The Life Changing Magic of Getting Your Shit Together

So uh, I’m burnt out. I thought I knew burn out before but here I am, braindead on a Friday, forcing out creativity out of my constipated imagination. I know it will change. Everything’s changing. I think what I need is a reboot. Maybe I can do some health nut things to realign my Shakiras (I know it’s chakras but I like to have fun in my little inconspicuous corner.)

To combat burn out I could:

  • eat a vegetable three (3) times a day
  • eat more fruit that isn’t just grapes
  • listen to new music instead of playing Frank Ocean when I know it just makes me feel melancholy for know damn reason
  • hang out with my friends!
  • learn a new skill! try a new thing!
  • visit a new place
  • go outside. for fun. wild.
  • write more. always write more.
  • film more often.
  • art more often.
  • exercise consistently and for fun
  • drink lots of water and plain tea
  • call/see the Trifecta™
  • stop procrastinating by having an existential crisis
  • get that money (but only if you want to y’know)
  • invest time into something kinda pointless that brings you joy
  • invest more time in god (as that is a given)
  • share. don’t hold back. speak your mind b!
  • SLEEP OH MY GOD

Even writing it out made me feel better. I’ve been so holed up by the cold that I’m making myself weird and loopy. But while this list seems very fun and totally achievable, it would be impossible to do all at once. So let’s divide it into categories:

Basic Human Functioning Stuffs:

  • eat a vegetable three (3) times a day
  • eat more fruit that isn’t just grapes
  • exercise consistently and for fun
  • drink lots of water and plain tea
  • SLEEP OH MY GOD

Mental Sanity

  • listen to new music instead of playing Frank Ocean when I know it just makes me feel melancholy for know damn reason
  • stop procrastinating by having an existential crisis
  • invest time into something kinda pointless that brings you joy
  • invest more time in god (as that is a given)
  • share. don’t hold back. speak your mind b!

Social Stuffs

  • hang out with my friends!
  • visit a new place
  • go outside. for fun. wild.
  • call/see the Trifecta™

Personal Goals

  • learn a new skill! try a new thing!
  • write more. always write more.
  • film more often.
  • art more often.
  • get that money (but only if you want to y’know)

Well won’t you look at that! By dividing things up it helps me see what I care about right now (which is usually the same shit.)  Now here’s what I’m going to do next. I’m going to take one aspiration from each of these and turn it into this thing:

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(Do you like my gif?)

Every month (or at least I try to make it monthly) I set a total of 4 goals that I’d like to make within the next 30 days. I structure them like a SMART goal (not exactly like one but the basic structure of one).  The method I’ve been using comes from a Forbes article I can no longer track down because unsurprisingly, Forbes writes about goal setting once a week. To break it down, the goals should be based numerically (in 12 days, write 2 posts, lose 6 lbs., etc.) and you shouldn’t set more than four at a time. The original article also recommended signing it at the end so it feels more official, which works on my brain. It’s also really important that this hand written and not typed in your phone notes or something like that.

I’m gonna use my my categories to form goals to meet by March 15th.

IMG_3482

And that’s how we do it folks! I honestly wasn’t anticipating this post going in a constructive direction, but I guess this is better than the ole fashion rant. I’ll consider updating you in a month about whether or not I followed through with the goals. It’s usually a hit or miss. I hope my thinking might have helped even one person reading this post. Even if it doesn’t I had a ton of fun writing it.

Until next time,

Kirsten

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we grew lost on our way home

The highway moves slowly in the afternoon,

chugging along like a locomotive

as I watch the city pass by my window

just like the old film tapes.

And we ride, my mother and I,

in between earth and sky,

free and confined,

swerving and turning anxiously

as we aim for the home left two hours prior.

 

I don’t call her mother unless I am angry,

but as I watched my dear mother curl her arduous fingers around the wheel

I became the air we cut through along the highway,

chatting anxiously about the future,

chatting anxiously about the past,

chatting because my mother was there for myself.

 

to be alone and lost is a feat in itself,

yet to be alone and together binds us all closer.

Earl Gray

Hey there, lovelies! It’s good to see you again. I’m going to be posting a series of works from a Creative Writing class I took last semester. I think the course gave me the opportunity to really work my craft and stretch. At the end of each work I’ll talk a little bit about the inspiration, process, and subtle meanings in the work. I hope you enjoy this one!

