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Archive for the ‘Scheherazade Project’ Category

I Did It

The S Project: I, the Killer. Earlier this month, I stated that I couldn’t even fictionalize myself as a killer.  Something happened today to change my mind.

“Have you heard of that new reality show, America’s Most Smartest Model?” she asked.

I twitched. Well, to be more accurate, my left eye twitched.   “Yes, I have heard of it,” I replied, “and there’s a reason I don’t watch it.”

The incomparable Izzybella giggled.  “Every time I hear the name of that show, I think of you.”

Jehara laughed. “The models on that show do sound really dumb. ‘Yes,'” she said, mimicking one, “‘as America’s most smartest model, I would say’ blah blah blah.” She and the incomparable Izzybella laughed together.

My left eye twitched some more.

The incomparable Izzybella, always one to beat a dead horse long after it, lucky beast, has stopped twitching, said, “Today Carol said something was quite unique. It made me think of you, too, and I giggled.”

I saw red. I dropped my bag. I ran across the room and ran at her with full force.  “YOU! MUST! NOT! MODIFY! AN! ABSOLUTE!” I shrieked over and over.  “YOU! MUST! NOT! MODIFY! AN! ABSOLUTE!”

I became aware of Jehara screaming at the top of her lungs. My hands were clasped convulsively around the incomparable Izzybella’s neck, and her face was purple.

“What have I done?” I sobbed.

The incomparable Izzybella fell to the floor.

Jehara stood over her corpse and shook her head sadly. “She was the most unique person I ever met.”

I slowly turned around. “YOU! MUST! NOT! MODIFY! AN! ABSOLUTE!”

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No Killer, I

This month’s S Project theme: “So for October, let’s write (hopefully) fictional stories about you killing somebody else. It could be accidental. It could be deliberate. It could be a complete stranger. Or it could be someone that you’re intimately familiar with.”

I’m sorry, Anonymous Assclown. I’ve thought long and hard on this one. And I just can’t do it. The incomparable Izzybella and I were discussing it this morning. She wrote about someone who accidentally killed a person in an auto accident. She said she didn’t want to turn down writing assignments that were hard, because she wants to grow as a writer. And I get that. Truly I do. And she and I come from the same dark places, and we’ve both been touched by violent and untimely death. And I want to grow as a writer, too.  So we agreed that perhaps my writing about why I can’t put myself in the role of killer–even fictional–would suffice.

Our youngest sister, A., was implicated in a homicide almost 2 years ago. We don’t know to what extent she was involved, don’t know whether she knew ahead of time that the person she was involved with had a history of violence toward the elderly, don’t know if she knew that he was going to kill the person–get the picture? We don’t know if she was there when he killed him. You see how I’m assuming that he killed the man. I know my sister. I can believe that she would do a lot of things. I can’t believe that she would put a gun to the head of an elderly man and pull the trigger.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Several weeks later, after realizing the police were at last on their track, my sister and the person she was involved with fled the state they were living in. They were noticed by highway patrolmen in another state, and the driver of the car decided to outrun the troopers. Bad idea. He also decided to start shooting. Worse idea. My sister was killed in the exchange of gunfire. The bastard who probably committed the murder and who was driving the car was lucky enough to die instantly; my sister died later at the hospital.

Before these things happened, I used to lightly use phrases like, “I’d kill to have . . . (insert object of desire here).”  I don’t say things like that anymore. Or if I was mad at someone, I’d say, “I could just wring his neck!” Nope. Don’t say that anymore, either.

So Anonymous Assclown, forgive me. I hope you understand that if I can’t even jokingly threaten to wring someone’s neck, there’s no way I can, even for the beloved S Project, fictionally take someone’s life, whether deliberately or accidentally. As a writer, I know there will be times that one of my characters may have to take the life of another character, but it will be a character doing it, not myself. So I’m sitting this one out. I’m looking forward to next month’s assignment, I promise!

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This is the theme for the S-Project this month.

And ever since I read the theme, I’ve been playing it over in my mind. What do I not allow myself to want?  It’s hard to think of an answer to that question. I want a lot of things. I want to not be fat, or at least be comfortable with being fat. I want to quit my job and stay at home and write between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and sleep until 11. I want chocolate to make you lose weight. I want lots of money so that I can carry out some of my pet projects (and have some fun as well). I want to live forever. I want everyone in my life to be strong and healthy and happy.

I don’t allow myself to want things I know I can’t have, though. And I’m not talking about the silly things I just listed. I’m talking about reality. I don’t allow myself to want kids. That’s the biggest of the things I know I can’t have. I always wanted to be a mother. It never dawned on me that I wouldn’t be, frankly. But I know it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to give birth (no uterus, kinda puts a damper on things) and I’m not going to adopt. No kids. It’s a fact. So I don’t allow myself to want it, and when those moments come up that the facts sting unbearably I allow myself to have a little weep and then I try to move on.

