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

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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 School

Freckles

(This is one of the poems I wrote for my creative writing summer class, as I mention in my post Creative Writing and Summer Classes)

 

Freckles

They covered her face, her arms and her legs,

As bold and bright as they were beautiful:

Small brown dots where the sun kissed her fair skin.

Her hair blew about, framing her bright face,

Highlighting the sunny color therein.

She laughs, smiles, and dips one paddle end down,

Pulling her kayak through the smooth water;

Each stroke is a splash, forming broad ripples,

And her shoulders flex, propelling her on.

She and a friend are each in bright kayaks,

But only her skin echoes that brightness,

Strikingly colored in bold abandon.

And, I can’t help but think as I watch them,

That she’ll have new sun kisses tomorrow.

Posted in Libraries, School

Creative Writing and Summer Classes

Summer classes are always interesting for the amount of work crammed into a few weeks. When the class is on writing, the work seems to be even larger! This years summer class was on Creative Writing, merely because it was the only one available that seemed even semi applicable to my library science degree! (I’d originally been wanting to do a psychology class, but apparently that gave me too many credits in one genre.)

I wrote multiple creative pieces every week, ranging from challenging-to-write poems, to terrible non-fiction, to fiction and even one drama. Some weeks were easier than others, and some weeks when their was a lot of challenging writing to do I was also picking up a few more hours at the library!

However, I finished with a great grade and several pieces I’m actually happy with. There are also a few pieces that I enjoyed writing but that got some less-than glowing feedback from the instructor that left me feeling burnt out about them – apparently I have trouble creating a clear plot in some fiction! (And with flat side characters in others, but it is hardly my fault that the assignment required the piece to be too short for anything else! Or so I defend myself… Frankly, I just have no idea how to fix that.)

In the end, I’m still not completely sure if the class is actually helpful for my degree, but I’m thinking it is merely because I learned more about avoiding cliches, that stale imagery really is bad writing, that flat characters are allowed to ruin a piece, and I learned that it takes a lot of revision sometimes, to get a piece to work. But maybe I just think it is semi-applicable because of a comment I got from the instructor: “You continue to write like someone who enjoys reading and does a lot of it.” Considering I was averaging a (easy) book a week for the first five weeks of this class, I’d say I definitely do a lot of reading! Which is good for a library clerk.

For the sake of fun and a little bit of bragging, I’ll be posting some of my pieces from this class on here over the next few weeks. I may even post one today!

 

P.S. Do not expect my writing on here to improve much; I don’t tend to revise these and I am still terrible at creating creative non-fiction (or so I think)! Imagery is so hard…

Posted in Life, School

A New Semester

Ah, school. Paper, pencils, classroom lectures… The latter item is something I didn’t expect to have again, as my Library Technical Assistant degree is available completely online (handy for having a flexible work schedule that is prone to vary and has odd hours at times), but while registering for classes I was suddenly faced with having to wait a semester to take a math class online (as they were going to be converting it for the next semester), or take it in person. As the transition period to being an online class cannot be expected to go smoothly, I registered for an in-person, traditional, classroom class for this spring semester.

I was nervous about taking a math class, nervous about taking a classroom class for the first time in over five years, but not nervous about the schedule at least – it was the best I could get for the class being in person and with my normal work schedule. And then I got my work schedule for this month… Oops, someone was taking a vacation so I was scheduled to fill in on several of those days; one of those days being when I have my math class. That wasn’t going to work at all, so I had to talk to my library director about the conflict in times. When she asked why I hadn’t marked down that I couldn’t work those mornings, all I could say was that with our return to normal schedules after the holidays, I just hadn’t thought about it! Ah, the joys of school and work. At least I only work part-time! (And the joys of being a library director having to do all the employee scheduling when people keep changing when they can work and changing what days they want off. Sorry, boss!) I never expected the in-class time to be as enjoyable as the teacher makes it, or the homework as easy as it was at first (I still don’t expect easy and short homework to last, and this week’s work has been a bit heavier), nor did I expect for it to conflict with work at all, but this traditional classroom class did all of those and more.