Category Archives: Writer’s Niche

As an English and Lit major, I love to read and write. I do not have much time these days for creative writing, but find that even an assigned essay can be a good read. Here I will try to post my essays, creative pieces, and my thoughts on life, events, and dreams.

Reunited with My Home


The Pennington House a.k.a. Home

For three years, the home I longed for was fixed in my mind. Images of every room that I lovingly painted, upgraded, designed, and loved was etched into my third eye. Whenever I needed home, I would close my eyes and roam from room to room, visiting memories long held dear. This is not just any house. This is our first home. We purchased it ourselves, and we labored with love over every square inch. She is ours. She shelters us from the elements of the sky and of man. She envelops us with her quirky doors and bumpy walls. She’s not perfect, but she reflects us. We left the essence our joys and sorrows with her when we left. We fretted over her. We ached for her.


Arriving in the States after living for three years in Germany, we were experiencing a sudden case of dementia. What should be familiar felt foreign. We felt foreign–or at least I did. Being married to a United States Soldier, dependents (the family), have developed an amazing ability to set up camp and make the temporary familiar. We are used to being a foreigner every time we move to a new Post. When we bought this house, we put down roots. Our first sets of real roots. You know, not the kind that runs shallow and uproots easily. These were the beginnings of tap roots. The kind that runs deep and refuses to be blown away in the hurricane.

We became the caretakers of a home that would live on with our memories forever part her. She will be witness to the joys and sorrows of those that come to her long after I am dead. She holds the memories of those that came before us. We painted over those memories. We altered her. We made her ours, not theirs. Because we loved her and we tapped our roots in, we left her in the care of others with the intention and hope to come back to her.

Before we left, we prepped her for a new family. We gave her kitchen and family room a major makeover. We covered the evidence of family photographs hanging on the walls. We prepped her yard for a major overhaul that would occur five months after we left. We trimmed her strawberry plants. We trimmed the rosemary bush and the tree. She was freshly manicured and ready to go. A blank slate for a new military family to transform a temporary residence into a home. I left with the images of my home.

Because of the care and respect that I gave to all of my temporary homes, I never expected my home to be abused. I least of all expected such mistreatment from a military family! They left the essence of disdain. They left the odor of rotten meat, dog piss, and puke. They left behind the evidence of every family photo that had hung on those walls. They left behind the evidence of animal abuse. The stench of anger hung thick in the air. Evidence of a toddler let loose in every room with a crayon, pencil, or pen is stamped into the walls. The color of a tan cave has spread onto every wall in every room except the children’s rooms and the office. The paint eats the sun and reflects the hopelessness of a couple who appear to have reached the edge of the cliff.

As I sit among my possessions that create the stage of home no matter where we reside, I feel like a foreigner. I am a temporary visitor in my own home. Throughout our twenty years together, my husband and I have always moved forward–from one new dwelling to another. Always forward, never backward. Until now. Is it me or is it the house that has changed? We both have changed. I brought new possessions into her arms that she has never known. She was abused and broken. All she had to offer was her strength, and even that was damaged in the wind. She looks to us to make her shine again. She looks to us to make her a real home. A forever home.

We came together as strangers for a second time. We were both a little worse for wear. We were both three years older. We both had new scars. We met in my office. We came together as equals and as friends who have been living apart for a while. We can both be comfortable here, where a child’s writing on the wall is the only mark of the former residents. She likes the new desk and shelves and eagerly awaits a fresh coat of paint, boasting my art on the walls, and a cup of tea with me and my Muse. We are combining the old and the new while planning for the future. We are both home now.

Parenting American Teens in Germany

Or the Worst Mother’s Day Ever

Sunday was Mother’s Day. Happy belated Mother’s Day by the way. On Friday, my daughter called me from the grocery store to ask if we had certain items in stock. I wasn’t sure what she was up to, but I suspected that it had something to do with Mother’s Day. My daughter loves to cook and bake, so I assumed that a treat was forthcoming for Mother’s Day.

On Saturday evening my daughter decided at the last-minute that she wanted to see a movie with her friend and her friend’s mother. I said Okay. My daughter then calls me while she is at the movies to ask if she could stay the night at her friends house. I said sure, but don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day and have her mom call me after the movie is over. I fell asleep before I received the phone call from her friend’s mother.

