I’m pondering travesty.
The Daytime Emmy Awards sacrificed all credibility in 1996 when voters gifted Outstanding Drama Series to General Hospital despite Pinky and Brain's relationship in Animaniacs.
“Anything in the world?”
“Anything in the world,” I agree, looking over at her.
It’s dark out, even though it’s almost 1pm, but I can see her face just fine. It’s twisted into a smile, a thinking smile. We’re sitting on top of a picnic table, and she’s staring at the sky. Dark clouds hover overhead.
“I’d want... um...” She laughs sharply, and looks over at me. “I don’t know, Baylee. You go first.”
I shake my head, finally cracking a smile. “I asked. You answer.” I look up at the sky, and we both watch the rainclouds moving towards us, but we make no attempt to head inside.
“Does it have to be tangible?” Ali asks. “Can I say happiness?”
I roll my eyes. “Of course not! That’s such a boring answer. Let’s say it’s tangible.”
Ali laughs and throws up her hands in defense. “Ok, ok! No happiness.” She goes silent, thinking again, and we can hear thunder rumbling above us.
We don’t move.
“That’s alive, and I feel like that’s cheating,” I say matter-of-factly. More thunder punctuates my statement.
She stomps her feet against the picnic table in mock frustration. “I didn’t know there would be so many rules!”
“How about...” Ali sighs and looks at the sky again. I pick at a splinter of wood sticking out of the table.
“I’d want a book. One that keeps quotes of things people say, like, on its own. So, a magic book.” Ali looks over at me, eyes raised.
I make a face. “That’s it?”
A smile jumps to her face. “You’re letting me chose a magic book? That’s allowed?”
I shrug, chuckling. “Sure it is.”
“In that case,” she says, “Yes. It’s not just any quotes; it’s good quotes, thought-provoking ones. And when you open the book, it’ll give you one. Just what you need to read to make your day better.”
I nod thoughtfully. “Wouldn’t that be nice.”
“And you, what would you wish for?” Ali blinks as a raindrop hits her nose.
I look down, and thunder rumbles again. Rain begins to fall in fat droplets. “I guess you’ll have to find out later,” I say, holding a hand above my head. The rain had started suddenly, and has already turned Ali’s hair into shiny, wet ropes.
“You’re not going to tell me?!” Ali yells over the rain. It's coming down hard now.
“Not today,” I say, hopping off of the picnic bench. For now, it's time to go inside.
never stop looking for yourself.
even if it means you have to
rip yourself apart and put the
pieces back together. even if it
means you have to ask for help.
even if it means you lose some
people along the way. don’t you
dare stop searching for yourself.
What egg? Steg! Silt.
What Lies Above
The girl with short hair and an orange backpack walked along the sidewalk. Her slumped shoulders and downward gaze made her feel invisible. Her eyes followed her dirtied shoes that splashed through a puddle. By now, she had each crack in the sidewalk memorized and each dip in the pavement charted. The smell of early morning fog and a neighbor’s freshly cut lawn were common to her. Although she walked along the same sidewalk day after day, she never knew what she would see if she only raised her head.
She wished to be alone. To not be touched nor spoken to. Not even to be thought about. And in return, she did not touch, nor speak to anyone. Not even a thought about their odd choice of shoes as they measly passed her by.
Why must she always look down? Well, simply there was no reason for her to look up. In her mind, she had seen all there was to see. But in reality, she had only seen one half of the whole. One side of a coin.
She kept her eyes aimed at her brown and white striped shoes. Her shoes were the only thing that seemed to change when she walked along her routine path. She couldn’t help but wonder which pair she’d wear tomorrow and the day after that. And maybe she wouldn’t wear any at all.
Some days she thought about what lies above. She wondered why some days the sky would cry. Some days she wondered if the sky really was filled with white cotton candy like the children who passed her by had said.
Although she had never looked into a mirror, she knew her appearance by her reflection in the numerous puddles created after a sun shower. But, she had never felt the coolness of rain on her face for she always carried her umbrella with her.
Until one day, she forgot her umbrella.
And a drop of rain fell upon her scalp, and out of curiosity, she looked above.
And she smiled.
Roald Dahl - Master of Suspense
Roald Dahl may be well known for his quirky, sometimes rebellious children's novels, yet many are uninformed about his darker tales for adults. In these short stories, Roald Dahl makes his stories very suspenseful and interesting to the reader, keeping them hooked. He does this using a variety of literary devices. Above all, foreshadowing and situational irony stand out as the most important of these.
