Jen’s No Rules Friday

You see all my light.

She remembers a time before me.
She remembers a time before cell phones and HDTV and internet and me looking down at my phone instead of at her face.

She remembers pound cake recipes and what to do when my grandfather lost his fingers to the bite of a band saw and how to cut my father’s hair when his feet couldn’t even touch the kitchen floor and the shape of my tiny hand wrapped around hers, my lungs like the wing beats of a hummingbird on fire, long before I should have seen the light of day.

She remembers family. She remembers work. She remembers a time when her hands held things together better than the rusty ones she has now.

She remembers putting my father in the ground. His ashes are caught in her tear ducts. I see them every time she looks at me and sees his nose on my face, and the waste of his life in my eyes.

She remembers all of it. Stories fall from her lips like spun gold.

But today I said, “I’m your granddaughter.”

And you love my dark.

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Stay tuned for our Special Guest, Tori’s, No Rules Friday next week.

Jen’s Book Club

Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Watership Down, by Richard Adams

I’m going back in time on this one, because nostalgia has me in its grubby hands today. Does anybody remember those newspapery order forms teachers gave out every couple of months for book ordering? My memory escapes me, but it had a name. It may have been Book Order, but I feel like it should have been more original than that. I used to dogear the flimsy pages and run home to my mother and beg for words.

The only one that made it from the blurb on the order form to my little 10 year old hands to high school and college and my first apartment and now my first home is Watership Down by Richard Adams. I thought I was ordering a book about a journey undertaken by disgruntled rabbits, but really I had themes and ideas much bigger than my fifth grade self. I was holding a novel full of determination, adventure, growth, and the impact of humanity on nature.

From Amazon.com:

Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England’s Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

Adams creates such a lush and reaching culture in this world of rabbits that includes language, poetry, love, family, and a complex hierarchy that explores leadership and the impact of tyranny. This is a novel that expands every single time I pick it up. It adapts itself to the age of the reader, and in that realm of thinking, it is a book that never loses impact. These are not the average bunnies, and this is not the average adventure novel.

 

Jen’s No Rules Friday

This poem is inspired by Audrey’s Nymphs and Satyrs

Water is nothing and everything.

Rain falls for gravity only, and how it loves the fall,

waves crash at the mercy of the moon, over and over and over again.

Love slipped through my fingers

like nothing

and everything.

He rests at the bottom of my waterlogged heart.

There is no moon to pull him back,

no gravity to steady my hands,

and I am trapped here

in nothing

and everything.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Stay tuned for Anne’s No Rules Friday next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jen’s Book Club

I’m going rogue and reviewing a movie adaptation of a book that I already reviewed. The Fault in Our Stars, anyone?

So I said a couple months ago that this book made me ugly cry with the best of them, and allow me to inform you: the ugly crying was audible throughout the theater on this film’s opening night. The girls across from me were basically in shambles before the credits finished rolling.

So it was sad.

I don’t know what we expected.  Seeing a heart wrenching storyline portrayed in real life was nothing short of devastating, but ALSO let me tell you that this movie was the most accurate book to movie adaptation I’ve seen to date.  The characters were cast spot on, the dialogue was 90% verbatim from very pages I cried onto, and the emotion was raw just as spectacularly translated as it was under that famous cloudy cover. And oh, it’s humor was not lost on me.

I laughed. I cried. I cried harder. I was thankful for waterproof eyeliner. And despite the tears and the wadded popcorn scented napkins (a product of my wringing hands), it was absolutely beautiful. And of course, I plan to go again.

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Stay tuned for Anne’s Book Club post next Wednesday.

“Song of Wandering Aengus” by WB Yeats Inspires Jen

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Hunt

The night of the Hunt we always stole away, Mica and I, just in case. Most stayed with their families to say goodbye in case the glow started, but we stuck together. The elixir lingered on my tongue, heavy and sickly sweet like molasses. My hands shook as I waited for my veins to glow white, or not.

Mica bit into an apple he stole, keen to get the taste of the damning elixir out of his mouth. He tossed the fruit to me. It was crisp and light, one of the best I’d had here. We waited for the glow. It should have only taken a few minutes.

“Don’t worry about me,” he said.

“I always worry.”

“I know, so do I.” His brown eyes were made black by the slivered moon above us. Then he kissed me and I forgot everything, and we ended up a sticky mess of Macintosh nectar and summer heat.

I’ve worried every month since this deal was struck. This was the price we paid for the protection of the Headers. They get to hunt us like dogs once a month, and we get to sleep in the protection of the city away from the demons rising from the ashes outside the untouchable dome of Nacht. They would kill three people tonight, chosen by the elixir we all just drank. Drink the placebo and you can go home, but drink elixir and your veins spark like fireworks. That’s when you start running. It’s a sport.

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Jen’s No Rules Friday

Flight

Birds have hollow bones. In numbers, they make shapes like shadows that live. A murmuration. That’s what it’s called. The word sounds soft, like whispers, heartbeats. Those birds turn air from nothing into something solid, something with weight like a hand on my shoulder, like my name on your mind. Something light, something heavy. I’m not going anywhere with this but to say that everything is light, and everything is heavy, even when it seems like nothing’s there.

Jen’s No Rules Friday

A little bit of poetry on a sleepy Friday morning? Sure.

 

I once wrote about rain and skeletons. I asked for them back, but you can’t get words back. Fingers twisted and crushed and words became noise and something to hold out of reach, just like a heavy heart. You can’t get words back.

You can’t get time back. You can’t get back the first rose blush of love.

But that’s good, because you don’t want it back.

You want white flags and white doves and a red heart, more alive than hope. A heart dripping something so hot it burns through the floors of doubt in a house made of glass. So loud they can hear it in the street.

