Tag Archives: writing

Forbidden Love at the Counter Bar

18 Sep

The following creative writing was based on Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.


Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942. Public Domain

The September night air was chilly, but not wanting to wrinkle her new red dress, Mackenzie opted to leave her coat at home. She hadn’t wanted to go out this evening, but Spencer had insisted. Another contract had fallen through and he was looking for a distraction.

Knowing the way the evening would play out before they even left home, Mackenzie  mentally prepared herself. She would say all the right things, nod at the perfect moments and even offer an understanding hand squeeze from time to time, just as she had done the previous three times this quarter. It was always the same conversation. Repetitive. Predictable. Unstimulating.

Even the restaurant and the counter bar seats were the same. They each ordered their usual meals. After Spencer had articulated the unfairness of his situation for the third or fourth time, recognizing the conversation finally exhausted, each became lost in their own thoughts, seemingly forgetting the other’s presence. Mackenzie braced herself for another long, lonely evening, void of flirtatious banter and riveting storytelling from their early days of dating.

She didn’t notice when he walked in – staring unseeingly out the glass wall into the dimly lit street. Nor did she see him select a stool at the bar to her right. It was only when he spoke that her heart was awaken.

“Coffee. Dark please.” Three words, spoken quietly to the bartender, thundered through her ears. Without taking her gaze from the window, Mackenzie could visualize the speaker’s face. It had appeared in her dreams freaquently, always just out of reach. Her cheeks burned red, matching her dress. She shifted her gaze quickly to her plate.

Goose bumps raced up and down Mackenzie’s arms causing her to shiver – Spencer never noticed. Her heart ached. Jeremy. Out of all the restaurants in Cleveland, he was here. And so was she, with another man.

Jeremy and Mackenzie had met only a handful of times prior to tonight. While their exchanges had been short, somehow he had made a lasting impression upon her. An aura of confidence surrounded him. Sitting tall on his stool, he appeared relaxed and at ease in the nearly empty restaurant. Mackenzie longed to move to his side, wondering if he’d even noticed she was at the same counter.

Her breathing slowed, not wanting to make any sudden movements and draw attention. Mackenzie told herself she was content to fantasize from a distance, but knew that was a lie. In reality, she was terrified of Jeremy’s potential rejection. She chanced a glance in his direction – he was watching her. How long had he been staring? He surely isn’t watching me?

Her breath hitched as their eyes locked. Captivated by Jeremy, Mackenzie couldn’t pull her gaze away. He took his time studying her face, his eyes darkening upon noticing her somber expression and the way she infinitesimally leaned away from Spencer’s side, her hand a whisper away from his, not touching. Jeremy took a sip of his coffee. Fist clenched tight. What was he thinking? At last his eyes released hers and Mackenzie was filled with an emptiness like she’d never known before.

For the smallest amount of time, she had been the center of someone’s world once again. Her heart twisted and jerked, not wanting to let those warm feelings go just yet. Her mind raced for something to say to him, just to hear his voice once more. She longed to be his, and quickly wiped the tear that escaped while her emotions ran rampant.

Jeremy paid for his coffee and left without giving Mackenzie a second glance. She wished she hadn’t come out tonight.



It was the first time, but not the last – A short story

29 Jun

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last. At least that’s what everyone had told me leading up to today, some way to calm my nerves, huh.

Breathe. Just breathe.

A nightmare I’d been late caused me to wake up before my alarm clock this morning. I sure could have used those 45 extra minutes of sleep, but oh well now. It’s almost time.

Focus. Concentrate. 

Before leaving, I checked my confirmation email, the weather and the traffic report no less than three times, and had to change outfits because my jitters caused a lovely glob of toothpaste to land on my strategically selected blouse.

I hope that’s not omen for how today will turn out. Stop. You can’t think about that right now. 

Unable to sit still any longer, I left home an hour early, and thank goodness I did! A fallen tree from last night’s storm created a detour that sent me 15 minutes out of my way.  But I made it, and with 15 minutes to spare. Flipping down the visor, I check my make-up once more. Please don’t let there be lipstick on my teeth or running mascara!

