The Picture of A Sophisticate.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Call Me Ishmael.”

The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. From the corner of the room she stood. A Sophisticate appreciated the scent of roses as she checked the view outside, calculating the weather forecast for the day in her mind.

In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright desk, stood the full-length portrait of a blog of extraordinary personal beauty, and in front of it, some little distance away, was sitting the artist herself, A Sophisticate, whose pseudonym created some months ago caused, at the time, such public excitement and gave rise to so many strange conjectures.

She picks up her mug of rich dark roast, and began typing furiously away.

As she looked at the gracious and comely form she had so skilfully mirrored in her art on screen, a smile of pleasure passed across her face, and seemed about to linger there. But she suddenly started up, and closing her eyes, placed her fingers upon the lids, as though she sought to imprison within her brain some curious dream from which she feared she might awake.

(This I’ve worked to my morning routine. The Picture of Dorian Gray it is. By Oscar Wilde.)

Not a ‘Just Book’.

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Everything in the world exists to end up as a book. -Stéphane Mallarmé

This here is a post about literature. To find more specific reviews done by me on YA lit, you can visit Bookinity (bookinity.co.uk).

Why do a post dedicated to books? Because like the events that occur in one’s life to shape them, books occur in mine. Music does too, but that’s more difficult to read a blog about. Books are…chapters in my life. I had this English teacher once, one of the only smart teachers I’d come by in high school, who believed that there was an honest difference between literature and just books.

He explained his logic that literature ascertains a certain quality of writing alongside employing literary devices that gave air to a brilliant work of fiction. Then he made a face and said, “Just books are Twilight. Dense paperweights.” Or something to that effect. Twilight was involved with much hate and was compared to paperweights at some point. He devoted the rest of the class complaining about it.

But it wasn’t as if he were wrong. I mean, technically speaking what he said made sense to me. But I really didn’t believe it until I got a weak mark on one of his papers. Being an average, yet bright student, I was accustomed to high marks when it came to English papers. I confronted him, he said that the writing was fine, but there was no depth.

I’d never really been criticized by a teacher like that. It hurt, I won’t lie. So i spent the rest of the semester devoted to earning this teacher’s acknowledgement that I was a good writer. This was the man who had only ever given out one 99% on a paper with the belief that absolutely no one could ever achieve a 100%. This was the man who quoted Shakespeare and read a play out loud with the same effect of watching a Christopher Nolan film.  I at least wanted to hit a ninety range. So rather than starting papers the night before, I started weeks in advance, and I got him to read over revised copies before handing it in. I devoted all my spare blocks to his class.

Finally, finally I got a 92% on my final paper. He written that he’d loved it as a comment and even the students sitting around me were in awe. A 92% in any other class was easy enough to pull off, but in his? Not so much. I felt…really brilliant. Respect for him was very selective. A Nobel Peace Prize didn’t even faze this man. It was all about being witty with prose for him.

Weeks later after exams, I went back to him to get my final mark for the course. As it turned out, he’d lost one of my older projects entirely and marked it down that I’d never handed it in, bringing my mark down a considerable amount as it was worth a lot. I went back to him to inquire and he told me to resend it to him by email that night. It was imperative I maintained an 80% in English for my enrolment at university in the fall. I was actually worried. That was a new for me.

I came home from school that day and he’d written me an email to ascertain that I had gotten a good mark and that he didn’t need to review the assignment:

It read: You write good essays. You deserve it.

I never went back to see him. I wanted his last words to remain his last. That I write good. That I deserved it.

I guess my lit reviews are also a tribute to him. Hopefully, through this, I can maintain his belief about literature. I believe that I do.

The Irish Giant.

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I wish I could allude to some sort of past glory days, but the truth is I’m probably too young for that. I don’t have some amazing tale about living through the 70’s or about my voyage across the ocean. My salad days were running through the trees and pretending to make salad with my best friend. That and re-watching Toy Story to no end.

Either way, my salad days are pretty much entirely bleak. And there’s definitely no dressing on that salad.

They remind me of the stories I read about the boyhood of Fionn Maccumhail. He used to run around the forest too, but least the animals would chase him back. He’d run with a thorn to prick them with and would catch ducks under water by snagging on their feet. If you’ve never read the Boyhood of Fionn, you truly are missing out on some decent Irish storytelling. The book will make you realize just how impure we all are in our lives today.

Anyway, there you have it. My salad days and the boyhood of a legendary Irish giant.

Salad Days

Oil and Vinegar

Oil and water make nothing beautiful when put together. So, let’s make some salad dressing instead. Also water tends to be flat, unless infused with some berries or cucumbers or something of the sort, making it relatively unfitting for my life. There are no flat people in my life. I don’t keep bad company. One thing I pride myself on is knowing when to close doors.

You might’ve read If I stay by Gayle Forman. If not there’s a movie out now based on the book that is also worth while. In it the main character categorizes people quite smartly. There are two types of people in the world. People who drink real coffee and people who drink the sugary latte drinks. Heather is among the latter, and I’m the first.

