Saturday, December 24, 2011

the nightmare before Christmas

i was waiting in
the train station
(a twilight zone
between homes)

the heat was on
(a modern day hearth
protecting from foreign chill)

i was sitting on a bench
somewhere in the midst of
nodding off in the warmth and
checking my phone
(a call from family
here to pick me up)

when all of a sudden
a stranger shuffled in the door
my first image
a threadbare Santa
gaudily wrapped
(a discarded present
holiday irony)

without warning
he sat down on
the bench
next to me
began a sick soliloquy
to the tune of
O Holy Night
on a half busted radio.
i felt molestation in
his speech
(a discourse
on posterior hygiene)

there was no
diplomatic retreat
and so the
verbal violation
(a few minutes that moved like
an Advent calendar)

the heat
in the station began
to sicken me; the air
of the place was
suddenly foul
and i kept waiting for familiarity
(an aunt to come
and take me home)

but time seemed to have
hit the brakes
and screeched to
a halt.


i saw
in a pair
of glass
to admit
to admit
of glass
in a pair
i saw

Friday, December 23, 2011

you never let me miss you

sandpaper kisses, papercut bliss
don't know what this is, but it all leads to this--

he looks me in the eyes.
before his lips part, i know exactly what will escape them,
exactly how.
"i thought i told you
i'm not him."
(smoke from the end of a cigarette 
forget-me-nots to choke on)
the script was written in pencil, as much as we pretended otherwise.
the kisses he bruised my skin with were fated to fade.
so many sensual scars.
"just a bird."
(common knowledge) 
i let those love bites and heart blows rain anyway.
smiled, because i only felt the climax.

i suppose he's only squinting because of the smoke.
meanwhile, my vision is blurry with tears.
'they're finally starting to hurt.'
(to myself)
God help me if i don't succumb to this slow motion collapse.
"it won't be long
before i fall
out of love." 
(fade to black)
you're gonna leave her
you have deceived her.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

do me a favor

1. go to

2. download everything in sight (i.e. 3 mixtapes, house of balloons being the first and echoes of silence being the last)

3. prepare your ears.  they're in for a treat.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spoken Word + Dubstep = ???

try this on for size. just finished it like half an hour ago.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

today's "maybe i don't deserve a harvard degree after all" moment

every week, i volunteer with a study hall program for middle school kids.  we basically just watch them do their homework and help them out when they have a question.

there's this one kid who comes when i volunteer.  he knows very little English (Mandarin Chinese is his first language), but he's stellar in math.  when he doesn't have work to do (this has been the case for the past two weeks), he likes to make up his own math problems.  he writes down equations and tells me to solve them, or draws complex shapes and asks me to find the area.  

i've always been relatively good in math up to trig or basic calculus level, but (more than) half the time, i can't solve the problems this kid gives me to solve.  when i give it my best effort anyway in an attempt to retain some semblance of my dignity, he complains that i'm working too slowly.  

all told, i never thought a middle schooler could make me feel so dumb.  and as embarrassing as it is, i also find it really funny.

Friday, November 25, 2011

i really want to cover this song

Now Playing: "Take Care" - Drake ft. Rihanna

i'll be rihanna...who wants to be drake?  hit me up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

i bet you think this poem's about you

you used to run through my mind all the time--marathon
but we've finally crossed the finish line--i'm done
trying to focus on a definite distraction
wondering where i rank on your list of situations
reducing myself to two X chromosomes because your company made me feel sexy
i'm not interested in getting my heart broken
it already has deep cracks in places
but here i was acting like this fling didn't hurt me
there i went attempting to assume the role of the player
ignoring emotions though without them, this piece would never happen
guess i thought i could use you without feeling used
now i see that was stupid, a mentality that made me miserable
i barely recognized myself
some nights i'd take a long look in the mirror and ask
what happened to you?
you were meant to live for so much more than semi-drunken hookups and misplaced emotions
you're a why you keep rollin deep with them paupers?
and i would come so close to calling it quits
but eventually quench my qualms in the name of
"quality time" with a cute guy
and every morning after, i'd wake up and realize
that the whole thing was ridiculous
i could be so much stronger than all of this
here's the thing
all a girl really wants is your attention
and sometimes she'll sell her soul to get it
i confess, that was my sin
but now i'm taking this back to church
this next part may convict you, but i gotta be direct to come correct
it's time for me to elevate my conversation
i need to stop settling for these boys with their short-term affections
and start holding out for that man whose eyes are level with Heaven
see the only one i need is Jesus
and i gotta stop bowing to you like you're my Savior
i'm through tryna dance with demons
it takes two to tango, but only one to walk it out
so if you don't mind, i think imma get to steppin.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

why occupy harvard?

i was going to write an irate blog post about my reasons for thinking occupy harvard is irrelevant (not going to describe it.  just google it), but i'm just so over it.  i'm sick of talking about it, sick of reading about it, just sick of it.  can we PLEASE talk about something else?  rally about something, anything, that doesn't have occupy in the name.  depending on the topic you choose, i may even come out and hold a sign and chant until my throat's sore (just don't ask me to sleep in a tent).  just change the subject already.

UPDATE: i'm mad at myself for saying that i was over it but continuing to discuss this with people all day long.  i guess this is something that needs to be discussed and shouldn't just be ignored.  in any case, now that i've calmed down a bit from when i wrote this post and heard some arguments here and there, i think i'm most miffed at the fact that this had to be an OCCUPY protest and not just a protest.  if you want more of my opinion on occupy harvard specifically, or feel the need to educate me a bit more on the protest movement in general, please don't hesitate to contact me. :P

Monday, November 7, 2011

this really struck me

from a NY Times article about (ex-)Dr. Conrad Murray being found guilty in the death of Michael Jackson:

In one of the most dramatic moments in the trial, prosecutors played Dr. Murray’s iPhone recording of the rambling singer talking about his dream of building the world’s largest children’s hospital.
“I’m going to do that for them,” Mr. Jackson is heard saying in slurred speech. “That will be remembered more than my performances. My performances will be up there helping my children and always be my dream. I love them. I love them because I didn’t have a childhood. I had no childhood, I feel their pain.”
When his voice trailed off, Dr. Murray waited several seconds before asking, “You O.K.?”
After several more seconds, Mr. Jackson answered, “I am asleep.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

under your thumb i can't breathe

i'm 20 years old.  but you still seem to treat me like i'm 7.

not sure if you noticed, but i'm no longer clinging to your leg like a scared little girl.  slowly but surely, i've taken my face out of the folds of your dress, become aware of the outside world.  i know you probably hate to think of it this way, but i think i'm ready to walk on my own.  baby steps at first.  and maybe i'll have to come back to my familiar place at your side for a little while.  but sooner or later i'll be making great strides toward a destiny you tried to prepare me for.

but the only way that will happen is if you let me go.

understand that disrespect is not my intention.  i love you, and i appreciate every single thing you've done for me my entire life; that will never change.  i just have a lot to say, and i need you to listen.  i need you to stop thinking that i called to argue, to stop trying to guilt me into agreement.  i'm not your carbon copy; i have half of your DNA, but that doesn't make me your clone.

i need you to acknowledge that i'm 20 years old, 5 months and 9 days shy of 21, and i don't need your blessing to make all my decisions.  scary, i know, but you can't reverse time.  it just keeps flying.

and now i need the space to spread my wings.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Really Need to Get on This Guy's Level

Now Playing: "C'mon Talk" - Bernhoft

Saturday, October 29, 2011

the improv poet, pt. 1

this pretty much came out of nowhere.  call it stream of consciousness, if you want.  but whatever you do, help me figure out a (real) title!! :)

so maybe i'll experiment with improvisation
i don't know, just keep writing one day
further and further down the page
until i get to something i'm proud to call Poetry.

i heard a guy once at an open mic who spun stories like spider webs around Halloween,
talked about conversations in hardware stores and theater kid games in high school.
and i thought it was really cool
how he was writing poetry in thin air with his vocal cords without even trying.
he was just talking but somehow it felt different than mere dialogue.
there was some sort of spell behind his words,
because they made us laugh and nod our heads knowingly as they flowed out of him,

much like the words are flowing out of me now, might i add.
but i digress just a tad.

back to that night, when we all sat comfortably in a coffee house,
chewing on free pastries and sipping overpriced lattes,
listening to this guy tell his life story in a couple of minutes.
well, when he finished,
i thought about all the times i've tried to write and failed miserably.
when i had some diabolical plan in place
to make my dreams come alive with rhymes and alliteration
and all that stuff they teach you about in English class,
but somewhere along the line my train of thought crashed
and i was left with nothing but fragments.

considering all this i said to myself,
"why not experiment with improvisation?"

and now we've come full circle
concluded where we commenced
and somehow that makes the most sense.