Surprisingly, no make-up was out-of-place. Even my untamable hair was on its best behavior still.

See?! You’ve got this! 

I concentrated on my breathing exercises, needing to calm my thundering heart. One, two, three… Resting my head against the seat rest, I slowly inhaled and exhaled, feeling my lungs expand and compress.

Oh no! I forgot my purse! My bag!

Crisis averted, they are both sitting on the floor of the passenger seat. To ease my worried mind, I check inside my bag.

Cover letter? Check.

Resume? Check.

Portfolio? Check?

There was no time left to stall – with ten minutes before my scheduled meeting I entered the building and found reception. She looks friendly enough, I think I’d like it here.

Hello. I have an interview at 9:45 with Mr. Lewis…

Unconventional writing space

6 Jan

When it comes to having that “perfect” place for writing, my space may surprise you a little. You see, sometimes I craft witty posts from my bedroom at late hours of the night, other times I’m documenting the little every day wonders of life at a picture window during my hour-long lunch break at work, but more and more frequently, like this morning, I find myself with fingers flying over my keyboad with words effortlessly flowing while sitting in my car waiting for the work day to start.

That’s right, I’m blogging from my PARKED car. I absolutely hate to be late to places, especially when it comes to getting to work on time, so on work mornings I leave my house an hour before my day starts. I do this for a couple reasons, I have a 30 minute commute and most of it is freeway driving, and you just never know when an accident will delay your arrival at your final destination.

Typically, I am parked at my office 30 mintues after leaving home. Before the weather turned chilly I used those extra 30 minutes to walk the track, stretch and relax my mind before heading into the stresses of the day. Now that the windchill is below freezing, I wondered how I would find that same zen mindset to start my morning.

The answer was no surprise – writing. I began bringing my tablet with me and discovered that from my car in the parking lot I was able to connect to the wifi and a new world opened!

So why my car you must be asking. Well, let me tell you:

1. No interruptions. I don’t know about you, but when I’m lost in the words I want to express and I’m planning out the direction before I execute, I hate when people start talking to me. More times than not, that thought fades away like smoke in the wind. I could go into hte building, but then I risk someone asking my about my evening or weekend plans, or thinking I’ve started my work day already and bombard me with a million questions I don’t want to answer for another 15 minutes.

2. The Radio. This one may seem counter-productive at first, but I find it so easy to write with a little music in the background. I mentioned in a previous post that I have started listening to a local christian radio station to charge my batteries and provide that uplifting feeling my day needs. While I’m out here writing, the radio is still pumping out those beautiful, inspiring songs, be it on a slightly quieter level than when I was driving – I still need to be able to hear myself think as I type.

3. I’ve already planned out my post. That’s right. All morning my mind is churning over what I can write about next. Was there something funny that happened last night? Did I finish a goal that I want to document? Did I have a profound dream others might be interested in? I am always working on the next idea, and when I have a topic I don’t want to forget about, I just need to put fingers to keyboad and get it down (see above for what happens to those lost thoughts).

4. It let’s me start my day creatively. Creativity pulses through me. I love crafting with words and photos. I’ve also dabbled in sewing and a tiny bit of painting and clay. But of all of those, the one I love the most and comes more naturally to me is writing. I have noticed that as the day progresses, opportunities to be creative start to slip away and I regret not taking those little moments and using htem productively. And when I start my day doing something I love, I am more centered.

There are other reasons, including watching the sun rise and enjoying the quiet before the storm of the work day, but those will have to wait as it’s time to go clock in.

Do you have an unconventional writing space? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Say Everything

20 Aug

Say everything. Put it down on paper. Let your thoughts flow without editing them. Don’t think…just write. Forget spelling, grammar, punctuation. Let go of your control…let the words flow from your mind to your pen (keyboard). Write fast. Anything. Everything. Something.

Let your pen express your deepest desires, darkest fears, dearest wishes. Let it be your voice, your friend, your escape. Express the feelings too long that have been locked inside. Let go of the sadness, the pain, the jealousy, the loneliness.

