Time

Image is of a shiny gold hourglass, with white sand trickling through, on a background of sand.

I guess I was a façade

And now you are buried deep

We passed by, like we don’t even exist

crayons, pencils, and Christmas cards

Deck the blue halls that was once ours

I longed to know the man inside

As I sit in the dark, feeling you for the last of times

You are the lie, I have lied a million different times

As I fear what’s ahead, you will live on

We live that picket white fence life,

We slipped away like a cool summer air

Because you were never mine…

Moving on

Image is of a hand holding a pencil, writing on a piece of paper.

I have been perfect all my life. I never messed up, never failed, and never got into trouble. But that all changed the day I failed my college entrance exam.

On the day of the exam, I was prepared to ace it. I went into the classroom and got all my supplies out. After everyone entered the room, the teacher in the room told everyone they could start. I finished my exam with time to spare, so I checked my work and was sure that I had gotten all the problems correct. After the exam finished we were free to go. I left and was feeling confident about my score.

A few weeks had passed since the exam and the results were coming out today. I am so excited to see my results. Hopefully I passed and can get into my dream college. I opened the email with nervous hands. The email read, “Dear Ms. Robin, We are sad to announce that your exam was not accepted with the suspicion of cheating. We are very sorry. Please fill out the form that is attached to sign up for a retake of the exam. Sincerely, Mathew Smith (head of the board of education).” How is this even possible? I would never cheat were the thoughts going through my head after I read the email what are my parents going to say? What if I can’t get into my dream college? What am I going to do?

A few minutes passed after I read the email. I decided that I would take a gap year and retake the exam next year. Is this the right choice? Should I retake the exam? Should I email the board and ask why they suspected me of cheating? I sat in my room thinking of what I should do. After a few minutes I decided to write back to the board and ask why they suspected me of cheating. This is my email, “Good afternoon Mr. Smith, I am Katherine Robin, I recently took the college entrance exam and was suspected of cheating and I was wondering if I could know the reason as to why I was suspected of cheating. Thank you for your time, Katherine Robin.”

A few weeks had passed after I wrote the email. I was in my room studying when I heard my phone ring, it was an email from the board. I opened the email and it read, “Dear Ms. Robin, We writing to you to answer your question about why you were suspected of cheating. The reason you were suspected of cheating was … “

What is the reason Katherine was suspected of cheating? Find out in part two of “Standing Up Again”

Ugh

image is of an alarm clock floating in water

Sleepy,

School is too much,

I want to go to sleep,

Exasperation fills my mind,

Tired.

Only

A bit longer,

Until i get back home,

And can finally have some peace,

And calm.

Math is

A little bit,

Difficult, and science,

Is getting harder by the day,

Ugh, school.

Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper

image of the cover of Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper is bright green with a white silhouette style illustration of a headless torso holding a book.

Elyse is a middle-school girl who has CAV, which causes the words people use to describe her pops up on her skin like tattoos. Before middle school, only nice words popped up on her skin, like nice and cool, but now Elyse is covered in loser, worthless, and pathetic. Not only that, but the words on Elyse’s skin now include words she thinks describes herself. Although she constantly visits Dr. Patel, Elyse’s doctor has never found a cure. With a trip to Minnesota and an opportunity to be Explorer Leader, Elyse begins receiving anonymous blue notes with suggestions to become Explorer Leader. Along with all of these challenges, Elyse’s best friend Jeg suddenly starts hanging out with other people. Unfortunately, that’s not all. Elyse is finally realizing that Liam, her crush, doesn’t like her and understand that she should start liking other boys who actually care about her, like Nice Andy.

This is an amazing book that perfectly depicts the struggles of every middle schooler. Every chapter is filled with something new, and you can never know what to expect next. I really enjoyed the perfect selectin of words, the mystery that lurks at every corner, and the plot twists that arise when you least expect them.

2021 In Film – Looking Ahead For My Most Anticipated Films

There will be a wide variety of films releasing this year, and I think a lot of these will have potential. Let’s take a look at what could be in store. A few of these may have already came out when this is published, and a few of these are already out, so keep in mind this is just what I am looking forward to watching, whether in a few days or late in the year.

First up is Fast and Furious 9, I love the Fast and Furious franchise for its over-the-top action, and this looks like more of that, which is great. And there’s also a mention of family in the trailers? And we’re reviving dead characters? Sign me up.

Next is Nomadland, this looks like an emotional roller coaster with great acting and cinematography, and I’m very intrigued.

