W101.8 – Oh to be a Day Behind

I find it frustrating that I ended up a day behind on the Writing 101 schooling but life happens and priorities shift.   To write something 100% adverb free is the theme of day 8 (Yesterday, for those keeping track) and it makes me debate if that’s the best way to go.  I understand they’re trying to make us think outside the box and already I’ve learned a lot about my writing and what needs improvement (Dialog for one…) but when it comes to adverbs, it seems to me that it’s a choice between an adverb or a simile.

“The Rain fell softly against the tin roof” or “The rain fell like silk curtain” … or something… okay not my best reference but I don’t have a tin roof, I live in an apartment.  Gimme a break.

That being said.  Any time I’ve been skeptical of Writing 101, I’ve come out on the other end of writing with the stubborn side of me quashed and embarrassed that I doubted something I had no idea about.

 


The Diva in the Dive

She walked through the doors and into the putrid cloud of smoke that hung just under the ceiling of the dive bar.  Over dressed and under prepared she coughed and waved as much smoke away from her face as she could.  The few people seated around the door grinned toothy, yellow grins while they eyed up the fresh meat to enter their den.  The walls were painted black and the already dim lighting fought to add any atmosphere that the denizens hadn’t already added through fights, scattered remains of broken chairs and – Is that a blood stain?  she questioned with squinted eyes.  Attention was shifting to the pretty doe eyed doll in the doorway like a ripple in a pond.  Avoiding eye contact she fixed her long hair over her shoulder, a pang of nervous anxiety ran through her as more people looked up from their drinks.  More people turned around in their seats to see what big deal was distracting everyone. Eyes were lighting up somewhere between curiosity and mild amusement but she refused to let the biker cliche’s of tattoo’s and leather to scare her away.  She was on a mission and nothing was going to deter her from her big debut on the stage.

Calm in disposition she straightened her pale yellow sundress and took a deep breath.  Shoulders straight, chest forward, chin up and eyes focused on your goal.  She re-assured herself before walking hard toward the bar, the heels of her flats clapping up the sound of defiance against the cement floor as she stepped over broken glass without ever looking down.  Heads turned as she glided past the dark garbed patrons.  My first audience.  The white poka-dots on her dress flowed with each step she took, creating a hypnotic effect to people who still held interest in the tall and leggy fawn of a girl.  By now most of the drinkers had gone back to their drink and the talkers back to their talk, keeping only their peripheral vision open out of habit more than anything else.

Ceiling fans whirred and wobbled in the thick air above the bar and stage, keeping it free from the bulk of the smoke, much to her delight.  As she entered the clean-er air she took a deep breath and slapped her hand down on the carved wood topped and brass railed bar to get the attention of the old man cleaning his glasses.  His back to entirety of the bar left him oblivious to her entrance and the attention it garnered, his boney shoulders jerked with the clap of her hand on the bar top.  The old man turned a slow turn and looked up, wide eyed, before squinting in a forward learn to get a better look at the girl on the other side.

“Put yer damn glasses on you old koot!” the man shouted beside her before slapping her on the shoulder “Jerry’s a bit old darlin’ not used to seeing pretty young things around these parts”  the man was a giant and his hand as big as her head, she shunted forward with his slap, taking in an unintentional gasp of his alcohol stained breath.

“Thaaaaanks” she trailed off in a sardonic tone

“Hey! Keep your damn meat hooks off her ya freak! Before you break the poor thing in half!”  Another man shoved the first off his bar stool and stood up with an aggressive look on his face.  Clearly unimpressed the giant of a man grabbed the brass rail of the bar and caught himself before falling to his feet.  The brass bar rail shuttered and the wood creaked as he pulled himself forward to stand chest to chest with the pusher man.  An easy foot taller than the pusher the giant growled and pulled his fist back, mumbling under his breath “God damn you”

“ENOUGH!” The pretty young thing slammed her hand down on the bar a second time, louder than the first.  Enough to get the attention of all the drinkers, talkers, and fighters in the bar.  She rounded on the brawlers and raised a fist of her own “This is my FIRST show, you’re my FIRST audience, I will not have some DRUNK, TESTOSTERONE DRIVEN, FOOLS  ruin everything for me before I even get on stage for my first song!”  She pointed at the stage, her face tight and eyes fiery despite their chocolate brown irises.  “Now SIT! both of you!”  Her eyes darted between the men as their faces cherried and their own eyes fell back to their drinks, muttering a quiet apology they returned to their stools as the bar erupted in cheers and raised beers.

