Tag Archives: Indie Chick Lit

Zebra Danio

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Little do my captors know what a feat they accomplished in my capture. A previous life involving such great sea adventure has now been reduced to subsistence within this glass containment. May my ancestors and fellow wayfaring captains never realize my doom!

I once swam the coral reefs of the great Indian Ocean and led droves of tropical fish to elude nets at every turn. Our keen senses steered us into the awesome depths, away from the creatures who wished us into the subservience of relatives who were otherwise reduced to a hobby, a child’s folly. Theirs was a fate we all hoped to avoid – living in a young boy’s tank inside a human dwelling instead of our own vast aquatic empire.

Our schools flanked great lionfish and rode the draft of whales and other large marine mammals to catch a ride. We braved their enormity and felt our power at the association.

Alas, I succumbed to this devastating fate. My route is now reduced to circles within a 10-gallon prison, and the continuance of life now depends on TetraColor flakes at daily dispense of a kid. My great humiliation is witnessed through a skewed view of an opaque pane. The light here never dims, and the glare off bright rocks beneath me reflects into my never-closing eyes.

Gunships apparently blew holes into an oceanliner that is now capsized on the bottom. Human lettering emblazoned on its side reads T-I-T-A-N-I-C, surely a sign of its defeat in another location. I will hide in its confines to masquerade my shame — at least until a TetraColor speck sinks down this way.

Indie Chick Lit #GetYourWriteOn prompt:

People think goldfish have boring lives and terrible memories. Write a goldfish adventure that defies both stereotypes.

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Waking Up 13

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The radio blasts Freddie Mercury’s frenetic cries into my brain, as his Scaramouche-ish lyrics act in evil coercion with the alarm clock. The bus will be here in 30 minutes. The calendar shows it’s Friday, which means a Math test today, but I still refuse to believe numbers and letters can exist together in any equation no matter what Ms. Kipling says. A blinding shine off her bald spot keeps me too distracted to concentrate on learning Algebra. I feel sorry for any woman who is losing her hair, even if it’s Ms. Kipling.

At least there’s a party at Holly’s house to look forward to tonight. Her family lives in a very nice house with a finished basement that has a big shag-carpeted family room with faux wood paneling. She said this is the first time she’ll get to use the disco ball she got for Christmas. It’s not as big as the one on Saturday Night Fever, but it spins so light from  other lamps will shimmer off it.

We usually have snacks from a card table in the linoleum-covered corner and listen to music from an older brother’s stereo system. Holly only gets to use it if she promises to not touch his 8-tracks. Many of us bring records from home in hopes our favorite songs be played, most girls begging for the love ballad currently topping the radio charts. Some guy will joke about playing Spin the Bottle, but parents usually keep that from happening if the song’s volume dips low enough to be noticed from upstairs. Audible clues like that can foretell an impending bout of Seven Minutes in the Closet.

I hope the party doesn’t digress to such games or consist of only boy/girl dancing. Otherwise, the scene will be as uncomfortable as any other weekend at the skating rink when couples pair off for “moonlight skate,” and I leave the floor to hang out by the Space Invaders machine again. They play that Boz Skaggs song called “We’re All Alone,” but I feel like I’m the only one who really is all alone. The majority of other girls in my grade have kissed a boy but me. Of course, there was that one time with Todd on a dare, but he already ran through every one of my friends by then, so it doesn’t count.

When the ceiling lights go down tonight and only the lazy strobe light is flashing from beside the potato chips, almost everyone will slow dance. Somebody always brings that record “Babe,” and we girls standing along the wall wail off key about how the guy has to leave and will be missing her. Sure. Watching all the boys grope their partners in fumbling tries at second base in the darkness of Holly’s basement gives new meaning to the lead of Styx crooning about being weary and feeling like giving up.

So I write my name on the rpm adapters of the 45s that I stuff into my Garfield backpack and rush out the door to catch the school bus. Teenage brooding now replaces the earlier excited anticipation of tonight’s party. Maybe solving for “x” isn’t going to be the most difficult part of getting through to tomorrow after all.

