Punchin’ them Keys

Keys

OK…ouch.  I punched the keys on the advice of another blogger out here on WordPress – and got sore knuckles to prove it.

His suggestion, naturally, was not to duke it out with your keyboard (bad for tech and knuckles both) but to just sit down and start putting words on that blank screen.

Whatever words come to mind.  Don’t think about ’em, don’t obsess about ’em, and for Gawd’s sake, don’t panic!  Just fill the available area with black characters.  Before you know it – you’ll be hitting that save key, rearranging them words so they flow into a story, digging out the appropriate photograph(s) from either your files or from the ‘net, and publishing your next blog post.

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From one of my beach excursions

I’m finding this approach works especially well for me with the flash pieces I’m amusing myself with.  With one of the standard ‘rules’ in flash being a tight timeline to get in submissions – if I waited until I had a story fully fleshed-out in my head before beginning to write, I’d never get anything submitted.

I usually start a flash piece with a single sentence or idea – the first thing that pops into my head when I see the photo prompt.  It’s usually followed by a companion idea, which complements that first one.

Why, hello there – you’re looking mighty fine in that black & white tonight…

From there, I work backwards to tie the two together…and voila!  Flash!

it was late last night (for me) and I had to check things one last time on the ‘net before shutting things down, curling up on my recliner, pulling up the comforter, slapping on the CPAP, and going to sleep.

And, as an aside – yes – I am FINALLY getting some sleep!  We moved the recliner into my bedroom last weekend so I no longer have to sleep on a completely horizontal surface!!!

Well – Grace, the wonderful hostess at Three Line Thursday promptly put up her weekly competition just as I was doing my final ‘net checks – and, with a burning need to be the FIRST to offer up a submission – I quickly devoured the photo prompt, the additional challenge, and filled that little blank space with words.

As TLT is as micro-fiction as flash gets (three lines…30 words max…that’s all ya get!), it didn’t take me long to create something worthy to share.

All from simply filling that blank space with a couple of words, and letting the ‘birthing’ process proceed from there.

Here’s the piece that emerged:

 Tell me why, the beautiful ones
hang their heads in shame
when shown, the debts, on their souls?

I encourage you go visit Three Line Thursday, and the artist’s page, for the visual.

If I had to have an Aesop Fable ‘Moral of the Story” on this post, it would be:   write.  Don’t be intimidated by that blank page.  Don’t let it tease you with terrifying visions of rewrite after rewrite after rewrite.  Don’t let it convince you that you’ve nothing to say.  Just write – and let those words flow.

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Flash Fiction – To the Moon!

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Man – the competition on Flash! Friday keeps getting tougher and tougher…I thought for sure that the story I came up for this week’s challenge would at least merit an honorable mention – but, sadly, it was not to be…deservedly so.  The submissions that were selected for the top three/honorable mentions, etc. were that good.

I’ll just have to keep reading, and writing, and learning how to perfect this craft of flash fiction by studying the winners and near-winners.  Good thing it’s so much fun!

Here’s Friday’s flash piece – the prompt was to put the setting on the moon, and the photograph was a stack of suitcases piled one on top of each other – I absolutely LOVED the shot, as it was canted at an angle that grabbed your attention.

Might have to dig out camera things to try to recreate something similiar.

 

To the Moon!

202 words

 

Before I knew what I wanted, I wished for a man who would give me the moon.

The trunks were packed, sitting on the Hope Street curb, waiting for the taxi to transport us to the airport. Destination: somewhere warm and tropical – with plenty of sun, surf, and adult beverages. This hasty vacation, and the ring, were the culmination of the whirlwind romance which completely overwhelmed my 20-something sensibilities.

Oh…the delicious irony embedded in that street sign! Love is not only blind, but deaf, dumb and stupidly idealistic.

He didn’t mention the illegally-obtained diamonds or the three pounds of uncut coke he slipped in my luggage, nor did he mention the carefully concealed arsenal hidden throughout his clothing. That whole ‘international smuggler/drug lord’ thing must have slipped his mind…

Unfortunately, the DEA, Interpol, and the full dozen corpses left in the wake of his escape attempt tell very convincing stories to both Judge and Jury…

And this is how I found myself on the moon: a cold, sterile bubble of Plexiglas housing the terraformed ecosystem of the new off-world penal colony affectionately nicknamed ‘Hotel California.’ You go to the moon. You NEVER leave.

Be careful what you wish for.

 

Sleep Deprivation on the Left

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At least SOMEONE can be comfy in my bed…

We spend a third of our lives in bed.  Ok, some of us spend more time there, some less, some are more “active” between the sheets, and some spend all this time and more actually sleeping.  Yes, variations do occur (because your regular, mundane human is anything but…), but on the average – we spend one third of our lives unconscious on a horizontal surface designed to support the comatose body.

