Why Don’t You Save Me? [Creative Writing Exercise]

Recently, at work, a few of us got together and practiced our creative writing skills. The prompt? We assigned our partner a song, and each person was to write a short story somehow related to the song. This could be by simply taking the title and utilizing it, or trying to capture the essence of the song in our story.

I received “Why Don’t you Save Me?”, by Kan Wakan. The story’s length was supposed to be around 500 words, which I somehow managed to keep under.

Why don't you

Image Used: Anna Schuleit via Colossal

Why Don’t You Save Me?

The girl sits in the room full of purple tulips crunching on ice. Each clash of her bright teeth makes the oxidized white metal chair quiver in pain, especially where her left hand grips its latticed seat. Sound vibrates and then stops, absorbed by the foliage around her feet – encased in hundreds of water filled vases. The air smells softly of decay, dust, and sweat. The sound of a shutter makes Violet startle; a flash of disgust crosses her face as she deliberately grinds another ice cube and places the glass on the white metal table. Condensation drips down and adds to the pool of water around the glass’ base. She wraps her bare feet around the inside of the chair’s legs and looks up. The shutter snaps.

“Are we done? I’m tired.” Violet’s loose white dress grazes her collarbones and billows out, barely covering her knees. Her skin blushes rose wherever it makes contact with the fabric and at the end of all extremities. The pintucks waterfall down her front and the entire cotton ensemble, in stark contrast to the expression on her face, creates an angelic picture. Twisting her face with scorn she lobbs an ice cube out of her cold mouth towards the shutter sound.

“I hate this room. I don’t care how much you pay me, I hate it.”

“Why don’t you leave, then?”

“You know very well I can’t,” Violet answers, almost incredulously. “I have a contract.” She gulps another ice cube and continues crunching.

“Then shut up and smile. I can’t take good pictures when you look like a demon.” Violet looks away and down as the shutter snaps.

“Did you know that they used to make purple from sea snails?” Using her free hand, Violet reaches down to touch a tulip. Her black hair cascades off her shoulder, partially obscuring her face, completing a line that runs from her hand enclosing the wet glass, across her bare arms to her downcast eyes and ending with her pink-tipped fingers on the flower. The shutter snaps.

“Crushing the snails makes a dye, purple, like this.” She picks up a flower and holds it out. The shutter snaps. Methodically Violet starts to crush the flower, looking coldly in the camera’s direction. The shutter snaps once, twice, and again.

“Tyrian Purple,” she said.

“What is?”

“The color from the molluscs!”

“Just shut up.”

“I hate you.” Violet kicks the tulips closest to her chair. The shutter snaps. She pushes her chair so that it falls behind her, shattering vases on its way down. The shutter snaps. Next the table seems to overturn almost on it’s own as Violet throws her glass of water against a wall. Breathing heavily, her hand somehow bleeding, her hair flat and stringy against her face, Violet stands amid the chaos. The shutter snaps one last time.

“There, finally, a picture worth keeping. You can leave.”

Advertisements

Friday Obsessions: Swiss Miss in bulk.

swissmiss

Okay, this is a bit of a confessional. While I love all kinds of hot chocolate – Ryan makes a delectable burnt carmel/ginger/chocolate concoction – I have recently been obsessed with Swiss Miss. Not the packet kind, I’ll have you know, but the bulk kind that comes in a tin. While it most likely retains the exact ingredient ratios of the individual packets, somehow it’s better. It hits all the right nostalgia buttons, and it’s super convenient: just hot water with a milk topper. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, in the food-obsessed culture of the Bay Area, but I seriously love this stuff. Lately I’ve even been adding a bit of cardamom to it. Mmmm Mmmm. Delicious.

Friday Obsessions: Jam Man

chet atkins

I know, I know, you have probably heard a portion of this song on Esurance commercials since the Superbowl. However, that doesn’t make it any less extraordinary. Chet Atkins, the Guitar Man, really influenced, and continues to do so, an entire generation of sound and music. His unique sound, incredible ability to freestyle, and crazy technique make him a stand out musician.

So take a moment, and enjoy in it’s entirety one of my favorite Chet Atkins songs:

 

Image Credit: NPR. They also have a very nice article about him.

