What the Algorithm Didn’t Tell Me

On paper he was my perfect match. E-Harmony said so. But the algorithms can tell you but so much. It doesn’t account for the weirdo factor.

His control issues were undercover.

In the Beginning…  he was attentive — aren’t they all.

Then he wanted me to be more assertive. I’m almost 50 fucking years old. I’ve had two husbands and raised two kids. My assertive days were behind me. I just want to chill.

But OK, I’ll play…

He didn’t like me so much after that. Then he came down from the Mount.commandments

  1. Thou shalt not wear nail polish (It’s toxic and doesn’t look good on you)
  2. Thou shalt not do Tae Kwon do (Do Karate or Aikido instead)
  3. Thou shalt not practice Catholicism (practice Buddhism)
  4. Thou shalt not wear crystals
  5. Thou shalt no be friends with homeless people
  6. Thou shalt not excel in Grad School (It’s too hard for someone like me)
  7. Thou shalt not expect to see him or talk to him during the week
  8. Thou shalt not question his whereabouts
  9. Thou shalt not be upset when he cancels our date
  10. Thou shalt not be me

Oh and he was cheap. I’m not talking a date at McDonalds cheap. I’m talking that selfish cheap. All our dates were dutch. Well it was mostly our dinner because he only took me to places he could get into for free. We never went to the movies, he claimed not to like movies. I think he didn’t like the $15 it cost to get in to the movies. We did go to a dry boring film festival once, there was a $10 cover charge, guess who paid for me? I’ll give you a hint…not him.

He had this backpack that was filled with paper crap. He carried this on our date. He had to carry it like a paper grocery sack from the 1970s because it was ripping at the seems. Putting it on his back would cause all of the papers to fall out.

Me: Why don’t you buy a new one?

He: I’ll just tape this one. This is an expensive bag.

Me: (in my mind) BUY A JANSPORT YOU FREAK!

After about 4 months of this, I wanted to dump him. But I was never good at it. He called me on a Sunday night, after once again, making some lame ass excuse about not being able to see me.  He proceeds to talk to me for 45 minutes about bull shit and then he dumps me.

But wait…

He was humming and umming because he was nervous. He thought I’d lose my shit because he would no longer grace my life with his presence.

Backstory – The summer before I was crazy in love with this guy who ripped my heart out and threw it against the wall and then stomped on it and set it on fire.  I might have mentioned that to him at some point. (This guy was residentially challenged, hence #5 of the commandments).

I suppose his condescending ass thought it would be a similar situation.

Johnny, what’s behind door number two? How about a big, I don’t give a fuck.

I wasn’t hurt, I was relieved.  I proceeded to tell him as a friend (yes I was nice about it) that if he wanted to get and keep a woman, he needed to stop being a condescending prick, he needed to stop being a cheap ass creep, and that he needed to accept people for who they are and stop looking for Miss Perfect.

I don’t know what happened to him after that. This was a year ago. I suppose he continues to cycle through women, or who knows, maybe he found that one woman who likes that weird cheap sort of condescension superiority control freak thing.

There is someone for everyone.

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…but I Remember

Today I saw a photo that an old friend posted on Facebook. It was a picture of his brother, who was my ex-boyfriend. He was my boyfriend almost 30 years ago. He died in 1990. We were no longer datangelhearting when he died, but I always thought there was some chance we would get back together. After his death, I knew that there would be no chance in this lifetime.

I’ve had two husbands and many boyfriends since him. But when I saw that picture I smiled, I teared up and I remembered.

I don’t delude myself thinking that we had a fairy tale relationship, hell, it was down right dysfunctional.  But I remember the things he did for me while we dated, and these were the things money couldn’t by. He did things to make me feel like a queen. He did things that no one else ever did since.

I don’t write this to wallow in my past and think about what could have been; it serves no purpose.

I’d rather think about his smile and know that he is around. He has always been around.

 

I thought the light went out when  you died.

But it has shone steady and bright, always.

