Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Who's Rotten?

"What’s the matter with you? Why don’t you just stop it? Fuck! It doesn’t matter what I do; you just keep on with this bullshit. I can see now how it’s going to be. You’re nothing but trouble, rotten just like your mother, stupid whore. You have no future."

He gripped the wailing bundle of arms, legs and lolling head in his hands shaking her as he screamed, "Stop it! Stop, crying! Shut the fuck up!" He tossed the 3 week old across the room where she landed on the dingy sofa, the light gone from her baby blue eyes.


I penned this for the 100 word challenge in answer to the prompt for the week, rotten.  Check out Velvet Verbosity to read how rotten inspired other writers.     

This is a tough, hard to read or write topic, but every year 1,200 to 1,400 cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome are reported in the US.  Recently, a man was arrested in this very rural area I live in after his infant son died of massive head trauma.  It breaks my heart to hear of such unnecessary tragedy and I think...if only that angry care giver would just call someone or walk out the door for a few minutes and take a deep breath. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Apple a Day

She turned the red cheeked orb, bit through the crisp skin and into the mushy flesh of the apple. Clear juice seeped out and down the side of her chin as she chewed and breathed through her open mouth. An old familiar tingling began to bother her nose. She wiggled it and sniffed. She placed the apple on the page she was reading from Thackeray's Vanity Fair and pinched her nose with two fingers trying to dislodge the tickle with no success. Her mouth formed an O while her eyes began to squint in an awkward facial expression. Just as she grabbed a tissue from the box next to her, she drew back, gasped a quick short breath, and released into the room a gale-force sneeze of epic proportions.

Falling back against pillows, she closed her eyes, trying to breathe comfortably through her open mouth, while enduring body aches that felt as if someone in a black SUV had run over her repeatedly. An unrestrained, raspy cough erupted and she moaned, "This really sucks," as she rubbed across her forehead with stiff fingers pressing aching sinuses.

With a sigh, she dabbed at her roughened, red nose flaking skin from too much tissue attention and squeaked out a blow into a fresh Kleenex. Her body lay in a listless heap on the sofa while reruns of Boston Legal droned on in the background. She reached for the apple again, glaring at it through tear-blurred eyes, " apple a day.  A lot of damn good you do," she said dropping it into the wastebasket where it lay contrasting red against mounds of white spent tissues.

I'd written another piece for Willow's Magpie Tales apple prompt, but this one just fits better.  Yes, September brought a cold/sinus infection and I'm feeling exactly what I described and yes... this sucks.  Now back to bed and Loving Frank a book by Nancy Horan.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Magical Moment

They met on a little train. The warm morning had turned the boy’s cheeks pink, yet next to him sat an old man clad in a long, black wool coat. As the child intently studied the brown almond eyes and road-mapped face the ancient one smiled and with two fingers traced down the cheek of the two-year old. He spoke gentle words to my child, his language unknown to me.

I looked on in amazement. Two souls, one tired and worn and one fresh and new met and exchanged a magical moment that spanned cultures and generations. It was beautiful.

Want to read more?  Journey over to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge and read what other wonderful writers have to say about the word prompt for the week, fingers.

This really happened to my child on the train at Disneyland when he was two.  It was one of the perfect moments that life presents to us every once in awhile.  My son doesn't remember it, but I do and I will always remember this magical moment.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Magpie Tales: Saying Goodbye

She walked about the house; her bare feet cool on wood floors the color of honey straight from the hive before it had been pasteurized. From the living room to the dining room to the kitchen, on hands and knees they’d worked side by side peeling back layers of coverings exposing each plank. So many years had passed that now the renovated floor took on a patina of age and wear, yet the smoothness and color remained as glorious as the day they completed it.
In the foyer, her hands encompassed the walnut ball that marked the beginning of a journey upstairs. Holding it as if she held a mystical gazing ball that would foretell her future, she closed her eyes and traced her fingers over the hash marks left by a hurried craftsman generations ago.

Climbing the stairs she counted, "One, two, three, four, five, six..." A loud creak sounded at the fall of her foot on the seventh step. Over the years it became the tattle-tale of sneaky stair climbers and later the tell-tale sound of a wandering heart. At the top of the stairs she turned to the left, opened the door to the now empty room where once upon a child a little girl lined up paper dolls on a crocheted lavender rug. The tiny table set for tea with a bear, a monkey, and two dolls named Lily and Lucy disappeared long ago. Down the hall, another square room witnessed raucous wrestling and little boy games. She turned her back on the room at the far end of the hall, too many memories, too much pain. Her audible sigh echoed through the hallway bouncing off walls, plumb and plain. No framed prints, no rogue’s gallery of the branches, limbs, and twigs of the family tree stared down from the walls. Everywhere she looked basic beige stuck her as boring and necessary.

From room to room she wandered. Each room naked and vulnerable lacking furniture and adornment that speaks of personalities, experiences, likes and dislikes. Not even shades, hanging like heavy eyelids over dark eyes peering out into a world remained. It had become a hollow house, too lonely for words, so she moved on in silence.

Back down stairs, she gazed out the wavy glass of paned windows where 200 years worth of children watched seasons transform from trees shaking in the frigid winter winds to pastel blossoms bothered by bees on spring days. From this vantage point, she could see the magic tree where the children hid and created fantastical lands of fairies and goblins. So many memories enveloped in a few acres called home. A hot trail of tears descended down the curve of her cheeks, passed her chin wetting her neck with salty brine as she stewed in her thoughts of past and future.

She continued the final tour while ghosts, still living, haunted her mind and followed her steps. In the dining room, where rainbows danced against the wall from chandelier prisms that caught the early evening light, she smoothed a hand over the antique step back cupboard, emptied of its fragile occupants, standing alone, a compromise for the future staring blankly from the wall as if questioning why it should remain.

The kitchen loomed before her an open wound with yawning cupboards waiting to be filled and the fireplace gaping wide-eyed and cold across the room. She stood in the heart of the home, a mirage of joyful meals dissipating into marital battles and lingering tearful nights accosting her memory.

It was time. She slipped her shoes back on and with one hand on the brass door knob; she touched her fingertips to her lips, blew the kiss into the house, turned, and walked out the door.

A brief glance into the rearview mirror revealed the setting sun’s glow embrace the house while she drove into her future.

Each week Willow offers a photo on her writing blog, Magpie Tales, and invites all interested to take a look at the photo and write their take on what they see.  This is my story inspired from the above photo.  Take some time to read the inspirations of other talented writers. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Teacher's Pet

"Teachers pet," she heard someone hiss just before closing the door quietly behind her. Buoyed up with a deep breath, she began the trek down the long corridor. On either side, children sat behind opaque walls unaware of each reluctant step carrying her closer to sticky paste, amber-colored liquid soap, and paint jumbled into one oppressive odor.

