Week 11-Day 5-Old Swimming Hole

Old Swimming Hole -> Temptation -> Diamonds in an Unlocked Jewelry Case
The water sparkles invitingly. You reach out tentatively to touch the icy reflection. A million bright lights cut out in angles on the horizon. You squint and blink, pain cutting your eyeballs ever so lightly. Noises! Behind you! You swivel as a thief in rubber-soled shoes, freezing in place. Your eyes scan the scenery for any movement. Only the sound of rippling water greets you. Slowly you reposition yourself and slip your toes in. Pause. No alarms. You put both feet in. Water shimmers around your ankles. No other customers around to dive in. No lifeguard to protect the old swimming hole from intruders. You dive in, the thrill of the chase buoys and propels you. You’re in now. The point of no return. You’re in deep. You rise up for air, gasping. No one’s around to hear you rooting around the place. Yes! You backflip under water. You breaststroke quickly to shore. The place is all yours! No finger prints. You can turn over each piece in the case. Shells, rocks, seaweed, an old boot. It feels good to be bad! No one can catch you now. You fill your heart full of these shiny memories that glitter. Temptation. Fascination. Admiration. You scrabbled out of the pond of liquid jewels, each one dropping off you in a million tiny pieces. You dry off. Water on your skin disappears. Watery fool’s gold. You escape the shop without being seen. No video surveillance to catch your raid. Just dark foot-shaped shadows on the dirt.

Unlocked diamonds in a jewelry case are an old swimming hole 
The pool of glitter temps you. You squint, looking from the corner of your eye. Looking at the shimmer head on? Daggers of pain hit your cornea. Laugher peals out of the swimming hole, temping you to take a dip in its forbidden treasure. Other kids splash and play. They flaunt their watery wealth on their necks. Heads emerge from the black velvety depths. Sun radiates their pearly necks laced with water droplets. The peer pressure bears down on you. You join your partners in crime, digging into the fresh-water case. Joy. Freedom. No parents are around. No lifeguards. Just you, the others, and your wet playground. Water games enrich your day. The unrecorded activities whet your confidence that you will all pull  off the swimming hole heist. Your swimming suit pockets fill with abundance, seep out, then refill. Each fill brings a bigger cache of memories. Adult footsteps crack on sticks. Oh, no. You scramble unevenly to escape your summery den. Hurry! You wave to the others.  Arms and legs brush off the proof of your crime. Towels soak up the blame. Squeals reveal your location. Caught! Your parents see you quickly trying to hide your tracks. Stop! Your father stares. Your mother crosses arms. Feet tap impatience. Come! You hang your head in shame. I’m guilty! Guilty as charged! You lift your head defiantly. Your ear is turned. Ouch! You are dragged away. Your escaped partners watch  from behind bushes as you are dragged away to your punishment: No dinner!

Week 11-Day 4-Western Movie

In this penultimate week to my BerkleeMusic course called, ‘Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice’, we are continuing our work with metaphor. We are given an object (Western Movie); we are charged with picking a linking quality (Adventurous) and a comparison object (Team of Arctic Explorers). We are asked to write for 10 minutes about our topic (Western Movie) but using words from our other object (Team of Arctic Explorers) to describe it. Finally, we are asked to flip it around and describe the comparison object (Team of  Arctic Explorers) with words that you might use to describe the given object (Western Movie).

My challenge has been that I slip confusingly back and forth from one to the other. Or I find the given object (Western Movie) uninspiring.  I read some about Western and Western Movie history, pondered on the qualities associated with Western Movies, and chose one.  It bothers me that they seem to sound similar. I was hoping for something more interesting. Oh, well.  Here’s another link in the chain to building better writing skills!

Western Movie -> Adventurous -> Team of Arctic Explorers
The group decided on their basecamp: Ashtonville, Texas. Two mountain ranges of deserted storefronts formed a central, barren corridor. The harsh landscape warned them from further entry. Winds whistled around solitary cacti in cloud bursts, burn-freezing the inside of the cowboys’ ears with icy fury. The men shouted to each other, signaling with their gloved hands where to drive the the stakes of their spurs. The men took out their pickaxes and started to chip away at the desert sands. They sweated inside their Texas uniforms, bandana’s wrapped around their faces to keep out the dust flying into their skin.  With their backs straining under a dark, ominous sky, the cowboys raised their tents. Standing in a single line, the men passed their tent supplies from one to the next.  When their covered wagon was unpacked, the men retreated to their canvas cave in the middle of their Nowheresville. Mark struggled to zip up the door. The others nailed down the edge of the canvas sides that met the dirt where it was not already held down by their supplies. The men sat around in a circle on their sleeping bags, each one silently unwrapping his protective uniform off his wiry, Texan frame. A small leather waterbag was passed around; each man took the smallest sip possible. A coyote howled. Dust balls hit the side of the tent. The men listened.

