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Lost and Found

I don’t know about you guys, but there are some days where I see a mitten lying abandoned in the snow, or a dropped bit of change in a classroom and I get really sad. Yes, it sounds mushy, but it’s as if I get sad for the objects! I keep thinking that they are personified and just sitting there waiting for their owner to come back for them so they can go home. In that light, I wrote a little cheesy poem to express my anguish over the abandoned hat and mitts:

Owner Mine

I didn’t mean to fall out,

but there was too much stuff in your pockets.

I got squished and crumpled,

now I am totally unrecognizable.

It has been a long time since I’ve been part of the world outside.

The world that you brought me to disappeared,

it left with a hand picking me up, a

“Ooops, where’d you come from?”

and then I came here to this box.

It isn’t a pretty box,

battered and broken just like I am.

There are other things here,

mittens and scarves,

but none of them is my partner.

No one likes to talk to me here,

they are all wrapped up in misery that I don’t understand.

They tell me I am stupid to expect you to come for me,

that all things come here to die.

I still hope that you are coming,

and sometimes I think I hear your voice.

But the box never opens,

and I don’t remember the sunshine anymore.

Have you forgotten about me, Owner?

Have you thrown out my pair and gotten new mittens?

I wish you’d come back and find me,

I am not far form where I fell down.

Please come say hello,

even if you don’t feel like taking me home.

I miss my pair,

will you bring her here too?

More and more mitts come to join me,

but it’s not the same.

Maybe today you will come for me,

maybe today.

Sure, I get that mitts and hats don’t actually feel anything, but I keep feeling that the box they are thrown in must get dark, full and depressing from time to time. When I lose a mitten, I search for it all over the place because it’s important to me to find it. A couple of times I did end up finding it in the Lost and Found box at school and when I see all those forgotten pieces in there, I just want to take them all home so I can knit new pairs for them (assuming I knew how to knit, of course).

Then again, I’m probably one of the only ones that think like this, as I’ve never seen a poster anywhere stating “LOST MITTEN”.

Image Credit: stock-clip.com (Google)
Image Credit: stock-clip.com (Google)
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Why Zayed Will Steal you Heart

Since music so easily accessible in a world where you can download from Youtube, most of us music-savvy listeners have heard just about every sound out there. So, when we stumble across a new sound, one that is full of pep and yet still has that special connection with us that we can’t totally explain, we’re drawn to it and want to listen to it over and over again in hopes that we’ll be able to commit the power and beauty of it to memory. This is what it is like listening to the new single “Symphony for a longing heart” by Zayed Hassan.

The piece is one of those rare and powerful selections without lyrics that can either make or break a song. In this particular song, Zayed lets the power of the music speak for itself and successfully connects with his viewers that way by knowing how much to put into his song and what leave to the viewer. True art is all about letting the customer (in this case, the listener) put themselves into the situation and make it their own. The beauty of lyric-free music is that we all hear it a different way and don’t have to get past the sometimes cumbersome lyrics in order to connect fully with the musician and what he wanted. Zayed uses this information to create a strong piece that is all about remaining open to interpretations of all sorts.

Zayed’s creation is full of conflicting emotions and thoughts, which normally would result in a mess of different thoughts that just confuse the listener. In the expert way that this song is constructed, however, the thoughts and emotions, as much as they vary, are realistic to the typical human heart that is longing for something: happy, sad, angry, bitter, etc. The list goes on and on and really helps the listener develop a full sense of the emotions that go along with longing.

What is really interesting about this song, though, is that Zayed allows you to decide whether you want it to be a sad kind of loss that revolves entirely around missing someone that was once close to you, or whether it’s a loss that’s saying, “I miss you, but I’m doing what I need to do to be happy.” which is a very interesting kind of loss, and a great idea to put forward. There is also the interpretation that he puts forward that it can be both a happy and a sad loss, which is probably the most original idea to put in the song ever.

With the kind of grace that would make most musicians jealous, the different instruments are blended effortlessly together to create a full and non-obtrusive ensemble that gets your foot tapping and your imagination going a thousand miles a minute, picking parts of the song that you feel directly relate to your life. Any artist can make a song that is relatable to everyone, but it takes a very talented musician to create a piece that can be interpreted in a different way by every listener out there.

Starting off with one instrument and then building to the full sound that fills your ears as it reaches its climax, the piece is full of effective dynamics that are sure to make all ears turn and listen to this upbeat song that is full of life. The joy that he inserts into the chords dissolves into ones that hurt your ears, but only in a way because it is tinged with sorrow. This is where Zayed really shows his talent as both a musician, and a truly smart one that knows his job is to do whatever he can to connect with the audience. And he does this by putting himself into the song.

