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A writing exercise

Posted by Elizabeth

The instructions: Pick a book off your shelf. Close eyes. Random flip. Point to a word. Write down that word, the three words before it and the three words after it. Write for 5 minutes on that. Part 2 of the instructions: read it backward and find a sentence that makes sense and “has energy; it surprises you… The phrase must make a kind of sense; it must possess its own inner sense at the very least” (I can imagine what this professor would be like in person…)

The only book I had handy was an anthology from a lit class. I landed on something from A.R. Ammons (who?) titled “Corsons Inlet” – lines 117 and 118: Open – Possibilities of escape – No route shut.

The door was open. Why wasn’t I taking it? I had been trying for so long to escape and now here it was. But why? Why is the possibility of escape now right here. Wide open. Reluctantly, I go. My heart is pounding in my chest. I can hear it too. I need to calm down. If I’m so focused on how scared I am, I might miss hearing something… like that. What was that? I press against the wall, barely daring to look around the corner to see if what I heard was really there. A sigh of relief. It was my imagination. The route was still open. As I continue down the corridor, I can feel myself wanting to relax. Excitement at the prospect of finally being free. But what will I do once I’m out? Won’t they come looking for me? I’ll be on the run for the rest of my life. Always looking over my shoulder, wondering when they will find me and lock me back up. A different sort of prison, but one I believe will be better than what I’m leaving behind. I hope. Sure, there was a bed – if that’s what you want to call it. And meals. Again, if that’s what you want to call it. And a roof over my head. It could be freezing, raining, or burning up outside and I was oblivious. If I leave, I’d be on my own to find shelter and food. But surely it would be better than this. God, please let it be better than this. Another corner… slow, quick glance around the corner. It still looks clear. Where is everyone? Seriously. For months (or has it only been days? Weeks? Or maybe even years? I don’t know… but it seems like it’s been forever that they’ve been checking on me every … I have no idea. All sense of time is gone. I just knew that as soon as I felt certain that they were gone, they’d show up again. So where are they now? At the end of the hall there’s an elevator. I’m torn. Do I take it and risk there being someone in there as the doors open? Could I pass as one of them if there were? No, I don’t think so. I’ll take the stairs. I close the door as quietly as possible behind me but it still seems to echo up and down the stairwell. I tense, waiting for some sound of an alarm, but none comes. Then it hits me … up or down? Were they holding me up on a high floor and I need to go down to ground level or was I in some dungeon and freedom is up? Okay. Calm down. Floors are usually numbered and … yep, there it is. I’m on 17. I go down the stairs until I see the next floor’s number. 16. Alright then. Down it is. No route shut. I go reluctantly.
Right here.

A 7th grader – already??

Posted by Elizabeth

Taylor started 7th grade today. She’ll officially be a teenager in just a few months. I. am. not. ready. As we drove past the high school, I took her hand and said, “In two years, that’ll be our turn.” She said, “In four years, it’ll MY turn.” Yeah, she’s already dreaming about driving herself to school. Here are a few pictures from this morning. She reluctantly held up 7 fingers… then got silly on me. At school, I was hoping to get a shot of her getting out of the car, but she refused and then didn’t even give me time to focus and snag one anyway!

Taylor - 7th Grade 2015

Taylor - goofball 2015

Taylor - 7th Grade 2015 unfocused

I love my family…

Posted by Elizabeth

Tonight, for some insane reason, Taylor thumped her daddy on the head and then (wisely) ran to her room, closing the door behind her. She wouldn’t come out, but she still needed to brush her teeth.

Brian: Taylor, I’m not going to do anything to you. You need to brush your teeth. 

Taylor: Promise you won’t do anything!

Brian: I promise I won’t do anything to you on your way to the bathroom. 

Taylor made him repeat this a few times and then… “What about on my way back to my room?” (I was wondering if she’d caught his loophole. Smart girl!). He didn’t promise, but assured her that he was brushing his teeth and she should brush hers. She finally does then cautiously heads back to her room. Once there, I heard him jump out at her from somewhere presumably in her room and she screamed.

He didn’t do anything to her on her way to the bathroom or on her way back to her room. Once she was actually IN her room, though… Game. On. 

She still has lots to learn about loopholes. 

First Line Friday

Posted by Elizabeth

Today’s prompt was a First Line. Basically, I’m given the first line and then figure out another 50-100 words for what happens next. So, at great risk of ridicule, I give you the fruits of my labors from today’s prompt…

As the crowd rounded the corner and headed for his group, Gary’s only thought was that he’d picked a bad day for a walk. It started out a normal enough day. He had planned to get with his vegan friends and go for a walk around his small city’s main drag. It was a pretty easy walk now that the sidewalks had been redone and lights added so people could safely cross the one major road. The only hiccup in their route is that it took them by Colorado Crazy Wings. They had their own group who got together each week. Some of them were nice enough, but there were a few who seemed to take a sadistic pleasure in taunting them as they passed. They were pelted with chicken wings one time. “Chicken wings. Really? Do these people have ANY regard for life?” Gary thought to himself. He shook his head, sighed, and steeled himself for the confrontation he knew was coming.

The carnivorous group slowed and one of its members approached Gary’s group.
“Good evening…”
“We just wanted to catch up with you and apologize for the other night.” Gary was stunned. “There were some newcomers to our group who thought it would be funny to pelt vegans with meat. I think you’d like to know they were kicked out and told not to come back.”
“Um, thanks. We appreciate that.”
“Well, that’s all we wanted to say. Have a good rest of your walk and we’ll see you next week!”
“Okay. See you around.”

“Huh,” thought Gary, “maybe those carnivores aren’t as bad as I thought.” But then he remembered they’re carnivores, shivered in disgust, and continued his walk.

So, where the heck did THAT come from? Well, when I first heard the prompt, I was a little confused. A crowd rounds a corner, headed for Gary’s group and he thinks he’s picked a bad day for a walk. Walking in a group didn’t seem to make sense, but then I thought about the groups who get together every Tuesday night in Gardendale to walk/jog/run together and thought, “What if?”

This should hopefully go without saying, but, to my knowledge, this has not actually happened. Ever. At least not in Gardendale. If it’s happened somewhere else, it’s purely coincidence. I also don’t condone pelting vegans (or anyone, for that matter) with chicken wings (or any other meat). That’s just rude.

Renew a Right Spirit

Posted by Elizabeth

psalm 51-10

…and renew a right spirit within me. That’s the part that hit me earlier today. After a series of little setbacks and misunderstandings, I allowed my mood to deteriorate to the point that I felt somewhat hopeless. No matter what I did, it was wrong so why do anything? Just let me escape. But there’s nowhere to escape to. And really… a couple of set backs and suddenly “everything I do is wrong”? Really, Elizabeth?

It’s an annoying rabbit hole I tend to go down and coming out isn’t always easy. Taking a second (or two or ten) to consider my blessings and praying for God to renew a right spirit within me, I believe, will help, but I fight even that. It’s like part of me knows what I need to do to get out, but another part of me just doesn’t want to fool with it. Just leave me alone and let me stay here and wallow in my self-pity. But I don’t wanna. So I’m not gonna. And, oh yeah, I won’t do it on my own. I can’t do it on my own, so I will take some time to think about the ways in which I’m blessed and I will pray for God to renew a right spirit within me. Amen and Amen.