“There’s a line to be drawn between spooking children and horrifying them. They’ve already got monsters inside their heads — all we’re doing is putting the Doctor in there to fight them.”—Steven Moffat from Radio Times on Doctor Who, but found in this fabulous blog talking about death in children’s literature.
Today my bottle of soda exploded while I was walking down the hall. There was a group of maybe 6 or 7 other students who could have easily been my age or younger. I had in my earphones, so I didn’t hear exact words, but I heard laughter while I stood there cringing at the splatters of soda on the floor. I set down my bag and I know they were watching me the whole time. It felt like high school all over again, and not the good parts.
Then one girl actually ran to the bathroom and grabbed me some paper towels. She was a gem. This is the kind of people the world needs more of. I thanked her, told her that no I didn’t get any on me (a blessing and a surprise), then proceeded to try to wipe up the floor until I realized it only made things more slippery. I popped back inside the classroom I had just left and told the teacher. I figure he called someone.
What this boils down to though is thank you Paper Towel Girl <3 Your skirt was super cute too. I still don’t understand why you guys were all just hanging out outside of the classroom, but cheers for your fast thinking and kindness.~Aden
“You should never just read for ‘enjoyment.’ Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior; or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books.’ Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for God’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of ‘literature’? That means fiction, too, stupid.”—John Waters in his memoir, Role Models (via austinkleon) (via reading-is-fun) (via teachingliteracy)
After four years, our Halloweens were steeped in tradition. First, we’d go choose pumpkins. Yours were always off putting, with a nasty natural growth or a color that seems not quite right. You even glued a stem back on because it made it look really gnarly one year. Mine, I liked to just make sure there was a flat bottom and at least one good side for carving. They’d get carved at my house because I actually had my dad’s own hand crafted set of tools. It never mattered to me that they were just the usual sort of blade you’d get in any set, just thicker and set deep in a wooden rod that wouldn’t break. Your house was still too new and we both knew your mom would freak out at the mess. I liked to carve at random, just draw on some crazy face and go where the blade would take me. You liked to draw yours on with Sharpee or ask me too because I was the better artist. This year you suggest we get a pattern book and the cheap blades. I didn’t think anything of it then. You don’t always need to be creative. You were the numbers guy, I was the word girl.
I stay at your house that night, listening to your brother run up and down the halls with the dog while you eventually pass out to some comedian I still haven’t heard of. I never sleep well at your house, but I still can’t tell why. The large windows that showed the perfect street below us; Your mom’s sad attempt at a garden that you say she would love me to help with and yet she never asked. The deer that ate everyone’s geraniums. Your neighbor that kept a spotlight on their house all night. It was a nice looking house, I’ll give them that. The light would give the room more glow than the television. Maybe it was your closet that was small and we’d fooled around in, but you never remembered to close the door. Then there’s always the fear that your mom might just open your door and see my clothing in your floor or that mark I left on your shoulder. It was already bruising, I could see it in the dark. I could even make out a tooth print before you turned your body away from me, presenting me with your bare back and that one mole down beneath your ribs. I just stared at the skin, blue in the light of the television while I tried to will myself to sleep. I was awake for another hour at least.
Your brother slept in and your mom had already left, so you made me breakfast. I wasn’t very hungry and you burnt the pancakes like we always used to do. Maybe I had an inkling by then, something nagging in the back of my brain. You shower and dress, take me to my place so I can do the same. Four years and I still couldn’t shower at your place. I tell you I just needed a little longer to do my hair. The dark mass of curls were too crazy for me after the hair dryer had driven them wild, so I take a straightening iron to it. I show you my fine work, you gave me a small smile. I think you liked it crazy.
We hang out at my house and pick up a fast food lunch before we head to the theme park. I plug in my iPod to flip through songs because I just can’t take your talk radio recently. Another sign? I change it to a song I know annoys you and sing it to tease you, but you only groan and suggest I plug in yours. I do, but I still keep control of the music. I hated a lot of yours too. I sing more quietly to songs we both know and love. I know you watch me do it sometimes because I catch you and smile back. Then it was like before you’d left and done anything different, like when I had come back from school a failure only weeks after you’d done just the same. We were failures then, but you got your act together faster than I did. I’m still working on that.
