Spreading the plague (of happiness)

October 11, 2010 in Writing

Have you ever been looking forward to something exciting and the day comes and goes, you enjoy yourself, but then you’re left feeling like “Great.. Half the fun was looking forward to that, and now it’s over..”? Even assuming that your excitement was warranted and the occasion was everything you were hoping or more..even then there seems to be this “anti-afterglow” and eventual panic when you realize that you must find something new and exciting to look forward to.

Yeah, I see that kind of lamentation in myself and others all the time and I’m sure it has something to do with the Buddhist idea of suffering (mourning the impermanence of moments, events, lifetimes, relationships, everything really); however, I’m also pretty convinced we can do something about this less-than-enthusiastic after-the-fact feeling..this anti-afterglow. And we MUST do something about it… Read more

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by aback

Futility Of Hope

June 14, 2010 in Writing

The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.  –Confucius

Hope in the darkHope…what a cosmic joke, this name her parents had given her at birth! She’d been through the fire, fought so long, and now, sunk so low. Letting her hair down, she eyed the bathtub full of water, the almost empty glass of wine, and the sleeping pills.

Somewhere along the way, she’d gotten caught in all the snares. We all start so raw, she thought. Believing we can change ourselves, change the world. Then the mistakes start happening, and we think we can undo them.

She had carried her burdens, never asking anyone to share them, but hoping nevertheless that someone would offer to. Read the rest of this entry →

The Story Of Three

June 5, 2010 in Writing

I wrote a story the other day I didn’t know I had in me. It involved a package left behind on a train bound for Lyon; a burned out barn outside of Dover, Delaware; a beautiful women named Leila; a stuffed leopard in the parlor of a boarding house in Bethel, Connecticut; a Mafia hit in midtown Manhattan; a detective named Praheed Palaniswamy; Frank Sinatra singing Summer Wind; a family of immigrant acrobats from Czechoslovakia; the hijacking of a 747 over the Aegean; a young race car driver named Kent; painless root canal; the sketches of Audubon; a door from a 1746 Monastery in France; Mata Hari’s comb; a scuffle in the Egyptian Wing of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore; a butler named Cranshaw; the testimony of a false witness; a deserted galleon; the satisfactory refolding of a road map; the second gun; some thoughts on electricity; gratuitous sex; and a subplot involving the city of Jerusalem.

But it was lacking something. It was not the story I had wanted to write. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Kinky

Kink Instinct

May 27, 2010 in Writing

I’m the stenographer of instinct. A natural. Grade A, #1. An Asian bride to take home to your Presbyterian family. At first they won’t like me, but once I do my table dance and slip into your father’s lap, their feelings will get a little jumbled.

“She’s not all that bad,” dad will say.

“Hell, she can sleep in my room,” says little brother.

“That woman cannot stay the night in my home!” says mom.

Sister Jane slips her a note that says meet me out back when the lights go out. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Tirika

Exposed

May 24, 2010 in Writing

mental nudismShe set up a “hidden” camera in every room, so she could watch the tapes and follow her movements throughout the house. For the first week, she simply erased the tapes and taped over them. She was still too aware of the cameras.

Starting about midway through the second week, however, she began gradually slipping into her old patterns. She studied the tapes, mapping her hours spent at work at her computer and her activities during her breaks.

Increasingly, she was also able to map her thinking, watching with some amusement, fascination, and then embarrassment as her patterns and distractions unfolded before her eyes.Read more…

Fire of Desire

May 24, 2010 in Writing

There’s a fire in my belly.
It’s flames have reached the edges of my
heart.
I look down into it’s eyes
I touch with burnt and blistered
finger tips-
it seeks to mesmerize,
drawing me in and
yes-
I go willingly.
Is that
wise?


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by Genre

Riding The Elevator

May 22, 2010 in Writing

Marguerite checks in, hands her black snakeskin case to the bellhop, grabs his arm, and yanks him into the glass elevator. The glass is clear, tinted aqua. She presses the top floor button and presses herself against the bellhop and presses him against the glass wall. She undoes the bellhop’s tie and runs her tongue along its length. He drops the case. The elevator starts to move.

She unbuttons and unzips the bellhop and the bellhop says god yes and pornographic images assault the bellhop with the cataclysmic force of a linebacker’s crushing hit. She abandons herself to him, blithely, beautifully squashed against the side panel of the elevator, elderly couples watching with big stunned eyes from marble benches flanking the fountain down in the lobby, and she can see their transfixed faces and the pennies gleaming, coppery, on the translucent floor of the fountain. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Maybee

Getting Ahead

May 20, 2010 in Writing

Tell your boss you enjoy what he has you doing, about how you wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. You’d like more to do; you have time. He’ll laugh when you joke that you’re developing a loyalty habit that’s like a twitch. Stop before you admit you don’t want to go home.

