“Sociology” by Olivia Sandoval-www.connectingstorytellers.com

You love him?
What is love?
I thought I knew and now I can’t remember.

Does love include to face your cruelest demons?

Love is to know each other deeply…
Right?
I heard that when you love someone, it brings out the best in you.

But that stage is over.
Now I’ve brought out the best and perhaps the worst of you.

You brought everything out and maybe that made you feel ashamed,
Ashamed to show yourself so well. So naked.What is love more than cuddling in the morning
And sweet words during the day
Kisses full of passion and devotionTo take care of each other,
To make plans together
To build a path for both
Right?Hopes of a lifetime together?
Hopes of spending some time together?
I am confused and I loose myself thereIt’s that I seek to live images created by social pressure?

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How My Spanish Ancestors Ended Up in the United States

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

From as early as I can remember, I was taught to be proud of my Spanish heritage. My siblings and I all have Spanish middle names. “You are a quarter Spanish,” my mother would always say. My dad would teach me words and phrases, and Spanish colors and numbers were a regular part of my vocabulary. We listened to the children’s song “De Colores” over and over in my Spanish grandmother’s cadillac during drives around Morgan Hill, California. When my first grade classroom got a new student, a girl from Mexico named Maria, I befriended her and spoke with her as much as I could. It’s funny, though, that I don’t actually remember doing this. When I visited my friends from that school several years later, they remembered that I had been a friend to the girl who could not yet speak English.

Both of my parents speak Spanish. They…

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Unaware

Eisele Cunningham

I kept my eyes open for you.

I was excited; I kept secret my being frightened by you.

The words you spoke- sweet lies to me.

A life time you promised; the fantasy would not live past that evening.

I did enjoy the rush…

Of just having a feeling.

I kept my eyes open for you.

Within hours, hours…

A stealth rebel, I was falling for-

You’d rather ask forgiveness, than permission to take from my heart and hand.

I was fully overcome by the mystery

Many similarities we shared, a plethora of “me too,” heard after something I shared with you.

The heartbreak you mentioned, like worms on a hook to me.

I knew I’d be caught by the jaw, but it was right there- right there in front of me.

I kept my eyes open for you, I did not blink; I did not sleep.

I kept my…

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“Connecting Storytellers” (A Love Story)

Heidi

In my opinion, the key element in any work of fiction is good characters. Almost any crappy plot-line has the potential to be salvaged if it has excellently written characters. Twilight for example had great supporting characters and backstories despite its leads and overall plot. But, my goal is not to substitute bad storytelling with colorful characters. My hope is for both of those elements to be successfully portrayed, as any good writer would want- and that requires knowing what your audience thinks is lame. No offense twilight- jeez.

Anyway, this is my third time in two weeks that I have come to this café/bookstore in search of character inspiration…okay, yeah- I’m people watching. The first time I attempted this exercise, I had described people’s traits by recording it out loud on my phone… too risky in this environment. Taking out the recorder is safer at the mall, or the park. So today I’m recording my subjects on paper.

Today was a good day to people watch. It’s Thursday, 2pm, the place is busy but not too loud. I got here before the afternoon rush to make sure I got the back corner table, it has the best view point of almost the entire café. As I sit and sip my tea, I carefully observe every face, I take in the sound of each voice, until I find my first subject. That’s when I see the guy sitting a few tables across from me. He looks about eighteen. He’s wearing a black t-shirt with a ridiculously loud design on it, and a black and green snap-back. He must be waiting for a girl or something, and meeting here was probably her idea.

He pulls out his phone, which appears to be an android- ugh, eye-roll… He’s also got a tattoo on the underside of his left forearm and a silver watch on his wrist. I bet he also wears Axe body spray.

Five minutes later, a beautiful brunette sporting low-cut skinny jeans, a black bralette beneath her over-sized beige cardigan, and a messy bun that one can only hope to achieve on a full moon, approaches the young man’s table. She looks about eighteen as well, though her makeup makes her look mid to late twenties.