All the experts (and I use that term loosely…) agree that the average Mr. Joe Human requires 8 hours of sleep a night to maintain the health and mental acuity of the body and mind.  8 hours.  Every night.  Without fail.  Or.  Else.

Or else what???

Well…I’m glad you asked that 😀  If you fall short of this expert-mandated directive – a whole host of really scary medical conditions are trotted out – heart disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression, insomnia (well, duh) short attention span, inability to focus, muscular weakness, sloth, avarice, vanity and erectile dysfunction.

Why does EVERYTHING revolve around the ability (or lack thereof) to pitch a tent on demand?

I see things a bit differently, looking from over here on the left.  If sleep deprivation goes on long enough, the body throws a temper-tantrum worthy of a jilted lover: metaphysical dishes get flung about the house at high rates of speed, doors get kicked in, impolite words get spray-painted on the walls, and dubious ‘soils’ appear in the carpeting and dressers.

The family pet(s) may also be shaved without prior warning.

Sadly, divorce papers are sometimes signed, consigning the body and mind to a neat little cubicle, with softly padded walls, leather jackets that lace up the back, and rather powerful drugs injected either willingly or forcefully by attendants in white scrubs.

From Owlnet Blog on WordPress

OH…and..basket-weaving classes are mandatory for the hour they let you out of your “guest suite”…but you are allowed no pointy objects or cigarettes.

Divorcing your body is REAL expensive, both in the financial and freedom departments – so you might as well learn to live together, and that means giving in to the demands of the body, even when you, the mind, doesn’t wanna.

My body and I (specifically the muscles in the neck) are currently in negotiations – hopefully a peaceful settlement is on the horizon, as I can’t weave a basket to save my soul.

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Toy snake pillow – 4th neck support bought, first one that worked.

My body missing its bed.  Its favorite bed.  The waterbed.

I loved that bed.  It wasn’t one of the real pricey models with the baffling within the bag, or the high-gloss wood bookcase headboard with built in lights, 9 drawers underneath, multiple heaters for zoned settings, and tall enough to need a ladder to climb up in it – It was one of the cheap ones.  Just a big bag of water in a box.  I didn’t even spring for the headboard.

It was warm in the winter, cool in the summer.  It supported everything it needed to, squishing in where it saw more weight (yea, I’m talking about my hips, here…) and less where there wasn’t as much.

Although the term ‘fathead’ is cycling through my mind right now for some reason…

It cuddled around you at night, wrapping you with all the love a water-filled bladder of vinyl could muster, and was really fun to lay on and roll around, or just push on, to get the wave effect going during the day.

You could ‘spoon’ all by yourself in a cheap waterbed…no partner required!

I REALLY miss my waterbed…sleeping platform, heater, partner and plaything all rolled up into one gigantic waterbox.

Unfortunately, the wuzband didn’t think too kindly of my favored bed.  It was too hot, too cold, too wavy, translated the movement of the person sleeping next to him (that would be me, for the record…) and couldn’t be re-arranged unless you drained the thing (he was big on moving the furniture around at a whim) first.  It used too much electricity, too much water, and had too much maintenance with all the burping and chemicals and special sheets one had to have for it.

They say that marriage is sleeping in a bed that’s too hard next to someone who’s sleeping in a bed that’s too soft.  We went another direction – we went from someone sleeping in a perfect bed next to someone who was tolerant of it, to the opposite person sleeping in the perfect bed next to someone who absolutely could NOT get comfortable.  I’d had my perfect bed, and it came time to be the one without.

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I’m too tired to make the bed!

The day we got rid of the miracle of sleeping on a water-balloon and went to a traditional mattress, the sleeping issues started.  I’d wake up stiff as a board.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night with heartburn so violent I was gagging.  Occasionally, midnight trips to the bathroom to hug Ralph would happen.  The bed was too damn hard, too hot, too cold, too freaking flat.  It didn’t ooze around you, cradling you in warm-water and vinyl arms – you conformed to it.  Or Else.  It rolled away from the wall, sneaking the pillows out from under your head in the middle of the night.  It threatened bedsores if you stayed in one position too long, and turned tossing and turning into a nightly Olympic event.

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I can wallpaper my room with damn gold medals…

I swear I heard it, in several occasions, giggle maniacally as I levered my poor, stiff body off it in the morning.  It was a sadistic, evil piece of furniture, and he was welcome to keep it when the marriage finally ended.

So far, I’ve survived on memory foam pads piled atop a traditional matress/boxspring (bought for the SQO’s sleepovers) and my recliner.  I slept in the chair for a good, solid, 2 years, with occasional bouts of horizontal-ism on the bed.  When the kids moved in with me, they got the pads, and the living room, so I was confined to once again attempting to sleep on a torture rack masquerading as bedroom furniture.

