Poem: the wires worn

6 inklings - saturday

what are wires for
hello hello
they form a halo around
my chest
white-hot and searing
they pierce my wrists
form a knot at the other end
and pull pull tighter now

what are wires for
they stick me up
back straight, legs apart
don’t scream
you scream you die
you smile you’re hired
and wired along
look at my collection of perfectly formed
mannequin family there

they do everything i say
aren’t they
everything we need?
no excuses nothing slackening
pull it taut
do what you’ve learned
in school
the wiring
tiring
tightening
machine.

what are wires for?
stick em up for sale
hanging there for everyone to see
check the price tag
made in china
and more than i’m willing to pay
a visit to the secondhand store
the wires all jagged and sticking out
you’ll get hepatitis
a story your mother says.

in comes a woman
tattooed arm sleeves
different. too different.
a blowtorch – a halo
of orange red and blue
hello hello
these wires take shapes
never known before
dna strands of copper
weaving angel wings in
her backyard

what are wires for?
we wear ourselves in coloured strands
along a backyard alley
there we wear away
stare at the wired frames
and wonder.

– cumuloq ❤

Poem: a pain in the side

6 inklings - saturday

it’s easy to be jaded
when you’re not made out of gold
or feel criticised for being unoriginal
when you break out of a mould
you know they call it a stereotype
because it’s a solid plate of text
words that are repeated and repeated
only serve to make one perplexed
as to whether the word even existed
before we came and gave it form
and after years in society
it just becomes the norm
and after years in society
we replicate and reproduce
you know a vulgar latin word
for “backwards” forms the word “ruse”
and since we’re deceptively retrogressive
then where are all our funky shades?
the only thing that’s “retro” now
is the art that slowly fades
as words become 140
characters with no qualities of definition
and in class, to explain a word
is like being beaten into submission
so yes, it’s easy to be jaded
when we’re not made out of gold

Poem: measured time

6 inklings - saturday

she said, “i’d like to believe that measured time has left
that it departed a long while ago
that we no longer count
one two three one two three
and we no longer wait
three two one.”
he said, “do you know why they call them dog days?
because they occur during the rise of Sirius
the dog star.
that good times and bad times
are just stories. man made.”
she said, “i’d like to believe that we can change time
that we can make it move faster
and we can make it move slower
i’d like to believe that we are the ones who cause ourselves to
die.”
he said, “there’s so much destruction in the world
and so much hatred
and so much pain
and we so easily forget
that time for us may be running out. that time itself is a terrorist.”
she said, “i’d like to believe that beginnings
and ends never existed. that starts and stops aren’t real.
and time is not linear.
we are cycles like the tides and the seasons.
we need to just be.”
he said, “we always try to regulate everything
we make everything so mechanical –
we’re mathematicians
music has metronomes, poetry has metres
and our heart has beats that pulsate in rhythmic time.”
she said, “i’d like to believe that we got it all wrong.
that time moves faster when we’re near the people we love
and slower when people are apart.
i’d like to believe that an eternity can be spent
and wasted with the people you love
that time leaves marks and erases them
that it is just what it is.”
she said, “i wish time had a different name.
that the one that just exists would just be one kind of time.
and the one that we count
one two three one two three
is another.”

– cumuloq ❤

Poem: River Song

6 inklings - saturday

she was an alien, they said
she memorised the dates of scientists
and their experiments
John Dalton Robert Brown
Neils Bohr Otto Hahn
she was extraterrestrial
packing lunch from the canteen
and eating in the classroom
she didn’t speak our language
she boarded herself in the words of dead people
and dead strange worlds
Ancelstierre and Carthak
she seemed to look past us
at the wall, or the ceiling, or the floor
like she’s dislodged from this timezone
an hour ahead
or a dozen hours behind
she’s unidentifiable
and foreign
and objectifiable
she does not love
she does not breathe the air we breath
she holds her breath
and words
and smiles
she’s so strange
rewriting every sentence from her textbook
into her notebook
and endlessly drawing trees
as though she has never seen one in her life
or has seen all of them and wants them back
and when we cheer or laugh or celebrate
she is not with us.

——————————————

This poem was inspired by the canteen scene from the video game “To the Moon”. When I was a teenager, I always felt like people had a lot to say about me before they even got to know me in my new school. This is how I imagined I appeared to be like. And this is how I felt I was treated.

I’ll leave you with the beautiful “For River” song from the video game. 🙂 Finishing it now and it leaves me with so many emotions.

Till next time,

cumuloq ❤

Books Read in 2014 Ranked

Hey everyone!

