Thursday, April 13, 2017

An Ode to Benedict Cumberbatch

     Going through some of my old(ish) documents has yielded many odd gems. My festive Marxist Carol provides flourishing evidence of this. Going through the aforementioned old documents has also convinced me that my writing is rather awful I should share more "creative" bits of writing with the vast, unpredictable, indelible world of the internet. For once, then, it will not be myself who shall be kept up all night, weeping over such misfortunate creations. Instead, it is you, my dear readers, who must suffer.

     Disclaimer: I in no way claim to be good at poetry, and realize this supposed follows no sort of expected Reason, though it does Rhyme. Thus, I apologize in advance for the agony this brief piece might induce.

     Second disclaimer: In the intention of preserving honesty, my source for many of the names used in the poem is this blog, rather than my imagination: benedictcumberbatchgenerator.tumblr.com




Oh Bombadil Countryside,

Your name is known both far and wide.

(On the internet it cannot hide.)


Oh Benadryl Claritin,

Is messing up your name a sin?

(At least we don’t say “garbage bin”.)


Oh Beetlejuice Snickersbar,

Your name is heard both near and far.

(Were the letters formed on a distant star?)


Oh Burgerking Wafflesmack,

Why does your name sound like a snack?

(It always reminds us of cookies we lack.)


Oh Blenderdink Crumplehorn

Why are your characters so forlorn?

(Perhaps your name is what they scorn.)


Oh Britishguy Sillyname,

Nothing is greater than your fame

(Even if no one can pronounce your name.)


GIF found on giphy.com

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Marxist Carol


     By way of a hastily cobbled together explanation...

     In a certain literature class, a certain teacher has his students give speeches rather than write essays. Occasionally, he will include an option to tell a story in the midst of possible speech topics. As my mind follows odd pathways sometimes (read: always), I opt to take advantage of this opportunities as often as I am allowed. While  these stories are generally ludicrous (and probably childish), they seem to bring some measure of joy to the class. For in this harrowing journey through school, life, and the universe, one needs all the laughter one can do.

     Thus, without further ado, the Wandering Typewriter presents...




     Okay, yeah, so maybe I’m kinda the reason Karl Marx had an “economic breakthrough” and shoved his ludicrous ideals on the world, but hey, I had my reasons. Very, very good reasons.

     Alright, fine. I was bored. In fact I’d just been forced into a marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians; Kim’s crying face was clouding my judgment--and my will to live. Well, technically I’m not alive to begin with. I’m a ghost. But that doesn’t mean that fake reality TV doesn't bug me, or that I’m unemployed. Take that, starving college students. Well, I suppose shouldn't taunt them too much--my job is to send out other ghosts to haunt people. I don't know where I squeeze in the time to binge Youtube and Netflix, but somehow I do it. But hey, I'm not complaining; someone has to be in charge. Besides, humans need this service of ours--they generally won’t do anything without outside prodding.

     I entertained the idea of haunting Thomas Jefferson with the specter of Alexander Hamilton (it’s hilarious how long he’ll argue with a ghost after the inevitable initial screaming), but instead I decided to be “responsible” and opted for something that would stay out of the history books. American history books, at least. Americans tend to ignore world events and zero in on their two hundred year blip of existence.

     I glanced at my roster. Two of my crew had just gotten back from their respective hauntings: one from Denmark, one from Africa. I sauntered out of my office and snagged them both before they went home--cashing in on a favor, I said. What favor, they said. You’ll see, I said. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come had been floating through the hallways all evening, ostensibly trying to figure out how to work our semi-corporeal vending machines. I grabbed them too.


     Oh, also: when I’m not haunting people, I like to dabble in economics. A few centuries ago you might have called me an expert, but I’ve long surpassed that. What’s after expert? Master? Wizard? All-seeing Sensei Ghost of the Stock Market? Anyway, I felt like annoying some poor unsuspecting student, a business major, perhaps; someone unimportant in the grander scale of human history.

     If my choice in TV shows didn’t tip you off, you should know that sometime I have really terrible judgement.

     I’m not sure if Karl Marx greeted me in expletives or spluttered a polite invitation to sit down and enjoy some hot tea and biscuits. Hard to tell with German.

