Friday, October 22, 2010

Syracuse Woman's Life Without Food

Another short story from my intro to fiction class! For this piece, our assignment was to bring to school a recent newspaper article. Then, we were to write a short story based on the article. The professor said that we could base it on any part of the article we wanted, even just the title, so when I saw the article on the front page titled "Syracuse Woman's Life Without Food", I knew that would be my prompt. The article was actually quite sad, as this woman who is the same age as me has a gastrointestinal disease that makes it so that she can no longer digest food. She has to be hooked up to an IV to get nutrients and all sorts of other things she has to do.

Anyway, I wrote my story based on the article title. My professor admitted it was the most creative story from the newspaper article prompt:)

The Princess Who Would Not Eat

The pale morning sun washed over Syracuse, covering her with light. She sat on the stone floor, her legs crossed, facing the window. She took a deep breath. This sunrise marked the one-hundred and twentieth day she had gone without food.

When King Aitor had informed his daughter Syracuse that he had arranged for her to marry Prince Maitiu from a far-off kingdom, Syracuse had run to her room and bolted the door shut. She declared that she would neither eat nor sleep until her father revoked his decision. King Aitor declared that he had never heard of such a stubborn, bull-headed daughter, and that she could stay in there until she was ready to be reasonable.

So time had passed, and the palace had grown ever quieter.

“My Lady!” cried the maid through the door. “Prince Maitiu was here, at the palace.” She paused to draw a deep, shaking breath. “But he has been taken! The monster Gashadokuro stole into the palace itself and took him!”

Syracuse felt herself trembling at the news. Gashadokuro was the monster that fed on the bones and souls of those who died of starvation. Why had he taken Prince Maitiu? It was Syracuse who should have died a long time ago. She couldn’t let the monster take someone else. Once the stubborn princess made up her mind, there was no one in the entire city that could stop her.

She left her golden horse at the base of the mountain and began to climb. Higher and higher, up through the clouds, past the waterfall of human regrets, until she was nearly to the peak. Syracuse paused, exhausted from her journey. She felt dizzy, and for the first time in months, hungry. Just as she was about to lay down and give up, the sun broke through the dark mountain fog, and she felt its light rejuvenate her. Looking up to the peak, she saw Gashadokuro waiting for her.

He was tall, probably five times as tall as Syracuse, and looked like a black human skeleton. His empty eye sockets stared through her, chilling her. He opened his mouth, and emitted a soft sound, like the ringing of a bell. The sound grew louder and harsher, until it was a terrible painful shriek, and Syracuse had to cover her ears with her hands.

What was she to do? She had not actually thought about what she would do when she got here. Tucked into her sash was only a small knife, a hand-mirror, and an ivory comb.

Suddenly, Gashadokuro moved, and Syracuse saw that he held someone in his thin hand, probably Prince Maitiu. Slowly, the black skeleton raised the Prince to his gaping mouth.

In a panic, Syracuse threw the first thing that came to her hand, the mirror. It flew through the air, and shattered against the monster’s ribcage. Immediately, Gashadokuro dropped the prince and bent to kneel on the ground. Much to Syracuse’s surprise, the giant skeleton began very carefully picking up each piece of glass and trying to put the pieces back together. She rushed over to the unconscious prince and tried to wake him.

Gashadokuro screamed again, his frustration evident as he tried to puzzle the glass together. To the princess’ horror, the mirror was already beginning to reform. She turned her attention back to the prince, trying to figure out why he wouldn’t wake. Finding a sliver of black bone in his arm, she used her knife to help pry it out.

Prince Maitiu’s eyes immediately opened. He looked at the monster, looked at Syracuse, then said, “We need to run.”

