Jan 27, 2008

untitled rant, greatly influenced by "Howl"

Holy is the hard-headed father. The priest, the holy master. The godhead. Holy is the bitter-broken mother. The wise woman. The teacher-friend. The goddess. Holy is the way-ward child. The student, the learner. The god-child. The babe in the manager. Holy are the lovers. The sex in the heat and passion and sweat. Holy is the yes and the no and the yes again. Holy is the robber and the grave. The ghost and the goblin. Holy is the thief on the cross. Holy is the artist. Holy is the poet and the neighbor giving cups of white flour. Holy is the hot tea brewing. Holy is the cold ice cream melting. Holy is the tin can. Holy is the red wagon. Holy. Holy. Holy. The archangel and the man.

Holy are the spectacles and the wallflowers. Holy are the gnomides and goblin daughters. Holy is the typeset. Holy is the word.

Jan 26, 2008

you asked for it! another excerpt from Cast the First Stone

The last day of ninth grade began with a red sky. I wore my black combat boots and my jean jacket. On the back I had painted a black cat with x's for eyes. I'm crazy about cats. They're so smooth and distant. They don't have a care in the world. They're the James Bonds, the Audrey Hepburns, the Han Solos of the animal world.

If I were a cat, I'd be a Siamese cat. I've always wanted one, but Donna doesn't like animals. Haley would be some kind of dog, for sure. Probably a Terrier or a Spaniel. Something small and sweet and loyal.

Mike touched my butt during lunch. Well, touch is the wrong word. He grabbed it and squeezed it when we were making out. I know Haley saw cause she wouldn't talk to me for the rest of lunch nor every time I saw her in the hallways. God, it felt great though. I still wouldn't let him touch my breasts. It's not that I'm a prude or anything. But, we're not even dating. We just mess around cause we can. And we're comfortable with each other. And it feels good. Besides, I know girls in my class who've gone all the way. I think they're stupid. No one needs a baby in high school.

It began raining in fourth period. I watched the huge droplets hit the glass window and slide down. The raindrop orchestra drowned out Mr. Michaels' droning. Blah, blah, blah. He was like the teacher in the Peanuts' cartoon. I couldn't wait to get outside.

I waited at the door for Haley. When she brushed past me, she barely glanced over. By the time we reached the bus, her hair had quickly become a wet mop. I squinted through my rain-soaked lashes. "Fine, Haley. Why shouldn't I expect you to act like a baby?"

I sat in the back of the bus, next to the pot smokers. Our bus driver was so old, he couldn't smell or hear anything that happened on the bus. I'm surprised they still let him drive. I stared at the back of Haley's head for the entire ride.

When she got off the bus, she stood still, facing her home. I got off and "accidentally" whacked her with my bag. She whirled around. Her face was flushed and strands of wet hair stuck to her skin.

"What are you doing, Den?" she whispered, the words seeming to choke her. Hot tears simmered in her eyes.

"Haley, you're the one that has a huge tree up her arse. You need to get over yourself." I stomped across the street, not caring that I was getting completely soaked. Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks. In my driveway, sat a red sports car. My chest burned. A hand touched my arm and pulled me away.

Jan 25, 2008

another quote

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. -Anais Nin

Jan 23, 2008

when i can't think of what to write, i post a quote

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

Kurt Vonnegut, A Man without a Country
US novelist (1922 - 2007)

Jan 16, 2008

who knew that 34 degrees was bike riding weather?

i have this beautiful, "old school" bike, without gears or hand brakes, named Polly. David bought her for me from a sidewalk sale on Valencia (my favoritest street in the whole world). she's blue with a little bell that i can ring when i want to warn people that i'm about to hit them. i adore my bike. for two months (except for one, very strange weekend when the temp rose to a crazy 60 degrees) i have not been able to ride my bike. she's been sitting cold and rusting on the back porch. but, today, since David had some training to do at his new art teaching job, i rode my bike home from work. i was wearing thermals under my warmest jeans, a long sleeve shirt, my strawberry scarf, hoodie, my oklahoma coat, mittens, and my little penguin beanie. it's a four mile ride. at first, i was a little chilly. but by the time i reached home, i was actually warm. maybe i'll attempt this again. boy, living in san francisco really made me into a weather-wimp.

Jan 13, 2008

Prologue from my unfinished second novel, Invisible Elephants

The church is crowded this morning. There are faces I have not seen in months. There are faces I have never seen. The mass of faces blur together like one giant hive of angry bees on a garden of flowers. I am sitting next to the empty seat where Francis usually sits. Mom is sitting on the other side of that empty seat. Both of us feel the emptiness. The choir is singing Alleluia, but a voice cracks here and there. They're fidgety. Mrs. Farmer keeps blowing her nose. Her nose is red like a tomato. Mr. Johnson keeps clearing his throat. His shirt is buttoned all the way up and his tie looks like it is way too tight. My clothes are uncomfortable too. Mom ironed this skirt/vest combo that she made for me last year. They're too tight even though I've lost ten pounds in the last month. According to the scales, I weigh one hundred fifteen pounds. The vest won't close in the front. It is pink with tiny purple and blue flowers. The skirt is plain purple: Mom's favorite color. I'm wearing a white blouse under it that I've never worn before. It is itchy. My little, black shoes hurt my feet. I look over at Mom. A frozen, tight smile sits on her lips like a stranger in the room. Her hair is loosely curled and the only make-up she wears is a soft mauve lipstick. I think she looks beautiful. Dad has not said a word to us all morning. The air is thick. I want to wave my church bulletin like a fan, but I do not want to cause any more attention for myself.

