Past and Pending – Write at the Merge Challenge

Past and Pending

~*~

I took the river road until I reached the end

I wrote those words into my song “Lullaby”, but I had never actually taken River Road all the way up.  When Meagan called me looking for an adventure, I thought about the words again.

“Let’s go as far North as we can today,” I said.

“We could make Easton and back before sunset,” she said.

My best friend for about thirteen years, Meg was the one with wanderlust.  It was the bug she had given me: a virus I didn’t mind catching.  Now I had the desire to get out and leave, find new paths and journeys.  This was the gift of Meagan’s friendship.

“Okay.  Let’s go.”

The air was cold that day.  We were glad to be in a car as we drove past the Delaware river and half-frozen lakes.  There were waterfalls as we passed rocky hillsides.  Actual waterfalls.  I hadn’t seen the like since Colorado and stared out the window in awe.  It was truly magical.

We talked about travel, geography and the Jersey Devil while munching on sourdough pretzels.

“Sometimes,” she told me as she turned the wheel, “while driving through the Barrens, I used to look for the Devil.  Watching for shadows against the stars.  Because those are the woods where Legends could still be alive.”

This was our friendship.  Topics meandering and lovely all the while.  We were poets and writers and liked to lose ourselves in “lines dissecting love” and life and other things.

The Shins’ Past and Pending was on right after a John Doyle reel.  Eclectic music, but it fit our personalities.  I didn’t listen to the words, but the sound made me think of all our road trips together. And while we’ve never taken a really long one, they are all memorable.

Once, we ended up at Seaside Heights during a cold spell in March, walking down the deserted boardwalk.  You never know with us.

This trip, I got a sandwich from a supermarket deli, and the hunger trumped the odd taste of the food.  “You never know,” she said, eyeing my sandwich dubiously.  “These places the food could go either way.”

We were off again down the road, sometimes listening to music in silence, which we have always been wont to do.

I missed her when she was away at grad school.  She is like family to me, the big sister I’ve never had.

As icicles dripped off of cliffs of “hills-not-mountains” around us, I wished.

“I wish it could always be like this,” I whispered to myself.  I hope the years and miles never change our camaraderie.

We round a stone wall, laughing at a strange mural as we enter Easton and prepare to journey homeward.

the strange mural of Easton. Canal Poseidon? Triton? We could not figure it out.

the strange mural of Easton. Canal Poseidon? Triton? We could not figure it out.

Days like this precious moment of friendship are mile markers on the path of my memory.  And in the dark times, I travel them over and over again.

Days like this, past and pending, are all that matter.

~*~

Write on Edge has begun a new and fancy challenge.  This time, it was 500 words or less, the song Past and Pending by The Shins, and the word: “WISH”.  I immediately wanted to write for it.  It took me some time to be inspired because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to take the song at face value or not.

My final decision on it was what you just read. :)

Meagan is truly my best friend.  She has a wonderful poetry blog, which I encourage you to visit.

I’ve been driving myself nuts all morning trying to find the term one of the ancient writers used for the form of love – I want to say either Socrates or Plato spoke of this form of platonic/friendship love – between two members of the same sex and said it was completely different from the love shared between a man and a woman.

This love was not romantic or sexual, but it was the strongest form of love, that only true friends could share, and it was rare.  If anyone can remember the name of this, or what it’s called, I would appreciate you leaving a comment.  I Google searched and checked my college textbooks but had no luck finding the term!!

Anyway, the mysterious missing word for this love was going to be the title, but instead it became Past and Pending, haha

Thanks, as always, for reading.

jms

NaNoWriMo: The Glasses Gang

So it’s that time of year again, folks… and this year I’ve decided to publicly be a part of National Novel Writing Month.

I am nervous, and frankly, not sure how it will go.  But my boyfriend has expressed interest in a co-created project: one which he could illustrate, and somehow I decided on writing a children’s chapter-book style called: “The Glasses Gang.”

When I was a little girl, I would read those study-guide-books that schools put out: you know, the ones with random characters just put in to teach vocabulary or math or grammar; with a skeletal storyline that didn’t make much sense.

When I was about nine, I created my own book series to help me practice my (home schooled) work, called The Glasses Gang.  All I recall about it was a girl named Veronica who was sort of the leader, and an old man with glasses who was sort of their mentor – the only adult present in the novel.  I remember they had all sorts of weird adventures.

As of right now, they are just normal children with no magical powers or something, but knowing me they might get up to some fantasy-style hijinks, once I think of something clever.

I’ve NEVER done NaNoWriMo before, so I’m nervous, and I’m praying I can finish the first draft in a month.  But we will see!

Wish me luck fellow writers and readers, and of course good luck to my friends also using this month as a creative space for their novels!

JMS

Meteors

Mount Rainer 2012 Meteors

Stolen mercilessly from National Geographic.

There was a meteor shower last night.

It’s still going on, sending burning, beautiful fragments across the sky, but they were at peak visibility last night.

We sat on my couch, too hot even under the fan, watching Breaking Bad and touching skin to skin despite the heat.

I reminded you of the meteors and though you were sleepy and red-eyed, your contacts rubbing your eyelids the wrong way, you agreed to come outside with me.

I waned philosophical under that amazingly clear sky, and we avoided the automatic security light on the garage so we could stare upward.

“Is that a red star?” I asked, not even pointing up. I barely even had to tell you were to look- you and I are so connected you knew exactly which star I meant.

