Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Story!

Hey everybody!

Thanks for the go-ahead on my new post. I really like what I wrote but know that there is room for improvement so feel free to nitpick as you see fit. I also don't have a title for it so if you can come up with one that isn't cheesy (as all of mine are), I'd appreciate it.

Hope you enjoy it:

The heat was unbearable.

I know what you’re thinking. He’s from California…shouldn’t he be used to the heat?

That’s your first problem there. You’re assuming you know what my life has been like.

I was a nerdy kid in high school with hypersensitivity to every God-awful speck of existence on this planet. That includes the sun.

To top it off, I’m a total wimp and complain at every which moment about whatever random anxiety I’m having.

Right now, an intense desire to sneeze is slowly building up. You know what I’m talking about. That weird creeping feeling that seems to start at the tip-top of your nose, slowly vibrating down towards the ends of your nostrils, at which point you’ll crunch up your eyes, clutch your mouth to your nose, and await the eventual eruption of carbon dioxide, bacteria, and the random shot of snot or two. If it were up to me, I’d just let my nose do its thing.

If I did though, I’d give away my squad’s position and a Hell’s flurry of led would rain down on us from on high. Or at least that's what we were led to believe.

See, we’re on another routine scouting mission about 20 or so miles north of Ghazni. We’re suppose to search a few of the nearby hillsides for Osama Bin Laden, terrorists, or more tubes for the internet. I’m really not sure what it is that we’re looking for but we’re looking for it. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of a deal but this being Afghanistan and all, you expect every mission to end in a fatality or two.

God, if only I could be one of those lucky bastards. A bullet to the head. Stepping on an IED. Maybe getting my throat slit by an AWOL soldier while I dreamt about biting into a cheeseburger (sans the onions of course).

Yeah, I’d get a Medal of Honor for sure.

No. Fuck the medal. I just want to die.

Anybody would in this heat. What else would you want when you’re wearing 80 pounds worth of armor, clothing, guns, and spam?

The root of my psychosis delves back further than that. I’ve been asking for death to take me since I was 16. I just couldn’t ever decide how to meet him halfway. Either that or I’d experience something new that would make life worth continuing.

At 16, it was a fairly positive coming out experience that kept me going. Since the closet was behind me, I knew that I wanted to meet the guy of my dreams, fall in love and get married. That optimism spurred me to move forward in hopes of meeting him.

Like anyone else, I had my expectations for him. He’d have to be tall, handsome, funny, smart, extroverted, and be able to appreciate my quirks. I wanted someone who wouldn’t laugh at my Princess Leia cosplaying, who’d make me smile when I was down, and who’d fill in the gaps of silence that I normally initiate.

I made a few mistakes along the way but at 17 (haha, I know that doesn’t seem like a long time) I met an awesome guy who did all of that and more. We were young and idealistic and were able to make 4 years worth of bitter sweet memories together.

We were our first loves.


The glazed look in my eyes quickly vanished as I stood at attention.

“Yes sir?”

“Walk up that ridge and confirm we have secured this area.”


Drawing my eyes to the top of the ridge, I took my first step and remembered what our walks home were like. Every step was an eternity where we shared what little we knew about each other. Each step was racked with nervousness and anticipation. Would I tell you something you didn’t like? Would that put you off and end our romantic endeavors?

I was closer to the ridge now.

My feet were unsettling dust and pebbles that probably haven’t been disturbed by a Westerner’s feet for ages.

That first time we broke up comes to mind. I was so hurt by what I perceived you did. My insecurities got the best of me and I couldn’t believe that you could remain faithful to me…and we broke up.

The months that followed were pretty horrible and left me damaged and torn. It’s really the main reason why I never made any new friends at college. Why I chose to hide in my shell and pretend like I was invisible.

I still do that to this day.

The hill is steeper than I thought. Must be all the weight I’m carrying. I have to get on my hands and knees to make it to the top. I hear my Commanding Officer shout something but my company suddenly seems far.

8 months passed and we got together again. Sort of. We were both hurt…and we played games with each other for a good long while. As time passed, my heart started giving away and resentment started to take hold. I felt like I could never be enough for you. I was slowly killing myself.

I’m almost at the top. My eyes peek over the ridge and I can sort of see one of the nearby villages below.

Years past. We had good and bad times. It seemed like everything was falling into place. The games had stopped and we were on solid ground. Then I enlisted. I wanted to see the world and experience new things.

You hated that idea from the get go. Maybe deep down, you realized how fragile you and I really were. I thought we were stronger than any force on God’s Earth. A little time apart is nothing compared to the eternal love we shared. I had absolute faith in us.

Then the games started up again. You couldn’t bear the burden of a long distance relationship…even though I promised you the world when I returned. The grey areas were set up again. I met someone else. Our world came tumbling down.

My hands grasp the top of the ridge and I start pulling myself up.

The smiles, the laughter, the heartache, and tears, it all hits me at once.

Where did our love go?

My radio clicks. “Ramirez. Is the area secure?”

I turn off my radio and scan the valley around us.

I reach for my M-16, turn, and stare down at my squad.

My first shot hits my Commanding Officer in his right thigh. I bet that hurts.

There’s confusion. They don’t understand what I just did.

My second one tears through one of my fellow grunt’s shoulders. He’s probably not going to be jacking off for a good long time.

Now they get it. They scramble for cover while I stand tall on the ridge with the sun beating down on my back.

It’s too fucking hot here.

I fire a few more pots shots hoping that they feel even more threatened by me and recall what your lips felt like that first time we kissed.

“And I have to speculate that God himself/ Did make us into corresponding shapes like/ Puzzle pieces from the clay”

I think about our song and even that fails to capture the beauty of what we created that day.

My Commanding Officer yells into his radio. I hear them confirm the order.

Holstering my M-16, I take aim at my C.O.’s head. I won’t fire though. That’d be selfish of me.

The heat was still unbearable.

It wasn’t what I expected. It took me a few seconds to realize that the bullet had torn through the front end of my skull and exited through the back door. It was like a ballet of led, brains, blood and bone; a beautifully painful dance between mortality and flesh.

How utterly appropriate.

It would have been more poetic to have shot my heart.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Post?