Remember the details he’ll soon forget he mentioned. So when you say something he’s forgotten he told you, he’ll tap his forehead with a pen, and say, “Here you are again, Carly, inside my head.”

Be subtle, just a bit inappropriate. This requires balance. The world’s full of blatant need and honesty. All those handshakes that run a beat too long, footsie under the table. Avoid skin. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Mensa

Ants Rule

May 20, 2010 in Writing

Nature documentaries and Star Trek episodes have much in common. Both these programs set one to consider the universe. Both these programs appear in that mid afternoon time slot. And both these programs feature the voice of Leonard Nimoy (or someone who sounds much like Leonard Nimoy).

Today’s nature show is questioning religion. Well actually it is on anteaters…I am questioning religion. Why would god create an ant and then an anteater? Does he not like ants? Or is it a “Lion king” thing? A “circle of life” thing? Read the rest of this entry →

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by Bemused

Out Of The Box

May 20, 2010 in Writing

I take a box of cereal out of the pantry, open the top, and begin to pour myself a bowl of Honey Nut Chex. My eyes squeeze shut as my mouth opens involuntarily, and, mid-yawn, I hear a strange noise. The sort of sound one doesn’t usually hear coming out of cereal boxes.

Looking down into my bowl, I see a small toy racecar that sets off a riot of childhood memories. Since when did 21st Century cereal come with toys actually inside the bag? I hadn’t even noticed the advertisement on the front of the box when I bought it. Read the rest of this entry →

True Love

May 19, 2010 in Writing

Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed as the first female supreme court justice in 1981, but this story is not about that.

Her husband, John J. O’Connor III, was a prominent lawyer in Arizona as well, before moving to Washington, D.C. with her, where he maintained a low public profile and practiced law until 2003. This story isn’t about that, either.

John O’Connor died in November of 2009, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s almost 20 years before, and this story is somewhat about that.

Sandra Day O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006, in part to attend to her husband’s deteriorating condition. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Teatime

Going Somewhere?

May 19, 2010 in Writing

TeaTimeThe car was small, red, a rented Honda Civic with unlimited mileage. It was November in the Midwest and my husband and I were going to drive through Oklahoma, cross the Texas panhandle, turn around and go back to St. Louis.

I liked looking at the side of Dean’s face, his unhappiness, halved. We’d been fighting about everything, the kind of fighting, like siblings, where it’s all pick and nag. We’d talked about separating, but the word spoken out loud in the room, presented like a packed suitcase, was its own kind of separation. We’d decided to travel.

There was a fence streaming by on his side, and acres of farmland. Mother horses grazed while their colts pressed against them. Read the rest of this entry →

Going Home

May 19, 2010 in Writing

Huturo huddled in the bush trying to be as small and quiet as possible. He could hear them searching, Goma and William, slashing through the thicket with their machetes. Please, please, go the other way. Please. I don’t want to kill anyone. He cradled his AK-47, as long as he was tall, in trembling arms.

He heard a loud whistle and held his breath. Apparently one of them thought they had found something. His trail. some sign. The whacks of the machetes fell silent. He strained to hear any sounds of movement, any indication that they were on to him.

He had seen what they did to deserters. Kwame, a year Huturo’s junior, was kept alive back at base camp, armless, as an example to the rest. Like Huturo, Kwame did not want to be a soldier, did not want to kill anyone. He just wanted to go home. Read the rest of this entry →

Jumpin’ Rope

May 19, 2010 in Writing

Jump, jump, jump. Slap, slap, slap. Gonna find me a man that’s fat, fat, fat. With money, of course.

Ma says it don’t cost spit to love a rich man over a poor one. She says a girl should use her head ‘cause the only thing a man wants is your other body parts. My sister, Lela, doubles over laughing and points a pudgy finger. “Then Pookie is safe for a lifetime, ‘cause she got no-o-o body. Nothing but a head on a stick. Hah, hah, hah!”

“Least I don’t have five chins and a big droopy belly.”

The hee-haws stop. Lela’s bottom lip quivers. I’m not suppose to talk about her stomach swelling up last summer or how it flaps around now like an empty pouch. Not suppose to talk about the boy, Russell Atkins or the poor baby, though most people know she lost them, or that’s what they say as if she hid them in a broom closet and clear forgot. Can’t help myself because Lela calls me names like chicken legs and ostrich and wild child from Borneo. Just can’t help it, so I don’t even try.

