Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Long Weekend

Have a great weekend. Here are a few odds and ends for you while I am off to the deep woods.


A red balloon popped over my head. The shards of the latex snapped on my cheek, stinging and bringing water to my eyes. I wiped the tears away with my white gloved hands and smudged the green, blue and orange grease paint covering my face. I reminded myself this was why clowns should not cry.


I have carried this newspaper clipping in my wallet since about 1978. (Click to make it larger.)

Passion Prayer

I cleaned out some old things the other day and came across this poem I wrote in my twenties. Can you tell?

* * * * *

Wrap your arms around me, I want your loving embrace
hold me, softly, sweetly, butterfly kisses on my face

The stars shine above me, reflected in your eyes
floating, drowning, melting, caressed by your sighs

Upon the sea we’re drifting, light, unchained and free
fearless, passion, a heat that we can see

Whisper softly to me, seduction in my ears
across my breast you’re trailing as the trembling nears

When you rise to meet me, the rhythm in my soul
rocking, gently swaying, embers, white-hot coal

Lay your breath upon me, inhale my fragrant wine
churning, swirling, pounding, worship in my shrine.


Once upon a time, a man wearing green flannel pajamas with orange polka dots on them lived in an underground house, the walls of which were lined with old rubber tires. He called himself John.

His parents didn’t give him that name. Mr. Twindle, John’s father, had no say in placing an appropriate title upon his son. Mrs. Twindle, without rising from her birthing chair, proclaimed her male offspring, Samuel Harrison Ignatius Twindle. Her sense of humor rivaled that of her mother-in-law who had bestowed upon her son, John’s father, the glorious name, Stanley Howard Inigo Twindle. Stanley’s father wasn’t around to object or to give Stanley his own surname so Miss Twindle gave Stanley her maiden name.

Mrs. Twindle, John’s mother, liked to refer to her son as The Little SHIT and her husband as The Big SHIT. Miss Twindle, John’s grandmother, never did, but she giggled whenever Mrs. Twindle called her men SHITs.

Mrs. Twindle did other things she found funny. She sent John to school with an empty brown paper bag for his lunch. She replaced his English essays with her old love letters from old beaus. She sent him to the drug store to buy her feminine products. She castigated Mr. Twindle in public while John stood by, unable to defend his father who never defended himself.

Mrs. Twindle did other things too but John knew by instinct they should never be talked about with outsiders. He kept things to himself. He never attempted to bring anyone home. He hid what he could.

When he was eight, he began calling himself John. He would not respond to anyone if they did not call him John. This made Mrs. Twindle mad. Mrs. Twindle began beating John. She called him Little SHIT. He ignored her. She took the toilet cleaning brush, called him John and hit him so hard with the bristled end of the brush it left bloody dots where it landed on his bare skin. She thought her use of the toilet brush as weapon to beat John funny. Mrs. Twindle wasn’t really smart enough to go beyond bathroom humor, but that didn’t stop her being effective in her torture.

John ran away from home at the age of twelve. He didn’t get far. The town came together for Mrs. Twindle to search for John. They found him at the bus station trying to buy a ticket with coins he had scrounged together for two years. They returned John to Mrs. Twindle’s bosom along with twenty-three fifty in pennies, nickels and dimes, housed in an old sock. That night Mrs. Twindle used John’s running away money as a cudgel on his thighs and buttocks. When she raised heavy welts on his legs and the bruises pleased her simple nature, she sent John to the store to buy her douche and he had to pay for it with his own money.

Mr. Twindle died a few weeks later, followed closely by Miss Twindle. John’s grandmother left her entire estate to her grandson. She even mentioned in her will she did it to make Mrs. Twindle furious.

Mrs. Twindle went to court and had herself made the executor of John’s estate. She began proceedings to have John committed.

That night, John crept into Mrs. Twindle’s bedroom while she slept, climbed on top of her, his knees pressed into her chest and placed a pillow over her face. She fought like a banshee but John, desperate, held that pillow down until Mrs. Twindle was dead.

