Week 33 2016 – Turtle

BoxTurtleI am in full writing mode these days so it is hard to break for these posts. I am absorbed in my new book so much that I must set two alarms to remind me when it is a weekday and when I must attend my day job. My pug is forced to listen to me tell her the tales I am recording. I have fallen so deeply into my new book that I am scarcely aware of the world around me, so much so that this week when walking Frankie, we were nearly devoured by a giant turtle.

Yes, I know the turtle would not really eat us, but it was huge and what the hell was it doing there on our path? The place I walk Frankie at twilight runs along a ridge, quite a steep climb up from a creek. I suppose that is where the turtle came from. It was just sitting there right on the path making its slow trudge to wherever, mouth open probably more to breathe than to take a bite out of my pug.

IMG_0440We scurried away from the creature, all the while my childhood yelled at me. Had a been a kid, I would have picked up the beast and carried it home with me, created a little sanctuary for it to the chagrin of my mother who at times thought I was playing the part of Noah and preparing for the next flood. Once I had a been a true child of nature. Now I am a slave to mortality, a freak of what time has made me.

Frankie and I returned home from our walk, me feeling that awful twinge that sometimes haunts me. Time is passing. It matters. I am no immortal. Frankie curled up in her customary place, her bed by my writing desk and dreamed as I wrote. The next night the turtle was gone.

Week 32 2016 Love and Rubbish on the High Seas

I am the least romantic person on the planet. My boys complain at my lack of finesse while simultaneously claiming romance is for books and not the lives of wild and free adventurers like themselves. 

“We’re pirates!” They say. “We got us some passion, and this tripe is how you record it?”

First, they are young men with a boat. Not pirates. Well, not really. That will come in time. Maybe.

Part of my problem is that I get seasick,and we’ve been in choppy waters all week with a crew of fairly novice sailors. 

 I am green about the gills and so Emmett and Cappy’s seductions are of limited concern at the moment. And Emmett is not going for my girl, damn that boy. He’s going to ruin everything.  I wish Emmett’s twin sister, Lucie were here. She’d set him straight, but she’s clear on the other side of the world. And Kidd, he’s just laughing at both his friends. 

Emmett is so angry. He doesn’t say it, but he’s angry at his father. He isn’t thinking beyond his anger and those dang hormones. He’ll regret that in time, but talking to him is like talking to a wall. His father has loved one woman his whole life. That it wasn’t Emmett’s mother is sad, but should not have earned such wrath. Phineas Tunvel is a good man. I hope Emmett sees it one day and abandons this self-destructive path he’s on. That little vixen that tempts him so will be nothing but trouble. 

Ah well, I will sort it in the end, but I am considering reading a bit of romance to help me out. I probably have a fever. I never read romance. Suggestions? 

Week 31 2016 -Madame Darke

SarielasCatDreadful tales are told about Madame Darke, ones designed to discourage people from seeking her out. Of course, like the many cautionary tales about using drugs, drinking too much, and promiscuous sex, few listen. After all, she has magic that will short-circuit many immediate problems.

So many little cures for little problems and all for small favors. Bring her tea, and that test you were certain to fail is passed although the knowledge is never yours. Bring her cake, and that acne marring your face is gone, and your complexion perfect. Confidence accompanies your next encounter with those you desire to desire you in return. Bring her a cat, and that little sore contracted in some lustful embrace disappears and so forth. There are no consequences for your failure to study, your vanity, or poor judgment, none that you can see as she gathers little bits of your soul, painlessly extracting them. Oh, if you need your enemy to disappear, the favor is bigger than a cat, but she can do that as well.

I spent most of this week in Madame Darke’s company, trying to understand her motives. The woman seemed so inclined to help for a rare jasmine tea. I suppose my coffee addiction is not so different than her tea obsession.  Her cottage is crawling with felines, but it is snakes that slither among her books. I wonder how it is all those snakes, so many of them, are not enough to warn her many visitors that perhaps the price to cure their little nagging complaints might be much higher than they imagine.

WickerWomanSnakeI needed to flee for myself. Snakes scare me more than my desire to see what books she keeps in her library. Young Husk Grayvesone felt differently, a lonely, fat boy whose love for books far outweighed his fear of serpents.

“Are they magic books?” Husk asked.

“All books are magic,” Madame Darke said.

I would have said the same to the boy, but snakes do not guard my library. It is open to all. Still, Husk acquired access to Madame Darke’s books without giving much away. Of course, he had not sought her out intentionally. His cruel classmates had driven him into the forest with their bullying, and he accepted the old wicker woman’s invitation into her little cottage out of despair and a need to hide away for a time.

Madame Darke sent him away with books in his arms, his promise to return them and to do favors for her from time to time. I do not think Madame Darke realizes that little black cat also left with Husk or that the one book she gave him to keep, one in which few pages had any content, was the most valuable thing in all of the world. Madame Darke never counts her cats and she sees little value in a blank page.

I wonder if the snakes ever eat the cats or the reverse. Have you seen a cat with a snake in its jaws? I believe I have, but it might have been my imagination. I have no wish to return to the cottage to find out. Husk, I fear, must return a time or two before the end.

I do worry what will become of it all. Madame Darke has a world to enslave using little but a slight of hand. A pimple hidden with illusion that given time, would have gone away on its own; a venereal disease taken from the body and encased in the soul that might have been vanquished with proper medicine for a fist of coin, a death in exchange for long life in Madame Darke’s service, riches that do nothing to obscure a fading ability to feel joy or see in the light. I do wonder. Madame Darke has so many in her service now. I pray Husk escapes her reach, but maybe, it is already too late. We shall see.



