Masked – Prose

I can’t see people clearly anymore. The masks that now come in all colors and patterns adorning their faces are completely appropriate and there’s no doubt that people should continue to wear them. But I miss seeing the faces underneath them.

Some people always walk around guarded. Now everyone has to do so. Wear your mask, keep six feet apart, stay indoors as much as possible to avoid these awkward and paranoia-inducing encounters. It’s hard not to feel like you should just lock yourself away.

A day will come (hopefully soon) where the masks can be peeled off and life goes back to normal. But right now is not that time, and it’s crucial to be cautious and aware of our actions and their potential consequences during this time.

I may not normally be the type of person to wear a mask, but I sure am wearing one right now.

This was a super short piece, but I felt like I just needed to sum up my thoughts about this situation. We need to step back and see the bigger picture during these difficult times and work together for everyone’s best interest. Consider others and those at-risk, and make sure to do your best with social distancing, even as restrictions start to loosen. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

The Gardener(s) – Prose

A day doesn’t go by where I don’t hear the sound of a lawnmower or leafblower somewhere on my street. Even after shutting my windows, that loud, threatening buzz is hard to ignore. It seems to penetrate the glass.

You’d think it would be easy to get used to, considering how often it’s there. But I never fail to notice it, pulling me out of my work for at least a few minutes. This might sound like a complaint, but it’s really just an observation.

My mother told me all our neighbors have the same gardener. He works on most of the street, getting everything done in a day. Usually Fridays but not always, she says.

But what about the other six days of the week? I know she’s right- I see our gardener every Friday. He works on at least seven of the houses on our street, is there for hours working hard, and leaves a little after lunchtime. But the buzz of his (and every other gardener’s) tools can be found every single day.

For me, there are many sounds that you expect to hear at some point in your day. The low, threatening hum of a lawnmower has become one of them.

I hope you enjoyed this random rambling! It might be a weird thing to talk about, but it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot since spending so much time at home in quarantine. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any writing challenges you’d like me to try out in the future. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Procrastination – Prose

Why does it never feel like there’s enough time to do anything when I have more than enough time? We’re all blessed with the gift of time- after all, we’re alive today.

I make a to-do list for each day, and I guess you could call me an optimist for thinking I can check off all of the items. Sometimes I do, but most times I don’t.

I spend too much time reading what I wish I could write, and too much time writing what I wish I could read. It’s difficult to figure out what the best use of my remaining time in the day would be, or if there even is a best use.

I reorganize drawers that are already fairly organized, considering I don’t plan on getting rid of the already limited contents inside. I fold endless loads of laundry; the laundry basket always seems to be full.

And then there’s the unwritten list of tasks I’m putting off.

Painting my walls because the sea foam green color that once seemed trendy now makes my stomach churn. Shaving my legs since I hate to do it, yet my mother’s nagging and society’s standards coerce me into thinking I need to. Doing an actual workout, more than just going on a walk, and one where I keep going and finish it all the way through. Writing the stories I think I’d be best at writing, the ones about myself, because I’m not sure I’m ready to make myself that vulnerable.

Sure, I procrastinate on normal things once in a while. The essay that I just don’t have an idea for. Studying for final exams that I don’t want to accept are coming. Cleaning my pretty much all-white bathroom that’s become varying shades of brown. It happens to me just like it happens to anyone. But for the most part, I’m pretty good at staying on task and getting these things done. I’m comfortable with my hamster-on-a-wheel lifestyle jumping from one task.

But what about the things I want to do? The things that would be good for me?

People don’t realize that you can procrastinate those.

I hope you enjoyed this piece! I know procrastination is something that everyone struggles with at some point, but I wanted to acknowledge the fact that it manifests in different ways in different people’s lives, just like any other habit. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any creative writing challenges for me to try out in the future! Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

My Mother’s Garden – Prose

I’m sitting in a yard that is unfamiliar, yet it’s been my occasional sanctuary for a few years. The breeze ruffles the petals of the various flowers and plants around me. My mother has so many plants that you can’t even see the layers of dirt and fertilizer in the planter anymore.

My hair, becoming a lighter shade of golden under the sun, flows around my shoulders. Some pieces occasionally float in front of my eyes, obstructing my view of the yard, but it doesn’t trouble me. I don’t think I’ll miss anything.

I get nervous when the bees come to harvest pollen from the large bush of lavender beside me. Sometimes one will buzz too close to my ear, and I’ll abandon my normally secure spot on the lounge chair nearest to the flowers. I never understood why the bees only come to that lavender bush, when it’s probably the plainest, dullest colored plant in this yard.

The orange poppies with yellow rims have opened up, a few pink poppies beginning to open themselves right next to them. Succulents of all types inhabit colorful pots my mom has collected from a variety of places; a few have grown so much they needed to be replanted into the dirt in the actual planter alongside all the “normal” plants.

I turn to look behind me and notice the light pink rosebush in the corner, nestling against the ivy that covers our fence. I could’ve sworn the roses were white last year.

There’s flowers among flowers among flowers among other plants I can’t name- rich with pinks, greens, reds, oranges, blues, and purple that is much more vibrant than that of the lavender bush.

Sometimes I forget how beautiful this garden has become. It’s so easy to think of the barren patches of dirt, or weeds that resided here years ago. Or the fact that as I try to admire the plants, there’s at least one neighbor currently mowing their lawn, or a plane flying overhead.

There are no real sanctuaries from everyday life, but if there were, my mother’s garden would be one of them.

I hope you enjoyed this little piece! It was kind of fun to just look around my yard and pick out the parts I wanted to write about. I do love admiring the various flowers and plants- my mom’s become quite the gardener in the past couple years. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece, or any writing challenges for me to try out in the future!

