Monday, December 3, 2007

response to 5,6,7

As interesting as the first four chapters were, i was beginning to believe that i was going to completely love this book. Section five began to make me doubt.

It was faily hilarious that Dave was paranoid about the babysitter molesting and possibly murdering Toph and eating all their food... for about the first five pages. Then I kind of took Logan's perspective... Point made, move on. Beyond that, (or i should say, during his ramblings about the perverted homicidal sitter) the parts about his friends was good in that it helped us understand Toph better. he grew up around older kids mostly, since his next youngest sibling is thirteen years his senior. While at the party he is not having a good time because he is still worried about Toph. So what does he do? He calls up an old friend and invites her out. When they are totally drunk and trying to have sex on the beach a group of teenagers come around and mess with them. I hope I wasn't the only one that thought Dave was awesome at first for trying to get the wallet back, and then greatly disappointed by how far he took it. He went from heroicly brave for taking on all of them to whiny and mean when he made them walk around with him while threatening them with deportation. AND he didn't even have the wallet in the first place.

A seperate point I would like to make is that he becomes a total jackass in section 6. Throughout the Real World interview he tries to sound like this tragic hero for america, like the obvious choice for the role. At first he did this well, and then he started talking about possibilities for the show, trying to write himself into it. I think that probably pissed MTV off. Who the hell is this kid to try to tell us what kind of show we are making and who we have to cast? Down to the gender and ethnic background. We all know what type of show they are making, but MTV wants to keep their sense of "we know and you don't and we are awesome for doing it." And by plugging his magazine during the interview i'm almost certain they were convinced at that point that it was the only reason he was there. Which is true. The whole first part of the chapter he is making fun of his contributor for wanting to be on the show.
I have to admit though, the stuff about the nude pictures and the captions was interesting. Now we see things like that all the time in magazines and commercials, but I am pretty sure we didn't before this. So it was interesting to see how they were pushign the envelope and changing the way people looked at bodies.

In Section 7, he decides to promote for the magazine by having the guy who IS picked for the show down to see some of his artwork. they pretend not to care about the cameras, but then when the cameras don't show up for the nude photo shoot they are admittedly disappointed. The section about him and Toph at the marina was bringing me back to the original story. They are, I have decided, what I like most about this book. Two bothers, both still children in their own way, living together through tragedy. Enough with the poetic ideals though. I also enjoyed the section about John. Except for all the swearing, i found it both fast paced and timeless. I felt like it was a moment in time that did not change. Through all the searching and swearing, nothing happened. But it was still fast and energetic and interesting. And this is what I liked best about it: "But don't they know? Didn't the dispatcher--- When I come to the part about how we don't know what he took or when...
I liked that finally, I didn't have to read about something twice. That he wasn't ranting or swearing about it all over again.
But yes, i liked the section about the friend attempting suicide, although how he got out of bed and decided to leave mid treatment had me confused since it lasted longer than the other imaginary scenes. But I think that I have convinced myself that it is an allusion to "john" deciding after the fact that he did not want to be in the book, and then he was persuaded to allow dave to use his story.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

To a Deep Regret

I wrote a poem once, "To a Deep Regret", that was about my extreme sense of guilt over the smallest and most insignificant of things. Of course, in the poem it was about me beating up my sister, making her cry, and then feeling really badly about it. My twelve-year-old self did not like feeling like a bully, so she tried to make up for it by hugging her sister (ten at the time) and saying she loved her and offering to play her stupid board game after all. Of course, this was not included in the poem. After that time though, I never bruised my sister again, and all our arguments became verbal. Honestly, I have not been in a fist fight since then.

I remember once walking to a Foster's Freeze when I was fourteen, and buying food. All my dad wanted was a chocolate banana shake. So i ordered it after my sister and I had eaten and we walked home. On the fifth stair to our apartment i dropped it, frantically grabbing at it while dread krept into my body through my hair follicles (it's preferred mode of entry) and slid menacingly down my spine, making my fumbling hands even more numb and useless. I watched the drink fall between the steps and splat! on the ground beneath me. I almost cried. This was the only thing my dad had asked for, and i ruined it. and he hadn't even given me enough to go back and buy another one without him knowing. With the heaviest of hearts I trudged into the apartment and he looked up from the couch, where he was carving a piece of wood into a small wolf. Instantly i felt like it would have been better to just throw myself off of our porch, and hope I died when I landed.
"I'm so sorry dad, i just dropped your shake right outside, i tripped on the stairs. Can I go back and get you another one?"
"No, don't worry about it, it's not a big deal."
But to me, it was a big deal. I could see his disappointment. He may have said it was fine, but i knew he was thinking "all i wanted was a shake, and she couldn't even get that. She dropped it, and I was really looking forward to drinking it."
I grounded myself for a week, and stuck to it. I didn't go anywhere but school, and I did not go to the football game Thursday or Friday night. I began practicing to be more graceful. I did not take the stairs at a jog ever again, even when it was freezing outside and i wanted to get home.

