Friday, December 28, 2012

Catch and Release

Good things come and pass.

I watched the stream flow by, my mind miles away, tossed in the gentle swirl of the current over rocks and minnows I used to pacify myself in catching.

They never let me keep the minnows, my parents. As dainty and petite a pet they made at time of capture, they were not meant to be captive long-term. I'd be obliged to return them to their life cycle, to grow and flow downstream to the lake and mate and eat and mate until death or a fisherman's rod brought them in.

But for two days they would be mine. For two days I'd keep them sustained in my empty juice bottle, adoring them and imagining what our future could be.

If our future could be.

Over and over I had to face that it couldn't, and release them back into the current.

It seems my life is nothing more than catch and release, catch and release, catch and release until I'm left crouched by the streamside wondering what point there is to it all. What waste of calorie to capture that which cannot stay, that which lives a better life without my grasp.

I was a fool to come again, I decided, leaning back on my haunches momentarily before shifting to Indian style, there on the bank. I was a fool to paint the illusion of reality along the trickle of the water swimming by. A fool to assume the minnows wanted me terrorizing them and restraining them from their allotted course, that somehow I was an exception to natural law. A fool to want what clearly cannot be mine.

For even though you say I'm worth it and worthwhile, I don't see you ushering me into an empty juice bottle.

I don't see you trying to keep me, when I want nothing more than to catch and keep you.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Please Don't Say You Love Me

I had an abundance of misfortune catacombed around my temples, lending my thoughts down narrow roads of empty cobwebs and distant lights I couldn't make out with the nightfall. I wrapped my arms about myself in that familiar way reminiscent of a home I don't remember; that second part of human nature that we spend our lives wandering in wait for.

I can't draw the emotion out of myself with my own arms.

I was washed over with an overbearing notion of freedom, lacerated by the tethering bindings that hold me where I stand. I am stuck, crystallized or bogged to this surrounding, but all the while liberated and alive. I retain an abundance of hope and patience previously alien to my mortal mind. The lights remain, visibly dancing away from my grasp, but they remain, and with them the idea that someday I will stand among them. Someday I shall know them.

That notion alone constitutes as enough.

I understand wandering in wait is necessary. Time will come. I'll have the lights one day.

I never understood this song. I enjoyed it, but didn't understand where she was coming from.

I think I do now. And everything vague thing I'm capable of penning here at this exact moment is breached in full in this song, and better and more vaguely than I could ever dream of scripting.

So I'll let it speak. You can close your eyes and ignore the multicolored hands. Or push play and scroll up to avoid seeing the video at all. I purposefully chose the lyric version and not the music video because I didn't want the song bogged down by the director's story.

Take the words for what they are.

Please don't say you love me.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've done. -Jason Mraz-

I cried all the time as a child; easily and often. A boy in sixth grade teased me endlessly because his first memory of me was from kindergarten when I had punched my yellow Capri Sun straw through the back of the pouch and cried.

As stagnant and constant as Dad's instructions on the proper way to greet an angel and how to deduce if the angel was of God or the devil (D&C 129), were Dad's herbal "drops," as we called them. Bach Flower Remedies, at least the ones we employed, are vials of liquid with a little dropper attached to the lid. You take two or three drops under the tongue or in water to help ease different ailments. If it burns when it sets in, that's the signal that you need help in that area--each vial remedies a different condition. (For instance I use Mimulus and Impatiens for stress and impatience. Rescue Remedy is a mix of various drops--it's the cure-all.)

Our primary use of these drops was/is for nerves.

I can't recall a single audition I've attended without having taken Rescue Remedy in a water bottle with me. They work. I 100% agree that they work. I've tried other herbal remedies and walked away none the better off, but I can say tenfold I'm always more calm and at ease after these.

But I'm not giving a product review.

It's backstory.

The day I was to meet Jason Mraz was one of the most stressful days of my life. As the morning wore on I grew more and more panicked, and I knew the only thing that would fix me would be drops.

Mom and I drove around Golden Colorado after eating breakfast at a quaint little bistro--seriously, side note, I love small towns--and happened to find an organic health shop. We went inside.

They were under new management, and all the Bach items they had were left over from the old owner; they were just clearing out stock. They had a Rescue Remedy for Pets, and several human remedies. I read all the labels, none having to do with the thing my mind primarily connected drops to--stress. I found one that wouldn't help me prior, but would save my life after, or so I thought.

I have this issue of being confident with myself until after the moment has passed, and suddenly everything I did/said/expressed on my face was the wrong course of action and I'm a failure and I suck.

Pine "allows you to accept yourself and your actions as they are rather than feel guilty or blame yourself for the mistakes of others."

With my track record, I knew after experiencing the most daydreamed moment of my young life, that anything I did would later be deconstructed as horribly wrong and pathetic.

We bought Pine.

I used it for the first time tonight; maybe because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and I'd never seen the point in curing the metaphorical heartburn after it had set in, maybe because I've learned to deal with my over-analytical mind. All night tonight I was cherry bombed with What If's. I was going mad, concocting different ways things could have gone, different paths I could have trod, different doorsteps to end up on, but immediately following came the frustrated voice that it doesn't matter. There are a hundred different ways each instant can go--there were three separate beginnings of this post I contemplated before diving in, and those are only the three I contemplated. There were many other ways to start this.

For once I had a voice of reason breaking through the hypothetical, drawing my eyes to sturdily acknowledge that it doesn't matter. What happened happened, it could have gone a separate way, but I didn't chose that way. I didn't even see that direction until hours later when I replayed the occurrence for the two hundredth time. Life is not a "choose your own ending" book with a series of scripted outcomes you eenie-meenie-miney-moe your way through to wind up with one of four outcomes. Life is walking in the woods. Life is heading off in one direction and weaving through the trees and over rocks as you see fit; maybe you could have gotten there from a different route. Maybe you could have gotten there sooner or taken your time to find a more beneficial path. Maybe you could have turned slightly more right and ended up at a different spot all together--it doesn't matter. You got there. You made it, you passed. That's it.

It doesn't matter "what if" I remembered Jason Mraz's favorite board game was Scrabble and used Scrabble letters instead of screenshots of his handwriting on the tee shirt I made. It doesn't matter "what if" I had him sign the CD case like I'd always imagined instead of the last-minute book decision. It doesn't matter "what if" I took another ten minutes plotting out all my courses before deciding what to send in that text. It doesn't matter "what if" I'm misunderstood or taken out of context or tossed aside. I did what I did. I didn't do what I didn't. It doesn't matter. I got around that tree, I passed that stump. There's no sense in going back and observing all the things I could have done. It's behind me.

It doesn't matter.

I used Pine to shut myself up, to accept myself and my actions as they are and move on.

There's nothing behind me but what was. There's nothing ahead but what will be.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth--that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief."

-Moroni 10:24

I check up on myself every once in a while, see how I'm standing compared to where I was. It was November, and I checked the list to the right that shows my posts through year and months. It was depressing to see I was a long ways off from the 40's I'd been reaching with no qualms for the past two years.

I felt insufficient.

But suddenly I had so much to write about and so many ways to script it: the words came back.

It's because faith and application of it came back.

I realized this a few months ago, that I'd added some five pages to my manuscript during the summer purgatory, whereas the year before I'd jotted near sixty pages plus a notebook of extensive backstory and side details I'll probably never divulge. I realized, though the words may still be around, they aren't as free flowing as when I'm plowing a prosperous field and sowing spiritual oats. It takes me three times as long to locate them.

I acknowledged this, yes, and continued merrily on my stagnant way.

Which, as a side feature to mirror the slew of nonsense yesterday's post entailed, imagine a stagnant body of water. It could be beautiful; I'd assume most are at the beginnings. But add whether and algae and seasons and animal droppings--with nowhere to leach out to, it festers in itself. It's revolting. I hadn't really thought about it before, though I've used the term stagnant in my internal monologue for weeks. Its got quite the disturbing connotation. And denotation.

If we're being honest, I don't remember which is which.


The family had settled in for family scripture study, which isn't the most common of practice, and something that I partially don't see the point in because I never keep up with the reader. I always pause at some point to mark a verse in my specific, unique, meaningful way, and catch up some twenty verses later.

This was one such case, but it was worth it, because it clarified what I'd been musing for months and vocalizing on occasion.

