This is the Life of a Redhead



Friday, December 25, 2009

Weekly Musing

Never facebook stalk your emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend who vanished without a trace because you will feel completely worthless when you discover that he's now happily married.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Top Films of the Decade

List time!

So the decade's wrapping up, and being a self-proclaimed cinemaphile, I had to think about my top 10 films of the decade. This is an extremely hard list for me to make. I'm very picky when it comes to film, and I don't think I'll ever place these movies quite right. But, as of now, here's my list. This may change before the New Year, and I'm sure it'll drive me crazy all the while.

10. Spirited Away (2001)
9. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
8. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
7. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
6. Adaptation (2002)
5. The Counterfeiters (2007)
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
3. Wall-E (2008)
2. The Royal Tennenbaums (2001)
1. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

honorable mentions:
Talk to Her (2002)
Waitress (2007)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Notes on a Scandal (2006)
There Will be Blood (2007)
Thank You for Smoking (2005)

Best year for film in the decade: 2007

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shhh, it's not video.

This is a blog for my writing, yes.
But!
The previous post was a script for an animation I was making. So, I figured I would share the final product.

(Thanks to YouTube.)



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mikey

Part 1 of a 3 part series.
*edit* Finished it. A weak ending, but it's meant to be acted out, so it won't sound as bad.
I'm going to animate (w/clay) a story to it.
The idea for this series was heavily inspired by the Australian artist Adam Elliot ("Harvey Krumpet")

Mikey

My brother had a good friend in the fourth grade, a scrawny boy named Mikey Winkler, who had straw colored hair and wore rugby shirts. They were not terribly close, but Mikey had been coming over to our house more and more recently, playing with our dad’s toy train set, and showing off yo-yo tricks: “around the world,” “walk the dog,” “time warp.” He knew them all. He was very good.

On Halloween Mikey had been walking home from trick or treating, a bucket full of candy in one hand, and his Duncan yo-yo in the other, spinning tricks in the quiet street. He was performing an amazing feat of completing the “Atom Smasher” while eating a fistful of candy, when blinding headlights stopped him in his tracks, and then stopped his heart.

My mother forced all of us to go to the wake, and I remember the large cross on the wall looming over Mikey’s coffin, Jesus staring down the room forcing us all to whisper and remain solemn. There weren’t many other children there, but my brother spotted Ben Friedman in the corner, a fellow Jew who did not understand this Catholic wake business, who was also distressed by Jesus and the nails digging into his outstretched hands. My brother ran to his friend and they stayed there in the corner, talking about Mikey, jealous that he would never have to do homework again, and upset that he would not be able to join them for recess on Monday.

I found myself standing in front of the coffin, looking at Mikey’s white face, which had ever so slightly been touched up. His lips were so red, the brightest feature on his face, looking so full of life compared to his colorless cheeks. He was dressed in a blue and green rugby shirt, the colors of our elementary school. They had crossed his arms and rested his hands on top of a Bible, and more peculiarly, a yo-yo.

It was an orange Duncan, the same one that he spun daily around the cafeteria tables. The toy was scratched, and there was a sizeable chip in it, but it had survived the crash. Mikey’s fingers were tightly interlocked, protecting his prized possession. Mikey would forever be remembered as the kid with the yo-yo, a boy who had fallen into a fad and took it to his grave.

I tried to look for Mikey’s parents, but I gave up almost as soon as I started because I had no idea what they looked like. I tried to spot a man or woman who looked more grieved than the rest, or perhaps was better dressed, but the sea or tear-streaked faces and black formalwear was too dense. I wondered how Mikey’s parents had perceived their son. He hadn’t been good at sports, and he wasn’t known for his brains. He was eight years old. What else did he have going for him?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Austin

I hear the gravel crunch as Austin passes swiftly on his skateboard. His backpack is slung loosely over one shoulder, and as his body fades I see the back pocket unzipped, a black pencil case threatening to spill out. It balances carefully on the edge of the zipper, gently bobbing up and down as it continues on its journey. My eyes wander down his body, his tight jeans growing smaller, his shape gradually becoming less perfect and more blurred as he skates down the street.

I trip on the sidewalk. I hear a girl click her tongue as I balance myself on the uneven concrete. She has dark brown hair, orange skin, and black leggings that seem to be painted on squeezing her thighs. She rolls eyes at me before she turns her head, watching Austin shrink. Her makeup’s all wrong. Her eye shadow’s smudged. She’s wearing too much concealer.

She waves to Austin, her cold expression cracking into desperation. He does not turn. She calls to him, once, “Hey!’ His body is a speck in the distance. Again, louder, “Hey!” His body is microscopic.

