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Posts Tagged ‘Wordy Wednesday’

This week is a continuation of last week’s thrust entry. I am once again thrusting you backward in time, backward into the mind of an overly emotional young woman. I have always felt things acutely and nothing brings about an attack of accute-emo-itis more than love. Now I’ve never had much luck in the love department (broken engagements, affairs, being left for other men or women, blah blah blahty-blah) but the older I get the more I try and change my outlook on love. It’s a work in progress but I’m getting better at not judging my own value based on how my lovers have treated me. I’m not a sad-sack lump of a spinster. I’m a cool chick with goals and a lot of love to give, in my way. However I choose that to be now. But this girl, the one who’s about to appear below… she didn’t have that outlook. Her entire life was based around becoming a wife and mother. Yep, at the tender age of 13 when she had her first failed relationship & ever since. Up until about 2008. That girl is coming out of the shadows to share these musings with you. Hope you enjoy!

2000
Driftwood
I sit on my bed, looking out of my window.
I watch you get in your car
and drive out of my life
                     forever.

I loved you
I waited for you
I sacrificed for your benefit
And you drifted
                                     away.

When you held me
My worries disappeared.
I forgot all the things
That were going wrong.

Then we began changing,
Our two new selves
Emerging from their cocoons,
And we began drifting.

Now as I sit on my bed,
I love you.
I’ll wait for you,
And you’ll drift away
                                     again.

2000
Metamorphosis
It is dawn.
And with it comes the tide;
The waves beat in
And the waves retreat.
They fall back and feast upon themselves.
This is the steady breath of the sea.

She sits at the water’s edge
Letting the ocean lick her feet.
She begins to think as she sits:
About life, love, family and faith. 

“My life is good,” she tells herself.
“My love is true,” she hesitates.
“My family is well and my faith steadfast.”
With every thought her certainty wavers and
As she thinks, she sighs. And weeps.
With every thought Mother Sea breates on.

The sun has slipped into his starry bed; and
The moon now shines in her haunting beauty.
Mother Sea lives, still singing her life-breath.

“My life is randon. Do I matter?
My love is chaotic. Should I end it?
My family is a unit and I the outsider.
My faith is sporadic.”

There on the beach she kneels and prays for change.
Slowly, reverently she turns and walks home.

It is dawn,
And with it comes the tide.
The waves beat in
And the waves retreat.
This is the stronghold of life,
The unerring breath of the sea.

Again she sits on the beach
Letting the waves kiss a path up her legs.
Once again she begins to think
About life, love, family and faith.

“It is good.”

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This week’s word is thrust. I had a hard time with it. But I thought a little differently about my post and came up with an idea. What if I thrust myself into my past poetic musings? Either that or write erotica. Those were the two things I came up with. Not sure if my blog is ready for erotica quite yet, so a stroll down memory lane it is. Mind you each of these poems is at least 7 years old & I’m not going to update or change them at all. And strangely, upon re-reading these (most of which were about a broken engagement from 2002) they could have been written just a couple of years ago with that ex. I made the same mistakes; I felt the same emotions. Regardless of what happens in the future, this time I will learn from my mistakes, if only by revisiting them periodically in written form. Here we go.

**Upon consideration, I decided to spread this one up over two weeks so it isn’t as obnoxious. Next week I’ll bring you a couple more excerpts from the mind of an emotional mess. Lol**

2003
Does anyone else know
how much it hurts to
be destroyed by Love?
To be broken down
by the only one
who knows your weaknesses?

One day You, You antagonist
of happy feelings, You!
Killer of Love! Molester
of Faith, You shall get
your turn on the block.
You shall have your
shit-filled head sliced off
by the words of the
one you love. For she will
discover you, she will
find you out. And if not,
God help her.

2000
For Lost “Love”:
I love you,
I need you,
Please stay.
You’re horrible,
I hate you,
Leave me be!
You hurt me,
You kiss me,
You heal me.
As if that makes it better.
You hit me,
You drive me away
Only to pull me back.
I listen,
I obey,
I succumb to you.
We break up,
We make up,
Oh well.
I’ll live.

