Thursday, 18 April 2013

Non-Fiction Friday - An inspirational speech in under 50 words

Inspiration - An Autobiography

Wear caution like a coat on a cold windy day. But you'd better toss that son of a bitch at the first sign of spring. Put truth in a bikini. It will set you free.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Flash Fiction Friday - "It's not unusual"

Black Jacket

“Oh no, it’s not unusual for men to have a hard time finding a suit that fits. Everyone always talks about the media pressuring us women to look a certain way, but just because you guys can wear a hairstyle for a good year longer than we can before it goes out of style, well, that doesn’t mean we can cookie cut you. So, is this the last one you had picked out to try on? Yes, it’s my favorite too. It’s handmade so the price is a little more, but it really makes all the difference. Most of our customers have shopped the big stores first, but you just can’t find suits like this one... We're the first place you came? Wow. Ok, turn - the shoulders on this one may need to be taken in a little, but there won't be any trouble having that ready by Thursday. The last thing you need is another detail to keep track of. Raise your arms a little. Just let me check that measurement again. Alright, yes this is the closest we have for you. We’ll have to hem the pants and take in the shoulders, as I mentioned. Since this is one of our higher end suits, and considering the circumstances, the tailoring will be on us... Don't apologize. Here, let me grab a tissue for you. I know this must be hard, spending so much money on something like this, and you probably won’t ever be able to wear it again. If I were you I’d never be able to even look at the thing without crying, but, there’s nothing wrong with putting on a nice coat to hold your insides together. Besides, I’m sure she would have wanted you to look wonderful.”

Non-Fiction Friday - "Acting like a kid"

"[Children] always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."
-G.K. Chesterton

Recently I’ve hit a rough patch in my parenting experience. My kids tag team me with their needy-ness, and I found a lot of excitement in being stressed out about things. If I play with them I don’t get sh*t done. If I don’t play with them and obsessively attack my to-do list as if it were a French monarchy, each cross-off adding a sense of purpose and stability to my life, the kids are a train wreck. My first reaction was an immediate turn to Netflix, but that was only a temporary solution (because, let’s face it, I’m a better Mom than that... and its not working anymore). At this point I’m actually getting stressed (not the fun, exciting kind) and sporadically hiding in bed hoping to wish my kids away, with all their mess and crying and defiance. They just make me so damn insecure sometimes. I didn’t know something so much smaller than me could make me feel SO out of control. Aaaaaannnd that’s when I got back on track. Out of control. The lists made me feel in control. In a weird backwards way, the stress made me feel in control. But not those little kids. Those little kids want one thing from me - They want to take me away from my tasks and productivity and force me to ignore the passing minutes and focus on the present moment. I once asked a friend of mine who is the mother of three VERY spunky kids how she could deal with all the interaction that they need and still do anything for herself and here’s what she said: “Just pretend you are two, and then do everything you would have loved to do. It really becomes a lot of fun for me when I think that way, and they become my tiny little friends instead of the tiny people who won't let me pee alone.” Along with being scavengers of my solitary time, my kids keep my busyness in check. They make me play outside and pretend I’m a T-rex and dance and read silly books and waste so much time in such a worthwhile and exhausting way. And tomorrow I’ll do it again.

Flash Fiction Friday - "Caterpillar"

A Bedtime Story

Clive woke up on a green leafy bed. He was a brand new caterpillar - just a little baby. But even though he was a baby, when he looked around he couldn’t see anyone. No mom or dad, or anyone, and he was just starting to feel sad when he heard a little voice in his head. It said “that is a tasty leaf you’re on. Why don’t you give it a try?” so he did. First he licked it, then he took a teeny bite, then he took big bite, and another bite, and another until he had eaten the whole thing. Clive got a little bit bigger from eating that whole leaf, but his stomach wasn’t full yet! Now what would he do? But just then the little voice talked again “See that leaf just above your head? That one’s tasty too.” So Clive climbed up the stalk and ate that leaf and grew bigger, then he ate another and grew, and another and grew until he had eaten the ENTIRE bush! Clive was MUCH bigger now and his stomach still wasn’t full! Even after eating a whole bush! What would he do now? The voice said “See that bush across the yard? It’s tasty too.” So Clive walked his chubby body with his dozens of legs ALL the way to the other bush and ate every leaf on it too! This time he didn’t worry because he knew the voice would tell him what to do next. You see, baby caterpillars don’t ever get to see their mom or dad. They don’t have anyone to tell them what to do or how to live, but it’s okay! Because God knows they don’t have any help so HE helps them. He tells them what’s good to eat and how to walk and where to go so they don’t die. So God kept telling Clive what bushes to eat until FINALLY Clive’s stomach got full. By now he was a GIANT caterpillar from eating all those leafs! After all that work of eating and walking to new eating places he felt pretty drowsy. On top of it, his stomach was full for the first time in his whole life! (and you know how relaxing it is to have a full stomach.) Clive had only ever eaten. He didn’t know what to do when he was sleepy, but God whispered “see that branch over there? Way up that tree? That will be a really comfy bed.” Clive always followed God’s voice since it had taken such good care of him, so he climbed up in the tree and laid down on the branch. After a while he got cold, but it was okay because God wrapped him up tight in a super warm blanket and Clive slept and slept and slept. Finally, he woke up. But the blanket was wrapped SO tight he couldn’t get out! He wiggled and wiggled, until finally he got out into the sunshine and... What?! He wasn’t a caterpillar anymore! While he was sleeping God turned him into a butterfly with beautiful wings so he wouldn’t have to crawl on the ground anymore! And he had a new mouth that could eat sweet flowers instead of bitter leaves! And that is how Clive the Caterpillar turned into Clive the Butterfly, even though he didn’t have a mom or dad. The End.

