This space has lay dormant for so long. Like a season of fallow. I an missing writing and the soil is fertile again. There is so much of my life that I can’t write about anymore and it is chipping away at my ability to be honest. When you are constantly hiding and afraid of revealing yourself you become adept at avoiding telling your stoy. I am so tired of not telling my story. My life is beautiful, and sad, and wonderful, and intricate and so difficult to talk about. The last two years have been some of the hardest of my life. I miss writing as practice.

 

#222 Why you write

I write to distill my life. To make sense of all the things happening around me. Having not written in so long I feel terrified to start again. Still writing is the one thing that feels familiar no matter how long it’s been. I can’t wait to tell my stories again. I miss writing as catharsis.

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This is take two of #221 because I accidentally wrote on one of the prompts that I had already done before on October 28th, 2012. I am tempted to go back and reread it to see what the difference in style and content are, and probably will post writing on this prompt. It is incredibly hot in Seattle today and I don’t do well in the heat. My children are playing, and each time they talk it is sort of a high pitched whiny voice biologically intended to make me scream. I am maintaining a thin veneer of calm while they play. I understand that they are also human and susceptible to the heat. The voice in my head is likely a slow whiny “why is it soooo hot out” and so I am sympathetic instead of angry. I am writing to maintain my sanity. Writing focuses me. Playing focuses them. Together we will get through this day and hopefully without all the yelling.

 

Write a scene in which a woman is fire after only a week on the job. Just a week earlier, the same person who is now firing her was very persuasive in convincing her to take the job.

(Two women are sitting in an office. There is a large fish tank in the back of the room with a bunch of hungry pirahnas swimming angrily about. A tall blonde woman, Kristine, is sitting behind the desk, her glasses pushed forward on her nose, looking at a stack of papers. Another small woman, Amanda, with dark short hair, wearing a red star trek shirt and jeans, is sitting on the other side of the desk her hands folled in her lap.)

Kristine:  There is no easy way to say this, Amanda. None at all. I really like you, I do.

Amanda: This sounds ominous.

Kristine: We here at Big Bad Books like commitment. We do.

Amanda: I know. That is why I applied here. I am all about commitment. I was so excited by your ad, and our interview last week was incredible, unbelievable…it bordered on magical.

Kristine: Well that’s the thing, Amanda. I have all the paperwork you completed in the last week here in front of me…

Amanda:—is there something wrong? I was absolutely diligent in filling it out according to company policy.

Kristine: That might be where we disagree. The instructions were very clear. Each page was to be filled out in your own blood…it looks like, Amanda, that you’ve used…(shaking her head)…red pen.

Amanda: I didn’t think you were serious about that! I thought that was a joke. Like “our life’s blood goes into our work here at Big Bad Books” was a slogan, not an actual direction!

Kristine: I am afraid that when I said that last week and you heartily agreed…well that you made a verbal contract. We own your soul now, but sadly, you are still being let go.

Amanda:

Kristine: No one every listens to me! I stated very clearly that once you joined the company your soul would be ours.

Amanda: I also thought that was a joke…

Kristine: (takes out a pin and pokes her own finger and begins to write on a slip of pink paper) Here is your notice of termination. As in, please go down to the basement to have your life ended by our local death expert.

Amanda: Ghh. I am never answering a Craig’s List ad for “meaningful employment” again.

Kristine: At least you’re right about that…

Hi. It has been awhile. A long while. I started this blog on near my 33rd birthday in 2012, and yesterday I hit 35. The orginal purpose of this blog was to engage in daily writing in order to finsih this prompt book ‘642 Things to Write’ in 642 days. I have until December this year to complete this mission. I realized this week how much I miss daily writing practice, and that even though now I do comedy, and I am writing comedic bits for that I don’t have a chance to write the things that aren’t funny. I want to be a writer. It feels like starting over. My wrting muscles had just developed to the point where I finally enjoyed reading my own writing when I quit. Now it feels like starting over. It is terrifying and exhilirating all at once. Right now I am sitting in a small house in Honoloulu, about to go for breakfast with people whom I have just met, but who feel like friends I have know for centuries. I am going to spend the next four days exploring, and relaxing and doing stand up comedy, and finding my way to writing again.

