Category Archives: my own stories

Just a few of the words bouncing around inside my head.

Spoken Word

©Robert Dominy 2014Hey everyone! A while back I spontaneously decided to stand up at a Spoken Word Open Mic Night and read a poem I’d written. Usually I’m not quite this brave, but I think the spur of the moment burst of courage and the fact that I didn’t plan to do it got me through. The poem I read is below. Let me know what you think.

Those words belong to Hallmark love,

The kind of love that is easy, kind, patient

Those three words are for the movie love

The love that throws you into a whirlwind

A head over heals, heart in your throat, stomach in your toes kind of love

Those three words are for a child’s love

The big-eyed trust-you-with-my-heart-because-it’s-never-been-broken kind of love

They aren’t for this

This is hard and slow and fast and tumble touch cry laugh feel grow

This is growing up and learning leasons and hurting

This is throwing yourself into the sky dive because falling isn’t fast enough and tearing the parachute to sheds because if you don’t get there faster you’ll be broken anyway

This is passion and heartbreak and healing and safety

This is friendship

This is more than “I love you.”

Hope you liked it. I would love to hear what you think in the comments.

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NaNoWriMo!

I have officially decided to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)! If you don’t know what that is, or you do and you desperately want to sign up now, check it out here.

The idea of NaNoWriMo is to write 2,000 words a day for a month. At the end of November you have a roughly novel sized chunk of words. Many use to it finally write that novel they’ve been dreaming about, and some use it to get back into the habit of writing every day. I’m doing both.

If you’ve been around my blog a while you may remember my short story The Forbidden Road. It’s about a girl leaving her destroyed village behind and venturing down a road that she has always been told is dangerous and forbidden. She has no where else to go.

The story has changed a lot since then. The name has changed a half dozen times, and our protagonist Annie now has a companion on her journey, Sarah. (note to self: come up with better name for Sarah) I’ve had a couple of writer moments mulling over this particular story. My first, and biggest, my first ever in fact, was when I realized that the character I wanted to be one of the love interests simply could not be. That character would not do it, no matter what I wanted. I love those moments. I love it when the characters take control.

And so here I sit, hoping and praying that my characters have enough life in them to take control for 2,000 words a day for a whole 25 days. I don’t expect 25,000 of the words I write in the upcoming book to make it into any form of a final draft that may come about. But I know that I have to get the wrong words out before the right ones will be able to make it down my arm and onto the paper.

So NaNoWriMo it is. Anyone with me?

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Novels and paper cranes

9457895673_76beefb3b6_zMaking 1,000 paper cranes is like writing a novel. Or perhaps I can only say that embarking on writing a novel feels like embarking on making 1,000 paper cranes, because I’ve never written a novel, but I have made 1,000 paper cranes.

I made them out of sticky notes and napkins, candy wrappers and notebook paper, newspaper and party streamers, anything I could fold. Because, you see, when I was in tenth grade one of my dearest friends fell ill. I had heard the story about the little Japanese girl who had cancer because of the atomic bombs. She made 1,000 paper cranes and it earned her a wish. I think she dies at the end of the story, but I was ignoring that part when I decided that I would make 1,000 paper cranes, earn that wish, and then give the cranes and the wish to my ill friend.

In the end she didn’t really appreciate it. She didn’t remember the story, and she’d never folded a crane, so she didn’t get how 1,000 of them was a lot of work, but I digress,

Folding 1,000 of them felt the way starting on a novel feels. Crazy,

It feels like it will take forever, and people will laugh at you when you explain yourself, and you might laugh at yourself, but you want to anyway.

And even though my friend wasn’t that excited about my cranes I still now say I’ve folded 1,000 paper cranes. That’s a lot of cranes, and it makes me weirdly proud.

So I guess it’s time to start that novel.

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Pickup Truck

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The cup warms my hand as I lift it to my lips, grateful for the heat that slides down my throat as I sip at my coffee. It’s chilly in the kitchen where I sit, at the little breakfast table by the window. Toast and eggs sit before me, untouched. This is my third cup of coffee.

