Last Minute Musings of the Courtroom Poet

Tomorrow I march with my team into battle.

It’s hard to summarize the experience of a full day of competition (I spent thirty minutes trying to explain it to two team mates the other day starting with the moment you wake before dawn and with numb fingers put on your suit to the moment the trial begins) but in past I have tried to pin it down with poetical prose. The closest I ever got was this piece, where I played with a sonnet-like-sense of meter and tried to sprinkle some truth (like the part about hardly being able to reach the floor even with high heels ha) along with metaphors, similes, and slightly exaggerated images, that some how are (hopefully) a good picture of what it can be like. It’s not encompassing, but it gives a small sliver of a photo of those five seconds right before the round is called to order.

I share it honor of tomorrow (and as comic relief for all those tingling nerves. 😉 )

Soli Deo Gloria, my friends!


We are sitting in a cold wooden coffin;
A stiff suffocating box of dark foreboding panels
on which the paintings of old men
stare calmly down, pale faces, thinned hair,
a flag or state seal behind them.
I wonder if they ever used this chair.
It’s too bulky, too squeaky, and too tall
for me. I can barely reach the worn carpet floor,
even wearing high heels. The bailiff calls
and the judge strides through his personal door.
“All rise, all rise.” We all leap to our feet,
and my chair goes flying into my witness’s knees
While the opposing team rise from their seats,
I can only hope they’re more frightened than me.

The judge is watching us like a hawk
Down his endless beak, eyeing his prey from
his cushioned perch. There’s no noise – no talk –
no breath – and in the silence, I could swear
I heard him lick his lips and sniff.
We are even lined up at attention
for his convenience – all frozen stiff and
Ready for plucking if that be his inclination.

He scribbles some notes and raises his brow
They pump above his gleaming eyes,
as if breathing into a pair of forges now
Heating up to melt the next project that comes by.

He strokes his slick and shiny black feather coat
that glimmers even in the dusky yellow glare
Of the lights buzzing and pulsing overhead,
Like the fear that burns and bubbles in our throat.
Then the moment has passed… how shall he tred?

Our hunter stalks to his chair, takes up his gavel – the appointed bait –
Clears his throat and calls the first one to the dinner plate.

The Box Of Possibility | thoughts on imagination, creativity, and the inspiration found within a to-go box

Imagination is magic.

How could I ever doubt it?

I remember those days we sat on the dirty floor of the dark classroom pouring over your iPad early in the morning every week while all the moms were busy. We would play a hundred games on that device, everything from solving puzzles and serving hamburgers to swimming sharks.

But there was that one game – it stuck with me for ages after the classroom was abandoned as we grew up and graduated into chores and school.

There was that one game, boxy graphics of lurid green grass with a squatty little pixel person, waiting to be moved. You pushed the button, the box appeared, and you typed in “wrench.” And a wrench appeared. We typed in “hammer” and a hammer appeared.

We tried everything we could think of. Fries. Hamburgers. Sword. Dragon. With every press of ‘enter,’ word became reality and idea materialized. Through the character we ran around gleefully and collected the items and hit them together, then explored the cliffs with the top hat we donned to find a castle and prisoners to free with whatever genius method we thought up out of thin air.

The possibilities were endless.

It was so romantic. So perfect. So glorious. To have every slightest item at the most last minute demand. At the thought, to make a dream a physical fact.

I was so jealous of the little thirty pixel man, his sleek suitcase in one hand and a golden key in the other, ready to conquer.

Sometimes it feels like nothing could be so far from the truth. Life is life. Dragons don’t appear when you simply say “dragon.”

As much as you spend your time, curdled up in a corner, soaking in a distant world with white witches and epic battles and codes of honor and chivalry, you still find that the icy scenes melt and the fog of the mysterious mountains fade and everything’s back like it was before. Only now you’re sitting in a dark room, the sun long gone. Your foot is asleep and your eyes are aching from the strain. Not to mention, you realize you’re hungry, but there are dirty dishes in the sink to clean first.

You return to everyday life, more stale and slow, for the realization that it is Christmas! …but only once a year for a meager 24 hours and it never manages to snow on December 25th.

This week, starting on Monday, I returned to school. Except for the fact I felt I had never truly left it long. December was fairly busy with Mock Trial and driver’s ed and a trip to Nashville. At the beginning of the month, I had made this plan to write a poem every day – whether it be two lines or ten. I wanted to write at least something and try to capture little tidbits of insight at the end of my day.

Monday I basically decided December had already ended.

With a few spurts of two or three over the entire month, I managed to have fourteen messy poems. I looked at them as a collection, (not daring to look too closely) with a small smile of satisfaction, for the ideas behind them and the way they make me think (even as 99% of them are in a distressingly unreadable and entirely unsharable state.)

I closed the document, knowing that I had finished, and left it behind, and returned to school.

However, that was not the end of it.

That night my family went to get pizza together and my sister and I decided to share a salad, knowing that salads at restaurants are mountainous mounds with deep caverns that never end.

Even sharing though, the dish was not finished. All the pieces of gyro meat had been consumed, and all that was left was half a bowl of greens and fetid cheese sprinkled throughout, and one or two grape tomatoes. My mother said it could be saved, so I asked for a to-go box and filled it up.

At one point someone asked why I was saving it, “What are you going to do with that? It’s just lettuce and kale.”

“It’s my box of potential,” I blurted and looked down at the plain, greasy, everyday white-foam to-go box and suddenly felt strangely defensive. “Just you wait and see,” I continued, “tomorrow for lunch I’ll add so much to it. I’ll fix it up and it will be glorious.”

