Friday, March 18, 2011

conversation with a stranger

The room was packed with people.

The coffee in my system had since left my body and I couldn’t recognize many of the faces around me. Vision blurred, I slumped into the nearest chair, clutching a small, worn book in my hand. There was man in the front of the room, speaking in an authoritative tone and with monotonous intonation – automatically, I struggled to pay attention.

“… importance … hours … three hundred and fifty … but only …”

Someone tapped me on my shoulder, holding the destroyed book.

“You dropped this.”

“Right,” I attempt to nod.

There is a flurry of papers and shifting positions. I pull out the pen attached to the paperback and start writing.


It ends with forty five minutes left on the clock and I stumble into the afternoon sunlight. There’s a bench nearby which I fumble to reach. I don’t care about people and their damn dogs, so I lay out passing into unconsciousness as soon as my head hits the wood.


(a small street, bicycles whipping up past me, hair in mouth – I try to find mine – rolling on two wheels next to a stranger)


I blink. I’m awake.

I feel something heavy on my shoulders. I sit up suddenly, disoriented, confused – what time was it?

Two hands steady me.


“Whoa. It’s okay.” The hands are still on my shoulders. I end up looking into brown eyes and relax into the offered embrace.

“How was it?”

“H’was what?” I say rubbing my face, shrinking away from the sunlight. There’s a scoffing laugh.

“You’ve been talking about this since you were – “

“ – shut up. I know.”

I sit up, my back against the wooden panels, feet planted to the ground. I stare parallel to the plane beneath my feet, watching a poodle scamper around its owner’s feet.

“I – I don’t know.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

I sigh, running my hand through my hair.

“It means, “ I struggle, “that I wrote it. And that’s it. Blank slate.”

My companion merely looks at me, or so I assume – my eyes are still focused on the scampering poodle.

“I don’t remember okay?” I say quickly getting up. “Thanks,” I mumble returning the jacket.

“Hold on a second –“

“I’ll talk to you later, okay?” I say, grabbing my book. My pen has disappeared, its remnants on my palms and fingertips.

“Seriously? You just –“ was the reply to my admittedly ambiguous statement. I started walking away. Fast. I could hear my name being called loudly … louder. I picked up my pace and ran. Ran, ran, ran.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flash Fiction

Don’t get any ideas, she heard. So she leaves the stove on and walks away, past a table decorated with an orange array of bottles with tops unpopped, their capsuled insides nestled against each other. A calendar of Mondays and Thursdays and Saturdays are silent, while the four others rattle loudly, prattling on and on in their colorful way. 

Plans for a car and a house—a life—hang anxiously in the air and sink to the ground. But she props them back up like balloons blown by her own breath and expects them to float, expects them to hold her up and fly her north where she began. 

The television screen watches her for nine hours a day while the sun only greets her for minutes on some. Somewhere between the two she thinks about the life she is living and waits for this suspension of time to end so she can go back to her store, her friends, her children. But the store’s been sold and her friends misplaced; her children have grown too tall.

Don’t get any ideas, they told her. You’re not done here yet.

Working Title - Don't get any ideas
Written in 2009, edited today with the help of Tifa 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


There have only been two times when I've seen the sky turn to this deep blue - a midnight blue that seemed to glow - while standing next to my cousin, with whom I've started this blog, the blue illuminating a Western sky. I've never seen it out here in the East, maybe becaues I'd miss it on coincidence, heading inside just before the Earth turned and the lingering rays of light hit the atmosphere to create that specific shade. Or maybe I would deliberately ignore that blue, my blue, because I was home sick and determined to look for any reason to hate the Great Lakes region more than I already did.

A few days ago, after writing a particularly horrible midterm, I looked up at the sky as I speed-walked home. It was cold in that "shit-can't-feel-my-fingers" cold, the bitter air seeping into your doubled-gloved hand, but I looked up. I happened to be in the older and more architecturally beautiful part of campus when my eyes caught the angle of a hundred and ten year old building and the sky above. For the first time since moving to this part of the country, I saw that piece of blue again.

Memories rushed back to when I had notebooks, napkins, and lecture notes with words dotted in the margins stashed under my bed. Words came easy to me then - ironically a lot easier than now as my writing is expected to impeccable.

Grammatically correct. Concise.

I've forgotten how The Bell Jar made me feel like I was trapped in this depressed bubble for weeks. How, within the span of a year, Shakespeare turned quickly from an annoyance to a goddamn genius. How I aspired to write a supernatural story grounded in mythology of a foreign country like in Tamsin. And how I felt that the magic in Garth Nix's Sabriel was far superior to dear Harry's swishes and flicks.

It was only a patch of blue, and it only lasted for a few seconds before fading away. The point, I guess, is that I missed it. I feel like I've been inundated in academia and journal articles to the point where I'm trying really hard not to change the previous sentence because it ends with a preposition.

I just hope these ramblings and fictitious posts don't result in failure and that I can finally stick to this, unlike that damn blue sky. Even then, I'd still go back to it.

Yes, it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

flailing arms and spastic hands

I'm going to have to argue that artists block is worse that writers block. Maybe its simply that I've gotten embarrassingly USED to writer's block over the last couple years, but wanting to scribble furiously over every single line I put down on a piece of newsprint is absolute torture. Especially when I have an assignment due in two days that I have yet to start, which also happens to be my routine as of lately.

I've got nothing but flailing arms and spastic hands tonight, sitting on the floor of this tiny room surrounded by the accumulation of years of crap, wanting to pound my fists on the floor, which isn't something you can do living in an on campus apartment where the walls are so thin that an overflowing toilet upstairs rains piss water through your smoke detector. Nostalgia isn't worth anything (to me, in this singular moment in time). I feel the ineffable need to throw everything away. Or clean. The second might be more productive.

Or maybe not. Maybe if I get rid of everything that reminds me of who I was and what I wanted before then I can use my muscles to want something different.

Now that I've wasted a good half hour of the lost minutes before sleep, I'm going to clean up my room so i can actually have enough room to lay down on the floor without trampling empty water bottles and being stabbed by just sharpened pencils.