Friday, December 26, 2008

Um, Hi

Yeah, it's been a while. Internet access is limited. Tomorrow I'm headed to a tiny little town in Louisiana, where my grandmother grew up. Could be rather interesting or painfully boring, and I hope for the former. Anyway, since I don't feel capable of putting together several paragraphs of coherent thought, here is my Twitter-style post.

- Why am I going to bed past midnight if I'm not studying for finals?

- Many people have mistaken Daniel (aka The Democrat). He is a great guy. Who also found my blog. So, Daniel, if you're reading this, now you know what I think of you :D

- 1000 text messages per month is a great Christmas gift.

- Scotch tape is evil.

- Why couldn't the neighbors have decent wi-fi?

- Apple...PC...Apple...PC...

- Facebook and occasional phone conversations are keeping me sane.

- That short story I wrote will probably get posted on the other blog. It's such a thorough blend of fact and fiction one can't tell the two apart, unless one knows the background story, or surmises it from the story. As it involves people I know, and would reveal certain secrets of my own...I'm thinking about it.

- Why do I have weird dreams?

- Why can't Christmas at least be cold? I'll pass on the snow. But 65 degrees? Really?

- I miss college.

- I miss _________ (some of you know the name that goes in this blank...).

- My time online is almost up.

- Note to self: When one is testing a pepper spray tube to ensure it still works, one should relocate oneself to the great outdoors, so remnants of the spray will not fill one's room and make one watery-eyed and prone to fits of coughing.

Hasta luego!

PS - two days ago, I saw a silver Volvo S60 on the road. The license plate:


God help America. No wonder some other nations think we're lunatics.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'll just go ahead and apologize for how negligent I've been in reading blogs. It might not get much better - there's only one computer with internet capability at home. The wi-fi I, uh, borrow, is so weak it isn't worth borrowing. And Starbucks, rip-off artists, charge for their internet. The travesty...

I feel like I should have a lot to say. I do, actually, but little of it should be said, because secrets are meant to be kept, and so I shall keep mine/those entrusted to me. Since that knocks out most of what I've been thinking lately, I'm just going to freewrite a little something fiction for y'all, because it's been ages. Note, I said 'freewrite', which implies zero editing. So don't expect the next Goose Girl, not like I could produce that on a good day...

My brain is frozen. Give me a second. Or better yet, in the comments, leave random suggestions of what to write about for next time. I need help!

The idea banged against its prison door, tucked in a remote corner of M's brain. "Let me out of here! She needs me, alright? It's my job!"

The guard outside laughed. "Yeah, but this is my job."

The idea kicked the door, causing a resonant metallic ring. "You fool! Causing writer's block is no noble task! All it does is make our human frustrated and mopey - it's a total overload of toxic chemicals. Now open this door!"

"Nice try with the toxic chemicals part. I've guarded ideas like you before. They all said the same thing - let me go or the human will get frustrated, blah blah blah. Now keep quiet in there!"

The idea bit its lips and resumed its pacing. Fifteen steps out, fifteen steps back. Almost fifteen and a half if it took tiny steps. It should be able to escape this. It was a grand idea, after all, full of airplanes and car chases and love and adrenaline and fake deaths -

Yes! That was it. The idea threw itself against the door, making choking sounds. "He--elp!" It coughed like a chronic smoker, with a touch of dying pig for emphasis. "I'm d-dying!" The idea continued these contortions for another moment before it heard keys grating in the lock. Covering its smile, the idea flopped onto the floor and twitched as the guard entered. As the guard knelt, the idea spasmed once, released a quavery breath, and went limp.

One hour later, the idea shook off the sheet covering it, swung off the gurney, and hit the morgue floor with a cocky little laugh. Dusting its hands, it surveyed the dead ideas lined on autopsy tables, discerning causes of death (they could be most instrumental in the idea's...ideas). At the third one, it gasped.


The idea stepped back, hands over its mouth. So its human was an idea-killer. It shook its head. So, if its ideas weren't brilliant enough, it would be done away with. The idea trembled and gulped. Then it took a deep breath. It was good enough. It was excellent. The idea was so perfect, in fact, it had to appear before the author's cerebral cortex. Right now.

Leaving behind its momentary suspicions - how could it have been so untrusting of its own magnificence? - the idea strolled out of the morgue toward its human, blindly unaware that its dalliance in the morgue cost him ten minutes, in which time another shining idea arrived before the author...

Okay, that's all my brain is producing today. Hasta luego!

Monday, December 15, 2008

So finals didn't kill me after all...

But they came dang close. And let's not forget the other bizarre and generally awful circumstances that helped them out, such as an injured hamstring (no running for an entire week), strange up-and-down temperatures (allergies!), and a lot of friends going through some serious crap. The weird thing is, all this started on the same day - for everyone. How odd is that?

So...I'm not even sure what to write. For a week straight, I didn't get to bed before 1 am, and two days were closer to 4 am. Some of this had to do with school. Some of this had to do with the fact that I am a writer, and therefore, more easily able to put myself into another's position. But oh well! For right now, everyone seems to be doing alright, which is a relief. I keep bracing myself for backlash, though. Call it paranoia, skepticism, preparation...

I've realized how much I like sleep - to be precise, I've slept for 10 and 9 hours the last two nights, respectively. It makes me feel better than 5 or 6 hours.

Okay, all I"m doing now is rambling, so I shall shut up and say hasta luego. Just wanted to reassure everyone I'm alive.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

*deep breath*

Wowza. It's been a long last seven days. The good news is, things are looking up for my friend (and consequently me)...AND I FINISHED THE THREE HOUR TAKE HOME SHAKESPEARE TEST OF DEATH!!!!!!!!!! Can't you tell I'm excited? I never use all caps and that many exclamation marks. The deal is, I've gone to bed very late...or early, actually over the last four days. A sampling: 2 o'clock. 1 o'clock. 3 o'clock. Almost 5 o'clock. And last night was early - 12:30. A few months ago, I'd call 12:30 late, and anyone who stayed up past 1 that many days in a row absolutely crazy.

Well, crazy life = crazy sleep schedule.

More finals today...and a Shakespeare PowerPoint presentation. Blah. After I eat lunch. Hold on, did I eat breakfast? No, actually. A couple handfuls of Chex mix. I haven't been eating enough the past few days, and definitely too much sugar. I would have thought if I were to gain weight at any point, it would be finals week, but amazingly, despite not being able to run due to an injured hamstring (GRR), I may actually lose weight. Not like I need to or am concerned about it, I just find it odd.

Off to lunch...and tests...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Please Help

A friend of mine is having a really rough go of it - something bad came up with his family last night - no, actually this morning around 2 am. I don't know specifics, but please pray. I don't usually get 'feelings' about things, but I'm really worried. Right now, there's a spiritual battle going on with a lot of people. The last three days have been really intense. And not so fun. And a total wake-up call.

So please, pray for him and his whole family. And my fraying patience. As I said, I'm worried. And I don't help myself by internalizing. It's a curse of being a writer. I can imagine being in other people's positions all too well. And right now, both mine and his suck. But God is in control. I have to rest in that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Bipolar Day

No, I am not bipolar. The day has been bipolar. I woke up and did the first track workout of the season in 60 degree weather. Yes, I did say 60 degree weather. Winter in Houston sucks. So, I had my customary breathing issues as I do when it gets above 60. It could have been worse, but after the wonderful cool spell (of a single week), I was disappointed. At least it's supposed to get coldish again for the time trial on Friday.

I have two PowerPoint presentations coming up. One is Shakespeare, due originally tomorrow, but got bumped to Tuesday, Thank you Lord (I mean that sincerely). One of them I have been jittery about for three days now, and am steadily descending into the dark pit of nerves. Gah. I'm presenting in front of the other group (the Honors classes are split into two sections) because my partner is in that group. I don't know everyone in that group and -

Oh, how convenient. What would come up on iTunes right now but Disturbia. How perfect. Ha.

Anyway, then The Democrat is in that section. He's notorious for asking somewhat pointless but difficult to answer questions. And, also in that section is The B-

Whoops. Almost let that one slip. Classified information, you know. That would have been Very, Very Bad. I'm rambling now. Back to the point! I'm so-so at PowerPoint presentations. Really, I just sound stilted. I don't know - okay, that's a lie, I know darn well why I'm nervous. Which is so stupid. Gah!

The happy part of the bipolar day: I went Christmas shopping. I didn't have a lot of time today, so I employed some extreme hunt-gather-run tactics. Guys are hard to shop for sometimes unless I know what I'm looking for exactly. I found what I wanted (exactly! These items were perfect) for these people.

I even think I nailed the sizes, of which I feel rather proud. One guy isn't much taller than me, and the other...well, I had the remembrance of wearing his sweater to gauge his size, heh heh. Didn't even plan that one. And we were playing 21 questions on Facebook chat a few days ago, and the subject of favorite colors came up. I didn't plan that either. *does Snoopy dance of joy*

Girls, on the other hand, are so easy to shop for. My first go-to: Bath and Body Works. (To any guys who might read this, I'm giving sound advice. Girls, as a rule, like lotion, shower gel, body spray, and lip gloss). That was super-easy. And I found this for my mom (it's an even brighter yellow in real life). It was a solid one-two-knockout hour at the mall. CVS provided me with bags and tissue paper (easier than wrapping paper), and I'm about to go doll up the gifts.

Hasta luego!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Day in My Life, Twitter-Style

- A lower-case 'i' looks better in Times New Roman than in Arial.

- I love it when my room doesn't look like a train wreck.

- Apparently, I am a clueless idiot.

- I hate coughing.

- Why do I overthink everything?

- Ethan Hawke in Hamlet? Or Pushing Daisies?

- @ Gretch-a-sketch: I <3 Pushing Daisies

- Dark hot chocolate with a splash of caramel creamer = muy delicioso.


- I should go to bed.

- This is somewhat odd to have a 45 minute facebook chat with someone I nailed with pepper spray in my dreams.

- I really should go to bed.

- Why did I wake up before my alarm?!

- I'm running my own darn pace next time.

- It's 70 degrees in November, thank you Satan.

- Why do I overthink everything?

- Do I finish the Aeneid paper...or write?

- Ethan Hawke as Hamlet, take three.

- Pizza = yum.

- Lauren = crazy.

- Apparently Finn of BOB and I have central heterochromia. Cool beans.

- Why can't I sleep?!

- Ice baths in 50 degree weather make for frigid walks back to the dorm.

- I'm cold!

- I like "Crush" by David Archuleta far too much, though it painfully resembles part of my life at the moment.

- Bar-ba-sol by David Cook = one awesome song. Get it.

- Two more sources for this paper. Gotta find them.

- Why do I overthink everything?

Friday, November 28, 2008

I love writing...

I've missed it so much - writing fiction. Over the last three days I've written sixteen pages, and loved it. It's based on a dream I had (the one with the pepper spray). I started in the middle of the story, so it's not too coherent to anyone but me right now. I don't care. This is writing for pleasure. I'm forcing myself to not edit too much.

I'm a little drowsy now. It doesn't have much to do with tryptophan or turkey (which I think is somewhat of an urban legend). I did un poco Black Friday shopping, just trying to help the economy, and...well...

