Sweat And Pray and Sweat!

In my final literary review, I want to review a short story I recently had the pleasure of reading. “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston has quickly become one of my favorite stories thus far in my repertoire or short stories read. Hurston’s use of original dialect within the dialogue, her vivid descriptions, and her unique telling of the relationship between the main characters, Sykes and Delia, make this story unique and full of a life.

Following the story of two people stuck in toxic matrimony, the interactions of Delia and her husband Sykes are depicted through the use of language and actions. With Sykes being verbally, mentally, and physically abusive towards Delia, he threw his hatred on her and never let up. Delia, stuck in the mindset of constantly loving your partner, she stayed with Sykes despite his cruel words and intentions. This story follows the last leg of their marriage. Sykes, tired of Delia and cheating with her plainly, abuses Delia and tortures her with her greatest fear, snakes. Disrupting her hard work as a washerwoman, Sykes brings a live snake into their house and uses it as leverage over Delia. With hopes that the snake would kill Delia, a turn of fate happened. Sykes ended up on the wrong side of his plan and ended up getting killed by the snake as Delia was peacefully sitting under a chinaberry tree as he died. 

With symbolism being heavily instilled in the story, Hurston uses this symbolism to put a deeper meaning behind the entire story. What does it take for a woman who has given her all to stop? What does it take to turn love into hate?

I’ll take a pause here to say that these questions came up once I ended the story and analyzed its meaning. I do think there are more questions that can arise from this tale, but I thought these were most important.

In the midst of my analysis, I realized that the story was about gaining what you deserve. In terms of Delia, she gained her deserved peace. She gained peace from her abusive husband and the cruel words he threw at her. For 10-plus years, he changed her life for the worse and caused permanent damage to her mental state. As for Sykes, he gained his deserved punishment for the things he caused Delia. 

You will always get what you deserve. 

Through this story, Hurston expressed this message and emphasized on the reward of hard-earned work and sometimes sweat. This is why I like this story. 

As the reader, you always root for the ones being put down. You always root for the underdog. Hurston giving Delia the peace she deserved ended the story completely. It gave the story a beginning, middle, and end. 

I highly enjoyed the use of old, southern dialect. Hurston gave these characters life, down to the way they talk. The realism of the language and dialogue made the story feel real. It made it feel like it actually happened, which I appreciated very much.

Overall, I am in love with this story. I am in love with the depth of the message it tells. The characters captured me with their personalities and I admire the way Hurston wrote them out. 

I often look at writing styles in comparison to my own, but I couldn’t find it in Hurston’s. I found a sense of longing for the authenticity within her writing. I long for the realism within her writing. As much as I have fallen in love with this story, I think I’ve fallen in love with Hurston as well. During her life, she wasn’t celebrated, but I will be sure that she is.


Here is the link to the story!

Microsoft Word – sweat.doc (weebly.com)

I Am Learning to Abandon the World

In my journey of searching for a poem for Poetry Out Loud, I came across this poem by poet Linda Pastan (pronounced Past-An):

I Am Learning to Abandon the World


I am learning to abandon the world

before it can abandon me.

Already I have given up the moon

and snow, closing my shades

against the claims of white.

And the world has taken

my father, my friends.

I have given up melodic lines of hills,

moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.

And every night I give my body up

limb by limb, working upwards

across bone, towards the heart.

But morning comes with small

reprieves of coffee and birdsong.

A tree outside the window

which was simply shadow moments ago

takes back its branches twig

by leafy twig.

And as I take my body back

the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap

as if to make amends.

My general thoughts on this poem, when I first read it, primarily centered on the language used in the poem. Never had I ever read such modern, poetic lines such as these. One line that stuck with me the most was “And as I take my body back[,] the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap as if to make amends.” The line is very simple, but it says so much. Using the word “muzzle” rings comfort and describes the warmth of the sun in such a beautiful way. The whole poem had great wording, it was very cohesive and coherent, and the structure was visually pleasing. This poem, without a doubt, is one of my favorites…

but it isn’t the poem that stands out to me the most…it is the story behind it.

Linda Pastan wrote this poem with the story of grief and acceptance in mind. A woman, who is on the verge of leaving this world, goes through the “wrong” in her life, but finds things to keep her going every day. The clear shift in tone of the poem allows the reader to clearly see where the thought process of this woman is. 

The first line sets the story up to be one of hopelessness and gives a “just-gave-up” tone. “I am learning to abandon the world before it can abandon me.” In other words, she is learning to not enjoy life, so it won’t hurt as much when life leaves her. Though a very sad thought process, the rawness in it is what makes it so powerful. The speaker has lost all faith in the world as the world has let her down before.

The story then leads to an explanation of what she has given up; she has given up on the sight of the milky moon, the beautiful sight of falling snow, and she has even given up all things musical and lively in her life. With a realization that the world has taken her father and her friends, the unsaid question stands to be, “what more is there for her to live for?”