Approaching steps, jingling change and a soft tuneless whistle echoed down the passage urging her to stand on tippy-toes, desperately reaching for blood-stained paper.


"Here let me help you," he said pressing her budding body against the shelving; spiriting away her innocence.

This bit is in response to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge.  Go head... check out the fabulous writings of other 100 word scribes. 

The photo above is a painting by my daughter that I photographed and added a crumpled brown bag texture to.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Photography & Changes

Straight out of Camera (SOOC)

I love beautiful things whether it's a superbly penned story or a richly hued painting.  I've always been drawn to photography as a viewer, but never tried to seriously take a photo until about 15 months ago, when I started blogging in ernest.  With my first shots, I discovered a whole new world opening before me in glorious vistas and macros.  Beauty truly is in the details.  I was so surprised by this unexpected pleasure that I started taking more photos of everything in sight. I nurtured this new-found love by reading about photography, viewing websites, and following the blogs of some amazing photographers. 

My camera is a simple Fuji point and shoot with some pretty cool settings like macro and manual, sure I long for a Canon or Nikon, but this little camera is serving me well for now.  Sometimes a photograph looks fabulous straight out of the camera, but then there are those times some tweaking would make all the difference.  I don't have Photoshop, but I did download Picasa and then discovered Picnik has a lot more options for a little bit of nothing, but I'll bet you all ready knew that. 

During my internet travels I happend upon soft dreamy photography that took my breath away.  How was this done...I wasn't sure, so I started experimenting.  I placed tulle, nylon net, wax paper or paper with a heart cut out over the lens to see how it would look.  Sometimes it was a sorry failure, but I learned. 

Outcome of tulle covered lens and mini carnation. 

Then, one day while reading Gardening Gone Wild, I stumbled upon scan art.  I gave it a whirl and was wowed by what I saw.  It was flower arranging on the bed of a scanner.  It goes hand-in-hand with photography as yet another way to express my artistic viewpoint. 

Summer Orange, bloom scan

After viewing a vintage looking photo on soul aperture, I decided to try my hand at creating something similar.  I downloaded an old letter from The Graphics Fairy and superimposed the image onto another of pink roses.  It wasn't great, but I liked how it looked.  More recently I discovered Kim Klassen's textured photography.  I was enchanted by the looks, from grunge to antique.  I read her blogs, viewed her photography, and then signed up for two of her newsletters.  I have two of Kim's textures, but I wanted to try my hand at creating my own textures, so I took a trip about the house searching for things that might make decent backgrounds or textures. I scanned crumpled white paper, a crumpled brown paper bag, a page from my grass journal, the outside and inside cover of the same journal, and scrapbook pages that I'd picked up for a song at Michael's.  Here's my first adventure into creating photos with texture.
 I used the cover of my grass journal and a photo I took of flowering crab apple trees this spring.

I liked the deep brown edge and I like how it came out, a bit shadowy showing the textures with vintage colors. 

If you've been taking a peek at my photography when you visit Write in Amazement, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, but I'm moving it for now over to The Cottage on the Corner.  Writing isn't just a passionate hobby, it's my life and it desserves a blog to call its own.  I'm not sure if I'll set up a photography blog or just create a page on The Cottage. We'll have to wait and see where my passion for photography leads me.        
"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."
~ Langston Hughes

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

100 Word Challenge: From Failed to Different

He travels light zipping from city to city across the sky, while the weight of baggage grounds her in the undulating fields of her childhood. Like a sprite, her world revolves around circular patterns of a soft landscape dancing to the gentle rhythms of changing seasons. He navigates the hard edges and tall giants of cityscapes making the deal with the confidence of a warrior. Her view leans toward a film noir of black and white where he sees possibility saturated in bright hues.

Born from failed marriages, together they reach across miles of differences, failure no longer an option.

The 100 Word Challenge is brought to you by Velvet Verbosity, who is back after a hiatus.  The prompt this week is failed.  You can read more brilliantly penned 100 words by clicking HERE!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet Sara

Isn't she beautiful?

Caroline, a photographer and blogger, is in the midst of a beautiful project she calls 31 Faces in 31 Days and I've been finding inspiration through the faces of strangers that she's captured. When Caroline of Constantly Evolving penned a blog post at  Inspiration Studio  inviting others to join her I decided to step out of my camera comfort zone of flowers, still lifes, and nature and give it a whirl. . The mission is to approach someone I don't know and ask if I can take a photo.  This is what Caroline has been doing for the past 16 days resulting in a stunning tapestry of stories with the common thread that each face is a stranger to her.   

This morning, after an hour or so at the doc attentively waiting while the little fellow had a new cast put on, we stopped for breakfast at a local restaurant. Sara, our waitress was an irresistible subject with a big smile and deep brown eyes that sparkled when she spoke. I asked if I could take her picture. She answered yes with a smile and an apology that she isn’t very photogenic. I beg to differ…she’s a beautiful woman with a sterling personality to match. She let me fumble with my camera and snap a few shots that really do not capture those gorgeous deep brown eyes or the big smile that lights up her face.

Sara was such a pleasure as our waitress and as my first venture into photographing someone I don't know, but I doubt I'd ever taken this step without the inspiration and encouragement of Caroline.  A big thank you to both Sara and Caroline!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Junky Treasure

"Where’d you get this?" he asked turning the filthy cross over in his hands. "Jist worthless junk."

The girl reached out for the tarnished relic. "It's mine."

"You messin' in the alley, girlie?"

"I found it in the trash."

"Well it ain’t yers and we don’t need no more garbage in here," he said dropping her treasure to the floor.

Twenty years later she perched on the edge of the chair as the man peered over his glasses at her while cradling the piece as if it were the Mona Lisa. "Where did you get this? It could be priceless."

Written in response to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge.  The prompt and inspiration was the word worthless.  Please, mosey on over to Lou's, the host for the challenge, and read how other writers spin the prompt for the week, worthless.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Magpie Tales: Beyond the Walls

Every day on her way to work at the only law office in the pastoral town, she walked passed a watering can set upon the cap of a stone wall. Weathered with a verdigris patina the long necked spout held out the multi-holed rose as if offering a cool drink from its dark, mysterious interior. On the other side of the wall a verdant green oasis dotted with tulips in spring transformed into a pink pleasure place filled with roses that scented the air with every whisper of wind that touseled wisps of hair and fluttered the hem of a skirt. At times, she stopped to peer into the garden with squinted eyes making out the curved outline of a feminine form beneath a tree. In the three years that she navigated this route to and from her office job, today was the first time she saw anyone in the garden.

Bending at the waist he plucked a weed from a patch of ashes of rose flowers. As he stood up, his rheumy eyes met clear baby blues and for a moment the two locked into a surprise stare. She broke the moment with a wave of her hand and an upturned smile. "May I come in?" she asked without hesitating.

Slowly, he shuffled over to the wall, patting his white hair down with one blue-veined hand, and straightening himself to his full 6 feet height. A gentleman always looked presentable.

