Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Flash Fiction Challenge - Bats

On October 5th on Twitter I saw another Writober prompt from Deliah S. Dawson, a most excellent author, for flash fiction - a bat in someone's hair.  I went a little longer than the 5 tweet limit she suggested.  Below is the resulting short story:

Cathy and Sharon sat outside by the firepit.  They were celebrating the autumnal equinox, giving thanks for all that had come into their lives.

"It's so peaceful out here! Not like in town.  Everybody's in your business. So much noise," Cathy said. "I think I may move out here."

Sharon smiled good naturedly.  "Life in the country is a lil bit more complicated than leaving the city behind."

Cathy frowned at her. "Like what?"

"Well," Sharon replied, "You have to be more self-relient.  There's no curb-side service out here."

"So you don't think I could cut it if I moved out here?  You think it's better I just go back to where I belong?"  Cath's face had turned a bit red as she spoke.  She reached for her drink on the ground by her chair.

Sharon looked at her friend, searching for words.  "I only meant that realistically..."

As Sharon spoke a dark shape dove from the sky towards a moth just above where Cathy's head had been.  As she straightened up with her drink, its speed prevented it from stopping before slamming into Cathy's frizzy hair.  Stunned by the impact, the dark creature squeaked and flapped.  Cathy, also stunned by the impact, began to scream, her spilled drink forgotten.

"What the hell is it?!"  She shrieked.

Sharon reached for Cathy, "Be still!"  she demanded.  As gently as she could, she cupped her hands around the wings and body of the small creature, untangling it from the panicked woman's hair.  After freeing it, she studied it for a moment before setting it down on the ground between them and the fire.

"Is that a bat?"

"Yes, Cathy, it's a bat.  Just be calm.  It will recover in a minute and fly off."

They watched it move around a bit.  It looked at the two women then lifted itself up and sprang into the air.  It flew back into the trees.

Sharon turned to her friend, "Are you alright?  You get scratched or anything?"

"No," Cathy sputtered eyes still wide, "it was just in my hair."

"Catch your breath and calm down.  The fire's beginning to die down.  We can head inside and get you another glass of tea."  She picked up Cathy's glass from where it had landed on the ground with her free hand.  Her own glass still half full.

"Come on now, Cathy, let's head inside."

Cathy rose to her feet and walked beside her friend towards the house.

"I didn't know there were bats out here.  I've never noticed them before."

"Yeah," Sharon said, "there's a lot of wildlife that'll fly around or just wander up to the house.  I have to be careful about tying down the trashcan lids."  

Cathy looked over at her friend who was smiling and smiled back with a little laugh as they reached the door.  "Sharon, I don't know how you do it!"  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Flash Fiction Challenge - Monsters

This morning on Twitter I saw another Writober prompt from Deliah S. Dawson, a most excellent author, for flash fiction - monster in a cemetary.  I went a little longer than the 5 tweet limit she suggested.  Below is the resulting short story:

He could hear them only two gravestones down.  They were crying uncontrollably at the new mound of dirt still covered in wreaths and sprays of flowers that had yet to begin to wilt.

He crept closer to the two women.  They didn't hear his approach. They were young, their bodies lean.  Their long blonde hair fell over their faces as their bodies rocked with sobs. So much like the one in the grave. Were they family or friends? He hadn't seen them there before.

He reached his hand towards the closest woman, his knife in his other hand.  His mind reeled at the thought of her. A fantasy played in his mind. At his touch, she spun around, faster than he could catch hold.  Her face was exposed between sheets of white hair.  Her mouth was so wide with a wild scream, almost overshadowing the sight of her cold black eyes.

Before he could utter a sound they were upon him.  His knife a useless defense against them as they tore him to shreds.  Their hair was stained red from the arterial pumping. They ate his heart, letting the blood drip down from their mouths onto their ragged black dresses.

Carefully shifting the wreaths and flowers, they dug down with their hands into the soft earth, dropping the pieces of him into the hole.  The spilt blood was shifted with the dirt then covered by wreaths and flowers.

