Thursday, December 1, 2011

Katie McMahon - Needy People

“And that was Kiki Dee and Elton John with ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.’ Thanks for listening to WLMNOP!”

I pressed stop on my Sony dual cassette player/recorder and ejected the cassette tape. I carefully placed it into my dual tape deck/CD player and looked on the floor for my most favorite cassette tape.

“Where is it?”

Where was it? I looked under the bed and found a red sock and what looked like a tooth and a brush full of Jenna’s golden dog hair.

“Where is it?”

I started to panic. I opened my closet door and dug through the pile of clothes. Jeans with elastic waists, striped turtle necks, oversized t-shirts, snow boots, but I couldn’t seem to find the tape. Where was it?

Where was Barbra Steisand?

The name of the album was Barbra: The Concert. The cassette was released a couple years before in 1994, with not just one cassette tape, but two, totaling 28 tracks by Barbra. Earlier that year I had read an autobiography on Barbra called Barbra: Her Life, by James Spada, a man who must have been just as obsessed with Barbra as I was because it was not only his first book about Barbra, but his third. The book was almost six hundred pages, weighing in at three pounds, but I could not put it down.

I wanted to live in a New York City flat with a bathtub in the middle of my living room. I wanted to be tormented by the rejection of auditions and coldhearted lovers. But most of all, I wanted to be a star.

Every day I would come home from school and every day I would watch Barbra on my VHS tape of Funny Girl, co-starring with her dark-haired hero, the handsome and charming, but sometimes devastatingly insensitive, Omar Sharif. When Barbra would sing, I would sing. If my family was home, I would go into the basement and throw up my arms, singing “I’m the Greatest Star” and one of Barbra’s most famous songs, “People”, which I would eventually sing in my elementary school’s talent show. While other kids sang songs from The Lion King or the theme from the 90s hit sitcom, Friends, I would wow mothers, grandmothers, and gay uncles, with my rendition of Barbra’s clingy love song, showing the world that people who are needy and overly dependent on their loved ones are the best people in the world.

I looked up at the stamped signed photo of Barbra on the shelf next to my bedroom window and my heart sank. I could hear her long fingernails click, click, clicking against the glass frame. Barbra was looking right at me. She was beckoning me. She was stage whispering, “Find me, Katie, find me.”

After ripping out the drawers of my dresser and turning the entire room upside down, I sat cross-legged on the floor and I began to weep silently to myself. Slowly, my sobs grew louder and louder until the room became an ocean of my tears. I wailed. I screamed. Not only would the radio show have to be canceled, but life itself would be canceled.

I began opening and slamming my door to let my frustration out on the world. While crying and screaming alone in my room got me nowhere with my parents, the annoying repetition of a door slamming and echoing out into the hallway always got me the attention I needed.

My dad unhurriedly rushed to my rescue.

“What is going on?” he shouted into my sniveling, chubby red face.

“I – can’t – I – it’s lost – I, I, I, she… Barbra!” I howled through hiccups and snorts, rubbing snot onto my 101 Dalmatians nightgown.

I could not stop crying. No one could console me. There was no longer any reason to go on.

I can think back on a lot of not-so-great things that my dad did when I was a kid. He had a severe drinking problem. He seldom was interested in any of the plays or choir concerts that I performed in. Sometimes he would eat all the cookies and treats in the house and blame it on me, so that my mom would take all her anger out on me and leave him alone for a day. But I will always remember that night, crying and coughing into my dad’s chest. I will remember him leaving the house and driving away in his baby blue Chevy pickup truck. And I will remember him returning, less than an hour later, with a brand new, cellophane wrapped cassette tape of Barbra Steisand’s Barbra: The Concert.

In 1999, when my brother would go off to college and I would take over his room, I would find my original Barbra Steisand two cassette, live album in the back corner of my closet. I would tell no one, especially my own personal, light-brown haired hero: my dad.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Marsi White - Saturday Morning

Deserted on my couch, my kids have gone to feast on the type of cereal that makes a dentist squirm and will give them energy for only about a have a second. “Stay home day cereal,” as it is coined in my house, may only be consumed on the weekend.

“Maddie, you have to leave in an hour for gymnastics!” I hear myself shout. Routinely responding, my husband responds, “I know.” My daughter does not respond, wrapped up in what ever cartoon that she has been mesmerized by showing on the kitchen television. I think it is Sponge Bob. Having little patience for cartoons, I try to be somewhat aware of what they watch, as any responsible parent would claim.

Such is a typical Saturday morning in our house. I am up with the birds, making the coffee and routinely washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen from the night before. In this case, no one did dishes at all the day the pile in the sink was more like a mountain. My mom would shudder. Seemingly a cruel and unusual punishment, the coffee finished peculating way before the dishes were clean. My disciplined response was to finish the dishes before taking my first sip of coffee. My mom would be proud.

Finally, dishes done and coffee in hand, I ventured to our living room to complete my Saturday morning ritual through checking my Facebook page, Twitter and, of course, Words with Friends. My daughter came and joined me after a short period, followed a later by my son....and suddenly, I am a mom again. My lovely, personal quiet time has been replaced by a quiet time of another sort. The time that I considered so very precious...when my kids are just my kids. The fighting has not started; responsibilities have not started and the T.V. is not on. I am not yet the waitress or the nag. Just the mother of two gorgeous children. We may share a couple of laughs. We may barely talk at all. It does not matter. The comfort of the morning hours satisfies my soul, and I bask in its normalcy.