"I walk by your garden every day on my way to work." she explained smiling soft and friendly, 'and well....I thought since I saw someone in the garden that perhaps you wouldn't mind if I...."

The old man suddenly realized he was still holding the weed in one hand and gave it a quick toss. "Well, I don’t know. I don't often have guests in my garden."

"It's so lovely," she added with a flourish of her hand.

The old man pondered her face and saw a kindness too often lacking in the people who hurried by his wall, hands clenched in tight fists pumping to a beat from headphones that looked like two black donuts. "There’s a gate on the other side," he said turning and walking away from the wall.

Magritte found the gate and opened the black iron latch that held it closed. There was no flowery sign that welcomed visitors to the garden, no cute little cement rabbits, fairies or gnomes to greet passersby, and no gazing balls to mesmerize children. What she discovered was a serene coolness beneath ancient trees surrounded by pink flowers. Spent peonies gave way to hydrangeas that yielded to pink annuals of all shapes and textures. Spring-green ferns softened the edges and everywhere, climbing, crawling, and standing were luscious pink rose petals swirling around high points. Roses, in every shade of pink imaginable from the palest to the deepest, grew in joyous abandon inside the walled garden. Her breath caught in her throat as she took it all in....the beauty and gentle sweetness of the variation on a hue.

A sculpture of a weeping woman seated on a bench overlooked the walled backyard turned garden with a vacant stare. Tears, exquisitely sculpted on bronzed cheeks, caught tiny glimmers of light as a hand, lying in her lap, clutched a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. At her bare feet grew a profusion of pink Damask roses, the scent rising with the heat. "What a beautiful sculpture," murmured Magritte.

The man smiled, but offered no explanation of how such a sublime work of art came to be in his garden.

One turn around the garden and then he suggested she come back another time for a visit and perhaps tea. "Do you drink tea?" he inquired. She nodded as he opened the gate.

"Thank you for letting me visit your...." She began, but he was all ready walking down the flagstone path to the garden.

As she continued on her way home, she realized she'd forgotten to ask him about the watering can on the wall. With a smile, she decided that the watering can would be a perfect tea-time tale and she looked forward to the telling.

Written for Magpie Tales inspired by the watering can photo at the top.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

100 Word Challenge: The Courage to Fly

(look closely at the photo, you can see one leg on the shell as a touching farewell)

You sheltered me while I grew. I had no choice but to slough you off like a skin too small. Crawling out wasn’t all that easy. I struggled, you know, I worked hard like the cicadas we watched from the porch swing on sultry August Sundays. Remember? We looked on as the hard shell of security that surrounded wet, transparent wings split down the middle. Singers of summer songs perched vulnerable on the sprawling oak tree until the moment came and with dry wings launched into life. I discovered my courage to fly, too, and we were companions no more.

Written for Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge using the word companions for inspiration and graciously hosted by Lou

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

" what happens then.."

There’s a new kid in the writing blogosphere. "and what happens then..." is the creation of Tara R. She set up shop and invited fellow bloggers/writers to join her in a collaborative writing venture. Each writer takes on a chapter giving their own personal spin to the story entitled, The Courier. Tara penned the first chapter of the novelette with 21 writers to follow:

And Triplets Make Six - John
Bad Momma
If Mom Says OK - Tara R.
It’s Always Something Around Here - Lou Ann
Just One Miss
Molding Young Minds - Miss H.
Musician’s Widow - Denise
Pieces of Me - Jen
 Red Monkey - Ender
Redefining Perfect - Sarah
Rock and Drool - Melissa
Sex and the Single Dad - J.R.
Shiny Healthy People - Jen
Soft Skies - Heather
Stay at Home Dad in Lansing - Chris
Suburban Scrawl - Melisa with one S
The Drafts Folder - Draft Queen
The Scholastic Scribe - Melissa B
Whee All the Way Home - Patois
Write in Amazement - Teresa O

This should be a fascinating journey and I'm looking forward to following the path the story takes and giving my own twist to the ongoing tale.  I hope you join me at "what happens then..." 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Abundant Price

She sat next to him; her beautiful face vacant, unaware of the wake following the ferry toward Nantucket, the waves winking beneath the sun, or seagulls hovering like mobiles overhead. He turned away from her holding the Blackberry up to his ear. With a snap he closed it, tucked his connection into his pocket offering her an apologetic smile.

A few moments later a ring sounded from his pocket. With a shrug of shoulders he began talking.

"Can’t you just turn it off?"

It was the price she paid for the abundant life he provided that included vacations on Nantucket.

This week's 100 Word Challenge is all about the word abundant.  Catch more quick reads with Lou hosting the challenge at Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From View to You

Ack!  I've done it again.  I'm too late to post on Magpie Tales, but I'll go ahead and post this bit of fiction anyhow. 

You’ve always had a lush garden crisp with fresh greens and juicy with red tomatoes. I’ve watched from my kitchen window as you toiled under the hot sun, a baseball cap covering your sandy blonde hair and protecting your blue eyes. You never did look right in a garden, to me. You belonged on a baseball field pitching balls at Autobahn speed or in an Armani suit in a gleaming high rise on Wall Street, but then if you’d been there you wouldn’t be here, a small town in the middle of nowhere.

Every morning you’d turn on a hose dripping water into the garden. I was disappointed that you didn’t use a sprinkler so I could see the tiny rainbows that move back and forth with the spouting water, but you know best when it comes to growing things.

You have a hole in your fence. Did you know that? It’s rather large and once I peeked through it to get a better look at your yard and you, too. You took your shirt off that day and I could see the fine, muscular outline of your back as you worked. The sheen of sweat that glistened in drops on your tanned skin made me bite my lip until it bled. At one point you removed your cap, wiped a dirty hand across your forehead leaving a brown smear that marred my image of you. That’s when I stopped looking and went back inside.

Hey, I think it’s really nice that you grow flowers, too. I like flowers, especially those big red ones. You know the ones with the shaggy heads that smell like mint? I guess I’ve given away my secret now. Yep, sometimes I walk in your garden; usually when you’re gone in the evening. Once I went in during the day. Yes, indeedy, I just walked right up to the gate and let myself in. You sure do like pretty plants, but you really should have tore out that nasty rose with the long thorns. It grabbed my shirt, ripped it and left a nasty scratch on my arm. I’m sorry I had to take sharp loppers to it. It sure was a shame seeing all those beautiful, decapitated rose heads lying on the ground like globs of coagulated blood, but it won’t hurt people now.

Hmm...just look at that big bowl of tomatoes. There’s yellow ones, pink ones, and red ones all on one stem. Why did you pick them before they were ripe? Well some are ripe. This one is delicious and just look the juice is running down my chin. You must think I’m terribly uncouth with no manners at all, wiping the juicy stream from my face and licking my fingers.

