Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Teaser 11

*Drum roll please*

This weekend, what with the holiday festivities and family togetherness, found me grabbing a good ol' standby author, Tolkien. But no, not The Hobbit, or LOTR even, but  a fantastic garage sale find, The Tolkien Reader.  It's a mix of the lesser known short fiction and essays--love!

The following is an exerpt of "Leaf by Niggle," a lovely story written in the midst of developing LOTR. Niggle is a suspiciously hobbit-like fellow--a painter. And this is the story of Niggle and a special tree. lol. 

"As he walked away, he discovered an odd thing: the Forest, of course, was a distant Forest, yet he could approach it, even enter it, without losing that particular charm. He had never before been able to walk into the distance without turning it into mere surroundings."

My random page exerpt simply doesn't do it justice. It reads very much like The Hobbit, and yet not at all.


Weekly Poetry Challenge

 Prompt 2

*A short one, but here it is all the same:


Generations X Y Z your zipper is
down on the world wide
web global economy individual
stages of war
waged with the words of binaried
network centric dynamos.
Don't lose the connection.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nothing Nowhere and Nearly in Nebraska--TCE 21

I can't believe how many weeks it's been already! Here was the prompt for this week: "There's only so much you can account for while doing dead man floats on the shallow end of the kiddy pool."
This isn't quite where I want it; I think I had too much to include and now it wanders, rather than being what I planned.   Oh, and WARNING! Quite a bit of foul language in it, and some mature subject matter.
Hey, how do you spell carnie? Carnie? Carney? Too brain-fried...

 Nothing Nowhere and Nearly in Nebraska

It was a standoff. He stood before Shelley with the cool May rain dripping down a long nose, clothed in the kind of things people wear when they take kids away from their fathers.  Behind him, the car idled. It was nice; a kind with four doors as if he had kids of his own, but Shelley had peeked through the windows only moments before and it was spic and span. Behind her spread the front row of trailers, most of them the same tone of the sky. The sky was a bright gray, so bright you could hardly believe it was raining, so bright you could tell that the sky wanted to be white but knew it was too dirty. All this part of the city was dirty, real dirty. The mud squished over Shelley’s bare toes.
“How old are you?”
“Go to hell.”
He looked around, his jacket getting wetter by the minute.
“You know where your Pa is?”
She stared him down. She knew she had a mean stare; it was something she’d figured as a necessity when she was young, maybe six, maybe four or five, when she’d ran away to her pop’s. Couldn’t quite be sure she was six when she’d left her mother’s home, but Shelley knew it was the year she was supposed to start school and didn’t, and that’d been three birthdays ago. She still celebrated them each year, even though she wasn’t sure of her age. But she did it quietly—with dignity—out back, pretending that the overturned tire atop the brush pile behind the trailer park was a giant cake all for her.  
“Hey, girl,” the man said, stepping closer, “I said, you know where your Pa is?”  To which Shelley said nothing. Not that it was any of his business, but she hadn’t seen her pa in a couple weeks. Hadn’t been her business to find him; she wasn’t his keeper.  Just like he wasn’t hers.  The man took another step.
“You get the hell away from me, boogerface.” He blinked at her. They were both sopping, dirty looking to be sure. “Can’t be more than seven,” he muttered.
He looked a real long while at her. Brushed the water from his face one side at a time.
“Nine, then,” he agreed. “And stop your cussing.”
She nodded a tight nod.
“You like hot cocoa?”
Three hours later, she was on her way to a new home.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Faves--yWriter

I think I work best with more deadlines rather than less, so I've decided to make an addition to my little blog project: Friday Favorites.

Pretty easy to guess the purpose of these posts, eh? You got it: Each week, I post one of my favorite things. The posts will probably be related to writing, but who knows? There's a lot of really cool stuff in the world--wouldn't want to limit myself.

This week's installment, I thought, had to be great. A real gem. And I know just the thing: yWriter.