So if it hasn’t been apparent yet, I have finished my goal to read 25 books for 2014. Yay! So what I want to do in this post is to rearrange the list of books that I read this year from the best to the worst – a great way to review all the books I’ve read in a nutshell.

25. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (February)

Insurgent was definitely the worst of the bunch. Terrible character and plot development. I’m really not looking forward to the movie itself. As far as I’m concerned, I’m completely put off by the Divergent series. Even the lovely Shailene Woodley cannot save this.

24. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (December)

Girl Online is a read for those who are huge fans of the Youtuber, Zoe Suggs. It’s a lighthearted read you can curl in bed with on a rainy day. Never to take too seriously – it’s basically a rom com in book form.

23. Looking For Alaska by John Green (March)

Back when John Green thought himself one with the teen crowd but made a terribly cliched attempt at a teenage story. Oh, what do teenagers like? Cigarettes, tattoos, skipping class, rebellion – great, let’s have that. Oh, what makes a book have substance? Divorce, abuse, rape, alcohol and drug overdose, suicide – yup, that sounds great. That’s what Looking for Alaska is.

22. Emily of Emerald Hill by Stella Kon (September)

Overall a decent play. But a forgettable one for me. Maybe better as a play than a read through.

21. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (May)

I was really looking forward to this one, but again I have a feeling that it will be forgotten along with the above few stories. Maybe Blade Runner is a better movie, but K. Dick’s book was not really my cup of tea. I felt like two thirds of it I was waiting for something to start that didn’t.

20. The Death Cure by James Dashner (June)

A decent enough ending for The Maze Runner series. But I prefer the Mockingjay as a series ending. Another book I feel like I need to reread before the final movie to remember what exactly happened.

19. The Giver by Lois Lowry (July)

I have honestly yet to watch the movie. But I thought the book itself was a pretty decent dystopian story. I remember being fascinated by the Christian allusions in it. Overall a thought-provoking read. But I don’t think I’ll continue on in the series.

18. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (September)

A really easy read and in touched upon some distressing issues about the Holocaust and Auschwitz. I was so frustrated by the ending of this novel, but looking back on it, I feel like it was so necessary for the moral of the story. Only trouble I have is the portrayal of Bruno as a protagonist. He seemed more ignorant than a boy his age should have been.

17. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (March)

A better depiction of teenagers than Green’s Looking For Alaska – I felt like a decent portion of 2014 was spent looking for decent teenage novels. For this one I loved all the characters except the protagonist, which is a real odd feeling for me because I usually feel the closest with the protagonist. But, overall, I recommend it.

16. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (March)

I watched the movie a while back and decided to go to the novel to see if there was anything different. It definitely was different – if anything a little plain. I expected a lot more depth in language and character. But overall it was a decent book. More all-rounded than Thirteen Reasons Why.

15. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (October)

This book really made me think about how we perceive time and space. It was incredibly well-written in terms of the choice of words by Vonnegut and I loved the entire plot of Billy Pilgrim getting dislodged in the time-space continuum – and the entire symbolism of it.

14. Sold by Patricia McCormick (September)

Sold was really different for me. It touches upon the issue of child trafficking and it made me really hurt inside for Lakshmi. It is also incredibly misleading. Despite how easy it is to read, and how few words there are sometimes, it tells so much more than is on the page – and its subject matter is so difficult to get through. For these reasons, Sold is another must-read.

13. The Kill Order by James Dashner (October)

I didn’t really expect much from the prologue of The Maze Runner, but this one surprised me as to how much I did love it. I loved the world that Dashner created after the sun flares. And the unexpected twist at the end of the novel.

12. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (December)

I read this one in one night, two hours, on a cruise and was absolutely absorbed in the story. It is the perfect kind of magical realism children’s world that Gaiman creates. I would absolutely love to read this to my children one day before they go to sleep – or recreate my own reason as to why I was late to fetch the milk. 😉

11. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (July)

Neverwhere is definitely a more grown-up Gaiman novel that I loved. Honestly, I feel fortune to have read books that I generally loved this year and that I do not feel like I’ve wasted my time on. I loved the idea of London Above and London Below and that people can fall through the cracks and end up in an entirely scumbag world where you risk being forgotten and eaten by the rot. Gaiman is definitely an author that captured my heart this year – and the beautiful irony was that my New Year’s resolution for this year was a Gaiman quote.

10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (May)

I feel like I have to put a majority of Maze Runner in my top 10 because I just absorbed this trilogy into my veins, like literal osmosis. It’s fast-paced, has so many twists and turns and a protagonist that I absolutely love-hated with a passion and a world that is just ugly to the core. I only wish for more character development.

