Sunday, March 05, 2006

Begin

Within each of us there is an inner voice. It sits back as the daily toil is taken on by a more conscience mind. Or maybe there are more voices that come to the bottleneck, yet choke on expression. Maybe they are simply dreams, playing out in our thoughts or our hearts.

These voices and dreams maybe nothing more than fantasies spawned by people we know or see on the street. Sometimes they come together and tell their stories. Then other times they are lost like the wind.

Some of the most valuable lessons we learn come from imagining situations, people, and creating the personalities we wish we knew or wish we were led by. Movies and TV shows depict our nation's leaders with the characters full of integrity and sense of right without hesitation.

Smiles are brought to our lips and tears to our eyes by the warmth and strength of the human spirit. Here is to dreams, voices, and mostly to imagination that brings life to this world.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

This is a gift that I have, simple, simple- a foolish
extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects,
ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions. These
are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the
womb of pia matter, and delivered upon the
mellowing of occasion

William Shakespeare
Love's Labour's Lost, IV, ii


Laying my hand upon her's, I thought of the years we spent laughing, planning, fighting, and dreaming. But my life had taken me away from her, and her's away from me. Her smile was still familiar, and her eyes still shined, but I saw something different in them that I could not remember when we were younger. Her spirit both lifted me and sent me crashing down. She could make my day and ruin my week. She thought I was a roller coaster and wanted something much more calm and stable. I thought that was what I offered. She did not agree. As my first love, I held her high but in the end I took a different road. The tears in her eyes that day I will never forget, although I have somehow forgotten things that made me love her. Care for her I will always do, love her I do no more.

Loving her was a thing. It was not an unending action or a verb. My feelings changed as did her's. But I took from her love many wonderful things as I know she took from mine. So now I tell her good bye. I let go of her hand and I watch her walk away. I may see her again and then I may not. But in my heart I will remember the girl who came in and out of my life like the changing of the tides.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

On the Written Word

"As a writer, I don't think it's my responsibility to make a point. I just write and hope there's someone who'll like it."

-Tama Janowitz, known for her stylish stories

So many tastes, so little time. Know your audience, choose your words wisely, be interesting, sing off the page. These are a lot of things for someone to remember when they are putting down the swell of ideas in their head on paper, or the computer screen.

Who would want to read stories about bizarre brides or struggling musicians? We do. We, being writers, whether real or pretend. I am completely fascinated by people. By what they do, what they like, where they are from, who do they know, what do they read, or listen to? I think people are interesting. I watch them selecting heads of lettuce in the market. I see them waiting for buses or trains with their ipods and backpacks. I sit in on meetings with them and work with them. I meet them, becomes friends with them, or never know them at all, only know one brief moment they lived in front of me. So, I take a tiny piece and make it something new. I give it a different color, turn it a different direction, and let it take on a life of its own.

So, we practice a craft that belongs to us all, for even if you do not write or want to, you love to read and read you will do some more.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My First Try At Being A Bridesmaid

This is dedicated to Allie for providing her Ya-Yas with a journal to record all of our wonderful experiences as bridesmaids..... Joyfully, we have a collection of good, bad and ugly bridesmaid dresses.

I just did not know....

My first try at a being a bridesmaid was a pastel pink, chiffon affair. To top it off I was the maid of honor, which I really had no idea what that was about. In honor of the special title I came up with my maid of honor mantra- "Fluff and Follow". That is because my role the entire weekend was to fluff and follow the bride. My girlfriend selected a wedding dress of Cinderella proportions. As her dutiful maid of honor I was to make sure the dress was fluffed at all times and never positioned in any awkward ways.

The months leading up to the wedding were interesting. I had never been a bridesmaid before so I was not real sure what I should or should not be doing. Thanks to my mom, I did not miss the beat on giving a shower. I was still in school when my girlfriend married, so two weeks after school was out, my mom and I gave her a tea. It was complete with paper wedding bells, streamers and flowers. It may have been the late 1990's but someone forgot to remind me of that when I picked paper wedding bells to hang from the ceiling. Ouch.

The tea was nice, the crowd was intimate and the gifts... Well, the gifts my mom and I gave were the only ones that came from the registry.... That again, was another thing my mom made sure I did. Buy from the registry.

