

I first heard “Better Man” when Little Big Town sang it. I didn’t even know that Taylor wrote the song. I love her version so much better. It feels more. . .raw and powerful. Her voice, in the words of my boyfriend Corey, is like an angel. This song is about how she loved this man and that they could’ve been something, is he was, obviously a “Better Man.” It’s beautiful and powerful, and honestly just as heartbreaking as “All Too Well.” I also love that it’s a call back to her country roots.

I hold onto this pride because these days it's all I have
And I gave to you my best and we both know you can't say that
I wish you were a better man
I wonder what we would've become
If you were a better man
We might still be in love
If you were a better man
You would've been the one
If you were a better man

Take a listen to it. Seriously. Do it.

Now for her “From the Vault” songs. Oh, boy. Taylor, love you.

“I Bet You Think of Me” reminds me of “Mean” from Speak Now. That’s not a bad thing. It’s got that folky twanginess (is that a word) that I kind of dig. Also, it’s got the same tone as “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” by being one of those songs where it’s all chipper even though it’s like. . .throwing shade. I love songs like. Chris Stapleton (“Tennessee Whiskey” and “Say Something” with Justin Timberlake) sings harmony with this song.

There’s something so. . .easy about this song. Yeah, it’s about heartache. It’s a jab at an ex, but it’s like cool and sweet. For some reason I can picture a bunch of girls singing it at like a bachelorette party or something, arms around each other and they’re totally drunk swaying back and forth. Sometimes the best revenge songs are the ones that are like this.

But now that we're done and it's over
I bet you couldn't believe
When you realized I'm harder to forget than I was to leave
And I bet you think about me

We’re supposed to be getting a video of this song and honestly, I can’t wait.

The next song is one that I love so much, that I had it basically memorized a day after it was released.

“Forever Winter” hits me like a train. Like “All Too Well” and “Last Kiss” but in a different way. Because this doesn’t have to be about a lover. This could be about someone you care about. Whether that’s your sister or your brother or your friend. Someone who struggles with depression. It’s a tragically beautiful song. I can’t stop listening to it.

In this song, it captures the struggle of loving someone who struggles with mental illness, and all you want to do is make them feel better, but sometimes, you can’t. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, and it hurts knowing that they’re suffering and you are helpless.

He seems fine most of the time
Forcing smiles and never minds
His laugh is a symphony
When the lights go out, it's hard to breathe
I pull at every thread trying to solve the puzzles in his head

“All Too Well” is my favorite song on Red. And now with this 10 minute version of “All Too Well” on Red (Taylor’s Version), one of the best songs of that album and of her, hits even harder. It’s more raw and stripped down. It’s sad beautiful tragic. Also, the short film she did for this song reminds me of why I want to do short films.

And there we are again when nobody had to know
You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath
Sacred prayer and we'd swear
To remember it all too well, yeah

For more on my love of our girl Taylor Swift, check out the other blog posts I’ve done!

How Taylor Swift’s Music Helped Me Embrace Being ME!

Lover: Album Review

evermore: album review

Reviews on Red (Taylor’s Version)

‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ Makes a Classic Even Better

Taylor Swift: Red (Taylor’s Version) review – getting back together with a classic

On ‘Red (Taylor’s Version),’ Taylor Swift’s Vault Tracks Are All Too Swell: Album Review

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start this entire album from the beginning and put it on loop. Until next time!

-K

In the End (A Poem)

I wish I didn’t love you.

I wish that I didn’t think about you every second of every single day. 

I wish that when I heard your name called in a crowded room, even if you weren’t there, I wouldn’t automatically turn and look for you. 

You’re never there. 

I wish that I could ignore your late night calls, hit decline instead of answer. But I don’t. I answer and we spend hours talking on the phone, and with every word that comes out of your mouth, I fall even more in love with you. 

And I hate it.

I wish that I didn’t smile when my phone lights up with your good morning text that you used to send me every day. It was only a good morning when I got that text. But then, that text stopped coming. 