9. Paper Towns by John Green (May)

Paper Towns took me by surprise as something I loved. After reading Looking for Alaska, I felt that The Fault in Our Stars was a fluke and that there would be no other good John Green book. Paper Towns renewed my faith that Green could write for teenagers. I liked the protagonist, I liked the plot. It had quotable quotes. I can’t wait for the movie.

8. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (June)

I feel like The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials was pretty much tied in love, but Paper Towns somehow managed to sandwich itself through – I don’t know what I’m saying now, it’s late and I did not expect that it would take so long to quick review 25 books (stupid stupid idea). But the one reason why The Scorch Trials wins over The Maze Runner for me is Brenda. Brenda was a great addition. And the landscape of the desert was just the grit the trilogy needed to make everything even more real and disgusting. Also, one chapter actually made me gasp and almost scream. I mean, I didn’t even do that for The Shining. But The Scorch Trials did that to me.

7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (August)

Speak was an incredibly powerful novel for me. It spoke to me (oh my, here comes the unintentional puns). It tells the story of Melinda Sordino, who suffers from selective mutism after a traumatising incident (which I will not “speak” of). There were moments in this novel that really just yanked my heart out of my mouth.

6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (September)

So what inspired Speak was this novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I think it’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was just gorgeously written. If you want poetry in prose form, Maya Angelou is the goddess of poetic writing. There are so many lines in this novel that should just be memorised and recited when one needs freedom from racism, sexism and just from being a judged human being. Absolute love.

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (March)

Gah, this book gave me the feels. And, yes, I cried. The Fault in Our Stars is not perfect. It has its – dare I say it – faults. But there were so many moments in this book that reminded me of my own life (and I’m sure many of other readers’ lives) that I just have to put it up high on this list. I will remember many of these scenes more than others from other books on the list. Augustus Waters will forever live in these pages … okay, why am I getting so soppy in these last few reviews. Hush. Shut up.

4. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (May)

My good friend and fellow blogger, Rhey of Sunshine’s, favourite book. I decided to read it this year and I do not regret it. It was an incredible story of Charlie Gordon – a Forrest Gump-esque character – and his journey of obtaining intelligence through an experiment and the changes he experiences in his humanity and personality because of it.

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (November)

I feel like this novel in particular is going to inspire me in a lot of my writing in the future. The Graveyard Book was everything that I needed in a Gaiman’s novel. It is the tale of a character named Nobody (Bod for short), who lives in a graveyard for his own protection. This is another book I can’t wait to be turned into a movie. And I feel like if there is a gorgeous version of it in book form, I would totally get it and reread it.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (June)

I think I will forever remember reading this book in one sitting in the library. I will cut this review short, but I feel like it was such a perfect novel, one of the best of 2014 – not only among the books I read, but I believe among all the other books of 2014. I feel like everyone should read this book if they were to read any book that came out this year.

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (April)

This book definitely sits at the top of my list. Recently I’ve been listening to the audio book of it read by Will Wheaton and it honestly still leaves me so enthralled and gives me chills. I love the characters, I love the world and I love the plot. Whenever I read it I feel like I’m being given a crash course in American pop culture in the 80s.

Let me know what books you absolutely loved in 2014 and which ones I should add to my list for 2015. I’m contemplating of giving myself another goal for reading books next year. Maybe I’ll make it 30 – or keep it at 25 still (no need changing something that works). Either way, I just hope that I keep reading consistently. This year has been so much more amazing because of the above books I’ve read.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

An Honest ‘Girl Online’ Book Review

Girl OnlineTitle: Girl Online
Author: Zoe Sugg (and Siobhan Curham)
Hardcover: 344 pages

GoodReads rating: 3.81

When I had heard that Zoe Suggs would be writing and publishing a book of her very own I was excited. For about two years or so I’ve been following her blog and her vlogs on Youtube.

Watching her on Youtube, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I found her incredibly relatable. I’ve always felt like I have so many things in common with her. We’re the same age, we both have younger brothers who have incredibly similar personalities and we grew up with those terrible 90s neck chokers. So when the book was available, I immediately bought it off of BookDepository.com.

Before the book reached my doorstep, there was this whole news about how it was ghostwritten by above Siobhan Curham (this is a post she made in regards to the issue that you might want to read to clear the air on the false assumptions the media has made), a popular young adult writer who Zoe acknowledges at the end of her book. Penguin also confirmed that not all of the book was written by her. Hearing this news, I was torn. I was very torn because I, myself, yearn to one day be a writer and I wonder how it would feel like if I were ghostwriting and the book I wrote became a bestseller but the credit was never justifiably given to me and the words that I had written. At the same time, I felt indignant that online platforms – even Times news (why are you covering this?) – seemed to completely side-sweep the publisher, Penguin, and instead target Zoe – who they probably never heard of until this issue arose.