Flash Fiction Friday - "What'll you have?"

He sat in the cramped lobby alone. A window seat with his bag on the seat beside him, reserving the space.

Renee asked if there was anything she could get for him. He stared at her for a moment. She expected him to say something but he didn’t.
“You know, a straight up espresso always gives me a lift on a day like today...” she had watched him trace the trails the rain left on the window.
“No. I’ll just have the honey lemon ginger tea... Um, and a sandwich.”
“Which kin...”
“The one with hard boiled egg.”

It was forty minutes past the lunch hour that the brown haired woman from the bar last weekend had suggested he come by at. Maybe she prefered alcohol centric dates. Maybe she just didn’t prefer him. It would have been awful even if she came. It was rainy instead of sunny and it was hard to talk in the little shop. She would have liked a walk in Prospect park. He was sure. It was even named ‘prospect’, but he stopped himself there. That train of thought was getting too corny.

She watched him rearrange his bag on the floor between his legs. She watched a lot of people. Commute Dave from Newark; Homeless Cathy from the park a few blocks east; Same name Rene, who lived in a town house on 14th. She loved those brick houses down by the park. She grew up on the west coast and there was something so solid about the old buildings here. Maybe, if she could ever get her life started, she’d live in one.


Renee, having taken the time to curl her long hair instead of her usual “keep it out of the cookies” updo and enough makeup to make her feel uneasy, was sitting on a stool at the bar. She was wedged between a drunk 30-something birthday girl and a handsome but too-broad-shouldered-for-this-situation businessman. She had heard this place was popular, but hadn’t considered the implications.

She was the only one sitting alone tonight. The bartender stood in front of her with a question hanging on his face. She hadn’t heard him. He repeated “What’ll you have?”
“Oh. I guess I was, um, hoping something would happen... I mean... I mean maybe I would have to choose a drink... if someone offered to buy one...”
She was trailing off. He was smiling and picked up a small tumbler “Straight up then.”

Non-Fiction Friday - "Being a writer"

My whole life I’ve felt like I had something to say. I’ve felt it steeping in my heart and in my brain. I can feel it on the tip of my tongue. I can almost, just almost, say it sometimes - sometimes finding the words to articulate this... this... thing that I have to say. But it never feels quite right. I’ve always had this theory that the problem is that I’m not old. That as soon as I get old I’ll be able to say that thing. That something will turn on. When I look like my Grandma I’ll be able to tell the story and it will be epic. I’ll open my mouth and wisdom will miraculously and eloquently and simply pour forth like the rock at Horeb; my water will refresh millions. This is how it’s always gone in my imaginations of my future. I’m the old lady with cookies - and advice.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about death. And in the process of attempting to confront, or even admit, one of my greatest fears, I’m learning. I’m learning that people don’t buy anti-aging face cream because they’re vain - they buy it because they’re scared. The lines on their face taking the place of odometer, counting the years they’ve accumulated, roughly estimating the years they have left. I’m only 26 and I can already feel my mortality weighing heavy.

So here I am, waiting until I’m old to say my piece; trying not to grow old. The thing is though, time passes, and as it does I can’t help but observe a change in how I view the world. Slowly but surely I’m seeing what people mean, or rather, what they meant when they told me something years ago. The classic moment when a child becomes a parent and can suddenly see through their parent’s eyes and so many things they had questioned now become clear. The more I experience the world the more I understand. The more humble I am when others share their troubles and the more willing I am to ask for help. And I’m learning why I was waiting for that old lady to show up on my face - it’s because time comes with a consolation prize - the gift of a broad perspective.

I've Moved!

An Explorer's Guide to Staying in:

As an aspiring writer/singer and secret club member, a blog is a nonnegotiable hobby. In the past I've posted my observations, adventures, and stories here. Now that the great scholastic migration is over and things are settling into a more consistent routine I've been updating everything - dinner menus, wardrobe, and this blog. I am posting all the Flash/Non Fiction Friday stories that have happened during the construction. Enjoy.