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Too Close To Know (Poetry & Inspiration)

October 20, 2014

10-20 web

Gossamer threads

of gauzy dreams

lead me to the precipice

of altered reality.

Meaning unknown,

words scroll through my mind-

a late-night ticker tape,

a restless brain evading sleep.

Forces within, engage

in subconscious battle,

outcome, undetermined;

consequences, unforeseen.

Analysis becomes

a useless exercise in futility.

The obvious is obscured

by intimate familiarity.

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Poetry can be hard to read because often it is vague with little clues as to interpretation. I don’t want to take away your ability to assimilate my words to what you know, but in case you read this poem and came up blank, the following paragraphs give an idea as to where my thoughts were at and what lead to the writing of the poem.

This poem was written over several days, as seemingly random ideas came to mind. The first half in italics occurred as I tried to shut my brain down for the day. My mind doesn’t churn out anything useful after about 11pm, but still, it insists on idling until wee hours. What a waste.  These lines were me trying to find meaning in these fuzzy thoughts.

Now about the last two stanzas…

This morning, I thought about how another weekend away from the computer/internet has left me behind on writing on reading. I used to get worked up over it. Now, it seems, it doesn’t bother me so much. On the surface, it seems like a good thing… going with the flow. Maybe I’ve relaxed- accepting I’ll catch up, because I always do. But of course, being an over-thinker, I couldn’t let it go at that. I began to wonder if this shift was cleverly-disguised complacency; whether I’ll find myself in a few months not even bothering to style my hair, or staring at a black computer screen because I forgot my log in password.  Or worse- not knowing where I my laptop is!

For months, I’ve been unable to determine the root cause of my pseudo-complacency, which has shredded writing goals and given me an excuse to shrug off certain things. The last two stanzas are me acknowledging that maybe I’m just too close to me to figure out exactly what makes me tick.

This could be why I can offer advice to others, but rarely see when I should keep it for myself :)

If I can cajole myself into finding some sort of grindstone to put my nose to, I hope to ‘scare’ up some fiction to post later this week. ‘Scare’… October… Halloween… get it?

I know, that was bad! Sadly, I don’t have late-night to blame.

Hope you had a beautiful start to a new week.  Until next time…

Set Free (Fiction) – Emilio Pasquale Photo

October 16, 2014

The photo below provided by Emilio Pasquale.  The story I wrote inspired by the photo follows…

An Emilio Pasquale Photo

An Emilio Pasquale Photo

She thought she’d find an ally in her sister, but as they engaged in a stare-down, it became obvious to Elaine that she’d miscalculated. Her stiffened legs and a crick in her back warned she should quit. Clearly, more than a laminate table divided them. Yet, she refused to show signs of wearing down. I inherited Dad’s stubbornness.

“She’s getting older. I think the stress of the trip will be too much for her. Please, convince her not to go,” Elaine said, mindful to keep desperation out of her voice. Jackie would never admit it, but they both knew she had more sway with their mom. It’d been that way from the beginning, when Jackie almost died the day she entered the world fifty-eight years ago. It took adulthood and having kids of her own for Elaine to forgive her for that.

Jackie snorted. “We’re all getting older, Elaine. There’s no way she’d not go.” She dunked her tea bag several times with the back of her spoon. Her mouth pressed into a thin line and a frown creased her eyebrows.

Three soggy tea bags rested on the saucer beneath Jackie’s cup. All spent. That’s how Elaine felt. After two hours, neither had budged. If the conversation translated into chess, it would be a stalemate. In their defense, there wasn’t much room for compromise; it’s not like they could half-way go.

Elaine shook her head. “She gets so upset. Besides, the Alzheimer’s has progressed to the point she doesn’t understand much anymore.” She hesitated before adding the root of her concern. “I have a bad feeling about it.”

Jackie smirked. “Another premonition?” She crooked her fingers in air quotes as she said premonition.

“Nothing specific; just a feeling.”

“Look, you know as well as I do she hasn’t forgotten that house.” With the back of her hand, she brushed her graying bangs off her forehead. “I don’t know why, but she has to visit that place on Halloween every year.” Jackie sipped her tea and set her mug back on the paper coaster. “If you won’t go, I’ll take her by myself.”

