In Which I Talk About the Gays and Whatnot

Today I spent my lunch period skipping class. I know, I know. I’m ‘bad’. Shame on me, blah blah blah. I don’t regret it. Anyway, my friends and I were helping to sell wristbands and cranes for Japanese club. They’re selling them to help Japan. It’s a great cause and I wanted to show support for this cause. And so commenced my awkwardness. I yelled out to people. I called people over to our booth, people I’d never met nor saw before. I called them by t-shirt color, by the jeans they wore-anything. I used an auctioneer voice. I told people that I loved them. At one part I told a guy that he could “buy a crane for your sweet heart…or your boytoy. Whatever floats your boat.” All these things embarassed my friends. I was the loud drunk friend in a bar who keeps yelling, “You know what? I love guys! You’re so cool. Let’s hang out more.” to everyone he’s just met.

My friend Tia was participating in the Day of Silence (She wrote her blog entry on the subject and why she supports the gays here) , in honor of LGBT people. We joked that had she been able to talk, she could have stopped me. Anyway, I began with this story because I wanted to talk about the Day of Silence (and also share how much I make my friends embarassed. It’s quite a gift I have). It’s a day that’s meant to point out the lack of a voice that many lesbian, gay and bisexuals have. We exclude them. We bully them. We restrict their right to love. The Day of Silence is one of those things that’s there to point this out. It’s there to point out just how intolerant we can be. It’s a shock and awe campaign at heart, something there to make people ask “Why aren’t you talking?” and go “Oh, I didn’t know that was happening.” It makes people think.

Tia said, “I want to coexist with the people of the world. I don’t have to always like or support them, I just have to live my life and stop trying to interfere in their way of life. If you want to be against homosexuals, fine, you don’t have to support the idea, you just have to let them live their lives and receive all the benefits of being citizens of the United States of America. It just irks me when people refuse to get along. I could argue for hours about it, and get really upset because I can’t help but think what if it were me?” in her blog post about the subject. The last part really makes you think. What if it were you? What if it were you that was being harassed? You would care.

Sexuality doesn’t define us. Our personalities do. Our choices do. Sexuality is neither good nor evil. And I really do believe that it’s genetic to a point. I mean, do you really think that in this intolerant society that someone would choose to be gay? You think they’d choose to be gay in a society where they wouldn’t even be able to marry their lover, where they would be discriminated against, harassed, bullied? They’re told that God hates them, that they’re going to Hell. Who would choose that? What person in their right minds goes “Yep, that’s the life I want.” Sexuality is something deeply ingrained in a person. It is unchangeable. We need to understand this if we’re to better ourselves as people.


In Which I Talk About Sex…

Lately, I’ve been thinking about sex. I know, awkward subject, Savanna. How dare you speak of that? But that’s my point exactly: why is sex so awkward? We view sex as both this forbidden thing, this sacred thing that must be shared with one you love, that must be kept until marriage and yet this thing that we do with friends and call it “benefits”, that we sing about in vulgar songs, that has become so casual. How can sex be both casual and sacred?

I know that it’s religion that makes many people view sex as sacred. I remember a conversation I had with my best friend. She told me that she planned to save herself for marriage because it was a tribute to God. I was doubtful that she could do it. I gave a speech which came down to me saying that, in this day and age, it’s harder to save yourself for marriage and that it’s not as important to people. We’ve got peer pressure, we’ve got the media. It’s much harder for a sixteen year old girl to say, “Well, I’ll wait until I’m married.” when she probably won’t get married until she’s almost thirty. In the ‘olden’ days, girls were married off much younger…they had sex much younger. There wasn’t all this hullabaloo about having boyfriends first and then working your way up to mister right.

I’m all for the right to make your own decisions in relation to your sexuality. If you want to save yourself, go ahead. It’s your choice. What I’m pointing out is that it’s extremely hard to do in this day and age. The Christian establishment puts all this blame on girls that have lost their virginity though. They’re ‘impure’ and must be born again as virgins. Since when did being a non-virgin make you automatically evil? Is this the mysterious 11th Commandment that Moses forgot to etch into stone? Your sex life is exactly that: your sex life. Save yourself if you want to but if you find someone that you love, if you find someone that you want to intimately be with then do it! Don’t let people tell you that it’s wrong, that you’ve committed a spiritual crime.

I’m of the impression that God as amazing as he is, doesn’t really care whether or not your hymen is intact, girls. God is forgiving. God is loving. We shouldn’t make him out to be this overbearing figure that is prejudiced and unrelenting. Although I believe in the bible, I realize that it was written by men who were living in a time of different standards. And I believe that they put some of their ideas that were shaped by these standards in the bible. I mean, for God’s sake, some of the books of the bible are letters. Yes, they’re letters from prophets but they’re still letters. This isn’t God directly speaking to us.

My idea of God is shaped by what I’ve seen in life, what I’ve read in the bible and of what I instinctively know to be true. I suppose I’m getting a little anti-religion but I do believe that organized religions can sometimes restrict our spirituality. And back to the topic of this post, it can restrict our sexuality. I mean, if God didn’t want us to enjoy ourselves a bit, why would sex feel good? Don’t be a slut but enjoy yourself a bit. Do what you want!