As the clock ticks forward, these fleeting moments are replaced by our hectic family schedule of soccer games, gymnastics and other responsibilities. Our day ensues. But, as I go to bed tonight, I know that my thoughts will turn to my Sunday morning coffee and I will look forward to the Sunday’s quiet moments, hoping that they will be enough to quench my thirst for time with my kids for the rest of the week.

Marsi lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, two children and dog. A private foundation grants writer by trade, Marsi explores her creative side by contributing to Writing Writer Writest. She is a breast cancer survivor and keeps a blog of her journey, entitled Nip-It.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mike Gamms - Chapter Five: Even Winners Can Be Losers

We arrive to Vegas just around sunset.  Eager to continue the buzz we started in the car, me and Roger hit up the liquor store while the girls go get strippered up in the bathroom mirror. I promise Jacki a bottle of whiskey, a task I have to borrow money from Roger to complete.  
On the way back to the room we stop at the casino so Roger can play some black jack. I'm quickly reminded that I actually hate this city a lot more than I had remembered.  I'm not sure if last time I was here I was too drunk to notice or not unhappy enough to be bothered by it, but on this visit I'm already miserable. The people I hate are being celebrated as cool. Those cocky fucks in their designer suits just trying to show off how rich and pretty they are. I'm so poor I can't imagine what it's like to even want a 300 dollar suit, let alone actually own one. The money I make off unemployment and donating plasma barely leaves me enough for a bottle of cheap whiskey.  Seeing people bet even a 100 on a hand of black jack is enough to make me sick.   
10 minutes and a grand later, Roger is ready to go. When we get back to the room, I'm not sure if Jacki is more excited to see me, or the bottle of booze. I already feel like I'm striking out with her.  Whenever I'm around a pretty girl I get nervous.  And surprisingly all the drinking didn't help. I'm not sure if I fell in love with her already or just in love with the thought of a girl that hot even being remotely interested in me. Either way I look pathetic. I know I'm too much of a pussy to get with her sober so I start racing to get drunk as soon as possible.  I can tell by the way she's keeping up that she needs to be drunk to hook up with me too.  I try to pretend like it's because she's nervous but I'm not dumb. I'm too much of a self loathing little shit to not have seen it coming a mile away. I'm not sure why I'm so fucking miserable when we'll probably still fuck anyways.   
I decide it's best not to think about it, and crack open the Grey Goose bottle. Not that I would ever buy that over priced douchebag vodka, but Roger thinks it's cool to show off. Trying to impress his large breasted lady, he invites up a friend who claims to be a Vegas club promoter.  I'm unimpressed because I hate everyone, but to girls as sleazy as these two, club promoters are kings. Especially when they bring as much coke as this one.   
Him and the girls have already done a mirror full of lines and are feeling pretty hopped up.  This is clear when he pulls Jacki's panties aside and licks her vagina. She laughs and doesn't seem to mind. Neither does anyone else in the room, so I shouldn't either. I begin to wonder why I fall in love with girls who flirt and fuck like it means nothing, but I direct my attention to the coffee table lined with blow instead.  
After a few lines, I've forgotten about Jacki, I've forgotten about the bugs, and I've even forgotten about how much I hate myself. I have no concern for what I'm doing. My only worry is having as much fun as possible and feeling as good as possible. At least that's what I tell my self as I try to let the drug take over.  I've had enough of being in charge of my actions and drugs are a get out of jail free card for making bad decisions. I can be whoever I wanna be, do whatever I wanna do, and I have a perfect scapegoat for all of it.  
Roger is just as snow blown as me but on a different planet entirely. After doing a line off his girl's tits, he declares it's time to go. I grab a bottle of wine for the road. Whenever I do hard drugs I think it makes me Hunter S. Thompson. No one buys it, but it sure as hell gets me drunk quicker.   
I'm too lazy to fight for pussy so I just let Jacki have the club promoter if she wants him. She grabs my crotch in the elevator. Clearly ignoring her turns her on. When we finally get in the club my chances with Jacki continue to improve. The promoter is no longer a threat; he disappeared as soon as he brought us passed the line outside and into the club.  He stuck around long enough for what I can only assume was an expensive handshake with Roger.  
The coke high has shifted from extremely elated to arrogant and judgmental. Everyone in the club annoys me.  All the women have matching fake tits and fake personalities. They may pretend like they want to be models, but deep down they just want to a marry a rich foreign guy, and spend all his money drinking with her girlfriends by the pool. It wouldn't be so annoying if all the guys in this club weren't the exact guys who want nothing more than to land themselves a fake empty wife.  This club is a breeding ground for everyone I hate. These people think that being rich or attractive will compensate for being so damn uninteresting, but I don't buy it.  
Jacki makes the rounds through the club leaving me to entertain myself with a head full of coke and a liver full of vodka. We both know I'm her plan B as long as I'm able to keep quiet and not weird her out too much. I keep my distance and venture towards the dance floor.  
When you surround me with people I hate, I get bored easily and make trouble. I start repeatedly stomping on the feet of people around me while I pretend to be dancing. After they get pissed and realize it was no accident, I move onto to a different part of the floor. After I run out of toes to step on, I go find Jacki. I get a rush off the reckless danger and it gives me enough balls to ask her back to the room.  
A few minutes later we find ourselves in the elevator.  I'm not sure if it's out of nervous fear or incredible loneliness, but I try to hold Jacki's hand.  She playfully slaps it away and grabs my cock instead.  She tells me it's big but I know it's out of pity. It's more insulting that she thinks I'm the kind of guy who needs his ego stroked than it would have been if she had just said I had a small dick. I decide it's best to keep my shit together and ignore my issues long enough to get a load off.   
We burst through the door to find Roger and his girl already at it. He hammers her from behind, each hand full of her fake tits. He continues at it as he shouts across the room to us.  
"Hey man don't let us interrupt your fun. There's plenty of room in the bathroom for a good solid fuck!"  
I'm not confident in my abilities enough to fuck in front of a crowd, and she's horny enough to do it just about anywhere, so we take his advice.  
That much coke and booze is enough to slow down even the quickest semen, but I'm still ready to go after only a few minutes.  The only reason I hold it in is for the girl's benefit anyways. I could care less about getting her off at this point; it's not like she's getting much out of it.  I'm too awkward to make conversation and I'm sweating like a pig. But I can tell by the occasional moan she lets out between text messages that she doesn't mind it too much. She's about as into me as I'm into her, but at least she's not so tripped up on her own bullshit that she can't enjoy a simple fuck. Whether it's an ignorant denial of the situation, or a nihilist I don't give a fuck attitude, I'm jealous of her marginal contentment with life.   
I close my eyes and pretend like my dick isn't only hours behind the club promoters tongue for a few more pumps before letting it out. She kisses me on the forehead, says thanks and skips out of the room.  The fact that this girl has come to expect such unsatisfactory fucking only makes me feel more pathetic.  I pop a few sleeping pills I stole from her purse and curl up in the empty bathtub. I won't feel any less lonely than I would in bed with her, that's for sure. The pills kick in fast and I survive another day.
Mike Gamms is a 24-year-old unemployed writer living in Los Angeles. Originally from Upstate New York, he occasionally writes awful things at

