New Knew New

A new page has been added to the site in response to those that want all the series stories in one, easy to navigate area.  Click the “Series Stories” link in the menu above and enjoy.

Also, today I discovered that I can change the name of the site without conflicting with the web address … thus the title’s spelling has been corrected.  Perhaps many of you didn’t realize … or thought I just couldn’t spell.  While it’s true I’m an “open minded” speller and in my haste to set the site up in 2013 I jumped before checking … I knew for some time that the error had been made.  It was embarrassing to say the least.   I fretted, “Will all the grammar and spelling gurus pass over my site with their noses pinched?”  But alas, it was not so.

Stay tuned for another episode of a writer’s, “What I’m Reading and Why.”

Vernon Montel

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

He had so many visitors passes to retirement and assisted living homes he had to keep them organized in several index card boxes. He knew this obsession of his was strange and morbid, but something compelled him to go, each weekend or afternoon after he clocked out of his mundane job.  It had started as a tiny idea. After all, maybe this would form the body of work that would become THE BOOK that he always wanted to write before dying. The idea was a survey. He had always assumed that there was a large majority out there that wanted to write a book but never did before dying. But was this truth?

And then the troubling dilemma of how to find out. If he asked people in health, how would he keep track if they did or didn’t before they kicked the bucket? If he asked them in sickness…

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The Writer’s Grave

There is a well – a reservoir that stores the great and lofty ideas of a writer.  Its depth requires an air tank and its miles from shore to shore – a sturdy vessel.  And while this repository of “what ifs,” insight, and observation is easily navigated while driving, waking, or standing in the shower … it does not lend itself to a map nor does it beacon in lucid moments at the keyboard.  White squallThis wealthy ocean, this Shangri-La cool drink of creativity, exists in just that moment, that exact spot in the time-space continuum, where fear flees and boldness declares white squalls of edgy inspiration – drowning the willing victim in new worlds and unexplored feelings.  A fickle sea when set as a destination.  A happy grave when found in distracted efforts into Otherland.  To die a little in that resting violent sea of throbbing neurons … every writer longs for that little bit of death each time they sit lively to perform their art.

Eight Seconds

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

The incessant engine humming, no – more of a roaring moan, will probably echo in my head for hours after I land.  That guy looks as nervous as I feel.  “We can do this, Joe!”  Yeah, that smile looks totally forced, but thumbs up buddy.

I can’t imagine this would be very comfortable without these packs on our backs.  Makes a good spot for resting my head while we wait to reach altitude over the jump zone.  Oh, wow.  Stomach isn’t having that right now.  Better sit up and think happy thoughts.  This helmet feels tighter all of a sudden.  Let’s do an equipment check again to get my mind right.  Yep … check, check.  This harness itches right here.  Heck, I’d wear a suit of armor if they guaranteed me nothing bad would happen.

Oh, Lord.  They’re moving around up there.  Okay.  Okay.  It’s happening.  Stand up.  Shuffle forward. …

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nothing to write

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

It is with deep regret that the author informs you (in verse) …

there is nothing.
my heart cannot tell you
what my soul declines to loose
and my mind considers refuse
when the time ticks pock marks 
            in the chalk marks
                    around my dead hope.

i trust elsewhere
there is strength of will
where exists fortitude -
a dimension without latitude
for any volume of fragility
            no amount of civility
                    for lame excuses.

but tonight ...
on this section
of the fabric of time,
and here ...
past the inflection
of my flattened rhyme,
there is nothing.

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Vantage Point

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

He’d been washing his flatbed trailer full of four-wheelers for over two hours.  The sound of high powered spray on fiberglass was driving her mad.  Besides, it had rained on and off all day long.  What the hell was wrong with this guy?  She leaned out the window, stretched just enough to see around the tree that blocked her view, and donned her best, “Forget to take your meds this morning, Mr?” face.  No effect.

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The Croissant of Self-Consciousness

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

La parisienne almond croissant
What I love about this story is the extreme concern the narrator has for what others think, yet most of the concerns stem from his or her own prejudices and opinions about weight and others.  Also, I was careful not to expose the gender of the main character, but how fascinating that most readers will assume it is a female.  Enjoy and please tell me what you think!

The little cardboard box is small enough to stay on my lap during takeoff but large enough to be a nuisance.  When it is clear the box will not fit the seat pocket under the tray table, a tradeoff occurs between the newly deadened cell phone and the absorbing book that beckons, “What will he do next?  How will he live?”  The book wins and, before the plane finishes its taxi to the runway, the story resumes its previous bombardment.  This makes…

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tender lasting (Oct 1999)

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

into my impossible she sneaks
out of my longing she speaks
for seconds or for a day
time is irrelevant that way
she catches my love constant
and recasts for a bigger bite

    and she doesn't even know she's fishing
        every moment near her i'm wishing
                and often recasting
                for a tender lasting

                                    bigger bite

English: Fly Fishing, Sandwick

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Imagine If I Were 18

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

Imagine if I were 18, or even 20 years old.  I could talk of the world as if I were over it, skeptical and sarcastic.  No one would even care; it would be, in fact, expected for my world view to include sardonic song lyrics that accused all white men of being part of a conspiracy or spat iconic insults at so-called leaders in the world for their failures and irresponsibility.  My somewhat disjointed outlook for my life and my future would be accepted as part of my place in the time-space continuum.

