Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Literary/Artsy Halloween Bucket List

So, I know I've already done a fall-themed bucket list post. But I can't really think of anything else to post this week and of course, since Halloween is this Saturday, I have to do a Halloween-themed post.

I'm planning to have a pretty exciting Halloween. My campus gets really into Halloween. I may have mentioned it before, but Sarah Lawrence is like Tumblr in a college. We've got your social justice people, your artsy people, your fandom nerds. There are some people in here who only speak in memes; I wish I was kidding about that but I'm not. Anyway, so much like Tumblr, we get really freaking excited about Halloween. We have a Rocky Horror showing at midnight (at least, I think we do- I just checked my email and it doesn't say anything about it... but probably. Don't take my word for it) and trick-or-treating back at my old dorms this year (because OF COURSE they wait until I move out of that awful building to do one nice thing there) and what appears to be free autumn food all day at one of the campus dining places, according to the email I got. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, as far as I can tell.

But the thing about Halloween is that I build it up so much in my head throughout the entire month of October that it's bound to be pretty disappointing. I'm obviously way too lazy to actually do anything about it until, like, the night before, so I usually end up with a half-done costume and no party plans or whatever. And I expect it to be a MYSTICAL NIGHT of witches flying against the moon and ghosts dancing on skeletons or whatever, and it's obviously not, so it can get pretty irritating.

So I decided to make a bucket list to try and figure out what exactly my grandiose Halloween expectations are and list a few things I can actually do. Since I'm into the literary/artsy/hipster side of Halloween, it'll be more in tune with that kind of Halloween aesthetic. And unlike the previous bucket list, it is not the Ultimate Halloween bucket list, but just some stuff I think would be cool.

Costumes I want to do

1. Dress up as a famous poet. I think it would be really cool to dress up as Emily Dickinson, since she's kind of my new hero or whatever.
2. Dress up as a Greek goddess. I'm dressing up as Demeter this year, so I got that one covered.
3. Dress up as one of my own characters. That could be fun! No one would know who I was and it would seem really self-centered, but it would bring out a lot of creativity. I could be Holly, the wishmaker with blue robes. That would probably be the most fun choice.
4. Dress up as a season of the year. I've already dressed up as winter this past Purim (a Jewish holiday that involves costumes) but it could be cool to dress up as a season for Halloween, too.
5. Dress up as a character from one of my favorite TV shows. Obviously, I've been fictional characters for Halloween before, but it was only recently in my life that I actually started watching TV. I could be Rose Quartz from Steven Universe, or Korra from Legend of Korra, or Regina from Once Upon a Time. Or something without magic, I don't know.
6. Dress up as a Harry Potter character that I haven't already done. I've dressed up as Hermione and Bellatrix before. Possibly others, but I don't remember them. That leaves, like, at least a thousand more costumes to do. I need to be everyone in Harry Potter.

Events I want to participate in

1. Dead poets reading. I actually went to my school's Dead Poets Slam last week. But that's mostly for people in the theater program, I think, or people who enjoy the company of other humans. I'm talking more like gathering at night in a secret location to read poetry by dead poets.
2. Pumpkin carving. Yes, I've never carved a pumpkin. It would be fun though.
3. Tour to Sleepy Hollow and other creepy literary locations. Now that I live in the Westchester area, I'm actually pretty close to Sleepy Hollow. I want to go to old cemeteries and sites of ghost stories and things like that on Halloween night.
4. Hold a Halloween party. I could go to a Halloween party, but let's be real, the vibe of most Halloween parties is "let's get blackout drunk while listening to mostly normal music with Monster Mash in there once." I don't mean to judge those who drink alcohol, but I would like to have full usage of my brain while I listen to exclusively Halloweeny music and do exclusively Halloweeny things. So I would like to create my own Halloween party one year that is 100% Halloween-y.
5. Go on a haunted nature walk. The thing that makes it haunted is that it's Halloween, and at night. For the people reading this post who identify as my mother, if I did do this, I would be sure to go in a group of people I trust and wear reflective clothing and, like, carry a knife to protect me, I don't know. But it sounds really cool and spooky and full of crunchy leaves and creepy moonlight.
6. Haunted house visit. Another thing I've never really done. I would love to check out some seriously well-done haunted houses. Or just some creepy old Gothic mansions or something.
7. Reenact Halloween-y literary scenes. Like the three witches in Macbeth, or something from the House of the Seven Gables (I honestly don't remember anything from that book except that there's ghosts in it), and definitely Harry Potter stuff. Complete with costumes and music and everything.