When I pass her, I glare. She catches my look, and bumps me with her purse. I let my fingers wrap and tug around its long leather handles, and then she is picking up mascara from the sidewalk, hissing at me, spitting out colorful words. I am a slut. I am a bitch.

I think about the last time I saw Austin. In class, his friend with the blond curly hair nudges him in the side, chiding him for not coming out the weekend before. He’s whipped, tied down to his girlfriend. Austin smiles nervously. Is he going to marry her? No, he laughs, of course not, his hands twisting and turning, his fingers winding into the loose threads from a tear at the bottom of his jeans.

My mind wanders as I turn the corner, reaching the front steps to my apartment. I walk upstairs and immediately crawl in bed with my shoes still on, and wrap my arms around Patrick, who is wrapped under the covers snoring lightly. My hands caress his bare chest and I smell his hair, which always smells of jasmine. He mumbles a bit, and turns his body to face me, half-opening his eyes, groggily looking at me. I ask him to promise to never fool around with another woman. He does. I ask him to promise to continue loving me. He does. I ask him to promise to never to marry me. He does.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Artist on being an Artist

Huh. Writing this for class, but figure it is shareable.
Personal Essay.
Creative non fiction? Well, not that creative.

I don’t think that my parents would have predicted that they would have a child in art school. My father, a technological man, and my mother, who spent most of my childhood as a stay-at-home mom, can hardly be considered the artistic type. They never enrolled me in an art class, or encouraged me to pursue creative outlets. Instead, they forced my non-athletic, twiggy self into six years of little-league softball. In high school, they hung their heads in shame as I traded in my catcher’s gear for play scripts. They winced when I asked for rides to art shows. My senior year, my dad scolded me for not taking calculus.

By the time I applied for college, it was clear that things weren’t going to change. While they were relieved that I was hesitant to make a career out of the fine arts, I remember the exasperated expression on my father’s face when I told him that I wanted to pursue animation and filmmaking. It was only with my keen knowledge of the film industry, as I recklessly pulled up numbers and gross figures, that my parents grudgingly accepted the fact that I could pursue art and make money—if I were lucky.

Because I didn’t have much support from my parents, art was something that I had to completely self-teach. I found my inspiration mostly through contemporary filmmakers, practically idolizing directors such as Stephen Spielberg, Geoerge Lucas, John Hughes, Wes Anderson, the Coen Brothers, and Hayao Miyazaki. Above all, I worship the senior creative team at Pixar. Most of my daydreams revolve around working along side with John Lasseter, grabbing lunch with Andrew Stanton, and just chillin’ with Brad Bird.

Sometimes, my admiration for such people brings fault to my work. The biggest challenge I have as an artist is my lack of self-confidence. I tend to look at such accomplished filmmakers and wonder how I can reach their levels, both in quality and conceptually. I know it is nonsensical to compare myself to such famed people, but it is in my nature to push myself beyond my natural limits, to have grandiose aspirations for my work and goals set so high that even some of the most famed people in the industry have not reached them.

In the end, I just want to be a storyteller. I want to explore the dark, complex sides of humanity. I’m interested in the motivation and psychology behind emotion, especially mixed feelings like anticipation and disappointment. I want to pursue the ideas of luck and karma, and I would like to find out if fate really exists. I like to experiment with various forms of animation, so I can tell stories about people in surreal and abstract ways. I would like to be a formalist who does not abandon meaning, and a postmodernist with hope for humanity, a hope that is buried under all my discontent.

Despite negative feelings, however, I feel that I have succeeded at finding out who I am, not just as an artist, but as an individual as well. I know what values I hold, and how I would like my art to portray such ideals. At this point, I am only struggling to find a comfortable method for doing so. I have While I see myself as a pessimist, I do believe that I will be able to solve such a problem.

Sometimes, I like to put my artistic identity crisis aside. For now, I continue to bemuse my parents, thriving in my uncertainties and insecurities, watching them squirm, smiling slyly to myself.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Favorite time of day: 4 - 7 pm, late summer afternoons.

Man I am not liking this at all, 'cept the last few lines. Oh well.

New vignette.

And The Trees Glow

It’s the late afternoon, and the sun grows tired and languid, yawning as it slowly descends behind the trees, flares dulling from a crisp yellow to a sultry orange. The shadows grow, stretching forever, the dirt road sprouting freckles, spotted by bursts of light and dark imprints, the light blocked by the leaves and the squirrels. And the leaves! The leaves glow, illuminate, a transfixing emerald green. They glow with passion! They glow with radiance! They glow and the squirrels scurry across the branches, and as the tree shakes, the leaves whisper, tell secrets, giggle faintly. Cicadas stretch and flutter their wings, bothered by the heat, awakened by the orange air, begin chirping oooooAAAAA oooooAAAAA oooooAAAAA. And the cicadas yearn for love, and summer yearns for love, and humanity yearns for love.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Excerpts

I just read Dave Eggers' biography A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and found that there was a lot in it that I could relate to, on a weird level. Eggers grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and I can see the mark that has left on him.