John straightened up Mrs. Twindle’s hair and bed clothes, smoothed out the blankets and went to bed. He slept until eleven in the morning. He ate breakfast, brushed his teeth, dressed and walked to the police station. He announced to the officer on duty that his mother had died during the night in her sleep. No one ever questioned Mrs. Twindle’s death. Mrs. Twindle left all of her money to a home for wayward girls specifically to purchase red high heeled shoes.

John lived until the age of eighteen in a group home just outside of his hometown. When he came of age, he took all of his money from his grandmother and bought camping gear, a shovel and a piece of property in Montana.

John began collecting used old car tires and digging a hole. When his hole was large enough to suit him and his dog, he lined the hole with the tires he had gathered. His home remained the same temperature throughout the year. He wore green pajamas with orange polka dots, slept in a sleeping bag on the ground and he never had indoor plumbing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Shit Happens

Shit happens. It happens to all of us. When it does, it is hard to maintain a positive attitude and continue to focus on forward movement. I have a tendency to obsess, playing and replaying self-defeating scenarios that keep me stuck and miserable.

At lunchtime yesterday, I drove to the park near work intending to read. Depressed and unhappy, reading was the most energy I could manage. Instead, I took out my Neo, propped it on my steering wheel and just began typing. Before I knew it, I was three minutes late getting back to work. I couldn’t believe all of that time flew by. And I felt a million times better. That’s why I love to write.

* * * * *

Adam shivered in the cool of dusk. He awoke to the point of a sword. He followed the blade to the gloved hand holding the hilt. He continued up the wrist to the elbow and on up to the face looking at him. The face contained the normal features placed in the normal places with the exception of a mountain range scar beginning at the hair line above the left eye and moving diagonally down the forehead over the right eye across the cheek and ending at the tip of the right ear. The top lid of the right eye was glued to the bottom lid, oozing yellowish crusty bits. The other eye flashed a bright alert blue with each blink. The mouth worked like a bass out of water, all lips and no teeth.

Adam began to speak but stopped when the tip of the sword flicked up and carved a chunk out of his chin. He felt the warm driplets of blood fall on his collar bones. He waited for the sword’s next move.

The sword wobbled slightly in the palsied hand. The head wobbled a bit on the palsied neck. The mouth opened and words came out.

“Ya ain’t got much, have ya?” The mouth closed, the lips working against each other, forming their next thought. “Course, there is something to giving the very last that ya’ve got to give.” The sword rose and etched a cross on Adam’s right cheek. Blood blossomed in petals on his skin and poured down the stem of his scrawny neck. He closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, holding back the squeal of pain that came up from the empty pit of his stomach.

“Come now, ya can do better than that.”

Adam released an agonized scream as the sword sliced off the tip of his right ear.

“Now we are getting somewhere.”

Adam looked into the satisfied eye of his tormentor. Drool dribbled from the corner of the man’s mouth as if he were salivating over a juicy haunch of meat.

Adam watched as the man transferred the sword to the left side of Adam’s face. He clenched his mouth shut as the man sliced off the tip of Adam’s left ear.

“Now ya head will not be lopsided.” The man giggled with a sickening pleasure. “But ya have cheated me of my joy. Perhaps we need to raise the stakes a bit in our little game.”

The man began to slice up the left leg of Adam’s ragged breaches, nicking his thigh in several places on the way to Adam’s groin. Adam tried to suppress his cries and fear but tears flowed from his closed eyes. He sobbed and begged for mercy in mumbled and incoherent phrases.

The fiend cutting off bits of Adam gave a gargled cry and Adam opened his eyes when a heavy weight fell upon him.

The man lay dead on Adam’s lap, a dagger protruding from his back. The man’s blade lay between them gouging a new injury into Adam’s thigh.

Above them sat a man on horseback calming reviewing the scene.

“I don’t think the sheriff will mind much if all of your pieces are not there, do you?”

