Monday, December 13, 2010

Theme Week #14 - Rewrite

Tick, tick, tick...  The clock is ticking on the wall, softly, quietly, steadily - but there are things to do.  Rush, quickly, scurry - carpool, make dinner, wash the dishes - lots of things to do before the clock ticks again.  Make a list, jot it down, don't forget - homework, grocery shopping, mail the bills - all of them need to be done today.  Far down the list, too far down, way at the bottom - get a haircut, give a hug, snuggle with a movie - important things seem so small in the hustle and bustle.  The clock keeps ticking but it won't tick forever, make time for the important things.  Pick a day, any day, and work from the bottom up.

Theme Week #15

Choice #4 Week 15.Write about yourself as a writer--hopes and dreams, strengths and weaknesses, ambitions and failures; reactions to the semester, what changed for better or worse in your writing; course experiences, problems, positives.

The first time I sat at my keyboard squaring off to face the first assignment for this course I had some trepidation.  I knew that I was competent at writing research papers, analytical papers, even short essays if I really focused myself, but I was unsure at my ability to write engaging creative pieces that were based on myself and my life.  Many, many times I have sat and discussed things in my life ending the story with "If I wrote a book, no one would believe it true!" because as we all know, fact is stranger than fiction in most cases.  It is one thing to sit and tell a story to someone, catching their eye or smirking to emphasize the sarcasm - but to write it down in black and white I had lost those basic tools of communication.  Practicing, learning, and yes even being pushed outside my comfort zone, has made me feel more capable and empowered me to write more confidently and creatively than I was able to before. 

In the back of my mind I have always thought that I would like to write a big story.  I always seem to daydream a bit while I am driving into town and those moments I think that I really should write them down sometime.  My issue with writing a big story is direction - I don't have a starting point.  I read big books, short books, different series of books, over and over and think that I could do that.  BUT then I think, those people had an idea, they had a starting point that they were solid on before they built this character world around it, and I just don't have that starting point.  One of the great things about this course is that it gave me that starting point, those prompts to kickstart my brain in some sort of direction.  There have also been times that I managed to kickstart my creativity all by myself, and jotted down some short stories in my new writing journal. 

There are a few in there by now, different places, people, and ideas - little pieces of what could potentially become their own little worlds, but still far from that point.  I add to a bit here and there to those stories, I may be mulling one of them over in my mind while I am folding laundry or doing dishes and stop to add another little fragment.  I think of them like puzzles.  I have three or four going, and every once in a while I will add a piece or two to one of them.  Perhaps eventually I will have a whole puzzle done, a complete picture where you can see all of the parts and colors.  Until then, I have learned to enjoy working on them, building on them a little at a time for fun, and learned that the goal is not the completed puzzle but the enjoyment and satisfaction that I get from finding those pieces.

On a personal note, John, thank you so much for you patience and encouragement.  There were times when I was, pleasantly, surprised at your reactions to my writing, and your comments and constructive criticism helped me as the writer, to understand more about the reader's perspective.  I look forward to next semester more than I anticipated I would, and who knows, maybe I will have a few more pieces fit in the puzzle.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Theme Week #14 (x2)


There is one flower in the corner of the yard.  It only blooms once in a while, briefly giving over to color instead of the drab green and brown.  It stands tall though, taller than the ones around it, and they seem cluster close together around the sturdy stem.  Their vibrant colors in varying shades only makes to highlight the tall one, a beautiful setting for it to live.


Snaps and pops punctuate the crackling flames.  Mesmerizing to watch, tongues of fire lap the edges of the logs.  The heat radiates out, waves of color and warm, bathing the room before it.  The cat is curled up on the chair, snoozing in the comfort of home.

Theme Week #13

Generally I try very hard to be a kind and considerate person.  It is one of the things that I am kind of funny about.  It drives my husband crazy, and probably my kids too.  I truely believe in the saying my mother uses "What you put out into the universe comes back to you."  I don't know where she got it, or if she made it up, but I have heard it so often I automatically say "Universe-schumiverse" in the back of my mind, like I did as a kid, before I remember that I totally agree with her.  Overall it boils down to being nice to people, everyday, every time you have the chance.  When I was out shopping at ungodly hours of the morning on Black Friday, I was reminded how many people perhaps don't believe in that same tenet.  I could clearly see the look of gratitude and surprise on the face of the woman behind me when I passed her my cart and grabbed another one.  Or the smile I got from the man who had dropped his receipt in the parking lot when I picked it up and ran after him to give it to him.  I remind my kids all of the time, being kind is not a big thing, it's all in the little things.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Week #12 Prompts

59. The door slammed, and I never looked back.
He was drinking again, and it was almost noon. I had to work in an hour and he knew it. A careless attempt to remind him didn't make any difference.

