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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thought Provoking Question One.

I discovered on the Internet a very unique post concerning thought-provoking questions, which was done in a unique way with photographs. http://www.marcandangel.com/2010/03/29/25-beautifully-illustrated-thought-provoking-questions/ did a good job. I would recommend you check it out. As stated, I did not come up with these questions myself, but I'd like to answer a few of them from my perspective.

1. "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you [were]?"

When I look in the mirror, I don't see a barely twenty year old. I feel much older, but not in a bad way, like in the decrepit, run-down sense of old. I feel as if in the past year, I've gained a wealth of knowledge, mainly through the easy way, but no matter how old you are or mature you are, some lessons must be learned the hard way.
Ever since I was a child, I always talked better with older people. Even my parents said I could hold a conversation better with teachers than I could with my own peers, aunts and uncles more than my sparingly few cousins.
I've been called an old soul by a few people along with a "little Benjamin Button", which always makes me smile. It might be weird to say, but if you believe in past lives, which I may or may not, I have not really come to a conclusion, but maybe, just maybe, everyone carries a piece of the wisdom that they gain into their new life. Maybe. Maybe not. I'd like to think it were that way.So yes, I feel older. Sometimes a little, other times decades. But in a multifaceted way, I feel so, so young. I'll never forget sitting out on the patio at school blowing bubbles during finals week last spring; plainly said, I was happy, young at heart. Simple things make me happy, like coffee and bubbles and rain.
What age will always boil down to for me are two simple words Rod Stewart sang..."Forever Young". Or as my grandpa used to say, "Age is only a number, it's more important how you feel."






Monday, December 27, 2010

Colleen Stanton.

Her stomach rumbled as she ungracefully rolled out of bed, placed her feet on the cold floor, and sighed. Another day. Another fucking day. As she groggily made her way to the small, cockroach infested kitchen, she rummaged through cabinet after cabinet, only coming across stale Cheerios. When she shook the box, the crumbs were so nonexistent, they barely rustled in the plastic bag. The refrigerator was bare, its innards completely missing, like a mummy the Egyptians disassembled in preparation for burial. How fitting, that she would parallel her fridge to a corpse; she viewed the house as a tomb, some cavern six feet under the ground from which she could not escape. At times, it were as if the very walls were pressing inward on her, making her fat rolls on her hips and ass squelch under the pressure. She was only sorry it didn’t kill her.

Why she was looking for food was beyond her comprehension; she wasn’t even hungry. She never was, especially in the morning. Ever since she could remember, the thought of even the most appealing breakfast, poached eggs, Canadian bacon, perfectly toasted bread, was enough to make her yak. She placed the nearly empty cereal box back in the cupboard, neglecting to throw it away even though the trashcan was within feet of her. Colleen rubbed her crusted eyes with weathered, worn hands that smelled of turpentine and clay; even though she had soaked her hands for several minutes in the nasty chemical, she could not get the earthy smell out of her hands from molding pots and mugs yesterday. It was as if the clay became her hands, fusing with the very fibers of her sinew and marrow. Colleen smiled at the thought of being a real artist, even though deep down she knew she was nowhere close to being able to label herself with such a title. She barely made enough money to afford her living expenses, but this was how she liked it. The thought of performing a job day in and day out that she despised made her want to throw up just as much as the thought of breakfast.

Making her way to her Keurig coffee maker, she patted the machine’s smooth surface like it was her pet. It looked completely out of place against her filthy countertops that were splashed with food and unknown liquids, but Colleen didn’t mind the mismatched d├ęcor. In fact, she loved it. Best decision of my life, stealing you, she thought as she slid a dirty mug under the coffee-maker, and pressed a button. Colleen stood close by, watching the machine go through its motions, and within a few seconds, her not-so-clean cup was filled with piping hot liquid. Like magic, you are. Fit for a queen. Minus the grime around the rim of her mug, but she could ignore that small tidbit of information. It wasn’t like her lips were a stranger to this glass. For being a bit of a germaphobe, Colleen could ignore such things in her own apartment, but God help James, the only waiter that would serve her anymore, if there were a water spot on her fork at the diner around the corner from her shithole residence. Something about other people’s mouths touching the silverware from which she also ate grossed her out to no end. Colleen would have brought her own set of utensils had she not been so damn consumed with her artwork.

While she reminisced about her infamous adventure from which she had gained her prized coffeemaker, she absentmindedly meandered her way around the accumulation of dirty clothes and smashed soda cans that lie as still as dead soldiers. Had you tested her navigation skills in the dark, she would have amazed you; the piles of shit on her apartment floor had been there so long, it were as if the obstructions had become permanent fixtures in her house that could not be moved, even if she had the volition to do so. Colleen shuffled her feet across the peeled linoleum floor of the kitchen to what appeared to have been a nice living room at one time but had the appearance of being trashed in a recent frat party: Doritos were thrown about the room, a lamp knocked off of the table, dirty dishes and Tupperware containers were stacked on the end tables. The only semi-clean table was the coffee table. How stereotypical, she thought with a smile, as she placed her mug on the table and sat back on the rotting couch that smelled so much of mildew, it could gag the termites that infested her walls. The only smell that overpowered that of the mildew and mothballs was the sweet stench of the death of mice and rats hidden deeply in the walls between her and her asshole neighbor’s apartment. Colleen couldn’t understand why the rats and mice would want to live there, what with her neighbor blaring music at all hours of the night so loudly, it was enough to shake the pictures Colleen might have hanging on her walls, but did not. She had sold every picture frame that had ever held any artwork or photograph, whether it was made from her hands or not. Not that she missed the memories. Not with all of them floating around her brain, able to be recalled willingly or unwillingly to the surface of her mind’s eye.

