1000 Words

I’ve seen this photo a dozen times but today it inspired something in me :

A burst of color at the center; soft yet sharp.
Pit.
Pat.

Rain. Heavy rain.
Of course.
There’s always rain.

It should be gray.
Muggy,
Dark.
But for some reason it wasn’t.

The rain was somehow fresh.
Cleansing, almost.
In a way that made the leaves sparkle.

Those leaves.
Those fucking leaves.
The ones that started on dead branches covered in snow when we first met.
The ones that burst to life as the weather turned warm when we first fought.
The ones that swayed gently in the even warmer wind when we first fell in love.
The ones that now sit speckled on the barren branches while we say goodbye.
A final goodbye.

Damn those leaves.
Damn those trees.
Damn this whole night to hell because you’ve never been more heartbroken and she’s never looked better and this damn rain is just making her eyes sparkle; literally, sparkle, just like the leaves and the pavement and the grass surrounding; she just sparkles.

And you have a thousand words bubbling up inside of you but you can’t speak. You can’t say a fucking word.

So you just watch her sparkle.
And you just watch her go.

-KA

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This is Cosmo:

The puppy, not the stuffed animal we call “Cosmina” and keep constantly perched on this ledge:

Cosmo belongs to Melissa:

and he’s here with her three days a week. I spent an hour or so today building a fort out of cardboard boxes for Cosmo. Hey, you have to invest in the things you love, right?  I meticulously cut windows and laid down a mat for him, gave him an awning and built a sign that said “Casa de Cosmo”. Okay, so Cosmo never actually went into the fort. He sort of just nudged it around a couple of times, and then expected a treat. But a

So here, instead of an adorable picture of a big-brown-eyed pup in a cardboard fort, here are some things Gotham staff has said to him throughout the day:

“You’re dipping your head a lot. What does that mean, when dogs dip their heads? You did nothing wrong there’s no reason why you should be dipping your head.” -Dana

“Cosmo, what’s your prob?” -Melissa

“Cosmo, what are you doing in my bag? Why are you in my bag? There’s nothing in there for you. I think one day I’m going to bring my dog here and shove her in my bag. And you can play with her. All day long.” -Nikki

“Cahz-moh. Beep-boop. Be-de-beep-boop. Boooooop boop.” -Nicole

“Why are your eyes like bulging out of your head?” -Nikki

 

-ND

 

Tea Time

As what has become the usual, I found myself browsing the Writing Prompts section of Reddit and stumbled upon a great prompt by Ravenlarkx : A young girl is having an imaginary tea party. Her guests include her dolly, Mr. Bear, and the ghost of a recently deceased woman from down the street.

So I gave it a whirl! I decided to write from the ghost’s point of view for a change of pace and here’s what I came up with :

You’ve got to be kidding me. I trip down the stairs, break my neck, and end up here? Here?! Just my luck. Oh yeah, sure Suzy, let’s drink the tea. Unbelievable. I can not believe this. I can’t. You know, I was a good woman. I kept to myself, I paid my taxes, never bothered anyone. Is that not enough? Should I have been less nondescript in my living life? What makes me unworthy? What makes me inadequate to cross the threshold of the Pearly Gates? Instead I’m damned to a lifetime of make believe. This is truly my hell. Or maybe this is just purgatory. That has to be it! Of course! Duh! I have to help Suzy with something. That’s what “It’s A Wonderful Life” was all about, right? Helping someone else and then the angel got his wings? Or maybe all I have to do is ring a bell? My God this is mind-numbingly boring. Okay, yup, sure Suzy let’s eat cake now. Oh wait. There is no cake. Because you’re three and everything we’re doing is fake. What do I need to do, Suzy!? Okay, okay, okay. Suzy is three, she’s adorable, she doesn’t have any problems. What problems could a three year old possibly have? So maybe this is my hell. Maybe I wasn’t good enough in life to receive an eternal afterlife in heaven. I bet Suzy’s good enough. With her cute little smile and her optimism and her stupid bear and stupid doll and stupid perfect little life. I hate Suzy. Oh sure, Suzy, let’s have another cup of AIR! BECAUSE THERE IS NO TEA! THIS IS FAKE! Sigh. Well, might as well get comfortable. Maybe the dog will die soon and I’ll have someone to talk to. Hell, who am I kidding? All dogs go to heaven. I’m screwed.

So there you have it! I quick little monologue from a ghost! If you felt inspired to write your own, be sure to tag us in it so we can give it a read!

-KA

Vienna, the horror

As I love to do when I am plagued with writer’s block, I found myself browsing Reddit’s Writing Prompt section for ideas. I stumbled upon a prompt posted by user Hankosha entitled “Write your favorite song as a horror.”

