Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 4:

So, this was my life in Austin for the first year or so as I was commuting WEEKLY to Austin from Sacramento. After my first 2 weeks here, HBO couldn't entertain me and I began exploring the city. I'd usually go to dinner at a nicer restaurant and sat at the bar to talk with either the bar tender or other folks, who, like me, were alone but content to have some structured company.
Its always easy to meet people at dinner at the bar. If you don't like the conversation on the left, you can pick it up on the right. If you don't want to continue the conversation, eat your dessert somewhere else. The check provides the easy out.

That's all I've got. You don't get the juicy details.

Your character is on a trip for work, and finds him/herself extremely bored, so he/she walks down to the hotel bar. After a few cocktails, they begin a conversation with a dashing stranger. What happens next?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 3: Suburbia suits me

I take another breath and sink down lower into the bath tub. Wait- what did that lady call it? Oh right. It isn't a bath tub, its a garden tub. Its so big that I can keep my feet in the water as my head goes under. And not only that, but I am all under at one time. Last time I took a bath, each time I wanted to put my head under I had to scootch my ass to the end of the tub, with my legs reaching up along the cold tiled wall in order to be able to lay my head back.

My house, or what was my house, only had a shower. But it wasn't hooked up or anything so I usually showered at the Y. It was when I was on my way to the Y that I saw it. What they did to those men. What I told the jury they did to those men. And what they'll do to me.

I push back up so I'm sitting in the tub and wipe my eyes. Yeah. This I could get used to. I've never lived in a place this nice. In fact, I've never lived anywhere that couldn't be hitched up to something and towed to another town before. When I walk on the floor, it feels solid. I'm not bumping into anyone when I fix a bowl of cereal. The house is made of brick and can't be blown down by any big bad wolf.


This town is alright except there's no Wal-Mart. I have to go about 15 miles to Fishkill for that and the money I have to pay for the cab ride makes it so I don't have any money for shopping. They've told me I have to get a job. So I guess I'll do that next. I can't really be a housewife when my husband's gone. But if I was going to be a housewife, this is the kind of house I'd want to live in. It's even got a clothes washer AND dryer IN the house! In my own house!

But even with the garden tub and the laundry, there are reminders that even though the house is brick, my life is straw. Panic buttons in three rooms; FBI living in the guest room and kitty corner across the street. And guns. All the guns. I don't care about ever going back to Texas. There wasn't anything there for me anyway. Not anymore. I get to build a new life and if they never find me, I'll get to live it.

Assignment: Congratulations. You just testified in court against the biggest crime family in all of Texas. Now, to keep your ass from being dead, the FBI is putting you and your family in the Witness Protection Program. Write about the first day of your new life as Chris Farmington in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 2: off topic (gratuitous dog photo)

My dog is a loud swallower. Not when he eats his food and not when lapping up water. Nope. Just randomly when he's sitting there waiting for me to prepare his dinner or after he looks up at me from a cozy little dognap. *GULP*

It's like he's either perpetually worried that I've caught him doing something or he's just a gulper.
I don't think that it's equivalent to a human mouth-breather or close-talker because its mildly endearing. Like when he scares himself awake with his own flatulence.

I just haven't figured out the trigger. Does he have an overactive salivary gland? Does he always think he's going on some harebrained adventure? Human gulpers show their true colors when the seat bar locks them into their roller coaster seat, or right before they step off the high dive. But canine gulpers? This shall require more research.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1: The Writing Resumes

Sometimes I write because I think its what I'm supposed to do.
Sometimes I write because I can't sleep.
Sometimes I write because I think it will make someone fall in love with me.
Sometimes I write because I want to try to disturb someone.
Sometimes I write because I didn't like how something went down in reality so I rewrite it the way I wish it had gone.
Sometimes I write because I witness something so amazing that I want to preserve it as best I can.

I mostly write creative non-fiction. Everything I write has some tie to an experience I've had, or want to have. I love to read literary fiction and natural history- and I find my writing reflects some of that.

