Thursday, September 30, 2010


Nancy:  Original Outsider Girl writer, Nancy (Crosses, 1991, 2001).  Mother of Casey (OGW), confidante of Rain and Kayla (Somebody’s Daughter, OGW)

                     Moving On
                   By Nancy Keenan
Grab handful of necklaces:
                          Silver moon goddess
                          Turquoise healing beads
                          Long chain
                          Fat heart
                          Beaded Indian Mama
                          Clay wolf Casey made
                          Scribbled of phone #’s
                          Purple post-its
                          Witch Baby
Pile into used Priority
Mail shipping box:
                          Each Day a New Beginning
                          Wood Nymph Seeks Centaur
                          My Many Colored Days
                          Twelve filled notebooks
                          Buffy calendar
                          Hubble: Views of Space
                          Big Mama Panda
                          Little Panda Bear
                          The box 
                          The suitcase 
                          It all to my car.
                          Don’t cry sweet girl,
                          We’re going to be okay.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Corrina measures her life against popular girl, Sasha’s life.  In reality, both girls have been hurt badly, but Corrina can’t see past her own pain.

Corrina:   Sasha is popular.  Sasha grew breasts in sixth grade.  Sasha is thin.  I don’t think she is pretty, but everyone loves Sasha.  She’s all nice, she’s all weepy and broken.  I hat the way she gets everyone’s attention by telling them the private details of her life.  I’ve heard her father’s mean.  He hits her mother.  Maybe he hurts Sasha.
     Sasha is a virgin, and everyone knows it.  My friends and I make fun of her for it. 
     One time, after Math class, I wanted to talk to the teacher, Mr. Mitchem, because my sister was in the hospital again and my mother got drunk and was in jail, and I didn’t have time to do my homework and I wanted an extension instead of a zero… but Sasha got to him first.  She was crying.  Mr. Mitchem told me to leave the room.
     Sasha and I were in the bathroom once together.  I was mad because I went in there to throw up, and with her there, I couldn’t.  I had to stare at my split ends, ugly brown frizzy split ends without style hair.  Ugly blue eyes that didn’t sparkle like Sasha’s, and couldn’t call up tears at a moment’s notice like Sasha’s eyes could.  I was tough.  She was a weak, sniveling, spoiled…
     Sasha:  Sometimes I hold my stomach in all day.  You’re lucky, you’re so thin.
     Me:  My mother says my butt is too big.  It’s huge.  How do you—
     Sasha:  I’d trade my breasts for your butt any day.  I have no butt at all.
     It was true, she had a flat butt, but still, everyone said she was so pretty.  No one said that about me.
     Sasha went back to the auditorium for rehearsal.  She had a lead in Fiddler on the Roof.  All I ever wanted to be was a singer and an actor, but when I tried out, they told me I looked too young (i.e., flat-chested!), and I could be in the chorus or work backstage doing sets.
     I ended up working backstage because a lot of girls back there thought Sasha was a prima donna and they didn’t want to listen to her cry about her flat butt and big breasts.
     Woe is her.  Maybe her Daddy does more than hit her Mom.  Maybe I don’t care.
     I heard the drama coach saying to the head set designer how poor Sasha had so many problems.  When I heard that, my eyes stung, because Mr. Opal was not only the drama coach, but was also my favorite teacher and the only person I would ever consider talking to about my problems.  But like everyone else, he only cared about Sasha, apparently.  I turned and walked away, and Mr. Opal didn’t even notice I was standing there.  I went to the bathroom – alone this time – and put my finger way down the back of my throat and threw up and threw up and threw up.  Fuck Sasha.  Could Sasha do this?  Someday someone would notice, and then they’d forget about Sasha’s problems and they’d talk about how sad I am.  Someday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Gemma is the adolescent girl with wings, a birth defect caused by her mother smoking Fairy Dust.  Gemma is in New York City, searching for her mother, who ran away when Gemma was six.  Earlier posts from Gemma appeared in OGW 9/24/09, 10/29/09, 2/4/10, and 7/29/10.  In this, longer, post, Gemma finishes her visit with the Hag, who divinates where Gemma can find her mother.

