A plethora of greens tumbled down the mountainous hill. Evergreens and bushes scattered amongst other assorted outcroppings. Additional amber, auburn, oranges and browns – sprinkles of brush – dotted the clay drizzled hills. She knew that she should marvel at its beauty, that deep thoughts should come to her. But for some reason it reminded her of a mint chocolate chip ice cream sundae drizzled with carmel syrup. If it had been a cloudy day she would have counted it for whipped cream and put a cherry on top.
Can a lazy person be a writer? I’m thinking – sure. A journalist on the other hand … probably not. I have been working on a special interest/historical piece on Hemingway for ages now. In early May I referenced one of my literary heroes – Ernest Hemingway, in an opinion piece. Ever since I’ve pondered just how close my opinion of him is to the real thing. So I decided to research and write about my search and find mission. Continue reading
Last night I dreamt that I lived in a neighborhood of white picket fences and large photo-shopped trees. I drove my little car into my driveway as my wife was backing our “soccer mom” four-wheel-drive out and leaving. We had a son in the dream.
I parked my car (as it morphed into a pillow) right next to the huggable tree and took note of all the neighbors’ windows. I positioned myself “just so” behind trees (I don’t recall what a Sycamore looks like but those trees wanted to be called Sycamores). I lay down on my now fluffy pillow in the one spot no one could see me from their windows (nosey people). It was so comfortable I felt I could sleep and be rested for months – making up for all the sleep I’ve lost lately. Continue reading
i’m an open book
she’s stories by installment
unveiling day by day, week by week.
Live Support is currently closed. You will have to get your comfort, help, assistance, tower of strength, prop, and mainstay elsewhere. We are not at present, at this moment, at the present time, now, nowadays, or these days here for you. We would not describe ourselves as alive, having life, breathing, animate, or sentient; nor are we in the flesh, personal, or in person. But if you’d like to leave a message, we’ll mail you your crutch. You should receive that in six to eight weeks.
The Costco gas man gets bored. His job is simple, but once that’s done he really has nothing better to do than people watch. This would be a bonus of the job for some, whether because it meant they were getting paid to do virtually nothing, or because the sport of people watching is so fascinating. The Costco man doesn’t enjoy that sport, or the art of doing nothing. So he makes a show of it for awhile. He walks around with his broom and dustpan and sweeps up the littlest gatherings of rocks or spreads out a puddle (he’s already swept the area clean once today).
He moseys over to the side of the Eddie Bauer building that has a window facing the Costco gas lot. No one seems to notice or mind that their gasoline guide for the morning has gotten sidetracked. He makes sure though, as he rearranges the bush nearest him while assessing his further options. Eventually he enters a little area between the row of bushes and the painted wall of the building. There’s what looks like a cellar entrance there. He lifts the door …
Now, if this were the beginning of a novel, those two paragraphs would be too much. So far this story has been dull. I would have put it down when he started moseying. But if the reader suffered through to the cellar door, this would be the moment to pull a 180. This would be the place to spring into action and shock the reader into submission.
What’s in the cellar? Dead bodies? Leprechauns? Stolen loot? Missing children? Maybe its a time travel portal, or a bridge to another world like in Edgar Rice Burroughs‘, “A Princess of Mars.” It has to be something unexpected and fresh. Because if it’s just a dank, dark cellar where the gas man goes to collect his thoughts and ponder the meaning of things – then it just flows like a Woody Allen soliloquy. Clumsy, annoying, and a worthless waist of time.
Some say wisdom is a product of time. But I say it comes from eating pie. It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, it wasn’t a rainy day in New York. It was a typical day at the office and then she walked in. My nemesis. My creamy tan skinned, soft in the cuddly places, hard in the rest, dreamy eyed brainiac with a voice that made me want to whisper. My type. Only my internal history book was flipping madly through pages to try and remind me that this was just a cruel deja vu. Fact is, I already had a someone else and it wasn’t her. Besides, I wasn’t her type. Or was I? STOP! That’s what I’m talking about. The winds of fortune had emptied the pantry and assembled another round of ingredients for “Stupid Decision” Doom Pie.
Now scratch that. Fast Forward. That went down about 50 years ago (subtract 40 to get the years in real time). Just goes to show you what a nice mixture of pain, euphoria, experience, and yes – time, can do for a fool. Turns an ignoramus into a stable pillar of reliability. If you don’t believe me, ask my other half. I mean it. I’m 40 years old now and I’m a damn pillar.
I’m not much of a cook, but I can bake with the best of them. Doom Pie is something I was good at in my younger years. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. The very wise and learned folks, the ones that people seek to have as mentors and look to for guidance? They’ve usually had their share of Doom Pies. Some had the “Spoke Too Soon” variety. Then there’s the “One Too Many Lies” kind. The “Made a Promise My Heart Can’t Keep” Doom Pies are very bitter; the “Proud and Boastful” kind usually ends up in your face.
