Red Dirt Update

>> 12.21.2009

Forgot to mention, but in the midst of working on my poetry chapbook for Poetic Asides, I also submitted a flash fiction story and a poem for consideration to the Red Dirt Anthology.  Haven't heard anything yet, but keeping my fingers crossed.

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Sacred Moments

>> 12.20.2009

Thank you for the moments,
the life lived within a minute;
little snippets of time, holding
reflections, a world within each

stroke of time, within a grain
of sand upon the shore,
a life lived within the beat
of a bird’s wing, or a heart.

Holding each moment
close to the heart, warming,
sunlight illuminating water,
water whispering over stones,

telling secrets of eons past;
the secrets within each family;
A drop of rain refracting
the world, a world of dreams.

Emotional outpouring, a single
blade of grass heralds the spring;
a sea of green rippling in the breeze,
washing the shore, sandstone

outcroppings reaching for sky,
a blue-fire sky searing the eyes,
eyes that seek the light, finding
the sacred in each moment.

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Dreaming Down the Day

>> 12.15.2009


It begins
as a spattering of red like prickling
blood across the fabric of sky

streaks, sometimes angry,
sometimes washed soft

continues
with purple-blue flares developing
into sheets that envelop the bowl above

as the sun traverses the ladder downward
passing night crawling up stealthily,

an assassin
that overtakes, swallowing
the light, until the world consists

only of shadows painted blue and black
punctuated by man-lights gleaming boldly,

a cry
against the night, a feeble attempt
to stave off the darkness, the nightmare unnamed,

until all fades
and dreaming down the day is done


(Photo courtesy of:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotair2112/255860717/in/set-72157594180977406/
Protected under Creative Commons 2.0 license)

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Update: PoetryDances.ning.com

>> 11.30.2009

Tooting my own horn, here - I was selected as a Favorite Writer for the Quarter on Poetry Dances.  I really appreciate this as there are many, many excellant poets in this forum. 

Thank you, Poetry Dances!

http://www.poetrydances.com/favoritewritersnovjan10.htm

For additional news, please check out the following link:

http://www.pr.com/press-release/196189

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House of Fear

>> 11.23.2009

Fear lives
inside each of us,
peering outward,
ancient eyes of hate and bias.
Bigotry, racism, sins of all mankind,
one against the other. It feeds
upon the darkness inside us,
insidious, sneaky, a failing of heart
and mind. It fights against truth,
the light of creation and life itself

an all-encompassing orifice through
which knife-edged words spill
spoilage and shame

Fear cocoons,
building walls, dividing,
defeating. It blinds the eyes
from sight and deafens the ears
from hearing. It spiderwebs
outward, geometric rays of captivity,
capturing the grains of truth.
It lives inside the prison
of our minds refusing
to embrace the sun

a cavern of abysmal dark, full of ice
shards that razor, slicing deep,
bloodied and unbowed

Fear resides
inside the grain of spirit,
within the crannies of the soul,
slithering around corners, hiding,
then striking like a snake
poisoning everything, biting
sharp teeth into the muscles,
creating paralysis, afraid to leave,
afraid to stay.

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News: Poem featured on PoetryDances.com

>> 11.16.2009

My poem, "Ancient Song", is a featured selection for this quarter at PoetryDances.com; http://poetrydances.com/poemsnov09jan10.htm   I actually posted it in September, and you saw it first!

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Rediscovery

>> 11.10.2009


In the city, you forget about the stars
seeing only streetlight’s incandescence
instead of the illumination of nature.

The eye is blinded by imitation, coronas
blazing, fading out the sky, covering
night’s soft beauty, turning it into false day.

At work’s end, I travel home away from
the constant stimulation, the incessant
24-hour daylight, into the softness painted

midnight-blue, pierced only with crystal light,
glowing in the blanket overhead, and rediscover
the wondrous shapes above from tales told

and retold around campfires, and the endless
dreams flying through the sky.

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Red Dirt Book Festival

>> 11.08.2009

Spent Friday and Saturday at the Red Dirt Book Festival in Shawnee, OK.  It is a biennial event put together by the library system that brings authors, poets, scholars together with book lovers and aspiring writers.

I really enjoyed it; learned a few things, got to see some of my favorite authors.  Even spoke with some of them.  Everyone was approachable, and more than willing to give of their time and experiences.  I was privileged to hear Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Billie Letts, Mel Odem, Michele Bardsley, and several others speak.  Got a chance to actually meet and hold a short coversation with Michele Bardsley who is very gracious and congenial.

All in all - a great experience which refreshed my commitment to writing.  I also have an opportunity to submit a written work of up to 3,000 words to the Red Dirt anthology which is only open to which participants and registered attendees.  Deadline is December 15, 2009.  So, now I have to determine what to submit. 

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Update

>> 11.02.2009

You might notice several post popping up with old dates.  That's because I was away from my home computer and attempted to post via E-mail.  Operative word - attempted.  I obviously didn't have it set up the way I thought, so the posts were held.  Until today!  Yeh!  Back with my own computer, although still having problems accessing some things.

November is the Poetic Asides Chapbook challenge.  Each day, we're given a prompt to inspire a poem.  The challenge is that we are to determine a theme and then use the prompt to illustrate that theme in some way.  The idea is that at the end of November, we will all have 30 poems to polish, and then have enough of a themed collection to make up a chapbook of 10 - 20 pages.  So that is what I will be working on this month in addition to some other projects already in the works.

Wish me luck! 

Hopefully, I won't be away so long in the future. Thank you for all your wonderful comments and words of encouragement. You keep me going, inspired!

~LisaB.

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These Four Walls

>> 10.30.2009

A house is just four walls, a roof, some windows
and doors erected to shelter inhabitants. Just masonry
and mortar, wood, - rude materials these.

But, if these four walls could speak, what saga would
they tell? They would spin a tale of the hopes
and dreams of those who had walked between;

of the man who constructed each wall by hand anticipating
his bride’s arrival; of the young wife who gazed from
the kitchen window while her hand caressed the life within;

of the eagerly awaited additions that increased two
to three then four, and the love that expanded
with each new arrival. Of toddling steps, scraped knees,

bruises and bloody noises, ballerina and astronaut wishes,
puppy kisses; of first loves and broken hearts, and of graduations;
of a father’s pride and a mother’s tears

as their fledglings left the nest, and of the joy that bloomed
again and again when the next generation danced
across the threshold; of the quiet love that sustained

both man and woman through all the years and joined
them one to the other in life, and then in death. Now these
four walls are all alone with only memories to roam within.

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Her Dreams

>> 10.20.2009

As a child, things seem like they last forever
each day, a year between sunrise and sunset;
a minute is an eternity with no realization
of time passing until death comes to call

Her parents were forever, always relied upon
to slay the monsters under the bed,
no wondering, no worrying until her father died
and she learned the weight of sorrow.

When she walked down the aisle to join
her forever love, a vow made until death do
them part; death came calling two years later
with a judge’s decree in a courthouse

She worked hard attempting to be the best
only to be passed over because she was not a he;
still she gave her everything, living for the job,
until her fast-track success dream came crashing down

She realized she’d been trapped inside a false idea,
lost her way, lost herself. She floundered in the abyss
until reconnecting with the dreams hidden inside,
found the words there caged, loosed them on the page,

now she seeks within, realizing that death and life
are necessary just like sunrise and shadow,
that success and freedom are what you make of them
while travelling the road expressed within the heart.

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The Box

>> 10.12.2009

The day we met, I wasn’t looking for you,
but we found each other anyway at the fishpond
in the park, both looking for a quiet place to sit
out of the way of the carnival going on around us.

We bonded while feeding greedy Koi, over fuchsia lotus
blossoms and the cool, green water. We discovered
a mutual interest the blues and a dislike of loud,
noisy games that interrupted silent contemplation.

We built from that meeting, with long walks and discussions
of current events, books. You loved Sylvia Plath, hated
Thoreau while I found worlds inside his writing and
never quite understood her at all.

Still we became a couple, joined our lives together
in marriage. When the towers fell, you needed to defend,
to become a part of that. While we disagreed on the necessity
of the war, I supported your position.

We said farewell one rainy morning; I waved to you
as you boarded the plane that would take you far away
among people who hated us. I donned my brave face
and waited for you to come home to me.

Two became one, and life went on. Days passed with bills
being paid, friends calling, solitary dinners and sleeping beside
you only in my dreams. Until the tolling of the door bell. Until
the two men arrived upon our porch.

