A Meeting With Time

In Time’s study, I sat looking at her from my armchair. I don’t even remember sitting down there. I was just walking through the woods, working to clear my head. And then I was facing Time. He was sitting under his lamp, bookshelves full behind her. Other than the illuminated book in his lap, it was dim, curtains mostly closed and the woods outside shielding the room from light.

I knew she knew all there was to know about me, but Time was still entirely indifferent to my circumstances. She counted today as irrelevant and probably tomorrow too–really, my whole life. However, I did not find his brashness harsh; I almost took comfort in his indifference that nearly curled his nose while she considered my futile plight.

“Pitiful,” I think I heard her mutter under his breath, but maybe he was just exhaling as he turned a page.
Time found my life meaningless, but, then I noticed, with the same looks of disdain, she held reverence. How he portrayed both of these I simply cannot know or say.

“I envy you,” Time spoke, to clarify the look I saw.
I understand Time’s words as much as I understand how he looked at me with both indignant indifference and reverence.

Time offered no explanation and I imagine did not care if we sat there forever.

“Envy me?” Of course I had to restate this with my disbelief added to the words. Time continued flipping through his empty notebook–I assume it held something I was simply not privy to.

“Yes. You, generally speaking. Humanity.” He did not stop flipping through her book. She also made no indication that she would talk again.

“Why?” I asked after she went through a few more pages, after a few more moments of what felt as though Time was struggling to remain here–her presence remaining tangible, but his soul seeming to disappear into her book itself.

“You experience what I never can.”

At this statement, Time finally stopped flipping through his book and regarded me. He seemed to grow weary the longer her eyes were not on the pages, but, she spoke with less monotony and indifference this time.

“I’m outside of this world. I’m here only as a study of sorts; I am continuously disconnected. I see your world and universe in one field– as you would view a two-dimensional piece of art. But here you are: experiencing a life just as tangible as mine, even if much simpler.”

The indifference returned as her explanation ended. Time began flipping through pages once more. Immersed in whatever the blank pages held, I left Time in his study and continued on my way. I walked out of the woods and arrived at a country road and my car.

I’m still here. Whichever way I look, painted yellow dashes stretch from horizon to horizon.

I’ll always be here. Deciding between right or left, backward or forward.

I know that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter: I’m one in seven billion; I’m unique like everybody else. I know that between right and left there is no substantiated correct direction. I know this in light of Time itself. I know of all the indifference, the cold, and the bitter in the majority. I know that everyone regards their state in life as their only god; selfishness absorbing every opportunity for love while disdain and jealousy consume.

I know…

But
I saw the reverence too.

A little something

A poem, a journal, and an unfinished story. Help me finish it, won’t you?

I was thinking about poetry slams
I was thinking about politics and saints
Left to right and front seats
Wishing the window was open
Suffocating with cats and birds

Normally you hear about people reading or seeing or whatevering and being inspired. Well, a lot of times I see or read or whatever and am uninspired. You know, I’ll be browsing the blogosphere one moment and find all this beautiful, full of life, truth, love, whatever stuff, and then I’ll find some article written full of pride, anger, hate, or just stupidity, and I think, “If that can be posted online… then everything I write is probably worse.”

And then other times I’m like, “I’m freakin’ awesome ’cause I write way better than that.” and all my grammar and english skills and everything just end. cause I set lower standards for myself.

So, I decided, that I think I’m going to reread Lord of the Rings. Because that is some good writing there. No idea where I’m going with any of this. I just felt like writing a simple little post after sifting through random stuff on the internet.


So, back to the here and now. I’m gonna force myself to write something somewhat creative, so I can feel a lot better about myself for having at least written something. Ultimate question of the last few months: How long does writer’s block last before you are no longer a writer? I’m not responding to that with some, “Being a writer is simply part of who I am (whether or not I’ve been practicing at all recently)” bullshit. I don’t typically give myself leeway on things like this. Thankfully, I got really drunk the other night and actually wrote something in the midst of emotions involving family affairs and missing my boyfriend that was decent. And decent is stretching it. The first few lines of that freewrite started this post. So now. Imma shuddup and see what can be typed. Because, even though every first draft is worse than manure cat pee skunk sweating dumpster smell, what makes me a writer is fucking writing.

In the rain she could feel at home, and could is the key word. It didn’t always hold her with warm summer arms and remind her that the feeling of tears–even if they are only the sky’s–can be peaceful. When either she or the rain couldn’t capture that perfect caress (maybe the wind interfered: ice shards piercing instead), the rain became a perfect hell. It was the disappointment that meddled. If the rain would have been more kind today, maybe heaven would be there instead, but the anticipation of that comforting caress had been ruined.

