Snapshot 2/29/20 // Leaping and Living Each and Every Day

Currently listening:Careless Whisper” – George Michael
Currently watching: Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir S3
Currently playing: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Currently reading: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

February is one of those months I always want to like but every year I get disappointed. It was a hard month. Work was extremely busy and life has been hard at home too. Every spare moment between all of that though I have been tending to my goals. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted, but I did do a lot. Road bumps happen, but you just got to make sure to keep driving until you get to your destination.

(FIGHT ON!)

February Goals:

  1. Research, research, research (Round 2)! Half a check to this one… I did do more research just not as much as I would have liked to. This one will carry on into March. As long as I keep going, I’ll finish. No matter how long it takes.
  2. Finish organizing my room/desk/work space! Check. This was where a majority of my time went and man, was this a lot rougher than I expected! I have a few little things left to sort but the hard work on this is done.
  3. Stick to my planned blog posting schedule! Major check. I did this, and I did this well. I even added an extra post for Valentine’s Day!
(The sweet scent of victory!)

March (the month where spring finally arrives!) Goals:

  1. Research, research, research (Round 3)! Slow and steady wins the race. This is the third time I’m posting this goal but every month I get a little more done. Hopefully March will be kinder than February was. (I just want to write the story already! maybe I’ll do a bit of both… hehe!)
  2. Stick to my planned blog posting schedule! I’m determined to make this a habit and the only way to do that is to treat it as such. So I’m keeping this one here so I keep holding myself accountable and get the work done.
  3. Become more interactive on Twitter! I barely use my account but I want to be more active on it! Twitter has a huge writing community and I want to contribute. If any of you have a Twitter account, we should follow each other! My handle is @jaiiiilynn4
(Deadpool clearly approves)

What I Read:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. This is my second reread of this book, and I loved it as much as the first time I read it (I just had more knowledge of what twists and turns were coming to better prepare myself lol). This is a great book, and I know so many of y’all out there agree. The characters are all so diverse and fantastic and real. I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing, just the right amount of description, action and feeling. I hope one day to write as well as her. ❤ If any of you have not checked out any of her works yet, I highly recommend. She is a Queen for a reason.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. This was a divine little read, I really enjoyed it! Since the theme of February was cleaning up my work spaces, this book was very appropriate and informational. I learned a lot. For example, the cleaner your space the better you feel and the less distracted you are. So simple and yet so easily overlooked! It makes sense. If you have less things out grabbing for your attention then your mind in turn will become more clear too! Her voice throughout the book is cute as well, and I felt really relaxed as I learned about tidying which usually causes me stress haha! I also loved the idea of saying thank you to your possessions. You should treat them with respect and I feel like a lot of people overlook this, like when you get home and just unceremoniously dump your stuff down without another thought. You should on an everyday basis take care of the things you own and remember that they are there to make your life easier and in turn look out for you too. It was such a fresh and positive way of looking at things, and of course “sparking joy”. I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to make a change in their life.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Currently reading this and currently loving every damn second of it. I don’t want it to end, so I’m taking this one slow. You can only read a book for the first time once right? Expect all my thoughts next month on this beauty of a book.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted every other Friday
  • Alternate Reality flash fiction collection- posted the last Tuesday of the month
  • Snapshot! monthly recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

All of my writings are independent of each other and stand alone so no need to read any of the previous work to understand. If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here, lol.

Here’s another gif of Deadpool (because why not?)…. and an accurate representation of my writing in art form, lol. Basically. I love a good fight scene.

February Round Up of Brilliant Posts I Read By Other Bloggers:

My Round Up of February Posts:

If you have read this far then you must have noticed all the Deadpool gifs *wink, wink*. I love him so much and have no regrets. Deadpool is the only thing I’ll watch on Valentine’s Day. Honestly, to me, it is one of the most romantic movies of all time. That aside, let’s go out and enjoy this extra day we get this month! Happy Leap Year!

How were your February’s? Did you meet your goals? What are you looking forward to in March?

Till next time,

Flash Fiction – “The Devil”

“You have met with a horrible destiny, haven’t you?”

The devil in the mask held the dagger out, the handle towards me and blood from the blade pooling in its fist. Still as stone, its unmoving eyes bore into mine.

I tried to keep trained on the blade but couldn’t help but let my stare wander back to its face. Not like it had changed the whole time. The same macabre expression of a grin slitted with pointed teeth and a forked tongue hooked out of the right corner of its mouth were still all I could see. Some part of me was trying to see a crack to the monster underneath but masks existed for a reason.

“Horrible destiny….” I laughed, but brokenly. “I think I’ve heard that somewhere before.”

