Alternative Facts Fiction

In response to Donald Trump’s so-called ‘alternative facts’ my colleagues and I have started a blog:

alternativefactsfiction.wordpress.com

Here, we have completely true, alternative facts with obviously real resources, stemming from news we clearly did not make up.

The page is still a work in progress, but I am proud to write the first article: Heidi Klum is a Cyborg, located specifically here:

https://alternativefactsfiction.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/heidi-klum-is-a-cyborg/

 

 

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An Approach

My breaths come and go evenly
because I am trying to calm my thundering heart.

My eyes drill deeply into your pores
because I have to commit your face to memory.

My feet tread purposefully
because they are preparing to break into a sprint.

My jutted jaw is held high
because it needs to make you believe I will fight back.

You may regard my smile as a middle finger
because Society has put my hands in mittens.

 

 

 

 

*Subject: Those darn woman-problems/Response to anyone who has ever said “not all men”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretending to Be a Grownup: Part 2/6

Part 2: Work toward your initially fake goal unless a better idea comes along, which it won’t.

The more I thought about it, the better going to Europe sounded.  Who cared that going at all was something I said on a whim?  I thought of Mr. Brandmeyer, my high school English teacher, “How do I know what I have to say until you say it?”  I said I was going to Europe.  It wasn’t a lie, but until it came out of my mouth, I didn’t know it was true.

I chose Wales because the majority of the country speaks both Welsh and English, and the cost of living is cheaper and safer than Scotland, Ireland, and England.  I figured I ought to try somewhere that is mostly or entirely English-speaking.  After all, if I moved to France, learned French and ended up hating France, then I will have learned an entire language with no one to speak French with (Also I am a lazy American, but the other reason sounds better.)!

I did my research, crunched the numbers, and decided I would live in Wales for one year, beginning January of 2017.

I was also trying to figure out what to do once I got back from Wales.  If I was still with The Artist (Arizona boyfriend), by then we would have been together for two years, so of course I would try to factor him in.  When I got back if he still had a semester or two to go and/or planned on continuing to live in AZ, maybe I could make a home in Phoenix.  

This is what I told myself:

It was a great idea!  Phoenix was close to campus and a major city.  Perfect for a budding writer in love with an artist who lived on a nearby college campus.  I would meet new people, and gain new experiences.  His friends would hopefully become mine.  I would live where it was warm and cacti roamed free -or something like that.  

Or maybe I would move back home.  I’m from Southern California so it was likely The Artist would make plans to move back to the same place after graduation. Arizona isn’t exactly the hubbub for creating a career. Ah Southern California, the perfect place for a budding writer in love with an artist who lived nearby.  

The beauty of this plan was that as a writer, I could live anywhere.  The only reason I planned to return to the U.S. at all, aside from if I couldn’t make a life for myself abroad, was The Artist.  He was nice, kind, sweet, thoughtful, and adored me.

I broke up with him on March third, exactly two months after we started dating.  I know.  I’m a monster.  I’ll get into this another time, but for now you can just say I’m a monster, I’m okay with that.

I got through the final semester of my college experience, and was lucky enough to be asked for an interview by a school reporter.  Apparently my story of going to Europe was the most interesting, or my photo shoot was the most entertaining of the bunch, and I got onto the front page of the school news magazine in the senior issue (15 minutes of fame: achieved).

All the while, I worked at both school and at the retirement home, and set money aside for my wanderlust excursion.  It was my best prospect and I loved it!

Pretending to Be a Grownup: Part 1/6

Part 1: Figure out something to do after college then just go with it.

Back in January, I didn’t know what to do with my life.  I was going to graduate college in May with a BA in English.

Unfortunately, it was around this time that in addition to my parents’ friends: my friends, colleagues, professors, and people who work at the coffee shop started to ask what I planned to do after graduation.  (If you don’t know, they look at you like you’re idiot who has wasted the last four years of her life.)

Luckily, this idiot had a ready-made answers:  I am going abroad to Europe for about a year.

Why? Because it would be exciting to live abroad, I have never been outside the U.S. and Mexico, and I will use my new life as inspiration for my writing.

What about your life here?  What about it?  I have a job as a cook at a retirement home that I can leave at any time.  I have friends here, but after graduation, most of them are leaving.

Why don’t you go home?  Southern California is very expensive, and I don’t really want to move back in with my parents without a plan to move out and move on with my life.

