Tag Archives: confessions

The Bees

Well… don’t I feel like the kid disrupting the class by showing up late. There’s no way to quietly sneak back into this and pretend as though I’ve been writing this whole time and didn’t, in fact, miss an entire week’s worth of posts. Suppose I ought to suck it up, then!

Truth is, I went on vacation with the best of intentions of writing each day. However, the adventure turned out to be more exhausting than I had ever anticipated! My partner and I alternated who felt like crud each day, and by the end we were both just ready to hibernate for the winter. It was a good time, although clearly not what we were expecting.

I feel like I ought to share with you a story from this adventure… I know! I’ll tell you about The Bees.

Now, I am fully aware that bees are tiny creatures that are probably much more afraid of the giants in their environment than the giants are of them. Also, for the most part, they only sting when provoked or threatened. They can even be quite adorable if you take the time to examine them! But even knowing all of this, they terrify me.

We’re not talking the normal, “Eek! A bee! I don’t want it to sting me!” type of fear. I’m talking irrational paranoia bordering on phobia. I’ve known people in my time who were deathly afraid of clowns, butterflies and birds. I found it odd and hilarious, but I respected their fear. When you tell someone you’re afraid of bees, people empathize. “Oh, me too!” They say. But they don’t get it.

I go fleeing in the opposite direction, if I can, whenever one comes near. My heart rate instantly increases, I sweat, and it’s a definite ‘fight or flight’ type of scenario. I have forced myself into the habit of playing the “if I don’t see it… it doesn’t exist” game. This usually fails, of course, because bees are prone to buzzing and if I hear it but can’t see it, that is all the worse. If I can’t run, I attempt hiding. Distractions sometimes help, but most of the time the buzzing just does me in.

I run. I try not to swat, but have started the “shooing” method that I’ve noticed Germans do – though it never seems to work for me. I cower. I don’t scream, but I do implode. All of my senses are consumed with the need to get away. I am almost paralyzed with this fear.

So when we were out to a lovely dinner, sitting on a terrace shrouded by a curtain of rain, with a cool breeze wafting in to take the edge off summer, I was mortified to find myself the object of affection for no less than three of these little black and yellow terrors.

They had no interest in my partner. They had no interest in the couple dining at the table against the wall. No interest in the vines or flowers around the edge of the terrace. But my left arm sure seemed particularly fascinating.

I do not wear colognes or perfumes and choose subtle, plain deodorants precisely so that I do not attract such attentions. Our food had not yet arrived, either, so I have no idea what it was that attracted them… unless they were bully bees that could sense my fear and wanted tease me.

It should also be noted that despite this deathly fear, I wish them no harm. I really do find them adorable when they’re not buzzing around me! If they simply crawled about instead of flying, I think I could tolerate them much more easily- alas, this is not the case.

My partner became worried for me when one dipped into my wine glass and almost drowned itself there. I hit my point of overload. Every time I brought the glass to my face, despite having checked it at least three times, I imagined I was going to feel a struggling little bee body against my lips that would then crawl onto my face.

Twice I left my seat to escape them and they followed me. I was near the point of hysterics when my partner was finally able to flag down a waiter to ask if we could move indoors. Of course, the wait staff did not help us to move the food that had arrived or the wine glasses. So when I picked up my bowl of soup, it almost went crashing to the ground as these three or four bees immediately came to float around me. It was as if they were taunting me!

I was just able to get the food inside, but had to send my partner back for my wine. He was patient and kind despite my apparent craziness. At least I didn’t flail about like I used to?

Once inside, I began to calm down. The wine helped. We talked about my paranoia and I took deep breaths and the wait staff began to avoid us – surely I was crazy to have been so affected by some harmless insects! But the food and wine were both superb and I was enjoying them immensely. I began to feel normal again.

As I scooped another bit of delicious soup into my spoon, I thought of how silly this all must seem. How silly to be so terrified! Honestly, what is the worst that could happen? I’ve been stung before and it’s really not that awful. What is so terrifying?

