Monday, June 4, 2012

Crafts and Cats

Yesterday Boyfriend and I went to Michael’s Crafts, because I wanted to learn how to knit. I figured there would be some books on knitting. There were, but I decided to learn crochet instead, because I found this awesome book. 

Look how cute those little crochet cats are! The book has lots of cute little comic-style stories about them. 

And it of course shows you how to make them. 

I’m so pumped! Do you realize how many of these little crochet cats I’m going to make? So many. I thought of putting pipe-cleaners inside them so they can make poses and then using them to make stop-motion movies, like I did with my stuffed animals and with clay creatures as a child. I also bought this beginner’s crochet set to re-learn the basics of crochet. One of my friends taught me how to crochet scarves when I was a kid, but I was very young and I don’t really remember how to do it. I hope it comes back to me. 

I think the girl on the book looks kind of odd…I mean, what is she there for exactly? She’s not crocheting, or anything…she just looks uncomfortable…. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chernobyl Diaries

I saw Chernobyl Diaries this afternoon. The trailer had much more promise than the film fulfilled. The most interesting things about the movie were the setting and the cinematography, but everything else was pretty bland.
The story was very weak and full of holes, and while I jumped with shock at many things that happened, I wasn’t filled with that pervasive chill that follows you out of the theater that some horror films produce. I thought the acting was so-so: not quite “oh my gosh, someone please take them off set,” but also nowhere near “wow, they really nailed it.” 
I thought the overall plot was flimsy, especially since the characters were all extremely under-developed. I understand of course that a horror film’s main objective is not to thoroughly develop a set of hyper-sensitive and deep characters, but let’s face it: you have to know the people a little bit to really care when they are drug down a stairwell and beaten to death. The only way I was really led to care about these characters when they died was through their relationships to other equally flat characters, i.e. someone was someone else’s brother or fiance or best friend. I also felt that the ending was underwhelming and not at all satisfying, though Boyfriend disagreed with me a little on that, so…to each his own. 
The one thing this film did slightly better than most other horror flicks is allow the characters to be at least nearly smart enough to save themselves. I didn’t find myself shaking my head in disgust and whispering things like, “Now why in the world would you go through that creepy door” and “He told you to stay in the car…why are you getting out of the car??” near as much as with some other scary movies (though of course it still happened some). More often than in other movies, when something scary appeared, these guys at least ran
So all in all, not a great movie. I didn’t hate the hour and a half I sat there in the theater, but it wasn’t riveting either. 

Friday, May 25, 2012


Here is part one of a short story I am working on called "Everything."  
Let me know what you think. I haven’t written part two yet, but if you like part one, hopefully I can finish it up soon. 