It drummed its claws along the steel, a little ting sounding every time a nail made contact. Then one scratched down a little too far and I flinched, a little too noticeably. So… the devil did it again. And again.

Just to break the cycle I took a step closer, and it mirrored me. When I took one to the left, it took one to its right. Step by step bringing us closer and closer together. Only when I took one back did it not move in turn. It stayed still, that smirk forever painted on its mouth.

It wanted me close. But couldn’t it see that this game was irrelevant? With my posture hunched, and my breathing hitched there was no way it didn’t see how exhausted I was. I didn’t even have my sword anymore. Then there was that dagger… just out for me to take.

If I wanted to survive I needed it. But, the one offering it was someone who wanted to drag me down at the end of all this…. something that would never want to hoist me up.

“All heroes have heard that before.” It bounced the blade in its hand, and the moonlight above glinted off the red steel.

I bit my lip. “I’m not a hero.” Then, I reached out and took the dagger. The devil didn’t let go though as my grip tightened.

It chuckled, low and grating. The sound like nails on a blade. Then it put its free hand to the edge of its mask and tipped it off.

“No, you’re not a hero….” the monster whispered, my own face reflected back at me like a mirror where its own should have been. The expression was familiar but crooked, and hungrily grinning at me underneath the shadow of the mask. “are you?”

I would have taken those pointed teeth and forked tongue for anything now… but they weren’t visible any longer since now I was the one wearing the mask.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Living Life #23 “Smile”

I have only seen her frown once.

Granted, I have never seen her outside of work but when you work as many hours as I do with the same people day after day… you tend to notice things.

In the early morning, when the sky is still painted night and the air chilled with dew, whoever she greets on her way in she’ll flash a smile. It doesn’t matter if her eyelids are still a little droopy with sleep, or her sweet voice a little heavier as if coated in honey. No matter what, you’ll still see that smile.

At our weekly meeting we learn about new procedures, rules, or programs we need to know how to run. If she doesn’t understand she’ll raise her hand and ask her questions, always with a coy quirk in her lip. As if in apology for speaking, when in reality she is voicing the question in all our minds.

Casual meetings in the hallway with everyone’s coming and goings, when if you’re lucky enough to meet her eyes, there that grin will be. It doesn’t matter that she already flashed it at you an hour ago when you walked in together.

Disgruntled customers are frequent and normal. I once watched a man spit at her, saliva getting stuck to her blouse and she didn’t even balk. That smile came to her defense and it calmed him, and the rest of us, down from coming to her aid.

When Tracy accidentally dropped a cup of coffee and it splashed onto her shirt.

When her computer broke and she had to stay late to finish her assignment.

When it started to pour just as she was about to leave the other day.

Everywhere she goes, she smiles. I don’t understand. Or at least I didn’t, until the day I saw that frown.

I was coming around the corner when I spotted her at the window. It was the only time I ever saw her eyes look so far away. Her arms were crossed tightly across her chest, and her hands were clenched around her elbows. I realized in that moment that she thought she was alone. I would have left it that way too… if not for the frown marring her face.

For someone who had always seemed so happy, and brought joy to everyone else… I wondered at the depth of sadness she must have kept bottled up inside. There was a lifetime of disappointment and worry in that upside down turn of her mouth.

I didn’t mean to stare… but that’s how she caught me. Her expression careened from sadness to surprise to a calm expression with her lips set into a straight line. I didn’t even know what to say, I was caught just as off guard as she was.

Are you okay? came to the tip of my tongue but my words weren’t working. She inclined her head at me then and passed by. That was the only time she didn’t smile, at least to me.

I wonder, sometimes, if she is as aware as I am of the powerful effect a smile, or lack there one, can have… because after I didn’t see one the rest of my day was wrecked.

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

“Question”

Sometimes,
she’ll ask
me
a question.

Then in return,
I’ll give
her
an answer.

Bundled
in a sweater
with purpose
puncturing her words,
I hear her smart
yet sassy
inquisition.

(She never lets me down.)

It’s those moments,
where my heart
beats a little
too
fast.
But still…
I try to keep
my distance
(and curiosity)
at bay
for what her next
question will be.

She brings up
the clouds,
the mist
the breeze
trying to get in
through my window.

And I want
to open the window
and feel the sun on my face
because it is just like
her smile.
(But instead
I bury my head,
back to the calls
flashing on my phone.)

Every time
I see
her
there’s so much
to do
I want her to leave
(and need her
to stay
to make this
dull gray light
stark sunshine bright.)

Sometimes
she’ll ask
me
a question

(Too close to the truth.)

And I
won’t answer
her
at all.

(And we both
know why.)

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

“Valentine’s Day”

Chocolate hearts,
sweet tarts,
honey dripping
off your lips.

