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Up thoughts

Alice in Wonderland all rights to Disney


She stood on tiptoe her nose barely reaching over the edge of the table. The treats were so tempting sitting in their cut crystal bowl screaming “eat me”, but still she wavered. Some small animalistic lobe of the brain alerting her to the danger of too perfect an opportunity. Quickly she glanced side to side, sure she was about to be found out for the uninvited interloper she was, but no one looked or noticed. Quick as a flash tiny hand took tiny treat. The jolt of adrenaline added to the flavor making the sugar complex and wonderful. Wildly she enjoyed the stolen morsel, and having eaten her treasure sank to the floor… deflated. No one had noticed or cared. Emptiness filled her stomach and inch by inch swollowed her, mind and all. Everything now felt sharp and disjointed as if it had become over large or ungainly. She sat with her new feelings and confused by them began searching for explanation. She had gotten what she wanted, right? 

Yes, it had been exquisite in both anticipation and reality. So why did she now feel even smaller? 

The thoughts made her want to wipe her hands off, as if this mindset could be cleared away so easily. 

Maybe, no. Perhaps the real want had not yet been met. 

Immediately her searching switched to scanning. The treats were little, the pleasure they brought had been little, and the motive tiny. She would need something much bigger to make the smallness go away. Ruby and amber flashes winked at her from smoky glass decanters daring her to “drink me”. This, she thought, was no little thing this was big. The big action of a big person who people would notice. Decided she went for the decanter thinking only up thoughts. The flush of success, so newly acquired, slipped away as the liquid passed parted lips. It seared and burned on the way down pulling her after. 

Up it seemed was still out of reach.

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I itch between my shoulder blades, the unreachable itch of watchful eyes cast my way. I don’t dare turn to look as the pointless gesture only makes me look guilty, of something… of anything worth watching. Instead I slowly roll my shoulders and stretch my back, even pull a yawn. It is better to appear bored, or better yet tired, tired people aren’t a threat. It’s hard to mobilize when you are beat down by life and lack of sleep. The gaze slips from me to the truely tired business man slumped against the hand rail beside me. He startles noticibly before faining indifference. I keep my smile small and smother the laugh threatening to bubble out, nothing attracts unwanted attention like laughter at tense moments. The urge completely abates with the soft gasp and hushed rustle of fabric that means someone is being “helped” off the train for questioning. 

A heavy silence follows those sounds; filled with dred and inactivity. I cannot blame them the fear we are all mainlining these days, compliments of our government for our own good I’m sure, is a potent drug. 

I check my watch, like I always do, stand and walk towards the back of the train, per usual, shift my bag to the center of my back, in a perfectly normal manner. I am just a commuter. I am just tired. I am “sheepole”. The thoughts drive through me like a steel rod, straightening my back and my resolve, like bolts of lightning, energizing and wild, like the truth which frees.

Impatiently, I wait for the train to stop and the doors to open. I tap my toes, check my watch, and adjust my bag. In an exaggerated motion I crane my neck looking for the conductor who will stand near the open the door waiting to help myself and the pair in front of me disboard. I mumble and “swear to god” under my breath. Everyone has backed away from the door except us three. Our mixed bag of emotions, as repellent as noxious gas, acts as a shield. No one wants to see the fear in the eyes of the man being taken for questioning or the joy in the young recruit’s. I remain impatient and agitated. I shift my bag to my side just as the train lurches to a stop. My perfectly timed fall is unavoidable and undignified. As the locked doors spring open the young recruit, I grabbed for stability, and I fall down the steps in a tangle.

The fearful man, selected for questioning, freezes for only an instant.

We lock eyes.

He nods once, then is gone.

The itchy feeling is back, but at least I no longer have to suffer the dreadful inactive silence. What comes next will have been worth it.

I am civil disobedience, and I will not be ignored.

 

“She just… kind of broke,” the little boy sounded surprised. 

“Well what happened,” his grandfather asked him. “Did you wind her up too tight? Did you press her buttons too many times?”

