February 5th, 2015

Current Obsessions: Fitness and Fitbit

I’ve got a lot of little pet obsessions going on these days, so I thought I might get organized enough to do a little post on each one. I’ve had lots of great ideas for blog series that have gone no where lately, so no promises, but here’s the first one…

Mark got me a Fitbit Charge for Christmas, which is basically a watch with a pedometer inside. It does a few other neat things too, like track your sleep habits (it can only measure motion, but motion and poor sleep correlate pretty well) and count the calories you’ve burned in a day. Before I had this, I was using the Noom Walk app on my phone as my pedometer. That’s a pretty good pedometer app (I had other ones before that barely functioned) but it’s just hard to keep your phone on you all the time, especially when you are say running on the treadmill. And Noom wasn’t really totally accurate–the Fitbit is much sharper.

I LOVE it! I have some obsessive tendencies and I love to count things–I find it deeply satisfying to know how many steps it is from my desk to the bathroom, and how many in my daily commute and so on. I check the step counter many times throughout the day and feel like the information is really valuable.

What a Fitbit is for is to make you MORE fit, not just assess what you are currently doing. I am trying to be more fit and active this year–what an original new year’s resolution, I know–so this is a good test of its usefulness. And it does work, in certain ways. For example, the ideal active lifestyle person takes 10 000 steps in a day. When I started keep track, I discovered that I normally take that many without thinking of it, but some days I’m just under and sometimes I’m way under. It was very easy to just do the things I do on the successful days on ALL the days, and now I’m almost never below 10 000, but it took the counter to make me think of it.

I’ve also stopped “wasting” steps. Like, I live on a fairly high floor in my apartment building, but not so high that I’m incapable of walking up the steps–I just never did because who does that? Now I do, at least when I’m not carrying anything heavy. It gives me like 400 steps each way–obviously much easier on the way down, but either way. I’ve also realized that waiting for the bus or subway is a waste so I’ve started pacing. This only works on fairly empty platforms, but it is a good use of time and certainly no one cares what I’m up to. It was funny, one day I didn’t wear the fitbit and I didn’t bother to pace–what was the point if it wasn’t being recorded? It’s funny the way these things will trick the mind. And I’m just in general better about walking a little extra whenever I can.

I haven’t made any big lifestyle changes but every little bit counts, and I’m consistently between 10 000 and 15 000 every day. I would like to try for 20 000 but I think I need the weather to be a bit nicer first. David Sedaris went good and bonkers trying to up his step count, but I’m trying to be more moderate in my goals.

If you’re thinking of doing the same, some tips:

1) Shopping has a million steps–even the grocery store, but especially the mall. If you like the mall, mind you–if you hate the mall you won’t wander around and go back and forth. Strolling through anything that interests you–stores, museums, parks–has lots of steps, because you’re less likely to be linear and thus take more unnecessary steps. All to the good.

2) Running is a better workout than walking, and going uphill is a better workout than level ground, but everything counts the same on a Fitbit. A 10 000 step day is a totally average day for most of us–around 17 000 I’m pretty tired, but I could still do more if I had to. So the Fitbit encourages general healthy practices but isn’t going to make any of us track stars.

3) The flights-of-stairs function has something wrong with it–one day it said I climbed 58 flights of stairs, which no one would ever do, and other times it doesn’t count flights I know I’ve climbed. It’s amusing, but not that helpful.

4) If you are scared pacing will cause the bus driver to zoom right by you, hopping from foot to foot in place also works fine.

5) There is a HUGE difference between transit commuting and car commuting. You don’t realize how many steps even a short walk to the subway, then through the station and down all those stairs, then back up and out and to wherever you were going can be. There’s no where far enough you can park the car that will equal that–plus you can’t pace when you are stuck in traffic.

6) Similarly, there’s a big difference between transit commuting and pedestrian commuting. One day I talked my husband, a walking commuter, into wearing the Fitbit, and in getting to and from work, plus errands at lunch time and the gym in the evening, he was over 22 000 steps. There is no way I could do that without dedicating a significant chunk of my day to the project, a la Sedaris, but Mark has it built right into his schedule.

7) When I forget an item and have to go back for it, I feel less stupid now because at least the steps count.

So, Fitbit–one of my many obsessions and darn entertaining!

