4th Period – Journal Entry #11

8 21, 2084

Our maid found my other notes and threw them away. That’s the problem with them, they just throw everything and anything away. It took me a really long time to find any more paper. I suppose its strange to be doing this though. After all, now a days no one ‘writes’ anymore. Not by hand at least. Now the recipe for a good story is a computer and microphone. That’s how I should really be doing this. Good old fashioned auto-speak diaries. Computers record everything you say and puts it into the vast memory of the computer. That’s how all of the great contemporary classics were produced. I feel as though I have a lot of thoughts to be recorded though. Thoughts I don’t want the Network to monitor.

Anyway. The other day our maid died. She actually died. Just on her own. I came out into the living room to tell her to clean my room next, and there she was, just lying there on the floor. I pushed the emergency panic button and a team of roboticians came in. We’ve only had to call them over one other time. Our last maid was acting really weird. She kept throwing things on the floor. The roboticians rewired her, but it was no use. This time, our robot maid just died.

20 years ago all the robots were updated to look just like humans. To help them fit in better. The only way to tell the difference between robots and humans was to somehow get inside them. When I walked into the living room and saw her, I nearly screamed. I realized in that moment, that for the first time in my life, I’d have to clean my room myself.

9 3, 2084

Our NewsClip of the day was filled with reports of robots acting out. Lately they’ve all been acting weird. It’s so hard to find good work these days. If our robots stop doing the work we make them to do then we, the people are going to have to do it. The roboticians have been working overtime. They’re thinking of scrapping all the old model robots and starting over. As if it’s not stressful enough having our teleporter break, now all the robots are malfunctioning. My grandma once told me that way back in the olden days, people walked everywhere. “Cars” were only used to transport someone long distances. Like between housing units. I can hardly imagine. Now, people just teleport everywhere they want to go. Although we all know it’s because the cars of the olden days ran on a strange kind of fuel that was eating away at our ozone. So now, we don’t use “cars.” Although, it’s not like anyone would want to walk anywhere anyway, teleporting is just easier. Each building is about two miles from the next. My grandma said it was a scheme. The Network says they did it for the people. “It’s all for the best.” My grandma says they’re trying to make us all “lazy.” I still don’t know what that word means.

9 10, 2084

I remember one time I was playing my daily game of virtual chess with some kid in the Game Center. There was something about the kid that made me a bit uncomfortable. I think most of the kids my age felt it. Kids. My grandma told me that the Network controls us through the Youth of the Nation. I think I finally understands what she meant by that.

Our NewsClip today was one story over and over and over. And as if it weren’t strange enough in the first place that the kid was out walking around instead of teleporting, he was being followed by a couple of kids my age. I had overheard them once talking about how they believed he was really a robot. I never thought they’d take action on it. The kids like trying to impress the Network. We all know the only way to discover a robot is by getting inside them. These kids took the kid to the top of an abandoned building and began slicing him up. They must have known there was a camera up there, but that’s how kids are these days. They try hard to show everyone that they are following America’s Standards to their fullest, and that our nation is heading in the right direction.

I’m against the idea of robots thinking for themselves as much as the next person, but what these kids did was wrong in the eyes of everyone. And they played the surveillance video of it over and over on the NewsClip. It was horrible. I’m sorry, I can’t write more about it right now. I think I need to take a walk.

Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power

Have you ever discovered someone you knew would be your best friend if you ever were to meet? Or perhaps I would embarass myself by simply being in awe. This woman with these wide, bright eyes, and frizzy hair, and an unfiltered mind. This woman who was Canadian (so of course she’s brilliant), grew up half in school, half in the woods. Learning about plants, and bugs, and developing a love of the real world. Not burdened by the world we all grow into.
This film starts off with an audio overlay of her reading the beginning of The Handmaids Tale. And all through the film, moments of her reading. Her voice is slow and somber, as though it is a burden to read her own words. Or rather, she knew that people were listening, there was no need to rush, or to yell, or to get excited. Every word she read would be heard to the fullest.
And her words are amazing. She writes about big ideas. Her books and her poetry are her canvas to say what the world needs to hear. And yet it is always so perfectly written.
Early in her life, she and other girls were made to watch an old film. A film about a woman who must choose between her career as a dancer, or the man she married. In the end, she kills herself. The message to the girls being, don’t choose a career. And she vowed to never believe in that.
I admit to not having read or seen The Handmaids Tale. Margaret’s agent recalls a moment during writing it, that Margaret tells her how difficult it is, because she felt very frightened. But like Malcolm X told Sam Cooke, the people are listening to you, use your voice to make change, Margaret Atwood is also using her voice to make change. And like Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come became the theme song for the Civil Rights Movement, The Handmaids Tale became a symbol for activists today.

