This page is purely the thoughts of the author(s). May this be a breeding ground for discussion, debate and new ideas.

Friday, November 22, 2013

PhD "Hiatus"

I've been writing.  I've just been writing academic papers.  It's been great, a trial, a triumph, time consuming.  I am currently in my 3rd semester as a PhD student (Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design @ Clemson U.) and am initiating the freak-out mode for paper writing.

However, this may answer, "why is she even posting?" (and don't answer procrastination, although you may be partially correct) - one of my projects will be a short story.  One of which I started thinking about the beginning of the semester, and I'm happy to see where it's going - it's a fictional account of some of the things I've been struggling with in building my own profession, both for the profession, and being a woman (not just dealing with minor discrimination, but rather my own feelings of limitation).  I'm calling it "Bridge Walking" for the main theme of the absurd amount of walking I do over bridges wherever I've lived.  Not sure if I'll be trying to turn this into an iBook kinda thing with pictures and widgets considering the time allowed, but I might consider that for later...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Flash Fiction

Drunk, she files her taxes in April while whistling a song from St. Pattrick’s day by a musician she can’t get out of her mind.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hiring Diplomacy

I treat you nicely
while you treat me like
a piece of paper.
I wait for your response and answer with a smile
while you figure out what to say or tell me the way it is
about delegating pedantic everyday routines
that must be followed
to a T.

I nod my head. I know my place.

I want to lunge at you and growl, “Give me a job!”
I am frustrated that I have to
ask for an everyday routine
that asks for no more head work
than the formatting of my thesis.

But my anxiety outweighs my pride,
so I know my place.

You make me wait
to hear from you
for two weeks.
My thesis committee made me wait
You make me pay attention to asking repetitive
repetitive questions
In order to have the proper
paperwork filled out.
I had to explain a different discipline to my committee in multiple rewrites.

Stepping back,
my own ferocity
surprises and saddens.
I never knew
I had this in me.

But then, I also have the will to ask,

Do you want fries with that?

Because at this time,
I know my place.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Query for readers:

I originally set up this blog to be a resource for those who wished to dabble in reading an Elrick piece. However, I have since become interested in moving towards an actual website, or at least posting more often than when I have a piece in progress. If there are any comments about this, let me know on here or Facebook.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No Patience for Poetry

(republished from Euphemism, Illinois State University's creative online journal)

The only reason I like Descartes
Is because he has a short catch-phrase.
“I think, therefore I am.”
in a nutshell.
Poetry requires more than thinking.
Like, feeling.
Then you have to interpret feeling.
Then finding out how complicated those feelings are
And were they come from
Inside yourself, outside yourself, located in time,
the way it connects, disconnects, builds and destroys ideas and concepts…
All in the expanse of the words of the poem, which may even be shorter than
“I think, therefore I am.”
Supposedly the way Descartes’ great epiphany is all greatness of Man’s ideas,
To a point.
A finite point which encompasses everything, and everything can be built on it.
But it requires no feeling and reduced the complexity of life and analysis of it
To a point.
Yet a poem rips that concept a new one.

Farther back in philosophy, there’s Plato.
Plato hated poets.
Yet his language is just as complex and beautiful, it has meaning that
Betrays his feelings, while he tries
to make his Socrates pull out that kind of
To suggest these philosopher’s were devoid of feeling or that their works
Could be reduced to that kind of a point is

Yet at the same time, that is what they attempt to convince us of in Absolutism.
Which unfortunately creates the system of false duality,
the “something is” or “it isn’t” dilemma,
the troubled idea of, you’re with us or against us.
There is concentrated hatred in that finity.
Yet in that order of finity
There is a wish to make things
Less complex.
Bring life to a point.
Or find the point in life.
Poetry unleashes the magnitude of that finity
A scary, lovely, saddening, maddening, fanatic-inducing, desire-producing
Which is secretly devoured by the absolutist philosophers,
“romantics” at heart.
Or those with a heart to begin with,
which they often wish to forget is there
by thinking.
An escapist point, this contained yet created bundle of energy,
which through thinking about it we become outsiders from it, detached
As philosophers, observers that Other ourselves outside the chaos contained.

So then there is my lack of patience for the expansion of that finity.
While I am simultaneously and constantly allured
by that which does not make sense
in that chaos-filled
That driving curiosity which makes me analyze the passions of this world in so many ways that absolutism limits
Far too greatly by suggesting there is only
a line of logic
and a way to refute it,
but I should not necessarily see the connections in their full glory of multi-dimensions.
This is because of the already explained
Instead, memorize the point,
hell, you can even analyze the point, but know
that point is all there is, there are no
which cannot be explained away
by thinking.

My lack of patience is because of my having been trained
to think, therefore I am pointed.
However, when I try to read poetry or then attempt to feel, according to absolutists,
these deniers of the heart,
I am undeniably
missing the point.

