Tag Archives: The Great Gatsby

Wonder at Beauty

Wonder confers a value on an object

it confers a sense of beauty

this beauty does not necessarily mean

bright colors

symmetric features

curved edges

it only prompts a second-look

something that captures our attention

and says, “There are magnitudes in and to me”

beauty compels wonder

wonder engenders beauty

thus the circle of beauty and wonder

cycles in appreciation

a worm is just a beautiful as a sunrise

or a woman

or a building

or an ocean

or a flower

or the moon

if they are all wondered at

And so, do not let others determine

what is beautiful

by controlling your wonder

because then they will control

your thinking

your individuality

and your world

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Wikimedia/Jessie Eastland

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Hope

Hope is the fortitude that resists the current flowing to the mundane and vapid. Hope rises above the current and aims for dreams newly born and not yet quantified. Hope is not confined to time limits or statistics or realities, for it is an aspiring sensation from deep within the heart. Hope is the perennial fuel for ambitions, not yet mechanized into  spreadsheets and deadlines and paperwork. Hope does not have to be rational or good, it only has to exist for its power to be manifested.

Or at least that is what I hope.


I do not know if I agree with this post but I do know that it seems not to matter.

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Takes You to New Worlds

In third grade, an author visited my elementary school. At the time I hated reading. Our whole school gathered around him and sat criss-cross-applesauce on the cool tile gym floor. He talked about writing his famous book series and his writing process. Then he challenged us to read and write more so that we could become authors like him, if we wanted to.

Now I am expecting that you think this was my big writing epiphany. By all means it was not. Quite the opposite in fact.

The author had said what my mother and father had told me since I started reading, which was the same thing my teachers had said everyday during reading time.

“Reading books takes you to new worlds.”

The first, second, twentieth, and one hundred seventy sixth time I heard that line I believed it was false and to this day do I still believe so. I insist upon it to this day. Reading books does not take you to new worlds.

Now, anyone who knows me at all knows that I love reading. I am always reading a book if not five or six. I will read anything except for horror or heavy romance. I average about forty-five books a summer. Quite the opposite from my younger self.

But still I insist that reading does not take you to new worlds.

I read We Were Liars and yet I could never feel the sand underneath my toes on the Sinclair family beach.

I read Minders and yet I could never feel the cement streets beneath my feet as I ran.

I read The Great Gatsby and yet I could never feel how tight my feet felt in my shoes on the very hot fateful day.

I read the Shatter Me series and yet I could never feel the Persian rugs on the marble floors.

I read Anne of Green Gables and yet I could never feel the grass in the spring time.

These are just to name a few that even my toes could not tactical touch their worlds. Yet in my own world, I can recall every memory of my toes digging into the sand on summer vacations and of my toes discovering again the grass on my bare feet in the spring time.

I insist that reading does not take you to new worlds, but instead you meet new people.

I read so many books with so many characters and yet they are the ones I can recall swiftly. I can remember exactly when and where I was reading the book. I was grounded in this world, but I was talking and thinking in the manner of the characters in my head.

From the first books that got me hooked on reading A to Z Mysteries and My Side of the Mountain to the novel I just finished two hours ago No Place to Fall, no character is the same just like no person is the same or snowflake.

In books you are able to meet people in so much more of an inmate way than in reality. You know his thoughts, so vulnerable, and his past that is so much more than what is written on his face and clothes. (Pun not intended, of course!) You learn what is his driving passion and weakest downfall through out the two hundred plus pages that a quick five minute conversation could not.

I met a narcoleptic orphan genus boy in The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict that was my favorite when I was younger not because of world he took part in, but because of who he was. I learned about motivations and how people always have reasons behind their actions that may not even be the most logical ones.

I met an aspiring comicbook (sorry graphic novel) artist and writer in The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl that was my favorite a few years ago because of his creativity and passion for superheroes that I formed a connection with. His world was forgettable, but he wasn’t.