For readers 18 + for mature content 

We’re sitting in my car, Pete and me.  It’s my car, but I’m in the passenger seat, left leg tucked up under the right one at the knee, my calf-length black dress fanned out over the number four shape my legs make.  I’ve taken off my six-inch black heels and shoved them up under the dashboard in the floor; they were killing me.  Pete sits in the driver’s seat, hands resting gently on the wheel, though we’re not going anywhere.  Not yet.  We’re waiting.  
“Are you sure this is where we’re supposed to wait?” I ask, chewing on my fourth finger nail.  We are parked in a small parking lot behind the theater, and we are the only ones.  Behind us looms the back of the giant dark theater, quiet from this spot, and in front of us is a little bit of green shoulder before the landscape gives way into a very steep long hill down to the street below.  There are a few trees, but not enough to hide the view of the city street below, faintly honking with impatient cars.  
“Well, I don’t know,” Pete said, glancing around with a slight uneasiness in his voice.  ”This is where she told me to wait, as far as I know.”  
We’re waiting for Marie Penn, the starring actress of tonight’s performance.  Pete took me to the premiere of The Shape of Things as a sort of gift; he has been taking me to a lot of performances and fancy events to show me off to the upper tier in the heirarchy of the theatrical world.  ”We need to get you connected,” he told me.  ”I’ll introduce you to the right people; we’ll find you something.”  I’m twenty-four, I live in a hole of an apartment and can only afford to pay rent every other month, so my boyfriend Henry helps me out in between.  I’m certainly what you could consider a starving artist; I use whatever chump change I have left over from my bartending job at Audrey’s Winery to pay for cheap acting classes at Downtown Ritz, a small community theater owned and run by Pete Glazer, the man sitting in the car with me.  
“The show was incredible, didn’t you think?”  Pete says.  
“Mmm,” I murmur, a small smile pinching my cheeks.  ”Incredible.”  
“You’ll meet Marie soon.  I’ve told her about you.”  
I feel my hands clam up cold.  ”You have?”  
“Oh yeah, I told her how great you were in last spring’s West Side Story.  I said I’d never seen such a moving Anita.”  
My cheeks are warm now.  ”Oh wow.  Thank you.”  I’m beginning to feel very excited and also nervous about meeting Marie.  Not only did she just blow my mind as Evelyn in one of my all-time favorite plays, but she also knows me as “such a moving Anita.”  Something big could happen here.  Perhaps by next year I’ll be lighting up the stage here at the Corman, no longer reduced to the drab peeling walls of Downtown Ritz’ black-box.  I could be making money to act, rather than spending it.  My whole body feels warm.  
I roll down my passenger window and pull a cigarette out of my purse.  I reach around in my glove box until I find my hot pink Zippo.  I lean out the window to light my cigarette and then relax back in my seat, right hand propped up in the window to let the stream of smoke from my cigarette float out into the thick night air of summer.  ”You want one?”  I ask Pete, pointing to the pack of cigarettes.  
“No thanks,” Pete chuckles.  ”I don’t smoke anymore.  You know, when I was a kid, everyone smoked.  Just about everybody!  My mother, who is an extremely straight-laced, tight-lipped woman, religious in every sense of the word, used to light up pretty much every hour, right there in our house.  People don’t smoke near as much as they used to, which is good.  It’s so terrible for your lungs.  AND your singing voice.”  His tone changes to a slightly teasing one.  ”You should quit, Anita.”  
“I know, I know,” I say, smiling and rolling my eyes.  ”I will.”  I take another long drag from the cigarette and let the warm smoke settle in my nose and chest for a moment before I release it with a long, tingly exhale.  I flick the end of the cigarette out the window and notice that another car has pulled up beside us.  It’s a long wine-colored car, and it’s sitting two parking spaces over to the right of us.  I never even heard it roll up.  A brown-haired man, overweight and clean-shaven, between forty-five and fifty, sits in the driver’s seat of the wine-colored car.  He’s alone.  He’s looking at me, so I nod cordially at him and take another drag of my cigarette.  
“You know,” Pete goes on, looking straight forward, “my brother used to smoke too.  Funny thing was, he was so much better at smoking weed than tobacco.”  He cracks up at this like it’s the most amusing thing in the world.  I conjure up a polite giggle.  ”I mean, smoking cigarettes he would get all choked up and gaggy, but he could smoke the strongest weed around for hours and be cool as a cucumber.”  
