Posted in Life, School

The Bell

I hang up high,

Shapely and graceful,

Enclosed about in white.

I have windows on every side

Through which I see the sky.

 

I am alone

Up here so high,

But there are birds

Who flit past and some

Who come to live with me.

 

I love to sing,

To ring out loud

And when I do –

The birds sing too

Fluttering all around.

 

I feel a tug,

It’s time to sing –

Time to cry out gleefully

In my deep clear voice

As I dance and prance.

 

Whenever

My song bursts forth,

I hope that others hear.

I want them to be as glad

As singing out makes me.

 

It’s been a few years,

But once I saw a person too.

He climbed up from below

And worked to clean me up

So I was sad to see him go.

 

But, as he

Disappeared

I felt a tug on me.

So I sang out – very glad

That he would get to hear me.

And

All

He

Could

say

Was

“damn”.

 

This poem was written for a creative writing class I took this summer and it was meant to be written from the perspective of any non-human, with the form of the poem preferably echoing the object it was about. It took lots of revisions but it was a fun poem! And sorry mom, yes, there is a swear word in it. It fit and leaves the ending just ambiguous enough that we know what is meant, but the bell can take it to be either good or bad.

Other writings from this class:

Nights in the ER

War Changes Everything – A Short Story

Freckles

Posted in Life, School

War Changes Everything – A Short Story

“War Changes Everything” was written for a creative writing class, based on a prompt to write a scene based on a piece of art. The artwork I chose was “Nighthawks”, by  Edward Hopper (the painting can be found here). I decided to write a short story based on the couple seen in the painting, and because of the painting’s date, a WWII setting was obvious. The following scene allowed me to create a brief look at what was a pivotal time in history – for both the world and for women, as seen in one couple’s relationship.

 

 

“War Changes Everything”

Mary had tried to bring it up gently. She’d waited till the end of the meal even. Although, she wasn’t certain if that was for her to gather her courage or simply to allow him to enjoy the meal. But that wasn’t enough, apparently. John promptly dropped his hand to his side so he wasn’t touching her hand anymore.

“No. I don’t like it, Mary.” John’s voice was soft but urgent. Mary looked up at him briefly and then dropped her eyes back to the cup of coffee she had started hugging with her hands, briefly glancing at the cook. Thankfully, it didn’t look like he was paying attention as he cleaned the counter where some other late-night diners had just finished. John’s voice became a little harder now, but he still kept it quiet. “I’m goin’ to be your husband, and I won’t have ya’ doing that. It isn’t proper, it isn’t nice, it isn’t safe,” he let out a small huff of breath, “it simply isn’t the sort of thing ya’ should be doin’.” He knocked his hat a little further back on his head absently as he rubbed his bloodshot eyes. Maybe she should have waited till tomorrow, when he wasn’t just getting off work, but she hadn’t wanted to wait too long.

“It also isn’t your decision, John.” Mary finally looked at him, eyes dark beneath her red hair, which shimmered under the fluorescent lights. Her voice was firm as well. It was also starting to go up in pitch with her growing anger. “They need more people and it’s open for women now. I want to do more than stay home and wait to see how the war turns out.” This was frustrating. She’d been hoping he would see her side of it and back her up to her father.

“It is my decision though,” John clenched his left hand, knuckles protruding, “as your future husband. Why don’t I get ya’ a job at my factory? We need more workers there too, what with everyone signin’ up for the army. There’s a job openin’ in the office which ya’d be lulu for. More and more dames are working there already.”

Mary took a deep breath, her coffee smelling acid and bitter as she took a slow sip. She forced her voice to a more modulated tone, softening the edges of the rock she felt catching in her chest. “I’m going to apply on Monday, John. Sitting on the sidelines may work for some people but not me, and working in the factory… it would feel like the sidelines to me. I would have thought you’d understand that about me, of all people.” John’s cheek twitched. She suddenly hoped he hadn’t thought she was implying that he was sitting on the sidelines and thus, a coward, like some did. She understood him – so why was she starting to feel like that wasn’t mutual?

