Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy at Stoney Beach

NaNoWriMo starts in two days. Meanwhile, I've spent the last two days off of work for the hurricane not doing much. It's amazing how when I have the time to write, I can't bring myself to, but when I'm busy busy busy I'm always more inspired.

The rain washes in sheets
down the road
like waves on a beach.
All the water falls
straight from the sky
and then blows
to the side,
tapping on the windows.
All the time the whipping
wind hoots in
through the cracks
and makes the siding ripple
and the trees creak.
I watch from inside
the water rising up
over the dock.
The sub-pump turns on
and a humming fills
the drain pipes,
but our house doesn't sink.
The lights flicker
and we are left
sleeping in the dark
with only the sound
of the storm
to drift us off.
Coldness creeps in as
I stay huddled
under the covers,
afraid to brave the chill.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Independence Road

Thar's a storm a'comin.
So Sandy is on her way - sort of already here. Plus NaNoWriMo is set to begin Thursday and I haven't wrapped up my blog posts. I suppose I'll just have to write more blog posts after October (that is still 2012 after all) until I get to 52. Being so close to my goal and just failing at it is difficult, so instead I'm granting leniency. No need to get stressed about self-imposed deadlines that don't affect anyone but you - not worth it.

I had planned on going cross country after graduation. See all I could see. But between all the parties and gifts, I lost my lust for travel. Instead I applied for graduate programs near home.

The only one that would take me I had sent in before graduation, when my plan was still ripe in my mind. Tenessee. Nashville and Belmont University. A small school in the middle of a big city. So now that I'd settled on staying, I was forced to go by my own pride.

Outside the Northeast walls of my world, and driving, nonetheless, I was naked in my dependence. I couldn't quite grasp hold of the cities I went through. My budgeting skills were nonexistent, so I quickly began hoarding it for a rainy day. It seemed to rain every day I drove through Delaware, Maryland, Virginia.

At the suggestion of a slimy mechanic I replaced my tires prematurely and had a full service brake inspection. When I talked to my father later that day, he told me in an exasperated tone that I overpaid.

More hoarding of cash. This meant no stops on the road for coffee or granola bars. I only ate the food that I brought with me, which was mostly chocolate and pretzels and tons of water bottles. No wonder I was falling asleep at the wheel and having to stop for pee breaks in the woods. I had brought toilet paper.

I was not above tailgating on the highway and cutting from lane to lane to go twenty over in the boring two lane roads between mountains. I had learned a more aggressive driving style living in the suburbs than these easy-driving folks.

On the way I would make phone calls from different apartment leasing offices making phone appointments to sign a lease. I would follow up with a call to my mother asking me what to ask. Then I would call internet, leasing, phone, and water companies to set up automatic payments. After a confirming call to my mom I would purchase rental insurance. Then I would call her back to check my bank balance.

I would painfully yawn in the darkness with headlights flashing at me, and listen to the music as loud as it went.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I guess I'm on two-a-days since I can't even remember to post every day no matter how much I remind myself. How am I going to write 2700 words a day if I can barely write 100 once a week?

Everything is high school comes in twos.
         Two books for each class: a textbook and a reading book.
         Two credits for Advanced Placement.
         Two required P.E. courses.
         Two valedictorians.
         Two plays a year.
         Two hours of rehearsal, two times per day, for two weeks, twice a year.
And this on top of classwork and homework and life. The musical is always worse than the Fall play. All that dancing in step with everyone and singing at a higher pitch than your voice goes just to contrast with your prepubescent costar who is supposed to be a tenor. By the end you might as well be singing opera and breaking all the glass props (mostly vases, vases...whatever).

But in the Fall play, despite there being no aching feet and broken vocal chords, there are still the two-a-days with no hope. The days are short and so they go like this: Wake up at 4:30 am, shower, eat a bar or shake, remember to dress in leggings under jeans, forget brushing teeth, out the door and thank goodness you live two minutes by car, at school by 5 am in the freezing cold darkness just as the custodian arrives, do stretches and practice lines, greet the director-teacher at 5:05, walk through, talk through, act through, then again with each cast member as they arrive, consult with the lighting, sound, stage director, and set builder, check props, go over lines with peers and practice micro-expressions made large, walk across from stage left to right and then back four or five times, go over one or two imperfect scenes, practice the kiss and the slap and costume changes, without seeing any light in the sky grab books and change and go to English, World, Health, Bio, Art, P.E., and somewhere in there lunch, drink two gallons of water and squirt lemon juice down your throat, don't forget the vitamin C, stare listlessly at your friends, glare at your understudy, and high fives, hold hands with your boyfriend for five minutes after school, giggle with the girls for another two, call Mom just in case, annnnnd rehearsal at 4 pm, run through and over, through again and repeat, costume fitting number five, meet with director, voice coach, and then blocking, blocking, blocking, snack, scenes with scenery, alter walk throughs for new scenery pieces, try and remember where to turn, walk, stand, face, then finally when the stars are bright or it's raining crunch through leaves to the car with keys in hand, two minutes home, sit with Mom for dinner and a lecture about how "it's too much," English essay, math practice, Art drawing that was due last class, an AP practice test and one more run through of lines in your head while you brush your teeth and wash your face and fall into bed, tossing and turning over whether or not your friend is mad that you kissed your boyfriend in front of her.

At least in the Spring you see the sun.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

1 + 1 = 2∞

There is a stuffed whale-shark on her bed, mechanical pencils in her purse, and a tapping in her fingers.