“Is he cute?” Michaela asked. She took a sip of the earl grey Jazz had prepared a few minutes before. Michael’s eye twitched at his twin’s candidness.

The two sat with their legs crossed over the knee and their backs pressed against their respective dining room chairs. Each held a mug in hand. Jazz stood by the kitchen window watching their exchange in amusement.

“He won’t tell me,” Jazz chirped, his smirk so wide it could break his face.

“And what about it?” he snapped, his grip on his cup tightening. “I already told you I didn’t want to talk about anything.” Michaela gave him a soft smile, ruffling his afro affectionately. Michael took a deep breath.

“Are you sure? Maybe it could help clear your head, make working easier,” Michaela suggested smoothly. Michael gave her a side-eye, but complied.

“He’s interesting to me,” he said quietly, tracing his lips with his thumb. “I’ve never met anyone who seems so…grounded. He just knows where he’s going and where he’s meant to be.” Michael’s eyes met Jazz’s searching gaze. “I admire that. I want to become it.”

Jazz nodded listlessly after a moment, walking over to the dining table and taking a seat. “It’s also attractive.” Michaela snickered as Michael punched Jazz in the arm.

“Shut it.”

“I’m just saying, you don’t have to just like someone’s appearance to have a crush on them. I thought you were pretty cute until you turned out to be a neurotic perfectionist.” Michael glared at him and Jazz shrugged.

“He’s not a neurotic perfectionist, he’s just a virgo,” Michael sighed, catching Michael’s oncoming swing with her hand. “You can’t get mad at me when it’s true.”

Michael lowered his hand and chuckled, lowering his mug on the table. “Don’t act like you’re not a virgo too.”

“She isn’t,” Jazz replied. A soft ping sounded from a phone and Jazz rose to retrieve it.  He smirked at the screen, carrying the device over to Michael and setting it in his hand. “So, are you gonna answer?”


This was a part of a scene assignment: have your characters have a revelation while doing something unrelated. I decided to take these characters from a short film I’ve been writing out for awhile called Sugar and developed it into prose. The story surrounds the main character Michael’s budding romance with a young man named Avery, but I love writing him in scenes interacting with his twin and his roommate.

Retribution and Revival

Hey there, lovelies! It’s good to see you again. I’m going to be posting a series of works from a Creative Writing class I took last semester. I think the course gave me the opportunity to really work my craft and stretch. At the end of each work I’ll talk a little bit about the inspiration, process, and subtle meanings in the work. I hope you enjoy this one!

The blood had not been scrubbed off of his bedroom floor. It trailed out of the small space and out the door of the Family home, only ceasing at the dark ash circle staining the dusty earth in the middle of the Community grounds. Joshua did not speak anymore. He would only trace the same word over and over, leaving the sightless mark on his arm, on his stomach, in the air.

He did leave. His black boots kicked fallen leaves into the air, letting them flutter back to the earth as he drew closer to his destination. He found himself in the familiar confines of the Elders’ confessional hall, the semicircle more ominous the longer Joshua’s eyes ran over it.

“My boy, shouldn’t you be with the Father? It is the day of the Solstice Celebration,” a voice asked behind him, making him jolt and contort in fear. Joshua let out a breath once he recognized Hanor’s voice, turning around to face him. Hanor’s face was twisted in contradiction as he walked towards him.

“He doesn’t need me.”

“It isn’t about need, my boy,” Hanor said with a sigh, “Your papa only has so many moons left until you must step into his place.”

“I’m not going to be the next Father,” Joshua said softly, relief flooding through him. He hadn’t realized until the phrase had left his mouth how much he meant it. No part of him wished to walk in his papa’s footsteps.

Hanor stared at him curiously. “Why of course you’ll be, Joshua. You’re the Father’s eldest, therefore it is your destiny to care for the Community, to lead the people in it to become—”

“—The most fit beings in the eyes of the Father, I know. But I can’t, Hanor. I can’t do this anymore. What kind of father kills his own children?” All the distress he’d set aside for years was suddenly catching up to him, trying to catch and destroy his breath.

