STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)


Also, don't forget to visit Kaylia's Official Website where you can get information about Kaylia's upcoming events, and learn more about her free lance writing and other publications.

The Aside

We are driving down Stevens Creek Blvd, the sun shining in our eyes and the music turned up loud enough to curtail any type of meaningful conversation when suddenly she pulls the car over and stops on the side of the road, front tire ever so slightly on the curb.

I look around unsure, blinking out of my semi drowsy state brought on by serious mall walking and the warmth of the late afternoon.

“Where are we?”

Thank you for reading this teaser. For more information regarding this, or any other work of fiction, please contact Kay at kaylia_marie@yahoo.com

Oh, Oh, Oh, Sweet Art Of Mine




In a nutshell, the delightfully insipid Sweet Valley High books that spawned the Sweet Valley Twins and the Sweet Valley Kids series (as well as many many parental headaches regarding “why is my daughter insisting on reading that crap?”) are being updated for the modern generation.

Since the books are dated by being from The Ancient Days Of Yore (the early 80s) they of course have to be systematically changed so as to find a way to resonate with ipod tweener generation.

Small changes are to be expected so that the kids of today don’t get mired down with wondering about old fashioned technology and such and can focus on the trials and tribulations of these beautiful, blond, and practically perfect in every way teen role models. These changes include such things as Elizabeth working for the school’s web page instead of the school’s newspaper (Newspaper? What’s that?) , the twins sharing a Ford Wrangler instead of the oh-so-sexy Fiat,…. and a drop in size from the “perfect size 6” to the “perfect size 4.”

Yup.

http://gawker.com/5004617/random-house-proudly-promoting-eating-disorders





Ok, now I bet you think you know where this rant is going. Give me a break, you are saying, I’ve heard you bitch and moan about body image issues and the degradation of young girls in our culture enough times.

Well fine Mr. Smarty Pants… Actually, I don’t think I need to rant about the obvious insanity regarding the word “perfect” next to a size number anyway. (With the continual changes in what those damn numbers mean in the first place, what was once a size 8 is now anyone’s guess. I, for one, own pants that range in size from 4 to 10 that all FIT EXACTLY the same… so yeah, the number means diddly squat.)

And really, there are many many places where you can read your fill about the issue of this change in size as well as the social stratification of women and size in general etc. (As there should be, its gross)

But what I want to actually talk about to the three of you who have bothered to read past two paragraphs ago, is the idea of adaptable art forms.

Go with me for a second. You write a book, paint a picture, compose a song, make a movie… you have created something artistic. Congratulations on producing a work of art! That particular piece of art is original, new, and completely forever tied into the moment you created it. Yes, my fellow deconstructionists will agree that the biographical information regarding you and your culture etc might not need to be the paramount lens in which to study, work with, or attempt to understand your art at a later date… (some would argue that it should be thrown out the window completely and yes I will write about that some other time)… but the fact is that from a historical point of view what you have created is special in part because it was created by you at that moment in history.

If you had an idea for a book and didn’t create it.. if you put it off for 12 years while getting your degree, getting married, getting divorced, moving 11 times… and came back to the original idea and actually finished it, the finished product will be different in part simply because you as the creator are different. And you are creating it in a different time.

Also, should you write something, paint something, sculpt something, get it to the point where it is finished, and present it to the world as a finished product, part of what it is and how it will forever be viewed is connected to the fact that you presented it to the world when and how you did.

Ok, getting to the point, I promise.

It bugs me when people go back and “rework” art. It drives me up a wall when movie makers re-release something with changes… or when authors go back and completely rearrange the chapters or add an extra stanza to the poem. Because what they are really doing is making a new form of art… and that is all well and good, but at least admit that it is something new and different, NOT the same as it was before.

And if you do that… please do it for a decent reason. A decent ARTISTIC reason.

Note to Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Lucas… making more money is not an artistic reason to do anything… it is a fine and good reason from an economical point of view, but don’t even try to tell me that it was for artistic reasons that I was encouraged to buy not one, not two, but three… four??? “new” and “different” “revisions” versions of your movies.

