January 21st, 2015

It was dark and dusky, as I hid between the old bureaus and bed frames, wooden and covered in dust.  The light streamed weakly in through the lace curtains, swaying in the faint breeze.  Tattered with age.

They were coming for me.  I was among the few remaining inhabitants, and a threat to their system.  I was an anomaly and outsider, and it set a sour taste upon their tongues- the knowledge of my existence. I knew I had little time, so my mind danced and raced over all that I knew.  All I could do.  What should I keep? Should I even bother wasting my time mulling over objects, or simply run with my life?  No, they feared me with reason, did they not? I crept over the rickety floorboards, attempting to make as little sound as I could, towards the little glass jar I had always kept near.  It rested low on a shelf in the corner of the room, the thick glass coated with a beautifully cut tin filigree pattern, and an intricate lid tightly fixed atop of it.  The glass was milky and old, with a coppered hue from the aged metal around it.  But you could still see the yellow faintly through to the inside.  That beautiful flutter of golden sun. If anything was worth keeping; worth risking what little time I had left before they arrived, it was this.

 

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October 14th

Just to clarify- I came across the already-dead monarch..

Just to clarify- I came across the already-dead monarch..

It’s been a while, eh?

These photographs are from August 14th, one of the many ventures I’ve undertaken with Sampson (my Canon) this summer.
I’ve been pouring my all into the hunt (of job) for the past few months, which can get maddening as it generally places you in front of a computer screen for the bulk of the day, as everything is done online and electronically these days.  When my sanity seems in peril I take a break, usually to walk my dog or my camera.  Sometimes I just get into my car and drive around until I see something or some place that I find interesting, pull over, and have at it.

That’s what happened with the both of these photographs.  The first, a close-up of foliage and a rather dead tree-type of form, I came across after pulling over near one of the many stretches of massive power-lines.  I had ended up hiking up a small hill and down a barely-worn path.

The second photograph was also in pursuit of a herd of power-lines, although I had stopped short on a small path before even getting that far.  It was right next to a small, older woman’s little house.  She had been outside gardening, and I guess my presence had unnerved her, as she slowly made her way over to me to see what I was doing.  Her first language was not English, so she was pensive and visibly having a difficult time communicating, so I showed her my camera and said that I was (okay, I may not be any more but I WAS) an art student, and I am just taking photographs.  She seemed wary but somewhat understood- the look of caution fading a bit from her small features.

I made a note of her address so that I could send her a couple of photographs in the mail later, as a token of thanks.


august trails

Since I started going to school in the city, I’ve really grown to enjoy it so much more-so than I ever thought I would growing up.  I used to want to get my own ranch with a hundred or two hundred acres, a couple of horses and a dog or two.  Now I want my career to finally take off in the city, so I can get myself another little apartment, placed so as to give me the  ability to walk around to where I need to go, and wander, looking around at all of the different people, shops, architectural time-zones, etc.

I still adore the beauty that can be found in rural America, but I crave the activity of the city.  It has its own beauty, too.

Speaking of such- I have recently taken up a new part-time position working in a cafe in the city.  I can take the train in during the mornings I work, or stay with Preston or perhaps other friends.  Today was a little rough, with thoughts akin to “why am I back to doing this type of work?” and “why have I not been hired for a full-time, career-pursuing position by now?“.  Luckily (well, unfortunately for the two of us) one of my coworkers is in the exact same position as I am, so we can relate and remind each other that the business of newly-graduated student job-hunting is hard.  We are not failures, and in fact should be proud that we have taken the step to do whatever work we can while we search for our careers.  We are working earnestly.

I now hope not only for my own career to begin, but for hers too.


Well, I think I’ve gone on long enough.  I have a long shift at the cafe tomorrow!

sub/consciousness

So this being my last semester on campus (at least as an undergrad, who knows), I’m taking quite a number of classes, finishing up my credits to graduate.
I had two extra credits to fill (since this school likes to be ridiculous and take as much of the money I don’t have as it possibly can, and therefore wouldn’t let me transfer in a couple of courses) so I’m doing a directed study, as they call it, with an awesome professor.
It’s a project-based DS, because I want to make something tangible of my work.  Something that I’d actually be willing to spend my time, energy, and (lack of- ha!) funds on.  Something I won’t regret afterwards, and perhaps will even LIKE.