Luca is up next, as the trailer recently released and it looks good. It has the standard beautiful Pixar animation, and the plot sounds interesting enough. My only gripe is the trailer doesn’t look that great, but keep in mind people think The Incredibles trailers aren’t good and that film was a near masterpiece. We just gotta wait and see if Pixar can pull it off again, which I’m sure they can.

This next one is one that is actually somewhat scarce information-wise, but Eternals is setting up to be good, it has a great cast, and that’s basically all I can say. Let’s see how this one goes.

This one is a huge gamble on quality, but the Snyder cut is something I am actually excited for, and I don’t even like Zack Snyder, I just think it will be cool to see his vision on Justice League and see what he comes up with.

Finally, Spider-Man: (Spoilers if you haven’t seen the title yet) No Way Home. This is prepping to be an amazing Spider-Man film and all we can do now is hope it’s good.

2021 is setting up to be great for film, and I can’t wait to see how all the films coming out this year turn out, including the ones I have not included on the list.

This is starwarsguy124, signing out.

If Time Travel Existed

Image of silver engraved pocket watch.

Sometimes I wish that time travel existed. I would not want to use it to completely change reality, as that would be unnatural and probably cause all kinds of problems, but I would like to see places in the past, and compare them to the present. I would want to do things in the past that would prevent issues we deal with now. I would also like to meet my parents and all my other relatives in their youth, observe familiar places in their former glory. I would also like to see the future, how those places change and how I change.

I think if this were possible, people would find it easier to understand why things are as they are and accept/be grateful for what is rather than what was or what will be. After all, you don’t fully understand anything until you experience it first hand. Wouldn’t it be so cool? Imagine observing the construction of ancient Rome, or the Great Pyramids. Or, more recently, going back to listen to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. voice his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963. The possibilities of what you could experience are endless!

If time travel existed, more people would be able to understand each other and their differences and cultures, and there would probably be less division now. We could also take a break from COVID-19! Hey, maybe we could even go back to the Spanish Flu in 1918 to compare, get some ideas for what to do for the rest of the current pandemic. Again, the possibilities are endless. But, we will just have to see what the future of science and technology holds.

Frankenstein: A New Musical Review

Image is an eerie photo of a man fleeing through a dark forest, backlit by streams of light.

Musical adaptations usually are the ones to make the most changes to a story. It’s not unexpected considering that the plots of many books don’t have the right pacing to fit into a theater two act structure, and need to be adjusted accordingly. One happy exception to this is Frankenstein: A New Musical by Gary Cohen and Jeffrey Jackson.

The plot remains almost entirely intact and is one of the most faithful adaptations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein I have ever seen. Many adaptations reduce the creature to an incoherent, violent monster, A New Musical skillfully avoids this pitfall and keeps the creature’s eloquence from the original book. There’s a three part song titled “The Creature’s Tale” that makes up a solid chunk of Act 1 and mirrors the pacing of the book. Victor drops out of college after his experiment fails/works too well, just like in the book. The musical even opens and closes with the line “In a letter from Robert Walton to his sister, November 9th, 1793” just like the book.

Changes were made, but nothing that interfered with the plot. They changed the timing of the death of Victor’s mother to right before he goes to college so that she’s a more familiar figure to the audience. Victor explains how he used electricity rather than refusing to say how he did it like in the book. Victor sets fire to his lab instead of just fleeing it, so that Henry wouldn’t have to come and pick him up from school and yet still remain oblivious. Henry dies when he discovers Victor’s second experiment rather than being killed by the creature after the fact. Victor destroys his second creature after bringing her to life instead of before completion. Victor uses Justine’s body for parts. All subtle changes that help the pacing of the story in a theater environment and help the narrative connect to the pop culture understanding of Frankenstein.

The songs themselves are absolutely fantastic. Almost all the characters have at least one really moving song and it really drives home the emotional impact these events are having on the characters. The music itself is incredible, with repeated musical motifs corresponding to characters and environments, repeated themes in the lyrics. and using harpsichord and electric guitar in tandem for a unique musical sound. Some of the best songs from this musical are “Amen,” “Birth to my Creation,” “The Modern Prometheus,” and “These Hands”. It’s also no surprise that three of these songs feature the character of the Creature, played by Steve Blanchard in the original off Broadway cast, who has the deepest voice I have ever heard.

