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Sleepless in the Workforce

A few days ago an overwhelming sense of frustration melted over me like scorching hot water. Throughout the day I barked orders at people and glared at those who weren’t co-operating. Let me just clarify that this is not who I am. Ask any friend, family or – plainly put – a random person who lives within my community and I am 99.9% positive that they’ll say that the young adult is a sweetheart and a bit of a romantic and ponder about where’ve I’ve been and if I can help them with something. When the next day came, I talked to a friend who is a talking encyclopedia for everything medicine. I described my symptoms, the weariness and struggle that it is to get up in the morning and the work overload. She said that more sleep was the only cure.
Being a workaholic, I have heard this a million times. From my grandmother to my closest friends I’ve been given the lecture as to how a four hour slumber is not considered a good night’s rest. But yet I am addicted to finishing the proposals, getting to work on time and finishing an A+ quality paper. The crutches I use to reboot my low-energy are two hour naps, devouring any sugary-snack in sight and – when my eyes are red and creaking shut – a Coca-Cola. The following day’s results are nothing to be proud of. I can barely concentrate on the task at hand, I am as easily irritated as a dog that hasn’t been out in two days and am more exhausted. While work is my first priority, the scare tactics (or terrifying plausible realities) that my friend revealed jumped sleep from the last spot to the first on my to-do list.
While baggy eyes can be hidden with make-up, seizures are not something you can easily hide. Due to lack of sleep your body can go through a seizure or epilepsy. The eyes can roll back, foam drenches the mouth and the heart beats at a rapid rate. The possibility frightened me. Never did I think that a trend of skipping sleep can lead to such a terrifying result. However, the starting point and the end result need a bridge. Meaning: Nothing goes from frankly terrifying someone to them never doing it again. There needs to be ladder to help you get there.
So I composed a simple list of what workaholics should work on to get to bed earlier: 1) Skip on the empty calories such as candy and chocolate, instead reach for a fruit or veggie. 2) Stop milling around, chatting and wasting time. Use the free moments that you have to finish the task instead of going on YouTube and finding a music video. 3) While we may be health conscious, we need to put thoughts into actions. Take at least two to three days to exercise. If you do a work out for three hours minimum per week, the body will bring in more oxygen thus helping the body feel less stress and breathe better.
The one clause to this new reform that needs revision is the typical rejection to sodas. A scatter of one can per month, exclusively left for emergencies, will be left as the exception.

Prompt: Write a 500 word monologue in which the character discusses their vice.


Playing Courage

I am no expert in the romance department, but in the mesh of Valentine’s day and the flutter of watching my friends migrate to and from boys for the special occasion it makes me wonder if this conquest to find the “perfect” one, a plot line that barely changes for any person no matter the day and age, can merely be bought when a person wants the merchandise. And while it is customary to hear that love will arrive when the time is right, there surely must exist a particular time frame that foreshadows when the heroine will meet her hero.
Those in Jane Austen’s time period rarely had a choice but to follow their parents pre-arranged marriage, later on in the 40’s and 50’s couples hitched at a young age – almost right out of college – and the era of “free love” found any moment, especially Woodstock, right to be with anyone who they found to be charming. All those periods had a particular setting, not so much of a physical place but as a general time frame in their lives that the people knew it would be their moment to find the “one”. With the developments that society has gone through, more people are waiting to be in a serious commitment until they are older. People have also found various outlets, especially the internet, as means of meeting someone. For those people who prefer to keep things to the basics and like to get mentally prepared (yours truly) the best place to mingle, from various advice and observation of the couples that have lasted the longest in a stable relationship, seems to be college.
The fact that you know in which direction you want your life to head into and are more mature than your high school self, gives you a more adult-take on a romance that is meant to be serious. Not every relationship, however, is given with a 100% happiness guarantee and if meeting someone in college does not lead to anything major down the road it is an experience to grow from. In particular it gives those two people the opportunity to narrow down the 100-must-have’s to a realistic check list of what is important to them.
But perhaps the college sweetheart, who was not love-at-first-sight in Physics 101 but was a good study buddy or friend, does lead to something. Then what does it take to transform something from just-friends to the next level? The main ingredient is courage. It takes bravery to make a fool out of yourself, take a risk, learn from the mistake and not look back in embarrassment. This by no means requires taking the methods from Kindergarten and declaring, “I like you,” so bluntly but if you never take the moment to slip your fingers through theirs or lean in closer than necessary, then you might never know what could have happened.

Prompt: In a short story no more than 800 words describe a character who dared to accomplish their wildest dream.

