“Cruel Cruel Summer”
… Ray Bradbury schools me on the cruelty of children
and the inadequacy of regret and apology.
“Cruel Cruel Summer”
… Ray Bradbury schools me on the cruelty of children
and the inadequacy of regret and apology.
What do you call a statement that is all at once true and not true? For example, “I don’t like to be touched.” This is not true when I’m at home, with my sweetheart, and in my comfort zone. This is true when I’m anywhere else. But there are moments when I’m tired, or stressed, or in some kind of alternate dimension caused by these or other things … when I don’t mind so much.
Here’s a question some might keep in their noggins when I explain this, but they never come right out and ask, “Were you abused when you were younger?” I see them thinking it. Or maybe I’m just projecting since I wonder, myself, why I am like this. But I’m so terribly glad they don’t ever ask. I mean, what does a socially inept creature like myself do in a situation like that? “I … um … uh … well I don’t really know why I don’t like to be touched.” That’s about the time I’d get a hot flash and they would think I’m blushing. Damn stupid hormones, I tell ya’.
So since I’m writing, and writing is therapeutic, I’ll reason this out a bit. I really think it’s a boundary thing. Haven’t you ever had someone hug you that you weren’t too happy about learning their intricate nooks and crannies that really shouldn’t be pressed up on you like that? Or how about the smells? I concede that most people I encounter on a daily basis, lets say 99 percent of them, are perfectly appropriate for the nasal experience of closeness. But that bad apple really stinks when you get right down to it.
The “human connection” resonates with me in all this, if you must know. If I’m appalled at another person’s smell or “feel,” it’s usually because I fear those things in myself. I may be the only person who does a smell check before heading out in the morning, even after a shower with multiple flavors of shower gel. At this very moment I’m literally angry that my winter coat smells like a restaurant I visited over a week ago and I can’t get the smell out. I don’t happen to keep a selection of winter coats in my closet. So the bottom line is I smell when I wear that thing. Maybe others don’t notice. But I do and it’s enough to drive me batty.
Back to the touching thing. What if the person is a very trim and fit individual? Visually I can tell, they aren’t going to press anything against me I don’t want to feel if they zero in for a hug. What if the tailored look of their clothes and the hair product they seem to be sporting indicates they are most likely of a delightful olfactory encounter? What keeps me from the hug? Well, don’t you see? It’s not so much them I worry about. Granted, I don’t worry about the misplaced boob, or the wrong angle and awkward placement of the arm. See Hugging Coach for an explanation on this particular point. But YES, dear reader, the “Ah ha” moment has occurred in this bit of writing. On the off chance that it’s mid-day and I’ve done some sweating, or perhaps that food I ate ten minutes ago still lingers on my breath and I don’t hold it, or, oh dear heavens, what if …
It’s about me. I don’t want to be offended by offending. So please, if I’m witty and seem fully awake … just don’t touch.
Open bags of chocolate mock my gurgling stomach. The heater, a cheap little job that the landlord anchored right next to an uninsulated glass patio door, does its best to keep it’s little corner warm while the warped plastic blinds usher the cold toward its thermostat. Another cheap addition to this little rent house, the blinds provide privacy for approximately one square foot in this room. Otherwise, they sprinkle the cold tile floor with light during the day, and reveal murky shadows and distant headlights at night.
I turn off the Margaret Atwood collection I’m listening to as I surf the net. I think I have an idea of her style now, but still not sure I like it. The one about the duchess poem is interesting but somehow, unfulfilling. What a letdown this day has been. In an hour I’ll need to start packing, but of course, I won’t. Instead, I’ll be up most the night doing laundry I should have done earlier, reading things I can’t put down, and drumming up story ideas in my mind that I’ll fail to write, and eventually forget. I suppose a story idea is like a fish of keeping-size to a writer, and should never be let off the hook. I’m not sure if I’m lazy or just resigned to the futility I feel about it all.
