Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Timed Write…Like a Mouse

She scribbled fiercely on the scrap of paper while the pounding on the door got louder and more insistent. Bang, bang, bang! She shivered clutching her sweater closer to her tiny frame.

“Come on, Izzy! I just want to talk! I promise I won’t hurt you.” The voice was all too familiar; slurred and stumbling, a half human half drunken snarl. All promises made by such a beast were lies. She had heard this story before. Promises were easy. As soon as she unlocked the door she knew he would be angry and red faced, and he would hurt her.

Her heart beat hard and fast in her chest causing little painful spasms. She found it hard to gulp down air. She was in panic mode, a survival tactic that would not help her now. She called forth the meditation she did in therapy after her parents’ divorce.

The counting to ten breathing. Her mother was also small and meek, and drank enough to become a fish. She drifted away on a magical boat away into the mists never to be seen again. There weren’t enough unicorns in her room to protect her from the were wolf outside the door. She knew her Dad would be back in the morning if she could only hold out that long.

Her handwriting was not the best but she wanted it legible. Her colored pencil broke with a loud snap. The pounding and pleading had stopped. She looked toward the door. This was too simple, too easy. She knew something was wrong. Quiet wasn’t always good. Sometimes quiet meant bad things were about to happen.

She held really still like a mouse. As still as she possibly could, frozen in time and place, light lavender sweater draped around a t shirt and jeans surrounded by friendly stuffed animal faces. Her eyes stayed focused on the door for a minute and then she breathed out.

The window burst into shards of glass forcing her to whirl around.  She left the note on the table, an all too brief note written in red. She ran to the door, tripped over her untied laces and crashed to the floor.

She felt his strong grip on her ankle and he pulled her toward him with a jerk. She reached out an arm toward the door, nails clawing into the wooden floorboards making an eerie screech and leaving tell tale marks. I was here, I existed. I cannot be erased. But I can be snuffed out like a candle flame she thought to herself quietly.

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Moving On With Life

I had plans to do a lot of posts around Zelazny and others, and it didn’t happen because I found out I had to move unexpectedly. I hadn’t moved in eight years and I always had a sentimental side anyway, so over time I accumulated a lot of unnecessary stuff.

Basically, I had to give up a lot. My entire paperback collection and other items. Some disappeared when some people helped me move. I can’t prove who but one box of valuable items that cannot be replaced was lost.

My only regret was not going through stuff at least once a year. It always seemed like tomorrow things would get done. Tomorrow was always a day away. I guess I would have liked to have done things with more planning and less suddenly but now I am moved I feel better. So that is what I have been up to, plus a camping trip and a birthday party for my son and father’s day. And, now back to the work week.

One thing I learned about this experience is that in the end the stuff is just stuff. The crystal vase from my now deceased Grandma isn’t my Grandma, but only a crystal vase. The rings I lost, an engagement and a wedding ring from a marriage that didn’t work out, well, maybe that needed to happen. Maybe this all had to happen to get me ready for a new life.

The phoenix needs to go through the fire to be reborn. The phoenix has always been one of my favorite mythological beasts, perhaps this constant rebirth is part of the reason why. I have tried to reinvent myself so many times.  Maybe letting go is the part that I haven’t fully completed. Maybe this time will be the best time. Here’s to hoping, and thank you all for following. More posts will be coming.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Writing Prompt — When It All Comes Crashing Down

Aimee looked out the large picturesque window of trees and vines and rolling hills of grass. It was pretty, it was seemingly solid. But, she knew it was all an illusion. She remembered a boy a long time ago that died jumping off the edge. How much she wanted to follow him even knowing she would not survive. Some days that was all she wanted to do. She was head of the council for the city and they all looked to her for guidance now.

She had no idea how great she had it being a carefree child running about the world without thinking of the future. That boy woke her up.  She recalled all the grown ups whispering in hushed voices. Certain people disappeared and no one would tell her why back then.

