Sunday, December 30, 2012

Moving Forward (Blindly)

Now playing: Garbage - Stupid Girl, Shut Your Mouth, Only Happy When It Rains, I Think I'm Paranoid, and Push It

Welp, a few weeks ago I was obsessing over Type O Negative. It changed this week, as was expected. I think Garbage just makes me want to be a really awesome 19-26 year old without a job but a ton of wit, snark, and sense of adventure.

Yeah.

Anyways, on to the post.

Pretty awesome Christmas, I gotta say. My parents got me every book I asked for, so now when I look over at my clustered, tiny bookshelf, I can see the Millennium Trilogy, Sprawl Trilogy, the first Hyperion book, Ringworld, and Atlas Shrugged--although apparently Carpathia accidentally also got me this book and now it must be somewhere in the mail. But it's alright, I'll leave one copy here (just so my mum can read it) and take Carp's copy to college and either impress or freak out a good chunk of the students. I mean, isn't Atlas Shrugged a pretty bloody polarizing book?

Although, speaking of college...

Two weeks ago, either on a Saturday or Sunday I logged onto my FSU account to check the status. I'd gotten an email a few days earlier saying that the acceptance/rejections had been announced, but for some reason, I hadn't really been motivated enough to check online. On last, last week's Saturday, just on a whim, I decide to see if there was anything on my profile.

So I log in, am confused because I accidentally scrolled to the bottom of the page, go up to see I've been mistakenly classified as a non-Florida resident, make a mental note to change that, then I see the "congrats! You're accepted."

And I just stared at the screen for a few minutes before calling Carla and asking her to explain to me if I was accepted.

Oh and if she was accepted as well, because I needed to know that too.

And...yeah, we got in. Although I accidentally signed in for the summer term. I'm not sure what Carla signed up for, but if she went for fall, this whole "travel to Tallahassee on a bus together and run around Orlando for two hours during transfer" might not work so well.

The acceptance letter (or...well... sentence) meant a lot of things. One being that now, for sure, without a doubt, I am leaving Miami. Florida International University had kind of been my backup plan because it was an easy thing to do. I could live at home, could have my Florida-prepaid as well as financial aid pay it all off, etc. The classes would surely be a little harder, sure, but it'd just feel like another year of high school.

Now, leaving my parents and little brother is a reality, and whether or not I go to the 120th something most populated city in the world, a small city in northern Florida, or a suburban town just an hour away from L.A, I'm still going to be far away from home. Granted, I could have chosen something riskier. After all, the Plan of Future Me is to go to the most populated cities of the United States and find my purpose, or self, or something. This is baby steps.

But it's still...weird. Weird to consider everything. I'm not really as freaked out as some kids are, and while I am questioning certain choices right now, I feel really excited about the upcoming year. I'm going to be leaving home before I'm even considered an adult, going to (most likely, if my credits get transferred without problem) be graduating with my Bachelor's before I can legally drink, and who knows what'll happen after that?

I've heard from a few people that I'm trying to grow up too quickly. In fact this is a sentiment shared a lot both by kids who participated in the Scholar's Program and those that refused to get into it. I've heard so many students say the Scholars kids are rushing through high school and college life.

But me? Growing up too quickly? That's being directed at the girl who doesn't want to learn how to drive and isn't choosing a financially fiscal and responsible career. I may be itching to graduate earlier than some, but I'm not exactly being mature. In fact, I think I spoke to my mom about this: I really just plan to be happy until I'm 35. Then I'll suffer some horrible mid, mid life crisis because I'll either be with a child or wishing to have children really soon, but I'll be in such a shithole that I'll regret everything I ever did in my life up until that point.

I can acknowledge that I'm being immature and idiotic, but I'm not doing anything about it. Because I'm an idiot! A child! I want to live in the now and be happy and stuff, while Future-Me pays for all my mistakes.

Admitting that makes me a horrible person, because you'd think since I am aware of my (current and future) errors, it means I'm in a sure path to make better choices. But I'm really not going to do it, because deep down, I'm hoping for the best. I really honestly hope that not getting a Masters, moving to big cities, and pursuing a career in writing will turn for the best.

Although...I'm questioning this whole "Not Getting a Masters" thing.

I mean, one, here's the pro: I don't have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a degree that's really not going to do much for me. With what the Scholar's Program gave me, Florida Prepaid, financial aid, as and whatever I earn from a job I manage to snag while in college, I'm certain I can get out of university without being horribly in debt for the rest of my life. But if I pursue a graduate degree, I am (no doubt about it) going to end up paying off student loans for a long time. I know this is a reality that many people face without complaining, but if it gets to that, I'm not going to be able to run off with a Creative Writing degree and no consequences at all. I will suffer because of it.

But the thing is...if I pursue my Masters, I could do a number of things.

One would be to attempt to transfer to a top school in search of my masters, like University of Chicago, NYU, or UCLA. These three are great schools and they're in cities that I want to live in. Not only would being in a university make the transition easier, but I really do think I could learn a lot about writing from going to a top school. I know it's not needed, I know tons of people are great writers without classes, I know a good chunk of the population is convinced no one can "teach" you to be good at an art, no matter what it is.

But I think it would help me! I see my writing, I see how weak it is. I need as much help on it as I can, and sometimes anonymous internet criticism helps, but it's not really as structured and rigorous as an actual classroom.

That and--god, if my mother's reading this she'll start rolling her eyes right about now--I was watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and...well...

So I've figured that a majority of the people watching LBD are in their twenties, or at least late teens. Because of this, the episode New Jane hit close to home for a lot of people. Although I really liked it, it's not like I'm having any trouble coping with being away from home, so the episode wasn't some kind of wake up call. In fact, it was more like a reassurance. (Yeah, go out, live life, get out of your parent's house! :D)

No, the episode that's kind of making me twitch around and question my views on my future education is the most recent one. Although Wishing Something Universal focuses more on the fallout between Lizzie and Lydia, and only mentions Pemberely at the end, I'm more emotionally invested in this one than any other one because of what's happened to Lizzie. She has this option to go to San Francisco and shadow a great company because she's in graduate school. Maybe I'm really shooting myself in the foot by turning away so quickly from pursuing a higher education. I may be coming out of it with mountains of student debt, but maybe there'll be opportunities and networking I'm just not going to get anywhere else.

I guess I'm more scared about messing up than I pretend to be. I don't want to go down a path that will make me unhappy, but I can't pretend following my dreams isn't going to come back to bite me.

I realize the answer to this, like all things, could just be "find a balance" but to be honest...I don't know what that is. Even getting a minor in Creative Writing while majoring in business sounds like hell to me. And I know myself. I know if I try to major in something I have no interest in, my grades will plumet and I'll doom myself even more.

So on the one hand, I'm really excited about becoming a wild young adult released into a crazy world of opportunities. It's like this is all an adventure only 20-year-olds get to experience.

On the other...I think I'm about to become an adult really soon, but I am so not ready, as evident of my childlike (and possibly childish) way of thinking.

Gha! I've got like 2-4 years to figure this all out. Or maybe even less. Six months?
~Becky

P.S: There's someone in this building with a wifi connection titled FSU Seminoles #1 and FSU Seminoles #1-guest. WHO IS THIS PERSON!?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Turning Seventeen

Now playing: Type o Negative - Black No.1

It wasn't really an odd day, aside from the mild panic, mild declaration(s) of love (this is misleading. By this, I mean I told two friends who I liked, and in return one of them warned me and the other one revealed her own personal crush), mild embarrassment, mild panic for today's test (finished in 20 minutes, got the stink eye from the professor), mild everything everything everything.

I will graduate at this age. Go find the new world (hopefully), become a more rounded person, try to figure out if I truly have value, read War and Peace, dye my hair purple and pink and red and green and blue, etc.