"...if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief."

"...if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief."

Yes, I found many musable topics in November, but I also found Christ and rekindled my belief.

And the words came back.

The experience of losing the words and having them return taught me two things: 1) if one doesn't work for the Lord's purpose, one can lose one's gifts; 2) I'm not a writer. That isn't something innate bred in me like my eye color or that freckle on my ring finger. It's not something I'll carry and keep regardless where I tread. The Lord made me a writer. He opens the floodgates through which the words flow and frolic and dance and arrive.

What this means is I can't afford to lose the Lord in my life. I can't afford to dwell in unbelief. I can't survive if he takes away the words.

My favorite lyrical sentence of all time (and this is a drastic statement because there are many a Jason Mraz lyric that are utterly beautiful) is from the Hudson Taylor song "Wont' Back Down." It's my life wrapped up in one sentence. It hits so truly home that if I ever in a million years got a tattoo, that would be the one thing I could visualize myself scripting to my skin. You've probably read it before: it's the subtitle to my blog.

"Take my words, they're all I have."

Losing the words this year forced me to realize that I am nothing without them. I am nothing without the Lord. The only way I could carve a way through this life is through the pen and what it produces. I'm not an actor. I'm hardly a teacher. Everything I am stems from everything I write. I've constantly fallen back on my ability with words.

I can't afford to be idle, at least not with the gospel. If I ever place something below another, the gospel must be what stays afloat. If all I am is possible through the words, and He controls the words, without him I am nothing.

Perhaps this is redundant. Perhaps I didn't articulate it with the smoothness I had hoped. I'm just trying to say what I know now, what I had to learn to cease the circling. Words may be all I have, but that I won't have them if I have unbelief in Christ.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Patience does not suit me like a birthday suit.

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits.
I rend my heart twain.
She rambles in the car,
I scribe words of self disdain.

I keep falling back on the analogy of stripping off clothes. Not in an erotic means; metaphor. Simile. Put on your literary caps, chaps. 

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits.
I marvel at composure
Rent along the seams
Of patchwork stitches and
Needle-thing points,
Making mirrors of emotion
Echo back the heart.

I find a cigarette in the dumpster.
He'd been off the stuff for months, but
The sorrow of the human condition is the tendency
For relapse
Into something so divine.
Each man finds that sense
Of divinity,
Whether lasting or earthly,
And he consumes and usurps as much
As possible
Before the supply dries and he's
Abandoned by addiction to a realm
Of back-sided hands.

I apologize for this post. It's stream of consciousness. Usually I edit the floundering out, but Jason Mraz has done this on occasion and it really works. 

And I'm falling asleep but there is so much yet to say.

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits.
I bite my lower lip and roll over,
Forgetting what I want
And what I was,
embedded in this bed
Partaking of the body of
That resides in the ludicrous
Pumping of my veins and ventricles;
Words I hate to express.
Notions I hate to remember.

She strips her clothes off when anxiety hits,
And I can't help but applaud the metaphor.
I want to remove this cup from me,
To shed the skin
That clings so forcefully
Against my blazing heart
And peel off tenderly
The fabric that contains me,
To set it aside and wade into the water.
Whether I drown or wash clean
I've yet to decide,
But this corset is too much,
These surroundings too full
Of all I yearn to forget,
Move past,
And wait for.

Patience does not suit me
Like a birthday suit.

I'm cleaning my room tomorrow. I'm unhappy with everything and anything so suddenly that it's the only solution I can conjure, aside for the fact that it desperately needs to be done. I have a 1940's hope chest to place at the foot of my bed, and a room to rearrange so it will fit.

Dad is good about sensing my unhappiness. Last we changed the room, it stemmed from unhappiness.

That was high school.

I can't change my scenery. I can't get Virginia or anything else because I'm meant to be here, right now. I'm meant to wait. I have to find newness somewhere else.

I gripped the collar of my jacket and felt my arms shaking. I wanted to do it. I wanted to give in to the horrible motion in my stomach, the bubbling and gurgling of nauseating anxiety that had plagued me for weeks, and rend my clothes. I wanted the angels scribing my life to place the phrase they penned for the bible. That I rent my clothes.

But more than that, it seemed necessary. I wanted to take each article bit by bit and discard it somewhere I could pick it up when needed, but be content to ignore and rediscover on a day in a year where it no longer matters.

I wanted to stop worrying, caring, wondering. I needed to be waiting.

I moved my arms and grabbed the hem. I pulled up.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back to Where I Was

I stayed up until three last night reading my great-grandma's history. She was a visionary and a saint; a blunt, religious woman who told it like it was. And you believed her.

Because she knew.

I've been frustrated of late, perhaps with my sense of limbality (an altered form of saying "in limbo" I just created of the Dr. Seuss-ness of it.) and lack of answers. Granted, I have no grounds on which to demand with flaming torches the Lord light my path, as my path has only begun to reunite with where He expects me to trod, but I felt this urgent need to read past all the fluff (interesting, but fluff) about life in the early twentieth century and get to the part where she started being visited. One defining factor of Ida Dial was that the veil didn't mind ruffling for her.

Once I reached that place in her memoir, they came in quick succession.

And aside for the peace and affirmation of fact that settled about my blanketed shoulders with each passing vision, I couldn't shake the notion that I'm not getting answers. She had visions and visitations and all manner interactions on a spiritual level, and my means of receptive communication is just a squeeze and a head pat and a positive, "just endure" phrase pressed into my mind.

I know I shouldn't compare. I'm not. I'm not in any way saying I deserve all she had and more.

I'm saying it's a shame I let a year slip by, and neglected this edification of myself, a year that could very well have launched me closer to the apparition of an angel, or at least magnified the squeeze to an embrace.

As a diligent youth I experienced a constant disconcerting emotion each time I spoke of spirituality in an appropriate setting, such as church meetings themselves. I would sit in my folding chair at the back of the chapel and feel the burn in my arms and heart that I needed to share what was swirling in my head. So I'd stand and make the trek through the pews of friendly faces, mount the steps and face the crowd.

It was a common, near constant occurrence to bear the spirit so forcefully in my heart that I could scarce contain it with my meager mortal frame, but upon ending my oratory I would descend the stairs and feel ashamed. People would smile or nod at me and I'd avert my eyes. I had been stupid to say that. How dumb of me to ever leave my folding chair. What a waste of two minutes of everyone's time.

This experience bothered me, and it came with such frequency that I began to question whether I should ever speak at all.

But it didn't seem right or fair, knowing that the Holy Ghost was bursting so forcefully within me that I couldn't keep myself from sharing. It wasn't fair that I should be so overbearingly compelled to speak, and not have something beneficial to say; only something so idiotic.

I don't remember exactly how it played out, but eventually I found myself facing Acts 9, which is a personal favorite chapter for many reasons--it begins the tale of Paul, one I never tire of. But it was Acts 9:15 that changed my perspective of the spiritual letdown post-testimony:

"15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."

Whether it hit me at once or arrived over months of musing, "a chosen vessel unto me" began to be the take-away point to the verse. And it was applicable to more than Paul.

I was constantly aware of all the times I failed at keeping the Spirit after vocalizing what the Spirit seemed so desirous I should declare. It came to my attention that the times people most often thanked me for my words or remarked how I'd really hit home or made sense where those times I left the pulpit or classroom feeling sufficiently sub-par and pathetic.

I came to the conclusion that, in those moments, the Spirit was not for me to keep. I did not need what the message contained. The Lord merely needed a vessel to deliver it to they who were in need.

I don't mean this to sound like I'm tooting my horn and saying I'm the bees knees. I'm worried that's how it's coming across because the driving spiritual force I experienced upon endeavoring to pen this post has now subsided.

I'm feeling stupid for ever bringing it up.

But I had to write it because it happened today, in Relief Society. A recollection kept spinning through my head, drawing my attentions, and suddenly the teacher said something that burst a dam inside of me, or rather the dam dividing me from heaven, and suddenly I was quivering and burning with a power not my own, and I knew I had to share. I knew I had to release that divine heat from my extremities or I would surely go up in flames.

So I spoke, and I spoke in a rush. It sounded a jumble to me, and suddenly irrelevant but it was coming out, it needed to come out.

And as I closed my statement I felt like an idiot. I felt suddenly empty and ashamed and under qualified.

