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Author Topic: The Poet's Notebook  (Read 3776 times)

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Offline KetTopic starter

Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2010, 02:48:26 AM »
Ket here, again, Official Slacker Badge stuck firmly to my chest. Because I’m such a horrible poster, I’m backlogged (of course!), so you get a nice big one today. Plus some general rambling that I need to let out. You’ve been warned.

I’m officially naming Summer 2010 as Summer of the Bugs. This summer, I have seen more insects, arachnids, and other crawlies of the non-mammal variety than I have ever seen in my life. In my house I’ve had gnats, fruit flies, ants, spiders, roaches (luckily only two of those –shudder-), moths and all manner of bugs that I don’t even know what they are. It’s like an invasion of the creepy crawlies. I can’t buy fresh fruit and leave it on the counter for people to eat as they please. Nope, it has to be eaten immediately, and the rinds/cores/etc. put outside instantly. Otherwise, the swarms appear. The inside and outside perimeter is covered in every natural bug repellant I can find, but they still manage to get in.

Outside is an even different story. You can’t walk an inch without coming into contact with something of the insect variety, in the air or on the ground. The mosquitoes have revved up their armies and the ticks are in full force. Heaven forbid any sort of radiation leaks; we’ll all be starring in a horrifying B-movie of epic proportions.

And they aren’t just normal bugs. No, someone put miracle grow in their eggs, because these things are gigantic. I’ve seen dragonflies the size of hummingbirds – and larger. Oddly, the common house fly seems to be in decline this year, or maybe they’ve just morphed into something unrecognizable and are dive bombing fishing vessels off the coast. I don’t know if it was the unseasonably cold winter, the skipping of spring and heading straight into the deathly heat of summer, or if this year is just one of those odd years where there are lots of bugs. Maybe some evil scientist is out to dominate the world, and he’s using genetically altered bugs to start the invasion. Whatever it is, I’ve had enough. Now, if you’ll excuse me, whatever the heck it is that just starting crawling across the wall needs to become friends with the sole of my shoe.


”Everything I have written is the result of reading or of interest in people. I’m sure of that. I had no ambition to be a writer.” – Marianne Moore

Yeah, I slacked again, big time. I blame it on school work. Really, I do. I’m determined to get the best grades I can, so I devote the majority of my free time to studying. It will most likely be much worse from here on out. I start business and accounting next semester, which I know is going to eat through my time like a pack of termites on untreated wood.

You see, I’m determined to be accepted to Washington and Lee University. It’s private, it’s small (like less than 2,000 students small), and it’s highly selective. Out of thousands of applicants each year, 19% are accepted. For transfer applicants, the ratio is even less. So I have this narrow window within which to prove that I deserve one of those coveted spots. I can be nothing less than exemplary.

Sure, it’s quite an ambitious task. But I don’t want to be another face in the crowd at a larger school. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with those bigger schools, I just don’t feel that I’ll fit in. I like a smaller, more personal learning experience. Plus, WLU is a liberal arts school with a business college (and a law school), and to me you can’t get better than that. The opportunites they offer are amazing. Not to mention VMI (Virginia Military Institute) is right next door (literally across the street). So hello hot guys in uniform all day!

I may be setting myself up for a huge disappointment, but I try not to think about that. And, I’m not just trying my hardest to get good grades so that I can have a chance at WLU, but it is a big motivator. No one has doubted me yet, and my biggest supporter has been my step-father (a shock to me, but still awesome), who rallies behind me whenever I’m feeling stuck.

I know I should have a back-up plan, just in case, and I’m sure I will soon, but right now I have one goal in mind. Do the best that I possibly can. (Okay, okay, two. Get my research paper back and have my grade on it be a 10. What do you say, English prof, was it good?)


