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Esther has read 11 books toward her goal of 50 books.
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15 December 2016
Lead Me NotLead Me Not by Ann Gallagher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Warning for homophobia and homophobic language.

When I started into Lead Me Not, I was hesitant. This is not the first LGBT book I have read, but it is the first Christian LGBT book I have read. And when Isaac is first introduced, his thoughts and actions are harsh and homophobic. This was the protagonist we’re supposed to cheer for? Not likely. But then, Isaac slowly began to grow on me. I realized that he was actually in the closet himself, so deep he couldn’t see his way out, couldn’t see much of anything. He was blind.

Isaac’s family and the environment he grew up in are incredibly toxic. Ann Gallagher paints a masterful picture of the way these so-called Christians twist the Scriptures to condemn homosexuality. Isaac’s brother William is especially hateful, while Isaac himself sincerely just wants to help people—although he is very wrong in how he tries to do so. Isaac’s father has already disowned two of his children for not believing exactly as he does. Scenes with Isaac’s family are not easy to read.

The premise of the plot gave me pause as well. Isaac’s twin sister Ruth suggests that they make a documentary to prove that you can choose to be gay—by Isaac “choosing” to be gay, then “choosing” to be straight again. Of course, the problem is that he is not straight and never has been. And never will be.

Then Colton—a bartender at a gay club—saves Isaac from getting beaten in the alley behind the club, beaten by homophobic thugs who probably believe a lot of the same bs Isaac believes. Colton drives him to the hospital and stays with him and drives him home. That a stranger, a gay stranger, would do that for him shakes Isaac’s worldview to its core. Then Isaac finds out that Colton is a Christian and that he volunteers at a local church helping save LGBT teenagers from the streets, and his world tips on its axis again. There is a crack in his closet door, letting in just a bit of light.

It’s not easy of course. While Isaac “lives the gay lifestyle” for the documentary, telling everyone around him that he is gay, he still very much believes that he is not. The closet door might be ajar, but he is still huddled inside, trying to hide from the light. This changes slowly, but he fights it every step of the way.

Despite the harsh language and rhetoric, this really is a very uplifting book. Isaac’s family is shown clearly to be wrong. There is no insistence on forgiving someone like that either. Sometimes the best thing to do is to put distance between yourself and that toxic relationship. I’m used to romance novels being rather shallow in theme and content, but this one surprised me. I would highly recommend it, and I will likely read it again.



View all my reviews
27 November 2016
I lost my mom four years ago;
I miss her still today.
When I think of her this time of year,
I remember…


The smell of fresh-baked bread;
Of apple pies and cookies;
An overdose of colour on the tree;
Mario, Bing, and Elvis sing carols on LP;
Soft and buttery shortbread,
Rolling out and cutting;
Stockings pinned along the couch for we had no fireplace
Filled with oranges, candies, toys, and chocolate,
A tiny house filled up with love;
Eight children crowding ‘round the tree,
Then turkey, mashed potatoes, and homemade apple pie.
We never had much money,
But Mom made Christmas special;
She showed me why she loved this time of year.
And, though I miss her sharply
And wish that she was here,
I am deeply grateful
For every memory.


09 November 2016

It seems the world has gone insane...
“Make America great again;”
Swap love for hate and peace for war.
This morning, in the darkest hour
My hope’s not faded—it was slain.

Today, a racist holds the reins:
What can profit one so vain?
I spent the night and day in pray’r
For He will save.

Our hope is built on Christ who reigns;
His love and peace will still remain,
And He will keep us through these years
For He will save.




31 October 2016
In October of 2012, I first participated in OctPoWriMo. I wrote a few poems that year about how sick my mom was with cancer and how scared I was. In November of 2012, cancer took my mom away from me. I miss her. But I know that some day we will be together again, and nothing will ever part us. Today's prompt is eternity, and we are encouraged to choose a form we tried for the first time this year and really liked, so I wrote a decuain about my mom.

We'll Dance Together

My mother loved Jesus with all her heart;
She taught me how to love by loving me
And, though I wish we never had to part,
I know someday I once again will see
Her in that land where she is fully free.
We’ll dance together on the golden streets,
Singing praise for all eternity.
Although it seemed cancer was a defeat,
To open Heaven’s door she had the key
And now, forever joy and jubilee.



