Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kiss Me (Dew Write)

Mass Merriment <--Click that if you wanna know what it's all about.

"Come on, don't be like that! Kiss me," she whined, amusement fading rapidly from her face.

He rolled over onto his side, pushed himself up one one elbow and looked down at her. She was beautiful, there was no denying that. But she knew it, and it made her slightly unbearable. His initial declining of her invitation made her laugh. In her world, those invitations are never refused -at least they never had been until now, and certainly never by the likes of him. He was perfectly aware of his status as a nobody and the "honor" she was, in her opinion, bestowing on him.

Then he refused the "honor" again.

She waited, fully confident that he didn't mean it. She lay on the ground in her perfectly matched Hollister outfit, chosen for that carefully worn-in look. The corn-silk hair that spread out around her head could've been arranged atop the bright, lush grass by a media expert preparing a shampoo commercial. Her understated makeup accentuated rather than added to the natural beauty of her stereotypically bright blue eyes. . . lovely, self-assured blue eyes, without the least trace of pleading. She reminded him of a brilliantly coloured Easter egg laying there in the grass, demanding to be snatched up and prized (if eggs could demand). She was absolutely resplendent with all the blush and bloom of her sixteen years.

Sunlight glinted off of the faintest shimmer of nude-tinted lip balm, issuing its own invitation to feed upon those supple, rosebud lips. He imagined himself succumbing to her expectation and his own natural inclination, dipping his face down to meet that velvety aperture. Without ever touching them, he knew how her lips would feel on his. They would be perfectly moist, but not wet; firm, but yielding. Hungry, but not grateful to be fed. How could she appreciate that which she felt fully entitled to?

He shoved that thought aside, envisioning parting those petals and probing them gently with his tongue. He wouldn't enter unless invited. He would make her meet him half way, at least. He could make that one small demand of this self-possessed creature, couldn't he? That she show him that she was interested in something besides his compliance? That she wanted the flavour of him, not the flavour of conquering him? For surely he would be the conquest, not she. The concept of surrender did not exist for her.

But what was conquest to she who commanded tribute from everyone and everything she rested those baby blues on? In her world, everything in her sights was already hers. Including him.

He turned his sight from his fancies back to her, knowing he'd never be able to get out of his head long enough to enjoy this kiss that dozens of the Somebodies he knew would kill for. He lay back down next to her, feeling disregarded and wounded by her need to be adored. Adoring her in spite of himself.

Why couldn't he just kiss her? Why did he resent wanting her so much that he couldn't just do it? Why did he feel the need to retaliate? It isn't as though she intended his feelings any harm -or was even aware that she was harming them at all. She just didn't know any better. Impotent, inarticulate indignation fortified him, and he decided he would be the first to conquer her.

"I just don't like you that way."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Autumn is. . . (Dew Write)

Dew Write <---Click that if you wanna know what it's all about.

I shuffled my feet through the pile of leaves i just spent all morning raking up off of the lawn that i don't care about. The browns of dead leaves are much lovelier than the browns of dead grass, i decided, tracking the leaves back across the lawn. It looked kind of naked without the leaves covering it up. The lawn, i mean. But i did just spend all morning cultivating that nude look. . . if i cover it back up, i'll have wasted my time.

Or would i have? I mean, is it a waste of time to erase something, if what i wrote over it was better? And wouldn't the wind eventually do that anyway? Blow the leaves back around the yard, i mean. It isn't as though stray leaves from another lawn will obey the invisible boundaries of tidiness i just created. Better me than the wind, i agreed to myself. Shuffling is going to take all day, though, i'd better start running. . . maybe pick some up and toss them in the air for more even grass-coverage.

But would it be so bad to take all day? I'm always in such a hurry, and it's so nice outside. I can't quite see my breath, and i'm just warm enough in my hooded sweater. The browns are so vibrant, and i can smell the threat of snow in the coming months.

No, it would be better to take all day, i concluded. Soon, i'll have to bundle up and drive carefully over the treacherous roads, sitting uncomfortably in my car in clothing that makes me feel large and ungainly. Better to savor the browns before they fade to white.