So perhaps oil and vinegar don’t even fit.

She’s the person in my life who’s most unlike me. We argue over everything. She’s a cat person, I’m a dog person. She watches what she refers to as “TLC crap”(AKA reality television) and I watch shows based off history. She listens to pop music on the radio, I prefer the more obscure bands. Point is, we have a difference of opinion on basically everything.

She’s not a sophisticate, however.

So then how exactly are we friends? Gracie has this way of describing when two people can be around each other as “operating on the same wavelength”. I suppose that’s what we do. She knows me better than I know myself most times. We grew up with each other and both agree that modern art is a hoax.

Every week we set time apart to have what we call a “Starbucks Date”. Basically we just go get coffee, but to us it’s so much more. A breath of fresh air after a long week. She orders a sugary drink (I think she’s moved on to some raspberry refresher. Her staple is usually a chai tea latte), and I grab a tall Pike with nothing in it. We sit down at our spot and hours pass until we decide a long drive through the trees is a good way to end the hangout. Since she goes to school closer to where I used to live, she still lives with her parents in my old town. That means I only see her when I’m visiting on the weekends. Or unless I pull one of our ‘secret sleepovers’ which is what I’m doing tomorrow. Basically I come home and just hang around her place, not even letting my parents know I’m in town. It’s a good way to unwind and I do it every so often to recharge.

See what I mean when I say my life is something like a book? There are characters in my life. Events. Relationships. That’s one of the reasons I began A Sophisticate. Just seemed…odd that I had this story right in front of me and no one else could access it.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Oil, Meet Water

The Man in the Bookstore

This post is about the man in the bookstore.

It’s no secret that I love books. Lately, I’ve strayed from my usual reads to go back and explore what made me fall in love with reading. So I went to the first book that really made a change in me. I understood it in comic books for little boys, but I didn’t quite think I could ever capture the concept of…well, superheros. Batman to be more precise.

Somehow in my high school days I’d picked up a copy of the book Batman Begins by Dennis O’Neill. It is indeed the novelization of the movie. But I hadn’t seen the movie at the time either, and everything I knew about Batman (basically that he acquired a butler with a fanciful name and a sleek ride) was from cartoons that I’d flipped through as a little girl. Anyway, the book struck me for the simple reason that Bruce Wayne was human. And that he was selfless, for the most part.

It made me wonder. I do love it when things make me wonder. People usually don’t. Concepts and history do. I hold the story dear to me for that reason.

Anyway, a few days earlier I made a trip to the bookstore in search for a copy of this novel so that I could have it at my disposal for whenever I wanted to flip through it. That was when a man stopped me as I searched through the aisles.

Truthfully, I didn’t want to be bothered. Once I have an idea of what I want, I don’t appreciate interruptions.

I have this concept of a knight. Every girl does, in her own way. Mine’s because the knight is a reoccurring motif in my life, but that’s for another time.

Either way, I wasn’t the slightest bit fazed by him. He clearly didn’t carry any honour. He tried chatting me up, and in the beginning I allowed him to speak, thinking he’d wander off in a moment. He didn’t. He began to tell me about his impressive life, eyes growing wide when he explained he had a top-dollar job in the downtown core and a stable career ahead of him. As if to impress me. I couldn’t help but think this creep was going wife-shopping in a bookstore.

It irks me that people believe in marriage. Not that their love isn’t real. But rather that I don’t think I could love the same man for the rest of my life.

He scared me, but also annoyed me a little with his pompous tales.

So what did I do?

Naturally, I concocted a story about how horrible my life was. About how I wasn’t studying anything that was bound to get me a career and that I held no job title.

I watched the light slowly fade from his eyes. From interest to disgust. Now he felt about me the way I felt about him. He still asked for my number. Overkill, he was. I didn’t give him the right one. In truth though, I’d do the same. I’m not dazzled by a good status and five-year plans. What I really admire is people who aren’t bound by society’s constricts. And people who deviate from the norm.

He made me realize that about myself even more.

Honour, that’s not something you learn about in school.

And I still never found that copy….

It think that’s what irks me the most about this occurrence.

Putting Yourself on a Map

I wish I could say that I lived someplace special. Like Iceland or Maine. Everything seems to happen in Maine. Have you ever read a solid teen fanfic book that wasn’t based in Maine or on the other coast of America? It’s strange really. Something about dense fog and rain draw those teens right in. But what’s more interesting are the lighthouses. Why, pray tell, do those things never get any recognition? They’re clearly symbolic too. Perhaps because the protagonist is too daft himself to realize that innate symbolism behind it. Or rather the author. Perhaps because it’s too beautiful.

What is this life, really?

It’s gorgeous. I adore it. I live in an elite city, I’ll tell you. And while I’m too young to be amongst the young professionals that scour through the city, I certainly am amongst the ones who are trying to make it. I live a good life from the outside. I have a strong family, an amazing pair of older siblings, one brother, one sister. I live in a glass building. I tell you, when I was a little girl I always imagined a house of glass for myself, never thought I’d grow a pair and move to the city to live in a condo of glass. That’s symbolic too, considering I’m holed up in here most of the time.

