Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Emotionally So

Well, I mosied on over to my friend Jeff's blog, If you have a moment to spare... (whom I attend school with) and touched on this post. Let's run through this, semi-interpolatively (seeing as to how I'm not pasting the entire article here). Keep in mind that we have somewhat of a rant here, but I still think the situation's a common one. Oh, and if this seems more personal than most of my posts, it's because the commentary is going to be somewhat self-fulfilling. There, I warned you:


To start off with something I'm willing to bet no one's ever heard before in their lives, there's this girl.

Definitely, we've all hit this one before, though the severity of the ailment varies.

If it were a girl I saw every once in a while in the halls of my school, for example, it would be somewhat easier. Instead of awkwardly trying to initiate conversations after the classes I have with her, more on that in a bit, I could simply use my considerable charm.

I've had the opposite problem: too much one-on-one time initiated by, well, me. It's better to see someone act in a group; I have a much better sense of humor in groups (in classrooms especially) than one-on-one, at least initially. It's hard for me to lose my reservedness in such a situation.

How can the presence of a particularly indescribable, remarkable human being flip my personality so? It's not as though there aren't several young ladies of my acquaintance who are almost as lovely and almost as radiant, almost as...

Well, it's a matter of personal perception. Yes, beauty has *some* to do with symmetry and proportions and other jazz, but there's also one's own outlook, which is usually enhanced by personality factors (if you like someone's personality they'll start to look better physically as well). Here's a nice paragraph to describe such a feeling (I've had it too, for about nine months. It's still there, but it's receding, which is a good and bad thing):


"To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell." ~Gabriel García Márquez


I won't comment any further on GGM, since I'm unfamiliar with his writing as a whole. However, the last line, "for fear of destroying the spell" inspired the line in my poem, "Village Children", "she cannot blink, in fear/of consuming her grand and dear escape". The description as a whole is one of my favorite prose excerpts. Now, moving on:

If I do inform her, and she reciprocates, I couldn't be happier, but...


But what if she doesn't feel the same?

Tough call. Personally, I told her pretty fast and everything fell to naught. Of course, I tend to be straightforward with how I feel about people (which isn't too hard, since I get along with most). Bad idea, perhaps, but it also dispels some discomfort and wipes any notions of secrecy.

I'm certain, either way, she'll be cool about it, but if she doesn't want a relationship with me, I, and this is very hard for me to say, I don't know what to do.

It seems as though the noble thing would be to respect her wishes, simply back off. I wouldn't get exactly what I want, but if it makes her happy, I'd be all for it.

Been there. It would be unjust to comment on this any further.

Then again, if she doesn't care about me as deeply as much as I do her, do I have the right to change her mind? Do I have the right to convince her just how amazing I am?

You have the right; the question is, is such a wish an (im)possibility?


Jeff, I hope this helped in some way. Everyone else, perhaps you could relate (if you couldn't, you're [mis]fortunate). Take care 'til next time,


Friday, November 24, 2006


Behold- the tilde ("~")! Just as Emily Dickinson employed — dashes in a unique fashion, and just as the 1 and only Dan Schneider uses digits & "and" signs in his prose, I use tildes on frequent occasion. Granted, I can't do this in school writing; creative liberties are *not* to be taken there, right? But hey, it happens~


Question: What sort of ending did the tilde after "happens" connote? I use tildes to denote a lilting ending; the sentence does not abruptly come to a stop, but drifts into the next sentence. The shape of the tilde subliminally suggests such an effect. Let's define our (four) end punctuations to a sentence:

  • Period- The period creates a matter-of-fact ending to a sentence.
  • Exclamation Point- The exclamation point is exciting!
  • Question Mark- The question mark denotes, well, a question... right?
  • Tilde- The tilde provides a casual, nonchalant ending to a sentence~

