#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

The hot chocolate that tasted like dirt wasn’t enough to steam away the winter chill that blew through the holes in our tights & openings in our scarves as we went a-caroling among the leaves so green.

We took the presence of a Nativity scene as an indication of a safe house, a friendly home, and we caroled our way through Christendom.

The glow from the tree gave the illusion of a gloriole, and it was to Mother’s light that the missionary angels were drawn.

Machines had kept my father alive, & I wondered if he was in purgatory, between 2 worlds, knowing if that machine malfunctioned, it would be the end of both his lives.

David’s allegiance to my mother hurt more than her deception; he was a beautiful accessory to her crime.

The Church admonished its members to be honest in all their dealings with their fellow man, & so I wondered about Abraham, lying about Sarah.

I had once believed in total autonomy—until I’d read the story of Pharaoh & how God had hardened His heart to bring about His purpose.

Removing Patrick from life support was in Mother’s best convenience, just as choosing not to abort Caitlin had been against hers.  Perhaps she’d seen forsaking her life in the servitude of motherhood as penance for destroying Patrick’s.

 

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#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

The evangelicals believed Jesus changed hearts even as the Mormons believed the threat of being separated from their families forever changed behavior.

To be drenched in water that would imbue one with fire & the Holy Ghost, seemed the equivalent of firewater, & would produce the same result.

A relationship with Jesus was the foundation of Deep South Protestant Christianity; in Mormonism, it was the relationships with our families.

My gaze fell on a shiny silver ball, & it was as if I were gazing into a crystal ball—a seer stone—except I was seeing into the past.

What he was telling me now only confirmed what Caitlin had always felt & I had never wanted to believe.

My life had been a series of context clues, teeming with subtext, warning me, but I’d wanted to believe it was for love, not blood, that he stayed.

To tamper with the sacred powers of procreation outside of the marriage covenant was considered second only to murder, even if it ended in a birth.

One of the prophets had proclaimed any man could marry any woman & make the marriage work, excluding the passion St. Paul spoke of.

She wanted me to love any one of them as if they were interchangeable, & not fearfully & wonderfully made.

The idea of giving up total autonomy for eternal security seemed a small price to pay, but I could never serve a mission, for I was, unbeknownst to me, fulfilling another’s.

The Year in Review: 2018

auldlangsyne

Twenty-eighteen was the best of years and the worst of years.

This year was my first Christmas without my mom.  I think of all the conversations that we never had about all the good things that were happening in my life, all the stories of mine she had yet to read, all the books and meals and time with Hannah we had yet to share, all the Christmas shows we had yet to binge-watch together (like the “Bob’s Jelly Doughnut” episode of “Wings”)…

But I know she was there–I just wish I could see her being there.

*

This December, I graduated with my A.A. and my A.S. and got a full-time job I enjoy at the college just before graduation–a job where my creativity is not only appreciated but encouraged.

The A.A. was what I wanted, the A.S., what I felt I was supposed to want.  I will go for my Bachelor’s in Business (with a concentration in Graphic Design) in the fall at the college that has been like my second home (as well as my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at The University of West Florida when I can swing it).

It was my work on The Corsair designing recruitment ads, as well as making Shutterfly books for Christmas gifts, that led me to seeking a degree in the graphic arts.  (Besides, I can also use whatever I learn to make this blog better.)

My “passion for the college” was what got me the job (my supervisor actually said I had this thing called a “skill set”–something no one has ever said to me before), and it did not go unnoticed by me when I went in for my first day of work and saw a few or more copies of the newspaper scattered, opened to my farewell letter: http://ecorsair.com/letter-from-the-editor-in-chief/

How easy it is to have passion for something that has given me so much:  friendships, scholarships, a quality education, and numerous opportunities to become a better writer (and not always with a grade attached).

I put everything I have into everything I do.  There’s a quote by Mark Cuban I came across once–“Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you”–and maybe that’s why I am the way I am.  I almost lost nearly everything or had it taken away, and the thought of that happening again terrifies me so much, I am hyper-vigilant about being the absolute best at everything I do (except for maybe astronomy or statistics), but it’s also more than that:  I care.

I don’t half-ass things (though the amateur lexicographer in me wonders if the opposite would be “whole-ass”?).  I don’t even read my own work once it’s been published–I just sort of glance over it, afraid I will find a mistake, only to obsess over it. 

*

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I accepted an invitation to a church where we could have a fresh start. There was a woman pastor–something that used to seem strange to me, but not anymore.

That is not a change in values but in perception.

*

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I prefer to look back and note my accomplishments); however, I’m always making To-Do Lists (as well as goal lists, be they weekly, monthly, or lifetime) because if I didn’t, I’d simply forget it all.