Lately, when I've been reading, I've been marking up books by writing in the margins, underlining sentences, and circling entire passages that are particularly striking to me. Sadly, I checked this book out from the library, so I had to restrain myself from writing in it. I did end up dog-earring two passages, and now I will share them below.

Page 76.

"We grew up in a tightfisted house, where there was no allowance, where asking for $5 from our father elicited the heaviest of sighs, required detailed plans for repayment. Our mother was far worse--would not even shop in Lake Forest, where everything was overpriced, would instead drive ten, twenty, thirty miles to Marshall's, to T.J. Maxx, for bargains, for bulk. Once a year we'd all pile into the Pinto and would drive to a place on the west side of Chicago, Sinofsky's, where for $4, $5 each we'd buy dozens of slightly flawed rugby shirts, holes here and there, extra buttons, collars ruined by bleach, pink bleeding into white. We grew up with a weird kind of cognitive dissonance; we knew we lived in a nice town--our cousins out East often made that point to us--but then, if this was true, why was our mother always fretting aloud about not having money to buy staples? "How will I even buy milk tomorrow?" she would yell at him from the kitchen. Our father, who was out of work a year here, a year there, never seemed impressed with her worry; he seemed to have it all worked out. Still, we were ready for and expected sudden indigence, to be forced out of the house in the middle of the night and into one of the apartments on the highway, at the edge of town. To become on of those kids."

Page. 201
". . . my feeling is that if you're not self-obsessed you're probably boring. NOt that you can always tell the self-obsessed. The best sort of self-obsessed person isn't outwardly so. But they're doing something more public than not, making sure people know that they're doing it, or will know about it sooner or later. I guarantee that the applicants for The Real World--I guarantee that if you put all these tapes in a time capsule and opened it in twenty years, you'd find that these are the people who are, in one way or another, running the world--at the very least, they'll be the most visible segment of the demographic. Because we've grown up thinking of ourselves in relation to the political-media-entertainment ephemera, in our safe and comfortable homes, given the time to think about how we would fit into this or that band or TV show or movie, and how we would look doing it. These are people for whom the idea of anonymity is existentially irrational, indefensible. And thus, there is a lot of talking about it all-surely the cultural output of this time will reflect that--there'll be a lot of talking, whole movies full of talking, talking about talking, ruminating about talking about wondering, about our place, our wants and obligations--the blathering of the belle époque, you know. Environmentally reinforced solipsism."

I also hope that some people note that there are similarities in our writing. I don't want to imply that I am as good as Eggers--not at all. But, I do feel, especially when I read this, that my style is very much in the same vein as his, and that made me kind of happy. I loved what I read here, and it brings me joy to know that without trying desperately, I've created format to my writing that parallels great, wonderful writers whom intrigue me, make me think.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weekly Musing

Haven't done this in a while.

Weekly Musing:

"The average person only goes to one funeral during their childhood (birth-18) and then one every three years until they're fifty."

In my childhood, I have attended four funerals, and four wakes.
In my adulthood, which has only spanned two years, I have attended two funerals.
I've been a pallbearer. I've been asked if I've wanted to say a few words, (but haven't actually done so.)
I've been to a dog's funeral.

I've never been to a wedding.

Is this a trend, or is there such a thing as fate?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I saw a stuffed tiger on the street today.

It inspired this.
Needs work, I know.

The Prince on the Median

The stuffed tiger lay in the middle of the road, on the flat median, just short of the left-turn lane. It was dirty and faded. Its orange back was bleached yellow from the sun, and the black stripes were a dull gray, and the gray spread into the white fur hugging the tiger’s jawline. It lay there so helplessly, so quietly. It paid no attention to the cars, refusing to rock gently as the vehicles breezed by, the artificial wind barely ruffling the tiger’s faux whiskers.

It lay there in the aftermath of father’s rage, or mother’s, or brother, or even grandma. He was stressed, on edge. She was nervous, waiting on the results for something important, something that daughter and her tiger couldn’t understand. So the girl sang to her tiger, called him her prince, brushed his matted, dull fur. Father or mother, hands shaking, asking daughter to be a little more quiet, asking again and again, took her prince and flung him out the window, and daughter’s tears only made it worse.