Do you want my white flags? Do you want my white doves so full of promise they can’t get to the clouds fast enough? Do you want my red heart?

It’s loud and hot and my doubt is crashing so hard I’m catching shards of shrapnel like shooting stars, and every wish is sitting six hundred miles away painting a red heart onto a white canvas.

I said I’d never give away words again, but you can have them all. No more glass houses, just your arms. Go paint our hearts on your canvas and give me every burning constellation you’ve got in your eyes.

Let’s break every bit of glass in this place if it means making galaxies so bright I can’t think of anything other than kissing you under the stars.

 

 

 

Jen’s Book Club Remix

Last month I reviewed Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Shortly after I was in a theater filling up on popcorn and Sour Patch Kids, waiting for the movie to start.

Now, normally my method of surviving book-to-movie adaptations involves a three step process. Step one is to have low expectations. Then I repeat that step twice. It’s the best method to avoid the up-in-arms aftermath of many books that hit the big screen. This aftermath includes but is not limited to angry eyebrows, screams of “BUT THEY CHANGED EVERYTHING,” and other means of disappointment.

My normal methods did not apply to Divergent’s on-screen adaptation. It was a concise look at the diverse factions of the novel, with a clear story line and much of the content I enjoyed so much in the book. The characters were well depicted by their chosen actors, with Shailene Woodley playing a convincingly shy-to-badass Tris Prior and heartthrob Theo James upholding Four’s rugged yet sensitive esteem. Their relationship was underplayed, allowing the conflict of the factions to take main stage. The heart of the film was found in the societal connections of the Divergent world, and the movie lent itself to the idea of choice and fear that was so prevalent in the novel.

There was no up-in-arms aftermath, and for that I was pleasantly surprised.

 

“Love Song to California” by Jen Hickman Inspires Jen

LoveSongtoCalifornia_JenHickmanQueen of Trees: an Elemental Extra

“Cameron.”

My name startles me out of concentration. The baby summer squash plant I was urging out of the soil explodes under my hands. The spring sun is multiplied tenfold under the greenhouse’s glass and sweat burns my eyes. As part of the nature facet of Elemental power, my connection with plants guarantees a plentiful summer garden as long as the plants don’t explode. Like this one. I toss the it’s shriveled root ball into the compost bin.

“Oh, sorry,” Tess says, brushing leaves off the worktable next to me and hopping up to sit. “I didn’t mean to ruin it.”

“It’s okay,” I smile over at her, “there only a hundred others.” Her booted feet swing above the ground and her hair escapes from the messy knot she’s tied it in. Tiny dark curls wisp at the back of her neck, and I want to tuck them back where they belong.

I wipe my forehead with my sleeve, wondering if I smell as dirty as I feel. She smells like rain and woods, which is like a mixture of the two of us. She’s the most talented Tempest this world has seen and she can mix a storm out of nothing. Impressive is an understatement.

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When Worlds Collide by Jen (an April Fool’s Extra)

*Go here and here to read the origins of this story*

Firefight

“Gemma, lift!” Grace’s voice cuts me from somewhere near sleep. I thank the stars for that, because the sea is heavy on my flight feathers, misting my face with cold and salt. She swoops down to catch me in her wake and drag me up, away from the surf.

“You scared me to death,” she says. I laugh, though it’s not funny. “Only half a mile to go, looks like.”

“Where are we going?” My voice falls to the sea like lead. Grace looks over her shoulder at me and drags the air with her wings, slowing to let me catch up. She doesn’t answer, just taps me with her primaries as she flies. The sun is an idea on the horizon, spitting pastel pink on the trees we fly for. Her feathers are ash and blue in the waning dark, and I want to curl up next to her and smolder forever.

We touch down on sand that leads to woods, hiding our wings from the unknown. A river narrows into the woods, bubbling like questions. We find a hollow near the river, and I’m asleep before she can kiss me goodnight.

Pounding wakes me, rhythmic and fast.

Hooves. I reach out, catching nothing but leaves. Panic swells hot in my chest.

“Grace?”

“I hear it,” she says above me, tree branches obscuring her. “Come up here.”

I reach her branch and let the leaves envelop me. The pounding shakes our trees, but slows.

“Centaurs,” I say. Her eyes are widen. “We’re in Omnia.” We traded the abuse of one land for another, for all the talk of Omnia is of the death in their mines and their king’s dirty dealings with other lands.

These men wear his crest. They’re formidable Percherons, all hulking muscle and dappled gray. A pair of them pull a cart while two more guard the flanks.

“Stop here,” one says. “I want to check her.”

“She was stupid to run,” another laughs. A steel centaur pulls a tarp off the cart, and my skin prickles. What I thought was cargo is one of their own, bound and gagged. Her midnight coat fades into a torso that’s more bruises than skin.”He won’t have her for a daughter. I hear the wolves want her as a pet and are willing to pay.”

“Maybe we could play with her first.” They laugh again, and I can’t see straight.

Grace’s nails dig into my arm as her wings spring from her back, rustling leaves. Her eyes scream injustice. I know that look on her face, I saw it through the bars of my own prison on Maderas. I let my wings fall from my back, and I’m proud of her. There’s good in the killer and firebringer our land made us out to be.

A twig snaps. A centaur girl below us is golden and fierce in the morning light. She trembles, eyes focused on the cart. Her body screams in a silent way and I know her, too. She is us.

I jump from my perch and land soft next to her.  Grace shadows me, hands telling and soft on my hips. The Halflinger girl doesn’t flinch, but takes us in with knowing glances.

“Is she yours?” I whisper.

She nods, fire in her eyes.

Sparks fly from my fingertips. “Let’s go get her.”

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A/N: Happy April Fools! I hope you enjoyed our mash-ups. We were inspired by last month’s Craft Discussion: World Building.