Jerry wore a smirk, and his glasses, as he eyed up the woman in her polka-dot sundress.  She adjusted her spaghetti straps back into place over her olive skinned shoulders and shot another evil glare at the two men beside her, checking to make sure they were behaving.  “Awh don’t be so hard on Bill and John” Jerry iced the woman’s temper “They’re brothers, they fight all the time – don’t mean no harm sweetheart”

Bill and John’s eyes grew to the size of pancakes as they edged their stools away from Jerry, pretending they never met what’s-his-face and he wasn’t even there in that moment.  Only they had noticed that the woman’s painted nails now dug into the soft old wood of the bar.

“Still” She started through clenched teeth “I’m the entertainment for the night, and my name is Hope.  Not sweetheart”

Jerry stumbled, taken aback as Hope leaned over the bar with those fiery eyes that could have burned a hole in the disposition of the strongest willed misogynist.  “Is the stage ready?” She asked as she glanced at her watch.  She didn’t have the time nor the energy to waste on something so fruitless.  Jerry nodded with haste, he wasn’t willing to run the risk of needing a crowbar to get the other foot out of his mouth.  Somewhere down the bar Bill and John chuckled between each other

Jerry motioned to the left where the stage presented itself to Hope, giving her a better idea of what she had to work with.  A simple semi circle of cheap wood painted as black as the walls, lit by a quartet of spotlights.  Three feet in height and attached to the wall opposite of the exit that lay 30 feet parallel.  Atop the stage sat a slender black pole where Hope would take her place and in front of the microphone(HA.)  Behind that was the humble 4 piece drum kit, bass and electric guitar flanking it’s sides.  A tall man rose to greet her behind the drums as she approached the stage, his long greying hair held back by a tie-dyed bandanna that framed his experience creased face.  Blue eyes, sharp and kind made held contact with Hope’s as he welcomed her up on stage.

The drummer held his hand out over the snare drum and introduced himself,

“I’m Jimmy, and we’re the house band, we call ourselves Simply Adverb Free”  He grinned though half closed eyes, proud of the creative spark that came up with the name.   At the same time he gestured to either side with his long arms spread wide.  In chairs beside guitar stands were two other gentlemen,  they recognized their cue and stood up to converge around the drummer and their new lead singer “Hope” She introduced herself to everyone at the same time and handed out 3 pieces of paper that she pulled from her clutch.  “I don’t think you’ll have any problems with these songs”  She smiled herself as the energy built up inside only a mater of time now.  There was just something about this group that felt… electric.

The guitarist smiled and nodded as he read down the list of a dozen songs.  He was balding in a horse shoe shape, his large framed aviator glasses hid his eyes but his smile was large and bright “No problem at all with these songs.  Someone raised you right Hope, guess you could said there’s hope for your generation yet! – Get it? cuz your name is Hope”  The guitarist shook let out a single honk of a laugh and shook Hope’s hand “Oh! I’m Les by the way.” Les looked over to the bassist and remarked “Gonna be a good show man, gonna be real good.”

The bassist held a more stoic disposition, borderline incredulous as he looked up from the list.  “Levon” He introduced himself  “You got the talent to back these songs up, kid?” He watched everything that had happened up until this point and welcomed the attitude of the new girl on the stage.  Levon was a realist and not about to let some young blood push him around, no matter their gender he welcomed the chance to put anyone in their place.