Ahem

Getting back to the Sweet Ass Valley Girls and their recent “modernization”… I fail to see the point except for monetary gains. What, does Francine Pascal need more money? Fine… Write a new book! Is our culture really that deprived of modern teen aged literature that we need to introduce plot lines such as “Jessica really wants to go to a rock concert, but it’s a school night and her parents won't give her permission or the cash, so she cock teases a band member into getting her tickets and Elizabeth has a whole series of wacky adventures at home trying to fool her parents into thinking that both their daughters are studying for the SATs while Jessica tries to avoid getting gang banged after the concert by a "modernized" version of Air Supply.” (I kid... the plot lines for these books were never that interesting, trust me -shudder- I read them.)

Because I think our middle school girls deserve better than that.

My only hope is that no one will buy this tripe and Random House will go back to considering new and unpublished authors.

Hint Hint.



(And can I please please point out alongside that article linked above about the objectification of women and the forced ideals of beauty etc is an ad for the Showtime show “The Tudors” … the image is of a dark mysterious man with one his hands wrapped around the neck of a “perfect size 4” as he holds her not-quite-fighting-to-get-away self against his manliness….. )

-Sigh-

The Only Madonna Song I Ever Liked







All I can say, is that I was crazy.

Yes, Crazy. It fits. I looked it up.

Crazy: senseless, impractical, totally unsound, mentally deranged, insane, intensely enthusiastic, passionately excited, intensely eager and down a bit right after unusual, bizarre, wonderful came the clincher
likely to break or fall to pieces, weak.

Yes, I was crazy.

Years later and still reeling, I was in the frozen food aisle buying ice cream and the song came over the loudspeakers. Soft and haunting, it eclipsed the sounds of my fellow late night shoppers until it was all I could hear and I was there again. Hopelessly lost.


Swaying room as the music starts
Strangers making the most of the dark
Two by two their bodies become one


It's a Karaoke bar because in the long run that will make it all that much more symbolic. It's our second date because, after all, our first one had gone well and with a chaste kiss on the lips there had been arrangements for this evening. Outside, the night is warm. Inside, the air is oppressive with the mix of body heat and sexual tension one can only find at a bar on a Wednesday night. These people are here special; they mean business. The tables crowd against each other as if they too understand our primal need to be close, to touch. Those lucky enough to have already found what they were looking for move against each other in the semi dark, small islands of mocking pride while the rest of us ebb and flow like wayward flecks of light. I am watching from my place at a small round table in the back near the stage as he enters the bar, greets the bar tender by name, and orders drinks.


I see you through the smokey air
Can't you feel the weight of my stare
You're so close but still a world away
What I'm dying to say, is that…


He turns and finds me through the lights and shadows. His reaction; the classic double take of a man surprised and pleased. The wine has made me brave and it is in this instant, this moment of recognition from across the room, that I give in to a choice that didn’t need to be made. I smile.


Trying hard to control my heart
I walk over to where you are
Eye to eye we need no words at all


We are out on the back patio where the city lights from the front of the bar, garish, neon, and fluid are replaced by swift darkness lit only by the amber glow of a streetlight from a different street. Where we are, there is no need for light. He lights a cigarette, leans against the wall and I move to be against him suddenly cold. He wraps one arm around me, casually, tenderly as if afraid that I will fall away.


Slowly now we begin to move
Every breath I'm deeper into you
Soon we two are standing still in time
If you read my mind, you'll see


Once it starts it can’t be stopped. My heels drag against the pavement as he pulls me close. My carefully brushed hair is held fast in gentle fists and the cigarette has fallen along the wayside. Everything falls into this moment because there can’t be anything else. Dimly I am aware that other smokers have come out here only to turn away in bittersweet embarrassment and retreat back inside where the pulsing beat of mangled pop songs tries vainly to cover the futile sounds of the broken hearted fools still searching. Out here the bar and its sounds are just a dull presence, a vague reminder that we came from somewhere else, but not important, not needed, because we have each other and the distant sounds of the freeway to keep us company. Deeply I hold this moment against my neck and feel it flutter like an imprisoned bird throwing itself at the bars of its cage. If I squeeze too hard too early there will be nothing but pain, but patience was never a virtue I could claim and I know my fear has already ended what our bodies have just started.