I should probably learn to speak less but more eloquently. Stop stuttering and mumbling.

I need to be far more focused on my work. I failed horribly at NaNoWriMo, but I have the ability to write more than 30k words a month as long as I'm not going back and rewriting and editing all simultaneously. Ataraxia could be finished before December ends, and I could be editing it while I write Anne's story.

I failed epically at becoming a finalist at YoungArts, but I requested for a ton of books for Christmas*, signed up for American Literature and Creative Writing for my final semester, and that's the way I'm going to get better. Just...read.

I've got no chance of getting into the University of Chicago, but why don't I just try? It's a couple of bucks down the drain, but I'll get to write a witty essay on the way.

Right now, I hope for Irvine, UF, and FSU. I dream of Los Angeles and the depth of twisted sisterhood.

I'm packing away the 20 years project. A few weeks ago, I wrote a long letter to 37-year-old me, which I am sure I will find boring when I am mature and stuff. I'm putting a couple of objects in there--all which I must keep silent about and force myself to forget so I don't spoil the future surprise--and sealing it tonight.

I'm not sure what my parents are planning to do after my mom picks me up from college, but it seems a celebration is on its way.

Tomorrow I may go out with two friends of mine, because it's about time I start doing things like this.

It's just a birthday, but it's nice to feel so hopeful about things. Turning 17 doesn't really mean anything, but it's an age I never imagined. I've daydreamed about being 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 25, 30, etc. But never the little ones in between.

^And that's my post. All a stream of consciousness and nothing more because, hey, it's my birthday.
~Becky

*Christmas list:
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (might as well try)
  • Ringworld by Larry Niven
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Edit: !!!!!!! AHHH. I got this today after dinner!)
And a couple more I probably forgot.

(War and Peace isn't there because my mom figures I can just get it from the library. Which...yeah, I guess I've already asked for too many gifts).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ages and Cities

Just so I could map it out...
  • 19 to 21 - Los Angeles
  • 21 to 24 - Las Vegas
  • 24 to 28 - New York
  • 29 to 32 - Chicago
I'm not sure how I'm going to manage exactly, or how much the list will change depending on the university I go to or how long I study.
But the plan is get a job, learn how to drive a motorcycle, and write and write and write.

And then from 32 to 40 years of age, any out of those four. Whichever I liked better.
~Becky

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Silent Heroes

Pandora station: Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori. I'll miss 'em.
Now playing: In Amber Clad from the Halo 2 soundtrack.

It was Spirit Week and the elections last week, and while the latter was very important, I already spent most of my twitters on Tuesday freaking out and retweeting everyone who was speaking my thoughts and having panic attacks along with me.

(Curses, Florida!)

And I'll show the pictures for Spirit Week later, because right now, I'd rather muse about something else. (And that was technically not as awesome as this game).

The only thing making falling behind NaNoWriMo and freaking out about school bearable is Halo 4.

It's bloody awesome.

So there's this thing about Halo that I'm not allowed to say because I--like a lot of teenagers--am trying to be an educated lady who appreciates the arts without indulging in the mainstream's shallow preferences and views of popular franchises.

But I have always been a Halo fan. I like/love/adore it more than any other video game series out there--more than freaking Mass Effect or Bioshock or Assassin's Creed, and those were the series that convinced me I wanted to be a video game writer.

What Halo did was something much different. See, when I was six years old I was convinced science fiction was just a thing that the most awesome of the elite did. The level of research and creativity needed for it were just pillars I was never going to try to escalate, so better leave that sort of thing to the professionals.

Halo, however, has always felt like a modern day epic. And I know I'll hear blabber about how it's overrated and it's just a cash cow franchise for the mindless drones that populate the video game community. But nope. While I will certainly admit that there's a lot of crappy stuff that gets popular because it's crappy, franchises like the Halo games thrive because they can appeal to both the everyday, I-don't-really-care-'bout-character-development gamers and the ones who are constantly amazed and awed at the story line and characters as much as they area amazed at the gameplay.

I guess there's no need to point out in which category I fall under.

I think Halo was the one thing that tipped me into believing science fiction was the superior of all genres, and something I should definitely try. I know many will disagree, but there's so much wonder, possibility, reflections of the world and humanity, and so much room for epics like these within that genre. I'm sure it's not the only thing I will work on when I'm older, but I hope when I pass away I will have left some (please, high quality! >.<) science fiction novels behind.

I was worried about 343 and Halo 4. All things need to reach an end, and the way Halo 3 ended seemed to wrap everything up nicely (if a bit... ambiguously), but this game has not disappointed. I'll probably write a full review later on.

However, as always, after spending some time with the Chief and Cortana, I've found the little tweaks given to these two have been...bothering me. Just a little bit, though! Not enough to spoil the game, and not enough to make me dislike them. I still love them.

First, about the Master Chief...

Silent Heroes: There's always been this criticism about the Halo series that I never understood--and it goes hand in hand with the way in which people interpret characters like the Master Chief, Isaac Clarke (from the first game, at least), Gordon Freeman, etc.

I'd like to point out that I love Master Chief for the exact same reasons people dislike him and for completely different reasons that people like him. That doesn't make any sense yet, but bear with me.

I like faceless, nameless, silent characters. Sometimes the three of those put together don't work well, and indeed, John isn't really those three things all in one. He has a name and a title--albeit the former is just sort of used by those close to him--and he does speak every now and then. I've noticed lately, however, that in the 4th game, he's been given a lot more dialogue. And I really don't think that was needed. Just like I don't think it's ever needed to show his face.

I'm referring to Wikipedia for this"Some have described the Chief's silent and faceless nature as a weakness of the character, while other publications suggested these attributes better allows players to assume his role."

That...is so silly. On both aspects! Why would i even care about assuming the role of Master Chief? It is a video game, but I am not him, and he is not me! I guide him and I help him, but I am not the one battling hordes of covenant and flood enemies, or constantly leaping out of things and just flying through space until I crash-land over a planet or a spaceship like a brick.

In an interview with IGN, the Halo 3 lead writer, Frank O'Conner said, "He's also so quiet and so invisible, literally, that the player gets to pretend they're the chief. The player gets to inhabit those shoes - men and women can apply their own personality. In a way, that makes it very easy for the writer; they don't have to define the Chief's personality."

I also disagree with that statement (even though everything else he says in that interview I happen to agree with).

I never saw Master Chief's silent and faceless nature as some sort of weakness or a way for me to wiggle into his shoes and pretend he's me and I'm him. I always saw his silence as a statement for the character, as a reflection of just what type of man he is. You don't need dialogue to establish who the Master Chief is, you can get that through the little one liners he gives, the off-hand jokes he resorts to in the face of danger, the way in which he moves with confidence while never side tracking with bullshit, and in his relationships and interactions with the Arbiter, Cortana, and pretty much everyone else who has ever served with him or battled against him. I like that even though he speaks more often in the game, he hasn't really changed that much, it's just more of what we used to get in the previous games. However, I still don't think it was necessary.

Hearing him talk in this game is a little odd, especially when he goes on in long sentence. Actually, they're pretty much normal length, but they certainly feel long coming from the Chief. While you could make the argument total silence may ruin a little bit of the character (which is why I understand why they eventually supplied Isaac with a voice on the second Dead Space), there was a sense of who he was in the few words he spoke combined with his actions, his manner of acting, and his relationship to other characters.

That was most likely something else from him that translated into me as an artist. I ended up scrapping Anne's story--especially when poor Luna crashed for a second time and I ended up losing all the files--but I think after I'm done editing Enkindled With Chains, and after I finish Ataraxia, I'll work on Anne and Jane's tale, and though Anne is just a fourteen year old girl thrown into so much danger, she's lived in her streets all her life, angry, but closed away from the rest. She'll be of the opinion that babbling on about what to do will serve no purpose, for no one will hear her, and so she'll act without excuses.

(I mean, it'll have to be a YA in first person, since making semi-silent protagonists in third person may turn to be a little difficult for me, but screw it, I'll try anyways).

I guess I'll have to see just where they take Master Chief and how they develop him. I suppose if it does turn out that he's grown as a person for the better, I'll be willing to forgive this little tweak.

But one thing's for sure: they better never show his full face.
~Becky

P.S: I'll talk about Cortana's side in another post. This one's getting kind of lengthy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

DarcyDay Survival and Reflection

So yesterday was November 1st.

The priority deadlines for University of Miami (which I purposely missed), University of Florida (which I barely managed), and many others (which I apparently forgot about).

The first day of NaNoWriMo.

The first time my parents let me stay home from school to work on essays and applications rather than because I was sick--because wow they really trust me.

But most important of all.

It was Darcy Day.
At around this exact point, my heart exploded.
Warning: This post gets kind of really girly.

I'll be the first to admit I was a little doubtful about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I adore Pride and Prejudice, I always have since I read the book and saw the 2005 film when I was twelve years old. While I'm glad Austen has continued to be remembered throughout all these years, I do get ticked off at certain "modernization" of Pride and Prejudice, which, are never truly modernization  They sort of just borrow plot elements and then stick them in high school settings. Not to mention there's a good handful of adaptations from the original work, and tributes to the story, so I wasn't too keen on seeing another one that was done so badly.

The creator of the show, Bernie Su, more or less admits that the first 8-10 episodes are not very good, while I'm of the opinion they didn't really hit the right note until right before the Netherfield arc. So far, though, I've loved how it's progress and adapted, while not being the exact adaption but keeping the spirit of the original work intact. I, like many fans, was flipping out since Monday about the eventual awesomeness that was Darcy Day, which, after months and months of not seeing him, we were finally revealed the illustrious man himself. I keep playing and replaying the episode, simply because, though it starts off a little weird, it grows to a point where I was throwing full fangirl worthy fits of screams and squeals. I'm not even one to care if the quality of the video is about 360p, but for this one, you better believe the only reason I picked 720p instead of 1080p is because my connection and computer would not manage the super HD.

So about a week or two ago, I had to cut ties with someone. Break-up. I don't want to give off too many details, but it was sort of something that made me wonder about all my future relationships.

And of course then Darcy Day hit and it was like the world's most coincidental week(s).

Mr. Darcy is a well known character, as well known as Romeo in terms of Romantic Leading Men, and for some reason, women seem to fall head over heels for him even when he's a total jerk in the first half of the novel. I was just as excited to see Darcy for the first time as all the other fangirls of LBD, but it was mostly because I know that him and Lizzie are both incredibly flawed characters with their own issues to deal with, mistakes to repent for, and much self-reflection to be done.

Whenever I reread Pride and Prejudice or watch any of its adaptions, I tend to be more forgiving of Mr. Darcy, simply because I know he will change and will do everything to help Lizzie because of his love for her. But that doesn't mean I pretend he was ever the perfect man, nor am I ever shocked or angry that Elizabeth could reject him in such a way or be so critical of him. He was not a good and honest man and definitely not worthy of Elizabeth's hand in marriage or (especially) her love. I've seen people who analyze the current episode and also other adaptations, and they seem to imagine Elizabeth feels some sort of attraction or hidden like for Darcy despite her blatant anger toward him, but I am almost certain Austen was convinced that such an notion was ridiculous. Love could have never developed from the current relationship. Even though Elizabeth and Darcy are always very much alike, they would not have lasted had the two of them not changed and learned more about one another and themselves.

It must be for the same reason people mistake Romeo and Juliet as a perfect romance--it really isn't, and I feel like maybe the authors of both these classic works understood that, even if certain people of today don't.

I like to think that even if I haven't been in love or if I've been in really crappy-not-even-worth-it-love, the one that matters springs from Lizzie and Darcy's type of relationship. The type where you are forced to grow and reevaluate yourself and your situation, morals, motives, anything. The best things in life makes us better people, so maybe the same applies for love as well.

Of course, I'm not saying we should change because of a person or that we should force someone to change because of us, but everyone has flaws whether we want to admit it or not, and our friendships and romances and etc's should shape us into better people, one way or another, and it should be because we want to, because those relationships and those people matter more than anything else in the world.

I guess I'm just really looking forward to something so meaningful that I may be so naively idolizing now.

Within this month, I have to write such a complicated relationship like the sisterhood of Sonya and Katya that Austen's writing is really influencing me. Her character's relationships and interactions are always intriguing, to say the least.

So off you go!
~Becky

P.S: I never thought I'd say this, but I am SO HAPPY BOWTIES ARE MAKING A COME BACK :D

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Figuring Out Katya and Sonya.

NOTE: Lots of things have changed now that I've started the story (for starters, Katya and Sonya were born specifically on September 9th, 2401, and they have been in Irkalla for sixteen years)

(Most of this was either posted or written for the NaNoWriMo forums)

Now Playing: Billy Idol - Tomorrow People.

Sonya and her twin sister Katya were born in Russia in the year 2461. While their nation developed in the field of space travel alongside the United States and China, the two girls were born in crippling poverty, constantly surrounded by violence. They spent their entire lives side by side, trying to survive the harsh life that had been inflicted upon them. When they were ten years old, Katya and Sonya began to develop telekinetic powers. Though the growth in their abilities was very slow at first, they strengthen themselves by constantly committing petty crimes and small pranks with their powers. As the two grew older, the range of their telekinesis grew, as did the severity of their crimes. By the time the twins had turned twenty they were well known killers for hire.

Colonies had been established in planets and moons throughout the solar system, and there was hope that there could be advancements that would lead humanity far into other galaxies. The violent nature of some of the population, however, quickly made it clear said advancement was being hindered away. A small planet on the outer edges of the system was colonized, named Irkalla, and dubbed a megaprison for humanity's worst criminals. After a particularly horrible and highly publicize crime was committed by the sisters, the two were sent to Irkalla at the mere age of twenty-three

Irkalla is smaller than Mars and uninhabitable in several places, and when prisoners are dropped off there, they are left there for life, without much aid or any contact to the rest of the system. When Sonya and Katya were taken to Irkalla, the planet was at the brink of destruction. Every few weeks or so, a spaceship would deliver supplies in random areas of the planet, but for the most part, the prisoners were left there to die. After twelve years of much struggle, Katya assumed power in the world, managing to create a society of sorts. She started small, accumulating followers and setting up systems that would enable the world not to perish without a ruler. Technically, even though there is still much rampant violence, she managed to save every prisoner from completely obliterating one another.

Katya wants revenge on the people that imprisoned her and her sister in that planet and left them to die. As there has been a recent discovery of a young boy named Caesar who is displaying stronger, more variant signs of telekinetic and telepathic power than they ever did, Katya plans to use him to escape from the planet and take with her almost all the criminals, to wage war against those who locked her up.

Sonya feels guilty for having killed so many people, but Katya feels angry at those who imprisoned her and her sister when the two were so young and had little chance of surviving in Irkalla. Throughout most of the story, Katya's trying to do despicable things to follow through with her revenge, while Sonya's trying to stop her.

Despite Katya's slowly deteriorating mental state and Sonya's constant haunting guilt, and despite their changed views of the world and of themselves, the two of them still love each other and want the other one to be safe.

(Now I just need to write this much detail for Caesar, as well as his relationship to Sonya)
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE! :D
~Becky

Sunday, October 28, 2012

NaNoWriMo and Senior Breakfast Pics

Within the last few weeks, I finished reading Anthem and The Awakening, but I'm going to make a separate post for my thoughts on them later. This is a bit more imminent:

NaNoWriMo:
I follow so many writing blogs right now, the anxiety and excitement everyone feels at the approaching month of November is making NaNoWriMo feel like a holiday all on its own, and it's made me decide to try this again. I attempted it at thirteen and now, three glorious years later, it's time to dive into it with another science fiction novel. Hopefully without falling 20,000 word short like last time. NaNoWriMo helped Redemption get off the ground and into orbit. Maybe it'll help Sonya and Caesar's story...which...still needs a bloody title. And an outline for that matter. Oh man...

I made a profile at the site and I hope to promptly...well...survive.

I made an account, andddd here's the kind-of-crappy excerpt I manage to pour out:
Caesar's a thirteen year old boy with developing mental powers--from moving things without touching them to hearing the faintest whispering of people's thoughts in a sea of uninterrupted static. He's content with keeping it a secret and discover his powers slowly. It's only when an older woman with an identification tattoo in her back, covered in scars, crashes through his window, his life is changed forever. His strange abilities turn out to be the least of his problems after meeting the woman, Sonya, as he soon finds himself at the heart of Tartarus Irkalla, a planet which holds the solar system's most dangerous criminals.

Senior Breakfast Pictures:


















Thursday morning was my Senior Breakfast, which is basically where they take the 12th grade class to a fancy hotel, give us good food, announce the superlatives, and let us dance around for around three hours.
It was fun, surprisngly enough, as was this Saturday's halloween party (but those pictures will come later :P)
~Becky

P.S: Like the new design? It only took me more than an hour.
And the comment bit is an odd chunk of grey with invisible letters. I'll fix it and put it back up again later Dx

Monday, October 15, 2012

Confirmed

About an hour or so ago, it was announced that Christian Aguilar's body was thoroughly identified. He is gone.

I saw his brother today, for the first time in a few weeks. We do not speak of course, and he doesn't know me, but I feel maybe he's aware of all the eyes that watch him when he walks into classrooms and through the hallways. It would be polite to look away, but I'm just another rude fucker who can't mind their own business.

I think they're moving him around now, so he doesn't have to go back to the same classes, and face the people that knew him before this all took place. Though he probably won't be coming back to AP English, he'll be switching into my statistics class. His girlfriend is my classmate there, so maybe some things were arranged so he could have someone to spend time with in throughout the school day. I really wouldn't know.

He walked into second period today with a friend as we were all studying for the quiz. His eyes were watery but not red. He started to speak but his voice was cut off and slashed in two by each short, shuddered breath he took. It took him a moment to expel a few sentences out in just a breath of air--like he couldn't make himself speak for long.

In the morning announcements, him and two family members appeared, thanking everyone for the benefit concert that had been held on Sunday. He looked the same--cut-and-slashed words and watery eyes.

I can't tell if he's been crying or he's been holding it all in since they got the news of his brother's disappearance almost a month ago. 

Anyone who is sane and reading this probably thinks right now I'm getting creepy obsessive. That I'll start to idolize him as someone else entirely and make up a scenario where we connect because of his tragedy.

But no, don't worry. I won't do that. I really don't know anything about him, I really never spoke to him before and so there probably is no reason for us to be friends now if we weren't acquainted in the past.

It's just that if I ever catch his eye, I know I'm going to involuntarily imagine what it's like to be looking out of his gaze at a world that kept moving onward, even if his life had paused and then changed forever.

I hope one day he'll be okay.

And I don't know what more to say aside from that. 
~Becky

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Together At Last

its cANON

Dream and Spirit is finally canon!

Ahhhh~ This fanart is awesome. Monday morning is now more managable just because of it.
~Becky

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Submissions and the Unnamed.

Submitted Our Silent Legacy and a slightly edited version of The Legend of Jane the Reaper to Arts for Life.

Here's hoping for the best.

Side news: I've decided to put my twitter to good use and upload a bunch of pictures of the doll my mom made for me when I was little. Since I rescued said doll from Ecuador and finally nudged and poked my mother enough times until she fixed it, I've decided to take her all over my little city and school. Too bad she doesn't have a name yet.






I'm thinking I should continue some tradition. My stuffed animals are named after Greek philosophers and writers so...

Sappho?

I'll think of something. Eventually.
~Becky

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Christian and Alex

Don't give off too much personal information on the internet is a rule that deserves to be broken right now. He went to my school.

The plan was not to make a post about this. I feel like in the wake of Christian's disappearance, everyone at the school has been struggling not to turn this around into their own tragedy. Making a blog entry about it would just be disrespectful, for I didn't know Christian that well and people go missing every day. Yet it feels like I should document it. Should write it all down from the way I saw it.

On Monday morning, as I got off the bus, I stole a glance at one of the girls who sat towards the very front. Her phone was open to a news page with the picture of a boy or man (I couldn't see) against a blue background. I figured she was reading about a fugitive or something.

In the front of the school there were vans moving around. Channel something something news.

In the cafeteria, my classmates told me of the news. It still hadn't sunk in, and I just rolled my eyes at their idiotic comments about Pandora's Box and shit happens and everything's possible. I feel like telling them he's a human being in a terrible situation, not some stand in for their pathetic philosophical musings, but I'm not really angry. I'm annoyed because it's just another piece of information floating around. Ren and I have to worry about AP Environmental.

In first period my teacher is missing. He went up state to be in the search parties. They're looking for him. At this stage, I hear about the attacker. Pedro Bravo is being questioned, but he's made threats against his own life. No charges.

I'm getting all these little pieces of information throughout the day. There's a debate meeting right after school, but the teacher needs to go to a presentation. They're going to talk about Christian.

On the wall of last year's graduates, people are pining post it notes underneath his frame that say, "come back safe." As the days pass, the picture is overcrowded with notes. Every time I pass by, I try to scan the wall for Pedro's picture. I can't tell if it never was there or if they took it down.

Tuesday and Wednesday we hear more about the crime. No blood at the scene, but Pedro bought a shovel and duct tape a day or so prior to the disappearance  He's being charged with denying medical attention to Chris. I wonder why "attempted manslaughter" is not mentioned, but I don't understand the law system enough to make good judgement.

Twitter is exploding. #helpfindchris. Every two seconds there's a new tweet. At school there's a Jean Day (pay $2 to come in jeans), bake sales, concert, and candlelit ceremony either to honor Chris or to raise money. My mom gives me a check of $30 for the Aguilar family. They need money to send search parties up there. It's bad, the area is large and dangerous, there's crocodiles, and they're only allowed to search with police up to 5 p.m. 

Chris's father breaks down crying on television, but he's not going to give up. He says his son is still alive.

On Thursday and Friday my first period teacher makes us write letters to the family and the police and mayor. I write a long letter to the family, but I can't decide if it's right or not. I tell them that though I've never met them, I know that they love their son, and they always will, no matter what happens. And I'm certain Chris knows that too.

Friday, midday, I haven't done the required reading for AP English Language. After I squeeze it in while stuffing lettuce in my face the whole 30 minutes we have of lunch, I come back to class. My teacher has posted up a letter our principle sent. We crowd around the projector to read it, but I just want to scan it. Is there news about him? Did they find him? No. It's almost a page long, but it's pretty standard. Our principle is proud of those who are searching, but nothing's been found. I turn away pretty quickly. My teacher is silent for some time. She asks everyone about his brother, Alex. They talk about him, but I barely listen for I'm certain I've never met him. Then she says when he comes back to class, we shouldn't crowd around him, we shouldn't ask him questions. We need to be the class that helps him. I turn to ask a girl who sits behind me if Alex is really in our class. She doesn't seem fazed by the question, even though she nods and says, "Yes, he sits right there," and points at the empty desk not far from me--two seats over, on the row beside me. And then I remember. I know who Alex is.

Friday night I'm reading tweets again and my eyes are blurring out important words. I keep reading "body has been found," and I have to force myself to see it correctly. There's still hope. Why are my eyes rejecting it? Some girl, probably from my school, says God has a plan and always had a plan for Chris. I want to punch something.

Pedro is being charged with his murder, the tweets say. I wonder how exactly the death penalty works in Florida. My extent of knowledge about it only revolves around serial killers.

Right now, in the Starbucks I'm sitting in because my mom needed to come in for work with her classmates, there's pictures of him in the bulletin board. Missing from Gainesville, Florida, Christian Aguilar, #Helpfindchris.

Whenever I close my eyes, I start to imagine Christian, his present and his past, and maybe hints of his imminent future. I imagine the woods. Imagine stumbling around, going somewhere, completely disoriented. I imagine the fight with Pedro and the hour leading up to that moment. But I also imagine last year, his prom, his friends, everyday interactions with his teachers. Getting accepted to the University of Florida, and how happy he must have felt.

And ever since Friday I've started to imagine Alex too. I don't try to visualize his past, just his present. Hearing the news. Going up north. Searching every day. Has he lost hope yet? Will he read the letters we wrote? And I imagine his future a lot more clearly than Christian's. Going to school after the fact. Catching up with Dual Enrollment work. Feeling all the eyes around him. Will he be distant? Angry? I think he had a girlfriend, so, is he going to be able to speak to her? What will she say to him? I think he's going to know what we're all thinking. Or maybe he just won't give a fuck and the thought of others will never enter his mind.

I'll never approach him, we don't know each other at all, but now I can't stop thinking about the two of them.

I want them to be okay.
~Becky

P.S: I realize this post is all over the place. I just don't know how else to write about it all.
Also, I guess if anyone read this, here's a link to donate.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh man...

Yesterday I played Heavy Rain then finished editing the thing at like 8 p.m, then went to watch Chronicle with my family. Then when I went to bed, I still had sentences running through my head, like, "Damn! I should have changed that!"

I just double checked, and only about half the things I was thinking about in bed are actually in the manuscript. Oh-hoh, how odd.

Also, right now, I just checked back to some of the things I was ranting about when I posted about the college applications thing.

New to add though, because I want to say this: I actually trying to get really healthy. Eat better, do exercise, sleep a lotttt more. I want to live till I'm at least 100, but with good health and stuff. Maybe even be a supercentenarian! 8D (yeah, yeah, how impossible).

I've just been kind of lamenting the shortness of human lifespans. Like so much happened between this time and five hundred years ago, and all those poor people of the 1500s didn't get to see it. I would love to be immortal and 100 years is the closest I'm gonna get to that. I know so many people are against living long or being immortal. Just like, oddly, if given the chance to go to Mars for ten years and then come back, people wouldn't do it. Why not? Why not leave this planet--do the thing no one has managed to do--and see another one! Chart the constellations from Mars, scale Mount Olympus, I bet I could even read science fiction books from there under a red sky, and at nighttime! Two moons and there's no way there's light pollution there, so it'd be perfect.

I mean, granted, I'd be totally worthless to NASA or any other space program if they wasted thousands of dollars to send me there because I'm not an awesome scientist, but this is just an impossible little dream. Like being immortal!

I suppose the reason people would be against both those things is loved ones. "No, I don't want to be immortal because everyone you love will die." or "No, I wouldn't go to Mars because it'd be boring and I'd miss my family/friends in those 10 years."

Pfffft. Those are just little pests in the grand scale of things.

Or I don't know. Maybe I'd answer differently if I was, like, a mom or something.

Oh man, getting off topic...erm...okay, yesterday, I managed to cut at least 90 something words from the excerpt. Now, I shall continue writing the rest of the novella and hopefully get through with Antigone's short story.

Away I go!
~Becky

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nervous or Panic?

Turns out the deadline for YoungArts is just barely within a month, and though I really wanted to finish Enkindled With Chains before picking out the best twenty pages, I am writing this little novella way too slowly. Checking the file, I've been on this project since May 22, and I've only gotten to 24k words. How slow am I?!

I think I'll be able to pop out another 20k (or even just 10k, depending how long the rest turns out to be) by the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers' deadline. But for now, I do think I'm gonna need a good couple of weeks to edit. Plus, in October I'll have the ACT and college applications to worry about, added with all my college classes, so it might be better I do the slightly more manageable thing that is editing.

Or at least it should be and yet it might not be so BECAUSE IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY.

Why do I keep using words like explode when very few things are exploding!?

Why do I keep pointing out that my characters are walking/stalking/flying/leaping forwards/towards/etc?!

Why, for the love of Batman, are my action scenes sucking so much?!

How is it that Dream is doing all these stuff WHILE GETTING HORRIBLY INJURED and then forgetting about it?! Woman YOU HAD A BRUISE THE SIZE OF MY GOVERNMENT TEXTBOOK ON YOUR CHEST, STOP PRESSING YOUR DOLL AGAINST IT!!!!!!

And the line I want to cut off the twenty pages has a few problems:

  1. I can't tell if it's too confusing. Is it clear that as soon as she lands on the ground and shields Muñequita, Kangjŏn shields her? She sees the blue scales surrounding her but...argh, my wording.
  2. The starting point I have for the twenty pages--which is already confusing enough--makes that last paragraph that I want to include in the excerpt breach into 21 pages. I know I should edit, but when I edit and rewrite I do so with MORE words. Gha!

Also, why is the word orange so ugly?! I wanted my second dragon to be named Ilaria and be an Italian dragon colored orange but...that bloody word. It throws off my whole diction! >.< It's like looking at a crowd of business men and women, properly dressed and calm, and then one random bloody clown, right smack in the middle of everything, doing backflips and laughing at you because there's no way to replace him. SCREW YOU CLOWN. I LIKE GREEN JUST AS MUCH.

^As you can see, I'm suffering from major editorial panic. And this is probably Level 1 Editorial Panic. It's certainly no "CUT DOWN 30,000 WORDS FROM YOUR NOVEL AND WE'LL GET BACK TO YOU!"
Dx

Well if I can struggle through it, I'm sending the twenty pages excerpt and under-200-word summary to a test audience and see how they respond. I'm mostly nervous about what my friend Silvia will say since my book has some major no-nos.

I mean, as much as I love Enkindled, even I can tell color coding, stupid descriptive character names, and the standard Alice's Adventures in Wonderland story line is more than overdone. If Silvia can't find good in the excerpt to think my writing makes up for the cliches, then...yeh, I'm not gonna have a chance in YoungArts.

On some lighter news, though, I've decided to start a new science fiction short story! (Or well...I mean, after I'm done editing). The concept is really simple, but I think this could be fun, even if it doesn't go anywhere. Here's a basic hint of what it's about:

Antigone: 31 years old, computer programmer, born in a moon (not specified).
Hamlet: 40 years old, molecular physicist, born in Mars.
Cyrano: 2 years old, artificial intelligence, developed by Antigone and Hamlet, likes chess and origami (when moved to a platform with fingers, that is).

Those two top ones are usernames, by the way, not their real names...
Man, I have got to stop doing this.
~Becky

P.S: I just realized...do I give off too much information over the internet? Yesterday my blogger was full of alarmed posts about the attack on literary agent Pam van Hylckama Vlieg. Since then, she said in an interview she's going to try to be more careful about posting information online, and though she's fine, it's making me really paranoid for all of us >.< Especially after what happened to Laci Green.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Feeling Better

Alright, turns out finally managing to write my way in and out the dragon battle lifted up my spirits. I've figured out some things. One, I'm running for historian/secretary of the Debate Team and joining the National Honors Society. Two, I'll also start volunteering at the Writing Center and local nonprofit organizations. All this should go on my college application.
Then hopefully I get into a university where I can major in Creative Writing/English (general) and minor in Film Studies (or film production).

WOO~

Also, I talked to this guy I know yesterday, and he kept trying to convince me that my way of viewing life and death is a bit selfish. Because...I...really, I didn't get it. I'm going to try to speak to him again about it, because I sincerely have no idea why he thinks my belief that life is fragile is selfish. He gave me a reason, but I can't remember what it was. I'm trying to beat my brain until it confesses and gives me the information, but it won't. I swear he had a reason for thinking it was selfish. It's so contradictory to what I've always believed that I think I accidentally threw it away from my memory banks since it sounded so irrelevant. And stupid. I mean, I'm the one who thinks that it's important to give sources and opportunities to less fortunate people so they can actually live good lives since THIS IS ALL THEY HAVE. If someone miserable dies and we did not help them be freed of the pain, there's a lot to grieve there, because that someone only had one shot at happiness.

Now granted, the other thing we briefly discussed was the death of loved ones. When Neil Armstrong died, I broke down crying for a good few hours, simply because he's gone. He doesn't get to see human expansion across the solar system, or at least to Mars, he doesn't get to ever know if we find life outside this planet--there's so much he won't see because his existence is no more.

When I spoke to this guy about it, he got really defensive. Yesterday he was asking me what I would do if a child of mine died, or if I were to die and leave children behind, and if so, I would really wish for them to imagine my existence and self was gone forever. I realize a lot of people who lose loved ones and are religious can find comfort in believing there is something more than this, and that those people are not gone forever. I'm glad they believe in something that lessens the pain of losing someone, but that doesn't mean I agree with it. Life doesn't have to be just, and not everything has a silver lining. Losing a child would probably wreck me to pieces, but I can't imagine there being anything that could make it immediately better, let alone something I believe to be an imaginary scenario. I realize it's human nature to always try to find hope in the darkest of moments, but sometimes pain is there and it needs to be felt and things will only become better through a long and horrifyingly painful road.

And why would I chose a set of beliefs just because they're comforting when there's no evidence that they are in any way truthful?
~Becky

P.S: Also this -
http://youtu.be/P9wKVjWKHdo
I love what he said about his "film school."

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Plan

  • Finish Enkindled With Chains
    • Send to contests and stuff
    • Plan possible sequel/prequel/spin-off, where the antagonist of EwC is the lead protagonist of new story.
  • Write Spin-off
    • Different genre?
    • Characters
      • Rhyme and Reason - dealer
      • Legion - demon
      • Storm - demon
      • Uh...possible fallen angel...wait, nope. Gotta plan Archangel better.
    • Different feeling.
  • Rewrite The Night Kingdom and/or the pirate story.
  • Slowly apply to UF, USF, FSU, UNF, UCF, University of Iowa*, University of New York*, and FIU.
    • Get rejected out of all because...
      • I never joined any clubs till...this year.
      • My grades have been dropping from As and Bs to all Bs and two I don't want to name
      • My GPA is bleh, in the B pile.
      • Therefore, my weighted GPA is also bleh, probably at four point something rather than the 5.0 I used to have.
      • My SAT is horrible--or at least, my math one is. Or at least, NOT GOOD ENOUGH to outshine everything else.
      • My ACT will surely suck
      • All my teachers hate me/don't care for me/know and think I'm lazy, therefore I'll get crap recommendation letters.
      • I only have one good thing to my name: the silver key award from The Gift.
        • Bitches, it wasn't even Gold key.
  • Not sleep well for the rest of the year. Die when I'm fifty.
  • Never finish the stories, go to FIU because no one else wants me but at least I'm good enough for that one, get a job teaching, curl up and cry.
Balls.
~Becky

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When A Guy Can't Take A Hint

C: Saw you in that dress, you looked cute.

Me: I think I gave my dad my phone and he accidentally read that text message ._.

C: Hmmmm.......

Context: I wore an orange dress to the senior meeting tonight. Actually, I'm always wearing dresses with boots. How is it a surprise anymore?

Right now: watching Obama at the democratic convention. Trying to form coherent opinion, and not be mindlessly drawn to the strong words and charming speech, but the republican convention just burned me up so much, and this one pumps me up like mad. I'm so easy to influence.

Further updates later. Or...hopefully.
~Becky

P.S: Hannibal demands I make it clear he made this post possible.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Goddammit, you guys...

I'm a comma splicer.

GHAAAAAAAAA

News:
  • I sent Our Silent Legacy (a short story I wrote after the passing of Ray Bradbury) to the magazine Cicada...and afterwards I found they had a specific way to format the manuscript.
    • In short: I'm dead.
      • I didn't even use the correct font.
      • TIMES NEW ROMAN!!! HOW COULD I FORGETTTT?!?!?
  • I'm right at the dragon battle for Enkindle With Chains. I've been looking forward to this for months now, and I wanted it to be one of the twenty pages that I was going to send to YoungArts. Needless to say...it's not turning out that epic.
    • Curses! If I was a better writer it'd be almost as good as it is in my head >.<
  • Writing a short science fiction story on Redemption's Nikki and Vlad. Tis about their childhood and days as training soldiers.
    • The voice feels...off. I'm (sadly) writing in first person because Nicole doesn't have a name yet for a good first half of the short story. In fact, when I have unnamed narrators, the first person is the easiest to write, as the narrator of Our Silent Legacy is also unnamed. It's easier, but I dun like it. I can never get the narrative to sound unique to the character's voice! So I don't like how her voice sounds like it. And I need to write more descriptions.
    • Dun even know what to name it Dx
    • I feel like it's too...vague. Like...am I writing correctly from the perspective of a nine-ten and thirteen-twelve year old? Am I writing correctly from the eyes of a girl who grew up in a military base, trained and disciplined since she was a toddler? Is the background descriptive enough? Is it so vague Nikki is an unreliable narrator?
    • Needless to say, I really need to fix it. But this one's also for a magazine, so I can get past the 3,000 word count to 5,000.

Oh, I guess I'm also currently watching the Democratic convention. But no comment yet, gotta finish it all.
~Becky

Friday, August 31, 2012

Compensate, I say!

Because no one in this campus had change for a twenty, I just spent eighteen minutes on the floor of the vending machines picking up more than two dollars of coins.

Awww yeh. SO MUCH RICHER NOW.
~Becky.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tally!

And here we properly illustrate how many ways can I injure Dream in one bloody novella:

Main character, Esther "Dream" Paine, has been subjected to:
  • A fall of thousands of feet that broke all her bones and tore her skin--eventually to be mended on the spot!
  • Crazy crows that bit and maul her hand!
  • Branches, twigs, and rocks that attacked her only bare foot when running through the violet forest!
  • Acidic droplets of a red mass that boiled and melted little parts of her skin!
  • The ever-unforgettable dragon nose-punch to the bloody chest.
  • The erupting of fire against her lower back, claiming parts of her skin!
  • A battle in a glass-forest that resulted in TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CUTS AND BRUISES
  • Once again crashing the thousands of feet in the air--AGAIN TO BE MENDED ON THE SPOT!
  • Punching oneself on the face by punching out the grandfather clock that mirrors you!
  • And so much more!
And I probably missed some.
Not to mention the fact that Dream started the story with THREE HUGE SCARS ACROSS HER FACE. And about a dozen random cuts and bruises. And that was before she leaped in front of a train and wrecked her whole body so she could die.