I’m not completely fatalistic. I have been taking steps, you know. I’m reading “in bulk” now. Restricted myself to only two nights a week with my old pal, Netflix. Took an online course on “Advanced Fiction Writing,” and actually learned a few things. Learned a few tricks, more like. And I have experienced the satisfaction of another “final exam” victory. Didn’t think I’d have that fun ever again. Today I actually signed up for another class – “The Craft of Magazine Writing.” It hasn’t even started and I learned that I can write an article about something without being an expert on it. Funny how I knew that already from reading articles, but didn’t spell it out in my head until I read it in the course introduction.
So what’s the big damn deal? It’s this nagging alter-ego – “alter-me” I call it, that keeps whimpering around my shoulders that I’m already getting old. “Note the frequent heartburn and faster pacing to the bathroom.” it taunts, “You can’t even remember ‘its’ versus ‘it’s’ without checking every other week.” I wish this menace were corporeal so I could just reach around and strangle it. But alas, it’s a fragment of me. Only not me. I’m going to make this writing lifestyle work. I have skills; I’m brilliant; and I have a partner who reminds me of this (in different words) all the time. I’m at a time and place, in my life and geographically, that appears to be primed to make this happen.
So why am I letting this bitch – “self-doubt” get to me? It’s just a matter of time. And it suddenly becomes clear. There’s the rub. It IS just a matter of time. I’ve never been good with time. Waiting for it frustrates me and missing it depresses me. “The moment” is not my forte. I write best in present tense, but I sure don’t live it well. My transformation from a workaholic in the youth work world to a freelance writer with a novel in my back pocket isn’t scheduled to happen until January 2015 at the earliest … March 2015 at the latest. All efforts to make progress toward being published, even just “token” published, are slow-going. I don’t like slow. Visions of cancer, or heart issues, or some other crazy thing popping up and preventing this dream, niggle at my subconscious. In turn, my alter-me is generated and promotes the negativity campaign on a regular basis.
I feed it chocolate and keep writing.
At 40 years, Adelaide Raines allowed herself to take a personal inventory. She knew she wasn’t well educated or even that well rounded by any means. She knew her limitations. She read what interested her and had little patience for all else, regardless of the subject matter’s import to current events, or its impact on the survival of humanity.
Every evening she would drown any possibility of self-analysis during her 30 drive from work with the tap of her iPod. She’d make progress in the most recent audiobook she borrowed from the library and add it to her “read” list along with those she read the old fashioned way (on her Kindle) on the weekends. She dedicated her time away from work (the lifelong mission that stole nine or ten hours of her life away, five or six days a week) to either escaping those elements of her life that she subconsciously abhorred through Netflix therapy, or some monotonous computer game that appealed to her mild touch of OCD. In this way she could avoid thinking about the parts known as the end, the beginning, or anything in between in her life.
This left her roughly an hour to read something daily that would lend itself to one of the two facets of her personal image of herself. If prolonging the inevitable through escapism, she would indulge in some fictional tome of mystery, science fiction, or other imaginative literary work. If developing her knowledge of the world that existed when she chose to breath outside her house, she dove into a history, science, or other non-fiction work. The key was that it had to be interesting. Ultimately, reading was always an escape. So fiction or not, it had to take her somewhere else.
Thus, she knew just enough to impress the average and sometimes even those more knowledgeable than her in those occasional conversations encountered when personalities meet, crash, or slide around each other in the bubble of to-and-fro called “day-to-day.” This was all she needed to survive amongst others more emotionally stable and confident that herself. It was what she referred to privately as “fool fuel.” She could fake it to make it among the humans. And she did.
This series will occasionally introduce characters as they are born. Some will be basic walk-ons and others will be underdeveloped protagonists or antagonists. First up is Chung Najera.
Chung Najera is a careful young man. As a boy he saved his allowance money weekly until he had enough for the bicycle he had wanted for two years. When the store manager confirmed that the model was no longer made Chung was coerced into buying what the scrawny, pock-faced man said was the upgraded version. The end result of this transaction was a broken bike (by Chung’s own disgusted hand) and a permanent adherence to a fiscal code that was to stay with him into manhood. Chung never set his heart or mind on anything he didn’t already have the money to own.