Friday Obsessions: Bang Bang

Nancy Sinatra

For the past few days I haven’t been able to stop thinking of this song, and today it’s become an obsession. Bang, Bang. A Cher original, I think Nancy Sinatra does a much better rendition of it. Making eyes at the camera and soulfully telling us her story, I’m in love. I mean, I always sing “These Boots are Made for Walkin’” whenever I put boots on, but this song is on a whole new level right now. Let’s just say I totally understand why she was a popular pin up girl for soldiers in Vietnam. Yup, I’m a Nancy lover.

 

Image credit: Totally stole it from here. I don’t know where they stole it from :)

And I’m back!!!

In the last few months I’ve had some pretty major milestones, and it’s been fun. I turned 28. Yay! I graduated from design school (I now have an MFA in women’s fashion). I got married (!!!!!). Yeah, it’s been crazy.

Do I change the name of the blog to reflect my age? I’m not sure, I’ll have to think about that. I didn’t change my name, I’m too attached to it, and my husbando is pretty awesome, so he’s just taking my name instead. One of my best friends made my wedding dress, and I helped – that was pretty awesome. Who hand-sews their wedding dress, with their mom none-the-less, in this day and age? Me. I was also given a beautiful hand-made quilt as a wedding present. Yeah – I love it. It’s like two worlds were completely crashing: some crazy 19th century settlers with totally modern feminist/equality idealists. Our ceremony lasted 3 minutes.

Enough about that. What I am really here to tell you about is a magical, magical place called Prairie Creek. Almost at the Oregon border, this gem of a park is where the Ewoks live. I could tell. I could almost hear their little noises. Not only are ginormous, humongous redwood trees towering over you, beautifully clean air coursing through your lungs, and early morning mists embracing your hair to make it frizz out in all it’s gloriousness, but underneath your feet you can find all sorts of cool things. Snails mostly. And some banana slugs. But they are epic!!!!!! If you are lucky, like we were, you will also encounter a herd of elk. What are elk, you ask? Think deer on steroids, with fuzzy horns and cream bottoms. Let’s just say I was super glad to be in a car when they were about 2 meters from me.

Our first full day there we did a 10+ mile hike through the redwoods (on Irvine trail), then through the stunning Fern Canyon, onto the beach, and back through the forest via Miner’s Ridge Trail. Highly recommended unless you have some slight knee issues – like we have. We persevered. It was worth it.

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy, and maybe it will lure you into coming to California, or if you are already here, driving up the coast. I can only apologize for the quality of the pictures. For some reason I can’t figure out how to make my iphone take good nature photography. It’s a shortcoming of mine – I’m sorry. However, Prairie Creek is amazaballs. Stuff of legends I tell you.

Problems of Invisibility

Today, after running an errand, I went to the Elmwood Cafe. A cute cafe with pretty good baked goods, I enjoy going there on occasion. Standing in line behind a young girl ordering, I notice an old lady with her nurse enter. She walks right up to the counter, checking out the desserts and pulling out her money. Her nurse half-heartedly tries to get her in line, but with no success. I don’t think the old lady even heard her. Which was no big deal. The cafe worker looks up and without blinking proceeds to take the old lady’s order. I’m one to go with the flow, and maybe the old lady is a bit senile, so what the hell, let’s let her get away with being rude. Besides, I think she may have had a hard time standing. And who am I to judge? Then the nurse orders, which makes sense. She has to keep tabs on the old lady.

At this point I’ve been standing in line for about 10 minutes, when it probably should have been about 3, but as I said, no big deal. Then I notice this second lady, a real hag, so ugly and stretched – like plastic surgery gone wrong. She’s inching beside me, and I realize, Oh My Fucking God, she’s going to cut in front of me too. She gives me a really dirty look, for what I have no idea – and then proceeds to cut in line. The clerk at the counter, meanwhile, never bats an eye. At this point, I’m thoroughly embarrassed. I have been standing at the counter for a good 13 minutes completely ignored and I’m not sure what to do about it.