Now, for the casual side of sex. Sex has always been to me something that you do with a person that you love. That’s just my opinion of it. I mean, I think that casual sex is, if you want to do it, fine. It’s just making sure that you’re ‘safe’ and not becoming a complete slut that people need to remember. But once again, sex was made to be enjoyed. I do think that our society has become too focused on sex though. We’ve had these sexual revolutions. Sex has become more casual. It’s everywhere in the media. We’re all encouraged to be these raging nymphomaniacs. Just like with religion, don’t let the media control your sexuality. If you want to wait, wait. If you don’t, don’t. Just don’t let anyone else decide for you.

Dear You,

Lately I’ve been enamoured with the concept of penpals.

The idea of writing to another person, miles and sometimes oceans away is so romantic to me. I love blogging but there isn’t the intimacy of handwritten letters, of longing to get a new letter and the thrill of finally getting it in the mail. It’s beautiful. A lot of people just don’t understand that. They get an email and it fulfills them. For me, I want something different. I want something personal.

My first penpal was in second grade. I think her name was Tara-something like that. We grew into good friends, although we’d originally been forced to write each other. We promised to write each other after school ended. She never wrote me back. Maybe that wasn’t the best experience but it did get me hooked on penpals. I’d scour the internet for penpal sites when I was ten. Of course, I could never join any of these communities because my mother was convinced that forty year old men with handlebar mustaches and white vans were just waiting for a pretty young thing like me to write. And so I didn’t write.

Finally, with my teenage discovery of livejournal (and also, coincidentally, teenage angst) I found penpal communities. I wrote little “about me”‘s and emailed back and forth with a few but none really came to anything. Even now, I’m only on my second letter. But still, it’s the thrill and joy of sending and receiving. I’ve three penpals now. They’re all quite darling. They’re all also older than me. Apparently teenagers of my generation either do not like me or don’t frequent the penpal communities I do.

Penpalling is something I do to feel close to other people, to bridge the gap between worlds. Instead of IMing someone, there’s a personality to it, a distinct quality that comes with each letter. There’s the stationary, the stickers, the drawings and the mixtapes. You can’t do this things with an email, with a text. So even as my generation abandons traditonal forms of communication, I’ll hold on to the someday barbaric act of sending a letter.

The Wanderer #1

The Wanderer stumbled through the desert. The Khujal had not been kind to him. For three days he had been at Her mercy. His lips were chapped and his mouth left parched. His skin had turned a deep red, burned by the sun’s rays. With every step, he felt himself grow weaker. The heat was unbearable and sweat no longer flowed from his body. His tattered shirt no longer clung to his body; it lie miles back, buried beneath oceans of sand. The Wanderer didn’t remember losing it. Rags were bound onto his feet. His pants were simple and made of cotton. They were undyed, a brownish color.

The wind had begun to pick up. He had first noticed it hours ago, merely a faint breeze then. But now it soared into action. The sand sprung up and the particles whipped his body into submission. He collapsed. The hot sand burned his body and he cried out as he struggled to lift himself. He would be buried in sand if he didn’t hurry. He would die. The Wanderer stumbled in the sand and finally lifted himself up. Sand blew into his eyes. He lifted his hands to block them and fell again. He didn’t try to lift himself up again. He let the Khujal take him.

He saw her now. Her black hair was unmoved by the wind. She laughed. She was dancing like she used to, in the gardens. Her hips swayed sensuously and he could almost hear the music. The drums beat quickly and her feet followed the beating. Her hands twirled in the air as she arched her back. The woman looked at the man and stopped dancing. She smiled at him and knelt down beside him, caressing his cheek.

“Dance with me again.” She whispered. Then she laughed and the Wanderer saw no more.

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It Just Ain’t Easy

“A One Inch Frame”, Tia Hieres

I sit down at the computer and open a word processor. My fingers are on home row, but I can’t get started. It’s like I have two days to build a city and I’m standing in the middle of my land with merely a bucket of cement and a brick. And I’m finding myself on the brink of the impossible. I take a deep breath, and think back to Friday, and the piece that was read to us in class. Anne Lamott, from her essay “Bird by Bird”, “Short Assignments, in which Lamott tells us to calm down and start out small. (

I build the foundation of the first house, and bit by bit, I find myself writing my first blog entry of the week. One step at a time. It’s a lot of homework, but I’ve got a lot of time. I can do this. I’ve seen myself write a whole essay in a half-hour, and I can do it again, if I can narrow my eyes. I can make myself sit down, grit my teeth and do this. And so can you. Even if it feels like the waves are going to swallow you up, you can swim. (
Take some breaks too, because life isn’t just about working (no matter what they want you to believe) life is about playing ping pong to the white album, learning how to knit, stopping everything else you’re doing to tell your friend that she is beautiful no matter what some jerk said, and playing soccer in the snow. It’s important to get your work done, but it’s more important to play. Have faith, you’ll get it done on time, if you just believe and take it one bird at a time.

