Tag Archives: Novel

People of Humboldt

My years at Humboldt were full of people. Some of them I recall well. Others I have slim memories of now.

Before I lived with Rose, she had lived with Heather. And I met her through Rose. She was also a student and cute. No cute is not the right word, she was hot. But I got to know her over the time I was in Arcata and we became friends. It was through her I got to know other circus people. Heather and the Humboldt Circus crew were fun in the way I always wanted to be fun. But could never allow myself.

Another woman from the circus was Aryana. She was also beautiful. Like Heather she was creative and fun. They seemed to emit joy. Like the sun shines and stars twinkle. Just a part of their nature. I’d never known people who were so natural and happy. Later as part of the circus crew I met and got to know Teri. For a brief moment I had a crush on her. But she was younger, and had a boyfriend. But we are all still friends, on Facebook at least.

Following the circus path. There was Shea Free Love. When I think of him I think of his work in town. He did shows at the Farmers’ Market. And while he worked with many of the Circus Club students. He had graduated soon after I arrived on campus. Another magical man in the Arcata performer family was Shantaram. I met him on campus talking to Tony Snow. I was amazed by his card tricks. He lived in Arcata and owned a business.

Moving along from the circus to the other circus on campus. Tony Snow had been the student body president. I believe it was in 2006. Later I talked to him about his term. He said I didn’t understand the events. So I will just say it wasn’t an easy time for him. But Tony is a great person. The kind of person who has a charm. It makes him a natural people person. And in my opinion gives him a strong potential in politics. As a student covering campus government I was lost. Many times he helped me to understand.

A good friend of his was Noelle. I was supposed to talk to her for my CASA story. But in the end I had more sources than I needed. But I did work with her on a number of campus governance stories. And for a short time after graduating we were friends. I feel like I made a mistake with her. Well, maybe mistake isn’t the right word. We take many paths through life. And when we look back it is easy to think how another would be better. But we don’t know. For a moment there appeared to be a path for us. But I was scared. When I was working on the paper she was in campus politics. One of the sane voices on campus. She also helped me a lot to understand events and players.

At the end of my first year on campus there was a big election mess. Jason had been put on the ballot. But right before the election it had been declared he couldn’t hold office. Doubts were raised. Some wanted a new election. But this wasn’t affordable. Jason was someone I respected. But I often didn’t agree with him. He was a friendly person. Just on many issues we held different views. He was the person with the 9-11 Truth signs. The one pushing for pot to be legal. Early in the summer he took a trip to Boston. I’m not going to pretend to know what happened on the plane. But he made national news when he was arrested. Police claim he put stickers in the bathroom. And he wore a shirt comparing Bush to Hitler. He was flying out of Boston. The same airport as three of the 9-11 airplanes. In the end I believe in Jason. The world needs people like Jason. People not afraid to stand up and say what they believe. Because he may or may not be crazy. But sometimes the crazy people get things right. They can see things our sane minds do not.

The person who won the election was Sofia. A woman of classic beauty. I found her deeply attractive at once. Over the summer we talked. And I had a huge crush on her, for a moment. We sat in my apartment and talked until the sun came up. She is a very smart woman: she will do much with her life. But her time in office wasn’t easy either. After it got started things began to calm. We remained friends through the semester. And stayed in touch about events. Once she shared a bit of info about a reporter at a meeting. I asked him about it later. He was always confused how I even knew. But I didn’t cover her time in office. I never told anyone we were friends, and clearly couldn’t say I had a crush on her. But I stayed away to be honest and fair. Like Tony, Sofia has a magical charm.

One person not in student government was Jerilyn. She was an odd one for Humboldt. A supporter of Sarah Palin. She came to my notice my second year on the paper. Her group has posted a memorial to the troops. It was in the library and soon a counter was posted by Jason. I loved her for having a strong spirit. You had to be strong to be at Humboldt and not be liberal. She was also a pretty woman. We talked a few times about politics. And she always made sense. Though I don’t know I always agreed with her. She was another of the people I knew was going some place in life. Now I wish I could call her and discuss events.

And lastly but not leastly was Crystal. She was another of the amazing women in student governance. I don’t recall her exact role. But I know we talked a lot. She was close friends with Noelle. I always liked her for being bold. We were all students on campus. But at times it felt like they were already on their path. And I was just watching and hoping to find mine. Crystal is one I remember for her smile. Her courage and her work for the campus.

I think I could write a whole book about my Facebook friends. It would be 180 chapters long. Of course some chapters would be longer. But there is no space to write about all the people who touched me. And I know I’ve missed people. If I missed you in this short chapter I am sorry.

A whole group of Friends in one person (Chapter 2)

She danced from one room to the next. Picking up a dress. Then putting down a shoe. Sitting down for a moment. The desk in front of her covered in make-up. Her laptop open with a new song. She was writing her life. And creating herself every day.

Jane was an artist. Her work was in demand. A show on Broadway ended last week. Now she sat far away in London. This was the life she dreamed about as a child. She would put on her best dress. Then sing to her parents. And sometimes she would sing at church.

