six impossible things before breakfast

Editor in Chief of the 2014 Kenyon Young Writers Anthology and 2013 National Scholastic Silver Medal winner for poetry. One time David Sedaris called me special.

(Source: ludgateing, via avatar-winchester)

“Much of Hamlet is about the precise kind of slippage the mourner experiences: the difference between being and seeming, the uncertainty about how the inner translates into the outer, the sense that one is expected to perform grief palatably. (If you don’t seem sad, people worry; but if you are grief-stricken, people flinch away from your pain.)”


Meghan O’Rourke on how Hamlet can helps us through grief and despair.

O’Rourke’s moving memoir of losing her mother is a must-read for anyone who has ever lost a loved one or ever will – which is just about all of us capable of love.

(via explore-blog)


this is how i would want my wikipedia article to end


this is how i would want my wikipedia article to end

(via neonstargazers)

Oyeyemi says that she thinks of herself as “ugly but interesting,” and she’s happy with that. “It helps me to think more clearly, if that makes sense.”

I ask why she thinks she ‘s ugly.

"Boys would come up and tell me," she says, matter-of-factly. "I’d be on the bus home, and they would say, "You’re so ugly, do you know that?" And after a while, I would just say, "Yes, thank you." At first I would cry. But I after a while you just think ‘Why does it matter so much?’"

Oyeyemi clearly still carries wounds from her teenage years: “I was suicidal for a long time in my teens and I was so unhappy,” she says. “It was the kind of unhappiness that you know everyone else is feeling, but you don’t care because you’ve dehumanized them, because they’re all monsters and demons and beasts who are out to kill you, so you become a beast and a monster yourself. I regret so much.”

Her fairy tales are not of the happily-ever-after variety: “Sometimes people ask me what I write and I say that I retell fairy tales, and they say, ‘Oh, children’s books!’ And that makes me laugh. People say things like ‘I want a fairy tale existence.’ The Brothers Grimm would be looking at them in this astonished way, like ‘So you would like your whole family to be murdered and then eaten in a pie?’” She laughs delightedly.

"People think they’re soft because they’re these perfect examples of narrative order. There is an ending that is usually happy, and a beginning, middle, and end … In this era where everyone is kind of postmodern and meta, we dissociate in a lot of ways from our circumstance. So I think there’s that sense that they’re so ordered, and therefore orderly, but actually, they’re just completely chaotic."

And fairy tales teach lessons, she says. Lessons like “Everything that you see is not necessarily what it is. You have to find another way to know things. You have to find another way to know things. There is inner vision. And then there’s exterior vision. There are levels of seeing.”

They reveal “some of the hardest and harshest truths about the ways that we live and the ways that we’ve always lived.” She cites a story she found in a book of Czech fairy tales. A princess is being courted by a magician, but she refuses him. In punishment, the magician turns her into a black woman. As Oyeyemi read it, she started crying. “It was awful … The worst thing that the teller of this tale can imagine is being black.” In Boy, Snow, Bird, she writes, “it’s not whiteness that sets Them against Us, but the worship of whiteness.” She tells me, “I feel as if we’re still in that era. There are still lots of ways in which it is horrific not to be the norm.”


The most poignant part of Helen Oyeyemi's interview on NPR where she addresses some very heavy personal issues concerning depression and suicide, race, universal perceptions of blackness and the “worship of whiteness”.

Conversely, the interviewer, Annalisa Quinn, starts off the article by writing, "The first time I met her, it was in a bar so dark that all I could see were her eyes and very white teeth", ignoring the matter that Oyeyemi raised on whiteness and its lack of racial sensitivity.

(via dynamicafrica)

“Please tell a story about a girl who gets away."

I would, even if I had to adapt one, even if I had to make one up just for her. “Gets away from what, though?”

“From her fairy godmother. From the happy ending that isn’t really happy at all. Please have her get out and run off the page altogether, to somewhere secret where words like ‘happy’ and ‘good’ will never find her.”

“You don’t want her to be happy and good?”

