I’ve moved.

Hey everyone, you may already know this, but I have moved to a new wordpress site, due to the fact this one has contracted a glitch I am unable to fix.  It’s the same ol’ me, same ol’ blog, just with a new look, new name, and new address.  All of my posts here have already been moved over there, so in a week’s time I will officially delete this site.  You can find the new site at http://ekcassabaum.wordpress.com/ I have quite a backlog of things to post there, so head on over!  I’ve missed you guys! (:

My summer thus far, as told with lots of pictures and a few choice words. (:

So, summer. It’s here, and it’s in full swing, as are all those summertime activities I love.  I thought instead of telling you all about what I’ve been up to for the first month of my summer, I would show you with a few choice pictures!  Enjoy.

 

So, for starters, I missed the very last day of school to go DAVE AND LIZ’S Wedding, which was lovely. I danced, ate cake, and got to laugh as Keegan danced with my mom. (HI-LAIR-IOUS.)

Mr. and Mrs. Beagley have their first dance as husband and wife. (:

Kee and I are pretty crappy dancers, so we choose to just go with it and entertain the masses. (;

Mom put up with Keegan's moves while Dad and I danced. (:

 

As summer really got going, so did softball!  As varsity catcher, I’ve gotten pretty beat up!  I’ve had some pretty colorful bruises, like this one below.  Also, I hit my first home run of my high school ball career to win our game on 6/24!  It was a deep ball to left in the bottom of the 7th when we were tied 5-5! It was awesome! (: A lot of other shenanigans go down during softball, so there are several pictures here… (:

Lovely bruise from catching.

My home run ball from our June 24th game! (:I put my kisser out of commission for a few days after taking a ball to the face.

 

 

Assistant Coach Erin has some mad rapping skills, and rightfielder Haley is jeal-ous. (;

 

I like Louisville Slugger Catalyst bats... now if I could just pick ONE...

Chantel, our awesome third base(wo)man, demonstrates her craftiness by making an onion with a plastic cup pregame... it's also a chinese lantern. (:

In a valiant attempt to retrieve the balls from the net, I successfully stuck a bat in the cage, to the delight of my teammates. (:

 

Alright! In case you didn’t know, we also acquired a lot of animals this spring/summer out on our young farm, so I have had a lot of work to do with the pigs, chickens, guineas, ducks, geese, and turkeys! Some of which are no longer living ): Anywho, here’s a few pictures of the FARM! (:

I love the baby chicks... which are now medium sized chickens....

Bertha, Bianca, Ginger, GiGi, Moravia, Miranda, Medusa, Minerva, Amelia, Angela, Henrietta, and Harriet. (:

Bianca. (:

Angela. (: (also nicknamed THE FALCON)

Keegan is not a fan of the chickens, even though Amelia is by far the smallest.

Bridget, however, loves the animals! (:

We also got ducklings! (also now much larger...)

Ducks and Geese (now deceased ): ) enjoy swimming in the sink! Now the duckies use their baby pool.

Afro chicken- Cruella. (:

And of course, as always, I spend a lot of time with my friends and family, just having a blast.

At Elli's soccer game with Keegan. (:

Out with all the girls, modeling some glasses like our dear manfriend Riley wears! (:

Fires, s'mores, and lightening bugs. <3

 

Well, that’s it for now, dear readers. (: More posts soon! Be looking for a short story or two, an ‘Ode to Mud’, post about painting, and a few videos. (:

 

Yo, sorry ’bout the break… here’s a poem to make it better.

Sorry about the little break there, everyone.  Graduation, softball, and summer all really got going full swing, so I was busy running around to parties, practices, games, and other nonsense, including LIZ AND DAVE’S WEDDING! If you’re confused by who the heck Liz and Dave are, see the post entitled, “Dear Elizabeth,”. (: It was a beautiful wedding and reception, and I wish them both the best of luck, not that they’ll need it, they’re made for each other.  Another wedding also took place in the time I was gone from the blog, that of Luke and Sally, good friends of my parents and our farm buddies.  Dad and Luke get along so well, I’ve decided Luke is pretty much our older brother. My mom had asked me to write something for her and Dad to read at their wedding, because it was open mic, so I wrote an oddly structured little poem in just over an hour and a half for them, and it’s become sort of a tribute to both Luke and Sally as well as Liz and Dave.  Liz hasn’t seen it yet, but she reads pretty regularly, so here you go, Liz. (: Share with Dave-Bob. Love you guys… and I hope you had fun in Mexico! Ay yi yi yi arriba!

 

Defiable are the limits

upon which love has been bestowed.

For there is no set definition

of that that is unique.

Are not all persons individual?

So then also are all loves.

 

No correct answer

lies upon the horizon.

No straight path

unfolds beneath your feet.

Together as Us

you must be as you need.

 

There are those

that spin through the stars

radiating exuberance

and also are those

that lie still and quiet

simply breathing

the rain soaked hay.

 

Subtle

as a whisper on the wind

or vibrant

as a bouquet of wildflowers.

 

No correct answer

lies upon the horizon.

No straight path

unfolds beneath your feet.

Together as Us

you must be as you need.

 

There are those

sweeter than the sun

and blackberries

and also are those

bitterly refreshing

potent and powerful

as fresh coffee.

 

Cool

as a spring rain

or vehement

as a blazing fire.

 

No correct answer

lies upon the horizon.

No straight path

unfolds beneath your feet.

Together as Us

you must be as you need.