However the rain was ruined, it didn’t matter. She looked to her feet, which shuffled in a puddle on her gravel driveway. Life was always to be lived. With a breath of water and air, she opened her car door and let the dry enclosure purge her of the disappointing rain that clattered on her rusting car.

And that’s all I’ve got for right now. Tell me, where should she be heading? What is the life that she must live? I’d like some help with this story. Thank you!

-Katherine Z

Conversations With The Naive

Madeline
Madeline — Click to see more by Little Blue Bird Photography

In my creative writing class, we had this assignment due a week and one day ago:

Create an opening scene for a movie (no more than 12 pages). What is the conflict for your intended movie? What is at risk? What has happened in moments prior to the action that begins your story? There should be at least two primary characters but no more than three. In the scene, what do each of these characters desire?

Or

Create a short script (no more than 12 pages) that surrounds a single event, in which at least two primary characters (but no more than three) should have significant interaction. Consider the relationship between the two characters. Incorporate the techniques learned about dialogue and character, particularly subtext.

This was my first attempt at a script and I really enjoyed it. I took various pieces of reality from my life, dramatized them, and added some extra imagined flare to create a short script that I guess surrounds a single event. It doesn’t work as an opening scene as it closes nicely, so I suppose I followed the second prompt. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it!

You can download the script in the nice “official” layout here: Conversations With The Naive

Or read it in the incorrect format below:

CONVERSATIONS WITH THE NAIVE

Written By:

Katherine M. Zellmer

FADE IN:

INT. HOUSE – LIVING ROOM. MORNING.

Sound of a child crying echoes through the hall. KONSTANTINE, a girl, in twenties, with long, blonde hair sits up on the couch and looks towards the sound.

Konstantine walks to the sound and opens the door.

INT. MADELINE’S ROOM.

MADELINE, a few months before her third birthday, is sitting in her bed, pink toys strewn about, crying.

KONSTANTINE (with concern): You okay, Madeline?

MADELINE (looking up from her hands): KAY, me wants to play wit da baby mouse.

KONSTANTINE: He’s asleep right now. Did you have a scary dream?

MADELINE: (climbing off of bed) Oh. (confused) No, me has no dreams.

KONSTANTINE (kneeling to Madeline’s level): Wanna go in the living room and wait for MIMI to get up?

Madeline nods.

INT. LIVING ROOM

Konstantine relaxes back on the couch where she was. Madeline stands beside the couch.

MADELINE: Why is da baby mouse sleeping?

KONSTANTINE: He’s nocturnal. (observes Madeline’s confused look) … Umm… He sleeps during the day and is up at night.

MADELINE (after consideration): Baby mouse likes da moon, me likes da sun.

KONSTANTINE (smiling ecstatically): That’s right, Madeline! You are so smart.

Madeline smiles. The two play for a little bit, Konstantine tickling Madeline and playfully throwing her onto the couch.

MADELINE: Kay, are you staying wit me all today?

KONSTANTINE (tiredly): Yes, I am staying here again. (considering) Do you want to watch TV?

MADELINE: Yes! Akyudees!

KONSTANTINE (confused): What? I couldn’t understand you.

MADELINE: Da black monster and red monster and blue monster.

KONSTANTINE (as she turns on the TV): Monsters? What monsters?

MADELINE: Black and red and blue.

KONSTANTINE: Where are the monsters? Are they in your room?

MADELINE (flustered): No monsters in mine room. DADDY keeps monsters away wit gun.

KONSTANTINE (covering her face as she laughs): That’s right. DADDY protects you, MIMI, and Baby JUDE. (pause) Madeline, what do the monsters do?

MADELINE: Blue one makes everything blue. Black one big.

KONSTANTINE: Can he turn you blue? Can he turn the house blue?

MADELINE: No. Red monster turns blue. Mines green house stays green.

KONSTANTINE (sifting through children’s shows and movies on Netflix): I’m really not sure what you are talking about.

MADELINE (turns away from Konstantine to view TV): Dere!! AKYUDEES!

Konstantine follows Madeline’s excited eyes and finds that “Hercules” has just appeared on the screen.

KONSTANTINE: Oh! HER-KYU-LEES.

Konstantine starts the movie.

Konstantine looks up to see her sister, KIERSTEN, enter the room. Kiersten’s hair is disheveled and she dons a warm-looking argyle bathrobe.

MADELINE: MIMI! Me is watching Akyudees!

KIERSTEN (falling into the recliner and smiling, exhausted): I see that.

KONSTANTINE: How many times did Jude wake up last night?

KIERSTEN: I have no idea.

KONSTANTINE: I guess mother nature was kicking in cause I think I woke up whenever he cried.

KIERSTEN: Sorry, dude.

KONSTANTINE: No worries.

KIERSTEN (concerned): How are you doing today?

Konstantine lifts her left arm to display scabbed, but still tender, cuts along her wrists.

KONSTANTINE (apathetic): I guess it was a bad night…

Konstantine replaces her wrist onto the couch.

KONSTANTINE (smiles slightly): Not feeling suicidal though!

KIERSTEN (concerned, to slightly irritated, back to concerned): You should’ve come and woken me up… I’m here to talk to! … Love you, sis. Chill here however long you need to.

A baby’s cry can be heard down the hall.

KIERSTEN: … though I don’t know how relaxing this is.

Kiersten walks down the hall and disappears into another room. Konstantine notices as Pain and Panic appear on the TV.

MADELINE: Look, Kay! Da blue monster and da red monster.

KONSTANTINE: Oh! I see.

Kiersten returns with baby Jude in one hand and a spoon and baby food in the other. She places him in Madeline’s old pink baby exerciser.

KONSTANTINE: Madeline said some of the cutest things before you came in here! She is so smart!

Konstantine recounts the recent events to Kiersten.

KIERSTEN: We only watched Hercules for the first time yesterday. I am impressed that she remembered that about the titans! Cause the ice one turns everything to ice, but it is blue.

KONSTANTINE: Oh, yeah! I forgot about that. I haven’t seen this movie in forever. (considering) Reminds me of being a kid… before responsibilities and before shit mattered.

At the swear word, Kiersten looks to Madeline’s back that is absorbed into another world and back at Konstantine with slight irritation.

KONSTANTINE: Anyway… I’m really thankful for you letting me stay here.

KIERSTEN: No problem, dude.

KONSTANTINE: Like, seriously, Madeline has helped me a ton. Just seeing how bright she is and how when things are explained to her just right, she just lights up… (gesturing aimlessly) This all… gives me hope.

Konstantine closes her eyes for a moment.

INT. SMALL ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT – KITCHEN. NIGHT.

A drained Konstantine frantically cleans the kitchen counters. The timer on the oven sounds and she rushes to grab the food.

KONSTANTINE (hitting the top of her hand on inside of the oven): Shit!

She repositions her ovenmit and pulls out delicious looking lasagna, enough for at least four people. After placing the lasagna atop the stove, she continues cleaning.

KONSTANTINE: Dammit, if I would have just woken up from my nap when my alarm went off I wouldn’t have been so rushed and stressed! Doesn’t help anything!

She finishes cleaning and sits on a bar stool in the corner of the kitchen. The deadbolt of the apartment door turns.

KONSTANTINE (strained smile): Hey, honey! Welcome home! How was work?

DILAN: (carelessly throws keys on counter as he enters kitchen): Sucked. It was a long, exhausting day. Whadya make? What’s all this lasagna?

KONSTANTINE: Oh, it’s for us and JOHN and MARK.

DILAN (turning towards Konstantine): They are coming over next Friday, not today. God, you’re fucking stupid. I’ve told you every damn day this week, and you still mess it up and now we are going to waste all this fucking food and it’s all your damn fault. Stupid bitch.

KONSTANTINE (standing and backing away): I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, I must have just forgotten.

Dilan approaches Konstantine as the scene fades.

INT. QUAINT HOUSE – LIVING ROOM. DAY.

MADELINE: Kay, kay, did you have a dream?

Konstantine stirs and opens her eyes to see Madeline in front of her, Hercules still playing in the back.

KONSTANTINE: Yeah, somethin’ like that.

MADELINE: Was it a scary dream?

Konstantine looks into Madeline’s beautiful blue eyes and considers her messy light brown hair that curls cutely at the ends.

Konstantine sees Jude excitedly pound his hands on the edge of the exerciser as he impatiently waits for Kiersten to feed him another spoonful.

KONSTANTINE (genuinely smiling at Madeline): No, it wasn’t anything that can scare me anymore.

                   FADE OUT.