I couldn’t resist. My favorite song is Vienna by Billy Joel and this was the little tidbit I came up with :

The record player scratched to life. A slow melody twinkled out. Something foreign yet familiar. Dirk paced the room, letting the sad tune fill his soul.

He stepped, stepped, twirled to the beat.

As the lyrics began, Dirk couldn’t help but smirk and sing along :

“Slow down you crazy child, you’re so ambitious for a juvenile, but then if you’re so smart tell me, why are you still so afraid?”

Mmmm. The song his mother used to sing him before bed. It was a memory in itself, this song. He could listen to it on repeat and never grow bored.

He stepped, stepped, twirled again.

This time settling in front of his sweet mother, tied to the arm chair before him. He smirked again. There was something almost soothing watching the tears trickle down her cheeks. He sang once more:

“Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out, you got so much to do and only so many hours in a day. Ayyy-HEY!”

Dirk grabbed her as she squirmed in her seat. A loose hand could mean the end of this pleasant evening. He tried to sooth her with the song, her tears like rivers now.

“But you know that when the truth is told, that you can get what you want, or you can just get old.”

Ain’t that the truth, Dirk thought. The truth was a fickle thing, now wasn’t it?

“You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through. Ooooo-”

Dirk grabbed his mother once more as she kept rocking the chair about.

“When will you realize…”

That came out more aggressive than he had intended.

“Vienna waits for you.”

And Dirk meant it. He really did.

“Don’t you realize it, mother?”

The music playing on.

“Don’t you realize Vienna is waiting for you? For us?”

His mother’s tears refused to stop. It angered him beyond rationality.

No matter, he thought, this will all be over soon enough.

-KA

December on the Subway at Midnight

I’m sitting across from a young man wearing a black tuxedo and a bow tie. He wears silver rings all over his hands. Black combat boots. A dusty black coat. As I write this he looks up at me, smiling, unintentionally, I think, more of a natural reaction when one sees something pleasant than an effort to capture my interest.

I glance away from my page for a bare moment to meet his eyes. We recognize something in each other–he sees the rings on my hands and my long black coat, my short, dyed-black hair, and because of these symbols, we connect. I turn my attention again towards writing this, but I still feel his eyes on me. As I glance back up at him again once, twice, to write down these details, he begins to get the feeling that I’m writing about him.

-ND

Gotham’s Where It’s At.

It’s coming down to the last two and a half weeks of the year.

Naturally, this calls for some reflection.

Around this time last year, I dropped a (nearly) “atomic bomb” on my parents: I wasn’t going to graduate school… yet.

Of course, I did this over dinner. So, the food that was just eaten churned in my parents’ stomachs as acid burned their throats. Forks clanked on their dinner plates. Four eyes glared at me in disbelief. I, on the other hand, continued to eat and stare at my dish.

I promised a year of work and writing.
I applied to internships and jobs that had something to do with English.

I was really, really worried. The opportunities for employment are super low and why would any company hire someone without experience & still in school? Granted, I was heading into my last semester. But still.

I stumbled upon Gotham Writers’ Workshop during my many hours of Googling “Internships for writers” and “Internships for English majors.” I kinda felt like it was a long-shot, but at this point — with the deal I made my parents — I had to try.

I was going to use my professional, handy-dandy cover letter. But something told me otherwise. So, I scrapped that and wrote a new one: a funner, more creative, cover letter with personality all over it. I paired it with my oh-so-lovely C.V., and sent it off to Dana.

A few weeks later, when I got a response from Dana saying she’d love for me to be an intern, I was in the library. On the silent floor of my library, nonetheless.

I squealed.
Then, I got shushed.

We set up a date for an interview via Skype and nine months later, here I am — a third-term intern with one of the most joyous places I’ve ever worked. Ever. And probably will ever work.

There’s no atmosphere like this one. I’m sure of it.

When I applied, I had severe anxiety. Although it was under control with medication, it still wasn’t to the point where I could be comfortable in a new environment without someone I know.

Now, my anxiety is gone. This place made me feel so comfortable, so helpful, that I eventually began to gain a lot more confidence in myself, my work ethic, and my ability to overcome my anxiety.

This year brought many changes that are incredibly positive. And it hasn’t ceased yet.

I wouldn’t know what I would do if I didn’t have Gotham in my life. I’ve learned so much and I’ve met incredibly awesome people.

