A Poem For Writer’s Block By Sir Philip Sydney

The Daily Suck

It’s been one of those days.  Those inevitable days when absolutely nothing comes to mind as a writer.  Frustrating? Unbelievably so.  As I sat here searching for something halfway decent to write, I remembered a poem I had read in my poetry class last semester (in case you haven’t been able to tell so far, I really liked that class).  Written by Sir Philip Sydney, the poem is about someone trying to write a love letter but is unable to do so because of writer’s block.  It’s one of the most relatable poems as a writer and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!

“Loving In Truth”

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,

That she (dear she) might take some pleasure of my pain,

Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,

Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,

I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe:

Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,

Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow

Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain.

But words came halting forth, wanting Invention’s stay;

Invention, Nature’s child, fled stepdame Study’s blows;

And others’ feet still seemed but strangers in my way.

Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,

Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:

“Fool,” said my Muse to me, “look in thy heart, and write.”

 

– Julia

My Poetry: The Lonely

The Daily Suck

I thought that I would share another of my poems with you guys today.  Yay for you! Just kidding.  Anyways, it’s called “The Lonely” and it’s one of my favorite poems that I’ve written.  It’s a bit on the depressing side, but before you suggest that I be heavily medicated, relax.  It’s not written from my point of view.  I’m not sure why, but my poems usually tend to not be about me.  Maybe I need to get the whole “tortured artist” thing going on before I can be interesting enough to base a poem off of? Whatever the reason, here is “The Lonely” and I hope that I can hear the sound of your virtual snapping once you’re finished. 

“The Lonely”

In his house
my tiny house
on my street
this broken song
goes through my head again and again
starting over
just like me
but both of us play out the same
and all I’ve ever known and am
repeats
a tired encore that never ends

– Julia

Happy Birthday To My Sisters!

The Daily Suck

There’s been a lot of surprises in my seventeen years, but one of the biggest by far was finding out that my mother was pregnant with twins! Eight years ago today my family was blessed with two special little girls: Maria and Marcella! They’re fraternal, not identical, but even though they’re twins they couldn’t be more different! Each of the girls has their own personality and look, but they love each other all the same.  I’ve learned a lot from the twins as they’ve grown up, and one of the most important things I’ve picked up on is how your sisters can be your best friends.  Maria and Marcella always treat each other like best buddies (even when that extends to partners in crime!) and are quick to make up if they fight.  Even though I’m nearly ten years older then they are, I can remember countless times when we’ve laughed and played together like best friends.  Maria and Marcella truly keep my life full of fun, laughter, and happiness, and I hope that I can be a good role model for them both.  Happy 8th birthday to my favorite set of twins! I love you!

– Julia

Why I Love Being A Night Owl

The Daily Suck

I am not a morning person.  Night time is where it’s at! There’s lots of reasons why I love being a night owl, including the feeling that I can be more productive at night.  Like writing this post at 11:00 pm…

1. The day’s stresses are behind me.
I don’t know about you, but as soon as I wake up I tend to go through a mental checklist of the things I need to get done that day.  Obviously, there’s an amount of stress that goes into our daily lives and that’s not necessarily bad, but who likes stress? At night, you can usually just unwind after getting your work or homework finished for the day.  You can curl up with a good book, watch a movie or a tv show, or play a video game to give your brain a little break. It’s the most refreshing part of my day, and where I can take the time to relax and play Disney Infinity even though the SAT is looming on the horizon…

2. It’s the most reflective and introspective part of day. 
Whether you had a good day or a bad day, going over it mentally at night is always an excellent habit.  Why? Because we can ask ourselves honest questions (Did I do something good for someone else today? Was I impatient or short with people?), examine our behavior, and then go from there.  For example, if you remember snapping at your little brother or sister, you can get a picture of the areas that you need a little more work in.  If you remember calling your grandmother and asking how she was doing, you might try to make a good habit out of it.  Praying and making the Act of Contrition at night is an essential part of my day and reminds me of God’s mercy for all my mistakes!