I went in for another dip of the delicious Kartoffelsuppe and that’s when I saw it. One of those little buggers had kamikaze’d into my dish and drowned itself! The sharp blackness of its stripes and wings protruding through the thick golden succulence like the hull of a ghost ship mired in a shallow sea. Dead.

How I managed to miss it before this point is beyond me. The wait staff became a bit more forgiving of my behavior now that I seemed to be eating the things, at least. It was like I was in some horror movie.

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds gave me nightmares for years in my youth.

This was The Bees.

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Update: Clay Mind

Have you ever experienced one of those days where the entire world seems overwhelming?

That was my yesterday.

We had an unexpected lunch outing at the last minute, which was quite enjoyable but threw my schedule a bit. Upon returning home, I wasn’t quite yet ready to write. I opted instead to miss my deadline of getting started by 2pm, informing my partner he’d have to choose a penalty for me later, and bumbled about the internet for a bit.

I did this in attempts to settle my mind – the opposite happened.

The more I attempted to zone out and calm my thoughts, the more stress I began to feel. People wanted to chat with me, children’s shrieks on the playground seemed louder and more frequent than usual, and I had a plethora of tabs open of things I wanted to read but hadn’t found time for… it all felt like some tidal wave of information I was meant to take in. It was too much.

I promptly shut off the computer, collected a soft scented candle and something to cover my eyes, then drew myself a nice hot bath. The bathroom is the only place you can escape the playground noise. It was quiet, the cloth I put over my eyes blocked the light, and the scent of the candle allowed my mind to drift away from my current environment…

but my mind would not shut up!

I tried some meditation, I tried thinking on the character I wanted to write, creative exercises – nothing worked. I could feel my brain hardening into that unmalleable lump of cold clay coated in slimy mucous it becomes when I’ve reached a point of overload. I refused this and tried to let go of all thought.

My partner came home. We talked. We played some games. Still, I was fried. He encouraged me to power through and I thanked him for it. It’s nice to have someone rooting for you when you don’t want to give up.

Then I thought of transforming this feeling into words, as I had once done when I’d felt too angry to write, then applying that to a character. Nothing came, though. The computer felt intimidating.

So I had an internal conversation.

I reminded myself that the reason I challenged myself was to improve my writing. I’m doing this for fun – to do something I enjoy. If it begins to feel like a job, full of deadlines and stress, I’d be missing the point.

This lead me to one question: If I force myself to bang out my minimum words on an incomplete character and complete the challenge requirement for the day, would I begin to harbour some weird resentment?

Ultimately, I decided not to risk it. I foresee much housework and dish-washing in my near future, but I believe this was the right choice.

When I awoke this morning, I didn’t feel guilty or let down or angry with myself. Interestingly, I did feel like I’d let down my readers a bit… but as most of you are writers yourselves, I also found myself wondering if any of you have gone through anything similar.

How did you handle it? What do you find most beneficial?

This blogging community has truly been much more than I expected. I’ve had the great fortune of connecting with so many wonderful independent writers, it’s as if I’ve tapped into a wealth of knowledge and creativity I never realized existed! So if you’re here and reading this – whether you read regularly or this is the first and only time you’ll ever be by – thank you.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for writing.

Also, I should note that I have kept up with the reading portion of my challenge. I failed to mention it, but on Wednesday I caught up with Yawatta Hosby’s blog, an independent published author, and Carrie over at Magic and Marvels, which is currently the favorite read out of all my subscriptions. Carrie has a very unique way with words and, just as her tagline suggests, it adds a bit of magic to life (or reminds one of its existence) when you read it. Then I found I’ve Infused Myself with Puppy DNA, with his jarring title image but fun and creative writing. I’m still reading through his recent seven-part series on recent life.

Yesterday was Legends of Windemere, another of my favorites (especially when I’m looking for some creative inspiration), and 5 Degrees of Inspiration, which I always overlook and then regret having done so when I return. I did fail to seek out a new blogger yesterday.

Today’s reads will appear at the bottom of the character write up I intend to post later this afternoon.