Those of you who write novels or other long prose projects should pay particular attention here.

yWriter is a totally free program designed by Simon Haynes. He's not only a computer dude, but a professional writer as well. As such, he whipped up this bad boy to make the nasty organizational side of novel writing a bit easier.

It's pretty bare bones, but in a good way. No funky fonts or silly pictures or anything. Maybe I'm just a technological 'tard, but a lot of those novel-writing programs seem to be waaaay more complicated and jazzed up with random $hit than they need to be. Just my opinon of course. I do wish I'd used this when I wrote my [now chucked] novel.

Anyway, yWriter is broken down the way we (or at least I) tend to think of our stories: First you set up a project, then you set up a chapter. Then within the chapter, you set up a scene. One scene, 12 scenes, doesn't matter--you can insert or delete them whenever you want. These chapters and scenes are displayed along the left margin in a clickable manner that is one-part outline, and one-part just plain helpful.

Once you've created the filepaths for your chunk of story, that's when the word processor window comes up for the typing of it. Before, during or after you type out that particular scene, you can add characters, locations--all sorts of things really--with descriptions that carry over into the next scene or chapter you chose to create. There's also a tiny little window where you can type up a quick blurb for the scene or chapter, so that when you're working on another, all you have to do is highlight the one in question to touch base and read the blurb. And if/when you realize you've got something in the wrong spot (let's face it, we both know it's going to happen), you can click and drag it to where you want, hassle-free. It autosaves and whatnot, too.

I don't know if I'm explaining this properly, and there are so many more neato-bandito functions to it that it would take ages to list them all, but this is definitely my current favorite writing program. It can be used for shorter stuff too, or for non-fiction projects like theses or speechs, maybe.  I can see how the possibilities would be endless. Can't remember how long it took to download; maybe a couple hours? I'm not sure.

Either way, it's WELL worth taking a look-see. Plus, say you disagree with me (I don't think you will!), you can just uninstall it.  It's not like you lose any money on it, after all.

Interested? Here's a link for info and downloading (and a much better explanation, lol): http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html

Happy writing, everyone, and to the US folks, have a good Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WPC Prompt 2 Revisited

Since I became so terribly behind last week, I'm going to cheat and have a second go at last week's prompt. That's right; I'm calling a do-over. DO OVER!

Here's a recap of the prompt:

Take two usually separate ideas/images and juxtapose them in a way that hints at current pop culture as well as the deeper issues of the current social, political and economic climate, such as the phrase "hydrogen jukebox," by Allen Ginsberg in "Howl."

Swear I'll be on time this week with everything!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

This week's teaser is brought to you a la Harper Lee. Let's see if you can guess the book...

"Atticus had urged them to accept the state's generosity in allowing them to plead Guilty to second-degree murder and escape with their lives, but they were Haverfords, in Maycomb County a name synonymous with jackass. The Haverfords had dispatched Maycomb's leading blacksmith in a misunderstanding arising from the alleged wrongful detention of a mare, were imprudent enough to do it in the presence of three witnesses, and insisted that the-son-of-a-bitch-had-it-coming-to-him was a good enough defense for anybody."

That's right; To Kill A Mockingbird. I just began it this morning.

Rose Martini

For any of you who grow roses and/or like an exceptionally special Sunday brunch, I've included the following martini recipe. True, it isn't very exact, but it can be easily adjusted for those who like less floral and more bite.

Rose Martini
(Start to finish. Those who already possess rose syrup, please scroll.)

Rose Syrup

Deflower approximately 3-5 large, heavily-scented roses. Deep crimson colored ones cook down the best; other colors will cook into brown shades. If like me you don't have access to red roses (I grow lavender roses) you can later remedy the problem with food dye.

Deflower by wrapping a soft-but-firm hand at the base of each bloom. Tighten grip slightly and pull petals away from the base. Sort through petals and discard damaged, worn or faded blooms. Trim off the white bases of all petals.

Set a few of the prettiest petals aside for garnish.

Place 1/3 of the good blooms in medium-sized pot. Cover just barely with water. Bring almost to a boil. JUST ALMOST! If you actually boil, you may lose the essential oils (scent and flavoring) of the roses. Cook down slightly, keeping at a barely-there simmer. Add 1/3 more petals; repeat; add last 1/3 and repeat again. (Just keep doing this in manageable increments if you are making a large batch.)

Now you have rose water. If you have oodles of roses, you can freeze this rose water to use in your martinis for extra flavor, or to add some sass to lemonades and teas.

In a small sauce pan, combine equal parts of rose water and table sugar. Bring almost to a boil, stirring frequently; don't allow to burn or scorch. Cook until syrupy.

Voila! Rose syrup.

Now for the cocktail.

Rose Syrup
Limoncello OR Vermouth (lends a more herbal, perhaps more "masculine," flavor)
Ice (possibly made from rose water)
Rose petals for garnish

Fill martini shaker with ice. Pour in an 8-count of vodka. Add 1-2 tbsp of rose syrup. Add generous splash of Limoncello or Vermouth. Shake, shake shake! (For 30 seconds.) Strain into martini glass. Garnish with the remaining pretty petals.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Beginning of General Purpose Writing Prompts

I did away with the "Writing Prompts" page so that I could throw them in at random via posts. Below are the remnants from that now deleted page; for future general purpose writing prompts, click the label in the top left margin. Happy writing, everyone!

***Disclaimer: The following may be direct quotes, butchered paraphrases, or something altogether different. I mean no copyright infringement in any way and will do my best to cite sources.
Life in every breath. (Last Samurai)

The world is a very old place. Study the myths; these have survived because they've showed millions the truth of the human condition.  (Some author's mentor ... I don't remember the name. Sorry!)

Snoring is part of a universal language.  (Autobiography of Malcolm X)

I wanted to write about people with real gumption. (Margaret Mitchell)

When the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, does the caterpillar no longer live? Does it cease to exist? (Bones)

By passion the world is bound, by
passion too it is released.  (a Tantra)

Listen to the sound of the sun as it oscillates energy from the surface, then inward and back out.  Visit http://solar-center.stanford.edu/singing/SOUNDS/ for some amazing audio clips. In some ways it reminds me of brown noise.

Going under the knife

Just a quick note: The Glass Bubble is about to get a face lift. It's too haphazard for my tastes--and I will be remedying that shortly, so things might be helter skelter for a few days.

I'm thinking nose job, hairline correction, tiny eyebrow lifts, and that thing where they get rid of the extra skin under the chin....

Just kidding. See you soon, everyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Ice Cream Truck of Death

*** This has been a lost week for me; things somehow piled up and I am yet again late! So sorry! I'll be catching up shortly.
For now, here's Week 20's story for TCE. The prompt was: "I find myself drawn to the shadow domain." 
 Wish I'd spent more time on it; it's not quite what I was hoping. Ahh, well. That's what editing is for, right?
 Warning: for any folks who believe today is the Rapture, this will be insulting. It also contains mild swearing.***

 The Ice Cream Truck of Death
Almost everyone in town called it the ice cream truck of death. It turned onto Main from a side street and headed towards Marjorie’s house. The truck was owned and operated by the local holy rollers; they also did the skating rink outside of town. Alongside the freshly painted warnings of the End Times and quotes of scriptures were the pictures of orangesicles and peanut-covered drumsticks. Tonight, the dusk air was heavy with the possibility of rain, but comfortable, and exoskeletons of the 17-year cicadas made the walk from the screen door to the porch swing set a crunchy one, so she'd taken to tiptoeing. Marjorie sat comfortably in the swing, beer in hand, watching the sun set over the top of Mrs. Ritchie’s house across the street, sharing her swing with one of the sweet-tempered red eyed bugs and her guitar. 
It was the time of evening when her friends would stop by for a visit, since there wasn’t anything else to do. Have a beer, catch up. Sometimes she wished there was more “happening” to her, to Centerville, but the evening was nice and she wasn’t going to let herself be annoyed by a lifestyle she hadn’t the wherewithal to change.  Marjorie picked up her guitar and strummed a G to match the ice cream music, eyeing the truck. It looked like it was slowing down.
It was. The ice cream truck of death pulled to a stop in front of Marjorie’s sidewalk, its happy-go-lucky music a determined drone. The driver’s side door slammed. Around the front of the truck staggered the best looking man Marjorie had ever seen on the face of the Earth. He was dashing. He was virile. He was sex and romance and maniliness in human form.
And he walked like he was drunk or something.                                                                       
Surely those Bible bangers didn’t let the alcoholics drive their ice cream truck. Marjorie tried to sit her beer in the shadows of the porch behind the swing set before the man could see it. The man hobbled onto her sidewalk, clutching at his stomach, his throat. Locks of fine hair dropped to cover his face.
“Please,” he gasped, coming to a wavering stop at the base of the porch steps just before her, “may I ,” –gasp— “ingest some of your,” –gasp— “hops beverage?” Gasp, gasp, rasp.  Marjorie pushed her swing back a bit. He was terribly handsome. Almost unreal. But still, a strange man doesn’t just drive up to your door in a holy roller ice cream truck and ask you for your beer, especially in a place like Centerville. It’s just not done.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Story of a Mr. Drew Harold--TCE prompt eighteen

**So we're on prompt 18 for The Chrysalis Experiment. Holy b-jeebers, Batman, did I get stuck or what! Wow. Yeah. I--well, I guess you'll see. LOL.

The prompt was beautiful though:

drip, drop, dripdrop
they splatter from the arch in the wintry sky
iron and angelic and rotting toward nothing.
See? Beautiful prompt. Ugghh.. And then there's my story. Brace yourself:

 Sort of the Story of a Mr. Drew Harold

This is sort of the story of Drew Harold, the only man in town with two first names, who lived on a corner just one block away from the courthouse, in a house with gables in the front and a nice summer kitchen out back. The town was small, the kind of place where all the buildings still had false fronts, and hadn’t yet outgrown them.  There were still hitching posts in front of all the major banks … and they were still used.  In fact, it was a rather stagnant kind of place, but Drew Harold liked it. He liked it because it clearly knew what kind of a place it was, and made no bones about it. There was a sense of self here that was quite refreshing.
Not just the town, either, if truth be told. The people too. Anyone and everyone within a twenty-five mile radius could spout off their entire family tree, including the black sheep robbers who ran away with Kentucky Derby horses  in the 1870s, or the California-bound bums of the 1950’s and 60’s. Most everyone, it seemed, could not only tell a man that, but also their exact heritage, even though the town was so thoroughly American that the bloodlines were extremely muddled.  Oh, would say one to another while waiting to pay for milk and eggs in the grocery store, I’m Scotch-Irish, for the most park. Though my mother’s mother’s father, well now, he was 1/8 Cherokee, and ¼ French, so I’m a little more exotic than my wife. Because I’m Scotch-Irish-French-Indian, when it comes right down to it.
This was the sort of thing which amazed him. Because he knew nothing about himself. He didn’t even know how he came to live there, or how he came to live at all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WPC Prompt 2


I happen to greatly admire Ginsberg's poem "Howl."

Don't worry; I'm not going to geek out on you. I'm just suggesting a prompt, alright?! Sheesh...relax already!

In that poem exists one of the most famous phrases in all of English-speaking 20th century poetry, the "hydrogen jukebox."  For anyone who's never read "Howl," or needs a quick refresher of what the heck a hydrogen jukebox is and means, click here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179381 .

So the prompt I'm going to be working with (and indeed, maybe some of you???) is to take two usually separate ideas/images and juxtapose them in a way that hints at current pop culture as well as the deeper issues of the current social, political and economic climate.

Said poem doesn't necessarily have to be based entirely on that juxtaposition, as long as there's one "hydrogen jukebox"-esque phrase somewhere within its bounds.