I'm crazy for you
Touch me once and you'll know it's true
I never wanted anyone like this
It's all brand new, you'll feel it in my kiss
I'm crazy for you, crazy for you


An eternity of sensation and then we are the new versions of ourselves again. The wall, the cigarette still faintly glowing on the pavement, somewhere not too far away a car honks in frustration and these things bring us back as easily as our lust took us away. I am breathless and powerful. His hands shake as he lights another cigarette and I see time reflected in his eyes against the flame. He takes a drag but this one too gets tossed aside as quickly as the first and with the type of determination only found in arrogance he takes me by the hand and back inside. Any moment of hesitation is lost as I am blindly led back into the music.


It's all brand new,
I'm crazy for you
And you know it's true
I'm crazy, crazy for you




In the song there is no epilogue, just a faint sense of wistful longing.



Hitting her... but for a "good" reason



There is an outdated belief that lacking a religious moral code is the same as lacking any sort of moral code… that if one doesn’t believe in a god, then one lack convictions in other areas… that a nonreligious person is a non-moral person…etc.

Not only are these ideas ludicrous, but blogs and articles written by better writers than I have already tackled (and I think beat soundly) these backwater views. So, I will let it alone.

But there is a part of the discussion that I think gets left out sometimes. Yes, its all well and good to be an active member of the Out Campaign, to write about the fact that people who are non religious still have moral codes and are on the whole just as likely to be good people as those religious types… but what about the idea that the religious code isn’t always a moral code? What about the fact that just because an ethic system is divinely inspired it isn’t always right.

Anyone else see “Gone Baby Gone”?

Or… to put it in a different box of pop culture references… anyone been following the Harrison debacle? No? Well allow me to enlighten you.


Harrison, Football player for the Steelers. In high school he jeopardized his football career by soind ‘silly little things” like shooting a BB gun off in a locker room. Nowadays though his old couches see him as a “mature young man.”

A mature young man who apparently open faced slapped his girlfriend knocking her glasses off… after breaking her cell phone when she tried to call 911.

Now, he isn’t the only Steelers player to be in trouble for domestic violence…. Wilson was in trouble recently for punching his ex girlfriend. And while both men face legal issues, Harrison was allowed to stay playing (getting paid etc).

Why the difference? If you think that it might have to do with the level of violence (a weak excuse to be sure) you would be wrong. In statements made by team leaders, it seems Harrison’s case wasn’t that big of a deal not because slapping is less violent than punching.. but because he had a “good” reason to slap her.

And what, you ask, was the reason?

She didn’t want her son to be baptized. He did. They argued. He hit her. He hit her because she didn’t want to take part in his religious ritual. So he hit her.

And the team is okay with that. Team chairman Dan Rooney:

"I know many are asking the question of [why] we released Wilson and Harrison we kept,'' he said. "The circumstances -- I know of the incidents, they are completely different. In fact, when I say we don't condone these things, we don't, but we do have to look at the circumstances that are involved with other players and things like that, so they're not all the same.""What Jimmy Harrison was doing and how the incident occurred, what he was trying to do was really well worth it," he said of Mr. Harrison's initial intent with his son. "He was doing something that was good, wanted to take his son to get baptized where he lived and things like that. She said she didn't want to do it."


Well okay then.

This is an even weaker defense than “God told me to do it”… this is “I was within my rights to bodily inure someone who doesn’t share my belief system.”

Think I’m being extreme? Think about the violence carried out in the name of religion, in the name of a vengeful and angry god.

It is incorrect to believe that people who aren’t religious aren’t moral. It is even more incorrect… and dangerous, to believe that just because someone is religious, they are also guaranteed to be moral.

