This gallery contains 6 photos.
Category Archives: Journal Writing
[NOTE: I joined a new writer's group! This group differs from the old one, in that these writers are eclectic in personality, diverse in style, and disciplined to work, which is what I prefer in a group setting. Our first meeting was fun. Here's one of the 12 minute writing prompts we did; enjoy!]
Concept: A meteor is about to strike our planet, decimation of our known civilization is certain! React to the news…
My fellow Americans, Armageddon is upon us. I will not speak to you as your President, but as your neighbor. I too am terrified, of what shall become of our homes, of the natural life, and of the art we cherish. And since I have the world’s attention right now for the next 11 minutes, I’d like to go ahead and share a few things. First, I need to apologize to Ms. Jackson. It was me, not Henry, who pushed Melissa off the monkey bars. I watched as Henry got swatted over and over, tears streaming down his red face, eyes of disbelief pleading to me to tell the truth. It has haunted me this entire life and I’m glad to relieve myself. Next…I confess…I looked down Sara’s shirt in Shop class all period long. She never caught me doing it, but I know I was a total sleezeball.
Alright, let’s forget the grade school stuff. This war currently in the Middle East? Well, it’s ongiong because I lost my shirt at the White House poker table! Yup, it was me, Dubya, Dicky Cheney, Donnie Rumsfeld, Metta World Peace, and Rhianna. Me against Donnie, chips high, and I lose, two sevens to his three 9s. I thought I had a good bluff, America! So yeah, you parents of soldiers battling out and losing lives over senseless interference? That’s all because of double 7s. Whew! This is therapeutic.
Okay, another one. Me, Putin and Cameron had an ultimate three way at Yves St Laurent’s former terrazzo in Marrakesh. We called it a ‘peace summit’ but really, it was all about gettin’ a piece of SOME ASS! Also, I tried LSD and I like it. I should’ve pushed for an increase in research funding because frankly, if we were all stoned right now, I think we’d be taking the end of the earth way way better.
In closing, I’m gonna roll a spliff and cheef in the Oval Office, because I’m the Chief of State, and the state I’m in merits cheefing. HA HA! This is why they got a guy to write my shit, oops, STUFF, oh hell, who the fuck cares about decorum! I’m gonna take off my clothes now…EVERYONE GET NAKED AND START FUCKING!!
President, out! <drops pen like a mic>
Original composition 9.7.14
You bought my book? AWESOME! Wanna tell me what to do next? Also awesome!
Go RIGHT NOW to Make Contact and select FOCUS GROUP from the pull-down menu.
I’m collecting information to help me decide my next move in the book game.
As always, thanks for playing along!
Hello friends! On April 4th of this year, I released my debut novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Proudly, I sold several copies and ran out of printed books!
I intended to put out the next “book” this holiday season, but I have another idea, and this is where I need your help!
On AUGUST 31, 2014 I’m sending out a quick survey for all readers of I Blew Up Juarez via email to collect your thoughts on how the story continues, even if you’re not finished reading the book! Exciting, right?
If you are interested in becoming a participant, please send an email titled “FOCUS GROUP” to firstname.lastname@example.org by AUGUST 30 so that you’re included.
It will be a bcc interaction, so don’t worry about your individual opinion being lost in the mix.
I value your insight. Thanks!
Author, I Blew Up Juarez
Somewhere in Oklahoma…
How dare you, Union Pacific, block off the ONLY road to the neighborhood I need to get to!! Alright, fine, roll on through…
…keep it moving…
…geeeeeeeeeez how long is this train? Hurry up slowpoke…
…wait, WHAT? Why are you stopping? Here?? IN FRONT OF ME???
(several torporific minutes pass)
BACKWARDS?!?! You just went– you were going — GAWDDAMMITSUMBITCCCCHHHH!
I HATE THIS PLACE!!!
My foot step into the first room made a hollow noise against the centuries-old wooden floor. Instinctively I fold my arms tight across the chest, for some reason feeling very invasive in this person’s – persons? – home.
To the left, the estate sale organizers had created a three-tier shelving with boxes full of “chinch”: sewing bobbins, Christmas cards, crochet needles, rope. Before dismissing them all I land upon a box labeled, “Stationary” and proceed to shuffle through its contents.
The organizers want $8.00 for the whole box, but I decide I only want these particular parchments.