The story then moves to a brighter tone as the speaker stops herself from going deep into what she doesn’t have or what she has to go through and moves to the better things in her life. She recalls the smell of coffee in the morning, the singing birds of the day, the lively tree that lives outside her window, and the warmth the sun provides in times of comfort. This shift in the story brings a sense of hope and gives the audience hope that the speaker will turn out okay in the end. If not okay, atleast content.

This poem lives in my head rent FREE and I hope it will impact you in someway as it did to me. Happy reading!

Genetics: a poem catered to me



My mother has a gap between

her two front teeth. So does Daddy Gunnar.

Each child in this family has the same space

connecting us.

Our baby brother, Roman, was born pale as dust.

His soft brown curls and eyelashes stop

people on the street.

Whose angel child is this? they want to know.

When I say, My brother, the people

wear doubt

thick as a cape

until we smile

and the cape falls.


I could count how many times I have read a poem that I truly relate to on one hand. Seldom do I connect with poetry on a level of familiarity, but this particular poem immediately resonated with me. For my entire life, I have been singled out, picked on, praised, and even questioned about my most unique feature: my gap. After losing my two front teeth as a child, I was sure that they would grow back in the same way as they were prior to me losing them; I was wrong. 

My teeth came back with a space that would be with me forever. The idea of getting rid of my gap bothers me and even brings me to the brink of dissapointment. Why would I get rid of something so beautiful? 

Jacqueline Woodson was a poet I came across during my search for a poem for Poetry Out Loud. Once I found her poem Genetics I was immediately intrigued. I had never seen a poem with such a title; a simple word with such a heavy meaning. 

Upon reading the poem, my first thought was, “Wow. This is literally my life.” The parallels within the poem matched perfectly with my life. Like the speaker in the poem, I, too, have a family gene of the famous gap. No matter how big or small it is, every member of my family has a gap. The most prominent carriers of the gene happen to be me and my siblings. My brother and sister don’t have a large gap like me, but theirs surely isn’t in hiding. 

Our infamous gap is behind the various questions of “Are you guys related?” or, my personal favorite when it is just my sister and I, “Are you two twins or sisters?” These questions never fail to bring a smile to our faces as we know how distinct that feature is and how personal it is to us.

For Jacqueline Woodson to bring that same smile to my face as I read her poem, I thank her. Her simple words and short lines told a story that I knew well. It tells a story that I dream of being able to tell someone one day. It was almost like I could envision myself saying the poem to a stranger who asked me about my gap or to someone who doubted my relation to my brother or sister. I could see myself as the speaker.

Strictly praising the content of the poem, I also want to give praise to the simplistic structure of the poem. I am a strong believer in shorter poems holding more weight. The words are carefully picked and placed together strategically. With longer poems, I feel, you have more room to throw in “filler” words, creating a disconnect between the reader and the poem.

Jacqueline Woodson worded this poem perfectly, not wasting time on descriptions, but rather being completely present in that moment. The structure of the poem was an interesting aspect. I don’t dwell too much on poem structures considering the possibilities are endless for how a poem can look. Personally, I like to see the various ways a poem can be structured, I even practice changing the structure of my own poems from time to time. The overall poem had great pacing, strong word choice, and also has a very welcoming and relatable tone to it. 

I love this poem and I think you all will too! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Happy reading!

Psychology Might Be My True Love

See the source image

Now, this will be a literary review, but not exactly like something I’ve done before. Usually, I like to do my reviews on genres within the creative writing world (i.e. short stories, flash fiction, poetry, etc.), but this time I’ve stepped into the world of reading research articles. Yes, it sounds boring, but this particular journal article piqued my interest so much, I simply have to do a review on it. This will be more along the lines of me dissecting the information presented in this particular article that I read, but still a review of the writing style of this piece of writing.

Given the assignment in my new psychology class, we had the opportunity to look through journal articles on things we found interesting in our lesson. Starting with an interest in counseling psychology and all the things related to the specific practice, I looked through maybe 30 journal articles, but to no avail, none that I looked at held any real interesting information. In another attempt, I went for journal articles concerning developmental psychology. This is where I stumbled across this particular article highlighting a psychological study on household chaos.  Written by Jennifer A. Emond, this article, entitled, Household chaos: a risk factor for adverse child outcomes gains attention in public health, highlights important information found in a study on the influences that household chaos can have on the development of a child and their physical health as they grow into adolescence. The question must stand, what is household chaos? As the article defined it, it is “characterized by high levels of confusion, disorganization and hurriedness in the home.” This alone had me hooked on the article. Never in my life have I thought of household chaos being a problem. Though my home life is less chaotic now that all the birds have left the nest, as a young child I often remember moments of pure chaos in my house. It definitely makes me wonder if I have been affected by said chaos.

