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This was a tough week at work, so I only managed to write two pieces, neither of which I’m thrilled with, but it’s better than nothing.

Day Eleven: Write a defining moment from childhood. I used this prompt to write for my novel.

Something was up. Mr. Pellett was not his normal effervescent self as we walked into the classroom. I had seen his temper flare before, but had never seen him sad. Or, “off.” He was sitting at his desk, looking down at the Honolulu Advertiser, maybe working on the crossword puzzle? But he did not look up once or greet us as we entered.

Some girls were deep into the conversations that had started by the lockers about the latest drama from the weekend’s school dance, and didn’t immediately notice his subdued demeanor, but I did. Moving around had taught me to be a keen observer of human behavior. It enabled me to adapt the local norms and fit in faster.

As we took our seats, I noticed the A/V cart at the front of the room, and understood that today would not be one of Mr. Pellett’s fine performances. He had brought in a recorded understudy. I pulled out my notebook and a pen and listened to the transition in the room, as my fellow students started quieting down, noticing his unusually calm demeanor. The discussions tapered off and we all sat in silence, pens at the ready, wondering what the hell was wrong with Mr. Pellett.

“We’re going to do something a little different today,” he said softly, never looking up from the paper. “Katherine, please play the tape.”

I rose from my seat, wondering if there was some teaching trick behind this, but he continued to look down at his paper as I pressed the play button on the VHS player.  I noticed the tape case: “Hamlet.” Ugh, I thought. I wasn’t sure what we had done to piss off Mr. Pellett last week that he would still be mad enough at us today to make us watch Shakespeare, and I started replaying last Friday’s class in my mind as the actor on the television started talking. I took my seat.

The actor (I assumed it was the name on the case, Derek Jacobi. I had no idea who he was) walked slowly, clearly thinking about something. He began the famous, “To be, or not to be” soliloquy that I had read for class and had heard of, but had never seen performed. Why would I watch Shakespeare when it was much more entertaining to watch Magnum PI? Plus, there were real life lessons from Magnum.

This was different, though. This was acting like I had never seen acting. This wasn’t recitation, like the way I had read Shakespeare in my mind; Mr. Jacobi was Hamlet. I could feel his struggle as he considered the pros and cons of life. I recognized the lines from the soliloquy, yet had never imagined they could be delivered with such authenticity and passion. I was entranced. He made it real. I finally understood all the fuss about Shakespeare. And then it hit me…the school plays I had been in, how I always wanted to read the parts with the most lines in class (I would quickly skim and see which name was mentioned most in a script), the way I could quickly pick up accents and behaviors from moving around so much…I was meant to be an actress. I had found my calling.

Day Twelve and Thirteen: nope.

Day Fourteen:Edible Memories  Write about a memory inspired by something you ate or cooked, good or bad.

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We fell in love over coffee.

I’d walk briskly from my car, through the cold, crisp morning air and open the double door to the coffeehouse, inhaling the wall of warm air that enveloped me in the heavy, sweet smells of roasting coffee. The deep red colors of the walls inspired passion, for both coffee and the handsome gentleman waiting for me at the counter, eyes smiling as soon as he caught sight of me through the window, emerging from my car.

We’d order our drinks together… a latté for me, a cappuccino for him (that he’d always pronounce “Cup”ooccino) and wait, standing next to each other, unable to separate ourselves from each other, always some part of our bodies touching as I’d lean in to him, breathing in his scent mixed with the rich coffee scent of espresso.

We’d sit so close I was almost in his lap, touching legs under the table, rubbing our feet together. When my hands weren’t surrounded by his, they’d gently warm themselves on the sides of my hot latté as the bitter, chocolaty aroma floated up to my nostrils and I closed my eyes and savored the scent and the warmth of his foot, caressing my calf. I’d take a sip of the bittersweet elixir, topped with chocolate sprinkles (his magic touch) and smile as the warm rich liquid flowed over my tongue and down my throat, intensifying the heat that my lover had ignited within. I’d yearn to taste the coffee on his lips, and we’d allow our magnetism to draw our heads together and touch our lips together, gently exploring the taste of coffee on each other’s tongue.

Sadly, the passion of our coffee encounters wasn’t enough to sustain our love outside the walls of the coffeehouse and we drifted apart, but that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying a daily cup of joe and thinking back every now and then to those mornings of soft kisses and deep conversations. One inhale of those rich, spicy beans from our favorite coffeehouse, and I am transported back to that time of anticipation, pleasure and love.

Day Fifteen: What if no.

Hope to re-motivate next week.