Saturday, April 27, 2013


She found herself standing on top of a great cliff, staring down at the crashing waves of the ocean.  It would probably take fifteen seconds to hit the water if she jumped.  The wind was blowing cold, biting bullets of sleet through her skirt and jacket.  She wrapped her arms tightly around herself, grateful for the moisture because even she could pretend there weren't tears streaming down her face. Their voices kept running through her head.  They got louder as the wind picked up from the east.  Her thoughts were adamant at being more forceful than nature itself.  She tried to listen to the wind, the waves, and the rain.  She shook her head violently and looked up and when she did she saw a sparrow caught in the gale.  It was beating its tiny wings furiously to regain control against the storm.  It tumbled up through the air like a boomerang and would suddenly drop ten feet only to be lifted up again and blown in a spiral to the right.  Suddenly, it stopped beating its wings and plummeted down towards the water.  The wind won the battle and the small creature did not have the energy to fight anymore.  The girl gasped as she saw it fall into the ocean, it barely made a ripple and unless someone had been watching it fall, no one would have ever know anything entered the water.  She was grateful to have a distraction from her own thoughts for the briefest of moments.  But they always returned.  She knew why the sparrow had stopped fighting.  Everything around it was so strong, so unrelenting that the only choice left was to fall.  The girl kicked the pebbles in front of her and watched them roll off the cliff.  The wind was getting stronger, she could feel her body pushed forward and to the side with its angry blows.  Hers was the path of the sparrow.  She tried to convince herself that no one would miss it and the world would remain unchanged by the disappearance of one, tiny sparrow.  That reality caused the girl to loosen her muscles, give in to the wind and fall, just as the bird had done.  The girl thought just before hitting the water that she had been wrong, it was closer to twenty seconds.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Our futures can at times seem so uncertain and terrifying.  If only we had that magical fluorescent brick path to guide our feet towards happiness and fulfillment.  I wished (and still sometimes do) that it was possible to catch a glimpse of what my life will look like in a year, five years, fifty.  Will I still be here?  Who will I be with?  What will I be doing?  

But I can't.  

There is no yellow brick or crystal ball or etchings in our palm that show us the future.  We barely even have a road. It so often feels overgrown, full of stones, and gravel, and dust.  Sometimes we diverge into the woods and a few living trees knock us around, beating us with apples - the proverbial fruit reminding us that the world is broken.  And it's hostile out there.  Sometimes it's hard not to lose hope when earthquakes kill thousands, pivotal races turn into fear-stricken funeral processions and children are no longer safe in school.   The hardest part is deciding who you will link arm and arm with to skip into your future.  Will that person someday cower in fear of some unexpected obstacle?  Will they rust up and seize, frozen in a storm?

Or will the person you choose lack the foresight to help you determine the right path to take, their brains only made up of straw?  You can only ask yourself if you are prepared to carry with you the oil to sooth frozen souls, the strength and tools to stitch them back together when they have been dropped and trampled, and the robe of assurance that you do not need to be protected but can also be the protector.  Somewhere, over the rainbow, there is a place to try ourselves out – take a trip, make a move, set out into the unknown.  Only then will we be able to figure out if there really is “no place like home”. 

We only get one try (unless, of course you're Buddhist, and then, well, good luck with your own personal Groundhog Day).  It's a tight rope walk, teetering between the urge to make sure it's "meaningful" and the reminder to not take yourself so seriously.  But at the end of the day, I think it is just fine to skip along, wide-eyed and naive to what could happen and hopeful for what might.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Crystal Milk - Flash Fiction Friday

There were eyes beneath his bed, gleaming orange and fierce.  He couldn't decide what was scarier, leaning over and exposing his head to whatever was hiding there or not knowing what it was up to at all.  And each time he got scared enough, or drew enough bravery from his small patchwork bed, he stole a quick peek and gasped to see their glow, unblinking, staring and waiting.

He slept about an hour every night.

In the mornings, his mother would place his cereal before him, patting his head and watch him eat, slowly taking drags from her cigarette as she leaned against the sink.  Her fingers were stained with ink, dark and bruised, matching the rings beneath her tired but eager eyes.  Nearing the time when he would tilt the bowl back and slurp the purple milk tasting like crystals, and catching the last marshmallow charm, he began to see fairies flitting back and forth.  The knobs on the cabinets began to smile and wink at him, and the birds sitting on the tree branches outside the window whistled to him, encouraging him to get ready for school.  His head felt too large for his body, his neck aching and tired from holding it up.  He placed his hands under his chin, supporting its weight as he headed towards the front door.

"Don't forget your diary, sweetie."

By the time he got to his desk at school, the other children were all wearing masks.  Some giggling, others menacing and frowning in his direction.  Some had bright, pink feathers in their hair, one boy had a forked tail.  The teacher rode in as usual on her miniature horse, dismounted, and began drawing on the chalkboard with one of her claws.  School only lasted five minutes that day.  He used the rest of the day to write in his diary.  He wrote about the things he saw and heard.  His mother told him that whatever happened to him, he needed to write it down in his diary and show her at the end of the day.  She called him her little experiment.  But each time he tried to write, the words once written began to sit up and walk around the page.  They hopped onto his chewed-up pencil and made his hand begin to scribble, the new words mashing together and looking wobbly as the old words hooted with laughter.

