End of the Month Reflection

Hello readers!

This is just an end of the month post reflecting on what I’ve done and what I plan to do with my blog.

Firstly, I have made progress in posting ‘Free Hand’ poems and a few short stories as well as a ‘Fight Club’ reflection and ‘T2’ reflection. I am glad that I have succeeded in posting a good amount of short stories and poems since it is my blogs purpose to present these two particular forms of writing . 

Secondly, I plan on posting a handfull of ‘Book Lists’ and an ‘Introduction’ post that will include a brief summary of the books,movies, and music that I like. I chose to not do this intro post in the beginning because I wanted to see how the first month would go and I wanted to keep the focus of my blog centered on my writing but I realized from looking at other blogs I want readers to get a feel for the interests I have so that they might be able to connect better to my writing. 

Coming in May:

Introduction Post

2-3 Booklists (fiction,horror, and poetry)

Free Hand Poetry Posts ( and revisions)

Launch Party (photos and info on publication release party)

Notebook Excerpts from April 2017

2-3 Short Stories (and/or revisions)


Thank you readers for following me and taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina


Opioid/Heroin Addiction in Utah

I know this isn’t related to my categories Film, Music, Art for reflections but because I find this relevant to SLC, UT (where I live) and kind of mind-blowing, I’ve including this small reflection on Opioid/Heroin Addiction and Overdose related deaths in Utah.


I recently did a project for one of my classes in which I researched heroin/prescription opioid related deaths in Utah. This is after hearing multiple stories from different people in the last six months who had relatives and friends die from overdoses of these two drugs.

Contrary to the ‘clean’ and predominately MORMON ‘family’ state that Utah is perceived to be. We have a few issues that any big city can relate to. One of them is the problem of Perscription Opioids and Heroin Addiction which leads to some of the highest rates of drug related deaths (overdose) in the Nation.

For the past ten years (a sky rocket increase in deaths since 2007) Utah has ranked (often fluctuating up and down) as one of the top nine states for the highest drug overdose related deaths, specifically Opioids/Heroin.

In my research I found that often males in their twenties and females in their fifties had the highest rates of overdose. I also found that because of changes in the laws regarding prescription opioids which restricted certain opioids for a time there was an increase in Heroin overdose related deaths. This is an issue that I have barely heard the news, radio or gov. in Utah talk about, the only recent event to mark the importance of this issue was a summit meeting in 2016 in which issues such as the price for pain killers and opioids were exponentially more expensive than Heroin and affected the stats of overdose deaths. But even with the summit I’ve never heard people talk about this issue-I get the feeling that this issue is being ‘swept under the rug’ and silently dealt with by rehab centers and the gov. in Utah so as to not tarnish Utah’s image of being safe, clean, pro-family and a Mormon stronghold. (BUT I COULD BE WRONG!)

There is a discussion on the fact that about 60% of residents in Utah are members of The Church of Latter-Day Saints (MORMONS) and that because this issue of drug related deaths, specifically pain killers (Opioids) is on such a rise that Mormon residents may contribute to a large amount of the numbers of abusers and overdose related deaths (alpinerecoverylodge.com).

This is a discussion I stumbled on quite a few times in my research. Most articles stated that since it is against the belief practices of Mormons to ‘poison’ their bodies with liquor, cigarettes and even caffeine that if they are prescribed pain medication by doctors, Opioids must be OK, and that they may think that these pain medications will have no adverse affects on their body. It is extremely easy to become addicted to Opioids/Pain Meds and since an addiction leads to using up prescriptions and getting cut off, the next step is to find an equivalent drug which is HEROIN. It is dirt cheap on the streets and has the same affect but in the long run just like Opioids, addiction leads to death (most opioid deaths are accidental).

I am skeptical of the idea that most Opioid abusers are Mormon since I’ve known plenty of Mormons that refuse to even use Aspirin (because it is against their belief system). But the fact that a good amount of  Utah’s residents are Mormon and that these drug related deaths are on an increase still does suggest there could be a correlation between the two.

There is also data to support that drug overdose related deaths in Utah, outnumbers deaths by car accidents and firearms which are some of the top causes of death in Utah next to accidents in the home (2014 pdf data).

