Foriegn Affairs

Exister, c'est oser se jeter dans le monde.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Famous Last Line (and words)

Blake picked up her ringing phone. Still elated from the phone call from her boyfriend earlier that evening, she answered with a cheerful, “hello”!
“Blake…Blake… Justin’s been hit. He’s in the hospital. We would like it if you would come, he would probably like it too…” Justin’s mother rambled on to Blake, grief and worry laced in her voice.
“Okay, I’m coming. I’m coming,” Blake said to his mom. Blake sat there, staring at the wall. How could only a few short hours ago she could be talking to somebody that could possibly be dying? Those things don’t happen to good people, do they?
A voice brought her back to the present. Her mother was standing in the doorway to her room.
“What’s wrong, honey?” her mother asked, “You’re crying.”
Not realizing that she had tears streaming down her face, Blake rushed into her mother’s arms and told the whole story. Pretty soon, both mother and daughter were crying into each other’s arms, tightly embraced. Letting her mother know that she had to leave, Blake grabbed the keys to her ’08 Jeep Wrangler and hustled out the door to the hospital. Driving in a daze, she couldn’t think straight. Cars were honking at her, but that didn’t matter. Didn’t they know somebody’s life was hanging in the balance?
Blake jumped out of her car and headed to the automatic hospital doors to the ER. She burst into a room filled with sullen faces, hopefully waiting for good news. She saw some familiar faces, Justin’s family, and went over to them.
“How is he?” whispered Blake to Justin’s mother.
“Stable, but his condition is fragile. He should be almost out of surgery,” replied Justin’s mother.

A few hours later, a nurse wearing pistachio colored scrubs came to collect them to see Justin. After Justin’s close family members were done visiting, Blake came to Justin’s side on the hospital bed. Seeing tubes and IVs and bandages all over his body, Blake was barely able to recognize him and became overwhelmed with the seriousness of the situation. She sat staring with her eyes shut, into his eyes, and felt as if she had finally got to the beginning of something she couldn’t begin, and she saw him moving farther and farther away, farther and farther into the darkness until he was the pin point of light.

Famous First Line Stories

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. My simple story has a beginning and I’m just going to tell it to you, plain and simple.

My name is Paulina Alexandria Marie Helena Westbrook the III. If you can tell from my name, my family is very southern and very traditional. I, on the other hand, view my name as an idiom. I am a trial to my mother that wakes up every day just to haunt her. I run and play with my other siblings, but they don’t get in any trouble. I guess it’s because my mother has such high hopes for me, being the only girl and all, but seriously, I think I was born the wrong gender, no joke.
Back to my story, it was the day of the county fair. I was expected to enter in my best apple pie, since that’s what “women of society” are expected to do. So, with a prayer to bless my pie that nobody would die from digesting it, I dropped it off to the main judge to be placed on the table. Quickly I skipped away so that I could get in a game of baseball with the local boys before I was caught by my mother.
Long story short, I ended up starting a riot on the field. A couple of boys decided to chase me, and I ran like the wind. I thought that if I met up with my mother, she would get these boys to stop chasing me. I ran to the pie stand, racing to get there before they got me.
The thing is, I saw my mother and those boys did too, but they didn’t stop running after me. I ran right in front of the announcer who was crowning the winning pie. As he bent to pick it up, my foot hit the leg of the table.

R.I.P the pies and my mother’s sanity.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Famous Last Line

“She sat staring with her eyes shut, into his eyes, and felt as if she had finally got to the beginning of something she couldn’t begin, and she saw him moving farther and farther away, farther and farther into the darkness until he was the pin point of light.”
This quote belongs to Flannery O'Connor. O’ Connor was born on March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia and died on August 3, 1964. She went to school at the University of Iowa for her master’s degree and after studying the poem The Geranium, started publishing and working on her own works. Her writing is based in the south and usually has a religious theme in it. O’ Conner drew from her experiences being Catholic in the South.
The book that this quote comes from is called Wise Blood. The book follows a WWII veteran named Hazel Mote who comes home bitter from the war. After seeing and experiencing all the horrors of war, he begins to resent his old faith and resolves to create an anti-religious church. Throughout the book, he meets certain characters and defines them based on if they have wise blood- “an idea that one has innate, worldly knowledge of what direction to take in life, and requires no spiritual or emotional guidance”. Trying to start his church, Mote finally begins to realize what the meaning of life is and that sometimes we wear more than one face.

I am still on the fence about this book. There are some humorous parts in the plot, but there are a lot of serious thematic elements that I don’t know if they would ruin the book. Also, I love the setting that the book takes place in, but maybe not the content that is explored in the book. 

Famous First Line

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
This quote belongs to J.D. Salinger. He was born on January 1, 1919 and died a few years ago on January 27, 2010. Salinger didn’t start off wanting to become a writer; he actually went to school for business. He flunked out of many schools that he went to, and then took a trip to Europe where he found his love for writing instead of business like his father wanted. When he got back, a professor named Whit Burnett at Columbia University developed Salinger’s passion and led him to start publishing his works in big name papers such as the Saturday Evening Post. His career was interrupted when he was drafted into WWII, but resumed when he came back and published Catcher in the Rye in 1951, a novel he wrote while in the war.
Catcher in the Rye is a fictional story about a boy named Holden Caulfield who begins the story as a flunk out. Deciding that he needs to find himself, he goes on a little adventure that teaches him about belonging, identity, loss, and connection with those around him. Many teenage readers love this book because they can relate to the themes of angst, rebellion, and alienation that is portrayed in the book.

I think that I would enjoy this book. Caulfield sounds like someone who I would love to meet. I also am very intrigued on the idea of going on an adventure and having all the experiences to figure out who you are and where you are meant to be.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Don't Quote Me on That

Honestly, if you want to see all the quotes that have made me feel anything at all, please look at my board. It has all words to describe me and to give me that kick start when I need to get moving!


In the {News}Paper

Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21)
                Someone will save you when you’re right in the middle of a perilous task.
I look at the numbers printed in ink on our bill receipts, counting how much debt we are in for this month. Between starting a business that’s growing slowly and providing for my family and my husband’s drinking problem, it would be a miracle to be in the black. I quickly calculate over and over again, maybe a hundred times before I am sure of the total we have to survive- a meager 178.46 for a month.
As I sit at the family table decorated with stains and remains of past meals, I wonder how we are to survive. I can’t keep doing this, raising a family with no support, and adding a new business that is like a newborn baby. Glancing at the digital green numbers reading 2:13 AM, I realize that soon the hustle will take hold in as short as four hours. I guess I can file this night away as another sleepless one.
I don’t remember when we started to have financial problems- him and I, we were the perfect couple. High school sweethearts who went to the same college, got a degree, had kids, and settled in the beautiful state of North Carolina. We had big dreams and aspirations, knowing that the future was so far away, you couldn’t tamp us down.
But all good things must come to an end. After coming back from maternity leave, I resumed working at the restaurant I was head chef at, only to find a new one in my place. They assured me that I was still going to work there, I had done so much for the business. As the budget got tight however, they went back on their word. To make matters worse, my husband started to go back to the frat ways of drinking. Pretty soon, he lost his job due to coming into work drop dead drunk and losing clients as a results. With nowhere to turn, I invested my life savings into my new business, an Irish restaurant and bakery.

Suddenly, I hear a tap on the door. A visitor this late? Quickly I glance from my vantage point at the kitchen table and see no one. I quietly get up and open the door, careful to not wake up the family. I see tucked inside our mailbox a white envelope. Picking it up, I see nothing on it. Opening it up, something falls out. I pick it up and realize that this is the miracle I’ve been waiting for. Money. Someone has saved me in the perilous task of raising my family.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Writers as Readers

1.        When you read, what do you need to be comfortable (environment, snacks, lighting)?
·         You can usually find me wedged between the arm of our living room couch and some pillows with a munchy type of snack, such as pretzels or popcorn. In the summer, I love to catch the sun on my back when I’m reading. When it’s winter, you can find me in a blanket with a cat on my lap.
2.       Do you think books have the power to move people to action in something they have no interest in before they begin the first page?
·         I am one of the people that don’t like to read books based on popularity. For example, when The Fault in Our Stars came out, I waited to read the book until all the quotes and memes and jokes died out so that I could have my own personal experience with the book. I do have to say, by being introduced to TFIOS, it opened so many other books that I have enjoyed.
3.       What was the first book you remember reading? Why does this book stand out?
·         I first remember reading Pajama Time with my siblings. I remember feeling so proud that I was able to read a book that my parents read to us every night. This book really stands out to me because it was such a fun book that introduced new words and kept my attention. I also enjoyed how much fun I had reading it with my siblings, which helped out tremendously.
4.      What is one of your best memories connected with reading?
·         One of the best memories I have connected with reading was when I earned a gift card to Borders! In our first grade class, we had a challenge to read as many books that we could in one month. I remember that I came home dedicated to win that 15 dollar Borders card to buy some more books. That was when I was introduced to the Nancy Drew series, and to this day I still give credit to my mother for reading with me and pushing me to not give up when it got hard.
5.       What is your favorite book or series? Why is it your favorite?

·         My favorite book is The Help. I got this book because the movie had come out in the summer, and parents had gone to see it. I picked it up and started reading, and honestly, I couldn’t stop reading. Page after page I became so wrapped up in the lives and the struggles of the women in the book and I honestly felt like I knew each of them in their small town of Mississippi. I still would love to have a sequel to the book!

Memorable Passage

“Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said, Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy.”
“I am too big to climb and play,” said the boy. “I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?”
“I’m sorry,” said the tree, “but I have no money. Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money and you will be happy.”
And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away.
And the tree was happy.
This paragraph is really emotional for me. It reminds me of my mother and how much I ask of her. Talking with her yesterday about this project, I asked her what her most favorite of all time book was. At the end of the discussion, she turned to me and said, The Giving Tree. I reflected on that children’s short story, and I read it for the first time in probably six years.
When I read the paragraph, it really hit home how the tree was willing to do anything to see happiness in the boy she loved. I also was hit hard by the boy saying how the power to buy things and have fun would make him happy. It reminded me of how so many people believe that money is the answer to everything and that it will eventually make them happy. This conclusion even led me to one of my favorite movies, “The Pursuit of Happyness”, where a father changes his life to provide for his son, and realizes what really matters in life.
Going back to what we talked about yesterday when Laura mentioned reading a book at different points in your life, I thought that this book just might be a good one to reread over and over and over again.

Monday, September 21, 2015


He twists and turns, then wakes up, startled, wide eyed and looking around the black room. The darkness almost threatens to suffocate him. He looks at the clock, it is 2:13 AM. Quietly he tries to remember what military time translates into this civilian time. Next to him lays his wife, so glad that he is finally home, safe and sound. Little breaths are heard coming from the right of the room, his one year old is finally fast asleep.
Trying to gather his thoughts that are consuming him like a fire to dry trees, he tries to repeat what his therapist told him to do, to calm him down.
My name is Taylor Graham. I’m 25 years old and married. I am a father to a one year old. I came home about 5 months ago fro-AAAAAHHHH! Instant flashback to the dream he woke up from, where he is trying to save his comrades from an IED explosion that hit their Jeep. His dream still allows him to remember the dead in the vehicle, already long gone without any hope of revival. He smells the smell of burning flesh, machine fire, and war, hears the cries of pain and desperation. He is drowning in this dream-he can’t escape the dream, he hears and smells and touches and tastes magnified a hundred times in this dream.
He wonders when this will stop. His wife has been so supportive, helping him with his therapy and the daytime nightmares that plague him. His family thought the war was done for him when he stepped of the plane and into their arms.

In reality, the war really started for him then-a quiet war raged in his own mind, silent to any outsider.

In Charge of the World

If I were in charge of the world
I’d cancel grades,
Monday mornings,
Green and black olives, and also
humid Missouri days

If I were in charge of the world
there’d be longer summers,
more pets with homes, and
more time in the day to do what you want.

If I were in charge of the world
you wouldn’t have poverty.
you wouldn’t have lonely.
you wouldn’t have depression.
Or, “You throw like a girl.”
You wouldn’t even have people like that.

If I were in charge of the world,
a Andy’s Boot Daddy concrete with extra
chocolate sauce would be a vegetable.
All Friday Night Light seasons would continue.
and a person who sometimes forgot their manners
and sometimes forgot to laugh,
would still be allowed to be                                                                                               
in charge of the world.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I've Got a Dream...

Dreams  interest me. A re-occurring dream that I view as a nightmare is going to school in the buff! This is the dream:
Somehow I show up in a class filled with students. I look down and I realize that I am in my birthday suit, and somehow nobody comments on this or laughs or does anything even though everybody else is wearing clothes. I frantically start trying to find something to cover up with-any extra clothes lying on the floor, lost and founds, anything! To my disappointment, there’s no extra clothing. At this point, I’m wondering why my mother and siblings didn’t tell me that I was wearing no clothes or why I didn’t realize that I didn’t put clothes on! Usually by this point, after attending some class, I wake up.

                I’ve examined this dream, and there are meanings I found to dreaming of yourself in the buff:
o   You are trying to hide something- If you imagine yourself fully uncovered, it means that you’ve been hiding something that’s very important to you, and maybe even some serious secret nobody is supposed to know!
o    You have an issue with self-confidence-By exposing yourself to the public, you are not hiding who you are, literally exposing who you are as a person. If you don’t care about being in the nude- you have LOTS of self-confidence!
o   You aren’t prepared-whether for a test or unknown challenge, you are caught off guard and don’t know how to handle it.
o   If you are in the buff, but no one notices, that represents a fear being unfounded, or not a fear that one should have as there is no basis for that fear.
            Examining this dream was definitely different, and although I can’t say that I’m not a skeptic about this, some of this does have some grains of truth! So, if you ever find yourself indecent in your dreams, this could be why!

Maya Angelou Wisdom


Love liberates the soul
Giving it the freedom to fall and break and shatter but then
Heal and learn to love again

Love liberates the mind
It breaks down barriers that we have subconsciously put up and
Can’t put down ourselves

Love liberates the young and the old
Destroying fears and replacing them with hope of
A better day ahead

Love liberates the world
If the world is to succeed
We need to love, learn to love, and be loved.