It was in that moment I realized how long it had been since I felt incomplete and awkward after speaking in a church meeting. I couldn't remember the last time I'd burst with the Spirit and slunk, drained, into my folding chair.

I want to be her. Whether that means angels herald to my attentions the man I'm to marry, or a woman I did temple work for comes to tell me I am to do her daughter's work that night, or that I continue to have bursts of Aaron oratory capacities followed by Moses-like selfconsciousness. I don't know.

What I do know is whatever the Lord needs of me, that is what I want to be. I can only imagine how many times in the past year someone else served as vessel because my being was not fit to house His gospel. The Lord has pulled me from my rut by introducing people who have literally brought me to Christ in a way I never thought I'd need to be brought. I am beyond thankful they were what they needed to be to serve as vessels for the Lord's plan in my life, and hereby avow to never stray from becoming what He needs, that I may one day return the favor to a stranger or loved one. Whether by word or by deed, His vessel I'll be.

"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Talk Is Cheap

I've been beginning to drown. My lungs clench up and my heart falters and I can't breath. I sway for a moment, and have to talk myself out of drowning.

One route to not drowning has been this song by Eric Hutchinson:

I know what he's intended the song to mean: stop talking, let's do something. You want to make a change, stop complaining about the way things are and go make the change. Talk is cheap. I get it. But for me, right now, it's leaning more toward his other meaning: say what you mean.

"Some people don't know how they really feel, some people can't talk about what is real. And I could never chit-chat all day long...And everybody's talkin' while they're stringing me along. I'll go by what you do, 'cuz talk is cheap."

The whole chorus, really. It's sort of become my mantra of positivity, to evade the ever present possibility of drowning. In the past two days it's already been played 17 times on my iPod, and over a thousand in my idle mind. And in the course of typing this post I've listened to the above YouTube video three times.

I bought Eric's album in like, June. It was unfortunate for him to release his sophomore album the very same day Jason Mraz released Love Is A Four Letter Word, because, well... It's Jason Mraz. And even when Eric Hutchinson was numbered in the favorites lump (which he's wriggling his way back into), he was only ever Second Favorite.

I literally referred to him as that through sophomore year and most of junior year. Then I realized I had too many Second Favorites to individually label one specific Second Favorite. From there he fell from grace.

I tried listening to Moving Up Living Down on the bus one day sometime after meeting Jason Mraz, when my future and music taste suddenly slammed into a wall. I couldn't make it through.

I wasn't ready for this song. I didn't need it then.

I cannot stress enough how much I need it now, when everything else is reminding me of my innate need to seize up and drown, give up the ghost and float down the ravine and onward into the underworld. I need a reason to breath.

The Lord's told me patience. I need patience; a diligent patience in which I progress but still wait. That's what this song's given me. I mantra through which to accomplish patience.

"I don't want to wait for you 'cuz talk is cheap. I don't know how you spend your time; I'm done wasting all of mine. 'Cuz talk is cheap."

I'm not lending my life and happiness on other's shoulders anymore. I'm bottling up those parts of me that want to bleed and blend in with everyone unconditionally. I'm shutting down what tears me down. I've made my resolution: "From now on I'm listening and saving my breath."

Because talk is cheap.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The world was flaked with white that hadn't lasted the season until the night before.

The snow flecked around her shoulders, the hills spreading away from her stationary place caked in a sea of soft white, blurring at the edges under the solid grey clouded sky. She wanted to absorb it; to stand there all day, all night, as long as it took to be translated in the wind, disintegrated in the fog she exhaled, dissolved like the moisture from her lips. 

They chipped and broke with each motion of the breeze, each movement of her tongue in a subconscious attempt to revive what was long gone. What had long given up.

She spent years waiting for days like this, solitude peace of mind that ebbed and flowed along the brush of sparkling water against her rawing cheeks. She wanted the numbness that would come, that cold would bring. She wanted the absence of worry, lack of life, that attended dying nervous systems. She wanted ease, singularity. Happiness.

Her eyes focused to the horizon, where trees began to become their backdrop, the white overbearing and overcoming with each gust of snowfall, whitewashing everything she'd had to bother with hours before. Moments before. 

She was beginning to breath again, as the water seeped through her black boots. Her fingers were long too exposed to be useful to her. She was a body and one beating organ unified with the clean slate before her, and the world that opened up in its captivity under water. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

After The Storm

My mind is a tempest today.
A whirlwind of confusion forces fog
Against the rigging of my boat,
And in the clouded stupor
I am left with the constructs of my mind;
All the meager things I never dwell on in life
That climb out of darkness to twist the imagination
And insist I see them for what they are.
Shrouded in grey-scale I'm left to acknowledge
My horrors and concerns,
My nauseousness and grief,
And the possibility that I am wrong.

I am rocked across the sea,
Salt pricking my skin
As water lashes across my face.
I am trapped with my thoughts,
The jagged rhythm of the ship
And the clanging of pulleys
Prevent my eyes from focusing on the abstract idea
Of you.

From this angle you look like you prefer her,
And I am reverted to a sub-par state of being
I occupied most excusably in high school.
As the waves crash I see you
Ringleader of this game
You created against my heart
To tear down the fallen until they rise no more.
With my hair tangled about my face
From the roaring winds of angst
You become synonymous with him,
Him, him, and him.
You don the hat they all exchanged,
In possession of the knowledge which
Will tear me down
And break my bones.
I am pathetic and lowly
And none,
Above all you,
Would ever choose my hand.

The current drops and I am thrown
To the deck,
My knee bent near my chest,
Sprawled in a chalk outline-
A murder you committed.
Face-down I remember all you've been;
How ignorant and childish I am
To assume malicious action on your part.
You know as much as I do,
You're unsure as much as I am,
But comfort will not hold as the ship
Is rocked again, the fog clenching
Tighter, a reminder of my imagination
And subconscious tendency to pen outcomes
Before beginnings arise.
I've labeled you important,
I've crafted you as special;
The tempest and fog refuse to shed light
On which end of my mind
Is right.

As the tempest swells
I run and wake the master,
For in days past he
Rebuked such wind and
Calmed such seas and
Cast a humble eye on the weak.
I can no longer weather alone
This torrential torment of the mind,
The way my heart is failing
And falling to a
Despair-ridden deck.
I focus beyond the deluge
Of my mind, farther into
Perfection than my fears of drowning
And await his calming steady hand.

And as he aids me yet again,
He asks
Why are ye so fearful?
How is it that ye have no faith?
Have patience that the storm will pass.
I know thine pain,
But more so
Thine path.
Believe ye not this storm will last.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rusty Halo

I wanted to open the window, allowing the dust to rise from its slumber along the sill and floor. I wanted a breeze and tapered sunlight to come, coiffed  through the open pane and make a difference on the room I'd left so long alone.

But more than that. I wanted it the way it was. After the whimsical stirring of dust in the fresh air, I wanted order. I wanted the maintenance to be maintained. I wanted the life back in this dull cavern I had dug, in this dingy attic that used to play recluse.

I wanted atonement.

I scuffed my shoes along the densely abandoned floor, remembering in the peeling wood all my hopes for this place, all my hopes for the eternity this place would bring me kin to.

I had shut the door, bolted the lock, and descended the stairs, retaining the potential, the beauty, and the hope within, intent on keeping it forever.

Copper greens under elements, dust falls, decay takes hold. A conserving door does not conserve the condition. What once was clean grows dirty, especially when left alone.

I opened the door to a room I remembered, but in a condition I knew no more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not What I'm Looking For

I wait with the window open. I am Wendy, looking out to the second star to the right, waiting for the inevitable moment when Peter swoops in again.

The trouble with Neverland is that time is not an entity. I could have grown old there without growing old, returning to this skyline to find the window shut and locked, the Darlings long dead, tenets boarding up in our converted family home. I wouldn't be remembered, all who'd ever thought to keep the memory of me now lying in gilded boxes in the ground.

I could stop waiting, lock the window to Peter's selfish, untimely return, hang my hat on the notion that he'll never again grace me with a thimble.

I'm not the sort a boy like that wants.

Still I keep the window open, still I refuse to shut out the option that perhaps, someday, I'd rather be in Neverland. Still I prep myself for the day my daughter will take the room, to undergo the right of passage that is heartbreak at Peter's hands.