I got this.

Not my usual purchase. But it's so 'bad a', to quote a friend of mine. I'm not buying anything else for myself (except groceries) until next semester.

Another reason I'm feeling warmly contented: my sister is staying down here at the dorm with me for a couple days. It'll be nice to just chill. We haven't seen each other a lot this fall.

The third reason...shall not be posted on this blog. Just in case. Because, with my luck, the person I'm thinking about would decide to click on the facebook link to the blog.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes, I Have Weird Dreams

Oddly enough, I had another interesting dream about this particular classmate. If you haven't heard about the first dream, scroll down a few posts. He was the villain again, which I don't understand, because he's really mostly a nice guy. Mostly. I did leave a little wiggle room there in case he happens to actually be a villain. But I hope not.

He was wearing the same shirt he did to Twilight (yes, he's one of the people I went with/laughed with), and he was so...smug? Cocky? I'm trying to think of the best word. In this particular dream, he looked good (which he does in real life), he knew it (which he probably does in real life), and he was just smug enough to irritate the tar out of me (which at some point in the next three and a half years, he probably will be).

It was a completely different situation this time. No nuclear bombs or anything. What I found interesting, upon reviewing the dream, was that all the bad guys were my age. There were no adults. The hilarious thing was that the antagonists were all Honors College students - actually, all from the Honors College Congress (the brand-new governing body), and the 'leader' is a total dork in real life. He was kind of evil in the dream.

So did I punch anyone? Throw out some choice epithets?

Nah. My dream self has become better-mannered. I was just armed with a couple cans of pepper spray. Told ya it was a weird dream. The only annoying part was that one of my canisters was empty, so when the first one ran out, I caught and didn't escape before the dream ended.

On a totally different note: I might actually write today. Fun, fiction, non-school related writing. I am so excited.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I woke up at 11:49 this morning. I have never, ever slept in this late. I've also never gotten to bed at 3:30 in the morning. What, you might ask, was I doing?

Well...something I'd have laughed at even a couple weeks ago.

I went to the opening show of Twilight.

Technically, it wasn't the opening show. That one began at 12:01 am. Mine began at 12:05 am. But those are technicalities. Most of you know I share Anilee's opinions on Twilight, so here's why I went. A couple guys and I were talking about the books/movie yesterday, and all came to the conclusion we thought it was...well, we shared Anilee's opinions. Enough said. So I decided to go, first because it was with a group of friends, and second, because I knew all of us would laugh at the wrong parts of the movie. We did, and that was fun.

I won't give any spoilers away, though I'm pretty sure everyone is familiar with the plot. I might share some of my thoughts on it later, but am debating it. Suffice it to say, Robert Pattison looks better in action than in still photography, and the shrieks when he first came on screen were hilarious. The Cullen family also looks better than in still shots. Wow, that is one beautiful family. The scene with the glittering skin was interesting, and to the filmmakers' credit, they made Edward seem like less of a super-controlling jerk.

To be perfectly honest? I think my favorite character, as far as sheer acting and depth of character goes, was James. The actor portraying him did an awesome job of being creepy and evil, but cocky too. He felt the most authentic of all. Not to say the film was horrible or anything. It was okay. But I'm not going to become a Twilight fan any time soon, if ever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Theo's Views on Today

Theo yawned as she snuggled into her very favorite chair, the green butterfly one tucked into the back corner of the living room. Last night, she planned to stay up until 10 or a bit later to finish off an evil paper/powerpoint duo. Really, were both necessary? Would not the merits of a good paper present her authorial skills better than a speech? But that is digression. She received a text message at 9:30 pm, from her cross-country coach, stating she had practice in the morning.

6:30 in the morning.

Rather furious, Theo stormed to her room, laptop and a stack of books in arm, brushed her teeth, removed her contacts, washed her face, and with a huff, crawled under her bed and tried to sleep. Her simmering anger prevented her from having a marvelous sleep, although she did have an odd dream in which her father (in the dream, this man was her father, at least) was the head of a small-time criminal enterprise, and she secretly informed two policemen of his evil doings. Oddly enough, she met these cops at a donut shop, which was completely unintentional of her, and rather amusing once she woke up. It was rather interesting to be this other girl in the dream; she did not have the same strict moral code as Theo. Although she did not call anyone names as she did in another dream...

The bells of Satan (or her alarm) woke her at 6:10. She stubbornly lay in bed until 6:15, when she convinced herself she should be a dutiful girl and go to practice. Wonderfully enough, she felt fantastic, and not like she had been eating 5000 calories a day and not exercising for the past year. It was wonderful to realize she was in good shape, rather good shape, actually, and the awfulness of the past two weeks was due entirely to chest gunk, sitting too much, a pollen overload, and entirely too much smog. Oh, sweet Houston.

Theo finished proofreading a friend's paper, and, instead of finishing her Powerpoint, decided to dither awhile in the decidedly more alluring pages of the Internet. She made herself a cup of milk tea (a brand she'd not tried before), added a healthy dose of chocolate caramel creamer, and took a sip. Her eyes widened, and she set the mug down in alarm.

It tasted like a glazed donut.


Curiously enough, as I began to type this post, Bach's "Double Allegro" randomly came on iTunes - the same song to which I wrote the first Theo. Odd...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I had an interesting morning. Let me explain. My XC team was supposed to have practice at 6:30 this morning. I did not get to bed until 11:30 last night, exceedingly late for me. Alright, rather late. Exceedingly late is past midnight. I mentally slapped myself about eight times when my alarm went off at 6:10. I laid in bed for another minute, debating whether I should say to heck with it and purposefully skip practice for the first time. I decided that, since this was the first official practice since the season ended a couple weeks ago, I should drag myself out of bed.

Berating myself for staying up so late, I crawled out of bed (technically, out from under my bed, but that's another story), and turned my phone on as I slouched into the bathroom. My phone beeped. I checked the text message.

"Practice has been cancelled because of the rain, if you're on campus, you can meet to run at 6:30."

Operative word: can. Not 'will' or 'should' or 'must'. I said a prayer of thanksgiving, shut the lights off, crawled back into bed, drew up the covers, and promptly fell asleep.

And had a rather odd dream.

In this dream, the father (who I've never met) of one of my classmate's had the codes to set off nuclear weapons, and planned to direct them at some other country to start a war between that country and the US. I somehow knew about all this and got scrambled copies of all the control codes. Somehow my grandfather used an old military cipher to find out the code that would disable the bombs.

Now the part that still makes me grit my teeth a little. I thought that this classmate was clueless to his father's evil scheme, and was in some kind of danger. In real life, this person is rather intelligent, and he was in the dream too...perhaps just naive. So I tried protecting him, only to find out later he was freaking working for his dad the whole time. The only reason he was being my friend was to find out if I was the person who intercepted those codes., at this point I punched him. Knocked him out, actually. And called him something I've never said in real life. Perhaps it was a bit like this dream, because most times in dreams, something weird always happens, and I can't do what I want to. Nope. I totally knocked this kid's lights out. Eventually I managed to defuse the bombs or something like that, and I woke up, wondering what the heck I just dreamed, and what it meant, if anything.

Because I have to say, if there was any person I might want to punch at some point in the future, it would be him.

I just reviewed the whole post to make sure that if this person decided, after this long, to read my blog, he would not be able to tell to whom I am referring. 'Cause that could just be bad, you know?

Monday, November 10, 2008

My View On Too Much Homework and Living Life

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Theodosia. She found her name absolutely contemptible and very English, like a high lace collar that had been so overstarched it could stand on its own. As the rain fell down gently, she looked from her high window, across the pond to the parking-lot opposite. She saw two or three people huddled beneath their umbrellas, walking quickly to their automobiles and scurrying in. She saw rain dance on the shallow puddles spreading across the cement. She saw a little silver car nip out of the parking lot and a curvy red one glide in, as if they, too, were anxious get get out of the rain. She saw steam rise sullenly from a building far away. She saw a security man in a golf cart buzz through the parking-lot, disappearing between the two apartment buildings. She saw all this happen, while listening to the Allegro Movement from Bach’s Double Concerto.

She wished terribly to be outside, feeling the rain on her face, inhaling the cool breeze that doubtlessly roamed the campus, and wanted nothing more but to press her nose against the window like a small child and continue watching.

But no. She sighed and looked away from the lead sky, rippling with clouds and adventure, and to the book sitting sullenly on her lap. “Lucretius: On The Nature of Things” glowered at her in white and red letters against a black background. How horrible! Would it not be better, she thought, to experience nature and its things, rather than only read about them? Would she not better understand the true sense of rain as she felt wetness trace her face, not by a textbook informing her rain was a three-atom structure, composed of hydrogen and oxygen? Instead of being told the universe was made of the solid and the void, couldn’t she just look at bubble wrap and understand?

Theo huffed, glared at the book, and opened it to chapter four, scanning the overview of the chapter.

Theo blushed a lovely shade of red, much like Heinz 57 or a ripe cherry, coughed twice, and revised her opinion. Perhaps she had been overhasty in her judgment. Some things, it seemed, were better to be read about than to learn about by experience at the current moment in time.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Odds and Ends

A list of assorted randomness:

1. I am still alive, and feeling bad I haven't posted in a week.

2. Allergies are kicking my behind - I think I've gone through two boxes of Kleenex in the past three days. No joke.

3. I got 12 gallons of gas for 23.50 today. Big yay. I don't remember the last time gas was under 2/gallon.

4. Apparently the Goldfish mascot is named Finn. All you Shannon Hale fans: is this not, at the least, disturbing, and at the greatest, heresy?

5. I like dark chocolate. White chocolate is beyond my power to describe. Cuileann did it nicely here. I agree with her whole-heartedly.

6. This is hilarious. I've watched it four times and still crack up.

7. I really want this for Christmas.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm back!

The cross-country team went to Orem, Utah (about thirty minutes outside Salt Lake City) for the last meet of the year. And oh, oh, my stars, it was beautiful. I mean, the trees there? Get this - they turn colors in fall. In Houston? The trees do this painful molt of leaves that go straight from green to brown. And when they're piled on the ground, they don't make that beautiful papery whisper when the wind blows or crunch under your feet. No. It's humid here. The soggy leaves cling to the ground. And that's not accounting for the pine trees, which are green year-round.

And the sky...yes, there were mountains, but I could see so much sky. The buildings/trees suppress it here. Clouds rolled across the sky. Cumulus clouds, and then over the mountains, some of those amazing pancake-flat clouds I don't get to see very often. The breeze this morning made me shiver, but what a wonderful shiver!

Enough raving about the beautifulness. (Or beauty, if I must be grammatically correct). The race was 6k (almost four miles), I'm only used to 5Ks (a tad over three miles), Houston is at 279.4 feet altitude (approximation), and Orem is 4500. I'm okay with how I did, but it hurt so badly to finish that race. Enough said. It's over. Next year the conference meet is in New Jersey. Not sure about the elevation there.

So, this is all I have written on Moonlight. Please be satisfied. I haven't had doodly-squat time to write this last week. Maybe tomorrow...


