closed prose

As a person who hates getting left behind, I think about leaving too much. I always wanted to leave everyone and everything behind. But recently I have been wanting to stay. And I’m afraid that I might stay for the wrong reasons.
—  i understand why everyone left now. and it’s too late
I feel too much. That’s what’s going on. Do you think one can feel too much? Or just feel the wrong ways? My insides don’t match up with my outsides. Do anyone’s inside and outsides match up? I don’t know. I’m only me. Maybe that’s what a person’s personality is: the difference between the inside and the outside. But it’s worse for me. I wonder if everyone thinks it’s worse for him. Probably. But it really is worse for me.
—  Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Intimacy has nothing to do with sex - it is so much more than that… True intimacy is a state in which nothing exists between two people; no space, no inhibitions and no lies. It is two people who are spiritually in unison, united in a way that transcends the physical….
You can have sex with someone but that doesn’t mean it’s intimate - and you can be a million miles from someone, unable to touch them at all and be completely intimate with them. Physical distance is irrelevant if you’ve reached a state in which the entire world disappears and only the two of you exist. Together you form an impenetrable spiritual bond… nothing can come between you quite simply because nothing exists between you. You are soulmates, each possessing the others key components… one simply cannot function without the other. You cannot lie to them – they know you so well it’s as useless as trying to lie to yourself. You cannot put on any false personas with them - they know, love and accept all of you just as you are… even the darkest, ugliest parts of yourself you’re too ashamed to admit… A person who is intimate with you see’s all these things without even blinking…. with them you are both utterly vulnerable and completely safe.
And THAT is loves deepest desire… For someone to KNOW you – who you truly are because they are the closest person you have in the world and they love all of you, just as you are.
You can be physical with someone and have them for a night – or you can be intimate with someone and have them for a lifetime…
Granted, intimacy involves more time, effort and risk… but the experience is infinitely more rewarding and the love it inspires will last a lifetime…
i’d like to tell you that i’m over it, that i’m over this, that i’m over you; but then i see the picture of the both of us on the side of my bed and i realized i’m not over you at all, not even a little bit, not even close.
Are our good memories all we will ever be? I gave up on the idea of us for so long because you were gone. I thought of you fondly and hoped you might have done the same. But you’re back now, and I’ve never felt farther away from you.
—  8:22PM// closer to never
Annotating Effectively

Not to brag, but if there is anything I have mastered so far in my high school career, it is the art of annotating poetry and prose for close text analysis. This guide will focus primarily on close-text analysis, but will also touch on a full annotation of a larger piece. Basically, I will be giving you a few different techniques given to me by my English teacher, as well as a few that I have learned on my own! Enjoy!

{ Some of the names are weird because my english teacher is a hilarious person! }

Coondog

  • What: Basically coondog is all about “sniffing out” motifs and symbols. So for example, when reading a series of poems, if you realize there is a lot of references to the ocean, go through from the beginning with a highlighter and highlight every single reference to the ocean you can find – whether it literally mentions something like “waves” or “fish”, or is far more subtle.
  • Why: Using coondog is extremely helpful, especially as writing about a motif is a great starting point for an essay or paragraph. If you are in the IB program, motifs are awesome for anything from an English extended essay to your unseen oral commentary. Remember, a motif can vary! Some examples of some I have seen commonly are: water, corporeal, animals, time of day, cosmic, textile, etc.
  • My English Teacher came up with the name (I think it comes from one of her crazy life stories haha)

WWWWWH

  • Who: Who are the characters? What is the point of view?
  • What: What happened in the piece (paraphrase)?
  • Where: What is the setting? How does the setting effect the piece?
  • Why: Why did the author do _______?
  • When: When was the piece written?
  • How: How does the author create the feeling of ________?

Read Aloud Silently

  • What: This is basically just making sure you hear the piece in your head as you read it. This is extremely important while reading poetry.
  • Why: Reading aloud silently will you help you catch so many things you wouldn’t by just skimming through it. Things like internal rhyme, rhythm, onomatopoeia, tone, consonance/assonance, cacophony/euphony, etc. will all become more obvious. This also ensures that you don’t skim past a line or anything.
  • Even if you hate every single other tip I have given you, just use this one and you will benefit incredibly.

