Writing 101: Point of View: Perspective

In a library…

She sits behind her desk and waits for the student to ask her about her friends on the shelf. She cleans, stacks papers, fixes the stapler, and sharpens the pencils. Meanwhile, all those young minds rot staring at one digital screen or another. Free wifi has become the bane of her existence.

From up top, it glances at her best friend fidgeting at her desk. It can feel the restlessness radiating from her anxious hands, and shuttering gaze. It is a book, only one of so many that is almost falling into the stage of deep slumber that so many of her neighbors have succumbed to. Book’s spine is stiff and brittle, while book’s pages hunger for a touch on the corner, as the reader turns to another scene, another twist in the plot.

“Excuse me,” the whisper leaves her thoughts before she can reign it in. Clearing her unused voice, she tries again, “Excuse me.”

The librarian, startled out of her reverie, raises her eyes and smiles at this tiny, shy child. “Pardon me, was there anything I could help you with?”

The smooth melody of it’s friend woke it up, and energy tingled through. Could someone be searching for me?? Please, let me be what she requests, I pray to have a hand reach up. I can be a good friend…

“Yes, I was looking for a treasure,” at this comment shy would not be the word to describe Lily. No, the sparkle in her eyes came alive, already awakening because of the hunger for another adventure. “Yes, ma’am I would like a recommendation, please.”

“Of course, of course,” Mrs. Diaz tucked her hair behind her ear, “I have just the thing. Unless you’re worried it might be too much for you?”

“Never, books can only lead to another adventure, another exploration,” Lily whispered as if she were holding the key to a state secret. No one would call her dramatic, but her whispers carried more weight than all the chaos of her fellow pre-teens taking up the space at the outlets and computers.

Book stood at attention, trying to look intriguing. Book wanted to be picked up once more. Would Lily pick me? Mrs. Diaz, please help Lily pick me.

Mrs. Diaz smiled, like a kid with a plate full of chocolate cake, with Lily and led her to her favorite spot. Book perked up as the heels clicked closer and closer, before it knew what was happening a tickle went up it’s spine. Mrs. Diaz smiled and handed it over title facing down, and when Lily turned it over, there was a collective silent gasp.

Lily left with a new friend, and Mrs. Diaz was happy that there was still hope for the kids around her who seemed pale by the glow of the electronics.

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Writing 101: Sept. 22 GIVE AND TAKE

Frenemies, a relationship of give and take.

Hope and Despair can be more than opposing forces, they can at time be the best of friends. How can one have Hope in hand if they’ve never felt the nature of Despair?

Hope walked in with a swagger to her hips, smiling like a chesire cat, she said, “Well, well, well, I knew I’d find you here Desi.”

Despair’s shoulders sagged under that smile, whispering to herself, “Just my luck…the luminescent whore…”, then louder she said, “Of course old friend, I go and you walk in. It’s a tag team effort” sarcasm was an old threadbare comfort on her whipped back. The tattoos on her skin itched when she was faced with Hope’s beauty.

“I remember the Depression was a booming time for your little tricks, but now I’m here to raise the people once again,” Hope spoke with an iridescent bubble of happiness in her voice, ready with a hug for her best friend.

“Oh yes,” sarcastically Despair responded, “I get nothing but showers of tears and heartache so melancholic, that I burp them back up for weeks. You are smothered in ecstatic cheers and solemn vows to endure me and cherish you.” Dodging this woman’s touchy-feely crap was a 24hour job, ugh!

Hiccupping her tears away, Despair gathered her purse and paid for her drink. She slipped on her shoes and stumbled out the darkened bar room, not forgetting to toss a “Farewell Bitch” in Hope’s direction.

Hope, sighing with acceptance, began to turn on the lights and throw open the windows, with determination she uttered, “Today is a new day, and that kind of language is not to be repeated.”

Hope began to transform the dark, dense mood into one of light and tenacity. Singing and humming she began her tune, “Rain, rain go away. Come again another day. Rain, rain stay away, Desi says goodbye!” Laughing in the evanescent gloom, Hope continued to wash away the cobwebs from the shelves and the pictures of Joy, Love, Chance, and Serendipity.

Reaching out… #reblog #writers #writing101 #ramblings

Writers write in order to not drown in the emotion of it all.

I wrote this earlier on someone else’s blog post. I didn’t realize how true it was when I thought of my own writing. An epiphany happened in that moment. When I am strangling those around me with my overflow, I am not writing.