I hope.

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Today’s word is zucchini. I had an imediate reaction to this word, though probably not the one people would expect. It made me hungry. So off to the kitchen I went… and twenty minutes later I sat down to my computer, sauteed zukes in hand, to write this week’s story. Hope you enjoy!

If she had just handed over the recipe, everything would have been alright. If she hadn’t been such a selfish bitch, everything would have been fine. But she didn’t and she was, so everything is decidedly not alright. I suppose I should back up a bit, let you in on what got us to this point. What point? I am the owner of Beth Trinkle’s prize-winning Zucchini Bread recipe… and Beth? She’s dead.

Everything about Beth Trinkle was perfect. She had the most beautiful, bouncy blonde hair I had ever seen and even with braces in her 15-year old mouth, she was gorgeous. And to a gangly, mousy-brunette, ordinary looking new girl like myself, she looked like the epitome of what a girl should be. Beth and I met in the 9th grade at Benjamin Franklin Preparatory Academy. Her family, being of the genteel southern variety, had been going there for generations and mine had finally scraped together enough money to get me out of the horrible school I had been attending. I had been telling them for years that my school was hell. They only began to believe me when a 12-year old black boy was hung outside the school gym in 1954. Integration wasn’t going to come easy in Georgia. Or in other places in the deep south from what little news came to my teenaged ears.

After that incident, my parents pinched pennies until they were able to afford a year at Ben Franklin and a year away from the racial hatred. Oh I’m not black, but my parent had a lot of black friends as did I. We weren’t the type people wanted around in those days. My parents were what we called “free thinkers” and in the 60’s they would march on Washington, DC, smoke a lot of pot and have sex in public. I would be mortified by them, but would secretly be doing the same things, just on the other coast. I was in my early 20s and I would have the time of my life, even if my parents were doing the same. I would be ok to be my mother just this once. And now back to Beth.

We never spoke. Not once. I tried my best to blend in with the deep mahogany panelled walls of BFPS and Beth never bothered to look beyond the end of her pretty little button nose. She had her lackeys, her boys in letterman’s jackets and her home economics club. And beyond my penchant for disappearing, I also had a penchant for poetry and older men. We did not travel in the same circles. But I knew her nonetheless. Who wouldn’t notice if a unicorn strolled into their math class? Even a unicorn who couldn’t multiply to save her rear end.

Alright, this is moving way too slowly. We met, she was beautiful, I was a little jealous (though I would never admit it then), blah blah blah, jump forward hmm… about 45 years. That should be good.

In 1999, we were both 60 and wound up in the same place for the first time since leaving Ben Franklin Preparatory School. I had just gotten my second divorce and moved back to Savannah, GA to get a new start. Neither of my marriages had produced offspring and I was secretly glad for that. Both my husbands had wanted children, but I had not. I do not have a maternal bone in my now-post-menopausal body.  I was doing some shopping at the Piggly-Wiggly down the street from my newly leased duplex when BAM. There she was. Even though I hadn’t seen her since the 50’s, I knew her instantly. The same bouncy blonde hair now had a slight hint of silver and her damn button nose was just as cute. I admit I stalked her around the store for about 10 minutes just staring at her. I couldn’t believe how well she had aged. I wanted to think she had married a plastic surgeon who was secretly holding everything together, hell holding everything up with all his surgical prowess. I wanted to think it took  a lot of prowess, but she was just one of those lucky people who aged gracefully. Somehow she was even more beautiful than she was in her teens. And she had two equally beautiful sunny blonde toddlers in the basket of her cart. And I figured that unless she was the world’s most beautiful bionic woman, those toe-headed tots were her grandchildren. Twins, wouldn’t you know it?

And now that the dripping green tones of envy are beginning to taint the edges of this little tale, we’re going to skip forward again. I still will not admit that I could have possibly been jealous of the grandchildren I didn’t want the children to get.

