Unconfined Thoughts 26 – Aglaonema

I’m sorry that you’ve been reduced to a common office plant. With your colorful leaves and short stature, yet you’re low maintenance, you’ve graced the desks of office secretaries instead of where you belong. You wish you were like that oak tree outside, swaying gently to the breeze while you have to entertain yourself to the air conditioning that’s always on because the boss has a chronic sweat problem and everyone else is wearing down jackets. You wish you were like that orchid, constantly a showcase on everyone’s Instagram feed and carefully watered and maintained because “it would be such a shame if it wilted”. You wish you were like the pointy succulent squad in the front corner of the desk, next to the zen garden and faux waterfall. A little jungle over there. A little sense of peace, instead of the office vibe that the pencil skirts, striped ties and stale coffee give off. You inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, straighten up a little and try to live it up a little while swaying to the imaginary breeze, facing the window where dreams once were.

Written: 6/16/17 1:06am

Walls & Plantae | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello!

I hope you’re doing well! I’m sorry that I’ve been very consistent with the posts, but in this post, there will be two quick piece breakdowns.

Walls

This piece was written out of boredom. It was written about a month ago when I was in the midst of taking an intense summer class. In two weeks, you can get three credits, but that means that the class is four hours long. All I was doing during that time was going to class and spending the rest of the day on my laptop because I was so exhausted. Since it was technically summer vacation, most of my friends left the University. I was left to my own devices.

This piece epitomizes college life, but with a small twist. It starts out with the narrator spending the night in their apartment and hearing their neighbor’s party. There’s a hint of envy from the narrator whether it be because either they weren’t invited or because they were neighbors, the neighbor would have the sense to casually invite the narrator. The main emotion I wanted to resonate was loneliness. After a quick college meal, a pizza man delivers a pizza the narrator didn’t order to their door. On the note, it says Walls may seem to be like a barrier when they also provide structural integrity. Enjoy the pizza on me! From, your partying neighbor This means that while the wall between them is there, it can also be “broken” to build a better foundation. The neighbor not only bought the pizza for the narrator, but they invited them to the next party. The narrator chose to spend the night comfortably by themselves.

This story is a pretty simple story talking about the two main themes I usually write about, loneliness and friendship.

Plantae

This story was dedicated to my friend who requested that I write a story about a man named Karl who finds plants arriving at his doorstep and is determined to find out who’s leaving him these gifts. I found this request quite interesting, so I jumped on it. Also, the title is Latin for plant. Once again, this story is about friendship and loneliness. Would you say that they’re the opposite? Maybe I write about these themes because of my familiarity with it.

It starts with Karl receiving a succulent and getting berated by his neighbor, Betsy. Karl eliminates the possibility that Betsy could’ve been his plant giver because of the excuses she gives him. In the next segment, you can see that Karl is 100% comfortable with his plants to the extent of giving them names and talking to them. It also appears that he tags personality with the individual plants. It becomes obvious after it shows him actually having a conversation with his friend only to talk about plants. Then, Karl sets out to find out who has been leaving him the plants. In the beginning, I kind of made it clear that Karl is curious about who leaves him the plants, but since they’re too fast for him, he doesn’t make a bigger effort until his passion in finding a friend he can connect with better.

He pictures scenarios that would happen as time passes, but the plant giver doesn’t stop by yet. The plant giver stops by and Karl runs out of the door. I decided to add in the little bit with the blanket to give him more human qualities and to add more quirkiness. He finds out that his neighbor’s granddaughter named Kiki was the one who has been leaving him the plants. They quickly bond over their love for plants and Kiki explains that Betsy acts that way to him because of her jealousy in being able to care for plants. Kiki agrees to continue giving plants as well as form a friendship.

I had to admit that this story took some time because the idea wasn’t first formed by me, so I really had to embrace the characters and the setting. Since it was a little out of my comfort zone, I had to make sure that the plot flowed seamlessly, so there was some time when I was just sitting at my desk not really writing anything because I was thinking about where I wanted this story to go. My usual process for writing stories is to have a general idea and to just go with the flow. With this one, there was more planning and nudging involved and I’m happy with how it turned out. My friend was delighted after reading it. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the stories and the analysis! Have a great day!

Alice

 

