Monday, November 23, 2009

Midnight in Dostoevsky by Don DeLillo

Two young students invent an imaginary world to evade their inconsequential one, when one continues left alone during vacation break and the other returns to find they are unable to reconcile what has been created a revolution erupts.

Don DeLillo makes a fine use of the characters Robby and Todd to demonstrate the human need for control by dictating our interpretation of the world. He also reveals what little power actually resides in these ego-driven interpretations which are often flawed and ultimately insignificant. Life continues regardless of what we think and argue it to be and the old man unchanged by the boy’s arguments concerning his identity continues to take his walks unperturbed, hands clasped behind his back.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Indianapolis (Highway 74) by Sam Shepard

Two souls in limbo collide at holiday Inn and find a little comfort where they least expect.


There is an ongoing theme of loops and characters stuck repeating mindless behavior. Stuart is “crisscrossing the country again without much reason.” He explains how “sometimes places pop into his head and he just goes” Giving us a sense that this is character who is lost and is evading himself and all which is and who are familiar to him. He is caught in a senseless loop repeating his mindless actions with no target or strategy.

Stuart also has social loops by having what he describes as a “bunch” of children with various women. Seemingly not investing in these relationships but constantly creating new ones.

Then there is his dog that is running in a circles in the back of the car. The fear of the storm making him also behave illogically.

There is the senseless loop of violence playing on the television where robbers kill employees who don’t have the key to the safe, but shoot the victims anyway. The receptionist can’t lower the volume or turn the channel because it’s on a computer system she has no control over which makes it an inescapable repetition of events.

Then Becky whose husband kidnapped her daughters and have disappeared is stuck in her own loop of false leads, despair and going from her house to the Holiday Inn.

Two souls collide breaking the impenetrable loop

Becky’s words “I was so in love with you” breaks through all the senseless and mindless loops which hold the characters in a state of compliant and perhaps willful aloofness throwing them into a type of urgent intimacy.

Stuart can no longer maintain his passive uninvolved escapism. He is affected by Becky's words and because of this he feels a need to destroy the televisions, the coffee tables, the lobby and flee but realizes there is no escape to what has been said. Instead, he leaves the hotel and is driven back by the blizzard and by the whirlwind of his emotions that suddenly overwhelm him forcing him to face Becky’s emotions and his feelings.

In the end, Becky's voice causes Stewards façade to shatter and the loop to end.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Premium Harmony by Stephen King

Premium Harmony
King’s cynical portrayal of husband who happily trades in his wife’s death for a free purple ball, a soda, and the freedom to smoke in peace.

The Purple Ball
The couple in this story are caught in a power play about insignificant issues such as difference between a few cents, Little Debbies, purple balls, and cigarettes. Life revolves around the more bizarre and insignificant aspects of our society. A need for a certain color ball, a t-shirts which say “My Parents Were Treated Like Royalty in Castle Rock and All I Got Was This Lousy Tee-Shirt, and a husband itemizing the purple ball and the soda the managers offers him on the house, when his wife just died, but then noticing that the offer does extend to the cigarettes.

The Mechanical Rabbit
By the end of the story, the husband, same as the mechanical rabbit King invoked in his first few lines, fails to be changed by his wife’s death. His life remains as meaningless as before he lost his wife and in the end the reader is left with a grim picture of a husband enjoying his cigarettes in an air condition car, indifferent to his wife and her dead dog in the back seat. From this vantage point, the reader can only imagine he will continue to lead this apathetic meaningless mechanical life and the plastic rabbit continues to run in circles.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

While the women are sleeping by Javier Marias

Grasping for logic

The main character and Alberto each try to apply their logical perspective onto the other person in order to make sense of the situation and of their world. The main character is grasping for logical explanation of why Alberto relentlessly films Ines’s body every day. This leads Alberto to explain that he is trying to capture her last day. Which causes the main character to question his logic that she will be the one to die first as she is apparently in good health and least 30 years younger. Alberto explain his obsession with Ines can not last for ever and so she must be killed. The main character counters the logic of the argument by explaining how this can’t be true because of how unlikely it is that he would share information in which he is a guilty and for which he would be able to alert someone and stop him before Alberto could act. Alberto counter attacks by explaining that they are leaving tomorrow, that the main character will choose to disbelieve him, and that Ines may already be dead, same as it’s possible that his wife who he has left sleeping in her hotel room may have died. The main character calms himself by drawing a parallel between both wives, and reassures himself with the fact that as he knows he is wife is alive and asleep in their room, Ines must be alive and asleep in her room. Then when his wife comes out on the room terrace and call him, he notices that there is no one on Ines’s terrace. This makes him doubt his logic and what he felt certain of just moments ago. Alberto could of killed Ines already.

The passive partner, the child

The main character who hides behind the hat to watch the couple and later who refuses to believe that Alberto may kill Ines can be seen as passive. We cannot imagine that his wife would react the same way if she had heard the story. Then in the end of the story the main character describes Luisa as calling down to him like a mother saying their child’s name, same as he had described Alberto saying Ines’s name twice as mother’s do, earlier on in the story. Ines is the passive one in this couple. She barely moves, barely talks, and seems only preoccupied in preening herself as Albero requires of.