I wish that I could walk away, that I could finally let you go, because all you ever do is hurt me. All you do is leave me standing there, looking a fool. You’re never there when I need you, yet I drop everything for you. Everything.

I ruin myself for you. 

Sometimes I try to walk away but then you smile at me, and it’s like the world stops. Like one of those cheesy Hallmark movies we would make fun of, snuggled up on the couch and feeding each other popcorn. The world stops turning. My heart stops beating. Then you’re gone, like the snow in the south.

I wish I could burn you out of my head. That I had never met you. That I had never walked over to your table at the cafe where you sat, looking lost and alone.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger, stupider self that all you’d bring me was heartache and pain. That I’d bend over backwards, give you every part of me. My heart, my body, my soul. And all you’d give me was fake smiles and cold shoulders. That you’d break me down then build me back up then break me down all over again. Over and over again. It’s the same cycle. I repeat it. 

I come back to you no matter what you do to me. Even though you’ve never chosen me first. Not once. It is always someone else. I am always the last one you chose. And you know that I always come running back.

I wish I didn’t love you. I wish that I could yank you out of my heart, out of my life. Like a broken, rotten wisdom tooth. Tear you out and slap a bandage on it. I’ll be okay. 

But I can’t. 

The truth is, that I love you. I’ll always love you. Even though you’re going to ruin me in the end, I still love you.

-K

Back to Writing

I miss writing.

Yes, I know. That sounds strange. I mean I write on here. I’m writing right now. But blogging is a bit different in my mind. Most of the time when I blog it’s a show review or an album review or you know a rant about how miserable the world is thanks to COVID. Sure, yes, it’s writing. But I miss writing.

What do I mean by that? I mean that I miss writing. I miss creating a world and characters that are fully mine, completely from my imagination. Don’t get me wrong, I still write but it’s either poems or it’s fanfiction. I still consider fanfiction writing. I have a Harry Potter fanfiction that’s 64 pages long. I’m super stupidly proud of it and honestly, I really should just post the finished chapters on fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own (Ao3). I have a Supernatural fanfiction that’s a good 21 pages long. I’m taking a break on it because I got frustrated and I try to not write when I’m frustrated. It usually ends with shitty writing. I have a MCU fanfiction that I’ve been dying to write but I keep getting stuck on it as well. I recently got into The Vampire Diaries and now I’m writing a fanfiction about that in my head. I love all these worlds, that’s why I write about them because I can’t let them go. It’s why I read fanfiction because sometimes, I need the comfort of something familiar rather than something new.

But lately, I’ve been feeling a bit stuck. Harry Potter, Supernatural, Marvel, The Vampire Diaries, etc., they aren’t mine. They aren’t like my poems where all those words and feelings came from my head. And yes, I create some really awesome OCs (original characters) for these fanfictions but at the end of the day, it’s not my world. I didn’t create it. And for a while now, all I’ve been doing is writing fanfiction. I think it was because I was so afraid to actually write my own stories. So something that I did was I finally started writing again on two out of three of my original story ideas. I’m not saying I’m giving up writing fanfiction but I want my own world.

I’ve spent so much time talking about these three original stories. So much time. I’d talk about them but that’ sit. There was nothing written. And I found myself wondering why that was. I got so stuck on the world building, which sure yeah, is important, and yeah, I probably should know who the bad guy is, but I realized all of that was preventing me from actually writing. So I basically said you know what no more worldbuilding, no more trying to have the entire plot planned out. Let’s just write. And I did. And let me tell you, it worked.

Now I have three original story ideas. I’m working on two of them. The third is based off my grandparent’s old house in Fayetteville, it’s currently called “What Lurks in the Woods.” I have no idea what I’m doing with it plus writing on it or thinking about it kind of hurts since my grandpa died in 2017. Not to mention it’s a bit too similar to one of my other story ideas and I didn’t want to confuse myself. The two stories I am writing on are “The Necromancer’s Daughter” and “Ash, Lava, and Bone.” We’re going to talk about those today.