I run into the building, the main hall ceiling stretching two stories above me. The hall itself is ominously empty, with muffled sounds seeping through the theatre doors to the left. My backpack jounces my spine as I tug at one of the doors. My watch’s tiny electric soul chose today to depart its metal body. Hence, my nap intended for a half-hour tripled. And now I’m late for convocation, which I must attend for my freshman orientation class.

The door gives, and I slide into a dimly lit passageway that runs along the left side of the theatre. People stand on the stage, dressed in floor-length robes like something out of a Presbyterian choir. One that can’t afford matching robes. Not sure what that’s about. In the back row, a flash of red fabric catches my eye amidst various colors of T-shirt backs. An empty seat. I force a smile and slip into the aisle, murmuring apologies as I try not to break any toes. If you’re short and want to be tall, let me warn you, size ten feet are curses.

I let my backpack hit the floor as I turn and sit. And now I feel paranoid that everyone is looking at me. No one is, actually. At least, not on this level. I’m sure the people in the upper level enjoyed my fumbling. Yawning, I slouch in my seat. Bad habit, but this is a new building, and these are – I snuggle a little deeper – oh yes, nice seats. The only thing keeping me awake is the air conditioning. September in Houston is just an extension of summer, and it is hot outside. The cold air on my face keeps me from nodding off.

A guy starts on the piano, playing some funky piece I’ve never heard before. I nod, eyelids drooping. Not my favorite kind of music, but better than the organ I could hear through the –

A scream blasts through the speakers, and I sit bolt upright. My heart slams against my chest, and it takes me a minute to realize the sound comes from the woman standing center stage. Her periwinkle robe ends a few inches above her ample ankles, and her mouth forms an O. I suck in a breath. Apparently the opera woman of last week has returned. “Oh my God,” I mutter.

Some guy to my right glances my way and whispers. “I don’t think you’re supposed to say that in church.”

The Hispanic voice catches my interest just as much as the comment. I send my gaze his direction. He has a half-smirk, but the rest of his expression says he’s also recovering from the operatic shock. I roll my eyes, and he returns his attention back to his Bible. Oh. My bad. To the
Sports Illustrated in his hands.

I endure the performance by glancing around. Most people look befuddled, as if they aren’t sure whether to be awed or laugh. I’m frankly bewildered as to why anyone thinks opera would interest college students. And the speakers are cranked so high my head is beginning to throb.

As the singer holds onto one last high note, I hear someone cuss further down the row. I tilt my head to the right. The Hispanic guy has one hand on his head, or, rather, the flat-brimmed gangsta hat on his head, and one clutching a tennis ball. “What the hell?” He twists in his seat and glares at the upper seats, searching each row. His eyes narrow on a particular point.

I can’t help it. I lean that way and whisper, “I know you’re not supposed to say that in church.”
By the time he looks my way, I’m focused on the speaker, my eyes wide. I didn’t realize convo could be this entertaining.

When the service ends, I file out and walk diagonally across the parking lot to The Lake House. Don’t get any ideas. This sounds like a high-class blue-blood dorm, or the name of some MTV series that involves a wealthy private school and rich demoralized students. Sorry to get your hopes up, people, but this is a Baptist school. (Or Babtist, as some call it.) My guess is I just haven’t heard about the stuff that goes on past midnight. No one’s gotten busted for having alcohol on campus – yet.

Anyway, The Lake House is the newest dorm. My home now. I walk through two sets of glass doors, which appear to be working today, and to the elevators, both of which also appear to be functioning. A miracle. For a new building, The Lake House has some reoccurring technical issues. They must still be working the kinks out. I join the edge of the little crowd waiting to board the next elevator. The red arrow flashes, something dings, and the doors slide open. I shuffle in, placing myself in the right corner near the control panel. Someone’s already punched six, so I check to see if I know anyone here.

A male voice outside the elevators sounds as the doors slide shut. “Hold it!”

I thrust my hand between the doors, which shudder and reverse course. Through the widening gap, I see dark jeans and a white polo shirt. Ironed, if I’m not mistaken. Some of these guys know how to dress themselves and oh, how I appreciate the effort.

He jerks his head in a nod as he slides in. “Thanks.” He presses two.

I cough as the doors clang shut. “Second floor? I risked amputation so you could go up one lousy floor?” I get a good look at the ungrateful wretch.

Wowza. A hot ungrateful wretch. I know others who would think he just looked pale. But the whole combination of white skin, dark hair, and dark blue eyes I personally find attractive. (You. The ones who got stuck on ‘hot’ and ‘pale skin’. Get your minds out of the best-seller list and quit thinking about the hot vampire. I refuse to mention his name, because every teenage female in the United States knows it. Many of them dream about that name, often attached to their own.)

Now that I look, he totally spent some quality time and gel on that hair. I’m interested. Unfortunately, he looks like an upperclassman. Maybe I look like a sophomore. I could. If I’d bothered to put on a speck of makeup this morning. I curse my broken alarm.

The doors opened on the second floor as he answers, with zero interest in the aforementioned dark blue eyes. “Not when I have shoes.”

I frown and glance at his socked feet. Real black socks, not athletic socks. (Confession: I wear athletic socks with nice shoes when I’m wearing pants and boots. It drives my mother crazy.) “Why don’t you have-”

The doors close before he can answer.

“Shoes,” I say, feeling like I’m delivering the punch line to a lame joke.

The girl on my left catches my eyes and laughs. “Okay, so that wasn’t weird.”

I shake my head. “Who knows?" I would like to find out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'm not switching blogs by any means. No. No. No. I love my Converse layout too much. Mostly I'll post on here. I started for my emotional days. Like today. When I feel like crap and want somewhere to rant, but can password protect it. So it won't be updated super-frequently (I hope). But believe me, it wil be updated. If you want the password, I'll have my email on the other blog so you can contact me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Okay, Part Two

Now just remember: This is first-draft material. There will be errors. There will be boring sentences (hopefully not too many). And this is all copyright. And my poster just fell off the wall. Hold on.

Okay. The poster is temporarily reattached to the wall with the weirdest sticky putty stuff, which only works if applied in vast quantities. I'll tape it later. So anyway, here it is.

Beginning where this left off...if you're new, scroll down a few posts for the beginning.

Kyle holds out my keys to me. “Because I’m your friend.”

But why? I close my eyes for a moment. Part of me keeps waiting for him to get mad. Oddly, I don’t think he will. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

A few minutes later, when I’ve decided I’m sane enough to drive, and we’re rolling down the road, Kyle shifts in his seat. “If you don’t mind me asking-”

I manage a dry laugh. “Remember what I said? You can ask about anything.”

He considers that and nods. “What happened? The Melissa I remembered was a quiet good girl. I think I was really surprised that time you said you got a ticket for going twenty miles over the speed limit, because that seemed so reckless for you.”

I shake my head, feeling a humorless smile pull my lips. “It’s a long story.”

“It takes an hour to get home.”

“Alright, then.”


Fourteen months earlier

I wake long before my alarm and roll onto my back, tucking my hands under my head. They slide against my sheets, so apparently I exiled my pillow to the floor in my sleep. I pick a spot on the shadowed ceiling to look at and release a slow breath. Finally. The day of my liberation.

It sounds like I’m one of those high school seniors who hates her parents and can’t wait to go wild at college. First of all, I’m on scholarship to play volleyball, and Coach won’t put up with crap. Second, going wild just isn’t my thing. My first drink at a friend’s party made me sick. So I’m sensitive to booze, and it makes me feel horrible. Fun? I think not. Third: I don’t hate my parents. I’m not going so far as to say I’m best buds with them. But we get along pleasantly enough. Most of the time.

My current town is a dead zone. I’ve lived here for two years and have a (singular) handful of friends. I stretch, pushing my feet away until my heels scrape over the footboard and hang off the end. That’s one consequence of pushing 5’10”. That, and having difficulty finding jeans that fit. I slide my left arm off the bed and drag the ground with my fingers until they brush over a mess of thin plastic. Picking up the earbud cords, I lift my silver iPod, dangling it upside down over my chest. I scroll through a playlist and select Life in Technicolor by Coldplay. It’s the first song in the album – the beginning.

I like that. It fits. The beginning of Melissa’s era, in which I become totally me, and less what everyone else expects me to be. I feel like myself today.

I also feel like I should go for a short run. Something to work off the excess energy. Or maybe it’s the jitters. I’ve packed about all my belongings in the past week, and loaded most of it into the cars yesterday. I just know I’m going to get there with the most crap and look like a spoiled white kid. Ugh. It’s a kitchen-equipped suite, though, so I need stuff the average freshman won’t.

Tuning out for the next hour helps me calm down. Around eight, I slouch downstairs, the hems of my blue plaid pajamas flirting with the wood floor. “Morning.”

Mom looks up from a bowl of cereal, her hair in a haphazard bun. “Morning, Mel.”

I yawn and shuffle into the kitchen, grabbing a bagel from a plastic bag on the counter. The strawberry cream cheese from Einstein’s Bagels sits a few inches away, and a knife covered with pale pink stuff next to it. Yum. I smear the bagel and slink back upstairs. Usually Dad’s weird about having food upstairs on the carpet, but I can get away with anything today.

At nine-thirty I throw my backpack into the side of my pale blue Rav4 and slam the door in case the toaster box tumbles out. Dad pulls the Expedition out of the driveway. I slip into the driver’s seat, close the doors, take another deep breath, and start the engine. A few minutes later when we’ve hit the freeway, I punch the radio button. Viva La Vida pours from the speakers.
I smile, note that Dad’s picked up speed, and egg the accelerator. It’s a good day.

A couple hours later, Dad sticks his head into my little room. “Go ahead and start putting your computer together. I’ll head back down and get the last boxes.

I grind my teeth together for a millisecond before turning my voice into cotton candy. “Okay.” As soon as the door closes, I look at the computer desk, and then at the laundry basket next to it. An edge of grey plastic pokes out from under a crimson towel. I mentally growl. I hate putting computer systems together. This cord, that port, this hole, that power strip. I’ll figure it out eventually. But seriously, this is the age of technology. Why isn’t all this stuff wireless?

When the door opens next, I’m staring at the underside of the desk, one hand between the desk and wall. I clutch the end of the printer cord and randomly jam the connector forward at the printer, which is on top of the desk. It would be smarter to scoot the desk out so I could see what I was doing, but if I fumble long enough, I’ll get it into the right port.

A female voice. “Mel?”

Ack, that’s not Dad. I mutter under my breath and jab the connector again. It clicks into place. Well, whaddya know? I scramble out and to my feet, dizzy for an instant.

Kara stands in the doorway, huge brown eyes lit with her smile. She extends her arms and hugs me, and I hug her back. We met a couple months ago at orientation, and some kind woman in the housing department told me she was one of my suitemates. “Hey, how are you?”

I step back, catching a whiff of some flowery scent. “Good, just trying to get this computer set up. I hate plugging in computers.”

She wrinkles her nose and laughs. “Yeah, all those cords are kind of annoying.” Something beeps, and she opens the huge maroon purse on her arm and pulls out a phone. Flipping it open, she reads the text before rolling her eyes. “My boyfriend is so clueless.”

“Mike, right?” I think that’s his name. I remember meeting him too.

“Yes, he’s asking what time the opening convocation is.”