3. Night time is when I feel most productive.
Almost everything I’ve ever written (besides this blog), I’ve written at night.  Daytime just does not work for me.  There’s too many things going on and too many things that I could be doing to distract me from writing.  Night is when you can collect any inspiration you may have found during the day and jot it down.  It’s quiet, peaceful, and other than the internet there isn’t much to distract you.  Trying to stay awake while writing at night, however, is a different story…

4. It allows you to spend some time alone.
This one may sound odd, and I’m not trying to advocate the ever-annoying “me-time” thing, but being comfortable just being by yourself is an imperative lesson to learn.  I love my friends so much, but that doesn’t mean that I have no idea what to do with myself when they’re not around.  I don’t have to be texting somebody all of the time.  I’m also not saying that you should just lie in bed and analyze your entire life down to the smallest detail (I have a teensy-tiny overthinking problem…it happens), but sometimes the alone time you get at night is a great opportunity to get to know yourself a little better.  You can keep a journal to collect all of your thoughts, take some time to pray, or even blog like I do.  It goes hand in hand with the second item on the list, and can do wonders for your sense of self and peace of mind. 

Night time is awesome, even for people like me who don’t party all night like every single person on the radio.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go do everything I procrastinated about doing during the day — oh, I mean relax. 

– Julia

Keeping Your Head When You’re In Love With Love

The Daily Suck

Even though I suck at being a teenage girl, there is one thing that I share with my peers and that thing is being in love with love.  Yes, I’ll admit it.  The girl who loves video games and tries her best to be an individual is still a seventeen-year-old teenager who’s a huge sucker for romance.  Although I don’t enjoy the Nicholas Sparks or Twilight-esque kinds of stuff, I will go nuts for a really well-done love story.  I kind of get really super annoyed when that part of me flares up, as I know it will only lead to sad songs on repeat and dramatically staring off into the distance while hoping that my one true love will just fall from the sky.

The logical side of my brain tells me to stop being such a girl, but my emotions just keep dreaming of my happily ever after and it really gets on my nerves.  Why? Because I know better than that.

All of us women know how this goes.  See an attractive male or a romance that’s just so perfectly romantic on TV or in a movie? That’s it.  Nobody could ever possibly be as incredible, as handsome, as witty, as irresistible as said character or as perfect as said romance and you will never EVER find happiness again.

There’s bad news and good news to this problem.

The bad news is that you’ll have your sad period where all of your emotions wage bitter war against your peace of mind.  The good news is that they’re only emotions, and by nature they will go away.  That’s not to say that your longing for love and acceptance will never go away; only that the feeling itself does not have to dictate your entire existence.

Let me lay down some groundwork for this post.  Firstly, every human being at some point or other has felt that ache for a meaningful relationship, myself included.  It’s like, when we see a love story that we really like, a light flashes in our hearts saying “That’s it! That’s what will make me happy!”.  This is partly true.  God has created us to be loved and to love in return and if you’re being called to marriage, than the fulfillment of that vocation will give you more earthly joy than you imagine.  Ready to get your mind blown? Listen up.  Love itself is not the feeling that you get when you look at someone.  When you say “I love you”, you are not telling that person “You make me feel good”.  Love is a choice.  In a world that has absolutely no understanding of that previous sentence, I’ll say it again.  Love is a choice.  Love means the total-giving of the self to another, so when you say “I love you” to somebody, you’re really saying “I would sacrifice myself for your sake”.  Pretty heavy, right? Unfortunately in our day, love is either said too carelessly or not even part of the equation at all.

Now just because we know the true meaning of love doesn’t mean that going about it is any easier.  If anything, learning the true, self-sacrificial meaning of love makes us want it even more because it’s so beautiful and romantic.  And it totally is.  Loving God and loving another person — whether as a boyfriend or girlfriend, parent, sibling, friend, whatever — is the single greatest thing that we as people can do.  It’s what we’re meant for.  And sometimes, it really sucks being in singlesville.  This next thing is one of the hardest lessons to learn for me personally, but it’s absolutely essential if you ever want to find happiness with your true love.  You cannot love another person utterly and completely until you love yourself.  This is extremely hard to do, especially on bad days, but I promise that it’s for the best. You absolutely cannot stake your happiness on finding that “special someone” because some days those happy feelings won’t be there or your boyfriend/girlfriend will make you mad and then you’re stuck because you never had that internal happiness of loving yourself in the first place.  I’m not saying it’s easy.  I struggle to be content with just myself, and it’s easy to fall in that trap of despairing of the existence of your future beloved, especially in our teen years.  Add the pressure of the media that says you just HAVE to be “in a relationship” and it makes for a pretty daunting task.  But you will thank yourself for deciding to truly love yourself in the long run.  Not to be melodramatic, but your entire future could literally count on this choice.  If you do not respect yourself as a person, you can never give that same respect to another.  In turn, they cannot give it to you.