By that I mean that he makes himself vulnerable to his audience by putting his own longing and loss into the song. We can hear those dissonant chords and know that it is his own emotions and memories leaking into the song. He may not be aware of doing so, but that’s what makes this song so amazing. By doing this integration of his own emotions, that means that he is truly feeling the music and making it as full of passion as he can. None of this can be dissected formally, its simply a feeling that the listener gets when closing their eyes and just feel the song.

Music is all about sharing your life and memories with others around you in a way that is safe on both ends, but effective. Zayed does this so well that it is more about the experience of sharing your memory with him as you listen. Everyone enjoying this song is unknowingly broadcasting their own interpretations and memories into the environment around them: by everyone connecting with the song and sharing these memories, they are going into a collective memory area that is engrained in the song and connecting with one another. It is not a physical connection, of course, but it’s the feeling that you’re connecting with Zayed and then with his other fans, too, because all fans are connected by a collective fan base. Basically, Zayed extends a special relationship to his listeners, and allows them to feel connected all together through “Symphony for a longing heart”.

Overall, Zayed’s newest piece is full of memories and reminiscence for every listener, but encourages the good along with the bad. In connecting with them through every beat of the song, he steals your heart and makes you feel as though you are part of the song itself and therefore part of Zayed (in a totally non-creepy way). That’s the job of a musician, to share with his audience. Zayed’s skills are exceptional and his song clearly demonstrates his craft and style as well as his careful interaction with his valued listeners. You won’t regret listening to his catchy and relatable song, so go ahead and see how it grabs your heart.

To find out more information about about Zayed, check his page out on Facebook, or on Twitter!  You can listen to his song by clicking here.

pacification-2

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Holiday Spirit

As the holidays take over my usually frazzled life, I find that the holiday spirit is a little hard to grasp onto this year. I’ve done the usual decorating and eaten way too many cookies, but it seems as though I am in a grinch mood. These past few days have been spent baking, however, and as I put the finishing sprinkles on my mouthwatering shortbread cookies, I found myself starting to feel the first tingles in the pit of my stomach.

Cooking has always been pretty enjoyable for me, but baking is another story. I always get frustrated and give up if I’m making cookies and I can’t get them in the right shape, or I spill batter on the counter, or I get my hands sticky and then touch my phone. It gets even worse if I manage to get them in the oven, only to have them mould themselves into a cookie blob in the middle of the pan. Sure, a good taste is the most important part about baking, but the cookies have to be somewhat presentable, don’t they?

So, when I started baking a couple of days ago, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I knew that one little mistake would send me roaring off in a tizzy and any hopes of getting my holiday spirit would be out the window. I was pleasantly surprised, though, that when I did make the mistake of adding double the sugar (I swear, I thought the recipe said 2 tablespoons!), I got upset, but just carefully started spooning the sugar back out until it looked more reasonable. I was so impressed with myself that the rest of the baking adventure went by without a hitch!

Now, at the end of it all, I have two batches of severely misshapen peanut butter cookies, a slightly undercooked batch of ginger cookies, and two perfect batches of shortbread! I then had the brilliant idea to slather them in frosting and then throw a couple of sprinkles on there, just to complete the whole experience.

Yum!!
Yum!!

As I finished baking, I was so glad to see that I could still touch the magic of the holiday season, even if it took two weeks and five batches of cookies to achieve it. I guess growing up means that you have to find the holiday spirit by helping others instead of excitement over what you yourself will receive or gain. Sure, it’s corny, but it’s the truth, and I look forward to doing even more giving next year.

So, with the whole wonderful adventure behind me, I now find myself ready for the hot chocolate, fire place, and Christmas carols. Just in time, too! What are some of your favourite ways to get into the holiday spirit? What are some traditions that you want to share with the future generations?

Happy holidays!

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Life as a Superstar

Music, as I have mentioned in various posts, is something that has always been a part of my life. I have a passion for creating music and listening to it. Due to this attraction, it only made sense for me to record my own CD, which I did a year ago. The entire process probably took close to a year and a half, and thought it was exhilerating, it was also totally exhausting!

The first step to creating a CD is to pick the songs that you’re going to record, obviously, but the hard part is knowing which ones you will actually end up recording. As any singer will know, you can’t always sing the songs you want because when performing something, you always have to go with what best suits your voice. Originally, I had seven songs that I was going to record. By the time I was ready to actually record, I was down to four songs, and only one of them was from the original list.

