Rain Muse

3136245069_c78dcfb37cRain inspires me to write.

The world looks so beautiful, looking out through a wet pane of glass. It makes me want to reach out and capture the beauty of all that I see with my pen and put it into words. Which of course I’m almost unable to.

I can only do my best.

Apparently, rain inspires other creative Minds as well. Namely, composers of music. From as long ago as Chopin to the present with Yiruma and Joe Hisaishi, composers are trying to put the feeling of rain into music notes so that people can listen and enjoy.

These composers are quite different in nature and style of their compositions. However, their music still captures the beauty of the rain.

Yiruma, a famous Korean composer, wrote “Kiss the Rain.” This short piece of music became one of his most famous pieces of music. It sounds like raindrops gently plinking into a lake or puddle. Yiruma uses the high notes of the piano interjected with several lower sections here and there to recreate the raindrops’ sound into a gentle yet unmistakable melody.

389201828_454d111abeFrederic Chopin’s prelude in D minor is also known as “Raindrops.” And no wonder, for the piece starts off gently, like raindrops falling onto the cobblestones of the street or the shingles on the roof. In the middle, though, the music builds up into a climax, not unlike the distant thunder that sometimes comes during summer rain. This is still raindrops, but more as if the rain had stopped trickling and started pouring. And then everyone on the street rushes out of the rain to find shelter. After the climax, the soft raindrops continue the dance and things can continue as before.

My street used to get flooded during heavy rains. The rain would pour in huge sheets, and the street in front of the house would slowly fill with heavy brown water, as thick as soup. The cars would drive by, and I would watch them throw up more brown water as they drove past.

In those days I never thought that such heavy water could bring those cars in danger of hydroplaning. The water was at least six inches deep in some parts.

That was before they changed the drainage pipes.

At that age, I felt sad knowing that there would be no more flooding, no more little children peeking out of upstair windows at the cars fighting the river the road had become.

Nostalgia.

Joe Hisaishi’s “The Rain” was written as part of the soundtrack of a movie called Kikujiro. This track is my personal favorite. It speaks of rain pouring down onto a street while a cat takes refuge on a park bench under an abandoned umbrella. It speaks of gaps in the road filled with puddles. Of trees sighing and whispering to each other while the rain batters them relentlessly.

It speaks of nostalgia. Days long gone by, washed away by the passage of the rain. Rocks, dirt roads worn down by years and years of heavy rain. In it, you can feel a sense of sadness in the midst of the beauty of the rain. Maybe that sense of sadness is because of something long-forgotten. Like a former love. Or for something that was so perfect yet came to an end.

Yet at the end of the piece, the sun comes out.

Pink Plumeria by Sheepback.Cabin.

(the glow after the rain)

Picture credits: Jen Nelles, Made in Neverland, and Sheepback.Cabin.

Librarians and Weirdness

Sometimes I wonder what librarians think about the people who frequent their library.

In their job, they must meet a lot of weird people. They probably check out strange books to strange people, or strange books to the most ordinary people imagined. I wonder what they think.

26119001_5d3ccab7a0Some librarians, like at the branch I go to regularly, like to talk to the patrons about their choice of books. Especially little kids. Part of their job is to recommend books to the kids and help them enjoy reading. And ask them questions about what they’ve read. “What did you read? How did you like it?” Some librarians do this to the older people as well. “Oh, I really love this magazine you’re checking out. My son loves it too, but I’d rather get it from here.” “What did you think about this book?”

Just this past week, I was lined up at the counter. An old man was in front of me. He was checking out a Men’s Health magazine. You  know, the magazine with some picture of a guy with an open shirt revealing washboard abs. And this guy who was checking the magazine out was old. And creaky.

What about the old ladies who check out porn?

Eek.

3329718786_09841f9512Or the weird teenagers/college students who check out books on cosmetic surgery?

I go to the library at least once every week. Chances are I’ll have more than 10 books on hold. As a result, the librarians know me as the girl who reads a lot. And who always has a load of books every single Saturday to take home.

They probably wonder about the stuff I read, too.

A few months ago, I was reading up on cosmetics surgery for a project I gave myself. I borrowed a couple of books with titles like “Cosmetic Surgery.” “Cosmetic surgery for Dummies.” My mom saw that and was speechless for some time. The librarian kind of rolled her eyes.

“Don’t ask,” I said.

But no matter how weird the subject matter, the librarians are always helpful and accommodating. They’re always kind and no matter how long the line is, they’re always ready to help. They don’t snap or groan or mumble about how long the line is. If you want help finding a book, they’ll give it to you. They won’t snap at you for anything except about you talking loudly about the weird manga the library does NOT have.

Librarians are amazing people.

I love my librarians.

Driving through the Rain (Part II)

45301303_7d129f93fbI’m sorry to admit that I learned how to be violent when angry. It was the only way of getting any attention. It was easier than sitting down and explaining why I was angry and how I really felt and what I think we should do better. My father is not one to listen when he is angry. Few people honestly know how to do that. Few people do it well. So I’d throw things, and simmer until I was exhausted. The problem never gets resolved, and I leave myself with a nagging sense of incompleteness.

As I got older, things got worse, not better. The fights became more frequent as the teenage years are some of the most stressful times for parents. Parents see their children changing before their eyes and don’t know what to make of it. A simple “grunt” is so easy to read as disrespect. Without patience and God’s grace, it’s almost impossible to navigate through these years without some scars. Maybe my parents felt as if they were looking at someone completely different from the son or daughter they’d had for years. My brother changed a lot during this time. He grunted more, stayed up later, woke up later, and talked back occasionally — you know, the normal things teenagers do. They try to test their limits and end up pushing all the wrong buttons. It pushed all of my dad’s buttons, and he was none too happy. His face also became longer and his eyes became smaller. To this day, that’s something my mom can’t figure out.

73625582_2f2aa7bf7cMy dad saw many things that my brother did as deliberate attempts to provoke. Maybe they were deliberate, maybe not. I don’t think so. I do know that my brother was figuring out what was going on in him, and it wasn’t easy. He had this massive case of acne that he had to take meds for. The medicine made him sleepy all the time and less productive. That ticked my father off, big time. Plus my brother didn’t have the best time management skills.

And me? I think I’m still figuring out what was going on with me. I think things are still happening. I’m still trying to figure myself out. Where am I? Where am I going? Who am I? Those are questions every teenager wrestles with. On top of that, there’s the changes that are going on with my body, the peer pressure, and the boys. Oh yes, the boys. And the hormones. At one point, my hormones were all out of whack. I had to take pills to keep things all balanced out and keep myself from getting anemic.

6303069_b5982c1b29I know that it was extremely hard and still is extremely hard to keep my emotions on check. One moment I would be laughing, the next I would be in tears. One moment the sun was out, the next I would be depressed. My friends couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t understand it. All I could do was grit my teeth and wait for things to even out.

What the tempestuous emotions meant was more than simple ups and downs. I also got angry a lot easier, sometimes irrationally. My parents had trouble understanding why I had to get so angry so easily. The worse thing was that my anger could get violent. After years of watching my father and grandmother struggle, it was now my turn. This wasn’t a good thing… not at all. I had to learn how to deal with my anger, and deal with it in a way that wasn’t destructive to me or others.

The bad thing was the urge to inflict self-harm. I never understood why people even cut themselves when they were depressed or angry or helpless. It did nothing good. That was before I got the urges. It’s not something I can explain really well. I just know that it happened, and even though I knew perfectly well that it was wrong to hurt myself, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from doing it. It was as bad as cutting myself with a little pocketknife (no scars) to as little as scraping my skin with the sharp end of a paperclip. These episodes didn’t happen often, thank God. But when they did happen, it was as if someone else was in me. Something dark and dangerous. My anger.

893090669_261a1cc2a6It felt that I had to release it in some way. Or drown in my emotions. Or break from the strain.

You can always say no. There’s always a way out. You know that in your head. But when you’re angry, that emotion overrides all reason. You actually WANT to cut, even if you don’t want to cut. It’s confusing. You don’t want to be controlled.

One time I was angry at a friend of mine. Our friendship had degenerated to the point where he went out of his way to avoid me. I did my best, but he didn’t care. I was angry with him. I couldn’t talk to him. I still can’t talk to him, and I’m still angry at him. Oh, you won’t see it, but it’s there. Lurking under the surface. Just the teeniest drop will cause an explosion. Even if it’s my father speaking angrily to my sister, I will blow up. Until I can’t tell what I’m really angry at, my father, my friend, or me? I feel that I won’t be able to resolve this unless I go talk to him, but I can’t do that.

I wish there was something to do. For a while I entertained ideas of going up to him and slapping him or something silly like that. Just to get his attention.

235230688_7c586d61a5However.

Even though it’s easier to throw things rather than talk, I still believe that we should make an effort to communicate. To talk things out instead of immediately shouting and destroying the furniture. Too few people do that nowadays. If we learned how to listen first and speak later, perhaps the world would be a better place.

If we did our best to work together to work on this problem, things would be better.

Also we have to understand that anger is not a bad thing. I was listening to a Christian radio station a few days ago on a driving lesson and the pastor stated that “anger is not a bad emotion. It’s something that we can use for good.” We don’t know how to use it for good, though. All we know is that it can destroy. And that’s what we do with it, whether we like it or not.

What can we do?

PART II ends here.