I watch as he trudges, wrench in hand, out to the old ford that has been planted in the yard like an oak since the day it broke down two years ago. It never gets any attention unless we fight. If he and I fight, that pickup truck becomes the most important thing in his world. The Ford’s rusted blue fender is dented and scratched, the hood a mismatched red the color of dried blood. And I sigh, seeing the similarities between the car and my husband as his shoulders slump, his hand goes to his back, sore from sleeping on the couch. He will work for a few hours or days, however long it takes him to work out what went wrong with us, or until I give in unconditionally and ask him to come back to bed.

I sigh and take another sip as he heaves up the hood of the ancient truck, searching for the problem, why the engine won’t turn over or the brakes don’t work.

I don’t know what’s wrong , I just know it isn’t working anymore. 

 

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Roommates

I wrote this as an assignment for my creative writing class. The assignment was to take a cliched situation and add a twist at the end that brought other pieces of the story to light. I hope you like it. 

The shouting bounced through the halls of the dorm.

Room 220 was usually quiet, its two occupants barely speaking to each other as they floated through their studies, activities, lives. The tall, willowy girl with mousy hair and alabaster skin, Alison, tended to be the more outgoing of the two, but even she rarely spoke when in her own room if her roommate was present. And her roommate Annabelle, small, and so thin a strong bass note from the parties that raged upstairs might break her, barely spoke at all.

It hadn’t always been so quiet in their room. The first few weeks the two girls had gotten along splendidly. They shared interests in books and movies, and they were taking many of the same classes. It looked as if they would be the best of friends, until Annabelle got a boyfriend. Annabelle was very quiet, so it was a surprise, even to her, when Ben in their chemistry class asked her out. She’d said yes though, whispered it really. And ever since the two girls just hadn’t gotten on the same. Alison had barely uttered a word to her roommate since. Even though Ben and Annabelle broke up after only a few weeks, the two girls never resumed their friendship.

Annabelle spent most evenings curled on her bed, books spread around her, buttery hair splayed across her baby pink comforter. Whenever Alison had friends in the room Annabelle walled herself in with books, hiding, protecting herself. But Alison rarely had friends in the room. She usually studiously ignored Annabelle. Headphones in, laptop open, she sat on the futon under her lofted bed, keeping the legs of her bed between them as a barrier to conversation.

Things probably would have continued in this way, each girl seemingly ignoring the other, if Annabelle hadn’t accidentally picked up one of Alison’s skirts when she did laundry one Tuesday. And that night, when she returned with her basket, in it was one horribly shrunken and misshapen scrap of fabric that used to be Alison’s skirt.

“Um… Alison?” Annabelle ventured. She didn’t usually speak to her roommate, so it took Alison a minute to realize what was happening.

Alison tugged an ear bud from her ear, barely looking up. Annabelle stood next to her closet, the remnants of the skirt in hand. It had obviously been a delicate wash only item, and Annabelle didn’t have any such clothing. It was irrevocably ruined.

“What’s up?” Alison asked, eyes on her screen.

Annabelle held up the ruined skirt. “I’m really sorry, but I think I accidentally washed one of your skirts, and-”

“Is that mine?” Alison was on her feet and had the skirt before Annabelle could finish her sentence. The smaller girl shrunk backwards, almost into her closet.

“It’s ruined!” Alison screeched, her voice echoing through the dorm walls, which were thin as newsprint. “Why would you wash this?!”

“I’m sorry,” Annabelle whispered, still clutching one of her own shirts.

Alison’s voice filled the tiny room. “How dare you? I bet you wore my clothes and just forgot to put it back! Didn’t you?”

“No! I-”

“You never respect my privacy! You’re always looking thought my things!” Alison’s face was flushed, and she towered over Annabelle, her height almost comical next to Annabelle’s petite form.

Annabelle was practically cowering. “I don’t! It was an accident!”

“An accident,” scoffed Alison.

“It was!” Annabelle said, as firmly as she had even said anything.

Alison spun away from her roommate, her brown hair whipping around her. She raked one hand through the dark waves, the other still clasped the ruined skirt.

She flung herself onto the futon, plopping her head into her hands. “Ugh!”