Inspired by Maya Angelou “Love Liberates” from Oprah’s MasterClass

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dreams with Threads

She would never grow up, never kiss a boy, would never grow old with me. I remember hearing the phone ring at the hour when nobody should be trying to reach anybody.
I hear a groggy “hello” as my dad picks up the phone. Suddenly, I hear an almost inhuman shriek, a gasp of pain, coming from my mom. I run to my parent’s room, and see an outline of them huddled together, crying. As my mind puts two and two together, I feel my heart drop to the ground. Late at night… only member of our family missing…going to a party… all of the realizations flooding my mind. In a flurry of activity we race to the hospital, the ICU and are greeting with strange noises and smells that I’ve never had to experience before. We hear whispers of “she won’t make it” and “worst crash I’ve ever seen” and finally, “I hope at least one survives”. I’m praying that the gossip is not about my sister. We are greeted by a doctor wearing a 5’o clock shadow and a stone cold face. He says that there is nothing more that they can do. Now we have to choose when to let her go.

I say good-bye to my best friend at 3:17 A.M.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Colors and Farmhouses

     Green, Red, Gold, & Cream
    She trudges through the green grass that swallows her boots as she goes to the barn. When she walks, emerald color grasshoppers dart around to avoid her wake. The time is 4:00, the time she must greet the horizon and start the day. Her eyes see golden dandelions among weeds, and she hopes to find a four- leaf clover for luck, all through the day. Meanwhile, a fall breeze rustles through the trees, knocking summer leaves off for new fall ones.
    The red barn doors decorated with white edges open as she drifts inside. She lifts the metallic pail and wipes the morning dew off her rust color plaid shirt. Running a hand through her strawberry blonde hair, she walks to where the cows are, grabs the cherry wood stool, and begins her job of milking, After the last cow is done, she returns the secondhand stool and looks at her raw hands, tired from the job they just performed. The first rays of the sun glint through a crack in the barn door that needs to be fixed.
    Back outside, golden flecks of light spill out from behind the indigo clouds of morning. Out past the barn, her father is on a John Deere tractor, cutting down stalks of wheat as they blow in the wind. She carefully makes her way through the grass again, watching for a yellow rock that caused spilt milk last week. Her eyes follow to the glow of the kitchen, a sure sign that the rest of the family is up. She hurries her stride, hoping to make it back in good time.
    She walks up the steps and bangs the back of her hand on the cream colored farmhouse door. She hears footsteps and sees her mother’s face appear in the window, trying to open the door for her daughter. She grabs the milk from her daughter and pours it into a glass container marked No. 3, stained from its previous uses. The daughter washes her hands, then dries them on the dish towel. Her mother stirs cream into the coffee, and puts it before her.
Now the day has begun.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Last Colors of the Day

7 Colors of a Swatch

Soft Sunlight casts the shadow of our Savannah Silk Cypress against our white, wraparound porch. The fading of the sunlight changes to the Glowing Carriage Lights that slowly light up like a Dessert Cactus Bloom in March. The Legendary Golden Gryphon knocker we have on the door is now Olde Tarnished Brass, a far cry from the Traditional Bronze it used to be.

What Paint Chips Make you Think

Country Clouds
Country living is
Only a state of mind where “for
Us “is a way of kindness, how we know what
Not to do but also knowing that we can
Try to become better day after day and
Recognize the little things that make “us”
Yell and sing and
Cry and tell “us” that the little things are
Often the most important things that
Unite “us” day after
Day under a
Sky full of country clouds.

Suddenly Saffron
I smell my mother
Cooking with saffron and thyme
My heart feels happy

Pebble Gray
At the beach I feel
Huge, gray pebbles hitting my legs
The ocean is home

The Creaking Door (yet another story about my grandmother)

Creaking Door
The door creaks open when I walked into my grandmother’s crawlspace/attic room. I look around, seeing discarded boxes laying on the floor, cardboard shards and cobwebs littering the floor. I’m struggling to breathe as I walk through the dust that probably settled 40 years ago. One ornate box catches my eye, and I go to open it. I get sidetracked though when I see old high school yearbooks that probably belonged to my dad.
I take a peek inside the books, and I look for my dad’s smiling face from the 80’s.  After I glance through memories and notes of long ago, I go back to the box that first caught my eye. I lift up the lid of the box, and at first all I see is black and white. I then realize that these are old photographs of my grandmother’s past. She used to sneak out all the time, I quickly come to assume! Knowing that good stories are about to be unfolded through these photographs, I dump the pictures out, my eyes scanning what lies before me. I grab several pictures and retreat through the creaking door, ready to have my grandmother tell me what these are pictures of, and why she decided to keep these memories after all  these years.