“The ones who have died simply weren’t fit for The Father,” Hanor replied calmly, a sense of realization settling on him. “Joshua, what happened to Saphrine was simply the Father’s will. She was too weak to be wedded to you. Don’t worry, we can find another—”

“That not the point! That’s not the point! She didn’t have to die! We-we were supposed to die together, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.” Joshua began to sob and collapsed, limbs splaying like a rag doll on the ground.

“I…I knew, Joshua.” Joshua looked up at Hanor, but the Elder refused to look him in the eye.

“You did?”

“You have a destiny to fulfill, my boy! I couldn’t let her—let you—interfere with the Father’s plan for you.” Joshua glared at who he’d once considered a mentor. “You were showing such promise but she kept pulling you back. She was becoming a diversion in the Father’s plan—”

But Joshua was already running before he could hear the end of it, letting himself be swallowed by the forest that ran to the edge of the cliff. Nobody in the Community went there, no one except him. He let his run slow to a jog, until he found a comfortable resting ground, sitting on top of a rock so he could curl up and cry.

 

He had made sure to come back before the moon did.

“The Father won’t be pleased with your absence, Joshua” said his mother, walking with her two boys to the Heart Plot. The Heart Plot was most easily identified by the distinct shade of the ground from all the burnt ash that had settled there over time. A fire burned violently there now,  warming the faces of the crowd. The three of them moved towards the Father, taking post behind where he stood on the platform by the fire, facing the Community.

“Welcome Brothers and Sisters to the Longest Night Celebration!” The Father bellowed, his face covered in red paint and his head adorned with a golden crown bearing an obnoxiously large, gold finch. A round of cheers and hollers answered him and he gave a satisfied grin. The low rumble of drums made Joshua’s ribcage shake as the crowd began to part and widen into a circle.

A group of young girls with matching braided pigtails rose and turned towards the Father. His left arm was raised and his hand was in the shape of a pistol. Joshua froze, his breath leaving him as the Father lowered a wiry thumb.

Their movements were vicious and mechanic as the first girl caught the bullet between her palms, rapidly passing it to her right. The others followed suit, passing it around their small circle with a rhythmic clap. Joshua’s eyes widened as they moved faster, the beat of the drum becoming the low thundering of rain.

The smallest one, a girl with pale skin and long black hair, dropped it. The drumming stopped and the crowd grew silent. She looked up at the Father, her dark eyes empty of emotion. Her black dress reminded Joshua of the angel paintings in his school books.

The father watched the girl, lifting a finger and giving a single wave for her to approach him. She walked over, her stance neither proud or doubtful with her shoulders even and hands at her sides.

“Sister Johanna, explain to me why our celebration has halted.”

“I dropped the bullet, Father,” she said evenly. The strength in her voice sent a chill down Joshua’s spine.

“And why was that, Sister?”

“I wasn’t fast enough.” The father took his crown off of his head and held it to his chest. His eyes shut to reveal another pair of eyes painted on each lid in black. He opened them again slowly before raising his crown and striking her in the face.

The crack of metal and bone made Joshua clutch his mother’s dress. The girl stood tall, her head contorted unnaturally to the side before straightening itself again. The father watched her coolly, placing the crown on top of his head again. Joshua could see a river of red begin to cascade from her hair, but she didn’t flinch.

“You are forgiven, Sister Johanna,” the Father declared, his voice strained. Sister Johanna nodded, giving him an exaggerated bow. The Father’s nostrils flared.

“Thank you, Father.” Joshua suppressed a smirk.

The Father made a quick motion and the drumming commenced, the girls continuing their dance. The closer Joshua watched, the more sure he became that there was a small smile on Sister Johanna’s face.

“Yehoshu’a, my son and heir, come forward.” Joshua’s breath left his body once again as he stepped forward into the circle of his future people. The group of dancers surrounded him before collapsing to the ground. His eyes landed on Johanna’s face once again, her body limp but her eyes piercing.

“ Yehoshu’a, my boy, within a year’s time you will be the leader of our people,” the Father boomed, stepping away from the platform and towards his son. Joshua tore his gaze away from Johanna to face his Father, his Papa, and his greatest curse. The Father took his head in both hands and gave his mess of dark hair a chaste kiss. He raised a fist in the air and was met with cheers.

“To the future of our people!”