There was the possibility that there was no rage, or stress. There were no results and there wasn’t anything important for daughter to not understand. She had rolled the window down; let tiger’s snout pick up the scents of the suburbs, substituting for the puppy she asked for every Christmas. He was enjoying it all, the scents, the sounds, the sun, when suddenly the car jerked. It had hit a pothole, swerved to avoid another car, slammed on the breaks to avoid a squirrel—it had been something, anything, but daughter never knew, her eyes widening and jaw dropping as tiger slipped from her hands.

There, on the median, tiger watched his damsel’s tiny face grow smaller and smaller, until it was only a dot on the horizon, pink and blurry. Then cars began to gather in the left-turn lane, and his fur darkened more with the debris from exhaust pipes as the light turned green and cars revved their engines.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I lie in bed and listen to the world around me.

First draft of a short thing here. Creative non-fiction. Kind of meaningful to me. Want to work on the emotional impact.

Untitled

In the late morning, the phone rings, and in her usual manner my mother answers, informally saying “hello” as she anticipates the sales pitch from a telemarker or Jewish charity. There is an unusual pause before she speaks next, and while I cannot see her reaction, as I am lying in my bedroom trying to fall back asleep, I can sense her body going rigid, her hands clenching tightly around the phone, her heart beating faster.

“You’re asking about Ryan?”

The way her voice cracks makes it sound as if someone is bringing terrible news about my brother. Her tone is suddenly sharp, distrusting, paranoid. Angrily, she asks the caller, “do you even know who Ryan is? Do you know him?”

I feel my heart break as there is a long, uncomfortable pause. “When was the last time you spoke to him,” my mother finally barks, and I wonder which long-lost friend the caller is. My first guesses are Grant or Patricia, but my mother never repeats the name aloud.

I imagine the caller is stammering, feeling interrogated and vulnerable, the horror creeping into their mind as they realize that they’ve just disturbed a grieving mother. “Ryan’s in the Air Force,” my mother says weakly, a small clear of the throat to hide the fact that she may be crying. The way she speaks, “Air Force,” could easily be replaced with the word “dead.”

Ryan is Dead.

In my mother’s mind, his enlistment was the act of signing his own death certificate. His infrequent calls and brief communication with me provide no consolation for her. While my brother will be stationed in a small base in Northern California, my mother firmly believes that soon he’ll be stationed in Iraq, dodging bullets and dropping bombs from planes, eventually landing in a body bag as a proud, Jewish soldier.

As I lay in bed, tangled in my covers, I try to hear more, but there is nothing. I strain my ears and suddenly I hear the bathroom sink running water, my mother shuffling around, the toilet flush, more running water. Then silence. The house fills with an emptiness, and for a brief moment, I feel like the air is thick with mourning, that my mother is sitting Shiva. Then my dog stirs, and the bright jangling of his collar remind me of dog tags. I picture my brother in the hot sun of Goodfellow, Texas, grumbling about P. T. and technical school, looking forward to the evening when he can swipe a slice of cake from the dining hall and then spend some hours online, telling stories to his sister about his pick-up softball games, casually mentioning a girl he spoke to that day, and making plans for when he eventually comes home.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I want to go to the Beach

Humpback

They stood there, arms waving in a frenzy, as men from the Coast Guard tried to shoo the crowd away, shouting obscenities into megaphones. The Humpback whale looked so lonely on the shore, his big eyes swollen and reflecting the mass of onlookers strutting in their bikinis, and swim trunks. The whale’s thick skin was bloated, and there was algae deepest in his wrinkles, and a hermit crab scuttled across the fluke excitedly, as if it were Columbus setting foot upon the New World for the first time. Children laughed and screamed when the helicopter arrived, as the thick cords fell clumsily into the sand. The men threw damp blankets over the whale, and after a grueling process he began to lift up, up, up into the sky. When the whale was only a dot among the horizon, the people returned to their beach towels and hot dogs, and the scent of sunscreen overcame the smell of the sea.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things My Family Fights About . Com

Along the lines of sites like Texts From Last Night and F My Life, I got the idea of the ultmate depressing website : Things My Family Fights About (.com)

Today, I would submit these subjects :

Chairs
Toilet Paper
Cups
"Being a Maniac"
Money
Money
Money

Friday, May 15, 2009

I can't be the only one who does this.

I swear I am not a stalker.
This is creative nonfiction, I guess?
I wrote this very quickly, while feeling down. It's probably full of odd syntax, weird grammar, and an incoherent flow.

