the echo of my ancestors resounds through me,
a drum that beats within my blood.
sometimes i cannot feel it, but then my heart
untethers, escapes with my lungs.
and yet my ancestors warn me with their stories,
that scream within my addled brain,
but as i stand and listen on the precipice,
i only hear my silent shame
DAY 5 OF THE SEPTEMBER POETRY SERIES!
Thank you, my dear readers, for joining me on the fifth day of this poetry experience. Today’s subject matter has been my favorite subject so far, so I’m really excited to dive into this poem and talk more with you guys about what the heck I’m saying.
Have you ever stood in the middle of the desert and screamed as loud as you can? You pray no one’s listening, because you don’t want to be a weirdo and alarm anyone, but it’s a chance for you to hear nothing but the sound of your own voice. And chances are, depending on if you’re like me and on the edge of a canyon, your voice will come back to you… Warbled, but familiar, and you’re left with a few seconds of echoes.
Echoes are cool. Echolocation and bats are cool too. But today I’m going metaphorical. When I wrote this poetry, I’d just come from class in which a girl had been dogging her father’s political views in front of everyone. To me, this was unacceptable and inappropriate. While it is completely respectable to disagree with someone, to intentionally slander one’s parent in class because of a disagreement is disrespectful.
And, in typical Katie fashion, a poem stemmed from my anger at the situation.
I was born, the child of two amazing parents. While I do not always see eye-to-eye with them (and they certainly don’t see eye-to-eye with me all the time), I still find intense value and respect for them. And I know that within my blood runs my genetic makeup that was given to me from them, the gift of life.
Therefore, the echoes of my ancestors’ decisions run through me. When my heart gallops in my chest from nerves, it’s a leftover relic of my ancestors’ own nervousness. When I’ll fall in love one day, I’m sure the excitement that rushes through my system will be similar to what was once felt my parents, grandparents, and so forth.
We can try to erase history, and we can try to erase our ancestry, but we simply can’t. (Of course, one can try, but the truth will always remain.) And so, as I think of that girl in my class, I wonder if she realizes that the blood that flows within her is a gift of the person she disrespected publicly, the person she shamed publicly.
Echoes only remain with us for a short period of time. Eventually, I’m going to have a child, and pass on my genetic makeup to him or her. And when I die one day, the only evidence of my choices will remain within my sons and daughters. I want my echo to mean something, but I also don’t want to sit and pretend that I am perfect.
That is why we should humble ourselves and thank goodness we can learn from those who came before us…
A RANT CONCLUDED.
Well, I think I wrote more than I intended on that section. While I really do support freedom of speech, I’m not a fan of tearing one’s family down publicly. I just really wish college campuses these days facilitated meaningful, respectful conversation instead of one-sided, disrespectful conversation. I could write so much more on this, and maybe I will one day.
Well, sorry for this rant. It is concluded now. Only positive energy for the rest of today! Hope you all are doing well. ❤
Here in the United States, it means that we’re surrounded by Christmas music, twinkling lights, decorated trees, hot chocolate, and, for college kids, finals season. Most people really enjoy the holidays, and especially a certain component of December 25…
So, you may be thinking, What in the world should I gift my loved ones? Well, I’ve got a solution for you this year, even though it may not be the most popular gift idea for the population at whole: Why not bring books back into the equation?
Though so many people do not enjoy reading, I truly believe this may be because they just haven’t found the right book. So why not try something new (and typically pretty cost efficient) and gift your loved ones a book?
Over the years, I have found that some of the best gifts have been books. I don’t remember my first book, but I do collect them whenever I can. Here is another life lesson: You never know which book is going to be your favorite. Maybe you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, and your sister gets you a book about the Serengeti. Why not give it a try, and expose yourself to something new? Reading can definitely be that outlet!
