For Laughs · Just Writing

The Predetermined Poem

I recently had this idea for a poem. Now, it’s a really intriguing idea, and I’ve heard of poets doing similar things. But there are several potential problems/facts that come along with this idea. But first, the idea itself.

By now, you are all aware of how important music is to me. I’m constantly listening to music, writing about music, trying to find the perfect song to fit my mood. I’m really, really into music. One of my favorite things about finding a new favorite song is identifying that ONE LINE in the song that strikes a chord in my soul. That one line in the whole song that says everything I need it to say.

I recently wondered – what would happen if I took all those lines that struck my heart and created one giant heart-striking piece of literature? What if I took all those lines from all these songs I love and made a poem out of them? My first thought was something grandiose about my level of genius.

But, like I said, there are a few factors to consider:

  1. I know A LOT of songs. Like thousands and thousands and thousands of songs. Making this a ridiculously huge project from the get-go.
  2. Is this even legal??? ……I honestly don’t think so.
  3. I won’t get to choose what this poem is about. Essentially, every song is about love. This is going to be a giant love poem filled with heartwrenching lyrics. So there’s that.
  4. How do I choose which songs to use and not use? How do I choose lines that will somehow all work together?

All of these factors and several others not here mentioned make this project and its aspects:

  1. Something I now have to do just to see if I can do it
  2. An unnecessarily extra thing I’ve now decided to do
  3. Largely predetermined due to the nature of songs
  4. A very interesting writing challenge

So I’ve been working on this project and it has been really interesting. I’ve come to the conclusion that this project must be done in chunks, and we’ll see what happens. I’m also not even sure what to do with this project once it’s finished…due to the fact that I’m quite certain it isn’t legal.

One thing that has surprised me about this project is that even though I strictly have to work with just the lyrics – no adding words – there is still quite a bit of room for me to create something that I love. I can still arrange the words into a pattern that means something to me.

I finished the first chunk of this project this evening. Which consists of some of the artists I listen to regularly and the lines of only some of their songs that have always really touched me. I’ve decided to share this chunk of the project with you. Enjoy:

The Predetermined Poem

I said, “Remember this moment”,
in the back of my mind.
Cause you feel like home,
you’re like a dream come true.
Feels like this could be forever right now:
everything will be alright
if you keep me next to you.

When all those shadows almost killed your light,
I saw a shooting star
and thought of you.
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight,
the truth is I never left you.

I’ve been there too a few times.
I thought, “Heaven can’t help me now.”
Just grab my hand
and don’t ever drop it.
Come morning light,
you and I’ll be safe and sound.

You can see it with the lights out:
how the kingdom lights shined
just for me and you.
And pain gets hard,
but now you’re here
and I don’t feel a thing.
I think I might give up everything
just ask me to

I’ll be waiting,
all there’s left to do is run

 

For Laughs

“Don’t Even Get Me Started”

This phrase – don’t even get me started – is a very well known and well-used member of my vocabulary. Call it the veteran if you will.

Now the reason behind this is pretty self-explanatory.  You see when you first meet me it’s pretty easy to mistake me for a shy person. I’m an introvert, and as such, I hate meeting new people. My biggest thought when it comes to meeting new people is usually, “But wait. I already know people. My people capacity has been reached.” Unfortunately, the universe has consistently seen fit to ignore my people capacity.

So if you’re persistent enough to actually get to know me, you’ll come to understand a few things.

  1. I’m really not shy. Like…at all.
  2. I actually have quite a bit to say about life in general.
  3. And as a general rule, it’s best not to ask me what any of those things are because I will tell you. And it will be rather emphatic.

So here’s how it normally goes: some kind of topic will somehow come up in the natural flow of a conversation. And I will immediately say, “Don’t even get me started.” Now the fact that I have developed this self-regulating mechanism is actually a source of pride for me. Truly.

However.

It hasn’t gotten to the point where it continues to be self-regulating. Let me explain: after I say this phrase it is totally up to whoever I am talking to to decide whether or not I actually get started.

Those closest to me generally respond in one of two ways:

  1. They think it’s hilarious when I “get started” so they sit there very patiently in silence, waiting for the topic to begin bubbling under my skin so as to drive me crazy until I explode. And therefore “get started” anyway.
  2. They change the subject as quickly as they can, saving themselves from the very passionate rant that will surely follow if they don’t act immediately.

I’m telling you all of this because today I’ve got the blogging itch. I’ve got this itch to blog and it’s been driving me nuts ALL DAY LONG. I’ve had at least 47 topics all vying for attention in my head today. If I were a better writer, I’d think of some very clever way to connect all of these topics into a glorious blog post that would existential your mind to pieces.

But that’s not going to happen because I’ve gotten started and this is where it ends people.