Another time in my youth, it had to be when i was eleven, my sister and I were playing in my brother's room. He was seventeen, and had already began staying at his girlfriends house most of the time. In his room was this huge poster, made by his guardian angel. You see, he was on the football team, and at our high school each starting player had a guardian angel that washed his uniform, cleaned his cleats, made posters to put around the school for people to show him support, and every morning before the game would leave a small gift basket with food, candy, and small girly things like stuffed animals with his number on them. Usually the players gave these to their girlfriends. Guardian angels were completely anonymous, so the girlfriends were never really jealous. If a player found out who his angel was, she was immediately replaced. It was a very exciting tradition.
Anyway, My sister and I were in his room, and he had a poster on his wall that said "Go, Shaun, GO!" and while we were sitting on his couch that pulled out into a bed (he said it made it more like an apartment, his own place.) she found a lighter. Being nine and eleven, we immediately decided to light a small piece of paper on fire. Another one of my stupidest moments: For some reason I decided using a hole-puncher on someone's hair would put a hole in it. The result was an angry person who had a chunk of hair close to his scalp. I digress, but that is just too entertaining to think about. After we lit the paper on fire, we decided to light other things on fire. Including, a cup, which didn't work, a CD, which only turned blackish, and a pillow. The pillow smoldered, but no flames. So paper is that would burn, and the biggest piece of paper was the poster. She lit a small corner of it... the bottom corner. The flame instantly grew to almost a foot, and her response was to blow it out. You know what that did. Big fire. So, i grabbed the still smoldering pillow and Whack! Whack! Whack! until the fire was out. the result was a brown edged poster that now said "aun, GO!" and a very large brown sooty spot on the wall where the poster used to stand. For this my idea was a paint scraper. After realizing that the really white powdery substance underneath was not what a wall was supposed to look like, we left it alone. Looking at the scene, I remember wishing i was on fire, so that my brother would not care about the poster. Because if he didn't care, then i wouldn't be to blame. And if it wasn't my fault, then I didn't have to feel bad about it.

In case it seems more like a feeling of fear of punishment, know that my parents never punished me for anything, never imposed any rules, other than the dating one, and generally were not interested in how I grew up or how I turned out. When I didn't want to go to school they said okay, but would not call in for me. When I didn't do my homework they simply said, "it's your future, I can't make you do something I didn't do." After sixth grade I went unless I was really sick, and I did as much homework as I could remember to do.
Another proof of the lack of fear is that on one occasion i did cry. I was twenty, and I had gone to my storage space to find some papers for a portfolio for class. I Had crawled around over boxes and furniture, sorted through almost everything there was, and not found them. I was about to leave when i stepped over a box and onto a table, not realizing a single glass vase was standing on the edge of it. The table shook a little, and the vase fell and shattered on the floor. As i cleaned it up I cried because it had been so beautiful, and someone had made it, and now it was gone forever. I cried at the loss of beauty, the loss of history, over something like that. A broken vase, that was one of millions just like it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


6:34 a.m.
“Steph, are you going to get in the shower?” Laura asks me again. The alarm went off only four minutes ago. Give me a goddamn minute. All I say is, “I’m not sure.” As I weigh the option of not going to class. I really need more sleep. Since she doesn’t have a car and mine is a stick, I know there is no chance of me not having to drive her across town to the University. So I roll over and pick up my phone. Its 6:34. I’m supposed to be waking up but my eyes just won’t seem to open enough. They are dry and sticky. This is probably because she and her sorority sister had me up until almost one. I really need to get more sleep.