Friday, September 16, 2011

Luke LaGraff - 200 words

Well there is really no reason to write about God, now is there? I don't think or believe it's a topic to write about. I just think God-writin' is a purely fictional undertaking, and therefore kind of ridiculous to write about.

At least if you're writing about the big G man in a serious tone.

And I'm not saying God is fictional. But writing about God would have to be considered fictional, of course. How the hell do you know what God is or isn't? If you do know, please find out why egg nog can't be around all year? I love that shit. God will know the answer and the remedy. Can you mention that at the next company picnic?

So, we've covered a lot of ground on this topic today. And good, no questions. Wow, I seemed to have affected everyone's mind on the futility of writing about God.

Again, just for good measure- It's illogical to write about God. Yet, it's logical to write about people who write about God.

So I've got a problem with conjecture.

I, too, do.

I, too, want to know the 'end'. Not as much as I used to. My story is right about... now.

Luke LaGraff is a lover of sandwiches, egg nog, and one of a kind days. He used to forget them, but now has realized he shouldn't; they have more meaning than ever at this point of his life. He enjoys the sun in LA and watches hockey and funny things whenever he can. He listens to people. He's from Tennessee.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Debra Crosslin - My One and Only Catfight

Back during the Vietnam War I knew John. One night we were making out in his car. He was a great kisser.

Suddenly, John says, “I’m going to Vietnam.”

Well I was just thinking, "Let’s kiss some more," and then John asked me if I would write to him in Vietnam.

"Sure", I said sure, thinking about his kisses.

I wrote him, mostly about friends in the neighborhood. After one year, he came back. Thank God! His sister Nina wanted her friend and me to fight over John. If you like to hang out at Burger Chef with your friends and smoke you would just have to fight.

We fought and I was winning. All of a sudden, John’s older, fat sister jumps into the ring and sits on me. The loser girl kicks me in the face. My friend jumps on Nina and yells, “No fair!”

She was bleeding, but that kick in the face cost me a black eye.

I can go to Burger Chef and smoke! I am in line and there is John. I said, “ Look at my shiner all because of you.” He left and I never got to kiss him again.

The Vietnam War sucked!

Katie McMahon - Words

I have learned that everyone else’s bed is more comfortable than my own. But you came here, choosing to sleep here with your fingers in my hair and mouth because your bed was too small. With your feet hanging off, you say you can’t sleep; you won’t sleep. I dream that parts of my hair are missing and I can see bumps on my scalp, but when I wake up, your eyes are closed and little sounds fall out of your nose. I see a bright, fiery circle in the darkness of my eyelids and it fades whenever I open and close again.

I try very hard to not say, “Please don’t leave me,” or “I am so sad when you are not here. Sometimes I wish we never met,” or “Tell me why you are here, but make it what I want to hear.”

I want to say, “I like you so much. You make me feel different than before.”

Sometimes, a lot of times, I think I’m saying the wrong thing. I’m using the wrong words and I’d like to just create new words that were easier for me to say, that made lots of sense to everybody.

Katie McMahon writes and works. And writes. And works.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Marsi White - Second Day of Middle School

The foreign, deserted hallways were foreboding. My second day of middle school, the halls did not have the eeriness about them, when my dad walked me to my classroom for the first time yesterday. Only dropping me at the curb today, I watch as my dad speeds off. With a gulp and a twitch, I turn and face the school once more. Would today be as boring as yesterday? Are my skinny jeans and graphic t-shirt cool? Who will be in my PE class that go to for the first time? Will I be able to open my combination lock again? My steps are slow and deliberate, giving someone else a chance to get to my homeroom before me. My thoughts continue to wander. I am baffled that so many 7th grade girls talked to me yesterday. I wonder where they might be this morning. Was it a fluke? Suddenly, I hear a car door shut behind me and my named called out by a familiar voice, “Rollie!” Comforted by nothing and yet relieved, I realize it is my best friend. My heart smiles and my nervousness subsides. My second day of sixth grade is off to a good start.