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Occident, Two Orients: or How the Middle East was One

(Awful title, I know. But it was a pet project for a class a few years ago. Enjoy it's age. :)

Copyright © Kathy Elrick 2005

Rabin (70) – Medium build, white hair, slightly haggard but tough looking, official. Slightly Russian accent, eastern European influence of speech on broken English. Israeli Prime Minister.

Arafat (63) – Shorter frame, scraggly beard, that crazy bed-sheet hat and tunic type dress. Mixture of Arabian and French sounding accent (Egyptian) for broken English short, staccato. Leader of Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Bush (46)- Possibly tallest one of the bunch. Hesitant in speech, slight southern twang, seems like he tries his words out and sees how they fit. Dressed in business attire. Occupation – general managing partner of Texas Rangers and aspiring politico.

Setting: Classroom in Northern Jordan, or neutral country just outside of Israel. Late 1992.

Special Note:
Yitzhak Rabin has been a part of Israel’s military history since this nation of conflict was created by the United Nations in the mid 1940’s. Yasser Arafat like-wise has been a part of the Palestinian effort to find peace between the two cohabitants of this small country. Rabin was assassinated in 1995, almost 3 years after this ficticous scene takes place, but not before he and Yasser Arafat shook hands over the Oslo accords in 1993, which both men received the Nobel Peace price for their efforts at trying to establish a lasting cease-fire between the two peoples. At the time this play takes place, the first Intifada was drawing to a close, the Palestinian’s non-violent rebellion against unstable Israeli troops who would aggressively try to break the will of the Palestinians. Rabin was a respected leader of the Israeli people who tried negotiations while generals like Arial Sharon and Rabin’s party opponent Perez constantly made problems for Rabin and Palestinians.

(Lights up on classroom setting. Yasser Arafat is sitting at a desk with his chin on his fist looking bored. Rabin opens door/enters room.)

Yasser Arafat? (Outrage.) What right you have to be here?!

A diplomat’s. But with a greeting like that, I’d be happy to be a spectator.

But why are you here? In dis building?

I have meeting. Why are you here?

At 2 o’clock, I have meeting. Hm. (Deflating, confused.) I don’t understand how Minister Arens would have missed an oversight like dis.

Perhaps Peres was an influence. (Friendly laugh.) Personally, I always thought he liked your wife more than allegations of overseas bank scandal let on.

(Somewhat coldly.) I will not humor such a subject. If I must wait here, backstabbing needs to be kept to minimum.

(Quieting down.) It wasn’t meant out of meanness, I was only kidding. If you have to wait, sit, wait.

Dis sis a horrible way to meet. (Distractedly sits.) I was hoping eef the day came we met face to face, there would be more of a celebratory undertone at least.

I have some candy in my pocket. It’s no feast, but perhaps it could be peace offering.

(Laughs gently.) Perhaps. What kind ez eet?

(Bush enters.)

Wha-? Well, hello. I wasn’t expecting to find anybody in this room.
Mr. Bush? This is a surprise. What brings you to this side of the world?

I was wondering if you would come, or not.

He’s the person you’re meeting with?

No, but my aides have told me recently about the American elections. And what President Bush’s ambassadors have been doing lately. Even though he lost re-election.

(Points to Bush in disbelief.)
He’s an ambassador!?

No, not technically. But I am here on business of that kind. Goodwill, peace, hope for a better tomorrow. Even though it woulda probably been easier to convey these feelings having won the election.

You mean, your father winning the election.

(sideways glance) Of course.

But why are you here, in dis region? I hear you were supposed be meeting with your father’s friend, the prince of Saud.

I will get to that before I go back to America. But first I wanted to have a talk, some time with the leaders of Lebanon and Jordan. See how they are and whatnot.

Why Lebanon?

It is perplexing as to why you would be interested in them Mr. Bush, but as for you Prime Minister Rabin, is that your 2 o’clock appointment?

Dat is none of your concern.

Oh you bet your favorite Yarmulke it is. I half bin trying to see anybody from the Lebanese government for last two months! (Pounds fist.) Do you know how hard it is for my staff to even get bread to eat because of such wishy-washy politics?

Eet eez far better for your people than concentration camps and hundreds of years persecution!

Hundreds of years, try thousands, foreigner!

(Rabin strangles Arafat.)

(Appalled.) Gentlemen!

(Arafat starts to strangle Rabin.)

You two! Stop it, stop it right now, this instant!
(Pulls them apart successfully, both Arafat and Rabin panting and rubbing throats.)
I’m amazed at such behavior from foreign heads of state.

The way the press has told our relationship, I am surprised we held off this long.

But press ees not always right. As for how they blew up what Perez said about my wife.

You mean, that... that bank scandal wasn’t true?

(Quickly.) I never said dat. I meant how they took Perez’s side furst and sensationalized eet.