I had been working hard all week on my final essays and projects for my British Lit and Shakespeare courses, so when Sunday finally arrived, I decided to sleep in until 10. I had already discovered that my daughter planned to make brunch after I heard her tell her father not to make reservations at our favorite gasthaus. I woke up, excited at the idea of omelettes, pastries, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

I checked my phone. The mother had never called. I tried calling her, but received no answer. I figured that she was probably bringing my daughter home.

At 1130 we got THE call. The one that every parent fears. The MPs called to tell us that our daughter was in the Nurnberg hospital. WHAT?!?!

She had been picked up by the Polizei at the bahnhof. She was unresponsive for two minutes as the Polizei tried to wake her up.

We rushed to the hospital (just over an hour away). When we arrived, she was sleeping in the waiting room.

The Doctor gave us her blood test. Her blood alcohol level was 1.4 when she arrived at 930 am and 1.2 two hours later. Her last drink was at 4am.

In case you are wondering how a 16-year-old can go clubbing, I should probably tell you that the legal drinking age in Germany is 16. Crazy right?

She had no idea where her coat, purse, and cell phone went. She assumed that her “friends”–who left her at the bahnhof–were in possession of her stuff, but she could not remember. She remembers getting separated from them at the Nurnberg station and then finding a Polizei for help. The Polizei gave her a train ticket to get home. She got on the wrong train. So then she gets off a few stations later and sits on a bench to wait for the next train going back to Nurnberg. This is where she passed out. A Polizei found her and called the paramedics.

Nurnberg is a known party spot for Americans and Germans. There are numerous clubs, fights, and deaths. THis is where most young soldiers (and apparently dependent teens) find trouble.

We have warned her numerous times to stay away. We have told her how dangerous it is and that the consequences for my husband are severe. Like most teens, she ignored us.

We spent the next 2 hours trying to locate her belongings. After a hopeless search, we headed off to find food and take our errant teenager home.

Long lectures, yelling, crying, and more lectures and yelling ensued. It was a long ride home.

At 530pm, her friends finally decided to bring her belongings–which contained her Passport Visa, military ID, and SS card–to the MP station so that someone would know that she was missing. Her “friends” waited almost 12 hours before notifying ANYONE that my daughter had gone missing!

I sat on my patio and watched a young mother play with her little girl. My heart ached for myself and for that mom who has no idea that in just 12 years that sweet little girl will break her heart.

Parenting is hard. Parenting teenagers is torture. Parenting teenagers in Germany is a nightmare.

So here I am, remembering the sweetest little girl that was once my daughter and every  time I think about it, my eyes begin to fill with tears.

I am so very grateful that my daughter was not raped or murdered.

She will rue the day she lied to us and went to clubbing. How do you punish a modern teen? Take away ALL social media, electronics, and friends. If I had it my way, I’d lock her in her room until she turns 18.

Do you have any teen parenting related horror stories to share? Please feel free to comment below!

Thank You Readers!

200 Follows!

Congratulations on getting 200 total follows on
Live Life. Create Dreams.!
Your current tally is 203.
Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who read my blog. I am honored to be included on your reader feed. I did not start this blog in order to gain “followers” or to earn money. I started this blog because I love to read blogs and I love writing. This blog gave me a platform for my creative spirit. After a time, I found that I had become a better writer and more creative. This blog and all of my readers have become my inspiration–my muse. Thank you.
And now I shall begin…
I had not been paying attention to my stats lately. I am always happy to welcome a new reader, or visit blogs of those who have taken the time to visit and “Like” a post, but the stats just never seemed to matter. A few months ago, I received a notification that I had received my 500th “like,” but even though I smiled when I saw it, it did not change how I feel about myself or my blog.
However, for some reason this particular notification struck me as odd in a way. First of all, I never consider the people who follow this blog to be “followers”–I consider all of you to be readers and fellow bloggers, poets, DIYers, photographers, dreamers and livers of life. We are all creative people who have something in common. Secondly, this notification was unexpected. As I said, I do not pay much attention to my stats, so when I saw this, I thought, “Really? 200 people actually enjoy my blog enough to see it in their daily reader feed?”
This prompted me to review my blog. What is it that draws people to it? It’s a mess in my opinion. I am extremely eclectic, so unlike most of your blogs and other bloggers on WP, my blog does not have a central theme or focus. That is unless you consider the theme and focus to be creativity. I would say that I am a creative person, even if my creativity happens to be eclectic. I suppose there is a little bit of everything except politics and religion on my blog. After all, life does not happen in tidy little themes and is anything but a focused topic! Last week I was considering starting a new blog titled “Chic by Angelique” in which I would post my DIY, Interior Decorating, and projects. It would have a theme. It would be focused. But then I thought, “what about my photography, poems, and musings? Where would I post them?”
I’ve been at this juncture before. I even wrote a post about it (oddly enough, it was exactly one year ago). Do I exit now or stay the course? I have finally made a decision. I will keep this blog as it is–chaos and all–but, because I eventually want to continue selling unique pieces when I return to the states, I will also post to Chic by Angelique. Eventually I would like to have a booth at a flea market or antique mall. Before we received orders to move to Germany, I had already made plans to open a booth. I even had cards and a large advertising car magnet made. I even had a website at one point. So, moving all of the DIY posts to the new blog is next on my agenda. Thanks to WordPress, the transfer of my current posts is seemless and easy. But don’t worry–I will also post them here!
Again, I thank you all for reading and hope that I can continue to entertain you. Whether it is my muttering musings, my poetry, my projects, my obsession with interior decorating, my scholarly writings, or something else that drew you to my blog, I appreciate you!

