I'm Moving

After enjoying LiveJournal for nearly year, I've found that I need a blog that's a little more customizable for my needs. I've moved to a new home at Wordpress, where it will be easy to handle VisPo among other things. It's still under construction, but all the basics are in place. Visit Windspirit Girl there: 

  Windspirit Girl

No, I Cannot Talk

Last weekend a friend and I found a girl collapsed outside a loft entrance gate. It's haunted us ever since. This story is inspired by that experience. 

Their voices are so far away. Muffled, as if I were underwater. Am I underwater? 
“Ma’m, do you need help?” 
Do I need help? I parse the question, searching for meaning in the component parts. 
“Ma’m!” My eyes open. Startle. Reflex. Sound. So sharp now. She’s staring at me intently. Blue eyes. She has blue eyes. 
“Can you talk?” I open my mouth, paste lining the inside.  I breathe in. Nothing comes out.  
She’s waiting. 
I close my eyes. Running. I was running. 
“Ma’m, do you remember what happened to you?” 
I remember Harrison’s. Sitting at the bar, Bruce averting his eyes as he sometimes does.  
A different voice. “Do you remember—?” Eternal pause. “She’s not responding. Do you think we should call 911?” 
Did I forget to shake my head? Yes? No? 
Shots. Different kinds.   
“What if she’s just high—or drunk?” 
“She needs help. I’m calling.” 
Who are they calling? 
I lift my arm. Dragging weightlessness. I am underwater! 
Billy shows up. Wanting money. Twist of arm, push out door. “Bitch! You lie!” 
I don’t lie. Slow night. Crack. Something cracked. 
Bruce saw it. 
No, that was earlier. 
Seasick. If you are under the sea, you get seasick. Something’s in my throat. I can’t breathe. Hands. My head turns and spills its contents. 
“I didn’t lie!” My hands ball into fists. I raise one.  
He doubles-over, laughing. 
Someone is wiping my face. Holding it out of the sea. I will my eyes. Open. Blue eyes. Another pair. Dark brown. “You are so kind, my husband is kind, you are so kind…” 
Bruce. Through the door. “Billy, go home.” 
He’s going home—with me. 
The gun. By Bruce’s side. Raised. 
I’ve seen this once before. 
“Go home.” 
The gun, to the ground. 
I pick it up. It’s heavy. So heavy. 
“Shhh…it’ll be okay.” A voice is singing to me.
“They’ll be here any minute.” 
“They’re sending an ambulance?”
An ambulance? No! I can’t go to Grady! I need my husband. 
“Did she say something?” 
“I need my husband!” 
“I think she said she needs her husband.”
The singing voice. “Honey, where is your husband?” 
I hit something. The wall. 
The men have white faces. 
“Pamela, give me the gun.” Bruce. 
I turn, point. “Leave my husband alone.” 
“Pamela, we’re going home.” Billy reaches for the gun. 
One lone firework. 
“They’re here.” 
“No, we just found her here, sprawled right outside the gate. We were scared she’d been assaulted. Seemed traumatized.” 
“Ma’m?” I open my eyes. Different eyes. “Do you know what day it is?” 
“July 4th?” 

Honest Scrap and Lesa's Bald-Faced Liar "Creative Writer" Award

Telling the truth. Telling a lie. Sometimes they are the same. And I am honored to be given two awards by two writers I respect, ones who are very, very good at telling true lies. Thank you, Deanna, at The Other Side of Deanna for Lesa's Bald-Faced Liar "Creative Writer" award. And thank you, Linda, at LeftBrainWrite, for the Honest Scrap award. I apologize to both of you for being so late to post these. It doesn't mean I feel any less excited and humbled to be recognized! 

These awards came within a day of each other, and since both have to do with veracity, I'm taking Linda's suggestion and combining them. For the Bald-Faced Liar award, I'm supposed to tell up to six outrageous lies about myself and at least one outrageous truth---or the opposite: tell up to six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie. For Honest Scrap, I'm supposed to share ten things about myself. So--I'm mixing it up a little and telling five true and five untrue things about myself.  You can judge if they're outrageous--and just which ones are indeed, true. 

1. Terrified that I would get a ticket, I outran a cop when I was sixteen years old. Parents, beware of giving your teenagers turbo-charged sports cars.

2. In the same vein as above, I won three games of chicken played on good ole Augusta Hwy my senior year in high school. My boyfriend rode in the passenger seat. 

3. I rescued four people as a lifeguard. The last was unconscious, requiring mouth-to mouth.  He hit his head on the high dive, then on the concrete edge on the way down. He was rushed to the hospital, where it was confirmed he had a concussion. He actually got back on the high dive, although many weeks later. 

4. I finished in the top twelve of the Miss Teen America Pageant my freshman year in college and have been trying to live it down ever since (even though they did actually care about intelligence). The coolest part? Missing two weeks of school while having fun in Hawaii. 

5. The forbidden beckons me. I will break into a press box, steal a motor boat for a night (um...more than once), or hide out in a state park simply for the thrill. (Not so funny when you get stuck in the park because the rangers are (unknowingly) blocking your path to your secret exit--and your new boyfriend is with you. It's his first time home to meet the folks...) 

6. I was a chemical engineering major in college and was only able to change to being an English major after a huge blowout with my dad, who wanted me to be an engineer (like he was). After I made the change, one of the absolute geekiest guys in our class, inspired by my actions, revealed his inner passion for poetry and also became an English major. He's now a published poet with two books. (I'm not jealous or anything...)

7. I dated a guy whose sister was murdered by a serial killer. The case was featured in a major profiler's autobiography. Seen Silence of the Lambs? FBI agent Starling's character is in part based upon his experiences as a profiler.