The article goes on to explain the influences that household chaos can take on behavioral, attention, and learning problems in children. The writer utilizes the information in a very effective way to downsize the scientific jargon that was surely present in the original study. The writer provides a clear, structured article that is very easy to follow and uses words that cater to the less informed on the scientific terms and scientific data used regularly in articles like this. I particularly enjoyed this “layman’s” explanation as I am only into my fifth class of psychology. 

The overall article was very well written and definitely gives me insight on research and technical writing, a different side of the literary world that I am not so used to seeing…

But to go into my dissecting process, I would love to share that the article highlighted the correlation between household chaos and sleep. Now, I can’t say that my own experience with household chaos directly influences my terrible sleep schedule, but I can come to the conclusion that there might be some connection between the two. I can’t for the life of me tell you how a psychologist might have even considered that your sleeping behaviors could be a result of high levels of household chaos, but they have. This is what further deepens my growing love for psychology; it is literally everywhere! There is a psychology to everything we know. There is a psychology behind sleeping behaviors, communicative disorders, and even the way we walk! 

I won’t go on much more considering I’ll probably just keep on talking about the many wonders of the science of psychology and how I am always in awe of the information that comes about from it. Unfortunately, the article was subjected to being in a library with limited access meaning I can’t share it with you all, but I encourage you to look more into this phenomenon and see what other information you can find! Psychology is slowly making its way into my curious heart and I am so excited to see what else I can learn.

The Paradox: My Thoughts

The Paradox

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

I am the mother of sorrows,

   I am the ender of grief;

I am the bud and the blossom,

   I am the late-falling leaf.


I am thy priest and thy poet,

   I am thy serf and thy king;

I cure the tears of the heartsick,

   When I come near they shall sing.


White are my hands as the snowdrop;

   Swart are my fingers as clay;

Dark is my frown as the midnight,

   Fair is my brow as the day.


Battle and war are my minions,

   Doing my will as divine;

I am the calmer of passions,

   Peace is a nursling of mine.


Speak to me gently or curse me,

   Seek me or fly from my sight;

I am thy fool in the morning,

   Thou art my slave in the night.


Down to the grave will I take thee,

   Out from the noise of the strife;

Then shalt thou see me and know me—

   Death, then, no longer, but life.


Then shalt thou sing at my coming,

   Kiss me with passionate breath,

Clasp me and smile to have thought me

   Aught save the foeman of Death.


Come to me, brother, when weary,

   Come when thy lonely heart swells;

I’ll guide thy footsteps and lead thee

   Down where the Dream Woman dwells.


In the midst of reading this poem, I realized that I didn’t really know the meaning of a paradox. By definition, a paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well-founded or true. In layman’s terms, a paradox is a contradiction; this is when two things go against each other.  Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African-American poet, wrote this poem with each stanza being a new paradox. His use of the literary device gave distinct and keen characteristics of the speaker in the poem. The general structure of the poem is very simplistic and easy to read. The poem itself is very well-written and is a very powerful read.

On my first read of the poem, I didn’t understand what it meant. This led me to looking up what a paradox is. If you don’t know what it is, I would suggest looking it up and getting an understanding for yourself before you go back to read the poem in that context. Once I read the poem again with new eyes, I realized the message behind the words. From my understanding, the poem is being told by Paul Laurence Dunbar. He is telling of himself.

In the first stanza, he starts with “I am the mother of sorrows,” a line that I took the meaning to be along the lines of being a person who often causes sorrows in life. The contradiction lies in the meaning of mother and the meaning of sorrows. The two go against each other. A mother has the associations of comfort, love, and warmth while sorrows almost always have death, darkness, and grief attached to it. The beauty of the line, for me, is the combination of the two; To consider yourself the mother of sorrows has to be a hard realization to come by. 

All throughout the poem, Dunbar has various lines that show a paradox. He uses these to tell about himself; it felt like I was reading an autobiography almost. By the tone and the use of certain words, it feels like he is trying to prove himself. I suppose with more information on the life of the poet, I would have an even deeper understanding of the poem. I don’t know if the popularity of Dunbar when he wrote this poem or even what situation he was in, but the poem sounds like he is trying to prove himself worthy of praise. If not praise, then it could be acknowledgment. In the 6th stanza, Dunbar says, “Then shalt thou see me and know me—” a line I find to be quite sad. The lines before this one in the same stanza tell us that Dunbar will take his name down to the grave and out from the mouths of those who don’t like him or his writing. The line feels like he is saying that only in his death will he be appreciated. That is sad to say. 

This poem took me on a journey, and every time I read it, I figure out something new. My interpretation of the poem could be very wrong or it could be very right, but we will never truly find out. I hope you all like this poem, if not, why? I am genuinely interested in seeing how people take in this poem and its meaning. I love this poem and I am sure I will be reading some of his other works, but for now, I’m going to keep enjoying and reading this poem!