Looks like today will be quite full! Perhaps this is positive reinforcement that taking yesterday off was the proper decision.

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Have you ever had a recurring dream?

I’ve had a recurring dream, as of late. It’s not precisely the same thing each time it occurs, nor does it recur every night. But over the past few months, I’ve dreamed that I was looking out a window and saw tornadoes dancing along the horizon.

Once, I was in a high rise building that was entirely glass windows looking out over a dense cityscape. This last time, I was in the home of my childhood and just looking at a window that was created in my mind’s eye. Each time I see multiple funnel clouds wreaking havoc in the distance. Each time I think, “I should probably go to the basement… but they’re so far away. They probably won’t even come over all this way. Even if they do, I’ll see them coming in time to take cover.” Then inevitably, they do cut a course in my direction – all three or five of them, like they’re on a mission. And they’re coming fast. Sometimes I am alone, sometimes I’m among others that I may or may not know in real life, but I’m always trying to save someone or something. Most recently, it was cats – my cat, cats from my past, and cats I’ve never known – but most often I’m trying to make sure all the people I’m with are headed for the basement.

I feel the panic of not reaching the basement in time. My mind in my dream reels with the imaginings of what it will look and feel like when the cyclones tear the building to shreds and I’m caught up with it. I feel the worry of ensuring that everyone I love and care about, as well as all the complete strangers, have made it to our safe zone – that we didn’t leave anyone behind. My heart races.

But every time, I reach the basement. Every time, everyone (or everything) is safe and there with me.

Then the dream ends.

It’s such an odd dream to me because I’ve never experienced a tornado. Hurricanes, yes. Windstorms, yes. I’ve even been in the same storm in which a tornado formed, but it was not precisely near me. We always went to the basement if there was a warning, but the most damage I’ve seen done (first hand) is a few missing roof tiles.

When I realized this scenario had been dreamed more than once, I began to wonder if it means something. I don’t put much stock in those books that claim there is a set symbolic definition for everything that may be present in a dream. I more adhere to the idea that dreams are creative projections of our experiences and emotions from the day-to-day. So perhaps I should rephrase: I began to wonder if it represents something.

The interpretation I came up with, after much inner reflection and some googling, was that I have a tendency to procrastinate. I say, “I have so much time to do this!” and then dead lines come up on me faster than I’m prepared for – it’s very stressful. When that happens, I feel quite out of control… even though I began the scenario quite in control. This repeating dream says to me: you should really get your ass in gear and get organized. (Pardon the french.)

Have you ever had a recurring dream?

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If Bodies Could Talk

If my toes could tell you stories, they would tell of all the piles and corners of things I’ve run into in my time. I’m sure there have been quite a lot. Stubbed toes are like elephants and remember each minor altercation – don’t let anyone tell you different. (And be careful of where you step!)

If my feet could tell you tales, you’d hear about all they lands they’ve taken me through: sandy beaches, rocky beaches, cobblestone streets, earthy woods, concrete jungles, and stairs upon stairs upon stairs… But no two staircases are alike, they’d say to you, and you’d be here quite a while. They’d tell of you of all those in castles and humble homes; those made of wood and of stone; certainly some covered in carpet, others painted, and still others that were merely stained or otherwise unadorned. You would hear how all the lands are very different, yet practically identical in ways, in France, Canada, Germany, the United States, England, Scotland, Belgium, and so forth. They’d have a lot to say, those feet.

If my knees could spin you yarns, I’m sure they’d tell you about each time they went weak when talking to a cute boy. They’d tell you about the skins and scrapes, how they hate it when I run, and even about the time I managed to pop the patella out of socket by doing absolutely nothing fantastic at all. The knees know that if given just the right circumstances, anything is possible. They do not scoff at flying pigs.

If my hips could regale you with their memoirs, you’d hear tragedies of all the times I should have danced but didn’t; the rhythms they could have swayed to, the partners with whom they might have tangoed. In the end, they’d send you off with the words of warning: to never decline a little two-step.

