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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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