You know? I could have lived next to you forever just enjoying the view from my kitchen window, taking secret walks in your garden when you weren’t around, just had to ruin everything. You spoiled it all when you allowed her into your garden. I was furious when I looked out my window. I had to get my binoculars to get a closer view and there she was, prancing around, like the skinny whore she is, in a stupid yellow dress all sunny and cute. Who ever thought you’d go for a red head? I figured you a blonde sort of lover.

I really hope you enjoyed the tomato juice I made for you.  I even used big, juicy, red tomatoes fresh from your garden. Well, it won’t be much longer now...I’ll go home soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

On the Wings of Indecision

"I can’t even decide what box I want. See how confused I am? How full of indecision I’ve become?" We stood in the aisle surrounded by round, square, and rectangular boxes with flaps, lids, latches, and handles as I pointed out my obvious wavering to my friend. There were frou-frou boxes covered in scenes from Paris, retro boxes adorned with a lady in a full-skirt dress that looked like she’d stepped out of a 50s magazine, mules with a fluff of fur standing pretty on pink stripes, brilliant red poppies on black, and scenes from the seaside. I loved them all and couldn’t decide which I wanted. I stood in that aisle for a good ten minutes opening and closing boxes, trying to imagine a stack on my desk. MJ offered me a 40% off coupon, listened to my ridiculous complaining about how I seem to have misplaced myself, made sound suggestions, and then walked on leaving me to mull over the choices. In the end, I gave her back the coupon and left without a box.

This is a small view into my current wishy-washy self. I cannot decide who I am or who I want to be. In the past I always knew, I was the daughter of...I was the sister of...I was the wife of...I was the mother of...I lived in the country on a farm in a house built in 1870. Gardening was near the top of my love-to-do list. I decorated our home with antiques, heirlooms and items purchased at antique shops and auctions. Bringing small bits of history back to life thrilled me. Books and reading were an integral part of my life. Yearning for something more so ingrained that I breathed it in and out like the dusty air in the old barn until I nearly choked.

Here I am years later feeling lost after taking a year to find myself in the place of my dreams. I did what I’m guessing most people never have the opportunity to do. I should count myself among the luckiest of lucky, yet I feel as if I’m a teenager who just can’t quite figure life out. It’s ok to be indecisive when you’re 16 or even 26, but eventually shouldn’t I figure this trip out?

Who am I...

I’m a woman
I love my children and grandson
I love my siblings and their families
I adore my friends
I love writing; satisfies my passion
I find freedom in photography
Reading takes me places I could never go
I love to create
I love water: oceans, seas, lakes, and’s where I find serenity
I love flowers
I love flower gardens more than vegetable gardens
Poetry is beauty in words in my microcosm of the world
Music can bring me to my knees
Pretty clothes make me swoon
High heels excite me
Art inspires me
I prefer boutiques and out of the way shops over the mall
Farmers’ Markets are the best way to buy vegetables and fruits in my book
I believe there’s a Zen to baseball, but not basketball
The sexiest thing a man can wear is
a button-down oxford shirt with his sleeves rolled up
I have a paper, pen, and notebook fetish
The color pink enchants me
I want to believe Santa Claus, angels, the Easter bunny, and fairies exist

Where am I in this list of things? How can I love the truly sublime, yet find a fascination with the basest portions of life? Can I be such a juxtaposition of opposites all rolled into one mind, body, and soul? Perhaps it’s just the dark side of me warring with the light. This is why I have two is light and the other can become dark from time to time. I just wish I knew in which camp I truly reside. I’m hoping I’m just like everybody else, layered in experiences, loves, likes, and dislikes. Maybe it’s time to spread my wings and fly once more...I just wish I knew where to.

*Photos taken by me over the weekend outside the Toledo Museum of Art.  The statue is 'Wings' by sculptor Carl Milles, circa 1908.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Between Brothers

****************** Language Warning *************************

"Let’s roll puke," George said slapping his younger brother’s head.

Charlie responded, "Hey! Whadja do that for?"

Shifting the Barracuda into second gear George goaded, "You are not normal, ya little prick."

"Am too!"

"Do you even know what normal means?"

"Yeah, I do. It's being like everybody else."

Well, that leaves you out. You forget every thing; otherwise I wouldn’t have to drive you to school. Hell you probably forget to wipe your ass after taking a dump."

"Do not!"

George pulled up to the sidewalk and socked his brother in the shoulder. "Hey, good luck with try-outs tonight."

I have three brothers and based this 100 Word Challenge on thousands of conversations between the two or three of them that I've overheard.  Hike on over to LceeL's blog, Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge to give writing it in 100 words a try or read other writers' take on this weeks prompt, normal.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Facing the Elements

He left the library at closing, passing ivy-climbing brick buildings. Snow, like a torque, rotated about him in a furious frenzy. With head held high, facing directly into winter’s temper tantrum, he tore open his shirt exposing his chest to the elements and screaming into the winds, "Bring it on, bitch!"

He never felt more alive than he did at this moment with freezing snow pelting his bared torso and howling winds biting his goose-bumped, prickling flesh in angry response. He countered with a hard kick to the blanket of snow covering his path and arrogantly continued on his way.


Written for Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge.  Take a minute and check out the other entries using the word prompt, blanket.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


She perched on the high iron stool at a bistro table checking her watch for the third time in five minutes. Her fingers worried the petals of the pink flower as she turned it over and over unaware of the velvet texture. Her penchant for correctness compelled her to arrive exactly five minutes early. As she entered the brick alley she noticed a small shrub of ball-like blooms in shades of pink and palest blue. Uncharacteristically plucking one of the pink balls from a stem she carried it with her to the table to wait.

He’d said he be there at precisely 7 pm...right here in this very public garden in the middle of town. She’d even specified which table she’d be sitting at. Her face blushed pink as she told him over the phone, "I’ll be waiting at the table just after the blue painted ’57 Chevy and next to the bare-chested man holding the leash of his dog."

He couldn’t possibly miss the designated meeting place. There were only three alleys lined with paintings, plantings, and places to sit, each one a small oasis hovering between buildings in the small town.

When she first arrived, she quickly opened her purse, took out the small compact checking for feathering lipstick or smeared mascara, but everything looked good...well good enough or as good as it’s going to get, she thought. She’d painted her toes and fingernails a rosy pink that matched the lipstick, put on a simple sundress, grabbed a light cardigan sweater, just in case the summer evening turned cool, and headed out the door her heart thumping beneath a flat chest. Trying to orchestrate how he would first see her, she crossed her left leg over the right and then switched. She smoothed her skirt down, fussed with her hair, and waited.
As she sat alone, time moved at the pace of the snail she watched sliding across the cool bricks to the other side of the alley. Fifteen minutes after her arrival, she picked up the flower again. Her fingers pulled tiny flowers from the head as she stared at the arched back entry anticipating his arrival any moment now.

