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Manthri and the Cracked Mug

“Dear Melanie,
Thank you for your interest in the University of Chicago. Unfortunately, we cannot extend an invitation for attendance this year…”

I stare at the screen while some Santa Cruz stoners blast Bob Dylan dubstep outside my window. My theater friend Katie, a spry optimist, thinks UC Santa Cruz is a hip place to be. Rebellious and deviant but laid back at the same time. All I see is laziness disguised with progressivism, lots of rich white stoner kids talking about how much they love Malcolm X. My classes have turned into reality television shows, people hanging on their seats while me and the potheads go at it. It used to be almost exciting.

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Miami's Atemoya

Miami’s Atemoya

Each year she waited
For the next year to come
Pomelo mojito mixes
Teased her sun browned skin

She loved Santeria
Before she met this pale man
Who served her hidden fruits
In this sad extension
Of the United States

She was in sugarcane land
Before her teeth
Sunk into the creamy flesh
Of Miami’s Atemoya

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You found a series of riddles in your bike basket accompanied by a feather and a plastic compass. It led you here, on this bridge, and you don't know who or what you're looking for.

(Aspiring to Be) Inspiring Writing Prompt #4

You wake up and you’re running late for work. Shit. You brush your teeth and you can barely stand to look at yourself in the mirror because you know that’s how you’ll look for the rest of the day. After throwing on your biggest coat (it is February in New York, after all) you run down the metal staircase to your trusty bike. As if your morning weren’t already full of alarming surprises, you find a feather, plastic compass, and a riddle.

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Upon the end, he howled like a true prairie wolf.

Uncle Roger

I was in Santa Barbara for Spring Break when I heard the news.

Rough year, being a special needs assistant with a very strong-willed and off task child. What they don’t tell you when you first sign up for the job is that it’s on you to make everything work. The child, teacher, your boss, and the parent all must be happy in order for you to be happy. Those are the balls I had to juggle and many were dropped in the process.

So for spring break I run far away and don’t invite anyone to come with me.

The sunset was visible behind the crowd of palm trees as I walked back from Santa Barbara Coffee Roasting where I spent three hours staring at a wall, comatose from endless sand and sun. There has to be a way that all of these people confuse relaxation with depression, a fine line I was playing with myself. I get a call from my aunt Laura, and I take a deep breathe before answering. Having been a midwife in Nicaragua during the contra wars, sometimes she talked as if she was trying to run away from landmines.

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Two folded maroon button up shirts lay on his bed, their brass studs on the shoulders saying: "Hello again, friend."

Playing with Fire: Brandon Flowers Runs Away to Las Vegas

I’ve written another response to writing prompt #2, and this time, it’s a little deeper than Smashmouth running away from the cops after he steals a watch. This time, I’m responding to Brandon Flowers’ “Playing with Fire” from his solo album, Flamingo Road. It’s incredibly soulful and reads like an epic of a young hero going out into the world on his own for the first time, knowing nothing beyond the limits of his incredibly small town, defying the wishes of his father, and whipped around in an inner turmoil. It’s a true story, based on Brandon Flowers leaving the tiny Mormon town of Nephi, Utah to live in Las Vegas and pursue greater heights just before he graduated high school.

Let me know what you think, or if you write a response on your blog, I’ll share it here on mine!

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You wake up in a desert with a huge and mysterious headache. You're covered in dust. Behind you, there's a post with a hawk sitting on top of it. Tied to its talon is an envelope with your name on it.

(Aspiring to Be) Inspiring Writing Prompt #3

This should be a fun one.

Last night was a regular night, though something didn’t settle with you. Maybe you had the feeling of being watched but chalked it up to your usual paranoid tendencies. You fall asleep alone, soothed by the regular sounds of your town or city, be it chirping crickets or a constant flow of cars.

When you wake up, the only thing you see is white. Could this be heaven? Your head is searing with pain, and in the shocking heat, this is the only thing you can focus on. You know you’re not in your bed. And when you look around, all you see is a desert with no sign of humanity, not even in the far off horizon.