Hey everyone.

First off, my heart goes out to Lindsay's friends and family. I never met her but I'm sure she was a special person.

Finding out someone has passed away is a difficult experience to deal with. In all honesty, I have yet to have anyone in my direct life die so I imagine when it does happen I will be completely distraught.

That said, I wanted to share a new short story I wrote. However, it happens to deal with death (specifically self-inflicted death) and I feel a bit unsure about posting it.

It's honestly a very morose piece of writing and will probably have many of you question my own mental state of mind. However, I do feel that it is a powerful story to be told and would love to share it with you all.

With that said, I am turning to my fellow bloggers and asking how you all would feel with me posting it on here. I have already posted it on my own blog but I prefer placing it here as I consider this a great forum for our writing. If most of you support me, I'll post it up the next chance I get. Of course, if you all feel that it would be insensitive to put up a death related story up I will be more than happy to not post it.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

My love and condolences,


Monday, November 2, 2009


I started this blog because Lindsay wanted an excuse to write more often. Even though she never had the time to post (she was a VERY busy lady, actually), and even though I know we go through our no-post cycles, the truth is, I never would have shut this site down, because you'd never know when she'd decide to spare a minute and share something beautifully crafted with the rest of us.

Lindsay Leonard was hit by a car yesterday evening while crossing the street. The street was apparently badly lit, and she and her roommate had been crossing behind a bus, so it's really no surprise that the driver couldn't see them. The driver did stick around and cooperated with the authorities. Lindsay's roommate is currently in the hospital in critical condition. Lindsay was killed instantly. They say she felt no pain.

Whenever you write, I hope you will write something she would have loved.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I like to drop them
lightly on tabletops
subliminal earlobe ticklers:
a name

without deliberation
just a fact

three precious syllables
morphed into many head nods
yes, I understand
months and months into the future.

just thought I'd grace the page with a bit of fresh meat. I wrote this last night. Fresh off the page, so to speak. Hope you guys are well.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Session 22: Topic for 09/29/09 - 10/05/09

This last week I’ve been writing a paper for a class I like. It’s for a professor I like about a play I like. I like the subject, style, prompt, and everything about it, really. Despite how much I liked it, I couldn’t—for the life of me—make myself read or write anything anything about it. It was one of the hardest assignments I’ve ever had in terms of motivating myself to do it.

What prompted my lack of interest despite my interest? Why is my brain telling me both yes and no?

This paradoxical theme has done more than influence my life lately; it’s been running it. It makes me so happy to miss someone, and at the same time it hurts so much. The more I want to get something done, the less likely I am to do it. I can’t wait for this year to end, but I feel like it’s coming way too quickly.

In short, my life has become paradoxical. It’s confusing and intriguing. At the same time, I wish it upon all of you and none of you.

This week’s topic is Paradox.  Find something that is defies sense, has no answer, or creates a strange loop.  Use it as your theme, thesis, or structure.  Play with it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Exciting News: Raising $ for AIDS Walk!

You'll find my official blog page about this at http://teambatman.blogspot.com

Over the weekend I signed up to participate in the 2009 AIDS Walk, Los Angeles Chapter. Basically, we're walking to raise money for AIDS research/prevention/all-that-good-stuff. The foundation is pretty awesome actually, this is its 25th year at work. We're walking on October 18th. Good stuff.

Now. I foolishly signed up to be a Star Walker. This means I have pledged to raise $1000. That's a thousand dollars, by October 18th. And I actually want all my donations in by the 15th, to account for money transfer. That is cutting it pretty close.

But let's do the math. The minimum online donation amount is $25, and it's much easier to donate online, and to not lose the money. Suppose y'all donated $25 each. That's five coffees, or two movie tickets, maybe one or two really good dinners, or a birthday gift for yours truly (the big day IS a week after the AIDS Walk!). It's a small sacrifice to make for a good cause, and to help out your ol' pal Barbara. If forty of you--only forty, that's slightly more than the size of one classroom of gradeschool kids nowadays--I'll hit my goal without a hitch.

Now, if you were to donate, I would want to thank you for your kind gesture. How would I thank you? One of three ways, my friends. One of three ways.

All images below are not final versions. These are my mock-ups. I'm still cutting out the stencils for the finals!

ONE: Handmade Book

I've written an adaptation of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, set in South Africa, called "The Children's Song." It's all handmade--written by hand, cut and set and bound, and illustrated (though I should note that the illustrations are primarily stencil sprays, like with graffiti). I'm making forty of them, all of which will be numbered in order of completion. The books will also be personalized with the name of the donating recipient on a thank you page. Pen and spray on cardstock, with varying cover colors. 5.5"X6.0"

TWO: AIDS Walk Print

I am making forty of these prints. Again, this is the mock-up, not the final version. THe final version will be made with stencils and spray, not with ink markers. Numbered in order of completion, signed, the whole shebang. Forty available, 5.5X8.5"

THREE: Three-Print Set

This is not one image. It's a set of three individual prints, each one 6X6" and sprayed on cardstock. The backgrounds will not be white--I am spraying onto cardstock of various backgrounds and patterns. Some are metallic, some are flat solid color, some are striped, so on so forth. Once again, this is the mock-up, not the final spray version. I just want you to have a rough idea of what you're in for! :-) Thirty-three sets available.


Donations of $25 will receive one of the above three, your choice, while supplies last.

Donations of $50 will receive two of the above three, again, you choice, while supplies last.

Donations of $75 or more will receive all of the above, while supplies last.

I know these are lean times, and I'm honestly not expecting donations of $50 and $75. But hey, may as well put it out there. Just in case you decide to be the best! donor! ever!


To donate, follow this link to make an online payment. Remember, the minimum donation is $25. Credit/Debit cards and PayPal. Because they designed it that way?


Once you've donated, email me--barbara.bownds(at)gmail.com--and let me know which thank you is the one you'd like to receive. Again, these are not gifts, and they're not for sale. They're strictly meant to express my gratitude for donors who are helping me to reach my goal of $1000. Obviously I'm keeping none of the profits. Everything goes to AIDS Walk LA. Include your mailing address so I can send you your thank you post-haste. Don't worry about postage, I'll be taking care of that.