”A word on academies: Poetry has been attacked by an ignorant & frightened bunch of bores who don’t understand how it’s made, & the trouble with these creeps is they wouldn’t know Poetry if it came up and buggered them in broad daylight.” – Allen Ginsberg

I have a test Monday, a test Wednesday, and two finals on Thursday. That schedule will probably be changed around some more tomorrow as my school figures out what the hell they are up to. I think my English prof is just tired of teaching in the heat. We haven’t had a full class in weeks.

I did my class reviews. I got lucky in that three out of four of my instructors weren’t so bad. They made class interesting, sometimes fun. The fourth, well, Ms. Crinkles can go retire now. Of course I wrote a scathing review about that class. What a waste of money. Anyhow, let’s move on.

I’m hoping I have good teachers next semester. It’s all accounting and business and economics, so I pray that I have people who love what they teach. I’m really not in the mood to fall asleep in class because it’s boring. I specifically stayed away from one professor. I’d like to not be raped by tests. Could you imagine it?

You go in on test day, thinking you’re ready. You studied, got good sleep, and ate a good breakfast. So you sit at your desk and wait for the teacher to hand out the test. Here it comes, a massive stack of paper that requires an industrial-sized staple to hold it all together. Line after never-ending line of questions, not a damn one is multiple choice. Your mouth goes dry and your stomach starts to churn as your brain receives the information from your eyes. It only takes a nanosecond, but your brain has decided “Fuck this, I’m leaving!” and a mob of cells stampede towards the exits through your ears. In the process a few cells are trampled and don’t escape; these few dazed and confused thinking machines all you have left for help.

An hour later you emerge from the class. Your hair looks like you stuck your finger in an electrical socket and your clothes are disheveled. Every inch of bare skin is covered in paper cuts and that industrial staple is firmly implanted right between your eyes. Your entire body is shaking, eyes glazed over, grip so white-knuckle tight on your pen it would take the Jaws of Life to pry your fingers apart. Even coffee can’t help now.

Doesn’t sound like fun, does it? I’m a masochist, but not to that degree. I want to love going to class, not fear for my life. So I purposefully worked my schedule around that certain professor. No way am I going to lose my brain cells if there aren’t copious amounts of alcohol involved.

Fall semester is approaching fast for a lot of us. I have a two week break (omg – back to work full time, ewww), then the cycle repeats. Damn circle always coming back around to its beginning. I was going to put something prolific here about staying safe and sane during the school year, but, eff that. It only needs four simple words.

Stay sane inside insanity

Offline KetTopic starter

Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2010, 11:50:11 PM »
Another two-fer!

Single Poet Seeking Inspiration

Turn to the personal ads in your local newspaper and write about that trampy “Single 21 YO female ISO wealthy, older gentleman.” Better yet, write your own personal ad in the form of a poem.

I thought I had lost The Poet’s Notebook. See, my headboard is quite wide, so there are all manner of books lining the top of it. I kept TPN there since I typically write in bed. There is a small gap between the big headboard (it has hidden shelving on the inside) and the regular headboard that is attached to the bedframe.

Lately my cat has been getting up on the headboard and sleeping. In typical cat fashion, instead of curling up beside the books, he lays on them. Then stretches, then rolls, and repeats the process several times. This of course sends books flying everywhere.

I found all of them except one. My beloved little notebook was missing. I searched the floor, the gap between the headboards, the gap between the mattress and headboards, and underneath the bed. It was nowhere to be found. Thinking maybe I had picked it up in a pile of notebooks (I have scores of the things), and moved it, I went to check my desk, then my pile of books on the couch (see a theme here?), I even looked downstairs. I checked my backpack, asked Mr. Ket if he had seen it, and looked in munchkin’s room in case she picked it up unknowingly.

It was still nowhere to be found.

I gave up my search for the night, figuring that like all lost things it would turn up when I wasn’t looking for it. Now, the hidden shelving on my headboard pulls out to the side, and I typically keep lotion, my sleep mask, and all those other things you’d clutter up a night stand with on the shelves. I pulled it out a little bit ago, and to my surprise, there’s the notebook, resting on the top shelf. Somehow it had managed to fall through the little crack between the headboards, snag on the shelf and stay put instead of falling to the floor.

