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BY Lee

01/01 Direct Link
What is it about the holidays that inspire me so much? This year was awful for me though. I had been so busy tending to my grades, books, papers and the like that my social life went down the tubes and shopping is STILL not finished. Not that my friends had any time to be social either, but I wasn't trying very hard on my end. But the tree still twinkled there – and when I was instructed (no questions) to strip it, I felt lonely – that room felt a forever-dark void. It sucked my joy, and my inner child.
01/02 Direct Link
I hate vacations. I mean, you look so damn forward to it whenever you're eyeball deep in work and responsibilities. But what happens when you GET the free time? You waste it. Vacation is made for wasting time, you say. Yes, but you looked SO FORWARD to making this time constructive! You wanted to read, you wanted to write, you wanted to learn and create and become that cultured person you don't have time to be during the rest of the year. And what do you do? Sit here at the computer, ticking words that honestly don't and won't matter.
01/03 Direct Link
I have been swimming in a sea of forgetfulness, but a silvery forgetfulness. It is a spiritual pond, a lake of enrichment for the mind and soul. Did you know that this pentacle around my neck gave me power? Gave me constructive energy? That is the secret. That is how I've been able to get up and go so often these past few months. I've been inside that bubble that didn't let fatigue or doubt in. Isn't that funny? And what's more? I achieved greatness besides feeling indefatigable. A's pound my retina like I had just doctored up 4 F's.
01/04 Direct Link
Ever feel completely lost? I lost myself today. Here I was, watching Angelina Jolie, seeing her acting ability, but her character caught me. Here I was, and I couldn't even conjure up my own image in my minds eye. It was all her – the girl I really WANT to be; free, uninhibited, unafraid of who or what I am. I fear myself most of all. Isn't that strange? And I thought I knew what I wanted out of life. I sit down on the sofa for lack of anything to do, fill my being up with pictures, of false faces.
01/05 Direct Link
I just got a call. Simple, really. Just picked up the phone, answered our culturally accepted greeting, "Hello," and a voice answered. Funny, these little tubes, wires, machines, and they TALK. And you talk back. I could shake my head, but it's in this brace, a brace that stops me from wanting to. It's accepted. I don't think twice. Phone rings. Pick up. Answer. Hello? Is it answering, really, when you are STARTING the conversation in the first place? With this "hello"? Perhaps the start of the conversation is the initial ring, the caller is the instigator. Why hello, then?
01/06 Direct Link
Snow, snow, snow. When I don't have anywhere to go, it can get a little soul drudging. The only life I've seen in the past few days is flakes skipping, running, and jumping on the winter breezes. Clouds just like to shed their skin a lot during the cold months. I miss the night sky when it snows. The firmament is nothing but a big pillow. I can see my breath. But it is beauteous when nothing comes between me and the dark blue sky with lights of the stars and moon. I feel recharged to run on lunar power.
01/07 Direct Link
What is it, when you grow up, all you live for is that next cup of coffee? Not even paychecks anymore, because you're as sad to see it come as see it go. You can't keep it in your hands long enough to value it. But coffee, aahhh. What a god-like elixir. You're dragging your butt around all day, and you just can't WAIT for that cup. Warm. Dark (or light), bitter (or sweet). It's a chameleon. It can be molded to your specific whim. It's a wintertime companion when we need that "lift." Friends don't accomplish this as well.
01/08 Direct Link
A writer's life is lonely. I'll confess that right off the bat. I am two months shy of being 21 years of age and I cannot even step outside my front door. I feel like I'd be missing something here. I feel like there's nothing out there to make me feel like I've got everything under control. Bah, there's the rub, isn't it? On the page, life seems so simple. You can hide behind the smokescreen of fiction, but there's your heart and soul laid out in lavender. My face never sees the light of day, but everything inside does.
01/09 Direct Link
I want to have control over what happens in my life. The only way of having control is to keep everything simple, and predictable. I can predict myself, construct my own words into a narrative that won't run away from me. I have control. This is my life, a constructed, safe little world. Perhaps I am like Clarissa Dalloway; reserved, introverted, private; how painful to be social; such an effort to live from day to day. Here, there is no effort. I have my dreams to comfort me, my own opinion to depend on, my comfortable surroundings to hug me.
01/10 Direct Link
Ordinarily Paige felt the cold October wind right through her uncle's car window as she unthinkingly let the scenery pass by her eyes. She would curl up in her feather lined jacket and frown at the shabby town center without a word. Every now and then her uncle would softly clear his throat or start to hum. Paige lost herself in the dizzying smattering of raindrops falling from an uncertain point in the sky. With her cold palms on her cheeks she waited for the ride to end, to pull up to the tiny, ordinary yellow house near the schoolyard.
01/11 Direct Link
But perfection made that woman despise to distraction. Her eyes, dark and innocent, like her father's, made her an object of unending despair. Was that what beauty was? Over and over and over her mother told her it brought out only hate in her. It made her jealous. It caused pain. She felt drowned by it. Those were her exact words weren't they?

Swallowed, small, drowned. By what?