Their meal partaken, vengeance having been met, they departed, slipping silently among the tombstones. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Flash Fiction Challenge

This morning on Twitter I saw a Writober prompt from Deliah S. Dawson, a most excellent author, for flash fiction.  I decided to give it a try but went a little longer than the 5 tweet limit she suggested.  Below is the resulting short story:

Morris walked to the edge of the house and looked into the backyard.  Leaves had begun to turn yellows, oranges, reds.  A few were just beginning to litter the ground.  Soon they would need to be raked and bagged.

Movement caught Morris' eye.  The squirrel that had been digging in Marjorie's flower pots ran across the lawn with a large bulb in its mouth.

"You little bastard!" exclaimed Morris and started off after it.  The squirrel ran straight up the tree and sat flicking its tail on a branch high out of reach.  "The second you come out of that tree, you little rat bastard, I will end you!"

Marjorie came into the backyard and noticed the overturned pots. "Oh damn!  Was it that squirrel again, Morris?" She asked going over to him.  She looked up into the tree.  The squirrel looked down at her and chattered again before jumping from its current limb to an ajoining tree.

Morris began to follow it howling angrily, "I'll get you!  I'll rip your fucking head off!"

Marjorie picked him up, petting him soothingly, "My brave protector!  Let's get you back in the house.  You know you're not supposed to be out here.  You're declawed."  She kissed his head and petted him as she chided him.

Morris settled down.  For now he would accept her hospitality and lounge on the comfy couch and eat the delicious treats.  He could keep an eye on the squirrel from the windows.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Photographic Memory

I can't remember exactly how old I was when I was given my first camera nor by whom it was given.  I know that my sisters and I each received a camera on the same day as a gift and it wasn't for Christmas.  That's all I remember.

For years since, I have plagued family and friends by taking photos.  I take a lot of photos - even when it was rolls of film that had to be developed.  It's gotten worse with the digital age.  Some photos are posed.  Others are stolen moments.  Other people might delete these photos, seeing them as inferior, but not me, I need them.  I cherish them.  Now I know why. They tell me the stories that my mind can't hold.

I'm in theraphy again.  It's not a big deal really.  I've gone in and out of cycles of thereapy since I was 14.  The more serious work begain after I became pregnant with my first child.  I desperately wanted to be a "good parent" or at the very least not mess the kid up as much as I was.  I knew early on that I didn't function as other people did.  It made it harder to understant why my peers acted a certain way (I understood adults much better, their behavior was fairly predictable).  It made me a serious target for bullies in elementary and middle school.

Therapy cycles help me understand more about myself and my quirks and help me learn how to function a little better each time I go through it.  This time my therapist discussed some possible cognitive distortions.  For homework my therapist had me watch the movie INSIDE OUT.  I had seen it in the theater but this time I was watching closely with my own early development in mind.

What did I learn?  My "core memories" from childhood would have been comprised more form fear and sadness than joy (in the movie Joy was more the main core).  In fact, as I discussed this with my therapist, we realized that one of my survival techniques from early childhood would have been to NOT retain the memories.  To form memories (as my therapist explained) one has to be completely present, in the now.  As a child, it was much safer for me to NOT be mental present at all.  In fact that is the reason that I began telling myself stories, to remove myself from being present from, shall we say, unpleasantness. (Not that I didn't have any joy in my childhood, it's just that there were far more of the other emotions.)

Core memories from puberty would have been compromised more from fear, sadness, disgust, and to some degree anger (although outward displays of anger were not allowed).  There was no joy during this time.  I actually went through a period of flat/no emotions.  A total and complete disconnect from the present, the now.  It wasn't until I was in high school and then in college that I had more core memories of joy.

Having explained all that, the point is, there is a fault in how my memories are processed.  It's more like a series of snap shots than a moving film.  This is why I take so many photos at random times (sometimes of random things); the photos tell me the stories I wasn't present enough to capture correctly.  I haven't trained myself to be present enough to hold that memory completely.  Sometimes it disintegrates before it's even created.

