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I want to learn to sail. My grandfather taught me at an early age how to row a boat on his pond. I loved handling his motorboat (under his careful eye) when we’d go out on Lake Pontchartrain or the Bogue Falaya River. So I know I have the capability to control a boat on water. The breeze, the slight seasickness, and the feeling of adventure (even if I’m simply off the California shore with a bunch of snotty yachters) excite me. Plus, I love coming home from a long day outdoors to see my rosy reflection in the mirror.
When I’m old and my husband’s dead,* I’ll move to Germany, into a cottage with a garden in the forest. Vines will spread over the cottage and the garden’s stone wall. Local children will call me a witch despite my provisions of hot tea and sweets. When I become decrepit or sick of winter, I’ll sell my home to another “witch” and return to the States where I will force my busy children to care for me.
*Because men die first, not because I killed him. I’m sure when I fall in love I’ll want to die at his side.
I’d be a kickass drummer in an otherwise all-male band. I’d rock so hard with my earplugs tucked into my ears. I’d be the rocker chick without tattoos, dyed hair, or strange piercings. I wouldn’t sleep with my fellow band members but I’d have an unrequited crush on one. Guys would call me hot and make stupid come-ons. I would blush in response but inside I’d be confidently smiling. I’d write the lyrics to a lot of the songs but the male lead would get all the credit so I’d get mad but the boys would just call it PMS-ing.
A wordsmith of the highest order wields the pencil with efficiency, filling in the blanks with symbols numbering one through twenty-six. Those black and white squares are her only playground. Her face is pale from childhood summers spent in Grandma’s kitchen, scribbling in the comfort of the white boxes. Down and across she scribes in capitalized letters. An expert in the art of newspaper puzzles, her fingers black with the print. She ignores the glares of the other contestants and fills in the X for AJAX and XEBEC. She winks and finishes first in line, last in all social situations.
I’d like to be part of a sleep study. Doctors in white coats brush by, testing my vitals. I want them to tell me the exact amount of time it takes me to fall asleep. I want them to take a picture of me in all the electrical nodes and the white, flimsy gown so I know whether the accessories of medical equipment fit me. Also, what do I look like in my deepest sleep, before my eyes start moving rapidly? Am I at peace or fidgeting? I know I don’t snore or talk but can they record my dreams?
Sitting in a round room, the lighthouse keeper knits by the flames. She watches her fishy stew bubble in the hearth and listens to her stomach pound in aggravation. The stairs on the opposite side go up, up, up, past a bedroom loft for visiting relations and trustworthy strangers in the night. They spiral up into the lighthouse chambers where oil lamps are tended constantly. It may be morning for her but the night has begun for the rest of the town. The wicks are lit and she prays to God above that the rocks will touch only waves tonight.
Pour thick paint onto my hands and watch it ooze through the crevices of my palms. See me clothe the bare canvas with hungry handprints, savage for the color on white. Step back and view me forming the waist of a frightened woman with my hands as her face cries out, “Don’t touch me.” Let me sleep so I can dream of ideas I believe are genius while I’m unconscious but find to be utterly stupid and uncreative when I awaken. Demand that I give my emotions to my art. Encourage me even when I am acting the pompous artist.
Sometimes I find myself repeating actions in a slightly obsessive compulsive manner. I check the locks on all of my car doors, knowing I have only used the driver’s door. I will be halfway down the street, returning home from a long day, and I run back to check the locks again. No matter how much checking I do, I always seem to be misplacing things. I cannot find my entry for yesterday’s 100 Words. It’s lost in my car or in my room. I want to be more together, to feel confident in my own security and daily preparations.
I want a yellow biplane to fly worldwide, to command with a friend who is the gunner at my side. I want to see the world with goggles in front of my eyes and an aviator’s cap flapping like fat ladies’ thighs. I want to coo at birds as I whip through their highways, yell at schoolchildren down below as they play. I want to be an adventure, an explorer, a hero who soars between distance lands from the Arctic to Mount Kilimanjaro. I’ll see everything and everyone throughout the whole world and they’ll all say, “Gee, what a girl.”
Touching the surf of the Indian Ocean with her toe, she smiles to herself and mentally checks off the ocean from the list in her head of all the places she’s wanted to go. She remembers the crunch of the ice of Antarctica under her booted foot, the check of her last continent in her head. The foamy water tickles her toes, and she wiggles them. Each ocean, each sea, each desert, each mountain range, each great river, each major city are all marked in her head and in a document at home for her to complete in her travels.
