First Impressions: Where the Crawdads Sing

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Recently, I watched a movie with a friend of mine. Totally captivated by the plot, of course I sought out a book to match. Something about the coming-of-age murder-mystery had me intrigued, and as a true Literary artist does, I wanted to find the written text to match the piece of media I had been so interested in. 

So of course, I went to my mother, the librarian, knowing that she had either read the book, or knew where to find it. And of course, she had one I could borrow. 

Now, one may ask, Adele how can you write a first impressions blog about a plot you have already seen? Now, that. That is a wonderful question, and in response to that wonderful question I want to mention the infinite ways that movies and the books that they are based on are different. In reality, It is incredibly hard to bring all of the beautiful aspects that make up an original text into a two-hour rendition of the same plot.

Synopsis:

Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming-of-age murder mystery about a young outcast that lives in the southern marshes, aptly nicknamed Marsh Girl, who is accused of the murder of a local handsome, young man. The intertwining story lines take the reader on a journey that has the audience questioning everything they know. 

First Impressions: 

From the first chapter, the most striking part of the text is the beautiful imagery the author uses to describe the southern marsh, which many people would not view as such. Owens opens on a jolting scene that really sticks with the reader. The scene where the main character, Kya, watches her mother walk down the dirt road away from their humble home on the marsh, never to be seen by the family again. The only indication that she has left for good being her alligator skin shoes and the carpet bag in her hand.

In this chapter, the time jumps to heartwarming memories between her mother and herself, and eventually back to a memory of her and her siblings. The chapter really does a good job of showing what her core values are and how the family unit Kya was born into is damaged.

She is the youngest of five siblings, and her father is a horrid, neglectful man. This fact made the impact of her mother leaving her earlier in the chapter even more heartbreaking. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the emotion put into this first chapter, and I definitely am excited to keep reading. 

Assumptions:

Okay, since I have already watched the movie I am going to skip out on this part of our regularly scheduled programming.

I am so excited to get into this novel, especially since it merges two of my favorite genres, and a setting that has so much depth. There are hundreds of ways that this book will definitely be different than the movie that I watched, so I am not going in with any expectations as to how they will be the same. 

 

First Impressions: A World Without You

As a literary artist, I often times get burnt out on writing which in turn also seems to discourage me from reading. Too many words in such a short span of time makes my head spin, but as I am in my senior year, I have been working on many things that could make my writing process more productive and less destructive. 

One of those things being a steady writing and reading schedule. So as I started this journey, I thought to myself – What could hold me to reading new books every month? And the conclusion I have come to? Blog.

In this series of blogs, I am going to review the first chapter of every book I read, and hopefully, remember to do a final recap of my thoughts towards the end of the year.  There is so much to get from an initial chapter of a book,  but I can only assume that my first impressions will be far different from what I leave the book with. 

For the first blog in this series, I am going to be giving my initial thoughts based off of the first chapter of “A World Without You” by Beth Revis.  Before I give my thoughts on it, I do want to give a warning for slight mentions of death, nothing specific, but the first chapter does involve a funeral. 

 The book opens up from the point of view of Bo, a seventeen-year-old boy at Berkshire Acadamy, a school on a small island off of Massachusetts.  He describes the island as a gloomy place that barely ever sees sun, and from what he says about it, I imagine it to be almost like the island in “Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children” which I love.

In the chapter, Bo is heading towards some kind of ceremony, but it isn’t really clear that he is heading to a funeral until the second page when he comments on all the food in the kitchen. “Why do all old people cook when there is a tragedy?” So true. 

After that, Bo is lead to a ceremony in the courtyard of the school by “Doctor” who is introduced as a teacher of sorts. This is where the reader finds out that Bo’s dearest friend, Sofia, has passed away – although it isn’t clear how. At the ceremony Bo and a few other people are asked to say a few words and release a lantern in honor of Sofia, but Bo’s distaste for the whole situation leads him to opt out of speaking much. 

After, Bo manages to slip away and the chapter leaves off on him saying he is going back to the last place he saw her. 

Okay, now that we are through with the synopsis, here are my first impressions of the book. 

1. Something is off…

So from the first chapter, I was able to gather that the untimely death of Sofia had some suspicion surrounding it, or so I believe. Just the way Bo describes how uncomfortable he is with the whole situation leads me to think that there is something more to just a young girl who passed away.

