Monday, February 28, 2011

Pulling at a Memory

A few weeks ago, a co-worker and I started doing a staff seminar with our interns.
She and I chose to focus on storytelling and writing and talking about how to do these things well.
Part of that, we believe, has a lot to do with just meeting the blank page.
So, last week, we met with the blank page and a tiny prompt.
This is what happened on my page:

You were at the ice cream shop.
I was on the beach.
Lamenting the uncertainty in my bones
when it came to you.
She was on the phone, listening to my doubts.

You were at the ice cream shop.
I was on the beach.
Tear tracks.
Swollen eyes against the wind.
She kept listening as I talked in circles.
About you.
And your

You were at the ice cream shop.
I was on the beach.
Hoping for an ending to this night
that didn’t end with tears.
She told me about believing
in me
and you.

You were at the ice cream shop.
I was on the beach.
Your cocky walk down to the edge of the water,
the edge of what I wanted.
She listened to the excitement

You were on the beach.
In front of me.
Seeing a moment you wanted to seal,
binding us to this patch of sand.
A smile in her voice, she

You were on the beach,
walking ahead with him.
Believing what you took
was yours to take.
She kept listening,
for the breaking.

Thanks for reading.
You all are very awesome. :)

Remember to take care of you.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Metaphor Turning in my Head

This week, I've thought a lot about the ways we close people out and the ways we desperately want to let people in.
The result:

If my whole self were a patch of woods, there would be a well, hidden deep inside them.
My whole self couldn’t be a garden—a garden is too pretty, too fragrant, too obvious.
No, I would have to be the patch of woods.
With its invisible spider webs to trip you up
and its snaking roots to make you stumble
and its eerie silence to conceal my secrets.

But that’s not the point.
No, the point is the well.

It hides my most vulnerable parts deep, deep down in the earth.
Though I could whisper in the wind that you should take a look,
I wouldn’t because I need you to prove you’re worth the whisper first.
See, if you don’t even stop to have a look at the well,
I already know.
If you stop to look but you get angry because there isn’t a pail close by,
I already know.
But if you stop to look with your brow quirked like a challenge,
I might take a chance.
And if you toss a coin to see how far it goes down,
I would know that you’re not afraid of a little investment.
If you go in search of a pail and actually come back to see what you can find,
I’d know that you’re worth the risk of letting you pull up what is hidden deep down in the dark.
Yes, I would know that you might be safe.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Promise to Myself

One of the hardest parts
being a writer
is one I'm learning.
There are so many people
who have said so many good things
and arranged their words so well,
that I feel like I need to eat up all of their words and arrangements
to be the best kind of writer I can be.

Problems exist in this plan.
I end up
never feeling
like I will be able to read all that is on my list
of good writing and beautiful arrangement.
But in the midst of trying,
I tend to not actually write.
Ms. Britt told me
a writer is someone who writes.
If I don't actually write,
that makes me not much of a writer then.
It needs to be different, see,
because I have so much to say--
so much that sometimes
the thoughts
tumble over each other
and I can't get them out fast enough.
At night,
it's like my ears
are fighting for the pillow
while I toss and turn,
arranging and rearranging sentences
in my head
that are buried again
by morning.

It will be different.
It must be different.

But I have to make it so.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thoughts on a Tuesday

Things from today:

1. When you go to the gym in January, there are SO MANY people.
All those resolutions being met with earnest enthusiasm.
Something interesting: there were SO MANY pretty people at the gym tonight.
Like, I've been to the gym plenty of times in the last year (I mean, not so much regularly, but you know what I mean), and I have never seen that many pretty people.
While I was listening to The Naked and the Famous, I wondered if most of those people thought they weren't pretty at all and that's why they were at the gym--to make themselves their version of pretty.
Friends, that is a kind of sad thought.
I mean, those people are already so beautiful.
That goofy but beautifully smiley guy who worked out beside me.
The young woman with the most elegant pear shaped body I've ever seen on the stair stepper.
The thick woman running her heart out on the treadmill trying not to slap herself with her own breasts.
The clean cut guy with matching sneakers and work-out attire.
The older woman with her precise eyeliner on the bike who totally just came from work.
So beautiful.
All of them.
For 2011, I hope they all believe it.

2. I missed work during break.
I don't really know what this means about myself.

3. One year ago, I started my full time position with TWLOHA.
I had a one year celebration in September because that's when I arrived for my internship.
But my full time one year is today.
I did not believe that I would make it to this point, much less be planning to stay for a while longer.
I have proven my strength to myself time and time again this past year, and today reminds me of that.
My body can almost not even contain the cheer I feel about it. :)

Things from 2010:

1. I definitely read 75 fucking books. :D
That is the first legit New Year's Resolution I've set out to truly achieve.
It feels really great to have done it.
For 2011, I hope to do it again.
And maybe even share some of my reading adventures here with you.

2. I learned a lot about what it means to hear people, the things they say and the things they don't.
I thought I was good at being present and invested and caring.
I'm much better now because 2010 happened.

3. You should give people chances.
Even when they seem like cocky and snooty bitches.
Even when trouble seems to follow them.
Even when they drive you fucking nuts.
Because they are living a story just like you are living a story.
Both deserve to be heard and shared and appreciated.

Things I want for 2011:

1. Diversify my reading.
I want more classics and biographies in my palette.

2. To write more.
I know--that sounds like a broken record here, right?
I'm going to try very hard to mean it a lot more than the other times.

3. Eat out less.
I spend
way too much
fucking money
on eating out.
So, I'm making a plan to cut that out.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Things for you:

1. "They shared the weight of memory. They took up what others could no longer bear. Often, they carried each other, the wounded or weak."
"They carried the land itself--Vietnam, the place, the soil--a powdery orange-red dust that covered their boots and fatigues and faces. They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity."
Both of these quotes are from Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried."
This story moved and shaped me as a writer and a human.
I hope you will google it and read it and feel connected to these men who are imagined and yet so real and like the actual ones who fought in an awful war.

2. Number 1 was heavy, so for Number 2, please just watch Marcel the Shell on YouTube.
It is truly awesome and makes you laugh the more times you watch it.
Also, it is particularly wonderful to quote Marcel the Shell at random points throughout the day when you need to smile.

3. Thank you for reading, for caring about what I have to say, for coming back to look at this sorry excuse for a blog.
You are good people.
I hope your 2011 has gotten off to a great start.
If it hasn't, please eat a tiny piece of chocolate and refer back to Number 2.
It won't make the year entirely better, but it might make your mouth happy. :)

You are loved and appreciated.
Please never forget that.