O, Fortuitous Doves!

Language is an incredible thing. I love language. Not in the rules-and-regulations-of-language way, but rather in the O-such-awesome-uses-for-it way. I do understand that I’m not being clear in any manner or fashion, and so I’ll try to explain myself. Though before I move on, I would like to say that despite what I said before I am very much a stickler for the rules and regulations of language, insofar as I’m aware of them, and I definitely have my pet peeves about commonly misspelled words and missing apostrophes and such.

Now, to explain what I mean about my love of language. Specifically, the English language. Don’t get my wrong, Hebrew has its own very unique and incredible words, phrases and uses – both the everyday Hebrew and the biblical Hebrew. But right now, I’m talking about the English language. One of my favorite things about it is that it is extremely rich and diverse. There are seemingly endless adjectives to describe things – for example, all the following can mean good when used in the right way: cool, awesome, magnificent, great, nice, alright, fine, etc. Verbs are also extremely specific, and, of course, equally endless – an example for this is the distinction between running and jogging. In Hebrew, there is only running and something called “light running.”

Another thing I love about English – and here is what started this whole post – is how random words can sound so good when strung together, even if they don’t make much sense. For instance: O, fortuitous doves! How thee rustle with luminescent gems, a-sparkle with the glow of Cheddar and Lucky-Charms! Crowned as you are with the pearls of a hundred singing urchins, thou shalt not pass for galloping gargoyles in the harsh winter!

See? A string of words bearing almost no relation to each other – but somehow, you WANT them to make sense. I love language.

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Halfway ‘Round the World

Flying is a journey that begins hours before it is actually underway with packing, passport gathering, and final checks of house and pets and luggage. Once the keys lock the door and the luggage is in the taxi, it is still only the merest beginning of the ordeal. Airports are no picnic, and the security in Israel is stricter than most places. Young, post-military-service men and women look at the passports in an  appraising, ask if you’ve packed your own bags, and explain that they’re asking because you might have taken something from someone that you deemed innocent but would actually be dangerous.

A few lines, machines, check-ins and difficulties later, the next part of the trip begins: the perils of the Duty-Free Shopping Area. While many are drawn to this most dangerous of all airport pursuits, my mother and I are not among those many – in fact, quite the opposite. While others might stroll up and down the lanes of various James Richardsons and Tommy Hilfigers and The-Tie-Shops, we huddle in the most remote of coffee-shops, sip our beverages, and try to hide from the too-alert-for-this-hour shoppers.

Next, of course, is the constant peering at watches and clocks, the straining of the ears to hear the garbled messages that come over the loudspeaker, and, in the end, the walk to the right gate quite a while before boarding starts, just so we won’t be late. Here, again, begins the process of tickets, passports, lines and shuffling forward one step at a time, until our feet actually set upon the cheaply carpeted floor of the airplane, and we find our cheaply leathered or upholstered seats. Setting our behinds down in those, we ready ourselves for the many, many, many hours ahead.

All this was just the beginning.

Teenager Sarah – Chapter 2

I first started playing guitar when I was 14. I started on a classical guitar like a good little girl, but convinced my parents eventually to get me a blue Fender-Stratocaster and a small amp. At first I was just enjoying playing, even though I wasn’t very good. I can do chords, I can do rhythm, but I’m not too good at solos. Rather, I’m not too good at doing anything fast with my left hand fingers.

When I turned 17, I started to realize that I’d been singing forever. Whenever I listened to music, I sang along. Whenever it was too quiet in the house, I would start singing my favorite songs. Granted, I couldn’t sing most of my favorite songs well- it’s pretty hard to imitate James Hetfield’s deep growling voice – but I still sang. I had never thought before how much I love it. I started to work on my voice on my own, training myself as well as I could.

With the realization that I love to sing came the thoughts of doing it for the rest of my life if I possibly could. The idea of forming a band came to me not long after. Hannah, my friend since we were 4 and had a terrific fight in the sandbox in nursery school, had started playing guitar around the same time I did. She surpassed me easily, and she was much more quick-fingered than I was, and she still is. At the time I started trying to form a band she was flirting with Mathew, a senior in our school. They never ended up dating, but she did find out that he played base and asked him if he was interested in starting a band. We hit it off right away. He was funny and intelligent and seemed to be genuinely serious about the whole idea. Next, we asked Steve to join us. Steve was a sort of on and off friend of ours at school. He was a bit of a snob and only hung out with his very particular group of people, but he liked the same music as Hannah and me, so our relationship started by complementing each other on whichever band t-shirt we were wearing at the time. We got to be casual friends with him. He was the only drummer we knew anyway, so Hannah and I just asked him. He didn’t sound enthusiastic at first, even though he agreed to join. Over the next few months he drifted away from his old group, and us band members became a tightly knit group of friends.