The perplexed look never left his eyes even as he shook his head no vigorously.

“Maybe you neglected her then,” the grandfather offered. “Is she still in one piece? Was she nurtured? Did you protect her from the muck of the world?”

The boy turned her over in his hands more gently with each revolution. “I think so papa!”

“Then what do you think it could be kiddo?” 

The boy’s eyes squinted and his brow worked up into a furrowed ridge before a lightbulb went off behind his eyes. “I don’t know, but I’m going to try and make it right.”

All rights to owner

Today I came undone. It was an interesting feeling akin to screaming from a dream, pointless and jarring. My words were nothing more than pathetic echoes reverberating out of me, attached to nothing, devoid of meaning. Scales fell from my eyes, liquid fire, blinding me to the light. As I stood in the maelstrom, begging it to strike harder, I paid willingly in pounds of flesh. Eased by the warm rush of blood. Calmed by the whiring in my ears.

My masks lay at my feet strewn like flowers, representations of things I dare not name. They are my most and least honest appendage in one. The masks repel and call to me with the same voice. It’s familiar, and my fingers itch to pull them up, obedient as always.

An acrid taste upon my tongue sours my stomach. Perhaps this pill wasn’t meant for swallowing, but the hour is late and I’ve already decided. So while Fate looms chill and shadowy behind me, a shark, keen in bloody water, I drop my arms, stand firm, and adjust my posture. I am ready to continue because continue is what I do.

​”This is the single greatest witch hunt!” His voice caught somewhere between a whine and a yell carried on the heavy air out into the night. As the inky darkness accepted the words rolling them over and over in fading echos it gained a chill edge, causing those whose shoulders it brushed to shiver. Developing a weightiness the wind filled with shadows and percieved threats. Shreiking across the miles it tore at sanity shreading peace no regard for the distraction left in its wake. Ringing with the sound of history repeated the bluster rages on, but fear not for it is followed by the winds of change.

 As seen in the Atlantic – Andrew Kelly

Swan Song

Thank you to everyone who read a post, tweet, or story. It ment the world to me. You allowed me to be the person I wish I was; strong, opinoiated, brave, outspoken, and whole. You gave me a community when I felt so very isolated and a soapbox to reach out across the globe. I have made friends and connections that I would never have dreamed possible, but mostly being this version of myself helped me live with who I really am. I am a coward. I am weak, broken, and easily manipulated. I cannot lie to you or myself anymore so I am bowing out. It comes with tears, I am sure there will be a void where Jess aka b00kreader existed within me, but I cannot be this person so I have to let her go. Please do not feel I have lied about everything because I haven’t my name is Jessica, I went to grad school in South Carolina, and I am a postdoc at DFCI, but I am tired and beat down not scrappy and hungry. The part of me that is so ashamed of not being the person I presented to you is still happy I tried even if it was only a virtual try. Thank you for letting me pretend with you it was amazing while it lasted!


I have now made two brain hats. Yes, they are getting easier. No, I have not yet perfected this project, my brains (icords) always seem to shift from center 😦 Regardless with the Science March about a month away I thought I would share my successes and failures so other can learn from my mistakes. 

Materials:


A hat portion- I crocheted mine but that’s hardly required. Any knit cap would work

Brains- I made i cords which can be knit or crochet, but I would guess that cording found at a craft store could work as well.

Straight pins- Are used to help in placing the i cords on the hat and keeping them in place while sewing them on.

Needle and thread- I used multi purpose thread which matched my i cords. 

*I also use  a styrofoam maniquin head to help with the initial placement and pinning of the i cord brains*

Step 1

Starting from the crown of the hat start pinning the i cords to the cap.

*The first time I did this I pinned the i cords by using the styrofoam like a cork board and it was nearly impossible to remove the hat*


Step 2

Once the brains are in place remove the hat from the styrofoam head and using a basic running stich connect the i cords to the hat.

These stitches will not be noticible especially if you use thread that matches the i cords.