I glance out my window again and notice that the man in the wine-colored car has not moved.  He is still gazing at me with a bemused look on his face.  I am washed over with a creepy feeling that he is somehow looking at me unaware that I can see him too.  I picture him slowly slipping his pants down to his knees, all the while gazing at me, and then pleasuring himself right there in the front seat still looking at me.  I shake this image out of my head and take in another puff from my cigarette.  As I tap it out the window, I turn to Pete and ask, “Do you see that guy over there?  He just keeps…staring at us.”  I don’t say staring at me, because somehow that sounds more paranoid in my head.  But yes, he is staring directly at me, and it’s obvious; here we are sitting in a parked car, a graying fifty-ish professor type and a young blonde with luscious, wide lips.  Yes, it makes sense that he’s looking at me.  
Pete looks over at the wine-colored car with a drawn expression.  He clearly hasn’t noticed it there until now.  ”Huh,” says Pete.  ”He does look mighty curious.  You stay here and I’m gonna go see if he needs something.”  
I stay put while Pete gets out and shuts the door behind him.  I hear the crunch of gravel behind me as he’s walking around our car.  I take another drag from the cigarette and gaze up at the stars.  It’s a nice night, not too hot but plenty warm.  The sky is clear and there are plenty of stars visible from our spot on this hill.  I vaguely notice Pete and the man in the wine-colored car interacting.  I don’t pay much attention; I feel much more at ease now that Pete is handling the situation.  I mean, it was probably overreacting to feel slightly scared by the man’s gaze.  He is probably just a lonely gentleman who likes to look at pretty things.  It’s not like this is the first time I’ve been ogled by strange men.  I just need to relax and enjoy my cigarette and the stars.  I prop both legs up on the dashboard and lean my seat back a little so I have a better view of the night sky.  
Pete gets back in the car.  He looks like a young boy who has just peed his pants.  ”What did he want?”  I ask.  Suddenly my door is flung open and my right elbow, which was resting on the edge of the open window, plummets to my side.  ”What’s going on?” I shriek.  The man from the wine-colored car wrenches me out of my car by my right arm.  My cigarette flutters to the ground.  I try to grip onto the doorframe of the car and scramble back inside, but the strange man is quite strong.  ”Let go of me!” I bite, but of course his grip only grows stronger at that.  ”Pete, what the hell?!” I scream.  Pete is still sitting there, staring at his hands in his lap and not moving a muscle, as I am thrown onto the grassy shoulder just in front of our cars.  
I get back on my feet immediately, but the strange man kicks me in the knee, and the sharp pain sends me right back down.  ”You too,” the strange man says to Pete.  ”You get out here too.  Need to keep an eye on you, in case you try to pull something stupid.”  As gruff as the man is clearly trying to sound, there is a noticeable wavering to his voice.  I am pretty sure he has never done this before, whatever “this” is.  
Pete stumbles out of the car and plods over to where I am sitting in pain on the ground.  ”You’re an asshole,” I yell up at him.  I would never have dared call Pete an asshole before; he has been my teacher, mentor, and something like a friend.  Of course, I never thought he would sell me out to a crazy man, either.  ”What does he want, money?”  
Pete’s face is ashen, and he doesn’t say anything, only looks at the ground.  The other man barks at him to sit down on the ground with me, so he does.  ”Listen up,” the man says, rocking back and forth from toes to heels, his hands jiggling nervously inside his pants pockets.  ”We can do this the easy way, or the hard way…”  
“You’re an asshole!”  I scream up at him.  I realize I am crying and wonder how long I have been doing so.  My hands are shaking.  
The man reaches down and smacks me across the right cheek with an open palm.  It stings, but I whip my head right back towards him and spit in his face.  I instantly wish I had not done that, no matter how amateur a criminal the man seems to be.  I can see the lines in his wide, greasy face, shiny with sweat, only inches from my face.  His brown eyes grow darker.  He suddenly pulls out a pistol from his pocket, and now its face is level with mine too.  Oh shit.  ”Alright, so you wanna go straight to the hard way, do ya?!”  
Suddenly I am all tears and sweat and whimpering sounds.  My quivering voice is sputtering things against my will.  As a reflex, I suppose, I can hear myself shouting, “Alright, alright, whatever you want!  I’ll do whatever you want!  What do you want me to do?”  Pete might as well have disappeared.  I sense that he is still on the ground with me, three feet or so away, but he is not making a sound, not even to breathe.  
With the shiny black eye of the pistol still glaring at me, shaking a little in his grasp, the owner of the wine-colored car says, “Everything.”  A hesitant smile hangs on his face.  ”I want you to do everything.”  