Her stomach growled again, a gurgle of disgust, as if rebuking her for not eating. The thought of food still repulsed her. She glanced down at the coffee table, with its cracked class and rusted metal, and picked up the razorblade that lay on its cragged surface. Sliding it through her fingers, she contemplated how easy it would be just to slice her wrists, to end what had been forty-seven years of a misshapen, misunderstood existence. She laughed at the idea; only pussies dealt with life by killing themselves. And she was too much of a stubborn bitch to concede that life had beaten her. Colleen leaned forward, scraped the powder into a pile, and tapped the razorblade clean. She contemplated it, observing it like an old friend. Her stomach obnoxiously thundered, begging her for food, pleading. Suddenly, moving with a purpose no one would have thought Colleen Stanton would have possessed, she lurched forward, positioned herself over the cocaine and inhaled a long, deep breath. Feeling the sudden simultaneous calming and coming alive of her limbs, Colleen Stanton leaned back onto her moth-eaten couch and sipped from her lukewarm mug, thinking to herself with a slight upturn of the mouth, Breakfast of fucking champions.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Christmas Gift for the Future

If you're close to me, it's not an unknown fact that one day, I'd love to open my own coffeeshop. Only me working behind the counter, maybe my lover (second to coffee, that is) too, the aroma of espresso, and my customers to entertain me during the day, which would be fine by me. God, I'd give anything for the next five Christmases to be filled with bean grinders and coffeeclub memberships. I know how odd this might sound to some of you. But really, since I was a child, I always dreamed of doing just this. I distinctly recall sitting at our island in our kitchen, drawing the corner coffeeshop with the arched doorway and stoop that would sit in the city. The door was a blue tint with a heavy brass knob. I still have the drawing in my sketch book. I always thought of having a roof garden for patrons to get away from the bustle of the city streets, to enjoy trees and flowers while having their coffee. God, it would be perfect...

My boyfriend bought me two books this Christmas that dealt with opening your own coffeeshop. And, although it was a gift most people wouldn't have enjoyed as thoroughly as I did, I had to choke back tears. How strange, that a book concerning coffee could bring me to wipe my eyes! And yet, it was not about the coffee. It was that someone was giving to me books that would help me to accomplish my goals, my dreams, without a hint of sarcasm or doubt hidden in the meaning of the giving. That is what meant the world to me.

Ironically enough, he does not know that I wrote these exact words in my senior year book: "I plan to attend a private university for international business/entrepreneurship. I will travel throughout Europe, meet an amazing man, and eventually open my own coffee shop in which I will stock the novels I'll write."

Well, I go to Elizabethtown. Check.
I was International Business. Check. (Scratch that off of the list).
Switched to English to better write the novels. Check.

And met an amazing man, whom I'm hoping I can one day travel with in Europe and that he will one day be there when I buy my own place to open my dream coffee shop. <3

Funny the way things work out...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Excuses, excuses!

Friends, I apologize for not writing. I promised myself over Christmas break I would write more on my blog, but low and behold, sleep has a way of sneaking up on me and dragging me to dreamland in the oddest of places. The other day, I fell asleep on my sofa sitting dead upright, only to be rudely awakened by the four-month old creature my parents adopted. Rocky, if you haven't heard, is the newest addition to our family. And he is the cutest puppy ever. No matter how cute your puppy is/was, I'm convinced this adopted teddy bear is the most precious thing I have ever seen. But anyways, back to my excuses for not writing.

See, you know the phrase "things aren't always as they seem to appear,", right? Well, how accurate this is in this situation! Funny thing is, I HAVE been writing. Just not on my blog; I've decided it's time for me to actually write, not that what I write on here isn't actual writing, but it isn't edited, reviewed, and re-edited...the whole shebang, you know what I'm trying to say. So after a little bit of planning and a lot of frustration, I am now on my third page of a manuscript. And I am very, very excited. Of course, I've hit some bumps in the road, but I'm plugging along pretty well so far. My goal is to hopefully have something finished in rough format in a year, and if things keep progressing like they are right now, I will have a storyline completed.

I'm trying to keep it a bit hush-hush, although I realize posting to a blog that I am writing a book is not the most private of ways to keep a matter secretive, I decided I owed my readers a bit of an explanation for my laziness. Of course, once the holidays settle down, I'm positive I will be back on my blog, writing away.

My main issue is, it is very difficult for me to think of prompts, so I have a proposition: If you have a subject you would like for me to write a blurb on, I will definitely take employment! I crave new ideas that are out of the box from my mind, so please, comment away and give me some prompts.

I hope you all are enjoying time with your families. Merry Christmas!

With love,
Lauren.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dream a little dream of me.

When I stop sleeping, I will write. True Story. I promise.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

untitled.