I had two responses when I heard this news. The short-term and immediate reaction was that I felt myself regretting having bought the book. I felt almost guilty. But then, maybe after a second-thought, I realised that because of all that was happening in regards to the issues of ghostwriting, I felt that it was even more necessary and relevant that I should read the novel.

Hence, the moment the hefty parcel reached my hands, just two days ago, I ripped it open and began digesting it. To avoid crediting where credit may not be due, I will address the novel itself instead of the author(s). I will, also, attempt to write as honestly as possible to how I felt about this novel – honest to both camps: those who love it and love Zoe and vehemently support and root for her, and those who are incredibly skeptical of the writing and believe that the story itself is garbage (which I believe it is not).

The first few chapters of Girl Online, and my first impression of it, was that it was palatable and the writing was decent. The character development was also pretty decent. The overall tone was quirky and easy to read.

I could tell that Penny, a sixteen-year-old student living in Brighton, aimed to be a girl with whom readers are immediately meant to identify with. She felt awkward, she was clumsy and shy and felt inadequate, and really wanted the approval of friends and family and boys.

Penny’s homosexual best friend, Elliot, was also someone with whom Zoe’s target readers should immediately love. When I read of him, I was immediately picturing Tyler Oakley in my head. And I wonder if that was intentional. I appreciated the random fun facts in the book and I honestly wish there had been more of that. I also wished there had been more exploration into who Elliot was as an individual and that he had not spent 80% of the novel hiding behind a mask of stereotypical “diva-fashionista-awesomeness” and comedic fluff.

Personally, I was still on board with the story, that is, till the point Penny and her family flew off to New York. The beginning story (without spoiling anything) attempted to tackle issues that I felt are close to any young person’s heart: bullying (esp. cyber-bullying), anonymity and problematic friendships.

It was in New York that the plot of the novel took a swift nosedive for me. It was FanFiction-esque: delusional and superficial. And I shall explain why I used these two negative adjectives as criticism. Maybe it is because I’m not the “hopeless romantic” type, and some (lovelorn teenagers) may disagree with what I am about to say next, but Penny and Noah’s love is a carbon copy of what many fangirls must envision in their heads when they picture themselves falling in love with their favourite boy band musician – regardless of whether they come from 1D or 5SOS. If anything, the romance between Penny and Noah is actually completely unnecessary for the primary message of the novel: that your words and actions can hurt, that you should think twice before saying them, and that no matter what, if things go terribly wrong, you should still love yourself and know that your family will support you.

So, for me, the Penny and Noah story in the middle of the novel was like the wrong stuffing in a roasted Christmas chicken dinner. Noah was in every way a stock character of the ideal rocker boy. His actions to romance Penny were the most cliched and at-the-top-of-your-head gestures that any boy could attempt to perform if they were willing to devote so much money and time for a girl. His little sister was every cliched angelically adorable attempt to make readers fall in love with her. There was little real about the family – including (dare I say it) the accident of Noah’s parents.

Getting that out of the way, there are moments where Girl Online does shine and communicates its message unexpectedly well. I won’t be ashamed to say that I teared up at some moments in the story – especially since many of the moments seem to parallel the reactions Zoe immediately got after the online communities and media platforms realised that her novel was ghostwritten.

The first time I teared was (and I specifically remember) on page 87. Shall not spoil here, but those who have the book or are reading it should know which part particularly, regarding cyber-bullying. It was an early moment and I believe that a previous incident that happened to me in the past triggered my empathy towards Penny at that particular moment. In today’s day and age, I also believe that this moment should affect a lot of other readers. It is kind of sad how many young people are affected by cyber-bullying, whether it be hateful messages online, “unglam” photos of them posted by people who do not like them, or being ostracised by a group of classmates on the internet.

The later “feels” occurred towards the end of the book around page 288-289. I have a soft spot for characters who are misunderstood or attacked by other individuals. So this part got to me.

I believe the message of the novel was strongest when aspects of who Zoe is as a person shone through. It is apparent that she had a clear role in creating this novel through certain minutiae: the line in which Christmas was her favourite time of the year, the father who is great at homey meals, the Margherita pizza and room service and the bath bombs – and many other things I can’t quite recall at the moment.

Lastly, I feel like I shouldn’t give my overall rating of this book, mostly because I am so torn as to what I should give it. In terms of plot and how it is written, it is comparable to those I read on FictionPress.com. Honestly, if I came across it on FictionPress.com, I would be happy to have found a decently written albeit cheesy plot for a story.

