Friday, May 25, 2018

I Dream the Colour Purple

This week’s prompt was to write about a colour (the secondary prompt was going back and changing one thing in your past but I think that’ll be a story for another day).

I actually came up with a flash piece and a poem this time around – both need a bit of work. The flash story is still in its first draft and the poem, while not as dark as the story, is missing something, I just don’t know what. I'm going to save it for my Wednesday post, so if you're curious come back then. :-D




I Dream the Colour Purple

I dream the colour purple; landscapes made purple by the light of dusk and dawn. I wish I could live always in one of them, in the shadow times. There is purple in the way the ocean swells in a sunset storm. It’s there in the backlight you see in the sky right before a lightning strike. You found it frightening but the colour speaks to me like no other.

I dream the colour purple. We walked through a field of lavender and you made some remark on the smell, ignoring the colour spreading from our feet all the way to the horizon. How could you not want to wrap yourself in it? You were even less impressed by the vineyard, when we stopped to taste the sweet, warm burst of flavour from grapes fattening on the vine in the summer heat.

I dream the colour purple. The purple-hued circles under your eyes were beautiful to me. Makeup could only partially disguise them; I don’t know why you tried. Even more beautiful was the colour of the bruises you wore from a punishment done just right.

I dream the colour purple. The piercing hue of the amethysts we found when I took you rock hunting; the wonder of finding a geode with its hidden treasure. It was our last outing together. You never should have tried to run.

I dream the colour purple. It was the colour of your eyes – just like Elizabeth Taylor’s. I always loved your eyes. It was the only thing I loved about you which is why I plucked them out to add to my collection.

I dream the colour purple. It is the colour of royalty to some, of death to others. You didn’t understand my love of purple, but you do now. It is the colour of your corpse as it lies cooling at my feet.

I dream the colour purple. There is a carpet of violets, deep in the heart of the dark wood. Your final resting place; you and others like you. Rest easy, knowing you will feed the colour purple. And my dreams.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Silent Sentinel

Today I’ve got another oldie but (I hope) a goodie, although it’s only about five years old. I love writing about the supernatural or the mythological, and you’ll often find them as themes running through my poetry.



Silent Sentinel

I remember my birth
torn from the quarry
then found to be unfit for the stone circle.

I remember the superstitions,
the Wild Hunt's ride, sacrifices to beg a boon
the dancing and the Green Man's bride.

I remember the poets,
who spent years perfecting the faultless rhyme
that would make of them heroes

I remember the old gods
no longer worshipped, not knowing why,
turning their backs on man.

I have felt the passage of time
felt the reshaping of my limestone form
awakened in my new home atop the cathedral

I have watched the world turn
the pleasure and the sorrow of man
the life and the death. Oh, so much death.

I have watched the city rise and fall
the new replacing the old until only I remain
keeping your secrets carved in stone.

Friday, May 18, 2018

How Does Your Garden Grow?

There’s a kind of funny story behind this story.

Last week I got the title as a prompt, the idea being to writing around 500 words on it. It was supposed to be done for today. Naturally I put it off. And put it off. Finally, a couple of days ago, I got an idea.

Actually, I got three ideas and I liked them all. But I only needed one, so I was forced to choose. And then the words dried up.

But today I finally went to the walk-in clinic about the cold I’ve had for the last 6 weeks or so, and I deliberately left my book at home and took a notebook instead. During my 2 hour wait, I wrote the following story.

And just so you know, I got home with just enough time to type it up before I had to leave to meet up with my writing group where I received some excellent feedback. The story below, however, is my original one. Unedited. :-)



How Does Your Garden Grow?

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

Julia stiffened at the slightly mocking, singsong voice. “My name’s not Mary,” she snapped, jabbing the spade a little more forcibly into the ground than was strictly necessary.

“It might as well be.”

Julia ground her teeth just the slightest bit as the shadow of her neighbour, Richard, fell over her.

“You act like the virgin Mary,” he continued. “You never go anywhere or do anything fun. I could show you a real fun time – all you have to do is say the word.”

Was he watching her that he knew what she did and didn’t do? That was over the line creepy. “The word is no.” Julia gathered up her gardening tools and got to her feet. “And just because there’s a hole in the hedge doesn’t mean you’re welcome in my yard.”

The smarmy grin on Richard’s face slipped. “I’m starting to lose my patience.”

“I have some place I need to be,” Julia said evenly. “Please leave the way you came.”

“Have it your way,” Richard said with a careless shrug. “But you’re only delaying the inevitable. I always get what I want.” He turned to leave but glanced back, giving her a leer. “And I definitely want you.”