If my waistline could gush about anything, it would be about all my fabulous gastronomical adventures! It would make your mouth water to hear all the delectable dishes it would share with you. The waistline would compliment itself, saying, It’s truly a wonder I’m not twice or thrice the size I am! It would chuckle, though it would have a mind to double itself if it meant fitting in more food. Once it was finished telling you all it could, it would ask you about all your tasty experiences. As you spoke, it would only interrupt to excuse its noisy hunger rumbles.

If my lungs could chronicle their memories of our time together, you’d hear about the best of times (in which there was much laughter or moments that took my breath away) and the worst of times (in which the wind had been knocked from them, either by force or by sorrow). They might grumble about my smoking days but they’d be more delighted to tell you about the cleanest, freshest breezes they ever took in – though you’d have to ask the feet where they’d been taken. Slowly in and slowly out, the lungs take the days and the air as they come – though they’re fully aware that some day, both of these things will end.

If my fingers could wind you up in words, they’d set themselves like spiders and weave you webs of memories. Hands that were held, jewels that were worn, arts and writing projects that were undertaken – they’d cocoon you in it all. Once they had you tightly bundled, so you couldn’t move away too quick, they’d share their woes of being over worked and under appreciated. They take care of all those small tasks that go over looked, after all, and what thanks do they receive? When are they pampered and loved? Normally it only comes as an afterthought when the back – that trollop and attention grabber – made itself enough of a pain to get some attention. By the time you pried yourself loose from the fingers’ grip, you’d be unsympathetic to their plight.

My body would have some fantastic accounts to run by you, I’m most certain. But I’m glad it’s only the mouth can do the talking.

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The Playground Predicament

Whoever designed my housing complex was as clever as a dead rat.

My flat is nice enough, with spacious rooms and large screened windows. The floor plan doesn’t allow for much air circulation, but fans remedy that well enough. We don’t have too much noise from the neighbors next to, above and below us, aside from the occasional barking dog or crying babe. It’s quite lovely, really.

Until you factor in the playground.

The windows of my kitchen and living room face the windows of kitchens and living rooms in another building directly across the way. Perfectly parallel, the buildings are about 30m (appx. 90ft) apart. (If I didn’t throw so abhorrently, I could chuck a ball through a neighbor’s window.) In this scant space, the composting rat of a designer decided to install a playground. No, I take that back… three playgrounds: one meant for tots, one for kids up to the age of five, and another for children up to the age of twelve.

There are the good days, during which I consider creating a twitter account solely for the purpose of relaying to the rest of the world the hilarious excerpts of conversation I hear through my open window; and there are the bad days, during which I pray for the ground to open up and swallow them all whole… perhaps then re-sealing itself and leaving a lovely vegetable garden in their place. Or a very selective and specific natural disaster. Or, if neither of those can be managed, at least (for sanity’s sake!) a plague of laryngitis.

Let’s just say that most days I’m not thinking of what to name my twitter account.

Until living here, I was never aware how much children like to scream. I don’t mean shout. I don’t mean shriek with delight or excitement. I mean scream, like little incessant banshees. For as long and as loudly as they possibly can. Honestly, how can something so tiny have that much lung capacity?

As they have their little contests to see whose voice can reach the highest pitch or resonate the longest, the sound waves of their wails are ricocheting off the walls and windows of the opposing buildings, vibrating through the windows that I must leave cracked open because air conditioning barely exists where I live, and piercing my ears like molten fire stokes. It sometimes helps my soul to recite Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies. My ears are another story.

There are signs posted next to each piece of equipment notifying adults that children must be supervised at all times while on the playground. Even so, it is rare to see adults monitoring the children from under the shade of the nearby gazebo or, god forbid, actually interacting with their children. No; this is because many mothers and fathers prefer to “monitor” their children from the comfort of their own home through those convenient playground-facing windows. The parents who live in other nearby buildings must figure that as long as some adult is checking out their window, the children are being monitored well enough. The lack of supervision leads to children bullying one another, causing screaming and crying; or to children thinking it’s a really good idea to try all those daring feats mom always forbids, ending up in sobs and wails.

