It was a good joke, and I couldn’t help chuckling to myself to think about how the Fates must get a kick out of watching us. I was re-reading my goals and resolutions from last year. I had planned to run the Boston marathon in April. That rug was pulled out from under me early due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Erie marathon, which I’d also signed up for January first of ’20 was cancelled next. We then cancelled the family vacation. We were to go to an amusement park and historical area. It became just an unrealized plan, a daydream, like the others. Now I was sitting before a blank page with my pen poised above it, trying to think about what I should write for January 2021.
The surprises of the pandemic were things I hadn’t written about. In January of 2020, I had no idea that instead of watching the kids play lacrosse, we would be playing family games of foursquare, complete with smack talk, so delectable that I raced home from work and we finished dinner early so we could start, and then play team Canasta next. I didn’t know that I’d strain my hamstring as a result of jumping around from side to side during the foursquare game, and that the injury would take the sting out of missing my races. I didn’t know that as a result of being injured, I would see, really see, the gorgeous farmland that is only a mile or two from my house, because I walked it and didn’t run it, and I could hear the birds and the crickets without listening to my headphones. I didn’t know that because I couldn’t run, I’d embark on a mission to build up my core by listening to Cassey Ho, whose blogilates workouts burned and shredded and made me stronger.
I hadn’t known that the kids would laugh good humoredly at me when I turned up the volume and Cassey talked about her wedding stilettos. I hadn’t realized that I was acting just like the middle-aged mom in those Disney movies that we would watch as a family, because during the pandemic, I suddenly realized that the kids were getting older and we only had a little time together, and I was nostalgic and wistful for their childhoods, and they were willing to indulge me now. Maybe they knew I needed it.
I vowed to learn from the pandemic, not to waste any time, and to spend a little more time in thought and to stop worrying about meetings that were unnecessary, pleasing people I didn’t care for anyway. I learned that I could really pare down, I mean really pare down, and that the results of such paring down were good. And then our state moved back into the green zone, and I was elected Treasurer of our state organization, and there I found myself again, calling meetings and generating reports. Were they really necessary? And why was I doing this all over again, when I promised myself I wouldn’t?
So, January, you will not fool me twice. I will not list the things that I will accomplish. I will not have such hubris, such determination and doggedness to get things done. Besides, I learned a few things with my new companion, Curiosity. How did I know that my teenagers would be fun and spend time with us if I only did some of the things that they wanted to do? We learned how to play Canasta. We ate well, shrimp and steak and home-cooked meals, thanks to the others who had cleaned the shelves of pasta and rice when we all thought that the world was ending.
The Fates and January 2021, you wanted me to learn that I am more than my marathons, that our family vacations are just the mode of spending time together. My page is blank and my pen is poised because never before, in my years of writing, had I spent time on who I really wanted to be. I was always preoccupied with the things I wanted to do. January, you will not dupe me this year. I am looking out at the bright blue sky. I will be curious. I will be courageous. I will be flexible. I will be appreciative. Take that, Fates, I think to myself as I see the sun glinting off the sparkling snow, lying on the front yard. I put my pen to paper and I start to write.
Have you believed in God?
Have you ever seen the Rockies?
Have you ever seen the waves
of the Atlantic crash against cragged rocks?
Have you ever seen lightening strike,
lone zigzaggedy yellow streak across and grey sky,
then fiery contact, while the whole world shakes?
Have you ever watched a Robin rebreast feathering her nest,
or seen a tiny bunny waiting for its mother in long grass?
Have you ever canoed quietly through a marshy lake,
silently seen a female moose, eating green moss
and you glide past?
Have you ever wondered why everything is symmetrical, except perhaps the heart?
Have you ever believed in God?
How sad if not.
It has been said that the heavens declare his righteousness and that all the peoples see his glory and brilliance.
If this is true, are we choosing to ignore him?
Then, there is the story of Moses and the burning bush. That when he, Moses, was instructed to tell the Hebrews to follow The God, Moses asked, "Who should I say sent me?" God replie with, "I Am." No other explanation given.
Flash-forward to the new testament. Enter Jesus. The one time that we see any hint of The God is when Jesus goes to the river to be baptized. As Jesus resurfaces, The Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove and a voice from heaven says, "This is my son, with whom I am well pleased."
Later, when the religious community and the teachers of the law demand a sign from Jesus as proof of legitimacy, Jesus replies with, "No sign, but the sign of Jonah shall be given."
God replies with, "I Am."
Jesus replies with, "No sign."