They said, with regret, that you had died, bravely, a hero defending
his country. I never expected to be alone, sitting in the dark
watching the sky rage wildly against the night. Wondering
how I can face you returning to me in a flag-draped box.

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Shall I . . . ?

>> 10.05.2009

You say that you can’t go on, that it all feels too much . . .


Shall I agree that this is the only way, that nothing will ever improve?

Shall I grant you permission, or solace, or your need for forgiveness?

Shall I give you leave to end your life upon this Earth?

No, that I will not do.


Shall I sing a song of tear-cried rivers from anguished souls left behind?

Shall I tell you of my angry heart that rages against allowing your light to die?

Or, shall I fight for you, and with you until the day you draw your last breath?

Oh, yes, THAT I will do.

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You Must be This High to Ride

>> 9.29.2009

The photo displayed a lovely
woman with hand held
up measuring the distance
between earth and sky.

Below were the words
“You must be this high
to ride.” Not so different
from the States, I thought.

Then a trumpeting roar
came calling upon my ears
and with it, the realization,
that pachyderm wasn’t

fiberglass, but living, breathing,
trumpeting, and possibly
very upset. It was ALIVE!

I think I’ll skip the ride,
but thank you all the same.

(http://poetrydances.ning.com/group/prompz/forum/topics/prompz-17?page=1&commentId=2834822%3AComment%3A30912&x=1#2834822Comment30912)

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I Remember

>> 9.26.2009

(For my Mom, Charlotte)

I remember
your voice singing, a lullaby perhaps,
the melody of you surrounded me
and I knew
everything would be all right

I remember
your hand clasping mine, guiding
me safely through life’s chaos
and I knew
everything would be all right

I remember
your touch soothing the tears
of youthful anguish
and I knew
everything would be all right

I remember
your glistening eyes meeting mine
as I walked toward marriage
and I knew
everything would be all right

I remember
your voice raised in righteous anger
when that marriage dissolved
and I knew
everything would be all right

And I know
when your time on Earth is nearly
finished, it will be your hand in mine
that reminds me someday
we will reunite in the ever-after,
and then, again,
everything will be all right.

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Ancient Song

>> 9.22.2009

As the last kiss of night waltzes
with dawn’s light across the melancholy
sky, shimmering fog hovers, masking
the forest eternal in blanketed silence.

A blur crosses visual periphery as one denizen
of this wild abode sneaks homeward from nightly
revel. No populace, no towering concrete nor steel.

No overrun of vehicular smog, no noise, just still
surround. Above, a canopy of wild green dripping
condensate; below, leaf pack muffling this visitor’s
progress and behind, solitary footprints. Ahead,

a tunnel leads to a secret place. Glimmering light
guides this seeker through encompassing woods,
each step one closer to a singular miracle. Sudden

arrival stutters the breath into a duet with the soughing
breeze rippling all around. My sanctuary, nature's chapel,
a grove of old ones encircles a clearing, a woodland
garden ablaze, a firestorm in red, and a stream singing

an ancient song to guide this seeker home.

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Shameless Promotion

>> 9.21.2009

One of my poems, Tasting Truth, has been selected for inclusion in PoetryDances.com's selected poetry for this quarter.  I'm very proud of this as I am in the company of very good poets.  I hope you take time to check out the offerings on PoetryDances.com.  If you like poetry, this is the place to come and read some of the best on the Web.  (Of course, I might be just a tad prejudiced, hhhmmmm?)

http://www.poetrydances.com/Poemsaugoct09.htm

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The Raging Sun

>> 9.15.2009


Dreams slip blindly
into the raging sun
of mind and heart.

Pieces of hope,
wishes pierced
from memory past,
into the future,
heart’s desire,
love enraged,
hate disarmed.

Each night dreaming
into day’s dawning.

Entreating, hoping
no more leaving.
Fighting, hating,
partnership dissolving.
Love absconding,
aloneness stealing
around my door.

Dreams die hard
in the raging sun.


 
(Photo courtesy of stock.xchng:  http://night-fate.deviantart.com/art/what-s-left-of-me-94162074)

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Aftermath

>> 9.11.2009

Conceived in hate, birthed in terror,
thousands died; everyday ordered lives
tumbled down, disintegrating
into corruption-tainted shards leaving
only sorrow-storms, hollowed hearts
and shattered trust

2 billion watched this Nation’s
innocence destroyed; bore witness
while our tattered dreams fell
amongst the smoke and rubble,
now haunted by the never-to-be forgotten;
co-joined survivors living the aftermath

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9/11 - The Anniversary

Here we are again, 9/11 - the anniversary of the day America lost her innocence.

For so long, we thought we were immune, or perhaps exempt from the tragedies that are felt around the world, sometimes every day. We thought terrorism was something that happened to someone else, that our borders were sovereign and inviolate. We, like most children, believed ourselves invincible, perhaps immortal.

We were wrong.

It was a very rude awakening and like most awakenings, it was full of pain and sorrow and loss. The loss of loved ones, the loss of innocence, the loss of faith in ourselves, in our government, in our world-view. Once lost, innocence can never be reclaimed. We have seen the shadow; we have felt the chill touch of mortality. We realize that we aren't invincible, untouchable.

Today is the day to remember those who have gone before us; those who have lived and died for every freedom, every privilege we experience and sometimes take for granted.  Today is a day to mourn their loss, to celebrate their lives, and to rejoice in our wondrous freedom.  Today is a day to remember just what those sacrifices have gained, and what we stand to lose should we ever forget. 

When was the last time you actually read the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution, or even the Bill of Rights?  Do you even remember?  Maybe it's time to renew your acquaintance with them. 

That's one of the things I plan to do today.  I'm going to re-read them, renew myself within those amazing words.  Then, I'm going to light a candle before saying a prayer - one of thankfulness for those who have gone before and for those who still fight.  For those still fighting, I hope my candle becomes one of many to shine against the darkness, a beacon to guide them safely home once more.

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Just some thoughts . . .

>> 9.10.2009

I hope everyone in the U.S. enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day holiday.  I took some extra time in addition.  So while I've been on vacation this week, I have spent a lot ot time working on family history.  Several of the family members have been working on tracing our common ancestry.  It's very easy to get lost in it .  It's also amazing what is available online much of which is courtesy of the LDS Family Center.  With so many records now available on the Internet, most of the time you no longer have to travel just to find something.  It's still time-consuming to dig through everything, but it's very gratifying to find each piece.  Like filling in a giant puzzle or solving a mystery.

For anyone who would like to read the short story "For the Love of Lily" as a single, revised posting,  check out A Cup of Words - The Journal.  The Journal is the blog site for our writer's group, so you will see postings from several members of our group.  For those of you who enjoy poetry, you might also check out Timeless Lyrical Ephemera which features poetry from different members.

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Snippet, now titled: For the Love of Lily

>> 9.04.2009

“We were in a boat accident.”

Caro found it suddenly very hard to swallow. “We?”

He closed his eyes, then jerked his head downward. “My wife and son, and I.”

“What happened?”

“We were on vacation, taking the boat out. Some kids lost control of their boat and rammed us. They had been hot-dogging, just being kids, you know.”

“Your wife and son?”

“They didn’t make it.”

“I’m so sorry.”

He nodded in acknowledgement. “I hit my head on something, don’t really know what. When I woke in the hospital, everything was dark. It stayed that way until about six months ago.”

“What happened then?”

“Lily.”

“Lily?”

His lips twisted into a smile. Not a happy one, but a smile none-the-less. “My sister decided that I needed a companion and tricked me into taking her. She told me that she was the runt of the litter and if no one took her, she would be sent to the pound.”

“She didn’t?”

“Oh, yes she did. My sister’s ruthless when she want to be, and she’d decided that it was time for me to face the living.”

“So what did you do?”

The smile this time was a true one, reflected in the clear blue of his eyes. “I have Lily don’t I? Or, perhaps, she has me.”

She joined his laughter. “Oh, the latter, I’m sure. Seems like she has you exactly where she wants you.”

“Well, she’s entitled. When she first arrived, I wasn’t very happy about it. I mean, I couldn’t see, so how could I take care of a puppy. But, Kathleen, that’s my sister, wouldn’t take no for an answer. Truthfully, once she put Lily in my arms, I was a goner. She put her paws on my shoulders and reached up to touch her nose to mine and something inside me just melted.”

She smiled with him, but said nothing.

“The first six months were hard. I was trying to adapt, to take care of myself, then I had the responsibility for another being.”

When he didn’t say continue, she prompted him. “Well, what did you do?”