  1. I have a friend who pushes herself too hard. Plain and simple, she pushes herself too hard. She holds herself to an impossibly high standard because in her head if she isn’t working so hard that she nearly dies then she isn’t doing her best. If she isn’t working so hard that she can’t see straight then she’s a failure. If she doesn’t spend at least 10 hours studying for the test that we both have to take this week then she’s not doing all she can do. And as much as I love her, and I do with all my heart, I can’t tell her enough times how absolutely absurd this is. Nobody can live life on 150% all the time. Nobody can and nobody should. We have to give ourselves some grace and decide what is and is not worth our time. And not be so hard on ourselves.
  2. Do you ever have those days when you are just drowning in memories? Every now and again this happens to me, and it usually isn’t the same memories or the same times. Some days I feel like I’m reliving my religious mission all over again. Other times it is memories from my time at my previous university. And no matter how hard I try I just can’t escape them. I spend the entire day in a memory field. Honestly, it doesn’t happen that often. But I’m not the only one this happens to, right?
  3. The Prince in Snow White. OH. MY. GOODNESS. There are very, very, very few things on this earth that I have such passionate negative feelings about. But this character is one of them. And I’ll tell you why: he is the most WORTHLESS character that was EVER created in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD. He shows up for five minutes, sings a song, leaves, and then at the end, he shows up and is all, “Oh, I sorta remember her. She looks dead. Maybe I’ll kiss her and see what happens.” Then he gets the girl – because he did absolutely nothing except smooch her – like he is the hero of the day. He is worthless and stupid and stupid. He got way better than he deserved. He is worthless and stupid. The dwarves were totally the heroes of that story. The prince is worthless and stupid.

So I know that I said there were about 47 topics in my head, and that – though a slight exaggeration – was quite true. Has been true, in fact, all day. But now that I’ve written this out, I think those were the most important.

As far as all the other ones go, though, don’t even get me started.

For Laughs

Eggs & Fitzgerald

It is quite unusual for me to go this long without blogging. It’s been about two weeks since my last confession – I mean, blog post, and I must admit it has been a little weird. I’m used to posting quite often.

paperBut I hit a rut, you know?

Every now and again I hit a blogging rut where I’m positive that everything to do with this blog has been unutterably spent. So I have to take a break for a while. And when I come back I’ve absolutely convinced myself that I do, in fact, have loads more to say and so much genius to share with the world.

I’m not sure that any of that is true, however, I am back. And just spent a ridiculous amount of time explaining the whole situation that is really quite simple. So there’s that.

Anyway, let’s talk about eggs.

You may think it is random of me to bring up eggs, and you would be 100% correct. It was suggested to me to write about eggs in my next blog post, and I saw it as an acceptable challenge to my writing abilities.

I really have only a few things to say about eggs. They are as follows:

  1. I don’t love them. I’m sorry. I just don’t. Eggs aren’t my favorite thing.
  2. But as a person who loves to cook/bake, I’m very grateful for the existence of eggs.
  3. Every once in a while I enjoy a good egg white sandwich – which is basically just cooked egg whites on two pieces of toast. Creating an exceptional sandwich. With just the right amount of salt and pepper and butter, this is a really lovely breakfast.

Okay, mission accomplished. Let’s talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald now.

The other day I read the short story Winter Dreams by Fitzgerald – but wait. I’m gettingfitzgerald ahead of myself. I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about Fitzgerald on this blog. But if I haven’t then shame on me. Because my love for Fitzgerald knows absolutely no bounds. As a writer, I can’t even begin to comprehend how he wrote what he wrote – the beautiful language he used, how he could say so much with so little. As a reader, I practically drool over his writing. It is so fulfilling to read, so pleasing to every sense. To put it as simply and succinctly as I can: F. Scott Fitzgerald is everything.

I love F. Scott Fitzgerald so, so much.

Winter Dreams was an interesting story because many believe it to be a sort of prequel to The Great Gatsby. The main characters, Dexter and Judy, are quite similar to Gatsby and Daisy.

Of course, the ending was incredibly sad. It wouldn’t be Fitzgerald if it wasn’t. But besides that, it left my mind turning with all kinds of implications. As Fitzgerald does. I believe that one of the main themes of the story is beauty. Dexter is so in love with Judy, and according to his description, she is strikingly beautiful. By the end of the story, Dexter hears through an acquaintance that Judy is alright looking, or pretty enough, or something to that effect. And it completely baffles Dexter that somebody could even begin to think this about the woman that he was in love with for so long.

I found the story tragic, but wonderful. I’ve come to believe that Fitzgerald’s language is just so beautiful that you can’t help but feel good after you read one of his novels or stories. Even though they tear your heart out. It’s a secret I think all writers should learn. You just wow the reader with your wonderful diction skills and then they don’t mind so much that you’ve caused them irreparable emotional damage.

So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for a recommendation for the upcoming weekend, mine is this: an egg white sandwich and Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I'm Just Saying

Golden Lads And Girls

14375342_1898733117020628_440956483_oA little over three weeks ago, I boarded a plane in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eleven hours later I got off that plane in London, England.