My therapist and I are working on grounding techniques; trying to find ways to teach me to be more present than stuck inside my head.  This has been a challenge.  My mind is still trying to keep me safe even though I'm no longer in a damaging situation.  Instead of helping me, this coping technique is now crippling me.  So until this "being present" thing is more of a norm for me, my family and friends will continue to have to endure my random photography.  Surely they will understand.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Quilts For Loved Ones

Made for my son
Made for my nephew
Made for great nephew
Made for great neice twins

Quilting has been a great creative outlet for me over the years.  I like to make quilts for other people and not necessarily for myself.  I love bright colors and interesting designs.

Fragrant Luck

Five and a half years ago I acquired this bottle of Coco Mademoiselle during a promotion at a mall I was visiting with my neice.  I LOVE this fragrance.  To me it smells sophisticated.  When I wear it I feel more conficent.  I used this bottle sparingly to make the perfume last as long as I could.

But no need to fret about an empty bottle (which is going into recycling).  Lucky for me, my husband knows how much I love this fragrance and noticed that I was running low.  He bought me a bottle during a business trip and surprised me for Christmas!I am one lucky woman!

Photo taken May 9, 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Log Jam

Written April 10, 2011

The soundtrack of chaos
rumbles around
filling my head
with unusable sounds

Unsure of the next step
fumbling around
words are lost
with the speed of sound

Stories become log jammed
trapped inside
my mind on rotation
looking for a sign

Release from chaos
no reason to hide
stories spill out
as the dam crumbles inside

Monday, March 21, 2016

World Poetry Day

Written March 21, 2016

My internal world
swirls blindly
a galaxy of many worlds
swirling faster
than a heartbeat
faster than I can catch
faster than I can hold
I drift
grasping blindly
for a safe hold
a safe harbor
an open door
back to sleepy fables
forward to poetic sagas
ahead to a blank sheet
filled with words
filled with promise
filled with world after world
finally frozen
in ink
outside my mind

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Welcome Back Guns N' Roses

Image result for guns n rosesIn 1992, my husband had begun his Masters degree at Purdue University and I found myself living in Lafayette, Indiana. I was mostly a stay at home mom with our toddler-sized daughter.  Besides being a  mother, I was also a music enthusiast.  I liked a variety of music but at that time I really liked hard rock/metal the most (I had a lot of anger issues).  My favorite band was Guns N' Roses. 

My brother-in-law, Brad, planted the idea for a writing project when he said to me, "Since you're already in Lafayette, why not write something about Axl."  And so I did.  I did research on Axl's early life in Lafayette - taking photos around town, looking up his birth announcement from the local newspaper, even going to the courthouse to see what could be found in open records.  There was no use trying to interview anyone who might have known him when he was growing up.  By then he was famous and he'd asked everyone who knew anything about him to please not talk.

I put together a booklet about Axl's early life.  Then I also put together a booklet about GNR.  This was pre-internet days.  If fans wanted to communicate with other like minded individuals they wrote to them.  Small ads would be placed in the back of some of the music magazines.  Fans would share each other's addresses to gain larger circles of correspondence.  Some fans or groups of fans had founded fan clubs or fanzines.  Circles of friends could be enlarged if you wrote an article for these underground publications.  Plus it was great to share your concert or personal experience.  I entered those circles and found a new world of friends.  These people were just as hungry as I was to know new details about our favorite bands.  I wrote articles for a few of the fanzines.  These were the people who began to make up my audience.  I barely broke even with the Axl and the GNR booklets. However, it did lead to an offer from a small publisher for a long form book about GNR.

Then we moved back to Tennessee so that my husband could finish his Masters degree at the University of Tennessee.  Guns N Roses as a  band broke down.  The publisher lost interest in the fan based book and declined.  My interest and the interest of others changed.  All the research and extra copies of the booklets were packed up and put in storage.

