Overdue post – Sudden Fiction entry

A while back, I wrote about a sudden fiction story I wrote that was well received by A Room of Her Own Foundation.

Well, here it is.

I like this format.


Manifesting the Invisible

As she sat at her desk, surrounded by blue pushpin fabric and tiny windows whose only view was of interior walls, munching on pink M&Ms intended for Valentine’s Day, Vivian wondered how she’d let it happen again. She thought she’d been extremely careful in her choices over the last few years, made those major life changes all of the self-help gurus prattle on about and yet, here she sat convincing herself that not one thing had changed in her life and she was destined to fade away like an old water stain eventually does on decent leather – slowly, but surely.

Then something unexpected happened. As Vivian reached out have a sip of her soda, it was as if her hand – ever so briefly – disappeared. She almost didn’t see it as she was concentrating on her computer monitor with the usual blinding monotony that kept her seated there nearly forty hours every week. But, as she glanced down to make sure she actually grasped it instead of knock it over like she had been known to do – her hand was as clear the plastic bottle containing her afternoon caffeine fix. She made a tiny, yet audible yelp which in turn made her co-worker in the neighboring cube react.

“What was that?”

“Um,” stuttered Vivian. “Nothing. Almost spilled my coke is all.”

“Not again?”

“It’s okay,” Vivian replied quickly. “False alarm.”

“Humph,” the neighbor responded minus concern.

Vivian settled her hand onto her mouse as if clinging to the crossbar of a speeding rollercoaster. She had always been eccentric with a bit of the fanciful, but she had never, ever physically hallucinated before. IF that’s what this was –a hallucination. As she maintained her much too expected composure and clenched her every muscle into paralyzing submission, she allowed her eyes to slowly drift over toward the clock. It was time to go home.

“Thank goodness,” she thought. “It’s been a long day, probably nothing.” She hadn’t had a break as the office was short-staffed and she’d had to cover the phones most of the day. Vivian finished what she was working on, cleared off her desk and grabbed her purse. She stepped out of her cube to say goodnight but there was no one left. She quietly left by the back stairwell. As she walked to her car, she checked her hands every few steps to make sure they were still there. They were.

As Vivian approached her beat up old car, the thought again crossed her mind that nothing had changed for her. She originally loved her red station wagon with the turbo engine, but it had fallen into disrepair. She kept meaning to get that dent fixed, but never got around to it and now the dents had begun reproducing like rabbits. She climbed in, tuned into her favorite talk-radio station and began her short drive home in her typical mental brown-out.

Vivian liked to listen to sports talk-radio even though she didn’t really follow most sports. She liked the banter between the hosts and occasionally would talk back to them as if she were part of the show. The argument tonight was one she was becoming extremely tired of – steroid use by extremely well paid baseball players.

“What do you mean – no one cares?! What about the fans?!” Vivian yelled at no one in particular in response to the side of the debate which claimed that if everyone was using, the playing field was then level. She reached down to turn the volume up and it happened again.

Her hand was gone. And this time it wasn’t brief or for just a flash of a second. It was gone.

She could still feel it, feel her fingers but she could not see them. She clutched the steering wheel and immediately saw that her other hand was gone, too.

“Aagh!” Vivian screamed and hurriedly pulled off to the side of the road. As other cars passed, she could see drivers yelling and even flipping her off. She didn’t care. Couldn’t they see she was in distress? She sat there trying to comprehend the fact that although she could sense them, she could not see her hands at all. “What the hell is happening to me?!”

She stretched her fingers, balled her fists and even clapped – there was joint crackling, nails digging into her palms, and slapping sounds. But no hands.

Vivian had no idea how long she sat there on the roadside staring at the empty space that was expanding on the end of her arms. A car honked loudly enough to get through her haze and she instinctively found her winter gloves tucked into the side door pocket and put them on. She waived off the honker who was long gone and decided it was best to get home. She sped off down the road so fast, her car squealed but left no tire marks.

It was dark by the time she arrived. The porch light was not on, so she had to fumble with the lock and key mumbling to herself how it drove her nuts that no one ever remembered to leave the light on for her. She could hear the kids arguing in their rooms with their Dad about taking a shower or finishing up homework and headed straight to her room.

While in the bathroom preparing to take off her gloves, praying her hands had magically reappeared, her husband knocked on the door.

“Hey, babe, you in there?” he asked. Then, without waiting for a reply, he said “Going for a bike ride. See ya.” Vivian soon heard the back door swing shut.

She chose to leave the gloves on, she was cold anyway. She put on her nightshirt and climbed into bed without saying a word to anyone. Tears of confusion dampened her pillow, as she fell into a deep slumber.

Not even the dog asleep at her feet noticed as the lump under the covers slowly, but surely faded away.


