100 Letters, Pie, and Reasons Why

Imagine making a pie, but this pie takes a year or more to bake. Before that, you spend weeks looking at recipes, reading cookbooks late into the night, and tasting ingredients. You spend months rolling out piecrust and kneading it back together to try again. After you’ve fluted the crust with knife-edge precision, a level, and a ruler, you begin throwing the contents of your spice cabinet together like a mad culinary artist.

By the time you pour the filling into the shell, you’ve mixed up twelve different bowls (this one with more cinnamon, this one with more ginger, less vanilla in this one, this one you tried the butter at room temperature) before it finally smells like perfection. The countertop is littered with eggshells, puffs of flour, dirty spoons, and the sink is overflowing, but this, this is ready.

With a deep breath, you slide it into the oven. But even at this point, anything can still happen. The crust starts to sag. The filling bubbles over. One edge is traitorously turning black. The whole thing is going to turn into a sticky patch of half-burnt, inedible goo.

But then, somehow, the timer buzzes and you pull a beautiful, hot pie from the oven. You set it out on the table, sweaty, proud, and a little nervous, but you’re ready to share what you’ve made. There you stand, clutching your oven mitts together.

The first person you ask says no thanks, they’ve already eaten five slices. The person next to them is more of a cake enthusiast. Someone else is too busy talking to even think about dessert. Time goes by, and the warm steam wisps away from your pie. No one wants what you’ve made.

For a writer, rejection feels a lot like that. Continue reading

Falling for Japan

Outside, most of the leaves are dark green, heavy and wet with mist. Here on October 15, however, some of them are starting to catch fire. It hasn’t happened all at once, though. Some are bright—burnished and burned like a gold kettle left on the hob too long. Others are speckled emerald and red with brown filigree—butterflies fluttering as the last raindrops from the passing shower tap their wings. It’ll be weeks before the rest of the trees start to glow, but it’s October and fall has found me again.DSC_0008.jpg

Continue reading

Steampunk (A Mini Manifesto)

: space and time travel, steam, Victorian sensibilities, and various other diverse rudiments melded into anachronistic combinations

: a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy literature emphasizing steam-powered and clockwork technology

: a past built from known history and what might have been to create a world that never was


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Steampunk—as a genre, aesthetic, fashion, lifestyle— is difficult to define. Perhaps this is because unlike other terms, it can be any and all of those listed items at once. It’s recognized by the popular image of top hats and goggles, Victorian dress accessorized with practicality (or impracticality just as often). But it is much more than this. Steampunk is a realm of explorers, artists, airship pilots, scientists (mad and sane), tinkers, librarians, dreamers…anything you can imagine. Continue reading

That’s Interesting

Interesting.

Is there a more understated word than this in the English language? It is easy enough to say, and it comes with the added bonus of being able to use it in almost any tone of voice. Think about it. How many single words combined with vocal delivery can convey such a wide range of emotion? “Great” is one that jumps to my mind, but I’ll argue that most of the time, if you’re not saying this with a smile, a warm hand squeeze, or a twinkle in your eyes, the result is immediate sarcasm. “Interesting,” interestingly enough, does not fall into that category of linguistic usage. Continue reading

Hope and Freefalling

Definition  

: to cherish a desire with anticipation

 : to desire with expectation of obtainment

 : to expect with confidence

 : trust

Hope is a word we are well familiar with. Too often, it shares the same corner of our linguistic minds as the word “love.” Often used, it often slips into casualness, sweat pants and shortcuts rather than the complex richness and romance we associate with the words found in the above definition. We find ourselves saying things like, “I hope you have a good day” and “I hope the weather will be nice tomorrow,” but if you consider the manner in which this sentiment is imparted, would you say that you’re expecting with confidence that that person’s day will be a good one, or that you’re cherishing a desire for fine weather with the anticipation that it will happen the next day? Continue reading

Poetry in Motion: Museums

I’m having fun with putting animation to poetry, so here is another that I’ve put together, something a little less complicated than before. I’m hoping to give you a proper long post of writing soon, but in the meantime, please enjoy!


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The background photograph for this was taken at the Ashmolean in Oxford, England–a portrait of the author taken in the reflection of two merchant doors brought back by T.E. Lawrence.

This is my second attempt with something like this. What do you all think?