Gemmma:  “Spirit of Fire, burn away the masks which may hide Gemma’s mother from her --” 
     I close my eyes.  I barely breathe.  This is so stupid, and yet I want to believe.  I want to believe this is a spell that will conjure my mother.  I want to believe that tomorrow midnight -- the dawn of spring -- the Hag will turn into a beautiful maiden, and she will have fulfilled her destiny and magic will be real and my mother will appear in this circle next to me any second now, any second now I’ll smell her rosemary shampoo and feel her hand rest on mine and I’ll stop shivering and --
     “Spirit of Water, wash away the obstacles that stand between Gemma and Maya--”
     I smell incense, not my mother.  Incense and rosewater and the slight stink of diaper, a smell I remember from when Jacob, my Jacob, was a baby.  
     Great, just great, the most magical witch in the city wears Depends.  Opening my eyes a crack, I see her bare feet right next to me.  They are smooth and milk-white, not the hairy, bunioned things I expected.  But instead of seeing the magic in that, I want to scream, You’re not a witch! I but I don’t, I just sniffle again as I start to cry, thinking, It’s hopeless.  This old woman will never find --
      “Spirit of Earth, ground us... ground us...”
     Ground us in reality, woman!  Like, get a grip, I think, mustering up some anger out of my fear and heartache and starting to stand up again.  With surprising strength, the old lady pushes me back down. 
     “Ground us in reality,” she says, which freaks me the hell out, I mean does everyone here read minds?  Again, I try to stand, and again she pushes me down.  “You must not break the circle,” she says, and then she totters away to the cabinet over the sink.  I’m watching her as she stands on her toes and reaches in, pulls down a box -- not a shoe box but maybe a boot box -- and brings it back to the circle.  She puts the it in the circle with me.
     All of this has been as if I’m not here looking at her.  Frustration is welling up inside of me like a tornado gathering momentum and sucking everything in.  I’m shaking, I’m so mad.  Where is my mother, that’s all I came here to find out!  I don’t have time for hocus pocus bullcrap.
     “What the --”
     Before I can even get going on my rant, the old, haggy, witching woman gasps!  She claps her hands to her cheeks, and her mouth is a ridiculous “O”.  Putting her hands on the box, she says, “Look what the spirits have brought!”  She pushes the box toward me until it touches my legs.
     The bitch witch opens the box slowly.
     Oh my Goddess.  Oh my Goddess!  I dive into the box with my hands, grabbing letters addressed with my mother’s handwriting -- oh God, I remember now how she used to dot her “i’s” with little hearts...  Envelopes marked “Return to Sender”, envelopes addressed to me!  Fifty letters, easy, plus drawings, a little watercolor of me, a silver ring with a dragon etched into it that says “Luis”.  That’s my Celtic zodiac sign.  I put the ring on, and my finger feels warm, and then the warmth rushes up my arm and to my heart.  Other trinkets that clatter and tinkle as I scrape my fingers through the box, feeling my mother, physically feeling her presence.
     I’m crying so hard, I can hardly see.  I’m happy to have the box, but I’m going to rip the old woman’s head off for not just giving it to me.  I want to boil her in oil.  I want to shake her until she breaks into pieces and leave her on her weird kitchen floor in her weird, fake circle, a puddle of baby blue satin and tulle.
     “You!  You!  You, you -- you had this all this time and you made me sit here and wait and you saw, you saw how upset I was, and you, you pretended to do magic, but I saw you!  I saw you turn on the stove to make it warm!  I saw you get my mother’s things out of the cabinet!  You’re just, you are -- you are a LIAR! I HATE YOU!”
     I drop handfuls of my mother’s letters back into the box, try to put the top on but am shaking so badly, I can’t even do that simple task, and I feel like such a loser and a chump.  Finally, I get the top on and clutch the box to my body -- protecting it, loving it, holding on to it for dear life.  I scramble to my feet and run to the door in a totally ridiculous way because I am still wearing my tight leather skirt and I can’t move my legs that well, plus my foot has fallen asleep --
     “Fuck a duck!” I say, withholding a scream as I struggle with the chains and bolts holding me in.  I can’t get out, I can’t get out, help me help me “MoFo!” I cry out.  I can’t breathe.
     The old woman puts her arm over my shoulder.  I feel something like an electric shock, and for an instant I think I’ve been tasered!  Either because of the taser or because I’m panicking, I can’t move!  I call out with my mind for my Fant friends, “Help me!”
     Suddenly, the shock fades, and like before, when Aleia touched my chest, I feel calm.  I watch while a hand unfastens the door and opens it for me.
     “Go in peace, Believe in peace, Create peace,” I hear, but it’s not the old woman’s gruff, warbling voice -- it’s a soft, warm, feminine voice that feels on my ears like a swallow of warm milk would feel.
     As I leave, I turn to look, and instead of seeing the old woman, I see a beautiful maiden.  She smiles.  “Spring is early this year,” she says just as Ian comes barreling up the stairs. 
     “No!” I say to him, but it’s too late.
     He’s yanked a pole out of the bannister, and is brandishing it like a sword, aiming for the hag/maiden’s throat.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Ramona is bulimic, and her therapist wants her to start each day with a positive affirmation, but it doesn’t work out that way.