Week 30 2016 – Death By Tiger

LionsA pride of lions was on the hunt. So very hungry and so many mouths to feed. Antelope run too fast and so the big cats opted for a slow group of humans, locked in cages, hanging low from a tree. Not much wanting to be eaten by a lion, I made my escape. Recalling skills of my younger days, I picked the lock and dropped to the ground. Some of the other captives followed me, but for some, the lions were too many and too fast.

Lions could be cunning, and some could be driven mad into a frenzy of killing beyond sating of their appetites. I had heard first hand accounts of lions taking human prey and staking out human settlements. There were never any hashtags to mark these events. Perhaps, hoping to appease this particular pride, me and the others had been deemed a suitable sacrifice. I did not know. It did not matter.

I did not know where I was running too, only what I was running away from. The landscape was utterly alien to me. I climbed a hill once the lions turned their attention on the others. I should go back for them, I thought. I should save them, but then I am no hero. There’s no reasoning with hungry lions, and I had no weapon dire enough to dissuade them from their feast. I was as helpless as a lamb.

HungryTigerI saw lights in the distance sparkling against the dusk. A village perhaps. I fled in that direction, but I did not go far. The tiger, a massive animal, moved in a whisper. The last thing I saw were its jaws as they made to clamp down on my throat. I did not even have time to scream.

IMG_0538I awoke exhausted to Frankie’s most puzzled look. I told her that I had just been devoured by a tiger. The pug tells me that it sucks to be so aware of one’s mortality. It is a great way to stop from living. If you are always running from things, eventually you will run blindly into a tiger. And it will eat you, no matter how majestic of a beast it might be. No matter how much you donated to its preservation. It cares nothing for yours.

I felt small and insignificant, like a cow meant for slaughter all of Thursday as a result of my nightmare. I cursed Robert Blake the whole day as his poem echoed in the reaches of my obsessive mind. And when I slept that night, I found myself that awkward teen in English, reciting the poem before a class of mocking and cruel students. I think I would rather have been eaten by a tiger again. The pug, I have it on authority, cuddled up to a rabbit and a lion in her dreams, and slept quite peacefully.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Robert Blake
The Tyger
Songs of Experience

Week 29 2016 – Send in the Puppies


IMG_0245I find I can’t write this week. Only that I must. I promised I would chronicle the year, even if it is in rants and shadows. All I can say about this week is that at least there are puppies. The rest I hope I forget. I peppered my new book with all the pain and fear. Fiction is the only place those bits of me should be allowed. If they ever get out…well, I hope you have a good place to hide. As I have mentioned, my demons are not tame. That’s why I have a dog. My pug keeps those demons well in hand.

PuppyloveDogs see us as we were meant to be, perfect and worthy of great love. So play with the dog. Take a walk. Read a good book. Lose a day or two. The world will still be here tomorrow, and one day, each of us will wake as a curtain of silver rain falls back and reveals a bright green country. For now, there are puppies.



Week 28 2016 – Turn Off the World, Please

I’d like to get off at the next stop before the world plummets over that proverbial cliff. I suppose history will call it World War III or perhaps simply the Fall of the West.  School children will little remember the minutia, the division inside countries, the politics or religion of it, the bad actors,  or the names of the leaders who fed the crocodile until it finally ate them as well. They won’t know of the terrorist attacks on Paris and Nice and Orlando. They won’t know about police officers being executed on the streets of great American cities. They will only know once there was a country, a beacon of freedom, and somehow it fell and disappeared. The year 2016 may not appear as an answer to some multiple choice question about our demise. It is a slow thing and we will suffer through it, most of us in denial. I believe the Romans did the same until the food stopped coming, until the barbarians were at the gate and there was no where for them to escape.

In time and after great sorrows and tribulations, peace will come again when darkness devours us back into a new dark ages. The school children of this brave new world will not study Rome anymore. Nero and his fiddle will mean nothing to them. They will read about the fall of the United States of America , and how, like when Rome fell, a dark age followed, taking the entire world with it. They will little be able to imagine how advanced we were, how our technology took us to the stars. How in a world of plenty and idleness, we became petty and bitter and destroyed ourselves.

A thousand years will pass, leaving us to the dust bin of history, with a few hundred looking very much like our middle ages. The children who come after the fall will study a different restoration, romantic age, and technology revolution, little guessing that they are retreading already worn paths of history.

Once time circles around once more, when a new and far off generation once more sails the stars and send their signals invisible through the air, they will have learned the lessons we so quickly forgot.  With the help of the survivors of this time of torment, generations will appreciate the one before as they march through rebuilding the world, and those future children will be humble and kind instead of arrogant, entitled, spineless, and lazy. They will build on the ruins of all we made, some of them wondering, who were they? How could they construct such magnificent cities and buildings only to fall? Perhaps, our ghosts will answer them, warn them.

I hope I am wrong, but that will require a miracle. I believe in miracles. I am simply uncertain that this generation deserves one.


Week 27 2016 – Darkness Creeps

So often in these days all around me once decent people answer hate with hate, darkness with darkness. No one is listening. I am retreating into Alleysiande, praying for peace, trying to keep my own anger in check. It is fitting that I am delayed in my book production. Paradise is further away than ever. 
Perhaps, look to your dog. He knows how to love unconditionally. Right now, we are all wrong, everyone of us, and we all need love. 

Let us try to be the people our dogs think we are. Perhaps then, we can turn back toward the light instead of this useless state of being perpetually offended. Forgive. Unburden our weary souls. Forgive.