Wednesday, March 28, 2012


She moved through her apartment in a systematic fashion.  As she went she picked books up off the floor and placed them on the shelves.  Bits of trash like old fast food sandwich wrappers and plastic coke bottles and crumpled up napkins were thrown in the trash.  She moved through the studio apartment slowly but deliberately, clearing one space at a time.  It felt as if nothing was in its place and as the clutter and disorder grew so did her anxiety levels.  Hating it as much as she did, one would think she would have prevented it from ever getting this far, but it was always like this, never too bad, but always on the brink of being unlivable.  When she is out in the world she thinks to herself, today I will take care of this; today will be a new day.  Soon though the energy evaporates and she sits at her desk looking into the internet to find something to distract her from truly facing reality.  And the day winds up not being so new, and like her surroundings it sits on the brink of being unlivable.

Today though she is determined, and as trash finds its way into the bin and dirty clothes are put in the hamper she starts to feel a sense of control, a sense that life may actually be manageable after all.  Eventually the clutter is cleared away and she is able to wipe down her desk and her tiny kitchen counter and she thinks about stories where people whitewash the walls and floors and she wonders what whitewash is, but pictures a room that is clean and bright and she wants to be there in that whitewashed room where the sun comes through the windows and the air is quiet and fresh like it is on after a heavy rain.

Whitewash is not an option, and the room does not get any direct sunlight, but she tries her best to give the place a fresh feeling. 

Finally, after several hours of work she stands in the middle of a room that has been cleaned.  She stares at the clutter free desk, the dresser with jewelry boxes and small leather bound books, placed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and yet not contrived, she looks at her perfectly made bed, and she feels calm.  She does not want to move.  She wishes she could just leave it as it is, never pull the chair out or open a drawer.  Everything is so perfectly ordered, to move would be to risk disorder, confusion, anxiety about the unknown.  But she knows that she must move; she knows that disorder must be risked for anything great to be realized.  It seems as if for her to do anything she must accept the eventuality of chaos.  But in that moment standing in her ordered apartment the chaos is pushed back, if only for a second, and potential is realized.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 6 - Tomorrow

I wonder what tomorrow holds.  Or does it hold anything at all?  So often today is the day for over indulging, shirking responsibilities and just getting by while tomorrow is filled with potential to abandon all the bad habits, to get the reading done, to start or finish that project.  The problem with tomorrow is that it is always a day away.  But still I plan and scheme and imagine what wonders tomorrow will bring while I let today waste away.  Tomorrow can be anything or nothing.  It will probably be no different than today, but still tomorrow has a potential, a magic of things unrealized. 
Tomorrow is filled with adventure.  Tomorrow I will go to the zoo; I will howl with the wolves and come face to face with a gorilla when it escapes its pen.  It won’t hurt me, it will place its palm against mine and we will look into each other’s eyes and understand each other. 
Tomorrow I will meet a man in a coffee shop.  He will be an archaeologist and will tell me about how he spent his summer on an island in the Mediterranean where he uncovered ancient civilizations and had profound conversations with other scholars as they drank whiskey and watched the sun set: gold, violet, and rose.
Tomorrow I will discover a charming little restaurant.  It will serve Coquilles St. Jacques and Key lime pie made from scratch.  In the evenings couples will dance to torch songs sung by an Edith Piaf impersonator. 
Tomorrow I will lay down in the grass and fall asleep with the sun shining on my face.  I will wake up with dozens of butterflies resting on my arms and legs, and when I move I will watch them take flight and my soul will take flight with them.
I cannot know for sure what tomorrow holds.  Tomorrow could be breath taking.  It could be a day of profound understanding, or the lynchpin on which my life turns and heads in an entirely new direction.  Tomorrow could be the first day of the rest of my life or my last day on earth.  Tomorrow could be anything or just another today, filled with perfunctory responsibilities and meaningless busy work. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 5 - stress

