A Portrait in Words

I decided to play with the five senses in my writing. The incorporation of not only sight and sound, but taste, touch, and smell, allows the readers to fully experience the scene the speaker stands in. Enjoy!

I sit on the back porch overlooking the shoreline of a lake surrounded by hills full of trees. As the golden sun sets over the lake, the sky bleeds with hues of orange and pink. The water in the pond has a stillness that not even a statue could imitate, and the leaves radiate colors of deep brown, crimson, and yellow. My nose and cheeks have turned a slight shade of pink from the cool, crisp air. A mug of fresh coffee warms my left hand as I pet the dog cuddling beside me with my right. I take a deep breath in through my nose. The scent of burning hickory combines with wafts of cinnamon and nutmeg leaking through my kitchen window. The scents smell warm, but the air feels cold against my nostrils. I sip my coffee. It tastes bitter, with a hint of sweet hazelnut. I can feel the hot liquid dripping down my throat, warming me from the inside out.

I stand up and walk along the edge of the lake. The leaves and twigs crunch under my boots, and I hear the dog’s collar jingle beside me. She rubs up against the side of my jeans and I crouch down to hug her. Leaves and twigs are tangled in her fur, but she still has a gentle softness. I stand up and notice that the sun is getting closer to the horizon. Shades of deep blue and purple begin to take over, and the pinks and oranges gradually weaken. The stars start to glimmer subtly one by one. I walk towards my cabin and see a warm glow through the windows. Inside my family gathers around the dinner table. I step inside and blood starts to rush back to my fingertips and my toes. While I take in the joy radiating within the room, I slip off my boots and remove my hat and scarf. My grandmother greets me and gives me a hug. I steadfastly return her embrace.

The dining room is filled with golden light. There is a long rectangular table set with plates, forks, and knives. I see the dinner spread on the table, and notice that I had been starving. On the table lays hot rolls, seasoned vegetables, oven-roasted turkey, brown gravy, and my favorite, sweet potatoes. Every scent of the meal dances before my nose. The family gathers around the table and my father says grace:

“Gracious, heavenly father, we just thank you for today and all that you have done for us. Please bless our food as we enjoy this holiday meal. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to all be together. In Your name, Amen.”

My Baptism Poem

I was baptized on September 25, 2016. I wrote this to God to praise Him for the work He has done in my life and to declare that Jesus is Lord.
You were with me all along.
You knew of every struggle and every strife.
You waited patiently as I turned away from You constantly,
and You held my hand as I wandered through the darkness.
I had no idea you were there.
My senses were numbed by my sin,
But You shocked me with Your relentless love,
And blood flowed through my body once again.
My heart was once cold and rigid but now beats with a lively spirit;
It changes everyday as I grow closer to you.
How can it be that I am worthy of Your grace?
There can never be a truth so good, so lovely.
I owe You my whole life, Lord.
Today, I am honoring you
And all You have done for me.
Today, I will bathe in your Holy Water and dedicate my life to you.
May all that I do be in Your will. Thank you so very much, Lord. Amen.

Thinking: A Poem

I think of you often.

On the car rides home

And the long walks alone,

I think of you often.

 

When I hear that song

And remember you’re gone,

I think of you often.

 

From the day we met

To the moment you left,

I think of you often.

 

You think of me little.

There’s not much to say;

The love’s faded away.

You think of me little.

 

When your new love smiles

As she walks down the isle,

You think of me little.

 

Your life is brand new.

You’ve moved on, it is true.

You think of me little.

 

 

Poem dedicated to Drum Corps

I trip, I drop, I stumble, I fall.

The weather attacks me

With no guilt at all.

My skin is burned,

My hair is a mess.

My silk gets stuck

To the sweat on my chest.

But then I look up,

And imagine the crowd,

The crowd stands before me,

Cheering and wow-ed.

With flag in my hand

And heart on my sleeve,

My sheer dedication

Has no reason to grieve.

I stand with my drum corps

Proudly and strong.

With family around me,

Nothing goes wrong.

Fans scream our name,

They chant only for us.

We perform with dignity

Until we get on the bus.

Onward we go,

To rehearse one more day.

This show is our life,

Nothing gets in our way.

We fight, we push, we work hard, we crawl.

Together we stand and get through it all.

Poem

She doesn’t see what I see

A life so full and sweet

Her heart is always mourning

She’s staring at her feet.

 

The gifts I give are plenty

So pure and bountiful

But what I see as lovely

She sees as dark and dull.

 

I always stay by her side

I’m reaching for her hand

But when I think she’ll take it

She shouts a reprimand.

 

She asks me why she has none

And tells me I’m not near

But when I try to reach her

She only sheds a tear.

 

I strongly wish for her heart

For her to call me Lord

But she won’t open her eyes

The way she did before.

 

When she was young and reckless

She knew her heart was whole

Her trust in me was steadfast

Until she lost control.

 

I told her not to worry

That it would be okay

Her anxiousness took over

Her trust had flown away.

 

Since then I’ve fought to keep her

To show her I’m the way

Her stubbornness may linger

Until her dying day.

 

But I refuse to give up

Regardless of the pain

My grace for her is endless

Her heart can love again.

 

The Spoils of Babylon: One Intense Melodrama – Scholarly Work

In 2014, Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele created an IFC miniseries known as The Spoils of Babylon. Imdb.com understandably categorizes this star-studded miniseries as a comedy. This seems obvious due to its ridiculous toy backdrops, mannequins posing as characters, and intentional poor quality acting. The Spoils of Babylon was hypothetically created by author Eric Jonrosh, played by Will Ferrell. He opens the show introducing what he calls a masterpiece based on his best-selling novel, The Spoils of Babylon. However, Eric Jonrosh never describes his piece as a comedy. After looking closely at this comedic series, it becomes evident that the fictional creator, Eric Jonrosh, did not intend for his masterpiece to make his audience die of laughter. His goal was to create an emotional, melodramatic work of art.

Looking at the melodramatic genre, Jonrosh did not fail to fit this category. Comparing the miniseries to the Shakespearean tragedies Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, two classics in the melodramatic genre, The Spoils of Babylon surprisingly shares many characteristics. Thinking about the overly passionate Romeo or the intensely selfish Lady Macbeth, the psychological breakdown of Macbeth, and the heart-wrenching forbidden romance between Romeo and Juliet. The exaggerated characters, intense psychological destruction, and highly emotional plots make Shakespearean tragedies famous and world renowned melodramas. The Spoils of Babylon do not fail to include these aspects.

The series stars Tobey Maguire as Devon Morehouse, the adopted son of Jonas Morehouse, played by Tim Robbins. Devon starts off as a young man walking in the middle of nowhere with no memory or name, and very little self-concept. Once adopted and raised by Jonas, he grows into an extremely intelligent and passionate man who feels passionately for his sister and often performs long monologues over the philosophies of life. Running parallel to Shakespeare’s Romeo, Devon also makes rash decisions to fill his empty stomach with passion and ends up losing his life in the process. Realistically, most men tend to think more logically, making characters like Devon or Romeo seem over-the-top and unrealistic.

The leading lady of The Spoils of Babylon, Cynthia Morehouse, performed by Kristen Wiig, also has an inflated personality. She comes off as a selfish and determined woman from the start of the show. Kristen Wiig’s young character introduces herself saying “I plan on being rich and powerful and beautiful and rich someday.” Her character lacks empathy or concern for anything besides money and her only love, and brother, Devon. Greed and lust consumes the character’s life and influences her decisions. Cynthia’s character is comparable to Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Both female leads refuse to stop until their selfish desires become fulfilled. They manipulate and murder the supporting characters and lose their minds along the way, leading to their tragic deaths. The characters’ lack of empathy far outweighs the characteristics of an average woman, causing them to fit the mold of an extravagant melodramatic character.

The characters of The Spoils of Babylon experience intense psychological breakdowns throughout the series. The loss of sanity occurs very commonly in the melodramatic genre, especially in Shakespeare tragedies. While the characters of Shakespeare’s plays and Jonrosh’s The Spoils of Babylon lose their minds in different ways, it is obvious that these characters lose their sanity in some form and for the same reasons, solely over excessive guilt or grief.

Macbeth hallucinates Banquo after Banquo’s murder because of the guilt and shame he experiences in killing him as well as King Duncan. His wife, Lady Macbeth, sleepwalks and reveals her secrets because of her guilt for plotting Duncan’s death. Devon Morehouse becomes addicted to heroin because of the grief he feels over the death of Lady Anne, later he becomes a drunkard due to the heartbreak he faces when he cannot love his sister. Cynthia Morehouse goes on a killing rampage, mourning the loss of Devon and the potential loss of her riches. Each tragic character has an unfortunate meltdown in their own way, adding to the melodramatic plots.

A huge aspect of the melodrama genre involves highly emotional plots. Both the audience and the characters experience intense sensations of euphoria, devastating heartbreak, jealousy, anger, and everything in between. From Star Crossed love to tragic deaths, The Spoils of Babylon and Romeo and Juliet are one in the same. Devon and Cynthia’s forbidden love entraps them on an emotional roller coaster for the remainder of their lives very similarly to the love of Romeo and Juliet. Both couples are filled to brim with joy when they are together but fall into deep despair when they are apart and realize the inevitability of their tragic fate. The main protagonists’ untimely deaths bring grief for not only the supporting characters but the audience as well.

The heartbreaking deaths of supporting characters incorporates more intense sorrow to a melodrama’s plot. The deaths in both Shakespeare and Jonrosh’s stories involve the slaughtering of characters left and right. Romeo kills Tybalt, Cynthia’s son murders Devon’s daughter, Macbeth murders Duncan, Cynthia burns Lady Anne to the ground, the bloodshed seems almost endless, and piles grief unto the protagonists and to the audience as well.

While The Spoils of Babylon is a hilarious comedy, it is important to appreciate how much work the original creators put in to qualify the series as both a comedy and a melodrama. The overly dramatic characters, deteriorating sanity, and fierce emotional plots make both the classic works of Shakespeare as well as The Spoils of Babylon a melodramatic experience.

 

 

 

My Ex-Boyfriend Got Engaged and This Is What I Learned

I was lying on my couch studying when I got a text from my mom saying: “call me.” I dialed immediately, when your mother sends you a text like that, you don’t just ignore it. “Hey, mom? Is everything okay? Did someone die?” I ask. “No. But I have some news. Someone got engaged,” she replies with a dissatisfied tone. “Who?” I replied, and at this point I honestly had no idea. “Guess. It’s an ex-boyfriend.” Oh jeez, I thought to myself. My first guess was my first boyfriend from high school but my heart dropped when she said “think more recent.”

Nine months previously, my boyfriend at the time had broken up with me. (In reference to the cinematic masterpiece, When Harry Met Sally, let’s call him Joe.) The relationship ended not-so-peacefully. He broke up with me over the phone and I said some very hurtful things in response. Since that night, I have remained single, never taking on another romantic relationship. As time passed, I got busy, made new friends, devoted to my faith, and matured immensely. Objectively, Joe breaking up with me was the best thing that had ever happened to me in my early adult life. However, the news my mom had just seen on her Facebook newsfeed still threw me for a loop.

When my mom had told me to “think more recent,” and the cogs in my brain began to turn, so many thoughts and emotions rattled in my head. I felt like I was living that scene in When Harry Met Sally where Sally finds out her ex, Joe, was getting married. “All this time I’d been saying that he didn’t want to get married, but the truth is, he didn’t want to marry me. He didn’t love me,” Sally sobs. No other words could have resonated with me more.

Recovering from a breakup and recovering from the news that your “Joe” has moved on come with two separate sets of grief. While the split itself is quite painful, there is nothing that reveals the painstaking reality of a breakup more than finding out that your ex is dating, or marrying, someone else.

The comparison game is the most difficult part of facing this kind of news. Wondering: “Is she prettier than me?” “Is she more emotionally stable?” “Is she smarter, more charming, or nicer than I am?” “Does his family like her better?” I pondered every single one of these thoughts, but then I realized the truth of the matter: I had no way of knowing the answer to these questions. Who was I to judge a relationship I knew nothing about, a relationship I wasn’t even a part of, and that had absolutely nothing to do with me?

Of course it is painful to see Joe moving on, getting married, and living a totally different life, especially with only nine months in between our breakup and his engagement, but there is no reason for me to be angry at him either. I am not writing this to bash on him, or for anyone reading this to get angry at him and have sympathy for me, but I am writing this because I am not the only one who has or will face this reality, and there is definitely good that comes with the hurt.

The truth is, since our breakup, I had always held on to this tiny bit of hope that we would both get our crap together and reunite. I had held on to the delusion that he would see how good I was doing and want to get back together with me. I even imagined that he would show up at my dorm or my work wanting me back. But truthfully, my life is not a romance movie where the couple miraculously makes up at the end and lives happily ever after; and I think hearing the news of Joe’s engagement helped me realize that.

Even though it still kind of stings, I now know that it is time for me to move on. That doesn’t mean it is time for me to get a boyfriend right away, but it means that I need to mentally and emotionally let go of Joe. I need to stop letting my thoughts wander to the possibility of reconciliation, but instead concentrating on what is yet to come. He will take his own walk through life and so will I. It was a privilege that our paths happened to cross at all, even if they never ended up merging. I do not hate him or wish him the worst for his marriage. His choices are his own and I have no control over his life, and as time progresses, I will become more and more at peace with knowing the truth.