This is what Autumn is. Autumn is taking all day re-blanketing the yard with leaves, wearing my hoodie, and marveling at the browns before the snow hides them all from me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cussing At Work

My boss and i have an interesting relationship. Usually, she likes me as a person and doesn't object to some of the aspects of my personality seem that irk a lot of other people. Usually.

Occasionally, though, she has to pull me into her office to discuss some of these more irksome personality traits because i've offended somebody else with them. Believe me, i've got quite a few unsavory characteristics, but the chart-topper has always been my choice in verbiage. I kind of figured that was the purpose of today's Come To Jesus, and my suspicions were confirmed when she handed me this memo.

Dear Employee:

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their co-workers.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be more easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated. We do, however, realize the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with co-workers.

Therefore, a list of 18 new and innovative 'Try Saying' phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

1, Try saying: I think you could use more training
Instead of: You don't know what the fuck you're doing.

2, Try saying: She's an aggressive go-getter
Instead of: She's a fucking bitch.

3, Try saying: Perhaps I can work late
Instead of: And when the fuck do you expect me to do this?!

4, Try saying: I'm certain that isn't feasible
Instead of: No fucking way.

5, Try saying: Really?
Instead of: You've got to be shitting me!

6, Try saying: Perhaps you should check with. . .
Instead of: Tell it to someone who gives a shit.

7, Try saying: I wasn't involved with the project
Instead of: It's not my fucking problem.

8, Try saying: That's interesting!
Instead of: What the fuck?!

9, Try saying: I'm not sure this can be implemented
Instead of: This shit won't work.

10, Try saying: I'll try to schedule that
Instead of: Why the fuck didn't you tell me sooner?!

11, Try saying: He's not familiar with the issues
Instead of: He's got his head up his ass.

12, Try saying: Excuse me, sir?
Instead of: Eat a dick.

13, Try saying: So you weren't happy with it?
Instead of: Kiss my ass.

14, Try saying: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.
Instead of: Do it yourfuckingself!

15, Try saying: I don't think you understand
Instead of: This is bullshit.

16, Try saying: I love a challenge
Instead of: This job blows ass.

17, Try saying: You want me to take care of that?
Instead of: Who fucking died and made you boss?

18, Try saying: He's somewhat insensitive
Instead of: He's a douche.

Hopefully using these alternative phrases will ease relations between you and your co-workers, while allowing you the freedom to express yourself in an environment that will make everybody, including you, more comfortable.

Thank you in advance for your full and immediate compliance.

Jane S******n
Senior Human Resources Consultant.

As i read through this memo, i was really outdoing myself in my heroic effort to maintain a straight face. I leapt through all the hoops: lip-biting, pressing my lips together, coughing, holding the paper at eye-level to conceal my face. . . seriously. I went the distance.

When i felt i was composed enough, i put the memo back on her desk and waited expectantly for the eminent reprimand. We stared at each other across the vast, paper-littered wasteland of a desk. The corner of my mouth twitched, partially with nervousness, but mostly with ill-concealed mirth. Finally, we both burst out laughing until we cried and our cheeks were sore. My stomach was in knots and her mascara had sustained irreparable damage.

Me: So, uh, someone doesn't appreciate my diction?

Rosalind: Nah, i got it in an email, and it reminded me of you.

Me: So this isn't a real write-up?

Rosalind: Nope.

Me: Jane S******n. Nice touch.

Rosalind: I thought so.

Me: This sounds like it was tailor made for me.

Rosalind: Yeah, i changed some of it to stuff you actually say.

Me: You're a real aggressive go-getter, you know that?

Rosalind: You weren't happy with it?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Commoner, Book 3 of Angie and Christie's Reading and Blogging Project

Imagine finding someone who really clicks with you; they're accomplished, independent, educated, and very much a forward-thinking individual. You're in love, and you want to make this person the one you spend the rest of your life with.