Marsi lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, two children and dog. A private foundation grants writer by trade, Marsi explores her creative side by contributing to Writing Writer Writest. She is a breast cancer survivor and keeps a blog of her journey, entitled Nip-It.

Monday, September 12, 2011

James Littlejohn - 200 words

This kid shows up at my door. A six-week newspaper subscription will help him and his classmates go to Europe or something. “Why do you want to go to Europe?” I ask him. “I went, and it’s overrated.” The kid doesn’t have an answer, he hasn’t been out of the county, let alone the country, in over a year. He does his best to sell, but they stuck him with a bad product. I tell him I can read the news for free anytime I want. He doesn’t have an answer. He looks like he’ll be addicted to drugs in a few years. Maybe that’s stereotyping. Maybe that’s the truth. Maybe Europe’s what this kid needs to get his life turned around before it goes off the deep end, like it did with all my friends in High School. They didn’t go to Europe, and maybe that was the problem. “What am I talking about?” I tell myself. “This is nonsense, I can’t afford this, besides, I gave that guy on the freeway off-ramp some change last week.” I say no. He turns away. I change my mind. “Here’s five bucks,” I tell him, “but I don’t want the newspaper.”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coco Higgins - Television is Real: The First-world Whinings of an Art Historian

This semester I am taking a Theory of Knowledge class in the philosophy department. I am an art history graduate student and am required to take two classes outside my field. I’ve never taken a philosophy class before, and have only been exposed to such topics tangentially through looking at art. So I thought, hey, why not beef up my elitist resume (nay, CV) by taking an actual, official philosophy course? The best of intentions, I swear.

Since this is an outside-department course, I am allowed to take it at the undergraduate level. You know, because art historians are in fact idiots who pretend that they are interdisciplinary but in fact know nothing else outside of the world of art objects. In any case, I am in a class full of undergrads who have all taken philosophy courses before. (That is a requirement that I weaseled my way out of by virtue of the fact that I have graduate standing, which should theoretically mean that I am an intelligent person.) These undergrads, however, are ten years younger than me and are much more well-versed in the mumbo jumbo that is philosophy.

Then you have the professor, who is habitually late to this god-awful 9:30AM class (did I mention that I am a nocturnal creature who abhors the thought of waking up before noon?). He barges into the classroom all in a tizzy, the residue of his morning coffee forming Frankenthaler stains on his pants, and a wrinkly unlaundered shirt. His hair is uncombed of course, because he has no time for such trivial niceties. He drones on and on in his velvety but low British voice, mumbling most of the time, and occasionally cracking lame philosophy jokes. Of course he’s disheveled and couldn’t care less if we understand him, because of course he’s probably been contemplating some serious philosophical problem all night that OF COURSE caused his brain to implode.

Meanwhile the smarter undergrads (this is such a degrading thing for me to have to admit) are all sitting there just listening, barely taking notes, because OF COURSE all they have to do is absorb this man’s jargon and contemplate it for the rest of the day and all is perfectly fine. Then they name-drop various dead philosophers, “Oh didn’t Martin “Card Carrying Member of the Nazi Party” Heidewhogivesafuck say that consciousness of blahblahI’mshowingoffblahblah?” Whereas, here I am writing feverishly about shit I don’t know and am now realizing I don’t care a lick about.

What is the nature of knowledge? Am I real? How do I know I am real? How do we know that we know something?

Okay, I don’t give a rat’s hairy ass. I know that “I’m not real. I’m theater. And You and I are just rehearsal.” Said Lady Gaga, the contemporary philosopher. Ever hear of HER? Right, didn’t think so, because you live in (Plato’s) cave and haven’t ventured out into society to decide that you probably don’t like her.

Okay, maybe this sounds like sour grapes from someone who can’t hang in a philosophy class. Maybe that’s true. But you know what, I don’t care. In the art history realm, I am probably more engrossed in theory than my peers (and have been criticized for it, but this is not the time or place to get into methodological politics). I’m not gonna talk about my thesis project here, because I’ll probably just be accused of being a pretentious, insufferable academic asshole. And that’s at least 70% true. Okay 90% true. Alright, let’s be real here, 100%.

But it’s absolutely jarring to me to be in a well-lit class with people just TALKING. Especially about bullshit questions in la-la land. I sometimes can’t even stand just sitting around with friends just TALKING. There needs to be something else going on, namely the (ab)use of one or all three of the following: cigarettes, booze, pot (in that order), perhaps in conjunction with a movie or at least music. Call me socially mal-developed, but I need some kind of distraction for my eyes, ears or hands. And art history classes provide that. The lights are turned down low, grainy images are projected on the screen, and we all start masturbating. Ok that last part isn’t true, but that’s where that sentence sounded like it was going.

Art historians look at and analyze images. I need to LOOK AT something. I can’t just talk about NOTHING. I’m not Seinfeld (thank god, he wore the ugliest pants). And I’m not interested in thinking of the origin of thought and knowledge. Who cares about the origin of anything? Logocentrism is soooo passé. (1 – pun intended. 2 – again with the pretentious asshole bit.) I am alive today, and I’d rather think about lived experience TODAY. (Wait, am I really alive today??? No, I must be in hell because I have to go to class at 9:30AM today.)

So anyway I am tired of the mumbo jumbo and it’s only one week into the class.