“Five, right?” I think it’s pointless to ask if I’m correct, because it’s almost a mandatory event, and everyone knows when it is. Except Mike, apparently.

“Yes, everyone keeps telling me that I should go, but I heard opening convo is always really old school.” She finishes texting and drops the phone into the bottomless purse with a husky laugh. “I think the main music person is an opera singer.”

I quail at the very word. “I hate opera.” My parents dragged me to Le Nozze di Figaro when I was ten. I slept through it. I’ve always been bad about nodding off when I’m bored.

Kara’s eyes widen as she nods. “It’s definitely not my style of music.” She chuckles again. It’s one of the things I think makes her interesting. She always laughs.

Dad re-enters, I make introductions, and we carry on the unloading. Everything must be accomplished in an orderly fashion, with each task being completed before beginning the next. I like to bounce around from project to project. Keeps things interesting. Or if I really don’t want to do something, that way I can stall and still get things done. But this is Dad. He does things A-B-C-D-E. It’s one of our irritation points, because I like Q-J-A-D-Z.

When I am straining to find a happy voice, we get the last box in. I pretend to do things for a couple minutes as Mom chats with Kara’s mom, who is absolutely tiny compared to Kara. And when Kara’s parents leave, I continue feigning to work. They have to go soon, and I’m fiddling with my nightstand so it doesn’t become the three of us standing around, hands in pockets, staring at the walls. Hopefully without tears. I dread the thought of tears.

Dad glances at his watch and grimaces. “We’d better get going so we can make it to church on time.”

I hide a little laugh of glee. I get freshman privileges and hence may skip church today. “Okay.” I hug Mom. “Thanks for helping move all this stuff up here.” The sixth floor will be quieter, but the first floor would have been nice for unloading.

She hugs me and steps back, face perfectly composed. She looks happy that I’m ready to be here. “Love you.”

“Love you too.” I turn and hug Dad, scolding myself for being so hard on him. He’s a good dad, and I can overreact. I do overreact. “See you soon.”

When the door closes, I release a deep breath. “Thank you God.”

Kara pokes her head out of her room. We each have tiny little separate rooms, two on each side of the suite, split by a common room. “What’s up?”

“I was really hoping no one would start crying or anything, and no one did.” I’ve heard all the horror stories about parents falling apart on the first day and refusing to let their children stay at the school. I would burrow into the couch in the living room and tie myself to the coffee table. Bring on the stormtroopers.

Kara nods. “Yeah, that’s the way it was for me too.” She laughs. “I did all my freaking out a couple days ago.”

From her room at the opposite end of the hall, Nicole steps into the hallway. She redefines perfectly petite. Okay, so she’s 5’4”, but she’s so slender, has perfect bone structure in her face and beautiful ivory skin. I’d love to be that proportionately slim. I’m not gawky, but I’m thin for a volleyball player.

She tucks a wing of black hair behind her ear. “Yeah, me too. I was totally fine today, and my mom was weepy, but yesterday night she was the steady one and I was a wreck.”

She has the cutest drawl. It’s not a stereotypical Texas twang, so I’m not sure what to call it. I shrugged. “No one was weepy, but the last few days have been awful. Everyone was just acting really weird.” Maybe none of us knew how we should act.

But I do know one thing.

I am free.


Phew. I'm not sure how I feel about posting this. Irritated, maybe, that there are errors. Hey, y'all can buy the book when it gets published. Or if it does well enough, I'll just give you copies :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So there! A safe haven.

I refuse to post about Proposition 8, because people have argued both sides (for the most part) eloquently and respectfully. Thank you, those who were completely firm and respectful. It's a delicate balance. So that's all I have to say about Prop 8, because I've said my piece on others' blogs.

So...quite honestly, I am stalling to avoid reading acts 4 and 5 of Romeo and Juliet. I've already read the play four times in the last two weeks, but the Dreaded Shakespeare Midterm comes upon me. I am doomed. Oh well.

One of the girls on my floor made cupcakes a couple days ago. That, along with the renegade cupcake posts by Cuileann, have made up my mind: This next weekend, I will bake something. The only problem is that I can't decide what cupcakes to bake! There are so many delicious-sounding (and looking) ones on her blog. It may come down to the highly scientific art of eeny-meeny-miny-mo. (Is there standardized spelling for eeny-meeny-miny-mo? Or does everyone have a personalized version?)

Q posted recently about Brandon Sanderson. Check out his website - there's a free e-book which you can download. Warning, there are a couple PG-13 moments, but they are brief. If I was writing the book (and if I was talented enough to write the book), I would probably have changed those moment a bit, but as I said, they're rather brief, and don't occur much. This is the link: I read the whole thing in one night. Yes, I realize it's something like 600 pages. I was bored. I couldn't read Shakespeare anymore. So I downloaded it. It took a few hours, but oh, how I enjoyed it...

*weeps and signs off, condemning self to Romeo's ramblings*

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I'm headed home for today, and will be back tomorrow. Due to a midterm, I have written exactly two sentences on the project. I think I'm going to name it Moonlight for right now - like the Moonlight Sonata. As I may have mentioned before, I suck at titles.

So anyhoo, despite my not being able to write squat this week, I've formulated a lot of the plot in my mind. I guess I could call it mental outlining. Soon enough (today?) I'll get an actual slug-line outline on paper. It's funny. I write so much better on a computer, but if I'm writing out character names or an outline, I have to use pen and paper. I guess that means I'm not a total slave to technology.

See y'all around!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Can I claim cold feet?

Probably not. I think Judi would hunt me down if I didn't post that story. And apparently everyone wants to read it. So I'll post it now. Keep in mind, this is after seven days of no power, no AC, no electricity, no internet. I was having weird dreams. (I did have my iPod. Before it died :-( This is based almost exactly on a dream I had, and we all know how bizarre dreams can be. And for the record, the narrator is not me. You know how you can be the main character in a dream but it's not you? Same thing here. So here goes - enjoy! And please, no speculations *cough moore cough*.

And this would be about the worst time for someone on facebook to discover my blog link. But I just don't see it happening.


I listen to my engine ticking and run my hands over the silver sequins of my dress. They drift in an upward spiral from my ankles to my shoulders, a thin sparkling river over the crimson fabric. A slimming design, say the fashion magazines. I glance at my stomach and pray they’re right. I know every contour of my body, even more since – then.

Withdrawing the keys, I stare at them for a moment. The Tigger keychain beams at me, extending an armful of purple flowers. I got the little figure three years ago when I turned sixteen; now Tigger’s arm is missing a splotch of orange, and his tail is fading. After I drop the keys in the ebony-colored purse perched on the console, I grab a filmy black wrap from the passenger seat. Take a breath. I can do this. Just fool them all for a couple hours.

I unlock my door and step out of the Rav4. I would have been fine with a Camry or an Accord, but Dad insisted on a small SUV. Cars were too little, too dangerous. I shudder, grateful he isn’t here. Draping the wrap over my shoulders, I clutch my purse and lock the doors, slamming mine shut. Two hours. Just two hours. Avoid getting up from the table if possible. Just smile. Smile and lie prettily. I am golden in reputation only for another few weeks.

An older couple dressed in black walk toward the museum in front of me. The last rays of sun tint her pearls with luscious pink. I find it odd I can still appreciate beauty with such clarity, though I am unhappy, as if my mind is partitioned.

The wooden doors at the entrance are swept open like arms, welcoming us. Vines and birds and flowers rise in relief on the wood. I reverently touch one finger to a parrot’s beak as I step over the threshold. Inside, a woman in an emerald sheath dress and brilliant auburn hair stands behind a table, armed with a clipboard. She glances up and smiles as I approach. She wouldn’t know me by name, but my grandmother, yes. “Hello.”

I smile. “Melissa Burns.” I pull my invitation from my purse and hand it to her.

She nods and glances at the table. I realize the objects posed on the cream tablecloth are life-sized butterfly pins. Monarchs, swallow-tails, and one with glowing sapphire wings. She waves one manicured finger over them as if it will summon the correct one. “Ah, here we are.” She plucks up a fine specimen of a monarch. “This will look lovely with your dress.”

Why we’re wearing these at an invitation-only modern-art museum show opening, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s something to do with the theme. I smile again, clipping it to my shoulder. “Thanks.” I wander in, eyes drawn by a splash of color, a beautiful Leon Polk Smith I’ve never seen before. My stomach lurches once, as if reminding me. The sooner I sit, the less people see. I jerk my gaze from the art in the next room, taking a left out of the foyer. Hurrying through two more spacious gallery rooms, I search for the dining room and find it through another door.

I sight my mother at table thirteen, and I can’t help an ironic smile. What a fitting number. I envision my feet growing into my black heels, becoming one with them so I will not stumble as I weave through the circular tables, set on pale marble floors. A flash of red to the left catches my eye. I see my grandmother’s short (unnaturally) blond hair and the back of her stoplight-red jacket, entirely sequined. She disappears into a small side door with a sign. Perfect. She won’t see me until I’m seated, and she’s shown me the restroom. I’ll need it.

Setting my purse on the table, I seat myself across from Mom. “Hey, Mom.”

She smiles, light in her eyes dimmer than usual. “How was the drive in?”

I shrug. “Not bad. They had just cleared a wreck, so a little slow, but not bad.”

Her gaze flicks to my midsection and back to my eyes. “How are you?”

Such a loaded question. I decide to answer purely in the physical sense, keeping my tone light. “Nauseous sometimes, but not too often. I can keep playing for a while. Just no dramatic saves.” Volleyball isn’t exactly a high-contact sport. Unless I'm throwing myself at that gleaming wood floor to make a save.

A short little breath and a near-squeal in a soft drawl. “Mel!” Grandmother bustles around, beaming, lips the color of her jacket parted in a smile. She hugs me, and I return the embrace, catching a whiff of tasteful perfume. My grandmother might be eccentric, but she’s good with scents. “Well, we match quite nicely, don’t you think, Anna?”

Hardly. I’m blinded by the light thrown from her brash sequins; I glimmer silver on crimson.

My mother smiles, nodding, probably grateful she wore the dark green dress instead of her red one. She’s a foil to my grandmother: slender, olive-skinned, dark-haired, and thoughtful. My grandmother is pale in comparison, only made bright by her clothes. I fall in the middle, with darkish brown hair.

As she sits on my left, still beaming and chatting nonstop about so-and-so who’s passing by, I pick up my purse and set it on the floor. If my stomach decides to rebel, I can make a quick exit.
Dinner comes soon enough. I smile and nod, adding a comment here or there, answering the occasional question about school.

Mr. Hanson finishes a bite of filet mignon and sets down his fork. “I remember when your mother was this age. The two of you look so much alike.”

I nod patiently, bestowing a smile. This is the fourth time I’ve heard that tonight. A lot of these people knew my mother from her childhood. “So I’ve heard.”

His wife sets down a glass of wine, red, with a nice sharp smell. “Now, you’re a junior in college?”

“No, ma’am, I’ll be a junior next year.” Maybe. If I make it that long.

