Wordy Wednesday: Right There

So, I’m doing a lot better this week. Still really tired and everything, but stuff has already begun to settle down a little (THANK GOODNESS).

A huge upside of this is that I actually got to do things that weren’t homework/work-related this weekend, like throwing a costume party with my roommates on Friday for Hannah’s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) and dancing super awkwardly at the Michigan Quidditch team’s Yule Ball on Saturday. So that was very fun and much needed and it’s kind of nice to be tired from something other than staying up until two AM doing homework, this week.

I went to the party as Super Girl, because why would you ever give up the opportunity to wear a cape.

However, things are about to get crazy again, because I’m going out of town for a family thing soon and, as part of that, I’m of course missing over a day of classes. Sooo here’s to enjoying the calm between the storms. (Upside: the family thing is going to be super fun and is happening in a place much warmer than Michigan currently is?)

ANYWAY. This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem.

**********

I am
so close that
it is a word
on my tongue,
in my throat,
clenched between
biting nails and
sweating palms,
right there
right there
right there,
contaminating
every breath
and heartbeat
and blink
until the entire
world looks like
it is a bated breath, waiting,
anticipatory,
searching for
the exact right
second, millisecond
to
spring from
its cocoon

Maybe if I
run hard enough
I will learn how to
fly
**********

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Comparing Literature to Film

It has been such a long week.

I keep reminding myself that I just have to survive this first month or so of the semester, then everything should hopefully be a little easier for a while. But, honestly, things are really tough right now (like “I am on the verge of bursting into tears multiple times a day out of stress” kind of tough), which is something I haven’t had to deal with in a long, long time. (Basically: not since freshman year Spanish class.)

But also, all the stressful things I’m dealing with right now are going to lead to really fun things later on–I just have to get to that point. So I’m dealing with them. And I’m taking deep breaths. And I’m doing my best to remember to enjoy the little successes in the midst of everything else.

And, on the upside, in the past week and a half since the semester started, I’ve learned to super appreciate sleep?

Anyway: This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post. (I knew I could count on you to vote for that!) This is a paper I wrote for my literature-to-film adaptations class last semester, so it’s a little long and not entirely focused on literature, but I think the differences between books and movies are really intriguing, and ultimately tell you about literature as a medium. (Which, you know, ultimately helps you with writing.)

Spoiler warning for anyone who somehow does not know what happens in The Great Gatsby. (And sorry that the formatting on this is a little rough! I don’t have time to make sure it translates properly from Word to WordPress, unfortunately.)

**********
Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel of dashed hopes and the American dream, The Great Gatsby, is an accurate one, in many senses. The film brings all the important players to the screen, from Nick to Gatsby to Daisy; it draws attention to the symbolic importance of the green light at the end of the dock; and it shows the extravagance of Gatsby’s wild parties. However, it also changes the way the story is told. In particular, the film strives to make narrator Nick Carraway a more active player in the plot, which makes sense, since movies allow less opportunity for internal monologue and the role of voice than novels. The filmmakers seek to do this, in large part, by erasing F. Scott Fitzgerald so that they may rather insert Nick in his place. Setting Nick in this authorial role—not simply narrator, but someone who has the ability to pick and choose what he says, how he says it, and, to an extent, how the viewer perceives it—additionally, naturally changes the way Nick tells the story. And this changes The Great Gatsby on a principle level. Nick no longer is whispering the story of his friend Gatsby into a void, but shouting it—via words on a page—to a specific audience. He does not write the story voluntarily, but at the urging of his psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist is not interested in Gatsby; he is there to figure out how to help Nick. Thus this change, in essence, makes the story no longer about Gatsby, but Nick himself—and, because of this, the story no longer comes across as generally objective, but extremely subjective. Nick’s emotion, his pain over all that transpired in New York, tints—and arguably taints—everything. While of course this is also true for the novel, it happens to a much lesser extent there, due to Nick’s lack of awareness to the fact that someone is paying attention to what he says. The novel version of Nick has this magical ability of disappearing into the story, melting into the shadows in order to throw focus onto the characters who are more crucial to the plot. On the other hand, the film version of Nick finds a way to insert himself into every situation so that he is always present, everything is at least vaguely about him, and it is clear that he ultimately is aware that he controls what happens in the story. Thus, by utilizing Nick as not only narrator, but author as well, Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby changes not only how Nick phrases things, but ultimately what these things mean—as exemplified by a seemingly minor change in the opening monologue—, and this therefore transforms who Nick is as a character.

