Goodbye Winter

The gray skies part, the violent winds finally seize and the sun shines down upon budding trees flooded with hues of green. Binghamton’s winter is no more and like a rabbit adapting to the warmth, the students and residents of Binghamton shed their winter coats. The eerie city of Binghamton whose occupants seem to hibernate during the frigid months reappear on the streets with smiles painted across their faces. The warm weather is more than just an excuse to lie under the sun or procrastinate schoolwork. The sun thaws our soul and rekindles our spirit.

Binghamton University’s culture reaches a dramatic shift in the months of April and May. Not only does the student body seem to double, even triple, in size, but the kindness and enthusiasm of each student seems to grow as well. Clubs and organization march on the Spine, spreading awareness about charities and social issues dear to their hearts. Friends come together to lie on the grass and enjoy a much-needed break from the stresses of life and school. Like a flower whose leaves stretch to the sun to grow, the people of Binghamton grow with the change of the seasons.

There are those that argue Binghamton is not what it used to be, that the spark that made Binghamton a great city left years ago when big business moved out. Yet, I believe the warm weather is a time machine that brings the city of Binghamton back to greatness. The student body walks the streets of Binghamton indulging in the fantastic restaurants and appreciating the beautiful architecture found throughout the city. Even the residents of downtown Binghamton seem to transform into colorful people, always ready to give you a warm hello.

What’s more, the beautiful weather opens up the opportunity for a different kind of creative inspiration. The colors of the surrounding forests, the blooming of the flowers and the increase in animal presence is enough inspiration to write a great poem. Take a walk through the nature preserves found on campus or walk across one of the many bridges downtown. The world of spring is vibrant and begs for the attention of creative individuals to capture its essence in writing, painting or both. So please take advantage of the warm weather, go for a walk through the forest or just enjoy the weather by lying out in the sun. Write poetry about the warmth of nature or about something that only spring can bring about. Because before you know it Binghamton will be shrouded in the cold months of winter, where inspiration is hard to find and where the cold makes it hard to leave your bed. As always, enjoy the weekend and the beautiful weather. #InternIan

LARPING

When I first started writing I had an incredibly difficult time writing evil characters. I just didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing. I understood their purpose on paper but in practice they always turned out rather bland and stood no chance at impressing anyone, much less the hero of the story. I needed an example of a good villain and reading other stories didn’t give me the ability to write ones myself. College changed that though and now almost all of my protagonists now would be considered antagonists by most people’s standards. I’ve grown to enjoy these types of characters more. I realized that my passion lies in writing chaotic characters. The Master from Doctor Who and antihero Deadpool being two great examples. I used to play LARP or Live Action Role Playing which is basically like Dungeons and Dragons except you play outside as your character with a bunch of other nerds. Twice a week I would go into the woods with my friends and basically play pretend. This involved role playing as your character, which you would give a backstory. You play in quests in which you act out what you need to do and use either magic or “swords” to fight monsters. Most people would have more than one character they would play, but I only had one and her name was Atro Song and her alignment (Morality) was chaotic neutral/ evil. She was out of control in- game and I loved every second of it. I never had to second guess myself while playing this character. She might have acted as if she didn’t know what she was doing, but her purpose was clear. Acting a certain way without purpose was one way to make LARP boring, so I always made sure Atro had a drive or purpose behind her actions, despite their chaotic nature. Role playing as an evil character helped me write villains better. It helped me write and understand their purpose and actions.
One of my favorite Atro stories was during a weekend long event. She and had just been infected by a plant monster’s poison and was slowly transforming into one herself. Her betrothed was obviously less than pleased about this since most of the other characters simply wanted to kill Atro. He was keeping his distance from her in order to talk everyone else out of destroying her. Feeling abandoned she walked into the woods and decided to take out her energy on insulting the moon. After the end of a long diatribe, Atro finished by challenging the moon to an honor duel. Now, normally screaming at the moon wouldn’t make anything happen other than just looking really dumb. However, I/ Atro had spent the last twenty minutes screaming nonstop at the sky and my reward was the moon sending down one’s of its best knights to fight her one on one. Atro isn’t a fighter because I’m not coordinated at all. Fighting with foam swords isn’t as easy as it looks. Imagine the most uncomfortable pillow fight of your life. However, after fifteen minutes of fighting a lunar knight, during which both my friend and I started to become sweaty and gross, I won. Now, upon Atro’s Victory we were taken to the moon court and given the title “Sailor Phoenix” (yes, just like Sailor Moon but with birds) and given a crown that gives Atro back all of her skills once a quest. Coming back from the woods with a crown and a new title from seemingly nowhere led many people to shake their head and say “classic Atro”.
The point is while you are writing, don’t be afraid to do something unexpected. Chaotic, seemingly insane characters are fun, but you have to make sure they still have a purpose or drive behind their actions. This is also a plug to try something new and different in your life. Before I decided to LARP I was very shy and had an incredibly difficult time speaking to anyone. After spending some time playing a character you grow a bit more confident in yourself. Maybe LARP isn’t for you, but there’s something out there waiting for you and it will not doubt make you a better writer.