 

“Here,” Mother said, a sly grin on her face as she handed him a small glass of red wine. “For the soon to be Father.” Joshua gave her a strained smile, tipping back the glass.

“It’s not a big deal.”

“Of course it is, my love. This is your last solstice as a child. The next one will be the exchanging ceremony, and you will take your papa’s place.” Joshua nodded, turning away from his mother as he watched a young Community couple sway to the beat of the drums. “You’ve done so well to prepare yourself. I’m proud of you, Yehoshu’a.”

Joshua nodded politely, taking his mother’s hand and putting it in his. He gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, Mother. For everything. I mean it. I don’t think I would have survived this long otherwise.”

She laughed and pulled her hand away. “Go on and have fun, my love. It’s your last chance.” Joshua winced but got up anyhow, slowly making his way through the dancing crowd. A few giggling teenage girls tried to grab at him and give him a kiss, but he made it passed unscathed. He kept walking until the brilliant blaze of fire began to look more like a flicker.

 

Joshua lived in a land of duality. He was sitting quietly on the cliff rocks by the edge of the forest with only the smoke of the solstice fire in sight. In front of him was the sea—large and looming in its presence. The deep blue had always called to him, lapping up bits of sand as if it were trying to climb up and meet him in the forest. He swung his legs experimentally. His leather shoe flew off of him, floating in the air for a second before tumbling down into the sand.

This land was his. He could feel it as his outstretched arm shook in front of him, feeling the soft breeze the sea brought with each indignant push. He felt colder here, away from the fire, and his pale skin was beginning to tinge rose. He looked more and more like Johanna as he sat alone, the same emptied dark eyes staring his Father in the face.

Maybe if he was braver he’d confront the Father, even if it meant he would face the same fate as those before him. But as he watched the sea’s fury and anger and love he knew he had done the right thing.

Joshua stood up, letting his feet embrace the soft padding of the earth. He closed his eyes and let the cool, salty air fill his lungs and clean his soul with each breath. His body felt lighter and full of life and living and a liberty he never thought he would taste. He let his arms extend out, the breeze passing through his cold finger tips.

A large gust of wind pushed him gently from behind until he was flying—flying from oblivion, flying from his destiny and falling into goodness and truth.


This is another excerpt from Agneau (the first can be found here). Ideally, this is where I see Joshua’s story ending. I tried to format it so that the overall plot of the entire story is parallel to this short version of it. For the sake of the short story format A LOT of details about his life, the cult, his past, and such were left out. But one day they won’t be…

Daydreams and Writing

Hey there, lovelies! It’s good to see you again. I’m going to be posting a series of works from a Creative Writing class I took last semester. I think the course gave me the opportunity to really work my craft and stretch. At the end of each work I’ll talk a little bit about the inspiration, process, and subtle meanings in the work. I hope you enjoy this one!

If I am smart, I catch my daydream before it floats away into the abyss. I station myself at my computer, chaining myself to the keys as I begin to think about typing. I sit and think about it so meticulously, resetting the font and fixing my margins before I settle into my desk chair to propose moving away from my desk in a whirlwind. I spin round and round in my swirling swivel chair until I hit the edge of my bed, picking up my laptop and propping up my feet to type. I taste test a few words and phrases, frantically spitting them back out, the stark blue-white  of my blank page beginning to burn my retinas. Finally I discover my fault.

I need a theme for this piece. How could I possibly imagine writing another word of this dribble if I can’t even imagine when its published and inevitably adapted into a film? I push my blank page to the side and open a slew of photo editors, not-so-quickly whipping up the future book cover of my New York Times bestseller. I put it on the blank page proudly until another blank page follows suit.

I begin to look around desperately for a sign, listening closely to the faintest whisper of an idea. My eyes land on a blank space, a pair of ethereal eyes materializing before me. They’re followed by a faintly shaped mouth and mess of hair, a full ambiguous body holding it all together. I narrow my eyes to look more closely at them, their familiarity unnerving. I move to name them and stop. This person can’t be named in such a haphazard manner.

I turn back to my laptop and pull up a deep catalog of names , the meanings and origins attached. My eyes sway between the list and their face, more details forming with each name rejected. Finally I land on something good enough, landing in the grey space between generic and difficult to pronounce. I test the name on my tongue, the slew of letters rolling smoothly off my tongue like warm butter. The figure is delighted by the sound, their ambiguous form making a joyful gesture.

