The Leibster Award – Discover New Blogs!

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Hey blogosphere!

Invisiliz was kind enough to nominate me for The Leibster Award! See the original post here and check out the Invisible Blog for a great read! Thanks so much for the nomination! The purpose of this one is to highlight great blogs with less than 200 followers. These people deserve recognition, so let’s give it to ’em!

Also, thank you to To The Moon and Back for nominating me for another Versatile Blogger Award. Check her out here for a great read. I felt so very loved this weekend!

The rules:

1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.  THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH!

2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.  

3. Nominate 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.  

4. Display the Liebster Award logo.  

 

Let’s begin, shall we?

11 Me Things:

1. I have miniature schnauzers. They look like over-sized rodents (see Princess Bride for a visual) and they like to bark/bite, but goodness if I don’t love them.

2. I am very mistrustful of cats… That’s probably internet blasphemy, but cat gifs don’t do it for me.

3. I have brown eyes.

4. I live in Scotland.

5. I’m from New Hampshire and I’m very proud. RIP Man in the Mountain, always.

6. I like to refer to children as pre-people, because that’s what they are.

7. I have trouble coming up with 11 factoids about myself, for some reason…

8. I drink a lot of Tennents and red wine. Yes, I know–Tennents is terrible. But it’s cheap, so all good here.

9. I have a tattoo that refers to an old song called Blue Bird of Happiness. The song is lovely and a nice reminder to be happy where you’re at. See it here.

10.  I don’t understand the Justin Beiber thing. Never got it. Really puzzling to me.

11. I believe wholeheartedly in the theory that people emit ‘vibes’ (or auras, or essences-whatever diction you prefer) and some people are particularly good at reading them. Someday I’ll do a post on it.

Questions:

  1. If you could create your own planet, what would it look like? The inside of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
  2. Who or what inspired you to become a writer? Only thing I was good at and liked doing. 
  3. If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your time? Travel. Eat. Drink. Play. Buy stuff. Start my own company. Save the world. Etc.
  4. Name a favorite piece of music and why. Tough one… I’m really eclectic. I got no one favorite thing. I think Billy Joel’s And So it Goes is a perfect song, as is Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. 
  5. Which is a worse writerly curse: to not have enough ideas to write or to not have enough time to write. Not enough time. That’s just torture.
  6. What is your biggest regret? Regrets are a waste of time.
  7. What is your biggest accomplishment? Surviving St Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Maybe not my biggest accomplishment, but certainly the most recent.
  8. Do you like flying on planes? Love it.
  9. Which condiment would you take to a deserted island and why. Honey Mustard. YUM.
  10. If a giant pile of snow appeared in front of you, what would you do with it? SNOW FORT/EPIC SNOWBALL FIGHT.
  11. What’s something you would collectively change about humanity? Insecurity. I personally think it’s the root of most of our problems.

New Questions:

1. Apples or oranges?

2. Dogs or cats?

3. Coke or pepsi?

4. Psych or The Mentalist?

5. Mac or PC?

6. If you were to have your ashes scattered post-death, where would you like to be scattered?

7. If you could miniaturize one person, real or imaginary, and carry them around in your pocket–who would that person be?

8. Floss before or after brushing your teeth?

9. If you could do one thing with no consequences, what would it be?

10. Ever watch Workaholics? If not, you should.

11. What’s your life motto?

And finally, the blogs I think deserve a heck of a lot of recognition. Read them. They’re pretty great! Sorry if some of y’all have more than 200 followers. It’s hard to tell if it isn’t posted… Also sorry if anyone’s been nominated before. You’re extra loved!

1. http://haleydhiggins.wordpress.com/

2. http://tylerpedersen02.wordpress.com/

3. http://ripcreativity.com/

4. http://melisakmartin.wordpress.com/ more than 200 followers, but a great blog all the same!

5. http://joeltipple.wordpress.com/ also more than 200, but a favorite of mine… so, I’m just going to abandon the rules from here on out.

6. http://ekantavasi.wordpress.com/

7. http://whorlstrom.wordpress.com/

8. http://jrosenberry1.wordpress.com/

9. http://palestinerose.wordpress.com/

10. http://words4jp.wordpress.com/

11. http://mythoughtsonapage.com/

That’s all folks! Thanks so much for reading/sharing/being. Happy Monday!

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To all those high brows: GET YOUR BROWS BACK WHERE THEY BELONG

Recently I had a friend go on a rant against blogging as some kind of mutation of the writing art form. I disagreed. Quite strongly. Blogging gives a platform to share, be inspired, and collaborate. You don’t need a degree to produce something incredible. You don’t need to be published to be validated. And you certainly don’t need to spell correctly to say what you want to say. The whole situation reminded me how much I dislike high brow literary folk. So, here’s a little satire. My not-so-passive aggressive response. Enjoy.

