I was going through the files on my computer today and I came across my school work from 2011. This one assignment caught my eye. It was from English class and we were studying A Streetcar Named Desire. We were asked to create a monologue for a character and fit it into the story. This was mine. I couldn’t help but laugh. The writing wasn’t the greatest but I liked the direction I painted the monologue. It’s always fun to look back and see how far we’ve come in our craft. Enjoy!
Blanche: [Swings open the bathroom door in a hurry, hair wet and donning a red silk robe.]
My I love bathes, I know I take many. I’m sorry for the up in your water bill but you don’t need to yell at me like that! I’ve done things I’m not proud of yes, that’s why I take so many. It’s my own demented way of coping. I wash my hair and I wash my body and I always feel brand new after, even if for only a little while. I wish I could stay that way . . . but I can’t escape my past. [Puts a hand to her brow.] That boy, that dear seventeen year old boy, he was a mistake . . . I thought I loved him. He bought me flowers and winked at me in class, he had me giggling like a little school girl. But I was a fool to lead him on, which is what I thought I was doing . . . but I not only lead him on, I returned his affection. What was I thinking? I suppose I thought he could be my handsome love, to replace my dead one. He wrote me letters, love letters as a matter of fact. Ones so steamy they could melt the ice cubes in your lemonade. [Sighs.] I needed someone to treasure me, I always need to be treasured; I can’t stand on my own. The presence of a man keeps me at ease. And I suppose that’s why I go after Mitch. He’s stable and reliable. Perhaps one day we’ll have a quaint little weddin’ ceremony. I’ll have a lily in my hair and he’ll look dapper as can be. And we’ll say our vows and kiss and settle down in a little summer house and have cute little babies . . . but that’s just a dream of mine. A silly little dream. Are you happy? Is this what you wanted to get from me? To spill all my locked up secrets? [Sarcastic.] Well aren’t you a big man Stanley! Don’t tell me your hands are spiffy clean! You walk around like you’re the king of everything, having my poor little sister scrub and cook and – and . . . please you! [Points a shaky finger at Stanley and shouts.] You are despicable! [Takes a few breathes and looks from Stella to Stanley and back, with her hand clutched to her chest, her fighting spirit is deflated.] Perhaps one day I’ll soak long enough my sins and downfalls flow through my pores and out into my jasmine bath water . . .
Where should this go in the play that would be the most effective?
I feel this would be most effective in the scene where Blanche was bathing and while she’s occupied Stanley takes the opportunity to fill Stella in on her sister’s past. Blanche could over hear the conversation and go out to defend herself. This would confirm the rumours Stanley was retelling and could deepen Blanche’s character. Revealing things about herself instead of lying would be interesting.
Peace & Love,
I had gotten used to the clouds
Casting shadows over my life
And raining down on my dreams
Drenching them until they became so heavy I couldn’t lift them anymore
The crashing of the thunder didn’t startle me like it used to
I remembered I had seen a clear blue sky once
And it was so beautiful and calm
That I had committed it to memory
But that was so long ago I didn’t bother to try and remember the details
Because it hurt too much
I turned my eyes skyward today and I saw it
A brilliant sliver of blue, peeking through the clouds
It was accompanied by something I had never seen or felt before
It warmed my face, my skin, my soul
I watched as the golden rays began to dry my dreams
One by one they expanded and lifted from the ground
Shining in an untapped brilliance
I gathered the dreams together and like a bouquet of helium balloons, I tethered them to one another and used them to carry me skyward
I needed to reach that sliver in the clouds
I needed to push the clouds apart and have my blue sky, my calm
Dad moved us into a cramped studio apartment on the fifth floor of the Cedar Dove apartment complex when he accepted his newest job opportunity. We’d made the drive, only two states over, packing our measly belongings into three suitcases before hitting the road. But that’s how we lived, out of suitcases, never putting down roots. Dad’s a rep for a pharmaceutical company. He trains hospital staff about new drugs and once he’s done, he’s stationed at a new hospital. He loves it, he calls our life an adventure. People must be jealous of all the places we’ve been, all the things we’ve seen, he’d tell me.
He comes home to find me sprawled on the couch that came with the apartment, flipping through channels on the small t.v. I watch his hands, he holds a small array of post cards. He’s always done this, collecting a post card from each place we visit and tucking it neatly in a small scrapbook. It’s always seemed like some sort of bread crumb trail to me. If we ever go missing, people will know the last place we were. I turn my attention glumly back to the t.v.
