Poetry, Writing

East to West

East to West

You are my best friend.
I know it because I left years ago
And every year I came back
And we took off again,
Like fire
As if it could ever forget how to catch.

You are my best friend.
I know it because of that one time
When I took something that I shouldn’t have
And I was listening to one song on repeat,
Shaking and tripping and rocking,
You were the one I called and you came.

You are my best friend.
I know it because when your husband left
For a place that may as well have been across the sea
It was me you asked to come with you
When you followed after him
And I practically sang out, Yes.

You are my best friend.
I know it because the next year
I was packed and ready
So we adventured across the land
Counting buffalo
And screaming songs out the windows as you drove.

You are my best friend.
I know it because no one else
Knows me with such a deep fondness
For such a long, long time
And has served to prove the old adage
That it can be a great thing, to be a writer’s friend.


Swift Uplifting Rush

So, this ended up being one of those circumstances that made me glad I had a notebook hanging around. I had read a bit about the prompts last night, and they stayed with me in my subconscious until this morning. After I dropped my husband off at the office and drove myself to my doctor’s office, this poem started coming out of my mouth. Thankfully, I had a few minutes to sit in the waiting room and get out as much as I could, and then I finished it over a bagel before heading to work. Great morning.
I’m not going too much into this, but this whole thing is meant to be one piece about two people (except where it’s not). The working title is “Swift Uplifting Rush.”
i. I wish I could tell you
That I was careful with your son’s heart
But it flailed in my hands like a fish
Until it hit the floor
And we were both left standing there, all
Oh well!
And that is why I sent him home.

ii. I wish I could tell you
To keep my number in your phone.
You could have called it
The Last Person I Could Talk to so I Won’t Do This Horrible Thing
And then you could have told me what you were planning,
Given me the chance to laugh and say
You just got that neck
Don’t ruin it.

i. I wish I could tell you that
I stopped using all those terrible words in my poetry
And that you were one of the sets of hands that kneaded me into the writer I am now
And your bakery sneaks its way into my pages regularly.
PS – everything is, in fact, better with cheese.

ii. I wish I could tell you that
Your parents were right,
That a life in line wasn’t for you.
Yeah, you looked like all those guys in the commercials –
Steel gaze, wood jaw
Pyrex heart
But by the end of it, you were like the ones unseen
In pieces, in the ground.
PS – leave a note next time.

i. Thank you for the rides to the vet
To everywhere
For bags of groceries
Boxes of sangria
Opening your library doors for me.
I borrowed so much
And what I forgot to return
I cling to.

ii. Thank you for lying about your age
And being so constantly interested in what I had to say
For giving me my first trip on a motorbike
My arms around your little boy waist.
At least if we had crashed
I would have been protecting you.

One day we will meet again
Through the eyes of someone else
And I will dive on top of you,
Crush the bones of you,
And I’ll absorb the blast so no one else has to suffer.

29 Things to Do While I’m 29

I made this list before my 29th birthday (obviously?). I’m surprised how many I have done so far in just the last few months, but I’m getting all revved up to get to work on them before October. Some of these are a bit more…abstract than concrete in terms of goals go, but I think you’ll see where my mind was headed as I prepared for my last twenty-something birthday.

1. Finish paying off my student loans.

2. Write a letter to someone I admire to say ‘thank you.’

3. Figure out who God is to me.

4. Do something sweet for my husband.

5. Kayak in Pittsburgh.

6. Commemorate awesome days in creative ways.

7. Go on 24 hour adventures to neighboring cities.

8. Take pictures and make notes more often.

9. Fall in love with death.

10. Explore good music.

11. Read for pleasure.

12. Thrive in crisis.

13. Stretch and dance regularly.

14. Create and embrace my own style of fashion that speaks to me.

15. Cook for others.

16. Stargaze.

17. See a sun rise over the river.

18. Schedule fun.

19. Treat myself to a spa day.

20. Recreate my bed.

21. Clarify and accept my own concept of what marriage is.

22. Eat thoughtfully.

23. Write something beautiful.

24. See a whale.

25. Stand up for something.

26. Stick myself in a very uncomfortable situation.

27. Take on a great pain for someone else.

28. Play in the snow.

29. Ride a train somewhere.

Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Tips

What is Change? or, Fifteen Minute Fiction: Day 1

Yesterday, I went into the office for a team meeting. We have these once a month, and members of our team will present a general business topic. This month, the presentation centered around “change.”

Generally, I’m great when it comes to change. I love getting put into new situations, and I’ll try anything just about once. I really enjoy getting special projects, and I thrive under pressure when I get called to do something out of my norm. As they talked about the ways different people handle variations in their routine and schedule, I felt very comfortable. “I’m just fine with this,” I said to myself. “Throw anything at me. I can handle it. Nooooo problem.”

After the presentation, we were given an exercise to do as a group. We divided up into teams of 3-4 people. Each circle had a notebook and pen. The task was simple: write a story.

Ah, I said to myself. Finally, something I can really do.

So, working with my teammates, we started writing a narrative about two people who lived in a house with a cat. Just as we brought in the narrative hook – the fact that one of these people wanted (dun dun dun!) a dog – one of the facilitators took our notebook away. Then, they split up our team. Then, they gave us another notebook.

