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2B or Not 2B

Liebster Blogger Award Nomination

I am honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Peter Adewumi,  an accomplished editor, writer, blogger, and technical and mathematics instructor. I encourage you to visit his blog; he has plenty of interesting and inspiring reads.

The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows:

1) Acknowledge the blog who nominated you for this award.
2) Answer 11 questions the blogger gave you.
3) Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4) Nominate 11 blogs.
5) Notify them.
6) Give them 11 questions to answer.

The following are questions Peter asked me in his nomination:

  • What’s your real name? My real name is Hannah Elyce.
  • What do friends call you? My friends call me Hannah or Hannah Banana.
  • What do you do for a living? I am currently a full-time student. Right now, all of my focus is directed to my education. I hope to work in the publishing business in a few years, however.
  • Your favorite actor? Johnny Depp. Without a doubt.
  • Your favorite movie? It’s between a few of them, actually. Good Will Hunting, Corpse Bride, and Sweeney Todd are pretty up there.
  • Do you intend to have a family doctor? I’d like to, when I have a family of my own.
  • Do you intend to have a family lawyer? I suppose so. I never thought about this one before.
  • Your main reason for blogging? Self-expression and to inspire others. Inspiration is my main goal.
  • Any disappointment in blogging? I haven’t encountered any disappointments yet. My family, as well as everyone in the blogging community, is very supportive of what I do, so I don’t have much reason to feel disappointed. I’m very grateful for that.
  • Your advice for upcoming bloggers? Make sure you are happy with your website and your posts. Don’t write just because you feel like you have to satisfy a schedule; do it because it makes you feel good and because you want to spread that feeling to others. If a post is forced, your readers will feel it. That’s why, for my blog at least, I don’t post on a strict schedule. I’d recommend this mentality for other bloggers.
  • What is one thing you would do differently if you were to start your blog all over? I would probably market/advertise my blog from the beginning so that it could grow faster.

My nominees for the Liebster Blog Award are these lovely blogs and bloggers:

  1. Jay Colby
  2. Craftie Beaver
  3. Whitney Ibe Blog
  4. Robert Okaji
  5. Annette Rochelle Aben
  6. Peace, Love, and Patchouli
  7. Risen Faith Ministries
  8. Pretty Lies
  9. Letters and Poetry
  10. The Naga
  11. A Learning Poet

My questions for my nominees to answer:

  1. What made you start blogging? How long ago did you start?
  2. If you could visit any country in the world, which would you visit and why?
  3. What is your favorite animal?
  4. Favorite candy?
  5. Do you prefer digital or physical books?
  6. What is the biggest problem you encounter while writing?
  7. What color are your eyes?
  8. Recount a brief childhood story. What happened?
  9. What type of music do you like to listen to?
  10. Do you collect anything? If so, what is it?
  11. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Thank you so much, Peter, for your nomination. I think this award is a great way to discover new bloggers and connect within the online community.

Happy Sunday and happy writing!

Photography Through England

Traveling and studying literature in England opened my eyes to what could be. I was able to control where I went, what I saw, and who I met. I grew as an observer; as a result, I wanted to record as much as possible so that I could be the eyes for those who couldn’t join me.

Ironically, as I explored a rather unstable foreign country, my mind felt more at peace than it ever had before. There was something in my thoughts that told me, “You have got to do this now, or you can never truly come home again.”

Interacting in small towns such as Warwick, Oxford, and Stratford-Upon-Avon gifted me with the best scenery. I’ve put together an illustrated version of all of the highlights of my trip below. I hope you enjoy!

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Our first glimpse of England was a breathtaking one. The land and neighborhoods were dispersed in irregular patterns; they were definitely different from the rhythmic grids we’re used to in the States.
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The Underground is London’s public mode of transportation. It reminded me of a more efficient New York subway.
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Westminster Abbey is the home to the graves of several well-known writers such as Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the Bronte sisters. Scientists such as Charles Darwin are also buried in this church. Although no pictures were allowed inside, the feeling of sacredness stayed with me even after I left those corridors.
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Of course, Big Ben watched over us as we explored London.
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This was taken inside the Globe Theater (a world famous performing arts centre), of which I had the honor of returning to twice. I saw renditions of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as well as Romeo and Juliet.
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The Rosetta Stone inside the British Museum in London. It is an artifact responsible for allowing us to finally understand Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

 

 