Two couples, one couple watching Alberto and Ines, Alberto watching Ines, Ines watching herself. The main character watching through the fibers of the sun hat and Alberto watching behind the lense of a video camera and Ines investigating her own body through a mirror. The story is about logic and perspective. Ines is so taken in with Alberto’s obsession of her beauty that she cannot see that his feelings are unhealthy and potentially dangerous.Alberto must kill Ines to save her from aging to ensure that his passion for her will not wane. The main character who warns no one that Alberto plans to kill Ines because it refutes what he thinks is logical and thus he refuses believe it. Each character caught so deeply in their own perspective that no one can influence the other enough to save Ines, not even Ines herself.

While the women are sleeping by Javier Marias

Monday, October 19, 2009

Procedure in Plain Air by Jonathan Lethem

Superfluous society becomes immune to the humane condition.

This story comments on access and the superfluous preoccupations of our society. Stevick, the main character, goes to the coffee shop for a caffeine boost not for the taste, nor for the atmosphere which he finds excessive. His moment there is juxtaposed with the other café denizens who are preoccupied with the wifi, their cell phones, the perfectly tuned Ipod, whether the coffee has a soapy after taste, the other denizens in the shop. Stevick sits outside to escape the mind numbing convoluted society inside.

Outside, he witnesses a man being placed into a hole in the ground. Outraged by his being left there with little protection from the rain he stands above him with an umbrella. His values again are being juxtaposed with people concerned over the property value, walking their dogs and just doing their jobs as was the case with the men who inserted him into the hole.

He is later accosted in the street by what he terms a yuppy who is belligerent that his presence is lowering his property value. Fueled by his anger over the situation of the man in the hole and his beliefs he starts fighting. The fight quickly ends as both parties get bored and go back to perspective lives.

The uniform changes everything

Charlotte, his ex-wife, belittles his efforts much as society seems to, that is when they even notice him. The uniform in the bag changes everything for him, he is now part of this enterprise and this strengthens him isolating him for the superfluous judgmental denizens, “Charlotte, like much else, was receding from view.”

The Man in the hole

The man in the hole is also symbol of the purely functional necessity driven lifestyle. At first outraged by the mans condition, he later muses that he himself may one day be placed in a hole. Which makes me think, to each his own obsession. What he once thought of as heinous, he concludes, he is happy to be a part of.

Integration is unavoidable

He is happy to be part of an art installation which shuns the superfluous, the fancy, whimsical the unnecessary. However this installation and the idea of art represents all those things. Integration is unavoidable.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Lower River by Paul Theroux - New Yorker Magazine Fiction

The Lower River becomes a game of cat and mouse where Altman becomes caught up in his own pride and need for domination which is happily nutured by the village that caters to his weakness in order to better manipulate him and extort his money. His self indulged, self importance, becomes a mockery towards the end of the story in which he himself realizes that he must appear to Manyenga like a poor monarch in dirty clothes with a skinny girl and a disfigured dwarf.

You can never step into the same river twice

When all hope is lost and everything is up the wall, he often thought, reassuring himself, I can always go back.

There is a strong theme of idealizing going back, juxtaposed with the impossibility of going back because everything changes and evolves. The river is never the same. The Village has grown from the innocent and naïve people that Altman once knew to a cunning, greedy, bitter and manipulative group. They have adopted behaviors from the new colonist who reside in Africa to promote tourism. Manyenga, who befriends Altman is corrupted and spurt out terms such as pipleine, agenda, program, intervention which bespeaks of a managing people and ideas.
Mr Altman has also changed because of his return in the village. Alman was a volunteer who goes where no missionary, not even the Africans will go and stays not the 2 year term but a record 4. He was sought out to write and read letters, Where he was once vain with self importance he leaves the village without hope and somewhat broken. In the beginning of the story sitting with the elders of the village he wishes someone in the states could witness him but in the end, all hope for improvement of the village is gone and crippled with residual illness and morally diminished he flees to save his life.

When the ruled become the ruler

He wants to be the great benefactor and explains he would of handed out money, except that would create a mob scene, instead, he smiles and in a “chiefly gesture” he salutes them.
He arrogantly orders them and refuses to heed their caution, but instead dominates situations such as when the bank teller cautions him to “be careful, sir”. He replies “almost “as a rebuke,“I used to live here. I was here at Independence. The Lower River.”.
Then later he berates and the taxi driver who tries to change the departure time and again later when he refuses to pay the extra fee to bring him further then the destination but orders him to stop the car.

The villagers on the other hand and especially Manyenga play to his need to dominate and to be served and to be considered admired. They call him father and chief and give him a young girl who is beautiful to serve him hand and foot. They make him comfortable and pretend they don’t understand when he says he is just visiting the village for a few days but instead speak of his program to extend his stay. They then slowly and subtly rob him so that not noticing he is being robbed he will return to the village with more money.