     “Tonight,” I said, “You will be visited by three spirits. One--well, I don’t want to ruin it for you. Listen well!”

     I receded back into the shadows and let my man Hamlet do his thing. He emerged, armor and all. Marx puffed up like an overly optimistic cookie batch.

     “Karl,” Hamlet wailed, “ I am thy father's spirit, Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night--”

     “Vhat?”

     “Revenge my foul and most unnatural murther. The bourgeois, Karl! They stole my life, like they stole everything else. Bah!”

     Marx stroked his beard. “You are sure? They seemed such good, hardworking folk.”

     “No! If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not. Avenge meeeeeee….” He howled, and disappeared into the wall behind him, armor and all.

     Marx, shaken, returned to his work. If I had an eyebrow, I would raise it. Hmm. Less scared than I’d expected. Well, next in my lineup was none other than Mufasa--that would show him. I’m not sure how the lion managed to create a pseudo-African storm in such a cramped room, but as he spoke, the room boomed with thunder.

     “Karl, you have forgotten me,” he rumbled.

     “Who are you?”

     “You have forgotten who you are, and so you have forgotten me. Remember who you are. You are a champion of the proletariat, and the one true visionary economist.”

     “But--”

     “REMEMBER!”

     The clouds disappeared. Marx stared at them like he was expecting something to pop out of them, then shook his head.

     “I do not have time for zis. I’m late--Engels awaits me at ze factory. I must--”

     Like a Nazgul descending from the heavens, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come materialized and screeched in his face. Marx screeched back and dove to the floor, trembling.

     “Mercy--please! I vill change--I vill never vork again! I will...share this visdom you have imparted to me. Vill that be enough? I vill protect the proletariat with my life.”

     A few assorted Ringwraith noises later, the Ghost disappeared. So did Karl, except he ran, screaming, out of the room instead of vanishing, howling, into the ceiling. I decided to leave too--the Netflix wasn’t going to watch itself. You might wonder how I could exit so calmly after such a screw-up, but listen, this isn’t the worst thing I’ve done in my haunting career. Actually, perpetuating communism is pretty high on the list of my mistakes, but hey. It’s easy to live with yourself when technically you aren’t living at all. And at least Marx learned something: listening to the advice of fictional ghosts is way more important than actually going out and working.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Volume of Mundane Adventures, Episode 1

     Sit down. I may knock you off your feet with the sheer magnitude of the tale I am about to unfold.

     My story begins on a Wednesday night.

      I pull into the Kroger parking lot, radio at a somewhat reasonable volume because, even though there's nobody there to complain about the music, I am a Safe and Responsible Driver. It's cold, so after I cross the street I run into the store like I've just stolen the Declaration of Independence. I snap, an echo of the Doctor summoning the TARDIS, and the automatic doors slide open.

     The real business, the Serious Business that called me forth through the cold and lonely dusk, begins.

     I'm wearing a flower crown, but that doesn't mean I'm not intimidating, oh no. I march through the aisles like a have a purpose--I do have a purpose. There are few people in the store, which minimizes the casualties. Anyone who is unfortunate enough to stumble into my path will most certainly regret it. I have a mission.

     I grab the Items of Utmost Importance and move to pay for them. I'm not a criminal, just carrying precious cargo--so precious that I couldn't even sacrifice the time to wait in the one-person line. I walk up to the self-checkout like the adult I'm not and pay for the Items in cash. I collect the change and leave, snapping again as the automatic doors part before me.

     I walk out of the store carrying my mission. My Items of Utmost Importance. My precious cargo. 

     I walk out of the store with twenty-four Reese's Cups.

Monday, March 13, 2017

In Which I Finally Talk About Kansas

     Hello. College decisions are snapping at my heels, school looms dark and cackling in the near future, and I have a screenplay to finish. What's a blogger to do?

     I'm going to finally talk about Kansas.

     Now, this shan't be about Kansas as an abstract concept; I don't know enough about the state to summarize it, except perhaps as "it felt like the inside of a water bottle that had been left outside Too Long". Instead, it shall be a short essay. A sappy essay. An essay I wrote to get into college. And guess what? It worked.


