The Brick Wall

Today I see a brick wall

Magnificent and cherry-red

laid in layers of

parallel cement lines

It rises on all sides

Cold and hard

Towering and deep

It is a house from the 1960’s

with a wide porch

and stately columns

of white

But it is not my house

though I am bound 

to it

It is my home

though I have never lived here

The history of those before me

whispers like the 

curling smoke up a tall chimney


Surrounding and suffocating


Her choked cry for help

from behind a wall

birthed everything but freedom

But it birthed me

and no one ever told her

we could leave

So we stayed and staked 

our place here in the 

toxic waste of generations

before us

Where rage paints souls

and sadness

lies below the surface

of our skin

every second 

like the tick of the clock

tocking:

“There is no hope. There is no hope.” 

This in the anthem of the cement

I’ve lived behind for so long

and watched carry on

in everyone who was birthed and raised

in this 1960’s house

of perfection

and torment

Behind the brick wall

of generational burden

is me

Some fifty years later

staring at the impenetrable surface,

It’s anthem alive today

as ever

Wondering how we ended up here

Why I’m still here–

A prisoner of my trauma

when I had nothing to do with it

and have never even lived in a brick house, 

why it boxes me in

and make me feel so small

Like a lab rat

in a whirlwind of tubes and syringes–

Therapy and medication

trying to break in

Break through

to me

Why can’t anyone see that it’s 

not the depression

or the anger

or the fear

It’s the cage

I’m in–

The lies I was fed

The fact that I’ve believed all of it, 

that by some generational ticket

I deserve it

The harsh law behind the wall

that was meant to make

all of us perfect,

when instead we’re all

Messes

Now hardly seen

Oh, god–

How I miss my family!


I wish all of you

could peek out

for only a moment

as I’ve done

Peeled my eyes,

glued my brain to the

pages of books that explain

why we are the way we are

I wish I could tell you 

it’s okay

I wish we were the kind of family that touched

so I could smooth a warm hand on your cheek

and remind you of your humanity,

So I could say once and for all I’ve figured us all out—

It’s the wall

The place we’ve been hidden

The place we’ve been ridden

The place of our deepest scars


I finally understand–

The curtain lifting

to reveal the truth

I wish I could tell you

but today,

I can’t seem to look past it all

The lines and rhythms

of cold

Today

all I see is a brick wall


Eden-Gram #1: The Love Hypothesis

Welcome to my first book review! I’ve been waiting on a special book to begin with and Ali Hazelwood’s contemporary romance The Love Hypothesis is so incredibly worthy of my debut blog piece, I want to shout it from the rooftops. But first—what makes this book review different? 

Well, a self-proclaimed Enneagram enthusiast is writing it! Every time I write a book review I’ll include an Enneagram analysis on the two main characters.

Eek! Can’t wait to share my thoughts with you. 

Where to start with The Love Hypothesis?

Hazelwood’s fresh voice that reads like whipped butter? The deep bonds of friendship? The laugh-out-loud moments where Olive surprises the reader with her quippy inner-thoughts? 

Okay, all of it. Let’s start there. 

Ali Hazelwood is officially one of my favorite contemporary romance voices. I could not pry my nose out of this book. Olive is hilarious and her little quirks made for a big personality I couldn’t get enough of. Like, can Olive be my best friend? She’s a gem. 

Adam is such a swoon-worthy hero, with his six-pack of abs and superior intellect that has universities such as Harvard and Stanford fighting to have him as an employee. At some point I wondered why I’d never considered a brief rendezvous with a professor later in my educational career. Probably because none of them were anywhere close to as deliciously grumpy as Dr. Adam Carlsen [They were just grumpy]. 

Without spoiling the premise, the gist is this: Olive’s best friend Ahn is currently into a boy Olive was dating. Attempting to convince Ahn she is *so over* him, Olive lies to Ahn about a new boyfriend. One she has a very special date with already. The problem is, her life is tied up in her pursuit of a doctorate, so instead of faking a date she finds herself in the lab, face to face with Adam Carlsen. If you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to read the book. Get ready for lots of laughs as slightly awkward Olive bumbles around her fake dating relationship with the stern Dr. Carlsen (that everyone in her doctorate program hates, and how could she like HIM?). 

Each chapter begins with a small hypothesis in lieu of a title and can I just say how brilliant this was? 

HYPOTHESIS: A private conversation with Adam Carlsen will become 100% more awkward after the word “sex” is uttered. By me.”