Writer to writer meme

I found this questionnaire thing on Bettie’s blog, and she found on Isaac’s blog, who found it somewhere else. It’s pretty fun. Made me think about the answers.

1) Where do you write?

It depends on what I’m writing. If I’m writing poetry, I just write it directly on the laptop, which sits next to my bed. Though I can carry my laptop around. If I’m writing articles, I start with a rough draft written out in longhand on my desk. My VERY messy desk. Though I got fed up and cleaned it out when I couldn’t find something the other day.

2) When do you write?

I am a student, and this is summer break. Whenever I can find time. So that means every day for now. When school starts in a matter of months I don’t know how things are going to work out. However, I will try to write every day. I want to keep on writing as long as I’m living and breathing. I love writing.

Picture from Flickr, made by a.drian

Picture from Flickr, taken by a.drian

3) Planner or Pantser?

Pantser here too! I just go where the story takes me. However, it’s sometimes really good to plan, depending on what the subject matter is for me. But then when I’m enjoying the writing process and I’m really involved with what I’m writing, everything just flows together smoothly and I don’t have to stop to outline or anything like that. Plus I think I’m one of those people who can keep outlines in their heads.

4) Coffee or tea?

Tea! I love herbal tea. Can never get enough tea. I don’t drink tea right now because I don’t have any. I like coffee ice cream, though. Never could get used to the drink. And I don’t like it enough besides.

5) Pen and paper, or computer?

35531600_86a228120fPen and paper for my longhand drafts, of course. But the computer for tapping everything down. I love journals, like my friend Bettie. I have tons of journals for writing and I buy them faster than I can fill them up. The one I have right now is a clothbound journal I got on sale at a bookstore. I like the lined ones, spiralbound AND clothbound. Leather is cool too but expensive.

6) What gets you in the writing mood?

Reading a good piece of writing, reading a blog that really gets me thinking, or the rain. Rain makes me feel like writing. Or reading something really goofy and what the heck… those kinds of stuff are really great for my perfect lady blog. If I think about a subject enough that usually gets me started immediately.

7) What pulls you out of the writing mood?

If something’s really annoying me. Or if I’m in a bad mood. Also worrying about money and whether I’ll get accepted or rejected. I have a pretty annoying crush who can pull me out of the mood in the blink of an eye.

8) What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever read/heard/received?

Write a lot. Keep writing. Keep persisting. Keep reading.

9) Got muse?

God. Rain. I write what God leads me to write. I think rain always makes me contemplative. I feel like writing poetry about God and the rain. And then I usually end up doing so. Ha.

10) Who is the biggest supporter of your writing?

431030294_a7bdf8b7e0My family. They think everything I write is so wonderful. My mom wants me to print every single thing out and give it to her. And she thinks that I’ll eventually write a book. Yeah, I have a great family. My siblings follow my blogs and sometimes they comment.

11) Sound or silence?

Sound. I’m a wannabe music major so of course music. Though it can be distracting, trying to sing along while banging something out. But I’m also a musician, and music can get me inspired. I play piano and I sing occasionally. I like Taylor Swift, Yiruma, Joe Hisaishi, and the classics. I’m also falling in love with Switchfoot.

As a pianist sometimes it helps to go to a piano and improvise a little or play from memory. Gets my creativity on.

If you want to fill this out, go HERE for the rules.

Distant Thunder (Part I)

People react a certain way when they get angry.

One of my best friends gets very quiet and dangerous. You’d know he’s angry because he’ll get very stern and speak very clearly.

219780658_e1dff42501He’s the type of person whose anger does not blow over quickly. He gets angry, and then everything seems to be all right… except he won’t speak to you for a long, long time.

One lady I know blinks a lot. One would get the feeling that she’s a light bulb about to short circuit, because she starts to “flicker.” Her anger blows over quickly, and everything’s all right.

My friend’s anger is like a deep well that slowly overflows over a long period of time. If the rains keep on falling into the well, then the well will continue to overflow for however long it needs to take. This is dangerous because who knows how long it will be?

3220497520_f4b69cd8bbThe lady’s anger is like a cloudburst over the desert. It passes as soon as it comes, and it is as if it never came at all… if not for the flowers that are left behind. Even though her anger may be quick, it is also potent, and though the results may not last as long, they are still visible.

My family has unique ways of dealing with our anger.

This morning my brother and my father had a huge fight. Over what, I’m not sure. In fact, I probably shouldn’t give any details to protect those involved. I was sleeping in, and I woke to the sounds of loud crashes and yells. Apparently they had a disagreement and were quite (obviously) furious. My father is the kind of person who gets angry very easily. And when he does get angry, he gets violent and starts yelling at the top of his lungs.