The recording itself was definitely the hardest part because it had to revolve around sicknesses and fatigue, not to mention the normal elements that eat up time, like school and work. It took from July to December to get everything recording, and it was gruelling process.

The hardest part of actually recording a song is staying focused. When you record, you get tense, and it takes several hours to get a good basic track down. I learned early on that it is crucial to have the words memorized on the recording day, because even if you have everything memorized and ready to go, recording causes the dreaded problem that I ran into all the time…spontaneous forgetfulness.

This happens when you are a couple takes into the process and you’ve been singing for an hour or two. The last two takes went well, but you kept messing up on that one spot. This time, you’re going to focus everything on that one spot and make sure you get it right. Simple, enough, right? Once you start singing, however, you quickly realize that in all your focusing, the words have gone out of your head.

 

Image Credit: www.ehow.com (Google)
Image Credit: http://www.ehow.com (Google)

Poof, gone. And just like that, the frustration grows into anger and hatred for the entire process. This anger is exactly why it took over five months to record four songs. It is a time-consuming, angering experience, but it’s one that I meant a lot to me and when I look back now, I see all the good moments, rather than the bad ones.

There were days when I would literally throw things across the room in frustration, and there were others when I was totally exhausted, but so happy I had finished. Recording a CD is not something I will be doing anytime soon again, but I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to sing. I learned a lot about my voice and it was a great experience!

Does anyone have experiences they would like to share? Go ahead and display your stardom!

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The Bus

In the past year or two, I have used the public bus system to get around town. I always find it fascinating, the different kinds of people that are on the bus with you. There are two different routes I usually take, but I don’t go on the bus often enough to be totally comfortable. By that, I mean that I sit by the window, staring obsessively at the street signs to make sure that I get off at the right stop. Yup, that’s me.

On my adventures on the bus, though, I’ve learned that some people are comfortable no matter where they go, and it totally freaks me out! I mean, I can’t even listen to music while I’m on the bus, because I’m so scared that I’m going to miss my stop and end up God-knows-where and no way to get back to anything familiar. Then, there are some people that sit on the bus with computers out and headphones in, working away like it’s no big deal!

I’m jealous of those kinds of people, mostly because I am very dedicated student, so any time that I can get to work on homework or do some class reading, I’ll take it. The bus is not one of the places I can relax, though, and I wish I could be productive instead of staring listlessly out the window for the whole trip.

Due to the fact that I don’t take the bus everyday, I can understand how I am never comfortable enough to listen to music or chat with a friend sitting close by. Even if I did take the bus everyday, though, I still don’t think I’d ever be able to put loud music on and start writing a paper in the middle of a bus ride.

When I write, I go into another world completely and have basically no idea how much time passes or what’s going on around me at the time. There was once in middle school, when I had finished my work early in class, so I was reading a book. One minute, everyone’s working away and I’m happily reading, the next minute, the teacher is accusing me of being rude and disrespectful because I wasn’t paying attention to the explanation she was giving.

It turned out that I had been reading for an hour, and in that time, the class had finished their work and the teacher had moved on to the next subject. I had no idea that anything was even going on. I never read in class again!

So, to you multitasking people on the bus, I envy your skills, and hope that you never miss your stop!

bus
Image Credit: http://www.freeclipartnow.com (Google)

Out of curiosity, does anyone else have the same issue as me on the bus, or am I just a fluke?

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How Not to Be an Ostrich

For all students, school can get insanely stressful when the busy period hits. For university students, that is pretty much everyday of the semester. The intense course load, the all-nighters and struggling to maintain a social life while juggling school and work commitments…sometimes it’s all too much and all we want to do is be an ostrich and bury our heads in the sand until all of it is over. Am I right?

ostrich-sand
Image Credit: politicalviolenceataglance.org (Google)

Personally, I’m buried under a mountain of work from school and, though I have this same luck every year, I find myself kind of panicking that I won’t get it all done in time. There are only so many hours in a day, and by staying up late every night working, the next day is a drag and is counter-productive. I haven’t been able to find a way to be rested, and get all the work done, but I’m still searching around and trying new things.

I can’t do anything about the work load, unfortunately, but I do have a solution to managing the stress. Going for a walk or some other kind of physical exercise is the best way for me to burn off some excess worrying. It doesn’t take away all of it, of course, but it helps me get back in charge of my own life. Seeing all the work in front of you is terrifying, but taking a step back and observing the big picture really helps calm you down.