He is following me. I noticed him about fifteen minutes ago entering the store after I had parked my Subaru in Walmart's parking lot. Meandering in and out of aisles at a relaxed pace, I did not really notice him visually, but I could feel his presence lurking behind my steps. Every now and then, he would come the opposite way down the aisle, and as our carts almost were past each other, our eyes would lock, and he'd give me that slight all-knowing smirk. I could not help but to grin in secretive delight.
Jordan and I do this a lot. Maybe it's the underlying actor in both of us, but we purposely ignore each other while we're shopping, pretending we are complete strangers in this giant abyss of groceries. Amid the Campbell's Chicken and Rice soup and Lipton's iced tea mix, Jordan and I share glances and smiles as the people around us are oblivious to our mischief.
Sometimes we'll cause a scene. Well, perhaps I should say I sometimes cause a scene. One time, when Jordan had forgotten to empty the garbage, even though I'd asked him three or four times to do so during the course of the day, I lost it. I told him I was going shopping, grabbed my keys, and stormed out of the house. Of course, because of the type of man he is (an amazing one), he followed me there to try and talk to me on the stage of our performance. I believe, in this instance, Jordan underestimated me; perhaps he thought a public location would be the best place to approach me, only to swiftly grab me and kiss me, to tell me he'd emptied the garbage before he followed me and that he would never, ever let it happen again.
What he did not consider was the fact that I was in my element; the gray concrete floor of Walmart was my stage, and that night my role was the Crazy Bitch. When I saw him coming down the bread aisle (which I'm sure all of you know is one of the busiest damn aisles in the entire store, and that day was no exception), I immediately could tell he was also playing a part. I read his face: prince charming finally there to claim his prize. Sorry Jordan, not happening today. My stubbornness kicked in, even though I knew that him forgetting to empty the garbage was really not that big of a deal.
I snatched a loaf of rye bread off of the shelf, the kind with the crunchy crust and hid it along my right side. While people shopped all around me, I made my way down through the aisle, palms getting sweaty from my anticipated plan, keeping my eyes fixed straight ahead at the Deli sign. Jordan, who was staged as an innocent bystander pondering whether to purchase whole wheat or twelve grain, gauged when my cart would be passing, and purposely took a step back into it to bump me off course, to alter our fates.
"I- I am s-so sorry, miss," he stammered. Great, he's pulling out the stuttering accent as well. God, I'm going to look like a bitch when I do this.
Before he could continue his premeditated lines, I swung the loaf of bread by my side into the side of his head, and continued to beat him with it. Jordan threw his hands up in anticipation of the blows, but never said my name; he realized, deep down, this had beating had reason, but right now, it was a performance.
After a few blows, I suddenly realized that every eye was on me, now holding a very battered loaf aloft in my right hand. Somehow managing to keep a straight face, I gently placed my weapon back in his rightful place, leaned into Jordan and whispered, "Maybe that will teach you to take out the garbage when I ask." With this, I left the aisle and abandoned my cart, nearly empty. As I walked toward the exit, I could feel several pairs of eyes on me, and suddenly a pair of hands. Oh my God, someone called security. I'm going to be arrested for beating someone with a loaf of bread. Could that be a felony?
Suddenly I realized the person who was dragging me out of the store was laughing, and I turned my head to see Jordan linking his arm with mine. Standing in the parking lot of the supercenter, we dissolved into laughter at what had just occurred. He pulled me in close, our breaths fogging in the winter air and said, "That was so funny, I think I may forget the trash everyday now on." And with that, we both got in our respective cars, only to drive home and well...make up.
Three years later, and we were still going strong with our shopping performances. I'm not entirely sure what sparked this odd phenomena, but what fed it to continue were the looks on people's faces. Jordan and I both knew that we had to be the topic of numerous dinner conversations.
Today, I actually shopped for the purchase of shopping, which I told Jordan I was doing after work. I honestly was not anticipating him to follow me there, and one might laugh, but when I saw him at the opposite end of the condiments aisle, my heart jumped a bit in my chest. Jordan and I have been together now for five years and just recently got engaged. I could not think of another person I would want to spend my life with. Anytime our eyes catch each other, there is a palpable fire present. Even in the grocery store, when Jordan 'accidentally' brushes my arm, and smiles that smile that shows all of his dimples, the one where people can't help but notice what they think is love at first sight, my heart beats slightly more rapidly. People think we are crazy when we tell our tales, but I don't mind. To me, we're just reminding everyone that love can be around any corner, even between the bread and the condiments.

Good dog.

He gets home. He leaves. He gets home. He sleeps. He gets home. He looks at me like "what the hell do you want?"

God, if only I could speak English. What do you think I want?! Attention! Give me some good, full-hearted attention like you give that brunette chick that's always over at your house!
All of those people out there who say, 'oh, if only I had the life of a dog' should be smacked. Hard. Not that I'm tooting my own horn here or anything, but I have to admit, I am a pretty cute pup; blonde hair, thin build, and a face that just screams to be kissed and loved. I've only been living with this guy for a few months, but I've already got a list of complaints.

Complaint Number One: Turn on your heat! What month do you think it is, June?! I mean, I know I'm a dog and everything, and you might look at me and say, 'ahh, you've got hair, you'll be warm.' Yeah, maybe if you set it at a reasonable temperature. That one day, it got down to 55 degrees in here; do you know how cold that is?! And you can't even leave on the fireplace heater for me while you're at work. Cheap bastard. When you do have the fireplace on for me, you comment on how cute it is that I sleep curled up in a ball, my wet nose only fractions of an inch from the glass that separates me and those fake logs. I mean, I guess if you think me literally freezing my tail off is precious, then fine, but you have issues. If only I had thumbs to dial 911 to report you to the proper authorities for a psychotic episode or something.

Complaint Number Two: My toys. Come on, how old am I? 21! and what do you buy me? A green squeeky toy. You know, the sick thing is, you and that girlfriend of yours get more of a kick out of it than I do. "Ha ha! It's so funny, the squeeky toy is under the rug and OH MY GOD, it SQUEEKS!" What a concept! And you people are the top of the food chain?

Complaint Number Three: My food. Going back to the whole cheap bastard thing, for all of you people out there, Old Roy is only cheap because it is disgusting. Yeah, you think I'm a dog, oh, I'll eat anything. Mmmm, not happening. So, remember that time you bought me that new food and I got so excited because I actually thought it might be decent, as in not containing chicken beaks? Then you pulled it out of the grocery bag, and if only my head were a little higher, I would have full on nailed you in the crotch; you did buy new food, but more OLD ROY. Come onnnnn, cut me some slack. So, in protest, I didn't eat. I mean, to your knowledge I didn't, but I've become quite skilled at picking things out of the garbage without disturbing them. You would come home from work for the next week, look at me, and ask me if I were ok, why wasn't I eating? And you would even say to that broad of yours that I hadn't been eating and she would say, Oh, she probably doesn't like her food: BINGO, buddy! For once, this chick right about something!

Revenge will be mine. You wait. New pair of Armani loafers: in my mouth, all slobbered up. That Christmas gift she got you: oops, my tail knocked it over! Shattering glass.

Oh, p.s- that Tempurpedic bed: really comfy when you're not looking.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh Byron, you're such a dog.

I'm in a British Romanticism class, and I absolutely fell in love with the infamous Lord Byron. His character and personality are so intriguing. This is the last work that I have to read for this class, and I loved it.

On this Day I Complete my Thirty-Sixth Year

'Tis time this heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased to move:
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love!

My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief,
Are mine alone!

The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze -
A funeral pile!

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love, I cannot share,
But wear the chain.

But 'tis not thus -and 'tis not here -
Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,
Where glory decks the hero's bier,
Or binds his brow.

The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece, around me see!
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,
Was not more free.

Awake! (not Greece -she is awake!)
Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,
And then strike home!

Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood! -unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.

If thou regret'st thy youth, why live?
The land of honourable death
Is here: -up to the field, and give
Away thy breath!

Seek out -less often sought than found -
A soldier's grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest.