Remember, you have until OCTOBER 15TH. The deadline is actually the 18th, but I want to have a three-day buffer to account for the transfer of funds.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Session 21: Topic for 09/21 - 09/27

Mostly healthy! Hooray!

I'm a bit up to my ears in writing/artsy projects at the moment, so I'll probably be going off topic this week when I post. No reason to not post a topic though:

There are twenty topics on the site besides this one. Pick one of them--one that you HAVEN'T written for previously--and run with it. I'm interested in seeing which topics people are more drawn to, so that in the future your super duper mods can continue to provide interesting fodder for writing.

While you're at it, if you have time, I highly suggest you look at the work that your peers have been submitting since we started this shindig, and comment on at least one piece. I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing what I think about their work. You all write, and you all think about what you write, and what others write. So let us know!

I've also got some news that I find exciting, and as soon as I have all my materials together, I'll share it with everyone. Probably on Wednesday.

In the meantime, let's go!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This Week MIA

Why hello all. Mod 2 is traveling in Europe, Mod 3 is starting a brand new school year, and Mod 1 has been recovering from illness (yes, for the third week in a row. Apparently diseases think I am easier to ride than the town bicycle). I've just now started recovering from a nasty nasty Sunday, and the rest of the week will be required to suss out the nausea and pain and whatnot. So, we continue next Sunday. Comments will be up by then for Topic 20, and Topic 21 will also go up. Feel free to post whatever you like in the meantime!

Monday, September 14, 2009

mr. bench:

Slightly off-topic, perhaps, but it's a decision and confrontation I'd like to make.

In my recent late night commutes back home, when the 30 or 40 minutes of bright halogen headlights in my eyes has passed, driving through downtown Sierra Madre is completely deserted. Except every now and then, after I drive past Bean Town, there is a man sitting on a public bench on the sidewalk, typing on his laptop. What is he doing? Why 2:30 in the morning? Where is he getting his free wi-fi?

To my fellow bloggers I make my solemn vow: Next time I see this man, I'm going to ask these questions, and I will report back with the results.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rare but wondrous spontaneity

In the big ways, I'm not a very spontaneous person. I researched buying my computer for well over a month before choosing one, and the last time I needed new shoes, I bought and returned several pairs. But on the rare occasions when I make a decision that's sure to create an alternate timeline, Star Trek-style, I've had tremendous success--sometimes without even knowing it.

The most blatant example of a snap decision I made is how I ended up meeting my boyfriend. In a fit of frustration with my single status the October of my senior year in college, I went on an online dating frenzy to find myself a match. The one guy I really liked--who used complete sentences (sexy!), wrote like a sweetheart, and was a total hottie--didn't respond, and my search fizzled out after meeting one guy for coffee a few times.

But six months later, in a last fit of procrastination near finals time, I checked every online account I had ever made. The Yahoo account--the one I had completely forgotten about--had a tremendous surprise for me. The mystery guy I had taken to occasionally wondering about had gallantly paid the $25 for the ability to send a message that wasn't pre-written, and he had sent me an e-mail asking me to call him. Terrified of initiating phone contact, I wrote back with my own number in the vain hope he might be the one to break the ice.

The next day he called and asked if I could meet up that afternoon--off-campus! Leaving the cozy grounds of Vassar was always a big deal for me, and meeting an intriguing townie merely upped the stakes. But I figured, what do I have to lose? So I gave my assent, along with what turned out to be horrible directions, and trotted off to the edge of campus in my too-big t-shirt. (A friend I passed gave me one look and said, "Well, at least you're not misrepresenting yourself.")

Not only did I give him terrible directions, but the cafe that was our destination ended up being closed despite the hours on the door, and on a nice walk I tripped and got my shoes completely covered in mud.

That was over three years ago, and we've been together ever since.

I'd like to say my unintentional brilliance was the result of lessons learned at a young age, but the truth is I don't even remember the first special person I met thanks to a split decision. I met my friend Arpi in fourth grade, when she came to visit my class for the day so she could see if she liked the school. (I got her home phone number by calling our teacher; nowadays we would've probably swapped MySpaces or something horrible.)

The way I remember it, we bonded after I noticed her looking at a manual to the "science" of Star Trek and recognized her as a fellow nerd. But the way she tells it, our eyes locked earlier that morning in some coordinated outdoor activity, during which I randomly threw the ball to her instead of any of the 16 kids in my class I already knew. I honestly don't remember that, but she claims that's the reason we've been friends ever since.

You'd think after snap decisions having such great outcomes, I'd have learned something about the satisfaction that comes from taking the plunge. But my shoes are worn out now, and I plan to buy the exact same kind I have. And when my computer eventually meets its demise, I won't just snap up another one. But perhaps in personal interactions, I have some inner mechanism that just knows when to go for it. Or maybe I'm just extremely lucky.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Session 20: Topic for 09/8/09 - 09/14/09

Yesterday a friend and I were driving home, nothing special going on, just having an easy conversation in the car after finishing a delicious lunch. I casually looked out the passenger side window, and two blocks away was a man, heading in our direction, wearing a Captain Hammer shirt. Brimming with excitement, I shushed my friend, rolled down the window, and enthusiastically praised the Hammer Man Fan. It was a drive-by compliment, and the reaction was worth the impulse: I got back two fervent thumbs up and a grin so wide the Chesire Cat would break his jaw trying it. The whole thing took less than five seconds, if you don't count the time I took after the fact explaining to my friend why I kudos'd a perfect stranger with a hammer on his shirt, but I'm glad it happened, and I hope he is, too.

For all of the time and effort we put into our decisions and daily lives, a good majority of what we think and do is governed by snap decisions. Those decisions may well be informed by our backgrounds and histories, but what matters is that when the times comes, sometimes we just jump right into things, sometimes for the worse, hopefully for the better. Most of these snap decisions won't stay with us for the rest of our lives (where to eat, buying red vs green apples), but we'll look back fondly on our will-'o-the-wisp adventures and the right-time-right-place choices that, while initially impromptu, improved our moods and lives.

Write about an instant, a turning point, a Snap. Decision. Something that happened in five seconds or less that led to something bigger, or something memorable, or both. Real or imagined or both, doesn't matter. In the spirit of the topic, it can be incredibly short. Or not, if you prefer something longer, or medium.

Welcome to September!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

El tiempo de nuestro amor.

Nuestro amor bloomed during Spring and fittingly died in October.

My sentence

"So wait, he broke your arm and claimed he was provoked, and now you're getting suspended?"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The anticipation of seeing fire, spinning luxuriously on the end of a string, appearing to not be attached to anything, to be surrounded by these people, sets me to wishing it was already after dark.

a la The Fountain

I am.

Session #19: Topic for 09/03/09 - 09/07/09

Since this topic is late--week's half over!--I'll keep it simple.

Write a sentence. Make it a good one--maybe the whole thing will be a story in and of itself. Maybe it'll be a compelling fragment belonging to a larger conversation/piece. It could be a thoughtful revelation, a meditation on your current state of being, something vulgar, something insipid, anything you want.

This one's so easy that you'll probably need to get tested when you're done with it.

Let's go!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hour of Day Fragment



It was five twenty seven in the morning when it happened. That was two days ago.

Three days ago I was sitting in our home mending his pants. Threading the needle I wondered about The Bad News he had yet to share since I'd missed his call. Every new stitch into the fabric was a reinforcement, everything is fine, everything is fine. I had to stop worrying and trust him, I thought, tying off the knot.

Five days ago I was cleaning our new house. It was our first full week there, the first week of dishes and dirty floors and ironing his shirts (but not the fights, forget about the fights, forget abut crying in the bathroom all night). I packed his travel bag for his weekend trip; he would be visiting his parents. Three shirts, two pants, three pairs of boxers, chargers, toiletries, but why would he need his cologne?

Six, seven, and eight days ago, we were making up and making up and making up again. He said he was sorry (he said it too much). He said he'd never leave me (but he tried to make you leave him). He said he was crazy about me (but he said that it wasn't enough). We made up in our new home, and I believed him.

It was five twenty seven in the morning when he called. The reception was poor in the house, so I walked outside in the morning dark. He was driving back from his weekend trip. He told me everything (and you knew that it was coming).

The day after he left me would have been our anniversary.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2:00 in the morning

I like this topic. This one came out quick, so I think could deserve a revisit. I'm looking for another one I wrote about 3:47 a.m. hope to post it soon. fee


2:00 a.m: the frenetic fulcrum of seasons

at 2:00, the bars close. they spill onto the streets.

at 2:00, it's either over, or it has just begun

a purgatorial mystery whether it's day or night
lonely and slow
creeping into you
as your drunken missteps take you home

at 2:00 you give up. he was never going to hit on you anyway.

at 2:00 you make your wishes, so you don't have to be so disappointed next time, and you can quit all the crying over spilt love.

at 2:00 you pick up a pen and sloppily detail the trajectory of your one-track mind

at 2:00 the fire lingers

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Session 18: Topic for 08/25-08/30

Topic time!

It's almost four in the morning as I sit here typing away. The hours of a given day are imbued with cultural, overarching, and personal meaning for all of us. 8 PM is prime time. Midnight is the witching hour. The hours, like certain days of the week, certain months of the year, and certain dates in general, become important or otherwise noted for what they mean to us. To illustrate what I mean, it's time to share a poem by Wislawa Szymborska, appropriately titled "Four in the Morning."

The hour from night to day.
The hour from side to side.
The hour for those past thirty.

The hour swept clean to the crowing of cocks.
The hour when earth betrays us.
The hour when wind blows from extinguished stars.
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.

The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.

No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning--
Three cheers for the ants. And let five o'clock come
If we're to go on living.

Write a piece that concerns itself with a particular hour of the day. It can be an exact time, or it can generally refer to the hour itself (as when the clock falls on the hour--or for that matter, the quarter and half hours). Make it mean something, even if that something turns out to be nothing at all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fragment for John Hughes

Sorry for the cop-out post, I wanted to put up something new but I was out all night every night all weekend (how sordid!), so instead here is a fragment from a song I started working on a few months ago. Never got around to recording it, so for our purposes here I've tweaked it to be poetical and such. Blah blah blah.


The morning after dawned on us.
You were late for Long Island
So I walked uptown on Lexington, alone
with the tipsy fragments culled from the hours spent between us:
They tasted like dessert wine, improving over time,
Experience enhanced in hindsight.

We split up on the subway
after three short stops
our lines diverging.
I stood and said goodbye,
but you ruined my exit
with a cheap and easy kiss,
asking me to call sometime, planning
no answer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Hi everyone. Am new to writing here, but would love to have a chance to share with all of you. I am so sorry I'm starting out swearing already. Just would like to add something to the holiday topic.


The dark red lines vien
the woodfloor under my bare feet.
blue, under my toe nails go.
I bet my feet are cold.

fuck. focus.

I squeeze my fingers,
locking my hands fast.
I look up at the man hanging on the wall,
he looks familiar
but my heart
does not want to care.


I feel the back of my heart dip,
as head turns away.
soul and body exhales.
I twist in my hard chair.
my hands have gone cold.

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”,**
the walls whisper.
I don't mean
to not love you.
but believe me when I say
I try.

**“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (from Mathew 27:46)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

brief list of tunes

the only k.d. lang song I ever heard when I was 12 because I happened to be listening to the right radio station at the right time, 'summer fling,'

hot town, summer in the city, Boston love boiling away

a slow, sultry strut of Janis Joplin into 'Summertime', and Sublime's ska-rap bump

walking around in our summertime clothes with Animal Collective (technically)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Driving down the 605.

The drive was always the worst part of the day.

As if the beach wasn't far enough, the traffic between LA and OC made it seem like we were driving to Cambodia.

To be honest, I hate the drive. It's long, dull, hot, and he's always listening to cheesy pop love songs.

I'm sure that makes me sound miserable. The drive had its ups though. Remember him singing? He'd always sing along (and wasn't half bad either).

It was different with him though. He poured his heart into whatever he sang, reminding me of a jazz singer soulfully crooning a smoke-filled lounge.

Yeah, he was something else all right. For all its hassle, I kind of do enjoy the drive.