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Runnymede, the meadow in which the Magna Carta was signed.
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Windsor Castle: chalk-full of history and also acts as the Queen’s Summer home. (To our surprise, a few people in our group spotted Princess Kate near the walls of the castle).
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A lovely area within Anne Hathaway’s cottage’s garden. Anne Hathaway was William Shakespeare’s wife. By visiting here, we were able to catch glimpses of what life during Shakespeare’s time was like.
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The Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford commemorates the deaths of three Anglican bishops during the period of Queen “Bloody Mary’s” reign. They were executed in the square for their faith.
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Christ’s Church’s garden within Oxford. The colors here were breathtaking.
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A gorgeous view of Oxford atop University Church of St. Mary the Virgin’s tower. We climbed so many flights of stairs up a tiny, winding structure.
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The Eagle and Child Pub was where C.S Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R Tolkein (author of the Lord of the Rings) spent hours discussing story ideas and philosophy.
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C.S Lewis’ quaint home.
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William Shakespeare’s grave within Holy Trinity Church. The air was heavy with a sort of awe and sadness.
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The medieval Warwick castle was developed from an original built in 1068 by William the Conqueror. The castle surrounded the small town of Warwick, as well as our hotel.
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This is a photo of the astounding Tintern Abbey, which was a monastery dating back to the 10th century. We actually had to travel to Wales to get here. (I would have spent days in Wales if I could).
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Standing inside the monastery, with the mountains looming behind the large window frames, I just had a feeling that a higher power stood with us.
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Last photo of Tintern Abbey, I promise.
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The ancient Roman Baths in the lively city of Bath. Musicians were scattered across the streets; you couldn’t help but feel happy here.
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More Roman baths with the original, ancient statues standing guard atop the edifice.
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Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen.
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We witnessed the changing of the guards from Buckingham Palace; it is a summer daily ritual in which scores of horses, guards, and a marching band occupy the streets for a few minutes of each day.

In total, I ended up taking over five hundred photos. Looking back, I’m glad that I did.

Let me know if you have memories traveling, or have photos to share! I’d love to see them and hear about them.

 

All photos taken by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

Coin Laundry

Your eyelids droop downward like old fabric and your head sinks forward as if you are about to fold in half. You are slipping in and out of reality. “The world is a washing machine,” your mother used to say. “People fall and fold into each other; they tangle and unknot; the suds between them shift and squish.

It is a slippery kind of relationship.”

The laundry mat pulses its yellow ceiling lights. An Asian woman clucks on the telephone in the back room, and her voice meshes with the metallic sound of the intercom. She is hushed. Her glass eyes flick toward your seat suspiciously: “Very good,” she says to the mouthpiece. “What is your price?”

You are folding your hands in your lap. You take deep breaths and stare at the washing machine in front of you. It is probably 1:00 am, but you aren’t counting the hours. You glance down at your swollen ankles, torn sneakers, blistered heels. You think that the price was clear.

You wonder why the continents don’t slide in their places across frictionless planes. After all, the world’s people hold each other with Dawn Soap arms. Their skins rub and slip, warm flesh against warm flesh. And, after the sliding is over, after the fingers rake through sudsy hair, a stranger’s body tumbles into another, and a new cycle begins.

Some people claim the world began with the Big Bang.

You say that God simply pushed a coin into a laundry mat.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher

©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

Leaving For England (Balancing Risks and Rewards)

Happy Wednesday!

I know I have not posted in a while, and I deeply apologize for that. This month has been so incredibly busy, especially as I’ve been preparing for a trip overseas. I did mention this a few posts back, but in case you missed it, I will be leaving the states in just a few days to study English literature in the UK.

As a girl who has never set foot outside of the Western hemisphere, I am very much terrified of taking such a large leap. The whole prospect is petrifying. In movies, travelers are always so confident in who they are, so strong in their knowledge. Then, there’s me: a seventeen-year-old who barely knows herself. Insecurities tangle inside me and the thorns threaten to prick my lungs. Simply thinking about traveling alone sends my stomach twisting into knots.

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However, despite my doubts, I am anticipating this trip to be the start of a fruitful travelling career.  I know that going to England will be one heck of an opportunity, and I’m very excited to be able to grasp it and learn about our most influential literary artists as I go.

There are big questions I am often asked: Will you be safe in England right now? Why are you going to a country that has weathered so much terrorism this month alone? Why are you willingly taking so many risks? 

My counter question is this: Why not? 

The rewards of collecting new memories in a foreign country far outweigh the risks of another terrorist attack. The rewards include education, freedom, experience, inspiration, and culture. These are priceless things that no one can take away from you.

Right now, millions of hearts and prayers go out to London, England, and all victims of terrorism. I know that this will be enough to protect me.

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I hope to write more for you all while I’m away. I’m excited to share my experiences, and perhaps I’ll write a bit of original pieces as well. Maybe England will be the perfect piece of inspiration I’ve needed for so long.

If you have any travel experiences, advice, or add-ons of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments below! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

May Writing Contest Winner

I would like to congratulate Temidayo for being May’s prose winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! This piece especially stood out to me due to its modern applications. Massive, global societal issues exist, yet they are merely glanced over by the media and Western culture. I hope you will enjoy this piece as much as I did.

You can explore Temidayo’s blog and her other works here.

Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a lookout for new artists featured on this blog!

 

The Chibok Girls
by Temidayo

April 14th was the third anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 girls, from the Government Girls Secondary School, school dormitories, in Chibok, Nigeria. This poem is a cry for the safe return of the rest of the 195 girls that have yet to return.