I was just blinded by grief.

— Liz Kelso

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MFA Report – End of Semester

End of Semester Break

My 1st semester has ended. Someone said Grad School would be brutal. It had its moments, but it was NOT brutal.  If you are studying something you love, how can it be brutal?  What WAS brutal was not getting enough sleep.  Class three nights a week and then only getting 6 hours of sleep a night during the work week — that was brutal.

Grades are trickling in, but I’m anticipating A’s across the bochildren-sledging-silhouetteard — because I don’t do anything half assed (except when I’m tired), but I managed to maintain my level of work.

I have commenced by Holiday / End of Semester break!!

 

tragedy Averted

This semester was rough, not because of workload or even lack of sleep. But because the scandal and fear that gripped every student and member of the faculty. There are pending allegations that the former President of the college was mis-managing funds. 

The school was in turmoil. Would we close? Would faculty be let go? Would programs be cut? This is a school that has been in existence for over 100 years. A fine Catholic institution dedicated to helping educate generations of women (and now men).

The donations were inching along, and we had some pretty big donations, but we were still behind.  That was until an anonymous benefactor came in like the Savior and rescued us. I don’t know who the anonymous benefactor was, but I’m on my knees with tears thanking him/her/them from the bottom of my soul.

Although cost cutting measures still need to be implemented, it appears that our butts have been saved. Now I and my fellow students can look forward to the other 3 sleepless semesters ahead of us.

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My Thoughts of MFA Programs

I can only give you the thoughts of the program I’m involved in. It is an experience that I am glad I am a part of.  There are people who say “You don’t need a degree to write a book.” Well yes and no. But I won’t get into that because there are tons of people who have no advanced degree (or even a college degree) that have written very good books.

However, the experience I am having is something that I would not have otherwise.  I’ve met some very cool people from Australia, China and South Asia. I don’t travel so they have brought their culture into the classroom. Not to mention they are a riot!

I am looking forward to next semester…I have about a month to get in my sleep before I have to do it all over again.

 

 

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But Why Are They Afraid?

 

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Photo of Anti-Trump protestor in Union Square, NYC (11/11/16)

Hatred is misguided fear, but why are they afraid?

The texture of my hair, or the fabric that covers it should not evoke fear.

Painting their faces with pitch only brings to mind the question of — Why?

Does it allay their fear? But why are they afraid?

Will they unravel the hose, unleash the dogs — or burn the crosses by three?

I will still rise in the morning with the sun at my face —

No, their burning cross did not put me in my place.

What reaction are they trying to pull? We have no King or X to lead us — guide us.

I have myself, my sisters, my brothers — from everywhere.

We want to know the root of their fear, but why are they afraid?

They spray swastikas and words of insult — oh my little heart is hurt

No, not really. I will still rise with the sun at my face.

 

Karma slowly snakes her way through lives of privilege and poverty.

They know not when it comes. Today, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

They will have forgotten about the crooked cross or the three K’s.

They will say “What did I do to deserve this?”

They will be enveloped with fear, but why are they afraid?

 

Written by Liz Kelso 2016 (c) 

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MFA: The First ‘Serious’ Paper

For my Lit class I have to write a Literary Analysis of one of the books we’ve read so far. I am leaning toward The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Since another one of my passions is spirituality (all forms), I thought the thread of that – that ran through the novel was interesting. Our Professor wants 5-pages. Piece of cake…

No!

The last Literary Analysis I wrote was in 2014 and it was entitled The Mother: A Theme in Ulysses by James Joyce, and I squeezed out 3 ½ pages for that one.

I have been told that my writing is pedantic. One person called it Carver-esque.

carverIt is.

I am not one to throw flowers (my term for purple prose), I leave that for poetry. My writing tends to be raw, and therefore it is scant of pretty words and prodigious vocabulary.

After all, when a character has a 4th grade education, it is hard to imagine him saying the word prestidigitation in a conversation. 