Just be you. Write until you feel drained and then write some more. Empty your emotional cup, every drop into the words on the page.

*I was cleaning off my desk and discovered what is written above scribbled on a piece of scrap paper. I wrote those words a few years ago based on the style of my letters. I don’t remember what this was for – a writing prompt, a homework assignment, a way to deal with something happening in my life at the time. All I know is that piece of paper and those words survived and speak volumes about how I view writing, how I like to think many great writers view it as well. 

Share Your World – 8/28/14

28 Aug

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Blogging is unique in it lets us connect with so many people around the world and helps us get to know people we may otherwise have never met. While looking for inspiration about what to write tonight, I stumbled across Cee’s Photography and decided to answer the latest questions in her series “Share Your World.” So pull up a chair, make yourself comfy and take a moment to get to know just a little bit more about me! And if you’re feeling up to it, answer the questions so I can get to know you, too! After all, friendship is a two-way street, best traveled together!

  • Do you believe in ghosts?

I wouldn’t go so far as to call them ghosts, spirits, angels, celestial beings – absolutely.  There have been too many times in my life where I’ve heard stories of friends/family feeling the presence or hearing a voice when they were all alone. And what about times when you’ve been running late or in a weird turn of events suddenly decide to change your normal routine only to discover that had you not, you could have ended up in the middle of something terrible. On the flip side of the equation, I do believe there are evil forces at bay as well, trying to convert us to their side, because as we all know, misery loves company.


  • Regardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility:  If you could play any sport professionally what would it be?  Or if you can’t picture yourself playing sports, what is your favorite sport? 

Before my four knee surgeries, I use to play soccer. I began playing at 5 years old all the way to my freshman year of high school. It took some time to discover which position I loved most, but once found, I rocked as a defending sweeper. Near the end of my soccer career, I was even starting to enjoy being the goalie – I loved seeing how far I could drop kick the ball, I felt so powerful! These days, my sport of choice is surprisingly running. I have completed four 5Ks (runDisney Princess 5K 2011, runDisney Expedition Everest 5K Challenge 2013, Color Vibe 5K 2013, Mad Hatter 5K 2013), a 10 mile race (runDisney Tower of Terror 10 miler 2013) and am training for my first half marathon in November (runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014)! The only person I compete with is myself, and I love seeing the progression I’ve made and the physical challenges I’ve over come to get to this point!


  • Do you prefer long hair or short hair on yourself? 

This is a no brainer for anyone who knows me – the answer will always be LONG HAIR. I have (what I consider) an oddly shaped face that just can’t pull off short hair – it makes my face look almost perfectly circular and very chubby. Also, you CAN’T DO ANYTHING with short hair – I love braiding and twisting and every now and then curling my hair. In my free time I can often be found watching different hair tutorials on YouTube looking for new and adorable styles to try on my hair!


  • If you were on a small island, who would you want to be with, where is it and how big is it? 

How funny, I was just talking about islands with one of my very best friends just the other night. We decided that if you’re going to be on an island, it better be tropical, sunny all the time and the water surrounding it better be crystal clear. As for the person I’d want with me, that would be Scott. It would be nice to be in the same place together for more than 5 days at a time a couple times a year (long distance relationships are the worst in case you were wondering). He’s someone who not only makes me feel safe and loved and beautiful, he’s constantly making me laugh and enjoys adventures and helps me to see the world differently. As for the island itself, it would resemble something like Isle Esme from the Twilight Series – the location they used for the movie was breath-taking, (off the coast of Brazil) it featured sandy white beaches, mountains, open floor plan for the house with huge picture windows, caves, waterfalls – check it out for yourself

Weekly Writing Challenge: Leave Your Shoes at the Door

28 Jan

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end we’re all storytellers. Writing Challenges help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and styles.

This week, we’re asking you to consider things from a different point of view — to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Leave your moccasins and bunny slippers at the door, and tell us a tale from a fully-immersed perspective that is not your own.


Did I Help Murder Duncan?

*A scene from the play Macbeth by Shakespeare, from the view of Lord Macbeth’s shirt.