He has a knit alien atop a shelf, a tattered black jacket over his t-shirt, and a hunch to his shoulders.

They have a Skype rhetoric, shared Reddit links, and a repertoire of micro-expressions.

For always, they are a rocky start, a pause in the sadness, and a love unconditional. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Training Days


He is a kind man with fiery red hair and a propensity for balance. An excellent waiter by trade. His speech is not too quick for you to comprehend before it is filtered out of your short term memory like everyone's orders. He emits no anger, only brief laughter and a pat on the head. You are like everyone's kid sister.

In a blind smiley fashion you blur from table to table, the only person with a notepad, five new pens, and a spik-n-span apron. You have pep. Some people do appreciate pep. Plus you have your looks going for you. Still, at the end of each evening you have ten dollars less than the worst waiter on the schedule.

All the man and woman at table seven want is their Mountain Dews. Your trainer lets you get the drinks while he observes your peppy demeanor. He reminds you what they ordered as you fumble with cups. No straws allowed in the apron (what is it there for, you wonder). 

As you approach with the tray and the unbalanced drinks you notice the floor needs to be swept. The tray starts to twirl as you set it down on the table and the edge knocks the table and reverberates to your arm, causing the sugary beverages to both fall sideways into the seat. The seat of the man's pants, that is.

Trainer Red pops up and apologizes while you freeze and start to cry. Apologize and apologize and then walk quickly to the kitchen as the man tries to comfort you. Later you will remember that his girlfriend is a waiter, that everyone spills drinks, that it is nerve-wracking to serve people. 

As you stare down at the floor so that no one sees your red eyes, your trainer just smiles at you in bemused silence. The man and woman leave you a generous tip. You pass it along for him, as he deserves. He folds it into your palm and squeezes your fingers, looking into your face and explaining, "It's okay."

You never get any better. Always you remember the spilled drinks, the wrong orders, and the less-than-impeccable service. They all remind you that you are fine. It is perhaps that you think too much, they say. Even with the negative opinion, the peppy attitude remains. Nevertheless to your tips, you always smile thinking of him, watching you make mistakes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

So begins the countdown...

So begins the countdown. This is blog post 42 of 52 for 2012. On October 31st, I will have completed part of my New Year's Resolution for 2012 and be beginning the big challenge, National Novel Writing Month. From November 1st to 30th, I will be writing a 50,000 word novel. That is about 1,700 word per day. I have some comrades joining the fight this year - my best friend and a coworker. This is going to mean some seriously early mornings and some equally late nights as I try to pack in four stories a day of 500 word each. I'm hoping to post excerpts not only on my NaNoWriMo page, but also here.

For your reading pleasure:

If I were you I'd quit while you're ahead.
Ahead the road looks insanely bleak and I don't know.
Know the things that get you up in the morning.
Mornings are worth having coffee or tea or NPR.
NPR is this new thing I'm trying.
Trying isn't good enough for some people.
People are cruel, but they are also creative.
Creativity runs in my family unknowingly.
Unknowingly I step into an argument.
Arguments are unsanctioned debates.
Debates are staged and fake and vague.
Vagueness is something to avoid when teaching.
Teaching is my passion.
Passion is something I would have only if...
If I were you I'd quit while you're ahead.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What I Believed

"What is love," she asked,
For I've been deceived.
They were quiet
And so I believed
Love was a quiet porch,
And an always-made lunch,
And a bedtime story,
And three words.

"If you care," she proposed,
Then you stick to a budget,
You put the kids to bed
And never argue about it.
Forget about romance
And the wedding dance.
About the kids and, perhaps,
Another on the side.

"Not that, you say? Well
Then what," she queried?
Is it a holding of the hand,
Or the ring that says married?
How would you know it?
How would I know it?
Does it end on that 
Zero anniversary day?

Perhaps it is when.
The question, I mean.
Over time it fades.
It is a transitory being.
How can my love be ample
With this set example?
Will I ever be able
To simply, eternally, love.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How to Puzzle

Always start by separating. Color from color, pattern from pattern, edge from middle.
It is cheating to start with pieces already together, so separate those manufacturing errors as well.
Always have more than one thing going at a time. Edges are great for starting, but when a lull comes, you'll want to have a patch of color to work on.
When choosing, look for big blocks of color, but not so big to be undistinguishable by shade. Save those for last, when shape of pieces is all you have to go on.
Turn them over and over. Run your hand through the box, uncovering useful pieces.
Eventually, turn them all over slowly and collect them in your hand. Visual memory will be tested.
When large blocks come together, make big moves.
Before you start, make sure you have the space to move large blocks, and space for the whole.
Make big connections and fill in the gaps. Look for tiny bits of color on corners and the final few edge pieces.
Once the edges have come together, start fitting in pieces already set aside as different. Only the same pieces will be left in the end.
When all else fails (particularly your eyes) separate the pieces by shape. How many innies? How many outies? Zero to four. Put them all facing the same direction.
Here your patience is tested, painstakingly testing each logical piece. Start with the single spaces, then with the mostly surrounded ones, Three innies or three outies are usually the easiest to find. Begin snapping them in faster and faster...until they're all snapped in.
Run your hand over the ridges and valleys of your work. Step back and appreciate the whole which matches the picture. Hopefully no holes remain unfilled.
Start loosening row by row and enjoying the cardboardy sound as large handfuls drop back into the box. This takes awhile if done properly, so that no connected pieces remain for the next time.
The next time rarely comes. New pictures begin. Start over by separating.