Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Scene from my April Daydreams

We're sitting outside an old French cafe under wide-brimmed umbrellas. We aren't in France but in Tampa, staring out at the parking lot and listening to the traffic from the congested street only a few feet away from us. The old French couple, who had moved to Florida many years ago, put extra sugar in our fruit salads. The sun is bright and burns our eyes. The umbrellas paint our skin pastel colors and make our food look contaminated by confetti cake mix. I push cut strawberries around with my fork and squint at him; he's smiling at me, but not looking at me - instead, he's busy wiping the sweat off his glass of water.

"What are you thinking?" I ask him.

He shrugs. "I'm imagining you're not here right now."


He laughs. "What I mean is that you don't seem to really be here. You're mind is somewhere else."

I smirk. "Okay. Maybe you're right. But if I'm daydreaming about us right now, and you think that I'm somewhere else, then what does it all mean? Am I daydreaming within a daydream?"

"I don't think so," he says. I can tell he's thinking hard about this because he bites his lip.

"Where do you think my mind is?"

"Let's start from the beginning," he says, grinning. "In reality, you're actually in bed with your eyes squeezed tight. You've kicked off the sheets because even with the ceiling fan on, you're still sweating. Your head aches from a stress cold and, even though your dog has woken you up three times this morning, you're still fighting to stay in bed. So you're daydreaming about me because you think I can make you feel better. And you do feel better."

I chew on a chunk of apple and sigh. "Ooh. You're good."

"Of course I am. You're the one putting words in my mouth."

"Go on."

"So, even though you're in this imaginary day with me, trying to avoid really waking up, you can't help but remember what you have to do for your last week of school. Right now, you're thinking about the pile of papers sitting in your office. You're trying to figure out how long it will take you to grade them."

He's beautiful as he says this. Really. If I wasn't plugging in the words, I'd probably be lost in the way his lips form the words, how his bangs brush against his forehead. His hand is soaked with glass-water sweat. He's wearing a faded blue t-shirt that looks purple under the umbrella light.

And I know he's right. Or I know I'm right. Even in my imagination, I can't completely escape reality. I haven't thought of personifying responsibility, but I'm sure it looks like a cranky old librarian. Gold-rimmed glasses. Grim smile. A stack full of work and silence. Responsibility.

From far away, I can hear my mother at the sink. She hums a tune as she washes away the breakfast crumbs from her glass and plate. Fiber cereal and grapes, I guess. That's what she's been eating for the past few days. She'll probably peek into my room in a few minutes and nag me for having kicked my covers and sheets to the floor. I can feel morning seep into my bones.

He sips his water and looks at me steadily. "So you're going?" he asks.

I nod.

He's still drinking.

I frown and say, "Aren't you going to kiss me?"

He smiles boyishly and shakes his head. "No way. You're got work to do."

Photo from We Heart It

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quick Update: Blogger Problems

Hello readers!

It's been a while, and I'm very sorry for it. I've been distracted by the closing school semester. As I'm writing this, I've got a pile of fiction revision to work through for a portfolio due next week. And I wanted to drop in here and leave a message to show that I've still alive when I came across a strange problem with Blogger.

I used my university address when I created this blog; it's not supposed to ever go away, even after graduating, so I didn't think it was a big deal using. Unfortunately, something happened with my school email that adjusted some strange Google status. I honestly don't get it. But now I can't properly sign in to my blog.

I'm on a temporary account right now until I can figure out how to switch emails. You'd think that this would be a simple matter, but I've already spent a half an hour signing in and out and trying to get things to work. And nada. I don't want to loose my web address, but, unless I'm missing something, that seems my only option.

I'm feeling pretty frustrated right now. Ugh. Has this ever happened to you?

I've got to hang on a bit longer - the end of the semester is only two weeks away. But I plan on catching up with all the blogs I follow and treating you all to a great, stress-free post as soon as I can.

Thanks for understanding!

Picture from We Heart It

Friday, April 8, 2011

Puppets of Paper

I haven't seen a puppet show since grammar school. I felt this ache, this longing to sit pretzel-style and watch a story played out with strings and jangly limbs after stumbling upon an anthropologie video documenting a very cute puppet show. I remember seeing one in the distance when I was in Bath, trying to take tea with Dr. Darcy and find the glass-blowing museum before the last train back to Grantham left. There were people sitting in lawn chairs, eating ice cream despite the fact that in England the air was sharp with cold. I wanted so badly to lay in the grass and watch the puppets beat each other up with plastic clubs. But the train was calling. The train always calls.

Puppets used to scare me as a kid. But only on film. It was okay if I could touch their strings and giggle at their silly faces. I even loved, like any other little kid, any Jim Henson created creature. But I shivered and hid under a pillow if a Chucky movie or even that one scene in Steven King's Tommyknockers would come on. Even Goosebump's Slappy was a frightening foe - so much that I had to put my book face down so I couldn't see his creepy face on the cover. But when I watched the TV episodes, I liked the friendly puppet named Dennis who sounded too much like Goofy when he spoke. Cleary, it was the killer puppets that made my skin crawl. Don't even get me started on the Puppet Master Series. Those were probably the only scary movies that, oddly enough, didn't scare me.