This decision to allow Nick to edit the story he tells becomes apparent almost immediately in the film, as his famous opening monologue begins as voiceover. However, the monologue is condensed—and thus changed—from the version found in the novel. Tweaks and deletions abound in the opening monologue, but one of the most intriguing changes is one that actually does not make it through to the final cut of the film. Rather, screenwriters Luhrmann and Craig Pearce made the change in the screenplay, then rescinded it—returning to Fitzgerald’s phrasing—in the actual film. This change is small, seemingly inconsequential: the removal of the words “and more vulnerable” in Nick’s opening line, otherwise written and spoken as, “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice…” (Fitzgerald 1). In the screenplay, the line appears simply as, “In my younger years my father gave me some advice” (Luhrmann and Pearce 1). However, these three words greatly alter the viewer or reader’s perception of the story that follows. The fact that Nick admits to having not only been vulnerable when he was younger—but “more vulnerable,” as in he is still vulnerable, only less so, now—serves multiple purposes. Besides the obvious fact that this tells the audience to think of the past Nick as weaker—and the present Nick as someone who has learned from that weakness, although he is aware that he is not perfectly strong even now—, this phrasing also evokes a sort of sympathy.

None of the characters in The Great Gatsby are generally likeable, but this opening line makes a strong stride towards endearing Nick to the audience, and he is the sole character to truly get this sort of treatment. Everyone else comes across as impenetrable. In this way, it is Nick’s self-awareness, as much as his awareness of others, which makes him such a good narrator. The Great Gatsby is a naturally reflective story, as even in the novel, Nick spends his time looking back on the past and making judgments about it; while he claims, in another portion of the opening, to be “inclined to reserve all judgments” (Fitzgerald 1), he spends the entire novel making judgments about those he knew, what happened, and the various roles he played in it all. Even his last moment with Gatsby is a judgment on Nick’s part, as he states:

“They’re a rotten crowd … You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” / I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end. (Fitzgerald 154)

Here Nick judges the Buchanans and their friends, as well as Gatsby and ultimately himself. He is glad he paid Gatsby a compliment, less because of what it says about Gatsby—as Nick hastens to add, he “disapproved of him from beginning to end” (Fitzgerald 154)—but because of what this comment means about Nick. It makes him feel like a good person, the fact that he unknowingly complimented a man just hours before his death, even if at the time he did not entirely believe in his own words. Luhrmann and Pearce transplant this section word-for-word to the screenplay, with the exception of the phrase “because I disapproved of him from beginning to end” Fitzgerald 154)—a change which, in opposition to the exclusion of “and more vulnerable,” works to draw the focus more to Nick’s judgment of himself rather than his judgment of Gatsby, and thus to Nick’s judgment of himself in general. It is decisions such as this that draw attention to the fact that it is this ability of Nick to judge himself that ultimately makes him who he is as a character and narrator in the novel and film.