High Brow Buffoons

Tommy Tundra liked Sally Sandra, but alliteration felt out of place off the page and he couldn’t quite convince himself it wasn’t all a faze—a healthy experiment with slant rhyme and unmetered timing.

So he called a guy. You know the guy. The one with the answers and a preference for endings that fit the sentence. The one know knows where semicolons go, unlike the rest of us; unlikable, but useful.

The guy answered the phone because he’s always home, gazing out windows and rubbing his chin stubble, troubled. He has a lot on his mind because he puts a lot of stuff there.

So, Tommy asked the guy if it was alright to like something trite and the guy took the query seriously, as he was taught to do in coffee shops and independent movies.

“I’ll get back to you,” he said. Keep them in anticipation, waiting and patient so the belated response is treasured, measured, and taken without a spoon full of sugar or any such helpful balance. The guy had many talents, mostly dicking around.

Tommy Tundra waited and Sally Sandra faded into cremated pages, killed darlings floating on the waves.

And then the guy called Tommy.

“I’ve considered your query most seriously,” he commenced, dancing the tip of his tongue on the receiver, hoping to be put on speaker and heard louder, farther, everywhere.

“And?” Tommy was no wordsmith, but a regular man trying to understand the intricacies of diction and alliteration and love, as if the three were one.

“And, no.” The guy replied. “Your brow is too low, Tommy. Swing ‘em up high and choose someone more exotic.” Toxic, dialect didn’t die but got appropriated into being insightful.

“Alright.”

And that was that. Tommy moved on and Sally never knew she was a muse for a day, or two. She grew her auburn hair long and started smoking cowboy killers while Tommy learned to stare out windows and rub his chin stubble, troubled and faking it until the end.

Isn’t it sad to think they were soul mates?

Humanity may, in fact, be doomed.

Sex and Livestock: A Short Story

Image

I went to school in Baltimore and it’s a very strange city. It’s hard to describe, really. I’ve been away for a while, so here’s a very short something/nothing from my Baltimore days. More unkilled darlings.

We’re drunk enough to think it’s the end of the world. Run around like chickens with our balls cut off. Jack hollers something about circumcision. Wrong operation, but now he’s committed. Goes for the only sharp knife I own, but Dan’s quicker. Throws the blade out the window and doesn’t look to see if it skewered anybody down there. Jack laughs and they argue about genitalia. Boys and their dicks. I never quite got it, myself.

The rum’s gone. We didn’t have rum, but we still lament. The rum’s come to represent the handle of vodka we killed. Drew warrior lines under our eyes with my red lipstick and slaughtered that nail polish remover. And now we’re drunk enough to think we need more. Drunk enough to think the bottom of the bottle is the end of the world. We’re making our own Mayan calender tonight, and it’s run on the consumption of alcohol. We’re more realistic than those fire-dancers. We get it.

We get it in our heads that going out’s a good idea. Never mind the hour or the rain. This is the decent part of town, anyhow. We want to breathe God’s air before the apocalypse. Smell the heavy, stagnant odor of Baltimore. A little of yesteryear’s metallic fragrance with the hint of homeless men’s pee. Great stuff. We want to scrape our knuckles on the formstone rowhouses. But mostly, we want to find a liquor store and reload.

We stumble down eight flights of steps. We find that friends who stumble together, fall together. Warrior wounds, we say. Jack’s got a winner. Blood oozes out a slash above his right eyebrow. He puffs out his chest and struts. Dan pushes him and we race out of the building.

We never get to a liquor store, obviously. Too young and stupid. Jack says the metal benches are sparkling in the streetlamp light and lies down. He wants to shine, he says. Dan doesn’t pay him much attention. He always let Jack have the spotlight.

I see headlights in the distance. I’m not a smell-the-roses kind of girl, but tonight I’m feeling philosophical. Blame it on the alcohol, or the indie movies, or maybe just my instinct of stupid curiosity, but I want to get it. I want to dance with fire.

So I slip my shoes off. The road is wet and I feel the dirt crumble under my soles. The headlights are twirling towards me fast. I stop breathing for a moment. Dan says something about getting out of the way. Even Jack chimes in with a look out, or what the fuck! Noise. They don’t understand. The rum’s gone.

I close my eyes. My body tenses. More stupid instinct. My eyelids turn orange before I go down. Slam my head on the pavement and lose the air in my lungs. A great pressure all over. I think it’s happened. The apocalypse. The rapture. Whatever. But my eyes open and Dan’s on top of me, and not the way he wants to be. His warpaint has smudged, deranged clown style. Jack runs over and he pulls us both off the road. I see taillights dim into the distance.

