The Chest of Hope (Friday’s free for All)

IT’S JUST A SMALL BROWN wicker basket, not built to hold much –

and a bit tattered from over handling.
It’s beautiful warm browns have dulled and faded with age on the outside –

but inside the natural luster still shines.

It’s top is held in place by make-do leather ties because the first woody hasps were worn in two –

and now dangle loosely, without purpose.


What hands made the airy coffer? I wonder as I stroke the thin smooth fibers.
Was it one as handsome as the tight weaves frayed by time?


Though dust has long since claimed his finger prints – I know that he was a weaver; I imagine that he was a dream weaver…
Diligently intertwining each cane thread with my hopes in mind…


A place to store my breathing dreams so that they could be kept safe and close at hand, amassed in a beautiful fibrous reminder.
A quaint little chest of hope I will one day hand down to a child, a grandchild or perhaps even a great grandchild –
when I have used up its contents.


When I have taken the dusty lid off one last time and felt deep into the corners to make certain I haven’t left any ideas untouched…
I imagine when I offer it up to him (or her) they will look at me like I’m crazy (and I may well be) then they’ll tear the lid off, expecting to find a treasure of sorts before saying with disappointment,

“It’s just an empty old basket.”


It is then I will share with them the wishes and ideas that were stored and later born of that basket.

How they were kept safe till I could see them come to fruition.
And one more time I will imagine the handsome dark skinned man who meticulously weaved the wonderful piece…
a place to store my dreams because dreams need room to breathe.


Then I will show them how to place their own aspirations into the old auburn chest with caution to keep them safe, to nurture their hopes and give them time to mature. And if my last wish were to come true I will see them realize the birth of their visions.


*I adore woven baskets and this bit of prose was inspired by one of my favorites.

The Chest of Hope was taken from Getting me Back

Friday’s Free-for-all (Genres & Tools & Fried Taters. Mhm)

It will be necessary to choose a genre (or a narrow list of genres) when you get ready to submit/publish but don’t let that annoying detail inhibit your writing.
For now just write; your story can be catalogued later.
Here is a brief overview of primary genres. Glance at them and move on.
Action/Adventure: fast paced exploration with conflict.
Erotica: focuses on the sex, not the romance.
Fantasy: Magic other worldly, mystical and mythological.
Horror: anything that invokes fear/dread.
Literary Fiction: focus on the quality of writing style/prose over the narrative/plot.
Mystery: involves solving some sort of crime.
Thriller/Suspense: creates tension which can involve action or mystery.
Romance: love and intimacy without the down and dirty details of said intimacy.
Science fiction: think aliens, alternative worlds and high tech
Westerns: usually taking place in America’s ‘Old West’; cowboys, etc…
Women’s fiction: all about the woman e.g. growth and hope.

I just finished packing to head to Benton Arkansas for the weekend and I thought about the movie Sling Blade.
Sling Blade is a drama. No, there is not a drama category listed above because drama is written for performance. The paperback copy is categorized as screenplay. As a screenplay it is listed on Amazon as follows:

#1100 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Movies > Screenwriting
#5851 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Television
#26979 in Books > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts

Now allow me to detour a moment because I do love me some Billy Bob Thornton. I am also excited about visiting Two Peas in a Pod Flea Market and some dear kinfolks in Benton where Sling Blade was filmed.
Ahhh. I still cackle when my [adult] kids slip into character and quip, “fried taters, Mhm.” “With mustard and biscuits. Mhm.”

If you are familiar with the movie Sling Blade you’ll be familiar with this line, “Some folks call it a sling blade; I call it a Kaiser blade.” Yeah, I heard some of you saying, Mhm.
Well  I have a sling blade too (along with a few other tools) but I call it a limb-chopper. torture chamber (553x800)

People can call it what they want but that will not alter the way I use my limb-chopper. I use it to chop limbs — all sorts of limbs.

I call it what I want to; I use it however I please BUT if I decide to sale my tool… my merchandise, I will need to identify it properly and list it in an appropriate category.
See what I mean? Mhm?

How are They Going to Get There?

Congratulations on your writing accomplishments!

Whether you have written a paragraph or five hundred pages so far this month, you’re doing great.