Religious moral codes are not beyond reproach…. Nor should they be.

Something worth thinking about.




Sources:

http://feministing.com/archives/008856.html
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08072/864335-66.stmhttp://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/03/domestic-violence-ownership-of-women.html

The Bird Lady

My friend Joe calls me a Victim of Circumstance, and while I wouldn’t consider myself a victim, I have come to the realization that there is something very wrong with me. It seems that over my head hovers a glowing neon arrow pointing down at my unaware self. If it isn’t an arrow, then perhaps I emit a strange electro magnetic pulse that alerts all weirdo types in a ten block radius not only that I exist but that I am eager for their attention. Like a moth to a raging bonfire, they are drawn. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to stop them from finding me.

They take on many forms and can turn up anywhere. There was the man sitting next to me on the bus yesterday morning who removed his shoes, sniffed them, and then offered his left foot to me like a gift.

“What?” I said, surprised and a little wary.

“Wouldn’t you like to smell my foot?” he asked in the same tone one would offer a seat to an old lady or a napkin to a child.

There was the teenager who passed a note from across a crowded Denny’s restaurant last summer. The note went through four tables before ending up at mine. It was addressed to “the blond in glasses at the corner booth” and informed me that he very much appreciated the size of my chest. At the bottom were two boxes where he invited me to mark if I was interested in him or not. I wasn’t.

There have been dozens, probably hundreds, of these people. Most of them walk into my life, freak me out a little, and then disappear. But there have been a few who’s interactions have changed me forever. This is the group of weirdos who went beyond weird and into the creepy scary realm. While each of them is special in their own icky way, I have a special place in my heart for the Bird Lady. She was, after all, the first.

I met the Bird Lady in the fall of 1998. I was a recent high school graduate and eager to move out of my parents’ house. I went to school and met other young people who all seemed to have more freedom than I did. My parents were encouraging. Having very little money, I opted to rent a room instead of doing the apartment thing. I responded to an add posted at my college and soon found myself at a modest three bedroom house on a quiet Cupertino street. The woman who answered the door was small in stature, with flaming red hair and a jolly expression. She seemed like a young Mrs. Clause, full of good cheer and terms of endearment like “Dumpling,” “Duckie,” and “Dearie.”

Her name was Jan and she was eager for a renter. It seemed that her last renter had suddenly been offered a job out of state, and she told me that she was lonely and would knock fifty dollars off the first month’s rent if I signed the lease that very day. Her terms were simple and seemed more than fair. I had my room (a rather large room at that with a huge window and a door that locked), access to the kitchen, and free use of the living room when she wasn’t there. I could use the stove, a shelf in the refrigerator, a shelf in the cupboard, and the washing machine. It sounded perfect, but there was one thing that worried me.

Actually there were about seventeen things that worried me: the birds. They were everywhere! There were big birds, small birds, and birds of every color. They all lived in their own cages (spread about the entire house), and they were all noisy. I mean really noisy. Jan assured me that they were silent at night when she covered them up. She also told me that part of my rental agreement was cleaning the living room once a week but that I would never have to take care of the birds. With only a slight misgiving, I signed the rental agreement and moved in.

Things got weird real fast. The first morning in my new room, surrounded by boxes and incredibly tired from the move, I was awakened at 5:45 AM to the sound of what I can only describe as “bird music.” It was strange jungle music featuring pipe instruments and bizarre clicking sounds. At first, I thought I was dreaming. The music, if one could call it music, was awful. My teeth were on edge and a sharp pain had entered my head. The birds in residence didn’t share my aversion. In fact, they were all chirping, screeching, or otherwise making loud noises in accompaniment.

This was not an isolated event but rather the morning ritual. Every morning, seven days a week, from 5:45 to 7:00 the birds got to hear their music and I got a brilliantly painful start to my day. I asked her about the music, and she told me that her “darlings” liked to greet each morning with song. It was a sunrise ritual to foster peace and harmony for all. Now how can you argue with that?

