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character study creative nonfiction nonfiction observations poetry writing

The mushroom lady

The mushroom lady is afoot after a winter-long downtime. She has the air of someone who worked in retail or perhaps an administrative office in a grade school. In her Old Navy shorts and button-down shirt and her hair done like Margaret Thatcher, she prowls the grounds of the apartment complex for sprouts of fungi. Then she sits on the ground and tears away tufts of the lawn like a kid in a sandbox.
Did her line of work have her yanking out hair of her own?
Or maybe she suffered a broken heart?
A widow, sometimes she uses
her two small dogs as a ruse
to go digging for mushrooms
more than once a day, the
yield stashed in a plastic
bag in lieu of poop,
which she allows
the dogs to do,
but she does
not bother
scooping.

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creative nonfiction essays flash nonfiction nonfiction poetry writing

A note about perfection

I sit in the morning, tweezing my eyebrows, my coffee turning lukewarm. Over the past few days, my hairs have gathered like the poppy seeds on my toasted bagel — a small colony near the tail of my left brow, spread out like the homes of a suburb on the periphery of a city. But in the same region of my right brow, there is noticeably less density.

In another hindrance, my laser tech fucked up my left brow years ago just above the inside corner of my eye, leaving it sparse, like the crown of a 70-year-old woman. So duh, of course I try to make the other one match, and therefore I tweeze appropriately. Or sometimes I will go in with a brow pencil — dark brown, which always seems to be a mismatched shade, anyhow — in an attempt to correct the scalded one.

In my psyche lurks the deep-rooted illusion of symmetry, a resident phantom that is only mathematically possible yet takes up quarters in the recesses of my brain’s frontal lobe, filed under “beauty standards.” But reality suggests that no two eyebrows are alike. On top of that, my right wrist is thicker than my left; the left side of my face is more flattering than my right; and I am a friendlier, more talkative person after coffee, a sort of Jekyll and Hyde, as many of us are.

I struggle with my brows. Defying all reason, I want both arches to crest above the outer borders of my iris, as is recommended in diagrams for the shape of my face. The lines must aspire to the appearance of bent iron or the malformed finger of the nun who scolded me in grade school when my desk failed to line up like a domino alongside the others in my row.

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creative nonfiction essays micro essays nonfiction writing

Money and blood

I don’t have anything against making rent payments. I just don’t like to watch — just like when I get blood drawn. I look away when the needle goes in, then turn around again as the nurse is placing a band-aid on the boo-boo.

Granted, paying rent is easy enough these days. It’s all done online. I just don’t like to be the one to enter my card information and click “agree” to accept the so-called convenience charge.

Delegating this monthly task would be ideal. I’d log in to my account and have a designee do the dirty work. The person would then tell me, “Your rent is paid,” and I’d breathe a sigh of relief. Like when surgery is over and the nurse nudges you back into consciousness, tells you that the operation was a success.

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creative nonfiction essays micro essays nonfiction writing

Problem priorites

I am in a chatty mood today, so I will discuss while at the same time trying to entertain.

It is not beneath me to steal napkins from the Whole Foods cafe area because my house is in need of them and I don’t want to bother with buying them after I finish my lunch due to refusal to wait on the checkout line just for a dumb pack of napkins.

I eat two pieces of teriyaki salmon and some mashed potatoes and declare myself on vacation from all responsible thought. Mashed potatoes provide a primordial joy, so it’s hard to take the world seriously when you’re eating them. I get that same who-gives-a-crap-about-anything-else attitude also when I eat ice cream, or, of course, have sex.

Regardless, after having stuffed a modest wad of napkins into my purse, complete with the Whole Foods logo and some facts about animal welfare and hormone-free meat, I meander over to the adjacent bookstore, drink a double espresso and purchase a fun literary magazine (Barrelhouse) and a new 5 x 7 journal. Then I scurry home with my treasures.

She went with the Bride of Frankenstein Look

I think ringlety hair on a woman is super hot. I think it’s because it’s big & wild & seemingly chaotic. Also, the idea of possibly being unable to run my fingers through her hair is oddly appealing. I cannot help but think that I would instead hold it in bunches, which is also an appealing thought.

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creative nonfiction essays micro essays nonfiction writing

In a manner of speaking

The rule, generally speaking, is don’t have a visible ridge. Take skin flaws, for instance, which can include crevices, creases, nooks, crannies and dings — facial lines that look like lightning or autumn branches and twigs, exposed neurons or the guts of membrane.

But you may, on the other hand, go ahead and have a menacing malformation in the topography of your psyche if you would like, disregarding — perhaps even flaunting — that spot where people will stumble and risk being maimed or at bare-minimum suffer a conk on the head or a stubbed toe, which can be hell since those mishaps befall us so abruptly.

“Ow,” we say. Or, “fuck.”

An ex-boyfriend once said he had a ridge on his nail. I had never heard the word used in relation to the anatomy. But he labeled it as such and filed it smooth with my lavender nail buffer.