The Sun Rose Only to Laugh

It was a nice dream. Not the sort of dream painted by vicious detail, not something I really remembered once I awoke. It was a feeling that stuck with me; at least it did through breakfast. The coffee from some indiscernible k-cup was good, nothing special. The two Wegman’s blueberry waffles would have been better if I had bought syrup or watched them in the insufferably hot toaster. But I didn’t check the toaster and the waffles took on a darker bronze, like a woman basking in the sun for far too long. Crunchy, the waffles were crunchy and a bit flakey. I got up to throw out the burnt mess, settle for something cold and easy, maybe cereal. As I moved the plate it hit the coffee mug and the mug fell from the ottoman, landing on the carpet with a dull thud. The steam rose from the floor and the room filled with an aroma of java. Not a delicious smell of coffee, it wasn’t like walking into a Starbucks, the smell of crushed coffee beans filling the nostrils. No, it was a muddy coffee smell that mingled with the odor of carpet that needed to be vacuumed. What was that dream again? How did it make me feel? It didn’t matter now breakfast was over.
It was Wednesday when all this went down. Wednesday wasn’t anyone’s favorite day. Sure, hump day meant half the week was over, halfway there to a weekend of freedom. I didn’t mind Wednesdays and I especially didn’t mind Mondays because I don’t have classes on either of those days. If my coffee didn’t spill, if my breakfast didn’t bring about the start to a bad day, I would have gone to the gym and gotten some work done. But I was already enveloped in cloudy skies and a bad attitude. Escape was unmanageable, a ruined breakfast and a big empty house with loneliness creeping in every corner. I didn’t want out, I wanted to sit in my own self-pity. It was just one of those days. For me, those days occur on a regular basis and most of the time it’s easier to raise my white flag and surrender into it.
I know what you’re thinking, “over breakfast, really? You’re going to ruin your day over a crappy meal?” But it wasn’t about the meal or the fact that the school schedule I had to make turned out to be bad the scratches on my front bumper left by some driver who couldn’t stop and leave a note. I had a bad day because I let everything get to me. It happens, sometimes all a person can do is let the bad in and not see any of the good. We are all accustomed to this idea. Sometimes it’s just easier to feel sorry for yourself instead of putting up the good fight and struggle to have a good day. On Wednesday I can honestly and easily say the sun rose just to laugh in my face. And maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon I’ll wake up and laugh at the sun for thinking it can get me down. Life’s a long, weird war and sometimes you just have to worry about the day-to-day battle. I suggest turning to writing like I have. Write about your bad days to get them off your chest. Turn to poetry to make a bad day turn into a good one. That way, if coffee spills or a very poorly organized schedule needs to be created, writing will be the foundations that will lift you up. Some days are harder than others, but I assure writing a poem or a short story is the best way to get things off your mind. As always have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading! #InternIan

Stage Fright

It was the second grade and I was still getting used to the idea of being seven. I was at the perfect age for elementary school trauma. The activity that day was to create our own plans for an invention. Something to make everyone’s life a little bit easier. I thought about what the hardest part of my life was and concluded that world peace could be achieved if kids didn’t have to do homework. So, I began drawing my homework defeating machine on some paper and began telling my desk mates about it. It was well received by my peers and some of them even added their own suggestions. Everything appeared to be going well on the surface.
It came time to tell everyone of our machines, and I wanted to go first. I was excited to tell everyone about it and extremely nervous as well. I wanted to get it over with and be praised for my amazing idea. My plan was perfect, nearly flawless. However, the teacher kept picking everyone else to go first. Soon half the class had presented, and my anxiety was rising as I noticed all the other, much better machines everyone had created. I began to think my machine was the dumbest ever and hoped the teacher would forget me.
“We’ve saved the best for last!” My teacher happily announced. I quickly shook my head and she pointed to the front of the room. Defeated, I slowly walked to the front and had the opportunity to stare down everyone else. Everyone who had a better idea than me. Instead of explaining my homework machine, I began to cry, ugly cry. Of course, I presented through those childish tears and ended up getting a good grade. The good grade was from sticking to my presentation and finishing it despite wanting to run from the room. However, I’ll never forget the way everyone froze when my parade of emotions spilled out into the room.
Nowadays I just get nervous and nearly throw up. However, I don’t let myself ruin a presentation anymore and I laugh at all my old memories. If you can laugh at yourself, you don’t need to really worry about messing up too much. It can make a great story later after a little while. The Final Reading will be tomorrow and I know some of you must be nervous about presenting your poems in front of other people. However, everyone will be nervous about the same thing and we are all poetry lovers. Nobody is going to be throwing tomatoes are you. Just breath and remember the time and effort you spent on your work. I’m sure we will love it!

