Tuesday, March 31, 2015



145/365 - Mad Science
Flickr Credit: Dennis Wilkinson
Hello, I have come to do the science.

Oh, the science. What kind of science?

Just the regular kind of science. I’m still an amateur, you know—I don’t want to go crazy with all the calculations just yet. Nothing too complicated!

Well, let me see what’s available. We have “Dropping Cats” in Room 2B, although that one’s rather labor-intensive. Normally I’d recommend “Putting Different Things in the Microwave” or “Poking People While They Nap,” but those are all full. Hm, what about “Mixing Things Together,” as led by our fantastic professor, Walter P. Creshum?

My mother always did say I had a way with a spoon!

Excellent! That’ll be a twenty dollar entrance fee, and if you just take the first corridor to your left it’s straight down the hall in 8L.

Thank you ever so much! Let’s see, here it is. Mixing Things Together?

Yes, yes! Do come in, we were just about to get started!

I see! What are you mixing?

Well, in this bowl I have mixed chocolate chips and toenails, and in this bowl I have mixed a cow’s tongue and hydrochloric acid. I was about to mix them together, and see what happens.

Ah, that does sound fascinating. Any chance I might try mixing things together?

But of course! All the things to mix are just on that counter over there, take anything you like, mix it together, and do let us know if it’s going to blow. Oh, they yelled at me rather severely the last time I shattered the windows.

Absolutely. Now, let’s see. Socks, a must-have. And an old telephone! How quaint. Well, here is some chlorine, and I’ll just take this whisk and weed-killer, and then… Oh, I wonder if they have any sea bass. Hm, sea bass, sea bass, sea bass. There we are!

What are you mixing?

All these things—the sea bass will really hit the spot. And you?

Just some oats, maple syrup, raisins, and a good helping of brown sugar.

Sounds delicious!

No! Don’t—eat it…

This tastes funny… Acgh, what is that?

Well, you didn’t give me a chance to tell you about the laundry detergent, did you?

Why on earth would you put laundry detergent in oatmeal?


Monday, March 30, 2015



baby feet 3
Flickr Credit: nichole
It’s interesting to look up names on the internet, because you can do it a couple of ways.

There’s the baby name sites, and that is where you find the most precious name for your coming newborn—something classy, maybe with a symbolic meaning or a tie to your family’s past. Nothing that will get your child teased, nothing too strange, something beautiful.

And then there’s Urban Dictionary. Look up your name. You will learn that a lot of other people have some things to say about that name—they’ve known some good ones and they’ve known some bad ones and whoo, there’s some strong language to be said about either.

It’s said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Cute, but no.

I mean, sure. If we lived in a universe where roses were called ugleshruffs and always had been, no one would question it. But we come with culture, background, history, memory, connotation, past.

I notice that the name Adolf fell in popularity, after World War II.

I notice that the name Khaleesi has risen with Game of Thrones.

I notice that when I hear the name Max I almost exclusively think of a big dog licking Ariel and an evil villain who lives in a volcano and whispers beautiful plots across the sea.

I notice that when I hear the name Gertrude I think of cookies and soft hands, baking banana bread and rough carpet on my cheeks as I played with plastic bowling supplies and an ancient TV set while Christopher Lloyd sings “In the Dark of the Night” and I build with wooden blocks on the floor with my cousin.

I notice that my parents have forbidden us to name any of their grandchildren after a coworker who stole from the company.

We think of a name, we think of a fascist dictator. A mother of dragons. A dog. A villain. A grandma. A thief.

Perhaps the rose would smell as sweet, but would we want to touch it? Would we want to put our babies in the cage with the Incredibly Deadly Viper? Would we want to remember the death, the pain, the suffering, the anger, the hatred, the retribution?

What’s in a name? We call our babies Mary, but you’re harder-pressed to find a Lucretia. Search the Internet. Find out. What’s in yours?

Friday, March 27, 2015



She finally forgave him and started to heal.

There are times when pieces of my life are like that line in “The Piña Colada Song.” Things are like a worn-out recording of a favorite song. My Percy Jackson collection, for example. Or Harry Potter. Something I’ve gone through so many times I can’t touch them again without knowing that it isn’t the same and I don’t love it the way that I did. Because I am different and it is different.

But there are other times when the repetition doesn’t make it fade. Where every single time I feel like I’m hearing it for the first time and I’m in love and in pain and broken and alive again.

“This Isn’t The End” by Owl City is one of them. I love that song. I love that song because as many times as I hear it I can still feel the pain and the hope that contrast and yet are so strong.

She finally forgave him and started to heal. She finally forgave him and started to heal. She finally forgave him and started to heal.