Elaine recognized the determination in her younger sister’s eyes. Just like Mom’s. “You can’t drive until your seizures are controlled.” She sighed. “Fine. I’ll drive. We’ll leave at noon so we can get there before dark. That house is darn creepy at night.”

Jackie laughed. “That, I’d have to agree with.” She pulled out her wallet. “I got this.” She dropped a ten on the table to cover the muffins and beverages.

After she slid out of the booth, Elaine left another few dollars to compensate for monopolizing the table for so long.

*** *** *** Read more…

One Hail of a Weekend!

October 13, 2014

10-13 Hail1

Monsoon season ends,

with pelting by pea-sized hail-

Nature’s inspired show.

10-13 Hail2

I don’t see hail often, so when I do, I can’t help but watch in awe.  The pinging of the ice pellets on our rain gutters had an almost musical effect.  The show lasted for about ten minutes and it was amazing- though I didn’t ask for an encore, because I know the damage it can cause!

A few years ago, a hailstorm hit Scottsdale.  I watched helplessly from inside my office building while my car was pelted for several minutes, leaving it dimpled like a golf ball.  But this wasn’t my first experience with hail in Arizona…

I don’t remember the exact year now (that’s what happens when you get old :) ) but I figure it was probably 1989 or 1990, because I was in high school.  My parents and I watched from the sliding door as a newly-planted mesquite tree struggled in the heavy winds.  My dad went out to re-tie the stakes in hopes that it would help the tree remain upright.  Then hail came and my dad was still working on it, so I decided to help hold the tree.  Hail might be small, but it sure stings when it hits bare skin!  When the tree was tied good enough, we dashed inside, met by my mom who supported us in her own way:  she took lots of photos.

Even after being rained and hailed on, my hair still stood tall.  Ah, the wonders of White Rain hairspray…

Well, that’s enough about hail.  I’m working on a fiction story written for another of Emilio Pasquale’s photos.  I plan on posting later in the week, so I hope you’ll come back by and check it out.

Have a beautiful week!

Unknown Fears (Fiction)

October 9, 2014

10-9 Grass

Stacy brushed her hand over her bare calf to swat away whatever tickled her skin. They swished through knee-high grasses encroaching on the skinny dirt trail leading to the “perfect camping spot.” Those were her boyfriend’s words- not hers.

At that moment, Kenny turned and smiled. “Keeping up okay?”

She glared, even though he couldn’t get the full effect through her dark sunglasses. “Are we almost there?”

“Another half mile, I think.” He turned and continued on the path.

Stacy shifted the pack and winced when she moved the strap that had been digging into her hip for the last two hours. Her friends thought she was nuts for agreeing to go on this trip, but she had a feeling he planned to propose. After dating for three years, she didn’t want to miss it. Still, she couldn’t figure out what gave him the impression she would enjoy this.

Nearly an hour later they stopped and peered down an embankment.

“I’ll help you down,” he said, offering his left hand.

She shook her head. “It’s too steep. Can’t we just set up the tent here?”

“On the trail?” He laughed. “You can do this.”

“I don’t think my shoes are grippy en-“

He tugged her down the slope before she could finish her protest.

A few feet from flat ground, she lost her footing. Kenny’s body broke her fall. “Sorry,” she muttered before rolling to the side. The momentum flipped her onto her back.

He gasped a few breaths. “There. We made it.” He pointed to the left, toward a thicket of scrub oak trees. “We can camp there.”

Stacy felt like a turtle overturned on its shell since her abdominal muscles couldn’t right her while strapped to a thirty-pound pack. Grateful, she accepted his extended hand and ignored the barely-stifled snicker.

After they pitched the tent, he cooked pork and beans over a campfire. As he cleaned the dishes, she paused to listen to the creek. She watched the water rush over rocks, creating mini whitecaps. She had to admit; it was pretty here. She turned toward a scraping noise behind her and saw Kenny hoisting their packs into a tree with a rope he’d thrown over a sturdy branch. “What are you doing?”

He paused. “Stowing our packs.”