It's too bad we finally got to the beach.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Session 17: Topic for 08/18-08/23

A little late this week, which is totally my bad--worked all weekend, got kinda sick Sunday through today. It happens.


We're quickly approaching the end of the summer, and if Grease has taught us anything, it's that summer lovin' is meant to be a temporary blast, unless you happen to move to the same town as your summer sweetie and change who you are completely so you two can go together like rama lama lama. Summer jobs, summer romances, summer adventures--they're all meant to be great memories and worthwhile learning experiences, but nine times out of ten, we know that they're also meant to end as soon as autumn rolls around.

So. Write about a finite experience (real or imagined). Maybe it could have gone on forever, or the parties involved only wished that it could have lasted that long.

I'm not gonna lie--this topic is also an homage to the late great John Hughes. Summer, like high school, only lasts a little while, but hopefully the decisions you made and the memories you carry will always seem like major events in the story of your life.

Blah blah blah. Let's write?

Perseids Fragment

his is seriously all I have to offer this week. Because you know what? It's okay to post fragments. I encourage fragments! They are better than no post at all!


The Perseids fly between the first week of August and the last of July. Their arrival draws a clear separation between the year's end and beginning, a moment equally rife with failed potential and future promise.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


[Space. Two voices travel through the ether: AL, a New Yorker (probably of Italian descent), and a monotonous unfathomable VOICE.]

-AL: Are we there yet?
--VOICE: No.
-AL: It sure takes a long time.
--VOICE: Are you in a hurry, Al?
-AL: No.
--VOICE: Why would you comment on time, then?
-AL: I dunno. I just thought I'd say something. Maybe we should be there by now. We've past so many stars already.
--VOICE: We're on our way.
-AL: Well, hopefully we'll get there before dinner time. I think I might get hungry soon.
--VOICE: Let me know when you do. We have plenty of time if you require a pit stop.
-AL: How much time?
--VOICE: Enough time, Al. In fact, time is of no consecuence now.
-AL: Wait... What do you mean? Am I dead?
--VOICE: Are you still here?
-AL: Yes.
--VOICE: Then you're not dead. You might have left your charred body at the scene, but you're not dead.
-AL: I see.


-AL (CONTINUED): Was it painful?
--VOICE: You don't remember?
-AL: All I remember is swirving in the rain, and heading into a light.
--VOICE: Did you walk toward the light?
-AL: No. I sorta drove into it. It looked like a Wal-Mart truck.
--VOICE: It was an incoming train, Al.
-AL: Oh. Well, it sort of looked like that first star we passed by. What's its name, again?
--VOICE: Alpha Centauri.
-AL: Yeah, that. White. Very bright. Got bigger and then disappeared just like that.
--VOICE: Hmm.


-AL: Are you God?
--VOICE: No.
-AL: You're an angel?
--VOICE: No.
-AL: What are you then?
--VOICE: What do you think I am, Al?
-AL: I'm not sure. But I thought I recognized your voice from somewhere. You did that commercial on TV...
--VOICE: No.
-AL: 'Cuz I could swear you sound just like that man who sells foot cream on TV.


--VOICE: Yes, Al?
-AL: Oh, I thought you'd left for a second. This place is so big, I'd get lost without a map. There are so many turns.
--VOICE: We're avoiding black holes, Al. You wouldn't want to get lost in one of those.
-AL: Are they like the gates of Hell?
--VOICE: Why would you say that?
-AL: I dunno. It just sounded like something cool to say.
--VOICE: If your hell is subatomical nothingness and the anihilation of matter and light, then yes, they are gatekeepers.
-AL: Am I going to enjoy Heaven?
--VOICE: That's up to you to decide.
-AL: When will we get there?
--VOICE: Why are you in a hurry?
-AL: Well, I think I might need to pee, y'know? I've been holding it ever since I left the restaurant Uptown. I hope Vanessa is ok.
--VOICE: Vanessa?
-AL: She is.... Well, she's... You can say, I guess, she's this girl I've been seeing.
--VOICE: You hesitated.
-AL: I ain't hesitating.
--VOICE: Are you ashamed of her?
-AL (DISTRACTED or AVOIDING): Wow! Did you see that comet? Josh would've loved to see that up close!
--VOICE: Josh?
-AL: My son Josh.
--VOICE: Adopted?
-AL: Oh, God no.
--VOICE: Please refrain from unnecessary & superfluous blasphemy.
-AL: Sorry. I meant, no, he isn't adopted. It's worse. He's 13. He's from my first marriage. Well, we aren't divorced... But we are heading there... Oh, I mean... were. I guess it was my first and last marriage.
--VOICE: Were you and your wife separated?
-AL: Umm... Well, we hardly see each other anyway. She is always working and I am always working. We only sleep... slept in the same bed, basically. I was going to tell her about Vanessa, but I drove into a light, I guess.
--VOICE: Is your wife seeing anyone?
-AL: Uh, I don't think so. She better not. Does her shrink count?
--VOICE: Please mind the gravitational pull from the planet ahead, Al. I don't want you to get pulled over.
-AL: Thanks.


-AL (CONTINUED): So, what do you do for a living?
--VOICE: Living?
-AL: As in, is tour-guiding your full-time job? You know, for the Big Man?
--VOICE: Big Man?
-AL: You know, the MAN... G-o-d?
--VOICE: What makes you think God is a man?
-AL: So it's a chick then! I always knew something like that was going to happen to me when I died! Like, I'd find out something totally whack like "it was the Wiccers who were right all along" or that "Jesus was a fag" or something like that.
--VOICE: There's no room for surprises here. Nor chance.


-AL: So when do I meet her?
--VOICE: Who?
-AL: God!
--VOICE: Never.
-AL: Wait, what?
--VOICE: No one ever meets God, but God knows you're here. And God is not a woman either.
-AL: So who am I meeting with when we get there?
--VOICE: Who would you like to meet?
-AL: Maybe Al Capone. Is he there?
--VOICE: I don't have access to that type of information, Al.
-AL: Well, are we there yet?
--VOICE: No. We still have a long way to go.
-AL: I'll just look out the window, then.
--VOICE: There are no windows here.
-AL: It was a joke, yo. Jesus! Where's your sense of humor?
--VOICE: If you continue your childish insistence on irreverence we will take longer to get where we're going.
-AL: Sorry. I'll just look at the view. Mind you... it's pretty repetitive.
--VOICE: Very good, Al. There's not much else to do. I warn you though: most bankers complain the trip there takes forever. I do hope you're the exception.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Session 16: Topic for 8/10-8/16

New week, new topic!