They did run, away from the giant, from the dark clouds of the mountain peak, past the waterfall of regret, through trees that snatched at their ripped clothing. They had the golden horse in sight when down the mountain rolled a deafening scream, and looking back they saw Gashadokuro descend the mountain in three steps, landing crouched between them and safety. The monster rushed at them, and Maitiu swung his sword, but even the enchanted blade could not cut through the unnaturally hard skeleton. The monster rushed again, and this time Maitiu barely was able to turn the attack away. For the third time, the black skeleton came at them. Without thinking, Syracuse rushed towards it, the last thing she had, her ivory comb, in her hand.

For an awful moment, Syracuse was sure Gashadokuro had bitten her arm off. Then she saw that he hadn’t. The comb had grown into an ivory sword, bright white in the sunlight. The sword pierced the roof of the skeleton’s mouth, up through his head. The handle sat in his mouth, keeping him from closing his horrible sharp teeth on Syracuse. With a final, ear-splitting shriek, Gashadokuro fled back up the mountain, unable to close his mouth.

On their return to the city, Princess Syracuse and Prince Maitiu were greeted with cheering throngs lining the streets, draping necklaces of flowers around their necks. That night, King Aitor held a feast, and Syracuse ate three platefuls of food.

Maitiu turned to Syracuse. “You have saved my life,” he said. “You have the right to ask anything of me. Do you wish for all the silks of the east, or all the fine horses of the west? Do you wish for the sun to be a jewel in your crown?”

Syracuse was silent for a moment. “It may have been my stubbornness that endangered you in the first place,” she said. “But if you still insist on a reward for me, then reward me by forgiving my hard head and taking my hand in marriage.”

Three months later the two were married, and though Syracuse retained her stubborn nature, she never missed another meal in her life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Intro to Fiction

Hey everyone! Since I have been writing so much for my intro to fiction class, I figured I should post some of my stories for everyone to read.

This story is my homework on plot.

Alive Alive

The damp chill of the night crept down the back of my neck, the heavy fog clinging to my skin. Theo crouched next to me, muttering curses under his breath as he squinted into the mist. The brick wall of the mausoleum rose at our backs, the ivy dripping with condensation.

One wish was all it took. It only took one idiot’s desire to do something no one had ever done before. That wish had turned the world upside down, made inside outside and light into darkness and things that should have stayed in the darkness were brought into the light. It sounds so melodramatic, but I just have to say it. The dead walked the earth.

That is so much fun to say. It’s just too bad that the zombies that resulted from that lab disaster at the University weren’t more like the ones from the old movies. It would be so easy if the undead were slow, with no sense of self-preservation, a mindless, rotting hoard of shambling moaning corpses driven only by their hunger for delicious brain-meat. It’s really too bad that only one of those is true.

I shifted uncomfortably, cold water starting to drip down my back. Theo glared, and I stopped moving. I hadn’t been making that much noise, but in a cemetery on a foggy night hunting zombies, it is infinitely better to make no sound at all. The clock-tower bell began to chime. Clich├ęd? Yes, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying when it is you, rather than a character in a movie.

Theo moved, slowly raising the long metal pipe at his side. I peered desperately around us, more than a little distraught that I hadn’t yet spotted the threat. Following the line of Theo’s pipe, I could only see a faint outline of a darker shape. I knew the shape belonged to one of those old memorial gravestones; a stone angel perched on the top. Still, if Theo saw something, then I trusted him.

He turned his head slightly to glare at me. I was taking way too long. My fingers only shaking a little bit, I flipped the switch on the remote control in my pocket. Suddenly, a light blazed through the fog, the light of a flashlight propped against a mound of discarded earth. Faster than my eyes could follow, a dark figure detached itself from the crying angel statue and darted towards the light. The most frightening thing was how silent it was, all sound in the world muffled in the fog. As the thing reached the flashlight, it stumbled forward, its legs giving out beneath it. With a barely audible thud, it collapsed twitching to the ground. I barely held back a whistle of admiration. Theo had gotten very good with that blowgun in the last couple of weeks. Not to mention the fact that any firearm would have alerted everything in the area to our presence.

I turned to smile at Theo and nearly screamed. Theo wasn’t there anymore; at least, not most of him. Above us stood a man in a white suit smudged with dirt, an unnatural grin stretching his face.