One of them demands an explanation. I ask why the chicken crossed the road. They don’t know. Of course they don’t know.

“Because his balls were cut off!”

They call me a drunk idiot and we get the hell home. Keep on living, and such. Reload the alcohol cabinet and the boys keep comparing dick sizes until I pick one of them. Sex and livestock: The foundation of an adventure. It’s always the same story with these types.

Breaking Up: A Song

For anyone who dated someone for flannel, not the personality–here’s a wee poem. Ah, high school. We’ve grown up, no?

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We break up.

We break down.

We smash shit on the ground,

talk like we’ve been around

but we’ve always walked in line.

We act rash.

We talk smack.

‘Bitch why you do me like that?’

I never wanted to hurt you

but I’ll still dig deeper.

I’m sorry I’m not articulate

I hope you choke

on how you hate me for it.

And I’m sorry I’m the stuttering type.

Well, hey you spouting poetic prose, how’s this one for a line?

Fuck you.

I hate you.

You hate me.

And we’re okay, maybe.

I hope you drown and die

but I’m not sure why.

You’ve got friends.

I’ve got mine.

They think that we are both fine.

We can turn on the shine

when we don’t want to be seen.

I’m sorry I’m not articulate

but I hope you choke on how you hate me for it.

And I’m sorry I’m the stuttering type.

Well, hey you spouting poetic prose, how’s this one for a line?

Fuck you.

I wanted meaning

but I found demeaning phrases.

Wasted my youth in adolescent phases.

You were a fad

clad in that backwards hat.

You talked like that was that

in your trendy flannel plaid.

Well now, that trend’s gone my friend

along with your happy ending.

If there’s anything left defending

throw up your barriers.

You’re not what I thought you were.

So, again.

Fuck you.

The Road: A Short Story

Here’s an oldie I wrote after watching La Strada. Strange place for inspiration, but we take it where we get it, no?

The Road

“So, what was she on about?”

“Some of that female bullshit. She goes, ‘You can’t tell me what to do. I’m like the wind.’” Don pulls on his collar. “So I go, ‘Alright bitch, you’re a fuckin’ tornado. So, why don’t you make like the wind and blow me.’”

They all laugh. One asks, “What’d she do?”

“Bitch got on her knees.” The men enter an uproar. Knee slapping. Gasping. Snorting up mucus in the back of their throats and swallowing it down into their stomachs. The lights flicker.

“Generator’s strugglin’.” Don wipes at the brown, crusty stubble on his chin, still smiling. “Lizzie! Lizzie, get down here!”

I come when I’m called.

“Lizzie, go out and check the gages, huh?” He puts it like a question, but it isn’t. The men at the poker table eye me.

“There’s a storm on,” I say. There’s a fucking nor’easter on, but I don’t make it a dramatic thing.

“What’d you say, girl?”

“Nothin’.” It’s a show, but I’ve never been one to heckle. I play subservience the way men play poker. A little luck and a blank face go a long way.

I want to be an actress. Not one of those life insurance salesmen. I’m going to act on stages that aren’t Don’s basement poker game. I’m going to say the words of Shakespeare and whoever else is great, and I’m going to move people. To tears, to laughter, to the edges of their fancy, red velvet seats. And when I’ve moved enough people, I will never have to check the gages on a generator again. And I’ll have Don killed some terribly bloody way. The kind of way that would make the nine o’clock news, if he was somebody worth caring about.

The men in the basement stay all night, smoking cigars and other things and talking about attractive gusts that have blown their ways. I sit at the top of the stairs and listen. By the time the sun rises behind the hazy storm clouds, they’re all down, drowning in their own drool. I get sick thinking on it.

We get thirteen channels. When I was fourteen, I thought Don’s shitty twelve inch was magic. I would sit at the kitchen table for hours watching the fuzzy picture, face so close to the monitor I could feel the airwaves in the back of my skull. I watched talk shows and sitcoms and soap operas and even commercials. Now, the thought of life insurance jingles makes me want to puke. I’m disenchanted with the thing. If Don ever dies, I’ll take a hatchet to it. Really make sparks fly.

I flick the thing on anyway. The only channel worth my time is TCM. Black and white beauty. Soft hues and fat little men who squeak after sweet talking ladies. The kind of woman that only existed before tv went color. When I’m on the stage, I’ll curl my hair and I’ll wear gloves and I’ll be in all black and white. I’ll be a lady, true and proper. I doze off dreaming it, head in my hands on the table.

I wake up cold. Shivering. The tv’s gone static on me. I turn it off. My hands are pale and cracked and I don’t feel quite right. Out the window, I see the snow has stopped, but hell if it doesn’t feel like the arctic in the house. I stand up stiffly and my head feels heavy.