I have been reading an excellent book, The Physics of the Impossible, by Michio Kaku. This is following an intense love affair I had with Bill Bryson's A Complete History of Nearly Everything. Or some title to that effect.


Write a piece that is set in SPACE.


Monday, August 10, 2009

My Smut

Okay. This is as far as I got before burning out. So, it's just a snippet. Maybe I'll do something worthwhile with it a little later.

I will be blunt: there is some explicit language here. Because that is the nature of the topic for the week. Don't think too badly of me when you read it, but feel free to be brutal if you have comments, since this is not my strong point.


When I tell you that I love your erection, you think I am trying to be erotic. To you the word love forces my mouth open, a supplicant O-shape that will wrap itself around the rising inflection of your cock-hard Noun.

Because it is three in the morning and we are in bed with the lights out, my voice is like a low note from the thick heavy string of a cello. When you hear me whisper in those dark tones that I love your erection, immediately you imagine that my lips are dripping with smut; dirty bitch, fuck slut, swallowing your prick.

My hand is on your chest and you think I am erotic when all I want to do is listen to your body. My head is nestled in the crook of your neck and from there I can hear the acid in your belly. It echoes through your skin, and I hold you closer. When you fill up your lungs and them empty them out your heart beats twenty times. I wonder what I would have to do to make it go faster, or slower. Sometimes we breathe in tandem. The sameness is so distracting that I stop and wait until you are midway before starting up again.

Because I am spooning you, draped over your hips and under your thighs, both of us will know when you are hard. You impress my leg with your cock until it ebbs soft again, bloodless and anonymous. The first time it happens I am inexplicably woozy, and I overdose on an adrenal rush that brings my entire body to attention, waiting for the signal that will launch our biological imperative.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sharing is Caring!

I'll post comments to uncommented entries, along with my own entry, later tonight. First, something to share.

I picked up a magazine at Border's today, "Zoetrope: All-Story," for a relatively rare Vonnegut story contained within. I came across another story in the mag, "Monsters" by Pasha Malla.

This particular snippet is my favorite from the two-page piece. I think it's an excellent example of effective movement through time, beautiful and succinct in conveying the whirlwind of our yesterdays.

"She lit the Bunsen burner and I poured stuff from vials into beakers and back and I wondered if Laura thought about that day at the beach and the monster often. But I didn't ask. And then the experiment was over and Laura went back to her seat across the room and then the class was over and then high school was over and then university was over and I got a job and Laura got cancer." -Zoetrope: All-Story, Summer 2009 Vol13 No2 p.39

Bike Lane Nights ***CAUTION: Spicy!***

As a forward, I'd like to say that immediately after reading this topic, I fantasized about my career as a smut novel writer, lived under some sexy pseudonym. "Chartreuse Jones" is in tribute to a fake theatre bio I wrote in high school. There is more after this, which I am not including because I don't know how much this blog could handle! If you want the rest, you know, up until the proverbial money shot, I think I'm going to finish it. I'd be happy to send it your way. Wink Wink. Nudge Nudge.

"Bike Lane Nights"
by Chartreuse Jones

They had been hanging out with his roommates all day. For the past two hours, all Natalie could think about was getting Alex alone.
She checked her phone. 11:40.
"Do you still want to go for a ride?" Natalie asked.
His eyes settled. "Yeah. You better hurry up and finish your beer."
"I"m just full, that's all."
"I"m not even buzzed. I think you are, though."
"Hey. You know, men and women...different rates of absorbing alcohol. Help me out and quit being such a mean drunk." She said teasingly as she handed Alex the beer.

They pulled out onto San Vicente Blvd, and turned into the unpopulated street, riding and swerving through the lanes. Natalie breathed, she needed to get out. This was good. As she looked up at the moon shining onto the gnarly trees in the center divider, all she could hear was the spinning of their wheels, and the clicking of her gears. She didn't even have to pedal. She could coast all the way down the hill until they reached the ocean.

Alex rode a fixed gear, so Natalie's single-speed would leave her behind as he would plow through intersections. She caught up on the steeper declines, and Alex looked over at her and smiled. he reached out his hand."What are you doing?""I'm taking your hand.""Don't. I'll fall off! I can't ride with no hands!""Just try it," he quipped as he smacked her butt on the side lightly and sped up in front of her, resembling an inline skater.

They finally came to the sidewalk on top of the cliff, stopped for a minute to rest and look at the glorious reflection of the moon on the sea.
"That's gorgeous."
They approached the fence and leaned their bicycles against it. Alex pulled Natalie to him with his right arm and gave her a kiss on the forehead. They both looked out, took deep breaths, and started to chuckle.
"I can't believe how simple and beautiful this is. The waves are so loud, even from up here. It's so comforting. I wish we could go down there."
Alex turned to Natalie and grabbed her shoulders. "Let's go!"
"But it's after dark. We might get caught."
"I've done it before. We just gotta go to the right bridge and leave our bikes in the right place."

They ducked as they crossed the bridge on the foot overpass to the beach, and stealthily carried their bikes to an alley between two buildings.
"Under the porch of that house right there," Alex said quietly.
"Ooh, naughty!" Natalie replied.