Reflecting on my research, I find this issue to be extremely relevant and find it amazing I don’t see billboards and posters up all over the city addressing this issue (I honestly only recall seeing two billboards about this problem, one on State Street and another on 21st South in the past two years). After all that I’ve read and living in Utah for almost my entire life, I will say I am not surprised that this is an issue.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/overdose.html

https://www.rt.com/usa/361009-utah-heroin-opioid-summit/

http://www.addicted.org/heroin-treatment-utah.html

http://www.alpinerecoverylodge.com/utah-drug-abuse-statistics/

https://highwaysafety.utah.gov/crash-data/

https://www.health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/FactSheets/2013FirearmDeaths

https://health.utah.gov/opha/publications/hsu/1409_RxOpioidDth.pdf

 

Free Hand #8 (Worn Out)

It’s Finals Week and between my huge assignments and work, I’m exhausted.


 

WORN OUT

Creeping, itching

tick tick tick, side of the face.

I break off, a bone, a word to string

together more bones more words

for an essay, easy, no ese!

essay…stuck drinking coffee,

want to drink some beer. Tired and

distraught, the pressure is mounting

till up up up I go, ready to crash back down

afterwards.


 

If you’re reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Free Hand #7 (Dark Storm)

The weather’s pretty gloomy outside, my favorite kind of weather. Raining and grey clouds all day hahahaha. This is a rough piece directed to those that may not love the rain as much as I do.


 

The rain that covers

the roads, the pavement,

the house with electric

green grass where you sit inside

with your bitterness and coffee, waiting for

the sun to come out. It’s not

coming out today. You should learn

to enjoy a dark storm every once

in while.

 


If you’re reading this, Thank Your for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Short Story: Amelia (Part #1)

This is an excerpt from a short story series I started working on three years ago. Found these remnants earlier today and I am thinking about working on these stories again and posting my work.


Amelia brushed her long blonde hair, applied a little make up here and there, smoothing out her frazzled black skirt, she grabbed her long coat and pulled it on, more similar to a cloak than an actual coat, it was inky black with numerous pockets and a long hood that hung low when she put it over her head. Besides her blonde hair, she was all in black and ready for the night.

Her boots made  heavy clomping sounds as she stalked through the old house she called home, she opened the front door did a quick check over her shoulder to make sure the house was silent, no ghosts or dead would enter her house tonight, then shut it, and locked the door.

Tonight was the full moon, and it had been a while since everyone had gotten together. They were meeting at a local diner before sunset to eat before they commenced their rituals. There were seven of them now, even though there had been about fifteen only a few years ago. Many had moved on, gotten married, died, or disappeared. It was a constant struggle to keep the clan together.

The house was on the outskirts of town, and it took Amelia a little over fifteen minutes to walk to the diner. She could already hear them before she opened the door. The infectious laughter and arguments had already begun.


If you’re reading this Thank You, for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Free Hand #6

It is a beautiful day today. This is a rough draft of a poem I am working on. Deals with sight, ignorance and acceptance. I will probably post a revision of this poem in the next couple of days.

 


Sun crystallizes,

rays break into glass, sharp enough to cut.

your eyes glitter, always shining, reflecting

sight, images collide. My eyes shut,

I only see the darkness under lid. Feel the

warmth of the sun

on my skin. Let you

be my eyes.


 

If you’re reading this Thank You, for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Free Hand #5

The sun is out and glistens. The tree bends under breeze. The electric blue sky holds more than my mind. Ramblings; words that mean nothing in the static, nothing in the sky. Birds are only specks way up high, moving like fish against the blue. An eye that opens to see the edge before it breaks. The sun drips light onto the city, the tree breaks. 

__________________________________

If you’re reading this, Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing. I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

The Canticle Launch Party: Publication

Today I attended the Launch Party for the University of Utah’s Literary Journal The Canticle. I read my poem, ‘Ready to Eat’, and enjoyed listening to the other contributors readings.

I want to thank the Head Editor, Sally G., for putting together and publishing this years journal as well as my boyfriend, Dallas, who took photos of my reading.

Photos courtesy of Dallas Basta (2017)

Books I Love: Beautiful City of the Dead

‘Books I love’ is a sub part of my ‘Book Lists’ posts. It is a post that contains a review/reflection of one specific book that I have read.


 

Beautiful City of the Dead by [Watts, Leander]

(picture source: amazon.com)

Beautiful City of the Dead by Leander Watts (a.k.a. Th. Metzger) is a young adult novel about a girl named Zee in a band who battles supernatural forces (not entirely sure how to define it, supernatural or sci-fi?). Yes, sounds cheesy I know. But actually this story is written in a style that I recognize now to be closer to prose and poetry. Initially I remember being captivated by the very first chapter which discusses Zee’s obsession with fire (almost a pyromaniac frenzy but not quite) which always led me into binge reading half the book in one sitting (the entire book is only 254 pages). The sentences are often jagged but so clear cut that I can recall certain lines even today.