Accordingly, the exclusion of “and more vulnerable” then begs the question of why the filmmakers thought to remove it in the first place. Based on the general paraphrasing of the opening monologue, the easiest answer is that they initially cut it to save time, which is a more limited resource in films than novels. However, three words do not take long to state; in fact, actor Tobey Maguire’s recitation of “and more vulnerable” takes less than a second—more specifically, seventy-three hundredths of a second. Likewise, the majority of the paraphrasing distributed throughout the monologue works more to reduce Fitzgerald’s wordiness rather than to change the meaning of the writing. For example, Nick remembering the advice his father gave him transforms from: “‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’” (Fitzgerald 1) to the less wordy: “‘Remember, not all the people in this world have had the same advantages as you” (Luhrmann and Pearce 1). It’s about streamlining, not steamrollering. Thus, the deletion of “and more vulnerable” must have been very purposeful, and the next most obvious conclusion is that the writers must have believed that their version of Nick—the one who is aware of his audience and his control over the story he weaves—would not admit to this vulnerability. A Nick Carraway who does not want the audience to know that he was, and continues to be, vulnerable is one who closes himself off from the viewer. He judges others, but not himself. Whether due to a lack of trust or simply a lack of sincerity, this lends itself to a Nick who, if the rest of the adaptation were to follow suit, would be as unsympathetic and ultimately unlikeable as the rest of the cast. Although Nick indeed does function as an audience surrogate in the novel version of The Great Gatsby, this role expands when he becomes the author of the story. Since he is in control, it is important for the viewer to feel safe in his hands, as if he will be honest and forthright about all that transpired. The viewer must believe the story in order to connect with it and learn from it, and that’s only possible when the viewer believes the person telling it. The viewer needs Nick to not only be vulnerable, but to readily admit to this vulnerability, in order to buy into everything else. This means that the phrase “and more vulnerable,” in essence, is a promise, upfront, to the viewer of what is to come.

Of course, it does appear the filmmakers realized this while recording the voiceover with Maguire, because amongst other changes to the opening monologue between the screenplay and film, “and more vulnerable” also reappears. While Nick’s character still transforms between the page and screen due to his increased role, as author, his vulnerability—and thus his ability to judge and therefore become relatable to the audience—remains intact. This decision works in the filmmakers’ favor, as Nick’s willingness to judge also plays into one of the story’s deepest-running themes. What Luhrmann captures best in his adaptation is that The Great Gatsby is a story of want: Desperate, contagious, inescapable, insurmountable, uncontrollable want. As the screenplay and film versions of Nick tell Gatsby, “[Y]ou can’t repeat the past” (Luhrmann and Pearce 140). The Nick of the present, the one telling the story in the psychiatrist’s office, has not forgotten this lesson. Thus, he decides how to tell the past in order to shape the future into the one that he wants. He has witnessed the effect of the green light at the end of the dock. He knows where Gatsby’s passionate, un-satisfiable type of want inevitably leads. Thus, where the novel ends on a note of hopelessness, the filmmakers are aware of their opportunity to end the story differently, and so choose to give a hint at something more—a slightly more positive ending that might better appeal to the movie-going audience, which is generally broader than the contemporary audience which reads classics such as The Great Gatsby. It is at this point, with the story of Gatsby completed and all the focus narrowed in, tight and center, on Nick, that Luhrmann’s film veers from its accuracy to the novel to truly charting its own territory, even if only for a few seconds. Nick does not tell this part. The voiceover narration has finished and the source material has run out. Here the film moves from the subjective first person point-of-view to a third person one actually far more objective than the perspective shared in the novel. Finally, the filmmakers grant the viewer the opportunity to see Nick from a distance, rather than from inside his head. They show here, explicitly, how Nick is choosing how he remembers the past. While not all of the changes Luhrmann makes improve The Great Gatsby, or even arguably work, this one does. The camera follows Nick as he finishes typing a manuscript titled Gatsby. He has finally become a writer, as he always wanted to be. He binds the manuscript, ready to leave the past behind. With a pen, almost as an afterthought, he decides to add the words “The Great” to the title. He chooses to remember Gatsby in this way. And with the binding of the manuscript, like the closing of a book, Nick leaves the past behind in order to move on with his life. He is aware of his vulnerability, but willing to embrace it, learn from it, and live with it. Nick judges himself, but also grows from these judgments. Although time might bear him back “ceaselessly into the past” (Luhrmann and Pearce 224), he has made the decision to meet it head-on. By utilizing Nick as not only narrator, but author as well, Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby changes not only how Nick phrases things, but ultimately what these things mean, which therefore transforms who Nick is as a character. In this case, he is vulnerable, judgmental—and, in consequence, actually a more hopeful Nick Carraway.