Lord George Gordon Byron, 1824.

Maybe some brief history and interesting information about Mr. Byron to come at a later date. Finals are coming up, so the blog might be "riding bitch" for a while.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A blurb on Christmas. :)

So I've been away from blogging for a little while; sometimes, unfortunately, college gets the best of me, and it is difficult to find time to write. It's especially hard when I do writing in all of my other classes, and by the time I get to the computer to write what I actually WANT to write, I'm exhausted.
Has anyone noticed all the Christmas Cheer going around? I know here at Elizabethtown, it is everywhere: people writing Christmas Cards in the Blue Bean, Christmas music being played all over campus, Christmas-themed parties being thrown in the quads. My boyfriend made me an amazing Christmas drink a few weeks ago, his own concoction: delicious!
I seriously wish every month could have the same cheer. Maybe it's just me, but from the end of November to the beginning of January, people are just nicer. I know I feel much more alive. The only thing that upsets me is the commercialism that has occurred with Christmas. Somewhere along the generations, I think the true meaning and feelings have been buried under the obligations and stress of shopping for people you barely know, spending money you don't need to spend.
I know as a college student, I really don't have much money to spend. So, time to get creative with gifts. I'd give some ideas, but I don't want to spill the beans because some people might be reading this post. I love thinking of personal gifts that have an intimate meaning behind them; from the time when I gave my mom shadow boxes of my brother and me when we were little, she loved it more than any purchased gift could ever mean. So, this Christmas, show your love in a different way. Create things for the person you love, give meaningful gifts to your parents, maybe something from your childhood.
Also, I attend a college with a motto "Educate for Service", and I was thinking about this today; I've been so wrapped up in myself and school that I haven't had time to go out and do anything for people. I remember in high school, I volunteered for a soup kitchen, and it was freezing outside, but the feeling of goodwill warmed me up a bit. Last year, I drove to a mall to buy Legos for an underprivileged child (and wrecked my car in the process, but that's beyond the point; I MAKE SACRIFICES), and (besides the car wreck), I felt pretty good about myself (it was raining and my windows were really foggy, ok. No women driver jokes).
But anywayssss... So instead of buying, give of yourself. I honestly think that giving a part of yourself to another person, whether it be through volunteering or making a gift for them that has a true meaning means the world to the receiver. I know it does to me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sometimes when I am alone, I get the overwhelming feeling that I will not make it to thirty. Talk about a scary thought. It's as if Death sits down bedside me casually, as if he wants to light up a cigarette and sip scotch while saying, "You know, you really don't have that much longer to live. Just thought I'd let you know." With a careless smirk, he would sidle out of the room, his trail of cigarette smoke lingering in the room.
It's not that I'm necessarily scared of death. I'm sure if you've thought about it, which I think most people have, it is not a pleasant thought, but to me, it is natural. And it's not like no one has done it before.
I just don't like the idea of not being able to accomplish things. My list of goals and dreams could supply all of California with toilet paper for a month. And yet I can't stop adding to it: travel to all 50 states, publish a book, watch all Lord of the Rings movies in marathon setting.
Maybe all these thoughts of where my life is going are stemming from the fact I am now twenty. If I live until I'm eighty, I've already lived a quarter of my life. It gives me chills to think about.
So many people complain about their good fortune, myself included. I know sometimes when college gets crazy and all I want to do is go home, it's hard to be thankful for just the opportunity to go to school. Today has been one of those days. But, when I really think about it, I am happy for the stress and pressure. It wills me to accomplish things that otherwise might sit around and never get done. The pressure motivates me to be all I can be, to reach that top level of self-actualization. It's nice to hope that in the end, it might just all pay off. I hope that through my hard work, some day I might just be able to publish that book. Some day, if I save enough money, I might be able to travel the world. I'd rather die with my dreams unanswered then never have dreams at all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Hunny, if you tap your nails anymore on that countertop, they are going to snap off."
Christine looked up into the eyes of the bartender, Georgia, a fitting name because she spoke with a deep Southern drawl even though she lived in Massachusetts. She was a motherly type and had been since the day Christine had came to this bar six years ago.
"I'm sorry." She lifted her glass, a lowball filled with vodka tonic and said, "Another, please?"
Georgia laughed. "You sure you don't want something a bit stronger than that? Your nerves are firing so fast, they're electrocuting me, dammit. "
The bartender gingerly took Christine's glass and started to mix her another. Christine faced away from the bar, skimming for a face she recognized in the crowded room, begging for a pair of dark blue eyes to light up the way they had the first time she saw them.
"How late is he?" Georgia inquired, placing Christine's freshly mixed vodka tonic in her hands, then rested her elbows on the bar so as to look Christine directly in the face.
Christine lowered her glass after a long sip and said, "Only twenty minutes."
Georgia looked her over with a penetrating gaze.
"Ok, ok, you got me: forty-five minutes." Christine sighed and took another long drink from her glass.
Georgia laughed and straightened up, grasping for a bar towel to wipe her dewy hands. She faced Christine and said in a serious tone, "Well hunny, if he only had the power to predict what you were going to wear tonight, he would have been here a longggg time ago. God only knows what's underneath those duds."
Christine openly laughed into the air and looked into the bar's mirror: Reflected behind the bottles of Absolute, Patron, and Ketel One was her likeness, staring her back in the face. She even had to admit, acknowledging with a slight upturn of the mouth, that she did clean up well. Smoldering eyes, complete with smudged eyeliner and metallic powder eyeshadow. Otherwise, a natural look completed her face; a light powder to conceal what she dubbed her 'good wrinkles': laughlines, and a tart lipgloss to reflect the bar's dimly lit atmosphere.
Then there were her clothes: stiletto pumps with her classic Banana Republic jeans, a tiny tear in the back pocket. She'd been stupid enough to play backyard football in them the year prior, and unfortunately for her, she'd been tackled by a brier bush. Paired with a tucked in cream-colored blouse and a simple black belt, she felt extremely radiant that night. She wondered how much had to do with the clothing and how much had to do with whom she was supposed to be meeting.
She snatched her near-empty glass from the counter, and spun around on her stool, looking at her phone to see that another twenty minutes had gone by since she had last checked. Staring at it wistfully, she willed it to ring, for him to call and say something came up and he wasn't coming. She knew she'd been silly to hope for him to show. They'd only had one other date, if you could call running into a random person at a nightclub and then spending the night dancing and talking an official date. Being young and finding someone special was hard, but being in mid-thirties and finding that someone was much more difficult.
"Hey hunny, maybe you should stop staring at that goddamn contraption of yours for two seconds."
Christine followed Georgia's eyes across the room to where the door had just opened, snowflakes drifting in on the new bar-goer. He swiftly brushed the stray flakes off of his deep brown hair and looked up. An electrifying shock crept its way through her chest outward to the tips of her fingers.
"Knew it was him," Georgia chuckled, as if she had felt it, too.