 

There are those

fluid as the streams

and as changing as the tide

and also are those

that steadily cultivate,

rich and hearty

as the black soil of the plains.

 

Melodious

as a hymn

or dissonant

as child’s play.

 

No correct answer

lies upon the horizon.

No straight path

unfolds beneath your feet.

Together as Us

you must be as you need.

 

Leave your mark

upon the tablet of the earth.

Blaze a trail where there is no path

and forge your way where you will.

Be free to dance how you please

and to dream the unthinkable.

 

Listen to the crickets,

and romp barefoot upon the grass.

Stretch outward and upward

as a banyan tree in summer,

and sing your songs on high

blessed by the One who gives all.

 

No correct answer

lies upon the horizon.

No straight path

unfolds beneath your feet.

Together as Us

you must be as you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

a rather long short.

For the last two-ish days in Advanced Creative, I’ve been working on this short story, and it ended up being a lot longer than I had anticipated, and a maybe a little bit strange.  I drew inspiration for this short on Sunday, as I cruised around my hometown, killing some time.  I ventured to a part of town I had never really been to before, and I saw a lot of things to use as writing fuel, including an incredible railroad bridge, tucked away down a hill and behind some trees.  It just goes to show how much magic may exist in the most unlikely of places, right under your nose!  Also, I listened to Adele’s song ‘Hometown Glory’ as I wrote, seeing as the music seemed to suit the tone of the piece- mournful, reflective, with some soul.  (Speaking of Adele, that reminds me that I need to post the rest of those Adele song shorts- I’ll do that tomorrow.)  Enjoy!

He found her sobbing beneath the railroad bridge where they had met as children.  The bridge looked the same as it always had, an old brick thing, well constructed in a perfect arch, hidden among tall sycamores, maples, oaks, and pines.  Seeds from the maples whirled down to break the glassy surface of the creek beneath, and the breeze was warm on this mild afternoon- a perfect day.  They used to live for days like this one.  It used to be that days like this promised blissful oblivion beneath the bridge, but now he found he couldn’t breach the gap tragedy had forged.  It was a canyon between them, forcefully created by barreling trains they had ignored for years in their haven beneath the bridge.

Her head, with hair cropped short, hung low over her tanned lap, salty tears spilling from muddy colored eyes.  Perched on the ‘cannon’ rock, she momentarily appeared as the child version of herself, causing him to recall a smaller, weaker girl upon the same stone, calling out orders as a pirate captain or war general.  Here they had played, letting their imaginations run rampant.  It had taken only days for the wild boy to convince and coax her to emerge from the fortress she had built up, just days from the afternoon they had first met beneath the bridge.

It had been the summer, and both of them had been living in the same small town for the entire duration of their lives.  He had wandered upon the bridge haven on chance, having fled his house from his alcoholic single father.  She had been there already, laying across the grass with a battered copy of Treasure Island, looking like a spritely wood nymph with her brown hair cut short and her legs bare.  He cautiously approached her side, enthralled by her presence in this, an undiscovered place.  He was incredulous that even after eight years of living in his pathetically small town, there was still a person and a place he had not made acquaintance with.

Presently, he shook his head soundlessly and floated down the hillside to the hidden sanctuary.  He wondered if she could see him, or even hear him.  Perhaps this trip was worthless, a false hope of radical fervor.   Yet it didn’t matter- he had to try.  She was worth a shot.

She sniffled, wiped away her snot with a hand, and disposed of it upon the grass beside her, uncaring of the filthiness of her act.   Clearing away tears with the back of her hand, she began to glance around the epicenter of her life.  This place, along with the boy she had met here years ago, was responsible for her.  They had nurtured her, taught her, accepted her, and loved her, far more than any adoptive parents could.  It was here that she had truly learned to live.

The place was marked so too, and it was these markings she now looked upon, recalling each tender memory.  There, the bank where they had skipped stones. And there the trees they had climbed.  Beneath her the rock they had played upon, and behind her the slope they had rolled and sledded down.  Also there was the log that had served as victim to their imaginative purpose, often becoming a ship, horse, or dragon to suit their fancy.  These were the landmarks of her childhood, scattered here among the place of her great living.

The childhood landmarks were not the only significant places here, however, in this her haven.  She shifted upon the rock and caressed the place again with her eyes, recalling more memories for each of the locations the touched upon.  There, across the water, was the tree where their initials were etched upon, driven into tree flesh by his strong hands and a pocketknife.  There was the boulder near that tree that had served as the stage for their first kiss, now long ago.  And there beneath the bridge was the grassy patch where she had first relented to him, allowing to take willingly from her on a cool fall night.

He could see her eyes, running over the devices of their childhood and feverish adolescence, touching each tree and log with gentle mental recognition.  She had stopped crying, of course- she tried never to cry, particularly if he was present.  Yet here and now was the second time he had seen her weep in the space of a week.  He huffed a sigh- both instances of tears were due to him.

Most importantly, however, her eyes wandered to the bridge itself, to the very top, where two sets of train tracks ran North-South.  She was barely able to look upon the place, what with the sorrow and regret building behind her eyes.  Yet once she had glanced there, she found herself held captive by its significance.  How could she look away from all that was left?

He saw her look to it.  He easily traced her line of sight to the top of the bridge, and shuddered.  The wind, as if to whisper in his ear, suddenly swept up, colder than before.   He only had so much time left before he must leave.