It’s just that… I don’t know. I can’t imagine something happier than forgiveness. I can’t imagine something sweeter and more welcome. Because forgiveness takes things away—pain, hurt, the wear and tear of an anger-filled life. Justice is good. I like justice. It’s just that forgiveness is better.

Maybe that’s also why I like Les Mis so much.

They’re just those songs that take away all the doubt.

“This Isn’t the End” by Owl City.

“Wolf Bite” by Owl City.

“Finale” from Les Mis.

“Something Girl” by Adam Ant.

“Move Toward The Darkness” from The Addams Family Musical.

And another song. I can’t remember it but when I listen to it, it is always new.

They’re just the songs. Songs… New songs. Songs that tell me that someone is listening. Not only is someone listening, but He loves me. Something I could stand to hear every day.

Thursday, March 26, 2015



Catskills Fireflies 2012
Flickr Credit: s58y


It’s the sound the clouds make as they breathe in
come hazy sunshine
come dirty earth
come smoky wind
the clouds pour for all

The firefly in her cocoon sings the same song
hello trampled leaf
hello broken stick
hello rumpled flower
the fireflies glow for all

The wolf brings the music at night and whispers
dream waning moon
dream howling stars
dream weeping comet
the wolves comfort all


And even when the sun is blind
the clouds pour
And even when the earth is deaf
the clouds pour
And even when the wind is mute
the clouds pour
and make the changing song


Or even when the leaves fall
the fireflies glow
Or even when the sticks burn
the fireflies glow
Or even when the flowers wilt
the fireflies glow
and sing the changing song


But even when the moon is melting
the wolves comfort
But even when the stars are falling
the wolves comfort
But even when the comets are breaking
the wolves comfort
and dance to the changing song


Because the change never stops changing
Just as the rain never stops raining
The clouds and their keepers never shall leave
The flies and the ashes push away grief
The wolf in her den and the moon up above
Sing the songs and those old memories of
They don’t want to hear and they don’t want to change
But they’re wrong
They don’t think the old dog will learn the new trick
But they’re wrong
They don’t understand the sound on the cold front
But I can teach them
I can teach them—all it takes is a little


Wednesday, March 25, 2015



Secrets can mean lots of different things.

In The Addams Family Musical, no one has any secrets, and as soon as they start keeping secrets the entire family just collapses like the Roman Empire.

In Finian’s Rainbow, Susan has a secret—a secret, a secret, she says she has a secret; a secret, a secret, a secret kind of secret! And Woody sings that part really well, by the way, so don’t read it in an ugly voice.

OneRepublic has a song about secrets.

We keep the secrets, we tell the secrets, we have moral problems about whether or not the secrets should be told…

And yet in one way or another, people will either know or not know and secrets are that simple.

I have some secrets. For example, I really like the blog post I am putting on Sometimes I’m a Story on Friday, and no one knows what it is but me.

I also like what I’m doing on April Fool’s Day, although that one I’m a little bit more apprehensive about. There are other secrets, between friends. Because I once did something horrible on April Fool’s Day—and people say I should forgive myself and I have, but forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness. I have the tendency to think that something that may be funny will not be funny at all.

I think it is funny, but then, who knows if it will truly be funny or not. I’m not sure.

Secrets can be silly, but other times secrets are destructive. I do not think my secrets are destructive. But then, sometimes it is hard to tell until the damage has already been done.

Monday, March 23, 2015



My Breath of Joy
Flickr Credit: Vincepal
I did not feel joy today.

Or, at least, if I did it feels far away.

In the morning there was serving. Feed the dog, feed the cat, feed the rat, feed yourself. Pick up the sister and bring her to her playdate, work for a little while then bring her back home. Do the dishwasher.

I forgot to do the laundry. Or maybe I just didn’t do it, because the dryer might be broken and I will have to ask about that.

In the afternoon there was homework. Applications, Federal Reserve notes, Ceremony, correo. I didn’t even get to biology.

I saved a lot of it for tomorrow.

In the evening there was dinner. I had wanted to watch a certain movie, but the will left me. I thought I would write, and I did. It’s just that they called me and told me they still wanted me to apply for a scholarship, even though it is ludicrous to ask someone to write you a letter of recommendation within three days, even though I had to write about behind a humanitarian even though I am pretty sure writing is still the entertainment industry. I wrote 3,000 words in three hours.

Most of that paper is a lie. Fabrication. Bull. Not the information, it’s true. But it’s still a lie to try and get something when you don’t want it in the first place.

Now it is night. There was coughing, so I stopped it. There was cold, so I warmed it. There was silence, so I dispelled it. There was nobody, and I don’t know what to do about that.

Brittle girl, brittle world. If even you can call her that.

It’s hard to remember pain when you are content, or even happy. It can be a curse.

