Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Grandfather Clock

 This was a writing exercise we did in my Creative Writing 2 course. We were to write in the style of Chekhov.   Hope you enjoy.           
                 Anya sat across from the grandfather clock. The room was silent, save for the sure steady rhythmic clicks of the second hand.  She stared at its face, unblinking and entranced.
                Her parents, Feodor and Nonna recently died in a worker’s protest in Red Square.  This was a bit ironic, as they were well off and never had to perform hard labor a day in their lives.  She had always admired, and even tried to emulate their independent spirit.  They bred in her a powerful sense of wrong and right, to stand up and defend your beliefs.  What she could not accept or imitate was their willingness to take it to the point of martyrdom.
                Earlier today, the will was read, and as expected she inherited all they had. In their living room, now her living room, she sat in a staring contest she could not, nor did not intend to win.  It was not the point. She wondered what would become of her, a young woman of 20, now parentless.
                She received the news of their demise while she was at university in St. Petersburg.  She had heard news of the protest over the radio and the ramblings of her fellow scholars.  There was no doubt in her mind that they were in attendance.  Her Aunt Bepa, who she was staying with while there, was the one who gave her the unhappy report. 
                She knew from the moment she arrived at the house that something was not right.  Bepa was normally busy in the kitchen or singing some old tune around the house.  Today, she was sitting quite in the parlor.  She did not greet Anya, which was typical.  Instead, she motioned her to the sofa beside her and delivered the news in a voice that was both admiring and devastated.
                That was two weeks ago.  Since that day she had traveled back with Aunt Bepa accompanying her to make the funeral arrangements.  Three days ago it was held.  Anya was surprised at the massive turnout of the people who’d come out to honor her parents’ sacrifice.  They only knew them as revolutionaries, as symbols and not as the people they were she thought bitterly.
                Now she sat in her home, amongst her possessions.  The future is always an uncertain place.  You can plan it, direct it, guide it; but those who think they have total control over how it will turn out are delusional.  Yet, she now faced an even more uncertain future than before.
Would she return to school?  Though she did not share her parents’ way of bringing change, she still knew change was necessary.  Education was her way to bring it, to change the system from the inside.  Could she still do it?  Was her heart still in it?
For now, she faced the constant, steady tick, tick, tick of the grandfather clock that stood stoically before her.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Greatest Acting Performance

The greatest acting I have ever seen is hands down from my youngest daughter, Amanda.  Her sister is the one that is pursuing a degree and career in the theater, but Amanda’s performances with her father put all other Tony winners to shame.
 Part of what makes the “performance” great is that she is a quite a blunt little person.  She is not afraid to tell you exactly how she thinks or feels.  Yet she does it with a wicked wit that makes it hard not to admire its brilliance as she tells you unflattering truths about yourself.
Her relationship with her dad is one of a typical teen toward a parent, where the teen is trying to express herself and the parent has other ideas.  She does truly love her father and will begrudgingly admit so if pushed hard enough.  When he comes over to visit, for her it is combination of being genuinely glad to see him and “Oh God, why is he here?”
 Like all daughters, she knows how to push his buttons.  When it comes to getting what she wants out of him, which is where she excels.  She knows that her father, like most will also see their daughters as that little girl going off to school on her first day.  She uses this knowledge to great effect.
First, she will constantly refer to him as Daddy.  Normally, it is Dad or Father when she’s annoyed or angry with him.  (When I hear her say Mommy, the first words out of my mouth are “What do you want?”)  This and everything that follows from her lips is said in the sweetest voice that she can muster and still sound sincere.  Then, she makes a point of telling him that she loves him.  (The other thing that once she says it to me has me wondering what con is trying to pull on me, as she is not known for verbalizing her feelings.)  Her coup de gras is “the hug.”
This is no ordinary hug.  Her usual way of hugging person she cares about but doesn’t wish to be openly affection with, aka family is to come in at a 45 degree angle, put one arm around their back, give two quick pats then part. I have seen here give that hug.  I have been given that hug.  Hell, her dad has received that hug, which makes what she does she does to him all the more entertaining.
She comes in on the side with both arms. She bends her head down in a as if she is looking at the ground.  When she puts her arms around him, it is gently, with the slightest bit of pressure.  With her head still down, she turns it just enough to look up at him and so he can see those pleading puppy dog eyes.  At this point, he is toast. 
When I asked her about it once, she said everything about it is to make him think of her as 5 years old.  The head down is to make her appear even shorter, and give a slight snuggle effect.  The light squeeze is to conjure images of someone small and fragile.  The eyes, well, that is the same look she’s been giving him since she was a toddler.
For someone who is not into the performing arts, she is quite the entertainer.           

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Short Poems About Cats

My Cat at the Porch Door

Sun shining in
Warm, golden beams
Falling upon kitty
Upon her fir it gleams

Sunning there
Soaking all of it up
No cares in the world
Only this moment

The Cat
At the door there’s a cat
Who is watching a rat
We can question why
Yet there she lies
Waiting for the day
She will make it her prey

One Summer Day

The cat is sitting by the window
Ice cream drips upon the ground.
The day is so hot and long
While children play in the broken water main
We wait for someone to chase them away
But this is to be an unusual day
As she has  her fill of the creamy treat
That is not where it should be.
Do not underestimate thy furry ones
Intelligence, capabilities and determination