“Serial Girl”—erasure poem from the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun”

“Serial Girl”—erasure poem from the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun”

She’s a girl

acquainted with velvet

on a window pane;

with multicolored mirrors

On boots,

Lying with eyes,

Working overtime.




I need a fix

to the bits I left;

I need a fix, I’m down.


the gun;

Superior gun.

Happiness is bang, bang.

Happiness is shoot, shoot.

Hold you in my arms,

Finger on your trigger;

I can do harm.

Because a warm gun

Is Happiness

Bang, bang.

Don’t you know?

Ryobi Nail Gun from Home Depot

The next toy for my tool box.


WWI: A Catalyst of the Modern Poetic Movement

WWI: A Catalyst of the Modern Poetic Movement

By 1914, the Victorian era was history for the youth, the industrial revolution was in full swing, and the arts were beginning to reflect the rapidly changing times.  Women’s rights, worker’s rights, and child labor laws were spurring change in the government as well as the population.   The countryside, however, was still tranquil and slow to change in comparison to London.  A poetic revolution was occurring.  There was a push for a freer verse and less obscurity.  The poets and artists of the time wanted clear, concise works that were direct (Greenblatt, 2377). Early modernists such as Joseph Conrad (The Heart of Darkness) and Bernard Shaw (Pygmalion) were paving the way for the future of Modernism.

However, the progression of the Modern movement took a sudden leap forward with the onset of World War I.  Unlike the United States, World War I was fought practically in the backyards of the English—too close to home, one could say.  After Germany declared war on France and Belgium on August 3, 1914, Britain followed with her own declaration of war against Germany the following day.  According to Martin Gilbert’s history of WWI, the majority of the men who fought on foreign soil in that war were from the lower and middle classes and before the war ended, Britain had lost almost an entire generation of men (35, 70).  The modernity of the machines and weapons used in this war were unlike any that had ever been seen before and acted as a catalyst in the Modern poetic movement.

According to the Longman Anthology biography of Rupert Brooke, one of the first of Britain’s “war poets,” he served on a ship outside of Belgium during the war and died of blood poisoning before ever witnessing battle (Damrosch 2183-84). The biography also mentions that before the war, Brooke was quite a patriot, which is why he enlisted soon after Britain declared war (2183).  “The Soldier,” Brooke’s famous war patriot poem was the last one he wrote before his death in 1915.  Brooke and his poem are “immortalized as the symbol(s) of English pride” (Damrosch 2184).

Though Brooke never saw combat, his (and most likely every English soldier’s) longing for and pride in England are evident in “The Soldier.” For example, the first stanza, “If I should die, think only this of me:/That there’s some corner of a foreign field/That is forever England. There shall be/In that rich earth a richer dust concealed” (1-4), exemplifies the speaker’s English pride.  Wherever the soldier shall go, England is with him because he is “A body of England’s” (7).  Even in death, “A pulse in the Eternal mind, no less/Gives somewhere back the thoughts by English given” (10-11).  Brooke deals directly with the issue at hand: a soldier of English pride who will forever remain English and consecrate his burial mound as English soil.  Clearly, the Modern movement is well underway.