Monday, October 24, 2011

there's something wrong here...

the Harvard University Police Department (known by most students as HUPD) sends emails to all students whenever a crime happens in the community.

when a male grad student is robbed, all students are told to "be vigilant while walking throughout campus."

when a woman is "indecently assaulted," women are explicitly told to "take common sense safety precautions."

does anyone else see an issue with this?

UPDATE:  apparently, HUPD was only forwarding a message from another police department to all students, and they usually don't change the format of the police reports they get.  this revelation didn't make anyone feel much better about the situation, though.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

we had an extended worship period after 11am service at my church today.  i left around 1:45, before things were finished, because i hadn't eaten all day and the dining hall was about to close for brunch.

but i really wanted to stay there forever.

when i'm worshiping--whether i'm part of the worship team,  in the audience, or alone in my room--i forget everything else.  all the daily distractions melt away, and i am left thinking only about my relationship with God.

the sad part is that as soon as the church doors close behind me, my mind is once again vulnerable to mundane worries, annoyances, and thoughts of all kinds that i probably have no business entertaining.  i wish it were easier for me to enter into a posture of worship outside of the sanctuary.

Monday, October 17, 2011

possibly the best news of my life

i'm going to medical school.

i keep having to say it over and over to myself to get used to the way that sounds.  and i keep refreshing my gmail to make sure the acceptance email didn't magically vanish while my back was turned.

all the days of MCAT studying, every long night spent tweaking essays and praying over applications, every dollar sent via paypal or snail mail to cover various all officially pays off now.

i'm on my way to becoming Dr. Ingram.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 15, 2011

something new for y'all

don't worry, i haven't left blogspot.  my tumblr is merely for quotes, so i'll still come back here when i feel inspired to write something (which is pretty much never these days...i'm feeling a bit like this right now, but i'll live).

read the very first tumblr post to get a little bit of background on why i started the new blog in the first place.  i hope you enjoy my quotes! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

why i don't do spoken word

i wrote this sunday and performed it at an open mic last night.  it was my first time ever doing spoken word in public.  and i positively loved it (so much so that i did 2 more pieces at the end of the night; maybe that was rude, but i couldn't help it...the audience didn't seem to care haha).  i don't have video of my performance, but i'll probably redo this eventually and post it to youtube.  for now, enjoy reading it! ^__^

they tell me i should give these words a voice
let other people hear them instead of just reading
and i ache for my amorphous vocabulary to have a significant existence
one that runs beyond Microsoft Word, blog posts, and notes on my cell phone

but i'll be the first to admit
i'm afraid to share any of my thoughts out loud

it's funny, because i have dreamed of open mics and coffee houses ever since i received my poetic license
have always wanted to hear the random ish i think carried through the air and to your ears
have had countless chances to make these daydreams realities
but when i look out my front window and find opportunity standing on my stoop
i feel that limelight lust rise in me
that simultaneous taste of bliss and bile
and i swallow it back down
deadbolt the door and think
not now,
some other night,
maybe next time i'll be ready

see, i've never taken well to real time criticism
after i open my mouth and start to speak
i don't know if you'll love me or laugh me out of the building
and i can't just delete the opinions of a tangible audience like they let me do in cyberspace
even if the crowd promises to leave its rotten tomatoes at home
i'll still find myself rehearsing worst case scenarios as if they're anything more than hypothetical situations
i'll still be scared of stuttering, stumbling over my words, talking too fast or too softly to be heard
getting a mean case of stage fright, forgetting my favorite line, tripping over the mic, falling flat on my face
making a fool of myself and a mockery of good poets everywhere

yes, i'm terrified
but today i got up and decided that it was finally time to put a voice to my blatant abuse of alliteration on paper
time to open the door and embrace opportunity
time to come out of hiding, say something crazy, screw better
and if i get to the end of this poem without stopping
i plan to snap for myself until my fingers hurt
regardless of how you decide to receive me


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

on 11:08 pm, EDT

i wasn't following the case until Tuesday, but the moment i heard that Troy Davis had been executed, i felt like crying.  the feeling quickly faded and was replaced by a strange hollowness.

every fiber of my being is in mourning, as if i knew Mr. Davis personally, had talked to him face to face instead of reading about his statements and his status on the various news sites and social networks that i have pulled up on Google Chrome.

and now, about an hour after his death--some people would say homicide--i'm still on facebook and twitter, my homework completely forgotten.  i'm reading the reactions of friends and the people i follow, sometimes commenting, sometimes just staring at the words they've chosen to use in an effort to express the inexpressible.

i feel connected to these people, even as that metaphorical moral fiber that holds everything together seems to unravel with time.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Eni, party of one

(Now Playing: "Ridin' Solo" -- Jason Derulo)

i've been saying for years now that i'm "ok with being single."  honestly, i don't think i believed my own words, and i'm not sure anyone around me did either.

last night, while dancing, laughing, and having fun with 4 good friends at an off-campus party, i began to realize--to actually admit to myself--that i don't need to waste energy thinking about romantic relationships.  if it's God's will, there will be a place for one in my life one day.  but it's not necessary for me to look for possibilities in every encounter, to play fantasies over and over in my mind like reruns on prime-time tv.  it's time for me to turn my focus inward, to work on becoming a Proverbs 31 woman, to live life, dance hard, sing loud, and regret nothing when the music stops.

because for the first time, riding solo feels right.

Friday, September 9, 2011

happy friday ^___^

there was no one else in the laundry room.  so i put on my "good morning" playlist and began to sing along.  and i didn't just kind of mouth the words, afraid that someone might come in and give me a weird look.  i sang loudly, with no regrets, like i was the only person in the world and nothing else mattered.

it was a great way to start off the morning.

Monday, September 5, 2011

third person

sweat and sexual tension played
wicked games inside my cranium

and i thought to myself

why analyze a short story
spun around six packs and shot glasses

let the plot run its course
then forget it ever happened

indifference is the best possible action

never mind that my hearts a bit too open
to put anything but feeling first

randomly exchanging sweat and saliva
sharing a series of kisses in the dark
it felt more like balancing my checkbook
adding such and such to a list of past transactions

i expected my nerves to scream themselves awake
the heat should have been too intense for them to sleep
but they didnt so much as move
like the whole time they knew i was only dreaming

maybe they were on to something

these memories dont feel like mine

Sunday, September 4, 2011


less than a month ago i wished that i had the ability to let my guard down completely, to say what i mean and regret nothing.  i celebrated transparency as therapy, using images of armor and keys and nakedness to bring my point across.  

right now...i have so much to say, but i'm afraid of putting my thoughts out in the open.  i want to hide my words from the world, protect them from unfamiliar eyes.  i'm not sure what happened to the girl who wanted a moment or two of vulnerability.

Monday, August 22, 2011

senior year...leggo.

about three years ago, i wrote my 100th facebook note about starting college, feeling like i had grown up a little.  now that i'm currently in the middle of my last Packing for College Marathon, i thought i'd share my thoughts.

for most of the summer, i felt unsure about whether i was really ready for senior year.  honestly, i was (and still am) a bit scared of it.  it's a mere leap away from the real world (unless you're pre-med like I am; then it's a leap away from more school and probably more debt), an interlude before an unfamiliar song begins.

but now that i'm physically and mentally preparing for my long journey back to campus, i'm pretty much forced to face the music.  i'm still a bit nervous about the distant and not-so-distant future, and i still feel like i'm walking on shaky ground...but i have to keep reminding myself that God has my future, regardless of how i feel.

my hopes for this year?  i want to be a little more balanced than before.  i'm not interested in keeping the "all work and no play" attitude i had last year and the year before.  maybe i'll do some baking, get lost in boston with friends, take up tai chi, or try my hand at piano.  perhaps i'll go to bed before 2am every night.  right now, the possibilities are endless (provided that my gpa remains something i can be proud of :P).

all in all, i know this is going to be a great year.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dear Cartoon Network

I used to love watching your channel as a kid...Dexter's Lab, The Powerpuff Girls...these were some of the shows I grew up with and positively adored.  After watching these classics, I too wanted a top-secret laboratory in my room, I too wanted to fly around the City of Townsville and save the world before bedtime.  I remember creating my own characters and placing them in their own story lines alongside my two-dimensional heroes and heroines; my imagination ran wild with harmless possibilities.

