Monday, October 29, 2012

Augustine In The Window

There is a girl who lives in the window.  Her name is Augustine.

In an alternate universe, Augustine discovers the cure for cancer.  She doesn’t live in a window in that universe, but an upstate New York neighborhood.  She goes to an elite private school; Dad’s in real estate and mother is flawless.  Augustine is lavished, lovely, and sweet.  She graduates valedictorian from high school, magna cum laude from university.  Cancer is cured 10 years later.  All except leukemia, with which her daughter is diagnosed at age 15.  Daughter dies shortly after her 17th birthday.  Husband leaves her a couple years later for the little whore in his office.   He tells Augustine that she just cries too damn much and has let herself go, but Libby makes him feel alive again. 

In another universe, Augustine discovers travel at the speed of light.  She doesn’t live in a window in that universe, either, but is given up for adoption at birth.  Mother is an addict, leaves Augustine at a fire station in the middle of the night.  Her parents are not rich, but Augustine never goes without.   She is cherished, lovely, and sweet.  She is diagnosed with schizophrenia in her junior year of college, but thirteen years and a master’s degree later, she is nominated for a Nobel and three dogs are on their way to Andromeda.  Not long after, her illness gets the better of her and she is found hanging in her one-room apartment with the entire periodic table carved into her stomach. 

In the here and now universe, she is just Augustine In The Window.  Stringy brown hair that hangs below the windowsill, so I never know how long it is.  Maybe she holds a doll or a blanket.   Or maybe she waves so discreetly that it is hard to tell it’s a wave.   I know her name is Augustine because her mother always screams it.  And I am pretty sure her mother’s name is Please.  

3)  a venal or unscrupulous person

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


As tolerance for that which binds us betides, it also chews ever slyly at our sense of urgency to escape it.  The swamp of shit bubbling around me had become my world. The circumstance, this bogey man, my severed tendons, my terror- All of it was the only world in which I existed.  In retrospect, it is quite startling how swiftly I dispatched with all I knew, accepting insanity as the cool side of the pillow.  I shook hands with fear, and agreed to remain nameless in silent subjugation.  I pressed my forehead against the window.  The glass was cool.  

I'm playing with Lance and Leroy's 100 Word Song this week, as he has ever so kindly been popping me in the back of the head to jump on the bandwagon, soooo.... Yay!


Friday, October 19, 2012

One Thousand

She dreamt a killer body-
                and gained 1000 pounds.
Of silence-
                and died 1000 deaths.
Of becoming all she’s not, and none of who she is,
                and ate 1000 souls,
                bleeding only one.


Triextra Thirty Eight:
"Write 33 words exactly about three wishes that come at a high price to the wisher."

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I have been experiencing an unyielding poke in the gut from reality.  Reality being the sum and all the parts of everything I do not know. 

And there is a lot.  A staggering lot.  An overwhelming lot.  Of stuff I do not know.  I have wondered many times over the past few weeks how in the hell I have homeschooled a child into college.  But, I have.  He starts spring semester.  I honestly have no idea how that happened.  Granted, it is absolutely more to his credit than to mine.  I did not teach either of my kids much of anything.  I just taught them how to learn, and why they should keep doing it forever.  

I suppose I am on a mission to practice what I preach. I am slowly realizing that it does not matter how much natural talent one has, if they do not know what to do with it, it means nothing. 

So.  I am trying to figure out what to do with it.  More to the point, I am trying to become a writer.  Being a natural wordsmith does not automatically translate into being a talented storyteller.  And I find myself in a rather pedestrian muck- I have concepts galore but very little in the way of complete stories.  Beginnings, middles, and endings.  Complete scenes.  Well-rounded characters.  Clever progression.  I truly have no idea what I am doing. 
I am trying.  I am reading.  Catching up on all the knowledge to which I have turned up my nose over the years under the false assumption that I know everything.  It is a daunting realization.  Becoming aware, all of a sudden, of the full breadth and scope of everything I do not know.  And I am sure there is twice as much I don't even know that I don't know.
I need to finish something.  I need to figure out how to use myself.  How to pull things out of my head and spin them all the way around.  I have dozens of "first few paragraphs."  DOZENS.  Maybe even hundreds.  I write.  Write my little heart out.  But then, only a few paragraphs in, the color of my story starts to change.
I have talked about that before.  Seeing things in colors.  Words and people and memories.  They all have colors.  And it happens so quickly in my writing.  A few paragraphs in, things become gray or brown.  It is as though the setting of my story suddenly becomes a dark and cloudy afternoon, maybe a bit of haze from a drizzle.  And when it becomes gray or brown, I get bored, blocked, lost, paralyzed.  I'll save it to a folder.  And start again.  New story, new characters, new everything.  And the cycle continues.  I have begun trying to scrap everything back to the point in my story where the color changes.   It's an exercise.  I am working on it.
I have so little discipline.  So little knowledge.  So little ability to apply the knowledge I do have.  I am flailing around in an ocean of words, knowing they can be used to build a boat, but having no idea how to go about it.  I gather all the words floating around me, and then they drift away.  Or I have no hammer.  Or nails.  Or maybe a shark comes around and tries to bite me.  It's always something.  Always something.  And never enough.
I am disappointed in myself.  I see so much potential, but just can't quite pull it out.
And then there is still that 14-year-old girl whispering in the back of my noggin that if I am not a prodigy or savant, if it doesn't come naturally, then there is no point in trying.  Because I will never be good enough.
Hell.  At this point, I'd settle for good at all. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

True Story

Wildman from the jungle came
bearing his sacred coconut
Yet, his tribal skill faltered
amidst the witchcraft of
his cheap pocketknife.
Savagery alone cleaved not
his fruit divine,
and stabbed his leg instead.  


Trifextra Week Thirty-Six
"Here are some photos to inspire you.  
Choose one and give us a metaphor or simile to help describe what you see.  
Make your analogy 33 words or less, 
and make it clever or witty or unusual enough to grab our attention."