Senior Gabi Alvarado (Photo by Jacqueline Chao)

WHEN INSPIRATION STRIKES: How ‘not to write,’ according to senior

I read a lot winter break. Well, not really; I read a lot the second week of break. The first I was trolling Netflix for some shows. (Netflix harbors myriad guilty pleasures.)

Before break, I started reading “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, and I could rave about it, but that would basically be my Smith College application, and I’ve worked enough on that.

Before break, I also read “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner, which was a doozy, and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re serious about studying literature and putting in quite a bit of effort to read. During break, I decided to take another whack at another Faulkner novel I’ve had on my bookshelf for a while — “As I Lay Dying” — and I devoured this mind-blowing work in about two days. I can’t praise it enough.

Last, I just finished reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, during which I nearly started bawling — except there weren’t any tissues in the car, and my dad was sitting next to me, so I had to take numerous reading breaks to compose myself.

Next on my list, and which I’ll start before this gets published, is Thomas Wolfe, specifically “Look Homeward, Angel,” which I started reading a while back but couldn’t get through. I think I’ll have more luck this time, as it’s been a few years. OK, you caught me. I’m stalling.

But holidays are hard — you get it, family and stuff — and I took some hits on my last blog, so I wanted to post something lighter this time. But there aren’t too many light thoughts tumbling around, and everything I’ve written in the past few weeks — let’s be honest, months — seems too risque to share via this platform.

  I wrote this at the Sugar Bowl near Lake Tahoe around 2 p.m. My morning was occupied with a snowboarding lesson. Yes, it was great on my bad ankle, thanks. The lesson started around 10, ending at noon. I got the hang of snowboarding around 11:45 — and lost it again at 11:50. I ended up practically crawling down the slope.

The summer before last, I thought, “What the heck, school’s over. I’m going to try my hand at surfing for the heck of it.” And I totally regret that now, as I fractured my ankle and was in and out of a boot, cast and crutches for the following 10 months. But I don’t regret snowboarding; I’ll do it again, and I’m glad I tried it (and sort of succeeded, especially considering my track record).

See? This is how I distract myself from writing real poetry. OK. Hold on — I just looked through my notes and found some I made a week ago that may turn into non-depressing poems. I’ll draft something up and come back and paste the darn stanza or two at the end here. OK. I’m going now. To write things. Yeah. Mhmm.

As of 10 p.m., I stitched some different perspectives/lines/ideas — Faulkner style. Cats throw up sometimes. That’s all I got.


I quit the volume and set the remote down when I hear

the tabby in the room meowing in that certain way,

as she does just before she vomits.

sculpted curl melded of clay;

you know how it feels without having to touch;

I recently returned from vacation and fed her

probably a little too much, and she ate it

probably a little too fast, and I think,

well, s—, if she’s gonna hurl,

might as well do it in the empty food bowl.

you know what breath smells like

after gorging on truffles, even after the

curls get snipped and truffles melt;

So when she meandered toward my

outstretched hand, I caught her up and

shuttled her to the bowl.

what you love changes in sight,

but you never lose sight of your devotion;

I’ve knelt here, caressing her forehead and waiting

to direct her puke into the bowl before me,

and I’ve been quiet, and she’s been purring

under my palms, and we’ve been waiting.

—By Gabi Alvarado

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