December 27th, 2010

Reverb 27

Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown) (www.reverb10.com)

I seriously don’t know if I have an ordinary. I have a pretty low threshold for stress, and change, and excitement. One of the nicer things anyone has said about me is that he thought I was a really “calm person.” I was so shocked by this I went home and repeated it to my roommate, who said, “You’re not not calm, you just…get a lot out of things.”

That’s a generous interpretation, but fair enough–I can’t think of the last time I had an “ordinary” day because there’s always some special meeting, or hard assignment, or a new food to eat, or I get an unexpected phone call, any of which can throw me into a whirlwind of joy or despair. I exaggerate, but only a little.

So, trying to round down to ordinary…how about yesterday? It was cold out, but my brother and I were stir-crazy from all the indoor holiday time, so we went out the rail-trail the community had built when they finally got rid of the trains that run out that way.

I’ve been in and out of that town all my life, but this was a place I’d never been before–when I was a kid, because it was dangerous (trains!) and when they finally built the trail, I was living away and didn’t really know what was going on. I would never have thought to go see; it was my folks that urged us.

It turned out to be gorgeous–so quiet, with a weird-angled view of farmers’ fields and people’s yards. The snow was very loud and crunchy underfoot, or maybe it just seemed louder because it was the only sound. We only ran into two people (plus their dogs), and that was at the very beginning of the walk. It was so great to be outside, and I was so bundled up (two sweaters!!) that I didn’t even feel cold. It was nice not to be rushing, not to have anywhere to be, and walk as long as we felt like. It was nice to have unlimited time with my brother, which is rare.

It was basically a long walk on a cold day, very ordinary, or maybe not.

December 14th, 2010

Reverb 12

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds) (www.reverb10.com)

I don’t think I really relate to the world in these terms…Scott’s take on it pretty much articulates my general feeling of “what?” (the nice thing about doing these answers late is you can “borrow” other people’s).

But if I were really going to try to take the spirit of the thing, I’d say: swimming. I probably only swam once in 2009, and perhaps half a dozen times in 2010, so that’s already a huge increase. I used to swim 3-4 times a week, and loved it, and I think I would like to go back. I’m no athlete, just lane swimming in the “medium” lane, but it’s such a beautiful monotony–you’re moving your whole body in concert, and yet your mind is free to think about the story your working on, birthday gifts, the fate of the universe. Actually, maybe that’s the opposite of what this question is asking, but it’s a really beautiful feeling.

November 25th, 2009

Writing Exercises: advice column plot

Ok, apparently I’m not all that busy, so here’s a random writing exercise that I used to use a lot: write a letter to an advice column in the voice of a character in a story you are working on. Have the character summarize his/her concerns at the midpoint in the story.

This is a bit of a specific exercise. When I was last posting writing exercises, most of those were geared towards or at least open to creating an entirely new piece, and that really won’t work with this one (I would be very impressed to see an entire short-story in the form of an advice column letter; it could be done [I once read a good one that was entirely in blog comments] but it wouldn’t be easy).

This one works when you are in the middle of writing something and feel stuck (stories are of course the only thing I’ve tried it with; wonder if a novelist could use it?) It also needs to be a piece that’s fairly plot- and character-driven–otherwise, it will be a very boring letter and not really shed a lot of light on the story itself.

I find this helpful in stories where I feel like I’ve lost my bead on a character’s motivation, and/or can’t quite guess what that person would do next because I don’t know what they want. This exercise can fix that because it concentrates not on what is *actually happening in the story* but how the character sees that stuff.

Whether it’s first or third person, the characters still know a lot less than the author, unless the characters is static, omniscient Mary Sue who doesn’t grow or change at all in the story because he/she is already perfect. Ahem.

It is really useful to lay out exactly how a character sees the world, and what they see as going wrong. This is especially useful to do with minor characters; I often find I know exactly what the central folks are up to, but not at all how the surrounding characters will understand the situation or react to it, what lies they believe, what information they’ve missed or ignored. And I like to know all this–even if someone is only on the story-stage for a couple paragraphs, I’d like them to be realistic and human there, not a prop or a piece of the scenery.

I probably won’t post an example of this one because, I said, boring! But I do find this so useful to do, even if only in your brain.


August 12th, 2009

Writing Exercise: Questions Game: RR’s response

(This answers an earlier post.)