In 2007, at age 68, I found Beth Trinkle again. This time at Peter Pepper’s Pie & Pasta Cook-off. We had both entered the pecan pie contest & our tables had been assigned across from one another. I was unloading all of the ingredients for my blue-ribbon winning cinnamon-laced pecan pie, when the thin patch of sun between the overhead tarps bounced off of those stunning blonde waves. Needless to say, she won. Though I probably handed her that particular blue ribbon by failing to actually get my pie in the oven before time ran out. I was too busy watching her easy movements and steady hands.

A few months later, we both entered another contest. Cookies this time. I made a mental note not to watch her from across the venue and this time I actually had something to present to the judges. And it came down to Beth’s Pomegranate-Passion fruit shortbread cookies and my Oatmeal-Cardamom Chocolate Chip cookies. The judges really seemed to like my cookies, but she won. This was becoming a pattern. Not a good one. Over the course of the next year, she trumped me 7 times and I only managed to take home 2 ribbons. And to top it off, she still didn’t bother to talk to me. She beamed when she won and she lost graciously, without ever shaking my hand. I really started disliking her. I could see under her calm, ladylike southern veneer to the shallow, sullen and ugly underbelly of her temperament.

Two weeks ago, I was sent the email entry list for the mother-of-all baking contests. I had been accepted to bake in the Betty Crocker Bread Bake-off. So had Beth Trinkle. This one was special. I had never been the one to stand up front and demand attention. I was always the one who stood to the back and was content to just participate. But now I wanted the glory. I wanted my recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. My name. My fame. It was the only time I had ever wanted recognition and I was damned if she was going to take my title away from me. I found her in the Piggly-Wiggly gathering ingredients for her famous Zucchini Bread. I decided she was probably practicing it so she could enter it into the contest. Damn, I thought to myself. This was going to be hard. Really hard. I was making a pumpkin bread with a swirl of cinnamon-sugar. It was good, but was it that good? I had had Beth’s bread at a bake-off in Atlanta (where, incidentally, she won $4,000 for taking 1st place) and it was absolutely the best zucchini bread I had ever eaten. Something inside me snapped. My fame was slipping through my fingers as quickly as she was loading flour and vegetables onto the checkout counter.

As she left the store, I abandoned my cart where it was and earned myself an angry look from the cart-boy. I was starved for attention that was 50-odd years overdue and I didn’t care what I had to do to get it: Beth Trinkle would know my name before the day was out. I got in my car and tailed her to her home. It was easy to keep track of her; she was the only shimmery pink SUV in Savannah with the tag “GRITGAL.” Gag.

Her home was beautiful. The kind of home you see on the cover of Southern Living magazine. Magnolia trees in the yard, azalea bushes hugging the wrap-around veranda, two-storeys of post-colonial masonry and wood painted a demure shade of farmhouse cream and three cars in the driveway. I don’t know why but I was incensed. How did this woman manage to get everything?  The attention, the men, the house, the kids… no, not the kids. I didn’t care about the progeny. I still don’t.

I parked my car on the street and followed her into the driveway. I just wanted to see what she was doing. I just wanted to see her make the bread. Now let’s be honest with ourselves here, I could tell you she went right in & started making the bread, but she didn’t. She futzed around putting away groceries, did the dishes, washed the counter and laid out some fish (presumably for dinner the next night). I waited through all of this. Just to figure out how she did it would be worth the hours I spent watching her mundane home-maker’s existence.

I almost gave up hope when she started to grab the pruning shears. I thought she was going to go get some magnolia blossoms from the trees to have as a centerpiece on her table when she swapped the shears for a pair of gardening gloves. There was a large sun hat laying next to the gloves, but it was nearing dusk and there was little sun to mar her pretty porcelain face. She exited through a side door off the kitchen and very close to the window I was crouching below. I forced my way into an azalea bush and out of her line of sight and continued to watch her from my hiding spot.