Nocturnal Scavenger

Sometimes, when I am bored and feeling lonely, I will visit my Blogger profile and click on bands and films that I have listed in my profile as favorites. I scroll through the results, fondly regarding the multitude of strangers with whom I have at least one thing in common. On occasion, I spot a handsome man, and holding my breath I tentatively click on his profile, peering into the depths of his interests. I only get a vague feel of his life, but I smile, and I feel my cheeks glow when I see that we both share an appreciation for Wes Anderson flicks and the crooning voice of John Darinelle. When I am feeling especially brave, I plunge into his blog, skimming his lately musings to see if perhaps my soul mate is out there, wandering the streets of London or Sydney or Tokyo. I close my eyes, and I daydream about the wonderful life I could have with a man that I have built in my mind based off shallow information. Then I close the window, and I take careful precautions to never look for these men again. I erase them from my mind; I forget about our imaginary courtship. I return to reality, straining my ears to catch signs of life that surround me. Off in the distance, there are warm bodies held close by their significant others, oblivious to the emptiness that plagues me on these nights.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Too Many Symbols?

I like the idea of this piece, but I don't like what I physically wrote. Perhaps there is too much symbolism going on? Or maybe it just doesn't make sense. I dunno.

___

Flags

The little white flags trembled, but they held themselves high, and tried to shout across the nation, but their words were ripped apart from the bellowing wind, and their tiny voices could not carry across the country, especially not to the flag way up in Juneau.

The flag in Davenport managed to cry out to the entire Quad Cities, and Rock Island’s inhabitant was surely impressed, but their exchange was cut off from the rest of the world, swallowed by the surrounding farmlands, and it wasn’t long until the cows and sheep and goats came and chewed their cloth to pieces and their wooden shafts to nubs.

Along the West Coast, the flags were stomped on, torn and tattered, and San Rafael and San Francisco’s flags hid in the sewers, and their words never traveled across the Golden Gate. Seattle’s flags could not overcome the rain and clouds and fog, and threw its words into the sea, and then came plummeting after.

The East was too prideful, so the flags whispered to each other, their words scrambled in their game of telephone. The South could never get along, and they let their words melt in the hot sun as they sat on their porches drinking sweet tea, and pretended they had nothing to say.

They tried to breach Canada and Mexico, but big men with large guns pushed them back, lining them across the borders. Some tried to swim across the Atlantic, but their words were garbled in the waters, and they wound up on the shores of Portugal and Morocco dumb and mute.

The flags grew in number, but they no longer held themselves high, nor screamed, nor whispered, for their necks were broken and their bodies were now homes for the rats and the worms. The cows and the sheep and goats were bloated, and the splintered wood and tattered cloth filled the farms and the abandoned words sunk into the soil.

The words took root and sprouted, and new red flags shot out of the ground, with steel shafts and silk threads. They screamed across the nation, and they reached Fargo and Augusta and Provo, and Juneau heard the loudest cry of all.

And the flags still shout, and tremble no more.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Updating From San Antonio

Weekly musing:

Infatuation is easier to find on land rather than in air.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The New Yorker

I decided that I'm going to submit a piece of fiction to the New Yorker.

I don't know when that will be, and I am not working on anything that could be considered worthy of being published, but I am going to do it.

It's one of those things that I can be proud of, regardless of the outcome. I can imagine myself printing out the e-mail I get when my piece is rejected, framing it and putting it on my wall. People will come over and stare at my letter with bewilderment. They'll ask why I perserved something so depressing, and I'll just laugh.

I see people hestitate when they choose to follow their ambitions. There is such a negative stigma about rejection; it becomes a paralysis, and sometimes it prevents us from ever trying at all. I don't want to be trapped by such a fear. I have faced a lot of rejection already in my life, and I am ready to take more.

I don't aspire to be a professional writer, but it's a hobby I love and adore. If I ever did get published in something as incredible as the New Yorker, I would be elated, and it would make every rejection worth it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Water Bearer

So I posted my blog publicly, and I am thrilled to have three followers. I don't know if I will get more, of if you guys will actually read this thing, but I'm excited nonetheless.

For the third time, I have re-written this short story. I first wrote it in my senior year of high school, but I like it a lot. Now I changed it for my fiction workshop, but even if it were unsocilicted, I'd probably work on it anyways. I hope it's better. Critiques please?

The Water Bearer

I was surprised to see only a handful of people standing there when I reached the shore. It had taken me half an hour walk from the El stop, and my watch dimly reminded me that it was 7:15. The event, which was supposed to last all evening, had started at 6:30, yet there celebration hadn’t even started by the time I arrived. I looked out at the scarce amount of people gathered on the beach with disappointment. Tightly huddled together, standing where the sand met the sidewalk and looking very out of place, were three men wearing finely tailored suits. I perceived that the first one was a fat balding man wiping his glasses with a silk cloth; the second looked like a weasel, and kept darting his eyes from the sidewalk to the shoreline, and I could feel his discomfort and desire to leave even from my distance. The third man was the one whom I thought to be the Mayor, and I thought he looked quite healthy for a man that recently recovered from his first heart attack.

