On Hibernating

Snowballing neglect
Takes me from
Just trying to rest
To quitting everything
Good for me

Ever trying to
Conserve my energy
Can’t go outside
Without blocking
Impulse to weap

Each solution met
With lack of
Required items
To succeed in restoring
What withers daily

Hard to relate
To those who
Make me feel
Poison is self swallowed
Instead of chemistry

Oh to sleep
Until the days
Grow longer and
Body doesn’t feel
Battered and discardable

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A Plea To Whoever Got The Book After Me

Hey everyone, I’m Kathy, and I’m a geek. I’m a complete nerd and I’m proud of it. I am a part of many fandoms: different authors, vlogs, television shows, web series and movies. I just really enjoy fiction – it is one of my favourite things in the entire world. I’ve even been known to play a few sweet video games in my time (spoiler: The Cake Is a Lie), although I get pretty aggressive about it so no one wants to play with me. Whatever, I have too many books to read, anyway.

These are the opening lines to a something I started working on the other day. I then printed out a copy to read at a meeting, and place the copy in the front cover of a book I borrowed from the Greater Victoria Public Library (“The Introvert Advantage”). I returned said book a couple days ago, and left the printed copy in the cover. The book has been lent out to someone else. If you happen to be that someone else, please don’t steal the work that comes after that introduction. Firstly, I plan to post it just after Christmas. Secondly, it needs some more work (that was just a first draft). If you read it and it didn’t just get tossed in the recycling by the clerk checking in books (this is my real hope), I hope you liked it, but don’t wreck the surprise by sharing it around.

I put the opening in this blog post in case you decided to do a Google search using any of the phrasing, in order to find who it belonged to.

As always, I am over thinking this, but I’d be pretty bummed if this project were stolen, as I dig it, so, you know, give a girl a break.

On Leaning

Standing upright
Keeping my own
I try to behave
Outstanding and grown
I am strong
And can exude grace
I’m no stranger
To keeping my place
In comes a love
Helps with my load
But when it leaves
Weight is doubly restowed
Community is key
And keeps us afloat
But I’m used to captaining
My very own boat
Instead of posts
Built around as fences
I choose not to lean
And build up defenses
When posts were removed
I fell rather hard
I’ve scraped more than a knee
And built up my guard
So I stand alone
Not leaning on posts
Shrinking inward
And listening to ghosts
I want support
But fear its retraction
Which causes a rather
Negative reaction
My default turns sour
And I don’t seem to know
That all the power within me
Is jailed by self foe
Hurt happens to all
But we grow and we prosper
It’s all in the choice of
Mentality we foster
Choose to be upright
And never graze those around
Or learn to lean
And equalibrium might be found

On Absolutes

All right.
Odd phrase. Never all wrong.
Sitting between the two
Leaning but always upright.
Best categorized, broken down
And quized in sections, not whole.

Asking in simplistic perameters
Makes the answer more consise
More fractions than anything
Evaluated as a whole.

Heavy brain children
Tugging on the teeter tooter
Invisible to those not me but
Overall they balance out.
When did having
Imaginary friends and nemeses
Go from being fun and exciting
To confusing
With a side of sorrow?

Creative types who learn to
Play with their brain children
And capture their adventures in art
Are the ones who survive.
Those who ignore them all together
Don’t get to grow with them
Teach them
Learn with them
And neither thrives
At least not toward the spectrum end of
All right.

Vinnie Tuscavedo

(Author Note: This one looks like it was a entry for a story contest in 2010, although I have no idea who held the contest. I think it might have been Harry Widdifield, who, at the time, went by the name Sev Winters. I think the contest was just hosted on Facebook. I believe the opening, except for the last line of the first paragraph, was a writing prompt.)

Vinnie Tuscavedo was the sort of guy that would hand a girl a five dollar bill with which to buy him a pack of smokes, and tell her to use the change to pick up something ‘nice’ for herself. Then, if she came home without a new dress, he’d smack her around for disrespecting his generosity. However, this knowledge could only go so far to relieving my guilt for killing him.

It wasn’t as though Vinnie Tuscavedo was a wonderful man, from what I have gathered during trial. More than one witness has been on the verge of using words such as prick or bastard (or worse, depending on how colourful you want your profanities to be during legal proceedings) before remembering that they were under oath and didn’t want to get a gavel banged in their directions for unbecoming language. One girl actually used those words, and more, before the judge advised her to only speak as much ill of the deceased as was needed to make her point, and nothing more than relevant. I remember that she blushed slightly before admitting, “He wasn’t a very nice man.”