- Lindsay 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Untitled Short Story

Last night, I sat down and wrote a six-page short story without stopping. It felt good. It doesn't have a title yet. If you have any great title recommendations, let me know ;) 


I successfully ran away from home for the first time when I was twelve years old. 

I suppose every kid tries to run away from home at some point in their childhood.  I had made previous attempts. 
When I was five, one evening I plotted an escape with my favorite teddy bear, a stuffed animal named Ralph who was so threadbare my mother had sewn his stuffing entrails back into him numerous times; she had also patched up his bottom where the neighbor’s dog had taken a chunk out of him trying to rip him from my shrieking, four-year-old grip.  I wrapped Ralph up in my blankie and sneaked into the kitchen while Ma and Daddy were watching TV in the living room in the dark.  I still remember the narrow rectangle of light the refrigerator spilled onto the linoleum as I cracked the door open ever so slightly.  I remember how anxious that line of light made me as my young self realized I hadn’t planned this well enough, and that line of light was going to get me caught.  Just as vividly, I remember the relief I felt shimmying through my body when I saw that Ma and Dad hadn’t noticed the fridge light at all.  I heard Ma’s soft laughter in the living room; perhaps they were watching a comedy. 
            Very quietly, I pulled out three grape-flavored juice boxes (they were my favorites) and carefully tucked them into the blankie with Ralph.  Hugging the bundle closely to my stomach, hoping desperately not to drop it and spill my reserves loudly onto the floor exposing my presence, I tiptoed out to the garage door and very slowly opened it and slipped through.  I knew the big garage door would be open, because my big brother Marty wasn’t home from his after-school job yet; Daddy always left the garage door open and the driveway light on until sixteen-year-old Marty got home from the Safe-n-Saver where he worked then as a bag boy. 
            Five-year-old me made it all the way to the end of the driveway in my Disney Princess nightgown and fuzzy pink slippers before my hands began to clam up, and I began to worry that three juice boxes might not be enough to make it for very long, and I began to wonder if I would never see Ma and Daddy again if I ran away, and that seemed like a lot to take in.  I returned to the house, put away the juice boxes, and put myself to bed.  No one knew I had even left the house. 
            When I was ten, I again tried to make a break for it.  Ma and Daddy were fighting a lot by that time over finances and future plans and a bunch of other things I was too young then to understand but now believe had something to do with sex.  The worst time for me was after I had been tucked-in and was lying in my pink-and-green-flowered canopy bed trying to drift off to sleep.  During the afternoons when Ma and Daddy fought, I could drown out the noise by focusing hard on my homework or going over to our next-door neighbor’s house (the old couple with the mean dog had moved out a couple of years prior, making way for a nice family with a daughter my age named Martha).  When Ma and Daddy yelled in the evenings, I could barely hear them over my own laughing as I watched my favorite television shows, or over the squeaking of the trampoline springs as I jumped for hours in the backyard.  But at night, when the whole neighborhood seemed to have gone to sleep, and it was just Ralph and me cuddled up in the dark, the sound of Ma and Daddy arguing sounded like fingernails running down a chalkboard and felt like that pain in your chest when some bully dunks you underwater in the neighborhood swimming pool and holds you there even as you flail your arms and kick him. 
