Marcia Francis

Creative Writing Blogs

I have blogs to which I post various fictional, poetic and editorial thoughts about life. Here are a few excerpts.

Table o' Contents
-A Run in her Stockings
-Wallace and Portia at Work
-Dancing Across Kansas
-4:16 p.m.
-Tea for Two
-Blog Excerpt: Poster Child for Doubt
-Blog Screenshots

A Run in her Stockings?

Her pantyhose were a metaphor for her life today.

She was well-dressed. Prepared for a day of business in a long, heavy, black, swing skirt that reached mid-calf and a bright, sapphire-colored twin set. Her hair neatly styled and her low black heels clicking on the linoleum of her office building floors.

But earlier that morning, she was not so prepared.

She had realized her legs hadn't been shaved in two weeks and, therefore, needed stockings to cover the lack of attention to that detail. She went to her dresser and pulled a pair of sheer, black nylon pantyhose from the organizer in which they lived, neatly rolled, within her drawer. She sat on the edge of her low mahogony-colored bed, unfulred the stockings and began to put them on, one leg half way and then on to the other. This is how women put on the complicated mess called pantyhose... the female equivalent to the male necktie in terms of discomfort.

Usually she didn't wear pantyhose in the spring, summer or fall, living in a southern climate as she did. Today was different due to circumstances that, though well within her control, had been unattended to.

After the first leg, she moved on to the second and, as she did, saw a run near the toe.

She pondered the tiny run and decided to just move it under her foot and exercise more care in pulling on the stocking so as not to spread the run further. With both legs of her stockings now halfway on, she stood up from the bed to finish the task which involved pulling the pantyhose up over her thighs to her waist.

As she did so, she noticed yet another flaw in the flimy, sheer veneer she attempted to apply to her legs.

Several runs emanating from a large hole now made themselves known. These runs were larger and ran in northerly and southerly directions on her leg. However, since her skirt was so long, she was again undeterred, and gingerly continued the effort, pulling them completely on.

It was time to put on her heels and get out the door. As she slipped on her shoes, she noticed one more tiny run on the heel of the opposite foot. Sigh. Well, after the others- and the difficulty getting the darn things on- she wasn't reconsidering now! Besides, she wasn't sure if she had any other stockings that matched.

So, at last, she took off for work- looking well-dressed- but knowing in her heart what a mess everything really was beneath the neat skirt, smart twin set and pearl earrings.

This was like her life. Especially now.

Underneath it all, underneath the "making deadlines" and "perfect multi-tasking" there a disaster was in full swing, but to outward appearances, she was still holding it all together.

As she continued across the linoleum floor, she wondered to herself, "how long can it last?"

Wallace and Portia at Work or Email Haiku Conversations on a Monday Morning: An Exercise in Collaboration

Wallace sat in the next building over from Portia... pondering the pros and cons of junk food in the vending machine around the corner from his office... then said:

five foot eleven
looking out upon the world
why can't i be huge?

blah. blah blah.blah. blah.
i forget what "doing" is.
i talk way too much.

So Portia, uanble to focus upon her current assignment, pondered such. Replying:

i move warily forward
seeking detachment

my shoes are all wrong-
i don't care what they say now.
just shut up and walk.

love pisses me off
it can't make up its own mind
leave me out of it

blah. blah. blah. blah. blah.
turn off the dripping drivel.
my cup is too full.

five foot four or so
a very small animal
conquering my fears

To which Wallace, now snacking upon pork rinds, and feeling quite disappointed in his decision to consume them, replied:

five foot four or so
just right for beneath my chin
conquering the world

so tired and confused
eyes blurred, speech slurred and head whirrred
maybe this is bliss.

i want to buy boots
just like morgan spurlock wore
on the C-A front

and also the watch
i might as well be a clone
but it's so damn cool.

Portia continued her struggle to focus. At last determining that only an infusion of high-quality caffeine would do the trick- putting her back on task- and so made a run to the Starbucks a few blocks away. Returning to her climate-controlled office from the brief escape out into the fresh, unconditioned air of Spring, she opened Wallace's latest email, laughed and wrote:

five foot eleven
no imposter feigning life
just genuine you

weary and worn out
no time to find the right words
lost beneath the couch

i want to run far,
just walk away, from this place
of complacency

you inspire me
poking that place in my brain
that creates new thought

we are too damn cool
to want to be cool, ya know?
we secretly are.

Finally, Wallace considered the break room and the idea of stealing a styrofoam coffee cup from the coffee club to hold his beverage of choice- a juice nectar. He thought better of the stealing and chose instead to drink straight from the bottle rather than become a thief. This decision resulted in a little juice getting spilt, mixing with the crumbs of earlier consumed pork rinds. Feeling a mess, yet justified in this decision, he replied:

perfume no sweeter
than a taste i've yet to know
and know it i won't

genuinely me?
i really hope that it's true
whatever that means.

Just a typical day in the workplace with the technological tools for passing electronic notes in class. Just one not-so-busy bee in one building and another in the other... buzzing back and forth... trying to get a little work done between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Because sometimes you gotta have pork rinds and Starbucks. Maybe not at the same time, but nonetheless, there's a time and a place for all things.

Dancing Across Kansas

At 6 a.m. she awoke half an hour
before the alarm, tired to the bone,
half a night spent dreaming alone.

His voice spinning a lullaby
across the nine hundred miles.
She noticed his moments of silence,
filling the void alone,
never realizing he was washing his car.