It can probably be said that the deep impression this left on his development poured also into his spirit in other, non-fiscal matters. A prime example is his response to his fiance’s remark that they should not worry about the change their union would bring to their respective lives, or the upset it might cause their feuding families. The unknowns, she had said, were just that. No amount of planning or waiting would give clarity about what might be in five, ten, or twenty years – all that mattered was their love. Chung quickly ended the marriage with a solitary statement to his forlorn darling. It sounded too much like buying on credit and without a warranty. Chung very rarely invested without insurance. And he never bought on credit.
Haven’t posted. I know – boring. Didn’t succeed at NaNoWriMo. Pathetic. I’m too much of a perfectionist. That book would have been crap. Finished perhaps. But no doubt – crap. But I have been writing. I am taking a little trinket of an online class to keep me motivated. At least that was my intent. On the one hand I’m glad it’s not too tough since that would only lead to more whining about having to work for a living and time … energy … blah blah blah. The other arthritic hand slaps me in the face and says, “Tense and viewpoint exercises?! Are you kidding me?! Has someone changed your diaper lately?”
I guess that last one could be accurate in another twenty or thirty years. I better not press my luck. Anyway, there’s no shame in revisiting elements I haven’t given more than a subconscious thought to in over ten years. And it just goes to show you what a cocky writer I am because I think I wrote the best stuff from the simple little descriptions our instructor provided. Here – see for yourself what a ridiculously arrogant fool I am!
First scenario is a kid asking his dad for the keys to a brand new car. Second scenario for work with tense is a kid who got left behind on a boy scout hike and tries to spear a fish. I don’t remember ever using present tense before and discovered I enjoy it. Admittedly I became somewhat bored with the second scenario, as is evident with my vengeful ending. One of my favorite aspects of writing – I can destroy things or kill characters if I get irritated.
Third Person Omniscient VP:
He tried, but he couldn’t keep his knee from bouncing up and down on the ball of his left foot. Jimmy watched the clock over the kitchen door as his father hung his coat on its hook in the hall. “Unbelievable,” grimaced Jimmy under his breath, as his father silently continued his after-work routine – planting his briefcase and setting his coveted keys in the entryway bowl. “What are we, snails?” Jimmy thought, slapping his face into his elbow propped hands.
Howard knew his son was waiting. He had anticipated this moment since two nights before, when he’d rolled into the drive with a brand new Toyota Camry with chrome upgrades and latest in dashboard computer contraptions. He had expected the question from his straight-A boy, but not the very next evening at dinner. He’d nearly choked down his mouthful of pizza last night when Jimmy had popped the question – “Dad, I’d like to take Sarah to the Symphony downtown tomorrow night. How about loaning me the Camry so we don’t get stranded in the Rabbit?”
“The Symphony? Since when is that your style?”
“It’s not. But Sarah’s dream is to conduct one day and, well, I thought it would mean a lot to her so I scored tickets. But y’know Dad, the VW kind of kills the romance of such a gesture.”
The futile attempt at a subject diversion hadn’t worked well for Howard. And he wasn’t about to tell his son that he’d seen Sarah kissing Jimmy’s best friend at the Pizza Factory that very evening.
Third Person Limited VP:
Crashing through the door, Jimmy tossed his coat on the hallway bench and ran upstairs. He threw his book bag into his room and began his chores. He was a young man on a mission. “If Dad wants to play hardball, I gotta’ make it difficult,” thought Jimmy, as he raced to get his household chores done before his Dad arrived from work.
The prior evening he had asked to borrow the car in order to treat his girlfriend Sarah to a special date. He’d been planning for months and had saved up his pay from the part time job he held at the Pizza Factory. Sarah had confided her dream to become a composer/conductor someday and, in an effort to show her how much he loved her, Jimmy had scored tickets to the Seattle Symphony. Then he’d followed the advice of his coach and tried to visualize the date in his mind. The single disappointing factor in the scenario had been the mere sight of the rundown Volkswagen Rabbit, the door rusting on its underside, the plastic seal on the busted out back window … it had ended the theatrical production in his head altogether.