They are fifteen years old and completely confused with their adolescent limbo state, despite being too stubborn to recognize it. Eyes glazed over with boredom, and, sometimes, pot, they search their notepads with their pens, their friends with their chatter, their desks with their pocketknives for a release. You try to grasp their attention with threats and bargaining but one will make you a bitch and h other an effing doormat. You cannot force them to appreciate Faulkner, Orwell, Morrison, and Shakespeare. You can relate to them and hope to spark an intelligent connection, a creative light, an interpretive mind.
You can invite anyone, dead or alive, to a dinner party. Who do you invite?
Many say Jesus. Who wouldn’t invite Jesus? He’s the son of God. You can’t leave that guy out.
Kurt Vonnegut would appear on my list. I aim to be one fifth the writer he was. His combination of science fiction, social commentary, and an optimistic perspective on humanity inspires me. Now, I can’t invite him to a real dinner party or pick his brain or draw pictures of assholes in different colors with him. I’d invite Katherine Hepburn in his place, but she’s dead, too.
My cousin, as a teenager, sketched images from
Alice in Wonderland
across the walls in her old room. Since I saw those (in my own teenage years), I’ve wanted to draw on my own walls. Reading
Running with Scissors
the other day, I thought the mother’s decoupage-ing her kitchen table with cigarette ads was creative, not crazy. Despite Joan Tewkesbury telling me a writer’s walls are usually blank, since the mind is his creative force, I wish my surroundings were a bit more colorful. Maybe I’ll decoupage my bedside table with the guys who are musically painting the roses red.
Bubbles of my breath dance on the swimming pool’s surface like children jumping up and down to a wedding band’s raucous jigs. I peer up through the water, trying to trace the clouds through my chlorine-burned eyes. The bright sun shimmers across the little waves and I remember to come up for air. I burst through the blue ceiling, pushing my feet off the floor so that I a shoot up. I can hear the wind now, my family’s bickering, and the slow bladunk of the pool filter. I gasp for air and duck down again into my quiet tank.
Spread out upon the grass, we rest our knotted heads of hair in the dewy grass. We shiver close to each other, our t-shirts stained with grass, but we don’t mind. A summer whim brought us here, to stare at the sky in the hours before dawn. Our eyes shift from star to star, trying to digest the entire visible galaxy in a moment. The cicadas buzz an offbeat love song in our ears, a weird hymn like the off-key voices of a church congregation. And we want to remain together in the cold night, as long as we’re together.
I am in the center of a single ray of light. I recognize my hands held out in front of me but they are softer with neater cuticles. I am naked yet warmth surrounds me. I can feel each individual hair on my head and when they drift onto my face, they smell better than any earthly scent. I am waiting for something, someone to arrive. I could wait forever and be satisfied. There is no nervous anticipation or fright or boredom. I am alone in a ball of light and I will be content to float there for centuries.
One, two, three. One, two, three. Waltzing across the dance floor in shoes like wrapped presents, she twirls the skirt of her party dress around like a top. She giggles nervously in the arms of her partner. He picks her up by the waist and spins her around, setting her back down on the checkerboard floor. He puts her at ease with soft, easy conversation and she finds herself eventually laughing, playing with him with witty remarks. The band sweeps from one song to another and her partner doesn’t let go. He holds on and smiles. One, two, three, four.
If I could play an instrument, I’d play the drums. The drums are the heartbeat, the primordial soup of music.
If I could play an instrument, I’d use my voice. I could express myself without the needs of accompaniment. I’d rumble my emotions through my own muscles and hold the room’s attention with a single “la”.
If I could play an instrument, I’d play the trumpet. It’s soulful or brazen, always individual. Cooler than the other instruments, it just doesn’t give a damn.
If I could play an instrument, I’d play the piano. Because I can play it with you.
“Hey, let’s get a group of people together and go cross-country this summer. We could drive, I guess, but we could also try and bike. I had a social studies teacher who did that a few times. Think about it. We’d work up our endurance, save up some money, and just get on some bikes and go. At the end of the journey, we could sell the bikes and buy one-way plane tickets back home. We could sleep in national parks, bear the elements, see cool shit, tangle our hair in the wind. Come on, dude. It’d be so awesome.”
Step across the threshold of your hideaway, where you grow complacent. Stand outside, under the endless height of the sky. Let the sunshine / rain / snow pour over you. Breathe in the exhaust / hyacinth / barbecue. Gulp the day down and smile at everyone. Jump into the street; don’t crawl. Grasp the world by the ears, by the ankles, and swing it around your head. Rescue yourself from the worries imprisoning you in dungeons where unpleasant thoughts drip coldly into your cell. Escape into happiness and then risk it all again. Forego the lame metaphors and simply act.