And I could only dream to be as brilliant.
“I never thought I’d be a popular writer,” she said, “I only wanted to be a good one.”

Joan Didion: The Center will not Hold

My story always starts with knowing that I wanted to be a writer at age 5. Joan Didion recalls her mother giving her a notebook and telling her to write, and writing her first story at age 5. Something much more elaborate, and even ironic, in comparison to my stapled together books of pictures, admittedly only just beginning to learn my letters at that age. What strange memories we each have.
I read my first book by her just last week. The White Album, and admittedly, did not like it much. Writing about the 60s, a time I so desperately have been trying to understand. Even she could barely put it into words. Instead, it became an anthology of essays. But she is incredibly well known. I find pictures of her when she was younger to be absolutely gorgeous. A woman who doesn’t seem to care what she looks like, either wearing dark sunglasses, or a stoney, detached expression. I have had one of her books on my shelf since college. A Year of Magical Thinking. Untouched for years because I’m not sure I am ready to read it, but kept in posession because of its poetic beauty. Not necessarily the words, I have yet to experience those, but the context surrounding it. As she wrote about, and essentially processed the sudden death of her husband, her life partner, her other half, upon finishing this book, her daughter unexpectedly died. This beautiful daughter she adopted and raised and loved. She later went on to write about her. Those closest to her believing as a way to process. And as she is being interviewed for this documentary, you see a frail and withered woman. Such contrast to the strong woman who went to El Salvador to report on the country itself, as well as America’s involvement with it. But what was most magical about this documentary was the audio overlay of her reading exerpts of her pieces. Read in a strong voice you almost can’t reconcile with the woman who is reading it. Read in the way she hears the words in her own mind. With her pace and emotion. In a way, she appears detached from the world around her, but it is that that helped her so brilliantly write about it.

Feminist Friday!


School has been stoking my passion. I feel small, but I feel so, so deeply about human rights and equality. So I’d been scrolling through the streaming apps for good looking documentaries. And then, in true Rose fashion, I realized that two I had chosen, on two different apps, were by the same director.

Rayka Zehtabchi, an Iranian-American film maker. I remember when her short documentary, Period. End of Sentence., won the Oscar for Best Documentary, short subject.

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Period. End of Sentence., is extrordinarily eye opening at first. About a small village in India, where the mere mention of menstruation is considered taboo. When asked, the villagers don’t even seem to fully understand what a period is. Women grab whatever cloth they can find, run far away to change it, and wait until nightfall to dispose of the soiled clothes. This seems almost unthinkable by American standards, as well as terrifyingly dangerous. And so, a machine is donated to the village, and the women are taught how to mass produce their own pads. Not only do they then embrace what makes them women, they also become stronger, independent women.

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A Woman’s Place follows 3 women in the food industry. All three had gone to culinary school, where a woman’s place was in pastry. The expectation that women have more delicate hands and patience for pastry. It was not what any of these women wanted to do. One woman described the kitchen as being like a pirate ship. Towel snapping, cussing, and everything is a penis. Like being someone of colour, these women had to fight twice as hard to be seen as equal in the kitchen. They break the mold and prove how strong and how astounding and how dedicated women truly are.


Women are not just beautiful ornaments for the pleasure of others. They are not just delicate creatures fit for delicate tasks. They are beautiful, and delicate, and they are smart, and hard working, and strong, as any man.