Now, things have changed; I'm afraid it's a change for the worse.

I saw this video in my Facebook news feed not too long ago...and I have to say, I'm disgusted.  If I had a daughter, I would never let her watch something like this for fear of what she might do with what she's just seen.  I wouldn't want her practicing provocative dance moves in front of a mirror, or whatever else she might think to do from watching a clip like this.  You might say that you're giving children and their parents a warning by slapping a Viewer Discretion Advised icon on the screen, but you should know...that doesn't always keep a curious child from looking at things that aren't meant for them.

I understand that sex sells, believe me, I do...but why are you trying to sell it to children?  Whatever happened to innocent cartoons, the ones without questionable dialogue, skimpy outfits, or subject matter more fitting for adults?

...When did we start thinking it was right for kids to grow up so quickly?
i'm a little bit like Tantalus.  except the things that i reach for are dangerous, and they're drawn away from me because God is trying to protect me.

i know this, and i don't care.  because these dark things i desire are so beautiful...

so beautiful that the only logical response is for me to keep reaching for them, regardless of the consequences.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I've kept some form of diary or journal since I was little.  I still remember the little Lisa Frank notebook I had in elementary school, with its yellow plastic lock and its rainbow-colored pages.  In it, I wrote about everything from going to school to making limeade in the kitchen with my mom, all in a big, awkward script that might have indicated a lack of fine-tuned motor skills.  Since then, I've filled countless pages with opinions, aspirations, secret crushes, song lyrics.  It's always amusing to look back and see how my thought processes have changed over time (I'd say "matured," but somehow I don't think that's consistently been the case).  All these years, it's been nice to have a safe place for my deepest thoughts, greatest ideas, and darkest secrets, whether it's in Notepad or on notebook paper (these days I use both).  Call it therapy, if you will.

But sometimes I grow weary of one sided conversations with word processors of various capacity.  And I find myself wishing that I didn't have to put so many guards up when other people are involved, even if they are there for my own good.  Cryptic web posts that dance around the things I desperately want to say, conversations where names are omitted to protect the parties in question...these things start to seem so artificial, so unsatisfying.

What I really the ability to be completely open.  I wish I could just say whatever's bothering me out loud, no censorship, no diplomatic choice of words...just vulnerability.  I want nothing more than to break my own barriers, shed the armor I sleep with, and stand there, figuratively naked, letting just one person see and understand everything I've ever hidden away in a book with a lock and key.

Because somehow, I think transparency may be the best therapy of all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Know I'm Special...Finally

When I was little, I had a shirt like this.  Wore it quite a bit, actually.  But I don't think I really believed the message then, or even after I outgrew the shirt.  "God don't make no junk" was just something they told you in Sunday School, or something your parents told you when they tucked you in at night.  But they were just words...there was no magic or meaning in them.

I'll be the first one to tell you that I've had issues with self esteem over the years.  I spent most of middle school thinking I was ugly--not really having a reason, just thinking it.  In high school, I couldn't help feeling like I was the only single person in the building; I was sure that there was something wrong with me because of it.  And of course, I was teased for, among other things, being tall (having to order all of my pants from catalogs didn't help either).

Like so many other girls my age, I was thirsty for validation.  I searched for it in every corner of my life.  When I couldn't find it, or when I realized the validation I did find was only temporary, I began to feel even worse about myself.  This prompted me to search even harder, more desperately, but still in the wrong places.  I've had my share of misadventures because of this...I won't go into detail, but I'm just thankful that I didn't get into anything dangerous.

Everyone says that God fills that heavenly hole in our lives, the one we keep trying to fill with earthly things.  I'd heard it so much, but for some reason I just dismissed it, over and over again, in favor of trying to find that relationship, that interaction that would finally make me feel beautiful.  I don't know when I snapped out of it and decided to completely accept God's love for me.  But since then, He's been working on me, refining me...all the while telling me that I'm special simply because I'm His daughter.  Don't get me wrong, the body image issues and the other thoughts that used to plague me never fully go away.  I don't feel like His daughter all the time, and I certainly haven't felt special every day of my life...but it's all right, because He still loves me regardless of how I feel.

So, fast forward a bit to Wednesday, July 27, 2011, probably around 9am.  After working out and taking a shower, I took a long look at myself in the mirror.  I looked at the damaged parts of my hair, my slightly lopsided glasses, my chronically dry skin, the places that never tone up regardless of the number of crunches and squats I do in the morning.

I thought back to that old t-shirt and its sassy message, the one it took me my entire life to believe.

And suddenly, in spite of my flaws, I couldn't stop smiling.

Friday, July 22, 2011

1 Song, 2 Versions

It technically took me a year and some change to finish this song, but it's finally done.  And I have two versions for your listening pleasure.

"This Song" - original:
"This Song" - ambi3nt remix:

Please let me know what you think of them.  Just don't be too harsh if you have to offer criticism; as Erykah Badu once said, "Keep in mind that I'm an artist, and I'm sensitive about my s***."  My "equipment" (i.e. my computer) isn't awesome, and the vocals weren't perfect, but I still love what I've done anyway.  I hope you will too. :) :)

way past my bedtime,


your smile is so simple
yet it somehow has the power
to cause the sun to break the clouds
and make my day brighter
your voice is nothing special
but still it's just enough
to cause my heart to quake
as soon as i hear it
when i'm feeling distressed
you visit my dreams
and whisper sweet poetry
that carries me to sleep again
you're my favorite melody
and i'll sing to you my gratitude

darling i'm writing you this song
just writing a song for you
a song for you, a song for you

sometimes in life
we're blessed to see angels
unsung but beautiful
walking among us
prayers form in our minds
when we close our eyes
asking the heavens
to show us anything
somewhere in your soul
i think i found my answer
the circle of your arms is
warm enough to be a halo
you're my favorite melody
and I'll sing to you my gratitude

darling i'm writing you this song
just writing a song for you
a song for you, a song for you

you're my favorite melody
and I'll sing to you my gratitude

darling I'm writing you this song
just writing a song for you
a song for you, a song for you

you're my favorite melody
and I'll sing to you my gratitude

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Poison" (new song)

I'm not sure if these lyrics found me or if I found these lyrics.  In any case, here's the first part of a song I just stared working on today.

Please let me know what you think of it by commenting on this post, leaving a comment on my Facebook and/or Twitter pages, or commenting on the video itself; it would absolutely make my day if you did.  And if you have any ideas for a second verse, let me know; I'm kind of stumped at the moment...

Much love,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

creatures of habit

i play with fire
expecting invincibility
but every time i wind up with more burns...
you'd think i'd learn.

funny how we keep coming back to places we shouldn't be caught dead in; to people we swore we'd never open up to again; to thoughts that haunted us--once, twice...a thousand times--in the dark when everyone else was asleep.

and really, the phrase "coming back" is a bit too mild.  let me be frank: we run, at breakneck speed, as if these habits signify more than just imaginary needs, happy endings only found in a fairy tale or Disney movie, security blankets made of the finest, thinnest air.

we if we actually couldn't go on without them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

urban spelunking and excessive web surfing

right now i'm looking up pictures and video of Dixie Square Mall on the internet.  i don't know why i'm so interested in it; it's just kind of fascinating that it's been abandoned since the 1970s (and after numerous efforts, it doesn't look like it will ever be completely demolished or remodeled) and that people have made a hobby out of exploring it.  there are entire websites devoted to it and other vacant malls and buildings, hotspots for gutsy adventurers, the likes of which i am not.  i wish i had the time, resources, and courage to do some urban exploration of my own someday (a posse to do it with would be nice too).  since i don't have all of that, i suppose diving through countless wikipedia pages will have to suffice.  or maybe i could take it a step further and write a short story about a small band of urban explorers once my prose life is back in order.  that way, i can spelunk* vicariously through fictional characters.

*google chrome doesn't recognize "spelunk" in spell check.  if it isn't actually a word, it should be.  besides, how can you have a gerund without a verb?

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Seven (Final)

Ami tried to stifle a laugh. All this time, my stalker was an android. He looked like any other person!

"ACE One...why are you following me? What do you want to know?"

ACE One looked up at the sky. The rain had stopped, but fierce black clouds still blanketed the atmosphere. "Why."

"Why what?"

"Why did you create me? Why must I protect humans against the robot threat? I'm more robot that human." He looked straight at Ami now. "But I have another question. Why can't I smile or laugh? Why am I expressionless? Why do I feel so empty inside? I hear you humans telling jokes and anecdotes and laughing at them, but I stand there, apathetic. I read your tragedies, Romeo and Juliet, Antigone, trying to see what makes the human race shed tears when I can't. I hate being calloused to those sorts of things. I want more than anything to know how to smile, how to cry."