When I am struggling to breathe in my own neurosis, I am not writing. When I write, as this blog has helped me to commit, I can cease the whispers of insecurity in my own head. I feel more grounded and centered in the world around me. I am me. My thoughts bleed onto the page either in ink or digital format, and I can smile without wondering who wants to steal my smile and make me cry.

Singing along with my favorite artists may appease me, like a band aid or a tourniquet on this river of emotion that resides in my soul, but writing creates new streams to redirect the pressure of the rising tide. Teaching can only take me so far, the love of the written word and expressing oneself is so much more. I release what would normally create an overwrought emotional mess. My memories, emotions, creations, and developments on the page ease a base emotional/biological need inside of me.

So bloggers, I ask and beg, come see my blog. It is but a tiny, plain brown sparrow lost in this exotic jungle of rare and wondrous, iridescent birds. I need feedback, comments, likes, and more. Validation and criticism are welcome. I hunger to become a better writer.

Day 7: Writing 101: A Character Building Experience: Sept. 21

This person was the person who helped me with being an introvert in the midst of a middle school mine field. Mrs. Rodriguez had a mega-watt smile and piled up bleached out blonde hair. Her cherry red lips would often express an entire range of emotions within one class period, and watching her read poetry was like viewing the ever-changing tide of the ocean.

Her spindly hands were always shifting the breeze that came in through the window, as she gestured the events in the story or her outrage at a character that did the unexpected or dishonorable action. The one thing that stands out more than fifteen years after she graced my timid mind with her presence, is the way she sneezed. My God, this woman sounded like a mac truck driver that slammed the door on her adenoids. AAAHHH-CHOOOOOO with a slight whistle at the end, she would fix her hair and wait for one of us to say “bless you”. Her long graceful index finger would push up her tortoise shell glasses up her thin nose bridge, and she would smirk silently with those scarlet lips, and wait.

Allergy season was a jumble of nerves for all the little seventh graders who took English class with her. Her kind nature and expressive demeanor endeared her to me. It helped that she was the epitome of English Teacher fashion at that time, pencil skirt and blouses in silk with cravats.

She would walk with grace between our rows of desks as she checked our work, and the soft click-click of her low sensible heels on the wood floor soothed me. Her entire classroom soothed me, and thus began my love of literature. I was not the student who clicked with the loud coaches, ex-cheerleader style women, fashion divas, or strict dictators of science or math. I waited with unshed tears, from the atmospheres of those other scary subjects and teachers, and smiled instantly when I walked in and she sneezed at the chalk dust.

Mrs. Rodriguez helped me build my own self-worth and character. I blossomed in English and became more social, I even joined the UIL event she sponsored, Literary Criticism.

Day 5 (Sept 19) BE BRIEF

“I stumble upon a random letter…”

Cleaning up after the war has ended, means going through the things of those who passed. It’s not a fun job, but it hurts all the more when you come across something like an unfinished letter. Was Marie (the woman who wrote it) going to express her joy? Her pain? Her goodbye?

All it reads at this point is,

“Dear Andrew,

I write this with my heart truly bursting…”

Closing up her writing desk, and packing up her home hurts when I don’t know if she was to marry Andrew or if Andrew knew she was writing him a letter. I hope her parents in Texas can help this letter, this note, find it’s way to Andrew…if he wasn’t another fatality in the war.

Day 4: SERIOUS LOSS

I am blessed to say, I haven’t had much loss in my life that didn’t teach me something. My heart grieved, but grew stronger in the process. I’ve had this approach to life longer than I can remember, loss is a part of life. Hatred should not be.

I regret my loss of innocent bliss. I had this image in my mind that my family was perfect, and that everyone’s home life was perfect. We weren’t rich, or without drama, but the love felt overshadowed those defects. As I grew older I saw my friends struggle with the idea of parents getting divorced, drinking, suicide, drug abuse, and self-hatred. I couldn’t seem to conceive the concept of a parent NOT being the support system for their child.

When faced with the hatred in their eyes, residue of the latest bull fight with their mom/dad/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, I would physically cringe. How could I help? Would they want my help? Do they need my help? Is my help enough? My mind still has trouble coming to terms with those out there who hate so deeply it mars their soul.

How could anyone hate a child? a parent? It broke my heart to discover the truth of the world at large, but although I have loss that innocence I have not lost my faith. Faith in humanity, faith in the survivalist spirit, faith in myself and others. Death is not the worst thing that could happen to a life, hatred is. Death can take you away from the mental, physical, emotional pain that one endures; but, hatred lingers and can breed more hatred and discontent.