But I’m nearly 40 and that is not what is expected or allowed in proper journalism from one such as I – a “lady” no less – to espouse.  Instead I should know where I’ve been and where I’m going and have a particular view on politics and foreign relations.  It isn’t right.

Image

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For the Birds

“Owls have a peculiar knowing way, a strict sense of personal space, a connoisseur’s restful delight in their food, a certain repose, a remarkable capacity for necessary aggression.”

Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

When M read this to me recently, I thought, “What a great character sketch!”  The style and flow of this sentence (and believe me, the book is full of them) makes me involuntarily smile as I pick each phrase apart and apply it to a person.  I make plans for pouring this sentence (like a syrup) into my morning writing, infusing that delicious penchant for a chapter’s worth of information in such an adorable little package … and then realize I have gotten lost in its magic and am going to be late for work.

This is why reading, on a voracious level, is so important.  I have accepted (to some degree) that I will not be able to read everything I want before I die.  Even if I lived to be 110 years old, I would not be able to accomplish this feat.  But think about this.  Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds was published by Sasquatch Books in 2001 and won the 2002 Washington State Book Award, yet I would have missed it if M wasn’t a bird crazed darling who decided to read it.  Further, author Lyanda Lynn Haupt has apparently been a prodigious writer since then, receiving another award for a book called Crow Planet, and putting out a more recent delicacy – The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild last year.  I mean, with writing like this, I now feel obligated to add every one of her books to my reading list.

As a very analytical person, I have taken a step back from my fascination to write this piece and to ask you, “Am I overboard here?”  Sure – it’s just a sentence.  Maybe I could just read the one book and pat myself on the back as a writer, telling myself “Due diligence,” and all that.  “We must read as much as we write.”  This has never seemed like a chore.  It seemed like selection of reading material was like a builder planning and acquiring supplies … prioritizing those areas where the absolute best must be purchased, and compromising where less expensive materials will do to make sure the finished product is better than the last one.  “Trash in trash out,” must equate to “Artistry in artistry out,” I surmise.  It’s a sentence.  I ask you once more, “Am I overboard?”

Time Taffy Pull

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

Old Town Square, Prague 06

come some slipping down time
tick kicking my mind
with tipping tock bind
to little brittle life grime

says to me, "get on the ball
with your crackle of fall
crumpled up memory, small
no more puttings in there, doll."

too much slice of that there
holds me from my large all
locks me in duty square
slugs me with my all

no ground, fly and do 
no hush, rush to get done
so much, counting on you

time not only doesn't wait
it pulls sinews like taffy,
strings hopes to a line 
where they stiffen 
and start to smell moldy

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Poetry versus Prose (Act One)

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

I can throw my thought pieces on the page, shuffle and shift them, rap them out like Tupak, or shape them like a slam – and I’m done.  Then it becomes the reader who must make something out of them.  If I’m skillful enough, the reader wants to make the effort.  If not, they skip or delete.  For me, that’s poetry.

When I write in sentences, I have to think harder. 

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Neighborhood Watch (series) 9

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

9

Grady had always known me, even though she hadn’t known all the things I’d done. She knew my heart better than I did, as cliche at that sounds. It was Grady that taught me that we aren’t the sum of our actions, or even the sum of our intentions. “We are greater than what we wish we are, and less than what we think we are.” When she said it, I must have made a face. She walked up to me so fast and deliberate, I braced for the inevitable slap to the face I anticipated. Instead, she grabbed me so intensely and kissed me with a passion I’d never felt from her before. “We’ll never fully understand or define God’s love in this lifetime, honey. Don’t knock it. Miracles can’t be explained. He gave me you. He forgives and heals all things. He pumps your heart and breaths…

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Neighborhood Watch (series) 8

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

8

Jack had Hen read the notes she’d taken over the phone with the county coroner from the preliminary findings.  Sharing this information before the formal report was done was not common practice unless you were a detective in the police office down the street from her office.  The only reason she’d been inclined to share things that might be pertinent to the early investigation with a team an hour away in a town some 2000 feet above her was because Hen was her ex-sister-in law and whom she liked better than her own brother.  The lab tech down there either wasn’t as kind or the tests would actually take several more hours before we would know what killed the dog.  Hen had confirmed her suspicion about an injection with the coroner after describing what she’d found.

We stood with our hands in our pockets (lame attempts at keeping them…

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Neighborhood Watch (series) 7

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

7

The first thing you notice as you enter the front door, is the empty threadbare love seat in the living room, facing a blaring television.  A wood stove to the right sits strategically in the far back corner, taking up a third of the living room area, and backed by a grey brick alcove that probably reflected the heat when burning.

Crime Scene

Crime Scene (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

The place has an “open” floor plan, and to the right, closest to the door, you can see over the small dining table, and then over the countertop, to the kitchen.  Every digital clock in there – the microwave, the coffeemaker, the stovetop/oven display – they’re all blinking different times.  On the wall between the kitchen pantry and the heater,  a door leads out to the makeshift carport someone constructed.  Tarp covered plywood is fastened to the side of the trailer on…

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