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  1. He’d known his brother had a problem for most of his life. There had been quite a few times where the family talked about having him committed, and indeed Brett had spent several months at Northwestern Hospital in the summer of 93.
    Who was to know this would be my last day? It didn’t start that unusually. Brett seemed fine at breakfast… but, there was something.

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  2. “You’re my death sentence”

    She paces slowly in front of the stove top range. Slap, slap, the heels of her men’s-size-12 woolly slippers hit the composite-plastic-looks-like hardwood floors with each sloppy, frustrating step.

    Emanating from atop the range, a small round tin lined with a buttery graham cracker crust and filled with a perfect concoction of fat and sugar wafts its golden goodness into the air, seducing all of her senses as she nearly faints in orgasmic delight.

    No, she resists. The cake, amazingly enough, is not for her. Thus, she lets it cool on a rack on the far edge of the counter top.

    The clicking of the cat’s claws crawl cautiously toward her as she washes up the caked on crustiness that baking exhumes. Purring and rubbing at her ankles, she brushes the cat out of the kitchen.

    Returned to her washing, she catches the cake out of the corner of her eye. She leans to reach for the thing, and it disappears over the side of the counter. Screeching aloud, she runs to the end of the kitchen. Covered from head to tail, the cat— happily crouched—licks up the treat.

    (nonfiction)
    TK Camas
    https://ladypolarity.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/death-sentence/

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    1. I appreciate the flow and imagery of your writing. They blend together seamlessly. “The clicking of the cat’s claws crawl cautiously…”

      Were you reaching for the cake to eat it? Did you finally succumb?

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      1. Yes, I was reaching for the cake. No, since it landed on the cat and the floor, I had to bathe the cat and then leave with just the one other Funfetti cake that I had made for this particular event 😦

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  3. “Why did you put the noodles in before the water boiled?” My mom says.
    “Yeah, that’s not how you do it.” my brother agrees.
    “Well, like I keep telling mom, I don’t know how to cook.” They’re both critiquing me cooking as I make spaghetti out of a can.
    “All vegetarians are great cooks!”
    My mom never liked the fact I was vegetarian. Like my hair, my lack of religion, my personality, and my lack of Christianity, it was something else she didn’t have control over.
    “WELL, HE CAN EAT MEAT!” She’d scream when my brother would suggest going to a place with vegetarian options or else she’d just mock me. But nothing’s that simple when your mom has Borderline Personality disorder.
    “Craven,when are you going to make me a great vegetarian meal?”She would always ask. “Vegetarians are supposed to be great cooks.”
    I’m not a great cook. I’m a college kid who eats nuked tofu nuggets and ramen. Still, between damning me for being a vegetarian I would still get that constant pleading for a delicious vegetarian meal.
    “I don’t know how to cook, mom.”
    “All vegetarians know how to cook!”
    Finally, I make her the only “meal” know just to shut her up. Spaghetti out of jar.
    “This is really good,” my mom says. I’m not sure if she means it as she eats the spaghetti I made, if her delusions have somehow made her taste a glamour of vegetarian witchery over the simple sauce and noodles or if it’s more of the Borderline pity she lived for. At least, she never asked me to cook vegetarian, again.
    A few months later, I was pretty damn good at it. But I’d never tell her.

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      1. “I’m a college kid who eats nuked tofu nuggets and ramen.” I love this line. I can’t tell you why, but I loved it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, man. Can’t even express to you how much this resonates with me! Thanks so much for sharing. Do you think there’s a bigger story here to transform this “small” (but not really, obviously) but significant moment? Have you written about this before?