This is something I’d been thinking of and working on for a while.
It’s a book.
But not one long narrative, as I have always played around with (and have yet to pass the 36-microsoft-word-page threshold on)- it’s a compilation of shorter pieces, paired with my own photography.
I’d decided to use my dreams as narratives for this work, since I have so many dreams and enjoy writing them down.  The thing is, a lot of my dreams are difficult to put into words, and so I fear I may not have enough of these stories that are purely from my sleeping mind.
This has driven me, as of late, to think about the validity of including other works into this book.
All of my short stories are from my wandering mind, usually rooted in a dream or seven I’d experienced recent to their being written.  I’ve never been one to simply sit and plot and plan out characters and situations- they’re generally ideas that emerge from the back of my mind, that come waltzing into my consciousness at their own leisure.

Does this, then, entitle them a place in my book of dreams?

No, seriously- tell me.

exchange of hearts

written after seeing a Reddit prompt:
When two people get married, their hearts are surgically exchanged.  You just filed for divorce.

It was all I could do to stay on my feet, gaping at my husband. This was ludicrous- how could he do this to me? I had never fathomed the man I had married could be so.. well, heartless.

Only six years ago we had exchanged our vows and our hearts. Literally. It is believed that love is only true if you are willing to entrust your heart to your partner; your other half.
It’s not that we’d been unhappy.. Simply disconnected. For the past few months it had become difficult to keep up a conversation with one another. Frightened, I had finally broken down into a puddle at my husband’s cold side. I asked him what had happened, and what I could do to improve our situation. He simply explained to me that he had been thinking.
Tom had pointed out to me that we had fallen into a neutral stalemate. We weren’t warring, but had somehow lost what held us together. Looking back, I came to agree, but I was scared. Would it be easier to continue living life, two people physically together but in all other ways alone? Or would it be our best hope to risk the break?

To divorce meant to unbind ourselves from our wedding vows.
To unbind ourselves from each others’ hearts.

Another surgery of that magnitude was utterly terrifying. That kind of thing was meant to be experienced just once in life.
Then again, I had always done well under anesthesia.
Then again, Tom and I were barely thirty years old.
We were pretty healthy people.
We could do this.
But it had to be soon.
Aging and organ transplants have not exactly been known to get along all that well.

Tom had held my hand as we met with our attorney, amicably signing papers and rationing out our worldly goods.
Tom had held my hand, assuring me that everything would be okay, right up until I had already fallen asleep on my gurney.

And now Tom was sitting in front of me, his elbows resting on his knees, as I bring my parcel into the house for the last time, still wearing my hospital band.

He tells me that he had been a bit less cautious with his health than he had ever let on.
He tells me that seven months ago he was diagnosed with a malfunctioning heart.

And he smiles at me, as he tells me this fatigue is only going to worsen.
Quickly.
And he smiles at me, as the first tear slips silently down my face.

Blue

Kerlir was my home; a hanging valley nestled between two large landforms of the Spinlocke Mountains.
Set on the edge of a ridge, our valley home had an incredible view. It widened into a plain of sorts, spilling over the edge of a cliff that dropped too far to scale or measure.

Thick, dark forests formed a curtain at the valley’s back.  To our sides, like blinders on carriage-bearing horses, rose our rocky guardians.  The two mountains had become something like gods to the people in my village; protecting us from the harsh northern winds of winter, the relentless burning of the summer sun.  Strong and tall, they watched over us, year after year.

I had thought of them more as demons, as I grew into a more- spirited– young woman.  They stood there, cold and distant, refusing to let me see the world outside of our valley, apart from the birds-eye view we gain at the cliff-edge.  Their sides were a slick, dark rock- Steep and impenetrable.

Our elders always warned against wandering into the forests.  The blackness emanating from their depths kept most out with no need for warning.  Only the men, armed with their axes and tools, would freely enter- and return.

A mighty river split the valley, flowing through the village, over the cliff-edge at its front.  During the winter it ceased flowing- it’s source cut-off; frozen, from a highland beyond the forest.
For this reason, winter’s end was always a time of incredible tension.  Our water supply would be reaching it’s end, and the water’s source would begin melting. While knowing this would allow our river to again flow into the valley, all were wary of… how.   The water’s return was unpredictable, sometimes trickling slowly after an especially cold year, while others, steadily gaining volume and back to the norm within a month.  Neither of these scenarios were our fears, though.
What we feared was the great flood; the onslaught of water after a large break in some far-off ice formation.  It had happened last when I was a small child, no higher than my father’s hip.  The water’s roar, the harsh snapping of thick tree trunks, the sudden surge of icy water.
That was what we feared.
That was why we remunerated.