Rising, she turned back up the hill, headed for the bridge-top, the last place she had seen him smiling.  With a determined look upon her angular face, she marched, each step more forceful than the next, until eventually her gait became a run.  She passed by him without making any notice of his presence. Thus, he trailed behind her, slightly forlorn.

She reached the crest of the hill quite quickly, and in one strong pull, hoisted herself onto the railroad bridge, walking on the between the rails of the Westward track.  It was already easier to picture him, she found, dancing along the ties, leading her by the hand, buzzed on cold beer and the exuberance of youth.  He had been laughing, so raucously that she had wondered if they would wake the entire town.  Her laughs had echoed his, as had her drunkenness.  They had stumbled, as she had found herself now, out onto the very center of the bridge, where they had looked down upon their haven with great pride.  He had smiled, and kissed her then.

Currently, he was standing behind her.  He could almost see the gears in her minds whirring, replaying the events of their last night together with impeccable accuracy.  She began to tear up yet again upon, having noticed where she stood, and he suddenly felt compelled to reach out to her.  With tenderness beyond the boundaries of the earth, he placed a hand on her shoulder.

Whirling, she found no one there, yet the sensation of a touch on her shoulder still lingered.  It felt like he was here, with her.  Softly she said his name.  No audible reply came, despite his answering cry to her plea.  Interrupting the silence, however, was a ominous train horn, calling from down past the curve.  She waited for the train to emerge, still a great distance away, and finding it traveled on the track she walked upon, moved to switch tracks and avoid the locomotive, yet found her left foot held fast.

Déjà vu, it seemed had visited her.  Trapped again, she found herself unable to move- her shoe and foot having slid into the crevice between tie and rail.  Panicking, she bent low, scrambling to free herself.  The train horn sounded again, a terrible reminder that reminded her this time there was no one here to save her.

He was frozen in incredible fear.  How could this happen again?  Fate, it seemed, was testing his resolve.  Would he be able to save her again?

The train barreled down the track, moving fast, closing the gap that had only seconds ago appeared so large.  Weeping, she admitted defeat, choosing to stand as bravely as she could, prepared to meet death face to face.  She called his name again, just as she had that predestined night only days before, clamoring for help she knew was out of reach.  Yet just as the train was about to mow her down, two hands hit her chest, knocking her forcefully onto the Eastern track, out of harm’s way.  Her shoe, now absent of her foot, was left to be destroyed as the massive vehicle powered down the track.

Agape, she watched the engine and cars pass.  She stared at the spot she had previously been standing upon, incredulous as to how she had been freed.  Then, as if to comfort her, an invisible hand once again rested on her shoulder.

A hand on her shoulder again, he stood behind her, watching the tracks where he had now twice given himself up for her.  He had broken through to her, he was certain, and because of his deed, he now had to depart.  Waiting until the train disappeared into the distance, he stood with her, simply being with her, physically, one last time.  Then, with all the courage he could muster, he squeezed her flesh beneath his hand, then turned to walk down the tracks the opposite direction, towards a warm Elysium he had often dreamt of.

She felt a squeeze after the train passed, and then nothing more. He had been here, she was certain.  Somehow, he had managed to save her twice, all at the cost of himself.  No longer sensing him on the bridge, she looked out upon their haven.  It wasn’t the same anymore, she thought, without the innocence.  Death stained the bridge playground as his blood stained the wooden ties.  She turned to leave, abandoning the bridge, having obtained some sort of divine closure.  He would be with her always, as would this beautiful place, yet now it was time to let go.

lullabies.

Here’s another short from another day in Advanced Creative Writing.  I don’t know if I quite like the ending, but hey, that’s what revisions are for later.  The idea just came to me and then I used the song ‘Into The West’ for fuel, seeing as its lyrics paralleled the story and continuing metaphors I had in mind.  Credit to Annie Lennox and Howard Shore for the song.

She sang softly to him, her only son, as he laid his curly-haired head to rest upon a pillow emblazoned with images of stars.  His eyelids were obviously heavy, yet he persisted, fighting the sleep so that he could hear the full song.

“Across the sea a pale moon rises, the ships have come to carry you home.” Sang his mother, stroking his peach-skin cheek.

The boy mouthed the works along with her sweet and soulful sounds, knowing each verse by heart.  As she progressed into the chorus, he began to sing with her, her rich tone weaving into his youthful and innocent voice, creating a thick rope of sound that danced around the room, rising and falling like the waves of the sea.

“Hope fades, into the world of night, through shadows falling, out of memory and time.  Don’t say: ‘we have come now to the end’.  White shores are calling- you and I will meet again.  And you’ll be here in my arms, just sleeping.”

At this, the final full verse, the boy’s eyes closed.  His body relaxed into sleep, his mind boarding the ship for the dream-world.  His mother smiled knowingly and pulled the covers up about her son’s shoulders, finishing the song as she did so.

“What can you see on the horizon?  Why do the white gulls call?  Across the sea a pale moon rises, the ships have come to carry you home.  And all will turn to silver glass.  A light on the water, grey ships pass, into the West.”

The invisible orchestration that had been playing along in both the imaginations of the boy and his mother suddenly ceased, diminishing into a perfect silence interrupted only by the steady breaths of the six year old.  She rose from his side and kissed him on the cheek, the forehead, and his palm, then left quietly for her own bed.

