Tag Archives: story

Skylos Milo

“With my new invention the Skylos Milo which means dog speak in Greek, I will be able to hear what dogs are trying to tell us. First, I will test my device in veterinary hospitals. Stomach ache? Labor pains? Pulled tendon? We’ll be able to understand your beloved canine. Then I will allow the device to be commercialized and the dog can actually be part of the family!” I explain to my potential investors.

“Professor Schwartzman, have you tested this device yet?” A board member asks.

I clasp my hands together, “Yes, I am in the final stage of testing. And I wouldn’t be before you here today if I wasn’t absolutely positive that my device can interpret what dogs are saying.”

The board decides to fund my device. I could not be happier. I rush home and cannot wait until next week for the lab to finish testing. Causally, I walk down my neighborhood street to the corner where the houses have the most dogs.

I have been working for this moment for five years. I start pushing buttons and flicking switches. An excitement unlike anything I have felt like ever before washes over me when I place the device like helmet on my head.

I hear a whirling sound then a dog barks chasing a car. I expect to hear a complex language even if the communication is not in English, but sadly not. “Hey! Hey!”

Then another dog barks at me, “Hey! Hey! Hey!”

Dogs do not communicate as much in sounds as I thought!? My life is ruined.

My device works perfectly, but it is the problem I was trying to solve ends up it is actually not even a problem.

dog talk

Inspired by the image

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My Decrepit Soul

 

light bulb man

Story inspired by this image

“Congratulations, Private Johnson, you survived Basic Training,” Dad said patting me on the back.

All smiles, I say, “Thanks Dad. BCT was – really rough, but I’m glad to be able to- to have the experience.”

“Yeah, it was the experience all right.” My sister, Jessy, is doing everything I have not been able to do for ten weeks: chew bubble gum, pop her hip out, scroll through her phone, and say ‘yeah’.

Mom swoops in for a hug, “Well, honey, I am so incredibly proud of you!”

“Thanks. You’re letters really kept me going. Letters keep everyone . . . motivated. You can just see how different people act when they haven’t – uh- received any mail to when they finally have,” I say while at parade rest, a force of habit.

“We tried to write you as often as possible, but your letters just got to us so slowly,” Mom explains.

“Yes, the mail has to go through several, um what’s the word, post offices before coming to the base and often the drill sergeants don’t pass mail out for a week.” It is so strange being the center of attention again.

“Hm, that’s too bad,” Jessy says popping a bubble.

“Well, you must be in the best shape of your life, son,” Dad says.

“No, not really. I’ve got so many ant-bites, rashes and, oh whatdacallit, a stress fracture in my hip. Yes, I gained – muscle, I’m fit. But not the best shape, no.”

I did not realize how difficult it would be to talk. I have been focused on one task at a time and clearing everything else out of my mind for so long. Stringing words together that actually make sense is so foreign to me.

The Army has one large dictionary and the only words are swear words. I hardly swore before, and now restraining from cussing only makes talking all the more difficult.

I have forgotten so much. This morning a civilian asked me if the ground was muddy. I forgot what the word ‘ground’ meant. We have all forgotten voices, lyrics to our favorite songs, names of loved ones.

I feel like my mind is a glowing light bulb, but with the cord unplugged. Where I get my energy, my motivation, my will power is gone. I cannot find it; I am so exhausted not only physically but also emotionally. I have to be strong for my family, but I can hardly be strong for myself. Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I keep going, continue to have my light glow.

More muscle than ever before, but I have never felt this unconnected to the universe outside my own decrepit soul.

 

More Than a Quote

I have a blue notebook in my office that I received for Christmas in 2014, in which I write down in colorful pen whatever words touch me. I call it my Quote Book and I’m up to page 49 now. Not all the quotes are from famous people though, some are from my best friend, my teachers, myself, textbooks, or just random people who I hear talking in the halls.