But there’s something else that has kept coming to mind as I’ve pondered this question. Rainbow joy. I don’t allow myself to want rainbow joy.  I remember reading one of the Emily books, and Emily has shown her poetry to her favourite teacher. One poem starts off, “Life, as thy gift I ask no rainbow joy.” Her teacher asks her if that’s true, and she mulishly replies, “No! I want rainbow joy, and lots of it.”  And–I’m paraphrasing here–her irascible teacher says, “Of course you do. You won’t get it, nobody does, but you want it. Don’t be a hypocrite in your poetry.”

I want it, of course. But I guess maybe that, like children, it’s something I know I can’t have so wanting it is futile. Life’s been hard. I’m not unaware of my blessings, and I know there are many. But rainbow joy? Not so much.

I think I’m seeing a thread here. I let myself want things I know I can have–either easily or with some effort–and I let myself want silly things that cannot be. But the things that really mean a lot to me, and I know they’re forever beyond my grasp–those things I don’t let myself want. Even though I really do, deep down, want those more than anything else.

I don’t know if this even makes any sense. I’ve been pondering this for days, and this is the best I can come up with. I just don’t know how to express it any more clearly.

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I can’t exactly say that the muse has ignored me. She hasn’t. The problem is that she gives me these grandiose, glorious ideas that I can’t fit into the context of a blog post. So I’ve been writing, honest, just not anything that I can share here.

Well, that’s all about to change. Anonymous Assclown is taking over the helm of the Scheherazade Project! And the first theme is about something we don’t allow ourselves to want. I’m going to have to think about that one for a while. Some preliminary little idealets are coming to mind, but let’s see what happens after it has time to set.

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First of all, there’s a new topic up at the Scheherazade Project. So go check it out, write something, and post a link in the comments at the S-Project. Then we can all go, “Ooh! Aaah!” at your inspired writing! And even if you’re not feeling particularly inspired, write something anyway. It’s fun.

I’ve been listening to Dar Williams all day. Well, until 20 minutes ago, when I put in Regina Spektor.  I can’t listen to Dar without thinking of Chicory, since it’s thanks to Chicory that I found the awesomeness that is Dar Williams.  And Chicory is indirectly responsible for introducing me to Regina Spektor, as well. I like that, when I listen to great music and get to enjoy not only the great music but my friends. And that got me to wondering what other music finds I owe to friends. My love for Stevie Ray Vaughn is courtesy of Clover’s husband, the bluesman. Barenaked Ladies I owe indirectly to my awesome sister Izzybella. And whenever I hear “Berkeley Square,” I think of my friend J. She was going to sing it at a performance, and I was her accompanist until she decided not to participate.  And my honey, well! He’s a musician. I’ve found a few things through him, but think I’ve actually introduced him to more music than he has me. That sounds a little backwards, doesn’t it? But he used to get stuck in musical ruts, and I have such wildly eclectic tastes that I’ve gotten him out of some ruts. I can’t hear Paris Combo or any other French pop (which I love!) without thinking of D., my French professor at UTA. He’s a real sweetie.

Speaking of good friends, it’s been wonderful to reconnect with A. So much has happened since we lost touch! She’s got three children, and she and her husband are living in another state. Joe and I were talking about them yesterday, and thinking it would be great to go visit one of these days.

Rehearsal was fantastic last night. I went through one of my scenes twice. I’m having the dickens of a time with it. I keep offering to let Jehara and V. cut that scene, since the play seems to be getting a bit too long, but they keep refusing. 🙂 We figured out some things that will help it flow better, though, and I feel a little more confident about it. We got a real lucky break when O. got on board with this project. He’s written a really incredible scene, as well as a bit of a scene that breaks into the one Jehara and I co-wrote. His stuff just gives me shivers, it’s so beautifully written. I wish you could all come see the show. It’s going to be so great!! 

I was just realizing today that Molly is going to be so excited tomorrow afternoon. Jehara, Izzybella, K. and C. are coming over for a Harry Potter moviethon. And Molly firmly believes that the only reason visitors come to the house is solely to play with her and scratch her booty. I will say that she settles down once everyone is there and has paid her sufficient attention.

Okay, well, that’s enough blathering for one day, don’t you think? Enjoy your weekend!

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I’m not sure about the sweet part, though. The S-project seems to be dying a slow, agonizing death. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve liked having a specific writing prompt each month, and have particularly enjoyed the prompts Trista provided. But even in those months that I had to wrack my brain and come up with a prompt myself, I liked it. It was good to have a place to go write and write.  And of course I’m not going to kill it. As long as Trista keeps it alive, I’ll keep participating, keep supplying prompts on the months she doesn’t, keep writing, keep hoping others will continue to write, keep hoping that somehow it will be miraculously resuscitated.

But I also don’t have to rely on anyone else. I can make my own writing place. And this is it. Welcome to my world.

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This is my latest for the S-Project.  As always, comments and criticism are welcomed.

TODDLER

They were the first words she said, after mama, dada, and kitty.  “I’m a princess.”