I take half an hour everyday and no matter if I’m in the middle of writing a paper or studying for a midterm, I stop and do my exercise. I also take that small pocket of time – half an hour – to watch an episode of my favourite show on Netflix or listen to some awesome new music. That way, I don’t notice the exercise so much, I’m focusing on the music or the movie/TV show. When I finish, I’m tired, but I’m also much calmer. I’ve regained that equilibrium in my life, and I know that I will get that studying done, and paper finished, even if I am running low on time.

Physical exercise is great for our health anyway, as is stated in this article ( one of many) so it’s a good way to keep yourself in shape. I have found that I have more energy when I’m finished, and it makes me eager for the next day to come, so I can do it again. Taking that short 30 minutes makes all the difference to me, it forces me back into the world that doesn’t involve school, and shows me that I have to remember that stressing myself out over every single thing isn’t going to help anything.

That’s my method of quieting the madness down for 30 minutes a day. What are some of yours?

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An Ideal World

As the school year starts up again, I find myself thinking about my own time in high school. It was a rough experience for me, as it was for many people, I’m sure, and I spend a lot of time wondering how it could have been made better. For me, the only thing that mattered was my school work. I was your typical nerd, going around with a backpack heavier than I was, and spending my lunch hours working on homework. My Friday afternoons and evenings were spent the same way, and a social life wasn’t something that I deemed important.

Since my life revolved around my school work, I found myself dreaming about an ideal school, a world that revolved around students. In this perfect school, us students wouldn’t have to shuffle from class to class, the teachers would do all the moving. We would be able to have those desks that the elementary schools had, the ones with the space inside of them to store books and supplies. The classes would be an hour long, so we had time to learn, but it didn’t drag on for so long that we would get bored.

Our school uniform would be jeans and a sloppy t-shirt, so we could all be comfortable. Our chairs would be covered in pillows, no more plastic chairs that were painful. Most importantly, we would be allowed to listen to music. I’m someone that listens to orchestra or soundtrack discs when I study and work on something that I need to concentrate on. It helps me stay calm and on track, and I always feel better when I finish my work. There are schools that do this, and I think it’s a great idea! Most teens and kids respond well to music, it’s something that we all can connect with.

modern-lounge-chairs
Image Credit: homedesignlover.com (Google)

School is something that can be hard and frustrating for many students, and having little things like the ones I’ve suggested can really help make the whole experience much better. Personally, I think if some (or, ideally, all) of these things had been in my high school experience, I would have been a much happier student, and have more fond memories of school. I know that I’m one of the rare people that didn’t care about a social life, but I think that all of these ideas would help all students, no matter what social group they belonged in.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that schools are the worst thing ever, and I certainly didn’t hate my high school. Though it was a not-so-good experience, I have a handful of good memories that I don’t want to forget. That being said, these ideas would simply help create more good memories to join the ones I already have.

Are there any suggestions that you would like to share? Or, perhaps, some awesome things that your high school did to help make the whole experience better?

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Performing on a Daily Basis

I’ve discovered in the past several years, that performing has given me a unique kind of joy that I have never felt from anything else. I took a Theatre Arts class in Grade 11, and even now, it is still the best class I have ever taken. I learned about the technical elements of the theatre, and the language, but my favourite part was learning how to be a good performer. We learned how to write a monologue, and how to write partner scripts, and most importantly, how to act on stage. The first couple of performances were terrifying and awkward, but when I look back, I could feel the start of something incredible even in those first shaky steps as a performer.

It didn’t take long before I started to learn the craft of performing, what made a good monologue, how to throw away my serious and shy personality and act the part of a dumb blonde or, my personal favourite, the rich, mean snot. There was a high that came after stepping off stage, too, that I quickly learned to love. It was an excitement that came from knowing I had done a good job at entertaining the audience.

I did well in the class, which made me feel great, but the most important thing that I took away from the whole experience, was that I could be the person that I had always envied. I was so used to being the quiet girl that sat in the corner with a book and missed out on experiencing life with the rest of the kids. Now, though, after seeing the confidence that I displayed on the stage, I could take some of that and put it into my real life and become the person that I wanted to be. It comes back to the expression:

fakeittillyoumakeit
Image Credit: http://www.lifeinspirationtoday.com (Google)

At first, I did have to fake it, because I didn’t know how to bring that courageous actor out in me when I didn’t have a character to act as, or an audience to draw energy from. I made up my own character and pretended that I was acting a part in a TV show. Eventually, I realized, I was just being myself. I had learned how to use that confidence from acting, and let it help my interact with my everyday life.