30 October 2016
Tomorrow is the last day of OctPoWriMo, and I can hardly believe another one is almost over. Today's prompt is simplicity, and I chose to write a kyrielle about something that has been on my heart and soul a lot lately, especially in light of the current US election and the people who call themselves Christians who think Jesus wants them to hate members of the LGBTQ+ community and deny asylum to refugees. My Jesus is not that Jesus. As a church, we need to go back to the start, to the basic simplicity of "love one another."

Where We Were

Jesus said, “Love one another”;
Everyone sisters and brothers.
We’ve strayed so far, this now my prayer:
Let’s return to where we were.


We’ve complicated everything,
Drifted far from our Wellspring,
Contaminated what was pure.
Let’s return to where we were.


Our fundamental, simple base
Is merely love and joy and faith.
In light of this, now hear me roar,
“Let’s return to where we were.”


Widows, orphans, refugees
Are everyone the “least of these.”
Their troubles should compassion stir.
Let’s return to where we were.


Our Father loves us all the same
No matter if we change our names,
Or who we love, or who we are.
Let’s return to where we were.


29 October 2016
Just recently, I watched the Netflix original series Stranger Things where they travel to a sort of alternate reality they call "the upside down." So, when today's prompt was 'upside down', I had to reference the show. I loved the ghazal form I did a few days ago, so here is my second attempt at this fascinating form.

Upside Down

They disappeared into the dark upside down;
A monster lurked deep in the murk—upside down.

Some days it feels my life is great, I have it all together,
But then, something subverts my heart upside down.

Eleven times I took a swing and missed;
It only takes one single hit to turn the work upside down.

When I met you my life was good—I didn’t know
I was kindling you would spark—upside down.

Change can be for good or ill—turn yourself about,
Flood above the watermark and upside down.



28 October 2016
Today's prompt just didn't inspire me at all, so I decided to follow from yesterday's "scent" and write a poem about taste. I chose to write a HexSonnetta today. This poem is dedicated to my husband, Mark.

The Taste of You

Coffee when I wake,
Salted avocado,
Chocolate cookie dough,
Frosted carrot cake,
A thick and juicy steak,
And savoury risotto.

And yet, above all this,
Nothing can compare
To the flavour rare
Found within your kiss.
Nothing is amiss
In this embrace we share.

Every day anew,
I love the taste of you.


27 October 2016
Today's prompt is favourite scent, and the suggested form is the ghazal. I thought about it for awhile, and I guess my favourite scent is cinnamon. I like it in everything, even coffee and tea. I remember my mom making cinnamon buns when I was a kid, rolling out the dough on the dining table and spreading butter thickly over it then sprinkling it with cinnamon and brown sugar. The whole house smelled amazing while she baked them.

Cinnamon and Spice

Years ago, my mother baked with cinnamon and spice:
Sticky buns and pies and cakes with cinnamon and spice.


I love to sip a steaming mug when Autumn’s chill begins:
Tea or apple cider’s great with cinnamon and spice.


Coloured leaves and pumpkins fill my house this Fall;
I just love to decorate with cinnamon and spice.


Scents can trigger memories more than anything,
And when I think of holidays, it’s cinnamon and spice.


If I had a choice between several different scents,
Most days the one that I would take is cinnamon and spice.


26 October 2016
Today's prompt is abandonment. When I started writing, it just kind of came out a Petrarchan sonnet for some reason. Since I have never been abandoned, I used the theme in a tongue in cheek way. This sonnet is dedicated to my husband, Mark. The quote in line two is Dido, and the one in line 5 is from Dante.

I Am Done For

I swear that I will never leave, my dear;
There will be no white flag above my door;
I will be in love forevermore;
I vow that I will never disappear.
“All hope abandon ye who enter here.”
Each time I look at you, I am done for;
All other men (and women) I ignore.
I love you—just in case that isn’t clear.
I plan to sleep beside you when we’re old
And, probably, I’ll steal the covers still.
You know that you don’t really feel the cold
And I already often do get chilled.
Wrap me in your arms, tightly ahold;
Of you I never will get all my fill.