I soon learned that the birds in Jan’s house were the be all and end all of Jan’s existence. I never saw her leave the house for longer than a few hours in order to maintain the birds’ rigorous feeding schedule. She spent a good two to three hours a day cleaning their cages and talking to them. Every night she would light strange smelling candles and chant quietly as she covered them up with intricately designed cage covers. My singular offer to help in the covering up process was rebuffed, and I soon learned that Jan didn’t really want me to have anything to do with her birds. Should I pause while walking through the living room to look at or talk to one of the birds, she would freeze and stare unblinkingly at me until I moved on. Once I whistled back at a large yellow bird with bright red head feathers while Jan was out. The next day she asked me not to excite the birds by whistling at them or trying to communicate in any other way. She said it made them nervous. I began to get freaked out.

A few days before Thanksgiving after I had been living with Jan and the birds for about three weeks, she asked me about my holiday plans. We were doing the dishes, or rather I was washing my cup and plate, and she was watching. I told her I would be doing the family thing, big dinner lots of stress, the usual. Jan became very still. Her hands clenched in front of her chest she asked me in a quavering voice what we would be eating for Thanksgiving dinner. I may not be the smartest cookie ever made, but I knew that a woman with this much love for regular birds probably wouldn’t be down on the whole traditional turkey dinner idea. Unfortunately, I am not as quick, on my feet type of liar. I stuttered out some lame excuse about not being sure and fled to my room. The next day or so I avoided her.

Of course she saw through me. The morning of Thanksgiving she cornered me outside my bathroom. I was running late, dripping wet, and covered only by an old icky colored towel when I opened the door.

“Dumpling,” she started, “I know today is a holiday for you. I was wondering when you would be leaving.”

“Well, pretty soon,” I said, beginning to edge my way around her. “Jarrod is picking me up in like ten minutes.” It was more like twenty, but she didn’t need to know that.

“I was wondering if I could talk to you before you went?” Her voice was soft and pleading. It was like she was on her death bed, and her last and only wish was for me to talk to her.

“Sure,” I nodded. “Just let me get ready.”

In my room I took my time. After getting dressed, I blow dried my hair (something I have done less than five times my entire adult life). I painted my nails red and then repainted them green. I was sure that Jarrod would arrive any moment and save me from actually having to talk to her. Casting about for something to do, I even made my bed and tidied my desk. Twenty-six minutes later she knocked on my door. I admitted defeat and joined her in the living room for our talk, cursing Jarrod under my breath.

Jan had changed clothes. She now wore a long white robe with a gold collar. When she sat down on the couch I realized her feet were bare. She pointed to a large white photo album sitting on the coffee table.

“Duckie, I want you to understand the beauty of Avi, the bird spirit.”

Yes, that’s right. Avi, the bird spirit.

Jan went on to explain that she was part of a group, “not a cult Dearie, a group,” that found holiness in bird life. Now, I had been raised to believe that everyone was entitled to their own belief system, but this really threw me for a loop. Fortunately, just about the time Jan started explaining about the “death and life stations,” Jarrod rescued me. With a promise to continue our discussion at a later date, I left Jan’s house of birds for the relative normalcy of a family holiday dinner at my parents’.

I did my best to avoid Jan for the next few weeks. With the end of the semester looming, Christmas shopping and working overtime to afford the Christmas shopping, it wasn’t hard to do. I did find the occasional feather resting nonchalantly in front of my door every so often. I also started to notice the birds individually a bit more. I realized that the bigger birds would grow silent when I entered the living room but would raise holy hell should I dare to approach their cages. I started to think that the birds didn’t like me. It was like they knew I had eaten two turkey dinners!

I normally got home from work around ten o’clock at night. I never wanted to wake Jan, so I would only use the stove light in the kitchen while warming up my dinner. Standing in the dark kitchen and watching the microwave timer count down, I would become aware of the silence from the living room behind me. In the shadowy room I could see the cages lined up, all properly covered of course. But those coverings didn’t fool me. I knew the birds were watching me. I could feel them staring from under their brightly decorated coverings. They sat in nightly silent judgment as I warmed up my pathetic microwavable dinners. Somehow they knew when I was eating chicken.