Hope stared at the musical trio with pursed lips and furrowed brow “Hope” she re-affirmed “I can sing, kid, it’s too late to question me, let’s just put on a good show okay?” She stared down Levon before returning to her furrowed brow “More importantly…” She trailed off for a moment “Just so I know I have this right… Levon, the bassist.  Jimmy the Drummer, and Les the Guitarist…” A communal smirk infected the members of the house band but not a word was uttered.  Each artist  just went back to their respective instruments.  She wasn’t quite sure if they were playing her for a fool or not, and it didn’t matter.  She had a show to do and that was her only focus.

The guitar and bass kicked up first as Hope sauntered up to the microphone, she looked over the expectant crowd.  Half of them wore a dazed uninterested look of intoxication, the other half paid no mind to the music that played in the background of their awareness.  Only in the peripheral vision did they see Hope start to twirl back and forth with the flow of the song, waiting, patiently for her cue to sing.

The note was struck, the drummer raised his sticks ever so slightly and Hope opened her mouth to belt out the first lyric.

“There is a house, in New Orleans.  They call the rising sun”  Her eyes closed as she put 13 years of experience and practice into her passion for music.  It started out subtle, as though she was talking to the crowd rather than singing.  Her voice deepened to pay respect to the original artists while at the same time putting her interpretative spin on tone and pitch.

“And it’s BEEN the ruin, of many a poor boy… and god I know I’m one.”  The sharp note of the second line caught a few eyes if not for the abruptness then for the band that had a stage presence all their own.   Les stepped into the spotlight, rocking back and forth with a cool mystique.  Levon nodded as he plucked out the bass line walking too and fro in the small area of the stage that he had to himself.

“My Moooother was a tailor, she sewwwwwwed my new blue jeans”  Her voice struck chords and hung in the air with clarity and strength that no one in the tavern could deny any longer.  Every set of eyes was on the young woman behind the microphone as she drove home every note with the heart of a true artist embedded in her craft.   The band matched her intensity note for note and Les took up the part of the organ solo, improvising a solo that would have made Hendrix jealous, the audience was on the edge of their seats, transformed from leather clad cliche bikers into children in awe of art being created before their eyes.  Not a single pint left the table while they played their first few songs.  Following “House of the rising sun” with “Come together” and slowing it down with her “Fever” it was a night that no one was soon to forget.  The fawn that walked into their dive bar, walked out a tiger.  Respected and revered, not for the curves of her body or the whip of her words but the vibrancy of her voice and passion that came with it.


 

 

Dear Adverbs,

 

Get *%&$ed.

 

Sincerly,

-Zed

 

(Seriously, I spent way too much time on this one.  The protagonist is based on my partner who is just as strong a feminist as the one in this short story, as well she sings so putting myself in her shoes was an interesting, and amusing activity. It`s now around 1030 at night and I`ve put so much time into this that I just can`t concentrate anymore.  Probably about 3 hours of writing and another hour and a half of editing to make sure I didn`t put in any adverbs.  I swear if anyone found one… I`m only human! *Sobs*)

Advertisements

W101.5 – Terminated in 100 words or less.

It was only once the pink slip hit the table that I realized what was happening, and it happened so suddenly.

I had a bad day just yesterday, didn’t perform at my peak, sure.  But was it that bad?

“You’re only as good as your worst day, John and you’ve had too many.”  The only condolence my boss could manage.

The back door to the kitchen closed behind me, leaving me in the dark alley where I received so many orders in the past.

Stunned,  the only thought I could manage was “How am I going to feed my kids?”

 

 

 


 

Day 5:  Be brief.  

The only information I pulled from WP before I left for the weekend was something about a  letter and keeping it short.  I was thinking “Short” as in 500 words but when I read the 50 word and 100 word entries it really makes you think of the power of a simple word.

The subject mirrors real life.  Had a bad day, anxiety will be the death of me if my job doesn’t kill me first.  I feel that Management is very much a subject of fluidity,  where you can have a bad day, it happens to everyone.  But it’s your last bad day that people really remember.