25 October 2016
Today's prompt is red, and the suggested form is the Harrisham. I didn't feel like doing much with it today, so I just listed all the things I could think of that are red, and fit it into the form.

Red

Roses and blood and kisses and fire
Saying “I love you” for the first time
Great anger or passion and scorching desire
The partner to green at Christmastime



24 October 2016
Today's prompt is fantastical, and the suggested form is the Lento. I love fantasy and magic and all the trappings, and I thought about writing a short verse tale of elves and wizards, but my muse wasn't cooperating today. Instead, I wrote about the magic in all of us.

Magic is Real

Imagine that magic is real;
Within each of us it is found:
Beginning with marvelous joy
Wherein love can always abound.

Do you see the fantastic way
You have the power for good?
Few understand their own strength;
True now you know that you could.

Photo by Morgan Dragonwillow

23 October 2016
Today's prompt isn't up yet, but back in September, they gave us all of them, and it was "undoubtedly." I chose to write a decuain today.

Be Free

He took a step into the raging sea
Where wind and waves were crashing all around.
His best Friend had said, “Come and follow Me.”
He didn’t think ‘fore he was climbing down.
Then fear appeared and told him he would drown,
And Jesus caught him up and said, “Why doubt?”
They walked upon the sea as on dry ground.
Fear will always say, “Do not come out,”
But He will hold your hand and help you see
That if you follow Him, you will be free.


22 October 2016
Today's prompt is dangerous, and the suggested form is the trolaan. While thinking about this prompt, I remembered the famous (mis)quote, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

A Woman Scorned

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." - William Congreve

There is no danger
Like the ire
Of seething anger:
Passionate fire.

How did it end
Up like this?
First intended
Just a kiss.

Once together
They assumed
They’d be forever;
Now he’s doomed.

No more pity.
No more joy.
Never guilty.
Never coy.


21 October 2016
Today's prompt is nature, and the suggested form is the terzanelle. As I often do, I went a bit off the rails; instead of talking about trees and water and whatnot, I talked about my nature. This led me into a topic that has been on my mind and heart a lot lately, and I kinda got a bit angry. 

Disclaimer: I am a Christian, but I feel like I have to call out some of my fellow Christians for the hateful things they sometimes say and do.

In My Nature

It’s not in my nature to hate anyone.
Love is love and love will win.
Why can’t we all just live in the sun?
Condemned to hell for mortal sin:
Can’t you see how you push them away?
Huddled together, looking within,
In your ivory towers you watch and pray,
Hiding away from the world outside,
Avoiding the cooties you see on the “gays.”
Don’t you remember for whom Jesus died?
Not only you and your churchgoing friends;
God loves us all; you don’t get to decide.
You probably think that I’m wrong to defend
Those who are “sinners” in your eyes.
Don’t fool yourself: I know you pretend
That you’re better than everyone you despise.
Brothers and sisters, I know those are lies.
“Love the sinner,” and yet you shun.
I’m so tired of hatred; I am so done.



20 October 2016
The prompt today is white, and the suggested form is the tetractys. When we in the West think of white, we usually think of purity and innocence, brides and christening gowns. But white is also snow and ice and emptiness. The empty page can be possibilities or writers' block. White can be a negative colour too.

Stark and Severe

Cold
And clear
Deathly pale
Stark and severe
White is not always only positive


19 October 2016
The prompt today is tree, and the suggested poetry type is ode, which isn't a form at all, but a generic catch-all term for a poem that is written in praise of something or someone. While thinking about what to write, the song Snowbird by Anne Murray started running through my head, so I decided to use its rhyme and rhythm for my poem today.

Ode to a Tree

Beneath your leafy branches full and broad,
I stand with face uplifted for my heart is truly awed
By everything you do and all you are
For I am certain that you truly are a superstar.


When I was young, I climbed among your boughs
And, snuggled in your grasp, I felt safe enough to drowse.
Today I wish that I could once again
Ascend among your branches to a place where I remain.


