Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh, Karl

He's so sweet and innocent surrounded by so much terrifying darkness. I don't know why I don't protect him better and always encircle him with such menace...I think its a balance issue...

See what you think...

"Berries in the Snow"
Karl really did enjoy looking after the Ice Plantation. It made him smile every time he circled the complex and confirmed that the Graces had not yet penetrated his barriers. He had figured out years ago to tie balloons filled with paint to the invisible strings. It made his job much easier to trudge round and round, looking for an explosion of color marking trespass. The snow was fresh that day, crisp and confetti powder that in daylight shimmered in a million microscopic prisms. The crunch, crunch, crunch beneath his snow shoes echoed off of the trees and cedar castle. His iron-tipped club (for this was the only weapon that worked against the red-throated beasts) was securely fastened to his belt, next to a canteen full of cocoa and a whistle for trouble. It never occurred to Karl that there was no other Karl or guard like him that would come to his rescue should the whistle prove necessary. It never crossed his mind that the whistle existed to let the ice people know that their borders had been breached and Karl had failed.
It was Karl’s job to look after the ice people, their eyes like diamonds and their teeth sharp and layered like those of underwater hunters. They existed in threes; one male, one female, and one child and they never touched each other and especially not Karl. Their voices sounded harsh like the static that plays through a station without songs. They always wore white and only by the color of their oil-slick hair could you see them in the snow. Karl would sometimes get lost and sink in the beauty of their dark oil hair. The sun reflected on their heads colors of cerulean and laurel green and like the seal that swims towards the curious, Karl always found himself covered and choking in a spillage of chastisements for taking his eyes off the borders. They terrified and amazed Karl. He always preferred to stay closest to the border and far enough to stare at them unnoticed. It never occurred to Karl that those he protected were actually afraid of him and his warmth. It never crossed his mind that he was being used and exploited for his size and willingness to serve. Karl was like a giant boy monster, eager to please and easily amused.
Because Karl had not encountered any colored warnings that day and it was nearing the time of his final round about, his mind began to wander. He was not ready to return to his lonely hut on the edge of the grounds. His feet carelessly followed his mind, slowly beginning to swerve in and out and around the line that separated the safe and unknown. His elephant legs skipped over the invisible fence easily, leaving the cautionary balloons undisturbed. On a single hop out, Karl noticed something in the distance. Through the snow and stony woods that surrounded the Plantation he thought he saw leaves. Karl left his post to seek it out, look closer, and see how living leaves could be growing in the middle of the snowy cliffs. The sunny day was beginning to wane and snow was starting to fall quickly upon him. However, instead of the darkness bringing with it the cold, Karl began to feel warmer. The closer he came to the leaves, the more he felt as if he were again in his small thatch hut on the edge of the grounds, huddled around his modest fire. Karl removed his jacket and stopped to untie his snow shoes, finding it easier to walk with his toes outstretched. He suddenly felt a sharp sting on his shoulder as he passed beneath a low-hanging spiked branch. Karl barely noticed and continued towards the shrub. It never occurred to Karl to remember to bring his club as he loosened and dropped his belt along the way. It never crossed his mind that he may need it sooner than he would have liked as he led the Graces behind him as his guiltless blood dropped like berries in the snow.
As Karl approached, the small shrub radiated such a vibrant bottle green and boozy scent that he fell to his knees before it, dizzy with its beauty. It seemed to have risen up from the ice just for him. Karl knew it had been waiting for him, all this time. It was different from the black trees dripping ice like daggers. It needed Karl to take care of it, helpless and cold alone in the woods. Karl removed his scarf and then his shirt, warmed from his large body, and wrapped them around the abandoned shrub. The heat was coming off of the plant like a fire as his body sifted deeper into the snow. He began to think about the ice people and their terrifying beauty as he stared deeper into the heart of the shrub. He wondered why they never touched each other as he stroked one of the fuzzy leaves, its skin as soft as a lamb. He thought about them slowly circling, seemingly fearful that if they slipped or tripped into each other, they would shatter and fall to pieces in the snow. It never occurred to Karl that they were all already shattered and scattered around their cedar shrine. It never crossed his mind that the ice people had never seen so much terrifying color as the explosions of paint surrounded their home. Karl was kept company with the Graces’ gifted flower as they easily passed through the invisible lines, setting the grounds to a kaleidoscopic of hues. The whistle lay quiet, soon buried by the falling snow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

So Many Other Things

There are so often days where I would gladly trade what I have to do with other things I would like to do. For example, I should be doing my reading for school next week, when all I really want to do is finish reading The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I need to be writing drafts for papers that will be due this semester, but really all I want to do is journal and work through The Artist's Way. I should be tidying up the apartment because it's going to drive me crazy if it gets any worse, but really I would like to just leave it and hang out at Starbucks all afternoon. I should be happy to go into work tonight and make money to pay bills, but all I want to do is buy that lovely pair of boots I found online...for a modest sum of $275....I should be thinking about what I want to write my thesis on and really get going on it, but all I want to do is research flights and hotels to Seattle, Denver, California and Europe. So, I procrastinate and write here in this blog, doing neither the necessary or the fun things. I hope you all have a wonderful sunny day. I'm going to try and be productive now. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Great Start