So, in today’s post, we’re going to go through some options for you, in case you’re struggling with that perfect book gift idea. 🙂
What should you get your dad? Well, you could try a book on planes or woodworking or insert whatever your dad happens to be interested in. That being said, my dad isn’t a big reader, so I am aware of that when I’m selecting the right choice for him. Therefore, I’d pick something short, realistic, and believable.
My choice: Bleachers by John Grisham.
The book focuses on whether the famous Eddie Rake, former coach of the Messina High School football team, was loved or hated by his former players.
Some mothers are into cookbooks (my mom), and others are into chick flicks. Some are into romance, and others legal thrillers. Since everyone is different, there is an endless array of picks for you. That being said, I am aiming this post more toward people I know, and therefore…
If I would give Momma J a book, my choice would probably be: Sanctuary by William Faulkner.
My mom’s favorite author is the incredibly talented Faulkner, who is famous for developing the Southern Gothic genre. Faulkner has had an enormous impact on my own writing, and Sanctuary is one of his best novels, though quite controversial.
Sanctuary is a novel by the American author William Faulkner about the rape and abduction of a well-bred Mississippi college girl, Temple Drake, during the Prohibition era.
My sister is only twelve, so our interests in reading are quite different. That being said, I do believe that she is about to hit an age where reading truly matters, because at that point in life, you are beginning to figure out who you are and what you like. Therefore, I’d encourage my sister to pick up a classic that most of you will probably recognize:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.
Maggie Givenchy is not a reader. In fact, she’d probably do anything to avoid books if she could, since Christmas Hallmark movies are more her thing. However, I was shocked when I recommended a John Grisham book that inspired her (you will see what it is soon enough) and left her wanting more.
Though I know John Grisham is my go-to answer, I thought it would be more interesting if I picked a different book for her: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty. (And what’s better? It has a 3.69 average on Goodreads.)
Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.
ROACHES (my college friend group lol)
There is one book that I recommend to anyone and everyone I meet. It has become a sort of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants book for some of my friends, and therefore it has taken a special place in my heart. I bought my paperback copy when I was fifteen, gave it to Maggie, who passed it on to Even, who was supposed to pass it on to Hadley, and so on…
What is the book, you may be asking, that has captivated a bunch of college kids who typically don’t like reading all that much?
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham.
A Washington reporter helps an on-the-run law student who knows too much about a government cover-up.
My Mamaw always reads these posts, and so I know she’ll be reading this one as well. 🙂 Therefore, though I don’t want to spoil what I will send her for Christmas, I do want to share what the book is for all of you.
Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry is an amazing book that everyone should read. It is not the most pleasant read, but the themes of hope and survival are universal. ❤
Two women kidnapped by infamous Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro share the stories of their abductions, captivity, and dramatic escape.
My choice this year for my grandpa is a book I read a few years ago, but it has recently come into my mind again. Louis Zamperini is a true American hero, and his biography by Laura Hillenbrand is an excellent choice to read. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is nothing less than inspiring.
Unbroken is a biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in the Pacific theatre, spent 47 days drifting on a raft, and then survived more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war in three brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camps.
You guys are an incredible source of positivity for me, and I love checking/updating this blog to see what you guys are up to and what your thoughts are. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to include you in this post. If you’re looking for something great to read, I urge you to check out the following books that have left an imprint on my heart.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García-Márquez.
The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
The novel’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand’s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism.
Thank you guys for reading this post! Hopefully you’ve found some ideas for your own Christmas gifts (or your personal reading as well). I wish you guys a blessed holiday season, and I hope that wherever you are in this world of ours, you are happy and safe. ❤
Until next time,
P.S. A huge shoutout to sweet Maggie Givenchy, who was the one to come up with this blog post. Thank you for always reading my posts and listening to my wild antics. You are the best, chica!!
For a lot of you, Thanksgiving is probably a pretty foreign concept. What are those Americans doing, eating a lot of turkey and stuffing and deviled eggs? (Please, please try a deviled egg if you haven’t before.)
But here’s the truth: Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year.