Spread your branches sweeping over me,
And let me hide for just a while from harsh reality.
The days are speeding ever swiftly by,
And if I could, I’d love to stay and watch the world rush by.



18 October 2016
Free verse is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult form. With no set rhyme or metre, the poet can go anywhere, write anything. And there is the difficulty. I find the strictures of a form help to sharpen my focus, while free verse leaves me flailing. I used to write a lot of free verse, but it's been a while.

Today's prompt is senseless, and the suggested form is free verse, so I gave it a try. I thought about writing of things that make no sense, but then I decided to just do a nonsense poem. I've written a couple of these before, but people always find meaning in them that I never meant to include, so we'll see. Here's a poem that makes no sense at all.

Dancing on the Clouds

Give me your hand
And
We will walk together
Wading through the deep
Swimming in the sky
Loving one another
‘Til a’ the seas gang dry
And melting rocks
And melting clocks
Will mark our time together
Forever


17 October 2016
Today's prompt is savoury, and the suggested form is the sonnet. This is my favourite poetry form, and I love writing them. However, most of my sonnets are serious, while today I decided to be a bit silly. It's still true, though. I do like savoury better than sweet.

Savoury

I’m not a fan of super sweet confections,
I don’t really care ‘bout cake and pie,
I don’t hold for sugar much affection,
It takes so little sweets to satisfy,
But if you give me french fries, cheese, and meat,
Potato chips and popcorn: salty things,
I have a tendency to overeat,
Especially with spice to give a zing.
I’d rather eat my dinner than dessert;
Savoury will always be my pick.
And now you know the map into my heart:
Some fat, some spice, and maybe a salt lick.
Bacon is my favourite of all—
Along with spaghetti and meatballs.

Steak sandwich: yum

16 October 2016
All the shows I've been watching lately seem to have the same theme. On Arrow, Oliver remembered his friend telling him about how the shark will die if it ever stops swimming. On The Flash, Barry learned that going backward will ruin his life. On Supergirl, Kara discovered where she wants to go and how to move forward. On Luke Cage, Pop gave Luke the advice: always forward. I think someone is trying to tell me something.

Today's prompt is in-depth, and the suggested form is the nonet. I was thinking about always moving forward, and about how we cannot see what is under the surface of deep waters, and somehow, it became a double nonet, or a reflection, or an iceberg lurking in the depths.

Always Moving Forward

We must never stop and sit inert
Should continue moving forward
Like a stream flowing onward
On toward the ocean
Never ending life
Hope forever
Always on
Forward
Now
Deep
Below
The surface
Always moving
Even in winter
When ice freezes over
The river will never stop
Even though we cannot see it
Always moving—it will never stop


15 October 2016
Today's prompt is blue, and the suggested form is Musette. I have never written one before, so this was a lot of fun. I decided to talk about this time of year, since it is my favourite season, and blue does make me think of falling temperatures. Even though orange, red, and brown are more the colours I think of for Fall.

I took this picture a week or so ago in my front yard

Autumn Begins

A chill
Over my skin—
I thrill.

It’s Fall;
Autumn begins:
Enthrall.

I feel
Like I will win.
Ideal.


14 October 2016
Today's prompt is shameful, and the suggested form is the Villanelle. I love this form and the prompt really resonated with me today. Lately, I have been feeling a lot of frustration over the shameful behaviour of someone whom some of my friends still blindly support. I have gotten into a lot of arguments on Facebook over the last few weeks.

Screaming at a Wall

Sometimes it feels like might makes right
And I am screaming at a wall—
Still I rage against the coming night.

Their arguments all seem so trite,
Caught up in their leader’s thrall:
Sometimes it feels like might makes right.

I kick, I shout, I punch, I bite;
This has devolved into a brawl.
Still I rage against the coming night

He’s not able to be contrite:
A swaggering neanderthal.
Sometimes it feels like might makes right.

I no longer am polite
To their unmitigated gall.
Still I rage against the coming night

I will not give up the fight;
Pride will surely make him fall.
Sometimes it feels like might makes right;
Still I rage against the coming night.


13 October 2016
Today's prompt is flow, and I took it in a little different direction. Instead of thinking about less struggle and more flow, and I kinda went completely the other way. Ooops.