My intention is to give you words everyday for 30 days. Sometimes it will be on topic, some won't. But I hope to make it a little interesting.
I think I need to start working on a short story for the Chronicle's contest in December- so perhaps I'll do some exploring, too.

Looing forward to reading what you all produce!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Its not my month

I haven't been able to write yet- and I'm not seeing any time in the future that I can be consistent for this month so.. I'm just going to bow out and join up another month.
I will, however, make an effort to read and comment on some of your all's entries.
Good luck everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

4/1 Foolish Intentions

It's after midnight on Thursday morning and I just got back from the opening show of the Leonard Cohen concert. At 6am this morning (err, yesterday morning) I was on a bike trainer spinning my heinie off.
My intent is to write something daily. Just something. Sometimes I will post to my non-project blog and link it to this site. Sometimes I will follow the topic. sometimes I'll do this- just write for the sake of writing.
I already have two music reviews to complete by the weekend and some soul searching to do. In addition to that I have: a Steven Lynch show, a Jerry Seinfeld show, a visit from my parents, an Alamo Drafthouse quote along, a one hour bike ride, a thirty minute run, a dinner date with my training buddies, and 1.5 hours of air scenting training with Johnny.
And that's just the stuff I know about.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1/21 a walk with sherman

When I was somewhere around two and a half to three, I got to eat cake and ride in a police car all in the same day. I still consider those two activities key ingredients to a perfect evening- although its generally better when the cake follows the ride in the police car.

I don't remember the looks on my parents faces nor do I remember feeling like it was a big deal. What I remember is sitting on some lady's house eating chocolate cake and refusing a napkin.
I remember seeing Sherman's leather leash hanging by the door. I think I even remember looking up out the glass window in the door- through each of the four squares and thinking to myself that today would be a wonderful day for a walk. A walk with Sherman.

Sherman was the most perfect bulldog ever built. He was mostly white with some tan and black splotches placed randomly across his squatty body. Although he would later become dangerously aggressive with people outside the family, on this day, he was still a gentle soul. Gentle enough to allow a two and half to three year old girl clip a leash to his collar and wait eagerly by the door for a walk around the block.

I'm sure his dog tags jingled when I clipped him up. Then, without an indication to anyone else, we slipped out of the house and began our adventure. Now, I can't remember anything about the walk. My memory essentially goes from looking at the leash to eating cake- so I'll try to fill you in with information based on third party accounts.

Apparently we made it pretty far. I don't know about miles- but definitely blocks.
And blocks my parents would assume would be too far away for my two and half to three year old legs to take me. Come to think of it, I don't know if they realized I was missing before the got the phone call or not. I can imaging Sherman doing most of the leading- but never pulling hard enough to pull the leash out of my little hands. He would trot along and stop to sniff at trees and bushes- with that characteristic bulldog snuffle.

A neighbor lady saw us walking along and realized that although it was the early 1970's - long before kids were forced to play indoors for fear of pedophiles and shootings, two and a half to three year olds should probably not be walking large, albeit obedient, bulldogs unsupervised.
And again, because it was the early 1970's, there was nothing untoward about a perfect stranger inviting a child into her home for cake. In our family, we didn't start being quizzed on kidnapping scenarios until the early 80's.

So, at some point she gets me in the house, slices what I remember to be a giant piece of moist chocolate cake and calls the police.
The police man, demonstrating an advanced level of detective work, simply looked at Sherman's dog tags, found a phone number and called my parents. Okay so it may have been a little more than that. I don't know if they actually had their number on the tag- or if they had to pull the information from the rabies vaccination tag and look something up. So I'll cut the friendly stranger some slack.

Thus began the final part of my adventure- the ride home. I do remember pulling up to my parent's house in a car that was outfitted with lots more than the basic steering wheel and gear shifter. But I don't think they made me wear a seat belt. And they were probably smoking. Nah- I just made that part up.