THE END

One Missing Rung: A Narrative

I take a deep breath, tasting the sleeping morning glories climbing my porch and the city pollution. Turning the deadbolt to the backdoor, I enter my apartment in silence. As I walk across the living room, I hear my boyfriend’s voice and guitar seeping inside from the front porch. Opening the front door, I sit on the bean bag to the right of where he is relaxing. He turns to me and smiles; I warily half smile in return, and he looks at my seemingly depressed response with concern.
“How was work?”
“Boring. Didn’t sell anything.” Pause. The trepidation I feel is inevitably within his mind as well. I take another deep breath, looking up to the sky while considering where my next words will take me. I will not regret what I say nor do I regret every step that has led me to this point, for that would be to regret the person I am today.
“I need to talk to you,” I say monotonously as I look through his glasses.
“About what?” Max replies, with a concerned look as he tilts his head slightly to his left.
“I’m breaking up with you.” His concerned look turns to surprise then settles on mostly understanding.
“I know that we planned on waiting to see how it would pan out once I moved to Michigan, but after last night—this obviously is not going to work out.” We had spent the previous night drinking screwdrivers, Malibu Coconut Rum and Mike’s Hard Lemonade with our best friend, roommate, and Max’s ex-girlfriend: Dawn. Max and I started our relationship while she was studying abroad. Upon her return, it was evident that he still held onto his infatuation for her, and, upon being intoxicated, his obsession was even more evident as he followed her around like a little lost puppy while I strained to stay calm and maintain my relationship with both my best friend and boyfriend. Though I wish that this love would work, the stress it places on my heart and other relationships is not healthy nor is it conducive to personal growth. With another rung down as I climb this ladder called life, I can only continue upward and onward.
“I have something I need to talk to you about too.” Max pauses; I can tell that he is searching for the words to say. “I woke up this morning and felt like I had dreamed about kissing Dawn… Then she asked me if I remembered us making out… So, since we both vaguely recall the same event, I reckon that we made-out last night.” You have to be kidding me. I trusted him; I trusted her. Now, I am standing on the porch, looking down on Max, and calmly reiterating to him the pain of the betrayal that he knows he has committed. As neutral as my temperament is, I cannot help but want to punch him. With bitterness in my voice, I tell him to stand. He refuses, stating that any actions out of anger will not make me feel any better, but I convince him that it will calm me down and that he deserves it, so he begins to get up. In this moment, I recall the end of my relationship with Doug: how his hands would push me against the wall at my shoulders; how I would prolong every visit to the bathroom—my escape—where I hid with my arms holding my knees; how he convinced me that I deserved every ache in my stomach from the sting of his words and palms of his hands; and how, most importantly, he showed me what it meant to love.
Love is Work. It is a constant effort to attempt to understand from their perspective and a constant push and pull to work to balance the love given with the love received. It is to be selfless, but strong. It is to recognize your own flaws and receive criticism, but also objectively give criticism where it is due. With Doug, I only loved. His refusal to love, along with his endless insecurities, led to the unbalance that doomed our relationship: with him, my ladder of life was falling, but with each step I took towards the sun I found my footing to be more stable.
There had been a perfect balance with Max, for a time, but I had felt this instability before: the slipping as I try to hold on as he lets go. Now that I am standing face to face with Max, I only observe remorse and honesty as a piece of the porch light shimmers off of his moistened eyes. As I approach him, he stands firm, readying himself for what he believes he deserves.
I hug him.
“I love you. I’ll need a better reason than that to punch you.” I back away and we smile at each other, recognizing that our friendship of three years will remain intact after our short attempt in the game of love.
“We had a great relationship,” he says, with strain on the “had.”
“We still do!” I say with a smile on my lips.
“Yeah, that’s true. In fact, our friendship is even stronger.” The tension between us has diminished. Within minutes, we find ourselves eating dinner in front of the television once more: me sitting in the big brown recliner in the corner of the living room and him lounging across the futon. We choose a movie and are brought into another world. By the credits, we are on new paths, each pursuing our own goals and planning new places to go. The time we have spent together is irreplaceable, but it is coming to an end as our ladders’ paths begin to diverge.
Every moment makes up one rung in this long ladder of life, so if we took out any of the rungs of our past, we would never be able to continue our journey upward. The extent to which I feel and love and work to understand those around me would be a few rungs lower if not for those three years I spent being dehumanized with Doug. Without my relationship with him, I would not be able to recognize warranted anger and healthily release it through understanding the value of the people in my life. To regret or to wish that a word or an action could be changed would be to regret who we have become. Not only are there too many paradoxical issues to work around with changing the past, but there is also the simple issue that nothing can be learned in life without a lesson. To take away any lesson would only gain ignorance, and, no, that is not bliss. That is naivety. There is a large, insatiable difference.