I started having trouble sleeping. I would wake up suddenly in the middle of the night, sure I had heard a bird call my name. The call never came a second time, if it had come at all, but in the still of the night, I would swear that I could hear those birds moving around in their cages. Through the walls I felt their growing resentment. I had vivid horrible dreams that they had all gotten loose and were chasing me a la Alfred Hitchcock.

Christmas Eve I was awakened, like every other morning, by the bird music. I stumbled out of bed, tripped over my backpack, banged my shin bone on the corner of my desk, and pulled open the blinds. Since the bird music happened as regular as clockwork, I had long ago stopped using an alarm clock. With the bird music going, I was hard put to even hear my own alarm clock or my radio in the mornings. This morning was bitterly cold -the air vent in my room being locked, something I hadn’t realized when I had moved in. I was about to make my way to the bathroom for some much needed water on the face when I noticed what time it was. According to the clock on my wall, it was 4:00. AM. I blinked, put on my glasses, and looked again. 4:00. Sure that my clock must have stopped, I fumbled for my cell phone. 4:00. Every clock in the room agreed. The bird music had started early.

Well, that was it. I had had enough. I shoved my arms into my robe and stomped out into the living room where Jan and her infernal birds were greeting the non existent dawn.

“Jan!...Jan!!!... JAN!!!!!” I yelled, trying to make my voice heard over the symphony of pipes, whistles, screeches, and other unnamed noises. The living room was still pretty dark, and in my rush I banged into something sharp hitting my shin bone for the second time. I squealed in frustration and cursed. The music stopped, the living room light clicked on, and the birds fell eerily silent.

“Oh, Dumpling, I’m so glad you could join us.” Her voice was deep and slow. I shivered and pulled my robe closed suddenly aware of my very immature froggy pajamas. Standing in the doorway and dressed in her white robe with the gold collar, she looked like every creepy cult picture ever seen. Every scary movie ever made flashed though my head.

“No,” I answered in what I hoped was a brave adult voice, “I’m not here to join you. I just wanted to know why you started early this morning.”

She glided into the room and pointed at the cage nearest my bedroom door.

“Mechal has died.”

It was true, the ratty looking brown and white bird was lying feet in the air on the bottom of his cage. It’s eyes were still open and glossy. It looked like it was staring at me.

“Oh, um, okay…” I had no idea what to say or do or think. “Well I better uh, go get ready for work.” My shift started at 6:30, I might as well be up. I stepped carefully around the violent end table and started towards my room.

“Wait,” Her voice was still all creepy and deep, and now she moved in front of me, “Mechal is dead. You have to stay for the ceremony.”

“What, are you going to bury him or something?” As soon as I said it, I knew it was the wrong thing to say. Her eyes got real small, and she crossed her arms across her chest. Biting her lower lip she glared at me and said nothing.

What felt like an eternity went by. The birds in the cages all around me shifted and moved but kept their peace. Jan just kept standing there glaring. At first I tried to meet her eyes, but unexplainable shame made me look away. When she finally did speak, her voice was softer than I had ever heard it.

“You did this. You. With your unclean thoughts and your chicken dinners.” Her voice began to rise until she was shouting, “You and your unclean aura! Mechal knew you. He saw the real you and he died. Died.”

“Hey, hey Hey!” I shouted back, “I didn’t make your damn bird die!”

She recoiled as if I had struck her then, whispering what sounded like angry gypsy curses, she backed down the hallway. A moment later the bird music came back on full blast and a moment after that the birds joined in. I fled to my room and slammed the door closed.

That was the last conversation I had with Jan the Bird Lady. When I emerged from my room half an hour later with my duffel bag full of all my valuables, I found an eviction notice taped to the floor. I had twenty-four hours to vacate the premises. Attached was a copy of the lease I had signed. She had been nice enough to highlight the passage that read, “Landlord has the right to evict the renter at any time for any reason.”