2. Bo has family issues? 

At the ceremony, Bo sees his family seated and glares at his father. It seemed to me that there were some underlying issues that may be the reason Bo is now at a boarding school

3. Bo was very in love with Sofia.

This one is the assumption I am most sure about. Just the way Bo describes his mourning over Sofia is different to that of a friend. I am really interested in the relationship between the two… even though I know this book will likely leave me sobbing. 

 

So far this book already has me hooked on the concept and I am really excited to see what the plot develops into. 

Hopefully, I will keep up with this blog series… If I do I’ll update when I am done lol.

On an Unsociable Family… and a relatable poem.

Recently, I one of my favorite hobbies is to hit “generate” on a random poetry generator. More times than not, I find myself liking a poem, but not really relating to them. But the other day I found this poem that I became obsessed with. 

Some of my favorite poems are the ones that portray mundanity in a way that carries over to almost anyone who reads it. This poem is slightly a different variation of a portrayal of mundanity. In this poem, Elizabeth Hands tackles explaining her family dynamic in a way that many can relate to. Throughout the poem, she shows the reader how even in her own family, she often feels as if there is no real connection. 

One of the lines that really stuck with me was when Hand states,

“O what a strange parcel of creatures are we,
Scarce ever to quarrel, or even agree;
We all are alone, though at home altogether”

Through these words Hand perfectly sums up the feeling of monotony  that comes with her family’s perfectly “fine” relationship. She shows how the in between that her family’s interactions reside in is often lonely, because it results in the unintentional distancing from each other. 

I think this poem really speaks to the time we are in. Especially with the way technology consumes us today, many times you can feel alone while in a room full of people.  Elizabeth Hand really connected this feeling in a later portion of poem too.

“Like social companions we never fall out,
Nor ever care what one another’s about;
To comfort each other is never our plan,
For to please ourselves, truly, is more than we can.”

This line ends the poem on such a relatable note.  At first I only thought about the poem on surface level and didn’t think I could relate to it. I have a wonderful family, and most of the time, I feel like we are all very connected to one another. But as a reread this poem I realized that it speaks to so much more than what it was intentionally written to mean. 

This poem really captures the energy of how many of Gen Z feel when surrounded by our older family members. We, as a highly technological generation, have formed a sort of disconnect with the older generations unintentionally. Because we are so enraptured by the technology and all the information we have at the tip of our fingers, many times we forget to connect with our families and friends physically. We forget the importance of human connection. 

I think this really speaks to the reach of art and how even after decades, art can speak to anyone. 

“The Gift” by Mary Oliver

The Gift by Mary Oliver | Mary oliver quotes, Mary oliver, Mary oliver poems

About a year and a half ago, I was gifted with a basket filled with all the things I would need for art school by an alumn (and dear friend). In that  basket there were coasters, cups, a towel, and many other dorm living neccessities. Although I loved every single thing in that basket, one thing in particular caught my eye… Mary Oliver’s collected works “Devotions”. 

I immediately began to read the book when I got it, and quickly fell in love with the style that Mary Oliver wrote in. I admired the way that Oliver wrote about the world, and I wanted my writing voice to be similar to hers. There was one poem in particular that I had a deep emotional connection with. That poem was “The Gift”. 

In this poem, Oliver conveyed the beautiful complexity of the human experience, and what happens to the soul towards the end of our allotted times in this tangible realm. Reading that for the first time was absolutely mind boggling as a teenager whose thoughts rarely ever went to the depths that someone like Mary Oliver’s did. 

One thing about Oliver’s writing that I always will admire is her ability to draw connections between her own writing and religious references. Many of Oliver’s poems use phrases from religious text and speaking, but it’s never over bearing. 

In “The Gift” Oliver uses phrases such as “Earth and heaven are both still watching”.  This sentence gives the readers such a clear image of what she was trying to portray. I, as a reader imagined the subject of the poem on a big stage under bright lights, almost like a big finale show. 

My favorite part of this poem is the direction that the second stanza goes into. In the second part of the poem, Mary Oliver speaks about not letting your love and gratitude fade as years go on. I think that this is such a testament to what Oliver represents in many of her written works. She is all about finding the love within the life you lead and keeping it strong even as years go by.  