Because this year has been crazy, and I’ve been spending so much time finishing college while applying for jobs and trying to make a living, I haven’t been taking care of myself or spending as much time with my family as I should.  I’ve still done a lot of writing, but more for this blog and the newspaper than submitting to magazines.

It’s time to read more, sleep more, and even play more (like with dumbbells, if not barbells).  Managing my stress is going to be a large part of my New Year’s health goals, for once I do that, my mind will be clearer to focus on other areas of wellness.  

I drained my batteries dry this past year but was able to sally forth because the light at the end of the tunnel just kept getting bigger.  I feel like I have passed through to the other side, only to find that there are more tunnels.  My community college experience opened those doors; that’s why I never saw them before.

But for now, I am content to just stand in the light.

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#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

Mother was a woman with a past,
David, a future,
& all this time,
they had been trying to meet in the middle-
in the here & now.

Biblical history repeated itself in my biological parent,
in my spiritual parent,
for what Leah had done to Jacob in the Old Testament,
David had done to Mother
in this new dispensation.

My minor years were spent being fed lies,
my major years, sifting out the truth,
which was nothing more than fool’s gold.

My father had wanted to die,
even as my mother had wanted him to die.
There had been no one left to fight for him,
only his daughters to love him.

I wanted my mother.
With all her sins,
I wanted her.
Though years would die
before I would learn
that she had not,
wanted me.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

There was Brigham Young University, singles conferences, Institute—so many ways to meet our eternal companion, which was about creating more tithe payers for future generations.

My life had been built in Green Haven; Mother wanted me to rebuild it in the Mormon Mecca. My life would be deconstructed in the Deep South, where it would rise again through Reconstruction.

Donna was a MINO (Mormon-in-name-only) because she was into NCMOs (non-committal making-out) sessions.

For him, I’d been willing to give up my family, but he hadn’t been willing to give up his Church. For him, I’d have given up everything, so he would have had to give up nothing.

A man could have a career & family, but a woman had to put the 2 together, so that they became her one & only purpose, for there was no purpose for a woman outside her family.

Donna had said make-up & pantyhose was like a Mormon burka, for she saw all that separated her from being a man as a form of oppression.

My awareness of men had been awakened in Elder Roberts the boy, but my sexuality would be awakened in David the man.

Mormon wives came in 2 forms: corporate & hausfrau. Though they looked different, in their hearts, they were 2 sides of the same feminine coin.

Life as a Mormon wife would be full of Sunday services, domesticity, & children. It was their ideal, but I wasn’t sure it was mine.

I was a romantic idealist who found the Mormon ideals neither romantic or ideal, except for those who’d been raised to believe them so.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

I felt the Church had not been made for me,
but I had been made for it,
for I was virgin-pure.
I had saved myself,
rather than get saved.

I’d been a provincial girl,
begat by a tortured piano player,
groomed by a tortured soul
who loved the sound of the
piano player’s voice.

Marriage, in the Church,
was an inevitability,
children, a possibility.
My purity was prized,
my fertility,
in a way,
even more so,
for I could always
“go & sin no more,”
but if I was barren,
such a thing was up to God
or science to sort out.

Marital, procreative sex was considered beautiful;
sexual sin, second only to murder,
& I wondered if, in God’s courtroom,
adultery would be akin to manslaughter.

David had provided shelter to his lover
& her children,
shelter to those who had raised him,
though it would be I
who would shelter 2 of his children,
prematurely evicting one of them.

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #30. Theme: One More (Blank)

Betty Slide 13

One More Memory

If I had just one more memory–
one more moment stretched into years
(with light years between the seconds)–
I would have so much to show-and-tell you.
Does that not sound like a little child?

Your presence
hovers
in the absence
of space and time
as you observe Hannah’s progression,
listen to my stories,
and see this, your daughter,
in the collegiate green cap and gown,
having remade herself into the ungraven image
she’s always wanted to be.

We share memories of you at the table;
I like to imagine you hear us
every time we speak your name.
We have no complaints.

Dad still carries your driver’s license in his wallet;
there are never enough pictures.
We say, “That’s a Mom joke!”
(when the joke is truly terrible)
or “Remember when Mom ..?”

Dad still calls you Mom;
I call you Grandma.
“Say ‘Good-night, Grandma,’”
I tell my daughter,
“blow her a kiss to heaven.”
It’s a kiss strong enough
to shatter
plaster
ceilings,
to defy
gravity.
I catch the one you send back
and plant it on her cheek.

We call you what our children call you.
You wanted Dad to call you Betty more.
Your mother always called you Betty Ann.
You liked the names Carolyn and Elise.
You dug up the roots of the family tree
to give me mine.

She is…she was…
it is just “Grandpa’s house” now,
but the contact still reads “Mom and Dad’s”
in my phone.
I will never change it.

We remember your goulash–
the only thing you knew how to make–
even though we weren’t even Hungarian.
Still aren’t.

We just are.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-30