Team of Arctic Explorers is a Western movie
The men hustled their animals, their tent, and their supplies down the narrow trail between the two Arctic mountain ranges. The band of five brothers roped themselves together in a straight line. The wilderness called around them. Howls. Cries. A scream cut off. The brothers stopped, swore loyalty to one another, and continued on. The eldest, John, led the way. Nothing would stop them. The sheriff promised the research team a reward: bring home the thief. Get paid. Watch as they hang ’em high! Riches. Feeding their families. Telegrams by covered wagons led by Huskies back East. Warm thoughts of money spurred them on. Gold coin. A hot bath. A hot meal, better than these survival granola-flax-peanut butter snack bars. Roar! A bear stood in their way. On the other side, a frozen lake with an opening. The men huddled under their hats and broke away with shots in the air. Pumped! Full of internal fire, hunger, and need, the men circled around the bear. ROAR! The white bear got down on all fours, ready to pounce. From all directions, the men fired down on the white bear. Red covered white in drips and streaks. Hearts raced. John stepped slowly toward the bear, poking it with the end of his rifle. Dead. They removed their hats, held them over their hearts, and thanked God for their good fortune. The men heaved the bear onto the portable cot, and dragged it back to their basecamp. Yes!

Week 11-Reversing Direction through Linking Qualities

Hello! Last week? Well, last week I got thrown off by needing to take two of my three cats to the vet two times each. I only got to one daily writing and then the weekly assignment.

Week 11 is more of the same. We are given an object and asked to think of a linking quality and another object that links the two. We are to write about Object A using terms from Object B and then reverse the order and write again; 10 minutes timed writing each direction.  This is hard work. The class has one more week and I can see this work continuing afterwards.

Day 2 – Hatred

Hatred -> Filter -> Camera Lens
The camera lens of your anger filters the way you see the world. Innocent behaviors cast with a red overtone menace at you with intensity. The hot breath of conversation fogs up your ability to focus; you cannot see clearly through the haze of your hatred. People glare at you across the crowded room, eyes bearing down at you through the lens. You try to make adjustments. You pull back from the viewfinder, shake your head, close your eyes, furrow your brow, and bring the eye back to the viewer. You try to switch your mind into manual instead of the automatic setting of your amygdala, which rises in your chest the way the rising heat of sun causes an intense ray to focus onto a dry leaf, setting it on fire. Your emotions have dried up, burnt into the crisp of hatred focused on what little was left of your heart. You take lessons, you meditate. You ask random strangers to pose for you in desperate attempts to shake off the screaming-red colored filter of anger. The wind carries away what’s left of you. You replace the lens. Trying to clean it, you scratch the surface. You wince in pain at the thought of the cost of getting a new lens. You visit the store, try on various  models, and pick one that seems clear. Yet when you leave and try to take a new picture of the world around you, the red remains. Ants look pissed off carrying their crumbs to the hill. People walk by, gesticulating heatedly into their handsets. You catch them from the side; a permanent mark of anger stains their faces. Blue jays scream at each other. Grilled cheese becomes burnt cheese. You throw it out. You pang with hunger. Someone breezes by and fans your anger flames into a roaring fire, into a blaze strong enough to burn down ten thousand acres of ancient forest in a few hours’ time. You capture it, frame by frame, a vast swarth of destruction across the vista of your life. It e

Camera lens is hatred
The camera lens seethes and projects its red-hot anger onto the subjects as they mingle over white wine spritzers at the bar. Watching the people intensely, waiting for an argument to break out, so that it can catch its subjects in the act of duking it out, fists battering each others’ faces, like a scene out of a movie about white trash bar fights. The camera lens pauses, lingers in anger, over its lack of control. Under someone else’s command, the camera lens focuses on plants, bugs, animals with the smell of burnt tires on pavement. It refuses to cooperate, staying out of focus. The photographer growls in frustration at the lens, blaming old age and rusty interchanging parts as the cause of fuzzy photos, streaking colors across keyboards and cats running across the room. The camera lens celebrates its victory over the dictator photographer who insists on shooting the happy moments in people’s lives. How rude. The one wish in the camera lens’ eye is to see others crush in submission to its mean ways. Children will cry and run away in fear. Women will weep. Men will comfort their women, wrap a protective arm around the women’s shoulders, and attempt to lead them away from the funeral crematorium. The lens aches to capture the moments of people at their miserable worst: the owner sobbing over having to euthanize her pet; the dizzying loss of the athlete to another by mere milliseconds; the public pain of a fifteen year-hold high school student by her bullies. The lens imagines frights and rises in proud anger at its imagined magnificence. The photographer gingerly handles the lens, as if it were on fire, and puts it away into the cold, dark bag, where it sits and waits, biding its time, for the next moment when light and air will shine on the lens and fan the flames of its hatred for humanity, for life. Crisp memories of burning fingertips fill the dreams of the camera lens. The exhilaration of a consuming hating desire.

