number 2

prompt: a picture is worth more than a blank page. take out those dusty photo albums. pick out photo #14. count however way you like, but make sure you stop at photo #14. look at the photo for 2-3 minutes. then for 10 minutes, write all the feelings that photograph made you feel. don't censor yourself. just write.

briefly: this particular photo was taken, i think, in late 1992 or early 1993. i'm bad at telling children's ages by sight; oddly, especially my own. if i'm not mistaken, this was taken on easter sunday. now onto my "feelings."

first, humor. is humor even a feeling? i don't know, but my first reaction was to laugh. for three reasons: 1. my mom's huge, almost triangular hair is just too, too much. 2. the shoulder-padded dress is so 80s it's wonderful. and 3. i recently bought a hat that looks almost exactly like the one i'm wearing in this photo, only for my grown-up head. completely unwittingly, of course.

next, happiness. my mom is my favorite person and one of my best friends. this picture is a perfect example of one of the stages of our relationship. i see us moving out of the strict mother-daughter realm (her raising me and protecting me) and more into a matured, friend realm (i'm raised! i am me!). photos of her and i together never fail to make me smile.

followed by a twinge of sadness. i can't place its origins, but it's there. maybe it's the longing for "simpler" times; my loss of childhood or whatever. maybe it's because i'm pushing on my ear (when i was younger, i had awful ear infections. i don't remember them, but i'm told that i would scream non-stop for hours because i was in such terrible pain. reminds me of a million little pieces by james frey [warning: spoilers to follow]. his shrink in rehab linked his addictive, escapist personality to childhood ear infections that left him in excruciating, incapacitiating pain. i'm not making claims here, just connections). or, more likely, it's because it reminds me that i've aged, that my mother has aged. and that we will continue to do so until she dies or i die. until both of us die. as much as i am excited about my future, i am terrified of time.

but mostly it makes me smile.

*okay, i wrote for 12 minutes. i cheated, but whatever. i apologized.


number 1

prompt: close your eyes briefly. think of one object that's in the room and focus on it. without opening your eyes, recall as much detail as you can about it. after about 3 minutes or so, open your eyes and write about that object without looking at it.

there is a bookshelf in my bedroom. well, actually, there are four, but the one i'm thinking of is my least favorite bookshelf. made of thin, manufactured wood, its three shelves are stuffed predominantly with books that i haven't read.

my mother bought me a set of textbooks when i was eleven. the salesman said that they would help me in every subject in school for the rest of my life. at the time, i was so excited to have all of that information right at my fingertips but, now, i can count the number of times i used them on one hand. which makes sense, i guess, because we didn't get internet in my house until i was fifteen. now the leather-colored, paper-bound books take up the first shelf and half of the second, except for where there are two very noticeable book-sized holes.

the other shelf and a half is filled with books i didn't return to my high school, books i received at honor society award ceremonies, books that i bought at book sales and at garage sales because "they are so cheap and i will read them eventually!" and books that i bought because i thought i was artsy and into extensive, unabridged journaling. these books, like the textbooks, have never been read. some of them i began reading with the best of intentions but abandoned part-way through. the scarlet letter, little women, emma, the unabridged journals of sylvia plath. some just sit there, their covers never having been cracked (save for those book sale and garage sale books; their covers having been cracked but never by me). one flew over the cuckoo's nest, anna karenina, jane eyre. all classics. all things i should have read but haven't.

the transition between the two sections is jarring. textbooks, all uniform in color, label, and height, switch suddenly to books mismatching in everything. some are warped to the point of illegibility, some are brand new, but all are unread.

at the very top of the bookshelf sit four picture frames. each one holds shots from a trip i took to europe when i was fourteen. typical tourist kind of stuff. a photo of the eiffel tower is next to the leaning tower of pisa; an austrian goat is frozen in time above a picture of a swiss mill and across from a snapshot of the mediterranean sea. my dad bought my a rebel canon for $100 on ebay before i left for the trip and i had no idea how to use it. i had it set on "automatic" the entire time and couldn't figure out how to take non-blurry photos without flash. i remember being so proud of the pictures when i finally got them developed; i had such a hard time choosing which ones to frame. i'm not proud of them anymore. i'm proud of what they represent, and i'm proud of how i felt about them when i first saw them, but i can't help but wonder how much better they would be if i took them now.

there's still time.

igniting my creativity

*for necessary background information, read my last post.

after my minor life freakout and words of advice from the people who know me better than even i do, i've decided to challenge myself to write creatively again. but! i haven't done that in far too long and i'm afraid that it's not like riding a bike. i think i've forgotten how.

so, expert googler that i am, i found an amazing (/ slightly corny?) website that provides 346 creative writing prompts. which brings me to the challenge. i double-dog-dared myself to complete all 346 within the next year. i countered: the time limit is negotiable, but i will finish them all.

number 1 is soon to follow. i challenge you to join me!

*added disclaimer: these are likely to be rambling and shitty while i try to figure out what the hell my voice actually is. bear with me.


i am drowning

in books. *but that's an over-simplification. as are much of the things that i say. also, that last sentence was another over-simplification.

it all started with my summer internship. i got it too easily, i think, and it was too much an afterthought. a fleeting thought --oh, it would be nice to intern at a newspaper while i'm home,-- one e-mail and one three-minute phone call later, i had a paid freelance writing internship at a local paper.

normal reaction: --awesome!-- after all, i am studying journalism, do write for my college paper, and, for as long as i can remember, have automatically answered 'journalism' to any question about my future, my hopes, my dreams.

my reaction: --cool, whatever.-- college has not turned me into an indifferent, apathetic person. i am as passionate about writing as ever. so, why now? why am i suddenly dreading making phone calls to the people i'm writing about? why is going into the news room a chore?

so far i have come up with three viable reasons.

1. my journalism dream was some sort of twisted projection from having watched too much gilmore girls, read too much about watergate, talked too much about how journalism was 'the fourth branch of government,' and thought way, way, way too much about how i could change the world with my reporting. there was no way the reality could (or would) live up to my fantasy.

2. i am being melodramatic and not giving the internship enough of a chance. it's a smaller newspaper, and the freelancing doesn't allow for any sort of regimented schedule; i am simply not getting the full journalistic experience.

3. i am just no longer (or never actually was) interested in journalism.

reason #3 -- the scariest of all -- when coupled with reason #1, brings us to why i am drowning. now that i'm semi-embracing the fact that i am not interested in journalism, i have to begin again and figure out what i am interested in. this means re-reading everything: short stories, novels, comic books, magazine reporting, blog posts, the list goes on and on.

they say that when you're drowning, you should, above all else, remain calm. flailing about won't do anything but scare you more. does this apply to when you're drowning in your own future?


maggie taylor

will you walk a little faster?

oh, happy day!

life goes on.

i'm grown up now.

explain yourself!