*****

Bibliography:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner Trade Paperback Edition ed. 1925. Print.
Luhrmann, Baz and Pearce, Craig. The Great Gatsby. 2013. Screenplay.
The Great Gatsby. Dir. Baz Luhrmann. Warner Home Video, 2013. Film.

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Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Angell Hall

Hey there! It felt so weird not writing a blog post yesterday.

Not much has been going on the past couple days (just lots of classes and homework and work), but one of my classes did watch Clueless last night, which is always a good time, and yesterday I REGISTERED FOR CLASSES. FOR THE LAST TIME IN MY UNDERGRADUATE CAREER.

Upside: I got into all the classes I wanted, including a children’s literature one with a professor who always ends up with a massive wait list! (#SeniorPerks)

Downside: I maybe registered to take seventeen credit hours my final semester of college. Including three literature classes and my honors thesis. And of all those classes, I only actually technically need one to graduate.

However, the three literature classes I’m registered for are two children’s lit courses and a spy fiction one, so like, they’re going to be incredibly fun and they should make the workload worth it. (There was also a dystopian fiction class I really wanted to take, but alas, there was just no way.)

Hopefully with all these lit classes, I’ll at least have lots to share with you next semester?

In the meantime: This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem.

*****

The stillness of Angell Hall at
six PM, two weeks before the end,
silent save for the buzzing lights,
the hum of hot air in the walls,
a window at my back and
only the stray student hurrying by,
bundled in parkas and maize and blue hats and caffeine,
home so close, it’s a flavor in the air–
these are the moments I stop
and let my eyes drift closed
and take a breath
and think about
how much this one random spot,
these grey wooden benches pushed up
against the strips of plugs and towering glass walls,
has defined the past four years–
blog posts and novel chapters and papers and emails and short stories and poems
have found their way into the world here–
and sometimes a tour guide goes by
with maybe-someday-future students
and once upon a time I was there, walking by
not realizing, not realizing,
because you never realize,
and now I am the senior who is
sentimental about benches.
It’s silly the things time
makes us scared we will miss.

*****

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

NaNo Day 28: Forever Go Blue

I spent today at the last football game of my senior year.

We lost. (By a lot.) And it was COOOLD. But I also had fun with my friends and participating in all the weird traditions of the student section and just finding myself surrounded by that many of my fellow Wolverines.

This was my first year getting season tickets for football. Actually, before this the only time I’d actually attended a regular game was junior year, because I was singing at halftime with the university choirs.

I don’t like football. It’s probably my least favorite mainstream sport. (Even in high school, I generally only attended homecoming every year.) So with that in mind, I don’t really regret not going to more games before this season. It was always really nice getting a break from everyone in the dorms on game day to write and watch TV in peace.

But I am surprisingly glad that I got the season tickets this year.

Because going to the football games every couple weeks was a reminder that I’m part of something bigger, here. There are so many students at this university, and we all are studying different things, and most of us will never have a chance to meet, let alone get to know one another. But when we’re all crushed together in the student section, cheering or singing (or booing) together, we do at least have that in common.

  
And now I’m back at the apartment and I just ate a crapload of carbs and Hannah and I are watching Dirty Dancing on TV. (So, one might say that with this season’s football games I’ve had the time of my life.) (Eh? Eh?) (I’ll see myself out.)

Anyway: No writing scheduled for today, because of the game. But I might slip in a couple hundred words, since I’m running a virtual write-in for Ch1Con right now. (Come join us, if you’re a young writer and see this before 10 PM EST!)

Goal for Today: 0
Overall Goal: 47,000
Current Word Count: 47,352

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Tomorrow

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post. About, err, not writing.

Another short post today, because it’s after 11:00 PM and I ended up getting exactly zero writing done on NaNo, for the third day in a row.

I had a paper due this evening that shouldn’t have been a big deal to write (it was only supposed to be like three pages), but I ended up spending the entire day on it because, you know, day before Thanksgiving and all. But I did manage to get it done and in on time, so I’m now officially on break, thank God. Hopefully I’ll be finally have a little time to write now.