Go

Go with the flow
Don’t rock the status quo
No
You’ll never shine if you don’t glow
So go
Take the throw
You know
You will grow
If you don’t tiptoe
So be a tornado
Be a torpedo
Just go


12 October 2016
Today's prompt is strong. I decided to challenge myself today. I really love the Blitz poem form, but I've written so many of them they're kind of getting easy. So I wrote a rhyming Blitz poem today. It was a lot of fun, and I think the lines flow even more quickly and smoothly than in a non-rhyming Blitz.

Sing of Care

Hear me roar
Hear me sing
Sing of war
Sing of flying
Flying far
Flying high
High until I touch a star
High and loud my battle cry
Cry at night upon my bed
Cry until my eyes are red
Red the blood of angry men
Red a world about to dawn
Dawn the sun will rise again
Dawn the night is gone
Gone is dark and cold
Gone are dreams and goals
Goals have changed
Goals now exchanged
Exchanged for better things
Exchanged and gained
Gained now are my wings
Gained where once was chained
Chained and weighted down
Chained no longer now
Now I wear a crown
Now I do not bow
Bow only to pray
Bow not to men
Men will all betray
Men and also women
Women are the same
Women share the blame
Blame gets tossed around
Blame will help no one
One way we can be found
One way we can outrun
Outrun our weakened flesh
Outrun and find our home
Home where we’re refreshed
Home no more to roam
Roaming is a chore
Roam the wilds no more
More time to rest
More love to share
Share your best
Share and care
Caring is strong
Care will be your song
Strong...
Song...

11 October 2016
Today's prompt is lively and the suggested form is acrostic. I've always loved writing acrostics. I looked at the list of words given on the prompt page—spirited, gutsy, determined, feisty, zealous—and most of my acquaintances would say that none of them describe me at all. I am famous for being very quiet and introverted. My closest friends and family would know that I can be all of the above, however, if the right circumstances are met.

Feisty Quiet

Family know I can be spirited;
Everyone else thinks I’m always composed.
Inside my soul,
Searing control
Takes all of
Your anger transposed.

Quickly I go
Under the deeps,
Into my head,
Ever to keep
To myself.

10 October 2016
Today's prompt is unfolded, and the suggested form is the Wrapped Refrain. Since today is Thanksgiving Monday in Canada, I chose to write about that instead of the prompt. I have so much to be thankful for, and one day a year is hardly sufficient to remind me. Sometimes I simply have to stop and breathe because I am so thankful that I have breath. Without life, I could not be thankful for anything else.

I Thank My God for Life and Breath

I thank my God He gave me life.
I have so much, my world is rife
With blessings I cannot contain.
I know my life He will sustain.
To see His hand of mercy often leaves me awed;
I bow my head and close my eyes: I thank my God.

For life and breath and everything,
He’s given me reason to sing.
In all my days I will rejoice
For I will always have a choice.
I will be thankful ‘til the moment of my death
For love and joy, for family, for life and breath.


09 October 2016
I've already written a Cascade this month, but I love the form. I decided to make it a bit more challenging today, so I added rhyme. The prompt 'spiral' is cool, and I would have done it if not for something weighing on my mind. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and a family member made a homophobic comment that really bothered me. I'm not going to get into the details, but I had to write about it.

Don't Want to Fight

Her words are ignorant and rude
I bite my tongue and look away
I don’t want to fight today

She would think I’d gone astray
If I told her with “attitude”
Her words are ignorant and rude

And so, I focus on my food
No matter what I want to say
I bite my tongue and look away

Perhaps I’m lacking fortitude
My heart betrayed, full of dismay
But I don’t want to fight today

08 October 2016
Today's prompt is porous. On the prompt page it says we don't have to use the word in our poem, but "it's about where the word takes you." Then they give the dictionary definition, which includes "permeable to outside influences." This got me thinking about being influenced by others, standing strong in who I am, being brave. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. In my real life, there are only two people who really and truly know me: my husband and my sister. They know everything about me, while my other friends and family know different levels of who I am, but not the whole picture. I don't know if this will ever change, or if it should change. But sometimes I kind of wish I could be brave and just show the world who I really am.

