Monday, May 16, 2011

Something I thought was a screenplay but isn't.....I think

these titles suck-I apologize.
Not that the text actually shows up anyways-at least on my computer.

Iris never brushed her hair and so it formed a large mat at the back of her head. Loose, stringy strands hung in front of her face, but the rest had managed to tangle itself in the back. It drove her mom crazy because it only added to the feral child look she seemed to be going for. Jeans that hadn't been washed as long as Ann was doing laundry and an XXL t-shirt with the sleeves cut off completed the look. Ann picked up Iris' mat of hair and let it fall.
"You look like I picked you up off of highway 41."
"You do. Grab the boxes and meet me inside."
They were on the other side of town, the older side, the side that used to be the wealthy side. Now the houses were being bought up by slum lords and the grand old Victorians were falling apart. Ann's mother had died the week before, a gruesome death. She had spared Iris the details because of her attachment to her Marjorie.
Marjorie had been stabbed several times in the breast before receiving a gun shot to the head. The police had caught the two junkies with her television and her car near the lake. They were still maintaining their innocence.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another part of North

When my sister had taken to sleeping with men during the war, I had taken to smoking cigarettes and getting my pilot's license. It would be too much of a cliche to say that the freedom you have in the sky is unlike anything else, but it's true. I suppose my sister, Flora, would say that she received the same freedom by sleeping around. I don't think it was the same kind of freedom.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Edy was in a foul mood today because she had smoked the last of her lavender cigarettes. Whether they are made from lavender or it is just the color of the wrapper, I do not know. I do know that she had been saying awfully rude things to Greg and Dora when they crossed her path.
By the time she had written a letter to her friend, Lady Marianne in Paris, for more boxes her mood was worse than ever. She kicked the dog and tripped the gardener while he was planting the roses she had requested. She spat on the windows after Frida had washed them. Edy gets very silly when she can’t have her lavender cigarettes.

Dora on the other hand is very quiet. I hardly ever hear Dora, but she hardly ever hears me. Greg is the only one in the family who knows when I’m present. He gets all fidgety and takes out the rosary from his breast pocket. Ever since he went to Rome he came back quite changed. He never noticed me before. But I must admit, having Greg notice me, even if it produces a panicked reaction, is quite nice. One of these days I’m going to get quite bored and make Greg fidget all the time, especially at dinner, he’s getting too fat!

Marshmoore was not called so because it had been a marsh once. Nor is it surrounded by a moor. Marshmoore is called so because it once belonged to a man called Marsh, who in turn sold it to the young Roger Gascoyne, who never changed the name. Mr. Gascoyne did not pay much attention to the name, mostly because he was very self involved. He didn’t pay much attention to any names. It wasn’t until his son, Gregory, was six months that he noticed the boy wasn’t named after him. Gascoyne flew into a terrible rage and began knocking over everything in sight. Edy, his second eldest, inherited his temper and his nose. Gascoyne had a pointed nose, which was very unflattering on a man, but on Edy it worked just fine. Dora received his widows peak, which made her rotund face look like a heart. Mrs. Lydia Gascoyne, his gaunt wife, was also pointed. Her cheekbones looked much too chiseled and her elbows formed sharp points. How she carried her children was a mystery, as she locked herself in the attic the moment she began to show. Only Dorcas, the ladies maid, was allowed up to see her. Which is a testament to how much Mrs. Gascoyne didn’t want people to see her condition, because no one really liked Dorcas.