Mind of Mother.

Mascara stains. Everywhere. I knew I never should have purchased those white Egyptian cotton sheets; my pillowcase was now covered in deep-brown MAX Factor mascara. What to tell my husband?: I was eating chocolate covered strawberries. Guitly pleasure. Oops.

I don't know why I was so ashamed to admit I cry. My five year old daugther did it all of the time without so much as a blush from embarrasment. I pictured Jessica falling off of her bike. Cry. Breaking her Barbie Corvette. Cry. Losing to her father in Monopoly. Wailingggg cry.

I knew that I would have to break Jessi of that sometime. And soon. I don't know how much more crying I can take. Five year olds don't have anything to cry about, I thought. All they have to worry about is learning the alphabet, singing stupid songs, and making their parents miserable.

I gasped in what seemed as pain, and a sob escaped my lips; Oh my God, I am a terrible mother. I hate my child. I hate my child, and here I sit, crying because I envy my five year old child, her innocence, her radiant face.

I wiped the mascara and tears from my own, rubbing my eyes much too rough. I would avoid the mirror. At all costs, I must avoid the mirror. What a hateful contraption it was. Whomever invented it should be thrown into the bowels of Hell.

Clean yourself up. Make yourself presentable for Mark. He'll be home soon. And he will want dinner. Eye drops to get rid of your awful bloodshot eyes. Coverup to conceal dark circles beneath my drooped eyelids. And more mascara. There, like new. All done without a mirror.

Just a day in the life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Take 2.

He stood in her doorway, quietly poised so as not to wake her. His eyes drifted over his daughter's sprawled body, sleeping deeply. His baby girl had turned three today. Olivia.
He watched her breathing, inhales and exhales so delicate, like a light breeze on a summer's eve. Her tiny limbs, outstretched in dream, appeared so frail, so breakable. The light from the hall basked her face in an ethereal glow, and from his vantage point, it appeared there was a light halo around her head. For him, it wasn't hard to believe this true.
His baby girl meant the world to him, and yet he had let so many things come in between himself and her. Work, work, and more work. Where as his wife worked to live, he lived to work. How he regretted it as he stood in that doorway.
He wiped the tears from his eyes before they could fall as he recalled the memories he did not have: her first step had been taken when he was abroad, negotiating a contract with a company which had gotten him his promotion. Her first lock of hair taken from her crown while he was in Chicago, attending a meeting that had the potential to make or break his career. Her first word, "daddy", spoken with such enthusiasm while he was on the phone, right outside on the patio, furiously arguing with a contractor. Staring at his angel of a daughter sleeping, he could not believe he had missed her cherubim face, bright with happiness, speaking his name.
No matter how many times his wife told him that the photo albums did no justice, he did not listen. How he wished he had taken in one ounce of understanding when Marie had said that! He remembered it clearly; it had been right after he had missed Olivia's first dance recital. He had intended to be home for it, but he ran late at work, stuck in a meeting with his superiors. When he returned home, he found Marie, teary-eyed and exhausted not from a long day's work, but from his incompetence at being a father. At first he had been furious, yelling that Olivia wouldn't even remember he wasn't there. Looking back on it, he wished he had never said those words; the look on his wife's face, such a beautiful face, contorted into such painful anguish, stated in such a defeated, disgusted tone, "You're probably right. But I'll remember it forever. And she will, too, once she is old enough to look at the pictures from this, and you're not in them. You just don't get it, Will. You think you can get all you need from photographs, but you're wrong. Photographs cannot capture the joy I felt, and what you would have felt had you seen that little girl dance her heart out. Or how she felt when her teacher handed her that pink rose in that vase." She gestured toward the island, where a solitary rose stood, perfect in all ways, just like his daughter.
She turned away from him. "But I'll have those emotions, those feelings and memories forever. I just wish you did, too."
He saw her start to walk away, tried to open his mouth with some logical argument, some rational to show why he wasn't there, but couldn't. The next thing he knew, the bedroom door had slammed, and he was left to stand in the kitchen, silently mulling over what his wife had just said.