     Let's begin.

     Once upon a time, I accidentally created a small gang. The fact that we succeeded in instilling some amount of fear into the local authorities surprises me and worries others. However, our actions are rendered somewhat less alarming when one considers that we were at a writing workshop, and the “local authorities” were our venerated teachers.

     Yes. A writing workshop. This summer, I was blessed to take my own masterpiece--that is, the somewhat vile first draft of a novel--to the flat otherworld known as the Sunflower State. Why? Well, the workshop prominently featured “critique groups”: a handful of writers in a hot room who are given permission to gently shred one’s ideas to bits. And who doesn’t want their writing pulled apart and examined under the microscope of a second opinion?

     Gentle sarcasm aside, I journeyed to Kansas to learn; learn how to hone my prose, learn if I wanted to pursue writing as a career, learn if I was any good at putting words on page or if I should dump my draft into the nearest recycling bin. As one can see, I had expectations higher than the little bumps the Olathe locals called “hills”.

     In reality, the week in Kansas not only taught me how to improve my craft, it taught me to overcome fear. No matter how hard they try to deny it, everyone has something that keeps them up at night. However, besides the ordinary sort of worries, like spiders or someone we love getting harmed in some way, we have slower, deeper-rooted fears. Rejection. Betrayal. Abandonment. Every small disaster serves to reinforce these fears. Though I doubt most people have dueled their closest friend to the death at sundown, other things mirror and intensify the emotions that could lead to such a violent act.

     Back to Kansas.

     There I stood, fresh off the airport shuttle and marveling at the lack of mountains. As I lugged my suitcases through the cloudburst and up the stairs, I wondered what the week would hold. Would I return home with the contact information for a dozen new friends? Or would I pass the time in relative loneliness, acquiring knowledge instead of friendships? To save myself disappointment, I was inclined to resign myself to the latter, despite the twinges of self-pity accompanying that decision.

     Enter the first group of writers.

     The Narnian garb and the talking bacon pillow might have thrown many people into mental acrobatics, but I’d been around enough creative types to merely accept it. What shocked me was how friendly these people were--particularly the ones who’d attended past workshops and had therefore already established strong friendships. One of them in particular was rather famous in that community of writers, having won the highly competitive novel contest among other things. I was shocked by their inclusion of me in their antics. Was this workshop already breaking from the mold I’d cast for it?

     The journey to the cafeteria interrupted my musings. After squeezing into and subsequently extracting ourselves from a booth, we journeyed to the first session, which announced the theme of the week: “Fair Winds and Following Seas”. Besides giving us a beautiful explanation of the metaphors in that phrase, the leader entreated us “not to hide in the introvert corner”. And so, in accordance with the nautical feel, I started testing the waters. Or, stripping away the metaphors, I started making friends. Soon, the aforementioned gang was born and the rest of my initial fear melted away.

     The rest of the workshop sped by, cramming a bookful of knowledge (as well as the odd smattering of top hats and late-night explorations) into a few short days. Nobody wanted it to end; the atmosphere, the people were too lovely to leave.

     Saturday, the last day, dawned.

     I returned my keys and waited for the airport shuttle amid literal weeping. It seemed like everyone was hugging someone like it was the last time they’d see them--and it probably was. Honestly, the only thing keeping my eyes dry was the looming threat of missing my flight. As I was finishing my goodbyes, I noticed a young lad, rather well-known in that community of writers, wandering about, hugging essentially everyone he talked to. As I had spent a bit of time with him over the course of the week, I went over to bid him farewell.

     He hugged me for a long moment. As I tried not to cry over a goodbye to a stranger, he looked me in the eyes and told me to read John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

     The moment passed. The shuttle arrived, I flew home and reality resumed its normal course, but I doubt I’ll ever forget that moment. It captured the soul of the workshop. Yes, we were utterly ridiculous, we had deep conversations about figments of our imagination, we walked about in cloaks and tiaras, but in a few short days we learned to care about strangers like we’d known them our whole lives.