Now imagine you're the Crown Prince of Japan. Your life is a rigid, traditional one where the things you value so much in the girl you love are seen as flaws by everyone else in your world. Making this girl your wife would mean completely destroying everything about her that makes you love her in the first place, but you can't bear the thought of marrying anyone else. Would you marry her anyway?

The Commoner is the story of Haruko, the beautiful, intelligent, athletic, headstrong, and only daughter of a wealthy businessman. Haruko comes of age in the midst of social upheaval in post-WWII Japan. Her country is rebuilding and redefining itself, struggling to arrive the modern age while clinging to the thousands-year-old traditions the war interrupted. She meets the Crown Prince during a tennis match, where, to everyone's mortification, she beats him. After this, the Crown Prince continues inviting Haruko to play tennis with him, and their romance begins.

The Crown Prince sends his trusted adviser, Dr. Watanabe, to discuss the possibility of marriage with Haruko's parents. Horrified, they initially refuse the Prince's requests, worried for their daughter's future unhappiness at court due to her low birth. Her father sends her on a trip to Europe to give her the chance to think on the Prince's proposal. It's a historic request; though their family is wealthy, they are not a part of Japan's aristocracy. She chooses to accept, beginning a long life of sacrifice and suffering.

Initially, the book is an unlikely love story between a common woman and the Crown Prince of Japan. Once Haruko accepts the role as Crown Princess, a role she is ill-prepared for, the story shifts to one that tells the difficulties faced by a person transcending the traditional caste system. Due to her rise in social stature, she loses her family and friends. Her mother in law hates her. Her ladies-in-waiting resent her for being elevated above them, in defiance of their perception of the natural order of things. Her husband does his best to shield her from the prejudice of the court, but as the future Emperor of Japan, he has little time to devote to his wife's protection. Alone, Haruko suffers decades of bullying, mental abuse, constant criticism, and perpetual pressure to embody standards she'll never be allowed by those who consider themselves to be her betters to attain.

Shortly after her marriage, Haruko gives birth to a son, who is taken from her after only a few months to be raised by a legion of nurses and tutors. The nurses, under orders from the Empress, do everything they can to deny Haruko visitation with her son. Already suffering from postpartum depression, the taking of her son is the final straw that sends her into a nervous breakdown. She doesn't speak to anyone for a year.

Twenty years later, Empress Haruko is faced with a difficult decision. Her son the Crown Prince is in love with a commoner, a successful business woman named Keiko. The daughter of an ambassador, she has traveled the world, speaks five languages, and has a bright future ahead of her. She has refused him to pursue her career. He vows to leave the country with no heir if he cannot have her. Haruko, wanting her son to be happy, knows better than anyone what Keiko will have to give up, and the unhappiness she'll suffer if she accepts.

Imagine your son is in love with someone he really clicks with. . . she's
accomplished, independent, educated, and very much a forward-thinking individual. You know that helping your son make this woman the one he spends the rest of his life with will destroy everything about her that makes him love her in the first place, and so much more. It will cage her and slowly destroy her as a person. Would you choose the happiness of your son, or would you spare her your fate?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lethargy Attacks!

This exercise in visualization is based on the true stories of two girls' lives.

There was once a couple of friends, named Jinsha and Myrrh. Jinsha and Myrrh were usually the industrious sort of lasses; they would be productive at work, come home, cook good, healthy meals, exercise (Jinsha more than Myrrh), read, write, blog, and generally be engaged in their lives.

Gradually, over the period of a couple of weeks, they grew less involved in their own lives. A thick mantle of lethargy settled around their shoulders, whispering wicked things into their ears.

Lethargy, to Jinsha: You had a busy day at work, why not kick your feet up and order out? You've earned it!

Jinsha thought about what Lethargy said. It's true she had just completed the busy season at the college she worked at, preparing all of the computers for the students, installing the newest software, and debugging so that the students' studies could carry on uninterrupted. She worked longer hours than normal during this period, with no overtime pay. She DID deserve a little break! She put the ground turkey she'd been planning to use in that night's whole wheat pasta dish back in the refrigerator and ordered out for Chinese instead. She didn't hear Lethargy gloating quietly to itself.