Oh gawd, I'm messed up. Gotta tone it down.
~Becky

Sunday, August 19, 2012

WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!

Turns out Swankivy's novel Bad Fairy is on its way of literary-agent-representation-thing (I can't write right now. Incoherent thoughts. Senior year starts tomorrow) and she has a new website, I guess purely for her readers.

AND I'M ON THE LINKS SECTION.

WHAT. WHEN. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE.

I'm sorry, I'm just...fangirling. I think...how...did I ever even show her my blog? Has she read it? (Okay, maybe she hasn't, but IT'S A POSSIBILITY).

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
~Becky

Friday, August 10, 2012

Goodbye, Margot

Today was Ecuador's Independence day, and And out of all things, I decided to go to the cemetery to visit my grandmother.

Inappropriate thoughts walking in:
 - Why not nick a single flower from the nearby graves and take some of the still-growing-ones around the field and put them on the grave? They'd be more of them and look nicer together.
- How long does it take for a body to decompose to the point of just bones? (begin counting down years by each stone that is passed--the earlier the death date, the less likely those random, useless chemicals to preserve the bodies were used)
- How do graverobbers even operate in this cemetery? The stones are too close together, so digging must be a pain, and there's so many dead that they're either burying them vertically and pulling them out to search for treasure would be a hassle, or they're all on top of each other, so you can't really get to all of them.

Thoughts on seeing grandmother's grave:
I have no clue why my aunt and her husband started pulling out the weeds and plants growing around the stone. They seemed genuinely annoyed at the fact that A BUNCH OF LIVING THINGS were emerging from the ground in which my grandmother's body could provide nutrients to. So their response was to kill said living things because...they...don't look pretty? Why pull out the weeds and reassamble the stone? Why not let the plants grow out and inside and around, breaking the stone and swallowing it whole, finally letting the last bits of the person fade back into the earth for forever? All I could think the whole time they yanked out the plants was let her go. Please, let her go.

While at the grave, my aunt thanked me for having told my grandmother stories when I was little. She said I was always inventing something or other for her, and since great-grandpa Victor had too been a story teller, I guess she was happy that skill reappeared in a grandchild. I was silent for most of the time my aunt was talking, because I didn't remember, and counting down, I was four years old when grandma Alicia died. I don't know how I was telling her stories back then, but I hope my aunt is right. I hope that made her happy.

Thoughts on seeing Margot's grave:
This was unexpected. After we bought the flowers, my aunt asked me to give her just a handful to put in her sister's grave. I'd forgotten about the possibility that Margot and my grandmother may have been buried in the same cemetery since Great-Grandpa Victor (whom I couldn't go visit) wasn't there. After cleaning the stone and butchering the nearby plants, Margot's grave was a brownish-yellow color with the letters fading slightly. the tips had broken due to the weeds inside. I counted down her birth and death, so she was nineteen when she died in 1972, and then it is exactly a year later that my father was born. With the dates in mind, I also realized why my grandmother's last pregnancy was so complicated--she was 41 at the time. And after having children after children since she was 14-15 and a barely existent nutrition, it's no wonder her and my dad almost didn't make it.

I don't believe the dead can hear us or that they're still with us, or whatever, but I found myself strangely speechless standing in front of her. Like I needed to say something specific, or think or feel something specific, but I couldn't. I didn't know, it made me feel thankful, angry at myself, numb in some ways, melancholic in others, and a certain detachment that stemmed for having never known her, as well as a saddness because of that same reason. It's not like you can go ahead thinking I'm sorry you died, but since you did, I guess thanks since, you know, my grandmother was so pain stricken she went through with a horrifying pregnancy in the belief that you would be reborn, only to have my father be brought into the world. That's just a little more than sick. Which is usually where the anger comes in--I should not be even considering being thankful, because there's nothing to thank. She died. She died because my grandfather left them at that beach and couldn't help save her. She died because my grandmother had six other children to look after. And she died so young, barely three years older than current-me.

But I can't really feel utterly heart-broken at the whole thing because, as much as anyone wants to say otherwise, my grandmother would not have had another child had she not died. I feel sad at her passing, and yet I can't ask for an "I wish this wouldn't have happen. I wish this wouldn't have caused them so much pain." because if it hadn't, then neither me, nor my father, nor my brother would exist. My mom would have married someone else, or maybe she would have stayed single as her friends did, so would she have been happy? More so, less so?

I think when I went to the house a few days ago, that was why that strange, eerie feeling hit me. As much as I missed those things, they're just things, and it's so silly to attach meaning to crap that can't feel, can't think, can't grow, can't change, can't die, can't live, can't do anything. It doesn't pain me to leave it all behind again. What it makes me do is start imagining all these what-ifs that had never been so detailed before in my mind. And they're not painful to imagine, but they do make me examine what I am right now. What would I care about, how would I view the rest of the world? How much would be different if I just wasn't here? Right now, all this crap I care about like university and bills and my imminent future just seems so utterly insignificant to who I am right now, or who I might have been.

I know a lot of people go around thinking things like that, but I have never had the chance to properly and semi-accurately piece different futures and pasts together. Times where I wasn't here, or I was someone else. And I can't thank Margot because she deserved to live, but I can't wish for her to have lived because, as selfish as it is, I kind of really like existing, and I can't be sad because I didn't know her, and I can't feel anything else because nothing is right and everything is wrong.

So in the end, I just nicked a few blue flowers and laid them in the broken parts of her stone when the others weren't looking. And I decided I might as well say goodbye to her too, even though I never really had a chance to say hello.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

To be more specific

Most of the graffiti here does include a lot of the word "liberty" and because Correa has apparently being doing some pretty threatening things with the media, it really is like the walls of the city are the only way the people can communicate. I think I passed by one of the buildings of El Comercio, which is basically the main newspaper here, and at the very front of the building was a gigantic banner that called for the freedom of the press, how it is ultimately conjoined with the idea of democracy.

It's important to note two things. One is the increase of "Aborto Legal" graffiti I'm seeing. I was never truly sure whether or not Ecuador granted women the right of abortion--or if it did, it did so either with a stigma, or at least in cases like rape. According to my mother, and the words on the street, that is not true. It's just not legal.

The other thing that keeps popping up is Julian Assange's name. The people want him protected here. I couldn't agree more.

~Becky

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Martin

woke up this morning and asked for me. He thought I was hiding. I got to talk to him on the phone for a little bit, but I'm gone, and so is he.

When he saw himself in my phone's screen, I snapped the picture. 
Same as above.

I miss him already.
~Becky

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Scream

Nighttime was approaching, and so Rosegrave and I needed to get off the streets soon and find some place to rest for the night. After last night's encounter, it was better if we laid low for sometime before those with coin and paper could throw another get-together. Rosegrave was convinced that it would take forever for the police to find the body of the old man--he was a bit senile and living on the streets after all. However, I was worried. We couldn't afford a name like that to be added to our list and released to the public.

I didn't want to let it get to me, and so I continued towards my destination. I stepped off the curb from the store and looked down at my feet. They were caked in dirt and roughed up completely from the harsh stoned streets. It didn't really hurt anymore, at least.

I walked down the hill, trying not to stumble over the trash and broken bottles. I passed a couple of street vendors, and after saying no to a few children with candy who called me a little pretty lady to see if I would pull out the coinpurse, I saw Rose standing at the corner, reading something on a wall I couldn't see. I ran closer to her, but she did not react, even as I got close enough that my foot rested over her boot.

I held up the bag of cleaning products so she could see, but still she didn't turn. She was reading the wall.

"What is it?" I asked, stepping around. There was nothing inherently unusual about it--barely coherent graffiti was there. Just words strung together by someone who saw an empty wall one night and decided to voice up an opinion.