     In Kansas I learned I didn’t have to be afraid, especially of other people. Yes, I still worry about what people think, what they could do to my ego or reputation. But often I think about the workshop and remember, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

In Which I Am /Technically/ a Senior Citizen


     I vanished for a while; surely I've been up to something interesting.

     ...hmm, surely I can think of something... Let me just fish around in my memory a bit.....

     ....

     What day is it?

GIF found on reactiongifs.us

     In all seriousness, though, what have I been doing? And why did I disappear yet again?

     Well, in short, I ran out of things to talk about.

     Actually, I ran out of things to talk about, then when I did have something to talk about I ran out of time. An observant reader might point to NaNoWriMo as the source of my busyness. However, my novel remains gloriously unwritten in lieu of a screenplay and college essays. Speaking of these essays, I'm quite pleased with how one turned out and shall probably post it shortly. (Hint: it involves my sojourn in Kansas.)

     As I have several deadlines ominously wielding machetes in the distance, I must cut this short. Good luck to my fellow senior citizens. I mean, we're seniors in high school, at least, though I suppose our lack of a career negates any retirement money we could try to claim, barring time travel, of course. Or something like that.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Concerning Fall

     Yesterday was a...day.

     So was the day before that.

     Millions of people experienced that day in different ways, sometimes crossing paths with others in the infinte spiderweb of socialization.

     However, that day, the day before yesterday was a Thursday, which is somewhat more comforting than the existential crisis inspired by the previous sentence.

     Ordinarily this information, this Thursdayness would slip by largely unnoticed, except perhaps by those who draw hope from the day's nearness to the weekend. However, the Thursday in particular rises from the mediocre deeps in that it was The First Day of Fall. Or Autumn, I suppose; contrary to popular belief, some Americans do in fact refer to the season by the latter name, instead of the more common (and more literal) first.

     Speaking of fall (and of taking things literally, I suppose), do you know how hard it was to resist beginning with a Sherlock GIF? Ah, the perks of attempting to stay family-friendly.... Surely my characters are rising up to denounce my hypocrisy of not taking the opportunity to make a violent pun. I sense pitchforks in my immediate future. Sometimes I'm afraid the figments of my own imagination, but I doubt a incorporeal being could skewer me with aforementioned farming implement. Besides, if something is fictional it can't exactly weep over the death of Sherlock Holmes. My characters have enough problems of their own to cry about, like the death of [censored for spoilers]. But I guess sometimes they do wish to tell their dead friends....

Image found on Tumblr. Sherlock is BBC property; I, an American,
claim none of it

     Great, now half the readership is hopelessly confused and the other half is crying on the floor. Spectacular job, Elizabeth.




     Let's switch from falls of the Reichenbach nature to the falls of the pumpkin spice latte nature. Which reminds me... why is that particular sort of coffee both venerated and ridiculed above all other ridiculously overpriced beverages? Sure, I would probably fight someone over pumpkin pie, but over a $5 drink saturated with 1,000,000 kilograms of sugar... I'm confused.

Disclaimer: the author has never tried a pumpkin spice latte, despite the fact that she has a Starbucks less than 5 minutes from her house. She realizes she may have offended the entirety of the internet and fears...nothing. And yes, she used the metric system even though she's a hopelessly pale American. Fight her.

    I think I'm having an existential crisis about coffee now. Perhaps later I'll pen a pseudo-philosophical rant about the cliches tied into Starbucks.

     For now, though, I'll add it to the list of things I intend to do but probably will forget about five minutes later. Whatever doesn't guilt-trip you into doing it gets put off until you forget about it. But at least this time I'm procrastinating by doing something somewhat useful, which is... probably good? Surprisingly, though, I'm not procrastinating writing an essay; actually, I've been assigned no essay this semester (yet at least). So, I decided to fill that gap in my schedule by sharing tips on how to do something I haven't properly done in... years?

     After sitting down at one's computer (an essential first step, though I shan't judge you if you choose to exercise your Right to American Freedom and Stand Tall and Proud. Or Short and Proud, depending on the circumstances), there are many ways to go about writing a paper, which I have organized into a List. I'm most certainly being productive if I'm making lists.

