Pondering and Painting

Painting is a lot like story telling. Some would say it is the same. I, personally see a few differences- but only a few. What I have learned is that with both you start out with an idea and an outline and then the darn thing takes on a life of it’s own.

I have no idea where this is going.

And this too is true for both, some blossom and go forth to see the world while others (despite your vision) fail to bloom – these gather forgotten dust or must [sometimes begrudgingly] be destroyed.

Tuesdays Tell-All (Behind the Scenes)

Pretty Kitty Puddin Jam aka Jammin Jim, Jimmy, One eyed Jimmy Jones... (1024x683)

It was a cat very similar in appearance to pretty Kitty Puddin’ Jam [aka Jammin’ Jim, One-Eyed Jimmy Jones, Jimmy Jam and plain Jimmy] who played the character Strudel in the short A Hard Candy Christmas. The story is beautifully narrated by Julia Gayden Nelson.

Dolly Pardon’s song Hard Candy Christmas played in the background, fueling my imagination as I pecked out the words to the story.

Strudel was actually a stray feral cat who sought refuge with me through one rare snowy winter. Jimmy insists he could play the part and probably win a prestigious theater award. He would also totally love to hang out with Dolly.

Friday’s Free-for-All (A Quick Snippet)

Famine & Fortune sharecropper's son (488x800)

Click the cover and get a copy.

From his seat in the rear he could see the entire café and a portion of the adjoining store, the same store he was determined to visit and purchase a decent bill of groceries before the day was up.
** Liam studied the room; watched as men felt blindly for cups and sopped dry biscuits in air while soaking up the news of investors going broke. All eyes were on Wall Street but truth be told, the market crash paled in comparison to the Navarro county drought.
**He watched as a billion dust particles danced overhead, swaying recklessly in rays of smoke stained sunshine until the weight of grease and nicotine and worry forced them to settle.  The grimy mist settled on everything – on everyone. It covered every field cap and fedora. Without prejudice it landed on burnt necks and white collars alike and no one, other than Liam appeared to notice. He listened to the moans and grunts that followed each turning page. Some lingered on the specifics, others on the gruesome photographs but at the end of breakfast they all shrugged their shoulders and went back to waiting.

Excerpt provided byBooks2Read & Janna Hill

The Long, long Night

 

The Winter solstice and the longest night has now past. The occasion brings to mind one of my favorite poems:

The Long, long Night

He would sculpt and I would write

to get us through this thing called life and

what seemed to be an aimless plight

The long, long night

pottery-sculpting

I used pen and he used clay

to cope with all the pain filled days

which lived within our slow decay of

The long, long night

writing material

But in between the words and mud

we found the art of making love

and pacified the angst and blood of

The long, long night

lovers

Forsaken pages ripped and torn,

spattered earth across the floor,

graphite tales of love and war and

The long, long night

spilled ink

Come into my bed sweet angry lover,

your tender calloused hands beneath the cover.

Find the place where none has been,

beneath the ink and turning pin,

get us through yet once again

The long, long night

Alzheimer’s is a Cruel Stealthy Cat

November is (among many other things) National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

Stealthy

Go Purple with a Purpose

Alzheimer’s is a cruel stealthy cat that lurks in the shadows. It leisurely pulls its prey into the darkness, steals their reasoning, their memories and eventually their life. The only kindness this disease provides is a cocoon that leaves the victim in a state of oblivion.  However it shows no compassion to loved ones and caregivers left to witness the slow death and decay.

Let’s not give up on finding a cure.

If you know someone touched by Alzheimer’s take a moment to make a difference no matter how small. A hug, a helping hand or just acknowledging a caregiver’s struggle can mean so much.

 

Continue reading

Once Upon a Dead Gull (TBT)

Throw back Thursday.

Rated G for gross

dead gull (4) (1024x682)

The gruesome photograph that inspired the title [and the book cover] for Once Upon a Dead Gull.  That was 3 1/2 years ago and [amazingly] this cover hasn’t changed.

A peculiar short story anthology, I admit, but it was written for the horror genre.
Even more peculiar is that none of these stories are about a dead gull.
The poor seagull’s parting gift to mankind…  to me, was simply to inspire a title I had been struggling with.

Hold on, there is a point to this — Help!

This is the fourth consecutive year I have been honored to be a judge in the FAC annual teen scholastic/literary/poetry event. This year was even more exciting because I am still alive and it was the first reason I have had to shuck my pajamas since last year. Just kidding! But seriously, FAC added a short story contest. Yay!the-pose-533x800.jpg

FAC logoA little aside: Forney Arts Council hosts the annual event but an invitation to participate is extended to several surrounding cities. Just FYI Forney is a booming little town about a stone’s throw east of Dallas Texas.

Just look at the beautiful poets and writers of our future.

Some of them receiving their first check for following their passion.

winners FAC compition

The winners

I am so proud of every single one of them. I know their parents and teachers are too; and the fabulous lady (Tiffany) with a passion for art that keeps this thing going.

Hold on, there is a point to this post —

What was it? ….

Oh yes, Help!

I need your help. It won’t cost you a dime and only a minute of your time.

What? Why? How? You ask?

Well, you see I am scheduled to give a talk/presentation next month on the art of the short story. Actually it is The Art of the Short Story & Micro/Flash Fiction.

The problem (other than the typical butterflies) is I know why I read and write short stories/flash fiction but I would love some input as to why others do.

Is it attention span? Time constraints? Challenge? Amusement? Something else?

If this thing works right I have inserted two polls, one for writers and another for readers. If not…  the comments section is always open.

Thanks Y’all.

Why do you read short stories?
(polls)

Why do you write short stories?

(polls)

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