Concrete Jungle

2015-04-11_0003This is another piece I wrote for my creative writing class.  I was envisioning the same character I wrote about here.  This piece ended up being almost  continuation of that piece as well!  Please feel free to share your thoughts/opinions 🙂

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The heels of her black leather boots clacked against the wet pavement; a wordless militant mantra. A wet breeze lifted her wild curls, wrapping them around her face as she made her way down the cement steps and into the tunnels.

Trains filled with passengers entered and left the station. “Instead of concreate jungle, where the living is harder.” A young boy singing Bob Marley atop a plastic milk crate drum could be heard, the hard surroundings spreading his soulful sound. Strategically weaving through the dense crowd, she made her way to her platform. From the corner of her eye she spotted a man pushing a collection of what she knew was stolen jewellery, into the face of anyone within an arm’s reach. Desperately, she fought his efforts to make eye contact. She had been on both sides of this con.

“Miss, miss!” He called out to her. She had no patience for men like him today. Men, like her father.  “Miss! Come, come and see. You’ll like, I promise. Look, this piece will bring out those beautiful eyes.”

Annoyed, but always eager for a challenge, she forced her lips into a smile. She raised her chin and the grated lights transformed her eyes into faceted emeralds. Ensuring the man saw just how beautiful her eyes were, she locked his gaze and confidently walked over. The worn folding suitcase around his neck was filled with gold chains swaying from tiny hooks. A vulgar smell emanated from his down-filled jacket, screaming insults at the air around them. The stench clawed at her nostrils; she hid her disgust well.

“You like?” he questioned, raising the squalid caterpillars above his eyes.

“Oh, they’re beautiful,” she flirted, “but much too rich for my blood, I’m afraid.” Her Prada bag and Burberry jacket mocking him more loudly than her words.

She ran her manicured merlot nails across the ornate necklaces, flashed him a smile that made men kneel at her boots, turned, and walked away from the man as her train approached the platform. It was a game for her and she enjoyed every second of it.

She joined the flow of bodies making their way onto the train and found a seat near the door. While she waited for the doors to close again she reached into her pocket and gently ran the garish gold trinket through her fingers.

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Shatter the Void

2015-03-09_0002Our house is as still as the Queen’s guards. Unblinking, unmoving.

Our dog’s chest rises and falls rhythmically and her breath fogs the glass panes that are usually shaking timidly from her bellows. Her short coat reflecting the warmth that creeps in through the sheer curtains.

Our cat, with a voice which would get her kicked out of any library is laying loaf-like and uncomplaining. Her pregnant, yet kitten-less stomach isn’t protesting her empty dish.

Our rabbit, mimicking a sixteen-year-old boy in both actions and attitude is laying corpse-like in his bed, nursing a banana hangover. His mane, as wild as a Joplin groupie, masks his eyes. I’m tempted to poke at his soft form to ensure he’s still earth-side.

I’m nearly positive both furnaces have stopped working because I can’t hear the whir of warm air filling the vents.

The feathered tenants occupying the large trees surrounding our home aren’t performing this afternoon. The outside of our home is mirroring the inside.

Buttons aren’t making music in the dryer and the persistently dripping faucet is as dry as stale bread. My shallow breath hangs on the air, suspended and soundless.

The man wielding a knife with intentions of making my liver his next meal isn’t pacing over the squeaky board in our living room. We have yet to meet face-to-face, but I’m certain he lives in our attic.

Steam silently rises from my freshly poured cup of coffee and I slurp the first mouthful to shatter the void.

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**Photo by TJ Romero**

 

24 hours

Douglas Coupland’s “Five Rules for Writers” was recently assigned to me as part of my creative writing course required reading. His bonus advice – “Dreams are boring. Don’t write about them.” And because I like to live life on the edge and break rules*, I’m going to do exactly what he suggested I avoid.

*This comment is laced with sarcasm. I just like to pretend I’m a bad ass… I really just wanted to write about my dream, regardless of what Mr. Coupland recommends.