“I. Won’t. Have it.” John was glaring at his own cup of coffee. “Da-“ He broke off the curse he’d started, always the gentleman about swearing in front of ladies. He held up a hand in apology. Suddenly he sighed and relaxed his shoulders, his fingers coming up from massaging his bad leg to splay out on the counter again. “Mary… I love ya’. Ya’ know I wan’ the best for ya’, and the military… It’ll be worse than the factory is and ya’ know how dangerous and rough that is! And,” he hesitated for a moment to glance at her, moving his hand back towards hers, “I won’t be with ya’.” Mary started to open her mouth as she faced him and he laid his hand on hers before continuing. “Besides, your father would never approve and what do ya’ think they’d have ya’ do in the military anyway? Same thing ya’d be doin’ in the factory. Ya’d be helpin’ the war effort workin’ here just as much, but ya wouldn’t be leavin’ your family. Ya’ wouldn’t be leaving me. We could still get married this summer, just like we’d planned.” He smiled at her and caressed her hand a little, a quick glance straying towards the two other occupants in the diner before coming back to her. The cook was in the back of the diner, dejectedly waving away smoke from something that’d started to burn. Probably his own dinner. “Mary, I’m afraid ya’ just haven’t thought this through well. What possible reason could ya’ have to leave everythin’ – everyone, when ya’ could still be of use here? Anyway,” his eyes narrowed, “who’s brainchild is this? Can’t be yours. I know Ms. Fairchild down the street always had funny ideas about women and -”

Mary finally interrupted, her mouth straight, as she removed her hand from his. “It was mine, John.” She leaned towards him. “Yes, Katherine was the one who told me about the service, but I was the one who asked. I want to do something with myself – something different.” She took a deep breath as her chin lifted a little in defiance. “I just lost my job as Mr. Flynn’s secretary today – he enlisted. I’ve always been good at math and science; but I think I can be of more use in the service now, even if I do end up doing much the same thing.” Mary was gesturing as she spoke, forming a fiery speech as though it’d burn out any doubts. “Besides, Bert just signed up and will be leaving soon. He won’t be around for a summer wedding anymore. I want to do more than hope he’s alright. I want to do more than stay here in comfort and let the daily grind rule my life. They need help with the war effort and I want to go. Please, John, can’t you understand?” She finally, slowly, stretched her fingers back towards his hand, touching the back of it. “I know you would go if you could, but you can’t. You didn’t run away from the factory after your accident; why should I run from this just because it could be dangerous as well?”

John tightened his jaw and stared out at the dark deserted street. The diner’s lights flowed out from the glass windows, but there was little color there or inside except for Mary with her flaming hair and bright dress. He slowly took a sip of coffee, and set it down with a jagged sigh. “I’m jus’ wondering why ya’ can’t understand reason, babydoll. Why ya’ refuse to let me take care of ya’.”

She sighed, taking a firmer grasp of his hand in an attempt to pull his attention back to her. “John. I love you, but I have to do this. And it’s not unreasonable!” She smiled at him, but it was small and didn’t reach her eyes. “Why can’t we get married on the 16th? Bert won’t be leaving before then; he could still come to it.”

To their side, around the curve in the counter, the other man in the diner loudly set his cup down and called for a refill, breaking their bubble of attention. They both shifted back slightly as they were reminded they weren’t alone.

John looked at her, and slowly the corners of his mouth relaxed and almost turned up. “If we do, will ya’ give up this daft idea? I know ya’ were planning on getting a dress special for it, but ya’ could always wear that flowered one. I always thought ya’ looked real swell in it.” He smiled at her finally.

Mary jerked her hand away from his. She was starting to wonder why no one was staring at them – or if the men in the diner were simply being polite by feigning disinterest. “No, John, I won’t.” Her eyes sparked. “I’m going to do it no matter what. I’m sure it’ll take a bit for anything to happen even if I am accepted. And even if I am moved far away, I’ll be coming home to you at the end of the war. It’s just for a short while, until the war is over. I’m not going to leave you cold, John.”