The Hormonal Nomad

It may be an occurrence that has spread over the centuries. One that, just like a common cold, comes with any season. This is accompanied with terrible symptoms such as pangs of jealousy, random bursts of nostalgia (before you’ve even left your current nest) and the bittersweet taste of salty sorrow of leaving who you know behind for a new beginning. What else must I be talking about except when people drift apart?
Whether you are a young adult packing flimsy boxes with random belongings for a dorm room half your bedroom size of an adult cramming an apartment’s worth into a U-Haul for an across the country (or continent) journey, the feeling of distance with all you’ve ever known is overwhelming. While the idea of a new town is refreshing and can lead to discovering new sights, people and experiences, the distance with our loved ones can cause a significant set back. While this alone may be a factor that can convince a few of changing their life’s quests, for those who are dedicated navigators we must trudge on.
While the earliest homosapien probably did not analyze such matters of missing their neighbors and followed their instinct, more modern society has taken the liberty to express our every emotion. Through music, writing and theater we can evidently see our emotional complexities. Standing from our shoes it can feel as though everyone else drifts off slowly, almost drifting through fingers as easily as dirt. But if you turn the angle around the person no longer planning girl’s night out or a day for a football game might be you. If this is true, the red shimmer of embarrassment and guilt can transcend into your face at any moment. All this time you may have felt that others were distancing themselves, when in reality it was you unconsiouly putting space between something your conscious knows won’t be a block away within a year.
Before you check the calendar or call to set up tonight’s picnic, remember what to keep in mind. Those friends and family members, if meant to be, will always be in your life. Guaranteed that it won’t be nearly half of them, but the lesson is not to shut the doors and become a hermit. Instead it is to see life through the cliché of living it to the fullest. Never will you know who will be around in fall and gone by summer. People may come for a week, season or year but their position in your world is always for a purpose. It’s important to sometimes close the American Airlines and realtor’s tabs and see those within your grasp at the moment.

Prompt: In a poem, no more than 30 lines, describe a specific animal that is forced to become independent.

The Labyrinth of Relationships

In the last scene of the film, In Her Shoes, Cameron Diaz’s character recites a poem by E.E. Cummings. While this chick flick always drives me to tears, there may be more than just a bubble gum artificial flavoring to the script. Behind the great shoes and cliché characteristic of how girls just want to have fun, there exists a grander theme that if analyzed under a critical lens may point to a vital truth.
The scope of the story is about two sisters who went through a strenuous childhood were as close as two intertwining threads, but as they grew their personal goals drew them apart. It happens with my own sister, so I believe that this rings true. And while the taste of exploration for ones own life can be as sweet as biting into spring’s first strawberry, it can also linger with the bitterness leaving behind what is most familiar. It paints the picture of two people who are born on the same landscape. They start off with their fingers laced together, believing that the other will never let go. But as they break away from their innocent, playful glances at the future – they stare at a land filled with fog. Although the blinding sensation may be frightening, the idea of exploring gets the better of their curiosity. So they let go.
As they go their separate ways, each guided by their own interests they grow into who they want to become. Since these two characters live within the same landscape, just as siblings cross paths at family gatherings and random phone calls, they reconnect. While they will never be the same person who you knew as a child they will talk to you and the existence of a bond is enough to outlast awkward moments and overwhelming downhill strides of reconnecting.
In Her Shoes widened the camera angle into my own life by showing me that there will be lapses of disconnect, but that they are necessary. It is vital to grow away from what we have always known to in the end let ourselves, and not those closest to us, decide who we want to be. Just as one does in their own journey, it is important to grow within your relationships – such as with patience and attentiveness.
Most importantly, no matter the distance – whether physically or mentally – E.E. Cummings poem, I Carry Your Heart With Me, stands to prove that throughout any adventure those closest to you never really leave you.

Prompt: In a monologue no more than 500 words, all the character to reconnect with an old friend.


In the new reality TV show by Bravo, Vanderpump Rules, the essence of stereotypical high school scenarios transcends into Sur, a restaurant deemed for the elite. There, the female waiting staff has the same maturity as a tween going through puberty. Enter the newbie, Scheana Marie, and the popular-Regina-George-clone, Stassi Schnoeder. Marie’s past of having an affair for eight months with a married man bubbles to the surface. Schnoeder then shuns the new teammate as a black sheep.

What is evident is how the cast, all legally adults who pay their own rent, behave like children. They ultimately burn the curtain that separates those teenagers still living with their parents and reveals that there is no mystery – there is no difference in personality. There are still the jealous popular girls who hunger for the attention they miss from home. There are still those awkward moments of shifting into place for people in new environments, within its first episode Vanderpump Rules has excelled typical artificial drama. It shows a reality that isn’t scripted.