I used the suggested form today: the Rispetto. It was a lot of fun to write and what I wanted to say fit perfectly into the rhyme and metre.

Be Brave

“Be yourself! Be real! Be true!
Stand up tall! Be brave! Be strong!
Let me see the honest you
Singing, shouting out your song.”

I smile and nod, and yet, I hide
I don’t (yet?) have enough pride.
I’m afraid to let you see
Everything inside of me.



07 October 2016

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8

Today's prompt is taste and the suggested form is the Rondel. The above verse has always been one of my favourites and it was the first thing that came to mind. I have always loved the idea of tasting to see something. I am not synesthetic, but as a poet, I like to imagine how a colour might sound or a sunset might taste. And the idea of tasting God is a fascinating one. I would almost call it irreverent if it wasn't right there in the Bible.

See the Voice

Oh, taste and see the voice you feel
Singing softly in your soul
Sweetly, gently, He cajoles
All you have to do is kneel

Bring your hurts to Him to heal
He will mend and make you whole
Oh, taste and see the voice you feel
Singing softly in your soul

Hear the singing, ringing peal
Read the words upon the scroll
Surrender to His kind control
Sit back and let Him take the wheel
Oh, taste and see the voice you feel

06 October 2016
Today's prompt is tantalizing and the suggested form is Loop poetry. I can't remember if I've tried this form before, but I like it. It's fun.

I have been married 7 years last month, and I still think of my husband first when I see prompts like this. I crave his touch, and I believe that I always will.

Aren't we cute?


Taste Your Lips

Let me taste your lips
Lips that smile so sweet
Sweet and soft and warm
Warm me with your heat

Hands and fingers tangle
Tangle me with you
You and I together
Together rendezvous

I am yours forever
Forever we are one
One flesh, one heart, one love
Love me—I’m undone

05 October 2016
Today's prompt is sharp. Also today, we had our first snowfall here (it didn't stick around much, but it's wet and chilly and windy). The chill in the air made me think of sharp, biting wind. However, sharp is also an antonym for dull or flat, which are not good things. I don't want my life to be dull and/or flat. Sharps are the highs in the peaks and valleys of life and, while they aren't always good, they are necessary to keep life interesting.

Sharp
My front steps today

The bite of October’s first snow
The feeling when you have to go
A half-step above
The loss of first love
A cry in a dark, quiet night
A sudden, surprising fright
Something that smarts
A lemon is tart
A man in a suit and top hat
Nothing at all dull or flat


04 October 2016
Today's prompt is purple, and the suggested form is the Cascade. I thought about it for hours before my sister suggested (mostly joking) that I write about Hawkeye (Clint Barton) because, in the comics at least, he wears purple. I decided to write about Clint and Natasha (Black Widow) because their role as the humans among gods and superheroes fascinates me. If you've watched the Avengers movie, this poem will probably make more sense than if you haven't, though you might be able to follow along anyway. I'm not sure.



Monsters and Magic

I’ve got red in my ledger.
Monsters and magic—
Nothing we were ever trained for.

Nat goes to the villain,
Conjures some tears:
“I’ve got red in my ledger.”

Clint wakes from the nightmare again and again
Where he served the
Monsters and magic.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with gods and heroes—
Only our wits and skills to face
Nothing we were ever trained for.


03 October 2016
Today's prompt is sparkle. I decided to try a form I haven't tried before: the Essence. It's a very short form of only 12 syllables in 2 lines, so I doubled it to make 4 lines. The short, quick lines, and the internal rhyme in this form make me think of sparkling bubbles in champagne or ginger ale. I think it's a very appropriate form for the prompt.


Star Shine

She sings, stars shine o’erhead,
And wings are ever spread.

She smiles, and all is right.
The trials end. There is light.


02 October 2016
Today's prompt is The Void, and the suggested form is the Kyrielle. I decided to write about silence, and how losing much of my hearing has affected me.

Tinnitus.

When I was twelve, my eardrum burst.
It healed, yet always, since that day,
My world is muffled, and the worst:
The ringing never fades away.