You told me it was a Red Giant and explained what it meant, how it was a star desperately clinging to life. (And you say you’re not brilliant, that I’m the genius child-prodigy-turned-woman. Hah!)

“We are so small,” I said, staring up as you wrapped your strong and sinewy thin arms around me. Soccer player’s arms. And your artist hands around my middle as your neck leaned back, chin resting on my head, supporting my neck with your chest. “And to think,” I continued, “most of these stars are already dead.”

And in your usual style you said, “Yeah. They’re like planetary polaroids.”

You apologized, said it was corny, and I was stunned and amazed by your never-ceasing ability to think of clever lines.

I told you I would use it in my writing. I never specified how. I wonder if you would mind me writing about us like this, laid out for strangers to read and see in their mind’s eye.

But last night you leaned over and kissed my head; kissed my hair. And right then, I shouted:

“There! There!” A bright white streak across the sky, huge and unmistakeable.

You missed it of course.

It’s okay.

I wished for you, anyway.

(Can you wish on meteors?)

And after you got in your car to drive home, I stood out in the dark, neck craned and tight, watching the planetary polaroid of stellar proportions unfolding above my head.

I didn’t see another meteor after you left. I went to bed, thinking of the seeming insignificance of our planet and yet our continued survival. How we’re on Mars now, and how I have no idea what the next generation will get to see or explore.

How I always wanted to see the stars as a child and never did get to be an astronaut like I wanted. How the current NASA team for Curiousity – those brilliant explorers – had mohawked twenty-somethings and hippies right next to one another, as varied and diverse as our universe.

Then I thought of you, your arms tight around my middle, and the scent of your shirt as I clung to it, and suddenly being earthbound and tiny and staring up at distant meteors didn’t seem so daunting after all.

~*~

Fit to Sauna

“Cardio”, I write in neon green dry erase marker, then after a pause, add the word “ABS” in all caps.

I wanted to be more organized. I cleaned off the dry erase board I hadn’t used since last September (yikes…) and marked the rest of my month in semi-permanent fashion.

You see, I just joined a gym. Not one of the name brand, but a local, probably overpriced gym, and the reason I picked it was (deity help me) the sauna.

Yup: the dry sauna with its delicious woodsy aroma and the ability to go to temperatures previously experienced only south of the border.

I force myself to go to said gym every day but two days a week, gruel some workout that my fat arse has to gasp through, just for that lovely half hour in the sauna.

I gained 20 pounds and about six sizes over the last year. It happened somewhat gradually, and I firmly believe its because my circumstances have made me “fat and happy”. Being in love and having a desk job are causes for celebration and I definitely celebrated way too hard.

I’m fortunate in that my fat distributes evenly, although now I have even more work to do. I’m short, so getting fat means everything stops working. I got the same sort of bronchial infection twice and now I have asthma-like symptoms (yay).

It makes the desire to even try getting healthy dissipate faster than snow in the Sahara.

2012 was supposed to be the year of fitness. I sort of rolled around the idea of running while rolling around on my couch in front of Skyrim. I eyed my old running gear warily in my closet, then a cold spell hit and I ate Thin Mints instead. It really seemed the better option, and those cookies are from Satan, I swear.

I caved to reason (finally!) and started a relationship with some sexy new black exercise pants, but then never went out with them again. Until this past week.

I forced myself out of the house. I marched over to the aforementioned gym and signed up for my 10-consecutive-day free trial.

For two days I swam laps, which my asthmatic lungs learned to deal with. I only can manage under ten right now, (which is pathetic, I know,) cursed asthma! But I’ll add a lap per swim until I can do more.

This week, I will sell my soul to the devil for two years worth of a contract just to get a decent “youth” rate, (because being in my 20s means “youth”, and for once I’m glad about it.)

I went to the grocery store the first night and bought every health magazine they had as well as a cartload of healthy diet staples. (That were actually yummy.)

Saturday was a setback having visited two friends with tiny babies and, in my happy mood, eating terribly. The Kansas BBQ Burger and Cajun seasoned fries never tasted SO good, but made me feel SO guilty.

But I’m going to get fit, deity-damn-it, as long as it doesn’t kill me! I’m going to start up hot yoga and swim laps, and do all sorts of twisty movements considered beneficial for thighs, butt and abs!

Because I’m using that sauna as my crutch. The reason I will shell out $40 a month for a gym.

Then there is that whole, you know…Health thing.

–But that’s second to the sauna.

How I Am Feeling

I swallow and my throat is raw and thick with snot. My breath is sharp between my shoulder blades and there is a troll in my upper respiratory tract squeezing tighter and tighter as the night wears on.

The inhaler helps a little, and the cough syrup too, though they taste like a dead Christmas tree lot and the nasal spray smells faintly of potpourri from the same.

It is a dull, glum Friday when one has the flu or something like it.

Tomorrow’s recording session looms like a monolith, and for once I’m ecstatic I won’t have to sing, just dreading the inevitable cough that will interrupt the song’s climax.

“Harpists are always so angelic!”

Not tomorrow, apparently, as I hack up my lungs and the wayward throat troll with it.

fuck….

24 hours for the antibiotic to take hold.

“just a spoonful of sugar…”

If only it were that easy.

~*~

A young student asked me tonight how I was feeling and this response started itching at my cerebellum until I could commit it to the blogosphere.

Reference to Disney’s Mary Poppins for anyone who knows it! (and the numbers that do know it grow quickly shorter the older I get….)