Standing silently in the doorway of Olivia's room, a satin pink tone that matched to color of her lively cheeks, her parted lips, he sighed; a sigh so deep it made him feel as if he were sinking into a abysmal cavern, and that he could scrape at the clay walls as much as he wanted, yet he could never claw himself out. He realized for the first time that as much as he had succeeded at work, he had failed as a father. Three years of feigning sleep so his wife would have to wake up, wrenched from dreams to care for their nightmare-stricken child; three years of telling Olivia to stop pounding on the piano while he was on conference calls; three years, if put plainly, just not being there.
His heart ached as he silently closed the door to his daughter's room, leaving her to dream soundly. As he made his way down the hall, stopping to look at the beautiful home in which he lived: the marble staircase, the granite vanities in the master bath, the gold leaf molding, he asked himself if it had been worth it. Had forgoing being a father really been worth the ornate carvings on the canopy bed, in which his wife slept soundlessly, not plagued with guilt.
Slipping off his slippers and sliding into bed, he wondered how anyone changes course? How do people drop what they had their life invested in and leave it? How do I abandon all I have worked for? He rolled restlessly to his side, staring at the picture on his nightstand: Olivia nestled in the arms of her father, Marie smiling at her newborn baby girl as she rested her head on Will's shoulder. And as if in quiet rebuttal, his conscience asked him, 'How do you not?'.
He stood in her doorway, quietly poised so as not to wake her. His eyes drifted over his daughter's sprawled body, sleeping deeply. His baby girl had turned three today. Olivia.
He watched her breathing, inhales and exhales so delicate, like a light breeze on a summer's eve. Her tiny limbs, outstretched in dream, appeared so frail, so breakable. The light from the hall basked her face in an ethereal glow, and from his vantage point, it appeared there was a light halo around her head. For him, it wasn't hard to believe this true.
His baby girl meant the world to him, and yet he had let so many things come in between himself and her. Work, work, and more work. Where as his wife worked to live, he lived to work. How he regretted it as he stood in that doorway.
He wiped the tears from his eyes before they could fall as he recalled the memories he did not have: her first step had been taken when he was abroad, negotiating a contract with a company which had gotten him his promotion. Her first lock of hair taken from her crown while he was in Chicago, attending a meeting that had the potential to make or break his career. Her first word, "daddy", spoken with such enthusiasm while he was on the phone, right outside on the patio, furiously arguing with a contractor. Staring at his angel of a daughter sleeping, he could not believe he had missed her cherubim face, bright with happiness, speaking his name.
No matter how many times his wife told him that the photo albums did no justice, he did not listen. How he wished he had taken in one ounce of understanding when Marie had said that! He remembered it clearly; it had been right after he had missed Olivia's first dance recital. He had intended to be home for it, but he ran late at work, stuck in a meeting with his superiors. When he returned home, he found Marie, teary-eyed and exhausted not from a long day's work, but from his incompetence at being a father. At first he had been furious, yelling that Olivia wouldn't even remember he wasn't there. Looking back on it, he wished he had never said those words; the look on his wife's face, such a beautiful face, contorted into such painful anguish, stated in such a defeated, disgusted tone, "You're probably right. But I'll remember it forever. And she will, too, once she is old enough to look at the pictures from this, and you're not in them. You just don't get it, Will. You think you can get all you need from photographs, but you're wrong. Photographs cannot capture the joy I felt, and what you would have felt had you seen that little girl dance her heart out. Or how she felt when her teacher handed her that pink rose in that vase." She gestured toward the island, where a solitary rose stood, perfect in all ways, just like his daughter.
She turned away from him. "But I'll have those emotions, those feelings and memories forever. I just wish you did, too."
He saw her start to walk away, tried to open his mouth with some logical argument, some rational to show why he wasn't there, but couldn't. The next thing he knew, the bedroom door had slammed, and he was left to stand in the kitchen, silently mulling over what his wife had just said.

As he stood outside of Olivia's room, the birthday girl quite exhausted from the influx of guests and family that had been in and out of the house all day, he realized his wife was right. Quietly, he closed her door but a crack (lest bad dreams should awaken his child; he wanted to hear her so he would be able to comfort her) and headed to his bedroom.
Tip-toeing to the bed where he slipped out of his slippers, he climbed under the covers, looking at his gorgeous wife, basked in sleep. God, Olivia had gotten Marie's good looks: her poetic collarbones, her wavy brown hair... He gently caressed Marie's side, and after a few moments, she rolled lightly into his arms, where he buried his head in the crook of her neck and said, "I love you, Marie. And Olivia. Very much. I say that too much but don't seem to back it up. I've not only missed her birthday, but yours as well, too often. One time is too often. It's time for a change."
With that, he kissed her neck which appeared to glimmer in the moonlight, her skin so supple to the touch. His wife nuzzled closer to his body, rolled to face him. He had not known she had been awoken. She lightly touched his face, graced with straying stubble and said, "Thank you". Marie took his hand into hers and rolled onto her side, pulling his body close to hers, as husbands and wives sleep. Dreams wove their ways into the house, and the world was still if but for a moment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

To Nature.

The faint hour falls where the world is still,
the deer bedding down to sleep, owls nesting,
sounds so soft, like cracks of twigs and stale leaves;
some minds are tricked into sensing silence,
but I hear the world come alive at dusk,
for this is the time when the static dies
and all can be heard which is in alignment:
the scampers of mice away from hawk's eyes,
seeking shelter from Death's penetrating gaze;
sighs of small chicks, hunkered down for the night,
mother's watchful eye never straying from
their heaving breasts, so full of life and dreams;
the hum of cicadas clinging to bark,
pine, oak, birch: all suited for their night-song,
a symphony conducted only by the wind
dancing along the branches wistfully…
A breath of the fall-night air shocks my lungs;
the notes of the twilight sonata sting

My eyes, tears clinging to my brown lashes.

Perhaps the wind does not form my teardrops,

But the unity with which nature lives,

An unkempt balance of cyclical work,

With no need for human mediation.

What glory have I stumbled upon now,

In moonlit wanderings when the world sleeps,

And dreams in peaceful motions like the sea?

the reality of dreams.

I recently changed my major. Goodbye International Business, hello English-Professional Writing. God, what a relief. After a lot of thinking, I definitely don't think the corporate world would have been for me. I always thought I would love marketing, but after realizing it was truly just about making a piece-of-shit product look great to get people's money, I decided, ehhh, not for me. Don't get me wrong, human consumption behavior is fascinating, but I enjoy writing much more. Hey, maybe someday I'll write about human behavior!

Dr. Matthew Willen is a professor at Elizabethtown. I was a bit anxious for my first meeting with him, considering several students in the English Department told me he was 'scary' and 'intimidating'. I'm not sure to whom they compared him, but to me, Dr. Willen is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, far from intimidating. Being part of the English Department, he has a great appreciation for the arts, including his love, photography. Once I wiped the sweat off of my palms, shook his hand, and made myself comfortable, settling into a chair on the opposite side of his desk, the first thing I noticed besides his cheery face was a palpable sound coming from the photographs on the wall. The one that struck me the most was that of a great ship, which appeared to be anchored. "Denmark", he said, smiling as if he were recalling an experience of a lifetime, which I'm sure it had been.