I feel exactly the same way. Sometimes it’s just so hard to sit down and write. Especially for my school blog.


Sexual Standards

Look at the differences between those two videos. The latter requires you to be eighteen to watch. I mean, way back when, Sheree’s video was the height of risque. It was naughty, it was shunned. And now when I watch it I just see grace. It’s a beautiful and sensual dance. The other one isn’t. Showing off your ass and flaunting all your parts just isn’t appealing in the same way. I can’t interpret the second as a work of art. I don’t think it will ever be seen as a work of art, like Sheree’s video. It’s just softcore porn.

What is sensual has changed so much in the last hundred years. Once, seeing a woman’s ankle was enough to get a guy up and ready. We’ve lost sight of the little things that can be attractive and visually appealing to people. Now it’s sex and boobs and dicks. There’s no beauty like Sheree’s dance anymore. We give pole-dancing classes and call that art. It’s bullshit. To me, her dance is more beautiful and sensual than any girl flaunting her tits and ass.

Prompt #1: Talking Gnomes

One day, you are out in your yard when the next-door neighbor’s garden gnome suddenly walks over and starts telling you about “what is really going on.” Write this scene.

“What’s up, Andrew?” the gnome asked.

I was standing in the backyard. The garden was full of tulips, peonies and other flowers that I couldn’t name. My obsessive-compulsive mother was a gardener. Not a petal was out of place. I suppose it was rather beautiful, being surrounded by flowers but my main concern was the gnome speaking to me. He was, like most gnomes, rather hideous. If his nose stuck out like a fish hook, his mouth was haphazardly hanging from it. I couldn’t help but think that it reminded me of a fish wiggling about as he spoke. His eyes were beady and sweat dripped from his wrinkled forehead.

Now, I suppose it sounds strange, a seventeen year old guy being questioned by a gnome but I was familiar with this one. He lived on my neighbors lawn. Now and then he’d sneak over for a chat. I’d finally given in to the idea that talking gnomes did, in fact, exist and took his question like I would from any other person. He’d never told me his name so I’d nicknamed him Otto because of an old history teacher with a rather curious resemblance to him.

“Eh, could be better.” I said, shrugging. “You?”

He smiled at this. I hate it when he does this. He gets this evil look on his face. His eyes dart from side to side and slowly, his lips curve upwards, revealing his toothless mouth. It’s quite…different. “The master has a little secret.” He calls his owner the master. “Would you like me to tell it to you?”

I rolled my eyes at this. As if I wouldn’t. Whenever there was a scandal in the neighborhood, a teenage mom, an elopement or, hell, even a new car at the Beecher’s, Otto knew it. And he told me. Otto, the gossiping gnome. Ha.

“I found out where he keeps the portal. The portal to the other side.”

I scoffed. “So you found out he’s got a back door. Hey, buddy, I could have told you that years ago.”

He ignored me. “It’s the portal to Underland.”

I stopped at this. “Under what?”

Otto was getting impatient now. “Human, it’s my world. Underland. It’s the world that is mirror to this world.”

Look, I know that it doesn’t seem very logical to believe that talking gnomes exist but not believe in a fantastical world. But hey, I’m a skeptical guy. Talking gnomes is one thing; parallel worlds is a whole nother game.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I can show it to you.” So this was what he really wanted to talk about. I could see it in his eyes. He knew I wouldn’t refuse; it wasn’t as if I had anything better to do. He beckoned towards his house.

“Come?” I sighed and nodded. “Great, now I’m off on an adventure to find a mysterious portal.”
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I am going to be honest. I’m losing my mind. It’s happened before. I’m quite aware of how the process works. There’s a certain futility in it. This futility manifests in everyday activities, in schoolwork. It comes as an overwhelming sense of “eh”. This “eh” sensation will lead you to say “Do I really need to get an A on that project when a B is just as okay?”. It will lead you to averageness. Soon, average will be “eh”. A D is still passing, isn’t it?

Writing is supposed to solve this program. It’s supposed to be there for me, whatever that means. My own words are supposed to embrace me. In the embryo of my words, I will be reborn anew. The dullness will fade and all will return to normal. But it doesn’t always work. I mean, when I’m writing, I feel that “Whoa, what I’m doing is fucking profound. It’s fucking meaningful, dude. I mean, whoa.” feeling. But that’s not enough. Yes, I feel like that when I write. Sometimes I have holy-shit-that’s-awesome sentences. And they’re good. But they’re not enough. It’s not enough to think that what I’m doing is profound or amazing as I’m writing it. It’s AFTER that it should still be profound. I need to be able to look at something and go “This is amazing, who wrote this?” and then realize, with a start, that these are my words. And yet, I know that I’ll never have that if only for the sheer familiarity. In my interview for Reed, Allea (my interviewer) said something that’s been said many times before in many different ways: fiction is merely a thinly veiled representation of a writer and her views. As a fiction writer I can say that this is true for me. I incorporate my thoughts, my abandoned hopes, my condemnations and my thoughts.

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