“Look Alison, I’m really sorry.” Annabelle tried, edging out of the closet, trying to extricate herself from the hanging sweaters that had engulfed her.

Alison’s voice was stony, but she kept her head down. “I don’t care about the skirt Annabelle.”

Annabelle stepped forward to stand in front of the futon, hands spread in front of her, a yellow top still slung over one arm. “Yes, you do, and I’m really sorry.”

“I said I didn’t care Anna!” Alison burst out, jumping to her feet, she ripped the shirt from Annabelle’s arm, wrenching it apart, shredding it until the small golden pieces of fabric drifted to the floor.

Annabelle’s face grew crimson, and she drew up to the very tallest her small frame would support. “That was my favorite shir-”

But Alison cut her off.

With her lips.

On

Annabelle’s

Lips.

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Apple Pie

My toe nail polish was chipping. I distinctly remember looking down and feeling a slight flash of embarrassment that quickly faded, replaced by something softer and darker. The pale pink she had slathered haphazardly on my nails, giggling when she dripped or painted my skin, was weeks old now, chipping. I hadn’t considered taking it off.

Your hand grazed my hip.

“Look,” you said, holding a tomato before me, and I wrenched my eyes from the fragmented paint below to meet yours, not looking at the vegetable, or fruit, I supposed, as an afterthought.

“Mmm,” I managed in response, turning like I was looking at the cucumbers. I wasn’t.

We were at the farmers’ market. The sun too low in the sky still to make being awake acceptable, but you had made my roommate let you in and then dragged me bodily from my bed. “It’ll be good for you,” my roommate had mumbled softly as you’d pulled me from my room, the first time in days I’d really seen sun.

The vendors filled the air with the soft sounds of morning chit chat and the bright smells of fresh produce, but I studied my toes. Brooding. Her giggle as she painted my toes resounding in my head.

You touched two fingers to my chin, surprising me, and I looked up, looked at you.

“Look at the tomato, Kat.”

“Yes. Tomato,” I murmured, and when you sighed, “I don’t like tomatoes, Kyle.”

My first real sentence in…days? Definitely the first today.

You held my wrist lightly, pulling me to the next booth, where peaches sat like fat boils in the sun, pink and red, glistening. The smell of them ripe, too ripe, the scent cloying, overpowering, and I shook my head, studied my toes.

I pulled my wrist free, and wandered a little bit away from you. You let me go, pretended to select a peach, but I saw your eyes follow me. I was annoyed, assuming all the creases in your brow were concern, only concern.

I roamed away from you, no destination in mind, wandering between booths.

The summer wind brushed my hair across my eyes and I turned, spinning so that the wind blew my hair back, cooling my face. A vendor called to me, and I turned towards him, his direction as good as any. I picked up one of his strawberries, lethargically, uncaringly, but it was red, her favorite color, and it called to me more than anything else I’d seen today.

“Try it,” the man, the vendor told me, eagerly.

I shrugged, and brought the berry to my lips, his eagerness urging me on, but not my own. The soft skin of it puckered as I bit, juice flooding my mouth, and memory flooding my mind.

She had made pie. Strawberry pie, years before, her first attempt, I think, and she sat on my kitchen counter, waving a fork at me playfully. That giggle bouncing off the yellow walls.

“Try it, Kat!” I was reluctant for some reason, maybe because I knew this pie was her first, and because this was before she learned the use of a timer in cooking. “C’mon!”  She’d pulled me forward, from where I stood at the stove.

I opened my mouth reluctantly, and allowed her to dollop the pie onto my tongue. And then I sprayed whipped cream at her, exploding in giggles. “It’s terrible!”

“It’s terrible,” I told the vendor, smiling a little, my muscles unsure of the almost forgotten expression.

His face fell but I turned, picking up a grape, and tried it too, wandering away from the stunned man with the strawberries that really weren’t so terrible.

I noticed my toes again. I hadn’t painted them since she had. I’d worn closed toed shoes, pumps I think, last weekend, black of course. Everything had been black.

I glanced up and caught you watching me again, and saw the flash in your eye, of concern, pity, I was sure.