In the master bedroom, a much bigger boy was in need of a lullaby.  Her husband tossed fitfully in his sleep, a scowl upon his scarred face.  She sighed and slid in next to him, praying that he might find sanctuary from his nightmares for one night.  His dogtags clung to his sweaty neck and chest; he had forgotten to remove them yet again.  With graceful fingers, she carefully lifted the chain from his body and over his misshapen head.  He winced as she accidentally brushed the scars, even his subconscious aware of the pain.

She hung the tags on her bedside lamp, their usual resting place.  There they dangled, swinging just barely as the residual inertia trailed away.  Their blackened edges still reminded her, as they reminded her husband, of the horrors of the world, horrors that followed him to sleep every night.  It was sad, she thought, that her slender young son should sleep free from fear whilst her robust, chiseled husband should be plagued by darkness.

Abruptly, he thrashed violently, his entire body going rigid.  His pained face melted away, falling victim to an expression that nearly brought his own wife to tears each night.  Tears began to manifest from beneath his closed lids, rolling down his grotesquely burned cheeks.  She pulled him close, tenderly positioning him so that he leaned against her torso, his head upon her collarbone.  Rhythmically, she began to rock back and forth, holding her love against her with pale arms.  After establishing her tempo, she began to sing soothingly.

“Lay down your sweet and weary head.  Night is falling, you’ve come to journey’s end.  Sleep now, and dream of the ones who came before.  They are calling from across the distant shore.”

Immediately, the creases in his face softened.  Her voice continued into the night, retaining strength even as she fought back the tears that threatened to spill over.  By the second verse his shoulders had relaxed and his neck had sagged against her form, indicating that he had finally drifted off.  She finished the song all the same, rubbing his shoulders with open palms.

“What can you see on the horizon?  Why do the white gulls call?  Across the sea a pale moon rises, the ships have come to carry you home.  And all will turn to silver glass.  A light on the water, grey ships pass, into the West.”

Even after six years spent struggling to sail after a peaceful horizon, she found that both her boys still required a song to set their ships upon calm seas.

Well then.

Well then.  This story turned out a lot darker and a lot more metaphorical than I had anticipated.  Originally, it was going to be a tender piece, all play and no work, but it ended up being a lot  more… deep… than I had intended.  I don’t know how much I like this one, but I’ll just go with it for now.  Here you are!  (And yes, I did totally rip off the Llewelyn Davies’ family names.) (:

The soft violets were innumerable as the stars in the sky, perhaps more so.  Spring was upon England, nearly fading into summer now as June began.  A group of young children crawled on their bellies in the sunny grass, plucking the miniature purple flowers from the earth as they went, storing them in fists, sticky and just barely plump.  The children, all male, picked the flowers for their mother- a widow well into her thirties.  All four of them, even the eldest, chatted animatedly as their innocent bouquet grew in size.

“Do you think she’ll like them?” said the youngest.

“Of course she will, Michael, don’t be stupid.”

“Jack.” The eldest reprimanded, not wanting to spoil the cheerful atmosphere.

Jack immediately halted, not wanting to defy his older brother George.

Peter, the fourth brother and second youngest child, suddenly spoke up.

“We could use the empty jam jar from breakfast as a vase- I’ll go and get it.”

Peter rose, his grass stained knees a brilliant emerald, and scurried towards the door, just a noise began to wail, standing out above the ambient city sounds.

Peter, as well as his siblings, turned their soft faces upward, where planes soared, grumbling along with malicious intention.  German planes, bombers, numbering far into the forties, soared overhead, roaring a warning to the citizens of London below.  The boys’ mother flew from the house, having heard the planes.

“Boys!  Boys!  Quickly, to the shelter!”

She carried a large laundry basket and her white linen dress flailed in the breeze of the once perfect day.  The boys sprinted to the shelter, which had only recently been erected, converted from the cellar once used to store tools and bicycles in winter.  Since the war had begun, many things, it seemed had been converted.  George, seizing responsibility, took the basket from his mother, allowing her to scoop up Michael, who still clutched a scraggly few violets in his five year old fingers.

In went Jack, followed by Sylvia carrying Michael, then George, and lastly Peter, who required further prompting due to his apparent intense fascination with the aircraft.  As soon as the family was all assimilated in the cool and dark shelter, George pulled the door shut and bolted it as his kin sat to rest, their hearts pounding.  A single bare bulb flickered on in the blackness as Sylvia located the switch.

“Mother, are they going to drop—“

“Hush, Michael.” Sylvia silenced.

The cellar went quiet, absent of all sounds, save the heavy breaths of the family and a slight buzzing from the light.  All the children, with the exception of Peter, squirmed as they sat on their cots, anticipating the noises of destruction.  Peter, however, stared intently at a lone violet on the concrete floor, crinkled and beaten to a point of irrevocable damage.  It was beautifully broken, a tree struck by lightening.

Suddenly, the whistle and crash of the artillery began, causing the boys to jump and cling to one another, and to their mother.  Peter still sat alone, listening.  Sylvia audibly began to recite prayers, begging God to spare her family from the destruction that had already taken her husband.  George held her hand, trying desperately to be the constant fortitude they all yearned for.  Michael and Jack sat petrified in shock, Jack staring and Michael with his eyes shut tight.

Peter kept his gaze trained on the violet, drawing great meaning from it regardless of his tender age.  It seemed the war was taking their innocence, forcibly and tragically as it had the violets from their sweaty palms.  Yet even as that thought amassed in his head, so also did a great and terrible question.

With his innocence already fleeing, would he be left with anything but his life after the war ended?

a glimpse into my childhood.