His head still felt heavy as he rode the bus home.

His mother greeted him at the door with a milkshake.
"Have we had a fun day?" she asked.
"I'm tired, Mom."
"I know sweetie, just drink your milkshake and go take a nap in your room.  Did you do any writing?"
He handed her the book in exchange for the milkshake.  It tasted like the cereal milk, like crystals and snow.  He drank it as fast as he could, eager for sleep, and followed his mother upstairs.  As his concrete head hit the cloudy pillow, he could hear his mother close her door.  Her laughter, was punctuated by the clicking of the typewriter keys.  He hoped he had taken good notes for her today.  Maybe then they both could get some sleep.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

I have just spent the last five days and nights with one of my favorite (possibly THE favorite) persons in the world.  Our relationship is a funny one, my sister and I.  It is doubtful that I will be able to convey even a glimpse of that which makes up what lies between us.  But allow me to give it a try anyway...

We are day and night, coffee and tea, hot and cold, quiet and loud, summer and winter, and friendly and reserved.  We are forgiving and harsh, passionate and disinterested, hungry and satisfied, blonde and brunette   But we are each so many varied versions of all of those extremes that when together we are a force to be reckoned with.  We are intimidating.  We are hilarious.  We have secrets. We have hurt each other - horribly.  We have stood up for the other one when no one else did.

It starts with history and shared memories. It finishes with the encouragement and belief that the other one will do great things in this life.  Neither of us would choose the other's life - but I believe we each stand back in awe of the other, admiring their bravery, intellect, gumption and grit.

A sister's love is so much more than that love found between lovers or parents or friends.  It is a love in spite of everything else.  It is an understanding and an allowance and complete acceptance. No one will ever, ever understand how I work quite like my sister.  And I'd like to think that I really do get her as well.

I have never felt such love.  I send out the wish that each of you also can have that kind of person in your life - the kind that given the choice between them and a hundred thousand others to spend an afternoon with doing nothing, you would choose them and they would choose you.

I will always choose her.  I carry her heart. I carry it in my heart.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I used to think that I could feel my bones.  I believed I was able to separate the muscle and tendons and cartilage and my skeletal frame was apart from the fleshy body that stood around it.  I would sit or lie or stand very still and imagine the slow and small movement of my bones beneath my skin.  I would dance or shake or sway within my own body without moving at all.  The skin and fat surrounding my bones didn’t matter, the density and strength of my bones was all that I cared about.  I believed that they were more important than what could be seen.  Pearly white, but porous when looked at up close.  Dense patterns of honeycomb and refracted light is how I imagined my bones to appear.  They were delicate but as hard and tough as iron.  Any aches or pain that I experienced I attributed to my muscle and skin clinging too tightly to my frame.  My bones longed to be free, to dance that funny dance we’ve all seen skeletons do against a black backdrop. 

I have separated myself from the comforts of home that still remain in the Midwest.  I have taken nothing but my frame, my base, and my foundation with my hope to dance freely and wildly without the constraints of comfort zones, secure jobs and familiar faces.  Without my skin, without the protection of muscle and tendon and vital organs, I feel more acutely the pangs of homesickness, insecurity, loneliness, cold winds and harsh financial strains.  Dancing without fleshy armor is thrilling and liberating, but dangerous as well.  I can more easily break.  I might trip and fall.  I will be looked at like a crazy person, my motives and goals foreign to most.  

However, I have the opportunity to choose how I am rebuilt.  I am free to lay on the muscle and tissue that I feel is right for me.  My second skin will always be waiting for me up north, like a familiar cloak I can put on the second my bony feet hit the ground.  It is warm, and it is secure, and  I am loved there.  And that is comforting.  But I am also comforted knowing that if I was able to build a body before, I can do it again - and hopefully this time a little better...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Allow Me to Introduce Myself...

Call me V.

I am a recovering Midwestern girl who followed her dream to move away and start a new life full of adventures, success, disappointments and recovery.  That’s the premise of where I have come from and where I am now.  If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that there are no guarantees, only hope. 

I am not sure anymore who said it, probably a great many people, but someone wisely once said:

“Write what you know.”

I have a great many plans for this blog, and hope you follow along and take this journey with me.  My intentions for it are so grand and far-reaching that if I get even a step closer to "there" from the "here" where I stand, I will be satisfied.

I do not promise fuzzy and warm thoughts.  A mix of fiction and non-fiction, photos of my daily runs and evenings out, and perhaps a recipe or two will appear here.  I will mainly include my essays and observances of this new life that I am working my way through and the notions that pop into my silly little head sometimes.  I will take you along with me on my travels, through my fears, and up high into my dreams.

Come along, come along with me...