Upon the Boutique Sidewalk

Upon the boutique sidewalk, I

stumble upon a man- or

is it a woman? The dark and

defined makeup surrounds the black

pupils set in stone marble eyes.

The perfectly defined Adams apple sits tucked

under the creamy white face adorned

with chiseled cheekbones, contoured

and glowing. I wonder

what he sees sitting on his perch,

unable to move. We bustle and groan,

rush around like spawning salmon-

but you, your plastic skin still reeks

of chemicals produced in assembly

lines, people machines. Your

cheekbones deceive me, your slim,

lean legs lack the delicate fibers that

give legs meaning. You represent facades

and images endorsed, societal projections.

Who gets to decide

what ideal looks like?

 

j.f.

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204

Upon opening the door
Lies dirt ridden shovels
amongst red-spined journals
in apartment two-oh-four.

Black lines appear
on white walls forming
mountains and valleys- a timeline
beginning to end, up and down, up and down.

Steam, the tea kettle screeches
an aroma of green tea and coffee,
familiarize the surroundings,
memories of bodies move through the rooms.

Upon the bedside table
lies the book of love, of fictitious
trickery, words written and uttered
left by the sink, forgotten
as the reflection in turn.

What is love? I ask
you point to the book, left
frivolously scratching your mark, locking
the key taken, I cannot enter.

 

j.f.

Spiderwebs

She sits

solemnly at the dining room

table, trying to find a metaphor

for her creative process, is

it the revealing of one’s

eyes, after removing

sunglasses? The dark

shades, black as dilated

pupils, outstretched when accustomed

to night, revealing the

hidden webs

forming dust-

a forgotten bond.

 

j.f.

Carving Stories from Trees- Our Home

The Highline Canal is a long trail sided next to a creek throughout Denver’s southside suburbs, 71 miles to be exact. It connects different cities together through the paved and unpaved walking trail, lining itself with cottonwood trees and bushes as tall as we were. Although the purpose of the highline canal was to provide irrigation through the man-made waterway, it was dry most of the time. For us, it didn’t provide irrigation; it provided recreation.

My brother and I walked through the winding roads of our quaint neighborhood, a brand-new development built on the borders of the sacred greenery of the Highline Canal. Scratch that- the yellowry of the Highline Canal. We walked up the dirt hill to reach the yellow sticks and the leafless trees that grew along the trail until we found a denseness that suited us.

Rewind one year. Mom and dad would drive my brother and I to the spot where our new house was being built. We got out of the car, onto the future street on which we would live, and looked at the giant, square hole in the ground. Dirt. Everywhere.

They told us, “This is where our house will be. It will be painted blue, and have a red door.” I tried to imagine what my new house would look like. I thought it was strange that our house would have a red door, this color yelled anger at me, which is how I felt about moving from the home I’d known my whole short life. My life, as I knew it, was being displaced. Into a neighborhood I didn’t know. Into a school I didn’t know. With the people that were forcing my displacement.

Fast forward. To the denseness. To the foliage. To the nature, which belonged to my brother and I, alone. Once we found the perfect spot, a little opening within the branches, within the sticks and the grass, we built our home. Our home was here, not in the blue house with the red door. Here, we could imagine our own spaces and create our own niches. Here, we made the rules and decided who we wanted to be. It might have been different day to day. I was usually a mother, cooking dinner for the family in the patch of small twigs near the center of our home. I had on my pretend oven and pretend oven mitts. Other days I was a teacher, ordering my brother to sit at his desk, a little spot in the corner amongst the grass. I put on my pretend glasses and taught out of my little blue notebook, telling my brother to take notes.

When we got bored of our home, we would go on an exploration journey on the trail to find another one. Sometimes we’d get distracted by the creatures we’d see. Once we came upon a turtle, which my brother named Speedy. He was our comrade for a day or two, until we lost him and found a new comrade to replace him, like our pretend pet that would follow us around. We found walking sticks one day and became original Settlers of the land. The Highline Canal was ours, and ours alone. Anyone we saw walking or running on the trail simply didn’t exist to us, for it was our world, and we made it fit what we needed it to be. Our home.