1. Bang one's head against the keyboard repeatedly. Let spellcheck lend some feeble sense of order to the garbled mess. Format it properly. Turn the atrocity in. Cry.

2. Copy and paste the whole thing from Wikipedia. Pray the professor hasn't heard of said website and takes you at your word. Or Word. Microsoft Word. If you dislike puns or hate Microsoft even more than you hate actually writing essays, you've probably murdered me by now.

3. Write it all at 4 a.m. the night before it's due, fueled by coffee, Redbull, and deep-seated hatred for the American education system. Is passing the class really worth it?

4. Behave like the responsible human being everyone believes you to be and start the assignment as soon as you receive it. Budget your time well. End up actually sleeping instead of crying the night away.

     Why is it that nobody, nobody chooses the last option? Are we lazy? Are we perfectionists? Are we hopeless procrastinators doomed to flunk out of college and spend our lives flipping "burgers" and protesting minimum wage laws with hopelessly misspelled signs?

     As I lack a satisfactory answer, I shall blame everything on Habits. They say it takes a month to form a habit; I wonder how many essays one could write in a month, given that Alexander Hamilton wrote...

     Wait, no; if I'm to reference the $10 founding father I must do it properly.

*deep breath*

HAMILTON. WROTE.

THE OTHER FIFTY ONE.

     I'm not remotely sorry. However, if you're here for Hamilton puns, I'm afraid you're just going to have to Wait for It.

*historical chortling*

     Besides essays and expensive coffee, fall has quite a variety of occurances to warrant the mass rejoicing over the death of summer--and, by extension, the death of mosquitoes. Warm drinks, sweaters, Halloween (a.k.a. Reformation Day, depending on which way you look at it--I wonder how hard it would be to carve the 95 Theses into a Jack-o-lantern), Thanksgiving, the Beginning of the Christmas Season, and...

     Nanowrimo.

     Time to decide which character(s) will proverbially get it.

     *devious cackling* *sudden realization and existential crisis about joking about destroying characters* *because characters carry shards of one's soul* *and to kill them off sometimes says something deep about you* *but it makes readers cry* *and sometimes makes a point* *and so we do it* *and now I need to stop before I rant for another paragraph, entirely in asterisks* *and so* *goodnight*

Saturday, September 3, 2016

In Which My Computer and I are #notdead Despite Rumors to the Contrary

   
     I survived for a month.

     A month without having the luxury of being able to type out my thoughts with ten fingers.

     A month with wifi being oh so maddeningly close, yet tantalizingly unavaible.

     A month without a fully function laptop.

     A month where anything resembling writing did nothing but accumulate proverbial dust.

     A.

     Month.

     Do you want to see the math for exactly how long I was deprived? I figured out how many hamburgers Canada could produce using all its 13+ million cows; figuring out how many seconds are in a month should be a piece of cake--Beef cake. (Is that a thing? Would anyone eat a baked good constructed from the tasty remains of cattle?) But my calculator is on the other side of the room, and I don't feel like going to get it, especially since "Burn" from Hamilton is playing. Poor Eliza... ALEXANDER WHY DID YOU CHEAT ON YOUR WIFE. WHY.

Note to self: giving up on graphic design and using comic sans is always an option.
Or, of course, you could use shorter titles.
...nah.

     *ahem* Anyway, why was I without a computer for so long? Well... Essentially, my laptop emulated Taylor Swift and decided to never ever get back together with my wifi. Well, at least for the agonizingly long time of, roughly, a month. But that month has passed, and, just like celebrity relationships, the mysterious problem has vanished. The magic of the reunion is credited wholly to the efforts of my long-suffering grandfather, who is fluent the language of the computers. Meanwhile, I can occasionally garble a few phrases with the help of the quasi-omniscient Google. However, lack of reliable internet changes the search engine from quasi-omniscient to quite out of reach. Staring at the Google Chrome icon, needing answers but unable to obtain them is like wandering through the desert, the ever-present empty promise of the mirage looming so close, so close... Except when one's computer has a maddeningly mysterious problem, instead of dying of dehydration, one merely screams and defenestrates the stubborn device. I was sorely tempted to chuck my laptop in pool, but that would have merely ruined my computer, giving me only a Dell rolling in the deep (end).