Grandmother jumps in. “Did you know that Mel plays volleyball on the school team? Why, her school played…”

She rambles, and I tune out. Thanks. Load on the guilt. My coach will be ticked when I have to quit. Mrs. Hanson and her thirty-something daughter are looking at me with interest, so I smile again. My teeth hurt. I know my grandmother loves me, and I love her, but nineteen years later, I still haven’t found her mute button. Even if I announced my predicament, she wouldn’t shut up for more than five seconds.

I pick at the filet, favoring the bread. My mind informs me I won’t have food this good again for a long time. My stomach tells my mind there’s only so much heavy food it can process. And it wants sugar. So when caramel crème brulee comes for dessert, I scrape the little bowl clean with my spoon. It makes me happy. Kind of.

During coffee, the speeches begin. I stare at a crease in the tablecloth while the main backer of the show prattles about the museum’s history. While another person thanks individual donors, I memorize the positions of the wine glasses. My grandmother stands when her name is called, beaming, hands clasped behind her back, pivoting left and right to see her co-donors.

I want to sleep. Drift into black oblivion for years. Finally, the head of the museum invites us to finish coffee (I want it, my stomach doesn’t, so I abstain) and see the paintings. I think she says “Enjoy these priceless works of art”, actually. Her phrasing is the last thing on my mind as I see someone rise from a table across the room.

His build catches my eye first. Tall. Muscular. Nice shoulders I’ve often gazed upon. By result of my gazing, I know their shape. My breath catches in my throat, and I go still.

Kyle Thompson stands, head at usual jaunty angle. He’s one of those people who always have expressions on their face. Almost stage expressions, just exaggerated enough to be obvious. Usually his expression is a smile, a smirk, a half-cock grin, lit by mischievous dark brown eyes. I like how his hair is a length that untouched looks casual, but given five minutes of combing and hair product, forms a million little spikes. He’s done the latter tonight. I see a suit jacket draped over his chair. He wears a silk vest the color of cream over a dark red shirt, sleeves rolled past his elbows. He has large hands, perfect for a running back. His smile lights the room.

My stomach lurches, and I taste something bitter. I swallow hard and sweep up my purse, throwing my wrap over my shoulders. Mom and Grandmother are occupied. Eyes on the floor, I hurry from the room via a small gallery to the side. A moment later I’m in the older part of the museum, heels making minute clicks on ochre tile. The show is confined to the new part, so the lights are dim, most off. The paintings are flat boxes on the wall, no color, no life. I walk along the wall, turning to the left into a women’s restroom.

A single overhead shines onto the mirror. The rest of the room is like a peaceful grave, dark and quiet. I lean against the counter, as far from the light as I can. The air conditioner breathes in the background. All else is quiet. I pull my cell phone from my purse, flip it open, and stare at the display. Close my eyes. I don’t want to do this. He deserves it. I think back to Christmas break, almost eight months ago.


I sat in the chair, inhaling the rich air of Starbucks, tapping my fingers on the table. It had been five months since I’d seen this particular group of friends. Shelby and Marie stood in line, waiting for the long-haired barista to finish shelling out change to the man in front of them. Tyler, Violet and Kyle hadn’t shown yet. I met them all in a way most people would call unusual.

So there were three high schools in town. They went to Shadow Grove and I went to Willow Point. The connection was at Highland Park, where six of us tutored a couple classes of freshmen and sophomore. Believe me, it was a bonding experience, especially when this clueless kid dropped the f-bomb right in front of me, and then asked “So where’s the tutor-person?” The teacher had stepped out, everyone else knew my exact location, and they lost it. To his credit, I never heard another cuss word from him.

Anyway, we were all back home for Christmas break, after semester one of college. The bells on the door jingled, drawing my attention. Tyler and Violet walked in first. I didn’t actually go light-headed when Kyle stepped through the doorway. It’s not like I was in love with the guy, please. I couldn’t deny, though, he had some special magnetism. That’s why half the freshman girls attached themselves to his tutoring group, and why after the first few weeks, I didn’t talk to him a lot. No way was I going to come off as some idiot love-struck girl.

But naturally, I looked him over from my strategic position in the back corner. He wore a cool leather jacket, unzipped, and a black Ralph Lauren shirt with a tiny red polo player. I hoped for the spike-thing with his hair, but the casual look wasn’t shabby. Okay, so I liked him. He was smart, he was a football player (the two aren’t incompatible, as I previously assumed), he was hot, and he made me laugh more than anyone else I knew. Now I wished he could be serious a little more often, but no one’s perfect.

I set down my hazelnut steamer and stood, walking toward them with a smile. “Hey, y’all.” I hugged Violet, the sweetest person on the planet. And then I did the side-hug thing with Tyler, who looked like a starving college student while he was in high school. I stepped back, glanced at Kyle, and waved, face straight.

He gasped, with that hilarious big-eyed expression of mock hurt. “Ouch! Guess I know where I am on the priority list.”

I rolled my eyes, smiling, stomach doing weird, hollow things at his voice. Stupid, stupid. Friends only, remember? Not a stupid love-struck idiot, right? “Yeah, yeah.” Quick hug. I felt different retorts warring in my mind. If I spoke I’d mix them up, so I kept my mouth shut.

They order drinks, and a few minutes later we were all in the back corner, in an assortment of straight-backed chairs and couch seats. I learned how everything’s going – Marie’s first semester of Arabic went well. Violet stayed home, working at KinderCare. Her eyes got bright, and she put down her drink, using her hands as she talked about her kids. The whole time I resisted one long ohhhh. I’ve never seen anyone so clearly loving their work.

Tyler enjoyed Texas A&M so far. He passed biology (something I’d heard was a trouble subject) and liked the town. Shelby planned to double-major in biology and chemistry, so her biology class went well. It was her sometimes-absent total slob of a roommate that drove her nuts. From her Facebook status updates, really nuts.

I kept myself from sounding overly interested when Kyle updated us. He was an economics major (I didn’t have trouble being uninterested in that), so those classes were easy. He liked his dorm, his roommates, and all that jazz. I knew his football team had a good season, so I commented on that. I also knew from his Facebook page he’d gotten his hair buzz-cut at the beginning of the semester. Not so hot, in my opinion, but it was long enough to spike again, so I liked it. Naturally, I didn’t voice that.

Shelby had to leave early. Marie followed, leaving Tyler, Violet, Kyle and me. I of the ever-restless fingers fiddled with the cardboard hot-drink wrapper hugging my cup. Soon enough they’d have to leave, meaning another long period without visitation. Facebook IM only did so much. It certainly didn’t make me laugh as much, because I couldn’t see Kyle’s face. Ugh! Stop mooning, you moron!

Kyle eventually stood, stretching his arms. “I guess we’ve gotta go. Jessica’s supposed to come in soon.”

Jessica. Older sister. Right. I nodded, standing, sighing to myself. “It was great to see you all.” I hugged Violet, feeling like a freaking giant at 5’9”. “Definitely keep me updated on what’s going on. Let me know if you’re gonna be around town.”

Tyler spun the keys to his old Beemer around his index finger. “Yeah, definitely.”

I hugged him too. “Awesome.” I felt a sudden rush of boldness and jerked my chin at Kyle. “See ya later, Thompson.”

He spread his hands, brows scrunching in a hurt-little-boy expression. “What did I do?”

“Nothing, it’s a cool last name.” I wasn’t sure where these words were coming from. I was sure meeting his eyes did weird things to my muscles.

He half-smirked. “What, like Melinda Thompson?”

Flames ignited my face. I was not that obvious. I might have been a newbie to this whole romance-thing, due to the parental restriction on dating, but I knew it wasn’t that bad. “What? You’re dreaming.”

Violet’s forehead puckered as she glanced at Kyle, and then at me.

Kyle didn’t look away. “Seriously, though, if we were going to think about dating, I’d say wait a while, just ‘cause it’s still freshman year and we live like three hours away.”

Was it possible to be a human torch and a soaring bird at the same time? I felt like both, and dizzy. “Are you serious?”

He shrugged. “Yeah, sure.” His tone didn’t sound as flippant as his words.

I nodded slowly, aware of Tyler smirking at us. “I’ll keep that in mind.” And I smiled.
And he smiled back.

I thought I was going to melt like the misguided snowflakes outside. “Keep in touch. All you guys.”

Tyler shot a knowing look at me, and then at Kyle’s back as he and Violet walked out. “I never saw that one coming. You and Kyle?”

I glared at him, face still warm. “Yeah, yeah.”

“You seriously liked him that whole time and never let on?”

I grimaced. “No way was I saying a word. Not with those freshmen throwing themselves at him.”

He laughed, starting for the door. “He was the chubby kid in fifth grade, so I can’t say I thought I’d ever see that either.”

We walked out together, parting ways at my car. I stepped in, exhaling the happiest sigh. I was so, so happy. Even if it never worked out. I was so happy.


I take a shaky breathe and find Kyle’s number, pressing the talk button before I can think. It rings. I don’t know why I expect him to pick up. His phone’s probably off. That’s all right. A message is easier for me to –

The ring cuts off. “Hello?”

I inhale. Crap. “Hey. It’s Mel.”

“Hey, Mel. What’s going on?”

I can’t tell if his voice sounds a little flat or if it’s the connection. “I kinda needed to talk to you.”

He laughs. “I kind of guessed as much, since you called.”

“No, seriously.” I can’t even force levity into my tone. “Look, I think – you know what we talked about a while back? Dating and all that?”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I think it’s probably best if we just stick to being friends.” I bite both lips, waiting.

His voice becomes as serious as I’ve ever heard it. “I know.”

I don’t move. Breathe. He knows. He knows. I can hardly hear myself. “How?”

There's a pause, like he's talked himself into a corner. “Look, if anything, a couple months ago you'd lost the Freshman Fifteen. And now you're curvier.”

I feel a blowtorch on my face. Trust Kyle to know my shape. He’s just like that. The next emotion comes in a tsunami, crushing the embarrassment. I choke on the golf ball in my throat. My voice hoarsens and drops to almost silent. “I’m so sorry.” And I close the phone. My nose will be a cherry within two minutes. There’s no return now. I text Mom, saying I’m sick, sorry, catch up later. Picking up my purse, I look in the mirror, pulling shorter strands of hair from their pins and arranging them around my face. Anything to draw attention from my eyes. But I catch my own haunted gaze and glance away.

I weave through the museum and out a different door. The streetlights gleam on smooth car domes; light traffic travels the road past the parking lot. I locate the general area I parked in and walk that way, heels clipping the asphalt. The sobs congeal in my chest, waiting for total solitude. I’m going home to my dorm. To sleep. Perchance, to never dream again.

The vehicle doesn’t twitch, move, or flash, but I look left. An old Toyota 4Runner sits between a silver Lexus and a red Corvette. It looks black, but I see the shade in my mind as dark green. My chest throbs as I touch the back window with my fingertips. I remember checking the parking lot in front of the school for this vehicle, heart always jumping a little when I saw it. So sorry. So, so sorry. Stepping around, I press my forehead to the driver’s window before walking on.

A moment later I sight the back of my vehicle. I press the unlock button on the key fob, eyes down as I slide between my car and the Mercedes coupe next to it.

A human-sized space of darkness drapes across the driver’s door. I glance up and gasp, dropping my keys. His face is shadowed, but the streetlight gleams on the collar of a silk vest.