I fetch firewood and build a teepee, just like Don taught me. I listen for the men, but they must still be down. It’s almost cozy, but I’m feeling pains like I’m starving. There’s some squirrel meat almost gone rotten in the fridge, but Don doesn’t like me touching the food. I fall back asleep. Maybe it’s the cold or just god willing, but I do it.

I wake up in the middle of the night, fireplace dead and blackened. I’m still shivering and my brain is on fire. I tip toe to the stairs and crack open the door, much heavier than it should be. That’s when I hear it. Scratching and shuffling. A hushed gurgle. Sounds I take for waking, but aren’t quite right.

I’m not well. I was born broken, my Momma said. Skinny, weak, with bad breathing and a bad face. I was meant for the factory, or maybe just tied up in the basement. Louisa used to say I was lucky I’d die before they made me work. Lucky I’d die first. She was wrong, of course. Louisa died in the factory fire when I was twelve and Momma cried for a month. We kids got used to going hungry until Don the Medicine Man rode through town. Momma said I was the luckiest girl in the world, him taking me on as ugly as I am. But I know what Louisa would have said. She would have told me to run, because he was just keeping me alive. And hell if that wasn’t just terrible.

Sure I hate it all, but as I take that first step down the stairs, I get to thinking I don’t want to die. I feel that old fever burning through and I can’t get enough air to cool it, as cold as I am. I swallow down the urge to faint and hear a cry. Every step beats into my lungs. There’s laughter, but not the good kind. Mute, like nothing’s funny at all.

It’s dark, black. The lights are out and my eyes water with smoke. I get down enough on the stairs and see three silhouetted figures, red tipped cigars burning in their mouths. And there tied to the table is another figure, a bright lamp shining right on him while the vultures circle round. I reach the bottom step and stop. Maybe I can’t move, maybe I don’t want to. I fall. They see that and suddenly they’re towering over me.

“What’s this?” one grumbles.

“It’s that girl he keeps,” another answers. Their faces blur a thousand miles above me.

“A man like that got no business keeping a thing like this.”

“What we gonna do with her?”

“She looks like she ain’t been fed for days.”

“It wouldn’t be no surprise.”

“Hey, girl,” the biggest one squats down next to me and brushes the hair off my forehead. “Damn, she’s burning up!”
“What we gonna do with her?”

The biggest one picks me up in his arms and walks me to the poker table. I don’t want to see, but all I can manage is a whimper. Helpless. Don’s strapped down, bleeding into the playing cards and barely breathing. Face, a swirl of blue and red bright under the harsh lamp. Helpless.

“Don, what business you got with a thing like this?” The biggest ones asks. Don gurgles and coughs up blood. “Well go on and answer, man.”

“She my wife.” Don doesn’t so much talk as mumble.

“Young taste.”

“Leave her lone. She belongs to me.”

“Oh, is that right?” He lies me on the table next to Don and I feel blood, still warm, soak into my clothes. “That right, girl?”

“Yessir,” I whisper.

“She belongs to me. I paid for her fair.” Don says.

“How much he pay?” The other men are around now. One’s shaking his head, like he don’t quite understand what he’s seeing. I don’t like him for that. They’re the ones who put us here.

Don answers. “Five hundred dollars.” He swallows down blood. “All fair.”

“Do you think that’s fair, kid?” The biggest one looks at me and I realize he’s got these blue eyes, almost nice.

“She’s sick. Lemme up to fix her,” Don says, a little stronger. “She ain’t right. She needs her medicine. Look at her.”

“Oh, I’m looking, Don.” He is looking, but I can’t tell if I like the way he’s doing it. “You know what I see?”

“You lay one fucking hand on her and I swear it, I’ll–” Don coughs and blood comes out of his mouth. All the men shuffle uneasy, except the biggest one. He just keeps looking.

“Come off it. I’m not sick as you is.” And now he’s looking at Don, like he’s got a bad taste on his tongue. He’s looking at Don like he wants to kill him, and just like that I don’t want him to. Because Don’s good to me, when nobody’s watching. Don kept me alive, even if death’s better. Don paid his five hundred dollars, all fair.

“Please leave us lone,” I whisper. “We ain’t done nothing.”

“Would you look at that! Girl’s gone and stuck her head out for you, Don. I suppose we all have some sort of purpose in life.” The biggest one laughs a little. “But girl, this man’s done me wrong. And a when a man does another man wrong, he’s got to pay. Don’t that sound all fair?”

“Please leave him lone.” I can’t breathe. The yellow light’s shining right into my eyes and it stings.

“Joe, maybe we should let him fix the kid?” One of the men says. Joe doesn’t move, just keeps staring down into us.