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent

What an intruiging human being. Jeremiah Tower, a food innovator, pioneer of the Great American Cuisine. He grew up alone. His affluent parents neglected him. In one striking moment at age 6, he recalls feeling let down by them when after hours and hours away, he found them in the hotel bar drinking and schmoozing. It was a moment he closed his heart off and decided to never put his faith in other people. But those moments of neglect allowed him to discover food. The innumerable fancy dishes with french names. Food became the balm that soothed his wounded heart. Food became his companion. And as his parents moved from country to country as globe hopping gypsies, his palate was allowed to develop. After college, he got his first cooking job, working alongside Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. It was there he discovered the power and awe of his own brilliance and creativity. And, quite possibly, his own darker side.
He became such an icon because he wasn’t afraid to break the mold. He was a handsome, charming, magnetic individual, and he shone. But an upbringing such as his must obviously come with deep psychological issues.
This documentary, while produced by, and featuring interviews from Tony Bourdain, feels much like an episode of any of Bourdain’s shows. In the beginning interviewees reflect on a time when Jeremiah simply dropped off the map and no one had heard from him. His first line, an audio overlay as we see him, an old man, walking among deserted ruins somewhere in Mexico, “I have to stay away from human beings, because somehow, I am not one…”

Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain

I think everyone knows how highly I hold Tony. This was an exercise in wiping tears, dabbing nose, clearing throat. Wiping tears, dabbing nose, clearing throat. Wiping tears, dabbing nose, clearing throat…
Honestly, this was not information I was unfamiliar with, as I’m sure the film wanted it to be. What? Tony was a PERSON?! But this, I already knew. I have followed him for decades and knew how to read between the scenes.
What got me, were the candid moments. The moments that took a well put together room, and added the dust and the dirt to the corners.
And yes, the moment Eric Ripert’s face came on screen, first, painfully looking off screen, I broke. The way an egg does. The way you tap tap tap it on the counter top, til finally it cracks. How Eric must have felt that morning… expecting routine breakfast with his best friend, and then being the one to find him…
I went for a second beer. The woman apologized for such a slow pour. I waved her off, “I am tearing up, I need a break from the movie…” silently cursing her for making me miss minutes of his life…
And perhaps two beers directly after work on an empty stomach wasn’t the brightest idea. But I adored this man. This was the premier showing and I wasn’t going to miss it. This man awkwardly stumbled through life, and when his foot hit the ground, he took you with him through the world. He was, as his producer said, tall, handsome, and incredibly geeky. He geeked about what he felt strongly about, and that’s why he was so well loved. Thats why I ran, to get a seat, because the theater was full. He touched people. He showed us the world through his eyes. They showed the pivital moment, that I remember, in which Tony wants to help. He buys out a womans food cart stock and gives it to the hungry children just outside of camera shot. And it becomes chaos. There was no way he was going to be able to feed the mouths of the hungry. And a little piece of him changed in that moment. It was no longer just about food. It became about opening our eyes to the world. And we followed him, because he so genuinely cared. “Do you feel unfortable?” a man who has lost both his arm and his leg asks. The sole bread winner and provider of his family. After a thoughtful pause, Tony responds, “no. I think I owe it to the world to show this.”

Feminists: What were they Thinking?

In middle school I took a Home Ec class. I don’t recall if grades really mattered much in middle school, or if I even did well. It was considered an easy class, and both boys and girls took it. It’s easy to look back on it today and realize how stupid and outdated a class like that is. How sexist. I love cooking, but I remember it wasn’t until taking Home Ec that my brother started his career in cooking.

I live in an age where it’s easy to forget the struggles and inequality between men and women. To take for granted the ability to forget, even for a moment, and all the voices that brought us to this point.

We still live in an age built on and shaped around struggles. Gender, Race, Religion. And I can’t turn my eyes from it. I am a non-white female, in a largely white male society, and I fight everyday for my place.

But I am still priviledged, from the women in China criminalized for having abortions, to the women in Africa labeled Witches and hunted down and killed, to the women in Korea beaten by their husbands for not having dinner made on time. And these were also common occurrences here in America.

And while this film might be a little bit slow, it is brimming with the passion, and the pride, and the hurt of women who lived through much worse times than I will ever know. And fought for the equality that I can experience today.

Each Night I think I melt, absorbed and assimilated into the fibers of my sheets. Then sail away, like captain and ship, into the land of dreams. Where I run, and sing, and mostly cry. And when the morning comes, must tear my self from that warm embrace, painfully form my body anew, and face the Day..

Taking a Break – Day 3

Fur Sister

I sometimes look at my fur sister and wonder what she would be like if she were human. She would be slight of build, but taller than me. (It isn’t hard for anyone to be taller than me.) She would have long, wavy copper coloured hair. It would be blond on some areas, and deep red in others. She would have long copper coloured eye lashes, with dark makeup around the rims, like mine. She would be a head turner. She is. Everyone always commenting on how beautiful she is, and how wonderful her smile is.