Kathleen Vaught
© February 11, 2009
All Rights Reserved.

Wanna Be Like Jada

I have been trying to get this post started for a couple of days now. It is supposed to be about how independent I feel I am becoming. My intentions are to shout out about how the more independent I am, the more I love being married to my husband, having my two amazing kids and actually nurturing a career instead of slaving at a job. My thoughts were to compare my new found self with the extremely hot Jada Pinkett-Smith (seriously, it sounds great in my head).

Unfortunately, by the time I get home from work, help get dinner ready, dishes done, mediate sibling annihilation and curse the slow moving roadrunner connection – I don’t feel very independent anymore.

Everything stops seeming so great in my head.

And I don’t feel much like writing about it.


You see, Jada, by all accounts I’ve read, has got “it” all going on in a five foot tall package enhanced only by six inch stiletto heels. Maybe more, I don’t know but it doesn’t matter. She is one together woman according to the publicity that’s out there about her.

Meanwhile, in my pre-posting, cerebral formulation, the idea was to reiterate to myself through my blog that there will be no more messing around here. I’m done. No more wussing out for me.  No more being the whimpering crying baby when I don’t get what I want. Done being the door mat, all grins even if life isn’t okay, roses and daises out my ya-ya, girl.

I have all these cliche plans bursting forth to call ’em like I see ’em, live life to the fullest, stop, drop and create roll, and run naked in the streets! (Okay, not all plans are literal.)

Another cliche comes to mind about plans…

At the end of the day, part of the empowerment of my independence comes from accepting the non-poetic realities of life and loving them just as unconditionally as I love the poetic ones.

And maybe grab some bulls by their horns, just for fun.

(Speaking of unconditional love – check out today’s Two Minute Tuesday Ramble. It’s a little longer than the title suggests, but, hey, it’s my ramble…)

Missing Blog Life, Real Life much too full

I miss blogging. I am currently laying in bed horribly stricken with some “non-serious” strain of Strep Throat. Feels pretty damn serious to me as I am going on day four of not being able to swallow and that includes having been to the doc and on medication. The only thing my throat will tolerate is a fruit juice popsicle.

This episode of Strep comes with only one week reprieve from having cared for my nine year old as he suffered the same damn think two weeks ago. He, in fact, just finished his antibiotic as they prescribed me one. Ironic? Fate?

Whatever it is, it sucks. Our poor kids when they get this – at least I’m a grown up and bemoan my pitifullest whines to the unknown masses while all they can do is lie there in pain and wonder why it won’t go away. So glad he is better. So very sad it took right at a week of full on sick to get him there.

That’s all I wanted to say. I’m sick. Feel sorry for me. I sure do.


Pain Management, Drugs and Power Outages

I am behind on my blogging.

I have no excuses, but I do have reasons.

Finally taking care of some chronic pain issues.

Unfortunately, it involves some drugs. And, in a few days, a giant needle in a tricky location.

Our power was out due to storms and I discovered my total dependence upon electricity. Even though that was this past weekend, I have not yet caught up.

Needless to say, I have no witty comments today, no soul searching angst to spit out into the universe nor any veiled haikus of hidden feelings and secrets I am too afraid to announce presciently.

However, I miss my blogging connection and am popping in to say “hi.”

Okay – maybe I do have a haiku…peace…especially to my friend… ♥

How strong is my heart?
Endless downpour pushes brink.
Love shines from the stars.

Intimidation Dance

I know this incredibly beautiful woman. Her beauty is not in the stereotypical Helen of Troy sense as few wars have been waged over her, but she is pulchritudinous nonetheless. She has many friends ranging in levels from simple acquaintance to casual yet personal conversation to intimate know-nearly-everything-about-you. I cannot tell you how many times she has been complimented for her smile or honest charm or willingness to help when needed. She has a better relationship with her kids than she gives herself credit for and the same could be said of her relationship with her husband. They have a marriage based on equal partnership yet lived in the reality of give and take. It’s not perfect, and neither is she if you use Merriam-Webster’s definition, but there are times when I look at her and think, “Wow. She has a great life. Thank God.”

blessed art thou among women…

This woman I know works hard. Even though it is far from the dream she had for herself, she loves her job and is proud of the work she puts in each day. She tries to make the most of her time with her family and works with determination to accept the times when that is not possible for whatever reason. She has emotional struggles like many of us and she has worked diligently over the years to find paths to peace, gateways toward wisdom and layers of herself to love. Sometimes, when I hear her talk, I cannot imagine a time when she was afraid or didn’t believe in herself.

