Sunday, December 12, 2004

Final week: Graf

Self as a Writer
Thought one:
I need to spend more time reading. I know that that is the foundation to my problems. If I read more, I would improve my grammar, spelling and diction. I know that I need to work on proof reading, and maintaining tense. But I am aware of it and try to correct the problem. I read aloud, and sometimes I print the pieces and physically edit with a red pen. When I proof, Ihave a habit to read right over the incorrect word and say the word that I think is there.
I have pushed myself through this course, and through the many times that I was frustrated and wanted to give up. But I didn’t, I am tired of being a quitter.
I use to enjoy writing, now I have begun to look at it differently. Honestly, there was more stress involved than there was fun. But again, I think that that steams back to the fact that I don’t read for pleasure. As a writer, I was not as creative as I have been in the past. I took a lot of the assignments literally, even when thoughts came to mind that were not literal interpretations. I just couldn’t develop the creative thought into anything beyond a few sentences, so I would go with the literal. But also, maybe in my growth I have become more left brained than right. Though there were pieces, I wrote this semester that I liked, and felt were creative.
Thought two:
There were many times that I would sit down to type, but I had very little to say. I felt distracted by other thoughts. It was like I was at loss for words. As a young person, and a young writer, I still need to find myself, and my voice. However, when I did find a prompt, or snatched up an idea that lit up that bulb, I could go on and on, and it would flow.
Thought three:
I did not feel as confident as I did in high school creative writing. I had more time for each piece in HS. Writing is a form of art, art doesn’t just appear, it is crafted. You see I am a stream of conscious writer, and then I spend the most time crafting and revising my work. I was truly challenged in this writing experience; it was demanding but also flexible. My mind was twisted into a pretzel for most of it. I guess really, I don’t know where I stand as a writer. I used to write all the time, but I found that painting did more for me, I enjoy the process more.
Thought four:
I am a still a beginner. I still have a lot to learn; content, grammar, and style. I write about things that mean something to me, I used to call myself and emotionalist. I am still searching for my voice. I think that I do well with images, and tones. However, the view is usually, I ..blah blah blah.. I.. blah blah. . I. .. I. . Yeah definitely need to get out of that self centered prospective. I think that I would do better in fiction writing, I have come to this conclusion just recently. I wish that the rhythm would come to me, and I would be filled with great gratification after every piece that I write. But that is not how learning works, the only way to learn is through failure, and I am sure that I have failed on some of these assignments. In the beginning of the course, you said, writing is a test of character. Well believe me, my character has been tested.

Final week: Revision

39. Original

I slowly open the bathroom door, and sneak in. The air is warm and misty. Wes’ clothes lay on the floor, his boxers still in his jeans. He had just stepped out of them. His black T-shirt and sneakers are covered in flour from the bakery. I quietly unzip my jeans, and slide them down my legs, followed by my panties, and step of out of them. I pull my tank top over my head, and toss it on top of my jeans. I lay my jewelry on his towel, so to not make any noise, and surprise him. I pull back the curtain, without sliding it on the rod, and step into the tub. He stands with his back to me; I move toward him and slide my hands up and around his torso. “Ohh, Hello.” He says, as he turns to face me.“Hello” The water pours from the showerhead, and trickles from out shoulders to our feet, warming our bodies. I put my arms around him, he presses his naked body to mine, and I rest my head on his chest. We embrace quietly and listen to the rhythm of the water for a long while.Wes interrupts the quietness, “Good to see you.” And kisses the top of my head; I look up at him, and kiss his wet lips.

