December, 2011Archive

Dec 22

what was my process in writing this long-short story?

since I wouldn’t call the story conventional, I’d have to say that writing was the same. to be honest, this was what I was waiting for the whole year, the reason I signed up for the class. I wanted to be creative with my writing. I believe I achieved that to some degree.

I think I was trying to write the way I talk, which can read badly, so maybe that was reflected in the story. Like the fairy tales we read for class, I was inspired to bring my own twist to storytelling. I wanted it to sound like me, without actually being “me” if that makes any sense. I was having a conversation with my friends while trying to think of a story topic when I realized that I should just write about a situation where I can write about a group of friends. I wanted to show them together, how they interacted with each other with dialogue, and then break them into individuals & show their inner monologues as well. You mentioned in one of your comments that my generation is trying to sort of reinvent the word “neurotic”. You might be right, but I feel like it’s not just how we question ourselves and our relationships, it’s also about how we’re trying to be two things at once: to be part of a group, a unit, and also trying to carve out our own individual personalities and selves, both from that group and from the world in general. Sorry for getting philosophical!

Is the story a little slang- heavy? Yes. But I think that’s the best thing about it. I took your advice and changed the screenplay-bullet point form of dialogue to hopefully make it more readable (for everyone). I also hope the slang doesn’t detract from the overall story (or stories, as it were). The feeling I tried to convey through the slang was one of friendship, plain and simple. There were no secret messages between characters in any of the curse words (sorry for the language). It may not be a story for readers of a certain age, but I think the most relatable part of it is the theme of being part of a group, a gang, a unit, a clique, a circle- whatever the time period, whatever you want to call it. I just like to see the way friends talk to each other, because it’s always unique and entertaining, and lifting the veil to that world feels like I’m uncovering secrets, or in-the-know about something. Does any of that make sense?

In short, I was excited to do this exercise, I enjoyed doing it, and I hope it came out okay. I just want to add that writing it was a miracle itself, and deserves a little story itself: a few posts into my story I started having trouble with my computer, which was nothing new since it crashed on me too many times since the day I got it no more than 3 years ago. There was some unholy jingling sound happening every time I picked it up. But it still worked, which was too important with finals coming up so I ignored it, until one day it didn’t jingle and also didn’t turn on. I didn’t panic yet. I sent it to the computer geniuses and waited. I wasn’t expecting them to tell me that it was unfixable. Then I panicked. We’ve heard the sob story before: “I had everything on my laptop!” this goes to include my slang- ridden short story. Holiday miracle!: I have some very nice friends. Friends who would put up with my vegetarian experiment blog post recipes (and melt downs). Friends who listened to me whine about my horrible poems. Friends who inspired me to write them into infamy in short stories. Friends who took time from their hectic finals study time to let me use their computers to piece back together my short story. Friends: you guys deserve an A.

One last thing:

I want to thank you, professor, for your encouragement. You were a model for me in learning how to give criticism in the most positive, talent channeling, problem solving way. Thank you for laughing and not laughing at the right times, and for being patient with me and everyone else. Thank you for putting up with my cover letter confessions, and for seeing more potential in me than I saw in myself. (sorry for getting sentimental!)

Thank you!

Dec 21

 

I rode the subway in London once. They call it the “Tube” there. I sat next to a young gentleman wearing a London sweatshirt. “It really stinks in here,” he said to me, for some reason, smiling. “I hadn’t noticed any smell,” I said, covering my nose with my scarf. He laughed at this gesture, and pulled his sweatshirt up to cover his nose, too. Over the course of another two stops, I learned that the young man was named Kentucky, studying abroad for the summer, and like me was not keen on the combination of B.O. and stale farts. He had jet black hair cut close to his head, dark brown eyes, a perpetual smile, and a short, straight nose, that I dismissed as puny, telling him he couldn’t really smell what was going on in the train with such a small nose, compared to mine that could rival Cyrano de Bergerac’s and was getting the full force of the smell. He laughed at this too, and described to me the noxious gas floating around us.

We had become partners in crime. Our eyes and noses moved around the car and we quietly described to each other what stench each person was giving off like we were naming each taste our palettes could pick up on a plate of gourmet shit. There was the Indian man to our right, who provided the curry powder and body odor smell. There was the Russian tourist to our left who had never heard of deodorant. There was the English businessman on top of us who had a flatulence problem. The foulest smelling cuisine from all over the world was concentrated in our little train car.