Um, okay. I think I’ll stay up for another hour and read.

My one critique is that at times the story felt slow moving. But Olive’s whimsy and fun really carried it until the plot built enough to take off. This happened around chapter ten for me. 

Now, for my favorite part, where I’ll attempt to place the characters into their respective Enneagram types. 

*Drum Roll, Please*

Olive: 9w8

Adam: 5w6

Nailing Enneagram types of fictional characters is never easy because as far as I know the characters weren’t written with their numbers in mind. Still, one of my favorite aspects of the Enneagram is how it’s broken down into two factors: the main motivation and fear. 

If you aren’t familiar with the Enneagram, The Enneagram Institute is the place to start. Otherwise, here’s a quick snapshot: 

Each person has a core number that represents their motivation and fear. If you take a look at the Enneagram symbol below, you’ll also see that each number has a number on either side of it. Once you’re familiar with your number, you will also have a primary wing—that is, the number next to your number that resonates the most with your personality. So, core number + primary wing= your Enneagram type.

But there’s more! Each core number has a direction of growth, a number it “grows” toward when it’s healthy, and a number it digresses to in stress (See all those arrows racing up and down?).

Hopefully as I explain my picks for Olive and Adam you’ll gain a better understanding.

Let’s start with Olive

I hate to label Olive as a 9 [The Peacemaker] right out of the gate. There’s a definite voice in my head taunting, “You’re only labeling Olive as a 9 because you’re a 9! And you love Olive and wish you were her.” Okay, that’s partly true, although I’m a 9w1. Still, there were plenty of times while I was reading that I tossed about other numbers and kept coming back to what felt the most authentic and that’s this: Olive was willing to sacrifice herself for her friend and the 9 is the most self-effacing number of the Enneagram.

There were a lot of Enneagram 2 [The Helper] vibes, but 2’s are also diehard servants, always aiming to please others to their own detriment. I didn’t see Olive like this. I saw her as someone willing to tell a lie if it’d benefit her friend. 

Which has major 3 [The Achiever] vibes, but 3’s mainly lie to benefit themselves and cover their shortcomings.

If there’s anyone that will tell a quick lie to keep the peace, it’s a 9. I interpreted Olive’s willingness to lie as a way to keep Ahn happy because Ahn was basically family. Later in the book when she’s faced with telling Adam the truth about something, she lies again to protect him. Again, she’s willing to throw herself under the bus so-to-speak if it’ll save the connections she already has. If I was rooting for anything for Olive it was for her to find the courage to tell the truth and stick up for herself, and 9’s notoriously avoid these things to protect themselves from conflict and preserve connection with the people they love. 

As far as growth curves go, 9’s grow to a 3. This means in seasons of health, they can step into that high-achieving role where they’re making good decisions to advance in the world. I don’t think any 9 could pursue higher-education without leaning into their 3. For stress, the 9 goes to 6 [The Loyalist]. The negative traits of the 6 include worrying and adopting an anxious mindset. This mindset often cries, “Everything is about to blow up in my face, I know it. Must prevent this!”

I gave Olive an 8 [The Challenger] wing because the 8 is feistier than the 1 [The Reformer]. At one point Olive gets up the courage to send Adam a pretty nasty text, and even if she’s swallowed by instant regret, she still did it. In the end, it was obvious to me that she’d rather have Adam fight for her, but when she finally fought for herself I think fireworks went off in my heart. Well done, Olive. This fellow 9 was proud of you. 

Now for Adam:

Adam seemed like a classic 5 [The Investigator] to me. Slightly detached from their emotions, 5’s can seem distant to others. Their motivation is to consume knowledge in order to appear capable. Their fear is of being useless, or being incompetent. I imagine many 5’s wind up in research fields, which is why my brain automatically went there as I read. I considered that he could be an 8 [The Challenger], but while 8’s are good at getting things done, the idea that Adam could be tied down to one profession was a red flag to me. That, and he seemed rather introverted. You’d be hard-pressed to find an introverted 8. 

I waffled between the 4 and the 6 for his wing, but ultimately I went with 6. The fact that he keeps friends for so long pointed me to The Loyalist. 

For the growth curve, 5’s move to an 8, which means that in seasons of health they take on the stronger, more assertive qualities of the 8. I saw Adam’s fierceness as something he could access as a professor, not who he was at his core. Which is why he was such a tender lover. I really adored this aspect of him. 