We are attracted to the impossible. It is impossible for me, as aged as I have grown, to be yet so taken with a young boy. I want vivacity in maturity, not the boyish games he played with my heart. I don't want to have to battle to gain my footing. I want someone who would grow with me, in love and age. Peter can never be what I need, waiting by the window. Peter can never mean to me now what he meant to me then.

Peter is my past; a beautiful, wonderful, unbelievable moment I shan't ever forget, but as much as Peter would be the same, I would be all the more different.

I wish to progress, to grow, to gain experience and knowledge and send my lifeless body to its gilded box a more defined person than when I entered it, and by perfection take it up again. I could not bear the purgatory of Neverland, to keep the beauty of heart, mind, and complexion of youth, but to lose the magnificence of accomplishing eternity.

Peter only offers a part. Peter brings a blissful idea of childlike happiness forever, one I always questioned why I never kept, why I set it aside with the burning urge to go sojourn in mortality and grow old and grow up rather than stay. It would have been easier. It would be elegantly better to lead such a freeing life of carefree play and discovery until the end of time. But to abandon my purpose, whatever that divine being intended for it to be, to sell my soul to the devil in slothful, superficial intent, would be a life I could never lead.

I hadn't intended to lead it to begin with. I came to be at this window by forsaking the idea of an already plotted course which my hand could neither stay nor stray.

I inhale a breath of crisp winter air falling past the gently shaking curtains in the breeze, my hand shaking as I pull the window shut, questioning for one last moment if I truly want to deny the option of returning with Peter to Neverland. I follow through; the breeze stops short.

There is no future for me in Neverland. There is no tomorrow in the past. I am no better off than a pillar of salt if I look back

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2 Corinthians 12:15

-And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.-

 Well. Paul did it. Paul said everything I've ever tried to say on this blog, and he did it in one sentence.

Heart To Ground

I can't figure out what to say.
I can't even decide how to say it,
But this jumble in my head
And in my veins
Is testament enough that words...
Words need to be spoken.

I'm too weak to do it.

I don't want to dig holes.
I don't want to find myself
Miles from where I want to be,
Miles from the surface,
Where the worms live in motion
And the soil's damp and cold.
Where they could bury me
And leave me none the wiser
But all the more better off.

It's a crime against my sanity
To love as much
As often
As I do.
I'd seldom encounter issues
If I didn't strap my heart to my sleeve
And tread where others go.

My heart sheds affection
When I am bumped
In a metaphorical sense.
My heart, exposed to the
Toxicity of air and interaction
By its presence on my sleeve
Is weakened by its openness
To the relatable world.
And like a soft rock
Continuously bumped against one sharper,
It flakes away,
Bits of my heart scattering to
Whomever was responsible,
Or whomever is standing still.

I call it curse
Because I can't escape,
And with the likes of you it's worse.
My heart doesn't fit in my own chest,
It pines of the day I find it a place
To burrow itself for keeps,
To build walls of soft tissue
And lava lamps of blood;
To cocoon itself under clavicles
And beat for years to come.

I am not other girls.
Ignore the teenage meaning
Of other girls breaking hearts
And acting floozies.
I'm not other girls
Because you don't have to win my heart.
You already have most of it
From bumping past as often
As you have.
You don't have to win my heart.
Just let me know you want it.
Give me a sign you'll take it,
Keep it,
And lend me yours in exchange.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I've never seen that before. They talk about it all the time, I've read it in books, been guilty of writing it myself, all with the vague notion that I'm writing the unknown. An unknown falsehood of myth and lyric. It was inexperience-able, as far as I was able to see. You'd have to be exceptionally perceptive to notice a swift thing like that.

But I saw it, tonight.

Your eyes dilated.

I was across the room, you were speaking, and gauging on your choice of location I knew you hadn't seen me; I hoped you hadn't seen me.

I'm not sure how well I'd cope with the idea you knew my position and elected for another.

Your gaze alighted to mine, a mere circumstance, a mere surrounding scan, and it happened.

Your complexion changed. It looked like a match, a brief flare of light quickly muted to something of normalcy. You almost looked terrified, though your expression never changed. It was in that realization-that your mouth and brow were as set and determined as the moment before you saw me-that I came to understand what had taken place. It was your eyes that jumped, your eyes that flashed and expanded with the vivacity of fear. It was the briefest of moments, yes, but I watched it unfold, and though you looked away, not to look back, I knew it to be true.

Your eyes dilated.

There is nothing more invigorating than the knowledge that I interest you. For the first time in my pathetic, male-seeking life I have a solid structure on which to found my opinions. Even if you haven't fully cognitively embraced our probability together, your body isn't lying.

Your eyes dilated.

And for now, that's good enough for me.

Yet I Run

I'm sorry that I run.
That I embody the rodents I adore
And flee at the unknown.
I'm sorry that you terrify me.
I want to stay-
Beyond belief I want to stay.
But I'm not a fighter,
So I take flight.

I need to be chased;
I wish it wasn't the case, but
I don't think I'll ever stop
Unless someone stops me.

I want you to stop me.

I want to be stopped for you.

If I had the capacity within myself
I would do it right now.
I would keep to you until my breath
Quickened and dissipated,
And as an empty vessel I fell.

The truth is simple:
You terrify me.
And whether that's beautiful
Or disturbing
It's fact.

I could love you.
If I could stop running.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Humble Request

Dear three readers:

I have penned my favorite thing in the past six months. Six months of near constant striving to pen something, mind you. And it finally happened. I have finally produced something exceptional.

 I've entered it in a contest at, which is why I didn't just post the story itself, but rather this introduction.

I want to win this contest. 

This work, juxtaposed with all my works of late, is my most bestest creation. If anything I've penned deserves to earn me a chance at $5,000 dollars, this piece is it.

But I need help. Nominees are vote-based, so if you would not mind...

This is the story. Be my best friend. Click this link.

Read Winter Hands. Heart Winter Hands. Request your friends to do the same. And as a sign of gratitude, when all the voting is over, I will post the 600 word version to this blog. That's 100 extra words I had to splice out of my favorite piece for it to qualify for the contest.

I'm dedicated to this. Please help me.

May the odds be ever in my favor.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Winter Where I Am

Music is of maximum importance to me, and while Jason Mraz is undoubtedly my favorite musician, that doesn't mean I don't dabble quite a bit in the affairs of others. Jason Mraz is my go to: I can listen to him when I'm happy, sad, trying to take a nap, any number of things I don't need to list. But, I've found he is an anomaly, primarily because with other musicians I have to be in a certain mood.

And it has to be the appropriate season.

I'm a very visual person; when I memorize lines for a show, or back when I played the piano and performed in piano recitals, I'd memorize the location of the words or notes on the page. It wasn't the words themselves that stuck with me, but the way the page looked. Which is why it was such a big deal when Taylor wrote allover my Charley's Aunt script, but that's beside the point. Like memorizing lines, I memorize and take in music with regards to what I'm seeing at the time. Which is why I avoid listening to exclusively Jason Mraz on the bus; the last thing I want is to connect his brilliance with the monotony of an hour drive through backstreets day in and day out. To satisfy my own overwhelming excitement for winter and winter music, I am going to impart to you, the three readers of my blog, the best winter music. Beginning, naturally with

Matt Duke: Winter Child 

I found this album my junior year (2009-2010) of high school. I listened to it through December, driving my car through the biggest snow of the season with it playing. This album has become winter to me, to the extent that I nearly feel nauseous trying to listen to it when there isn't snow to be found. The sky has to at least be grey before I can pop this baby in. Which is a little disappointing if you're Matt Duke. Sorry your music didn't transgress the season restriction like Mraz, Matt.

With Winter Child it's more than the fact that I found it in winter, it's that the songs have this dark/moody quality to them, even the upbeat ones like Tidal Waves. Matt Duke doesn't write filler popsongs, at least not on this album. Even the "happier" songs are really about something darker like committing suicide. It's appropriately titled, so I've appropriately categorized it.
-Tidal Waves

The trouble with not having stalker fans like Mraz is there are hardly any youtube videos of this guy. But his lyrics are miracles.