At Liverpool Street there was a great exchange of people and even some fresh air. Kentucky and I watched as the Indian man and Russian tourist exited the train, only to be replaced by 4 Italian teenagers with matching orange backpacks. I watched the teens for a reaction to the smell, but was intercepted by Kentucky who had started to ask me questions about New York. Where in New York did I live? Do I take the subway often? Does it smell this bad? Do people in New York have cars? Do I have a car? All of these questions were distracting me from trying to figure out where the damn smell was coming from. I answered his questions mechanically, suspiciously eyeing a passenger every time I caught a whiff of something rotten. Kentucky kept at the questions, until the blaring sound of an ipod (probably to block out Kentucky’s annoying voice) caught us both off guard. The song in question was some kind of rap- rock- metal fusion that can only be achieved through making your own bad demo tape. “It’s so loud,” said Kentucky, once again pointing out obvious facts.

I had enough of the whole scene: The smells, the sounds, and the sight of Kentucky’s stupid smile at all of it. I was itching –literally- to get out of the Tube. The sound of the automated woman on the loud speaker was never so sweet when she announced that we were approaching Mile End station. I couldn’t jump out of my seat faster, and knocked into one of the Italian teens who said something derogatory to me in Italian, or at least I think he did, because he made a ride gesture with his hand afterward. I was happy to be getting out of there. I pressed myself against the door like a parachuter preparing to jump, and gave one last glance to the train. I met eyes with Kentucky, who had lost his smile and felt a pang of sadness at leaving him alone to deal with the entity that was the smell of the train.

The doors opened and fresh air rushed into me, making my clothes fly back upon the impact. I was out! I was free! I ran up the Tube stairs with a gusto that I didn’t know I had in me. I was renewed and joyous! I wanted to run through the streets preaching the goodness of fresh air to strangers, sucking in the untainted oxygen molecules like a cocaine addict. As soon as I got back to the hotel, I ran to tell my friend of the new and exciting drug I discovered. I burst the door open and was about to take a breath of air when she sniffed, frowned and covered her nose. In a disgusted voice she said, “What the hell is that smell?!”

I only vaguely remember what happened next. Who punched whom. Who yelled about personal space and hygiene to the other. What I definitely remember was the 40 minute shower where I washed everything twice, my hair 3 times. The clothes I burned. Then calm fell over me until I recalled that I had to go to Waterloo Station the next day. shit.

Dec 21

blogger’s preface:

this is cutting edge stuff. this is Pulitzer prize worthy, war ending, Nobel peace winning, piece(s) of literature. and i’m only saying that half ironically (the other half is also ironic, as it will be blatantly clear to the {unlucky} reader of this short story that I am no Shakespeare, no Hemingway, no author of any kind- but it was fun to pretend to be try it out [and do a horrible job of it].

one more thing- as I fiddled and toyed with the order of each story, I realized it didn’t really matter where any of them where placed, i.e., the reader can read the stories in any order that want, the meaning of any of the monologues or dialogues won’t be effected. maybe they’ll have new meanings? I wrote hyper fiction by accident, do I get any extra credit for that?

 

 

The Restaraunt

“It’s hot as balls in here” Janie declared, her black cashmere scarf snaked around her chafed neck as she struggled with sweaty hands.

“It’s not that hot, you’re not dying” Arin shot back, a sour twitch of her lip told how annoyed she was.

“That was a great call, it really is just a butler that googles things for you” Mike said, continuing his favorite conversation, which always led Janie into her favorite conversation, one that included her and Mike.

“When did Google become an action? If I said to my great grandparents ‘I’m gonna go Google it’ they would flip their shit. Like with their gray hair and glasses and stuff just being like ‘what is that? Some sex thing?’” Janie did her best impression of two old Jews from Brooklyn and Mike laughed. Their mirrored smiles were making Arin feel left out. She hated third wheel situation and feeling left out. Something needed to be screamed. Tension needed to be broken- or created- she didn’t know which one, but something involving her had to happen.

“What happened when you were waiting for me at the library this morning?” shouted Arin across the table.

“Where all the magic happens?” said Mike, eyebrows snaking up and down his forehead.