39. Revised
I anxiously wait for my Honey to return from work, I keep checking out the living room window, hoping to catch a glimpse of him coming up the driveway. I return to the kitchen, to whip up the mashed potatoes for dinner. I hear him stomping up the steps. I greet him at the door, pulling it open just before he can get hand to the doorknob.
“Hello Honey!” I say with excitement.
“Well Hello.” He says and kisses my puckered lips.
“You taste like flour.”
“Well yeah, I am a baker... I’m covered in it.” He removes his jacket.
“Are you hungry? I made dinner, it’s almost done.”
“Yeah.” He says as he steps into the bathroom and blows flour out of his nose.
“I just want to take a shower first.” He closes the door and starts the shower.
I hear the curtain slide across the rod, and back again.
I set the table with two of everything; two plates, folks, cups and napkins.
With a mischievous grin on my face, I cover the potatoes and turn off the oven. I slowly open the bathroom door and sneak in. The room is warm, misty and inviting.
Wes’ clothes lay on the floor, his black T-shirt and sneakers are covered in flour.
I quietly unzip my jeans, and slide them down my legs, followed by my panties, and step of out of them. I pull my tank top over my head, toss it on top of my jeans, and lay my jewelry on his towel.
I pull back the curtain, without sliding it on the rod, and step into the tub. He stands with his back to me; I move toward him and slide my hands up his torso and around to his chest.
“Ohh, Hello.” He says, and turns to face me.
I smile at him.
The water pours from the showerhead, and trickles from our shoulders to our feet, warming our bodies. I put my arms around him, and run my finger nails down his spine. Even in the warmth of the water, goose bumps raise on his skin and he quivers. He bites his bottom lip and slides in hands along the contour lines of my female figure, stops at my hips and pulls them to his own. We embrace, locking our naked bodies together. I rest my head on his chest, he squeezes me tightly.
“Good to see you.” He says followed by a kisses on the top of my head. I look up at him and kiss his wet lips. We stand together for a long while with the water cascading down on us; our showers grew longer and hotter the colder the autumn became.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Theme Fifteen: Journal

Journal Entry 1:
Saturday December 5, 2004
Today is my day off and I have spent most of it in bed. Sleeping is my favorite hobbies, aside from art.. Tomorrow I have to work a double. Working at a Chinese restaurant really isn’t that bad and we get a good amount of business. Besides, I should be grateful that I have a job, there are very few places open in the winter good ol’ Baah Hahbah. I should also be grateful that I wait tables. Making cash for a living and receiving instant gratification is a positive reinforcement. It is tough with everything still being new to me, and it is different severing locals, than serving tourists.
Well my brain doesn’t really feel like working anymore this evening, so good night. 10:45 pm.

J.E. 2:
Sunday December 6, 2004
I have returned from work and begun cooking dinner for two. I am really getting tired of these doubles, in spite of their short durations. This past summer when I worked doubles they were 15 hour days and maybe an hour break, if I was lucky. At this restaurant, the hours vary, but average 6-8 hours. I know, I know, that isn’t bad. But I work the beginning of the week 10:30 to around 2. Fridays and Sundays, I work the morning and return in the evenings. We have the buffet Friday night and Sunday morning, so two of my shifts consist of bussing tables and running drinks. I have Saturdays off, and Mondays off. Yeah, now that it is all laid out in front of me, it looks like a easy schedule. Well I would rather lump the doubles together and lump the days off together.
Additionally, I am going through the adjustment period. I keep comparing everything to Acadia, because that is the routine that I spent the entire summer and fall doing. So now working in another restaurant down the street, I am indecisive about how things are. Should I stay, or should I go?
It is nice that there are only two servers, a Russian girl named Yulia and myself. But the only time we work together in on Friday night buffet. This way it gives us the opportunity to make the most money, (depending on business.) Yulia has been there for two years, so she knows everything, and works very quickly.
Me on the other hand, everything is different, the plates are awkward, I don’t know the 23 categorized, seven paged menu. My manager and three members of her family work at the restaurant, they are from China, so they obviously are familiar with the menu. Although neither of the cooks speak much English. So that makes me the only American. When I am there during the day, I listen to Chinese music, and my co-worker converse, but I don’t understand, obviously. So I don’t really pay attention, sometimes I will hear tones, sounds that catch my attention. And with May, (manager) I can read her reactions, and gestures. But her husband has very little expression, and a lot of the time her doesn’t even look at me when I call in an order. I bend down on the counter and look through the bottom half of the window to make eye contact. But he just stands there staring up at the security monitor, like it is a football game. So it is an awkward place to be, let alone all the other unfamiliarity’s. Well that is all that I have to say about work. I have just spent a majority of the day working, and I am not going spend the entire evening talking about it. Good Night. 11:16.

J.E. 3:
Tuesday December 7, 2004
Being a night owl, ten a.m. comes early for me, especially when my bed time is between 2 and 4 a.m. I think that one of my most dreaded activities is getting out of bed when the house is cold. But I fight it, and do it every morning. I dress myself in black pants, sneakers and apron, a white V-neck top, with a colored shirt underneath; to bring some originality to the uniform.
I walk down the steps, shivering and cursing at the cold air, and gray skies. I drive a half a block and park opposite of the restaurant. I wait to cross the street as a school bus filled with kids passes by. I step into the road just in time catch the after wind of the bus, I pull my jacket closer to me. I walk into the restaurant, directly to the kitchen and clock in. I continue through the kitchen and around to the steps and fight to take off my coat, even the kitchen is cold. I walk into the dinning room and it is freezing, I feel a draft. I peak into the buffet room; someone opened the fucking window all the way! I closed it. With hands like icicles, I grab the blue bucket, fill it with ice, distribute it to the bar, soda machine, and water pictures. Oh have I mentioned that there is nothing more that I hate, than being cold! If my hands or feet are cold, I am done for. Fortunately, at this restaurant, we wash the tables before and after each shift, (Chinese food can be greasy, and sticky.) I grab two pink bowls, put one in each side of the sink in the server station and crank the hot water. I add some soap and watch the suds form, then submerge both hands into the steaming water. I go through the restaurant placing duck sauce containers on the tables, and wash them down and setting table three. (That is where the family eats dinner at night.)
We open at 11, not wanting to be there, and not wanting to be so cold, I go and my jacket. I have one of those L.L. Bean two in one jackets. I unzip the fleece liner and put it on, and go stand by the heater and flip my hands trying to warm them. I watch out the window for customers to arrive, it is snowing. I didn’t see as many of my regular customers today. But I saw some familiar faces, this one particular couple, my last couple of the day. I chatted with them about how they eat rice with chop sticks. The chop sticks are merely an extension of your fingers, and used kind of like a shovel. The gentlemen demonstrated for me, and to my surprise, I have been using them correctly. Then he picked up individual pieces of rice with the chop sticks. “Show off.” I said to him. We talked a bit about a whether, and how I hate being cold. The man agreed with me.
I stepped away and finished up my side work. Just as they were leaving, the man said that he left his fortune for me, and that it spoke to the both of us. They left, and I walked up to the table. I looked down at the check with the money on it, and under a nickel read fortune: “The whether is wonderful.” I chuckled and looked out the large window, the man and his wife were standing there, which made me laugh loudly and I smiled through the window.
4:31 pm.

December 8, 2004
I stayed up too late last night and went to work groggy. Fortunately, the weather wasn’t as cold and shitty this morning, so leaving my house wasn’t as shocking.
We weren’t that busy, but I saw a few of those familiar faces again. I never introduced myself to any of these people when I started, so now it seems a little awkward. I actually said to one couple today, “Hello familiar faces.”
I am catching on and working a little more quickly.
Yulia works across the street at the pet supply store and came over to ask me if I would work for her tonight. I said that I didn’t want to, but I would. She was no feeling well and was going to go home to get into bed. Business wasn’t bad today. I was able to take mostly every table. It is a 14 table section, (but not packed.) May takes tables when I am bombarded. Waiting tables isn’t that difficult, but when you work lunch and most people in town have lunch at the same time, they all come in together.
At 1:30, I clocked out and went home for a few hours, then returned for the evening shift. It was slow at first, I had two tables. At six May informed me that we were having a private party in the banquet room….35 people from the bank, they would be here at six thirty. Luckily, when large parties request the banquet room, they are offered a private buffet. The bank gladly took the offer. May’s brother, Kam came in to help me. We split the room into halves; we each had a long table and a round table. All we had to do was run drinks (in addition to water), clear plates and get the extra things that particular customers request; oh and bill ‘em. We each made out with a $ 46.00 tip. When I counted it, all I could think of was, Thank You Yulia! Out of all the shifts… The whole evening was ironic. When I first arrived, I began my side duties, filling the bar and soda station with ice. A young man sat at the bar and recognized me, happened to be an acquaintance of my boyfriend’s. I only had one new table the entire time the bankers were consuming (So I wasn’t bombarded with tasks). To boot, my second to last table of the night left me a $1.61 off of a $ 28.36 bill; and my last table of the night, left me a $15.00 dollar tip off of a $26.00 bill. Figure that one out.
It was really a strange night, and a longer day then I am used to, lately. Well I have to get up and work in the morning. My head misses the pillow.