We’re almost there and someone is riding your tail. Of course you hate that, you always do. It’s a family in a van and you slow down below the speed limit just to mess with them. Once we’re in the parking lot, they park just a row over from us. You take your time getting out of the car. “I want to make sure he doesn’t key my car.” “He’s with his family at a theme park! He won’t key your car.” “Maybe I should key his.” I still hope that you were joking about that.
We arrive there a few hours before things are scheduled to go spooky, so we go to the roller coasters. We both like the new one, easy choice for a first stop. Next I suggested one of the water rides, you had to remind me they were shut down. “No one wants to get wet in October.” I thought it would be rejuvenating, but you had a point. I got cold not long after and you handed me your jacket to use over my own. I laced my fingers between yours as we walk to the next roller coaster.
The fake fog rolls in and the music makes a noticeable change. There are no more fun umpa marching music, but eerie sound effects and creepy laughter. I pull you out of that area, it was where the clowns would be. “Scared of clowns?” I hated how something so nice and supposedly friendly that kids were always teased for fearing was used like that. Give me monsters under the bed, possessed dolls, screwed up fairy tails, but please, no clowns. It didn’t help that I’d watched IT only a few days before hand, narrating it to you over the phone and promising you I’d loan you the book when I was finished.
We go into the first maze and one of the workers nearly jumps into your arms. She is an old friend and identified herself when we stepped out. We all hug, I knew her too, but I swear she didn’t remember my name. The look in her eyes that I see went completely unnoticed by you. I told you later and you just shrugged it off, “Really? I don’t think so.” Shrugged me off and changed the subject as we were both so prone to doing. She still probably likes you and never knew me well enough to think twice about that fact.
I like scary things, so I don’t cling to your arm like a lot of the other couples we see in line around us. We had worked in haunted houses, so we knew the tricks. “Someone’s behind that corner.” “Watch out for the window there.” “No, he’s real, just wait.” You point out everything and it got less fun fast. “You’re not letting them do their job.” I tell you, teasing after you point out that there was a man in a mask behind that shifting curtain. “We’d do this so much better!” I shush you, agreeing in my mind, but not wanting to encourage them to step it up that much. If anything I want them to go after you more, but they see how small I am, how I stared at one person or spot for too long, so they slipped right in front of me and I’d never see until the scare. You laugh at me, I laugh with you and hit you for not warning me for once. “I thought you didn’t want the warning?” You were always such a smart ass.
The next maze is more intense and this time I do cling to your arm. You’re cold, but you refuse your jacket back. The masked women slap fans against the fall to make sudden noises. They echo back to us even as we pass to the rooms beyond. Men with plastic butcher knives covered in blood slam the cleavers against walls and wood. Another man in the corner with blood on his face is licking what looked like a red stained bone. You laugh, I can’t look away. I don’t make eye contact with the young girl that begs for help from us. I want to reach out to her even though I know it’s all fake. She could come with us and escape this place. In reality she’d only be escaping a job that got her above minimum wage and wasn’t allowed to touch my hand if I reached for her as it was. I knew that, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about it.
We continue on, you jump when we almost run into a security guard so we both laugh. We were nearing the end, passing through a room with strobe lights everywhere. A woman in white moved slowly, though it looked faster in this light. It was like she was twitching her head, no control of her body. I was impressed. Her attention was on us and my eyes were on her. A character in just a black cloak, like the dummies that hung from the ceiling came from behind, saying something about leaving, or maybe staying a while. We both jump, I thought. I no longer feel your body beside mine. I squint through the light, my glasses sliding from my nose as I sweat from wearing two jackets in such a small place. You’re gone. Real fear sets in. I didn’t like thinking I was there alone. Even when I worked there, I hated being there alone and would sing to myself to keep positive.
The cloaked figure was gone too, so I call to the woman in white. She beckons for me to follow her, so I do. She leads me to the exit of the room. I realize she wore no mask, just a thin veil and she smiles at me through it and her ghostly make-up. I thank her. “Stay safe.” I tell her, knowing there would be some drunk idiot going through thinking that paying for a ticket meant he could grope her or punch the guy in the cloak. That being in a costume or a mask meant that the ghouls weren’t real people.