Julia gave a faint shudder as she watched him leave.

The hole in the hedge bothered her. She’d been called away for an overnight trip and when she came home again there was the hole. Richard claimed it had been an accident – something about a party and someone falling through, but her gut told her he was lying.

When dusk fell Julia turned off the lights in her house before slipping outside into her back yard. She inhaled the fragrant scents of the night blooming flowers and felt the cares of the day slip away.

One of the reasons she chose this house to live in was the relative seclusion of the backyards. The houses in this neighbourhood were built low, and the hedges grew high giving the illusion of privacy.

She went over to examine the gap in the hedge more closely. The gap was substantial and looked more like someone had hacked away at it than fell through it. Something needed to be done about it but Richard would notice if it filled in too quickly.

Music began blasting from the house next door. Her lips tightened. He was like a blot on the neighbourhood. If it wasn’t his parties or hitting on his neighbours, it was the music he had blasting away in complete disregard to anyone preferring peace and quiet.

As though her thoughts summoned him, he appeared in the gap in the hedge. “Changed your mind?” he asked with a grin. “I knew you would. It was only a matter of time.”

Moonlight shone down on them. With a start she realized the moon was full. And it was midsummer. She smiled, and had Richard not been so sure of a conquest, that smile would have sent a shiver down his spine.

“Your place or mine, baby,” he asked, grin growing wider.

“Why not right here?” Julia said, taking a few steps closer. Her hands began moving in the moonlight, almost like she was trying to weave it.

Richard watched, puzzled, then looked at her face again. “What—” His eyes widened in fear as he tried to move. “What’s going on?”

Julia moved another step forward, the moonlight giving her skin a greenish cast, her hands moving more rapidly. New growth from the hedge snaked through the gap. Slim branches slide effortlessly beneath Richard’s skin.

“What’s happening to me?”

“You put a hole in my hedge,” Julia said reasonably, “Now you’re fixing it. I didn’t have enough resources of my own, but yours will do nicely.”

“What are you?” Richard’s voice was an agonized whisper.

“I’m a dryad of course. And it’s never a good idea to piss off a dryad.”

There was no answer from the Richard-like shape now filling the gap in the hedge. By morning there would be no sign he’d ever been there.

“And you should never mess with a dryad’s garden.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Quatern

Today’s poetry form is the Quatern. As you might guess from the title, it has four verses of four lines each. This French form does not have a set meter, but each line must have eight syllables. There is also a descending repeated line throughout the poem. Line 1 repeats as line 2 in the second verse, as line 3 in the third verse, and as line 4 in the fourth verse.

Even though this form isn’t required to rhyme, my example just seemed to do so naturally. What can I say, rhyming’s in my blood. ;-)



Moonsong

On summer nights the moonlight sings
And seeks you out on phantom wings
Inviting you to come and play
Beneath the stars till light of day.

No matter what tomorrow brings
On summer nights the moonlight sings.
Will you deny the siren’s song
As it entices you along?

Feel the grass underneath your feet
Its wafting scent is summer sweet.
On summer nights the moonlight sings
And promises fantastic things.

The air is warm, the moon is bright
Can any soul resist this night?
In far-flung lands, in faerie rings,
On summer nights the moonlight sings.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Back to Basics

First of all, just to get it out of the way, a few weeks ago I posted the saga of trying to find a reading chair for my office and I promised to post a picture. It turned out not to be the chair I had intended to buy, it’s a much fancier chair and one that will be great for sitting in both to read and to edit.



And now that I have my chair to sit in for editing, I need something to edit.

If I’ve gotten off track with the writing this year, then the last couple of weeks have opened up a chasm where the track stops short. Time to find a new train to board.

I started thinking about this late on Sunday afternoon while I was trying to finish an email to my best bud. Emails and blog posts being the exception, I haven’t been writing much this year.

Oh, I’ve made notes and plans and even the odd prompt story or poem, and I at least made attempts at my in-class assignments, but I have written pretty much next to nothing on my big WIP, the novel that should have been ready for release at Christmas.

I’ve been taking my writing bag with me when I go to babysit, but I don’t get much writing done. Truthfully, lately by the time the grandbaby goes down for a nap I’m ready to nap too. Either that or I end up continuing to read the book I bring to read while I’m eating lunch.