My past is something out of a story. Ixnay the odd supernatural inclusion and yeah, my life pretty much was a good teen read. I don’t like dwelling on the past. Something about it restrains me from moving forward. But I’ll put it down here just once, so you get it.

I lived in a small town known for growing peaches. I’m dead serious. There’s a pageant every year for Peach Queen and almost always the most popular girl at my high school would attain the status. People knew you in the community. We only just got a Wal-Mart Super centre (I prefer the old place better) and one of our old historic monuments was an ice cream shoppe. There are trees, everywhere. And a beautiful escarpment to go along with it. This is where I fell in love with nature. This is where I fell in love with trees and the classical things. I developed a taste for the finer things in life to go along with that first love.

My second love was writing. I started when I was ten. I hadn’t even noticed, realized even what I was doing until it became everything I thought about. Years later, it may not be the only thing I think about. But it is up there.

There are only two people in the world that I would kill for. My sister and my best friend. I’m not cold by nature but I was brought up in a strict household. Affection…I never realized it until i got older, was hard for me to come by. Mostly because of the setting I was in. And fixating on one thing to love is difficult at time. I fall in and out of love with everything and anything at a moment’s notice. But the one thing that remains constant is words.

I had loads of friends growing up. That wasn’t a problem for me. But it wasn’t until I hit high school that I realized I hadn’t a close friend. Clue in the one person I could never get tired of. She’s a genius. We’ll call her…Amelia, for identity’s sake. Amelia is the smartest person I know. Intellectually. She’s working to become a cardiologist. How the hell we clicked, I wasn’t sure. The closest thing I have to love, probably. She moved away in the twelfth grade. We wrote letters, Skyped, called each other often. But eventually things waned. They’re waning even still. But I can’t imagine any one else taking her place.

I have another best friend aside from Amelia, her name is Heather. She’s been there since I was six and will come up quite often.

My sister, Gracie, is a Human Resources Coordinator at her old university. She’s five years older than me. She raised me. I owe her pretty much everything. Also, she’s my roommate.

My brother, Viktor, is a dispelling character. I don’t know how to quite describe him. A sophisticate to the tee, I suppose, for it was him that influenced me to acquire such delicate tastes. He’s not all that refined himself, but he’s clever. Up there with Amelia. He’s finished up his university with a degree in material engineering. He likes intelligence and other models. He gets in with his model friends and high-status parties. He once met Scary-Spice (this apparently made him cool) and has never worked a day in his life for the belief that he should be worked under.

My parents are traditional. They taught me to be humble, respectful and honest. I swear by them all. I’m always thinking: Perhaps I’m not too humble. Perhaps I can be more respectful of others. Perhaps I need to sugarcoat some truths. But also, I disagree with my parents on just about everything. They wanted a small life for me and that will not be the result. They came from a small country and ‘enjoy’ a humble life. They’re a touchy topic and hopefully will not be brought up for the most part.

I am creative. I write, paint, sketch, take pictures all with the hope that some day I can figure out what makes something beautiful. I’m obsessed with finding it. I look toward models and fashion spreads for this reason. I study the nature of people and the actual environment. It drives me mad. Sometimes I can’t sleep with the thought of it. That there is so much I crave to see and for it, perhaps I’ll never settle down in my life. Because I can’t ever imagine just being with one person, one beauty and ignoring the rest for the whole of my existence.

I can’t.

That’s why I have books. Write books. To imagine this beauty and put it on paper. Because somehow, for some odd reason, I don’t think I’ll see it in this lifetime. So, therefore, one can only imagine.

First Post

First posts are to be basic. Direct. Explaining exactly what I’m here to offer.

How about an escape?

In a nutshell, for one cannot exactly think of the multitude of offerings they have to give at a moment’s notice. The reason for this blog is to connect with people. To share dreams by the means that I know the most–through words.

I love words.

I have a real penchant for them as well. I write. Though, you may never see my true work. The reason for this is that I plan to make this blog personal. About myself. Tethering written works with personal accounts allows for a muddled image of what the work is. It cannot receive it’s full potential by this notion. It will be omitted then.

I tell you, I write critically, as I am a critical person. But I am at no means serious. I like adventure. I adore fantasy. And I truly believe that a day can be made better by picking up a book and sinking into a couch with it.

I drink Pike roast. I listen to Chopin. I love fashion and books. I’m 20. I study the environment, and I have absolutely no map in my head for where I want to go. I’m a young woman. And as all young woman can probably relate–I just wish to find myself.

I wonder who will follow–if anyone would follow. But know this: I choose to share myself with you. You can ask me questions and I will answer. Why? Because it’s another way to branch out.

You can follow me on Instagram @asophisticate. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, you know. So by that, I suppose I say a lot on that stream of social media. Hell, I might even follow back.

On that note, I’ll end my first post and the real blog will begin.