The next room I enter is full of blankets, handmade all, crocheted or quilted by the same woman who sent correspondence on Little Stinker paper. This is where I experience The Clocker. She’s the person (usually a she, sorry but it’s true!) who follows you around to see what you value so she can grab it under you. Her joy at these events is not in finding something that resonates with her, but in finding something that she took away from someone who admired it. Psycho, right? Well, she starts by placing her hand on a pile of needlepoint napkins.
“Aren’t these gorgeous?” she asks. Her hand strokes the top one, a very nicely stitched sunflower design, as her eyes widen for my response.
I give her my best, “Meh” and continue forward.
She tries another play beside the stack of boxes. “Are those cigar boxes? Ooh, I want to see one.”
I turn and find she’s right behind me, violating all personal space rules. I appease her by lifting the stack of boxes with one hand, then placing them in front of her. Before she gets a chance to play “Do you like this one?” again, I swipe out the large box from the stack and keep it moving.
My friend finds me playing with a set of binoculars. “Have you had a chance to check out the books yet?”
I adjust the focus in my left eye to stare in the room across from me. “Nope.”
She nods with that nod of, you need to check it out.
I put down the binoculars, cross into the room I was spying into for a bit before I journeyed towards the reading room. As I pass through the corridor, I notice The Clocker has found the binoculars and is busy pretending to use them.
The reading room is where I meet the gentleman of the house. Yellowed corrugated tubes line a segment of a wall. Maps. Large shipping trunks fill the center of the room; my friend’s haggling on the blue and brass one. There are measuring tools, a surveyor’s scope, and medallions from all over. A well-traveled man, the highlights of his years being the early 20th century.
My eyes circle up to the bookshelves and I observe a mixture of children’s classics, encyclopaedia, a book on house keeping, and then rows upon rows of engineering-based books. Titles like, “Metals,” “Measurements,” one simply “Engineering.” My friend happens to pass behind me, “He was into digging. You should see the big tools in the garage.” I shall.
As I skim the shelves, I put together a story of a small-town boy with an incredibly busy mind. He marries his high school sweetheart and takes right off to the oil fields, working his way from entry level to lead engineer before he’s in his 20s. He’d be gone for months, sailing the world on large frigates, learning new techniques, putting his own to practice, every once in a while sending Lulubelle (my name for the needlepointer) a gift in exchange for a letter. They were a couple that used the power of written word to keep it together, and they managed to live a long and productive life.
I smile at my happy little made-up-on-the-spot tale, then remember to pull the books I want before The Clocker finds me again.
This gallery contains 3 photos.
Allowing a day to heal at my host’s comfortable place. Her cat checks on me intermittently as I raid her bookshelf. Like the company my novel keeps…
Let’s go ahead and assess this damage.
Left foot meets right foot and I bow forward. Already I feel a pull in my lower back. Continue to weigh my torso so that my arms sink along the side of my legs, hands planting onto the floor. Definitely a strain. One more measure: bend the elbows to sink deep into the back leg stretch, ass high in the air. I freeze at the sensation of a red hot poker blade dragging itself from top of thigh to the center of my lower back.
That’s not a strain, ladies and gentleman, that’s a muscle tear.
With that I lower to the ground, fan my legs, and extend a stretch to the right then gingerly to the left. The damage is officially from the right waist to the back of the right ankle. I’m an expert at fucking up my body.
I harness Bobby to include Bear’s Texas A&M dog tag (to signal we’re friendlies in the OSU/OU territory) and with bottled water in hand, we head down the street.
Middle America is quiet at 11:13 am CST. Cloudy and breezy, a welcome after a bitch of a heat wave over the weekend. The neighborhood I’m staying in is quaint, provencal, and proudly maintained. Every house a little story, every yard an expression of self-worth. The large diesel commercial trucks parked in the driveways likely cost more than the houses. I imagine the person who drives that truck to work is enjoying a few days, maybe hours, of respite before he takes off, back to the fields.
What are the wives of roughnecks like? By garden alone, you can tell she’s a proud Oklahoma woman, growing rosemary, sage, cactus, purple-tipped sawgrass. Nothing exotic; a botanical expression of Midwest culture – familiar, comfortable, native. As we continue down the street I note the various license plates representing nations: Cherokee. Choctaw. Osage. Texas.
