Like what you see? Follow me!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hating Like

Slam poet Taylor Mali wrote a poem in 2005.  I like it.

Totally like whatever, you know?

In case you hadn't noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you're talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you're saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)'s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren't, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences — so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not -
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don't think I'm uncool just because I've noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It's like what I've heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I'm just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally...
I mean absolutely... You know?
That we've just gotten to the point where it's just, like...

And so actually our disarticulation... ness
is just a clever sort of... thing
to disguise the fact that we've become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since...
you know, a long, long time ago!

I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.

I don't understand what has happened.  I'm not that old.  But I do not remember ever using or hearing the word "like" like I hear it now.  I remember when it was funny, in a Valley Girl sort of way.  But I never thought it was, or could ever be, like, real, you know?

I remember learning about like: 

Like is used in similes, not in metaphors. 
"I play the guitar like Eric Clapton."  (Untrue, yet a good example.)

Like, Nick Cage is like, like, hot!
Like shows appreciation or a feeling towards someone or something.
I like bacon.  (Okay, I LOVE bacon.  But we're talking about like here.)

Like shows comparisons between two related things.
My watch is like his, except blue.

And then, there's finding out if someone likes you.  Usually, someone near you in study hall:
Do you Like me?  Circle one: yes     no

If you circled yes, you do Like me, do you Like Like me?   Circle one:  yes    no

If you circled yes, you do Like Like me, would you Like to hold my hand at lunch?  Circle one:  yes     no

But never as a word just randomly put in the middle of a sentence, one, two, seven times.  Maybe this is why we need unlimited minutes on our phones?  Our conversation time has to go up with the amount of likes are like in one like sentence.

People DO talk this way.  I do hear them.  All the time.  I cannot stand it.  In an effort to not get angry or scold strangers and friends about their complete misuse of the word and explain that "I like went to the park." is not a simile and then explain the rules of the road to them, or to simply ask them if they actually went to the park or did something resembling going to the park, I have started counting.  I count the likes in a sentence.  I count the likes while people are talking.  This is amusing. 

However, it gets me in trouble.  They usually want a response, and I like, don't have one.  The only thing I've heard is like, blah, blah, blah (one), like, blah, blah, blah, blah (two), like, blah, blah, blah, blah (three)...

Please, share your experience with like.  Do you say it?  If you do, can you tell me about it?  Do you hate it?  Do you want to punch anyone in the mouth because they use it so much?  Have you ever asked anyone to stop talking because of excessive use of the word?  Have you ever stopped listening to people who use it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kinky. My word in 7th grade.

Kinky - (adj.) quirky or eccentric.

I love this word.  I have since I came across it all those years (YIKES!) ago.  Quirky or eccentric...all in five little letters.  It seemed perfect!

I used to have this habit when I was younger of looking through the dictionary at random to find new and interesting sounding words.  Two years later, I eventually read the entire thing.  I also had a habit of writing out lists of words I liked, and then spending time looking them up in the thesaurus and finding new ways of saying them.  Which, I think, is how I came across kinky.  It is a synonym for different.  It means a lot of things.  My seventh grade brain couldn't wrap itself around the other part of the word...

Kinky- (adj.) slang  given to unusual, abnormal, or deviant sexual practices; perversly erotic in behavior

Who knew it was sexual? 

Who knew it meant deviant behavior?

Who knew it meant perversly erotic?

Who knew it meant all these things?

I guess a lot of people. Apparently, not me.

In my ignorance (lack of knowledge), I said it.  A lot.  I used it in any sentence I could for a long time, both verbal and written, as I did with all my new word finds.  I have always loved words, and when I found one I particularly liked, it became my word, a word I would use to the extreme. 
There are so many things I love about words in general, and the word kinky seemed to have it all.  Kinky.  I love the way it sounds.  Kinky.  I love the way it is spelled.  I knew then that the letter k is a rarity when standing on its own twice in a single word.  Kinky.  I love the way the letters look stacked together. 
I guess I'm lucky that my parents let me use words, no matter what they are.  I feel I'm lucky that I love words and wanted to use them.  I get so discouraged when I hear parents say to their children "Don't say that."  To kids, it's all an expieriment.  It's just them testing the waters of their brains and their vocal chords.  In school, teachers tell their students not to write a certain way or to use certain words in their writing.  It's all about the challenge of the new.  It helps them grow and change and become who they are. 
Wow, this post took a weird turn.  But, writing it out sometimes does that.  Stop filtering.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  And find new ways to say it.

J: When I balk at writing, it must be of the honest kind...

I love to write. Obviously. I always have. It’s something that comes naturally and easily.

I write stories. I write poems. I write lyrics.

I even think story form most of the time.

So, what does this have to do with the letter J?

I hate to journal.

Journaling is, um, real. It is directly attached to feelings.  And has a purpose. It is writing for the sole purpose of an outcome containing growth and getting through. And it there is all kinds of room for error, for improper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Getting through what?  Getting through the roadblocks in my head and the speedbumps in my soul.