It’s been three years now. Three years since the 276 girls were taken by force, in the dark of the night from the place that was the foundation of their aspirations. It’s been three years since 195 girls have last seen their families.

It is hard to comprehend. Always has been. It is difficult comprehending how people said that human beings could celebrate the kidnapping of girls on the path of a better future. It is difficult comprehending why the government has yet to rescue the 195 of them. However, it’s a luxury for those whose problem is to comprehend how such an evil could happen, and not in how it had happened to them.

There are things many of us will fail to fully understand. The emotion the parents feel when the next girl, who was managed to make it back home, isn’t their daughter. The emotion a mother feels when her daughter comes back with a baby although she is almost half the age, her Mother was when she had her first child. The agony some of the girls felt losing their babies while escaping.

However, despite the mess, a few thing are clear. Justice shall prevail, we are not afraid, and we shall #BringBackOurGirls.

 

 

Photo Courtesy: CNN Stephanie Busari, Nima Elbagir and Sebastiaan Knoops

I Steal the Silence

I steal the silence.

The air is crisp tonight, and my lungs expand noiselessly between breaths; I feel them brush against my rib cage in soft caresses. In, out. My chest hums with a certain happiness, a broken quiet. Slowly, I bury my toes into the soil and I feel them thrum below the earth. The roots of the trees send signals across my feet, primitive neurons climbing up my ankles.

The lamp swells in a vacuum of voices, and I swallow it up, absorb it in my pores. I close my eyes and listen.

The silence is a voice of its own.

 

 

Written by Hannah Butcher

©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

 

How to “Find” Time

Time is a liquid. We carry it throughout the day in our cupped hands; we slosh it around as the hours pass; we watch as droplets fall unto the ground when we stress and when we are unproductive; we watch time glide down our fingers when we procrastinate. And when the day is over, we throw our exhausted bodies onto our beds, and we realize we did nothing that day to make ourselves happy. We look down into our hands and we are surprised.

“Where did the time go?” we ask.

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Oh, but we know where it is. It disappears when we consciously use it on things that truly do not matter. Things that do not make us happy.

Time is a resource we constantly take for granted. Recently, my friend and I were having a conversation regarding this topic, and she relayed an interesting perspective to me. She said, “Time isn’t the problem. Time doesn’t stop us from doing the things we want. Energy does.”

In other words, when we say there is a “lack of time” and use it as an excuse to avoid doing the things that truly matter (such as writing, creating music, drawing, going for a run, etc.) we are using it as a scapegoat. In reality, we just don’t have enough motivation to complete the tasks we want, the ones that make us happy. As a result, we are exhausted and disappointed at the end of each day.

We are setting ourselves up for failure.

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To avoid feeling this way at the end of every day, make it a priority to set aside time for yourself. It is medicine for the soul. It is rejuvenation. You may claim to have a busy schedule, but there will always be time for anything you set your mind to; you just have to push yourself.

This piece of advice especially relates to my writers out there. We, including artists in general, make the excuse that there is not enough time in a day to complete everything we need to, let alone tend to our art. Well, the truth is that there are 12 hours in every day.  You can certainly afford to allot 20 minutes to something you love.

Can’t you?

Tomorrow, your hands will be filled with time once more. Time will fill up your cupped palms and we you will be expected to spend it. Do so wisely.

Let me know of any comments you have below! I’d love to hear from you.

April Writing Contest Winner

Happy Sunday!

I would like to congratulate Sakshi (AKA the Escapist) for being April’s prose winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! Her writing is filled with simplistic imagery and genuine emotions, and I’m so happy to be able to share her work. Her piece “Unfamiliar Contentment” effortlessly depicts a father’s love for his newborn child.

You can explore Sakshi’s blog and her other works here.

Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a lookout for new artists featured on this blog!

 

Unfamiliar Contentment
by Sakshi the Escapist 

He held her for the first time in his arms and her tiny hand gripped his finger. The touch was soft. Tender. He could already feel the walls around his heart crumbling under its power. The walls he had built for years, brick by brick. While looking at her beautiful face, he was feeling an unfamiliar contentment.

“What did I tell you?” his wife asked him. He could hear the smugness in her voice.

He raised his eyes and looked towards his wife who was smirking and looking at the tiny bundle of happiness in his arms. He got up from the chair and sat beside his wife on the hospital bed. He felt his face split into a wide smile.

“Yeah,” he said. “She’s perfect.”

Just then their daughter yawned with her baby mouth and opened her small eyes, and in that moment, he felt he had conquered the world.

 

 

 

*If you would like to participate in the April writing contest, simply fill out a form on this website’s Submissions Page. You may send me an email or comment below if you have any questions or concerns.*

I’m looking forward to May’s submissions!

Piety

 

Between the crevices in the syntax, the sentence, the subject,

punctuation serves as an altar

to ideas that cannot be connected by splinters or nails.

Exclamation marks that yell also scream out tales.

Gentle commas swirl into periods, like silk but even softer

 and create something that serves

the crevices between the icons and the choir.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher

©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

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