Plantae | Quick Piece

Dedicated to Vaughn as per your request

There was a sly knock on the door and I dropped my pen and darted to the door. I wanted to try and catch them, but when I opened the door, all I found was a little succulent. I popped my head around the doorframe, but all I saw were people. Everywhere I looked were people and they could’ve easily slipped into the crowd. “Hey Karl! Close your damn door! No one wants to see your greenhouse!” Betsy called out. She was my neighbor and I knew she wasn’t my “mysterious plant giver”. She hated me and she hated plants even more, but she always made sure to warn me whenever a plant arrived on my doorstep by shouting loudly into the streets. She wouldn’t go near them. She claims that they give her allergies, but I’ve never seen her red eye, stuffy nose and profusely sneezing. Maybe she only hates me. I pick up the little beauty and shut my door, a little louder this time so Betsy would know. “You’re safe with me, little one.” I whispered to the plant. I peered at its spikey leaves spotted with greens and browns. It was small and squat, but still fearsome. “Huh, for some strange reason, you remind me of Betsy. I’ll name you Betty.” I set Betty in the kitchen next to an orchid named Astrid and smiled. My collection of plants is getting quite extravagant. My kitchen countertops and windowsills were covered with orchids and succulents and the occasional tomato plant. In my living room, it was another story. I had flowers blooming and others that were “just leaves.” I had an aloe plant sitting on the coffee table, its spiny leaves dangling over the table. “Well, Tim, you’re getting rather big aren’t you?” I muttered to the aloe plant. In my room were more plants, but not as many because I discovered to my dismay that I had suddenly started to sneeze everywhere when all the flowers started to bloom. On a quiet Saturday morning, I had to move all the beautiful blooming plants into the living room in exchange to “quieter” plants. I had a cute bamboo stalk on my dresser, a snake plant in the corner of the room right under the window where the light likes to fall and a Chinese evergreen on my desk. “How’s it going Matt? You’re looking fine there Sara. Need more water, Joe? I’ll go get you some. It’s actually watering time for everyone too.” I said to each of the plants. I picked up naming all my plants since I never really liked my co-workers so I couldn’t really talk to them. I didn’t really find it strange that I talked to my plants for company. They listened and never talked back to me, but sometimes I wish they would give me advice. “I’ll just call Chantal. I haven’t talked to her in a while.” I muttered to Jim as I watered it. Whenever I called my old friends up, I caught myself talking about my plants like they were actually company I had over. The conversation would be filled with a one-sided discussion about my plants until they had to go. I never really found out much about them. I put the watering can by the door and plopped onto the couch, staring blankly at all my plants. Rebecca swayed gently in the breeze by the window and Millie casually dripped with water. The sun bathed all of my plants and I felt a sigh lift up from my chest. “I’m sure I’ll be able to freely converse with the kind soul leaving me these plants!” I leaped up and nearly knocked over Eric.

For the next week, my ears perked up every time there was any movement outside. Since I live in the city, there’s always movement. I stayed in the living room, only going into my room to sleep or water my plants that live there. My anxious heart wouldn’t give me any rest whenever I went to work because in those eight unbearable hours, I couldn’t bear the thought that my new potential friend could’ve stopped at my door and I wasn’t there to greet them. I always drove a little too fast coming home and to my delight and dismay, there wasn’t a surprise plant. It was a little odd because I usually would get a plant every two weeks whether it is a big or small one and it was nearly into the second week. I decided to wait another week to see if they were just caught up in life and weren’t able to catch me. Before I went to bed, I always envisioned the conversation we would have. Sometimes I would reenact it. “So it was you! You’re the best! Let’s talk about plants now.” I would dramatically say as I flung open the door. They would be flustered, but I would welcome them inside. Then, we would engage in a deep conversation and become best friends. I cringed and pictured myself as a hero saving my actual friend from a plant bandit or realizing that my old crush was my plant giver. Nevertheless, I ended up falling asleep content with my choices.

It was in the morning when I heard a faint knock. I bolted out of my bed simultaneously throwing my comforter over my head. I ended up getting into a tangled knot, so I bought my bright orange comforter with me to the door. I flung my door open only to catch a glimpse of my plant giver’s hair and saw a green tote rounding the corner. “Wait!” I shouted. “Wait up! Don’t go! I need to know who you are!” I continued running down the street, but I didn’t have to get very far with my comforter. The green tote turned into my neighbor Betsy’s house. She turned around and said, “I’m Kiki. Want to come inside?” I started stammering, but she just smiled. “I’ll explain everything. Care for tea? or some cookies my grandmother just baked? or a tour of my greenhouse?” I had to stop myself from leaping from joy, but I followed her inside. From the living room, Betsy gave me a half-hearted grunt acknowledging my presence. After the magnificent tour of her greenhouse, she explained that she was a botanist and that the only place where there was enough space to do her research was at her grandmother’s house. Betsy hated plants because she claimed that they always died if she went near them. I nodded since that explained why Betsy didn’t really like me that much. “It’s not that she hates you. She treats me the same way. She’s just jealous of our abilities to take care of plants.” Kiki explained. “Why did you leave me plants for nearly three months without ever meeting me?” I asked. This story was getting more interesting. “Well, you seemed like an interesting guy and you seemed like the type who would love plants. Plus, I don’t see you with much company so I thought I would give you some.” she muttered, almost inaudibly. I laughed and said, “Well, you guessed right on both parts! And the funny thing is that I tried to talk to people, but I just ended up talking to them about my plants. I actually named my plants.” She guffawed and teased, “Well, I know that you’re weirder than me because I don’t name my plants! There’s too many!” I playfully pouted and said, “You’re the one that gave them all to me!” She sighed and pushed her blond locks away from her face and gently said, “Well, now that our identities have been revealed, I won’t awkwardly leave you plants anymore.” My eyes grew wide and I stood up with my comforter pooling at my ankles. “No! Keep giving me plants! I love them! They’re my friends and my circle of friends is growing bigger!” She pushed me down and smiled, “No Kurt, I’ll still be giving you plants, but I’ll be staying with them. Am I welcome in your circle of friends?” I smiled back and said, “Of course, Kiki.”