I'm forced to deduce that what we choose to believe is beside the point.
Will we follow?
The writer in YOU
"If you want to write, read." I have read that quote by many different authors, so I'd say it is great advice. I think when you find a book you really connect with, written within those pages may be the style you were meant to write. (Perhaps this applies more to prose than poetry. To be honest, I know nothing about poetry!)
Stephen King takes that quote a step further. "If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."
And isn't that why we are here on prose? Because we want to work at becoming a writer; because we want another set of eyes to read our writing, and read what other aspiring writers have up their sleeve? Don't be afraid to post! If one person likes what you write, it's a win! Just like they say, practice, practice, practice! And then drop it here on prose!
Another Stephan King quote that is almost spiritual in nature really resonates with me:
"Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Getting happy….this book….is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you are brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free, so drink. Drink and be filled…
The reason this resonates so much with me, is because writing has been so beneficial to my mental health, so in a way, prose is a life saver. In every challenge there is a creative test and during that process, stinkin' thinkin' flies out the window. Does it work that way for you?
I primarily enjoy the writing style of stream of consciousness and short fiction, first person, with a satirical slant. My personal tips are a work in progress all the time and are as follows:
Formulate your ideas, and find a WOW first sentence. Make the reader want to read more with every sentence.
Find an authentic voice for your protagonist. Become the protagonist. Act out the scene in your mind as you write by asking what-if's.
Think about the reader when you write. Make them feel emotionally connected.
Create a rhythm with your words.
Play with vocabulary and metaphors.
Keep it fun! Many of us have addictive tendencies. Don't obsess! If something really isn't working for you, drop it, at least for a period of time. But that doesnt mean to give up either. There is a fine line. Know the fine line.
Writing began for me by landing here on prose a couple of years ago. My first post was simple in structure and composition. It was @sandflea68 and @Mnezz that were the first prosers to come take a look and press the like button. I thought I had landed on the moon! A heartfelt thanks to them both and for all the other amazing writers here on prose that have taken the time to take a peek at my writing. You are my virtual family!
Ah, memes - the Gen Z edition of conveying one’s sense of humor.
A great invention, I might say.
The image, coupled with a witty caption and/or reimagined context, provides an inside look into the mind of the creator by conveying their unique blend of visual and semantic associations to the masses. With the ongoing global pandemic, what better way is there to share jokes than through posting intricately-crafted memes?
Well, there’s the issue of genuine human connection, or lack thereof.
Quarantine has led me to me realize that relating to and laughing at memes only create the illusion that we are understood within the wider community, or in other words, it’s only a pseudo-connection.
A proper meme should contain a joke, often a remark regarding a photo or video. The text either embeds the joke in the frame of reference or strips the image of its context altogether. Regardless, a functional meme should provide sufficient context for the audience to grasp the creator’s comedic vision of the given scenario. Whether or not a meme caters to the viewer’s sense of humor, it was created with the intent of it being understood. So no, you aren’t special for getting the joke.
Unlike with a riddle told manually, the recipient of a meme, in most cases, is sat alone in their room, scrolling through social media at a time they probably shouldn’t be. Identifying with the creator and comments doesn’t mean you’re laughing with other people, it means you have a brain. Your brain works and you’ve just viewed something that people find funny. One can also compare this analogy to other forms of media and ask, So what’s the difference? Literature, film, theatre, etc. are bound to invoke richer discussion unlike most memes, which often invoke nothing more than a nose-huff of laughter and a double-tap at best. Memes are addicting, but are they worth our time?
Sharing memes with one another, however, is a different story. Similar to discussing common interests, the back-and-forth sending of memes has the potential to reinforce existing relationships and add a fresh dimension to both monotonous and prosperous ones alike.
Once in a while, I still allow myself to wallow in the cesspool of memes that is my Instagram feed - and by once in a while, I mean one hour maximum per day. Maybe.
With these revelations in mind, though, I have to remind myself that the resulting illusion of human connection may be preventing me from reaching out to people I know during quarantine. I’ve found that the healthiest way for me to devour memes as I please is to forward my favorites to a friend and start a conversation rather than scrolling past right away :)
The faint suspecting winter melon scent vibrated at a frequency, aspiring to tingle my nostrils at dawn as i was attempting to break free from a dream that painted my town red with silver hues, a combination that does not please the colour wheel from what i envisioned. Quickly grabbing the straps of my partial hooked vintage bra, I released them with a snap that painfully scratched my exhausted shoulders from all the tossing and turning on my foam stiff mattress that felt like a hundred years old. My reminder alarm went off within seconds and caught me off guard producing a memory tunnel back to the terrible mistake i tasted last night.