“You ain’t a good man, Don. And if you ever try to take money from me or my kin again, I’ll skin you alive.” He leans down, casting a shadow. “Feed her something.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out twenty dollars. Stuffs the money in my hand and the other men slash the ropes holding Don down. They walk up the stairs, leave, and I never see them again. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to really dying, and I don’t know just how lucky I am.

I want to be an actress. Someday I’ll leave this house out in the woods and go somewhere away from the snow. Maybe I’ll find Mamma and the kids, but probably not. They got their five hundred dollars out of me, all fair.

Don took Joe’s money and put it toward a new poker table. Fixed me right with a lot of herbs and never said that I saved his life. He isn’t one for thank you. That’s alright by me. I know my place. We all need someone to love and be loved by. I got Don, and maybe it isn’t black and white, but I suppose it’s real. I’m like that woman from his story. Never mind that she probably isn’t real. I’m like the wind, just passing through the cracks and freezing. And someday the wind will stop blowing. Be it luck or because God’s fair, the wind got to stop blowing.

The Very Inspirational Blogger Award: Very Appreciated

Fun! Khaula Naxir was kind enough to nominate me for a Very Inspiration Blogger Award which is, needless to say, very cool! Check out My Invincible Spirit for a great read.

very-inspirational-blogger

So, it’s been a few days. To those who have been so kind to follow developments in my life, I have not heard back from my estranged father after sending the email (see the email I didn’t send here and the email I did send here). But alas, I have blogging. And St. Patrick’s Day. In Galway, Ireland. Things aren’t looking so bad at all. And this award is certainly fun and exciting!

The Rules:

Display the award logo.
1. Link back to the person who nominated you. CHECK
2. State 7 things about yourself. if I must…
3. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them. DEFINITELY!

Onto 7 things about me:

1. I have curly hair. At the moment, it’s annoying. Every once in a blue moon, it’s lovely. Blue moons are very rare.

2. I’m addicted to House of Cards. Who isn’t?

3. I don’t like ketchup.

4. Honey mustard is possibly the best condiment in the world. (Not really about me, but relevant to everyone who lives near a grocery store that sells honey mustard).

5. My dream job is writing for John Stewart. I would settle for marrying for him

6. I think The Soup is a wholly under-appreciated television program.

7. I am angry with the hipsters for claiming Kurt Vonnegut. Now I feel stereotyped when I say he is my idol. It’s just not fair. How dare they.

And now the fun part! Bloggers I like! Most of these will be fiction writers who, in my humble opinion, are very talented and deserve recognition. Give them a try. They’re mostly people I’ve chatted with in some form or another. Good peoples. For sure.

1. http://melisakmartin.wordpress.com/

2. http://mythoughtsonapage.com/

3. http://fwordsblog.wordpress.com/

4. http://warninghugeass.wordpress.com/

5. http://cdmcdonald.com/

6. http://lambskinny.wordpress.com/

7. http://chasingwildgeese.com/

8. http://bloggersupportgroup.wordpress.com/

9. http://poemsandpeople.wordpress.com/

10. http://vikingbeard.wordpress.com/

11. http://seedofbilly.wordpress.com/

12. http://joeltipple.wordpress.com/

13. http://postcardfiction.com/

14. http://shrinksarentcheap.wordpress.com/

15. http://crankycaregiver.wordpress.com/

Thanks for everything, blogosphere. Have a happy St. Paddys day!

Mush: A Short Story

I’ve recently posted some pretty heavy stuff from my life and I’m in danger of making my blog a bit of a bummer. So, here’s a cutesy little piece about killing bugs to lighten the mood. Thanks to everyone who’s been so supportive. This blogosphere is pretty neat stuff…

 

MUSH

 

I’m bringin’ home my baby bumblebee. Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?”

“Whatcha doin’?”

Ouch, it stung me!

“Whatcha singin’?”

I’m squishin’ up my baby bumblebee. Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?”

“Whatcha got?”

“It’s dead!” She laughs. Her cheeks redden.

“What’s dead?”

“The buuuuug.” She draws out the word, spraying saliva into the air. 

“I like it.” 

“You want it?”

“Are you sure it’s dead?”

“Uh huh.”

“Ok.”

The bug has become putty in her palm. She uses her finger to slide the mush onto Jeremy’s hand. 

“It’s slimy.” He giggles.

“And fuzzy!” 

They giggle together, pressing the mush between their fingers. 

“It’s all over me!” He lifts his hand toward the sun.

“It feels like jello.”

“Hmm.”

They stand for a moment, starring at the mush.

He raises his hand to his lips. Her eyes widen. His lips part. She gasps. His tongue extends out. Her mouth opens. A breeze blows. Tongue touches mush. 

