A Killer in Sheeps Clothing – (Writing 101)

Writing 101 – Day Four

I’m not that old. I don’t think i am. No, no, I’m not… Well…by my standards I’m not. (To my grand-niece: this is not old!!!). But I have observed many things in life. I have seen the world transition in my 40 years. Sometimes toward great progress and sometimes it seems as if it’s gone into nostalgic remission.

Everyone looks to move forward, and don’t get me wrong,  I’m right in line always ready to jump on to that wagon. Ask anyone about the dozen cell phones I’ve had in my years. But at the same time, this so-called progress has crept in like a killer and taken away from me, from us, from our children and their children something so beautiful that we didn’t know it until it was too late.Yes, yes, I know, sounds a bit dramatic. But I promise you this will tear at your heart-strings.

Recently, my oldest son inquired about our dating years when we were younger. Not when we dated each other, but our young teenage loves. Don’t even get us started on stuff like that. We reminisced about what it was like for each of us. Similarities are abundant in these type of stories. Those first looks. That feeling when you first hold hands. Going to a fast food joint together because that’s all you can afford. Your friends making sure they pile into the back seat of the car around you just so you’re both squeezed in tightly together. And one of our all time favorites was how we expressed our feelings for each other through the words of our favorite songs…..

THE MIXED TAPE (a.k.a The Mix Tape)

And just like Video Killed the Radio Star, technology murdered the mixed tape. More like slaughtered and dismembered. Almost impossible to gain back all the components to resurrect. Gone forever are the days when a young man would slave over his boom box waiting for the radio to play all the songs he wanted to record for his beautiful young love. Waiting on the weekend for American Top 40 with Casey Kasem to come on so he could dedicate that entire morning to this laborious job. When he’d steady his finger on the PLAY button for just the right moment to push it downward then sit out the entire song to stop the recording before the DJ started to speak again. And it took a skillful recorder to capture only the songs and avoid all those radio commentaries and commercials. The same procedure for every song he had in mind and until there was no more room on the tape. It was an art.

I remember getting my first mixed tape. It was a true proclamation of his love. He was willing to give up that time with his friends or video games just to create something that expressed his feelings for me. He took his time, he handpicked specific songs, he isolated himself from the world, locked in his room, just to impress me. Then, with additional effort and in his best penmanship wrote out all the tracks on to the card provided in the cassette case. All to impress me. And because I too had gone through that same grueling task to create mixed tapes of my own, I knew precisely how important I was to him when he gently put that tape in to my hands without a word said aloud. He didn’t have to say anything. That little box said it all. Back home, light-headed I’d listen and deciphered his message through those songs.

My poor son will drag and drop for a stupid, boring, playlist. How do you hand a girl a playlist? I hate lists! I mourn for his loss!

— Elke

 

 

A View Unlike Any Other – (Writing 101)

Writing 101 – Day Two

It’s a view unlike any other. A non-traditional scene. But quite the scene nonetheless. A special place not just for the body, but one for the mind and soul. Others escape to the sounds of the ocean or to the soft touch of the sand on their toes. Many find comfort with the silence atop a mountainside. Not to be missed is the beauty found when faced with a twinkling universe.

All worthy, all equally magnificent.

My eyes are set on a place that encapsulates all this and much more. I would be doing it a dishonor if I didn’t start from its simplistic details. For all the parts of it is what makes it whole. My furthest memory takes me to my childhood at a time when I couldn’t quite appreciate the beauty of it. It surrounded me, all of its parts only contributed to a sensation of vertigo. I couldn’t focus on any one detail of its panorama. It felt burdensome, obligated, more like a foe. Oh, what a stupid kid I was. My eyes so  blurred to all the colors and opportunities. Missed adventures. All I needed to do was open my mind and walk through. I needed to extend my arm, reach out and relinquish my time to it.

Fast forward…you may deem me insane or even worse, mundane. I’ll accept either gladly just for a visit there. The planning and anticipation of going makes me giddy like a young couple on their first date. I must be certifiably insane. But once I step through those doors, I’m transported. It’s a reprieve from the scorching heat outside or a destination of brightness when it’s dark. So it doesn’t matter what time my story is set at.