Or the faeries moved it because I haven’t left any candy out for them lately. Either way, my cat is breathing a sigh of relief because he isn’t being sold to the #1 Chinese Buffet any time soon.


”I fell in love—that is the only expression I can think of—at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly, and have learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.” –Dylan Thomas

what makes someone good with words? Is it the person who memorizes the dictionary, peppering their prose with obscure combinations of letters that even some of the most learned don’t know? Is it the poet, who can bring forth imagery by combining words that allude to all their various meanings? Or is it the simple writer, who pieces together the most commonly used words in a way that impacts his audience?

You could say that all three are good with words in their own way. Myself, I say the person who memorizes the dictionary is trying too hard. The poet, well, he’s off in his own reality where the sky is orange and the grass is purple, and that means that the love of his life has just offed herself with a toothpick to the eye.

The simple writer, now him I like. He can paint a picture for me with his pen, using words I understand (and maybe the occasional one I have to infer), that appears magically before my eyes as I read his words. He’s not too descriptive, lest his prose become boring and trite. But he offers just enough that the reader can understand the general idea, whilst filling in the blanks with her own imagination.

The simple writer knows how to keep his words moving, how to make them flow. Like a river, there are some spots that amble along and others that tumble quickly over rock-strewn rapids. In the end, it’s all balanced.

He knows how to grab his audience, how to hook them with choice word order, then keep them there, eagerly flipping pages because they just can’t wait to see what happens next. In that same vein, he can make his audience feel every emotion possible, and bring them close to his characters. He can make a reader fall in love with his hero/ine and loathe his villain, or vice versa. He can make a reader laugh or cry, feel happy or sad, and be angry or ecstatic. He can also, at times, make his audience feel both ends of the spectrum at once.
The simple writer can do a lot of things with his simple every day words, and not sound superfluous (look, a big word!). He not only loves words, but lives and breathes them. There are his constant companions in life; his best friend, his lover, his enemy.

I want to be that simple writer.

Offline Paradox

Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2010, 07:39:37 AM »
Amen to that blog about the simple writer. I may spend an occasional hour or two lost in the dictionary, but that's just because I love words and love learning new ones-- not because I insist on pounding people over the head with prolix speech (though there is a guilty pleasure in doing so every now and then); plus, doing so sometimes becomes a necessity for certain college courses where long papers are the norm. Using complex sentences and large words has, at times, gotten me an A on a paper whose content probably didn't deserve it; however, the balance of finding the appropriate words to convey the true meaning of my content is really what excites me. When I started in college, I loathed writing papers. Somewhere along the way, through a combination of good teachers and discovering Elliquiy, writing somehow became second nature.

But hey, this is your blog, and I'm rambling about myself >_>. Oops.

By the way, I resent your implication that #1 uses cat meat! I love that place.

Side-note: Do you mind us posting in here, or would you rather keep it reserved for your posts alone?

Offline KetTopic starter

Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2010, 08:25:41 AM »
Post away; make me feel loved!

I like using the ocassional flowery word in my papers as well, which is why I love the thesaurus. One or two here and there is fine, but using them constantly makes me want to wack someone over the head with the
massive dictionary down in the library.

You know, there is more than one #1 Chinese Buffet. There are hundreds!

Offline KetTopic starter

Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2010, 02:29:22 AM »
Personal Excitement

The idea for a poem comes in moments of personal excitement. I sometimes jot down a few prose lines in a notebook, leaving them personally vague. Then begins the process of gradually giving the poem rhythmical form. Rhythm produces a faint hypnosis.” – W.B Yeats

Ever had that moment of glee where you accomplished something, no matter how small, and just wanted to jump for joy and shout? I had a moment like that the other day. If I hadn’t been in the math lab where other people were testing and studying, I probably would have broken out in my own version of an end-zone dance.