It really wasn’t fair how smart they were.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I've Been Tagged!

Desertbound tagged me to post lyrics, sound clip or video of a favorite song. Since I couldn't choose a single favorite song, I chose my two mentally balancing songs.

Firstly, This Too Shall Pass by OK Go serves as my anti-depressant song, with meaningful lyrics and a wicked awesome video filmed with the Notre Dame marching band. Embedding has been disabled for the video, so I'm afraid you actually have to click on the link;)

Secondly is considerably different from the sort of music I usually listen to, but 'Libera me' From Hell serves as a fantastic anti-anxiety song for me. It never occurred to me that one could successfully combine Latin classical music with rap, and yet someone has done it.

Well, that's it for me, for now. I'm supposed to tag someone else to post a song. Can I double-tag Scout even though she's already been tagged? If not...Wildbound.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's a Yellow Shirt...That's Nice...

"I didn't know last night I'd married into such a handsome family!"
"Well, last night we had our clothes on."

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!

...or, filtered through Terry Pratchett's imagination, 7 Dwarfs for 7 Other Dwarfs.

A couple of weeks now, since closing night, and I still feel uneasy around 6:00 Monday evenings, like I'm supposed to be doing something that I've forgotten.

Let me say that I loved working with Muad'Dib and Sayyadina on this show. I enjoyed their interpretation of the script, discussing how certain things could be read, different ways to say the same things. They let the cast know that it would be different from other productions of 7 Brides, and they were completely right. I definitely loved learning more about how they perceive things, as evidenced by the different ways they would block scenes, and how the whole thing would come together as the cast trusted their direction. It was wonderful to watch everyone relax into their roles, to the point where even backstage a lot of the cast called each other by their characters' names, while onstage magic would unfold as we were people, not caricatures.

I learned, and was reminded of, a great deal about myself during these last couple of months. For one thing, I am a terrible liar. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and I'm pretty sure that everyone around me can tell what I'm thinking most of the time. Subtle, I am not. What this meant was that I had to be in-character on stage. No one wants to watch Shematite be a terrible liar on a stage in a dress, so I had to make sure that I wasn't Shematite, I was Milly.

Of course, being Milly came with its own lessons. Working with Sayyadina and Jeremy, I learned a great deal about marriage and relationships, the way I handle stress and arguments. I learned that I have never learned how to argue. I suggest reading Sayyadina's blog to get her side of teaching me how to argue. As for my side of that story, I felt sick to my stomach and like I was just repeating myself over and over gesticulating wildly and making Sayyadina feel bad, all at the same time. I trusted her, however, that this was the right thing to do. Once she and I figured out that what I needed to do was keep in mind that I knew what I was talking about, darn it, and he was wrong, everything fell into place. Every night, right before that scene, I would mentally be teaching Jeremy how to rappel. This is your harness, and you put it on like this. No, that's not how you do it. If you would let me help you, you would get it right. Now, this is how you set an anchor. No, you have to loop the webbing like this. If you do it like that you'll fall to your death and I'll have to haul your carcass back by myself. Just do what I tell you. Now, this is an ATC...

Musically, the part of Milly was not in my ideal range. In fact, it was in the basement. The flooded basement. I worked hard on the songs, and focused on getting the sound right. However, it seems I sounded the best when I wasn't thinking about it. Thank goodness for years of vocal training!

And the dancing! I knew from previous experience in Play Productions in High School that dancing come easily to me. In fact, down at SUU where the usual question was "What's you're Major?" I was instead often asked "Are you a Dance Major?" No, I'm not sure why. Anyways, this was all put to very good use. Sayyadina and Alisha both pointed out to me that Milly doesn't usually dance that much, but they worked me anyway. With all the lifts and flips and such, I definitely learned more about what I'm physically capable of.

