Posts Tagged 'Hope'

Admiring Fledglings

If I Eat Pencil, You Cans Not Write.

I got to do my favourite thing at work tonight, and nothing and nobody could stop me.

Once a year, we get these books to photocopy from a local elementary school.  It’s part of a program called WII (and I don’t remember what it stands for, only that it has nothing to do with wars or video games).  Through this, fifth graders write and illustrate (through paper-making, and cut & paste) their own books.  I was in Advanced English in fifth grade, and I remember doing the project.  I don’t for the life of me know where the book went (I suspect my mother is hiding it) but it was called “Jonathan and the Magical Easter Eggs”.  … Yes.  I’ve always been a sucker for the unreal.

I love photocopying this job, because it’s a slow process, and it gives me time to read the books and admire the illustrations.  Some of the kids touch me – there was one dedication that read “I dedicate this to my Oma, who has been battling cancer for two years”.  So sad, and sweet.  And sad.  And some of the kids make me giggle.  One boy wrote a story about being able to make his parents disappear… and of all the things in the world he could do, he went to the beach.  Oh, and no worries, he was lonely at the end, so he made his parents come back.

Aside from simply being adorable, these books give me hope.  Why?  Because out of every batch of twenty, there will be one child that decides to write another story.  And another.  And another.  And a new generation of writers will be born.

When Reality Hits….

A lamppost on Railroad Square.

For the last four years, at least, I have been corresponding with a beautiful, talented, hilarious young lady from England.  For me, this is a big deal, because I can’t even keep in contact with someone who lives the next street over, let alone someone who lives on a different continent.  But for some reason, I have managed to stay in contact with this girl, exchanging emails, Facebook messages, whatever, almost every day for over four years.  For privacy reasons, I’m going to give her the name “Belle”.

I meet Belle through my ex-boyfriend on AllPoetry.com.  No, my ex was a real person, but he was friends with her on this website, so I was too.  I loved Belle immediately, but then, I am always one to trust sooner than I ought.  Her poetry was always full of passion, which is how poetry should be.  She was a quirky, interesting individual with a bad home life (her mother is unstable, and her parents kept getting divorced and remarried, one moving back and forth from South Africa to England) who was afraid of geese and loved to run.

I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where the downhill run started.  Only about a year ago, everything was still wonderful and normal.  She had a friend die… maybe it was there that the problems began.  She met her fiance shortly after that incident, and everything seemed okay, still.  But then the next thing I know, she is complaining about how she can’t even finish a yogurt because it makes her feel fat, and the doctors are putting her on special diets, and her mum is force-feeding her.  Then she goes to University, and suddenly she pretends to be taking a lot of showers, just so the sound masks her purging.

A few weeks ago, she was eating better.  I thought maybe, after working for so many months, she had conquered bulimia.  She was running again, and was living in a new flat, and seemed to be generally enjoying life.

About a week ago, I get a simple three-sentence email.  It basically said that she hadn’t had time to write because she was in the hospital, but she would soon.  Cryptic much?  I waited and worried.

This morning, I got another email.  Belle thoroughly believed (and still believes) that her skin isn’t her own, and was trying to scratch it off.  But it hurt, so she took a painkiller.  And another.  And eventually eleven, and nearly killed herself.  And here I am, knowing that she’s in the hospital, or was, for delusion-driven attempted suicide… a thousand or so miles away with no way to get there… and I’m at a loss.

What do you say to something like that?  How do you make it better?  How can you save a life, and convince the owner it’s worth saving?

Writers live so often in their imaginations that they become absorbed in their fabricated worlds.  Then reality hits, like a brick to the head.  And I stand here, helpless.

What is Reality?

These last few days I have had an appropriate amount of domestic rural adventures, from driving in a thunderstorm to preventing a kitten from ripping my toes to shreds.  These things are all the little things that we often overlook as we let our lives consume us.  I am that person sometimes, too, but I work hard not to be.  I’ve had a few things on my mind, and seeing the film Inception last night keeps pushing thoughts about the little things forward more and more.

First, I’d like to talk about the movie.  I’m not going to go into too much depth because I don’t want to spoil it, but it does bring you to appreciate life and reality.  The things that are always there and the things that you can depend on.  The details.  For example, the movie itself- I’m sure a lot of people will be walking out of it thinking about the deeper meanings of it and how it is a reflection on the world and our perception of it, and so on and so forth.  I walked out of that movie thinking a few things.  One: “Holy crap, where did that thunderstorm come from?  Crap.  I have to drive in it.  And I left my windows down.  Craaaaap.” Two: “I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about that film.  From the acting to the special effects to the plot… it was all really well done.” and Three: “What was the theme, anyway?  It’s supposed to be a deep thought movie like Momento, right?  So there must be a deeper theme….”