“Russell and Lela sitting in a tree. K-i-ss-i-n-g. First came love and then . . .” Read the rest of this entry →

Illustrated Letters

May 18, 2010 in Writing

Immediately after graduating I was able to attend a post-graduate study in Germany as an exchange student. After a while I wrote to my best friend Tony and told him about my new life.

I immediately received a reply … but not from him. It was from his niece Mary. She told me, to my astonishment, that she would reply to my letter and that if I wanted a reply from Tony I should send him another letter at his new address.

And so I began to write to this young woman whom I had never seen. As I wrote, I found that for some reason my writing style changed. I began to illustrate the edges of each page. In the left hand margin I might draw a climbing rose while in the upper margin I would show a Greek god blowing clouds across the page.

Inspired by her enthusiastic replies I began to make more adventurous drawings like a little child tying a snake into a knot or a hunter sitting in a tree with a smiling lion licking its lips, below him. Read the rest of this entry →

On A Rainy Day

May 18, 2010 in Writing


The first time she lets a boy touch her is in December, just before her 18th birthday. The day the rain starts. It usually doesn’t begin until January or February, but this year the rain comes early. Buckets and buckets of water dump down against the cement, against the strip malls, against the freshly painted stucco homes. In Southern California, the further you get from the ocean, the less interesting it becomes. The beach boardwalks and bronze-colored beauties from the TV shows are replaced with high-desert heat, dust storms, and barren foothills. The annual precipitation is laughable, but for two weeks each year, the skies cloud over, and it rains with vengeance. The sandy soil can’t absorb the water fast enough, so the streets become rivers, hill sides become hill slides, and then, as quickly as it comes, it goes away.

For a moment, Sara considers just staying home, but she hasn’t missed a day of school in two years so a rainstorm doesn’t seem like much of an excuse. Reluctantly, she zips up her parka, tucks her chin to her chest, and plunges out from under the house’s front awning. With every step, her hair gets wetter and wetter. She died it Simply Red a week ago, and when she catches sight of her reflection in the side mirror of a parked car her hair looks as dark as blood against her skin. Read the rest of this entry →

A Writing Lesson

May 18, 2010 in Writing

The jarval stared at her malevolently, saliva dripping from its gaping jaws, making its fearsome teeth glisten in the harsh winter sunlight.

What’s a jarval?

I don’t know. I haven’t though about it. Something fierce and nasty. A huge maggot-like beast with a ferocious temper and huge teeth. A bit like in Alien, only more like a maggot.

It’s a bit science fiction isn’t it? You don’t even like science fiction.

I know. I’m just trying to convey an atmosphere of terror and anger in the light of recent events. I suppose the jarval is a representation of my anger. Read the rest of this entry →

Wearing Nothing

May 18, 2010 in Writing

When I am old I shall not wear my purple hat no more. I shall race down the street wearing nothing at all. I shall wiggle and shimmy, then skip to the tracks along High Street and Broad.

I shall wail like a babe and howl like an Amazon, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, say a prayer for Jesus, too. No shield to cover me, no sword for protection, I’ll cross myself twice and spit at the moon. They will come, no doubt, the uniformed men with thick fingers waggling. Let them come if they must. Let them come stone-faced or smirking, batons raised in the pre-dawn light. Let them march in jackboots and leather, tattoos flexing. They will not deter me; I am past that now.

When I am old, my flesh shall be magic, a feathery cloak of dark impenetrable down. At the crossroads, I shall act out a pantomime, the five stages of woman: man, love, child, mother… utterly alone.

I return to the start, the place of raw beginning. I arrive plucked, bare-assed, innocent and shameless. I once trembled with anger and gave a warrior’s yell. I am here, I am now, though my heart beats staccato; it jumps and whirs like a moth in a jar. Read the rest of this entry →

Alone Together

May 18, 2010 in Writing

She turned around on the bed to avoid the light that came from the window. She embraced the cushion she had set aside during her nap and kicked the sheet until releasing her feet from under it.

“You are awake already.” he said, appearing at the door of the bedroom.

“Almost….” she whispered. She could have slept forever.

He came in and sat on the edge of the bed. It squeaked.

“Bad mood?”