     I know. I'm not sure whether I should be proud or Very, Very Ashamed.

     Anyway...one might wonder what did I do in my long sojourn without a laptop. Sit and stare at the ceiling in the grip of one of the longest existential crises I've ever experienced?

     I mean yeah, I did, but that's not all I did. Just most of it.

     Organized people tend to make lists of things they've done or plan to do. I am not an organized person, but shall act the part. Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery; perhaps if I flatter the organized people enough they'll teach me their ways.

1. Milligan Fine Arts camp. 

     Ah yes; I went back. The déjà vu was real. At least this time I had some clue of what I was doing and didn't freak out about actually socializing with other humans. Well, not as much, at any rate. The introvert corner was mostly unoccupied, though I did accidentally hide in my dorm room a few times. Here, have a few of the 1,000+ pictures I took.

     This year I probably successfully confused the heck out of my teachers by registering with my first name and then going by my middle name. Also, I experienced firsthand why it's hard to convince photographers to interview people, and realized that my camera doesn't automatically turn off when I accidentally leave it on all day. The death of the battery was more tragic and unexpected than many of my characters' untimely ends. SPEAKING OF WHICH:

2. My story suddenly and dramatically switched genres.

     No, not Sylv's story; the other one I've already written twice. You know, the horrendously cliche high fantasy that I'm tempted to delete just to put it out of its misery. You know the stereotypical teenaged protagonist? The one that had unique and original and glittery healing powers? Well... she's kind of a gangster now. A smol, cheerful gangster who really likes pastel colors. How did this happen? What switch flicked in my brain to encourage switching from high fantasy to modern...um....
     Hmm.
     What genre even is it now?
     On which shelves would the zombie-like creatures of the library's night shift place this theoretical novel?
     Surely...
     Surely it wouldn't fall under romance.
     None of my characters have or ever will fall in love during the course of my stories. Ever.
     ...well...
     I mean... I do have an entire Pinterest board devoted to a, um...a pair of...two young...
     ....
     Nah. Surely it doesn't count.
     ....
     No. I'm still keeping my theoretical promise to myself. They definitely do not fall in love. No romance to be seen in this novel, thank you very much.
     Besides, it's completely one sided. The guy needs the pain of rejection in order to grow... needs it more than he needs to get the girl.
     ....
     ...wait.
     ....
     *horrified screaming*

3. My brother started a blog.

     Yes. Look. It's shiny and new and he has a better color scheme going than I do. Encourage him. http://thefledgelingphoenix.blogspot.com/

4. I missed the Sherlock season 4 trailer.

     Do I need to elaborate?

     It feels surreal...there can't be new Sherlock in the not-impossibly-distant future. It's impossible. The hiatus has consumed the BBC...there can't....I can't....

     I can't. The entire internet can't. Send help and a decent psychiatrist.

 


     I take no financial responsibility for any psychiatric bills or overindulgence in Ben and Jerry's. Perhaps a pun would lighten the mood? Prevent things from coming to that?
     *ahem* Well, Moriarty is ReichenBACK, my friends. Surely you didn't FALL for that.
     ...why is everybody suddenly crying?
     ....
     Well. Okay. Oops.
   
     Anyway. Back to quasi-seriousness.

     I don't remember what else I did (besides making fanart for my own story), so thus the list dies a proverbial death. I have been at least somewhat productive since re-obtaining the internet; the Wandering Typewriter is shiny and new and updated. Plus there's more space to organize things. Space. Heh. That was bad--hopefully not bad enough to warrant a chair being flung in my direction. Wait... Please put it down; I have characters to make suffer.

     *a dodge occurs that would put ninjas to shame. No, really--look at them cringing. Wait...you can't look...they're ninjas. Oops*

     ANYWAY, at least now I have my computer back so I can procrastinate that much more easily. The stars have truly aligned. Speaking of stars, LOOK AT MY NEW BACKGROUND I'M SO HAPPYYY :D!!!!!!

     *the excess of exclamation points fades into the nearly ever-present void of indifference that is both the internet and my facial expression, and the monologue ends, as every sentence does, in a split second of silence*