This evening my family wanted to do stuff together, so I made dinner (pasta with homemade sauce and fresh mozzarella, garlic bread, and fried red-skin potatoes) and now we’re watching Flight. (By the way, if you haven’t seen it, much more depressing than expected. Happy holidays.)

My mom has promised me a couple hours to spend on NaNo in the morning, before Thanksgiving stuff starts, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to catching up then.

Tonight: I’m finishing this movie and going to bed.

In the morning: Writing Warrior Mode activates.

Goal for Today: 1,000 + 3,000 (from Monday)
Overall Goal: 40,000
Current Word Count: 37,027

~Julia

NaNo Day 5: Sleepless in Ann Arbor

Strap yourself in: this is gonna be a long one.

After being hecka sleepy in my film screenings again last night, my plan for the evening was to come home and go straight to bed. However, my NaNo schedule called for 2,000 words and I’d only written about 800 so far.

More than I wanted sleep, I didn’t want to get even further behind than I already was, so I decided to tough it out and try to get in the rest of my 2k. (Like seriously. This falling behind thing has been getting crazy.) So, I burrowed under my covers with my laptop and headphones and opened my Word doc–

–Only to realize that, once again, the story wasn’t working.

Here’s the thing: This is my eighth year doing NaNoWriMo. I know that the way to fast draft a manuscript is to throw quality out the window and just get words on the page. I’ve won seven NaNos that way; I’ve completed five manuscripts.

But that only works when the plot and characters are going in the right direction.

I’m a pantser, which means I never really know where the story’s going. Despite this, I can almost always tell when I’m writing something inauthentic (like maybe a character does something that s/he would not realistically do, or something else along those lines). Once you reach a certain point in the story, it’s better just to write through these issues. After all, your worst writing is still better than no writing at all, and you can always go back and fix problems in revisions.

I know this. I’ve done this. In the first draft of one of my previous manuscripts, my killing-averse heroine lost control at the climax and shot like a billion bad guys. I knew as I was writing it that that is not how that scene should ever unfold. But I also knew that I needed to write through the crappy, wrong version of events in order to be able to finish the MS and thus then be able to go back and rewrite it as it actually was supposed to be.

However, that kind of logic doesn’t really work when you’re still at the beginning of the novel. When I opened my Word doc last night, I was just under 4,000 words into the MS. I hadn’t even reached the inciting incident yet. (I’d only just passed the catalyst.) Purposely doing something wrong at that point is like purposely building your entire house on a broken foundation.

I’ve been struggling a lot with this MS. As I mentioned a couple days ago, I’ve restarted this novel maaany times now. If we’re being honest, Time Travel Heist Story is me reattempting my NaNo from two years ago with lots of changes, because what I tried two years ago did not work At All but I liked the general concept behind the time travel in that one. (I’ve also stolen the scavenger hunt element from lat year’s NaNo.) (Basically I am really bad at coming up with new ideas these days.)

The point of all this is: I’ve been struggling. And when I opened that Word doc last night, it was with the knowledge that I would probably have to start over again if I wanted this MS to go anywhere. And after how many failed attempts I’ve made at telling this story, I wanted desperately for something to work.

I did like the first couple pages of this version, so I decided not to entirely start over from scratch. I’d just tweak those pages, delete the rest, and rewrite from there. I just needed to get this opening right if I ever wanted to be able to move on. Then maybe I could stop doing this constant restarting.

So I started tweaking. And reworking. And adding.

And as I went, I slowly realized that this time–well, I was wrong about needing to rewrite. The pages I was so worried about, that I thought needed to go? They just needed some more fleshing out. Some clarification. Some work on character development and dialogue.

And, more than anything, they needed me to trust myself and the story I’m telling.

There’s nothing wrong with starting over if you need to. It happens. In fact, it’s kind of my M.O. (Throwback to Camp NaNoWriMo way back in the yesteryear of 2012.) But I’d begun to fall back on it as a crutch, out of fear and anxiety, and that is the opposite of good.

I ended up adding all of the words I needed last night just in reworking. Then I was so swept up in the story, I kept writing. And I had to force myself to shut down my laptop after 1:00 AM. Then I lay in bed–unable to sleep, my brain was whirring so much, so high off of writing–that it was close to three before I finally drifted off.