"Don't forget I have leave for work soon, it's just you and the kiddo for a while."

My attempt at nonchalance fails. He shoots a glare to where I am standing with a smirk on his face.

"Ya I know. I can have a couple drinks and still watch my own kid without your help."

It really didn't make me feel better, it just reminded me how ridiculous this all was, almost like rubbing my face in the fact that I hadn't done something before. At least it was a short shift today.


The supervisor told me that I had a phone call. Immediate worry popped into my head, what had happened? was the baby sick? I head to the phone and pick it up, my hand was slick with sweat.

"I'm going out. You need to come home and watch him."

"What? I'm working, you know I can't just leave. I'll be home in a couple hours. You can't leave a 2 year old home alone by himself."

"Ya, well, I'm leaving here in 15 minutes whether you are here or not."


Racing through traffic I wonder if he was lying or not. It does occur to me how sad it was that I totally believed him. Followed closely, again, with how stupid I must be to begin with to be with him still.

I pull in the driveway and his friend's truck is idling in the yard, he wasnt' kidding I guess - or he just knew me all too well.

I found him in the little kitchen, giving our son a PB&J - he didn't even cut it in half for him

"Two minutes to spare. Cutting it kinda close weren't you?"

So many responses fly thorugh my brain, but I say nothing. I pick up the sandwich, cut it in half, and put it on a plate. I felt the tears well up at the hopelessness of it all, but he hated it when I cried, and it made it worse. I turned to the sink to get a glass of water, turning my back on him.

"One of these times you are going to push me too far, you know. I don't know how long I can keep doing this with you." I can hear him heading to the front door behind me.

"Ya, I doubt it"

The door slammed, and I never looked back.

60. I held you in my arms.
I held you in my arms, and the tears rolled down my cheeks.

You never said you loved me, but I did.

You said it was great to be together, and it was.

But then you said, in your journal lying next to your bed, that our relationship was "inconvient" and it broke my fragile heart.

I asked you about it, but you weren't even mad I had read it.

You just said you were sorry.

It didn't make the hurt go away, it made it deeper, more permanent.

You said it wasn't my fault, but I knew it was, somehow.

You drove me home and asked if you could have a hug, and I knew that it was goodbye.

I held you in my arms, for one last time, with tears rolling down my cheeks.

58. I met the most amazing person last week.
I met the most amazing person last week. He came through the doorway and I caught sight of him as he entered the room. He was a young guy, tall and handsome, with freckles sprinkled across his cheeks, broad shoulders and a narrow waist. He walked like someone that was comfortable in his own skin, just being who he was, you can tell. He wasn't wearing the baggy pants or noxious screen print shirts you see so often on people old enough to know better. He was whistling as he went, but it wasn't a tune I could place. Who whisltes now-a-days? Everyone has iPod's or some other gadget to fill their brain with noise. This was a guy who thought his own thoughts, one who made his own way in the world, followed his own path - definately the kind of guy you could take home to meet your parents. He met my eye and I smiled at him, with a hint of invitation in my own eye. "Come talk to me" it said. He cocked his head and returned the smile. As he walked toward me, I could smell his cologne, it was a warm kind of smell that made me think of chocolate.

"Hey, mom. Whatcha doin?"

Theme Week #12

It was a hot, sultry night.  A perfect night.  We had had a few drinks earlier in the evening, alcohol was buzzing pleasantly through my brain.  As I showered, my thoughts skipped ahead to the club we were going to.  The thumping bass reached down to my very bones, and when I closed my eyes I could almost see the flashing lights keeping time to the patter of water against my sensitive skin under the shower spray.  Hot wet skin, shining with sweat from dancing, moving.  Hands ran themselves down my side, following the curves, spreading soft lather, filling the shower with the scent of lavender, vanilla, and something warm and sexy.  Hands resting on my hips swaying to the music, the fabric of my skirt rubbing against the movement, inching slightly higher then lower again.  I can feel the roughness of the hands against my body, fingers trailing, outlining my body with whisper-light touches.  Hands running up my neck and into my hair, freeing the last of the shampoo to run down my back.  Turning off the water, the droplets slashing at my feet pick up the tempo again, fast then slower and slower.  Warmness envelops me as I wrap the towel around me, holding me tight, my chest heaving with each breath.  I open my eyes, it's time to get dressed for the night.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Week #10 Prompts

44. You write a story which ends with the words, "...and then I woke up and it was only a dream." And then you wake up.
I suddenly sit up in bed. My heart is pounding, tears still wet on my cheeks, I look around. Am I still dreaming? I hear the beeping of the alarm clock, but I don't trust it. I listen to the house creak as the furnace comes on, and the wind blowing the leaves in the backyard - still not convinced. The dream was too real, and I woke up before, only I didn't really.