"What are you saying, ACE One?"

"The articles on the computer-casts have publicized my studies of humanoid behaviors. For the two years that I have been awake, I have wanted to know how to you." He stepped back, picking up the gun. "I have found many things about your race. And I think I know what it is the android lacks--we have no souls, are missing many of the basic human emotions. I want to grin and shed tears, like you humans. I want to know how a heart breaks and is mended. And that one emotion that not even you humans understand...I want to know why that is such an enigma, why it makes you weep and smile at the same time.

"Ami...all I want is a soul. I want to feel." ACE One took the gun and stepped behind her. She tensed as she realized what was about to happen.

"No! I won't let you do this to me. Look, ACE One, you don't need a soul; you're programmed not to show emotion because those feelings would eat away at you on the battlefield every time one of your counterparts died. There's a reason you were made like's called optimum efficiency. You are a war machine; your only purpose is to defend us, to destroy the robots completely if they attack. You have no reason to kill me; I have done nothing wrong!"

ACE One didn't move; he seemed to be digesting what Ami had just said. But soon she realized that it hadn't fazed him. Without a word, he pressed the gun into the back of her head lightly.

With a piercing yell, Ami wheeled around, wrestled the gun from the android's fingers, and fired a shot at him from close range. ACE One seemed only vaguely conscious of the blow; he removed the bullet deftly with a finger as some of his blood oozed out of the wound. Ami groaned, throwing the gun on the ground beside her. She rushed ACE One, grabbing his shoulders and trying to push him backward. He did the same, showing no sign of giving up. They struggled against each other for about a minute.

Ami knew there was only a slim chance of overpowering him, but something in her soul told her, begged her to try. She didn't want it to happen...she didn't want to die yet...she hadn't even had time to live...

Her adrenaline was not enough to win the struggle. ACE One pushed her away and slapped her, causing a red handprint to appear on her face. With a crack of his neck, he advanced, once again picking up the gun, walking behind her.

"'Optimum efficiency' doesn't concern me. And I do have a reason to kill you, Ami. They say that when the human body dies, its soul remains suspended." At these words, Ami sank to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably. It was fruitless; she had no way of escaping fate. What an exciting life I've led, she thought.

Placing the gun at the back of Ami's head, ACE One leaned to Ami's ear, saying as sensitively as an android knew how, "I believe your expression for this sort of thing is 'I'm sorry.' As I told you, I will get what I want..."

He fired a quick shot to Ami's head. She collapsed, soulless like the android that had killed her. ACE One holstered the gun, sighing rigidly.

"The problem comes...because I don't know how to get it."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Six

Ami looked behind her as she ran once again in the rain; she saw that the man from the diner, the same one who had been following her for most of the day, was clumsily trying to conceal a long-barrel pistol under his trench coat. Her eyes widened.

Ami stopped suddenly and shouted, "Why can't you just leave me alone?"

The man spoke; the thunder accentuated his low, soft voice eerily. "You have something I want. And I will get what I want, one way or another." he pointed to his gun for emphasis.

Ami clenched her fists. "Then what is it you want? Take it and leave me!"

The man remained expressionless, placing his weapon on the soggy ground. He walked over to Ami and gripped her collar tightly. It was as if he blew his next words into her ears; the storm suddenly waned and died as he spoke. "Answers. Answers that I know only you hold."

Still staring shiftily at the gun on the ground, Ami felt her heart rapidly throbbing. "What about myquestions? Why do you have to chase me around? How do you know I hold the answers?"

The man slowly dropped Ami and moved his hands to his coat. Ami at once thought he was reaching for another gun, but he only let his jet-black trench coat fall to the ground, turning and pointing to the back of his neck. A bar code and the number one had been cut into his skin. Ami recognized the markings at once.

"I know you have the answers, Ami...because you made me."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Five

Ami rematerialized in what seemed like an otherworld compared to where she had been. The clouds overhead shed their rain on the desolate land. A single road stretched in either direction as far as the eye could see. Looking around at the nothingness, Ami felt unbearable alone. This was definitely nother city; it seemed to be more of an alternate dimension. But she couldn't say for sure. She vowed never to push all the tele-pad buttons simultaneously again, no matter who was chasing her.

She wished Laia were with her; she'd know what to do, or would she? Wait until she hears about this,Ami thought. I bet she'll never say the boogeyman isn't real again.

As thunder rocked the earth, Ami frantically scanned the horizon; the rain still came down in fat drops on her uncovered head. Seeing that the coast was clear and no cars were coming, she quickly crossed the street, scrupulously avoiding puddles as she ran.

Walking about a quarter mile, Ami spotted a small diner on the side of the road. At first glance, she thought the place looked greasy and deserted, but a clap of imposing thunder shattered her nerves and urged her inside it anyway.

Wringing out her hair and wiping her feet on the threadbare welcome mat, Ami sat at a stool, noticing that she and a man viewing a compu-cast in the corner of the diner were the only patrons in the place. She tried to settle down, ordering coffee.

As Ami sipped the coffee gingerly, the owner of the diner wiped his hands on his oily apron. "You okay, missy?"

Ami shook her head as she explained her predicament. No, she wasn't okay. She'd been running in the oppressive rain for what seemed like an eternity. When the owner asked her why she'd been running, she shuddered noisily.

"Mister...have you ever had the feeling that you're being...followed?" At this, the man in the corner looked up from his compu-cast as if intrigued.

The owner guffawed loudly. "No'm, can't say that I have." Ami, however, barely heard this response. She was brooding over her coffee, wishing the day were over, that she was back at home, at work, or at least not in the middle of nowhere.

As she paid for the coffee, the diner owner tried to cheer her up to no avail. He looked at the change she had given him. "You're short a nickel. And why such a long face? You can't be walking around mopin' all the time, even if ya do feel like someone's watching." He looked pointedly at her as she fished a nickel out of her purse. "It's that daggum govinment that's doing it to you. They find out so much about ever'thin' and they makes ya feel paranoid. Don't worry; whatever ya goin' through's just a bad dream. It'll all go away."

"Sure," she retorted. She drained the last of her coffee. "If only I had been at work today. My boss made me take a day off; he said I was working too hard."

He scratched his grisly hair, pondering her statement. "Maybe ya were. You're much too young ta be worried about workin'. Ya need to enjoy life a tad, wake up and smell the coffee. Leave workin' for da old folk like me. Life's too short ta let the govinment getcha all messed up. What can I do for ya, sir?"

Ami, surprised at the owner's abrupt change in subject, turned around to see to whom he'd been speaking. It was the person from the corner. "Excuse me," she said as she walked past him and to the door. She turned to thank the man for the coffee and the good advice. It was then that his blood red eyes locked on to hers. With a gasp, Ami bolted out of the diner. She heard the owner yell, "Daggum govinment got you all uptight, yessir."

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Four

He held out a black leather wallet overstuffed with receipts and ID cards, refusing to look at her as he spoke. "Excuse me, I think you dropped this."

Ami checked her purse, finding that her wallet was not there. The one the man held, then, was indeed hers. So that was what she'd lost; he must have picked it up when she'd dropped it.

She cautiously stepped up to him, accepted the wallet, turned around...

And felt huge hands like vises bind her, one by the waist, the other by the neck. She had been tricked for perhaps the first time in her life; to her memory, she'd always seen through every prank phone call and every practical joke since kindergarten. How had she made such a stupid mistake this time?

Torrential rain struck her cheeks and slipped down her face like cold tears. The man's muscles pressed against her soaked-through body, contracting as he lifted her up off the ground. Ami tried to break free, to hit her captor, but his body was as hard as a plate of armor. He leaned in to her ear, whispering, "Ami, Ami, Ami...I'm surprised you fell for such a simple tryst."

Before he could say any more, Ami leaned down and bit the man's forearm. His grip loosened only a little, but it was enough for Ami to squirm out of the hold and drop to the ground. He reached out to grab her again, but she sidestepped out of the way, tripping and falling on the pavement. As she picked herself up and began to run again, she heard the man's footsteps a little behind as he splashed in puddles on the street.

She didn't know where she was going, but she felt that anywhere was safer than here. She tore past kids making mud pies and commuters awaiting hover-buses and air taxis. A grocer stepped outside his shop door and Ami knocked him into a puddle as she zipped by.