It was chilly that summer night—a good sign that the years of hot, blistering weather were soon coming to an end. A cool breeze drifted from the lake, sending goose bumps along my arms. I shivered as I took notice of the other onlookers. There was a young woman wearing a sundress made entirely out of hemp. I assumed that she was either one of the last PETA activists still standing, or part of the large political empire that was NORML. She was beautiful, with her long blonde dreadlocks, and I quickly turned away because I felt my face getting hot, and the blood rushed all throughout my body. There was a cluster of hipster men and women about my age, fidgeting nervously as they were no doubt suffering from the recent worldwide cigarette ban. I chuckled to myself, the thought of nicotine turned my stomach, and I silently congratulated myself because I had never been a smoker. Out of the corner of my eye, I took note of an elderly couple, standing barefoot with their toes sinking into the sand. Their presence made me feel calm, and I commended their bravery.

The beach was supposed to be decontaminated, but the sand was still covered in patches of a moldy, yellow-green, crystallized gunk. I looked down at my shoes, the laces double knotted, and knew that I was safe from any contact with the beach. I was scared that there might have been holes in my shoes, but I had inspected them thoroughly before I left, checking for loose seems or tears and was very relieved when I found none.

The water was a skewed shade of navy blue, which wasn’t much better than the black goop it used to be, but I took joy in any form of color, and the fact that the water could now reflect the hazy sky made me feel prideful for Chicago’s efforts. Tonight was the grand re-opening of Lake Michigan. It was proof that the Midwest was saved from artificially engineered water and weak solar power. Chicago’s economy would start thriving again, and it would become the safe haven from the deadly outer limits that I called America.

My attention turned from the sand and water as the mayor cleared his throat and addressed the crowd. I could not believe that such a small group of people had the courage to attend this piece of history. I worried that by standing here I was at risk of getting radiation from the beach’s purification. By the expression on everyone’s faces, I knew that I was not the only one with this thought on my mind.

“Thank you for attending this wondrous occasion! Chicago’s success with Project Green is truly a magnificent accomplishment,” the Mayor said, hands quivering as he backed as far away from the shore as possible. “We are proud to once again open the beaches of Lake Michigan to all people, near and far! We are the first of the Great Lakes to be cleansed of all harmful pollutants, and Washington has ruled Lake Michigan safe for human contact!”

I applauded the mayor’s speech, but my mind drifted from the rest of the Mayor’s words. Chicago had cleaned up, but I felt that the rest of humanity seemed resistant to harness this change. On paper, the beach may be safe to walk on, but my caution proved that no one actually wanted to touch Mother Earth. I wasn’t even sure if those standing here wanted to embraced nature and wished to restore it to its former, glorious self.

The three officials were in a huddle again, and I watched as the hipsters prepared for the long walk back to the El. The woman in the hemp dress was taking pictures of the beach, and my heart sank when I noticed a Chicago Tribune press-pass dangling from her neck. Suddenly, I knew that we had nothing in common, and I could feel my skin cool down with every click of the camera. The old couple looked content as they watched the sun set behind the murky horizon. They seemed so peaceful, and I longed to feel as safe as they did.

I slowly bent down and untied my shoelaces, and carefully, I removed my Keds. When my feet touched the sand, I winced, expecting to feel some sort of acidic burning sensation. There was nothing of the sort—only the warm, soft, squishy feeling of sand between my toes. I felt like I was in a movie. This was something I had only seen in pictures, but now I was experiencing for the first time. It felt like freedom. I cautiously stepped to the water’s edge, frightened by the small waves that threatened to nip my toes. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and then walked, with giant steps, into the water.

Suddenly, my feet were in pain, as if thousands of needles were thrust into them simultaneously. The water was so cold it sent a shock throughout my entire body. The feeling overcame all my senses at once. I couldn’t breathe. I was running through the lake, splashing everywhere. I lowered my trembling hands to the surface, drowning my hair, my face, and my neck. Soon, my body was soaked. I captured water in my palms, and raised my hands to my lips. I gasped as I tasted the sweetest liquid on Earth.

A rapid sequence of flashes startled me. I awoke from my trance and turned to see the woman with the press-pass lowering her camera away from her eyes, her jaw dropped in disbelief. All eyes were upon on me. I slowly stepped back onto the crystallized sand, picking up my shoes by their laces, letting them dangle by my side. I said nothing and looked at no one. I walked back to the sidewalk, ignoring each witness.