*Indie Chick Lit inspired post

(image via slideplayer.us)

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A Secret Locked Away

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It took 50 years for me to find out who I had married. He failed to inform me that he was a polygamist. The other two wives on opposite ends of  the country were as clueless as me about his other families. I only knew him to be a sales manager who worked for a nebulous privately-owned company that supposedly required him to travel several states and be home very little over the course of a year.

I imagine the other women were told a similar version of his long line of lies and just as dumbfounded when they received a phone call requesting someone claim his body in a Cincinnati morgue. The airport there was a connecting hub for his travels, and a security agent found his body slumped in a chair. Apparently he was waiting for a flight, but I don’t know which family he was en route to see. In retrospect, I don’t care. This fatal layover represented poetic justice.

This triple-life must have kept Jacob on his toes and exhausted most of the time. A busy schedule and his web of deceit surely precipitated his ultimate heart attack.

The wife in Utah was the only one who found it in her heart to pick up his worthless remains in Ohio. I considered not going to the memorial service out in Salt Lake City but wanted to meet the women who’d also been duped by Jacob. Come to find out, he had several children with Mrs. Utah, but she was nowhere near as upset about his duplicity (triplicity?) as me or the wife in New Hampshire. Maybe it had something to do with being Mormon, that whole sister-wife thing.

His grown children had kids of their own, although none of them minded the discovery of multiple families much. Just another fact of life for them. I suppose they thought ‘the more the merrier.’

Not so with me or my east coast counterpart. We were livid to find out the years we’d spent as Jacob’s wives were not as they appeared. If it wasn’t bad enough I’d spent days and months on end wondering whether my spouse was safe in the city where he claimed to be working (cell phones were not his thing), the times he was home were just as circumspect. His freshly laundered clothes and pressed boxer shorts never ceased to amaze me.

At the risk of making such a sexist judgement, no man — especially one continuously on the road — could be that neat. Early on I speculated, much like Jerry Seinfeld claimed people used to assume about him, whether my husband was gay. Since he was both thin and neat, I thought he must be gay. While I was glad to not have done his chores, it struck me how he spent so much money at the professional laundry. Little did I know the wife in Utah kept him in clean clothes.

His lies were only uncovered much later after his dilapidated body was retrieved from the Midwest and taken to the Great Salt Flats. Jacob deserved to be buried out there in nothingness. Maybe his Mormon wife would visit his desert grave, but not me. I was suspicious of him then and despised him now – would despise him for eternity. Maybe Joseph Smith would’ve approved of his earthly behavior, but not me.

My resentment followed me all the way out West to attend his service, and I went only out of a morbid curiosity as to what those other wives were like. Meeting them might quell the insatiable rage inside me at having fallen for such a blatant misrepresentation of what I thought constituted my 50-year marriage. Such a fool I’d been!

The one from New Hampshire felt much the same as me, realized upon our commiseration at the funeral home in a nice Salt Lake City suburb. She also felt betrayed, but we set aside our shame in deference to the Utah wife who arranged the memorial. She was gracious enough to pay for Jacob’s burial, so we conceded to not make a scene and embarrass her in front of her religious community. We sat in the back row and bit our tongues, wishing to not raise any awareness of our relationship to the deceased.

I felt a smug pride in being able to rise above the circumstances and keep my mouth shut. Jacob had to explain his misgivings in life to his maker, not the wives he’d wronged. It wasn’t my place to punish him for eternity, as much as he deserved to pay.

A man dressed all in black arrived and sashayed to the front of the chapel, his exaggerated wails echoing throughout the sanctuary. Every eye in the room turned to watch the demonstrous display as the gentleman approached the casket. He was thin, as neat as a pin in his seer-sucker suit, and he choked back mournful sobs and pulled a silk handkerchief from the front jacket pocket to staunch a great flow of tears. He was clearly in mourning, and anyone who didn’t know better would think he had also just lost his spouse.

*This fictional post was prompted by #GetYourWriteOn at Indie Chick Lit.