Sitting across from him, at that moment, I knew that I had made the right decision. Here I was, sitting in the office of a man whom has accomplished so much, traveled, and yet he is asking me all about myself: what do you like to do? where do you live? have any pets? And what amazed me the most was how I felt when I talked about a possible directed study; I have always wanted to write quotes and take photographs to represent the words. Every time I talk about this goal, I can feel my face light up. Most of the time, the person listening nods and smiles, but there have only been a few times where I have felt like I was looking into a mirror, the inspiration and awe of achieving such a goal staring me back into the face, reflected by the other person's expressions. And that is exactly how I felt when talking with Dr. Willen. He didn't look at me like I was crazy for wanting to achieve such a feat, but smiled like he knew what was going on inside of me; the synapses firing, a bubbling of excitement occurring in my gray matter. I guess the phrase about "everyone just wants to be understood" is true; having someone share my enthusiasm is such a shock of inspiration, like cold showers on hot summer days.

So, I now have Dr. Willen as my advisor (he had asked at the end of the meeting if he could request me; seriously, the next 2 and 1/2 years at E-town will be amazingggg), and I'm in the midst of planning a directed study.

Life is good. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Short Story: Part III

Oh Ronald, please tell me you're joking... Tonia's mental image of Mr. Handsome and herself walking hand in hand while snow clung to his gorgeous black eyelashes was squashed, as if Ronald's fat ass itself had sat directly on it.

"So, you're saying he's a jerkoff?" Tonia wasn't giving up hope yet; the scent of a kindred man had contacted her olifactory system, and she was not willing to let go so easily.

Ronald finished his biscotti and said, "I mean, I've only talked to him once, and my man-instinct said to me, 'Man, this guy is a real doucher.'"

"And what makes you say that, Ronald?"

"Well, I went into his office the first day he was at work; you were out sick: A.K.A- playing hookie, but anyways..."

Tonia restrained the idea to just kick him in his lard of a nutsack. She needed to know: To still pursue, or not to pursue the worthy-of-Armani-model-that-acutally-looks-like-he-might-have-a-cerebral-cortex.

"... he was on the phone having a conversation that was obviously a personal call, which helloooo, he's at work. Personal calls equals big no-no."

"What makes you say it was personal?" Tonia pried.

"I mean, he had the call on speaker phone, and since he had his back to the door, I could hear everything. He was talking to a man who sounded close to tears, saying something about how everything would be ok and he would try to work things out with him later. And the guy on the other line said, 'Look Brian, you made a committment to me. You do know what committment is, right?' And that's all I caught, because by that time, Resident Asshole spun around, saw me standing there, and freaked a shit! I never even met the guy before, and the first words out of his mouth were, 'Excuse me, do I know you?' Psh, how rude."

Seems like a pretty logical question to me, you fucktard. Damn, she was getting pretty good at this filtering thing. Mentally, Tonia ran through all of the information she had just received, filing it in order: so, Ronald had been spying, heard what seemed to be a very personal phone call with another guy, close to tears, committment... A lightbulb went off so brighly in Tonia's head she was temporarily blinded. Or it could have been from the anguish of realizing: Brian, or New Resident Asshole was gay.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Short Story: Part II

Unfortunately for Tonia, Ronald had already had his caloric intake for the night from stuffing his black hole of a mouth full of Christmas-tree shaped brownies, pumpkin roll, and green and red M&Ms. Once the high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar hit his gray matter, she found it in her best interest to duck and cover from the river of words with which she knew she would be inundated. Before she could react to the sight of him, Tonia saw Ronald make a turn straight toward her.

"Hey Tonia! Have you tried the chocolate chip cookies Rachel made? Oh my God, they are to die for! What about these roasted pecan clusters? Also delicious!"

Tonia took in the first few sentences of Ronald's blubbering, being careful to avoid the spray of lingering food particles spewing from his lips. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and reminded herself of what her therapist had told her a few weeks ago: "Imagine you are sitting in front of a water fall, inhaling the misty fragrance." What a load of crap: at this point, the only person inhaling anything was Ronald, stuffing his face full of pecan clusters.

"Yes," she lied, "I tried them, and you are absolutely right; they are quite delicious." Please go away, she thought. All I want to do is just sit on the couch, drink my glass of wine, and not have to listen to you talk about culinary topics for once in my life. I don't want to hear about how the chicken corn chowder was too salty, nor how that broccoli salad ran right through you.

"Yo, are you listening?" Ronald prodded, visibly upset that Tonia's mind was somewhere other than his words.

Attention whore, Tonia thought. She had become quite good at internalizing her thoughts and filtering, so she put on her curious face; the one complete with semi-lowered eyebrows, head cocked to the right, and fixed what she dubbed her 'thoughtful gaze' on Ronald's shit brown eyes.
"I'm quite sorry, Ronald. You were saying?"

He smirked, an upturned lip complete with pecan crumbs and all, and said, "Oh, I was just wondering if you met the new Resident Asshole?"

Oh, someone's taking your place?, she thought. Filter, Tonia, filterrrrr.

"No, I'm afraid I haven't. Who might she be this time?" Tonia was thinking of the last Resident Asshole: Ms. Michelle Burton. Tonia preferred the title Resident Slut over Resident Asshole, seeing as Ms. Burton had no problem spreading her legs as easy as butter spreads on a hot day. It wasn't that Tonia had any prejudices against her, but after walking in to the conference room only to grab a stack of papers to collate, she caught more porno material than she ever would have needed in her entire life. Unfortunately for Tonia, it still haunted her to this day that she knew whether Ms. Burton was a moaner or a screamer.

"Yo! You're doing it again! Are you listening to me?" Ronald had apparently been speaking the entire time she had been daydreaming, going through the Rolodex of memories concerning Ms. Burton, up until the point when she got fired for screwing the FedEx guy on the copier, complete with butt faxes to each department.

I swear to God if you say "yo" one more time...As she mentally shook the image of Resident Slut out of her head, she spoke through gritted teeth, "Yes, Ronald, I am listening to you."