John’s mouth straightened back out and he turned away from her to stare at the counter, one hand clutching the cup and bringing it to his lips almost reflexively. He looked like one of the machines in his factory, Mary thought, while she felt like anything but that.

“Well… then I hope your father has better luck talkin’ sense into ya’ than I’ve’ad”, John straightened up and moved his cup away, “since you’re so determined to brush me off.” He raised a hand towards the cook and deposited some money on the counter. He didn’t count it carefully out like he did normally. He stood up brusquely and started to take her arm. She stood up as well but stepped away from him, looking at him – but not quite in the eyes.

She took a breath, trying to steady her voice. “He won’t.” She was as firm as she could manage, hoping John wouldn’t hear the slight waver in her voice. She looked at John for a second and then started walking around the counter to the door. John hurriedly stepped forward to match her but was still behind her when she made it to the door, pushing it open herself to step out onto the empty street.

 

 

Original post about the class I wrote this for:Creative Writing and Summer Classes

Other writings from the class: Freckles and Nights in the ER

Posted in Life, School

Nights in the ER

Last night we were short-staffed

(They need to hire more people) –

Which is true most nights

But especially not fun

When we are as busy as that.

 

It always seems like the holidays

Bring out the worst of people’s ideas:

The fourth brings burns and New Year’s, accidents,

No holiday is without its

“What were you thinking?” moments.

 

Last night someone came in

Who’d almost blown off their finger –

As if appendages are merely optional,

And holding onto a rocket

Somehow intelligent.

 

But, that was still better than last week,

When we had a trauma come in

And multiple squads right after.

That was an adrenaline rush

I didn’t need – or want!

 

But at least no one has died,

Although adrenaline rushes

Are still bad for my sleep –

As if never having time to eat

Isn’t bad enough for me!

 

 

This is another poem I wrote for a creative writing class I took this summer. I wrote it based on stories from a cousin who works the night shift in the ER. The prompt was to write from the perspective of someone who has a very specific setting. I wanted it to capture part of my cousin’s sense of wry humour and strong vocabulary, but to also show some of what nurses go through, both personally and in regards to taking care of patients. While I didn’t focus on what having a patient dying does to nurses, because I was trying to keep the poem slightly lighter than that, I do mention it in order to show that it does have a huge impact on them. This poem was too short to mention everything nurses do, however, so yes, I did have to skip lots of stuff.

Original post about the class:

Creative Writing and Summer Classes

Another poem I created for the class:

Freckles

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

The fun never ends…

The fun of realizing you forgot to change your last name after getting married on yet one more thing. Today I called two billing companies to see about changing my last name on the account, as even though I’ve had 7 months in which to remember to do so, I hadn’t. Until now. One place needs to see my license or marriage license, the other did it easily over the phone. And then was shortly called back as I realized my middle initial was then (or had it always been and I just didn’t notice?) wrong.

I’m now trying to remember if there are any other bills I’ve forgotten to update. Besides the name I’m on our lease with… I need to change that still… Despite paying rent every month and having ample opportunity when dropping off the check to do ask about changing my name.

But aside from that, all I can think of is my passport. It’s not like I’ll need it anytime soon, but it would be nice to not have major issues updating it. It’s just time consuming as I even need to include a new picture. But hey! That means I’ve already done my research on how to change my name on my passport, which is more than can be said about my lease.

Oh, and there is that one bank account…

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

D.C. 2017, Day 4

Day 4 (Sunday) was our final day. And technically, most of it was not spent in D.C. After sleeping in a bit (three late nights in a row plus all the walking we did finally worked), we packed up and had brunch with second cousin and friend/ex. We went to a place that was apparently second cousin’s favourite place to have breakfast in the area, where most of the workers know him by sight and had to ask what had happened to his arm and shoulder.