Dahl uses foreshadowing to build suspense in his short stories “Lamb to the Slaughter” and “The Landlady” by making the reader infer what will happen next, yet not specifying it so that the audience is kept interested, essentially taunting them with information. For instance, this is shown in “Lamb to the Slaughter” when Patrick Maloney has come home from his job as a police detective and meets his wife, Mary. Generally, Patrick has a very specific routine that he follows at this time every day. It is said that “as he spoke, he did an unusual thing. He lifted his glass and drained it in one swallow although there was still half of it left. He got up and went slowly over to fetch himself another… When he came back, [Mary] noticed that the new drink was dark amber with the quantity of whiskey in it” (Dahl) As given by his abnormal behavior, Patrick is evidently uneasy and nervous about something. This makes the reader think that Patrick has something sad or important to tell Mary, like the fact that he is having an affair or that he wants a divorce. Dahl never says this, though, but he suggests it, employing foreshadowing. The readers catch on to this immediately and think they know what Patrick will say. However, they do not know for certain, because Dahl has not made it completely obvious. This makes the reader hooked, wanting to know what comes next, which guarantees Dahl that his audience will not stop reading here. As a matter of fact, Patrick never explicitly says he will divorce Mary in the whole story, even though it is strongly implied a few paragraphs later by Patrick saying that Mary will be looked after. Even after this is revealed, the audience is engaged, anticipating the coming events but still unsure, as Mary has been established as a character who lives for this man, and her reaction to this decision by Patrick is unforeseeable. In addition to creating suspense with foreshadowing in “Lamb to the Slaughter”, he does it again in “The Landlady”. In the story, Billy Weaver is a young man on a business trip when he decides not to stay at the hotel he had been told to stay at, and instead decides to stay at a house with a sign in the window that says “Bed and Breakfast”. He enters, and a landlady takes him in and tells him to sign a guest book, on which there are two names: Christopher Mulholland and Gregory Temple. When Weaver signs the guest book, he says “‘Now wait a minute, wait just a minute. Mulholland ... Christopher Mulholland... wasn’t that the name of the Eton schoolboy who was on a walking-tour through the West Country, and then all of a sudden …’” (Dahl 67). Clearly, Billy has remembered something significant and profound about the name, and by the connotation of Billy’s words, it does not sound like things ended well for Mulholland. We do not hear the rest of what Billy was going to say, because the landlady interrupts him and says “‘Eton schoolboy? Oh no, my dear, that can’t possibly be right because my Mr. Mulholland was certainly not an Eton schoolboy when he came to me’” (Dahl 67). There are a couple of unsettling things in this quote that makes the reader skeptical about the landlady. For one, she refers to Mr. Mulholland as her Mr. Mulholland, as if she owns him, which slightly disturbs the readers. Then, when Billy brings up whether the two men, who had arrived years before, had ever left, the landlady says “‘“Left?... But my dear boy, he never left. He’s still here. Mr. Temple is also here. They’re on the third floor, both of them together’” (Dahl 68). This is the point where the reader begins to have some serious doubts about the landlady and her intentions with Billy. For one, she says that Temple and Mulholland are both there, in the house, but on page 67, she refers to them in the past tense, like one would when speaking of those who have left or died. The readers begin to think that both men might be deceased, with their bodies hidden on the third floor. However, just like in “Lamb to the Slaughter”, Dahl never tells us whether this is true. Still, it leaves the reader hanging, wanting to know what happened to Temple and Mulholland and what Billy’s fate will be, and secures Dahl their attention for the rest of the story. Through this use of foreshadowing in “Lamb to the Slaughter” and “The Landlady”, Dahl is able to make his stories hugely suspenseful and exciting for the reader. Foreshadowing is just one of the techniques that he uses to create suspense, though.