So Ralph and I prepared for a get-a-way, again at night.  This time I planned things a little better.  I waited until my parents had finally yelled themselves to sleep, Ma on the couch in the den and Daddy at the kitchen table, slumped over a heaping pile of bills. Slowly, quietly, carefully, I packed myself a lunch box with all of my favorites: two grape juice boxes, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich (grape jelly, of course), a carton of milk, a box of animal crackers, and a banana.  I also snatched a twenty from dad’s bedside table; I knew it was there, because I had seen him put it there after retracting it from my brother Marty for taking his girlfriend out in Daddy’s car without asking (but also, I think, for still living at home and still working at the Safe-n-Saver and smoking a lot of pot at age twenty-one).  I felt a little guilty about taking the twenty, especially since money seemed to be the cause of a lot of Ma and Daddy’s fights, but I had to be practical.  My poor planning before would have really cost me, had I made it past the driveway. 
This time, I made it almost all the way out of our neighborhood, but a man who lived in the house at the entrance and worked with Daddy recognized me, apprehended me, and returned me to my very sleepy, very worn, very angry parents.  The same twenty was retracted from me, also. 
But by the time I was twelve, I’d given my escape strategy a lot more thought.  Daddy had run away from home himself the year before, but he had plenty of twenties and a car, so he got a lot further than I had.  Ma didn’t do anything anymore except watch soap operas and game shows and smoke cigarettes.  I believe that soft laughter coming from the living room as five-year-old me opened the refrigerator in the dark was the last sound of happiness I ever heard from her. 
Marty had finally moved out.  He’d knocked up the girl he had taken out in Daddy’s car without permission, so he had to marry her and get a real job and stop smoking so much pot.  He quit working at the Safe-n-Saver grocery and took up residence as a bank teller.  What a life, surrounded by twenties, all day long (but snatch one of those, and it’s the big house for you).  With Marty and Daddy gone, watching Ma smoke herself to death on the couch had become too much to bear. 
So one day after school I took my allowance on my bike into town and bought a small fold-up camping tent at Walmart.  I brought the tent back home and hid it under my no-longer-canopy bed, still in the box.  The next morning at school, I invited Martha to come with me.  “We’ll be renegades,” I promised her.  “Fancy free, like in the movies.” 
“But I like my family,” Martha replied. 
I hated her guts until lunch.  We always ate together outside at the picnic table under the biggest oak, farthest away from the building.  She met me there with her brown bag, plopped down next to me, and sighed.  “Okay, my sister just got a greasy boyfriend who wears all black and looks like an elf.  I just saw them together, and it made me sick.  I’ll run away with you.”  I gave her a hug, and I loved her again. 
After school that afternoon, Martha came over to my house.  She brought a giant yellow duffle bag full of clothes and shoes and books.  “What do you need all those clothes for?”  I asked.  “We’ll be on our own in the woods.  No one will care if we wear the same three outfits over and over.  It’ll be great!  All those clothes and shoes will only weigh you down.”  Martha consented to giving up some of the clothes and shoes, but I let her keep the books because, well, books are marvelous and always necessary. 
Martha helped me pack my own bag, and when I was certain my mother was passed out on the couch in front of the TV, Martha and I sneaked downstairs and into the kitchen where we poured water into our matching pink lunch thermoses we had bought together at school a year ago.  We packed lunch boxes again, and this time I stole a whole fifty from Ma’s purse (if it helps, I do regret it now).  The image of Ma sprawled out on the couch in the den as Martha and I were leaving will be imprinted on my mind always: skinny, fragile, sickly-looking, tired and heavy breathing a low rumble, a simmering cigarette propped upright in her half-open hole of a mouth.  Before going out the door, I quickly turned on my heel and ran over to the couch where I removed the dangerous burning cigarette from Ma’s mouth, snubbed it out in the ashtray on the coffee table, and draped a throw-blanket over Ma’s body.  “Good-bye, Ma,” I whispered, and then I quickly followed Martha out into the night. 