Your husband/wife (that you secretly hated) of 50 years has just passed away. Write the funeral scene.

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Counterparts – #GetYourWriteOn

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I wasn’t aware of the paradox until it came to me in a dream. She was there smiling back at me as if through a wormhole in the universe. Her face surrounded in an ethereal glow, she looked like an angel behind a smeared camera lens, but I knew it was me. We tried to communicate but couldn’t quite make out each other’s words.

If I forced myself back to sleep, maybe I could meet her gaze again — my own gaze — looking back at me through an otherworldly mirror. An irony lay in my abhorrence of my reflected image and its revelation of aging’s cruel changes. The insipid weight gain over the years. Time’s wear on my physical form and its tracks on my skin. I usually tried to stay as far away a reflection as possible, but it was a more satisfactory “self” looking back at me in that REM state. Her phosphorescent presence soothed me.

Maybe she was trying to tell me everything was okay, all my doubts and fears were unwarranted, the status quo was fine. Her exuberant self-confidence showed through the opaque “looking glass,” like Alice’s in the story.

Her esteem seemed to project onto me. Funny, I never noticed what she was wearing, if her hair was fixed, her makeup fresh. She just … was.

And she was happy like that. Like she was telling me what she wished for me, too. “Never mind the self-conscious nonsense,” her piercing eyes said, “just love yourself as you are.”

Her shoulders square, satisfaction radiated from her smiling visage. I saw her raise her chin ever so slightly in a quick jerking motion, willing me to keep mine up. Then the glint in her eye and her whole evanescent body faded away into a transparent haze.

She was gone, but I knew she still existed elsewhere and was pleased I’d received her intended message. If she could be competent and self-assured than I could as well. The outward shell doesn’t matter as much as a person’s essence. The soul.

The judgment of others is insignificant.

The image’s quantum leap to my bedroom disturbed my sleep, but I awoke refreshed. I sat up in bed and stretched my arms out break the night’s grip. My right hand unfolded to reveal an old elementary school photo of myself from back when I felt best about life, so full of hope and excitement for the future. That crazy haircut with its crooked bangs Mom gave me while I sat in a kitchen chair and a sheepish grin on my face from a time when other people’s opinions were irrelevant.

I had no idea how the picture got there. I hadn’t seen it in years but smiled knowingly. It must have come from the dream mistress to show me what I already knew but needed to remember. That was the real me, and I finally recognized her.

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*prompt at Indie Chick Lit

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Girls’ Night Out – #GetYourWriteOn

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He stares at me for what seemed like 30 minutes, in actuality probably 10, before I finally met his gaze. His blue eyes seem to bore through me, and I check over my shoulder to see if it is the bartender behind me who’s caught his eye.

I am especially attracted to eyes, so he cannot not escape my attention. It is indeed me at whom he looked, and my curiosity finally got the best of me. I point at my own chest and mouth the question, “Me?”

His head slowly nods in affirmation, but he makes no move across the dance floor in my direction. After the night – hell, the year – I’ve been having, I think how I have nothing to lose and disembark from my seat to go talk to him. All this pining for my ex isn’t getting me anywhere. What’s the worst that can happen, I posit.

The club is called “Purgatory,” and that’s how it otherwise feels inside, an endless night stuck between the misery of watching drunken dancers gyrate against each other and what should be a heavenly time on the town with my girlfriends. Until this moment, when I realize the handsome man across the room is enticing me with his amorous look.

Satisfied when I rise to approach him instead, a coy smile spreads across his face. He extends his hand and clutches mine, pulling me closer to him, ostensibly so we can hear each other over the clamor of the loud music and laughter. Hesitating for only a second, I lean in interested to hear what he’ll say. Oddly, he doesn’t move toward me at all.

Gorgeous as he is, that mesmerizing look, I feel a bit unnerved when he keeps my hand clasped tightly in his own and levers my body ever tighter to his own. My torso practically upon his, fixating us almost as one on his bar stool, a sense of urgency is obvious in his voice. He says, “I’m so glad you came over. You have such a kind face that I hoped you’d come to my aid.”