My First Day As A Stalker: Flash Fiction Review

On my quest to find a short story to read, I found the most interesting image of a man with two faces on his body. This picture immediately caught my attention and so did the title of the story, “Nettle.” Usually, I would try to read the entire piece of writing, but the story was too confusing two sentences in! This got me thinking…

How can I read something quick, understandable, but it will have me leaving with questions and questions?

Completely forgetting about flash fictions, I tried to continue my short story, but it didn’t work out, which is perfectly okay. Changing directions, I looked towards flash fictions to get my dose of reading from.

So, with that being said I have a really creepy review for you today.

Flash fictions are pieces of the moment, pieces that should be savored and enjoyed instead of rushed and long. So, after my short story search and fail, I found a website completely dedicated to flash fictions! The story that caught my eye is called, “ My First Day as a Stalker.” Yes, yes it does read as creepy as the title is. This particular flash fiction gave me “You”  vibes. 

If you know…you know.

The story opens with the narrator recounting his time watching his prey, Claire, a nice young woman. The narrator followed Claire throughout the day, telling the audience about what he saw her doing. He got so picky about what she was doing that he revealed everything she did; from the moment she got in the shower to the moment she got out. He watched her from afar and learned and observed her routine, so he could adapt to her and learn her ways.

Creepy right? It gets even crazier.

After a day’s worth of following Claire, the next day he went to the place she worked and said all the right things, inevitably getting Claire’s attention just from stalking her. Of course, he said all the right things…he took what she liked and desired and put it in his own mouth. In a non-creepy way, it was actually pretty smart of him in my opinion.

Now this story was not very long at all, probably no more than 500 words. It wasn’t the length of the story that got me, but rather the feeling I got after reading it. I even checked my windows and all places someone who could be hiding. To feel like someone is watching me just from reading a few paragraphs of a story is amazing. The story had a complete beginning, middle, and end and was very well rounded.

The content was there and on point. It interested me, hooked me in, and entertained me all at the same time. I wanted to read this story.

I will admit that a tiny bit of me wishes that the story could be extended, simply because I think even more detail about the narrator and what he saw while stalking Claire would enable the reader to get a greater sense of just how and why this man was stalking this woman.

In general, I wanted more. I wanted more time with Claire and her life without her knowing of her stalker. I wanted to know what made her so special. Alongside that, I wanted to know more about the narrator! I wanted to know why Claire was the one to him. What did she have that he didn’t not only want but need. I simply wanted more.

Considering it is flash fiction, I guess wanting more would cause a complete change of the nature of the story, which is what I don’t want to do.

The author of this flash fiction, A. M. Morrell, isn’t the most known author, but this story is truly captivating; I would love to see it as a  movie or TV show!

Overall, I loved this flash fiction and will definitely be looking for some more on the website I found it on. This gave me the motivation to write the flash fiction I have been struggling with for a while now! 

Inspiration truly does come from the most unexpected things!

Here’s the link to the flash fiction! I hope you enjoy it!

My First Day as a Stalker

Haunting Olivia by Karen Russell

The search for a short story that would entrance me in its world was harder than I thought. I’ve now realized that if the first two sentences of a short story don’t peak my interest, I probably will not read it. In my search, I skipped over an estimate of 5 short stories before I landed on the one I wanted to read. It might have been 6 or 7 stories, but it was during a midnight surge of energy that I looked at these stories, and I honestly don’t remember exactly how many I looked at.

The short story I am reviewing today caught my attention simply because of its title. Karen Russell, an American novelist, created this short story ‘Haunting Olivia’ in 2005. The story, in short, revolves around the journey of two brothers who search the ocean to find the body of their dead sister, Olivia, with a pair of goggles that allows you to see the ghost of things in the ocean. 

The story was…odd. I have never read a story like it before. The two brothers, who are still just children, hold different emotions regarding the death of their little sister who died after being swept away by the ocean’s tide. Though her death is sad and tragic, the death of any child is, it wasn’t what made the story sad, in my opinion. The actions and emotions of the brothers is what made the story so heart-wrenching for me. The oldest brother, Wallow, described as being the tougher counterpart of the duo, expressed feelings of guilt and regret and had the need of telling his sister he was sorry for what happened to her. This alone got me. I can’t imagine losing a sibling and my only need, the only thing that would give me closure, was to say that I am sorry; I felt for Wallow. His brother Timothy, the narrator, didn’t understand Wallow. I feel this is mostly due to the fact Timothy was dealing with his own feelings towards Olivia’s death. Timothy was more on the side of letting Olivia be at rest. He wanted to stop the search and let Olivia be with the dead. He didn’t want to be reminded anymore of how his baby sister was dead. This was the man conflict between Timothy and Wallow. Wallow wanted so badly to find Olivia that he never considered how it must have been for Timothy; he was inadvertently torturing his brother with Olivia’s death. For Wallow, finding Olivia was the only solution to achieving his need of apologizing to Olivia. 