I wish I’d stopped and got a drink, she thought as her mouth dried from anxiety doubled with annoyance. He’d promised to pick up a latte for her on his way to the meeting, but of course, he’s not here.

"How long should I wait? He’s not coming. I just knew he wouldn’t," she whispered as she strangled the ball of blossoms crushing the remaining tender flowers in her tight fist.

At exactly 7:25 she scooted off the stool, tossed what was left of the hydrangea on the table and walked through the arch to her car.

Five minutes later, right on time, a tall, thin man wearing black-rimmed, coke-bottle thick glasses approached the bistro table just after the ’57 Chevy, but before the bare-chested man holding his dog’s leash. From his pocket, he took out a piece of paper scribbled with directions...Meet at 7:30 on Saturday. The only thing waiting for him was a pile of pink bruised flower petals lying on the table. He stood contemplating what to do for the next few ticks of the clock while he rolled a floret in his fingers. He dropped the tiny pink ball he’d formed and walked away sipping a latte.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

100 Word Challenge: Bustier

I'm joining the fun at Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge.  The word for this week is bustier.  Whoo-hooo!  This is too much fun!  Please check out what other's have to say about bustiers.
You'll find my 100 word story on my Written with Soul page with an Adult Content Warning

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Forgotten Day

For the first time in my adult life I forgot the anniversary of my marriage. Even after the divorce I always remembered the day until this year. Remembering over a week after the fact must say something about where I am emotionally. In other words, I'm over it, yet...I still feel that twinge of ache when I recall the day I married and the many years that followed.

We married way too young. The only thing experienced was being a child and a teen before we hit the pot-hole road of adult pursuits. So young, so naïve, but with doubts I followed this road long before I was emotionally ready and mature enough to know this was what I wanted.

A week or so ago, my two sisters and I sat in folding chairs around a campfire talking about everything from childhood pranks to adult misfortunes. We shared where we’ve been and where we hope to go. We giggled like 13 year old girls at a slumber party when the newly-wed couple in the yurt next to our cabin began telling the world in not so soft sighs and louder groans that the marriage was consummated. The couple continued making love in the early hours of what would have been my wedding anniversary had I stayed married. Between the urgent moans and the baritone gasping, the thought of my own wedding night never entered my weary mind.

The next morning, after two or three cups of coffee, fresh eggs scrambled and grilled smoky links, sister chatter began again. We rehashed the night’s events like three crones cackling over a boiling cauldron. We waved with knowing smiles plastered on our faces as the young couple headed to their car bound for Cedar Point. Then the conversation turned to our own marital decisions.

I said to my sisters, "I did exactly what was expected of me."

One sister arched an eyebrow giving me her quizzical look, "What do you mean?"

I...we...were raised to be wives and mothers. My father was older when he married my mother; he was well into his 40s when I was born and 70 when my youngest brother graduated from high school. He touted an old-fashioned view of life, especially when it came to how children should be raised. Chores and household tasks were gender based. Girls did dishes, cleaned and learned to cook. The boys did the outside work; mowing the lawn, cleaning off snow from sidewalks, and taking out the garbage. As daughters of the family, we were not encouraged to go to college. An education was not important, after all, we’d only grow up, marry and have children. What need did we have for a degree? The only thing we needed was a hard-working, good man to take care of us and in return, we'd take care of him. I view this attitude as perpetuating the fairy tale for girls with a people-pleasing syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful childhood full of love, learning, and fun. We were a big family that laughed more than we wept, but I had dreams beyond the scope of my parents’ expectations.

My sister agreed with me after I shared my thoughts that we each took the path laid out before us by our parents, albeit in different ways. My middle sister and I both married shortly after high school. My oldest sister was the renegade. She fought my father with her very soul on the line. We sat at a round table for meals, each of us in our specific chairs. The evening meal became the battleground and I still remember how angry my father became when B wanted to discuss her aspirations of going to college. Dad’s ire climbed like the temperature on an August day in Ohio, his face a thundercloud of I-am-always-right-how-dare- you-question-me indignation. In the end, B won. She went to college, received her degree, taught music, and eventually walked away from teaching for 18 years to raise a family. So all three of us became wives and stay-at-home moms during a time when our peers were garnering degrees, paychecks, and rocking the workforce from every avenue.

Looking back now, I realize that getting married so young was a bad idea, but I have two children, uniquely wonderful and one grandson that would not be here had I chosen the opposite fork in the road. I stood, the fresh-faced bride with my hand tucked securely in my father’s arm, looking up at the clock. It read 2:25 pm and I thought, There’s still time, there’s still time to end this. I have no idea what would have happened had I run out the door as fast as my white, strappy wedgies could carry me. The only thing I do know is that the image of the clock haunted me for the next 20 years.

I’ve been divorced ten years now and this is the first year that the date of my wedding lay forgotten among the bric-a-brac of living a life and it’s damned ok with me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sensible to Sensual

I wrote a short story for Magpie Tales, but I'm too late to submit it. Just click on the Written with Soul tab to find the story.            


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Moving Feast for the Eyes

Every day trains fly by heading for a place unknown by me. It’s not the trains, but the dazzling, colorful feast for my eyes that grabs for attention and gets it. There’s dichotomy with an illegal form of art that fascinates using every trick and angle to convey the gamut of human emotions from comedy, whimsy, and elegance to brash, raunchy and raw. This is freight art, but I call it a moving art show that presents itself to me whenever I’m in the right place at the right time and take a few moments to view and appreciate the forms, patterns, and color that move down the rails.

Let me take you on a tour of where country meets city through the ever-changing mobile art show…a magical, moving feast for the eyes.

The Faces

The Messages

A Greeting

I've taken over 200 images of the art on the trains that pass this way.  I've also done a bit of research on where it all comes from, a bit about the history and I hope to discover more about the artists that create the moving art show.  So the next time you see a train, take a moment to really look at the graffiti and you may just discover a moving feast for your eyes.  

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memories of a Hero

My father served with pride and honor in World War II.  He rarely talked about the cruelties and horror of war.  Instead, he focused on the camaraderie, the people he met in places like France, and the daily hardships of surviving in war torn countries.  He was an older father who insisted his kids kept him young.  He looked and acted so young that most people were shocked to find out that he was 70 when my youngest brother graduated from high school.  He worked hard his entire life, something of an  A personality who found joy in creating.  He was a dreamer and I believe the love of my mother's life.  He passed in the spring of 2000 and he would have been 100 years old in July. 

I miss him dearly.  He could tell a story with a twinkle in his steel blue eyes, his laughter came quick and his passion flamed with a fire that could burned hot.  He had a salty tongue, but was as gentle as the flowers he'd pick and present to mom. 

I think of him every day, but especially today as the country honors those who served in wars and those who died with services, picnics, flags unfurled and flying.  His uniform still hangs in the closet at my brother's home.  His Cleveland Indian baseball cap sits atop my desk.  He's everywhere  and anywhere I or my five siblings wander. 