The walls of the streets always had something. Sometimes it was artistic and large. Most often it was just words. The word "liberty" was repeated a lot, as was the name of our ruler, the mention of gold and petroleum, and a few political issues. This town seemed to be big on "Abortion; Legal." It was everywhere, down three streets. Rosegrave always seemed uninterested by it all, no matter what the issue was, but I found her staring at this graffiti with such a solemn look, and yet such intense concentration, that I wanted to be wrapped by its meaning as well. I squinted my eyes to try to read it.

The two maidens of the red liberate us from those up above the hills.

"It's about us," Rosegrave whispered.

"What?" I said, although I didn't need a repetition, and she did not feel the need to give me one. I looked at it again, and did not feel surprised. Of course it was about us.

Things had been...strange, as of late. We've avoided police, and yet people on the street sometimes turn to us. They see us walking and they stare. Sometimes they bow their heads. Other times, children run up to us and thank us as urged by their parents or onlookers. It's like they know; like they believe it's all for them.

Plus, the country communicates through graffiti in a way it could never do under the watch of the powerful eyes. It was only a matter of time before our services made it to the walls.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Going to cry

One of the things I was looking forward to when I was told we'd be coming to Ecuador was meeting my baby cousin, who's two years old by now. My aunt, his mother, went to live in the United States for ten years (far away from my family) before missing her family here too much and coming back (so the exact opposite that my mother and father did). She had my cousin, Martin, after a complicated pregnancy and they live in the coastal side of the country, sometimes coming to visit my grandparents to the colder side. They arranged to come to my grandparent's house so they could stay a few days with us, and so I got to meet him the second I walked into the house.

This might get a little gushy--and I understand it might annoy some people who have no maternal/paternal instincts whatsoever, but he is not just adorable. He's smart, he's funny, he's very active, and he's extremely curious. He's not particularly an angel--he doesn't understand yet that he has to do certain things gently, so he uses all his strength to get his mom to pay attention to him and so he pulls at her earrings or her hair. He hasn't done that to me yet, but I guess it's because I'm constantly giving him attention, so he probably feels like he doesn't have to. (Plus, he's obviously more desperate for his mom's attention than for mine, and since she's been very tired lately, she hasn't really been playing with him). He's also a bit stubborn when it comes to food, and if he doesn't like something, he just lets the food hang from his lips till someone takes it or gravity sends it down.

Again, I'm sorry if this gets to be too much, but I absolutely adore how he acts. He's always telling me to go see things with him, and he always wants me to hold his hand when he's climbing up the stairs. He only eats when I'm watching him, he picks up flowers to show me, and when he wakes up in the morning, after his mom calms him down and either feeds him or cleans him, he asks for me. Right now, he's downstairs asking where I am, so I'm probably gonna run and continue this when I come back.

Although he understands Spanish very well, and knows a few English words, he doesn't talk very much. I used to talk a lot when I was his age, but I think I read somewhere boys on average talk less than girls. He's not very loud--he only shouts if someone else shouts--so he just kind of whispers words like "Pelota?" when he wants to play and can't find the ball. When we were at a restaurant, he was so fascinated by the three men that came in playing music for some coins, all he did was watch them and he kept holding my hand. In fact, he always has this curious expression, like we were playing with my phone and I showed him some pictures I took of him. It was almost like he was analyzing them, and when I asked him who it was, he smiled and said "Martin". If he looks at himself through the mirror, he doesn't react, but if he sees himself in my computer or my phone, he's just completely in awe.

I think a few days ago he saw one of his uncles playing Modern Warfare on the PS3 so he asked me to play with him yesterday. My aunt was worried that it'd be violent, but there were just a few games, and the only ones I really wouldn't play with him were God of War 3 and the current Mortal Kombat (granted the first Mortal Kombat was my first video game, but it was a lot more cartoonish back then, plus I was five/six not two), so we played Call of Duty, and he laughed every time we died, which was a lot because we accidentally picked the highest difficulty. His hands were too small for the controller, and he wasn't really coordinated. In CoD all he wanted to do was see the guns, and he'd tell me which one he liked more and just shoot at a wall until I tickled him when we got shot and he just let go of the controller and started laughing.

I've found that I'm not as grossed out as I thought I would be with a toddler. He's been having an allergic reaction lately so he coughs everywhere, even when he's eating, and always has snot running down his nose. In fact, if he does he looks at me and says, "Moco, moco," (booger) so I can take him to a bathroom and blow his nose. Sometimes I won't have anything to clean him with, so I'll just use my hands so he's not uncomfortable. Yesterday I helped my aunt clean his diaper at the mall. The smell was utterly horrendous, but because my aunt sings to him while she's changing his diaper, he was singing with her and laughing. There was the smell of shit in that entire bloody bathroom, but he's just so joyful that I started singing with him while helping my aunt clean him up.

I guess it hit me yesterday that this is the first and last time I'm ever going to see him. Tomorrow I'm going back to the capital city to my old home where I'm going to spend the rest of my time there (just a few more days before heading back to the United States). We'll go there so I can give my aunt my brother's baby clothes and some toys for Martin, and then they gotta go back to their own city. And I won't see him again. I don't have enough money to come every year, and either way, the city isn't exactly safe. It's beautiful in some ways--the mountains and cascades and roads look like painted pictures--and it's ugly in others--people throw all kinds of shit out of bus windows, apparently I can't even eat the street food because it might have some dog meat in there, and the crime is more than high.

I was laying in bed yesterday utterly heartbroken that I wasn't going to see him, I even started bawling. He's not going to remember me at all, and even if I manage to get enough money to return again for a vacation, it'll be years. And even if it was every year, he'd be growing so quickly and changing so much, he wouldn't remember me. When I was little and my dad was here in the U.S, he would call and chat with us everyday, and still my little brother was so young that he started to forget about him. My Spanish has been faltering for some time now, and I left this country when I was a little girl, and still I can't communicate now with the people I grew up with. There's no way Martin, who's way younger, is going to be able to become friends with me all over again. He'll be older, and different, and so will I. It makes me almost wish that we could stay in these few days for almost-forever. Like I wish he could be nearly-eternally two, but also continue to grow and discover things while still laughing that adorable laugh of his, and I wish I could stay nearly-eternally sixteen with the energy and patience and want to throw the same ball over the same fence ten thousand times just to hear him laugh and see him run.

Another thing, though I would never admit to my aunt, is that I wish he wouldn't grow up here and instead would go to the U.S. I know people like to shit on America and say it sucks and how it's collapsing and whatever, but sometimes I feel like at least 75% of people saying that are only from America, or some awesomely developed rich country, so they don't really understand the weight of their words. I wish my baby cousin wouldn't have to grow up in a country where a good percentage of the population is below poverty, or where the police can barely do shit about kidnappings and domestic violence and murders to the point when if a child is reported missing they'll just shrug and be like "well he/she probably ran away. Bye now", or where the current president thinks it okay to censor the media, or where the constitution changes every ten years for stupid reasons, like someone in power doesn't like cucumbers and decided it was unconstitutional to eat them.

It's only been a few days, and I feel horrible because I'm really not going to miss a good chunk of my family here because we're just different people. We've changed, and I don't feel obliged to *like* people just because we share a percentage of similar genes. In fact, I really didn't imagine this would happen to me at all, but just thinking about leaving him here and never coming back makes me want to cry all over again.

I don't know if anyone's been through anything similar, but I don't know how to stop feeling so devastated. I really don't want to cry tomorrow when I say goodbye to him, but I don't know if it hurts to imagine him forgetting about me, or thinking he might remember me for the next few days and constantly ask for me, even as my aunt tells him I can't be there.

I'm just...I don't know. I just don't know.

I'll post pictures of Martin when I get my phone back.
~Becky
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.