Going past the content of the story, the structure of the short story was well executed. The struggle I face often with short stories is giving a complete story in such a limited amount of time and space. Russell did this well. She layered on parts of the story like Olivia’s death, how it happened, how the parents felt, and other significant issues that went along with Timothy and Wallow’s journey, but she didn’t make them to where they overpowered the overall story of the brothers. In this, she still managed to have a beginning, middle, and end to this story. Her writing style was very clear and kind of bizarre. The plot alone was very absurd and held an eerie feel to it. It almost made me uncomfortable to read considering I, too, am the youngest daughter of two older siblings, and though I am clearly not dead, I often put the faces of my older sister and brother to Timothy and Wallow as I was reading. It was my way of personalizing the story.

Overall, this story was amazing, entertaining, very well- written, and did everything a short story should do for its reader. I would highly recommend take 30-45 minutes out of your day to read this short story and be entranced in the mind of Timothy and the world that surrounds him. 


I’ll post the link to the story here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/06/13/haunting-olivia



Giving the gorls “Bye Bye Bye”- A farewell message

Imagine you walk into a dark room and all of a sudden “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC starts playing and a banner lights up with the words “FAREWELL” in pink, sparkly letters and falls terribly from the ceiling.

Are you imagining it? 

Well good. Because this is that room. Tehe.

The time has come where we have to say farewell. Goodbye. See you later, if you will.

The time has come where we must depart.

We must depart from each other with the promise to see each other again. We must leave our junior year antics behind and explore the antics of a senior. We must move forward and improve the mistakes we made in the past. We must take time apart. We must see each other for what they are now. We must see what needs fixing or what needs to remain the same. We must depart from each other…with the promise to see each other again.

I would make my final post about the turnout of the end of the year or the obvious virus that is spreading around the world or even a recap of my junior year. These are ideal pieces for me to divulge in but it isn’t what I want to do. I want to formally give my last post to the blog. I want to give it a formal farewell post. A parting of words. A goodbye.

When I was first introduced to the blog, I was scared. I didn’t know what to write about. I definitely didn’t think anyone would care to read my posts. I didn’t know how to form a relationship with the blog.

I can remember sitting in my dorm and going over every possible topic that I could write about. I actually came up with some pretty good ideas, but I’ll save those for a rainy day.

I remember being so afraid of writing the wrong thing. I always write what I think and how I think it. Thinking about it now, I realize that I was so afraid because I was insecure. I’ve had people tell me about my mind and how confusing and awkward it is. I think differently, so I write differently, especially in terms of the blog. With the blog, I think of who I am talking to when I write my post. In my head, I see a room full of faceless people who sit around me in a circle and listen to me read my blog aloud. I can hear the laughter of the tiny audience and see the jumping of their shoulders. I see it all in my head. It’s how I operate. I use my imagination for everything. It is my motivation.

Even with my imagination and my faceless audience, I was still afraid of the blog. I was still insecure. Prior to MSA, I didn’t read blogs. I watched them. Vlogs were my life. This was the only experience that I could equate to blogs. So, I decided early on to treat my blog like a vlog. I decided to talk about any and everything that came to my mind despite how far off it might be from the last thing I wrote about. I did try at one point to try to be consistent with my posts and formulate them to have the same topic, but it never worked for me. No matter how many times I tried…it never worked. Up until now, I have just been going with whatever my mind thinks to say to the audience in my head. Whatever I felt like writing about, I did.

But…I can’t let it continue on like this.

As an aspiring writer, I want to be consistent within the walls of creativity. I want to be on one path with my blog. One accord. I want to be consistent.

I think I have always secretly wanted to be consistent with my posts, but I couldn’t let up on my “stream-of-conscious” track. I had to just write what I was thinking about. It is therapeutic for me. It is normal for me. Routine.

I have to let it go.

I want to be in a new routine. I want to try something new for myself and I think I can do it. I know I can. But, in order for me to do this, I need time to think. I need time to plan, plot, and create. I need time to myself to figure out what I am going to do and how.

So, I am saying goodbye. No, not because this is the last blog of the year. (well…yeah…it kind of is but you know…think deeper!)

I am saying farewell to what we are now and preparing for what we can be later.

Goodbye for now, my friend! Thank you for allowing myself room to progress and become a better person…a better writer.

Until August…


*As I was about to submit this, I realized this is the last time I’ll upload my posts under ‘Junior Literary’…the tears are falling!*


From the Queen

With the end of the school year fast approaching, I wanted to share my final story as a Junior at MSA. Yes, it is sad thing, but also it is a good thing. Life continues to move along in the midst of all this chaos. Honestly, I am quite proud of the piece. I think it is one of the most thought-out works that I have made. It is exactly how I want it to be. Enjoy! (it is a bit long, so sit back…relax…and stretch your neck!)