“I want to go to Paris, Mother.” Edy sniffed. They were in the drawing room looking out on the cold rainy afternoon that had suddenly come upon them.
“You went last year Edy. We can’t afford to send you again.”
“I’d like to go to Paris.” Dora chimed in.
“To do what?” Edy said dryly.
“Go shopping, see shows. I think Paris would be awfully romantic.”
“No couturier makes clothes large enough to fit you, you never learned French so you wouldn’t understand the shows, and no young man is going to fall in love, not for your looks anyways. Paris would be wasted on you.”
“Edy. Don‘t say that.” Mrs. Gascoyne said it because she had to. Not because she disagreed with Edy. She was perfectly right. Dora did not receive the looks that Edy did, nor did she possess the mind for languages.
“I think I would do quite well in Paris. Or anywhere for that matter. I’m not as stuck up as you are.”
“Oh shut up Dora, you’re giving me a headache. I wish those cigarettes would get here faster. These headaches are agonizing.”
“Dora, could you please hand me the letter opener?” Mrs. Gascoyne had taken to blocking most of what her children said out of her mind since they were old enough to talk. Her eyes perked up for the mean, nasty, rude things they said to each other, but other than that she was oblivious to what Edy was moaning on about.
“If I were in Paris I’d get myself a black dress and go to the ballet.”
“You don’t need to know French to understand a ballet.” Dora sneered.
“But you do need intelligence and culture to appreciate it.” Edy sighed back. She was stretched out on the fainting couch, one hand draped dramatically across her forehead.
“Mama, you said we could go anywhere when we turned eighteen.”
“Yes Dora.” Mrs. Gascoyne had no idea what she was talking about.
“I don’t think I would like to go to Paris when I turn eighteen, Mama.”
“Oh call her Mother for Christ’s sake, Dora! ‘Mama’ is so common.”
At this point Greg had joined them with his bible.
“Please watch your language Edy. The Lord,”
“Oh shut up Gregory! No one needs to hear your incessant biblical babbling.”
They proceeded to fight, because, that’s what brothers and sisters do. Dora, however, left the room. Her mother didn’t really want to hear what she had to say and Edy would make fun of her anyways.
The fact was the Dora wanted to go to Australia for her eighteenth birthday. And she busied herself that afternoon dreaming about it.

Marshmoore wasn’t an expansive estate. It had gardens and pathways to walk through. There was a servants house at the edge of the gardens, hidden by a large gate. Dorcas lived there, with Frida, Wallace, and the gardener. They were a small staff. The Gascoynes couldn’t afford to have more than five. They fired Edward two years ago and never bothered to replace him. It was a comfortable arrangement, except for when Edy would be in one of her moods.

I watched Dora go through father’s atlas this afternoon. She was looking for Australia. From what I could tell, I don’t think she’ll get on well there. It looks to be wasteland and full of heathens. Dora is far too comfortable in her ways here to live there. She’s so fond of eating, I can hardly imagine what they eat there, nothing to Dora’s liking I don’t think.
I don’t think she’ll go anyways. Father would never pay for a trip that far away. It is sad that Dora never gets what she wants and Edy always does.

“Have you seen my Bible, mother?”
“No I haven’t dear. Have you tried looking in the study?”
“It is not there!”
Greg Gascoyne had taken his eighteenth year trip to Rome and come back completely changed. He was once a carefree, joyful boy. He loved the outdoors and running through the gardens. Once he came back from Rome, however, he had grown a beard and taken to carrying around a small leather bound Bible that the Pope had blessed.
“You look like a hermit.” Edy said in disgust.
“I think he looks very dignified.” Dora smiled.
“For a caveman.”

Something I Wrote A Long Time Ago

I believe I am two people. One lives in my head and swirls around my mind. The other lives outside my skin, creating a film around me, controlling my appearance. That’s the me people see, that’s Ruth. I believe that the me in my mind wants to get out, her name is Elizabeth because I saw Elizabeth Taylor on a talk show once and I thought she was so pretty and intelligent!. She wants live in my skin and in my heart and in my feet. She wants to sweep the filmy encasing of me aside and rescue me. She wants to take over. She wants to encompass me.
When I tell people of my beliefs, I’m pushed aside like a crazy person. That’s why I stay inside. My husband doesn’t want to touch me. He thinks I am not fit to see anyone. He’s taken his ring off, I still have mine on.
“You weren’t always like this Ruth. You were fun once.”
I was fun, but it hurt when I was fun. It hurt that I was staying up all night with him. It hurt that I wanted to just have a glass of milk instead of the beer he was pouring down my throat. I laughed because I had nothing else to say and I was uncomfortable with his hand on my knee.
Elizabeth kept pushing on the walls of my brain, begging to get out. Begging to stand up for me, she pushed and pushed until I got a headache, which I blamed on the beer. Elizabeth would try to sneak down to my mouth, so that I could stand up for myself. So that I could tell Leroy to stop it and that I wasn’t having fun. I would keep my mouth closed tight and then she would get angry, make me sick, and I would throw up in Leroy’s lap.
When I was little I was like this, only I was accepted for who I was because I was alone most of the time. By choice mostly. I didn’t like the kids on the block. I didn’t like to be around them for long periods of time, sleepovers, playdates. I would get restless and make up an excuse to go home. I loved my room and my yard where I had privacy. It was harder when you’re older because if you have two fighting personalities, they tend to distract you. When I was around other girls I could feel a tingle from the Ruth film and Elizabeth screaming to get out. I could feel her push up against my skin and I would feel as if I would explode. Then I would be in my room and Elizabeth would go over every embarrassing stupid thing Ruth said and I would cry.
“I don’t understand what you’re saying. It hurts me that you’re like this Ruth.” My mother. I love my mother. I love her so much, I feel guilty about everything I do. I feel guilty about trying to silence myself. I feel guilty about drinking and doing whatever Leroy says. I feel guilty about listening to Elizabeth. When I told my mother that I didn’t want to be in my life anymore, she got angry. Elizabeth was shoving words in my mouth and everything came out wrong. She hurts me sometimes, although she wants to save me. That’s why I’m here, rolling into the operating room where they’ll give that procedure. I hope I’ll have at least one of me left.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Don't Want