“Oh, sorry. I guess I was lost in darkness again.” He shook his head, straightened his shoulders, and went on with the story. “Well, I had to accept help and stop wallowing which is what my sister intended. I couldn’t very well let something happen to Lily because I couldn’t take care of her. So, my sister hired a person to help me. Strangely enough, about three months after I did that, my sight began to return. It was just a lightening of the darkness at first. Then flashes, and then one day, I could see. It was hazy, but as the doctor said, that was to be expected since it had been nearly two years since my eyes had worked.”

“What did you do?”

“What do you mean?”

“What was the first thing you did once you could see again? Did you read a book, go to the movies, meet with your sister?”

“Oh, okay. No, none of that.” He just smiled and looked down at Lily.

“Well, what was it?”

“I went outside and let Lily show me around the backyard.”

“Ohhhhhhhhhhh.” She clasped her hands over her heart and looked down at Lily as well, then said, “Well, Lily, what did you do?”

Lily cocked her head to one side, seemed to think about it, then grumbled out her answer. The both laughed at the dog who seemed to be trying to speak to the humans.

Caro turned back to Kieren and asked, “How long until it was back to normal?”

“My vision, or my life?” he laughed. “’Cause with Lily, I’m certain my life will never be normal again.” Lily grinned and slurped a kiss across his hand. “My vision’s still a little wonky at times. I’m very light sensitive, hence the sunglasses at dawn. I have to stay out of the full sun yet, but the doctor says that will probably change with the seasons.”

“For everything there is a season.”

He nodded, “Yes, and now my season of darkness is at an end. All because of a sister who wouldn’t give up, even though I nearly had.”

“And, Lily. Her love showed you the way.”

“Oh, yes. But for the love of Lily, I’d still be there fumbling around in the dark, or else I’d have given up completely.”

Lily crooned. When they looked down at her, they saw her eyes looking out over the bay. They both turned just in time to see the sun crown the horizon and cast off the lingering darkness.

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Snippet: Part 4

>> 8.31.2009

“Lily, mind your manners.”

“Oh, she’s okay. She’s just a very affectionate girl, aren’t you, Lily? Are you going to introduce yourself?”

He held out his hand saying, “Kieran Hunter.”

Reaching up to shake his hand, she replied, ”Caroline Irving, but my friends call me Caro.” Lily squirmed under Caro’s hand, whined and leaned against her chest. Caro’s breath wheezed out as she said, “Okay, Lily. I get it. You don’t want to be left out, do you?”

Lily grinned, and whoofed her agreement.

Kieren groaned, “Lily, behave.” Then he realized that Caro was giggling. He couldn’t remember the last time he heard an adult laugh like that, so exuberant. Most of the people he knew would never giggle. Laughter, like everything else was controlled and very, very proper. Of course, they also wouldn’t get down in the sand and play with his dog. Usually, they just ignored her.

When Lily toppled Caro onto her back and began licking every inch of exposed skin, he flinched. The giggling continued, then burst into full-blown laughter. He shook his head. She wasn’t like anyone he knew.

After a few minutes, she looked up, pushed Lily’s head away and said, “You might give me a hand, you know.” He stretched out his hand, she grasped it and pulled herself into a standing position.

“So Kieran, what brings you and your very visible Lily out today? I’m here every morning and don’t remember seeing the two of you before. And, believe me, I would remember meeting Lily. Oh, and you too, of course.”

His lips twitched at being an afterthought. “We just moved into a house down the beach. So, now we’re exploring, right Lily?”

Lily grinned and whoofed.

“Well then, welcome to both of you. I live there.” She swung around and indicated the lighthouse on the point.

“You live in a lighthouse?”

“Yeh, isn’t it great? Which one’s yours?”

“It’s the gray and white Shingle style at the end of the beach.”

“Oh, I thought . . .” her voice trailed off.

“You thought what?”

“Well, I must have been misinformed. I was told that a blind man had moved in there with his . . . dog. Um, huh.”

“Yes?”

“Well, it’s just you are wearing sunglasses and it’s not very bright out here. You’re not blind, are you? I mean you couldn’t be. You helped me up, shook my hand.” She stopped talking at his heavy sigh.

“No, I’m not blind now.”

“Now?”

“I was in an accident about a two years ago. When I purchased the house, I was the blind man with his dog.”

“That’s incredible. How did you, I mean, if you don’t mind my asking … ?”

“Get my sight back?”

“Yeh.”

“Well, the loss of vision was only partially due to the head trauma. Mostly, it was what they call psychological or hysterical blindness.” He reached up and removed the sunglasses.

She looked into his face, unveiled for the first time, noticing a scar that ran from the corner of his left eye back to his hairline at the temple. “If that’s from the accident, it looks like you took a solid hit to the head.”

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The Wild Wood

>> 8.30.2009

Once she ran through a wild wood
where trees had faces that gazed upon the sun
and voices that spoke in softly rustling wind.
Their arms lifted her as she climbed into the sky;
their bodies became her shelter from life’s sudden storms.

In the midst of that wild wood lived
the friends that joined her play. The dryads
wisped through the possum grapes, laughter
trilling and singing across the glades
as her child-self chased behind.

The fairies flitted among the leaves
dancing on the vines overhead, tickling
and teasing against her skin as she slid
down the creek bank then together skipping
hand-in-hand across the dappled water.

From the cavern near the creek slipped
the amethyst-eyed dragon that flew
the child across the sundown sky soaring
higher and higher to touch the clouds
before bringing her safely home once more,

then reappearing within her nightly dreams.

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Snippet Title?

>> 8.24.2009

Someone suggested to me to call the Snippet story, The Unnamed.  That's one option although I am as yet undecided.  As the ending is still uncertain, the name itself could lead to the conclusion.

So, my question is this - what do all of you think this story should be named?  Give me some suggestions to consider.  I'll post them here, and we will take a poll to determine a consensus.  I'll use the title to develop the conclusion to the story.

Anyone have an idea?  If so, leave me a comment to this post and we'll see what develops.

I look forward to hearing your ideas regarding the title and ultimate direction for the story.

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Quotes for Today

>> 8.23.2009



"And here is my secret, a very simple secret:  it is only with the heart that one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."   ~Antoine de St.-Exupery, The Little Prince

"With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things."  ~William Wordsworth

(Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/526194, protected under Creative Commons 2.0)

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Just a little Note

>> 8.21.2009

As you can see, I've been busy updating the look of this blog. As I'm new to the blogging world, there was somewhat of a learning curve. Fortunately, I have a very good friend TaunaLen who has been assisting me. I hope you like the new look. Let me know what you think about it.

I also have been working on a story for the Talent Trove Your Story and am just about ready to submit. I'll post a link once I have. I'm also working on another piece of the 'Snippet' story.


Well, that's all for this little note, but I will be back soon.

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A Note of Interest

>> 8.14.2009

I received a notice a short time ago about which I thought some of you might be interested.

It seems that Talent Trove, http://www.talenttrove.com/, is having a Your Story Contest. The story must be unpublished, 1,000 words maximum and may be in any of several genres. The winner of the contest earns $250.00 and their story will be the foundation for a movie produced by Talent Trove.

Details may be found on their site at http://www.talenttrove.com/whatsyourstory.

Although I have never had any personal dealings with them to date, I have been approached for a link exchange with the site. It seems that their mission is to provide an open forum for artists in multiple medias to showcase their talents and to allow people and firms looking for talent to see those artists.

I thought this sounded interesting and will be submitting a story to the contest as well. It can't hurt and at the very least I may reach additional readers and friends.

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Snippet: Part 3

>> 8.12.2009

As the animal crested the dune, she said, “Oh. My. God. What on earth is that?”

He glanced at her long enough for her to see the slight smile on his face, then said, “That’s my dog, Lilith. Lily for short.”

“There’s nothing short about that animal. Are you sure it’s a dog? ‘Cause it kind of looks like a miniature wooly mammoth. Or, maybe a small horse. A very hairy, small horse. Having a really, really bad hair day.”

“Shhhh. Don’t say that so loud. You’ll hurt her feelings.”

“Huh?”

“Lily is very sensitive. She was the runt of the litter and well, if I hadn’t taken her home, they would have gotten rid of her.”

“That’s barbaric!”

“Yeh, I know. Anyway, she was a little homely as a weanling pup.”

“I can see that.”

“Hey, now. That’s my dog you’re insulting.”

“I’m not being insulting, I’m being honest. She’s . . . really BIG.” The dog was only six feet away but didn’t appear to be slowing down. “Ummm. She will stop, won’t she?”