I met a talented, tortured, and tormented slave in The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Traitor to the Nation Volume 1: The Pox Party who taught me about the cruelty of humanity, if I did not already know. I learned what freedom truly meant.

I met a super-powered broken fighting girl in the Shatter Me series that is my current favorite. I have never connected so deeply with a character, a person, like her before. I have never experienced a writing style like Mafi’s before because writing is truly an experience.

That is another problem with what the author said, “Reading books takes you to new worlds.” I am not taken anywhere. I meet new people and experience new writing styles.

Reading is a journey, from the first glance at the spine of the book to the last punctuation mark. Along the journey you meet friends and quite possibly enemies, but they are people all the same. That’s what they should have said to my little third grader self.

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Pixabay/user:Comfreak

 

Hope?

Hope

it allows us to dream dreams

of heavens and royalty and love and other treasures

when we have nothing of the kind

when we have nothing

hope allows us to dream of having something

it can lift our spirits and guide our actions

hope allows for wonderful visions of the future

when the present is anything but wonderful

How glorious and empowering hope can be

***

Oh, but of dashed hopes

of false hope

of lost hope

of wrongful promises

of cracked dreams

of shattered faith

How disastrous that can be

How vengeful that can be

Of a man who had his trust, his faith, his everything

in his hope

and somehow, lost it all

How disastrous that can be

How vengeful that can be

He then sets his life mission to be

to thwart and reverse every action he had his hope in

Oh, to lose hope

How disastrous that can be

How vengeful that can be

one’s purpose seems to have vanished

one’s goal seems to be part of magician’s disappearing act

***

Hope

Hope is like a fire

it can create or it can destroy

it can give warmth and change things to a better state

or it can rip, rend, and sear its image on us.

Hope is like a fire

it can be the one thing between

life and death

sometimes the life giver

sometimes the death bringer

***

Hope seems to be able to bring us

to the highest heights

and yet the deepest depths

because power can work both ways

for and against us.

So is it right to hope at all?

***

To have shining, bright, up lifting hope

and yet to have

cracked, shattered, broken hope

Is it right to hope at all?

No

It is not right to have that kind of hope

hope that can be shattered like glass

is nothing to have hope in at all

something easily broken should not carry our dreams

for dreams are immense beings

that grow and change and have lives of their own

and a fragile container such as a glassy hope

is not fitting for dreams.

***

So dream dreams

and hope everyday

for things of risk

are things of reward


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

hope

Dreams

Dreams

they are our belief in the future

a belief that we have a part in the future

that we can shape our part of the future

that we can decide our destiny

that we can make our dreams into our destiny.

Dreams

they give us a purpose

we make them our purpose

to chase after this life long goal

to pursue this passionate desire

one that was bred from childhood wonders

one that was bred from teenage rebellion

one that was bred from adulthood sensibilities

one that was bred from midlife discontentment

one that was bred from waning years un-fulfillment

one that was bred from our fore fathers’ “American Dream”

And so we hunt down that purpose, desire, goal

to capture the happiness, fulfillment, success

that we projected on to it.

Dreams

they give us a reason to wake up in the morning

we make them a reason to wake up in the morning

that each day we are getting closer to the prize

when the days are tough

when there seems to be no end to the darkness

the dream is something to look to

somewhere that becomes a safe place

something where all of life’s troubles will be cleared away

something where all of life’s joys will be there

they become a magical fantasy of the mind.

Dreams

if we only

work harder

jump higher

run faster

sing louder

reach further

chase longer

want greater

we could attain them,

this is the lie they tell us

this the lie we tell ourselves

that more will be enough.

Dreams

we put our best into them

best years

best choices

best actions

best energy

best passions

best everything

and they take them.

Yet they are of our own creation

we made them

we make them into something more than dreams

more that goals

more than desires

we make them into illusions of colossal vitality

unattainable to any human hands

and we know this

but we still keep on trying

because

we like to believe

in false hopes

because they give us hope.