Sophie Stockton - Girl Next Door
The ironic fixation on the words of a fixated lunatic,
It was men who created virginity not women,
Now dancing in my head with every new encounter.
The word attracts men like flies to shit,
Praise flows like blood from their mouths.
"That must be hard, with all the temptation,
Do you want to lose it? I'll show you."
Excalibur has nothing on a woman's V-card,
And lines around the world pop up, eagerly
Awaiting a chance to try their hand and take
What they don't deserve and shouldn't have.
The desperation makes any fraction of a chance
Dry up and disappear, though it never stops,
No one ever stops trying for something.
I don't lie because there's no need to lie about gold.
No one pretends they don't have something sacred
Even if it no longer feels sacred once everyone knows.
Once people are pining to take what you have,
What wasn't precious to begin feels cumbersome.
Someone's ass falls onto the oyster and the pearl
Quivers and begs to be safe again, free from pressure.
You can't pry open an oyster and expect more than a glob,
And if you give up something before its time,
It will be a tchotchke in someone's closet, collecting dust.
Yet, the longer you hold something perceived as valuable,
The more people come racing, begging for it.
It can get "too old", with the cobwebs hiding the beauty
And the lack of outsiders constantly evaluating its worth.
My card is chained around my neck, glimmering,
Winking at those who want it but never leaving me.
I don't know what I'll feel when I finally lose it
And some asshole has it collecting dust with his others.
Maybe I fear that the white will never be the same
Once it has been used and soiled for the first time.
Maybe no one will come around anymore and marvel,
Maybe there will be no more arms to break afterward.
Maybe I won't care because it will go to someone special,
Or maybe I won't care because the weight is off of me.
I Need My Bestfriend
I wiped off the sweat that was dripping down my forehead. My grip was tight and my hands were shaky. My vision was blurry and my heartbeat was frenzied. I didn’t know if I could even move past this. Every ounce of my being was holding up red flags about what I was attempting to do. My head was pounding with the danger of losing all of its brain cells.
It was like a million hours before I finally mustered just enough courage to face my nightmare...
...my math homework.
I shivered in fear of the dreaded task. I know math homeworks are almost every student’s fear, but I have a harder time than most.
I believe I should be diagnosed with mathhomeworkophobia with the level of aversion I have with that torture. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are doctors for that sort of thing so I’ll just have to settle for self-diagnosis.
I think I first showed symptoms of mathhomeworkophobia when I was doing my first math homework. At first, I thought I was doing well. The next day when I passed it to the teacher, I realised I wasn’t.
In the beginning, I wasn’t fazed with the bullying. I thought that if I’d try harder and harder I would get things right, and I did get things right, but it was too late.
I was a very slow learner. I was always a year behind my classmates’ math level. I eventually gave up trying to catch up to them and I think my parents are used to see me fail math.
Unfortunately, time came and I had to not fail math or else I would be kicked out of school. Fortunately, I had a very helpful math whiz friend. She always let me copy her homework and would find ways to send me the answers to the tests. She is an absolute pro at helping cheaters. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend.
My miraculous improvement in Math made me a superstar. My parents were dumbfounded and my teachers were impressed. I felt happy that they were finally proud of me even though I didn’t deserve all of their awe.
I owed it all to my best friend.
I was doing well and finally learning to adjust to Math. I guess I was actually learning something from all that copying. All was swell until a tragic day came... my best friend had to move away.
I was on my own.
That was why I am now dreading doing my math homework. If I got it all wrong, I would be more of a laughing stock than I was before my best friend helped me. I couldn’t afford that. How could I show my face to my classmates and family? I would be the black sheep again.
I guess I’ll have to resort to “extreme” measures which I do not know If I will come out of alive.
Launching Operation: Overcome Mathhomeworkophobia.
Phase 1: Studying
Joy vs. Happiness
Happiness is when
He likes me!
Joy is when
he calls you
I love you.
Lonely in this cell,
this cell that I cannot leave.
The key is in my hand,
but I hide it away from my heart,
my mind, and my soul.
edge away from the door,
as something passes by
that I've never seen before.
It holds them, my heart, in it's hands,
but I can't leave,
not that anyone understands!
I am in the back of my cell,
my ears plugged for the screaming.
To put their lives over mine?
Quit your dreaming.
but, hey, for now, I live.