Monthly Archives: August 2013

Solitude Beach

Photo by Michael Faes

Photo by Michael Faes


The water was calm today, the sky clear, and while she missed the clouds that made the sky interesting it was peace she came here for.

It was always what she came here for.

Such an addiction. The pulse.  The rhythm. The absense of other people. She got to name this place and she’d named it Solitude.  Solitude Beach.

She sank onto the sand, gently warm and moving just a little to cradle her.  The waves throbbed steady and unhurried; her pulse fell into the rhythm and she breathed deeper than she had for weeks.

Why was this illegal?  Wouldn’t it do them all some good to pause like this?

Even when the sky was full of clouds and the waves pounding louder than her own thoughts, it was so worth being here.  The strength and power of the sea could be devastating, she was certain, but not sinister.  Not questionable.  The water did what it was intended to do without selfishness or bias.

It was refreshing to be in the presence of something larger than herself.

And maybe that was what was wrong at The Towers.  Everything was under control.  The people there were the largest thing in the system and that changed them.  Behind the noble facade of “one-for-all, all-for-one” was something dark and evil going on.  She could feel it in her bones.

She had no proof.  Proof was what she was searching for.

And now this guy was involved, her project collaborator. It was such a mess. Her mother was suspicious, so she figured if she put her research out in the open, under a disguise of another pursuit, it would make her back off.  But Adrian wasn’t stupid.  She had a feeling he was catching on, and once he did, he’d figure it out quickly.  Things were moving too fast, too hectic.  It became harder and harder and harder to just sit and think.

So here she was, after she swore last time she wouldn’t come back for least a year.  That lasted all of five months.  But how was she to have known how quickly things could get this complicated.

She simply had to come.  For herself.  For the larger cause that might benefit more people than herself.  Or was she just making excuses for her own wicked behavior?

She watched a bold wave wash away her footprint.

Photo by Nick Lobeck

Photo by Nick Lobeck


She washed the troubling thoughts from her mind.  It was why she was here.  She would fill the well.  Create, dream, dance, sleep, laugh, calm.  And afterward, when she was back home, or even just on her way there, answers would come. They always did.  And if answers were hesistant to show themselves immediately, she would have the inner strength to do what she knew was right.

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From Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer, page 123, Prompt #57

You will be given a general setting for your story, but it’s up to you to choose the specific location that will play a dominant role in your story.

Start with: The weather… (Oops!)

#1: A beach

Write for 10 minutes.

Um, Yeah….

This isn’t protocol.  I mean this box and everything…well…it’s not what I meant. I meant it’s you being back here behind the store.  Don’t think I don’t know who you are.  Creating a fuss that way and you aren’t really that good of an actor, you know.  But well, you do answer to corporate don’t you and this…this isn’t what it looks like you know.  You see the reason the meat counter was unmanned was because it was slow, like it generally is on Tuesday at 2:00 and I sent Anthony–the meat boy–over to the south side store because we have this customer who is having a party and has to have this case of cherry juice for her punch and well, we didn’t have it but the south store did. And the south store is very short-handed and after all they were doing us the favor and so we needed to go pick it up and the sooner I had it for the customer the better and isn’t that what you’re all about? Please don’t glare at me.  Anthony got the case of juice but since you were in there needing help ASAP–and I still think you’re a mystery shopper–I told him not to unload it, just get in the store and take care of the customer. And yes, yes, yes, I see you checking out the license plate.  It is my car.  Corporate pays me mileage but it doesn’t pay Anthony mileage, so it hardly seemed fair to make him take his car to the south store unless I wanted to pay him a little extra, which I don’t, because frankly Anthony is a little iffy when it comes to dependability. But yes, I do digress, I, well…We got you all settled as quickly and politely as we could and then I came out here to fetch the juice before it starts popping seals in this awful, awful heat. I lifted it out of the trunk.  As I got it out I realized my wrist wasn’t quite healed–I injured it playing tennis two weeks ago–and heavens the last thing I want is surgery, or time off work, or an on-the-job injury because you know corporate just hates that kind of thing.  I kinda dropped it on the bumper and caught it with my knee, which I am sure is quite bruised, thank you very much.  So now, here I am, trying to get it back in the trunk without making the wrist scream any louder and of course, Anthony has the receipt in his pocket.  You’re welcome to come back in the store with me and check all this out and here, well, maybe I should have left the case out so that I could get you to help carry it in.  Oh, wait.  You can’t.  You’re a customer. Sorry.  Keep thinking you’re a pawn–I mean employee–of corporate.  Because corporate has been out to get me for weeks.  I think it’s the wrist.  Really I do.