The Soldier

Though Brooke’s poem spoke of English pride, Wilfred Owen’s experience in the war contrasted greatly with the idea of dying nobly for one’s country.  The Longman Anthology biography of Owen states that he was deciding whether or not he wished to continue his studies with the clergy, but decided instead to enlist with Britain’s Artists’ Rifles in 1915 (Damrosch 2188). Owen was blown into the air while sleeping in a foxhole in 1914 and spent fourteen months in Craiglockhart War Hospital for treatment of shell shock.  Brooke returned to combat, and was killed in action one week before Armistice Day.

In contrast to Brooke’s Poem, “The Soldier,” Owen argues that there is no sweet patriotic death in his poem, “Dulce Et Decorum Est.”  In this poem, Owen describes the horrors of the war, specifically the mustard gas. In describing the physical condition of the soldiers as they pushed forward he writes, “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots/But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;/Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots/Or tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind” (5-8).  Suddenly, a soldier yells, “Gas! GAS! Quick boys!” (9). The speaker is able to fit his mask on, but one soldier was not as lucky.  Owen’s describes the scene as “Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a sea, I saw him drowning” (13-14).  After he leaves the war behind, the speaker says “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,/He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning” (15-16).  In summation the speaker says to his audience, “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest/To children ardent for some desperate glory,/The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori” (25-28). Those final lines reflect the attitudes of the past generation of Romantics who glorified and mystified the subjects.  The realism and unmetered verse adds an authoritative voice to the poems—one of the goals of the early Modernists.  In the fall of 1917, Owen’s wrote “Anthem for Doomed Youth,” in which he writes, “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?/—Only the monstrous anger of the guns./Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle/can patter out their hasty orisons” (1-4).  Here, Owen’s relates in a direct manner the events taking place, and the sad fact that these men are sent to die in much the same way that cows are sent to slaughter houses.

Dulce et decorum

“Anthem for Doomed Youth” By Wilfred Owen
“Anthem for Doomed Youth” By Wilfred Owen

Like Owen, Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry was vastly different from Brookes’ gentle patriotic poetry.  Sassoon’s biography in the Longman Anthology states that he was born to a wealthy Jewish family and served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in France and was awarded a Military Cross for aiding a wounded soldier (2186).  Like Owen, he was also treated for shell shock and returned to the battlefield.  Though he survived the war, he became a recluse and lived the remainder of his life “in seclusion in the country” (2186) where he continued to write poetry and memoirs.

Sassoon’s 1917 poem, “The Rear Guard,” though not written with the same poetic technique as Owen, is another fine example of the affect that the war had on the Modern movement. The poem, written in the third person omniscient, is about a soldier who finds his way down a tunnel as he pushes toward the front lines “step by step” (1). In the dark he stumbles over a soldier’s corpse whose “livid face” (15) is “Terribly glaring up, whose eyes yet wore/Agony dying hard ten days before;/And fists of fingers clutched a blackening wound” (16-18).  When the soldier reaches the end of the tunnel,  “He climbed through darkness to the twilight air,/Unloading hell behind him step by step” (24-25).  There is a sense of urgency to keep moving forward, lest the soldier become one of the “Rear Guard.”  The rhythm of this poem is unlike that of the Romantics and embeds the realistic urgency felt by the soldier.  Again, facing the terrors such as the ones witnessed in the first World War, there is no other way to describe the events without being direct and changing losing the strict verse styles of the earlier styles of poetry.

sassoon the rear guard

These poets and many English citizens witnessed for the first time a modern world in all of its wretched capabilities.  When facing such surreal reality, it is not possible to talk around the event of massive destruction and horrendous deaths.  Colossal machines, rapid gunfire, and chemical warfare were, up to the First World War, the things of science fiction and fantasy.  The sudden use of such technology at the onset of the Modern Movement was the catalyst that drove these writers to add verisimilitude to their writing, thus setting a standard for Modern poetry.

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature.Vol 2. 2nd ed. New York: Addison-Wesely, 2003. Print.

Gilbert, Martin. The First World War: A Complete History. New York: Henry Holt, 1994. Print.

Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. E-book.

Brooke, Rupert. “The Soldier.” Greenblatt 2019.

Owen, Wilfred. “Anthem for Doomed Youth.” Greenblatt 2035.

—. “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” Greenblatt 2037.

Sassoon, Siegfried. “The Rear Guard.” Greenblatt 2024.