Edel Grace

Programmer, Developer, Enthusiast


Inspiration from Fictional Worlds

Jan 25, 2018 | Comments

My last semester was extremely busy. So busy that I spent my commute on the train sleeping everyday instead of my usual reading. I’ll admit, most of my reading is done when I’m on the train. So other than the occasional manga or cookbook, I hardly read the last couple months of last year. Which is devastating.

This year (like every year), I resolved to read more. I started out the year reading two non-fictional books about personal finance. Good insightful content but hardly stimulating.

On impulse, I was at the library paying fines (my water bottle exploded in my backpack and ruined a book, I’m still a bit peeved) when I saw Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery on the shelf. I had just finished watching Anne on Netflix and I needed another dosage of Montgomery goodness.

Reading through Emily of New Moon struck something within me. Whenever I read good literature, I always have an urge to write. I know that I will never be as good as the authors that inspire me, but most of the time I just want to write for the sake of posterity.

In Emily of New Moon, the main character (you guessed it, Emily) writes letters to her father as a sort of journaling mechanism. This made me long for my journal. I have tried writing journals many times but my anxiety of my mother reading my journal has made me hesitate each time. I see this blog as a sort of journal but I still have to censor myself as this is (obviously) public. I do admire those who can freely write in their blogs but it’s hard for me to take that step especially since many of my thoughts are so personal.

Reading about this little girl writing so freely made me envious. I started to write a little more in a notebook.

Then I heard about the passing of Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s been around a year since I first stumbled upon A Fisherman of the Inland Sea. I was completely enamored by the book. When I was younger, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. Things like Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix, Harry Potter (of course), The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey, etc. There was something about being immersed in a totally fictional and supernatural world that I found captivating.

Le Guin is a master at creating such worlds, although she tends towards science fiction rather than fantasy (in my opinion). Her world building is expansive and natural and oh so imaginative (I picture Anne of Green Gables saying a similar thing with her eyes wide and her hands clasped).

Two of my friends are currently taking a science fiction course where they will eventually read Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. I’ve read a couple of Le Guin’s books (mostly compilations of her short stories) but haven’t touched any of her more popular novels. Thanks to the power of Audible, I managed to get a free copy of the audiobook.

However, listening to Le Guin’s words just isn’t the same as reading them. Maybe it was the narrator but I couldn’t get myself into it. There was one scene that I could pay attention to but when it came to the description of politics and the general world, I couldn’t focus.

So I made a trip to my local library to scout for some more of her books. The Left Hand of Darkness is a popular book and the wait-list for it was thirty people long so I knew I wouldn’t be reading that any time soon. But I did manage to pick up one of her books that were decidedly not science-fiction, The Unreal and the Real: Volume One: Where on Earth.

I had barely read through the introduction and the first sentence of the first chapter when I put the book down. I instinctively shivered and got out my notebook to essentially write most of what I have already written here. It was a special moment. Le Guin had captured me entirely.

In a way, I’m jealous at how beautifully Le Guin seems to string along her sentences. I’ve never really had a way with words, especially if they come out of my mouth. I have to think slowly and carefully and even in the written form, I’m not as eloquent as I wish I could be.

Even though I could never hope to be a master of words like Le Guin and Montgomery, I can imagine. I can spin tales in my head and conjure up these characters that seem real to me. I probably wouldn’t be able to capture their essence in the written form but at least they’re something that I’ve created. I think having an imagination is a wonderful thing. It’s been a while since I’ve imagined anything and I’m glad that reading has started my mind up again.

Not Another Love Story

May 26, 2014 | Comments

In a way, I don’t want to read stories about (romantic) love anymore. Too much emphasis is put on love, whether it be on screen, in print, or just in life in general. Not that I’m saying that love isn’t important, because it is important. How a character approaches love can speak volumes about their personality. But I just don’t want it to be the main plot, or even a sub-plot. I just want love to be there. Just let it happen or note that it has happened already.

Love drives us but it isn’t the only thing that drives us. Sometimes it’s survival, sometimes it’s the desire for status, sometimes it’s our family, and sometime’s it just not love.

Let’s hear different stories. I want to hear stories of personal struggles that do not revolve around not being able to get laid. I’m not invalidating those struggles but I am tired of hearing it, of seeing it, and of reading it. I want to hear adventures in faraway lands that may or may not be real. I want to hear tales of fantasy. I want to experience something more than just love.

I guess all it boils down to is that love is overrated and while important, it’s still not as important as we think it is.