“It don’t taste like jello!”

Laughter echoes through the playground. The boy’s face contorts. He spits and giggles. She falls onto the pavement. They can’t stop laughing. 

He stops laughing and looks into her eyes. She stops laughing, too. 

“I like mush,” he says.

“Me, too! I like dead bugs, too.”

“I kinda like something else, too.” He shuffles his feet, kicking up dust clouds.

“Whatcha like?”

“I don’t wanna say.”

“Can we smush it?” 

“Naw. We can’t smush it.”

She looks down and rubs her hand against the pavement, wiping off the mush. 

“Oh. I like to smush things.”

He sits down. She keeps wiping her hand. He stares at his mush.

“I like somethin’ with gold hair.”

“Gold hair?”

“Uh huh. That’s what my mom says it has. Gold hair.”

“Gold hair?”

“Uh huh.” She looks up.

“You wanna know what I like?”

“You sure you can’t smush it?”

“No!” He looks away. “I don’t wanna smush it!”

“Why not?”

“I don’t wanna kill it!”

“Well that’s no fun!”

“It’s lots of fun!”

“It don’t sound fun to me.”

“You don’t know nothin’!”

“Do to!”

“Do not!”

“Do to!”
“Well, I don’t like it no more, so there!”

“Fine!”

“Fine!”

He gets up and walks toward the school. A line has formed. He joins it. The bell rings. She jumps up and follows. Everyone goes inside. He doesn’t wash his hand for days. 

The Email I DID Send to my Estranged Father: Yikes

As some of you know, I’ve embarked on a rather strange journey reuniting with my estranged father, about which I have numerous reservations. Last week, I wrote a very long and intense letter explaining exactly how I felt and, in true 21st century form, I put it on the internet instead of showing my family and friends. (see it here). I was overwhelmed by the kind words and advice you all poured in and it really helped. A lot. In the end, I considered sending him the long letter, but decided not to. It’s just not my style. I’m not an overtly emotional person. I don’t often explain my feelings. While it may be necessary in this case, and I may regret sending the below email later today when it sinks in, this seemed like the better option. A little tongue and cheek is more my way. So, in the interest of honesty, that’s what I went with.
 
Thank you to everyone who’s be so nice to me doing this. I was very hesitant about blogging in general, let alone something so private. But, I’ve found this whole process really releasing. Being able to share through anonymity has been a gratifying experience. So, blogosphere, thanks for listening. 
 
 
 
My email:
 
 
Hi.
 
I know it’s been a while. So, here’s the deal:
 
I’m really busy and I have a lot going on. I’m also generally terrible about long distance communications. I hope you understand that it’s not because I’m angry or upset with you (at least, no more than I was… sorry, I have to at least give yousome shit).
 
I wrote a very long letter to you last week explaining exactly how I feel/don’t feel, but I read it over this morning and it’s a whole lot of words and I’m a minimalist. So, I’m going to summarize.
 
It’s been a really really long time since we had our little estrangement. And as much as it was difficult and I struggled with it, I struggled through it. I’ve grown up and constructed an entire life that is not based on having a father. I got used to the idea that I may never see you again and—as much as I always wanted to—that I may never see my sisters again. It’s not that I prefer that scenario. It just seemed the most likely case. I have an entire life that you’re not a part of. I have my own problems. I’m a real, whole person.
 
When you were into this whole reuniting deal, I wasn’t really shocked or upset, but more apathetic. I know you’re not a bad person. I remember you fondly, actually. I know you’re not a bad person, but you were bad to me. And that should mean something. What it means for our future, I don’t know.
 
As a side note, I’m sure you’d like to justify yourself. Don’t. I’m not interested. It’s not about what happened. If we go forward, we go forward. Not back.
 
But I’m hesitant. I hate to put it in these terms, but I’m not sure what you’re bringing to my life other than an obligatory, awkward relationship. We’re never going to be the way we used to. There’s always going to be hesitation, tiptoeing. There is the possibility that we could make something new and great, but I’m not sure if that’s how this is going to play out.
 
But, I could be convinced. If you really want to know me–not just because I’m your estranged daughter, but because I’m someone worth knowing–and you can come up with reasons for that, shoot for goal. But know that I want something meaningful. I don’t want to exchange small talk via email. I do small talk in the office. It doesn’t have to be heavy. It doesn’t have to be emotional–in fact, I would hate that. But I need something meaningful to make this work. 
 
Sorry this ended up being longer than I intended. If you don’t write back, I understand. I know I’m not making this easy for you, but can you blame me? It isn’t that I don’t trust you–please don’t think this is coming from anger or hurt or any of that. It’s just that, like I said, I have this life of mine and it’s already complicated. I’m not sure what the point of this is correspondence, other than to be able to say that I speak to my father from time to time. And I don’t do things just for the sake of doing them. I’m not like that.
 