From work I called Jarrod’s folks who were sympathetic albeit a little confused. Jarrod’s dad agreed to go with me after my shift to get the rest of my stuff. When we arrived later that afternoon, I was disappointed to see Jan’s car in the driveway. I really didn’t want to see her again. Cautiously, I opened the front door and peered inside.

“Jan?” I called out in my quiet-I-don’t-really-want-a-response voice, “Are you here?”

The silence was encouraging. We made our way through the foyer and into the living room… the completely empty living room. Well, it wasn’t totally empty, the evil end table was still there and the couch; but the birds and their cages were gone. The house was deathly silent. We tip-toed our way to my room and unlocked the door.

My room looked empty too because all my stuff was gone! No, on second look my stuff wasn’t gone, but it had all been magically packed up in boxes which had then been taped closed and neatly stacked by the window. A pile of what looked like brown and white feathers was lying in the middle of the floor. We were careful not to touch it as we carried the boxes and the few sad pieces of furniture out to the truck. It took us twenty-four minutes to empty the room of everything except those feathers. We didn’t speak.

Finally the truck was loaded. I tossed my house key on the kitchen table, and we fled from the silence. As we pulled out of the driveway, I glanced back. The Bird Lady was standing on the front step, white robe and everything. Her lips were moving, and her eyes were wide open and unblinking. She raised her hand as if in a gesture of farewell but then brought it sharply down in a violent cutting motion across her chest. Chills ran up my spine and stayed there until we were out of Cupertino.

It has been almost ten years, but I still have the occasional nightmare about the Bird Lady. Did she curse me? Is that why I am a weirdo magnet? I don’t know. I do know that I was much more careful about whom I rented from the next time and that I have developed a strange fear of birds of any shape and size.

Another Learning Experience

On the light rail, riding… destination important in the macro level of things but really, I remind myself, it is the journey that counts.

Amidst the outside darkness lights flash by the tinted windows, impossible to really see through with the glowing internal lights and rain smears. Is it morning? Is it night? Am I going to work or coming home? Does it really matter?

I am tempted to stay on the train until it has gone as far as it can go… reason tells me that it will eventually stop and this being the light rail it will simply turn around and go back the direction it came from. Or, to be more accurate, it won’t even bother to turn around… It will just begin to go in the opposite direction until it reaches the other end. It is like a large highly motivated pendulum that slips back and forth, up and down the valley. You will eventually be right back wherever it was you started. You can’t run away if you never get out of the loop.

It was a mistake to go… I know this and yet I resist the judgment. I don’t want to make mistakes, and if I make them, I want them to count for something, to have taught me something. Already the experience is fading but the lesson to be learned hasn’t hit yet and so I refuse to dwell on the misguided actions. If I am always true to myself, can I ever do something worth regretting? Regardless of what history will make of tonight, I am still here, and I am still me.

And I am still restless.

For a while I liked to imagine myself as a boat out on the water… riding the waves of life… the ups, the downs, I knew I could deal with them because after all I was well built. I trusted in the past experiences that had forged my hull, cast my riggings. My sails were no stranger to harsh winds and whatever storm came along I could deal with it. This faith in myself was tempered by the notion that that I was on my way somewhere, seeking out something… and once I found my safe harbor, I would find peace.

The more I think about it though, the more I don’t think this metaphor really works. A ship is made to be on the water, in the sea, responding to the waves and in an almost constant state of motion. It might pull into port for a bit, a rest, but it doesn’t stay there… boats that don’t leave the harbor are the old decommissioned ones. Even if the ship isn’t salvaged for parts but instead converted into a restaurant, a museum, or some other tourist trap type place it remains a pathetic shadow of what it had once been, what it had been intended to be. Its glory days, its days of living out its purpose are over. Am I a ship looking for safe harbor? Or am I a ship that is still reveling in the drama of the storms?

