Politesse (a poem by me)

originally posted on my second, personal blog: wildcharismaandwanderlust.wordpress.com

polite society

Politesse

They were the type that

Knew what fork was for dessert

And held their manicured nails

Over their mouths when they laughed.

They had soft hands

That felt like velvet;

All the better for

Pinning their hair into tight buns.

They terrified me;

I could never hear them coming.

Their footfalls were too delicate;

Their voices too quiet.

My mother called them polite society.

But were they polite when

They smiled to my face

And giggled behind my back?

k. a-i.

Teaser Tuesday: Paper Towns by John Green

With the movie coming up, I figured that I would finally read Paper Towns by John Green.

It’s a coming of age book that serves to contrast the personalities of the anxious thinkers, like the protagonist Quentin Jacobsen, and the capricious doers, like his object of affection Margo Roth Spiegelman.

I’m about two-thirds through, and I’m really enjoying the mystery surrounding Margo’s disappearance and the various reactions from the different characters towards the enigma that is her character. I also noticed how John Green uses literature in the form of poetry by Walt Whitman as the backbone of his novel, similarly to the use of a made-up novel in The Fault in Our Stars.

Here’s a teaser, extracting an excerpt from a mini-speech by Margo that includes the title of the book itself:

“It’s a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm.”

What she’s talking about? Well, you’ll have to read Paper Towns to find out.

Sia: ‘Elastic Heart’ and ‘Big Girls Cry’

In Praise and Defense of Sia and Maddie

Grammy's 2015
Grammy’s 2015
Grammy's 2015 Closeup
Grammy’s 2015 Closeup

I am a huge fan of Sia and her videos. I made a blog post last year about her music video for her hit single, “Chandelier”. Since then, I’ve been an avid fan of Sia’s videos with Maddie. Maddie Ziegler is also a star on the reality TV show “Dance Moms” which I started watching after seeing how amazing dance moves in the “Chandelier” music video.

Sia’s music video for “Elastic Heart” was hit with ‘controversy’ when some narrow-minded people saw a little girl dancing with an older man and concluded that it was pedophilia. Of course, there’s no such thing as bad publicity and the views on the video sky rocketed. The comments flooded with people disgusted that it could ever be seen as pedophilia. Obviously it wasn’t. I saw nothing sexual at all in the video or the dance. Some people made the very good point that if anybody saw anything sexual in it, then THEY were the problem.

I saw the video as pure art. Maddie and Shia were absolutely enthralling together. They told the story of a battle between two selves: the capricious, childish, ‘free’, wild self and the grounded, adult, ‘restrained’, mindful self. The childish self teases the more adult self and it ends with the adult self being stuck in the mental ‘cage’ of inhibition while the childish self can escape the ‘cage’ and be free. It was deeply emotional and one of the most profound music videos I have ever seen. Utterly beautiful.

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Sia’s music video for “Big Girls Cry” took a drastic turn from her last two videos in that there was no dancing involved. Instead, Maddie delivered a heartfelt performance using just her face and her hands. It was breathtaking for me to watch the raw emotion pour out of her. My interpretation of it is that it tells a story of a young girl who wants so badly to say how she really feels inside but is kept muffled by society and has to restrain herself from spilling her feelings out. She masks herself using make up and tries to pretend like everything is okay. However, its killing her on the inside to not let her emotions out and eventually she bursts. I never cease to be amazed by Maddie’s talent and the video always moves me tears. Powerfully touching.

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I think that Maddie Ziegler coupled with Sia makes for a sizzling, electric pair. Sia’s masterful language and searing vocals combined with Maddie’s enrapturing talent and brilliant moves produce top class music videos. Their videos are a passionate trilogy. I’ll be sure to follow Maddie on Dance Moms and continue watching Sia’s videos.

And to anyone who has a problem with their videos: “Art is meant to disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed.”

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

to all the boys I've loved beforeTo All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Jenny Han

Published April 2014

Read April 2015

Find it on: Amazon Goodreads Barnes and Noble Simon and Schuster

Synopsis

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

My Thoughts

Where, oh where do I begin with this book? I bought it as a sort of bubble gum-fluffy-cutesy-quick breeze through read, and I wasn’t disappointed on that front. But my problem with this book is, was it really about all the boys she loved before?

