3/29/15

Syncope

I've had to be my own doctor and mother here, but I have finally found out what I have had all my life: syncope. I used to pass out in church, probably from getting up and down, it would be a light head, ears going out, sweating, turning white, then passing out. The same thing happened when I saw the birth of a baby in 9th grade, I tried making it to the water fountain, but collapsed in front of it. I nearly passed out watching the implantation of a microchip in the head during The Manchurian Candidate. There have been other times, more recently fainting and nausea, but not a whole lot I can remember. It may be a heart problem/defect, but likely as an adult it's been from have a psychiatric condition, being on meds, and being intoxicated. I don't think I have the fatal kind of the problem, but more or less a neuro segment of it, and I don't think there is much I can do about it.

3/26/15

Today's Poem

Doing nothing, being bored, and mulling things over made me write this poem today, about this time in Scott Fitzgerald's life when he was in public and was offended by something and he said to them, "Don't you know who I am? I am Scott Fitzgerald!" It is mostly something he knew though, that he was too determined to establish an image that would both elevate and sustain, but it is a tragedy when someone says this because they expect respect and recognition but my poem I just meant that it's sort of a humbling world to me, and not even thinking that I might be in this semi-famous sort of trap, it to me feels much more like the reality is hard, haphazard and lacking. I wrote this poem for those on the boards that I mentioned it to, about wanting to incorporate it into my writing. It takes a lot of down time, then just a little bit of on time, maybe 10 or 15 minutes. I'm unsure if I'm contradicting myself at the end of the poem, and maybe someone can tell me if I am. Lately I've been doing assessment tests online tutoring thru libraries and reading books, and thinking of new material to write.

Poem for you

Image of a man

by Sheri Grutz

There is an image of the day
that is reality, but it's only
an image, like a man who
knows who he is and has
to keep it up, every day,
this same image, sun,
low clouds, azure canopy,
and many times I don't buy it,
this sparkling man, this
well-kept image. Imagine
when psychosis strikes,
and then you stop holding
on to an outward show,
you turn so far in that you
forget for awhile what's out
there, and who you are,
or, you might become a
megalomaniac, and think
you are a star, and think
that there is only that one
sky for you, and it's all
meant for you. Imagine
if you will being told how
wrong you are, and for the
rest of your life, wishing
upon yourself that things
were different, that we
don't hold onto personal
truths of being untarnished,
that sky, dented for a
second in the armor.

3/24/15

It's All Set-Up

When the scenario lays out its convictions and its blame, it will always take the soldier, not good enough to be a father, not good enough to stop drinking. When the scenario lays out its claim it will take the young writer, the young boy who couldn't break free, and make the works stand out like impossible happiness it might bring, a father, a complete life, a lasting change coming over them. Somewhere I wanted to remind Dave, that it was my own fault, my own preoccupation, my own blood that I felt stir the pot of these evil hash-tags of what we let slip away into a noon day guilt. It's all a set up then, to cast each of us against some kind of ideal placement of what is best. I never knew the kind of shit I would filter, the kind of scum I would scrap off the dead corpse of feelings.

3/20/15

A 10-minute sketch (Woman's Restroom)

-based on a true story

In The Woman's Restroom

by Sheri Grutz

In The Woman's Restroom (A 10-minute sketch)

Characters

WOMAN (slightly disabled, mostly eccentric, in her 30's)
DARLA (middle aged black woman, staff)
OLDER WOMAN (volunteer at the event, festive sweatshirt, gray hair)
ANOTHER WOMAN (Down syndrome, young, stylish)
SMALL WOMAN (in a dress, lots of makeup, schizophrenic)
MIDDLE AGED WOMAN (Woman's staff, soft spoken, patient)

Lights up on a restroom with two stalls, door opening to the side, a double sink counter with soapy water nearly overflowing, a large mirror, and an air dryer. Each stall is occupied. Woman with a mental disorder comes in and stands and waits. Enter Darla.

WOMAN
Hi.

DARLA
Hi there. (she looks under the doors of each stall, then waits)

WOMAN
What's your name?

DARLA
Darla.

WOMAN
Ohh, I'm Marla.

DARLA
Oh, ok.

WOMAN
How are you doing tonight?

DARLA
Pretty good, it's the first day of spring.

WOMAN
I know. When's your birthday?

DARLA
It's June 11th.

WOMAN
Oh, mine's June 12th.

DARLA
Wow, we're both Geminis. (Other woman comes out of stall. The two other women look at each other.)
Are you going?

WOMAN
No, go ahead, I can wait.

DARLA
Good, cuz I can't. (they laugh)

Older woman enters the restroom. She looks under the stalls, then waits.

OLDER WOMAN
Hi.

