Posted in life, thoughts, travel

NYC & Internal Strife

It has already been a couple of years since my first adventures in The Big Apple. Now, I have more to report after my brief but bustling two day trip in NYC.

NYC reminds me of a hyperactive toddler being handed a king size Hershey’s bar and a large bowl of ice cream. The secret pulse and rhythm of the city still amazes me. Everything has a pace and a place. Everything is moving or moving towards moving and where there is a stillness it is always a stillness with purpose.

NYC also reminds me a little of human beings and internal strife. Compacted into such a relatively small space for everything that NYC has to offer is a mix of hope as well as fear; love as well as discrimination and hate; dreams coming true as well as shattered desires lining the side walks like discarded trash. NYC is truly a discombobulated yet cohesive environment of its own time, space, and dimensions.

So are we…

This time in NYC I found myself thinking a lot about where my current roads are leading me in the future. I thought about my own struggles and battles with adversity, facing my fears and faced with the facts that I still can not overcome many of them. It was a sucker punch to the gut realizing that I have come a very long way and added many miles to my internal strifes but yet have gone full circle in many respects.

Just like my late night wanderings in the city that never sleeps so to does my mind wander endlessly till it is sore and fatigued searching for a hidden purposes sheltered by blinding light, fear and renewal. The skyscrapers that lurk and tower over my inner being mimic those that towered over my entirely in Times Square.

Maybe this trip was not about what I thought it was going to be. I walked into this feeling lucky I was given such an opportunity and grateful that I had decided to take it. By the end, ready to go home , defeated, I realized this trip was not about relaxing or sight seeing NYC at all. This trip was about being forced to face things I have been ignoring in the simple security of life’s daily monotony. The complexity, unfamiliarity and unpredictability of NYC was simple the mirror in front of me challenging me to take much needed time to reflect and to no longer neglect my own internal strife. In the heart of a city swarming with traffic, mobs of selfies snapping tourists and irritated New Yorkers while lost navigating the subway I found answers I have been searching for for quite some time. In that internal strife I found the answers to mine.

– Eva M.M.

Previous Posts from my first time in NYC.

https://1withthepen.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/new-york-city-part-1/

https://1withthepen.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/new-york-city-part-2/

Thank you for reading and letting me know any questions, comments or recommendations. I would love to hear about your own personal experiences with NYC.

” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”

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Posted in life

College Life: Year 1.

Flashback to last week when I walked out of the classroom fatigued, slightly confused, relived and educated. That was my state of being leaving my last class of my last semester of my first year. One down, three more to go. College life has already sped by and now it is time to reflect on this past year and how I have changed.

Okay, technically I am not done yet. I still have four finals and a paper due. I won’t be done until this Wednesday BUT I think I am allowed to celebrate making it through all of my classes without dying, failing or both. I have completed a total of 11 courses. I am officially done with my math requirements as well as many of my other basic gen ed requirements. I found employment on campus, made connections, made friends and tested the waters of many new things. I labored hours over essays… then deleted over half of them… then labored some more hours. I finished my public speaking requirement all without vomiting, fainting, crying, or fainting into my tear filled vomit. I wrote a eulogy for Winnie the Pooh and advocated to protect sharks. I taught the class how to cook homemade egg-rolls and a little bit about myself. I danced across a dance floor at least 100 times relearning how to do everything from a plié to pique and even attempted to do some back bending, gravity defying turn. J’ai appris beaucoup de français et j’ai écrit un article de blog entier en français. I learned about artists from the beginning of time and wrote a twenty page paper on Hieronymus Bosch. I wrote poems. I read poems. I weeped over not getting my poems published. I wrote papers on the working poor, and the porn industry as well as a paper on a story from a culture entirely foreign to me, Māori culture. I gave presentations on everything from Easter traditions and customs in France to the Louvre to a Service Project I conducted for my Honors class. Not to mention I had to coordinate with many group partners on projects including my Service project. I worked with many organizations. I volunteered. I did service for my community. I visited a local high-school working to mentor teens. I visited an after-school program and spoke about recycling. I organized food at the food pantry with my aunt. I ran a book drive for kids on campus and I helped set up t-shirts during domestic violence awareness month. I did a lot. Most importantly, I grew as a person and I learned a lot.

