Thursday, April 29, 2010


Alyssa:  I wonder why I do it.  Sometimes I wonder.  
Like, why do I pick up my room, why do I do the dishes, why do I put away my clothes and do my laundry?
Why do I write, when no one notices.
I feel like I’m maybe invisible, like 
No, not invisible, exactly.  It’s more that everyone sees me fine but they turn away, and I don’t know why and so I also don’t know why I do anything for anyone – even when it’s just for me, which it never is anyway -- because it doesn’t ever work.  It doesn’t make anyone happy.
They yell, they kiss they have lives and I’m not there not for them, I mean not for my parents, not for anyone
It seems like, sometimes.
I shouldn’t talk like this.  If my mother heard me she’d cry and call me mean probably and she’d be right because it is mean to talk about someone and especially to say they don’t love you when all they ask is you don’t get in the way and you let them have a grown-up conversation once in a while—
That’s what they’d say.  I mean, my parents.  My mother, okay?
And they got me this computer, I mean she did, she got me this computer which I didn’t ask for because I liked my old laptop just as good only this one goes online only I never do that because I don’t do facebook or anything because no one wants to know what I’m thinking or doing
Sometimes it seems that way.
Sometimes it seems like she gets me things just so she can see if I’m using them, like, “Honey why don’t you go write, you like to write, go use your new computer,” and I’m thinking, I only wanted to sit with you awhile.  Only I never say that.
I just go up to my room and write
And sometimes I delete what I’ve written as soon as I’m done because maybe when I’m not here she comes in my room and checks to see what I’ve been doing.  Just in case, I also wink through web sites, like at least fifteen a night, because that seems normal and I want her to think I’m normal.
She doesn’t think I am, it seems like.
Well, I’m not making that up, because she takes me to a therapist in New Haven and she says I’m a good girl but I don’t know what to do with myself, like that’s a crime.
I know what I want to do, or I used to, but then I got all mixed up between what I want to do and what I’m supposed to be, like, supposed to be a good girl, but what is that, exactly?  Supposed to be normal so I try really hard, and supposed to not be underfoot and supposed to not talk so much because her ears are hurting and it’s not me, it’s her she says, it’s her job and she gets tired and she understands why some women have children when they’re young but she thought she had to do something with her life first only now look at her, all she is is my mother.  She hates that.
Sometimes it seems like
I mean isn’t it normal to
Like shouldn’t doesn’t every kid want to
Me!  Not every or any kid, me!  I just want to curl up in a ball next to her and if she cries it’s okay and if I cry it’s okay and it’s no trouble, I’m no trouble, I just think if I could get hugged, well that’s what I really want to do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Hannah worries about getting a job.  She worries about her father's drinking.  She worries that to keep him, she'll have to give up everything else.

Hannah:  I need a job. 
I have to get a job, I can’t fucking believe it, well I can believe it, but I don’t want to.
My father says not to worry, not yet.  He says we’re not there yet.  He’s not, but I am.  He doesn’t get that worry is almost a superstitious thing with me, like I believe if I worry enough, the bad things won’t happen. 
If I don’t worry enough, then I won’t get to go to college, and I will have to quit the swim team, and I will have to quit babysitting even, because I will have to get a job that I’ll go to every day after school until probably midnight, and then I’ll have to do my homework, and my grades will drop—
But we won’t have to live in our car.  Hell, maybe we’ll still have a car. 
I don’t want to tell my Dad that he shouldn’t have done what he did.  He shouldn’t have kept a cooler of ice and an open bottle of vodka, V-8 Splash and a big red cup in his trunk.  I don’t think that it would be right to criticize him, because he drinks because of me, because of it’s hard to raise a girl on your own and its hard to teach kids all day and then come home to another kid.  It’s hard when your kid doesn’t do the grocery shopping and complains you didn’t leave her money and that’s why there’s nothing to eat for dinner except a box of macaroni and cheese that’s been in the pantry “since your mother died.”
I don’t want to tell him to stop saying these things because then he will get mad and leave and I’ll have no one.
I don’t want to tell him he’s wrong because he’s really the nicest guy deep down and actually I don’t want him to stop drinking because he has to get a break, he works so hard and anyway, he’s nicer when he’s had a few drinks.
It’s never a few.
I’m such a liar!  He always tells me that, that I’m a liar when I tell him I didn’t have Brian over when I was babysitting, and I’m not sleeping with him and I don’t smoke pot and I’m doing the best I can.  He says I’m a liar because I always act like everything’s so hard when I have it so easy, I only have to go to school and—
I’m a liar for saying I have to get a job.
But who’s going to pay to get the lights turned back on?  Who’s going to pay the cable bill for him because he says how’s he going to relax without his TV, and I have some mouth on me and not everyone wants to read a book after a long day and his head hurts so leave him alone—
He should just leave, he says after he’s had six drinks.  He should be able to do what he wants, he’s earned that because he’s been working since he was sixteen and he put himself through college and grad school, and who the fuck do they think they are at that school that they think they can get along without him and who the fuck do I think I am whining about getting a job when I have it so good?
It sounds bad, but I love him, even if he says I’m a liar and I don’t really.  Lie, I mean. 
I love him, and I want him to have his cable and his vodka and everything that will make him happy and make him love me—
And never leave me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kayla/Somebody's Daughter

