Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Killer Hair

My mane devours hair ties.
It chews up ponytail holders and spits them out.
When hair ties get put in my hair, they know they're tying hair on borrowed time.
No longer will they be worn around wrists,
traded among friends,
or hide in the corners of my duffel bag purses,
they sign that all away when they realize its my scalp they're approaching.

"Give my love to Janice, I hear she's Katy Perry's favorite hair tie,
Give my no-slip grip dress to Charice,
She's next."

My hair is to hair ties what The Fates are to man.
Once I purchase a new package, the string is cut short.
None last more than two hours before being torn in half,
And I, desensitized to the masses of casualties from my hair,
Toss lifeless hair ties into the garbage can, never to tie again.

"Murderer!" Hair ties scream at me while they strain to secure my 'do.
"I'm sorry," my hair whispers back. She knows not what she does.

My mane weeps as a green victim tightly wraps itself around a messy bun.
"Never let me go." The hair tie cries.
"I promise." Says my hair, even more voluminous than usual.
My hair is big, because its so full of lies.
And then, the last hair tie breaks.

My hair is a murderer and the body count just keeps growing.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Criticism of Modern Day Colloquies and Literature

While at an international student event with my roommate and friends on Wednesday I encountered not one, but two really great conversations that led to this post. One was about literature, one was about conversation, and both of them were based off of the point that in today's world, words are quickly losing meaning. I could talk about this in one of two ways, eloquently and maturely, like the title suggests I might, or with children's stories that I make up on the spot. Seeing as I think everything can be explained with a good children's story, I think I shall choose the latter of the two.

Conversation: Back in the time before internet, computers, or modern phones, people really knew how to talk to each other. You may think that people talk now more than ever because there are things like texting and Facebook to keep the world connected, but really, that's not talking. That's people exchanging shortened versions of words back and forth that rarely mean anything. But back in your grandparent's time, a group of people could sit in a room together and have a conversation based on something besides what they saw on the internet. A conversation that meant something. And since there was no texting or emails or Facebook chat they wrote letters, and everything they said meant something because letters took so long to get from one place to another. Words were used and not wasted. But then along came internet and cellphones and basically modern technology and phrases such as "k" and "lol" were accepted as parts of conversation. When talking with people it was very easy to bring up Facebook in normal conversation, and social networking sites were impossible to stay away from in day to day exchanges. This would not necessarily be a bad thing, if a devolution of vocabulary hadn't simultaneously occurred. To show you what I mean, I present: a sample conversation. 
How R U?
Gr8. U?
Where u @?
k c u in a sec. :)
 You may not believe me, but people really talk like that now. What happened to great conversations where all included parties departed with new wisdom? I'm not saying that these conversations still don't happen, but  they aren't as prevalent, and in my experience most conversation today is a contest who can talk the most and say the least at the same time. Let's change that, world. Let's bring back communication that doesn't exclusively happen through technology. Technology is a barrier to communication and the only way to break it down is through face to face interaction having a conversation about the news, the weather (it's snowing), sports, intellectual pursuits, life, and good literature. 

Speaking of good literature, let's talk about how bad writing has gotten recently. Since when is it okay for a poorly written BDSM Twilight fan fiction to end up topping the New York Best Seller list? In fact, it topped best seller lists around the world! Let me revise that. Since when is it okay that the entire erotic series be on the top of the NY Best Seller List? That spot used to be saved for books that actually meant something and were well written to boot. Think Ernest Hemingway, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, John Grisham, Kurt Vonnegut, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, and that's only a sampling. What's more, how did Twilight end up on the best seller list? Okay, I know how, it sold a lot of books. But why? It's poorly written, with a sketchy, predictable plot, and a million other things that are just awful. People are accepting rot for literature, and it needs to stop. I am all for modern literature, don't get me wrong. Looking for Alaska is one of my favorite books, and I would think that it's pretty modern. The Harry Potter Series grew along with an entire generation of people world wide, and there are so many more examples of great novels that have been written with the "modern literature" category that was born between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

However, the "they don't make 'em like they used to sentiment" greatly applies here. Where literature is concerned, books should be written for quantitative purposes, not qualitative. It's wonderous if a particular author has published at least 154 sonnets, but if none of those sonnets are very good, why even publish them*? A good book should teach the reader something. Books have the power to inspire and teach, to leave the reader with a new perspective on life, and potentially to change a life. with the books being published recently, that's not going to happen.

Why do I say this? Well, here's my reasoning. Recently I watched a video about writing and how every new writer goes through a period of "sucking" or just generally being a bloody terrible author. As aspiring (or new) authors everyone needs to embrace that period of time and realize that even though you have a potentially great story doesn't mean you should just throw it out into the world poorly written and underdeveloped. Authors need to give themselves time to suck, and embrace the suckiness of their writing along with it. Practice, spend years developing books, ideas, plots, characters, doing research and then, THEN great modern literature will potentially be born.

These observations have been made through my literature snob lenses, but I can't help but thinking that there is some validity to them. As a community we can only hope to move forward with literature and conversation, lest the world ends up like a scene from Idiocracy. 

*If you realized I was referencing Shakespeare, find me. We're best friends now. Also, in case you were wondering, all 154 of those sonnets were golden.