I learned…

  • that I can do a lot of things I did not think I could do when I put my mind to it.

  • that I don’t have to be afraid of relationships that I can’t define

  • that not all relationships need to be defined

  • that hard work does not always pay off but if someone, anyone acknowledges it then it is worth it.

  • that not all resources to help students succeed are actually that helpful but that it does not hurt to try them now and again

  • getting invovled with your community,clubs, etc. and making connections leads to unexpected opprotunites

  • trying your best and working your hardest often results in rewards.

  • you have to make time for the things you love

And of course, I also learned a lot of both useful and meaningless information in my classes.

As I finish reflecting on this year I want to say a few last things.

First, thank you to all of my teachers, faculty members, University staff, tutors etc. for everything that you do. I am lucky that I am able to afford college and learn everything that I want to. I am lucky to be in the Honors Program with a community of friends and classmates who share many of the same aspirations as me. I am lucky to attend such a welcoming school which always puts my success first.

I must also thank all of my friends for getting me through the rough patches and for all of your advice, hard-work and much needed coffee sessions.

Lastly, I must thank four more people. Thank you mom and dad for being supporting and encouraging parents. Thank you mom for all the food you send to me. Thank you dad for always being willingly to make the short jaunt up here if I need anything. I must also thank my aunt for providing me with a warm home and helping me through the year.

Lastly, I must thank dearest C, you know who you are, for being the most gentle and understanding person I know and pulling me through some of the roughest patches and sharing in my joys during my brightest moments. You have never lost faith in me and always told me I could do everything from a scary French presentation to writing a stressful lit paper.

So, although it is not technically done yet. Thank you to everyone including you readers who have continued to read my blog even as it has become more sparse with postings… and I look forward to next year!

Photograph Credit: https://www.iusb.edu/portal/apply.php.

-Eva M. M.

” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”

Posted in Daily Motivation, life, thoughts

Daily Motivation: The Radiance of the Disconnected.

Lately technology turned against me more than ever. While I don’t really believe I need technology to survive,  as a college student nearing finals with looming due dates on papers, speeches and presentations, I have to face the facts. There is hardly a way to go to college without spending bare minimum of two hours staring at some screen. That is why when my phone stopped charging about a week ago I panicked. How was I going to do my double login to do my homework? How was I going to let people know that I was busy and could not meet with them? How was I going to do anything that I needed to do? My phone was my second lifeline when it comes to college life. If that wasn’t enough my computer had a brief moment once again where it decided not to charge as well. The timing was awful and while my laptop is once again mysteriously charging my phone is still not. I am able to charge it wirelessly on campus where they have wireless chargers and until then I am mostly avoiding using it. In some ways I am far from off the grid. In other ways, even though I am still in theory quite connected, I have received a jolt of memory on what my life was like  before technology… and I think it was a lot better then.

So what is it about technology that has been enslaving me from reaching that same level do radiance that I once had. Certainly it isn’t impossible to find that tranquility and stillness in today’s technology dense world… but it is complicated when you are in a place surrounded by it. The main reason I have struggled lately is accessibility. When technology is right before you and you have a moment of boredom it quickly becomes your answer. Once I would spend my time erasing boredom with any number of activities, now it is all to simple to let technology fill that void. In some ways having technology fail me was the only way for me to realize what I once had and to learn from it.  This all coming from someone who doesn’t even like technology all that much. That begin said, I forgot how much I have come to rely on it and also mindlessly adhere to it’s beckoning demands.

There is a radiance, a silence and a tranquility that cannot be found with your palms glued to a screen or keyboard. Something has been lost in this vast forest of robotic voices and emojis. Something I think that does not have to be lost. Something which I still think we can achieve in our world today but awareness, choice and an eagerness to possess it are fundamental to its blossoming. There is a lost radiance of the disconnected which I inadvertently found myself reuniting with in a way I haven’t in years. While I may be a reflective, quiet, meditative person who rarely gets majorly stressed or thrown off balance, even I found myself in the mire of technology. While I miss many of the conveniences and luxuries  and it is soon to be fixed, I think a new awareness has been brought to me of what my necessities really are. Note to self: Technology is not at the top of that list.