So believe it or not, God puts these longings in our hearts for a reason.  We’re being called to love another person in marriage, which is an absolutely beautiful thing.  The tricky thing is keeping those horrendous things called emotions in check.  Not to say that you shouldn’t let yourself feel them, (which I’ve talked about: http://isuckatbeingateenagegirl.com/2013/08/26/i-hate-feelings-but-its-ok-to-feel/) but you can’t let them rule your head.  I get it.  I love love, romance, all that cheesy stuff, and that’s fine.  I want it so much, and I bet you have too at some point in your life.  And if you remember to be patient and love yourself, that person will come into your life one day.  But don’t let that dream ruin the life you have now.  Enjoy being single! Enjoy all the other people in your life that love you and, please, just love being yourself.  Get rid of all those expectations (and I don’t mean standards) and just take it day-by-day.  This is so hard to do as a teenager, and a lot of the time, I think we don’t have this romance that we desire because we’re just not ready.  So get ready! Work on becoming the person that makes you happy, and will eventually make someone else happy too.  Believe me, if it’s meant to happen, it will happen, as long as you listen to what God wants for you.  If your life is an amazing story, then you don’t want to rush into the next chapters.  Be in love with Chapter 1.  And once that person enters your life, you’ll be ready to be loved and love them in return.  Love is awesome.  And it’s worth waiting for.

– Julia

Ranking My Favorite Mass Effect Squad Members

The Daily Suck

I was (re)playing Mass Effect 3 today because I’m a masochist (so many feelings), and in appreciation of its amazingness I’ve put together a list of all the squad members throughout the trilogy from least favorite to favorite! It’s a daunting task, I know, as nearly every character in the Mass Effect trilogy is incredibly well-done, but if Commander Shepard can stop the Reapers, then I think I can get this accomplished.  Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up to my favorite.

*Spoilers ahead*

19.  Liara T’Soni

Sorry, Liara.  You’re my least favorite on this list.  I really tried to make myself like you, but I just can’t get past all of the know-it-all-i’m-shepard’s-BEST-best-friend attitude.  Liara is pretty bossy right off the bat, and I feel like that chemistry that all of the other squad members have with each other just isn’t there.  And when she becomes the Shadow Broker in the Mass Effect 2 DLC, Lair of The Shadow Broker, she just seems like she’s trying too hard.  Sorry, Liara.  Sometimes I just wish I’d left you in that bubble on Therum way back when Saren was the most of my problems.

18.  Jacob Taylor

Jacob.  You’re the first face Shepard sees after waking from the dead in the beginning of Mass Effect 2 and you seem like a chill dude, but after that you just kind of fade into the background compared to the rest of the cast.  Jacob’s a good soldier and all, but that’s about it.  There’s not a lot that makes him stand out, which is why he’s ranked #18 on this list.

17.  Ashley Williams

(Just to give Bioware some props, I’m only on number 17 out of 19 and this list is already getting difficult.)  Ashley is the very first squad member that Shepard her(him)self recruits; if only her big mouth and really annoying trust issues didn’t get in the way of her earning a special place in my heart.  Ashley is sassy and tough, but she never quite knows when to shut up.  Although I do really like that she is so open about her religious faith, I wish she could have just a little bit of that faith in Shepard.  I’ll even forgive her for totally dissing Shepard in ME2, but do you seriously not trust me enough by the third game to believe I’m not working with Cerberus? C’mon, Ash.

16. Zaeed Massani

Like I said, at this point already the list is getting tough, and it’s starting to come down to picking the best of the best.  Let’s go with Zaeed next.  He’s living proof that you don’t have to necessarily like a character in order for them to be a good squad member.  He and Shepard don’t exactly start out on great terms, and they keep arguing throughout Zaeed’s loyalty mission until Shepard earns his trust.  While I like how Zaeed trusts and helps you without necessarily liking you (especially if you’re paragon), it also prevents any significant relationship building, which is why Zaeed is number 16 on the list.

15. Samara

Samara is a pretty cool character.  As an asari justicar, she is absolutely devoted to the “code” and following the law…even if it means killing the law-breakers.  She’s complicated, though, and her backstory will make you feel for her.  She’s a good addition to Shepard’s team…yet somehow I always forget about her when I’m going through the squad members.  Samara’s not my favorite person in Shepard’s crew, but she’s a fine character with a lot of depth.