All of a sudden I’m transported back in time to when I was about 10 years old. I was at some beach town on a trip – Mendocino maybe, or Monterey, who knows – and I had to go to the restroom. I don’t remember who I was with, my mom, my dad, or my school, but I was told to go to the shop person, on my own, and ask where the restroom was located. Though quite the little school yard boss (I reigned with a just and kind hand) I was a rather shy and reticent young girl in public. I worked up my courage and stood in line.

Finally, at the front of the line, the clerk deliberately looks over my head to the next person. “How can I help you sir?” The gentleman lightly placed a hand on my shoulder, guiding me even closer to the register. “I believe this young lady was first.” His voice dripped with both gentleness and chastisement. The young clerk, perhaps a bit ashamed, looked at me and asked, “What can I do to help you?” I was embarrassed, proud, bashful, and thankful all at once. I asked where the restroom was and followed the instructions to the letter.

It was as if that gentleman had saved me. The invisible me – too scared and unsure of what to do in awkward social situations – had been spotted and even treated like a lady. I wasn’t into Prince Charming, preferring the idea of Tarzan – that wild beast tamed by intelligence, beauty, and goodwill – but here was a Prince if I ever met one. Of course, I was too bashful to even look at his face, though I am sure I managed to squeak out a “Thank you.”

Here I am, at 27, and still somehow invisible. Now it’s no longer appropriate to sit bashfully waiting for someone to notice me and save me from uncomfortable social situations. Nor do I think it’s what I need. I let the old hag go. Really, there is no way she didn’t know that I was standing there first, but it doesn’t matter. I have time. I’m still young. I can wait an extra few minutes. I did. Then I ordered it all to go. I’d taken all the punishment I could handle. No use staying in places where no one can see you.

Graffiti: It’s always interesting (this time it’s from a random walk around SF).

So, here’s the latest installment, taken during an epic walk today. I was in heels. I don’t have any blisters, but the balls of my feet hurt. I am now firmly sitting down. Oh right. The artists :) Well, I failed epically this time. For the big mural, with the words Sink or Swim, I found one website crediting Jurne, but it seems to me that Jurne sticks to lettering. Then there is the actual tag Sink or Swim, and when I looked that up I found some interesting info about saving sharks. Moral of the story – I have no idea who the artists are. Sorry :(

As for the other graffiti piece I photographed, I came up equally dry. I mean, there are a lot of things written there, I just can’t find any info, or can’t decipher it. So once again, I apologize. No cool videos or information this round. Just enjoy the colors, textures, and peeling paint. I love all the combinations this time.

Graffiti: It’s always interesting (This time it’s at The Pallet Space, Oakland).

As I was walking around Oakland today, I spotted some truly amazing mural/graffiti art. It was all around an antique/art/music store called The Pallet Space. I ended up talking to the owner, who was super nice, and got to look and take pictures everywhere. I wish I owned a nice camera to do some of this work justice! Since there are a lot of artists, I’ll do my best to tag them in the pictures, but I think I missed a few. Here is a list as well (follow the links for cool videos/pictures by the artists):

Graffiti: It’s always interesting (this time it’s in The Mission, SF)

These shots, taken a little before I started this blog, are details of an awesome mural in The Mission district of San Francisco. At the time, I didn’t know I would be hosting a blog, so I didn’t really try to get a large overview, as the details were what interested me (also, with cars and people in the way it was a bit difficult). However, I think the details are cool enough to also stand on their own. This art is tagged by what looks like a few groups: SUK, COD, and TVC, but also by a particular artist who has been in those groups: Peruse. I don’t know if Peruse did this on his/her own, or with more members of the group, but I like it regardless! One detail I find particularly cool in these closeup photos: the drips of paint underneath the mural. They create an inspiring texture.

Graffiti: It’s always interesting (This time it’s the border of Berkeley/Oakland).

Even when graffiti isn’t really like art, and more like a bunch of random tags, I still find it beautiful. The build up of color, the placement of one tag on top of another, and the texture of the layered paint on old buildings makes me keep looking at it. This time, I crossed some train tracks to get some of the graffiti, and even had a minor daydream (what if I get stuck and heroically rescue myself?) while doing so. I don’t know any of the taggers (epic fail), but enjoy anyway.