In no time we were two months away from the wedding. Now we would be planning a bachelorette party. Thanks to the movies and TV shows we were all under the impression that the bachelorette party was supposed to be a little naughty. Not only had I never been a bridesmaid or maid of honor before, I had not thrown a bachelorette party. Thankfully there were a couple of other bridesmaids who had done this. Since were want the bride's sister-in-laws to be part of this party, we decided to have the bachelorette party on the Thursday before the wedding. Interesting how things happen because the bachelor party ended up being the same night. We took the bride to a shady establishment that I am still scarred from and drove her back to the apartment that she and her husband were going to share. The boys were supposed to be at a hotel, but to our great dismay, they showed up around 2 AM after a night at an establishment that was more shady than ours'. Our bride was lucky, she came home a little totsey and with everything she left with. Her future husband- not so lucky. He came into the apartment with 5 drunk groomsmen who were as drunk as he was, missing his underwear because it was ripped off and wearing a new t-shirt. The bridesmaids were not happy, the bride took it completely in stride.... As she did everything else that weekend. She was amazing.

So, I fluffed and followed that weekend, caught up with some old friends and dropped my second bouquet. Yes, at that time I was doing my best to stay away from catching bridal bouquets. But the weddings to follow, I learned so much more before I was a bride myself.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Wash Away

Vacations are for relaxing, fun and rejuvenating the spirit. They are meant for washing away stress from work, life and home. They are meant to fill family photo albums with memories cherished forever.

Of all the things this July 4th holiday did, it certainly washed away the junk and film that has been growing on me like old moss.

My husband, Greg's family has some young children who I just adore. Christian and Abigail are his cousin's little ones. They are seven and three. My husband's uncle also has a step daughter, Alex. She is eleven and she has been taking gymnastics for as long as I have known her. Alex's cousin from her mother's side, Kristin joined us as well. The usual suspects, my sister and brother-in-law had other engagements for the weekend, so we were without our usual sidekicks. Not to fear, all the kiddos helped us fill our days and then some.

I spent a lot of time this weekend taking each child for a spin in the tube while I pulled them by jet ski. I am one who loves speed so it took a lot of restraint for me to pull each youngster at a respectable speed. When we were not riding the tube we were challenging each other at the dock. My husband taunted and tossed poor Christian in the lake time after time. Abigail, the three year old just learned to swim this summer so she would jump off of the dock and speed swim to the ladder to safety. She had no problems at all when it came to pushing me into the lake. If I had been smart I would have pulled her in with me as Greg did Christian.

Of all the things that really sank into me was how carefree each child was. They were so comfortable in their own little bodies. They were not examining their chubby little bellies and hiding under moo-moos. They ran, jumped and played with an unknowing confidence of youth. I envied them, therefore I joined them. By joining them I washed away the weight that builds when it comes to nurturing a career. I was given a brief glimpse at the fun father my husband will be. I released laughter and squeals I have not used in some time. I washed away every day drudge that left a still youthful woman searching for her next adventure.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Things That Can Be

There was no way to know at the time how Hannah would change or affect our group. Her strength was so refreshing. There was an overwhelming desire for her to reach out and demonstrate how to stare down our demons, dry our tears and realize our dreams. There were days that clicked along like clockwork. Those days seemed smooth and we felt in control. But, when the storms rolled in we wanted to drop all of the pieces and start over again. It all became so clear to us once we looked inside ourselves.

Hannah seemed to float on the outside of things at first and one day she became the center of what was going on in our lives. We could probably all list moments or events when we realized that Hannah was so close to our lives. What seemed so simple, became the most profound.

Barb was calling Toni for the fifth time that day. Barb thought her lecture should be over by now. Maybe they could go for coffee, see a movie, or go to the book store. Anything to get Barb’s mind off the bottle of vodka she was desperately trying not to want. All she had to do was not drink, not blame everyone but herself and stay from her drunk husband. She asked Jason to leave on Friday. Today was Monday and the empowering feeling she had this weekend was quickly beginning to fade.