  • See what I mean? You better! I hope you do. It'd be a shame if you didn't~


    Wild, overly enthusiastic explanation aside, here's a Wiki entry on the tilde. The tilde has a variety of uses, but not those I employ. Punctuation isn't an explicitly undeveloped part of language, but I'm convinced that it can be used more effectively, starting with the addition of the tilde (and perhaps 1-2 others; we'll see) as a legitimate punctuation mark. Then again, I suppose universal legitimacy has no effect on whether or not I use it, so that's somewhat of a nul point. I have yet to use it in poetry, but I use it in prose often enough, particularly in speech, asides, and paragraph endings. Repeated tildes also make a rather elegant line divider. Lastly, I use it before signatures; it still has the same connotation. That said, take care 'til next time~


    Sunday, November 19, 2006

    The SAT *Can* Be Funny, You Know

    Here we go, a spare post with few comments. Due to my current laze, the lone feature for today is a rather humorous SAT essay that was presented to me in my SAT-Prep class. Basically, we had to pause class and regain our composure before proceeding again. Anyhow:


                Some people in the world today feel that they need to achieve a goal in order to receive fame and money. While others achieve a goal for their own satisfaction. I personally feel that you should achieve a goal for your own satisfaction and not for that of fame.
                The most important thing about someone's life is to have a positive self-esteem. People need to not worry so much about what others think and just need to start concentrating on doing everything for themselves. Within my life I set a lot of goals from which I hope to achieve. One major goal is that of trying to drop my fifty meter freestyle time to twenty-five seconds. I work day in and day out on this and want to show myself I can do it. Idon't care what others think about my goals. I want to do this for myself and not for fame or money.
                A person should not feel the need for fame or money because if they achieve a lifetime goal they should just be happy with themselves. Think about it I mean, how long does money last? Is fame really worth anything? I don't think so. I mean, I know it would be nice to be recognized for doing something special or extraordinary but truthfully it won't help you. Fame may make your day or make you smile for a couple of days but when you really think about it, it won't make you happy for the rest of your life. Yet, if you do something for yourself and keep doing things for yourself you should always be happy with yourself.
              Remember fame and money don't last forever but one's own happiness can last a lifetime and eternity. Therefore it is very obvious that the choice that should be made when trying to find motivation for a goal would be that of personal satisfaction rather than that of fame or money.


    My favorite bits:

  • "Think about it I mean, how long does money last? Is fame really worth anything? I don't think so."
  • "Fame may make your day or make you smile for a couple of days..."
  • "Yet, if you do something for yourself and keep doing thing for yourself you should always be happy with yourself."

  • Genius, isn't it? Please note that the writing itself gets far worse than this; however, this person's grammar comes off as particularly funny. 'Til next time,


    LAEvaside: In writing this article, condescension was not my intention [/rhyme], and if it comes off like that, sorry. Its purpose is to highlight a few odd phrases that are somewhat funny, nothing more. [/laevaside]

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Painting Poems

    Painting poems for paintings... an interesting concept, to be sure. The combination of one art with another is a frequent and often successful endeavor; music in particular is frequently combined with films and dance. Another fine example is the combination of illustrations and books (which is a particularly evident technique in children's literature). Artists create paintings depicting characters or events in literature, and the opposite is also true; poets write verse about paintings. The concept has intrigued me as of late, and I recently made my first attempt. First, however, here is an example, courtesy of Jessica Schneider:


    Wild Poppies


    A beautiful painting with a lovely poem to accompany it: give and take, right? The last four lines have power behind them, and the poem as a whole frames the painting in a way that no material border can match. Now, my first attempt; painting first (shame on anyone who doesn't look at the painting first), then poem:


    Village Children
                   ~John Singer Sargent

    The drear of the day settles far
    Into her black and lovely gaze,
    Deeper than the running streets around her
    That almost walk still in their constant march.
    Lost next to her, a little drifter
    Is somewhere else, wonderful
    And stars away. She cannot blink, in fear
    Of consuming her grand and dear escape.
    Silent and warm, the village is next
    To their plain and precious charm.

