On wine and whine.


Having lunch with two beautiful, engaged young woman does not appear to be an arduous task.  It does, however, become difficult for the “third wheel,” the young woman not engaged or even dating, the young woman with no romantic prospects whatsoever.  It becomes increasingly difficult to keep the smile radiant and the eyes dry as the conversation continues and the loneliness creeps closer, like some kind of pickpocket on a packed, commuter train.

I suppose that’s all melodramatic, isn’t it?  Sorry – occupational hazard.  Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with my emotional state as a writer; maybe I’ve had too much wine, or maybe I’m so pensive and lonely because I’m currently experiencing “womanly issues” (don’t want to offend or alienate any male readers – you’re welcome).  Or maybe it’s because I was watching the recent film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre.  I’m fairly certain I’ve sung the praises of this film in another blog entry, but I have no qualms about doing so again because it is fantastic.  I was sobbing as Mr. Rochester raised Jane in his strong arms at the foot of the stairs, spinning around and kissing her mouth in sheer joy as a result of their upcoming nuptials.  We should all be so lucky, no?  Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald wrote, “… youth does not need friends – it needs only crowds ….”  Is it more important to be loved, or to have people know that you’re loved, especially considering the digital age in which we are living?

Where’s the romance, the drama?  “Expectations are such a drag,” says Ida Maria in her song “We’re All Going to Hell.”  I couldn’t agree more; life is hard – way harder than I ever thought or expected it could be.  To quote Rob Thomas, “I barely started and now I’m falling apart.”  I’ll be twenty-four in September and that number scares the living hell out of me because I feel as if I have nothing to show for it.  We all feel that way at times, don’t we?  When does it get better?  Mumford and Sons seem to answer this quandry: “You’re not as brave as you were at the start.”

Maybe I should stop listening to sad songs.

On a sad note, R.I.P. Nora Ephron: thank you and damn you for providing me with unrealistic expectations and fantastical notions about romance. You will be missed.

PROMPT: “He’s the cutest little boy.  Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”


“He’s the cutest little boy.  Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”

Jane, standing beside her mother and studying the same flyer, nodded soundlessly in agreement.  The soft-looking brown hair that fell shamelessly across his brow was more likely than not lovingly tousled by a doting father, from whom the little boy had inherited his sharp chin.  The dimple in the center of it, though – Jane surmised that came from the mother who had given her son everything she had and then some, only to be repaid for a momentary lapse in supervision with an incredibly harsh and severe punishment.  With a horrifying kind of sadness that ached and pulsed, Jane could see the mother kneeling before her son, smiling sweetly.  The mother had just praised her son for good behavior – or maybe she had stooped to kiss and heal a boo-boo.  Regardless, the mother most certainly would have ended the encounter by planting a simple kiss upon her pointer finger and then transplanting it on the dimple of her son’s strong chin.  It would have been a gestured she performed thoughtlessly time and time again, and which she would have contributed no special significance to save for the fact that she may never be able to do it again.  The boy’s bright eyes made of paper though they currently were, twinkled with a contradictory air of innocent mischief.  His mouth was open and laughing in the picture scanned for the flyer and it was grainy, but did not diminish the vibrancy and the life of the adorable little boy.  Someone else had done that, whoever it was that stole him from the comfort and safety from his family.  That was Jane’s assumption, that someone had seen the little boy and snatched him up.  It happened all the time.  Monsters were real and they looked just like everyone else; it was getting harder and harder to stay safe and to stay human.  Luckily for Jane, the tears pricking at the backs of her eyes as she surveyed the poster of the missing boy reminded her of her empathy and humanness.  It made her sick that it came at the expense of a missing child.

“I hope they find him,” Jane’s mother said, turning away from the poster.  She pushed the rattling, rusted shopping cart through the automatic sliding doors on their left.

