Billy the Bookshelf

It’s been a while! A lot has happened – college has started – and perhaps I shall post some summary of ~General Life Changes~ that have happened over/since the summer, but to whatever degree I’m easing myself back into more committed blogging, I thought it would be nice to start with something simple!

So, here’s something simple: I have a dorm room! And a bookshelf! A BILLY model bookshelf from Ikea! The dorm room is big and I am the only one in it, but the bookshelf is small and full of happy book friends! You may recall that this bookshelf plan has been on my mind for a while. And now my plans have come to fruition! Behold:

image1 (8)

I decided that it would be fun to post a handy dandy breakdown of Billy The Bookshelf’s contents, as follows!

Above the Shelf (Elf art books!)
  • Ealindale by Wavesheep
  • Ages of Arda Anthology
  • Songs of Sorrow and Hope by Jenny Dolfen
Shelf 1 (Fantasy books that are short enough to fit)
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
  • Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
  • Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce
  • 3 Mamamoo albums: Purple, Melting, and Memory (They don’t fit on the CD shelf)
Shelf 2 (Science fiction, and fantasy books that are Not short enough to fit on Shelf 1)
  • The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien (shocker)
  • The Peoples of Middle Earth by JRR Tolkien (to be joined by Morgoth’s Ring, once I finish it. I don’t know how it’ll fit, but I’ll find a way!)
  • Huntress by Melinda Lo
  • Ash by Melinda Lo
  • Flood by Stephen Baxter
  • Foundations by Isaac Asimov (Yes, I stuck Asimov between my Stephen Baxter Books, that was an accident but now I think all my shelving missteps add character!)
  • Evolution by Stephen Baxter
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (Because I had the space for it and I can’t find my copy of Shadow of the Hegemon?????? Where did it go, who has my copy, I wish to reclaim it.)
  • Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
  • Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card (This is Emma’s copy? I figured it was better to have it in my dorm where I could be reminded to return it when the opportunity presents itself.)
  • Virtual Light by William Gibson (The rest of the books in that series are at my house, because I still haven’t finished this one!)
  • Count Zero by William Gibson
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
Shelf 3 (Music!)
  • Two little picture books with very short stories in them from my aunt. These aren’t super nostalgic or sentimental, I just really like them.
  • A bunch of CDs!
    • A set of CDs with some of my favorite classical music that my Dad burned my for Hannukkah two years ago, which make me feel warm and fuzzy, containing the following:
      • Dvorak New World Symphony (aka Objectively The Best Symphony)
      • Dvorak Piano Quintet, String Quintet
      • Dvorak Symphony No. 7, Sibelius Symphony No. 2
      • Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5
      • Suk Fantasy + Fairy Tale + Fantastic Scherzo
      • Sibelius Violin Concerto, Smetana The Moldau
      • Smetana Bartered Bride Dances (aka my Childhood Dancing Music that I listened and danced to like every day and makes me tear up now)
    • Midori playing the Bach and Bartok Violin Sonatas
    • Arabella Steinbacher playing Dvorak Violin Concertos
    • Some CDs I listened to very very very often when I got my little disc player tiny speaker system set up in my room in fifth grade and are thereby surprisingly nostalgic to listen to:
      • Dvorak Symphonic Poems
      • Gil Shaham playing the Butterfly Lovers
      • Sarah Chang playing Vivaldi Four Seasons, and also his Concerto in G Minor just tacked on the end there
    • CBH Discography:
      • Wheels Within Wheels
      • Full Cold Moon (the chant CD – the string group plays on like two tracks)
      • Fire Flashing Up (our string CD)
Shelf 4 (Books on my to-read list, beloved books that don’t fit on other shelves)
  • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (in the wrong order, yes, I know)
  • The Shades of Magic trilogy by Victoria Schwab
  • Some books that aren’t on this bookshelf because they are my Favorite Books Ever, just because I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet and I mean to!
    • The Better to Kiss You With (is Fantasy With Lesbians, I’m a sucker for fantasy with lesbians)
    • The Hollow Sun (A dark modern fantasy thing with queer characters that I bought from its author at Dragon Con)
    • The Windup Girl (A science fiction novel that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while)

Beside the Bookshelf (Some personal items!)

  • My senior year yearbook
  • My last four sketchbooks, not including the one currently in use
  • My little agendas from senior and junior year, respectively

Aaaaand, that’s all for now! Cheers!


Band Names

I’ve been sorting out papers that have cluttered up my death over the past year(s?), and I found this gem of a list of band names that was concocted in Calculus. These are mostly inside jokes, but since this blog curtails to a mostly inside audience, I’m indulging myself in publishing them!


