The Book

We restarted the writing course this month, going back to the beginning because, well, we got lost again. Tough subjects to deal with and didn’t handle it well at all.  Getting better at dealing with emotional pain, so counting that as a plus. The goal to this course is to write a manuscript by the end of it. I don’t have a story yet to write. I suspect it’s just a matter of picking something and sticking to it.

I’d like to share with you a snippet of the progress I’m making. Lessons are 500 word short stories at a time, often focusing on a segment of grammar. The shortness of the short story is causing me some frustration but I’m managing to write something. Enjoy.

The Book

“Run!” Mavern pushing hard to reach the tunnel’s mouth, wedges himself against the stone door slowing its roll into position. “Come On, hurry up! His voice cracks watching as Gus and Willian rush the doorway as it slams shut. Panting hard Gus bends over heaving as he holds his knees. He didn’t look too good, his face turning pale. Willian wheezing, struggling for breath lays on the ground. Gym class never prepared them to run for their lives or climb up stone walls or battle giant beetles with their bare hands.

‘Where’s Minck?”
Gus looks around and shakes his head.”Last I saw of him was..”
“It’s his damn fault!” Will turns, punching the stone door. Howling, holding his fist close to his chest, Will stomps the ground hissing through his teeth.
“Shit, Will. Why’d you do that?” Taking Will’s hand, Mavern looks over the bruising knuckles and flexes Will’s fingers. “Stop being a baby. It’s just bruised you, big idiot. We’ve got bigger problems.”
They look at each other before dropping their heads to their chins as their shoulders slump.
“Minck was behind the DM screen before the flashing light.” Gus scratched his head. “Before..” He nodded his head behind him. “Before, back there.”
“Shit is right. I’m hungry.” Gus flushes as his stomach growls.
Shaking his head, Mavern turns looking over the countryside. Down the valley, past the fields, a road leads to a cluster of buildings. Looking behind him, a mountain; a billy goat would find a challenge to climb, stood. Trudging forward, Mavern makes his way down the slope, Gus and Will following.
“Where are you going?”
Turning to his friends Mavern shrugs. “Look, I don’t know how we got here but we can’t stay back there. We need help or food. Mostly food. So. Are you coming or what?”

The aroma of roast meat entices them forward. Lifting his hand to the door, Mavern pushes it open and steps inside.
“Hey, this looks like the tavern in chapter two” Will elbows Mavern. “Do you think..”
“Shh. Be quiet. Let me do the talking” Mavern winks as he walks towards the man wiping down the counter. Three meals and somewhere to sleep, easy? Maybe. Making a prayer to the universe that they speak the same language, Mavern offers his hand out to the man.
“My friends and I would like to work for our meals and a place to stay for the night.”
Glaring at the boys, the barkeep leans forward, his grin showing off rotten teeth, slamming his fist into the counter. “I have no use for worthless boys!” Cackling, the barkeep waves them closer “Work now. Eat later. Come on.” Leading them past the counter to the back of the building, he points to the stalls. “Muck them out.”
Gus punches Mavern in the shoulder as he shrugs, finding shovels for each of them.
“You have a better idea?”
Hours later Mavern, rolls to his side in the fresh hay with a belly full of hot soup, his friends snoring beside him. The stars peak between the roof slats of the stable. “I miss working at McDonald’s.”

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What is hope?

As I laid down to sleep a snippet of a thought drifted in. Hope was a flower. And then I fell into dreams. I named a flower hope and watched it bloom and then wilt before my eyes. It brought forth no seeds and thus died. How could this be hope if hope can die?

As I watched the wilted flower, it was turned into the earth to become the rot that nourished a different flower. This one bloomed even bigger and brighter. I saw that there were other flowers around that wilted and died. But this one bloomed and seeded the ground.

In dying it became like the rot before it, nourishment for the next generation of flowers awaiting their chance to bloom and hopefully seed. From its seeds, stronger flowers grew and bloomed. Some seeded and others did not. All in their time became the rot that nourished the roots of the next generation.

This is hope. It lies not in the flower nor in the seed. It lies not in the rot or the ground. It lays in the cycle of life continuing on.

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A story of bricks.

I woke up from a dream about bricks. I feel like I’m a well that someone suddenly with fury tossed in a ton of bricks. I dreamed of him again. This time, he drew a line in the sand between us. I stood confused looking at this line. He placed down a single brick on top of that line and looked at me. He spoke words I dare not repeat.

For a time, I stared at the brick, willing it to move off the line. It did not. Then I heard his voice calling over that brick and I looked up. He was on the other side beaconing me to come close and so I did. For a while, it was as if that line and brick were not even there. But when I leaned over, I’d stub and hurt myself on it. I’d see it lying there between us.

Then he layed the second brick beside the first. Once again said words I dare not repeat. This kept repeating, brick by brick. Now I sit beside a wall of bricks knowing it’s too high to lean over, too tall to climb over. I even have the feeling that if asked, he’d say those were bricks I placed myself. If that was the case, then why when I take my hands to remove them, they stay in place?

All I know is that I hear him calling from over the wall. Every time before when I crossed the wall, those bricks would wound me. How long am I supposed to sit and watch the wall rise higher every day? How am I to sit and hear him call out to me from beyond the wall?

I got smart once. Thought a ladder would do the trick. Layed it on the wall and climbed up to the top and called back. The power of his shout shoved the ladder back. I landed in the sand on my rump. I don’t understand. Why call out to me from beyond the wall when you don’t want me to cross it?