Timer:  Ding, Ding!

this-side-up-1054538-m

Photo by Ali Farid

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From Take Ten for Writers, page 137, prompt #64: In the eyes of the person who just caught you, you appear totally guilty….Tell the story in the first person…present tense…you are the only speaker…do your best to talk your way out of this dilemma. Start with: This isn’t… This is who you are, what you were doing, and who caught you: #5 health-food store manager, loading a case of juice from the store into your car trunk in the middle of the day, with no receipt in hand, a mystery shopper hired by the parent company to evaluate performance.

Building a Mystery

Few lion tamers randomly described candy to a wee one barely large enough to be Samson’s next snack, but here he was, Herbert S. Langly, better known as Master Zen, pitted against the ringmaster’s eight-year-old son, arguing the case for black as opposed to red if one wanted real licorice. 

It was all rather surreal and…well…yes, downright ridiculous.  

“No one wants bitter candy that smells of wood!” The lad continued. 

“And I don’t want pressed, dyed and twisted sugar sticks. So you leave the real licorice to me, and you can have the fake stuff. Jolly good then.” Herbert was quite finished. 

Instead of peering at the tow-headed cowlick on Randolph, Jr.’s head, Herb surveyed the landscape.  The stone pillars were massive.  Absolutely massive.  He’d seen the pictures (who hadn’t) but not in relation to the specks mortal men became at their feet.  All those years he’d lived less than a day’s drive from this world wonder, and now after he’d traveled with the circus for twenty, it landed him in the shadows of them. Ridiculous.

That they would allow a circus to set up in the shadow of them was even more ridiculous.  Nothing was sacred anymore.  Money was tight everywhere.  One had to be inventive to earn enough coins to have bread and a scrap of meat for dinner.  Which was why the circus was a hit.  Cheap, fun, a chance to forget an empty belly for a bit. And Randolph, Sr. could sell the impossible.  Obviously.

At this rate it wouldn’t surprise him one bit to see Captain America fly in and put down in the center of it all.  Did Captain America fly? Surely he did.  Americans were flamboyant in everything they did.  This was just the type of thing that would appeal to the folks across the pond.

Photo by Kustere


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From Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer, page 41, the prompt was:

Few lion tamers randomly described candy to…(constructed opening phrase)

#7: Stonehenge; Captain America (landmark and superhero to be included)

Write for 10 minutes. 

Carson the Old

Prompt Work: MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2005
Create a character: This one is male. You decide where he is from, his age, his build, appearance. Write down any other information that will make him an individual, then name him.

——

I don’t know yet where he’s from. He’s middle aged–if he lives to be 90. He’s starting to worry about the fact that his hair is thinner and his skin looks old. But he is still dark, just a little gray at the temples and in the eyebrows–which he secretly plucks with his wife’s tweezers. He’s got definite laugh lines and they don’t make him look “distinguished” in his opinion. They make him look old.

He lives in a suburban two story house like he’s supposed to at his age, though the company is downsizing and the mortgage could end up being way too high if they decide he’s too old to stay. Of course that’s not the way it’s supposed to work–age discrimination and all that–but then things don’t work they way they’re supposed to very often.

Today is Saturday and he should change into a pair of jeans and a couple shirts–layers to ward off the cold–and go rake leaves in the back yard. Of course he’s asked the kids to do it, and they got a good start on it, but his oldest son had a ball tournament and his daughter was on the cheerleading squad. His third son had awful allergies and his chores didn’t involve yard work. Of course his wife probably got out there and raked together a pile or two when she wasn’t shuttling kids back and forth or working on a new ad campaign for a company she’d quit but who was in desperate need of “temporary” assistance.

He understands why the raking isn’t finished because he has no intention of doing it either. At least not right yet. The paper glistens in its plastic sleeve in the driveway and his wife had turned on the coffee pot before she disappeared with all the kids for whatever it was they had on the agenda today. The house was his, and he was going to enjoy the morning, the paper, the coffee and the quiet in a pair of sweat pants and an old college sweat shirt. Then, maybe, he’d consider what needed to be done in the yard.

His name is Carson. Carson Trent.

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Well, I didn’t do that quite like I thought I would when I dreamed up the prompt! LOL! It’s easier for me to create people in a setting….

Throwback

The most precious of the collection Morena did not store with the rest of the books.  It was far away. Far. If anyone has the hint of an idea where, the uproar would be instantaneous and deafening. At the least.  Life-threatening at worst.

Morena leaned hard against her bedroom door, hoping the echoing finality of the click was far more annoying than a full-fledged slam would be.  A slam would indicate a loss of control, a vulnerability.  The click spoke of control and a skin too thick to be bothered with her mother’s barbs.

Image by dimitri_c


Thinking of her precious volumes made her heart quicken and put her on the edge of recklessness.  She wanted to haul them out of the organized clutter that protected them, right now. Chances that either of her parents would knock at her door, much less barge in, were slim to none.  Still, if the finality of the door click hit the intended target, who knew what might happen next? Morena refused the risk, as slight as it was.  Any risk was risk too much when it came to her precious books.