“What happened?” asked Janie

“I’ll tell you what this gentleman told me”, said Arin, taking on a formal air in her voice, and flinging her long blonde hair at Mike. “He was at the library late last night, when suddenly he looks up and sees the most beautiful young woman in the world,”

“She had really nice tits” said Mike with an exaggerated wink.

“So he goes over to her and says ‘can I borrow your calculator?’ and he takes it and graphs her a flower” finished Arin, who also made sure to act out the whole scene for Janie’s benefit.

“You graphed her a flower? Why don’t you just graph her a picture of your vagina?” said Janie. Then realizing this might have been going a little too far, punctuated her remark with a creepy smile and a nervous laugh. She looked down. She felt awkward. She thought of Devo and one hit wonders. She didn’t want to be a one hit wonder. She didn’t like those red ice cream cone hats they wore. Janie didn’t want this conversation to be one big awkward Devo song that people would listen to and VH1 would make fun of, years later. Seeing herself spiral into a black hole of awkward nostalgia, Janie looked up again, determined to appear normal. “So what happened next?”

“I got her number! Cr-ack that whip!” Mike did his best Devo impression, which was not impressive, but almost made Janie cry and laugh, which made Arin laugh, which made for a nice ending to an episode of the Cosby Show.

“True story” Arin finished.

 

Mike’s Story

Stale air.

Contents: hot breath, muffled coughs, wet coats, and the occasional whiff of matured fart. Checked my phone again for the time- 4 o’clock, one bar battery left. Pushing it away made that annoying, ear clawing scraping noise that brought eyes in my direction. ‘Where is that noise coming from?’ Looked around like, ‘it wasn’t me, but I need to stare at whoever it was’ and then-

We made eye contact. I stared too much and she looked away, preoccupied with her work.

I saw the calculator and had an idea- nay, a grand idea! Today I am a man. Today I am confidant. Today I have balls the size of my fists, the size of the pot brownies I had last night for dinner for funsies.

Went over to her, special swagger reserved for being a pimp. “Can I borrow your calculator for a minute?”

It was too easy. Who says math nerds don’t have game? Who’s got two thumbs and mad- good pickup skills? This guy.

Later I might realize that graphing a flower is a total pussy move. Later I might shit myself worrying I was too forward, too aggressive. Later arin might call me a creep, and I might tell her (politely) to go fuck herself. Now, I am a romantic. If I could graph a sonnet, a ballad, a box of chocolates, I’d be freakin’ Cyrano De Bergerac-ing all over this shit.

She laughed at the flower. That was to be expected. I went for it: “can I have your number?”

I got it!

P-I-m-p.

 

Janie’s Story

It was so cold outside. The mixture of dewy after- rain and wind slapped around my face and neck as I looked up at the tree by my apartment. The last few orange leaves fell daintily before me and I felt like a younger version of myself. Myself, in my bright pink winter coat, daisy printed pants, blowsy black hair tied back in a messy ponytail in the fall of ’96. I was still in Boston with Felicia, matching friendship bracelets around our wrists, playing with our favorite barbies in my old yard. I liked to pretend my yard was a mini forest; the trees so tall and so many that I could jump into a pile of leaves and hide there with Barbie, waiting for Felicia to come steamrolling through and jump out at her, giving her baby- high blood pressure. She was such a Chuckie, as in 90s Nickolodeon, Rugrats scaredy-cat Chuckie.  Not to be confused with the abandoned doll that murders people.  Red hair, anal retentive little baby girl. Translation: my best friend forever. I was in that phase of childhood where it was really cool to scare people by shouting “doody!” at them. ‘Doody’ was a game changer in ’96. Budding comedienne that I was, I had the scoop on all the buzzwords at the time, those words mostly being bathroom related. So yes, I was (am?) pretty cool.

That little reverie of my childhood made me, like, 5 minutes late for class. My nose was running all over my face, and I kept having to wipe it on my sleeve, like a nerd. If this was still 1996, they’d be calling me booger face. And I’d be crying. Game over.

So I speed-walked my way to school, wind whipping at me hard, and I kept thinking ‘you’re not Devo, wind! You can’t whip it!’ which made me laugh. I made a mental note to say that to Mike later. Dude loves Devo. And I love dude. And then I got a nervous feeling, because I’m in love with Mike. Ooh. Awkward feelings. Friends don’t let friends profess their love to each other over Devo jokes. Not cool.