 

So I am going to start with something simple.

Tell a complete stranger about a beloved family tradition

I think one of the things that I love about having a family of my own is inventing new traditions. I hated birthday when I was a child. There was too much pressure to enjoy myself. I would be surrounded by tons of other children who I felt like I had to please on the one day of the year that was mine and only mine. So when my daughter was born I decided that instead of extravagant birthday parties we would do something together. Something that she really wanted to do, just her and I and her father. Being an older sibling can suck. You very rarely get time to yourself and you are expected to “know better” all of the time. I know. I am an eldest child. So when she was three she asked for her 5th birthday if she could go up the Space Needle, to the EMP and the Chichuly Museum. We left her brother with a friend of mine for two hours and she had a dedicated two hours with both her parents where she was the boss. I like that idea of a birthday being yours. Some day she might ask for a “real” birthday party, and that is her choice, but for now, I think it is nice for her to not have to please anyone but herself on a day that should be just about her.

How is it September already? I have been in Bellevue for one full year and thought that today would be the day I moved back into Seattle. Place is very important. I have spent the last year not making friends here, because I didn’t want to put down roots in a place with a mall full of stay at home moms with zombie eyes. With neighbours who look at me funny when I say I am walking to the park instead of driving. With people who drive their dogs to the park so they can take them for a walk. I know that there are an incredible amount of cool people suffering in silence, just like me, but I can’t do suburbia. I have ONE good friend here. Thank Carlin for Jazz Singing Jennifer. It is important to have a day time friend to whom you can pour out your heart and vice versa, where there are no secrets and no pretense. I consider myself lucky to have found her. I know this crushing loneliness is for the most due to my wanting to be separate, and not integrate into the Bellevue community. It still feels a little like cheating on Almonte, my heart home. Last night though, I started looking at places in Seattle, online. I found a few that seemed great. I got responses. Today I looked at three very different homes. A dream place up in the quiet part of Capitol Hill, tucked away near Volunteer Park, with a locally owned cafe on the same block. I fell in love. I wanted to camp out there until they gave it to us. I am terrified they won’t. If we moved there I would have to budget like crazy, but I wouldn’t have to drive, ever. Everything is in walking distance for me. It is what I thought I was moving to when I agreed to move to Seattle. In the middle of everything. I want to send my roots down into a Seattle neighbourhood that makes me feel at home. Having two kids and a dog might make this dream impossible. Like I am oft found saying, one child in Capitol Hill is a hipster accessory, and two children makes you a crazy person. Still I want to raise city babies. Children who see a variety of lifestyles and who are accepting of difference. Kids who are comfortable with a comedian for a mom, and a programmer for a father. I want to be able to write in cafes when the kids are in school, and walk to a comedy show at night. This past year made a kind of sense. It was close to TSM’s work. This next year will be about being close to mine. There is a fairness. Then we can make a real decision for next September and set down real roots.

Name the trees that stood in the neighbourhood where you grew up.

I think the  plum tree in my front yard would have been called Walter. He was sloppy, and his plums not terribly edible, but he grew them with pizazz and threw them all over the ground every summer to remind us that he was there, and had dreams of jam. Our sour cherry tree in the back would have been called Celeste. She raised her branches to the sky, and though I never ate one of her cherries, because she never bore them, it didn’t stop me wishing I would be there the day she finally fruited. There were two twin Oak trees, I think, that dwarfed our house. At least that is how I remember them. I was smaller then. I would give them grand names. Like Alexander (I named everything Alexander back then) and Alexandra. Strong names. Defenders of human kind. I am sure trees have their own secret names. Like cats and dandelions. Still I love to anthropomorphize.