I return to my blank page, the bane of my existence. My newly named figure walks over to me to bear witness to the lack of commotion. We both stare at the glowing screen for a while in deep conceptual thought. The figure of ambiguity leans down, bringing a nearly silent whisper to my ear. My fingers stretch around the keys as quickly as I can, trying to catch every word they have to say. The words are jumbled and messy at first, but with each new letter we begin to find their voice and untangle the kinks in their story. Soon I have a shiny picture of their face on my nightstand, their smile as clear as day.


My struggle with the prompt (write about writing) was that my personal relationship to writing has never had anything to do with writing. It’s always been about the interesting people I come across or the characters swimming around in my subconscious. I tried to portray that relationship’s importance the best I could. Writing for me is also tied to my intensive daydreaming as a way to capture those ideas onto paper.

Where Youth and Laughter Go

Hey there, lovelies! It’s good to see you again. I’m going to be posting a series of works from a Creative Writing class I took last semester. I think the course gave me the opportunity to really work my craft and stretch. At the end of each work I’ll talk a little bit about the inspiration, process, and subtle meanings in the work. I hope you enjoy this one!

Flawed Crystals:

I keep my eyelids sealed tight,

the tightness of muscles slowly succumbing

to the weight of life and death in one vessel.

I drag him–

or what he once was–

behind the neighborhood of wooden framed houses

and futuristic dreams

I must drag him

with crimson fingertips

and a blank mind.  I accept my cowardice

as we walk through the darkness. The dirt

gives way to its fallen king

(or maybe its homecoming prince)

the indention the sizing of sorrow.

The hush of fallen leaves,

sound like bittersweet sizzle

beneath my feet as I let my

tears fall to quench

their insatiable thirst

for more blood.

 

My darling malediction

rests in his linen casket,

the bend of skeletal elbows and knees

bubbling across the surface.

I must rest here,

sit on the beheaded stump,

to accompany the weight and ache

of my sins.

I rest my eyes,

letting the veiny lids close

to see his decaying bronze eyes. The pupils

follow my dreamlike gaze like ducklings

follow their mother across still waters

(maybe still water is where you belonged),

and shadow hands left their familiar prints

across the canvas of my neck. I’m awake

before the air leaves my lungs.

My fingers grasp the tail

of the rotting and dark cocoon

as I begin to walk slowly

with ache in my shoulders

and injury slowly corrupting

the shallow chambers

of my faded heart.

 

The Loop:

The clearing rips away the chance of escape

and I am a lonely figure crossing it.

Your voice slithers into my ears,

every whisper like a piercing wail

for mercy or vengeance

(or worse merciful vengeance

from the realms of the afterlife.)

While you rest across the collection of crossed branches

I look for my breath

faint pants of nervousness

too small to elicit

the most infant flame.

 

I am the Libra,

balancing your life between heaven and hell:

hell for the eternal flame you gave me,

and heaven as the birthright

to my fallen angel

(although the last of your kind

crawled into the depths of hell.)

I am the slave turned master–

you found comfort in the recklessness

of your ancestors

while I searched for my reparation

in the wake of your apathy.

We fluctuate our power

although I always had to rip mine back

with carnivorous fangs.

 

I grasp this bag’s zipper

to look at your pale face once more,

ebony hands grasping

your chilled cheek

(the flames will warm you beautifully dear

just you wait and see.)

Trembling fingers grasp the smallest matchbox,

smoothing the side grooves with my thumb

and then a matchstick

to cast away the nights unbreaking darkness

and to drop in my beauty’s resting bed of branches.

 

Glimmer of God:

In the dark of night

flames of bonfire burns brilliantly,

consuming the ailment of what once was.

Two shadows creep behind in its wake,

the scales of insanity and humanity in each of their hands.

The first shows its face to speak.

 

In the fight for bravery

we lose our ability to grasp at the tendrils

of what made us so courageous at all.

The dreams of tomorrow never meant anything,

not to you whose mind had been poisoned

by those who remain imprisoned

by the idea of destiny manifested.

 

This bondage was not yours to inherit

and your malediction

was never your benefactor.