 

Arin’s Story

The only thing I hate more than waiting is having to wait alone. Standing, staring out at into space, shuffling feet, counting blinks; it’s so fucking boring. My only consolation was that the nice old lady to my left gave me not one, but TWO dirty looks. Wait, did I say consolation? I meant pain in my ass.

Awful, awful day! I always wait till the last minute to start studying for something, and now I’ve screwed myself. Worse still, I know Mike is waiting for me at the library, probably just sitting there, smelling things. Is that a problem, like ADHD? A person will stop a conversation to smell his fingers, rattle off the scents and go back to talking about the wonders of Google. Nerd alert! He’s gonna have to wait for me. Alone, helpless little baby Mike, twiddling his thumbs in the middle of the library like a nerd (alert). And then he’ll ask where Janie is because she’s always late and he always asks where she is. It’s so tiring when two friends don’t have the balls to stop beating around the fucking bush and just go have sex too the [awful] soundtrack of “Whip It” by Devo.

STOP LOOKING AT ME OLD LADY! I know you’re old and you’re bones are brittle, and you have saggy skins under your eyes that makes you look like a sad hound dog, and your groceries are so heavy, and it sucks to take the bus, and you can remember when it only cost a nickel, and the youth today don’t speak correctly and dress like whores, but godammit, keep your dirty looks to yourself! I hate waiting.

 

Dec 06

It was so cold outside. The mixture of dewy after- rain and wind slapped around my face and neck as I looked up at the tree by my apartment. The last few orange leaves fell daintily before me and I felt like a younger version of myself. Myself, in my bright pink winter coat, daisy printed pants, blowsy black hair tied back in a messy ponytail in the fall of ’96. I was still in Boston with Felicia, matching friendship bracelets around our wrists, playing with our favorite barbies in my old yard. I liked to pretend my yard was a mini forest, the trees so tall and so many that I could jump into a pile of leaves and hide there with Barbie, waiting for Felicia to come steamrolling through and jump out at her, giving her baby- high blood pressure. She was such a Chucky- like rugrats Chucky. Red hair, anal retentive, hypochondria little baby girl. Translation: my best friend forever. I was in that phase of childhood where it was really cool to scare people by shouting “doody!” at them. ‘Doody’ was a game changer in ’96. Budding comedienne that I was, I had the scoop on all the buzzwords at the time, those words mostly being bathroom related. So yes, I was (am?) pretty cool.

That little reverie of my childhood made me like, 5 minutes late for class. My nose was running all over my face, and I kept having to wipe it on my sleeve, like a nerd. If this was still 1996, they’d be calling me booger face. And I’d be crying. Game over.

So I speed-walked my way to school, wind whipping at me hard, and I kept thinking ‘you’re not Divo, wind! You can’t whip it!’ which made me laugh. I made a mental note to say that to Mike later. Dude loves Divo. And I love dude. And then I got a nervous feeling, because I’m in love with Mike. Ooh. Awkward feelings. Friends don’t let friends profess their love to each other over Divo jokes. Not cool.

Dec 06

Stale air.

Contents: hot breath, muffled coughs, wet coats, and the occasional whiff of matured fart. Checked my phone again for the time- 4 o’clock, one bar battery left. Pushing it away made that annoying, ear clawing scraping noise that brought eyes in my direction. ‘where is that noise coming from?’ Looked around like, ‘it wasn’t me, but I need to stare at whoever it was’ and then-

We made eye contact. I stared too much and she looked away, preoccupied with her work.

I saw the calculator and had an idea- nay, a grand idea! today i am a man. today i am confidant. today i have balls the size of my fists, the size of the pot brownies i had last night for funsies.

went over to her, special swagger reserved for being a pimp. “can i borrow your calculator for a minute?”

it was too easy. who says math nerds don’t have game? who’s got two thumbs and mad- good pickup skills? this guy.

later i might realize that graphing a flower is a total pussy move. later i might shit myself worrying i was too forward, too aggressive. later arin might call me a creep, and i might tell her (politely) to go fuck herself. now, i am a romantic. if i could graph a sonnet, a ballad, a box of chocolates, i’d be freakin’ Cyrano De Bergerac-ing all over this shit.

she laughed at the flower. that was to be expected. i went for it: “can i have your number?”

i got it!

p-i-m-p.

 

 

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