The night is late as my master stirs, thoughts heavy on his mind. The floorboards moan under his weight as he paces back and forth. Creaking, they shift back into place after he moves his feet. Creek, creek, creek. Though the night is warm, he shakes violently; chills run over me as well. Far off in the distance a bell rings, breaking the otherwise silent night. He stops, knowing the meaning behind the bell tonight, as do I from our previous meeting with his mistress. Taking slow, shallow breaths he heads for the door. Silently I pray he’s changed his mind, hoping he won’t be able to go through with his evil plan.

 I cling to him; mimicking his every move, feeling his heart beat quicken and intensify as we get closer to the guest room.  Outside the entrance he takes one more ragged breath and slowly pushes open the chamber’s door. As the old door opens wide it makes the most eerie creaking sound possible. (It must also know the danger our sleeping guest is in.) Walking in a daze, my master heads straight for the giant bed, arms tense at his sides. Suddenly he stops, pushes me up above his elbows and grabs one of the sleeping guard’s daggers. The sensation of choking is upon me. Try as I may, I can not relieve my stress and fear as I fight to slide back down his arm. Angrily he pushes me up again.  He’s tense, feeling the weight of his decision upon him now, as I’m stuck struggling for air.

Master Macbeth suddenly snaps back into reality minutes later. He leans over the sleeping Duncan, King of Scotland and honored guest in Macbeth’s home, as a half hearted smile splits his face. He waits for the perfect time to strike, all the while watching the steady stream of air fill and escape Duncan’s motionless body. Assuring himself that Duncan and both his guards are sound asleep, Macbeth makes his move.  With one large circular motion with his and my own left arm, Macbeth slams the pointed dagger in the precise place of Duncan’s heart.

GASP! The last sound to ever be heard from the lips of Duncan, for he quickly bled to his death. I was motionless, unable to think as I slid back down Macbeth’s arms. What had I done? Why didn’t I try to stop him? As thoughts flooded my mind, I was filled with a horrible feeling of betrayal; Macbeth had killed me as well. There stained on my front was the dark red blood of Duncan.

I was covered, marked as the mastermind of the crime. When Macbeth returned to Lady Macbeth’s side to relate the deed was done, she noticed too. She made Macbeth remove me when she heard a knock at the door, so now I lay lifeless in a corner on the dusty bedroom floor. How long will I remain, that is an answer only time can tell. But as I lay here alone with my thoughts, I can’t help but wonder; did I help kill Duncan, too? 

3 Words – Now, Memory, Remember,

3 Jan

Now my children, gather round, for a tale I have to tell

of stormy nights and winter fights and a terrible life decision.

I may be old and weak you say, but do not let that fool you,

this memory lives inside my soul, a tale I shall never forget.

Truth be told, it is you  I fear, who will not remember well, the wisdom I wisely share.

Teachers – changing the world one student at a time

4 Oct

I have had many teachers in my lifetime, and many more to come should I ever decide to attend grad school in the future. It’s amazing how some of the most bizarre details of these individuals, the people we spent five days a week for seven or so hours a day, listening to and observing as if they were on display at the local zoo, stick out to us years after we were their students.

Some of my earliest memories of my teachers are details of how they looked. Take my first through third grade science teacher, Mrs. Bloor, for example. She had white-blonde curly old lady hair (you know, like a grandma!), she would draw on her eyebrows and had the kindest smile. I found my old yearbook to double check this and lo and behold, I remembered her perfectly!
And then there are the odds and ends I remember about the music teacher from the same grades, Mrs. Miles. She had two, big, black poodles she loved talking about! my family and I also would bike past her house when the weather was nice, so I saw them in person a few times, too. I loved her class because she introduced us to music from around the world. One of my favorite memories is that of her dancing around the room holding a rain stick while tribal music played on the speakers. She was teaching the class a chant or something, but that part is hazy. I’ve always had a love of music and I think her class taught me at a very young age to appreciate and enjoy all kinds of music.