My hearing comes and goes, and I
Sometimes wish it just would stay.
“Good” days hurt, all amplified;
The ringing never fades away.

If all around is calm and still,
It grows and grows—I can’t downplay
How high-pitched, and e’ermore shrill,
The ringing never fades away.


01 October 2016
Today is the first day of OctPoWriMo 2016. The prompt today is "time." A couple of days ago, I found this article about the physics of time, and thought it was a fascinating look at how science views time. What does "now" really mean? It's an ephemeral concept that is constantly changing. While I write this, "now" is a different time than the "now" when you read this, yet they are both "now."

I decided to use the form Minute Poem today, since it's crafted to be a reflection of the measurement of time, so I figured it's appropriate. With 60 syllables, it's meant to take about a minute of time to read. Though, of course, I'm a super fast reader, so it takes me around 30 seconds to read it. And it took a lot more than a minute to write.

What is Time?

To say you live within the now—
Well, really, how?
When, oh, so fast
It is the past.

What is time? Can we explain?
Can human brains
E’er apprehend
And comprehend?

Always moving, never still;
I swear I will
Take time for rest
To ease the stress.

10 August 2016
The Thirteenth HourThe Thirteenth Hour by Joshua Blum

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

In a lot of ways, this book is cool and different, taking overused fantasy tropes and turning them on their heads. However, it is also quite tell-y. Some of that could just be the style, but it always rubs me the wrong way while reading something that tells me instead of showing me. The spelling and grammar are mostly smooth and well-done, with a few typos scattered throughout, however the characters don’t talk like real people. Huge sections of beautiful prose are interspersed with awkward, poorly written, sections.

Each time the POV changes, the text colour changes too. While this makes it much easier to follow than some books I’ve read that are full of annoying head jumping, I personally found the different coloured text to be distracting and affected. Also, several times pages end in the middle of a scene… or even a sentence. This tells me that whoever formatted this into an ebook needs to do a bit more work making it read smoothly.

Besides the dialogue sounding like they’re constantly quoting something, many of the conversations are very difficult to follow. With only dialogue and no ‘stage directions’ it’s hard to keep track of who’s saying what, especially if there’s more than two characters in the scene. However, there are a few lines that I really liked. For example: ‘he held up a finger as if to say, “I’m not finished yet,” which had always seemed like an asshole move to me.’ Yes, I’ve always thought that’s an asshole thing to do.

The epilogue is pretty much an elongated moral like at the end of Aesop’s fables. I think the story would be better if the epilogue was cut back a lot or trashed completely. This could be simply personal taste, though. Maybe there are people who like to read a long moral at the end of a book. I found it boring.

Overall, this was a pretty good story, though it could use a good edit to tighten it up and cut a lot of the words. It took me a lot longer to read than a book of this length usually does, and I think a good cut would make it easier and faster to read. However, if you like a fantasy but are sick of the tired old tropes, this would be a good choice.




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01 August 2016
I really don’t understand why anyone has a problem with caring about others’ feelings. When I speak up in favour of other people, I’m labelled a Social Justice Warrior (SJW) which is somehow a bad thing for some reason. Well, let me tell you something: I would rather be an SJW than a jerk. When did justice become a bad thing anyway?

My brother told me that ‘racist’ and ‘racism’ are buzzwords that don’t mean anything. Well, I don’t agree (and neither does the dictionary). I think if you are cruel to someone because of their race, then you are being racist. And yes, not all bigotry is racism, but that is not the point. Racism is a real thing, and it’s a huge problem.

My brother likes to claim that he’s simply being rational and accuse me of being emotional. I’m human. A big part of being human is having emotions. My emotional response tells me that being cruel is wrong, and I trust that. You can pretend all you want that you don’t have emotions but you do, and if you are cruel to everyone you will alienate them and when you need emotional support there will be no one there for you.

Cruelty leaves you alone. Being kind costs you nothing. Being cruel costs you friends and makes you enemies. So why wouldn’t you want to be kind?

12 June 2016


Today she would be sixty-three.
On June 12th, 1953,
A baby girl was born, and she
Grew up, and she gave birth to me.