And I just wasted a bunch of time writing about it just so I can procrastinate on doing my reading. Who cares, I don’t care, a horse’s ass is better than Descartes’. “I think, therefore I am.” Well, monsieur, I THINK the class is boring, therefore I AM dropping it.

And I’d rather be watching television, because television is REAL. (Actually, no it isn’t, it perpetuates representation, which conceals that which is real. But the actual physical object of my television is real. It’s sitting there on a stand. I’m having a phenomenological experience with it now. Oh my god, one week of that dumb class and I’m already brainwashed into thinking like this. And that last sentence is a conscious realization of my own mode of thinking. Ugh. I hate myself. I hate philosophy. Holy shit, maybe I shouldn’t drop the class. No, drop the class. Join the world of the living.)

I also realize that this whole essay is pot-calling-the-kettle-black. But I have to draw the line somewhere in the sand of bullshit wackadoo pseudo-intellectualism. And I draw it at art history. I think that’s far enough.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Debra Crosslin - Mind Controlling Bullshit

Television, computers, electronics etc. are all owned and operated by the Corporate Elite. The enemy of the free. How much more money and damage can these Corporate assholes need? Somehow, someway they need to be stopped before it's too late. To stop them is to be positive and fearless. Power is not is money; money is just a way of forceful evil. Power is in using your own intelligence and intellect to question the Force of the evil elite. Do not ignore this or take it lightly. Try to make some sense of what you hear and see everyday. Ask to be released from this horrid, mind boggling bullshit. At first it maybe painful, but I promise you it gets better. Fear is what kills and fear is exactly what these monsters use everyday and every minute. What can they do? Kill everyone, take away our freedom, censorship, throw us a few tokens of Mac and Cheese, put us all behind bars, drug us, lower our pay, break unions, bail out banks and Wall Street, send off innocent poor kids to fight a meaningless war, close schools and fire teachers. This is only the beginning of what they have already accomplished.

Every newspaper, TV station, website, book, movie, and any other source of the information highway is corrupted. "How do I know?" you may ask. Practice, practice and more practice. Count how many times a cute newscaster uses the words fear, danger, or catastrophe in one half hour broadcast. Look at people who have lived and worked in the same city all their pathetic lives, especially the skilled, young robots of the technological generation, and ask them to spell a major street in the vicinity. Without thinking they get out their iPhones and look it up. They tell you and forget about it. Information in and information out. Try not to ask an open ended question or an individual opinion they can't find on Wikipedia, they will not know what to do. Panic will set in and they may explode right in front of you. What little ass pussies. They cannot or do not know how to think for themselves.

Simply listen to the commercials that big drug companies have on, continually telling us that we are depressed, even our pets are sad. It makes you want to kill yourself. Oh, that is one of the many scary side effects! Political campaigns are an endless drama of lies upon more lies. Please just throw me a little box of fruit roll-ups. Watch out for the fanatical religious zealots who scream that gays, dykes, transsexuals, blacks, Mexicans, Arabs, Asians, and Frosty the Snowman are all condemned in the Bible of the greatest prophet that ever lived, Jesus Christ. Was his last name Christ? I thought he was born a Jew. Whatever you do, do not get a High School Diploma online. Another Corporate money making idea. Charter Schools make even more money for the Elite Corporate Maniacs overtaking the young generation. I always wonder where they learned to read: From a teacher, a professor, or a giant mongoose in the sky?

It is just so very sad. It makes you want to vomit. What more can I write? Nobody is listening anyway. Run to your computer or television and listen to the propaganda of the day. Get fat, thin or turn blue. Use some cosmetic cream to get rid of the pollutant ugly mess on your body. Get a face-lift, liposuction, pimple cream and erase your memory and implode! See ya later alligator! Nice knowing you. Bye!

Debbie Crosslin RIP

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

200 words.

Hey everybody! I just started school and a new job this week, so I thought to myself, "Why not add on the task of persuading people to write every week for the WWW blog?" So that's what I'm here to do.

Summer is over. Kind of. Or almost. So it's time to get back into the swing of things. For us here at Writing, Writer Writest, that means... well, writing. Please send me any ideas you might have for upcoming themes. I've tried updating the blog a little bit, but if you'd like to see something else on here, I am very open to suggestions.

Due by the weekend of 9/2: "Television." I feel like this theme is self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, let me know!

Due by the weekend of 9/9: "200 Words." This is more a less similar to our 20-minute stories theme that went over so well. Sit down in front of your computer and write 200 words, no more and no less. Submissions must be exactly 200 words (I will send them back to you if they're not!). After writing your 200 words, send your essays, short stories, poems, etc. into

I hope you guys are still out there and I hope you still have your hands to write/type with. If not, I'm sure there is some type of technology that can help you.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Marsi White - Getting Back on the Horse

Mischief and mayhem,

I heard it has been said,

That friends are bonded,

Through the stunts ahead.

The whispers and planning,

The very next game,

The cocktails, the parties,

Rich, loud and untame.

Fun had by all.

Though its the glorious few,

Who scheme and connive,

Motivate anew.

Out of sorts, out of time,

Personal restrictions.

Friends pulling me back,

To their chaotic missions.

Cherishing every minute,

Holding their hands,

Like leading me to water,

My soul fed, commands.

Through thick and thin,

Girls, saving me,

From myself and the mundane,

From my problems and worries.

Mischief and mayhem,

They most definitely start.

But they do it with love,

They do it with heart.