Two men on foot came from behind the horse at a signal from the rider. One hefted the dead man off of Adam and tossed him aside. He took hold of the sword and slung it into the pack on his back. The other man went behind the tree and cut the ropes binding Adam.

Once released, Adam fell over. The two men hauled him to his feet after binding his wrists and ankles and hoisted him belly down over the horse in front of its rider.

The rider spoke to the back of Adam’s head.

“What say you? I dare say, a nice clean beheading looks pleasing about now, aye?”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Prezzie for Me

* * * Update * * * 1:22pm It is here. I am about ready to jump out of my skin. And it is green, too.

I bought myself a present. It will arrive at my place of employ tomorrow. I am so excited I’m wiggling in my seat as I think about it.

I write by hand all of the time. I have a black leather journal in which 5”x 7” notebooks fit perfectly. I write notes and to do lists and story and craft ideas, character descriptions, cool sounding names, mood swings, poems, everything, in this journal.

I print small. I write big with looping letters and loads of flourish. Some pages are filled with columns, others with drawings or cartoons. Other pages have stacks of sticky notes on them from the times I can’t get my journal out of my purse fast enough. Other pages have sheets of scrap paper tucked in them from when I’m at work and I grab some paper from the overhead bin on my desk.

Sometimes I write in pen, other times I use different color markers. Every once in a while I jot notes with a mechanical pencil. Once I was so desperate to write something down, but couldn’t find a pen that I used a package of yellow mustard while I was attempting to drive my car. (Not really, but can’t you see it?) My journal travels everywhere with me.

I use my journal to clarifying my thoughts and download the junk that floats around in my head. It is my therapist and best friend. While it helps me weed through tons of junk to get to a final writing project, I can’t write anything in it that I later want to be a finished piece. For some reason, I will not play the role of my own secretary and transcribe.

I hear some of you quietly murmur that I do have a laptop. I love my laptop. It’s a DELL, with a huge screen and pretty features and lots of fun things to do, like talk to you on the internet, or look up word definitions or search Wikipedia for arcane and pointless knowledge or learn how to use Facebook or make movies or moving cartoons or, um, what was I talking about?

As you can see, I am easily distracted. I am also very busy. The things I like to do must fit in with a 50 hour a week job, a husband, a child, a dog, parents, my brother and his family, housekeeping, bookkeeping, exercise, a social life, as meager as that is and occasional schooling. I forgot what I was talking again and now I’m tired to boot.

I need compact. I need structure. I need focus. I need lightweight. I need the AlphaSmart Neo.
This neat little word processor weighs less than two pounds. There’s no internet. It is just for writing. I’ll be able to go out to lunch and type away for an hour. I’ll be able to type in the car when we go places. I’ll be able to sneak it out of my bag in the bathroom at family functions. It turns right on. It has auto save of every letter you type. The battery has 700 hours of work time. The display screen has large letters and only shows several lines of text, so there is no stopping to read the jewels I produce. It’s like an electronic typewriter. Talk about focus. I’ll be able to kick some writing arse. I love the word arse, don’t you? Huh? Yeah, I’m off track again and I was going to tell you about something else too but I’ve forgotten what.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I have a video of the private fishing boats going out to sea. This went on all morning, the boats coming from several directions and each racing the other I guess to get the best spot in the Atlantic Ocean. I found the Fishing Run very funny.

Here are some of the Birds I saw. I don’t know the name of the little brown one.

And some assorted pictures of The Jersey Shore: The Barnegat Lighthouse, the fishing campers at the end of Island Beach State Park and The Stinkhouse (an abandoned fish refinery.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Self Abuse

I want to thank everyone for your concern over my ankle (it is slowly getting better.)

Your interest in my husband’s rentability made me laugh. Just to be clear, as a fisherman, he is very good with his pole and it is only this ability that I would consider lending out. He only told me about the woman paying attention to his lure once we were home, so we never did actually get to hook her.

