Tag Archives: my own work

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


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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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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My {Imaginary} Twin Sister

So I can’t decide if this is a story or a rant…I suppose a bit of both, because I’m not going to throw out real names or exact events and it’s not all how I feel, but some of it really, really is. Hope you like it.

My twin sister would be named Colette. Or maybe Josette. Mom likes names ending in -ette.

And if I had a twin, so there were two of us, then maybe Dad would’ve let mom have her way, and I would’ve gotten an -ette name too. Like Nicolette.

So we would be Nicolette and Josette, but I would call her Josie, or maybe Jos, and she would call me Nikki, or Nic. And we would be best friends.

Maybe if I’d had Jos I wouldn’t have had such a rough time finding someone who really got me. Jos would have understood me completely. Maybe with her I wouldn’t have tagged after girls who didn’t really want me around all the time, wouldn’t have had an ex-best friend tell my new friend not to spend the night at my house because I was clingy. Maybe I wouldn’t have gone through that terrible cheer leading phase.

Maybe, just maybe,  in high school when my best friend, Camron’s, parents got divorced, and she had to move three hours away I wouldn’t have almost lost it. I wouldn’t have needed therapy. Not in a weird way, but you have to understand that Cam and I were like sisters. We spent all of our time together. And then she was just gone. Gone. And she was going through hell with her parents’ divorce and finding out her brother had cancer. She needed my support, even from afar, but somehow, even when things settled again, settled but didn’t really get much better, our relationship never went back to normal. It never went back to a give and take, just a give give give.

Maybe Jos could have told me to let go….

Maybe with Jos I wouldn’t have loved Cam so much. Maybe I wouldn’t have needed to find a sister. I would have already had one.

And even with Rob, my boyfriend, being the best boyfriend, and often best friend, a girl could think to ask for, he was still a boy.

I couldn’t gush to him about the great date I’d just had with him. That would be ridiculous. But Jos would have met me at the door when he dropped me off, already squealing. She would want to know every detail, and compare kisses from her own experience.

We would talk about love, and sex, and marriage, and growing up, and hate, and heartbreak. We would cry together. We would laugh a lot.

Sometimes I would hate her, because sometimes you hate siblings, but I would always be able to talk to her.

My brother would have had two younger sisters instead of one, and who knows what that would have done to him, but I think he would’ve been okay. I wouldn’t have needed my older cousins to accept me so very much.

I wouldn’t have felt so very alone so very often.

It’s not that I don’t have friends. I have friends. I just don’t have her.

I don’t have someone who will gush over Taylor Laughtner’s abs one minute, discuss our futures, and then switch to planning our next adventure. I don’t have the whole package. Or even if I know someone who could be, they aren’t yet. We just don’t love each other the way I would love Jos.

I just don’t have her.

And I could really use a sister.


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