floating above you
I see with clear eyes your grace
clouds challenge within

Today’s woman I am writing about is also talented. She is a writer, has some solid, albeit dormant, acting chops and may have been an inventor in a past life, given her MacGyver-like skills. She loves her thesaurus (as evident by pulchritudinous) and is unashamed to use it. When she embarks on a project – whether it be a short poem, work related newsletter, Chekhovian drama, reparation of a small rocket launch pad, or configuring convoluted connections in a snow storm involving taxis, trains and planes to ensure arriving in Texas for a marriage license waiting period deadline – nine times out of ten, most dentists agree, she won’t quit until she has either reached a superlative solution or the heartbreaking realization that there is not one to be found.

but the tigers come at night…

And then I read posts like this and like this. I learn about the winner for the A Room of Her Own Foundation Grant, along with the finalists. I hear an old friend of mine that I didn’t even realize could sing, sing and write songs like these. Hell, even two of the people I love most in the world (next to my kids) have started a folk duo and every time I get to hear one of the songs they are working on, I get the hair-raised-on-the-back-of-my-neck-they’re-that-good feeling. (If I had a link to one of their songs, I’d post it, but they are currently “in development.”) I have many past friends who are continuing to make a go of it in the theatrical world – working either locally, regionally or in NYC. I could go on…

My stomach muscles tighten and my head begins to swim. Electrical impulses inside my brain begin to dance to an irregular arrhythmia pulsating from my weakening heart. Large, dark clouds of doubt flood my retina and my vocal cords begin to swell preventing spoken words. My lungs fill with cement pressing down hard on my diaphragm. Lastly, my fingers become thick and heavy with poisonous lead making it impossible to clack out the cacophony of angry voices yelling at me “Who do you think you are, anyway?!”

I close my eyes to await the inevitable implosion of my universe. When it doesn’t happen immediately, a small breath of air is able to seep through a tiny crack in my formidable fortress and a smidgen of light softens the darkness.

you are my child and I love you.

I wrest my lids open just enough to see a note I have placed under my makeshift laptop stand, given to me by someone too young to be able to not tell the truth.

You Rock

You Rock

And I go on, being me, remembering that I, too, rock…

Cool news when I needed it

The manifestation of my blog was inspired by a truly wonderful foundation – A Room of Her Own – who is dedicated to women writers and artists. Their mission of “furthering the vision of Virginia Woolf and bridging the gap between a woman’s economic reality and her artistic creation” is not only extremely commendable, but an awesome undertaking. They provide the biennial $50,000 “Gift of Freedom” award to allow tremendously gifted women the financial means to pursue their craft who would not otherwise be able to do so. I hope to someday complete the application process and enter for a room of my own from their foundation.

Until then, I have this blog. I started it to hone my skills, to up my game, to keep me honest and, above all – to keep me writing, writing, and writing some more.

As of late, I have become discouraged at the slower-than-I-envisioned pace for building a blog of note. It is a lonely business – writing. When I was a performing actor, I had instant applause and other actors to garner encouragement from. As a writer, I have to put it out there first and wait an eternity to get a response back. I have come very close to convincing myself that I am not looking for praise, just a connection with other humans through our shared experience. Close, but not quite able to cross that divide. I am only human, after all.

There is that ever so loud, ego maniacal desire to have others validate my words and, therefore, validate me. I do not hide the fact that I would rather be a working writer, than a writer who has to work. I have honestly never wanted to be stupid rich but who wouldn’t mind having enough money to not ever have to worry about money?

That’s another post.

Today’s post is about a smaller contest they sponsor that I recently entered. I found out today that I was named a finalist in the “Sudden Fiction” and won for an e-message I wrote. They will publish excerpts from my sudden fiction piece entitled “Manifesting the Invisible” and my e-message, in which they asked for my message to the world of women writer’s (and beyond).

I am thrilled! Baby steps are all I need to keep going because I know only too well that my “journey of a thousand  miles” begins here. Always. (Thanks Lao-tse.)

I was going to post my entries here, but have decided to wait until after they publish on their website May 1st. It will give me a second opportunity to promote the AROHO Foundation and fodder for yet another post.

In the meantime, another baby step in my journey was Brain, Child Magazine‘s publication of one of my haikus. That I can post as it is in their current edition. It was fun, for Christmas – and I absolutely love writing haikus.

Christmas Fantasy

Christmas fantasy
WTF does Rockwell know?
Chaos twinkles bright

© Kathleen Vaught
December 13, 2008

Thanks for stopping by my blog and helping me create a room of my own in this universe.

Now, if I haven’t posted their link enough, stop by A Room of Her Own Foundation, to see if they can help you or you can help them…

Facebook infiltration

Okay – I was NOT going to do this, but I need to write. Something. Anything. When I do, it calms my brain which is in overdrive over nothing. Well, not nothing, but certainly not something worth overdrive. No one’s ill, we are not totally broke and my marriage, family and career are tops at the moment.