From the Queen 

The sound of eager footsteps approached my door. Heavy breathing with a hint of wheezing travels through the mouth of whatever poor fellow had to run to my room. A ghost of a smile falls on my face before I throw on my emotionless facade when I open the door. Behind the door stands a boy holding a black, quill pen and light brown paper with the look of fear etched across his face.

The boy hesitated to talk. “Queen Alana, there has been a request for your signature by the king. I was told to bring you the document.”

“What is this document about?”

The boy gulped. “There has been a robbery in the market. They have the thief down in the sitting room waiting to be executed.”

I think over his words. A robbery in the market? It seems as if the current ruling of execution for thieves has not yet registered in the minds of the commoners. A wave of anger washes over me as I realize that the people of this kingdom refuse to obey our rules set as royals. I pick up the sides of my dress to keep from falling over the train. I push past him but stop a little ways later.

“Excuse me, boy. You say he is in the sitting room?”

The boy gulped harder. “Yes, your majesty. In the sitting room of the south living quarters.”

I make a swift turn, carefully maintaining my balance as I do. On my walk, I pass through the hall of looming portraits of all the past members of my family. I stop to let my eyes wander over my mother. Her portrait was the last one added to the collection after she died last year. When I married Charles, he gifted this portrait to me after her funeral. She was my family and now that I am a royal, she is a part of this family as well. I often stand and watch the picture. I look for anything that could give me answers on how to live this life the way it should be lived. She would have known. After my moment with her, I start my journey to the thief.

As I walk through the large, wooden doors, I see a man in the middle of the floor. His head hung low and his skin was covered in purple bruises. The other people in the room bowed down to me, greeting me in the same exact way. I nod my head with the intent of acknowledging them and immediately move my eyes to my husband. His eyes were already set on me, indicating he was watching me. I make my way to his side and lay a kiss on his cheek.

“My king.”

He smiles at me before laying a kiss on my lips. “My queen.”

With my lips tingling and my cheeks burning I turn to look at the man. His head is still down and his body looks even more slumped over.

“Did they beat him?”

My husband is many things. He is a nice, kind man, but he is also a king. He can switch off his kindness and replace it with a ruthless man in a heartbeat.

“Until he cried for them to stop.”

Sadly, I had to be the same way as queen.


“Did you sign the document, my love? I need to let the royal court know to prepare for his execution.”

I shook my head. “I wanted to see him first. I wanted to see the thief.”

The man on the floor shot his head up at my words. “I am not a thief!”

The guard standing behind him jabbed him in his side with his sword. “Shut up.”

The man simply kept talking. “I am not a thief. Don’t call me a thief.”

I scoff at his words. I look around the room to see everyone staring at me, awaiting my next words. Charles notices this and begins to talk, but I stop him.

“Then what are you? Are you a good man? Did you mistakenly steal from the market? Was it an accident?”

The man shut his mouth. That’s what I thought.

“I can not seem to figure out why people insist on stealing. We, as royals, have set rules. We have rules in place to keep these things from happening. Tell me why.”

Confusion fell on the man’s face. “Tell you why? Tell you why what?”

I released a frustrated sigh before speaking. “Tell me why people insist on stealing.”

He stuttered his reply. “I-I could not t-tell you why p-people steal b-but I-”

“But nothing. If you can not give me a reason, I will find one.”

I turned my back and lifted my hands to my face, bored with the conversation. I know the outcome…it is his death…and I have to be the one to announce it.

“Tomorrow at the crack of dawn you will have your head cut of-”

“Wait. Wait I-I have a reason.”

Silence fell in the room. He dared interrupt the queen? Charles grows in anger and is on the brink of killing the man himself. I calmly raise my hand to stop him.

“I can handle this, my love,” I swallow and clear my throat, “it is my job to do so.”

Charles steps back and signals for the other guardsman in the room to lower their weapons pointed in the direction of the man. I turn around slowly in anger and stare at the man. It is at this point when I realize that I do not know his name. Normally, in these cases I sign the document and let Charles handle the execution ceremony.

“What is your name?”

The man stares at me in disbelief before replying. “Joseph. My name is Joseph Willingham.”

“Well Joseph…you better have a good reason or so help me God…I will do more than cut your head off.”

The look that crossed over Joseph’s face stunned me in my place. He looked so scared…so terrified. My stomach dropped at this. I’d never seen anyone that scared of me. The boy who came to my room did not even look this scared of me. I looked down at my stance and saw how close I walked to him. I see how menacing I look. My eyebrows furrow and I take a step back forcing myself not to apologize. A queen never apologizes.

“I-I do have a good reason but… my queen…could I speak with you alone about it?”

I stared at him in confusion before looking around to see that everybody in the room was just as confused as I. I speak to him in a softer voice than before, feeling guilty about how I spoke earlier.

“Why must you speak with me alone? Whatever you can say, you can say in front of everybody here.”