14. Kaidan Alenko

The very first time I played the original Mass Effect, I was not a big Kaidan fan.  I’m not really sure why, but regardless, I’ve grown to really like him after multiple playthroughs (For better or for worse, I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve played these games).  Now I’ve never imported a save to ME3 where Kaidan was alive to see him as a spectre, but he’s cool in the original game (overlooking the drama in the second one).  He’s smart, loyal, and an overall good guy who has great chemistry with the other teammates, leading to some pretty funny moments.  Kaidan’s also the first guy to introduce the player to biotics, which are a pretty important feature of the entire trilogy.

13. Grunt

He’s the ultimate Krogan warrior, an unpredictable wrecking ball of destruction which makes him pretty fun to have around.  Grunt’s like a huge, violent, rambunctious puppy.  He’s young, so he doesn’t have everything figured out, but he has enthusiasm to spare and is always happy to help Shepard teach the bad guys a lesson.  Grunt’s a character with a lot of potential that I’d love to see in a spin-off.

12. James Vega

Although James is a newbie to the series, only making his first appearance in ME3, he quickly showed himself to be an awesome character.  James is a headstrong and dedicated soldier who puts his heart and soul into the galaxy-saving mission he joins Shepard on.  In a game where most characters, including Shepard herself, are starting to despair, James never gives up hope and is always ready to fight for what’s right.

11. Javik

Another DLC character like Zaeed and Kasumi, I really loved having Javik as part of my squad.  The last surviving Prothean, Javik finally sheds some light on the nature of the enigmatic alien race.  Turns out, they weren’t so nice.  Javik is a ruthless military official who wants nothing more than the total decimation of the Reapers who wiped out his people.  He’s not reckless and impulsive though.  He’s smart and calculating, which makes him an invaluable asset to Shepard’s team in ME3.

10. Kasumi Goto

Kasumi Goto is a master thief, and if that doesn’t already make her cool, she’s also one of the quirkiest and most lovable squad members.  She’s not a thief out of necessity; she does it because she loves it, and her fun personality and sense of humor add some great levity to the story.  Plus she’s a hopeless romantic with a huge crush on Jacob.  Aww, Kasumi.  You can do way better than number 18!

9. Miranda Lawson

I’ll admit, Miranda does not make a particularly good first impression.  By the end of the series, however, I trusted and admired Miranda as one of Shepard’s closest friends.  Although she starts out as an uptight, by-the-book Cerberus officer, she rebels against The Illusive Man and joins Shepard’s war against Cerberus and the Reapers.  Miranda is extremely intelligent, confident, and powerful, although her self-doubt presents itself once she starts to trust Shepard.  We get to learn about her soft side through her relationship with her sister, Oriana, which adds a lot of depth to her character.  In short, Miranda is an awesome chick I loved having on my side.

8.  Thane Krios

For an assassin with a disease that numbers his days, Thane is pretty chill.  His ever-present calm and collected demeanor not only makes him a likable character, but adds a hint of creepiness when he takes out his targets with unsettling serenity.  Thane is unquestionably loyal to Shepard and their fight against galactic decimation, but aside from his character, he’s also just straight-up cool.  He stealthily eliminates enemies with biotics and sniper rifles, making him great at both close range and long distance combat.  And that crazy flash-back thing he does? Awesome.

7. EDI

The Normandy’s resident Enhanced Defense Intelligence starts out as another part of the ship and ends up as one of Shepard’s closest allies.  As an AI, EDI provides invaluable intelligence and information on the enemy and saves Shepard and the crew more than a few times from one threat or another.  When EDI eventually gets a body in ME3, she becomes an even better crewmate and friend who’s hard not to get attached to, and her banter with Joker is one of the highlights of the games.

6. Legion

Going back-to-back with robots, Legion is number six on the list.  As a geth, the highly intelligent robots that Shepard spends most of ME1 fighting against, Legion is initially not trusted by Shepard and the crew and is sort of a mystery.  A super-lovable mystery, that is.  I totally fell in love with Legion during ME2 and 3, and was really sad to see his heroic sacrifice for the sake of the Geth and Quarians in ME3.  Legion has a lot of heart for an synthetic, and ranks as one of my favorite teammates throughout the series.