Day 3: Writing 101: COMMIT TO A WRITING PRACTICE

For day three I have to write about three songs that are embedded in my soul, and commit to a writing practice. So let me set my alarm on my cell. I am new at this, and I don’t want to over extend myself as a mother, teacher, publisher, editor, and writer (along with being a daughter, sister, friend, and wife), so I will commit to 15 minutes a day at night when the house has gone to sleep. I’ll type as I hear the dryer going and the washer finishing.

SONG ONE: “Lithium” by Evanescence

This song reaches down into the depths of my most darkest moments, when I felt my life was falling apart. It takes me back to where I was at the beginning of my marriage, in the middle of possibly losing my college scholarship, and becoming a mother. I was lost and adrift in so many ways, and I found my anchor in life. I almost caved in to numbness, and I thank God every day I didn’t.

SONG TWO: “This Little Bird” sung by Jewel and her mother

The lyrics tug at my heart and the duet of mother and daughter pulls me into the moments in which I have sung with my mom. She is the one who taught me to have a voice, and not let my shyness incapacitate me. She sings like an angel, and every Sunday I looked forward to church in order to sing alongside her.

SONG THREE: “I’m just a Girl” by No Doubt

One of my first favorite songs on my very first CD. No Doubt’s music altered my perspective on what it was to be female, what it is to be strong. More than ten years later and I still have the album (now downloaded) and I belt it out every chance I get as I clean, shower, or exercise.

Day Two: (Sept 16) A ROOM WITH A VIEW…

The whisper of the grass outside my open window calls to me. I want to feel the blades of grass tickling my tiny toes, and peer into the shadows with that mixture of fear and suspense.

My ten year old self loved that bedroom and its adventures. Although often times my body trapped me in places I didn’t wish to be, you might call it being anti-social, my mind could always take me where I wanted to go. I would escape, but I never needed to escape that bedroom. At night, when the house of eight was finally quiet, this little baby girl would tiptoe to that window and suck in the fresh air. There was no pretense, no suspicion, no derision, and definitely no social pressure in that one perfect spot late at night staring into the darkness.

You would think that I would not want to regress into the past, but at ten years old I had no big worries. I had worries that seemed big, because I had nothing to compare them too. My mother, my foundation on which my present womanhood has been molded to copy, always caught me when I fell. And when she was running around with one of the other, older, kids I had my books, which I would stash underneath that bedroom window.

The world seemed huge, but adventurous. Now, sometimes, the world seems huge but oppressive. I would want my old bedroom view, with the breeze lifting my hair, the cicadas lulling me to sleep, and the darkness hugging me tight. That is my “room with a view.”

Writing 101: Day One: UNLOCK THE MIND

Yes, I realize I am taking the first day of the challenge after five days have passed. For Day One, I’m supposed to freewrite for twenty minutes, and the clock starts now:

Growing up as a Hispanic girl in a border town is hard enough, especially when your mom speaks nothing but Spanish and you want desperately to fit in but you don’t look Hispanic. I don’t even sound Hispanic to some people, maybe its just their judgment of my fair skin and Irish last name. The way I see it, I’m me. And just because I don’t look the same, doesn’t mean I don’t feel the same as everyone who has ever been left out because of something you just cannot change.

Books were my solace, and words were my friends. I was teacher’s pet, bookworm, shy, quiet, mousy, and mostly forgettable growing up. It was easy to get lost being the youngest (and quitetest) of six children in my household. My three sisters are significantly older than me, and my two brothers never got inside my head. I am an enigma in most cases, unless family passes their own opinion for my own.

I cannot even begin to tell you the horrors of growing up in a place where most of the girls had curves, and luscious dark mahogany hair, pouty lips and an attitude, while all the time I was as flat as the wall with straight hair and a plain jane face hidden behind owl frames that swallowed my face. Add this to the fact that everyone, and I do mean everyone, mispronounced my last name! I wanted to be Martinez, or Cruz, or Garcia…no my last name is Dougherty.

Starting a new school year, or dealing with the occasional substitute, was the bane of my childhood existence. They would read roll call and say “Dorthy” or “Dorothy” or the worst one ever by one particular substitute in middle school, “Dorky”! Where in the hell did she get the K sound from Dougherty. Oh there was no shame in mispronouncing, they would smile and completely disregard my meek correction. Some teachers would take my pronunciation “lesson” very seriously, and they won me over every time.

Looking white, sounding white, with an Irish last name was not great at times living in a bilingual community when some meaner bullies thought you didn’t understand the snide comments in Spanish. TIME’S UP!