The only quiet exists in the hours before the young ones awake and after they’ve been called home for dinner.

My favorite days are filled with rain.

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I ate all the Oreos.

I have a confession: I ate all the Oreos.

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had Oreo cookies? AGES. Well, now it’s only been a few minutes… but prior to the debauchery that began last night, it had been ages!

A friend of mine had posted a delicious-looking photo of an “Oreo cake bomb” – Oreo bomb cake? Something like that! – to Facebook. It sounded like pure. sugary. heaven. With all the things that have transpired recently, I thought I’d treat myself to one; or half of one, at least, since I do not need to eat an entire Oreo-based cake by myself. So, I purchased the ingredients, including the seductive little cookies (double stuffed – like my friend used), then stowed them away, intending to attempt the concoction just a few days later. And for 24 hours, they were good. Safely out of sight, out of mind, all of the sugary ingredients failed to tempt me. Until last night…

Prior to dinner, my Spidey sense began to tingle and I could no longer trick myself into thinking there was no free-range sugar in the house.

“Hey!” my brain said. “I know there’s something in here. You’re keeping it from the Eyes, but the Taste Buds and I have been talking and we know there are cookies around here somewhere… get one! Just one. Please? Then we’ll be cool.”

Knowing that anything bite-sized and sugary is like crack-salted Pringles for me (once you ‘pop’, you’re pretty much screwed), my instincts cried, “It’s a trap!”

I had to think fast. If I still want one after dinner, I bargained, then I can have just that: one. Surely this would be enough time for the craving to subside.

To be brief, it wasn’t.

I had consumed five of those little black-and-white temptations before restraining myself and placing the re-sealed package as far back in the cupboard as it would possibly go. At the time, it seemed as though I could simply trick myself again – hide them in a different, more out-of-sight, location until it was cake time. My mind, however, was like a kid who had been told not to look in a certain closet, where mom almost certainly hid the Christmas presents each year. Every inch of this house was going to be scoured for creamy cookie goodness as soon as the taste buds recovered.

The next morning was slow and calm. I had my coffee, read my news feeds, and made the mistake of not making myself something healthy and filling before my brain (and subsequent sugar craving) woke up. “Oreos!” it cried, alerting me to its wakefulness. “Must have cookies! Stomach is hungry.”

Crap.

I quelled the desire with a couple of cookies with the intention of cooking breakfast right after, but then I didn’t feel hungry anymore. I decided to write my 500 words for the day, then make some real food. Except, those 500 words generated a clever idea… one of those seeds you have to get down, for fear it might be the product of a sniggledy frippit. Then I lost track of time.

“Hungry!” Brain and Stomach chimed in unison.

“Be quick!” Creativity warned. Creativity can be big, bright, and beautiful… but is able to fizzle at the slightest distraction sometimes.

“You know what’s quick?” I paused to hear out Brain’s suggestion, since Creativity had seized most of my processing power. “Oreos.”

“Terrible idea…” a small voice called from the recesses of my mind. Could that be Reason? I listened for it again, but Brain must have squelched it.

Just a couple more, I reasoned with myself, certain that would be it. No more after this. How wrong I was…

Noon came and went, the hours slowly ticked by, and every so often Brain and Stomach would harmonize: Ooorreeoooos.

A handful at a time, I ate my way through. Eventually, it was about time for the normal working day to end and my partner would be arriving home. I was hungry, but I doubted he’d be ready for dinner yet. Just a snack, then.

“Guess what?” Brain was absolutely zinging with ideas since I’d been feeding it sugar sandwiches. “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more Oreos!”

Stomach wasn’t exactly pleased with Brain’s enthusiastic suggestion, but the Hands seemed to work on their own now. They’d become slaves to the saccharine master. But when they reached into the bag again, there was nothing but ridged plastic sleeves and crumbs. The Oreos were gone.

Suddenly, it was as if Brain had regained its sense. Reason had returned.

“What have you done?!” it chastised.

I ate them all. I ate the entire bag of Oreos.

The Hips would not be pleased…

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