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!