I think about this book often because of its ability to sear certain images and events (that take place in the story) in my mind. It is a strange synthesis of music appreciation and teen problems meets the unknown (other dimensions? fame? or a bunch of old geezer’s with super powers?). I can never quite put my finger on exactly how to categorize this book and because of this I also love it dearly. I have always wanted a sequel but I know that the book stands alone as a unique piece that needs no continuation, it is only out of my adoration that I’d love to read more about these characters and their extremely weird heavy metal life.

I’d recommend this book to anyone, teen or adult, and especially persons that read poetry on a regular basis. It also has wonderful references to the first ‘Heavy Metal’ bands in RocknRoll. Since I love both poetry, heavy metal music and bands, this book is one in a million for me.


 

If you are reading this, Thank You, for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Mrs. Morrison’s Afternoon

This is a short story I wrote for a submission for thefirstline.com. This site gives a prompt called ‘the first line’ which for this particular submission period was, “Mrs.Morrison was too busy to die.” This story was declined but I am very fond of it. I also admire thefirstline.com for their ingenious prompts and amazing stories.


 

word count approx: 900

 

Mrs. Morrison’s Afternoon

by Alina Hansen

 

Mrs. Morrison was too busy to die. She could see a small pool of blood beginning to form on the carpet. The gun heavy in her hand Mrs. Morrison groaned; she needed a drink. What would she tell the kids when they got home?

A glass of scotch in hand, she shrugged off cleaning up the mess. She lit a cigarette while she put on her favorite jazz record. The carpet would have to be replaced. Surprised that no one had come knocking on her door about the gun shot, Mrs. Morrison sat facing the living room window so she could watch for cars.

Mrs. Morrison realized the logical thing to do would have been to call the police beforehand but it had never crossed her mind. It was an accident; she thought it had been a burglar. She poured herself another drink and flipped the record over to side B.

She had good aim though and now that she had a couple drinks, if she had to, she would say she was distraught. Stubbing her cigarette in the ash tray she wondered if anyone had even heard the shot. It had been about a half hour now and not a single car had even driven by.

Mrs. Morrison got up and peaked out the window to look next door. At this hour everyone had already left for work, all she expected was her elderly next door neighbor to be home but to her relief the driveway was empty.

Feeling a little buzzed, she decided she should clean up the mess. Surely there could not be that much blood. The record clicked, the needle swung back to the off position. Mrs. Morrison picked out a couple more jazz records trying to decide what she felt like.

It was a shame and she felt guilty. A catch in her throat, her eyes began to water. She put on another record, sniffling. It wasn’t her fault really when she thought about it. She had just been taken by surprise.

In her mind she went over the events; it was right after she had finished breakfast a door had shut down the hallway. There was no one home except her; she was convinced it was a burglar. Knowing where she kept her gun; she went to her bedroom to retrieve it, safely hidden where the kids would not find it.

She knew now how foolish it had been of her to not call the police but really it had worked out fine. Remembering that the safety was on she checked it, loaded and safety now off, she crept her way down the hall. Thoughts raced through her head, Was it just one burglar? Was he even a burglar? What if he was a murderer or a rapist? Her heart pounded in her chest but she remained calm enough to convince herself to walk up to the door.

Ear to the door, she made no sound, holding her breath for just a few seconds to listen in silence. She heard a bump and the sound of things falling onto the floor.

Slowly turning the knob until it clicked open, she took a breath and pushed the door open. The window was open; the curtains billowed in the wind. A shadow flinted across the room, Mrs. Morrison pulled the trigger; a shot rang out. Twinkles, the kid’s large fluffy black cat, was on the floor dead.

Mrs. Morrison was relieved it had not been a burglar. It was still horrible, what would she say to her kids? Should she even tell them? The cat had disappeared a few days ago anyway and they thought she had run away. She must have crawled through the open window and accidently shut the door.

It looked like some books had been knocked off the bookshelf that must have been what she had heard. Mrs. Morrison did not even like the damn cat in the first place. It had been a vagrant that just appeared about a year ago. The kids had taken him in and given him that ridiculous name.

END


 

If you are reading this, Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina