Poetry: Page One

You stand on Page One

Broken

But fighting

Bleeding

But standing

Always

Surviving

 

You are not the Warrior

The Queen

The Wizard or the Mage

Of the last pages of my favorite novels

 

But they flicker inside of you

Embers of future flames

 

You are healing

Cracks closing

Blood clotting

Wounds scarring

Into memories

 

There is a word for taking something broken

And putting it back together with gold between the cracks

 

Don’t sell yourself short with

The dollar store super glue that

That attendant tried to sell you

Don’t buy it

 

Your story is just beginning

But I believe I know how it ends

July Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

Summer is amazing! I took a darkroom photography class, which was really fun, even though I had no idea what to expect. My sister came back from her pre-college program at SCAD, so I’m not alone anymore (lol). All in all, there isn’t really anything to report, other than I’m having a blast and don’t want school to start.

On This Blog

I had 12 posts this month on my blog. I took part in the Make Me Read It Readathon, during which I read one and a half books, which was kind of disappointing.

Book Tags

Top Ten Tuesdays

In Reading and Reviewing

I read six books this month and caught up on one review (The Rose and the Dagger). I am now halfway through The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, which is so far pretty slow but that I hope will get better.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson — 5/5 stars (review)

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly — 2/5 stars (review)

Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo — 3.5/5 stars (review)

Siege and Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo — 4/5 stars (review)

Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo — 4/5 stars (review to come)

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson — 5/5 stars (review to come)

In Writing

This was such a good month for writing!!! Finally, some honestly good news to report. I added over 32,000 to my novel this month, bringing my total word count to 50,000. This draft is going really well, and I’m very glad that I decided to start over one more time to make sure that I’m writing a draft that I’m excited about.


How was your July? What books did you read? What should I read next month?

June Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

June 1st was my last day of school! YAYAYAYAY!! Being on summer break has been amazingly relaxing, though I can’t believe a month of it is gone already! I haven’t really been productive yet. Whoops…

I took another online poetry workshop with the University of Iowa (more on that later) and I started a photography class. I’ve been hanging out with friends and generally relaxing, reveling in the glory of not having any responsibilities

The one sad part is that my sister left for a five week summer program at the Savannah College of Art and Design. FIVE WEEKS! We’re twins, and we’ve never been apart for more than a night, so being twin-less for over a month is very weird, but we’re surviving. She’s doing amazing stuff and we’re actually managing to keep in touch, despite being on other sides of the country (oh, the wonder of technology).

On This Blog

I had 14 posts this month! After two months of barely posting anything, I think I’m finally getting back into the habit of blogging.

I took part in three Top Ten Tuesdays:

I also did the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge (day 1, day 2, and day 3) and joined the Make Me Read It Readathon, which will happen in July. You can still vote for which books I should read!

If you guys don’t know, I started a bookstagram account (@52lettersinthealphabet) last month. This month I took part in my first bookstagram challenge and it was really fun! I’m really glad that I expanded this blog into that social media space and that I’ve gotten to connect with so many amazing bookstagramers and bloggers!

In Reading and Reviewing

I set myself the goal of reading 20 books this summer and I’m doing pretty well. I read 8 books this month and they were all amazing. If I reviewed them, they will have a rating and you can follow the link to my review.

  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson — 3.5/5 stars
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACO #1) by Sarah J. Maas
  • A Court of Mist and Fury (ACO #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  • The King of Attolia (Queen’s Thief #3) by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

ACOMAF was definitely my favorite book of the month (of 2016 really)! I will have a very fangirlly review coming soon, once I can get my emotions in order.

The only books that I read for the first time this month were TRK, SCS, and ACOMAF. The rest I reread either to continue series or because I needed to heal emotionally after a heart-wrenching book. Not all of the rereads will get formal reviews, but I have some discussion posts planned that tie into them.

I also caught up on some reviews for books that I read in May…and then fell behind again (as you can see).

  • The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars
  • Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner — 5/5 stars

In Writing

Though I didn’t post any poetry on this blog, I was actually working on it. I took another Flashwrite poetry workshop from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and loved it again. This one was more focused on peer workshops and it was really helpful.

I started a third draft of my WIP! I had an idea that fixed a lot of plot problems and made the story more exciting, but that forced me to rewrite most of what I’d already written. Luckily, I’ve actually gotten into a habit of writing (nearly) daily, and I’ve already written 18,000 words!


How was your June? Did you read any great books?

Poetry: You Came Back

You came back

Just long enough

To freshen the memories and

Unclog the tear ducts

 

You tracked in dirt

From memory lane

Leaving me

To clean up the mess

 

Thanks, a lot.

At least

I have something to write about

Again

April Wrap-Up

In My Life

April was rough. Prepping for my AP exams (APUSH, AP Lang, and Calc AB) left little time for reading or blogging, which sucked. The first two weeks of May will be dominated by actually taking the tests, which also sucks—but then I’ll be free.