Kyle stoops down, oh-so-close to me, and picks up my keys. He stands, closing his hand around Tigger.

This was the last-ditch plan. If all else fails, flee. I stare at the middle button of Kyle’s vest. Now that hope is gone, held firm in a hand half again as big as mine. I don’t know what to say.

“How far along are you?” says Kyle.

I keep my gaze where it is. “Three months. People will start noticing soon.” I shove some anger into my tone. “I didn’t expect this soon for those exact reasons.”

“Take it easy, Mel. I know for other reasons too.”

I snap my gaze up. “Yeah, like what?”

The muscles in his jaw work, and he tightens his fingers around my keys. “Like my sister got pregnant a year ago.”

Whoa. Not expecting that. “Jessica?” The perfect girl?

He nods, eyes dark. “Yeah. I knew she was acting weird, and I figured it out when I swung by her dorm and she was walking in with a pregnancy test kit.”

I really can’t think of three words to string together.

“And then she had an abortion and made me swear never to tell.”

I wince. I know abortion is one of the ultimate no-no’s for Catholics. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” He forces his tone into submission, but I hear traces of pain in it. “So I know what it looks like. And my parents never found out, so that stays here.”

I nod robotically. We’ve talked a bit, obviously, but this breaks into a new level of personal revelation. “Yeah.”

Kyle tilts his head. Maybe it’s the cheerfulness in my tone. “You okay?”

I crack my lips to say yes, but the word refuses to leave my mouth. “Of course I’m fine.”
Through gritted teeth.

“’Cause you don’t sound fine.”

I bristle, tears pricking my eyes. “Just shut up, would you?” Before I’m sobbing into your shirt.

He blinks. “I think my mother was right.”

I stare at him. “What?”

“About viciously swinging pregnancy hormones.” There’s just enough humor in his tone to keep me from hurtling over the edge.

I swallow hard. “Why? Why the hell are you standing here talking to me after we talked about dating for crying out loud? And then I did something so monumentally stupid as getting pregnant without being married and trashing volleyball forever and I haven’t even told my dad yet and when he finds out he’s going to kill me-” The horror of it all, piecemealed over the past three months, collects into a meteor and crushes me. A ragged sob escapes.

“Okay, Mel.” His voice is summer-breeze soft. “You’re gonna be okay.”

“No I’m not!” I draw a jagged breath that hurts my chest. “I just wrecked my life! I had a purity ring, I never, ever thought I was gonna sleep with someone until I was married, and then I ruined it all one stupid, stupid night!” My throat pulses shut, barring words. I fold my arms around myself, balling my fists in my wrap. They shake, and I close my eyes hard. Can’t cry. Not now.

His hand on my shoulder is the weight of a butterfly, like he wants to make sure touching me won’t shatter me. I blink a few times. His face is shadowed again. “Look, I’m not a shrink and this isn’t exactly what I do as a hobby, but hear me out, okay?”

I swallow and draw a breath that shakes my whole body.

He stands there for a minute, not moving. “Ah, screw it.” Kyle pulls me into a hug, but as though I’m the most fragile rice paper.

I can’t believe this. I talked about dating him, got pregnant, and he’s comforting me? Something in my chest shatters. I didn’t know he had a heart like this. I feel the tears streaming down my face, and I lean sideways into him, sobbing. He pulls me closer, one arm against my back, hand on my head. I wrap my arms around him and hold on, a swimmer in a storm clinging to a pillar of granite. His vest is smooth on my skin.

Time drifts onward. Sometime later, I step back. My chest hurts, but it’s a different pain, like there’s a possibility of healing. “Sorry.” I trace my fingers under my eyes. There’s a reason I wear waterproof makeup these days.

Kyle nods once. “So, if you don’t mind me asking-”

“You can ask about anything at this point.”

He tilts his head. “What are you going to do?”

I shudder, despite the warmth of the night. “I don’t know. My dad doesn’t even know. That I’m pregnant.” Those three words are ugly. “But it’s not like I’d have an abortion. I don’t think I could live with myself.” God notwithstanding – I’m not sure who exactly he is at the moment – I just can’t do it.

His face relaxes a hint. “Yeah, good. You haven’t told your dad yet?”

I shake my head. “I have to sometime before it’s obvious. I just – I can’t make myself. He’s going to kill me.”

“Would it be easier if someone was there with you?”

I nod, stupidly, before realizing what he’s saying. “It would, but you don’t mean-”

“No, I meant Big Bird.”

I stand there, mind shutting down on me. “Are you serious?”

Something like a smile passes across his lips. “Trust me, I wouldn’t have offered otherwise. I’m not a masochist. All the time, at least.”

“But why?”

Kyle holds out my keys to me. “Because I’m your friend.”


Whew. You're still here? I know that was a lot to read on a monitor. So I'm toying with the idea of turning this into a project. Like, a novel-length project. But I'm kind of uncertain. I dunno. I am clearly rambling now, and should go do something useful like watch soap operas, clean the kitchen floor with a toothbrush, or read Plato.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I am so indecisive

I really am sometimes. The funny thing is, if I'm around a bunch of other indecisive people, I'll just call the shots so we quit staring at each other, waiting for someone to call the shots. Take a typical Tuesday morning for example. That's our 5-mile easy run day in cross-country (henceforth abbreviated as "XC"). Usually our newly elected team captain will look at us and ask which route we want to run. It shouldn't be hard, there are only like three. Yet through some mysterious process, this question is met with blank stares. It doesn't help that it's 6:40 in the morning. Some of us are still sleepwalking. So usually I'll just weigh the options and pick something. I guess I"m one of those behind-the-scenes leaders. I'll wait to see if an obvious leader steps forth; if not, I'll step up to it.

All that to say this: I have a short story (a long short story, about 12 pages double-spaced) I wrote over Hurricane Ike, in snatches on my laptop (which contains the world's crappiest replacement battery), and charged said crappy battery in the car on scouting runs to the Conoco, Shell, and H-E-B (that's a Texas grocery store, for those unfortunate out-of-staters :p). There's a lot in there from my life, and I'm kind of scared to post it. Especially after this. Because a certain person is involved romantically (kind of) in the story, and it's written in first-person (although the narrator is NOT me, thank goodness).

So that's why I'm dithering right now. Cool word, 'dithering'. Can't you tell right now I'm totally stalling? I really can't decide. Especially because I'm concerned people will get the wrong impressions of my exact feelings toward certain persons. Regrettably, Blogger does not have a password-protect function.

Besides, it's not like anything I usually write. Part of this was the super-weird circumstances, which I pray I never undergo again (two words, all you bloggers, for ten days: no internet). It was based off a dream I had, so some real-life things got mixed in.

Okay, I am blathering now. Vulnerability is not something I expose myself to often. It's not safe. It's not supposed to be safe. But it should be part of life. And I suck at telling when is a good time...

Friday, October 17, 2008


My iPod died five days ago as I finished a run. I plugged it into my computer and discovered the software itself was fine - the touch wheel is totally inoperable, thereby nullifying the point of having an iPod. RIP, my beautiful metallic green 4 GB Nano. You had a good life, were free, and worked reasonably well for almost two years (It was not new when I got it), and had the decency to yield up most of your music to my computer before death. Could have been worse.

I hope it rests in peace, because I am not at peace right now. I had it on for several hours each day, and am discovering how my mood is lifted with music. As beautiful as the new nanos are, I don't feel like shelling out the money for it. But I"m going to, probably, because I can't wait two months until Christmas. Two months without music (I don't own a CD player, just an iPod speaker-dock) is not a good idea.

And now my printer is crapped out on me. It'll print half-lines of text and skip words. Print alignment for the cartridges failed, so I'm going to try to switch out the black cartridge (even though it's brand-new). If that doesn't work, I am going to be doubly peeved. And I have a cross-country race tomorrow, so I really need to calm down and not get too worked up about it.

It's not that big of a deal. I realize these things are luxuries. But why all at once? This is of course, when I need to print a review for one class and PowerPoint slides for another. There are other places to print, but it just irks me when this stuff comes one after the other.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Not sure what to write about. I need to write something, though. A short break from Plato (and if Socrates was as annoying in history as he appears in The Republic, it's no wonder they wanted to kill him). I need to read the rest of the book before Tuesday, read Aeschylus' Eumenides and something by Aristotle by next Thursday, finish a PowerPoint presentation before Tuesday (ick), figure out what Shakespeare play I'm going to pick for my next paper (suggestions? sadly it can't be something we've read in the class :-(, and...I know there's something else.

Gah. So much to do! Next semester I'm going to try to not have three reading-intensive classes, because it's so time-consuming. I know I'll have two at least, with the Honors classes. So my goal for today is to finish the PowerPoint, read through book 5 of the Republic, and look over a couple review sheets.

Then I can write! I'm really looking forward to that. Someday I'll post about the library here. The emphasis obviously is on non-fiction books, though I did find Tangerine by Paul Bloor (good, good book, read it), The House of the Scorpion (won some big award, forgot what, haven't read), The Wednesday Wars (never before checked out of the library), and HP 7 (which I haven't read before either and am almost done with, yes, I checked it out last night, and stayed up...a little later than I planned reading).

Anyway. I was the first person to check out three of those books, and it made me kind of happy to watch the librarian stamp the unblemished cards at the top left corner. And the smell...

okay, enough of that, I have to study. Or read. I haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I am officially nervous.


My Shakespeare paper is due today. I've finished it, proofread it three times, checked for MLA format, and had two other people proofread it. I'm still nervous. Getting caught up in the grade is about the last thing I want to do, but I really, really want an A on this. It took a long time. It's 2100 words (about 8 pages, double-spaced). And darn it, I know the material, I could compare The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of Malta (Christopher Marlowe) in my sleep now, so give me the freaking A!

Sorry, just had to get that out. I'd consider posting it, but I'm not sure how many people actually want to read all eight pages. Nine if you count Works Cited.

And the other *scream* is for my cell phone, currently locked in my coach's office. I was bright enough to leave it in her office. When I went back after class (for which the teacher didn't show, so twenty minutes later we left), there was a notice on her door stating she'd be out of the office for most of the day. Fortunately, I know her phone number (or at least I'm pretty sure of it). Unfortunately, I'm trying to find a phone to call her with. *sighs*

Clouds are mounting in the sky, and as I walked back from class, I saw a beautiful bolt of lightning. It makes me think of this passage from The Aeneid:

"As thunder
at times will split the sky and a trail of fire goes
rippling through the clouds, flashing, blinding light-"

Lovely, isn't it? I've enjoyed The Aeneid more than The Iliad, partly because it's half the length, and because Virgil wrote in Latin meter, not Greek. In The Iliad, there are a lot of double modifiers - the great blue sky, the black swirling death - you know, a bunch of adjectives. No-nos for modern English writers. So that drove me nuts. Virgil isn't prone to that.

I picked up a lovely little volume of Robert Tristam Coffin poetry a couple weeks ago at the library. It hadn't been checked out since February 24, 1984. It's a shame, too, because it's beautiful poetry - the images are amazing, but it's not super-cryptic stuff. I'll post a poem next time, perhaps...

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Realm of Fiction, and Its Forbidding Doors

Read this first.

