I opened the card that was tucked inside my leather stationary. It read, " I am so proud of how far you came graduating from law school. Within a few years you will be opening your own law firm."  Dad and his expectations.

I turned it over. To: My daughter, Kara. From: Dad. It was the first time that he acknowledged that I was his daughter. It was the first time that I felt like it, since mom left.

Since then, I felt like his project.

Unlike other kids who enjoyed running around in their backyards I was inside. Inside memorizing the capitals of each and every state.  Instead of getting an ice cream sundae when I made the winning home run, my treat was to learn the capitals of about 200 countries and who resided over them in the past 50 years. 

Then I realize where I am. I graduated in the top of my class in a leading law university. I am the best of the best, because of him.

November Projects at Spilled Ink

If you’ve created a project/prompt for the Tumblr writing community and you’ve made sure there’s as much information as possible stated in the post and that there is an appropriate tag, then use the #twcp tag so that we can find your post easily. [Note: if you’ve already published your post and go back to just add the #twcp tag, your post may not show up. You may have to post it again, and not as a reblog. We apologize for Tumblr’s occasional bitchery.]

Become the Tree

  • Suggested by Lillian at Spilled Ink
  • Deadline is November 30
  • Appropriate tag: #becomethetree
  • Essentially, write a prose or poetry piece personal to you of a time when you had to bare all and be naked to those around you (envision a tree in autumn/winter losing all of its leaves).
  • Do not submit links for this project. Pieces will only be reblogged from the above tag.

Future Appreciation

  • Suggested by Bethany at Spilled Ink
  • Deadline is November 30
  • Appropriate tag: #futureappreciation
  • Essentially, write a prose or poetry piece of something in the future that you believe you will be thankful for. Try and keep the pieces personal so really think about what little thing would be special or mean something to you that hasn’t happened yet. [Little things only. No births, marriages, graduations, etcetera.]
  • Click here for an example by Lillian and Bethany.
  • Do not submit links for this project. Pieces will only be reblogged from the above tag.
on the definition of safe

I haven’t prayed since I was in high school. I don’t know if you’d even call them prayers at all—just these long strings of pleases that got lost in the corners of my bedroom ceiling. But I prayed for him, every day for 545 days. I don’t know who I was praying to—not any god he’d recognize, anyway, though I’d like to think we’re past that now. But who knows.

The day he left was the first time since I’d gone to college that he’d hugged me and it felt like goodbye. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of when we were kids playing in the snow at Grandpa’s. There was nothing more exciting than a white Christmas back then. We played football, all wrapped up till you couldn’t tell which one of us was which except for my pink ski jacket that I hated because I had a moral aversion to pink and it made me feel like being swallowed by a marshmallow. He was almost as tall as me then, but I wouldn’t have told him that under pain of torture—who wants to admit their little brother might be in any way better than them? I think he was twelve the first time he could tackle me. Really tackle, grab me around the shoulders and give me a face full of snow. We rolled over, laughing, both our faces a jigsaw puzzle of red and white. I remember wondering when my stupid little brother got so big.

That’s what it felt like, hugging him that day. Cold and warm at the same time, too much taller than me, bending down to give me the tightest hug I’ve gotten in my life.

I gave him my calendars, the ones I kept when he was gone, every day marked off with a thick stripe of sharpie. He traced the marks with his fingers, showing off the tan line his uniform had given him, just below the wrist.

I hadn’t seen him cry since he was eight.

He came up for Christmas this year. His hair had grown in, just barely starting to curl again. He showed me the new tattoo on his right arm, and I showed him the one I got on my left shoulder blade.

The snow had stopped by then.

I haven’t seen snow since the winter before I deployed, he said, that tone in his voice he never had before he left.

I said, Hey, wanna go throw the football around?

Yeah, he said, with a hint of that old smile.

I don’t really pray, not anymore. But I thought thank you thank you thank you

upo

I was born from hard factory labor, from my mother’s post-office bag, passed down through assembly-lines to my father.  My brother was born through stress and one too many Diet Cokes in the womb, he slept through psychology lectures and dietitian aspirations.  We grew through one too many McDonald’s breakfasts and one too many job advancement restraints.  My father would drive in early mornings and drop me off at before school programs that bled into after school programs that bled into mom-coming-home-for-dinners and beliefs in stereotypical middle-classes.  Does a family require a man or woman to stay home with the children?  I learned social skills through babysitter tag.  My parents are pillars and I am still an overgrown child, dependent, dependent, how do things get this way.  Here, my mother shows me the ways to dress to command a room of business men, of briefcases and pointy click-click high heeled shoes.  They make me look like a witch, she says.  But witches are powerful women.  The future is mother-influence, and I am thankful.  But also the future is sacrifice and decisions of when or where to have children.  If I do this, I will lose balance. Aspirations to travel, worse—jobs, money, power.  But I just want to be as successful as my role-models.  This is unpopular but when I am an old lady, fulfilled and cultured and whole, one particularly thankful night I may speak to my empty womb and say: You were not born because I am selfish and wouldn’t sacrifice.  But the air of the English countryside is as lovely as my lover. Here I accomplished all of my dreams. Here I am future.