So I've just gone from nostalgic to scary in a matter of two paragraphs. Haha. Sorry about that.

I've been daydreaming a lot because I don't have time to. So I keep stealing moments. In my dreams I'm a puppet with a paper-mache face and wire glasses, floating along by my strings in the mint-colored sky. There's a boy down below who can't float with us. His strings are tied to a hospital bed. He'll be okay; we send him delphiniums and dark chocolate and he smiles up at us. Sometimes, still, it makes me sad to recognize the distance between us. I dance harder and with more graceful wrist movements so that he might notice when he looks out his window and up at the sky.

I actually made a few puppet shows in my time in college. I have a reputation back at my undergrad home as being the resident puppet master, though I earned this title without really knowing it sat waiting for someone to come along and take it. In my freshman year I chose to use puppets in a creative assignment, by the suggestion of my professor, and she was excited enough that I actually did it that she sent word throughout the English department via trumpet. Since then I was called upon to take puppets, haha. In my last semester of college I took another class with that professor - Romanticism - and decided to bow out by way of a puppet final project. My friend and I were philosophy fans so we chose to present on Immanuel Kant, specifically on his aesthetics, which would match up well with the Romantic theme of the class. Little did we know that Kant's aesthetics were the most shaky of any of his ideas, but it seemed to go over well in class.

I had grabbed paper bags, felt, and printed giant pictures of the poets and philosopher. We worked on the script and laughed until tears poured down our cheeks. I apologize for the sound; our college was small with little choice for places to migrate to. The room we chose echoed and the people upstairs insisted in cooking in the middle of the day. The wind stole our voices when we tried to film outside. But we still had fun. Look out for Lord Byron's hanging mouth - that part always makes me chuckle.

Thanks for watching my crazy antics, haha. I hope you have a great weekend and embark on exciting adventures.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tidbits: April Edition

I've been having a bit of an issue with time. It seems as if I've been thinking that the past two weeks were April, despite April only coming upon us since yesterday. This must be because of school. I blame school. I have more papers on my office desk than I know what to do with, student conferencing, and story revisions: April is a race to finish!

After scouting out some blogs over the last couple weeks, I've been giving some thought to the posts bloggers sometimes do where they list or talk about some of the discoveries they've made on the internet. I really like this. It's like show and tell, but better because you're not in grammar school and having to stand in front of a chalkboard.

So I think that I'm going to try something out like that and posting it at the beginning of each month. So here we go!

Picture/Photo Find

Something I Did

April Fool's Day, indeed. The cruelest joke played on me yesterday was finding out that my university doesn't have a Ticketmaster anymore. If you've ever bought concert tickets, you know how much easier it is on the wallet to go pick them up than ordering them online (actual venue or Ticketmaster booth). Well, considering that the venue is an hour away and there are no nearby music stores, I put my trust in the whispered rumors and blindly ran to the Marshall Center after teaching classes for the day.

I burst into the building and ran to the information desk. A lone girl sat behind it and she smiled at me when I approached.

Me: Can you tell me where the Ticketmaster is?

Her: Oh. We don't have one.

Me: What?

Her: The school took it out. We don't have one anymore.

Me: ;_;

Or something like that. So I dashed back to my office, still managing at the same time to text my frustrations to some sympathetic friends. I woke up my computer, took a deep breath, and tried not to cringe when the convenience fees popped up on screen. I was brave. I clicked away. What did I buy?

Owl City concert tickets.

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

"My Hands Are Shaking" by Sondre Lerche.

A Writer Thing

Yesterday I attended USF's 2011 Curtain Call.

Curtain Call is a reading at the end of the year for graduating MFA students in the program. Friends, family, undergrad students and writers and other supportive faculty come to hear the graduates read from their theses. The MFA professors gave great introductions of each graduate, both humorous and heartfelt.

Again, this event took place in the Marshall Center, but this time my walk over was calm and peaceful. The air was cool from the sunset. I wore my green, flower-print bag over my shoulder and felt incredibly happy that I didn't have to lug my netbook or lunch box with me this time. I packed everything away before going. There were plenty of people already there when I arrived. I bought a homemade booklet of sample writing from the four graduating MFAers - the money for the book went to Japan Second Harvest.

The four totally awesome writers who, I got to know a bit during my first year here, are:

It was wonderful to hear their words, in some cases for the first time for me. Each one is incredibly talented and I'm sorry to see them go - but that's what grad school is like, I guess. The time we spend studying creative writing here is so short but extremely powerful. To think that in two years, I'll be standing up there. Woah. So surreal. I tried to find links for each; please check out their writing if you get the chance.

Video I Watched Too Many Times

So I found this Japanese ad that, I confess, I don't understand language-wise. I don't speak or read Japanese, though I consider anyone who can terribly amazing. I wish I could do that. I'm horrible at language learning at the start, haha. But I got the point of this video: it's to show how wonderful it is to read. How you can get lost in the pages of a book and how books might lead to other new adventures (like meeting cute guys?). Japanese books are incredibly cute too. I love paperbacks and these look almost as soft as teddy bears. Yes, yes, I'm a bibliophile, haha.

Food I'm Craving

Macarons. I've never ever had any before. This fact is bumming me out.

Have a great week, dear readers!