“Why not put them in the tent?”

“Bears.” He grunted as he threw his weight into a pull.

“Bears?” Panic edged into her voice.

Read more…

Sigh. Wildlife, 4; Humans, 0

October 7, 2014

Made a fool again.

White flag waved (with crossed fingers)…

Ready for next round.

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Early Monday morning we discovered the wildlife had another crazy night of partying. Somehow, they are able to keep their rabblerousing down enough that we sleep through it; however it’s obvious we were the benefactors of the animal equivalent of toilet-papering a house. I have the “trashy” pictures to prove it:

At least dirty laundry wasn't aired...

At least dirty laundry wasn’t aired…

As my older son and I scooped up garbage donning very fashionable surgical gloves, neighbors slowed to stare as they drove by. One man stopped and rolled down his window.

“Ah, the javelina got ‘ya?” he asked.

I shrugged.

“This is what the javelina do,” he said with a nod.

“Well then, I guess our trash won’t go out until I hear the garbage truck.”

I should’ve known! I bet it was that javelina that gave me “the look” after her baby finally freed itself from our garden. I feared she wasn’t done with us and I was right.

10-6 javelina-edit

Arizona Game and Fish has pretty much tied our hands, as it unlawful to injure, kill or trap them. I don’t really want to hurt them anyway, but they aren’t taking the hint that they aren’t welcome around here. Since I’m not likely to lure a pack of coyotes as pets to patrol our land, I’ll have to do more research on all the things javelina hate and start doing more of that!

Stay tuned for our next failure :)

(It’s hard to show confidence when our efforts thus far make Elmer Fudd look competent!)

The Beginning (Fiction)

October 3, 2014

10-3 trees

Evelyn pushed herself up onto her elbows and looked from left to right. Nothing. She spotted an old wooden sign in the distance, erected in another era, no doubt. Squinting against the harsh sunlight, she dragged herself in that direction. For some reason, her legs wouldn’t move and the dead weight made progress slow. She didn’t know how long it took, but the sun had dropped to about three finger widths from the horizon by the time she approached reading distance.

Unbelievable.

Nothing.

The sign had no writing. No clues. Just two arrows pointing in opposite directions. Absolutely nothing to reveal where she’d landed after dropping through the portal. Surrounded by lush greenery, she knew she wasn’t in Phoenix anymore. In exhaustion, her arms gave out and she crumpled to the ground.

“Eve?”

She turned her head toward the nude man running toward her and then averted her gaze.

“His promise is true!”

She surveyed her own body. Her Fila T-shirt and Adidas yoga pants were gone. Absent socks and New Balance running shoes revealed her poorly-manicured toenails. Never before had she wished for a bra, but in her nakedness, she would’ve been grateful for one. “Let me guess… Adam?”

He smiled. “Of course, my love.”

She scanned the horizon. “Okay, so it’s day six. Where are the trees? Flowers? Forbidden fruit? I wonder if it really tasted that good.”

He looked confused. “Come, there’s much to see in the garden.” He extended his arm.

Evelyn hesitated before grasping his hand. His biceps flexed as he pulled her weight. She smiled- maybe kicking around the garden with him wouldn’t be so bad. Her legs were wobbly at first, but the muscles managed to hold her. She instinctively crossed her arms over her front.

He glanced at her, puzzled. “What are you doing?”

“We didn’t fall yet. Um, never mind. Let’s go chill in the garden.”

“Chill?”

“Oh. Partake in the garden’s majesty?”

Adam smiled. “I know the perfect place.” He took her hand, leading her up the slight hill.

Evelyn looked at the ground and marveled at how the clover felt spongy under her feet, like a sea of little green pillows. She’d never walked barefoot outside before, heeding warnings of the dangers of stinging ants, broken glass and “filth” littering the ground.

“What’s on your mind?”

She paused. She couldn’t possibly tell the truth; that she lived in the future and landed here quite by accident. No way could she explain that she’d gone through a portal to escape Pinky, the man who’d held her captive for two years. She shivered at the thought of Pinky. His name didn’t sound like it, but he had a reputation as the most ruthless pimp roaming the streets of Phoenix. Legend held that he’d snapped the pinky right off a rival; it dangled from a chain around his neck.