Random Thoughts

Do you ever wonder…

what you would

become

if you

did

not blog

did not ‘gram

did not facebook?

What if…

thoughts,

your stream

of conscious,

could be made

visible, online, for

all to see? Would you

be embarrassed? Or

embrace it? Do

our thoughts

really,

truly,

belong

to ourselves

anymore? What

is writing becoming?

What is writing?

What are

your

thoughts?

 

I originally wrote this in 2013, and it is just as prevalent as ever.

Food, Inc

For my Sociology class, we had to watch the documentary, Food Inc. This documentary discusses the many ways that food operates in our society- how it’s grown, produced, sold, and eaten. This movie goes deeper than surface level, though, focusing not just on food and eating, but on what we’re allowed to say and know about the food we eat. Through this film, we are able to use the Social Imagination to understand the relationship of food between the larger social forces and the individuals that purchase and eat it. Throughout the years, our relationship with food has changed drastically- the way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than the last 10,000 years (Kenner). The way we eat now has become a norm that we accept, because we don’t know anything different.

From this film, we can see how food can be related to on a Social Conflict Paradigm, which sees social life as a competition and focuses on the distribution of resources, power, and inequality. During “The Dollar Menu” section of the film, we see a poor family with a mother, father, and two young girls. They don’t have time to cook because they leave at 6am to go to work and don’t get home until 9 or 10. So, they use the small amount of money they have to buy hamburgers from the dollar menu. The mom says, “When you only have a dollar to spend, and two kids to feed, what would you do?” They can buy a hamburger for $1.00 or they can go to the grocery store and wouldn’t even be able to buy a head of lettuce for $1.00. The husband, who is almost forced to eat these horrible foods packed with sugar, salt, and fat now has diabetes due to his diet, and needs to spend hundreds of dollars on his medication. It is obvious that the large, rich, powerful food institutions are benefiting from how food works in our society, while those who don’t have a lot of money lose, big time. The way these hamburgers are made in the factories is a whole different story. Apparently when we eat a hamburger, we are eating the meat from a thousand different cows (Kenner). What?!?

I’m just going to go right out and ask the question- are we poisoning the lower class? The movie states that 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes- and in minorities the rate is 1 in 2 (Kenner). The biggest predictor of obesity is income level as well- those who are in the lower economic class are more prone to obesity- and as we can see from this movie, it is because the foods that are affordable are unhealthy, and even poisonous. Of course, the industry blames obesity on a crisis of “personal responsibility” (Kenner). As I sit at Whole Foods to do my homework, I think about how privileged I am to have the ability to choose to eat foods that are organic, range free, grass fed, and healthy. Even still, I have a hard time purchasing a seven dollar salad due to my bank account. After watching this film I feel like I have a moral obligation to help change the way we think about food, and advocate for more honesty in our society’s food practices.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen this documentary? How can we change the way society in America interacts with how food is grown, made, and eaten?

Kenner, Robert, et al. Food, Inc. [Los Angeles, CA] Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2009.

Dirty Laundry: A Short Short

Rachael grabbed a white sock off the floor and brought it to her nose, determining if she should put it in the laundry basket or back in the drawer. Revolted by the stench, she threw it towards the basket. It landed right in the center of a dirty dish her husband left on the ground from the night before.

“You can’t be serious,” Rachael blurted out, looking directly at her husband lying on the bed watching another survival show, “You’re going to lay there watching me pick up after your filth you leave all over the house.”

Carter averted his eyes from the screen and looked at Rachael, not even a little surprised at her little outburst. “I don’t remember you asking me to help you,” he said as a matter of fact.

“Do I really have to ask you to help me out a little bit? I shouldn’t have to ask you in the first place! Stop being such a pig!” She picked the sock off the greasy plate and shoved it into the crammed laundry basket.