Snap-back dude stands up to hug the brunette. The un-comfortability written on the girl’s face tells me one thing… snap-back is about to get his heart broken. I feel bad for the guy- I do… but as they both sit back down, I pick up my pen and perk up my ears, and let the character development unfold before me.

 

Nico

My throat is as dry as my thirteen year old neighbor’s prepubescent skin. I have a cramp in my neck, and I’m sweating, despite the lack of sun. I decided to walk to the café/bookstore around the block from my house, but now I’m feeling like I should have just taken the car. I had planned on getting there before the afternoon rush so I can sit at my favorite back corner table. I am in desperate need of character inspiration for this new story I’m working on, entitled… Well I don’t have my title yet- but the concept is there in my mind. I’m hoping today’s location choice will provide me with some potential traits for my lead.

I enter the café and make my way to the counter and order the small cobbler and their signature French peach tea. I guess you could say I was feeling just peachy today. I tried to contain my smile at my own stupid pun, but I hardly could. Just then, the petite blonde cashier flashed me a toothy grin before saying “Guess you’re feelin’ peachy today, huh?” Wow. I should have seen that coming. I give a short laugh then move to the side of the counter after she gives me my change. I sigh deeply as I take a long look around. I didn’t even think to check if someone had already taken the spot I wanted, but sure enough, when I looked all the way to my left, someone was indeed occupying the spot I wanted…dammit. I should have taken the damn car. But would that have made a difference? I mean, who knows how long she’s been here! Her sandy brown hair is shielding her face, but I can see that she is scribbling words into a journal. I also notice that she too has ordered the café’s signature French peach tea.

The girl looks up and I am able to see her profile… She’s cute. The girl runs her fingers through her hair, moving it out of her face. She then taps her pen against her lip, pensive. Just as my curiosity was beginning to get the best of me, I hear the shrill voice of the little blonde cashier say “Cobbler and peach tea!” So I turn back around to grab my order.

The tantalizing scent of the cobbler overwhelmed my senses, only momentarily distracting me from my mission- which is to find the second best seat for my afternoon literary exercise, since the first best spot has been taken.

 

To be continued…

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“The Cave”

Rochelle sat shifting her body from side to side and gravatating her nose towards the small opening of the window. The offensive aroma in the air of the city bus was grotesque and she had a weak stomach for odors. Especially the one manifesting from the man who had just put his dollar in the machine and sat across from her sneering at her and the corner seat she was in. The man’s gritty eyes, glared at her and it was as if he had a connection to her soul. As if he could read her mind and sense how judgemental her perception was of him. I wish he would stop looking at me, I’m getting creeped out. Although Rochelle, was a bit faint from his fragrence, she wasn’t heartless from the pity of poverty this man’s debt to society had cost him.

She did feel bad for this man. A man who lacked shelter or a warm bed to sleep in at night. How awful this man’s lonely and penniless world was without a support group of family or friends to lead and steer him in the right direction. A man who hadn’t developed skills or was able enough to take the steps to creating a comfortable life-style for himself to at least have a hearty meal on the table at the end of a long day but instead chose to dig from dumpster to dumpster to find rotton meals to feast on from day to day.

There were many homeless people who rode and shared the bus rides with Rochelle when her sister couldn’t give her a ride but she ignored them for the most part. She felt sad when she stared too long at the unfortuante. She didn’t want to remember that part of her life. It was painful and she’d rather block it out. She didn’t want to think of those rough times, not when she had to get herself in the right state of mind for the long night’s at work. As she proceeded to block those dark images from her thoughts, she noticed the suitcase of a man who obviously had the means to buy himself a nice watch and maybe even a steak dinner. He was good looking and a middle aged man. Rochelle wondered why he was riding the bus. Maybe he was saving for a nice suitable car like me, she thought.

