Sunday, December 5, 2010

Going Down

I've been hit,
and I've been hit hard
with a blow that strikes
as sharp as it feels
and as deep as it looks.

I'm going down
in a thunderstorm
a tree burning on the horizon
and tears falling like rain.
I'm going down.

And I've never felt so alone in the world
without your laugh
crackling through the air like ozone.
And I've never felt so sad
without your smile
breaking the clouds and making way
for a rainbow.

And sometimes now,
the storm clouds hang on,
I can't seem to shake it.
The weather man's wrong.
30 percent chance of depression.
20 percent chance of despair.
100 percent chance that life's going to go on,
without you in my life.

I've neglected this blog due to a death in the family. But I've got a lot to write and a lot to get out. So I'm back.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This hurts.

It really hurts me to say this, but I'm withdrawing completely from San Juan College. Between having to work full time as the sole provider in my household and the demands placed by the vet tech distance learning program, as well as the high cost of driving to clinicals twice a week, not to mention the overwhelmingly painful physical and emotional costs of working at the clinic, I can't do it anymore.

It was all going fine until I started clinicals. Which made me really think - is this dream something I can do? I thought it was. I was wrong. Physically, I don't think I'll ever be able to go into a 9-5 (or 7-7 in this case) job and perform like everyone else. I get so tired that I end up sleeping the next two days away just to recover - by which time I have to be back at the clinic anyway.

One of the things I'll miss dearly is the English department. I think I got more excited over those classes than anything else, despite my love for animals and everything else. The creative writing class inspired me. I don't care that I've spent over the past year writing to pay the bills - sometimes it takes a great, dedicated teacher and a group of students willing to challenge you and speak to you that makes all the difference.

That's why I'm enrolling in Southern New Hampshire University's online BA program for Creative Writing and English Language studies. I know there are plenty of people ready to line up and tell me that you can't make money writing - well, they're damn wrong. I also know a good deal of people who will tell me that a degree in creative writing is like tossing your money in a sinkhole. That's fine and dandy. I know I can write, and I know I can write well. But I also hear so many people - regular Joes and educators alike - stressing the need for a degree. Any degree. In anything. That little piece of paper means so much more, sometimes it seems, than the knowledge itself. Which is wrong. But at least I'll have the security of knowing I've got a piece of paper worth a whole hell of a lot in a field that I'm good at and in a field I know I love. Maybe not as much as I love saving little fuzzy creatures, but one that I love well enough and has been with me almost my entire life.

I'm going to miss the classes and the people in them. I'll miss yapping around on the SJC message boards and hearing Dr. Wright's playful banter in his lectures. I'll really miss my dreams - coming to terms with the fact that what you WANT to do and would LOVE to do aren't always the same things as what you're physically ABLE to do just sucks. I really hate it. Secretly, I think I'll miss the English classes most of all.

But I won't miss the heartwrenching feeling of having to choose between the gas money to get to clinicals and food. I won't miss the painful choice of working or cleaning kennels. I won't miss having to split my focus on two things and feeling discouraged because I can't manage to do complex mathematics in my head. I won't miss the physical fatigue and the exhaustion to the point of wanting to die, on a real and literal level.

I'll miss a lot of it. I really will, but I think, or at least I hope, I'm making the right choice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Honors 211 Project Idea

So I've had this idea simmering around in my head for a while. It's an idea for a coffee table-style book I hope to pitch to the right publisher, or in the event of no such suitable publishing house, self-publish.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I did not grow up in the area I currently live in. I've been here give-or-take four years. And I know it just well enough to know that I hate it.

But love it or hate it, I'm here. And because I'm here, I'm influenced by it. And regardless of my opinions, it's a very naturally beautiful area. We've got some of the oldest old growth forests in the nation. The ONLY national forest in Ohio is right in my backyard, less than minutes from my doorstep. Nature is around me.

And so is the decay of man. Everywhere I turn, signs that man has created well-placed IV lines into the earth...not for the purpose of saving the natural beauty, but for the succinct and precise art of killing her.

Everywhere signs that man has tried to triumph over nature. And everywhere signs of failure. I've been writing a series of poems on the subject for...oh, give-or-take four years now.

But what I want to do, my "vision" if you will, is a series of meaningful and poignant photographs from around the region paired with suitably appropriate well-taken photographs.

I think the capstone assignment for English is a perfect test run for this idea. Something that, if I find I'm actually somewhat decent with photography, I think I would take even farther. Right? I mean, once you get going with a good piece of art or literature, you can't just let it languish. It needs care and attention to live. It's not like a mushroom - stick it away in a damp, dark, moldy corner and it will die.

And this is one idea that's been bouncing off the tin-can walls of my addled brain for a while now. This is not to say that school work is any less valid than commercializing my work - god knows I'm sick of writing to pay the bills. Buuuut....if I have the opportunity to present this multimedia project in a critical but supportive environment, why shouldn't I take that opportunity as a dry run or test subject for a larger project of the same scope, probably incorporating those images and words?

Now, to add "learn photography" to my never ending list of "things to do when i get copious amounts of free time." Riiiiiiight.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ramble On....