Most of all, I was blessed to work with an amazing cast. Everyone was friends, and we all worked and played together. It seemed like every other day there was some sort of get-together, and even though I didn't go to very many of them, I was still glad that we were all getting along so well. It wasn't just the main cast, either. The suitors and the townsfolk worked hard on the show, helping backstage with props and set changes and costume changes, not to mention the little morale-boosting remarks I got from every single one of them. Of note was the suitor the girls dubbed "Mister Intrigue", always letting me know what I was doing well on any given night, and Mr. Bixby always greeting me with a "Milly, you're so pretty!", and Mrs. Perkins and the understudy girls helping me with my props and costumes.

It felt amazing to dive back into the world of musical theatre after a two-year hiatus. I'd forgotten how much I loved it, the people, the singing, the dancing and all. Not to mention all the lessons learned from the experience.

And now, onward and upward! I am now registered to take classes at an institution of higher learning over the summer. I'll be enjoying it, and don't you forget it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Shematite's Chicken Avacado Quesadillas!

I made up a recipe tonight!

2 chicken breasts
Cook them in a frying pan with:
1 Tbps Olive oil
Some lemon juice (keep adding more as it cooks)

Season with:
a dash of garlic salt
a dash of dried cilantro
a few dashes of chili powder
salt and pepper

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, then return to frying pan to finish cooking. Add more lemon juice and chili powder. Remove from heat.

In a separate frying pan or other cooking apparatus, on medium heat place a tortilla (the uncooked tortillas are extra yummy!) and cover one half in shredded cheese of your choice. We tried cheddar and mozzarella and both were great. Quickly add in a few pieces of the chicken, sliced avacado, and some fresh cilantro. Add more cheese and fold over tortilla in half. Cook until cheese is melted, then serve with fresh salsa of your choice. Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Writing!

I'm not sure what goal in this blog post is, except perhaps to write more on my blog. I enjoy reading the blogs of family members, and often think to myself that I am very lucky to have come from such an eloquent group of people. Not to mention good-looking ;)

The internet is a very interesting place, I've decided, with rules and guidelines and etiquette like, and unlike, the real world. I've discovered, in my wanderings in cyberspace, an interesting set of rules, as posted on a site called usenet and slightly altered for my own nefarious purposes.

Rule #no number: There are no hard-and-fast Rules on the Internet, only Guidelines, which are more or less strictly enforced (and differ) from group to group; this is why it's generally wise to read any thread for a bit before ever posting to it.

Rule #9: It's *always* September, *somewhere* on the Net.
Dave Fischer's Extension: 1993 was The Year September Never Ended [so far, there doesn't seem to be much evidence he's wrong...]

Rule #17: Go not to the Net for counsel, for they will say both `No' and `Yes' and `Try another website'.

Rule #2: "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

Rule #108 (from the soc.motss FAQ): "What will happen to me if I read soc.motss?" "In general, nothing. (You may be informed or infuriated, of course; but that's a standard Internet hazard.)"

Rule #666: Old alt groups never die. They don't fade away nicely, either.

Rule #7-B: There is no topic so thoroughly covered that no one will ever bring it up again.

Rule #90120: Applying your standards to someone else's post *will* result in a flame-war.

Rule #1: Spellling and grammer counts. So do grace, wit, and a sense of humor (the latter two are different), as well as a willingness to meet odd people, but these are lesser considerations.

Rule #x^2: FAQs are asked frequently. Get used to them.

rule #6 (Eddie Saxe): don't post to the Internet unless you understand the consequences.

Rule #547: When people know they're wrong they resort to ad hominems.

Rule #37: Read the thread from the beginning, or else.

Rule #5 (Reimer's Reason): Nobody ever ignores what they should ignore on the Net.

Rule $19.99: The Internet *isn't* *free*. It just has an economy that makes no sense to capitalism.

Rule #3 ("Why 3?" "Because we felt like it"): For every opinion there is at least one equally loud and opposing opinion; sometimes stated as:

Rule #27: "In cyberspace, *everyone* can hear you scream."