In the car on the drive back, clutching the box in the dark and watching grainy black shapes blur together out the window, I couldn’t stop hearing the phrase over and over in my mind.

My Box of Potential.

My Box of Potential.

Just you wait and see.

As soon as I got home, I found an index card and wrote my fifteenth poem for the month:

I own a box of possibility, it’s bottled up inside. Why of course it’s empty! The contents are up for me to decide. Of course you don’t see anything, because many good things look like nothing. This is my box of potential ready for me to become imaginationial.


This week I was reminded of that small pixelated man from so many years ago and I realized that to this day I have been writing words and watching them become “fact.” I say “dragon” and one swoops down toward my characters. I say “fries” and they appear at my character’s table.

But even more importantly, I say “adventure” and I go live life.

Sometimes fantasy is merely fantasy. Elves are elves, and petite high schoolers dragging backpacks of Algebra and Biology, who stayed up late the night before and in the morning had no time to fix their frizzy hair, are petite little high schoolers in the end with a towering stack of vocabulary to memorize as the closest thing to a foreboding castle to conquer.

But imagination is a practical magic. You don’t have to be “the special one.” You don’t even have to own anything special.

Look around, you have paper clips and jute string, a handful of markers, some smashed earbuds, a half-forgotten notebook, and a handful of friends.

Where are your big ideas, plans, grand adventures? Your treasure coves to plunder, prisoners to save, dragons to summon?

Right there if you want. It’s called living.

Keep your head up. Keep marching forward. There are worlds to build, people to discover, and gifts to give.

Listen, everywhere you look? There is a box of possibility. And all you need to open it? A little bit of magic.

Happy first Saturday of 2o2o, my friends!

2019 Camp NaNoWriMo Update // week 2

I had this strange moment of realization this week.

All day I had been curling up in my cardigan to work on school in the freezing basement, but then, when I was called to help bring in groceries, to my surprise I stepped outside only to find it sunny and warm.

I guess spring has finally come. 🙂

Over this past weekend, my family took a trip to Philadelphia to watch my older siblings compete in the National College Mock Trial Competition. I decided to pack no school, and brought some books to read and then my laptop for some NaNoWriMo writing.

Long car drives are the best, in my opinion. It’s just fun family time to cruise the country, listen to music, and play those car-trip games, that range from writing poetry to keeping track of license plates spotted to reciting Shakespeare lines.

Or it’s a nice time to just read a book. 😉


 

{stats}

Day 5: 1314 words

Day 6: 964 words

Day 7: 1727 words

Day 8: 1261 words

Day 9: 887 words

Day 10: 697 words

Day 11: 1783 words

 

That leaves my overall word count at 14,480 while I should be around 19,000 words. Hopefully I’ll catch up over upcoming Easter break! 🙂


 

{poetry}

I couldn’t pick out a favorite sentence written this week, but I have another small poem to share. I picked this one out because the world is finally waking from winter. The trees seemed to blossom over night and the grass is suddenly green again.

Change

Sweet summer slips into the Fall.

Fall drops to make way for the snow.

But winter turns into the spring,

So not all change is bad, you know.


 

I hope you have a wonderful day!

~ evelyn ~

2019 Camp NaNoWriMo Update // week 1

A week has passed and I’m back!

Besides having a sore throat and only getting in 61 words the first day, NaNo has been going pretty well! I made up for the slow start the next day and have been keeping up for the most part.

I actually started writing this novel before I decided to use it for Camp NaNoWriMo, so I had 3271 words already so technically the rough draft for my novel, 51, is currently 9118 words long. However, that doesn’t count towards my 50,000 in a month goal.

This means I have to constantly practice my subtraction skills, but on the bright side! I’m getting faster at deducing 3271 from a given amount. 😉


 

{this week’s stats}

Day 1: 61 words

Day 2: 3307 words

Day 3: 1954 words

Day 4: 525

Today: none yet, but hopefully lots. (:

Total: 5847 words

 


 

{favorite sentence written this week}

With what I have so far with this project it was hard to choose a favorite. Last year for NaNoWriMo I had too many options to pick from. Snippets of dialogue like “Some people are better observed from afar,” and “The buttons are calling,” fought for that special award.

But this week, no sarcastic or eccentric characters have been released into my main character’s life.

Yet. 😉

Anyways, here’s what I picked out: “Like dust that blows and settles, so can a life be stirred with the winds of change.”


 

{life}

I got another plant! Actually three new ones.

img_0503
From left to right: Priscilla, Ferdinand, and Isabella

I also volunteered at my local library for the first time!

It was strangely relaxing. Just me shelving books in a quiet building for an hour and a half. A very a nice break little break from the rush of school and NaNoWriMo.

I even had some extra time, so I picked up and read through The Letters of Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien.

It was amazing and so sweet. 100% recommended. 🙂


 

{poetry}

And finally, April is national poetry month, and so I thought I would share some with you.

I’d say that my poetry typically falls under two different categories: thoughtful and serious, resulting from when I sit to think something through, or silly and playful, inspired by something I’ve experienced with younger siblings.

My Shadow falls under the latter category, and I wrote it last year, when I experimented a lot with limerick-type patterns.

I hope you enjoy!


 

My Shadow

There is a little person,

Who follows me around,

Both day and night,

Both left and right,

Without a single sound.

 

I tried to hide away from him,

And underneath the bed,

But with the light,

It was still bright,

And so he followed where I led.

 

I hadn’t given up yet,

I’d lose him in the woods,

Ran back and forth,

Both south and north,

But he was quick and good.

 

Giving up and very mad,

I showed him to my mother

But she just sighed:

And then replied:

“Timmy dear! Sam just likes his big brother!