    By Neil Hester


    I think I probably spent 10 minutes looking at the painting before beginning to write, and several minutes on it during the process of writing. Although my judgment (particularly self-) has a tendency to be a little off, I think this a strong poem, especially for a first attempt at interpreting a painting. A couple notes: firstly, line two: not a cliche, since the gaze is black and lovely, not the eyes. Also, it's a rare description to give to a child. "Walk still" was originally "stand still", but the music is better with "walk", the term less cliched, and the contrasts ("running", "walk", "march") more interesting.

    LAEvaside: Firstly, "Village Children" is also my profile image, in case you didn't notice. Secondly, I got counted off on a paper in English for using the word "firstly". Maybe I'll use "firstly" in every paper I write for the remainder of the year, then bring her a dictionary on the last day; am I not allowed to use words my teacher doesn't know? [/laevaside]

    Take care 'til next time,


    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Parodization (Parodification?)

    LAEvaside: Neither of the main title are actually words. You probably could have guessed that, but eh~ [/laevaside]

    Bang! I saw this poem about half a year ago and later decided to parody it. Here's the fodder:


    iris    moon    sheaths

    scubadivers    chrysanthemums    also

    deer    inlets    dream

    oars    this    earth

    geese    lined    bowl

    shard    so    horizon

    cod    dried    dawn

    bones    sky    written

    lichened    space    rock

    fossils    celebrating    investors

    crematorium    shared    persimmon

    hyacinth    clustered    strangers

    cranes    three    words


    Amazing work of art, ain't it? It begged for treatment, so that it got:

    (Note: the first "~~~~~~~" is part of the poem.)


    Not Abstract

    and    imagined    perplexity

    horizon    iris    intellectual

    lay    words    these

    composite    of    climax

    render    paleontologist    muse

    a    visionary    summon

    bones    leaves    amber

    extraordinary    caricature    art


    And if you imagined some ingenious perplexity,
    Some grand horizon, some iris of intellectual beauty
    Should lay within those words before these lines,
    That composite heap of uselessness,
    A poetic climax of irrelation,
    I should render you a fantastic paleontologist,
    A mighty muse of a visionary–
    To summon from raptor bones, fern leaves,
    Lizard scales and amber flies
    Some single extraordinary caricature of life and art.

    By Neil Hester


    The poem may be a bit too wordy and also cliched in the first few lines, so I might rework that later, but I think it's relatively effective, particularly the "I should render you... a visionary" part and the last line. Also, note that the following words are in part one of my parody, as a nod to the original: iris, horizon, and bones, and words. I've always liked parody and have also dabbled in the parodization of pop and rap with a friend, two music genres that are often simply ghastly nowadays.

    Expect an argument for the usage of the tilde ("~") as a punctuation mark in the next couple weeks; the tilde is the most prominent of my idiosyncrasies, as far as writing is concerned. That said, take care 'til next time,


    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Via Verse Immortality

    An occasional motivation for writing is the notion that poetry may serve as a "ticket to immortality" of sorts. I had a conversation on this with Jessica Schneider a couple weeks ago:


    Thanks for the compliment. It really helps that I got criticism from my 7th grade teacher. That pulled me out of Wonderland nice and early; although it was very lenient criticism mixed with friendly praise, it was enough of a push to cause meaningful motion. From there it's your basic improvement story; read, write, rewrite.

    Also, a somewhat related note (with a poem, if you don't mind): despite the "noble" pursuits of contributing to art and gaining a sense of achievement, I sometimes catch myself considering poetry as a possible ticket to remembrance centuries from now. How common do you think the latter motivation is?


    To Know What For

    To see the world in poetry,
    To border immortality
    With written gilt that stays or fades,
    Dependent on its quality.

    To dream one's verse is evident
    To scholars of a long descent
    That wholly fills the centuries
    As great and truly permanent.

    To write with vivid liveliness,
    To pen in ardour, coalesce
    From dull and sparing ink and scroll
    A splendor wrought with rare largesse.

