Girl and Frog

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(I have become fascinated by the blending of language, form, and art. Here is a short story written and visually represented simultaneously. It reads: When I was a little girl, I was visited by a frog in my garden.)

Psychopathic Passive Aggressive Notes to Myself

Two socks, neither are mine.

Your fridge approached me the other day. It was an unwelcome advance.

You conduct an abnormal amount of static electricity. I am quite tired of your electrical current.

Where did you put the key to that memory?

Fuck you brain for phantom pain!

I see that you have failed to follow instructions.

Looking for another state of consciousness again huh? Spin around and think about the taste of purple!

The fridge says hello!

Please do not buy any more journals. You are just provoking her.

You are my legacy.

You are my false god.

 

 

 

Brawk-Brawk-Brawk

I write with a frog on my shoulder. No, it is not a metaphor. It is a Litoria caerulea. An a-sadeghipour-ernestoAustralian green tree frog commonly known as a dumpy tree frog. I went to the pet store to purchase crickets for Ernesto. The young girl at the cricket bin asked me what I was feeding. I told her that I was feeding an Australian green tree frog.

“A what?” she responded.

“An Australian green tree frog. A Litoria caerulea.”

Her furrowed brow and confused glazed eyes indicated to me that she had no idea what I was talking about even though the terrarium behind her was labeled in a green paint pen, “Australian Green Tree Frogs for Sale! A hearty friendly species! The Perfect Pet!”

“Well, what do they look like?” she asked.

“Well, they’re frogs that are green because they’re green tree frogs. Sometimes, my little guy turns blue depending on the temperature.”

My response was met with squinted eyes. It was as if by squinting her eyes the image would appear beneath her eyelids, “Yeah, don’t think I’ve ever seen one. I’ve seen brown frogs before. Are they called something else maybe?”

“They’re also called Dumpy tree frogs because they have large fat deposits on their head and back,” I explained.

“Oh,” she scoffed sinking back into her shoulders as if they would conform to her body and close in on her like a protective shell.

“Is everything okay?” Her turtle reaction was strange to me.

“You shouldn’t call them that,” she sneered attitude drooling out of her mouth.

“Call them what?”

Her chest puffed up like a proud feathered cock about to crow, “Dumpy. The word dumpy is offensive to the animal.”

I took the bag of crickets out of her hand and began cautiously walking backwards. I was taught to never turn my back on two kinds of people, the crazy and the stupid. I paid for my crickets, walked across the rain soaked parking lot, started my car and began laughing hysterically. I pulled into my gravel covered driveway and wiped the tears of hilarity off my cheeks. I fed Ernesto who delightfully gobbled up ten of the twelve crickets I had just purchased.

“I’m sorry to have offended you, Sir Ernesto,” I smiled as I picked up my little frog, placed him on my shoulder, and wrote this down.

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“On Written Knowledge”

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(Continuation of “On the Writing Process”)

Writing knowledge. Knowledge of writing. Writing about Knowledge. Knowing how to write. Wait, I think the last one is different. Knowledge: (n.) “Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject” (Webster’s Dictionary). Hmm, perhaps the last one is not so different. I know that I have gone through the drills and learned the skills but it didn’t teach me how to write. So what did? Who did? Is it Experience with a capital “E”? Education often fell back into the skills and drills category. So where did it come from? Did I have some kind of epiphany? No, my brain doesn’t work like that. It’s a beaten beast that acquires knowledge from hard work and aggressive determination. If some kind of holy evangelic light did appear, it would wonder where the hell it came from and whether or not a glare was a trustworthy source of information.

“On the Writing Process”

(Continuation of “On Writing in Iran”)

One English teacher told me that writing was a process and everyone’s process was different. I laughed. A process? Ha! It’s more like a Pollack. Throw it on the ground and get mad. Maybe get a little drunk. Fling some ideas onto it and see what splatters, what oozes, what drips right off the canvas. Look at it closely and get a little paint on the tip of your nose. Then realize that your looking at abstraction and step back in exhaustion. Only to realize that amongst the chaos, you created a fractal.

A.Sadeghipour.Cursive.jpgI once got into a fight with my ex over cursive. He didn’t understand why they still taught cursive when all assignments could be typed up. He didn’t understand why people wouldn’t print legibly instead of writing in doodles. He just didn’t understand that without this physical representation of my swirly, compacted, blending letters, I would be voiceless. I have to see myself on paper. I have to be reminded of my home language. I have to feel my thoughts transition from some metaphysical brain plane to a visually jumbled blue inked representation. I have to see my thoughts in my writing.