My Theatre Arts class gave me the confidence to be a better version of myself, and even though I have no chance to act on stage, I’ll act in my everyday life as a jokester or a a clown. I enjoy bringing other people joy by simply acting the part of a “happy-go-lucky” kid. Finding the joy of performing was the best thing that could have happened for me, and I’m grateful for the experience.

Are there any fellow performers that would like to share there thoughts? Are there any life-changing classes or experiences that you’d like to share?

Uncategorized, Writing

Stuck in the Block

All writers experience writers block once in a while. For me, it usually happens when I’ve been writing everyday for a few weeks and I run out of steam. I also get writer’s block when I start writing two different pieces at the same time, or if I’m writing a paper for school at the same time as working on a creative piece for myself. It is something that frustrates all writers, and I’m no exception.

I don’t have any tricks in completely getting rid of writers block, but I do have a few that work 50% of the time. The first one is a book that I bought called The Writer’s Block and it’s this fabulous little book that has over 700 ideas to get your motivation going again. There are a combination of pictures and little thought-provoking quotes, and prompts to choose from. Whenever I reach a scene that I just can’t get right, I take a break and do something else, and then come back and flip through this book and after reading a couple pages of it, I’m able to get myself through the scene.

Another little tool that I use is Wordle, an amazing online program that lets you copy and paste what you’re working on, and it’ll pull out your most used words and create this little cloud of writing. Here’s an example of a screen-caped Wordle that is made up of all of the posts on this blog:

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 11.53.17 AM
The screen-cap from Wordle using all of the posts from Quillers.

To me, this is something really inspiring about seeing all of your work sitting there in a cloud for you to see. You can tell which words you used the most, and it lets you look at all of the work that you’ve done. It’s one of my favourite programs and I use it after I’ve finished every piece, just to see it all displayed in front of me.

Lastly, I will call up a friend and talk about what I’m working on and the problems that I’m having with it. Even if they can’t suggest anything, just voicing the issues out loud can sometimes get my brain going again. Also, if I’m able to solve the problem on the phone, I get very excited and the only thing I want to do for the rest of the day is write.

If these worked all of the time, I’m sure I would be able to kick writer’s block out the door no problem, but unfortunately, sometimes all it does it make me want to write, but not help me get past the block. Both types of writer’s block are frustrating, because I want to finish something and I have the motivation to write it, but I can’t get past the problem. Or, I have lots of ideas in how to fix the problem, but I don’t have the motivation to actually do it.

Someday I hope to find the perfect solution to the problem of writer’s block, but until then, I’ll keep using what I’ve used previously. Does anyone have any tips for getting over writer’s block that they’d like to share?

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The Bench

Today I have something a little different to share. As you probably guessed from my various posts about writing, I am a writer myself. It’s something that I started doing around age 13, and it’s been a passion of mine ever since. I have been working on some writing throughout the summer, and I have a small piece of fiction that I would like to show you. The inspiration that I used to create this piece was this picture:

8903728-empty-bench
Image Credit: http://screativeimage.com (Google)

The two of us came here a lot at first, it was a spot that we could find a type of peace that was impossible in our normal lives. The bench was always empty, it seemed, so it was the perfect place for two loners like us.

We would always debate over who had discovered this magical place first, me or her. We were both insistent on being the first explorer, but the truth was that we had found it together. The ground around the bench was beaten down with shoe prints, some faded from years gone by, and others fresh and new. Each indent told a story of our life together, an adventure that we had imagined and then created.

Looking at the more recent prints, though, it was easy to tell how our story had changed so drastically. The two sets of prints had become light, softer treading. These creases and indents depicted my sorrow, my anger. Their wear in the ground demonstrated the pacing back and forth that I had done in an effort to figure out how to bring the both of us back to our bench. Our peace and solitude there had been destroyed by the curtain between the two worlds. The curtain that had lured her away from me and had enticed her to cross over the barrier with promises of solitude and happiness. It hadn’t created happiness, though, not for me.

Her prints were starting to fade now, as her memory began to disappear from the world I was stuck in without her. The bench was no longer the same, and I was just as changed. Eventually, I stopped going altogether, and before I knew it, life had started to move on at its slow pace, and the bench remained where it was, lonely and empty of adventures.

Years later, I went back just to see if it was still standing and found that it was, and all the footprints had been wiped away by time. When I looked closely, though, I could still see two. One of mine and one of hers. We had both left the bench, and been forced apart, but the bench kept us alive and together. Our adventures still lived on here, and part of her would always be here with part of me. This would always be our place.

So, there’s just an abstract little something for you to read and hopefully enjoy. Feel free to let me know what you think, all feedback is good!