Today she would be sixty-three:
The one human who always loved me
From the very moment she
Learned my birth was to be.

I learned to love, I learned to be
The woman I was meant to be,
And she was very proud of me.
Today she would be sixty-three.


24 April 2016
When I was a child, I didn’t know if women could be Jedi. I knew Leia was “strong in the Force,” but she was always so angry. If Luke was too much like his father, then Leia was surely much too angry to be a Jedi. We all know that anger leads to hate which leads to suffering.

Personality-wise, I identified with Luke’s passionate desire to save people and with Obi Wan’s quiet life of hermitude. As an introvert growing up with seven younger siblings, I yearned for quiet and solitude. And yet, I also loved the excitement of the battles. I cheered for Luke when he destroyed the Death Star and for Leia when she choked Jabba.

When the prequels hit, I discovered that women could be, and were, Jedi. They were in the background, but they were there, and they appeared to be treated as equals by the rest of the Order. They made little impression on me, however, beyond their existence. I could imagine myself a Jedi, but I didn’t personally identify with any of them.

I fell more in love with Obi Wan here, identifying with him even more strongly than before, with his seemingly contradictory personality. He hates to fight, yet is one of the best swordsmen in the Order; he’s an amazing negotiator, yet would rather just be alone. I hero-worship Qui Gon, with his disregard for rules and authority when he knows they are wrong, and I dream of being Qui Gon, but I am really Obi Wan.

Padmé, like Leia in the original trilogy, is the lone main female character in the prequels, and I do love her. Unlike Leia, Padmé is not ruled by anger, and yet she never shows the slightest ability to use the Force. And she is not at all like me, with her fearless leadership and ability to stand before crowds and speak with authority.

I have always had no issue identifying with characters who are not my gender. King Arthur, Jim Hawkins, Jean Val Jean, Atticus Finch, Sherlock Holmes, Par Ohmsford, Alec Ramsay, Tom Sawyer, Luke Skywalker, Clark Kent, Bilbo Baggins, and Harry Potter each helped define my growing up into who I am today. And yet, I have a special place in my heart for Hermione, who loves to learn; for Menolly, whose love of music defines her; for Anne Shirley, who lives and breathes poetry; for Lucy Pevensie, who believes despite what others say; for Alice, who tries to make sense of a senseless world; for Meg Murry, who will stop at nothing to save her little brother; for Wendy, who is a surrogate mother to a bunch of boys; for Belle, who sees beyond the outward appearance to the heart. These too, made me who I am.

I never wanted to be a princess and, really, I never wanted to be a warrior. I want to be the hero who uses their brain and heart. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a princess or a warrior, it’s just not my personal desire. However, I always wanted to be a Jedi.

In The Force Awakens, I identify most strongly with Finn, who balks at the order to kill, who runs away and then comes back to help a friend. And yet… and yet. Rey, who is comfortable alone, who is confident in her own abilities, who feels as protective of Finn as he is of her, is finally—finally!—a female main character in which I can see so much of myself. Little girls today have a hero in Star Wars who shows them that they too can be a hero, that they can be a Jedi. Finally, because of Rey, I truly can see the Jedi within me.


25 March 2016
I stood with Jesus when the angry crowd called for His death,
Shouting, crying, “Crucify him!” upon every breath.
I stood and raised a hand and said, “I find no fault in him;
He’s not a threat to you or me, or anyone in Rome.”

I asked him if he understood the seriousness of the charges;
He answered not a word in his defense.
I asked the people, “Should I free Jesus or this Barabbas?”
They cried, “We want Barabbas, not pretense!”

I had him whipped and beaten as a ploy to save his life;
I wished to avoid riots and the resurgence of strife.
But nothing that I said or did would pacify the crowd;
They wanted this man Jesus dead; they shouted it aloud.

So then I said, “I wash my hands of this whole mess—you’ve won!
You want to kill him? Do it! I don’t care at all—I’m done.”
And so the crowd, they took him out to Calvary;
They took him and they crucified him there upon a tree.

I was not the soldier who nailed him to the cross;
I did not stand and watch him die in pain.
And yet, I am as guilty as the crowd who cried for death,
And I can never wash away the stain.