Here's to you, dad...our hero. 


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Times They Are A Changin'

This is it, folks. This is my last day of exquisite freedom and I plan to eat tuna sandwiches for lunch while watching the insanity of Bravo dwellers. Yes I tune in, without shame, to psychotic Housewives and chefs creating dishes I don’t think the cats would even sniff. What’s worse is my newfound rubbernecking at MTV shows like The City, but I digress and I’m wasting time.

No, I’m not heading for vacation on a secluded island in some exotic location. No, I’m not going to jail. And thankfully, my computer glitches and problems have been solved. Nope…the end to my freedom comes at the grimy hands of “zee leetle devil” (That’s a story I really need to tell). Thursday is the last day of school.

“So what?” You ask. “You have one more day of silver silence.”

“No I don’t! Tomorrow is another day of digging up the side yard in an attempt to grow veggies. That means, two of my brothers armed with a rototiller, shovels, and beer show up to do the grunt work while I run to McDonald’s for Happy Meals. So this is it, my precious hours of alone time to write, blog, and do whatever I want are spent and gone.

The invasion begins *long bosom heaving sigh* and I have no choice but to leap into Mimi mode. That means I become grandmother/nanny for the next three months. I’m looking forward to the neighbor kid crawling under my bed searching for a cat to thrust his plastic laser into. I can’t wait until the fighting over Bravo or Cartoon Network begins. I’m eager to start pleading and bribing zee leetle devil into washing his hands before lunch, picking up the mountain of toys that traveled from bedroom to living room, and roasting like a chicken in the sun while he swims in his inflatable pool. Summer is here and the times they are a changin’, much to my chagrin.

You all know me…I’m the softtiest lady around and when it comes to the little man in my life he can ALMOST do no wrong. I’m looking forward to sharing summer fun with the little urchin, but man I’m going to miss my alone time lunching with tuna and Bravo

Monday, May 24, 2010


There’s more than one way to tell a story, which led me to revamping my blog. Through the wonder of blogging I discovered photography. Who knew that it would become one of my favorite things to think about and do! I really wanted a page dedicated to this budding passion. Then I thought, I’d like to put a few darker themed stories out there, but I don’t want them on the Home page. I want readers to choose if they want to read while visiting or not. So here I am tweaking HTML, adding widgets and gadgets until I’m satisfied. Write in Amazement isn’t exactly under construction, but it’s morphing into more of what I want.

And I want…

Written with Soul, nothin’ but creative writing. I’m giving readers a warning about this one; the content will often be adult in nature. No, not pornographic or overly violent…that’s not my bag. However, sometimes characters use profanity, make disturbing decisions, and behave less than stellar. I’m not asking for approval, I’m just sayin’…

The other page: Written with the Lens is all about photography because it’s just another way to tell a story.

To get my focus fix every day I’m attempting to take at least one photograph a day and post it on Written with the Lens page. When you come for a visit, take a peek at my view for the day.

While I’m at it I might as well tell everyone that I submitted a photo to Shutter Sisters One Word Project. Each month one word is selected and photographers play along submitting their interpretations of the word. The word for the month of May is everyday. I’ve been knocked off my whirling, twirling office chair by the amazing photos I see on the Shutter Sisters site and on Flickr. Now, this may not seem like much to most out there, but submitting that photo was baby step in the right direction for me.

So there it is, two new pages with different themes. Oh by the way…what you’ll find on Written with Soul is creative writing from my very own imagination, not based on anyone and seldom based on anything I did or didn’t do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Little Shop of Hearts

She greeted us with dark eyes, haunted and beautiful, framed with wisps of black hair cut short and neat. Her little shop of hearts, just off the main drag, invites the imagination to take flight in mesmerizing juxtapositions of every day minutiae and the complexities of simplicity. With a beguiling smile, she bids visitors to search for a million stories among the lovely clutter.

See the white feathers, a graceful flourish to a sequined mask, but who hid behind the elegant facade? Was she at a masked ball for society’s ultimate pretenders? Did she sashay down Bourbon Street in chic camouflage after too many glasses of rich, red wine? Perhaps she attended a Halloween bash on a dark October night when frost lay heavy as revelers made their way home. The cherubic bust, with eyes closed, repeats a silent prayer for her mortal soul. Oh the stories that the imagination conjures up in a fraction of a moment.
The hats…the crumpled, flowered, colors of the rainbow, animal print hats hung from a wooden display pole. I fell in love with the hat with the cherries and why not? What lady doesn’t want a hat with bright red cherries decorating her tippy top while strutting down the street in red stilettos and red full lips? Then there was the lime-green frill of tulle with a pearl stung flower. It had to be the headdress of a bride’s maid dressed in pea-green soup while the bride danced in white satin.  
A flounce of flowers caught my attention and I saw her…excited to be going to the city. Breaks away from the daily drudgery of cooking, cleaning, and children came so seldom, but a trip to the city, a full 60 miles away was such a rare treat that she barely contained her glee. . From a distance, he caught her admiring the black confection with a deep red flower, a burst of yellow, and a blossom blushing the soft lavender of a twilight sky. He envisioned her face beneath the pretty hat and then her joy each time she donned it, but money was tight. He figured in his head and decided he would do without the new shirt he needed so she could own something lovely. I’m sure they quietly argued until she acquiesced with a humble smile and he fidgeted ever so slightly while he handed the money to the clerk.

Black lace is a siren song waiting to be sung. The parasol in black lace, hanging from the ceiling, was a feast for the eyes prodding at the imagination to conjure up stories. Is there a mournful theme to the story of lost love and a need for a pretty parasol on a day too harsh for milk white skin? Perhaps it was the delicious ending to a stylish gown of black and white with a bustle in the back and ruffles in the front ala Scarlet O’Hara. Or maybe… just maybe…it was the whimsical addition to a bedroom scene with a high-kicking dancer and her delighted lover.

Visit a vintage shop and buy something…anything. Ponder the who, why, where, and what of it. Listen to the heart of the matter and let it ignite the imagination until the object is no longer just a thing, but a story with a past, present and future.

The photos were taken in a magical shop called Heartstrings in Cleveland's Little Italy.  I can't wait to go back.   

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rainy Day in May

It’s been a wet May so far. Last week it rained, hailed, and the winds came blowing across the region with a ferocity that knocked over wooden swing sets, set limbs free from trunks, and moaned as it snaked around the corner. Today, clouds heavy with rain, linger like a low, gray ceiling. What to do on a rainy day?

Stare out the window at naked stalks of dandelion sporting white pored heads among grass grown too long because mowing wet grass is never a good idea.

Keep the Weather Channel on in the background hoping for a glimmer of sunshine in the forecast.

Grab tweezers and do a little facescaping. Shape the brows, check for unwanted hairs or stiffies, as I adoringly call them, on the chin.