He turned back towards the dog and held one hand out palm forward, then slashed downward. The dog sat back on her haunches and slid the remaining distant showering both of them with sand. Tongue lolling, panting, Lily sat at their feet looking at them.

As he began brushing sand from his jeans, he said, “Sorry about that. She’s still a puppy so we haven’t quite mastered polite introductions.”

A puppy?”

“Yes.” His eyes were crinkling at the corners.

“What type of dog is she?”

“Lily’s a mixed breed. Part Irish Wolfhound for sure, and the vet thinks maybe part Newfoundland as well.”

“She’s huge. And hairy.”

“Oh, she’s just a growing girl. She won’t reach her full potential until about three years of age. If she continues along the lines of her mother, she should weigh about one-hundred and thirty pounds and top out about a little under three feet in height.”

“Gawd. You mean to tell me she’ll weigh more than I do?”

He looked her over before saying, “Well, that’s not saying much, but she's probably nearly there now.”

“Hmmmm.” She looked down at the dog sitting between them. Lily looked up at her and stretched her mouth wide, happy with the attention of the two humans. “Did you see that? She smiled at me.”

He ruffled the fur at her head, and Lily leaned into him. “Dogs can’t smile, but she’s a very good-natured pup.”

Squatting down, she was eyeball-to-eyeball when she addressed the dog. “Just goes to show what he knows, doesn’t it Lily,” running her hands over Lily’s head then stroking her neck “By the way, Lily, everyone calls me Caro. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Lily rumbled and slurped her tongue across Caro’s cheek in acknowledgement.

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Just a little note

>> 8.06.2009

Everyone seemed to enjoy the snippet of story, so I have another installment for you. Still rough draft, untitled and uncertain as to where it's going. Sometimes that's the way it works, though. I just sit down and start typing, or writing and see what develops. Sometimes, I get a complete idea and then flesh it out.

So, see what you think, and I'll see where it leads us.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments and feedback. It's immensely gratifying to have readers to enjoy my work. Whenever I get bogged down, or discouraged, I look back at the wonderful words you have left me, and start again.

Enjoy!

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Snippet Update: Part 2, Untitled Story

“Don’t you know you shouldn’t sneak up behind someone? You might get socked, or something,” she said.

“I didn’t sneak anywhere. I was just walking my dog.”

She slowly turned in a circle before raising her eyebrows in question. “Your dog? Is he a ghost?”

“What is this fascination you have with ghosts? There are no such thing as ghosts.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Okay, if it makes you happy to believe that, go for it.”

“It does, because it’s fact.”

“Okaaay, then, where’s your dog?”

“Say what?”

“Your dog. The one you said you were walking. I don’t see any dog, so I just thought he must be a ghost. I guess he could be a figment of your imagination, but I don’t really know you well enough to declare you crazy.”

“Let me get this straight. If I said I had a ghost dog, I wouldn’t be crazy, but if I said that the dog was a figment of my imagination, I would?”

“Yeh.” When he made a noise that was somewhat of a cross between a growl and horribly-put-upon sigh, she laughed.

“Do you know my father?”

“WHAT?”

“If you had accompanied that noise with rolling eyes, you would have perfectly imitated him. I didn’t know anyone else actually made that kind of sound.”

“I understand his pain,” he mumbled.

“I heard that! Yeesh, clone-alert.” She turned back to check her equipment, examining the image captured on the LCD. “EEEEEEEEEEEE!”

“What? What’s wrong?”

“YOU MADE ME MISS MY SHOT!”

“Is that all? God, I thought something bit you, or stung you, or . . .”

“Is that all?”

“Well, there’s always another sunrise, isn’t there?”

“Now, I know you must be a long, lost relative on my father’s side of the family.”

“Huh?”

“There’s always another sunrise. It’s not like it’s a real job,” she responded. “Isn’t that what you mean?”

“Well, …”

“I’ll have you know, this is my job. I’m a professional photographer.”

“A professional? You mean you get paid to take photographs?”

“Yeh, that’s right. Don’t know what to say now, do you. It’s different when there’s money involved, isn’t it? Yes, I get paid to take photographs. I have a contract with a publisher for a book that I’m finishing, and I display at several galleries.”

“Galleries. You mean like an artist? Well, I guess that explains the ghost thing then.”

“Oh, because I’m an artist, I’m a flake?”

“You said it, I didn’t.”

“Well, I’m not the one walking an invisible dog.”

“She’s not invisible.”

“Really, because I still don’t see any sign of her. Perhaps I was too hasty in deciding your mental faculties are intact.”

“She’s not invisible. She’s just exploring.” He placed two fingers in his mouth, and shrilled out a whistle.

“Well?”

He whistled again then turned toward what sounded like a horse at full gallop coming from the other side of the dune.

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A Snippet

>> 8.03.2009

Just a snippet, a prompted writing based on a line: "He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance." ~ Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Don't know where, or even if it's going somewhere yet.

============================================================
Perfect timing, she thought. The sun had just appeared above the horizon. It looked like a big, golden Chinese lantern arising from the dark waters to light the day. And the sky was dressed in multi-color stripes hovering over an ocean that looked like a sheet of midnight glass. “Yeh, nothing like a little purple prose to start the day,” she said.

She focused her camera, double-checking the settings and exposures.

“That should be a good one,” she mumbled.

“Excuse me?” a male voice asked.

“Jeezus! Give me a heart attack, why don’t you?” The man had just popped in behind her like some ghost in a horror movie. “Hey, you are real, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Excuse me?”

Well, he has a nice voice even if his timing sucks.

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Update: Six Word Stories

>> 7.28.2009

You know, it doesn't really take much to make a writer happy. Just someone to read and appreciate our work.

So as you might imagine, I'm very happy that one of my submissions to Six Word Stories, http://www.sixwordstories.net, was featured on July 24, 2009. If you're interested, check it out at the link below.

http://sixwordstories.net/2009/07/wall-cloud-f6-tor.

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Caine's Sister

>> 7.24.2009

28-April-2040:

“Mrs. Donovan, you understand that changing time creates consequences that you’ll have to live with? You won’t be able to change it back.” The Time Group lawyer stared at her before continuing, “When you return, you need to bring back these documents signed by both you and your husband.”

“That won’t be a problem,” she said. Although her husband didn’t agree with her decision, she’d do whatever it took to make this happen. Even forge his signature. Every day since her son’s death, she had prayed, implored, and yes, screamed to the heavens. Today was the anniversary of Caine’s death, and finally, someone had listened.

His death had affected all of them, especially her daughter Caitlyn. She lost a twin brother and a mother that day. By changing this one event, both of them would become whole again.

Her arms ached to hold him. She still woke in the night thinking she heard his call, still missed that little boy smell of baby and sweat. Now she would be able to enjoy her life, her husband, and both her children. No more wondering what else she could have done.

“How soon can we begin?”

“We’ll be ready when you return the necessary paperwork. The trip itself will seem like you walked through a door into another room. When you come out, it will have never happened.”

“That quickly? Will I realize what’s happened?”

“Yes, but you’ll be the only one except for the Chronographers here at the Time Group.”

“Chronographers?”

“The Chronographers track the different aspects of time and reality. Someone has to know the variations of history created by the Conversion Chamber. So we have a group of scientists who audit the time trails.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll get these right back to you.”

“Mrs. Donovan, you must wait at least seventy-two hours. We feel that’s the minimum amount of time required to thoroughly discuss and consider the impact this decision will have on your lives.”

“I’ve thought of nothing else since I heard about this contest. When I won, I knew this was the answer to my prayers. I don’t need any more time. I’ll be here three days from now. “



01-May-2040:

“All right, Mrs. Donovan, everything seems to be in order,” the lawyer said, reviewing the signed releases. “Just step into the Conversion Chamber and we’ll begin.” As she entered he said, “Last chance to change your mind.”

Shaking her head, she replied, “I’ve been waiting years for this chance.”

The lawyer joined the white-coated scientists in front of a control panel. Slowly she became aware of a high-pitched whine that grew steadily louder until she felt the reverberations deep within. Then, nothing. She looked around and saw a technician opening the door.

“Is it done?”


The technician glanced at her then looked down as she replied, “Yes. It’s done. I hope you know . . .” She sighed, shook her head slightly then said, “Good luck, Mrs. Donovan.”

“Thank you so much.” As she departed from the Time Group headquarters, she laughed for the first time in years. She walked briskly toward home, looking around, but not noticing any differences. Entering her house, she stopped and called out, “I’m home.”

