New Blog Series in the Works

I had an idea this morning while drinking my coffee for a new blog post series regarding women’s issues (really, gender issues in general) that are controversial, but not ultimately political in nature. I am sure that these issues could be unpacked and unraveled to the point of becoming political, but I want to keep these posts somewhat light and not cause mass debates full of hatred of strangers and cyber bullying; I see enough of this stuff everywhere else on the internet.

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Therefore, I will not be touching subjects such as abortion. Here are some topics I am thinking about playing with:

  • *Shaving (legs, armpits, bikini lines, etc.) – I am currently working on this one!
  • Bras
  • Last Names (after marriage)
  • Makeup
  • Popular Song Lyrics

I am still brainstorming; the most obvious ideas are ones about appearance, but I want to dig a little deeper. Please share and suggestions that you would be interested in reading about and/or contributing your two cents about.

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On Seeing my Favorite Band in Chicago

The line for the concert wrapped around the building and snaked into the alley. Megan and I were in the back third of the line even though we arrived an hour and a half early. Several of Zooey fans were dressed from head-to-toe in vintage polka-dots and peter pan collars. Usually I would be dressed the same, but it was windy and I had spent the afternoon watching my sister tuck her skirt between her legs to avoid giving Chicago a peep-show. I wore my Darth Vader t-shirt and jeans.

Before I changed into my Vader shirt I was dressed up too!

Before I changed into my Vader shirt, note the peter pan collar necklace

Since we were so early, I went to find a quick meal for us to eat in line. Unfortunately, the line started moving into the building while I was gone. Megan had to come and get me and we were two of the last people into the building. I had to leave our dinner outside, but somehow we nudged our way to the fourth row.

As with any concert, we stood around for more than an hour before the show started. My feet ached in my flip-flops and the crowd was getting antsy. The family next to us held our spot while we bought overpriced t-shirts. The air in the room became heavy with anticipation. However, the Aragon was a beautiful distraction. The black and blue ceiling was littered with stars and whirls of Milky Way. The planets bulged in the second dimension, hanging pregnant above our heads. Branching from the balcony were Rapunzel-style towers. The proscenium framed the stage in the same rich storybook style as the towers.

Pictures compliments of the Aragon's website.

Pictures compliments of the Aragon’s website

Since arriving at the theatre, there were signs everywhere discouraging people from recording the show and taking pictures at the request of the band. Everyone was asked to live in the moment and watch the concert through their eyes, not their viewfinders. As soon as Camera Obscura started their pre-show show, the cameras came out – not just cameras but phones and ipads too! There were bouncers pacing back and forth between the stage and the audience hunting for screens, flashes, and clicks.

I wish I would have listened to more Camera Obscura music before the show. I watched the keyboardist play three keyboards in amazement and admired the lead singer’s lack of Katie Perry sugar and spice as she sang beautifully in a blazer and button-up.

How to describe watching She & Him… adorable throwback vintage magic?

Zooey and Matt entered stage left; Zooey in a vintage tea length party dress with perfect bangs, Matt in a grey blazer and dripping with charm that most modern Justin Biebers could never hope to understand (obviously, I have a bit of a crush on M. Ward, his guitar, and his curly hair).

Last year, Megan and I saw Ingrid Michaelson in concert. We hadn’t bothered to get her new album since we weren’t impressed with Parachute; we spent the entire concert listening to songs we had never heard. It was kind of awkward and really disappointing. However, She & Him played songs from all of their albums and a few well-known covers. I am always impressed by musicians who can play several instruments, and Matt and Zooey did not disappoint. Though Zooey’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, the crowd went wild every time M. Ward opened his mouth. He is truly a talented artist. They ended the show on a cover of I Put a Spell on You that blew my mind. The spectacle and music of the evening blurs together as the best concert I have attended.

... the picture my sister wasn't supposed to take...

… the picture I was mad at my sister for taking…

The only things that bummed me out about the concert: we were too close to the raised stage and I couldn’t see what shoes Zooey was wearing with her incredible dress and how sad it is that people feel the need to live through their viewfinders instead of experiencing the concert first-hand.

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Moving Home: Balancing my “Big Family”, my “Little Family”, and the Space Between

A new chapter.

I have been MIA for a while, but for good reason: Jason and I moved back to Wisconsin. We decided after several frustrating conversations, that neither of us were happy. He wasn’t happy with his graduate work since it was far from what he actually wants to do, and I wasn’t happy working as a receptionist. I am a writer. I am a teacher. There is no creativity in doing menial bitch-work for 5 business owners. Neither of us felt like ourselves and we didn’t feel much like the “us” that we want to be.

wisconsin

So much has happened lately that I can’t seem to keep up. After a year away from my friends and family, I feel overwhelmed. My first week home I felt like I was trying to make everyone happy and cram a year’s worth of quality time into a few days. I missed Jason and our cats – my Little Family. My Big Family, my friends and family of origin, wanted to spend as much time with me as possible; which is great, and I want to spend time with them, but it was difficult to take in all of the invitations and events without turning others down. I was glad for Jason to come home at the beginning of the next week.

4th

I am from Oshkosh. My Big Family is in Oshkosh. Jason is from South Milwaukee. Right now, my Little Family is living in South Milwaukee. I love my Big Family, but it is nice to have an hour and a half of highway between us while my Little Family figures out where we want to be and how we fit back into Wisconsin.

mlk to osh

Poetry: The Writing Process

I just happened to be sifting through my Google Drive and found the poem and note I wrote to the students I worked with a few summers ago at the Young Writer’s Camp in Neenah, Wisconsin and the poems I wrote for my students during clinicals. This, of course, made me a bit nostalgic about teaching and spending time writing on my own. I have been so busy lately with work and life and everything that I haven’t thought about it much until now.