I think that is why I became so attached to her works in the first place. Many of her works represent my biggest goals in life, especially this piece. As a human, one of the things I want to accomplish in life is keeping the same passion throughout my years. Mary Oliver explains this so beautifully in her poetry. I hope to one day be able to express similar things as wonderfully as she does. 

 

rocks in my pockets.

have you ever seen a rock you just had to have?

whether it be on a sidewalk or in the forest somewhere, in the sand or in the snow – something about that rock just stood out to you. so you picked it up, stuffed it in your pocket, and went along with your day with the weight of the rock in your pocket as a reminder of the miniscule, but beautiful, thing that made your day.

i love to use this analogy as a way to think of something i learned at msa. over the span of the school year here ive learned a lot about myself, life, and other people, but there is one thing i learned that i constantly keep in the back of my mind when interacting with people. just like a pretty little rock i put in my pocket, there is one thing i picked up from msa and apply to all aspects of my life.

i figured that now was the perfect time to try to articulate this knowledge into a blog, especially to pass down to incoming juniors. the rock you may ask?

Conversations over Conclusions

the piece of knowledge i picked up from msa that is the most important (in my opinion) is an analogy as old as time

don’t judge a book by its cover. simple as it seems, its the truth. whether it be by a persons outward appearance, demeanor, or just the emotion they seemingly are wearing on their face at the time, don’t be quick to judge.

there were so many instances throughout this year where i was quick to judge. mostly out of my own self consciousness. i would look at all the people at msa and think ‘they are so much cooler than me, there is no way i could talk to them.’ but by doing that, i ended up isolating myself and missing out on so many amazing friendships.

it wasn’t until halfway through the school year that i started to have conversations that broke down my preconceived ideas of what people would be like. and by having these conversations, i realized that we all felt the same way. that we all were thrown into a new situation with new people. that i wasnt the only one afraid of jumping into the deep end of new friendships.

all of this is basically to just tell incoming juniors – we understand. i know it may be intimidating coming into this new situation, and i know that you’ll most likely feel intimidated or scared at one moment or another throughout the year. but dont be afraid to reach out! to your fellow juniors and your seniors. dont make assumptions about people or how they act based off of what they look like, because i promise, you’ll most likely be surprised when you get to know them!

anyways, seeing as this is my last blog of junior year, i figured there was no better time to dump a bunch of msa pictures from my downloads below it. lol enjoy!

(can’t wait to meet you new students!)

 

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My 5 Favorite Foods

CHICKEN N’ DUMPLINS

I think this choice of food quite literally sums up my whole existence. Chicken and dumplings are 24/7 running through my mind. Sleeping? Dreaming about dumplings. Walking to class? I wish i had some dumplings. Writing a story? Some warm chicken and dumplings would be a perfect snack.

The only requirement is that they are very peppered.

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GYOZA

Okay okay, I know, it is another strain of dumplings. But gyoza is completely different. It is a perfect pocket of pork and veggies. Either steamed or fried, served with a perfectly spicy sauce. I would do anything for some steamed pork gyoza.

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MUFFALETTA

muh fuh lah tah

Now this food has been my favorite since i was a young little lad(y). Muffalettas are like the perfect comfort food, but it is so hard to find a good one outside of New Orleans unless you make it yourself. Which is probably the reason I like them so much – because its like a treat when I can find a really well made one.

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SEAWEED SALAD:

YAYYYYY. One thing about me? I LOVE SEAWEED. But especially this salty sea delicacy. I’ve never been a picky eater, so when I was 5 i first wanted to try to seaweed salad, and I immediately started ordering it everytime i saw it on a menu. Seaweed salad makes me SO happy. It is quite hard to get other people to agree that it is delicious, but thats okay lol.

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CHICKEN NUGGETS

Okay, i may be an adventurous eater, but nothing will ever beat the classic, wonderfully delicious, almighty chicken nuggets. I think its something about the familiarity and  sameness of chicken nuggets that just makes it *chef’s kisses* delicious.

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one of my maladaptive daydreams

As I sit in this classroom with my peers all around me, I wonder if they even have a clue about what goes on in my mind. I’m going to be honest here, I rarely ever am just sitting with an empty mind. Most of the time when I appear to be calm or lost in thought, I am actually soaring through the sky as a bird or making a whole story about how I am a celebrity. I figured that now was the perfect time to share one of the daydreams I frequently enter. Now, I am going to warn that this is probably the most boring daydream you’ll ever hear of, but it’s what keeps me going, so it’s the one I have chosen to share. 