Ami looked behind her, mortified by how much the man had advanced. If she didn't think of a way out soon, he was going to catch her again, and who knew what he would do to her this time...?

At long last, her deus ex machina appeared on the horizon. A tele-pad, unoccupied and seeming to glow in the midst of the crowded sidewalk, was there on the street corner. Ami ran in, shut the door, and punched every button, praying that the machine would let her go somewhere. She closed her eyes while the computer processed her molecules and transported them to what she hoped was a safe place.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Three

She looked up at the sky, trying to calm her nerves. It was still cloudy, but slivers of sun peeked through every now and then. She decided to take that as a good omen--

Until she passed by an internet cafe and caught sight of the man she'd seen at the apartment entrance.

She began to pick up the pace, making sure to note every nuance of her surroundings. Everythinglooked normal; a woman was walking her dog, two small children were dueling with toy robots, a teenage boy was parking a hover car recklessly as his girlfriend looked on--

The man was casually strolling a little ways behind her. She turned to face him.

It was then that Ami's supposed good omen revealed its true colors. A single drop of rain slid through the air and landed neatly on the ground, coaxing a legion to follow. For a long time, Ami and her shadow stared at each other as if one were trying to make sense of the other. The action around them seemed to halt. Their eyes burned into each other, and neither one dared to speak. It was then that Ami thought she saw the man move his lips; what was he saying? She couldn't read lips well, but it looked like he was saying, "Come here."

And suddenly, the hustle and bustle of urban life exploded all around them. Ami's stalker had disappeared before her eyes into the crowd.

She broke into a jog, trying to put distance between herself and her pursuer; something told her that he was still out there. But she made slow progress, and she felt stupid running from nothing. I'm losing it; I need to go back to work or something, she thought.

Ami stopped after she turned the corner, leaning against the brick wall of a pizza parlor, catching her breath, listening. She heard the diverse sounds of the city: the beep of car horns, the shouts of tourists and vendors arguing over prices, the pattering of the rain, the plod of footsteps, the yowl of cats scuffling in alleys...

Footsteps, louder this time. 

Ami peered around the corner and let out a gasp. The man had found her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment Two

Ami rode the elevator down to the lobby. There, her friend Laia met her. Laia seemed to have the perfect life: every day, she finished working, received praise for jobs well done, and still had time to go joyriding around the city. Laia had what Ami's colleagues all called an "exciting life"; she often tried to show Ami what to wear, how to speak, and how to make friends outside the office, but in vain. Changing Ami...was nearly impossible.

Laia greeted Ami and pointed to the compu-cast projection on the wall, gray eyes flashing. "You read about that, right?" Ami nodded, and Laia continued. "They say it's a study on the human race; what do you think it means?"

Ami took one look at Laia. "That I won't get any sleep tonight."

Laia put a hand on Ami's shoulder. "Stop worrying," she said. "The boogeyman isn't real. The only thing that goes bump in the night is the local dance have nothing to worry about." Laia walked toward the car garage. "Gotta go, kiddo. Try to relax."

Ami didn't answer; she was looking out the window. Something had caught her eye.

Someone kept walking by the entrance. he seemed to be waiting for someone. Ami regarded him closely; people rarely lingered outside her apartment like this. 

Even from a distance, he seemed to loom over her. His sandy brown hair fell in untidy clumps around his flawless face. He seemed relatively normal, but Ami noticed how every now and then, his eagle eyes, the color of magma, gazed through the window, seeming to find her first before taking in the rest of the scene. They locked eyes for just a split second, sending chills into Ami like a driving blizzard.

Maybe I'm just sleepy, Ami mused. Why would he be looking in at me anyway?

She walked calmly but warily through the exit, passing the man without him noticing her. So, she'd just been delirious; he'd obviously been looking for someone else.

Ami gazed in awe at the many things she had only heard about. She heard the shouts of tenants and landlords and smelled frappuccino and burning rubber. Because she had always been hurrying to her office, she had never regarded the city streets so thoroughly in her life.

Ami reached the street corner, passing her main mode of transportation: the teleport pad. It resembled an old-fashioned phone booth, except it was equipped with a computer instead of a telephone. It was the quickest way to get anywhere; one had only to type in coordinates and wait for the machine to transport him or her. Ami had grown to love the tele-pad, for it had helped her get to work promptly every morning since she had accepted the job. Except this morning; she once again grumbled about hating mandatory vacations.

The person inside the tele-pad clearly didn't know how to use it. Ami waited outside it for about five minutes and then gave up. It was for the best, she decided. Even if she found a vacant tele-pad to use, where would she go, and what would she do there?

As Ami walked past the tele-pad, she couldn't help feeling as if she had dropped or misplaced something, but she couldn't think of what it was. She shrugged. I'm so paranoid. Why can't I settle down?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Sine Animus" -- Installment One

Dying, dying dead.
The voices in my head
Tell me life is just a memory...
Searching for a soul.

(Issue #1 by Eni)
Ami stared at the computer-cast in disbelief. Her hazel eyes scanned each line of material as she chewed her French toast, trying to make sure she hadn't missed a detail.

There's definitely someone watching us... she thought. Shutting down the article she'd been reading, she strode to the window.

Ami lived on the top floor of an actual glass house. It was a high-rise building made entirely of sturdy glass reinforced with steel. Ribbons of pink and orange sunrise streamed through the windows and woke her most mornings. To her, feeling those rays beaming pleasantly upon her was a sign that it would be a good day.

This morning, however, was cloudy.

Ami looked out of the window at the commuters of the year 2450. Some people were crowded in hover-cars and buses, and others were flying on airboards or using aeropacks, trying to get to work on time. She felt like the Android Construction Experiment she'd been coordinating was calling her back to work; however, today was a "vacation day" for her--one that she'd practically been forced to take.Man... she thought. And I'd just improved my latest android prototype. "I'm working too hard"? Says who?

Research and Engineering Incorporated, the company that Ami worked for, had been developing the ACE project for almost three years, with myriad successes and twice as many failures. At present, the androids, robot-like beings with humanoid features, were strictly defense mechanisms against the threat of the hostile true robots, but REI's next objective was to develop a household model for consumers. Ami had come up with the main model for the androids, their arsenal, the voice modules, and even the name of the project. She was invaluable to the whole development, so her employer thought a day off was necessary; "Wouldn't want our powerhouse to shut down," he had said.
Ami still stood at the window, staring at her petite reflection with a sigh. She was hopelessly normal. She always combed her red hair back into a drab ponytail before going to work. She didn't wear makeup or jewelry, and she dressed as if she were being interviewed. Her friends and colleagues always told her to dress up (or perhaps down) and live a little, step away from the desk for once. But she never listened to them; she told herself instead that her projects were her one true love--she'd been bound to them in quasi-holy matrimony when REI had hired her five years ago at age seventeen. REI, the top company in the area, had automatically scouted her out for her expertise, even though she had just become a college sophomore. She didn't have time for clubbing or movies...she had a figurative husband and children to take care of! Her birthday was in a few days, and she hadn't begun to plan a celebration due to choosing to work overtime each night. She realized that perhaps she should break free from her work life; even so, it was almost as if she couldn't. She sighed again. I should try to make the best of my day off and follow my friends' advice, she mused. 

"Sine Animus" -- Author's Note

Dear Readers and Friends,

I decided recently that I might get back into prose writing.  I haven't done anything prose related since the summer of 2006, when I wrote my short story "Sine Animus" for my creative writing class at Phillips Academy Andover.  I posted this story on Facebook in installments (it was 13 pages long, so it couldn't all fit in one note), and I thought I'd do the same on my blog as well, possibly to signify that there may be more short stories and other works of prose to come.  I'd love feedback on this piece, and any others I might unveil in the future.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

cause baby you're my disease...

i wrote this back in January, intending to post it at that moment, but then i decided it wasn't a good idea.  as i sat here editing this disclaimer, playing with syntax and punctuation, i was still ambivalent about publishing my thoughts--although i appreciate vulnerability, honesty, and openness, it's still hard for me to embody those qualities sometimes.  it's like giving you x-ray vision for the distinct purpose of using it on me, letting you see everything i am in one glance.  but i digress.

i think we sometimes put a specific face on addiction.

we think city kids are more susceptible to it; Mr./Ms. Suburbia would never do such a thing.

we think it’s for the lonely middle-aged man and the struggling young starlet.

to be honest, though…no one is immune.

i think we all struggle with things, and sometimes we go so far as to let them control us.

it’s the substance we feel like we can’t do without.  it’s the boy or the girl who we feel is our world.  it’s the thought we entertain constantly, waiting in helpless agony for the day that our brains will finally crack and we’ll make everything public in an embarrassing fashion.  it’s the thing we do in private, that we don’t want anyone to know about, not even the people who can probably help us.  the thing that we’re too ashamed to mention by name.

we all have skeletons lurking in our closets, waiting for us to acknowledge their existence so that maybe they can eat us alive,  jump on our backs, make us feel dependent, before we decide to take action.

we all wrestle with something, whether we know it or not.  and a lot of times, we are the very thing we are fighting against. 

the 500 book bucket list

over the past 2 years or so, i've compiled 5 lists of books to read in my lifetime--one for novels and novellas, one for short stories, one for plays, one for (auto)biographies and memoirs, and one for other nonfiction (i.e. essays and such).  i keep telling people about the novel list in particular; i don't know why...i guess i'm really proud of it.  after looking on old AP English reading lists, getting suggestions from random groups of people, researching the complete bibliographies of some of my favorite authors (stephen king and haruki murakami feature prominently), and googling "must-read novels" on more than one occasion, i've come up with a list of 500 books total.  it was originally supposed to be a list of 300, but i increased it last month because i kept getting really good suggestions (and i'm not adding any more...i do want to finish the list on this side of heaven, after all...).  since finishing up the twilight series a couple of days ago (don't judge me), i've read 19 books out of 500--3.8% if you couldn't do that in your head (i couldn't either).  for your enjoyment, i've included the list here:

1.   1Q84 -- Haruki Murakami 
2.   Adam Bede—George Eliot
3.   The Adventures of Augie March—Saul Bellow
4.   After Dark -- Haruki Murakami 
5.   Age of Innocence—Edith Wharton
6.   The Alchemist--Paulo Coelho
7.   Alias Grace—Margaret Atwood
8.   All Quiet on the Western Front—Erich Maria Remarque
9.   All the King’s Men—Robert Penn Warren
10.  All the Pretty Horses—Cormac McCarthy
11.  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay--Michael Chabon
12.  America is in the Heart—Carlos Bulosan
13.  The American—Henry James
14.  American Gods -- Neil Gaiman
15.  American Psycho -- Bret Easton Ellis 
16.  An American Tragedy—Theodore Dreiser
17.  Anansi Boys -- Neil Gaiman 
18.  The Angel's Game -- Carlos Ruiz Zafon 
19.  Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy
20.  Anthem--Ayn Rand
21.  The Appeal -- John Grisham 
22.  The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz—Mordecai Richler
23.  Armies of the Night—Norman Mailer
24.  Around the World in Eighty Days -- Jules Verne 
25.  The Art of Racing in the Rain -- Garth Stein 
26.  As a Driven Leaf--Milton Steinberg
27.  The Associate -- John Grisham 
28.  Atlas Shrugged—Ayn Rand
29.  Atonement—Ian McEwan
30.  At the Mountains of Madness -- H.P. Lovecraft 
31.  Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man—James W. Johnson
32.  The Awakening—Kate Chopin
33.  Babbitt—Sinclair Lewis

The Bachman Books--Stephen King as Richard Bachman
34.  Rage 
35.  The Long Walk
36.  Roadwork
37.  The Running Man

38.  Bag of Bones -- Stephen King
39.  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress -- Dai Sijie 
40.  The Beach -- Alex Garland 
41.  The Bean Trees -- Barbara Kingsolver 
42.  Bel Canto--Ann Patchett
43.  The Bell Jar -- Sylvia Plath 
44.  Beloved—Toni Morrison
45.  The Best of Everything--Rona Jaffe
46.  Birdsong -- Sebastian Faulks
47.  Black House -- Stephen King/Peter Straub 
48.  Blaze--Stephen King as Richard Bachman
49.  Bleak House—Charles Dickens
50.  Bless Me, Ultima—Rudolf Anaya
51.  The Blind Assassin--Margaret Eleanor Atwood
52.  Blindness -- Jose Saramago 
53.  Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West -- Cormac McCarthy 
54.  The Blue Hotel—Stephen Crane
55.  The Bonesetter’s Daughter—Amy Tan
56.  The Bonfire of the Vanities -- Tom Wolfe 
57.  The Book Thief -- Markus Zusak

Bourne Trilogy -- Robert Ludlum
58.  The Bourne Identity
59.  The Bourne Supremacy
60.  The Bourne Ultimatum 
61.  Brave New World—Aldous Huxley
62.  Breakfast of Champions--Kurt Vonnegut
63.  The Brethren -- John Grisham 
64.  Brideshead Revisited—Evelyn Waugh

Bridget Jones – Helen Fielding
65.  Bridget Jones's Diary
66.  Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Bridge Trilogy -- William Gibson
67.  Virtual Light
68.  Idoru
69.  All Tomorrow's Parties

70.  The Bridge of San Luis Rey--Thorton Wilder
71.  The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao—Junot Diaz
72.  Brighton Rock—Graham Greene
73.  The Broker -- John Grisham
74.  The Brothers Karamazov—Fyodor Dostoevsky
75.  Buddenbrooks--Thomas Mann
76.  By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept--Paulo Coehlo
77.  Call It Sleep—Henry Roth
78.  Candide—Voltaire
79.  Cannery Row—John Steinbeck
80.  Cat’s Eye-- Margaret Atwood
81.  Cat's Cradle—Kurt Vonnegut
82.  Cell--Stephen King
83.  The Centaur—John Updike
84.  Ceremony—Leslie Marmon Silko
85.  Cereus Blooms at Night--Shani Mootoo
86.  The Chamber -- John Grisham
87.  Choke -- Chuck Palahniuk 
88.  Christine--Stephen King
Chronicles of Narnia—C.S. Lewis
89.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
90.  Prince Caspian
91.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
92.  The Silver Chair
93.  The Horse and His Boy
94.  The Magician's Nephew
95.  The Last Battle
96.   The Client -- John Grisham 
97.   A Clockwork Orange—Anthony Burgess 
98.   Cloud Atlas -- David Mitchell 
99.   The Colorado Kid--Stephen King
100.  Coming Through Slaughter—Michael Ondaatje
101.  A Confederacy of Dunces -- John Kennedy Toole 
102.  The Confession -- John Grisham 
103.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court—Mark Twain
104.  Constant Gardener--John le Carré
105.  The Corrections -- Jonathan Franzen 
106.  Correlli’s Mandolin--Louis de Bernieres
107Crooked Little Vein -- Warren Ellis 
108.  The Crossing—Cormac McCarthy
109.  Cry, the Beloved Country—Alan Paton
110.  The Crying of Lot 49—Thomas Pynchon
111.  Cryptonomicon--Neal Stephenson
112.  Cujo--Stephen King
113.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time—Mark Haddon
114.   Daisy Miller-- Henry James
115.   Dance Dance Dance -- Haruki Murakami 
116.   The Dark Half--Stephen King 
117.   David Copperfield-- Charles Dickens 
118.   The Dead Zone--Stephen King
119.   Dead Until Dark -- Charlaine Harris 
120.   Death Comes for the Archbishop—Willa Cather
121.   A Death in the Family—James Agee
122.   Death of Ivan Ilyich—Leo Tolstoy 
123.   Delta Wedding—Eudora Welty
124.   Demian -- Herman Hesse 
125.   Desperation -- Stephen King 
126.   The Devil Wears Prada -- Lauren Weisberger 
127.   Diary -- Chuck Palahniuk 
128.   Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant—Anne Tyler
129.   The Diviners—Margaret Laurence
130.   Doctor Zhivago—Boris Pasternak 
131.   The Dollmaker—Harriette Louisa Arnow
132.   Dolores Claiborne--Stephen King 
133.   Don Quixote—Miguel Cervantes 
134.   Down and Out in Paris and London—George Orwell
135.   Dreamcatcher--Stephen King
136.   Duma Key--Stephen King
137.   East of Eden—John Steinbeck
138.   Egalia’s Daughters--Gerd Brantenberg
139.   The Elegance of the Hedgehog -- Muriel Barbery 
140.   Emma—Jane Austen
141.   The Emperor of Ocean Park--Stephen L. Carter
142.    Empire Falls -- Richard Russo 
143.    The English Patient -- Michael Ondaatje 
144.    The Enormous Room--e. e. cummings
145.    Ethan Frome-Edith Wharton
146.    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues—Tom Robbins 
147.    Everything is Illuminated—Jonathan Safran Foer
148.    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close--Jonathan Safran Foer
149.    The Eyre Affair -- Jasper Fforde
150.    The Fall—Albert Camus
151.    Far From the Madding Crowd—Thomas Hardy
152.    Fathers and Sons—Ivan Turgenev
153.    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- Hunter Thompson 
154.    Feather Crowns—Bobbie Ann Mason
155.    Fifth Business—Robertson Davies
156.    Fight Club -- Chuck Palahniuk 
157.    Firestarter--Stephen King
158.    The Firm -- John Grisham 
159.    The Five People You Meet in Heaven -- Mitch Albom 
160.    Flowers for Algernon--Daniel Keyes
161.    For Whom the Bell Tolls—Ernest Hemingway
162.    Foucault's Pendulum -- Umberto Eco 
163.    Frankenstein—Mary Shelley 
164.    Freedom -- Jonathan Franzen
165.    The French Lieutenant’s Woman—John Fowles