The Writing Process
Mindy M. Wara
August 9, 2011

Creativity bubbles to the surface
while imaginations squirm in their seats
inspiration boils over
and words spatter onto the page

Keys click against soft pads of fingertips
as thoughts thicken and become concrete
the computer monitors hum along
and the printer patiently waits
to publish black on white

Students savor the taste of fresh syllables
as the words roll off of their tongues
and drip like honey into anxious minds
to ponder, soak up, and relish with delight

2011 YWC Students,

I want you to know how much this experience has meant to me as a writer and as a future teacher. I hope you have learned a lot this summer and know that you have also taught me as well as inspired my writing. Thank you for putting so much imagination and effort into your work and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your writing process.

 

Creativity Enters the Room
a poem for my drama students
By Mindy M. Wara 

when the bell rings for fourth period.
It sits down and talks amongst itself
as if it were its own family.
Familiar, safe, home.
Pages flip
open for meaningful discussions
about skydiving, cannibalism
and somehow is always spun into webs
of innuendo. It flock dances
to the stage ready
to unleash all of itself
unmasked
on to the muted world.

 

First Hour Students
a poem for my English students
By Mindy M. Wara

I welcome their questions like long lost cousins,
growing their critical minds
like festering science projects, mutating with every fresh variable.
I want to crawl into their brains and see what they see.
Am I making a difference?
Am I getting through?
Do they know they make a difference in my life?

He rolls his water bottle back and forth, back and forth.
She discretely texts under the table, her keypad memorized.
He pokes once, twice, “Garrett, stop,”
gain, once more, “Garrett.”
Multitasking with books open and ear buds thumping,
so loud I can feel the music from across the room.
Confessions walk into the classroom,
“My book is in the car.”
Interrogations take their seats,
“Can I turn my discussion questions in tomorrow?”

“Moist” litters the board.

 

(***My students know how much I hate the word “moist” and they would come in and write it all over the board before I arrived in the morning.)

Hotel Riverside Studio, 2008

Hotel Riverside Studio, 2008
Mindy M. Wara
April 18, 2011

 

I look up at the eggshell ceiling festering

with cracked paint, water stains, and visible pipes

as the coiled springs dig into my back.

The bargain of a plywood bed

with palm tree inspired headboard

available for only $150 a night

on the Upper West Side.

The Easter colored plaid duvet worn from too many washes

clings to my clammy skin

to cool itself as the thick August air that invades the room.

 

I watch the slow beads of water trickle down

the single cloudy window. The condensation forms

a cataract to dim the Manhattan lights.

My sister lays still

on the matching twin bed next to mine.

She can sleep through anything.

I envy every deep sleepy breath she takes.

 

The pink chiffon and purple linen innards

of her imitation Louis Vuitton suitcase

strewn about the slightly slanted floor

and the crusty brown carpet that covers it.

 

I couldn’t make my way to the communal bathroom

without my glasses in the piss-cold dark

even if my bladder twists and twinges,

torturing me for having to drink

that last bottle of water before bed.

 

I think about the online Travelocity testimonials

and realize the 8.8 rating is full of shit:

“The room was nice and clean; there wasn’t much to it,

but for the price I paid it was perfect.

Shared bathrooms and showers were always clean

and available when I needed them.” – Anonymous

The mildew scented bathroom

down the hall was not mentioned. The dingy porcelain

toilet I hover over and refuse to sit on

did not make the website.

 

I cannot step into the tiny shower

 even in flip-flops

without thinking of every stray hair

that has ever been sucked down the drain

and the sloughed off skin

that probably still sticks to the tile walls.

 

With this thought, I wonder

who the hell has slept under these sheets before me?

The First Day of Spring in Hoth, Saskatchewan

The First Day of Spring (in every cartoon/movie/book I have every seen):

Comment if you read this.

puddles of melted snow giving my galoshes purpose

the promise of blossoms awakening on branches

children’s coats disregarded on playgrounds

baby rabbits huddling together in hidden nests

the humming of bumblebees as they blur through the air

Comment if you read this.

The First Day of Spring (in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan):

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wind whipping new life into month old snow

sidewalks rubbed out beneath the white eraser

dusted valleys form where roads once stretched

winter sifts across the pavement weathering blacktop to ice

cars drift between grooves and into powdered ditches

Comment if you read this.
I don't see the difference.

I don’t see the difference.

Watch part of our ride home from work yesterday afternoon:

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Of course, we still made it to the comic book store…

it was Wednesday after all.

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Check out some more photos of Spring in Saskatoon.

Canterbury Thoughts on my Way to Work

Canterbury Thoughts on my Way to Work

Mindy M. Wara Maciolek

March 11, 2013

 

The cool March sun begins to break through the thick traffic.

Weathered ice, gritty with sand, leads me from the parkade.

Tailored suits and peacoats drift past as they shuffle in masses

to board meetings with their smart phones in hand.

 

images

Pilgrims weathered grooves into Canterbury steps,

polishing the marble with their knees.

They carried burdens instead of briefcases,

and relics instead of flash drives.

 

The ice, heavy underfoot, is worn with daily footprints

and shows no sign of melting.