The Snake
The changes in the shift in power from Altman to the villagers and then back to Altman can be traced to the snake and to Altman’s use of it. When he first arrives to Malabo as a vulteer he uses to snake to set himself apart from the villagers who fear snakes, he uses the snakes to guard his money, and later he publicly kills the snake gaurding his basket with his money, permitting the villagers to take all of his money so that they will allow him to leave the village to get more. Manyena refuses to bring Altman out of the village because he pretends to have seen a snake on his path, but he really doesn’t want Altman to leave with the money. Having no way to leave the village, Alman becomes his prisoner. Later, when all the money is gone, and Manyena needs him to leave in order to get more, he Atlman is staring at a snake on the ground, and Manyena is afraid to approach him. The snake holds the village's fear, which is Altman’s power.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Distant Relations by Orhan Pamuk

I have been reading the New Yorker Fiction and have been diligently working through their archives in search of what makes a good story, good. I have thus far not succeeded in discerning this quality so that I might steal some for myself. What has become clear in my studies is that these stories seem cryptic in that what they are trying to say but yet clear about conveying a sentiment. You don’t understand why you feel this is a sad story or happy story because you don’t see a resolution, but you do feel the emotion. Its as if the stories don’t really have a clear plot with a resolution you can point to but yet you do get a sentiment that something has been resolved or something has evolved or something has shifted.

Growing fond of this style which seems less feigned then most stories and more real life, and relevant, I have tried to adopt this way of writing which once irked me as being obscure to the point of being only understood by the writer and perhaps the few who know him/her. My results are that I seem to have irked my few close acquaintances with them.

This is why I picking stories and blogging about what makes them tick? Why do they light up? What makes them breathe?

I am starting with Distant Relations by Orhan Pamuk.

Distant Relations by Orhan Pamuk

Class Struggle

The main character describes a culture and a family who are newly bourgeois and sensitive to be seen as upper class. The narrator’s family is smitten with his fiancé because of her Sorbonne education and refined ways. The marriage will be an affluent affair where everything is planned to demonstrate the families wealth as the author describes how the rehearsal dinner must be as opulent as the marriage itself, the lace that must be imported and the fiancee friend will arrive from Paris.

The main character seems to be striding two worlds, like most nouveau bourgeois, one universe in which he strains to be a part of and the other in which he feels more comfortable, but which reveal his more humble origins.

When his fiancée, Sibel asks him to return a bag he had purchased for her because she explains it’s a fake and thus impossible for her to wear, it becomes evident she suffers from the same predicament as he does. She is afraid to show her newly humble origins. Having come from a more wealthy backround where her father sold off all his land and is now retired, she tries to romanticize her past ancestors. She cannot be seen with the bag because it will tarnish the image of her as the wealthy bourgeois that she has worked hard to create and maintain.

The main character on the other hand has trouble with the idea that Sibel refuses the bag based on notions that the bag is a fake, not genuine, not good enough for her, when his families surname still denotes their origins as humble clothe makers, so that by returning the bag, he refutes his origins. He himself is not a genuine bourgeois but a new bourgeois based on a twist of fate that his family had retained proptery, in an area which had become affluent making them newly rich.

Later when he enters into the shop to return the bag, he meets up again with Husun who had entered into a beauty contest which is considered a shameful act in Istandbul.. Her backround is more modest as well, and his family looks down upon her social station but yet he is attracted to her because he says she resembles him in a way that his fiancée does not. He is attracted to her because she is from the class that he once belonged to and because of this she feels more familiar. She and him both share the same humble origins.

The Yellow Canary

Another interesting aspect of the story is the way he uses the color yellow and a little yellow canary he notices at that boutique. The canary can be seen as beauty and elegance that is encaged same as the nouveau bourgeois. The bourgeois are wealthy but they are not free. They are tied to very strict ideas of what their class deem acceptable. Then there is the symbolism of canaries used in coal mines to indicate deadly gases. I wonder if the author may have also been using the canary to indicate the danger that the main character would be in by turning his back on these bourgeois customs and perhaps even that Fusun was the canary, which embody danger itself. The danger of him breaking his engagement with Sibel to start an affair with the less respectable Fusun. This danger is emphasized again by the very last line where the mother presses the key in his hand giving him a look to “warn (him) that life held unsuspected dangers.”

The Color Yellow

Then there is the use of the color of yellow and how it seems to embody the freedom but also the danger of him taking this freedom. So that danger and yellow and shame become linked by the yellow items. The unrespectable Fusun attracts our main character with her yellow pump and her yellow skirt, and she is the yellow canaris that represents the danger to the main characters reputation. Finally at the end of the story, there is yellow vase, that he purchases after having made plans to meet Fusan at an empty apartment far from prying eyes. And around this yellow vase, he says his father and mother will eat in front of it then later he and his mother will eat in front of it and his mother will look past it at him with eyes filled with pity and shame. He also mentions that neither his mother nor father ever mentions this yellow vase that he brings them, unlike all the other items he has brought to the house as if the yellow vase was a symbol of the unrespectable turn our main character had taken. Then neither girl friends are mentioned as eating on the table with the vase so we can only assume that his fiance learned of his betrayal and that his family never accepted Fusun as an acceptable wife. Then at the end we learn even though he has escaped his cage, and chosen freedom to have an affair with Fusun, he still suffers the scandal of the situation because the yellow vase reminds him of the time when he chose to unleash his misery upon himself.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


We were trained for these situations. We were told during training that one day there could be an accident, that we could be lost forever in space. We were trained to stay calm and meditate so we would not hyperventilate in our helmets before the crew could plan a rescue mission.

Getting ready for our first few outings we would joke about it. “Tod just wanted to thank you for your cot with the window, being best buds and all.” “You better hall your shit out of my space bugboy.” Then out of the hatch one of us would go. Sometimes there was no time for a quick rebuttal and you would do your best to show them the finger with those overly thick space gloves.

Being the only girl I got a lot of “hey baby it may be your last chance”. At which point I would pull out my laser cutter and smile. I don’t get a lot of those lines anymore but now that I am out here floating and my rigger has blown I think of them and those clowns. As the only girl I had to be tough, but now drifting, I am left here to ponder if I didn’t go to far. Did they check my rigger, the cord? It was routine procedure but we have been busy with the pod getting older and needing more work so that a lot of routine procedure was neglected.

There was the time I snapped a picture of Tom nude in the cleaning pod and forwarded it to the crew. It was suppose to be just a simple forward to ourselves but somehow it was sent to Earth space station as well. That did not go well. No, not well at all.

Then there was Dem. Dem was sending me messages anonymously for weeks till finally I was able to trace some of the content back to something I had read in his personal files about his love for bugs. Enraged I forwarded all his message to the crew, destroyed his cover and nicknamed him bugboy which stuck.

Before finding him out though, I had gotten into a Tiff with Nick. I had been so sure it was Nick.

The confined space, the monotony, the incessant sound of the air system, and the emails were beyond anything training could have prepared me for.

When we were on computer maintenance duty I accused him. He denied it. “Come on” I hissed “only someone as dumb and corny as you could write stuff like that.” He grabbed me and pushed me against the console. I clawed aimlessly because his arms were too long. That night, I stole Nick’s picture of his wife and through down the hatch during a regular garbage dump. That was a golden rule here. Never touch anyone stuff. It was there life.

Through my closed eyes I could imagine the picture frame floating by with his wife accusing eyes staring at me.

Alone floating in space, I tell myself not to cry but I know my face is wet, when suddenly and very gently, I feel a hand on my shoulder.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beneath the Fir Tree - writing assignement #7


his is a very hard assignment I had in creative writing class. We had to write like a young man who just murdered someone describe a lake, yet we could't mention the murder. I think I sort of failed at making the voice into a young male...

I feel very sorry for myself when i get these horrid assignements. They make me re-think my goals of becoming a writer. They also make me cry in frustration....

Sitting on the small wood pier Buddha style, hands lying down palms facing heaven I watch the day fading. The light growing weaker fails to penetrate the water but instead reflects dully the evening sky and surrounding trees back up like dead eyes. The reflection below becomes a darker simulation of the real world. Through this upside down place I see the last of the geese escaping south leaving mournful cries behind them which reverberate against the hills in a strange decadent way. Perhaps these were the older geese, crying out, upset that they were finally being forced to leave after all, knowing that they might not make it back next year and that death itself pursued them like the wind.

The lake has already lost it’s golden summer hue and was turning more monochrome as winter made it’s approach. Most of the trees lost their leaves and stood there, arms raised, as if they were waiting for someone to come dress them or perhaps imploring the sky for warmth and sun or simply begging God for salvation. A few meters away there is one who has a lost a limb and whose cut had closed over itself so that it looks like a gaping mouth howling at me.

In the distance there are a group of dark birds in a tree which fly off squawking loudly as if suddenly disturbed by an unseen danger. The pine trees dark silhouette cut the dim sky in a jagged territorial pattern claiming the little light left in it. Then there is everything that lies hidden below. Underneath the forest of seaweed, the plankton, the fish. Deep down. Even that would become it’s own little separate world cordoned off by the ice which would spread on the surface. A large silver casket sealing off the sun, the sky, the oxygen. Fish will sink to the bottom of the frozen lake like weighted corpses anchored to the ground. The carp uses his tail to bury himself deeply beneath the dark murky mud. He will wait for his moment in the shadows as I had waited, and he will know, as I knew.

I think of lighting up a cigarette but refrain, understanding and cooperating with the preparations and the restraint the earth around me requires. I admire the purity that winter demands of everything in it’s path. The crickets begin to chirp quietly in their secretive way pulling the strings of fate irrevocably forward towards the lake and I become lost in their compelling calls and the messages held within.

Nature is perfection but people fail to understand their part. Their humanity has been compromised by their gadgets into a false sense of believing they rule the earth. They no longer see the lake or the world they live. They have become mindless zombies imitating the other mindless zombies they see on their flat screen high definition televisions. But when they see me they remember who they are when I stand tall before them and say “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do ..."

I pick up a small stone lying next to by foot, white as bone, cold as forgotten, and I kiss it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Night bus

I squeezed into the packed bus shutting the night out behind me. Making my way to the last empty seat I brush through the other passengers like a car moving through the bristles of a car wash. Having made it, I can now see that the woman in the other seat has left her hand bag intentionally where I had planned to sit. I turn to move back towards the door I usually leave from but there is a family arguing about where they are going to go next; each seemly have their own destination in mind, with the young daughter being the most adamant. I swivel back and look at the hand bags owner. “Excuse me.” “What?” I look at the bag. She stares for a while, her eyes narrow, taking her time to remove it from the seat as if making a point; to begrudge me what little room remains on this bus. Unzipping my coat and unwinding my scarf, I settle in allowing my weight to rest down hard against the seat. I pull my feet out of my furry half boots, alternately tensing and relaxing them until resting them on top of the suede boots, naked, they suddenly seem fragile and delicate like porcelain doves nestling close to each other. Slouching slightly, growing more accustomed to the light tone murmur on the bus, I yawn.