WOMAN
Hi, what's your name?

OLDER WOMAN
Kara.

WOMAN
Oh, my name's Tara.

OLDER WOMAN
Oh, nice. Are you having fun tonight?

WOMAN
Yeah.

OLDER WOMAN
Did they play your favorite song yet?

WOMAN
Yeah. What's your favorite song?

OLDER WOMAN
I really like the 70's.

WOMAN
My dad is a 76'ers fan.

OLDER WOMAN
Oh yeah? You look a lot like my daughter.

WOMAN
What year was your daughter born?

OLDER WOMAN
1969

WOMAN
I was born in 1970.

OLDER WOMAN
Hmm. (Another woman comes out the stall. The two other women look at each other.) Are you gonna go?

WOMAN
You can go, I can wait.

OLDER WOMAN
Are you sure, cuz I can wait too.

WOMAN
Yeah, go ahead.

Another woman comes into the restroom. She looks under the stalls, then waits.

ANOTHER WOMAN
Hi.

WOMAN
Hi. What's your name?

ANOTHER WOMAN
I'm Kelly.

WOMAN
Oh, I'm Shelly.

ANOTHER WOMAN
Nice to meet you, Shelly.

WOMAN
Are you here alone?

ANOTHER WOMAN
Yeah, my staff dropped me off.

WOMAN
Oh, my staff left without me, do you think I could get a ride?

ANOTHER WOMAN
Maybe.

WOMAN
Where do you live?

ANOTHER WOMAN
Chateau Knoll in Bettendorf.

WOMAN
Oh, I live across the street from there, I can just walk from your place.

ANOTHER WOMAN
Sure, ok. (Older woman comes out of stall. The two other women look at each other.) Are you waiting to go, or not?

WOMAN
Yeah, I'm waiting, but not to go. I mean, I should go, but I'm just waiting.

ANOTHER WOMAN
Ha, ok.

Small woman enters the restroom, looks under the stalls, then waits.

WOMAN
Hi.

SMALL WOMAN
Hello.

WOMAN
It's a small world, meeting each other here.

SMALL WOMAN
What's that supposed to mean?

WOMAN
Oh, just that you and me are kind of small.

SMALL WOMAN
Ha, ha, oh my Gawd! (she throws her arms around the Woman, they both laugh)

WOMAN
What is your phone number?

SMALL WOMAN
It's 309-212-1133

WOMAN
Oh, mine's 309-212-1122

SMALL WOMAN
Oh, weird.

WOMAN
Maybe I'll call you later.

SMALL WOMAN
(laughs) ok. I don't get my phone after 10 though.

WOMAN
Oh, wow, I don't get my phone after 11.

SMALL WOMAN
(squints her eyes, and stops laughing) Hmm. (Another woman comes out of the stall. The two other women look at each other.) If you're not going, I am!

WOMAN
Go ahead. (she waits, staring straight ahead, no expression)

Middle aged woman comes in wearing flowery long oversized shirt and spandex pants.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Peggy, there you are.

WOMAN
Oh, hi.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Did you go already?

WOMAN
No, I'm going to though.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Good idea. Ok, come out when you're done, I'll wait right outside.

WOMAN
Ok. (Small woman comes out of stall, washes hands, dries them, and leaves, and Woman goes into stall.)
This night stinks!!

No one hears her. Slowly the lights fade out. The end.





Kid's Sketch (The Suitcase)

The Suitcase

by Sheri Grutz

The Suitcase (A kid's sketch)

Characters

ABE (late 20's, athletic police officer)
MOREY (late 30's, athletic police officer)
MARILYN (aged 17, wearing summer dress, holding a suitcase, acting drunk)

Lights up on downtown street corner, or a bus stop or somewhere in a terminal in the city. Marilyn is holding a suitcase, and is approached by 2 police officers.

ABE
We know you have a bomb in that suitcase, because you're the bombshell.

MARILYN
Me? A bombshell? I happen to be a Christian.

ABE
And I pray that you hand over that suitcase, ma'am.

MARILYN
This suitcase has been in the family over a century.

ABE
That's how long you've been carrying the baggage?

MARILYN
Excuse me, that's how long I've been hauling it outta here.

MOREY
Where have you been going?

MARILYN
No where in particular, or I guess you could say, anywhere I wanted to. Like this suitcase, my lips are sealed.

ABE
Don't give me no lip, kiss it goodbye.

MARILYN
Sour puss. Pause.

Abe and Morey take the suitcase and do a little dance with it, throwing it here of there, they kick up there heels, then set it back down.

ABE
It's very light. I know what's in this suitcase here, it's your papers you've been served. Serves you right.

MARILYN
Maybe in here is your pink slip.