Thus I learned to respect the wall no matter the call for me. I’ll plant a hedgerow of roses along the wall and carry on. I don’t understand and I guess it’s unnecessary to respect the wall. My tears have watered the roses well and their blooms will be bright and light. One day if I should chance to look back, I’ll see nothing but roses blooming in the sun.


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Returning to Buttercup fields

Photo on Best RunningPhoto on Best Running

I have always loved flawed human beings.
Their frailties hide their strengths.

I was not raised in a home where love was a vital force nor was it strong enough to be felt. I’m not sure where I developed my understanding of love. I do remember reading one Chick track..the one called “Somebody loves me” and I burst into tears the first time I read it. The second time made me angry and the third time, there was a sad wistfulness that the child had finally experienced the emotion of love even though they were never shown it.

That track has stayed with me. It’s weird as actual love wasn’t shown at all anywhere in it. It’s left a special sore spot for me. Maybe that was the subtle point of the propaganda, to expect no human being can love. It’s hooey. I can love. But more to the point, I can act on that love. I just have to be aware that I too am a flawed human being.

In my own life, I never realized my story of the buttercup field was a story of untold pain what as I child I didn’t know what to do with. It was something silly that was brushed off but at the core, I was horrified that my love caused hurts, even if it was unintentional. That love could cause pain flew in direct opposition to everything I believed then and in many ways since. In that I rejected love can indeed cause pain, it left me with the impossible situation; of how can it be love when it causes pain to others. Is it necessary for me to let go of the rigid definition of love or shall I simply blame it on operator error? Either answer does not matter. Nothing would change with either one.

I have to forgive myself of my own self-convicted sin of over-picking the buttercups. I learned that lesson and never over-picked any plant again. I also have to forgive myself for being afraid to love because in the course of love I may hurt the one I love. This is the lesson of love I failed to learn as a child. Love is strong enough to bridge the gaps, to make whole that what was torn and broken.

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Trust You?

Oh, this is really weird.

Trust you? No…I trust you to be yourself.
I trust me far more than I trust you.

What just fucking happened?
This feels really weird and good at the same time.

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How do I say…

mitä jos meil ois toinen elämä,
What if we had an another life
joku muu jonka vierestä herätä.
Someone else to wake up next to
Kelaatko koskaan,
Do you ever think about
miten se sanotaan.
How does one say it
Jos mul ois joku toinen elämä,
If I had an another life
mun joku toinen olis sä,
My another one would be you
jos mul ois joku toinen elämä.
If I had an another life

How do I say I know this is the thoughts I should never say?
How do I say this song says everything for me?
How do I say congratulations when that day comes?
How do I make peace knowing nothings changed, but everything had?

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Inside my treasure chest

When I first read this assignment (write about inanimate meanings, ie pull from your treasure chest)  I went into a tailspin. I took this on such a personal level I searched my history to find something to pin this story on. I found nothing. Asking my husband, my friends and family-we all came up drawing blanks. I had nothing, no treasures from my past, nothing that I had truly held onto. It’s depressing to feel treasureless.

How could I write this without having experienced this first? How could I convince the reader to share in the creation of an experience that leads them to hold fondly onto the picture I paint with these words; if I had not experienced the depth of these emotions first? I concluded I was lacking emotional depth and screwed as a writer.

I’m not a mentally normal person. It’s no excuse for hiding, dodging and not doing the work. Yesterday, I came back to myself, back to this mind frame that can do the work. This morning I woke up inspired. All I had to do was change the parameters of what makes a treasure.

Physical objects as treasure I do not have. I never cherished things that I knew could disappear at my parent’s whim. I learned early on to not hold onto the comfort of a blanket and to transfer it to whatever object was available. I had learned detachment was more valuable than attachment. Facing that one fact hurts.

But I tell stories. Some of these I’ve recounted over the years to the point I have a favorite one.

I spent a great deal of time in the yard as a child. I watched life change in her slow ways over those years. Have you ever noticed the thickening of the tree trunks in the spring? Ever notice where the wild thistle comes from? Have you watched the slow war of the ants? The environment was my main source of mental stimulation.

At six I enjoyed running across the yard to pick buttercups, dandelions, oxalis, clover, wild mint, sweet peas, and violets. For most of them, my pickings encouraged them to grow and spread out even more. Except for the buttercups. By the time I was seven, there was only a single patch in the yard. It was a health bushy patch surviving the onslaught of the lawnmower bravely.

Then, came me and my greedy hands. In a single spring, I decimated their future. I proudly gave my mother the biggest and best buttercups I had ever seen. The flowers were bigger than my thumbprint, they were giant buttercups. Their yellow pollen would cover our chins as we asked silly questions about our love, or not, of butter. It was such a happy spring and summer, the year of the giant buttercups.

The following spring I eagerly searched for the buttercups. Not a single buttercup plant existed in the yard. None existed in the neighborhood. There were no buttercups to be seen. I had picked them all, to death!

In my innocence, my desire to shower my mother with affection led to the destruction of our favorite flower. It’s a lesson that I’ve carried with me and never forgotten.

Turns out buttercups are annual plants and they need their flowers to form seeds. It took ten years for wild buttercups to spread and reseed the yard. Such little actions often have deep and long-lasting consequences. This is my earliest treasure-awareness.

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