Charlotte Sometimes: Waves And the Both of Us

Charlotte's first album is labeled under winter because, after finding her single How I Could Just Kill A Man in the summer of 2008 (by watching the top 20 music video countdown to see how rad of a job I'm Yours was doing) I knew I'd love everything she sang, so I held out for Birthday Christmas where I could get her whole album.

It happened. And I was right, she is in the trifecta of Favorite Female Artist, swapping places with Daphne Willis and TP depending on my mood.

And the season.

Charlotte pulls an Alanis Morissette with her first album, focusing her songs on heartbreak and wrongdoing and moody womanly opinions. She now expresses that that's really not what she's about anymore, but it's an excellent album, and it's dark enough to pair with snowfall and have a good time.

-Build the Moon

I've always thought this would be the ballad I'd sing on American Idol.

Come on. Tell me you don't plan things like that.

Matt Nathanson: Modern Love

This was the first album I listened to in its entirety on the bus, so Matt Nathanson should be excited that I moved this album from that-boring-bus-album category to winter.

Matt's album doesn't have as defined a reason why it's so wintry to me other than the fact that this is what was in my car at the end of last fall semester and beginning of spring semester when I was constantly driving to and from campus in snowish/sloshy conditions.

But there are songs like Love Comes Tumbling Down, Kept, Drop To Hold You, Bottom Of The Sea, and Kiss Quick that flow with snow. Perhaps because they're slower songs. Perhaps because the melody's richer. But to me, Faster is just as snowy as Kept, regardless of how happy-pop it is.

-Kiss Quick

I'm addicted to this song. He's good with poetics, this man.

Diane Birch: Bible Belt

This album is also from my junior year, though I believe from the other side of December, after Matt Duke. Diane has the dark jazz sound with a rich, flawless alto voice. Her piano chords dance around like snow in a flurry. She's awesome. And very wintry. If I knew things about different keys, I'd probably have more substantial reasons for this album being winter. I feel like they have a darker quality, like a minor, perhaps.

Now I'm just embarrassing myself.

She's probably one of my favorite winter picks. I should have put her higher up.

Seriously get this album for all your winter loving. I'm just remembering how great it is.


I seriously love this lady. I'm going to go see if she's done something recently. I could use a new winter album.

Ingrid Michaelson: Everybody

This album is also from my junior year. I was really in a dark place through the end of December until May, really. If you've been reading this blog, that darkness is clearly illustrated by the slew of posts that came with the onset of this blog. I was shifting through music to find something that would take the pain out, but what I found was a series of musical installments that accepted the pain and the dark, cold world around me and reflected them back at me in a way I was able to calmly understand. I found winter in my heart and my music.

I hadn't really noticed that before. Interesting.

Maybe there was a deeper reason I felt like writing this post.

This album has the same storm of piano that Diane had, but with less of a jazz feel and more of a singer/songwriter. Ingrid is calming, pensive, soft. Winter.

Plus one song's title is Men of Snow. That has to mean something.

-Sort Of

This song is really empowering to belt in a very angry mood, which I'll admit to doing on occasion.

That's it. If you made it this far. I have a couple others, but it became rather obvious that my only foundation for winter albums is how "dark" they are.

Here's for a fun game. Go through the post and see how many times I said "dark." I'm guessing eight.

Am I right?

I hope someone besides myself benefited from this. Check out these artists. Let me know your winter music. No Christmas, please.

It's pretty obvious that's winter music.

Bonus Track!

I'll admit there is one Jason Mraz song that embodies winter for me. Maybe that's because it's so mellow, acoustic, and chill, or maybe it's because he mentions winter a lot. Either way, I love this song.
It's an unknown, so the only two live recordings of it were terrible quality. So stare at his naked chest and enjoy.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Baited Breath

I've been noticing you all week. I know I haven't hinted with my furrowed brow and deadpan expression, but it is nothing against you. I've endured too much of life as the chubby girl with no attractive feature but a sense of comedic timing, and have too far ingrained the idea that no one, from looks alone, would ever pick me out of a crowd. Forgive me for living as though I'm not noticed, and responding to those I notice as though they were as invisible to me as I to them. But I've been noticing you all week. I caught you looking, but did nothing about it; I was just getting on the bus. I stare down the new arrivals too. It doesn't mean I'm fascinated with the idea of mating with them, though I will admit I am constantly aware Prince Charming could board at any moment. But that's a daydream; I'm over hoping boys on buses will touch my trusses. It occurred to me today as I caught your eye with a blank slate that this could be the last I see you. That is not my normal bus, and save my professor should skip town again, I would have no way of boarding it. I thought perhaps you'd say something, as I faced front and opened my breakfast bag. Perhaps you'd close the gap of the aisle and speak. You didn't. I took a nap. I quickly took my favorite seat on the bus for home, ready to finish my leftover breakfast as a make-shift lunch, ready to put in my earbuds and tune out the sounds, when I met your eye. I decided to delay the music for a moment. I abolished all notion of eating, regardless how starved I was. You couldn't think I always only ever ate. You sat behind me. I felt anticipation seep through my pores. I was going to make a show of picking what to listen to, though the DJ in my head was already set on TP. You were going to watch, and comment about my music. But you beat me to it. I couldn't even plug the buds in before you spoke. You asked about my iPod case, said it was amazing. I answered the way I should have looked at you all week. I opened, unfolded, spoke freely, though scared. I'm bad at eye contact. I regret how often I turned around, I fear that's why you put your own buds in. I didn't want you to, but you did. You cut me off as I was fabricating a way to ask your name. That's what I hate you for: I have no name for your face, for your surprisingly tenor yet unbelievable voice, for your green jacket and you smile. I never remember eye color, even my own. I have my days. But your eyes were something. Perhaps inhabited by the light of your smile. I faced front, rejected, my eight earbud empty and waiting for you to change your mind. You didn't. I took a nap. Or, rather, attempted. If you did as you did to leave an impression, to deny me that "first kiss" on the "first date" to keep me coming back, you succeeded. I couldn't look pass that you could be watching me--that I wanted you watching me. I felt your Spanish-speaking phone call was a ploy to impress. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't And maybe it did, maybe it didn't What pacifies me, stranger, is that as you left you looked back. And I smiled, the way I should have all week. And the way I will when we cross paths again, whenever that may be. I'd prefer soon. I feel we're headed somewhere besides the bus route.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

-for lack of a better title-

Whether it's my low self-esteem or my pride, or an odd combination of my low self-esteem and pride, I relish my victories. I like seeing I've accomplished something worthwhile; I read every satisfying blog post/essay/facebook status to the point of memorization because I'm amazed and thrilled at the way the words sound. I look at pictures from a show I felt I acted well in, or an instance that happened to be captured where I looked particularly nice. It's the later that bleeds more toward vanity, but I believe I let vanity have its moment because, to my low self-esteem, those moments are so few and long awaited and deserved that they have to be enjoyed.

I was looking forward to dwelling in this victory. I was anticipating with heightened senses dwelling in him and how I won. I was going to woo him, win him, keep him, and lie down at night with the knowledge that he was in my arms, in my bed.

And then he disappeared.

I saw Weber State University's production of Charm tonight, an up-and-coming play written by Kathleen Cahill about Margaret Fuller (female writer in a time when female writers were...less than desirable). The play focuses on women's rights and feminism and homosexuality and sexual discovery, and as much as my Mormon conservative cannot bare it, I have a confession.

I connect IMMENSELY to Margaret Fuller (at least, for the sake of the remainder of the post, as portrayed in Charm). I have for about a year or so abandoned private journal writing (catching up would require too much time, so when the urge to write about myself comes I usually obscurely blog), but I can't take the secrecy right now, and maybe I'll wake up tomorrow with bloodshot eyes and a lack of sleep headache, and promptly delete this, but I feel the urge to speak. And I know it doesn't matter because no one follows this anymore, except my father who checks up on the random. To whom I say hello and sorry.

No, I'm not coming out.

My Public Speaking teacher last year constantly joked that LDS members got married so young because, to be frank, they couldn't take the sexual frustration that waiting for marriage inflicted. Because they have to wait and can't...experience prior, everyone settles at a young age because they just want to know....what it's like.

This is the part I'm afraid of, the part I hate to admit even when I'm by myself.

I want to know what it's like.

I want to know what it's like.