Just a mild-mannered (ha!) collection of fragments and snippets that have been winding around my brain for a few days now. Keeping them on hand for possible later inclusion into other works of art/garbage.

I don't wanna be the one whining along with the mindless lyrics - I want to be the one who grabs life by the balls and writes her own lyrics; full of meaning, sound and words that express feelings millions of angsty teenagers can't quite seem to commit to paper. Hell - do teenagers even know what paper is anymore? I hear it all the time: "I'm so sad...I don't remember what it's like to feel." The problem is, you never really learned to begin with. Hop off of your computer, your cell phone, your IJunk and your whateverthefuck and grab a pen and just start writing. You'd be amazed how much you feel when you just put the ink on the page and get it over with...

He walked in with a death sentence hanging over his head. You'd never know it by looking at him, but he was a tough, vibrant dog - full of life and energy in his day. Today was not his day and he was here to die.

I'm always on the lookout for that Humane Society Worker Jackpot(tm). That golden ticket to actually changing the world. I'll keep my eyes peeled as I'm working my way along the winding country roads and rural routes in drowsy little hamlets all over the county, just looking for that box of unwanted, discarded puppies or kittens. The sad thing is, years of doing the same bloody, painful, mind-numbing work have taught me one thing: People aren't kind enough to give their unwanted kittens and puppies even the courtesy of a cardboard box. No, people are much more cruel than that. They trade away their eco-friendly three-times recycled cardboard for a plastic bag. A plastic bag. Something that costs less than 10 cents to manufacture and no thought at all to throwing out. These people who are so keen on saving mother nature and curing the planet of all her ills don't even see fit to give these animals a fighting chance. Instead, they write that unwanted litter off as just one more loss, tossing them out the windows of their green little hybrids, zooming along these lonely country roads at 100 miles per hour. And you wonder why I've lost faith in the human race.

It isn't the blood, the guts or the gore that bother me. It's that unmistakable, undeniable smell of death. It clings to your hair and skin, hiding fast behind a veil of slick, green disinfectant. The smell of total obliteration that even the stiffest drink and strongest shower can't wash away. It burrows in tight beneath your fingernails, digging in its claws, the pungent aroma of rot that seemingly begins even before death and lingers on long after. And it sticks with you, searing images on the front of your eyeballs that can't be undone. Some days I wonder if I didn't pick the wrong fucking profession.
We're not given the courtesy of flashing red lights to indicate that we are doing something important, that we are on our way to save lives. Instead, we're consigned to late-night runs on major highways, driving down forgotten routes hoping to God or anyone who is listening that we'll make it to the clinic on time. And hoping we're not noticed - not noticed by the stars, the gods, the heavens above and most of all, unnoticed by the state highway patrol who don't see the cause as just or noble. To them, we're not doing anything important. We're not saving lives. Around here, in little old middle america, we're just another schmuck doing 30 over the speed limit at 4 AM. We're watching the clock as they write the ticket, hoping they'll just save the roadside lecture and wrist slap for another time: To them, it's just another dog. But we know different: to us, it's an old friend come home at the worst of times in the worst of shapes. An old friend begging for help. And we're the only ones who listen.
Sometimes I feel like giving up, giving in. And then I realize: I've got nothing left to give. I've given it all away. I give it all up every day for others who have even less than I do and I spread myself so thin that it's a wonder I don't rip into two more often. How can you give up, give in, when you've got nothing left to give? You can't. So you do the only logical thing: Keep going.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Free write, August 30, 2010