And today we will dream

and tomorrow we will dream

because we believe in hope.


 

In response to Jay Gatsby’s creative passion for hope and dreams in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby. 

Note: Dreams and goals are good but when they become an obsession-like idol  of perfection they cease to be dreams at all.

Gatsby

 

He Brought Her Roses

Every day he would bring her roses. He would set his alarm for 3:30 AM to get to her cello practice room before she did. She was dedicated, two and a half hour practices before school. Those hours of practice were what life should be all about. Life should be struggles to hit the right cord, but the happiness that follows when your part of the symphony is perfect. She was what life should be.

He would slip into her soundproof room and carefully place a single rose on her sheet music. The roses would differ every time, but without fail there would always be a fragile flower waiting when the elegant cellist would come to make the world a little bit better, a little bit brighter. The roses would be passionate dark red like the dress she wore when he first saw her at her symphony. Or the rose would be white as the snow on her birthday in January. He would always feel elated when he dropped the pink rose on her stand because it was soft and sweet like he imagined her lips to be. The yellow rose would remind him of couples walking in the summer time and the girls wearing their sundresses and how he wanted that to be him and the cellist. The peachy-orange was like the sunrise he watched as she played.

He must have spent thousands on roses for a girl he never dared talk to. He must have lost countless hours of sleep thinking about the one smile she had ever cast on him. He must have gone crazy for the girl to stop his college education so he could watch her every move. He must have.

She would laugh when ice cream dribbled down her chin in the hot hot summer time. He wanted to be the one to make her laugh like that. She would dance like no one was watching at the clubs. He wanted to dance with her like that. She would care enough to help the homeless person outside her daily coffee shop to buy them a warm drink. He wanted that caring towards him.

He fell in love with the girl who never knew his name.

One day she never came to practice. He still dropped off her rose like he always did and waited. The rose was still there when he came to give the rose of next day. She had never missed two days of practice in a row. Music was her life; her music was his life. He continued with his normal routine and went to her apartment. She was not home, but her car was still in the parking lot.

He had never gone into her apartment before, but he had to find out what was wrong. He had to find out what had made life wrong. He slowly turned her doorknob like so many times he wanted to, but could not put his courage where his heart was. Unlocked. She should not leave her door unlocked in a city like this, who knows what kind of creepers could break in. The door swung open and her apartment was just like he imagined. Nothing out of place. Bright colors. Modern furniture. Photos of friends on the fridge. A worn looking copy of The Great Gatsby opened to page 95 was in her chair.

“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”

Her bed looked just like her personality with a yellow sunflower comforter. So welcoming. Except for what lay on it. Towards the upper-middle was a rather large crimson stain. A fresh crimson stain. With eyes open to see the stars twinkle happily at her music laid the cellist with a bullet to her brunette head. Gun in her right hand and her left pointing to a note. Of course. Always leave a note.

They said I was not talented enough. They said I was not good enough. They said to move on and live a real life. If someone is reading this, then that means I chose a real death. I was actually cut from the program months ago, but they let me still use their practice rooms until I moved. Music was my life, my whole life and I do not know what that means without Juilliard giving me a chance. I think I would have ended it right there if not for the roses. Ever since I came to the school there has been roses on my stand each morning, but I came to value them more and more when no one seemed to value me. They would remind me of better times, brighter times. These past few months, I saved each and every one. But roses are not enough. Life got too disappointing and roses could not fill that void.

He walked out. He left everything the way it was for the police and her family. Except for the note. The note was for him. The note was because of him.

He continued to bring roses. He brought roses for months afterwards. A new rose was placed at her forgotten stand even when her apartment was cleaned out. Even though years went by as did the people who used that room, no one disturbed the stand with thousands of roses left in the corner. On the day of his retirement party for working at the school as a janitor for forty years, he placed her last rose.

The cellist had stolen his heart as she had stolen her life.

 

 

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Inspired by the image Pixabay/user:Fotocitizen