I look out the window and watch the people hurry from store to store in the city streets until my eyes get stuck on the stillness of a couple whose arms are wrapped in each others open coats like a human silhouette shaped salt and pepper set I have on my kitchen table which interlock by means of their complimentary shape. The man moves his head away from the woman’s neck to look at her as if to see her reaction to what she is saying or to allow the sincerity of what he has said to shine through his eyes. I recognize the man. He is my husband.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Little Boats

Little Boats

Looking over the people sitting in the outdoor café enjoying their meals and their conversations I marvel at how they are all so seemingly intent on enjoying one of the first beautiful spring days on tables under trees with green leaves just beginning to sprout – a promise of new era. The tables spread about like little happy boats swaying on playful waves under a big blue sky and unbelievable happy sun while I sit and fester aboard a damp cargo ship. The fact is, I was more prepared for anger then tears, but if I give him a moment it should subside then I can finish my drink pat him on the arm and be on my way. Taking a long slow sip I brace myself and think of a suitable approach to comfort him, when the busy waitress squats to our table level to take the order over the restaurant noise. “I’m afraid we are not ready yet”, I say motioning discreetly with slight irritation towards Jake with my martini.

Jake wipe his eyes slowly and looks at her, finally able see the cold exterior everyone always cautioned him about. Her eyes monitoring the crowd of diners around us worried about their reaction to my emotions. Her perfect weather forecaster hairstyle irreproachably impersonal and always perfectly the same like a wig or an antennae or something fabricated to remain constant under any condition. The restaurant, the weather and the happy dinners indifference to our table is like a slap in the face. The tears slowly make there way down his face again but he can’t help but stare and remain slightly in awe of her facial expression which remains proudly raised with a small smile as if listening to an amusing anecdote.

The waitress crouches down once more letting her arms lean slightly onto their table, holding her much battered Bick pen over her small blue pad which suddenly feels to her like the pretext of a prop in a play made to legitimize her role. She cautiously look at the handsome man. “Are you ready?” she asks. “I’m sorry”, the woman says in a voice that shows she clearly isn’t, “we won’t be staying for lunch.” “I’m not leaving” he says, straitening up and wiping his face. The waitress pulls out a receipt for the blond, handing it to her face down and places a blue page with a phone number in front of the man. He looks up stunned and questioning. She shows him the back of her hand, “do you see the white line on my ring finger, it use to be an engagement ring from my fiancé who was having an affair with my friend and whose honeymoon I should now be on. So maybe it’s about finding the wrong guys at the right time and knowing when to grab the right guy at the wrong time.”

I couldn’t believe it. I just sat there with the blue page and the number between us, Jake’s fingers holding it down against the table as if a breeze might pass.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Moon

When she notices the lights in the bedroom go off, she pries her sneakers using the heal of one foot to unhook the heal of the other foot standing at door in the hall and moves quietly through their bedroom room towards the bathroom. Grabbing the toothpaste, she notices him lying in bed through the mirror and she hastily squeezes the tube so hard a large thick gob flies out. She can hear his fake snoring noises and this makes her bang the tube down against the marble counter. She closes her eyes putting both her hands against the counter and counts colorful numbers disappearing into bubbles which float away. She then goes into her yoga pose bending over at the waist allowing her body to hang downward and practices her mantra until she notices some spots on the white tiled floor.

“How much are we paying Anita to clean” she mumbled furiously under her breath. Pulling out all the cleaning products and lining them up like an arsenal on the table but unable to locate a mop she starts rubbing the spots with a tiny face towel. Noticing more spots she moves onto them using a furious circular pattern. She breaks down and does the entire floor till it is a as spotless as the day it was placed. Ready to put the supplies away she notices her husband has stopped snoring and hears the bed creak under his weight. she suddenly pulls out another face cloth and kneeling on the counter she works on the mirror and makes an involuntary hmph sound when staring past her reflection she notices a dark lump under the covers. She cleans the mirror until it seems a window onto somebody else’s life like a good painting that says something beyond the objects represented.

Sitting on the counter she massages her knees and undresses to take a brief shower. Playing with the plug in the tub, which is wedged between her big toe and its slightly shorter neighbor she pushes it in with finality and the tub begins to fill with a soft gurgling sound of a brook cascading into deeper water. Completely submerged in the tub with the water off she can hear the incessant ticking of the clock in their room and her tub slowly becomes filled with a silver glow. She gets up and pokes her head through the small window and watches for a moment the moon who has shed her clouds triumphantly. She then gently leans over standing in the tub to grab a towel when the pile spills over to the floor. She stares at the jumble of colorful towels on the floor, ignores them, and walks out of the bathroom wrapped in her robe leaving the pale light on behind her. She dresses quietly in the dark keeping her eyes averted from his side of the bed and carefully positions herself at the very edge, which she lets her hand hang casually from to keep her self safely anchored.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Big Day

The pretty blue pills lie on his shaking hand. One pill is reasonable, but perhaps his situation requires two. He walks in the other room setting his instruments on the table. Did he take one already, maybe not, maybe he didn’t, maybe he just thought about it. He closes his eyes and sees her face looking up at him, he hums loudly, putting the pill on his tongue, “my God” he sets the beaker down quickly. He almost drank from it. What was in that beaker again? Now where is his glass? Maybe it’s in his coat pocket or hiding under a rug. Did he leave it in his desk ? Opening the desk, a vast array of peacocks climb elegantly out forming a disciplined single line. They are almost ready for the cocktail party. He had forgotten about them. How careless of him.