The vernal equinox marked the coming of the waters.
Each year we had a festival, lasting for three days leading up until the equinox.
The first day was in honor of the Northern Mountain, guard against the winter winds.
The second, the Southern Mountain, guard against the summer heat.
The final day was of highest importance, honoring the river itself.  Attempting to sway its actions in our favor.

Every seventy-two years the festival was considered “most sacred”.   During the festivals of these years, attendance was strictly enforced, our garments the deepest blues, our adornments the finest jewels.  Children were harshly warned about insubordinate behavior and the consequences evoked, should they choose that way of being.
A temple would be raised at the height of the valley- where the dried riverbed meets the precipice, and the ending ceremony would be held at dusk on the third day.
A select group of elders ran the ceremony, leading the villagers in prayer to the river, citing poems of it’s greatness, and performing other slow, ritualistic motions in honor of the deity believed to be within.
These elders chanted and moved until the sun had dipped completely out of view from our valley’s tall perch- at which time they would begin the final, sacred, ending ceremony.

It was my twenty-second year upon this earth, when I encountered the most sacred of festivals.
I had been with my friends, eating freshly made street foods and watching the ceremonial dances that night, at the end of the third day.  It was such fun- my elderly neighbors had told me to commit every bit of this festival to memory, as most lived only to see one within their lifetime.
The sun was just beginning it’s descent in the sky as I separated from my friends to fetch some water for one of the elders- Making my way through the orchards, when the edges of my vision blackened, and everything went out of focus.  The blackness began to expand, and bright spots exploded behind my eyelids.

There was a sharp pain in my side, which spread like fire.  My eyes snapped open and my lungs expanded in what should have been an audible gasp.
But my mouth was covered and my eyes saw only darkness.
I willed my hands to uncover my face, only to find them bound.  The movement made me wince in pain, not that it was visible.
My eyes stung with tears, and my inhibited breathing was hard and ragged.  Someone was holding be tightly, a hand firmly grasping around my waist.
I focused on slowing my breathing, to tune into the sounds around me.
Chanting.
Louder than I had ever heard an elder chant.
Closer.

Suddenly the chant grew fierce, a harsh sentence in a language I did not understand.
And then suddenly a hood was lifted over my head, and I could see.
It was pitch dark with the exception of the torches, but I could tell where I was.

I was in the temple.
At the edge of the cliff.
I was in front of the villagers, standing together in blue robes; their dark faces staring out from under hoods of their own.
Although sure these were my people, they were unrecognizable to me.
Their glares were menacing.
They were shrouded figures.
In this moment, they were forms I did not know.

I strained my neck towards my captor, a large man in an especially ornate robe.  All I could see of his face was his mouth, set in a hard line.  The muscles of his jaw were flexed, as if he were clenching his teeth.
Now another man stepped forward from beside him, his hood hovering far, shrouding his entire face in darkness.  He carried with him a sapphire encrusted scythe.
He came to stand about three feet in front of me, slightly ajar so as to allow the audience to see me still.  He began to murmor, words I cared not to listen to.  My mind was already reeling, trying to comprehend the situation.
But then I heard the word “sacrifice”.
And my back broke out in a cold sweat.
He raised the scythe, poised to swing, when I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye.
One of the robed figures disbanded from the line that stood beneath the temple, rushing in my direction.
The man with the scythe swung around, catching the figure with the edge of his blade.
The figure had barely dodged in time, allowing for only his hood to be caught in the weapon’s path.  It ripped and fell aside, revealing a dark-haired man in a mask.  He acted quickly, weaving around the armed man before he could prepare a second strike, and hurdling straight into me, forcing us both over the cliff.

In the impact his mask was shifted to the side, revealing a sliver of his handsome face.
A sense of relief flowed over me, as I watched the corner of his mouth slip up into a smile, and his dark eyes caught a bit of light from the moon as we fell.
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canis lupus

So last night I had another of my (incredibly numerous) odd/ridiculously detailed dreams.
Have you ever tried to write out your dreams? It’s actually really difficult to put them properly into words (or at least, it is for me!).

Something is happening.
I am running.
I don’t know what led up to this.

