The Night of the Cliche

14 12 2010

I saw a shooting star tonight.  Venturing back from the last class of my graduate school career, I looked to the sky and there it was.  Cascading downward only to disappear into the nighttime abyss.  It was sort of a surreal moment.  I had just concluded my final class of my final semester at Emerson College, an amazing course taught by an even more amazing woman.  Marie concluded the semester with a class-led reading of Stanford University’s 2005 Commencement speech given by Steve Jobs.  The speech was a true testament of the importance of following your dreams and as Jobs puts it, having the courage to follow your heart and your intuition.

Prior to the recitation of his address, the class shared a variety of projects created while at Emerson.  The amount of creativity and talent surrounding me was incalculable.  Marie congratulated us with extremely encouraging words and that was it.  Grad school over.

Flushed with emotion I made my way back to Oakwood temporary housing, a myriad of thoughts ricocheting in my brain.  But unlike days past the thoughts were not full of anxiety and fear, they were hopeful and reassuring.  As the crickets systematically chirped their homogeneous tune and the automatic sprinklers laced the greenery with artificial dew I saw the shooting star.  I smiled to myself but also laughed at the saccharine sentimentality of it all.

“Stay hungry.  Stay foolish” – Steve Jobs


Oakwood Resident Pete

5 12 2010

As I continue to finish my final I removed myself from my distracting apartment and moved to the Oakwood Apartments clubhouse.  The clubhouse has a large open room with about ten tables, a couple couches, and a fireplace.  A man is laying in the couch with a bible on his head.  He is going in and out of sleep.  Every now and again I can hear the slightest snore.

He just got a phone call and decided it would be polite to have a  conversation on speaker with mystery woman Janet while there are others in the room.  I found out his name is Pete and if Pete’s conversation goes on much longer I think I might have to have a discussion about the importance of respect for others.

Janet sounds younger than him and I cannot discern the nature of their relationship.  The purpose of the call is definitely to “check in” but it doesn’t seem as if it is a father/daughter conversation.

They are discussing his role as a “spiritual father” to some girl who was solicited via Facebook to be a model.  They are obviously concerned by this, as anyone would be.  Both he and the woman agree it is his duty to partake in a discussion with the girl about internet safety.

Pete and Janet keep yawning.  Literally every other minute of the conversation one or the other yawns.  He apparently didn’t get any sleep last night because of a tooth ache.  Today it isn’t hurting him at all.  I do not understand why he doesn’t go to his apartment to sleep.  The woman blames her tiredness on the weather.  Californians are such wimps when it comes to any weather other than prolonged sunshine.

Pete just told Janet he was going to have his meatballs and chicken balls for dinner…

After the two hang up Pete calls Janet back and asks her how to prepare ravioli.  Janet’s response “you boil water, cook the ravioli, drain it and then mix with the garlic sauce, add olive oil if you want.”  I assume she provided the meal for him but I find it to be a little disconcerting Pete doesn’t know how to make ravioli.

Oakwood is a very strange place.  It is stuck in a time warp from the late 90s, early 2000’s as one can tell from not only furniture but also the sophistication, or lack of sophistication of the computer technology.  What makes it so strange though is not the aesthetics but the residents.  I think my eaves dropping on Oakwood resident Pete provides enough validity to this statement.

Angela and Mark

4 12 2010

I am sitting in a Panera attempting to fine tune the sitcom pilot I have to turn in with my final exam but am having a hard time jump starting the process.

Some guy has walked by my table three times.  Initially I was pretty positive I was in the midst of a William Shatner sighting.  Then I realized Panera is probably not where William Shatner decides to frequent on a Saturday afternoon.

Two gay fellows next to me were having a very interesting conversation about Jewish men and eye candy at 24 Hour Fitness.  They both agreed when signing up for a gym membership, eye candy is a prerequisite for commitment.  I had a really strong urge to be friends with them.

For lunch I had an  asiago roast beef sandwich but feel a little funny.  I think it was the horse radish mayo.  I hate any white substance; mayonnaise, cream cheese, cottage cheese, vanilla yogurt.  I know, it’s weird.

Anyway, I decided to look up a writing prompt with the hope it would “get me in the mood.”  Here is what I got, #303:

Make this the first line of your story: Catching the signal from one of her friends, Angela brushed her skirt, took a deep breath and walked towards where he was sitting.

Catching the signal from one of her friends, Angela brushed her skirt, took a deep breath and walked towards where he was sitting.  Her palms were not sweaty but ice cold, the inverse reaction one would expect from someone about to venture on her first blind date.  Angela felt as if every eye in the bar on her.  Her cheeks began to redden as she approached the man.  Just as she was about to tap the man on the shoulder Angela clipped the leg of his chair sending her stumbling forward.