I also don't remember the actual reunion very well. But to close it up I'll say that I don't think I got into too much trouble. I'm sure they made sure to keep better tabs on both Sherman and me. For me, however, it was just the beginning of many unauthorized explorations- creek crossings, tree climbings, fence hoppings. I didn't have Sherman there as either a rescuer or a co-conspirator for those adventures- but I'll always remember him as the catalyst.

Assignment Notes: In honor of what is arguably one of the best television shows ever made, write about a time you, or someone you love, was Lost.

1/28 Billions!

So I hit the uberjackpot. I have $819 billion dollars.

1. Pay off my parents' house.- give them a few million to do with as they wish.
2. Buy a house for my sister- finance her film projects- help her start a production company(?)
3. Buy a house for me in Austin, Sea Ranch and Switzerland.- invest $100 million of it.
4. Set up a charitable giving foundation for the rest
5. Purchase land for an animal sanctuary in a fairly remote but temperate location.- Start building barns and structures for horses, mules, donkeys and dogs. And another house(s) for the humans who will staff the place.
6. Donate ~$50,000 to 100 public schools via a grant program
7. Hire a personal trainer- train for an Ironman
8. Make significant contributions to:
- Alzheimer's Research
- Breast Cancer Research
- Local animal rescue organizations
- Planned Parenthood
- help women in 3rd world countries get business loans
9. travel travel travel
- Costa Rica, Canada, Spain, England, Ireland, Australia, Germany, everywhere else.
10. Get a Creative Writing Degree.
11. Who knows.. I think at this point I haven't even hit $500 million yet...

Assignment Notes: You just got a $819 billion dollar bonus, because you are so awesome. Consider it your very own economic stimulus package. Go ape shit. What are you going to do with it?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

1/15 HaleyB

Perennially goggled and painfully shy, the always candid HaleyB started life as most of us do with ten toes and ten fingers and soft wisps of baby hair on her head. Although nothing was wrong with her vision, HaleyB found protective eyewear oddly comforting during her early years. One day she came home from school early only to find her parents in mid-coitus with her mother's stilletoed limbs kicking wildly in the air. Mistaking the frantic lovemaking for an attack, little HaleyB ran to help her mother only to get kicked in the eyebrow by one of the flailing feet. The combination of both the impact of the kick and the visual of the beat-with-two-backs, HaleyB sought to protect herself in the way that made the most sense- goggles.
With her goggles securely attached to her face, HaleyB could break out of her self-conscious shell and participate in school yard games and classroom activities. Through her goggles, she observed everything. She took it all in- and she wrote it all down.
Gradually HaleyB began experimenting with goggles. Her everyday pair was a gift from her uncle- a ski instructor in Kirkwood, CA. Light but sturdy, she could clearly see the world around her with light sun protection- and no glare! A former lover, who didn't get it, offered her some basic swimming pool goggles. She graciously accepted the gift- but never slept with that person again.

Assignment Notes:
OK, so I really want to keep up, to some degree, with some sort of collaborative writing. I find it fun.

Today, pick someone in the blog group (look in the followers section) whom you know very little about. Based solely on their blogspot pic and the name of their blog (not their writing), write a one-paragraph bio of them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1/13 Excuses

I would write but I am hooked on watching Type O Negative videos online all night.
More to come later this week.

Why is Pete Steele so goddamn sexy?

Monday, January 5, 2009

1/5 Dear Old Love

At least when I lied, it was to protect your feelings. So yeah, you have the worst tasting cum ever.

Assignment Notes: This blog called "Dear Old Love" is a really fun way to waste a few hours. Similar to postsecret- people mail in their notes anonymously to their exes. The blog owner comes up with the title.Some are sweet, some are sad and some are..vengeful.enjoy!
Book Him
via Dear Old Love on 1/4/09
I finally finished my novel. It’s nothing like the early drafts you read. The character based on you kills himself because he’s a jackass and everybody hates him. Especially me.

Now that is a dish best served cold. Write a note to an ex. And don't be shy.