His Dad, a single father since Jimmy had turned three, had always encouraged him with one caveat. “Keep your grades up and maintain a part-time job. With that, I can teach you what you need to become your own man.” Howard had told his son this in a variety of ways since his tenth birthday. Jimmy had done his part. So he didn’t understand his Dad’s hesitancy when he’d asked for the car. Sure, it was only a day old. Sure, it had the latest “bells and whistles,” and Howard was proud of it. But Jimmy knew his dad wouldn’t deny him this request without something else at play.
His chores done, he sat at the table and watched the clock over the kitchen door as he waited for Howard to arrive home.
Howard entered in his usual fashion. He followed his typical routine – parking his briefcase, hanging his coat on its hook in the hall, and setting his coveted keys in the entryway bowl.
“Hi Dad,” Jimmy called from the dining room, the seat of all their man-to-man family discussions as a tradition. “I’m in here.”
“Eh, let me just get settled a little son and we’ll talk.”
What was going on? Why was his dad stalling when he knew he was surprising Sarah with this huge romantic gesture in less than three hours? Jimmy couldn’t keep his knee from bouncing up and down on the ball of his left foot. “Dad?” He questioned as he rounded the corner to the living room, “What’s really going on?”
Jimmy caught what looked like a slight wince, as if his dad had stepped on a thumbtack, and thought it looked like he had suddenly deflated like the snowman decoration in the front yard. “Sit down, son. We should talk.”
First Person VP:
I raced home (well, as fast as my crappy VW Rabbit would take me) and plowed through the front door. Dad wasn’t home yet, so I had only an hour or less to get all my chores done before he arrived. If he wanted to play hardball, I was gonna’ make it hard for him. I was at his mercy, but everything in me wanted to pick Sarah up in the new Camry for our date and I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that Dad wouldn’t come through for me.
When I asked him yesterday, I could see the confusion in his face. Almost thought he was gonna’ choke on the Pizza he’d picked up for us on his way home from work.
When Mom died when I was three, Dad had been there for me. He’d loved me extra for the loss but hadn’t ever treated me like a baby. In fact, he’d told me (over and over again) that if I kept my grades up and got a part time job, he would make sure I was ready for anything I wanted in life. Dad’s word was golden … and he hadn’t said, “no.” So I couldn’t understand why he was stalling. He’d let me borrow the car before, well, not this one, but the minivan we’d had since losing Mom. I guess a day-old Camry with chrome extras and all the latest in on-board satellite navigation was harder to hand over to your 17 year old son.
The trash was on the curb. The dishes were put away. The bathroom and kitchen was clean (I threw that last one in there in hopes it would score me more points). When he came in and started his normal routine in the entryway hall (coat on it’s hook, keys in the bowl) I was on the edge of my seat in my usual seat for “family meetings” in the dining room.
“Hi Dad. I’m in here.”
“Eh, let me just get settled a little son and we’ll talk.”
What was going on? I had saved for months to take Sarah to the Symphony after she’d told me she wanted to compose or conduct one day. It was going to be the most awesome romantic gesture I had ever attempted and I had to pick her up in less than three hours? My knee wouldn’t stop bouncing as I waited to hear what he had to say.
“Son, there’s something you should know,” he said as he came in the room.
I caught what looked like a slight wince, as if he had stepped on a thumbtack, when he sat down. There were no keys in his hands and I started to feel like the deflated snowman decoration in the front yard.
Tense Project – Present Tense:
My stomach is rumbling. My body is stiff. The tree kept me warm enough but being cramped in a little ball like that all night left me feeling like an old man. Wish my Boy Scout troop had found me before breakfast. Cheese grits with garlic salt and some bacon would taste so good right now. I can almost smell it.
I leave the tree and stretch, glancing around for options. I’m an Eagle Scout. I’ve never actually had to survive in the woods like this, but I’m not feeling too worried right now. Just real hungry. My hand swipes a branch from the tree limb above that feels pretty straight. I break it off and use the Swiss Army knife my Mom got me to whittle it down to a pointed end. Time to spear a fish.
The water in the pond is cold. Steam rises from it in the middle, so it must be warmer there. I don’t bother taking off my boots. They’re waterproof (or so the box they came in said when I opened it) so I’ll just stay on the edge and try not to fall in. Where the heck is my troop leader?!