I paused when I reached the elderly couple. I took hold of the old man’s hand and squeezed. Without a word, I thanked him for his bravery, and I apologized for the mess that my generation made of nature. Our eyes met, and for a second I felt a divine connection. I must have stood there for minutes, for the old man forced his hand out of my grasp. He smiled, nodded, and directed his wife in the opposite direction I was headed.

I walked home, leaving Lake Michigan behind forever. The others had lost their chance to redeem themselves, but I knew that I was the one who had been saved.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Musing and Flash

Weekly musing:

Passion is not a substitute for talent.


NEW FLASH!!! It's a working title. I need to change it.
It will probably be submitted to the lit magazine on my university because I realized my writing isn't a total shitfest.

The Flood

When she signed her name, the pen burst, and black ink poured and poured and flooded her bedroom. It dirtied her shoes and her stockings, and reached up to the hem of her skirt and then to her breasts, until soon her chin was tickled by the wet muck and the smell became too much to bear. She paddled to her window, and with all her might she forced it open, and watched as the ink rushed out and filled the streets, dirtying the paws of stray cats and the tires of cars and bicycles speeding by. She saw children playing on the sidewalk wail as their gameboys fizzled, and bewildered fathers waited until working mothers came home to console their sons and daughters. She witnessed the city turn dark, and she sighed and picked up a rag, and began to blot up the ink. She cleaned and cleaned, but the stains never vanished, and the smell still lingered, and she could no longer remember how to sign her name.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Favorite Moments in Film

After watching Noah Baumbach's "Kicking and Screaming," I decided to make a list of some of my favorite scenes in film. While this film will not be considered a favorite, the last scene, which may have been less than a minute long, was absolutely beautiful.

In no order:

1. "Kicking and Screaming" - *spoiler* The end scene when Grover tells Jane that he wishes they were older.
2. "Cinema Paradiso" - *spoiler* When the main character finds the reel of all the kissing scenes strung together.
3. + 4. "Rushmore" - The collage of all of Max's activities. Also the dinner scene after Max's play.
5. "Love Actually" - When Hugh Grant dances
6. "Le Faubleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain" - When Amelie sends Nino on her blue-arrow scavenger hunt.
7. "Wall-E" - The entire first 30 - 45 minutes.
8. "When Harry Met Sally" - The lunch scene. ("I'll have what she's having")
9. "Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo" - The rapid close ups between the three before they have their shootout.
10. "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" - The Siren scene
11. "The Full Monty" - *spoiler* The stripping scene in the end, of course.
12. "Ghostbusters" - The Stay Puft Marshmallow man
13. "Moulin Rouge" - Spectacular Spectacular song
14. "Jerry Maguire" - "Show me the money! Show me the money!" scene
15. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" - Indie swiping his hat from under the closing-wall thing. Classic.
16. "8 1/2" - Guido's harem
17. "Almost Famous" - "I am a golden god!"
18. "Office Space" - Kicking the shit out of the copy machine.
19. "There Will Be Blood" - The entire final scene

Saturday, April 11, 2009

About a Year

Wow, I started this blog that I show to no one about a year ago. Awesome. I'm proud of myself, because even though updates are rare, they still exist!

I'm thinking about doing one or two sentences a week to reflect what I've been pondering.

This week's musings:

Andrew Bird and I will never be friends because I don't know how to whistle.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Joy and Wood

My short story, "A. Mississippiensis" made the lit magazine at my University. Je suis heureux!
My french is terrible.

A Rant:

I recently auditioned for the reality t.v. show, America's Next Top Model. I had to do so in a small open call, set in Albany NY, because it would have been impossible for me to attend any other call. Apparently, Top Model producers penalize you for not flying out to a big city to audition, and decide not to tell you on the spot if you have been cut or not from casting. I heard that if I had made it, somebody would have secretly told me to stick around for another round of casting, but seeing as that didn't happen (not to me, or the 100 + girls that went before me,) I think I can safely assume that I will not be making an appearance on television any time soon.

I think that the biggest problem with my audition was my wooden response to the stock question, "why do you want to be America's Next Top Model?" Well, intern wearing a CW t-shirt, I don't have a sob-story to tell, which makes my chances of making this reality show dangerously low. I wanted to say that I was a recovering drug addict, or that I was clinically insane, but instead the generic question floored me and all I could choke out was that I was "unique," and that "I wanted this more than any other girl," and other unoriginal phrases that surely pushed me off the list of secretive call back contenders. Even if I had given a good reason--that I had been made fun of to the extreme as a child, to the point where my high school counselor enrolled me in friend-building peer sessions without my consent--it's not a sad enough tale to sway the mind of melodramatic Tyra Banks. I wanted to say that I would be a spokesperson for abused women, but because I've never been abused myself (physically, at least. I am an emotional abuse "survivor,") that would never fly.