Voice and Tense

I realized today something that I’ve realized many times before, something which gets me more excited about college than ever – I need to learn how to write. What I mean is that I need to really study and practice in an orderly fashion, with someone to read my work and tell me that “this is good” and “this is bad” and “this needs some more work.” I love this blog, and I’m proud of myself for keeping it up – my track record on keeping organized blogs is disastrous, to say the least. The fact that I’m keeping this one up is due to my true devotion and love of practicing my writing.

But, as I was saying, I need to study and learn methods for it. The reason I realized this today was because I was spending my time at work, as I usually do, with trying to plan a new story. This new story is a sort of young-adult type thing, something that I decided to try after remember how much I love Sarah Dessen’s books. I started writing about my character from the third-person point of view, but after a page or so I realized that it sounded wrong. It wasn’t what I’d pictured in my head.

So I changed the voice, and tried writing her from the first person point of view: her speaking about herself. Once again, it sounded wrong because I was using past tense, and it sounded like any second she would be lapsing into current events. I realized that I don’t know how to write past tense but make it sound like the present, and not like the retelling of a story.

And so, whether or not I major in creative writing, I’m definitely going to take some writing courses when I go to college. I can’t wait!

On a completely unrelated subject – I find it highly amusing that WordPress, a blogging website, highlights the word “blog” as a misspell in its spell-checker program. WordPress is another word that is listed as misspelled.

A [Stupid] Tale of Two Cats

Once upon a time, there were two cats. The two cats were great friends, and knew each other from the time they were both kittens and were rescued from the street by a nice woman named Debbie. The cats, though generally very friendly, had a recurring argument that they could never resolve: they couldn’t agree which of them had the sillier name.

The one called Shraga would often say “listen to the way my name sounds – it’s so dumb! Shra-ga. SHRA-GA. Just dumb!”

The one called Spartacus would answer “you think that’s dumb? Listen to my nicknames – Sparty, Sparticle, Particle, Spartoosh. All so silly!”

Despite their argument, they usually managed to play well together and enjoy the life they led in the small apartment with the two girly-girls they lived with. The two girly-girls, one older and one younger, both doted on them and spent many hours of the day using odd sounding high-pitched voices when they spoke to them. They would squeal and sigh, but the two cats were content as long as those sounds were followed by the rattle of the box of especially yummy food-treats.

And so the two cats lived in harmony, with only one or two scartchy fights a day, and they were always sure to act very cute around their two girly-girl humans so that they would never need to live hungry on the street again.

Exhaustion… Taken Over… Brain…

There are those wonderful times when you’re truly too tired to think. Your brain is full of this low, not unpleasant, fuzzy sound. For some reason, as I think of this sound now – it’s creeping up on me even as I write – I imagine that it is the snores of the little mouse that runs all day on it’s little wheel to keep our brains going. Or perhaps it is a hamster. No, mice are cuter than hamsters.

The feeling of being this exhausted, both mentally and physically, is wonderful in my opinion. This feeling holds memories for me, all of them precious: the long drive home from Disneyland that year when there was so much traffic on the way home that I fell asleep and slept through the three hour ride and was carried into my grandparents’ house awake, but pretending to still be asleep because it was so much more comfortable; the memory of every horrid migraine I’ve had and the way I’ve fallen into an exhausted, relieved sleep at the end of the long period of sleeplessness due to the pain; the memories of falling into an exhausted sleep after a particularly enjoyable, but quite long, school trip.

As I’ve confessed, my brain is approaching levels of chronic fuzzyness at the moment, and so I shall have to postpone the writing exercises that I was planning on beginning tonight. Procrastination – it is indeed a devilish instinct, is it not?

Miracle Baking

The sky was iron grey all day long, and the wind was sandy and much too warm for a January afternoon. The air was strangely silent as well, as if all the voices in the world were stifled, waiting for something to happen, something to erupt. If this were hurricane or tornado country, or even commonly quaky, I’d say that it was as if everyone was waiting for one of those natural disasters to occur.

And yet, it seemed that the air began to thaw, the sky literally brightened and became blue for a few moments before the sun set and it turned a brilliant pink and red. The reason seemed to be an oven, in an apartment, on the fourth floor of a building. In that oven sat a trey of chocolate chip cookies, baking slowly, spreading warmth and a smell so mouth watering that you could stand a mile away and salivate.

Never underestimate the power of a cookie to make everything seem better – even the weather.