Thanks for reading

-Zed

 

 

W101.4 – Time to Say Goodbye

Preface:

I had a hard time with this writing topic. First off it seems a bit ill-timed to see the subject being “The Serial Killer” with everything that’s going on in Moncton, NB right now.  Secondly, I’m not someone who has experienced a lot of ‘loss’  For two reasons (I’m seeing a pattern…)  The first being that I’ve been fortunate enough to not have experienced a lot of loss in general.  I could go through the women I’ve had and lost and how that’s changed me, I could go through the friends that have come and gone, the material goods I once coveted, the child that never was.  I could go on a dark tirade about the ‘have nots’ and why I should still have them or whatever perspective I wanted to take on the topic but there’s just not any value, to me, in that type of discussion.

The second being that I discovered my spiritual centre in Shamanism some years back when I re-connected with my father and I was taught about how to deal with loss and that you can accept that not everything is in your life forever and that if you lose something, the best way to deal with loss is to accept that someone else  might have needed it more than you.  I was given the example of a cat.  Say your cat ran away, heart wrenching right? You can choose to believe that your cat is out there, scared, alone, in trouble… and pine over that for however long, but there’s also a flip side to that reality that maybe your cat knew someone needed them more.  Like that old lady down the street who just lost her husband and now she has no one so your cat shows up on her door step to be loved and cared for in a manner that you may have taken for granted as their owner.

It was a very interesting discussion and other examples came up like being robbed.  If someone is that desperate to come and try and steal your money, it’s better to believe that they need that money more than you do, because who would go to such ends to get money, unless it was an incredible situation.

To some it might sound a bit… naive, rose-coloured even.  But it’s about perspective, and I’ve always said “Perspective can change your life depending on how you look at it”

Anyway, enjoy the story.


 

Time to Say Goodbye

IMG_20140605_183833

“I want you to know”  I said, placing my hands on the warm banister and turning my face to bask in the radiance of the summer sun “That I’ll really miss you”

I gazed over the balcony of my 10th floor apartment, not wanting to look back inside at the hardwood floors or the rays of light bursting through the bay window that framed the university off in the distance.  Even with the sun heating my apartment to a balmy 35 degrees it still seemed cold.  Instead I inhaled the fresh air that came with the benefit of the nearby park.  The lush trees puffed up like emerald green cotton balls.  Ripe with nurture from the spring rain and summer sun,  bundled together in a series of lines through out, giving the sense of nature having sectioned off a series of areas for people to rest, relax, or play.

“You don’t need to say anything, I understand that you have to go” I rambled.  I didn’t want to listen to what anyone else had to say about the topic.  I just needed to get it off my chest how important you were to me.  I knew you’d be back eventually but that didn’t mean I was ready for you to go.   “I get what they meant when they told me it was seasonal, you were a big part of the best 4 months of the year.  You made me smile, laugh, and gave me memories that I’ll tell my children about one day”

My throat tightened and a ball formed in my chest, like a vice grip on my heart.  I wasn’t sure if I could choke out another word without shedding a tear.  Even the castle-like university on the horizon couldn’t distract me enough to put my emotions aside.  Despite the vaulted peak of the clock tower that looked like it was reaching up to shake the god’s hand, despite the battlement stonework of building that held our national flag.  It just wasn’t enough beauty to compare to yours.

So I chose to reminisce.  It was all I could do was to remember the good times.

“remember…” I took a deep breath and smiled my most genuine smile while basking in your radiance “Remember that time I was at the bar with all my friends, I must have been there since noon until dusk when you signaled it was time to go, but you burned me so good!  It was terrible but we laughed so hard about it the next day at my cherry red skin”

The memories came at me like the dam broke on emotions that I had been holding back, denying, for so long.   I had so much fun that I didn’t want to believe you’d leave.  I wanted to stop time and just enjoy an eternity together in this moment.  I wanted to invite everyone over for one big going away party because we always had the most fun when everyone was together.

“Or-or-or” I stuttered and stumbled over my words, embarrassed that I cared this much over something so fleeting but you hung around, in silence, so I figured you wanted to hear what I had to say.  Right?  Of course.  “that time, at the park right down there.  That park where I take ChuckChuck to play fetch.  It was down there that we were all playing together, eventually we had a picnic and some other dog came up and stole the ham sandwich right out of my hand! I couldn’t believe it but that’s how we met our best friend and now we all go to the park together… Well… We did… but…”

I didn’t want to say it.  I didn’t want to admit to myself that my life was going to change without you around.

