An Average Wednesday Night

Sometimes writing is a huge leap of faith. Like tonight. I committed myself to blogging every week, and tonight, I haven’t a clue what to write about. But no matter, I have to open a blank page and see what comes out.

This is what the title of my blog refers to: when words just kind of come flying out and I take a step back to see if they make any sense, to see if there are any hidden patterns.

I got a test back yesterday that I did really well on. Like, really well. Almost aced it (thank you, gratuitous extra credit.) And I had a test today that I kind of didn’t study for and part of me was riding my emotional high from the test I’d gotten back and I convinced myself that I was invincible. That tests would never again be a problem for me. Just like in the story books, today’s test rolled around and was easy as pie. Seriously. Reinforcing my procrastination and infallibility are we, fates? Cool.

One of the strongest thoughts that I had today was that if the Minion movie doesn’t live up to the wildly high expectations I have of it, my life is going to be really hard for a few days.

A guy from IWU died in a terrible accident over the weekend, and the past few days have been pretty somber and quiet. It’s such a small school that everyone at least had “heard of” him, and many people had actually known the guy. I’d had class with him last semester and for our class final, we had to act out a script that someone else had written. He and I were the two leads of one of the skits and we won the extra credit prize for best performance. It’s such a weird and random connection.

There’s a lot of pain right now. Not in my life, but in the people around me. It’s hard to watch.

And then in other people’s lives, there have been new nieces and nephews and grand-kids and it’s so hard to understand. Sometimes, I don’t know if I believe that “all things work together for the good….” I don’t think God is watching us, going “Yup, you did that right, you love me. Okay, I’m going to make this all better for you.”

Maybe that’s a little contrived.

I think it’s more like its us living by the spiritual and natural laws that He created for us, that He imbued with Himself. I know it kind of sounds like simply following a formula, but I see beauty in that way of thinking. It seems more timeless and constant, not as arbitrary. It’s something I’m still deeply considering.

This short film is super cool, to me. I think it embodies the Spirit of the Game, something that people who don’t play or watch Ultimate don’t often pick up on. It’s not just a game; it’s about taking ownership of something important to you.

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – Nick (Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald)

Advertisements

Indistinct

I think I’ve gotten less than 8 hours of sleep in the past two days combined. Hoorah.

This semester is going to be so intense. My senior research project (“What’s Your Power Hour?” a study on the effects of time of day on exercise performance) started last week and I’m just going to go ahead and whine about how early I get up. I know, 7:30 isn’t terrible twice a week. It’s the staying up until 1:30 the night before for Ultimate practice that does it. I’m really excited, though, to see what we find out. This week wraps up the first round of tests, and we move on to our next set on Monday. It’s taught me a lot about being flexible, working with other people who aren’t as invested in something as I am, and how to write a semi-professional email REALLY fast.

Also, last week, I started my internship! I’m with the Training Center this semester, an after school program for some Marion kids, kindergarten through 7th grade, I think. I’m mostly with the 3-4th grade girls. I go in twice a week and there’s a chunk of recreation time that, as I get more used to the whole program, I’ll be leading. It’s so great to be around kids again. They’re so funny, and I forgot how quickly little kids form relationships. I’m thankful for that. The other volunteers there are really cool. One of them, Kinsey, who I’ve been informally shadowing, is such a great teacher. I start tripping over my words and concepts and she steps in with an awesome example and hands-on activity.

Ultimate finally kicks off this weekend for real with our first tournament, in Alabama, T-Town Throwdown. We’ll finally have our whole (almost…) team and our new coach, Joey, is coming with us too. I’m excited to see how our team develops and grows through this. Also, apparently we’re making dinner for ourselves. So that will be an adventure.

I’m exhausted. So here are some other people’s words that I really like.

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

“‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden

“We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”
—Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead

“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

And my personal, forever favorite

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

If you have a second, check this out. Andy is a good friend and teammate of mine, and he has meant so much to me over the past year and a half. He has so much passion and drive, and a story that gets at my heart. He’s a guy that I’m proud to know and call a friend.

Catch you on the flip side!

Fiction from a prompt Part 2

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/trio-4/

Write something (anything) involving a speeding car, a phone call, and a bright, crisp morning.

To continue…

She sat there in the dark, listening to the siren. The flashing blue and red lights of the cop car blinded her for a second and she froze, hoping that the metamaterial invisibility programming that Michael had installed on her car would not give out. She glanced down at the dashboard: the power bar was dangerously low. Slowly, the headlights of the cop car wound around the end of her row of storage buildings, then rolled past. Andrea breathed a sigh of relief.

