What’s behind gratitude?

I can remember when I moved out of my mother’s house. It was right after I left college to get a job at the post office. First I moved in with a friend then a couple weeks later, found my own place. I didn’t have furniture so my mother let me take my bed with me. I was renting a studio apartment—the bed doubled as a sofa. Eventually, I was able to buy a very small kitchen table that had two chairs. It fit in the corner-most part of the kitchenette. There was a small stove with an oven, a small refrigerator with a freezer at the top and a small sink. I worked most of the day so the dishes were never left unclean.

There was a coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement of the apartment. Instead of regular coins, tenants needed to purchase tokens from the rental office in order to use the washer and dryer. Instead of going through the trouble of trying to catch the rental office during business hours to purchase the tokens, I asked my mother if it would be alright to come over and do my laundry a couple of times per month—she agreed. I was very thankful and decided to clean her entire kitchen each time I came over. This was usually on Thursday’s, just in case my boyfriend and I wanted to go out on Friday nights.

My mother’s kitchen wasn’t terribly huge. Whenever I went over my mother’s to wash my 2-loads, the kitchen was cluttered. It seemed as if every plate, glass, cup, spoon, knife, fork and cooking dish in her cabinets was sitting out. Most often there was food left in them—several days old from the looks of it. My brother and sister (both older than me) were living in her house, during those days. My sister had two children and no one thought they should clean the kitchen. My clothes didn’t take long to wash and dry. I started cleaning the kitchen as soon as I put the first load in the washer. I was a dish-washing-wizard.

When my mother taught my sister and me how to wash dishes, I really liked how clean the kitchen was after we finished. It wasn’t long until we each had our very own day to wash dishes—mine was Thursday. As we got better at cleaning, our day turned into a week. By the time my sister was in middle school and I was in my final year of elementary, we were assigned house chores that lasted for a full month! I remember thinking how unfair it was because all my friends only washed dishes for 1-week at a time then their older brothers and/or sisters took over. I didn’t realize how grateful I would be later in life because of this.

By the time my clothes were finished I had the entire kitchen spotless! My sister hadn’t come anywhere near the kitchen while I cleaned and neither did my brother. In fact, I believe they both left the house and didn’t return until I was about to leave. That’s when my sister came in the kitchen and said, “Oh, wow! thanks.” Then she started putting dishes in a box. I asked her why she was packing momma’s dishes and she told me those were her dishes. At that moment, all I could think about was the fact that she let me clean her dirty dishes without even offering to help. My agreement was with my mother—to clean for HER.

really

When my sister said thank you, it didn’t feel genuine. An authentic show of gratitude would not have been cloaked in deceit. She wasn’t thankful that I cleaned our mother’s kitchen (because for some reason she hadn’t). Her gracious attitude wasn’t even due to the fact that I cleaned-up behind her, my brother and my niece and nephew. She was glad that I (blindly) washed all her dishes and she didn’t have to help—so she said thanks. How do you thank someone for doing something you let them believe was for another reason? Her deception didn’t end there.

As I gathered my clean clothes to put in the trunk of my car my sister walked out with me. She asked if I could give her a ride to the other side of town. I was low on gas but agreed that I would. As I got in the car she stood at the driver’s side.  With a wad of cash in her hand she said, “Never mind I’ll just get a cab. I don’t want to use the little bit of gas you have. Thanks anyway.” I thought to myself I wish she would thank me with a few of those dollars.

Wong Kar Wai

019.jpg If the name doesn’t ring a bell with you, then you are not alone. Back in December of 2015, If I had been asked, “Who is Wong Kar Wai?” I might have shrugged my shoulders and kept walking. Today, I have a different response.

If you searched Wong Kar Wai on the imdb.com website, you’ll find that he is a filmmaker out of Hong Kong. His work includes: In the Mood for Love (2000), Days of Being Wild (1990), 2046 (2004), Happy Together (1997) and Chung King Express (1994), just to name a few.