In stress, 5’s move to a 7 [The Enthusiast]. This looks like their collected, balanced selves delving into a bit of spontaneity and becoming scattered. 

I think there is a strong argument for Adam being an 8, but overall the 5 fit best to me. 

I’m really curious if any other Enneagram enthusiasts have an opinion on this. If you can’t form an opinion because you haven’t read The Love Hypothesis, definitely give it a go! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Final Rating: 

5/5 — Must read.

Grow

#VSS365, Prompt: shatter

Growing up is tedious—
A vine smothered beneath
a paved pathway
Trampled
We persist
Reaching through the cracks to be
sun-kissed
and seen
Just as we peek
an ocean of feet
Stampede
and we stretch tall
and survive
or shatter beneath it all

Misheard

#VSS365, Prompt: Translational

From the beginning,
we had a translational
dilemma
You said you loved me,
I heard you’re leaving
You said trust,
I heard lie
You begged me to stay
so I grew wings to fly
Forever—
you said
You couldn’t have known
as soon as you wanted me
I
was
already
gone

Forgotten

VSS #365 Prompt: Change

I once flew
away—
migrating
north to south
at the slightest hint
of change
My wings
gave me freedom,
until I exchanged it
to eat from the palm of your hand,
perched in the beauty of your shade
Maybe I’ve forgotten how to be a bird
but I’ve learned to be love

Running in Circles

Tonight I am tired

in my bones

Deep-soul tired

and

When I close my eyes

I can hear my feet

pounding the earth

in a heartbeat cadence

The cool of the evening

swallowing me as if I’m in another place and time —

And, isn’t that the point?

Some of us run for accolades

Trophies to hold over our heads in triumph and prove we didn’t give up

But some of us run because we are being chased

Every day

Can never escape

the barrage of voices and feelings

that warn if we slow down

we’ll be weighed down

I don’t run to win–

I run to live

I run to be numb

I run because if I

silenced my steps

The words I want to speak would shatter my world like a

porcelain vase

My inner-world

that keeps me safe

That makes me believe

that maybe

I’ll stumble into a space 

that is safe to share the world I’ve buried

far below the surface

where everything fragile is

Maybe I’ll find this place

if I don’t slow down

No Place Like Home


Pounding like a

pushed too-far heartbeat

Each careful syllable

of the word California

paused like slow-motion in my mind

Because I was a small town girl

with no knowledge of highways that stretch

across the length of a state

And I didn’t understand that a backyard of 

chard grass could drink of a brief 

season of rain 

and resurrect green

before dying, again 

Inviting a restless hope

that it would soon snow

and we’d wake up with 

tears in our eyes

Grateful that mother nature

came through

I was scared because I didn’t know

what home could feel like

________

I didn’t know I’d love California,

that I’d never tire of the mountain 

that hovered over our town like a guardian

It was a silly thing, but I pretended we were family

When the craggy slope swelled in the distance,

always painted with snow,

I saw it and knew I was home 

________

I couldn’t have known—

Because I was a small thinker

and my ideas of this place were

packed into tiny preconceived notions

from television and movies

California was where the stars lived

and no one had told me that the Golden State

had golden hills

bursting with crimson poppies

And no one said, “If you move here,

You’ll never want to live another place.” 

Naivety brought me

but the truth 

became like an anchor

Stretching from my heart

into the rich valley soil

that brought life to every seed

planted there

I was that seed

and I never wanted to leave

___

Today a little voice at my side asked

why we left,

if we were so happy,

why did I pack all of our belongings

into the back of a Uhaul

Let it rumble in the driveway

as I planted myself in the backyard,

snapping pictures of my favorite rosebush

that always smelled like 

a delicious perfume my favorite

Grandma wore when I was little

and she held me against her heart

Even then I knew I had things to do—

Places to be

and I unraveled myself from comfort

to believe for more

More than what? 

I now wonder

But I don’t say it out loud

“We left because we couldn’t stay,” 

I say,

and the only hope I feel

is that one day it will 

make sense 

_______

I went home last year

but only to visit,

To stand on the 

vast expanse

of shoreline and marvel 

at the majesty

of something much bigger than me

And I felt a blanket

drape across my shoulders

Comfort sink into my bones

The gentle wash of static waves

pulling me deeper

into their icy hold

and I cried because

I forgot

how right it feels

to be where you’re supposed to be

To feel that much peace

But when you’re lower-class

America

You don’t choose these things

You follow security 

and tell yourself that thirty years from now,

maybe you’ll find yourself on this same shoreline

whispering to the waves,

“Thanks for waiting.” 