I don't want it to be late
To have all the lights turned off and be alone
In my room all I have is myself
And I don't want that

I don't want to feel better because I wrote awful things in my diary
I don't want to be that girl that has a diary
Or cries all the time
And fucks up her life
Because she's too preoccupied with being lonely

I don't want to be lonely anymore

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

something I just wrote

The woman, stiff and unnatural, was pressed up against the window. As if someone was holding her to the pane, her body was tense as it hit the glass. Her mouth, which was completely pressed up against the glass, opened in a hollow scream that we couldn’t hear, but feel in the marsh behind us. We watched, maybe not in horror, but certainly frozen in place. The woman slammed her fist against the window and her scream vibrated through the pane of glass and into Teresa’s bones. She arched her back and yelled once more, fighting against the unknown force holding her there.
We were very young. Teresa was seven and I was only nine. We stood at the edge of the garden, just before the expansive wetlands that seemed to grow more and more everyday started. There was a bench that the gardener carved out of an old which had been struck by lightening. I had decided to stand on it first and then Teresa climbed on my shoulders to get a better look.
“Look, there she is!”
Teresa pointed in excitement which caused me to slightly loose my balance. But when I caught a glimpse of the woman’s eyes, my balance returned. Teresa set her hands atop my head.
“Archie,” she whispered.
“I wonder why she screams.”
“Ghosts scream because they are meant to walk the earth for eternity.”
“But,” she stopped to think.
The woman had just given her last bone vibrating scream and left the window.
“But she must have reason why she comes to that window, at this time.”
It was dark. Our mother was in the cottage, angry that we hadn’t come straight back from visiting Peter, the gardener. Teresa hopped down from my shoulders and we walked back home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Revised Excerpt from "North"


I walked into my mom’s room and I remember she looked like she was dead. Her skin was so pale, it matched the bed sheets. Most of her hair was gone and her eyelids looked very heavy. She knew I was in the room, I could tell because she smiled.
“Who’s the Father?”
At first, I didn’t know what she meant and then Andrew squirmed a little in my arms and I remembered. Joe and I had been married for ten years, Andrew was our first child.
“Joe, Mom.”
“Oh,” she sighed “I always liked him.”
She closed her eyes. A few hours later, with all of us by her side, she passed away.

James, Bernie, and Dad sat in the dining room. We had been up all night. Joe was at home with Andrew getting some sleep before funeral arrangements and half hearted telephone calls would take over our lives. I couldn’t sit in the dining room and drink coffee. Their conversation kept going in circles.
“Well, she led a good life.”
“Yep. Yep. A good good life.”
“Yep. A full life.”
“Very full.”
I slipped away to the basement where Dad kept the safe. I swept away the dead pill bugs from the damp concrete and began turning the dial. My mom had told me the combination when she was in treatment in California. I take care of things in my family, maybe James will pull some of the weight, Bernie would never, but I take care things.
The safe had many envelopes all labeled in my mom’s slanted pointy handwriting. I pulled them out and started sorting them in my lap. I found the will, certain tax forms, and the lawyer’s card. The last envelope, however, was different. At the top left corner, almost going off the envelope, was my mom’s handwriting.
“Adoption Papers”
Somehow I wasn’t completely surprised. James and I thought for sure that he was adopted. We used to scour the house in search of his adoption papers. Now in his thirties, James looked like an immigrant, but it wasn’t a Polish one. But when the certificate slid out of the envelope and into my lap, James’ Carl Dudek was not on it.
“Bernard Joseph Dudek.”
Bernie. Bernie? Bernie was ten years older than me. I can’t say I knew him particularly well. He already had a wife and kids by the time I was ten. I had accepted that the differences I saw between us were because of our ages. Now that I had my own husband and child, I could see that the differences were more than our ages.