At our last family reunion, I was suckered into being the new secretary. I admit to being a sap but the woman who held the position before looked so forlorn and downtrodden after five years, I decided to take over. How hard could it be?

My first duty was to book the pavilion for next year. The appointed date to call the PA Park Service was August 15th, according to the notes left me by my predecessor. I have been on edge since mid-July, worrying that I would miss the date, not get the required date for next year, disappoint my father and look like a fool incapable of doing the simplest things. Yeah, I know, I’m not wrapped too tight.

Tuesday night I was so agitated I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, finally falling into a nightmare where I slept through the seven o’clock deadline to call. I had this nightmare about five times before the alarm went off.

I got up, made my coffee and walked around the kitchen staring at all of the sticky notes posted around the room with the word “Pavilion” written on them. I called at six fifty-five and got a recording telling me the office didn’t open until seven. I called again at seven. The automated system couldn’t find the park I wanted. I was sure someone would get my date and pavilion before I could figure the system out.

At five after seven I got a live body. She politely asked for the park I wanted. She asked what date I wanted. I was five days too early. They only took reservations exactly eleven months to the day. I’d have to go through all of this again on the twentieth.

I’m a little cranky right now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend Update

Saturday the weather was fine, so I headed off for a long walk with the Codes and tripped in a rut and sprained my ankle. I limped home, sat myself down to read to recover from the trauma and discovered I lost my reading glasses on my aborted walk. Good thing I have lots of backups.

Sunday, my husband, QV, and I went fishing (carrying a fishing pole more than 3 feet counts as fishing.) We went to Barnegat Light and Tuckerton. Pictures will be posted later this week. The hundreds of fishing boats leaving the bay for the Atlantic Ocean made me laugh. They raced like they needed to be first or all of the best fish would be taken.

A rich, sixty-something woman kept giving QV the eye while he baited his hook. He said she made him feel dirty. I told him I'd rent him out if it meant I didn't have to go to work.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Drawing When I'm Bored

I wanted a picture to help me keep my hero, Fendor, from my evolving story Divine Death clear in my mind. I could not find a magazine clipping or picture on-line that fit the person I had in mind.

I decided to draw him.

I began a sketch Sunday, but abandoned it after showing it to my daughter. She took one look at what I now call
Pseudo-Fendor and told me he looks just like Firenze from the Harry Potter movies. Back to the drawing board for me, but at least you get a laugh.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

An Irish Tale

Long ago, in a time before the common man could read to the heights of an eight grade level, there was a cailin known as Colleen the Bookwurm. Brown of hair, brown of eye, the people of her small village mistrusted her because of her ability to read. She remained unmarried long after the normal age at which a woman would normally achieve conjugal bliss. In other words, she was a bit long in the tooth and her books weren’t keeping her warm at night.

Colleen decided to hire a matchmaker to find her the perfect man for a husband. Nosy Parker, the most famous matchmaker of all time, agreed to take on this difficult job. The first thing Nosy did was take away all of Colleen’s books. No one likes a learned woman.

Nosy next made up a list of all of Colleen’s good qualities that would counteract her dismal reputation as a reader. Once complete with only those things that men liked, the list would be the basis of an advertisement to bring in a well-rounded group of men from which a mate could be chosen.

Nosy mentioned Colleen’s ability to cook, in particular her famous steak and mashed potato sandwiches topped with brown gravy. She included Colleen’s material assets: a hut with indoor sleeping facilities, three pigs, and a donkey. Nosy also highlighted Colleen’s physical attributes: despite her advanced age, Colleen still had all of her teeth, her eyes weren’t crossed even after all of her reading and she was still quite bendy.

Riders went out and nailed the ads on trees and doors throughout the region. The date for the male revue was set for May Day. Many men came.

The wedding was a fete to remember. Patrons of pubs and taverns talked about it for days. Colleen’s new hubby ventured into one of the pubs on Sunday for a well earned day of rest.

Asked how he enjoyed his new wife and her dowry, he replied, “Colleen has a sweet ass.”