Kayla is a frequent OGW writer.  Her story, along with those of Nancy, Casey and Rain, became the inspiration for a new novel, Somebody's Daughter.  Read the first 21 pp. of Somebody's Daughter at  Read more from Kayla, Casey, Rain and Nancy in OGW:  10/1, 11/5, 11/12, 12/10, 12/31, 1/14, 2/11, 3/25.  Here's a little more from Kayla:

Somebody’s Daughter
Kayla:  Interview 4; recorded Monday, 9/13/10 at 3:35 pm:
I’m recording this now because Mommy you need to know this, you need to hear me, please don’t be mad:  
Here’s what happens when a heart breaks:  You feel it in your back and around my ribs.  The focal point is in your heart, a heavy coldness that spins inside, jagged edges cutting out your center, your self.  The pain extends around like a rope, tying all of you into the loss.
Your stomach feels empty, even though you’ve just eaten a small mountain of chips and spicy melted cheese hoping to fill it and be a normal teenager again, when you’ll never be normal or quirky or pretty or promising or loveable...
You can’t fill yourself, and you grasp with your fingers, without even thinking about it – your fingers open and close, reach and pull.  You want to get something, anything inside.  Even if it’s anger.  Or self-loathing.
Nothing can go right when your heart is breaking.  You get out your paints to try and show the darkness inside on the outside, and the brush flies out of your hand and is lost under the bed where you can’t reach without getting a splinter in your belly. Jesus fucking Christ Give Me a Break!  You yell in a whisper at the ceiling and at all the Gods of all the religions who let this happen to you.  
You get out another brush and paint anyway, but the color over color over color turns to mud, and it only drags your spirit into the mess of your aching body and the final picture doesn’t cover the hole inside you, it makes you cry, and before long you’re  wailing as you try to paint the canvas, and fail, and start painting yourself brown and ugly like you feel.  
You feel like everything you’ve worked for – hoping and dreaming and praying so hard – it was all a lie, a great cosmic lie.  The way you felt just hours before the party – swollen with excitement, fat with pleasure, open to possibilities, one with the whole fucking fabric of the universe or some shit, well it’s all gone now because it wasn’t just waking up and not remembering, and it wasn’t just finding the only boy you ever loved in the room with your best friend -- it wasn’t just your innocence…
It was all of you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Allison has a weight problem, which she believes is why her boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend.  While she exercises and listens to random music, she discovers that she is worth more than she thought.  She is "good enough."

Allison:  My mother bought doughnuts.
They're downstairs.
I hear them calling my name.  Just kidding.  That was a stupid joke, not even funny.  Not even a joke.  Just stupid.  God, I'm stupid and fat. 
     My eyelids are drooping.  Gotta stay awake.  Five am, holy crap attack, WTF am I doing?  Exercising.  Me. 
     Wack job.
     (Wack job who just wants someone to love her.)
     Doughnuts:  "Allison, come eat us..."
     Turning up the music -- Bono singing "Children of the Revolution",
"You won't stop children of the revolution..."
"Aaaa-llison, eat me..."
Okay, that was kinda funny.  But seriously, gotta focus.  Mandy, older sister, bitch, banging on the wall.  Turn down the music.  Decide to put on iPod.  Down on the floor with my mother's old "Ab Slide" which I found in the basement, in an area of sorry stuff I call "As Seen on TV Fitness Junk".  OMG, I am hysterical.
Slide once out and in with the Ab Slide and my knees crunch.  Get a pillow and kneel on that.  Slide, Slide.  This hurts my shoulders.  The song is "Before He Cheats," Carrie Underwood.  How appropriate.  Stupid shit stupid Jared stupid fuckhead stupid pot smoking dipshit creep.
Wow, that woke me up.  Start Ab Sliding faster.
Earbud wire gets rolled over, then tangled, and buds fall out of my ears.  Put them back in.  Song:  Concrete Blonde, "Mendocino."  Oldie but goodie-- "If I could be with you again/I would fall all over you like a rain."
Stop Sliding.
Stretch.  Think about DOUGHNUTS.  Don't think about doughnuts.  Dance in front of the mirror (song:  Flobots, "Handlebars"... "I can tie a knot in a cherry stem")  I can.  Tie a knot in a cherry stem, I mean.  With my tongue.  And yet dumbshit Jared messed around with Eleanor, and what kind of name is that anyway?  Better than "Allison", I guess.
Everything's better than Allison, I guess.  Everyone is better than Allison, I guess. 
Fat.  Smart enough to "ruin the curve" -- that's what they say, "Allison, you ruined the curve." No style.  Half the music on my iPod is my sister's or my mother's, how pathetic.  Loser!
Downstairs, past the doughnuts (DOUGHNUTS).  Listening to Christina Aquilera, "Beautiful", change it to "Fighter" -- "After all you put me through/ You'd think I'd despise you/ But in the end I want to thank you/Cause you made me that much stronger"-- yeah, right. That's why I Ab Slided (Slid?) for a whole minute.  Sign me up for the Olympics.
OMG, I've got to get moving.  Five-thirty.  Half hour to doughnuts if I run. 
Past the Beecher's old house.  Their daughter, Eleanor.  As in Jared was feeling her up in the hall during cheerleading practice which he thought I was at but I got kicked off the team and left early because I can't do a split and I don't look good in a short skirt either...
That Eleanor.
Huff Puff.  "All Apologies," Nirvana.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention Eleanor used to be my neighbor and best friend and I've known her since I was two years old?  That Jared met her when she was with me?
Eleanor had to move away from our block.  Song:  "Sleeps with Butterflies," Tori Amos.  Anyway, Eleanor moved last year. Foreclosure on her house.  Now she lives in a dirty little apartment with her loser father who never comes home and actually does heroin, I mean truthfully, does heroin, which is like, heroin?  A Dad who does heroin.  Freaks me out to think about it.
Slowing down.  "Solitude stands by the window," (Suzanne Vega).  Eleanor is so alone.  She needs Jared.  But I need Jared.  We all need someone.  That's gotta be a song, but not one on my iPod or not one I can think of right now because there's hardly any oxygen getting to my brain anymore.  Pant gulp pant.
This is not even running!  I am walking.  My lungs burn.  My shoulder hurts.  It's dark and it's cold.  I am tired.  I press forward on the iPod.  Now, Evanescence, "Immortal," singing, "I held your hand through all of these years," which is really me and Eleanor, not me and Jared.  Screw Jared.  I pick up the pace.
Miley Cyrus, "Hoedown Showdown"... "Put your hawk in the sky move side to side--" whatever the hell that means, but I'm singing out loud anyway.  Really moving now (!!!)--
Running -- "We will be Victorious" (Muse, "Uprising)
"Smells Like Teen spirit"
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"
Eddie Vedder
Natasha Bedingfield
More Muse and Nirvana Christina Aquilera Cyndi Lauper Jimmy Eats World Vivaldi Blue October Avril Levigne more Christina Flobots L'il Kim Fleetwood Mac (?) Patti Smith Go Go Go Go Go Run Run Run I am Allison I am
Good enough.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Cherish:  New Outsider Girl Cherish is a young mother, trying to complete high school and still raise her son Jonah with love and attention.

     Cherish: “But I don’t like school.  I want to stay with you,” my son says, pushing out his lower lip.
     My heart breaks for just an instant, and then I’m back on task.
     “Jonah, you have to go to school.  Mommy has to go to school.  Same as every day.  It’s the same every day!  Come3 on baby, why do you have to do this to me?  Put on your shoes.”
     “Jonah!”  I break.  I grab him hard and pull him to me.  I shove his feet into his sneakers.  “You don’t need me to dress you, Jonah.  You’re a big boy.”
     He clutches at me, but falls when I move back too quickly.
     Great, now he’s crying.  Great, that means there will be no time to make my lunch or get to my first class on time, and it’s all his fault and I hate—
     Pulling him into a hug, I say, “It’s okay, baby.  Mommy’s here.  I love you so much, baby.”
     “Can I go with you today?  I want to stay with you,” he says, pouting again, tears stopped in their tracks on his cheeks, guilting me until I wipe them away with my sleeve.
     I’m angry again.  Everyday we have this stupid argument!  He thinks I don’t want to be with him, but I am with him almost all the time.  After school, I don’t do my homework, I play knights and pirates with him.  I read to him, I bathe him, I feed him a fucking butter sandwich because he won’t eat the grilled cheese with bacon that I made specially for him.  I watch “Tutenstein” and “Little Bill”. 
     And after he’s in bed, when he gets up at ten o’clock, when I’ve finally has time to start my own homework – when he comes out of our room into the living room and my mother yells, “Jonah get your ass back in bed this minute!” and he tilts his head, smiles and says, “One more hug kiss?”…
     I drop everything, and I hug his scrawny body, kiss him on the lips and tuck his head under my chin so I can suck up the scent of baby that still lingers in his hair even though he’s already four.
     I will never graduate if I don’t get to school.  I will get another zero today on my homework. 
     “Quit babying him Cherish,” my mother says.
     “Please can I go with you?” Jonah asks me.  “You can walk with your friends and I’ll be really quiet.”
     I laugh at that.
“Hey,” I say.  “How about if instead of Gran driving you, you walk with me and my friends.”
“Cherish, honest to God in His Kingdom, how you gonna ever make something of your life if you don’t start teaching him life is what it is and get used to it, so what it sucks!  Get yourself to school girl!  Come on Jonah.  You with me.”
Zipping Jonah’s hoodie, I say to my mother.  “Naah Ma, he’s with me today.”
She looks at me like I’m the stupidest child who ever walked the earth.  She rolls her eyes.  “I’m gonna be late for work,” she says.  Leaving, she doesn’t even stop to kiss her grandson.
I pull him close.  “One more hug kiss,” I say.  We hold on tight for each other, believing that no matter what anyone says, we’re going to make it.
So what if we’re a little late.