Picking up lip stick she puckered her lips. Thick and red the color went on her lips. She smiled to make sure it wasn’t on her teeth. Today was not a day for having lipstick on her teeth. Her cellphone rattled in her bag. But she didn’t notice.

Today was her the first day she would rehearse with Elton John. They were working together on a show for charity. She was a Gemini, so while she wanted to help others. Details were not her thing. Which group was the charity for? She knew and she didn’t remember. But Elton had told her it was a good cause.

There were many charity shows she did over the years. And at times she wondered about where the money went. She didn’t want to end up like Cat Stephens. He couldn’t even fly into the U.S. anymore.

Looking up at the mirror she checked her progress. Then down she looked at the song. The words were coming along one at a time. Like reluctant children. You know in the end they will come. But you just wish they could be more behaved. The words just didn’t want to listen to her. They fought her. And she pushed back into the void against them.

Her pen was stuck between her teeth. With a firm focus she searched for the next word. But she knew it was a problem. Like trying to fall asleep. The more you try the harder it is. She needed a moment away. And her phone started to flash and vibrate again. This time she picked up the call.

“Charles,” she answered.

“Jane,” he said. “What will I do?”

Being in the theater Jane knew about drama. But no one did drama like her brother. Once he called about a snow storm. Where would he find three months worth of food he asked her. He misunderstood the news. It was a three day storm. And they said it would be a cold winter. He flew into a panic.

She looked at her watch. The party didn’t start for two hours. But now she wanted an excuse to get off the phone already. She loved her dear brother. He was the eternal support in her play growing up. When ever she needed a leading man. Or someone to play a horse. Or anything she asked of him. But in some ways he had never grown up himself. And while she was about the world with her own play. He stayed at the family home with his old toys.

“How’s the old car running?” she asked.

“I started it last night,” he offered. “But, I didn’t drive it so it wouldn’t get wet. It might rain today. The weather man said there was a chance.”

It was the driest month of the year, August. But she figured it wasn’t worth the discussion. If he didn’t want to drive, it was okay with her. But she still felt like it would be a step which would help him get off the farm. A step she felt like he needed. Her life was so full of life. And their other sister was so on the edge. But Charles waited like a hurt puppy about his feeding dish.

“Listen Charles…” she started. But it was too late. The finger had been pulled from the dike. Now the ocean was flooding in on her. She could hear his tears through the phone. He was sobbing in a deep stress.

“You don’t have time?” he whispered.

“No… I mean yes,” she vacillated. “What dear brother is the problem?”

The “dear brother” came out sarcastic and she felt it. But, he never listened to the tone of her words. And he didn’t today.

“They’re going to get dust on my cattle,” Charles blurted into the phone.

“Wait, our cattle?” her tone changed to alarm. She may mock the farm and her brother. But it supported her lifestyle in no small degree. Even the powerful attorney sister needed the resources of the farm at times.

“My cattle,” Charles firmly stated. For the last five years he was the only family member on the farm. So he felt like the livestock were his. He would share the income, but they were his.

“Yes, Charles,” she relented. “Tell me the story.”

Over the next three hours she tried to stay awake. But it wasn’t clear what the weather last week had to do with the neighbors. And what was this about the county commissioners. She listened with the polite yeses and nos until he stopped crying. Now she was late for the party.

“Have you called New York,” she tried to push him off on their other sister. The ram of the family.

But just listening was calming to Charles. He was breathing normal. He could form his words without sounding like a drunk. And it was time for Jane to let him go. It was late where he was and she was late.

“I have a party to go to Charles,” Jane inserted into the discussion. “One of the princes are going to be there.”

“You always understand me Jane,” Charles emoted. “Thank you for listening.”

But she hadn’t listened, and now she felt bad. She explained to her brother neither of the princes of England could help him. Then wished him a goodnight’s rest.

Charles sat down. Put the phone down on the cradle. It was nearly dead now. And he was exhausted. It wasn’t like him to spend hours on the phone. However, he felt like his very life was in danger. They’ll get dust on my cattle, he thought to himself. Walking into the kitchen for a glass of water.

Jane rushed to the party which was just starting.

“Am I late dears,” she asked strolling through the door. She imagined it to be fashionable late.

“Late,” a friend replied. “You are like a whole group of friends in one person. We could never really start the party without you.”

Dust on My Cattle: An Involuntary treatise on Government (Chapter I)

It was an office of a powerful woman. At the top of the tallest building in town. She stared out the window. The people below her lived in her shadow. The king and the king maker. Her whole live she had wanted this one moment. Victory.
Grown men were known to huddle in fear.

When she started to read in Kindergarten. There was a drive in her soul deeper than anything else. This drive pushed her through the years like jet fuel. A pumping sensation in her heart. Her brother was two years older. Even at a young age though she felt protective of him.

Now she had the power to protect anyone. Or destroy anyone. With a snap of her fingers. And she was only 25 years old. Single and full of ambition. She’d never met a man who could handle her. The thrill lasted for an hour. The sex lasted less than a minute. The next morning came empty and alone. Morning after morning through the college years. And now she just gave up.