But the thing that keeps me celibate and patient, besides the fact that n'er a young man will look my way, is that I have more in my heart than I do in my pants. I want a man, but I want a man that will love me. I want a man that will let me listen to and talk about Jason Mraz, become house-poor with me, go to the theatre with me, make me with child and smile at me constantly because he loves me and he loves that I'm carrying his child and I'm his and...

The Mormon conservative straightens her skirt.

The feminists rend their blazers and trousers.

I like traditional gender roles.

I crave traditional gender roles.

Not as removed as the Victorian Era, but I would be content to consider myself a possession of my husband, and I'm not meaning as a lifeless slug belong to someone. To belong with someone. That's what I mean.

And it's the idea of having someone hold me not for one night or one hour, but for now until the red moon sets and the four horsemen ride and the Devil is bound for a millennium and later defeated, being in his arms forever is what keeps the Margaret Fuller at bay.

But Margaret and I do agree on one issue: no one seems to find us desirable.

But he was starting to. He was slipping toes into the water, and I was ready to greet him, to immerse him by degrees, to convince him we could work. I was going to win him, forever silencing the nag who says we'll die an old unpublished maid, eventually satisfying the Margaret Fuller, and giving the Mormon conservative a place to rest her head.

And then he disappeared.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Come Clean

There aren't enough words anymore.

This house is structured to keep me safe, to carry me through the winter and on to sunny mornings where green enfolds from fickle black branches and introduces a realm of contentment and satisfaction. The wind grew sharper today, a sting to the skin that made wonder how the same sun can cry but a separate warmth translate down. The house was cold, inside, an occurrence I had never encountered. Perhaps a window was left ajar, perhaps the heater stopped early.

They're stripping at the paint, these feeble hands of winter's wind. Tenements of color flaking down and away, the earth of timber cut for structure seeping through like death. I feel it like fingernails through clay--penetrating, obtrusive, ruining. Troughs of failure etch these walls. 

I sit against the window's glass.

There aren't enough words anymore.

The hostage situation of my mind is irritable at best. I attribute it to the feeble working of my energy reserve, and the incapatability of sleep with my being's psyche. But another thought swims within the slough: I am too far idle. I am too far driven down a path I never intended to tread, standing facing where I've been, bombarded with slurs and slays of traitor, deviant, Judas. He was at AMDA at this age. He had an agent, on the brink of getting a stable role in television. He had published his first novel.

Interesting that all my goals were set by men.

The feminists in the room recoil and hiss.

I press on, lightly informing them that 'hiss' is his. 

There aren't enough words anymore.

Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.*

There aren't enough words anymore.

I have failed to keep them.

The glass folds upon itself with the molten age of years gone in days. The trees beyond are fogged by the pane; black is all remains. Green is absent yet.

Winter became custom here, for never was another embraced. Never was a season given such light, such warmth, as the cold.

I have failed to keep them.

It takes me fragments of breath to settle the voices of accusation, to remind them our AMDA, our television role, our first novel will come when these years are tucked in memory. We will have time, the air mutters as I press it through my lungs and out parted lips. 

The breath neglects to tell me I have dwindling supply of ability.

I have failed to keep them.

"You fear the world too much," she answered, gently. "All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one..."**

I have failed to keep them. 

There aren't enough words anymore.

*Doctrine and Covenants 60:13
**A Christmas Carol-Dickens (Scrooge's first fiance, as seen with the Ghost of Christmas Past)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Signed Sealed Delivered

Before I dive into it, reader, I want you to know how it happened. I want you to know how my dearest wish did come true--just in its own time.

I had several opportunities to get Jason Mraz's autograph this year. Had the stars aligned right I guarantee it would have happened, and it was going to happen, just not the way I expected.

It started in January 2012. Jason Mraz posted an Instagram contest, where you were to talk a picture of what I Won't Give Up meant to you and hash-tag it #IWon'tGiveUp. He would pick 25 winners who would then be featured in an art gallery in New York with their photos printed on canvas and signed by Jason Mraz who would also attend the gallery. I entered the contest with the help of Emily and Erin, Emily because Instagram was not available for Android phones at the time, and Erin because I needed someone to be Cinderella.

I should have realized our Earth-friendly friend wouldn't be won by the commercialism of glass slippers.

In March, I was in my theatre management class when I got an email saying the album was finally available for preorder, and that the first 150 people to order a physical album would be signed by Jason. I ran to order the album less than half an hour after the email had been sent. I was sure I was one of the first 150. I wouldn't find out until the album came, and by the time the album came it wouldn't matter.

I'd know by then I'd be meeting him.

I got an email April 7th, the album set for release April 17th, saying that because I had preordered the album, I was part of a pre-presale for the tour tickets, and as part of this they were doing VIP packages. The money would go to the Jason Mraz Foundation. I read the email, about getting to meet him, front row seats, a gift basket.

I had to go.

The next day I intended to order the tickets on my laptop sitting in my English class, because I figured no one would notice. But as the bus pulled into campus I started to panic. I decided to ditch English and sit in a secluded place and do my thing stress-free. It was lucky I went with my nervous stomach, because my laptop wouldn't go to the VIP page at fifteen minutes to ten, when the tickets were to go on sale.

I walked as fast as I could to the computer lab in the Student Union building and luckily there was a computer free. (Someone was most definitely monitoring me from the clouds, I'll tell you that right now.) I got all the pages loaded and watched the little clock at the corner of the screen turn to ten.

I hit refresh and filled out the information at light speed, horrified I'd mistype a number in my credit card number or something simple like that and miss my chance completely. I received my confirmation email and went back to the VIP page.

There were no more tickets left.

I'd made it.

Now that you're caught up, reader, we can plow ahead.

I walked up to the secluded box office and greeted the girl. “I have one of these.” I said, passing her the printed VIP page. She looked at it, confused, and started to pose a question to her coworkers when a girl farther back in the booth said “Is it the VIP thing? What’s your last name.” I told her and she handed me the envelope.

I remember thinking it wasn’t all that miraculous looking for what it contained.

I handed her the form for my mother’s ticket, and walked on wind back to the car.

It was happening.

When I got my first Jason Mraz album Live at the Eagle’s Ballroom, I was too afraid to listen to all of it. I was embarrassed by what people would think, because I really didn’t know much about his music other than the fact that I really liked The Remedy. So I didn’t listen to much of it. It wasn’t until after Mr. A-Z showed me how much I truly did love his music that I was able to get over my stigma and listen to the live album.

We parked our car on the road, behind all these glamorous girls in their late twenties who were breaking out the champagne for their tailgating. I felt inferior in my “I wore this shirt when I met Jason Mraz” tee shirt. It’s something I’ve suffered from, a sense of Mraz-related inferiority. I sometimes joke that I’m such a big Jason Mraz fan because I felt threatened that Ellen was more into him than me, so I began studying harder and remembering all the little things so no one could question my fandom. But then I get in places like this and think “Surely these people like him more than me. I’m not a good enough fan to be here.”

“Erica.” I angrily reminded myself, sitting the passenger seat of the rental car with my stomach in a knot. “If there is anyone you are worthy of saying you’ve met on a tee shirt, it is undoubtedly Jason Mraz.”
I seem to forget that just because I’m the biggest fan in my general area, it doesn’t mean I’m the only fan like that in the world—which I would soon come to have as fact. And when I encounter more of them it frightens me. But tonight would permanently change that.

We got halfway to the steps leading to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and doubled back for our deli sandwiches; with half an hour till house I figured we’d have plenty of time to eat on the steps, but of course I was hardly hungry and only ate for the sake of having something in me to avoid passing out.

People kept looking at my shirt, pointing it out to their friends. It all seemed rather non-verbal. I acted like I didn’t notice. My mother asked if I wanted to move up closer just as a guy with a meet-and-greet wristband walked past to get more to the front. We would only have fifteen minutes after the opening of house to gather for the meet-and-greet. We moved farther up the steps.

It was near the front of the line that a middle-aged woman spotted my shirt, without my knowing, and blurted rather loudly “You’ve MET him?!?”

Accosted I stammered, “I’m going to.” She then went on to say that she would die and that she was so jealous and how-did-you-get-to-meet-him-I-would-have-paid-that-much-I’m-nervous-for-you, and the venue employees began to move aside the barricades.