She moved on to what was in his suitcase. There was a game she liked to play, guess a stranger’s story, by guessing what was in their suitcase or briefcase. She imagined what most people had in their belongings, who were traveling or going to their office jobs. Then she would chuckle to herself, when trying to guess the everyday items one carries. If traveling, most would take the necessary items like clothing, shoes underwear, socks, vital medicines, face-wash, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Business travelers would carry their office supplies mixed in with business wear like uptight blouses and pin stripped pants, one’s that covered the desirable parts of a woman’s chest and assests. Rochelle would think how a businesssuit would automatically attract a woman to a man. Why did uniforms or businesssuits have extreme sex appeal? She stopped and turned her attention back towards the man. Just for the fuck of it, I’d say that in his suitcase,under his labtop, he’d purchased me a heart chained Tiffany’s necklace. Then she imagined the man was headed to see his mistress, his third mistress in one day. She imagined that he was an sex addict who’s wife’s personna was of a 50’s house wife, the opposite of a freak in the sheets. What hid below the business suits were kinky furry cuffs, nipple teasers, black bondage straps, along with his red laced blindfold, and lastly, Good Vibration lubricant.

This game had taken its toll and as she looked at the time, there were twenty long anxious minutes to go before her arrival to work. Ugh-I hate it when my sister can’t drop me off, these bus rides kill me. An hour and a half just to get from downtown LA to here in the boondocks of Carson City. She began to psyche her mind out by repeating, “Just think about the money, just think about the money.” “Think about rent and that brand new ride.”

Rochelle lifted her purple and leopard suitcase up and sat it on her plentiful legs. Her belongings were not conventional. She peeked inside. Lingering, was a well kept secret that had made a home in her suitcase, Rochelle had a nickname for it as well, Misty.

“Misty, what attire should I wear tonight?”

Inside were red glimmering stiletos that’s glistened and red silk lingerie to match, along with a red wig to match as well. Tight fitted dresses, one black, one hot pink, and one neon green, with matching bras and thongs to go with it. Her favorite shoes, made her smile and feel sexy inside. They were fun, and only ones she could wear at work. They stood eight inches high, were black and at the bottom of the shoes were LED lights that lit up everytime she strutted around the work floor or carpeted rooms. Since her shifts started at 4pm to 4am, she had to have an upbeat energy for her customers and in order to keep her upbeat attitude her clothes were her favorite part of her job. So as she zipped the zipper of Misty, she put her secret suitcase to the floor but kept it close to her.

As she looked out the window, she heard the bus come to a stop. She could see the lights ahead, a glimmering light show projected and shined onto the silhouettes of sex goddesses in golden portraits. The lights shined down on the red carpet to welcome the stars and the VIPS to a fantasy- a reality that Rochelle knew was a mirage.

As she stood, with Misty by her side. She invisioned the homeless man’s torn face. A torn face of a poor man. What made me bettter then him? Had I succumbed to this stigma of the world I participated in? She paused in deep thought but shook them away. I can’t think about this right now.

Rochelle had approached the front of the bus and the doors opened fast and wide. Outside there was a cab waiting for her. She knew being in the industry she was in she couldn’t show up walking down the street from the bus. The bus stop was only a few blocks from the club. “The Cave,” as she liked to call it.

As she climbed in the back seat of the cab. She found herself repeating again, “Just think about the money. Maybe tonight will be my lucky night and I’ll find a suitor, one that’s worth keeping-nah just think about the money.”

“Where to?” the cab driver asked.

“To the Cave,” Rochelle said under her breath. To the gentleman’s club up ahead please.”

The cab driver gave her a look with one ebrow curved upwards, one Rochelle knew all too well once men found out about her occupation.

It was an animalistic deamenor that changed when they, “men”, found out. It was an energy that Rochelle could sniff out.

“Whatcha looking at? Just fucking drive,” Rochelle said, no longer feeling any type of sympathy for the homeless man on the bus.

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