Again the most precious came into view of her mind’s eye.

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Prompt from Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer.  I believe it was prompt #86 which gave the opening line: “The most precious of the…” and instructions to write for 10 minutes.  

Confession: I almost fell asleep twice….

To be continued.

Nerves Abound

Which makes it tough for me to get creative. I really have no business being nervous.

Photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert

My son is taking his certification test tomorrow for sign language interpreting.  For him it’s a pretty big deal.

So it becomes a pretty big deal for myself and his father as well.  However, his father is snoring.  I’m sitting here trying to write and failing to focus.

I went through this before with his brother

Shoot I went through this every time either of my boys had something happening that would significantly impact their goals and their future.

I can’t say I am worried, because worry is such a useless thing.  He’s got the skills, the schooling and the experience (11 years worth!). I think it’s the fact that the only thing I can do is sit on the sidelines and cheer him on.  The sidelines, in this case, being dancing through my workout class while he’s testing before a live panel.  I will try not to mind one bit if it feels like the instructor is watching me work out tomorrow.  She’s not a panel staring specifically at me for the purpose of critique.  Goodness.  I really shouldn’t be thinking about this.

But I am.  And I will.  It’s what Moms do, I guess. 🙂

On A Serious Note…

Photo by dog madic

Photo by dog madic

I can’t seem to get this horrific thing that happened in Duncan out of my head.  It was the front page story in today’s paper and I couldn’t bring myself to read the article.  It is so tragic on so many levels.  Lives lost.  Wasted.  People so hurt at heart.

Perhaps the thing that disturbs me most is that there are people who seem to want to focus on the fact that a gun was used to commit this atrocity.

Please understand this is not a political piece.  I maintain a very strict neutrality when it comes to politics.  This is my layman’s point of view.

The gun was not the problem.

The problem was the attitude.

Had these predators not had access to a gun, they would have found another weapon of choice–their car, a baseball bat, a brick–because they had no respect for human life!

Our world has become a global colosseum.  We live in a culture of violence where life is cheap and ending it a casual pastime.  Is it really any wonder that mankind is reaping this heart-breaking crop?

Violence is taught, encouraged, perpetuated on so many levels, including:

1)  Suicide bombing, gang wars, anything that promotes hatred between sects, races, religions, ethnic groups, political parties, and justifies killing to solve the issue. We see it in individuals who hold on to past grudges as justification for pursuing what they want and using whatever means it takes to get it, including killing other human beings they deem unworthy or in their way.  Pure selfishness is a taproot.

2)  It is ludicrous that it in American society it is more horrendous for parents to serve one alcoholc beverage to a minor with a meal than it is for that same minor to engage in sexual activity for fun.  Sex is serious business because it creates life. When the very act that produces life, without which the human population would die off, is treated as a plaything, no wonder the life created becomes something that is easily expendable.  It brings to mind a quote from Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa):

“The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.”

Maybe abortion itself is a symptom.  Maybe the root is a casual view of sex that ultimately diminishes the value of life.

3)  Entertainment.  3-D gore and guts.  More, more, more, more, more.  Nothing is too gruesome to be portrayed. A show won’t get ratings if there isn’t something in there that is violent or sexual.  Let’s feed blood and killing to everyone on the big screen, the personal screen, the computer, the smart phone, the cable channels and good old-fashioned broadcast TV. Let’s push the envelope a little more every year as long as we say that “parents should be advised.”  The news media adds to it. Images may be disturbing.  But we must show them.  Viewers will be desensitized to bleeding, dismemberment and death.

4)  Video games.  This in my mind is the clincher.  Not only are we going to show graphic violence to teenagers who shouldn’t see it in movies or on TV, we are going to slap a little warning on the front of a box and let the contents teach slaughter to our children from the time they are in grade school!  We are going to let them play these games again and again and again until they are good at killing.  Is what happened in Duncan much of a stretch from being bored and pulling out Mortal Kombat to be entertained?

We need change.  It’s not going to come from human government.  For now, change must occur on a personal level in our homes with our children.  They need to be taught that human life is an incredibly precious gift that should not be created without the family in place to nurture a child, and that cannot be destroyed without dire consequences.  It can be done.  We did it.

To stop violence and murder earthwide is out of man’s hands to accomplish. When a mother can’t even take her two year old shopping in peace, it’s become treacherous right here in my town, down the street from my home.  If it weren’t for my faith in the promise of a better future*–one that doesn’t depend on humans bringing it about or upon me dying–it would be tough to walk out the front door sometimes.

*Additional reading if you would enjoy some encouragement:

  • Psalm 37:10, 11
  • Isaiah 2:4
  • Isaiah 11:6-4
  • 2 Peter 3:13
  • Revelation 21:3-5