Now, she was an adult nearing forty and she knew things now she wish she didn’t. Her neighbor cities in the sky had started having little issues at first. Repairs were becoming more frequent now.

She clenched a paper in her hand, wrinkling it, twisting it. She could throw it in the garbage by the table of the conference room. She smoothed it on the table reluctantly. She straightened her suit jacket, adjusted her collar. Aimee breathed in deeply, letting the air out slowly.

People began to file in with their coffee cups and idle chatter. They took their seats carefully, pulling their small black chairs out and pushing them in. She watched them fill the room slowly.

“Mrs. Hailey, I believe we are all here now. You have the chair.” Ben Howard gestured toward her being the last to take his seat, the rest had their memo pads with stylus looking serious but unconcerned. The typical expression of the community.

The world’s problems were left down on the Earth. Their issues were usually simple ones, who would coach the girls volleyball team or who would replace the technician for the lawn maintenance machines. Aimee kept thinking back to that boy and his backpack. He thought he was saving her world but perhaps he was just putting off the inevitable.

“You are all here because I have been informed of a problem that has been occurring more and more often among our neighbor cities. I am sure you all know we do  not want general panic. So, what you share must be minimal.”

“I’ve heard some rumors. Some cities don’t respond to calls anymore. Maybe a technical issue with the screens?”

“Oh yeah, I haven’t reached Cerberus in days.

“Had that trouble with Nova City, too.”

” Yes, there have been a lot of problems. However, I just got word that it isn’t the screens failing. We have confirmation from a survivor. Someone with their own personal aircraft. The system that allows the flotation devices are failing.It has been failing for awhile.”

Everyone grew silent, looking around the room in quick glances and looking at phones and watches and screens.

“Don’t allow this to leave this room. We do not want panic. However, we need a plan. Our neighbors are all gone with their survivors back on Earth which is a wasteland. They need supplies and we do not know when or how much time we have left here. We are getting more isolated all the time and I am not sure how much supplies we will have left.”

“Mrs. Hailey, what is that paper about?” Rita Tollingford asked pointing at the crinkled paper.

Aimee took the paper again and crumpled it up putting it in the trash. “Nothing. I don’t want you to worry. We just need to prepare. We need to figure out what we can spare. And we need to make sure we have an evacuation plan that works.”

“Where are we going to go? What’s the nearest city?”

“There are no longer any cities nearby, the nearest one is New Bakersfield, and it is in the same condition we are in. We would have to head down to the Earth where the other survivors are.”

“How do we know any of this is real? What if it is some scam to get free supplies from us? The ground dwellers have done this sort of thing before.”

Aimee sighed. “Ben, not everything is a big lie. You are just going to have to trust me.”

“Like we trusted your parents? How many people disappeared? All over what some kid claimed? Some kid from down there no less. My father just gone one day because of some crayon scribbles in a backpack. And, now you are telling me some people down there need help, and that we are in danger. The information coming from earth dwellers can’t be trusted.” Ben got up abruptly walking out. Others watched him leave some reluctantly getting up others remained seated nervously tapping their stylus.

“I guess we are done here. I will try to convene another meeting later today on a plan.” She watched the others go. Some were unconcerned walking out the same way they walked in. Others were anxious.

Aimee looked back out the window. Picked up her glass of water and took a sip, setting it back down on the table. She felt the world tilt slightly. That has happened before and it always rights itself. It was fine, she thought to herself, watching the trees and the grass as a slight breeze started to sweep through.

Her water glass slid from the table and crashed into the wall sending shards of glass out violently. Her hand reached out for the table to grip something but the table also slid against the wall pinning her hand in place. She felt a surge of pain in her hand and felt the blood begin to ooze slowly. The bookcases tilted over next spilling discs and covers onto the floor in a cascade of paper and plastic. An alarm began to blare piercing into her brain as she sat with her hand shoved into the wall by the heavy table.

she knew this would be the end of her, but hoped that her family was aboard their ferry going to safety. Don’t wait for me, she cried out quietly, her voice dimming as the lights flickered and went out one at a time.