Written out paper card,
walking down the boulevard
not knowing where
but happy all the same.

Red rose,
bantering prose
nothing can ever
compare to this.

Cuddly teddy bear,
my mind without care
as long as you
are next to me.

Love of my life,
your future wife
doesn’t need
all these things.

Only you
and me too
together
forevermore.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my dear

Photo by Alejandra Quiroz on Unsplash

“Answer”

Sometimes,
I’ll ask
you
a question.

Then in return,
you’ll give
me
an answer.

Fastened
in a business suit
with logic
licking your lips,
I hear your polite
professional
response.

(Good for you.)

And I notice,
disappointment
and relief
tying my hands
behind my back.
But still…
I’m curious
(and struck)
so I change
my tactics.

I bring up the sun,
the air,
the rain brushing
the windows
near your desk.

And you say,
“It’s been so
so busy.
There hasn’t
been time.”

You are either
so absorbed
in your papers
or so disinterested
in everything else
except
your phone.

Trying to get
you
to look
at me
is my favorite
game.

Because,
there have been
certain times,
when I know
I’ve gotten through
to you.

Sometimes
I’ll ask
you
a question.

And
you
won’t answer
me
at all.

(And we both know,
you heard me.)

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Living Life #22 “Mirror”

The shards were scattered all over the floor.

Each edge was jagged, and unlike any of the others. Of course they would all be different. They all came from different experiences.

The shard closest was derived from the boy who pushed her into the sandbox when she was five, just because she had been born a girl and for no other reason more.

The one to the right was one of the bigger ones. It was from when she was seven and her father had left. She thought it had been her fault. It was not her fault.

All the way to the left was a tiny chip, nearly in the shape of a heart. Nearly. It was from the eighth grade when the boy she liked had tried to set her up with his best friend.

Then all the way in the back, that piece with the most uneven sides… the piece with the sharpest angles…. that was the one from her first job out of school when her boss had tried to sand her down. That boss hadn’t liked the bumps on her skin, the angle of her eyes, or the color of her hair. That boss had balked at the smile she wore to work every day no matter how many backhanded compliments and disguised insults were said to her face. That was the girl’s favorite piece. That was the piece that cut deepest from her skin and made her never look back or question who she was ever again.

All of these shards on the floor were an important piece of her soul. So the image left standing in the mirror, after it was fixed once again, was a smarter and stronger girl.

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Snapshot 1/31/20 // Delighted and Disillusioned by the Endless Variety of Life

Currently listening: “My Shot” – Hamilton: An American Musical
Currently watching: Letterkenny S3
Currently (re)reading: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

New year, new me, new blog! Hey guys it’s 2020 and though it was long, look we survived January! As you can see at this point I was a busy little bee and redesigned the look of my blog! New colors! New fonts! New graphics! (note: all. the. exclamation. points! I’m really proud of myself y’all.) (and also super tired but it’s WORTH IT.)

(Both halves of me as I type this)

Someone was working on her goals, lol. Let’s head into them now, shall we?

January Goals:

  1. Research, research, research! Check, but still not done researching for that pesky WIP yet. This goal will live on into February, and that way I can hopefully get to writing in March.
  2. Plan a steadier posting schedule! Check. You can check out the link here for the post announcing it or go to the ‘About’ page on my site.
  3. Enact redesigning the site! MAJOR CHECK. This was where a majority of my time went and I’m very proud of it. It’s simple I know, but I did it all myself, so please allow me to revel in my hard work.
(Thank you for indulging me)

February (aka the month in which Jai freezes her buns off) Goals:

  1. Research, research, research (Round 2)! I like researching and learning new things especially when I find something useful to use for my WIP’s story and world building. Not going to lie though, it can also get very tedious drudging through lots of facts and dates that are about as interesting as watching paint dry. On the bright side, I’ll share a tidbit. This revamped WIP of mine takes place in the very world we live in, (LE GASP!) just another side of it. (*cue eyebrow wiggle*) Vague, yes. Generic, I know. Confusing, for sure. Forgive me.
  2. Finish organizing my room/desk/work space! I need to clean my room, like for real. There is so much going on: paper all over the floor, clothes thrown over my chair, AND BOOKS LEAKING OUT OF EVERY ORIFICE LIKE WATER OUT of A BUSTED PIPE. I definitely need to clean that way I stay focused and stop thinking about my TBR pile for the next year. (Crooked Kingdom I’m coming for you next!)
  3. Stick to my planned blog posting schedule! I’m putting it here as a concrete goal. The only way to build a habit is to practice it. It’s 2020 and I’m holding myself accountable. Damn straight.
(Rosa Diaz’ entire being is an accurate depiction of my dead seriousness)

Side note: I’ve also started reading as soon as I wake up now, instead of waiting till bedtime and… I’m finding I really enjoy it? I think I’m actually reading more than I was before. Starting your day with cereal and an epic tale in your head is basically everything you need to survive the day.