Marsi lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, two children and dog. A private foundation grants writer by trade, Marsi explores her creative side by contributing to Writing Writer Writest. She is a breast cancer survivor who is fighting a long fight. She keeps a blog of her journey, entitled Nip-It.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Scott Joel Gizicki - Untitled

acrylic on canvas

Scott Joel Gizicki is just another one of those new Los Angeles residents that acts and enjoys writing as well. After being born and raised in Detroit, he finally made it 3,000 miles to the city he's always wanted to live in this past August. He hopes he can stand out from the crowd; at least a little bit.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Susmita Paria - Being Yourself

Right since my childhood, mom always enrolled me in various extra-curricular activities be it swimming, Indian classical dance, playing the keyboard, calligraphy classes et al. I never complained for I enjoyed being engaged in some or the other activities. It gave a purpose to look forward to that particular day, to learn something new, to be better than others and to learn something that others didn't know! Over the years I learned how-to dance, swim, paint and, in short, find happiness at being engaged in these activities. They shaped the way I am, the way I conduct my self, the way I see myself for I know "how-to" do a lot of things.

Unfortunately, I have met people or rather parents who force their child to learn to do many things be it how to cook, how to play guitar or how to be better than others and burden them with loads of expectations that they have to meet. The parents should understand that everyone is an individual entity, each one having distinct, unique characteristics and child is special in their own way. It is not correct to fulfill their dreams and expectations by using their child as a medium.

As we grow up, life throws some rhetorical, never said questions at us which further comes in the way of "how to be yourself." How to be an ideal daughter, wife, woman, sister, friend and how to be ideal in society only increases the pressure on us. The society has certain perceptions about everyone and anybody going against those perception is not respected or looked up to!..Our actions, speech and movement are closely watched by everyone and the end result might be that a person behaving as opposed to his/her natural conduct of life. In short and simpler words "being fake." So who is at fault??..society, friends, peers, colleagues..?

There's no definite answer as each and every individual have different perspectives, like to be and are different. The mantra is to have immense trust in yourself, to love yourself the way you are, to be positive about yourself and receive and give positive vibes. Life is simple, but our actions, thoughts, and approaches to situations make it more complex. I wish one day not few but all of us live, behave, and speak the way we want to and not get burdened simply by the two words: "how-to"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Debra Crosslin - How to Take a Compliment

One of the hardest words for me to say is, "thank-you." So I had to learn "How To Take a Compliment."
Let me break this down in a way that makes it easy. Maybe you can relate.

A compliment is a form of sincerity and admiration. For example: Somebody may say, "Wendy, your new outfit looks great on you." Just say "thank-you" and smile. Simple stupid! Practice makes perfect and saying something nice to other people helps too.

I used to say, embarrassed and looking down on the floor, "No, not me, this old thing." Or "Awe shucks." Or blush and sigh in utter disdain and actually say nothing. Nobody wants that kind of attention.

What if somebody you like a lot says, "Mary you are so beautiful!" You used to say, angrily, "No, I am ugly. You are crazy." Thinking what does this person want from me? "Liar!"

What if you think you were amazing or did something amazingly great. Nobody says, "Wow! You are amazing." "That was a great performance." You get zero, nada. Or maybe somebody says, "You suck." "Just who in the hell do you think you are?" Now you are hurt and feel like somebody popped your balloon. Turning away, not wanting them to see the tears in your eyes, you walk quickly away.

Professionally, you can either give up or you hold your head up high and continue. You can even say, "Fuck you asshole." I think it is better to just laugh in their face. People are ignorant. They may be jealous or intimidated by you. It makes them feel better about themselves.

The problem is you may have been verbally abused growing up. An example is an insecure parent sees their child happily dancing and singing. Maybe mom or dad is tired or hung over from a night of heavy drinking. They can't stand the noise, it gives them a worse headache than they already have. So they yell at this innocent child and say, "Stop it you little fool. You are a terrible singer and you dance like a clown. Now get your ugly face away from me before I slap the shit out of you!"

Boom! This beautiful child may never dance or sing again. The sad part is she or he really can sing or dance. It is too late. The damage is done.

So say, "thank-you" for a sincere compliment. Just forget about the darkness, be positive. Remember life is dynamic, not static. Like the old song says, "Ooh, ooh child things are gonna get easier. Ooh, ooh child things well get brighter. Someday, yeah, we'll get it together and we'll get it undone Someday the world will get lighter." The lesson here is be careful of your words and actions. Love one another.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scott Joel Gizicki - How to Walk

I remember when I was in college looking through what courses could count towards my Phys. Ed. general requirements and I laughed at the walking class they offered. I'm not laughing anymore. Coming from someone who is strictly a pedestrian - people don't know how to walk! OK, of course not all people, but there's a large majority out here that need to abide by these rules.

1. Look Up
-Pretty self-explanatory. So many people walk looking down or side to side or even at their cell phone. While I'm incredibly guilty of the last one, I still manage to keep looking up and stay vigilant. You never know who or what you may run into, which does bring me into the next rule.

2. Pick a Side and Stick to It
-This is especially aggravating when there's only one person in front of you that you need to pass. There are so many walkers out there that do not realize they sway when they walk. You need to imagine sidewalk as having dashed lines much like the road. You cannot be moving in and out of these imaginary lanes. Not only is it annoying as shit but it's hazardous! What if I was one of these look downers and I don't realize you're suddenly in my lane? Boom! Collision!