  • Sex Muffin
  • Death from Exams
  • Pzazzlezazzlzazzles
  • 4 Gays + Clarissa
  • Lunch Bag Overload
  • 13th Zodiac
  • The Enemy’s Gate is Fuck You
  • Fig Men
  • Hyperbolic Integral
  • Hyperbolic Interval!
  • Point of Inflection
  • Evilclan
  • Tugship
  • Take Her Out of the Curve
  • Poodlesniffers
  • Meepo and the Beepo
  • Papules
  • Literature Villains
  • Hypocrassy
  • Sluggo
  • Geometric Donut
  • Trying to Find the Velocity of Your Dreams?
    Maybe You Should DerivaLIVE
  • It ALL Comes Down to Squares
  • GaRADriel
  • Fad-Burning Stereotypes
  • Self Esteem Issues
  • Butt Sparkles
  • Bird man
  • Oscum’s Noze Goze Boom
  • A Walter
  • Syntax Error
  • Straight n Single
  • Hannah Give Me Your Jacket
  • Non-adjustable Lingeree
  • Square Mellons
  • Someone’s Salty
  • Cosplaying Hannah’s Elf In The Restroom
  • At The Tip
  • Sej Pej
  • Sajjad’s Error

(Brief Update)

Hello! I don’t want to make a big deal out of Returning, since I can’t guarantee that I’m Back(TM); I just have a couple things I feel inclined to start articulating! I’ve drafted some posts between January and now, but I never refined any of them to the point where they were ready to publish. Now that I’m free for the summer and re-inspired by a couple topics, perhaps I’ll get back into more of a rhythm?

In any case, here are some general life updates from the past four-ish months!

image1 (2).PNG

  • The biggest and most recent news: I graduated high school this past Thursday, which probably deserves to be its own post? Perhaps more reflections to come. It is the summer now, and I am ready to actually go to the pool for the first time in like three years.
  • I got into some colleges and not into some others (the latter including my top choice, which caused me to dissociate for a solid two hours and lmao that was Wild), but in the end I am going to Emory!
  • Emory is exciting because: I get to stay in town with my family, which for me is a good thing! And I’m going to be nearby my UGA pals. Also, thanks to the courtesy scholarship, this is the cheapest option I could have gone with, so I get to not lose all my money! Hooray! I get to keep my gay musical happy synagogue, and the high paying teaching job I’m about to get there. Also my therapist. So everything is exciting!
  • Something self destructive and bad happened in January, but other than that my mental health has improved a lot since the fall! There are occasional little lapses under duress, but nothing catastrophic.
  • I had some exciting chemistry with a girl at the very beginning of the semester, but she has a boyfriend and I am Still Single.
  • I LEARNED THE BRUCH VIOLIN CONCERTO THATS A BIG DEAL. By “learned” I mean I performed the first movement and I’ve basically got the second movement down? And we’re just… not gonna talk about the third movement, yikes. I played the Vorspiel for my last group violin recital ever, which was both pretty emotional and really badass.
  • I performed at Carnegie Hall! We did the orchestra trip, we went to New York, we saw Kinky Boots (which was Amazing and Great) and performed and had a little photoshoot in the park and I didn’t trip on stage.
  • That’s…all I can think of? Thanks for sticking around!

2nd Semester Transcription

Here’s a part 2 to my eclectic agenda keeping! I was a little less consistent this semester, especially towards the end of the year. Nevertheless, I still find these little tidbits rather charming! I hope they will also bring you some amusement, or intrigue, or something,



  • Welcome to Second Semester
    with Julia “Zaslaw more like no law” Borthwick and company
  • My friends are having a party
    without me, because I am gone
  • An end of an era of darkness [written in elvish]
  • Back To School
  • get out of gym
    bust out of hell
  • hungry…   …hungry….   ….hungry [written in elvish]
  • Refill your Breeze card!
    Marta card, Marta art
  • SNOW?!
  • read read read read
    McCurdy is agrumpin’
    read read read read
    lots of time to crunch in
  • my free response grade is a
    I’m one point less of a horrible FAILURE!
  • lithp [written in elvish]
  • OW ow Ow OW ow OW ow OW ow OW ow
  • dadi…. dadi… maaaami
  • Welcome back to EYSO
  • why am I so IMPOTENT
  • Elf Saturday
  • Many deadlines!
  • my nightingale: tinuviel [written in elvish]
  • your narcissism narcitates me
  • no moosic 🙂
  • how can you be this inadequette
  • messed up
    messed up
    messed up
  • word of the day: canoodling
  • Bengali
  • botch
    it’s been botched
  • word of the day: consequent
  • consequent ramifications [written in elvish]
  • “Yay it’s a Friday. and y’all are acting like it.”
  • penenguinenguin, what’s your fenguin? [written in elvish]
  • Viol[a] Recital
  • Stay for review @ beginning of graphics
    or not
    yeah, okay, not
  • You didn’t do any MOLES today 😦
  • Invisible Man Quiz Probably
    nope huzzah
  • Schedule with Lena?!
  • Bruch

Continue reading

Snug Shelving Itenary

I have four bookcases in my room – one even twice as large as the others, so rounding up to five might be fair. I keep a lot of different books around for a lot of different reasons. Some I love, some I used to love, some I still keep coming back to. There are some that I have never gotten around to reading even after years, and at this point I suppose it’s likely that I never will.

