A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
The First Part Last was pretty alright. It wasn’t my favorite book I’ve read this semester, but it’s not my least favorite either. I really liked the main boy. (I’m going to let you all in on a little secret, I can’t remember character names to save my life. I remember the tiny details and not their names. I’ve been using wikipedia summaries for the names too instead of getting up and grabbing the actual book to find them.) I thought he was very genuine and when he screws up by tagging the wall and everyone freaks out, his shame is real to me. It makes sense and is written like someone who would rather not talk about the incident. His devotion to his baby is a nice change of pace. His little Feather (I absolutely hate that name and therefore have remembered) is his sunshine. She makes him and breaks him everyday and in that aspect it is very intimately written.
Exactly, Feather. Exactly.
Most books/stories/TV shows/movies seem to be about the teenage mom who’s been abandoned by the dad. I like how this is flipped, though I’m not sure having the girlfriend slip into a coma was the most realistic way to do it. This really bothered me throughout the book. A relatively healthy girl suddenly becomes a vegetable for no apparent reason other than it conveniently ‘forces’ the boy into teenage dad-ness, without options. It just doesn’t make any sense. A car accident would have made more sense. Her abandoning him with the baby and fleeing to Georgia would have made more sense. Vegetative state forever more. WTF?
I have my spring break books now. My library fines were smaller than I first expected. Only $3.10. I was expecting at least $10. The walk was less shameful than I had expected. Anyway, the books are:
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
Troy by Adele Geras
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer
Pretties by Scott Westerfield
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Creative Saturday Returns! I present you with a little something from the archives of Maggieland:
It first happened when I was 9.
I was staring intensely at my favorite teacher, Ms. Couri, gazing deeply into her eyes whenever she looked my way and I actually got the chance. At this point in my life, I believed myself to have met my soulmate. This was a person I wished to spend the rest of my life with. In my mind, we were the perfect pair. I continued to stare at my loved one; when she turned to look at me and I got a tingling sensation in my spine. That was when it happened.
One moment, I was a hopelessly star struck pre-pubescent boy, peering fixedly at my teacher. The next, I was standing in front of a large group of kids, worrying about how to keep fifteen unruly fourth graders occupied, the lesson plans for the next day, and being a single parent and paying for a child with only a teacher’s salary. Immediately, I was disoriented and totally confused over the new perceptions of this new body, this strange new body. However, I quickly realized I could only perceive what this body was perceiving, as I tried to lift “my” hand. I saw my body’s hand fly up in the air accompanied by a strange, disembodied feeling, which created a complete silence among the normally rambunctious fourth graders.
“Yes, Olly?” I heard Ms. Couri’s voice come from the soft lips of the body I seemed to be inhabiting, calling me the pet name I allowed only Ms. Couri to call me.
“Erm… Ahem… Nothing….” I heard issued from the tiny figure that was my body, as a red hot flush consumed its face. Instantly, the fourth grade class roared with laughter at my feeble display.
So, as I was able to discern, I was merely “piggybacking” on the perceptions of Ms. Couri, a helpless observer in her consciousness.
It was on that dreary afternoon that I found out that I could enter people’s minds. I couldn’t control it and for most of my life it wasn’t useful. Upon entering college, I realized that I wished to be a private investigator. I believed that my ‘power’ would be beneficial to my cause, never mind the fact that it happened randomly. An easy career by serving justice by reading criminals’ minds was foiled by nature. I may have been able to read the criminal’s mind once or twice, but for the most part, I’ve actually had to become a real investigator. That’s why my phone began ringing early that morning.
“Hello,” I had growled into the telephone once my scattered, sleepy thoughts pulled themselves together.
“Mr. Oliver Hamburg, sir,”a voice replied. It wasn’t an American voice either.
“Dammit with you telemarketers calling at 2:00 in the morning!” I yelled into the speaker, spewing a random time, “Why is it always this number?! And what happened to the do-not-call list?!”
“Sir, this is not a telemarketer, this is the Mumbai Police.” I thought, This must be a joke of some sort. Briefly, I wondered if I could go into someone’s mind via telephone wire. He continued “We have some some bad news. There’s been an incident..” I stopped listening. Those words were terrible words, harsh words that tried to dress themselves up and pretend like they weren’t too bad. It was like watching criminals dress up as little old ladies who always gave a you a warm cookie and a glass of milk except that the milk was laced with arsenic and the cookies were sweetened with cyanide. I tuned back in. “A Miss Abagail Tulune was,” the speaker paused for a half second. “murdered.” I stopped listening again. Miss Abagail Tulune had been my girlfriend of the past three years. My eyes inadvertently slid to the side to the picture on my bedside table. There she was, smiling at me. Abby had left me three days ago to go to Mumbai, India. I felt sick to my stomach. I had been in that stupid fish’s mind when she had left. I hadn’t said good-bye.
“If there is nothing else sir, we have other matters to attend to,” the policeman said.
“No… Nothing else,” I muttered. I dully heard the faint click on the other end of the receiver. I rolled over and checked the alarm clock for the actual time. 2:30… Almost spot on… Dully, I realized I should get some sleep.
“Ollie!” I heard the shriek from downstairs. “What was that?”
“Nothing Ma… Just another telemarketer,” I lied, and numbly thought I should get my own telephone line.
Then, I rolled over, and began to bawl.
Molly Egister let out a sleepy moan and slumped against my cohort and long time friend, James Abra, as the plane touched down on the sunny runway. I watched out the window as I tried to ignore the stinging in my eyes. I wondered if this was one of the last things Abby saw. I, personally, had hated India for my entire life, so I never came over with Abby on her countless trips. I hated the jostling and busy streets, the uncleanliness and smells.
“Hey, Oliver,” James said quietly as the plane slowed down and the passengers began to collect their things. “You alright?” I nodded and gave a slight smile. “Alright.” The plane stopped and James was immediately out in the aisle grabbing our bags from the overhead. I wrinkled my nose as I looked down at the girl draped over James empty seat. He saw my face and smiled.
“Why does she always have to come along?” I moaned as I roughly shook her arm.
“Don’t complain. She didn’t sleep on you the whole way. She drools and mutters in her sleep. Now, I’m going to have to change my shirt.” He pointed to a dark spot on his lavender shirt. I chuckled and then frowned as I turned back to the task of waking up the deepest sleeper in the entire world. Molly could and probably would sleep through a nuclear explosion and never even turn over.
“Molly,” I said, as I shoved her. Her face just caught on the cheap upholstery and contorted. “Molly,” I said, a bit louder. I didn’t want to attract the attention of the people around us. I pulled the tiny, fluffless pillow from behind my back and hit her in the face. She just reached up and grabbed the pillow and snuggled with it. I looked up helplessly at James, but he was already down the aisle and almost out the door. I looked around. Molly and I were the last passengers on the plane. The attendant came up from the opposite end of the plane and smiled kindly at me.
“Sir,” she said politely, “the plane has landed and it’s time to exit the plane. May I assist you with anything?” I tried to paste a smile on my face, but it was a bit like patchwork and kept sliding. I looked down at Molly and then back at the attendant, my false humor gone.
“Do you have an fog horn?”
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No One Here But a Writer Who Gets Up and Try
Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
Psychological, thriller, mystery, secrets, betrayal, adoption, romance, poetry, art
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New York City based photographer STEFAN FALKE visits artists who live and work on both sides of the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region for his ongoing project. All photos and texts © Stefan Falke (No use without written permission by the author)