Yes, this is what nerds do on perfect Sunday afternoons or on late Friday nights. I scour Goodreads looking for quotes and then I get lost in the ocean of humanity’s mind just like I get lost in the encyclopedia. Ralph Waldo Emerson once penned “Words are finite organs of the infinite mind” and I want to douse myself in other’s lively minds. I want to pour wisdom into my mind from wherever I can find it, so that I can have that wisdom while I live my life.

And so if I get lost on Goodreads then that just means that I am getting lost in wisdom that will prepare me for living. I am being found.

I am in a constant state of losing and finding myself. I am designing and developing myself by adding to my schema the thoughts of others who have already lost and found themselves hundreds of times over.

This is why I like learning because in learning about the world and how it works or doesn’t work, I am really learning about and forming myself so that I can change the world. Muriel Rukeyser once said, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms” and so I learn about the universe by learning about stories and the people who tell them.

If you can’t tell already this blog post is gonna be loaded with quotes 🙂 If you are asking yourself why a teenage girl is writing a blog post about quotes when most girls her age are either taking duck-face selfies on snapchat, let John Green answer your question, “Nerd life is just so much better than regular life.” And let me remind you, you are reading this nerdy blog post so you might be included in that “nerd life”. Plus, you have hope for humanity.

Anyway, back to the Quote Book, on the inside front cover I have written a quote by John Green “Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.” So what does my Quote Book say about me?

Well, on surface level, I at first only wrote down quotes from Superhero movies and comicbooks then branched out to other types of quotes. I was on a Mark Twain kick for a while (thanks, Goodreads!) and now my quote-obsession is John Green.

On a deeper level, just from that information of who I quote (comicbooks, Mark Twain, John Green), a statement is made about me. I do not care about who said the words; I care about what the words say to me.

I like to play a game where I read a quote from my book and a friend has to guess who said it: a professional writer, a normal person, or a comicbook. Generally they are surprised by who said it, and so the speaker of the words holds little power over the words themselves. Just because comicbooks has fist fights and aliens, doesn’t mean that they also have heart and poetry. “No acknowledgement or any amount of money can return integrity once it is spent” is a quote from One Month to Live #5, which was a comicbook  produced by Marvel Comics in 2010.

But what is my favorite quote? My favorite quote is my mantra, my motto, my manifesto that was written two thousand years ago; it is my rallying cry when I do not want to move forward; it is what is written on my heart and what I want to be written on my every action. My favorite quote says everything I want it to say about me and what I want to say. “But anyone who is not aware that he is doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater” Luke 12:48.  I have a great purpose to accomplish and I will fulfill my potential with every breath I take because that is why I breathe. My favorite quote tells me the meaning of my own life and what I should do with it.

Plus, my favorite Bible verse is oddly similar to my favorite comicbook quote, “With great power there must also come great responsibility” from Amazing Fantasy #15. But this is a case where authorship is everything because I want the words I live by to mean more than words. Although I love Stan Lee, I have so much more assurance in the truth of words spoken by Jesus Christ, Creator and Savior of the Universe.

Ossie Davis said, “Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change — it can not only move us, it makes us move”; I think that quotes are similar to art. Quotes necessitate action. They inspire us to move forward and encourage us to keep moving forward. Quotes tell us to live. And yet quotes are just words of other people to whom we entrust power of our belief upon. A quote — if I choose to give it power — could literally be as plain as “I walked my dog”.  A quote has power if we accept it as truth.

And so, John Green’s quote about quotes has power because I accept it as truth and will transform its words into actions. With this in mind, I think that my Quote Book is not as its name implies; rather it is a collection of words that I have granted power and have promised to take action upon. It is a compendium of thoughts I have deemed worthy to hold prestige in the ranks of my identity. The words that others declared and whispered and hoped are the ones that tell my story because they are the ones that I have chosen to tell it.


“Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

-Proverbs 7:2-3

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With a Single Glance

The single glance

conveyed a thousand

wandering,

wondering,

thoughts.

The single glance

lasted for only the briefest of seconds

but told the stories of lifetimes.

The single glance

between two eyes

between two closed mouths

between two faces

between two people

told the stories of thousands

with a single glance.