This was not what I signed up for.

While I knew it was all in good fun and that it was supposed to be a learning experience, I started getting very tense! When we were talking about change, the idea was supposed to be in relation to easy things — like work. Work is easy. It shouldn’t be about art. Especially my art.

By the second and third point the notebook got taken away, I was getting vocal.

“Loud” might even be a better word for it.

After the exercise was over, though, it really got me to thinking. Sure, it’s easy to look at the terms you hear at a job – time management, change, stress, communication – and feel like you can “master” how they apply in a cubicle, but what about when those things factor into things that are important to you? Like your writing or relationships or family? There may come a time when you can’t just yell about it…

One idea I had to challenge myself as a writer was to start doing 15 Minute Fiction writing. I made up the following rules:

1. I had to use a prompt from a book. I could only use one. No fair skipping around. For tonight, I used today’s date from “A Writer’s Book of Days” by Judy Reeves.

2. 15 minutes. No more, no less. I had to keep typing so long as the clock was ticking.

3. I then had to share it here, with all you lovelies. No matter how bad it might be.

This was a lot of fun, but it definitely embodied the challenge of change. Let me know what you think! If you try it, let me know!

The prompt was just, “Once, when no one was looking…” I went crazy with it.

Wednesday Off

Once, when no one was looking, Wednesday took a vacation.

Tuesday happened. It was very pleasant and breezy, a nice reprieve from the rainy gloom of Monday. Everyone was getting into the swing of the week, committing to their duties, feeling like they had recovered from the weekend. Seats were a bit warmer, more comfortable. It was the way every week should be.

But when the sun was setting, Wednesday decided that maybe the weekend would be nice to see for once. So as everyone went to sleep that night, Wednesday chased the sun around once and they laughed as Thursday blinked into existence.

It’s surprising, what can happen on a Wednesday. It’s the apex of the rollercoaster drop, it’s the main course of the week, it’s the bridge in the song you love. And when Wednesday skipped out on everyone, people felt it.

Wednesday was sitting with Saturday and Sunday, enjoying cocktails, when the complaints started coming in. People felt cheated, like someone had taken the filling out of their cake, the fortune out of their cookie.

“Why should I feel bad?” Wednesday mused. “Everyone’s always talk about how great the weekend is. Nobody says, ‘I can’t wait to make plans for Wednesday!’ Have you ever heard someone say, ‘I love to be out on the town Wednesday night’? Because I haven’t.”

“That’s because you’re reliable,” Saturday replied, checking the agenda book sitting on the table. Every weekend was booked solid. “Folks out there are desparate for the weekend because they feel like their time is going to be stolen from them.”

“Their precious free time,” Sunday added, taking a long pull of a martini.

“And everybody hates Monday. Tuesday and Thursday are just place markers,” Saturday went on. “Don’t tell them I said that.”

“It’s really sad. I wouldn’t want to be either of the T’s,” Sunday said, head shaking at the thought.

“But you, dear,” said Saturday, mojito in hand. “You’re Wednesday. Right in the middle. You fill the world with hope for something better coming, like the worst is behind them.”

Sunday patted Wednesday’s shoulder, nodding sagely in agreement.

“I suppose,” said Wednesday, finishing a Mai Tai. “Well, I guess that’s settled, then. No more vacations for me.”

“Or any of us. Not for a long, long time, I reckon,” Sunday agreed.

And as quickly as the ruckus over the loss of Wednesday had started, it was over. Thursday took its place in line and come the following week, Wednesday walked in, please and content.

For now.

5 Things, Five Favorites

Five Favorites: January

With 2014 starting up, I thought I’d try something new. Every month, I’ll touch on five awesome things from the previous month. Ready? Let’s go.

Wow. Such agenda. Very organize.

1. Starting a schedule. For Christmas, my sister gave me Vera Bradley 2014 agenda book. It’s gorgeous — vibrant colors, plenty of space, stickers. Since the start of the year, I have been using it not only to keep track of my busy work, but also to track my accomplishments. Given the ups and downs of my mood, this has been very helpful in keeping me motivated through January.

Made from real paraphernalia at the park

2. Finishing my physical scrapbook and online photo album from my cross-country trip during the summer of 2013. The project had been making its way from To Do List to To Do List for nearly six months, and finally having it all done and accessible was a joyful feeling.

<hums "Tangerine" by Led Zeppelin>

3. Getting my new Glass. It’s tangerine. Despite how sad it was to send back the one I went all the way to New York to get in July, I can’t complain about the new features and fit. I’m looking forward to creating some new videos with it.

It was as epic as it looks.

4. Going out with the husband to see this little flick in the historic Hollywood Theater in Dormont, a neighborhood south of Pittsburgh. It is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time. It was Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods and every Youtube video you’ve ever seen about LARP. I loved it.

Squeak squeak!

5. Celebrating the One Year Anniversary of owning my two mice, Sylvia and Virginia. They are awesome little girls, and they brighten my life every day. Yay.

What did you do during the month of January?