And now, it is so strange to say, that I am approaching the end of my path. I look back on the moments that hurt me the most. Pain is a cruel teacher. But, I learned from those scars and calluses and I think to myself, “Maybe it was a dangerous mistake to put a pen in my hand. To leave me with the words I knew how to use but not why to use them. Because I remember them and my needle draws blood from black and blue.” You and I have made me the writer that I am.

(Continued in “On Written Knowledge”)

“On Writing in Iran”

(Continuation of “On Writing”)

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The callus had formed a long time ago having never had the opportunity to heal. The pressure of every pen and pencil. The physical presence of every written assignment embedded into a small hard mound on my middle finger. In Iran, my teacher believed that the best way to learn a language and to learn how to write was to copy a text of high spiritual and scholarly merit verbatim. In essence, the only work that could adhere to such a high caliber was the Koran. I learned three things from that experience. First, Farsi. Second, that verbose metaphoric language, as depicted in the Koran, has no place in academia. And third, that I knew that seven seater dinning room table and dimly lit chandelier better than anyone. After getting home in the evening, by a taxi driver who would always drop me off last and honk violently at the gate for my father to come down and pay him, I sat at that dinning room table copying line after line of the Holy Book until 2, sometimes 3, sometimes 4 in the morning before going to bed only to be woken up 4, sometimes 3, sometimes 2 hours later to go to school. At school, the teacher didn’t like me because I asked too many questions and I didn’t understand how. The students didn’t like me because I was the American who thought she was entitled to the answers to her questions. The students who were kind enough to help me would often grow frustrated  and walk away exhausted because after answering the how, I would always ask why. Eventually, I just stopped asking questions until the ninth grade when, back in America, a teacher wrote two fateful words on my paper, “How so?”

jun13480In Iran, I realized that my education was entirely my own and that if I wanted to advance, I would have to do so on my own. I would stay up late doing drills, completing workbooks, copying the Koran a hundred times until I could actually understand the words that I had written and what they meant together. I felt like a manufacturing line producing and fixing components but unable to see the whole. Unable to understand how everything fit together. But this did not teach me how to write, it taught me how to copy. This experience taught me how to regurgitate someone else’s thoughts which I completely disagreed with and even though I understood the how, the rules and grammatical regulations that held the language together, I still did not understand the why. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the why that these dead words on a page began to take on a new meaning. I now understood that I was establishing my foundation. I was establishing a solid set of rules, techniques, and strategies that would allow me to progress forward. Now, I could either build up my foundation further, jump off of it, or tear the whole thing down. The third one seemed less useful, so I decided to go with the first two

(Continued in “On the Writing Process”).

“On Writing”

Writing. Wrighting. Right-Wing. Rrrright-Ing. -Ing, -ing, -ing like an annoying ping, ping, ping. What the hell is it? It’s like trying to get a A.Sadeghipour.OnWriting.JPGdirect answer from a philosopher. Confusing and unattainable yet entirely adaptable and personal. Don’t judge my writing! Otherwise it means you don’t like me. But, I must learn to separate the two. After all, during the grading process the teacher does not have me sitting next to them explaining my rationale or intention. All they have is my paper. Is all of my writing reflective of me? Probably not. Funnily enough, I feel that the resume is the most bland and detached version of me. Here is a list of what I have done but not what I have learned. Sometimes, writing can be so sterile. This, then this, then this. However, not formulaic. For me, the familiarity of formula gives me comfort. Why? Because y is always equal to mx+b. That’s why. But this, I don’t like this here. Why? Because, because it doesn’t sound right. What? But doesn’t it fit contextually? Yes. But isn’t it sequentially and logically appropriate? Yes. But isn’t it grammatically correct? Yes, but it doesn’t sound right. I didn’t realize this was music theory 101. Read it and listen to yourself, see it just doesn’t sound right. It sounds fine. You should have heard the three voices in my head that were arguing this one out. Once 16 1/2 year old AP English student me got involved in the dialogue well, it turns into a red ink blood bath.