My brother is the dude who doesn’t get angry easily. But when he does get angry, the roof falls down. He snaps. Up till then he’ll do a great job of controlling his anger. He won’t rise to the jibes and pokes… until it gets really really really annoying.

I think he broke something in his room.

We all have our own unique ways of dealing with anger. Some people keep it silently bottled up inside them, until they cannot hold a drop more. Then the bottle cap blows and they fizz out. Some people weep helplessly when they get angry. Others yell right back. Still others punch holes in the walls.

2647327494_49746cb7bfHowever, over the years, we learn certain reactions to our anger. Maybe we find that throwing a huge tantrum seems to get people’s attention rather than sitting there and taking it. Maybe our relatives threw their dishware at the walls, and so we learned from them that that’s how to deal with anger.

Once a habit is learned, it’s hard to let go of.

My father grew up in a home where people got angry at each other. And when they got angry, they threw things. They shouted, made holes in the wall. My grandmother told me that they’d even grab a table and throw it upside-down. That was the way they knew how to deal with their anger, as destructive as it was. It wasn’t good. But that’s what they’d been doing for years. That’s what they’d learned from their fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, cousins.

And maybe… it was too much trouble for them to change. Not only that, they viewed it as an acceptable way to deal with such an emotion. Why not? Their aunts, uncles, grandparents did it.

As a result, my father grew up believing that such behavior was a perfectly all right way to display anger.

2768884172_9a236b4eb0Then he met my mother. My mother grew up in a family where people communicated whenever they were angry. They didn’t throw things, break things, or raise their voices.

It must have been strange for him. I do know that it was strange for my mother.

When my grandmother (his mother) moved in with us, I got to see more of that kind of behavior. When she got angry, she shouted. She hit things. Hard. It ticked me off, and whenever she and my father had fights with each other you could hear suspiciously loud noises and their voices, quarreling over something or other. Good thing they didn’t fight that often.

I don’t think I would have been able to stand it.

It’s a cycle. A vicious cycle. Once one person “learns” how to throw things when angry, the people around that person learn that reaction as well. And when they learn it, those around them learn it as well. When one person learns how to keep anger bottled inside, those around that see it (and people will see it even though you try to bottle it as best as you can) will learn it too. Especially young children. Like me.

PART I ends here.

Sound of Creation

Notes spread over the paper

White sheets filled with black.

Scribblings

Trying to match the sounds in your head

To the marks on the page.

814037719_258fdab1a1You can hear it all around you

On this bleak, day of shadow.

The sounds are filling your head,

Trying to escape

Yet trying to stay true to the original

muse.

Are you an artist? or a madman?

At times you cannot tell the difference

Which is what and what is which?

You can only do what you must

Create.

Crumpled paper

Discarded in black and white balls

Littered all over the desk

One, thrown in a fit of

frustration

Comes to rest near the window panes

Looking out onto a world of greyness.

Ask yourself, is this the best I can do?

For now, it is.

——————-

You try to come as close as you can

Yet the words still fall short of the true beauty of

The rain.

168546169_b967f44229

Things I like

Some of my favorite things at the moment…

The special word counters that you can get at Ticker Factory. They have pages and pages of designs. And it’s so easy to use. I like to add numbers just to watch the ticker turtle speed up.

This is what it looks like. I couldn’t figure out how to add it to the page itself. The code doesn’t work for some reason.

This word counter is to track how fast I can reach 100,000 words. So far it’s been going steadily faster. I don’t remember when I started it but it was probably a week or two ago.

3394191600_8ecba487c9Rain. It has been raining quite a bit over the last few days, which is of course wonderful for my allergies. It keeps the pollen count down. One Sunday, though, it was raining so hard that I couldn’t wear my heels for fear of an accident.

My kids in the third and fourth grade Sunday School class. One of them is my little brother. There’s only 3 kids at each time. But they’re so cute and they’re really good and well-behaved for the most part. They make me laugh, they’re so hilarious. My little brother is one of those little boys who thinks that making muscles is cool and impressive. The little girls all think he’s nuts. He doesn’t believe or listen to them. Either one.

The little girls are good at all the games while the little boys are pretty bad. Must be all that making muscles before they throw a ball. Just throw the ball! Don’t pose so much!

High heels. This is a new love, and I still have an interesting story coming up.

Magazines. I’ve always liked magazines. Now I love them. Not just because I want to write for them, but also because I kind of see how much work goes into making just one issue of a magazine. Amazing stuff. Plus if the content is good, it’s perfect. I just don’t like the perfume samples that come with a lot of magazines. They stink after a while. Well, immediately.

2285300600_71b51a47a5Finally, friendship. I am grateful for the friends that I have had, and the friends I do have right now. They’ve helped me along the way, kept me from falling, and were there for me when I needed someone to talk to. I only hope that I can return their kindness.