Daily Object Writing- Catch Up

I needed a break from work and school for a couple of days so I fell behind on my class-required object writing.  I’m including the last 1.75 days worth of class-required object writing below.  This week’s prompts:

  • focus on WHERE, using location as the starting point for writing.
  • The POV is Direct Address, which uses both ‘I’ and ‘You’.
  • The verb tenses to use are any two forms, past, present, or future;
  • include questions & conditionals
  • Time limitations vary (5m, 10m, 90 sec)

Back Seat (10 minute)

You sat in the back seat of your family’s station wagon,  with your arms crossed and a scowl across your ten-year-old, suntanned face. Your mother reprimanded you for kicking the back of her seat in front of you. Now you sat sullen, tight-lipped, and anger punching the front of your stomach in protest. The sticky leather seat stuck to the back of your thighs because you insisted on wearing shorts. The air conditioning in the car has never worked, and you knew that the leather would stick. You pulled up your left thigh, feeling the skin get peeled back tightly from hot, sticky leather as you moved your leg up and down alternately. The open windows brought in the soiled stench of cheap gasoline and diesel. Hot winds nastily slapped your innocent cheeks. Your eyes slit closed against the air drying your eyes out. The grit of chastisement and pent fury stained and grated your tongue and created a sandpaper mouth. The swaying of the car turned your angry stomach sour with nausea. How much worse could the day get? You woke up bright and eager. Two fights with your mother, one about what to wear and the second about when to leave, hastened an inner tantrum that raged about being stuck in the car for two hours. Now here you were, bored with nothing to read, and a mother continuously complaining about your kicking the back of her seat from your own back seat. You turn your head to look out the window and relax. You let the wind fill your eardrums and your mind with white noise. After you get to the cabin, you will unpack your bathing suit, throw it on, and jump into the pool before your mother has time to punish you. Maybe you’ll stay down there; maybe you want to see how long you can hold your breath. How long can you hold it? Half a minute? One minute? Longer? What will your mother do without you, if you never come up?

Candy Shop (90 sec)

Candy shop sticky sweet. Carmel walls striping makes you think that you can lick the walls and you would taste Werther’s candies. Rows of black, white, dark, milk chocolates. The intense smell of sugar forcing a watering of Snickers and Almond Joy in Your mouth. The crinkling of the paper-plastic as you search for an opening. One bite, the sugar chocolate spreads warmth through your mouth, your taste buds relishing in the joy of sugar. Twirl! Yum! What next?

Frozen Pond (5m)

The frozen pond in the Boston Common, the Frog Pond, awaits us! Let us run down the frosty hill, slippin and sliding while we hold hands towards laughing children in colorful winter hats. Can you feel the the cold leather through your mittens as you struggle to pull on the well-worn rental ice skates? Let the excitement build in your chest as you finish tying your laces tight. Let’s jump up together, hold hands, chop our feet on the ice a couple of times, and go speeding across the pond. The wind will rip our cheeks and freeze our teeth. We will have to dodge parents picking up their toddlers off the frozen floor. The tears of children will not move us. Let us be joyful! Do you remember the time we came down to the pond in the middle of the night? Last year, we woke up at 2am, got dressed, snuck onto the Frog Pond, and ice skated for about 10 minutes before the cops told us to bugger off. You giggled madly as you tried to run away in your skates. Your face hitting the pavement and a bloody gash on your brow changed your tune. We spent the night in the ER instead of the clink. Now we are here together, legally. The world is our playground. Where will we go next?

Airport (10m)

You took the Blue Line from Government Center to Boston’s Logan Airport every time that you traveled. It was your contribution to saving the environment, you said. The grimy floors of the train’s cable car felt sticky under your Chucks, and it made you feel queasier than riding the rickety train. Your heavy carryon luggage dragged you, as if even your underwear did  not want to leave the haven of your hometown. Strange places made your stomach wiggle and your feet itch. Your lace-up boots became prison walls that prevented you from scratching that itch. But leave Boston you must, you told yourself, if you were  ever going to grow up. You flew the  US Airways shuttle to JFK airport, a 45 minute nonstop flight. You were vomited from the passenger plane into the underbelly of the fourth largest city on the planet. Massive waves of people seemed to follow you whichever step  you took. Dirt and oil seemed to permeate your skin, invade your nostrils, and sink deep into your lungs. Your unsteady walk, knees knocking, took you all the way to Gordon Hall at NYU. If anyone asked you, you were not have been able to tell them how you got here. You are bedraggled and beautiful. You lick your lips and I taste grapefruit. Your perfume faintly reaches my nose and I breathe in life. How will you know I am yours? You look into my eyes and my soul resonates with the knowledge that you know it, too. You smile and nod. If you say hello, I am yours. The greeter says your name, Heather. I hear a ballet of satin steps rising in time and tempo to the sweet rhythm of violins. The strings tremble with my heart and I sing to myself. You know it, too.  You straighten yourself up. Hello, you say. Hello, I say. Another smile and you are mine. Where will we go? Let us walk down West 4th Street together with