She heard the staccato sound of running footsteps heralding Caine’s appearance. Her husband trailed after him. Near tears, she swung him up in her arms, hugging him close. “Hi, sweetie. You two having a good day?”

“Not bad,” her husband replied. “Where have you been?”

“Oh, just out for a walk.” She looked around but didn’t see her daughter anywhere. “Where’s Caitlyn?”

Her husband flinched and looked down for a moment before saying, “Honey, did you remember to take your medicine today?”

She just stared at him. His shoulders rose and fell, then he said, “Don’t you remember the incident?”

Her throat tightened. “Wha-what incident?”

He walked to her and wrapped his arms around her. “Caitlyn’s dead, hon. The kids were playing when Caine grabbed hold of Caitlyn’s swing and . . . She was dead when we found her.”

“Nooooooo.“

Her son patted her on her cheek then said, “It’s all right, Mommy. You don’t need her, you have me.”

Staring down at her son, she noticed the electronic anklet for the first time. Her husband gestured, addressing the nurse standing across the room, “I think it’s time for another dose of their medicine, don’t you?”


(This story was originally submitted to Writer's Digest "Your Story #19" earlier this month - see posting on 07/08/2009. Unfortunately, it wasn't selected as one of the finalists. Maybe next time. I hope you enjoy it. )

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A Million Dollar Tale

>> 7.22.2009

I was recently asked what I would
do with a million dollars tax-free.
Well, it would have to be tax-free
wouldn’t it, or the IRS would abscond
with, oops, I mean, collect
at least fifty percent.

But, what would I do?
Pay it off and pay it down,
buy it outright, make it work,
build upon it.
Grab a piece
of the American Dream,
my house in the country,
a patchwork of sod, something
to call my own, to hold and keep,
to nurture and be nurtured by,
a haven.

Although,
I guess it would depend
on who presented
the check. If it
was Ed McMahon knocking
on my door, I might pause,
briefly.

After all, a deceased person
with a check would be
somewhat strange.
Then again, perhaps

more fool I, I’d reach out
(with surely trembling hands)
and grab that check, tear it from his
cold, dead hands
then take off like a proverbial
bat-out-of-hell.

Do you think the bank
would still deposit
a corpse’s check
with a torn corner?
Ah, but what a tale
to spin for the next
family reunion.

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Etcetera

>> 7.17.2009

Recently, I read
a magazine column entitled
“Etcetera”. Now I always
wonder, yet never know,
exactly how to interpret
etcetera.

Every time I see
or hear the word,
I visualize Yul Brynner
dancing, intoning,
“Etcetera, etcetera.”

Then I wonder
is it really miscellany?
Or, is it not knowing,
perhaps not caring
how to categorize?
Just lump it all, everything
and everyone, into
etcetera.

Are we part
of that unknown,
uncared about
group plopped into
etcetera?

Faceless, nameless,
just something extra,
no one understands
or attempts to understand.
No knowledge,
no thought;
just plain
etcetera.

Today, tomorrow, always.
Etcetera, etcetera.

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Quotes for Today

>> 7.12.2009

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

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Update:

>> 7.08.2009

Well, I've spent the last week finalizing a flash fiction piece that I just submitted today. I have to admit, I'm more than a little nervous, since this is the first piece I've submitted anywhere other than on my blog.

The story was for the Writer's Digest Your Story competition which occurs every other month. A prompt is posted on the website and published in the magazine. Then you have a relatively short period of time to develop a 750 word or under piece and submit by a deadline. The editors then select the top five stories and post them in the Forum where they will be voted on for the winner. The winning story will be published an upcoming issue of the magazine.

For more details, see the website: http://www.writersdigest.com/yourstory

So everyone think good thoughts and if you're interested, you might stop by the WD site, sign up for the Forum and vote for the best story. I would love for it to be mine, but everyone should vote for the story they feel is the best written. The site is a wonderful resource for any writer or poet, so you might want to take a look anyway.

Wish me luck!

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FYI: Writing the Life Poetic

>> 7.05.2009

I love to books - all types of books, whether to read for entertainment, or to learn something new. I am constantly checking out new books on writing. Many times I just review them at the bookstore, or see if the library has a copy. Sometimes I shell out some cash and take a gem home.

My most recent is Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen. It's an interesting book on writing poetry that is written in down-to-earth language - you don't have to possess an English degree to understand it. It does what it says and brings poetry to the people. I am currently working on some of the exercises to create some new poems.

If you're interested, you might check out her site: http://www.writingthelifepoetic.typepad.com/

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Independence Day

>> 7.04.2009


July 4th is our Independence Day and a holiday in the United States. We traditionally celebrate with fireworks, food, and friends. When I lived in town, I would go down to the River Parks with some friends, we would watch the fireworks, drink a few beers and generally just hang out. Now that I live out in the country, it's more a matter of hoping no one sets the woods on fire and that the volunteers that make up the fire department haven't imbibed too freely. To everyone in the U.S., Happy Independence Day! To those of you in other countries, well, I hope you have had a wonderful Saturday! (Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org )

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Quote for the Day:

>> 7.01.2009

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
~Kurt Vonnegut

Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed.
~Corita Kent

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The Perfect Family

>> 6.26.2009

Dazzling reflections of the perfect family hand-crafted
by dentist and surgeon, set like a fine jewel within a façade
planned to the nth degree, clothed in the latest, greatest
designer favored of the gossip-trade set, residing within

an Architectural Digest McMansion complete
with backyard pool for lounging, manicured
grounds well-groomed by the hard work of those
who later depart for their smaller, mean pie-piece;

helpers paid to scale as determined by those who never
knew, or don’t remember dining on ketchup soup
so that the electric remains on. A collection of plasticized
ornaments interacting via electronics, never connecting

face-to-face, striving to uphold the perfection; binging
and purging, nip and tuck, inject and buff, all to maintain
the body, highlight and weave, perfecting a flowing mane,
five-fingered discounting just because; lubricating, medicating

to make it through the day; money in, money gushing out,
got to have the best, the finest everything, keep on keeping up,
never realize, don’t comprehend, don't care that many people,
most people survive very well on their clothing budget alone.

Those outside peering in find only the façade, the charade, crafted
so carefully to impress, missing, overlooking the wormy interior,
the failing in the heart and soul that keeps them seeking, pursuing
sensation, excitement, anything to prove they’re still here, amongst

the living. Proof of life showing in the magazine covers and the news
headlines, extending the fascination of the not-so-rich with the fantasy
world of the ‘perfect family’. Enabled and enabler. And then, the cycle
begins again – News at Six.

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Quotes for Today

>> 6.21.2009

Birth, life, and death -- each took place on the hidden side of a leaf. ~ Toni Morrison

There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. ~Carl Jung

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. ~Franz Kafka

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Six Little Words

>> 6.18.2009

In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. Hemingway jotted down six little words. For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn. They paid up. Hemingway is said to have considered it his best work.

Think about it. Six words to tell a story. The words have to be evocative enough to imply the story to the reader. What story can you tell in 6 little words?

Here are a few to ponder, from http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/sixwords.html.

Longed for him. Got him. Shit. ~Margaret Atwood
From torched skyscrapers, men grew wings. ~Gregory Maguire
The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly. ~Orson Scott Card
Kirby had never eaten toes before. ~Kevin Smith
K.I.A. Baghdad, Aged 18 - Closed Casket ~Richard K. Morgan
Heaven falls. Details at eleven. ~Robert Jordan
Three to Iraq. One came back. ~Graeme Gibson
I saw, darling, but do lie. ~Orson Scott Card
In the beginning was the word. ~Gregory Maguire
Corpse parts missing. Doctor buys yacht. ~ Margaret Atwood
He read his obituary with confusion. ~Steven Meretzky


Additional 6 word stories may be found at: http://www.sixwordstories.net/ and
http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords/.

I recently submitted several stories to both Narrative Online and to Six Word Stories website and am waiting to hear about them. And finally, for your reading pleasure (I hope), here are some of my own 6 word stories.

Final truth: Nobody wins at war.

One writer. Blank page. Undiscovered territory.

Childhood daydreamer finds niche, becomes author.

Lost myself. Began writing. Found myself.


Oh, God! My finger slipped. BOOM!

Patriot Act Passes! Shhhhhh, they’re listening.


Oops, condom broke. Meet the twins.