“Oh, you’re going to start with this tonight,” Carter said, setting the remote on the pillow, starting to stand.

“Yeah, it’s going to be this night again. Maybe if you got off your lazy ass every once in a while, you’d be able to watch your tv in peace,” Rachael said as her cheeks scorched. Maybe she went too far this time. Carter kept walking toward the door as if he didn’t hear her.

“Now you’re just going to ignore me? Come on, Carter, what are we doing?” Rachael pleaded. He kept on walking, now out the door towards the stairs. “Oh, there you go, walk away, just like you always do.”

Carter turned around and faced her, eyes widening, voice still cool, “Yep, I’m walking away. Watch me walk away” he said, and calmly walked down the stairs.

“You can’t be serious!” Rachael yelled out, her eyes burning red. “Don’t you walk away from me! You know I can’t stand it when you do that!” She reached toward the laundry basket and grabbed whatever could fit in her hands and tossed it everywhere. She couldn’t stop herself, wailing, scorching tears welling up in her deep brown eyes. After all of the contents were dispersed, on the bed, on the floor, in the bathroom, on the nightstand, she flailed herself on the bed and finally allowed the tears to escape.

School.

Taking online classes is very lonely. It’s been a good five years since I’ve been to school, but back then I was taking normal, human interaction classes. Now I’m taking the deep dive into starting 3 online classes while maintaining a full time job. I’m grateful to be working toward finishing my English degree, as I only need 23 more credits to complete. I knew it would be hard work, but currently going into the second week, I am realizing how demanding this will be.

Currently, I am sitting in my office at work. The light coming from my cute pale-blue lamps brighten the small room and I see my owl painting gazing at me. The quiet stillness is calming compared to the bustling energy of people during the day. I am staying late to get some quality study time at a perfect place- a large, wooden desk, double-screen computer monitor action, and best of all- quiet. But, like I said, it is lonely.

I am having to turn down valuable time with friends and family. Now I need to consider dropping my Wednesday night Inner Child class that I help facilitate at a treatment center. Through this, I think God is showing me how precious time is and how I need to treasure those close friends and family who are supportive and understanding. In the past, much of my “study” time was more of an adderall binge than anything. I would cram 8+ hours of paperwriting and test studying in single sessions. I barely made it during that time. Now I am going through it completely sober, and doing things the right way may be harder at times, but it sure feels good.

My Reading List So Far This Year (2017)

Reading is, by far, one of my favorite things to do. That feeling you get when you finish a book is like no other. I love it when I pick up on allusions in books, or references to other books or writers that I’ve read. I definitely haven’t read as many books as I was hoping this year, but since I got a new library card for the library by my work, it has helped a lot. When I check out a book, it’s more of a requirement to finish it 🙂 Here are the books (that I can remember) and a little synopsis that I’ve read this year.