Splash! Dang it! I almost had that one. Sizzling bacon is crackling in my head. Rrrr! Slippery darn fish! Wish I hadn’t lost my whistle. They better be close. Even a crumby piece of toast would be good right now. Some butter melted into little puddles in its surface? Mmmm. Okay, get over it, Sam. Get this stupid fish.
Tense Project – Past Tense:
My stomach was rumbling. My body was stiff. The tree kept me warm enough but being cramped in a little ball like that all night had left me feeling like an old man. If only my Boy Scout troop had found me before breakfast. Cheese grits with garlic salt and some bacon were on my mind and I could smell the fire.
I left the tree and stretched, glancing around for options. An Eagle Scout, I’d never actually had to survive in the woods, but I wasn’t worried. Just real hungry. I found a branch from the tree limb above that felt pretty straight and broke it off. Using the Swiss Army knife my Mom had given me, I began to whittle it down to a pointed end. “Lookout fish,” I mused, “Here I come.”
The water in the pond was cold. Steam rose from it in the middle, but the bank was pretty clear. I didn’t bother taking off my boots since they were waterproof. I just had to be careful not to fall in. My heart wasn’t really in the fish-spearing effort. All I could think about was, “Where the heck is my troop leader?!”
After splashing around, aimlessly stabbing at one very crafty fish, I started day dreaming about sizzling bacon or even a piece of toast smothered in butter. That led to some angry cussing at the fish. “If only I hadn’t lost my whistle,” I complained to myself, “I would probably have been found by now.” I reasoned that they must be close; it had been nearly 12 hours.
As I refocused on spearing that fish, I had no idea just how much I would struggle to survive in those woods, winter fast approaching, until my Scout Leader and troops (all except me and one other) would be discovered dead over a year later.
This tiny pale blue dot
the only home we’ve got
cherish or molest
contribute or digest
the drab ending we produce.
Inspired by this –> The Single Most Mind-Altering Photograph Humanity Has Ever Taken
Thank you Carl Sagan
Anyone remember that movie with Lily Tomlin, “The Incredible Shrinking Woman?” I remember watching that movie as a kid and wishing I could actually recreate the chemical reactions for myself that had led to her shrinkage into tinydom. What is it about tiny that appeals to us so much?
Did I really want to be little, or just live in an alternate reality or dimension. Most likely the latter since, I can’t imagine the idea of large hands accosting me and bigger people controlling me sounding all that appealing. Of course, as an adult, I think about all those times when I’ve felt like I didn’t fit in this world. I imagine that would be a huge majority of my feelings as a tiny person. I think about “The Borrowers” whose appeal was not lost on me either.
I loved all the creative uses for everyday mundane things: a matchbox being retooled as a bed, a thimble as a bucket. Innovation appeals to me still today. So perhaps given enough “mundane” elements, I would enjoy this existence. Living under floorboards, my only work to scrounge and gather food. A tiny little escape from the pressures and fears of this world and existence.
Then I think of books. Writing. I’d have to read HUGE print and worry about getting caught (unless I had a Big Person Protector). I would have to write longhand with a piece of mechanical pencil lead and scraps of paper. My hands would get so filthy and tired. No little Macs in Little Person World.
Meh. I’ll stick around in this reality. It’s not so bad, really. Too bad the little people scenarios have been done to death. Storytelling in such environments might be fun. What do you think? Is the miniature world idea universally appealing? Why is it that we find it so fascinating? What’s the psychology behind that?
Nothing more depressing than a blank page. Nothing more bothersome than a quiet room with no story or voices in my head. Darkness pours in through the patio door window and I am too lazy to get up and go close the blinds. It was a sunny day today.