It’s hard to remember joy when you are apathetic, and a shell. It is merely unfortunate.

There is coughing again. The drops are cherry flavored. I will have to stop it again.

Sunday, March 22, 2015



Flickr Credit: José María Pérez Nuñez

Privacy is divine.

Privacy is hell.

I'm alone, so there is no one to make sounds and distract me.

I'm alone so I can hear the fridge turn on and nearly crap my pants.

There is no reason to lock the doors because there is no one to walk in on me undressing.

There is every reason to make sure the doors are locked three times because if anyone comes in there will be no one but myself to save me.

Time passes slow and sweet, like honey. I have no need to rush.

Time passes fast and dangit I have no one to remind me when I need to be places I'm totally responsible I can handle this.

Ah, me, myself, and I. Alone at last.

I have not touched the dryer the entire time I have been here help help someone has broken in to do laundry.

I can eat whatever I want!

I totally should not have eaten that.

I can watch whatever I want and no one will judge me!

I can watch whatever I want... Oops.

Oh, thank goodness, it's just the dog.

But what if it isn't just the dog.

The zombie apocalypse could happen outside and I would never know.

The zombie apocalypse could happen in here and no one would ever know. 

I don't understand why the cat likes to cuddle with the cupboards.

I don't understand why the cat likes to cuddle with me if it likes the cupboards so much

I will ask.

Why am I talking to the cat.

I love being alone.

It is hard being alone.

Saturday, March 21, 2015



Love :: 20140830 8682
Flickr Credit: Oiluj Samall Zeid

I watched Mean Girls tonight. I have access to Netflix, which is a rare luxury and I used it to watch things I hadn't watched before (3rd Rock from the Sun was also funny).

I also read an Enneagram book lying around. I don't really know how the system works, but my best friend thought I might be a five, and after reading it, I think she might be right.

When you're a five, you have "delayed emotions," let's say. I know that feeling. I can be in the moment of something important and be so focused on the thing that is happening that I do not actively feel anything. It takes some time later to think about what happened, and then have the feelings there.

Now I am alone, and I am able to think, and have feelings.

Perhaps it is because it is late at night and I ate three servings of Junior Mints and a lot of orange Kool-Aid, and it is 11:30, but there are more feelings than usual. Love being one of them.

The Mean Girls movie is the first aspect. Not as in I loved the movie (I don't think I do) but I did love a part at the end. Cady jeopardizes her math teacher's reputation under a serious drug search through her house. Cady apologizes, and the first thing her teacher says is, "I forgive you." And then she proceeds to give Cady her punishment.

I also got a text. Just a short text to update my sisters and me, and say "we love you all." The text was emailed to me and ended up in my spam folder, and even though I didn't think to connect the number with the owner I clicked through on it. There were no names, no salutations, just a short text, but I immediately knew who it was from and why they sent it.

Because they love me.

Love is an interesting thing because even though there are 28 definitions on Dictionary.com it's really not the sort of thing you can ever fully describe, because love never really makes itself apparent in one sure way.

Forgiveness is love. It's insane how ridiculous forgiveness is; it doesn't say "don't worry, it's okay" but it defers justice. You can still be punished and it can still hurt, but you are spared the justice you deserve. The only reason? Love.

And the text was love, too. I don't know if there's another name for it. It would be very easy to not send a text, to not check up and to not say "I love you." But sometimes when you are missing things, small things get bigger to try and fill that space.

Even small holes that will fill back up again very soon. They still need to be filled. I don't know if love really fills that space, but it certainly tries. Yes, it certainly tries.

Friday, March 20, 2015



Flickr Credit: Daniel Dionne
Let me tell you what is art.

Art is tigers.

Art is the squiggles in a Halls’ H that make it special, unique, different. And even though it is silly, they all came from the same pan you twit, it tastes better when the grooves scratch the ridges from the surface and make an oval red stone to suck on.

Art is lungs. Even though they are torn and gasping and white from the cough cough cough of scars and movies at midnight, they are art. Little pieces, big job. And they move and you can feel them and watch Lady move up and down as you breathe.

Art is ankle bones.

Art is toenails. Broken, chipped things that are too hard to paint and too precious to slice against a table at Subway in Iowa. Don’t worry, it healed.

Art is when you wish there was less faith and more pennies in a jar to toss at the windows because even if everything wasn’t okay at least there would be no one to blame. No blame, no game, no state of mind, no brain.

Art is dusk.

Art is crumpled papers by the basket in the dark where purple exasperation and bad aim have made a mess on the floor. Art is the woman who cleans them up and takes the plate away—the one from the sandwich she made him.

Art is paneling, and it is ugly and rough and there are thoughts in the paint that tell me I was different then. The yellow is not yellow, it just is.