December 9, 2004
Today sucked. I woke up tired, late and rushed. I wore the same wrinkled white shirt to work for the third day in a row. The soda machine takes turns spontaneously between spraying out soda and foam. Well I wore spots of orange soda spatter across my chest for the day. I had two customers for the hour of eleven, when one table left, I cleaned it up. My remaining customers asked me where everybody was. Well people show up around noon, and when they do they show up all together.
Not even 10 minuets later, there they all came. I didn’t see my regular customers. The people that came in knew just as much about Chinese food as I do. When you don’t know the men, all other problems stem from that! I was miserable. May had a lot of take out orders, so she couldn’t answer questions, or help me. I ran around to my six top, and they all wanted separate checks. Well we have carbon orders slips, and we keep them in books. So I had to ripe out six slips and mark each as to who it belongs to. Example: closest person to my left is labeled L1, so on and so forth. It is just too many people to handle. The same fucking thing happened at Acadia, but I could at least identify my plates, and describe food to them. I have to split the orders from fry to wok side, which mean identify each order and rewrite to order split…which defeats the carbon slip. Why do I always pick the properties that have the most difficult systems?
I have been waiting tables for six months consecutively. Between two different restaurants, I also hosted at another restaurant, on top of school and house work. This job is just putting me over the edge. It is so stressful, and my service reflects my tips, which is To Insure Proper Service, and my income; not my $ 3.13 an hour.
I think sometimes people leave me good tips in a rush, not because I provided them with speed and accuracy, but they felt bad that I was so spread out. Those customers of the eleventh hour left me a seven dollar tip, after they waited for who know how long for me to give them their bill.
I want to be good at this. I am cute and friendly, and polite. I am conscientious, sanitary, and want to make their restaurants experience enjoyable. There is nothing worse than angry, hungry customers.
I don’t know if I should stay and learn each item and master the Chinese menu, or if I should just find another restaurant that severs food I am accustom to. That right there is what has made these past five weeks, less productive. Do you know what moo shu gia pan is, what it looks like, or what it is served with? Me either. Well, my tummy is growling, I must go. 4:41pm

Friday, December 10, 2004

Theme Fourteen: Risks

Theme 14
We take risks everyday in the decisions we make, some take more risks than others; even when they are educated about the consequences of the risks they are taking.
There are two women from my past that I still associate with. As for most of the other girls that I grew up with, they made poor decisions, and I stop hanging out with them
I cheered my freshmen year of high school for football season. There were seven girls on the squad; four of those girls now have children.
Why is it that these women have had sex education since they were ten, and they continue to sleep around promiscuously and unprotected? I call them women, only because they have the ability to procreate, but they are still girls.
My best friend in fifth grade conceived her first child at the age of fourteen, and her baby was born one day after her fifteenth birthday. She is now nineteen and has three children. Luckily, they all have the same father. But didn’t she learn the first time? Or what about the fact that her mother is young and received child support from two different fathers. The youngest of her brothers impregnated one of her friends. These kids didn’t learn strong values about sex, so they manifested the same behavior as their mother and received the same consequences. I just don’t get it.
Two of my old friends from catholic school have children, little girls may I add. One of these girl’s older brother has three babies, and all with different mothers.
I have watched a friend go through the process of guilt and depression followed by an abortion. I have waited in offices with friends, waiting to find out if they contracted an STD. I have watched these kids with their children. A year and a half ago I was titled Aunty.
I just wish that these individuals would have made better decisions; don’t get drunk and fuck, develop some discipline and integrity. Show that you respect yourself, your body and the one life that you are given.
I see children as a burden at this point in my life. If I decide to have children it won’t be until my thirties, I would want a planned pregnancy, a home, and the ability to provide a stable environment for my child.
I worked with this girl this summer; she and her boyfriend have two children together. Her boyfriend had his first child at thirteen. What kind of a childhood is that? He wasn’t even old enough to be left home alone, but he had a child?
I do sound mean, but this is what I believe in. Becoming pregnant or contracting an STD, are my greater fears in life. So I do not condone kids having kids. I don’t understand why adolescents don’t take sex seriously or engage in responsible sex. There are plenty of contraceptive methods and services available to prevent becoming pregnant or contracting STD’s.
There are always expectations. My cousin was the captain of her soccer team, and became pregnant at eighteen. Her family was religious, and her community. She and her long term boyfriend only had sex once a month, directly after her period, but she still became pregnant. Chris was born, they both graduate high school and her boyfriend enlisted into the military. After boot camp, they were married. They had one more child, two years later. Carlie went on went on birth control, and conceived their third child. Two months after giving birth to Nevin, she conceived her fourth child; soon after her husband had a vasectomy. The exception here is that they have a stable home; they are married and make positive decisions for their children.
My best friend’s older sister conceived her child the same night she lost her virginity, the condom broke.
My friend Allen dated this girl who was missing an ovary, so she couldn’t have children. Well that wasn’t true, his world came crashing down. When he was eighteen he went for a vasectomy, but they told him that you have to be in your twenties. They want to make sure that that is what he really wanted. He did, he was certain, but he was denied. Now he wants to run out on the situation. He said, “I am not a father. That is not what I am supposed to do with my life.”
A lot of the times, I see young teens with older men, some these men thrive on being the first to penetrate and virgin vagina. They tell these girls they love them, and that they are beautiful, and time over time con their way in, “Let me put in it just once with out a condom.” That is how a conception happensRelationships are risky, sex in risky, abstinence in the most preventable method. We are sexual creatures, it is instinctual, we are meant to procreate; but you can still have fun in the rain, wearing a raincoat