On this Blog

I only had six posts this month! *cries* Thank you to everyone who stuck with my through my unannounced hiatus. I hope to get back to my regular blogging schedule soon.

I do really like the posts that I wrote this month, however. I had two discussion based posts, both of which got kind of personal. I discussed whether to give myself reading “homework” and what it is like to read YA as a girl who cries. Also, 52 Letters turned two!

In shorter posts, I did the Cookie Book Tag, the BFF Book Tag, and received the Entertainer Blogger Award.

In Reading and Reviewing

I had no book reviews this month! AHHH wow I don’t think that has ever happened. Whoops.

I read two and a half books. I finished Shadows of Self and read Bands of Mourning, both parts of the Mistborn sequel series. I loved both of them and can’t wait to fangirl about them in my reviews (when I have a spare minute to write them).

I started Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. I am about halfway through and it is amazing—very dark and emotional and intensely real. I’m fascinated to see where the story takes me…probably to some place with tears.

In Writing

I had a good month for writing. I didn’t add anything to my WIP, which wasn’t ideal, but I did something else…

flashwrite

I took part in the University of Iowa’s Teen Flashwrite MOOC. It was a massive online classroom where I got to learn more about the specifics of writing poetry, discuss poetry with experts, and then have my work critiqued by fellow students and teachers.

It was a fantastic experience and I’m sooooooooo glad that I decided to take part (despite how busy this month was). I met a ton of cool people, and I’m hoping that some of the friendships I formed will last a while.

I’ll probably share some of the poems I wrote and some of the stuff I learned in later posts.


How was your April? What books did you read? Did you have any exciting posts?

Fellow AP students—how are you doing? Are you hanging in there? Which tests are you most worried about? How ready are you for APs to be OVER?

Also! I haven’t had a chance to bloghop in a while, so if you have had any posts that you’re really proud of, link to them and I’ll check them out! I want to see what everyone has been up to while I’ve been studying. 🙂

What It’s Like Reading YA as a Girl Who Cries…A Lot

Okay, it’s a dramatic title, but don’t freak out. I’m not an emotional wreck or in any kind of downward spiral. I’m just the kind of girl whose body only seems to have one reaction to stress of any kind: tears.

Difficult math homework? Definitely tears.

Confronting authority figures? I can do it, but they probably won’t take me seriously because of the tears falling off my face.

A surprise of any kind? There will probably be crying.

Lots of little things go wrong in one day? You guessed it—tears.

A sad book? Don’t even get me started.

The point is, my tear reflex is very active. Which is something I’m used to at this point, but it does change the way that I read YA books.

Don’t get me wrong—I love the current trend of badass, take-no-shit, cool as a cucumber under pressure, stoic protagonists who face fifty million kinds of stress without any outward sign of freaking out. I could read about these characters for the next ten years and I wouldn’t get tired of watching them rise to the challenge, confront evils, and save the world, all without shedding a tear (though there might be a dramatic, sob-filled death scene).

I love these characters, but I could never be these characters.

Most of the time, that isn’t a problem. We read to escape life, to become people that we could never be in real life (at least, that’s part of it).

But other times, it is really frustrating. I’ll be facing a difficult decision or a stressful moment and I know exactly what my favorite MCs would do—but I also know that I won’t do those things.

It’s not just the crying-reflex, of course. There are more basic personality differences between introverted me and my favorite MCs. I probably will never be the girl that quirks her eyebrow at authority figures or smirks in the face of everything falling apart.

And I’m guessing that I’m not the only bookworm who’s ever felt this way.

I love those stoic, brave protagonists, but I also want to read stories about girls who are shy, who get flustered, who can think the right words but can’t seem to say them out loud, who want to do the brave thing but generally don’t. Who are awkward and know it. I want introverted heroes. Heroes who freak out, not just at the world ending, but at smaller problems too.

But I think authors might be afraid to write those characters. I’ve seen characters who cry a lot or have freak-out sessions described as “whiny” or “annoying.”

Anecdote time: In Across the Universe by Beth Revis, the main character Amy spends a lot of time freaking out about the circumstances that have befallen her…and I remember feeling very connected to her character because of this. I understood why she couldn’t stop crying when she realized there was no escape. But then a read a review that tore Amy apart for her break downs, describing her as a character that only runs around and cries.

Ouch.

I will say that this wasn’t a review that I saw in this blogging community, it was one I saw on Amazon (promptly ending my habit of looking at reviews on Amazon). People in this community generally aren’t that harsh, but there are still lingering comments about characters not being strong enough or focusing too much on their problems.

Sometimes, characters are just annoying. But a lot of the time, I wonder if we write off protagonists simply because they aren’t the incredibly strong, stoic MCs that we’re used to.