One would think my description would be that of, “glimmering rays of warmth embracing my arms and neck … soothing away the recent snowfall debacle, and ushering me into a few spare moments of joy before the real winter hits.” Not so. Instead, my inner self forced the following into my head, as I scanned the scenery and looked for another angle that would push my story along:
The fickle sun’s rays teased me into seeing what the world had turned into these past few days. I had not been tempted at all to open the curtains or draw the blinds. What point was there to watch, as shadows covered the land and temperatures made it clear – nature was pushing us to fear what she could do if our technology failed and our manufactured heat disappeared. But now I could tell that, if spring and summer never came (a very real possibility in my depressed state), our paths would be muddy and austere; sparse plains of nothingness would engulf us and smother us in severity. No love, no joy, no amount of pleasantries could make this landscape seem hopeful. My eyes glazed into thought as the sunlight danced upon my heart’s grave. “Come out,” it taunted me, “hurry before the story ends and I hokey-pokey myself around.”
“Fuck-You,” I said to the sun. I shut the blinds and poured myself a drink.
I searched and searched for words I could feel good about writing in the continuation of this damn mystery story I’m into. And these are all I could find. Somewhere in the story, I’ll have Malone break into this little diatribe. Meanwhile, what will motivate the reader to like the characters enough to care? Who murdered the family and why? What will happen to the little boy, and what is his name? I wish I were invested more in this story and these characters. If I shovel out the required words, I’ll have a book, but I wouldn’t want to read people with whom their writer doesn’t even find an affinity. Perhaps I’ll use this initial “novel” to test the self-publishing waters, learn the systems with a piece I’m not concerned about breaking or sharing.
If you are an aspiring writer like me, and want to watch the gory details of a book, either being born or dying before it’s time – stay tuned, Dear Reader. I can’t, in good conscience, commit to finishing this novel. But I will continue to bore, complain, whine, splatter more parts of the storyline, and (in general) fight to keep this dream alive, after long dark days of other important work and a tired soul.
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.
A note to the NaNoWriMo followers and all readers of the Neighborhood Watch series:
I chose to grab this particular storyline because it was the most developed line in my arsenal that I could unleash and not feel protective or unhappy with it’s lack of polish or depth. I realize in saying this, I’ve committed that terrible crime that parents sometimes commit where they talk about their child’s shortcomings to others in the presence of the child. I share this, not to downplay the magnificence that is a developing, soon to be finished novel, but to relate that there are behind the scenes edits and additions going on that will not make the blog in the interest of time and effort. Likewise, there will be changes to the “chapters” that may appear on those posts to ensure the whole thing doesn’t go south and contradict itself. I apologize in advance to readers if this causes confusion. Think of it this way – if you don’t know who did it, and I don’t know who did it, and the thing expands and contracts right before your eyes as this little story grows up to be a novel … then you get to watch the success or hilarious failure of the finish line in live time near the end of this month. How will the story tie up all those ends fluttering in the wind as the late page turns?
Next episode is set to post before morning coffee. Enjoy!
I should leave town more often. Grew about 25 followers since I went gallivanting around the countryside about a week ago. It was more business than gallivant, but the fact remains. NaNoWriMo here I come. Series posts to follow. Twenty-seven more days … 50,000 words of which I have 6800 … that’s 43,200 words left. That’s 1600 words a day. On it!
I feel the sweet, warm candy juice escape my mouth and drip from my chin as my lips instinctively tighten their grip on the candy necklace. I’m 41, but the feel of the candy beads on my tongue, the taste of sugar with the hint of sour rubber band that holds them together, floods me with nostalgia. I can feel the textured dashboard and feel the warm rays coming through the windshield of that 1972 Chevy Nova my mom used to drive. I named her “Suzy” after a cartoon on TV where the boy discovers a junkyard car and fixes her up.
Those were the days when seat belts weren’t required – carseats either. At five years old, I stood – feet on the vinyl bench seat, hands braced on the sloping dashboard, and sang harmony to all the great songs of the 70′s while mom drove me to a magical world called “pre-school.” I faced the sky and the future in lyrical fashion long before Leonardo and Kate did on the bow of the Titanic. Our favorite on the radio dial was an AM channel at 1190; their call sign was WOWO and they played top 40 hits for the time. We especially liked their morning school delay or cancelation announcements. If the school was delayed I got to have a much nicer breakfast and spend some morning nap time with mom. If it was cancelled I got to go spend the day with one of my grandparents.
