Wednesday, May 01, 2019

May Day, May Day


A new knight murders a mother, 
so he becomes a priest, 
and because of that changes his name, 
and because of that loses his inheritance 
until a childhood friend recognizes him 
and tells everyone he's still alive. 

That's the start of May's short story. I wonder where it will go.





Sunday, April 21, 2019

wasps

Sitting in the Georgia sand, grains fall through my fingers while wasps whirl in harmony around my head;

My parents drink and smoke with friends, jitterbugging to Elvis around the cramped living room of a gray Army apartment;

I sit off to the side, a crumpled tissue next to me, a forgotten piece of someone else’s life.

The steps to the dance evade me. I see them. They’re in my mind but my body never hears the music. 

My skin, a thin and cracked shell, blocks light and connection, holds in feeling.

Years of faith and hope can’t cope with the broken ability to follow the rhythm of others.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Book Review: The Prague Cemetery

I finished reading a book. It's been about 3 years since I've had the energy. Who woulda thunk it?

The Prague Cemetery
by Umberto Eco

I gobbled up The Name of the Rose when it came out in 1980.

It took me 15 months to get through The Prague Cemetery.

The narrative device of two men speaking to each other via journal entries in the same diary fascinated me but it got lost in the great preponderance of names from history. Every person named in the book, except the main narrator, was a real person. I looked them up.

The story of how the fictitious / fake Protocols of the Elders of Zion became a conspiracy theory and reality for some people that led to Hitler's atrocities while intriguing got lost in the excessive details. The exhaustive minutiae exhausted me.

I worked my way through to the end because the history was compelling but it was work.

Other books read in 2019:

Brief Answers to the Big Questions - Stephen Hawking

White Hot: A Hidden Legacy Novel - Ilona Andrews

Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant Book 1) - Ilona Andrews

SAVE THE CAT! Writes a Novel - Jessica Brody

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Welcome, Sunshine



Revena lives in 10th century Bavaria. It's the first day of Spring. It's the start of the year. Cured meats and foods in brine and vinegar wearies her and her people. The people look forward to fresh fruits and vegetables and any meat that isn't tough and full of salt. They yearn for the light.

Ausṓs, the Queen of the Dawn, is the central figure of their celebrations. The Goddess represents the rebirth of the Sun and all new growth and motherhood. Her essence shows itself in the crocuses peeking through the brown Earth. Buds on the beech trees, the birth of lambs, and the mating of birds burst in unabashed joy.

On the last day of the last Winter full moon, they extinguish all fires, candles and lamps. When She stands high above, the land's people gather around a huge stack of dried wood and animal bones. The bonfire is lit, the blaze shooting into the dark sky, the tips of the flames reaching for the orb of night. Musicians from all castes bring out their instruments, playing lutes, bagpipes, cymbals, drums, tambourines, and harps. Rambunctious tunes fill the air. Everyone dances around the fire, lighting new torches to take home and restart the fires in their hearths.

The next day, each person rises before the Sun. They bathe in streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes, and wash off the dark and the specter death. They emerge from the waters, naked, reborn, face East, and rejoice as the light bursts above the horizon. Wrapping in warm blankets and running home, they don new linen or hemp cloth undergarments. These were sewn during the enclosed days. The men put on fresh tunics, braies, and long, fitted socks. Women dress in long, shapeless smocks with stockings. Revena wears a chemise of silk.

The Full Moon rests from her labors. The growing and maturing Sun warms the air. Winter is over. Spring has sprung. People spend most of the day out of doors.


Children start seeds in wickerwork to follow the sunshine around the castle grounds and build wattle fences around raised planting beds. These keep animals away from sprouting flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

The entire population works in gardens and fields, tilling and weeding. In the early evening, all the workers come into the baily for a celebration, gathering around stools, benches, and tables set outside.

Revena begins the festivities with the following incantation,

“We have survived the long, dark night,
Welcome back the warmth of light,
Spring has come, a time of rebirth,
The quickening of our Mother Earth.
The sowing season has begun,
With the advent of the rising sun.
We cherish new life and new beginnings,
Reassuring us of the love of the gods.”

Boiled eggs dyed with beets, onion skins, and red cabbage fill baskets on the tables. Given as gifts, they represent new life and potential. The egg pecking game breaks out to great laughter, winner takes all.


Platters of sweet buns with cinnamon and dried currants pass around the crowd. New butter and soft cheeses from the lactating animals top the breads.

Revena ends the day by giving out packets of seeds. Grains go to the farmers and flowers and vegetables to the women with home gardens. Exhausted children and their tired parents trudge home smiles on their faces. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Origin of the Species


Me on my second birthday


I know I always loved books (aren’t I adorable and oh, so, happy?) I remember writing before the age of ten, but I started thinking of myself as a storyteller in the sixth grade.

Fifth grade had been traumatic and chaotic. As a newbie in an already begun school year, I floundered. The teacher had no control over the classroom (he took a "vacation" after Thanksgiving.) Mean girls picked on me. Valentine’s Day and Christmas were horrors of no cards and no gifts during the exchanges. I hid in the coatroom any chance I got.
Sixth grade at Garfield East Elementary renewed my love of school. Mrs. Block was paradise. She knew what she was doing. She kept us in order, taught us the basics and gave us a social studies assignment that I’ve never forgotten.
We had to pick a place in the world and travel there (in our imaginations and through research.)
"Write a term paper about your visit," said Mrs. Block.
I chose Mexico City and I built a world inhabited by characters. I included timeline, budgets, descriptions of locations, weather, food. I wrote about the people I met and our conversations.
I got an A and the best compliment. “I feel like you were really there,” said Mrs. Block. “The details and your story made it all very real for me. It was a pleasure to read your paper.”
I fell, hook, line and narrative.




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