Facing Kate, Sarah felt the same déjà vu she always feels. The two girls were the exact same height, and their shoulders are the same width across.

“What are you doing, Sarah?”

Sarah struggled for a long moment with that, before lying back down on the floor again, so that it would be obvious. She put her head a bit farther from the toilet this time, but she could still feel damp creeping through her hairnet and hair. “What does it look like I’m doing?”

Kate inhaled as if she were about to blow up a balloon. “And this is supposed to accomplish what, exactly?”

From the floor, Kate looked enormously tall. Sarah thought this was more appropriate, really; Kate’s personality was much taller than hers. “Why would I want to accomplish anything?”

“Yeah, why would you?” Kate plummeted abruptly down, her legs accordianing under her until she was crossed-legged beside Sarah’s wet head. “Why try to keep your job, or your dignity, or even your clothes clean? Why not just give up on anything that’s fucking adult, and go cry like a little kid?”

Sarah slurped snot up her nose and tried to breathe evenly. She stared at the domed light fixture on the ceiling—clean, but with dozens of dead-fly bodies in the nipple of it. When she turned to look at Kate, Kate’s small watery blue eyes were trained right on Sarah’s forehead, like gun sights.

“Is it my turn to talk now?” Sarah said weakly.

“Do you want it to be? Do you have anything to say?”

“Why don’t you just speak for me, say whatever you think I should say? What would say right now, Kate, if you’d just lost it in front of a customer and were lying here in a puddle of maybe pee, and the only reason you hadn’t been fired yet is that Darin is scared to come in the ladies room?”

Kate flinched and peered more deeply at Sarah’s face, before flattening down onto her stomach beside her, so their elbows touched. “Do you really think he’ll fire you?”

“Why wouldn’t he? How much of an asset to the team am I, really?” Sarah had meant to say it with all the grim bravado Kate would have brought to such a damning self-assessment, but the truth of her own uselessness hit her hard in the stomach midway through asset, and the rest of the words were watery with tears. “What use am I at all?”

Kate’s eyes narrowed even more, pale slits with the light of the fluorescent tube reflecting in them. “Can’t you just…just…get it together?”

Sarah tried for another deep breath but there was the weight of a sob resting on her lungs and she didn’t get much. “No.”


RR thinks: this is *way* easier when you’ve got some narrative to play with, not just the questions themselves to build the whole scene. And I hand-picked a part of the story I was working on where evading the question makes sense. And ended with a statement. But I still used the *spirit* of the exercise, I’d say, plus I think I’ll actually be able to keep most of this in the piece as it stands, which is useful.

Anybody else?


August 11th, 2009

Writing Exercise: Tom Stoppard’s Questions Game

Sunday evening I rewatched the film version of Tom Stoppard‘s brilliant play Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead. Since the author directed the film, it is just as wondrous as the play.

If you’ve never read or viewed this one, it’s the left-out lives of Hamlet‘s two retainers, who die off-stage and without tears or explanation towards the end of that play. It’s also about the act of writing and the definition of character, the concept of performance, and a variety of physical principals and simple machines, which are explored by one of the characters in a series of subtle and hilarious protracted gags.

This is one of the funniest movies you’re likely to see, but to get all the jokes, it helps to see it multiple times (I think this was my forth, and I saw a lot that was new!) One scene I did remember distinctly and with joy from childhood viewing was the great Questions game, that the protagonists play on Hamlet’s indoor tennis court.

The game is what it sounds like, to keep a (semi-)logical fast-paced conversation going using only questions. The characters have rules against not only statements but repetition, non-sequiteurs, rhetoric, synonyms and hesitation. This keeps the conversation fast, intense, somewhat surreal, and very tight–people are trying to win, after all.

Stoppard’s style of dialogue in general like that; the Questions game comes up almost as a kind of parody of R&G’s usual quick, confused/confusing banter. This style also reminds me of Sanford Meisner‘s repetition exercise for actors–another way of creating fast, tight dialogue.

As a lover of fine dialogue of both real and artificial forms, needless to say, a) I love this stuff and b) it’s very hard to do well, or even at all. As I said, I watched this movie as a kid, with my bro, and the first time we encountered a tennis court, we did try to play it–so frustrating! Even when you leave out some of the secondary rules about hesitation, non-sequiteurs, etc.