I work better with a goal. So my goal this week is to spend one hour in the morning working on my novel, preferably in my office, and work on shorter stuff – poems, short stories, editing – during nap time when I’m babysitting. I’ll start bringing my tablet instead of a novel and start listening to the Dean Wesley Smith series on originality during lunch. And when I’m finished that series there’s a bunch of other videos and pod casts he’s made too.

I want to write next Monday’s post and be able to include my wordage report like I used to. And on Friday I want to post new words, not regurgitated words.

That being said, it’s easy to feel all fired up with ambition when I’m typing this on Sunday night, barely able to keep my eyes open. But the light of day will be the true test, with all its distractions illuminating my weak will.

Can she do it? I guess only time will tell.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Alternate Universes

This was the final class in my speculative fiction course. I’m sad the classes are done and look forward to the next session, which won’t be until the late fall. I met some great people and I even learned a few things.

Now, the class was a little more than a week ago and my notes are a little incomprehensible disjointed sketchy, but we’ll give it a try.

First there was a lively discussion on what exactly was meant by alternate universes. According to my notes, the first thing we discussed was Schrodinger’s cat. At first glance this might be a little puzzling because what does quantum mechanics have to do with alternate universes, but the idea of the cat being both alive and dead segued into the multiple worlds theory.

This theory suggests that there are many worlds which exist in parallel at the same space and time as our own. If you’re a fan of any of the super hero shows on TV these days, particularly The Flash, then you’re probably already familiar with this concept.

This, in turn, led to a discussion of dichotomies, and how there are many more choices than just left or right and how each decision made splits into a different reality with more choices.



We also touched on the butterfly effect, how the simplest of actions can have disastrous effects, and assumptions, the danger of assuming things happen only in one way.

The floor opened to suggestions of favourite times in history, and we settled on the roaring twenties for our example, listing many of the most noteworthy events from that era. Then we were asked to pick a point of departure (POD) and speculate on how things might be different here in the future if something had been changed at that point. What if the 19th Amendment hadn’t passed and women weren’t given the right to vote? What if Yankee Stadium hadn’t been built? What if Lindbergh hadn’t completed his transatlantic flight?

Finally, we were asked to pick an era, find our own POD, and write a story. See if you can guess what era I chose. ;-)

Molly worked her way across the open space in the park, looking for a place to spread her hand woven hemp blanket. Her eye was caught by a frantically waving hand and faintly over the buzz of the crowd she heard her best friend Jasmine calling her name.

Moving carefully so as to avoid stepping on the limbs spread out from various blankets that were also hand woven – some from hemp, some from cotton, some from wool, but all made from natural fibres – she waded through the sea of humanity.

By folding her blanket into quarters she could just fit it on the small square of grass Jasmine was saving for her.

“Can you believe this crowd?” Jasmine asked as Molly eased her bulk to the ground.

“I’m not surprised,” Molly said, puffing slightly. “How often do we get free concerts here?”

“Hey!” a chipper voice called out. “Is there enough room for me too?”

“Hey Rainbow,” Jasmine called back, scooting closer to Molly. “Pull up some grass,” she giggled.

“Have you heard the news?” Rainbow asked, plopping down beside them.

Molly shook her head as Jasmine asked, “What news?”

“Kennedy. Someone tried to shoot him.”

Molly’s eyes widened and Jasmine gasped.

“Why would anyone want to do that? Is he okay?” Molly asked, feeling a little ill.

Rainbow shrugged. “I don’t know. They missed him though and got his wife instead.”

“Jackie’s dead?” Jasmine’s voice rose loud enough that several heads turned to stare.

Rainbow looked at her, contrite. “I’m sorry Jazz, I forgot how much you admired her.”

Jasmine and Molly stared at each other as the tears started to flow. The world would never be the same.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Dreamers of Dreams

My poems are a disorganized mess. I really need to find some way of organizing them and keep track of which ones I’ve shared already and which ones I haven’t. At one time I had a blog dedicated to poetry forms and I was writing one a week, but I found the pace a little hard to keep up and the poems suffered because of it.

Last year I only wrote 25 new poems but I like to think it was quality over quantity. This year I unfortunately haven’t been keeping track, so I can only guess that I’ve written about a dozen or so. Again, I need to find a way of keeping track.

At any rate, if you write poetry the chances are good that you also read a lot of poetry, like I do. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than discovering a new poem or poet. So I’ve decided that I’m going to start sharing some of my favourite poems once a month, starting with a today.

I’m pretty sure a lot of you have read this poem before, but even if you haven’t I’m sure you’ll all agree that you don’t have to be a poet to enjoy it. Whether you write poetry or not, I think all writers are dreamers of dreams.

Ode

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy