Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seven Snippets #2

"On the Road Again"
Photograph by Vanessa V. Kilmer © February 21, 2009

1. Last Sunday, we showed off our vacation home to my parents and brother and sister-in-law. We sat in the trailer which sat in the driveway. Rain pitter-patted the roof as we drank beer and wine to christen the camper in proper form. My brother and sister-in-law left for a previous engagement. My parents stayed for dinner. I had put my special meatballs in a crock pot (I will post the recipe - you will not believe how much people love them.) After eating, we spent the evening playing Wii™ bowling. My mother beat the pants off of us. My father pouted. They are addicted.

2. Monday morning, two Sparrow Hawks wrestled in the air and flew into my front porch, which is enclosed with glass sliding doors. They tumbled on the sidewalk. By the time I had camera in hand, one had flown away. Stunned and with a hurt left wing and left leg, the second Hawk sat on the sidewalk and posed for me. You saw a picture yesterday.

3. My daughter began her new job this week. A load has been taken from us all. Health benefits and a second income - yeah, baby!

4. Last night was my first art studio night. I showed GB what few items I had in my portfolio. She said I could draw and she liked my design abilities and pronounced me promising. Of course, my oil painting skills are crap which is why I am going there.

My first project is for my father and I am only doing it because he asked. He found an old two handed logging saw. He asked me to paint scenes of the Mirabell Gardens (where my parents married) and Festung Hohensalzburg on it. I am sure you recognize these places from The Sound of Music. I will add Edelweiss and Encian flowers on the narrow parts of the blade. I will post pictures when I am done (by April 6, my dad's birthday.)

5. Through NaNoWriMo I have the opportunity to get a free copy of my 2007 novel Ancestral Head in book form from a self publishing company. I have until mid-April to do that. I have finished editing the first two chapters. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how the process works. I will actually have a copyrighted book with a real ISBN and everything.

6. Being a bit slow on the uptake, I just figured out how to use post "scheduling." An amazing feature.= )

7. So that I can stay ahead of the game, I have developed a posting plan. I make no promises (we all know how reliable I am) but maybe it will help when I am too tired to think straight.

Monday - 100 words or Portrait of Words, Jeff B's monthly writing prompt

Tuesday - Tabulation (list of ten themed items)

Wednesday - From My Sketchbook

Thursday - Three Word Thursday, Quilly's weekly obscure word game

Friday - Foto Friday

Saturday - Seven Snippets (a review of my week)

Sunday - Poetry

The hope is that I can maintain focus and always post a week ahead with leeway built in for real life.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

TWT #3 - Dirty

"Dirty Boy"
Photograph by Vanessa V. Kilmer © August 13, 2008

Quilly has a weekly game called Three Word Thursday. This is Week 3. Learn how to play and learn some new-old words.


Penniless, Joan took two part-time jobs to supplement the income of her daytime work to pay back all of the debt her quondam husband, Blows Like a Wind, formally known as Stan, created when he gave all of their savings to the cult he joined a year ago.

BLaW tied a pink ribbon in his hair to get in touch with his feminine side. He gave up wearing underware because he and his boys needed to live free. Instead of speaking, he sang, the vibrations of his voice changing the world. He no longer bathed so his soul would not be blackened with the murder of living beings. The record of his opprobrious actions caused the divorce judge to sign the decree in record time.

The court had granted full custody of their three children to Joan. Not long afterwards, she applied for and received a restraining order. BLaW tried to convince everyone that as the children's father he knew what was best for them. He thought having the ear of the almighty should count for something, but no one bought his casuistry. He attempted to abduct the children four times. He finally gave up when he received his boarding pass for the space ship.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

From My Sketchbook #1 - Carnival

Original Art by Vanessa V. Kilmer © February 8, 2009
gel pens on paper

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tabulation #1 - Warm

Photograph by Vanessa V. Kilmer © February 22, 2009

1. a roaring fire in the backyard
2. fuzzy pink socks on my feet
3. Root:1™ Cabernet Sauvignon
4. banana pudding in my tummy
5. hubby hugs after work
6. compliments on my writing, anytime
7. Cody puppy kisses in the morning
8. sleeping late on cold days
9. family playing Wii™ bowling
10. my daughter's laugh all of the time

* * * Next week's topic is "DVR TV"

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Hundred Words #1 - Timeless Graffiti

"Timeless Graffiti"
Photograph by Vanessa V. Kilmer © August 31, 2008

Timeless Graffiti

Vacations in a small town were no better than days at home.