While I have traveled the U.S extensively, this was the first time I had ever traveled internationally. I went to England for three weeks with a group from my university on an English Literature study abroad tour. I knew it would be amazing, I knew it would be perspective changing and life altering. Fulfilling dreams has a way of doing that. However, I had no idea just how amazing it would be, just how perspective changing, or how thoroughly life altering.

I love it when you feel yourself changing into something better as a result of something beautiful you have experienced. Of course, becoming better is a good thing even if the circumstances are less than favorable, but if something is so thoroughly wonderful that it seeps into your soul and changes who you are, then that is the most magical thing of all.

While we weren’t able to visit my ancestral homeland of Scotland, we saw so much of 14408386_1898732953687311_1195077434_oEngland and Wales, and even popped over to Ireland or a few days. I went into more cathedrals than I can count. I stood in each one of them in complete awe and reverence of the beauty surrounding me, of the hundreds of years of worship I could see with my own eyes. We were able to attend Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral as well as Salisbury Cathedral. Those are incredibly special experiences that I will always carry with me.

We saw a host of Shakespeare plays, we visited the homes of the Bronte family, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen. We spent four magical days in London, where I left a good portion of my heart. We saw castles and manor houses. We basked in the breathtaking beauty of the countryside. I fell into a relationship with scones and hot chocolate from which I shall never recover. We visited Cambridge and went punting. We spent three glorious days in Stratford-Upon-Avon, a city that has completely and utterly stolen all of my love and then some.

14360354_1898733463687260_617352064_oI have been home now for about four days, battling the jet lag and mostly winning. But I feel so different. While I love my home very much, I would be lying if I said that I’ve come home the same person. This trip was not only a dream come true, but it felt as though a piece of me that had long been yearning had finally come home.

So my only request, England, is that you take very good care of it until I return.

 

For Laughs

I Prefer Steadfast

For about as long as I can remember, people have found it necessary to tell me that I’m a stubborn person. Well actually, for longer than I can remember, I’m fairly certain.

Now to continue on with this honesty thing, most of the time this comes from my mom when I call her in hard situations. Somewhere along the line it usually comes up that I’m a pretty stubborn person.

honkedWell it has been my experience in life that calling somebody “stubborn” is not a compliment. I’m not necessarily proud of my so-called stubbornness, however it seems to be a fact that the entire world knows about.

So I’ve been thinking.

I think being stubborn is a good thing, obviously to a point. Being too much of anything is probably not a good thing. If you’re not willing to stick with something and believe in it, then you should probably just go home right now. But you don’t want to be so stubborn that you miss wonderful opportunities.

Anyway, I guess the point here is that I’ve decided to not be stubborn.

I prefer “steadfast”.

It’s much more positive.

I'm Just Saying

Frankly, My Dear…

Dear Frank Sinatra,

I think, above anything else, you have taught me what it means to live. What the journey of life often looks like. Your voice has been in the background of the biggest moments in my life. Every time I listen to you sing, I remember when you said, “Whatever else has singingbeen said about me is unimportant. When I sing, I believe. I’m honest.”

So when you sing, I believe you. Whatever else has been said about you. (Although the mafia accusations never really bothered me because, here’s a secret, I’m pretty sure I was in the mafia in a past life. Just saying. But that’s a conversation for another time.)

You have taught me that in the hard moments, when you feel really hollow but also almost too full, you always get back up. You taught me to be brave in the face of doubt. You taught me that we are more than we seem. You’ve taught me to face it all, and stand tall while I’m doing it.

I’m pretty sure that if you ever had the moments where you felt like somebody took a cheese grater to your soul, you just fixed it with Jack Daniels. The problem with this is that I don’t drink, so I’ll never know the exact effectiveness of this particular solution. But that’s okay.

Frank Sinatra

The thing is that moments like those can be oddly relieving, while also being more painful than you thought they’d be. No matter how surprisingly well they went. Brave things tend to do that, I think. They are surprising in no less than 900 ways. My solution usually involves listening to your music for undisclosed amounts of time until ridiculous hours in the morning.

And then when I wake up, I feel better. Stronger.

Whenever I have the urge to complain, I let myself be as ridiculous as I want for about 20 seconds. And then I shut it off like a switch and continue on. It worked really well on my religious mission, and works great on a grander scale as well. You let yourself feel whatever you’re going to feel for an hour, all night, a day, a week, or whatever it is you decide. But when you get to the end of that time, you move on. That’s the key to wallowing.

Is that anything like Jack Daniels?

Because if it is, then you taught me that, too.

white bandYou also taught me that old movies are better all the time. As a general rule. They just are. They’re better because they weren’t afraid to say the things we only ever think. They’re better because everything is better in black and white or old color.

Really, Frank, you’ve taught me a vast amount of things when it comes to living. A lot of what not to do, I’ll be honest, but a lot of good things, too.

Also, your green fedora and the black one with the white band are my favorites.

Thank you for all the things.

Sincerely,

Jordan