In addition to foreshadowing, Dahl also uses irony to hook his readers in the very same short stories as before. In “The Landlady”, the only real reason that Billy decides to stay at the landlady’s place and not the hotel where he was supposed to stay was because “[o]n the carpet in front of the fire, a pretty little dachshund was curled up asleep with its nose tucked into its belly… in one corner he spotted a large parrot in a cage. Animals were usually a good sign in a place like this, Billy told himself” (Dahl 63). Unknown to Billy, however, these animals are not animals at all. As the landlady herself said, “‘I stuff all my little pets myself when they pass away’” (Dahl 69). When Billy is looking through the window, this is situational irony because he and the reader assume that the creatures are alive, but they are not. This builds more suspense because when the lady reveals that the animals are dead, Billy has lost his only reason for being there and trusting the place he is at. The house and its sole inhabitant are beginning to reveal their true colors, and it makes the reader want to find out what happened next. This also implies that Mulholland and Temple have also been stuffed, hidden away on the third floor of the house. One can only assume what this lady means to do with Billy. At this point, the audience is so hooked that they will not want to stop reading and figure out what happens to Billy, which Dahl never reveals, ensuring their attention for the rest of the story through the use of situational irony. In “Lamb to the Slaughter”, on the other hand, dramatic irony is used to keep the reader hooked until the very end of the story. After Patrick tells Mary that they must separate, Mary becomes enraged and takes the frozen leg of lamb that she intended to serve for dinner and kills Patrick with it. After this, the detectives come over to her house to investigate, and they immediately begin to comb the house for the murder weapon. The detectives “kept asking her a lot of questions. They always treated her kindly… They searched the house… [They] told her that her husband had been killed by a blow to the back of the head. They were looking for the weapon” (Dahl). Dramatic irony is obvious here because the cops do not know who killed Patrick and the object used to kill him, while the readers know that Mary killed him with the leg of lamb. In fact, the detectives immediately dismiss her as a suspect. During this portion of the story, the meat is in the oven, but the detectives also dismiss that as a possible murder weapon. However, the audience does not know whether the detectives will figure out that Mary committed the crime and how she did it later on. That possibility still exists, and the dramatic irony only builds the tension. The readers are at the edge of their seats, waiting to see what will happen next and whether Mary will walk free. This section of the story is dripping with suspense, so the audience cannot stop reading.
Dahl is able to create suspense in his adult short stories by using foreshadowing and irony in two of his short stories, “The Landlady” and “Lamb to the Slaughter”. In the former, Dahl hints the reader at the fate of Billy and tricks them by making them assume that the animals in the house are real. In “Lamb to the Slaughter”, he makes the readers know that Patrick wants a divorce without ever explicitly saying it, and keeps the audience on their toes by letting Mary barely walk free from her crime. Dahl was an extremely talented writer who could use dark thoughts and masterful writing to make his stories scary and suspenseful for adults, or colorful words and a fun imagination to make them whimsy and playful for young boys and girls.
Dahl, Roald. “Lamb to the Slaughter.” 4.files.edl.io,
https://4.files.edl.io/4a65/10/23/18/235824-cd055462-e062-467c-a8ae-492f46d8caad.pdf. Accessed 9 October, 2019.
Dahl, Roald. “The Landlady.” Holt Literature and Language Arts, Second Course, pg. 62.
My time with you left notes
on my framework,
making my body a compendium
of raw words and squandered moments.
But we learn from experience.
Now I know my body
can house terrors
and still surmount the vast wreckage
our degeneration left behind.
It’s curious, isn’t it. When you’re alone in an empty room, how your voice is so big. So loud. Shattering the silence. And then the silence grows teeth and sinks them into you, one part at a time so you can squirm and plead and shout.
Please, someone. Anyone. Hear me. See me. Talk to me. Tell me what I want to hear. Hold me. Please.
And finally your voice, jagged and raw and scraping, gives out. You’re alone with your thoughts, your voices, telling you what you don’t want to know, don't want to remember because it’s driving you mad. Completely insane.
But eventually, you embrace the crazy. Because it’s better than the silence.
Did you ever wonder about the inhabitants of Silverwood Asylum? They went crazy because they were locked up. Maybe some of them were crazy before- who knows- but slowly you get sucked in, the more you’re in a place like this. A grey padded cell, surrounded by other people’s splinters and shards constantly clamoring.
That’s where I am, by the way. Even though you don’t care. I’m on my knees in the corner, scribbling this in blood after I realized my teeth and my skin belonged together.
I almost forgot the mose important part of this morbid draft: I’m innocent. Pinky promise. I didn’t kill my family, no matter what they say. And they say an awful lot. I can still remember the whispers in the courtroom as metal pinched my wrists, grief and anger digging talons into my guts until I collapsed, screaming. Crying. For someone to believe me. I remember the murderer, smug and smiling, as they dragged me away.
He stopped smiling when I clawed one of his eyes out.
They found me guilty after that, sent me here to live out the rest of my days in “comfort.” Oh, yes. The “comfort” of cold, gray Purgatory, or maybe this is Hell itself. Only trouble is, this can’t be Hell because there are no politicians.
I’m just... here.
Wasting away in a haze of grey. Irrevelant. But my voice still echoes. People still hear it if they're willing to listen.
I am not going quietly.
Sometimes, I can’t help myself...
″Liar!” I proclaim in my mind almost as soon as I write the title.
″Excuse me?” I ask back to that part of myself making proclamations from within.
″You CAN help yourself, every time, you just keep choosing not to.”