I once wrote 500 pages in one day.  Yep, the Ctrl+v got stuck on my keyboard.  When I returned from my walk I had five hundred pages of totally inconceivable gibberish.

I jest, but speaking of taking a walk…

Where are your characters going? Why are they going? How are they going to get there?

Feel free to use the photographs to get the creative juices flowing.

Write on!!

No Such Thing As Ghosts

Ernest Hemingway’s study in Key West, Florida.

Note the portrait in the background. Sorry, I don’t know who the artist is but I thought it meshed well with the poem No Such Thing as Ghosts. I snapped this photo last February after a long ride through the keys with Ernie. 😉

No Such Thing As Ghosts completes chapter 17 in Unjustified Favor (Clan Destiny Book III)  after an ordeal forces Lawrence Jeffcoat to rethink his beliefs.

… ghosts were manifestations of irrational fears and folklore. Ghouls, phantoms, spirits – those were make-believe stories invented for campfires and fiction.

Embedded images leave their trace

Like fossil shells have marked their place

Many share this tiny space

Though each in their own time

 

The essence of an empty room

The hint of a gardenia’s bloom

A peek in to the sixth sense loom

All treasures of the mind

 

Shadows catch the outer eye

Wind railed whispers cross the sky

Nothing ever really dies

They simply pass beyond

 

Sometimes Truth Is Stranger than Fiction

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I worked as a nurse. Nurses Janna & Jess.jpg

My daughter (on the left) is a nurse and many of my friends and family are still working in the field of nursing.

I could write forever about the combined experiences of a nursing career. As a matter of fact a few of those experiences fueled scenes in the fictional Clan Destiny series where the main characters (Clara, Linda and Maggie) are nurses. Mary Latrull (another fictional character) likes to pretend she is a nurse and would probably be a good one except –

Oops. I veered off track.

I mention the series now because this is National Nurses Week.

Happy Nurses week comrades, family and friends!

Oh poo, let me ramble off road for a minute and we’ll make this one of Tuesday’s Tell All.

Thinking on the series: when the books stood alone, before they were renamed the Clan Destiny series and before the reviews disappeared from Amazon I had a few comments that the stories were too “far-fetched” and unbelievable.  Yeah, nurses with paranormal abilities. Ha! I’m not sorry, that is why I called it fic-shun.

A handful of people (mostly “nurses”) suggested the medical terminology and/or procedures were incorrect. I know it was wrong but I had to call those to attention. Why? Because I kept “procedural” scenes to a minimum for lay reasons and if practice or terminology has changed that much in the last few years I honestly wanted to know. But nope…

The real thing ‘said nurses’ took issue with was the (occasional) disrespect and unprofessional behavior that I portrayed.  The strange thing is those scenes were all too real. Allow me to share.

Examples:

In book one Maggie curses a bit, insults a doctor and she and Clara have a confrontation, nearly coming to blows while on duty. One ‘said nurse’ says, “#1 no nurse would talk to a doctor like that and #2 Cursing and fighting on duty like hoodlums would never happen.” Truth? It happens. Been there, done that. Nursing is a stressful profession and nurses are human, sometimes we act stupid.

In book two Mary (as a patient) leaves the hospital against medical advice without signing the proper forms.  Another ‘said nurse’ says, “A patient would not be allowed to leave without signing the necessary documents.” I laughed myself silly. Truth? I have chased more than my share of irate, deranged and determined absconders while pleading with them “just sign this and you can go.” Hospitals, clinics and care centers are not prisons; you cannot hold someone against their will and you cannot make them sign a form to c.y.[own]a. (cover your [own] a**)

In book three Maggie, Linda and Clara laugh (in private) and refer to a patient, Mr. Stenchman, as Mean-as Stinky man or Mean-ass Stinky pants. An offended ‘said nurse’ says, “You should not depict nurses in such an unprofessional and unflattering way.” Truth? Sometimes we are unprofessional and ugly and sometimes the patient is a mean-ass stinky man.

I could rattle on about sordid affairs, fist fights, missing bodies/body parts, resurrections, insurance/benefit/patient abuse, medicare fraud and more but I won’t. Not today.

Yes, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

I may write a true tell-all one day but until then I’ll keep changing the names to protect the guilty, add a little ‘what if’  and focus on the fictitious person – not the true profession.