The Beautiful Man

This is a continuation of the poem that Intern Hannah began writing. If you missed the first half of this poem, you can find it below this one.

 “Can…can I please leave?”

 

And there was nothing

Not a word, not a sound

The crowd parted ways as the beautiful man –

– as a man walked through

 

His throne was not gold, but

a dirty, tarnished bronze the sun seemed to weep

over as the words left his mouth.

“Were the cities better,” The masses wondered aloud

“if the beautiful man were run out of town?”

 

The wars would become epic,

epic poems to their ears, yet wouldn’t contain triumphs

only mythologies of fear.

The spectators became Narcissus, drowning in lies

obsessed with some beauty no one could ever define.

 

They starved on perfection,

their admiration ate them alive.

How could something be beautiful

when the term is so loosely defined

 

So the man walked through the crowd

because he was only a man, a man on a pedestal,

worshipped through thick and thin.

You see, he was never beautiful just an echo of lies

A mirage of beauty in our dull, dreary lives.

 

The Beautiful Man

Hello Readers! A few weeks ago, Ian and I collaborated on a story and it turned out pretty well.  In response, we decided to write another story, but this time in the form of poetry. If you like the first half then stay tuned for the second part, to be written by Intern Ian next Friday. 

 

He was the most beautiful thing the world have ever seen.

Every day the globe would gather at his footsteps,

just to have a moment to look upon his

face.

 

The crowds would constantly follow around this wonderful youth

and every city  would become polluted with people every time

the gorgeous man breezed through.

The food would run short and the traffic would never end.

Indeed, every city was worse off after the man would leave, but

they all loved to look at him at least

once.

 

To save the masses, the beautiful man was given a throne.

A chair to sit and watch people watch him.

Everyday day they would come, without rest or

Shame.

 

Yes, the beautiful man was well liked.

Wars were fought over his existence and every day he would sit on

his throne, the crowds never changing.

However, the beautiful man did. His eyes began to sag,

his smile dropped,

and every time he stood up he would swing from side to side.

One day, in the early morning he opened his mouth.

The wind shifted and the world stopped, just to hear his

question.

 

No one was ready for what was about to happen.

The sun shined against his golden throne and

the flowers waited expectantly at his feet.

His once bright eyes tried looking at the crowd before him.

The beautiful man only took a minute to rethink his decision.

His gaze was only able to tolerate the

ground.

 

“Can… can I please leave?”

 

 

Curse of a Blank Page

For the past two weeks Hannah and I decided it would be a good idea to write a piece of flash fiction together. In other words, I created the premise of the story and a week later Hannah finished it by creating a vivid and imaginative world filled with more unique characters and a wonderful ending. At first, the idea of writing with another person seemed daunting. I really did not think it was possible to create a well-written story from two different minds. Through reading countless books, it is easy to realize that almost all writers have a unique style that differs from one another. Thus, writing our story frightened me a bit; causing me to fear it would not be very good. However, Hannah and I came to realize our thoughts complimented each other and the task of writing a story, as a cohesive unit, was amusing and liberating.

In the upcoming week, Hannah and I will switch roles. Hannah will construct the beginning as well as the premise of a creative story and I will write the ending of it. Additionally, in an attempt to stay true to poetry, Hannah and I will write a poem together, where we’ll explain where our creativity came from and how we went about constructing the poem.

Often times, writers suffer from writer’s block or come to deal with the monotony of writing without drastic change. While it is easy to go to r/writingprompts on Reddit or Google fun and insightful writing topics, I suggest calling a friend to try and write a story or poem together. Not only are two heads better than one, but also a friend may be the jump-start you need in order to get your creative juices flowing. You’d be surprised how well your and your friend’s writing compliments each other. In response to my own writer’s block, I decided to share with you a piece of prose that captures what writer’s block is to me:

I have not written in two months, three weeks and six days. Admittedly, it is my own fault. I have grown tired, lazy. There is a sickness that still rests within me. It is oil, black tar, a thing from nightmares; crawling from the back of my throat only to swallow itself and spread like cancer. 

I have never had a muse, nor will I set off on some grand adventure to find one. I write from heartbreak, from the pain of the things I’ll never experience, from places I’ll never see. I sit down to write a poem about nothing in particular; with each word fumbling to create a sentence, I hope for gold. I pray for aspiring genius to flood the paper and capture feelings that no one can decipher. 

It is a vicious cycle, to be a writer. One day you stumble upon a combination of letters that makes everyone believe the truth in words. Like a curse from a fairytale, it lingers in the background of my life, gazing back from the darkness when I can see no light. I start to think I’ll spend forever trying to capture perfection on a piece of paper that will surely crumble to dust long before people do. #InternIan