″I was quite clear, and will not repeat myself. I will add though; it may behoove you to pick another phrase so you’re not making a liar out of yourself.”
“A different phrase than what?”
″Different than, ‘Sometimes, I can’t help myself.’”
"What about impulses? Don't they count?"
"For the average person, sure, but we both know YOU are very aware and thusly capable of not only knowing an impulse when you feel it, but making the choice instantaniously about whether or not you're going to allow or deny it.. so.. no, it doesn't count."
″See, we knew you knew.”
“How about you tell me a more accurate phrase then?”
″Okay. Your new phrase is... ‘I think, therefore I am.’”
″It’s about as intrinsically true as we can get with a self-explainatory statement.”
″...I think, therefore I am...?”
″You made that seem so uncertain. Don't you feel the truth in it? Don’t you recognize the cataclysm of it? Don’t you agree its brilliant sussinctness?!”
"You mean it like... 'I think I can't help myself sometimes, therefore I don't' kind of thing?"
"Yes, that exactly."
"So.. I'm not a liar then, because in the moment I thought it, I was being totally accurate."
"Yes, yet you didn't just think it, you wrote it. The thought may have been truth in the thinking, but you went beyond the thought of it and chose to ignore your knowing that you could simply.. cultivate a new/different thought, and lied to yourself about being unable to help yourself sometimes; because you already possess the knowledge and understanding that you can ALWAYS create/have/reach for a different thought; which is the truth you're actually seeking."
"You're saying I made a liar of myself because I already know the power of my thinking and posess the self-discapline to use that knowledge to make choices in all things, yet proclaimed a powerlessness/controlessness in saying 'Sometimes, I can't help myself'..?"
"Boom! Nail on the head."
"Thanks, I can write my piece for this challenger then?"
"Pretty sure we already did.. in dialogue. "
"Maybe in the context of establishing a baseline for my control over my thinking..sure.. but we both know that wasn't really the offering I wanted to share, not just that anyhow."
"..Air and Opportunity in the form of more blank page.. get to writing then!"
Right. I think, therefore I am. I might even go as far as to say, I think, therefore I experience, because for most people, that is how it plays out. The complainers experience more things to complain about. The manipulators experience more opportunities to manipulate and be manipulated. The woe-is-me-I-may-not-must-not-matter people experience more proof of their worthlessness. The happy hippies experience more happy hippy stuff... until they choose to think otherwise about their any-given-situation.
I've been in each of those stages of being, and thinking from the self-loathing worthlessness of 'I can die right now and no one would notice' across to 'Why is everyone so selfishly inconsiderate and absorbed?!' over to 'Every thought I have, choice I make, and external catalyst I experience is for the benifit of my evolution' and so many variations inbetween.
I've chased almost every emotion in the spectrum at least once, mostly more, feeling them in every part of my physical being. I've done the scientific research to learn about the chemical signatures of each emotion in my brain, and how my brain makes receptors for those chemicals, those emotions, litterally configurig/forming my brain to feel more of my most constant feelings.
I've put that information together with the personal experience and knowledge that thoughts drive feelings to conclude when I change the way/the what of a thought on any given topic, I change the way I feel about it. This is to say...
I learned I didn't need to know my purpose to believe and feel good about having one.
I learned to choose to believe I was an important being and let the how/why surprise me.
I learned that no one has to agree with me, for me to feel the truth of my own knowings.
I learned the things people say and do are direct reflections of their state of thinking.
I learned that people change in tiny ways every day, all the time.
I learned those that think no one changes, have yet to acknowledge their own changes.
I learned that to know yourself, you must learn to discern for yourself, all things.
I learned that leading by example, means living as example.
In these things I have learned, I can tell you that your existence is paramount to the growth and evolution of everyone around you, including you-- none more important (to your existence) than your own growth. I can tell you that your existence is integral to the litteral and metaphoric expansion of the universe. I can tell you, and every reader reading this, that my telling you is a direct-intent-catalyst to ping that part of you that is connected to me and the universe as a whole so you may feel the knowing as I do-- and yet, the choice to be open to it or not, is 100% yours.
What are you thinking now?
P.S. Feel free to comment or message me the answer to that question if you're so inclined to share! I do not believe there are 'right' or 'wrong' answers; just different perspectives and paths to the future. :-) Thank you.
#QuestForConsciousness #StreamOfConsciousness #Dialogue #Prose #Evolution #SelfEmpowerment
Welcome to Prose, We are all Family here. Embrace our words, and relax you mind, and you will venture a mood that your body never realize you had. Enjoy Family. Welcome.