"Where were you?" You ask me when I find you in the next room. You did wait at least. "I’m tired." I insist. The strobe light and the confusion had made me feel sick. "I wanna go through again and scare that guy." "What guy?" "The one in the black." I think for a moment and sigh. "No, baby, let’s go home and rent a movie." We head for the exit, finally outdoors. A young something in a mask jumps out of a bush. I grabbed your arm and feel you tense to move it. Had you been doing that all night? I watch you and not ahead as we pass by, you’re staring down the creature that scared us. You call out to the people behind us that he’s there to ruin his scare. You seem so satisfied with yourself.~Aden
While I can appreciate what’s being offered here — that perhaps a statement like “I want to have your babies” has become a largely-genderless compliment that can be uttered to male or female without actual intent to impregnate — there is not a ton of room to argue its innocence, as we cannot speak to the intent of the person offering the compliment. Unfortunately, there are people on the internet who don’t understand lines and when they’re being crossed. There is no way to regulate this. It’s a discussion worth having that doesn’t require auto-assigned blame, but I think the only positive outcome is hopefully a better understanding of both sides of the situation.
One person may believe that dogged attempts to invite a beloved webcartoonist to dinner at their home shows gratitude, generosity and overwhelming hospitality. The cartoonist however may perceive this as stalkerish behavior. There is little way to make the determination of intent, because a stalker would use the same channels.
In the same way that race is still an issue, gender is still an issue; I believe that genuinely innocent cock-ups are possible as our society has begun the steps of letting go of all those constructs. But they’re not buried yet. It is not unheard-of to describe a riled-up crowd, euphemistically, as ready to lynch someone. But apply it to Tiger Woods and you have an honest-to-God misstep in conveying a thought.
I think it is up to the individual to express themselves in such a way as to most accurately be received. That doesn’t excuse the listener from being patient or trying to see their side without having it delivered on a silver platter. But ultimately the only thing we have control over, as communicators of ideas, is how we are communicating them to our audience. We only control what is being broadcast from our side, and not how it is received.
“So anyway, yes, I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.”—Marie Claire writer Maura Kelly • Basically calling fat people ugly and claiming that they’re at fault for their conditions. Kelly, who was responding to a CNN article about Hollywood’s treatment of plus-size characters in TV shows, went on to claim that “obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over” and offered advice to people to lose weight. The result? Well, she’s pretty much the most hated woman on the Internet today, was forced to respond to the article to apologize profusely, and should probably never write anything ever again. Listen, Maura, Julius may have a few extra pounds on his torso, but he’s not going to take your abuse! Say one more word and he’s gonna chase you down with a Twinkie or one of those dumbbells he never uses. source (via)
“The man that I named the Giver passed along to the boy knowledge, history, memories, color, pain, laughter, love, and truth. Every time you place a book in the hands of a child, you do the same thing. It is very risky. But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things.”—Lois Lowry (via wordpainting)
“Most people use twenty verbs to describe everything from a run in their stocking to the explosion of an atomic bomb. You know the ones: Was, did, had, made, went, looked… One-size-fits-all looks like crap on anyone. Sew yourself a custom made suit. Pick a better verb. Challenge all those verbs to really lift some weight for you.”—Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander. (via vulvamort)
alo Aden! hi!!! thank you for the follow! :) i must say, if there's something you really like doing, keep on doing it! it doesn't have to take up most of your time, just maybe an hour or so in a week would be time enough, as long as you take some time doing what you love, so you don't get burned out. it's been years too, since i sketched anything, since my job took me elsewhere, but i never lost my heart for art. the tug has always been there. and i'm hoping to make a comeback. :D little by little. it's where i'm most happy.
Hey! I’m glad I followed you. This is pretty great advice honestly. Thank you! I think my problem is I feel like there’s so much I enjoy that I just have to choose one thing and stick to it. Really, I should take some time and relax with a doodle-fest or pick up some paints with my Christmas money this year. Drawing was an outlet before and considering I try to make myself treat writing like a job, it seems like a not half bad idea. It’s sure something I’ve always enjoyed :) Thanks for your message!