CG Notes: Okay okay- I was going to let this one stand on its own but just to make sure no one gets there feelings hurt, this was based more on a conversation than actual experience. I'm not exactly a sperm sommelier, but different factors contribute to a person's individual.. uh flavor.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

1/4 Hint: It's Not a dog

It's fucking hot. I came in to 7-ll for a goddamn Slurpee and its hotter than the Heat Mizer's balls for fuck's sake. I just poured my Slurpee and its looking more like a slushy- which is not nearly as tasty nor re-fucking-freshing. If this is all syrup before I get to the cash register I'm going to pour half of it into the give-a-penny-take-a-penny cup and the other half into the bin of cheap lighters.

Wait. That's chick's handbag just moved. Is she keeping her cockapoodle or chiuaua or some shitty dorkie in that bag? What a bitch! Its sweltering in here and that dog can't hardly breathe smothered in that black leather bag.

I take a sip of my Slurpee and confirm it is not yet syrup. I am pleased. I contemplate the beef sticks and hear somebody's stomach gurgle. I know its not a fart. Anything that actually exited a person's body and made that beastly a noise would certainly emit a nostril singeing odor. And while I smell a slight sulfuric scent, I figure its just eggs. This place isn't exactly known for being hygenic. I mean, the same hotdogs have been on those rollers so long, I know them all by name. And I only come in here 3 times a month- after noodlin'.

So this chick's bag moves again and I feel I have to say something. I tap her lightly on her shoulder and she turns towards me and looks through me. Not at me- completely through me. Its fucking weird.

Hey- I tell her. Your dog probably can't breathe in there with it being so hot in here.
She looks down at the bag and slowly parts the top and son-of-a-whore that ungodly smell just bursts out of that thing.

"Jesus fuck lady! What did you feed your goddamn dog? Its dying in there! Do you not fucking smell that shit?" I yell at her and squeeze my Slurpee cup so hard that brown and red Slurpee explodes out of my hands and all over the cigarettes and titty magazines. Not like they weren't sticky anyway.

The deep gut sound rumbles within the bag and before I can cuss her out again, a black leg... that's not a leg- its a.. oh fuck me- that' s goddamn tentacle! It roils against the bag- straining to escape. The bitch's eyes never move. The bag glows like some twisted jack-o-lantern and something screeches- but it doesn't come from her bag. I mean, it does- but it sounds a mile away. which is about 180 degress from where I want to be right now.

CG notes: I cannot get Green Day's "American Idiot" out of my head. Thanks, Laurie. In case it wasn't obvious- my idiom was "Hell in a handbasket."

Assignment Notes: Choose an American idiom and use its literal meaning as the basis for a story.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1/3 Natural Disaster

The dorm is locked by the time I arrive from Nat Sci II. With nowhere to go, I clutch my backpack and head to the west side field. The field overlooks Monterey bay and some of downtown Santa Cruz where dozens of pillars of smoke rise from the town. I can hear sirens as fire trucks and police cars rush to each damaged building. Or collapsed building.

Then I feel another one. An aftershock. It shakes so hard that I have to stop walking to keep my balance. There have been three good ones since the main earthquake and this makes four.
Around me people are sitting in small groups like refugees. Its a pleasant fall evening and there is a slight chill. The light is softened by all the dust. I can't see my friends.

A trio of guys I recognize but don't really know call me over. One of them says nothing but hands me a pipe and a lighter. "This should help" he says. I lit the bowl and inhaled. A smaller aftershock rolled under out feet and I blew out the smoke. I felt tingly.
"When will these stop?" I muttered.
The guy tucked my hair behind my right ear.
"Not sure. That was a pretty big quake. It took out the Bay Bridge. And the 880 is toast."
"Yeah," added another guy in a plaid flannel. "San Francisco is burning."
"Ha ha, dude. You mean flaming. San Francisco is flaming!" the other guy chimed in.
"No, dipshit. It's on fire- like destruction and shit," plaid flannel replied.
"It's flaming..ha ha.. FLAY-ming!" We lost the third guy in a flurry of giggles. So I took his turn on the pipe.