I journal about two or three times a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends what is going on. I have kept journals on and off for years. Initially, I always balk at the idea. It is frustrating to me. It forces me to look at myself, to be honest, to work towards a solution. And sometimes, that is just not fun.

I write what's real in my journal.  I write and write and write.  The same things over and over and over.  The point of journaling is to find a solution.  And that takes days.  Sometimes weeks.  On the same issue.  The words change from day to day, and eventually, the problem words turn into solution words, the solution words take over, and all of a sudden, days later, I know what to do.

As I move through each day of journaling, I re-read the entries and ponder my course of action.  As I re-read the entries, I try to ignore the writing mistakes I made in my haste to get all the thoughts and feelings out.  Sometimes I get stuck on the mistakes.  Sometimes I wish I had typed instead of hand-written my journals so I could go back and correct the mistakes - as if they were never made.  This is deflection, not wanting to face the issue on paper, and instead, focus on what I can fix.

But I must hand-write.

As much as I detest the act of journaling, I see it for what it is, and it is finding soltutions.  It is unabashedly looking at myself and knowing there is room to grow and change and become.  And that makes it worth every minute, every word, every imperfection those pages contain.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

“Mary Poppins, is that your name? It’s lovely.”

I have heard that so many times.

Ok, it’s actually, “Ivy Bliss, is that your name? It’s lovely.”

Yes. Ivy Bliss is my name. My first and middle name. I tend to just go by that, my last name is difficult to spell – not because it is hard, but because it could be spelled in so many different ways, due to phonetics. Also because when people see it on paper, it is always said wrong.

And, of course, there’s a story behind it. My parents are not hippies. That’s me, remember?

My mom doesn't.
My parents worked at a ski resort in Colorado long before I was born. My mom was a maid, and my dad ran the ski lift. They met several famous people in that time. My mom met Lucille Ball. My mom is not a fan. Apparently, Lucy lined up the maids and hand-picked who was allowed in her room. She told them who looked like a thief and who was pretty enough to clean her room. I have heard that story my whole life. Therefore, I have never seen a single episode of I Love Lucy.

However, my dad met Buddy Hackett, and his daughter, who was very young, maybe four or five at the time. This little girl fell in love with my dad. Her name was Ivy. And for some reason, it stuck.

On their way to the agency to pick me up, they stopped to get something to eat. Their waitress’s name was Bliss. And it worked with Ivy.

So there you go, I am Ivy Bliss.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Make Love Not War...with the letter H

I’m a hippie. I always have been.

I believe in peace, love and happiness. I flash peace signs. I listen to rock n roll from long ago. I am obsessed with The Beatles. I relate and feel something in their music. Paul Simon can send me into a trance.

I love everything about the 60s and 70s. The bell bottom jeans, the revolution, the freedom. I would have given anything to be at Woodstock.

I wasn’t even born then.

I have always had this idealistic point of view, like it was this carefree time. I know I would have been a hippie, riding around the country on a bus, protesting the war.

That’s the problem. War. It wasn’t an ideal time. It was scary. Every day, someone was dying. Every day, someone was killed for a cause of some kind. Every day, there was turmoil. It was a time filled with fear-based action driven by reality. It was a new reality, television brought the war and the riots into homes for the first time.

Now, I’m not saying that what is going on today is any less fearful. I think we are a little immune based on having television, radio and internet. We are information driven, and need it now. We have the ability to know what happens all the time, everywhere in the world.

I think maybe, in addition to the music and the hippie lifestyle, I am drawn to the simplicity of the time. As much as I thrive on technology and am a computer-geek, there are times when I wish I had the ability to turn off the phone, the computer, the television. It is a crutch I can’t quite live without, like so many of us.

I started this post thinking about how much I love being a hippie.  It took a weird little turn.  But that's what happens sometimes when we write, I suppose.


I haven't posted the last two days for the A-Z Blogfest.  The days just got away from me.  So, without further ado, G (Friday).

Green is my favorite color. It always has been. In all shades, except bright lime green.

Some think it is because of my name. Some think it is because it’s where I come from. Some think it is because of nature, because of the trees I used to climb or lay under and the grass I would lay in.

I guess they are all right. Kind of.

My name is Ivy, so by default, green was bound to me from the beginning. So maybe I was born this way.

Shickley Longhorn Helmet

I am from a small town. In a town that size, high school sports are pretty much everything. Shickley Longhorns. Go green! The school colors are green and white. I grew up wearing green. So maybe I was brainwashed.

A tree outside the town I'm from in Nebraska.
One of my favorites.
Then there is nature. I spent my childhood outside. I would climb a tree and sit as far up as I could go. I remember picking the best branch, the one with the biggest and greenest leaves, and that is the one I would sit on. Or I would find the biggest shade I could find and sit under it. I love to sit under trees and read or write or stare off into spare. I would run through the fields and the grass until I fell down. Grass makes a better bed sometimes than an actual bed. So maybe it’s just in me.

I don’t know why I like green. I just do. It’s part of my life, and always has been. It can calm me like very little, just by looking at it or thinking, concentrating on the color.