    To know one's immortality
    Is truly great and permanent
    Creates an inner liveliness
    That scholars of a late descent
    Will chronicle with fine largesse.
    A monument of poetry
    That manages to coalesce
    Consistency with quality;
    Transcendency is evident.

    ...To see one's dreams: a great delight,
    For now I know for what to write.

    By Neil Hester


    ...Take Care,

    Now, the reply:

    Hey Neil-

    I think the whole ticket into immortality is a valid one. I admit that I've thought about it, mostly when I was in my early 20's, but now that I've gotten a little older, I try not to focus on it as much within my daily life. Yes, that itch is still there, however not the sum of what I think about each day. An artist has a tough job in that he or she also has to be a person too, and live a life that involves the same tasks as non-artists. I think from the pov of an artist, to strive to have your work remembered is always a good thing- to think about the topics you write about as well as the way they're expressed and wonder how that will affect the thoughts of generations from now. But I also have come to believe it's unhealthy to only focus on that as a person. Just be sure to enjoy being 16, and then 18, and then 21. Don't let the immortality thing get in the way with having a fulfilling youth. I admit that there have been times when my frustration has caused me not to enjoy parts of when I was younger, like during my mid-20's but I'm trying to make up for that now, in a way.

    I remember showing some poems to my high school English teacher when I was 16 and she gave me praise, mostly I think because most 16 year olds wrote about breaking up with their boyfriends/girlfriends or hating the world. The poems themselves weren't anything I'd publish now, but they showed potential. I was trying to imitate Emily Dickinson, mostly. But I have found that the 2 poets who have written the best juvenilia were Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath. Plath was probably the better of the two, and while her juvenile poems didn't soar into immortality the way her mature work does, they were more structured and polished than anything I'd ever written at that age. I didn't write a poem worth really publishing till I was 22. That "Wild Poppies" poem is my first 'real' poem I wrote. There were some others that were good, but that was my first mature one that I'd include in a collection today. The handful of others from my youth that were decent I'd rank as juvenilia, but wouldn't make it into my mature work. For example, the poem you have on Cosmoetica is far more mature than anything I'd ever written at 16 or even 21, so writers start to mature at different times. I know that Dan says he didn't have anything worth crap till he was 28, so it just depends. But as long as you keep at it and not get distracted or too depressed by the bad poetry getting published (talk about no immortality there) then your work will grow. And who knows, it could take you places you never thought you'd go to, like me- I had no idea I'd have an interest in writing fiction. That came when I was 26 and the poetry was sort of at a dead end, but I still hope to return to it someday, but in the mean time, some money off book sales would be nice.



    The thought of gaining immortal (or at least, uh, macromortal?) status in literature probably pops up in any serious writer's mind at some point in their lives, though I'm guessing it bothers some more than others. Mine and Jessica's are very similar; the idea is more of an itch than anything. For now, I mostly just write when I feel like it (though I might try to set myself to "x" number of poems to write during off weeks and summer months), so my childhood is definitely intact ^^


    LAEvaside: Firstly, I made it to 1000 hits. Go me? Also, the "poem within a quote" is a first for this blog: clever, eh? [/laevaside]

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006


    With another month comes another Month entry. Behold... November!


  • November was the ninth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February.
  • Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated in Mexico on November 2.
  • November is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.
  • November begins on the same day of the week as March every year and also February except in leap years.
  • November's flower is the chrysanthemum.
  • In Finnish, November is called marraskuu, meaning "month of the dead".

  • ~~~~~~~

    As usual, these facts are pulled from November at Wikipedia. As a side note, I really like Wikipedia for casual research, but remember; avoid it for all serious research. Now, onto the couplet:


    No Vember

    "Do you have a Vember?" "I carry no Vember,
    And what is a Vember?" "...Why, I don't remember!"


    Ah, the joys of nonsense verse. Keeps you limber and whatnot... 'til next time,