The vet shakes the empty vial of pills he has stored in his pocket. He glances at his watch and calculates morosely that he has 4 hours left. Shaking his head, there should not be four. It was almost time to go, he had been here all day, he is tired and it is not possible that it's still so early, when it clearly was'nt so befor. He pats his pocket down once more and pulls out the vial again, open its dark brown plastic container and brings it to his eye like a telescope. He should set place cards for the peacocks he reasons to himself, this is very clear. It's important for them to have proper seating arrangements. He shakes his head, Waterford crystals are out of the question, it’s not that type of a reception. His fiancé in her wedding dress was holding both of his hands between hers. The cufflink ladybugs are scared of him, they see him coming and crawl away, using their dots to confuse him. His eyes tightly shut, yet her words float in on feathers which belonged to, to, to, the peacocks who have come to sing. No, it's not time for the cocktail party. Not yet, there are so many more things to do. He can hear her explaining that she can’t...but her words are falling deep into a well. He will cover the well with butterflies. They know how to hide things so well.

He will take the lace veil, the one she ordered and he will make a big wonderful tent which will cover everything. The magnificent lace tent will conceal all the shadows and the flaws, it will be everywhere like snow. It will be great. Everyone will be in awe. But this time no doors.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Watching, waiting

She will be laying there immobile all day regardless of noise, movement, sun or rain, seemingly dead to the world, until her sixth sense guides her to quietly disappear. Her hiding places are innumerable and always growing. Under beds, behind the folds of curtains, narrow areas between open door and walls, improbably high closets, extremely low storage areas and even chair seats that are tucked under tables. Unfortunately for her, her snore is unmistakable, the loud rumble guides me to her. It’s low vibrations deceptively sound as if they are eminating from a much larger object, perhaps a motor or a man.

Down on all fours, stretching my arm under the bed I grab the scruff of her neck and pull her lank muscular body slowly towards me. Her eyes staring, evaluting me quietly, allowing herself to be reeled in while waiting for a moment to counter attack. She was good at waiting, having cornered green grass hoppers under furniture, she would casually wait lying down on top of obtrusive furniture like some owners wait in front of restaurants to reclaim their due from valet parkers. Now she was playing the other side, she was the one who was caught and needed to escape. This did not seem to matter so much to her, she still had that same focused look on face and exuded the same sense of expectation and quiet confidence.

Bound in a towel, I lie her down back against the checkered blue and white bathroom floors stomach up and still she has not released her gaze. She does not protest but maintains her stare as if trying to read my face or hypnotize me. Refusing to succumb to my fear, I take the needle and work to steady my hands while turning my eyes away from her face to look at the cool white fur on her stomach. I then carefully proceed to start the injection when sensing the needle, she instantly and violently un-skins herself, causing the needle to fly in the air as we both watch, her in victory, and me in horror as it twirls like majorette's baton in a lively parade and lands just inches away from my arm.

Between my hands, still as if she had never moved, she watches me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

2nd Assignment

We were trained for these situations. We were told during training that one day there could be an accident, that we could be lost forever in space. We were trained to stay calm and meditate so we would not hyperventilate in our helmets before the crew could plan a rescue mission.

Getting ready for our first few outings we would joke about it. “Tod just wanted to thank you for your cot with the window, being best buds and all.” “You better hall your shit out of my space bugboy.” Then out of the hatch one of us would go. Sometimes there was no time for a quick rebuttal and you would do your best to show them the finger with those overly thick space gloves.

Being the only girl I got a lot of “hey baby it may be your last chance”. At which point I would pull out my laser cutter and smile. I don’t get a lot of those lines anymore but now that I am out here floating and my rigger has blown I think of them and those clowns. As the only girl I had to be tough, but now drifting, I am left here to ponder if I was perhaps too tough. Did they check my rigger, the cord? It was routine procedure but we have been busy with the pod getting older and needing more work so that a lot of routine procedure was neglected.

There was the time I snapped a picture of Tom nude in the cleaning pod and forwarded it to the crew. It was suppose to be just a simple forward to ourselves but somehow it was sent to Earth space station as well. That did not go well. No, not well at all.

Then there was Dem. Dem was sending me messages anonymously for weeks till finally I was able to trace some of the content back to something I had read in his files about his love for bugs. Enraged I forwarded all his message to the crew, destroyed his cover and nicknamed him bugboy which stuck.

Before finding him out though, I had gotten into a Tiff with Nick. I had been so sure it was Nick.

The confined space, the monotony, the incessant sound of the air system, and the emails were beyond anything training could have prepared me for.

When we were on computer maintenance duty I accused him. He denied it. “Come on” I hissed “only someone as dumb and corny as you could write stuff like that.” He grabbed me and pushed me against the console. I clawed aimlessly because his arms were too long. That night, I stole Nick’s picture of his wife and through down the hatch during a regular garbage dump. That was a golden rule here. Never touch anyone stuff. It was there life.