Foods I want to eat

1. Apple cider churros. I forgot about this until I checked my Tumblr food tag just now for ideas. Apple. Cider. Churros. I mean, that sounds perfect, honestly.
2. Pizza. I always had pizza as a kid after trick-or-treating, and I usually put M&Ms on it. It's better than it sounds. For the authentic nostalgia experience, I'd get Costco pizza.
3. Halloween-shaped appetizers. Like, I don't know. Definitely NOT those awful jack-o-lanterns with guac coming out of their mouths so it looks like they're vomiting it. But... I would have guac, still. But not vomit guac. Anyway. Forget about vomit guac. Instead, think about cute little cookies shaped like witch hats or something!
4. Hot chocolate. With like, marshmallow ghosts. I'd also probably have hot cider and other such autumn-y drinks.
5. Fondue. But in a CAULDRON! With broomstick-shaped breadsticks to dip or something.
6. Other stuff in a cauldron. Witches' brew stuff. Soup, punch, stew, etc.

Media to consume (music, movies, poems, etc)

1. Double Trouble from the Harry Potter soundtrack. You know, "Double, double, toil and trouble" from the third movie? Tie-in with that Macbeth scene two sections ago.
2. Typical Halloween music. Monster Mash, This is Halloween, Addams Family soundtrack, all that stuff.
3. "Scary" movies or actually scary movies. I'll be honest, I haven't seen a lot of scary movies. Or even cute "scary" movies. But there's a few I want to watch. Coraline, Nightmare Before Christmas, the Addams Family maybe. (That's a movie, too, right? I keep seeing gifs from it). Just anything really fun or with a good plot.
4. Halloween episodes from my favorite shows. I listed some of them in my other bucket list post, linked way up at the top of this one.
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I wouldn't read the whole thing, but maybe excerpts.
6. Halloween-y poems. I can't think of a lot, but I know I read a Dickinson poem a few weeks ago about dying in the autumn. And I'm sure there's others, just on the tip of my brain but I can't remember them.

Anyway, I probably will think of fifty way better ideas for this post as soon as I've published it, but for now, I think this is a pretty decent list. What are your Halloween plans? What sort of stuff would you put on your own Halloween bucket list?
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Short Story Showcase: "Gone"

OK so I know this is not that exciting of a post but I'm tired because I didn't realize my French reading assignment for this weekend was over 100 pages long. You see, my teacher usually assigns about 40 pages a week of reading. You might think, "that's not much." That is because you're imagining reading something in your first language, not a language that you really do not know so well. Also, I have a headache, probably from reading a billion pages of French.

Anyway, enough about my life. The post today is going to be a short story showcase from me. I don't normally write short stories but now that I'm in a fiction writing class, I have to write quite a few for homework. The prompt for the following story was the word "gone." I haven't edited it, I didn't even share it in workshop (because there wasn't enough time, not because I thought it was bad or whatever), but I think it's pretty good, so that's what you guys are gonna have to read today. I mean, if you want. Or you could just look at this puppy. And these kitties.

So yeah. Here's my short story and hopefully next week I'll do a real blog post if I'm not bogged down with French homework again.