You have the body of a woman

and the mind of a forgotten generation

left behind by their ability

to see the world as it always has been

all too quickly–

 

The second shadow consumed the first,

the dark tangle of arms and legs

twisting into one entity. The scales

teetered side to side in their indecision.

The second crawls towards the light to speak.

 

Your lionheart will tear away at you

faster than any flame

could singe your brow.

It will become easy to run from the horizon

while your eyes beg nothing more

than to watch the burning hues.

But be warned–

 

With safety bears the beginnings

of an apathy,

tearing away the walls of your stomach

until it rips the inner chambers of your heart.

His jaded eyes will become your own

in an attempt to become a memory

that you will become successful

to forget.

 

The shadow receded back into the dark,

the scales dropping into the fire

with flames of the same color

taking flight into the air.

 

In the Dark:

As the fire dies out and decomposes into ash, hellfire consumes his body, slowly reviving his ashen limbs. He will walk for days before reaching the rose colored apartment door, bruised knuckles knocking against wood. Its hinges will whine desperately as it opens and reveals a pair of doe eyes he had once looked into fondly. Her eyes will shift around under the gaze of her predator and the slow ache of their oscillation. He’ll walk in and shower away her betrayal before climbing into bed, wrapping skeletal limbs around her corpse before his mind is consumed by the dark.


This piece is ideally the first draft of a bigger project. I’ve been very attached to the album Blonde lately, especially since listening to it sends me into an intense daydream sequence I’d like to bring to life at some point. Writing in narrative verse was inspired by the book Blood Water Paint and the title comes from Siegfried, a veteran turned poet. This one of my favorite pieces I’ve done and I’m excited to see what else I can do with it.

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I don’t really have an audience in mind when I sit down to write something. Everything I write is entirely selfish, but I think that’s what makes it work. Tonight however, I’m writing with a very specific person in mind. I’ve been thinking about them and people like them a lot lately, and I don’t know if it gives me strength or hope or if it makes me want to die more than I already do.

I’m filled with a lot of compressed rage. It comes over me in sickening waves until I force myself to laugh or smile again. I oscillate between desperately wanting to be alone and being crippling lonely. I want to do everything right now and also never have to do anything ever again. I want to cry but I sit for hours thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking while my eyes remain dry. It’s an exhausting state of living, and I’m not sure how anyone ever does it.

I forget that my emotions aren’t all isolated incidents, but it’s easy to do so for someone who doesn’t address them outwardly all that often. That’s another reason why I write at all—it’s an indirect way for me to yell at the universe that I’M NOT DOING REALLY GREAT RIGHT NOW and that IF I COULD CATCH A BREAK, THAT BE REALLY GOOD. Please and thank you.

I like thinking of the other side when my life will be working out exactly as I want it to, but that idealism is utter bullshit. I’m never going to be happy if happiness means having my life together. I’m trying to force myself to be happy in my mess, but right now I’m more upset by my inability to make changes for myself.

I’m chipping away at my apathy, bit by bit. I worry sometimes that my lack of steam is going to bite me in the ass any minute, but I always cut it close enough. I worry that my inability to put my blinders on is going to drive me insane with jealousy towards my peers because anything has to be better than my life, right?

I’m growing sick of living in an echo-chamber of my own voice. I’m pretty sick of everyone else too, to be honest with you.

To put it simply, John Mulaney once said, “Do My Friends Hate Me or Do I Just Need to Go to Sleep?” While the sentiment is relatable and appealing, I’d say that at the moment I’m more “Do I Hate My Friends or Do I Just Need to Take a Nap?”

That’s another thing, my dear. I’m tired all the fucking time now. Not just physically. We’ve got the trifecta: Emotional, Mental, and Physical! I could sleep for 24 hours and I’d still be falling over in exhaustion. Most of my energy has gone into over analyzing how I’m handling my life and being paranoid about whether or not I actually trust or love anyone.

I feel like slowly going insane.

Friend, I’m becoming delirious and sad (nothing new or special) so I’ll have to stop writing. I wrote a poem about eating last night. It was a Saturday. It made me so sad that I went and sat in a car parking lot for two hours.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m doing wonderfully and everything is exactly how I’d like it to be. I’m genuinely considering flipping my body clock to knockout at 6pm and wake up at 2. I’m truly in my prime.