“but…” I couldn’t say the words.  You started to look like you were fading as the sky started to take on a darker hue “I understand, it’s getting late and you have to go”  The chill of the approaching evening grased my back softly, offering it’s support but it just wasn’t the same as the energy you gave me.

“One more thing!” A burst of courage exploded as I reached for you with all my might, my hand stretching toward the setting sun

“I’ll miss you, summer”


D’awhhhh!

Thank you for reading my installment of Day 4 – Writing 101

-Zed

p.s. Credit goes to a rando-blog that I stumbled upon earlier who has a dog named “ChuckChuck”  I’m not allowed to own a dog because I work too much and it wouldn’t be fair so I’m going to live vicariously though them and their dog owner stories.

W101.1 – So… Just Write?

So I’m taking part in this new thing… well.. newer than this new thing.  This blog is new, but the newest of the new things is the new Writing 101 that’s going on in the daily prompt.   In an odd sense of belonging and coincidental signage, the theme of the first project is “Just write”  20 minutes of free writing to be put up on the blog.  Which at first seems like a cop-out but that’s only to me.  Who am I to argue with the teacher.  I am the student (Ohm… No that’s not an acronym)

I think my biggest struggle with this being the first lesson is that I’ve been free-style writing for 10 years on my public journal that I keep over on Digital Expressions and have been keeping for the past 10 years.  Not 10 years straight mind you.  There was times where access to a computer or time, more accurately, was limited.  So where I look at free writing or when I hear those two words combined the first thing that comes to mind is a simple narration.  Something that is my forte to say the least.  I could narrate a frog crossing the road and make it sound interesting… but I feel like that’s been done so I won’t go there.

Blogging in it’s whole is something of a bandwagon that I was on before it was a thing but at the same time it was very much a different outlet for me than it has become today.  Today people blog not only to get their voice out there but to get their voice out there on a very particular topic that is almost sanitized in the professionalism of it.  I’m not trying to paint with a wide brush here (Although I realize I do that a lot) but the blogs that are ‘out there’ the most are the ones where people are almost ‘safe’ with what they’re writing about.  Something that appeals to the masses and hell, why not? That’s how you get out there right?  So the point I’m really trying to make is that I’m not trying to crucify those who write opinions professionally, it’s just not something I “get.”

For me, writing has always been a very personal outlet, where I could express my queer thoughts and odd nature without the risk of being judged.  Even in  my darkest moment where I wrote something akin to psychobabble without punctuation or paragraphs but rambled for paaages, people still managed to comment either agreeing or giving me moral support for having the gall to ‘get it all out there’ because, in my belief, what causes people to go off the handle is that lack of outlet.  If you have no one to talk to or no where to put your thoughts, your mind will be poisoned.

10 mins left AHHHH The pressure!

Writing pressure.  The one pressure that drives me round (Right round baby, like a record baby, right round round round…. Sorry.) As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m a kitchen manager.  I deal with Students of a Post Secondary level that are looking for a job to supply them with beer money, or rent… but most likely beer money.  So it goes without saying that pressure is nothing new to me and nothing I can’t handle… Except relationship fight pressure.  That stuff is THE WORST.  Amirite?

Anyway.

The pressure I get from writing is all self inflicted and I feel that’s the worst pressure of all you can put on yourself.  When you put pressure on yourself you’re like a nail that’s holding the hammer.  You can pound as much as you want but you’re a) Doing it to yourself and B) you’re only impacting yourself into something that you can’t get yourself out of.  I feel like there’s more analogy talk in there but I’m going to skip over the rest of it because it’s starting to hurt my head (And all I can picture is a Cartoon nail with a hammer above it’s head clenching like ‘this is gonna suck!”)

As I come up on the last 5 minutes of ‘just write’  I ask any new readers who are about to come by here, but how do you deal with writing pressure?… that took me way less than 5 minutes to type…

 

Thanks for Reading,

-Zed