In my dreams, it is real. It only exists in the corners of my eyes and the tip of my thoughts during the day. An entire forest, reduced to wisps of leaves.
            At night, it is vivid and alive. It crawls with life, with wild things. Fireflies burning out symphonies in the hot summer air, or white ermines burrowing paths through the snow. Indigo flowers burst from nothing to form chains around my hair. Rain that I can drink.
            I don’t dream about it every night. I don’t think my brain has the capacity to create such real sensations so often. To create an entire world running up and down my neurons.
            You dream about people a lot after they’ve gone. You can even dream about people who haven’t gone, but they might as well have. Walking ghosts can stop being ghosts when you’re asleep.
            Like when Esther, my best friend, stopped talking to me, back in the seventh grade. I hadn’t known that that was a real thing people did, just stop talking to each other, until she did it. We had been growing apart a little, but not enough for her to ignore me when I spoke to her, when I yelled at her. I had dreams for weeks after that, of Esther and me idly swinging on the swings in the playground, talking about nothing during lunch. All the everythings and nothings that were forever gone.
            I’m not the only one who fills up the suddenly blank spaces in my world when I’m asleep. Gabrielle told me that in high school, after she’d broken up with her boyfriend, he’d haunted her dreams for months. “I still dream about him sometimes,” she said, staring at the ground. “Just walking with me. I wish I could fall in love with someone else so he would get out of my dreams.”
            I am the only one, however, who dreams about things other people have lost.
            My grandmother died before I was born, and yet my first memory was of her kneading bread dough, over and over in the warm tiny kitchen that was not mine. When two-year-old me woke up, I could feel the loss stinging in my lungs, constricting every breath. I knew somehow that this strange woman was never coming back. And then I’d seen her in a photograph in my mother’s wallet.
            People’s lost things clutter up my dreams. Not people, though, or living things, not a lot. It’s too much work for my head to suck the grief out of the air around us every night. I can tell when I’m dreaming about someone else’s loss- the cat lurking into the room feels sharp, like an intruder, and the caramel-warm relief I feel when I pet it is not my own. The burn in my eyes and throat when I wake up and remember, without knowing how, that the cat is dead- that burn is not mine.
The forest I dream about is not mine.
            It was real, once upon a time. How someone lost a whole forest, I have no idea. I wish I knew whose head these dreams were meant to be in, so I could ask them.
            When I dream about the forest, it fills me up to the brim. It fills up any holes I ever could have had torn through the fabric of my life. And when I wake up, it hurts like I’m suffocating. When I wake up, it’s cold, grey winter, no matter what season it is.
Well, thanks for reading! I'd like to remind everyone (looking at certain people) that this is a fictional short story, and while all short stories are somewhat based in reality, they are not direct copies of my life. So I don't have the power to dream about other people's stuff, nor am I mad about a friend leaving me, or a breakup, or whatever else you may be assuming.

Anyway. Sorry if I sound super grumpy. It's because I still have twenty thousand pages of French to read.
See you next week,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Autumn: A Little Scrapbook in Art

As we're just approaching the middle of October, and thus the center of autumn, I thought it was time to pull out the next in a series of posts I've been doing: the scrapbook in art posts. The previous ones include snow, rain, and summer. Basically, I take a season or natural phenomenon, and I find poems, stories, songs, paintings, and other artworks that I like that depict that thing. It's not meant to be an all-encompassing scrapbook, just a few works of art to get you in the mood of the season/weather.

So today, I'm collecting some of my favorite art works that remind me of autumn. Here you go:


To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
  Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
  Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, 
  Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
  Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
  Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 
  Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
  And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
  Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
  Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
  The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, 
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

"Full Moon" by Paul Klee

"Willow Tree March" by the Paper Kites

The morns are meeker than they were by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were - 
The nuts are getting brown -
The berry’s cheek is plumper -
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf -
The field a scarlet gown -
Lest I sh'd be old-fashioned 
I’ll put a trinket on. 
"The Fairest of the Seasons" by Nico covered by Laurena Segura 

"Moon Magic" by Jana Heidersdorf
Too Late by me
Once again
You didn’t do anything

And now the summer is gone.

Even the Fall is almost over.
You’d said you’d go apple picking, leaf watching.

Now there’s nothing left to look at.

The bare branches, the wind…
You must stop looking and start seeing.

You must see the sunsets, the dusk.

The fleeting fire of clouds that disappear
Before you can make poems of them.

You must see the sparrows, geese, circling hawks.

You must see the leaves with enough colors
To hide a nebula in their skins.

Begin to walk in the woods in the mornings.

Pray to the trees. You are lost and the forest
Has found you. Leave the artificial light of the indoors.

Walk out into the cold. It’s not too late for you.


"The King of the Forest" by Evgeni Dinev

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 

"Autumn" by Bombay Bicycle Club


There are many different facets to autumn. I think the art I chose to display here depicts a couple of them. I hope you enjoyed reading through these.
Thanks for reading,