Sunday, July 31, 2011

Programming Note

Due to lack of time and computer access for the time being, I'm going to be posting the rest of my vignettes in August, as they're not conducive to being published on my mobile. Please forgive me for being tardy with this, but life gets in the way sometimes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

12 - Simplicity

Tree blows in the wind
Leaves twist in sweet melody
Life in harmony

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Once - Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mont

Fauxcast using Mr. Polt's Byron Mark I Font.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#10 - Hands III

This is an iteration of an old theme... Come August, you'll see my work from 3 years ago on the subject.

There's a new callus forming on my right hand, this one on the webbing between my thumb an fingers--from the rope constantly sliding through. It just adds character, along with the countless other calluses I've got.
There's a new scar too. Looks like someone tried to take a bite out of my hand, like when my dad got bit trying to break up a dog fright years ago. Mine's from the wall. It sits in a different plane than my scar from California, where I did nearly the same thing, but on sea rocks when our bridge was washed out by the tide and we were forced to jump for it. To this day, I saw the seawater kept it from getting infected.
In this light, my veins seem to melt fully into the muscle--normally, they are an ER tech's dream--big and defined, waiting to be poked. But tonight, they are quiet and everything is smooth. just the scars as a landmark in the map of the places that I've been.

Monday, July 25, 2011

#M4 - The View from the Ice Cream Churn

As a child I hated this job:  it was nother better than captivity with a cold bum.  I would slouch and scowl and sulk over the latest exclusion by my sister and her age appropriate cousin-playmate, something I lacked in this branch of family.  Dad would usually lose patience with my dour face and threaten to make me churn rather than serve as precarious ballast for the ancient, rickety ice cream churn.  That shut me up fast.  But I hated that job.  I know better now.
My cold bum tingles and I stuggle to stay aboard as the ice cream hardens and the churn bucks and shivers.  Dad is groaning and trying to pressgang some boy cousin into taking over.  I scrunch my toes and pry up deck slivers.  Grandma fusses and swipes at passing faces with her ever handy damp rag.  Small Ella staggers past, trying to keep up with all the other littles.  She trips over my feet and tries again.  Liv and Luz twirl for Grandpa.  He hums Vivaldi under his breath.  The interrogating aunts have congregated and my sister is hunting for cover.  The Jeremy Uncle is probably ensconced in the bathroom. Uncles Tim and Dal taunt my sore-armed father. Boy cousins play Annie-Ay-Over and the Sarah cousin defeats them all. There is the thrum of babies and fifty-six feet and the clatter of dishes and misguided balls.  There is us and we and a symphony and then there is ice cream and me in the middle.  And it is good.  It is good.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nine - Contention

 "My ass hurts."
"You're the one who fell."
"Thought you were going to catch me."
"What?" Dave asks, walking into the conversation, "just happened?"
"He dropped me!" Call shouts, pointing at McCoy in an indignant fashion.
"That's what you get for for not tying your bloody knot properly." McCoy retorts, "Not all my fault."
"Yeah, but you should have checked the damn knot! Didn't you learn anything?!"Call says, face going even more red.
Dave just shakes his head, turning away from them and sitting down at the desk. They never learned.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ocho - Desert

The sage is in bloom in the desert. Afternoon breeze carries the small across the sand, mixing with the piƱon and juniper as it comes. The smell wakes up my memory, and I'm there again, 10 years old and kneeling in the sand. There's a lizard in the sage next to me, and I'm trying to capture him on film. Only he isn't cooperating, the reluctant celebrity pursued by paparazzi. So I wait. Somewhat patiently, my behind warm on the sandstone, camera ready for that moment when he pops his head out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Numero 7: Energetic Young Men


Fauxcast typed with Mr. Polt's Royal Vogue Font.
(click link to download font!)
Based on a conversation I overheard at my gym.

And, as there is confusion, here are some videos of bouldering, most in my backyard.
(Neither AdC or myself are responsible for the content, if it's not totally appropriate. I tried to screen them, but yeah. Stuff happens.)


Just Beautiful

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No. Six: Opener

Okay, folks, a preface to this. I'm thinking about using the following vignette as the opening for the personal statement of my medical school application.

It was the day before Christmas Break, 2010.
"Paul, try to be calm."
"I'm not calm! I'm not calm!" Paul shouts, dancing around, icing bag in hand. I instinctively duck as a stream of icing lands on his gingerbread house with a splat, obliterating the icicles we had just finished adding to the roof line. "Oops." He says, sitting back down with a thud, "Avalanche." He sticks two pretzels and a marshmallow snowman onto the icing and turns to me with a satisfied grin.
"What's he doing?" I ask.
His logic was sound, and all I could do was laugh.