I don’t ever wanna leave.
Ever. 😛

#dontgo

It’s cold outside today in New York City. But that’s only part of the reason why I didn’t want to leave Gotham Writers’ Workshop for lunch. The other part was because it’s warm in here. Emotionally, physically (heart)warming.
People are actually genuinely nice to each other here? The contrast from the  manners, or lack thereof, of people on the streets outside…to the joking, friendly support going on in here–is alarming. People cut you on line at the deli. Getting a cashier at Duane Reade to return your, “How are you?” is impossible. If you’re not walking fast enough, that woman running down the street WILL hit you with her coffee. But, hey, I’m no dummy, I know that’s the way New York is, and probably has always been.

However, it’s much nicer to stay inside, at the Gotham Workshop, with the rest of the gang (who I think hate delis and Duane Reade as much as I do) among the books and ink and RADIATORS. And plus, you just never know what kind of  big-time celebrity writer, comedian or filmmaker is going to stroll through the door. As I sat in a local deli, eating an obscenely overpriced sandwich, something incredible happened:

I thought to myself, “I wonder what’s happening at Gotham right now.”

That’s never happened before, at any other job, I’ve never before felt the curiosity to know what was happening back at the office while I was at lunch. And then, something else even more incredible happened:

“Maybe I should go back and see.”

About ten minutes into my lunch break I found myself packing up the rest of my food, threw it in my bag, scrambled to get my gloves and scarf on, and walked–briskly–to the workshop.

When I got back, award-winning screenwriter Jason Grieff was sipping coffee at my desk.

Of course he was.

 

-ND

Suspension

Sky-2

// Photo taken by Taylor //

Suspension (memories from my super youth)

Flushed faces and cheeks sore from smiling. The neighborhood kids laugh and scream as they run up and down the block. The brisk air cold in our throats when we catch our breath. Hide and seek, tag, basketball, hopscotch; we are game connoisseurs. Playing pretend under a pillowy sky. Jumping into gigantic leaf piles that will soon be replaced with snowmen. Hours fly by like the frisbee the older kids throw back to us  when we aim too far or too high.

Hot chocolate provided by parents to warm our numb fingers. And a hat and scarf for the child who thought he was invincible against the dropping degrees.

The moments before the day goes dark are the most crucial. Legs move faster, laughs are louder, and eyes are wider so to take everything in.

The street lamps turn on, and we’re in suspension. Our games continue against the backdrop of daylight winding down and neighborhood night lights welcoming the evening. We can’t help but look at the colors change above us. Just out of reach.

Our dreams hold us over until we go outside to play again.

-TR

Possesion

Vision splits peripherally

you are not what your clothes say you are.

 

Bathing in dark perfumes and wet leather

pressing depressed pictures on your camera-phone in the daylight

calculatedly obscure

saying death but speaking life.

 

The grey mist inside my left eye,

both eyes looking in the mirror

but not seeing anything–

 

I think when I found you

I lost myself.

 

-ND

 

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

I recently found an awesome prompt on Reddit and I just had to give it a try!

The prompt was : Re-write ‘itsy-bitsy spider’ as a high action thriller drama.

While I don’t think my response was quite as high action thriller as they wanted, I still had a lot of fun writing this piece. Give it a read and feel free to comment with your own response!

The rain was heavy as hell; dark and stormy seemed to always set the scene on evenings like this. It wasn’t like he expected any other type of weather – this was Seattle after all. Still, just once he wished for the moon to break through the dense clouds and shine some light on this miserable city.

Ha, he thought to himself, as if this city could be anything but misery.

Still, he couldn’t help but long for dryer evenings and warmer days; especially right now. For right now he stood at the bottom of a long drain pipe – the likes of which, if he could conquer, would guarantee his freedom from the prison walls he had been banished to. In the distance he could hear the sirens; signaling, alarming each and every guard that he was indeed missing.

And so he began to climb.
One hand, then the other, then a foot; up and up he went; the rain slashing his face like razor blades; the wind rattling his skin and bones; the darkness consuming his vision.

Still, he had one thought as he rose : That Spider was a slippery one, he mused to himself, that’s what they’ll say. That Spider was an itsy-bitsy slippery one.

And he couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought; it was almost enough to make the climb less dreadful…almost. Still, with each sliding grip, he could see his freedom creeping closer; his future inching its way from daydreams to reality; his joy bubbling from a deep cavern within his very soul.

But suddenly, his heart plummeted to his stomach; for he could hear the shouts of angry watchmen; the ferocious barks of their four legged beasts; he could hear them getting closer – he could feel them closing in.

And in a panic, his grip was lost; down the storm drain he fell – a longer fall than he thought was possible, but still – he fell. And as he crashed to the ground, before all went black, the itsy-bitsy, slippery Spider swore he saw the moon; the bright, beaming moon burst through the clouds and shine brightly over the scene.

Perhaps, his final thoughts felt muddled, Perhaps the sun will shine tomorrow – and the itsy-bitsy, slippery Spider can try his luck again.

-KA