She would be incredibly lazy. She would sleep in late, until dad comes up and smacks mom on the butt and says, “time to get up.” Depending on the day, she will either walk down the stairs one by one, or she’ll run down, full of life. But every evening, she’ll be back asleep, on the couch with her feet up once the tv comes on. And she’d go up to bed before everyone else.

She would love her treats, just like me. A little pastry with her coffee. Dessert after dinner. A cookie here or there. And if she looks hard enough at you, she might get lucky and you’ll share some of yours with her.

Despite her laziness, I think she’d probably be a sports player. Soccer, because dad is English. That, or line dancing… due to some weird obsession she has with dad’s foot every time his leg is crossed. (Although, Nanny also had a weird thing with his foot every time his leg was crossed too. Strange…) She also loves to chase a ball though. She’s not really great at catching, so, maybe soccer is a good fit.

Generally, she would just love everything about being outside. Making snow angels in the Winter, swimming at the beach in the Summer, laying in the grass on a nice day.

And somehow, despite being so full of life, she would also be incredibly full of love. Her excitement every time family comes to visit would be overflowing. She wouldn’t be the sort of girl who gets weird when someone gives her a hug or says they love her. That is just the sort of thing that makes her the happiest.

Taking a Break – Day 2

It’s 9:00PM but I’m taking her for a walk. It’s the last walk she’ll take for a while, so we take our time. I let her sniff every stick and leaf. At this time, it’s not quite full dark, but the sun is past the horizon. It is quiet, save for my lone foot falls, her sniffing, and the wind through the trees. The trees reach up, way up to the sky, and drift back and forth in the wind. They don’t sing, or clap, just sort of hushhhh, as if telling the world to quiet now. A gentle shushing, soft, like calm waves brushing the sand.

It is quiet here, but the streets are labyrinthine. Twisting, and curving, and connecting, and ending. I let her decide the path though. She knows where she is going. I see a man. He is walking his own dog, some small yappy thing that doesn’t take time to acknowledge any sticks or leaves. His face is buried in his phone. He ironically, barks at his dog to behave as we pass each other.

There is a moment when I hear a rustle. More than a leaf blowing in the wind. I look over and through the trees I see a deer. We are both quiet as we notice each other. It reminds me of the scene in Stand by Me, when Gordie sits alone as the sun comes up. A deer pops out through the trees and they have a moment as they watch each other. I honestly still don’t know the significance of that scene, but that is what this moment feels like. A human and a deer, having a moment in the dim light of day.

I see the same man with his small yappy dog approaching. His face is still buried in his phone. They pass.

When I was younger, every May we would drive way, way out, out to the end of the road. So far I would always fall asleep before we got there. And then we would hike even further than the cars could go, to reach a place at the end of the world. Ocean, and beach, and trees, and fields. We would camp there, in rustic cabins. No sound of traffic, or pollution. I remember, in the morning, the sound of crows, as we rose with the morning sun.

There is that man again. For the third time he approaches my direction, and I am beginning to think he is buried so deep in his phone he has no idea where he is going, or this is a clone and I am in some sort of strange alternate universe. I side eye him as he passes. He and dog randomly turn and descend into the trees down some dark, dubious trail.

It begins to get darker. The only light, garden lights, and lights in the windows of homes, kitchens and living rooms as people settle into the night. I can smell the trees. It is quiet and I know I could easily vanish. I hear the theme from the Pink Panther drift out from my pocket. Another irony, having just finished an episode of a crime mystery, solved by an awkward and unusual individual. It is mother, she is afraid I have vanished. We are close though. Fur sister grabs her leash and begins taking herself down the street. Mother walks to the end of the driveway, barely visible, but Fur sister knows. She runs the rest of the way home, always the most exciting reunion, as though it has been years, and not simply some 30 minutes.

Taking a Break – Day 1

Per the usual, woke up this morning, found myself spooning my precious cat, and for an instant was unsure of where I was. Then I heard my dad downstairs. I could hear the hum of the microwave as he warmed milk, and the weird brrrr of the coffee machine as it sputtered out coffee. A few minutes later I hear him slowly padding up the stairs, a few of them creaking as he passed. I hear him enter my room and the soft thump as he sets a mug of hot coffee on my nightstand. Without opening my eyes, I say thank you.