Conversations Over Text Messages

May 2, 2014 | Comments

Long weird sappy feelings. So much sap and cheese and this sounded better in my head because I kinda read it in a certain way. Man, I just don’t know. Also, for the love of gulay, the end of a line does not mean “pause.” Punctuation means “pause.” Yes, you’re supposed to run out of breath (I’m kinda slightly asthmatic though, so).

i’m sorry,

but i won’t ever text you again

and i hope you never text me again either.

usually i love communication that doesn’t involve me

actually speaking but with you, it’s different.

there’s a disconnect.

a disconnect between you and your words, your words

that appear in the form of pixels

and not in the form of your voice

it just doesn’t feel like you.

it feels strange and foreign

it’s like a translator sucked away your personality

and in their place put in words that barely make sense

even though when i’m speaking to you

your accent is thick and heavy and

your words still don’t really

make sense to me but at least it’s you.

and one of my favourite things about you

is the way you talk.

you talk with your face.

your lips mischievously curl upwards and

they push out at certain syllables and

in moments of confusion your brows furrow and

your lips purse and

when you’re not talking, you look at me so intently

and so full of purpose like

“i’m listening to you and by god i will listen to you.”

even though i’m sure you’re just

being polite and don’t actually think that but i guess

you’re just that convincing.

and it’s weird because my anxiety is worse

when i’m texting you, even when just

the thought of talking to people face to face

shakes me so bad to the point where i feel like

i don’t want to live anymore, or

i don’t deserve to live anymore, or

i don’t even have the ability to live normally anymore.

and even though i feel that way before talking to you,

it disappears as soon as i say “hi”

and with others it lasts until they’re out of the room

and i’m in at bed at night where i pick

apart my words and use them to pick apart my mind

and i wish i knew why.

but i guess the point is,

i’m sorry.

but let’s never text again.

The Scarf

Nov 25, 2013 | Comments

The sun cleared up his eyes and I was instantly lost.

Even when his head turned towards mine

I could not and would not tear mine away from his.

That colour!

I had never experienced it before.

Warm and clear.

I could see forever in his eyes.

I could feel his disappointment

when he looked into mine: an endless dirt pit.

But he smiled at me then, a sweet crooked grin

accompanied by an equally sweet pair of crooked teeth.

A cat-like curl and a crooked grin.

I had never experienced these colours before.

I really wish I could be able to write poems! Poems are beautiful but like I’ve said before, I’m not a writer. Writers have an innate ability to know and feel words and I definitely do not have that. I tried guys, I tried1. If you’re wondering what this is about, it’s about a random encounter I had while on campus in my freshman year. I hate how encounters on campus are random. Come back, mystery guy!

In other news, I’m seriously fading in motivation. I just feel really down all of a sudden and all of the time. But then I remember AJ from U-KISS and I remember that he goes to Columbia and works his butt off (I hope). AJ, please give me inspiration!! And yeah, Eat Your Kimchi has officially converted me into a Kiss Me. I have mixed feelings. Be right back while I go blast some acid android and DIR EN GREY. Maybe with some Sadie and SCREW in the mix. I need more SCREW songs. And I have an album that I have yet to give a full listen through by DIR EN GREY. I’m so behind in my music! I wish I had money to buy music. ;A; I need a job but I need good grades. Whaaaat is life?

  • But in the end, it doesn’t even matter. I just rediscovered Linkin Park, okay.  
  • Prompt #1

    Nov 18, 2013 | Comments

    I don’t really know what to write about in my blog right now. At first I was like “post everyday!” but when I got to it, I drew a blank. Not to mention, the 500 words requirement overwhelms me. What can I write about for 500 words??That’s why I already missed more than four days of posting. A “blog post idea” list would be very hand right now. I gotta start writing down said ideas. So I resort to using fictional writing prompts for today’s post.

    Write a scene that starts with the line, “Short? SHORT?”
    —Sarah Selecky Prompts

    “Short? SHORT?” Daniel bellowed as he held his wallet in one hand and two crumpled bills in the other. “The sign said it was only $0.99!”

    The lips of the cashier’s mouth tugged at the corners. “The sign is for a different product. Many customers have already said the same thing. I’m sorry,” she shrugged and waved the burrito in the air. “Do you have another way to pay?”

    Daniel stared down at his two dollar bills. “This is all the money I have,” he mumbled. He looked back up at the cashier with pleading eyes. “I’ve been walking on foot for days, I need food. Please. I’ll take anything for two dollars.”

    “I’m sorry,” the cashier shook her head. The two stood there for a couple of moments, staring at each other before another customer coughed from behind Daniel.

    He gave up. He stuffed his money back into his wallet. On the way out from the gas station, he glanced longingly at a bag of chips and lingered there for a second. The thought appeared in his mind but he pushed it out as soon as it came. He left the store empty handed and with an empty stomach.


    A photo of me

    My name is Edel Grace Altares. My programming interests include full stack development and back end development. My languages of choice are Python and Java. Outside of programming I enjoy crocheting, video games, cats, historical fiction, and reading.