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Oklahoma Spring

>> 6.15.2009

Stark gray skies interrupted by strands of forsythia bursting
into streams of yellow herald winters end. Skies clear, shaded

cerulean, hazed with cottony billows of cloud-shaped dreams.
Nature’s budding, greening trees and grass, flowers erupting

from darkened soil, new spears knifing upward, flower faces basking
in the warm spring sun. Birds returning from winter vacations, now

building nests, raising their young, filling air with trilling
songs. Animal babes call to their mothers, gamboling in waving

emerald pastures. Morning creeps over the horizon earlier and earlier,
days lengthen, nights grow shorter, blaze with sparkling constellations

strewn across blue-black midnight. Gardens bursting alive, developing
into plump orange tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, spicy mache, burgundy

radishes, farm-fresh eating. Crisp mornings flow into soft evenings scented
sweetly, unmatchable by even the best perfumer. Purple twilights explode

with sparkling fireflies searching for another to make their own. Sudden
storms scud, drenching the land, overflowing ponds and creeks, creating

sodden earth, and muddy footprints tracked across just cleaned floors. Winds
wail, whipping cyclones create havoc. Just another Oklahoma springtime.

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Question Follow-up: F6 Tornado

>> 6.11.2009

Okay, so there is a F6 tornado headed my way and I only have 20 minutes to prepare. What would I do?

I live out in the country, about 20 minutes from anywhere. The last thing I would want is to be on a rural highway and caught by a tornado. I have elderly parents living on the property as well, so I would stay at home and take my chances there and use the time to prepare as best I could. I would gather blankets, pillows, battery-powered lighting, bottled water, power bars or packaged food, a battery-powered weather radio, and a cell phone. Once I had the parents and items tucked-in somewhere, under the stairs, in a hallway or bath, I would keep an eye out as long as possible. If the tornado approached, I'd head for the shelter and start praying, and keep it up until it was over. One way, or another.

Of course, you also have to understand that not only do I live on a rural property that's 20 minutes from the nearest town, but Oklahoma is not heavily populated. I think that on the last census there were about 3 million people in the entire state. As such, when you're out in the country, you rely on yourself for the most part.

If you're interested, you might check out this link. This shows you the destructive capacity of an F5 tornado. http://newsok.com/may3

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The Gift You Gave to Me

>> 6.10.2009

What is love, that we so easily speak, say so often?
We love pizza; we love to read; we love the lilac scent of summer-sweet air; we love the pit-patting of the rain on the roof. I must confess, I do enjoy all these things.

But none engender that twingey, semi-queasy feeling in my stomach, originating from the realization that you have touched something deep inside, changed me somehow; and that I would miss you, ache for you, if you were no longer here;

that wonder I feel at the slide of your hair-roughened skin against mine;
the comfortable, warm blanket feeling that cocoons me hearing your

sleep-snuffling breath as you lay beside me

the joy that suffuses me upon seeing your eyes lit with laughter;
the awe I feel when I notice the fire in your eyes, and recognize
the greed in your touch, the loving that flames and burns.

This, then, is what I love and the gift you gave to me.

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Question:

>> 6.08.2009

I was asked an interesting question today. The situation and question are as follows:

Situation: There is an F6 Tornado heading your way. You have 20 minutes to prepare or get somewhere. What do you do, stay or go? If you go, what would you take with you? What would you save since everything else would be gone forever?

For those of you who don't have tornadoes, an F6 tornado has been termed 'the hand of God' - it literally scrapes /destroys / wipes everything in its path from the face of the Earth leaving nothing behind. Its winds are worse than the worst hurricane. With tornadoes you may only have 15 - 20 minutes advance warning.

So there's the situation, what would you do? Thought-provoking, isn't it? If you had to decide what was most important in your life, knowing you would lose everything else?

Think about it; I'll give you my answer in another post.

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Update: Blinders

I reposted the poem "Blinders" today with a dedication. I just found out that my first friend here in the blogosphere was a survivor of abuse. It's not a secret - she has blogged about her experiences and her feelings. But, my heart hurts for her, and for everyone who has been subjected.

So, I would like to dedicate this poem to everyone who has survived, and for those of you who have never experienced it, please take the time to learn. Abuse happens much more than many people understand or believe. There are many types of abuse. It's more than physical, it's also emotional. The internal bruises and damage may last much, much longer than most of the surface damage. This is a very real problem and too many times people turn the other way and refuse to see, refuse to get involved.

I hope it never happens to you, or to anyone you know. But, if you do see it, or suspect abuse, do something about it. It doesn't just stop. And, many times people are seriously injured, or even killed.

So, I dedicate "Blinders" to all the survivors. And, especially to my friend Spirit (http://written-whispers.com/blog ) who writes so beautifully from her heart.

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Quotes for Today

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.
~ Oliver Wendall Holmes

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
~ Henry James

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Waiting

>> 6.06.2009

As I walked up to the bus stop, I glanced at my watch. 4:43 p.m. I’d just made it; the Crosstown express should be arriving within the next five minutes. Forty-five minutes later, I’d be at home and could officially call this day at an end. Thank God!

The day had been horrible. My girlfriend and I had another fight. My car wouldn’t start; AAA said it would be at least four hours before they could get to me. When I called my boss, he had said, “you better be here by 9:00 a.m., or I’ll mail your check.” And that was the beginning of a downhill spiral.

Now, all I wanted was to get home, have a drink and relax. The last thing I wanted was conversation when the old guy next to me handed me a faded photograph he’d pulled from his wallet. It was cracked and faded, edges dog-eared, the once-white border now verging on gray. A dark haired girl wearing a long, blood-red skirt and a white blouse stood in front of a liquor store. The full skirt flounced and swayed around her slim shins. I knew by the way she stood, one hip thrust towards the camera that she had a Southern accent. As I handed the photo back, I asked, “Who is she?”

He ran his thumb slowly across the surface of her picture then placed it carefully back into his wallet before saying, “She’s my wife.”

“She’s pretty. Are you two still together?”

“No. She went to live in Hollywood. Said she wanted to be in films; that acting was in her genes. She said her Daddy had been a famous film star. She didn’t know his name, but she believed it to be true.

“Has she done any films?”

“I haven’t seen her in any.”

“Do you still talk?”

“It’s been twenty years since she left.”

“Twenty years? And you never remarried?”

“Nah.”

“But, she left you, and you haven’t spoken to her ….”

“Doesn’t matter. I still love her as much as the day we married.”

“That’s, that’s something. Hey, why’d she think that her Daddy was a famous film star?”

“Well, that’s what her Momma told her. What she told everyone. That she’d met him down in Dallas, they’d run off and got married, but her Daddy run him off and had the marriage annulled. Course that was before he knew she was carrying.”

“So, who was he?”

“Don’t know. Mary-Sue’s, that’s my wife, her Momma never would say. Just said that her little girl looked just like her Daddy and could follow is footsteps and be in the pictures.”

“That’s kind of …”

“Yeh, Mary-Sue’s Momma was a strange one.”

“So what brings you here?”

“I’m going to California. Going to look up Mary-Sue.”

“How are you going to find her after twenty years?”

“Well, I’ve got an address for her room-mate. We’ve kept in touch over the years.”


“Does she know where Mary-Sue is?”

“Yeh. She kept tabs on her and has been taking care of her for me.”

“Really. So what happens when you find her?”

“I’m going to join her.”

“Oh? Where’s she at?”

“Shady Acres in Sacremento.”

“Is that a retirement home?”

“You might say that. It’s where she was buried.”

“She’s dead?”

“Has been for nearly twenty years.”

“But, didn’t you say …”

“Yeh. She was killed in a car wreck with some actor about six months after she arrived. Never had a chance to find her Daddy. Never made a movie. Now it’s time for me to join her.”

“Join? You mean …?”

“The doctor told me I had six months left to live and that was five months ago. So, I sold everything and I’m going to California. I’m going to see what she left me for, and then when it’s time, well, we’ll be buried side-by-side. “

I stared at him wordlessly.

“Is that your bus?” he asked.

Looking around, I nodded affirmatively before turning back to him. “What’s your name?”

“David Miller.”

“David, I’m Dylan Kennedy. It was a pleasure to meet you. Good luck on your trip.”

“Thank you.”

I had started up the steps into the bus when he spoke once more.

“Son?”

I turned back to him, and he continued, “Pride’s a terrible thing. Don’t let it stand in the way of someone you love. Before you know it, you’re whole life’s over and you’ve spent it all alone.”

For a moment, I just looked at him. Then I smiled and said, “Yeh. Thank you, David Miller.”

“Good luck, son, and good-bye.”

“The same to you.” I boarded my bus, plopping into a seat and turned to look out the window as the bus lurched away. He was still sitting on the bench, and had pulled his wallet out again, his thumb stroking slowly over something. Her picture. I kept watching him, wondering at the woman who inspired such devotion even after twenty years that a man would journey that far just to be buried with her.