I go back to that spot in the woods where Martha and I made camp often, these days.  It’s truthfully the only place I feel quite at home, as sad as that may sound. 

            I went back there on Martha’s eighteenth birthday, to fill myself with her presence and all the pleasant memories attached to her.  Thinking about Martha brings on a flood of memories from jumping contests on the trampoline, to tea parties in my bedroom, to looking at our middle school yearbooks and giggling over the cutest boys, and the most annoying ones.  I don’t ever want to lose any part of Martha, even the small window of time I hated her back when she told me she wouldn’t run away with me because she liked her family. 
            When I went there on her birthday, I wasn’t expecting anyone else to be there.  No one went to that spot anymore; it’s as if the accident had tainted it for everyone else.  I don’t know if many people had camped out in that little clearing by the lake before what happened to me, but I know they certainly did not after they read about it in the papers. 
            But on Martha’s birthday, there was a small cluster of tents set up around a campfire burning brightly in the night.  Curious, I crept towards it and listened in on the conversation taking place around the campfire.  I couldn’t see anyone from where I was, but I could hear voices and make out vaguely-human shadows cast on the tents circled around the fire.  The voices sounded young, like kids. 
            I crept forward more until I could make out the people sitting on sleeping bags around the blazing fire.  They were teenagers, probably high-schoolers.  I didn’t recognize any of them.  I wondered if I had known any of them from before and over the years had just…forgotten.  I was standing behind an orange tent looking on and listening when I heard a familiar voice pipe up from directly in front of that tent, only feet away from me: “…Yeah, but I told you I didn’t want to have my birthday out here.” 
            I gasped.  Was it…could it be? 
            “I know, but we really thought it would be good for you,” a girl from across the circle said soothingly, a brunette with freckles. 
            “Yeah, therapeutic and shit,” a red-headed boy added, ever so tastefully. 
            “But you’re right, Martha, we shouldn’t have drug you here anyway, no matter how much we thought it would help you,” a handsome dark-haired boy said from beside the person who was hidden from me by the orange tent.  My breath caught in my throat as I hurried around the tent to see who was sitting there…gasp!  Yes!  It was her!  My dear Martha, a beautiful grown-up version of herself, still with long blonde hair, though instead of twisting into two braids that hung down her front, it was free and wavy and flowing down her back.  I hadn’t seen her since the accident; I hadn’t seen anyone from my life.  It would have been too hard to stay away, I believed.  Instead, I had spent the last six years wandering around to different spots I had gone to as a kid: the fishing hole, the Safe-n-Saver, the bike paths, this spot in the woods…. 
            “It’s just so creepy out here,” Martha said with a shiver.  The handsome dark-haired boy put his arms around her.  “It’s like she’s…still here, or something.” 
            A magnetic pull wrenched me forward, as if my soul desired to go to her against my own will.  But I stood my ground, forcefully.  No, I told my shaking self, that would do no good.  I could think of no greater rejection than to run to my best friend whom I hadn’t seen in six years and not be greeted with so much as eye contact, which I knew would be the dire case. 
            The dark-haired boy glanced around the circle of glowing campfire faces, and a few of them nodded.  He looked back to Martha.  “Would you like to…talk about her?” 
            “No,” Martha said quickly. 
            My soul shivered. 
            “You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” the freckled brunette girl went on, “but we all think it might be good for you.  We know you were close to her, but…but you’ve never really talked about what happened.  We thought bringing you here might finally give you closure.” 
            “I don’t want closure,” Martha said weakly, looking up with tears in her eyes that sparkled like sapphires in the light of the fire. 
            I would have cried too if I still had tear ducts. 
            “She was my best friend,” Martha said softly.  “I am…reluctant to let her go.” 
            None of the others said anything, but their faces urged her to go on, because they all knew she really needed to let me go.  I could tell Martha knew it too.  She heaved a sigh before saying, “She lived next door to me.  She was very unhappy.  Her family was…weird.  Her parents had never gotten along, at least not since I had known them, and her brother was…just a deadbeat, really.  He was kind of cute though.”  Martha laughed and blushed a little with this admission.  “I never told her, but I had a bit of a crush on her deadbeat brother.” 
            I knew that. 
            “To tell the truth, I was always a little bit jealous of her, as much as I loved her.  She had this sucky situation, and she wasn’t happy, but she was still…fiery and innovative, sort of like a candle resistant to being blown out.  I always wished I could be that strong.” 
            I did not know that. 