He lets out a humorless laugh. “Well your majesty…you are the only one in this room who has not laid violent hands upon me.”

I stare at him for a while before I accept his request.

“You can speak with me alone. You have 10 minutes to tell me why you should not be killed while I am eating my breakfast tomorrow.”

I start walking back through the doors I came in, “Two guards pick him off the floor and follow me to my room.”

I don’t stop to look and see if they heard me…I know they did. As I walk back to my room, I walk in silence. My thoughts scream in my head as I think over the scene that unfolded in that room. This is the first time I will interact with someone waiting to be executed. This is my first time.

As we get closer to my room, we enter the hallway with the family portraits. I catch the eye of my mother and suddenly yearn for her comfort.

What would she do? Would she listen to his reasoning?

I did not have time to search for the answers to those questions as we passed through the hall and stood in front of my room. I open the doors and the smell of lavender settles in my nose. I tell the guards to get Joseph a seat while I go to my vanity and sit down.

Joseph stares at me as I stare at him. We watch each other. Him, I’m sure, in fear of what I could do. Me, in fear of what he could do. Once the guards brought in another chair, Joseph sat down and let his head drop. He released a deep, tired sigh.

“Joseph, let me remind you that you are only being allowed 10 minutes to talk.”

Joseph quickly lifted his head and began to speak. “I am not a thief.”

“Maybe try words you have not already spoken to me.”

Joseph releases another sigh before replying. “I am not a thief, but I am a father. I am a father to two girls, born at the same time. Twins.”

I think about this information only to realize that killing him would practically shatter his family. I refuse to talk, letting him have his 10 minutes.

“I didn’t steal from that market just to steal. I worked in the mines down in the Gutter before I was let off because of refusing to participate in the strikes they held. I could not participate, I would have been taken to jail. I needed money for food. I needed to feed my wife…my babies. I only took one thing. I took an apple. It was the only thing I could force myself to steal, I do not steal. I have never stolen anything before today.”

As I stared at him, I could tell that he was being honest. Tears pooled at his feet as he began to cry. My heart ached for him. I couldn’t let up easily on him. I needed to be sure I was doing the right thing.

I whispered his name in a comforting voice. “Joseph.”

He watched me walk to him and bend down to his level. He never looked away from me.

“We have rules. To steal is to be killed. We have no room for thieves under my rule nor the king’s, but… you are no thief. In order for an execution to not be administered, you have to have a trial with the royal court. My ruling will decide but they have to hear your story as well. This will be a first…we do not hold trials for thieves and yet…”

I release a final sigh before standing straight up. I motion for the guards to follow me outside the room.

“One of you take him to an empty room and have the maids come clean him up and redress him in cleaner clothes. For the other, go to the king and let him know we will hold a trial for Joseph. Tell him to gather the court. It will be held tomorrow,” I look back to see Joseph keenly listening to my words, “tomorrow at breakfast.”

With a deep sigh of relief, I see Joseph slump his body back over as his shoulders begin to bounce up and down. I bid the guards goodbye and watched as one of them took Joseph away. I close my door and lean against it in pain. A wave of sickness falls over me as it dawns on me how many people I may have wrongfully executed. The people I killed…the people I murdered for no good reason at all. As the thoughts dawn on me, I rush to the water closet to release the upcoming food in my mouth. With sounds of gagging and spit finally leaving the room, I slump over before laying on my back to ease my stomach. I sit in silence despite my thoughts screaming in my head. Tears pool in the dents of my face.

I can’t let it happen again. I can’t let them kill people like Joseph again. 

I manage to peel myself off the floor and gather myself quickly. I look outside the window in my room and notice the dark sky shining bright with many stars. I remember my mom telling me that whenever I felt lost all I had to do was look into the stars and find my path. My neck strains itself looking up for so long, but it was worth it. I found the path…I found my path.

With a smile on my face, I close the window and climb into bed. Tomorrow brings change.

The birds wake me with their morning song. I stretch my stiff limbs and allow the maids to come in and dress me. After 20 minutes of silence mixed with the occasional grunt from me, I head out of my room in the direction of the room where the trial was to be held. On my journey, I pass by my mother’s portrait. While staring at the picture, a feeling of content settled in my stomach. I felt…at peace. I felt like I had the answers. I felt like I was doing the right thing. With a bidding smile goodbye, I left my mother and went to enter the room.

Like any day, when I walked in, everything stopped to watch me enter. Soon enough, heads and bodies bowed for me. The other 5 members of the royal court sat in high chairs overlooking the room. My husband sat in admiration of me. I could feel his eagerness to have me near him, so I obliged. I walked in confidence to the chair that sat beside him. With a quick kiss on his lips, I sat down and moved my attention to the man standing in the middle of the floor. It is Joseph. He looks scared…terrified even. His eyes keep moving between every person in the room except mine. I stare at his head until he feels it. When he does, his eyes slowly find me. I send him a quick, comforting smile. After he visibly relaxed, I began speaking.