Okay, folks, I need your opinions. BE HONEST, PLEASE! Would you keep reading an essay that started with this, or would you just throw it aside, citing my writing as juvenile and the subject matter totally irrelevant? I plan on linking my love of teaching to medicine, but that comes in the next paragraph.


Monday, July 18, 2011

#M3 - Grape Hyacinth

Once I was a Goddess and made my home in the roots of the snowball bush:  shoots for walls, violets for my carpet, apricot blossoms for my chandelier, and wallpapered it all with tall grasses and the stems of the forsythia.  My fingers sunk into the green and the soft of the earth and I slept and swung and sang; invisible dryads for dolls.  I kicked my heels toward the leaves.  I perched in the apple tree.  I counted the flowers and what they meant:  Magnolia for an uplifted heart; Lilacs for womanly grace; Pear for softness and Apple for refuge; Lavender meant sunlight and Grape Hyacinths were for imagination; Dollar Plants for stories; Sage and Dill for calm and humor.  Johnny Jump Ups meant indomitable good cheer.  And Buttercups were the souls of fairies. 
I hung upside down from the clothesline poles, I jumped from stone to stone, and stripped the raspberry brambles of their fragile fruit.  I made the sky my cathedral and the water in the pond my marble floor.  I wove the branches of the pine to make my pavilion; the arms of the sycamores my thicket; and I was a doe, a fox, a hare, a red wing blackbird.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Five - Circles

The other day, while scrounging for change to pay for chalk, I came up with the following idea...

The Circles of Wealth.
It starts with prosperity.
In the fourth circle, you're giving a ton of money away. And spending. And saving. 
The third circle is when you've started to give money away, as well as spend and save beyond what you did in the second circle.
The second circle is when you start to save some money, as well as spend it.
In the first circle, you finally have some money to spend, which is what you do.

That brings us to flush, when you're making ends meet. You probably can't spend a ton of money on fun stuff, but you're not worried about paying the bills.

After flush comes broke, and the corresponding circles.
The first circle of broke is when you're down to your last 20 dollars to cover what you need to cover.
In the second circle, you're breaking the piggy bank and looking in the couch for change to cover the cost of your morning coffee.
By the time you hit the third circle, you're also hitting your savings account to live.
The fourth circle is when you hit your stash, that emergency cash you've put away for years... or not.
In the fifth circle, you're selling things to get by, and may or may not be living out of your car.
And the sixth circle of broke? It's one that sometimes goes hand in hand with other circles, depending on where you are in life... You move back in with your parents and start making your way back to flush and beyond.
And the circle continues.

What is a Vignette?

Well, halfway through the challenge, this question has been coming up: what is a vignette?

From Wikipedia:
In theatrical script writing, sketch stories, and poetry, a vignette is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or gives a trenchant impression about a character, an idea, or a setting and sometimes an object. This type of scene is more common in recent postmodern theater, where less emphasis is placed on adhering to the conventions of theatrical structure and story development. Vignettes have been particularly influenced by contemporary notions of a scene as shown in film, video and television scripting.

Personally, I see the vignette as something a bit lighter. A snapshot, if you will, of a person, place, time, event, thought, or feeling. It could be an essay, a poem, a journal entry, or even a script like Snohomish posted the other day. I always see it like a vignette picture--you're looking through the  window at whatever is before you.


But the honest truth is:

IT'S WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

IV: Summer Rain


Fauxcast using Mr. Polt's Rem-Blick Font

Monday, July 11, 2011

#M2 - Clean

The water is off for the winter, so it is pot baths in spring water all around.  I kneel over the shower drain and pour scoops of scalding water over my back; it takes a meandering path between each of my vertebrae.  My hands shake.  The fat candle sputters next to me as I dip my hair into the pot.  I have to keep washing as I inadvertently pick up more pot black from the base of the kettle.  I alternately shiver and burn; I can't help but find it eerie to crouch bare and white in the silver of last light, the forest creeping in through the open window--not a soul to see me. 
Strands of wet hair stick to my freckled shoulders and I feel the cleanest of cleans; beautiful.  It is only to be found in this spring, these streams, that lake.  Clean.  Why do clean and dirt and green all crop up in the same thought phrases?  I comb my dripping hair in the dim.  A hummingbird zips home to sleep.  I rub lavender oil into my skin.  The cracked mirror gleams.  Bag balm for my lips.  Lastly I dress:  softest of shirts, oldest of shorts.  I hear the last pops from the fire pit and the generator roaring to life.  I step out into the bedtime bustle.
Pajamas on, beds set out, treats unhidden, the snap and hiss of Black Cherry Shasta cans, the crack of stuck matches, puff and glow of lighting candles.  Dark descends.  Dad puts on the kettle.  We scrounge for cards.  Grandpa turns off the generator.  And we sit up into the night.  Dark and light. Beautiful.  And I always win at cards.  Beautiful.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tres: Hot Coffee