They had to be quick. They were about a block away from the house, and the moon was so bright that they'd been seen in a second and their romp on the beach would be cut short. Alex took her hand and they began to run, laughing quietly at their attempt at cross training on the beach.
It was quieter under the porch, and they could only hear the waves, crashing against the shore, the salty, fresh smell wafting towards them.
Alex grabbed Natalie by the waist, and guided her backward to lean against a pole. Her eyes met his. They were on fire. She grabbed his waist and pulled him into her, the warmth of his chest and stomach making her shiver.
"Whose house is this?"
"I came to a party here last month. One of my longtime friends."
"Oh really? And are they out of town?" She asked knowing the answer.
"Yup. They won't be back for a few weeks." He raised his right arm and leaned it against the pole above her head, bringing his face closer to hers. He felt her hot breath. Then he felt it get faster. He brought his left hand up from his side and stroked her belly with the back of his fingers.
"Hmm, that feels nice."
"Yes it does."
She quickly moved her left hand from her side and slid it underneath his belt, pressing his lower back and bringing his pelvis against hers. Alex gasped. Natalie feigned surprise as she felt the pressure of his warm dick against her pulsing pubic mound. Alex grabbed the side of Natalie's face, and they massaged tongues and ruffled each other's hair as they moaned from all the anticipation. natalie moved her hands to grab the muscles of his broad shoulders, and placed her mouth on his neck to suck gently. She could taste the hot salt of his skin. She slowly explored the route up to his ear lobe with her tongue. she bit. She jumped back down to his collar bone and used her whole tongue this time, making him shudder as she moved her hands down to squeeze his muscular butt.
Alex let out a deep sigh. He suddenly moved his hand up under her soft blue shirt, massing her right breast gently, and let out a sharp little moan as Alex ran his fingers over her hard, large nipple.
"I love your tits."
"I'm so turned on. It feels so good. Here, wait a second."
Natalie pushed alex away from her, and reached behind her and underneath her t-shirt to unhook her bra. Alex reached for her.
"Wait, wait wait." she pleaded. She threw her bra to the ground and reached for his belt buckle. "Let's take these off."
Alex quickly unzipped his pants, and shook them down to his ankles. Natalie reached out to his long, hard dick and began to rub the outside of his underwear. Alex leaned his head back in pleasure and moaning as he lifted up her shirt. he grabbed her at the bottom of her ribcage, and leaned her against the pole. He kissed the bottom of her ribs, on up to the soft skin of her right breast. He circled her erect nipple with his mouth, and she twitched and moaned.
"Oh, god. Oh, god I love that."
He licked back and forth over her inpple, making the whole thing glisten with his hot saliva.
"Do the other one. Please."
He brought his face to hers. He kissed her, pressing into her, and began to gently dry hump her against the pole. She could feel her underwear. It was soaked.
"How much do you want me to suck on your nipple."
"If you suck on it, you'll make my whole body quiver. You'll make my head pop off."
His mouth jumped down to her left breast, and her head jerked slightly against the pole.
"Fuck. Oh, Alex." she grabbed hair on his head as he continued to suck and lick her nipple. He was still grinding away, pushing the mound of his dick into the crotch of her pants. He pulled away and tilted his head back as she went underneath his boxer briefs to grab his shaft and touch the head with her fingertips. Feeling her wetness, she decided that was enough.
"Close your eyes."
He did.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

When Morning Fades to Day

I'll admit I wrote this a while back. I've never really shared it with many people, but I think it might be appropriate with the current thread.  I'd welcome any comments about it!



Tell me, is it night still?

Did we really flee the day?

Tell me, will this morning

burn last night away?


Do you want me? 

Won't you ask me now to stay?

Or will your last kiss shun me 

and send me on my way?


Don't ask me to come with you.

Don't look at me that way,

as if you fear forgetting 

that morning fades to day.


Don't speak of our tomorrow;

that's not what you should say.

Remember I will leave you

when morning fades to day.


Can't we just... ignore it,

where we met and who we are?

Just let me have this moment

for soon I shall be far.


Hold me. I'm not empty,

though you barely know my name.

Touch me. Am I colder?

Dear, I thought you'd be the same.


Don't whisper why you want me.

Don't lead my mind astray.

Desire ends at sunrise,

when one-nights fade to day.


Please, don't say you'll remember.

Why make me feel this way?

For lovers are forgotten

when light burns night away.

Off-Topic: A Letter

I've been thinking about you a lot recently too. I was thinking on the 31st (while recovering my sleep schedule) that it had been a year exactly since I had seen you last. I was wondering how your time in India went and where you went afterwords. Just yesterday I went to the quarry with friends and thought about that day. And just like actions, one thought leads to another....

So much has happened this year. I've gone crazy places, met crazy people, and gained crazy bonds. I've been learning more and more about myself and the world. And I do say that ADF and the trip to California has played a major part in kicking me in the ass to start actually experiencing the life and the world that I want and need.

After California I spent a semester at UNC just getting deeper and deeper into theater. Four of my five classes were theater classes, spread all across the discipline; acting, literature, history, and technical. It challenged me and stretched me, but best of all, all I wanted was more. So I took the next step the next semester: study abroad. I thought about a lot of places (Chicago, NY, London, Italy, etc.) but in the end I found an excellent program in Melbourne, Australia. Thus on January 28th I arrived in the southern hemisphere, not to return for six months and a day.

Needless to say it was an all-encompassing experience. In Australia I found that I love to build sets for the theater; I love to manipulate materials to make something creative and interesting, hold a purpose and achieve a goal, all the while learning how to do it better, faster, more completely than the time before. Maybe it's a feeling of creation, maybe it's overcoming challenges, or maybe it's the balance of the mindless joy of hammering nails with the intense thought behind figuring out where the nails need to go to create such a specific vision. I'm not sure but I love it.

Outside of the theater walls was a culture so different from my own and seeing it (as you well know and, actually, you inspired me to so fervently seek it) was fascinating, but even more fascinating were the similarities. Friendships, relationships, humanity, and love were all shared in a universal way and I gained a much further appreciation for each, especially love. I say especially because I met a girl there. I met a girl and—in short—I'm determined to find her again and marry her one day, this beautiful person named Elina Lim. I want to grow old with her and keep her safe. I am already learning so much from her and really seeing what the deepness of love could fathomably contain. It is achingly beautiful and so is she—in every imaginable way.

So that's a brief, concise summary of where I am right now, where this last year has taken me. It's been a wonderful journey and I have one more year until I leave University. This last year will—I hope—take me places I absolutely do not expect right now, as I am sure the year after will. At the moment every path outside a month's time is still hazy, but I'm doing everything I can do to have it include this sense of learning, wonder, travel, and love.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Session #15: Topic for 8/3-8/9

Hey Kids!