5. Mordin Solus

You know him, you love him, it’s Mordin Solus at number five! Mordin is a brilliant scientist whose character perfectly balances his hilarious demeanor and way of thinking out loud at a mile-per-minute in contrast to his guilt and regret over creating the Krogan genophage.  I remember meeting Mordin for the first time and already liking him after the initial conversation.  With a great script and fantastic voice-acting, Mordin remains a sympathetic and funny character even after you discover his role in creating the genophage, and watching him give his life to reverse his actions is one of the saddest deaths I’ve ever seen in a video game.  Lots of feels with this one.

4. Jack

Who knew that the psychotic, destructive, and completely unpredictable criminal Jack could become one of my most-loved characters in the entire series? Leave it to Bioware to come up with such incredible characters.  Jack is the most powerful human biotic, and with a helping of crazy on the side, makes for a very dangerous girl.  Once Shepard gains her trust and learns more about Jack, however, she becomes an extremely sympathetic character who you want to make it through the end.  Jack is multi-layered and three dimensional, and her character arc is fantastic while staying true to her original personality.  Not somebody you’d want to emulate, but someone you love nonetheless.

3. Urdnot Wrex

This is it! The final three! Coming in at number three is Wrex, Krogan mercenary-turned-leader of the entire race who’s a little ( a lot) rough around the edges but becomes one of Shepard’s closest friends.  As an original squad member, Wrex makes an appearance in all three games, and I couldn’t appreciate that more.  His one-liners are some of the best in the entire series and his interactions with other characters are always hilarious.  Even when I’ve played as renegade Shepard, I’ve never had the heart to kill him on Virmire in the first game, and as one of my all-time favorite squad members, I’m so glad he survives the series.

2. Tali’Zorah nar Rayya

Smart, spunky, and kind, Tali has always been one of my favorite teammates.  She’s young and a little bit naive, but also brave and willing to do whatever she needs to in order to help her people.  Tali grows up emotionally throughout the Mass Effect series, but still always retains that innocence that made me love her in the first place.  An integral part of Shepard’s crew, Tali has always been there through thick and thin and proves herself again and again as a great squad member and friend.

1. Garrus Vakarian

Eep! This is it! My absolute favorite squad member in the Mass Effect series is, without a doubt, Garrus Vakarian.  Garrus Vakarian is flawless.  I heard his sniper rifle is insured for $10,000 dollars.  But seriously, Garrus is simply the best squad member for multiple reasons.  As one of the only characters in your squad over all three games, you are able to see Garrus himself and his friendship with Shepard evolve over all three games.  Regardless of how you choose to make your Shepard behave, Garrus is one of the few people that Shepard opens up to with all of her concerns and thoughts.  He’s laid-back, supportive, confident, and funny, and is the perfect partner to Shepard’s more serious character.  In short, Garrus has always been my favorite team member in Mass Effect, and if you’ve ever hung out with me, you’ve probably seen me with my Garrus t-shirt on (and you were probably so jealous that you forgot to tell me that you liked it).

Ugh, it was so hard ranking all of these great characters! Bioware has truly created a masterful series that will always be looked upon as containing some of the greatest games of all time and my personal favorite series.  I apologize for any fangirling, but if you’ve played Mass Effect you’d understand.  Over three games, Bioware has given us these amazing characters to get attached to and love, and by the end of ME3, it felt like saying goodbye to old friends.  Oh well.  I’ll just have to play them all over again.

– Julia

The First Entry In My Commonplace Book Makes Me Sound Like A Goth (I’m Not)

The Daily Suck

I recently started taking a freshman english college course at Franciscan University, and my teacher made our class start keeping a commonplace book.  For those of you who don’t know, a commonplace book is a personal journal that you fill with any writings that speak to you; whether they’re from books, poetry, movies, or even your own writing.  Pretty cool right? Totally up my alley.  I started filling up my commonplace book right away with some of my favorite writings, but then I realized the very first one I wrote down is totally goth. 

Now I’m not goth, but I appreciate depth in writing and it just so happens that lots of deep writing is…well, dark and grim.  I.e., possibly my favorite Shakespeare tragedy, Macbeth.  Here’s what I wrote down:

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Yeah.  Pretty dark, huh? If you need to go watch cat videos now until you feel better, I won’t blame you.  So why did I pick this horribly depressing and hopeless quotation to jot down as my very first entry? Well it’s not because I’m goth, or because I identify with Macbeth’s perspective on life.  The answer is simple.  I wrote it down because it’s beautiful. 