Anyways:

I sit at my desk. My legs are achy, and my back is stiff, but I wouldn’t trade this seat for the world. I’ve worked for years, and it’s finally paid off. A stack of papers ten inches tall is piled on my desk next to the pictures of family and random sticky notes with reminders. I’m writing. 

The confirmation draft for the second book in my series needs to be sent in by Tuesday of next week, but I am not worried. I’m lost in a whirlwind of characters, words, plot lines, and settings. Writing comes easy to me. I sit down each day and lose myself, but I am always drawn back. The words spilling out of my mind are like an anchor, and as each word appears in front of me on the page, a certain relief is felt. A weight is lifted. 

I write and write and write. I look at the time. End of the day. It was a successful day. I feel fulfilled. I’m not worn out by my day-to-day job; I’m energized. I feel motivated at the end of the day to start again tomorrow. To continue on with the same passion that I started with years ago. 

sharpening pencils

hello fellow blogspacers i am currently listening to my dear friend sharpen pencils one by one using a mechanical sharpener. one may think that i am getting more annoyed by the minute, but really, my mind is calm. even as he holds the mechanical pencil sharpener to my ear so I can hear each pencil be shrilly sharpened – i am as calm as can be.

actually, i usually work best when chaos is around me honestly. So, not even the terribly shrill sound of 100 pencils being sharpened could break my focus. for example, as i write this blog, the sharpening of pencils is just as soothing as the smooth jazz music mrs. sibley has playing in the lab today. 

i actually love the sound of sharpening pencils.

Platonic Soulmates: Fate or Fiction?

I used to hear the term “Platonic Soulmate” and think ‘well that is a nice way to say best friend!’ I really didn’t understand the whole meaning of saying something like that. I always thought of it as just a term that people used to be cheesy, honestly. I didn’t understand it until the universe sent me the perfect friend at the perfect time.

As many of you who will read this blog may know, my roommate Emma and I are rarely ever seen apart. We talk like two elderly women who have known each other since elementary school back in the 60’s. For at least the first week or two of school at MSA people thought we either were related for friends for years, but we actually had met only a few months before school. Right here is the part where I tell the story like an elderly woman:

One day, before even turning in the applications for MSA, my mom had basically dragged me by the ear to Brookhaven to take a tour of the school. The story basically goes that I met Emma on the tour and then we decided to go out to eat together after. The weird part was that even though we had never spoken to each other before, we began talking like we had been friends for years.  Even my parents were shocked at that point (knowing how I usually am with strangers).  After a tour, lunch, and a (I think) around 2 hour conversation, we had basically agreed to be roommates. It was, as my mom likes to call it, “A God Wink”, because before that day, I had completely given up on wanting to go to MSA. (If I am honest, I was really just waiting for a sign that made me think going to MSA would be a good decision.)

Now, although I may seem to give off a cheesy, lovey demeanor, it’s actually really uncommon for me to tell my friends how much appreciate them. It seems like the closer I get to someone, the less I verbally confirm that I am grateful, so I wanted to take a chance on this blog to say thank you to my roommate, bestie, and platonic soulmate, Emma. (cringe <3 jk) Joking aside, I am the most grateful for Emma out of all of the people I have met at MSA, and I am convinced sometimes that we share a brain. Honestly, I probably would have left MSA the first week if it hadn’t have been for the immediate best friend that Emma was. 

So enough of the cringy, sappy, emotions, enjoy this picture of me and my soulmate lookin cool :  

a celebration of us so far!

we have done it. we are on the threshold of spring break, and we are ready to take a week off. it was hard, yes, but we have made it this far. now, I know that it doesn’t seem as if it is super easy to just take a break, to put work and school on pause, but you deserve it!

i know that i for one am super duper excited to be able to take a breather, but i am also concerned about getting all of my work done. the bad news is, those worries don’t really just go away, but I think a week off of having to actively work on projects is just what i need at the moment.

im not gonna lie to the lovely blogspacers, I am extremely burnt out. which is probably why this blog is going to be very short. i really just needed a moment to tell myself what i needed to hear, because spring break can’t get here fast enough!

so, basically, I am writing this blog as a pat on the back to both of us. you and myself… we did it!