The Friday Night Knitting Club -- Kate Jacobs
166.    The Friday Night Knitting Club
167.    Knit Two
168.    Knit the Season

169.    From a Buick 8 -- Stephen King 
170.    The Gargoyle -- Andrew Davidson 
171.    A Gathering of Old Men—Ernest Gaines
172.    A Gesture Life—Chang Rae Lee
173.    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon--Stephen King
174.    Girl with a Pearl Earring -- Tracy Chevalier 
175.    Go Tell it On the Mountain—James Baldwin
176.    The God of Small Things--Arundhati Roy
177.    The Gods Themselves--Isaac Asimov
178.    Going After Cacciato—Tim O’Brien
179.    Gone with the Wind--Margaret Mitchell 
180.    Good Omens--Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
181.    The Good Soldier—Ford Maddox Ford
182.    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -- Mary Ann Shaffer 
183.    Gulliver’s Travels—Jonathan Swift
184.    Half of a Yellow Sun -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
185.    The Handmaid’s Tale-- Margaret Atwood 
186.    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World -- Haruki Murakami 
187.    Hard Times-- Charles Dickens 
188.    Haunted -- Chuck Palahniuk 
189.    Hear the Wind Sing -- Haruki Murakami 
190.    Heart of the Matter-- Graham Greene 
191.    The Help -- Kathryn Stockett 
192.    Her Fearful Symmetry -- Audrey Niffenegger
193.    High Fidelity—Nick Hornby
194.    The Historian -- Elizabeth Kostova 
195.    The History of Love--Nicole Krauss

Hitchhiker's Guide -- Douglas Adams
196.    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
197.    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
198.    Life, the Universe and Everything
199.    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
200.    Mostly Harmless
201.    And Another Thing...

202.    A Home at the End of the World –Michael Cunningham
203.    Homecoming—Cynthia Voigt
204.    The Hours--Michael Cunningham
205.    House Made of Dawn—N. Scott Momaday
206.    House of Leaves--Mark Danielewski
207.    The House of Mirth—Edith Wharton
208.    House of Sand and Fog--Andre Dubus
209.    The House of Seven Gables—Nathaniel Hawthorne
210.    The House of the Spirits--Isabel Allende
211.    Howard’s End—E.M. Forster
212.    How to be Single--Liz Tuccillo 

Hunger Games Trilogy -- Suzanne Collins
213.    The Hunger Games
214.    Catching Fire
215.    Mockingjay

216.    If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler--Italo Calvino
217.    Immortality--Milan Kundera
218.    In Country—Bobbie Ann Mason
219.    In the Lake of the Woods-- Tim O’Brien
220.    In the Time of the Butterflies—Julia Alvarez
221.    Infinite Jest--David Foster Wallace
222.    Invisible Cities -- Italo Calvino 
223.    The Invisible Man -- H.G. Wells 
224.    Invisible Monsters -- Chuck Palahniuk 
225.    Ishmael--Daniel Quinn
226.    The Island of Dr. Moreau--H.G. Wells
227.    The Jane Austen Book Club -- Karen Joy Fowler 
228.    Jane Eyre—Charlotte Bronte
229.    Jasmine—Bharati Mukherjee
230.    Jitterbug Perfume--Tom Robbins
231.    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell -- Susanna Clarke 
232.    Joseph Andrews—Henry Fielding
233.    A Journey to the Center of the Earth -- Jules Verne 
234.    Jude the Obscure-- Thomas Hardy 
235.    The Jungle—Upton Sinclair
236.    Kafka on the Shore -- Haruki Murakami 
237.    The King of Tors -- John Grisham 
238.    The Kite Runner—Khaled Hosseini
239.    The Lacuna -- Barbara Kingsolver 
240.    Lady Chatterley’s Lover—D.H. Lawrence
241.    The Last Juror -- John Grisham 
242.    The Last of the Mohicans—James Fenimore Cooper
243.    Le Pere Goriot—Honore de Balzac
244.    Les Liaisons Dangereuses -- Laclos 
245.    Les Miserables—Victor Hugo
246.    A Lesson Before Dying—Ernest Gaines
247.    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman--Laurence Sterne
248.    Life of Pi—Yann Martel
249.    Like Water for Chocolate -- Laura Esquivel 
250.    Lincoln--Gore Vidal
251.    Lisey's Story
252.    Little Bee -- Chris Cleave 
253.    Little Children -- Tom Perrotta 
254.    Locus Solus--Raymond Roussel
255.    Lolita--Vladimir Nabokov
256.   A Long Way Down-- Nick Hornby
257.    Look Homeward, Angel—Thomas Wolfe
258.    Lord Jim—Joseph Conrad
259.    Lord of the Flies—William Golding 
260.    Love in the Time of Cholera--Gabriél García Márquez
261.    Love Medicine—Louise Erdrich 
262.    Love, Rosie--Cecelia Ahern
263.    The Loved One—Evelyn Waugh
264.    The Lovely Bones—Alice Sebold
265.    Loving--Henry Green
266.    Lullaby -- Chuck Palahniuk 
267.    Madame Bovary—Gustave Flaubert
268.    The Magic Mountain—Thomas Mann 
269.    Main Street—Sinclair Lewis
270.    Mansfield Park-- Jane Austen
271.    The Master and Margarita--Mikhail Bulgakov
272.    The Mayor of Casterbridge-- Thomas Hardy
273.    The Memory Keeper's Daughter -- Kim Edwards 
274.    Men at Arms—Evelyn Waugh
275.    The Metamorphosis—Franz Kafka 
276.    Middlemarch—George Eliot
277.    Middlesex--Geoffrey Eugenides
278.    Midnight's Children -- Salman Rushdie 
279.    The Mill on the Floss—George Eliot
280.    Miss Lonelyhearts—Nathanael West
281.    Moll Flanders—Daniel Defoe
282.    Monkey Bridge—Lan Cao
283.    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress--Robert A. Heinlein
284.    Moxyland -- Lauren Beukes 
285.    Mrs. Dalloway—Virginia Woolf
286.    My Antonia-- Willa Cather
287.    My Sister's Keeper -- Jodi Picoult 
288.    The Name of the Rose--Umberto Eco
289.    The Namesake—Jhumpa Lahiri
290.    The Nanny Diaries -- Emma McLaughlin 
291.    Narcissus and Goldmund—Herman Hesse
292.    Native Son—Richard Wright
293.    Native Speaker—Chang-Rae Lee
294.    Needful Things--Stephen King
295.    Netherland—Joseph O’Neill
296.    Never Let Me Go -- Kazuo Ishiguro
297.    Neverwhere -- Neil Gaiman
298.    No Country for Old Men—Cormac McCarthy
299.    No-No Boy—John Okada
300.    Northanger Abbey-- Jane Austen
301.    Norwegian Wood -- Haruki Murakami 
302.    The Notebook--Nicholas Sparks
303.    Notes From Underground—Fydor Dostoevsky 
304.    Nothing Like the Sun—Anthony Burgess

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency -- Alexander McCall Smith
305.    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
306.    Tears of the Giraffe
307.    Morality for Beautiful Girls
308.    The Kalahari Typing School for Men
309.    The Full Cupboard of Life
310.    In the Company of Cheerful Ladies/The Night-time Dancer
311.    Blue Shoes and Happiness
312.    The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
313.    The Miracle at Speedy Motors
314.    Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
315.    The Double Comfort Safari Club
316.    The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

