His heart pumped fast in his chest and then for a moment halted. The potion pushed through his veins, making their way to the alchemist’s ticker, brightening everything in its path. When it reached the alchemist’s heart, the fractured pieces seemed to put themselves back together. One by when they swooped into place, the magic liquid encircling them. With a jolt, his heart began again, stronger than ever, with a thump, thump, thump.
The relationship between authors and their worlds has always fascinated me. Successful authors from every time period have been able to live lives as long as any of the rest of us, but have also been able to soak in, analyze, and beautifully frame the messages woven into the fabric of our society. It’s as if they have lived a thousand lives before, watching the subtle body language of those around them, noticing patterns in relationships, realizing that no matter the period, human existence has mirrored the experiences of those in our past and shot laser beams into the future, engraving the same path for us to move along. Just as our experiences simultaneously mirror and engrave, an author’s work is stuck in a constant cycle, portraying and affecting the world while they chronicle it.
I was five years old when I met my sister. I remember my dad picking me up from kindergarten, and telling me that my mom was finally home after two weeks in China with our long anticipated baby girl. I remember cracking open a door and peeking through to see my mom holding a tiny, eleven month old baby who looked nothing like me. An ancient Chinese proverb states that each newborn baby is connected by an invisible red thread to people in their lives. They are bound together by fate, regardless of time and place. The red thread gets shorter as people who are destined to be a part of each other’s lives meet and become close.
My sister, Lia, went through several different foster homes and orphanages for the first 10 months of her life where she was not always given the care that she needed, and she has struggled to overcome this period ever since. Frequent night terrors and unexplained fits left our family feeling helpless at times, but constantly motivated. It was like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Finding ways to make her smile and help her open up not only helped her immensely, but brought our family together as well. With each giggle coming out of her adorable mouth, I felt the red thread tighten.
Count how many times a day you hear an adult say “In my day, we didn’t have phones! When we wanted ____ we had to…” 99% of the time I try and dismiss those comments, because I mean, come on. It’s not our fault that its 2017 and we’re using our resources. However there has always been one situation that I can’t help but kind of agree with: the newspaper. Online or print. When was the last time that you picked up an actual newspaper? Not for a school project, not even for the comics, but to find out what the heck is going on in the world.
I know that many people like to disassociate themselves from politics. Which is fair, because recently it seems like most of the headlines offend or scare a massive percent of the population. I just do not believe that dissociating yourself from politics is an excuse to disassociate yourself from current events as a whole. While Donald Trump has been distracting America with an attack on the NFL and violent threats toward North Korea, Burundi and South Sudan are both border lining genocides, Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen continue to suffer from devastating famines, along with many, many more global issues going on as we speak.
Maybe it’s not the most positive and fun thing to learn about in your free time, but as global citizens, I think that it is incredibly important. We should learn current events in school. Taking three minutes at the beginning of class to read a few headlines could spark so much curiosity, action, and change.
For the first time my name was called for the starting lineup.
For the interceptions and takeaways.
For the adrenaline rush of the corner.
For the teammates I’ve played with and the bonds we’ve formed.
For the hard work and the laughs.
For the sacks, bets, no sirs, yes cuties, unicorns, and sweet potatoes.
Mama loved lilies and roses and tulips
Forsythia and calla and coxcomb
She named her baby girl Aster
And imagined she had petals for eyes
Vibrant colors bloomed in June and
Faded away every fall
Mama brought them back each spring
But last June she didn’t come home at all
So crybaby stuffed her mother’s flowers in a vase
before the Tall Hats knocked on the door
The glass was smashed by the wheels of the carriage
And her petals wept and cried some more
Whisked away to the edge of the city
Away from the rats and the fumes
In the carriage she combed her hair
and sniffled while her tears bloomed
Crumbling derelict walls of stone
Decorated by shriveling vines
And the only flower anywhere in sight
Was the boiling sun in the sky
Five hundred girls ate porridge for breakfast
Four hundred ninety nine slept in five rooms
Crybaby curled up in the apple barrel
To dream of red aster and gloom
Nadine was seven but claimed to be eleven
She stole seeds from the market to grow
Crybaby grew lilies and balsam and aster
And dreaded the day it would snow
A lily of the valley was her mother’s spirit
Azalea was her mother’s blue eyes
She put a flower under her head each night
It was dead by the time the sun would rise
Cry baby has trouble saying bye lately
Says mama can’t be too far away
She’ll smell the flowers and walk for hours
To the garden where her Aster must stay
Yes, my name is a noun. And yes, my mom’s name is an adjective. That does not mean that every time you see my name on a sign or hear it in a song, you should feel free to chat me up about it. I don’t look like a flower, my mom isn’t the most joyful person in the world, and yes, my dad’s name is Steve. Why couldn’t I have been named a name? Like Eleanor or Louise or Kayla or Caroline. I just want a name that can’t be worn out by children’s books or greenhouses. Although I wish I wasn’t a noun, I’m happy that my noun has no connotations or double meanings. Poor Molly, poor Cliff, poor Rebel and Hunter and Mills and poor, poor Mary Jane. I guess maybe I should look favorably upon my noun name. I am featured in songs of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Stevie Nicks, Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and many more among greats. The problem isn’t that my name is a lyric or a flower. The problem is just that anytime my peers hear those lyrics or see those flowers, everyone stares at me and expects something. Like, what do y’all want me to say?
“Hey everyone, my name is Lily, and YES! You did just hear my name in that song! I’m so glad you’re all staring at me and notice that I, like a flower, am alive.”