Did beauty only work by comparison? Bailey couldn't think of looking at a rose and feeling pricked by pain. Did she alone see beauty as a companion? What good was pulchritude then?

01/12 Direct Link
Drip. Drip. Drip.

Imperfection – perfection. What a paradox! Her father had placed a curse on her. He died and left her to inflict his legacy unto the human race. Graceful cello statements slid side by side with the piano now. The harsh tone of the ringing phone grated against the music. Bailey blinked. She only blinked once. She sank, sank, watching the waterline elevate higher and higher. The CD stopped when her head was fully submerged. Her whole body was dressed in the lukewarm non-conforming coating. Her eyes watched.

But the phone rang, still, alone. No one would hear it.
01/13 Direct Link
Bailey traced around the face of the young hard-body in the magazine. His alluringly masculine scowl flowered from within the slippery pages of the Sears magazine. She let her fingertips slide over the glimmering muscles by the sun-drenched French pool. He didn't look French. He appeared to be more of a dark German. His square, raw jawbone and hard staring eyes simmered inside the festive scene. Floating flowers and colored glass lights strung across the patio led all eyes back to the center of interest: the hunk: the babe: the one selling blue trunks saying, yeah, it was like that.
01/14 Direct Link
She let the warmth of the coffee cup flutter against her cheek before she took a sip. Aaah, euphoria. The next section of the magazine she scampered through squeezed toothpick blondes and bottle red-heads into green, scarlet and teal lace panties/slips. Taking her finger again, Bailey felt for the silk touch of the gloss-coated page. She closed her eyes as if she were testing the tactile quality of the merchandise. She let out an appreciative moan. Her head tilted back. Her hand around her coffee cup relaxed and the swift brown liquid poured over her open robe and cotton briefs.
01/15 Direct Link
"Where's your brother?" his uncle asked, taking the blue and white towel he sopped up something with and throwing it over his shoulder. "Thought you's were coming up together."

Ferris took a long appreciative gulp of the shake through his straw before answering. "He's out with Daddy for a while. Momma thought they should go fishin' or something." He shrugged.

"Oh, fishing? And you didn't want to go with ‘em?"

Ferris smiled. "It's always funner with you, you know that."

His uncle broke into a large smile and winked at him. "Yeah, well, you should see your father too sometime."
01/16 Direct Link
"Momma tells me that too," Ferris mumbled.

"Well, she's right ya know." His uncle leaned over on the counter and said a little more seriously, "He still is your daddy, no matter what he did."

Ferris didn't answer. He pretended to be completely intoxicated with his shake and his uncle dropped the subject. "So, uh-"

A loud crash cut off his uncle mid-syllable. Neither needed to be told what it was. "I swear to you, on my own soul, Ferry boy, I'm gonna get you a decent bike. Maybe even for Christmas."

"No! I like that one. It works fine."
01/17 Direct Link
I am always depressed of late. Nothing propels me or inquires of me to want to seek out human life. I'm in my house, my safety net, my own abode, simple, and unwrought by fury and famine. Why would I want to expose myself to a world that is so uncertain, frightening, and heartbreaking? I can live inside this world I've created; what I say goes; nothing that I haven't contemplated yet exists.

You think me mad, don't you? Perhaps I am. The mad only know what they can imagine. They are happier that way, aren't they? Riddle me that.
01/18 Direct Link
For a world or a culture so populated by cineasts it boggles my mind that books are so expensive and out of proportion in production. Movies by the score, Hollywood and the film industry more rich than dreams, and book industries have the GALL to pretend they can even match that? HA! Demand has fallen – might think that books would lose their value and prices plummet, with web books on the rise – no paper wasting. Is anyone with me on this one?

I'm just venting. But it still causes me to groan when paying for these bound sacks of paper.
01/19 Direct Link
What can I say? Friends are here; friends disappear. You know, it's strange. It is almost like fate takes me out of an intricate web of people and relationships because it's time to move on and fate knows I won't do it of my own accord.

I moved with parents from a town I grew up in since kindergarten when I was thirteen. After I left, my clique experienced a terrible breakdown. I don't like to toot my own horn, but here, the relationships are already breaking down.

I am the glue.

Kalazaam – I unstick you. What power to wield!
01/20 Direct Link
Classes start tomorrow. I can only wish great feats to be accomplished and to earn fantastic GPA's! I want happy memories, and work abound to keep my mind occupied. I want to feel satisfied with what I'm leaving and where I'm heading. I want to help people, I want to earn enough money to survive gas prices. I want to see friends I hardly ever see on a regular basis. I want to meet new people. I want to lay the old ghosts to rest. All of them. I need change so my soul can tap-dance and swell with pride.
01/21 Direct Link
This soft-voiced man called, asking to speak to either of my parents (by name) today. Mom told me to feign ignorance of their whereabouts. I was also told to play up pretenses of taking a message! Easily he accepted my request of taking one, gave me his name while I grimaced with guilt. Such was my wish to create myself an infallible show of note taking I even asked if we had his phone number. He gave it to me anyway, ‘just in case.' He asked my name. Unabashedly, I gave it. He sincerely thanked me by name. I'm ashamed!
01/22 Direct Link
The small, sconce-lit room was slowly filling in. Red wallpaper with white lilies came together in a type of silent barricade. The little girl's large eyes followed the length of the wooden footboards, scratching her itchy legs underneath her blue knit leotards. "Stop it," her father whispered into her ear. "You'll put a hole through them." She pulled her hand away.