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Theme Thirteen: Vignette


A beautiful young lady, in the prime of her youth stands dressed in the latest brand name clothing. The hot pink against her tanning bed complexion, her face painted up in black eye make-up, she fits right in. She smells fruity and perfumed. An honor roll student, outgoing, popular, one of the captains on the OHS varsity soccer team.
She assumes her position of leadership and responsibility, and being a team player; but don’t expect her to offer to share her queen sized bed with you, when you come home to visit.
She is on the defense; aggressive, assertive, and ruthless. Not just in her "trash mouth" choice of words, or closing the door in your face as you walk behind her; but in that tone that makes your soul sink.
“Hey Jenna?”
“What the fuck do you want?”
She is rotten, demanding and sarcastic. She is still in her adolescence, and obviously still clinging to that -'I’m the baby, I will get what I want' attitude.
Her heart, mind and body rides this emotional rollercoaster, around the loop the defence drops. She's laughing, joshing around and charming.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Theme Twelve: Indirectly

Example one:
Christmas is coming quick, get out your holiday spirit. Time to get out your wreaths, and bows and wire, the outside lights, the indoor lights, and the plastic Santa and reindeer set for the roof. Get out the wrapping paper, the scotch tape, the ribbons, and the tags. Make your list, and don’t loose those receipts. The sales are here, the mobs grew near, the malls, the stores and shops are packed and the registers keep ringing. Buy the seasonal eggnog, and green and red colored M&M’s, Pepsi’s holiday spice, the Christmas cookies, and don’t forget the Christmas cards, and treats for the dog. The stockings must be hung, the tree picked out, gotta find that tree stand in the basement. Get the kids picture with Santa, make a Christmas dinner.

The Christmas season is commercialized with a Santa, and a Mrs. Santa Clause, reindeer and Santa’s little helpers. Families lie to their children, until an older kid at school tells them, “There is no such thing as Santa, you know!” And a world comes crashing down until their teacher reinforces the lies, “There really is a Santa”.

Parent’s drive their bank account balances to a slim, to provide their children with possessions that they will either out grow or destroy within days. Brawls breakout among siblings over who got the better presents. Guilt rises in those who did not have the money to provide their children or family members with gifts galore.

What is this all for? Keep being good little consumers, and keep fueling the big businesses! And kids, keep watching those commercials for the new remote controlled trucks, and real peeing dolls. Keep begging for the toys you want!

People stress themselves over these insignificant tasks, until they are sick in bed Christmas day. Buy, buy, buy and by and by you’re broke, for what? In celebration of Christ’s birth of course? Oh yeah, well what’s he getting?

Plan a dinner, take your children to the woods and chop off the top of a pine tree, decorate it with home made strands of popcorn, and spend time with those you love, and count your blessings. That is the holiday spirit.

