Archive | April 2013

Breaking Bad Episode 401 “Box Cutter”

401indexSo, I think there may be something seriously wrong with me because after finishing this episode, which is brutal and hopeless, I went about my day but couldn’t shake it. And I didn’t want to; I almost wanted to just live in this world and not my own a little longer, stay in that superlab with our guys. Disturbing, huh? I mean, of all episodes to feel this way about, this one’s a little…traumatic.

This episode may break some records for characters going the longest time without speaking. These long stretches without dialogue allow for other sounds, especially the creaking of the chairs in the superlab, Gus’s footsteps, Gus changing clothes, putting on his glasses, but mostly it’s the chairs.

So Saul got himself a bodyguard, Huell. He’s always glided over things before but not now. He’s terrified, looking around his office for bugs (hilarious detail that the columns move), speaking on a payphone, asking Huell if he has a passport. And I gotta say, I usually love Saul’s ridiculous outfits, usually find something aesthetically redeeming about his crazy color combinations, but this time? No way. Worst Saul get-up ever. Gross.

I love when Skyler says to Saul, “He carpools…to his job…at a meth lab?”

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Constant Eclipse: A Memoir Chapter

chrys_boweryclub1bI was scared that Mom or Dad would kill me in my sleep. Dad was an FBI agent and he had a gun that he sometimes kept in the house. I thought even he was afraid of Mom, who screamed all the time, got hysterically mad and spanked me when I was little. It was her I listened for as I laid in bed in my thin yellow nightgown, reading Nancy Drew by the light of my night-light, while I tried not to think about getting murdered.

My parents’ bedroom door opened and I heard Mom’s sharp footsteps in the hallway. They sounded mad. I waited curled on my side with the book under the covers and screamed No, Mom, No! inside my head. If either of them came for me tonight, I’d jump out the window. I didn’t care that my room was upstairs. I’d jump anyway, land mangled on the driveway and run across our yard as fast as I could. I’d pound on our next-door neighbor’s door. If she answered, I’d tell her my parents were chasing me and beg her to protect me. If she didn’t believe me, I’d run faster and pound harder at the next house and go through the neighborhood with wild desperation until I found someone who would keep me safe. It might not last. My parents might follow me, shoot into the distance or use the authorities to take me back, but that was like the second story window and the driveway; if I wanted to survive, I’d have to think about it later.

The bathroom door opened and Mom went in. I kept freezing. She finally stalked back to her room and I breathed. The quiet lasted a few full chapters.

I got up and went to my window. It faced the driveway and our front yard with its giant tree. The moon was out, maybe full, I couldn’t tell. It was big and white and round and it cast shadows through the branches onto the grass. I had a huge feeling of dark and mysterious magic in my chest. If I could touch it, it would be like touching my soul. It would make me huge too, and magic. I stood watching the moon, the tree, and the shadows until I was finally tired.

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Yeah, it’s just a little dark, I know. This is what I was invited to read at “The Best Memoirists Pageant Ever” at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC in 2007.  So the picture is from that event. Fun times.

Fun fact: I was kinda freaking about reading this piece out loud and so a good friend had me read parts to her beforehand, and from the first sentence we were laughing our asses off. It’s not really funny, it just somehow struck us that way. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. And that’s okay.

Check out the Samples Page, as well as Published and Early Work, to read more of my writing!

~Emilia J

Breaking Bad Episode 313 “Full Measure”

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 5.09.33 PMAll I want to do is gush.

If it came down to it, you know, gun to my head, or desert island and I can only take one episode of Breaking Bad, I think this would be it. It seems like half the episodes would be on my top five list (the show is just too good), but if we are talking absolute favorite, not one of, not a handful of choices, well, “Full Measure” is in first place.

I’m not exactly sure what it says about my psychology or twisted mind that I love this episode so much, an episode where the sweetest, most innocent (aside from being a meth cook) character gets shot in the face. But I love this one like no other.

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Violets are Blue: A Complete Short Story

violet_becomes_youI awake from a dream and look around me. I’m in my backyard. Sunset has come and gone. The sky is getting darker as each new moment passes. I yawn and stretch my arms, and surprisingly I don’t feel at all tired. I don’t know how long ago I fell asleep. It feels it could have been hours. I feel refreshed as I never have before.

