Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Published Work

I have nothing to write about today. Rather, I don't feel like writing so I am going to post one of my older pieces.

This work was written after a date with a guy that I had been seeing on and off since I was 13. I met him at the skating rink and we dated for a bit. You know how young "love" goes. Over the next eight years we would talk, on and off. We would get together and hang out, go to pool halls, hang out at his friends' houses.

This was one of those nights.The night I realized I was wasting my time, my life and my integrity. Everything that night was very vivid and while this story is fiction, some of the imagery and events have a truth.

I was very embarrassed by this story for the longest time. In 2006, I submitted this story to one of my professors at Coastal Carolina University and he urged me to submit it to the literary/art magazine, Archarios. The submission deadline had passed so I didn't see a point but he persisted and after a few phone calls it was submitted.

This piece ended up taking first place in literary works for the magazine. I was surprised, to say the least. It is amazing, though, how God works things like that out. I was about to leave to go on a mission trip to Africa and needed some extra funds in order to go. The prize for first place was $200 and it was greatly appreciated.

Above the cash prize was the honor of having a published work. I have never had a creative piece published and while it was on a small-scale, I still felt like I had accomplished something huge (especially after reading the words of the other authors that had written for that magazine. Incredible talent.)

I will give a disclaimer that there may be some inappropriate wording...be warned :)

So without further adieu.....



I arrive at your car. The walk consisted of a series of nervous fidgets and sideways glances that keep me from looking at you. I get in and make sure that I shut the door in a lady-like manner, thinking that you care. I reach for the seatbelt...my fingers never grasp it and I know it is not there because it is cool not to wear seatbelts so why have them. Yet I keep reaching trying to find something that will save me from you. You start the car and my ears no longer work. I look at you and your lips are moving but no sound comes out. You are drowned out by the beats and turntables of the little box under your dash. So I smile and laugh and pretend I heard everything you said. You smile back and grab the gear shift and we are gone.

     I stare out the window looking past the tiny wet bubbles that ambush the window and distorts everything on the outside world. These new glasses that I am looking through make the road lights look like stars and I cannot tell a difference between the two. I look over at you and cross my legs. I move them slightly closer to the center console hoping you will notice and lay your hand on my knee. Of course you don't so I take it personal and again look out the window into this new vague world. You turn the music down and say something about stopping to get cigarettes and I say "yeah cool". But it isn't cool. I hate cigarettes and the way they make you smell. Especially when you kiss someone…yeah…like I am going to get a kiss from you.

      It takes you a second to turn the volume dial back up to 11 and another second to pull into the BP. You leave the car running as you run into the gas station to get your cigarettes. I watch as you tell the clerk what you want and you laugh together and then look out at me and wink. I see your mouth form the words "Thanks man" and you turn and walk out the door. I take a deep breath and brace myself for when you enter the car. I put my best southern belle smile on so you will think I am having a great time with you so far.

      When we are back on the road you pack your cigs then ask me to open them and light you one up. So I do…the taste of the cigarette bitter in my mouth. I then have the urge to kiss you, to make you taste me. I refrain and hold back a cough and hand the cigarette back to you. My eyes are watering from the smoke and you look at me and ask if I am alright. The southern belle smile returns and I nod yes and say something witty about how my contacts are bothering me. You know I don't wear contacts.

       So we are driving to a little bar and the whole time I am worried that I won't be able to get in seeing as how I am 20 and underage. You always know someone who will get me in and they don't care if I drink. We park and go in and of course you know someone and that someone gives us a pitcher of beer and we set up at a vacant pool table. We play a few rounds…flirting with each other over beer fumes and cigarette smoke. I bend over to make a shot and your stick magically appears to hit my backside and I turn around with the same flashy smile and bat my eyes and hope that you see I am tipsy. So I make my shot and miss and I say something cute about not being able to handle balls. I play with my cup of beer while you are making your shot and take a long sloppy drink and act like it is water. Guys always say that beer starts to taste like water after a few drinks…I still do not believe them. You make a few shots and get all of the balls. There is nothing left on the table except the white. It looks so pure an innocent with little hints of blue just like me.

       You get tired of playing the "pointless" game and make your way over to the dart board. Bullseye. You do not ask me to follow so I stand there looking around for an escape feeling awkward in my own skin. I catch your eye and you give me a nod as to say, "Get over here". So I waddle over acting as if I'm fine. But you see the glassiness of my eyes and you know if you work hard…that you will get what you want.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On feeling aimless

Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of achieving something huge. Over the course of my 25 (almost 26, yikes!) years I have wanted to be a teacher (age 9), a veterinarian (age 13), a writer (age 13-present), an actress (all ages). I had dreams and aspirations but I never mapped out a plan to get there. I always fielded life as it came to me, no matter how hard it was hit or fast it came at me.

I decided on my bachelor's degree major while I was in college. Going from undeclared to business (yeah, right...me a business major) to finally my first love, English. I am so incredibly happy with the education I obtained and the things I learned through the English Department at Coastal Carolina University. I met some amazing professors (Lecouras, Albergotti, Ennis) that refined not only my writing but my way of thinking and processing. Though everything was fine and dandy in the land of English, there really aren't exciting opportunities waiting to jump out at you.

So then I meandered to a Master's degree in Mass Communication. Besides the friends I met through the process, I was not impressed. $30,000 worth of student loans later, here I am. Sitting at my desk, drinking a mug of coffee generously made by my loving husband (because let's face it. He makes great coffee), doing work that has NOTHING to do with either of my degrees, wondering what I am doing with my life.