(Isn't it amazing that even on a bad day Q can write something so good?)

This is an inevitable part of writing. All writers know that. Or if they don't, clearly they have been given the golden key to the gates of the realm of fiction. Writer's block - I might start calling it writer's lock-out - is something that drives me beserk. I've been suffering it since school started...such a long time.

Maybe it was burnout. With two weeks before I moved out, I realized once I got to school the odds of me finishing my current project anytime soon were slim. So in the last two weeks of summer, I charged through to the end of the book. It was a great feeling, no writer's block.

And then it hit. Seven weeks of painful nothingness in the mind, except for phantoms of ideas too insubstantial to hold.

There's a glimmer of hope, though: one of the phantoms is solidifying a little. As much work as Shakespeare class is, I now have inspiration. From which play? Romeo and Juliet. Not at all what I expected. For years I've hated that play. I came to terms with it last week: every problem I have with it deals with the time span. They fall in love overnight? They get married the next day? They kill themselves a day later? Uh-uh.

But then I grudgingly admit that spreading these events over a long time period wouldn't work for a play. Shakespeare had to condense. So when I read R&J, I just imagine there are tidy gaps of time between acts. If I think of it that way, I quite enjoy it.

So yes, my idea, flickering at the edges of my mind, is somewhat based on Romeo and Juliet. But modern. And with a somewhat happier ending. (Not a Disney ending, mind you, not at all. I may not be friends with Will, but c'mon - a happy ending in something based on one of his tragedies? It's an insult.)

I just realized something. The three projects I've finished have something in common. Or the process leading to them did: I wrote rough outlines for all three. Unfinished projects, I didn't.

Yes! Perhaps this is a breakthrough. I must go now - and finish my pesky paper on The Merchant of Venice so I can try to outline this idea...I hope it will not fail me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Q tagged me a while back, and I'm finally getting around to this meme.

1. What are your nicknames?

Technically, the name that people call me all the time is a nickname because it's a shortening of my real name.

2. What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD?
No idea

3. What is your favorite scent?

Too hard to answer! I'll pluralize: sandalwood, rose gardens, vanilla, and the smell of Home Depot (weird, I know)

4. What one place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back to?
Washington, D.C. It's a cool city.

5. Do you trust easily?

Depends on the situation and person.

6. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?

Generally I analyze the potential act from a hundred angles. It's a good trait sometimes. But other times it's just irritating.

7. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?

Yes, there are some things, like airbags in my throat when I'm running, too much Shakespeare, and allergies.

8. Do you have a good body image?

Pretty good - but there are always those days. It comes with being female.

.9. What is your favorite fruit?

Toss-up between good bananas and firm grapes.

10. What websites do you visit daily?

Yahoomail, Facebook, my blog.

11. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?

Nothing, really.

12. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?

A very interesting person I'd love to meet in real life.

13. What's the last song that got stuck in your head?

Cemeteries of London by Coldplay.

14. What's your favorite item of clothing?

Oh. I have to pick just one? Okay, then. I have a black silk trench coat that I've been told looks very nice and expensive, but it was on sale at Kohl's. I think it's really cool.

15. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?

Have I had a Rice Krispy before? I don't remember.

16. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?

Ask if anyone had lost it. If no takers, then I'd probably use it to buy supplies for a dinner party.

17. What items could you not go without during the day?

Food, water, air, my iPod (okay, I could go without if I HAD to). I could almost add ' internet', except during Ike I was without it for over a week, and I lived.

18. What should you be doing right now?

Showering, reading The Merchant of Venice, and writing reading journals for The Aeneid. I'm going! Really!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Laptop on my knees, I curl into my green butterfly chair, tucked in the corner of the little living room. It's new, and the microfiber is soft against my skin. I close my eyes, the light from the wall scarcely outshining the computer screen. The first notes of Bring Me to Life float like ghosts through my headphones, and I tuck my arms against myself. I feel cold and tired. No. Tired is too flat, too stale a word. Weary. I am weary.

Nothing traumatic has happened, nothing externally is wrong. I haven't been snubbed, done anything dumb, anything. It's just one of those nights.

In my mind, I start changing the situation, pull myself into a dream.


The light does not brighten, but softens
. The music is Secondhand Serenade, Fall For You. I anticipate the knock on the door before the sound startles the empty apartment. Smiling, I lift my laptop and set it on the coffee table, scooching out of my chair. My chest warms as I touch the handle of the door and pull.

He stands there, hands in pockets. I can't tell exactly what he looks like, but I know he's at least athletic if not a runner, so he's in good shape. And I think he's taller than me. His hair color is indeterminate, but given how few true blonds there are, it's probably some shade of brown.

"Hey, come on in." I step back, stomach giving its instant hop into some unknown state - a blend of anticipation, nerves.

He comes in and smiles, and I feel the world slow, narrow to a point which is this room, all that exists. As time yawns and settles into a drowsy pace, the weird feeling in my gut melts away, and I am me.

We talk for a long time. An hour? Two? Eventually I feel my eyelids droop, and know this has to end for tonight. Six am comes early. I inhale slowly, so, so content.

He checks his watch and pulls a face. Must have the same thoughts as me, because he pushes his chair back with an awful scrape. (I've GOT to get furniture pads for those stupid things). We chat for a couple more minutes about nothing. I mentally cross my fingers. Please, please, do it.

I can't contain the world's widest smile as he pulls me into a hug. I wrap my arms around his back and close my eyes, head resting on his shoulder. His scent is his own, and good. For so long I thought being in love would mean feeling awestruck or besotted everytime someone entered the room. Acting dreamy and dazed. Dazzled and tongue-tied.

Maybe it is that way for some. It might happen occasionally for me. But as I relax now, I know. It is something quieter, something solid and sure. It is being inside during a thunderstorm, protected as lightning lances the ground. It is having a parachute before jumping out of a plane.

I know that with him, I am safe. I can be me. Utterly, totally, purely me, saying those things I think but don't say, not watching out for myself in every word and gesture. I can look straight in his eyes and it is alright, easy and simple. And I know now, here, in this moment, it is safe. I am safe.


The song ends. I refuse to open my eyes for a moment, holding on to the warmth I thought I felt, a phantom, the child of an idle mind. But no. The only warmth I feel is heat from my laptop. Blinking hard, I pull my lungs close, pressing out the last drop air in silent keening. This is foolish. Nothing is truly wrong. But for tonight, it hurts, as I long for something I do not yet have.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dinner Party!

Over the last week or two, I've wanted to cook a lot of food, for a lot of people. Not my usual craving. So yesterday, I decided to just do it. I sent an elegant invitation via text message, bought some high quality SOLO plates, and some fine paper napkins. The final head count, I think, was somewhere around fourteen people. That's a lot in a dorm room, but between provided furniture in the little living room and computer chairs, we got everyone seated.

The other amazing thing: I had all four burners on the stove going, plus the oven, and managed to have everything ready at about the same time, and all cooked right. That's a new thing for me. Usually I'm cranking the temp up on one pot and down on another to make them finish at the same time. Granted, I did spaghetti, pasta sauce, and Mac-and-Cheese. Not the most complicated food, and the cookies were a box mix (gluten-free, which I don't think anyone realized).

This get-together also forced me to clean. My room was never a total train wreck (except one day), and the common area/kitchen wasn't bad, but they're both vacuumed and spotless. Okay, the kitchen was spotless until last night, and now all the pans are sulking in the sink. I'm not excited about that part. Maybe I can enlist some help...

Next time I"ll have to take pictures. For yes, there shall be a next time. This is kind of fun.

Friday, September 26, 2008


So, I finally updated my Java browers and did a Wordle of my third novel.

Thanks, Q, for showing me Wordles! You can make your own at

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Let's start at the very beginning. Some time ago - July, maybe - I had a dream that a friend of mine died in an accident, and I didn't find out until a couple days later. I woke up absolutely freaking out, hyperventilating, crying (yes, but only for a very short time). It was one of the best feelings in the world to realize "He's not dead."

Take 2: Not long ago, I dreamed I was teaching this same person (who shall remain nameless - I'm learning from my mistakes) to waltz. To Waltz of the Flowers, Tchaikovsky. I can only imagine what a psychologist would do with this. The contrast between these dreams is so absurd I'm still laughing about it.

And now, a friend of this Nameless Person (I'm fond of caps in a weird way), has said (actually, IMed on Facebook), and I quote "lol does someone have a crush on [favourite name of your choice] lol".

What is this??? This is the second person I"ve been accused of having a crush on. In like, the same day. Clearly there were benefits to homeschooling. I never had this problem before. It shows me, though, that I must be a red-blooded female, because the whole face-getting-hot thing? Yeah. For the past sixteen years and eleven months of my live, I thought I was immune.

Ha. Apparently I have no power over that reaction. Look, I like both guys, yes. But in a platonic way. (I really like that word, platonic).

I'm sorry if this seemed disjointed and rambling. It's late. I should go to bed. But I'm afraid I'm going to stare at the (mostly) dark ceiling, thinking about this...

Sometimes I swear Facebook is evil. And the friend of this Person is the last person I ever expected to make me twitchy like that. It's even worse than the first accusation (made by two roommates, whom I love), because this Person do I say this? In the vernacular, hot. (I'm sorry, yes, I'm going with SAT vocabulary here. It happens when I get flustered). He's both a football runningback and high school tutor. (I confess my skepticism and snobbery in believing the dumb football player stereotype and am now humble and glad there is an exception.) And we (some days I really hate that pronoun) both tutored at a high school, where freshman and sophomore girls all but glued themselves to him. I feel kind of bad now, because I talked to him quite a bit the first few weeks but not so much later on for fear of being mistaken as having a 'crush' on him. Since then I've had a couple personal epiphanies and realized I was being stupid.

So that is my sad, sad (in the sense of ridiculously pathetic) story. This is not a big deal, really. People are still without power from Ike. But ohhh, if there's something that gets under my skin it's being mistaken as a love-struck, crush-having boy-crazy - okay, no one has accused me of that last one.

It's the small things, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Turning Over a New Leaf...

Okay, bad pun, but since it is the first day of fall...I love my Mustang template, but I needed a change. Converse shoes are so classic. I did some very limited HTML editing, mostly with colors. If I left you off my blog roll, please tell me, and accept a sincere apology. I'm not trying to oust anyone here ;-)

So what do you think?

Oh, yes. The dorm does have power and water as of last night. However, the AC is struggling to get us below 85 degrees...Ahh! I do NOT like Ike.

EDIT: The temperature in the dorm is now blissful. I was afraid it would be another night of sleeping with a Ziploc of ice under my pillow.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I know, some of you were starting to wonder about that (whether I was still conscious, breathing, etc.). Eight days. That's how long I was without power and internet. (I think I may hate candlelight for a long time). Yeah. I was really, really bored. The funny thing is, I slept through the worst night of the storm. Don't ask how that worked. Maybe excess tryptophan in the turkey? Who knows. I was proud of myself - I stopped swatting dead light switches after the first 24 hours.

I am so, so grateful for electric lights. And gas stoves (which work through hurricanes, BTW). And refrigerators. And internet. And car-chargers for cell phones and laptops, even if the cell phone coverage stinks.