As the bus began to turn the corner, I saw a smile wreath his face. A smile for the dark-haired woman wearing a full red skirt and a trim white blouse who sat down beside him on the bench.

Read more...

Blinders

>> 6.05.2009

(for Spirit, and everyone who has reason to know first hand what this poem is about)

Who is more blind, one who can not see, or one who chooses not to see?
The one no longer sighted because of accident, or birth? Or the one

who willfully, and willingly places blinders between themselves and what
occurs before their own eyes? Those who choose not to see, that turn unseeing

eyes, unhearing ears, unknowing heart, failing to acknowledge blackened eyes
from those who habitually walk into doors, or the bruised-plum skin

on the self-acknowledged klutz. Their eyes skitter away from the evidence,
overlook the fathomless sorrow blazing from the soul’s window of adult

and child alike, the walking wounded, terrorized in word and deed. Words
spew outward in ever increasing rounds of denial, “It can’t happen here;

it doesn’t happen in good families, abuse occurs only to the poor, to
someone else; or, remember,
sparing the rod, spoils the child”. How

visionless are those who refuse to see that love is not a smack to the face,
a hand raised in anger that bounces the body off the wall, or fists and feet

breaking bones; nor is it vicious, biting words that demolish the soul,
and shred hope leaving only hollow places inside, a dark abyss that festers.

Those who don’t feel the ever-widening sphere of impact of each hit
on every family and all of society? How unseeing, how horrible-feeling

are those who deceive themselves with endless games of “they deserved it,
they made me do it,” or alternately, “I made them angry, it’s not their fault?”

Always denying, playing out the ultimate self-bluff that one day, someday,
the pain will cease, will vanish, and all will be well. More often, too often,

when that day arrives, it ends in more violence. A gun, a knife, or fists
that bring the terror to its ultimate resolution. No more hate. No more

violence. No more anything. Just dead. An unsighted person may not know
the white-glare shades of sunlight in the summer, the purple-black hue

of twilight, nor the crystalline brilliance of stars strewn across a cloudless
night, but they can determine the intensity of heat in that bright sun

indicating day or afternoon; they can feel the deep cool of evening shade
across their skin, dream of sky-bound pinpoints of light twinkling

overhead. But those who choose blindness, that ignore the knowledge,
hide from the sunlight that illuminates the marks of truth on skin;

they cower in the twilight fearing the sound of footsteps heading their way.
They overlook the light of Creation in the stars, and within themselves,

and no longer dream of beauty, peace, or happiness. They deceive
themselves about the impact, the viewers who learn by watching,

experiencing, and then began the endless game once more as abuser
and abused. Those who destroy do not care for other than themselves.

Those who make themselves feel better through making others feel bad,
don’t show love, merely dominance. No one is able to change another;

we are only responsible for our own change. Love doesn’t hit, nor hate,
nor diminish. So love yourself as a child of Creation, and escape the dark.

Walk into the light, out of the maze of blackness and despair. End
the never-ending cycle of punching bag and excuse. Remove the blinders.

Reclaim yourself; redeem yourself. Love and honor yourself
and your family, protect all from a never-ending void,
an unceasing downward spiral of anguish and fear.

Read more...

Quote for the Day:

>> 6.04.2009

"Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what
you are, what you believe, shine through every
sentence you write, every piece you finish."

~John Jakes

Read more...

Heart’s Traffic

>> 6.02.2009

Do you ever wonder why there is no stoplight
directing the heart’s traffic?

In and out, expanding and contracting
as people arrive and depart
from the shores of our hearts.

Sometimes I wish there were conductors to inquire
‘where’s your ticket?’; to vanquish the
unexpected train-hoppers.

But, what would we become with tollgates barring
heart and soul, but a barren wasteland
empty and cold.

Read more...

Quotes for Today

>> 5.11.2009

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath


When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don't state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.

~Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 30: prompt farewell

>> 4.30.2009

The First Farewell

All weekend long you held me close, loved
me tight, and rocked me to sleep every night
after reading me just one more favorite bedtime

story. We played jacks and chased balls, watched
that funny man splashing around in the rain on the t.v.
while you sang along, and we laughed like Sunday would

never arrive. But, Sunday came, as it always does,
and you had to leave once more. All the joy, all
the laughter that we had shared fled, vanquished

by the sorrow and the fear that maybe, this time,
you would forget to come back, and I would be all
alone. As your old blue VW rumbled down the drive,

then turned into the street, I followed you flailing
my arms and waving my hands while tears bathed
my face. My arms and legs pumped harder than

they ever had, but three was too young to race a car.
As the vehicle carrying you away from me reached
the corner, nearly out of sight, I yelled as loud as I could,

“I love you, Mommy. Don’t forget to come back next week.”

Read more...

29 Complete, only 1 more to go!

>> 4.29.2009

Well, I have survived 29 days of the Poetic Asides 2009 Poetry Challenge. I have posted 29 poems, including the dreaded sestina.

A sestina, by the way, is a form poem consisting of 39 lines in 6 stanzas of 6 lines and a final stanza of 3 lines. 6 words are repeated as the last line of each of the 6 stanzas in varying order, and then 2 each in each line of the final tercet. Poetic Asides, obviously, has a good explanation and shows the repeat pattern as does Wikipedia.

Just so you know, it was a complete pain! Definately a stretch for someone who prefers free verse. Final day tomorrow - joy, joy! It has been a good experience for me; it forced me to write every day and to get over that feeling that I must wait for inspiration to strike.

Thank you to everyone for their support. It was, and is most appreciated!

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 29: prompt phrase "Never (blank)"

Never Say Never

Never let life get you down,
don’t get caught up in endless

rounds of could-I should-I,
block your ears from hearing

that it’s not realistic, don’t believe
that dreams won’t come true,

Forget living in the so-called real world,
ignore those who state it will never

happen for you. Instead, remember
to dream large, fly high, design life

the way you want it to be. Just remember
to build a solid foundation to support

your dreams, and never say never.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 28: prompt write a sestina

Music

The absolute magic of extraordinary music
is always encapsulated inside or within
the creative arrangement of it notes
and words that allow it to touch the shadows
of the human heart. It can depress, or lighten
the spirit and mind, or capture a memory;

it can become a symbol, or a memorial
to those we have lost. Various musical
pieces recapture joy or hope; they enlighten
the mind feeding it vibrations to aid in
learning, or help to set a mood. Shades
of color may be attributed to the notes.

The color blue is probably the most notable
referencing a style made exceptionally memorable
by its innate capacity to reach into the shadowy
wasteland of our psyche and give birth, musically
speaking, to the deepest emotions found within.
Whether it’s wailing loudly, or whispering lightly,

it resonates with us. Sometimes, it’s like a lightning
strike stabbing the heart. You’d swear every word, every tone
was speaking directly to you, and was ripped from within
your secret heart, that unendingly painful well of memories
we keep inside a locked closet until the day a skilled musician
searches long enough, delves deep enough to unlock that shadowland

we hide away. Once the key is found and turned, the shades
of emotion escape through the door heading for the light
where they dance and twirl in tune with the syncopated music
while they reach outward with grasping fingers to catch the notes
that reverberate on the air. Almost corporeal, each memory
partners with a special song that strives to free the spirit within.

Some artists have a special capacity allowing them to reach inside
mankind, to become explorers charting that invisible land of shadows
that comprise our soul, or, what some call a universal genetic memory.
Whatever you may call it, music appeals to it, and shines a spotlight
into our lives, giving each of us a method by which to notate
special times, made even more special by the presence of music.

The music shaded in hues of blue reaches deep inside
the world and wraps its notes around our darkest shadows
shining its light upon mankind's communal memories.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 27: prompt longing

Wishful Dreaming

Seduced by the warmth of the sunlight
shining through the window, the fat gray
cat is enticed to snooze upon the windowsill.

There he longingly dreams about partaking
of succulent dinners filled with glossy
blackbirds captured after a masterful hunt.