I am having good day after good day, and when things start to get really good I am always watching for the inevitable falling back to base level. Or further. I am starting to make friends here, in the suburbs on purpose. If we aren’t going to move into Seattle I need to do something with my days that isn’t achingly lonely making. Being loved by, and entertaining two small humans can get incredibly insular when the rain drives all the other parents indoors with their children. I love the rain. I am now looking for others who aren’t afraid to melt like sugar, who will carry a towel under their stroller to wipe down play structures, and like to breathe the Pacific Northwest air as the mist is setting down a fine covering on our skin. I think I found one yesterday. She is a single mom, with one visible tattoo, from Arizona. I have a thing for tattooed parents. Something to tell me they refused the shouts from the authority figures who told them what to do. Even if it is faded and they have grown, I know that somewhere in there is still a creative person who thought putting art on themselves permanently was a good idea. I don’t have any tattoos. Or piercings. But I love them. All of them. Even the bad ones. The ones garnered from adventures into open windows at night. The ones derrived from drunken endeavours. The ones gotten in Portland to commemorate a trip and to have a reminder of a joke. I do believe that some day I will get one. Even if it is when I am 80 and my skin is weathered. So my new friend has a tattoo. She is also open to hanging out weekly. Right now my husband and children are out on a hardware store quest for lightbulbs to give me some time to myself to write, in daylight. It is glorious. So write I will. On five more prompts. My heart is a little aching for the people I desperately miss, so please be generous if the tone is overly melacholic tinged with a brightness that comes with the imminent return of someone you care about.

You have just swallowed your pride and done something you didn’t want to do. Your friend wants to know why. The two of yyou are driving around in an almost-full parking garage looking for a pscae for the friend’s oversize pickup. Write the scene.

Setting: Mall parking garage. High ceilings and tight spots. A pick up truck is driving around and around. Two voices in voice over from the truck.

Male voice: You apologized? Really?

Female voice: I apologize always. You’re surprised?

Male voice: But you weren’t wrong.

Female voice: I have accepted that I could have been wrong. There is so very little that is absolute.

Male voice: I hate vague statements.

Female voice: I’m sorry.

Male voice: Stop it. Stop apologizing.

Female voice: Not ever. Somethings are non-negotioable.

(I hated this prompt. Sorry)

Write a scene where the only spoken dialogue is ‘Uh-huh”, “Umm”, “Urrrr”, and “Mm-mmm”.

 

Shelly is having a bad day. She just realized she forgot her parent’s anniversary. Their fourtieth. It feels big but she goes to her job at the coffee shop anyway. She can barely speak without crying. It has been a long day. An arduous fucking day. When Kevin comes in on his cellphone and decides not to get off it while he indicates with only hand movements that he would like his “regular”, Shelly can barely contain her sadness. She had always liked Kevin. She had imagined spending fourty years with him, but now she is ready to leave him and move on. What sort of boyfriend talks on his cell while ordering a coffee from his girlfriend. This guy. Kevin responds to the person on the other end of the phone, “Uh-huh”, while waving towards the biscotti and putting up one finger. Shelly doesn’t move. Kevin takes the phone away from his ear for a second, “Umm”, and then is drawn back into the conversation, he motions towards the biscotti again, “Urrr”, he stumbles. Shelly walks away from the cash register, She says, “Mm-mmm.” to herself, removes her apron and walk around the counter and opens the door. Sometimes it only takes one last thing to realize you deserve more.

I am trying to do five prompts tonight. I am nearly falling asleep in the keys. Only the guilt of having forgotten my parent’s wedding anniverary is keeping me up now. I am going to go for micro-fiction on this one. Fifty words, maybe?

 

The Long-Lost Roommate

Cliff was walking out of the coffee shop when he notice a rather large dude sitting on the bench out front. He had a number of visible tattoos. His face was covered. Only Clark, his ex roommate, would have gotten a face tattoo of a giant carrot across each cheek.