So although I’ve written stories for the workshop, and the other classes, this is my first ‘serious’ paper for the semester. This isn’t to say that my other writing isn’t serious, it is. It is just much more fun to write prose than it is to write an analysis of anything.

But…it will be fine. It always is.

 

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Christmas Novels – 2016

I myself will not get to indulge in too much Christmas/Holiday reading this year. Classes end for me on December 15th. I may get 2 Holiday reads in. At this point I’m not sure exactly which ones I will be reading…not entirely true, I do know one.

Richard Paul EvansThe Mistletoe Secret (Nov 15, 2016). It is part of the Mistletoe Collection (The Mistletoe Promise and The Mistletoe Inn).

Evans is known for his Christmas Collections. There is The Christmas Box Collection (The Christmas Box, Timepiece, and The Letter), and then he wrote a few stand alone Christmas books (Promise Me, The Gift, The Winter Dream, Grace, Finding Noel, The Christmas List, and Lost December).

I recommend any of these books for a quick and satisfyingChristmas read.

1evans

 

Other things I may try to add to my Christmas TBR.

For the Debbie Macomber fans her newest novel Twelve Days of Christmas arrived on October 4, 2016. I personally have never read a Christmas novel by Macomber (I’ve seen the film adaptations on Hallmark etc.), but I know people who can’t live without a Macomber Christmas book every year. Sort of like me and Evans.

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Another fan favorite is Melody Carlson. Her book The Christmas Angel Project has been out since August. I have read a few of her books, and I must say, they are touching. This might be one I slip into the reading list this Christmas.
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Any Karen Kingsbury fans out there? She has one this year as well. A Baxter Family Christmas. This one just came out. Kingsbury writes Christian fiction, so be prepared to have your heart warmed, your feelings touched and your soul redeemed.

karen

 

We can’t have Christmas without the Amish. Cindy Woodsmall has written one for us this year. Another one I will probably try to fit into my busy reading schedule. The Angel of Forest Hill: An Amish Christmas Romance. This one came out early October

1cindy

 

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MFA Report #3 – Week 8

This week will mark the week period of the program. I am still alive, although as you can see, my blog posts have suffered. I have been reading and writing almost non stop.

Workshop

I’ve handed in my first piece for the workshop. It was mostly well received. I got the critiques back and now it is time to revise. But I cannot do that just yet, because my second piece is due in 17 days. This one is a biggy as it is the start of my thesis. A lot of pressure here.

At the end of the 2 years, I need to have a thesis. That is 75 pages of a novel or other book (short stories etc.) I felt it was best to get that started. It is killing me though. Whoever said writing was easy, never wrote anything!

Lit Class (as in Literature, not as in Lit, although the class is Lit)1horse

All the books are rolling into one another. The books I’ve read in the last 8 weeks (for school, not for my own pleasure) are: Mrs. Dalloway, Family Life, Between the World and Me, A Visit from the Goon Squad, This is How you Lose Her, The Road, and I am currently reading The Last Report on the Miracles of Little No Horse.

Two more books to go after this. Not to mention two more 5-page essays to write, no seat…right.

Master Class

We started the 2nd round of our Master Classes. Our current teacher is Bushra Rehman, author of Corona. The class is entitled: Prose & Poetic Logic. I’ve only had two classes so far and already I find it invaluable. Not only am I introduced to various authors I’ve never heard of (and so1bushrame I have), but we are given 25 minutes to write on an open prompt.

I find that writing this way is freeing. A lot of ideas surface.

This class ends one week before Thanksgiving, which is good because by then I think I will be almost dead from exhaustion.

 

I like my classmates, and I like the fact that we all write very different things. Some of the genre’s that are floating around are: Horror, Historical Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult, Lyrical Prose and the list goes on. No one has written a bad or boring story. I’m excited to be with these people for the next two years.

The Professors are starting to look at next years students. They will be the second class, but I will always have to honor of being in the inaugural class, and the first class to graduate from The College of New Rochelle with an MFA in Creative Writing.

 

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