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Eyes Wide Closed

March 13, 2011

Lying on a blanket in the new, spring grass. The sun is hot on my face, but the breeze is cool, whisking away little beads of sweat forming on the tops of my legs. I’m in the middle of Atlanta, but I could be anywhere. The sun becomes a red haze through my eyelids when I close my eyes, and I’m a thousand years away. 

In a backyard beside a wading pool, lost in the endless stretch of summer months. Delirious from the heat and too many cherry popsicles. My sister’s poised at the top of a yellow, hilly slide we’ve aimed towards the water. I marvel at how good my hearing is when my eyes are closed, and I sigh as the Dogwood trees rustle.

And it’s sand dunes and oceanic white noise. And wet sand rubbing against my skin underneath my lavender bikini. Two teenagers lying side by side, parallel to each other for the shortest of times. Hot, suntanned hands, unmarred by worry lines or tattoos, holding on to each other at the edge of the world. Our closed eyes and wandering thoughts oblivious to the salty water trying to lick at our feet, lapping at the soaked edges of our cotton beach towels.

And I’m swaying in a hammock, on a slanted wooden piazza. The leaky, Victorian roof drips water on my toes after a Lowcountry thunderstorm. Charleston feels like a reigning queen of a city, and I simultaneously want to stay forever in and run screaming from her conservative propriety. I turn my head to face the dusty cobblestone street. My closed eyes see what others can’t — hoopskirt-clad women descending from horse drawn carriages. Confederate supporters on a street corner, gathered around a propaganda table, laughing away the thought of a war.

And deep in a valley of buildings, laughing and cheering in the distance moves closer as if it were being carried towards me on a wave. I sit up after drifting to sleep on a lazy Sunday afternoon, surrounded by a type of delirious, illicit, weekend joy that seems to take over Manhattan. My Southern sundress, a beloved juxtaposition in my life, is damp down the back from the dewey grass and the unexpected Northern heat wave. I peer across the lawn and see an impromptu wedding party. Promised vows are met with cheers from the whole park. Young love so sweet it can move an entire city. I smile and lay back down.

With my eyes closed, in the new spring grass, in the middle of Atlanta.



Sketchbook Project

January 17, 2011

Writing can be beautiful. It can be witty. It can be anything you want, and that’s why I’m a writer. But sometimes words just don’t say it all. So, to flex my artistic muscles, I entered the Art House Co-op Sketchbook Project 2011. It was fun–I’ve always liked to draw and paint. But I tried to push myself to go a little outside my limits. I unbound and rebound my sketchbook accordion-style so I could do a panoramic watercolor on the backside of the pages. I focused on the use of mixed media. And the kicker: I attempted to use as few words as possible. Only visuals for this writer’s sketchbook.

To set the tone for a wordless sketchbook, on the front cover I painted a typewriter with its keys falling off.

The category I picked as the theme for my sketchbook was “face in the crowd.” That’s how I always felt in NYC, when I was most inspired.

I’m a coffee addict. Coffee rings are all over my papers.

Here’s the only spread where I chose to use words. I wrote one sentence: “even dead ideas are beautiful.” I made this spread by cutting up all my old notes from last quarter. New quarter notebook purge.

I never feel more anonymous than at the beach in the winter, all bundled up on the dunes.

Ode to NYC. I scratched out the Brooklyn Bridge in a thick layer of oil pastels.

Cello, cello strings.

I hope Heaven’s gates look something like the wrought iron gates in Charleston. And here’s a pocket (Hi, Kelly!) to tuck a bio card into.

What it looks like all spread out. And if you open it the other way…

I used watercolors to paint the NYC skyline on the horizon. With Ponce. It feels this far away to me.

Well there it is! I’m happy with the results. It would have never happened without my Mom, who overnighted me my sketchbook so I could finish it during Atlanta’s Snowpocolypse. I had left it at home by accident, and it almost never got finished.

Also, my friend Mike Haftel did an amazing job photographing all the spreads for me. Thanks again. Now I’ll always have a record of it, but this sucka’s getting postmarked tomorrow.


January 11, 2011

How thunderous the falling snow must sound to tiny ants.

5th Quarter Debrief

December 18, 2010

8 stitches later, and I still have a thumb. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for the gruesome picture. 1.) It’s a heck of a lot better than it was a few days ago. And 2.) I have to look at it every day too, so there. It was a close call. Tuesday afternoon, I thought Left Thumb was a goner. It took a fire truck, an ambulance, 6 paramedics, and a lot of sirens showing up to the lobby of my school to sort of convince me my thumb was still there, since I was hyperventilating and refused to look at it or show it to any one.  And it took a trip to the hospital, a very good friend, one dick-head nurse, a kindly doctor, 3 x-rays and 8 stitches to actually convince me.

I think I have every right to be dramatic, even though I’m not exaggerating in the least. My school acted, and they acted fast. Good to know that when sleep deprived kids are brandishing box cutters all helter-skelter, the administration is there, alert and capable of handling any bloody (English usage) situation.

In brighter news, here’s a video I made with the help of an interactive developer friend. I’m super happy with the final product. Hopefully it will do well in the competition we submitted it to.

OH– and only 9 months left of school 🙂 New York, I can seeeee you.

Fwd: Freezing Students

December 9, 2010

24-period has commenced at The Circus. AKA: Sleep-deprived kids blindly scrambling around to finish work for panel. The difference between this quarter and the previous four quarters is the predicament of a seemingly-broken heater.

Drastic measures were taken in the form of an email to the school’s owner. And so I post it on here, one, because I haven’t posted in quite a long while, and two, because I found it amusing.  Creative writing takes all forms here.

Hi Dave,

While we realize there is no reason for you to reply to this email at 2 am, we wanted to, first off, say “Hi,” and also let you know that while we realize we may not get paid much in advertising, we didn’t think we’d start looking like homeless people so soon.

For the past week during 24 hour period we’ve all been freeeeezing. I think my water bottle may be frozen and I know my feet are. We are all wearing at least a sweatshirt and a jacket, and some have gloves and blankets. (We’ve included a picture to prove it.)

We don’t know who is in charge of the thermostat, but could you please see if they could check what it’s set at after 9 pm?

We don’t expect sauna treatment, but we do wonder if it could be comfortable above-70 somethin’ temperature?

Warmly, figuratively, but not literally,
Sarah Gatling, Lee May, Jennifer Fisher


November 7, 2010

Words purr and they roar, and I’m the lion tamer.

Stop. Don’t Stop.

October 19, 2010

So precarious, that line between good and evil.