So now I'm back at my dorm. Which, um, doesn't have full electricity. It's running on generators, and has no AC. Yeah. I'm not sure this was the best decision of my life, but it was that or wake up at 5 am and drive down here for practice. Thanks so much for prayers of safety - we had one huge limb come down in our yard, but miraculously it didn't hit the house at all, and the cars are fine.

So here's the next call for prayer - electricity for my dorm, which conveniently enough, is the only dorm building without full power/AC/water. Oh yeah, did I mention no water? I worry about myself sometimes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This Week's Hurricane

I'm calling this a presidential hurricane, although I don't like Ike. I decided around 9 last night to drive home, because my little sis really, really, really wanted me to come back for the weekend. And there were only like 50 people still on campus.

So this is my update/prayer request: safety! We're supposed to get 70 mph winds for twelve hours straight starting around 2 am (great timing, huh?) Raewyn had the bad side of last week's hurricane; I'm getting this week's. It's not supposed to have Katrina-type damage or anything, but it is a massive storm.

Dependent on matters such as Internet connectivity and electricity availability, I'll try to keep everyone updated...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I'm oddly hooked by what I wrote a few days ago (see below - actually, don't yet). Today is my day in between classes. My to-do list:

- Read the last act of Tony and Cleo.
- Stretch
- Swing by my coach's office
- Do some Spanish homework
- Organize my room

I don't have any reading to do for two of my classes (this may never occur again) because we are a bit behind shedule (misspelling purposeful). We've spent the time fleshing out the previous works (which I am happy with).

Wow, I'm using a lot of parentheses.

Anyway. It's been two weeks since I've actually worked on something. And since I have the time today...

Yes, that's right. I wrote. I wrote on the Iliad-inspired thing I started a few days ago. Here it is. This is starting from the very beginning (the way I began the original short was too abrupt for me), so after a couple pages, you'll realize it's the same material you've read before, but tweaked. As always, LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.


The air felt like death. I wasn’t given to second-sight or prophecy as Cleon, but I felt danger holding its breath in the dry Greek afternoon, lingering around the next bend of the rift. I glanced over my right shoulder. “Patroclus.” I nodded at him to catch up.

Patroclus’ sword rattled in its hilt as he fell into stride next to me. “Yes, Altes.”

I considered him for a moment as we continued into the ravine. My father’s most trusted friend, nearing his fiftieth year but strong as Atlas holding up the sky. “I don’t like this path.”

He rubbed a hand over his chin, studded with grey stubble. “Its rockiness or its feeling?”

I stepped onto a rock slab jutting from the dried riverbed. “Both. Namely the feeling. It’s as though Hades is waiting to ambush us.”

The left corner of Patroclus’ mouth flickered down. He came from the school of thought which discouraged speaking the names of the gods. “It does not reassure me how many skulls we’ve seen.”

At that moment I saw the sun-bleached skeleton of a wild deer, its ribs no thicker than my middle finger. Each bone was smooth and white, in its correct position. It did not seem it died violently, but as if something snatched the life-breath from it, and it collapsed there. “Do you consider them omens?”

Dymas turned and snorted. “Omens? Hardly. Perhaps there have been more wolves this year.”

“In which case it would still be a warning, whether of the gods or not.” This from dark-skinned Lysias, who sailed to Greece several years ago from a place across the Mediterranean. He was nearly as devout as Patroclus.

I shook my head. “Remain alert. I’ll be glad to clear this ravine.”

Patroclus laid his hand on my shoulder, only for a moment, always careful to respect my status as my father’s child. “It won’t be long.”

I nodded, not looking at him. Patroclus knew my secret. Lysias suspected, I know, but he would not question me, or reveal his suspicions to anyone. Dymas was blind as the steep rock walls rising on our sides. Neither Harmon or Nomion spoke much of anything. Excellent fighters and dependable men, yes, intellectuals, no. I found myself in an uncomfortable position as proficient
in both disciplines.

A horse whinnied around the bend.

I felt the warm metal of my sword grip under my palm before I realized I’d reached for my weapon. Both Lysias and Harmon had hands on their swords; Nomion swung his bow over his shoulder an instant later.

Dymas and Patroclus rested their hands near their weapons, Dymas grimacing as though he longed for the familiar weight of his spear. I know he regretted having to send it ahead with the main party. He could pin an apple to a tree trunk from fifty paces back.

Patroclus made as if to step in front of me. I held a hand up. “Perhaps it’s a band of traders or nomads.” Anyone with equal or even slightly great numbers would be mad to engage us. The weakest fighter at the moment was Dymas, only because he was a master of the spear and not sword. As the leader of our group, I rounded the bend first.

Seven men stood across the ravine, barring the path, sun glinting from their armor.

I knew then, before a word had been spoken, they were here to meet us. Yesterday Perin suffered a deadly snake bite – mostly through his own foolishness – and was left behind for his troubles. We numbered six now.

The man in the center of the ravine unfolded his arms, looking at each of us, gaze settling last on me. “Altes.”

“What do you want?” I said. “We’re not on business of war.” Though if they attacked, that would soon change. “And if you’re wondering about our seventh man, he was bitten by a viper and left to recover.”

He lifted eyebrows the color of washed-out sand. Trojan coloring, faint accent. “Why would I be wondering of Perin?”

I narrowed my eyes. “Don’t condescend to me. You’re waiting, fully armed, in a little-traveled ravine with seven men. Coincidentally the same number of men in my band until yesterday. It’s all a very convenient accident.”

In my side vision, Patroclus’ mouth twitched, likely in a combination of mirth and caution.
I kept my right hand draped over my sword hilt. “Dispense with the absurdity. What do you want of us?”

He tilted his head, eyes glinting like blue ice. “It’s nothing I want of you, Altes.” He said my name with irritating familiarity. “It’s you and your men that I want.”

I felt cool fear wafting into my stomach. “Your first problem is if you think my father will be coerced into paying ransom, you are mistaken, and second problem that there are many wealthier families to kidnap from.” I half-turned and took in my group with a glance. “And with no insult intended, no one in this band possesses anything of absurd value.”

Except Dymas.

“Except for Dymas,” said the man. He did not shift his gaze to my red-haired spear thrower.

He knew, then, of Dymas’ pearl-beds. Perhaps not of the methods Dymas’ oysters produced such large stones – no one knew that – but he did know whose pearls were the most lustrous and valued.

“Well then,” I said. “One of seven. I congratulate you on your fine catch.” I paused. “Except for the minor issue that you have chosen to assault a highly-trained group of fighters. I suppose the laurel wreath will be due after you’ve defeated us.”

Patroclus made a suppressed sound of impatience. I understood the cause of his concern, but I could be much more insulting if I chose. All I said was true.

The Trojan smiled and drew his sword, metal singing once and again with the voice of Echo in the cliff walls. “Then I take that as a challenge.”

“Hardly,” I said. “We have business to attend to elsewhere that does not involve Trojan kidnappers.”

Dymas wavered in the corner of my left eye, glancing at me. I dipped my chin once. His fault was impatience, but he’d waited for the enemy to draw weapons first. Therefore I would allow him to respond for us.

He unsheathed his weapon, bronze glittering in the light.

The canyon sang with metal on metal, the clear ring of sword and sheath. I felt the weight of my sword, familiar as the laced sandals on my feet. Swinging my shield from my back, I slid it onto my left arm.

It was then I saw the man on the enemy’s side. At first I did not know what drew my gaze. As I cinched the straps on my shield, I began to discern. Something of the air around him appeared different – hazy, flickering, as the air on a scorching day.

He returned my gaze in a manner not describable with words – unflinching? Little wonder. He was huge. Not flabby, but the most muscular man I’d seen. And as sure as I knew my sword, I knew I was going to fight him. A total mismatch, yes, between the slight boy and the giant (not a true giant, of course).

So, it came as little surprise to me when a moment later we squared off. Half-grinning, my opponent brought down his sword with what seemed a casual turn of his wrist. His blade struck mine with enough force to clack my teeth together. I cursed myself for not anticipating the blow and took a half-step back, tightening my grip. Our blades met again, and my arms felt like they were being pulled from their sockets. I couldn't decide exactly what about this man worried me so much. There were many things. There was something about him physically that seemed...almost superhuman. Even without a helmet, he stood just enough taller than the rest. His shoulders filled armor inches wider than even my father's friend Argos. It was unnatural. By nature I was one of the best swordsmen - swordspersons - in Greece, and my father theorized that Artemis blessed me in my toddling days. Never had I met one who could put so much force into a stroke.Sunlight flashed against his sword, the bronze throwing specks of light into my eyes. I continued parrying, dodging. He was a giant, yes, and I was a girl masquerading as a boy, but I was by nature quicker. At one thrust, however, I could not dodge, and shoved my shield arm forward. Pain exploded in my arm as the blow knocked me backwards three steps. That was when I comprehended the truth I’d known all along but refused to admit.
He was toying with me. Impossible but true.
Teeth gritted, I scanned the ground near his feet. A rock the size of my fist laid on the sun-baked ground a few feet behind my opponent. If I could trick him into stepping backwards onto it, I might have the advantage for a few crucial moments."Yah!" I shouted and swung my blade at his head. A startled expression broke across his sun-tanned face, and he skipped backwards with surprising agility. His left heel came down on the rock, and he stumbled, shield swinging sideways.With a grunt, I slashed sideways. I hated killing, but I would hate to be killed more. With some impossible maneuver, he twisted at the last moment, regaining his balance. The blade bit into his arm instead of plunging into his side. At the least his sword arm was injured, giving me a hope of survival. I pulled back a few paces, glancing at the top of my sword. The other metallic rings of swords faded in my ears, the thuds, shouts, wind in my ears died.
I thought I would see crimson tipping my sword. Over the bronze of my sword, golden liquid gleamed, flecks of silver glinting in the sun, droplets sliding toward the hilt.It fell together. A man stronger than all the rest. An unnatural fighter. Golden blood.Ichor. Blood of the gods.It could not have been a breath later I looked up, eyes wide. "Ares."The edges of his lips curved up, smooth as a new archer's bow. No doubt he was pleased with my paralysis, my awe, my fear. With no warning change in his posture, he attacked. Three strokes later my wrist snapped. A choked sound of pain split my lips as pain rushed through my right arm. My sword clanged against the ground. I bent for it, knowing I had no time.A blur of glimmering, flashing bronze, and a wall of metal slammed into my chest, driving me backwards into the cliff side. A spur of jagged rock dug into my skull, and light flared in my eyes for an instant. The edge of his shield dug into my throat. I prayed to Pallas Athena and to Artemis to act in these last few moments, to spare my life.The goddesses had other business than to interfere with this pitiful mortal's affairs, because Athena did not appear with her shield, or Artemis the Huntress with her bow.
A sharp edge bit into my neck, and I forced my eyes open. I would not die as a coward. Just cut down by an immortal’s blade."That would be Lord Ares to you, boy," said the god of war.I repressed a last impudent comment. Dying quickly and cleanly appealed than some of the more grisly deaths Ares was famed for. All I wanted to know was why, why me, why an immortal deigned to meet swords with me.I did not ask, because something slammed into my temple, and the dark mists of unconsciousness swirled over my eyes.