“Today we gather. We gather to give a fair man a fair trial. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Wilingham and I want you all to listen to what he has to say. I feel a change in the air, my people. I feel good change coming and I think it starts here,” I look at Joseph, “The floor is yours.”

Within 10 minutes, Joseph tells the court and myself the same story he told yesterday. From the faces of the members of the court, his story had the same effect on them like it did on me. Even my husband seemed to have a change of heart. His hand squeezed mine, bidding me to look at him. His eyes held regret and guilt. He knew exactly why I called the trial. I give him a reassuring smile, my eyes telling him we will converse at a later time.

Once Joseph finishes his story, silence fills the room. Everyone turns to me for the next words to be said.

I speak lowly at first. “Everyone in this room has killed a man. We have all killed a man because we did not take the time to listen to his story.”

Heads started to go down. Eyes started to wander around the room. Guilt started to seep into the room.

“How many Joseph’s did we kill? How many more could we have killed?”

When no answer was given, I stood up.

“This will no longer happen. Every person to come in this place we call home will have a story. Every person deserves to be heard. From this day forward, each person convicted of a crime will have a fair trial and an ear to listen to their story.”

The same heads that were down picked back up at my words. Faces full of respect filled the room. I turned to look at my husband to see a wide smile plastered on his face. I send him a smile before turning around and going to stand in front of Joseph.

“As for Joseph Wilingham, you are to be set free to return home with the promise to have royal protection for yourself and your family for as long as you may live. I will see to it that your family receives monetary compensation for the pain and suffering we have caused you. On behalf of every person in this room, I am deeply sorry.”

Joseph covers his mouth with his hand in disbelief and falls to the ground.

“My queen! Oh, how can I give more thanks to you?”

I smile before replying. “You do not have to give me more. I know. Pick yourself off the ground and join me tonight for supper before you depart back home.”

Joseph slowly builds himself back up to a standing position before agreeing to stay. I soon release everyone to go back to their duties.

My husband and I stand in the middle of the room that was just filled moments ago. He holds me as I hold him.

“My queen. A noble woman with a good heart. You are so good, my love.”

I shake my head at him with tears in my eyes.

“Oh, my love! The people we killed. We can not bring them back and it hurts. It hurts so much.”

I break down and cry in his arms. He pulls me close while whispering words of reassurance into my ears. After sharing our moment together, he bids me goodbye as he goes to make the arrangements for Joseph’s family. Exhaustion finds me and I start back to my room. On my walk back, I stop at my mother’s portrait and send her a bright smile.

“Even in your afterlife, you manage to make me see all the answers.”

I continue my walk to my room and soon find myself falling into bed. With the deeds of the day done, my eyes close to welcome rest at the time a smile creeps its way onto my lips.

I may not know all the answers yet, but today was only the beginning.

Imagination is Dangerous

I just know you all are looking at the title and going, “whhhhaaaatttt?!?!?! Morgan didn’t say that!!!” Well, yes you are correct, I didn’t say that… but the man in the film did.

Ahhhh another short film. Who are we? Beginning of junior year Morgan? I don’t know but I am excited to share with you all the short film for today’s blog! This short film is actually in line with the last review I did. *Go read the review if you haven’t!* This film is set in the same time period and town of that of the last film. I actually think it may be a series, but I would have to check under the director’s name on YouTube. Nonetheless, this film was just as great as the last. This particular film was focused on toys.

In the beginning of the film, a TV commentator can be heard talking about toys. While doing his spill on imagination, the words, “It’s a dangerous thing…imagination…but an amazing thing.” This line stuck with me the entire film. I’ve never heard anybody describe imagination this way. Dangerous isn’t a word associated to imagination. It isn’t even close! This just confirmed that the society in the film is very unlike the society I live in. Imagination is encouraged, not discouraged. For this, I am thankful.

The film is a cool 8/10 for me. I enjoyed the aesthetic the most. Like the other film, it featured a 50’s black and white theme and gave off really creepy, dystopian vibes—which, I think, was the entire purpose of it all. The music fit well with the film. It helped elevate the level of creepiness in the film a lot. Again, I think I mentioned it in the last review, but the masks that the parents have to wear is top tier creepiness. Masks with smiley faces on them are just so…scary.

While searching through the comments, I read that the only color in the world of the film is the red of blood. This made me rewatch the entire film just to see for myself. When the robot had the blood on its…whatever body part that was…it was the only color out the entire film, other than the black and white atleast. I thought this detail was pretty interesting. There are other small, recurring details in the film that I also noticed in the last one. I think the director has a thing for throwing in small details like that.

Overall, this was a pretty good film. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the monologue at the beginning on imagination. Was there some truth behind it? Do you agree? Do you disagree? let me know! I feel as if this film and the last one are good discussion starters because there is just so much to unpack from these films.