If there is anything you should treat this story as, in terms of story progression, it is a bag of chips – or cookies. It’s probably not good for you, but you want to eat it cause every so often you feel that biting into that chip makes you feel better and more satisfied as a human being. But, in all honesty, when you come out of finishing it, you have to admit to yourself that it probably was a whole bunch of No Good.

But, I can see where it is written from, and that there are good intentions in it and the issues that it attempts to address are still there. I believe that it could have been better if it focused more on those issues and less on romance. Those moments that I previously mentioned were the moments that shined for me and that were the most heartfelt.

Regardless of how wishy-washy the writing process of this novel was, I am still proud of Zoe for how she managed this novel and the criticisms that followed. It is honestly the most beautiful covered book I own at the moment – except maybe my new signed copy of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. And I love how it looks on my bookshelf. So, at the end of the day, I have no regrets buying it. It was honestly the perfect light-hearted read I needed for Christmas.

And, in regard to the entire issue of how the book was ghostwritten and how some have gone up in arms about it, I quote this part of the novel:

I sit on the edge of my bed, staring at my phone in terror. I picture people all over the world reading about me, posting hate-filled messages about me. People I don’t know. People who’ve never even met me.

This was written in the perspective of Penny – but I also believe that it is written very much so in the perspective of Zoe now. I don’t know why, but I feel incredibly protective of her as a person. I can’t imagine what she might be feeling or going through, but I feel that contempt is never justified if you are not personally involved in the situation. I feel like there are many times that we have been prematurely judged by others, and some times where we are unaware that we prematurely judge in return. I guess, the only suggestion I wish to make (not just for others out there but also as a reflection of my own) is to be more sensitive with words and how they may affect others. It’s easy to type blankly into a screen. It is harder to empathise and understand who you are communicating to and the effect your words may have on others.

(I believe that my last paragraph there is an attempt to not only summarise the message of the book but also the irony of the situation in relation to the book and the issues arising from the book in its entirety.)

Lastly, on a more positive (and less convoluted) note: this is the 25th book I’ve read for this year – which means that I completed my goal to read 25 books this year! And I’m so proud of myself now for having been able to accomplish this in light of how busy this year has been. 😀

Also, maybe as a post-postscript (P.P.S), I hope you don’t mind that I posted a Saturday’s Inklings on a Sunday/Monday (depending on your time zone) – and that I wrote it at 2am in the morning for me, which probably explains why this review is not as organised as I probably want it to be.

But I felt it was necessary to get all these words out before I forget them.

Till next time,

cumuloq ❤

Poem: The Magician’s Boy

6 inklings - saturday

A father and his boy did live
In a town not far away
The father loved his magic dear
The boy, he loved to play.

And every night at the end of the week
The father put on a show
And his son was his beneficial assistant
And in the minds of spectators they’d sow

the bridge between realities
and the dreams in children’s hearts
The people they would exclaim in glee
As the boy was sawed apart

Then he’d vanish before their eyes
And reappear in the crowd
The people they would lark and beam
And hail their praise out loud

Such smoke and mirrors the duo made
Upon the wooden stage
That a thousand miles across the seas
An emperor’s interest they engaged

The emperor brought his entourage
To the simple modest town
And in the audience the boy saw
A trifling thing in a red gown

His mouth did drop at the splendour
A fresh magic he’d never seen
Her limitless dark eyes shone moonbeams
In a heart that was young and keen

His father customarily decreed
For the boy to enter the box
And extravagantly his father demonstrated
The authenticity of his locks

And the boy he gazed down at the crowd
And all he saw was her hypnotic face
He could have been adrift forever
In her stars, her galaxies, her space

And his father raised the saw
And the saw fell clean and clear
And for the first night in a long night
There was not a single cheer

The father was imprisoned
For the crime he did commit
And many people wondered
If on purpose he had executed it

For the father loved his magic
But the boy, he loved to play
It was play that brought the magic
And it was love that took him away.

——————————————

Hi guys,

It’s been a while since I’ve given you a poem. This entire month was the first time (and probably not the first time I’m saying this) I’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo. So I’ve been really busy writing a story. Along with this story, however, I wrote a poem within it, a story about a young boy who, with his dad, performed magic shows in their town. But one tragic night this magic ended.

I thought I’d share with you this poem because I am so drained with anything poetic or written at the moment, at the end of this month. There will be more poems, don’t worry.

But for now, enjoy this. 🙂

Till next time and I wish all of you happy holidays!

cumuloq ❤