“I have bad news,” one worker said, walking down the stairs to be more in the center of those of us waiting. “If you have tickets for rows 1-12 you need to go back to the box office. There’s been a mistake.”

Part of the perk to getting the VIP meet-and-greet was the second row tickets (they save first row for ADA access) and a gift bag. The calmness that had been settled serenely about me from the moment I passed my VIP form through the box office window shattered. “Mom.”

“No.” Mom said. “There’s no time.” (the box office is completely separate from the amphitheatre and would take at least ten minutes or more to get there, get the tickets, park, and walk up those brutal stairs).

“Mom I can’t…” I was literally a fragment of a second from crying, until the man to my left, the one with the meet-and-greet wristband said “He said if you just came from the box office you’re fine.”

“Are you sure?” Mom asked.

“Yeah. We’re meeting him too.”

Suddenly the clammy hands of death weren't gripping my neck and my tear ducts, there were no demons from hell clawing at my legs through the red ground below. The man’s misspeak about the tickets had passed and we were filing forward into the amphitheatre.

I found the place we were meeting, and I believe I was the third person there. A woman in a green shirt came over and stood by me. “Is that your mom sitting on the second row? Seat 54?”

“Yes...” I responded.

“She’s watching our blanket for us. She told us to watch out for the girl in the blue shoes.”

I laughed. “Yeah that’s my mom.”

The woman and I talked a little bit. Her name was Jen and her husband, who arrived shortly, was Aaron. 
They were from Northern Denver, if memory serves.

“I’m from Bountiful, Utah. It’s kinda by Salt Lake.”

“Like the northern part or southern side?” Jen asked.

“Of Salt Lake or Bountiful?”

“Salt Lake.”

Jen nodded. It was at this moment I noticed three brilliant things: 1)Earthman; 2) Philly—she’s the one that runs RKOP, an internet forum that started up when Jason was just a coffee shop regular, and has now become the name of his fan-marketing; and 3) Elmo Lovano and Christina Perri’s bassist walking less than a foot in front of me. (Elmo plays the drums for Christina. You learn these kinds of things when you follow your favorite musician’s band and opening act on Instagram.) I didn’t have time to take a picture as they passed, but I happened to catch them as they walked on the level below us.

That's Philly. I was too shy to talk to her.
Earthman has peanuts for earings, a rainbow beard, flair, some type of stuffed creature on his shoulder, and a tendency to trip straight on his face while carrying a tub full of beer cans through the audience.

Elmo Lovano and...blonde bombshell, as Christina called her.
A woman who wore stage-hand type apparel introduced herself as Rachel and came around to check our names off a list.

Jen asked me why I came out to Red Rocks, and I explained that I had resigned myself to only seeing him when he came to Utah for album tours, and that when they released the tour dates and Utah wasn’t on it, I had decided to go see him in Colorado. And then I heard about the meet-and-greets and HAD to go see him in Colorado.

Time went by, I watched the new arrivals and talked with Jen about how I forgot her name and how she’s been having heart palpations all day, and Rachel and some dude came over and reigned us in to give us the low-down.

“Jason will only sign one item. Whether that’s a shirt, a CD, just one item. I will get really mad if you try to go for two, and then you’ll ruin it for everybody. Give Rachel your camera when you come up. She’ll take two pictures per group. And that’s not two pictures per camera and iPhone. If you came in a couple, you are getting pictures taken as a couple. No singles unless you came by yourself.”

“Lucky.” Jen said to me out of the corner of her mouth.

“I’ll take some action shots, so you won’t just have posed pictures. I like to have fun.” Rachel said. They had a pretty solid good cop/bad cop thing.

They took those of us that donated to the Jason Mraz Foundation (which I thought was the only way to get a meet-and-greet, but evidently that was the only way to get a meet-and-greet with a gift bag) and took us through the barn door to give us our gift bags. Among other things was Jason’s Polaroid book A Thousand Things, which he published around 2008, which I have owned since 2008. The man said it was “highly suggested” Jason sign the Polaroid book because he would stamp it with a hand-carved stamp from Korea.
I will not go into details about the turmoil that next took place. I had to decide if I wanted him to sign the CD I had planned on him signing since the beginning of time, or a book that he would stamp with a one-of-a-kind stamp.

“Will Jason have a marker?” A boy in a plaid shirt asked a few people behind me. He, aside from me and another girl near the back of the line, was probably one of youngest ones there.

“Yes! Good question!” Rachel said. “He’ll have one.”

Suddenly I was worried. “I have a question.” I leaned in more toward Rachel. “Can I…give him something?”

“Sure.” She said, slightly bemused. “If you have something for him, you can give him something.”

I felt everybody watching me and slowly turned to the front.

I began to talk to Jen and Aaron about how I didn’t know what to do, and mid sentence I spotted him.
The gay couple at the front of the line was walking to him. I hadn’t even seen him show up. He was just suddenly there. I first saw him in profile, his head turned to the right looking at the couple. In the second it took me to register him before I pulled out my camera, all I could compute besides his existence was that he was wearing a green cardigan.
Here it is. The first picture I took of that green sweater. And the man abiding in it.

I watched him sign the books for the two men, and realized he had more space to write on the book, and he was using it.

“I’m going to have him sign the book.” I said. Jen and Aaron turned. “Thanks for…standing their while I made my decision.”

“Well, you have to make your own choices.” Jen joked, walking away to Jason.

“I have to be an adult,” I muttered as they approached him.

I noticed they had placed their bags on the ground, and as I now had two bulging totes instead of one, I promptly followed suit.

“That’s really clever.” The abrasive guy who told us Jason would only sign one item, said to Rachel.


“Her shirt.” He was being really quiet about it, but I knew he was talking about me. I turned my eyes from Jen and Aaron’s conversation with Jason and showed the guy, Philly, and another girl part of the tour crew my shirt.

“That’s awesome.” Philly said.

The other girl held up her camera and I posed as she took a picture. “He’ll really like that.”

“What?!” This girl behind me declared. “I want to see!”

So I turned and showed them my shirt. Fifteen people watching me again.

“Are you going to have him sign it?” Her boyfriend asked.

“Well I was until he could only sign one thing.” He nodded and as I faced front Jen and Aaron were walking out.

It was my turn.

I handed Rachel my camera and told her the picture would turn up on screen if it took.

“Awesome. Thanks.” She said with a smile.

There are moments you dream about when the clouds are crossing the sky, or sleep is gently pulling your consciousness under. There a moments you perform in your head in so many ways in so many places, moments you wish on stars and eyelashes for, moments that cross from consciousness into your dreamscape and happen as if reality there. These moments are unlikely to ever come, and when they do, in spite of all the preparation and imagining, they never go the way you thought. You never say the right things or you say too much or too little. And in moments like this, where the majority of the moment depends on the response and attitude of the one facing you, you have no capability of matching it to what you’ve consistently imagined; because it’s in his hands.

He was shorter than I expected. I hadn’t gone in expecting a giant, I knew he wasn’t overly tall, but in every moment I had tried to pair myself next to him I’d suddenly become very short, constantly looking up to him. But there, walking toward him, I hardly had to tip my head. He was just a little guy.

I drew attention to my shirt as he approached me with his arms slightly extended.

If he was going to act like he was going for a hug, we were going for a hug. My left arm, holding my book and sticker, when under his right arm against his back, my right over his left.

I really don’t remember what it felt like.

Just that…he was there.

As we pulled apart he said in his smooth, mellow, may have done a joint voice. “You wore that shirt when you met me. [pause] I wore this sweater when I met you.” He touched the opening of his cardigan with his right hand.

“Thank you.” I said with a nervous chuckle.

We were posing for a photo. I cursed myself for having my items in my left hand, causing the dream of just once putting my arm around him to dissolve. Rachel took a picture.

“Rachel, did you get the shirt? Get the shirt.” The abrasive guy prodded.
Rachel readjusted the camera, Jason squeezed my right shoulder closer with his right hand.

It was over. I subconsciously took a step back, looking down at my book. “So I follow you on Instagram…and I brought you this sticker from Salt Lake.” I held it out to him and he took it, glancing at it for a moment, waving it a little.

“Thank you.” He said smoothly. I really don’t remember how, but I told him my name.

“With a ‘C’?” He asked.

“Yes.” I said.

“Did you drive here?”

“No, we flew.”

“Plane.” He nodded.