* I have doubled my thread to increase strength, but heavier button thread could also be used. I also knotted the thread at both ends to avoid any slippage*

*Do not get discouraged if the icords slip or become un pinned this happens to me a lot. If you have a solution for this please leave a comment.*


Step 3

Take selfies and prepare for the Science March! Happy crafting!


​I am Science. Define me.

I am no regal lady like Justice or Liberty.

I cannot be swayed like Luck or personified as “She”.

I stand without gender, color, or creed

For all questions and every need.

I am the breaker of barriers, the truth teller, the seed;

Fruit from the knowledge tree.

Yet so few can actually see

What is instilled in me.

I am patient not self seeking.

Jealous of your time without envy,

But at my core I am constant and freeing.

So do not allow yourself to be blinded politically 

Or silenced by ambition and folly.

Instead strive forward deliberately.

To challenge all who would dare to bar entry

Those whom ardently wish to stand sentry 

Over facts and figures approaching infinity.

Put your labels aside, throw away the lock and key.

Welcome criticism, evolution, and diversity.

For I am Science, defined by what I can be.

All rights to owner whom I thank

Magnificent Intentions Circus was trying to work its way out of a dry spell. The ticket sales the fire eater had been brining in were slowing down so now the MIC was as dusty as Oklahoma, and just as downtrodden.

With unavoidable hard times on the horizon the troupe started dividing itself into factions. The ones who had been with the circus the longest were the first to draw a line in the sand. The menagerie keeper, clowns, strong man, and the peep show considering themselves the greatest of performers began disparaging the newer acts in an attempt to safeguard their own positions at Magnificent Intentions. This left the other acts to fend for themselves. 

Tired of feeling left out and unwanted the newer acts decided they to would form their own diverse network of carnies. Now all the freeks, geeks, and oddity acts that had not been with MIC long enough to be considered eligible for the greatest of performers had the sense of community they had been lacking. 

Wanting to revive interest in the circus once more both groups decided to sugest a new act for Magnificent Intentions in the hopes of cementing their positions in the troupe. The diverse network of carnies made the first move recommending  Mademoiselle Merry to the owners. It seemed all too perfect a fit. The alliteration alone making her inclusion in the circus seem preordained. So the fortune teller came down from New York City. Immediately interest in MIC grew as word spread about the Mademoiselle and her mystical knowledge of all secrets and hidden truths. Unfortunately, times which were already hard were only made harder when mixed with her cold hard facts. So Madem’ Merry’s brand of entertainment proved ineffective at sparking the renewed interest Magnificent Intentions badly needed.

Having watched the fortune teller’s popularity wax and wane the greatest of performers sifted through many options before deciding which act to set before the owners. They all agreed that the act should be fantastical, as far removed from the mundane as possible, and entertaining enough to necessitate multiple viewings. However, a decision seems nearly impossible till the menagerie man made his suggestion. An orange elephant. He argued that such a massive wild beast would be awe inspiring, and that people would come again and again needing to be assured the creature truely existed. Many thought the menagerie man could not produce such a beast, with coloration as vivid and outrageous as orange, but finally the owners were swayed by the novality of it. After all… no other show could boast such an impossible act. 

So the circus made its preparations. 

On the day the orange elephant was to arrive the other beautiful animals in the menagerie were pinned and stabbled in the back. Out of sight. An orange elephant, being so superior, could not be expected to get along with the black Arabian stallions, brightly feathered peacocks, or aging jaguars after all. The next change was in staffing. Maintaining an orange elephant required more work hours devoted to feeding and cleaning so the owners of Magnificent Intentions asked all the women in the troupe to stop performing and focus on care related tasks instead. Finally, additional strong men were hired to help train the orange elephant while those with talents deemed “nolonger necessary” were asked to leave.