“I’m not sure what’s really meant by happy and good. I would like her to be free. Now. Please begin.”

—   White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi (via hotelsongs)


[1/10] white is for witching by helen oyeyemi

"In Narnia a girl might ring a bell in a deserted temple and feel the chime in her eyes, pure as the freeze that forces tears. Then when the sound dies out, the White Witch wakes. It was like, I want to touch you, and I can touch you, now what next, a dagger?"

(via apolloniacorleone)

“When is a monster not a monster?
Oh, when you love it.”

—   Caitlyn Siehl  (via scrlett)

(Source: insanity-here-i-come, via the-sentimentalist)


>tfw u sitting in ur castle playing a scary leitmotif on ur bone harpsichord & a bluebird flutters through a window beginning ur eventual redemption story arc

“There is no final, satisfying way to balance our need to be known with our need to be alone. The balance is always uncertain and provisional; it’s always a matter of dissatisfaction, give-and-take, and sacrifice…It’s up to each of us to balance the risks and rewards—to trade, in right proportion, loneliness for freedom, explicability for mystery, and the knowable for the unknown within ourselves.”

—   Joshua Rothman, “Virginia Woolf’s Idea of Privacy” (via larmoyante)

(via englishmajorinrepair)

formative influences

  • Harry Potter (the validity of fiction + fantasy, found family, my love of details and back stories and moral ambiguity)
  • Those extensive, overly long beginning chapter book series where the kids would find a magic door in their basement that led to rainbow unicorn land or a music box in the attic that let them time travel. There was always the one skeptic, Scully character and the one Lucy Pevensie/Fox Mulder character who just desperately, desperately wanted to believe in magic (guess which one I identified with)
  • The diaries of historical girls defying impossible odds/war/famine/the industrial revolution/misogynistic landlords/the conventions of patriarchal monarchies (maybe the genesis of my deep and abiding love for “strong female characters,” whatever that means)
  • The Inkheart trilogy (realizing that other people cared that much about books; that just because my life wasn’t particularly adventurous didn’t mean I couldn’t write. The power of language + stories, which is, like, my manifesto)
  • Neil Gaiman + and Charles DeLint + Ray Bradbury (I went through a very intense Urban Fantasy/SciFi phase and the idea of the fantastic being intertwined  with the mundane; of magic being everywhere and the concept of places taking on a life of their own is just (exclamation points)..and Bradbury should get his own post but my short stories were all bizarre derivatives of Bradbury early in high school)
  • The Great Gatsby (well for one thing, I blame Fitzgerald (partially) for my love of m-dashes. But nostalgia and Gatsby’s impossible faith in the future and reality refusing to align with his imagining it are so essential to everything I am and everything I think that people are)
  • Margaret Atwood (if J.K. Rowling is the one who made me start seriously, intentionally writing fiction, then Margaret Atwood’s poetry is probably what made me start intentionally writing poetry. I don’t really have the words for her.)
  • Veronica Mars + Buffy the Vampire Slayer (it feels strange calling them formative when they’re relatively new things in my life, but in general I have though of myself as more of a book person than a television person before this year. I liked TV, and there were some shows I watched frequently, but not with the same investment. Both title characters are so important to me and are my patron saints of bravery and snarkiness in the face of impossible odds and as a small, easily provoked teenage girl with an obsession with proving people wrong Buffy and Veronica are so, so vital.)
  • Dead Poets Society (that kind of sappy speech about poetry? Yeah, that’s my manifesto. God, just these boys bonding over these long dead poets and realizing the importance of the liberal arts and their insistence on sucking the marrow out of life despite the fact that everyone wants to control them and the teacher-student relationship and the boarding school camaraderie—-)



The Elephant House, “birthplace of Harry Potter”, located in George IV Bridge Street in Edinburgh, UK. One of the cafés where JK Rowling spent time writing, in 1995. The toilets are covered with messages, thank you notes and quotations from the books written by the fans.

(via quietandconstellated)


things i care about in pre-series hp universe:

  • lily & remus being the founding and only members of the hogwarts finer things club