I spy my roommate and my neighbors in a cluster several feet away. I thank the guys for their hospitality, take one last draw and walk towards my friends. The first guy grabs my arm and gives me a long deep kiss. The mix of adrenaline and weed is intoxicating. I make a mental note to find him later.

Liz gives me a hug and David spreads a sleeping bag on the ground. A few of us sit down and look out over the city. You can hear people crying. Radios sounding alerts shouting out instructions.

Don't go into any buildings.
Don't drink any water.
Don't go surfing.
Stay off the phone lines unless you have an emergency.

And then we hear something else. Two violins. A very tall man and a petite woman, both in glasses, walking toward us all playing Pachelbel's Canon. Its a surreal scene,. The sunset is glittering. Dust particle from broken buildings causing the light to shift and bend- creating crimsons and golds and jewel worthy oranges. The jarring radio announcements. The lilting violins. So much beauty out of of so much confusion.

CG notes: On October 17th 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake destroyed most of the downtown Santa Cruz shops, nearly every chimney in town and, as you may remember, part of the 880 freeway. I was a student in my freshman year at UC Santa Cruz and was 10 miles from the epicenter of the 7.1 shaker. We were cleared to go back into our dorms around 10:30 that night. But the aftershocks didn't stop for months.
My dog also died that day in Sacramento.

Assignment Notes: Natural disasters are something that almost all of us will deal with in our lifetime. Earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, tsunamis. They are also great elements in literature, for if it there were no tornadoes, how would Dorothy have made it to Oz?
Today, write about a natural disaster. Either write about your experience with one, or write about a fictional event from a character's first person point of view.

Friday, January 2, 2009

1/2 The Ox

An ox is very simply a castrated bovine that has learned some tricks.

In other words, he's the perennial nice guy.

He's the guy who does all the heavy lifting without getting the credit he deserves. He's not all that bright. He's docile and does as he's told. He accepts the beatings without complaint. Steady and solid- he'll work for you until you say stop.

He's the one a girl settles for because she can't tame the stallion she was promised.

She'll sit in the wagon on an established trail with her faithful ox shouldering her baggage. From her seat she can see the horses galloping away in the fields, wandering where their whims take them. The ox will take her where she thinks she's supposed to be.

My notes: So its not exactly an ode. Sorry. I'm not a fan of what the ox represents. And I just found some of my super cheesy high school poetry. Can you tell?

Assignment Notes: 2009 is the Year of the Ox, a beast of burden that occupies very little space in our literary history. Babe the blue ox has pretty much had to hold it down in that world, so help keep him company by writing an ode to the ox. A poem is probably the most fun way to go, but feel free to write in any style you want. Read more about the year of the ox on Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

1/1 Fresh Start

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good
-Nina Simone

The five words that will define my writing life for 2009 are:
  • passionate
  • fearless
  • consistent
  • authentic
  • earnest

It should come as no surprise that these are also my intentions for myself overall for this year.
I feel as though I've become a wallflower in recent months- slowly pulling away from friends and abusing my introspective powers. Life is not as interesting when you live it alone.

Under certain circumstances, I have a tendency to withdraw and self medicate with TV, alcohol and food (and recently, Facebook). I become paralyzed. Writing forces me to experience each emotion and even though it gives me more control - it also leaves me vulnerable. And I hate that. Hate it.

I guess the good part of the paralysis is that I'm so mentally confined that I don't make bad decisions. But frankly, I don't make any decisions at all. Things just roll past me and I spend all day in my own head. Completely oblivious of the days passing me by- and the lives and events of friends who could benefit from my full or even partial attention.

So my goal for the first few months of 2009 is to become re-engaged with the world around me. Return to living in the moment and making an effort to support those I care about.
My writing will hopefully reflect these changes and, dear reader- be prepared. I have no idea where my thoughts will wander. But I promise to push some boundaries.

Assignment notes: It’s the first of the year and you have a blank canvas in front of you. On that glaringly white piece of paper, set your intention for the year. Fill that page with five words that reflect your goals for your life as a writer. Expand upon them if you want, or let them be powerful enough to speak for themselves.