Meanwhile, Lethargy was working Its evil on Myrrh as well.

Lethargy, to Myrrh: You've been pushing yourself too hard, what with all that teaching you've been doing lately. Why not skip your blog commenting tonight, and watch some TV? Give your mind a rest.

Myrrh thought about what Lethargy had said. It's true, she'd been preparing her technician candidates for the better part of three months, spending extra hours at work, and even bringing work home with her, to make practice quizzes and problems for her students. Her brain was just tired! Some TV would be nice for a change. She logged off of her computer and went and sat on the couch instead. Lethargy crowed in triumph, but she didn't hear it over the explosions in the movie she'd put on.

Yes, it all began innocently enough. Jinsha and Myrrh really did work very hard, both at work and caring for their families. Every night, Lethargy would remind them of the things they'd done, cooing softly and comforting them.

Lethargy, to Jinsha: You did it! 5K! Why don't you rest your feet and watch a movie?

Lethargy, to Myrrh: Your weight loss has been going so well! You deserve a pizza night every now and then!

Lethargy, to Jinsha: Softball, and soccer, and choir, and cheerleading, and homework. . . you've devoted a lot of time to your kids lately. You're such a good mother! Why not treat yourself tonight? Don't count points for those drinks, just enjoy.

Lethargy, to Myrrh: The sink is full of dirty dishes. Haven't you cleaned enough for one day? All that dusting and straightening up for the Board of Pharmacy inspection. Just hit a drive through and put on a movie or a show.

Lethargy, to Jinsha and Myrrh: It's getting colder outside. Why don't you go inside and snuggle up with your husband? He loves spending time with you.

As Jinsha and Myrrh made themselves more and more comfortable, Lethargy grew fatter and heavier around their shoulders. They practically trudged in through their doors after work, grateful to collapse on the couch and veg out for a while. They had dirty houses and unwritten stories knocking around in their heads, but they were just SO tired after all they had to do! Lethargy had grown silent, not even bothering to whisper Its calming sloth into their ears. By then, they were talking themselves into feeding Lethargy, and It didn't have to spend any effort at all. It was leading a very comfortable life, indeed.

One day, Jinsha realized she'd skipped several Weightwatcher meetings in a row, and that she was contemplating skipping another. That same day, Myrrh realized the exact same thing. They decided to talk to each other about this uncharacteristic laziness that was threatening to consume everything they'd worked so hard to achieve. They were stunned to realize that they were both experiencing the same listlessness and lack of focus.

Jinsha: I haven't finished my book yet. I'm eating like crap, and i've blown off exercise for ages now.

Myrrh: I haven't written anything in weeks! I've put on so much weight, and i can't seem to eat anything healthy to save my life!

Jinsha: I've been watching TV to avoid thinking.

Myrrh: I haven't been reading or commenting on blogs to avoid thinking.

Jinsha and Myrrh: What's wrong with me?

Lethargy sensed this uneasiness emanating from Its prey, and realized It was in danger. Desperately, It began whispering into their ears, hoping to disrupt the conversation, but the damage had been done. Lethargy had been exposed.

Myrrh: Let's take a walk together Saturday.

Jinsha: That'd be lovely! We can plan to walk for tennish minutes.

Myrrh: And if we walk longer, great!

Jinsha: And if we don't,

Jinsha and Myrrh: At least we did SOMETHING.

Lethargy shrieked in terror, but they didn't hear It over their excited planning. They knew Lethargy was a formidable enemy, not easily defeated, but they began building their arsenal little by little. They armed themselves with motivation and interest; with good recipes and smart shopping. They wounded It with exercise, both of the mind and of the body. They struck mortal blows with good meals and lively participation in their lives. Through effort and good sense, they beat Lethargy off of their backs and sent It packing. They smiled in satisfaction.

But they knew that though they'd won the battle, the war was far from over. They knew that steady vigilance would be required to keep It at bay, and they swore to themselves and to each other that they would keep that vigil.

This is for us, Angie. Let it be the first blow against the Thing that is setting us against ourselves.