I used to call them "terror-mares" these dreams I would have. I didn't have them often but when I did I remembered every detail for a long, long time. Deceptively normal, the dream starts out with boring everyday things, grocery shopping with my daughter this time. Nothing outlandish like winning the lottery or being a movie star.

We were driving home from the store, she and I chatting away about the skeleton system, it was what they were studying in science last week. There was no dramatic music or feelings of anxiety to warn of the shift in the dream. She starts singing along with the radio, and I muse about singing lessons for her as I round the bend in the road. We crash headfirst into the car in our lane. The singing stops, the music stops, time stops. Crunching, screeching metal, tires, cries.

My eyes are still closed, my heart is pounding, and I can feel the tears seeping from the corners of my eyes. I hate those dreams. I hear an annoying beeping noise, no doubt the alarm clock. Thankful for the interruption of a terrible dream, I open my eyes. I am not in my bed. The hospital curtains sway from people passing by, quiet feet walking quickly from one place to the next. The beeping gets louder. I look over, still expecting my cheap plastic alarm clock, and see the heart moniter keeping time with my heart. This is not a dream.

I must have cried out. Nurses enter the curtained area where I am laying, looks of concern and alarm on their faces. One nurse has glasses, just like my daughter's. I scream her name, and their look of alarm increases. They begin talking in clam quiet tones. Car accident, critical condidtion, broken bones, medication to help you rest dear. I fade away, pulled down to blackness by the medicine in the little syringe they put in my IV. The beeping fades away too, it becomes smaller and smaller...

Then loud, too loud to ignore. I suddenly sit up in bed.

51. Just calm down and begin at the beginning.
"Just calm down and begin at the beginning." The police officer looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to speak.

"The beginning?" The beginning, where is the beginning. Is the beginning when I was 5 and my mother married my new stepfather, and I learned what it was like to feel left out and ignored? Is the beginning when I was a teenager and that same man threw the pot of spaghetti that I had made on the floor because of a careless comment I had made? Or the time that he dumped coffee on my head because I dared to yell back at him that one time? Is that the beginning, when I learned that men acted like that and that it was normal, it was just part of life?

Or was it when I met another man, one who wanted to be with me, but used his hands to make sure I knew that he was in charge? Was that the beginning? Maybe it was tonight. When my man decided that it wasn't ok for me to use the phone and ripped it from the wall, maybe that was it. Or when he followed me to the neighbors house screaming and yelling accusations, curses, and threats.

I looked up at the officer. I suddenly knew where the beginning was. I began telling him the story of tonight. The beginning was right now, the beginning of the end.

49. Doesn't matter where you begin, you'll end up back here.
Stuffy, smothering little town - everyone has their nose in everyone else's business. She was a bright and energetic teenager just biding her time to see this place in her rear-view mirror. Big dreams and a big life awaited her out there, but for now she waits, and waits...


Hello big city! So many new things all in one place, who would have guessed it was only a couple hours away from the cow farms. Malls and stores, clubs and restaurants, taxi cabs and city busses that ran all night. Young men that were interesting and exciting. She didn't know that it wasn't safe to walk from the bus stop at midnight until she saw the shocked faces from her new co-workers. She didn't realize people would lie and take advantage until her new car broke down, or that the taxi drivers would take the long way if she didn't watch them carefully. She finally learned that a new and exciting man was just someone she didn't really know, and that they might be lying about things like "love" and "forever."


Coming home felt like sinking into a comfortable chair - it was there, waiting for you, when you needed it. When she was scared and hurt, it was soothing and caring and warm. She went for long, carefree walks in the sunshine, hearing the stream gurgle and a dog barking somewhere further down the dirt road. She felt tension and pressure float away into the fluffy clouds. She would smile when thinking about the big city, and shake her head What had she been thinking?