Project: Appreciation of the Future

So we all know what usually comes with November and Thanksgiving: inquiries about what you’re thankful for. And what are the usual responses? The food on this table, my family, God, the roof over my head, my friends, my children, the sun, the freedom I have in this country, the fact that I have a job when I know many don’t, my husband/wife/lover/partner in life, that I am alive, etc etc etc.

The list can go on and on of the cliche answers we have for what we’re thankful for. No matter how truthful and accurate they are (because we are thankful for one or two or all of these things I am sure) the fact remains that they are still cliche and standard.

Well, we at Spilled Ink are proposing a theme for November/Thanksgiving of course. But we’re writers here, and hopefully we’re imaginative and creative, so why should we follow a long with the typical?

No. We’ve decided to veer off in a different direction. Instead of writing a prose or poetry piece on something from the past that you’re thankful for or something in the present like family and all of the other things listed above, we want you to expand the boundaries of your mind and look to the future.

Think about what types of little things you might be thankful for in the future. Do not include big events such as births, marriages, honeymoons, graduation, etc. 

Now obviously we can only know so much about the future and so these pieces are going to be fictionalized, but try and keep it personal, intimate. Let us get a little bit of a glimpse into you by seeing what small and seemingly insignificant (from the outside at least!) event would be important and meaningful to you.

Feel free to take this in any direction you feel. Be inspired. But please follow the guidelines of something you’re thankful for that is not a BIG event. Little things. 

Bethany’s Example: The son I’m hopefully going to have. He’ll probably have dark hair, as I’m not typically attracted to blonde guys for whatever reason. If he gets lucky he’ll have my eyes. I have pretty eyes, everyone says so. He’ll be wild, drive me crazy probably, but I’ll secretly love it. He’ll be active, and I’ll hope he settles on hockey but I’ll be happy with whatever he chooses, in respects to sports at least. It’ll be a normal day. I’ll go drop him off at school. And maybe he’ll only be six or seven or eight. But one of his classmates will ask if I’m his mom and he’ll smile, look up at me, and say, “yes. she’s the best!”

and…

Lillian’s Example: The phone rang, and it startled me. It fumbled from my hands, I had been caught up in between the pages of my novel and the warmth of my coffee mug hypnotized me. I leaned down and picked up the phone, the caller id said Mom. The conversation was quick, short and sweet. She said my son had eaten all of his dinner, including his cooked carrots. I cringed, to this day, I still do not like cooked carrots. I thanked her and told her I’d be there in a few hours to pick him up. She told me to take my time. Jacob had just rode his hours in the pouring rain, his gun secretively tucked into his boot, to tell Scarlett the bad news. Sam walked by and refilled my mug and placed a warm muffin in front of me. He winked at me and carried on. I took in my surroundings. It was almost Christmas so the cafe was warm and the windows were filled with light snow flurries. I sat alone at a round table in the middle of a crowded shop, but I felt safe here. Mom babysat Tucker on Thursday evenings so I could have some time alone. It was hard raising him with Ben overseas. I was thankful for these quiet evenings, they kept my sanity in check.

Please tag your pieces with #future appreciation or #futureappreciation! We will only be reblogging pieces for this project from these two tags. We will not be taking submissions for this project. This project will be going on throughout November so feel free to take your time, but don’t wait too long and miss out!

Future Appreciation

Some prose writing about something I will be thankful for in the future. I am hoping to go to UPEI when I graduate in a few years for the simple reason that I know it will mean I finally get to go “home”.

I Pushed down the handle of my suitcase and dropped my purse on the nearest bed. The room was small, but then again, what dorm rooms aren’t? At least here at UPEI in Bernadine Hall, you only have to share the bathroom with your roommate and the people living in the room across from you, not like the washrooms some university’s had where you had to share with everyone on your floor.

I thought about unpacking, but in all honesty, I was so tired of packing and unpacking that the thought left my head almost as quickly as it entered. Instead, I grabbed my purse, leaving my suitcase still sitting in the corner and ran out the door. I hoped on a bus to down town and wondered if my uncle had worked on this one in the garage.

When I reached downtown, I hoped off the bus and paid visits to all my regular summer haunts: The Confederation Court Mall, The Confed Center, Victoria Row, I even stopped at Cows and got some ice cream. I walked down Fitzroy street, past my grandfather’s office building, and down towards the wharf where I had worked every summer since I was sixteen. I visited all the shops and listened to the music being played in confederation landing park. Even though it was starting to get dark, I didn’t worry. I knew Charlottetown like the back of my hand and the only crime I had ever seen committed here was jay walking. Eventually, I returned to the university and went up to the dorm room. I met my new roommate, she seemed like someone I could easily get along with. I got started unpacking, but stopped when I found my journal in a bag of books. I sat down on my new bed and began to write about everything I had done today, all the jumbled up thoughts and feelings. I ended with the sentence “it seems weird to be in Charlottetown and knowing I am not leaving. For that matter, it feels weird to be staying in PEI and knowing I am not leaving. It is a good feeling though. I know that finally, after all this time, I am home to stay.”

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