Art is fear.

Art is the gamble, and love is the reward.

Thursday, March 19, 2015



Remote Control
Flickr Credit: Thunderchild7

Harry, a sleepy-faced eight year old, sits on the couch watching movies; he has been there for six hours and his eyes are starting to glaze over. There is an overturned bowl of Captain Crunch on the floor, and he is eating it straight from the box. The remote control sits on the stand beside him.

His persistent six year old sister, Kara, enters.

Kara: Harry, Harry, come look! I made a castle!

Harry grunts and keeps his eyes fixed on the screen. Kara runs to him and starts to pull the cereal box from his hand.

Kara: Come and play with me, please? Please?

Harry: Go away!

He settles back onto the couch, and laughs at something onscreen. Cereal flies from his mouth and sticks to the screen. Kara frowns, and reaches for the remote control. She hits pause.

Harry: HEY! I was watching that!

Kara folds her arms, hugging the remote control to her stomach.

Kara: Come play castle with me, first. You haven’t been outside all day.

Harry: I don’t want to go outside. I want to stay in here. And I don’t want to play with you.

He lunges at Kara, who darts out of his reach. The remote is sticky and does not fall from her t-shirt. 

Harry: Kara, I mean it! I’ll tell Mom!

Kara sniffles.

Kara: Just for a few minutes? Please? I won’t even make you be my prince. I just want to show you my castle.

Harry hesitates, then runs for the remote and grabs it.

Harry: Get out. Playing is for little kids—I don’t need castles anymore.

Kara walks out with her head hanging. Harry hits “play” on the remote; his film resumes. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015



Writing? Yeah.
Flickr Credit: Caleb Roenigk
I read an account today of visiting a writer's conference.

It makes me uncomfortable just thinking about every visiting one. I get uncomfortable when I let my mom read my own work—what will she think, what will she say, and if I wrote something that doesn't click with our beliefs will she think that it's what I believe, not the character?

And that's kind of the point of a conference. People can take a look at your writing and teach you without being your family and not instilling fears of personal failure in your heart.

But at the same time, I would hate to have to look at someone's face while they read my writing. I don't mind when it's my sister or my best friend—the stuff I show them is exclusive and designed to make them laugh. It isn't real feedback, and I know it. I'm just getting an extra dose of dopamine by accrediting their smiles to my own hard work.

Watching a stranger read my writing would terrify me.

We're reading Ceremony in English right now; Tayo, the Laguna Indian, is trapped with the memories of WWII and the run rises with a story, because stories are sacred, a kind of worship, something that Spider Woman thinks of and delivers through each of us.

Stories are sacred. We can find any kind of use for a story—as a lesson, as a source of entertainment, as toilet paper, a paper hat—but the thing is that stories are also personal. Something I thought of, something I worked on, something I worked on every day for a year because I wanted to make it good and I wanted it to reflect me, in some small way.

There are the writing ideas in all of the folders that I don't touch anymore because I don't want to explore the paths in my soul where those ideas reach.

And there are things that I put down that I want to say, that I need to say, even, but I don't want to see them said.

Stories are sacred but I am only human. And if that means I will avoid interpersonal contact like the plague, or refuse to show my writing to anyone who knows me as a sister first and a writer second, then I guess that's the way it's going to be.

Even if that way may be wrong.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


First breath. First cry. First kiss first date first time first lady first bank first first first. First day. The days when you sit there and wonder why it isn’t the same as it was the first time, when it was magical and imbued with the thrill of learning that yes—you are confident. Yes, you can do this. Yes, you are loved. You can celebrate every year and listen to the sounds of the wax sobbing into the cake and still. It’s never the same as the first time. 
The very first time.  
First qualms. Maybe I should turn back. First friend. We can do this together. First name. Heather. A name I used to dislike because her name meant “noble” and mine meant “shrub.” But then comes the takeover and I say to myself “My name is Heather.” The towel falls. 
There’s the first time you’re comfortable in your own skin. 
First day with a new haircut. First smile—and babies love to smile, and we love to smile back. Like penguins. 
First fight, fist fight, black eye I see tonight. You never expect it, you never dream, and then you’re on the floor with a pair of socks and  fingernail clippers and you realize how important it is you need to put them away but they’re nice to look at. And it’s nice to know that they’re there to hold, even if you can never hold them for the first time again. 
First time you realize you’re going to miss the way the house smells, the lady who lived there, and the cement floor where you ran around with a wheelchair. The smell of sunlight and dust in the kitchen while you felt the heat on your hair. The nightlight reading because it’s too hard to breathe laying down and whatever you do don’t stop. 
First try.  
Tomorrow we try again. But it’s never the same.