In the off chance that you're reading this, the world looks funny today. Green looks like red and yellow looks like green. And in the off chance you're hearing me, the sound of your voice reminds me of a pickle. It's sour and briny with just a hint of tart, the perfect beginning to a late afternoon meal consisting of sour cream and nachos with a pitcher of tea that's been brewing all day to wash down the acrid words. And in the off chance you're not listening, I'm not hearing you quite correctly because everything sounds like it's underwater and you're muffled and funny and not quite right but I love you anyway. And in the off chance you see me, consider carefully that you just don't look the same. Your ears are too big for your head and your head is too big for your neck but the whole thing is dwarfed by the rest of your body so it doesn't really matter anyway because your ears are proportionate with your torso but not the rest of your head which is too tiny to fit anyway so it never looks like it quite belongs, kind of like you and me because we're never sure we quite belong so we sit and we think and we plod along the edge of a ballfield or the public square, wondering if we should be here or go because we never feel like we quite belong but for different reasons, you and me, we feel both awkward and entitled. You feel different like you don't belong because you do belong here - you've belonged here all your life and know the ins and outs of the system, the basic hustle and bustle of the everyday life of the general Nelsonville native. I feel like a big fish swimming around in a tiny plastic bag - both too big for the bag and the small supply of water that's been dumped uncerimoniously in here for me to swim around in but also like i might suffocate to death very slowly if someone doesn't let me out of this damned plastic bag soon. I feel like a goldfish because my memory is failing me, baby. I can't quite seem to remember - is it me or is it you? Do you remember the first night we met? You said you'd never met anyone quite like me. I'm telling you now, darling. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone quite like me because I'm a genetic abnormality, an abberation that never quite should have happened and doubtless will happen again. I'm more than one but less than nothing and everything around me seems to suffer in the process. It really is just better if you put me out of your mind, out of my mind, and cease thinking about me altogether because when people get involved, people get hurt and when people get hurt it's usually my fault even though I don't mean for it to happen, I'm just off like that. And even now, when I'm trying to write, have BEEN trying to write because writing is what pays the bills, even now as I try to write and keep my INTERNAL EDITOR out of it all, I can't quite seem to manage. I tell myself to just keep typing, just keep going, just keep writing but I find myself going back to fix glaring mistakes in the words, fix the words that aren't right because I edit as I go. But the problem is I keep miswriting words because my brain moves faster than my fingers and I can barely keep up with it - if my mind starts plodding along at a soothing 1000000 billion million gazillion miles an hour, I can't stop it, can't shut it down, but also can't keep up with my fingers. I leave out words, letters, I get sloppy and the meaning is changed. And it's all about the meaning, right? So if I leave off the words at the end of a paragraph, forget the articles and helper words and leave off the letters at the ends of words, does it really all still mean the same? That's why I get pissed off when you half-ass your way through everything and everything still manages to be okay - because I can't just skip parts and leave them out and have everything be okay - it bugs me and irritates me and I end up ripping it all apart to do over again 100 percent, but you take shortcuts and everything's alright - just ask little red riding hood how taking shortcuts ends up.It isn't good man, and one of these days it's gonna kill you. If I don't first from the frustration of it all. Does doing a good job matter anymore? Does doing things right, taking your time, putting yourself into the work, putting pride in your work and actually WORKING matter anymore? Or is it half-ass slacker city where the bums rule the show and those of us who actually give a toss about anything get slobbered on because we're the ones in the wrong? Tell me, why don't you?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Internal Reporter's Questions and Answers

Do you know who you are - you, who whispers so silently among the trees?
Do you know where you go - where, in the light of day no footfalls can conquer?
Do you know how you work - the ins, the outs, the inbetweens?

I don't know you anymore, the faded echo of a broken dream
I don't know where you have gone, except to say you're never here.
I don't know how you work - you've changed the rules on me, it seems.

How did we get so far from here, our mouldered slice of the American Dream?
What did we do to earn out share, a piling heap of misery?
When did I cease to know you anymore?
Who did I become, when I failed to know myself?

I don't have all the answers - I don't know how far we've come.
I don't know where we are anymore - I didn't care to look.
I don't know how time crept upon me, obscuring my line of sight,
I don't know what I was thinking, when I let my mind take flight.

Where are all the answers? I truly want to know.
How do I find the source of these pains, the ones I can't even show?

Don't ask me. I'm just a girl with some questions.
But if you'll oblige, I'm dying to know.
Let me get a pen....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to just not care any more? Wondered what it would feel like if just for a moment you could let go of it all - your school, your work, your family, your friends, your pets, your obligations, your responsibilities and your restrictions - if you could let go of it all and do something entirely unthinkable that would send everything up in a cloud of ash and smoke?

I do.

Did you ever wonder what it's like to have something, some big giant glowing sign that tells everyone else to back off? That you're trying your hardest? That you feel like a drowning man trying to grasp air, breaking the surface for a mere fraction of a second before being pulled down again? Did you ever wonder what it was like if you didn't have to maintain decorum and just tell people what you really thought? How you really felt?

I do.

And did it ever occur to you what you might look like if you finally let what was on the inside show through to the outside? Did you ever want to express all the pain, hurt, rage and uncomfortable, angry truths that are boiling inside because it wouldn't be okay, wouldn't be polite to let them out?

I sometimes think of it. And I'm pretty sure I'd look just the same as I look now - worn out, tired, scarred. Scared. Miserable. Feeling lost, hopeless, alone and without a friend in the world. Because the people I thought were friends really aren't....the people I thought I could trust really aren't trustworthy. It's something I've been learning over and over again for the past years now. Because just when you're certain there are people you can rely on, depend on, count on, trust and confide all goes to shit.

And you're left standing alone. Labeled. Put into a nice neat little box and forgotten about because you aren't worth their time unless there's something wrong.

Maybe my problem is I've been valuing the people in my life who are worthless and not paying enough attention to those people who, time and again, have proven that they're with me for the long haul. Maybe I need to open my eyes a little more and figure that out.

Maybe I just need to wave a big fuck you to everyone and jump off the face of the planet for a while.

How can I trust myself to figure out who I can trust if I can't even figure out the simplest things any more?

How can I trust you if I can't trust myself? How can I trust myself if I am continually let down time and again by those I put my trust in, making me question why I trust in my own judgment ever?

Why does it feel like a big, cyclical, circular logic puzzle that I'll never figure out. The same phrase bandied about by angsty teenagers time and again, scribbled in the back of notebooks and posted on bedroom mirrors - people are shit and the only person you can trust is yourself. So why am I trying to pull other people out of the mire? Why am I trying so hard to keep ahold of the things that are hurting me?

Seriously, why?