Then a lot of life happened.  My husband finished his degree. I gave birth to a son. We moved five more times while he worked in the agriculture industry.  And then there was the flood that destroyed much of my old writing that I had packed away in storage.

And now, over twenty years later, I've come full circle.  When I heard that Guns N' Roses were getting back together I thought it was a good time to pull out what was left of all my old research materials and weave the dangling thread of that unfinished book into the tapestry of my life.  I know, it sounds like I'm just trying to make a buck.  However, I doubt that I profit financially very much from this project (not any more than I did the previous booklets).  But it will give me relief to know that I completed this - finally.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stories and Books Read in 2015

Technically I read more books this year than last year; however, some of the books I read were much smaller and perhaps shouldn't be counted.  I've also listed some really cool stories I read as well by Kat Howard, Joe Hill, and Neil Gaiman because I enjoyed them so much.  If I could add one more thing to this 2015 wrap up, I prefer the erotica of Ava Lovelace* ("Lumber Fox" and "Super Fox") to E. L. James' "50 Shades of Grey" series.  It's just a damned shame that she's working on other projects right now and isn't able to finish the trilogy!  I hope to post more of the 2015 wrap up of events soon.  Thanks for being patient.

Lelain de Peche

Image result for prince lestatPrince Lestat - Anne Rice

Image result for NOs4A2  NOS4A2 - Joe Hill

Image result for the shadow cabinet  The Shadow Cabinet - Maureen Johnson

Image result for the astor orphan  The Astor Orphan - Alexandra Aldrich

Image result for stardust neil gaiman  Star Dust - Neil Gaiman

Image result for Wolverton station  Wolverton Station - Joe Hill

The Witch & the Princess - Kate Howard
Translatio Corpus - Kate Howard

Image result for midnight crossroads charlaine harris  Midnight Crossroads - Charlaine Harris (re-read)

Image result for Day Shift charlaine harris  Day Shift - Charlaine Harris

50 Shades of Grey - E. L. James (re-read)
50 Shades Darker - E. L. James

Image result for if walls could talk juliet Blackwell If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell

Image result for A Haunted History of Knoxville - Laura Still  A Haunted History of Knoxville - Laura Still

The Spire in the Woods - Reddit/NoSleep/TheBoyInTheClock

Image result for dead bolt Juliet Blackwell  Dead Bolt - Juliet Blackwell

Image result for Drunken Fireworks - Stephen King  Drunken Fireworks - Stephen King (audio)

Image result for on writing stephen king  On Writing - Stephen King (audio) (re-read)

Image result for Murder on the House - Juliet Blackwell Murder on the House - Juliet Blackwell

Image result for The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman  The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Instructions - Neil Gaiman
Dangerous Alphabet - Neil Gaiman
Blueberry Girl - Neil Gaiman

Image result for A Study in Emerald - Neil Gaiman A Study in Emerald - Neil Gaiman (Audio)

Returned - Kat Howard

Image result for The Archived - Victoria Schwab The Archived - Victoria Schwab

Image result for Home for the Haunting - Juliet Blackwell Home for the Haunting - Juliet Blackwell

Image result for Home for the Haunting - Juliet Blackwell  Keeper of the Castle - Juliet Blackwell

Image result for You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) - Felicia Day You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) - Felicia Day

Image result for Lumber Fox - Ava Lovelace  Lumber Fox - Ava Lovelace *

Image result for Odd and the Frost Giants - Neil Gaiman  Odd and the Frost Giants - Neil Gaiman

Image result for The Martian - Andy Weir  The Martian - Andy Weir

Image result for Help for the Haunted - John Searles  Help for the Haunted - John Searles

Image result for The Unbound - Victoria Schwab  The Unbound - Victoria Schwabb

Image result for Super Fox - Ava Lovelace  Super Fox - Ava Lovelace*

Image result for Give Up the Ghost - Juliet Blackwell  Give Up the Ghost - Juliet Blackwell