Word Circus

So I did my first public reading this past Friday

erinwordcircus

I read three one-page flashes for my 5-7 minute slot.

and then people applauded. I even had some folks come up after and tell me which one they liked.

It was pretty cool.

Actually it was freezing in there.

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Thankful Journaling

I was perusing this article earlier because it caught my eye on feedly for a couple of reasons. The first is that I have to find a journal for my trip to Belize which I am supposed to write in while I am there everyday (though I have intentions to write in it before and after about expectations and so on.) The other reason is that in another class we were discussing the physical health benefits of writing down/processing through writing and art episodes of suffering or stress and how doing so, when done right, actually boosts white blood cells, and mood and la ti dah. Also, I’m going through a lot of things, in case absolutely no post from this blog tipped you off, so I identified with it. I think what I want to do (which is insane with all of the writing I am doing for school) is to pop in here every now and again with things I’m grateful for. For example, it’s been a tough week, and my confidence has been up and down, but there have been significant moments that I want to thank, but have no way (at least to me) that I can put it out there, so why not here, where I have made the space? I’m not sure how disconnected all of that sounds, but to break it down:

I read an article. I liked the idea. I’m going to recreate it here every now and again. 

 

With that, this week I am grateful for:

1) Hearing from my best friend. I haven’t seen her in almost a month and I miss her, and I hope she is doing a lot better. It was good to talk, like we used to when things weren’t so blue. I loved hearing about her experiments in cheese-making.

2) I am thankful for having developed some aspect of time management. It’s still in beta mode, but because I have so much I have to accomplish in a short time, it’s really comforting knowing that I still have this ability to really step up to a challenge (or several at once) and get them done. It’ll serve me well next year when I am in low-res.

3) I appreciate my professor (future advisor for low-res) handling my crying as soon as I walked in the door in the most sincere and sweet fashion, while maintaining a focused attitude towards what needs to be done to make sure I am happy, or on the road to such things. (I’m tearing up now by how absolutely sweet she was.) I also appreciate my other advisor’s absolutely “cool dude” attitude which saved me from crying when talking about the same stuff the next day. I’m basically surrounded by a great faculty.

4) I don’t want to lop all of my friends together, but I am always grateful for them. Even the ones who I felt I have grown apart from surprised me this week with old jokes, super kind words, and just general “being there” despite being physically separated.

5) I’m the most excited and thankful for the birth of my other best friend’s baby girl. We’ve gone through rough patches for many years now, and recently we decided to distance ourselves from each other. But that all disappears when I see a photo with him and his daughter. That simple act of creation, and of caring, a love that truly is indescribable just resonates and fills me with such emotion. I told my sister I wanted babies now, haha, but really and truly it’s just so beautiful and I have such faith in him, and I can only hope that he is allowed to be with her and that the only complications he has to deal with is her attitude when she turns 13, because that’s a right of passage every parent goes through. (That turned into a run-on, but emotions tend to do that)

 

Well, there’s my five. Now, off to get work done! I am already anticipating things to be thankful for next week!

“Writing is har…

“Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig. You need to do the same. … So write, Elissa Bassist. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.”

 Cheryl Strayed

 

Found this after I spent an afternoon struggling to get out even two pages of content for class tomorrow. Probably something I need to put physically somewhere to remind me. But here it is, also for your viewing pleasure. 

Disturbed

I see ghosts at work. When I sold tickets at the theatre, one of the booths was stalked by an old owner. He was more a prankster than a creepy ghost, but that booth was always the darkest and coldest, and I hated going up there alone. The current owner had poured thousands of dollars in that projector alone over the years, thanks to Mister Breaks-the-bulbs-and-causes-wrap-ups.

     But this Bed and Breakfast is something else. There are photos everywhere of grey women in petticoats with steel eyes staring straight at the camera. I hate when they look right at the camera. Then there are the few photos of men in beards standing up tall like they are important and impressive. I always see them as men with terrible murderous secrets, the kind that buries itself in the building structure, making it sick, making it groan.

     Sometimes, I wish I didn’t believe in ghosts. It isn’t natural for anyone to linger after they die, even if it is for sentimentality. I have done the same in my life, revisiting old schools, moments, hoping that all the elements were still there, but they never are. And sure, it is reassuring to know that my great aunt is there floating along with my grandmother right behind me, making sure I don’t stray too far, but I know those guys, so it’s not creepy to get a chill every now and again. Even at the Movie theater, the ghost was part of the family, he built the place, so we had an understanding—don’t kill me, and I won’t ruin the place you built.

     These ghosts though, I don’t know them. They are steeped in grey mystery, and they walk around no matter the time of day reliving who knows what kind of memories. I didn’t know they existed for a while, so explaining a creak or a flickering light was pretty simple. Now I’m not sure what level or reality is actually at play here. My mind has started conjuring up images of coiffed women on the top of the stairs, quivering with the lights. I hear skirts rustling and I smell random whiffs of flowers that are not in the Glade airspray.

     I tell myself that I have been all right so far, but being alone in there has started giving me the shivers and even daylight can’t protect me. All I know is I won’t be critiquing those photos out loud.

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I don’t really have a place at school to present this in any way, so I thought I would throw this raw piece over here, to drum up some content and to expose my current freak out. As if this semester wasn’t going to be stressful enough!

Writing Exercises at the Beginning of the year

I had my first workshop session for short story yesterday. We kicked it off by looking at paintings and visual art to describe and to evoke certain emotions. Of course there was focus that every picture, while having agreeable components–we all acknowledge that there is a tree and a barn–every person in the room responds differently to what they see (Yay individuality based off of life experiences and singular synapses.) Anyway, I was sold, it brought back my art class/art history days and I wanted to run all over the place with joy.

One painting we looked at–without knowledge of title or painter was “Wind from the Sea” (1947) by Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009).

WyethWind

As an exercise, we first wrote three examples of things that this painting made us taste, touch, smell, hear.

Then we wrote down the first impression/feeling that we felt when we saw the picture.

After that, we free wrote for a few minutes incorporating some of those sensory examples while evoking the initial feeling.

As you can guess all of the examples were different. Here is mine:

“The cracked shade slaps against the window that faces the road. The curtains, more dust than lace float into nothingness, mixing with the grit in the air. A branch snaps in the forest on the other side of the field–crashing. Splashes from the overstocked lake, unfished for years, are the loudest sounds around. A breeze picks up, rustling the dry grass and swirling small clouds of dirt–the only thing to travel that road for more than fifteen years.”

It’s rough, but try to guess what I was trying to evoke!

The Memory Jar

memory jarThis past year I decided to create a memory jar–idea from pinterest. The basic concept was to write a good memory from each day, even the bad ones I had to find some positive spin, write it down and put it in the jar. By the time Jan 1 the next year came around I should have a memory for everyday that I can reminisce over.

This is a good idea in that it forces me to think good for a second everyday. It’s bad in that while looking over memories I feel sad because they are either gone, or turned sour.

So, I’ve tried the experiment. I appreciate what it is trying to do, but I think instead of reading through each one, I’ll toss them out (I’d love to burn them because 1. fire and 2. symbolism) and open things up for new experiences, and hope for a good moment everyday. 2013 was a roller coaster, and it sort of ended in a horrific crash, but here I am, keeping on.

 

I have a few resolutions this year, and by resolutions, I mean goals:

1. Figure out why my entire body seems to be at war with itself and take measures to bring peace.

2. Be published in at least one journal by the end of the year.

3. Figure out where I am going to be in August.

4. Learn to love again.

5. Stay alive.