I don’t want the calm-under-pressure characters to go away—not at all. But with all this push for diverse characters in the YA universe, it would be great to also see some different personality types save the world.

What do you think? Has this frustrated you before?

Do you have any recommendations for books like this?

Happy 2nd Birthday 52 Letters!

AHHHHHH I can’t believe it! My second blogoversary was yesterday! 52 Letters in the Alphabet has officially existed for two years!

This is crazy for me. When I started this blog, it was on a whim. I had no idea that I was joining one of the most special communities on the Internet or that I’d have as much fun blogging as I do. I never thought that blogging would become a daily source of excitement and joy, or that I’d have formed so many friendships in the blogging community.

I never thought that I’d grow to love the random orange theme that I picked on day one, or that I’d carry that color scheme with me when I redesigned my blog. (Let’s be honest, getting me to like the color orange is one of the biggest effects this blog has had on my life…sort of.)

I never thought that you could get me to join Twitter or any type of social media. I didn’t even know that things like blog awards or book tags existed.

I certainly never thought that my blog would have nearly 450 followers or that I would have had 390 posts on this blog.

I’d like to take a moment to thank every single one of you who has read, liked, or commented on any of my posts. It means the world to me to see that the words I randomly throw out into the Internet matter to other people. And to every one of my amazing followers, thank you so much for sticking around to hear what I have to say every time I decide to fangirl about a book or share some of my writing with you.

I’m really excited to start another year of blogging with all of you guys! I hope that you continue to enjoy my posts and that I can get to know each of you more as time goes on.

March 2016 Wrap-Up!

Well, there goes March…

In My Life

This month was pretty good. School was, you know, schooly. We got a week of spring break, though, which was awesome. I got to decompress, watch TV, and write (more on that later).

I also messed around a lot with Photoshop, watching tutorials and doing my own stuff, which is something that I really enjoy but rarely have time for. I might post some of my projects here, if I get enough that I really like.

I also helped my sister with her sewing (read: was her human dress form) and did a photoshoot for one of her old projects. (My sister sews costumes for fun and I get to wear them.) You can check out some pics at her Instagram @by_strings_attached. 🙂

In Blogging

I had 13 posts this month. While I wish that I’d had more, I had a major lack of inspiration, so I’m not complaining.

If you haven’t visited the web version of my blog, you may not know that 52 Letters got a much-needed redesign this month. I realized that the design aesthetic that I had started using in my individual graphics for posts was very different from the way my blog looked…and that I liked it more. So I changed everything to match that new design theme. I also dropped the .wordpress in my blog name, which is mostly symbolic, but makes me feel good. 🙂 What do you think?

blog redesign
sorry for the low quality pic

One thing that I’m super proud of this month was my discussion post series Breaking Down the Trilogy, in which I talked about each book in a trilogy on its own. You can read Book One, Book Two, and Book Three.

I also wrote a random discussion post about which blog posts I actually read and got back into Top Ten Tuesday (with Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR and Top Ten Books I Meant To Talk About More).

In Reading and Reviewing

This was a less than great month for reading. It’s weird, but when I’m on breaks, I read less than when I’m in school. (Does that happen to anyone else?)

I only read two and a half books!!! They were really good, though.

I’m halfway through Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson, the second book in the Alloy of Law series. Oh! And I’m also reading Moby-Dick for school…and I’m actually enjoying it more than I thought I would.

In Writing

This was a great month for writing! (Wow, I don’t think I’ve written that in a while…) Though I didn’t read much on break, it’s okay, because I was actually writing!

I wrote about 10,000 words this month, most of those during the week of spring break. I know that for regular authors that could be a day’s work, but for me, it was more than I’ve done in a while. I’m almost done with my WIP…and then edits start. *cries*

I’m hoping that I can carry this momentum forward into April and finally finish this draft.

I also published three poems this month.


How was your March? What are your plans for April?

Poetry: Come Back

You were intriguing

You were different

You smiled without

Smirking

Talked without

Boasting

Laughed without

Mocking

You were quiet

But confident

 

And I knew that it could

That it would

Fall apart—

In some way,

This was inevitable—

 

But I thought you’d come back

With arrogant shoulders

Or snarky lips

Or a laugh that reeked

With the stench of pride

 

I never imagined

That you’d come back

And still be so far away

 

It never occurred to me

That you could come back

Empty.

Poetry: The Secret of Perpetual Motion

I’ve no desire

To search for perpetual motion

No need—

I’ve already found it in a place called

High school

 

Day one, period one

Lecture, homework written down,

Passing period and now it’s period two

Lecture, some classwork, more homework to do

And now it’s period three

Discussion, some classwork, test tomorrow, need to study

You get the drift

 

Day two like day one

Three like two, and four like three

Day n+1 just the same as day n and day n-1

 

Stop thinking about today or tomorrow or goals or dreams

Just do the next thing in the pattern

 

That is the secret of perpetual motion