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Love is put on an altar in our media, movies, music, and culture, above exploration, critical thinking, and self-development.

(Aspiring to Be) Inspiring Writing Prompt #5

Forget love. When the schedule says it will be there at 5pm, it arrives when we’ve already decided that an hour was too long to wait, so we hail a taxi with a odorous, gentle, beastly, but unusually polite man shrouded in cigar smoke. Unknown to us, we will end up marrying and loving this man perhaps until the day we die and think: “What if I had waited ten more minutes?”

Maybe you do. Maybe you get on the train, full of expectations. Will today be the day that Robert finally stops taking all the credit around the office? Will the invigorating start of a new phase in your life build up to something beyond fantasy? Ecstasy, even?

Maybe the people at the office start to take notice. Maybe you feel just a little bit better about yourself. Maybe it lasts. Maybe it doesn’t.

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Joos de Momper's 'The Fall of Icarus'

Icarus and the Plebeians

Their eyes watched
His alighted, singed wing
It was this day, this moment
They stopped hearing the lark sing

The plebeians accepted
Their sentence
Lineage scoured
With cruel condescendence
See Jupiter’s glare, the tense arcus

The dust stilled, dazzling heights
Were dashed
Chariots thundered,
levity vanished, rotted, cascades
No longer thrashed

In yesteryear, they knew a rouge-colored sky
They knew of depressions and renaissances
They knew of the pitted brown winters
They knew of fresh fields calling
They now see vein’s maroon
From a high hope’s falling

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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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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.