I’ve stayed in a couple different college dorms, and all of them have had a desk for each occupant, with varying degrees of accommodating shelvature. Regardless of what I’m given, I definitely plan on maintaining a little bookshelf in my dorm next year.

I can find it very soothing to make little lists of the books I know I either mean to acquire or bring with me onwards into my adult life. I thought it would be equally soothing to flesh out that list on this blog, so I’m giving it a try.

  • Harry Potter (The only copy I have separate from the Very Fragile Paperback Set of the household is the Sorcerer’s Stone, so I dream of acquiring my own box set? Fresh, new, and intact.)
  • Books by Tamora Pierce: my Song of the Lioness Quartet, and the Trickster’s Choice/Queen Duology. My copies of her other books will be in safe hands with Benjamin.
  • Books by Malinda Lo: Ash, the lesbian cinderella that fills my heart with joy, and Huntress, the somehow even gayer super-pre-quel.
  • Books by William Gibson: Pattern Recognition, Neuromancer, the collection of short stories Burning Chrome. Count Zero will probably end up tagging along.
  • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, only those are both Large Hardcovers so we shall have to see!
  • Evolution by Stephen Baxter. And probably the other books I have of his (Flood, Ark, Stone Spring) if I don’t get around to reading those. Because I want to get around to reading those. But they’re not as important to me as these other books, to be on my Important Book Bookshelf
  • Books by Tolkien (you all knew this was coming): a LoTR box set of my very own, with the Alan Lee watercolor covers, one of those adorable amazing tiny little editions of the Hobbit, and… I can’t believe I don’t have my own copy of the Silmarillion yet. At least I bought one and gave it to Alex so that she could not read it? Also, if Benjamin lets me snag his copy of Unfinished Tales.
  • Ender’s Shadow, of course! And Shadow of the Hegemon, (quite possibly accompanied by Ender’s Game itself, although that’s less of a given.)

That’s all I can think of! But it’s quite possible that something has slipped my mind, so… suggestions are welcome? I’m 99% sure that commenting is a thing one could Do.

4 Gays + Clarissa*

*working title

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture



Katherine Waterston as Julia


Jackie Chan as Alex


Claire Danes as Clarissa


Deborah Ann Woll as Emma


and Ryan Reynolds as Hannah

When Julia Borthwick leaves orchestra rehearsal one day, she witnesses the unusual: a cult of violinists led by her soon-to-be concertmaster successor, attempting to summon aliens to their school. Her entire world turns upside down when a mysterious race of the interstellar consequently enslaves the students at Grady High School to their bidding- most notably the frightening, ominous productions Julia’s theater friends are forced to put on. Meanwhile, a dark cloud of its own nefarious origin has descended upon the robotics shop, imprisoning the entire team in build season purgatory. It will be Julia’s task to save her friends, the school, and potentially… the entire world.

~ Squad film pitch, courtesy of Alexendrea Len

Start of a Season


This past Wednesday I resumed rehearsals with the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra, and we received our music for the upcoming concert. For the first time, our smaller chamber-orchestra-esque winter concert will include winds, which is always exciting. We are playing Leia’s Theme, in tribute to Carrie Fischer, Pavane pour une infante defunt by Ravel (in a similar vein – “precession for a dead princess”), and the first movement from the Lord of the Rings Suite by Johan de Meij, Gandalf.

It won’t surprise anyone that I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement to be playing LotR music in any form, let alone THE ORIGINAL LOTR MUSIC. Which, by the way, has a FANTASTIC viola part. Is every movement like this? I honestly don’t know, but de Meij has given the violas some amazing solos and I can’t get enough.

(I was fantasizing the whole class, as you do, of Prior somehow finding it worthwhile to ask if anyone knew anything about Gandalf’s backstory, perhaps as it might be influencing a part of the music, and I would step up all “Well, his original name was Olorin, and he was one of the Maiar, higher order beings akin to angels or minor gods, and he was among the five Istari, or wizards, sent to Middle Earth by the goddess Nienna to guard against the return of Sauron, and actually he didn’t want to go at all……..” I don’t know why I do this to myself.)

One nice moment I did have courtesy of Prior earned the viola section some laughs and some brownie points, which was wonderful. He was asking the entire violin section why their tone wasn’t unified and why they thought that was, and there was a long silence, and then I piped up in my soft-tentative-question-type-cadenced voice all “placement of the bow???” and he pivoted around and said “And the answer comes from the violas!!! Violins! What is going on!” Everyone laughed and my section looked happy, and I felt fizzy and proud. Before we started playing he said, “let’s start in the same place of the bow, thank you violas!” and as he cued us in he said “thank you, Julia,” and it was kind of great. I feel like I’ve only ever heard him call me Ms. Borthwick, before, that I can remember, but my name sounds so nice in his accent.

It continues to feel like the principal violist likes me? Which is great, because I like her. It would be really nice to be her friend. (Or more than a friend?????? Not something I’ve actually devoted thought to, but hey. Not taking it off the table.)

Because I’m on a super groovy plan to Actually Practice this semester, I hope EYSO will be more enjoyable than ever for my final two seasons. Stay tuned!