For those that are curious, I’ve decided that the theme was “what is reality?”  It’s kind of like The Matrix in that way.  Now, I’m sure there are others who derived a very different theme about it, and I would love to rationally discuss that theme (or those themes) as well.  But from my perception of the film, there were strong themes of “what is reality” and “what is dream” running through it.  And, in saying that, I don’t feel like I’m spoiling the film because dreams are a present theme in the commercials alone.

From the question “what is reality” we must ask ourselves… what is real?  What makes things believable?  For me, that is all the little things in the world.  The things that make our experiences our own.  We all may walk into a grocery store, but do you avoid walking through aisles packed with people (even if you desperately need something in that aisle) so you can stay out of peoples’ way?  Do you walk through the produce section and drool over all the berries and ultimately buy some, even though you know they’re out of season and they’ll be gone before you get home?  Do you hang out in the bakery for a few minutes just to smell the bread?  I do.  Things like that – little sights and smells and hopes and such – make the experience mine.

This week, I am going to try to stop and notice all the small things.  To stop and take a deep breath and appreciate the world as I run around.

Another thing that has inspired this thought process is a book I recently started reading.  It’s half for school, and half for research, since part of the reason I’m a History Major is to gather information about the world so I can use it in my writing.  The book is called Avengers of the New World by Laurent Dubois.  It tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the world that led to it.  It’s for my Africans in the Colonial World class, basically a follow-up class to Atlantic History, which I took sophomore year.  Anyway.  I’m only 9o-pages into the book and there was a section all about culture and religion and the ways the Africans kept their customs alive in Saint-Dominique.  What do you do, when you’re lashed often for little to no reason, are not allowed to meet with other slaves… and even the free-coloureds kept having their rights lessened.  Heck, the thing that really annoys me is the “Liberty Tax” that white plantation owners had to pay when they freed a slave.  When you are in a position that most of the slaves (or any good person, really) where in, having their hands tied by the powerful few-and-far-between…the only thing you can do, once you’ve run out of options is to stop, see what there is for you in the world, and move forward.  Find the next path and renew yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by the little things that have been driving you all along.

Today, a friend told me that whenever he hears “On The Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, he thinks of me, because I’m the only other person he’s ever met whose heard of the band.  It was a little thing, but it made me smile and lifted my spirits after six, seven hours of consistent photocopying, binding, and wanting to hit machines with a crowbar.  Has there been any little things in the world today that gave you the strength to move forward?  What are the things that you rely on daily to keep you grounded in this mad world?

Flash Fiction Thursday: Come On, Get Higher

Paris at night, Via French Kitchen in America.

So far so good on another weekly commitment- I bring you this week’s “Flash Fiction Thursday”.  All typed on my boyfriend’s computer while he is at work.  And he has this snazz-tastic illuminated keyboard.  Squee!

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Come On, Get Higher

L’Hotel Promenade in Paris overlooked the most beautiful, bluest part of the Seine.  From her balcony, Adrienne could feel the north wind picking up her ebony curls, carrying with it the fresh smells of croissants and perfume.  Indeed, it was signature feel of Paris, and she had come here for the same reason that every other single woman in her twenties came to Paris:  for love.  Romance novels always made it seem so simple.  All a woman need do is slip on a pair of treacherous high heels and a form-fitting black dress, and a man in a tuxedo with a cigarette clutched between his fingers was supposed to sweep her away into the yellow lights of the city.

She tapped her glossy pink nails on the metal rail of the balcony and sighed irritably.  It wasn’t that easy.  Nothing in life was that easy.  She thought any reasonable girl would kill for a chance to spend her life “just sitting and looking pretty”.  It only happened to woman like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.  Princesses of the silver screen.  And what was she?  Adrienne was practically a doormouse compared to them. A wannabe fashion designer who hadn’t been able to make herself a name in New York.  So what? she thought to herself and took a gulp from her half-empty glass on chardonnay.  Paris was le centre de la mode.  If you wanted to be a fashion designer, you wanted to be in Paris, not the Big Apple.

Adrienne swung her body around, sloshing chardonnay on the wire balcony and it dripped to the sidewalk below.  Go to Paris, she had told herself, Be a model, fall in love, make a lot of money.  Then nobody will question the dip of your necklines or the length of you skirt.

She set the glass on a cluttered counter, covered in unopened bills.  Some belonged to her roommate, but most of them belong to her.  “Helene!” Adrienne shouted into the dimly lit living room, where she knew her roommate wasn’t.  “I’m going to go climb the Eiffel Tower and fall in love.”

When Helene didn’t respond (Of course, she is at work, Adrienne scolded herself), Adrienne sat stubbornly on the floor and pulled on her favourite pair of bright red Prada stilettos. She wobbled out the door, leaving her wallet, bills, and woes behind her.

Paris; le ville de l’amour….


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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