Meeting Mother Nature in the Middle

As a nation under God, we wonder what it will take to stabilize the economy. While the unemployment rate has been slowly decreasing, the slight improvements have been overshadowed by inflation. In particular, the rising gas may be convincing enough for the citizens to encourage the government to depend solely on the United State’s oil reserves. However, with the documentaries, such as Gasland directed by Josh Fox, lingering in the minds of mother-nature lovers there stands the question of what may be a necessary sacrifice. Which is more important in the long-run, the ever-increasing gas prices or the preservation of America’s nature? With one simple solution, this either-or problem can be solved.
If the law that former President George Bush levied in 2005 is re-enacted, then companies that drill oil will have to take greater measures to prevent oil leaking into water sources. The method that these companies use, hydraulic fracturing, sets a machine to drill and shake the land to create a flow of oil. Without cautionary measures the oil infuses into water that thousands of citizens are dependent on for drinking, cooking and bathing. In many recorded cases, the water then becomes combustible and vulnerable to illness. If millions of Americans are heard, then a law should be enacted to ensure that these companies will take cautionary measures and concoct a safer method that will allow the same result without polluting our water.
While communities throng together to voice out their opinions and exercise their right to rally against their land being destroyed, it seems as though they are being ignored. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, in Illinois people have congregated to have their unified opinion against hydraulic fracturing be heard. Instead of feeling united and strong, they sense that their legislatures are voting opposite of the public’s opinion.
What government office holders should remember is that they are meant to serve the country. The first to hold office, the Founders, clearly carved the ideology that government is meant to follow what the people want not vice versa. What the people, also, are meant to bear in mind is that with the continuation of support and rallying their exists the possibility of meeting in the middle.

Prompt: In a short story of no more than 700 words, describe what one of your secondary characters would fight for.

Take Five

It’s only lunch by the time you reach for your first Coca-Cola, second Red Bull, or third cup of coffee. Your energy is shriveling at the rate it takes your pen to fall from your desk. Rather than swallow a Whopper or toss a bag of Skittles into your mouth for a quick burst of energy, what your body yearns for is a natural way of re-energizing – a nap.
Studies from the National Sleep Foundation show that more companies are progressively separating off rooms and leaving in comfortable chairs so their employees can take a rest they desperately deserve. According to a Forbes article, Some are even taking inventory of “Sleeping Pods” that range from $700 to $13,000. These comfortable bed-like seats have extra cushion and can vibrate and wake the person up at the designated time inputted. However, sometimes not even these neat gadgets can convince a workaholic to snooze.
If you’re feeling guilty about taking some time for yourself, you are not alone. Whether it’s the fact that your job is your life’s passion or your just trying to make end’s meat, Americans in general are committed to clocking in their hours. More likely than not, if the boss insinuates that a meeting will be later than usual the plans for dinner on a Friday night fly out of the window. If an assignment is shy of finishing touches by the time midnight has come around, you’ll pull in the extra hours to get it just right. While these spur of the moments oblige you to stay up longer than usual, making these scenarios a habit isn’t good for your health. With a few extra minutes of resting, not only will your body feel better but you will also. With a good night’s rest or a nap midday, the body contains lower blood pressure and your mind is better refreshed for problem-solving.
Another point workaholics must consider is that the hours that the workplace require now-in-days has skyrocketed. Never have people in the United States collectively put in more time at work. With the threat of people losing their jobs because they want to make it to the dinner table on time rather than pull another all-nighter at the office, the least CEO’s can do is help their employees work better.
With executives from the Huffington Post and Google instilling these restful opportunities, it leads by example what companies from around the country need to do.

Prompt: Write a poem no longer than twenty lines where you describe a scenario that takes five minutes.

De-Stressing News

Let me give you a setting. You’re a few hours short of meeting a deadline. Your heart has been on a treadmill set on steep incline for the past week, you can barely swallow anything for fear of your nerves getting the better of you and despite pulling all-nighters your task at hand is barely finished. Enter: Your friends. They are a community within themselves – a family which you choose and that, depending on how close you are, can know you better than your own blood. Before hope disappears completely from your being, they help direct the traffic that has clogged your brain.
While in the moment, there is little time to analyze why friendship in and of itself minimizes a mountain-like burden to one as feasible as to the size of an ant, there does exist chemicals within the body working behind the scenes. The hormone oxytocin is released any time the body is under a lot of stress. This encourages a person to bond. According to research done by a Professor at the University of Cambridge, Terri Apter, she says that the fact that people are instinctively encouraged to bond when they are stressed equals relief. Whether or not those friends take matters into their own hands is not the point. Just the warmth, humor, and goodwill of those around helps the body relax. Those few minutes not spent on the project, allow for a refreshed feeling once the person returns to finishing up. A matter which seemed impossible an hour ago, once after a visiting the peanut gallery, that good feeling lasts and restores a positive outlook.
From an article composed by Lauren Dzubow for O magazine, shows through sickness and in health the benefits that come from de-stressing whether through catching lunch with a friend or a “quick” phone call. A bit of chatter can go a long way.

Prompt: In a poem of no more than 30 lines, describe a friendship within the terms of a garden party.

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.