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I've begun to worry about days slipping by. It's not the inevitable end; that's always been there, waiting. No, it's the way that one day seems like the next. Doing the same thing today at the same time I did it yesterday has this feeling of sameness, like "here we are again!" but I know we aren't anywhere again. Each instant we cover new ground. Seconds might as well be years considering the distance between them and years might as well be seconds considering how short they seem, or are. Time's quite an enemy, but we'd be lost without it.
She held the warmth of her house around her and scraped the edge of the shovel across the sidewalk. In the midst of the snow-quiet she could hear the distant scraping of others. She wasn't so friendly as to wave, but she did feel a sense of camaraderie and hoped they did too. Every once in a while she straightened to rest her back, and she noticed her neighbors: they shoveled perpendicular to the sidewalk. She looked down at the parallel lines of snow. Did they notice, judge? If she changed now it would mean showing them she cared.
Today someone said something about people who "behave inconsiderately" and I thought at first that I'm not one of those people. I am not loud or rude or careless. But then, unfortunately, a small, concerning thought: why must inconsiderate behavior necessarily be of an aggressive nature? Could it be possible that sitting quietly is passively inconsiderate, making others feel lonely, suggesting nonexistent hostilities, even destroying faith in human goodness? What if all of the world's problems are caused by a vacuum of collective silence, by people selfishly refusing to share their humanity?
I really should try to be more considerate.
He looked out his window at the shade-dappled street and the polite houses. It was a
neighborhood. But he frowned when he saw what was coming down the sidewalk: a great, big, eager-looking dog, tongue lolling, (some sort of German Shepherd-ish mongrel, he thought,) towing a scrawny kid at the end of a leash. He had always hated to see a little kid walking a dog. It just needed one good tug and it would be free to run, trample, bite. He had never done anything so stupid, not even to know what it felt like.
Oh no, I guess nothing interesting for today. I had started but then lost my work, and it's late... Hopefully I won't make a habit of writing boring shit whenever I'm feeling lazy(er than usual.)
It's not like I have any lofty goals for this project, but seriously, what good does this do anyone?
Let's see. Here's a thought, though mildly embarrassing: I find the elderly fascinating. Not necessarily their tales from the past but the fact that my poor childish brain is still amazed they were young once. I try to imagine them with tightened skin, smaller noses.
I got a letter from Wyoming today, from my sister. She sends her love, as well as a faded photograph she found when she was looking for her birth certificate. It isn't clear if she was able to find it.
It's of me and her, sitting on the couch. It must have been over Christmas break my first year of college, since I had that awful perm. Of course it wasn't awful then, no. After mom and dad finished yelling at me they yelled at her for begging for one
She said I would get a kick out of it.
As long as he could remember, watching birds fly would give him this curious feeling in the pit of his stomach, like the first day of spring, or Christmas when he still believed in Santa, or being in love. It could be associated with an all-but-forgotten childhood memory. Or perhaps it was diluted vertigo, like looking up at a tall building, or maybe his soul flew with the birds. He couldn't explain it. It was just how it had always been.
So he would walk and smile and watch them stitching across the clouds, riding an avian high.
"Hi sweetie. How was school?"
"Well, did you eat lunch with anyone today?"
She had. That day she had eaten with Esther Greenwood. It was still warm, even though it was late September, so they had sat outside. She had packed a turkey sandwich and Esther had an avocado.
"Uh... do books count?"
"No! They do not. This is ridiculous. Don't you understand I'm only trying to help you? You can't keep behaving like this, young lady."
No, she couldn't. One day she was going to get out of here, a suitcase full of avocados in tow.
I'll be out of town tomorrow and I won't have much time to myself, so I probably won't do my hundred words. I'll just have to cheat, write twice on Monday. Travel makes me nervous. Travel to do important things makes me even more nervous. Why don't I have a sense of adventure?
Incidentally, eyelash yarn is incredibly hard to crochet with. You can't see a damn thing and have to feel your way, sticking your hook into what you can only hope is a stitch. Thankfully you can't see whatever mistakes you must be making, only a fuzzy mass.
(better late than never, right?)