A man in a wide-brimmed straw hat driving a black beat up F-150 offers us a wave of greeting as we turn down on 25th street. Bobby’s being serenaded by the local dog community, all stir-crazy that the little black boy bops freely down the middle of the street while they tug helplessly on their chains.
My skin warms as the approaching noon sun lifts centerward, and I start to feel my hip slip. Now I’m very concentrated on the intensity of this injury: the tear in the muscle interferes with my ability to comfortably propel forward; it feels as if my hip is slipping out of position. The spirit is always willing, but today, we’ll cut this walk short.
Bob and I turn up onto the main road back to our street and we are eyed by a very bothered, obese Jack Russell terrier. She frightens me as she tears across the busy street to defend her home from an unsuspecting Bobby. She nipped at him lightly, but Bob took it as a greeting, wagging his tail with delight. Her owner soon recovered her and we had a short but comforting exchange – all is fine, Bobby’s fine, I hope she’s okay.
We are welcomed back to our street by a cacophony of curious dogs, and I enjoy watching Roberto Tiberius promenade down the center of the street, panting towards his subjects, one black paw after another trotting towards his familiar truck and house.
Meanwhile, I actualize the severity of my damage and decide to stay here in the land of the roughnecks until I’m fully healed.
There should be more people out here than there is.
No matter, as the rental chariot of the day, one Ford Fiesta, slides into a parking space in front of Paradise Grill. Immediately the smell of salt rushes up my nose and through my skull, making the center of my scalp tingle.
Bob unloads, overexcited to be out of the house and in a public place. His black nose busies nudging bush branches as I and my proven co-captain journey towards the deck.
Bummer. The grill is closed.
We find my favorite two Adirondack chairs vacant over to the right. She pulls out her pack of smokes while I wrangle my dog to at least try to stay in the vicinity. I let go of his lead and let him visit with the people making the short climb up the side wall to reach the deck we’re on. Cloudy night makes the full moon a full smear up and to the left of us. The Gulf of Mexico lap lap laps in quick tempo as the tide shifts out. The water is a soft grey, perfectly reflecting the clouds above it, creating a silvery soft vortex opened only to us three, a portal of infinite possibility.
I sigh. “I wanted to do something to commemorate this day, but the grill is closed.” I smack my own forehead. “We drove right past that Circle K. I coulda stopped and picked up some beers before we made it down!” I stay looking at her. In her amiable style, she says, “No worries,” and I assume it’s because we still have a whole ‘nother cigarette to burn. I shimmy forward on my long seat and straighten up to announce, “Come on. Before we get comfortable. Everyone back to the car.”
The Circle K has a long faced woman working the counter tonight. This is such an important day, a successful day; today I got rid of that last bit of trash. Consciously amending my sobriety clause, I wind past the salty snacks and to the double door coolers.
We’re doing it. We’re gonna have an alcoholic beverage, because that’s what you do when you succeed; you raise a glass and you let yourself be giddy. My eyes scan the options and I frown. No Dos Equis.
There it is.
“If you’re gonna fall off the wagon, do it with Sam,” I proclaim as I lift the sixer off its shelf. That’s when I notice the wine case. Shoot! I saunter over and see it’s the bring-a-bottle-to-a-dinner-party variety. I figure one cannot go wrong with a Chateau St Michelle Riesling if it’s already chilled in the case. She grabs the bottle while I return the stock. “I think it’s a cork. Yeah, it’s a cork,” she says fiddling with the top. “We’re gonna need a bottle opener.”
“No we’re not, we still have the tool bag.” The tool bag. One of the things I told her to keep up with when we loaded the car. ‘Be familiar with this bag; it’s going on our trip.’ She pointed out I was missing needle-nosed pliers. Add to travel list.
“We have a flat head screwdriver and a hammer.” Over the top of the bottle she’s holding, I mimic the screwdriver in my left, the hammer in my right, and one focused hit to the head. “Bottle opener.”
Although we should probably add a corkscrew bottle opener to the tool bag. Add to travel list.
The twenty dollar bill in my wallet turned out to be a ten dollar bill, so back to the original plan. We head back to the beach; this time, over to the long bench overlooking the south part of the deck. The tide had carried out some more. I use my key chain opener to serve our beers. We toast to our great day, clink necks, and enjoy the deep amber…