She strolled  silently down the path to the garden & knelt down in front of the carrots? No, those couldn’t be carrots. She was baking zucchini bread. I knew my enemy, had tasted my enemy, and as long as I could see her make it I could figure it out. If she was making something with carrots I was out of luck, out of cookbook… I was out of options. I pulled myself out of the bush by sheer will and strolled up behind her.

“What are you making for the contest?” I demanded.

“Excuse me? Who are you, why are you on my property?” I shared a winner’s podium with this woman and she didn’t even recognize me.

“I have known you since 1954. We went to school together. You’ve beaten me to a blue ribbon 8 times and I’ll be damned if you’re going to do it again. Betty Crocker is mine. Give me your damned Zucchini Bread recipe. Now.” I was getting madder by the second and her outraged expression wasn’t helping matters.

“I most certainly will not. I don’t know you and even if I did, that is my favorite recipe. I created it. It’s mine. And it will not be yours. Now kindly leave.” And just as she would dismiss an angry two year old, or a dog she had scolded, she turned her back on me in a huff.

“I haven’t come this far to leave empty handed, you old bitty. And you do know me; you just never bothered to ask my name. Or even give me the time of day. You’re going to give me your recipe because you never bothered to be human with me. You never let me into your world,” so now I’m going to force my way in, I added as an afterthought. “Give me the recipe.”

She remained facing away from me, calmly pulling carrots and brushing off the excess dirt. I could feel my hands clenching into fists at my sides but couldn’t make them stop. I felt my feet moving me forward but couldn’t make them stop. My teeth were grinding with rage and I didn’t want them to stop. The sound of my tortured molars was drowning out my rational thoughts and I liked it. I didn’t want rationality, I wanted my due. I wanted that recipe. And if I couldn’t have it, neither would Beth Trinkle…

The last thing I remember I had taken about 6 unrelenting steps toward her still kneeling body. When I came to myself again, she was lying on her side, eyes staring at me vacantly. This was a woman who no longer had that spark of life. Her hair no longer shone in the dying sun, her button nose was blotchy and imperfect and she was less… she was just less.

As I walked away from the home of Beth Trinkle, all I could think about was the competition. My pumpkin bread was going to win. I was going to win & there was nothing that she could do about it now.

Like I said before, if she had just given me the Zucchini Bread recipe, we would have been fine.

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Today marks the inaugural story for my Wordy Wednesday series. My friend Courtney supplied me with my inspiration word: preposterous. The point of Wordy Wednesday is to get my creative juices flowing, adhere to deadlines (which I suck at) and finally learn to stop being my own worst critic. I am normally so self-conscious about my writing that I never share it with anyone. I tend to agonize over every little word choice because like Twain says, “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

But for me, just sharing it without obsessing is a huge step and one I’m willing to take even though I will probably be uncomfortable with it for awhile. So pop in your old Alanis Morisette CD, kick back and delve into this little story, chocked full of teen-y angst & denial.

The Preposterous Adventure of Sara Nack

Sara Nack had a way of spinning tall tales. No, she wasn’t a writer turning fiction into money for her publishers. And she wasn’t a bard weaving tales for the wealthy or elite. Nope; Sara Nack was a liar and an extremely talented one, if word around town can be trusted. Her family had abandoned all hope of getting a straight answer from the teen when she had begun routinely responding to questions about her day with stories about witches with stringy hair, demons with red eyes and chains, kidnapping and drugged-out teens. They lived in the suburbs, for Christ’s sake. There were no drugs in Sierra Vista.

Until one day in late October, Sara had never seen the harm in her hyperbolic ways. It wasn’t as if everything was made up. If her story was about a witch, it just meant that she had seen that creepy woman in her ratty rainbow-colored prayer shawl walking back from the Wa-Wa earlier in the day. If the story was about a demon, she was just letting her parents know that she had once again been chased by their neighbor’s vicious pit bull, Rosy. Sara swore that damned thing had been sent from the gates of hell to torment her on the way to or from school. (Why her parents couldn’t just let her ride the bus like the normal kids, or get her a car like she asked, Sara would never know.) And if the story was about drugged-out teens, well… No matter what her parents said, there were drugs everywhere. Even in their precious Sierra Vista.