And I’ve been thinking about the story all day, in all my classes and all through work. All I’ve wanted to do is come home and write. And even though I’m exhausted, I’d gladly stay up all night just to work on this thing.

I haven’t felt that way about a manuscript in a long, long time. And I know I currently feel that way about this one because I took a step back and reevaluated what I was doing before making the mistake of hitting delete.

So, the point of all this rambling: It’s okay to backtrack if you need to. But only do it if you really, actually NEED to.

Sometimes, if you’re lost, it’s not about starting over. It’s about finding yourself in what you’ve already written.

Goal for Today: 2,000 + 2,500 (from Sunday)

Overall Goal: 10,000

Current Word Count: 5,781

I’m off to do today’s writing. Maybe I’ll even catch up someday soon?

How are you doing? If you’ve been struggling with NaNo so far, are you maybe also finally getting into the swing of things? (Either way: Look at you, you magical writing person! Whether you’ve written one word or a hundred thousand at this point in the month, you are amazing simply for taking the effort to write at all. We’ve got this.)

~Julia

NaNo Day 1: And So It Begins

HAPPY NANOWRIMO!!!!!

Goodness, can you believe it’s already November 1st? As much as I love this month, it’s crazy how fast the year goes.

I’m absolutely terrified for how I’m going to handle everything this November. Senior year is kicking my butt at the moment, and add writing fifty thousand words and blogging every day on top of that? This is going to be interesting. (But also, like, what else is new, amiright? #College)

My NaNo this year is currently The Novel that Refuses to Be Named, also known as Time Travel Heist Story. I’ve been working on it since July-ish, but I realized a couple weeks ago that I need to start at a different place in the plot–so despite my best efforts to be productive with writing the past few months, I, once again, am beginning NaNoWriMo at Chapter One. (Yay accidentally playing by the rules?)

What this does mean is that I have a vague idea of what I want my characters and plot to look like, which goes against every instinct in my little pantser heart, but also means writing should HOPEFULLY be a little easier (and less time-consuming) this time ’round. Which also means hopefully I won’t die between now and November 30th.

Description from my NaNo profile:

Fifteen-year-old Regina is a sophomore at the prestigious Zeteo Academy, acclaimed for sending graduates everywhere from the White House to the moon. Zeteo breeds loyalty, bravery, and the ability to keep a secret–but the biggest secret is the boarding school’s unorthodox education itself, involving a dangerous, seemingly endless scavenger hunt. Called simply “the Game,” the scavenger hunt sends students around the world to gather clues leading to a prize so old even the rumors surrounding it have died.

When the rules of the Game change for the first time since its founding over a century ago–and, in the process, Regina becomes the first Zeteo student ever to come face to face with a game-runner–she decides it’s time the students of the Zeteo Academy finally figured out the truth about the Game that rules their lives.

Oh, and P.S. there’s time travel.

So yeah. This is going to be a veeery rough first draft (how does one even write time travel?), but I’m also in love with the plot and the world, so I can’t wait to dig in.

Are you competing in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you writing about? (Also: wanna be buddies?)

Goal for Today: 5,000

Current Word Count: 271

Whoohoo! Let’s do this thang.

~Julia

Oh, and P.S. Happy Day After Halloween from Hermione and Harry!

A Very Potter Halloween

Wordy Wednesday: Want

I’m writing this blog post Tuesday night, because I have a midterm tomorrow morning and a paper due in the afternoon and, like, procrastination whoohoo.

This weekend was fall break! A couple friends and I decided to staycation this year, so we went to the big U of M/MSU football game Saturday (which was exciting but also, you know, horrifying), hit a cider mill Sunday, went hiking and had a bonfire Monday night, and today (Tuesday) saw Crimson Peak. (I don’t do horror movies, but Guillermo del Toro is king and this one honestly isn’t that scary, so yeah.)

