Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

More than enough

Posted: February 27, 2018 in Nature, Writing
Tags: , , ,

Today spring knocks on my door.  The sun shines, the wind, instead of throwing winter in my face, whispers, “Soon.  Soon.”  Getting out of the car, I shed one sweatshirt, then put my jacket back on, still warm enough.  Gloves go into pockets a few minutes later. 

 The river still overflows its banks after rain on top of snow some days earlier, a log jam of nature’s detritus pushing against the dam.  Water jets out the other side where today no heron fishes, but sunshine sparkles on the rushing water.

 A squirrel sits frozen next to the path, not moving until I do, then scampering further along the mat of brown fall leaves.  Although the prevailing color is still brown, a closer look reveals slender shoots of green and in some places, blatant leaves of some unknown but hardy plant.  In my lawn perhaps it would be a weed, but here a welcome sign of spring.  Red-winged blackbirds make their presence loudly known, although in fewer numbers than in another month or two. 

Next to the damp path, mud and water discourage off-trail wandering.  When I reach the open part of the trail, I think how good it will be once the trees leaf, blocking the houses on the park perimeter so I feel even less part of the city.  I realize again how this time alone, away from people and city trappings, is a vital part of my inner peace, nature stopping me from even acknowledging the unceasing sounds of traffic.  I spread my arms with uncontainable joy, turning in a circle near where the tracks of deer crossed the path, the softer surface exposing the paths the summer trail hides.  I know winter might come again, but there is the beating promise, under the skin of the earth, of spring, of growth, of re-birth,  and that, for today, is more than enough.

Let’s talk books today.  I read…a lot.  I mostly read mysteries and thrillers with a few other genres thrown in.  There are lots of authors I really like, but I especially appreciate an author who writes a series with characters I love.  I go back to those books time and times again.  I read and I re-read.  Don’t you?  Comfort reading at its finest.  Here’s what I re-read (often and in no particular order) and a cup of tea to sip while you’re reading.

(more…)

I’m not much of a movie person; I prefer books.  One year, I believe I saw all five movies up for Best Picture, but as I try to find that year, I can’t.  And I rarely like a movie based on a book nearly as well as the book itself.  Quite a few should be neither movie nor book!  🙂

Somewhere I read something that made me pick up “The Circle”, by David Eggers, not my usual mystery/thriller tipple.  I’d like to say I couldn’t put it down.  But I had to.  It was too disturbing:  I could see where it was going and I didn’t like it.

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Originally published on July 12, 2012, this story is based on a man we often see on our walks around the small lake only a few blocks from our house, fact presented as fiction in 100 words.

Lakeside for our evening walk, we see him in the garden, engendering life, whatever the weather.  His garden is verdant: deep green leaves, fruits and vegetables of varying hues, brilliant flowers.  A radio sometimes  shatters the silence (whether he’s nearby or not—perhaps to keep away birds.)  We attempt a  compliment, but he speaks no English.  “Beautiful garden”, accompanied by an expressive gesture including the whole.  He smiles; we smile.  He sounds eastern European, lives with his daughter and her husband, wrapped in his lack of English, speaking through his garden and the trellised grapevines that shelter and surround it.

Time for another Friday Fictioneers story.  Remember, these are 100-word stories based on a photo.  This is my second story for this great group, four years ago.  By the way, welcome to 2017!  (Yes, I know this isn’t a buzzard, but it is fiction!)

buzzard

copyright Roxann Phillips

Look alive.  Here comes a buzzard.

Basta!!  You see me (looking dramatic in B&W, I think) and I know what you imagine: death, evil, decaying  flesh.

Contemplate for a moment. Where would you sci-fi, futuristic doom-mongers be without me?  Your future always holds darkness, war, and death. Bodies everywhere.  So you need us.  The carrion-birds.  Cleaning up your messes so you don’t die of terrible diseases due to all that rotting flesh.  (Zombie apocalypse people, this means you, too.)  A little gratitude wouldn’t come amiss!

But instead? “Bird brain” is bad enough, but “buzzard breath” and “old buzzard?”  Beyond the pale!  How would you feel?

………………………………

(The title is a saying by Lady Stella Reading.)

It’s Saturday, which means I’m putting out another Friday Fictioneers story from my archives and I just happen to have one that is about the night before Christmas.  It’s Christmas Eve Day, so how could that possibly work any more neatly, I ask you?  I hope you enjoy this bit of Christmas poetry and also a joy-filled Christmas Eve.

************

copyright-scott-l-vannatter

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
(With thanks to Clement Clarke Moore for the original)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Just one creature was stirring and it wasn’t a mouse.
The stockings were hung on the mantel with care
Just a jump-able distance away in the air.

The tree looked delightful, amazing to see,
The perfect playground for a Christmas kitty.
The family was snoozing away for the night.
Now was the time for some Christmas delight.

All of a sudden, there arose such a clatter
They rushed down to see the whole lot in tatters.
But in the kitchen, there was nothing to see
Save an innocent-looking, complacent kitty!

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I struggled this week to not run amok and re-write the entire poem because I had some great lines that I couldn’t get in to this version. (May do it another time.) However, I ruthlessly channeled my inner Rich/Nazi English teacher (NOT saying that’s you, Rich, but I know you’ll give me a hard time about it anyway) and pared and re-pared until I actually got down to 100 words, my goal each week just because it is. 🙂  I hope it gave you a good laugh and got you in the Christmas spirit!

I thought I’d go with a reprise of something seasonal for this week.  I hope you enjoy it because if you don’t, it will cheese me off.  This one was from December 2012.

  ********************

My first thought was someone at the end of life thinking of all the choices made, one inside each door.  However, something ran amok inside my head and what emerged was a riff on that idea.  Or maybe just riff-raff.  Who can say?