Regardless, I am restless. I feel like dancing, singing, howling at the nonexistent moon, making a big decision, taking a frightening risk. Maturely, and with some small bit of self pride, I decide to stay away from ex boyfriends, ATMs, and liquor tonight. I will instead lose myself in something else. I will let the music wash over me, let the worlds of Steinbeck or Rice or Irving surround me. I will be good.

When Appliances Go Bad.

(A Kitchen Tale)


Her name is Kelly and while she makes an excellent friend in that occasional brunch kind of way, there are times when the thought of her having children makes me worry.

A few days ago, Kelly was at home, spending her evening watching American Idol and no doubt painting her nails. She decided to pop a bit of left over fried chicken in the microwave for a snack. She was careful to take the foil off the chicken before putting it in; no need to repeat the Great Almost Fire of 2005. She set the microwave for 30 minutes and went back to the living room.

Nope, not a typo… 30 minutes.

She spent the next 30 minutes watching TV interrupted only by a trip to the bathroom, a stop over by the garage door to let the cat out, and a quick stop in the dinning room to open a window… because as she said later “It was getting kind of dark.”

When the microwave finally beeped and she opened it up a cloud of smoke poured out blinding her… it was around that time that the smoke alarm went off.

Confused and panicked, she did what any self respecting 25 year old woman would do. She called her boyfriend. But since he didn’t answer, she called me.

After the house had been sufficiently cleared out of smoke (age old technique of opening the windows and running a fan), the sad puddle of goo that had once been wax paper wrapped chicken disposed of, and she had calmed down I hung up and did one of those “oh my god!” hand gestures at the phone.

Setting the wrong time on your microwave is an easy enough mistake I’m sure… depending on how Idiot-Proof your microwave and its settings are. But, and here’s the clincher, just because you accidentally set the machine wrong doesn’t mean you shouldn’t notice that its still cooking, say… at some point between the intended 30 second mark and when the thing actually beeps at you. It's one thing to say fall asleep, or get distracted and lose track of the time, but to be sitting feet away from it, watching a time organized event, and even to have to let the cat out and open a window due to “darkness”…. I have to wonder, did she think that the microwave had (in its infinite wisdom as a kitchen marvel) decided on its own accord that the chicken needed more time?

Sadly, such a leap of reasoning from Kelly wouldn’t surprise me.

One last thing before I start...

As I tried to convey in my first post… I am going to use this blog as a way of keeping up with my writing and my critical thinking… in other words my learning and continual (hopeful) development as a writer. Again, the whole goal is to write something worth reading.

And to keep writing.

So feel free to bug me about what I have posted… and my lack of posts if need be.


Some of the stuff here will be new, some will be old… Enjoy!

Hello, my name is Kay and I am a writer.

Hello, my name is Kay and I am a writer.

Sort of.

One of my life goals is “to write something worth reading” and in pursuit of this goal I have written a lot, and most of it not worth reading. But I keep trying.

Sometimes I try in a passive sense.

Sometimes I don’t try at all.

But recent events have reminded me that every day I get older, further from my idealistic youth and that really I should just put up or shut up.

If you know me at all you can probably guess that shutting up is not an option.

So… because I know myself, I have started this blog.

I know that I operate better under deadlines.

I know I need to be held accountable… and that making a goal public is one way to do that.

I know that I resist the spotlight because there is part of me that doesn’t feel worthy of attention.

I know I hide in fiction because I like the control and fear reality.

I know that big changes start with little ones.

I know I am tired of waiting for that perfect moment, (when my life is all organized, my teeth are perfect, my hair has stopped doing that silly flip thing, my books are in alphabetical order, my desk is uncluttered, my pictures are recent and hung with care in the perfect spot) to write, to devote myself to writing. Because that day will never come.

Instead we have today.

Today is March 20th and in honor of Ostara and the whole blessed idea of Spring and New Beginnings… I start this blog.

To write.

To keep writing.

To get feedback.

To continue to grow as a person.