3. Maintain Your Speed
-It really doesn't matter what speed you walk as long as you are also abiding by rules number 1 and 2. All I ask is to be mindful of your surroundings. Kindly let people walk by you if you're a slower walker and don't rudely push through crowds if you're faster. There is a real method of walking through bigger crowds safely and efficiently. This skill comes to great use especially when walking in areas that attract a lot of tourists.*

4. No Sudden Stops
-I get it. Sometimes while walking you need to stop whether it's to rest or to tie your shoe. Again, pay attention to your surroundings before stopping. This is so painstakingly annoying especially while attempting the inter-weaving in larger groups of slower walkers or when getting on and off of staircases, escalators, elevators and/or public transit. There are others behind you, so get to a safe and less crowded area before you suddenly stop.

5. Public Transit
-Aside from the above mentioned stopping as soon as you get off public transit, my worst pet peeve in this category applies especially to the trains. When you are getting ready to board a train, first pay notice to see if there are others trying to get off. This is made quite clear by the windows on the doors! It drives me cuckoo bananas to see a mob of people standing in front of the doors creating an obstacle to get to the stairs. Come on people, move! It's even worse when they try to walk in as people are exiting. Oh! Another thing that drives me crazy is more applicable to the buses. When a bus driver asks you to move all the way back and fill in all the seats (especially when trying to make room for the elderly or handicapped) for Pete's sake just move back! It's not that daunting of a request!

These are five very simple rules that could make life for all foot-dwellers a hell of a lot easier. Please share and abide!

*Rules do not necessarily apply to tourists considering they've a lot to see and they are over-whelmed by all senses. However, it does not make tourists any more tolerable to be around.

Scott Joel Gizicki is just another one of those new Los Angeles residents that acts and enjoys writing as well. After being born and raised in Detroit, he finally made it 3,000 miles to the city he's always wanted to live in this past August. He hopes he can stand out from the crowd; at least a little bit.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Barbi Beckett - MG, Pinto, LTD

If my mother were to take a personality test, the results would read: Male, approximate age: fourteen.

This was evidenced in her knick knacks; a stuffed frog, whose red tipped phallus flopped out when you picked him up, a carved hand, whose erect middle finger wore her rings and a novelty strong man, who peed if you tried to lift him from the shelf. But nothing could set off my mother’s cackle like hearing her third grader tell a joke. Here’s one she taught me to perform for her friends:

Three sailors go into port. They are very excited to go see the whore who lives on the hill because they have heard she does nice things for sailors. The first sailor goes, gives her five dollars and returns with a BIG smile on his face. His friends ask, “What’d she do? What’d she do?” and he says, “Well, she sprayed whipped cream all over my dick and then she licked it off!” (We’re going to cut to the third sailor who gives her fifteen dollars, returns looking sad and explains -) “Well, first she sprayed whipped cream all over my dick and then she sprinkled nuts on it and put a cherry on top.” The other sailors all are, “Yeah, yeah and…?” and the third sailor says, “And, it looked so good I ate it myself.”

I bet you can hear the cackle from there.

Still, my dad never objected (that I knew of) when she would come whisk me away on a road trip. Even if he had, it wouldn’t have mattered; I worshipped her and my life centered around her visits. In the car we’d listen to the same 8-track tapes over and over. I belted all of the words to House of the Raising Sun (Dolly Parton’s version) but when Helen Reddy sang You And Me Against The World, I just sat and tried to hold my shit together. I never succeeded though; Toward the end of the song, I always had my head cranked to the right, pretending to look out the window so she wouldn’t see my wet face. Of course, by the time the little girl voice said, “I love you, mommy” and Helen Reddy said, “I love you too, baby” the snot was flowing, so, she knew. That’s probably why she played it so much.

My mom would drive until it was long dark, then she’d pull over, fold down the Pinto’s rear seats and we’d snuggle up for the night. I loved seeing where we were in the morning, as the terrain would have changed since the last daylight. We’d get out to stretch and pee in the bushes or tumbleweeds then head to a convenience store for breakfast. The meals were one of the best parts of spending time with my mom. Breakfast was Dr. Pepper with Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes. Lunch was Dr. Pepper with bread and peanut butter (you’da thought she’d discovered a scientific phenomenon the way she went on about how easy it was to spread peanut butter when it got hot in the car) and dinner varied, except for the Dr. Pepper.

Occasionally we’d stay at a very cheap hotel and have dinner in a restaurant with the money my dad had given her for my share of the trip. I preferred the car though. At one hotel I asked my mom, “What’s this dark sticky stuff on the bathroom door?” She glanced over and said, “Probably blood.”

When I was in middle school I took a cross country drive with my mom and her third (and fourth, same guy) husband. We drove from El Paso to New York City then down to Biloxi, where the husband got on a plane bound for Greenland. When he wasn’t being an angry drunk he was all right, I guess. He didn’t necessarily have anything to say to me and I definitely felt like a visitor in his back seat, but at least he had the couth to push her chubby hand away when it started riding too high on his stout thigh in the front seat. Also, when I was five, I once kissed him goodbye and stuck my tongue in his mouth, as I’d seen her do. He got upset and told on me. That marked class.

When we finally reached Biloxi we stayed overnight in the barracks of the Air Force base he’d be flying out of. We washed up in the shared bathroom down the hall from our room, which was fine because there was no one else around. My mom and Number Three got the queen bed and I had a twin about four feet away. Less than five minutes after lights out, the whispers and foreplay began. Unfortunately, the pair were perfectly silhouetted, so I was soon treated to the scarring image of a corpulent incubus aloft a rotund succubus, fat legs on high.