Like look how freaking pretty Ann Arbor is, though.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is poem. And because I have the paper I’m supposed to be writing about The Great Gatsby on my mind, here’s a piece inspired by it. (That I definitely didn’t write this afternoon while neglecting said paper.) (And I’m definitely not mining for part of my conclusion nooope.)

**********

Life is a story of want;
desperate, contagious
inescapable, insurmountable
uncontrollable
want

Want that feels like need

Want that crushes your heart
in its fist

Want that makes you bleed—
that makes you want to bleed yourself dry
just to satiate it

Want that you will never
be able to
satiate

It’s the kind of want that,
despite knowing what it is,
what it means—
you would never let it go
even if you could

It hurts like everything
you’ve ever wanted to feel
at once,
pressing
on your chest

Push on,
I’ll push on,
just a little further
Please

Take everything
but give me that
in exchange

**********

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

PS. HAPPY BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY BRB LOOKING FOR MY HOVERBOARD

Wordy Wednesday: Terrified of Time

It’s been a long week. (Overall a good one. But yeah. It’s been looong.)

This weekend was homecoming, and whereas that’s normally not that big of a deal here (at least for someone not into sports or partying), it was a HUGE one this year, because it was also a big year for anniversaries: 100th year of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. 150th year of Michigan Athletics. And, of course, other anniversaries I’m forgetting because, let’s be honest, those are the only two I care about.

In honor of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance anniversary, the college hosted a ton of huge events throughout the weekend. Including A Very Starkid Reunion Thursday night, a concert featuring over thirty members of Team Starkid. It was fun and exciting and also maybe made my entire row cry, especially when Darren Criss changed the lyrics of “Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts” to being about U of M at the end because WHY ARE WE SENIORS WHY.

Then, Saturday involved lots of spiritwear and tailgating, followed by (guess what) a football game. At the game, the student section made the largest human roller coaster ever. Also, the New York philharmonic played at halftime with our marching band, which was cool. And then, you know, WE WON.

And, finally, on Sunday I had a choir lock-in, as part of which we had a full-on Pitch Perfect-style sing-off between the sections, and SOPRANOS TOTALLY KICKED SOME BUTT.

Aaand those are just a few of the fun things that happened this weekend. Because way too much happened to cover it all. And as much as I enjoyed it all, I am now so, so tired and it needs to be fall break like yesterday.

In other news, what this post is actually supposed to be about: This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem.

**********

I’m terrified
of where I’ll be
twenty years from now
when this is history

I’m slipping between
the threads of time;
how is it that control
is no longer mine?

I’m trying to hold on
but I’m not that strong,
and I’m trying to hold on
but time flows on and on

Tell me: is this the end?
Tell me: is this pretend?
Tell me: will I wake up tomorrow,
five years old again?

Tell me how I got here,
how I forgot to count the days.
Last I looked, I had forever;
now the future is yesterday

And I’m terrified of time
I’m terrified of time

**********

And on that happy note: Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Bell Tower Stairs

Hey there! How’s your week going?

Midterms are starting up at U of M, which means campus has basically turned into the set of a zombie B-movie. On the upside, I got to escape the madness for a few days by spending the weekend scouting venues for Ch1Con in Chicago with some awesome people.

  
Other than that, I’ve spent the past week just doing my best not to drown under homework. Oh, and my family saw The Martian Sunday night! I liked the book better, but it’s a solid movie. Definitely go see it, if you haven’t already.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem.

**********

Climbing the stairs
to the eighth floor of the
university bell tower for
choir rehearsal
seemed like a good idea
on the first floor

But one floor up and
the air was gone and
three floors up and
the blood was rushing too fast
and five floors up and
our legs burned with acid and
seven floors up and our legs were numb

And the stairs spiraled on and on,
an endless loop of labored breathing,
gripping the banister too tight,
afraid of both looking up and
looking down

But eight floors up and
there was a door
and chairs,
and laughter from the group:
“We made it!”
And more than anything else
there was a window,
just a little thing high on the wall,
overlooking the sweeping, endless
green and orange quilt of trees that
gave this city its name

And look what we did,
look what we did;
together we climbed a mountain

**********

Thanks for reading!

~Julia