Typed on my 1955 Smith Corona Silent-Super. Oh how I wish this machine was running full steam, rather than mostly out of commission. I forgot how much I love the feel of the SCSS. And, it's a ton more readable than my handwriting--was originally going to pencast this.

Excerpt from the journal of Andrea Wallace, founder of the Bar W Ranch, dated July 1884. The journal was discovered in the attic of the main house during renovations, along with a great deal of early ranch documents an history.
July, 1884.
Woke up cold this morning. Couldn't quite see my breath, but the reminder was there just the same--winter never really leaves this place. Suns not yet up, and I'm sitting by the fire with my coffee, listening to the horses grazing nearby. There's 40 in the bunch, plus whatever the night guard got with them. They should be here soon, wanting their coffee, hot and black. Already got it bubbling on the fire, filling the air with that sweet aroma. Over the ridge is the herd, 500 head of half wild longhorn, heading North to Canada. Been riding drag myself, me and the dogs chasing down the renegades who break off, hell bent on escape. But come  daylight, I"ll be riding out front, a welcome escape from the dusty air and dirty water left by the herd. We're heading into my territory now, the rugged mountains and grassy valleys where I was raised. Back to old growth forests and a ranch to spend a few days rest on. We all need it--even Cooky agrees this time. Family'll be there, most likely, at least a few of them. The boys will like that, specially if Ma cooks--Cooky don't got nothin on my mama.
Days about the break. By sundown, we'll be in the Rockies. Can't wait to see them trees.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

II - River

There will be no silence tonight. River's rushing all around, the day's melt finally making it into the valley. Up above, you can finally start to see the mountain peaks under their caps of snow, but it's not all happy. Those snowcaps, waterheavy and dense, melt, sending raging torrents of water downhill. We're at the bottom of the drainage, stuck. It's a catch-22, of sorts. The water is good for us, the land happy, not dry, but there can be too much of a good thing. There is too much of a good thing. I stand by the pond, and watch as the water slowly swallows the road.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#M1 - Western Grebe

Foothold slats, tall tree, two planks; one knotty rope and the I-pod blasting.  My legs tremble in time with the beat. Short guy films; carrot top yells; I swing, squeal, fly, and sink through reflections...deep.  The water is cold, the way I like it.  It is green, the way I like it.  It is silk and vibrations and a welcoming hum.  Small fish brush my white legs and my white arms gracefully stroke through lazy mosses.  I am slow to leave it, rising to the surface gasping and spitting in the inhospitable air and loud music and cheers; making the grudging change from solitude to togetherness.  I slowly revolve in this wet dimple between the swells of alfalfa hills and come face to face with a Western Grebe.  The Grebe eyes me and mine irritably and I make chuckle bubbles and he dives.  Oh he dives.  And I follow.  I can't follow far, but suspended I watch him loop and glide out of sight into the furthest, most inscrutable green.  And I am left to do my own gliding into the shallowest, churning murk to grab one warm hand and clamber out of the silk and into gravel and noise and dust.  I take with me only my quickly quieting rhythmic huffs of clean, green breath.  There are claps on my back and the next swinger takes the plunge.  Short guy shows me the video and his admiration and I smile but think that the best part is what you can't see for all the ripples.

#1 - Fireworks

Our neighborhood displays are mostly legal this year, finally. No, we haven't made any changes, but the state finally saw the truth in the matter--prohibition never stopped nobody. So, along with our bootlegged beer we bootlegged fireworks, slipping down back roads and dirt roads, avoiding the cops who sit on the highway at the state line, waiting to confiscate any and all contraband. They're smart, but we're smarter. We stockpile our shows, making Sunday runs across the border long before the 4th, long before the Smokies line 80 waiting for us. The pile grows in the garage, waiting for Independence Day, where we celebrate a longstanding American tradition: a bit of anarchy, throwing some color into the mix of legality. And it sure is a good show.

Friday, July 1, 2011


The Vignette Challenge begins today!

Get Writing!