Enraptured by his reveries, the somnolent
feline fails to notice the arrival of the little
blackbird now perching outside his sleeping

quarters and peering wistfully inside, gazing
at the slumber-blanketed cat and yearning
for some of that soft gray fur to line her nest.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 26: prompt miscommunication

Different Worlds

Sometimes, I think that rather than miscommunication occurring
between the genders, it’s more a matter each speaking separate

languages, of living in different worlds. When he says, I’ll call
you sometime, he means about the same time as the twelfth of never;

yet she hears that he will call her in the next day or so, and when
he doesn’t, her anger grows exponentially with each passing day

her phone remains sullenly silent, and yet he can’t seem
to understand why she yells at him the next time they meet

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 25: prompt event

Family Reunion

One day each year gathering someplace
catching up on what has occurred during
the year since we last met

Joinings and disjoinings of marriage
and partnership; births, graduations,
striking out on one’s own journey

Ailing and passing, capturing
and recapturing memories of today
and yesterday once more.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 24: prompt travel-related

One flying flower
Flitting throughout the garden
Summer traveler

Read more...

23 days complete!

>> 4.24.2009

Well, I've made it through 23 days of the Challenge and have 23 poems. Some better than others, but it's good to experiment with different forms and styles. Actually, I have written more than the 23 days worth; some were good enough that I am contemplating submitting them. Although, I have to admit, I haven't decided where or when as of yet.

I hope you enjoy my offerings, and happy writing!

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 23: prompt regret

When Death Arrives

When death arrives to lead me from
this earth, and clasps his hand in mine,
I hope that I’ll hear angel’s wings
and journey to the great divine.

I don’t want to worry about
what I might have done,
or all those someday things
for which someday never comes.

An existence so filled with regrets,
because I’d spent my time in fear,
that I did not accomplish what
I actually hold quite dear.

As such, I try to embrace love,
to give, as well as to receive,
commit to everything I do
and never to deceive.

Immerse myself in happy thoughts,
fill my life with friends,
so that I will welcome death
when my time is at an end.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 22: prompt work

Work

Why oh why, can’t I be rich,
Or find a long lost treasure; it
Really sucks being broke, and
Knowing that I have to work.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 21: prompt haiku

tiny little frog
forest dweller’s symphony
serenades the dark

proud hawk wings unfurled
gliding upon air thermals
nature’s windsurfer

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 20: prompt rebirth

dead earth awakens
daffodil amidst the snow
springtime harbinger

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 19: prompt angry

vicious hurtful words
airborne missiles finding heart
time to call it quits

Read more...

Poetry Challenge / Day 18: prompt interaction

busy little bee
flitting between the flowers
like Casanova

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Poetry Challenge / Day 17: phrase All I Want is (blank)

All I Want is to Know

Another evening dining alone,
while you are still at work

Another fight, our voices screaming,
doors slamming between us

Another night waiting in the dark,
wondering where you’ve been

Another teardrop stains my pillow,
dreaming of what once was

Another morning without speaking,
now there are no words to say

All I want is to know,
is this the way it’s supposed to be?

Read more...

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 16 / Prompt - color

Summer White

Pure white roses and dandelion fuzz
marking summer days

puffy clouds passing by
under a white-hot haze

eyelet lace and dotted Swiss curtains
floating upon the breeze

pollen whispers through the air
making everyone sneeze

clear skies with stars of pristine color
and homemade vanilla ice cream

are items that help to make
summer days a dream

these are the things
I remember alright,

all the colors
of summer white.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 15 / Prompt - favorite poem alteration

(Carl Sandburg’s poem, Fog)

The Smog

The smog arrives
wearing combat boots.

It hovers, smothering
the city and people
like a toxic blanket
awaiting the Apocalypse.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 14 / Two for Tuesday: prompt - love / anti-love poem

Fire in the Night

You come to me, hold me close,
Breathe softly across my skin,
Caress each curve with dancing fingers
Soft as moonlight,
While a jasmine wind sighs through
Our room.

You come to me, merge with me,
Breath to breath, fevered skin burning,
Heartbeats twinning, hands buried
In my hair,
Tenderly murmuring words beloved
By hopeful ears.

You come to me with open heart
And loving touch, wondrous mind,
Anchor and solace, future’s dream,
Cherishing me,
Warming me like a fire
In the night.

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Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 13 / Prompt - hobby

Bowling

Bright balls are rolling
Over wax-slicked
Wooden boards; well it
Looks like it’s my turn now.
I hope that I can throw a strike.
Not that way, you stupid ball,
Guttering’s not the way to score.

Read more...

12 Down

>> 4.16.2009

Here are 6 more entries; I'm up to day 12 now! Since this is day 16, I'm only 4 behind. Some of these have been easy, and some have been very difficult. But, the deadline of 30 poems in 30 days is keeping me constantly thinking on writing, filling every spare minute. And, that's very good.

While I'm writing for new prompts, I am also going back over the poems posted here for revisions before submitting the final versions to Poetic Asides. After the Challenge is complete, the judges will select 50 poems to be published in an E-book, so think good thoughts. Perhaps, I'll luck out, who knows?

Read more...

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 12 / Prompt "So we decided to (Blank)

So We Decided to No Longer See

The match was tossed
the fire lit
fields and houses burned
chaotic inferno
it hurt to watch
so we decided
to no longer see

The solders were sent
the war invited
bodies and lives destroyed
hell on earth
it hurt to watch
so we decided
to no longer see

The insult was uttered
the riot incited
souls and spirits desolated
intolerance nation
it hurt to watch
so we decided
to no longer see

The love was offered
the gift given
substance and essence uplifted
to a state of grace
but we
had forgotten
how to watch

so we could
no longer see


Read more...

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 11 / Prompt - an object

The Old Windmill

In the distance
a sentinel slumps
weary and forlorn
a solitary watcher
with nothing
left to see

Once,
its vanes reached
outward, always seeking
the wind’s embrace
swiveling and swooping
like a hawk
hunting thermals
on which to soar

Once,
its body sang
with a joyous heartbeat
pumping silver liquid
harvesting and gifting
spilling out precious
life essence
across the land

Once,
its eye beheld
endless horizons
rolling verdure
speckled by cattle
hides gleaming
like midnight sun

Once,
it watched over
countless children
future’s inhabitants
playing at its feet
in shimmering water

Now,
its body bleeds rust
its melancholy vanes
hum intermittent notes
its dead eyes watch
wistfully over spiky-brown
fields desolate

deserted

no offspring to keep
no purpose to fulfill
proud sentry no longer
a dusty relic
just the old windmill
listing in the wind


Read more...

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 10 / Prompt - Friday

Friday

Finally arrived
Ready to start
Into the weekend
Depart from work
At long last
Yes, it’s Friday!



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Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 9 / a memory

Requiem for Lucille

(for my grandmother, Lucille Bunch Davis)

A second mother
to her daughter’s daughter,
keeper of secrets, teller
of stories, builder of dreams
She loved greatly
and was greatly loved
Sunrise to sunset
and beyond, working
tirelessly
Jill-of-all-trades -
builder, baker,
seamstress, gardener,
farmer, cook,
and sage
Like a hen with
a young chick
she sheltered me
beneath her wings
guided faltering
feet to solid ground
dried gushing tears
provided solace
defended sleep
from nightmare intrusions
she instilled learning
bestowed knowledge
built security
teacher, parent,
and friend
Foundation solid.
Paths diverged.
I discovered
new roads,
she lost
her way.
Insidiously arrived
senescence
nightmare universe
full of dementia traps
wormholes to time-loops
yesterday is now
and tomorrow
never comes
Foundation shattered.
Lost soul wandering
alone, remembrances vanished.
She’s now departed;
still, I keep her
memory burning
in my heart,
my eternal flame.

Read more...

Poetry Challenge 2009: Day 8 / Prompt - Routine(s)

Daily Routine

The alarm bleats
easy-listening sounds
announcing time
to get up

they both roll
out of bed
he from the left
she from the right

while she shuffles to the kitchen
coffee first, breakfast next
he heads to the bathroom
shower and shave to face the day

Exchange positions

he to the kitchen
and she to the bath
passing on the right
nod friendly now

he downs his breakfast
she completes her ablutions
back to the room they share

closet browse
dress for work
she dresses for success
high-rise bound

he dons jeans and flannel
loads the truck
Out the door
off to work
Drop the wife at the station
before heading to the job
Mustn’t forget
the kiss on the cheek

lives divide

do the job
to pay the bills

five o’clock
reverse the route
homeward bound

hi’ya, honey
home again
fix the dinner
do the dishes
any laundry?
feed the dog
don’t forget to take out the trash

do you want to?
not tonight, honey.
okay, another
night of CNN
same old
same old

plop down
on the sofa
only three feet
separating
may as well
be the great
divide
separate lives
at a crossroads

Read more...

About This Blog

The name for this blog was inspired by a quote by Nietzsche, below.

"Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?" ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

I plan on this being the start of an incredible journey of discovery and creativity. I invite you to bring your pen, and come dance with me!

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