Slap a white muddy face mask on after careful plucking. Write a blog post in the fifteen minutes it takes for the stuff to dry and pull the skin tighter.

Sigh a lot.

Ponder article and query ideas. Check the list, check it twice and decide to create an organized, informational spreadsheet in Excel.

Watch the tops of trees wave to-and-fro in a wind dance.

Put headphones on and listen to a Sting CD, Sacred Love. Muse over the song Stolen Car and what a naughty little story it is. (Yes, I know the Weather Channel is still on, too.)

Check the MLB site to find out how the Indians and Red Sox are faring. Yikes! Both in 4th with the Sox 5 games out and the Indians 9.   *sad face*

Look up dates to go to a Mud Hens game.

Become a voyeur and watch the Cape Cod cams to see what’s going on in my favorite place.

Finally…stop procrastinating and get busy on this rainy day in May.

Ciao, Bellas!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

At A Year of Happy

JoLyn graciously invited me to be a guest blogger on her blog, A Year of Happy, today. JoLyn’s photography tells rich stories of her life, her words make me smile, and I feel a kindred spirit residing a thousand miles away.

Please hop over to her blog and share some Sunday love.  Thank you for all your thoughtful comments over the months and honoring me on your blog.  Big hugs to JoLyn!

Happiness is a girl on a goat! 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Purple Lady

I feel purple like the lady in the graffiti art on a train that I photographed.  I call it a moving art show and try to photograph as many cars as possible.  Once in a while I'm lucky enough to grab a shot when the cars are still, but usually I have to hope for some luck as I point and shoot while the train speeds by.  Anyhow...I'm in a purple mood, feeling black and blue bruised by life and the frustrations it sends at times.

I can't define it, I can't understand's a sun shiney day with blue skies and wisps of white clouds.  It's spring!  It's robin's chirping as they cock their heads listening.  Like the robin, I'm listening too, but I'm not hearing the sounds I long for or want to hear.  So I listen to sappy music, write, and try to keep reminding myself that I am awash in blessings. 

It's good I'm alone this afternoon... I think I could be a real bitch right now.  Maybe I need these purple times to cleanse my soul, my spirit, my heart of lingering fragments of unexplored hours and days. 

If I had a glass of wine, I'd raise it in a salute to purple ladies, unknown graffiti artists, and brighter days to come.       

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Needy Relationship

You sit across from me in an intimate setting. Face to face, we’ve attained a symbiotic relationship. I need you and you would be nothing without me. Within your vast mind you hold so much of my life…so much that while you were gone, I began to wonder if I’d given you too much power.

During this last month, I’ve gone to the mattress for you repeatedly. I searched every inch of you to find what was bothering you. You know too much about me, you hold my dreams and my secrets. I’ve cried out in anger, frustration, and sorrow to you. And yes, you know what makes me supremely happy and what causes my laughter to filter out into the world. Imagine my shock when I learned that you’d allowed a stranger to come into our private world.

No matter what I tried I could not pry the interloper from you, so I had to take drastic measures to get our relationship back where it belongs. I sent you away.

Oh how I missed you. I missed your humming and blinking lights. I missed all the friends you brought to me. I missed the words and photographs that I’d become so enamored with over the months and years. I pondered missed opportunities and easy-access information. I missed MS Word! What? I have to use a pen and notebook to write articles? Who will check my spelling? Who will remind me to watch my comma usage? I have to count words myself? Word always did all those things for me!

While you were gone, I continued photographing but became frustrated realizing that I had no photo program to upload them to. The instant gratification of viewing my photographs through you had spoiled me. Then while walking one morning, my iPod stopped playing my favorite tunes. Who was going to rejuvenate the battery and hook me up with music?

Despair took over and I turned to an old love…Sex and the City. While you were gone I made my way through Seasons One, Two, Three, Five, Six and the movie. I admit to wiping drool from my face each time I got a glimpse of Carrie’s laptop, but I lost myself in the fun, fashion, and seductive scenes. In between Carrie’s flirtations and frustrations with Mr. Big, I’d check on you.

“We’ll have it done in a day or so,” said the voice from the other end.

“Please call me when you’re finished.” I’d reply sounding more than a bit pathetic.

Then I waited. To make a long story short, I called every other day, brought you home only to have to take you back when I could see that you were hanging on to the intruder even after spending days away.

Lack of communication led to a longer stay. The anger grew and the frustration mounted after phoning and receiving little reassurance that all would be well. It took several harried phone calls in one day to finally get you back. I must say, you look fine indeed. We’re back to sharing again, except now I must figure out how to take back some of my life because this dependent relationship needs a bit more readjustment.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Your brown eyes peer deep into my soul every time you look at me. Edged with sadness, fraught with frustration, yet glowing with joy your eyes tell a wordless story. I linger on memories of you, emerging from infancy learning to walk at 9 months and at 15 months, pointing at letters, announcing the names. Mounting concern surrounds my wonder.

What a quirky little fellow you are.

Such a bright boy, precocious and energetic; they say you endure somewhere between Aspbergers, ADHD, or profoundly intelligent. I cannot tell you in what kingdom you reside and my heart continues to ache.

This writing is in response to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word challenge.  You'll find more writings to read here.  

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Rain with the March Hare

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
~Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

It rained over the weekend. Slate gray skies wept a sad song all day Saturday and then sighed while dropping a few more tears on Sunday. We refused to be pulled into melancholy March and instead found reasons to smile and laugh.
  What’s not to laugh about when jumping in puddles while carrying a little umbrella with Optimus Prime striking a strong pose on it?

Who could ever frown at cupcakes dressed in chocolate frosting with a curl at the top? And let’s add a sprinkle of pale pink sugar for a glittering effect.

Then there’s Alice in Wonderland. In Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s fantasy, Alice says, “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be as it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

So the rain over the weekend that’s extended into the Monday would not be rain at all, but tiny wet drops falling from sky with soft tinkling laughter. Each would find a soft pillow to land on, jump up and pirouette all about the grassy lawn. Gray clouds would be violet and pink cushions with French knots embroidered in green. What is up would be down and what is down would be up. Penguins would wear bikinis instead of tuxedos and butterflies would turn into caterpillars.

The new Alice in Wonderland movie enchants with the lovable characters, the absurd Queen of Hearts, and wonderland in all it’s magical mystery glowing in vibrant colors. For a while we were transported to wonderland with Alice and forgot about here and now.

Oh what a happy place to be a child once again, even if only for an hour or two.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Daisy, Kerouac, and Me

Oh, I don’t know what to write. I’ve been working on The Broom Man, but I can’t post it. I read somewhere that if you post excerpts of books you plan to try to have published, it puts the book in jeopardy of not being accepted because…it’s been previously published or at least part of it has been. So….no glimpses of what I’ve been working on for a year now. Yes, it’s taking me a year to write a fictional book loosely based on an intriguing character from my childhood. Mystery surrounded him and assumptions followed him, which when added to my imagination presents a tale of small town life seen through the eyes of someone on the fringe of society.