But that day, with the crisp chill in the air, Sara Nack would rethink the workings of the universe. That day, Sara would figure out that there is more to life than Mr. Scottson’s next Trig test & trying to guess what they were serving in the cafeteria. The following is the entry from Sara Nack’s diary for November 2, five days after what would be known in her family as “The Preposterous Adventure of Sara Nack.”

November 2.

Ok, so I haven’t written in a while, but I just need to get this down on paper. No one believes me & I can’t figure out why. I couldn’t make this up if I tried & it’s not like I make things up anyway. What? I don’t. Why do I feel like my own diary is rolling its eyes at me? Traitor. >:{

Well, anyway it doesn’t matter. I’m going to tell the story my way. The real way. Just as it happened.  I won’t bore you with a lot of the background details, but I’ll try to give you enough so that anyone who reads this (which will probably be you, you nosy stuck-up snoop Alex!) will be able to figure out just what happened to me and see how honest I am about the whole messy thing.

My day started off totally normal. I woke up late to the tandem sounds of my blaring clock radio and my sister Alexandra’s grating screams from downstairs, “Sara Paige, if you don’t get out of that bed right now, you will be late for school and I am not driving you!” Alexandra was left in charge of getting me off to school since Dad worked overnights as a corrections officer and Mom had to leave at 3am to make her morning commute into the city where she worked as a decorator in a trendy cupcake bakery. Sometimes it hits me that Alex might resent me. It’s not like it’s my fault that Alex was born first. But, man, did Alex take it out on me like it was.

Grudgingly, I slapped the radio that was cheerfully blasting “Tik Tok” by that insufferable twit Ke$ha. How did that no talent troll get a record deal, I managed to think through my sleepy fog. A cold shower was all that I could manage before it was time to leave the house (it’s always cold. Probably because my stupid sister uses all the hot water every morning just to make sure my day starts off shitty. At least that’s what I think).  With sopping wet hair and some mismatched outfit I pulled off my bedroom floor, I grabbed a pop-tart and sprinted from the house forgetting my overstuffed bookbag and all of my homework. And my jerk of a sister didn’t even bother to remind me.  Anyway, back to my day…

So out the door I went, and that stupid demon-dog Rosy took off running toward me as soon as my feet hit my front porch. I can’t outrun that beast, so I did the only thing I could think of and chucked my pop-tart at her. So much for a balanced breakfast. I can’t even manage to grab a sugar-laden fake strawberry breakfast. Sacrificing my sugar-high bought me enough time to round the corner without HellHound on my heels.

My school is only a couple of blocks away (which is the argument my parents made when I wanted a car for my 16th birthday. “Why do you need a car, honey? You don’t do anything other than go to school and school is just a few blocks away.”  Hell, I might want to go to 7-11 one day. And now, when my birthday rolls around, I won’t have any way to answer the siren call of the mighty Coke Slurpee. Damnit.) and I almost made it there. I had stopped running as soon as I was sure that Rosy wasn’t following me, because honestly how much difference would 2 minutes make? I was going to be late anyway, so I might as well do the thing right. I slowed down even more when I reached the thick hedges that surrounded the creepy blue house on the corner. I had always wanted to see exactly what lay beyond that green screen, but my parents said it would be rude to disturb the family that lived there even though I was pretty cure it was deserted. I had never actually seen anyone go in or out, not even a car, so I was really surprised when I heard voices from inside the shrubs. I stopped walking, thoughts of being late for school completely gone, and listened. I couldn’t understand a word… it was like whoever it was was speaking another language. And it sure wasn’t Spanish. I’d had a year of Spanish and I could say things like “My name is…” and “Where is the library?” so I was obviously an expert at it.