The Necromancer’s Daughter

“The Necromancer’s Daughter” is set in a world basically like ours. Except for one thing: magic has always been apart of our world. Everyone has magic. And the rare people who don’t have magic are called Blanks. (Name might be changed, might stay the same. Who knows.) So just picture our world but where magic is infused in everyday life and our history, etc. Now, in “What Lurks in the Woods” there are nymphs and fairies and all that jazz and only people who had an ancestor who was a nymph or a fairy or whatever can have magic. In “The Necromancer’s Daughter,” nymphs and fairies and all that jazz are just a myth. However, I am throwing in some Arthurian legend because I realized there was an element missing from this story. Plus it seems to fit this story. And I have lots of ideas.

Every person can do you know, basic magic like scrying and warding and stuff like that. But they also have their specialty which I call Arcane or Arcanes. There are 11 Arcanes and some are more common than others, while others are extremely rare. The Arcanes are: Havoc, Elemental, Psionic, Alchemy, Feral, Superior, Stealth, Eternal, Mystic, Savior, and Necromancy. I’m not going to explain them because I’d like to have some surprise to the story. I’m sure you can probably figure out what each means. The names are a bit direct.

Our story follows Ginger and her six friends who go on spring break and find out that Ginger’s younger sister mysteriously went to this widely popular magic school even though the school doesn’t really teach the Arcane her sister has. What starts off as a sort of comedy of seven college students going to this magic school thinking that everything is alright and Ginger is just simply paranoid turns into them stumbling into this huge conspiracy and plot that goes all the way back to the beginning of the United States. It’s going to be kind of comedic and like one of those road trip movies you watch but then as it progresses, that tone changes.

I only have around 7 pages written on this story. It’s not a lot but it’s a start and those 7 pages do a great job of introducing the main characters of Ginger and her six friends. I kind of know where I’m going. But I’m not rushing it. I’m writing until I get stuck then I switch over to “Ash, Lava, and Bone.” This system seems to be working. I don’t like forcing myself to write when I lose inspiration.

Ash, Lava, and Bone

Who doesn’t love apocalypse stories? “Ash, Lava, and Bone” is a post apocalypse story. Now, there are no zombies. Instead, think of disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012. Basically, Yellowstone exploded and the world exploded because volcanoes and earthquakes and tornadoes and all that fun stuff.

It’s written in a different way which I’m really excited about. There are entries from the main protagonist’s journal, Emma. The journal entries start at the very beginning of the end of the world, while the actual story takes place maybe a month or so after the end of the world. So you’re reading her initial thoughts when everything started while also seeing what she’s doing now. What I’d like to do is also have like sketches included too but that’s something that would happen after the story is completed.

Emma gets separated from her girlfriend and her friends while they’re on their slow way to Colorado to meet Emma’s family. Emma continues on her way to Colorado, leaving notes for her girlfriend. Along the way Emma finds a teenage girl who has been on her own since the world started, and an older black man who is also searching for his wife and his children. Emma, the girl, and the man become this mismatched family and make their way to Colorado. Of course they run into trouble with some asshole men but they stick together.

I like that it’s three people. And that there’s not a love interest. Emma doesn’t need a love interest, she has her girlfriend. I’ve thought about actually going back and forth between Emma and the girlfriend’s point of view but I haven’t decided yet.

I really love what I have written so far. Plus it’s 22 pages. 22 pages of pure all me. And I’m loving it! Like with “The Necromancer’s Daughter” when I get stuck on “Ash, Lava, and Bone” I switch over to “The Necromancer’s Daughter.” It’s a great system, and so far seems to be working. You can tell which one I’m really inspired by.

I’m not giving up my fanfictions. I imagine I’ll go back to those when I get stuck on “The Necromancer’s Daughter” and “Ash, Lava, and Bone.” But I also want to continue this nice and steady pace I have with my original stories. Who knows, maybe by the end of this year, I’ll have one finished.

Happy writing, everyone!

-K