We also liked what I referred to as, “Little Red Barn.” That was the song they played for the Bob Sievers daily talk show. His voice made me feel like words were special, not just things a person (my father) spewed out in anger or let fall carelessly. Sievers’ voice gave me hope for men-folk.
WOWO and Suzy were my healing balms, my post-war era after my early childhood jungles. Before mom packed me and our meager belongings to a small but nice place (an old church converted to apartments), I lived in the attic room of a run-down house with a creaky screen door.
There among the hand-me-down everythings and peeling linoleum, I stuffed my little Pomeranian dog in the handlebar-basket of my tricycle. I pedaled him in tight little circles on the living room floor. He would occasionally topple out and stagger his way (as fast as he could) to the orange upholstered sofa covered in cigarette burns. Poor Toby could never escape. Even if he made it to the subterranean sofa caves, I’d grab his tail and pull him out yelping. Children are cruel; I was no exception. In fairness, boys and girls who grow up in war zones tend to be desensitized to death and explosions. Likewise, I was immune to the sounds of protest and pain. He never bit me. I love him more in hindsight than I ever could have as a child.
When I wasn’t abusing Toby, I was busy watching TV, shutting out the yelling and things shattering around me. An invisible cocoon warped the air around me as a clay pot hit the door frame to the kitchen. The local newscaster told me that Elvis was dead. A beer can retaliated as daddy spit words at mommy that made me blush instinctively. Later, when the front door had slammed, tires had squealed red streaks across the thin curtains, and mommy was crying in a ball on the floor, the comforting voice of Walter Cronkite told me, “That’s the way it is.” He never was one to sugarcoat things.
Dear readers and “blends” (that’s blog friends),
In a desperate effort to post daily and to keep up my mandate to write daily, I find that I’ll be taking a hiatus from time to time. My day job takes much out of me and I want to do a good job, so writing gets done in the car (in my head) and by the time I’m home, dinner, clean-up, and prep for tomorrow happens … well the pillow calls me. So I beg your tolerance for my excursions into poetry and other ramblings which I find much easier to wrangle than more complicated matters of character and plot. I want to do a good job for them too. Cheers, and as always, thanks for reading.
not a fucking
thing to do but wait.
drink a pill
try to chill
how much will
this cost me on time?
hit the shower
smell like flower
check out now, or
pay the price for late.
where’s the damn keys?
stalled again – I’m toast.
In an article on Discovery News, by Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor of LiveScience, he writes:
“In February 1975, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Haicheng, a city of 1 million people located in China’s Liaoning province. But one day earlier, city officials ordered an evacuation based in part on reports of strange animal behavior: Hibernating snakes in the area, for example, abandoned their winter hideouts months before normal. The early evacuation of Haicheng is credited with saving thousands of human lives.”
And now, according to this article, an 14-foot long oarfish was found on an island beach off Southern California a little over a week ago, the second one in five days. The first one was 18-feet.
I grew up learning that an earthquake could result in the Sunshine State slipping along its fault line and sliding into the ocean. Of course, teachers said that was an old theory and that most scientists had more recently repented of their claims, admitting that such a cataclysmic event could be hundreds of years in the future. I remember thinking, “Why take the risk?” I couldn’t understand how people living there could go about their day-to-day lives without fearing this event. An even older me wondered if scientists downplayed the possibility, much like they did when politicians ignored or discredited the global warming research, because high-dollar condo owners, realtors, (etc.etc.) with vested interests in keeping the region marketable put the screws to them.
Does that make me a conspiracy theorist? An alarmist? There are other articles out there about this that do not ring the bell in the tower. This one, for instance, focuses on the science and … I appreciate that.
What I know is, if I had been living there and come across this ancient looking fish on the beach that day, the second in five days, I wouldn’t have been among the smiling group showing it off in this photo. I’d have been the one racing home to pack my house and get the heck out of there. Why isn’t anyone making a bigger deal out of this? I know whales beach all the time, but does this kind of thing happen all the time – the deep sea creatures beaching? Is this article just exploiting something that is a common occurrence?