So, obviously, this is a great writing exercise. Obviously, you won’t end up with anything quite *realistic* in the usual sense, and if realistic is what your project is, you’ll have to redraft to use the exercise. But in addition to pace and rhythm, the all-questions-no-answers style brings a great deal of tension to dialogue–nothing says recalcitrant witness like answering a question with a question.

Ok, the exercise is: write a scene with two (or more, if you really want to push yourself) characters, in which all dialogue is in the form of question. Use the other rules at your discretion, or not at all. I’ll post mine when I’ve written it. If you write one, I’d love to see it if you send me a link, post it as a comment, or send it some other way.

I’m glad I came up with this after my actual teaching term finished–I think it’s gonna be really hard.

I’m a wrecking ball in a summer dress


May 9th, 2009

Writing Exercise: Theo & Rae, Enamouring

Riiiigghhttt…one of the good things about having a blog, as opposed to a paper diary (which I also have) is that one feels semi-accountable for the things promised one the blog, and not at all for things promised in the diary that no one reads (how’s that novella coming, RR? and that ten-k?)

A little while ago, I pointed out how hard it is to write good I’m So into You dialogue, and challenged Rose-coloured readers to write some. Of course, no one did (that I know of–let me know if I’m wrong!) and I found it terribly challenging, too–but I promised to post what I wrote and so…see below.

Never let it be said that I am not a woman of my word. However, also never let it be said that I think my estimation of flirtation is the universal one. So not so.

Her hair was long then, and she’d done something to make it curl, or at least twist a bit. This was a long time ago.
“I don’t like this city.”
“Oh. Well, ok.” He flipflopped his hand on the grass. “I like it.”
“I mean, technically I don’t, when I think about it, but it’s easy to forget.” She grinned big, her lips wide of her teeth. It took him a moment to get the compliment.
“There are…distractions here, true.” He flopped backwards then, to look up into the leaves. They weren’t interesting but they were moving, so up seemed a reasonable place to rest his gaze, and he shouldn’t look at her anymore.
“It’s nice here. I’m going to stay and eat my sandwich…if that’s ok?”
“It’s ok. But here is part of Toronto, that city you don’t like.”
“No, not here, here doesn’t count. Queen’s Park is done for tourists and photoshoots and sweeping grandeur. It could be anywhere.”
“But here is where it is, Toronto made it.”
She huffed, and a crumb arched out of nowhere into his eyeline, as if he were alone, landed on his chest. Her hand brushed past his left nipple and plucked it off. “Oh, god, sorry.”
“Sall right.” He hadn’t heard her chewing.
“So, what’s good about Toronto, then?”
“You don’t think there’s anything good? Not one thing, after three days?”
“Five. I’ve been here five days. I existed before I met you, you know.”
“Must’ve been hell.”
She laughed lightly; her voice was alto but her laugh soprano. More crumbs. “Shit, shit. So gross. Sorry.”
He sat up and brushed at his chest. Her hair was in her face and she was trying to brush at him too and he caught her fingers.
“What are you eating?”
She held up a white bun half unwrapped from its plastic. Along the bitten side was a line of meaty paste, onions, red sauce. “I got it for a dollar, in Chinatown. But I don’t think it’s Chinese.”
“It’s Vietnamese, it’s a Saigon sub. Some people won’t eat them because they don’t know what kind of meat that is.”
“Do you know?” Her eyelashes dipped. He didn’t think she wore mascara. He would’ve liked to touch them to be sure.
“Eat them? Sure.”
“No, know what kind…”
“Oh, no.”
She shrugged, bit, chewed. “I’m sure it’s food. It tastes good. It was only a dollar.”
He leaned back on one elbow, sort of lounging by her knees like a Shakesphearian swain. “I think I love you.”
She shut her eyes, lashes flat on skin. “Don’t be silly.”
“I’m not. I’m hungry. Share?”
She looked at the sandwich, back at his face. “Germs?”
“You spat all over my chest.”
“Well, you didn’t seem to like it all that much.”
“When do you have to be back in Buffalo?”
She lay down on the grass beside him, looking up, and he lowered his head to his biceps. Her profile was his whole view.
“Not until the term starts, end of August.”
His heart leapt. “You’re a student, too?”
“No, a teacher. Grade three. Too? You’re a student.”
He flopped onto his back, leaves and pigeons and sky. Trapped by his own hopefulness, by his own stupid youth. “Going into the fourth year. Chem-eng.”
“Oh.” Soprano faintness, then the wet sound of another bite.
Fourth year was meaningless once you were past it, impressive to no one but less-than-fourth years. He took a different approach. “People are such hypocrites about germs. I’ve seen girls at clubs with their tongues down the throats of guys they met twenty minutes ago. But they make their friend buy her own bottle of water.”
“Your point?”
“Saliva is saliva. Oral intimacy is oral intimacy. Anyone you wouldn’t rule out kissing, at least for hygiene reasons, is probably safe to share your sandwich with.”
She lay there, the saran-wrapped sandwich resting on the poppy-print of her left breast. “You’re making this very monumental.”
“I’m trying to say that it’s not monumental. It doesn’t matter.”
“I’d rather it mattered. Kissing usually does to chicks. You should know that, in fourth year.”
He tipped his head back, grating skull against dry earth. “It does matter a little. Just…not monumentally.”
The sandwich hove into view between his face and the sky and pigeons, the smell of salty meat and sweetened bread. He said, “For Saigon subs alone, you could stay in Toronto. You have to admit, they could be worth it.”
Her voice, so throaty thick, “For almost anything, I think I could stay.” The bread and meat slipped closer through the sky, closer, right into his mouth.

Shake it like a latitude sun

May 1st, 2009

Writing Exercise: Romantic Traffic

I’m reading reading reading student stories this week, and they are *good*! I’m exhausted, but intrigued, and thrilled by all I’m learning (and, sigh, wishing I’d emphasized how dialogue tags worked a little better). One thing I’m learning is that kids write the storylines everyone else does, and they care about what everyone else cares about–a lot of these are love stories, and even the ones that aren’t have love interests in them. They aren’t getting every detail of how grown-ups couple *quite* accurately, but actually, they aren’t that bad, probably because things actually *don’t* change that much, post-high-school.

One thing they all seem to know, and to relate with such consistency that I’m worried that they actually heard it in a Guidance class (better than my Guidance class, which mainly taught us about chlamydia) is that if someone is right for you, it’s easy to talk to them. I’ve seen over and over, “the conversation was so easy and natural,” “they could tell each other anything,” “they talked about everything as if they had known each other forever.” I, of course, am writing in the margin, “I’d love to read this conversation,” “Would be nice to read what they say,” “Show a bit of this!!”

Show, don’t tell, central tenet of creative writing classes everywhere. And really, what’s more fun than flirtation? Why *don’t* they want to write about it? As soon as that thought strikes, it becomes pretty obvious–because it’s *hard* to write that stuff, or at least hard to do well, so that a reader can feel the frisson that the characters are supposed to be feeling.

Think about the last time your own companion went to the bathroom in a restaurant and left you eavesdropping on the couple at the next table (I’m not even going to pretend there are people in the world who don’t listen). So often, they’re enjoying each other, charmed and delighted and intrigued by each new comment and insight, and I’m…a little bored? Happy for them, of course, but not really getting it when he simpers, “Wow, that’s so right, what you told that prick. I’m so proud of you,” or she squawks, “Oh, my god, that’s the funniest thing I ever heard. Hah ha HAH!”

Flirting can be pretty inane if you aren’t a participant, and even when people are “confiding their deepest secrets” it might not roll along punchily; one girl’s deepest secret is another’s boring angst.

So how do you write romantic banter that people will actually want to read? Obviously, it’s been done, but it’s hard!! I’ve been working on it for a while now!

So today’s exercise is–one “I’m so into you” conversation that is neither dull nor nauseating. Situate it at any point in the relationship’s trajectory that works for the characters: meet cute, first date, post-coital, whatever. Just make’em like each other, and make that charm evident to the reader. I’ll post mine when I manage to write it. This is really harder than it sounds, even if you aren’t 15.

She’d already taken all of the dye out of her hair

March 25th, 2009

Writing exercises: how to get over yourself

I spent today running three workshops with 30 kids each–I can barely hold my head up, but the experience was amazing, and in a few cases I was genuinely excited about the promise of more work by these kids. The interesting thing about most of my students, and I’d have to gender-stereotype here and say especially the boys, is that they are in no danger of taking themselves too seriously. They don’t draft and they don’t fret; if it’s not good the first time, well, then it’s not going to be good. An amazing proportion of the work *is* good, that’s the startling thing, which speaks to a) natural talent and b) the power of egoless writing.

It’s harder for an adult to write without hoping to impress someone, even ourselves. We aim for perfection, truth and posterity, and are crestfallen when we just obtain accurate interesting prose. Not that a little truth and perfection isn’t a lovely thing, but writing fast and furious, without wondering, “But is it *beautiful*?” can often show a writer just what he or she is capable of.

Here’s a couple exercises given to me a few years back by my wonderous mentor, Leon Rooke. I had a bit more free time back then, but I’d still recommend doing these if you have a free weekend. They’re fun and low-pressure, if a lot of work. I’ll bet you’ll be as surprised as I was at how much good material you produce. Lots of nonsense, too, but you can’t make a cake without breaking some eggs.

1) Write 20 opening paragraphs. Go from one to the next if you can, and don’t follow up on any of them until you’ve got all 20 down. Use as many different voices, tenses, tones and styles as you can.

2) Write 3 stories in 3 days. I guess this one would take a long weekend, or you could space 3 days apart. But only 24 hours allotted to each story, which means you probably can’t revise at all on this draft. Which is ok. Really. I promise. Unlike the whippersnappers, I won’t check your work.

And now I have to go, because the funny thing is, *I’m* being workshopped tonight. It’s a theme day. And so, I must make pizza.

Sweet summer all around

February 22nd, 2009

My Plot Variant Exercise

Three different plot variations inspired by this scenario–woman attempts to step into crosswalk, man jogs a few steps to catch up from behind her and grabs her arm to pull her back.

Her foot was almost off the sidewalk, when he cupped his palm around her elbow when and somehow managed to yank her back. His heart pounded, but not much, it had been so quick. He saw the dumptruck turn left into the condo construction lot before she turned on him.

“The hell? What do you want?”

“You were about to walk right in front of that truck. I just—”

“It turned. It was turning.”

“But I didn’t know, it was coming straight—”

“It signalled.”

He drew himself up a little, still under her hairlines. “It’s never safe to jaywalk, you know.”

Tentatively, he jabbed her arm as she was about to step off the kerb. Pushy, yes, but he just had to see if it was Sienna. Sienna, after all these years, the same silky hazelnut hair down her back…

She turned, a faceful of freckles under wide Britney sunglasses, a tiny mischief mouth. Not Sienna.

“Oh, sorry, I thought I knew you from—”

“Do we?” Underneath the big lavender lenses, her eyebrows scrunched.

“No, I’m sorry, I—”

The brows unscrunched, popped back over the tops of the glasses. “Yes, from the gym, of course.”

He startled, took a step back. Did she go to his gym? He didn’t look at people very closely there, mainly–certainly no eye-contact. “Is it that?”

“Of course!” She flapped her hands, yanking shopping bags up and down. “The free-weights hog, from—”

“Well, I don’t really hog them. I just use a range….” He grinned.

“Yeah, you do.” She grinned back. “Everyone at Bally’s knows about you.”

A taxi whizzed by, windows crowded with heads.


She nodded, still smiling.

“I guess you’ve…ah, got the wrong guy. I go to Trainers.”

Her smile fumbled, eyebrows reclenched. “Trainers?”

“On, ah. Bathurst. Good gym.”

She stared.

“Just a case of…mistaken identity. I guess.” And, not knowing what else to do, he brushed past her into the crosswalk.

He couldn’t believe it when the white “Walk” man appeared and she actually turned to go.

“Wait,” he said but her shoulders continued to twist as if she would not wait, and his hand shot out to snatch her elbow.

She spun, silk hair flowing away from her shell ears, so lovely. Her eyes were wide on his face. Her mouth of opened pink, but she didn’t say anything.

“I just—so, we’re broken up, then?”

“Broken…? Were we– It was just a coffee, David, a couple of times. We were never–“

“It was, Aisha…something. To me. I felt, with you, I felt— God, you’re amazing, you know that? You don’t even know that, do you?”

“David, I don’t want–“

“I think I could impress you, Aisha. When I think of how I feel about you, I think I could be impressive. I could do anything.”

“David, I’m sorry–“

“Aisha, would you listen? You don’t listen.”


He looked down and saw his hand still on her arm, his fingertips digging white bloodless dents into her honey skin.

When your home is your headstone

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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