life

PENT-UP CREATIVITY

My fingers glide across the keyboard making a slight melody of words. This is the only music that I ever learned how to make. The strumming of letters and the painting of words dance around me, like they just escaped. The freedom, the airy flowing freedom makes them so much lighter that they can float and fly and I feel completely ashamed as the monster that managed their captivity. Knowing they are locked up, I just kept saying I would get to them tomorrow; or the next day or the next month. Time has always been our enemy. I spent my morning balancing a spreadsheet, then made lunch for my kids, cleaned the kitchen, attempted laundry, picked up another kid from school then started dinner. My creativity would get buried inside the mundane, everyday life tasks. It is the list of things I hav...

LIFE LESSONS FROM OUR TOWN AND STAR TREK

When I was eleven, a televised version of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” aired. Since props were expressly minimal, actors had to work extra hard. They often had to mime actions. Viewers were forced to use their imaginations. At the time my parents got three channels, I’m not sure what it was that glued my eleven-year-old self to the story. “Our Town” starts like most stories: boy falls for the girl next door, they marry, an unfortunate tragedy strikes and she dies giving birth. Unlike most stories, Emily, the newly deceased girl next door, is allowed to go back in time and revisit the day of her 12th birthday as an unseen observer. I was heartbroken as the desperate, time-traveling Emily tries and fails to communicate with family and friends. Sadly, she returns to he...

WHEN MY LIFE CHANGED

It was a typical evening, so typical that I don’t even remember the day of the week. I was watching a documentary on the History channel with my parents in my mom’s office/family T.V. room. I remember the landline rang and my mom let the answering machine pick-up. His voice was familiar. He had been my mom’s doctor since her twenties. He said the result of her test came back, to please come into the office to discuss. He also asked for my dad to come with her. It seemed like an odd request, since my parents rarely attended doctor’s appointments without the other. When he hung-up, an odd and anxious silence fell over the room. We sat for a while, not listening to the TV, not talking, just thinking. I remember one line from the documentary that played shortly after the doctor’s message. “It ...

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY

No cloud in sight, a cool breeze in the air It’s a beautiful day There is a sweet calm in the whispering breeze, beyond the hum of car engines and shouts of their drivers It’s a beautiful day The smell of brewing coffee hits the nose of sleepy heads, waking them in groggy awareness It’s a beautiful day The taste of a warm breakfast, beside the window, gazing out to the clear world It’s a beautiful day Dogs barking in the distance, and beside the backyard’s fence, proving there is life beyond these four walls It’s a beautiful day A wet tongue greets your bare leg, and you gaze down with a gentle smile at the hungry pooch It’s a beautiful day You laugh in delight after he joins the chorus of the trio’s barks outback It’s a beautiful day The busy morning routine begins, with the sound of show...

TWO PERCENT

My mother had turned it into a game. And it was simple. Whoever found the most change in the house won. That was it. Our one story suburban home was free range. Everything counted. You only had to make sure that you turned every single silver cent in. Pennies allowed, of course, but frowned upon. It didn’t really matter, though. Only that our wooden, chipped coffee table was covered in coins. My mother and I didn’t start playing this game until I was 10 years old, right after my dad left. My older brother, Nicholas, wasn’t around much. Just as absent as our father. Spending most of his time at his friend’s house, unable to deal with our sadness, I think. I didn’t notice it back then. Especially when my mother would move the stacks of unpaid bills off the coffee table and we’d stand on eith...