I scan from left to right and back again. I smile. I go to the left. I always start at the left. Here i am not rushed, the city sounds disappear, only my thoughts accompany me to the left. The soft carpet beneath my feet. There’s an irrefutable smell in the air. Go ahead, commit me, but I promise you  there’s a smell. My eyes land briefly on to each cluster that carry similar traits. Planted and displayed for contemplation. I take my time to study each specimen, to learn either intensely or briefly. Some for educating the mind and others for mere entertainment. I spend time in this wide open expanse but feel the rest of the room tugging at me. I can’t limit myself.

There are rows and rows of towering oak-like walls housing these beauties. I allow my fingers to flirtatiously skim them all as I weave out of one aisle and in to another. Each aisle providing me with the chance to  visit the Great Wall of China. Or stand with a soldier on the battlefield during WWII. I hear the sweet but strong voice of a young girl through her diary as she hides out with her family. I cry with all the twins that experienced atrocities at the hands of an enemy doctor. This place allows me to step through a wardrobe door and into a secret place frozen in eternal winter needing a warrior to help break it free. And then whisks me away to the middle of the ocean for 227 days on a lifeboat with a tiger as my companion. Where else can I have a grand tour of Mars, and at the same time listen to a well renowned scientist take us through the cosmic journey of life itself. I cheer on the God of Thunder as he protects all of humanity as I also live vicariously through teenage love doomed to fail.

I live with Hobbits and Princesses, dance with Geishas and fly with fairies and dragons. Here I see skyscrapers, baron deserts and the deep dark abyss.

I escape to this room not only because it is a beautiful view itself, but because this bookstore and all its adventures and insight just opened my view to the world and everything beyond it. Now THAT’S magnificent.

— Elke

 

Time Is Against Us – (Writing 101)

Writing 101 – Day One

It’s a scary moment for most of us. It’s a haunting feeling. Time is against us. We think we’re okay with it, but it’s just a lie we tell ourselves in order to survive. I look down as my fingers tap against the keyboard, I stare at them as they translate what’s in my mind on to the screen. They are swift, but I’m sad when I look at them. They are not the same. The arms that extend from them either, and let’s not mention the rest of the connecting structure. Time is against us. Our eyes blur to the reality of it. We get so jaded with youth, that we get side swiped when we finally realize it. An out of control, heavy feeling. Mr. Life has educated us well on it. So why are we so stubborn to accept it? We hold on tight, refusing to let go. We work diligently to cover all traces of it. We labor to pry time in reverse. Time is against us. We have a drawer filled with vitamins to slow it down. A vanity littered with creams to diminish its appearance. A makeup bag to cover the bad and highlight the good. Boxes of dye to bring back the color. Dozens of polish to distract and enhance. I’m exhausted just trying to keep up. What product will provide us with the acceptance? Time is against us. We revert back. We reminisce. We revisit places and people in our memories. Those times, those stories, those experiences make us happy, so why do I feel so sad? That first kiss, my first car, that mixed tape. The prom, those friends, the phone calls. Road trips, rollercoaster rides, club nights. I know you’re smiling. The first time I held his hand. The first time I heard that song. Every time I get a whiff of that smell it transports me back. The bitter sweetness of it all. Time is against us. Each decade with a beauty of its own. How is it that 10 years forward seem so far away but 30 years have passed in an instant. I had goals that still need to be met. I have places still need to be seen. I have many more experiences to add to my treasure of memories. It’s my bucket list. And for every one item I complete, I realize I need to add two more. I have a love hate relationship with all lists but this one in particular. A constant reminder of what I have not yet completed. A cruel tease. I hear its voice mocking me. Time is against us. I passed a beautiful woman on the street. Slender and energetic. A slight smile on her face. Not for anyone but just for herself. Was she thinking of something or was she just innately happy? More of a confident smile. Shoulders pulled back. Chin held high. Not rushed but certainly with a destination in mind. I admired her as a whole. I wanted to capture her image on to my phone. No need since its permanently branded it into my brain. Her hair so white. A crowning attribute to her lost youthful age, but not lost was her youthful behavior. I promise that’ll be me 20 years from now. Time is against us. For now, I’ll cover, conceal and dye. For now I’ll take my vitamins. For now I’ll balance a healthy diet while still making my soul happy with a treat. I’ll accept my declining vision with a stylish pair of glasses. I’ll have a glass of wine while those young chicks are dropping back shots. I’ll enjoy my growing kids while those 20 somethings are trying to figure it all out. I will continue to plan, enjoy and discover with those that I love. I will look at my hands and be proud of its ability to lay it out there for you. I will smile. While I still have the time.