            “Anyway, we ran away from home one night, like a lot of twelve-year-old kids do,” Martha went on, her voice getting colder.  “As usual, she had thought of everything; we packed a tent, some clothes, some books, a couple of lunch boxes, a flashlight…” she laughed.  “Boy, we believed we had thought of everything.”  The dark-haired boy squeezed her shoulder.  Martha kept talking.  “So, we set up the tent and crawled inside with the flashlight, and we giggled like silly girls having a sleepover and talked about our next big life plans as we ate our peanut butter sandwiches and sipped our juice boxes.  She said she was going to join the circus someday, and I remember thinking that would have been the perfect job for her!  Then she could have a new sort of family, a family of circus freaks to travel around with from town to town with no deadbeat brother, no distant mother, no cheating father…you know?  I don’t know, that’s just what I remember thinking then.”  Martha’s eyes looked glassy-gray now as she stared hard into the dancing orange flames.  “And then, we decided to go down and see the lake.  It was very dark, but we brought the flashlight and used it to swat the tall grass and weeds out of the way as we went.  When we got to the edge of the lake, I leaned out over it, trying stupidly to see my reflection in it.  I didn’t see anything, of course.  The lake was as it is now, murky dirty brown, and again, as it is now, this clearing is not quite clear enough to let in enough moonlight for a reflection.  But in leaning over the lake, I lost my balance, stepped back quickly, and dropped the flashlight into the lake.  It bobbed for a few seconds on the surface, and then the batteries weighted it enough to sink.” 
            I stepped closer towards Martha reluctantly.  I wanted to see her more clearly, really see her for the last time.  I lowered myself down in front of her, between her and the fire, so that we were almost touching noses, if I had one anymore. 
            Martha suddenly stopped telling her story and cocked her head to one side slightly, like a confused dog.  She blinked hard once and stared directly at me.  For a moment, I felt her really looking at me, but then it was gone and she shook her head and continued telling her story to the group gathered around her.  “Anyway, I couldn’t swim, but she could.  She told me to step back while she dove in after the flashlight.  I should have told her to forget it.  I should have told her we could make our way back to the highway without a flashlight much easier than she could find it in the murky, dark, cold water.  But surprise and fear in the darkness kept my mouth shut, and she was in the water before I even realized how truly dangerous it could be.  And then suddenly, my mind jerked an old memory to the surface forcefully: I was a little girl, probably five or six, when we lived in our old house on the other side of these woods, and my dad had read a story in the paper about a little boy who had gotten bitten twice by a very poisonous snake by this lake.  The boy was rushed to the hospital, and he survived, though he came frighteningly close to death before he recovered.  ‘Don’t ever go down to that lake alone, girls,’ my dad had told my sister and me then. 
            She was already in the water, but this memory seared me like a fire-poker, and I started screaming.  I saw her head bob up out of the water, at least I think it was her head, it was very very dark, and I just kept screaming and screaming.  In my head, I was saying Get out of the water, get out of there, there are snakes in there, get out get out get out, but I know that aloud it just came out as very shrill shrieks of terror.  Though it was maddeningly dark, I did see the white flicker of its head surface, the one that got her….” 
            I could feel myself backing away from Martha slowly, though I didn’t want to go.  No, I whispered into the warm night air, just a few more minutes with her, just a few more minutes before I go…. 
            “Still screaming, I turned around and ran.  I couldn’t see where I was going, and I hardly cared, as long as I could somehow get back to civilization and tell someone, anyone, that there was a poor girl stuck in a lake of snakes.  I did, finally, but it was too late.” 
            I felt all warm and watery then, as though I was evaporating.  The sensation was a nice one, kind of like resurfacing from a good, refreshing dunk in the swimming pool. 
            “They searched the rest of the night and found her body early the next morning, bloated and floating half-submerged in the middle of the lake.  I didn’t see her body (the funeral was closed-casket), but I still have this horrible mental image left in my head when I was told that they found her like that.  Sort of like the old lady in the bathtub in The Shining, or something…just morbid and awful and a reminder.” 
            I was getting warmer and more watery, and I was beginning to feel something closer to happiness than I had ever glimpsed before.  Was I smiling as I drifted away?  Yes, I think so. 
            “And that’s that,” Martha was saying below, her voice growing fainter as I floated up and up and up… “You were right, guys.  Surprisingly, I do feel a little better having talked about her, freer somehow, as if a weight was just lifted from my shoulders….” 
            I was so far up now that the people below were just a circle of ants, and the tents were their mounded anthills.  The lake was a shimmery black hole down there, less water and more space, just an empty void I no longer filled. 
            I kept floating up and up and up, and as I did, the happiness spread larger and the black lake-hole kept shrinking and shrinking.  And all of the sky was soft and welcoming as she let me go, and I let her go, at last.  I was finally high enough to see the stars, which on a night as lovely as this one looked less like stars and more like the twinkling, happy lights around the circus ring.  Step right up!  Ladies and gentlemen, a spectacle like this you have yet to behold…introducing, the one, the only, Lady of the Lake, a sensational performer indeed, a candle forever resistant to being blown out.   