Loners, shunned by other children and ignored by their families, Lalifia and Jibreel found each other when they spent the summer days along the banks of the river.

He drew and she wrote, shoulder to shoulder, creating an ageless love story from their lives. In their art and their youth, they vowed to be together for eternity, two hearts as one.

On their last day together, Jibreel took his father's pocket knife and carved their names in the tree where they first met, a timeless and living graffiti.

* * * * *

One Hundred Words - answering the questions Who, What, When, Where and Why?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Seven Snippets #1

"No Trespassing"
Photograph by Vanessa V. Kilmer © May 6, 2008

1. We are going to pick up our Valentine's Day present to ourselves today. We purchased a 32 foot trailer last Saturday. Sleeps nine. Looks brand new. We will be traveling soon.

2. My daughter (Erika in the comments) and her husband, Nate, came to visit last night and are staying for the weekend. They are pregnant so I will be a granny in September.

3. A Sparrow Hawk lives in our Dogwood tree. My photos of him have not been very clear so far. He is fast.

4. I am developing a new business. Training DVD's related to my industry. Since I have to develop training modules for our employees anyway, my boss will distribute them (he's an excellent salesman) and we will each keep a percentage. A new revenue stream for our company and a second income for me and all done while I am already working.

5. I am teaching myself PowerPoint to use with number four above.

6. I found a studio to go to paint. It is run by the founder of our county art guild and right down the street from where I work. I will treat myself to two hours of painting every Wednesday.

7. Tuesday I went to the B & N writers' group that has been in existence for ten years this year. They are self-publishing a compilation book so I will be learning how that process works out. A good lesson to learn.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

TWT #2 - Bought and Paid

Quilly has a weekly game called Three Word Thursday. This is Week 2. Learn how to play and learn some new-old words. This is my second week in a row of joining in. Wow, that's bordering on consistency. Go see who else is playing.

Bought and Paid

I don't know anything about numismatics. As far as I am concerned, coins are for putting in soda machines or my numerous change jars or my jewelry box if they are pretty or different enough. I have no real idea of the value of any particular coin. I just know what I like and I like wheat pennies for some reason.

I also like to tempt fate by pretending that I am superstitious. I will make up little dares for the universe just to see if I get smote. So far I have no burn marks on my buttocks.

I married in 2001. At that time I was 43. I don't mind telling you that since we all know I turned 50 last year. I don't cry too much about it. Let's move on.

I had never been married before and neither had my fella.

QV (my husband) said to me one day:


"Sure, why not?"

I looked up from my book.

"Wanna what exactly?"

"Get married so we can have a party."

"Yeah, that sounds like a plan." (I warn you, this is an incredibly romantic story.)

So just for grins and giggles, I gave the powers that be an opportunity to dash my little girl hopes. I would cancel the nuptials unless I was able to find thirteen wheat pennies before the wedding. I figured if this was something the Big Guy wanted me to do after all these years he could give me a sign. I had six months to get my hint.

We rented the hall and I found one wheat penny in the parking lot. I sent out invitations and booked a caterer. I received a few of the required coins as change. The date of the event got closer but I still lacked my baker's dozen.

Imagine the fracas I caused when I began telling people we would have to call the event off because I only had eight pennies.

Being of perspicacious mind and not wanting to lose his wonderful catch, QV dumped the contents of all of our coin jars on the living room carpet and came up with the bride price.