It is difficult trying to find something to write about.  I don’t have any story or particular topic in mind to discuss, this makes doing 20 minutes truly difficult and it means this post will be more of a journal entry than some form of creative writing.  But I really do want to try and make writing 20 minutes a day a priority.  So far I haven’t been so very successful.
This post might not be particularly interesting because I have decided to talk about the stress I have been experiencing these past few days.  It all started on Wednesday after I took my ethics test.  Right after I took the test I felt okay about it, but as the day went on I let myself get more and more worried about how I did on the exam.  My dreams became very strange on account of my stress.  Usually when I dream I don’t dream about things that happened in the previous day.  Usually it takes my mind quite some time to process things and incorporate them into my dreams.  For instance if I were to watch an episode of Walking Dead I am not likely to dream about zombies.  It actually took watching the whole first season over a couple of days for me to have zombie dreams, and even then the zombie dream came days after I had watched the show.  Anyway, Wednesday and Thursday night I had dreams that were directly influenced by the previous day’s activities.  On Wednesday I learned that a going away party had been thrown for one of the women who worked for the school and I had not received an invitation about it.  Now to be fair, the invite only went out to the staff and faculty, not to the student body.  Also, at lunch on Wednesday a fellow student, who is about to get married, showed me pictures she had on her iphone of wedding dresses.  With that information my mind created an anxiety dream where I walk in on a party where everyone is dressed up.  All the guys were in tuxes and all the women were in big puffy white dresses.  I was dressed in jeans and realized I didn’t have time to get a white dress so I could join in the festivities. 
The next day I took a nap in the afternoon and dreamed of exactly the thing that had caused me stress during the day.  I dreamed I couldn’t go to a friend’s birthday party because I had a prior engagement at my field education site.  In actuality, I was late to a surprise party because of a service at my field ed. site, but I didn’t miss the whole thing.  The point is that my subconscious had decided to stop being particularly creative.
The next night the dreams got even more direct and I dreamt that I got my exam back and at first it said 95 percent on the top but the 95 quickly morphed into a 55 percent and stayed that way.  I woke up convinced that I had flunked my exam. 
It was really strange how badly I had stressed myself out on account of this test.  My jaw is only now recovering from the flair up of TMJ I had.  It was at the point on Thursday where my jaw wouldn’t close right and the muscle hurt constantly.  In addition to this I was having stomach trouble, extreme fatigue, and I felt like my hair was falling out. 
It turns out I did fine on the test, but the stress was seriously overwhelming.
Anyway, sorry this post is so utterly pointless.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 4 - My first concert

In 1986 - when I was in 3rd grade - I went to my first rock concert.  I remember this and a couple surrounding events pretty well, though not perfectly.  The fact that I remember them at all is kind of telling since the memory I have of my childhood is spotty at best.  But I remember this concert because this concert was special.  It was at the Rosemont Theater in Rosemont Illinois and we had seats in the balcony.  I think the seats were close to the front but I could be remembering it wrong.  Up until this concert I had seen music videos where people jump up and down and scream as the musicians play the music.  This is something that I certainly wanted to do but I remember how strange it felt to do it the first time, I remember how self conscious I was about it, and that my sister had to essentially teach me how to have fun at a concert.  But before that happened, before the music started, we were led in prayer by a Roman Catholic Cardinal, Cardinal Bernardin.  I remembered he prayed, but what I really remember was the thin red rope that I was given to tie around my wrist.  I couldn't tell you why we were given this red string, maybe it was for world peace, maybe it was to end hunger, maybe it was a reminder that we are mortal...I  don't know and it isn't really important.  What is important is that I loved that bracelet and I wore it until it frayed and fell off months later.  After the Cardinal prayed, the opening acts started.  The only one I remember was Herman's Hermits, I was told later that they and the other opening acts were really bad, but at the time I didn't think so, at the time it was just a band who was trying really hard and deserved to be clapped and cheered for if only because they had the guts to get up before thousands of people and sing their hearts out.

But we weren't there for them, we were there for the main act.  We were there to see The Monkees.

By 1986 I had seen most, if not all, of The Monkees television show.  I loved it.  It was weird and absurd and colorful, and I may not have understood half the jokes that were being made but it was filled with dream logic and it made sense to me.  As a side note my tastes have changed very little in this regard.

Now I know that everyone's favorite Monkee was either Davy Jones or Micky Dolenz, and while I loved both of them dearly, my favorite was without a doubt Peter Tork.  I know of course that his character was a bit of a dummy, but there was something kind and sweet about him.

So, the concert.  When The Monkees theme started playing I had no trouble screaming and dancing to the music.  What I remember most about the concert is, of course, Peter talking about being the quiet one, and then singing an awesome song and playing the guitar (I think he took the lead on 'For Pete's Sake', but I can't be certain).  It was an amazing experience and a great first concert for a 9 year old.

I wish I could say it was all great.  The next day I went to school tired and wearing a Monkees t-shirt. This led to me being tormented and made to feel guilty by Mrs. Eegan for having had fun.  To be fair, she hated me and it was, I believe, her mission as an emissary from hell to make my life as unbearable as possible.  She was certainly good at her job, but still, she cannot take away the awesomeness of that evening.  And I only wish my highly selective memory did not in fact include her.

So there it is, The Monkees.  It is sad that Davy Jones has passed, but I feel so blessed that I got to be influenced by that band and their show.  The more I think about it, the more I think they are the reason I like such strange stuff, them and 'The Electric Company.'  But that is a different memory all together.