Through my closed eyes I could imagine the picture frame floating by with his wife accusing eyes staring at me.

Alone floating in space, I tell myself not to cry but I know my face is wet, when suddenly and very gently, I feel a hand on my shoulder.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Safely Aboard a New Ship

Changing class is hard work once you have missed the deadline. After exchanging much bickering emails with 2 Gotham Writers Workshop administrators, in which I strained to remain polite while maintaining a firm and aggressive attitude, swishing my sword, cornering my opponent and jumping to avoid their close swipes, I was finally awarded the right to change class!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jumping Ship


I wanted to know if it would be possible to change classes with another teacher. I don't feel I am getting enough out of the class and that the teacher is thoroughly reading my assignment.
For example, my first assigment was only 390 words and she had missed the fact that the only 2 characters were sisters even though it clearly states this. Also she didn't seem to participate so much with our responses to her first lecture questions but gave us a generic "very good" reply.
I would like to take another fiction class if possible but I am open to sci-fi and creative writing as well. I do not mind being placed in a class that has recently started if there are openings. I am also open to any day of the week.

Thank you for your help

Second Opinion-s

So much for my call to arms from my fellow students. I have only received 2 quiet responses from my request to exchange writing assignments for critiques a motion which I had feared I might cause a revolution by circumventing our less then entheusiastic teacher. I'm not quite sure where any of my revolutionaries are. They are not in class. No one has responded to the teachers questions and yet they did not jump at the opportunity to learn from a peer to peer exchange of work with me. They are very quiet.

One of the students who responded to me has asked me not to judge the others too harshly ensuring me that they must be busy with their own agendas. I assured her she must be correct but I can't help but think that they could exchange assigmnments that had been completed and could probably review my short assignment in a few minutes.

I have also checked the workshop's refund policy, but unfortunately that window of opportunity has past, I am locked in and apparently there is no help.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Second Opinion

I want a second opinion. I don't feel as if the teacher carefully read my 1st assigment judging by her comments, especially the fact that she assumes the two and only charcters are friends, when one of the few lines mentions that they are sisters. There were so few words (under 400)that for her to skim over this fact leaves me feeling her criticism are irrelevant.

I noticed today that she has posted her new lecture at 12:00 am with 2 participation questions, yet it is now 4:00 pm and nobody has posted answers. Are all the students sulking over what they also feel may be unmerited negative criticism of their work?

Or perhaps its her comments on our first comments to last weeks questions, an umbrella "ok very good"blancket variety which left us unentheusiastic to participate again.

Maybe they are all jumping ship and trying to get into another class as they won't receive a refund. Would I be able to do this...or have they set up such a hornets bees of requests to jump that all new requests are being denied.

So due to my disappointment and lost faith in my teacher's compentance and because I have decided to try to squeeze a little more mileage from my Gotham Writer's Workshop, I have asked fellow students if they want to exchange assignments for comments. I wonder if this might seem a bit renegade, as if I am circomventing the teacher, but what is there left to lose?

First Assigment

Do your best to keep your work on the assignments under 500 words. The brevity will help you focus your work. If you really need to run longer, keep it under 750 words
Write from A to Z. Each sentence will begin with the next letter of the alphabet. For example, "Any way you looked at it, Jim and I were over. Because of his obsession with jigsaw puzzles, I was leaving him. Could I really leave him? Don't doubt it." You get the idea. Let yourself go and see how the letters lead you. There are only two rules: You need one fragment and one 100 word sentence that is grammatically correct within this story

Assignment 1 :


Are you really going to do it?

Buy the laptop?

“Come on,” she answers in her exasperated voice.

Damn right I am. Eliminate the weak points, that’s the rule I now live by.

Fine but think about it, about what it means.

Granting him the opportunity to move on with his life, while allowing me to eliminate excess baggage that is holding me back?

Hell, that’s harsh. If I remember correctly, he put you through med school.

Just because he helped me, which I’m not say he didn’t, does not mean I have an outstanding dept or a life long obligation. “Kenneth Cole shoes?” she holds daintily a pair of sparkly red shoes with impossibly high heels.

“Let me see them. Maybe you can get one of those counselors.”

“No, we are definitely beyond counseling and have been for years actually.” Opening the antiqued microscopic buckle and pushing her foot into the opening while using her sister’s shoulder to balance herself she peers into the mirror. “Perfect, I love them”.

“Question is, where are you going to wear them if you need my shoulder just to stand?”

“Right, well perhaps I can use them in bed” she says kicking her foot out jauntily.

“Sex, you mean they will be for sex. Testosterone stilettos. Un-useable, in your situation”

“Valentine’s day is coming up, I could easily have a voraciously good lover which would require these shoes.”

“why are u doing this?”

“x-rays are strange if you think about it, I was showing one of my patients her x-ray this week and coming from China she spoke very little English so I had planned to point her heart out to her in order to help explain, and to emphasize the great importance of taking care of the heart, but suddenly I was kind of standing there with my pointer in my hand and from the side of my eye I saw her nodding as if she agreed with me or rather as if she was assuring me I had come to the correct conclusion about my own life.

“yea, so what does that have to do with anything.”

“Zero, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything, it only has everything to do with me getting these shoes, she says precariously wobbling towards the busy sales girl while pointing at the shoe.”