"Well, like I said, the new Resident Asshole is going to be ten times worse than the last one. He's such a pansy. I mean, look at him, he's got no meat on his bones whatsoever." Ronald lifted his elephant trunk of an arm and gestured to a dim-lit corner. Tonia followed his chubby finger's direction across the room, where it was pointed directly at Mr. Handsome himself, the only man who had caught her eye in several months.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Short Story: Part I

She knew as soon as she saw him. Call it woman's intuition, divine intervention, or what you will, but when Tonia's eyes scanned the room of party-goers, she knew she had to meet him. Work Christmas parties had always been the bane of her existence; she would spend two hours getting primped, curled, and plucked only to exit her boss's front door after an hour, one year leaving with wine spilled on her white blouse, another, bored to tears. Last year's Christmas celebration, she crawled out the bathroom window, bedecked in skirt and all, just so she could avoid having to say goodbye to everyone. At sight of the handsome newbie, Tonia mentally signed a contract in her head that she would not leave until after she had at least talked to him, or maybe, if the gods were on her side, she would have some digits in her pocket by the end of the night. Her lull of staring at the beautiful creature across the room was interrupted by Ronald coming into her view. And let's face it, how he could ever be out of one's view was beyond Tonia's comprehension.

God, she couldn't stand her fellow employee. Ronald was fat. There was no other way to describe his rotund girth, so saying he was fat was probably a mild remark in the realm of rudeness. It's not that Tonia couldn't have liked him because of his weight; she had several friends, men and women, who were larger than any of them knew they should be. What put Tonia over the edge with Ronald was his mouth. It was ceaselessly jabbering, the turkey neck below it swinging as words of undistinguishable meaning poured out of his mouth, the flow of which could be comparable to how a toddler dumps sprinkles on their sundae: very few sprinkles make it to the actual icecream bowl, and very few words actually made it to Tonia's ears.

She'd learned in the first two weeks at her job that the jar of MilkyWay Bars could not sit on her desk; they were like the scent of shit to flies. Once Ronald knew the candy bars were there, he would make laps outside of her office until she arrived, burning more calories during that fifteen minute wait than what he did all day. Making his rounds collecting mail overly slow, he would pretend that he had forgotten an envelope at the cubicles outside of her door. Upon her arrival, she would have to open her door with what sounded like a mastiff breathing down her neck, probably due to the exertion he had put forth in parading around the office. Sad as it is true, Tonia's highlight of her day came from the silence as she inserted her office key into the antique doorknob; her guess was that the combination of being out of breath from his "mail run" and the anticipation of the sugary goodness he was about to experience left Ronald speechless.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Head in the Clouds.

I eat my meals alone. Every day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I normally spend in solitude, glancing up at stragglers gradually making their way to food (if you can call the chicken fingers, french fries, and soft serve ice-cream food). Before, I avoided the crowds and ate at off hours. Now, I thirst for the people, the faces of strangers. I have food in front of me, but I get my nutrition elsewhere; from the people's actions, expressions, and words around me. Conversations drift into my ears, which appear to be clogged with my earbuds and the sounds of Bon Iver and Dave Matthews, but really, I hear only the sounds of the bustling around me with my music on mute.
I gather inspiration from my fellow peers, although most of the time, they don't feel like 'peers' per say, seeing as I'm going to be twenty, and most of them act like they are pushing twelve. I must admit that despite the gap in my understanding of them and their comprehension of me, they do give me much material for which to write.
For instance, dinner for me today was spent, as usual, alone. Please don't misconstrue my words; the introvert in me craves to hear only my thoughts, and thus dinner alone is a blessing to me where most would consider it a very awkward curse. When you sit at a table alone, of course, no one is in front of you to block your vision, so I had a perfect view of a table right in my line of sight.
Three people sat at the table, but the one who caught my attention the most was the girl, side-kicked by two guys. She was in her late teens, early twenties, probably older than I, but one would never realize it by observing her; her body was that of a sprite, short in stature with limbs so twiggy that, had a butterfly flapped its wings, the wind from the motion would have sent her sprawling. The sprite-appearance was only emphasized more by her unruly blond hair, not curly but crimped and the leafy-green jacket she wore. Through my undercover earbuds, I could hear all about how she cheated on her exams by stealthily writing on her hands (probably with sprite-like speed). At one point she looked at me with such energy, I thought I could reach out and harness some for my own use. She was lithe and young, a spirit still maturing.
I'm not writing this because I admire her; it's difficult for me to admire anyone who takes the easy way out like cheating. But in her I found a spark of inspiration, something that made me pull out my laptop right on the spot and start writing.


I've decided I'm in need of a change, a bit of a makeover for Lauren. It would be nice to have the money to change my wardrobe because God knows there are numerous outfits out there I would kill to have, but more near and dear to my heart is the fact I'm finally ready to embrace my passion. As of next semester, I will be an English major, and I am determined to embrace what I was always meant to do.
I've had so many people tell me that I have a God-given gift or natural talent, but I don't see it. No matter how hard I try to appreciate my work, I cannot see my ability. I write because I want to do so, not because I think I am great at it. It is my therapy, my passion. Instead of majoring in English because I 'know' I'm good at writing, I'm doing so because I love it. If all I ever had was my laptop and time, I would write and write and write... stories, blogs, books, novels, poetry... You name it, I'd write it. Regardless of pay or who would read it, I would write. I think for me, that is the definition of passion.
So... I've decided my goal for the future is to put pen to paper every day, because as any artist knows, practice makes you better. I want to one day write a book where a reader can't move her eyes fast enough to satisfy her fervor for the plot; I want to write a poem about a child that when a mother reads it, it will move her to tears one line and have her laughing at the next; most of all, I dream of writing a character whom someone will connect with so well that the page is a mirror. Hey, why not dream big?

Monday, November 1, 2010

untitled.

I stand alone on the precipice,
an open mouth waiting to swallow me.
I turn my chin to the sky, tears gleaming
from moonlit rays. I beg my God to speak,
to send angles of white to my rescue,
for is that not how it works? Fear takes me,
too late for any rescue, even God's,
until I feel weightless, floating freely,
aimless drifting. There is no dark; no light;
only here and now. My lungs fill with air,
oxygen clinging to deprived cells like children
stretching mother's skirt to hide from the world.
I am in limbo, but a beauteous one,
where I am myself, and that is enough;
It is enough, for when I stir from sleep,
your arms are the air carrying me home;
my shelter from the stormy winds that blow
into my mind, but you are the fog rising,
and in your hands, your eyes, your lips, your grace,
in your compassion, I have found my God.