And for completeness' sake:

Rule #4: (Godwin's Rule) Any off-topic mention of Hitler or Nazis will cause the thread it is mentioned in to an irrelevant and off-topic end very soon; every thread on UseNet has a constantly-increasing probability to contain such a mention.
Quirk's Exception: Intentional invocation of this so-called "Nazi Clause" is ineffectual.
Case's Corollary: If the subject is Heinlein or homosexuality, the probability of a Hitler/Nazi comparison being made becomes equal to one.

Also, the first and foremost rule of the internet I, Shematite, have come across:

Rule #24601: Don't feed the Trolls.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Wednesday is November Fourth. It marks my twenty-first birthday, one year since Barack Obama was elected, and one year since the family doctor said, "Have you ever thought that it might be Depression?"

That was a moment in which I felt more gratitude than anything else, because I had been thinking it was Major Depressive Disorder as early as the January before. In hindsight, everything is much clearer, of course, but I remember recognizing the signs that I had learned about in my AP Psychology class.

"But it can't be Depression," I told myself. "I don't feel sad. Just..." And I would trail off, because I was lacking the motivation to even examine the way I was feeling. I kept pushing thoughts like that out of my mind, keeping myself from thinking about the downward spiral I was in. I didn't go to class, didn't go to church, didn't really do anything. I woke up sometime between noon and one in the afternoon, showered, dressed, went out the back door of the doors and came in the front so I could tell my dorm-mates I'd just gotten back from class, then tell them I was tired and go hide in my room until whenever in the morning when I would finally be able to sleep.

Even now, thinking of the fact that I spent over half a quarter like this makes me cry. That's not who I am, and missing that much time to doing nothing irks me. By the time that episode was over, it was too late in the quarter for me to drop my classes so I wouldn't fail them, and I still wasn't willing to think about what I was doing. Therefore, I continued to pretend nothing was wrong, going out with friends and taking walks in the sunshine as much as I could.

Over the summer, I kept up my happy face, worked hard, even though I could still feel that dragging feeling, the feeling that it wouldn't take much to send me into another episode like the one of February and March. I hoped that going back to Cedar City I would be fine, especially if I focused on finding a job and working for a quarter, and leaving school until spring. As I'm sure you all know or guessed, that backfired spectacularly.

By the end of October, I was at my lowest point. I'd managed to get a telemarketing job, but hadn't even finished training before, as my friends put it, I crumbled like a cookie in a glass of milk. My wonderful parents drove all the way down to Cedar City and fished me out of there and took me home, so that at my doctor's appointment on my twentieth birthday I could be diagnosed with something other than a cold, or allergies, or whatever. I think I need to send a letter to the nice ladies at the little campus clinic at SUU. I'm sure they meant well, but if they are asking all the students they see to fill out a psychological form to check for Depression, they shouldn't dismiss a form with a lot of checks pointing to Depression with, "Oh, I'm sure it's just because you're sick and stressed." I felt strangely hurt by that, since by that time I was pretty sure I was depressed, and I felt like I must have just been imagining things, that I was just being lazy.

That was what I thought it was. For all those months, I was afraid to talk about what was wrong because I thought I had just suddenly become lazy. Nevermind that I was raised to be nearly the opposite; in fact, that almost made it worse. I felt so ashamed that I suddenly didn't want to do anything. My parents expected more of me! Laziness happened to other people! Depression was something that happened to people who weren't raised like I was. Slothfulness was for people who were weak. So...that meant I was weak.

Every day I thank my Heavenly Father for my parents who love me no matter what, and I thank him for the people who invented the medicine that fixes my brain. I also thank him for my friends, who, as soon as they heard I was back in North Ogden, would not let me just hide in the house and do nothing. I have beautiful, smart sisters who are my best friends, and I hope they'll learn from all my examples, the good and the bad, what to do and what to avoid.

Thanks, Heavenly Father, for this last year of healing, recovery, and remembering what kind of person I really am.