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I am trying to write, but my cat is trying desperately to distract me. She is currently biting my pen as I write this sentence. I realize that the typed version of this may create confusion with my prior reference, but I can’t sit with my thoughts while staring at a blinding white screen. Why does it have to be white? Why can’t it be blue, or gray, or polka-dotted? Why blazing, blaring, devoid of all colors, white? And if you stare at it long enough, it begins to pulsate just enough to remind you that you are stressed and the the clock is ticking to your own heart beat which you would think makes you feel in control, but you can’t control time and you can’t control every heartbeat.

So, no. I don’t like writing on computers. And, yes. I have to admit to myself that I need my tactile reminder. Blue pen pressed between pointer finger and middle finger with my thumb pressed against the side of the instrument guiding my words as they touch down on paper. I need that physical reminder. Just like I need my other physical reminder. A hard callus formed on the middle finger of my writing hand serving as a permanent reminder of my previous imperfections.

(Continued in “On Writing in Iran”)

Three Days Short of a LAN’s Tale

It’s been three days now since sounds of war began bombarding the walls of my living room. The thunderous bass triggered by the sounds of grenades detonating. The shouts of the participants rises in panic at the anticipation of a bomb being diffused. The girl sitting on the couch has been witnessing this exact spectacle for at least 24 hours, some game time is blurry, also, the existence of the girl is blurry.

The line between sexuality and bonding is also blurry. A pseudo-homoerotic bonding between men “spawning” on one another. They seem to have such intimate conversations at such loud volumes:

Man #1: He’s coming in the backdoor!
Man #2: No he’s not! (grenade explodes) I finished him off!

I’m currently listening to John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders” as a massacre is going on in the Middle East. Both of them. But Cactus Cooler and Sun Drop fuel their veins, the men march on leaving their dead tanning in the sun until they disappear.

26 Sick Days

Dear Professor,
I am unable to make it to class today because it is raining, and I cannot afford the proper shoes.

Dear Professor,
I did not attend class because your comments were hurtful. I hope to complete the course and attain the necessary credits from afar.

Dear Professor,
I didn’t want to disappoint you because I had nothing today.

Dear Professor,
I worked 45+ hours this week, my computer crashed, could only afford coffee, not dinner, and I am currently in the library salvaging what is left of my paper. I will take the absence but I cannot afford the “F.”

Dear Professor,
I cannot function today.

Dear Professor,
I decided to drive out to the sand dunes instead. It was beautiful, and I needed it.

Dear Professor,
I cannot make it to class today because I have been absorbed into a parallel dimension. I will resume my normal Earthly duties after page 379.

Dear Professor,
I drink too much for any human being.

Dear Professor,
I stayed in bed all day listening and watching the rain. I imagined it was cleansing me of all this.

Dear Professor,
They have taken over my thoughts, my computer. Even now, these words are not my own. How did you expect me to write this existential paper on linguistics? The creation of it, in and of itself, is–

Dear Professor,
I was going to be late because I had to move my car before it got ticketed. But, I got a ticket anyway, and then had to leave, to go to work, to pay off the ticket. I should also let you know I’ll be missing the next couple class sessions as well.

Dear Professor,
I am sick. I cannot physically contort my body into a driving position today. I am not sure what is wrong. I hope to make it to the doctor sometime this week.

Dear Professor,
I’d like to see where this morning takes me.

Dear Professor,
I really am a good student. I swear! I’m just not a very good adult.

Dear Professor,
I had two left. Figured I’d use them before the end of the semester.

Dear Professor,
I am student #30799. My desk coordinates are 3rd latitude, 4th longitude, sometimes 5th. Unless #4025 is there. god i hate #4025.

Dear Professor,
I am doing laundry. Yes. All of it.

Dear Professor,
I have nothing left to learn from you, so I have chosen to stay home and watching mindless television instead.

Dear Professor,
I would like to discuss my final grade with you. When are your office hours?

Dear Professor,
I am sorry for missing class as I had a family emergency. I can receive up to three absences in your class, and I get three days of bereavement from work. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. I’ll be in class on Monday.

Dear Professor,
I don’t belong here. I need a day to remind myself why I am.

Dear Professor,
We lost my grandmother.

Dear Professor,
Really? How much longer are we gunna do this? Can’t we just be done already? You know that

Dear Professor,
I know I am near the end but I just can’t. I’m too afraid of being wrong.

Dear Professor,
Please disregard the previous email. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. I’m finally done. I’m intellectually unbound.

Dear Professor,
The email address you entered couldn’t be found. Please check the recipient’s email address and try to resend the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

The following organization rejected your message: aspmx.l.athenaeum.edu.