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night number 3

So.. this is the third night in a row that I’ve had a dream like this. A kill or be killed dream.
The first two weren’t organized the same, but I still feel like this was related. Some kind of continuation…

But this time, I was part of an army- all pretty young like me.
We traveled through really dense fog or mist of some sort that had horrible visibility, in a giant group.
Our leader was named “Hero”.
And we had a collection of little dolls that represented real people. They would be brought as “spectators”- representing our loved ones and innocents back home.
And if something happened to the doll- it happened to the person.. So it was in no way a good thing. It was cause for anxiety.
We would march to a location where we suspected the enemy.
Then we would line up- out soldiers split in half, each half facing the other like a sickening mirror. Then the lasers would touch you; a small iridescent beam hitting your chest- it’s color giving orders. Green was safe- you were to stand back and watch things unfold. Usually on the ship (which was black and rusty and cloaked so as not to be seen). Red was active- you were part of the attack/defense on this particular wave. Purple was special- you would be given individual orders for your current mission. Generally something like a sniper or enemy infiltration.
And you did as your color indicated. I don’t know yet what the repercussions for failure to comply are, but they’re obviously not good if I didn’t notice anyone ignoring their orders.
I had dolls for some of my family members in Japan. Luckily I had an officer as a friend who would watch over them for me. When I had that sickly feeling that we weren’t alone he gave them to me and I raced backwards, down the old stone stairs, to my host mother Emi, who was not a fighter but for some reason made to join us on this damned pilgrimage.
I headed back, fighting off the first wave from a distance. Not doing too much for I was not purple.

After the first wave we regrouped, facing each other, and I did not receive a color.  Panic settled over me. I asked those around me and they looked sympathetic, saying they hadnt seen anything on me either.

Then the next wave hit and I moved impulsively.
Like I had received orders my conscious self hadn’t been aware of.
I was purple. But not a simple assignment had been forced upon me. I was no mere  sniper.
I bolted.
I ran full-force towards the attack.
I spotted a particular target, incredibly muscular with a wild look in his eyes and a demonic demeanor. He was way too confident and had eyes such a bright aqua-blue color that they seemed to be lit from behind.
I followed him around the corner of a black metal monstrosity (the form and use of the building I could not tell) and saw him take down a purple before I got there. He held his victim in his inhumanly strong arms, putting his mouth to a particular spot on his neck, and breathing in- as if pulling the vein to the surface of the skin with a vacuum until the man fell limp. I assumed the carotid artery had burst with the pressure.
I barreled into him, with an insane lack of fear. We tumbled around for a bit, and I was shocked to realize he wore no armor. He held me as he did his last victim, and I made sure he couldn’t reach my neck. In fact I went after his. Before his grip ensnared me too tightly, I wrapped me legs around him to gain some leverage.  I searched for the same approximate place on his neck and I bit, and I bit hard. I could notice the shock register in his muscles. But damn it, what was this guy made of? He was crushing some other pressure point of mine as I bit down, fighting the blackness of unconsciousness while trying to send him into that dark place first.
And finally I felt my teeth pierce through, and he started to go limp, but kept on attacking me- so I didn’t stop there. I bit down with all the force I could muster as his grip slowly weakened, but those eyes. Thy never changed. They were simply disturbing.
I stared into them, biting, until they finally shut.
I grabbed him by one of his ridiculously thick arms. Holy shit- did I seriously knock him out? I was suddenly panicking that he’d wake up as I moved him, and that I wouldn’t be able to fend him off a second time.
I quickly dragged him out into the fray, which was unsettlingly empty. I searched for the ship to drag him to, which was confusing since I COULDN’T SEE IT. I was waved over by a slightly aged gentleman, obviously a higher ranked officer, so I headed to him as my deadweight luggage fitfully began his return to consciousness.
When I was close other men appeared to take him off my hands; I had reached the ship. But those uniforms- the hell? They weren’t of our military’s.
Damn it.
This was an enemy ship.
I was so confused- what the hell was going on? Why were they doing this? I was obviously not one of their own.
The man who had flagged me down gave me a warm drink and a towel. We watched as my captive was detained in a glass cylinder.
Inhuman indeed.
Apparently this army had been using experimental procedures on select soldiers, enhancing their capabilities with the risk of serious side effects. Only those deemed the most fit, stable, and worthy contenders were chosen to be lab rats.
And were immediately  released into the field.
This one I had brought back was not selected for these qualities. He was a hotheaded scrawny soldier with an ego unfit for his weak body. Why had he been allowed to change?
It hadn’t gone well. When he was injected the aqua color came to his eyes and shone through his veins. His spindly left arm had torn itself completely off just above the elbow, but when medical assistants stepped closer to intervene, the word “no” could be heard amidst his screaming. His body contorted and his muscles spasmed, the “whites” of his eyes bulged and glowed that sick aqua color as they rolled to the back of his head. His skin took on a grossly blue hue and thickened like rubber. His arm snaked around and contorted, obviously the most painful part of this stage, as his bones cracked and jutted forth; a new arm grew into place.
This was how he went out.
This was the monster I had somehow managed to take down.
And for some reason was being helped by his creators?
Some secret faction of the enemy’s side that wasn’t exactly.. Enemy.
The man brought me further back in the ship and asked if I had a way of contacting my officers. I mentioned the military sanctioned phone I carried and pulled it out of a pocket in my uniform. It was a small black flip phone that glowed red. I opened it and chose the contact “Hero”. My benefactor guided me to a small restroom behind the office, telling me to be quiet and keep an eye on the lock.
I entered, locked, and dialed. Standing against the dark wall, facing the door I had come through.
The ringing stopped but I heard no voice. I spoke quietly into the device telling of my placement on an enemy ship. I did not want to be reported dead.. Also I wanted to get the hell out.
A girl knocked on the door and I asked for a minute. She was polite and walked away.
I redialed and while leaving my second message, a second girl came around. This one not so polite. She asked “are you talking to someone?” And wouldn’t just let me be. She ended up sneaking something Into the lock, drawing a piece of the mechanics back until it opened, and barged her way in. She was a tall blonde girl with a long ponytail. Obviously an officers daughter as she was too clean for fighting and too self absorbed to be treated less than daddy’s little princess.
She crossed her arms and challenged my words, but somehow I got her to drop the suspicion and she led me back to her place like a stray dog.  A new toy to play with.
We crossed borders to a new ship; a civilian ship. She led me to her home, a bright Victorian with wide staircases, lively paint and warm blankets  tossed over homey couches.
She led me up a staircase to her room, obviously hungry for a friend her own age. Surprisingly nonchalant. She didnt care that I was in fatigues ripped and covered in mud and blood. Luckily so much so that you couldn’t tell that they were distributed by another military.
Her family was packing that night to go on a vacation. She wanted to go to the gym and since I said I needed to get back to that other ship soon she said she’d take me to see the “institutional” gym on the way since it was located on that ship.