My neck has finally had enough, and is threatening the big ‘D’.

Time to move the furniture around, and get my recliner in my bedroom so I have a place to sleep.

Flash Fiction – Claws on the Keyboard

Rose lineup Flash FictionI’ll admit – I was going for a ‘cuteness’ factor on last week’s Flash! Friday contest when I was presented with an adorable photograph of a little orange and white striped kitten.  To have the additional dragon’s bidding be a gladiator?  YEA.

Mixing these two elements was fun, indeed, and allowed a new voice to emerge from my subconscious and apply itself to my keyboard.

Claws on the Keyboard

210 fur-covered words

I was born to wage battle.  The day I was expelled from my mother’s body was the day I started training to be a warrior.  ‘Born under the right auspices,’ the shaman declared at my birth, ‘Born to fight, this one.’

As soon as the weaning I was removed from my loving, simplistic family to be housed with the other warriors of the clan…surgically altered to remove the temptation of breeding, taught by our handlers to become gladiators.

By the time I was learning to walk, I was perfecting my craft.  My body, a weapon, my infantile speech, a war cry.  Nothing could sway me from my militaristic aims: not playmates, not comforts, not baubles.  The fire of the warrior burned through me, tempering this soft and malleable flesh into rock hard muscle and iron determination.

Not even the cuteness of a kitten could melt my warrior’s heart.

Daily my brothers and sisters of the warrior clan perfect our craft.  Mock battles are frequent and unplanned as we balance stealth, agility and silent hunting with the sudden attack and fierce defense which mark our kind as the deadliest of all creatures.

Soon, the human will let the cats of the warrior clan hunt the evil rabbit in the yard!

Whilst I Sit on Hold…

Firework multicolor

Origami ‘firework’ interactive toy.

I really have no idea where this post is going.  Seriously.  It’s just a little thing about life in the offices of Corporate America…whatever comes out of my head.  I hope it’s enjoyable…

Like a lot of other folk, I hold a full-time job, meaning for 40 hours out of the week, I leave my home, go to this big building, and sit in a large room with a dozen other ladies.  We do have cubicle walls to segregate this large room into littler ‘rooms’ which only cut line-of-sight.  The walls do nothing to contain sounds, smells, or launched projectiles.

I can neither confirm nor deny my involvement in projectile launchings…

My cubicle is a little space within this big room, one of the smallest such spaces in the larger office.  It’s barely big enough for my desk, chair, a couple of filing cabinets.  Don’t take the wrong idea away from this, though…I’ve been offered larger working spaces in my tenure with my company, and I’ve turned them down.  I like my LITTLE cubicle area, and refuse to leave it for larger pastures.

Everyone in the office gets to pin personal stuff amongst all the accoutrements of business life on their personal cubicle walls…well…personal stuff within reason.  I’m certain that having nudes or horror movie posters or other not-appropriate-for-a-business-culture images on the walls would result in a quick removal of both the image and the display-er…but at least they don’t dictate the exact size/composition/color scheme/personal message of stuff that people are allowed to use to brighten their work spaces.

Unfortunately, I see a time coming when even these little displays of personality will be abolished from the greater office environments in this country, as more workers appear on the scene with gigantic chips on their shoulders determined to wreck this privilege for the rest of us.

But, I digress…

My personal stuff on the walls?  To be honest – there’s not much on the walls.  A few coloring sheets & a crepe-paper heart lovingly crafted by my youngest (when he was 8) and a glass dragon I picked up at some tourist trap about a dozen years ago.  Nothing else covers up the ugly beige fabric.

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Yes…this is REALLY my desk.

I keep all the personal magic on my desk.  There’s the obligatory photograph of the kids (which is probably a good 12 years old now…), a Wookie, a smurf, and an angry birds pencil topper.  I’ve got a beanie baby constructed from red M&M fabric, and a pen topped with a guy with a huge, cheesy grin and crazy hair.  I’ve got a copy of the SQO’s band’s last CD (of which I designed the cover art-work) and I’ve got a plaster head which could be yawning or screaming in agony (there are days where arguments can be advanced for both versions…)

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tessellation ball

And I’ve got origami….LOTS of origami.

I spend a lot of time on the phone at work.  In today’s business world, if you are going to be working on the phones, you are going to, sooner or later, end up on hold.  The length of this hold is directly proportional to the importance of the title of the person you are trying to reach.

If they have certain initials after their names (CEO, CFO, COO, WTF, LOL, etc…) you might as well write off the entire afternoon.

Although arguments can also be framed the other way – those who are so underpaid and overworked that they are too tired to care about anything except how close it is to quitting time also take their time answering the phone.