“Whoa, are you okay Miss?” Instantly the man grabbed Angela’s elbow preventing her from falling on her face.  She looked over her shoulder to the person who had just saved her from extreme public humiliation.  Immediately she was hit with an overwhelming wave of nausea.  Her stomach leaped up into her throat and Angela worried she was about to embarrass herself further by regurgitating two confidence enhancing martinis she downed ten minutes earlier on the mans Kenneth Cole blazer.

He looked peculiarly at Angela.  She knew a response was typically required when engaged in a conversation but words had escaped her.  Looking around Angela spotted her friend glaring in her direction.  She gestured for Angela to go on, eyes wide with excited encouragement.

“Yea, I’m fine” she choked.

“We almost had quite the disaster there, I’m Mark.”  Angela accepted his handshake gasping at the contrast between their skin temperatures.  She was sure she caught the slightest glimpse of steam.

“Angela.  Nice to meet you.  And, thanks”

“Don’t mention it.”  Mark motioned to the chair across from the table he currently occupied.  “Please, sit down.  I’m not sure my reflexes will be on point should you have another bout of clumsiness.”  Blushing again Angela accepted his gesture and began to sit, smoothing out her skirt as she lowered herself into the chair.  Mark subtly pushed it in for her as she sat.

“Thank you.”  Angela paused wondering whether or not she should admit her nervousness.

“Don’t be nervous Angela, I won’t bite unless you ask nicely.”  Mark smiled.  It was the type of look any girl would melt for.  Shocked at his ability to read her mind Angela sighed and let her posture relax.

“This is my first blind date.  I’m a mess.”

“To be honest, I am too but I am much better at hiding it.”  He winked taking a sip from a rocks glass of bourbon.  Angela grabbed it and downed the rest in one gulp.

“Well, that’s one way to take the edge off” Mark laughed.  He signaled for the waitress and Angela looked at the man before her, smiling a smile she never knew her face could make.

Ice water in her veins…

3 12 2010

Last night while watching a rerun of Seinfeld I have seen close to 100 times, I was overcome with a strong urge to channel my creative energy into something more constructive than my bustling Sims 3 neighborhood of Pleasantview.  First step was to Google some good writing prompts.  I found to be pretty helpful despite its ironically unimaginative domain name.  After some browsing I stumbled upon this gem; “free write with the cliche ice water in her veins.”  Lacking job prospects, a steady income, and come Decemeber 18th, a home, the direction of my free write took a pretty negative turn.  C’est la vie.


Jane skipped down the path parallel to the river bed.  The hair cascading down the girls back was as dark as coal yet as lustrous as silk.  Your finger tips longed for the satiny touch but feared the repercussions of such a breech in her personal space.  Long, black lashes revealed eyes emulating a deep hue of jade only replicated in those of feline lineage.  Her throat produced a laughter full of infectious joy but also saturated with malevolence. You gravitated towards Jane although a gut-wrenching intuitiveness warned you not to.

She stopped abruptly.  Expressionless, Jane gazed at the wounded dove laying in the gravel.   The bird cocked it’s head in her direction, eying the girls every move.  With a struggle the dove pathetically attempted to create as much space between itself and Jane’s outstretched hand as possible with an impaired wing.  She empathized with the lone, wounded dove but felt no remorse for her actions.  Ice water surged in her veins as she grasped the birds neck with her thumb and index finger.  In an instant the dove was dead and Jane’s lips curled into ever the slightest of smiles.

No one ever noticed the drawings.  Jane was encouraged for her creativity no matter how disturbing each sketch ended up at the conclusion of every art period.  And the teachers loved Jane.  Her cheerful, polite facade was everything a low paid, under appreciated public school teacher could ask for.  She was a break from the insufferable monotony of misbehavior and disrespect analogous with the teaching profession.

But when the police discovered the illustrations, hidden under a loose floor board in the house on Spaulding Road, next to a sigh Kirk Douglas game ball from the 1988 World Series, a set of rusted keys, and an unopened Cracker Jack prize, that Jane disappeared.  The drawings were bound together with a patch of leather and twine, encased in a layer of dust.  Detective Smith carefully pulled at either end of the string revealing images inconceivably conjured from the subconscious of a nine year old child.  It was 2026, Jane wasn’t even alive on that day in September but somehow each picture meticulously represented another aspect of the event.  Federal Law banned mention of the day and resulted in a collective discontinuation of 9/11 remembrance, erasing it from national consciousness.  For twenty years life carried on as if the conflict never existed.

How could a little girl have the ability to accurately depict such a monumental stain in the history of American national security?  Jane knew something.  If only they could find her.