It’s the Press. What do you expect? They aren’t going to understand politicians. They’ll never put us, people fighting for the very people such a medium as the press sends a message to, into a very good light. I have scales of stories about run-ins I’d rather forget.

Sometimes you can use those to your advantage... But most often, not.

(Tiredly.) But such character attacks... They should be stopped. They get in way of progress between governments. Thankfully I was able to still keep my people after the attack from Perez, but... Eet ees not right.

But don’tcha see? It’s not completely them, it’s the groups controlling them. The people you see on the screen is just puppets. They’re just obstacles in the course we set for ourselves as people trying to make a difference.

Such an American trait. It is so optimistic of you! You think you can change the world, when the world changes faster than you can imagine. No matter who you are, the changes you make can be swallowed up like that! (Snaps.)

Here we face dat reality. It makes one grow older faster, but wiser sooner. There is death at our doorstep and no where to turn that would not try to take advantage of you first.

So this is the attitude you come to conferences with. It’s no wonder you never find resolution, you aren’t even trying to look for it! Why did you become politicians in the first place if you felt this way? That nothing you did would count?

Better in the government dan be squashed by it.

(Chuckles.) Good one.

Wrong! That’s the lamest excuse for using Darwinism I’ve heard yet!
(Bush pauses, others confused, mumbling.)
Don’t you see the possibilities a government holds for helping the people you serve?

But our government doesn’t work the same on the inside.

That I do understand. But if you two are even going to say you’re into the Socialism government you are a part of, at least acknowledge its primary principals of proletary-at. If you don’t have people, you have nothing to govern! So if death knocks at your door, take the power that’s been bestowed upon you and try and do something with it! But if you just let things pass you by, you might as well be trampled under foot like the people you aren’t helping. These days you shouldn’t stand if you don’t know where it is you are!

(Pauses, stunned.) I... have no good quick comeback for that one.

How about, why didn’t the chicken cross de road?


Because he was chicken.

(Bush and Arafat snicker.)

(Quietly.) Do you ever watch Tom and Jerry?

(Confused.) Well, not recently, but I have.

(Disgustedly confused.) Are you talking about de Cartoon?

But of course.

Why do you bring dem up?

Because I like their humor.


I was trying to establish some common ground in the midst of lightheartedness. If anyone else liked Tom and Jerry, then we could all have a good laugh.

(Arrogantly.) But what if I didn’t know who dey were? What then? I would be left out of the cordiality. That wouldn’t bring about any comfortable peace talks, now would it?

I was just trying to share something. (Aside.) Not that anybody likes it when I bring up Tom and Jerry. But why not? They’re hilarious. Cat and mouse, always chasing each other. Friendly one moment, killing each other the next, what’s not to like? It’s a universal constant...

How’s that?

Is nothing.

I agree with Mr. Bush, dis ees a day to try to renew the fundamental bond between peoples, and look back only to help the future.

(Thought strikes him and he slowly smiles.)
For some reason I recall feeling this way before I met my wife about a woman I once dated who moved around the political circles. She was a beautiful woman, Jewish background.

(Surprised.) You would date an Israeli?

I would, but she said she would not marry me. It was not because I was Palestinian. That was her father’s excuse. She said she couldn’t imagine growing old with me, I... She didn’t care for my looks.


By any chance do you remember her name?

Camile Goldenstein. Why do you ask?

(Smirks.) I had a hunch. I dated the same woman.

Arafat & Bush

Yes. I think most everybody near the Mediterranean did. Eet turned out, she would not marry me, or anybody else in Israel either. She ended up marrying an Eastern Orthodox dentist. She was considered a disgrace to her parents, even though she did make it tru a concentration camp.

Now that’s beyond tough love.

(Wincing, nods.) I agree.

A woman like that reminds me of the old days... When I knew what I wanted. Perhaps you have something with your philosophy dere, Mr. Bush. I tink maybe age can cloud judgment a little. You remember 1948 Yasser?

But of course. It was a great time to feel a part of what we truly believed in. To feel important among others, a founding point of leadership. That was one of the most exciting times of my early career.

It was a war, of course it was exciting. All the noise, the constant stream of people around you... But it was different from now. People, individuals were more important. Life was a treasure.
But war should not really be glorified... (Reluctantly sighs.) It splits people apart as much as it brings them together.

It’s true. And young people are also foolish and do stupid things because they think they will live through even the most frightening things.

I agree with you dere. (Laughing.) Hoo boy... I remember going over to enemy camp and stealing towels and clothing from the showers.

(Cuts in.) That’s nothing. After a Yale-Princeton game, in the heat of the moment I helped pull down a goal post. You know how much one of those things cost to replace? It was a nightmare!

(Completely serious.) You want a nightmare, I’ll tell you a nightmare. Israeli troops coming after you and your family in the middle of the night. Unless you are Jewish, there is no justice, only judgment. That’s what 1948 proved.