TIPCASTT

  • Title: Read the title before reading the piece. Is it an allusion? What does it connote? Does it reveal anything about the novel?
  • Irony: Look for irony and humour in the piece. Both are excellent to write about, so keep your brain peeled!
  • Paraphrase: After you finish reading everything, think about what literally happened in the piece. Do this before finding the ‘sub-text’.
  • Connotation: Time for sub-text! What is the piece saying indirectly? As in what is it trying to reveal other than the literal happenings of the work? Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time to read underneath the lines!
  • Atmosphere: Highlight anything that reveals the tone/atmosphere of the piece. Highlight any hints you find that make you think the story is shifting in one way or another.
  • Shift: Find any narrative shifts. This could be anything from a shift in tone, to a shift in point of view, to a shift in the characters feelings.
  • Title: Now that you have examined the piece, look back at the title and think about it’s relevance. Were you right when you looked at it the first time? Or did it reveal a hint about the ending?
  • Theme: Now it’s time to put it all together! What is underneath the piece? What is the author trying to convey? Remember the theme will often be something profound and important!

BE

  • Beginning & End
  • Never skip your beginning and ending as I personally feel as if they are perhaps the most revealing sections. The beginning will set the tone and mood for the poem, while the end will ultimately reveal the theme. When examining the beginning and end, one way to comprehend what happened in the piece is to map out where it started, and where it finished, and fill out (with quotes) how the narrator/characters got there. This is most helpful with poetry or prose excerpts as novels would have wayyyyy to much going on in the middle.

Feeeeeeelings

  • Poetry has feelings. Yup. That’s a thing.
  • So, remember, atmosphere and tone are incredibly important. Write down how the poem makes you feel, how the poet might have felt when they were writing it, how the characters/speaker feels about the situation – any feeling word that comes to mind will be significant when you talk about the atmosphere of the overall poem! Plus it will give you a more thorough understanding of the premise :)

Handy Dandy Things to Watch For!

  • Bored of talking about Simile’s and Alliteration? Here are some other things (often a little more rare) that are almost always relevant when annotating poetry (and a lot of prose as well!)
  • Allusion: I promise you, there is almost always allusion in poetry. Biblical will probably be the most common allusion you see (in Western literature), and it is extremely easy and effective to talk about it. Allusion to mythology is also common, and is often used in order to show the universality (through space and time) of a specific theme.
  • Elevated/Archaic Language: Always keep an eye out for this, it is extremely
  • Parallel Structure/Anaphora: You can never go wrong with parallel structure and anaphora as they will exist often! It doesn’t have to be a perfect parallel structure, it always elevates and intensifies a piece of poetry or prose.
  • Structure: In poetry especially, sentence/stanza structure is extremely significant. Look at the length of each line? Is it short-long-short-long line structure for the first few stanzas and then all of a sudden just a rhyming couplet of two short lines? Mention this! Talk about why this might be. Also keep an eye out for the actual structure of the stanzas on the page! This is not on accident, poets often put thought into the way it will look printed out. Plus, if you are unsure, you can always say “perhaps” to keep yourself save. Remember rhythm, syntax, enjambment, and general structure are your friend!

My Method (close-text, small section) ~ This is how I annotate for unseen timed commentary’s (but it is effective for all annotation!)

  1. Read aloud silently.
  2. Write down the general tone/feeling I get from the piece.
  3. Read second time focusing on a possible theme.
  4. Underline any poignant/interesting/beautiful imagery (as guess what, this is usually the best stuff to talk about in your paper!)
  5. Write down a tentative theme and/or thesis (just off of what you get out of the poem the first time around – don’t worry, this isn’t permanent!)
  6. Why did you pick that thesis/that theme to work with? Think of 2+ points that support your thesis.
  7. Highlight any quotes that support these points.
  8. And there you go, a body for your essay is completed.
  9. Annotate with more specific notes towards each highlighted section. This is when you think of literary techniques used like simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc.