I'm a bit aggravated. I know I would be great on that show, and even though it would jeopardize the possibility of having a respectable career in the future, I really wanted to be on it. It's not April 1 yet -- I believe that is the last possible day I will hear from any CW producer. They haven't had their LA open call yet, so I don't know if they've picked out all their girls from semi finals. Hopefully my giant red hair will win the heart of a casting director and I'll get a phone call in the next few days, but I'm not holding my breath. I curse flat responses and an average life for my poor audition. For once I would like to see a girl like me. . . no, wait, a girl that IS me, on ANTM.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

FOUND

Found this the other day. Forgot I wrote these two sentences. This is a Word document that describes the passengers surrounding me on my last train ride home from Syracuse to Chicago (Dec. 2008)

Document title: ohno

I am surrounded by sorority girls, a mentally challenged teenager, a crying baby, and I’m seated next to a fundamentalist Christian.

This thirteen hour train ride suddenly seems much, much longer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A. Mississippiensis

The pipes rattled, and the metallic clanging sound grew more frantic with every second. The hollow pipes screamed with urgency, and from them echoed a quick, desperate scratching. The source was that of powerful claws, and squeezing through the tight tubes, the razor sharp appendages thrashed about, splashing water to and fro. It’s long, flat snout was first to penetrate the surface, and as the creature emerged, slipping and sliding upon the porcelain throne, it grew more fretful and anxious to know that once again, it had made a wrong turn. Perhaps it was somewhere along the Mississippi, it wondered, as it fell heavily to the ground. I must have traveled north, it thought, as it wove between the legs of screaming girls, peering up their skirts and fondly regarding the schools of fish and scores of butterflies. I would very much like to leave the suburbs, it yearned, as it traced the faint scent of gumbo. It grinned, flashing a wide, toothy smile, and then it continued on its journey back to the Bayou.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rigatoni

A script for an experimental animation I am working on. It is a bit rough around the edges; supposed to be performed as a monologue.

RIGATONI

Every night, I have the same dream. I’m sitting in my living room, dressed in my cutest date outfit, debating whether or not I want to meet Daniel for dinner. He’s a sweet guy with good intentions, but he views himself as a Casanova, and insists that he’s a professional fashion photographer. In reality, The only female interaction he gets stems from silly photoshoots. I know that during dinner, he’ll ask me to model for him, nude, and I don’t want to witness the emotional breakdown that will follow when I decline his offer. Daniel will ask me where he went wrong in his life, blame it on a childhood incident where he massacred a nest of baby birds, and then sob until I redeem him for his past sins.

I have never met Daniel in person, yet he is my only companion in dreams. He is the entity of every man I have ever had a relationship with; a symbol of self-loathing, personal insecurities, and destructive behavior. I resist his dinner invitations because I have perfected the art of running away from old flames, yet lately, as my dreams become more vivid, the scent of his cheap cologne and weary smile suddenly seem alluring.

On one fretful night, I find myself in a cheap Italian restaurant, a plastic tablecloth

expanding infinitely to keep Daniel and me apart. He’s nervously speaking, and I can see the apprehension weighing down his expression as he prepares to ask me about the modeling job. My body is rigid as I contemplate the various ways of saying ‘no,’ when Daniel pulls a mesh hamper into view, filled to the brim with dirty underwear. He takes the underwear, and starts unfolding it onto the table, until there are miles, and miles, and miles, of boxer briefs between us. He quietly asks me to do his laundry for him. At this moment, I would rather be in a dank photo studio, naked and smothered with marinara sauce.

Now, while fully awake, the task of doing laundry haunts me in the most self-conscious, embarrassing manner. I let my clothes pile up, and when I finally run out of underwear, I concede to the task. I take my clothes downtown to a Laundromat, and the most flamboyant fashion I can muster, I turn the mundane task into a full production. As I watch my clothes spin in the washing machine, a blur of suds and color, I feel the dream slip away from my mind. I close my eyes, yet I cannot picture Daniel gummy teeth or smell his cut-rate aroma.

I never see Daniel again. Instead, I dream of the Italian restaurant, empty except for myself, pushing rigatoni across my plate and a freshly ironed dress on my back. The table is lined with photographs of woman, naked, contorting their bodies in catlike positions. Each one of them looks at me and tells me that I’ve done right. They say from here on out, I’m free to do what I please, that I’ll never be forced to do anything again It’s good to hear these women say these things, but I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel enlightened, or powerful, or anything. I only feel satisfied, but I think that’s all I’ve ever been looking for--satisfaction.