The situation growing stranger by the second, he questions, “Can I trust you?” I am instantly suspicious and think, “I don’t need another weirdo in my life.” I shake my head in confusion and respond, “I have no idea what you mean and don’t think I want to know.”

“I must be assured of your reliability,” he begs of me, “so tell me I can depend on you.” His eyes beseech me, and I am perplexed at what is happening. I’ve broken out in a sweat, excited hormones taking over … his insistent grip on my hand … our bodies touching each other. A hot flush rushes over me, but his flesh remains ice cold. His fingers are like icicles, and their coolness is soothing.

“Um, uh …” I stutter, incredulous. He continues, “You have to help me, please! I can’t leave this place of my own free will. My survival may just depend on doing so.” Alarmingly close to my neck, his warm breath lands on my skin, evening out the frigid temperature of his body.

He says, “I’m underoxygenated. They’ve finally gotten to me by poisoning my drink, and I can’t move. It was done by The System, and I desperately need your help.” His gaze skirts the dance floor and the bar. “They must have someone here who means me more harm.”

This is the last straw. The guy must be nuts, and it’s just my luck the first time I throw caution to the wind, approach a good looking man, and he belongs in a straight jacket. Trying to jerk my hand out of his, I pull away from him, but he holds tight to me. I see the obvious despair in his expression and sense reckless abandon and genuine fear in his tone.

Those eyes. They plead for my help, and I have to believe him. The stranger begs, “Just help me to stand, and I’ll gather the strength to walk out of here with your assistance. We have to go … NOW!”

No way can he be lying. It’s too crazy not to believe. I mutter, “What the hell …” and help him struggle to his feet.

*This post was initiated by the #GetYourWriteOn prompt at Indie Chick Lit.

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(top image – Stacy Flick via Flickr)

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The Mission

A large group of people assemble in a meeting hall for a long-overdue gathering. Through forces unknown and inexplicable, I am granted the supernatural power of omniscient feminist influence by which to reach closed-minded naysayers and misogynists throughout the world, win them over with magical eloquence, and change their previously mislead ways of thinking.

(greeting via loudspeaker)

The mentoring program will commence in just a few minutes. Today’s plan of action is to overwhelming implant knowledge and understanding of feminism, heretofore considered by some a “dirty word,” to the doubtful and mainly conservative minority. While we’ll be here for two hours, there is much ground to be covered. All negative stereotypes will be overcome, and an all-encompassing compassion for humanist issues will be accomplished here forward.

Our mission:

We will convince otherwise misguided people of the innate equality of females.

Points of discussion:

1) Feminism is about equality and autonomy. Women should be valued as highly for their efforts and abilities and have ultimate control over their own bodies.

2) Female sexuality is okay, just like it is for males. Humans are sexual beings who deserve pleasure without being slut-shamed.

3) Our bodies all differ, and that doesn’t mean one is any better than another.

4) We are individual people, not simply objects meant for men’s pleasure.

5) Women should support other women. Everyone needs a little help now and then, and who better to give it than other sisters, mothers, friends, and colleagues?

6) Equal pay for equal work. It’s that simple.

7) That is all.

A few special guests in attendance are:

Sophie Hasty, the 13-year old Hasting Middle School activist who rebelled against the Evansville, IL administration’s initiating a dress code against girls wearing leggings, as they felt doing so “distracted the boys.”

Olive Bowers, another 13-year old who challenged a surfer magazine for misrepresentation of females only through bikini shots and no sports coverage.

Andie Fox of blue milk, a smart feminist writer/blogger who approaches parenting, gender equality/stereotypes, pop culture, politics, and many other things about which she is very savvy.

Jessica Valenti, an intelligent feminist author, speaker and columnist for The Guardian US and formerly The Nation, who tackles tough issues like abortion and rape culture. She’s pretty damn funny, to boot.

