Uncategorized, writing.

Decisions


by

L.P. Stribling

       Her face was no longer something she could feel; the wind, the ice had made sure of that. Carla still pushed through the biting slices of nature’s army toward the wooden structure on the hilltop, one high step at a time. The snow reached well past her knees, and beyond that with the ground dipped. On the inside, her legs began to ache.

Almost there, Carla. Push through.

She tried putting her mind elsewhere again. That seemed to work at the bottom of the hill, at least for the first half mile, until the frost winds began to howl. One of the thoughts she found was more of a memory – one from when she was six. It was the first time she recalled hearing the howl of the wind. Her sister, Dari, had run back to the bedroom after the power had gone out to jump under the covers with her.

“What’s that?” she remembered her sister saying. The pause lasted for seconds, until the low curling of the wind’s howl came through the windows. Dari disappeared under the blanket and gripped on to her sister, preferring clearly to be inside her twin’s body.

 

“Chill out, girl. It’s just the wind,” she had told her.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Dari said. “Just the wind.”

 

The words ran through her mind with each slow step up the hillside. “Yeah,” she echoed her sister’s voice. “Just the wind.”

The snow depth shortened and the steps became easier. The last few she pushed into a stride of three as she tried to make hasty cover behind the walls of the wooden building.

“Dari!” she screamed at the door as she pounded on the cheap wood. “Let me in!”

Sounds came from beyond the wood. Tapping and shifting. The door fell open and Dari’s hand reached out and pulled her sister in. “I thought you said one o’clock?” Dari said. Her short frame was covered in a parka and ski pants over heavy green socks. “ I’ve been waiting for two hours!” She pulled Carla inside and shook the snow from her back. “Sit,” she said. “I have tea.”

Carla walked to the table in the living room where two steaming mugs of tea sat waiting. A small dish of cookies was at the table’s center, and a fire burned in the gated fireplace. Carla sat.

“Now,” Dari said, sitting and raising a tea mug. “Why don’t we talk about how badly they want you, and how much we stand to gain with the right decisions.”

Carla held the mug between her freezing palms and inhaled the scent deeply. She clinked her mug against Dari’s and took a small sip. Jasmine. It went down warm. She cleared her throat and reached inside her pant pocket, removing a thin vile of neon orange fluid. A solitary air bubble dipped back and forth as she tilted it. “Here’s to making our first decision right.”

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An Evening of Reading


Got to watch some high school students present their own writing this evening. Wow. I wish I knew I wanted to be a writer that early. But, I guess it hits you when it hits you, and you’re not really the one in the driver’s seat after all. When it comes to Life, often times we’re in the Driver’s Ed car – you know the one. It has a steering wheel, a gas pedal and a brake, and all the other fancy bells n’ whistles. But the real driver is the old fat dude sitting next to you. He’s the one who’s really driving the thing. He controls the brakes. He’s the one telling you where to turn and when to stop, where to park, how to park, and how you’re going to get from the driving school all the way to Jim’s Techno Garage and back.

I was the last guy to stand up there, though, to present the girl who had asked me to be her mentor. She was nervous and jittery a bit. But she made it. She made it happen.

I was impressed. It was a lot of work she did, but she put it all together. Sixteen and a half thousand words later, she did it.

Great job, L.

write, writing.

The Written Word – 11/27/08



Dear Reader ~

One evening, some weeks past, I was dining with a friend of mine at a local restaurant, and one of the themes of the conversation was modern cell phone technology. He was introducing his phone, the iPhone, by way of demonstration, and it was my job to be fascinated, awed and enthralled with both his demonstration and the accompanying device. – which, honestly, I was. Perhaps, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was enthralled, but simply amazed, I suppose. I was amazed at how far this whole “technology kick” has taken us off of what I would argue to be the beaten path. Why is it that the average American today has (something like) two televisions in his/her house (*average), can order a pizza on the Internet using his/her phone, but couldn’t survive a storm, fix a flat tyre, point to the direction of a rising sun or give correct change if the cash registrar (B:till*) were to break down? Seriously, why is that? People can locate a nearby restaurant and make reservations via their computer, but wouldn’t know what to do if their mode of transportation didn’t start. Yes, to a degree, the examples that I give are hyperbole (*pronounced Hi-PER-bow-lee. Please do not say HYPER-bowl.), but, on the whole contain a veritable argument.
Don’t get me wrong, technological advancements have produced some great results, but at what cost? I think it’s fair to say that, either consciously or subconsciously, we find that there is balance to existence – for every addition, there is a subtraction, every gain, a loss, every black, a white, every heavy, a light and so on. What, then, is taken away with every gain in technology? It may be said that the answer is a loss to marks of competence and degrees of culture. The most salient one, in my book, is the art of writing.
When I say the ‘art of writing,’ I mean every aspect of writing – penmanship, orthography, style and vocabulary. I listen to the conversations that I hear daily and I wonder how many thousands of words have fallen out of use in the past few decades. Why is it that only in social circles of the upper class do we hear higher level words. There are over 490,000 words in the English language, and over 40,000 technical words – the most words of any language in the world. Yet, daily, weekly, monthly and annually, there are many words, wonderful words, that are forgotten, unused and become listed in lexicons as archaic, and, before long, aren’t listed any longer.
When was the last time you witnessed sensuous (not sensual, let’s make sure we know what I mean and not start guessing) handwriting? Really. When was the last time you saw notable penmanship? In the 50s and 60s, my parents’ generation, not only was penmanship a requisite in school, but they were slapped with rulers if they didn’t produce letters that were pleasing to the eye. Now, with the advent of the computer, not only has penmanship become a literary myth, I dare say it won’t be long before we witness the generation of man that laughs at the idea of manually putting ink on paper with artifacts known as pens or pencils.
Am I really that far off? Think about it, how often are you checking a dictionary by your desk or at home to look up the spelling of words? Hasn’t it become more convenient to just let the SPELL CHECK icon at the top do all the work for you? That’s just a concern I have for English. Yet, it’s the whole world that is influenced by this ostensible “need” for technology. Need! Ha! Tell my grandfather, John Zapotocky, about a need to take a car to a car wash.

I would urge you, whenever possible, to write. When you write, write well. So, you feel like an elementary student for a few months. You are! That’s okay, everyone else is too. We’ve forgotten (never learned) this. Be diligent. Without our script, the cornerstone of our language vanishes. Without are language, what else do we have that actively (remains as an active part of us) identifies us? Pick up a pen. Write!