I turned away and saw them glistening in the morning sun, red like blood and love and pain. I thoughtlessly picked one up, hefting it in my hand, feeling its imperfect red skin, smoothing my thumb across its curve. I took a bite, unthinking, and I broke, unexpectedly crippled by an unassuming fruit.

It didn’t mean to hurt me. It didn’t know apples were her favorite.

That if she was here, if she weren’t gone, my best friend would be fawning over the apples. Tasting each of the colors and picking her favorites, lugging home bags and bags of apples.

And you find me that way, broken by that apple, my one hand braced on the table, the other clutching the offending fruit, the vendor looking at me like she’s worried I might puke on her table.

You wrap your arms around me, my back to your chest. A small voice in my head realizes this is new for us. You’ve never held me. You whisper in my ear, knowing somehow, already, this scene had broken me.

“Remember the apple pie on your eighteenth birthday?” You paused, pulling me away from the booth, still embracing me, so that we stood under a tree, slightly away from the rest of the market.

I remembered. She had made apple pie, a huge apple pie. I’d been irritated at her, mad that she’d made her own favorite for my birthday instead of mine. I sighed, relaxing against you, and a tear slipped from the corner of my eye.

“And then she brought out the other pies. The chocolate, the cherry, the lemon, and,” you chuckled, “the coconut cream pie.”

The coconut cream pie that somehow, had ended up plastered across my face. I realized, though my cheeks were wet, that I was smiling again. The second time I’d thought of her and smiled in weeks.

You chuckled again. “It took you the rest of the night to get all of the whipped cream out of your hair, but you smiled the whole time.”

“Most people just get to blow out candles,” A sob shook me, but my smile widened, the conflicting emotions crashing within me, threatening to overwhelm, but you centered me, turning me to face you.

“She wouldn’t want you to be sad, Kat,” you tell me softly, so softly, “not this sad. She would want you to eat apples for her and smile.”

And it was like you’d given me permission to breathe air I didn’t know I needed, my breath came rushing in, soothing my aching chest, allowing my sobs to wrack me, for a moment, and then calm. You pulled me to your chest, soothing me, whispering to me.

And when my tears finally slowed, you curled the apple in my hand and held it to my lips, urging me to bite, letting the memories of her, that I had been trying so hard to suppress, fill me as my mouth filled with the sweet taste of apple.

I closed my eyes for a minute, my mind clearing, and then, all at once realized the truth, about your crumpled brow and watchful eyes.

Before I could think better of it, knowing only that she, impulsive and glorious as she was, would have been proud, I rocked forward, touching my lips to yours.

That day, with your arms around me, an apple still in my hand, and your lips on mine, I began to heal, to allow myself to let go of the pain and just remember the giggles, the fingernail polish, the pies.

And the kiss tasted like apples.

 

 

 

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Tuesday Afternoon

You are sitting at what has become your favorite coffee shop. It’s no longer scary (really), no longer too intimidating. You finally found the headphones that you misplaced last week, so you are working on an article and your homework while rocking out to OK Go.

And as the coffee works its way into your system, stimulating the sluggish parts of your mind while soothing your ruffled feathers from this morning (you had quite a morning), you take a deep breath and settle in to work.

Forget this morning. Forget the mess in the kitchen. Forget the lost umbrella (that looked like Starry Night- quite a loss). Forget the stressed out boyfriend. Forget the two articles, one paper, three workshop commentaries, and ‘creative’ piece that just isn’t coming easily. Forget the bible thumper that accosted you in the student center. Forget the bird that pooped on your head (deep breath, we are forgetting remember?). Forget the quiz you probably bombed.

Because right now, in this b.e.a.utiful moment, you have a frozen latte in your hand,  the grain of the table top swirls gracefully under your fingertips, and that too is soothing, the couch beneath you is soft, well loved, perfectly lumpy, but not gross, and, oh listen, Adam Levine is serenading you as we speak.

Sigh. Take it in. Breathe.

It’ll be gone in an hour or two, so enjoy it. And remember, next time a bird poops on your head, that coffee fixes everything.

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