Yet, the brain in my skull still finds a way to hit supersonic speed over tidbits of banal life chatter. Oddly enough, I don’t feel comfortable writing about what is bothering me. Hmm.

It’s my very own list of 25 random facts about me of which some I am not sure anyone – including husband and best friend know. The list was hard to compile for this blog since I have been pouring out a lot of random me for almost a year now.

  1. I do not feel like I am in my forties. At least, this is not what I imagined being 40-something would feel like.
  2. I prefer to type everything because I don’t like my handwriting.
  3. I have been putting this off out of fear that I do not have 25 interesting random notes to write about myself.
  4. I used to dream Sting sang me his new songs before he released them. Like on some sort of alter-dream-plane-universe.  Then, in the real world (well, my reality anyway), the songs would always sound familiar, like I’d truly heard them before. Most notable among those were “Every Breath You Take,” “All This Time,” and “When We Dance.”
  5. I used to consider joining the Army. Not to fight but to lose weight.
  6. I had an older brother who died of a terminal genetic disorder at the age of ten on St. Patrick’s Day, 1974. He would have been 45 this past January 30th. His short life and death affected my entire life. Seriously – my entire life.
  7. I once pumped out 12 ounces of breast milk. Quite an achievement for someone with my “a is for apple” cup size.
  8. I still have my wisdom teeth, but often do not feel very wise.
  9. I am pretty sure my soul has had previous lives but on the whole is fairly young. I think this may be the reason why I weep whenever I see soldiers in uniform, have a weird sense memory of hiding in the bushes as a child while trying to escape to freedom, and see faces in various objects, shapes and designs.
  10. I have a crush on Matt Damon and wrote him a letter thanking him for his smoldering yet authentic performance in The Bourne series. Surprise – I never mailed it. (Maybe I’ll post it here someday?)
  11. My first cigarette was when I was a tween with my cousin, Tracy – Salem Lights, menthol. Never was a full-fledged smoker – I smoked off/on for years and officially quit in 1992 after a severe throat infection. Occasionally when I am with my peeps, I’ll have one or two.
  12. I still have a curling iron I borrowed during a show in college that I forgot to return and it haunts me from under the bathroom sink like Poe’s “Tale Tell Heart.”  (FYI – I graduated college in 1993 – nice, huh?)
  13. I continue to dreadfully miss performing in the theater. I secretly search the audition lists and pray for an opportunity to run away and rejoin that circus.
  14. I sometimes forget which hand is my left and which is my right. I use my wedding band as a reminder.
  15. I used to be too afraid to reveal something like number nine out of fear of judgment from others. Now, I figure, what the hell? Judges will judge whether they know that about me or not.
  16. My husband recently referred to me as still being a MILF to him – aww, isn’t that sweet?
  17. I am sitting here listening to aforementioned husband play the guitar and sing while I type this out. He does both quite beautifully and on days when my brain is in negative overdrive, I get jealous instead of happy for him. How crappy is that?
  18. I tell everyone that I started my acting career in kindergarten as the third billy goat in the Billy Goat’s Gruff. But in actuality, I think that is a lie. I am thinking I was a rock by the bridge the goats cross over. Oh, well – we all get our start somewhere.
  19. I got a $15,000 bonus (lots of money in 1997 for a fledgling actor) when I worked at PaineWebber in NYC and walked away from the job and the clear opportunity to make more if I stayed in order to come home to Texas to start our family. No regrets – NOT ONE.
  20. I am coming around to the awareness that blogging while satisfying on many levels, is also very lonely. There are no stage lights to illuminate me, no hands clapping furiously after my post and not enough interaction with other humans with the same creative leanings as me.
  21. Sometimes I get so caught up in the things that aren’t working, I forget about the things that do:
    Does Not: fabled idea of relationships – Does: reality of relationships
    Does Not: my ability to deal with frustration and anger – Does: can deal with just about most anything else
    Does Not: worrying about money – Does: trusting that there will always be enough
    Does Not: worry – Does: trust
    Does Not: stuffing my feelings – Does: letting them pass through me naturally
    Does Not: hiding from fear – Does: facing it
    Does Not: shame – Does: love
  22. I desperately need a manicure and pedicure. And a weekend away by myself. Something I have never done – be alone in an unfamiliar place without anyone I know to keep me upright.
  23. I have a postcard from Alaska to someone named Kelli in Denton from someone named Dana in Houston that I found in a book. I have always, always wanted to go to Alaska.
  24. I prefer coke zero over diet coke, salt over sugar, lake over beach, vibrant over pastel, Shaun Cassidy over Lief Garret, spy novel over romance, coffee over tea, Superman over Batman, peace over war, love over indifference, and life over death.
  25. I have no fucking clue why I wrote all of these out after all of this time especially considering that I think I have confirmed my #3 fear. Oh, look! A turtle!