“It wasn’t hard to find a list of girls who wouldn’t mind telling this court about the demerits of Mr. Tuscavedo,” my lawyer once informed me during a recess.

“I’ll bet his mother has different opinions on Vinnie,” I replied, hardly comforted by the people my victim had harmed.

Sometimes, when I am particularly depressed about the situation, I pretend that I killed him to protect the latest woman he had curled around his arm – or had struck with his curled fist. It filled a small void to know that I had made a positive change in one, if not many, subsequent women’s lives. I was ultimately the reason he stopped hurting her, and the reason he wouldn’t be hurting any more woman. This fantasy only lasted until one of any small pings of reality brought my life back into focus. I wasn’t a champion of truth or peace or an implement specifically wired to create freedom from scumbags who had nothing better to do than beat up on their girlfriends. If I had met Vinnie face-to-face, I probably would have averted my eyes and kept on going down the sidewalk, pulling my jacket tighter around me to relieve the ice of his stare.

“Mr. Roberts?” I barely heard the voice, as though it were faint due to distance or obstacles. Something in the tone tipped me off that my name had been said more than once.

“Sorry, yes?” I replied, straightening in my chair. A bulky, uniform-clad man looked at me from nearly at eye level, even though I was sitting.

“They are ready for you.”

I wasn’t ready for them.

No, I had killed him, alright, but it wasn’t to protect anyone. It wasn’t even to protect myself. I had never heard of Vinnie Tuscavedo when the front of my Dodge Shadow struck him and caused his body to bounce down Main Street.

I had been having a pretty decent day up until that moment. It wasn’t anything special to write home about, but nothing had gone particularly wrong either. I had had enough milk in the fridge for both coffee and cereal for breakfast, instead of having to decide between the two. My bone-straight jade hair combed neatly on one side, but less so on the other. Noticing the weather looked a little on the down side, I even remembered to bring my umbrella, which usually got left somewhere in the back of my closet. I had a couple minutes to spare when I left the house that I planned on using to catch up on a few tasks once I got to work. It didn’t start raining until after I had gotten in my car and half way down my street.

My breaks had started acting more touchy than usual a couple weeks before I became a killer. I had meant to book the Shadow an appointment after pay day, but kept pushing that task to the end of my mental To Do list. Spending more money on my car was the last thing I wanted to do after replacing all the ball joints and tires a few months previously. I thought buying an old junk car for cheap was much more price efficient than getting something new, but the Shadow seemed to be trying to prove me wrong.

“I think it is adorable that you have tried to save on travel expenses,” one woman once told me on a date. “I just think you would probably save more if you took a taxi to work rather than run this contraption for the amount of gas it leaks.”

We didn’t date very long. If there are three things that a man can’t stand to see criticized about himself, at least one of them has to be his car, no matter how bad it may seem. The other entries are intelligence and package – most likely not in that order.

The police pieced together than Vinnie must have been walking home after a full night of boozing when the auto pilot for his feet kicked into gear. He sharply turned and crossed the street without so much of a glance to oncoming traffic – another physical manifestation of his cocky attitude, of which I have heard over and over in witness statements. Sometimes I tell myself that even if the breaks weren’t on the brink of going out, I still wouldn’t have been able to stop in time to avoid the man. Clearly the angel assigned to watch over this drunk had clocked out a little early.

“As Mrs. Laird testified, Your Honour, the defendant jumped out of his car and immediately came to the aid of the fallen Mr. Tuscavedo.” My lawyer used that as part of his closing argument. I liked the way he worded it so it made it seem as though I had nothing to do with making Vinnie Tuscavedo fall in the first place.

Despite my efforts to keep him alive while the sirens screamed from blocks away, all I got was a whole lot of blood that didn’t belong to me and the honour of being the last person to look Vinnie Tuscavedo in the eye before his eyes glazed over. I could describe to you the exact shade of his eyes, like I once did for the court during my defense examination, but that only makes sleeping at night even more difficult.

I would have preferred leaving my umbrella in the back of the closet, like usual, over what happened that morning. I would have preferred my car not starting at all – finally throwing in the towel completely and making me late for work. I would have preferred many things to prevent me from standing in front of a court of my peers and hearing the verdict regarding my status as a killer.