Macbeth gives this famous monologue late in the play after he hears of the death of his wife, Lady Macbeth.  The audience would think that he would react a little more strongly to this news (although Lady Macbeth is one seriously messed-up chick), but that’s where we’re wrong.  Macbeth has already sacrificed most of his humanity to get to where he is at this point, starting with the murder of the old king and the usurping of his throne, which only leads Macbeth to order the murder of anyone who threatens his new position: even his closest friend and advisor.  At this time in the play, Macbeth is getting ready to defend his kingdom from the vengeance-driven Macduff, who is prophesied to the be the only person who can kill Macbeth and put an end to his reign.  Macbeth has stripped away all of his humanity and capacity for love in his quest for power and now it is the only thing he has left, and that’s why he not only doesn’t care about Lady Macbeth’s death, he is no longer able to care about anyone. 

If you’re familiar with the play, then you know what atrocities Macbeth has committed up to this point.  Nobody except the craziest, most diabolical villians could go walking around with a smile on their face anymore.  Which leads me to a question that goes along with the quotation: is Macbeth sane? Yes, he’s paranoid, power-hungry, and commits some undeniably evil acts.  Also, he sees ghosts and floating daggers, but the play does have supernatural elements to it.  Case in point: the three weird sisters, witches who dabble in black magic, and their goddess, Hecate.  Now all of this may seem off the point of the whole commonplace entry thing, but context is everything with this one, and key to appreciating the monologue.  Just bear with me for a little bit longer!

I’m not really arguing either way in the debate of Macbeth’s sanity, but it’s important to keep in mind while reading the quote.  I guess what I’m saying is that a sane person would not love their life if they were Macbeth.  And although many of Macbeth’s actions in the play seem to stem from madness, this speech almost sounds like a moment of fleeting clarity where he looks back on it all and sees it for what it is: empty, and in the end, meaningless. 

For a man who’s existence is entirely devoid of love and happiness, life really is a walking shadow, a forgettable actor who “struts and frets his hour upon the stage”, and then fades from memory, unremembered and unimportant.  The only promise tomorrow holds is exactly what it is: another tomorrow that only leads to the next one and the next one until death, which Macbeth does not even seem to see as an escape.  We can make all the sound and fury in life that we want, but in the corrupt king’s eyes that’s all they are: hollow noise and meaningless actions.  Which leads me to my favorite part of the quote.  The entire monologue is incredibly deep with beautiful metaphors and imagery, but old Billy Shakes (as my poetry teacher says) ends it pretty bluntly.  After all the walking shadows, brief candles, and poor players, he ends with “Signifying nothing”.  And that’s his genius.  By ending this gorgeous speech in such a blunt and brutal way, he parallels the entire essence of the speech.  Macbeth gives his sound, fury, and eloquence throughout the entire monologue, but when he comes to his main point – that life is meaningless – he conveys exactly that in just two words.  He plays up the drama up until the “signifying” (life signifies what, Macbeth? What?) and then brings it crashing down with the simple “nothing”.  Just nothing.  Everything he’s said, everything he’s done amounts to just — nothing.  It’s a deflated, hollow word to end with, but it hits us like a sledgehammer and it’s utter brilliance. 

Alright, if you’ve read this entire post then I applaud you and also apologize profusely for getting a little loquacious there.  Shakespeare just gets to me.  It goes hand in hand with the whole sucking at being a teenage girl thing.  But hopefully I’ve explained why this monologue from Macbeth got the very first spot in my commonplace book.  Not because I’m goth.  Not because I think that Macbeth’s got the right idea about life.  It’s because it blends heartbreaking beauty, tragedy, and the brutal ugliness of what evil can do to someone in the same breath.  As another famous Macbeth quote states, “Fair is foul and foul is fair”, and this monologue balances both of those qualities brilliantly.  Considering myself an avid reader and a writer, Macbeth’s speech never fails to take my breath away in its power, and that’s why it’s not only in my book, but the first entry.  

I’m going to have a tough time explaining all of this to my english teacher if she’s concerned for my sanity once she reads the quote in my book.  Did I mention I also have Poe in there as well? Yikes. Maybe I’ll try to litter in some My LIttle Pony: Friendship Is Magic in there, just to be safe.  Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this depressing post about a depressing play! It’s one of my favorites, and maybe after reading this you’ll add in a Macbeth quote or two in your own commonplace book.  Just make sure to start out with the quote “Don’t worry, be happy” on your first page. 