Dress Shop (90 sec)

You, bent over the sewing machine, eyes trained on lines, shiny needle in your left hand, fabric held down against its will in your right. It has no power over you. You weave your magic and essence in, the flow of your life becomes permanent. Your life in the shop gave you life. Now you create life. Where will the dress be worn? You do not know. Let us imagine parties, balls of which you are the bell, ringing in the joy, drinking champagne,

Writing from ‘Where’ + Daily Object Writing

As I mentioned yesterday, this week’s task is to write from a sense of ‘where’, or place. Other writing requirements today: 1st person point of view, present tenses, including all the senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing, body, + motion), sentence types (questions + conditionals). You try it: Set a timer, write, + STOP when the timer goes off. You just want to get into good writing habits. They don’t happen by themselves.  Try it and let me know how it goes.

Here are my writings from today. I will try to hide the long ones behind links, as soon as I learn how to do it.

Open Field
I crested the hill, watching the horizon lift to meet my face, thin line of white clouds over arching cusp of the blue horizon as far as I could see. Seagulls called to one other in panic above me. What did they fear? A cold wind kicked up like a temper tantrum, not wanting to be outdone by the ocean’s commanding vista. A shiver ran down both arms, raising the hair up in alarm, and I pulled my grey, wool sweater closed in front of my clavicles. Salt and hair competed for space in my mouth, like two moles vying for the same warm and toasty den. I spat them out but they were not to be controlled. If the wind stays this way, I won’t be able to be out here on the hill for long. Long slivers of grass seemed to huddle together for warmth. The sun warmed my face, as if God had put the toaster on the lowest setting possible. The blues and greens of the ocean swayed together in a mix. Inspiration and awe rose in my chest, as if the waves of the water lifted my lungs in unison. Maybe I could convince Mark to live here.

Swimming Hole
I scrambled out of the yellow and wood-grain covered station wagon, competing for first one out the door with my two brothers. I muscled Pete and Avery out of the way, stomping on Pete’s foot as I deftly opened the door just before sprinting out. Pete’s reflexes caused Avery to tumble into Pete. I could hear them argue as time rushed through my ears. If I didn’t stop, I would be first one down to the swimming hole. I heard our parents call my name, as if the trees whispered it in my ear. The dirt path swerved downwards. The unexpected change under my feet made my heart leapt into my throat. I felt strangled by my own lungs as they battled to make sure I had enough oxygen. The thin woods were filled with families talking, chatting. Kids laughed, screamed, and ran around me. Cars, minivans, station wagons, SUVs, trailers snaked a parking line along basecamps. Everything blurred as I ran.  After a zig and a zag, I saw it, my goal, the swimming hole.  As I ran down the slope, I yanked off my T-shirt and threw it aside. Kids walked by with towels around their shoulders. A line of parents with toddlers waited outside the shower-bathroom stalls. Woo-hoo! I yelled as I was approaching the swimming hole, not caring who saw me. The short pier screamed its invitational like the red carpet leading to the Academy Awards. The swimming hole, tried and true, over these last three years. My eyes solely focused on the pier. I barreled down past a group of three brothers, huddled after their swim in the hole. One of them tried to stick his foot out to stop me. If he only knew how focused I was, he would have known it was useless. Stupid jerk! Who does he think he is? My foot pounded on the wooden planks. Bam! Left foot, right, left, right. Almost there. Other little kids were grabbed by their moms who pulled them out of my way just in time, like the Red Sea parting for Moses. Still in my chucks, I hurled myself off the end of the pier, pulled up my knees, closed my eyes and

Fourth floor walk up
How long will this take? Huff, puff. I drag one leg at a time. If I just take it one at a time, I can make. Fifty years of human steps up the center of the marble steps warped them into smooth grooves, like a smooth slide. Carefully stepping to the ballasters, I grabbed on. One, two. How many more? The railing ricketed back and forth harder and harder as I gripped it. Squeak! </a>