Brooke

How Is Quarantine Going? – Prose

“How is quarantine going for you?” My friends ask me through texts, Snapchats, and pretty much any other form of social media.

Oh, it’s going, I think to myself, not bothering to give an actual reply. I respond with messages that change the subject before setting my phone down and searching for a book to read. I need an escape, and a good story will do just the trick. No one wants to sit and think about how long life will continue on like this.

The hours tick by quickly; pages are turned, meals and many snacks are eaten, and I might even venture outside when the sun comes out for a few hours, bringing warmth to the pavement. Before I know it, it’s dark and I’m shutting my blinds, showering, and getting ready for bed.

I’ve never had such a monotonous schedule. I’m used to never having enough time and somehow that’s carried on into these days that fly by, but never has time felt so pointless. I’m trying to take advantage of the laziness I can now allow myself to have, but it feels strangely wrong.

I’m about to get under the covers, watch a random soapy TV show on Netflix, and go to sleep. But… the loneliness has kicked in. Have I even had a real conversation with anyone all day? I turn back to my phone, and fire off a few quick messages:

“How was your day?” “How’s quarantine going for you?” “I miss you, what’s new?”

Although I had the urge to send them, I don’t wait around for people to answer. I guess that’s kind of silly, since it means a conversation won’t actually start, but oh well. There’s plenty of time, right? I’ll respond in the morning and catch up with everyone.

I resume my bed lounging and late-night TV watching. Eventually, I turn over to lay on my stomach and drift off until I’m asleep for the night.

The next morning, after I make my bed and get ready for the day, I check my phone. I have quite a few notifications from last night, mostly Snapchats and texts.

“It was okay, what about you?” “It’s boring, how’s it going for you?” “I miss you too! Nothing much, what about you?”

Strangely enough, I don’t feel like getting into it. I send off quick, generic messages to each, wishing my friends well and telling them I’m bored and okay too. I leave behind my phone to go make breakfast and read a book while I eat.

And so it repeats.

I hope you enjoyed this little piece! It’s almost just a personal update, but I figured it made more sense to categorize it as prose/creative writing because of the format and how it was almost like a mini-narrative. Let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or writing challenges for me to try in the future 🙂

Brooke

The Clothes We Wear – Prose

People warn you to make a good impression, to dress nicely and take pride in your appearance. What does it say about me if I rotate the same oversize t-shirts and hoodies with various vacation destinations or event names littered across them every week? What does it say if I pretty much only wear sweatpants, almost never jeans and especially not skirts?

Because I do. Don’t worry, I’m completely hygienic and I care about my appearance in that way- I hope people don’t assume that I don’t. But why should I have to put up a facade and be someone I’m not?

Sometimes I wish I cared more. I really do. Breezy floral sundresses and sophisticated blouses roam my mind whenever I go into the city, and it suddenly crosses my mind I should’ve dressed up a little more. But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good fairy godmother-like transformation from time to time.

It was the night of the dance. I got my hair done at an actual salon for the first time ever- one where they offered you drinks as they worked on making each tendril of hair camera-ready. My golden blond hair bounced around my shoulders in soft curls, I had dusted my eyelids with some glittery eyeshadow (not too glittery), and skinny silver hoop earrings that were just the right size dangled from my earlobes.

But most importantly, the dress. It was the dress. It was a little shorter than what I would normally wear, and it hugged my body as if it was made to fit. The black fabric glimmered thanks to the sheen woven into it, and the straps met to cross several times and tie at the small at my back. The dress glowed on me, and I felt as if I glowed too. I felt pretty, and for a night I understood.

(It didn’t stop me from wearing sweatpants the next day.)

I hope you enjoyed this little anecdote. I’m not really sure if prose is the best label for it, but I didn’t know what else to call it and I still considered it creative writing. As I write this, I’m wearing sweatpants and an oversized concert tee, so yeah…it’s pretty accurate. Please let me know if you have any feedback, suggestions, or challenges for me to use in my future writing!

Brooke

A Stream of Consciousness – Prose

Hello everyone!

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, so I figured I would share my thoughts with you guys in a different form of creative writing than usual. Surprise, I’m sharing writing that’s not poetry! I guess I would just consider this prose- it definitely doesn’t have any real structure to it. I hope you enjoy 🙂

something’s waiting inside of me. i can feel it; it’s brewing, bubbling, growing, shaking, expanding, and soon it will come out. a breakthrough’s been a long time coming, and you never know what’s around the corner. i feel trapped inside this house, but we’re all trapped in different ways, in our own little bubbles. all of a sudden, we know what we’ve always wanted to do and the things we enjoy and how much we love to go outside. but we can’t do any of it. our minds erase any awareness of the things we’ve always wanted to do around the house if we only had more time, and our creative juices get blocked. or maybe they don’t- my sweat is in the form of words trickling down my forehead. they drip down my pale cheeks, taunting me until i write them down. i get more done than ever but i get nothing done. i read more than i’ve ever read but see less words than i ever have. //

// time alone is time with your mind. my mind and i have been stirring up plenty. whenever i become conscious of my inner monologue and the elaborate plans being created, they vanish with an anti-climatic poof, as easily and silently as they materialized in the first place. the wheels never stop turning, but can you see them?

I hope you enjoyed this little mind-dump. It was clearly inspired by being stuck in the house, but it definitely has a few layers, which I’ll leave you all to interpret for yourselves. Let me know if you’d like to see more of these in the future, because I can definitely make that happen. As you all know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’m happy to experiment with new things, writing being a huge part of that.

Brooke