I just want the whole college admissions process to be over, to fast forward to my first class. I hate the idea of selling myself, competing for scholarships, being evaluated on some numbers, lists of activities, my attempts at affability and leadership skills. It's just such a horribly numeric way to measure a person's worth. I look at the dollar signs and have to think, that's my value. Some people are worth less, some more, but that's me. I know it's how it has to work since college costs money, but it is so depressing.
(so tired now.)
They weren't dressed that formally, but you could tell what they were wearing was expensive.
"Oh, I'm retired now, but I read to the blind," the wife said. "I think that's such a lovely thing to do, don't you?"
Shit, was I holding my silverware the right way? I was having an embarrassingly hard time cutting my chicken. Why did I get the chicken? "Yes, quite, uh, lovely."
"Speaking of lovely things," the husband said, "Our daughter is such an amazing blessing. She met the president last year. But you really must tell us about your children."
I've been noticing how often people say things like "God bless America" and how absurd that sounds. If there is a god, why would he favor one country over another, or even more ridiculously, one
? At the root of this is the idea that everything that happens, or just the important things, is caused by God, supposedly because an omnipotent being can do that, so he does. All I can think is that kids move their toys around because that's all they can do, but if they could make them come alive, that would be much more fun.
What a crappy century to live in, she thought. All of the others must have been so much more exciting. What do we have now? Psychological studies on the effects of Facebook, and people dying from texting and driving. Where are the revolutions, the noble causes? She didn't mean to say that everything is fixed now, far from it. Things are so hopelessly fucked up, but no one ever gets angry anymore. We just watch The Bachelor and shovel in food, working on raising the obesity rate.
But, history must not look look like history from the inside, she supposed.
He often saw things on his walks that reminded him of her. Not because they had anything to do with her really, but because he thought she might like to take a picture of them. She had carried that camera everywhere. Once he had seen some morning glories growing on the fence outside of the car factory, twining gracefully among the barbed wire. And today he was jarred out of his thoughts by what was lying in the grass, a dead pigeon. So big up close, the green and purple feathers surprising. He wished he could show it to her.
"Dad, who's that a picture of, that we keep on the fridge?"
"Uh... that would be your great-uncle Roy."
"Why do we keep him on the fridge?"
"It's kind of a family tradition. Everybody hangs a picture of Uncle Roy somewhere. There's one at Grandma's, remember? In the living room. We say it's so his ghost doesn't haunt us." He laughed. "But that's just a joke."
"He looks kind of mean."
"Yeah. Well, he was a cop. He liked his job."
"He liked helping people?"
"Um, he liked shooting people."
"Oh. Dad, let's never take his picture down, okay?"
Maybe she was going crazy, but it was all she could think to do in the situation. She was lying on her back on the ground. The lawn hadn't been mown in a while and it was soft. She had her eyes closed, black-red against the sun. She thought about the soil underneath, churning quietly with worms, digesting the world. She thought about the strata of rock underneath that, foggy middle school geology: igneous, sedimentary, what was the other? She thought about the burning center, a second sun that didn't shine. She wanted to be one of the layers.
Hmm, tonight I feel like b.s.-ing this. No excuse, really, except that nothing is asking to be written, but that should never be an excuse... and besides, since when did words ever ask to be written? They never ask me, at least. Suggest, maybe, whisper, peek coyly from their hiding places. But they've never begged or burned or kept me up. They're very easily ignored, words. If I really want to find them it takes some work, and that's something I don't do often enough. Maybe tomorrow I'll hunt some down, and pin them squirming to a page.
He stepped outside and caught himself smiling at the melting air. It was a knee-jerk reaction to a hint of spring, and he quickly controlled it when he remembered it was still February. It was still February, with more winter to come, except the whole winter had been this way: bipolar, sometimes January and sometimes April. Part of him begged to enjoy those days and agree with the what-lovely-weathers but a louder part reminded him of rising sea levels and ozone holes and polar bears. He unzipped his coat and tried to look scared for his life.
She picked up a splattered recipe card and laughed. "What's this, cake to eat when you're depressed?"
"No, sweetie. It's depression as in the
Depression. No butter, eggs, or milk, since those things were rationed back then."
