Thursday, December 27, 2012

Let's Make It Better

A number: 2012 wouldn't think turning that last digit into a 3 would make that much of a difference, but it does. It's about those thoughts that kept you awake 'till there was no point in sleeping, about those memories that burned so bright you're scared you'll never get that again, the lessons that made you build and break...and, finally, how to make it better.

Better is a funny word, though. It implies actually knowing what "better" means...and finding out how to make it fit around your life without losing the imperfections that make it beautiful. Or, you know, just stopping yourself from sticking a big fat "I NEVER CARED ANYWAY!" sticker on it before shoving it into a folder...preferably one you'll never have to look at when you pay the bills.

So, in an attempt to find that "better" and make resolutions that will build rather than break, I've put together a list of things that make me...happy. If life is a quest for happiness, then shouldn't those things that make you happiest be stepping stones to finding out what you want?

20 Things I Love & Counting...

1. Dancing: Crazy, stupid, I-don't-have-a-care-in-the-world, give me a hairbrush (do people even do that anymore? I saw it in Raise Your Voice a long time ago and tried it, but it just didn't seem right), drown-out-the-world but Oh, God! don't let anyone else see dancing. 
2. Smiling & Laughing: Two things, I know, but what's better than the first leading to the next? 
3. Shocking: Nothing mean, just unexpected. There's something beautiful about just doing what you want and acting all nonchalant when your friends and family don't expect it.
4. Listening to Music: My sister put me on the One Direction train this Christmas....Hated them, started loving them, never going back. 
5. Funny-Stupid Things That Make You Smile: For example, this song:

Listen to it. Now picture him singing this to a cupcake...
pretty cute, huh? Haven't been able to see it any other way since the day I read it in a comment. 
6. Conversations 'Till The AM: Simply the best. 
7. Writing Songs: I should probably add "About Past Relationships" (I blame Taylor Swift - Except I kind of love her, so don't be too harsh). 
8. Singing: In the shower, in the store when there's no one else shopping (because who buys vegetables at 8:00pm?), with a guitar, it's simply amazing. 
9. Breakfast at Midnight: My sister and I have this ritual of whenever I get back home, we have a midnight snack on the kitchen floor together....
Chairs are completely overrated. 
10. Popcorn at the Movies: Just...yeah, there are no words. 
11. Sleeping: Possibly the most amazing, overlooked thing. I love my bed. 
12. Sparkly Dresses: I was bought the moment my friend screamed at me to try one on because she "wanted to live through me" (a joke, of course - but needless to say, I was hooked). 
13. Listening and Talking: People have the craziest stories and I absolutely love hearing them. 
14. Sun-Bathing: Sunlight is beautiful - beautiful, and warm. (This love includes beaches). 
15. Halvah Bars: If you've never had one, try it - it's absolutely amazing. Like, worth-the-extra-5-pounds-in-luggage-weight going back to England amazing. 
16. Health: Anything health-related fascinates me. Simple as that. 
17. My Cottage: Summer or winter, it's my heaven. 
18. Family and Friends: Another combination, but they kind of all bundle up together. Moments mean little without those special people to share them. It's simple: I love them. 
19. Exercise: Running, especially, and core workouts (I will have abs some day!).
20. Writing: Being able to put something into words is the hardest but most rewarding challenge.

That was my list of "20 Things I Love & Counting"...what kind of things would be on yours? As the New Year rolls in, so will the resolutions accompanying it. I've had a fabulous, completely life-changing year...

Now here's to finding out how to make 2013 even better. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Take These Broken Words...

...and make them breathe. 

I fell in love with a poem. It was September, the summer fading fasttaking with it things I had thought would lastand Lord Byron`s Stanzas for Music echoed feelings in me that had yet to shape words. It spoke such truth that, reading it out loud, I started to sing instead. And it was beautiful...but I didn't understand it. The first line, "There's not a joy can give like that it takes away," perplexed me, and it wasn't until putting the words to music that I finally understood the poem's deeper meaning. 

A melody formed. It started through voice and was transported by a few plucked guitar strings. If I took anything away from my Literature and Music class this term, it's that anythingwhether it be a word, whisper, sighcomes from feeling. A work's success is generally indicative of its ability to move people, to conjure the author's origin of emotion in another. As interpreter of this poem, I could only attempt to draw from this origin of emotion ("the most melancholy I ever wrote," said Lord Byron), feel as much as I could and try to express it as Byron did, only in music.

Stanzas for Music 
Lord Byron, Interpreted by Me 

There's not a joy the world can give
like that it takes away 
When the glow of early thought 
declines in feeling's full decay; 

'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush 
alone, which fades so fast, 
But the tender bloom of heart is gone, 
ere youth itself be past.

Though wit may flash from fluent lips, and
mirth distract the breast, 
Through midnight hours that yield no more 
their former hope of rest,
'Tis the ivy-leaves around the turret wreath -
All green and wildly fresh without, 
but worn and grey beneath.

Then the few whose spirits float 
above the wreck of happiness 
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt, 
or oceans of excess.

The magnet of their course is gone, 
or only points in vain
The shore to which their shivered sail shall 
never (oh), ever, stretch again. 


Then the mortal coldness of the soul 
like death itself comes down; 
It cannot feel for others' woes,
it dare not dream its own; 
That heavy chill has frozen 
o'er the fountain of our tears,
And though the eye may sparkle still,
'tis where the ice appears. 


Oh, could I feel as I have felt, 
or be what I have been,
Or weep as I could once have wept...
...midst the withered waste of life.

So midst the withered waste of life those tears would flow to me...
so midst the withered waste of life those tears would flow to me. 


There's not a joy the world can give
like that it takes away 
When the glow of early thought 
declines in feeling's full decay. 

I sing and play music the same way I do anything elseby feel. I absolutely love this poem, and can only hope that my interpretation brought it to life in a meaningful way. This was a pass or fail project, worth only 5% of my overall class mark...yet I don't regret any time spent on it. Isn't any time spent in love time worth spending?

So I walked in to my professor's office, hair dripping wet from this year's first snowstorm, frozen fingers shaking as I opened my guitar case, and played this song for her. I was so relieved when she said, smiling, that she "loved it" that I could only laugh happily.

The next day, I walked into my last class to the announcement that I could have it professionally recorded, potentially filmed. I am so, so excited and giddy and thrilled! And though I've put up this image-less video for the time being, I'll be updating the new one as soon as it's recorded.

Funny how, sometimes, that tiny 5% isn't so small after all. ;)