Mod 2 here after a long hiatus. Some of you all know that I am a damned, dirty hedonist. And what kind of good sin-loving hooligan what I be if I didn't like a good romp? I'll be settling down to read a nice book and then lo and behold! a sex scene!WOOHOO! I like sex! Wait....no. That wasn't hot at ALL. How many times have you been reading a good book and the characters you know and love finally get it on and its about as sexy as giving yourself a swirly? Ever had an intimate moment with a loved one reading some literotica only to have it leaving you both just wanting to go eat a sammich? Maybe you have been itching to strecth your brain meats to all new levels that not even nude yoga accomplish?Why then, indulge me and your fellows with something near and dear to everyone's hearts: PORN!

Thats right my darlings! Your optional exercise this week is to write some good ol' fashioned smut. Maybe its just a sonnet praising your sweetie. Or maybe its something straight out of a Violet Blue (totally awesome sex educator. Check her out if you haven't already) collection. No one will no if its personal experience or fantasy so let 'er rip!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekend in Vegas

Why would you need to hold a grip on yourself? There’s no need. You’ve got bikinied floozies to the left and to the right, countless wasted cups floating around in the pool, and 16 ounce margaritas that cost ten dollars.

It’s a flat desolation
anonymous inclusion
In a sea of double-D fake tits and tan asses half-covered by the skimpy bikini bottoms.
Reminding me of college Fridays and Saturdays on the street
Where you’d go to get drunk and yell at strangers
Where the insanely beautiful and ugly collect on the slot machine alleyways
Merging to a mood of tempered contempt
Shuck dollar bills from leather folds, deep in empty, unemployed pockets
For a summer fling
An overpriced crepe
and every time I see a poster for the Donny and Marie show, I punch it fantastically until the plastic merchandise and surgically altered smiles shatter.

I almost choke on a bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos as one of the two girls in our party who were sporting the little black dress was taking a piss in the middle of the parking lot, trying to use us as a 4-person wall. I didn’t watch for 5 seconds and the puddle streamed over to make contact with the bottom of my right heel, still trying to catch my breath. Later they’re kicked out of Excalibur because they were having sex in the handicapped stall of the Ladies’ bathroom. I had to go pee, too, so I laughed and snorted at the moaning from across the room. They laughed, too, once they heard, although I don’t think it was funny enough for him to pull out.
Walking down the strip at 2am, 3am, 4am until 5 when we’re back in the car, racing the sunrise before we get back to refuge, throw water on our faces and sink into the fluffy hotel pillows.

I’m floating down the MGM Grand moat in an inner tube, getting doused by salty, piss water and reminded over and over how much I like home. But I was wet, tipsy, in a bikini for the second time, self-conscious about my recently cottage-cheesed thighs, and generally having a pleasant float down stream.

I notice an obese black mother, sitting poolside waiting for the rest of her family, maybe thinking some of the same resentful things I am.
Old couples leaning over video poker slow my step to a mortal halt. Do they live here? Where is the rest of their family?
Every teenager I see I feel sorry for, because I know they’ll come back soon and drink their minds silly, slapping cocks against asses and tits into faces, in that particular swagger and stupor akin the conscious fuck it all to their emotional well-being.

Viva Sin City
For being useless but necessary
Before the 5-hour drive back to all things conscious.

good to be back, fee.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Post Secrets and Broomsticks

So before I get to my piece, are we allowed to link or post to the post secret we're doing? And sorry for the delayed post/lack of posts, I just moved back home to the States and with two 400 level classes to get through this summer, things have been hectic. In case I can't post the post secret, here's a description: Take the 40 year old Virgin movie poster and envision "This movie was hilarious...but it also made me nervous...what if I end up like this guy?" written around Steve Carrel.

Here's a link: http://tinyurl.com/mry36e and my poem:




Need to STOP.

His shirt is undone (Or is it?),

Pulses raging,


to stop (Really?).

Raging on,






All over,

Touching, touching, TOUCHING.

He wants it bad,

My body quivers

In anTi-ciPAtion (of what?).

Love me (He pleads),

As I lay here barring my soul,

In need of someone to love me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Announcement: No New Topics Until August

So, we are well into summer now, which is a fine time for relaxing, for travel, for general merriment. Because of this, I suspect that fewer and fewer of us are available for the task of weekly writing. The mods are unavailable, as are the writers, and so (for now) I am putting UOW on a temporary break. It's very, very temporary--just until the end of July--and it has nothing to do with posting exercises, just with posting topics. No weekly topics will be issued, but in the meantime everyone is still welcome to post stories, snippets, exercises, continuations, whatever you like! I'll still be reading as long as you're writing.

Mod 1

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Session Fourteen: Topic for 06/30 - 07/05

All right kids and cadets, we've had plenty of time to add to the story chain, and since there are no takers, I think it's high time to move on to a new topic. (As always, however, you're free to post whatever you like, so if you DO end up with a continuation to the story, by all means, post away!)

Now that the internet and I have been reacquainted, here's a late topic, one to wave out June and welcome in July.

I'm sure you've all heard of Post Secret: postcards are sent to the proprietor of the site, who posts a select few on a weekly basis. These postcards are riddled with secrets, confessions, admissions, ideas of that sort. Some are hilarious, and others are terrible, but in theory, they are all honest anecdotes belonging to real human beings. These are real happenings, but they are only small snippets belonging to what must be a bigger picture in at least one person's life.

Visit Post Secret this week and write a piece inspired by one of the postcards currently on display. As the images won't be there forever, make sure to let us know, either at the beginning or the end of your piece, which secret you chose. If your secret isn't told in words (sometimes the postcards contain only images), be sure to describe the card to us.

I know it's a holiday weekend, but I do encourage everyone to make even a small, short, unpolished submission. I know it's daunting to put up a piece you may feel is unfinished or subpar, but a scrap is better than nothing at all, and the nice thing about a scrap is that it leaves a lot of room for development. Endless possibilities and all that jazz.

Enjoy the fireworks, compatriots! To those of you out of the country, have a nice weekend anyway.

Pencils and keyboards at the ready!