100_7262-1 copyright Rich Voza

The Big Cheese
Or
The Gjetost of Christmas Past

His mind wandered.  So many choices throughout his life.  Not all perfect, but he was satisfied.  Head of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe, Attorneys-at-Law, (plural intentional but deceptive—no other power here), people averted their gazes when he passed, feared him.  Life was good!

A knock.

“Enter.”

“A Mr. Gjetost to see you.”  Fat Tim, AKA“Tiny”, handed him a card, departing silently but for his limp.

What the dickens?  This guy’s a Norwegian cheese?  Ebenezeer scrutinized the card.  Mr. G. H. Ost.  Tim and names!  Wonder what this guy wants?

“Mr. Ost, how may I help you?”

“Au contraire, Mr. Skruge…”

Some of my  blogging friends participate in a Stream of Consciousness challenge.  I haven’t until now.  Actually, I’m not participating officially now, as that challenge has a theme and this week’s isn’t “ironing.”  A SOC usually arrives when I’m somewhere I can’t write it down, often while driving.  This one flew into my head while ironing.  I was going to say I can’t remember the last time I ironed, but that would be a lie.  It wasn’t that long ago, when I ironed my first set of sheets.  But before that?  Who knows?

Yes, of course I’ve had sheets before. I don’t just sleep on the mattress pad.  But all my sheets prior to this have been the kind you can just pull from the dryer and either put back on the bed or away. My goal in life, at least my goal regarding laundry and related activites, has been to iron as little as possible.  My husband being an IT guy makes that much easier.  He has always worn polo shirts and casual pants to work and now that he’s working mostly from home, I won’t even tell you what he wears…or doesn’t.  J But none of those clothes need ironing.  Pull ironable things from the dryer at just the right moment, when still somewhat damp and before wrinkles, hang  them, and hey presto!  The wrinkles iron themselves.

But when I was in France this summer, my s-i-l took me to an outlet store for linens, pillows, etc.  Her birthday present to me was a set of sheets and pillowcases, a lovely set made of percale.  Percale, in French or English = ironing.  I had to venture into the basement, dust off the ironing board, haul it upstairs, find the iron and the distilled water.  I was afraid both the iron and I might have forgotten how to iron, but it must be like riding a bicycle, because we both did fine.

Ironing isn’t a bad thing.  I have time to think (a LOT of time with this queen-sized set), but ironing a fitted sheet is quite interesting.  However, ironing one pales in comparison to attempting to fold one in any sort of decent shape!  If you’ve ever tried it, you understand.  If you haven’t, there’s no way to convey the frustration.  However, watch this short commercial for Lowe’s, which conveys it perfectly and made me jump out of my comfy chair the first time I saw it and shout, “Yes!  That is SO true!” (or something like it.)  Click here and do watch it!  She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed has spoken.

Ironing led me rabbit-tracking to Laura Ingalls Wilder of the Little House books fame.  Folding a fitted sheet pales in comparison to ironing anything and everything (they were probably glad not to have many clothes when it came to washing and ironing in those days) with an iron that had to be heated up over and over and over and over and likely weighed a great deal.  Laura was born in 1867 and died in 1957.  Just imagine what she saw during her lifetime!  Here’s a not-too-annoy-because-of-ads spot that lists some of them:  http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/inventions-and-discoveries-of-the-twentieth-century/inventions-1900-to-1990/.

I’m not sure where Laura let me because about that time, my husband came downstairs wondering what was for lunch and just before we finished, the man came to replace bits of the water meter, and then my Consciousness had evidently all streamed out.  That’s where it stands as of this moment (and how often do you see a stream standing?) and as my tea is rapidly cooling, I’m going to sit and enjoy it (the tea).  I can tell people that today I was streaming live!

Time for another hundred words, despite being a bit distracted today by the news that my mom’s in the hospital for a few days with a UTI and blood infection.  Thankfully, the former caused her to go for testing, which discovered the latter, making it much easier to treat.  An IV antibiotic should kick them both out on their not-so-merry ways.  Fortunately, the story more or less wrote itself in my mind while on the way home from work the other day.

Thanks to David Stewart of The Greenwalled Tower for the photo prompt and to Rochelle for hostessing the menagerie of writers each week.

David Stewart2

Memories may be beautiful and yet…*

“Wow! The houses look so small. I remember them as big.”

“The tree we used to climb is gone. Wonder if the creek’s still there?”

“Oh, man, looks like Love Canal or something. There’s that spiky gate Jimmy almost impaled himself on.”

“Remember when…” and we were off and story-telling. Joe’s hands shaped paper boats like the ones we used to float in the creek. Jimmy, Joe, and Jenny. Inseparable. Until they left.

I launched every boat, one for each year. “Ooh Rah, Jimmy,” we both said softly. Joe saluted, then turned the wheelchair around and headed for the car.

 

*Thanks to Alan and Marilyn Bergman for the line from their song, “The Way We Were.”

My five days of story telling are at an end, at least for the purposes of this challenge.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the stories as well as the photos and, as always, thanks for taking the time to read and, often, comment.  Today I’m nominating any of you who would like to participate.  Remember the rules:  Write a story each day for five days, based on one of your photos, and nominate someone else each day.  Of course, there are no enforcers here, at least not that I’ve seen, so you may participate in whichever way you choose.  Above all, have fun and, whether or not you participate, have a marvelous weekend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Calgon, take me away.

For me, it’s lavender.

The scent takes me back to the fields in which we lay
after our lunch of pate and wine,
hidden from the road,
scented with love.
My fingers run through your dark hair,
yours caress my lips.
You murmur French nothings into my ear.
I purr with pleasure.

I inhale again deeply,
take another sip of wine,
channel my inner author,
and continue writing.