For a Whole Book / Set of Poems:

  1. As you read the book, highlight any interesting/potentially useful quote.
  2. Let’s say you finish reading for the day after an hour. At that point, open a word document (or notebook), and record every quote you have found in different categories (include page numbers!!!!!).
  3. Categories could be things like: John Doe’s Character Exposition, Water Motif, Setting & Context, etc. etc.
  4. There are a few perks to doing this. First of all, you have all your quotes sorted, chronologically. This means that when looking at something like character development, you have a list of interesting quotes in the order of them happening thus basically creating a skeleton of their character arc! Second of all, having quotes in a large word document makes it far easier to find them! You can use command-F (if on a Mac), and search for a specific word/quote. This way, you don’t find yourself wasting time tracking down one tiny detail for an essay. Another perk is that by recording a few chapters wort of quotes at a time, you won’t be overwhelmed by hundreds of highlight marks throughout your book after you have finished reading. This basically ensures that once you have finished reading, all you have to do is sit down and write! No more spending hours searching for that one perfect quote in a 400 page novel!
Three years and I’m still into him

It’s been three years, but everyday I’m falling in love with him in a weird and twisted ways like how he doesn’t talk to me when he’s playing mobile games and when he’d prefer sleeping over going to parties on Friday night with me.

I love how he has beautiful, wonderful brown eyes that I could just stare into. I love staring at those eyes and get lost in them. He has this dazzling smile, and this warm, sexy voice I never noticed the first day we met. And God, he has the most gorgeous laugh. And he’s weird, like, he almost doesn’t blink when watching movies and the silence he does when he’s eating. I know I talk a lot when I eat so it usually takes me a long time to finish my meal. 

He’s that guy that would always make me laugh even when I get mad with him and throw stuff when I’m angry. He who is always patient and understanding with me. He who is always right beside me whatever I do. He who cheers me on no matter what kind of failures I do. He who would cook breakfast and takes care of me when I’m sick. He who lets me steal his food. He who would let me have a sleepover at his place, who would let me watch movies all day if I wanted to. He who would sleep in a tight bed with me, who would hug me tightly. He who would tease me to death, who wouldn’t let me get away with a poke. He who sleeps so much. 

Three years and I am still in love with him. I love everything about him, with who he was before, who he is today and who he will be in the future. I’ve always been in love with him. The way he is, the way he isn’t, and everything that falls in between

“Can we at least stay friends?”

His words make you pause and your breath catches in your throat. Can you? Can you accept that his lips will only ever graze your cheek and his kisses won’t trace the curve of your spine and you won’t get to see if he tastes like that strawberry-flavoured chewing gum he always has in his pocket? Can you keep your mouth shut when she buys him a shirt that’s the colour of the setting sun but you know his favourite colour is the shade of blue the sea is when it’s calm? Can you live with the fact that he will call you when she breaks his heart but you will never have the power to mend it? Can you listen to him talking about his wildest dreams for the future and know that you only play a sideline to his crazy wishes? Can you watch him live a life you dreamed having with him with someone else by his side? Really, honestly, can you?

But love, even unrequited, is irrational and even as your head and heart are screaming no your lips are forming the words which may sentence you to a kind of torture worse than death.

“Of course we can.”

—  And I’ll just close my eyes whenever I see your gaze linger on someone else, 16/07/2015 #13

Unacknowledged

In the silence of dusk
Tethered by the whispering breeze
Is a ghost made translucent
By blinded eyes and deaf ears
A grey specter longing to be heard
To be understood, accepted
By the multitude locked up hearts
Encased inside flesh and bones
The people wrapped in apathy
Uncaring for anyone but themselves

- Ainski, Prose Series

You ask me why I don’t say your name when people ask me who I’m close to—who I trust most. But do you really think you’re worthy of being mentioned, with the way you treat me?
To move on, you have to find closure. If you can’t come to peace with a situation and accept it for what it is, for the new chances and new beginnings it could bring, there is no way you can start over again. Not really, not ever. You can try, but you can never truly outrun pain. It will always catch up to you, no matter how fast you run.
—  If one door closes…
n.j.

i. show me things you’ve never shown anyone. show me the scars, the bruises, the stretch marks. tell me about your mother, your past, everything i missed that made you who you are. make me proud of you.

ii. touch me tender, in a way you’ve never touched anyone. make me feel special, like nothing i’ve ever experienced. make this extraordinary. love me loudly. make me remember this as something that can never be replaced.

iii. hurt me like i’ve never been hurt before. make my bones ache and my cheeks sore from fake smiling. soak my pillows. make me regret caring. don’t show me anything. don’t touch me at all.

—  no wonder no one ever gets close anymore