________

Writing Community Connections


Here it is! Thanks to some wonderfully generous writers, I am compiling a database of expertise and interests from among the Twitter writing community. Everyone listed is open to DM inquires for anyone interested in learning more about a specific skill, trade, or interest. Please keep this writing related. Some Twitter users require you to follow them before sending a DM, so please do so and be patient for them to return the follow.

Again, while making use of this resource, please be honoring and respectful. Do not DM them unless you are genuinely curious regarding your writing process.

Writing from an honest perspective is SO important. I’m grateful to each contributor. If you’d like to offer your expertise, just shoot me a DM with your specific interests/skills and I’ll gladly add you.

Now, happy learning to all of you ambitious writers!

Twitter Handle Expertise
@AuthorEdenCHorses, Natural Childbirth, Large Family Dynamic, Autoimmune Disorder, Dieting, Cooking
@GeoffreyDWestBuilding, DIY Repairs 
@4featherstoryPregnancy and Parenting, Vegan/Veg/Raw Diet, Food Allergies, Blended Families, Permaculture, Homebirth, Breastfeeding, Dance, Preschool, Theater/Acting/Modeling, The South, California, Running a Restaurant, the Wilderness, Cults, Abuse.
@DEFulfordTattoos, Motorcycling, Shoes, Working 100 jobs and going to school at once, Being a Lifelong Student, Living and Working in a Camper, Traveling the US.
@jamingeorge04Legal Industry: including Client Intake, Preparation for Trial, and Duties of a Paralegal 
@SajnaAbdul Meditation, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Diet, Parenting an Autistic Child, Mental Health, Lifting Weights.
@j_vander_meulenChristian Theology, NHL Hockey, and Canada.
@Dovetale5Special Needs Pediatric Physical Therapy
@bri_downingBehavior Analyst, ABA (applied behavior analysis), Science of Behavior.
@onceupon_tanjaAccounting

@jennaglov
SFF genres, Knitting, Living Frugally, Spontaneous Pneumothorax Information.
@kfoxx_writesPregnancy, Natural Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Baby wearing, Homebirth, Unassisted Birth. 
@realaftonnelsonVintage Jello Salads, Wildflower Seeds (collecting, growing, selling), Portland, Oregon, Dragon Boat Racing, and Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
@jessikamittensPersonal Trainer, Nutrition Specialist 

@SabineRWrites
Pregnancy, Babies/Toddlers, Anxiety, Curly Hair, Amateur Photography, Social Work with Older Adults, Dog Ownership.
@emmamakarovaFrance, Speaking French, Russian Culture, Mountains and Hiking, Archaeology and Teaching English.
@kidlit_writerWater Quality, Wetlands, Dolphin Training, and Ballet.

@himantra
Teaching, English Lit, Indian food, and living in Tokyo (particularly as an expat/PoC)
@authorjesspayneBeing a Nurse, Working in the Medical Field, Anything Neonatal, Running Marathons and Other Long Distance Events, Martial Arts.

@mostlyconnect
English Private Schools, Sperm Donors and Sperm Donor Recipients

@The_Hive_Queens
Greek mythology (especially the Underworld)
@PeterTalley14 Speech Team Coaching, Newspaper Advertising, Hospital Emergency Management, Loss Prevention Investigator, Funeral Homes

@_CarmenWhite
Camping, Horses, Hunting, Archery, Survival
@AskJanTeacher, English Language, Psychology, Learning Disabilities 

@MsKelseyGamble 
Higher Education (student life), Church Work, Sewing, Costume Construction, Knitting, Theater Knowledge
@BayneJosephineItaly, Italian Culture, Italian Translating
@lattesandlists Coffee Roasting, Kayaking 
@Scenic_RouteDating and Relationships 
@CathyTRicardo Classical Music, Irish Dance, Autoimmune Disease 
@fnvaughnAll Things Army-related 
@dougiammHiking, Insurance, Aging, Math 
@LukefahrLady  Ozarks of Missouri, Small Towns, Archaeology, Mastodons and Mammoths, Pre-history, Christianity, The BibleTeaching from 1970-90s.
@DElizabethAyer1 Theater, Teaching English, Music, Cats, Exercise, Dieting, Cooking
@WF_writerEM Mental Health Expert