– Julia

Labor Day Dream Jobs

The Daily Suck

First of all I’d like to apologize for no post yesterday! My entire day was completely filled with different events and I just didn’t have the time to write anything.  I’ll try my best to not let it happen again!

Anyway, onto today’s post: Labor Day Dream Jobs.

Happy Labor Day everyone! I’m extending a personal thank you to any working person reading this blog today. You are wonderful & should be proud of what you do! And special thanks to my Dad for working as hard as he does for as long as he has to get where he is today: I am so proud of him & all that he does to support our family!

Now even though I’m seventeen, I’ve never had a job.  I guess you could call me a professional musician, but I’ve never actually worked at a McDonald’s, Hollister, or the like.  In honor of Labor Day, I’ve put together a list of my dream jobs that range in both fields and likelihood (I took superhero off the list a while ago…like last week or something). 

1. Rock Star

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As you know, I’m the guitarist and singer in my band, Spinning Jenny, so my first obvious dream job is making it big and becoming a rock star! I love music & it would be incredible to write songs and perform for thousands or even millions of people all over the world.  Hopefully the band and I are on the right track to making this one a reality, but for now it’s still a dream I’m striving toward!
Pros: being able to make and play music for a living and sharing my songs with the entire world.  Plus the whole fame and fortune thing.
Cons: being away from home on tour and pre-show jitters! I hate being nervous and I always am before we play! It’s a minor thing compared to the rock star life though. 

2. Astronaut

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Who as a kid didn’t want to be an astronaut, right? Those men and women are amazing to me.  Space really is the final frontier and besides boldy going where no man has gone before (two Star Trek references in one sentence? Bam!), astronauts are incredibly intelligent and brave.  I’ve been in love with the idea and adventure of space travel ever since I was little and astronauts are the daring explorers of that vast unknown. 
Pros: I’d be a hero, get to float around in zero gravity (awesome!), and be up in space, a beauty that I can’t even imagine.
Cons: I am TERRIBLE at math, which I heard that astronauts use (go figure).  Also, space is beautiful, but those visits are long and the loneliness would be tough.

3. Archaeologist/Paleontologist

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When I was little, I had an animal obsession.  I collected all the zoo books, watched all the nature documentaries, and even got this monthly animal card collection in the mail.  I was especially into dinosaurs though, and still am to this day, but I also love learning about history and ancient cultures.  Conclusion: becoming an archaelogist or paleontologist is a no-brainer for this list.  Most of the work is just digging and digging and digging, but there’s always the promise of an incredible discovery that could be a major contribution to history and science, all while landing you in the history books.  Sounds good to me!
Pros: traveling the world and exploring ruins, discovering the mysteries of the dinosaurs and ancient cultures, and most importantly: wearing awesome hats like Indiana Jones and Dr. Allan Grant.
Cons: lots of careful and tedious digging, along with the fact that you don’t uncover anything earth-shattering most of the time.  But this old gum wrapper counts as a aritfact, right? Right?

4. Video game journalist/developer

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I LOVE video games.  Love to play them, read about them, write about them, well, you get the point.  And that’s why working in the gaming industry either as a reporter or actually on a development team is one of my dream jobs.  Nearly nothing makes me happier than being creative, and by being involved in the creation of a video game, I can do what I Iove and make great games at the same time.  Gaming journalism would be just as cool, and getting to cover huge events like E3 and meeting all the big names in the video game industry would be incredible.  It’s like getting paid to be a nerd!
Pros: getting to go to E3, Gamescom, and all the other big gaming events, plus helping to make awesome games!
Cons: meeting game development and journalism deadlines.  Ugh.  Also: having to work on the same game for years until it’s done…they take forever to make!

5. Author

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I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I am passionate about writing, so getting recognized and doing it for a living would be a dream! I’m not particular about what I write, whether it’s poetry, short stories, or even a novel, and would love getting any of those things published! Writing is my escape: I don’t worry about anything else when I’m doing it and I get to think up brand new worlds and people to explore.  Writing is how I express myself the best!
Pros: inspiring other people, getting to be creative, and potentially getting my novel turned into a multi-billion dollar movie franchise (hey, it can happen). 
Cons: I don’t need to remind myself of the whole “struggling writer” dynamic.  Most of the time writing doesn’t pay the bills, and dying penniless in a refrigerator box somewhere doesn’t sound like fun. On the bright side, there’s a certain romanticism to the hobo life & I’ve heard that hobos themselves are very non-judgemental. 

