Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Aristotle's Theory

What if life had a plot? It has characters. It has a setting. Why shouldn't it have a plot?

Act I is "the Challenge." For the first third of our life, we would be discovering who we are. We would be introducing ourselves to the world. And in the end of the first Act, we would accept a challenge. We would decide about our purpose in life... whether as mother, or in business, or as an artist. Who knows? We would decide what we were striving toward.

Act II is "the Action." During middle age, we would develop as people. We would come across many troubles and experience the darkest moments of our lives. 

Act III is "the Consequences." The climax of our lives would occur: the defining moment. Life would mean something.

Maybe life does have a plot...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nose in a Book

Nose in a Book


I breathed in deeply

warm, light, woody scents, and then

I curled right up on a shelf.

My toes caressed the hard covers;

My lips brushed the soft, cracked spines of paperbacks.

The paper, stained by skin oils, fanned against my breast.

Ink on my tongue.

Pressed against my ears,

the clicking of a keyboard.

Lay against my fingertips,

the edges of pages.

Brush marks in the dusty corners

betrayed my eyelashes

had kissed the oak.

And in the arms of words,

paragraphs of gentleman-like eloquence,

I fell asleep.


Adventures on a Houseboat

4:30 in the morning. All is quiet on the waterfront, peaceful, serene, until...

"Hey! Wake up." This is Nicole. If I am lying face down on my stomach, she is sleeping in the bunk to my left. To my right, if I am lying on my back. I pretend that I can't hear her. Maybe someone else will answer and I won't have to wake up. 

"What?" Someone finally does answers her. I don't know who, because I am tired and I have my eyes closed and I don't really care at this point.

"Look outside. The boat's moving." This is Nicole again. Theresa or Whitney or Bailey answers her. I'm not sure who, because I'm still pretending to be asleep.

"We're backwards." Apparently we are backwards. 

Feet from all directions land on the edges of my air mattress, so that my body rises several feet on a bubble of air. The screen door is pushed open. I can tell that it is pushed open, even with my eyes closed, because it makes a very distinctive and irritating creaking noise when it is pushed open. The feet leave my bed and shuffle out onto the back deck, and my body settles back down, sinking even further than before. Someone calls for Michelle. Michelle answers.

Michelle steps on my face. This is when I finally decide not to be asleep anymore. I peel my sunburnt shoulders off of the vinyl surface of the air mattress. Did I mention that it is 4:30? AM?

"Sorry, Laura." Michelle heads out to the back deck, too. I rise, reluctantly, taking my blanket with me. It is cold at 4:30 in the morning, in case you didn't know. And I join my so-called friends on the back deck.

"What the heck?" Me this time. Everyone starts to talk at once. Apparently, we are backwards. Despite mooring lines, the tide has risen enough and the wind is strong enough that our boat has managed to turn itself around so that the propellers are in the sand, and the nose is facing out into open water.

Michelle and Theresa hop off of the boat and into the sand to unfasten the boat from the mooring lines. They both hop back on. We all rush past the bunk beds and the other girls who are still sleeping, through the kitchen, past the table and the couches, and to the front of the boat. 

4:45 AM. Theresa powers up the boat and pulls away from the beach. She performs a maneuver in mid-water to turn the boat around so that we face front. She apologizes in advance to the girls still sleeping, and...

1... 2... 3... BOOM! The front of the boat hits the sand at full speed, which isn't very fast, but fast enough. We are beached. Everyone jumps off of the front deck onto the sand. We uproot the stakes and the ropes. I run for the maul (sledgehammer) to pummel the stakes back into the ground. Theresa is inching her way along a two-inch wide ledge on the side of the boat, lugging the sopping wet mooring line behind her so that she can reattach it to the boat's back end. And it is still cold!

5:05 AM. We are secure.

I head straight for the air mattress, limping the whole way because I've ground sand into the cut on my foot, from a rock the day before. When I get to the air mattress, I grab my pillow and my quilt. I set up shop on the floor of the kitchen. No way am I getting back on that sagging, squeaking vinyl air mattress. And I am out in a minute. Until...

5:15 in the morning.

Nicole. "Laura, why are you sleeping on the floor?" Theresa. "We're not going to step on you anymore." Whitney. "Why is Laura sleeping on the floor?" Me. Pretending to be asleep again.