-Eva M.M.

Thank you for reading and stopping by. I hope that that gave you something to think about for today and perhaps a new outlook on technology and its place in our lives.

” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”

Posted in book review, books, life, story, thoughts

East of Eden: My Reflections, Q & A and Rant.

I recently finished reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden for about the eighth or ninth time. It still stands as my favorite book if I had to choose a favorite that is. For a while now I have thought about writing a post like this for those of you who might be wondering a few things about the book and me.  I tried to stay away from any spoilers in this post but majorly failed so  SPOILER ALERT! Also, these are only my thoughts and interpretations of the books although most people agree on many of the themes and ideas I mention here. If you have not read the book yet and are interested in doing so I would advise reading it then coming back to this post and sharing your own thoughts with me. Since this is my favorite book, I really love hearing how it has changed and influenced  others lives and what others like or dislike about it( though I find it hard to believe anyone would dislike this book at all.) Here are some common questions I have been asked in conversations about the book, Steinbeck and just a few others things I wanted to include in this post.

  1. How did I first come across the book?  

This is actually one of my favorite stories to tell about how I learned about a book. Flash back to around 2013 and little Eva entering high school. Ninth grade year Humane Letters class. I can’t remember how the book fit into whatever discussion we were having but my teacher at that time read us a passage from the book, the scene where Adam  is sitting with Lee naming the twins ( Cal and Aron), I think. The teachers at my school were reading the book for a faculty book discussion that they carry out every year. After, she read us the passage many of us had questions about the book. She said to paraphrase, that it was an beautiful crafted book but that it was probably a little heavy for many of us. In fact, she strongly discouraged us reading it. Naturally, that only made me more curious. I had heard of Steinbeck but up until then I had never read anything he wrote. I went that week end and checked out the book from the library. That day changed my life in many ways.

2. Why is it my favorite book?

      This is one of those questions that internally I know the very answer to but never know how to put into words. I will try…

One question that I think I have been asking myself for years without realizing it until I first read this book was: Am I a Cal or an Aron, a Charles or an Adam, a Cain or an Abel, a Cathy or perhaps an Abra? In other words, as a human being I struggle with the same story we all do, as Steinbeck so elegantly states and as shown in this post I created and put on Instagram a few weeks ago.

26864231_1975222659185145_6632097084675719168_n.jpg

Maybe I just feel that Steinbeck encapsulates the human condition, the human story and my own struggles like no one else can. I feel this bond in his words that resonates so strongly with me and my life. It isn’t about  the way the story reads, though it reads beautiful and I stand in awe of his use of language. It is about looking into the pages and seeing my own reflection.  It is about wanting to hate Cathy, or Charles and call them evil…but then seeing myself in them. It is about knowing we are all in the Land of Nod, east of Eden, struggling between good and evil like those in Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley who find themselves stuck between the darkness of the Santa Lucia Mts and the goodness of the Gablian mountains. 

In short, I love the book  because of its amazing penmanship, its message, my connection to the author( who connects himself directly to the text in many ways therefore displaying his own struggle with good and evil), my connection to humanity through it and my personal struggles with good and evil.

3. What do I take away as the key message from the book?

      I kind of went into this one in the last question. I think these are the keys points though.  

             i.)  Good and evil are part of being human… but we have Choice, in a biblical sense, free will. 

            ii.) Having that choice may be important but we have to learn to want what is good and to go after it even in the face of personal battles that may lure us to the evil.

          iii.) Identity: We can’t take what is given to us for all that we are. We are not those who came before us. Even Lee shows this idea throughout the text. He may be Chinese but that does not define him and in many ways he doesn’t relate to it. Yet, he finds himself connected to that part of himself in other ways as well… he isn’t afraid to choose to be something outside of his nationality.  This is also about Choice. Choosing to perhaps go against your inner voice and also the choice to see the good in yourself and others. We can’t identity with only the darkness in us, Cal and Adam both struggled with this throughout the book. Of course, there is the question of whether Cathy had any good in her…. but I think she did, she just chose to never see it, to never feed it and therefore she died full of darkness.

