When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
–On Three Ways of Writing for Children, C. S. Lewis
In this moment, the world is engulfed in dark blue. Giant leathery creatures cut through the water observing me just as much as I am observing them. I watch them in wonder, at times face to face and at other times, through the lens of my camera. These sharks are powerful. I watch as their bodies ripple when they turn and the fast movements of their fins. Toddlers are running back and forth all around me, screaming the delight that I am feeling but not vocalizing. There is one girl talking loudly to her father about random facts about these massive sharks. A part of me wants to listen and learn, but the rest of me just wants to watch.
The light hitting the water breaks apart and shoots everywhere giving the place a more majestic feel. There are times when the light touches the rocks on the bottom of the tank, and they look like gold doubloons. These white sharks are only guarding their treasure, I tell myself. These sharks have stories, and I want to know them. I want to know what battles they have fought and what scars they have earned. I read on a sign that the people who clean the tanks have to wear a chain mail so that they do not get hurt. I look at the sharks in wonder. I am captivated.
Somewhere in the tunnel is a family speaking Spanish. I am distracted from the fantasies I am creating. I look around me and notice how surrounded I am. Everyone is talking loudly, pointing their flashing cameras at the sharks. The flashes light up the otherwise dark room. I squint my eyes and cringe; I feel small and trapped. I glance at the sharks and nod my head in acknowledgement of their condition then I leave the tunnels. My swim with the sharks is over.
I Remember those years covered in snow,
Coming inside red faced with a Rudolph nose.
Icicles hung from my cold fingers,
and Jack Frost was biting my numb toes.
I hissed when mom rubbed my stiff fingers under warm water, and
I sniffled, curling my toes in front of the space heater.
I remember those years covered in snow
Coming inside and peeling off layers of snow suits and snow boots and
Dad’s thick alpaca socks.
The zipper would always catch on my coat, then
I would run to the kitchen and separate the marshmallows from the Hot Chocolate, and
I would let the warm drink thaw my insides as I settled into the couch.
Yes, I remember those years covered in snow.
Little houses sitting on church windowsills
Housing little dreams
Kept clean by little fairies
Hanging little wishes in the coat closet
Nailing little prayers above the fireplace like its Christmas
This is where I live
Hoping someone hears me whispering my dreams down the chimney
Wearing my wishes like dresses from the met gala
And listening to my prayers on tape cassettes while drinking Huā Chá by the fire
This is where I live
Dropped between reality and imagination
This is a poem I wrote on Christmas Eve. I originally wrote it with one person in mind, but as I prayed over it, God had someone else in mind. I was just sitting in the living room with my mom and a friend, and in the middle of the conversation, God said, “Her. Quick. Give it to her.” I already had the poem under the tree, attached to a letter addressed to someone completely different. At first I was like, “Nah. You’re wrong,” but the longer I sat there the more of an urgency I felt to give it to her, so I got up and went to get it. When I brought it back to the living room, my friend said, “You have something for me.” She could just tell by the way I was standing there, that I had something to give. I said, “Yes. I wrote a poem for you.” Her reaction was, “YOU WROTE A POEM FOR ME. OH MY GOSH. I’VE NEVER BEEN GIVEN A POEM.” It was a better reaction than what I could have expected. There are many times when I feel I have nothing to give except my words, and I think sometimes that’s all God asks, is to give what I have.
Before I go, I want to ask, what do you have? Whatever talent you have been given, give it to others in return. The joy on their faces is the greatest reward and income you could receive.
Without further ado, here is the poem.
I am so in love with this book right now. I just finished it yesterday on the way back home. I started it in the car, and I finished it in the car. Haha. Reading like a beast. (Is ‘Lolz’ appropriate in a book review? Asking for a friend.)
Emperor of the Eight Islands was so well written. I think the only thing I didn’t like about it was the character development was slow and almost non-existent. I get that it is one book in a series, but I expected more. Another thing about this book, was each chapter switched between point of views among the characters. It made it semi hard to keep track of everything, but I did it.
The Emperor of the Eight Islands is about Shikanoko and basically the abuse he went through to become what he does in the end of the book. This poor kid is basically left for dead in the mountains by his uncle, is then found by a sorcerer who binds him in one place by a spell to make him “Shikanoko,” and allows the kid to basically be raped multiple times for the spell to work. (Let me tell you, this woman who “rapes” him is horrifying. Whatever you do, don’t trust her.) Then he ends up working for the King of the Mountain. Then he ends up working for Kiyoyori (He’s cool) and then he ends up with the Prince Abbot who he leaves in the end. There is so much that happens all against Shikanoko’s will, and he just goes with it. He’s just like, “Whatever. As long as I can kill my uncle, I don’t mind being forced to become the most freaking powerful sorcerer ever.” And in the end, he’s still as immature as if he never learned anything the past year and a half or however much time passes in the book. But, despite the immaturity, he’s still cool, and I seriously love the kid.
Look, if you don’t read this to get to know Shikanoko, at least read it for the beautiful cover. That’s honestly why I bought it in the first place, and I’m happy I did buy it. The book was good, and so well written I was taking notes in my head on what I can learn from the writing style. I really recommend you read it. Please do so. Let’s all talk about this book together. I would love to hear what you think about it.