The music stops abruptly. Dad walks up to the podium. His hands are shaking. He takes a slow sip of water. The whole auditorium is silent. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Dad clears his voice and taps the microphone.

"Fornication is an abomination!"

I bite my lip so hard I taste blood.

"This house must be cleaned of the filth of the Devil!"

Mrs. Walker in the front row whispers "Amen" and waves her handkerchief.

"Our children are in danger, my people. Our children are not safe, my people."

I see a tear roll down Mom's cheek. I hand her a tissue.

"I have failed you. I have failed my children. I brought Satan into the house of God. And I have been punished. I ask for your forgiveness." Dad's voice cracks. One of the elders walks over and lays his hand on Dad's shoulder. Mrs. Farmer begins bawling. Another elder comes forward as my dad begins to cry. No one moves toward Mom. I feel the blame reach us like a wave of electricity. I wish I were invisible.

Jan 11, 2008

if my name was hazelwood

i remember being a little girl (the weather was i don't know maybe nice i was with my brothers) we were at the house trailer my mom grew up in the country of ohio state (red and gray buckeye state) there was a school bus renovated yellow and black like a bumble bee and there were candy bars in the fridge and we loved our mom's sister's husband cause he was a welder and not dad (i didn't know once uncle drank my mom) he hated our uncle (but mom stayed inside where it was so dark we played outside) i knew uncle looked so old because he smelled different (my mom was older than she looked)

i remember the braided trees around grandma's white house (they were indian huts and towers for princesses—not in distress—and home for ewoks) i would desert the boys in the fruit-papered kitchen and eat with the grown-ups trying to be smart for my dad and me too (think think think) they were so old and intelligent spouting noise on religion and politics while i colored stories on my metal tray images of childhood fantasies near strawberry shortcake (my brothers wanted me to play g.i. joe with them but i couldn't make gun sounds)

there were girls on my mom's side but i wasn't pretty (i wore my hair in a ponytail every day i could climb trees) they weren't smart i heard my dad act but they were mom so i wanted the white-trash trailer house

fireworks were my favorite holiday cause i wore all red, white, and blue ribbons in my didn't want curly hair and sang america and watched the candy parade past grandma's white house (the sirens hurt my ears) i got to play with sparklers like a welsh fairie and aaaaahhhhh at the brilliance exploding on the dark curtain hanging up

it was dusk on my childhood but i was already old (writing stories with my barbie dolls) and the hazelwoods multiplied and the glovers retired into their theory-lives and i grew to love my curly hair and blue eyes (my brothers have pretty eyes too) i didn't know but i remember now i am both and neither the same and different i am simply me

Jan 9, 2008

Continuing Excerpt

"Wow." Haley's wide sea-swirled eyes held the vision before her.
"So, that was the first time I ran away from home. I was only six." I said, proud as a puppy.
"Why did you want to run away?" asked Ginny. She was walking slowly three feet up, on Mr. Rogers' wood fence that he had worked on all summer long.
"Well," I paused to chew on a piece of tall grass. It was sweet at the thick, roundish end. "Gramma was giving me another lecture about my awful manners. She'd said, 'I don't want people thinking that you were raised in the wild,' and I'd said, 'That would be fine with me!' Then I ran out the back door and across the neighbors' yard and into the wooded lot that was totally off-limits."

Jan 7, 2008

Excerpt from my novel, "Cast the First Stone"

Chapter One
Being lost is not the worst thing in the world. The first time I ran away, I didn't mind being lost at all. Everything about the house was heavy and hot and it was hard for me to breathe. But as soon as my feet reached the soft ground of the woods, I felt different. It was the very first time I had ever felt this kind of different. For several minutes, as I stood slightly bent over, heaving loudly to catch my breath, I didn't even realize that I was lost. The dark shapes of trees loomed high above me like a protective umbrella. Behind every tree scurried an unseen squirrel and above my head flew a robin, bringing food to his new family. I began thinking that maybe there was a lamppost in this wood, like in the cartoon Donna bought me for Christmas. The sky was a soft gray like the shadows and the earth. I felt alive. I felt like the wind might just carry me away if I held my breath tightly and stood as still as I could. But, like in the instant your hand slips and the glass breaks, my Gramma's strong hand grabbed my wrist and just like that I was yanked away.

Jan 6, 2008

another quote, thanks to Micah

I have loved badly, loved the great
Too soon, withdrawn my words too late;
And eaten in an echoing hall
Alone and from a chipped plate
The words that I withdrew too late.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sylvia Plath quote

A philosophical attitude: a drinking and living of life to the lees: please don't let me stop thinking and start blindly frightenedly accepting! I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.

Jan 5, 2008

"nycteris"

i am chasing the moon to find myself. he says: you can’t find yourself alone. so i buy my first pack of cigarettes (at the age of twenty-three)—marlboro lights 100’s in a box, please—and light one up under the september sky. between me and the harvest moon and the bits of beauty all about me, i meet myself. (but not for the first time.) i am the ashes falling from a cigarette hanging gently between peach fingers.

a fire touches prophet lips. (here i am.) flakes of coal fly into my body and linger like fireflies in a jar. (i am not alone.) the darkness, interrupted by tongues of silver words in the air, holds me.

i have followed the west wind to ask it a question and now i know: i am unclean. incense goes up before me and kisses my face. (i let go.) these lips cry holy and i drop the burning butt and grind it into the asphalt with my toes. (send me.) i walk back to the hotel. behind me, the moon is singing hallelujah.