For all of you nurses [with or without imperfections] keep being the best that you can be. Thanks for shoving your own sh*t aside for 8 to 16 hours a day and caring even when it seems like you don’t.

 Happy Nurses Week!

nightingale pledge (1024x752).jpg

 

 

Depending on Your Perspective

Saturday I posted a photo of an approaching storm with a caption ending in “y’all forgive me but I love a good storm” and it was a very good storm… or a very bad one depending on your perspective.

After posting that photo we journeyed to my son’s home in adjacent Van Zandt county for a fish-fry and enjoyed the show from the safety of his garage. As lightening danced and crackled over the oak trees we cracked jokes, reminisced and watched crispy fillets float to the surface in vats of boiling oil. We didn’t even mind the loss of electricity; it did not affect us — we were cooking with propane.

Little did we know only miles away lives and livelihoods were being destroyed. As we were laughing ourselves to tears, others wept in fear and sorrow.

We made our way back home [to a dark but undisturbed house] as the radio blasted warnings and tales of catastrophe; declaring several tornadoes had passed through the area(s). It turns out there were seven. Seven tornadoes.

I did not perceive the impact until power was restored several days later and I could get a visual.

It definitely causes one to reflect.

These photos were taken yesterday from [almost] the same position of the one Saturday. The same southern tree line is just above this view.

I still love a good storm but lord my heart does break for all those suffering a loss. I would appreciate it if you all would take a few seconds and send a positive thought or prayer their way.

Let’s Talk About It Tuesday (A Poem & A Picture)

Let’s Talk Poe(try). What would National Poetry Month be without some Poe?

Talk Alone A Poem & A Picture

It seems Edgar Allan Poe was born an orphan and subsisted as a lonely dejected urchin all his life. His father David Poe Jr. abandoned his mother Elizabeth early on. A couple of years after his disappearance Elizabeth Poe died of tuberculosis; all before little Eddie was three years old.

A couple named John and Frances Allan took Edgar into their home and fostered him until adulthood or the age of eighteen. At 18 Poe joined the United States Army under the alias Edgar A. Perry claiming to be twenty-two years old because he could not [reportedly] find gainful employment

Tick tock tick tock.

Frances died and Poe was disowned by John Allan—the men had been at odds for some time. Poe did not turn out be the man Allan expected and Allan turned out to be a man Poe despised. One could not abide the other’s vices. That is my summation.

Poe had problems. He drank too much, dreamed too much and lived with depression. That’s undoubtedly obvious.

Tick tock tick tock.

Poe married his first cousin Virginia when he was 26, she was half his age.  Yeah, and after a decade of harmony guess what? January 30th 1847 she died of tuberculosis.

Alone again and in failing health Poe became increasingly unstable. On October 3rd 1849 he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore bedraggled and in a state of delirium. Four days later on October 7th 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in hospital. Alone.

Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were – I have not seen

As others saw – I could not bring

My passions from a common spring –

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow – I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone –

And all I lov’d – I lov’d alone –

Then – in my childhood – in the dawn

Of a most stormy life – was drawn

From ev’ry depth of good and ill

The mystery which binds me still –

From the torrent, or the fountain –

From the red cliff of the mountain –

From the sun that ’round me roll’d

In its autumn tint of gold –

From the lightning in the sky

As it pass’d me flying by –

From the thunder, and the storm –

And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)

Of a demon in my view –

The poem was never printed during Poe’s lifetime. It was first published by E. L. Didier in Scribner’s Monthly for September of 1875, in the form of a facsimile. The facsimile, however, included the addition of a title and date not on the original manuscript. That title was “Alone,” which has remained. Doubts about its authenticity, in part inspired by this manipulation, have since been calmed. The poem is now seen as one of Poe’s most revealing works. Original available Maryland Historical Society

The official cause of death is not recorded, perhaps it is not known. Speculations abound. Alcoholism, tuberculosis, syphilis, encephalitis, concurrent disease, murder…

All I know is this: He was only forty years old and was (like most of us) his own worst enemy. Despite his inner darkness I think Edgar Allan Poe managed to shine a light. I pray he is not alone and that the demon no longer hinders his view.

His remains are buried at Westminster Hall Church in Baltimore, Maryland.