Friday, July 02, 2004

More draft for "Class Never Ends"
“Stella, is everything okay?”
“Yes”, I answered. “I was checking out this gray hair I found.”
“What gray hair? I have never seen a gray hair on you.”

I opened the door and pointed to my head, “Look, right here.”
“I don’t see it.”
“Well, I guess it was the lighting.”

Great recovery, I thought. Now what? All of a sudden I wanted Amrick to go home. Why did he have to stay here so much? Why could I not take a bubble bath and relax, then crawl into bed, alone. I felt like I was being smothered. I had to do something to be alone for a while. “I am going to get some water and check for a file I am waiting for. Go on to bed, you do not need to wait for me.”

“Well, I wanted to. It just us not the same to go to bed without you.”
“I will be in shortly.”
“Promise?”
“Promise.”

I walked into the dining area that I had converted into an office and wondered what Amrick would do of I slept out here? Would he wake me up, carry me to bed, or be upset? I could not answer for sure what he would do. I was not even sure if I really knew him. Or, was it that I did not know me? That was not it. Something has changed and maybe it was me. But, I was beginning to feel that it was Amrick. Things were not right between us.

I was really trying to figure out where this all started. I think it was my ten year class reunion. I had been so excited about it. I built up the whole night in my mind for weeks. I was going to ignore the fact that my career at a middle level ad agency was not all I wanted it to be and the reason I lived in a seven hundred square foot condo was because I was hardly ever home. And besides, what would I do with all of that space even if I did have it? I used a futon for a couch of heavens sake. I just bought my first bedroom suit at a huge Rooms To Go sale. Regardless, I planned to glide into my ten-year reunion glowing and happy. I was looking forward to reuniting with some old friends and hoping to find out that my high school crush, Chase Baldwin, was no longer the tall, handsome, basketball player he was in school. But, rather I hope to find him out of shape and very unhappy. I planned to have a great time and just go away feeling very good about the path my life was taking.

This is the point where I realized the director in my life yelled, “CUT! This is all wrong. This night cannot be smooth. We need some drama! Amrick, act insecure and embarrass Stella any chance you get. And make sure Chase finds out Stella had a huge crush on him in high school. And someone, please get into a fight. We all know a reunion is nothing without a good fist fling.”

Alright, so there was no fight, but Amrick certainly did a fine job of embarrassing me. We had arrived at the country club ever so fashionably late, but without being completely noticed. We scanned the room and got a cocktail. I turned my attention to the door just long enough to see one of my old yearbook staff members walk in with her husband and she was in a very pregnant state. No sooner had I had the change to greet them and introduce Amrick, when Chase strolled in. He immediately caught my eye and some where deep down those old butterflies found their way out. Not only did he not look out of shape, he certainly did not look unhappy. He was joined by a tall, slender red head and my heart just sank. Why? I was dating someone, why couldn’t he? Besides, I was not here to hook up, anyway.

This is the moment when everything seemed to change. Chase and his red head approached us and I instantly tried to turn on my charm. “Chase! I knew that was you. Stella Carey, I believe we had English together.”

“Yes, and Algebra as well. Great to see you, Stella. This is Julie Thomas.”

“Chase! Chase Baldwin! Stella had a huge crush on you in high school. She was sure she was going to marry you. That was why her friends referred to her as Mrs. B.”

“I remember that. I thought they called her that because she loved basketball.”

“No, just you. Funny how life changes.”

So, Amrick did a wonderful job of starting the night off for me. Here was his chance to make a good impression and he embarrasses me. Unfortunately for me, the night did not get better for me from there. Amrick managed to mention to the homecoming queen that I put a certain picture of her in the yearbook because I thought it made her look fat. At this point I did not want to be around him, but I could not leave him alone. Things were not turning out as I thought they would.

I shook my head to rid the memory and I poured a glass of water. I walked to my laptop and started it up. Maybe I could make a little head way on my new account. I opened my email and saw a message from CBaldwin. The subject read, “Coffee?” I lost my breath for a moment. After hearing more embarrassing stories at our reunion about how I practiced writing my name as Stella Baldwin, I thought for sure he took me for a silly, love struck girl. But silly, love struck girls do not drink coffee, at least not with the star high school basketball player.