Sometimes she wonders, "is he just listening
for the music my voice rises and falls to?"
"It's easy to sleep to," she says aloud,
"so many words running out of my spigot
all over your floor."

At 6 a.m. she awoke before the alarm.
She thought of mopping her words from his mind
before he awoke;
considered it- as he lay peacefully in his bed
all these nine hundred miles away-
half his night spent as he lay dreaming.

These words alone are nothing;
dried to the bone, she blows them away,
her lips forming a perfect "O".
They are so close now, he doesn't need words
to see inside her head or a lullaby to hear
the music plucking strings in her heart.

Driving in the night, they dance across Kansas
and Arkansas and Louisiana and Alabama,
their bodies turning in the moonlight
between one cell tower and the next.

True, no day goes by now that she doesn't count.
But she wonders how to soothe a pain in his heart
she can not touch or kiss away.
This is why words fall short and dry.

She wants only to hold his hand
as the rain comes, as the change comes.
In the silence he may hear her breathing- heart beating-
and know what all the world's words can never, ever say.

A thought crept into her head...
The twelfth floor is just no match for daydreams.

4:16 p.m.
My Time on Earth

OK, so here's the thing. No matter who I read, they all say the same thing. It's just regurgitated with a few new phrases for the same things thrown in. I'm serious. Read a few books about life in the Now. Being Present. Whatever you wish to call it... I'm telling you, it's all the same.

But maybe there's a good reason for that.

Maybe it's because, as my Dad likes to say and probably several hundred self-help books, the present is all we've got.

I'm down with that. Especially the "not-over-thinking-everything" thing.

Like this past weekend at the beach.

Body surfing in a strong current means a) great waves and b) the distinct possibility of drowning in an undertow. You have to pay attention. You have to focus on the job, or in this case the play, at hand.

I was in the Present Moment.

It was all surf and salt air and feeling for the tide and seeing the dragonflies every where. It was the cold water of the deeper ocean mingling in with the warmer waters of the shoreline. It was being turned ass over tea kettle in the crashing waves and tossed up against the shrapnel of razor-sharp shells that covered the coastline. I came up for air with scratches, the odd bruise and the exhilaration of feeling Alive.

When you can be that focused, you can't think about anything else. None of the things that plague your mind during the hours of your "regular" life... things like career, living up to your potential, your choice of a mate or lack of a mate, your bad haircut, wondering if you should've been a doctor.

Stuff like that.

Maybe all these people must tell us the same things over and over because we just don't hear what is said. Yet, we try to listen. We still seek because we still have the desire to reach that place of peace.

I found it at the beach last weekend, but I would guess, if all these self-help gurus are correct, you could find it anywhere you happen to be. It's a choice. It's a place you go in your head and heart.

I'm going to try it more often. If you do, too- way to go! And good luck with that.

Tea for Two

Two cups of tea,
filled over and again-
One with saucer...
One quite without.

He came to her
from a place more distant
than miles suggest
on silver wings.

She took him in,
gathered in her embrace,
until rested...
he felt that Home.

they reached out past the Past.
Where were they now?
In the Moment.

Tea pot boiling
on the stove in silence.
They, too, warming
cold leftovers.

And he held her
in the darkness so close
and gave her thanks
for not leaving.

Excerpt from Blog Post: Poster Child for Doubt

"...Many things in Portia's life seemed to boil down to a shoe metaphor and this was no exception.

She had two pairs of shoes in her closet. One pair looked gorgeous but pinched when she wore them and, eventually, caused a blister. Once the injury was incurred, it took about a week for it to heal. About that time, the beauty of the shoes lured her back for another session of pain.

The other pair didn't really go with anything in her closet. But it was the most comfortable pair of shoes she'd ever worn. So, considering her desire for something comfy on any given day, she would sometimes turn to this pair of shoes. However, every time she did and caught a glimpse of herself, she realized these shoes didn't fit her in any other sense... they didn't even look like they belonged on her body... and she didn't like them at all. Then the comfort dissolved into discomfort as halfway through the day they began to make her feel she was trying to be someone she wasn't.

Those two pairs of shoes seemed like relationships. Some parts of them worked, some parts of them didn't. But until Portia cleaned out her closet and got rid of both pairs of shoes, she knew she'd keep trying to make them fit and work for her- though they never would. They would always be the shoes they are.

So, Portia realized, to find a pair of shoes that complimented her more satisfactorily, she needed to keep trying on new pairs of shoes.

Yet she knew she was in no way ready for that. And this thought made her sadder still. What had she learned in the past three years? It seemed she had learned nothing at all except how to put on a different, yet still somehow inappropriate pair of shoes.

Or maybe there was just no right pair of shoes for her feet. Nothing to protect her from the cold, uneven, stony path. No cushioned insole to ease her march across the days of her life and lift her as she jumped at the Joy of Just Being Alive.

And that thought made Portia the Poster Child for Doubt.

That thought made Portia realize that some kinds of cold have nothing to do with the temperature. This other Cold could seep deep down into every pore of her skin bringing her to the brink of freezing- so deep that she could be shattered into a million splintering shards of glistening ice.

That thought made her believe she should seriously consider the possibility of the life of a recluse, of a solitary life. A life lived without shoes at all... toes wiggling in the dewy, green grass, free and unfettered.

In those moments, she pondered, a barefoot life seemed the best alternative for one such as herself."

Blog Screenshots
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