Personally, my least favorite is the “Stupid Decision” flavor. I have heartburn for years after one of those. They start with a delicious drop of sugar that tempts and tantalizes. It may be the dollar you just saw your fellow Earthling drop, or the smell that wafts your way as she passes by and, like a fish to the hook, you bite. Then there’s a fleeting creamy sweetness that slides over you and makes you think you’ve been awarded first prize at the bake sale and contest. But before you can swallow you’re sunk. What was tasty becomes sour; what was smooth becomes full of gristle and tiny hairs of unknown origin. Your character is tarnished. Hearts become broken; people take sides. Precious time passes and you have nothing to show for it but a lesson. A valuable lesson. Is a lesson just as valuable when you have to repeat it several times? I think not.
But I digress. Lock a person into a vacuum and let time pass and you won’t have a more wise being when you loose the gates. People don’t have grey hair because of time, although its a small factor. Pie takes place over time. And Pie cultivates wisdom. To put it mathematically:
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, the problem still remained unless they died the next day. So he took to traveling. He had already visited the places most useful to his purpose in his own county. One could easily spot him there, for while most people’s faces were troubled and streaked with tears or shadowed by sadness … His was the look of a tigress stalking her prey, hungry, mouth watering, eyes and nose already locked-on the wounded stragglers who graced every common area and room.
He didn’t find his Ninny Threadgoode and he was certainly no Evelyn Couch*. His mission began as a curiosity, a nose-poking to see what was there. He was kind and giving at first, because he was testing the waters. But once he found his timing, his pace was set. He took as much as he could get, and didn’t leave much in his wake. And while most of his visits found his subjects dupable, one would-be target was not fooled by his facade of interest.
Vernon Montel was a veteran, a former construction contractor and mason. He was not about to let this drab little putz walk away from his domain with nothing but meaningless numbers that would get lost in his nightstand drawer.
London 026 Parliament Visitor pass March 25 2013 (Photo credit: David Holt London)
Never enough and too damn much. It was why I could never stay in love, stay in a career, or stay at a body weight I could feel good about. The word “stay,” was just creepy by itself. Like telling a dog its place … or a human.
So why were there rose petals in front of my feet? Who ordered the nasally violin music? Why was my mother crying her eyes out?
Wedding Flowers (Photo credit: avlxyz)
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.
She looked at her hands for what seemed like the first time in decades. What she saw shook her mental framework. She had been functioning in the same thought bubble and personality framed by her youth. It’s true that she had begun to notice that her fraction-of-a-second assessments of the before-and-after ramifications of a single reaching movement were not spot on anymore. The monthly visits to the massage therapist and chiropractor should have been one of a long line of clues she shouldn’t have missed. But her hands spoke loud rays of stinging images at this moment as she balked at their leathery creases; and for Heaven’s sake where did all the excess skin come from.
For a moment she imagined that some alien abduction had occurred and a foreign plastic surgeon had switched her hands with those of another abductee to observe how these earthlings used such strange appendages. She had to get her own hands back! How would she pull off this ”funny story” among friends? She’d always been careful to call attention immediately to her most despicable attributes in a social setting. Get them out of the way and strategically shut down any exterior comments about them by making fun of them herself. Once disposed of in this way, she was free to fake that wonderful confidence and cleverness that everyone seemed to believe she had. These damn hands were going to be the social death of her! Bastard aliens!
Up. Quick shower. Coffee. Brush my teeth. Quick mirror check to prevent being paranoid about stares. I wade in.
M drives me so its mostly just scenery as we drift to the car and leave. No little plastic castles, just the latest birds chickadee-ing, or the occasional leaf settling. The smell of bleach engulfs me for a few and I realize the landlord has been here cleaning the pavement in the parking lot. Very particular his wife and he. Meticulous on some things, not too bothered by others. Best ones we’ve ever had.
M opens the door for me as we arrive and I shiver past a couple leaving. The woman is smiling at her smartphone in one hand and she holds the jacket of the man she follows with the other. He walks with purpose and doesn’t seem to notice us. Reminiscent of the shark and eel.
We sit at the bar. The chef displays his talents as he carves and shapes each plate with ease and efficiency. We order several rolls and I order my usual hamachi sashimi.
They have a tank that looks like a disco. Blue lit and full of dancing jellyfish, it entices and hypnotizes me. I can’t believe the contents are real so I have to go investigate. I swim past another couple at the bar and several tables. The Saki drinker next to us appears too self-absorbed to notice me. Several others glance or curve a little grin my way. I try to avoid too much eye contact. Heaven help me if anyone talks to me and I should have to reply.
But the sea of people disappears when I get closer to the tank. Air bubbles serve to either keep the water aerated or to create movement in the otherwise stationary jellyfish, or maybe both. I still can’t believe the little white marshmallows with scraggly hair are real. They aren’t like fish, with eyes to gauge if they are alive, or muscular little bodies to watch for twitches or speedy turns. They float and zoom at the whim of the little currents created by the bubbles. They are luminescent under the light. They are beautiful.
Even within their little disco-tank planet they do not escape cares and troubles. A few have gotten caught under the filter intake and I don’t think they will make it. One has been caught in a pocket of water unmoved by the bubbles since I have been watching. Are they just for display, or is there something utilitarian about this tank for the chefs. Have these creatures come to be natives, spending their lives in a dream-scape of liquid blue? Or are they cattle in a holding tank for the next artistic display ordered?
I wander – what would my mind be like if I were able to spend an eight-hour work day meditating in an environment like this?