In the last four years I have obtained two degrees, married an amazing man, moved to a different city and found a job that most would kill for yet I am unimpressed. I feel mislead, confused and simply bored.

I try to think of my passions, what I am good at. I attempt to think of my dream job but all I see are visions of me on a beach with a radio and a fruity drink.

So what will satisfy? Becoming a mother? Traveling to a different country? Learning a new hobby? Writing a book, perhaps?

All sound amazing. All seem to be sparkly and pretty on the outside. I know, however, that each of the things above, all of my aspirations are temporary. They would bring impermanent satisfaction only to leave me wanting more. Needing more.

So what brings satisfaction? Happiness? Accomplishment?

I think I know.

Friday, March 18, 2011

On having a Super-Husband

I know that most of you, especially those of you who are married, think that your significant other is the greatest.

Well...I am sad to say that I may have the GREATEST-EST husband ever.

I have never really stopped to truly enjoy his strength, talents and creativity. But while looking around the house I came to realize just how talented he really is.

He is an awesome brewer, making many different styles of beers including stouts, sours, IPAs, rye ales and the list goes on (with the help of his friend Matthew). He is an amazing drummer and djembe player. I wish he would play more.

He is an avid disc-golf player, though I will admit that he hasn't played a lot lately as he chooses to spend time with me. But he gets out there on his day off and really has a great time!

He is also so talented around the house. Since we have been together he has: re-tiled the floor, replaced the 1940's Harvest Gold toilet, re-finished the Harvest Gold bathtub and replaced the vanity in the guest bathroom.

If that isn't enough, he has also tacked up the cabinets and pulled down wallpaper in the kitchen, painted the living room a nice shade of Macadamia Nut (aka beige), wired up the surround sound, pulled the fireplace cover off (it was a not-so-pretty gold), scrubbed our unsealed tile floors because they were driving me bananas, painted our bathroom, primed our ceiling for painting, cleaned the garage, raked leaves in the front yard, made a fire pit in the backyard.....the list goes on.

I can barely catch my breath listing all the things that he has done as an act of service. I could not imagine doing half of the things that he has accomplished and if I did attempt them it would look like a 2nd grader was allowed in the house to wreak havoc.

I am so grateful for such a loving, forgiving, sacrificing husband who is a leader through and through. I know much of it comes from the way he saw his parents interact growing up and I am so grateful. The majority of it comes from his relationship with Christ who gives him strength, grace and most of all unconditional love.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Doing Church

Church is a verb.

Yes, yes...I know. Church is also a building, a denomination, the clergy and a body of believers. Church has many definitions but there is one that I never knew existed. A definition that encompasses a community of believers in action, living life together.

Church is more than going to a building every Sunday, sitting down, standing up to sing, bowing your head during prayer and thinking about the football game that is coming on later and listening to a preacher man drone on about hell, fire and brimstone.

Church is about giving yourself freely to your Church family and the community that you live in. It is about washing each other's feet, giving up the shirt on your back, praying with fellow believers and making things happen to help your fellow-man.

Most of all church is about sharing the Gospel - the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and what that means for humankind.

Church is about family. Church is about love. Church is about Christ.

This past Sunday at church was a little different from the normal service we have. It was a night of worship, scripture and prayer. The Church was challenged to get out of their seat and pray for their neighbor. The service portrayed, to me, what Church is supposed to be.

We get so caught up in "playing the role" each Sunday. You know, the one where we plaster on a fake smile and tell everyone: "I'm doing fine!" When really, you feel as if your life is falling apart. A beautiful thing about Church is that you don't have to be okay all the time. You can come broken, scarred and upset. After all, Christ did say: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

It's real. It's encouraging. It's living life with a community.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On writing...

Writing used to be a hobby of mine. One that brought much creativity and joy to my life. Over the past couple of years my pen has barely scratched a piece of paper with letters of meaning. I have come to a point in my life where I am not quite sure where my joys lie, besides in Christ.

I have had many hobbies over the years, writing, sewing, a brief stint of knitting, acting, backstage hand, piano...the list goes on. While many of these I have enjoyed and proved to be quite good at I wasn't passionate about any of them. In an endeavor to find a passion, I have begun reading my writings of old. Some of them make me jerk back in disgust thinking, "what was I thinking when I wrote that?" while others bring back fond memories of sitting on the front porch with paper and pen in hand, the breeze gently brushing my face.

Here is one of those writings, written during a Creative Writing class at Coastal Carolina University. I don't remember what prompted this piece but I do remember reading it in front of the class, feeling proud and accomplished. It is untitled, written in 2007.

And they come and go like seasons,
Coming in and out, changing the way
Life is viewed and decisions are made.

And you, bright tranquility that
Contains me in rain showers and mud puddles,
Splashing in endless new life and bliss.

And raging forth in the sun,
You dance along the aqua coast,
Beckoning me to follow the lines of salt.

And the tragic beauty of browns and red,
Leave you bare and naked,
Taking your dignity and hope

And on the brink of freezing,
You lie on the cold hard earth,
Frozen, staring into the black.

Yet who are you? Season of mine,
that breaks between the saltiness of summer
and death of winter. You are middle ground
and I say to you: pass me by; leave me here.

On this sandy shore to mock
the seagulls that land and stay.Never migrating though the cold is near.