Sadly, once brunch was done, it was time to head home. We took the same route back, but seeing all the lovely mountains and hills first made the flatness of Ohio and Indiana that much more apparent  – and sad. It was also weird not walking five miles that day…

Nevertheless, it was a great trip back home, complete with lively discussion in the first part, and all sorts of music and dancing to it in the second half! I also learned that I am so self-conscious about my dancing that I would start laughing as soon as my cousin looked at me. And would laugh for about a minute while probably turning a little red. Or as she put it, “you dance for 30 seconds and then laugh for a minute”. Yeah… So we worked on that by me trying to dance even more than normal and her not looking at me directly or for long. I actually made it several minutes. Improvement!

We ended our trip driving into the sunset and listening to the last couple songs (plus the second one, “Concerning Hobbits”) of The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, “The Breaking of the Fellowship” and “May it be”. Perfect epic and melancholy soundtrack to the ending of a trip.

Okay, that was actually the end of the cousin road trip part of the trip, I had to drive an hour further to get home to my husband.

Posted in Libraries, Life, Uncategorized

D.C. 2017, day 3

This was our slow day. We spent the morning hanging out with second cousin and his temporary live-in nurse/friend/ex, had plantains and fish sauce for lunch, then went out for few hours to see the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and the Botanic garden. Sadly, we hadn’t realized they all closed earlier than the other sights, so while we did indeed see the Library of Congress (which I loved!), we were too late to see inside the Capitol, and were chased out of the Botanic Gardens after about fifteen minutes. Apparently wen the outside garden there must be locked up at 5:30…

The good thing about such a slow day was that we didn’t have as much walking to do! All three places were fairly close together even. Unfortunately, I ruined the maybe two miles we’d have walked all day by needed to stop by a store to pick up a couple things, is trying to walk to one that would mint be too far out of our way from a metro stop, and the two we tried to get to being either non-existent or closed already! That seemed to add two miles to our day…

The actually good thing about the day’s sights was how much I loved the Library of Congress. From painted ceilings to mosiac floors to gorgeous stonework. They had quotes painted on some of the ceilings, which were excellent fodder for thought (some I liked, some I disagreed with), as well as authors’ names in another section. Some ceilings in different rooms were 3D and gold against red, while others were simpler.

Also exciting was the fact that they had a display of Thomas Jefferson’s library collection, albeit a small one. Despite much of the collection burning shortly after he sold it to congress, they had many of the originals! The books were marked with ribbons according to whether they were originals, ones bought to replace his immediately, and so on, including boxes marked with title for the books still missing. It was also organized according to the system he used. Amazing. And yes, nerdy librarian amazing.

Less nerdy was how much I enjoyed all the green and flowers at the botanic gardens. And all the selfies I took at all of these places including outside the Capitol. I’ve tried to not include them all here…

After all this, it was back to the second cousin’s apartment where we watched another movie and he fixed steak.

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

D.C. 2017, day 2

DAY 2 of our D.C. 2017 trip involved another five miles of walking. Not that we were keeping track that precisely, but estimating our distances both times lead us to conclude we did a ton of walking. About five miles worth. Each day…

However, the walking was quite enjoyable – if painful – as it included visiting the Jefferson and Rosoovelt memorials, learning who George Mason was, seeing the MLK memorial, visiting a couple smithsonians (natural history and a brief venture into the air and space museum), and stopping and seeing the Smithsonian visitor center, otherwise known as “the castle”.

I had great fun nerding over everything space, as well as the two dinosaur skeletons on display, in their separate museums.

I also had great fun ooooing and ahhhing over how pretty the Jefferson memorial is, and sitting and enjoying the sun and waterfalls in the Rosoovelt memorial.

It was also nice to learn about George Mason, who was an early human rights defender as well as providing inspiration for several important political documents including the bill of rights.

I had less fun learning just how out of shape I am. My legs hurt when I woke up, basically. Just a little. But hurt a lot by the end of another long bout of walking!

Still, it was worth it. Despite the pain, despite the slight sunburn on my face, it was a great day.