Another bit of writing I did for my Creative Writing class a while back was a narrative involving an event from childhood- I chose a lemonade stand with some friends of mine, one of whom was in the same class, and the whole thing was quite the lovely little journey into memory.  I still can recall the events of that day perfectly, down to the smallest detail. Here you are then, a little peek into a typical afternoon in my younger years.

Summers in Iowa are always one thing, no matter what: hot.  Blistering, boiling, broiling, sweltering, scorching, sizzling, fiery, flaming, and feverish.  You can’t escape it, particularly if you are an adventurous, loud, and bored nine year old.  It was on a clear Tuesday in July, right smack in the middle of one of those summers when I came up with a not so original idea.

I bounced down the stairs, my sun-bleached brown hair flopping behind me, swatting at my tanned back and shoulders.

“LIZ! LIZ! LIZ!” I hollered thrice, desperate to catch the attention of my then babysitter, Liz.

“Emma!  Emma! Emma!” Liz mocked, grinning at me as she prepared lunch.

I huffed and gave her one of my very best scowls, an expression that clearly read: “I am not amused.”  She chuckled to herself and slopped mayonnaise onto a slice of hearty wheat bread, the resulting smack resonating through the sanctuary that was our air-conditioned kitchen like an echo in a cave.

“What’s up?” She wondered, not looking up from her sandwich making.

“Well,” I began, sweetening up my voice as best as I could, “I was thinking…  and I thought that maybe we could have a lemonade stand.”

Liz turned up then, her eyebrows arcing into her forehead.

“I don’t know about that.”

“But, Liz!” I whined, “We can have Bryce and Colynn come help us and we can make our own lemonade and sell it at the end of the road and—“

“What are Elli and Kati going to do?  And are you sure Teran won’t mind?” Liz reasoned, very much raining on my nine-year-old parade.

I bit my lip.  What was I to do about those two, pesky, annoying, whiny baby sisters of mine?  There was no way I was going to let them help with our big kid lemonade stand.  Teran, the boys’ babysitter, would probably be on board, but I still needed a way to get rid of the sisters.

Suddenly, I was enlightened.  A great shining light bulb of an idea popped into my head.

“Elli and Kati can play in the sprinkler.  Mom won’t let them be down by the road!” I cheered, sprinting to the phone.

“Fine.” Liz relented, allowing me to dial the Black residence.

I punched in the number, my fingers nearly missing the correct numbers in my hurry.  The phone rang twice before Teran answered, and I quickly thrust the phone to Liz, who then carried out the necessary big people talk in order for us to have our fun.  I waited anxiously, twitching like a cat on a hot tin roof.  After what seemed like ages, Liz finally bid Teran a goodbye and hung up the phone.

“WELL?!”  I interrogated, flinging my arms out to my sides in desperation.

“She said that’s fine- they’re all going to bike over here in just a few minutes.” Liz informed me, inducing a smattering of cheers.

I sprinted downstairs, and after a lengthy bit of grappling, managed to wrangle the card table and a couple of chairs up the stairs.  As I panted at the top of the stairs, there was a knock at the door.  I perked up, much like a dog hearing the mailman, and careened down the hallway to the door, where Bryce, Colynn, and Teran waited to be shown in.

“Liz, they’re here!” I called, opening the door for my friends.

“We brought Kool-Aid mix!” Colynn said animatedly, brandishing the packets in my face.

“Well bring them in here- let’s get started!” I replied, charging back down the hallway to the kitchen.

Within another thirty minutes, we had made three pitchers of drink- two of them brimming with Kool-Aid, and one with Lemonade.  We had also drawn up a very sophisticated sign to place in front of our stand, and I had gulped down a sandwich.  We were ready.

“Okay, we’re going down there!” I yelled to Liz as the three of us departed the house, loading all of our necessary gear into our Red Flyer wagon.

“Be safe!” Liz ordered from the laundry room, where she and Teran wrestled Elli and Kati into bright, floral swimsuits.

With Bryce pulling the wagon, Colynn carrying the sign, and with my fearless leadership, we made our way down the long, winding driveway to the grassy patch at the side of the road that would be our headquarters.

We set up in a matter of minutes, and shortly thereafter, Bryce and I had conned Colynn into standing with the sign out closer to the road whilst we enjoyed sitting with a glass of refreshment.

It was really a great plan, or at least we thought so.  We had icy lemonade and Kool-Aid, a fair, fair price of 50 cents per cup, and an eight year old holding a very decorative sign.  There was only one problem: our location.

I lived on a country road, one way out of the way from traffic.  The speed limit was a mean fifty-five, which meant that any of our potential customers had next to zero chance of seeing us in time to stop.  After two hours, we had only sold four cups and we had downed one of the Kool-Aid pitchers between the three of this.

“This sucks.” Bryce whined, throwing his cup to the ground in indignation.

“Yeah, we aren’t selling any lemonade.” Colynn added from his reclined position in the grass.

“And it’s so hot.” I threw in, fanning myself with the lid of the empty pitcher.

We continued to sit and suffer for another minute or two before we heard it- the sound of power tools, whirring and buzzing from down my cul-de-sac.

“Hey, what is that?” Bryce asked, squinting in the direction of the racket.

“They’re building a new house out behind ours.” I said informatively, proud that I knew so much.

“Oh.” Bryce nodded, understanding.

Colynn suddenly sat up.

“We could sell our lemonade to the construction workers, you know.” He pointed out.