Wish me luck! I'll report back with a poem on Monday. Happy writing, everyone.

What do YOU remember?

There is a member of my family who is very near a century old. Whenever we get to talking, I'm reminded of how much a person must witness over the course of such a long lifetime...the automobile,WW1, Flappers, The Great Depression, WW2 , HUAC, the social revolutions of the 60's, the drugs of the 70's, the hair of the 80's, etc. Such a lot of incredible things.

But even over the course of the 20-some-odd years I've been around, there were some really historic world events occurring. Who knows what's going to happen in the next 80-some-odd years... What do you remember?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Teaser 9

It's that time of the week again, everyone! Today found me opening a book by, yet again, Douglas Adams. I've moved to the second book in his Hitchhiker's series; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Here's the exerpt:

"One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidentally becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broadminded and well-adjusted family can't cope with."

Ta da!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Okay, Let's Make It Monday...

Long story short, I was behind for my first post in this challenge. Luckily, it's just the first, so I can change the rules. Let's make the weekly poem post come on Mondays instead of the end of the weekends. Sounds good.

Prompt one for my challenge was a poem called "Hero Worship"  by Amy Lowell. I stayed with the same format and theme, just a variation, for my poem...it still needs quite a bit of work.

Sonnet # 20 (?)

Your Face on the News

Your face was on the news the other night.
You spoke of heroes, and you spoke of truth
but did not mention once yourself. In light
of this omission I recalled our youth
together, of the bus from project grad—
your words of the future— going to war
me to school. While I was away, you had
looked for my parents; the tornado tore
around them. You’d rescued them, pulled them loose
from all sorts of sorrows unknown to me.
Because you are a hero.  It’s not news,
my long friend. It’s something the world can see.
My friend, my guardian, my own true hero;
I’m so thankful for you; this you must know.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Not A New Beginning

*This week's prompt for The Chrysalis Experiment was "I think you're my new favorite puzzle." Contains mild swearing. Can't decide on a proper title (which is usually a sign I've got a holey story, lol). But...

Without furthur ado:

Not A New Beginning

Iris knew as soon as she saw the Thursday paper chucked against the screen door that it was going to be another bad day. She stood there for a moment in the silence, door open, red-and-brown flannel nightgown flapping against her knees in the early dawn wind, and looked up and down the street. All the cars were in their garages, all the curtains closed,  even all the gardeners were asleep still, dreaming of digging beds under the sycamores to stash their rows of impatients. For a moment she considered hopping in the truck and driving all around town, plucking people’s papers right of their front porches, but there wasn’t no sense fighting something like this. So she went back inside, to her puzzle and her grapefruit and coffee — her “old geezer” breakfast that Annie teased her about so much.  Iris preferred to think of it as sensible. She locked the door behind her.
The paper’s headline — “Local hero discovers wife is mother” — made the acid of her coffee rumble in her stomach. She didn't read it; didn't need to. Instead, Iris found the puzzle piece she’d been looking for, and slipped it into the gap that showed the oak of the kitchen table. It was so quiet; almost the good kind of quiet rather than the bad. But that wouldn't last. Sooner or later Annie would show back up, dark hair frizzed with humidity, eyes wild, all sunburned and looking like a prophet or a bum, and then she’d start in on “what they was gonna do about it.” You could put money on it.
The sound of truck doors slamming in the drive, and whispers, arguing voices. Iris sighed. Right on cue.
“Iris, open up,” Shawn called through the door. So it was all three of them then, she saw as she came to the foyer, Shawn towering on one side of Annie, his fist wrapped around her arm all firm and white knuckled, Zack struggling on Annie's other arm.  As soon as they came in, Shawn done chucked Annie loose, almost knocking both her and Zack to the floor.  Annie flopped on the couch. The house filled with sounds.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weekly Poetry Challenge Prompt 1