(Rabin starts choking Arafat again. Bush still reminiscing about college.)
I know that I didn’t quite have the same experience as either one of you, but being young can be...

(Arafat makes gagging noises, Bush notices)

Jumpin’ Jehosaphat’s! What the?!

(Gasping.) You provoke more than you are worth!

(Strained.) Yet you still choke me as I were a threat!

(Bush pulls the two apart again. Rabin throws punch at Bush, misses. Bush bum rushes him to chair. Arafat tries to grab for Rabin, Bush punches Arafat. Arafat falls back into a desk/chair.)

So this is what you call American foreign policy?

It’s what’s called taking care of childish behavior.

(Resigned.) He ees right. Dis sis what it all comes down to. Why do you tink talks get postponed for so long and bombing campaigns start?

Like the one in September against innocent Palestinians-

(Cuts Arafat off.)
Tempers flare up more easily dan they should. But de pressure is high. So many people are counting on us.

This is why you don’t crack under pressure. But if one does, you ask for help. Not tear the other apart. You made it this far, but if it was by negotiating this way, with feet in mouth, than I think your system of government needs a bigger overhaul than we originally thought.

But your government is barely any better than what you have seen us do in here today. I look at images of McCarthism and shudder. I look at the Cold War and wonder about civilized systems of government. I look at how President Carter could barely try to talk with foreign leaders, and even though President Nixon was brilliant with foreign policy, at home he made a fool out of himself, no worse than what you have just seen. We may have our problems, we may do things that make women and small children gape in disbelief. But for a country that has prided itself in high morals, you just deny what is always there. America, you are no different than us.

Welcome to politics.

(Bush uncomfortable and defensive, slightly fidgety.)

(Relaxing.) So. What do you want to do with your title as the son of an American President? Do you want to go farther?

Did you not try for a seat in Congress a while ago?

(Guardedly.) Yes...

I only ask because of your enthusiasm. You have an amazing energy for which many possibilities could still be open to you.

It takes a strong person to rise up out of conflict and break tru de noise of naysayers. Yet it also takes a wise man to listen when he would rather not. We say what we have said out of de prophecy of yesterday, but also so that for dose who wish to make it, will try harder.

So. (To Bush.) Do you wish to stay in the game?

(Blinks.) I uh... I... I do believe in a better tomorrow, and I have thought of continuing to try for that spot as Governor of Texas.


Yeah... (Stronger.) Yeah. I guess I feel a little out of my league so far. I mean, I wanted to be in Congress, badly enough to go through loosing an election over it. I really enjoyed helping my dad back in ’88.

Do you think you may ever try for a higher position?



(Smiles.) Who knows? The times we have now is changing...

(Looks at watch.)
Yitzhak, your meeting. It was for 2 o’clock, correct?

Oh. Right. I must go.

(Rabin and Arafat stand.)

Good luck to you Mr. Bush, in life, and politics.
(Rabin starts to exit, Arafat coughs expectantly. Rabin turns enough to face Arafat.)
To you Arafat I say, maybe again sometime we shall try to make amends.

I would be most grateful. You seem a good man, with a good... grip. (Strokes neck.)

At least you know I am not wishy-washy. (Smiles, exit.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Specters and the Ambiguous Non-Relationship String

We see
what we want to
in our momentary mates.
Be it a good fuck, someone to talk to, someone to share fantasies with,
or merely the time.

We get so much meaning out of that, it hurts
to be left on a thin spider’s string,
tight-roping across the void of the unspoken.

FWB, they say too late.
Time has passed, and ambiguity couples up,
creating a new ménage a trios, playing with the mind
of the uncertain participant, the one who is left out of the…
Fucked. Not past tense.

“Friends” become suspicious and conniving.
If I don’t tell him this, perhaps he will
spend more time with me, tell me things, open up, be himself.
Why is he not himself before that?
What is holding him back-
Rephrase that. What is holding me back?

The rebound.
For both.
It’s his, but it becomes my burden.
Don’t tamper with damaged goods.

What good is that?

I restrain, refrain, refine what is said,
allow what isn’t said
To fester, pester, mutilate my sense of trust. In me.

I have yet to love.

But I love me.
Yet, I do not know
how to love myself and
another, that is a threesome that is difficult to orchestrate.
My self becomes angry
that I have neglected her,
that I forget what we had been angry about
long before the ambiguous string was cut
and we fall not into the unspoken void,
But into a flashing world of anger,
the mine field.

Never trust a ghost

the field screams. Don’t allow me to be forsaken
for the sake of a specter.
Ambiguity is more than two-faced, and takes away my
saving face. A fall from grace,
without place.
Another void –
a spiral of hell:
my own.

No love to be found.

I scream –

Ambiguity be damned!