The orange elephant was exactly what had been promised. It was iminse, dwarfing all the other animals at the circus. It was an unbelievable shade of orange. Fantastic to behold. The orange elephant made the other acts seem dull and quickly became the Big Top performance everyone wanted to see. The day the orange elephant joined the circus ticket sales went through the roof but the Magnificent Intentions Circus changed. 

The greatest of performers only saw the good changes. Their jobs were secure, the seats were filled, and money was flowing like a river. The drought was over. However, the other carnies saw it differently. The fence erected around the circus to protect the orange elephant felt more like a cage than a barrier from harm. The once equally revered performances from both long running and newer members could now be easily separated into favorite acts, from the greatest of performers, and forgotten acts, from the diverse network of carnies. 

But the people cheered when the orange elephant appeared. Clapped when the Dancing Donkeys were scattered as the orange elephant charged. Laughed as the Acrobatic Annabelles were swatted away by swinging trunk and flapping ears. Even begged for more as the Big Top tent shivered and shook when the orange elephant stomped around.

The Magnificent Intentions Circus loved the new interest and the major up swing in ticket sales, but soon even the owners could see the orange elephant was more trouble than it was worth. The damage however was done; the money spent and the banners painted. The orange elephant would have to stay till a better act came to town.


So for a month now I have been listening to the Hamilton Mixtape…and I still have a few questions mainly is it playing chess or checkers?

I’m a child of the 80/90s and therefore all too awear of mixtapes and how much they can mean (recording off the radio was my most brag worthy skill back in the day). For me mixtapes only came in a handful of flavors. They could be a way to recreate an incredible moment (like a first kiss). They can be made for some special event (think prom or road trip). They can tell someone that you like them, love them, or that it’s time to break up. Thus after listening the Hamilton Mixtape I began asking myself what purpose does this collection of songs have? What is the Mixtape saying?

Checkers

Perhaps the most obvious thing the Mixtape was saying is “Yay Hamlet!” But in all seriousness Hamilton (the Musical) has exploded, pretty much world wide, and as so few people have had the opportunity to share in the spectale perhaps Lin was just sharing his original idea with us. Maybe this Mixtape is yet another way to feel conected to the Musical. This however seems overly simplified because we already had the cast album.

My next thought was that Lin just wanted to tell us all that he likes us. However, when I gave “I like you” mixtapes out what I was usually doing, in reality, was asking “Do you like me?” It seems unlikely that with all of his adoring fans Mr. Miranda would be asking that particular question.

So that left breaking up. Could Lin possibly be breaking up with us? There were signs. Quite a few of the songs were sad in nature and some even seem perfect for a breakup mixtape (I’m looking at you You’ll Be Back and Burn). 

Then it dawned on me. Hamilton: An American Musical is is about America then told by Americans today. What beautiful allegory would it be if Hamilton: The Mixtape which talks about America then was really about America today. *Mind figuratively blown* I started listening differently to the songs. Could this be real? Is Mr. Miranda asking us to not only look back to avoid past mistakes, but also darring us to have an eye to the future? These familiar songs changed in an instant. 

Chess

Somewhere between the wake up call in No John Trumbull (things are not what they seem), and the sad but hopeful wish (that the world can be as good as I hope it can) I hear in the Dear Theodosia reprise he touched on it all. Mr. Miranda has compiled a collection of songs that asks us to recognize the stain on our country’s history that is slavery, the disservice that has been done to hard working immigrants, and the fact that different isn’t always seen as good. However, when I really listen to the words on this Mixtape I hear a promise that no matter how bad things get each of us has the tools to find our way out so long as we do not give up. If I may go a step further it also suggests that we all get our moment, and while you wait for it don’t be idle, be patient…and ready.

Maybe I’m reaching and all Lin and the amazing artists who lent their voices to carry these messages wanted to do was entertain us. If that’s the case, mission accomplished. However if the idea was to challenge today’s me-centric mentality to look ahead at what seeds we are planting then checkmate sir.

I can only hope that he is right “The harder the conflict the more glourous the triumph”.

Stay relentless!

All rights to the owner of the image whom I thank

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