- Lindsay 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Agreement and Beliefs in Fiction

I was reading an article on writing the other day that really resonated with me and opened the door to new freedom. The article was talking about how often when a writer feels like his/her characters are starting to blend together, it is because the author is writing him/herself into them too much. Sure, a lot of a writer's characters are going to be filled with bits and pieces of the author, sharing some experiences or traits every now and then, but as a writer you should be careful not to write yourself in too much. This will lead to flat or too similar characters, and it can also really restrict your freedom as a storyteller. I fall into this trap a lot, especially when writing female characters. The writing becomes boring and stale even to the writer sometimes, if the characters are too similar to the author or to each other.

This article discussed ways in which to make your characters different, one of them being to remember that you as a writer don't have to believe everything your characters do. This might sound obvious, but when you get to writing, it can be the first thing you forget. You don't have to agree with every idea you set forth! In fact, the best writing often stems out of the author feeling very uncomfortable, stretching his/her boundaries, and going outside of his/her comfort zone into new territory. I suppose I knew I didn't have to wholeheartedly agree with everything I put into my novels, but once I get going, I sometimes forget that. Once I read this, it hit me that I have a lot more room for stretching my story than I had previously seen; it was like new worlds had opened up. 

So remember, you don't have to agree with everything your characters do, and all of your characters don't have to (and really should not) all agree either either. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On Writing

This is not an autobiography. It is rather a kind of curriculum vitae—my attempt to show how one writer was formed. Not how one writer was made; I don’t believe writers can be made, either by circumstances or by self-will (although I did believe those things once). The equipment comes with the original package. Yet it is by no means unusual equipment; I believe large numbers of people have at least some talent as writers and storytellers, and that those talents can be strengthened and sharpened. If I didn’t believe that, writing a book like this would be a waste of time." 

~ Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Nashville Music: VITEK

I went to VITEK's new album release show last night at the High Watt above Mercy Lounge. It was amazing. As objective as I can be while dating someone in the band, I think this band puts on the best live show I've seen in years. They are so energetic and fun, playing off each other and having fun while remaining tight and looking well-rehearsed. 

The trumpet player in the shades is my boyfriend. 

These people are talented music-making machines. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Making Movies

I was in a couple of short films this week: one on Monday, and one on Wednesday. 

The shoots both went really well. I felt that warm, bubbling energy inside me that I get when I’m really honed in on my character and hitting everything just right. 

At the end of the night on Wednesday, the boom operator (who is also a director), asked me if I was available to act in one of his upcoming projects, because he “likes the way I act.” 

So, one gig led to another. 

It was a pretty good week, you guys. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Last night, I saw a really beautiful movie re-released in the theater: Titanic. I was much too young to see it in the theater when it first came out, so I was super excited to see it this time around, even though I have seen it several times at home. It was re-released in 3D, which I was slightly apathetic about at first, but once the movie got going, I realized how much cooler this masterpiece is in 3D. I definitely recommend going to see it while it's still out; it's worth the money. This was probably the best 3D movie I've ever seen. 

I've always loved the movie, but I could appreciate it a lot more this time around than I could as a pre-teen. The cinematography is breath-taking, and honestly it really doesn't look like it came from the 90's. It's much better than that. I could also appreciate the story a lot more as an adult, and the acting is brilliant, of course. I know probably everyone reading this has seen Titanic before, but I highly suggest going to see it while it's back out in the theater, as it was a completely different experience for me. You won't regret it! 

And for those of you like my boyfriend, who have been living under a rock since you were ten and haven't seen the movie, I won't spoil the ending for you ;) 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kwellering the Night Away

Last night, my boyfriend and his friend and I went to Ben Kweller's concert at Mercy Lounge. It was great. I knew it would be worth going, even though I wasn't feeling well at all yesterday, because I saw Ben perform a few years ago in Birmingham, and it was incredible. He is an amazing live performer. He sounds great and you can understand everything he's saying (I hate when you go to live shows and can't hear the lyrics over everything else). He's also really good at getting a crowd involved and singing along. 

There are a couple of things that Ben does undeniably well, like write beautiful melodies and improv like a beast, but something I noticed particularly last night is how good he is"sound assimilation." (I just made up that term). What I mean is, Ben puts random "oohs" "ahhs" and "sha shas" in nearly all of his songs, but instead of it being cheesy or overdone, he plays it off perfectly. A lot of times when an artist starts randomly "ooohing" I just wanna pack up and go home. But Ben incorporates these random sounds into his songs so well, it's as if they are real lyrics with meaning. I don't know how he does it...but it's awesome. 

In high school, I had a five-minute crush on a Ben Kweller look-alike. Coincidentally, I also recall him wearing a t-shirt with "Kweller" on it. It was appropriate.