Freestyle! – Writing 101, Day 19

So, the challenge today is to do a free write without actually stopping, self editing, etc.  Ok. I guess I can do that.  But I have a graduate degree in literature and I really don’t like having something go to the public, or anywhere for that matter, without me editing it at least once (or twice, or thrice).  Or self edit as I go along (which is what I normally do and I’ve heard it’s impractical and a time waster, but what’s a girl to do?)

There’s a quote on today’s challenge regarding perfectionism.  Something along the lines of how perfectionism is the enemy.  Let me tell you about it!  I’m a self prescribed perfectionist, so when I do something that is not up to my standards, I become frustrated (like that last semester in graduate school when I wrote that really terrible paper about Unamuno’s writing methodology regarding the viviparous method as opposed to the oviparous method).  I really dislike anything that I produce being sub-par, but it’s because I have high expectations for myself.  Yes, I’m a perfectionist!

Maybe this is because I’m an INTJ?  I took the official Myer’s Briggs test back in high school and tested as an INTJ, there was a note saying that I should stop being so judgmental.  But how can I not be?  I have an idea of how the world should be.  World, stop not meeting my expectations!  It’s really annoying and makes me depressed and sad.  I mean, it’s the 21st century.  Things are supposed to be better.  But the world has become unenlightened (maybe it’s all that screen time).  I’m pretty sure that the US is reaching a point of un-education and lack of initiative seen only in the Dark Ages.  People aren’t active, they don’t care and seemingly go against all that our forefathers fought for.  We are a society in decline.  I ask for perfection because, for me, there really is no other way.  Things should be better, I should earn enough money to be able to live somewhat comfortably, but I don’t.  I think that nobody should be jobless and that we all have a right to a job.  But that’s not the case.  The government keeps on marketing things to us –  more education will get you a better job, for instance, but then they don’t want to admit that that’s not always the case and refuse to pay the price for those who fall into their network of lies.

I believe in education and that it should serve a purpose, but the job market right now is terrible.  What options do people have?  Stay in school, accruing debt, until it gets better?  Get a low paying job that is barely enough to live on, much less pay bills, etc.?  Neither seems like much of an option to me…

 

Moving Day – Writing 101, Day 18

It was a hot day in July when Mrs. Pauley was finally evicted from her apartment.  I remember my mother telling me, in whispers, that her husband had recently died and why didn’t her sons help her pay for the apartment, seven should be able to come up with the money to help out their old, ailing mother.  Apparently not.  3 months had passed since her husband died from a heart attack, and nobody helped her out. 

I sat on the stoop of my house, headphones on, walkman in hand, listening to New Kids on the Block.  The headphones weren’t that comfortable and although I’d asked my parents for a new pair for Christmas, they’d just told me to deal with it and be happy with what I already had.

The police arrived just when my favorite song, What’cha Gonna Do About It, came on.  I watched as the landlord gestured angrily at the apartment and then at the police.  The police went into the house, she rented the upstairs.  When the police brought her out, she was wearing a bath robe and slippers, her thin legs nothing like what I remembered them being, strong tree trunks.  She looked like a walking corpse.

I took my headphones off so I could hear what they were saying.

“Ma’am, we know you’ve recently lost your husband and we’ll help you out as much as we can.  Please come with us.”

“But… my china!  My photos!  I can’t!  Don’t you see!  It’s unfair!”

She wailed.  I felt sorry for her.  The police were being as nice to her as they could be.  Mr. Lufton, the landlord, just stood to the side in his suit, not looking at her.  I’d always thought he was evil, but today he looked even more so than normal.

“I’ve lived here for 40 years and never missed a month’s rent!”  she yelled, looking at Mr. Lufton, “Charles practically paid for this house!  How can you do this?”

She wailed, and fell to her knees.  The policeman tried to pick her up, but she resisted.

At that moment, my mom came out the front door and started towards the police.  The way she walked – head held up high, long, confident strides – showed she meant business.  I looked on as she quietly spoke with the police officers.  Mrs. Pauley looked up, her tears still flowing, but the miserable look upon her face disappearing little by little.  I wondered what my mom was doing.

She walked over to Mrs. Pauley and helped her get up and led her to our house.

Mom looked at me, “Nick, Mrs. Pauley is going to be staying in the guest room for a few days while we help her figure everything out.”

The police left and so did the landlord, looking frustrated.  I later found out that my dad helped her pay the rent that she owed on the apartment and also get her a pension that had been left for her by her husband.  My mom whispered to me that women should always know these things and that, thanks to the Women’s Rights Movement, women now had more control over their lives than ever and thankfully dad was able to help her out and how could her sons not be present in such a moment and it was our responsibility as citizens of the world to help out those in need, especially old women like Mrs. Pauley.

A Study of Fear – Writing 101, Day 17

Fear.  It’s something that we are all familiar with, something that lies in the depths of each of our souls, waiting for the best moment and …. BOOM!  Here it is – hands shaking, skin tingling, face flushing.  Going down in a glass elevator, reaching the top of the Empire State building, public speaking, germs are everywhere, new job interview, never knowing, knowing it all and wishing you didn’t, getting fired, seeing your ex unexpectedly, the lights go out, the boogie man, ants, tarantulas, insects crawling across you at night, seeing a ghost, seeing the Devil, seeing God, seeing an angel, going to the principals office…

I look in the mirror and realize that the only thing to fear is my own imagination!

 

Tale of a Rainy Day – Writing 101, Day Twelve

I peer up from my book at the words that reach my ears.

“Mom, can we go to the pool today?”