8. My best friend and I threw a beach party in the reflection pool at my college. We filled the pool with floaties and invited our entire hall to meet us at 1 a.m. Only five came, but the guys coming out of the computer lab really appreciated our bikinis that night...It wasn't until later that we found out we could've been expelled for doing it. 

9. I met an amazingly smart, incredibly good-looking, and interested-in-me boy while visiting my sister in college. There was definitely a connection. I had a boyfriend, so nothing could happen, but it still stunned me when I learned the next day he'd died that morning. On his way to church, he'd stopped to help a motorist parked on an overpass. Another car came along and swerved towards them. It's unclear if he jumped or was hit by the car and knocked onto the road below. 

10. I'd set foot on every single continent before I ever visited New York City. (Thank God that's been rectified now.) 

So those are my lies, my truths...Part of accepting these awards is honor others.

I'm awarding Lesa's Bald-Faced Liar "Creative Writer" award to 

Linda at LeftBrainWrite
Anton at The Black Dogs of Despair Reading Room
David at Writing for Torre 
Maria at Mazzz in Leeds
Marc at Sulci Collective 
Karen at Miscellaneous Yammerings
Marisa at Out of Order Alice

Honest Scrap goes to: 

Deanna at The Other Side of Deanna
Simon at Skycycler
Estrella at Life's a Stage 

I know I confused things by fusing these awards, but there are instructions for each individually. 

For Lesa's Bald-Faced Liar "Creative Writer" award, 

As acceptance for this award, the following must be met:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you. 

4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth, or six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie.
5. Nominate seven “Creative Writers” who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them. 

For Honest Scrap, share ten things about yourself and pass the award along. 


Blue Veins


I’m always amazed at how white they are. Even in the summer, as if parts of me cannot get anything from the light of the sun. Blue veins poke through the surface, revealing how thin skin really is. I’ve never touched the veins, though, well—I did once but I didn’t mean to—and that doesn’t count.
This is the only place I do not hide my arms. They are my own. My dialogue with myself, one I began three years ago with the end of a paperclip. Just to see. To see what it was like to feel.
“I—did something to my arm last night,” I said, testing him. Dr. Myers didn’t take my case seriously. He made me draw pretty pictures and feel guilty about my depression. “Maybe you should volunteer somewhere,” he’d said last week. “It might make you feel better.” Volunteer—where, exactly? I could barely get out of bed. Maybe the International Dust Mite Proliferation League? 
I nervously pulled my sleeve down over my fingers. 
“What did you do?” he arched his eyebrow in that damn stereotypical way. Do all psychologists have to be clichés? 
Really, I’ve made too much of this. I simply traced a diamond over and over in my skin. Grazing, not cutting. Wimpy. I’m embarrassed. 
After a lengthy pause he said, “Well, can I see it?” 
I pulled the sleeve of my jacket back up. He asked me to come closer. “How’d you do it?”
“With the end of a paperclip.” 
“What is it?” 
“A diamond.” 
“What does a diamond mean to you?” 
Hell if I know. 
Collapse )

She Doesn't Understand

I wasn't going to post a #fridayflash this week because I found myself utterly exhausted last night from the wear of the week. But I woke up with a little more energy and wrote anyway. Yay! I'm glad to get one out. 

I started this story years ago. I set one word after another like perfect pearly teeth lined up to devour someone else’s appetite. I had a whole army of those teeth. Then one day I forgot, that is, one day I decided that the teeth were old and gray, and, at any rate, would only stick with pink-gelled Polident. 
Biting into someone’s thirst for an apple would be hard indeed. 
Dearest Jim, 

I fear I will not be able to wait for you much longer. 
So I began to erase, starting from the end, back towards the beginning. (I believe in old-fashioned methods of composition.) 
But paper has a mind of its own. 
Or something does. 
Each word came back and laughed at me, daring me to erase once more. I tore the paper with those attempts, only to be thwarted by penciled marks, hanging high in space between lines, writing the forgotten. Wite-out did no better. The words simply bled through, this time in ink. 
To the wastebasket. Crumpled paper left behind. 
I sit in front of a computer screen.  My coffee is cold once again. I’ve been to the microwave at least five times to reheat it.  (As a student, I buy cheap, instant coffee.) Outside the day beckons, but I choose to spend my time inside with ghosts. The ones I create, and the ones I struggle to listen to as I mine my way through a plethora of Civil War letters. 
Love letters. I read the space between. What cannot be captured in straight lines, edges, and curves. But is sometimes captured in coffee stains, scuffmarks, blood, and fibers worn as smoothly uneven as threadbare sheets. 
Letters from North and South, I read them all. 
I watch her daily. She reminds me of the year I turned twenty-three, although I know she is closer to thirty. They grow up so much older these days. 
Jim, she has our letters. 
I tried to make her understand what it was like for us. How I walked away from our burning house with only your letters in hand. How they were my life-blood for years during the war and after you never came home. 
But my letters for her were repetitions. Each retraced the path of the old words, one after another, my hand writing in worn grooves, the same ones my eyes bore into them years ago. 
Those are dying letters, Jim. They always have been.

No, not dying. Still born. 
But their birth is something I’m not allowed to forget. And yet I can’t remember. 
Don’t want to. 
She doesn’t understand. 

Progress Report #1 "Pine"

I'm going to try something new, something suggested to me by Anna Lee Keefer--keep a (public) log of progress while I'm working on a VisPo. I've had a few people express interest in seeing my process and I love seeing how other people work, so I'm going to try it out for this one and see how it goes. 

This is where I'm stopping for tonight. All the layers are created from photographs I took this afternoon--two different photos of a set of pine trees near my home and one photo from Oakland Cemetery.