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  4. You’re my death sentence, he muttered to none in particular. you’re the one that wrecked my life, to do these things. Admit it-you want to see me fail. The room was silent. The refrigerator purred.Some asinine TV show was on. He didn’t remember what it. Not even the cheerful Meals on Wheels granny came by as if tuna noodle casserole and pink beets could chNge things. Hell. Total fakes, those people. No one was there, wouldn’t be. But how he longed to say these words to her, to see her to cower, apologetic. Sorry. he wanted peace. But there was no peace. She was dead. She took her own life. Easy squeezy and that was that. The hell with the rest of us. Honestly it didn’t matter. It was never going to matter. Death sentence? That’s utter bullshit- there is no death sentence. Death isnt a reality. It’s obvious.

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    1. I love the white noise of the setting that adds to this man’s emptiness or lack of closure. “The refrigerator purred.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “I could return to one of the many dark corners of my memory just to create art. Have you ever come to the realization that you’ve shared and rehearsed the stories of grief and trauma so many times that it begins to feel like you’re playing a role in someone else’s novel who created you as a two-dimensional trope? They write you in as fetishized hurt as if that will make their work profound and interesting. Only, it’s strange, because I’m doing it to myself. In, like, my actual life.”

    I sat on our secondhand, rank grey couch that reeked of wet dog, shaking from nicotine poisoning and the kind of hangover that people can read on your face the second they lay eyes on you.

    “Why don’t artists create from joy? Well, I guess some do, but it seems so rare. And when they do, that joy feels diluted and inauthentic. At least it’s hard for me. It’s like I can’t tap into that deep belly joy to the extent that I can feel it in my bones and release it. I sure as hell can summon the feeling of my entire body shutting down and turning cold just because someone chose to leave.”

    “I don’t know,” I said taking a drag of my cigarette inside of our tiny apartment, “maybe I just fucking hate myself.”

    (nonfiction)
    Madeline M.

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    1. You know, as serious as this is, there is an underlying humor that you’ve hit on really well … the response to your own revelation when you realize, “Only it’s strange, because I’m doing it to myself.” So great! I could read a book of this person (you? don’t answer.) rationalizing his/her self as an artist.

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  6. You’re my death sentence. It is today’s writing prompt and I have been struggling to come up with anything. Instructions are for a non-fiction piece. I don’t know if anything is going to come to me or why this particular prompt seems so difficult.

    I start considering what a death sentence means, finality or punishment levied by courts. I don’t relate to this in any way. It occurs to me that I find and read a starkness into the prompt. It seems to be close-ended, there is no room in the prompt through my eyes for it to be any thing other than bad. This is why I was having so much trouble responding, I have never viewed death as a bad thing.

    Emily Bronte alludes to death several times through out her poem, “The Prisoner, a fragment”. Death is the freedom that cannot be taken from her. For me, as the prisoner, death represents peace and freedom.

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    1. Even though a sentencing represents the meting out of some type of punishment for wrongdoing, doesn’t it also represent a balancing response that’s certainly necessary in some form to all natural ecosystems, with no exception given to those including the incorrigible human being? There are myriad other “death sentences” swirling in and out of our daily lives in the forms of time and cancer and rogue asteroids, etc. Does our lack of predetermination or awareness of them at any given moment effect the likelihood of their occurrence?

      Perhaps it is the immediate APPREHENSION (sorry, no italics) of a death sentence that constitutes the core of its effect…

      If someone has been sentenced to death by the system/Man, but wasn’t present for the sentencing, or made aware of the sentence via any other means, would it have any direct impact on the rest of the unaware person’s life? Or would it not take hold within the person psychologically until the person became consciously aware of it? And wouldn’t it then be a deeply personal experience, as well as, and apart from, it being some inhuman, institutional event? Then it doesn’t necessarily have to be “bad”, but rather something complex – good and bad.

      I third Madeline Mendiola on Bronte’s underlying sentiment, though the prospect of marrying such a matchless peace and freedom to the most opportune moment remains a paradox I certainly can’t reconcile. Just speculating here, but this feels like a glimpse into one of the slippery, reference-frame shifting slopes that blurs the borders between nature and suicide, and makes things very difficult for some people.