There are two teachers from this school I have seen periodically over the years, who surprisingly remember me. Most recently I saw my kindergarten teacher, Miss Cobbs (she has gotten married and changed her name since I was her student all those years ago), at the first high school football game of this season. I moved school districts when I was going into the fourth grade and for the opening game this year, the school I graduated from was playing the school district I use to attend and she was at the game. I could tell you it’s a small world running into her, but my mom is a teacher in this district as well and they keep in touch at district wide meetings and whatnot. I would also like to point out that I’m as tall as she is, not that that’s saying much as I stand a barely respectable five feet, four inches tall. She also couldn’t believe I was 25, honestly, where has the time gone?!

The other elementary teacher I have seen from time to time over the years was my reading teacher, Mrs. Searfoss. If my mother hadn’t ingrained a love of reading in me from such a young age, I feel I still would have developed it in her class. I can remember reading and writing poems, short stories and her bubbly, infectious laughter. When I moved schools, she mailed me a letter and a book. I came across them just a few months ago tucked neatly away in a box hidden in the back of my closet, which means that at this moment when I’d like to take a photo of them, they are nowhere to be seen.

I’ve had dozens of teachers over the years, but none has had as great an impact on my life outside of school as that of my seventh and eighth grade language arts teacher, Mr. Lawrence.

I remember the first day of his class as if it were yesterday. There we were, all sitting there with the deer-in-the-headlights look as we waited for our names to be called. (Was I the only one who breathed a sigh of relief afterwards because I was in the right room on the first try? I always felt bad for the kid who read their schedule wrong for whatever reason.) Anyways, I was in class with my two best friends at the time, Sarah and Kris, her last name came before mine and his after, as my last name fell near the middle of the roster for the class. Finally I knew mine was to (should) be the next name called based on the students sitting around me, but it wasn’t my last name he called. “Mariah Monkey.”

WHAT?! [Looks at best friends completely confused.] Again he says, “Mariah Monkey.” This time in a tiny, shy voice I speak up, “I’m Mariah, but that’s not my last name.” To which he responded something to the effect of “I know that. But your last name is a species of monkey.” [Collective class ah-ha as it all makes since.] And after that, the nickname stuck. My friends and I started calling each other by nicknames based off our last names. (Sarah became “Birdie,” Kris became “Directions,” and I of course was “Monkey.”) I even adopted the nickname on the soccer field and put it on the back of my team hoodie. And the year I was very sick, it was monkeys that filled my hospital room. On a Saturday morning during soccer games, Mr. Lawrence learned from my parents that I was 1. Very sick and 2. He was the reason behind all my new monkey companions. He made a special trip to visit me in the burn unit and when he came into my room he had the biggest Curious George monkey I’d ever seen. (I named him Taco, but that’s a story for another time.)

While the story of how I got my nickname is interesting to tell, it’s not the true reason why Mr. Lawrence is mentioned in this particular post. I chose to include and publicly thank him because he was the first teacher to recognize that I was a writer.

Growing up I always enjoyed writing. I began keeping a detailed journal at age 10 and I was constantly making up stories and writing poems. And finally, someone outside my family recognized that talent in me as well.

Now don’t get me wrong. There were days when I wondered if I’d ever write something “good enough.” Mr. Lawrence was tough on me, but that taught me to sharpen my skills. He made me ask questions of my writing “are there details that need more explanation, eliminated because it clutters the flow? Have you told the best story you can? Have you conveyed your meaning as clearly as possible? Who is your target audience? Are you using words and language appropriate to them?”

Mariah, yes you still have “it.” But I must warn you, however,that if you ever figure out what “it” is, you won’t have it anymore. The only way to become a true writer is to write. There are no shortcuts. P.S. It’s comforting to know I may have a small part in touching the world through you. -Mr. Lawrence, October 27, 2006

Many times he told me that writing was going to be important in my future and he was right. I spend my days using the skills he taught me at work to write press releases, blog posts and other various projects. And in my free time I am journaling and blogging. And I am happy to say I have still yet to figure out what “it” is, and honestly I think that’s why writing is still so effortless and enjoyable to me. And that is something I hope never changes.