Monday, February 16, 2009

POW #6 - The Jaws of Life

Jeff from A Word in Edgewise has a weekly project called Portrait of Words. He gives you several pictures as prompts so you can write a story. Go to his site to see how it works if you want to play and to see his story and others who join in the fun.

Here's my contribution:

Sable and Rosemary sat on the edge of the patio eating BLT’s and enjoying the sunny afternoon. Rosemary’s new house had brought about the visit of her sister. She hadn’t really thought Sable would accept her invitation for a tour, but as usual, Sable had surprised her.

After walking through the house and around the outside of the rosy building, they were having a rare companionable chat over an alfresco lunch, munching the crispy sandwiches and sipping a lovely Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rosemary wasn’t really surprised that they didn’t get along well most of the time. They were, after all, only half sisters, with a father in common who had kept two families. Sable and Rosemary were the same age. They only met once their father had died. The insurance company informed their families in a joint meeting that the insurance policy was null and void because their father, a bigamist, had committed fraud in completing his application. Rosemary and Sable were twelve at that time.

Now, in their early twenties, Rosemary had married a rich, older man to compensate for her haunted past, while Sable exorcised her demons with various other vices that Rosemary really didn’t want to know about.

Rosemary gently brushed a strand of hair away from Sable’s bruised cheek.

“Did you have another fall?”

Sable held her slender fingers up to her face without touching herself.

“Clumsy me,” she said. “I bent down to empty the drier at the laundromat and smacked my face into the door.”

“You know, you can tell me if it’s something, or someone, else,” said Rosemary. “You could come stay here. No one would find you.”

Sable closed her eyes and one tear escaped and fell over her bruise and dropped to her chest.

“Thanks for your concern…sister, but I’d get hurt just as easily if I were living here.”

Sable stood up abruptly. Once again Rosemary had gotten too personal.

“Nice digs. I hope you enjoy them while you can.” Sable dropped her half finished sandwich on the plate sitting on the terrace, bent to retrieve her purse with one hand and brushed the top of Rosemary’s head with the other, in her typical, “I’m slightly older than you” fashion.

Rosemary didn’t bother to get up. There was no point. Sable was in a hurry to get away from her.

Maybe they were making some sisterly progress. Sable had, after all, come here today. That was a step in the right direction, wasn’t it?

Rosemary picked up their plates and glasses and took them in the house to the kitchen. She would take a nap after cleaning up so she would be refreshed when her husband got home. He liked to have her alert so he could have her full attention.

After putting the dishes in the dishwasher, she went up to the master suite, closed the blinds, took off all of her clothes and climbed into bed. She was always so tired at two in the afternoon and would sleep until five when she would get up, shower and dress for the evening for her husband.

Rosemary was having a nightmare. She never had nightmares. Her dreams were always exciting but never scary. She dreamt she had been kidnapped from her bed. A pair of dirty hands that smelled of oil had grabbed her head and covered her mouth with a stained cloth that smelled of a botched science class experiment. Before everything went black, the hands had stroked her naked body.

The blackness was gone, replaced by the rusted yellow ceiling of a school bus. Her brain felt fuzzy and her naked skin had goose bumps. She could see tree branches and green leaves through the window above the seat she lay on. The plastic stuck to her back and thighs. Her wrists were tied together and her arms pulled over her head. Her ankles were each tied to a separate seat leg. Rosemary wanted this bad dream to end.

The realization that this was not a nightmare hit her. Her body ached. The metal of the seat legs bit into her calves. The rope that had her arms stretched up made her wrists raw and bloody. In an instant, the volume turned on full blast in this new world and she heard her sister, Sable, arguing with a man.

“Why did you bring her here?” said Sable. “It’s right in her own backyard.”

“Her old man chose this spot,” said the man. “No one will look for her here. Any noises will go unheard.”

“I thought the plan was to kill her?”

“He changed his mind, at least, for the time being.” The man paced. His voice moved from the front of the bus to the rear and back again. Sable seemed to be right below Rosemary’s window.