” Maybe I will see you again, my friend. Perhaps you knew more than I gave you credit for.” She said thinking of the boy who threw himself off the edge of the world.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

The Need to Write and Upcoming Birthdays…

There are a lot of  May birthdays for writers. So, I am going to list who is coming up. And of course, there are always some authors whom I have not written down or miss because my brain is imperfect and fallible. But, the ones i have on my handy dandy list are Roger Zelazny May 13th, one of my all time favorite authors. He happens to share a birthday with Stephen R Donaldson who wrote epic fantasy. So, most likely will do a shared post there.

May 27th is the birthday of Harlan Ellison, science fiction writer who also could be quite humorous. May 18th is Fred Saberhagen, another great science fiction writer.

A big oversight for me was skipping Robert E. Howard, the author of Conan the Barbarian. His birthday was on January 22nd in 1906. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs both influenced science fiction and fantasy in their earlier days and would influence the authors that would follow them.

I might deal with him on Burroughs’s birthday because I equate them in style and time period to each other. So, that might be a good place to address Howard.  Much like Tolkien and Lewis, writers of a certain time affect each other and the future and sometimes it is better to comment on them in a joint post anyway.

Part 2–That Need to Write…

I got lucky with a day off in the middle of the week from my day job so I find myself with the desire and time to write. I need to write. If I stop for too long a period I feel like a part of me is missing.

It may be hard to understand to those that don’t write. Although people in the habit of journal-ling I would think could understand, or anyone with a routine that is part of their being. For some it might be running or exercising. For others maybe it is going to the same restaurant at the same time on a regular basis. Whatever is part of your routine, you just feel off sometimes when you aren’t participating in it.

For about a week I got the great feeling of doing what I love to do on a regular basis. Now I am back to work and trying to fit it in around the cracks. I have always had issues finding the balance between work and play, important and not important. But, now I have a sense of urgency in that I don’t want to lose this thread I am on.

I want to continue this writing streak even if it means scribbling on napkins in a spare moment or jotting down ideas in the middle of the night. It is part of who I am and how I see myself. Being a writer is more of a calling than a job. You don’t have to write to survive technically.  But I do get more irritable and agitated the longer I go without it.

It is like listening to the perfect song for the mood you are in. It is work you do for yourself like a good meditation. It is cathartic and soothing. It is like I am letting things out that I have kept trapped in a little cage.

I need to write. It is part of who I am. And, I know I will find a way to keep it going because it means a lot to me.

I appreciate all who come by this way or follow me on twitter or word press because it means so much to a writer to have an audience. It makes it all seem so much more important. It is like the difference between speaking in a mic to a roomful of people or singing in your shower all alone.

Both can be great. No one will judge you in the shower, but it is important if you want to improve to get actual feedback. And as  a writer I am constantly looking for ways to improve. Not just my writing but my health, my life, and how I deal with the realities of a complex world. So, thank you. Thank you so very much. Hugs to all.

JenRae.

 

 

 

Occasionally, there arises a writing situation where you see an alternative to what you are doing, a mad, wild gamble of a way for handling something, which may leave you looking stupid, ridiculous or brilliant — you just don’t know which. You can play it safe there, too, and proceed along the route you’d mapped out for yourself. Or you can trust your personal demon who delivered that crazy idea in the first place.
Trust your demon.

—Roger Zelazny

Posted in Fiction, Life, Writing

Stream of Consciousness And Why I Sometimes Wish I was a Poet…

Been reading the news online and it is filled with the usual mayhem and death and destruction, and then I proceeded to stare at an empty screen for a bit thinking about how I should be writing and maybe I should figure out what I am going to write about.

Sometimes things come to me naturally, effortlessly. Just add coffee. Other times I need to coerce myself a little. I guess this is one of the latter situations as I am not really feeling it, but I find myself with the perfect opportunity to write. And I know I will regret not taking this opportunity later.