It’s a chance for families and friends to catch up, prepare a meal together, and enjoy delicious, homemade food while remembering that we have a lot for which to be thankful. It’s a tradition that stems from values of working hard and knowing the things that have the greatest importance in our lives should be our families and friends. Thanksgiving is about people, not just great food…
And to celebrate… I thought it would be fitting to do a little “What I’m Thankful For” post. ❤
Though I am always pretty appreciate for my family, this year seems even more important than ever. Last year I did not get to spend Thanksgiving at home, as I was in Chile, but it is a different story this November. I get to be with them!!
To my Poppa Lawrence: Thank you for teaching me humility and a giving spirit. Thank you for being my sounding board, hiking companion, and example of what a man should be.
To my sweet Momma J: Thank you for putting up with my moodiness, showing me the example of who I want to be as a mother and a human going about life, and taking me on more “drives” than I can count.
To my beautiful sister, Gen: Thank you for being my best friend. You drive me crazy 98% of the time, but there is not a day that goes by when I am not thankful that you came into my life.
To my West Virginia family, thank you for contributing to my parents’ lives and taking care of them. Especially to Mamaw, I want to thank you for always reading this blog and being such a sweet example for me.
If there is one thing I have learned through college, it’s that your friends can become like family.
To my hometown friends, thank you for being with me since Day 1. You knew me at my lowest points, and you were there when I made the choice to leave Tennessee (just for a little while). You guys helped me figure out who I am, and I am so thankful I’ve kept in contact with you over the years.
To my roaches, thank you for being a second family to me. I truly believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason, and you guys are no exception. You are ridiculous at times, but you match me in every way.
Miss Givenchy, I’m sure you are reading this, so I will make a special shoutout to you. Thank you for being my #1 supporter, both with this blog and everything I do. Thank you for being an incredible best friend, LNC devotee, and wing woman. ❤ (5’11”).
Thank you, my beautiful Tennessee, for being an incredible place to have grown up and to live in now. Thank you for shielding me from wildfires and gracing us with rain. You sure aren’t perfect, but at times you feel pretty close to it.
Thank you, airplanes, for being invented. Thank you for being my outlet, my newfound passion, and the chance to feel like an angel, even for an hour or two in that big old sky. I’m sorry I didn’t find you sooner, but sometimes it isn’t about timing. I’m just glad I found you.
Thank you, God, for the opportunities that I have. Thank you for protecting my friends and me from the Woolsey Fire, for letting me be home during this Thanksgiving break when I wasn’t even supposed to be home in the first place, and for always being there, even when I’m a total idiot (which is the majority of the time).
Thank you, my country, for allowing me to live here. Thank you for letting me have the freedoms I have, the opportunities I have, and the chance to see a better place for my own children in the future.
7. THIS BLOG
AND TO MY INCREDIBLE BLOGGING COMMUNITY!
Thank you guys so much for reading, commenting, liking, and following this blog. It makes me so happy to connect with you all, from so many different backgrounds and countries and ways of life. This has been a truly amazing experience, and it is something for which I’m very grateful. I love reading your posts and learning more about all of you.
What are you thankful for?
Maybe it feels like there isn’t much to be thankful for, but I’m sure there are things in your life that are absolute blessings, and you may not realize it until you really think about it. There are always going to be ups and downs, but it is up to us to harness the negative energy and convert it to positive energy. (This may sound ridiculous, but I hope it is a good analogy).
I heard something this past Sunday at church, and I believe it is wisdom:
Give thanks even in the worst of times. These times challenge us even more than the good times.
We must remember that we are put in situations for a reason, and that these moments can be the most constructive of them all. They remind us that things can get better, and we should remain committed to our thankful spirit in the meantime.
Therefore, I hope all of you can find something to be thankful for, and remind yourselves of this thing throughout the week. It can be a person, an activity, your passion, anything! And maybe treat yourself to some turkey in the meantime. 😉