I picked up this book hoping to nostalgically reconnect with the sort of crushes my younger self used to have. Instead, I got a heaping of sisterhood. Sisterhood is great and all, and I’ve always enjoyed books on that topic, but I was not expecting that in this book. Han packaged this book to be about cute young crushes when it was really about the protagonist, Lara Jean’s relationship with her older sister and said sister’s unattainable perfection.

Margot, Lara Jean’s big sister, is one of those characters who are supposed to be perfect and meticulous and fastidious and do everything correctly. I only ever got to see her through Lara Jean’s eyes, and Lara Jean basically worshiped the ground she walked for most of the book, which got really boring really fast. Lara Jean obviously idolized Margot and measured herself up against her big sister’s perfection.

I didn’t particularly like Lara Jean or Margot, but I loved their little sister, Kitty. Kitty had an acerbic tongue, which I really enjoyed. She was sharp witted, a little sassy, and a breath of fresh air in a book filled with such stuffy characters.

The actual romance aspect of the book was pretty predictable. However, I did enjoy some really cute parts between Lara Jean and two of the boys she’d loved before. Those gave me what I’d been looking for: adorable, sweet, young teenage crushes. I also liked the way Han developed the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter. I noticed how she basically recycled the camaraderie between Belly and her summer boys from her Summer Trilogy but basically switched the genders to end up with Josh and his Song girls. Somehow, it worked.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ll just tell you that if you’re looking for a fluffy bunny romance alone, you’ll be looking for a diamond in the rough.

Rating: 3/5

americanah in arlington.

keletheardentfangirl:

Proud that this lady has come to respect and admire her Nigerian heritage. That’s so important.

Originally posted on Afros y Paella:

My skin was a mass of prickly, raised bumps because of the frigid temperature in the media room with a projector turned into a makeshift classroom. The air was always so icy in that room, able to zap through even the thickest and fluffiest of sweaters, encouraging teeth to chatter.

The year was 2011. I was a graduate student in a pseudo MFA program, a program I applied for and told no one about except for my boyfriend at the time, because I had been yearning to become a better writer after plateauing just two years after leaving J-school. I needed to feel the magic about writing again. I needed to be excited about pieces I was working on, about sitting down to write, even. That excitement had dried up and disappeared it seems, lost in the shuffle in being unable to find a full-time writing position for almost two…

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Dear Black Girls by @Favouradesina

Originally posted on Running Through My Mind:

Dear black girls,

you aren’t what they say you are, you’re more than that.

Even though society mocks you, upholds a standard of beauty that is damn near impossible to achieve,

just know you are beyond magical!

To all of you who are told not to wear bright  lipstick or make-up, because it doesn’t “suit your skin tone”

To all of you that are ignored and excluded from the LGBTQ agendas and movements even though you started it,

To all of you who are victims of rape, or assault, of abuse and maltreatment,

but are too scared to come forward because you know you will not get the justice you deserve.

To all the black girls who have ever tried to wash away your blackness,perceiving it as dirt,whilst trying to bleach your skin and succumb to the fair and pale figures you are deceived to accept as beauty, I’ve been…

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“Africans sold their own people as slaves”

Originally posted on Abagond:

“Africans sold their own people as slaves” is a stock argument White Americans use when the subject of slavery comes up.

First, simply as an argument of fact it fails:

  • Africa was not a country. Africans were not selling “their own”, they were selling their enemies, just as the Greeks and Romans once did. Africa, then as now, was made up of different countries. They were no more selling “their own” than, say, “Europeans” were killing “their own” during the Holocaust.

And it overlooks a few other things:

  • Most African countries did not sell slaves and some even fought against it. But because Europeans back then could control the supply of guns there was little Africans could do to stop it.
  • The Transatlantic slave trade was on a much greater scale than anything the Africans or anyone else ever did in the history of slavery. Countries were destroyed and…

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