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    2. Not everything, most often times, nothing requires an explanation to others. I applaud your courage and bravery here to admit your struggle and to share it with all of us. These prompts are meant to be open for personal interpretation with a slightly pointed effort. So the fact that you feel (perhaps felt by now?) trapped by it might render a deeper (perhaps emotional) prod into these feelings necessary.

      Or maybe it just doesn’t resonate with you, and that’s totally fine. The fact that you still considered this and wrote about it is all that matters.

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  7. You’re my death sentence.
    (nonfiction)

    I don’t hate you anymore, like I once did. Perhaps it will come back again someday. It’s probably likely, actually. But today, now… presently, I don’t hate you. You are a part of me. Perhaps, you will come to be known as a very significant part of me. It happens sometimes. Lincoln? Obviously, the scope and scale of his life’s deeds and accomplishments notwithstanding, the circumstances and lasting effects of, quite specifically, his assassination, constitute an incredibly important ingredient in the final, perfectly baked Abraham Lincoln* pie. Or for a less presidential example, how about the owner of the Segway patent who drove his Segway off a cliff. Or the tragically famous defense attorney Clement Vallandigham who fatally shot himself in the stomach while attempting to demonstrate how his client, accused of murder, couldn’t have been done it because the murder victim had accidentally shot himself in the stomach. …His case was successful though, and the accused got off scot free…. so… for his sacrifice… a silver lining…?

    Or take Paul Walker for example.

    I suppose these are all celebrity examples of some type, but unfortunately for the rest of humanity, extraordinary death circumstances are not a privilege reserved for the entertainment class.

    My point is, I get it. You’re a part of me. Hopefully, we can figure out a way for you to be a significant and positive part of me. I know lasting impressions never last, and that’s not the point. At least, it’s certainly not the point to contrive some sort of spectacle to hope that people will remember me. When I’m dead, I won’t care what they think. The point is, welcome, DS! Join the club. You don’t have to be out there anymore, in the cold. Come on in. I’m sure my old friends Will, Habit and Libby Doe can give you a tour of the place and help you settle in nicely. In fact, I’m looking forward to getting to know you better already. 🙂

    *Quick tidbit: In my ultimately vain attempt to include Lincoln’s middle name, I found he doesn’t have one! … fun little factoid…
    … to me it is…

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    1. As if looking at Death as just another part of your personality, but inviting Death to come join, what is, the rest of you and get to know you?

      p.s. thanks for the Lincoln tidbit 😉

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      1. Not Death as in the general state of being dead, of now-inanimate things that once had life but are now essentially fertilizer; but Death as in the act of dying, the unfolding of the event of the evacuation of life from the body. Death as an event to be experienced and endured, not just as a threshold beyond which is lifelessness. Perhaps courting this experience of the passage of Death as a desirable and influential one in the shaping of the end of one’s life, it could feed into and influence the ultimate, cumulative experience of a single life in ways wholly unavailable to it otherwise. Of course, the real crux is the immutable permanence and irreversible nature of the whole ordeal. No A/B testing or trial and error on this one…

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  8. So I must avoid you; like Tequila, frat boys and….. wait, I don’t need to excuse myself to you-and whose to say I am not an angel amongst us; although quite frankly I worry in the afterlife I’ll be reborn as an armadillo and come back as some rich bitch’s handbag.

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  9. It would be a long, grueling drive, fatigue already sucking at the edges. She’d been up all day, working as usual, when she got the call- come now or she’ll be gone. She rushed home, checking the pass conditions, worried about the car, old now and in need of replacing. No time for that. A six hour drive at the best of times, over two passes, and now was the middle of winter, snow predicted, and only a brief window of daylight left to cover the most treacherous stretch, she wondered whose death was coming? Anxiety mingled with tears, as she grabbed essentials, credit card and what little money was left in her account. Death was coming. She feared she’d be the one spared.

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