So…..work the phones = time on your hands listening to muzak or dead air.  What does one do when they have a receiver plastered to their ear without a voice on the other end to interact with?

Some people doodle on the desk blotter when they’re waiting, some people do a quick search on the ‘net, others drum their fingers on the desk, fiddle with pens, or just scratch at places that beg to be scratched.  Not me, though…

Like THAT’S a shocker…

I fold origami things. Birds, flowers, crabs, balls, boxes, tessellations – whatever origami pattern is firmly fixed in my head at the time I hear ‘please hold…’  I don’t bring my expensive origami papers to work, but I use the scrap paper that any office generates, cut down to 4″ squares.

I was once in the phone queue for a very large box-store retailer for 4 origami cranes, 2 lilies, one box, and serious inroads into a tessellation pattern.

By the time I’m ready to retire, I should have at least 1000 cranes folded, which, according to this Japanese legend, means I get one wish to come true.

I’m sure I’ll figure out what to wish for one day, waiting for someone to talk to me…

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crane folded from a security envelope

Flash Fiction – Harbinger

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Flash Friday’s mid-week warmup happened again, and another challenge accepted.  The shot was of a soldier standing on the bow of a small water-craft (he was REALLY low to the water line) and before him were the bridges and the city scape.  Not sure what city scape it was, and I didn’t bother to find out, as the where wasn’t as important as the story created by the image.

I had a harbinger-styled idea banging around in my head for quite some time, after reading a book series off my Kindle called “Moth.”  In it, this young girl leaves her small fishing village, in search of help for that village from the evil of the light worlders.

What struck me in this book – where this young girl goes, the light worlders follow (although they’re not exclusively following HER), and rain fire and destruction on the people gathered.  The girl is a nod to the old harbinger of doom story.

I put a note in my drafts to come up with something to use this element, and yesterday, I used it to bring out this little piece of flash.

I did miss (initially) the extra challenge for the piece – to end the story with the word peace.  I did change out the final sentence to read:  “I alone decimate your peace.” – but here is the original wording.  I like this one better.

Enjoy my latest little slice of flash.

Alone

100 words

I stand alone.

They follow me, dogging my heels. They watch me with luminous eyes. Hot breath steams between long ivory incisors. I feel them always, fear them as well.

I walk alone.

They herd me toward the unsuspecting, the decadent, those fat with soft lives. They confuse my tongue to blur my voiced warnings of them in the midst.

I weep alone.

They cause the bridges to burn, the water to boil, and the people to turn on each other as they gnaw on the very rage they generate.

I am the harbinger – I alone survive your doom.

 

Words are becoming easier…

toys at the bar

A Smurf & a Wookie walk into a bar…

I’m looking over my drafts folder – and am a bit shocked at the number of posts I’ve got the writing done for, but have no muse-pushing (or will to create) photos to go with them.  It’s ironic if you’ve read the T&T over on the Google site.

One of the early posts I put out was ‘Pictures are easy, Words are Hard.”  At the time of that posting, I had images pouring out of my mind, while the words were more illusive.

And now – less than a year later?  Complete reversal.  I’ve got fiction pouring out, a lot of typing going on – but no push for photography or visual arts of any kind.

It’s been at least 2 weeks since I opened the ‘shop application on my computer. 😮

My DSLR case is gathering a fine coating of shed cat hair.  😮

I don’t know how much battery life is left on the little point & shoot that still resides in my purse for photographic emergencies.  😮

There have BEEN no photographic emergencies…

But the words?  Sheesh – they’re EVERYWHERE.  You can tell on this blog, if nowhere else.  Flash fiction is running me these days – along with the numerous voices all clamoring in my subconscious demanding I write THEIR story next.

My muse resembles Rich Little –

1001 voices all directing my fingers at the keyboard.

Yea…I know what this means.  I’ve spent the last 29+… (none of your business how many pluses…) years evaluating my subconscious against my creative impulses.  I know my cycles, and when I move back toward the written word, it means turbulence is brewing – either personally or professionally.  It also means that I’m once again trying to bull my way through things in a mad attempt to think my way out of whatever niggling issue with as little collateral damage as possible.

At this point, any damage is contained within.

The breaking point is usually involves crafting REALLY bad poetry – so I’m not there yet.

Drunk yodaSome people drink to alleviate the pain caused by life…some people garden.  Still others indulge in research chemicals, insane physical challenges, or crazy spending-sprees.  I indulge in words, fiction, and chutzpah.

I do have an inkling of what the hind-brain is saying, but I’m not quite ready to admit to myself or the blog-o-sphere what that is yet.

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But don’t worry – It’s rare to have a full implosion…as long as there’s coffee.