I hear the sound papers make when they brush together and know he’s flipping through the cards, picking the right one worthy enough for the scrapbook.
“How’d school go today?” Dad asks.
I shrug, though the movement is hidden by my loose fitting hoodie. “Fine.”
“Your tone says otherwise.” He sets the cards on the table near the door and crosses the room, taking a seat next to me. “Are you having trouble again?”
I chuckle at his phrasing, trouble. “Nothing I haven’t dealt with before.”
Dad clasps his hands together in his lap. “I could make a call…”
I sit up quickly. “Don’t do that, please. I’m fine.” His expression is unappeased, so I continue. “We’ll be gone in a few weeks anyway.”
The concern flickering in his eyes fades before he nods his head. “Alright, then.”
“I’m gunna hit the hay, early day tomorrow,” I say, retreating hastily from the room.
He watches me go, closing my bedroom door and even then I still feel him staring. I pull a bottle off my dresser and shake a couple of pills into my palm before swallowing them down dry. The only good thing about my dad’s job is I get great drugs.
I’m out like a light in two minutes flat.
There is this great illusion when you are a child
That everyone around you is good
But as you grow up and form your own opinions and values
You discover this is not the case
You dislike your uncle’s personality
Your grandmother’s changing temperament
You notice who cares and who doesn’t
You understand effort and your family’s unwillingness to put it in
You realize your parents are only human
That family gatherings are complex charades of complicated people
That birthdays are convoluted webs of hormonal tension
That holidays are uncomfortable occasions of mandated family time
That family time is something you’d wish to partake in alone
The eyes of a child are gentle ones
And once the illusion shatters
You’re left rubbing your eyes
For the rest of your life
It had taken the footballers of Cedar High School just half a week to discover the new kid and about fifteen minutes to make him feel welcome. Unfortunately by welcome I mean upend in the nearest dumpster. Did I mention the new kid is me?
Dumpsters smell like sour milk and mothballs and battery acid. The smell mingles in your mouth and stays there, especially when it’s constantly reintroduced. The only way I’ve found to get rid of it is cigarettes. The taste of dirt does wonders.
To say that bullies’ tactics are cliché would be an understatement. At this point, I would find it refreshing for some dumb jock to steal my gym clothes or give me a swirly. But no. Dumpsters are all I get.
It’s usually the footballers who like to upend me, but depending on the school, it could be the lacrosse team, or the basketball team, even the theater kids. I’ll admit, that one was a surprise, but at a school for performing arts, someone’s got to be on top.
I find myself leaning against the cool stone façade of my current high school, popping a cigarette between my lips and lighting it. I blow the smoke out through my nostrils and shrug my satchel into a more comfortable position across my shoulder.
A group of footballers sashay across the front lawn, several of them looking familiar. Sniveling idiots with leather on their shoulders and rocks in their heads. They cast me wry glances before turning toe in my direction. Luckily, the first bell rings and they decide against whatever they were going to do, chuckling as they head inside.
I can’t help the eye roll that happens as I take one last puff and crush the butt beneath my shoe.
Week two has given me enough time to memorize my schedule, my teachers’ names, and my locker combination. I haven’t bothered to make any friends, there’s no point. I spend lunch roaming the hallways, turkey sandwich in hand. A display case catches my eye and I notice it celebrates the Cedar Baron’s winning streak. The football team’s trophies and awards dazzle under the small fluorescent lights above, but those aren’t what concern me. Mounted in the middle of the showcase is a team photo. The name plate beneath gives away my tormenters’ names. Tad Drake, quarterback, Dillion Powell, receiver, Franklin Weal, Line man. I narrow my eyes at Tad Drake’s glowing face in the photo.
A girl trips over my foot and curses at me as she hurries down the hall. I don’t even have time to apologize as she’s fifteen feet away by the time I register what happened. The bell rings and I throw the remaining half of my sandwich into the nearest trashcan before heading to science class.
The remainder of the day goes by without incident. Kids swarm the hallways, slamming lockers and buzzing about homework. I shove textbooks into my satchel and retreat from the building, using the chaos as my own cloak of invisibility from Tad and company. Feeling safe only when I’ve slid into a seat on the bus, I let out a sigh and turn my head to the window.