What I Read:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I first read this book in high school, as I’m sure most Americans have. I wasn’t sure what to expect then since a lot of the books we were forced to read in high school, though classics, weren’t always the most engaging. The Great Gatsby was different. It stuck with me. Short and straight, outlandish and lovelorn, it was a book I felt that anyone could relate to. Even through the grand parties and the lifestyles of the rich and the careless, at the heart of the book is an indescribable insight into the human soul. All of us of been so locked into our past at one point that it takes up our future, just like Gatsby. All of us have acted innocent, sometimes spoiled, and even ignorant just like Daisy. All of us have been the outsiders to someone else’s life where the grass always seems greener on the other side, just like Nick, but in the end we see the situation for what it really is and realize no, the grass really isn’t that green after all. As my first read for the new decade it didn’t disappoint. Even after all these years I find I enjoyed the story more than I did when I was in high school and honestly, I understand a lot more about the characters now than I did before. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Every book lover should read The Great Gatsby at least once.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. I started this one in December and finished it in January. It’s a reread but I thought it deserved another look. Funny, charming and thoroughly researched, all the statistics are fascinating to learn, and Aziz’s wit keeps the book entertaining even through all the data heavy information. It’s a good look at the current trends in romance.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Short, sweet and sometimes sour it’s a collection of vignettes told from the perspective of Esperanza Cordero about all the interesting characters of Mango Street where she grows up. It’s an inspiring coming of age novel that in the past I had only read bits and pieces of in school, but seen in its entirety now I’m really glad I read it. The vignettes range from as long as half a page to maybe four pages, and each one goes straight to your heart, either to hurt or to heal it with the endless variety of humanity life has to offer.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I’m in my second re-read of this beautiful book before I finally get to CROOKED KINGDOM which I regrettably have had yet to read. (I KNOW, RIGHT? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE??) Alas, that shall be the very next book I pick up dear readers. Right now I’m just enjoying my ride here with Kaz in Chapter 18. He is very addicting. Expect the full mini review in next month’s Snapshot!

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted every other Friday
  • Alternate Reality collection- posted the last Tuesday of the month
  • Snapshot! monthly recap- last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

So I’ve been doing the poetry and vignette thing for a while but as you guys might have noticed… I added something new! The Alternate Reality collection will be a feature of flash fiction posted on the last Tuesday of every month. Expect horror, sci-fi, fantasy along with many other potential genres! Oh, and a ton of MAGIC. These will be more out there stories so if you’re in for a wild ride check out the first post February 25th! Like the Living Life vignettes all the pieces will be independent of each other so there will be no need to read the predecessors to follow along.

I’m a firm believer that magic is out there. Sometimes it’s simple or subtle or we don’t recognize it for what it is at the time. That type of magic you will find in the Living Life vignettes. As for the wraiths, dystopian societies and current intergalactic wars that have been spanning centuries … (who knows?) that type of magic will be prevalent in the Alternate Reality collection.

I hope you are looking as forward to the adventure as I am.

Here are January’s Amazing Posts from Other Bloggers I Adored Reading:

My Round Up of January Posts (look how much I wrote!):

Thanks for hanging in there with me till the end of this long post, and I hope you guys like the new look of my blog! Here’s to the next eleven months: may we work hard towards our goals and may we all write our hearts out!

What are some of your February goals? What current books are you reading that are just too good to put down? (I think Kaz is calling me lol.) I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,

Living Life #21 “Brushing My Teeth”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Morning and night, it is all the same.

Day in, night out. At sunrise, I don’t turn the light on. Sleep still has its hold on my eyes and even though my body is moving I feel like I’m still in a dream. Did I ever really wake up? The reflection in the mirror doesn’t answer. All she does is stare back at me as I pick up my toothbrush.

Day in, night out. At sunset, I turn the light on but sometimes… bad times… I leave the bathroom dark. I can taste the fluoride without needing to see. In those bad times, it’s too much to stare back at her. In the same spot again. She is always tired. Day in, night out. Always with traces of sleep leaving or coming. Exhaustion never leaves us alone.

I can’t speak for her but why don’t you leave me alone?

Is it because it’s pointless doing this same routine over and over? Does the other me know and that is why she tries to show me how tired I am? Do I work too hard? Or is it never enough? Is that sadness just wearing a disguise in the droop of her eyes?

Do you find me Exhaustion because I am alone?

Maybe I’m just tired of brushing my teeth. Everyday it’s all the same. Morning and night.