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Photo by TJ Romero <click on his name to be directed to his site 🙂

I can’t remember the exact setting, but I do remember I was told I had 24 hours left to live. I feel like it was some weird zombie-inducing disease… or maybe I just made that up? Either way, my husband was by my side when I received the news. He turned to me and asked, “What do you want to do?” I quickly realized travelling to the Amazon for my dream exploration trip wasn’t an option. I responded, “I want to be with you.” So, dream-me, and dream-him crawled into bed (it wasn’t our bed… which is slightly frightening now that I think about it), and cuddled. As my expiration clock counted down the hours, minutes, seconds, remaining in my life earth-side, I decided that I also wanted to write letters. I pulled out my laptop and started writing to my family, friends, and husband. I told all them not to be sad because I had no regrets. I lived the life I wanted for myself and I’ve experienced the things I’ve wanted to experience. I pursued my dreams and I loved where I was and what I had accomplished.

Weird dream, I know… , but I woke up happy. I was impressed with dream Ali. It was also an interesting experience to reflect on, even if it was only a dream. Or, if Coupland is correct, maybe I’m the only one who finds it interesting. I digress.

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My question for you, what would you do if you were told you only had 24 hours remaining?  Would you tell your friends and family, or keep the information private?  It’s a slightly morbid discussion, I realize this, but I’m really curious what everyone’s response to this would be!

 

 

Free Writing : Vol. 1 – Prompt – What’s in your character’s bag?

I recently enrolled in a creative writing program through the University of Toronto. It’s something I’ve considered doing for quite a few years now and finally decided there was no better time than the present. I plan on sharing some of my writing from my class here with you! Please join in on the conversation!

One challenge I’m facing is the task of writing every day. I’m doing much better now than I was in the past, but I need much more discipline in this area. To help with this, my prof suggested some free writing prompts for daily journaling. This piece is a result of one of my free writing sessions. Her prompt was, “What’s in your character’s bag?”. I took her idea and ran with it 🙂

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Wild curls fell across her face as she twisted her body to dig through her bag. Merlot painted nails pushed aside a well-used deck of tarot cards. Her ornate gold rings caught on a scarf rumpled near the bottom as struggling to find the item she needed. Answering her silent call, a lavender-lined velvet pouch found its way into her searching palm. Slender fingers tugged gently on the ribbon ties, freeing a large eye agate gemstone pendant. She carried it for protection. Bangles she inherited from her grandmother clashed noisily on her wrist as she tossed her long mane aside to fasten the necklace. Her gait was confident; the thigh-high leather boots she wore beneath her skirt helped too. As she made her way down the busy city sidewalks she filled her lungs. Exhaust, wet pavement, and a hint of the frankincense she carefully applied earlier. Her emerald eyes narrowed as a smirk pulled at the corners of her lips. She was near her destination, not a minute late nor early. She looked and felt the part; she knew this role well.

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P.S. I must add a side note… the mala beads in those images were made for me by my father.  His callused carpenter’s fingers strung every single bead.  He and my mother gave them to me as a Christmas gift a few years ago.  Don’t I have amazing parents!?

Wild Eyes

“It would have been cheaper, to keep her, around.”

A country song plays softly on the radio and my husband laughs at the lyrics.

The moon is masked by winter clouds causing the sky to envelop itself. I can’t see past our headlights, but the landscape blurring outside the windows is familiar, even in the dark.

Our speedometer hovers around the speed limit but we are slowly gaining on the large semi truck in front of us. I look out my window to see wild eyes reflecting back at me, warning me they are ready to run, either into or away from the highway traffic. Sadly this highway is notorious for casualties, usually of the four-legged variety.

The turn-signal clicking breaks my stare and an engine revs loudly beside us, almost in response. We travel alongside semis on this highway often, but they are typically the most courteous of travel companions. We both look questioningly at the passing lane, unsure of why the man driving the semi beside us has sped up. He matches our speed, the hooks and chains on the back of his cab dancing wildly in the cold air. We continued down the black pavement, side by side. We were now cornered with a truck in front of us, beside us, and third quickly closing the space between our bumper and his. He flashes his headlights once, twice.

“I feel like we’re in a horror movie.” my husband quietly comments.

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Image – TJ Romero