317.    O Pioneers!-- Willa Cather
318.    Obasan—Joy Kogawa
319.    Of Human Bondage--W. Somerset Maugham
320.    Officers and Gentlemen—Evelyn Waugh
321.    On Chesil Beach -- Ian McEwan
322.    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich—Alexander Solzhenitsyn
323.    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—Ken Kesey
324.    One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez
325.    The Optimist’s Daughter—Eudora Welty
326.    Orlando—Virginia Woolf
327.    Oryx and Crake -- Margaret Atwood
328.    Our Gang--Philip Roth
329.    Our Mutual Friend-- Charles Dickens
330.    P.S. I Love You—Cecelia Ahem
331.    Pamela—Samuel Richardson
332.    The Partner -- John Grisham
333.    A Passage to India-- E.M. Forster
334.    Pattern Recognition -- William Gibson
335.    The Pelican Brief -- John Grisham
336.    People of the Book -- Geraldine Brooks
337.    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer -- Patrick Suskind
338.    Persuasion-- Jane Austen
339.    Pet Sematary--Stephen King
340.    The Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde
341.    Pinball, 1973 -- Haruki Murakami
342.    The Plague--Albert Camus
343.    The Pleasure of My Company--Steve Martin
344.    Pnin—Vladimir Nabokov
345.    Pocho—Jose A. Villarreal
346.    The Poisonwood Bible -- Barbara Kingsolver
347.    The Portrait of a Lady—Henry James
348.    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—James Joyce
349.    Possession -- A.S. Byatt
350.    Power and the Glory-- Graham Greene
351.    Praisesong for the Widow—P. Marshall
352.    A Prayer for Owen Meany -- John Irving
353.    Prep -- Curtis Sittenfeld
354.    Pride and Prejudice--Jane Austen
355.    Prime of Miss Jean Brodie—Muriel Spark
356.    Prince and the Pauper—Mark Twain
357.    Princess Bride -- William Goldman
358.    Purple Hibiscus -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
359.    Push--Sapphire
360.    Q & A—Vikas Swarup

Rabbit -- John Updike
361.    Rabbit, Run
362.    Rabbit Redux
363.    Rabbit is Rich
364.    Rabbit at Rest
365.    Rabbit Remembered

366.    Ragtime—E. L. Doctorow
367.    The Rainmaker -- John Grisham
368.    The Reader -- Bernhard Schlink
369.    The Red and the Black--Roger Stendhal
370.    The Red Pyramid--Robert Riordan
371.    The Red Tent -- Anita Diamant
372.    The Regulators -- Stephen King as Richard Bachman
373.    The Remains of the Day--Kazuo Ishiguro
374.    The Road--Cormac McCarthy
375.    Robinson Crusoe—Daniel Defoe
376.    Room -- Emma Donoghue
377.    A Room with a View-- E.M. Forster
378.    Rose Madder -- Stephen King
379.    The Runaway Jury -- John Grisham
380.    'Salem's Lot -- Stephen King
381.    The Sea Wolf—Jack London
382.    The Secret Agent--Joseph Conrad
383.    The Secret History -- Donna Tartt
384.    The Secret Life of Bees--Sue Monk Kidd
385.    Seize the Day—Saul Bellow
386.    Sense and Sensibility-- Jane Austen
387.    Sent for You Yesterday—John Edgar Wideman
388.    The Shack -- William Young
389.    The Shadow of the Wind--Carlos Ruiz Zafon
390.    She's Come Undone -- Wally Lamb
391.    The Shipping News—E. Annie Proulx
392.    A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian -- Marina Lewycka
393.    Siddhartha—Herman Hesse
394.    Sister Carrie—Theodore Dreiser
395.    Slaughterhouse Five—Kurt Vonnegut
396.    Snow Falling on Cedars—David Guterson
397.    Song of Solomon—Toni Morrison
398.    Sons and Lovers—D.H. Lawrence
399.    Sophie’s Choice--William Styron
400.    South of the Border, West of the Sun -- Haruki Murakami

Space Trilogy--C.S. Lewis
401.    Out of the Silent Planet
402.    Perelandra
403.    That Hideous Strength

404.    Special Topics in Calamity Physics -- Marisha Pessl
405.    Spook Country -- William Gibson

Sprawl Trilogy -- William Gibson
406.    Neuromancer
407.    Count Zero
408.    Mona Lisa Overdrive

409.    Sputnik Sweetheart -- Haruki Murakami
410.    Startide Rising--David Brin
411.    State of Fear--Michael Crichton
412.    Steppenwolf—Herman Hesse
413.    The Stone Angel—M. Laurence
414.    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle--David Wroblewski
415.    The Street Lawyer -- John Grisham
416.    The Summons -- John Grisham
417.    Surfacing-- Margaret Atwood
418.    Survivor -- Chuck Palahniuk
419.    Swann’s Way—Marcel Proust
420.    The Swiss Family Robinson--Johann David Wyss
421.    A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens
422.    The Talisman -- Stephen King/Peter Straub
423.    Tender is the Night—F. Scott Fitzgerald
424.    Tess of the D’Urbervilles-- Thomas Hardy
425.    The Testament -- John Grisham
426.    The Thirteenth Tale -- Diane Setterfield
427.    Things Fall Apart—Chinua Achebe
428.    Thinner--Stephen King as Richard Bachman
429.    A Thousand Acres—Jane Smiley
430.    A Thousand Splendid Suns -- Khaled Hosseini
431.    The Three Musketeers—Alexandre Dumas
432.    A Time to Kill -- John Grisham
433.    The Time Machine -- H.G. Wells
434.    The Time Traveler's Wife -- Audrey Niffenegger
435.    Tipping the Velvet--Sarah Waters
436.    To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee
437.    To The Lighthouse—Virginia Woolf
438.    Tom Jones—Henry Fielding
439.    The Tommyknockers--Stephen King
440.     Tracks—Louise Erdrich
441.    Trainspotting -- Irvine Welsh
442.    Treasure Island—Robert Louis Stevenson
443.    The Trial—Franz Kafka
444.    The Turn of the Screw--Henry James
445.    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea -- Jules Verne

Twilight Series -- Stephenie Meyer
446.    Twilight
447.    New Moon
448.    Eclipse
449.    Breaking Dawn

450.    Typical American—Gish Jen
451.    Ulysses—James Joyce
452.    The Unbearable Lightness of Being—Milan Kundera
453.    Uncle Tom’s Cabin—Harriet Beecher Stowe
454.    Under the Dome--Stephen King
455.    Vanity Fair—William Thackeray
456.    Vicar of Wakefield—Oliver Goldsmith
457.    The Virgin Suicides -- Jeffrey Eugenides
458.    War and Peace—Leo Tolstoy
459.    The War of the Worlds -- H.G. Wells
460.    The Warden—Anthony Trollope
461.    Washington Square—Henry James
462.    Watch that Ends the Night—Hugh Maclennan
463.    Water for Elephants--Sara Greun
464.    The Way We Live Now—Anthony Trollope
465.    We Need to Talk about Kevin -- Lionel Shriver

The Wheel of Time -- Robert Jordan
466.    The Eye of the World
467.    The Great Hunt
468.    The Dragon Reborn
469.    The Shadow Rising
470.    The Fires of Heaven
471.    Lord of Chaos
472.    A Crown of Swords
473.    The Path of Daggers
474.    Winter's Heart
475.    Crossroads of Twilight
476.    Knife of Dreams
477.    The Gathering Storm
478.    Towers of Midnight
479.    New Spring
480.    A Memory of Light

481.    The White Boy Shuffle -- Paul Beatty
482.    White Fang—Jack London
483.    White Noise -- Don DeLillo
484.    White Teeth -- Zadie Smith
485.    The White Tiger -- Aravind Adiga
486.    A Wild Sheep Chase -- Haruki Murakami

Wicked Years -- Gregory Maguire
487.    Wicked: The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West
488.    Son of a Witch
489.    A Lion Among Men
490.    Out of Oz

491.    Wide Sargasso Sea—Jean Rhys
492.    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle--Haruki Murakami
493.    Winter in the Blood--James Welch
494.    The Winter of Our Discontent-- John Steinbeck
495.    Wise Blood—Flannery O’Connor
496.    The World According to Garp -- John Irving
497.    World War Z—Max Brooks
498.    Wuthering Heights—Emily Bronte
499.    The Yiddish Policemen's Union -- Michael Chabon
500.    You Can’t Go Home Again—Thomas Woolf

i've got a long way to go, but a lifetime to get there.

happy reading, everyone...if you want to see the other 4 lists (which are way shorter than this one, i promise), let me know.  :)  

with love,
The Bookworm

if i have my way, there will be a room like this in my house.