They crested the hill and she gasped. “It’s beautiful!” The sun sat on the horizon, minutes away from turning the sky over to the stars. Stars. She hadn’t seen those since childhood camping trips.

“Do you want to help name some animals?”

Evelyn smiled. “Sure.”

They bounded down the hill, bursting through the thick foliage. Momentum slowed and the tallest tree she’d ever seen stood in front of them.

“We mustn’t eat from that tree,” Adam said, pointing.

Her skin prickled. She knew the story; they’d entered the serpent’s favorite haunt, and it was only a matter of time.

“I’m going to get some huckleberries,” Adam said. “Huckleberries… isn’t that a fun word to say?”

“Almost as fun as hippopotamus.” Her gaze darted from trees to brush. “I’ll wait here.”

His footfalls disappeared. The bird song wafting through the dusk air put her at ease, so she decided to rest. She leaned against the tree and closed her eyes, oblivious to the rustling behind her until the undulating movement crossed over her legs.

Pinky!

“Do you know why you mustn’t eat from that tree?”

She knew the serpent spoke, but still, seeing it was weird. “Because you’re evil!” She wrapped both hands around the serpent and squeezed. “You ruin the world! You invade our hearts! You. Need. To. Die!” She tightened her grip with each word.

“Eve, no!” Adam sprinted toward her.

“We mustn’t kill the animals!”

Evelyn relaxed her fingers and the serpent slithered out of reach before pausing to glare at her. She knew he’d be back.

She’d be ready.

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Suzanne at Apoplectic Apostrophes has a new writing challenge site, so even though I’d sworn off the distraction of writing challenges a  few months ago, I couldn’t resist joining in her inaugural challenge.  She’s always been supportive of my writing and I’m thrilled to participate in her new venture :)

The challenge: Write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 739) and (1) reference the photo prompt published on her site, and (2) include the word “haunt” – used as a noun, not a verb.

It’s October and I’d vowed to write creepy this month. And with a prompt word like ‘haunt’ you’d, think I could do that, right?  Apparently not! I saw this challenge late last night and this is the story that wouldn’t get out of my head- a goofy, humorous, time-travel-gone-wrong story.

I’d better scare up some creepy soon, or October is going to laugh me all the way to December. Thanks for reading – oh, and if you want to join in, or check out other responses, click the badge below!

Heart Things and October “Warning”

October 1, 2014

An apology:

Salve for injured emotions.

Repeat as needed.

I took this photo in February and I'm so excited to have a post I think it fits with.  Even the Boy Scouts saw a heart in this stump!

I took this photo in February and I’m so excited to finally have a post I think it fits with. Even the Boy Scouts saw a heart in this stump!

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After several days of not speaking to my husband following his mother’s too-long, drama-inducing visit, he finally asked if I was upset with him.

If?!

It occurs to me that the silent treatment was probably a beautiful gift and he had to take a few days to consider whether he wanted to return it.  I suppose all decisions must be carefully weighed :razz:

I find it ironic that the ones we love the most are the ones we hurt the most. These are the people that we can take for granted and not even realize that we’ve hurt them. After thinking about it, I see that when I overstep my bounds with an acquaintance, “I’m sorry,” rolls off the tongue so easily. When I disappoint a loved one, my first inclination is to defend my “rightness.”

As I write this post, I remind myself to treat loved ones like acquaintances. Tomorrow is not a given.

My last partly-fiction story was not the least bit uplifting, but when I’m mad/sad/frustrated, etc., I’m wholly all of those things and it bleeds through into my writing.

Oh!  Speaking of bleeding, do you know what day it is? Hump-day!  Well, that- and October 1st! (I know, that’s a terrible segue, but I’m sticking with it.) I had so much fun writing extra-twisted, super-creepy stories last October that I’m ready to see if I can keep up the scary fiction for another October. I don’t really do blood and gore so much, but hope to bring on the psychological scary. Boo!

If you’re not into creepy, I’ll understand if you make yourself scared, I mean, scarce.  Okay, okay, I’ll stop now.  Have a great Wednesday!

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