Ramona:  I stare at myself in the mirror.  Actually, it’s more of a glare.  I’m supposed to look into my eyes and tell myself, “I’m pretty enough, I’m thin enough, I’m good enough, I am enough!”
     Instead, I say, “I’m fat.  I’m ugly.  No one will ever love me!” 
     I mean, fuck therapy.  Anyway, it’s true.  I see myself in the mirror, and I am fat, I am ugly.  I’m not enough for anyone to love me.  
     My reflection stares hard back at me.  I’m so crazy, I’m having a staring contest with myself, seeing who will blink first, LOL. 
     Blink.  Blink, blink.  My eyelids start moving fast, as if they’re holding back tears, only they’re not because I would never cry in front of anyone, even myself in the mirror.  I try never to cry at all, because what’s the point?  No one cares.
     “No one cares about me.  Mom would rather sit at her laptop writing than hear me talk.  What I say isn’t important.”
     I sigh.  Theresa, my therapist, would say that I’m holding on to a resentment against my Mom, but I’m like, for what?  For ignoring me?  I have a right to be angry.  I want to be angry.
     It’s not just that my Mom doesn’t have time to read the poem I wrote her, like happened last night. 
     It’s that I remember, the last time I cried, she said, “Ramona, I can’t understand you when you’re crying!  Go to your room until you can be calm enough to talk to me coherently.”
     Well, I went to my room, and I wrote in my journal, wrote how much I hate him, I hate my stepfather, Cody --
I hate him hate him hate him hate him hate him
     Then I scribbled in my sketchpad, a picture of how I was feeling, black lines without direction, over and over, a black hole of graphite expanding and then PWOOF, it dragged me in, and I did stop crying.  I got all calm.  I went downstairs, and I said, “Mom, can we talk now?” and I was gonna tell her the truth about Cody, and she was gonna take me into her arms like she used to when I fell on my rollerskates and my knee was bleeding, or that time I took the wrong bus after school and got lost and was all the way in New Haven and –
     “Sweetie, I’m trying to make dinner now.  This isn’t a good time.”
     “Mom!  It has to be now!”
     “Cody will be home soon and you have homework, and I have to get this chicken in a pan.”  My mother squinted at an open copy of The Joy of Cooking.  She glanced at me.  She sighed.  “Please, Ramona, I’m busy.”
     “Ramona!  I said not now!”
     Now, looking into the mirror, I say, “I’m thin enough for Cody.  I’m pretty enough for Cody.”
     But he’s ruined me for anyone else. 
     Even for myself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Cherish, teen mother and Outsider Girl, tries to find some time for herself and discovers it’s “not about me”.  Cherish also appeared in OGW April 1, 2010 and May 20.

Cherish:  Seven am, before the boy is awake.  He got me up at four, then he went back to sleep.  I tossed and turned, got up, made the coffee for my mother and me, sat down at my computer.
Free time.  Writing time.
Only there’s an email from the Disney store about a sale on hoodies, and next thing I know I’m browsing their site for about an hour, and I’ve put like sixty dollars on my PayPal account and I’ve bought the boy stuff like a white tee shirt with Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas on it which I figure he can get away with wearing to school ‘cause the uniform is a white shirt.
I want him to stand out.  I want him noticed.
That’s how it is now – screw me getting noticed, nobody ever noticed me for the good things anyway.  And now I don’t have to worry about me anymore, it’s all about him.
I haven’t written one word.  I have like six pages of a children’s book, one I’m writing for him, my sweet little boy.
For him.
When will it be for me again?
Was it ever?
But guess what -- I have a beautiful boy going into kindergarten this year, so who the fuck am I to complain?
Only, I can’t help it.  I want a boyfriend, friends, a new hoodie for me, a full night sleep going to bed before one and up after nine and then a day to write and draw like I used to but—
He’s awake now, tugging on me leg, smiling in my face.  Then he sneezes, and the dripping boogers make him cry so I have to go now, have to clean his face.  Story over.
For today, it’s not about me—
It’s Not About Me.