I was just about to shoot back an insult as punishment for his stupid idea, but after a moment, I came to the realization that maybe his idea wasn’t so stupid after all.

Bryce appeared to be thinking the same thing.

“You know, that isn’t a bad idea.” He mused, obviously impressed by his younger brother.

I was baffled.  Why hadn’t it occurred to me to sell sweet, cold lemonade to the sweaty and no doubt thirsty construction guys.  I had just been showed up by a soon to be second grader.

“Well let’s go!”  I quickly covered, disguising my shame.

I guess I could get over my failure for the sake of business.

We packed our stack of cups and our pitchers full of beverage into the wagon, and set off down the blacktop, determined to sell our product.

As we marched with a newfound exuberance down the pavement, we called out like newsies peddling the morning paper:

“Hey, get your ice cold lemonade here!”

“We got lemonade, fifty cents a cup!”

“Cold lemonade!”

We stomped right up to the half-built house, where the glistening workers pounded and drilled away at was becoming a nice, mid-sized house.

The three of us glanced at each other, and then following a signal nod from Bryce, screamed in unison, “HEY!  DO YOU WANNA BUY SOME LEMONADE?!”

Oddly enough, the tumultuous noise high above us stopped abruptly.

“How much for a glass?” One of the men called down to us.

“Fifty cents!” Colynn screeched back.

“I’ll give you ten bucks for the whole pitcher!” He returned, starting his journey down from the roof.

I couldn’t believe my ears.  Ten whole dollars!  I did a bit of quick math, and realized that combined with our current profits of two dollars, each of us would be walking away with four bucks.

Again, the three of us exchanged gleeful glances, and quickly went to work getting our order ready.  We provided our customer with the full pitcher of lemonade, and a stack of cups so that he could share with his companions, and after a quick exchange and a chorus of ‘thank you’ from both parties, we were galloping back to my house, the grungy Hamilton clenched tight in Bryce’s fist.  Victory was ours.

We didn’t sell another glass after that.  Not one.  We didn’t mind, though- we had just made a full twelve dollars, which meant we were practically rich.  Upon reporting our success to our respective babysitters, we promptly used a portion of our funds to purchase an icy treat at the grocery store.

It was still hot, as usual, but we were beating the heat now- we had the chill of sickly sweet popsicles and the comfort of cold, hard cash.

puddle-jumping.

Short and sweet, written in a 10 minute period of block in Advanced Creative Writing.  I was stuck on everything else, so I did this.  I particularly like the opening line.

Puddle-Jumping.

It was just beginning to rain more heavily, the westward setting sun shining through the droplets, tinting the world like an old sepia-toned photograph.  It was a warm downpour, a summer storm that was more a thing of beauty than ferocity, more benevolent celebration than egregious disheartenment.  Most people, however, elected to remain indoors whilst the rain plummeted to the earth, their picnics and luncheons cancelled, little league games postponed, and gardens soggy.  Watching overrated sitcoms and eating terribly bland dinners, ordinary folk waited out the rain, while a special few non-ordinary persons remained in the midst of the sweet sky-water.

“This way, here- this one!” he called, leading her by the hand into the depths of a clear puddle on the road.

She laughed melodiously, entirely soaked already, and splashed through the thing, kicking water upon him as he went before her.  In retaliation of her ornery deed, he whirled on her, and, wrapping her tightly in his arms, dunked her into the puddle face first. Unfortunately for the man, she had seen the trickery approaching and had effectively turned the tables, pulling his already damp for down into the puddle with her.  Sputtering and smiling, the two then sat in the water, hand in hand.

“You little—“ The man started, only to have his sentence interrupted by a splash.

The woman had risen now, making quick escape from the playful revenge of her longtime friend and lover.  She sloshed down the pavement as he followed, bent on soaking her further.  Rounding a corner, the pair could hear a sweet sound rising over the equally euphonic rain- laughter, young and pure.  Slowing to a walk, the couple went forward hand in hand, searching for the source of the noise.

In the street just yards ahead, two children danced and twirled in the rain, whooping ecstatically and giggling uncontrollably, soaking one another with their splashing.  The woman guessed their ages as around six, and smiling turned to her husband.

“It’s been a long time since we were that age, huh?” she said.

The man grinned and shook out his mane of wet hair, wrapping his arm around her waist as they walked.

“I suppose so,” he replied, “But in some ways, darling, we still are.”

He twirled her by her slim fingers in the nearest puddle, then pulled her away again, down the lane towards the multitude of puddles that awaited them.

a quirky little concept story.

Another project we did for my Creative Writing class was concept stories.  Concept stories allow you to take a concept, such as misery, and personify it in a number of ways, including to make it it’s own character.  I enjoyed the project, even as tame as mine is.  It was school work, people, keep in mind I wanted to keep it PG and endearingly innocent. It’s entitled Misery’s Great Rebellion.

Inside the miniscule grey house, it was raining.  Pouring, actually, the cold hard droplets pounding down from the angry cumulonimbus clouds onto the same dismal colored grey of Misery’s umbrella.  Misery sat slouched over, her elbows on her knees, her head in her hands.  Her umbrella was cleverly wedged between the couch cushions, eliminating her need to hold it.  She sighed deeply as she stared off into the sunny sky just outside her window.  It was then her mother entered.

“Misery, what are you doing just sitting there?  You’re making it rain all over my sofa again!  Go to your room and study for your classes again!” shouted Strict.

