Tuesday, January 31, 2012


We’re having a staring contest, me and this big blank canvas. And I’m sorry to say the canvas is winning. Its whiteness is mocking me, mocking my inability to do anything besides sit here and lose a staring contest. With an inanimate object. 

I twirl the brush between my fingers. I run the back of my hand along the paint jar. I question the need to add just a speck more yellow cadmium, light. 

My palette is set. My brushes are in neat rows, organized by size. The palette knife is closest to me, because I never know when I’ll need it. 

I have pre-mixed almost a dozen colors. Shades ranging from deep, forbidding red to a light, airy blue. I worked for hours to get them the perfect shade, the perfect consistency. My movements were careful and thought out; there was never a stray movement or exuberant gesture.

This is how I paint. This is how I create. My canvases are covered by neat lines and rows, everything in its place. 

I have mastered the art of free handing a line. Not a shake or squiggle to be seen. That was the plan for this project as well. Just another in a long series of geometric designs, all intended for a show, at some point down the road.

For now, they just sit, leaning against the studio wall, inactive. They are waiting for me to take the first steps.

Transfixed by the blank stretch of canvas before me, I pick up my brush. Without thinking, without pausing to consider, I dip the wide, inch and a half brush into the open jar of violently bright green, and throw it against the canvas.

The whole brush leaves my hand, propelled by an intensity I didn’t know I possessed. The tip, full of paint, hits first, and splatters green all over me. The brush then goes flying off in a diagonal direction, heading straight for my pristine rug. 

Somehow, I don’t care.

I don’t care that the rug is ruined, that my face and hair are splattered, and that my canvas is no longer pristine. 

I just don’t care.

The splotch has broken the staring contest, putting me firmly in control. 

Inspired, I pick up my largest palette knife, scoop up the beautiful sky blue, and smack it onto the surface. Next to the loud green, it makes quite the contrast. More subtle and relaxed, it calms the splotch down. 

Intrigued, I drag the knife from the middle of the blue into the green, creating a wonderful mix of color. I stop myself before I get carried away, and lose the sharp contrast between the two colors. As my teacher always used to say, “Half of being an artist is knowing when to stop”. 

I pause, considering the mess I’ve made. With a grin on my face large enough to peel the splattered paint away from my cheeks, I reach for a clean brush. 

Next up: orange.


This is what came out when I was trying to write creative non-fiction .

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I am having a really hard time with my creative non-fiction.

Much harder than I thought.

After all, like I said, that's what I write here.

I write stories about myself and my life.

The thoughts that run through my head and the events taking place around me.

I write stories, I tell tales, but many of them are true. They are my stories.

So I have no idea why this is proving to be so difficult.

I have read examples of creative non-fiction. I have gotten some direction. I have sat and stewed and procrastinated for almost two weeks. And yet I still have nothing. Nothing.

I finally had a talking-to with myself last night, trying to kick my butt into gear.

So today I sat down, determined to write something, anything, that I could show to my tutor.

And I wrote. I did.

I stayed on the topic I had chosen, and I wrote. Not the required amount, but I wrote. The only problem was, as the story began to take shape , I realized that it had turned away from being my story. It had turned into someone else's story. This someone shared many of my characteristics and thoughts and feelings, but not enough to be considered a non-fiction tale.

This is where I'm stumped. Everything that is coming out of me is fiction. I am filled with a desire to tell other people's stories, not my own.

I think part of it stems from this belief that, "My life isn't that interesting. It's not interesting enough to be able to fill 4-6 pages."

I think I am also unaccustomed to sitting down because I have to write. Not write anything, but write about myself.

I don't know that I've ever had to do that before.

To create a story, one with a beginning, middle, and end, all about me.

I tell these stories about myself here on my blog, in a couple hundred words. I sit down and the stories just flow out of me, unplanned.

This, well, I just don't know where to start.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I never thought of myself as a quiet person.

At least not until about a year ago.

I put myself in the category of quieter, but not shy, or introverted.

And maybe that was true, then.

Maybe I was an extrovert.

Life of the party.

I don’t know.

I don’t remember.

But even more, I wasn’t aware.

Now, though, I’m different.

Or maybe just my perception of myself has changed.

I love to talk and giggle with friends.

People I know.

I love to share my opinions in class.

Where it’s expected.

But I’m finding, realizing, that I don’t have much to say to people I don’t know.

I’ve always been bad at chitchat.

It’s not that I’m uncomfortable around people I don’t know.

It’s that I don’t have much to say to them.

(Or is it that I don’t know how to talk to them?)

And that can make things uncomfortable.

Deafening silence usually isn’t a great thing.

Although it can speak volumes.

Now, I think I’d call myself reserved.

I don’t see that as a problem, it just is.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How I View the World

I am not religious or spiritual. 

I do not believe in God or a higher power. 

I do not believe in anything, really, in the traditional sense of the word. 

I believe in science and facts. In the tangible things, those that I can feel and see. 

I see the beauty in the natural world, and wonder at the things humans have yet to discover. 

I believe we are a flawed race, a people who very often don’t have the answers. We are imperfect and mistaken in so many ways, yet I appreciate that we keep going, we keep trying, and we have the ability to change. 

I do not believe in anything more than the science of our physical world. 

I do not deny the possibility of the existence of something more, something beyond the physical, tangible world. 

After all, I believe in the fallibility of humans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Creative Non-Fiction

The first assignment for my Creative Writing class is creative non-fiction.

As this is the class that I am doing at home, with my tutor, I am a little behind the times.

So I decided to find out for myself what creative non-fiction is.