Dear Reader

(Author Note: This appears to be an entry for a contest back in 2006 for DearReader.com. I have no idea if I actually submitted it. This is a copy/paste from the original document, with no edits.)

Dear Reader,

I have always wondered what it takes to become creative when a muse doesn’t seem to be within any sort of feasible reach. Personally, I have often sat down in front of a blank piece of paper or a blank Word document and I have had the most terrible time filling it up.

The potential solution for this problem seems hard but at the same time is very simple: just write. We all censer ourselves before we will allow the words to hit the page; no one wants to put down bad ideas. There is one big secret to getting down good ideas and that is to put down all possible ideas and figure it out that way. How do you know that a short story about a giant slug looking for love is a truly bad idea until you let it breath a little on an open page?

Granted, some people have a seemingly natural ability to spew witty remarks or off the wall comments, but the key word is “seemingly.” Nearly everyone you can think of who has this ability has practiced their intellect through many methods: reading, writing, people-watching, social interaction and even role-play games, just to name a few.

Another idea generating task can be as simple as flipping through a dictionary, picking a word at random and writing down the first thing that comes to mind. From there, continue until you run out of ideas and then pick a new word and keep going. Granted, you might come out with some wacky ideas, but those ones are the most fun!

So the next time you are brainstorming, let your pen (or fingers) go wild. There is a reason why censorship is inappropriate in such a creative society. You might end up with a few ideas you really like instead of an unpublished list of things you don’t think are good enough to put on paper.

Thank you for reading, and I hope this has inspired you. I hope I helped to brighten your day.

Kathy Trithardt

Blank

(Author Note: I recently found a bunch of old writing on a hard drive, and figured I would share some of it, since not destroying everything I write has been going decently well since I started this blog. This opening of a story is from a document that I haven’t touched since 2007. Based on the date, I was still in second year of university and planning a trip to live in Europe for two years starting the following Summer. This is a strict copy/paste – I haven’t done any editing.)

Blank.

That’s how I felt, just peering at him. Had he really just said what my ears told me he had said? My eyes had watched the sway of his lips and could back up the ears’ story in case they needed a second opinion or a witness.

But my brain was having trouble believing it.

I closed my eyes and covered my ears, trying to keep the information inside my head so that my brain would have no choice but to process it. My hands were then pulled off my ears and wrapped around his neck, and although my containment plan hadn’t worked, this action spoke louder than the words I was trying to process could have.

Mitchel had died.

It’s one of those feelings that only belongs in nightmares. You know, you can wake up and know it was just a bad dream and the feeling is completely dissolved, and it just leaves a slight distaste in your mouth until you fall back asleep.

Why wasn’t this horrid feeling dissolving, like it was supposed to? Why was it knotting up tighter and tighter in my chest? Would this metallic taste ever leave my tongue?

“Sarah, I’m so sorry,” his words tried to caress my ears to take away the pain of the former attack. My ears couldn’t take any more prodding, be it well meaning or not. I took my arms back from him, dodging his eyes carefully. Mine were clouded with tears but felt better not looking directly at his. He tried to hold onto me but I resisted, trying to squeak out words of explanation with no such luck. I couldn’t look at him any longer without the fear of never coming out of the emotional hole into which I was digging.

When I thought I’d never be free, he let go of me slowly, placing me on my bed. Later I would be grateful for this action, as I doubt that I could have stood alone. I curled up with my back to him and let a pool of tears form on my pillow. I could feel the weight of is body on the end of my bed, ever close in comfort but far enough away to give me the space I desired.

Mark was Mitchel’s twin brother, after all. Even though I knew their slight differences, their faces were enough the same that I felt that a ghost was depressing my mattress.

It took me many minutes of grasping for air to come up with the one word I needed to know. “How?”
The mattress shifted behind me, but no response came. I rolled to face him, feeling that I would explode if he had become the more silent of the two of us. He usually was, but I needed him to talk to me more than ever.

Mark’s eyes seemed to be boring holes in the pictures on my walls. One, not knowing any better, could have believed him to be a statue. But I knew better and needed to know more.
I started to reach for his hand when his lips parted. “He fell.”

And with that, Mark walked out of the room, closing the door behind him and left me to figure out the rest.