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Zooey Deschanel who, even through her sweetheart persona, is trying harder than most young American actresses to counter the common notions of perfection via her media presence and collaborative Hello Giggles website.

also inspiredbycharm.com

via inspiredbycharm.com

Jennifer Lawrence, another American actress, who is a vocal advocate of positive body image. She is invited because I trust the public image of her being a down-to-earth awesome role model. Simply stated, she must be awesome.

sheknows.com

via sheknows.com

 

And the keynote speaker will be:

The irrepressible bell hooks, feminist scholar and author of Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Outlaw Culture and Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, among others, who will further elucidate those who need to know, as well as we who already know, about the “white supremist capitalist patriarchy.”

via goodreads

via goodreads

 

Through my cosmically granted and omniscient feminist influence, everyone reached through my superpower of mental telepathy realizes what feminists have known since the beginning of time – all women and men deserve to be treated equally.


*The above-listed Indie Chick Lit scenario and love Studio 30+ writing prompt both instigated this post.   I’d love to know who you think should be on the invitation list. Please comment!

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Welcome Home

Indie Chick Lit – #GetYourWriteOn prompt

By the time I get home after a particularly exasperating day at work, I am ready to take out my contacts immediately. Rubbing my eyes, I thought the wooden front door of my apartment looked strange, but figured it must be my tired eyes playing tricks on me. Usually blinking several times will center my Toric lenses and help me focus better, but my sight was still fuzzy when I began to cross the threshold to enter my home.

Everything looked different inside, and I stepped back out the door to check the number. Perhaps my key worked on the wrong door knob. But there was no number. The brass-plated “3B” was missing from the spot where it was usually nailed. Maybe I was in the wrong place. The layout was entirely the same, though. Dust particles hung in the air and swirled at the rush of breeze I’d created by entering and just as quickly checking back outside for the number. Fine molecules shown in front of me as the early evening sunlight cascaded through a now shadeless window on the opposite wall.

Where were my cloth blinds I had so carefully chosen at Pottery Barn to match my couch’s throw pillows?

The fragments of dust slowly lilted to a barren wood floor — dirty and scuffed — sans the coordinating throw rugs there when I’d left this morning. I’d paid several hundred dollars to have these floors refinished just a few months ago upon signing the purchase agreement for this co-op apartment, so my automatic reaction was anger at the damage done to my newly-polished hardwood.

But where was my furniture? A deeper sense of panicked confusion and fear began to overwhelm me as I glanced around the empty living room and down the blank hallway.

All my wall hangings were gone and stereo and television missing, along with the entertainment center where they were previously perched at my departure for the office earlier today. The building’s old charm was what first allured me, but now the plastered walls were shabby and marred. Holes glared at me here and there, and off-white plaster chunks were scattered around the baseboards, as if the structure was shedding its inner shell.

Was I losing my mind? This had to be my apartment, the one I had stressed so long over buying. Such a huge commitment for someone who’d never owned a home before. I stood in a frozen state of overpowered disbelief repeatedly scanning the scene before me despite obvious clues that still offered me no rational explanation of what was happening.

A yellowed leaf of paper the size of an unfolded newspaper front page was tacked on the arched entryway to the hall. In what should have otherwise been involuntary, my brain sent a direct command for my feet and legs to move toward the document. It read:

All residents herein are to be resettled in the East, and ownership of these premises are hereby relinquished this date, 22 July,

by order of Highest Commandant Hoefle.

calendar

The message only compounded the mystery of this empty space and its ratty condition, and my hands began to shake. Glancing at the adjacent kitchen area, past the piles of dirt and old, crumbled food bits on the floor, I saw a tattered calendar with ancient images hanging on a grease-marked wall atop where a stove once stood. Taking a few tentative steps toward it, I noted the date marked in the crease of the paper was 1942.

It was the last thing I saw before passing out onto the filthy floor.

*This post is my contribution to a new prompt at Indie Chick Lit.

You arrive home after a long day of work to an entirely empty home. There are no indents on the carpet, no wine stains–no sign that you or anyone lives there. Write this scene.

(image: http://www.citrussilver.com/)

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