I, The Rabbit

During the last semester at school I ran out of pages in my journal.  Instead of going out and finding a new one, I started a private blog with wordpress, that only I can see.  An online-diary of sorts.
I hate to be one of those youths that thinks (imagine me saying this in a dull, mopey & monotonous voice), “I write poetry, I’m so artsy” but it’s true- sometimes I do write poems, or lyrics to songs without a tune.

And a couple of them have ended up on my little private blog.

It’s kind of weird to think about it, I don’t just sit down and think “okay, time to write a poem” and plan it all out.  If I write one it’s just because it popped into my head.  Wedged it’s way into my conscious mind and refused to leave me alone until I put pen to paper.

So here is one of those poems, written quite recently on December 20th, 2012.

I, The Rabbit

Out from nowhere
fate would have it.
You a hawk
and I, the rabbit.
Swooping down, a friend or foe?
Even now I do not know.
Dare the rabbit pose the question,
‘of us, what is your impression’?
Fear, it killed the rabbit’s voice-
Stuck, the prey must make a choice.
Dare it chance to lose your favor,
with the hope of something greater?

 

 

Kristen LaMier

doubt

Doubt is an inevitable part of life.
Fear.
Uncertainty.
These things may give us reason to say “no“; to back down or step away.  But they are so much more.
They are the sign of an opportunity we wouldn’t generally be presented with.  They are the gateways to something greater, that often leave marks behind (Yes, sometimes these marks are scars, but they can also be something wonderful).
So don’t take doubt as a warning sign you must heed.
Take it as a possibility to adventure.
Live.

timeskip

Is it strange that I often wish that I could just skip a few years into the future?
Not that it would be many- just two or three.. perhaps four.

Everyone says that their college years are the most exciting years of their life- looking back on all the fun they had, with the freedom that comes with being between two key phases in life; our dependent childhood and high school antics, and being out in the working world, a full fledged “adult”. Whatever that means.

We are adults, independent but not quite all on our own.  We are still in school, but it was a “choice” (technically, anyway), not a government required education.  We have bills, loans, tuition, and  other finances to worry about, but we don’t always know how to handle them.  They are new to us.
For many of us we are in a new locale – surrounded by entirely new people.  Even after a few years there is still so much that we do not know.

I am trying to get into the habit of looking at this time in my life as others have- as an exciting time of freedom, both in that I am living on my own, in a city of “my own”, taking control of my studies as best I can.  But after three years of university (this is my fourth), I just wish I could move ahead already.  Be working every day in a field, in an occupation, that I enjoy.  Marrying the man I have  loved for years.  Getting pregnant for the first time and setting up my home.  Creating a family and rooting myself.

 

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