She turned around again towards the light coming from the window. That light reminded her that there was activity out of her bed, out of her house. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Nicegal

Better Than Expected

May 18, 2010 in Writing

Stay Pure was all she said, then walked out the door. Toad had no idea what to make of it. Ever since he had moved down to the city he had had a feeling everything could, and most likely would explode on him. “Maybe this was it, maybe this was the big bang I heard coming.” He thought, “or not. Probably too soon to tell anyway.” Pulling on his hat and scarf he walked out into the gray fog of San Francisco. A cup of espresso and it would all come into focus. His life had taken so many strange turns, twists and almost acrobatic tumbles. Now at the ripe young age of thirty eight he not only didn’t know what door to walk through, hell he couldn’t even see the hall way.

The rich almost bitter taste of the thick coffee would jump start his heart. Good coffee and fat cigars were the only vices he still serviced. He had done drugs, booze and lust but they had all run their course years back. A road that always ended in a boring cycle, as predictable as that nine to five he had walked out of. Now he felt some big adventure was waiting, something fresh and new. Stay pure, what had that meant. Shelly standing with her small suit case, the one that held all she really cared about, stay pure. Was it the moment of parting that made it seem like worlds to live by. Stay pure. He checked his watch, two hours and a thirty minute car ride until he had to pick his daughter up at the airport. Read the rest of this entry →

Sea Glass

May 17, 2010 in Poetry

Walking along the cusp of ocean and shore,
overturning notions
I can’t envision, the honking buoy
serves notice that at any time
the wind may change,
the reef-bell clatters
its treble monotone, deaf as Cassandra
to any note but warning. The ocean,
cumbered by no business more urgent
than keeping open old accounts
that never balanced,
goes on shuffling its millenniums
of quartz, granite, and basalt. Read the rest of this entry →

When Trust Is Violated

May 17, 2010 in Writing

Her profile was hidden, she had tried it to appease her friends, but in all honesty it wasn’t for her, an Internet dating site. She had met a few men for coffee, nice, but no chemistry. It felt like her University days when she modeled to put herself through school, putting herself on display, feeling like a piece of meat, and having to sell herself. Going to all those Go-sees, competing with other women for a job. She walked away from it when she finished school, never looking back.

She decided to let fate take over. If she was going to meet someone then it would be because a person in physical form was interested, not a picture or words. She was happy with her life, but it would have been nice to have someone special there for her, and if it were meant to happen it would happen. Read the rest of this entry →

Reflections

May 17, 2010 in Writing

The only thing left to do is to kill myself. I made this decision while seated here at Meryl’s dressing table, confronting my reflection in the large oval mirror which hangs above it. Many times before I had told my wife that she did not need the jars, powders and creams that were arrayed ceremoniously beneath the glass. She was already beautiful enough. But as I sit here and watch the dull sheen of an unnecessary existence realize itself in my eyes, I see Meryl’s reflection in the glass too. My beautiful Meryl.

She has been dead and in the ground for fourteen months.

It’s this room, you see. This is where she died. It’s just that I don’t think the mirror has realized the fact yet. Every day and night I sit here, and sometimes events from her last few months are soundlessly replayed as a reflection, a year out of date and with no real-life counterpart to respond to in mimicry. It is as if the light in this room travels slowly through the invisible substance of my grief, and is caught for a while only to be released and set free inside the silvered pane.

Read the rest of this entry →

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by Fididee

Wish List vs Realty

May 17, 2010 in Writing

I’ve been a fan of reading postings on Craig’s List for some time now and I’m always amused at the “wish” lists of men and women searching for each other. The common threads that connect the ads, i.e. romantic walks on the beach, holding hands, cooking together, cuddling, no baggage, are endearing but I wonder just how reality based they are?

Romantic walks on the beach: When was the last time you actually took a long romantic walk on the beach…or could take the time or had the money to drive to the coast to enjoy such a simple pleasure? A walk on the beach is wonderful but as long as you’re there shouldn’t the outing include a fire and a bottle of wine or the sunset and dinner?

Cooking together: Have you cooked with someone else recently? My kitchen is a one-butt kitchen so that particular “wish” is far down the list of possibles.

Cuddling: Again, nice but the older I get the more I appreciate the freedom from hot flashes I get from NOT cuddling – or spooning (which is another story altogether). Read the rest of this entry →

A Gift From Mom

May 17, 2010 in Writing

It was their fourth day in Amsterdam, and she still refused to leave the hotel room.

Scott sat on the edge of her bed, next to all the magazines she’d bought at the airport before leaving. Her used tissues littered the floor. He was trying to be patient. “Sue,” he said calmly, “has this ever happened to you before? Before you met me? I mean…have you ever been afraid to leave your room?”

She shook her head. He never dreamed he’d have to ask such a thing. It looked as though there was still a lot he didn’t know about her.

“Do you think you could at least go downstairs with me to get something to eat?” Read the rest of this entry →