A few minutes later, she carefully rolled back out onto the road, flipping the red switch back off. Out from under the shadow of the storage buildings, the light hurt her eyes. But, pushing the pedal down as far as she dared, she sped along the road.

“Where have you been?” Michael jogged alongside the car as she pulled it into the garage. “You should have been here ten minutes ago.” He glared down at her. “Did you stop?”

Andrea turned the car off and jumped out through the window. “I might have almost gotten pulled over.”

“That explains the power surge on the display.” He shut the door behind them and pushed her along. “Invisibility program work okay?”

“Yeah. It sucks up a lot of juice.” She handed Michael the metal piece. “I’ll warm the machine up.”

Michael studied the metal rod, holding it against a computer screen. “Right specs. Let’s duplicate it.” He ran the rod under a scanner. A deep thrumming slowly grew in the background. “Got it, Andrea?”

“Yep.” She stuck her head around the door. “It’s at about 80 percent.”

“Good.” Michael picked up the metal rod and handed it to her. “You keep this one.” He reached down under the computer and pulled out another metal rod, the exact duplicate of the one he’d just given Andrea. “Next time, follow the speed limit. You know that cop will be waiting there. It’s not worth it. Ten minutes can mean the world.”

Andrea followed him to the chamber in the next room and checked a panel. “It’s ready. Good luck.”

“Set it for 24 hours ago.” Michael wound a scarf around his face. “See you soon.”

Andrea closed the door. “Yeah. I’ll actually look for you this time.”

-FIN-

#noedits

Fiction from a prompt Part 1

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/trio-4/

Write something (anything) involving a speeding car, a phone call, and a bright, crisp morning.

All right, blogosphere. I see you.

Andrea tapped her fingers nervously against the textured metal of her seat. She stared out the window, watching a 747 take off into the piercingly blue sky. “Come on, come on, come on.”

“S’cue me, miss?” A little girl tapped her knee. “That man told me to give you this.” She handed Andrea a slim piece of metal, about 4 inches long,with knobs on both ends. “He said its for you.”

“Where is he, honey?” Andrea stood up.

“Over there. He’s got a funny scarf… Oh he’s gone. Can I have a candy?”

“Sure, honey.” Andrea pulled a sucker out of her purse. “Thank you, dear.” She hurried out of the airport and into her car.”Michael, I got it.” She pulled the metal rod out of her pocket. “What is it?”

“Just get here. Don’t stop.” He hung up.

Andrea sighed and squealed out of the parking lot.The blue sky and orange leaves flicked by as the car’s motor purred along. The radio hummed out mellow country songs and Andrea sang along. The sharp whine of a cop siren behind her jolted her out of the autumn calm. She eased off the gas pedal, but Michael’s warning rang in her head. “Don’t stop.” Changing her mind, Andrea stomped on the gas pedal and the car coughed.

“Come on, baby. Come on.” Andrea leaned into the steering wheel, her right hand hovering over a red switch. She looked into her mirror. The grey muscle car seemed to be gaining. “All right.” Stomping on the brake she whipped into a right hand turn, and then another. She threw the car into park on the backside of a row of storage buildings, and hit the red switch. “Sorry, Michael.”

She sat there in the dark, listening to the siren. The flashing blue and red lights of the cop car blinded her for a second and she froze, hoping….

To be continued next week…

Yay serials!

Author in search of a title

Is this real life, or is it just fanta-sea?

We’ve moved on to our fiction segment in my creative writing class. This was our first project, a flash-fiction story (around 750 words.) The requirement for our project was that we would, in small groups, come up with three laws which our worlds would live by, and then include those somehow in the story. Mine doesn’t have a title… Still working on it.

Tanner was 11 when his sister Naomi turned 13. His parents, Emile and Yan, spent hours in their room, the week before. Naomi wandered around the house, touching the chairs, the table, the dishes on their shelves. When they all sat around the table at dinner, everyone would  pretend that things were normal, but Tanner knew that Emile was struggling to hold back tears. She never cried, no matter how close she got. Naomi’s birthday, a Friday, was as bright as any autumn day. Quietly the family gathered in the kitchen.

“Happy birthday, Naomi.” Yan awkwardly put his arm around his daughter.”This is an important year.”

Naomi nodded, pale faced.

“We love you, Naomi.” Plates of steaming food in hand, Emile bent over to kiss her on the head.

“Just tell us.” Naomi pushed her plate away. “I won’t be able to eat anything.”

Yan folded his arms and sat down. Emile stood behind him, gently rubbing his shoulders. He glanced up at her and she nodded, barely. “We love you both very much. You know that.”

Naomi whimpered.