It's only 11:36am and it's already been a lovely day. I got up at 6:30 to meet sis at the gym at 7, worked out for an hour, home, showered, and now have been at Panera for two hours completing an hour of dedicated writing. I was worried for a moment there. I was a bit groggy and sleepy from such an early rise and unable to think of anything new or interesting to write down but I just made myself start typing. And you know what, I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with. Even if it isn't particularly "good", the practice of writing and disciplining myself to write every day is a good thing. So, now, with an hour or so until my appt for hair color and cut, I think I will reward myself with a little nap. Hope you all enjoy this beautiful sunny and warm day. I know I will. I've been thinking of posting portions of a story in a sort-of periodical style here...haven't decided yet if I'd like to do that. It would definitely keep me accountable to writing consistently but I am afraid I won't like the story or I won't know how to keep it going? So here's a little sample of what I came up with today and we'll just see if I keep it up. No promises.


She made the effort to close the door quietly as she left her house that morning. At around 7:20 she was sure her mother and sister would still be sleeping and didn’t want them to wake up just yet. She walked around behind the white house with chipping paint and climbing flowers towards the small shed where her bike waited for her. It was an older Schwinn without any speed settings or fancy brakes, just a mode of transportation and economy since she had not yet been able to save enough for a car.
Kate turned seventeen that summer of 1996 and lived in a small fishing town in Maine. She had been homeschooled since she was eight and developed incredibly close relationships with her mother and sister Sophie. Having graduated early after choosing to not take much of the summers off, Kate had begun working for a local bookstore when she was fourteen. Now that she was waiting to hear back from colleges, she was working as many days and hours that she could get saving up for the adult life she was so ready to lead.
The sound of the pine needles and twigs cracked and parted beneath her bike tires. The dew was still heavy on the leaves and grass and kicked up slightly behind her as her bike made its way to the cliffs. She loved this part of the morning when the birds started waking up and calling out to each other across the tunnel of trees as she passed through. She was thankful she had remembered to grab her sweater on the way out, the cool night air was still lingering as the sun was just barely making its first streaks through the tree line. Her white Keds pedaled on and she looked forward to the coffee and scones that would surely be waiting for her at work.
The smell of lilies and roses greeted her as she turned the corner onto the path that led to the Tattered Edge. The store was located on the lower floor of an old Victorian house built a century ago and remained in the same family since its construction. Agnes was the last surviving member of the Sterling family having lost her son a decade ago in a car accident. Kate wasn’t sure how much she still mourned his loss; she never mentioned it and was afraid to bring it up in case it caused too much pain. Not to mention he had died without marrying or having any children. Kate wasn’t working for Agnes then but she remembers the rumors that circled the town about the fate of the house when the elderly woman also passed away. It was a historical landmark and its location on the cliffs was envied from the locals and hoteliers alike. Many thought it was a waste she had converted the bottom floor into a bookstore when a Borders had been built downtown a few years earlier. Agnes seemingly did not regret her choice after retiring from teaching a few years ago. Money wasn’t an issue and never had been. Her father had been one of the wealthiest factory owners in the state. His only regret in life was that he was unable to produce a son. Not without lack of trying, both within his marriage and without, his only offspring was Agnes.
Kate opened the door of the large home as carefully as she had closed her own. The key that hung from a ribbon was bronze and heavy in her hand, much unlike the small metal ones still clipped to the back of her bag. Agnes had begun sleeping later and later but never forgot to set her coffee pot to be ready by the time Kate had arrived. She could smell its strong aroma as she walked through the door and Percy, the calico cat that haunted the shelves and stairs of the house circled her feet.
“Ya, I know. You want your milk” she said to the cat as she walked to the kitchen.
She opened the refrigerator and saw a note on the glass jar of cream. It was written in the flowery hand of Agnes and said “Please place the tray of scones in the oven for 40 minutes while you open. Do not let Percy in the front room, he has been torturing Wallace. –Agnes” Kate smiled as she took the note off of the jar and poured a saucer for Percy and set it on the chilly tile floor.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Awake My Soul

There is a particular Mumford and Sons song that I love and always find myself humming, even if it's been days since I last heard it. "Awake My Soul", a short song, but so good. That simple line does more for my motivation than any tight jeans, looming deadline or shift to get to. Awakening my soul is exactly what I intend to do this year. I've read so many facebook statuses, blog posts and general murmurs of every person I encounter about how "This year they will________" fill in the blank. Sure, I'm hoping these personal training sessions and dedication to diet will pay off in some sort of weight lost and health restored, and of course I'd love to reach my savings goal so that I can work less, travel more and dream of all dreams, move to somewhere far away.

But mainly, I want to enjoy my life. I only get one. I want to be happy every day. I want so badly to write things down, be it here, on paper, in my journal, on the walls, or on the back of a receipt. I want to use the voice that I know lies within me somewhere. I want to find the key to unlock the room of potential for creative outpouring. Most importantly, I need to figure out this soul. It is so important, and I've wasted it worried about money and pleasing people and making sure that everyone else is happy. What about my soul? What do I do about it? I will not list my intentions for 2012 here. I simply hope to soon share many revelations and surmises of the creative process that I hope to embark upon this year. I yearn to feel alive, grateful, humble, and curious.

I want to matter.

I wish you luck with yours and beg your support in mine.

Awake my soul.