“Mom, I studied for three hours before this, can’t I please just… just… oh, never mind.”  Misery trailed off, knowing that her mother would never understand.

Misery trudged to her room, her umbrella over her shoulder to keep her sheltered from the rain clouds that tagged along as always.  Shutting her door behind her, Misery entered the room, taking a seat at her desk, mentally willing her rain clouds to stop excreting small watery reminders of her current condition: miserable.

Sure enough, the clouds halted their precipitation, yet remained dark and depressing above Misery’s head.  Misery dug around in her backpack for her history textbook: a massive, two-thousand page tome, filled with facts from the pre colonial era to the presidential election of 2008.   Parting the perpetual sea of pages, she arrived at their current chapter, part of a unit on the growth of urban America.  After staring longingly at the book for a moment or two, Misery lay her head down on the open volume and began to cry silently, her salty tears spilling into the seam between the pages.

Despite her natural tendency, these breakdowns didn’t happen often.  Most of the time, Misery was just miserable.  She was quiet about it, kept it private, and didn’t share her feelings, except with her father, who was Conflicted.  In fact, most times, the misery of Misery was very well hidden and contained.  She appeared normal, happy even, and continued to go about her life as usual, not letting on to what lay beneath the mask.

Just as Misery made a move to put on her favorite comfy sweatshirt and sweatpants, there was a tap at her window.  Someone was throwing stones at it, and through her bleary, teary vision, Misery watched another dozen pebbles strike the glass before she rose to investigate.  Unable to see the perpetrator from inside, Misery threw open the window and stuck her head directly out into the free air.

“Hey!  I had a feeling you’d be home!” stage-whispered Rebellion, not wanting to alert the attention of Strict, Conflicted, or of Misery’s siblings: Oblivious, Luck, Sweetness, and Perfect, none of whom ever seemed to have troubles.

“What are you doing here, Rebellion?  This better not be stupid, because I was quite busy wallowing before you so rudely interrupted me.”

“I had a feeling you would be.  That’s why I came over in the first place.” Rebellion replied, already beginning his ascent of the drainpipe to Misery’s window.

“You had a feeling?  How do you know these sorts of things?”

“Well, my mom told me, duh.”

Misery smacked her head, incredulous at her own stupidity.  She always seemed to forget Rebellion’s mother was the one and only Premonition.  If it weren’t for his father, Laziness, Rebellion’s mother would have long ago chained him to the wall, preventing all of his schemes and… rebellious activities.

Rebellion slid into the window, removed his stocking cap and shook out his mop of hair, which currently was sporting a most electric shade of blue.

“Rebellion!  What happened to your hair?”  Misery exclaimed, touching his mane just to ensure it was real.

“My mom told me my hair looked good yesterday, so I dyed it blue.” Rebellion shrugged, “If she likes it, I sure can’t.”

Misery shook her head in disbelief.

“Anyways, I came over here because I know you love company, and I figured you could use some cheering up.  I even tried calling Cheer to come over, but she didn’t answer her phone.” Rebellion explained.

Misery couldn’t help but smile, picturing Rebellion trying to reach the very perky and bubbly Cheer, who surely didn’t answer because she was at cheerleading practice.

Misery removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes, sniffing away the last  of her tears.  Rebellion grinned and pulled off his backpack, unzipping it to reveal a package of Oreos, two cans of root beer, and a large stack of R rated DVDs.

“Rebellion!  What is all this?” Misery yelped, sifting through the DVDs.

Rebellion’s grin widened as he popped an Oreo into his mouth.

“Ittsh Oeeyos an woot behr, whaddus it wood wike?”

“Huh?”

“It’s Oreos and root beer, what does it look like?” Rebellion restated following an exaggerated swallow.

“Well I can see that.”

“C’mon, who’s going to find out?” Rebellion urged, opening both cans of root beer, handing one to Misery.

Misery glanced anxiously at her door, bit her lip, and stared up at her rain clouds, which still hung ominously overhead, feeling very much like her father.  She knew full well that her parents didn’t permit junk food or pop.  The only sweets allowed in the house were several containers of ice cream, kept in a separate freezer especially for Sweetness, who needed a recharge every so often.  On top of that, there was no way Strict would ever permit her to watch even the tamest of films Rebellion had brought over.  What was she to do?

Rebellion’s sharp emerald eyes glittered mischieviously, from the other end of her bed, where he held up several lewd and inappropriate comedies.

Misery stewed for just a moment more, weighing the possibility of being something other than miserable, weighing the possibility of being… happy.

Then, in one swift and sudden movement, Misery rose from the bed with a smile and went to the door and began to descend the stairs.

“What are you doing?” Rebellion asked.

“I’m going to get some peanut butter for the Oreos, duh.”

Rebellion beamed and took a swig of root beer.

“Hey, and while you’re down there, you should grab us the ice cream, a couple of bowls, and some spoons- I wanna make floats.” He tossed in.

Misery let out a little giggle.

“I was already going to get the ice cream and spoons, but not the bowls.  I was going to eat right out of the container!” she snorted, seemingly impressed by her own naughtiness.

Rebellion too, was impressed, and found himself chuckling wholeheartedly at the mischief of his usually miserable friend.