“We intended to drive but…you know.” All of my cognitive word processing seemed to have slipped away.
He had my book in his hand, he was opening it. “Erica with a ‘C’?”

“Yes.” I responded, watching his pen block out my name. I could sense Rachel was taking a picture and hesitated before looking up at his face.

“Thank you for taking the journey.” He said so very calmly.

“Thank…you for taking the journey.” I meant it as a breakthrough—as more than “Thanks for going on tour lol.” I meant it as “Thank you for quitting college for the second time. Thank you for driving alone to California to follow the dream you wished on stars for. Thank you for caring about the fans. Thank you for being so down-to-earth even if you’re a little high. Thank you for giving me a deeper love of words and an outstanding appreciation of music. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for doing this tour.”
But I didn’t say that. I parroted back what he said. Word for word. But perhaps he understood, perhaps he somehow felt what was buried behind my bright-red blushing chest.

“It really is a journey. I love the journey.” He paused and gave his name little sunbeams. He took the stamp from the abrasive guy and stamped the LOVE blocks near my name.

“Have a great time.” His eyes were on mine and I couldn’t…

I really wanted to hug him again.

I hugged my book instead.

“You have…have a great show.”

He nodded and I basically turned tail and ran, the abrasive guy calling me back for my camera, which I had not forgotten, I was just going to grab my bags first.

I forgot until I’d left through the barn door with one last look at him to check that I actually had the pictures on my camera.

I did.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When I Grow Up

Being a nineteen-year-old female in America, the small-talk question I am most commonly asked after "Where are you going to school" is "What are you studying?" Luckily enough I have an answer: "I'm doing a double major in English Education and Theatre Education." Usually I slur my words together -something anyone would fall victim to after rattling off the same phrase more than one hundred times- and usually have to repeat myself. That, or people don't want to believe they heard someone level-headed saying they're going  into theatre. But they did.

And I am.

I have found, after enduring such conversations on nearly a daily basis, that those who have dabbled in the arts smile knowingly and remark that it sounds "fun" or "exciting." Those, especially the elders, who have nothing but the patron-perspective try to translate it for their industrial minds: "You must have had a really inspiring teacher." They respond this way every time, and in return I deliver yet another practiced statement. "Actually, no."

After their confusion and timid topic change, I am left to ponder over the anomaly of why teaching theatre has to stem from the actions of those who taught me. In a way they aren't wrong; I designed to be a theatre teacher because I was severely disappointed in what my many theatre teachers "taught" me. From age eleven until entering college at the closing of my eighteenth year I enrolled in acting classes -community and otherwise- hoping and praying to expand my knowledge and skill with regards to the trade. The farthest we ever breached were improv games and audition etiquette. Then we would put on a show.

I appreciated it for the sole reason that I was given another show to put on my resume at the close of each school year, but no one ever pointed out the difference between reciting lines on stage and portraying a character. It never mattered if a message was passed to the audience, so long as we remembered our positioning on stage. I had to propel myself through a tangled forest, learning from trial and error which berries would give me substance behind the proscenium, and which leaves would leave me itchy and flighty. I came to college with the overwhelming knowledge that I was -and am- under prepared for the theatrical world. And as a child raised in a family of homebodies and panicked public speakers, who enrolled for every class she could find, the fault falls to my educators.

Michael J. Fox was a high school dropout. He was good enough as a junior in high school to begin to forge a career in the performing arts. And he forged the career, he sustained the career, and in spite of crippling medical conditions still dabbles in the career. Talent? Yes. But he didn't get there by himself.

That is why theatre education was such an obvious choice; I've always known I'd end up a teacher -I'm not motivated enough to strive for anything else- it was merely a matter of what I would end up teaching. I want to equip students with confidence and technique. I want to prepare them for a life in this field; I want them to be good enough they could go without a degree and stand a chance. I decided to teach theatre so that I could give aspiring actors the information I eagerly yearned for and was constantly denied. I want to do for someone what I always wished had been done for me. I want to do the job no one is doing, even if their title says otherwise. I want to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Closer to Fine

I brought a palmfull of water to my face and let it drizzle where it may. My hands rubbed over my closed eyes and across my mouth for good measure. Sometimes I wish I was absorbent, where water would never run down my neck or drip onto my blouse. It would seep inside of my pores and...

I imagine the water droplets making passage into my skin, and like white blood cells they begin swirling through my being, fixing and protecting me. If that's actually what white blood cells do.

If I was absorbent it wouldn't matter what they did. The water would fix me.

But as my reflexes lead me to wipe my face dry of the water that hasn't run down my neck or dripped to my blouse, I know there's no easy way to fix me.

She keeps saying I remind her of herself when she was younger. I'm tempted to scoop more water to my face but stop, knowing this time I am no different than moments before. I am not absorbent.

I panic so much because if parallels are the way she claims, destiny has written me a widow who never had a mate that could die: an old maid.

That's what she says I am.

I have to stand up. This kneeling by the stream is killing me in more ways than physical taxation on my lower limbs.

I always thought the first male to be truly interested in me would be the one I wed, not due to a sinking feeling that no one else would come along and I better take what I was given, but that no one hitherto approached or acted as though he would. It gave me reason to believe the one with the strength and desire to stick around would be the only one in the universe. It was not a matter of succumbing to fate, but that of accepting that I would be a fly on the wall until someone came to pull me into the action.

It falls back to romantic comedies from a young child's perspective. It stems from Disney and true-love's first kiss and one-take love stories. I idealized it so with dolls that it has cemented itself as fact in the core of my heart. Someday my prince will come. And unlike my mother and the majority of females the country over, I would not require a list of 64 Mr Wrongs that marshaled with pointing lights to the prince. Mine would come when he came, and he would be the only one.

But soon I began to panic that those who have thus shown interest are those I am not...of want to wed. It suddenly occurred to me through my own clumsy way of handling romance that I would need at least a percentage of the 64 so I may cognate how to respond to the prince. But the seed I planted at a tender age has been nourished daily by each cycle of my blood, and now towers indefinitely in my foresight, obstructing all but the notion that he who comes first is him that remains. I've choked with the idea that I will end with a second-rate companion because I am doomed to be sealed to he who comes first.

This is not so, but I cannot uproot this false truth out of my being.

Try as I might I am not absorbent. Water will not fix me.

I slump beneath a tree, wishing the breeze would lift me up to that Virginia in the woods where I could write and muse and sing in peace. Where I would walk with wilderness and thrive under branches and canopies or green. Where I could do all I dream to do without the prying eyes and responsibilities that cascade around my failing body like a landmine of clutter, choking with each tendril that reaches my shaking frame.

But in the depths of my quest for solitude, I do not wish to be alone.

In my mind her voice echoes again, like a bitter cricket continually causing friction between his legs.

If I am her, I will be alone.

The thought drowns me more than being permanently siphoned to a man not fit my make. In reality, along would not be secluded in a forest glade with no concern of taxes or the obtaining of food. Alone would mean in public and in bed. Alone would mean being auntie to the merry spawn of my brothers who fulfilled their one true task as males by carrying on the family line; this would only serve as comforter if I was a carrier of hemophilia and knew b not mating I was sparing my children and theirs from the condition my blood most fears. Alone would mean a general shame to the girl of yesterday who only ever picture love, who made movie after movie in her imagination with her dolls apexed on the ideal of it.

Alone would not be an alone of peace and creative plundering of the mind.

Alone would be hell.

I find myself staggering to the stream, whether I will attempt another prayer of absorbency or merely submerge my head until the constable lifts me out by the hair, my spirit floating off to the only place alone means not alone, until I find I'm sen to a sort of purgatory where those who left before their allotted time are sent, with no husband to follow my acrylic painting landscape like a map to my resting place of despondency to drag me from it to his arms.

I suppose I have decided neither; my fingers curl around the bank but I neighter plunge them nor my body in.

The air breathes the tender word Patience, and I know it's right. It's the action potential of my mind that bring the panicking to pass. I will survive this the way I have health classes and airplane turbulence and learning of FGM. It's a matter of focusing my eyes, breathing at a fixed and concentrated rate, and pleading with the God above to spare me.

And as he has in those near-breaking moments and the moments I now fail to remember, he will lead me safely again.

I will not be her. I will not be alone.

Water will fix me.