Respite, the oasis. Ever an illusion out of reach. She possessed an overwhelming yearning to escape the dunes of her self doubt. Each grain: regret, anger and sadness; creating the towering hills of her internal hell. The landscape never changing. Up one sandy crest, only to slide down to the foot of another. How long had she wandered through this desert?
Sometimes, she would get enough energy to run. The sand fell away beneath her dirty bare feet as she raced towards the peak. Her chest burned with each breath, and the dryness in her throat felt like swallowed needles. She kept her focus on the summit before her, pumping her arms in determination. As she reached the apex of the ominous ridge, she jumped, and spread her arms out to take flight.
Based on The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
I don’t claim to be a poet. The last time I studied poetry was probably in high school. That was a while ago. Recently, I was watching a new show (The OA), which featured a scene at the Statue of Liberty. Being from the west coast, I’ve never witnessed the statue in person, and I didn’t know anything about the poem that is featured at the exhibit. But as I listened to the words while watching the show, I felt my chest tightening in sadness and anger. The words really struck a chord with me. Strangely, the following day I saw quite a few news reports referencing the poem and describing feelings I’d become familiar with. With the recent moves the leadership has taken in this country, I felt compelled to amend the original poem by Emma Lazarus. The original words are in italic, my changes are bolded.
I keep telling myself that I will fight the urge to be public with my opinions when it comes to politics. But I feel like we’re at a point where it’s not about politics anymore. It’s about humanity. This is my way to work through it, I guess.
High school presidential elections: Salacious rumors emerge about candidates. Future pres’ makes promises they can’t keep, typically pertaining to lunch hour or candy machines. Homemade posters with cliche catchphrases adorn the hallways, and students are unable to avoid the race, no matter how far down they cast their eyes.
Before I step upon my soap box, I want to relay how difficult it was for me to decide to write this post. I have tried my best to avoid any topics related to politics. I’ve attempted to stay somewhat impersonal – although I know I reveal much within my stories – trying my best not to be pegged down to one side or the other of a given topic.
“What you fail to understand, Hailey, is that we’re just worker ants in this scenario. And we’re going to continue to be just worker ants, unless we aspire to be more.” Annette flipped her hair over her shoulder and shook her head, causing her blonde tresses to shimmer like sun hitting water in a stream. She dipped her chin and looked at me over the rim of her glasses, “I’m aiming to be queen of the hill. Where does that leave you?”
I was quiet for a moment. A wave of irritation washed over me at her revelation, and I tried my best to push it aside. Ambition was a double edged sword, and I was certain Annette had no clue which side did what. She struck me as the type of person who just lashed out blindly, hoping any slice she made got her closer to her goal. The mask she wore was crafted by layers of designer makeup, which she no doubt lost sleep over to apply each morning. As I stared at the empty, relentless vessel before me, I considered where I might be in five years if I held her position.
This is an evolving story, if you missed the beginning, start here.
Ald let out a heavy sigh and lead Pistol past Ellie towards the tack shed. After a few steps he said, “An animal with big eyes, then?”
Ellie followed to the side, she knew better than to follow directly behind a horse. She kicked at a loose rock in her path and replied, “Well, sort of, I think. In The Book of Three it was a pig named Hen Wen. I guess pigs do have big eyes…” she trailed off as Ald spun to face her.
Pistol jerked his head, not expecting Ald’s sudden motion. The horse lifted his top lip and laid his ears back in annoyance. Ald reached a hand to stroke Pistol’s muzzle and frowned at Ellie, “Come on Elle, really? Am I missing something? How is a bug-eyed animal going to tell us where the treasure is?”
“I know where it is!” Ellie persisted. Her arms were cross across her small, flat chest. She tapped one toe in obvious annoyance.
“Oh really?” Ald asked. He paused at the gate, looking over his shoulder at her. “Let me guess, you figured it out from another story?”
Ellie rolled her eyes and then glared at Ald. Being her best friend, his skepticism was the toughest to bear. It wasn’t her fault that she was the better reader between them. Perhaps his disbelief stemmed from him not having read any of the stories. She figured he also bore some irritation at the fact her introducing him to The BFG by Roald Dahl had been a red flag to his parents, prompting them to pay closer attention to Ald’s reading habits and blacklist titles as they saw necessary. It was a complicated situation for two kids to be in.
Relax you say? Mia’s got no problem with that. Just sit back and enjoy her chill posture.
I am so touched that one of my favorite bloggers, Dolly of KoolKosherKitchen, nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Her blog is so awesome! Not only does she share her amazing recipes for all sorts of food, she includes wonderful stories/history (sometimes true, sometimes out of this world!) to go with her posts. I am always completely captivated by her posts, often laughing as I read them. And just a side note, I slipped one of her recipes to my partner to make (Sesame Chicken), and it was the most delicious sesame chicken I have ever had! Please take a moment to check out her blog and follow if you want some spice in your life (the kind for cooking, and the kind for giggles!).
Miso eagerly awaits the festive season so that she can wear her seasonal wings. It can be difficult to see past her angelic presentation to the mischievous foundation that lends to opening presents early (’cause ribbon is fun to pull), and landing in Christmas trees (’cause climbing is awesome and now there’s a tree in the house!).
And as swiftly as it arrived, it was over. National Novel Writing Month of 2016 concluded with a small whooshing sound, as it passed me by while I juggled too many projects to keep up.
In the end, I reached nearly 25k words, half of what I set out to do. The fighter/winner in me is ashamed to admit I did not slay the NaNo beast. But the sensible/insightful in me is proud that I put myself out there. It was important for me to take a step forward, to take a chance. I may not have finished as I intended, but I still tried. Sometimes trying is more important than achieving.
It doesn’t matter what kept me from achieving my goal. What is important is that I learned a lot about my writing process, and I allowed my mind to fully immerse in a world again. It has been a long time, and it felt like I was returning home after a long absence.
And now I know I owe it to myself and my world to continue on, and get the story out. So that’s what I’ll continue to do – just on a different schedule!
So congrats fellow writers that beat NaNo, you are awesome! And congrats fellow writers who tried, you are awesome too! Regardless of how many steps we took during the crazy month of November, they were all advancements towards a goal, and that itself is important to be proud of.