“You know better than to argue with him. If not, that bruise on your face should remind you.” The man chuckled. “Just go home and go about your normal routine. I’m going to the pay phone to make the ransom call to his office. This will all be over in twenty four hours and then you and her hubby can run off to whatever island he decides to stash all his money. And I can retire from this life of crime. Happily ever after for us all. Well, everyone except your dear sister, anyway.” He chuckled again, his laugh fading.

Rosemary could hear the brush crunch and twigs snap as he walked away from the bus. She closed her eyes. Good thing too.

Sable walked inside and stood over Rosemary. Rosemary kept her eyes closed and pretended she was still unconscious.

“My father was everything to me,” said Sable, “and you took him from me. Now I’m taking everything of yours.” Sable pinched Rosemary’s nipple, digging in with her nails. Rosemary flinched but Sable didn’t notice. Sable moved away, her feet hitting the floor of the bus as if she were running.

Rosemary opened her eyes, the vision of the bus’ ceiling blurred by her tears. If she didn’t find a way out of here and soon, she would be dead. Rosemary had married her rich old husband thinking she would be safe and secure. Instead, she had walked willing into the pits of hell. They always said the devil was attractive. She now knew that to be a fact.

Rosemary blinked several times to clear her eye sight. She looked at the rope around her wrists: old hemp, dry and brittle. She began picking at the fibers. It was her only chance. She kept at it despite the cramps in her legs, the rope splinters making the tips of her fingers bleed and her nails rip from their beds. She ignored the utter humiliation of not being able to hold back her urine.

By the time the sun had set, she had shred the rope on her left wrist. She pulled the rope through the loop in the ceiling, stiffly sat up and bent forward. She attacked the ropes tying her ankles to the seat. She was beyond cold and beyond caring about anything except escape. Who knew how much longer she would be left alone.

Once free, she stumbled from the school bus, falling out the door and landing on her hands and knees on the ground. She nearly gave up but survival was winning.

She crawled away in the opposite direction that her sister (no, she could no longer think of Sable as her sister) and the man had taken. In front of her in the underbrush was an old animal trap.

She stared at it a moment. She pushed on each side of the trap’s jaws and forced them open. Using a branch, she pushed on the pressure plate. The trap snapped shut breaking the branch in two with a resounding crunch. She smiled.

Rosemary dragged the trap over to the bus entrance. She positioned it just in front of the steps, pried it open and covered it with leaves and grass. Satisfied that it could not be seen, she jumped up and ran.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No Good Deed...

Pierre Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais was the lead prosecutor of that English cynicocratical body which found Joan of Arc guilty of heresy in 1431 and condemned her to death by burning at the stake. The English were trying to capture the French throne for the infant, Henry VI.

Joan, despite being a volgivagant young girl, was able to lead a French army to secure the thorn of France for Charles VII. She was accidentally captured during a retreat. During her lifetime, no one came to her rescue. She died May 30, 1431.

Pope Callixtus III found her not guilty of the heresy charges in 1456 and declared her a martyr. The isangelous Joan was canonized in 1920.

Quilly has a new game. I was bound and determined to play, so the above is my submission for last week's game. Go see the other participants and find out how to play along.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Wild Hunt

The Wild Huntsman, Woden, sat atop his snorting white horse, his knees gripping the beast’s shoulders. The air rocked and lightening shot to the ground each time Ehwaz struck the clouds with his iron hooves.

The old female elf, Slattenpat, naked, wrinkled skin rolling with her movements, darted in and out with her knobbed cane, attempting to gather the dead to her. The phantasmal group behind the stamping steed was herded away from the collector by ghostly hounds.

Ehwaz rose up on its back legs and lunged out at the nefarious fairy. Slattenpat decided to break off her pursuit of the lost souls in Woden’s care.

Long breasts thrown over her shoulders, Slattenpat ran into the swirling mists to escape her pursuer. Woden threw a thunderbolt that struck his quarry in the ass and cracked her into millions of pieces.

I woke in the bright morning sunshine to find shards of crystalline snow covering the earth.