So on that note, those are my dream jobs! Are they a little far-fetched? Maybe, but Labor Day is about celebrating the people who work, and I’m willing to do just that to get where I want to go.  The real problem is: how do I decide between all these? Decisions, decisions.  Have a happy Labor Day!

– Julia

My Poetry: “Caterina”

The Daily Suck

Almost two years ago, I was blessed with the most incredible gift: my little sister, Caterina.  With the 15-year gap between us, I treat her like my little baby and love her more than I ever thought I could love anyone.  She truly lights up my life and gives me so much happiness! That being said, on her first birthday last year, I knew I had to do something special.  I ended up with this poem.  Entitled simply “Caterina”, I’m very excited to share it with you so that you can get a sense of how special she is to me.  Enjoy!

  “Caterina”
If my joy and happiness and laughter are caged birds
Then you are the key
And in the shape of a smile you unlock my heart
And bring all the good to light

If I want to know of love and purity and grace
Then you are my teacher
With the quiet wisdom of a child you inspire
I am content to sit at your feet

If my soul craves a song full of beauty and truth
Then you are a symphony
And your music lifts my spirit to impossible heights
I want all the world to hear you

If I long to see Heaven or a glimpse of my God
Then you are a window
And your eyes radiate with the glory of Divine Light
In every act, a daughter of The King

So in my imperfection
I know my words are not enough
Sentimental,
and utterly inadequate
But maybe when days have turned to months and months to years
Maybe when you feel small and alone
You’ll read the words of a foolish girl
who loves you
to the stars and back

I Hate Hating On Haters

The Daily Suck

Haters? Those people are the worst! Why can’t they just smile and agree with every little decision that I make, all while proclaiming how awesome/right/gorgeous I am? I can do whatever I want, when I want! Haters…screw those guys!

Yeah, actually, no. 

Anybody else catching the irony here? By calling out your “haters,” like so, you are being a hater.  Not letting what other people think or say bother you is good (with some exceptions), but saying stuff like that in retaliation is not only rude and immature: it’s puts you on the same level as your so-called haters.  And that’s not the only thing. 

It’s important to know that people will always abuse the system and this is no different.  Instead of going with the healthy mindset of doing what you think is right (no matter if people try to bring you down) and listening to constructive criticism, we’ve gone with “I can do whatever I want and no hater can tell me that it’s wrong!” This is a problem.  We allow ourselves to do and say whatever we want or “feel like” by using name-calling and bashing as an excuse to ignore people who say anything we don’t want to hear.  Now I’m not saying that there aren’t some real jerks out there who say mean things for the sake of being mean, but somehow I’m thinking that most people who call out the haters just want to be praised ceaselessly for their skill with posing and Instagram filters. 

Let’s lay down some simple facts.

1. People who have different opinions than yours are not haters. 
I really can’t overstate this one enough.  As long as they are respectful of you and kind (and respect does NOT mean tolerance or agreement), people who have different opinions than yours are not haters.  Across issues large and small, this always holds true. 

2. Calling out your haters doesn’t make whatever you’re doing right; it only makes you sound obnoxious.
Like I said before, you don’t have to think what people are saying is right, but you don’t have to resort to name-calling and flat-out hostility.  And can anyone count as a hater now? How about your parents? Are they haters for correcting you and trying to lead you down the right path whether you can see it or not? Playing the hater card never justifies your actions, no matter if they’re good or bad.

3. And finally, sometimes listening to all those haters can be good for you.
Again, I’m not telling you to let what other people think and say dictate your entire life, but sometimes there’s some constructive criticism there that can only benefit you.  Nobody has it all figured out! We all need some guidance and criticism to help us learn and become the best people we can be. 

So maybe you’ll think twice the next time you want to dish out the h-word.  Love yourself and who you are, but love yourself enought to listen to others who can make you a better person or teach you an important lesson.  We teenagers may have it now, but there won’t always be people there to coddle you and tell you everything you want to hear.  And once you get to that point, calling out your haters isn’t going to be too effective.