6:36 a.m.
“I have a clock we can put in the living room. It’s not very pretty, but it tells time, you know?” Laura is sitting next to me in the bed. I wonder why she would rather sleep in my bed, when I have a perfectly comfortable guest bed in the other room. Maybe she’s scared of my apartment. That can’t work out, she’s about to move into that guest bedroom so she’s going to have to get used to it. But no, she’s sitting next to me rubbing her eyes. If I hadn’t known her since fourth grade (and known that she was just engaged) I might have been more uptight about her sleeping in my bed. However, as I am sure she is completely straight, there is no problem. I grunt in response to her question. At the same time, a completely unnecessary feeling of agitation arises at the thought of her putting a clock on the wall. It isn’t because I feel like she is trying to take over the place; I like the idea of her decorating with me. It isn’t because she and I have different tastes and I don’t like her stuff, we actually are very similar in style and preferences. It therefore has to be a problem with the idea of a clock. But clocks are everywhere, and I’ve never had a problem with a clock being on the wall. I try to think back to the last time I had a clock on the wall. Not at University Village, the apartments I lived in during my first two years at college. No clocks decorated my mother’s house, at least not until after I moved out. My grandparents’ houses didn’t have them either. This seemed strange to me, but at the same time symbolic. The only clock I ever remember on a family member’s wall was my Aunt Melissa. We all knew she was the uptight, hurried one. Always on the go, Ben Franklin would have admired her commitment to his phrase “Time is money.”

6:40 a.m.
“Good Morning America. Today we stand proud to be in the USA SO let everyone know how strong of AMERICANS we are. WE THE USA ARE FIGHTERS ON THIS 9/11” My phone blasts my Avril Lavigne “Girlfriend” ringtone to tell me about this text message. When I read it I do not feel pride. I am angry that he sent this to me at Just-Past-Dawn in the morning. I am not a morning person. I used to be a great morning person, the type who’s eyes flew open the moment (if not before) the alarm went off and was out of bed and had it made less than a minute later. Early to every class, on time to work, and the life of the party until three a.m., I could pass out and be up again the next six-thirty and do it again. I hear sleep deprivation can wear you down. Well, apparently sixteen years of insomnia and power naps is finally taking a toll. I’m no longer a morning person.

6:52 a.m.
I finally get out of bed. I walk into the living room and watch Laura shuffling through her duffel bag for clean clothes to wear. As she selects a pair of faded jeans I go into the kitchen and flick on the coffee machine. Instantly I hear the gurgle of the water shooting up the tube and six seconds later a rich brown liquid begins to pour into the pot. The smell of coffee enters my brain, and I’m suddenly more awake. The familiar smell from every summer morning growing up makes me nostalgic to an almost painful extent. I miss being six years old, adding sugar by the spoonful until my grandmother made me stop and ushered me to the breakfast table where a hot toasted egg-ham-and-cheese sandwich waited. My six-year-old self would pick up the tiny triangles (she cut it into four diagonally) of the sandwich and dip them in the coffee, savoring each taste of it as if I wouldn’t have the same thing for breakfast again the next day. I also think of airports, traveling across country with family every summer from twelve to eighteen. The smell of the coffee also makes me think of hotels breakfasts and Denny’s restaurants. It smells so good. Thank God I remembered last night to set it up. When I’m awake it only takes forty-three seconds to fill the pot, dump it in the back, and scoop two tablespoons of coffee into the filter. When I’m sleepy it takes nearly two minutes. I head to the bathroom still thinking about clocks. I don’t think I like clocks after all. I can’t guess why, I always watch them in classes that bore me. Like government. The clock in my government class has to be in the book of world records for managing to take one normal second and make it last the equivalent of ten science-class-seconds.

6:59 a.m.
“We should get a little clock for the vanity area too,” Laura says around her toothbrush. The comb in my hair continues to brush through the non-existent tangles. I don’t know why I even brush my hair. I could come out of a blizzard and run my fingers through it for a minute to have it back to normal. Normal, that’s why I do it. It’s normal. But clocks are normal too, and I obviously have some deep-seeded bias against them. I brush my hair all the time. More than most people definitely. I give this tendency all the credit for the fact that my hair grows an inch each month. But I blame this tendency for all the split ends. I counted seventeen in one lock last week. I have to get my hair trimmed when I have time. Laura was continuing about the clocks again. “I don’t know if you ever saw the clock in my bathroom at Robert’s, but one of these days I’ll have to take you over and show it to you.”
“I saw it, it was small and blue and plastic, so it could get wet. Played AM/FM radio”
“Yeah, wow you remember. Hey, what time is it?”
“I’d guess about seven o’clock.” I look at my phone. “6:59.”

