On being told to “smile.”



I recently updated my Facebook profile photo to the one show above, and was met with comments regarding my seemingly  displeased expression. 

Though I know most weren’t malintended, the circumstance provided an opportunity to give life to thoughts I’d been considering for a while. 

“On being told to ‘smile.'”

I will not apologize for emoting. 

The only sincerity in my sorrow is that you fear the recognition of pain, anger, contemplation and grief, that you instruct their repression, and you revel in their eradication. 

Do not diminish me to relinquish responsibility for the existence of emotions you would rather not experience. 

Do not qualify me as an inconvenience simply because my expression provokes thoughtfulness. 

Do not reject me in the wake of a denied pleasantry.

Do not seek to slather fractures in preferred perfection for the sake of hubris. 

Identify, accept and respond. 
Consider, question and grow. 

Do not tell me to smile. 


Instead, question why I won’t.

Motivational Monday: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

By Mary Elizabeth Frye 

Do not stand at my grave and weep 
I am not there. I do not sleep. 
I am a thousand winds that blow. 
I am the diamond glints on snow. 
I am the sunlight on ripened grain. 
I am the gentle autumn rain. 
When you awaken in the morning’s hush 
I am the swift uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circled flight. 
I am the soft stars that shine at night. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry; 
I am not there. I did not die. 

Tracklist Tuesday: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

Photo credit: Goodreads
Photo credit: Goodreads

*Spoiler Alert!*

This mix highlights parts of Flynn’s novel Gone Girl, from the “twincest-y” relationship of Nick and Go to Amy’s vindictive and manipulative psychosis that eventually destroys her marriage.

Songs like Florence and the Machine’s “Kiss with a Fist,” “Desperate Measures” by Marianas Trench and “I Was a Fool” by Tegan and Sara explore the disintegrating and destructive relationship between Amy and Nick. While “Black Widow,” by Iggy Azalea, “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and “Decoy” by Paramore all detail Amy’s rich and enduring need to continue the life and lies she’s built herself on.

Later tracks like “Psychotic Girl” by The Black Keys and “Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t” by Brand New describe what’s left of Nick and Amy’s relationship after she’s forced to return to him and their forced relationship following her secret impregnation.

Overall, the music explores the intricacies of the story, leading the characters in the same circles they pursue in the text while highlighting the aspects that make Nick, Amy and Go so memorable.

Check out the full playlist here. 

Your mega summer reading list: 200 books recommended by TEDsters

TED Blog

A look at the famous TED Bookstore at TED2013. Photo: Michael Brands A look at the famous TED Bookstore at TED2013. Photo: Michael Brands

Books can entertain, sucking you like a tornado into incredible new worlds. Books can teach, giving you a richer understanding of time periods, people and ideas you’ve never been exposed to. But books can do so much more.

[ted_talkteaser id=1755]In today’s talk, TED’s own Lisa Bu introduces us to the concept of “comparative reading,” the practice of reading books in pairs, to give deeper context and reveal new insights. Comparative reading not only helped Bu adjust to American culture after moving here from China for graduate school — it also helped her re-imagine her life and find new directions after her dream failed to come true. This personal, moving talk about the magic of books and resilience of the human spirit is a must-watch »

Every year at TED, we set up a bookstore filled with books…

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Motivation Monday: The Charge of the Light Brigade

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!

Busbench

“The boy on the bench,” he says softly.
“You never told me about him.”

His voice says everything he refuses to.
Tension coils in the static.
He waits, feigning patience, as I let implications take the weight of any words I could expel.

“He wanted to be there,” I say, shrugging.
“You didn’t.”

Gaiman’s readers swim in masterful prose from newest publication

Photo credit: Goodreads
Photo credit: Goodreads

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 5/5 stars

This masterful web of magic and mystery has to be one of my favorites by the famed fantasy author. Gaiman shocks and surprises once again with the 2013 publication showing readers that the child’s mind still remains the most viable and open to the unknown, even after aging long into adulthood.

The story follows a Sussex native returning to his childhood home after a funeral where he decides to visit former best friend, Lettie Hempstock. From there both he and the reader are fully immersed in flashbacks to a whirlwind battle between good, evil and the great beyond.

With a telling dedication, “For Amanda, who wanted to know,” Gaiman airs on the side of the clandestine, cloaking the novel’s overture in slowly-revealed secrets. The pacing keeps the reader engaged and entertained, making the text nearly impossible to put down.

This short story turned novel is filled with decadent description, charismatic characters and memorable quotations, an ocean for any rabid reader to devour. The work may be a quick read, but it’s one you’ll want to pick up again and again. I highly recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane to readers of all ages.

Commentary on writing from the past and present to inspire the future.

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