Feeling desperate, I got out of bed and fled to the latrine, knowing the room door would lock behind me and they’d have to stop to let me back in. I hung out for a while, pacing along the sinks under bright fluorescent light. Finally, I went back and knocked. Someone opened the door; I didn’t care who. I got in my bed and was relieved to hear the apparition snoring. I bet for another thirty bucks they could have scored two rooms. My dad definitely would have sprung for that.

In the morning they pretended nothing had happened so I made a joke about seeing a moaning ghost hovering in their bed. She cackled, he was embarrassed and humiliated. If you know which is the appropriate response, you’re not my mother. If you have a realistic sense of how long it takes a person to fall asleep, you’re neither one of those chumps.

When I was twenty my mother and I took our final road trip together. Not final because she died, but final because I couldn’t stand her anymore. The only reason I went was because she was heading to Portland, Oregon to track down her oldest son and I wanted to see my boyfriend in Seattle. Plus she had money to burn from her most recent divorce (from Number Five) so she was paying. It hadn’t entirely occurred to me that my big brother, who hadn’t spoken to his mom for over ten years, might not be thrilled to hear from us. I was the only one from our family that he’d invited to his wedding six years before but even I’d lost touch with him. We pulled into Portland at night and she made me call him from a payphone. I’d begun to wonder if leaving all of us was the only way he felt he could get away from her. I suddenly knew it, though, when we pulled up to the address he gave me and I saw his figure sitting on a step in the dark. I felt the weight of the phone call he’d just received. I felt guilty and wished I could turn the car around, turn the clock back an hour and leave him in the relative peace of his life away. I do believe that the return of my mother into his world marked the onset of that brother’s decline.

My brother and sister-in-law were gracious and my mother over-stayed our welcome. Two weeks later we headed back to El Paso after my brother convinced me to go home, pack up and move to Portland. His mom had decided to move there too so, inevitably, she and I would be roommates. I would share a roof with my mother for the first time since I was four years old.

Our drive back to El Paso did not bode well for the impending living arrangement. I was so out of my head miserable by the time we reached Vegas that she had put me on a plane. The ticket was funded by my dad, who understood the importance of getting the hell away from her. In that same vein, Pop would, four months later, fully support me in moving to Seattle from Portland to shack up with my black boyfriend out of wedlock.

Tragically without clue, my mother has managed to drive everyone away, some to other realms. My dad (Number Two) used to nurse my mommy-wounds with, “Don’t worry, sweetheart, she’ll get hers; What goes around comes around.” And other stale chestnuts. But, as I knew at the time, a sick, scared and lonely old woman in the final scene, does not give good schadenfreude, not in theory, and not in reality.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Scott Joel Gizicki - Memory Lane

Isn't it amazing how one little thing can take you back to what sometimes feels like a life time ago? For example, whenever I wash dishes and I get to washing knives I think of my father. I had to have been real young, but as a kid I loved doing the dishes. I used to pull a chair in front of the sink and kneel down on it and wash away. There was one time in particular that my Dad came into the kitchen as I was scrubbing away. He told me he wanted to see how I washed a knife. He did this to ensure that I was indeed safely cleaning the utensil. I held on to the handle as I safely soaped up the blade with the sponge and my father was glad I was knew what I was doing. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I was going to show him even further how good I am. I then touched a safe part of the blade and began scrubbing the handle to clean that as well. Dad of course told me not to do that because I could hurt myself. I remember feeling this disappointment that my over-zealous actions did not impress my father. Looking back now, I know that he wasn't upset but just looking out for his youngest. It's funny the things we hold on to from childhood.

Another icon that puts me into time travel mode are packets of condiments like mustard or ketchup. This story also involves pulling the chair up to the sink. I recall always wanting to squeeze one of those packets until it exploded. Well, on this particular day mustard was my drug of choice, but I knew well enough to try and prepare for a messy clean up. Over that sink I kept squeezing when "SQUIRT!" The mustard shot right up in my eye. I love that I can take trips like that all throughout my day. Such as when I walk into 7-11 to purchase their incredibly delicious Monterey Jack Chicken Toquitos and spot the FunDip candy (formerly known as Lik-A-Maid) I can't help but think of eating that with my mother as a young child. She never liked the Marshmallow-flavored Lik-A-Stiks used for dipping, so I'd wait in anticipation for her to pass them off to me.

These little trips that we get to take are so incredibly precious. It reminds us of where we came from. There are of course those little trips that remind us of more embarrassing times. In my Junior year of high school, I along with two other friends dressed up as the Three Blind Mice for Halloween. Subsequently, the children's nursery rhyme will always transport me to my lunch period that day when I tripped on absolutely nothing causing my food to splatter on the floor along with myself. Thankfully I was in costume, so I announced to the gazing eyes and chuckling laughter around me that I was only playing the part. Even if my face gets a bit red recalling that graceful moment in the history of Scott, it's still so vitally important because it is in my history.

Everything that has happened in my life has built who I am today. Without it, I would have never written this albeit late entry for WWW. I also wouldn't be that person that is so proud to be me, either. So, every time I find myself washing another knife, I smile and say to myself, "Look, Dad, I'm washing it right." I know he smiles back at me and says, "Great job, son." It's the little things that keep us connected to ourselves and maintain our humanity. I urge all of you to allow yourself those little trips down Memory Lane. You may be pleasantly surprised or blind-sided with embarrassment but either way it can keep you on track to reach your next destination in life.

Scott Joel Gizicki is just another one of those new Los Angeles residents that acts and enjoys writing as well. After being born and raised in Detroit, he finally made it 3,000 miles to the city he's always wanted to live in this past August. He hopes he can stand out from the crowd; at least a little bit.