A woman all in black, hand in hand with a matching doll-like girl, came into the room, navigated the almost theatre-like chair arrangement and sat down in front of the little girl and her father. She judged the girl;
01/23 Direct Link
the girl in black was taller, – and had to be a whole grade older than she – and decided that she didn't like her. The girl was crying. She didn't like the way she was crying, gulping for air like a puffer fish in snow.

The little girl dug at her knees, flaring up with itchiness.

"Lori." Her father's stern voice warned. Lori pouted and twisted her arms across her chest. Her attention, inevitably, was drawn to the polished wood object in the front. It looked like a round teacher's desk. Her father told her that her teacher was in it.
01/24 Direct Link
She still didn't believe it.

The sound of the girl in front of her gasping and carrying on wrought on Lori's nerves. What was she crying for? There were many familiar faces there that Lori recognized from her third grade classroom: Ruby Olson with her favorite baby blue slipper-shoes, Corey Anders with his pug nose and voluminous clay-colored curls; Donna Fellow with her father (who had long greased back hair and broad chest like a wrestler and a mother that was always sighing) and even Bridget and Ronnie, the Carey twins that had arrived with their parents and younger sisters.
01/25 Direct Link
None of them were crying. The older girl in front of her got to be in the first row, and she wasn't even in Mrs. Rollings' class. Lori had never seen her before, and she was crying shamelessly.

Crybaby, crybaby, scared of dead people, scared of dead people, crybaby, crybaby …

"Daddy, tell her to stop crying," Lori implored. Her father shushed her and took her hand away from her legs. She had graduated to lifting up her plaid skirt to itch. Lori narrowed her eyes. The girl in front had her brown hair up in a tight, neat ponytail.
01/26 Direct Link
A great black bow framed the tail, bouncing limply with each shuddering sob. She let out a loud cry and again gulped painfully for air. This suffocating symptom of grief elicited a doleful expression from the woman she was with. The woman in black curled her arm around the girl's waist, as a silver ribbon would around a Christmas present. A quiet, echoing sob sounded from the back of the room. Lori turned to see Ronnie Carey puffy-eyed and stuttering in breath. She turned back and glared at the black bow in front of her.

"Stop crying," she said louder.
01/27 Direct Link
The woman in black turned round, scowling. Lori averted her eyes from the firm look of authority.

"You had better teach her to show some respect," the woman whispered to her father.

"I'm sorry – don't worry. I will. I'm sorry," her father apologized. He squeezed her hand and Lori gasped, her mouth shaped like a small ‘o.' "Stop it right now, Lori," he commanded hotly into her ear, his breath tickling her hair. "Stop behaving like this, or we're going to leave."

"But she's-"

"I said stop it, Lori. We will leave."

Lori tried to keep her thoughts to herself
01/28 Direct Link
The room was still with an unsettling quietude, except for the crying girl – and Ronnie Carey. The adults wore plaintive, bland expressions, tending to their restive toddlers or whispering in each other's ears. But the crying ensued. Lori began to swing her legs, harder with each one and on the fifth swing, made contact with the chair in front of her. The girl in black didn't respond. She swung again, and made contact three times before her father grabbed her ankle gruffly and shot her a ‘last warning' glance.

Two more children were now crying, the younger bright-eyed Carey sisters.
01/29 Direct Link
The epidemic spread within the next few minutes. Donna Fellow was led out, moist-eyed with a sobbing Bridget looking on.

"Come on," her father said, pulling her arm. "We're moving, okay?" He took their jackets from the chair backs and led her out of the tight aisle. They had to pass the woman and girl in the front row. The older girl was standing, red-eyed and sobbing more forcibly than ever. Lori stared, slightly teary herself.

Why is she crying? She's not even in our class. She isn't in our school, or our grade. I hate her. I hate her!
01/30 Direct Link
I hate her! She's a stupid crybaby!

Vengefully, Lori pushed the sobbing child with her free hand. "She's my teacher. She's mine, stop it!"

The assault took the girl by surprise and her sobbing choked in her throat. The woman got up. "That is enough. Danielle has been through enough after losing her mother. If your daughter can't act civilly, I will ask you take her out of here. Please keep her under more control!" The woman's face was round, red against the white lacy collar tight around her thick neck.

Lori immediately burst into hot tears. She ran, waling.
01/31 Direct Link
Today was so strange. I've been through it all before – the last minute mad rush of dusting, cleaning, vacuuming, to make the house a beautiful specimen. One couple had made an appointment, but two men showed up unexpectedly. They sped through, but were talkative and wanted to be there, more than the other two. But the first time, I was a child. This time I'm nearly 21. I didn't know what to do with myself as these people trekked through. I was always underfoot. I was curious about them, but I kept silent; a shadow, like that of a child.