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bio for Gotham Writers Worshop


I was born on a small island that no one had ever heard of until the last few years at which point it became synonymous with stars, models and unbridled wealth.

I pursued my studies in NY, with the exception of a BA in Lit. from UCSB in Santa Barbara, California.

Upon completing my BA I then returned to my small island to build a small house on property my parents had inherited and given to me. As I was completely unhappy with the architects generic blueprints, I threw them out and designed my own house which is composed of as many open doors as there are exterior walls. Then in order to maintain my privacy as the land around the house was slowly being built on, I then made walls around the land, which also help keep my trees in.

Consequently, I share my house with native birds that fly through occasionally, turtles that come asking for water during droughts, and few other insects that are much less desirable, such as mosquitoes, centipedes, and scorpions.

At the moment, I am presently working on renovating the house and the garden, and enrolled in this writing workshop (Gotham Writers Workshop). In the past, I was formerly employed at Roche Bobois US headquarters in NY as translator and then later in an Arabic investment firm where my employers seemed unsure of my position but provided me with generous bonuses.

(My bio for the workshop will end here. )

The only thing that I retain from this job is the memory of the desks reminding me of horse stalls which might suddenly be sprung open during which I and my other stall mates would take off like mad, as during a horse race. The only way I can account for such a strange idea is that perhaps I wanted to run away from the very sterile, stifling environment and free my colleagues with me, even though my closest stall neighbor was a Russian girl who was in a perpetually miserable mood and had a surprisingly rude temperament. I imagine she would bite me as te doors would spring open.

Rereading this, I can see that my last remark seems irrelevant except for my desire to prove to you that by wishing to save even the most difficult of people I am a nice or at least a decent person. However, if I am truly honest with myself, as well as with you, I suppose I should admit that I don’t really want to save my slightly delusional supervisor. But then, I suppose it could be argued that he didn’t look like he really needed saving, but from himself, which goes sadly beyond my level of expertise. If it was possible for me to save one from ones self, I would save myself.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bio coming soon

The Gotham Writing Course requires that all students post our bio.

The part of me which tends to be private finds this a tad disturbing. People will read my stories and go back to the bio. Then what if they judge me on my bio, decide they don't like me and give my stories bad reviews.

Then part of me is curious to read other people's bio. An online writing class could be fertile ground for interesting people or bios.

The more cautious and hobbit like part of my nature thinks I can make up a bio and still have access to other people bio. How fun and no one is harmed.

The more reasonable and honest part of me frowns at the former idea and dominantly take over the project and so with a sigh, I reluctantly decide to post an honest description of my life.

Not there is anything to hide I suppose. It's just, well, very exposing, kind of like being naked. And like being naked, it's not very suprising, all the body parts are there in normal proportion. But then i guess it's human nature to take peeks and compare.

I will be posting my bio on this blog as well. But it is not climatic, or a tv season finale full of gasps and "oh my(s)". Much of my bio info has been spread around here and there. The bio will just create more of a timeline a structure for all my past rambling.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gotham Writers Workshop

I will be commencing Gotham's Writers Workshop June 9th.

Now part of me is skeptical, it seems a waste of money as I will be taking it online (I am presently living in St. Barth). I have doubts as to whether an online course can be as significant as sitting on hard classroom chairs which demand focus and provoke contemplation. Then also, I wonder if writing can be learned or improved upon through a course? Then also, is this workshop the correct solution? And also this, perhaps I shouldn't even be focusing on writing, but some other more suitable creative outlet.

However at the same time, I reason, I have been trying to write for a while with little success of actually setting my progress to paper. For this, I entirely blame the internet on, as it creates a distracting outlet for searches that invariably lead to new searches, till you forget what you were initially searching for. Now with this class, I am counting on the assignment deadlines to make me more prolific (which according to their website there are 2) and on writing feedback describing the enticing, thought provoking, interesting, merely edible, disinteresting, and yes, coma-tizing about aspects of my work (which again according to website is provide by both a professor and fellow students).

Let the lions in.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This happened

A large fish fumes in the bottom of the sea
An angry woman on a small island slams her door
A large boulder rolls down a cliff
A man fishes on a small boat
A large wave surges
A small boat crashes
A large fish investigates
A small man swims
A fish flashes large white teeth
A small man grabs a fin
A fish takes a large jump out of the water
A man takes a gulp of air and makes a small prayer
A large bird grabs man's shoulder
A small man pulls a birds legs
A large bird crows and drops a man
a man falls onto a small island
A large boulder rolls towards him
A small woman yells loudly
A small man jumps behind a large tree

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I sleep with one eye open now

Living on this rock, where things can go wrong quickly, I have adopted the habit of sleeping with one eye open. My mind continuoulsy scanning for wrong noises, the hum of the water pump which means my cistern is losing water, the clomp of goats in my yard tearing away at my little garden or the sploosh of a stranded dog diving into my pool. It is amazing that all this is done when there are so many other noises that can interfere with wrong noises. There are crickets and bird noises, and turtles that while moving through the garden can make goat like sounds, and wind in the trees, but yet my scan is never wrong. It is infalliable. I am alerted to danger even as my mind burroughs deeper and deeper into its own secret subterrean world entertaining me with strange ideas, new dimensions, while creating problematic situations, which it then rushes to find solutions for before the sun rises and a new day begins.

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