“That’s a much better idea.”

vinaigrettes… I mean…. vignettes…

No, sorry, not the salad dressing. (Although I accidentally switch their names quite often).  The writing style.  Vignettes are third person, impressionistic pieces of writing that focus on the objective.  However, vinaigrettes and vignettes remind me of one another- not focally important, but tasty, used sparingly, and difficult to get just right.  Vignettes compare to writing a TV scene or movie shot- you only focus on what’s really happening, rather than what’s going on the minds of the characters or the backstory of the current event.  They’re short, realistic snippets of writing.  I hate being limited to objective perspective only (I like getting in people’s heads), so vignettes can often be a problem for me, or at least a challenge.  Here are two I wrote for Creative Writing a while back, with an error or two each that removes the story from an objective viewpoint.  I hope to write more vignettes in the future and challenge myself to stay objective! (:

Frigid.

Her peers whooped and galloped down the florescent-lit hallways around her, the building snowstorm outside raging on like a white beast of sorts.  Her classmates shouted choruses of jubilant hurrahs and cheered even as a scowling principal barked at them to slow down.

“Who cares, we’re out early!” a lanky student sang back, making an unsightly expression towards the administrator.

Clutching her books closer to her, shielding them and herself from the rough stampede in the hall, she glanced out the window, observing the whirling whiteout in progress.  Snow whipped about in all directions, a blinding shroud of icy danger.

Upon finally reaching the door, she shuddered slightly, the frigid air seeping in from beneath the door whirling about her denim-clad legs.  Ducking her head as if to brace the onslaught of cold, she pushed the door open whilst retaining her grip on her books.  She balked at the wind, taking a step or two backwards from the sheer force of the tremendous gusts.  Her classmates processed into the white parking lot in much the same way, struggling against the raging weather, shoulders hunched and their strides all too deliberate.

Yet while most students fought to reach the shelter of their snow-covered automobiles, she trudged slowly past the vehicles.  Tears, brought on by the freezing air, streamed from the corners of her eyes, where they were collected by the brutal wind and deposited elsewhere.  The sidewalk was long buried in the steadily accumulating snow, yet she continued on her snowy procession, the snow pelting her in the wind.

She shuffled along as quickly as she could across the street, the waiting motorists in their cars impatiently yawning, one or two leaning on their horns, suburbanite mothers sneering down from oversized SUVs.  She pulled her books and clothing closer to her as she walked, shivering from the intense cold.  The thin jacket she wore, a garment full of holes and tears, flapped around helplessly in the brutal wind, unable to withstand the sheer force of nature.  Her head ducked, she again began to weep, all noises of her sobbing protected by the torrential wind and snow.  The tears rolled slowly down her raw, red cheeks, their trails protected from the wind by the mess of brown curls flailing about her face.

Along the wintry and invisible sidewalks she marched, her pace dampening as her eyes were.  A battered car crunched along the snow packed road behind her, cruising carefully up against the curb by which she walked, despite the fact the girl traveled on the opposite side of the street.

She turned and gave a start, her face betraying alarm as the grumbling automobile came to a stop.  The passenger door swung open, the cruel wind threatening to rip it from its mount.  From within the warm confines of the car, a woman smiled, her benevolent looking crow’s feet inviting the girl into the vehicle.  The girl’s head lifted, her eyebrows arcing into the unmarked skin of her forehead, her bleary chestnut eyes brightening ever so slightly as a flicker of recognition lit her face.  She hustled onto the snowy road and into the car, slamming the door of her mobile sanctuary behind her.

(Yes, that’s the end.  Vignettes also tend to be very free form and stray away from conventional, resolved endings.)

Scorching.

It’s hot.  Swelteringly hot.  Mirages dance over the filthy pavement, warping the things around them with their writhing convolutions.  She is sweaty, her perspiration having formed several damp spots on her ripped red t-shirt, the most prominent of these being a spot on her back, dark and wet.  Droplets roll from her brunette hair, trickling down past her ears, disappearing beneath the collar of her shirt.  She trudges wearily, her shoulders appearing laden, their otherwise strong shapes bent, her knees shaky, and her steps slow.  Her paint splattered shorts complete her outfit, for on her feet there are no shoes, leaving them exposed to the burning hot surface of the pavement.

Her head is bent low, flyaway curls hanging down in front of her as her gaze remains fixated on the sidewalk ahead of her, looking to where her feet smack the cement.  On her bare left arm, freckled and tan, there is a number written hastily in black ink, starting to smear away in the flood of sweat running down her body.

She stops and turns her gaze to the number, her eyes widening in fear and anticipation.  Quickly, she siphons the sweat away with the edge of her shirt, protecting the number from further damage.  Squinting, she tilts her head and recites the numbers aloud.

“One… three, oh, one… four, six, six… eight, eight… seven… five.”

Her voice is dry and cracked, a voice begging for water.

Nodding curtly once, she again sets off down the sidewalk, at a near run.  She only stops for a moment, to stand with her feet submerged in a dark puddle in the street.  She stares after the ripples her movements make, her eyes glazed over in pure concentration, until, after rapidly shaking her head, she runs off again.

Rounding the corner of a large brick building, her face lifts, a sort of light entering her eyes.  She slows, entering the telephone booth with utmost calm.

The door closes, and she removes from her pocket a single quarter.  Running it through the slot, she raises her arm in preparation to dial.

“One… three…  oh… one… four… six… six… eight… eight… seven… five.”  She recites again, this time with a slight bit more trepidation.

The metallic ringing whines into the booth from the end of an unsanitary looking receiver.

A clear, deep voice answers with a homely hello.

“It’s me.   Can you pick me up?”

They compare and contrast well, huh? I swear, I didn’t even plan it.  (:

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