But hey, I have a lot friends with great relationships with their fathers. And they seem to think it’s a good deal…
 
Emily
 
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And the email he sent me, to which the above is a response:
 
 

Subject: hi

Hi Emily

 
   Haven’t heard from you in quite some time. Hope all is well.
 
   I guess my photo was too much a shock….. It is to me too.
 
   take care and always thinking about you
 
  luv dad

A letter I won’t send to my estranged father: Real Life

This isn’t fiction. It isn’t a short story. It’s part of that honesty thing a few commendable people do on the internet. I know it’s my 3rd post today, but I’m getting more and more views  and I’m feeling a sense of community in this strange, modern blogosphere universe. I have my own community in the third dimension–I have fabulous family and friends, but they don’t understand. Maybe one of you strangers out there on your laptops and tablets will. I think it’s one of those situations you can’t understand unless you’re stuck living it…

 

When I was twelve and my father dramatically exited my life, my mother recommended I write him letters. Sure, he would never read them. I had no address, even if I did get up the courage. But maybe that was point—to write freely without any repercussions. I could say exactly what I needed to and wanted to, for me and only me. I got myself some of that elusive ‘closure’ through one-sided conversations with the keyboard of my desktop computer. And I grew up. And my life changed. And I got my own problems. And he wasn’t really one of them anymore. I stopped caring enough to write him letters years ago.

 

And now, for whatever reason, he’s back. It’s not letters I’m writing anymore. It’s emails. And it’s not a keyboard I’m chatting with. It’s him—the real him. And the irony is that after all these years of practically writing dissertations on his flawed character, I don’t know a thing about him. And I don’t really want to.

 

So, this is the email to my father I won’t send. This is the email I want to send. Soon I’ll post the email I do send. After I send it. If I send it. If you can relate to this, please comment. I’ve never shared real feelings about my father before. I haven’t wanted to in years. Blogging seems like a good way to do this. Strangers in the mist, coming together under topic headings: humor, creative writing, news, estranged fathers, etc. If I can’t send it to him, at least someone will understand. And even if no one reads it, I’ll sleep better knowing I did something. Anything.

 

 

 

Dear [I still don’t know what to call him],

 

I’m sorry I haven’t emailed you back in a month. My life has been complicated recently. My dog died and my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. My boyfriend and I also broke up, but I wasn’t bent out of shape or anything. I miss his car more than I miss him.

 

But those are just excuses, so I feel that I owe you a real explanation. Or, I guess, I want to give you a real explanation. My friends say I don’t owe you anything, but I don’t buy that. You’re not a bad person. It’s taken me ten years to acknowledge it, but I always knew. Most fathers who abandon their kids aren’t. Not really. You never set out to be that guy. I know that. Just a bunch of unforeseeable circumstances and situations that amount to a bunch of unforgiveable excuses. But your motivations don’t change anything. You aren’t a bad person, but you were bad to me. And that should mean something.

 

When we first talked, I told you I was open to this. And I meant it. I’ve tried to explain my emotions to friends to no success. It’s been some ten years since we stopped talking and I was very young at the time. Sure, it changed me. I grew up a little faster. I cried a lot more. I went from having two families to one and not a day has gone by that I didn’t miss my sisters, who were never ‘half’ or ‘step’ as much as ‘mine.’

 

But still. Ten years is a long time, even longer for a teenager. I dedicated a lot of time to obsessing over it all. Trying to figure why everyone did what they did. How it all happened. I know you have your opinions and I’m sure you’d love to justify yourself. Don’t bother. It’s irrelevant now.

 

Part of my obsession was imaging how I’d react if I ever saw you again. I knew every scenario. Planned for everything you would say. Sometimes I would publically shame you. Sometimes we’d end up best friends, you walking me down the aisle at my wedding. Sometimes I would act aloof, show you just how much I overcame the obstacles you put in my childhood. And then, one day, I came to the realization I might never see you again. I might have these conversations with your gravestone. And after more time, I was okay with that. Even more time passed. I grew up. And I stopped thinking about you at all.

 

The day my grandparents called me was very emotional. I was still in high school and immature. I didn’t know why your parents, who had stopped speaking to me on your request, were trying to revive such a painful relationship. But my mother convinced me it was the right thing to do. They seemed like they were dying, anyhow. I felt obligated. That sounds harsh, but it’s true.

 

Five years into a copy and paste relationship with them, they handed me a cell phone with you on the other end. The unexpected moment came and an unexpected emotion came with it—apathy. I felt nothing. No anger. No fear. No pain. You were a stranger. Disconnected from whatever residual emotions I feel for my adolescent experience.