My stomach feels pretty bad, so I’m thinking probably not.

“No, honey, I don’t think we’ll be going to the pool today.  It’s still looking somewhat stormy outside.”

My son gets up from the floor, where he has been sitting playing his 3DS and looks out the window.

“I guess you’re right mom.”

He’s sad, so I try to make it better.

“Don’t worry, if next weekend is nice, we’ll go.  Remember that we would also invite a friend?  Who do you want to invite with you?”

“Oh, I dunno… I wish Dylan could come, but he’s with his dad every other week…”

“Yeah…  There isn’t anybody else that you’d like to invite?”

“I dunno… Mom?”

He looks at me with his big, grey eyes.

“Yes?”

“I’m bored.  Do you want to play Uno with me?”

“No, I’m sorry.  I don’t feel that well.”

I’m laying on my back.  Keeping the bile from rising, I slowly turn to look at him.

“Mom, why do you always feel bad?  You’re not a lot of fun to be around.”

“Sorry.  I just don’t feel well.”

“Maybe we could play Go Fish?”

I only say yes because I hate feeling like I’m not a fun person.  But, to be quite honest, I’ve grown into quite a grouch.  I also try to keep in the forefront of my mind that my son is getting older every day – there will come a time in the future when playing Go Fish with mom may not be that much fun anymore.

I deal out the cards.  He goes first.

“Do you have an eight?”

“Go fish.”

Our game continues like this for some time.  I really like the cards we’re using – they are a set of night sky playing cards that I got from Amazon.

By the time we’re done, my son has beaten me – he has 7 sets, I only have 6.  Oh well.  My stomach churns as I sit up.  I keep on hoping that I’ll feel better soon when my son reminds me of his necessities.

“Mom, what’s for dinner?”

“Food.”  That’s all I can manage to say as I rush to the bathroom.

A Letter to Sorrow, Writing 101, Day 14

Dear Sorrow,

You know that you are a constant companion of mine.  Through the years, it seems as though you and your twin sister, Joy, have been playing a game of checkers in regards to my life.  Don’t worry – you’re winning.   Perhaps you could just give in and let Joy believe that she’s winning (just for a moment, it will be our secret).

Thanks!

The Lone Wolf

In Your Eyes – Writing 101, Day 9

The old woman sat on the bench, knitting a red sweater. She was given to doing charity work and, due to retirement, now found herself with more time than ever to continue with what she considered to be her contribution to a better world. This particular sweater was special to her – her granddaughter, Claudia, had been wearing a similar red sweater the last time she saw her. Remembrance caused a tear to fall from her frail eyes – she had learned that losing a loved one was never easy, but when they were so young and full of hope it was even more difficult. She took her glasses off for a moment to wipe her eyes and, upon putting them back on, spotted a couple walking up the trail towards her. The old woman had seen the young lady before on many occasions, although this was the first time she’d seen the man. She wondered why he was crying, but the look on his face said enough – heartbreak.

The man, his name is John, was looking at Sandra, his girlfriend. He was an anxious ball of energy. Tears streamed from his eyes.  His thoughts raced from one thing to the next, never staying on one subject for any particular amount of time.  How could this happen?  To him? To her? Why?Whywhywhywhy… It all seemed like too much at once.  He wasn’t sure how he’d break the news to his family or how he’d deal with it.  He looked up momentarily, his red eyes on the old woman sitting on the bend.  How dare she share in this moment he thought, before bowing his head and shuffling on, Sandra’s hand

Sandra seemed to be faring slightly better.  An angelic gleam surrounded her as she held John’s hand.

“I was a bit surprised as well John, but I just found out myself,” she said to him.

“Sandra, I’m just taken by surprise.  We were always so careful.”

“I know, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

“Well, yes there is!” he exclaimed.

Sandra knew it would come to this and she already had a speech prepared.  At the last moment, it failed her, so she responded quietly yet firmly.

“No.”

Conflictive – Writing 101, Day 7 and Day 8

Sitting in a café, I couldn´t help but wonder at the couple I saw sitting near me. Odd, yes, that is how I would describe them. He was a sallow fellow – very pale skin, wearing clothing that was very well worn, holes in the knees. Light blonde hair, almost white, fell onto his face as he intently read Dostoevsky´s Crime and Punishment. A cruel smile played upon his lips, as though he were the type to find humor in another´s suffering. When he looked up, his dark, beady eyes blinked from recesses in his face.

The girl sitting across from him was his opposite – brunette hair fell down her back, red and gold highlights played in the low light. She was dressed in a pair of skinny jeans, ankle boots and a coral colored tank-top that highlighted her tan arms. She smiled at the boy sitting across from her, warmth and sincerity radiating from her expression.  Where he was dark and cold, she was light, golden, glowing.

She raised a bottle full of smoothie and sipped.  He looked at her.

“I really don’t understand how you can drink that stuff.  It looks disgusting.”

“But it’s so healthy!  And so delicious!”

“Ok.”

He wrapped his hand around a coffee mug and took a slow sip of coffee.

“Mmm… ”

“So, what do you want to do this weekend?”

“Let’s go to the movies.  We can see that new independent film.”

“I’m sick of the movies.  Perhaps we could go to the football game this weekend.”

“You know how I get around groups of people.  If you want to go, that’s fine, but I would prefer not to.  I’ll just stay at home and read.”

“Ok.”

She didn’t seem very happy as she slurped down the rest of her smoothie.

“Well, I’ve gotta go, I don’t wanna be late for class.”

“Ok.”

He waved goodbye to her as she left.  She didn’t see him.