Perhaps there is no metamorphosis with the person that you are before college and the one you become after – only the situation shifts and like a butterfly needing to survive in a new environment, most people try to camouflage their colors to survive. And such as Marie’s regrets after her affair, it makes one ponder that maybe change and development of character doesn’t come with age but with living life itself. It comes when any given scenario forces a breath of new life into a person making them choose whether to adapt, grow and survive or flounder under the weight of inexperience. That is why the gleam of innocence and childish petties can linger in the eyes of those in their late-twenties, for example such as the cast of Vanderpump Rules, because they have yet to taste the pressures of the real world. They have yet to burst from a narrow-minded cocoon.


Prompt: In a non-ficiton story no more than 500 words, write about the time that made you transform from a child to an adult.

Black Christmas

Madonna Badger could look around her dinner table in Christmas Eve of 2011 and feel the freshly baked apple pie her mother had just baked elude to the sense of warmth she felt. The people she most cared about surrounded her – retired parents, including a father whose latest past time was to be an in-store Santa Clause, and her boyfriend. But above all, the most important pieces to any one of her holidays could be found in those skipping around and decorating the table – her daughters. Lily, ten, and her seven-year-old twins, Sarah and Grace were thrilled of the prospect of presents in their small town of Stamford, Connecticut. Michael Borcina, Badger’s boyfriend, went to clean out the Victorian home’s fireplace, while everyone else was tucked into bed. When the lights were turned out and the wood burning ashes tossed out the door, everyone fell asleep. What Badger awoke to was a far cry from the typical rising to dawn and an exchange of gifts. Instead fire blazed through her bedroom and the smoke chocked her.                                                                      

Badger escaped through her bedroom’s front window and climbed towards her daughters’ room. When she was in front of the blazing door, the smoke tinting her teeth and mouth black, she stepped forward. Fire shot back and no matter how much she willed herself through the scorching heat, she could not save her children. By the time the firefighters pulled Badger and Borcina out, the building’s frame was a hollow replication of a doll’s house. That Christmas morning Badger’s parents and three daughters died in the fire. 24 hours later the house was demolished. With her primary family members and home gone, Badger would stumble in the following year from one mental institution to another.        

Weeks before this year’s Christmas, Badger is starting to shed away the days of crying. Throughout this year’s hop scotching from one state to another her band of friends have expanded. From a roof over her head to mere affection, this bond of humanity has established a profound foundation in her life. Not only has it expanded forever expanded what ‘family’ means for Badger, but also to me. It shows that support and unconditional love go beyond blood. It shows that even those who attempt suicide and explore the facilities of three mental institutions can be loved by those not traditionally deemed to be her family. Keeping in mind the recent occurrences across the world, it is reassuring to know that acceptance and affection can still coexist in this world.

This Christmas, Badger is heading over to Thailand where Santa Clause does not exist. She will be packing the toys that were salvaged and give them to an orphanage. In that orphanage that Badger will be visiting, the children are all girls who have also lost their families. Among the tragedy and sorrow, Badger has managed to plan one personal gift to herself – riding elephants. This not only will bring her happiness, but within that moment of scarce joy she hopes to feel closer to her daughters.

 Prompt: In a monologue from a deceased family member, describe the message in no more than 500 words what they would share with you.

* In memory of his daughters, Madonna Badger’s ex-husband, Matthew Badger, has set up a foundation to commemorate his daughters. In this foundation, all money donated goes towards celebrating and helping teachers who use creativity in their methods of teaching. If you wish to donate, please visit the main website for the Lily Sarah Grace Fund.

Behind the Gucci Shades

On Bravo channel’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Reunion a confirmation stunned the nation. Taylor Armstrong, a women who is forty, confirmed the news that her ex-husband had beaten her. She went into a detailed anecdote of how her once husband, Russell Armstrong, molded her into a woman that today she no longer recognizes. She gave insight to a typical afternoon in her household when she was married – falling under Russell’s reprimands and pleading with him to just knock her out unconscious, so it would be over.

            The confession led to a dispute whether an ordeal as private as what occurs within ones home should be shared during a time when tragedy strikes. Taylor a widow with two children filed for divorce, and two weeks later Russell committed suicide. Some have questioned Taylor’s timing, including some of her cast mates. However, it is ironic for her other cast mates to point and discriminate against revealing a deeper side to the glamorous life in Beverly Hills when they all participate and get paid for  putting their private lives on a weekly show. Besides when one out of every four women suffers from an abusive relationship, the public – no matter their financial background – can sympathize and relate more to a woman who rises above the millions and admits a fault in her life. When that fault can relate to millions of women worldwide, a show that only captures a millionaire’s lifestyles transforms into something more.

Prompt: Take an icon, whether a cartoon character or a historical figure, and have them say in a monologue no more than 500 words something that no one would have expected.