 

I never understood the inclination for an abandoned child not to speak with a relative later in life. Not really. I know people like this. Estranged parents call, half siblings send messages on facebook, a grandparents shows up at the door. I know people who have sent their relatives packing and I thought I understood it. I thought it was like the Lifetime movies: all sappy emotion and soggy tears. I felt superior to those people. Of course I could handle my father reentering my life. I’d give him shit, obviously, but I made my own closure. No sappy emotion or soggy tears here.

 

But I was wrong. It’s not a Lifetime movie at all. The orchestra doesn’t swell and the rain doesn’t pour. I did make my own closure. I made it years ago through telling myself over and over again I could do it without. And then I did do it without you. And it stopped being that I did it without you. It was just that I did it.

 

I also always said I’d let you back in my life in the hopes of seeing my sisters again. That was always the goal. They were the true innocents in it all, too young to even know that I wasn’t at Hogwarts. I’m sure one day they grew old enough to ask what really happened to me. I’m unsure if I want to know what you told them.

 

Is that my goal now? Maybe. But they’ve grown up too. They have lives, too. And what should I tell them when they ask why I haven’t been in their lives? I don’t want them to hate you. I really don’t. I spent too much of my life hating you and it’s exhausting, unsustainable. But how do I explain that their father cut their sister out of their lives because their mother believed their sister inherited the evil eye from their sister’s mother? And that she was trying to blow them up with her voodoo magic? That’s too macabre for most adults, let alone teenagers. How do they reconcile loving you and loving me? If it’s a choice between the two, I honestly wish them their parents’ love first. I don’t want them to have ‘daddy issues.’ Daddy issues suck.

 

So, now. I’ve made my closure. I would love to see my sisters, but not at the expense of their overall familial stability. And you—you’re a stranger. A ghost from a haunted past I don’t revisit often, except to smile and acknowledge as ‘conquered.’ And you want to resurrect that ghost. To meld the images in my mind with a solid person who lives and breathes and responds to my emails. My life is complicated. I’m happy my life is complicated. I want my own problems. I want to cry because the boy I like didn’t text me back. I’m trying to make my own life, separate from the problems imposed on me by a failed parent. I’m not angry with you. I’m not hurt by you. I just don’t want anything from you. At all. Truly.

 

This isn’t how I want to feel. Maybe the coping mechanisms I developed were forms of detachment and I’m going about this all wrong. If I could make myself care, I would. I’m sure it would be nice to have a father. I remember when we were close. You were great. I look at my twenty-something year old friends’ relationships with their fathers and I think, that looks awesome! I wouldn’t mind having that. But realistically we wouldn’t have that. It will always be a little strained. You’ll always be tiptoeing around me, making up for lost time. I’ll always feel detached, even if I become fond of you. And I don’t want more obligatory relationships in my life. I want meaningful ones. As harsh as it is, you don’t mean enough to me anymore. In any capacity.

 

I could be convinced otherwise. I’m a chronic flip-flopper. If you send me reasons to keep this up, I will. Call me pessimistic, but I think you’ll come up short. This isn’t a Lifetime movie. This is life. This is me, your little girl grown up. I’ve done damn well for myself, but I’m not a great person. I’m just normal. And considering everything I dealt with, that’s one hell of a triumph. I’m sorry if I’m not what you expected. I’m not what I expected either. All this still seems as unreal as it was when I was twelve years old wondering why it happened to me. Self-pity. Dangerous stuff. I try to avoid it.

 

Write me back. Don’t write me back. I guess it doesn’t matter in the long run. I want to be honest. I want to tell you what I really think and feel, although I’m not really sure myself. Take it or leave it, but the fact is that you’re going to have to convince me that you’re worth the trouble. Good luck and, if you feel so inclined, give my sisters a secret kiss for me? At least I could console myself with that.

 

Sincerely,

Emily

your daughter, all grown up

 

Image 

Maturity: A Poem About Pee

Image

I didn’t have friends until I was older

due, in part, to a particular odor

that’s been known to be indicative 

of “accidents.” But then the year 

when I turned twelve, I resolved to 

stop pissing myself and I learned 

that if I squirmed and squeezed

I could hold in pee.

 

And so I halted that blissful piss

and rid my legs of stickiness

and all that followed now is:

 

Me. 

 

Pee-free.

 

But don’t drown in the imagery.

Take the pee metaphorically.

For beyond the sophomoric buffoonery 

there is purpose

and it doesn’t stink. 

 

When I was twelve I stopped pissing myself

but along with suppressing the pee

I learned to squirm and squeeze and hold in Me.

And I’ve been shitting myself ever since.