Friday, April 23, 2010


Scream. (Room #4)

red wall words. 2010.


Somewhere in the back of my mind I can hear a child scream. I’m not sure whether it’s my own thoughts in torment or the distant memory of my childhood reaching out to the present. Either way the sound is on high and repetitive. Anguish that seems to be across the room, but truly does not exist.

Distant memories that call into question my understanding of reality and illusion. Just as though it were yesterday I can still seem to recall the image of my first grade classroom with the wall-to-wall patchwork carpeting and never-ending chalkboard filled with unspoken words of instruction. Much like those that surround me.

Thoughts of the past, jump out of nothingness and pull at my troubled psyche. Even the calmness of this journal entry tasks my energy. Words never leave me in peace. Surrounding me. Even in the last place I call sanctuary there is no rest. A prisoner of my own resolution. Yet these words are important. Mostly because after years of being told what to do these are mine. I created them. They are liberating. My freedom. My independence. My catch-22. Purpose without purpose.

Please be seated when the bell rings. Take out your book. The simple instruction of how-to-live for a six-year old. Teacher dictates the schedule of the day on the blackboard. Wall by wall instructions of routine. Write your cursive alphabet thirty-three times before the first bell. Spell out the entire fifty-states just after break. Multiplications tables of two, five, and nine need to be completed just after lunch. Stay seated until the bell rings. Don’t open the windows. Close the door before you leave the room. Do not climb on the counters. Clean up any spills immediately. Pledge of Allegiance @ 8:30 am every morning. Mrs. Anderson’s Classroom. Molly, Bobby, Anna, and Heather are to stay after class.

An adult models the same principles of life. Books on how-to-live from breathing to eating and everything else under the sun that you might imagine.  How-to perform the simple day to day monotony of organized living. Where to stand and where to jump, all the way to what time to eat, drink, sleep and what to clean. Words and lists for living. Mantras for happiness, sadness, and anger. Lists to purchase groceries, clothing, stamps, pay bills, etc. Lists for ordering the day. Guidance from purpose.

Bobby stood on the edge of the counter unlocking the windows one by one, while Anna danced across the room with a yardstick in her hand. Molly climbed up on the counter next to the window Bobby was hanging out of. Three small movements in an otherwise still classroom. Anna calls out to me “Heather, come on,” but I remained sitting. Molly places her foot on Bobby’s lowered hand. Anna laughs and dances around once more.

My handwriting is quite limited to scratch. Technique fades through lack of use. Every time Michael enters the room he smiles and nods. My dear husband mistakes my silence for insecurity. Although he knows why I’m in this room and understands the significance of my quietness. Writing for release. Language cast aside for purpose. Therapy without the use of words. Meditation through the expelling of madness. A slave to the delicate negotiation between insanity and reason.

Bobby’s hands lift and attempt to steady the weight. Molly lifts her arms toward the opening in the glass wall. Anna stands in front of me, tapping the yardstick against the edge of the desk. Open swings the heavy door of classroom 22. A voice of both authority and kindness pierces the giggles of the room. Bobby looses his grip and the effort to steady Molly only guides uncontrolled movement. Slipping quickly Bobby falls to the floor. Legs set out swinging as Molly’s arms are the only things carrying her weight upon the edge of the window. Ear-piercing sounds set the tone for the event. A final kick sends the window shattering into thousands of pieces while the never-ending scream escapes. Down. Molly falls downward onto the pane of glass before toppling outwards onto the blacktop. Just like yesterday.

My book provides no distraction from these memories. Amidst my controlled red walls of words there are no calms. No quiets from the sound. No instructions on how-to escape this distant pain of childhood. Additional words can not provide comfort. Michael edges into the redness and quietly sets down another can of paint. And he’s right. Time for a change. Another blank canvas of color for another set of rules. Anything to find peace from the sounds at the back of my mind.

Been Writing and not blogging. I’ve downright broken one short term goal for the sake of another STG. Priorities! Decidedly the writing, [art] is more important. Not whether anyone sees it. Actually I’ve come to like being an unpublished writer. The anonymity seems to agree with me. Well it’s not entirely anonymous. It’s like turning over a rock and finding a gem… not a bug. Besides, published means I wouldn’t take all the crazy risks that are frowned upon as bad. Boo!

Story. I’ve been contemplating doing a series of children’s related stories. If you figured I was headed on that track, you would be correct. This has been on my mind for a few weeks. It’s a direction that I’d wanted to go, but hadn’t yet. They will not be what is expected. 

Room. Haven’t you always wanted to write on the walls like a CRAZY person? I did. When I finished the first RED ROOM, the opportunity to experiment came into question. Of course, I just HAD to. So, here’s a picture of the whole room before it came down. The words were taken from a book about Japanese homes. Yes, in Japan. Which was taken from a home called the Dream House. The words are translated proverbs. You have to love the misinterpretations. I do. Something definitely lost in translation. This was another room that I had a lot of fun creating before destroying. Anyhow, Enjoy the story! m.

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