If anyone knows that what I’ve said is a bunch of pig swill, please let me know. I’d really like to post bits and pieces, get some reactions and who knows, maybe a critique or three.

Since I don’t know what to write today I’ll return to Jack Kerouac:

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”

Excuse me while I sigh….

Friday, March 5, 2010

About My Writing

Lately, I’ve been more of a reader than a writer and that’s ok. It’s more than ok it’s a damn good thing. I like scurrying down my blog list, reading posts by my favorites and leaving thoughtful comments. I’ve also rebooted my journal. Writing it out on a clean white sheet of paper satisfies me to the core. From the feel of the paper beneath my hand to how I grasp a black ink pen, it’s a tactile experience. It’s one of the few times I allow the whisperings of my heart to flow from hand to page without censure. If I’m angry…I write it in stark, emotional, bare-bones words. If I’m feeling benevolent and kind toward the world, a flowery prose ends up in the journal.

Then there are the days when I become the creator rather than the reactor. Those are the writing times I love best. I have no need to cleanse myself with words or cut my soul open to release life’s venom. Instead, I delve into that magical place of fantasy and fiction. It’s the place where I conjure up characters that reside in a population 2000 place, like the town where I grew up. The descriptive part of writing intrigues me and in a first writing I lose myself in painting my picture of Cape Cod, Chicago, or Comfrey, an imaginary region. Getting lost in the minutiae of life delights me and often reveals the inner sanctum of a character that might not otherwise be exposed.

Then comes the characters themselves, those personalities that populate the places I’ve been, the places I’d like to go, and the places I can never physically go because they exist only through me. At times, the characters become so real I dream of them, I worry what may happen to them, and I watch them develop through my words. I’ve discovered the hardest character to bring to life is the evil one…that spirit that makes bad decisions that hurt others for whatever reason. Does every story need a villain, an antagonist? Perhaps not, but it sure adds to the mystery and excitement.

Writing fiction is a deep-rooted love that started when I was a little girl. I’d pen my words in a yellow tablet after my sister fell asleep. These days, while the rest of the world slumbers, I escape to my fictional world of overrun gardens, brick buildings, and a man living on the fringe of small town society trudging through life with eyes wide open. I pen short stories and novels, unfinished and waiting for a conclusion.

Have you started a book, a novel, a memoir?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pearls of Me

I wandered about and discovered bloggers casting pearls of themselves out in the open and decided to do the same...

I am: searching desperately for T

I think: life is too short

I know: very little

I want: something more

I have: long hair that's about to be cut

I dislike: Music that can’t be turned off on blogs and websites

I miss: CP

I feel: like gray clouds have taken up residence in my heart

I hear: Sarah McLachlan singing Blackbird

I smell: conditioner on my hair

I crave: the Atlantic Ocean

I usually: cook from scratch

I search: endlessly for that intangible something

I wonder: why

I regret: not following my dreams and gut instinct

I love: deeply

I care: about too much

I always: cry during touching songs, movies, life moments

I worry: whether there will ever be enough

I remember: way too much

I dance: with wild abandon when the mood strikes

I sing: every day

I don’t always: make my bed

I argue: for the heck of it

I write: every day, but not nearly enough

I lose: courage way too easily

I wish: I had more money

I listen: to everyone

I don’t understand: why

I can usually be found: writing in front of a computer

I am scared: that life will slip through my fingers

I need: to stop being a afraid

I forget: people’s names and numbers

I am happy: most of the time

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Product of my Bummed-Outedness

The mean reds keep knocking on my door, leaving me befuddled.  Call it any name you a funk, the blues, or depression, we've all been there.  Yesterday I wrote my feelings down, then sent it to a friend. I hadn't intended to post it, but what the heck.  Life isn't all sunshine, blue skies, beaches and kites...sometimes it's raw, rotten and ridiculous.  So, as MJ called it, here's the product of my bummed outedness. 

Do you ever have those days when you feel like there’s nothing new under the gloom of a long winter? Everything beautiful has all ready been written. Every capture by a camera has all ready been viewed by millions? Every painting, poem, and grand novel has all ready been created. Searching for inspiration comes to a dead end that sends me back where I began, like a cable car at the end of the line. Turning in place, tail always trying to catch up with the head, never quite there, never quite good enough powers down on me during these bouts of doubt.

I read and I read and I read. I read blogs, I read books, I read magazines, I read emails, I read menus, signs, recipes, directions, and just words. Everywhere I look words cover the world in beauty and ugly phrases. Has it all been said? Is there anything new to say to a world filled with too many words all ready?

I write and then I write some more. I write about cat pee on a carpet and gardens and flowers and herbs and how to create that perfect wall décor with just right frames placed in just right patterns, all with the eye of a shadow artist.

I journal in a complaining whiny voice that exaggerates my frustrations with where I live and the present circumstances of a depressed area where standing in line waiting for the unemployment check takes precedence over anything else life has to offer. I write about an old wandering man in the town where I grew up. I blog about flowers, gardens, and anything that creeps into my head when sleep runs ahead of me laughing. I put my heart and soul on the page, but are my sufferings, transgressions, or joys any different from anyone else who lives an ordinary life? I can hear you say, “But it’s how you say it.” Perhaps so, but is it good enough? Is it enough to shed the skin that covers the heart just to become transparent to readers? Or to be truly unique, a voice heard among the masses of writers out there, must I commit suicide over and over… dying bit by bit as I write?

I wander about in an aimless search for something. I see photographs of smiling children looking more beautiful than angels. I see simple pleasures grace page after page, site after site turned into surreal moments that transcend simplicity. My fingers touch the monitor convinced that I can feel the velvet of the rose, but it’s a cold technical face that touches me back. I view shocking, sublime, and sensual in one quick click of the mouse. So if there’s all ready so much to see, does the world really need one more wannabe photographer who points and shoots? Today, the answer is no…the world will be quite content if I never pick up a camera again.

Perhaps silence is or should be the new “in” thing. Instead of constant visual feasts of words and pictures, I need silence and quiet reflection. Yet…I think too much. I get lost in my head. I’m afraid someday I’ll get so lost in there that I won’t find my way back out.

Buck up! Pull yourself up by the bootstraps! Stop complaining! Who do you think you are? What good does all this do? “Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it’s breaking,” sings Lyle Lovett. I’m not sure I can do that today.

MJ's response to my whining...
I read the product of your bummed-outed-ness. Wow. I suppose, if you're a writer, you would sometimes get to that point of thinking it's all been said before. I think that's why talented people go mad. Please don't go mad! Stay with me here! Did you feel better after writing it? I want you to know that your writing inspired me to go out and buy myself some flowers. I've never done that before. So your writing is important. That's proof. I'm sending a picture.
What a wonderful friend! Thank you!