Example Two:

Ideas and research have pushed through the years with its inventions and break troughs. We have seen the progress and shake hands daily with modern conveniences; we as a race, but more specifically as American’s, have become dependent on technology.
In the later half of the 1800’s there was a booming of break troughs; we saw the first motion picture projection, talk on a telegraph, the invention of the light bulb, and radio power.
General electric was established in 1892. (“Electricity” was first coined in the 1600’s.) Inventors pushed forward in their brainstorming and in with advancements in technology and we began distributing radio power to the US, and putting radios in cars. Nine years after the first television broadcast in London, there were 7,000 televisions in the homes across America; around the same time as canned beer.
In the 1950’s, we first began using Velcro® and eating a ‘fast food’ from McDonald’s®. We began using credit cards; which was conveniently introduced the same time as microwaves and color television broadcasting, with color commercials!
In the late 60’s though the 80’s, we go to the moon, we have vinyl records, audio cassettes, invention of the handheld calculator, VCR’s, the first computer with intergraded circuits. We have the first Arpanet (internet), we are playing Pong®, (the first video game), using cellular phones, Walkman’s®, and IBM pc’s. 8-track and Fuji® disposable cameras are introduced.
We zoom through the ‘90’s, and become materialized consumers; CD’s, high definition televisions, answering machines, Pentium processors, DVD’s (which just of 2004 out sold VHS.) We have digital everything, cordless everything, Web TV, hybrid cars, virgin births (cloning,) vegetables, ears, animals, and people. We have robotic vacuum cleaners, navigators in our cars! What the hell is going on here? Things have moved too quickly! The simple life is over, unless you can compel yourself to stay in the woods. We replace our machines with newer machines, inflation has jacked the prices, but we pay it, because we need electricity, we need the internet, and we need a cell phone. With all the ideas and research we have created conveniences to save time, but most of it just uses up our time, and distracts us from what is more important

Monday, November 22, 2004

Theme Eleven: distance,framing,alienation

Intrigued and intriguing.

Crab dip and triskets
Karate elbow door
Dusk’s rainbow

heart of strings
emotional confessions
abstract points
Jumbo grape
Fabric Garden

Curving mountain road
Salty kelp

Mark and the little store
Driveway freshly snowed
Dogs and art
A man filled with insight
And a warm heart.

Scent of the earth
Viewing through slights
With hashed perception

The cold
Bowling car
Bumpers of snow
Salted pebble road

Below zero search
Pat down
Car destruction
The disappointed,
“I can’t believe it, nothing.”
Unthawing, I mean thawing

Relating self
The no I, me or my game
Frustration and challenge
Darkness with beautiful music

Cold toes and
Back seat to the sleepers

Parallel rectangular city
Mexico’s magic act
Duet of burning ember
His finger tips touch mine
The butterflies surge

His voice alluring,
Finger tips touch
My knee
Thoughts provoke

Stopped in the wind
Cape cod meets the French
Another strawberry flavor.

The wintery sky opens its dawn
the axle is limping.
The awesome mounds surround

Metallic purple enchanting our eyes
Fading into the light, moving
Displaying a spectrum of time
Intense pink spreads among us.

Sleepy, heavy eyes
Nearly home
Name game
The almost forgotten save
The artifact in the day
With a splash of tomato

Dusk’s rainbow appears
With no destination
The beauty evolved,
Four artists
An old new car
and the back roads
This is where I met my love.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Theme Ten: Don't mean what they seem

I search frantically through the apartment, feeling around with my fingers, scaling the length of the couch, around the pillow, under the CD book and the afghan…not here. I check the computer desk, and under papers, and the floor. I take a peak at the kitchen table, leaning in to get a better view. Circulating through to the bathroom, I look behind the stack of towels, the counter, and under my work clothes. Through the closet and to the bedroom, I feel all around the night stand and the floor around the bed… nope not here either.
Opening the bedroom door, I take another sweep through the living room running my hand over the coffee table, and the entertainment stand.
“Where the fuck are they?” I say aloud with frustration, and stomp into the bedroom.
I flip on the light and yank the covers off the bed, shaking them gently. …Nothing. I toss the blankets on the bed, and collect the articles of clothing off of the floor. “This is no way to start a day.”
I return to the living room, plop down on the couch. “You know, glasses are the most difficult thing to find.”