Their father spread his hands.  “Tanner, we… we’ll miss you. I’m sorry.” His face set. “I’m sorry, son. Emile will prepare a bag for you.”

Naomi burst into tears and ran from the room. Tanner stared at his father.

A few hours later, Tanner stood outside the door of their home. The trees of the surrounding forest towered over him. His family gathered around the doorway, stone-faced. His mother stepped forward. “Here, Tanner. This is yours.” Her face crumbled.

Tanner’s father stiffened. “Please, Emile.” He nudged his wife back into the house, out of site. “Goodbye, son.” They shook hands.

Naomi threw her arms around her brother. “I’m sorry. Please be careful. Good… good luck.”

Tanner looked around at his family. “See you.”

“Tanner, wait.” His mother reached out past her husband towards her son.

“No, Emile. Go in the house. He doesn’t need your tears. Tanner…”

“Goodbye.” Tanner slung the bag over his shoulder, walking into the forest. The trees that grew in the woods around their house (his old house) were leafless most of the way up the trunk,  but covered in the leaves at the top. Tanner thought about trying to climb up one and rest at night.  He noticed the leaves fluttering down like a yellow rain. He shifted his bag to the other shoulder and picked up a stick.

As he walked, he cut out a path for himself with his stick. “Going somewhere. Going… somewhere.” He rubbed the back of his neck. Lately it ached and burned. Yan had told him it was part of his body changing. “The village. Two hours walk? Maybe I can stay the night there.” He stopped. “Where am I going?”

He walked further, staring at the sky. As he drew closer to the village, houses began to wink their lights on. Finally, he overcame his pride and went up to one of the houses.

“Hello!” The door creaked open. “Hello, ma’am. I was wondering if maybe you have a place for me to stay tonight?”

The grey-haired woman eyed him.

“It’s my sister’s thirteenth birthday.”

She opened the door. “Come in, son.”

“Thank you. My name’s Tanner.” He pressed against the back of his neck.  “I have food. I just need a place to sleep for the night.”

“Where are you going, young man?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t have a plan.”

The woman steered him towards a seat at the table. “Have you received your gift?”

“No. No one in my family has a gift. I don’t think I will.”

The woman set a plate down in front of Tanner. “Nothing is certain. Now, eat. You may sleep in front of the fire tonight.” She sighed. “I lost my son when he turned thirteen.”

Tanner nodded.

“My husband died ten years ago and now I have no one. I make do.” She opened the door. “Come and we will get firewood.”

The next day, after wishing the old lady well, Tanner headed into the village, with no clearer idea of where he was going.  Stick in hand, he wandered down the streets, looking in windows and store fronts.

“Hey, boy.” A tall, blowsy girl jerked her hand at him. Her red hair swirled around her head. “What are you doing here? You gonna break something?” She looked at his stick, interested.

“No, sorry.” Tanner stared up at the girl. “I’m just… passing through.”

“Sure. I’ve seen you. I been following you. You’re wandering this town. Looking for trouble. I like trouble.” She grinned down at him, teeth shockingly white.

“Well…” Tanner thought a moment. “Yeah, I guess I was looking for trouble.” He stuck his chest out. “But not here. Somewhere else.” He rolled his eyes. “This place is small beans.”

“Where were you gonna go?” Her ragged eyebrows shot up.

“Out of the village.” Tanner switched his bag again and pressed his cool hand to the back of his neck. “Wanna come?”

“Whats your name?”

Tanner propped his hands on his hips and stared up at the girl. “Tor. You gonna come?”

“Yeah, Tor. I’ll come.”

-FIN-

238

I almost panicked the other day. We got our poetry portfolios back in my creative writing class, and our grades with them.  The first page of our portfolio was a prose paragraph, explaining what grade we think is fair and why. I got a 90 out of 100, which is what I asked for, but I was really looking forward to the criticism and advice she gave on each page.

Because I’m lazy (also because I’m swamped) I decided to post a few of those poems for your enjoyment.

Most of these are from prompts. Like this one. We were supposed to look at our desk and free write about our desk, then turn that into a poem. So here.

Survival Mode

The          uneven                  topography         of my desk

makes it hard for me to find

my pen. I’ve searched, I would guess,

through m  i  l  e s   of statues and stamps, and

around acres of homework I’ve revised.

*****

This one my professor really liked, and I really liked, which basically never happens.

Poise

We descend

from dark morning

to grey twilight.

The pale clouds quicken around the sky

like hands on a clock.

Grey fog beats its

bass notes, throbbing as it

seethes.

To live, then,

on this dim globe,

is to seek green trees

when all around

the white winter storms.

*****

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Flannery O’Connor