This is the morning here. Coffee, sometimes jumping into bed with mom and having my feet washed by my fur sister, getting dressed, then driving into town for more coffee.

Its Saturday, and though not huge, we decide to check out the Saturday Market. A total of one street block, two foot traffic lanes wide. The town has dropped precautions and full faces are displayed proudly. Those choosing to maintain safety still sport their cute and personalized masks, …hanging just below their noses. Walking the streets like times before is surreal, but it would seem that after a year of being mandated to keep six feet apart people no longer seem to remember personal space politeness.

Pops and I decide to walk back home from town. A 5 mile trek through streets and trees. Normally nothing to sweat about, other than the million degree blazing sun. Wrong foot attire strikes with a vengeance once the commitment has been made. Dad says that we can call mom to pick us up at any time. I raise the Korean Fighting fist and say, “no! Rose Garden right?” (In reference to the time I powered through a leisurely, horrible walk, in which I threw my hip out, to make it to the damned Rose Gardens. …and then, of course, I had to walk back home…) By the time we make it home I am pretty sure my feet are going to explode from massive blisterization.

I take a shower, and then crawl in for a nap. I think its the first nap I have unapologetically taken in months. Not burdened by guilt that I could be spending my time more productively.

Dream for my Birth Mother

I close my eyes and I see her. She’s so crystal clear, I almost reach out to touch her.

I dream that she is as elaborate a storyteller as I am. So when people ask, I might say I get it from her. And when that first book gets accepted I can dedicate it to her.

I dream that she is beautiful. Not the immediately obvious beauty. The sort of beauty that shines through to the right sort of people. And graceful. And people would gasp when she walks by. I know that that isn’t a gene I inherited, but it is what I dream for her.

I dream that she has long, full locks of black hair, and is the sort of woman who might do anything she pleases with it. And if she ever saw me she’d say, “you have my hair,” with a smile, and I might learn to love it yet.

I dream she has long, beautiful, delicate fingers, and anything she touches, with a little work, turns to gold. And perhaps her favorite things to do are make music, and write stories. Bedtime stories for the family I hope she has.

And though I know I am the product of an affair, I would not hate her. I am old enough yet to know the power of love. Its blinding intoxication. Because I know in the end she loves me still.

And I dream that when she first saw me she brushed a lock of hair behind her ears, and reached to me with those beautiful hands, and as she told me stories, I gazed back at that beautiful face and saw someone I’d see each time I closed my eyes and dreamed.

High School Monologue

I guess we both knew this day would come. There was no point in trying to stop it. And now I look around this huge house that you built 30 years ago for us, and I can’t help feeling alone. I admit that 62 years together is a long time and well… well I’m disappointed to see that this is where it ends.

What am I going to do with that old raggedy chair you always sat in? You would never let me throw it away or fix it. And now it’s just sitting there in the middle of the room with no one to sit in it… and you know it doesn’t even match anything!

And I never got to tell you, but that cup you always drank your Sunday coffee in… Well, I accidentally dropped it while washing it a few days ago. I guess I would have told you sooner or later… Tomorrow is Sunday after all.

Who am I going to watch movies with? I mean… I know you never really liked sitting with me for that long and staring at a television screen. You always fell asleep before the beginning credits were over. I suppose when I really think about it, I was watching the movies alone anyway… But you were with me at least.

Eheh… From here I can hear that leaky faucet. It’s been leaking for two years now. I suppose you won’t be fixing it like you said you would. I remember when I couldn’t stand to hear the sound of water dripping into the sink. You promised me you would “fix it tomorrow” for two years. And frankly, you and I both know I don’t know how to fix things. I don’t even know what a philip’s head is, or whatever it’s called is.

Believe it or not, but I haven’t even thought of how I am going to tell our kids. You were always the one to think of things to say. They adored you too. What should I do? Should I just call them up and tell them? Should I call them up and make conversation and then just… slip it to them? Oh, I just can’t think without you here!

There are so many things I know I should have said before you left, but then I guess there always are. You and I shared a long journey together and now I must start one of my own. It’s going to be pretty hard getting used to this old house alone. Maybe I’ll have the kids come visit me more often. I’d really like that… Just look at this picture of us… Those were the days when we were young, but we can’t go back. If I could just say one thing though… it’d be that… I’m really going to miss you.