iii.) Naming/ Familial Bonds: Commonly this is something that is not a key theme but I think it is really important. Not only do we see this importance in places such as when Adam refuses to name the twins but we also see in through other characters.  Cal chooses to go by Cal instead of Caleb, his full name. While the story offers this has a simple choice of preferences, it is interesting that at the very end of the story when Cal is receiving Adam’s blessing the name Caleb is uttered. We can see this significance in relation to the bible. In the bible, names are an important thing uniting people to god. In fact, another reason names are such an important theme in the book is because of Steinbeck’s choice of names. As I mentioned earlier the names can be divided into two main categories, those that start with C and those that start with A, likened then to the biblical Cain and Abel ( good and evil once again, as well as the ideas of acceptance, rejection and blessings). This also ties into my next point about familial bonds in the story. While one may argue that families are only stressed so much in the story because you have to have background in any story to understand what is going on, I disagree. The story is built around different familial structures all a part of a whole, that of humanity which as I mentioned earlier is the crux of the story. The story of humanity and our struggles. Therefore, names and naming as well as familial structures, relationships and bonds or lack there of  are more key themes and sub themes in East of Eden.

While, I do believe there are more themes in this book and perhaps will consider doing more posts on this book in a different format in the future, these are the four main themes from the book in my opinion: Good versus evil ( as shown in many forms and through many biblical references, choice( free will), Identity ( personal, national, familial, and choice involved in it), and the importance of family/familial bonds as well as the significance of names and naming.

4. If I am not religious then why do I latch onto many of the ideas in the book so firmly?

Some of this I already covered in the above questions but in short, I don’t think this book is saying god is the only way. I don’t deny it can be read through a religious lens but I think it goes beyond that. I want to be clear though, I think it could not be what it is if it did not have the biblical references in it. It is about the human condition, so is the bible… and while I don’t believe the entire bible is true, I do believe that true or not it speaks to the human condition… the same in many ways with East of Eden.

5.  Have I read in other Steinbeck books?

     Yes. After reading East of Eden. I read The Grapes of Wrath, Cup of Gold. Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, Cannery Row, and The Wayward Bus. In fact, I consider Steinbeck my favorite author overall since most of his books carry similar ideas and sentiments that I resonate with on a very deep level. 

I know this was a bit of a longer post but like I said I wanted to address many questions in regards to my relationship with this book. If you have any others or want to know more drop your questions in the comments and if I get enough maybe I will make a part 2. Also, if you want to see more quote art work follow me on Instagram where I have shared more similar posts to the one above.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by my little ink angels and have a wonderful day!

-Eva M.M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in life, Poems, thoughts

De-con-stru-ct-ion in vague.

Why did you ask if I was angry when

rain was filling my

lungs

are

titanium tanks over

flowing with hate;

I hope you can forgive

my doubled up wa

-lls; I hope you

can forget my

subconscious lies

but if you are still wondering

oui, I am a pissed off.

-Eva M.M.

Note on the art: All credit to the artist.

Hey everyone, thanks as always for stopping by and checking out my post. If you are new to the 1withthepen community I invite you to share your thoughts and ask any questions you may have, as well as explore some of my older post and pages at the menu on top. Thanks and all the best wishes!  🙂

” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”

Posted in life, Poems, thoughts

Kindred Soul

for Andrea

 

Fish out of water

die

dead

flop fish flop

because

they don’t know art when it’s not theirs

They don’t know home

unless it’s in their bones

and they don’t know

what we do

what bees do

what art does

breath and bone and blood mingle

Thought canvas

thought hive

thought reflecting deep blue water lights

the emptiness

of river

fish out of water

die

dead

fight kindred soul fight.

-Eva M.M.

 

Thank you as always for reading and have a wonderful day my little ink angels.

” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”

Posted in life, Poems, thoughts, Uncategorized

Lumière

we have a history

a speckled past

of red.white.blue

of me and you

lying

tangled

bone and bone-s

break-ing

doubt doubles on my chest

death lingers at my breast

–breath upon tortured breath,

the night still screams in echo, “LOVE ME!”

but I, stare out at light reflecting water, reflecting light–

still learning to let go.