Weekly Poetry Challenge
Prompt 1

 Alrighty, then!
Today begins the Weekly Poetry Prompt Challenge. Every Wednesday I'll post a prompt, on whatever subject, that I and any joiners will use to craft a poem. These poems are to be finished by the following weekend, so that I may post the said poem[s] some time during Sunday.
 Ready? Okay then. Thus, it begins.
Below is a poem by Amy Lowell. Tie your poems in some way, big or small, to the poem below. (Remember to cite, should you choose to do a found poem!) Or you can say to heck with this prompt and write your own. Anyone game? Here's the poem:

Hero-Worship by Amy Lowell
A face seen passing in a crowded street,
A voice heard singing music, large and free;
And from that moment life is changed, and we
Become of more heroic temper, meet
To freely ask and give, a man complete
Radiant because of faith, we dare to be
What Nature meant us. Brave idolatry
Which can conceive a hero! No deceit,
No knowledge taught by unrelenting years,
Can quench this fierce, untamable desire.
We know that what we long for once achieved
Will cease to satisfy. Be still our fears;
If what we worship fail us, still the fire
Burns on, and it is much to have believed.

Have fun!
P.S. ---->Oh, and let me know by comments or email if you're joining this challenge so I can link back to you!
P.P.S---> I'm  still trying to think of a decent "name" for this challenge....hint, hint....lol

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Teaser 8

One word: Dracula.

...Dracula...by Bram Stoker.

That's all I've got to say. It requires no more introduction.

"Somewhere high overhead, probably on the tower, I heard the voice of the Count calling in his harsh, metallic whisper.  His call seemed to be answered from far and wide by the howling of wolves."

Oooo-eee--oooooouuuuu........read if you dare! (It's really good.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Poetry Prompt

So, as the post title suggests, I think I'm going to do my own poetry challenge....for.... say, the rest of the year. But none of that daily business; that's killer. That's hard-core. In short, I am too lazy and too untried. *grin*

Instead, I'll put up a prompt every Wednesday as a note to myself and any other lovelies who'd like to join (yes, I'm looking at you!). Then, perhaps over the weekend--I'm leaning towards Sunday--I'll post my poem that matches the prompt. Anyone else who would like to do this with me, well, I can post yours as well, with a link back to your own page. Plus, I can add you to a specific blog roll at the right. It's a win-win!

The concept is a bit rough, but I think you follow my drift. Everybody get ready!

Next on the to-do list: Figure out a better name for it than "Weekly Wednesday Poetry Prompt." LOL.

I'm About to Lose Control and I Think I Like It....

Happy May Day, everyone!

It seems I have so many things to include that I don't quite know where to begin, and will therefore in all likelihood forget a lot of it ... *Deep breath*

First of all, I'm delighted to say [err, type] I made it through the NAPOWRIMO challenge. I got behind on two of the weekends but got caught back up just in the nick of time. So that's over. Whew.

Discovery: My poetic "stride" is the equivalent of that one rhino always tagging along, huffing and puffing, at the end of those silly stampede scenes from Jurassic Park. Do you remember? The little out-of-breath rhino; that's me. I can't even begin to keep the frenetic pace required for NAPOWRIMO. Luckily I am not the norm--I ran onto so many absolutely breathtaking poets through this challenge!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Listening to the Whippoorwhill


Good gracious me...made it, barely. I have to say I am an awful poet when there's a daily deadline to be met! I would however, be interested in a weekly version of a poetry challenge, maybe for a year or till the end of the year or something. My brain just doesn't churn out poetry once a day, I've discovered.

But I would never have known that about myself had I not tried the NAPOWRIMO daily challenge, so overall I'm quite pleased with myself.

Here's [to] the last one....


In the nights there are roads that lie quiet
and untraveled but for the blowing wind.

The pavement is black as the night itself
so that together, the roads and the night

are the unfathomable distances
of a soul full of dark and wondrous things;

nocturnal miracles, thought to be glimpsed
only by fortune and by destiny.

Or headlights, perhaps, to brighten the dark.