There was a rustle in the leaves and my curiosity got the better of me. I crept around to the first break in the hedge I could find and peeked in. When my mind finally registered what I was seeing, I had to pick my jaw up off the ground (Don’t scoff. I did. The dumb hole in the hedge was about 2 inches above the sidewalk). There was a little bulbous, gray creature that looked a little like that comic strip my father likes so much. You know, the one with the little guy with the giant nose? Ziggy; yeah, that’s it. The thing looked like Ziggy. It had what I supposed was a very long, fat nose and rolls of pudge on its face and stomach like a shar pei puppy. It’s “ears” looked more like flattened fingers laying flat against its head and the thing’s arms were so long they drug the ground; at the end of those uber-long arms hung hands like mallets with long, curved fingers. There were creepy patches of curly pube-like hair on its stomach and feet. Oh, I didn’t tell you what his feet looked like! Have you ever dropped a really ripe banana on the floor? You know how they kind of split open and smush? Yep, looked just like that. Gross. I decided I would call him Squirm.

 I could only figure Squirm was an alien (what the hell else could it have been?) and my first thought was that if ET had looked like this, that movie would have tanked. Seriously, the thing was that unfortunate looking. The whole time I was staring at Squirm, it was busy working away. At what, you say? Squirm was taking garden gnomes and shoving them in a giant hole in the tree. I know what you’re thinking; why would a thing want one garden gnome let alone several… but this thing did. And it wanted everything else in the yard from what I could tell. Anything that was shiny or colored, Squirm was grabbing up. The quirky waddling gait made it hard for the little guy to get around the yard, which had a million groundhog holes in it. It kept tripping and falling in the holes and mumbling in that strange language. I figured it was cursing. I know I would have been if I had tripped that many times. I was amazed at how much shit Squirm managed to shove in this tree and I kind of zoned out watching it hoard all the kitsch it could carry.

I must’ve watched the thing go back and forth forty thousand times (I couldn’t believe how much crap there was in this yard!) because the next thing I knew, the yard was empty and the end of day bell was sounding at school. Shit, I thought. I had missed the whole day. I would have some explaining to do when my parents found out. And my sister, the goody-two-shoes, would have a field day with it.  ”See, I knew she was adopted. No way she’s related to me. She’s such a slacker. What? Seriously Dad, she is.” My sister’s a twat. I decided I’d just have to tell them the truth; that was all there was to it.

My parents managed to make it all the way to dinner without asking about my day. Probably a new record for them. “What did you do today, Sara?” Dad asked the same bored voice he always used when he asked me things. So right there, over the spread of mom’s cheesy tuna noodle casserole, creamed spinach (blech!), corn and rolls, I told them all about my day. When I finished, they all looked at me like I was making absolutely every word of it up. Then, they laughed! Can you believe it? They laughed at me & my father looked at my mother and said “well, dear. What do you think of that? Sara had an adventure today. What shall we call this latest creation? Fantasy or fiction?” Mom didn’t say a word, she just started mutely at me like I had a toenail growing out of my forehead, Guiness Book of World Records style. But my sister, my big-mouth smart ass sister, piped up and said, “I know, Dad! We should call it ‘The Preposterous Adventure of Sara Nack!’” Alex and Dad were cackling like old women and Mom was still just staring at me with that half-frown on her face. I’m just glad we were having tuna noodle casserole, because if we had been having something, oh I dunno… good… it would have been much harder to throw down my fork and storm away from the table in protest. That’ll show ‘em not to make fun of me for telling the truth anymore. I spent the night in my room on the computer IMing friends. My friends all believed me. Know why they believed me? Cuz it’s the truth, damnit!

And that was the story of last Friday. What? Did you think I was going to say I went with the little troll thing and had some giant adventure in a land where birds fly upside down, water is fluffy, garden gnomes are currency, and people are blue? Well I didn’t. And I would never say that, because that would be a lie. And I didn’t even stretch the truth this time. Not even a little bit. Preposterous, my ass.

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