I was taking a math test and had finished except for one question. A relatively simple question at that. There was a picture of a right triangle, and it had values for two of its sides. Easy values too, because they were just numbers. The base and hypotenuse were given and I had to find the other side.

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to solve the problem (hush math people, don’t get ahead of me). I sat there and stared at my paper like it was written in Chinese. After about the first five minutes I tried almost every permutation of the area formula that I could come up with, even though I knew that wouldn’t work. And of course, it didn’t. So I spent yet another five minutes staring blankly. I was about to just give up when I started thinking about how I dislike geometry.

For a subject that I so dislike, it sure has been popping up lately. Just for giggles I borrowed Freemasonry for Dummies from the library. It was a decent read, though dry at times. Oddly enough, one of the key things I remembered from the book is how geometry was a great tool in masonry because simple formulas allowed them to upsize all manner of building plans.

Immediately after finishing that book I started on Coffee with Isaac Newton. It is an interesting little mini-biography, written as if someone were sitting at a coffee shop having a chat with the man. The morning of said math test, I read this section of the book (read as if Newton was speaking):

“Archimedes was a unique talent. So much is made of Aristotle and his so-called great contributions, but Archimedes outstrips him in every way. Archimedes had an innate, natural, effortless understanding of the way the universe operates, and most crucially, he could interpret this method of operation in the form of pure mathematics. He was like a cipher between God and Man. He could take an observation, such as the way water rises in a tank when an object is immersed in it, and from this create a mathematical law. He created a form of calculus (what he called ‘the method of exhaustion’) some two thousand years before I was born and he applied it to a range of problems. I can claim to have made a much more versatile version of this and to have put the concept into a modern mathematical idiom, but Archimedes was the first to ever imagine such a thing was possible. Archimedes also calculated an accurate approximation to pi. He created a method of determining accurate square roots of large integers and an original system for expressing large numbers. He was probably the most famous for what has become known as Archimedes’ Principle, a theorem that allows us to calculate the weight of any body that is immersed in liquid.”

You’re probably thinking (if you’re even still with me) about what the heck freemasonry and Newton pontificating on Archimedes has to do with my math test. They have everything to do with it. Let me back track a little.

I was just about to give up when I started thinking about how I dislike geometry. I thought about shapes and proofs and formulas, which led me to thinking about how masons used geometric formulas to scale blueprints. Thinking about practical applications of math led me to think about Newtown. Which of course brought to mind the part I’d read that morning. Pi stuck out, and so did Archimedes’ Principle. I knew neither could help me, but it popped into my mind that there is a theorem that starts with p that could help. Hello Pythagorean! I knew a and I knew c, so I just had to simply solve for b. Duh, Ket!

I felt like face-desking. If 82+b2=172, then b=15 and I had found my answer. Simple, right? For some, yes, but I have trouble remembering which formula goes where at times. So pulling that one bit of info out of all that mess in my head was a pretty big thing for me. I almost did hop out of my seat and vocally congratulate myself, but a glance around the quiet room helped me keep my excitement in check. I think I’ll be taking Newton with me to my final. He’s good luck.

Offline Transgirlenstein

Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2010, 03:01:22 AM »


*clearly trying to cover up how confused that post made her in parts as she thinks math is evil*

Offline Paradox

Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2010, 07:53:45 AM »
Math is full of those revelatory moments that lead to celebratory moments. Part of what I love about math and grammar is that both require a precise formula. Everything has to fit together; everything has its own rule. Organization and symmetry are difficult to master at first, but once you have the pattern down, it's an awesome feeling being able to breeze through a dozen problems.

Especially considering your love of extracurricular reading, I think you'll do superbly in your upcoming math classes (assuming you find time to read between your business and accounting workloads :P)

Offline WyldRanger

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Re: The Poet's Notebook
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2010, 09:26:33 PM »
Math was always about those moments for me. I'm not completely naturally a math nerd, and some things came easier than other's. Glad to hear that you found a way to connect things so that it all worked out in the end! :) *hugs*