In school she was called The Ram. As single in focus as a bullet. And hard headed like a hammer. It was a fire inside which made her alive. It was a fire which burned all in its path. The fire was sometimes of lust. And maybe someday it would be a fire of romance. But the only love she had now was her brother.

Five years ago their parents had died. If there was a moment when she felt lost. It was alone in the moment she got the news. But soon it was a shared moment. As one by one the news spread. Like a mold. And one by one they came to her. But as much as they came to support her. They knew and she knew they needed her. Much more than she needed them. She was the child who slept all night as a baby. But she didn’t sleep for nights after she got the news.

And he brother was a wreck. He still lived in the family home. It was now his home. While she could live there, it was too full of the family. And she wasn’t in the family. Her brother broke when told of the deaths. He fell into so many pieces she wondered if he would ever be whole again. It took him three years to be able to live without the nurse.

But today the sky was full of sunshine. Looking down at the city she was happy. It lay around her office like a set of toys. And today was the biggest day of her career. It was the case which would put her in the history books. Sitting at her desk. With a glass of cherry juice in hand, she relaxed. It had taken almost a year.

The case isn’t a part of our story. But I want to share the details anyways. The case was against the biggest bank in town. It was run by the mayor’s brother. His name was Leo, and he had cheated his investors, attempted murder and bribed a city councilmember. Her role was representing over 500,000 investors. This was the biggest case of the year. The biggest case in the state. And brought her not just fame but a slate of new friends. And today is was over. As the phone rang she imagined herself on Necker Island.

“Salut,” she answered hitting the speaker phone button. It was her brother.

“Good job on your case,” he said. “I wanted to call and let you know mom and dad would be proud.”

But she didn’t really care about mom and dad. They grew up in a farm house. A small dusty farm house and they would have been proud of many things. This was a success they couldn’t understand. She had taken on this case alone. Many men had feared to handle it.

“Thank you dear Charles,” she spoke. Most people called him Charlie. But she loved to call him Charles. Most people also didn’t take him seriously. He was an artist and working on his first book of poetry. Alone on the family farm back in Montana.

She had another sister who was touring in Europe. A singer, musician and like Charles a poet. At times it seemed odd how the three of them were so different. Her brother was known as the bull. And while it was partly an unkind jab at his weight. It fit his loyal and strong personality. Their sister was like two people in one. With a love of fashion and art. People called her the third Olsen twin.

“I’d like to come visit you,” Charles stated.

“I’d really love to see you,” she started, “sorry I have to go the governor is on the other line.”

With the phone still in one hand. Charles stood alone on his ranch. The couch hit sat on was his mother’s. And the chair where his father sat. Still sat unmoved all these years. Outside the window he watched the rain roll into the small valley. He didn’t drive. But he couldn’t come to sell their car. Raindrops one by one washed dust from the windows. He looked down at the phone. He loved his sister. But wished she hadn’t moved so far away.

He picked up a sandwich with his other hand. Deep in thought about up coming events he still had the phone. His sister would know how to solve the problem. She had always known how to solve the problem. And this one would be no different. But he had to talk to her in person. So first he must try and gather himself. Get together enough focus to buy a plane ticket. Then take a nap.

Poor Malala

After all she has been through, my cat threw up on her face today. Well on the picture of her face on her book which I am reading. It is a good book, a lot about life in Pakistan. It goes without saying life in Pakistan is not like life in America. But it is more than the material differences. The life of her homeland, not Pakistan but the Swat Valley (It isn’t Brooklyn, it is Park Slope), makes clear the western view of the war on terror is misguided. If there is any solution for the region, I don’t think it is a solution we can lead.

On other matters. I have been pretty down lately. Not writing, not reading much, not eating much, not doing much of anything except working and sleeping. Yay for life…. not so much.

Work, so I found out who the new department manager is going to be for the deli. One of the areas I work. I saw one of my co-workers clearly upset, and asked her what was the problem. She was upset about the choice for the new manager, but I am rather pleased by the choice. I might have liked it, and my upset co-worker wanted the job. But truth is nether one of us would have gotten it, if it hadn’t been the person chosen it would be someone else. I hope to learn a lot from the new manager, and then someday be ready for my own promotion.

I think I want to give up on my novel and start a secret project. All I want to discuss is progress or lack of progress. Nothing of the plot or subject matter will be discussed. I feel like it makes it easier for my creative process to work in a little darkness.

Wow, that wasn’t helpful

It took me forever to login to my WordPress account. I was trying to activate comment filtering. Then when I got it, there is a fee for the service. I am not going to pay. Yes, there is an optional pay what you want plan, but I still don’t want to pay.

Anyway. Day two of my writing adventure. The cat is sleeping soundly, How does she sleep so often and so well. I watched a great movie about writers last night on Netflix. It was “Stuck in Love,” and it was about relationships and love as well. It has Greg Kinnear as one of the lead roles.

I am thinking about a novel idea. It kind of came from a friend of mine, and I would want to share it with him when I finished the book. Now that I have internet I should start working on writing it down. Oh, I am not going to discuss the details here, since it isn’t my idea to share and potentially lose.

Not that anyone is reading this.