MOREY
It's receipts for getting me to buy it.

ABE
There's always a paper trail, ma'am.

MARILYN
And it leads me back to home, where I'm Scot-free.

ABE
Maybe it leads to a homemade bomb.

MOREY
No, Abe, it's gotta be some other kind of mail, sure you're not a mail order bride?

MARILYN
Me? Never. But I will say I do though.

MOREY
Hand over, ma'am.

MARILYN
See, no ring.

MOREY
No, hand over the suitcase.

MARILYN
You knew I'd have a hand in it. I love this town. I would never set the nights on fire. Sure you're not burnt out?

ABE
No, ma'am. I just need to handle this. (Pause)

Abe and Morey take the suitcase and do another dance with it, kicking up their heels. They set it back down close the woman.

MOREY
We know you got money in this suitcase.

MARILYN
Money? Me? Do you think I could steal a kiss?

ABE
Ma'am, we are working.

MARILYN
And I'm working up a sweat.

ABE
We know you have expensive taste, it takes lots of money.

MARILYN
I have paid all of my dues.

MOREY
Ma'am, there really is a hunt right now for some cash that exchanged hands the other day.

MARILYN
I don't need anyone to give me a hand.

ABE
But you sure know how to upstage 'em.

MARILYN
Never. I have plenty of money, why would I need a suitcase full of money?

MOREY
Maybe to start betting on yourself.

MARILYN
It's always been a gamble.

ABE
Maybe you want to lay it all down now.

MARILYN
If I lay down my burdens, this town might bury me.

ABE
No, ma'am, they just don't want trouble is all.

MARILYN
Eye sight troubles me, but maybe I've turned a blind eye.

ABE
Hand over the suitcase, ma'am.

MARILYN
I'm only packing up my heart and getting outta here.

ABE
That's not what we've heard. We've heard you're dangerous with the way you've always gone through stages.

MARILYN
And what's this one?

MOREY
This one here is the testing stage.

MARILYN
And how do I score?

ABE
You seem to be very high.

MARILYN
I meant, can I get lucky?

MOREY
You eventually get it right.

MARILYN
So I still have some rights, that's good. I'm only 17.

ABE
We just want to see the suitcase, Miss.

MARILYN
It is something to see too, if I must say.

ABE
You say it ain't a bomb, and it ain't your papers, and it ain't money, then what is it?

MARILYN
(pauses, opens suitcase, pictures fall out) It's pictures! Why weren't you able to picture it?

MOREY
Are you leaving town with all of your memories stored in here?

MARILYN
I'm not carrying on, am I?

ABE
No, Miss, we just want to get to the bottom of this.

MARILYN
At the bottom are the baby pictures. I still cry over them.

ABE
We never wanted you to crawl to us, Miss.

All 3 pause, look at pics, look happy at each other, and start singing, soft to loud: “Every picture tells a story, don't it...every picture tells a story don't it...every picture tells a story don't it...”

MARILYN
Yes! It does! And that is the only thing that's going to be blown up.

ABE
That's good news, Miss, larger than life.

MARILYN
In living color.

All 3 look thru the pictures, laugh, singing a little bit more...lights out. The end.





3/19/15

A Little Bit More About The Other Night

I guess it was relayed to my local family doc that what happened to me the other night was that I fainted. I just remember coming out of the dark and seeing that EMT saying, "Hi," and me knowing I was in trouble. I turned around and asked, "What happened?" and another woman sitting at a table said, "You fell." I fell? What?
Today I woke up with a black eye, and I still cannot open my mouth all the way to eat properly. What I have always known is that I have low blood pressure, and a very low pulse, racing heart at times, sharp chest pains, and my arms and legs fall asleep often in sleep, get all tingly and go numb completely. I've had EKG's done on my heart, and gone to the ER a time or two, and they tell me everything is fine, you probably are having a panic attack. The last 6 months I've been waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I have to sleep with a fan on, and did all winter.
I feel that drinking is not helping my health at all, so I'm aiming to quit, and to use exercise and diet to try to help my heart condition, and I wonder if maybe the blood is not pumping to my head, and that is why I have always passed out, used to sometimes as a kid, in church mainly, but we just didn't go to the doctor then. A rather hard lifestyle, targeting, plus a few broken hearts on my part have probably done some damage. I don't know what I should do tonight or tomorrow or next week about getting it checked out. My head right now feels like it's in a fog, and I have a hard time concentrating, and I'm not sure if I can write the way I used to. I have just started a supplement for my heart called Hawthorn & Coenzyme Q-10. It costs about $25 for a two month supply. I am also taking my Complete Nutrition multi vit, and also every day I take the Raw Fiber powder in my smoothie with Chai and Flaxseed, and that cost about $30 for a two month supply. I don't know if I should take action right now, as I feel that I had a warning sign the other night, and even now I don't feel right, and I worry that I leave it unchecked I might not live to see next year. There is always that other reason, targeting, that can cause these symptoms, though I check out fine at the doctor.