"It must not be very good cake."
"No, it's actually quite good. Spices and raisins, you would probably like it. It's what your grandmother would make for my birthdays when I was little."
"So, what was the
"Honey, that was in the thirties."
"I wasn't born. Your grandmother was a little girl. Go talk to her about it."
She knocked softly on the open door and stepped into the office. "Hi, Dr. Thompson, I just - oh wow, that painting..."
"Yes? The original is actually a tapestry."
"There had been one just sitting in the basement of this apartment building I lived in when I was little. Looking at it always gave me this cold, empty feeling."
"I think I know what you mean. Do you see the unicorn as lying down or leaping?"
"I used to see it that way too, until I realized it's actually lying down. Now that's the only way I can see it."
He loved to read. Even after a lifetime of it he still marveled at the way marks on a page could mean so much and the way something so dead as paper and ink could hold within something so alive as a story. He loved the sound of the words spoken in his mind's voice and their taste on his tongue. (Sometimes he would read aloud, when alone.) He loved to think of the author who worked so hard to get the words right, and of all of the people who had read those words, who loved to read too.
Too tired... but I'll try not to be boring.
Today I watched this movie on TV, an indie film called
. I liked it quite a lot. It would hint at pushing the plot one way, at following a predictable arc, and then it wouldn't. It made it more real, more like art imitating life. Of course a story still has to be story, so the end, while not what one may have expected/hoped for, had
, (well, a piano, more specifically.) I remember the word catharsis from school, the release in a tragedy. The right kind of sadness.
I wasn't able to plan anything interesting to write today. (I should say "I didn't," not "I wasn't able to." How do we ever know what our abilities are, anyway? That's not right. How do we know what they
?) I suppose my motivation is waning, and I haven't even done a whole month. I don't feel like quitting (yet,) but I don't feel like taking the time for carefully chosen words, opting for the first hundred that come to mind. If only I wasn't so familiar with the way that "well-deserved breaks" have a way of ending things.
close to writing another whiny apology when, while contemplating my disappointment with my current 100words progress, I remembered some advice I heard today that actually seemed writeable.
She had probably been quoting someone, but you don't really expect me to remember who, do you? "We are here," She held up a knobby finger. "Not to
press, but to
I suppose that's something holding me back here, the knowledge of the slight possibility that someone might read this, and my hope to impress. But no more of that, you hear? I'll write for myself from now on.
Sometimes she watches the clock, observing the minutes slip by, like silvery salmon. She dares time: go ahead, pass, be wasted. And it does. She watches it some more, hours flashing past now, the minutes just a blur. (will the same happen with years?) She wants to tear herself away and
something, but she also can't stop watching that rushing river. How could you do anything with that under your feet? It's much too fast, surely you would fall in and drown. It must be a sort of morbid curiosity, watching for whatever will come when the clock stops.
He shivered in his bathrobe. The steps seemed a little too cold for sitting, so he settled for leaning against the porch railing. The coffee steamed dark and strong against his face, its warmth so much more appreciated than in his kitchen. He faced the east. Okay, sun. Whenever you're ready.
At last the dark began to melt, a milky edge that warmed to gold. Look at me, he thought, watching the sun rise. Maybe I'll do this every morning. Think of all the things I could do, getting up this early. I can take back my time with mornings.
A second installment of snow-shoveling thoughts? Yeah, why not.
It was as heavy as snow could get (hardly even snow, more like slush.) She was trying to remember to use her knees. At least, she smiled, it wasn't too cold.
She always feels a little bad as she looks and looks again at the fence line, because God forbid she shovel an inch of her neighbor's walks. But she does it anyway, every time. It would be no cost to her to do slightly more than her share, but why give an inch if she won't give a mile?
Finish line: phew. I did it. A neat little stack of 2,700 words, soon to be 2,800. (I'm only now realizing that I chose the shortest month of the year to give this a try. I don't think I'll ponder the implications.) They're not the greatest 2,800 words, but they're mine. But even though my little words aren't much, I like the concept here. A small space to do whatever I please in, every day. And you know, I think I might just do this again next month. So I'll see you here tomorrow, for round two.
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