Then I thought about the term ‘Stream of Consciousness.’ It is a type of writing which I have read and I kinda like. Roger Zelazny uses it in his Chronicles of Amber, usually when his characters are changing their surroundings in some manner. It can be effective. It is perhaps the only way I can do anything poetic. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. I love words, and I love stringing them together in interesting ways. So, I should love poetry.

And, I love reading poetry. But, if I try to write a poem, it ends up either being sappy or depressing or amateurish. Or all three. Perhaps it is because it isn’t something I have worked on extensively. It isn’t something that I have sat and thought I could do. If you don’t believe you can do something, it is usually a self fulfilling prophecy where you will convince yourself to the point where— surprise, surprise, you can’t do it.

So, it might be a mind over matter type of thing. I don’t think of myself as a poet, therefore I am not one. But there is something to be said for finding a sentence that works and is visually compelling. I could probably go through my works and cherry pick sentences and phrases that sound cool to me and create a poem from them. Whether it could have a cohesive meaning I am not sure, but I could take the time to find a meaning and make it work.

Ultimately, if you think you can, you probably can. If you think you can’t, you probably can’t. The power of the mind and how you identify yourself, how you think or perceive yourself as a being matters.

My attempt at stream of consciousness:

New Year’s

Red flowers blooming brilliantly over night time skies

where the stars shine down like little paper lanterns

illuminating the fierce nocturnal eyes of a million raccoons

and cats and weasels and varmints as they scurry amidst bushes and trees

looking for tiny prey that is also scurrying looking for nuts and seeds to eat

so they can continue another day and another night

so that the cycle can start anew another day and another night

as the earth turns slowly in space rewinding time

like a loom of silver thread until one day there will be no more

and some other thread will start spinning

in some other faraway place will begin instead.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Que Sera Sera — What Will Be, Will Be, Or How Twisting Reality Can be Fun

Doris Day recently had a birthday, and of course that reminds me of one of my favorite happy songs. I love the tragic so much, it is nice to like a happy song once in a while since different moods are important to writing for me.

They can make or break a story. I listened to Muse for my last writing prompt, which was depressingly dreary. But, a few years ago I would have ended that story differently.

I wrote a short story that isn’t on here back then about a cool blonde in a cafe, calmly waiting for a bomb to explode. A terrorist without a conscious willing to die amidst chaos because she can, her reasons weren’t explained because she was a cool cold collected character. What made her this way? Hard to say. If I wanted to write a longer version I might delve into her more to see why someone would casually throw away her life and the lives of others.

This time I wanted to explore a would be terrorist that as a kid, would not be fully desensitized to people and could still be ‘saved’ in a sense from being part of the machine of senseless destruction.

I wanted to get into the thought processes and how one makes a decision like this that affects so many people, so many strangers really. We can assume a whole swathe of people is one way or like this or that. But, when we know individuals we realize this is a simplistic way of looking at the world and nothing about reality is simple.

People are not inherently bad or good, they are everything in between, and most people have a rationale for their actions. Whether this rationale is logical or not it is still that person’s rationale for their actions.

A lot of times this is based on personal experience and assumptions, sometimes it is based on information that is readily available via the media. The old adage that if it is on TV it must be true, or the newer version, If it is on the internet it must be true is part of this problem.

Either way, if any of my short stories sparks some thought somewhere, good. Then I have done my job as a writer. To illustrate and propagate ideas and hopefully thoughts that can awaken the minds of the sleepers out there.

Honestly though, I just enjoy getting into the minds of people that are far removed from me, it is like untapped characters are exciting and intriguing. I like to get out of my skin and into another. Same reason I love fantasy and Science-Fiction so much. I like to take normal on its head, and tilt it. I get a perverse pleasure out of skewing reality.

Maybe it is because that is a magical power of a sort. To be able to take something mundane, add in a dash of a little experience and somehow voila; it is something extraordinarily weird. That kernel of truth is still in there, way deep in the center of the acorn hoping the astute reader can get to it amidst the layers of shiny metal and fire breathing dragons.