3/18/15

Just Some Things

I'm a little worried that my last flash fiction series on the car will not be judged all that highly as the last story maybe has some bumps in the road, or tries to be seamless but actually isn't as coherently done as a whole. Anyway, it's doubtful if I'll change it, but you never know.

I've decided not to take the daytime cleaning job M-F, but I will meet with the supervisor tonight and see if there are any hours he can give me more like 2 days a week, keep my temp jobs now and then, and really go full-force into my pet sitting business. (And of course continue to write, too.) I came to this decision because we are having troubles getting care for my son, and I might be making more money than I'm allowed on a disability check.

I have about 6 chapters left in the book, Zelda, that I am reading for the first time as an ebook in my brower, didn't even actually check out the material. I would like to say that I don't like the experience of reading it this way, but that would be a lie. I see the meglomania in myself too, and the book is difficult at times with the Fitzgerald's letters. I would like to, before I die, become a scholar on Scott Fitzgerald, and also Ernest Hemingway.

Last night I blacked out and fell and hit my head and I spent about 3 hours in the ER. They checked my heart, my blood, and did a CT scan, and said everything was normal. The EMT was gorgeous. It was a fine way to spend St. Patricks Day. I'm going to start going to some AA meetings to try to get sober.

Coming Up

I'll be writing one or maybe two more sketches/plays before another break this month. In April, I will be writing a series of poems on dreams (American Dream, I Have A Dream, Dream Weaver, Dream Police) and I hope to do a flash fiction series on Belle's mother from Beauty and the Beast.

The Last of Chitty, but not seeing the last of Chitty

Going The Distance
by Sheri Grutz

Late in the fall of the year of the woman, I decided to test my speed, and I went out on the super highway which started out being like a runway for modeling, the sky fresh as blue lips of a baby, but once I cleared my head, the highway turned out to be my test of going the distance, whether I had it in me really to reach this new frontier everyone was talking about, the road paved to the future. I drove against the wind, against the sleet, in the cold and sometimes pitched dark as thick as my monster tires, thinking that I had reserves stowed in my trunk to be gone for quite sometime. I came to a city that appeared to be very chaotic, where the cars and trucks and RV's and semis were all racing, bumping into each other, flipping over, sometimes crashing out into walls. There was a moveable billboard with a video on it saying:

“We are the brave, new world of remote controlled equipment, and we know that sometimes the road can be rough, but we think you'll like how durable your ride is made, and we even have some cars now spinning complete 360's in parking lots, in parks, down the shiny halls a congress that is now set up for more adventure. Next year we are launching remote controlled airplanes, and coming soon, remote controlled trains.” Pause. “We are the brave, new world of remote controlled equipment...”

The sign continued to roll over the same message, as if it was programming all the world, showing why we needed this, how good it could be to have more fun if we were all under the thumb of the government.

“Look, Ana, it's a classic car,” said a young boy approaching me. I hadn't realized I was gaping at the side of the road, and I knew I shouldn't sit idle wasting my resources.

“Who do you think is controlling this one?” Ana asked him looking at my dashboard.

“I don't know, let's look.” They looked in my glove box. “It doesn't have any papers. But look at this,
2 keys hanging from the rear view mirror, that must be it's tags.”

“Oh, yeah, when they used to start 'em with keys. It says here, Chitty-Chitty, Bang, Bang, a magic car. There won't be any replica for this one here.” I revved my engine, and suddenly whisked the two kids away. “Whoa, where's this thing taking us!”

I drove them out to the country, but it was no good, all the tractors in the fields were remote controlled, haphazard and getting stuck and racing the animals. I stopped and turned on my radio and gave them my history.

“Hey, I've heard about this worker's war,” the boy said to Ana. “That's the one that grandpa said where people had to still fight for their right to have a good time.”

“But not anymore.”

“No, now we just do what we please and let the government make everything go.”

Silence. “You know I don't think I've ever been out to the country.”

“Don't worry, we won't get lost, they will find us for sure.”

“Car, I mean, Chitty-Chitty, Bang, Bang, take us back to the future.”

I suddenly kicked it into gear and sped the two kids back to where I picked them up. I decided that I didn't like this futuristic view, so I slowly made my way back home, taking time to float on waterways, even trying out my wings. It was good to get back to the farm, and the young family had missed me. We went back to having picnics, watching drive-in movies, and I knew that I could serve again, do it in a heartbeat, and that was gaining traction.