Wednesday, December 29, 2010

on theme parks and being home for the holidays

theme parks are a wonderful place. my cousin heather's au pair, laura, said about las vegas, "i love that place because it is like all the world in one city." i believe you can say the same about theme parks. as i stood in lines and walked around the magic kingdom and universal's island of adventures, i loved listening to people speak in many different languages and accents everywhere i went. although these parks cost three times as much as cedar point (plus the cost to travel there), they are a hundred times better to visit! these parks are entire cities of fun. these parks don't only create fun with their rides--they give you an entire experience with their sidewalks lined with comic book cities, cartoon characters, castles, and color! universal and disney world make standing in long lines FUN.

i went to florida over break to spend some time with my cousin heather, her kids, and my aunt bonnie. we hung out at heather's beautiful home and visited theme parks. i loved getting to spend time with my cousins! heather is great to talk with, and her kids are extremely cute and funny. i wish i had videos of them from the entire week. ella woke me up every morning shouting, "amanda! amanda! wake up!" then she would hug me, hand me my glasses, laugh, and tell me, "you look funny with your glasses and pajamas. and your hair is crazy!"

a second highlight of my week was visiting the wizarding world of harry potter. laura and i walked through hogwarts, rode rollercoasters, saw the actor who played draco malfoy, went to honeydukes and zonkos, and we drank butterbeer in hogsmeade. it was a dream come true.

i then spent the rest of my time at home enjoying some quality time with my family.

here are some pics from the trip!

my mom and i went to holiday nights at greenfield village, too!
here she is with a snowman we found.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

a manifesto

Poetry for me has taken many forms over the course of the past few months.

Poetry for me has been a source of stress, enjoyment, self-help, and release.

At first, I was focused on form. I had no idea where lines should break or how to choose the right words to fit a certain number of required syllables to make my poems interesting. As an education major that has to strictly follow formatting rules when writing lesson plans, having to fit my poems into a certain format stressed me out greatly at first.

I then realized that if I first wrote out what I wanted to say, I could then insert that into a particular form. This is when I began to have a lot more fun! My own voice began to come through in my poetry once I realized that I could write about the people and places that I knew. I didn’t have to make up something that I didn’t actually know or care about. I inserted dialogue and made my characters talk! I brought scenes from my memory to life by describing them in detail! This was all very exciting to me.

As the semester went on, I wrote many poems about my childhood. While these poems contained many beautiful images, they had no turn and no meaning. Once again, I was frustrated because I could not create a turn in my poems. What I realized was that these poems did not matter to me. All they were to me were good memories of times I spent with my family growing up. I wrote these poems as a way to remember good memories while trying to cover up bad memories of the past year.

This was my moment of insight: I couldn’t create meaning for my readers in my poems because they didn’t hold any meaning for me. I wasn’t writing about what truly mattered to me at this point in my life.

So…I began to write about everything I have been forcing myself to not write about. My past year has consisted of hard family relationships, broken friendships, and break-ups. Who wants to dwell on these types of events? I didn’t at first, but once I let myself go to that place of hurt within myself, poetry came more naturally to me. The more I wrote, the better I felt about everything that happened. Writing poems about the hurt of shattered relationships has helped me release that pain that I have been holding on to for over twelve months.

My advice to every aspiring writer: don’t be afraid to write about what you are scared to write about. Let it out! You will feel much better once you do, and you will have significantly better writing to show for it.