Jane did not follow.  She remained where she stood, transfixed by the misery calmly and plainly emanating from the flyer.  This poor boy was missing and his family was begging, sobbing and pleading for information, for assistance.  No one else stood beside Jane to wonder and grieve.  Her own mother had walked inside, resuming her life as if there had been no disruption, as if everything was going according to some greater plan.  Jane couldn’t stand it.  It made her want to scream and tear her hair out by the roots.  Where was the sense of community?  Where was the fabled brotherhood of man?  Wasn’t everyone all in this together?

She stood crying silently and alone.


Today was most definitely a day I would classify as “weak,” meaning that I did not accomplish even half of what I had planned. My room is still a mess, I’m running out of clean clothes, I ate like a pig and got no exercise. I’m slipping back into selfish, lazy habits and I am ashamed and feeling incredibly weak. I would like nothing more than to admit defeat, crawl under some covers, and have a nice, healthy cry.

It is with this mindset that I offer you tonight’s prompt. As always, please comment and respond with advice, criticisms, pieces of your own, or just a friendly word.

Your character is an obsessive compulsive. Describe his or her morning. Do not use the words “obsessive compulsive.” (Show, don’t tell.)


Anna woke to the sound of four alarm clocks buzzing in union. The sudden fury of sound startled her to attention, and while Anna knew that one alarm clock would suffice, it did not change the fact that she needed four. Four alarm clocks ringing out in the still morning air made sure she would be awake. Four was sure- a certainty, and it did make her feel better. Anna went to sleep easier because she knew she would not oversleep in the morning, and would not miss anything. The day would start as it should, and all could be right with the world. Certainly it was not crazy to think that successfully starting the day was inextricably linked to successfully ending the day, right?


Her clean feet landed firmly on the wooden floor, and her toes wiggled for an even count of four. Anna felt it necessary to waken each part of her body because that way, she would not suffer any kind of physical mishaps that could send a perfectly ordinary day spiraling into a nightmare, like cramps or embolisms or aneurysms. She sat and rose, sat and rose, sat and rose, sat and rose, and then stood up straight and tall. She raised her right arm and lowered it, raised her right arm and lowered it, raised her right arm and lowered it, and raised her right arm and lowered it before completing the same exact exercise with her left arm. Anna could swear she felt the blood running more vibrantly through her veins, excited to be traveling to freshly woken limbs. She felt better, she really did.


She headed to the bathroom, crossing the threshold once … and then backing out to reenter three more times. One only had to be careful when entering the room because all the possibility lay in that moment, where as when one left a room, the damage (so to speak) was done. Anna reasoned that a similar logic applied when climbing into the shower, perhaps even more so because the danger was increased, what with the rushing water, sharp razor, and the vulnerability of being naked. So the right leg was lowered and raised, lowered and raised, lowered and raised, lowered and raised before resting on the bathmat, and before the left could rest as easily, it also needed to be lowered into and raised out of the tub four times. As a result, she did not cut herself while shaving, did not slip or even get shampoo in her eyes. A shower went a long way to make one feel human, particularly when said shower was successful and secure.


Towel wrapped tightly around, Anna crossed through the bedroom door, backed out and reentered for a total of four times before she headed toward the closet, smiling broadly and eager to select a sleek and professional looking pair of pants, and coupling it with an interesting, colorful top. She applied deodorant four times, brushed her hair four times, left and entered her bedroom four times before she went into the kitchen to begin breakfast. The green digital numbers on the stove read 4:30AM. Work did not begin until 9:00AM and she did not have to leave the house until 8:30AM, but she had to allow time for her rule of four.


The smile she had been wearing dimmed considerably when she was overwhelmed by exhaustion. She knew damn well that she did not have to be up and moving so early, that she was intelligent enough to realize that doing things four times did nothing to ease her mounting anxieties but she was too weak to do anything else. Ashamed and desperate to break, to crawl back into bed and sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep, Anna wiped the tears from beneath her eyes – four times for each eye – and got the same mug she always used from the cabinet (but only after she opened and shut the door four times).