Her parents nearly burst with pride. Of course she was a princess. She was their little princess. Didn’t her mother curl her hair every night in nice neat little rag curls? Didn’t her father come home every day and swing her around and say, “How’s my little princess?” before he even kissed her mother hello?

She wore a tarnished toy tiara every day, and tied her mother’s apron over her shoulders and regally trailed about the house.  She decided her baby brother was the court jester, and she made him do tricks for her amusement.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Everyone said she was an awful prig, but she knew better. She was a princess. Princesses didn’t play in the dirt. They weren’t allowed to get dirty. She did try to play with the other kids one day, even though she knew she would get dirty, but she got a spanking when she got home. So she remained aloof after that. 

And she didn’t jump rope, because her dress flew up and showed her lacy underpants. Princesses never showed their underpants.  She wanted to jump rope. It was fun. “Why can’t I wear blue jeans, like the other girls?” she asked her mother.  “Then my underpants wouldn’t show.” Her question was met with a gasp of horror. “Girls never wear boys’ clothes!” her mother said with a tone of shock, and the question was closed.

So she sat quietly on the steps and read a book and watched the other girls have all the fun. Sometimes she sighed. Being a princess was awful hard work.

JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

She was starting to notice the boys, but apparently princesses didn’t do that. The list of things that princesses didn’t do was getting longer and longer. What good is it, being a princess, if you never get to have any fun?  Shocked at her rebellious thought, she decided to talk to her mother.

“What am I supposed to do with my life?”

Her mother’s laugh sounded like breaking glass. “Why, you’re supposed to grow up and get married and have children.”

“But what am I supposed to be?”

“A good wife and a good mother, silly girl.”

“But–”

“Stop asking such silly questions, and help me fix dinner. Daddy’s going to be home soon, and you know what a bear he can be when he’s hungry.”

She swallowed the questions that had arisen to her eager lips, choking them back down, and obediently went to help her mother. Because princesses were always obedient.

HIGH SCHOOL

Princesses got to have fun in high school!  She wasn’t left out on the sidelines anymore, because the other girls weren’t playing in the dirt or jumping rope. No, she got to participate now, and it was fun. She was on the school newspaper, because, her mother said, it was important to be involved in different activities so she could seem well-rounded.

“But I like it because it’s interesting.”

“Interesting-schminteresting.” Her mother pooh-poohed her ambitions like she brushed off almost everything else she said.

And the princess noticed that whenever her brother talked to their mother about his ambitions, she listened and encouraged him. She wondered why it was different. And one day she asked her mother, and her mother said it was because he was going to have to have a job so that he could support his family.

“But won’t I have a job, too?”

“Your job is to be a good wife and a good mother,” her mother repeated, as she had done so many times before.

“But what if I don’t get married? Or what if I just want to work?”

“Wash your mouth out with soap right now!” her mother commanded, half joking, but not really, and the princess stubbornly set her mouth and glared at her mother. And they had their first real argument. It wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t end until the mother started to cry and the princess melted and apologized, not really knowing what she was apologizing for.

COLLEGE

The princess went to a nice, safe religious college where everyone knew their responsibilities. The young men knew they were to find brides who would be good wives and good mothers, and they were to provide for their families. The young women knew they were to be good wives and good mothers, and that was their job. Oh, sure, some of them were a little rebellious, but they were few and far between.

The princess floated daintily down the halls and through her classes and through the activities, and she caught the eye of a very handsome prince.  My, he thought to himself, she is a very dainty princess. She looks like she will be a good wife and mother.

And the prince asked the princess out on a date, and well, they sort of hit it off. She didn’t seem to have much to say, but she looked like the right sort. And he seemed masterful and had his life planned out, and he looked like the right sort.

MARRIED LIFE 

So they got married, and had some children. They didn’t exactly live happily every after, but they lived. And then one day the princess saw her oldest daughter put on a a tarnished toy tiara and tie an apron around her shoulders and prance down the hall and say, “Mommy! Look! I’m a princess!”

And she looked in the mirror and she saw that she didn’t look like a princess anymore. And she didn’t feel like a princess anymore. And she didn’t think she wanted to be a princess anymore. But she didn’t know how to be anything else.

And when the prince came home from work, he picked up his daughter and swung her around and said, “How’s my little princess?” And he ruffled his son’s hair and helped him with his homework. And he played with his other daughter, and he changed the baby’s diapers. But his eyes just slid across her face like he didn’t even see her anymore.

And when she was washing the dishes after dinner she cried silently, her hot tears scalding her hands. And then she went to her daughter, and she removed that tarnished toy tiara, snapped it into pieces, and said fiercely, “You are NOT a princess, do you hear me? You are a president, or you are an astronaut, or you are a reporter, or you are ANYTHING you want to be, but you are NOT a princess!” Her daughter started crying because her toy was broken and because her mommy was acting all strange, and the princess hugged her daughter and started crying again, and they just sat there and cried together.

The prince came into the room, holding the baby, to see what was wrong. And he saw them there, and just stood and looked at them, and didn’t know what to do. So he just stood there. And then he turned and walked out of the room.

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