I thought I had a pretty good idea, but wanted to be sure. My biggest question is, how much can be embellished, or how much artistic license can I take before it crosses the line into fiction?

And what I found is that no one has really defined that line. Because each piece is different, and each writer will have different ideas about where that line lies.

As best I can figure, creative fiction is very similar to much of my writing here. The posts that are stories, little bits of my life, where I don't write out the cold, hard facts.

They are factual, but also written with regard to creativity.

They tell stories and let you in on my thoughts and secrets, while still being written in an interesting way. A way so that you don't feel like you're getting my life story in bullet points.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

titles are hard

I didn't take any pictures this week.

Not a single one.

And I'm perfectly okay with that.

Because I wasn't feeling it.

And it wasn't like I felt like I had this huge gaping hole in my life, that I didn't have time to fill.

I'm just getting to the huge gaping hole part.

So I think I just needed some space.

(I realize I've been taking a lot lately. Whatever.)

And I subconsciously knew that without knowing that I knew.

My subconscious is tricky like that.

I may be slightly sleep-deprived.

And still on a bit of a sugar high.

And hilarious Mad-Lib high.


I recently discovered Regina Spektor and her music.

My new love.

Friday, January 13, 2012

One Word

Since I don't do resolutions, I thought maybe I'd choose a word for 2012.

It seems to be the thing to do.

A word for what you know is going to happen, for what you want to happen.

A word that could sum up the whole year.

That thought makes me itchy.

One word for 366 days!

Nevertheless, I started my search.

I read blogs.

People talked about breathing and splashing and accepting and growing.

I wrote.

I thought.

I sat in silence.

I considered, what will this year bring?

The end of one school, the beginning of another.

Moving out of my parents' home, my home, to strike out on my own for the first time. I will become a legal adult. I will vote for the first time. I hope to drive.

And out of that, I'm supposed to get one word?

I don't think so.

Beyond the fears of choosing the wrong word, of being too greedy or too careful, there lies my belief, my stubborn-ness, that says that one year cannot be summed up in one word.

The very idea makes me crabby.

That paragraph up there? That's the big stuff, the pretty-much-for-certain stuff. Those aren't the pieces that make up a year. It's the small things, the people, the places, the smiles, the late nights.

Things I can in no way predict.

Things that cannot be summed up in one little word.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I miss having time--or maybe it's just the concept of time--to read.

Reading is what calms me and centers me before bed.

I learn, I laugh, I relax, I leave my world.

Books allow me to escape.

And lately I've been a little short on time.

So of course I need to escape more than ever.

There are just so many things I feel I must do right now. 

Grades to worry about, sleep to get, writing to do, friends to talk to.

All good things. (Mostly.)

But they take so much time. At the end of the day I'm left feeling frazzled and needing sleep.

And to sleep I need to read.

But to read, I need time, which would be time I'm not sleeping.

I feel like whatever I choose, I'm stuck.

Stuck feeling tired and worried and stressed and without an escape.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thank You

I promise this isn't a thinly veiled attempt to get someone to call me back or write me a thank you.

I grew up in a family of thank yous. You're welcomes, sorry's, and smiles. Being gracious, being courteous. In my household, that means asking nicely, saying thank you, responding to people's questions. It was quite a shock when I discovered that not all people have these expectations.

It took a long time for me to not be seriously offended if someone didn't call me back. I learned that with some people, you just can't leave a message. You have to talk to them in person.

After every birthday and every Christmas, I write thank yous. Although it's still not my favorite task, it's no longer a chore.

I like acknowledging a person's time, or effort, or caring. It's important to me to tell people how much they mean to me. Even if it's only a few lines saying "Thanks. I appreciate it."

I keep doing it because I know how I feel when I get a card in the mailbox. It's lovely to know someone is thinking of me, or got something from me, and took the time to tell me about it.

Even as it becomes more common to send an e-mail or nothing at all, I'll continue. It's my way to connect with people and tell them I care about them and appreciate what they do for me, or simply who they are to me.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

on surprises

Sometimes, when I write, I know exactly where I'm heading.

Sometimes I don't.

But it's only occasionally that the destination surprises me.

When the words are already floating in my head, half composed, all I have to do is put fingers to keys and out flows a post.

A whole post. Or close.

When I'm writing because I need to write, or because I'm working through something, the words flow. In a different way, because I'm not thinking and considering, I'm just getting it out.

I find that many times the place I reach is what I already had in mind. Writing just confirms it. Gives me confidence in my decision.

In my last post, I started out with the idea of writing about silence. As the scene grew, and I saw this couple sitting on two sides of a room, I heard the woman telling her partner it wasn't okay. She would come to the conclusion that she was strong; strong enough to say no and not carry his problems as well as hers.

But, as I kept going and stopped thinking, the ending changed.

I wasn't sure how it was going to end until I got there. But that destination, a complete surprise, felt right.

It fit.

She thought it through logically, and realized she was strong. She wanted to change and be different. But something made her stay.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Time stretches.I stare anywhere but at his face,
his wide, pleading eyes.
I know that if I see his face,
the contours I know so well,
that I will waver.
He will see me waver.
Eyes dramatically filling with tears,
he will ask for forgiveness.
His tone so self-deprecating,
I will forgive him.
But only,
I tell myself,
because it's all his fault.
And this way, I relieve him of the guilt.
We both know I'm the strong one.
Strong I may be, but he knows how to tear through.
Right through to my soft, wounded spots.
It's our routine.
Our pattern.
Our relationship.
This time, I tell myself, will be different.
Is different.
Confident in my decision,
a decision that puts me first,
I bring my eyes to meet his.
As his eyes well up,
I whisper,
"It's okay."