What about your boyfriend?  He lives in my hometown and is working on his degree in Arizona.  I’m not moving home or to Arizona for some guy I’ve dated less than a month, even if I have known him for several years.  My inner-feminist wouldn’t dare!

 

The truth was I didn’t have a frickin idea what I was going to do in Europe.  I blurted it out and it felt right.  I didn’t know where I was going to live, or what I would do for work.  I just knew that I didn’t have a job in my field lined up, I wasn’t going to grad school, and I didn’t have anyone or really anything to tie me down.  I really did want to travel at some point.  Might as well do it while I try to get my act together.

 

 

 

Freak Show

In the mid-sixteenth century, someone in England thought a display of abnormal humans would be something people would pay to see. He was absolutely right. Freak shows quickly grew in popularity and spread to the United States.

There’s something about the abnormal that invites the imagination to see what can be. What is more fascinating than the sight of a man entirely covered in tattoos? Or as grotesque as an obese woman? Or adorable as wallet-sized adult? Or as creepy as a pin-head? Probably a lot of things actually; but in an era where everyone looks the same and those who don’t are hidden away, absolutely nothing is quite as intriguing as a ‘freak.’

In the mid-nineteen fifties, scientists were finally making discoveries that could explain genetic anomalies and disabilities. Over the next few decades, the world slowly developed a new attitude of acceptance and celebration of all of our differences.

But we are still obsessed with the unusual. Everyone has paged through the Guinness Book of World Records and scrunched their noses at whoever is the current record holder for longest fingernails. Or watched some reality TV show and laughed as rich white ladies tear each other apart. Tiny or giant versions of regularly sized things are continually instagrammed: tiny food, tea-cup pigs, giant dogs, the list doesn’t end.

We act like ‘weird’ or ‘dysfunctional’ is the new ‘normal’ but it’s not. We’re still just a bunch of people who all look the same who stare at the collection of ‘freaks’ the world has to offer. The only thing that’s changed is that now we do it in secret. We gaze over the top of our phones and US magazines, and strain our eyes to keep them in our peripheral vision. We silently make assumptions about what they’re mothers did during their pregnancies that lead to their deformed arms, or wonder how they could hate themselves so much that they would want to vandalize their bodies with tattoos.

I’m just as guilty as you are.

In the town I live in, there is this woman in an electric wheelchair with an American flag at the top of a tall antennae attached to the back. Almost every day she goes on a walk or I guess her case, a roll around town. And when I see her I can’t help but stare. When I’m walking I peer at her from the corner of my eye. When I’m driving, I slow down and watch her from my rearview mirror.

She’s massive. Almost too big for her chair. Her second chin allows her body to forgo a neck and melt into her shoulders. Her arms appear to be cut off from circulation when she wears more fitted shirts. But what draws my eye is her stomach. Her enormous tummy spills over her waistline and hangs next to her ankles. I try to catch a glimpse of her when she rolls over a bump in the sidewalk and her belly sways into one of her legs.

I’m not proud of this. I kick myself for staring. She is a person. She doesn’t go outside for my amusement. I don’t like being scrutinized and I doubt she does. I know that I should pay as little attention to her as I do to everyone else. I don’t mean to watch, but I do. We all do. It’s not 1950 anymore, but we’re still on the look out for a freak show.

Getting started is the worst.

I currently have two drafts with potentially great material, but I can’t bring myself to finish them because I’m afraid they’ll suck.

Fear is an abusive friend.  But she is a friend.  Sure she’s petty, but she’s only looking out for you.  What if you mess up? What if they hate you?  What if you embarrass yourself and he dumps you and the world explodes?  These are valid points.

Really it’s better stick by Fear.  Fear keeps species of small rodents alive.  Fear allows us to hate people who are different from you because it’s easier than getting to know them.  After all, what if they’re axe murderers, or terrorists, or traveling salesmen?  You never know.

Late at night, when you’re in your empty house with all the lights on, Fear will cradle you in her arms.  She’ll rock you back and forth, and lovingly whisper potential failures.  How disappointed you’ll be, and how many people will laugh at you.

“Just remember,” Fear sings.  She tucks you into bed and pulls the covers up to your chin.  She leans in to kiss your nose and rests her forehead against yours.  “Just remember that everyone is a 1000 times better than you ever will be.”