This is one of my favorite Frankenstein adaptations I’ve ever seen, maybe my favorite version of Frankenstein ever. The musical does have a lot of death, both murders and executions, so if that’s not something you can handle, I wouldn’t recommend listening or watching. If you can handle it, I give this musical a ten out of ten, absolutely recommend. The entire production is available on YouTube in soundtrack form, highly recommend that you give it a listen.

Gods of Manhattan

Image is cover of the book, The Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus.

Rory Hennessy is a thirteen-year-old living in the city of Manhattan. Rory has a special ability, something that no one else has, thanks to a magician’s trick. He can see the spiritual city named Mannahatta, that co-exists with Manhattan, and can show it to whoever he wants. Mannahatta is run by immortal gods, such as Peter Stuyvesant, Babe Ruth, and Alexander Hamilton who are all immortal gods because they were remembered by so many people. Mannahatta features cockroaches that are warriors, Indians, and paper-mâché. Unluckily, everyone else wants the same privilege that Rory has. Enemies chase him through mazes that have the past and the present, pursue history, and attempt to free the slaves. Rory will have numerous challenges and a surprise traitor that will get in his way of fixing Mannahatta’s biggest mistake. So, what looked like an exciting power that Rory possessed, may just end up costing Rory everything. If you like mythological books such as Percy Jackson, then you will love Scott Mebus’ unique American mythology. Mebus brilliantly draws from the culture and history of New York City, to create an entertaining novel for the start of an exciting series that you will not forget!    

Forever Alone Part 1

Image is of a stylized traffic signal. The three color lights (red, amber and green) are pictured floating amidst a black background.

The Accident

The day of the accident was the last day. The last day of family. The last day of friends. The last day of love. The last day of life.

We were in the car driving to Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparent’s house. Dad was driving, and mom was in the passenger seat. My fourteen-year-old kid sister, Lyana, was texting someone, probably her best friend, Kylie, and I was staring out the window. My earbuds were in and Nine in the Afternoon by Panic! At the Disco was playing.

I knew mom and dad were arguing about something, but I didn’t know what. The last notes of Nine in the Afternoon were fading away when I saw a car speeding towards us. That was when I realized what was happening. Dad had run a red light all because he and mom were too busy fighting. Now, we were going to have an accident.

“Dad!” I screamed. Then there was a crash, and everything went dark.

The Handmaiden’s Tale (The Graphic Novel) Review by: Renee Nault/Margaret Atwood

Image is the cover of the graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

*Just an FYI: The Handmaiden’s Tale (the novel) is originally written by Margaret Atwood, but the art and adaptation in the graphic novel (the one I’m currently reviewing) is done by Renee Nault*

Trigger Warning: Some scenes and words in this novel may be disturbing to some readers. Proceed at your own caution please

Offred remembered the days before the Gilead. Before the handmaidens, before the wives, before the commanders. She remembers wearing swimsuits and her lover Luke. She remembers her mother who was steadfast in her love and didn’t believe that she was below any man. She remembers having a job, money, and a name of her own. She had a family once. A child, her daughter, but they had taken her away to some place. Offred hasn’t seen her ever since.

But those were past memories. Now Offred’s mother was taken away, rotting in the Colonies.
Luke is gone. Offred doesn’t know where he is or if he’s alive.
Offred doesn’t wear swimsuits anymore. She only wears red. It covers her entire body, and her face is covered with a mask.

It’s a completely different world that doesn’t favor the Handmaidens. Offred’s a Handmaiden.

The only way for a Handmaiden to be valued is if they are pregnant. If they are fertile. If they reproduce.
If not, a Handmaiden will eventually switch from post to post until they are sent to the Colonies. To rot and die, of course.

Offred goes through many trials. The graphic novel shows her fear and her sorrow. It shows the bittersweet memories that she knows she’ll never experience again.
It shows the unfairness of the system. How girls help each other out- in grueling ways.

There are certain rules to being a Handmaiden. You have to wear all red, nothing else. It’s also an unspoken rule that you use butter or meringue as a face lotion since they give you no more.

Wives have it the worst. They’re married to a Commander, but they won’t get pregnant. That’s the Handmaiden’s job. Slowly, they fall into a sort of madness.
Everyone falls into a sort of madness.

I recommend this book to mature people. (8th graders and up)
As the trigger warning says, this book contains a lot of disturbing scenes and words. It’s very thought provoking, and it’s a wonderful short read for the graphic novel. However, some scenes can make you feel weird and that’s something some people may try to avoid.

I would somewhat recommend this book to anyone interested. It’s eye-opening and it makes you want more. I’d give this a 4/5, the one point point being off because of the graphic nature of this.
Enjoy!