I’d be a Renaissance woman, established in many fields. I’d be a painter, an accomplished musician, an entertainer whose mouth produced not only enthralling stories but biting wit. I’d be an archer, an inventor of useful objects and wonderful whims, an expert equestrian. At riddles, chess, and common sport and trivia, none could best me. Alone in my rooms, I would think deep thoughts (in Greek, Latin, Chinese, English, Spanish, Arabic, and passable French), while practicing on my harpsichord. Some men would chase but never catch while others would say I’m simply not doing my duty as the weaker sex.
Two figures pasted in dirt and sweat wrestle in a makeshift ring. Their hands clench each other’s skin, attempting to force the other to slip an inch. The veins beat against their skin as their hearts pump adrenaline-lined blood through these massive warriors. Allies in war, they challenge one another for a prince’s prize, a golden urn.
Upon the face of a vase, the figures are portrayed as gods. Milky white skin and perfect positions in sport, the athletes are nameless but remembered in immortal perfection. Cracks fissure across their bodies, not symbols of veins but of time gone by.
There’s a pen. There’s some paper.
There’s a man in the foyer wearing a fedora. He glares constantly at the door. If you look from the corners of eyes, you can see tears in his eyelashes. And he wants a daughter
And he wants Twenty Twenty Twenty more years of breathing so he can live life this time.
There’s a pen. There’s some paper.
There’s a woman at a diner counter, mad at the No Smoking sign on the wall. She forgoes the crust and the T on her BLT without any remorse. And she wants a friend
Yet, here we are laughing together, teasing each other. Yet, we’re sipping wine and drinking beer. Yet, we’re excited over a board game, a game we’ve never played but feel like we’ve played with these people a hundred times before. Yet, we’re making friends in a city that has none. Yet, we’re sad when the night is over. Yet, we’re already reminiscing about the time we spent. Yet, we’re snapping photographs in a parking lot.
We could be home, asleep, or doing crossword puzzles in front of crappy uploads of television shows with popcorn kernels on our shabby pajamas. Yet…
I would like to live in a tree house with a waterfall for a view. I’d doze in my hammock with a fantasy or an adventure novel in my lap. There’d be a ceiling fan above, run by a watermill beneath my tree. It would caress my mind to sleep while noisy birds would try to keep me awake. I would not live far from town so I could wander in to buy supplies or meet up with friends at a baseball game. Adults would glare but children would gaze gleefully at me, “the lady who lives in a tree.”
Over the cuckoo’s nest I flew and landed in the mud. The sky clouded over and I tried to brush the darkness away with my own hands, as if I were Zeus who rules the heavens. Yet, I do not possess lightning bolts or any mystical powers.
I can only rely on myself
, I believe.
I am my own force of nature.
But the clouds remained until hands came in the darkness, reaching for me. I swatted them away, ashamed by their presumption that I needed aid. Until I grasped one, I did not see the mud above my head.
I do not see myself as a power-hungry person but I do wish I could demand more respect. I have always believed I could be a good leader but have not always been recognized as such. I shouldn’t waddle in regrets, yet… In college, I always wanted to be recognized as a good improviser, one who’d progress into directing and coaching. It rarely happened. I knew I was capable of leadership yet I felt as if colleagues disagreed. LA is the same. I feel like I constantly have to assure people that I know what I’m doing. Someday, they’ll listen.
Ideas for My Wedding
On the buffet, I will have a pile of boiled crawfish, complete with potatoes, garlic, and corn; cheesecake with strawberries and strawberry sauce; egg rolls; vegetable, fruit, and cheese platters with larger amounts of cucumber, pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, and Swiss; shrimp pasta.
I would like to dance to “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Elvis, and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” during the reception.
I do not want my family to argue.
I do not want it to be windy or rainy.
I want to marry once.
I understand many people claim science fiction and fantasy are “not for them.” I’ve tried to force Star Wars on too many friends with poor results. Maybe they’re realists who dislike that particular genre. I have always been an escapist. At age four, I chose The Wizard of Oz as my favorite movie. I still wish I could find another inhabitable planet, a hidden fairy castle, or proof of an alternate universe. While I may be a geek for wanting those places to exist, I also find people who don’t want to believe to have a complete lack of imagination.
I wonder at times whether my writing is improving through this exercise. I strive to avoid clichés and passive voice and to establish an imaginative, clear voice. Sometimes, I fail. I also fail to write spec scripts and screenplays. I use this exercise as an example of me actually writing but I need to write longer works to improve on my skills with structure, plot, character, development, action, and dialogue. This month, I focused on entries of “what I want.” In May, I want to focus on screenplays and specs – any piece towards that goal. Even one hundred words counts.
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