7:12 a.m.
“We should be leaving soon.” Laura says while she eats the toast I made for breakfast. I make no motion other than to pick up my thermos of coffee and take a long swig. I look at her and nod when I’m done, but I reach for the fridge. I pull out lettuce, my home-made salad dressing, a bag of carrots, a yogurt, and a granny smith apple. I walk to the cupboard and pull out a Tupperware bowl. In the drawer directly below that cabinet I grab a lid. Laura drinks her own cup of French Vanilla coffee as she watches me at work. Wash the lettuce and carrots. Rip it apart and put it in the bowl. Toss in carrots. I pour way too much dressing in, so I add more lettuce and place the lid on top. For good measure, and cause it feels like the right thing to do, I shake the meal up. I take out some cold turnkey meat and break it into chunks in the bowl. Shake again. I can’t resist and I take a bite, the olive oil-lemon-salt-and-pepper dressing is the best I’ve ever tasted. Yeah, I need a better name for it. I’ll think of one someday. Right now we have to leave.

7:34 a.m.
I change the song as soon as I turn the car on. I don’t feel like soft rock today. Let’s try a hip-hop station. No, how about country? Nothing there either. I put on a CD, but they are all overplayed to me at this point. I turn the radio back on and finally find a song that feels right. We pull out of the driveway, my lunch and books and Laura’s backpack in the backseat. I silently pray that nothing falls over and spills, and as we merge onto the 180 I realize that I forgot my coffee on the counter. Oh well, I had drank most of it anyway. At least we’ll be on time to class. Why I signed up for an eight a.m. Anthropology course I’ll never understand. It’s got to be the stupidest thing I’ve personally ever done. The phone rings and I answer it, knowing before I look who it is.
“Hey Grandma.”
“Hey whatcha doin?” She asks in the exact same way she does every morning when she calls me or I call her. She’s eating. Suddenly I think of those delicious sandwiches again.
“Driving on the freeway. Did you have an egg-ham-and-cheese sandwich today?” this is a fair question. While she made them whenever I wanted them, it was not an everyday thing for her now.
“I’m eating it right now.” She says in a ‘where are the hidden cameras’ kind of way. She’s a little paranoid. My pseudo-psychic moments are always unnerving to her. “How did you know?”
“Just a guess. I thought about them earlier. Hey I have a question.”
“When is the last time you had a clock on your wall?”

Much Better

Okay, thanks Josh for letting me know about Thursday. I changed my topic completely, and I'll try to have it posted on here asap, it's just over five pages, with lots of places to go so i'm really happy with it. I think my main problem was that it was a memory from a long time ago, and not so clear in my mind. The new topic only happened this morning, so it was fresh and i was more able to recall the thoughts and feelings and reactions. anyway... i'm on my way to class now... i'll see you all soon. :-)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Personal Essay Update

Hey guys, I just thought I'd let you know that I have most of my story finished, but I'm not exactly happy with it. What started out as a Taoist look at freedom in the form of nearly drowning has quickly become a thirteen year-old's diary. Not so motivating or meaningful. It also isn't the required length just yet, and I don't know where I can expand it without it becoming forced or boring. I only need another page, but thinking ahead I'm not sure I would be able to expand it again to the full ten. Tomorrow we only need five, right?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Single Tear

Hey guys, this is the poem I told Josh I would post on my blog, it's creative nonfiction poetry... not that i think that term needs the word "creative." I like it for the most part, and I love most of it. The last line is a little iffy... but it at least keeps with the rhyming scheme. If you have any comments or ideas for it, I'd appreciate them. I'm good at taking criticism. :-)

A single tear falls down my cheek as I think of what I've lost.
I think about the pleasure felt, and all the pain it's cost.
The love I'd felt for someone who would never feel the same.
The pleading that I did to keep the one that caused my shame.
I was not whole or happy when we first said that it was over.
I thought my heart would heal with time and that I would recover.
Over time as we would talk and we hung out together
I realized what I felt for him would burn in me forever.
I thought that maybe one day he would say he felt love too
But then he sent the message: he had found somebody new.
She was who he felt for, what I still feel for him,
And she feels the same way, and I'm alone again.
The tears fall faster as I think of all I'll never be.
The wife and mother of the kids he used to want from me.
The one he would come home to, kiss each and every day.
The one he said he'd always love in each and every way.
There would be no couch to lie on at night with the kids in bed
There would be no holidays to share or sweet nothings said.
She would have his kisses, and she would make him smile
She would hear sweet nothings, and love him for a while.
My heart begins to break to bits as I remember when
My love and I would gently stroke and kiss each other's skin,
I know that one day I'll be fine and happy with my life.
But I will not give my heart again, I can't take that pain and strife.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Here I Am...

Hey guys, I don't yet know who my group is, but it just felt so WRONG to have a blog with nothing on it... even for just a few hours! Thanks for reading, this one isn't really a big deal. :-) Happy blogging and I know i look forward to reading your work and developing mine this semester!