In my Asian film studies class, the professor asked, “What is national cinema?” I struggled for an answer. I thought about it long and hard until it came to me. My answers included either identifying the country where the film was made or the nationality of the filmmaker. I thought national cinema was any film that wasn’t made in Hollywood or contained a structure that could be considered synonymous with Hollywood film making. That is to say, if the story line had a predictable ending and the characters were less than believable. I later found out, from a Bordwell reading we were assigned, that my answers to the professor’s question seemed to include aspects of art cinema. The class is still going on (as of March 13, 2016). I am slowly beginning to believe that there is no definition (that stands alone) for national cinema.

I’m in Issue 33 of the 34th Parallel Magazine

33 COVERI just purchased a full color copy of the 34th Parallel magazine. The poem I wrote was accepted for publication and is available, RIGHT NOW! This piece was special in many ways for me. From its subject matter to how it presents on the page, my poem Rapid has a story to tell.

33 BUCKINGHAM 2GRAFFITI

In addition to my piece, the magazine has some very engaging stories from authors with various styles of writing. They have amazing talent. I am certain that anyone who reads issue 33 of the 34th Parallel Magazine will find it visually exciting, thought provoking and engaging.

Check it out and let me know (write a comment below) how you enjoyed the piece.

The tesseraction

At the core of it all…

Consciousness creates reality

Nothing would be the same
ever again—

Namaste in the way
we distrust—
extracting pure consciousness
just to drown in it—

Entire colonies were wiped out—
notes were taken—
the moon used to spew lava
but now it’s dead—

We were an infinite’s last ditch effort
just to show us what we had done—

We worshipped money as a god—
gnawing on nothing;
plastic skin smooth
as a succulent in the sand—
we could no longer keep quiet—
we deserted—

We burned the whole world
to the ground— we apologized
as a formality; we paid out;
we kept going—

The cancer of the last phase
of civilization reaches
into my voice—
my finger tips—
we held hands as we jumped—
we turned into liquid—

Prefabricated minds
spill down the grimy gutter
into the sewer that’s sieved
for bitter water; your river of life
full of garbage, human waste, torsos—
we…

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Where the Mind Dwells, Eber & Wein

eberweinpieceMy copy of the Eber & Wein anthology (Where the Mind Dwells – Consolation) just came in the mail! I have one poem in this anthology. My piece is a contemplation of time. I thought about how it is divided, measure, and categorized. This piece shows how I relate to each day. After giving some thought to the passage of time, it began to feel different.  The end result was my piece, The Day Constant.

After a poetry workshop, I worked several more revisions and finally settled on the expression that captured my meaning/message. I really enjoy contemplating themes such as time, nature, TheDayConstantPoemhumanity, religion and sensitivity that effect the world. I try to imagine what effects are being felt from them. My piece, The Day constant, is the conflation of time and space. It is  the bisection of past and future. It doesn’t immediately measure anything instead, it can be read as a magnification of the ideas of measurement. The distance between past, present and future might be seen as negligible.

I am very grateful that the editors found my piece enjoyable enough to include in this anthology and would very much enjoy the opportunity to have another included in future publications. If you have not already experienced Eber & Wein’s anthology publications do yourself a favor and check them out at Amazon.

Kelly Fordon

Great interview!

Speaking of Marvels

kelly fordonThe Witness (Kattywompus Press, 2016)

 What are some of your favorite chapbooks? Or what are some chapbooks that have influenced your writing?

A Girl Could Disappear Like This by Deborah Schwartz

Don Dreams and I Dream by Leah Umansky

Homebodies by Sarah Jane Sloat

Invisible Girls by Erika Lutzner

What might these favorite or influential chapbooks suggest about you and your writing?

I often write about motherhood, and the delicate balance between art and the domestic, and I love Sarah Jane Sloat’s chapbook because it addresses, so adroitly, some of the same issues. Erika Lutzner is concerned with how certain circumstances foster violence as well as the invisibility/ vulnerability of children, a subject that I have tried to address in this particular chapbook.

What’s your chapbook about?

This chapbook was written in response to the testimony offered by members of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests and…

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