I reach beside me and pick a violet. They are my favorite type of flower. Maybe I feel some likeness to the flower. They aren’t blue as the saying goes, but a beautiful shade of purple. I, too, feel I am often misjudged. I’m seen to all as a plain and simple girl, which isn’t even close to the truth. I put the flower to my nose and sniff it. Violets don’t really smell like much, but I smell it anyway. Instantly I’m overwhelmed with a wave of exhaustion. I lay my head down on the grass, holding the violet close to my heart. Soon I am asleep.

The dream continues. Or it returns. I do not know which, but I know the dream is not new.

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I wrote this story as a junior in high school, and it won first place in my school’s short story contest that year. It was partly inspired by the cover of Alice in Chains’ Dirt CD.

Check out the Samples Page, as well as Published and Early Work, to read more of my writing!

~Emilia J

Breaking Bad Episode 312 “Half Measures”

Breaking Bad 5Jesse’s going off the rails and Walt’s getting his Heisenberg mojo back. And Jesse’s sobriety is over.

There is so much going on here it’s hard to know where to start. Guess I’ll mention a few visual details first. The neon green in some of the scenes with Wendy inside the Crystal Palace is ominous and haunting and beautiful. I like how the teaser ends with Jesse in a car and the first act opens on Walt in a car, and they’re in such different situations. During Mike’s “half measures” speech I couldn’t stop looking at how his ears are backlit.

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Grumpy Bear

51s8l7OYpAL._SL500_AA300_The Care Bear Grumpy Bear. He was blue and soft and bear-shaped and sat on white shelves across the room from my bed. I had a bunch of Care Bears–Cheer Bear and Love Bear and Sunshine Bear and Lucky Bear and all that–and they all had these white patches on the stomach with a picture. Instead of a rainbow or hearts or a sun or a shamrock or whatnot, Grumpy had a perfect storybook storm cloud with little drops of rain falling from the cloud on his stomach. There may even have been a zigzag of lightning on there. I loved him best. Even if I couldn’t articulate it then, he was the most like me. I loved storms and thunder and lightning. I loved the rain. All the other bears were great but they sorta reminded me how my mom was always telling me to be more cheerful–even assigning me the line in a Girl Scout Brownie ceremony, “I pledge to be cheerful,” or some such. But I wasn’t a cheerful child. Grumpy got me in a way the other bears could not.

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I thought that instead of posting some small excerpt from a longer piece (which can come w/it’s own complications at times) that is in the midst of being revised, I might post some short, self-contained responses to writing exercises. Not as polished, for sure, but there’s something to be said for that.

I’m taking a memoir writing class this term, and one of our writing exercises was to describe a familiar object from childhood, something you could see in your room, for ten minutes. Then we talked about the objects in small groups (my object prompted another group member to ask, “What does that say about you?” in a tone I’m not quite sure how to interpret) and discussed whether we could look them up somehow to verify our memories of them. I can but haven’t yet. I’m going to post the sample and then I’ll google image search it out and see how it measures up and include the pic in this post.

So, like I said, just off the cuff, no editing, no pre-planning, just, there it is.

For more writing samples, check out the Samples Page, Older Works, and Published.

What childhood object or toy do YOU remember? Freewrite for ten minutes if you want.

~Emilia J

Breaking Bad: Chekhov’s Ricin

It’s been awhile since a full Breaking Bad post, and I do plan to still do posts on the remaining episodes, just not on the schedule I originally thought.

RicinimagesBeware: This post will contain mentions of things that happen in Season 2, Season 4, and last summer’s episodes from Season 5. Continue at your own risk.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ricin on BrBa lately. Today, in a memoir writing class, my prof mentioned Chekhov’s gun, and it got me thinking about Walt and his ricin once again. For those that aren’t aware, Anton Chekhov was a Russian short story writer (and, I just learned from wiki, a physician). He said in several different instances and ways that if you plant a gun somewhere in your scene early on in a story, it must eventually go off, or there’s no reason to put it there in the first place.

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