-Eva M.Monhaut

Thank you guys as always for stopping by and reading. If you are knew to the ink angels community feel free to ask me anything and check out my about me pages.

The photo for this post is not the greatest and I do hope to replace it with a better one in the future. It was taken by me the other night when I went to visit the River lights in South Bend with my friend, The Artist,so shout out to her for bringing my on a much needed adventure and giving me some time to clear my head and inspiration for this poem.

If you want to find out more about the River Lights or just see some better photography skills check this link out:River Lights South Bend.

Love you all!

” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”

Posted in life, Poems, thoughts

Stolen Identity

Despairingly, I spoke of your despairing disparity

of ten years lost in translation

of playing hide and seek with your past

 

all of this is

a winter slowly dying

a woman still questioning

if her heart has been fooled ;

 

stealing stolen identies

to steal away the pain

of losing who you once were before

identity stolen

breathed

 

not

mine

to lose

but

mine

to love.

-Eva M.M.

Thanks as always for stopping by and for your continual love and support of my writing.

” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”

 

Posted in books, life, thoughts

Top 5 books of 2017

This year as always I wanted to list my top 5 favorite books I read this past year. I apologise for being a little late on this post but I wanted to think a lot about which books meant the most to me and why. After much reflection my list, which I tried to out in order but is not entirely a reflection of the order they fall in within my heart, stands as lsited here.

1. The Brother’s Karamatzov – Fyodor Dostoevsky

2. Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

3.  A death in the Family- James Agee

4.1984 – George Orwell

5. Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegner
Thank you for reading my little list and letting me know if you have read any of these wonders or any book recommendations for me based off of these books.

– Eva M.M.

Posted in books, life, thoughts

Books I read: 2017

Another year of writing, reading and change has come to an end here on 1withthepen and per usual I wanted to list here the books I have read this year. Taking this time to reflect on how all of these books, both similar and vastly different in many ways have come to influence my thoughts, my life and my writing. Since 2015 when I started 1withthepen till now almost 2.5 years later a lot has changed. However, my love of books has remained the same and these 35 books I read during 2017, at least the ones I remembered to keep track of, as well as everything else not listed here, have helped bring me through another wonderful year. So goodbye 2017 and welcome 2018. May this year be as much of a blessing as the last and be filled with many more wonderful books.

For those of you new to these posts, I simply list the books I read this year in no particular order and love hearing your feedback,questions and comments on the books.

I have also inserted a direct link to my year in books on Goodreads.

  1. Apology for Raymond Sebond  – Montaigne
  2. The Girl on the Train –  Paula Hawkins
  3. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche
  4. Before I wake -Robert J. Wiersema
  5. Going Bovine- Libby Bray
  6.  Hamlet – Shakespeare
  7. A History of God- Karen Armstrong
  8. A Death Struck Year- Makiia Lucier
  9. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
  10. A Death in the Family – James Agee
  11. Discourse on Methods and Meditations- Rene Descartes
  12.  A Thousand Mornings- Mary Oliver
  13. Reason in History – Hegel
  14. In the Woods- Tana French
  15. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  16. The Fall- Albert Camus
  17. The Stranger- Albert Camus
  18. The Brothers Karamazov- Fyodor Dostoevsky
  19. Trains and Lovers- Alexander McCall Smith
  20. The Death List- Paul Johnston
  21.  1984- George Orwell
  22. Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher
  23. The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe- Mary Simses
  24. Glitter-Aprilynne Pike
  25. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist-Sunil Yapa
  26. The Haj- Leon Uris
  27. The Charterhouse of Parma- Stendhal
  28. Dracula-Bram Stoker
  29. Angle of Repose-Wallace Stegner
  30. The Joy Luck Club-Amy Tan
  31. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking- Susan Cain
  32. Born Round: The Secret History of a Full Time Eater- Frank Bruni
  33. The Sexual Revolution: Pioneer Writings on Sex- Krafft-Ebing
  34. Shattered Innocence- Robert Scott
  35. The Red Pony- John Steinbeck

So those are all the books I read this past year. Let me know which numbers you have read and have a Happy New Year.

-Eva M.Monhaut