  1. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwoodall the ugly
    I ordered this book through Book of the Month Club because it was rated Book of the Year in their system, and I can see why. I’d definitely call this one of my all time favorite books. It moved me emotionally throughout the whole book, and showed me a different perspective on tough matters such as appropriate age differences of dating. Wavy is the daughter of a meth dealer and an addict, and this book portrays her life growing up from a young child to an adult. It becomes a powerful love story that will definitely stick in your mind weeks after finishing it.
  2. Your Voice in my Head by Emma Forrest-
    your voiceThis memoir was very captivating for me as I could relate to many of the behavioral and addiction/men issues Emma wrote about. Emma writes about being an English journalist living in America, her experiences through mania and depression, and her experiences through different relationships in her life. Beautifully written with a witty voice, I would definitely recommend this memoir to all of my girlfriends.
  3. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins-
    I was SO excited to read this book because I absolutely LOVED The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I could barely wait for this book to come out and almost pre into the waterordered it. I ended up forgetting about it and checking it out at the library when I randomly went in there one day during my lunch break. And let me tell you now, this book definitely wasn’t as good as TGOTT. I feel like Hawkins was so excited about how well her first novel did, so she rushed to get another one out. I could be wrong, though. It just seemed all over the place- the characters weren’t developed well, there was less of a mystery, and seemed pretty unoriginal. Oh well, it was still a fast read.
  4. Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan-
    I was introduced to Graphic Novels in my Young Adult Literature course at CSU and snow whitehave been obsessed ever since. There are many retellings of classic stories through graphic novels (sort of like comic books) which become compelling, short, and visually stimulating reads to potentially help kids enjoy reading. I read the Farenheit 451 retelling, which was quite awesome. This Snow White retelling was pretty good, but I guess I expected more dialogue. The drawings are very beautiful! And it literally took me 5 minutes to get through.
  5. All our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai-
    all or wrong todaysThis is a crazy, fast paced, compelling book about time travel, futuristic societies, love, and relationships. I liked that the chapters were only about 2 pages long, so it felt like a fast-paced roller coaster. The narrator is hilarious and the writer is beautifully descriptive- here’s an awesome quote I took away: “Maturity colonizes your adolescent mind, like an ultraviolet photograph of a vast cosmic nebula that turns out, on closer examination, to be a pointillist self portrait.”

There were also a few other books that I started to read, and didn’t quite finish- Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett, The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene, and Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. I probably won’t go back and read the Ann Patchett, but I will probably go back to the others when I find time. The Art of Seduction is extremely lengthy and can be quite repetitive, but it is very interesting. And Behind Her Eyes is a thriller, and I just didn’t finish it because of the many different things that started at my life during that time.

I’m excited to get more books and keep on reading! Please let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these, what your thoughts are, or if you have any book recommendations! Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Muse

“You will know that you have found your muse when you encounter a force that makes you feel courageous enough to broaden the range of your creativity. The presence of this force will erase your self-doubt and motivate you to give your thoughts and feelings form.”

“If you surround yourself with people who support you, keep a pen and paper handy, immerse yourself in culture, and brainstorm frequently, you will soon reconnect with your muse.”

-Madisyn Taylor

Every day I get emailed an inspirational little tid-bit from a site called Daily Om. I don’t always get around to reading them, but yesterday I read the email and the subject was about Embracing your Muse. As an aspiring writer, and a human in general, I am very curious about inspiration- how inspiration works, how to be inspired, how to express myself in what inspires me. I’m so glad I read this article because it inspired me to think about what my muses are- what motivates me to have that creative spark.

I’d definitely have to say one of my greatest muses is God. I am inspired and awed by God’s work in my life on a daily basis, and what he has gotten me through in the last 10 years of my life. I have experienced pain, hurt, loss, death, grief, addiction, depression… you name it. I believe these struggles that I went through helped me become a stronger person, and that God got me through them and brought me to where I am today. This last year has been a spiritual journey for me, and I feel like I am closer to God now than I have ever been, and I feel truly blessed.

But let’s go back to those painful experiences for a moment. The times that I wrote the most and seemed to have the most inspiration was when I was going through the hardest times of my life- especially the death of my grandmother and heart break. At those times I didn’t know what else to do with myself- I was brimming with sadness and pain, and the only thing I knew what to do with these emotions was to write it down on paper. Some of my most meaningful poetry and creative expressions were written during these times. And now, I embrace these difficult times and feel grateful for them, because I have experiences that will help me be a better person and writer.

In my opinion, being a writer is all about experiences and story telling. I’m inspired all the time by books- I think about how the writer came up with the ideas they wrote about, and what they experienced in their actual lives to be inspired to write those stories. My new goal is to remain aware for when things come up that inspire me or strike my curiosity. I try to always have a notebook with me so I can write down ideas or thoughts I want to explore. From now on, I will embrace my muse(s), remain curious, and explore environments that support my creativity.