EMO GRRRLS: A COMIC STRIP

  Author: Jennifer B. Larson Email: jenniferblarson@gmail.com Author Bio: Jennifer B. Larson is a special education teacher in Chicago Public Schools, a punk-rocker, writer and illustrator. She draws the comic strip “Emo Grrrls” and runs Disappearing Media. Check out their new card-game, Douchebag CEO. Link to social media or website: http://www.disappearingmedia.com

UPROOTING

I looked around my childhood bedroom one last time. It was the morning of my return flight back to Denver, back to the life I had built 1,000 miles away from this one. I walked around the room trying to sear into my memory every inch of its strange shape. The vaulted ceilings and big windows. The area that once housed my desk. My tiny closet that still held some of my past in it, waiting for donation or to be sent to the landfill. Memories flashed into my mind: pacing my room while talking to my best friend on the landline in a language that only we seemed to understand; typing away on my computer wondering if I could actually become an author when I grew up; smoothing out the comforter on my bed while listening to my mom reciting advice from her library of life experience. This was the sp...

LIFE, LOSS & RAINY TRIPS TO TARGET

About a week ago, I quietly snapped. It had been one of those days, which many of my recent days have resembled; wrong in every way at some point or another. I’m aware of it, the cloud of weighted sadness. It dissipates briefly throughout the day yet never seems to disappear. There is just so much going on in my life that my mind is struggling to keep up. The realization of this weakness makes me disappointed in myself . . . which makes the weight even heavier. This isn’t me. I know it. Unfortunately for now, that is as far as I can venture. This particular day, I’d already braved the cold weather for groceries when I later realized I still needed diapers. I’d likely forgotten them in my foggy state. Instantly angry. The tiredness from not sleeping well the night before was not helping. An...

THE DYING ART OF HELPFUL COMMUNICATION

When was the last time you got into a bit of a scuffle with a friend, lover, family member or even a stranger? When was your last miscommunication or misunderstanding? If it hasn’t been for a while, then you’re doing something right! Most of us, however, run into complications at times or even frequently.   Nowadays, we are constantly in contact with one another. While this can be a great thing, it also leaves more room for error. Enter the internet and text messaging. Not only are there words being thrown out more easily and readily, but there are so many ways to misinterpret what is being said or what the intentions are behind it. So how do we do it? How do we communicate in a more helpful and effective way without completely censoring ourselves?   I have always loved working with commun...

PROUD TO BE A MILLENNIAL

In today’s society the title “Millennial” has begun to require an apology. My generation is commonly described as entitled, lazy or coddled. I recently entered the workforce and was faced with such a derogatory stereotype. Never during my years in college spending countless hours slaving over projects, studying for exams or volunteering did I think I was lazy. Now, with any stereotype there may be some truth. There are Millennials out there who are lazy just as there are lazy Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers. Laziness isn’t confined to the stereotype and it certainly does not entitle anyone to make a generalization. It’d be the same as saying thin people are anorexic or the rich are greedy. We know these statements to be untrue because we personally know people who don’t fit the stereotyp...

REFRAMING RESOLUTIONS

A new year is upon us. And even though, yes, we get the opportunity to start every single day anew, there is something special and energizing about launching into a brand new calendar year.  Ahh: New Year’s Resolutions. Some people mock them. Some people flock to them. Some people roll their eyes at them. Some people revel in them. Some people fall off the bandwagon. Some people succeed beyond their wildest dreams. And… some people don’t even think twice about the whole darn thing. I’m simply here to let you in on my New Year’s tradition. I started it at the beginning of 2016 and it has been transformative. It’s also is rather simple.  Instead of setting a traditional goal, or a set of goals (which don’t get me wrong, I LOVE GOALS) – for the New Year, I set a broad intent...

WHY I HATE NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTIES

As a millennial, you will probably remember the New Year’s parties from TV (during the 80s and 90s), and those sounds the clocks made when they marked midnight.  Well, those clocks marked my New Year’s Eve parties, and also remained in my memory for the rest of my life! Back then, I was little and I was so scared. I was crying expecting some Grinch to come and take me away from my family. Those clocks had that sinister and horrible sound, which instead of marking the end of the year, sounded like they were marking the end of the world or humanity itself. It was horror all those years, at least that is how I perceived them at that fragile age, to the amusement of all the grown-ups around me who were so happy that the year is finally over. WEIRD! I believe that since that moment I have this ...

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